Sunday, August 5, 2012

Climate change at the New Atlantis

Chicago PM Sunday 5 August 2012

Editors, the New Atlantis  


Mr Jordan R. Raney's article "Taking the Earth's Temperature," [The 
New Atlantis, Number 21, Summer 2008] opens with a question: “How 
do we know anything about the Earth’s past climate?”  This is  certainly 
attention-grabbing  for non-scientists. Mr Raney gets right down to 
business: “Scientists have devised ingenious techniques to peer into our 
planet’s past temperature record...”, but right behind that is a qualification: “...but the picture they give us is a blurry one.”  He proceeds describing how 
scientists examine tree rings, but admits “tree-ring data can be unreliable.”

Next, we are assured: ”there are several sources of ... data other than 
tree rings used to reconstruct the Earth’s past temperature ― samples 
of ice taken from glaciers, which give scientists data reaching much 
further back in time than the tree rings.”  where “researchers drill 
down from the surface of a glacier to obtain a core sample....”

This is qualified: “... ice cores... suffer from a problem inherent to the 
medium: the measurements become much more uncertain the deeper 
you look.”

Next up are “studies of temperature fluctuations based on coral.... , 
immediately written off: “...coral data are mostly useful as a 
confirmatory tool.”

Things getting desperate, reference is made to using “...cultural events” 
and even “landscape paintings” but these are qualified as being  
“... vastly imprecise and only available for the last few centuries.”

Finally, reference is made to “Claims that 1998 was the hottest year 
in 'at least a millennium,' ... or that 'the world is now warmer than 
it’s been for 2,000 years' ... exceed the resolution of the data and are, 
at best, imprudent” concluding with a final qualification: “...  We have 
reason to be skeptical of both those who design elaborate hypotheses 
to explain away global warming and those who would have us panic.”

 What is never admitted is the pathetically small set of past data there 
is to work with.

This can be demonstrated by a mathematical model projecting the 
planet's 4.5 billion year age on an 80-year human lifetime. Such a 
model shows one year of earth time equivalent to 0.562 seconds of an 
80-year human life span. This means humans first appeared in our 
model earth 39 days ago. They had no idea of measuring temperature 
before Galileo's 1593 thermometer invention, 4 minutes ago to our 
senior citizen., Discovery of carbon dioxide in 1630? 3 minutes 30 
seconds ago. 

If a doctor took a senior citizens pulse and got 120 over 80, took it again 
in five minutes and it was 124 over 76, would she call an ambulance”

Arnold H Nelson

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