Are you aware that while carbon dioxide levels have continued to increase at a steady rate, global temperatures as measured by both satellites and land/sea stations have remained flat since 1998? That's over nine years with no measurable increase in temperature. More recent trends are showing a significant cooling is beginning, reports Dennis Avery. (1)
All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley UK, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, University of Alabama Huntsville, and Remote Sensing Systems Santa Rosa) have released updated information showing that in 2007, global cooling ranged from 0.65C to 0.75C, a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one years time. From all sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down, observes Marc Morano. (2)
Have your heard about this? I doubt it. If the temperature had gone up instead of down, you can bet your last dollar it would have made the evening news and front pages of newspapers. Since global warming is such a ‘hot' topic (pun intended), the media is not going to let some cooling get in the way.
Computer models of climate are now predicting that there will be no change in global temperature over the next ten years. In some cases, these predictions say no significant warming until 2030. Take your pick. If these models are so great, how did they miss this ‘time-out from global warming period'? This from models that predicted a 25 foot increase in sea level in 1980, then changed the prediction to 3 feet in 1985 and then to 1 foot by 1995. A predicted drop change from 25 to 3 to 1 foot in 15 years! (3)
Science writer James Trefil notes. "A comparison of nearly all of the most sophisticated climate models with actual measurements of current climate conditions found the models in error by about 100 percent in cloud cover, 50 percent in precipitation, and 30 percent in temperature change. Even the best models give temperature change results differing from each other by a factor of two or more." (4) So, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised about a glitch or two along the way.
Are you familiar with the Eocene epoch? This was part of the Cenozoic Era and lasted from about 55 to 34 million years ago. At the start of the Eocene, Earth heated up in one of the most extreme global warming events recorded in geologic history. The temperature gradient from equator to pole was only half that of today's and deep ocean currents were exceptionally warm. The polar regions were much warmer than today, perhaps as mild as the modern-day Pacific Northwest; temperate forests extended right to the poles, while rainy tropic climates extended far north. David Beerling observes, "A carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere seems to offer a good solution to the Eocence climate puzzle. And yet...when four times the present-day carbon dioxide content is fed into the climate models, they spectacularly fail to reproduce the tropical paradise revealed by the exotic fossil floras and faunas. Instead of the poles in winter being as balmy as a summer day, the models blanket the polar regions, and much of the northern hemisphere with snow. In fact, to warm up the Earth, melt the snow, and create the tropical conditions for palms and alligators to flourish in the high latitudes, it takes eight times the present-day level of carbon dioxide." Beerling concludes, "Our current climate models, which rest upon a century of observations and are the best tools we have for forecasting future climate change-are still incomplete." (5)
Surely you've heard that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the US lower 48 states since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the hottest being in 1998. Well, that also has been shown to be wrong. Lorne Gunter reports, "A little less than a decade ago, the US government changed the way it recorded temperatures. No one thought to correlate the new temperatures with the old ones though-until Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre, that is. In many cases the changes are statistically minor, but their potential impact on the rhetoric surrounding global warming is huge. The hottest year since 1880 becomes 1934 instead of 1998, which is now just second; 1921 is third. Four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, only three in the past decade. The 15 hottest years since 1880 are spread over seven decades. Eight occurred before atmospheric carbon dioxide began its recent rise; seven occurred afterwards. In other words, there is no discernible tend, no obvious warming of late." (6)
One last glitch-It's recently been reported by NASA that 70% of the global warming of the last century (and cooling in the last decade) is due to the Pacific Ocean Oscillations, not carbon dioxide. (7) Could this mean that no matter how much we change our carbon dioxide footprint, we cannot save the planet from its natural cycles?
Lots of glitches, or as some folks might say, myth busters.
Jack Dini is a scientist and environmental writer in Livermore, California. He can be contacted by email at mailto:email@example.com
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