Thursday, March 17, 2016
February global temperature rise proves nothing
The shrill article below is panicking over February temperatures so I suppose I should point out a few obvious things. I have really dealt with this nonsense before but a few comments anyway.
For a start, hanging anything on the figures for one month is dumb. You can have unusually hot months in a year where there is no overall change. Even figures for one year are rubbery. Figures for years can go up and down but still show no overall trend. You need a trend over a period of years to conclude anything. 2015 was a touch warmer but 2016 could be a touch cooler overall. If we get an early return of La Nina, the later months of 2016 could be cool in the same way that the early months were warm. That's all elementary stuff -- even if it is conspicuously overlooked below.
It was a bit boring writing all that freshman-level stuff above but I was listening to some Stravinsky while I wrote it so that kept me alert and happy
But now to get onto the specifics about February 2016: According to NOAA (See here) The February 2016 temperature was 5.69°F above the C20 average. That seems a lot. One can understand it being called "whopping". But wait a minute. 2005 was 4.12°F above the same average. Was that "whopping" too? Did that presage climate catastrophe? Ten years later we can say that it clearly didn't. And February 2015 was -0.85°F -- BELOW average. Did that warn of an oncoming ice age? Clearly not. Hanging your hat on one month is brick thick. I really shouldn't have to point out what excreta the article below is. Temperatures fluctuate but there is no statistically significant long-term trend.
So Feb 2016 was a bit higher than 2005. Why? Easy: El Nino. Despite what is said below, it was in fact TOTALLY due to El Nino. How do I know that? Because it was NOT due to a rise in CO2. The recent temperature rises did not fit neatly into any one year. They were concentrated in late 2015 and early 2016, And that is PRECISELY a period over which CO2 levels plateaued. From August 2015 to February 2016, CO2 levels have been stuck on 398 ppm, according to the Cape Grim data. CO2 levels over that period only varied by less than one part per million. Annual changes before that were around 2 parts per million.
The big Warmist story is that warming is due to CO2 levels. If that were so, the recent rise in temperature would be a mirror of rising CO2 levels. But the CO2 levels belie that. They didn't rise. Once again temperature and CO2 are disconnected. So El Nino is the only explanation left for the recent temperature uptick. It is an entirely natural fluctuation with nothing to do with human actions. That's what the data tells us. Do look up the Cape Grim data yourself to check it
February shattered climate records, scientists worried we could see 2C warming within months.
Does everybody still believe global warming is a hoax? Yet more data confirms what scientists have feared for a long time, the planet is warming, and it may have passed a tipping point. The latest data now reveals that February 2016 was the hottest February on record, and it blew that record by a wide margin.
February is a cold month, especially in the northern hemisphere, so it's surprising to see that it was so hot. And hot is the right word to use. According to climate data, the entire northern hemisphere was 2.43 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than average, and a full third of a degree hotter than the record.
Whens peaking of climate records, it is common to deal in tenths or even hundredths of a degree. To see a third of a degree, or, in this case, nearly two-and-a-half degrees, overall, is literally unprecedented. February 2016 is the first month in history that global average temperatures exceeded the 1.5 degree (Celsius) average.
Scientists also noted that the warmth was unusually concentrated in the Arctic, contributing to record ice melt and likely weather anomalies.
While El Nino can be blamed for some of the weather anomalies for 2015-2016, global warming also has a major role to play in both El Nino and overall temperature rise. Also, EL Nino, despite its hype, is only responsible for a tenth of a degree Celsius rise in years when it occurs, which means the additional 1.2C degrees of warming cannot be attributed to the Pacific weather phenomenon.
The heart of the problem is simple thermodynamics. The planet is absorbing more radiation from the Sun than it is putting back out into space, resulting in a slow warming trend. The additional radiation is stored as heat, both in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Part of the reason for this imbalance appears to be rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. Carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, which traps heat. The increased heat increases evaporation, and water vapor is an even better store of heat energy, which causes yet more warming.
Scientists are alarmed because it has taken over a century to see the planet warm a full 1 degree Celsius. Now, in the past five months, the planet has warmed another half degree. Will we see 2 degrees before the summer is though? It's an alarming thought.
According to the most pessimistic global warming hypothesis, once the planet sees 2 degrees Celsius of average global warming, the climate trend will be virtually irreversible. The polar ice caps will melt, resulting in sea level rise and destroying cities. Shifts in weather patterns, as well as more extreme weather will destroy food crops and render some regions nearly uninhabitable. Mass extinctions of many species could occur.
These changes will impact humanity by forcing mass human migration, while also disrupting food and water supplies. This means more conflict and chaos overall.
Indeed, we have already seen the beginning of polar ice melts with Arctic ice now the lowest it has ever been recorded for a winter season. Animals, especially in the Arctic, are facing famine as food supplies run low. Polar bears are dying off in large numbers. And people are being impacted too. The warmer temperatures mean less snow and ice, which is hurting people whose lives depend on the snow and ice. As coastal villages thaw, erosion as well as a lack of food available for hunting is creating challenges all around the Arctic.
In the tropics, scientists are alarmed because around the world, they're observing the single greatest coral bleaching event in history.
Despite these well-documented changes, a hardcore of deniers continues to dispute that anything unnatural is happening, insisting that either humans are blameless, or that nothing unusual is happening at all. However, to believe this requires the denial of the nearly unanimous consensus of the scientific community.
Even climate skeptic Roy Spencer characterized the warming as "whopping."
Thousands of climate scientists around the world have no reason to lie about this basic truth: humans are pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere with predictable effect. If we are to survive the future without extreme climate disruption and mass extinctions, we need to curtail emissions. Scientists are not getting rich off these discoveries. However, the fossil fuel lobby, has been implicated in pushing climate change skepticism. The scandal is such that authorities in the U.S. have even discussed bringing suit against prominent deniers, much the same way the government sued those who claimed cigarette smoking wasn't harmful.
While few Americans would support such harsh action against climate deniers, their work is producing a discernible harm, as our nation fails to decisively tackle its own problems with CO2 emissions.
How hot does it have to get for us to see that the scientists are right? How many species need to go extinct before we start to care? How high does sea level need to rise before we act? How bad does global warming have to impact your life before you change your attitude?
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).