October 6, 2009


Art Horn

From Energy Tribune
Global Warming is Neither

We have heard the dire predictions from many different sources. Magazine articles have warned that in the coming years the Earth will warm rapidly. Television shows portray dramatic and alarming images of rising sea levels and animal extinctions. Network news programs report the latest scary forecasts from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These predictions are said to be undeniable and are believed by most climate scientists. Studies from major colleges and universities say burning of fossil fuels will produce “tipping points” and after reaching these points there will be no turning back the heat. Coastal cities will be flooded. Polar bears will drown or starve and will soon be gone. Deserts will spread and cover vast areas of farm land. Fires will burn out of control and the Amazon rainforest will burn to a crisp. Hurricanes will explode with unheard of devastation. Climate Armageddon will mean the end of our world as we know it.

This all sounds pretty scary. What if you’re in the business of energy? What effects will global warming have on the industry 5, 10, 15 to 20 years from now? The predictions of future climate are made by computer models. A computer model is made of line after line of computer code that is written in a way to attempt to simulate what the real climate of the Earth will be in the future. Information about what the real atmosphere is doing is fed to the model and the model attempts to predict the Earth’s climate. These predictions are saying that the Earth’s average temperature will rise 6 to 12 degrees by the year 2100. If we take an average of an 8 degree rise by 2100 we come up with an increase of 1 degree every 10 years for the next 90 years. But is this actually happening or going to happen? Let’s see how they have done so far.

The early results are not very good. In 2001 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that by 2009 the average temperature of the Earth would be one degree warmer than it was in 2001. That is a very big number. In fact it is equal to all the warming that has taken place over the last 100 years. But it did not happen. In fact the average temperature of the Earth in 2009 is about one-half degree cooler than it was in 2001. This is such a bad forecast that it is the equivalent of saying we will have a sunny day with highs in the 90s and instead we get a snowstorm with temperatures in the 20s. And yet these are the same forecasts that we are relying on to make future energy policy for entire nations.

Temperature readings from around the world tell us there has been no increase in temperature for 11 years. The average temperature of the Earth has been going down for the last 8 years. But you will never see this on any news program, read it in any newspaper or hear it on any radio show. There are five institutions that track global temperature: The Hadley Center in England, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, the Remote Sensing Systems of California, the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All of these centers show no warming for 11 years and all show the temperature falling for the last 8 years at varying degrees.

Many people read magazines and newspapers and listen to morning or evening news programs on television. These publications and news programs point to things like the melting of glaciers to prove global warming is real. The melting of glaciers is not new. It began over 250 years ago when the Earth began to warm from a deep freeze know as “The Little Ice Age.” During that time the Earth’s temperature bottomed out in the 1600s. Since then, the Earth has been warming.

What about the polar bears? I speak in many schools to young students about weather and climate. When I ask for all of those who believe the polar bears are drowning to raise their hand they all go up. This is unfortunate because the truth is far different. The 1960s population estimation of polar bears was 5,000. Today that number is 25,000. That does not sound like a creature going extinct. There are predictions about what will happen to polar bears but the reality is that they are thriving.

Rising sea level is one of the biggest threats from human-made global warming. Business man and carbon entrepreneur Al Gore predicts sea level will rise 20 feet by 2100. In reality sea level has been rising ever since the last Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago. It is now rising about eight inches per century and there has been no acceleration of that rise. The reason there has been no acceleration of sea level rise is because the Arctic, Greenland and the Antarctic are not melting. We have only been able to measure the amount of ice at the top and bottom of the world for 30 years. Polar orbiting satellites were launched in 1979 to take pictures of the ice. Arctic ice is highly variable and in 2007, it hit a low volume. The ice has been increasing for the last 2 years and is 17 percent above what is was in 2007. The amount of ice in the Arctic and in Greenland is largely regulated by the 60-year water temperature cycle of the North Atlantic Ocean. The water was warming in the 1980s up until about 2005. The Atlantic is now beginning to show a cooling trend. There is more ice in Antarctica now than there was 30 years ago. Fifty years ago the average annual temperature at the South Pole was 49 degrees below zero. Today, the average annual temperature at the South Pole is 49 degrees below zero. All of the highest world record temperatures by continent were set before 1943 except for Antarctica where it reached 59 degrees on January 5, 1974.

So where does this leave us? When humans burn fossil fuels they create a small amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the air. Carbon dioxide levels have been rising for at least 150 years, yet there is no relationship in the long-term temperature record. The Earth’s temperature rose from about 1908 to 1943. Carbon dioxide levels were rising as well. Then from 1944 to 1977, the Earth’s temperature fell. Carbon dioxide levels continued to rise during this time. From 1978 to 1998 the temperature rose again while carbon dioxide levels continued to increase. Since that time, the temperature has not increased, despite the fact that carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise. How can this be? According to global warming theory if the amount of carbon dioxide increases, so must the average global temperature.

The reason is because the theory is wrong. Studies of ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show that the temperature of the Earth rises first then carbon dioxide levels rise. The increase in carbon dioxide levels in the air is the result of warmer temperature, not the cause of it. The ice core record proves this. Al Gore had it backwards. This is not surprising since he is not a scientist. He is an activist business man selling a product.

As global temperature continues to fall over the next decade the world will wake up. This will eventually have deep and profound effects on energy markets. Hydrocarbon-based products will become more valuable. The value of alternative energy sources like wind, solar and bio fuels will collapse. In step with that collapse will be the demise of carbon credits originating from cap and trade policies. Just when this will happen depends of the severity of the next several winters. The depth of the cold of the coming winters will change the social and political climate in ways that only nature can orchestrate.

Art Horn is a meteorologist with 25 years of television experience with NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. His company, The "Art" of Weather, presents programs about weather and climate to adults and students. He lives in Connecticut.


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