Martin Hertzberg: Climate change science is junk science
February 19, 2012
The following commentary is submitted for your consideration in response to today’s in the SDN by Dave Yost.
It is tragic that what should have been a respectful and objective evaluation of the available data on weather and climate by qualified, independent scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan diatribe among journalists, environmentalists, historians and politicians: none of whom is qualified in either meteorology or climatology. Weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on a scale that is enormous compared to the scale of human activity. Those natural laws engender forces and motions in the Earth’s atmosphere, its oceans, and its surface that are beyond human control. Weather and climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and they will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone, either individually or collectively as the human race.Those forces and motions are driven by the following phenomena. First, there is the motion of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, the rotation of the Earth about its axis, the periodic changes in the tilt of that axis, and the periodic precession of that axis. Second, there is the variation in solar activity, which causes changes in the amount of radiant energy that reaches the Earth and also causes variations in the cosmic ray input into its atmosphere, which affects the Earth’s cloudiness. Third, there is the distribution of land and water on the Earth’s surface, which controls the temperature distribution of the atmosphere, the availability of moisture, monsoon effects and the paths and intensities of hurricanes, typhoons and other storms. Fourth, there is the topography of the Earth’s land mass, which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, there are the motions within the Earth’s oceans that determine moisture availability and its surface temperature distribution (El Nino and La Nina cycles).The determinant of weather is mainly water in all of its forms: as vapor in the atmosphere; in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation, as the enormous circulating mass of liquid ocean whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport dominate the motions of our atmosphere and the precipitation from it, and finally as cloud, snow, and ice cover which influence the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free space. In comparison, the human emission of CO2 is totally insignificant for the Earth’s weather and climate and there is not one iota of reliable evidence that proves otherwise.Most of this was learned by me when I served as a research and forecasting meteorologist while on active duty in the U. S. Navy. That was long before the ersatz field now called “Climate Science” was fabricated out of thin air for the main purpose of promoting the theory that human emission of CO2 was causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena.” Note that since it stopped warming about a decade ago, “global warming” morphed into “climate change,” but since climate has always changed, it morphed into “extreme weather phenomena.” Although the theory has become a moving target over the last decade, it is still relatively easy to track it and to shoot it down on the basis of the real data that is available. Dave Yost’s column claims that “it is now warmer than it has ever been.” That claim is false. Climatologists have long known that the Medieval Warm Period and dozens of other periods in the Earth’s history were much warmer than today because of the factors enumerated above and long before any significant human emission of CO2. The data (see http://www.climate4you.com) show significant cooling in the Earth’s average temperature over the last decade, no significant change in Arctic ice area coverage, and a significant decline in sea level over the last two years.While I disagree strongly with most of the political positions of the Heartland Institute, they deserve considerable credit for sponsoring a series of conferences of the world’s leading meteorologists and climatologists whose papers show clearly that the theory that human emission is causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena” is without merit. The attempt in Orestes and Conway’s “Merchants of Doubt” to defame and to cast doubt on the integrity of those distinguished scientists, is a disservice to both science and history. For the record, I have not received one cent of financial support from either the CATO or the Heartland Institutes, and I think they are wrong in most of their other political positions.
Martin Hertzberg is co-author of Stairway Press (2011)