Letter To The Editor: It’s Warming And It’s Us … What Are We Willing To Do About It?

By Dr. CHARLES “CHICK” KELLER
Los Alamos

Joel Williams’ piece is a classic example of people with only a little information trying to convince you that all those professional climate scientists have missed his points even though they are the ones who did all the work he cites.

Consider just one of the unsaid assumptions: that a single ice core at one place near a pole on the Earth is representative of global behavior—not! As for recent temperature fluctuations, Joel’s graph disagrees with every one of the peer-reviewed papers—some 20 of them—in their determinations of global (not just in Europe or Greenland) temperature variations in the past.

Since you presented graphs, here are a few to consider. The first shows that, just as planetary rotation and orbital cycles predict (so-called Malenkovitch Cycles—which govern large scale climate change over the past million or so years), the climate has been cooling down for the past 8,000 years or so as the earth’s orientation to the sun slowly changes. And that’s why the recent unprecedentedly rapid warming is a matter of concern.

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On this graph, the top is from an ice core, middle is measurement of altitude of treeline. Bottom is from stalactites in a cave. All show cooling. (Note here that these are from different places so somewhat more representative of global or at least Northern Hemisphere temperatures.)

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As for recent northern hemisphere temperatures, the next graph shows results (over the past 1,100 years) using vastly different methods, averaged from many locations, making them truly representative of hemispheric temperature variations. You can see that first, there is some disagreement (Esper’s temperature determination from tree rings have always been curious); and second, recent warming is larger than previous warnings or coolings.

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Note also that until 1700, temperatures were going down just as in the graph above. As for the much-talked-about lack of warming in the past decade or so, the next graph takes a longer view and shows that over the past 30 years there is a noticeable continuous rise albeit slowed in recent years by cooling of the Pacific Ocean in its approximate 60 year warming and cooling cycle.

And so, Joel’s well-meaning criticism just isn’t up to snuff. No, the climate scientists haven’t ‘missed’ any of the things he suggests. In fact they have run down all such objections and shown them to be not important. Bottom line: It’s warming and it’s us. Question for society is: “What are we willing to do about it?” 

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