The Changing Face of AGW Alarmism

What are the effects of human-caused global warming? You’d think there is a definitive, obvious answer to that question. There isn’t.

Controversy surrounding the answer came out during scientific testimony given at a U.S. Senate climate change hearing last Thursday. Its title: “Climate Change: Its Happening Now

The hearing consisted of two panels of five witnesses each. They were called as science experts to testify on various aspects of global warming.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), Chairperson of the Senate Environment Committee, called the hearing after President Obama’s major climate change speech last month.

The most revealing question of all asked of each science panel:

Can any witnesses say they agree with Obama’s statement that warming has accelerated during the past 10 years?
– Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al), “Climate Change: Its Happening Now” U.S.Senate hearing, 7/18/2013

After asked, it was so silent in the hearing room both times that you could hear crickets chirp all the way from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool!

Pinning down AGW alarmism is like shooting at a moving target. It constantly changes positions when faced with contrary data.

Boring Background Stuff  (Skip Down If You Already Know It)

“AGW” is the acronym used by scientists to describe ‘human-caused global warming’. It stands for ‘anthropomorphic global warming’.

“Alarmism” is the belief that if we fail to act now to reduce global CO2 emissions that world-wide catastrophes will soon result from global warming.

“Deniers” is a commonly used, but entirely incorrect, derogatory term to describe skeptics who question that global climate change is entirely driven by human CO2 emissions. Senator Boxer and witness Dr. Heidi Cullen repeated that assertion during the Senate hearing.

“Climate change” is a relatively new term incorrectly substituted for “global warming” by non-scientists and the media.  “Climate change” has a very distinct scientific meaning quite separate from “global warming”.

To understand that you have to know the difference between climate and weather.
NASA provides the answer:

Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time
– NASA, Climate and Global Change, 2/1/2005

The EPA goes on to define climate change like this:

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time.
-EPA, Climate Change Glossary of Terms

In other words, climate change is the difference between average weather over one extended period of time (climate) and the average weather over another extended period of time. The comparison time can be either later or before the first time.

Scientific studies, more than 100 years past, established long ago that climate change has been an intimate part of Earth’s geologic history.

“Global warming”, on the other hand, is narrowly defined as an increase in Earth’s temperature over time. That increase is said to intensify every type of extreme weather there is, as well as making sea levels rise and melting most of the Arctic Ocean sea ice over that last 34 years.

Senate Testimony

If you want the strait skinny, unbiased, on climate change then, of the 10 witnesses, look to Dr Roger Pielke, Jr. His specialty: extreme weather.

Dr Pielke’s 5-minute Senate testimony (in nearly 4 hours of videoed testimony) is in the above video clip. Pielke was the 2nd to last presenter but the superstar of the day.

Pielke’s 10-page written testimony, “Statement of Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.“,  backs up his wide-ranging Senate video testimony with direct, peer reviewed data. None of the other 9 witnesses did that as completely and as effectively as he did.

Both AGW alarmists and AGW skeptics will find things they like in Pielke’s unbiased testimony.  Neither will be happy with all of it, especially his answers during the Q&A session.

Full Senate testimony, including that of Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.

Unfortunately, to get to his informative Q&A testimony you have to scroll through the entire 3 hours and 48 minutes of video testimony in the 2nd video clip above.

  • Start at 3:10:25 beginning with the question “Can we also agree that a body of credible amount of research projects that extreme weather events could increase in frequency and intensity due to man-made carbon dioxide emissions?” and other questions.
  • Start at 3:17:17 with the question “Is there evidence that extreme weather events are dramatically increasing recently?”
  • Start at 3:40:45 when asked to elaborate on his research on storms

Pielke’s testimony summarized:

  1. Atmospheric CO2 is rising because of human activity
  2. Climate change and current global warming are real
  3. There has been no increases in dramatic weather extremes
  4. There is no increase in destructive hurricanes, droughts, floods or tornadoes
  5. Human CO2 emissions will affect future extreme climate
  6. Most human climate effects won’t be measurable for many decades to hundreds of years
  7. Government policy should be based on facts, not theory

The Changing Face of AGW Alarmism

Faced with Pielke’s testimony and other data coming out in the last few years, AGW alarmists brought out two shiny new weapons:

  1. Current global warming is hidden in the deep oceans
  2. Climate change effects are only detectable in regional data

Both are new claims. Both are reactive to these immutable facts:

  1. Contrary to theory, global temperature has remained at its zenith, unchanged for 15 years
  2. Pielke’s cited data prove that climate extremes are not more frequent or intense

AGW alarmists reason that if global warming is not showing up in air temperature data anymore, then it must be going somewhere else. The deep oceans are the logical choice.

The problem with that argument is that, though possible, there is little empirical data to back it up.  It is what undergraduate physics students call a hand waving argument. That is one that sounds reasonable, but is unsupported by facts.

The deep oceans are chosen because it is already known that theorized global warming heat isn’t showing up in the atmosphere or in the upper oceans. In fact, a cooler ocean surface is credited with stopping air temperature rise.

In Q&A, when asked to comment on Pielke’s peer reviewed data showing no increase in weather extremes, Dr.  Jennifer Francis repeated what lead-off presenter Dr Heide Cullen had said in the first panel:

That (Pielke) trend does not reflect what is really happening
– Dr Jennifer Francis, Q&A U.S. Senate testimony, 7/18/2013

What she and Dr Cullen mean by that, for example, is precipitation and drought extremes cancel each other out when averaged over a large area, like the USA.

The problem with the Francis/Cullen argument is… welll… it’s illogical. The whole premise of global warming is that it affects the whole Earth, not just small parts of it.

Either large scale extremes are increasing, decreasing or staying the same. They can and are being individually measured. The good doctors just don’t like the findings.

Pielke’s individualized peer reviewed data sources clearly show that weather extremes remain the same. Some, like major tornadoes and major hurricanes, are even decreasing.


Perhaps a better title for last Thursday’s Senate hearing is “Climate Change: Its Happened Before”.

That was suggested by the last witness, Dr. Roy Spencer, using this 2000-year temperature graph.

It shows a possible 1,000-year natural temperature cycle in the Medieval and Roman warm periods.

AGW alarmist logic has us believe that the Roman and Medieval warm periods were caused by natural variability, but that the current rise is caused entirely by human CO2 emissions. That is the IPCC’s fundamental claim.

No doubt, global warming is a real phenomena. The Earth’s temperature is the highest in 1,000 years. Scientists don’t dispute that. Climate change has always been and always will be with us.

Data refuting AGW alarmism, like Dr Pielke’s, is coming out of the scientific woodwork.

Global warming stopped at its zenith. Hence, last decade was the hottest on record. Climate models predict Earth’s sea-air temperature should have risen another +0.3°C since 1997 and be accelerating. It isn’t. Clearly, the models are wrong. Mother nature is right. Natural variability is grossly underestimated.

When faced with damaging evidence, what do you do? Change the subject!

The Senate committee focused an extraordinary amount of attention toward criticism that there was no one opposite the AGW alarmist viewpoint who were experts on oceans. Why?

Less than a decade ago, before AGW alarmists changed the subject, ocean temperatures were considered a global warming non-issue. Suddenly, now, it’s an issue. Why? Because air temperatures are widely known to have leveled off.

Rather than accept contrary data, alarmists move the target. They make remarkable ocean claims:

  1. La Nina effects, cooler surface ocean temperatures, are holding back global warming
  2. The oceans, however, are continuing to warm and force fish species northward
  3. Global warming heat is now transferred into the deep ocean instead of the atmosphere

You can’t have your cake and eat it to. Either ocean heat content is rising, cooling or staying the same. It can’t be both rising and cooling simultaneously.

Now, we are also told by Dr Francis and Dr Cullen, that large scale or global weather extremes are not detectable. They only show up in regional data, contrary to original global warming theory.

Pinning down AGW alarmism is like shooting at a moving target. It constantly changes positions when faced with contrary data.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jul 23, 2013, in Business, Climate, climate change, economics, environment, Government, nature, news, Politics, science. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Fear of nuclear annihilation and Remorse for killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Aug 1945 convinced world leaders and scientists to take control of the world on 24 Oct 1945.

    See message sent to the Space Science & Technology Committee of the House of Representatives on 17 July 2013:

    With kind regards, 
    – Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal 
    Investigator for Apollo

  1. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 25 July 2013 | grumpydenier

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