Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:27

Alarmist ‘State of the Climate’ Report Draws Fire

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its new “State of the Climate 2009” report on July 28, claiming that evidence for global warming is “unmistakable” and that it’s happening because of greenhouse gases. But critics are already poking holes in the alarmist arguments as the press jumps on the story.

According to the researchers involved, over 300 in all, more than 90 percent of the added heat has gone into the oceans. Also, this decade has been the warmest on record, and the world has warmed by one degree over the last 50 years, they claimed.

“The temperature increase of one degree Fahrenheit over the past 50 years may seem small, but it has already altered our planet,” said NOAA climate buff Deke Arndt, a co-editor of the new report. “Glaciers and sea ice are melting, heavy rainfall is intensifying and heat waves are more common,” he claimed.

The agency’s temperature readings, however, have come under fire after it was alleged that data was "cherry picked" to create the appearance of warming. “NOAA performs manipulations to create false impressions from the data, including assigning temperature increases were there is zero data,” wrote famed meteorologist and founder of surfacestations.org Anthony Watts earlier this month.

Other experts have offered similarly damning analyses of the agency’s temperature-gathering methodologies. NOAA “systematically eliminated 75% of the world’s stations with a clear bias towards removing higher latitude, high altitude and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler,” explained climate researchers Joseph D’Aleo and Michael Smith in a study published by the Science and Public Policy Institute. “The thermometers in a sense, marched towards the tropics, the sea, and to airport tarmacs.”

Numerous other countries’ data have also been criticized over concerns that temperature records have been manipulating in favor of warming, including China, Russia, and New Zealand, all of which were involved in the new NOAA report. The “Chinagate” scandal attracted the most headlines, but the problem of data manipulation is seen as widespread. 

But this new climate change study was different, according to NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco. “For the first time, and in a single compelling comparison, the analysis brings together multiple observational records from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean,” she said in a press release.

“The records come from many institutions worldwide. They use data collected from diverse sources, including satellites, weather balloons, weather stations, ships, buoys and field surveys,” Lubchenco explained. “These independently produced lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion: our planet is warming.”

In reality, not “all” of the evidence pointed to warming. Antarctic ice is growing at record levels. Arctic sea ice actually increased for 2009, but, as with everything that might contradict the alarmist warming theories, this was dismissed as part of a “natural cycle of climate variability.” Recent record snow falls across much of the United States were also downplayed, with the report’s authors warning people not to read too much into them.

This study did not claim human emissions were definitively the cause of the alleged warming. It also didn’t offer projections of future warming. But, as usual, alarmists have been quick to seize on the report to push for everything from cap-and-tax legislation to carbon taxes.

“The whole of the climate system is acting in a way consistent with the effects of greenhouse gases,” UK Met Office climate monitoring boss Peter Stott, who contributed to the report, told the Financial Times. “The fingerprints are clear. The glaringly obvious explanation for this is warming from greenhouse gases.”

Of course, the most important greenhouse gas by far is water vapor, accounting for some 95 percent of the atmospheric total, virtually all of which is natural. Man’s emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane make up a fraction of one percent of the total — less than 0.3 percent, in fact. But this is also rarely discussed, and almost never pointed out in the media.  

But the press is having a field day with the NOAA report, especially since the now-discredited United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has already been exposed as biased and filled with errors. The IPCC report no longer serves as a useful tool in persuading people to accept lower living standards in an attempt to slow “climate change” by reducing the relatively miniscule emissions of greenhouse gases. So this new tool could prove valuable to the “cap-and-traders” like BP and Goldman Sachs.   

James Hogg, co-founder of the alarmist DeSmogBlog.com, illustrated the press’ general attitude perfectly in an article for the leftist Huffington Post. He criticized other media outlets for quoting so-called “skeptics” in articles about the new report, wondering, “Why bother to quote the skeptics here in an article about hard scientific evidence?”

But at least the Financial Times bothered to track some down for a story about the new report. “It’s clear that the scientific case for global warming alarmism is weak,” said Myron Ebell, the director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The scientific case for [many of the claims] is unsound and we are finding out all the time how unsound it is.”

Another “skeptic” quoted in the same article, CATO fellow and former environmental sciences professor Pat Michaels, said the new NOAA study and other evidence proved the computer models used to forecast temperature increases were inaccurate. “I think it is the lack of frankness about this that emerged with Climategate, and that seems to continue,” he said, referring to the scandal in which leaked alarmist scientists’ e-mails revealed evidence of data manipulation and other serious problems.

Other critics attacked the “incorrect, fabricated data” and the agency itself, saying it “lacks credibility.”

NOAA and other government climate-change outfits have come under increasing fire in recent years for myriad reasons, including inaccurate and distorted temperature readings (in its defense, NOAA claimed accurate readings weren’t important), placing monitoring stations too close to biasing influences that create the appearance of warming, and countless other reasons.

Of course, the fact that the agencies’ budgets depend on continually pumping out new, alarming reports on climate change also likely plays a little-mentioned but crucial role.

But NOAA wants everyone to know that climate change is real and is causing changes. In its press release about the report, the agency said, “More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters.” It did not mention that, even if true, many of those changes could prove beneficial.

“People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives,” the press release concluded. It also directs readers to the agency’s climate-change website, climate.gov, which features a variety of articles on global warming.

Numerous media pieces have recently proclaimed the demise of the “global-warming cult,” noting that the public doesn’t buy it and that politicians who push the alarmism are dropping like flies. But with hundreds of billions of tax dollars invested in the alarmism machine, the movement will not go away quietly.

In the coming days, researchers will undoubtedly find more problems with NOAA’s report — most of which will be mentioned in the press but rarely. But whether the avalanche of alarmist headlines produced by the report will help salvage economy-destroying “climate” legislation remains to be seen.

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