March 15, 2009

The Avalanche Affect-A Hot Day in June

Earlier I wrote about the narrative of Global Warming and its importance in understanding why we see things the way we see them . Now let's explore why we are where we are.

Sometimes, more often than we know or appreciate, some event will occur which sets the course for further even larger events that may have tremendous consequences. As these consequences unfold they take on a life of their own and the initial event fades from the memory. Then as quite frequently happens the initial event which set off the chain reaction is shown not to be what was initially suspected.

Whether or not the initial event was manipulated to create the ultimate consequences is a matter for moral arguments, but the fact that the initial event is the cause of greater consequences is inescapable. Consequences that would never happened without that initiator event. Wars have started this way.

The Anthropogenic Global Warming belief is chock full of examples of this. Starting from the very beginning and continuing to this day. statements have been made, studies have been submitted, testimony has been given, films have been made, charts have been shown that have set events in motion that have taken a life of their own. Life moves on, policies are enacted, belief structures are reinforced all based on incorrect information , faulty science, political calculations or a number of other factors which changes the world.

Imagine a reckless skier high in the mountains where he has no place being who stirs the unstable drift . The snow gives way cascading down the mountain gathering momentum. An avalanche grows and grows which can not be stopped until it has run it's course with all the resulting damage left in it's wake including ultimately the skier who will be judged by history for his recklessness. Then, of course, the survivors are left to dig out from the disaster that has been wrought.

Part 1

A Hot Day in June

On a hot June day in 1988 James Hansen of NASA, a little known scientist an astronomer by training, walked into a Senate hearing and initiated the alarm on global warming. Before he even walked into the Senate chambers certain events had already been set in motion to facilitate his testimony.

Tim Wirth a Senator from Colorado had prepped the room, so to speak, for Hansen's arrival. here are his own words from an interview with Frontline

What else was happening that summer? What was the weather like that summer?

Believe it or not, we called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6 or June 9 or whatever it was, so we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo: It was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it. It was stiflingly hot that summer. [At] the same time you had this drought all across the country, so the linkage between the Hansen hearing and the drought became very intense.

Simultaneously [Mass. Gov. Michael] Dukakis was running for president. Dukakis was trying to get an edge on various things and was looking for spokespeople, and two or three of us became sort of the flacks out on the stump for Dukakis, making the separation between what Democratic policy and Republican policy ought to be. So it played into the presidential campaign in the summer of '88 as well.

So a number of things came together that, for the first time, people began to think about it. I knew it was important because there was a big article in, I believe, the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated on climate change. [Laughs.] So there was a correlation. You figure, well, if we're making Sports Illustrated on this issue, you know, we've got to be making some real headway.

And did you also alter the temperature in the hearing room that day?

... What we did it was went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right? So that the air conditioning wasn't working inside the room and so when the, when the hearing occurred there was not only bliss, which is television cameras in double figures, but it was really hot. ...

So Hansen's giving this testimony, you've got these television cameras back there heating up the room, and the air conditioning in the room didn't appear to work. So it was sort of a perfect collection of events that happened that day, with the wonderful Jim Hansen, who was wiping his brow at the witness table and giving this remarkable testimony.

So right from the beginning we see a couple of things that were not real. The testimony for one thing was, at least in part used for political purposes, "...making the separation between what Democratic policy and Republican policy ought to be. So it played into the presidential campaign in the summer of '88 as well."

Then of course there is the entire set up of the room, from planning it for the hottest day of the year (something AGW proponents have obviously forgotten) to messing with the air conditioner. All intended to create a setting- an atmosphere for a testimony on global warming with as yet not a word spoken. What does the former Senator do today? He is the Director of the UN Foundation which was set up by Ted Turner of global warming and cannibalism fame.

So the little known James Hansen wiping his brow in the heat of TV lights gives his famous testimony. Among the statements he made was this.

"And 1988 thus far is so much warmer than 1987, that barring a remarkable and improbable cooling,1988 will be the warmest year on record."

But reality can not so easily be staged in the real world, TV lights and open windows will not change the course that nature intends. Despite Hansen's prediction 1988 turned out to be a remarkable year, both 1987 and 1981 were warmer and 1989 was even cooler than 1988. But the statement was out there by a government climate scientist, with whatever effect it had on the Senators, the public and of course the media and lest we forget, the sweaty brow.

Hansen also presented the Senators with a graph showing what his models at the time projected for future temperatures based on certain CO2 scenarios. Here are two views of those graphs. The first is the original graph with UAH Satellite data super imposed on top of it.

via Climate Skeptic

The Next is from The Black Board

To save you the reading, the yellow line at the bottom is what the global temperatures were projected to do if we had drastically reduced CO2 emissions (globally) in the 1990's. we did not. The red line is what should have happened if we kept on emitting CO2 at the then current rate of increase, we did and more. The Orange line is what would have happened per Hansen, if we could have checked emission rates at what they were then (1988), obviously we did not. Obvious too is that the actual temperatures based on what really happened did not reach the projections. A better presentation of Hansen's projection versus reality is shown below.

(click for larger view)

As You can see although temperatures did increase in the years that followed they also fell as temperature over time are wont to do. The global temperature for 1988 was 57.51 F, in 2008 they were 57.74 F. Study those two numbers very carefully and ask yourself if the difference is worth the pain. The pain that is being proposed to be inflicted on your children and grandchildren by attempting to shortchange the natural evolution of progress economically and politically in order to save the planet from....what? Make no mistake that is precisely what is at stake here is the prosperity and to a large degree freedom of future generations.

Another statement Hansen made that day was

....there is a tendency in the model for greater than average warming in the southeastern and central U.S. and relatively cooler or less than average warming in the western U.S. and much of Europe in the late 1980s and in the 1990s.

However the opposite occurred, the South East United States was cooler than the rest of the country and the west was warmer.

As important as these facts are to the current state of climate science, the impact of these erroneous projections on the psychology of the discussion back in the early nineties can not be minimized. These projections by the climate science community even those that eventually became skeptics were accepted as very real possibilities and had to be treated as such. Thus the formation of the IPCC and the increase in research into the the greenhouse effect. As we all know once we let money and prestige begin to flow into beuracratic institutions there is virtually no way to stop it.

Looking back we now know that the testimony was in part a political gambit staged to achieve dramatic affect. The projections in several key areas were overly alarming compared to the actual outcome and therefore the science used to achieve the results were not accurate.

Yet as we have seen over and over again once a stampede begins, there is little hope of stopping it. Events had been set in motion, soon the IPCC would be formed to confront this possible threat to mankind. Federal Budgets for research including satellites for Hansen's NASA and NOAA and other bureaucratic institutions with insatiable appetites for tax payers moneys would begin to grow. Perhaps most important of all in the scheme of things, the virtually infant science of climate research was about to be thrust into the lime light of the world stage TV cameras and all.

The fracture in the drift had been set free and the avalanche was about to cascade onto the world scene. Whenever the momentum slackened a new event almost as if by magic would spring forth which would reinvigorate the momentum such as we will explore in the next episode of the Avalanche Affect-The Hockey Stick.

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