Thursday, December 10, 2009

Climategate - FactCheck.Org is Clueless

I have previously doubted the neutrality of FactCheck.Org, and their "fact checking" of Climategate added to my doubts. Rather than demonstrating a "nose" for facts, they mischaracterized the position of man-caused global warming skeptics, and then proceeded to knock their strawman down.

They said: "Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of man-made global warming."

That's not what the skeptics say. We say that the scientific misconduct raises doubts about the science of man-made global warming. It's unprofessional of FactCheck.Org to charge skeptics with thinking that information about a segment of the science is proof of its complete fabrication. Just as we skeptics believe that the rise in CO2 since 1950, and the fluctuations in cooling and warming in that period, invalidate alarmists claims that CO2 drives global temperatures.

The following is my reply to FactCheck.Org: (with some minor alterations for grammar and to add a dig about Al Gore lying about the emails)

As you possibly don’t know, or are taking pains to not know, the point is that the science underlying the validity of reconstructing global temperatures by means of tree-ring and other proxies has been placed in doubt by the actions of Drs. Jones, Mann, Briffa et al. The tree-rings post 1960 show cooling or no warming when compared to instrumental records. This divergence led Mann, Briffa, and others to drop the tree-ring temperatures and replace them with instrument readings without disclosing their divergence. The point in challenging this is quite simple: if current tree-ring temperatures don’t agree with current instrument temperatures, why is there any confidence that tree rings were good proxies for temperature in the preceding 1000 or 2000 years?

This question has far-reaching implications. Mann et al say that current warming is unprecedented. Al Gore showed Mann’s hockey stick in “An Inconvenient Truth” to make this very point. The hockey stick obliterated the warming of the Medieval Warm Period, and the cooling of the Little Ice Age, just as tree rings now don’t show recent warming.

If the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present, as evidence of vineyards in England and pastures and farming in Viking Greenland show – and a Harvard/Smithsonian study by Soon et al of 240 climate studies worldwide show it was warmer then than now – then the positive feedback from increased water vapor trapping heat in the troposphere, thereby causing runaway warming, should have happened 1,000 years ago, and the runaway warming forecasted for this century should be part of our historical record.

Of course if its effects were as dangerous as forecasted, we wouldn’t be here to read the record.

Catastrophic warming didn’t happen then, and it didn’t in the very warm Roman Warm Period or in the earlier, even warmer Holocene Climate Optimum. What did happen naturally was that the Ice Age ended, sea levels rose over 400 feet in the past 10,000 years – an average of over four feet a century compared to the eight inches sea levels rose in the past century – and that humankind progressed and prospered during the warm periods and suffered famine, violent storms, and pestilence during the intervening cold periods.

All of these dramatic climate changes happened naturally. In the past two centuries 30-year periods of warming have alternated with 30-year periods of cooling, possibly caused by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. NASA records show that the United States had warming from 1915 to 1945 equal to or greater than the recent warming, and that the cooling 1945 to 1975 spurred predictions of catastrophic global cooling even as atmospheric carbon dioxide increased steadily and rapidly.

Glaciers were in retreat during the 1800’s, long before the rapid industrialization beginning around 1950 started the rapid rise of CO2. Mount Kilimanjaro, contrary to Al Gore’s posturing, lost most of its ice cap prior to 1953 from sublimation - which turns ice directly into water vapor at below-freezing temperatures - not warming, since at the elevation of Kilimanjaro’s ice cap the temperature hardly ever of never rises above freezing.

One climate alarmist is on record in the Climategate emails stating that it is a “travesty” that the lack of warming during the past decade can’t be explained. Al Gore denigrates the emails, saying that they are all over ten years old, even though many are recent.

It’s a travesty that your fact checking missed the critical points the exposed emails uncovered. I would have expected better from an unbiased pursuit of the truth.

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