Saturday, June 07, 2008

William Herschel, Adam Smith and climate

Five years ago, I accepted the IPCC line of global warming without demur. I can't honestly see how anyone who is following the issue could adhere to this line in the light of the information that has become available since then. Here's a very thorough summary from Quadrant, an Australian magazine:

The Europeans, unaccustomed to such intransigence on the part of the so-called developing world, are threatening trade sanctions against recalcitrant nations who will not impose the carbon tax regimes which the Europeans require. If they proceed down this path they will destroy the WTO, whose predecessor, the GATT, was founded on the sovereignty of the member states to conduct their internal affairs as they saw fit. The WTO is not travelling well; it may be that its use-by date has passed, and new international trade arrangements will have to be called into being.

But that is another story. What matters here is that the EU is threatening other nations with measures that in the past were seen as a precursor to armed conflict.

BUT THESE CONSIDERATIONS are not as important as the inconvenient facts which are finally coming into public view. The first is the contradiction between what the climate models predict and what temperature measurements of the troposphere are telling us. There are more than twenty climate models around the world. Every one predicts some degree of warming from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (although estimates vary greatly) and every one requires significant warming to take place in the troposphere in tropical latitudes, at altitudes of about ten kilometres. This phenomenon is known as the “greenhouse signature”.

There has been intensive investigation into the actual temperatures at these latitudes and altitudes using radiosonde balloons and satellites. The results are now beyond dispute. There is no warming. None.

This result poses a huge crisis for the IPCC and all those whose reputations and livelihoods depend upon it. Do you stick with the climate models, or do you believe the temperature data? This quandary has been kept pretty quiet and it hasn’t yet reached the mainstream press. But it will be impossible to keep it under wraps indefinitely; those who are in the know and appreciate the implications are re-positioning themselves. When it finally breaks out, many people will be searching for new careers.

The second is much better known; the failure of the planet to warm, despite steadily rising carbon dioxide concentrations, since 1998. The third is the record-breaking fall in global temperature in 2007.

The fourth, and most serious, is the failure of solar cycle 24 to become manifest. Until belief in the IPCC theory of anthropogenic carbon dioxide climate control became mandatory, the study of solar influences on the world’s climate had occupied scientists for at least two centuries. In 1800 William Herschel, the Astronomer Royal, published his famous paper in which he took the wheat prices recorded by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, and found they correlated extremely well with the sunspot record as it was then known. He was probably spurred into this investigation because the Thames had frozen in London for the first time for nearly a century, an early manifestation of the Dalton Minimum. This period, which began about 1795 and persisted until 1820, had begun its grim passage throughout Europe, where the combination of bad harvests followed by the Napoleonic Wars caused great distress. It was coincident with solar cycles 5 and 6, which were of very low intensity. But of greater significance was that solar cycle 4 had been of high intensity and long duration, thirteen years, and a period of warmer temperatures and excellent harvests.

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