NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 15, 2009

There are numerous reasons why we should question the consensus view on human-induced climate change, says meteorologist Matt Rogers.

One of the strongest value propositions presented for fighting global warming is to slow tropical cyclone intensity increases, however:

  • Global hurricane activity reached a record low earlier this summer.
  • Florida State University has a site that tracks global hurricane activity; since the 1990s, this activity has been decreasing, which goes against what we were told to expect on a warming planet.

In 2007, the Northern Hemisphere reached a record low in ice coverage and the Northwest Passage was opened.  At that point, we were told melting was occurring faster than expected, and we needed to accelerate our efforts, however:

  • What you were not told was that the data that triggered this record is only available back to the late 1970s; prior to that, we did not have the satellite technology to measure areal ice extent.
  • We know the Northwest Passage had been open before; in Antarctica, we had been told that a cooling of the continent was consistent with global climate models until a recent study announced the opposite was true.
  • The lack of information and the inconsistencies do not offer confidence.

El Niño, a feature in the Tropical Pacific Ocean, occurs when water temperatures are abnormally warm.  Some climate change researchers predicted that global warming would create more and stronger El Niño events like the powerhouse of 1997-98, however:

  • We are now about to complete an entire decade without a strong El Niño event (three occurred in the 1980s-1990s).
  • So the more recent 2007 IPCC report backtracked from Hansen's prediction, noting that there were too many uncertainties to understand how El Niño will behave with climate change.
  • Recent research speaks to how important El Niño is to climate; in the past two decades, these warm El Niño and opposite cold La Niña events have accentuated the global temperature peaks and valleys highlighting the importance of natural variability and the limitations of the science.

Source: Matt Rogers, "A Skeptical Take on Global Warming," Washington Post, September 10, 2009.

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