Computer Models versus Observations
The fears of a climate catastrophe come from predictions based on computer simulations. Climate is a ‘wicked’ system – very complex with many unpredictable elements. The Scientific Method is the common form of testing an idea or hypothesis to see if it is accurate or true. Check the idea or ideology against the evidence.
“Global warming” is based on a hypothesis developed over 100 years ago. Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was concerned there would be another Little Ice Age. He began to study how carbon dioxide affects climate. At first he thought that a doubling of carbon dioxide would lead to a large rise in temperature. That’s what many modern sources cite. However, in 1906, based on further research, he changed his view and decided warming would be slight and probably beneficial. (No one read that paper because he only published it in German. Here is the translation.)
So – other scientists began studying the effect of increased human industrial emissions on the environment and developing theories about how carbon dioxide, soot and other greenhouse gases might affect the climate. Some of them prophesied disaster because they envisioned the earth as a ‘greenhouse’ – but in fact the earth is not covered by a glass roof, and many complex interactions take place to reduce the assumed warming effect of carbon dioxide.
Water Vapour is a Wild Card in Global Warming
Water vapour is a totally invisible substance and the most important greenhouse gas. It is formed through warming or cooling. It is the most important greenhouse gas because there is so much of it, and it has a changeable, fickle nature.
In 2010, NOAA – the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Authority – of the US, noted that even though there was more carbon dioxide in the air, since there was LESS water vapour in the stratosphere, the expected warming was not taking place. They named water vapour a ‘wild card’ in global warming.
This is a good example of how hypothesis meets reality – and how only observations of reality are conclusive. Even Svante Arrhenius had contemplated that carbon dioxide’s effect might be modified by water vapour, though in his time he was not able to properly assess the physical qualities of each.
A Catastrophic Model (Simulation) versus Reality
Here is a graph with a red line showing the average predictions of a number of computer simulations that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses as a basis for their reports.
You can see that the red line suggests a lot of warming* MIGHT happen and that’s why governments and ordinary citizens have been so concerned.
Now look at the blue and pale green lines. These are the real temperatures that have been documented in two ways:
⦁ Satellites use remote sensors to assess atmospheric temperatures. These are from afar, so they are not direct measurements of temperatures.
⦁ Weather balloons are released twice a day from 900 locations around the world and these DO directly measure temperatures and various altitudes.
You can see that the satellite sensors and the weather balloon temperatures match each other pretty closely. That’s what’s really happening with earth’s temperature.
(*would still be less than past warm periods like the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm periods
Why is it not warming as predicted by models/simulations?
Many unpredictable factors affect climate.
Climate model/simulations include many subjective assumptions by the modellers – many scientists today think the ‘climate sensitivity’ (or climate effect) of carbon dioxide was simply assumed to be much higher than it is. But there are other factors.
We do know that Total Solar Irradiance has dropped since 2002. This is visible on a graph from the World Radiation Center in Davos, Switzerland.
We do know that the sun is in a period of low activity. Usually there are many sunspots on the surface of the sun every day. This is how it looked in the spring of 2015 – a blank. This is sometimes referred to as ‘solar hibernation’ or a ‘cold sun.’
We do know that the sun is entering a low phase of activity, as shown in this chart below.
There are many solar scientists who see this as a trend toward global cooling – even as cold as the Little Ice Age. If so, we are not prepared.
The above graph is from work by Habibullov Abdussamatov, Russian astrophysicist, from his work evaluating the possibility of a new cooling period, based on his research on solar cycles. In his view, we are already in a cooling cycle that may go on for decades.
This is called a “Grand Minimum” as he presents in his discussion paper.
Climate Changes – Warmer or Cooler – Let’s be Prepared for Either
Since we have geologic records showing thousands of years of cyclical warming and cooling patterns on earth, it only makes sense that humans should be prepared for ANY climate change. Most of the way we deal with climate change is through adaptation – and most of our adaptations to date are so obvious we don’t see them anymore.
Insulated houses, running water, piped natural gas for home heating and cooking, paved roads and weather responsive equipment like snowplows – these are all part of human adaptations to the challenges we face from weather and climate changes.