- Development & Aid
- Economy & Trade
- Human Rights
- Global Governance
- Civil Society
Monday, June 5, 2023
Nov 27 2018 - To comprehend the complex arguments and abstruse terminology of the climate debate, I have been helped by the advice of one scientist who said it is essential to grasp the difference between weather and climate.
The current conundrum is the widespread and erroneous belief (propagated by climate alarmists) that 1) the California fires, 2) the Hawaii volcanic activity, and 3) super typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda in Leyte are proof of global warming or climate change.
This belief is as mistaken as believing that planet Earth is flat.
The way out of this thicket is to understand first the difference between weather and climate.
Confusion about the two has led to the fear-mongering about global warming, and now the absurd UN prediction of global climate catastrophe.
Weather and climate: The difference
You can’t take better guidance on these concepts than from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), two major science agencies in the United States.
I have taken the following from a brief of NASA and NOAA. I quote:
“The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.
When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. Today, children always hear stories from their parents and grandparents about how snow was always piled up to their waists as they trudged off to school. Children today in most areas of the country haven’t experienced those kinds of dreadful snow-packed winters, except for the Northeastern US in January 2005. The change in recent winter snows indicate that the climate has changed since their parents were young.
“If summers seem hotter lately, then the recent climate may have changed. In various parts of the world, some people have even noticed that springtime comes earlier now than it did 30 years ago. An earlier springtime is indicative of a possible change in the climate….
Weather is basically the way the atmosphere is behaving, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities. The difference between weather and climate is that weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure, as in high and low pressure.
In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season.
Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space. An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.”
Global warming errs badly
To understand the great confusion about global warming or climate change, my most lucid guide has been Dr. Richard Lindzen — a former Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at MIT and member of the US National Academy of Sciences — and his now famous lecture for the Global Warming Policy Foundation last October 8.
Some say that the lecture is must reading for everyone who thinks about global warming/climate change, and for everyone who thinks about science and its role in human society and politics.
In just a number of segments of his lecture, Dr. Lindzen crystallized for me why the church of global warming errs so badly in its dogma.
Global warming promoters fostered the popular public perception of the science of climate change as quite simple. It is that here’s one phenomenon to be explained (“global average temperature,” or GAT, which, says Lindzen, is a thoroughly unscientific concept). And there’s one explanation for it: the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
But the reality is that Earth’s climate system is probably the most complicated system ever studied, with the exception of DNA and the human brain.
There are dozens of categories of factors that influence it, and thousands to billions of individual pieces of each category…
GAT is only one of many important phenomena to measure in the climate system, and CO2 is only one of many factors that influence both GAT and all the other phenomena.
CO2’s role in controlling GAT is at most perhaps 2 percent, yet climate alarmists think of it as the “control knob.”
Most people readily confuse weather (short-term, local-scale temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, cloudiness, and more) with climate (long-term, large-scale of each) and think weather phenomena are driven by climate phenomena; they aren’t.
Consequently, as Lindzen says, the currently popular narrative concerning this system is this: The climate, a complex multifactor system, can be summarized in just one variable, the globally averaged temperature change, and is primarily controlled by the 1 to 2 percent perturbation in the energy budget due to a single variable — carbon dioxide — among many variables of comparable importance.
This, says Lindzen, is an extraordinary pair of claims based on reasoning that borders on magical thinking. But this is the narrative that has been widely accepted.
Crisis of credibility
I turn next to my latest find in my continuing research on the UN doomsday scare and the global warming debate. I refer to an article published on April 24, 2018 in Real Clear Markets and Investors Business Daily titled: “Did You Know the Greatest Two-Year Global Cooling Event Just Took Place?” by Aaron Brown.
Brown reports that NASA data show that global temperatures dropped sharply over the past two years. Does this make NASA a global warming denier?
Brown looked at the official NASA global temperature data and noticed something surprising. From February 2016 to February 2018, “global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius.” That, he notes, is the biggest two-year drop in the past century.
“The 2016-2018 Big Chill,” he writes, “was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five-month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average.”
Brown’s discovery did not warrant any news coverage in US mainstream media.
In fact, in the three weeks since Real Clear Markets ran Brown’s story, no other news outlet picked up on it. Instead they reported on such things as tourism’s impact on climate change, how global warming will generate more hurricanes this year, threaten fish habitats, and make islands uninhabitable. They wrote about a UN official saying that “our window of time for addressing climate change is closing very quickly.”
In short, the mainstream media repeated only what climate change advocates have been saying for decades.
Brown’s point is that the drop in temperatures at least merits a review of the global warming narrative.
But there is a refusal to cover inconvenient scientific findings. Brown recalled them.
There was the study published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate showing that climate models exaggerate global warming from CO2 emissions by as much as 45 percent. It was ignored.
Then there was the study in the journal Nature Geoscience that found that climate models were faulty, and that, as one of the authors put it, “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models.”
Nor did the press see fit to report on findings from the University of Alabama-Huntsville showing that the Earth’s atmosphere appears to be less sensitive to changing CO2 levels than previously assumed.
Now, they are also turning their backs on NASA’s findings.
In sum, says Brown, global warming faces a crisis of credibility.
This story was originally published by The Manila Times, Philippines
IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core,
raising the voices of the South
and civil society on issues of development, globalisation, human rights and the environment
Copyright © 2023 IPS-Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. - Terms & Conditions
You have the Power to Make a Difference
Would you consider a $20.00 contribution today that will help to keep the IPS news wire active? Your contribution will make a huge difference.