|The Week That Was
May 27, 2006
New on the Web: Robert Balling reviews Al Gore's documentary
film "An Inconvenient Truth" and points to inconvenient
untruths. For an additional critique see Roy Spencer's discussion
Further comments at http://news.monstersandcritics.com/northamerica/article_1164438.php/Analysis_Gore_churns_up_warming_debate
Did you feel sorry for Al Gore's synthetic polar bear searching for
an ice floe? Then see http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba551/
Comedian Andy Borowitz reveals that Hillary has produced a cautionary
documentary about the former Veep:
The election of former vice president Al Gore to the White House could
result in a disastrous phenomenon called "global boring" in
which millions of people around the world would fall asleep in an unprecedented
narcoleptic pandemic. That is the message of a new documentary about the
2000 Democratic Party standard-bearer that has been produced and narrated
by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and is being released in selected cities
today. The documentary, entitled "An Incoherent Truth," collects
moments from some of Mr. Gore's most mind-numbing speeches to make a persuasive
case that a Gore presidency would set off a doomsday scenario of global
For more satire about Global Warming, see Item #1.
But there are also those who really WORRY about GW, read books by
Ross Gelbspan, and think that Al Gore and Environmental Defense are not
providing enough "leadership": http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/14258942p-15073248c.html
And there is Bill McKibben, "scholar-in-residence" at Middlebury
College, VT, bewailing the fate of the Earth in http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/26/AR2006052601549.html?referrer=emailarticle
BTW, if you want to write, it is <email@example.com>
I know they'd love to hear from you. Pls send me a Bcc. We will publish
the best letters next week.
But if you are the worrying kind, take this Quiz about Radiation (translated
by the Rekenmeester - from Dutch) http://www.richel.org/radiation/welcome.php
Study shows major media have hyped climate change for over a century--switching
back and forth between warming and cooling.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC is due in 2007. But Volume 1
(by the Science panel) has been widely available. We list some major critiques
in Item #2. They relate to evidence for human influences, sea-level rise,
and the Hockeystick.
India says it and other developing nations should tackle poverty first,
not fight global warming. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L16519938.htm
The Hill Times (Ottawa), (May 15) reports on progress in Canada:
Natural Resources Canada is now using the phrase "responsible development"
in place of "sustainable development," http://www.hilltimes.com/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2006/may/15/development/&c=1
Is this the beginning of the end in Europe?
1. How a Global Warming Satirist Breaks the Ice
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post, May 21, 2006;
Witness the headlines: "Pristine Alaskan Glacier Turns Into Tropical
Wasteland." "More Polar Bears Suffering Heat Exhaustion."
And "Dolphins Discovered Fleeing Warming Tropical Waters." Global
warming warnings intended to give you the shivers.
But upon further clicking and reading, visitors to EcoEnquirer.com might
think, hmm: Is the Smithsonian Institution really buying up virgin arctic
sea ice on the black market? Did attention-weary penguins actually chase
bewildered researchers back onto their ships? And what's this about the
EPA mandating a reduction in emissions from . . . volcanoes?
Somewhere in an office about 600 miles southwest of here, former NASA
scientist Roy W. Spencer is laughing. The 50-year-old, white-haired PhD
dreamed up the spoof site -- sort of the Onion meets the Weather Channel
-- because he thinks people are overreacting to the threat of climate
Now a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville,
Spencer says human activities have "likely" contributed to climate
change, but he argues that "since we do not understand natural climate
fluctuations, we don't really know how much, quantitatively, of the present
warmth is man-made versus natural."
Spencer describes his Web site as "a spur-of-the moment effort that
resulted from the increasing number of news stories that quoted people
who blamed global warming for events such as tsunamis and the latest flood,
drought or hurricane. . . . Also, I have a somewhat twisted sense of humor,
and the Web site gives me an additional creative outlet." His other
creative outlet: He's lead guitarist in a contemporary Christian rock
band at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Huntsville. (His environmentalist-mocking
alternative lyrics to Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit": "I'll
take a little bit, I'll take a little bit of your wealth from you/So give
a little bit, oh, give a little more than a dime to me.")
It's all a way of keeping his sanity, Spencer explains.
"Being in the minority is difficult," he says, adding that while
he now earns a small amount of money writing for TCS Daily, a Web site
funded in part by ExxonMobil, "I have always said, if you want to
make money in this business, the skeptics' side is not the side you want
to work on."
His Web site has maintained a relatively low profile. Spencer was on two
nationally syndicated AM talk radio shows in early March, leading to 150,000
page views that month, but things have trailed off; EcoEnquirer got about
43,000 page views the first three weeks of this month.
So it's just a fun thing. Well, mostly. "I was surprised at the number
of people that thought the EcoEnquirer stories were real."
Signs of the Times, a leftist Web forum, mistakenly published the article
from EcoEnquirer on March 6 about dolphins fleeing the warming tropics.
(The "news" item includes this quote from a Dr. Fisherman: "If
you had hot water poured on you, you would flee, wouldn't you?")
Signs of the Times issued an editorial two days later calling Spencer's
Web site "a waste of cyberspace."
Spencer's serious academic work has sparked controversy. While at NASA
-- between 1984 and 2001 -- he and University of Alabama at Huntsville
professor John Christy pioneered satellite monitoring that indicated the
Earth was warming more slowly than surface temperature readings would
indicate. In 1991 the two researchers won NASA's Exceptional Scientific
Achievement Medal for that work, but this month a government study concluded
there was no statistical difference between the two climate records.
Spencer acknowledged that other satellite experts have found two errors
in how he and Christy processed their data. Christy, who has known Spencer
for nearly two decades, called his colleague "one of those traditional
weather nerds" who get excited every time there's a big storm.
Naturally, Spencer is less than popular with scientists who believe that
industrialized nations need to take swift action to curb carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases.
"It tends to cloud the issue by playing media attention to the uncertainties,"
said Drew Shindell, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies in New York. "In fact, we know a lot more about this
issue than a lot of things we take action on."
But EcoEnquirer.com has its fans, too. Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee counsel John Shanahan, whose boss, James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.),
has called global warming "a hoax," likes Spencer for his research
as well as his wit.
"It wasn't until I first saw his Web site that I realized that he's
an amazingly funny guy," says Shanahan. "It's refreshing to
see a scientist keep his sense of humor in a highly polarized debate."
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
2. Preliminary Analysis of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report AR4 (2007)
On the whole. IPCC-AR4 seems more restrained than some of its predecessors
(influence of IPCC chair Susan Solomon?). But there are exceptions:
1] A shift in the base line exaggerates the effect:
Fig1 of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) shows forcing ( rather than
GHG levels) of the order of 1-2 W/m2. But the average GH forcing is about
300 W/m2 (88% of the ave solar constant of 340 W/m2). [This is standard
2] The current warming trend is represented as anthropogenic. There is
no mention that the pattern of warming does not match what GH models predict.
3] AR4 no longer supports the Hockeystick -- even though the IPCC has
not formally retracted its use in the (2001) Third Assessment Report (TAR),
where it was presented as "evidence" for anthropogenic warming
I quote from the SPM, AR4 Draft, Working Group-1 (p.9);
"Some recent studies indicate greater variability in NH temperatures
over the last 1000 years than reported in TAR ... "
As you may recognize, this re-establishes the Little Ice Age, which the
Hockeystick had abolished.
But the SPM also suggests: "Average NH temperatures during the second
half of the 20th century were ... likely the warmest in the past 1000
This claim, based only on poorly calibrated tree-ring data, goes against
actual data with thermometers in ice-core boreholes (Dahl-Jensen) and
isotope data of ice cores (Cuffey); both show the Medieval Warm Period
much warmer than the present. IPCC-AR4 also ignores the abundant historical
evidence (e.g., farming in southern Greenland). See also http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/NAS%20Hockeystick.htm
4] Sea-Level Rise:
Fig. 3b of the SPM shows sea levels rising during the 20 century. But
they don't tell you that this rate (about 18 cm per century) has been
ongoing for several 1000 years.
There has been no acceleration of SL rise.
I further note that the undisputed strong warming of 1920-40 did not accelerate
SL rise (see also my discussion in Hot Talk Cold Science , p.18)
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