Friday, June 22, 2007

"Global Cooling"

Many who subscribe to the belief of “man-made global warming” simply can't believe legitimate scientist disagree with the theory. An article I came across this week seems to disprove this theory.

Dr. R. Timothy Patterson has an article in describing his current research. In case you’re wondering what Dr. Patterson’s credentials are, I have done a little homework. Dr. Patterson obtained his B. Sc Biology and B.A. Geology at Dalhousie University. He later obtained his PhD Geology form UCLA. He is Principal Investigator of a Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences and the Canadian Leader of the International Geological Correlation Program “Quaternary Land-Ocean Interactions”. In the bio for the article, he is listed as Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Department of Earth Science, Carleton University.

The article, “Read the Sunspots”, argues that the Sun and stars are the major driving force behind climate change on our planet. Dr. Patterson states, “Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth.” Dr. Patterson’s research has involved looking at cores from the mud of Western Canadian fjords. I have provided the link in case anyone wishes to read the research as presented on The core results are summarized quite well by Dr. Patterson:

“Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called “proxies”) is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia’s Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.”

CO2 levels do find their way into Dr. Patterson’s paper. When they appear, it probably isn’t in a form most would expect in an article from a professor of Earth Sciences. Dr. Patterson says, “…CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet’s climate on long, medium and even short time scales.”

Dr. Patterson’s work found that as solar activity increases cloud activity decreases; as cloud activity decreases, global temperature increases. Dr. Patterson believes that by 2020, solar activity will be decreasing; hence our global temperature will decrease. He believes we really need to be worried about “Global Cooling”.

I wanted to point out this article because it illustrates one important thing: How much consensus isn’t present in global warming. As Dr. Patterson states, “In a 2003 pool conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that ‘the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases.’ About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.” I have been criticized here for it, but I have constantly called for more research in this field. Humans simply don’t know enough about our environment to begin passing laws regulating industry with the hopes of changing a 1 degree temperature over 100 years.


chuckles said...

Andy, Global warming is not about facts, it's about emotion. Some people (many apparently) NEED something to be afraid of. Think about it. Our planet is about 5 billion years old right? Now, what percent of the earths total history do we have reliable climate data? Not much. But even if we had 10,000 years of reliable climate data, we would still have a snapshot of 1000th of 1% of the total historical climate picture. Enough to panic over? Evidently. The earth has clearly been going through warming and cooling cycles for many millenia, and now all of a sudden the earth is going to end in the next 25 years.
Interestingly, what you don't hear from global warming panicists is "I have sold my car, and have moved closer to my job, so I can walk, ride transit, ride a bicycle, etc." Or, "I have put solar panels on my home to provide electricity, so I no longer need to buy from the local utility, which uses coal-fired generators."
Look, if man really is the cause of this alleged 1 degree heat wave, then lets change what we're doing. "Global warming" wasn't caused by a government program, and, I promise you, won't be fixed by one.
When all this hysteria cools off (pun intended) like the last global catastrophe hype in '70's,(global cooling) I can hardly wait to see what comes along next.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see the voice of common sense! Personally, I could do with some cooling. We live in Texas.

Odd that a danger of more immediate threat, like a rouge asteroid sneaking up on our blind side, garners only minimal attention in the media.

Andy D said...

Chuckles, you make some great points. Maybe someone can show me the evidence for where Al Gore has taken the initiative and lives personally in compliance with Kyoto. Perhaps there is a action group that is calling for legislation that is currently living in tents, driving bikes, and not using any electricity in order to keep their “carbon footprint” down. I haven’t seen it, but I expect many comments from readers telling me about examples like that.

Anonymous said...

I checked out Patterson.

1) He's a real scientist.

2) Who studies rocks.

3) He's one of 21 scientists listed on Wikipedia who "believe that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes." That's a pretty small group, when you consider how many scientists work on the IPCC report (1500+) and that many of the 21 skeptics are not even climate scientists. With a quick background check on a few of those 21, I notice that all of them share with Patterson that they get

4) money from the oil and gas industry. (Doesn't mean Patterson's a sucker, but it's interesting.)

5) While some of his peer-reviewed work seems solid, he seems to publish his "global cooling" theories in op-ed pieces in non-peer-reviewed newspapers. (I may publish peer-reviewed articles myself, but it doesn't make my tin-foil-hat op-ed letters any more respectable.)

6) The logic for his "global cooling" case seems to work like this: a) there were times in the earth's history when carbon levels were higher and the earth was cooler, therefore b) carbon levels have nothing to do with current global temperature. But that's a logical fallacy: there are indeed many factors (orbit, albedo, rotation, etc) that contribute to earth's climate that have varied dramatically over time, but *all things being equal* CO2 in the atmosphere indisputably raises temperature. Global temperature over the last 650,000 years tracks very tightly with CO2 levels, including the recent unprecedented warming.

Reading Andy's post and his dismissive, ridiculing comments lead me to the conclusion that he's not only taken on talk radio's anti-reason, anti-intellectualism, but also that it is irresponsible to be part of this conversation--as if I were posting on a blog that discussed the science of whether tobacco smoking *actually* causes cancer.

I've put up the basic undisputed facts about global warming in previous posts, and Andy has dodged and weaved and steadfastly refused to a) check his theories out with *any* Atlanta area climate scientist or b) name the last year in earth's history (in numerical form) in which CO2 levels were as high as they are now. You'd think, if he were confident in his position, he'd take the challenge and then continue to make his case...

The only thing this blog is doing is adding to the hot air. So I'm done here. I'll be working on real solutions somewhere else. I'll look forward to Andy's help on solving problems sometime in the future.

Saint said...

Over the last couple of blogs, we have all read very interesting things about man-made global warming. I do not have a science degree, but I remember the scientific model from school.

I would just like to ask one thing of everyone out there. My understanding is that a scientific theory becomes law once it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it can be repeated, and all variances can be explained (this summed up in non scientific terms). So, my question is this: can anyone out there explain to me (in fact, not opinion) why we have global occurrences that either do not fall in line with global warming, or go directly against it? And if you can't, is man-made global warming really such a fact? With everything we've read, what would be your verdict in a court of law (remember - beyond the shadow of a doubt)?

Also, anonymous, I'm still waiting for your evidence that 997 of the 1000 largest glaciers are shrinking?

Andy D said...

This is typical of people who debate something they can’t argue with fact: They want to discredit and disparage the source. Anonymous has done his fact checking on Wikipedia. While I love Wiki, I typically avoid it as a source for information on this site. However, Anonymous other problems seem to be that Dr. Patterson is a geologist, and that he may have done research for big oil. First, in the still young science of climatology, there are many fields that study the earth and its environment. Unfortunately for Anonymous, geology is one of those fields.

The big oil charge is one that drives me nuts. The same people that say, “So and so works for big oil, so we can’t believe his data,” are the very people who want us to trust every academic who has ever studied global warming that has accepted a UN research grant. If a scientist studying global warming for the UN reports they don’t find any evidence of global warming, their grant money goes away. Just because someone is studying something for a group (big oil, UN, or otherwise) doesn’t mean they are going to skew the results for their client.

Anonymous continues to accuse me of being a mouthpiece for talk radio. Do I listen to talk radio? Yes. I believe more people should. Do I listen to Rush Limbaugh? Yes, I also listen to Bill Bennett and to Michael Medved, and I read magazines, books, and news stories to form my own opinion. I resent the accusation that Anonymous believes I am not confident in my own views that I can’t make my own opinion. The two most recent global warming posts I have made have involved online articles and have not involved repeating anything from any of the three listed above.

Anonymous is still welcome to comment on my site. I hope he can stop throwing around insults, and actually debate the points.

In case Anonymous is still reading my blog, I am not arguing that man has no part in global warming. I am arguing that we need to figure out how much part man has in the process and if we can do anything about it before we run around passing bills and giving up our national sovereignty.

Anonymous said...

Now that Patterson's theory (that the sun, not C02, is driving climate change) has been definitively proven wrong, we'll see if you print a retraction of your original post highlighting Patterson.

My bet is that you don't give a rip about science and you'll find some other lame theory to hide behind.

But prove me wrong. Print a retraction.

Andy D said...

Welcome back Anonymous.

I read the Reuters article. It had some interesting information on it. I am not sure what they mean when they say the study “smoothed” data to account for the 11 year sunspot cycle. I also noted that the article does say, “[t]here is little doubt that solar variability has influenced the Earth’s climate in the past and may well have been a factor in the first half of the last century, but …researchers said it could not explain recent warming.” They seem to say that specifically that while solar activity was involved in temperature changes during the last century, solar activity can’t explain temperature changes in the last 20 years. Let me know if you see a different interpretation of the data. This would lend me to two questions regarding this study:

1) If this is true, what percentage of global temperature change over the last 20 years would the researchers attribute to man and what percentage would they attribute to the sun? It would be ridiculous to say the sun has no effect, so is it 10%? 20%? 70%? And is the remainder 100% man’s influence?

2) If, for the sake of argument, we attribute all temperature change over the last 20 years to man, then the “global warming crisis” Mr. Gore and others are worried about is actually a 0.4 degree C. change. I get this information from the great chart that everyone seems to site as evidence of global warming. If you pull the temperature for 1980 to 2000, it is about a change of 0.4 degrees.

This isn’t some “lame theory” I am trying to hide behind. This is legitimate questioning of a scientific study. Just as I am not trying to tell the world that global cooling is about to happen, I am not about to read one study and say that the sun has nothing to do with global climate change. What we need in this debate is people who point out legitimate problems with the science and look for solutions to those problems. What we do not need is hysterics based on studies that incorporate a lot of “best guess” information. Science isn’t built off of best guesses.

Your latest insult is typical of those who are hysterical about global warming. You think that simply because I don’t believe man-made global warming has been proven, I don’t “give a rip” bout the science. No matter how many scientist and respected opinions I point out, you continue to lay those claims against me. You comment on a post where I am reviewing a scientist’s work and say I don’t care about the science.

If you believe man-made global warming is happening, then make changes in your lifestyle to do something about that. I think you should have every right to do that. If you want to debate the science, I welcome you here to do that. However, my problem with the global warming group is that they don’t want to change their own lifestyle; they want to legislate everyone else’s.

Anonymous said...

Looks like I was right.

The scientist in your original post got shown as being flat-out wrong but you can't admit it. You don't even seem the least bit troubled that the guy you spent a whole post unpacking was dead wrong. If you gave a rip about science, you'd admit that Patterson had his facts backwards, retract your original post, and move on.

But instead you start talking about other people changing their lifestyle.

Andy D said...

Anonymous, I am not sure you are even reading my post, or the articles that you or I link to on here. The article you sited said that the sun alone couldn’t account for the temperature change over the last 20 years. It didn’t give any facts to back up the story, it just reviewed the work of a group of scientist. The article I sited went into great detail about why Dr. Patterson believes we should be worried about global cooling in the next 20 years.

I have not endorsed either story. I have used Dr. Patterson’s story to show that there are scientist who question man-made global warming. There are many more that question it, just as there are many who believe in man-made global warming. My point in this debate all along has been that this is a science that is a long way from being decided.

Anonymous said...

Andy spent a whole post on Patterson to "disprove" scientific consensus on global warming.

Now a study definitively shows that Patterson was wrong and the scientific consensus was right.

Andy doesn't give a rip that his star scientist who "disproved" the scientific consensus was wrong. Andy will just go looking for the next distraction to throw at the rest of us. That's fine, but someone who was intellectually respectable would just admit it like this: "the scientist I featured on my blog to 'disprove' the scientific global warming consensus has been shown to be wrong on the claims I highlighted. The critics who posted on my blog were correct. Thanks for the good discussion, everybody--and especially thanks to the folks who had the facts right from the beginning."

That seems easy to me, but apparently that's too hard for a reality-denying right-winger these days.

Andy D said...

Quick question Matt,

If I show you one study that disagrees with Global Warming, are you going to say, "Oh well, I guess that whole Global Warming thing was wrong?"

Anonymous said...

I don't know who "Matt" is, but nobody's asking Andy to say the "whole" anything is right or wrong. The critics here are asking Andy to admit that Andy's original post featuring Patterson and his theory was based on science that has been definitively proven wrong. That's simple.

I've done that recently myself. I used to think--based on some reports I'd read--that the disappearance of Kilimanjaro's snowpack was due to global warming. New studies suggest that it actually may have more to do with drier air over the mountain rather than rising temperatures. So I don't claim that the snows of Kilimanjaro are melting simply b/c of global warming. I apparently was wrong about that. I changed my mind in order to acknowledge the latest and best scientific information.

Of course, the latest and best scientific information also points to serious global warming caused by humans underway right now, with much more serious warming coming if we don't change course.

In order to convince me that "the whole global warming thing is wrong," you'd have to show me studies that contradict the thousands that I've already reviewed. But, on a study-by-study basis, I could be (and have been) convinced to change my mind. That's the scientific way--something Andy has yet to practice here.

Andy's post on Patterson was based on scientific theory that has been proven wrong. Is he troubled by that? Is he able to admit Patterson was wrong?

Andy D said...

It would not bother me one way or another if "global cooling" is proven wrong. I have said numerous times that I have posted it on here to illustrate that not all scientist agree with man-made global warming.

I reviewed Dr. Pattersons article for my post. I also reviewed the article you linked to for my response. I have some concerns with the article you posted. It looks like one of the significant differences is whether or not to inculde sunspot data. I will completely honest and candid and say that I have no idea if that data should or shouldn't be included.

However, to say that Dr. Patterson has been discredited because one report disagrees with a conclusion he reached isn't correct. The Rueters article doesn't go into the specifics of the study you site. It is hard to tell exactly what this new team was looking at.

The heart of the story is this: Dr. Patterson has done research and come up with one theory and this other team has done research and has concluded something different. At this stage in the game either could be wrong or right.

Either way, I feel my orginal post is still valid: There is not a consensus in science. Climatology is still a young science and is discovering new things almost daily.

Anonymous said...

Andy is wrong.

The new study takes into account Patterson's old data. Patterson's data does not take into account the latest and best data. It's not an open question. Patterson is wrong.

Patterson is wrong. Andy can't admit it.

Science is leaving you flat-earthers behind.

See ya.