April 1, 2013

Temperature stable: climate Armageddon in trouble

The Green Doomsayers are hyperactive when it comes to lecturing us about the temperature, because, they insist, temperature and climate are not fungible. 

Temperature is, by their logic, nothing much to do with Armageddon, even though the singular focus of Climate Change/Global Warming/Extreme Weather Events is, in fact, the temperature.  As in: "the temperature will rise by 6 degrees within 100 years years and we'll all be ruuuiinnneddd" (and you and I will be long dead, so for us, not so much an issue).

Contrary to this, they have their go-to denial admonishment, as in: "one iced-over, cold as shit, murderous winter doesn't change the data on Climate Change".  No way.  Cold weather is just the temperature dropping, not evidence of Global Warming being an embarrassing and expensive fraud.

Global warming has been on hiatus for 20 years.  Not that this will stop the Doomsayers and economic vandals. Twenty years isn't long enough, they'll tell us.  Come back with more data at some arbitrary distant point, of their choosing, and maybe they'll contemplate how it is that the allegedly predictive computer models, with all their known deficiencies and gaps, could possibly, maybe, perhaps, have gotten it so wrong.

And in case you didn't know (I didn't):  burning coal is good, it keeps the temperature down.  Thanks China!  Thanks India! 

Debate about the reality of a two-decade pause in global warming and what it means has made its way from the sceptical fringe to the mainstream. 

In a lengthy article this week, The Economist magazine said if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, then climate sensitivity - the way climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels - would be on negative watch but not yet downgraded.

Another paper published by leading climate scientist James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says the lower than expected temperature rise between 2000 and the present could be explained by increased emissions from burning coal.

For Hansen the pause is a fact, but it's good news that probably won't last.

International Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri recently told The Weekend Australian the hiatus would have to last 30 to 40 years "at least" to break the long-term warming trend.

But the fact that global surface temperatures have not followed the expected global warming pattern is now widely accepted.

"The global temperature standstill shows that climate models are diverging from observations," says David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

"If we have not passed it already, we are on the threshold of global observations becoming incompatible with the consensus theory of climate change," he says.

Whitehouse argues that whatever has happened to make temperatures remain constant requires an explanation because the pause in temperature rise has occurred despite a sharp increase in global carbon emissions.

The Economist says the world has added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010, about one-quarter of all the carbon dioxide put there by humans since 1750. This mismatch between rising greenhouse gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now, The Economist article says.

"But it does not mean global warming is a delusion."

"Or it might mean that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period."

"This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy," the article says.

There are now a number of studies that predict future temperature rises as a result of man-made carbon dioxide emissions at well below the IPCC best estimate of about 3C over the century.

The upcoming IPCC report is expected to lift the maximum possible temperature increase to 6C.

The Economist says understanding which estimate is true is vital to getting the best response.

"If, however, temperatures are likely to rise by only 2 degrees Celsius in response to a doubling of carbon emissions (and if the likelihood of a 6 degrees Celsius is trivial) the calculation might change," it says.

"Perhaps the world should seek to adjust to (rather than stop) the greenhouse-gas splurge.

"There is no point buying earthquake insurance if you don't live in an earthquake zone."

Hansen argues that the impact of human carbon dioxide emissions has been masked by the sharp increase in coal use, primarily in China and India.

Hansen's bottom line is that increased short-term masking of greenhouse gas warming by fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution represents a "doubling down" of the Faustian bargain, an increase in the stakes.

If we go with Hansen, this hiatus could turn out to be a win-win for the Green Doomsayers.  Yeah! 

Climate scientists are puzzled?  

How inconvenient. 

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