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A third approach to climate change -- emphasis more on natural variability as main cause


Roger J Smith

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Posted
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

In the coming year, I am hoping to work on a project to create a third approach to climate change which is neither the orthodox (human dominated) scenario nor any kind of denial. Whether it would still qualify as skeptical depends on how you interpret the approach. It is not meant to downplay the critical aspects of the situation. In fact it might well underscore that the situation is not only critical, but irreversible (by us) and therefore in need of a different strategy. 

First of all, I don't deny the physics of climate change as being in part a response to rising greenhouse gas levels, and human activity is obviously the main source of those. It has to be remembered though, warming of any cause will increase the greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to some extent as formerly frozen ground thaws and vegetation spreads. So there's one area of imprecise understanding, how much of the rise in greenhouse gases is a cause, how much is an effect, and could the climate warm naturally without the external addition of greenhouse gases. Past history suggests that it could.

I have always been skeptical of some aspects of the orthodox climate science that is driving public policy debates. I have said on past occasions that I thought the warming observed from about 1990 to 2015 was at least half caused by natural variability of the same kind that produced natural warmings on several other recent occasions, for example, from the Maunder to the mild 1710-39 period, from the Dalton to the somewhat milder mid-19th century, and from the later solar downturn cooling (aided by Krakatoa dust) around the 1880s, to rather sharp warming signals in the late 1890s. The period from 1921 to 1960 also appears to have been impacted by a considerable natural warming signal. 

Because there was a cooling trend in many climate zones around the 1960s to early 1980s, a resumed natural warming cycle after 1987 looked to researchers like it was very likely to be of human origin because around then, the increases in greenhouse gases well underway by 1960 had accumulated and (as they theorized) overwhelmed the natural balance of our atmosphere to the point where a possibly catastrophic warming was then underway. This view has not changed much except for its broadening out to include just about every variation in weather and climate as possible "symptoms" of human-driven climate change. Some in the atmospheric sciences (and by no means just a few eccentric outsiders which is how I would surely come across in this day and age) are rather quietly grumbling away about an overkill in that broadening, to the point where every weather event that probably would have happened in any case is being blamed on you and me driving our cars and heating our homes. It makes no sense to me to blame floods and windstorms and droughts on human climate change when those elements were present in climate zones long before the industrial age or even human settlement in some cases. What was causing them back then? Buffalo farts? In recent years, climate change has even been blamed for colder episodes like the polar vortex phenomenon. Any casual reading of 19th century climate records will show that in a natural cool phase, the arctic vortex often forms and moves south. So what are the orthodox scientists really saying here? That climate change may produce the outcome we were looking for anyway? It makes no sense to people, which is why the politics of climate change has proven to be a tougher sell than its proponents expected. The average person does not want to be shelled for extra taxes for no plausible reason. Somebody has to identify the 800-lb gorilla in the room -- carbon taxes do not change the weather. They don't do much to change behaviour either. They just impoverish people, forcing them to pay more for essentials perhaps at the cost of medical care or food. When the zealots cry out, "what will we tell our grandchildren?" perhaps tell them we were trying to give them enough money to survive? 

The orthodox theory is rather like the old floating iceberg theory of erratic boulders, it sounds plausible but a better theory is creeping up on it waiting to kill it off when enough people realize it is wrong.That better theory is natural variability in control of climate. We are just minor players who (for some) think we are in charge. We are not creating weather patterns. We are not really even modifying them. The natural changes are modifying them. It's getting warmer because storm tracks are shifting north (at about the same rate as the magnetic pole). When storms moved further north in the cold climate of the 19th century, temperatures approached modern levels. A few records were set then too. The longer residence time in cold air kept the ground chilled which had to be overcome by those air masses moving north. This is why old records often fall by 1 or 2 degrees now. They don't stand much of a chance having been recorded in an era when the ground temperatures were several degrees lower than today.

Orthodox climate change theory is wrong. It is obvious that natural variability has not gone away. Most of the natural variability since 1700 has been in the warming direction. We are in an inter-glacial period quite a bit removed from any widespread glaciation outside of the zones we see today. Sure, small ice caps on Baffin Island have shrunk down, mountain glaciers are retreating, and there has been some marginal melt from Greenland. But that process could very well be expected to be ongoing towards some hypothetical mid-inter-glacial minimum that our science frankly cannot reliably estimate. What if any logic is there in saying that the climate of 1921-50 was somehow an ideal climate that we should fight to preserve? Why not the Maunder climate or the warmer Neolithic warrm spell (warmer than nowadays from the biological records left behind)? More to the point, how are we supposed to prevent the climate from warming naturally? I suppose there would be possible ways to do this, but carbon taxes would not be very useful in that regard. Our addition to the natural warming signal is slight, in my opinion, perhaps one quarter or less. And if we could tone down our contribution, that other 75 to 90 per cent would roll on without interruption.

Now there is one silver lining in this approach, which is that a natural cooling trend could set in. This has happened perhaps three times since 1739 (on a large scale) and perhaps three or four times between the postulated quasi-20th century MWP and the onset of the Maunder. The time scale appears to be roughly once a century. We see a longish downturn in solar activity at least rivalling the Dalton minimum. Perhaps we will get lucky and see a long cooling trend. Our warming signal will mask that and cause a flatter trend to emerge. Some say that has already begun to happen. 

One of the strongest signs of natural variation being in control is how different zones warm and cool at similar times. An external driver must be suspected when different climate zones have their peak temperatures in similar time periods. All of them are getting a bit of extra heat from somewhere. But why would that be human caused? Would an ongoing, never-varying human output of heat not have equal influence all the time? 

There are problems with the orthodox theory that should cause it to fall soon. And the paranoia of its proponents is a tip-off that it is a weak theory and they know it is weak. 

Join me. I'm going to try to put an end to this idiocy once and for all. Our futures may depend on it. An ongoing natural warming would imply irreversible sea level changes and other outcomes that will need to be mitigated because they cannot be prevented. The political implications of this are self-evident. Our progressive political parties are on the wrong path trying to prevent something that nobody can prevent if it's going to happen. And those who take a denialist, skeptical approach ("nothing bad will happen") could be equally wrong. I wouldn't want to bet against natural variation causing further warming of climates all the way through to some sort of tipping point when sea levels will start to rise appreciably. Are we ready for this? No, our response is to blame humanity for something it is not causing, and to place trust in a hail-Mary political strategy that can't possibly work (even within its own paradigms, it can't work, not without causing such severe economic distress that people will naturally rebel against it). 

These are big stakes and it's time for real science to happen. Climate science is a social science that got past real scientists somehow and fooled them into thinking it was legitimate. It is bogus. I think two-thirds of the people on weather forums hold this same opinion. The people who have seen the most actual past weather data are naturally skeptical. But I don't think a lot of them will instantly agree with my third option. It has become comfortable to dissent by holding to steady-state minor fluctuation paradigms. There again, anyone familiar with climate history will know that our climate doesn't do gentle changes, it lurches rather violently from one state to another (the Dryas periods for example, at the end of the last glacial era). 

I hope the moderators don't remove this post. These ideas need to be discussed and debated. We have gone a bit too long now without a plausible alternative to the orthodox theory. 

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Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon

I hope you can continue without words like 'idiocy' 'fooled', 'paranoia', 'bogus', 'zealots'  - that is the language of a closed mind not of someone putting forward a 'plausible' theory..

A few million less words per post might not come amiss too.......

 

Edited by Devonian
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Posted
  • Location: Near King's Lynn 13.68m ASL
  • Weather Preferences: Hoar Frost, Snow, Misty Autumn mornings
  • Location: Near King's Lynn 13.68m ASL
1 hour ago, Roger J Smith said:

Orthodox climate change theory is wrong.

Asserting as fact that which is to be proved.

1 hour ago, Roger J Smith said:

It is obvious that natural variability has not gone away.

Who said it has?

1 hour ago, Roger J Smith said:

Most of the natural variability since 1700 has been in the warming direction.

Evidence for this? If we only consider orbital dynamics, then the Earth should be in a cooling period.

 

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