by Dr. Gary Sharp
I am not alone in my skepticism and despair regarding short-term agency funding cycles – many otherwise un-supported academic and government scientists – and their methods for creating myths of "crisis" and "dread factors" in their zeal to maintain their bleary roles in recent science history. I worry about the public’s perceptions and perceived credibility of all Science as claims are made that may prove to be misleading, or worse, simply wrong!
The ongoing "Global Warming Crisis" is a recent example. It is not the first of its sort, where little that anyone can say within in the next several decades- given presently available measurements or basic knowledge – can be used to either confirm or destroy the rather poorly formulated basic hypothesis:
… That Global Warming occurring since the mid 1850s in the available temperature records is primarily due to Greenhouse Gases (CO2, methane, etc.,) generated principally by human industrialization…
Our planet warms and cools on schedules that defy use of short trend data sets (less than several cycles of decadal scale patterns and trends) as either forecastive, or statistically significant data sources. This simple fact has been repeatedly confirmed by the weather and climate research community, particularly paleoclimate researchers such as Lloyd Keigwin, Roger Y. Andersaon, and literally dozens of great researchers whose data sets, although primarily proxy-based, are quite interpretable within the general sets of alternatives to the "One-Way" Greenhouse Warming threat that is being passed about by fear mongering funding chasers within the climate modeling community. To date, hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been squandered within this small community, to little avail.
There is nothing like a several thousand year long high resolution (annual- seasonal to decade-long blocks) climate proxy record to convince you that climate varies on all time scales, from decades to millenia, and that there is nothing unusual about the recent two centuries of climate variations. Another data fact is that the major differences that occur within the surface COADS weather observations are only apparent within the Northern Hemisphere Winter time series. Some of these data contradict Global Warming advocates, not because the earths temperatures have not been rising, but because the effects are not as predicted by would-be Dooms Sayers. See ref. at Sharp’s Site.
A good place to start your queries is with examination of some example satellite observation data sets. A select few have been hauled around the hallowed halls of the US Congress by Federal Agency scientists, particularly NASA scientists. In their zeal these mostly irresponsible individuals have somehow "qualified" their "selected" data sets as being more representative than in situ observations taken over a broad range of phenomena and locations. Contrary to general news media reporting, and sensation tabloid stories, the short time that we have had satellite technology, and the relatively small numbers of truly comparable data series that exist, the available short-term satellite data sets are nearly useless as measures of climate trends in the context of natural climate variations. They will remain contestable for many decades to come, as they are simply very short. Statistically, such data sets are inutile, and lead to erroneous conclusions. That is basic science.
Climate change is defined by a change in seasonality, first, followed by a sequence of downstream energy transfer processes that take over, where surface heat, water or ground moisture are inter-converted with atmospheric moisture. This surface heat and moisture, and associated radiative energies, have been poorly accounted for, simply because the clouds that form, and atmospheric moisture content and its distributions are not readily or well measured using available tools. As each new tool is applied, there is a basic need for intercalibrations, time series, and replicate observations over broad geographic contexts, and many seasons. Such studies are just beginning.
This, along with most related satellite based sensing technology, remains in its infancy, requiring extensive ground-truthing, and adjustments. Satellite technology can only with great difficulty be used to measure even tempertures to any particularly useful accuracy, for the same reasons that there is controversy regarding Climate Change and Greenhouse warming. i.e., the sensors are confounded by the products and processes that occur between them and the objects that are being measured. They cannot not measure more than a "skin" temperature, at best, and tend to generally underestimate ground or sea surface temperatures wherever atmospheric moisture varies.
Also, it would be much more informative to measure dynamics of upper ocean heat content and use that information rather than sea surface temperatures, as the upper few meters of the ocean’s heat content is so much greater than that of the atmosphere. Satellite sensor technology is limited in capabilities to measure temperature, as affected by atmospheric moisture and aerosols…
None of the dynamic places on the earth are clear sky, optimal for satellite remote sensing environments. Those ocean regions with most dynamic heat content, and the most dynamic terrestrial domains are also indicated by voluminous advection (and/or transpiration) over those regions with the greatest effects on climate change. Consequently, these regions are often obscured by seasonal clouds as part of the global solar-driven, atmospherically mediated hydrologic cycle that redistributes the earth’s dynamic energies on seasonal scales, as well as on longer time scales as the sun’s output varies. This solar variation is quite poorly understood, and emanates from the changes in the sun’s interior heat engine(s), and due to complex patterns of relative planetary motion, as well.
Are we doomed to great turmoil, drought, flooding, storms and disease simply because we in the developed world drive automobiles? The greatest threat to human health and this planet’s sustainability is our tendency to blame one behavior for our problems when it is another that we should be more attentive to. The issue is that we humans, as a species, are too many, too exploitive, and too short- sighted to resolve these real issues, until crisis drives our decision making. In the past it was either war, or pestilence that resolved the issues of overcrowding, often associated with climate regime shifts. See ref. at Sharp’s Site.
Denial is the root of human suffering.
There is still time to resolve many of the critical issues, through more efficient use of remaining resources, recycling, and minimizing creation of wastes, particularly toxics. This will, however, also require a tremendous reduction in birth rates, exploitation rates, and a new vigor applied to re-designing existing methods of agriculture, exploitation of the seas, and mining. We must become even more efficient, without losing the gains through increased demand.
It is not that we do not know what to do. It is cultural inertia, and greed that must be overcome.
Unfortunately, the general loss of credibility of Science will likely be the most substantive issue to be faced, by the time these other important messages are learned.