Tempest In A Teapot


Investors Business Daily – July 25, 2007

Significant quote:

A private firm’s downgrade of its hurricane forecast raises an obvious question: If scientists can’t get near-future projections in a limited area right, how can they predict the climate decades from now?

I have been suggesting for quite some time that the first step in a global war on climate change begin in a fairly modest way. Instead of implementing extremely tough sanctions against energy use, we need to invest a relatively small amount of money to better understand our environment.

When the US accepted the challenge of space travel and, ultimately, of putting a man on the moon, we started out with a long program of creating more understanding on the various technologies that were needed.  For example, we created new aircraft technologies, we worked harder to understand how the atmosphere was composed, we trained new engineers and scientists.  This created a community of knowledge that ultimately led to our present day understanding of spacecraft and recently allowed a private organization to penetrate space.

As Newton was supposedly to have said: I stand on the backs of giants.

The same is not true here.  We need to invest more in our modeling and understanding of the global climate.  We need computer models that can withstand a fairly strict test that can predict average temperature and rainfall in a couple dozen locations for 5 years. 

The opinion that follows, which is also the source of the quote above, brings up some good points on this subject of our understanding of our atmosphere.  Unfortunately, the author seems to confuse weather with climate a few times but I think we can forgive that offense.

For years, the Greenshirts have told us that emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from man’s addiction to fossil fuel-based energy are turning the planet into a sweltering hothouse. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change has projected a temperature increase of 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit for the 21st century due to the greenhouse effect.

To prevent this coming Category 5 cataclysm, we’re supposed to shell out trillions of dollars and gladly adopt Spartan lifestyles.

Even short-term predictions have been off. James Hansen, NASA scientist, predicted a 0.45-degree Celsius (0.81-degree Fahrenheit) rise in global temperature from 1988 to 1997. But in reality (a place environmental activists rarely visit) the increase was a mere 0.11-degree Celsius.

Setting aside the hubristic notion that alarmists know what the right temperature is, too many other factors besides the greenhouse effect influence climate for them to declare they know exactly, or even approximately, what’s coming. Solar activity, for instance, is among the most powerful, as are the El Nino and La Nina phenomena.

You can read the rest of this opinion here.

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