July 1, 2007

Evidence For Global Warming Evaporating?

Al Gore has transformed global warming from scientific theory to political crusade, writing books and producing a documentary to scare people into action. Gore and his supporters claim that scientific consensus is nearly unanimous that the climate changes measured over the last two decades are anthropogenic, and that we may already have run out of time to save the planet. However, James Taylor, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, points out that Gore has some of his "evidence" completely wrong -- and that consensus does not exist on his central argument:

For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame."

Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine."

Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.

Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.

Taylor has more refutations in yesterday's Sun-Times column. Gore has claimed that African deserts have begun expanding, eating up valuable arable land on the continent. However, five years ago New Scientist noted that Africa's deserts were in "spectacular retreat," opening up even more arable land than before. Claims that the Antarctic ice sheet had lost mass turns out to be incorrect, as a British scientific journal concluded last September; it has actually gained mass between 1992 and 2003, during the period of supposed global warming. Greenland has lost ice at its margins, but the central ice cap in Greenland has actually grown, resulting in an overall gain of mass -- and it has just had the coldest two decades in 90 years.

With all of this contradictory evidence, not only can one not conclude that man has had much effect on the climate, one cannot clearly conclude that the climate is changing much at all, outside of natural cycles. Recent studies of Mars'climate shows that it too has experienced some rapid warming, indicating that the sun probably has caused the warming of both planets.

However, that would not suffice to force radical environmental policy on the world -- and primarily the West. The effort to cap industrialization seems very similar to the decades-long demand by environmentalists that have always been antagonistic to industrial economies. They have played Chicken Little for almost half a century, and "global warming" serves as the latest scare tactic.

We should stop spewing poisons in the air, and it behooves us to find cleaner methods to generate energy -- but carbon dioxide is not a poison. We need to move away from petroleum for lots of reasons, but national security is primary among them, not some anthro-centric view that we change the climate. We need to take time and find the right solutions, not get stampeded like shrieking cattle into adopting a 1930s standard of living. We need facts, not hysteria -- and the facts show that anthropogenic global warming is a dubious theory, not fact.

UPDATE: And, like clockwork, Al Gore appears in today's New York Times today in full hysteric mode:

Our home — Earth — is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings. ...

As a direct result, many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several “tipping points” that could — within 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet’s habitability for human civilization. ...

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong.

Gore then evokes Venus as an example of what will happen to Earth:

Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It’s the carbon dioxide.

It's because the Venusian atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide, and the fact that it's much closer to the sun. Mercury isn't "right next to the Sun" in any real sense other than it's the closest planet. Its average orbit puts it closer to Venus than the Sun. Venus is not "three times hotter than Mecury on average," but only slightly hotter. Mercury's mean temperature is 354 degrees Fahrenheit, but ranges from -290 degrees at "night" to over 840 degrees during its "day", which lasts over a month. Venus is slightly hotter and has no real temperature variations, but it isn't "three times as hot".

It's the kind of misinformation and bad science that plagues Al Gore and the climate-change crowd, but then again, science isn't really what concerns them.


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Comments (55)

Posted by Lightwave | July 1, 2007 9:40 AM

As I've said several times, if we had opened ANWR to drilling during the Clinton years, we'd not have to worry about Middle Eastern oil today. But that of course would upset the Saudis.

You're holding your breath on reducing dependence on foreign oil, Ed. It could have and should have happened years ago, but it won't. Not while the Saudis are mucking up the equation.

Posted by eaglewings | July 1, 2007 9:44 AM

I agree that global warming is about as scientific as global cooling and nuclear winter scare tactics were about thirty years ago. As to Capt's comments about going back to 1930s economy, well we were using a lot of coal back then, no enviro regs to speak of, and a much lesser percent of muslim oil imports, so it wasn't necessarily that bad. I think Capt may have misprinted and wanted to put in that the enviros want to take us back to a 1530s economy, feudal, no machines to till the land or transport one, and the only pollution was from the crap coming out of animals and volcanos.

Posted by philw | July 1, 2007 9:44 AM

What frosts me (pun intended) is that on Cape Cod insurance firms have stoped writing policies citing recent climate forecasts of more hurricanes, etc. Not that this has occured, but a great chance to revise the risk tables and increase profit margins. My only option is the state sponsored insurance at 4x the prior rates. Algore is costing me money.

Posted by Bostonian | July 1, 2007 9:53 AM

Here is an inconvenient fact:

The rises in carbon dioxide LAG behind the rise in temperature by 800 years. For example, see this 2003 paper in Science by Caillon et al. (http://icebubbles.ucsd.edu/Publications/CaillonTermIII.pdf)

The warmers go to some lengths to say that this is NOT counterevidence to their theory, but bear in mind what they are asking you to believe:

They are asking you to believe that the cause (rise in temperature) happens AFTER the effect (rise in carbon dioxide).

Posted by Duke DeLand | July 1, 2007 9:55 AM

While I agree the insurance companies will seek to avoid any risk if possible, they find excuses you could never imagine.

Here in Tampa, FL, the Duchess and I have state-sponsored insurance on our home as it is a) more than 20 years old, and b) 8-10 feet of the front yard...below the house level...is in the "B" flood zone. The house is in "C".... ( A is 1st evacuation, B is 2nd, etc.)

Since a portion of the yard is in the "B" we cannot find a company to write insurance. PLUS, our insurance today is 250% of what it was two years ago.

Of course, no hurricanes hit land last year in Florida. In fact the insurance consortium has found its shiny new five year prediction plan does not work at all. BLUSH!

Oh, and beware of government "fixes".....The state legislature passed some new laws this spring to control taxes and insurance costs for we, the taxpayers/voters. The tax bill could now actually cost you more in 27% of the cases. It is up to you to read the bill, and then find an interpretation on your particular situation. The insurance action got me back $120 out of a $2,800 insurance bill! YIKES!


Posted by ams1827 | July 1, 2007 10:40 AM

Hmm, I've done my own math on the climate issue. I'd encourage you all to do the same. It's the only way to cut through the narrative gobbledegook and actually see the science involved in the issue.

Anymore these days, anything that catches the attention of politicians will have piles of lies told on either side. Fanatics will form on one end of the issue, counter-arguments will be seized on the other side and brandished en-masse regardless of their accuracy. Certain numbers though won't be faked by anyone. The density of the standard atmosphere, the absorbance spectra of gasses and compounds, ect. You can't tell a political legend about the vibrational modes of CO2.

My model involved the absorptivity spectra in the IR range for water and carbon dioxide (you can get these from NIST). I integrated across the standard atmosphere model, varying the relative densities of the gasses with the density of the atmosphere to get the transmittivity. I then integrated across the wavelengths.

According to my model, CO2 shouldn't have much of an effect in air with any water vapor content (by any, I mean ~0.1% and up) 0.098% increase in energy reabsorption for a doubling in CO2 in global average air (0.25% water vapor). This is due to the fact that water already absorbs everything from 12 out past 20 micrometers wavelength. CO2 only absorbs narrow spikes around 4.2 micrometers, and 14.9 micrometers. Water gets the 14.9 spike, leaving only the tiny area under the 4.2 to absorb any more energy.

According to the model, I wouldn't expect global warming due to CO2 to effect tropical or temperate climates at all. Only arid or arctic climates, either with temperatures low enough to squeeze all water vapor from the air, or naturally devoid of humidity.

One limitation of my model, I've been told, is that it treats the atmosphere as a single absorber, rather than a re-emmitting, re-absorbing, multi-layered convecting entity. The counterargument I've been given is that CO2 will effect the upper atmosphere, where it is less opaque to CO2's absorbance spectrum than it will the lower atmosphere. Taking all that into account would make for a model too complicated to integrate on my poor desktop computer though, unfortunately. My model probably underestimates the effect of CO2 on the overall rate of energy escape into space.

Still, what I have is more than most "defenders of science", I have knowledge now of some fundamental parts of this process.

Posted by ming666 | July 1, 2007 10:57 AM

Algore is the result of several generations of western students eschewing math, science and the critical thinking of a classical liberal arts education. anything can be put forth because

+ the journalist writing it up has no clue since they have no technical or analytical skills.

+ likewise for the reader.

next time someone tells you that the melting greenland ice cap will raise sea level by 20 ft in 10 years - accept their premise and then ask them to show you the math - how may cubic tons, how much energy required over 10 years, 8 years, etc. - as you can imagine the conversation shuts down pretty quickly.

we are reaping what we sowed 30 years ago.

Posted by Jim,MtnViewCA,USA | July 1, 2007 11:01 AM

Now that China has become the biggest producer of CO2, we may find that the push for Kyoto, etc, will slack off.
This was always about hobbling the US economy.

Posted by Fausta | July 1, 2007 11:11 AM

Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury,
My science teacher (a nun with NO sense of humor at all) would have flunked Algore on that statement alone. She was spectacularly adamant that temperature scales are arbitrary (Farenheit vs centigrade) unless you establish it from absolute zero kelvin.

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 1, 2007 11:24 AM

The result has direct connections to NASA-funded studies conducted last year that found perennial, or year-round, sea ice in the Arctic is declining at a rate of nine percent per decade and that in 2002 summer sea ice was at record low levels. Early results indicate this persisted in 2003.

Researchers have suspected loss of Arctic sea ice may be caused by changing atmospheric pressure patterns over the Arctic that move sea ice around, and by warming Arctic temperatures that result from greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere.


Sunlight penetrates the Earth's "blanket" of air to heat the ground, but some of the gases in the air do not permit heat from the ground to escape back into space. This heat-trapping, warming influence of the blanket of air over the Earth's surface is called the greenhouse effect, and it will become even stronger as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor increase in concentration.


and the facts show that anthropogenic global warming is a dubious theory, not fact.

tell that to the NASA researchers, Cap'n. There is strong evidence that Greenhouse gases (C02 chief among them) do cause global warming, especially in the artic.

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 1, 2007 11:46 AM

Also Ed,

You claim that those who promote that global warming is caused by man are fueled by idological and political motives. Well, I dodn't think NASA is motivated by either.

Also, the op-ed you cite reads like a PR piece for a group that is trying to protect business from restrictions people seek to help the amount curb Greenhouse gases into the atmosphere... and it is.

The Heritage Foundation works on behalf of Midwest Industry (an exec for Fod sits on the board of directors) and has questions the impact global warming on our environment (one might assume in an effort protect business interests).

So, the whole "agenda" thing cuts both ways. Plus, this piece is very cursory. The whole Kilamanjaro thing... global warming is cited as a cause of the rapid decline (80%!) of the ice cap, but yes, many believe the deforestation is the main culprit. But Gore also cites dozens of other ice caps (including the artic) which scientists believe to be depleated because of a rise in temps caused by an increase in CO2 and methane in the atmosphere (see the NASA links above).

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 1, 2007 11:49 AM

That should read "an exec for Ford... "

Posted by Jason | July 1, 2007 11:53 AM

The atmosphere of Mars is 95.32% carbon dioxide and yet its mean surface temperature −51°F.

Perhaps then the likely culprit of Venus' hot surface temperature is the thickness of its atmosphere, which happens to be 90 times that of the Earth at its surface.

But hey, one can't destroy the American economy on that inconvenient truth...

Posted by Thomas | July 1, 2007 11:54 AM

I only wish Al Gore's rantings held some truth to them. If it is true that the only difference between Earth and Venus is the amount of carbon dioxide, and that we are now capable of radically altering atmospheric composition within a span of a few years then we have a golden oppurtunity to get off this rock.

Think about it with our patented American atmosphere destruction powers, surely we could get rid of that carbon dioxide problem in a decade or two. Then we can do what all Americans dream of, giving the rest of the world the finger and moving to our own private playground.

Think of the problems this would solve. No more illegal immigration. At least a thousand years or so before the terrorists figure out where we went.

Al Gore may have the right idea. Making up your own facts and reality really is alot of fun.

Posted by syn | July 1, 2007 11:55 AM

How did Gore and Government-wanting more-research- money NASA determine earth's average temperature to be a pleasant 59 degrees?

It would appear we are moving backward to the time when the Mayans priests scared the masses into believing if they are bad the Gods will bring down environmental mayhem upon all who do not obey.

How many virgins will Mayan priest Gore sacrifice in order to stop the flooding?

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 1, 2007 11:56 AM

Doh... that should also read the Heartland Foundation, not the Heritage Foundation.

Posted by Andrew X | July 1, 2007 12:26 PM

It's quite fascinating to look at global warming and the Jihadist threat as a Martian would (his temperatures nonwithstanding), that is, to accept nor reject neither and to analyze both from outside, vis a vis the Left / Right divide.

Each threat is championed by one side, and downplayed by the other, the latter to the extent that each side says of the other "how can they POSSBLY be so blind, etc".

Both threats play to the inherent pre-exisiting beliefs of one side each, Warming to the "the enemy is us (ALWAYS us), capitalism, greed, materialism, etc". Jihadism to the "dangerous enemies of freedom on this earth, etc."

Both threats are, if true, horrifically dangerous to the very core foundations of each other side. For the left to really accept that brown-skinned, non-Christian, "anti-imperialist" non-Westerners REALLY are rabidly rascist, women-loathing modern day Nazi cavemen who MUST be fought on all fronts, would tear the very guts out of the post-modern, post-Vietnam Western left and it's view of the "holy and innocent third-world". If Warming really IS true, it will (likely) require a statist response that makes many (including myself) shudder.

Both have their "Gore-acles", their Steyns, etc, who, I am certain feel at times that they are howling into a hurricane of indifference that will eventually end in our destruction (and soon).

If you ask the question "what is civilization's deepest current threat", you will likely get 95% of responsders saying one of those two answers, and a 95% match between their answer and who they voted for (or would have, if not in the US) in 2004. Just a guess, that, but.... you get it.

Most interesting of all..... in about ten years, I am guessing, we will KNOW the answers to both. It will be unarguable. Either one side or theother will be revealed to be titanic fools, as all the records will be kept and accessable, (or maybe both fools, or both right, who knows).

I'm pretty red, so you can guess where I stand. And I have noted that, as we all read much about kids forced to watch "Inconvenient Truth" four times, etc, we can imagine how those kids as 20-year olds will look at the world if global warming really is a bunch of hooey in the end.

I think it is ALWAYS..... "interesting times".

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | July 1, 2007 1:35 PM

If a Democrat were to win the White House in 2008, you can bet that after a few cosmetic changes to national policy the subject of global warming would vanish from the political lexicon of the MSM and their Democrat pets. No Kyoto treaty. No radical cuts in carbon emissions. Nothing that could cause any kind of economic hardship that would cost Democrats at the polls.

In short - Democrats would solve global warming the way they solved homelessness and the "worst economy since the Great Depression" in 1993. Nothing is easier to cure than a malady that does not exist.

Posted by John Jay | July 1, 2007 1:49 PM

Perhaps we should word this entire topic in reverse.

Is it not the prudent (and perhaps conservative) thing to establish policies where we mitigate the impact of our consumption?

I may gleefully disprove the theory, for example, that dumping trash in my neighbor's yard caused their child's cancer, but shouldn't I be forbidden to dump trash in their yard regardless of motive or opportunity? Why should we be 'dumping trash' into the future with excessive carbon consumption?

There are MANY GOOD REASONS for the world to agree on - and expand to all countries - the remedies and actions proposed by those concerned about global warming.

Posted by Narniaman | July 1, 2007 2:22 PM

"I may gleefully disprove the theory, for example, that dumping trash in my neighbor's yard caused their child's cancer, but shouldn't I be forbidden to dump trash in their yard regardless of motive or opportunity? Why should we be 'dumping trash' into the future with excessive carbon consumption?"

Actually, I think John Jay has a good point here.

But him dumping trash on my front yard isn't he problem. The problem is that John Jay generates carbon dioxide when he travels to work. And he also generates carbon dioxide when he uses electricity at home.

Because his actions may cause the temperature in the Artic to be 5 degrees warmer in 100 years, I demand that John Jay 1) quit his job, and 2) quit using electricity. And while he's at it, he and his family should be limited to one square of toilet paper per bowel movement, per the recommendations of stellar environmentalist Sheryl Crow.

If he doesn't do this immediately, he obviously doesn't care about the environment or his neighbors or the seals that will be trying to survive in the Artic in a hundred years.

Posted by Neo | July 1, 2007 2:23 PM

Let us not forget that global warming seems to be happening Solar System wide with Mars, Jupiter, Triton (Neptune's largest moon), and Pluto all showing signs.

Perhaps we should blame NASA !!

Posted by The Yell | July 1, 2007 3:04 PM

"The result has direct connections to NASA-funded studies conducted last year that found perennial, or year-round, sea ice in the Arctic is declining at a rate of nine percent per decade and that in 2002 summer sea ice was at record low levels. Early results indicate this persisted in 2003.

Researchers have suspected loss of Arctic sea ice may be caused by changing atmospheric pressure patterns over the Arctic that move sea ice around, and by warming Arctic temperatures that result from greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere."

Take it as gospel truth...if the Antarctic ice is growing at the same time, then this is REGIONAL warming, not GLOBAL Warming.

"You claim that those who promote that global warming is caused by man are fueled by idological and political motives. Well, I dodn't think NASA is motivated by either."

They can't turn to a popular line of salad dressing or great-grandfather's railroad stock for their funding. They rely on politicians for their billions.

Venus has a worse greenhouse effect because it is nearer the Sun, and long before the planets cooled enough for life, chlorine and sulfur merged with hyrdogen and oxygen into acidic hydrocarbons on Venus, while on the cooler Earth those elements were bonded into minerals and massive concentrations of liquid H20 formed.

Posted by patrick neid | July 1, 2007 4:20 PM

let's put global warming aside for a moment and cut to the chase. rather than twist your brain about the merits of trying to prevent global temperatures increasing by .6 of one percent over the next 100 years at the cost of trillions of dollars and a nanny marxist state to enforce it, ask yourself this simple question--is it at all likely that al "i'm not a moron" gore could be right about anything?

the chances of that are next to zero. just look at him, his body language, how he speaks, how he treats other people etc. there is no chance that this man has ever had an accurate thought in his failed miserable life. until recently he was a several times college failure who lived on the government tit. his father was a racist who ran a scam with armand hammer, a world famous communist apologist, to secure the family farm in tennessee. (the state's number 1 polluter for many years) he's a pathetic poseur running around acting like he has something to say. i don't know what is more painful to watch, gore or his supporters........

Posted by Rose | July 1, 2007 5:18 PM

Algore is the result of several generations of western students eschewing math, science and the critical thinking of a classical liberal arts education. anything can be put forth because ....

Posted by: ming666 at July 1, 2007 10:57 AM

What Algore is the product of is his father being the prodigy of and being mentored AND SPONSORED FINANCIALLY by Armand Hammer, scion of the Arm and Hammer family industry, and resident of MOSCOW for over 3/4 of his life (for American tax evasion), in an apartment AS AN HONORED GUEST in Moscow overlooking the American Embassy, so much so that any other source of income for him(Gore Sr.) and his family and for Algore, too, was only GRAVY, including their Senatorial salaries book and speaking fees, and stock holdings, etc.

Armand first came to national attention as a player in American politics when it came to light in ' 92, he hosted Bill Clinton and Jane Fonda for two weeks during Bill's Rhodes Scholarship days in London, at the same time Jane was on her way to Red China to get to the HAnoi Hilton.

I understand he was sponsoring Gore Sr by the time Algore was born.

THAT is the background of the man who is fronting for Glowgall warming - on a "purely scientific" basis.


Posted by exDemo | July 1, 2007 5:34 PM

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has had to grudgingly concede that that GHG are no longer the sole and only reason that a tiny barely detectable climate warming has occurred.

In their third edition report, they said the increases in the solar output are
a) real;
b) the sun is sending more than light,
c) and solar wind particles to the Earth. have increased as well.

The IPCC also said we don' know how much or exactly how the Sun's increased out put effects the climate, but the Sun's measured change, now documented could account for more than 85% of the climate warming that has been (barely) measured.

Further they conceded, WHEN Science knows MORE, we will include its effects. This will also require having to reduce the CO2 effects by an equal amount.. as they have given CO2 the defaul position for all warming.

In the interim, the IPCC will still assign all the warming o the default case of GHGs and CO2,

Dutifully this recent IPCC Report said the effect of the increased direct radiation, the kind you feel on your skin in a sunny day is now responsible for up to 15% of the increase in warming. (And CO2 was reduced by 15% as well).

The IPCC delayed assigning any effect to convective effects or other mechanisms until the Science is better understood. See Svensmark's work quoted elsewhere for an example.

When Svensmark's work is calibrated by the CLOUD experiments now being funded and prepared at CERN, the IPCC will make an appropriate change in its next IPCC Report.

Preliminary evidence is that another 60%% of CO2 effect will be reassigned to Svensmark's mechanism. And the direct Radiation effects will be increased by a minute amount as the Earth's surface receives more direct radiation sun light due to the reduction of cloud cover.

In but a few years the CO2 threat will have become as small as 15% of the problemas originally postulated..

But even there that is not all that Science is showing Polish Scientist, Dr. Janikowski 's studies of the vapor pressure of Ice and CO2 while a lot lower than Ice and liguid water is not zero. Over time CO2 inside entrapped air bubbles in old ice cores more than a few hundred years old, are depleted of CO2, dowen ot a residul 280PPM.. So our assumptions of a stable pre_industrial atmospheric CO2 of 280PPM may prove to have been in error.

Yet other Scientists looking for analogues of the older atmosphere. have shown that the CO2 levels have varied from a low of 270PPM that height of the Little Ice Age around 1650. By contrast the CO2 levels may have been as high as 340PPM in the Medieval Warm Period around 1000, AD.

If this evidence holds up, than half of the increase in CO2 to 390PPM, is Natural not anthropogenic at all.. So even if the CO2 is still responsible for 15% residual effect, half of it from 280 to 340 PPM is not man made and also mankind's" effect may be a little as 5-7% at most.

One tenth the driving force means it would take ten times as long todo any damage. So change the problem fromm a few hundred years from now potential problem; to a few thousand years from now potential problem.

All else being equal .

And if course its not. The Sun's out put goes up, and it goes down on a period of several hundred years. The Mankowski orbital changes will return the Earth to the onset of a global cooling, Ice Age era in another few thousand years.

In any case the era of political alarm over "Bad Mankind's" climates changes will disappear within half a decade. The Marxist minions will have to dream up some other foolish idea to grant themselves political Power.

Posted by Brian | July 1, 2007 5:38 PM

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/07/glenn_reynolds_calls_al_gore_a.php has some rebuttals, such as:

""For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame."

The September 2006 issue of the Journal of Climate does contain a paper about Himalayan Glaciers, but Taylor's quote is a fabrication. What the paper actually says is:

The observed downward trend in summer temperature and runoff is consistent with the observed thickening and expansion of Karakoram glaciers, in contrast to widespread decay and retreat in the eastern Himalayas. This suggests that the western Himalayas are showing a different response to global warming than other parts of the globe."


"Taylor then has:

Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine."

But ice sheet expert Eric Steig points out:

The Heartland Institute's propagation of the notion that the Kilimanjaro glacier retreat has been proved to be due to deforestation is even more egregious. They quote "an article published in Nature" by Betsy Mason ("African ice under wraps," Nature, 24 November, 2003) which contains the statement "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit." Elsewhere, Heartland refers to this as a "study." The "study" is in reality no scientific study at all, but a news piece devoted almost entirely to Euan Nesbit's proposal to save the Kilimanjaro glacier by wrapping it in a giant tarp. The article never says who the "experts" are, nor does it quote any scientific studies supporting the claim."

I always tend to doubt people who shade facts to make a point, no matter if they happen to agree with my side or not.

Posted by Charles | July 1, 2007 5:41 PM

If we shorten the Captain's argument, it boils down to: "Al's book makes claims that turn out not to be justified, based on later science. Therefore, Al, and, by extension, all supporters of anthropogenic global warming, are very likely wrong. Oh, and Al's hysterical and ridiculous in the NYT."

We shall accept the Captain's argument, based on a "refutation" by an industry-funded organization, for the moment, even though it's based on cherry-picking the data examined, and as such is not even remotely scientific.

Applying this argument, let's see, Lightwave asserts that ANWR would have eliminated our dependence on Saudi oil. Even the oil companies' most optimistic assumptions would have reduced our dependence by about 5 percent, and we import 40 percent. Lightwave has been proven wrong (you can check these numbers out for yourself -- they're not exactly secret) and we can, by extension, ignore anybody who agrees with him.

Bostonian trots out a favorite of the global warming skeptics, which turns out has been debunked, not just by one scientist, but by dozens (go to NewScientist.com and look at their global warming faq.) Bostonian can now be ignored. Oh, and he's hysterical, too.

ams1877 doesn't give enough information to evaluate his science. Let him publish it, and then people can poke fun at his simplistic modeling, which, by his own admission, doesn't accurately model everything. Since it is wrong in some respects, the CE rule says we have to tell ams that we are free to discount everything he says. Sorry, ams. Keep refining your model. Let us know when it predicts everything.

I have no idea what ming666's point is, and I'm not sure he knows either. Before we invest any belief in ming666, perhaps he would publish his numbers and let the scientific community have a good laugh.

Jason omits the critical information that the Martian atmosphere is too thin to make Mars like Venus. And he also omits to mention the critical fact that it's not just the thickness of the Venusian atmosphere, it's the composition, which traps heat. If Venus didn't have the greenhouse, it would be only a little warmer than Earth, based on its albedo and distance from the Sun (do a google search and look for "energy balance" and univ of michigan). Since his explanation was incomplete, sorry, but that's it. By CE's rule, you get one chance.

Neo, see the New Scientist site to see why you're being eliminated. (Hint: you've said something that at least one prominent scientist has said is bunk.) Sorry, these are CE's rules, not mine.

Yell, sorry, but the atmosphere of Venus does not contain any of those there "acidic hydrocarbons" you claim. The composition of the Venusian atmosphere, as reported by NASA probes (yeah, I know, suspect) and Soviet probes: "Venus' atmosphere consists almost entirely (97%) of carbon dioxide, with clouds containing droplets of sulfuric acid along with compounds of chlorine and fluorine". I do regret this, but a scientific assertion which, based on later science, turns out to have been false, eliminates you. Thanks for playing, though. Your theory of the formation of the Earth's atmosphere and Venus' atmosphere, over the 4.5 billion years since they were formed, however, deserves honorable mention as one of the most stunning oversimplifications in scientific history. I'd love to know the source of your theory. I strongly suspect you made it up on the spot, and that's pretty impressive.

Patrick Neid, have you ever seen Stephen Hawking? You do know that Einstein could only get a job in the patent office and didn't exactly impress people in his early years? Ever hear of the "ad hominem" logical fallacy?

Thanks everybody. I always learn a lot reading the comments here by having the errors of others (and, not infrequently my own) pointed out.

Posted by Charles | July 1, 2007 6:31 PM

ExDemo, why are you quoting the 3rd IPCC report (2001) when the 4th is out (this year)? It is an accepted tenet of science that later is better.

Here's the full link to their faq entitled "Climate Change: a guide to the perplexed": "http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn11462"

Look at the item labeled "Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans".

Posted by ExRat | July 1, 2007 7:09 PM

At our house, Global Warming has become a joke: whenever some odd or unseasonable meteorological event occurs--hurricane, flood, blizzard, drought, heat wave, cold snap, you name it--someone says, "It's because of Global Warming--and it's all Bush's fault."

For those old enough to remember, Global Warming in the 2000s has become what nuclear weapons testing was in the 1950s--a handy universal explanation for anything unusual. I expect that pretty soon we'll be seeing movies about bus-sized insects and skyscraper-sized dinosaurs caused by Global Warming.

On a more serious note, I'm an agnostic on the issue, because both sides cherry pick their data, and the computer models can't do justice to a system that's as complex as global climate. Alarmism is counterproductive. I think Global Warming will turn out to be a fizzle like the imminent Ice Age that was being predicted in the 1970s, and if it does exist, it will be found to be caused mostly by natural processes, not human activity.

.Common sense--too bad it's so uncommon.

Posted by Al Fin | July 1, 2007 7:09 PM

Most climate scientists are disgusted with the IPCCs blatant politicization of what should be a thriving scientific debate. Politicians cannot let scientists debate the issue, however, because they feel too much is at stake for their own political and financial interests.

Al Gore in particular has vital financial interests in carbon trading schemes, where he hopes to make many millions of dollars profit, if not more.

It is not that "climate change" is a scam, it is that premature exploitation of unsettled issues in climate change are huge scams, totally bogus, and largely due to James Hansen of NASA and the IPCC.

Even so, I'm rather enjoying all the hoopla, what?

Posted by Mike M. | July 1, 2007 7:16 PM

Charles, New Scientists uses a straw man argument to try and knock down indirect solar forcing. The hypothesis is that incoming cosmic rays cause cloud formation. The cosmic rays are blocked during periods of high sunspot activity, fewer high level clouds are formed, temps go up. This would finally explain why historical temperatures routinely wax and wane with the sunspot cycle. Scientists are currently using a $2.4bn particle accelerator at the CERN complex in Geneva, Switzerland to test this hypothesis. The project will take five years to complete. I wouldn't spend a penny fighting global warming until the results are in. Occam's Razor sez current warming is happening for the same damn reasons it's always happened before.

Posted by Charles | July 1, 2007 7:55 PM


I have to agree with ExRat to a degree: both sides of the debate cherry-pick the data to support their side. And I also agree with skeptics that there is a tendency for herd mentality, even in science.

However, I disagree with you that the argument made by the New Scientist "guide for the perplexed" on this issue is a strawman. A strawman argument would be to put words in the opposition's mouth and then argue against those words, not against the actual assertions made by the opposition. The New Scientist site says that the evidence (which they admit is not as long-term as they'd like, and is also disputed by some) directly contradicts the theory that increases in the Sun's output are a large source of the observed global warming.

If you have a reasoned disagreement with their data, you have some good company, but a fairly convincing majority of climate scientists, as the IPCC report attests, finds the argument that it's the sun unconvincing.

Posted by jaeger51 | July 1, 2007 8:41 PM

Yep, our Earth is in danger all right...Al Gore could still get elected to something.

Posted by Tim | July 2, 2007 12:00 AM

Venus's atmosphere is 90 times as dense at ground level as Earth's because Venus has no rotation to speak of.

Someone please ask Al or Charles to call me when we stop spinning and the 99.97% of the atmosphere that's not CO2 vanishes.


Anybody know the average temperature of the ice in Greenland, Antartica, and the Arctic now vs. back in the golden age before man discovered fire? I'm less interested in how thick the ice is than I am in how many "cold BTU's" (yes, I know) the total mass is storing.

Posted by firedup | July 2, 2007 1:26 AM

If Gore would shaddup, 'twould solve the problem.

Just a nice, cool planet... ahhhh.....

Posted by theyell | July 2, 2007 3:16 AM

You're right, I shouldn't have said "hyrdocarbon" when I meant complex acids like "sulfuric acid", and the acid "compounds of chlorine and flourine" that your NASA source references. Outside of Mexico City you won't find them blowing in the wind on our planet. (yes I'm joking about Mexico City.)

I don't know why you think I cannot describe the absence of atmospheric H2SO4, on this world in a short paragraph; I don't need a million words to explain why on THIS planet mercury is a liquid. Please try and give us a glimpse of the intensely complex and nuanced process that I glossed over, Saganlike, in my correct explanation of the formation of our unique oceans of H2O and the relative absence of that compound on Venus. Lemme breach my record of brevity: On Venus, solar heat put hydrogen and oxygen into acids with sulfur, chlorine and flourine. On cooler Earth, they could form a duet.

Anybody can be wrong. Not anybody can travel the world giving a 10-year window to stave off a phony planetary cataclysm. Gore did. THAT is why he's a hysterical loon.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:14 AM

Tom S,

If CO2 is causing the arctic to warm, then why was the arctic warmer in the 30's and 40's than it is today?

The answer the the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. (PDO and AMO)

As to your statistics, so what. Why do you cite 2002 numbers. This is 2007.

The reason you cite old data, is because the ice coverage has recovered. This is becaus in the last year, the PDO has shifted back from the warm phase to it's cool phase. Over the next few decades ice levels are going to increase and temperatures are going to decrease. And like the rise, it will have nothing to do with man or CO2.

Posted by Charles | July 2, 2007 8:17 AM


You'll have to help me. I've only studied physics up through quantum mechanics, so I may not have the background to understand how the slow rotation of Venus is what causes its atmosphere to be 90 times the density of Earth's. Now, if you'd said it was the lack of a moon, there are people who would agree with you, and with some reason. There is no consensus on this, however.

Accurately measuring temperature in the past is a tough game. Those lazy ancestors of ours were too busy trying to feed themselves and not die of various things (not to mention fighting all those wars over religion) to keep accurate records. You can try with tree rings, you can try with ice layers, you can try all kinds of things -- but you are only going to get a point measurement. In other words, the results will only apply to a single point on the Earth's past surface, and you cannot know if there were other factors putting noise in your measurement.

As for the complex evolution of the Earth's atmosphere, unless you want to buy a textbook, you might try google. I'd suggest a search for " Origin of the Earth's Atmosphere" -- add in an "eiu.edu" if you want to see a high-school chemistry explanation. It bears no resemblance to your creative theory, but then we weren't there, we don't know what happened.

As for the absence of sulfuric acid on Earth, ever hear of "acid rain"? It can occur as a result of vulcanism, and it does occur naturally on Earth. It just gets washed out by the rain. So it's the presence of liquid water in the Earth's atmosphere that removed it (I don't understand your refernce to liquid Mercury) -- and, coincidentally, rain is also one of the major methods by which CO2 is removed from Earth's atmosphere as well. The question about Venus is, "is Venus too hot because there's no liquid water to remove CO2, or is the CO2 making it too hot for liquid water?"

On the other hand, the current theory on why the Martian atmosphere is so thin is that the solar wind stripped it away over the 4.5 billion years that have ensued since Mars was formed. Of course, the solar wind is stronger the closer you get to the Sun, so there must be something else going on -- I notice we're all still breathing, and the solar wind should act on Venus even more strongly.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:18 AM

If the scientists who study the sun are right, not only is global warming caused mostly by the sun, but we are about to enter another little ice age.

The recent sun spot cycles have been the strongest in 8000 years, resulting in both more direct radiation from the sun, and a decrease in cosmic radiation, which results in fewer clouds.

According to most models, the next few sun spot cycles are going to be amongst the weakest on record.

Posted by Dr. Francis Manns | July 2, 2007 8:22 AM

Regarding the sun - It is a subtle argument teased out by the Danish National Space Center since 1991. In 1991, Friis-Christiensen and Lassen piublished a paper in Science Magazine citing a 95% correlation between sunspot peak frequencey and NA global warming and cooling. Correlation is not causation, and no mechanism was proposed in that paper.

In 2006 the Danes (Svensmark, et al) published an experiment that demonstrates that cloud formation is nucleated by cosmic radiation - radiation from supernovae in deep space, the Milky Way, and our own sun. Cloud cover is fundamental to warming, cooling , precipitation, glaciation and deglaciation.

The connection is subtle. Sunspots are a symptom of solar magnetic activity. Solar magnetic activity induces geomagnetic activity on earth. When solar and geomagnetic activity are high it acts as a shield to cosmic radiation, and when the shields are down, cosmic radiation triggers cloud formation. Total solar flux is pretty steady, varying ony in the fourth significant digit, and has been discounted as important cause, but the sunspot opening and closing the shield to cosmic radiation influences our weather.

This is a theory requiring further experimental testing. It is a fact that the Maunder (sunspot) Minimum coincided with the Little Ice Age, which brought the Medieval Warm Period to an end and led to the exinction of the Greenland farmers.

CO2 is plant food and a minor GHG in comparison to water vapour and their clouds. (UN IPCC)

The Danish National Space Center has a great web site.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:23 AM

The effects of CO2, indeed the effects of all GHG's are logarithmic. That is each doubling of concentration results in 1/2 the impact of the previous doubling.

Another point is that CO2 is already near saturation. That is, about 90% of the energy that CO2 can block, is already being blocked. The current doubling will take us up to about 95% blocked. The next doubling will takes us to 97.5% blocked, and so on.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:31 AM

The belief that the earth has warmed by 0.6C in the last century is based entirely on the results of the ground based temperature network.

What most people don't know is that the quality of this network is abysmall.

The web site www.surfacestations.org has started documenting these stations. What they have found so far is shocking. Stations in the middle of parking lots, next to air conditioner units, they even found one right next to a brick BBQ grill.

Roger Pielke wrote a paper for the American Journal of Meterology a few years ago. He studied the stations in eastern Colorado, and found that over half of them failed to meet the NOAA standards for site quality.

On top of that fiasco, there is the fact that there are only 2500 stations measuring some 2.5 million square miles of the earths surface. And those stations are not evenly distributed about the earth. Most are in N. America and Europe, and less than a dozen or so cover the oceans.

Trying to claim that this network, which was not designed to measure changes in climate in the first place, is accurate enough to detect a trend of less than 0.06 degrees per decade is ludicrous.

Today, we don't know what the real temperature of the earth is within 2 degrees. 100 years ago, it was even less accurate.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:35 AM

Charles quotes New Scientist as if they were anything but a bunch of hysterical new agers who think science is what makes them feel good about themselves.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:38 AM

Charles further discredits himself as not being a person who cares about facts or accuracy, by declaring that most wars in the past were over religion.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 8:41 AM

There was never any liquid water on venus, because the planet is too close to the sun for it too cool down enough for liquid water to form.

The reason the earths atmosphere hasn't been stripped away by the solar wind, is because of it's magnetic field.

Venus has a slightly stronger magnetic field than does Mars, but the biggest reason it's atmosphere hasn't been stripped away is because it started with so much more.

Maybe if you stopped reading New Scientist, and started reading works by real scientists, you would know some of this already.

Posted by Charles | July 2, 2007 9:36 AM


Nowhere did I state that "most wars were over religion". You just made it up that I said that so you could then attack it. This is a classic example of the "strawman fallacy" of logical argument. I am willing but do not desire to debate, here, that many of the wars of the past were over religion, ostensibly.

I quoted New Scientist because they have an accessible and reasonably even-handed collection of answers to the myths that surround the issue, and because it is current. It is very important in a rapidly-evolving field of science to use up-to-date information. Where there is room for doubt, they point it out.

Neither of us should make assertions of fact or even cite a paper without giving the origin of the research and, if possible, the date. Please observe that the sunspot correlation study with temperature was done, as Dr. Manns, says, in 1991, based on data that wasn't new at the time.

In 1991, and for years after, it would have been a tenable theory, based on the available science. Now, not so much, as the 4th IPCC report states.

We are in compete agreement that the data upon which temperature trends is based is dreadful. And since accurate temperature measurements now can only be done for short times, long-term predictions based on current data is extrapolation, which is inherently fallible. There's nothing to be done about this except take more data and go with what we've got.

As for liquid water on Venus, you weren't there, so you can't know if there was ever liquid water on Venus. Making assertions of fact without evidence does not further anybody's argument. Since the surface of Venus is very active, volcanically (and we know this because of the probes), we will probably never know how, precisely, Venus' atmosphere evolved.

The theory that the magnetic field of Earth is why the atmosphere hasn't been stripped is not accepted by all. Stating it as if it were fact is disingenuous.

You are welcome to quote a definitive, un-rebutted scientific work to prove your point. I seem to recall New Scientist had some theorizing on that a while back, but since you think they are just new age weirdos you're on your own.

Posted by runawayyyy | July 2, 2007 10:10 AM

Let us keep this in perspective, folks. Algore himself doesn't believe in man-made global warming, any more than the bulk of posters here do. If he did, surely he would be treating mother earth better than he is.

Algore uses more than 20 times the energy that the average American household uses, and he does this at only ONE of his mansions. Add to that the amount of travel he does (on commercial AND private planes), and he ends up having a carbon footprint more than 30 times the average. And these numbers have been rising, not falling. Remember also that the eeeevil GWB's ranch in texas is a model of environmental responsibility.

So before you try to sell me on ANYTHING Algore says about the environment, sell HIM on it first.

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 11:55 AM

poor Charles, he hates it when he gets caught stating what he really believes.

As to New Scientist, I'm not surprised that you are so willing to defend it.
As to their stuff being reasonable, I'm not surprised that you think so. Nobody who knows what they are talking about says that.
But then, we are talking about your opinions, aren't we.

As to Venus having liquid water. The temperature of Venus is fairly easy to calculate at various points in the past. So I don't need to have been there.

The point about solar wind striping away the atmosphere and magnetic fields protecting from the solar wind may not be the most popular fact amongst the New Scientist crowds, but then again, they aren't scientists.

Posted by Charles | July 2, 2007 12:40 PM


It is indeed true that the temperature of Venus can be calculated using radiation equilibrium equations. This isn't even controversial, and it says that Venus should be a little warmer than Earth, and Earth should be at about 220 degrees Kelvin. Absent the runaway greenhouse effect, there should be liquid water on Venus. Here's a page that does the calculations.

Your statement that the temperature of Venus is fairly easy to calculate is completely false -- until the probes got there, everybody thought Venus would be a little warmer than Earth, as predicted by the equations. I believe it was one of Carl Sagan's contributions to suggest runaway greenhouse as the cause, which was later accepted by most scientists.

Everything else in your last comment was ad hominem argument. If I offended you in some way by what I said earlier, or what you inferred from what I said, I beg your pardon -- I didn't mean to be anything but slightly sardonic -- but I simply won't respond to ad hominem arguments.

Posted by sestamibi | July 2, 2007 3:50 PM

And don't forget, James Taylor has seen fire and rain . . . and sunny days that he thought would never end, so he should know!

Posted by MarkW | July 2, 2007 3:55 PM

Charles, it's true that when we didn't know what Venus's atmosphere was made of, we didn't know what the surface temperature was.

Now we know. So as you so correctly manage to point out, it's easy to calculate what the surface temperature is now, and was at any time in the past.

I'm sorry if pointing out your bigoted nature upsets you. Truth hurts.

Posted by Charles | July 2, 2007 4:11 PM


Unfortunately, your calculation requires the assumption that the composition of Venus' atmosphere has remained unchanged for eons, and the only planet we have a record for (at present) has dramatically changed its atmosphere over the eons, so your argument is without merit.

You do get points though, as you argue that the atmosphere of Venus has always been like it is now because it's always been too hot, and it's always been too hot because the atmosphere has always been what it is now.

At least you didn't leave any loose ends.

Posted by John Jay | July 2, 2007 8:49 PM

Narniaman at July 1, 2007 2:22 PM suggested I quit my job. I suggest he or she use a dictionary and learn to read. Mitigation means that an action can be counteracted with another action. I do need to breathe, and to work (mostly telecommute by the way), and there are techiques for reducing CO2 that are good for a variety of ailments other than global warming.

When our grandparents were children, the air in cities was nearly unbreathable. The solution was not to 'quit working' or use sarcasm; the solution was to use technologies and changes in lifestyle to mitigate or avoid the pollution.

Posted by Tim | July 2, 2007 9:50 PM


Congratulations on your study of physics. I'm sure you can manage to get your money back.

Earth and Venus have approximately the same gravitational pull. Yet, strangely enough, Earth doesn't manage to hold as much gas in its atmosphere as Venus.

Whyever could that be? I ... I ... I just can't manage to think straight! Everything just keeps spinning so fast! I feel like I'm flying around at a thousand miles an hour!

And what are these "textbooks" and "google" things of which you speak? They sound really hard.