President Donald Trump poked the climate bear once again in late January. As a polar vortex held much of the nation in its icy grip, with record-low temperatures recorded in many locations, Trump tweeted, “In the beautiful Midwest, wind chill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you!”
The president’s snarky January 29 response to 2019’s record cold wave is typical Trump.
During a previous record-setting cold spell in late December 2017, when hundreds of record lows and record low daily high temperatures were being recorded in cities across the United States and around the globe, including in Europe and China, Trump tweeted a December 29 missive, “In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against.”
Obama-holdover climate hypesters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were quick to respond to Trump’s 2019 tweet with one of their own: “Winter storms don’t prove that global warming isn’t happening.”
The media was quick to parrot NOAA’s tweet, dutifully reporting no single cold spell or winter storm is proof humans aren’t causing global warming. After all, the talking heads tell us, there is a difference between weather and climate.
That is true. But climate alarmists and their lapdogs in the mainstream media conveniently fail to remember this fact every year when they breathlessly claim a single flood or hurricane, or a busy hurricane season, or a large wildfire is evidence humans are causing dangerous climate change. Those events are weather, not climate, as well.
Weather isn’t climate. A region’s climate is its geology, topography, and weather patterns and history accumulated, measured, and averaged over long periods of time. We have had record-setting polar vortex events three of the last five years—could it be a trend? NASA recently noted record-low sunspot activity could portend a decades-long period of below-average temperatures. As reported in American Thinker, but not much elsewhere, “Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center reported in September: ‘High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.'”
Although winter storms don’t prove global warming isn’t happening, they definitely contradict predictions made by many of the same climate change charlatans just a few years ago that human-caused climate change would make snow nonexistent, or nearly so, in the near future. As recently as February 2014, the New York Times ran an article titled “The End of Snow,” and less than a month later the U.S. East Coast was getting pounded with record cold and snow, and some of those records were broken during the 2017 cold spell. Now, locations as far apart as Colorado, Seattle, and Hawai’i are experiencing record-setting snowfall.
As a 2014 Daily Caller article reports, in 2000, scientists in the U.K. said global warming would make snowfall a very rare and exciting event, quoting one scientist as saying “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” In 2004, other scientists warned Scotland’s ski industry was set to collapse as warming ended snowfall there. Where were the reporters following up with these scientists in 2014 when record cold and snowfall descended across the United Kingdom and as skiers took to the slopes during Scotland’s 2014 ski season?
As to hurricanes, the media were quick to uncritically report some scientists’ claims the busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was consistent with climate model projections of more powerful hurricanes. The same stories failed to note that before the 2017 season the United States had gone through the longest period in recorded history—more than 14 years—without a Class 3 or higher hurricane making landfall in the United States. The 14-year hurricane hiatus was completely inconsistent with climate model projections, and the media were silent about that.
True shifts in climate are demonstrated only over hundreds or thousands of years, not dozens of years during which weather “extremes” could be just fluctuations or oscillations around the mean. By contrast, a hypothesis about humans causing imminent, catastrophic climate change which repeatedly makes predictions that fail to match reality, can be reconsidered and discounted much more quickly. Such a reassessment of the hypothesis of looming, catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming is long overdue.
Unfortunately, because so many scientists have colluded to manipulate and modify hard data to fit their pet climate theory despite copious failed projections and evidence to the contrary, I have come to the conclusion the theory of human-driven climate catastrophe is really more like a religious belief—a revealed truth about human sins (fossil fuel use) and their consequences (all manner of calamities)—and not a scientific explanation subject to falsification by testing.
No matter what weather event happens—warmer or colder than usual temperatures for a season or even a single day, more or less moisture than average, more snow or less snow—the answer is human-caused climate change. That’s why they stopped talking about globull warming (pun intended) and instead now talk about climate change: because they couldn’t explain why warming stopped for 18 years despite rising carbon dioxide emissions.
Albert Einstein once said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Einstein’s words express a foundational principle of science intoned by the logician Karl Popper: falsifiability. In order for a hypothesis to be considered scientific, there must be conditions which could prove it false. A thousand observations may appear to verify a hypothesis, but one critical failure can prove it wrong. The history of science is littered with examples.
Any hypothesis that cannot be falsified is not scientific; it is a religious tenet, a matter of faith. The current hypothesis about anthropogenic climate change should be no exception to this principle, but many scientists and the media treat it as though it is.
No matter what the climate phenomenon, if climate alarmists can find a way to present it as unusual, they trumpet it as “further evidence humans are causing climate change,” even when it contradicts earlier phenomena the same people pointed to as evidence of anthropogenic climate change.
In climate change research, different models looking at the same phenomenon applying the same laws of physics with the same inputs produce dramatically varied results. Thus, one model says we can expect the polar ice sheets to melt, while another predicts the coming of the next ice age, or one model will forecast long-term drought in the Southwest while another model predicts increased precipitation.
Don’t get me wrong: climate change might result in an ice age or planetary desertification, or it might cause an increase of flash floods or more droughts, or it might cause increased or decreased agricultural productivity. But for each pair of diametrically opposed predictions, it can’t cause both to occur at the same time, in the same place. How does one test or disprove a theory that is predicted to cause both an increase and a decrease in the water levels of the Great Lakes in 2100, or whose proponents warn it will cause the polar ice sheets to melt and raise sea levels while bringing about the next ice age and a consequent dramatic fall in ocean levels?
When confronted with inconvenient facts or evidence calling into question one or more aspects of the theory of human-caused climate change, or by arguments that the way climate science is being practiced violates the scientific method, climate alarmists revert to ad hominem attacks, calling the researchers raising such questions names or questioning their motives instead of addressing the substance of their arguments. This response is a hallmark of doctrinaire religious zealots, not of scientists engaged in the back-and-forth exchange of ideas in pursuit of knowledge and truth. That is what the best tradition of scientific discovery is.
- H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
Anastasios Tsonis, emeritus distinguished professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the Atmospheric Sciences Group at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has written a paper explaining why all scientists should be climate skeptics. Skepticism and enquiry are at the heart of the scientific endeavor, and efforts to shut down debate about the causes and consequences of climate change or claims the science is settled are anti-science, Tsonis writes.
Tsonis notes the use of fossil fuels has been necessary for the evolution of human society and enormous increase in human prosperity. Although changes in climate are important to understand, and “we should try our best to take care of our planet, … poverty, infectious diseases and the effect of globalization in spreading them, the water crisis, energy and food availability and safety, political instability and terrorism, the global economy, even cyber security, are far more urgent problems with potentially catastrophic results for humanity,” Tsonis writes.
As part of his research, Tsonis and a colleague compared the temperature and precipitation outputs of 23 different climate models used by various agencies and international bodies studying climate change. They found climate models produce widely varied temperature and precipitation projections, with the models neither agreeing with each other very well nor reflecting actual temperature and precipitation amounts or trends. As climate modelers have “tuned” the models over time to force them to agree better with each other, the less their projections correspond with reality.
All scientists should be skeptics. Climate is too complicated to attribute its variability to one cause. We first need to understand the natural climate variability (which we clearly don’t …). Only then we can assess the magnitude and reasons of climate change. … All model projections made for the 21st century failed to predict the slowdown of the planet’s warming despite the fact that carbon dioxide emissions kept on increasing. Science is never settled. …
It is my educated opinion that many forces have shaped global temperature variation. Human activity, the oceans, extraterrestrial forces (solar activity and cosmic rays), and other factors are all in the mix.
A recent paper by a team of Greek physicists from the Climate Research Group at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, concludes “it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities.”
The researchers examined the satellite dataset for December 1978 through July of 2018, finding the data did not display consistent warming accompanying the relatively steady increase in carbon dioxide emissions, nor did it show the gradual increase in warming from low to high latitudes in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres as predicted by the hypothesis human greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. An additional “identifiable signature” of anthropogenic global warming would be a combination of tropospheric heating and stratospheric cooling leading to an increase in the height of the tropopause, the area where the troposphere and the stratosphere interface, but the data show no such tropopause increase.
Instead of rising greenhouse gas levels directly causing higher temperatures, the climate system is complicated, complex, and always changing in reaction to a variety of local, regional, and global factors, on multiple time scales, the researchers conclude.