More evidence that global warming advocates may be full of hot air was released but given scant media attention in the Feb. 17 issue of the academic journal, Nature. New data cast further doubt on the validity of the computer model-based idea that the planet is heating up in an abnormal, alarming way and that the cause is mankind’s profligate burning of fossil fuels and other related industrial activities.
The Washington Post buried the story on page A13; somehow, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to believe that had the conclusions arrived at in the Nature piece been supportive of global warming theory, the story would have appeared on Page One above the fold.
By measuring the temperature of the earth at various depths, Henry N. Pollack of the University of Michigan and other researchers have been able to more accurately chart patterns in climate change farther back than the 19th century heretofore the earliest date for reliable measurements of temperature and found that the warming trend noted by some scientists has probably been going on since well before the invention of the steam engine, let alone the internal combustion engine or sport-utility vehicle.
Of 616 holes dug, 479 showed an average increase in temperature of 1.8 degrees since the 1500s well before the advent of the Industrial Age. Many scientists, in fact, believe that we are emerging from a period of abnormally cool worldwide temperatures a “Little Ice Age” that lasted from about the year 1400 to around 1850. If so, the rise in temperature after 1850 would, in effect, be a return to equilibrium or at least a more natural state and have nothing whatever to do with man and his machines.
Meanwhile, the large discrepancy between temperature measurements taken at surface stations and from ships as compared with temperature measurements taken from weather balloons and satellites continues to plague honest climate scientists. While the ground-based stations show a rise in temperature of about half a degree since 1980, the weather balloons and satellites record no rise at all. Supporters of global warming theory have seized on the data culled from land-based measuring sites, as have most of the media, but largely ignored the satellite and weather balloon data arguably because it does not fit their preconceived notions.
Indeed, all the computer models that posit global warming and attribute it to human activity assume the land-based measures to be correct indicators of the actual state of the planet and ignore the satellite/weather balloon data. But if the ground-based measurements are inaccurate, as the satellite and weather balloon data suggest, then the models are flawed and global warming theory, with human activity as the cause, cast into serious doubt.
Obviously, it’s premature to make any universal statements as regards global warming one way or the other. It may be occurring; then again, it may not be. And if it is, it may be an entirely natural, episodic fluctuation in the Earth’s climate. To state flatly that “global warming” is both real and is “caused” by human activity, such as driving a sport-utility vehicle, is insupportable scientifically although it may make for good speechifying politically.
We’ll be hearing a lot from Al Gore about the “threat of global climate change” in the next few months. And if elected, Mr. Gore may pursue economically disastrous policies to combat this bogeyman without waiting for the facts to justify his crusade. Bear that in mind next time you hear him or some media know-nothing spout off about the imminent doom we all face from driving our bad old SUVs.