“Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.”
With the meeting going on in Copenhagen, one might think that the headline above was from current media. But, it’s not. It’s actually a quote from an article in Newsweek from April 28, 1975. The topic was climate change but at that time, the concern was global cooling. The concern then was from aerosols being emitted by humans, as this article partly explains. In 1974, articles began appearing, like this one in the New York Times, that say that climate change could threaten global food production. Another New York Times article from May 21, 1975 says that the scientific community was concerned about climate change. It says that many thought that the earth was getting colder and we were heading toward another ice age. But, in an interesting side note, it also mentioned that some scientists felt like man made pollution would hold off another ice age. It then goes on to say that just about everyone agrees that global cooling was inevitable and even cited cooling northern hemispheric temperatures since 1950 that had shortened Britain’s growing season.
“There seem little doubt that the present period of unusual warmth will eventually give way to a time of colder climate, but there is no consensus with regard to either the magnitude or rapidity of the transition.”
Again, some might think that is a quote from a recent global warming study that would seem to fit some folk’s world view. But, it’s not. This quote if from a January 19, 1975 article in the New York Times. The Times is quoting a National Academy of Sciences report. Now, people may jump on the parts of the article that state that says there is the potential for an abrupt end to the warmth of the interglacial period. But, instead, I would focus attention on another quote from the article which says: “A far greater understanding of these changes is required than we now possess.” While the article talks about the prospects of possible increasing global temperatures due to man’s activities, it also says that northern hemisphere temperatures rose steadily from the 1880’s to the 1940’s but then fell consistently from the 1940’s to the mid 1970’s. Huh? We’ve been led to believe that temperatures have been steadily increasing all through the 20th century.
The Copenhagen talks have come and gone and nothing much happened. We are in the middle of a global recession and all of the remedies proposed seem to have one thing in common: Money. There is the cost of taxes designed to discourage fossil fuel use and encourage the development of “green” technology. There is some sort of “cap and trade” effort which doesn’t seem to stop carbon emissions but instead shifts money around in a shell game. And then there was the proposal that rich nations give hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries. Some say these proposals are nothing more than a transfer or wealth and no one can tell me who gets the tax money and what it is to be used for. Also, what assurances are there that the poorer countries that get the money from the rich ones will actually use the funding for what it was intended? Ask yourself if you believe a third world government that is given hundreds of billions of dollars will do what they are supposed to do with all that money.
All of this is, of course, framed in the current “climategate” scandal in which thousands of emails from a leading climate institute came to light in which the scientists involved appear to be acknowledging cooking the books to make data fit their hypothesis. Now, apparently Russian scientists confirm that UK scientists manipulated climate data to fit their opinions. Some people say that all of this new evidence proves that the whole Global Warming scare is all wrong. But, that is not necessarily true. Peter Gwynne, who authored the famous Global Cooling article in the April 28 1975 Newsweek issue says that his story was not wrong in the journalistic sense. He reported accuratetly what was being reported. What the difference is that scientists in the 1970’s were looking at the situation with an open mind. They suspected that man’s activities were altering the climate but were unsure of just how it was happening. They let the facts lead them to reach conclusions. NASA explains that they use the term Climate Change instead of Global Warming because the latter term is suggestive of a terminal conclusion instead of merely an alteration of the climate.
Have global temperatures risen? Yes. Has the Arctic Ice Cap receded? Yes over 20 years but over the past two years, there has been modest ice growth at the North Pole, but most news articles use verbiage to try and obfuscate that fact. That is the word…obfuscation instead it should be transparency. The world should take the view of the scientists in the 1970’s that more understanding was required. The truth is, we just don’t know for sure what is going on. We have no idea if the proposals at the Copenhagen Summit would change the environment one bit. We have no idea what the truth is regarding anthropogenic global warming because so many politicians, political world bodies, people who have a monetary stake in the process and countries who stand to gain politically have gotten involved. Everyone should step aside. Former Vice-Presidents should leave their private jets in the hanger and let the grown ups do their work. The UN should look at the question of whether or not, if anthropogenic global warming is a certainty, if there is anything that can or should be done. Thomas Friedman raised the question in one of his books if they money used to try and re-alter the earth’s climate could not be better used to fight disease, hunger and poverty.
Global Cooling? Yeah…everyone just chill out and allow for a transparent, academic process to move forth that leads to a rational, precise conclusion. The politicians can remain spectators. The thing that gets overlooked in the January 1975 New York Times article is the subheadline: “Scientists Warn Predictions Must Be Made Precise to Avoid Catastrophe.” That holds true today and those at Copenhagen should paste that sub-headline to their foreheads. So, those who act like facists and call anyone who even raises a question a “global warming denier” and attacks them with closed ears and no answers, pipe down. For those who run around saying that global warming is a “hoax” recognize that while some methodology may be corrupt, the conclusion may in fact have veracity and the fears well founded. At the same time, everyone should realize that developing alternative forms of energy is a good thing. Any time you can create energy in a cleaner, more efficient manner it is nothing but positive provided it can be economically feasible. If the United States had renewable, home grown energy independence, that would not only potentially be a long term economic benefit, but must certainly an addition to national security.
Weather Bottom Line: As for the big snow storm…its not going to be a big snow storm for Louisville. First off, the ground is not cold enough. The models are still in great disagreement regarding rain or snow though it will in all liklihood start as rain before turning to snow on Saturday. The GFS keeps on claiming over 2 inches but much of that falls when the layers just above the surface are above freezing. The NAM continues to have more rain than snow. It’s really tough. Remember, the difference between one and two inches of snow would be .10″ of liquid .20″ of liquid. That’s not much wiggle room. Guess here is that we have rain that washes away the brine solution put on the roads (thus wasting taxpayer money again) and that we get about an inch or so on grassy areas.
This whole pattern is typical of an El Nino year with a low coming out of the Gulf of Mexico and moving up into the Lower 48. This can be a good pattern for Ohio Vally Snow if a low moves northeast out of SE Texas. In this case though, it’s a low moving through the base of the trof along the Central Gulf Coast and moving up through Georgia and then exploding off the East Coast as it moves north. The Appalacian mountains may get as much as two feet of snow. I know that Apple Hill Farm the llamas and Alpacas are prepared, and Knox will love it…but Chi Chi will no doubt cower in fear. As the low deepens while moving up the coast the cold front that moves through here on Saturday will catch up and there will be plenty of cold air in the Northeast Corridor to allow for the moisture tossed ashore by the low to create quite a snow storm.
Now, its tough for moisture to come all the way from the Atlantic, across the mountains and to the Ohio Valley in much amounts. But, there is expected to be about a half a foot in eastern Kentucky. The next system that comes out of the Gulf for Christmas Eve has more promise, but its also possible that we get rain and maybe freezing rain. Could be a mess…could be a White Christmas or could be just wet. We’ll see. Needless to say, it will not be getting warm anytime soon.