November 28, 2006

In Greenland's icy air

Scientists have managed to retrieve air temperature data for Greenland going back to 1784, says World Climate Report (hat tip to John Ray again).
As the popularized side of the debate has led us to expect, the authors found that the coldest year (1863) and the coldest decade (1810s) are early in the record, well before the ballyhooed warming of the 20th century. Problematic from a climate change standpoint is the fact that the two distinct cold periods that made the 1810s the coldest decade followed an 1809 “unidentified” volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815 – unusual geologic events that defined the climate. However, of greater importance is the fact that the researchers found the warmest year on record to be 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades on record. This represents very bad news for climate change alarmists, since the warmest period was NOT the last quarter of the 20th century. In fact, the last two decades of the 20th century (1981-1990 and 1991-2000) were colder across the study area than any of the previous six decades, dating back to the 1900s and 1910s. When examining the instrumental records of the stations it is apparent that no net warming has occurred since the warm period of the 1930s and 1940s.
Ouch. The note concludes -
In a region of the world where climate models indicate that the greatest impacts of CO2-induced global warming will be most rapid and most evident, this recent extension of instrumental surface air temperature records produces a climate history that seems to suggest otherwise. If global climate models are correct, the increase in CO2 concentration since 1930 should be evidenced rather dramatically in air temperature across a high-latitude region of the Northern Hemisphere such as Greenland. The evidence provided by the instrumental record of air temperature along the western and southern coasts of Greenland produces doubt in the degree to which increased CO2 concentrations impact high latitude climate as represented by the climate models upon which climate change alarmists are hanging their hats.
What's fascinating to this layman is how new observations are still being made which seem to challenge what is evidently not at all a settled body of theory.

And that theory - and a dodgy discount rate - are a basis for major action?

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