My Recommendations on the California Propositions (2008)


Once again, we are reminded that the claimed certainty and so-called consensus among climate scientists is a myth. Especially when scientists must continually readjust their thinking about the underlying processes that give rise to the measurement of physical phenomena; and its eventual incorporation into explanative and predictive computer models.

A world-wide phenomenon?

Today’s object lesson comes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where two scientists have encountered an, as yet unexplained, simultaneous world-wide increase in methane, a global greenhouse gas that accounts for approximately 20% of the greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere and whose effect is said to be twenty-five times the effect of carbon dioxide.

“The amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere shot up in 2007, bringing to an end a period of about a decade in which atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas were essentially stable, according to a team led by MIT researchers.”

Methane levels in the atmosphere have more than tripled since pre-industrial times, accounting for around one-fifth of the human contribution to greenhouse gas-driven global warming. Until recently, the leveling off of methane levels had suggested that the rate of its emission from the Earth's surface was approximately balanced by the rate of its destruction in the atmosphere.”

Whoops – something appears to be different …

“However, since early 2007 the balance has been upset, according to a paper on the new findings being published this week in Geophysical Review Letters. The paper's lead authors, postdoctoral researcher Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, say this imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere.”

So how can we be making broad public policies?

How then can be be making broad public policy which may have an upsetting and deleterious effect on our national economy, based on nothing more than computer models which use past scientific data from historical records and climate proxies (e.g. ice cores, ocean carbonates, tree rings, etc.) to predict an uncertain future? All based on a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) methodology.

As we have said on numerous occasions, the current crop of global climate models need to be constantly re-tuned to account for the observation of what appears to be happening in the physical world – and to see if these models can be used to extend predictions of future behavior within a reasonable probability range.

What they apparently found …

The two MIT researchers, Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, found that  they have “recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels.” Furthermore, this appears to be “the first increase in ten years.” So what is baffling scientists is “that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas.”

What, it is possible that man may not be responsible for global climate change?

“It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions.”

“The authors state that as a result of the increase, several million tons of new methane is present in the atmosphere.”

A self-regulating feedback loop?

As with most natural processes, there appears to be some mechanism which forms a self-regulating feedback loop. That is, while there are fluctuations in the observed phenomenon, it seems that these values often regress to some mean value – and all is right with the world. Unfortunately, with the present level of global climate science, we do not know the amplitude and periodicity of global temperature swings, and only have a vague idea of where we may be in nature’s cycle.

“Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun's light back to the Earth (like a greenhouse).

“Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle, and the gas and coal industries” which give rise to concerns about cow burps and moose farts as well as the emissions from energy producing processes.

“Methane is typically broken down in the atmosphere by the free radical hydroxyl (OH), a naturally occurring process. This atmospheric cleanser has been shown to adjust itself up and down periodically, and is believed to account for the lack of increases in methane levels in Earth's atmosphere over the past ten years despite notable simultaneous increases by man.”

There might be alternative explanations …

“A rise in Northern Hemispheric [methane] emissions may be due to the very warm conditions that were observed over Siberia throughout 2007, potentially leading to increased bacterial emissions from wetland areas. However, a potential cause for an increase in Southern Hemispheric emissions is less clear.”

“An alternative explanation for the rise may lie, at least in part, with a drop in the concentrations of the methane-destroying OH. Theoretical studies show that if this has happened, the required global methane emissions rise would have been smaller, and more strongly biased to the Northern Hemisphere. At present, however, it is uncertain whether such a drop in hydroxyl free radical concentrations did occur because of the inherent uncertainty in the current method for estimating global OH levels.”

More study required …

Far from the cut-and-dried conclusions of those who are attempting to manipulate science for political, institutional or personal gain, more study is needed. Both to ferret out any systemic errors associated with the measurement methodology and to find some contextual meaning in the observation.

“Prinn has said, ‘The next step will be to study [these changes] using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks. The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus [an increase] in the rate of removal. Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each [is responsible for the overall increase].’"

“The primary concern now is that 2007 is long over. While the collected data from that time period reflects a simultaneous world-wide increase in emissions, observing atmospheric trends now is like observing the healthy horse running through the paddock a year after it overcame some mystery illness. Where does one even begin? And how relevant are any of the data findings at this late date? Looking back over 2007 data as it was captured may prove as ineffective if the data does not support the high resolution details such a study requires.”

Raising more questions and coming to the only possible conclusion …

“One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a handle on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure if man's impact is affecting things at the political cry of ‘alarming rates.’ We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times - one that's been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occurring for hundreds of thousands of years.”

What can YOU do?

Demand that your elected officials concentrate their efforts on first fighting industrial pollution and the contamination of the air, water and ground before they concoct any schemes which are based on misunderstood or partially understood science.

Demand that the profit component be removed from the equation. Is is my personal belief that the proponents of global climate change are self-interested charlatans seeking to screw the citizens of the world for their own private gains. The politicians want increased political control,  higher tax revenues and great deals of lobbyist money sloshing around the political process. The scientific institutions are on-board to increase their funding and ability to expand their research. The industries that produce prodigious amounts of pollution are certainly interested as they can purchase government pollution credits which mitigates criminal and civil penalties and pass the costs of these indulgences along to their customers; and, by extension, the general public. And the Wall-Street Wizards are salivating over the chance to create new pollution derivatives for sale at healthy commissions to worldwide investors – using the Enron energy model of emissions trading.

Since no results may be measured for hundreds of years, this is the perfect scam and the schemers need to produce nothing of substance to cash-in on a world-wide bounty of political power and money. Demand that the science be relatively settled before embarking on programs which would make a billionaire out of a poseur like Al Gore and those of similar ilk.

On a broader note, the idea that man can alter nature by affecting the solar output, stopping the planetary movement, altering the cloud cover and reversing the tides to control global climate change is the height of sheer arrogance. To believe that this can be done by a carbon cap and trading system is sheer lunacy. But, as the H. L. Mencken quote goes:

“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

-- steve

Quote of the day: “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” -- Carl Sagan

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

TG Daily - MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data

MIT Tech Talk

“Nullius in verba”-- take nobody's word for it!
"Acta non verba" -- actions not words

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS