Thursday, June 25, 2009

Climate Change Hysteria Visits Indiana; Alarmists Ignore 4.5 Billion Year Climate History of Planet

Today's front page of the Indianapolis Star reports on a new government led study, using previously gathered data, which suggests the effect of climate change. I have previously addressed the issue of climate change, formerly simply referred to as "global warming."

This study is noteworthy because compared to past reports, this one does cite to significant benefits from a warmer planet including shorter, milder winters and a longer growing season resulting in more productive harvests.

That doesn't prevent some of the alarmists from ringing the bell anyway and declaring the debate over. J.C. Randolph, director of Indiana University's Center for Research in Energy and Environment, is quoted in the Star article "the debate over whether climate change is happening -- is over . The thing is trying to figure out how to help solve the problem."

Randolph, and many the global warming alarmists, simply do not connect the dots.

Let's return to the start. Is the Earth currently undergoing a warming trend? Absolutely. Is man responsible? Of course, for at least some of that increase, man is responsible. Increased human activity does increase global temperatures. For example, if you have an open field and you pave over it to make a parking lot, you're raising the overall surface temperature. You do that a million times over, and there will be an upward effect on global temperatures. (It should be noted that when atmospheric temperatures rather than surface temperatures are reviewed, the warming has been less.)

The question is not whether human activity is affecting global temperatures, but how much. The fact is our 4.5 billion year old planet has always gone through periods of warming and cooling. We have major climatic events which raise or lower temperatures. In between these bigger spikes, the temperatures zig and zag back and forth in warming and cooling cycles lasting hundreds if not thousands of years.

The problem is that the temperature data used to sound the global warming hysteria is based on only about the last 150 years, when temperature data has been collected. There is no doubt we are on an upward zig in temperatures. But the scientists are simply taking that tiny amount of data and employing computer models to extrapolate that data out, ignoring the history of short term (hundreds or thousands of years) fluctuating temperatures that follow a zig-zag pattern between major climatic events.

Even if what Randolph and his cohorts say is true, they leap to a conclusion that a change in climatic temperatures would devastate the planet. Given the extraordinary changes in temperature in Earth's 4.5 billion years, why would anyone think today's temperature is the ideal temperature? Yet virtually every global warming alarmist simply accepts as true that today's temperature is the best.

Although temperatures have been recorded for only about the last 150 years, there are other ways of measuring the Earth's temperature. Chief among those is to drill down into the Earth's surface and measure the chemical content of the various layers. Like trees, the surface of the Earth has a ring representing each year, telling a different story of what happened during that year. Examining the chemical content of those rings, scientists can provide a remarkably accurate climatic picture more than a billion years back into the past, not just the past 150 years. The global warming alarmists ignore this long-term climatic data, instead choosing to feed into their computers only the recorded data of the last 150 years.

The long-term climatic data undermine the alarmists and their agenda. It shows a planet that has forever moved through periods of rising and lowering temperatures, including sometimes dramatic shifts, even before man arrived. Even if the alarmists were willing to look beyond the 150 most recent years to look at the time of Earth during the time of modern man walked the Earth, the past 10,000 years or so, they would find exactly why the dots do not connect. At no time during that period has a warming Earth resulted in the decline in the fortunes of man.

The Earth's history has shown man has always done better during periods of warming, including periods when the Earth was warmer than today. It is when global temperatures fall that man has suffered set-backs, including the spread of deadly disease. For example, the great plague (sometimes referred to as the "bubonic plague") of the 1300s that wiped out 25% to 50% of Europe's population happened during a cooling period (what is often referred to as
"The Little Ice Age" which lasted until the middle 1700s), not a warming period. The disease was borne by fleas carried by rats. The colder temperatures didn't stop the transmission of the disease. The newest report ignores history, suggesting insect-borne diseases will increase with warmer temperatures.

Bottom line is Randolph and other alarmists fail to connect the dots - yes they make the case that temperatures are warming but fail to show 1) that this isn't really more than part of a larger trend and 2) how rising temperatures is a "problem." Will there be winners and losers if temperatures rise? Absolutely. For example, the person in Minnesota is going to benefit greatly while someone living in Florida will experience more warming that isn't desired. But history tells us that warming temperatures, the problem cited by Randolph, is something that has previously greatly benefited mankind. In fact, the alarmists would cannot point to a single example where warming global temperatures has been harmful to mankind.

But the alarmists aren't interested in the 4.5 billion year climatic history of Earth. They are interested in just the last 150 years and feeding that data into their computer models to provide scary scenarios which will prompt government to take action. It is a situation where the anti-growth political agenda of certain scientists has distorted what should be an objective, academic search for scientific truth. When politics corrupts science, as it happens in the global warming debate, we all end up losing.


Downtown Indy said...

Nature is just correcting itself.

Greenland should return to its natural 'green' climate (in a few centuries).

This is similar to the story a couple days ago about 'overall crime has gone down 2%' which totally ignores the fact overall crime went up an order of magnitude more than that the past few years.

'Spin Doctor' is certainly the one career with the greatest degree of job security.

Citizen Kane said...

You should take this on the road and debate these quacks!

Downtown Indy said...

Can't dissuade the global warming wackos any more than you can the chem-trail wackos:

It's true because they read it on the internets.