The climate is an incredibly complex system that even the boldest of researchers admit they don’t fully understand. For someone trying to decide for themselves who doesn’t have a deep background in the relevant scientific fields, it is very difficult to sort the truly valuable information from the hype, exaggerated claims, and fraudulent information. It is not easy to decide what the truth of a particular matter is when two PhD physicists arrive at opposite conclusions. For the last six months or so I have spent a considerable amount of time looking into the claims. Some of them were easily understood, and some highly contentious. But at days end there is only one way to make decisions about scientific theories. That is to compare them to actual measured results, and see if they confirm the theory. Of course, it is more complex than that. A given theory may match actual results and still be wrong. The saying correlation is not causation applies. The results could be a function of one or more other factors that produce a similar result to the theory. Drawing conclusions requires that we not only determine if theory and results concur, but if other possibilities exist which would produce the same result. When results don’t match, it doesn’t disprove the theory per se. It just means that we have a new clue. Is the theory dead wrong or is there another factor unaccounted for that modifies the results and we just need to figure out what it is.
In doing my own research, I have become a hard core skeptic. Solid scientific conclusions have no need to rely on fraudulent or misrepresented studies and data. Climate alarmism seems full of these types of studies. In doing my own research, there are a number of web sites that I find myself returning to over and over again for quality information. Here is the list:
Watts Up With That is an encyclopedia of knowledge. While decidedly skeptic, articles frequently appear from climate research heavyweights. There are often appearances from Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Bob Tisdale, Leif Svaalgard and many others. The comments that follow are full of additional information from serious researchers from both sides of the debate and are often as educational as the articles themselves. Unlike so many other sites on both sides of the debate, contrary opinions are never censored unless they are obscene or some other valid reason for blocking them. The scientific debate however is never stifled, and the humour in some of the comments is better than what you pay for at the comedy club. Hit the search box, type in the topic you want to understand in depth, and voila! current research complete with in depth analysis at your fingertips.
Wood for Trees maintains copies of all the major climate data from satellite systems and surface records. NASA, Hadcrut, UHI, they are all there. It takes a bit of tinkering to figure out how to use the interface but once you do, you can graph and compare the data any way you like. If you want to compare January temperature trends in the northern hemisphere as recorded by NASA to July temperatures as recorded by Hadcrut (no idea why you would do that, its just an example) for the last 100 years, you can.
The physics behind CO2 as a greenhouse gas can be found at hundreds of sites, there’s no need for one more. But CO2 doesn’t exist in isolation in the atmosphere. What happens in theory is one thing, what happens in practice when CO2 of a few hundred parts per million is mixed with hundreds of thousands of Oxygen, Nitrogen, water vapour and other molecules all in motion due to convection, wind, and other forces is another thing. CO2 Science is more about real world studies than about theory. Of particular interest to some will be the massive database they are assembling showing what the growth rates of various species of plants are at different CO2 concentrations. Almost all of the studies so far show that the plants studied thrive in much higher CO2 concentrations than we now have. One can only wonder why evolution would have lead to this if the plants didn’t evolve in a high CO2 environment in the first place, and our current low CO2 environment is therefore the unnatural one.
Climate Audit is run by Steve McIntyre who exposed the first major climate scandal by examining the famous hockey stick graph and showing that the program that generated it produced pretty much the same graph no matter what data it was given. This prompted a major investigation by the United States government which concluded that the graph was indeed fraudulent, yet still coming to the astounding conclusion that global warming was real anyway. If so, why the need to forge the chart?
AMSU-A is one of the major satellites measuring earth’s temperature across the globe, and you can look at both the images and the trends at various altitudes on line. You will need Java installed to look at the images and graphs.
Ice is almost as controversial as CO2 and just as hard to understand. Sea ice extent is what is most often used to try and determine if the polar ice caps are shrinking or growing, but if you scan through the articles on WUWT you soon learn how deceptive that can be. Poor measurement criteria though it may be, it is what we have to work with. Both the Arctic and Antarctic ice extents are tracked by satellite and are on line.
Ocean Heat Content is another controversial topic, but an important one to understand. Sunlight penetrates as much as 300 meters of ocean, which covers 2/3 or more of the earth’s surface. The mass of the ocean is 1400 times that of the atmosphere, so where the ocean temperatures go, the atmosphere must follow in some fashion. The data presented comes from many different sources over the years, the trend line is suspect. The last 4 years however are from the Argo buoys, hundreds of buoys that are scattered all over the oceans. They rise and fall taking measurements at various depths. When the first measurements appeared and showed that the oceans were cooling off instead of warming up, scientists were so certain of their global warming theories that some of the concluded that there must be something wrong with the buoys. While the buoys don’t plumb the very deepest depths of the oceans and have other challenges as well, the fact remains that they have shown cooling in the oceans since they started measuring OHC.
CO2 is the big boogy man and you can see current and historical levels since 1960 on line. There is no doubt that CO2 has been increasing. The rate of increase however, hasn’t changed in decades, while the IPCC estimates are all based on exponential growth of CO2 concentrations.
DMI keeps track of temperatures in the forth north at 80N, the coldest part of the planet. We’ve heard all about Polar Amplification and how the warming is going to be much more pronounced in the polar regions. This is in fact true. The temperature record shows that the Arctic has warmed 2.5 degrees since 1880, but the global temperatures less than one degree. The implied danges is that this will result in major melting of the polar ice caps and result in a rise in sea levels. DMI has the temperatures at 80 degrees north latitude daily since 1958 on line. Zip through the years and you will find the same thing over and over again. The warmest years had summers almost exactly the same as the coldest years. All the warming is confined to the depths of winter. Snow and ice don’t melt at -40C and they don’t melt at -37.5 either. The graph is in degrees K. To convert to degrees C just add 273 (which is the freezing point of water).