Lorne Gunter on the Cold Winter

This was posted today by Lorne Gunter in the National post. The real shock to me is the admission that our climatic model was deliberately corrected for the X factor and that this factor has essentially acted as a smoke screen for the CO2 hypothesis. Instead of saying that we have a previously unexplained climatic anomaly happening that we do not understand, it was allowed to essentially get completely out of hand.

Now we have located natural physical phenomena that conform to the data and wipes out the need for any linkage between CO2 and global warming.

Otherwise, the forty year wind and ocean cycle fits the data very nicely and the sun spot delay is still rather minor and will hopefully kick in shortly.

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

How spoiled are we? Half of all entries into an average are often below average. This is a long overdue cold winter.

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The fact that either source has to be called on is a pretty good indication that it was centuries ago perhaps coincident with the little ice age.

The ice is back. – and it will also be back every winter so long as the earth maintains its tilt.

Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.

This is not a problem per se unless we have a repeat next year. The added thickness conforms to a normal winter freeze up. 2007 was exceptional in every way. A string of normal winters will certainly rebuild the perennial sea ice.

OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.

But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter's weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.

And it's not just anecdotal evidence that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.

How in hell could a climate model be generated that failed to recognize the linkage between wind and water movement utterly escapes me. Perhaps the same modeling experts that swore by a linear model for sea ice loss that happily projected an end game one hundred years from now. We are now discovering what a piece of modeling rubbish these folks have been relying on. So far we have three fudge factors having a non linear handshake. I sure hope they do not blame the mathematicians they never hired.

Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

How the devil can we say that? Our knowledge of sunspot inactivity was utterly non existent for most of the time period described. We have attempted to piece a bit of it together using a proxy or two but our knowledge is no better than conjecture. Current low activity is cyclical and we are now supposedly slightly late in the renewal of activity. This is not a phenomena known to operate on a precise time clock.

It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

The real question that needs to be answered is where are we in this forty year wind cycle that looks a lot like the forty year hurricane cycle? And is the change over precipitous? It is not to early to know this.

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