Nov 15 2011
Is the world warming? Why Yes! Ever since The Little Ice Age the world has been recovering from a multi century cold snap and nearing prior historic levels of warmth.
The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period (Medieval Climate Optimum). While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It is conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries. though climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. NASA defines the term as a cold period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.
Emphasis in blue is mine. Conveniently, the ‘modern’ long term temperature record begins in the 1880′s – even though it is incredibly spotty and this is the time in human history before electricity, world-wide synchronized clocks, radios, computers, etc. The error bars on this earliest segment of the ‘modern record’ are in the multiple degree range. Simple logic (which escapes people sometimes) reminds us that temperature readings have to be made the same way at the same time each day to remove basic measurement noise. Something not happening in the 1880′s, and I would wager was not happening uniformly throughout the world until post World War II (which created an enormous leap in technology). In other words, the data prior to 1940 is probably incredibly noisy and could not be the basis for detecting sub-degree changes since. Basic math folks, no need to over think this.
One recent study out from Greenland was quite clear on this matter. It looked at temperature records in the ice (which are chemically straight forward and much more consistent than 1880′s era thermometer readings) and discovered today’s warm period (which peaked in 1998) is not uncommon, nor record setting. Here are the key graphs (Click to enlarge):
The firs graph shows from 1840 (around the middle of the last big dip in temps from the Little Ice Age) and clearly shows a rise to a peak in the 1930-1940 range (which is seen in every area of the world as I noted when I analyzed the CRU raw data leaked during climategate). The issue with alarmist temp data has always been that ‘corrections’ were made by alarmists to the raw data. Corrections that have shifted the recent period (last 60 years) of temps up by 0.5° C. This has given the appearance today is warmer than the 1930-1940 peak, but it isn’t (given the error bars on the temp record itself there is statistically no difference – something even GISS admits). Here is a snap of one areas record from CRU, showing clearly how there is little difference between today and the period leading up to World War II (green line for comparison – click to enlarge):
Each graph covers a 3 month period (e.g., MAM= March, April, May). If you read alarmist claims carefully, they are very careful to make their warming claim from 1950 – when there was a dip in temps.They pick a low spot to exaggerate the warming trend. Fairly lo- brow spin in my humble opinion.
Back in the day I used to do a lot of analysis on man-made global warming. This post contains links to what I see as my most important findings.
Anyway, the Greenland study goes on in the second panel of the image above to look back 1000 years – and lo and behold there is a period of warmth on par with today’s temps. The infamous Medieval Warm Period. And in the third panel the study looks back 2000 years we see the Roman Warm period begin to show up. Another figure from the study looks back 4000 years, and finds a 3rd warm period centered on the Bronze Age – all equal to or warmer than today.
Anybody blessed with three IQ digits to rub together can see that today is not much different from the past similar periods long ago. So therefore today’s temperatures are not likely AT ALL to be caused by man-made forces from modern civilization – Al Gore’s ego aside. Man has yet to obtain the ability to push Mother Nature around.
A somewhat sharp person would also connect the historic dots and realize humanity’s leaps in science, technology, civilization, etc all accelerated dramatically during these warm periods – when we all had time to do something other than just fight to survive.
Two points are obvious here then. The historic record shows a natural temperature variability independent of human pollution. But it also shows how warm periods drive human evolution. We are not the force warming the world, but we as a species (and all others on the planet as well – let’s not get egocentric again) do benefit from generally warmer temperatures (which brings with it higher CO2). The cause and effect arrow is reversed from what alarmists have predicted.
As the universe continues on its path, throwing all the alarmist theories in the process, those in the alarmist camp with a modicum of scientific objectivity are slowly (if not grudgingly) beginning to change their tune. Instead of dire runaway warming in 5 years or less, the new spin is …
When you get down to specifics, the academic consensus is far less certain. The draft gives even less succour to those seeking here a new mandate for urgent action on greenhouse gas emissions, declaring: “Uncertainty in the sign of projected changes in climate extremes over the coming two to three decades is relatively large because climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.
In other words – don’t expect to see a lot of global warming for 20-30 years. Just like there has been general cooling over the last ten years.
So now we will experience 3-4 decades without warming, all the while CO2 levels continue to rise. And still the alarmists will fail to admit their theories have been shattered completely. Anyone (left or right) who utters the view we have to address global warming or the science of AGW is settled is fair game to be ignored. And I guarantee you, those still singing this mantra are less likely to have the education or background to know what the science means (yes, I am talking to all those journalist majors in the news media).
It’s hard to find the energy to keep beating this dead horse. At some point you simply have to pity those who don’t have the objectivity or schooling to see beyond the busted myths.