23 Dec 2008, 12:57pm
Climate and Weather
by admin

Contrary To Popular Belief, There Is Hope

Chief Global Warming Alarmist, adviser to Al Gore, and NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen made a presentation to the American Geophysical Union last week. Hansen gave the honorary annual Bjerknes Lecture (pronunciation rather amusing). His slide presentation is [here] (warning, it is 2.5 MB) courtesy the estimable Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That [here].

The gist of Dr. Hansen’s talk is that Doomsday is upon us due to global warming. It is too late, runaway warming is happening, and the end result is that the oceans are going to boil away into outer space and all life will be extinguished on Planet Earth.

No kidding. This guy is a “scientist,” a highly paid one, and an employee and important adviser to our Government. And he is as nutty as a fruitcake.

Hansen said,

the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome. There is no escape from the Venus Syndrome. Venus will never have oceans again.

That is,

If the planet gets too warm, the water vapor feedback can cause a runaway greenhouse effect. The ocean boils into the atmosphere and life is extinguished.

Now, that’s a fairly alarmist statement. In fact, that’s the MOST alarmist statement I have ever heard. It’s pretty far out there. That’s not exactly what the IPCC says. They aren’t quite over the edge into complete hysteria, yet. But Hansen has plenty of fawning admirers, aka irrational paranoids having a mass panic attack.

Hansen cribs a little. He says,

Our model blows up before the oceans boil, but it suggests that perhaps runaway conditions could occur with added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2.

Exploding models do not give confidence in either the models or their output. Should we rely on exploding models? Why does Hansen? When I was just a boy (this is a confession I hope my mother doesn’t read), we would put firecrackers in plastic models (that we built from kits with model glue) and blow them up. Is that the kind of exploding models Hansen refers to?

Hansen also cribs,

There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time.

What? Is 4,000 ppm a realistic prediction? Currently CO2 concentration is ~380 ppm. It has allegedly risen 100 ppm over the last 100 years. To get to 4,000 ppm at the current rate would take another 3,620 years. Besides, there is evidence that paleo-atmosphere CO2 concentrations hundreds of millions of years ago could have been as much as 7,000 ppm. And it is abundantly clear that the oceans didn’t boil away and Life was not extinguished. If it had been, you wouldn’t be here, nor would I, nor would Hansen.

And how does he “know” that solar irradiance was less? That’s a fairly speculative statement that requires some evidential support. Which is entirely lacking. The Sun is a pretty steady energy source. There are minor fluctuations, such as the current sunspot minimum, but the energy output varies by only a fraction of a percentage point. In fact, many scientists are quite curious as to how a sunspot minimum can effect climate (the Little Ice Age occurred during a sunspot hiatus known as the Maunder Minimum) since the decline in solar output is so minuscule as to hardly be detectable by modern instruments.

Further, Hansen says that “to preserve creation” CO2 must be reduced or constrained to less than 350 ppm.

Again, that’s a fairly hyperbolic assertion, and in strong contrast to his prior statements as well as reality. First, if, as Hansen claimed, CO2 levels actually were once 4000 ppm, it is quite evident that “creation” was not lost. Creation still exists. Indeed, if current CO2 levels are 380 ppm, and the oceans have not boiled nor has creation been eliminated, one wonders whether Hansen has lost his mind.

But lo! the oceans won’t boil for a few years yet. The lag time is not specified, but one assumes it will be something less than 100 years, right James? If we remain at 380 ppm for another century or so, poof, there go the oceans and creation along with them.

This is science? The best available science? This is the consensus?

The fellow is mad.

I had to laugh at his examples of global warming. He shows a dry pier many yards from the water on Lake Mead! It’s a reservoir! The water level on Lake Mead is controlled at the dam! By humans, not climate!

He cites US wildfire acreage since 1960, another phenomenon controlled by humans! This may shock you, but people have a great deal to do with how big fires get and how many acres they consume. It is NOT a climate controlled phenomenon, any more than Lake Mead water levels.

Hansen’s presentation is hysterical, in all the meanings of that word. The oceans are not going to boil away. Trust me.

Other Alarmists claim that “rapid” climate change is catastrophic. For instance, when the Wisconsin Glaciation ended, the massive continental ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere melted. Sea levels rose 100 meters over a 7,000 year period.

But in fact that was not a catastrophe. It was a enormous boon and blessing. As Martha Stewart says, “It was a Very Good Thing.” Before the Big Melt life was cold, brutish, and short. Afterwards civilization rose and flourished. Chances are we wouldn’t be here today if not for the Big Melt.

Note that the sea level rise of 100 meters in 7,000 years was about a half inch per year. Oooh, wicked! Why, you’d have to be Carl Lewis to outrun that! Plus the ice sheets are melted. They are kaput. The only significant ice sheets left are on Greenland and Antarctica, and they aren’t melting; they are growing.

Try not to freak out about the climate. The seas are NOT going to boil. Hansen is wrong about that, as wrong as wrong could be. Quell your panic attack. Irrational paranoia doesn’t suit you.

Alarmists also claim that rainforests are being mowed down in an orgy of deforestation, and that the End of the World is Nigh because of that.

This is going to blow your mind, so hang on to your chair, but people have been living in rainforests for thousands of years, and burning them, and deforesting them, and farming them. Humanity has had a huge impact on the Amazon and and all the other rainforests on Earth for millennia, and yet the rainforests are still here and the oceans have not boiled away! Imagine that! Creation still exists!!!

The galloping Doomsday paranoia expressed by the Chicken Little cacklers is NOT supported by science, not by good science anyway. The End is Not Near. We do not need to huddle in the cold and dark for fear the seas will boil and all life will be extinguished. That’s nutty nutbar talk.

Alarmists, this is Houston calling. Please take some valium. Have a timeout. Seek professional help for your problem, which is psychological on your end, and not real in the sense of actual reality.

There is hope for the world after all. As a matter of fact, we are doing quite nicely, all things considered. The current (as of today) arctic blast is unpleasant but tolerable. It would be nicer if it were warmer, because warmer is better, but we will survive. The world economy has been buggered up by Wall Street sharks and their suckfish corrupt toadies in the Government, but we will survive that, too.

Hope springs eternal. That’s the Message of the Season. Look on the bright side.

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

3 Jan 2009, 7:33pm
by Tim G.

One small point: the sun is a mainstream star, and it’s well established and generally accepted that the nuclear fusion processes inside mainstream stars vary over time in such a way as to produce a slow but steady increase in temperature and heat output over the course of hundreds of millions or billions of years. So yes, the sun is getting hotter, albeit very slowly.

But apart from that, Hanson is laying on the doom and gloom with a trowel. Surely as a scientist, he doesn’t believe a word of what he’s preaching. The oceans are not going to boil away for hundreds of millions of years yet, but they are evaporating all the time, and we should all be very thankful for that.

Recently there have been serious doubts raised about historic levels of atmospheric CO2. It seems that many measurements were made between the 18th and mid-20th centuries that gave results higher than those recorded today, but that the climate science computer modeling community has decided to ignore them as they don’t fit in with the AGW agenda. It might be worth researching on the long winter nights.

3 Jan 2009, 9:17pm
by Mike

What can we conclude about an agenda furthered by laying on fear with a trowel?

It’s not like that’s a new thing in history. We have seen it before. A great deal of harm has been wrought by demagogues of fear.

Hansen, Gore, et al are playing a most dangerous game. We would be very foolish to pay heed to their ravings, for surely the darkest consequences would follow.

3 Jan 2009, 9:23pm
by Mike

Regarding Tim’s other excellent point, a discussion of 19th Century CO2 levels may be found in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Paleobotany and Paleoclimatology [here].



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