Doug L. Hoffman's blog
Over 4,000 years ago, the Harappan Civilization of the Indus Valley faded and disappeared. Never heard of the Harappans? Theirs was a Bronze-Age civilization located where Pakistan and northwest India are today. With large, well-planned cities, municipal sewage systems and writing that has never been deciphered, they had a civilization equal to Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. But the Harappans fell victim to what most view as a modern horror—climate change. Sometime around 2,100 BC the monsoon cycle, vital to all of South Asia, faltered. The reliable rains stopped, and man's earliest civilizations fell. Now we are told that California—that progressive paradise on the Pacific—is poised on the brink of its own drought spawned disaster. So desperate have things become that one restaurant chain has threatened to stop serving guacamole and vintners are turning to witchcraft. Can the total collapse of Californian civilization be far behind?
One of the scary scenarios frequently trotted out by climate change alarmists is the possible shutdown of the ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean. This would disrupt northern hemisphere climate, particularly in Europe. Indeed, one Hollywood disaster movie had frozen military helicopters falling from the skies in the UK and Manhattan buried under a tsunami of ice. We are told this could happen at any time, if the world gets too hot from all that CO2 our species is churning out. Now a shocking new paper in the journal Science implies that the standard view of a relatively stable interglacial circulation may not hold for conditions warmer/fresher than at present. Why? Because it happened before, over 100,000 years ago, without the help of man made global warming. Another catastrophic climate threat is shown to be totally natural and to have happened before our species began burning coal and driving SUVs.
The past week has witnessed the advent of a new climate change offensive by know nothing progressives, led by the triumphantly ignorant U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. Kerry and his boss, the equally scientifically naive Barrack Obama, have publicly stated that climate change “is a scientific fact” and that the argument is over. This stunning display of politically motivated, willful belief over scientific rigor demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of scientists and the scientific method. Contrary to popular belief, science is seldom sure of anything and scientists often spend years debating ideas that just don't prove to be true in the end. An illustrative example is the Hollow Earth theory, which suggests that within the bowels of our planet are other, habitable worlds awaiting discovery.
A recent article in Nature has the on-line scientific community all a twitter. A news feature has declared “P values, the 'gold standard' of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume.” This is one of science's dirty little secrets, a way of providing proof of your work using a supposedly impartial statistical measure. In truth, the P value is susceptible to a legion of poor assumptions that make it not just meaningless but often misleading. In an age when historical climate data are being aggressively subjected to reanalysis and 95 percent of climate models have been wrong it is time to stop taking scientific results at face value, because they are most probably wrong.
California, the state that raises 30% of US fresh produce, is in the grip of a severe drought. Billed as the driest period in the state's recorded rainfall history, climate change alarmists have hastened to blame the parched conditions on anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Paleoclimate history tells a different story, however, and highlights the amazingly short attention span of AGW advocates. Going beyond the 163-year historical period, science shows that there have been other, longer lasting and more severe droughts than the current dry spell. Today's drought is minor when compared with ancient Megadroughts, which occurred between 850 to 1090 and 1140 to 1320. In fact, the worst droughts suffered by the American Southwest all happened so long ago that human memory fails us.
The world is entering the 16th year of the greatest climate science embarrassment in modern history—the pause in global warming. Despite rising IPCC confidence levels and hundreds of computer model predictions, that darned old climate is just not behaving like the boffins say it should. After all, CO2 keeps rising, and we all know that CO2 drives Earth's climate like the thermostat in a house... or not. No longer able to sweep the lack of warming under the observational rug, the climate change community had started flailing about for answers: the heat must be hiding deep in the ocean, it must be soot from China, some have even begun to wonder whether there is something wrong with their models. Most are still convinced that the missing heat is hidden somewhere because they will not accept the simplest explanation—the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming is fundamentally incorrect.
You may have notice that the news media talking heads and TV weather presenters have discovered a new term recently—the Arctic Vortex. In a splendid demonstration of how the weak minded are quickly consumed by group think, and ill understood terms get repeated ad nauseum, the Arctic Vortex has dominated the news during the past week in the US. In truth, the phenomenon is not new. What is new is that its current foray south is being loudly attributed to global warming. For years the effects of a warming Arctic have been the subject of scientific speculation. Dubbed Arctic amplification, some claim it will enhanced extreme weather in the middle latitudes. The fact that such linkage is tenuous at best has not stopped ignorant politicians like the UK's David Cameron and the US's Barack Obama from blaming recent nasty weather on that old nugget, anthropogenic global warming. There is, however, some evidence to the contrary from one scientist who studies atmospheric dynamics and variability under different climates.
Nature has served up a lesson to publicity seeking, self important scientists during the past month. It seems that a clutch of global warming true believers chartered a ship to go visit Antarctica, in an effort to show that the southernmost continent is being ravaged by human caused climate change. This shipboard comedy of errors backfired on the warmists when their ship got stuck fast in the ice, kilometers from a bay they hoped to find ice free. Moreover, at least one other ship sent to rescue the hapless climatological tourists got stuck as well. All of this in the middle of the Antarctic summer. Will they never learn that making unfounded claims in an attempt to “prove” anthropogenic global warming inevitably fails? It would all be laughable if this floating farce wasn't going to cost the taxpayers of Australia, the US and other countries several million dollars to rescue the fools.
As 2013 draws to a close two new Nobel laureates have spoken out about the state of science, and their conclusions are not encouraging. One describes how science is damaged by journals like Nature, Cell and Science. These premier journals distort scientific inquiry and create false competition among authors that lead to sensational or controversial papers. Add to this peer pressure and group think and the result is crap science like the global warming scam. The second laureate believes that emphasis on publishing volume has created an academic climate where no university would employ him today because he would not be considered “productive” enough. The publish or perish philosophy has expanded to the point that researchers are doing fast science, not good science. If scientists were not forced to rapidly publish their results perhaps the quality of the research would rise.
In 2012, a research group led by Gilles-Eric Séralini, a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, France, published a controversial paper that claimed genetically modified (GM) maize (corn) causes serious disease in rats. But analysis by the scientific community concluded that the study was fatally flawed. Critics asserted that the small number and type of animals used in the study meant that “no definitive conclusions can be reached.” Regardless, many anti-GM activists touted the paper as proof that GM crops were dangerous and called for a ban on all GM crops. Now, the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has withdrawn the disputed paper over the authors' objection—sometimes science does work.
The current interglacial warm period, the Holocene, started ∼11,500 years ago. At its start, among the dramatic changes in climate was a notable increase in rainfall, triggered by summer insolation values higher than those of today. This caused what is called the African Humid Period in North Africa—a time when the Sahara was dotted with large and small lakes, savannah grasslands, and in some regions, humid tropical forests and shrubs. The African Humid Period ended abruptly ∼5000 ybp (years before present) in many locations, such as western North Africa and northern Kenya. In other places, such as the central Sahara and the southern Arabian Peninsula, change occurred more gradually, taking several millennia. Regardless of the pace of change, those areas are tracts of arid desert today, and the animals and humans who had previously thrived in those formerly verdant regions have either moved or had to adapt to much harsher conditions. This is but one example of nature at its most capricious—the tyranny of climate change.
Unless you have been living in one of the few truly remote areas of the planet, you have been exposed to them. Climate change memes that pass from person to person and are repeated without thought or critical examination. They range from the subtle—bad weather is being increased by global warming—to the banal—over 97% of scientists agree about climate change. We are bombarded with these unsubstantiated ideas over and over again, from talking heads on TV, newspaper headlines, our friends and even the president of the United States. They are blatant untruths that have become legitimized by repetition, until school children and adults alike patriot them to each other. The recent tropical cyclone, Haiyan, has triggered another round of meme infection: it was the worst storm in history, tropical storms are getting bigger every year, there are more storms every year, and, of course, they are all caused by global warming. Trouble is, these “facts” are all false.
The asteroid that exploded on 15 February, 2013, near the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals region of Russia was the largest to fall to Earth since 1908. That was the year of the famed Tunguska blast in Siberia. This latest fireball exploded with the energy of a half megaton nuclear bomb, seven times the blast that leveled Hiroshima. Using updated information, new reports in both Science and Nature reassess the risk of Earth being impacted by a large object. The researchers found that risk of similar objects hitting our planet may be ten times larger than previously thought. It is time we stop wasting time and government money on stupid measures like windmills, solar panels and a carbon tax and do something about a very real threat to our planet.
Climate alarmists are constantly warning that Earth is going to warm up, driven they say by the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. To bolster their claims they point to the Pliocene, a time 4-5 million years ago, when the planet was 4-8°C hotter and CO2 levels were 400ppm or higher. This is the climate we are heading for, the global warming supporters say—but it that really true? Superficially it seems a plausible assertion, but as it turns out there is much more here than CO2 and temperature. It is not just the average temperature but the distribution of temperature at different latitudes, both over land and sea, that controls the climate. It is the temperature gradient that drives storms and affects weather patterns and it was much different during the Pliocene. Moreover, climate models do not generate a Pliocene like climate when run with higher CO2 levels, which means climate scientists are missing something important about the way Earth's climate system works.
Nothing associated with the global warming scam has been more insidiously deceptive than the constant trumpeting of consensus regarding the cause and expected impact of climate change. In a cleverly disguised piece in the journal Nature, Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes has attempted to use the story of plate tectonics as an analog for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The article is a blend of historical fact and illogic, aimed at giving the consensus science view a sheen of validity, when nothing could be further from the truth. Consensus has its place, primarily in politics, and by extension in history. It is unsurprising that Professor Oreskes embraces consensus while missing the fundamental concepts of science and the scientific method. She is an historian, not a scientist, and that difference can not be covered over by taking a poll.