Jack Kelly: Is global warming a hoax?

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March was cold in Pittsburgh. Britain had its coldest March since 1962. In Germany, this was the coldest March in 130 years.

"Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar," The Economist magazine noted March 30.

This puzzles the editors, because according to the theory of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming -- which The Economist has assiduously promoted for lo these many decades -- this can't be happening, because it's emissions from our automobiles and factories that have caused the planet to warm.

The long "pause" in warming doesn't mean the problem is going away, the editors said. But it does indicate computer models have exaggerated the amount of warming, they acknowledged.

In fact, "global warming" has existed essentially only in computer models. According to satellite measurements, temperatures in the lower atmosphere in March were just 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than they had been in 1979, when James Hansen of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies first raised alarm.

March temperatures were just 0.18 degrees Celsius (.32 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for the last 33 years, about 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than when warming peaked in 1997 -- well within the range of natural fluctuations. The difference in average temperature between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in March is much greater than that (3 degrees Fahrenheit).

Six assumptions in climate models he examined are at odds with meteorological science, said New Zealand chemist Vincent Gray, an "expert reviewer" for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since the first IPCC report in 1990. Among the goofs he spotted were a gross overestimation of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; an assumption the sun shines in the same place 24 hours a day; and a failure to account for most mechanisms of heat transfer.

The computer models "are full of fudge factors," especially with regard to the role of clouds, said Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson.

These were honest mistakes made in good faith, Mr. Gray assumes. This isn't necessarily so. Shaun Marcott, an Earth scientist at Oregon State University, and colleagues published last month a study which, according to The New York Times, found that "global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at last 4,000 years."

Reporter Justin Gillis doubtless drew that conclusion from a graph that showed temperatures declining gradually over 5,000 years, followed by a sharp uptick in the 20th century. There'd been more warming in the last 100 years than in the previous 11,500, the graph indicated.

But the data Mr. Marcott et. al. collected showed no such thing. They'd created the "hockey stick" in the graph by arbitrarily changing the dates on some of the core samples they used as temperature proxies.

"The 20th century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes," Mr. Marcott admitted in an email March 31.

If this wasn't scientific misconduct, "it is far too close to that line for comfort," said Colorado State University climate scientist Roger Pielke Jr.

Between 1993 and 2012, the U.S. government spent between $140 billion and $150 billion on "climate change" studies, according to the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service.

This loot didn't go to skeptics. Mr. Marcott et. al. weren't the first to massage data to keep the grant money coming. But what's been spent on studies of dubious merit is a pittance compared to subsidies, tax credits and mandates for "alternative" energy -- $90 billion in President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus bill alone.

Despite the subsidies, dozens of the firms that received them are in financial trouble. That's because they produce little energy at high cost -- for reasons anyone who got a passing grade in high school physics ought to be able to figure out.

The justification for these wildly uneconomic subsidies has been that burning fossil fuels dangerously warms the planet. But the planet hasn't warmed since 1997. Since 2009, it's been cooling. A "Little Ice Age," like that between 1300 and 1850, begins next year, predicts professor Habibullo Abdusamatov of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Global warming is a hoax, said 37 percent of respondents in a poll last week. If Mr. Abdusamatov is correct, that number surely will rise.

mobilehome - jackkelly

Jack Kelly is a columnist for The Press and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. jkelly@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1476.


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