June 22, 2009

Seriously, ya think?


by Thomas Fuller

If we were serious about global warming...

I have seen estimates (but no figures) that up to $50 billion has been spent worldwide on the study of global warming. Whatever the real number, it does not seem that we have received a lot for our money.

All of the models predicting global warming--all of them--say that we should be seeing fairly dramatic temperature increases in the atmosphere in the tropics, between six and ten miles up. It should be greater heating than that experienced at the surface. This is universally accepted as primary evidence of global warming caused by greenhouse gases caused by humans.

We have not seen evidence of this warming. We do not know yet if it is there or not. In the ten years since global warming became the international frenzy replacing celebrity lifestyles as the topic du jour, and with $50 billion being spent on research regarding this topic, you would think we would be flooding the zone with balloons, dedicated satellites, entrepreneurs with modifed solar powered aircraft cruising around... measuring temperatures. If for no other reason than to shut up those pesky skeptics, one would think we would be seriously trying to measure the one statistic that would answer the question. But we aren't.

Satellite measurements of the tropical troposphere have been made and analysed. First, they showed no warming at all. Then, some recalibration was needed and the measurements were reinterpreted. Then they showed modest warming, at a bit below the rate of the surface temperatures. In a marvelous sleight of hand maneuver, supporters of activist solutions to global warming said that this supported their case--'the troposphere is warming!'--when in fact it tends to destroy their case, as all of their models depend on troposphere warming that is far greater than surface warming.

If we were serious about global warming, this would be the first thing we would do. We would have done it in 1988. Or 1998. When we finally get around to doing it, it will be a sign that this is more than a media exercise. Until we make a concerted effort to accurately measure temperatures in the troposphere in the tropics, the most important question for many will be, 'why not?'


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