Friday, February 3, 2012

"Settled" Climate Science Just Got Unsettled

Well, actually it was never settled, but you get the idea. After years of trying to persuade us that we had to stop emitting carbon, like, yesterday or we would all be doomed to heat death -- okay, that's hyperbole. What they really wanted was the U.S. to sharply curb CO2 emissions (and damn the economic effects) and introduce global food rationing. So, I guess it wasn't that hyperbolic after all.

Anyway, after all the handwringing, it turns out that the warming trend we've heard so much about ended in 1997.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.
Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.
There's a plaintive cry from some bitter clingers -- where on earth did I get that phrase from? -- that any reduced solar output will more than be compensated for by man-made global warming.

The problem with that argument is that we've been hearing for years that the earth is warming. It turns out that wasn't true. We've been hearing for years that the "science is settled". It turns out that it was only settled to the extent that "scientists" with a political agenda attempted to blacklist any scientists who disagreed with the International Panel on Climate Control and manipulate data that didn't fit those politics.

And of course, it must be asked: if human actions were artificially warming the planet then it must be true that the only reason global temperatures have remained steady since 1997 (rather than dropping) would be due to those actions. So, drastically reducing carbon emissions would precipitate global cooling. Following that train of thought leads to some unexpected and unwanted destinations for certain political factions, I daresay.

Oh also, it isn't global warming; that phrase is so passè. It's global climate change. So, all the handwringing over whether the planet is warming or not isn't important. What is important is that humans are destroying the planet! (Seriously, I see that a lot.)

My reply to that is to ask a couple of questions:

1. At what point in history has the climate of the earth been unchanging? (If you answer anything other than "never", you're wrong.)

2. If humans went back to a period of history before the industrial revolution -- heck, if every human and machine disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow -- do you believe that earth's climate would settle into some ideal state and remain static for eternity? (Because if not, then I'll need more than the word of some obviously compromised "scientists" to work for either the permanent regression of mankind or its complete destruction. Also, you might want to think about question 1 before you answer.)

Now, with the revelation that the trumpted warming trend stopped fifteen years ago, I have another question:

If it turns out that we are headed for another "little ice age", would you support increased CO2 emissions in an effort to stabilize the climate?

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