Climatologist warming skeptic and libertarian think tank senior fellow at the Cato Institute, Patrick Michaels, wrote an intriguing blog at Forbes. Most of the predicted changes from climate computer models haven’t panned out—and warming itself seems to have stalled despite increased CO2 in the atmosphere. The question is why. Michaels hypothesizes an interesting possibility.
First, he discusses the recent conclusion that China’s massive burning of coal actually thwarted warming (an ironic idea) by increasing particulate pollution. From “Why Hasn’t the Earth Warmed in Nearly 15 Years?:”
Kaufmann’s team looked into how sulfate uncertainty impacted its results and decided that it was relatively minor. However, we can’t find any independent test showing that the geographic “fingerprint” of a dramatic recent increase in sulfate cooling is actually being observed. The other problem and climate flatliners hate me for pointing this out is that the beginning of the period of “no warming” includes the warmest year in the instrumental record, caused by the great El Nino of 1997-1998. In a modestly warming world, starting off at or near an anomalously high point pretty much assures little or no warming for years afterward...
Where is the test of the hypothesis that sulfates are indeed responsible for the lack of warming? In this paper, it’s simply “modeled-in” as it fits the data well. That’s correlation, not causation.
That’s the problem with relying on modeling; done wrongly, it is garbage in—garbage out.
Michaels then claims that there is little air exchange between northern and southern hemispheres, which should have resulted in global cooling in the north of the coal hypothesis were true—but in fact, the opposite has occurred. He then posits a perhaps more common sense answer to the question his title poses:
Here are the sad facts:
The opposite is occurring. Why this test was not performed eludes me. Perhaps that is because it provides yet another piece of evidence supporting the hypothesis that we have simply overstated the sensitivity of surface temperature to changes in carbon dioxide.
Makes sense to me and it would explain a lot—better in fact, than concluding that the very human activity that is supposedly going to DESTROY THE PLANET! is actually saving it.
If global warming is science and not ideology, “overstated sensitivity of surface temperature to changes in carbon dioxide” is a scientific hypothesis that deserves a serious look. If true, policy proposals should be changed accordingly.