Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Day After (Inauguration)

Climate Change: The Associated Press warns that the new administration won't have much time to save the planet from a global warming apocalypse. Never mind that the "ticking time bomb" is a dud.

Read More: Global Warming

The temperature at Denver International Airport dropped to 18 below zero on Sunday, breaking the previous record of 14 below set in 1901. White Sulphur Springs, Mont., reported 29 below to the National Weather Service, breaking the record of 17 below set in 1922. Meanwhile, ice storms ravage the Northeast and the upper Midwest.

This is not a local phenomenon. Hong Kong had the second-longest cold spell since 1885. Cold in northern Vietnam destroyed 40% of the rice crop and killed 33,000 head of livestock. The British Parliament debated climate change as London experienced the first October snow since 1934.

Presumably this has all been reported by the Associated Press. But according to a weekend AP report, this is all an illusion and "2008 is on a pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line." Rather than being "evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming." Oh.

The report, which includes no comments from any skeptic, says global warming "is a ticking time-bomb that President-elect Obama can't avoid." It warns "warming is accelerating. Time is running out, and Obama knows it." Especially if he relies on AP wire reports.

Problem is, nature didn't get the memo. Geophysicist David Deming found that for the first time since the 18th century, in the days before SUVs, Alaskan glaciers grew this year instead of retreating. Fairbanks had its fourth coldest October in 104 years of records.

U.S. Geological Survey glaciologist Bruce Molnia reported: "On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface of the Taku Glacier in late July." It was the worst summer he'd seen in two decades.

As the Anchorage Daily News reports, "Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Ice Field witnessed the kind if snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too."

The consequence of melting glaciers and sea ice is supposed to be rising sea levels. The poster children for this phenomenon are low-lying coral islands such as the Maldives and Tuvalu. Again, the facts are ignored in the quest for headlines.

The satellite record shows the sea level has actually fallen four inches around Tuvalu since 1993, when the $100 million international TOPEX/POSEIDON satellite project record began.

As in other places around the world, sea-level changes have many natural explanations, including geologic changes in the land.

The atolls of Tuvalu rest on sinking volcanic rock on top of which new coral grows to replace the coral die-off that occurs as the volcanic rock sinks deeper into the ocean where coral does not survive. Sand is excavated for building material on Tuvalu. Excavation for building material has eroded the beach, thus giving to the casual, or biased, observer the impression of rising sea levels.

The strong El Nino of 1997-98 caused the sea level surrounding Tuvalu to drop just over one foot.

Patrick Michaels, a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and visiting scientist with the Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., notes that Tuvalu is near the epicenter of a region where the sea level has been declining for nearly 50 years. He has written that the decline has been so steep that, even accepting the U.N.'s median estimates of global warming over the next hundred years, Tuvalu would not return to its 1950 sea level until 2050, much less disappear under the sea.

None of this, of course, matters to the warming zealots and some major media outlets. If it's too dry or too wet, too hot or too cold, everything is caused by global warming. We believe, as do many reputable scientists, that the warming and cooling of the earth is a natural phenomenon dictated by forces beyond our control, from ocean currents to solar activity. We needn't worry about one day mooring our boats to the Washington Monument.

No comments: