Letters To A Smalltown Weekly

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Location: Gualala, California, United States

Alice and I love our life on the Northern California coast and welcome friends and family to enjoy it with us.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Setting the Record Straight


Mr. Schwab, rather than arguing your mischaracterization of the climate study I referenced, here is an excerpt of its Harvard-Smithsonian press release.

“Cambridge, MA - A review of more than 200 climate studies led by researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has determined that the 20th century is neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1000 years. … While 20th century temperatures are much higher than in the Little Ice Age period, many parts of the world show the medieval warmth to be greater than that of the 20th century.

“Smithsonian astronomers Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas, with co-authors Craig Idso and Sherwood Idso (Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change) and David Legates (Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware), compiled and examined results from more than 240 research papers published by thousands of researchers over the past four decades. Their report, covering a multitude of geophysical and biological climate indicators, provides a detailed look at climate changes that occurred in different regions around the world over the last 1000 years.”

Mr. Schwab, all who saw “An Inconvenient Truth” came away with the impression that rising seas could soon flood New York streets. According to Slate: “Yet An Inconvenient Truth asserts that a sea-level rise of 20 feet is a realistic short-term prospect. Gore says the entire Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could melt rapidly; the film then jumps to animation of Manhattan flooded.”

I'm sure many of you, as well as Slate, remember that part of the film. I also saw it on Discovery: "Global Warming, what you need to know," narrated by Tom Brokaw.

No reputable scientist supports Gore’s prediction that the West Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets could melt even a tenth as rapidly as Gore depicted, or that the Greenland ice sheet could slide into the ocean (it’s in a depression caused by its own weight, surrounded by mountains that limit glacial flow). Check out the UN’s IPCC prediction of a rise of seven to 23 inches by 2100. A good estimate is that it will be about seven inches, which is what it was the past century, and about what it was each of the past 80 centuries.

In the meantime, NASA scientists quietly corrected their annual temperature records for the past 127 years, reduced temperatures for the past ten years, reinstated 1934 as the hottest year in the period, resulting in the decade of the 1930's rather than the past decade having more of the top ten hottest years.

The Washington Post (1922) reported sea ice and seals in the Arctic were greatly diminished (and the hottest two decades were still ahead).

This too is scientific knowledge.