Jim Steele, Heartland Daily Podcast - January 27, 2015
Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett (for the National Center for Policy Analysis) interviews Jim Steele, ecologist, director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada field campus of San Francisco State University
Steele: "And we trust the scientific theory because it been fairly tested by others - the theory must out perform all alternate explanations, eliminate confounding factors plus lively debate. But, what I was finding was the scientific process was being defiled when scientists refused to debate in public. ... and any attempt to prevent that debate, in our schools, in the media, in peer reviewed science, it's only denigrating the scientific process. ... And I think those public debates would help create real climate literacy ..."Well then OK Mr. Steele, let's have our Great Global Warming Science Debate. I will accept these responses as your opening round. I'll offer my rebuttals along with evidence and questions.
Heartland Burnett: Jim, Thanks for being with us today. If you would, tell us about your background.~ ~ ~
Steele: I'd be glad to, it's not a simple answer, it'll take me about five minutes. While I was working on my masters in biology I worked summers at SFSU - Sierra Nevada field campus. It's a rustic environmental education and research center about 40 miles north of Lake Tahoe. Dr, James Kelley was the Dean of Science at the time. He saw my passion and skills and appointed me as the new director. I'd planned on pursuing a PhD, but that position allowed me to generate my own research and build the whole program. So I served as director for the next 25 years.
At the outset I want to mention that from my communications with various folks I understand that Mr. Steele left behind nice memories. He did good work and was the inspiration and organizing force behind a large meadow restoration project that did a lot of good, (though it hasn't 'saved' that meadow from their current drought). He is also recalled as an accomplished bird watcher and a friendly guy to work with.
Climate science is sound and We The People have a right to hear about it without the constant crossfire of shrill malicious lies and slander.
Steele: I was soon hired by the US Forest Service, to monitor bird populations in the Tahoe National Forest. One of our meadows began drying out and suffered a population crash and now people were saying that's just what global warming theory was saying,~ ~ ~
Isn't it true that this meadow had long standing hydrology issues related to a timber railroad grade and drainage features that were put in many decades earlier?
Steele: but after examining temperature data from the near by USHCN network I discovered the maximum temperatures at Tahoe which was near us and Yosemite were actually lower than they had been in the early 1930s and 40s.(b) To believe that global warming was causing detrimental heat stress maximum temperature would have had to been much higher. But, they weren't, so that was one of my first steps.~ ~ ~
You haven't established who was suggesting that particular meadow was dying because of global warming. Was it a couple Letters to the Editor or did it come from a more reputable source? Does it matter to you?
Steele: It also became obvious that the claims that a rising average temperature was driven by rising minimum temperatures. Minimum trend is usually driven by landscape changes and urbanizing effects.~ ~ ~
Where do you get that idea? You're mistaken.
While urbanization and landscape changes do increase local minimums, so does atmospheric greenhouse gases, although night clouds play the greatest role and both do it on a global scale.
- - -
Record Warm Nighttime Temperatures: A Closer Look
By David Kroodsma | August 2nd, 2011
Even though repeat heat waves brought sizzling hot days, overnight temperatures broke far more records: According to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), in July there were 6,106 record high minimum temperatures, and "only" 2,722 record high daytime temperatures. ...
I spoke with Phil Duffy, Climate Central’s chief scientist, about why nighttime lows are warming faster than the daytime highs. He replied that the answer isn’t straightforward, and then he referred me to research that has shown that an increase in cloudiness (as well as a few other factors) has warmed nights more than days.
During the day, clouds both warm and cool, as they act like a blanket to reflect heat back to the surface (warming), but they also reflect sunlight back to space (cooling). At night, they only warm temperatures, acting like an insulating blanket. Thus, nights warm more than the days, and this is exactly what climate models predict. In fact, this is a good example of climate models making a prediction (warmer nights), and then having the prediction born out by the data. ... link to the full story~ ~ ~
Incidentally Jim, what do you think of the current grim reality unfolding in California?
Do you really think that's unrelated to decades old global warming trends?
How are local landscapes going to be independent of that?
Drought, climate change threatening winter, way of life at iconic landmark.
Steele: So although it was undeniable that CO2 was rising and CO2 is undeniably a greenhouse gas, but climate sensitivity to CO2 climate sensitivity is a matter of great debate.~ ~ ~
No it's not.
Jim, you are leaving out that the disagreements have to do with the upper and lower extremes while the central most probable number remains surprisingly constant.
Steele: And from what I was seeing up there, was that the climate in Sierra Nevada's was not very sensitive to rising CO2. Without a rise in maximum there was no evidence to support the theoretical arguments that CO2 was accumulating heat.
But, please notice what happens as you pull back from the local to the regional scale. Plenty of indicators of global warming there. Why do you ignore that?
More details on California's warming trend:
The identification of distinct patterns in California temperature trends
Eugene C. Cordero · Wittaya Kessomkiat · John Abatzoglou · Steven A. Mauget
Received: 28 August 2009 / Accepted: 4 November 2010 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011
4.2 Comparison of annual trends: 1918–2006 with 1970–2006
It is understood that forcings (i.e., natural and anthropogenic) may interact in a nonlinear fashion, thus affecting temperatures across different time and spatial scales. To evaluate this, we compared annual trends across different regions for two different time periods, 1918–2006 and 1970–2006.
The most prominent feature in this comparison (Fig. 5) was accelerated warming trends from 1970–2006. Statewide Tmax trends between 1970–2006 (+0.27◦C dec−1) were more than three times as large as the trend between 1918–2006 (+0.07◦C dec−1), while Tmin trends between 1970–2006 (+0.31◦C dec−1) were almost twice as large as trends between 1918– 2006 (+0.17◦C dec−1).
"Another study finds that drought will hit California hard as the planet keeps warming"