More unsettling science in the global warming camp

Source: National Post
by Steve Janke

Remember how I said that we would be witness to scientists abandoning global warming orthodoxy in an attempt to regain lost credibility?

That the global warming dogma — that the question of global warming was “settled science” and that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity was dramatically warming the planet — would be challenged with new research, research that would not be suppressed?

Turns out I was right.

NASA and NOAA are organizations from which many of true believers in the global warming religion have come, and they’ve played a critical role in providing the scientific-sounding justification for the worst of the alarmist predictions.  But now scientists from NOAA have published research in Science that challenges the core assumptions of the global warming camp:

An increase in atmospheric water vapor is responsible for at least a third of the average temperature increase since the early 1990s, say scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Susan Soloman, the respected climate scientist who lead the research, says that this finding does not undermine man-made global warming theories. “Not to my mind it doesn’t,” she said. Soloman did point out thatthe research does allude to human emissions having a much smaller role in climate change than previously thought, and serves as a warning to climate modelers who “over-interpret the results from a few years one way or another.” Despite Soloman’s personally held belief, the NOAA study is expected to give further ammunition to climate skeptics working to draw public attention to perceived flaws in man-made global warming theories.

Soloman is careful to be polite to the global warming believers, but a few months ago, this research would not had even seen the light of day.  We know from the Climategate emails that climatologists had conspired to suppress research that challenged the orthodoxy.  Apparently they’re not able to do that any longer.

Soloman has opened the door by saying in no uncertain terms that the fundamental assumption in global warming dogma, that carbon dioxide is the most important factor in global warming, is simply not true:

Soloman did point out that the research does allude to human emissions having a much smaller role in climate change than previously thought…

Well, isn’t that we’ve been saying all along?  Isn’t that a statement that guaranteed you the label of “denier”?

Soloman is also making reference to my prediction — that scientists are now running, not walking, away from the global warming camp:

Soloman did mention that many scientists are now accepting, testing, and sometimes embracing skeptic research, and that the NOAA report is proof of that. “What I will say, is that this shows there are climate scientists round the world who are trying very hard to understand and to explain to people openly and honestly what has happened over the last decade.” Soloman co-chaired the last climate change assessment report prepared by the United Nations IPCC, but did not personally oversee the controversial Himalayan section.

Openly and honestly?  Is she suggesting in a backhand way that this is a change from previous behaviour?

If she thought things had been open and honest until now, she wouldn’t have had to make a point of mentioning it.

Susan Soloman is just one scientist, and this is just one paper.  But it’s like the first pebble skipping down a hillside ahead of an avalanche.  The avalanche will follow very, very quickly.

The science itself is curious.  Soloman suggests that there is a negative feedback loop that keeps carbon dioxide from altering temperature all too much:

Soloman said it was not clear if the drier atmosphere, which the NOAA report says is the reason global warming fell flat over the last decade, is a natural process or came to be due to human emissions. If the latter is true, carbon dioxide emissions would actually be responsible for a negative feedback that cancels at least some of the warming it causes by pushing water vapor back to the surface of the earth and out of the stratosphere, where it acts as a potent greenhouse gas. According to the report, a 10% decrease in atmospheric water vapor alone was responsible for a 25% drop in predicted temperature increase.

This would explain what the global warming alarmists refuse to even mention, and that is that there is evidence that carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the far past, even during times of global glaciation.

But the best part is the not-so-subtle hint that these scientists are not counting themselves among the warmists any longer:

The research, facilitated by a state-of-the-art NASA satellite codenamed AIRS, suggests that water vapor is responsible for twice the global warming effect of carbon dioxide, both man-made and naturally occurring. While this theory was has been carried by climate change skeptics for some time, global warming advocates dismissed them, saying that water vapor in the atmosphere was only a feedback effect caused by human emissions. NASA scientist Eric Fetzer say that the new study created models much more accurate to past events than those previously used byclimate change advocates, and proves that “water vapor is the big player in the atmosphere as far as climate is concerned.”

I thought the previous models were used by scientists.  But no, according to Eric Fetzer, those models were used by climate change advocates.

It’s us versus them.  This is a new dynamic.  It is a clear indication of the split.

The scientists’ models are better than the warmists’ models.  Our model says correctly that water vapor is the big player, while your model says (incorrectly) that carbon dioxide is the sole driver.


The split has come.  The real scientists are no longer counting themselves among the global warming alarmists and are saying so out loud.  And they are challenging the warmists with new research.

The avalanche is coming.

What’s next? Hey, let’s go with another prediction.  If the scientists start to shift dramatically away from the global warming orthodoxy, I expect we’ll be seeing the editorialists next.  I expect that in some short time frame, columnists and pundits who have been cheerleaders for the warmist camp will start issuing semi-apologies.  They’ll admit to having been perhaps a smidge too keen on believing everything the IPCC had been saying, and a touch too cavalier when it came to mocking the skeptics.   They’ll take cover behind research like this, saying that it’s only now that it can be said that maybe the skeptics were on to something.  Whatever.  In any case, we’ll see if that happens.  If and when it does, I’ll issue my next prediction.