Decades of Global Cooling Ahead?
Global Warming: President Obama warns of planetary doom at the U.N. if we fail to pass cap-and-trade legislation. Meanwhile, a former warm-monger predicts decades of cooling as the sun stays nearly "spotless."
The president had hoped to address Tuesday's United Nations climate change summit in New York with a finished cap-and-trade bill. Failing that, he hoped he'd at least have a version of the Waxman-Markey bill that has passed the House on his desk before the Copenhagen talks in December to cobble together a follow-up to the failed Kyoto Protocol.
Not only did that not happen in the cool summer of 2009, but both science and circumstance have turned against the administration. The American people are in no mood in a recession with near double-digit unemployment to have their electricity rates "necessarily skyrocket" while our economic hole is dug deeper for microscopic, if detectable at all, reductions in global temperature.
The president paraphrased Al Gore's sentiment that the science is settled and the debate is over, saying that "after too many years of inaction and denial, there is finally widespread recognition of the urgency of the challenge before us. We know what needs to be done."
Actually, the science is not settled. Nor is it clear what, if anything, needs to be done to prevent what he called "irreversible catastrophe."
In a speech last week at the U.N.'s World Climate Conference in Geneva, Professor Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, one of the world's foremost climate modelers and a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged that the Earth has been cooling and is likely to continue that trend for the next couple of decades. Al Gore, call your office.
Latif has been looking into the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North American Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, Professor Latif found the results brought the allegedly endless rise in global temperatures to a screeching halt.
Latif conceded the planet has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering "one or even two decades during which temperatures cool." Latif still believes in a warming trend and thinks it will resume. But he at least acknowledges the empirical evidence of cooling, that there are factors at work here other than your SUV, and that doom will not occur the day after tomorrow.
None of the alarmists and their supercomputer climate models ever predicted even a 30-year respite in their apocalyptic scenarios. Neither did they predict the sun, that thermonuclear furnace in the sky that has more influence on earth's climate than any number of Ford Explorers, would suddenly go quiet for an indefinite period.
Charles Perry, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lawrence, Kan., says there's a growing sense in the scientific community that the earth may be entering into a "grand minimum" - an extended period with low numbers of sunspots that results in cooler planetary temperatures.
In July through August of this year, 51 consecutive days passed without a sunspot, one day short of the record. As of Sept. 15, the current solar minimum - with 717 spotless days since 2004 - ranks as the third longest on record.
Perry cites data indicating that global temperature fluctuations correspond to a statistically significant degree with the length of the sunspot cycle and variations in solar activity. 1816, the "year without a summer," was during an 1800 to 1830 grand minimum when Europe became significantly cooler.
Latif and others conclude that, at the very least, we have time to think about it and analyze and learn. We don't have to fight global warming by inflicting global poverty. More things on Earth affect climate than are dreamed up in computer models.