American Elephants

Global Warming for the Two Cultures: Richard Lindzen by The Elephant's Child

The Global Warming Policy Foundation

The 2018 Annual GWPF Lecture
Global Warming for the Two Cultures”
8 October 2018
Richard Lindzen

…..Over half a century ago, C.P. Snow (a novelist and English physical chemist) who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government famously examined the implications of “two cultures:”
…..A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold’ it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which id the scientific equivalent of :Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?
…..I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question –such as. What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.
…..I fear that little has changed since Snow’s assessment 60 years ago. While some might maintain that ignorance of physics does not impact political ability, it most certainly  impacts the ability of non-scientists to deal with nominally science-based issues. The gap in understanding is also an invitation to malicious exploitation. Given the democratic necessity for non-scientists to take positions on scientific problems, belief and faith inevitably replace understanding, though trivially oversimplified false narratives serve to reassure the non-scientists that they are not totally without scientific ‘understanding.’ The issue of global warming offers numerous examples of all of this.
…..I would like to begin this lecture with an attempt to force the scientists in the audience to come to grips with the actual nature of the climate system, and to help the motivated non-scientists in this audience who may be in Snow’s ‘one in ten’ to move beyond the trivial oversimplifications.
The climate system
The rest of Dr. Lindzen’s lecture is here:
It’s roughly 7 pages, admittedly a little long, but you will understand a lot more of the controversy and reality of the whole global warming issue. Unfortunately there are a lot of people in charge of states who don’t have a clue.



Climate is Always Changing! Skip the Hysteria. by The Elephant's Child

Richard Lindzen is one of our most esteemed climate scientists, and he has a new essay posted at the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.

For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century.

Do read the whole essay, it’s worth your time, or bookmark it and read it this weekend.  Clear information.  No Hype.

Climate Science Is Not Settled, and There’s No Consensus. by The Elephant's Child

We call them “Alarmists,” or “Warmists,” because they depend on an aura of crisis to enlist you in their campaign to “save the earth.” You have heard it over and over.  The polar bears are drowning.   The seas are going to rise, Manhattan Island under water.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of disasters have been blamed on global warming.  Al Gore led it off with his movie and his power point speeches raising fears about the rise of the oceans while he purchased a waterfront condo in San Francisco.  His most recent claim was that we have only 10 years to save the world.  Global warming has been very rewarding for Mr. Gore.

Contrast the alarmist voice with the calm tone of Richard S. Lindzen, one of our most respected scientists, writing today in the Wall Street Journal. Lindzen is a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Is there a reason to be alarmed by the prospect of global warming? Consider that the measurement used, the globally averaged temperature anomaly (GATA), is always changing. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, and occasionally—such as for the last dozen years or so—it does little that can be discerned.

Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre. There is general support for the assertion that GATA has increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the middle of the 19th century. The quality of the data is poor, though, and because the changes are small, it is easy to nudge such data a few tenths of a degree in any direction. Several of the emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) that have caused such a public ruckus dealt with how to do this so as to maximize apparent changes.

The general support for warming is based not so much on the quality of the data, but rather on the fact that there was a little ice age from about the 15th to the 19th century. Thus it is not surprising that temperatures should increase as we emerged from this episode.

The article is not long, and if you have worried about global warming, should make you feel much better.  Do read the whole thing.  Dr. Lindzen is marvelous at explaining how we got so far off track.

%d bloggers like this: