16 Nov 2006 Climate Change Press Conference: The Atmosphere is Complex; Media Coverage, Not
Most press and blog coverage of the press conference sponsored by Senator James Inhofe today on the COP-12 climate change meeting in Nairobi seem to be focusing on the Senator’s remarks. Our Ryan Balis attended. His write-up includes the remarks of the other speakers — the scientists:
Today on Capitol Hill, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), outgoing chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, addressed the media on the U.N. Climate Change Conference currently meeting in Nairobi, Kenya: “What we learned in Nairobi and what I have known for a long time is that the real focus has little to do with the fate of the planet and much to do about money — who has it, and who wants it.”On hand to present scientific evidence questioning global warming alarmism were three distinguished scientists, Drs. Joe D’Aleo, Ben Herman and William Gray. Some highlights of their presentations follow.
Dr. Joe D’Aleo — former chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Weather Analysis and Forecasting and a co-founder of The Weather Channel — argued that recent trends of accelerated global temperature rises are “much more complex” than models show. D’Aleo stressed that “natural cycles are important” in explaining these trends.
For instance, solar factors account for 50 percent of warming, according to D’Aleo. “When the sun is brighter, it’s hotter.” Ocean temperature and volcanic activity are also explanatory factors. The Pacific Ocean warmed in 1995 after decades of being cooler. “El Ninos tend to bring global warming because of the warmth in the tropical Pacific [Ocean],” said D’Aleo.
And because of relatively few recent volcanic eruptions, there is less ash ejected into the atmosphere that would block radiation from the Sun. “What does that mean? More radiation from the sun gets through.” This produces warming.
Dr. Ben Herman of the University of Arizona’s Department of Atmospheric Physics centered his presentation on the “discrepancy” among satellite-based temperature readings, temperature measurements on the ground and what climate models predict. “When you compare satellite, mid-troposphere satellite observations, with surface observations they don’t agree with climate models,” argued Herman.
“Climate models, in general, for the most part, have predicted that the mid-troposphere, somewhere between 10 [thousand] to 30,000 feet above the surface of the Earth, should warm more rapidly,” said Herman. “In fact, observations have shown just the opposite.” Moreover, “there are all kinds of complicated feedback mechanisms that come into play that the models cannot property handle.”
As a result, Herman believes the temperature predictions being made today are done “off the hat and without any backing.”
Finally, Dr. William Gray, a 50-year veteran in the field of meteorology, doubts the ability of climate models to predict future temperatures. Gray acknowledged some warming in the atmosphere but argues “I think it’s mostly natural… We cannot interpret every temperature change as measured as purely human. Most all of it, in my view, is due to natural changes.”
Gray stated: “I’ve been appalled at what I’ve been reading in the papers and hearing the last 20 years or so on this climate change. Everything I know about how the atmosphere functions does not subscribe to what we’ve been hearing.”
Climate cycle models, such as those done outside 10 to 12 days in advance, are generally not correct. “The atmosphere is very complex,” argued Grey. He elaborated: “Global models are not issuing forecasts for the next season, next year or so. They don’t do it – why? Because they don’t have any skill. But that doesn’t stop them from telling us what it’s going to like 50 to 100 years from now. It’s going to be warmer [but] how do they know that? This is ridiculous.”
Senator Inhofe was criticized a few months back for allowing a mere medical doctor to testify before his committee on the global warming issue (see here, here, here or here, among others), but I notice that when the Senator calls a press conference and brings scientists who have dedicated their careers to related issues with him, the scientists — except for this blog, as far as I have seen so far — don’t seem to get quoted in the press.