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Posted 1:00 AM Eastern

by William Hunt
January 22, 2007
© 2007

Global Warming; Science Trumped by Politics and Activism

The term “Junk Science” has become popular since the turn of the millennium. Much of what is published by the media and even many mainstream scientists can be thought of as junk science. But, what is junk science? As a scientist and engineer, my definition of junk science is this: the publishing or expounding of “science” theories or “science facts” that directly or indirectly contradict established other scientific facts or principles. Global warming, geologic dating techniques, and uniformitarianism all can be considered junk science as much of the physical evidence argues against them.

It’s always entertaining to watch scientists go off on tangents. One of the great problems of modern science is that researchers of different disciplines rarely talk with one another. When a paper is published in a field that a scientist is not an expert in, cannot know when the results are biased or false and generally assume that the paper’s author was correct in his/her assumptions and methods. Science is too wide a body of knowledge for one to be expert in more than a few fields. The days when a university professor like Newton could be expert in all of the science of his day are long past.

Global warming is an excellent example of this. Scientists and activists alike have jumped on the bandwagon. It’s become a fad, a trend, a wave of enthusiasm and the scientists are going along with the fad to get research grants and the media limelight. The various activist groups are going along with it because it supports their socialist agenda of wiping out industry and personal freedoms. Global warming has even hit the big screen with “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

So, what is global warming? It is the belief that man has caused the average atmospheric temperatures to increase by his adding of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by the burning of carbon-based fuels like petroleum, coal and wood. Sounds awful, right? The facts, such as we can observe and calculate them, do not support the idea of man-made global warming. Natural processes completely eclipse anything that man can accomplish- a minor rainstorm expends energy than a large nuclear explosive releases and the lowest category of hurricane expends more energy than all of the nuclear weapons ever produced in a short time. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo alone put more pollution into the atmosphere than the entire history of man. Consider that a moment. Most geologists and indeed, most scientists in the U.S. do not accept the idea that global warming resulting from human activities is a viable theory -because most have an appreciation for the kind of power inherent in natural systems. Conversely, most biologists do accept the idea of man-caused global warming and quote scientists in other fields, without understanding those other fields sufficiently to make a logical judgement as to whether the studies were reasonable in their methods and claims. They simply take it on faith that the scientists propounding global warming are correct in their methods and assumptions. Geologists point to a period of much warmer weather prior to the Little Ice Age of 1350-1850 A.D., in which it was possible to farm in most of Scandinavia, Canada and even in Greenland (the name was not a joke). It is too cold to farm in Greenland, northern Canada and all but the southern tip of Scandinavia. Historians speak of times in the distant past when the earth was much warmer than now, such as prior to the fifth century A.D. or the 11th century B.C., when northern Europe was similar to the Mediterranean in overall climate. Imagine shirtsleeve weather in the Baltic in winter.

The activists and the scientists proponing global warming point to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over time. Unfortunately, there are no records of long term monitoring available except at one station in the Hawaiian Islands. While those trying to prove global warming point to the station as proof of increasing carbon dioxide, a crucial error was made in location. In the 1950s, the Scripps Institute thought it would be a good idea to have a carbon dioxide monitor in a place far from other land and possible interference from industry, such as the “Big Island” of Hawaii. A reasonable idea, but their choice of location was very poor. What the Scripps Institute didn’t take into account was that volcanoes produce enormous amounts of steam, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other gases. Compounding that, the Big Island’s volcanic eruptions have increased in recent years to the point where they are causing air pollution on Oahu, some 200 miles away.

The placement of the station next to major carbon dioxide sources like this and then claiming that the entire world’s carbon dioxide levels are increasing is similar in principle to putting a sensor next to a steel mill’s smokestacks and then saying that the air in the entire U.S. is filled with soot. It’s dishonest and misleading. I digress, but Oregon’s DEQ did the same thing in the 1980s to prove that the Rogue Valley (southern Oregon) had high levels of carbon monoxide. They placed a carbon monoxide sensor half a city block from an old factory whose inefficient boilers were producing large amounts of carbon monoxide. When the factory closed, the levels of carbon monoxide dropped by half and the DEQ claimed that the levels had dropped for the entire Rogue Valley when most of what the sensor had been measuring was the gas from the factory’s boilers. A true measure would have been to have sensors all over the Rogue Valley. Carbon dioxide is the same. To get a true measure of world levels of carbon dioxide, one needs sensors in many places and over a long period of time. We simply don’t have the data to indicate that carbon dioxide has decreased or increased over time.

When Science Contradicts Science

When established facts and scientific principles argue against a theory, then that theory must be untrue or partially untrue. A rock can’t fall down and fly up at the same time. Part of the scientific method is to test hypotheses again and again and then revise an overall theory on the basis of what the tests indicate. Not so with global warming. For example, the claim has been made that ice cores from Greenland and other areas of “permanent” ice caps indicate increasing carbon dioxide. One must consider the nature of glaciers and carbon dioxide before making such a claim. Glaciers flow because the ice softens and flows at about 150 feet from the surface. Carbon dioxide is inert and since carbon dioxide it’s less dense than ice, the carbon dioxide in the ice near the bottom of the ice is going to be squeezed upward in the ice, i.e., the upper ice layers will have more carbon dioxide than lower ice because it moves upward over time. One can see the same effect in the basalt flows of Oregon, such as that of the Cascades or the Table Rocks. When the lava flows across the surface, gas bubbles move upward as the basalt flows and cools. In light of the movement of carbon dioxide in glacier ice, it is not reasonable to claim that carbon dioxide levels are higher in the newer material near the top of the ice as the result of increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. In addition, since the Greenland ice caps that they are drilling cores from didn’t exist before the Little Ice Age, how can they believe that they are taking the measure of thousands of years? The oldest ice can be no more than ~600 years old!

Unfortunately, most activists and many scientists will simply discount information like that as it directly contradicts their idea. In effect, they are saying, “It must be true, so these contradicting facts must themselves be in error.” Thus, we have global warming, geologic dating, evolution, string theory and several other scientific dogmas that must somehow be true, but do not fit the evidence or physical laws as observed. I don’t have that kind of faith. I can’t believe in “science” that is contradicted by other science. Something either fits the evidence consistently or it doesn’t. Simply wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true, today’s postmodern culture notwithstanding. If I hit my hand with a hammer while driving a nail, it’s going to hurt and it is a fact that my hand was hit. Convincing myself that I didn’t hit my hand might make be feel better, but it doesn’t change the objective reality that my hand was struck and a bruise is now forming.

So, what does temperature data indicate? Temperature data that indicates cooling, such as the winters of 2003-2004 and 2004-2005, in which the U.S. east of the Rockies had unseasonably cold weather for several months, are completely ignored in order to make the case that the earth is warming. One hears the media scream about the warmest years in history, but is this accurate? Temperatures in rural areas of the U.S. have dropped slightly in the last few decades. More than a hundred years of temperature records in the U.S. confirm this. Urban temperatures have increased, but this is a phenomenon local only to urban areas- brought about by asphalt and concrete absorbing more heat than the prior ground cover. For example Bend, Oregon is now warmer on average than Redmond, Oregon and ten years ago this was not the case. The population doubled in Bend during this period and with that population increase came a dramatic increase in the amount of asphalt and concrete replacing the native ground cover. The larger area surrounding Bend, however, is still colder than Redmond. In the same way, urban temperatures are not an indicator for the world’s temperatures in general.

A 2002 NOAA study claimed the “certainty” of global warming by comparing seawater temperatures from 50 years ago with the present, yielding an “increase” of 0.5 degrees. This is not a sound analysis of the information that they had to work with. The movements of ocean water are very complex. Current locations and temperatures vary from year to year. Temperature measurements are far more consistent in method, more accurate and much more widespread than 50 years ago. The current system of fixed and moving buoys in multiple locations around the globe providing constant temperature data didn’t exist 50 years ago and instruments are now much more precise. One half of a degree falls within the error of the instruments available 50 years ago and thus cannot be used to prove a warming trend.

Astrophysicists state that Mars and the other planets have warmed up considerably in the last decade. All of the planets share the same heat source- and the sun is not constant in its output, varying from year to year. For example, carbon 14 studies of bristlecone pine tree rings in California and Nevada indicate that there is considerable variability in solar irradiation. Venus used to be used as an example of the “greenhouse effect”, until other scientists pointed out that Venus receives twice as much energy from the sun as the Earth does, has little water, no life, no plate tectonics and it’s atmosphere is very different.

Every climate model from the 1980s on that indicated warming was proven wrong in its predictions. Most models indicated 3 to 6 degree temperature rise in the upper latitudes. This has not happened. The problem with computer modeling is that only a tiny percentage of the literally millions of variables involved can be written into a program. It’s currently impossible for us to accurately model Earth’s climate and we are not aware of all of the variables yet. For example, only recently has it been discovered that the solar wind, sunspots and coronal mass ejections from the sun affect weather patterns.

If global warming were to occur, there would be several indicators. The first would be the increase in seawater temperature. This has not happened that we know of. The second would be a dramatic increase in precipitation in essentially all parts of the world, not just a few. With warmer sea temps, there would be greater evaporation and thus more rain and snow, everywhere. Deserts would become steppes. Steppes would become forest. Boreal forests would become rainforest. This hasn’t happened in the centuries since the industrial revolution began.

These examples illustrate the basic problem of modern science: there is no field of science in which this same type of error does not take place. This is compounded by activists who want their ideas to be true, regardless of the actual facts, by scientists craving media attention and a media that thrives on sensationalism.

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For over a decade, we have had the UN and the Democrats trying to restrict carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. on the basis of global warming, despite that it would severely damage the economy and restrict personal freedoms. Wishful thinking by some scientists and environmental activism are no basis for making public policy.

Related Articles:

1, The Weather Channel conning people on global warming

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William Hunt holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Education with an emphasis on Conservation Biology and Wildlife from Southern Oregon University in Ashland,OR. He studied for his B. S. degree in Geology from SOU. William also has credits towards his B. S. degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon Institute of Technology, and holds a State Of Oregon FE certificate #9896 EIT. William lives in Bend, Oregon and is an active birder, hiker, and columnist for daily periodicals.

E-mail; William Hunt

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Oregon’s DEQ did the same thing in the 1980s to prove that the Rogue Valley (southern Oregon) had high levels of carbon monoxide. They placed a carbon monoxide sensor half a city block from an old factory whose inefficient boilers were producing large amounts of carbon monoxide.