Contrary to what is said in the popular media, water (H2O) is the most important greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere, not the small amount of demonized CO2. But aside from acting as a greenhouse gas, water vapor plays an active role in shaping global atmospheric circulation and thus Earth's climate. Water does this by undergoing state changes—from liquid to vapor and back again—allowing water vapor to carry significant amounts of latent heat from the warm equatorial regions toward the poles. The importance of this heat transfer mechanism in climate regulation is poorly understood but new data have begun to show the impact is major. One thing is certain, most widely used climate models do not correctly account for the complex dynamics of water vapor.
For decades, the supporters of CO2 driven global warming have discounted changes in solar irradiance as far too small to cause significant climate change. Though the Sun's output varies by less than a tenth of a percent in magnitude during its 11-year sunspot cycle, that small variation produces changes in sea surface temperatures two or three times as large as it should. A new study in Science demonstrates how two previously known mechanisms acting together amplify the Sun's impact in an unsuspected way. Not surprisingly, the new discovery is getting a cool reception from the CO2 climate change clique.
The supporters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim that they have science on their side. Time and again we are told that the debate is over, the science is settled and consensus among the world's scientists reached. If that is true, why are so many scientists coming forward to oppose and denounce the climate alarmist's theory? To understand the true nature of the climate change debate it is necessary to understand what a scientific theory is and how to judge a theory's validity.
Two of the terms bandied about by global warming alarmists are “unprecedented” and “irreversible.” It is troubling that scientists, who should know better, persist in using these terms even though the history of our planet clearly shows that neither term is accurate. Proof of this inaccuracy is obvious if we look back over the history of Earth—the Phanerozoic Eon in particular—taking the “Grand View” of historical climate change.
Not satisfied with blaming modern civilization for causing rampant climate change, now a small group of scientists are saying that everything went wrong once humans stopped being hunter-gatherers 9,000 years ago. The hypothesis, first advanced in 2003 by University of Virginia palaeoclimatologist William F. Ruddiman, remains controversial even among global warming true believers. Ruddiman now claims to have proven his critics wrong, much to the glee of the blame-humanity-first wing of the eco-activist community.
While the IPCC and global warming alarmists continue to claim climate change is controlled by atmospheric CO2 levels, most knowledgeable scientists will tell you that climate change is caused by variation in Earth's orbit and orientation. These periodic changes in movement and attitude are called the Milankovitch Cycles. A new paper, to be published in Science, confirms that glacial terminations are caused by Earth's orbital cycles, not carbon dioxide.
Chad, located along the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, is the dustiest place on Earth. Recognizing that aerosols plays a vital role in climate and biophysical feedback in Earth's environmental system, climate researchers are turning to dust as a major driver of climate change. A new article, to be published in PNAS, identifies the Bodélé Depression in Chad as the producer of about half the mineral aerosols emitted from the Sahara. According to Richard Washington et al. dust could be a “tipping element” where “small features of the atmospheric circulation, such as the Bodélé Low-Level Jet, could profoundly alter the behavior of this feature.” With the impact of CO2 diminished due to a cooling climate climate, researchers are searching for new hazards: Is African dust the new carbon dioxide?
Increased insolation 20,000 years ago caused deglaciation in the Northern Hemisphere, according to a new report in the August 7, 2009, edition of Science. Further more, it was the onset of deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which occurred between 14 - 15 thousand years ago, that was the source of sea-level rise at the beginning of the Holocene warming. Such events are often associated with rising CO2 levels by climate catastrophists but the evidence says otherwise.
Bleached and dying coral reefs are often held up as proof that global warming is laying waste to Earth's ecosystems. Now come reports that a number of reefs around the world are being brought back from the dead by dedicated oceanographers and conservationists. “The results are more than just promising; they are beautiful,” says Baruch Rinkevich, a marine biologist at the National Institute of Oceanography in Haifa, Israel. But how can these reefs recover in the face on ongoing global warming? Either global warming has reversed course or the bleaching of reefs wasn't due to global warming in the first place.
We have all heard the litany of woes about to befall mankind due to global warming: failing crops, spreading deserts, increased storm activity, rampant disease, and so forth. But these are not the most frightening side effects of global warming. Indeed, the IPCC's list only scratches the surface of the prophecies of doom and despair. Among the predicted results of a warming climate are smaller livestock, an increase in kidney stones, more frequent bear attacks and a host of other maladies and misfortunes.
In a stunning paper in Science, researchers claim to have reversed the impact of clouds on global climate. It has long been known that low level cloud cover creates a net cooling effect on climate. This new study, which concentrated on a restricted area of the Pacific Ocean, claims that warming oceans reduce low cloud cover letting in more sunlight that further warm the ocean and hence provide a positive feed back that adds to global warming. Based on a warming episode that started in 1978, the article claims that observational analysis showed that clouds act as a positive feedback in this region on decadal time scales. But a cometary on the article in the same issue of Science says that the analysis suggests—but falls short of proving—that clouds are strongly amplifying the warming. If it's true, then almost all climate models have got it wrong.
Two articles in the July 17 edition of Science describe efforts to model Earth's rapidly changing climate at the end of the last glacial period, between 21 and 11 thousand years years ago (ka). After a year and a half of number crunching on Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar supercomputer, the first results indicate that climate experienced cooling 17 ka, during the Heinrich Event 1 (H1), followed by an abrupt warming at the onset of the Bølling-Allerød Warming 14.5 ka. These abrupt climate changes were accompanied by large changes in the “ocean conveyor belt”: the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). The results suggest that this transition can be viewed simply as the North Atlantic climate response to rapidly changing glacial meltwater flow. The findings call for a paradigm shift in our understanding of abrupt climate change and weakens the threat of “irreversible tipping points” so popular with climate change extremists.
In a five-part video series featuring Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark, the author of The Chilling Stars talks about his research into the effects that cosmic rays have on cloud formation. His theories contradict the IPCC’s theory of anthropogenic global warming, which basically blames last century's rise in average global temperature on human CO2 emissions. As many good scientists outside of the inbred climate change community have noticed, carbon dioxide just isn't up to the job of causing last century's observed global temperature rise. Instead, Svensmark and his colleagues hypothesize that clouds created by cosmic rays, which are in part controlled by the activity of the sun, regulate Earth's climate. Because this contradicts the IPCC's view of global warming, Svensmark's theory has been ignored by the climate alarmists and Svensmark himself vilified.
A new paper in Science reports that a careful study of satellite data show the assumed cooling effect of aerosols in the atmosphere to be significantly less than previously estimated. Unfortunately, the assumed greater cooling has been used in climate models for years. In such models, the global-mean warming is determined by the balance of the radiative forcings—warming by greenhouse gases balanced against cooling by aerosols. Since a greater cooling effect has been used in climate models, the result has been to credit CO2 with a larger warming effect than it really has.
A new paper by a group of “sustainability scientists” has called for an end to “business as usual” in efforts to curb CO2 emissions. The authors advocate allocating CO2 emissions targets based on the ‘‘common but differentiated responsibilities’’ of individuals, rather than nations. Their proposal moves beyond per capita considerations to identify the world’s high-emitting individuals, regardless of the country they live in. Don't laugh—if you are reading this post on the Internet you are probably one of the targeted billion.