Friday, April 6, 2012

Global Waming Is Bunk, Part 4: It's Getting Colder

This post contains the second chapter of a paper that I wrote three years ago as a critique of the science and politics behind the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) thesis. The paper was peer-reviewed but never published. The predictions that I made in this paper have been universally borne out.


2             It’s getting colder

The true mark of a theory is without doubt its ability to predict phenomena.

- Georges Cuvier, Recherches sur les Ossemans, 1822

Regardless of whether, as I have argued above, warmer temperatures are on the whole beneficial for mankind, the present trend in average global temperature suggests that we are unlikely to see significantly warmer temperatures for some time to come. 

Figure 4 - All temperature datasets show seven years of cooling[1]

All of the key temperature datasets – the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) record; the Remote Sensing System Microwave Sounding Unit data (RSS MSU); the University of Alabama at Huntsville Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (UAH AMSU); and the data gathered by the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office (HADLEY) – show a sustained cooling trend.  Temperatures peaked in 1998, and have declined steadily since 2002 (see figure 4).  The present temperature shows no measurable warming since 1995.  It is no longer possible even for the most ardent proponents of the AGW thesis to deny the observed fact: it’s getting colder. 

Variances between satellite temperature records – by far the most accurate and global means of measuring atmospheric temperature – and land-based thermometer records are largely the result of significant problems with the latter, which are affected inter alia by land-use changes, the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect,[2] station drop-out,[3] inconsistent coverage, poor station siting,[4] and manual alteration of data.[5]  The difference is manifested in a strong divergence between the satellite and land-based temperature record over the past six years.  Since 2003, the satellite record shows temperatures dropping at a rate of 2.84ºC/century (UAH record) and 3.60ºC/century (RSS record), while the land-based temperature data maintained by the Goddard Institute of Space Studies shows a rate of decline of only 0.96ºC/century (GISS).[6] The divergence between the satellite and the land-based temperature record is becoming more pronounced over time.  It is curious, although perhaps not surprising, that despite the many problems with the quality of the data in the land-based temperature record, the proponents of the AGW thesis prefer the results it produces over those produced by satellite temperature measurements.  All of these data, incidentally, are available on-line.[7]

As noted in the preceding section, the fact that it is getting colder is important for a number of reasons.  The foremost is that a colder climate is less conducive to human comfort.  Colder temperatures restrict habitable lands, reduce the amount of land available for agriculture, and shorten growing seasons.  The inevitable result of colder temperatures is reduced food supply, resulting in hardship and starvation for less developed nations.  Surviving colder temperatures also requires more energy, whether for heating or, in more northern countries like Canada, to maintain the infrastructure necessary to survive and function in an inherently inhospitable climate.  This calls into question the logic of policies that, if implemented, are likely to make energy more difficult to obtain, and more costly to produce and consume.

Figure 5 - The computer models said “warmer”; the data say “colder”[8]

(The shaded pink area represents the upper/lower range of possible temperatures predicted by the IPCC over the past four Assessment Reports, with the solid pink line representing the midpoint.  The red graph line shows actual measured temperature anomalies, with the solid red line representing the composite trend from NASA GISS, RSS MSU, UAH AMSU, and Hadley, all of which are available on-line.)

The second reason that the present cooling trend is important is because it is the precise opposite of what has been predicted by the proponents of the AGW thesis.  The computer (“general circulation”) models whose outputs are cited by, inter alia, the IPCC have consistently projected continual, uninterrupted increases in average global temperature.  As figure 5 demonstrates, the divergence between the computer projections and the actual observed data is stark.

In the face of cooling temperatures, the staunchest of the AGW theory’s proponents have scrambled to argue that both colder and warmer weather are proof of climate change.[9]  But this sort of argument is a tautology; of course changing temperatures are proof of climate change.   The issue is not whether climate is changing, because climate has always changed, and always will; this is the nature of a cyclical system.  The question is what is causing climate to change?  All of the computer-generated climate projections offered by the AGW theorists predicted that global temperatures would rise in response to increasing CO2 concentrations.  They have, instead, fallen.  It is difficult to see how increasing CO2 concentrations could cause temperatures to both rise from 1980-1998, and fall from 1998-2009.  As we shall see in the next chapter, the non-correlation of CO2 concentrations with global temperatures holds not only for the last seven years, but for the entirety of history for which suitable records or proxies for temperature and CO2 concentrations exist.

When a theory predicts that a trend line will rise and it falls instead, then there is a problem with the theory; this is the crux of the contention by Georges Cuvier heading this chapter.  It is unlikely that Newton would today be venerated if he had argued that apples fall upwards, or Einstein if he had proven mathematically that E=m2c.  Theories live or die on the basis of experimental confirmation.  A positive result, Popper argued, can only temporarily support a theory, while subsequent negative results will always falsify it.[10]  Einstein himself put it this way: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”[11]

When a theory cannot explain observed data – and, one might argue, especially when observations proceed in the direction opposite to what theory predicts – then scientific rigour demands that the theory be adapted if possible, and if not possible, that it be abandoned.  Instead of modifying or abandoning their hypothesis, however, the proponents of the global warming thesis have retrenched their position, arguing against the data instead of trying to find a credible explanation for them.  An unscientific response to a scientific challenge is unlikely to be successful in convincing increasingly sceptical constituents of the need to take “urgent action to combat climate change”, when the proof of their own senses is all that is necessary to demonstrate to them that the AGW thesis is deeply flawed.


[1] Christopher Monckton, “Global Warming Has Stopped”, Science and Public Policy Institute, 31 October 2008, 2 [].  It is worth noting that the rate of cooling shown by the NASA GISS data is only about 1/3 the rate shown by all other datasets.  This suggests that NASA’s data-gathering and/or handling practices are worthy of closer scrutiny, in order to determine why its results are so significantly out of step with the other datasets.
[2] See Ross R. McKitrick and Patrick J. Michaels, “Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data”, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, D24S09, doi:10.1029/2007JD008465, 2007 [ research/jgr07/ M&M.JGRDec07.pdf].
[3] The number of global temperature measurement stations dropped from a high of 6000 in 1970 to roughly 2000 today.  Most of the dropouts occurred at the fall of the Soviet Union, and most of the lost stations were rural.  The result is a higher statistical emphasis on urban stations, exacerbating the contamination from UHI and land-use changes.  See Joseph D’Aleo, “Recent Cooling and the Serious Global Data Base Issue” [].
[4] See the “How Not To Measure Temperature” series maintained by Anthony Watts at [].  Recent examples include thermometers situated in front of air condition exhausts, near barbecues, and buried in Antarctic snow.
[5] A data posting error by the NASA GISS staff in autumn 2008 (in which September temperature data for Siberia was mistakenly copied over October data) led to renewed cries of impending doom by the AGW alarmists, until the data error was reported by a blogger, and subsequently correct by GISS.  For a breakdown of the incident, see [].

[6] Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts, “GISS Divergence with satellite temperatures since the start of 2003”, 18 January 2009 [].

[7] NASA GISS data are here [].  RSS MSU/AMSU data re here [].  UAH AMSU data are here [].  Hadley Centre data are here [].
[8] Christopher Monckton, “Temperature change and CO2 change: A scientific briefing”, Science and Public Policy Institute, January 2009, 6 [ and_co2_change_briefing.html].
[9] A classic example is provided by George Monbiot, the Guardian’s go-to commentator for climate change orthodoxy (George Monbiot, “The Skeptics are Skating on Thin Ice”,, 9 January 2009, []).  Deriding opponents as “blithering idiots”, he argues that “just because we can skate outdoors doesn’t mean climate change isn’t happening.”  Monbiot’s argument is nonsensical; no one is arguing that climate does not change.  Last year nobody skated on Dutch canals or built igloos in London; this year, they did.  That’s change.  The point is that climate is changing in the direction opposite to that predicted by all of the computer models upon which the AGW thesis was constructed.
[10] Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Logik der Forschung; trans. by author with assistance of Dr. Julius Freed and Lan Freed)(New York: Routledge Classics, 2002), 10.
[11] Robert I. Fitzhenry, ed., The Fitzhenry & Whiteside Book of Quotations (Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Inc., 1993), 401.