Saturday, January 29, 2005

OH the Humanity

"Life on Earth Snuffed Out by Global Warming"--headline, the Australian, Jan. 2
Even for the utterly shameless global warming alarmists this has been a new low. Riding your issue on the backs of hundreds of thousands of dead people goes beyond the pale. As the story goes, many people live in the path of potential tsunamis. If global warming were to lift the sea level, coastal peoples would be more vulnerable to massive future inundations. That sounds plausible and certainly puts a nice “crisis” sound to it all.

Friends of the Earth Director Tony Juniper told a British newspaper, "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions." The Friends of Mars could not be reached for comment. The Voice of America broadcast a story linking tsunamis and global warming. Naomi Oreskes, an associate professor of History at University of California, argued the tsunami that devastated the Asian and African coastlines, highlights the need to take action on global warming. There is plenty of quantitative evidence on sea-level rise and historical tsunamis and it mostly contradicts Oreskes.

Actually, sea levels in the Indian Ocean region have been declining, according to satellite data and the record of sea level changes. Virginia state climatologist and Cato Institute fellow Patrick Michaels said in a media release that linking the Indian Ocean tsunamis to global warming is "in grave contravention of well-known facts about changes in sea level in that region." I know the Cato Institute has an agenda but so do the “Friends of the Earth”.

The Topex-Poseidon satellite, designed to measure sea levels worldwide, does not show any rise in sea levels over the last ten years. In a 2001 paper published in Science, a respected and peer reviewed publication, by Cecile Cabanes, sea levels in the northeastern Indian Ocean, where the tsunami was most devastating, have gone down, not up over the last 10 years. In fairness when Cabanes looked back and compared temperatures measured by submarines to the satellite-sensed sea levels, he was able to calculate global changes back to 1955. That entire record does yield a sea-level rise for the region of about 1.5 inches. The estimates for the onshore height of the recent tsunami waves were in the range of 40+ feet. So sea-level rise accounts for 1/320th of the tsunami wave.

The global warming crowd argues that it is future changes in sea level that we should be concerned about. But the best estimate for the future rate of global warming is that it will be very close to the rate ready established about four inches in the next 50 years.
After then, who knows? Our technologies are likely to be very different decades from now much more efficient and there's no guarantee that they will even burn fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases. So, why argue the sky is falling? The way we now fund science, issues compete with each other for the cash of our one research provider, the U.S. government. In order to shake Uncle Sam's money tree, the problems global warming, AIDS, chemical threats are cast in the starkest possible terms. No one ever got large amounts of money out of Washington by saying that an issue might not be a problem. But the level of distortion this time, where an inch is judged to be an important addition to 40 feet has made the global warming movement look silly and opportunistic.

For additional non-scientific data, I saw my parents last month who live about 10 miles from the ocean and whose land is mostly beach sand. My father noticed that the ocean must have been up here at one time centuries ago. I don’t know how Dick Cheney did this but it attests to how evil he must be.

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