Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Global warming fears, founded or unfounded?

US News has a post titled Did Climategate Expose Global Warming Fears as Unfounded? with pro and con positions presented. Joseph Romm arguing the con position began: Big Oil wants us to remain addicted to oil, a major source of carbon pollution.

Romm on sea level rise: "major studies since 2007 put the estimate at 3 to 6 feet."
But see IPBiz post:
"Rising sea level" paper retracted from Nature Geoscience

Romm got a Ph.D. from MIT in 1987, but did not appear to go into traditional physics research. From wikipedia: From 1988 to 1990, Romm worked as Special Assistant for International Security at the Rockefeller Foundation. From 1991 to 1993, he was a researcher at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

STEVE BREEN has a cartoon ridiculing the critics of global warming, with a blackboard captioned "global warming evidence" in the background and two overweight skeptics in the foreground talking about ending a sentence with a preposition and not dotting an i. Interfering with the refereeing process and generating a tribal climate is a bit more than not dotting an i.



Mining for Cold, Hard Facts

Since November, revelations of errors in reports by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have sapped public confidence in climate predictions. The scientists in Antarctica are excavating the ice as a reality check on computer climate models at the heart of today's regulatory debates.


"Unfortunately many of our proxies have significant errors and are prone to be a slave to assumptions," says climatologist John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who has often criticized the IPCC. His research, using temperature readings from NOAA and NASA satellites, has undermined arguments that the atmosphere is warming at an unusual rate.

The first samples already reveal intriguing evidence of climate complexity. In ice layers attributed to the Middle Ages, when Europe was unusually warm, the team found surprisingly high levels of carbon black particles, or soot. Levels were found to be twice as high as during the more heavily populated and industrialized 20th century, says geochemist Ross Edwards at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev.

Overlooked in climate projections until recently, carbon black is a powerful warming agent. The soot, scientists speculate, came from giant wildfires that likely occurred in Australia and South America. So much soot could have raised temperatures.

During Ice Age cycles of cooling and warming, temperatures often rose before levels of carbon dioxide changed—sometimes 800 years or so before—according to previous evidence of ice from Antarctica.

"You don't expect the cause to follow the effect," says atmospheric scientist Richard S. Lindzen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a frequent IPCC critic. "That's become an important issue."


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