Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are.... --- Al Gore, chairman and co-founder of Generation Investment Management, a London-based business that sells carbon credits (Grist Magazine May 9, 2006)
Alice C. Linsley
The Kansas legislature had considered a House Bill 2306 calling for objectivity in science. The bill was introduced by the House Standing Committee on Education and is supported by medical doctors who also wish to see balance in science education. The bill states:
The legislature recognizes that the teaching of certain scientific topics, such as climate science, may be controversial. The legislature encourages the teaching of such scientific controversies to be made in an objective manner in which both the strengths and weaknesses of such scientific theory or hypothesis are covered.
The committee sponsoring the bill has been called "anti-science" and in denial about global warming. The response from this journalist is typical.
The clause that sticks in the journalist's throat is this: "such as climate science". He assumes that the popular theory of global warming is an accurate one and beyond further investigation. The Kansas Standing Committee on Education recognizes that objectivity is necessary for a sound science education. It is essential to the empirical method of science.
One thing is certain. Earth's atmosphere, seas, and climate conditions are dynamic.
Antarctica was once home to a diverse range of tropical plants including ferns, palms, Baobab trees and rainforest trees.
|1000 year old baobab tree in Africa|
It is also certain that little progress has been made in reducing emissions. As the chart below shows, carbon dioxide emissions are at the same level today as they were in 1992.
Alarmists and those profiting from the global warming “crisis” stress the melting of the Arctic glacial ice but conveniently fail to point out that the snow caps on South America highest mountains and the glacial mass in Antarctic are growing. Here is the report:
An International Polar Year aerogeophysical investigation of the high interior of East Antarctica reveals widespread freeze-on that drives significant mass redistribution at the bottom of the ice sheet. While surface accumulation of snow remains the primary mechanism for ice sheet growth, beneath Dome A 24% of the base by area is frozen-on ice. In some places, up to half the ice thickness has been added from below. These ice packages result from conductive cooling of water ponded near the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountain ridges and supercooling of water forced up steep valley walls. Persistent freeze-on thickens the ice column, alters basal ice rheology and fabric and upwarps the overlying ice sheet, including the oldest atmospheric climate archive, and drives flow behavior not captured in present models. (Source: Science Magazine)
The rise and fall of ice ages is caused by changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun due to the influence of the other planets. These changes are slight and can be triggered by events like the earthquake and tsunami recently experienced in Japan.
The earliest ice ages came about every 41,000. Later ones came every 100,000 years. Scientists do not know what caused the change from 40,000 to 100,000 years, but they have noticed that the 100,000 year cycle aligns with periods of Earth’s more-elliptical orbits. Earth's orbit around the sun changes shape every 100,000 years, becoming either more round or more elliptical. The shape of the orbit is known as its "eccentricity." The 41,000-year cycle of the tilt of Earth’s axis is related. The original research correlating climate, glaciation and orbit and was done by University of California (Santa Barbara) geologist Lorraine Lisiecki.
Lisiecki believes that climate change involves complicated interactions between different parts of the climate system and three orbital systems: 1) eccentricity of Earth’s orbit; 2) tilt of Earth’s axis; and 3) precession or change in the orientation of the rotation axis.
The chart shows factors that influence climate change, glaciation and hemispheric climate reversals.
This is evident when considering the sea and air temperatures of the last decade.
The "bi-polar seesaw" also influences climate change. Here we have inter-hemispheric imbalance in heat storage. Surface ocean records from the South Atlantic Ocean (Barker et al., 2009) show a climate change pattern opposed to that in Greenland ice cores supporting the view that asynchronous heat storage is instrumental in off-setting Northern and Southern Hemisphere climate change roughly every 1000 years.
Solar radiation is another factor in climate change and ice melt. Summer solar radiation varies in the two hemispheres due to cycles in the Earth's tilt and the elliptical orbit. The factors affecting the relationship between changes in the Earth's tilt and orbit and climate changes are very complex and not fully understood.
Just when climatologists think they have it figured out, they discover how little they understand. Here's an example concerning lower solar irradiance and higher atmospheric temperatures:
The thermal structure and composition of the atmosphere is determined fundamentally by the incoming solar irradiance. Radiation at ultraviolet wavelengths dissociates atmospheric molecules, initiating chains of chemical reactions—specifically those producing stratospheric ozone—and providing the major source of heating for the middle atmosphere, while radiation at visible and near-infrared wavelengths mainly reaches and warms the lower atmosphere and the Earth’s surface1. Thus the spectral composition of solar radiation is crucial in determining atmospheric structure, as well as surface temperature, and it follows that the response of the atmosphere to variations in solar irradiance depends on the spectrum2. Daily measurements of the solar spectrum between 0.2 µm and 2.4 µm, made by the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM) instrument on the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite3 since April 2004, have revealed4 that over this declining phase of the solar cycle there was a four to six times larger decline in ultraviolet than would have been predicted on the basis of our previous understanding. This reduction was partially compensated in the total solar output by an increase in radiation at visible wavelengths. Here we show that these spectral changes appear to have led to a significant decline from 2004 to 2007 in stratospheric ozone below an altitude of 45 km, with an increase above this altitude. Our results, simulated with a radiative-photochemical model, are consistent with contemporaneous measurements of ozone from the Aura-MLS satellite, although the short time period makes precise attribution to solar effects difficult. We also show, using the SIM data, that solar radiative forcing of surface climate is out of phase with solar activity. Currently there is insufficient observational evidence to validate the spectral variations observed by SIM, or to fully characterize other solar cycles, but our findings raise the possibility that the effects of solar variability on temperature throughout the atmosphere may be contrary to current expectations.(Nature 467, 696-699 (7 October 2010) Published here on 6 Oct. 2010)
These words bear repeating: "Currently there is insufficient observational evidence to validate the spectral variations observed by SIM, or to fully characterize other solar cycles..."
There are good reasons to push for objectivity in climate science. It is complex and scientists do not agree on all the factors and mechanisms affecting climate. Climate science, as with all science, requires objectivity. Kansas schools are not unique in the problem of science fads and dogmas posing as science.
"Schools are generally not teaching climate science, but the dogma that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are causing catastrophic climate disruption," states Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. "This alarmism resembles religious dogma."
House Bill 2306 says teachers will “provide information to students of scientific evidence which both supports and counters a scientific theory or hypothesis” and encourages the “teaching of such scientific controversies to be made in an objective manner.”
Related reading: Britain Was Once Freezing Tundra; When the Sahara Was Wet; Antarctic Ozone Hole Smaller; Americans Sick of Partisan Science; Two Environmentalists Knock Heads; Scientists Against Scientism; Today's Savage Mind; The Problem with Gould's NOMA; Pioneers in the Field of Logic; The American Scientific Affiliation: A personal note