September 21, 2004

Global Warming

A couple of items regarding Global Warming... First (hat tip to Kim DuToit) comes a link to an entry at Coutertop Chronicle. Unfortunately, the author has done a major site revision so the original link no longer points to anything. They promise to get this fixed and I will update this entry when they do. UPDATE - beginning: Countertop wrote back with the correct URL. The article also has a bunch of links that are important: CJS Approipriations Bill -- Thomas indexed HTML and Thomas PDF text The text of the rider in question is found on page 52 of the Thomas PDF version: bq. Provided further, That section 515 of Public Law 106-554 and any regulations and guidelines promulgated under such authority shall not apply on or after the date of enactment to research and data collection, or information analysis conducted by or for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More info on the Federal Data Quality Act And finally, how to contact your Senator and Congresscritter UPDATE - end: Here is an excerpt from the article (emphasis mine): bq. Well, Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg seems intent on eliminating science from the climate change debate. bq. Gregg, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, slipped in a last minute rider to the just passed CJS Appropriations bill that exempts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from complying with the mandates of the Data Quality Act. The DQA guarantees the use of sound science in policy making by ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of scientific information federal agencies use. If approved, NOAA would be the only agency exempt from sound science. NOAA's DQA regulations are available here. bq. NOAA, of course, oversees the National Climatic Data Center and is the lead agency in conducting research into the existence and effects of climate change. By exempting NOAA, this provision will prevent an honest evaluation of the science of climate change from occurring and ensure that future policy decisions are based not on sound science but rather on junk science. As Kim says: bq. The Federal Data Quality Act was designed to force organizations to use good data when trying to formulate, or influence public policy. I can see no reason why any organization should be exempt from its restrictions, because otherwise we could just make up the fucking data as we went along, without fear of having to actually, well, substantiate it. bq. Well, the Left has been trundling along, doing just that -- and most especially in the field of global warming / global cooling / "climate change", where Luddite environmentalists have tried to halt industrialization using, to be kind, specious data. Second item today are two articles in Tech Central Station regarding Global Warming -- the first one deals with Global Warming Models and their accuracy and track record. The second one deals with reporting and accuracy. The first article: bq. What Exactly Are the Global Warming Models Saying? It's fright month for adherents of global warming who, following upon Russia's failure to meet the Sept. 6 deadline for signing a global treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions, apparently want to scare the public at large to pressure the Bush administration to support such measures. And more -- talking about Global Circulation Models (GCM's): bq. More important, though, is that any application of GCM output to regions as small as California is not good scientific practice. Schemes are being developed currently by the scientific community to interpolate, reliably and soundly, GCM output down to regional scales. But logically, using GCM output to infer climate change for your state is like using a chain saw to do delicate wood carving. Additionally, the scenarios that would create such drastic climate change in the heartland of the USA in general necessarily must involve a drier climate as the UCS report does. bq. For every model simulation that shows California drying up, there are those that show increases in precipitation amounts for the same region under climate warming scenarios[2]. There is still a great degree of uncertainty about what the models are telling us, how to interpret what they tell us, and how they fit with current observations. To make matters even more complicated, some scientists have shown that even establishing the observational record can, in some cases, be a difficult task[3]. bq. As for Byers' contention that a warmer world would cause more violent weather, any student who takes General Circulation Theory 101 would know that an increase in global temperatures, primarily at higher latitudes and altitudes, as most assessments show, would lead to a more placid climate. bq. Why? Because such a scenario would lead to weaker equator-to-pole temperature gradients, decreasing the strength of the poleward transport of energy in the atmosphere and oceans, and resulting in basically less vigorous clashes between air masses. There are abundant studies available in the literature to show there are no general trends toward increases in severe weather occurrences such as hurricanes or tornadoes. The second article: bq. Journalistic Balancing Act? A new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change (see here for a press report) argues that, by adhering to the journalistic standard of balance when reporting on global warming, prestigious American newspapers have introduced an "informational bias" into public discussion of the issue. The trouble is that the analysis fails to take into account why we have newspapers in the first place. The authors are essentially making a case for censorship in favor of special interests. The author (Iain Murray)then cites a couple of examples and closes with the following: bq. So when the authors argue that newspapers are failing the public when they fail to reflect the supposed views of the scientific community about action, then the authors are failing to see the big picture. One of the roles of a free press in a democracy is to inform the public about policy options on which they have a voice. Restricting coverage of options based on the say so of any one group -- whether it is scientists, industry or a church -- is to sacrifice a free press on the altar of special interests. Journalistic standards are designed to protect us from that danger. Scientists, concerned or otherwise, are not aristocrats. They should be wary of those who treat them as such. Good stuff... We are at the beginning of a 400-year warming trend. Several hundred years ago, people could ice-skate on the Themes River. Nine hundred years ago, they were growing wine grapes in Greenland. Posted by DaveH at September 21, 2004 9:27 PM