|San José State University|
& Tornado Alley
of Climate Change?
A Google search on "evidence of climate change" brings up the webpage of NASA at the top of the list. That would seem to be an appropriate place to start.
The webpage starts with the graph below of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere over the past four hundred thousand years based upon ice core samples and recent direct measurements.
This is very interesting but it is not climate change, per se. It might be a signal of coming climate change but that is something that must be established. Intellectually there are a few other things that need to be established. It must be shown that the ice-cores at Vostok, Antarctica give the same level of CO2 measurements as the measuring devices located on the north slope of Mauna Loa on the island Hawaii which is subject to air pollution from the west coast urban areas of Hawaii.
But the much bigger failing of this presentation is that the total of all greenhouse gases is not given. Of course it is not just CO2 concentration per se which is important. In such a total of all greenhouse gases the concentrations of the various gases, of which water vapor is by far the most important, should be weighted according to their relative effectiveness in absorbing the relevant thermal radiation. A molecule of H2O is 50% more effective in absorbing thermal radiation than a molecule of CO2. I
The concentration of water vapor varies widely over the surface of the Earth, supposedly from 0.04 percent in the deserts to 4 percent in the tropics. But supposedly the average concentration is stable over time. There seems to be a great reluctance to specify what that average concentration of H2O in the air is, but 0.5 of 1 percent would be of the right order of magnitude. That is a concentration of 5000 parts per million. If a molecule of H2O is 50% more effective at absorbing thermal radiation than a molecule of CO2 then the X parts per million of CO2 is equivalent an additional (2/3)X parts per million of water vapor. The record of greenhouse gas (H2O+CO2) concentration, expressed as equivalent H2O concentration, for the period 1996 to 2015 appears as follows.
Although it is inappropriate deal with an average global concentration of H2O the above was presented just to illustrate that the increase in CO2 does not amount to an explosive expansion of the greenhouse effect for the Earth. The concentration of CO2 increased from an estimated 280 parts per million in pre-industrial times to a measured 407 parts per million in 2016. That is an increase of slightly over 45 percent. But in terms total greenhouse gas concentration expressed in terms of equivalent H2O concentration it is an increase from 5187 parts per million to 5271 parts per million; an increase of 1.63 percent over a two century period. This is hardly an explosive increase.
It is to be noted that there were several estimates of the concentration of CO2 in pre-industrial times besides the 280 parts per million and they differed from it substantially. The 280 parts per million figure was selected because it best fit to story that the alarmists wanted to tell. See CO2 history.
However the relationship between greenhouse gas concentration and the proportion of thermal radiation absorbed is nonlinear. The increase due to anthropogenic CO2 depends upon the natural concentration of greenhouse gases. In the graph below, C denotes the natural concentration, primarily of water vapor, which results in some proportion being absorbed. The anthropogenic CO2 increases the concentration of greenhouse gases to D and raises the proportion of thermal radiation absorbed.
In the graph Point A represents a desert condition. Point B represents the condition after CO2 raises the level of greenhouse gas. There is a much bigger impact from A→B than from C→D even though the increase from C to D is as large or larger than the increase from A to B.
The concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere varies greatly around the Earth and therefore the effect of anthropogenic CO2 varies with it. In deserts and the Polar Regions anthropogenic CO2 may have a substantial effect but almost no effect in the humid regions. This is why such a high proportion of the detected global warming occurred at night in the winter in places like Siberia. The air in the Polar Regions is as dry as the Sahara. Note that deserts like the Sahara have very little greenhouse gas (water vapor) in the atmosphere above them yet they are quite hot! It is a lack of cloud cover at a latitude of intense solar radiation rather than the greenhouse effect that makes them hot.
The NASA webpage makes the following statement:
There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.
Yes, but the change in the total greenhouse gas concentration cannot be determined by just looking at the concentration of just one minor constituent. A major decline in the H20 concentration can wipe out entirely the effect of increased CO2. NASA did not present a graph of the total weighted concentration of greenhouse gases because they simply do not have it. Despite the public concern about global warming such a key bit of relevant information has not been established.
The second display by the NASA webpage on the evidence of climate change is a super-large quotation from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Scientific evidence for the warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
Note that NASA in this is not presenting evidence of climate change. It is presenting another organization's judgement. And that judgement is not about climate change; it is about warming but it does not say "global warming." It says "warming of the climate system." It does not say anything about The magnitude of the warming and whether it is catastrophic or not. The IPCC is not noted for the sagacity of its judgements in matters of global climatology. It was the IPCC that perpetrated the infamous "hockeystick graph" that founded erroneous arithmetic.
The NASA webpage goes on to a major section entitled
The estimate presented is a rise of 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) over the past century. No measure of the uncertainty of this figure is presented. Is it 6.7inches ±1 inch or 6.7 inches ±10 inches. An annual increase of 1.7 millimeters seems hardly of concern when tides bring a daily rise and fall of five feet.
NASA does not point out the practical problems involved in establishing rise of the seas. For example, the Scandinavian Peninsula is rising about 1 cm per year as a result of the rebound from the lifting of the ice-age glaciers ten thousand years ago. The same thing is happening in the northern part of the North American tectonic plate. That tectonic was tilted by its ice-cap so the opposite is happening at its southern part. Florida is tilting downward and this makes it appear that the sea is rising.
But sea rise is not climate change per se particularly a sea rise over a century of only 6.7 inches.
The global surface temperature has risen since 1880. The graph of the shows a rise but also a repeating cycle of about 60 years.
The Average Global Temperature (AGT) declined from about 1940 to 1975 and some were worrying about a coming ice-age. But in 1975 the cycle turned and AGT started rising. The global warming alarm arose because some conflated the temperature rise due human activity with cycle. There is a moderate temperature rise of about 0.5 C° per century; definite but not catastrophic.
The natural 60 years or so cycle in AGT is probably due to the Multidecadal Pacific Oscillation; sort of the big brother to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
The end of the 30 year or so upswing in AGT came in 2005-2010. The AGT did not go down but stayed roughly the same since then. There was an El Niño year in 1998 and AGT peaked at a level that was not exceeded or even approached for many years.
The ENSO changes the weather for about one year before and after its peak effect but this cannot be construed as a climate change. El Niño occurred in 1910 as well as in 2016. The effect on AGT has been fairly regular.
The ENSO has been occurring since time immemorial, but since the AGT has not been increasing in the 21st century the catastrophic global alarmist are publicizing the El Niño rise in 2016 as a return of human-caused global warming. This is completely bogus.
The ENSO which raises the AGT of the surface atmosphere more directly raises the surface temperature of a large region of the eastern Pacific Ocean. This is enough to raise the worldwide average temperature of Earth's oceans. But it is just as temporary as the effect of ENSO on AGT.
NASA reports that their experiments indicate that Greenland lost between 36 and 60 cubic miles of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, but Antarctica lost only a total of 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005. The discrepancy between the figures for Arctic and the Antarctic indicates that what is happening, even if the estimates are truly correct, is not global.
There are two estimates available on amount of ice in Antarctica: 6.4 and 7.2 million cubic miles. NASA wants us to believe a difference of 36 cubic miles was detected when two estimates of Antarctic ice differ by 800 thousand cubic miles. In any case the 36 cubic miles represents no more than 36/6,400,000=0.0000056=0.00056 of 1 percent. Quite unbelievable accuracy!
The amount of ice on Greenland is about 684,000 cubic miles. An annual loss of 60 cubic miles of ice then represents less than one ten thousandths of the total. At that rate it would take more than ten thousand years for Greenland to lose its ice-cap. Of course that is quite rapid compared to the 533 thousand years it would take Antarctica to lose its ice-cap.
Furthermore the notion of a climate change connotes something different than a change in the total ice pack of Greenland. It may be no more of a climate change than the continuing rise of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
There is constant refusal among the catastrophic global warming alarmists to acknowledge that a change may be due to a cycle rather a trend that will continue on forever to eventual catastrophe.
In considering statistics on Arctic sea ice in the summertime it is highly informative to look at two pictures from NASA.
The situation on the left likely represents a maximum extent of the summer sea ice because the Earth had just experienced a global cooling episode from about 1940 to 1975. Note that in 1979 there was a gap between the sea ice and the Alaskan and northwestern Canadian coasts of the Arctic Ocean. Such a gap did not exist in 1979 between the north Siberian coast and the sea ice. In 2005 there was such a gap and that was about the only difference between the 1979 condition and the 2005 condition. In order to see this more clearly the following image was created by imposing the 2005 image over the 1979 image and enlarging the result. The sea ice that existed in 1979 but did not exist in 2005 or vice versa shows up as gray.
Although the primary difference was the disappearance of the sea ice off the north coast of Asia there were some slight gains in sea ice around the rest of the perimeter of the sea ice in 2005 over 1979. What is abundantly clear is that there was not a disappearance of sea ice all around the perimeter but specifically the Asian coast. The fact that the sea ice did not disappear around its perimeter indicates that the phenomenon was not due to an increase in global temperature.
It was already clear that the decline in summer sea ice in the Arctic was not due to global temperature because the same thing was not happening in the Antarctic.
The most important thing to note is that the ice area statistics are for the areas that are at least 15% ice. If the wind blows south and disperses the ice floes in an area below the 15% level then that area disappears from the ice area statistic. If the wind blows north the ice floes may be compressed into a smaller area. In neither case would any ice be melted but the ice area statistic will show a decline. For more on the statistics of the arctic ice area figures see Arctic Sea Ice.
The NASA webpage reports that since 1950 there has been increased number of record high temperatures and high rainfall events but a decreasing number of record low temperatures. If true, this constitutes something in the nature of a climate change but not necessarily bad. Several times as many people die from extreme cold events as from extreme heat events. NASA also reports that the winter snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is melting earlier. While this can be considered evidence of climate change it is not necessarily a bad thing and it is not global.
According to the NASA webpage, "Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean water has increased by about 30 percent." It is preposterous to believe chemists at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution had the techniques to measure the miniscule acidity of ocean water. It is even more preposterous to believe they had at that time a figure that applied to the 140 million square miles of Earth's oceans with their varying temperature. It is implausible that even today such a figure is available.
NASA's webpage claims that since 1969 the upper 2300 feet of Earth's oceans have increased in average annual temperature by 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit. Is it really plausible that any accurate figure was available in 1969 for the 140 million square miles of ocean for a depth of zero to 2300 feet. Again, it is implausible that even today such a figure is available. And to capture a difference accurate to 0.002 F° would be beyond belief.
Some of the things cited as climate change can properly be called environmental changes but global warming alarmists do not use that term because it does not have the emotive impact of implying an immediate effect on people's lives.
But global warming skeptics do not do that. They have intellectual integrity. There is not an ounce of intellectual integrity amongst the whole gaggle of catastrophic global warming alarmists.
The term climate change implies something that affects people in their daily lives. What NASA gives as evidence of climate change is in almost every case something that is statistical. These statistical changes may be interesting and important but they are not climate change per se. The only evidence of climate change per se that is given in NASA's webpage on the evidence of climate change is the earlier melting of the winter snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere and that is not a bad thing.
(To be continued.)
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