Monday, January 4, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Jan.5'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Going into 2010, many of us here in the northern hemisphere are more concerned about chilling out than getting overheated. We are only in the early stages of winter still and it has been a fall of alternating cold and warm weather and a predominantly cold early winter. In fact, the leaves on the trees here in central Alberta were literally frozen on to the branches before having a chance to fall off.
(In the circumstances, we should perhaps use the term “autumn” rather than “fall”)
Also, all the hot air at the climate change conference in Copenhagen did not help much there either: Freezing weather in Europe has been reported.
Spending some time on the Internet, searching data sources on weather generally, led to one very clear conclusion: It is a long stretch to talk about climate change, whether it be towards a warmer or colder climate.
The data is far too complex and accurate information is not available for a long enough period to draw any reliable conclusions. As our technology improves, we collect more and more data that has to be fitted into the overall picture before any reliable conclusions can be drawn.
One glaring example of “spin” stood out. I believe it was Al Gore that presented “evidence” about shrinking polar ice caps? I saw some pictures presented on the internet where the polar ice appeared to have shrunk drastically in the last few years so I went to the trouble of checking actual monthly satellite imagery over the last ten years or so.
The yearly spreading and shrinkage in the area covered by ice did not change very much over that period, with some variation in the shape of the ice in evidence.
The images used by the spin doctors were likely taken during different months of the year, or two contrasting years were picked to accentuate differences.
Also, the reach of the sea ice during winter, south along the seaboards of northern continents, did not change either, to any perceptible degree.

So, moving on, I proceeded to check solar energy output data, and this is where the red flags are beginning to emerge.
First, we are at the bottom of an 11 year sunspot cycle where the number of sunspots is an indicator of overall sun energy output. Also, we are at a 50 year low in solar wind pressure, another indicator of reduced solar activity. And, according to NASA’s website, we are at “A 12-year low in solar "irradiance": Careful measurements by several NASA spacecraft show that the sun's brightness has dropped by 0.02% at visible wavelengths and 6% at extreme UV wavelengths since the solar minimum of 1996.”
Put this together with the present perceived cooling in the local weather and you might have to go all the way to Copenhagen to find some enthusiasm for global warming theories.
All the same, I think Copenhagen was a great success for all the participants. Every one, and his dog, got a soapbox to stand on and spout off to the world for a heady couple of weeks. All the mainsteam and sidestream media were there, giving air time to their favorite speakers that had converged in droves on Copenhagen. They were going to save the world, and said so. And the Danes were very happy too, because they collected millions of good dollars from the party crowd.
Meanwhile, Aten, Sungod of the Egyptians, is taking a bit of a snooze, giving us all a big chill.

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