The latest shot in the climate wars was fired by the National Academy of Sciences in the form of a report authored primarily by James Hanson, NASA's chief crusader for truth, science and global warming. As reported on Monday by the Washington Post in an AP authored article:
Global Temperature Highest in Millennia
WASHINGTON —— The planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years, warming that has begun to affect plants and animals, researchers report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Earth has been warming at a rate of 0.36 degree Fahrenheit per decade for the last 30 years, according to the research team led by James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.
That brings the overall temperature to the warmest in the current interglacial period, which began about 12,000 years ago.
The researchers noted that a report in the journal Nature found that 1,700 plant, animal and insect species moved poleward at an average rate of about 4 miles per decade in the last half of the 20th century.
Now, if you go to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences site and look up the report you can fill in the detail left out of the truncated AP version. Lots of nice graphs, cites and footnotes there to warm the cockles of one's scientific heart. No politics here. Right?
Wrong! Check out this paragraph that starts on the first page of article text (numbers in parens are footnote references):
Early Climate Change Predictions.
Manabe and Wetherald (11) made the first global climate model (GCM) calculations of warming due to instant doubling of atmosphericCO2. The first GCM calculations with transient greenhouse gas (GHG) amounts, allowing comparison with observations, were those of Hansen et al. (12). It has been asserted that these calculations, presented in congressional testimony in 1988 (13), turned out to be ''wrong by 300%'' (14). That assertion, posited in a popular novel, warrants assessment because the author's views on global warming have been welcomed in testimony to the United States Senate (15) and in a meeting with the President of the United States (16), at a time when the Earth may be nearing a point of dangerous human—made interference with climate (17).
The fact that the
'. . .author's views on global warming have been welcomed in testimony to the United States Senate and in a meeting with the President of the United States. . .'
is proof of their validity? Since when? They hardly ever get the politics right, let alone the science.
What nonsense it is having this part of a 'scientific' paper.
Dennis Sevakis 9 26 06
A couple of readers have pointed out that the novel in question was Michael Crichton's State of Fear. Dennis's ironic point that Senate testimony is no guide to scientific validity is still a valid one, though it loses some of its punch.
Bob Armstrong wrote:
I appreciate the link to the actual paper , but otherwise I find your commentary not very informative .
Having considered this issue for quite a while I continue to fail to see how anything we do to our atmosphere can change our mean global temperature from the value given by the equation
Temp_planet = Temp_sun * squareRoot ( Sun_radius / 2 * Distance )
( See http://cosy.com/views/warm.htm )
Hanson et al almost now seem to be claiming such a fast rise in temperature that CO2 is hard pressed to be the cause .
Note that the Sun is not mentioned once in their article.
Dennis Sevakis responds:
The novel has not a thing to do with it other than for comparison.
It's the reference to the Senate and the Prez that I'm talking about.
What has THAT got to do with science?
The paragraph quoted politicizes the science.
No less than does the novel.
That's the point.
Mr. Armstrong's comment is simplistic nonsense.
If the earth had no atmosphere, albedo, water, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera,
his equation might be of some value. At it is, it is silliness personified.
If the earth were perfectly reflective, the surface temp would be near absolute zero. Or, only as warm as the internal heat moving to the surface from the interior.
If that's all there was to it, why all the fancy climate models?
Guess that's just to keep the Ph.D.s employed.