Thursday, August 31, 2006

AAPG Position on Global Warming

A few caveats to begin with:

First of all, I am not a member of the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists). I used to be, from around 1980 to 1996. One of the reasons I discontinued membership was that the association did not desire to be seen to be political and I felt this was detrimental to the profession. As it turns out, I think I was right, in that, by ignoring the politics of science the AAPG gave the upper hand to others who now basically control the media. Coming into the fray at this late stage is definitely going to be an uphill struggle.

Because I am not a member, I should not have access to some of the information that I am using in this entry. However, the members' only data is already freely circulating on the internet and it contains some fine material in graphic form that really demonstrates the problems we are facing in getting the true message across about global warming. As many of the graphics are drawn from the public domain, I feel it is OK to reproduce those graphics here.

The actual document the AAPG has published on the internet for all to see is dry, factual and not something that will ever impress the media. So bear with me on this, when I give you the link. By the way, do consider downloading the Word document, it reads well and can easily be attached to an e-mail!

So. To begin.

This graph is based on data gathered from atmosphere trapped in Antarctic ice and sampled from core. Note the span of human civilization is very small compared with 400,000 years of data. Note also the very large CO2 and temperature swings during the four Ice Ages. Basically, we can easily infer from this that the "massive increases in CO2 and rising temperature" that drives the modern climate change debate are nothing by comparison with natural history.

These graphs and the selected straight line trends derived from them show that scientists and politicians can very easily use fundamental data to whatever advantage they feel necessary. The data reflect carbon 18 isotope measurements from Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and these directly relate to temperatures at the time the carbon was trapped in the ice. Five trends have been drawn using various segments of the data.
Trend 1 uses the entire 16,000 years of data gathering and shows a general upward increase in temperature, as should be expected as we in an inter-glacial period, emerging from the last great Ice Age.
Trend 2 uses the period from 10,000 before present (BP) to the present and shows a gradual decline in temperature.
Trend 3 focuses on the most recent 2,000 years and this confirms Trend 2. Both these lines could be interpreted (by comparison with the 400,000 year chart above) that we entered a cooling trend about 10,000 years ago and that we may already be heading toward a fifth great Ice Age!
Trend 4 now looks only at the past 700 years and here the data is inconclusive, temperature appears to be quite stable within a relative narrow range of up and down spikes.
Trend 5 mirrors what we like to perceive as the era of rapidly changing human civilization - the past 50 years. The slight upward rise in temperature could be significant if taken without context to what has happened before but in fact there are been far greater swings in temperature that could only have resulted from purely natural events.

The big scary "fact" we are bombarded with is that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is directly related to climate change. Yet this graph suggests that there is no real correlation between temperature changes observed in recent history and the increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. If anything, temperature changes take on a distinct cyclical appearance through time in contrast with the rising levels of CO2.

So what does cause the temperature changes? Look no further than the sun, our neighborhood star. When more heat arrives on the surface of the planet, the temperature rises! Heat variations from the sun may be due to a number of causes, including sunspot activity, changes in the axis of rotation of the Earth and variations in the elliptical axis of the Earth's orbit.

With all this emphasis on increasing CO2 and the greenhouse gas effect, it is interesting to note just how important CO2 really is and, when the human element is separated from natural CO2 causes, just how insignificant the entire anthropogenic global warming debate is.

Finally, the AAPG document notes that, without the greenhouse effect we basically couldn't exist and that any small changes we are now experiencing are likely to have a positive effect (side note: totally validating the title of this blog!) in that in most parts of the globe rising temperatures and increasing CO2 concentrations would have a tremendous positive effect on plant and crop growth.

Global Warming - the Evidence

The exact origin of this spoof is unknown but I hope to reveal even more on the subject very soon!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A "Damp Squib"

So say the media about Hurricane Ernesto. After all their hype on the anniversary of Katrina I guess they were sorely disappointed that Ernesto faded fast in the Gulf of Mexico. But no news is good news for residents.

Katrina + 1 year

As might be expected, the environment police were on the war path on the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. This article on the BBC website is a companion to a feature on the "Today" program yesterday morning.

What bothers me most about this automatic coupling of "man-made global warming" to bad hurricane seasons is that there is little evidence for the connection. Severe hurricane seasons randomly come and go (Galveston in 1900 had a far greater loss of life than New Orleans in 2005). Too bad that no-one was allowed into the BBC's studios to point this out during the very "earnest" plug by Mr. Simms for his political views.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thirty Year Studies

This article is one of many that recently reported the findings of a group of scientists who claim that, by studying data starting in 1971, it can be proved that spring is arriving earlier and autumn is lasting longer.

Also in the Daily Telegraph, weather expert Philip Eden noted on Saturday that this study might have used 1971 as a start date because this and the following years were unusually cool. He doesn't accuse the scientists of anything but points out the dangerous precedent they may have unknowingly introduced.

The problem is that few will consider this normal and uncynical observation and the majority will jump on the bandwagon, claiming yet more short term evidence to prove long term hypothesis.

Well, of course, we can expect our springs to start earlier as we are still emerging from an Ice Age. But to measure this over a period of only 30 years is rather pointless. The fact that this study caused headline news is very disappointing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

56% of students believe in Darwinism

But that's not how the report is presented here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

August = Global Cooling?

You, know, just when the media and the politicians were ready to cash in on a really hot follow on to July, Nature fools the lot of them with a cool spell! Wake up, people, and understand that short term observations mean precious little.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tax tax and tax - it's the only way to sustain the government

This report sums up most poloticians' attitudes to solving a "problem".

We have seen the water companies fined hundreds of million of pounds for failing the public. This is a tax, not a fine. The money goes to the Treasury instead of toward relieving the very problems the fine is aimed at.

Now the move is on to raise taxes to cut carbon emssions in air travel and large vehicles. You know, we are soon going to come to a time when we will be paying out more in tax than we bring in in earnings. This possibility is a lot more certain than the conundrum of global warming. So we'll all work as bureaucrats for the government. Just how long that scenario could be "sustained" I leave to your imagination.

Enjoying "Global Warming"

Every summer in the northern hemisphere the globe we call Earth warms up. Without fail. This is such a constant, amazing phenomenon that scientists have stopped requesting funds to study it.

Like most other sane people, we have been enjoying an unusually pleasant early summer. Long may it continue, not only this year but the next!