MORE HEAT ON THE GLOBAL WARMERS – AT 9:32 A.M. ET: If this were a liberal blog – you may notice that it's not – we would be calling this post, "Another crank speaks." Yesterday we commented on a piece by Steve Hayward at Power Line, noting the deterioration of the "global warming" brigade, which is desperately trying to reinvent itself in light of its many setbacks.
Today, one of those "cranks" who dares to ask questions about "climate change" pens an excellent column in The Wall Street Journal, raising further doubts about the "settled science" we've all been told about. He is William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton. He formerly directed all non-weapons energy research at the Department of Energy, until being fired by Al Gore for refusing to toe the party line.
During a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, President Obama is reported to have said: "It gets you a little nervous about what is happening to global temperatures. When it is 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March, you start thinking. On the other hand, I really have enjoyed nice weather."
What is happening to global temperatures in reality? The answer is: almost nothing for more than 10 years. Monthly values of the global temperature anomaly of the lower atmosphere, compiled at the University of Alabama from NASA satellite data, can be found at the website http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. The latest (February 2012) monthly global temperature anomaly for the lower atmosphere was minus 0.12 degrees Celsius, slightly less than the average since the satellite record of temperatures began in 1979.
The lack of any statistically significant warming for over a decade has made it more difficult for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters to demonize the atmospheric gas CO2 which is released when fossil fuels are burned.
Frustrated by the lack of computer-predicted warming over the past decade, some IPCC supporters have been claiming that "extreme weather" has become more common because of more CO2. But there is no hard evidence this is true. After an unusually cold winter in 2011 (December 2010-February 2011) the winter of 2012 was unusually warm in the continental United States. But the winter of 2012 was bitter in Europe, Asia and Alaska.
Weather conditions similar to 2012 occurred in the winter of 1942, when the U.S. Midwest was unusually warm, and when the Wehrmacht encountered the formidable forces of "General Frost" in a Russian winter not unlike the one Russians just had.
Large fluctuations from warm to cold winters have been the rule for the U.S., as one can see from records kept by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA. For example, the winters of 1932 and 1934 were as warm as or warmer than the 2011-2012 one and the winter of 1936 was much colder.
And please read, and remember, this:
We need high-quality climate science because of the importance of climate to mankind. But we should also remember the description of how science works by the late, great physicist, Richard Feynman:
"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."
The most important component of climate science is careful, long-term observations of climate-related phenomena, from space, from land, and in the oceans. If observations do not support code predictions—like more extreme weather, or rapidly rising global temperatures—Feynman has told us what conclusions to draw about the theory.
COMMENT: Every journalist who covers "global warming" should tack Feynman's thesis to his office wall. And remember, never take seriously anyone who talks about "settled science." That is a contradiction in terms. Science, by its nature, is never settled.
Except in one of Al Gore's mansions.
March 27, 2012