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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SO, HAS THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF OUR ATMOSPHERE INCREASED OR NOT?

After trying to embarrass climate change deniers at this blogsite yesterday (scroll down to the next article), this morning I see a report that any West Coast warming was not caused by Man.  This was a NOAA study co-authored by Nathan Mantua (left) and James Johnstone (right) of the University of Washington, published by the National Academy of Sciences.

I suspect that the blowback will be a consensus that there are, of course, local differences, but the overwhelming evidence that we are, indeed, responsible, will in time prevail.  Nevertheless, I thought I'd address the matter which appears to provide global climate change skeptics their highest credibility:  WHY HAS OUR GLOBAL TEMPERATURE NOT INCREASED FOR ALMOST 18 YEARS?

First of all, there is no denying that our burning of fossil fuels has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere:


There is also acceptance that an increase in carbon dioxide will induce a Greenhouse Effect, which will raise the temperature of the air around us.  So it is no surprise that NOAA published the following increase in the temperature of Planet Earth, in the air and on land:


Here is our temperature profile over 2000 years:


No question that the global surface temperature has for at least the past century increased.  Further, the temperature of our oceans have increased by about 1.5 F since 1880, with two-thirds of of this occurring since 1980.  So, then, how do you explain the following graph?


I can repeat:  NO GLOBAL WARMING FOR 17 YEARS AND 6 MONTHS!!!  This information comes from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), a private research company founded in 1974 to process microwave data from a variety of  NASA satellites.  This is a reputable company.

Well, this graph has been touted by Climate Depot, a web site Wikipedia indicates is run by Marc Morano, a global warming skeptic who has a degree in political science, and has worked for Rush Limbaugh and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.  Everyone knows the views of Limbaugh (he says the media are lying about global warming).  Inhofe  shows signs of being certifiably nuts, but has also been characterized as "a shrewd politician from the reddest of red states (Oklahoma), playing to a conservative base that appears ever more comprised of elements from the fringes of the political mainstream."  Two decades ago Inhofe had a 3G campaign strategy:  Guns, God and Gays.  Well, he has added a fourth:  Global warming.  To quote:

One of the issues he takes pride in is his insane position on the environment and climate change. Inhofe believes that catastrophic global warming is a hoax conceived by the United Nations and spread by the “Hollywood elite.” He has also stated that Global Warming is “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state. Inhofe had previously compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo and he compared EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose.
So why are those graphics above so contradictory?  For one:

Satellites do not measure temperature. They measure radiances in various wavelength bands, which must then be mathematically inverted to obtain indirect inferences of temperature.[1][2] The resulting temperature profiles depend on details of the methods that are used to obtain temperatures from radiances. As a result, different groups that have analyzed the satellite data have produced differing temperature datasets.

RSS publishes thousands of data sets.  The above graph showing no temperature change in 17 years and 6 months is just one of them for a specific group of parameters.  Cherry-picking is the modus operandi of global warming skeptics.

However, the following temperature plot of the past 130 years does show that there has been a definite recent stabilization, and this has been the magnum opus of the skeptics:


Here is one quote:

Scientists believe causes could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide

I find this explanation less than compelling, but the science is complicated.  I suspect that this issue will encourage fossil fuel organizations to expand their broad scale disinformation campaign that seems to working, for Americans continue to believe that the danger of global warming is exaggerated (that's the dark green line at the top):

Only 23% of us feel that the media representation is accurate.

So is the average temperature of Planet Earth increasing or not?  Certainly, going back 2000 and 100 years, but, maybe there has been stability over the past 17 years and 6 months, and counting.

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