Saturday, April 17, 2010

Trenberth again

Some actual findings: One set of satellite readings indicate that more energy, especially from the sun, is reaching the earth, than is leaving it. This seems to confirm the official global warming theory that greenhouse gases are trapping energy, man-made CO2 is making this worse, etc.

Except: there is no measurement that confirms either higher temperatures, or more heat measured in joules, on the globe as a whole over the last few years. In fact we've had a "reprieve ... from warming temperatures in the last few years," and:

Until 2003, the measured heat increase was consistent with computer model expectations. But a new set of ocean monitors since then has shown a steady decrease in the rate of oceanic heating, even as the satellite-measured imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy continues to grow.

Trenberth again has the honesty to say that measured temperature increases, and even known measures of heat in the oceans, have levelled off in the last decade, and this change is not trivial; among other things, it is contrary to the official global warming computer models.

So is one specific measure--energy in vs. energy out--either mistaken or misleading (I suppose it may be capturing natural changes that have happened before)? Or are a whole bunch of other measures--actual, you know, temperature and heat, mistaken? We can guess the answer: "Either the satellite observations are incorrect, says Trenberth, or, more likely, large amounts of heat are penetrating to regions that are not adequately measured, such as the deepest parts of the oceans."

And of course there is a warning: because of the uncertainty as to what is happening with global energy glows, it may be a mistake to practice geoengineering to mitigate such things as warming. This is to fend off the heretical thought that there are less expensive alternatives to carbon trading, "investing" in windmills and solar panels, etc.

Trenberth is a great example of honestly showing some of the key uncertainties, on the one hand, yet insisting that the dogma must be true on the other. I assume he's not being deliberately dishonest--he just betrays the group think of a lot of scientists and academics on this issue.

Once again he lists the "usual suspects": Arctic, Antarctic, remote glaciers, sea level. But if sea level has been newly been put in doubt, and the other things are subject to distinct local factors, do we really have a global theory here?

Roger Pielke responds (h/t Watts Up With That); and gets some e-mail replies from Trenberth--once again, being relatively courteous.

Meanwhile, Scientific American continues to disgrace itself. The present volcano in Iceland is not directly linked to global warming (and of course has caused more destruction than anyone thinks global warming has done so far), but, but: someday the melting of a huge Icelandic glacier might make warming worse!!!

Er, probably not.

It's as if a lot of otherwise reputable people have gone mad.

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