Throw Another Log On the Fire…

…and don’t lie awake worrying about global warming. Here in the Upper Midwest, we are being blasted by an early-season winter storm:

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I did, in fact, just throw another log on the fire. Of course, individual localized weather phenomena prove nothing about global warming. Except that the current cold weather is no fluke; the earth resolutely refuses to get warmer:

Don’t spend much of your “worry time” on a new climate treaty, however. Global temperatures are doing their best to tell us that CO2 isn’t very important after all.

* Global thermometers stubbornly refused to rise after 1998, and have plummeted in the past two years by more than 0.5 degree C. The world is now colder than in 1940, when the Post-WWII Industrial Revolution started spewing lots of man-made CO 2 in the first place.

* On October 29, the U.S. beat or tied 115 low-temperature records for the date. Alaska, which was unusually warm last year, recorded 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit that night–beating the previous low by 4 degrees F.

* London had snow in October for the first time in more than 70 years.

The 2007-08 temperature drop wasn’t predicted by the global climate models, but it had been predicted by the sunspots since 2000. Both the absent sunspots and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation now predict a 25-30-year global cooling.

That’s a good thing, since the Chinese are asking a mere $300 billion a year subsidy to participate in a new agreement to replace Kyoto.

In the face of the current cooling trend, global warming alarmists have naturally gotten more hysterical than ever. This Associated Press article is typical: “Obama left with little time to curb global warming.” Personally, I think Obama has a much better chance of walking on water than changing the weather. But the AP plods doggedly on:

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, global warming was a slow-moving environmental problem that was easy to ignore. Now it is a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can’t avoid. …

The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton’s second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.

This displays a remarkable level of ignorance on the part of the Associated Press. Global temperature records are nowhere near accurate enough to rank years, over a period of centuries, with any confidence. For the recent past, though, we have the world’s best data set here in the U.S. And it’s true that at one time, it was widely believed that the 1990s were the warmest recent decade. But that was before it was discovered that NASA’s James Hansen, Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, had been fudging the data, either accidentally or on purpose. NASA was forced to correct its data, with the result that the ten warmest years on record here in the US are as follows: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, 1939.

The AP apparently hasn’t gotten the word, perhaps because it is relying on the report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But the IPCC report was a political document, not a scientific one, which deliberately ignored the most current research in the field.

Finally, the AP’s claim that the last 11 years have included all of the 10 warmest “on record” is plausible only if you take a very narrow view of the record. It seems obvious that when we talk about the planet’s climate, a broader perspective is necessary. So here is the broader perspective:

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When we talk about “global warming” it is important to ask the right questions. Is the earth continuing to warm up from the “Little Ice Age”? Yes, it has been, at least until recently. Fortunately. Is the earth continuing to warm up from the last real Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago, when the spot where I am now typing was buried under ice a half mile thick? Yes, thankfully! Is the earth warming up compared to where it was five or ten years ago? No.

Many scientists believe that we are entering an era of global cooling. That may or may not be true; climate science is in its infancy and we cannot predict with any confidence what the weather will be 10, 20, or 50 years hence. What we can say for certain is that the way in which the weather “issue” is covered by the Associated Press and other media outlets is a disgrace.

UPDATE: More here.

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