How is it that every time environmentally supercharged politicians ring the alarmist bell, Mother Nature has a way of mocking their efforts? So was the case with the northern hemisphere’s strong finish to the winter season as much of Europe shivered under record cold while the eastern half of North America experienced March temperatures and snowfall that more than made up for a tranquil start to the season.
Of course, much of this news was being ignored by the “gangreenous” liberal media with the Los Angeles Times only able to recognize the extreme heat of Australia’s 2012-13 summer in its ongoing crusade to promote the climate change agenda. For those interested in acquiring a more balanced view of what was going on with the weather globally, one would have had to access the media sources like the U.K. Telegraph or some non-government U.S.-based weather services.
In short, for those who did not have such access, the U.K. “was subjected to its worst snowfall in 30 years,” as noted in an article by Telegraph Media Group on March 23. Indeed, a sharp increase in deaths during the winter months over previous years has generated some discussion over the wisdom of the carbon tax given the more deadly impacts of the cold on the U.K. population compared to the summer heat. So while Europe’s environmentalist lobby continued their drumbeat over global warming, the facts pertaining to increased mortality rates due to cold were belying a different story.
Meanwhile, the U.K.-based magazine, The Economist, attempted to make a begrudging concession to the scientific community that maintains a much less apocalyptic view of the world climate outlook (“A Sensitive Matter,” The Economist, March 30, 2013). The article questioned the accuracy of current IPCC climate models given their built-in high temperature sensitivities to changes in CO2 levels and the fact that continued growth in CO2 levels has not generated a concurrent rise in temperatures in the last 15 years. In fact, should the flat trend in global temperatures continue, the article states that the GCMs (global climate models) used by the IPCC may need to be revised to account for this unexpected change in the relationship between CO2 and global temperatures.
The article offers some insight into other factors that could alter the relationship between CO2 and temperature change such as cloud albedo, deep ocean temperatures, negative feedback from aerosols and the warming effect of black carbon or soot, but suggests that the net effect of these factors is to generate more warming than previously thought. The last part of the article reflects an attempt by the editor to reach some conclusion on the sensitivity issue.
The postulated use of the TCR, or transient climate response measure (defined as the temperature response after a gradual doubling of CO2 every 70 years), comes across as overly simplistic as it does not appear to adjust for other factors and feedback loops. Frankly, the article fails to mention some of the most significant factors that the community of climate change realist scientists believes are of major significance.
These include the sun and solar cycles (refer to studies by Dr. Willie Soon), the wider role of the oceans and ocean salinity in climate (refer to studies by Dr. William Grey) and the role of negative feedback loops in the determining temperature sensitivities (for a more detailed treatment of negative feedback loops in climate change analysis, refer to research by Dr. Roy Spencer). However, this is by no means an all-inclusive list as a number of other factors, many of which scientists are still attempting to understand, are known to have various effects on global temperatures.
Overall we found the editor of this article too unwilling to concede significant ground on the issue of climate change. The attributions to the IPCC as comprising the “mainstream of the scientific community” and representing “conventional wisdom” are questionable at best, especially given the multitude of errors and issues with the group’s first four scientific studies. There is also no treatment of the underlying credibility issue given recent scandals involving various participants in the IPCC’s work and well-documented weaknesses of the peer-review process. Third, the article comes off as focusing too much attention on CO2 as the “prime mover” in understanding the climate change issue, notably given the level of uncertainty about the effect of other factors and feedback loops.
At the very end of the article, the editor suggests perhaps “a small reduction in estimates of climate sensitivity would seem to be justified.” He hastens to add, however, that “if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity would be on negative watch. But it would not yet be downgraded.” The view here is that the IPCC and the alarmist community are on the verge of their own version of the 2008 financial crisis. Subsequent to that event, the major credit rating agencies were the subject of multiple lawsuits and were forced to review their ethics and business policies. Perhaps the IPCC is much closer to facing such a crossroads than the consensus now believes.