Sunday, October 11, 2015

Considering Steve Goreham's clueless "climatism" in a mad, mad, mad world

Even when I try to get away from the climate science contrarian campaign it seems like there's no escape.  I was looking for a few sites that shared good information about our planet's hydrologic cycle and how a warming world is impacting that.  I came across "Earth’s water cycle, over Carbon Dioxide, cause of Global Warming" by one Steve Goreham at Communities Digital News.  When I first opened it I went straight for the article so missed the first red flag, or more accurately small banner: "Climatism: A Mad, Mad, Mad World."  In any event, I started reading it and it's pretty good, sticking to basic facts, but then the thing goes right off the tracks.

It's appalling the crap these people keep recycling so I'm going to share my observations regarding Mr. Goreham's piece of disconnected nonsense.  I welcome his response.

Goreham writes: "But for the last 16 years, Earth’s surface temperatures have failed to rise, despite rising atmospheric carbon dioxide." ~~~
- WRONG - to begin with the rise continued, but at a slower pace then some expected.  But, more importantly, an incomplete (it left out polar regions among others) surface temperature data set comprises about 8/9% of the heat within our global heat and moisture distribution engine. Ignoring what's been happening in the ocean (90%) is dishonest in the extreme and not at all helpful if you're interested in understanding global patterns.

Goreham writes:"All climate models predicted a rapid rise in global temperatures, in conflict with actual measured data." ~~~ That's a totally bogus claim. It's not backed up by a serious review of the available information.

Writing: "Today’s models are often unable to predict weather conditions for a single season, let alone long-term climate trends." ~~~
Reveals that Steve doesn't understand the basics of his topic. Forecasting weather for a specific time and location and understanding long-term trends within our climate system are two very different animals.
Goreham writes: "But if so, isn’t this evidence that ocean and water cycle effects are stronger than the effects of CO2?" ~~~ What you are missing is that atmospheric greenhouse gases are but one component of our climate system.  
They permeate the entire atmospheric column, hundreds of miles above the lowest layer, the troposphere, where our weather happens.

The thing to realize is that it's the atmospheric insulation 24/7/365 that is making all the difference in the world.  This increased global insulation kicks in other dynamics such as heating our oceans, causing more evaporation off of them and intensifying the global hydrologic cycle.  One does not exclude the other.

To even imagine that global warming may have stopped or slowed down reveals a complete lack of geophysical understanding.  All along the question should have been: where was that heat hiding - not if the warming stopped - that was pure political delusion.
How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature 
NASA’s Lacis: “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”


Goreham writes: "Dr. Kevin Trenberth hypothesizes that the heat energy from greenhouse gas forcing has gone into the deep oceans. If so, score one for the power of the oceans on climate change." ~~~ Here again, that hint of sarcasm (or is it condescension?) exposes Steve as someone who doesn't understand our climate system, or more accurately, our global heat and moisture distribution engine.  
Of course our oceans hold great sway over global weather systems and their changes over time.

Warming is accelerating global water cycle 
Stream flows into the ocean have been increasing annually, study finds 

The above sentence was preceded by talk about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Nino, La Nina - but here again Goreham needs to realize that these circulation currents certainly impact global surface temperatures and weather - but they only move heat around, they do not produce or eliminate heat.  

It's the upper layers of atmosphere slowing down infrared radiation's escape into space that is regulating increasing temperatures.  Of course, water is the major greenhouse gas, but water washes out of the atmosphere within days, and it's average atmospheric saturation is dictated by the amount of GHG warming.  Which is why serious people are worried about CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

As a final insult, Goreham writes: "Geologic evidence from past ice ages shows that atmospheric carbon dioxide increases follow, rather than precede, global temperature increases... " ~~~  This bit of nasty omission reveals disingenuous intentions.  He totally ignores the part about Milankovitch cycles initiating subtle but far reaching changes in the amount of the sun's radiation Earth was getting.  

Steve, the CO2 cycle over the course of geologic time is way more complex than a few lines can convey, but it is understandable and has been explained for those who are willing to listen and think about it.  Here's a good learning opportunity:

Richard Alley - 4.6 Billion Years of Earth’s Climate History: The Role of CO2

Richard Alley: "The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Climate History"
Published on Dec 10, 2012
From the 2009 AGO Fall meeting. Original here:


More importantly I believe way too many Republican/libertarian types and others have never taken the time to really consider what our global climate system is all about.  

Here's a video that impresses me because it describes most of the major components of our climate system in a visual way that's been impossible in the past.  If learning about our planet is what you're interested in, check it out.

NOVA | Earth From Space [HD]

"Earth From Space" is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth. Viewers witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the Sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, the show reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

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