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January 6, 1998

Garbage In - Gospel Out

A Note on Global Warming

Science has spoken. The numbers are in. Observed reality shows no evidence to support the hysteria over global warming. The whole saga--large-scale greenhouse warming of the atmosphere, accompanied by catastrophic environmental consequences--turns out to be a figment of computer-model imagination.

Yes, it's true that the carbon dioxide concentration of the atmosphere has risen from around 290 parts per million a century ago to about 360 ppm presently. And in this time the mean global temperature has increased by about 0.5 deg C. This is what the TV screens have been blaring will melt a continental ice cap miles thick, at an average temperature of minus 60 deg C. You figure it out.

In any case, the rush to proclaim that even this modest temperature rise is caused by the carbon dioxide isn't supported by the evidence. The temperature rise took place over the fifty years before 1940, the final phase of the climate's recovery from the "Little Ice Age" of around 300 years ago. The increase in carbon dioxide that's supposed to have caused it happened for the most part after the 1940s. This is in keeping with the general pattern reconstructed for thousands of years, in which carbon dioxide appears to increase due to the release of carbon from such reservoirs as Arctic permafrost as a result of warming due to other causes. The warming and cooling cycles correlate closely with the level of the Sun's activity. The greenhouse gases that all the publicity has been about play a minor role in the process. The major contributor by far, accounting for over 90 percent of the effect, is water vapor.

Since 1940, the mean temperatures recorded by balloons, air and ocean measurement, have actually shown a mild decline, confirmed over the past 18 years by extremely accurate satellite data--all in flat contradiction to the computer-model predictions.

A very readable and comprehensive summary of the story is given in the November 1997 special issue of Arthur Robinson's Access to Energy newsletter (See "ENERGY" Archives, posting dated October 29, 1997)

Robinson asks: "Why then is there continuing discussion of atmospheric "global warming"? What possible support can it find--even among scientists who are willing to compromise their integrity in order to report results that the politicians and bureaucrats who fund them want to hear?"

A good question.

AND MORE . . .

What They Were Telling Us Then:

In these days when attention spans and retentiveness seem increasingly to be TV-conditioned to thirty minutes or thereabouts, it's worth being reminded of what the big panic was a quarter of a century ago.

Science Digest, February 1973, warned that the "world's climatologists are agreed" that humanity must "prepare for the next ice age."

Science, March 1, 1975, announced that the Earth had better prepare for "the approach of a full-blown 10,000 year ice age." And later, December 10, 1976, predicted "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation."

International Wildlife, July, 1975: "A new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery."

Newsweek, April 28, 1975: "the Earth's climate seems to be cooling down," which would "reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century."

New York Times, August 14, 1975 discussed "the many signs pointing to the possibility that the Earth may be heading for another ice age."

The culprits? Americans mainly, for showing the rest of the world how to stop squabbling and make life better instead. The solution? More government funding of more studies; more taxes; more controls.

 
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