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(in TWTW Dec 5, 2009)
Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Dec 5, 2009
As the questionable actions of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia are being revealed, we are witnessing how the life work of Hubert H. Lamb was tarnished by the very organizations he helped create. A pioneer in the scientific study of climate change, H.H. Lamb was the founder and first director of the CRU. After he retired, Lamb wrote the classic, Climate, History and the Modern World, (Routledge, 1982 & 1995). Lamb synthesized the physical evidence demonstrating that since the last ice age ended, the earth has been both warmer and cooler than today. For over 3,000 years, 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, it was 2-3 degrees C warmer than today.
The evidence for the Northern Hemisphere is extensive. Throughout North America and Eurasia trees grew 200 to 400 km closer to the North Pole than they grow today and in the mountains grew at higher elevations than they do today. The Sahara Desert was wetter. For example, cave paintings in the middle of the Sahara show natives hunting hippopotami in canoes or boats.
Because the land mass of the Southern Hemisphere is far less than the land mass of the Northern Hemisphere there is less physical evidence in the Southern Hemisphere. However, in the mountains of the Southern Hemisphere trees grew at higher elevations than today and Australia was wetter.
Lamb contended that temperature and climate changes were not uniform and differed both spatially and temporally; but, they existed world-wide and that temperature changes were more pronounced in the mid and upper latitudes than in the tropics. Based on his analysis, Lamb stated that warm periods were beneficial for humanity, and cold periods were harmful. He advocated that governments should fund studies on climate change so humanity will be better prepared for the next cold period that was sure to come. In the 1995 edition, he expressed concern that the study of climate change (global warming) had taken a wrong turn.
Lamb's research has been largely dismissed by the human caused global warming community.
For example in discussing Lamb's work, Chapter 6, Palaeoclimate of the 2007 The Fourth IPCC Assessment Report (AR4) states: These local warm periods were very likely not globally synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) (Lorenz et al., 2006). When forced by 6 ka orbital parameters, state-of-the-art coupled climate models and EMICs capture reconstructed regional temperature and precipitation synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) p. 460
The IPCC offers a graph showing a cooling of the tropical North Indian Ocean and the tropical Pacific Ocean as claimed proof that the extended warm period demonstrated by Lamb was regional not global. Of course, there is little physical evidence of warming or cooling of these oceans to verify or contradict the computer simulations. Thus according to the IPCC, compelling physical evidence of extensive warming in one part of the globe is counterbalanced by computer simulations of cooling in another part of the globe for which physical evidence is lacking. The life work of Lamb in compiling physical evidence has been trumped by computer simulations with little or no supporting physical evidence.
Perhaps there is a bit of irony in this week's statement by Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, when he claimed that the information in the emails in no way damages the credibility of the IPCC's AR4.
View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.
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