What Happened To Global Warming?
So reads the headline of a recent BBC article, which continues: This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. This isn’t really news, though it will probably come as such to environmentalists and all the people who have bought into their propaganda.
The following is Part 1 of a written debate between Dr. Kevin Trenberth - head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder - and Dr. William Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. This debate originally appeared in the Fort Collins Forum: Editor’s note: While the issue of anthropogenic global warming is much more than a local issue, we are fortunate to have two leading authorities on climate science in Northern Colorado. Each has a different view of the issue and agreed to this in-paper debate. The Forum believes this type of direct debate is all too rare on this topic and thank doctors Gray and Trenberth for their efforts. The Forum also wants to thank author Ray Harvey for bringing them together for this debate.
We Are Not In Climate Crisis by Dr. Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University
Ask ten people on the street if mankind’s activities are causing global warming, and at least eight will say yes. This is because nearly 20 years of gross exaggeration on the part of scientists, environmentalists, politicians, and media; most of whom wish to profit in some way from the public’s lack of knowledge on the topic-have distorted the subject of human-induced global warming out of all sensible proportion. Many have been lead to believe that Al Gore’s movie and book An Inconvenient Truth provides incontrovertible evidence that human-induced global warming is a real threat. Yet, contrary to what is heard from warming advocates, there is considerable evidence that the global warming we have experienced over the last 30 years and over the last 100 years is largely natural. It is impossible to objectively determine the small amount of human-induced warming in comparison to the large natural changes which are occurring.
Many thousands of scientists from the US and around the globe do not accept the human-induced global warming hypothesis as it has been presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports over the last 15 years. The media has, in general, uncritically accepted the results of the IPCC and over-hyped the human aspects of the warming threat. This makes for better press than saying that the climate changes we have experienced are mostly natural. The contrary views of the many warming skeptics have been largely ignored and their motives denigrated. The alleged “scientific consensus” on this topic is bogus. As more research on the human impact on global temperature change comes forth, more flaws are being found in the hypothesis.
It must be pointed out that most climate research is supported by the federal government. All federally sponsored researchers need positive peer-reviews on their published papers and grant proposals. This can be difficult for many of the “closet” warming skeptics who receive federal grant support. Many are reluctant to give full expression of their views, primarily because of worries over continuing grant support. It is difficult to receive federal grant support if one�s views differ from the majority of their peers who receive support to find evidence of the warming threat. The normal scientific process of objectively studying both sides of the question has not yet occurred. Such open discussion has been largely discouraged by warming advocates.
Implementation of the proposed international treaties restricting future greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 to 80 percent of current emissions would lead to a large slowdown in the world’s economic development and, at the same time, have no significant impact on the globe’s future temperature.
Many of the Global Climate Model (GCMs) simulations by large US and foreign government laboratories and universities, on which so much of these warming scenarios are based, have some very basic flaws. These global models are not able to correctly model the globe’s small-scale precipitation processes. They have incorrectly parameterized the rain processes in their models to give an unrealistically enhanced warming influence to CO2. This is the so-called positive water-vapor feedback. The observations I have been analyzing for many years show that the globe’s net upper-level water vapor does not increase but slightly decreases with warming. These GCMs also do not yet accurately model the globe�s deep ocean circulation which appears to be the primary driving mechanism for most of the global temperature increases that have occurred over the last 30 and last 100 years. GCMs should not be relied upon to give global temperature information 50 to 100 years into the future. GCM modelers do not dare make public short-period global temperature forecasts for next season, next year, or a few years hence. This is because they know they do not have shorter range climate forecasting skill. They would lose credibility if they issued shorter-range yearly forecasts that could be objectively verified. Climate modelers live mostly in a “virtual world” of their own making. This virtual world is isolated from the real world of weather and climate. Few of the GCM modelers have any substantial weather or short-range climate forecasting experience. It is impossible to make skillful initial-value numerical predictions beyond a few weeks. Although numerical weather prediction has shown steady and impressive improvement since its inception in 1955, these forecast improvements have been primarily made through advancements in the measurement (i.e. satellite) of the wind and pressure fields and the advection/extrapolation of these fields forward in time 10-15 days. For skillful numerical prediction beyond a few weeks, it is necessary to forecast changes in the globe’s complicated energy and moisture fields. This entails forecasting processes such as amounts of cloudiness, condensation heating, evaporation cooling, cloud-free radiation, air-sea moisture- temperature flux, etc. It is impossible to accurately code all these complicated energy moisture processes, and integrate these processes forward for hundreds of thousands of time-steps and expect to obtain anything close to meaningful results. Realistic climate forecasting by numerical processes is not possible now, and, because of the complex nature of the earth�s climate system, they may never be possible.
Global temperatures have always fluctuated and will continue to do so regardless of how much anthropogenic greenhouse gases are put into the atmosphere. The globe has many serious environmental problems. Most of these problems are regional or local in nature, not global. Forced global reductions in human-produced greenhouse gases will not offer much benefit for the globe’s serious regional and local environmental problems. We should, of course, make all reasonable reductions in greenhouse gases to the extent that we do not pay too high an economic price. We need a prosperous economy to have sufficient resources to further adapt and expand energy production.
Even if CO2 is causing very small global temperature increases there is hardly anything we can do about it. China, India, and Third World countries will not limit their growing greenhouse gas emissions. Many experts believe that there may be net positive benefits to humankind through a small amount of global warming. It is known that vegetation and crops tend to benefit from higher amounts of atmospheric CO2, particularly vegetation which is under temperature or moisture stress.
I believe that in the next few years the globe is going to enter a modest cooling period similar to what was experienced in the 30 years between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s. This will be primarily a result of changes in the globe’s deep-ocean circulation. I am convinced that in 15-20 years we will look back on this period of global warming hysteria as we now look back on other popular and trendy scientific ideas that have not stood the test of time.
See Dr Trenberth’s reply (Global Warming: Coming Ready Or Not by Kevin Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research here
and Bill Gray’s strong Part II comeback followed by Dr Trenberth’s Part II here