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I have always believed that man-made carbon dioxide was not a causal factor to global warming, primarily for four reasons:

1.  Both temperature and carbon dioxide levels have been much lower and much greater in past times – and these predate the industrial revolution.

2.  Carbon dioxide levels lag the rise in temperature by 600 to 1000 years (depending on the data set used) and thus cannot be a causal factor. And which can be easily explained. It appears that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is a result of warming oceans and part of nature’s self-regulating feedback mechanism that keeps the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans at more or less a stable balance.

3.  The energy output of the Sun, the Earth’s orbital path, the rotational dynamics and precession of the Earth, the volcanic action and plate tectonics, the ocean’s currents and the effects of the largest greenhouse gas, water vapor, greatly overshadow the miniscule effects of carbon dioxide.

4.  The alleged effects of concentrated carbon dioxide levels exist only within computer models with suspect assumptions, manipulated input data and which use carbon dioxide forcings that are at least two times higher than normal concentrations. These models cannot replicate historical data (error-filled as it is) unless you adjust the model, data and timeframe to make it appear to be a correlative match.

Therefore, the demonization of this life-sustaining gas, carbon dioxide, is more about providing a reason for the public policies needed to control energy creation, distribution and usage in order to control economies and populations. It should be noted that the UN – and it’s IPCC – are mostly diplomats and politicians, not scientists.

So it is encouraging when I read in the Los Angeles Times that  …

“Climate change: Is El Niño heating up?”

“ The weather pattern known as El Niño, which can bring heavy rains to Southern California, has doubled in intensity and warmth and shifted westward over several decades, according to scientists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

“The findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, measured ocean temperature and analyzed satellite data over three decades.”

Here is the nugget of truth that the global warming alarmists overlook …

“JPL oceanographer Tong Lee, an author of the paper, said in an interview that more research was needed to determine if the changes in El Niño were due to the documented rise in global air and ocean temperatures worldwide since the Industrial Revolution or due to natural variability. But he noted, "’El Niño is the largest fluctuation of the climate system. It has worldwide impact on climate patterns, so any change in El Niño’s behavior might cause a change in its impact.’”

Lee suggested that the findings revealed ‘two competing effects. Shifting El Niño’s location could mean less rainfall’ in Southern California, he said. Still, ‘since it is getting stronger, we may get more rainfall. How these two effects play out is something that needs to be investigated.’ The study, he said, ‘documents the change of a major climate system, but I cannot tell you the impact.’”

Here is how science should be done, by an honest researcher. And more remarkably, reported (up to this point) without sensation by a good reporter in a left-biased newspaper.

The fact that nature is infinitely variable and our climate appears to be cyclical, somewhat makes a one-way upward temperature catastrophe improbable. The dire predictions of Al Gore and the IPCC have been tamped down or disproven as speculative folderol. Considering that we are recovering from the little ice age, it would be normal and proper to see the temperature trend line moving upward; how much upward before leveling and returning downward is anyone’s guess.

Severe weather impacts based on warming oceans and deep ocean currents – both of which are beyond man’s ability to change …

“El Niño is a climate event in the Pacific Ocean in which trade winds weaken and warm, and nutrient-poor ocean water builds up in the western Pacific, disrupting fisheries and leading to severe weather events worldwide.”

Perhaps man should follow the age-old practice of adaption: moving to where conditions are most hospitable and preparing to maximize natural and man-made resources such as  shelter, water and food. One look at Southern California illustrates the point. Southern California is technically a desert – but with adaptive mechanisms is almost a paradise on Earth.

Introducing bias (or the other side of the story)  …

Whoops, I forgot that this was the Los Angeles Times and am not surprised to read:

“Bill Patzert, a JPL climatologist who was not involved in the paper, said three decades were too short a time period to draw conclusions. But, he added, ‘This is another piece of evidence that the climate is shifting. It is clear that in the last century the planet has warmed by almost two degrees Fahrenheit. More than 80% of that is taken up by oceans. Oceans are the canary in the coal mine.’”

“Canary in the coal mine” seems to be a mantra of the environmental movement which tends to push politically-motivated public policy on any scientific finding which supports their ideology. Here is one of the rhetorical tricks of the Marxist-infiltrated environmental movement and their media fellow travelers: list the work of a credible scientists and then add commentary from someone “not involved in the paper” which supports your political position.

“Patzert said the paper was observational rather than conclusive. ‘What will happen if this new type of El Niño becomes permanent? Will it give us wetter or dryer  El Niños?’ he said. ‘It is too early to tell. The one thing we know is that the future ain’t what it used to be. The planet is definitely warming, and El Niño has morphed into something different.’”

Of course, there are those who are strongly invested in global warming as a funding mechanism for their institutions and their own research. Where dramatic and catastrophic tales of disaster drive special interest profits.

Patzert’s statement that the “paper was observational rather than conclusive” is to state an obvious fact about “doing science.” Few papers are conclusive and those that are, are conclusive up until the time more information or another theory is put forth.

Patzert’s trick of asking a “what if question” goes far beyond the practice of good science and into the speculative realm of science fiction – which can easily be manipulated by dishonest brokers within the environmental movement to drive their ideological agenda.

And most dishonest of all, is Patzert’s statement “That the planet is definitely warming and El Niño has morphed into something different.”

One, he states a conclusive, definitive fact based on nothing having to do with the research at hand. Yes, the planet appears to be warming in some places, just as it appears to be cooling in others. Global warming is about the planet’s mean temperature – which given the observational errors in terrestrial temperature measurement and the fact that some terrestrial findings are contradicted by satellite data; makes the statement suspect. As for his assertion that El Niño has morphed into something different disregards the fact that El Niño is infinitely variable and part of nature’s great mysteries.

Bottom line …

While there are somewhat observable patterns, there is much we do not know about both nature and the shifting climate trends. Which is the best reason we should not allow politicians to institute draconian Marxist public policies based on incomplete science.

And while the California Institute of Technology is one of the premier scientific and engineering institutions in the world, let us not forget that the major portion of their funding is from the government and the leadership has been hyper-politicized to insure the institution’s survival in these times of financial crisis.

The short answer is: we don’t know the answers to questions we are only beginning to ask. We do know that governments and politicians are rarely the answer to honest research and public policy as they are guided primarily by self-interest and their special interest contributors. 

-- steve

Reference Links:

Climate change: Is El Niño heating up? | Greenspace | Los Angeles Times

Dr. Patzert might be a fine scientist who adds a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge in his own field; but there is also evidence that he is also a political creature of the left, spewing invective in outrage to what he perceives as people with a different opinion.

Patzert Quote|KCET

"Come on, give us a break. The LA Times must really be hard up for revenue. The Cato Institute is a blatant creature of conservative corporations and foundations. The major purpose of the Cato Institute is to provide propaganda and sound bites (not scientific facts) for conservative and libertarian politicians and journalists. Their ads and propaganda are conveniently free of reference to their primary funders such as tobacco, fossil fuel, investment, media, medical, and other governmental regulated industries. Cato is one of the most blatant examples of propaganda spewing "think tanks" that aim at misleading the general public about the advances in our scientific understanding of a broad range of issues from the dangers of tobacco to the dangers of human-caused climate change. These folks are misleading the general public; they are flat out dishonest." -- Bill Patzert"

About Doctor William Patzert|NASA

Often called the "Prophet of California climate," Patzert is a scientist at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. 

“His research is focused on the application of NASA satellite data to improving our understanding of our planet's climate and important environmental problems ranging from developing El Niño, La Niña and longer-term climate forecasts to monitoring the health of coral reefs.”

“The author of many scientific and popular articles, Bill works with undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, and lectures at many local universities.”

“A media favorite, he is often sought out by reporters and is regularly seen on local and national television representing NASA and JPL. In a recent article, he was named as one of the West’s most influential individuals in dealing with water issues.”

“During his career, he has served as a consultant to many respected organizations including NASA, the U.S. Department of Commerce, United Nations and many scientific and environmental groups.”

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

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