Friday, March 8, 2013

Kansas Bill Calling for Objectivity in Science Fails

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. Climate ideologues do not want to listen to real climate scientists such as Dr. Roy W. Spencer, who notes:

Hundreds of millions of dollars that have gone into the expensive climate modelling enterprise has all but destroyed governmental funding of research into natural sources of climate change. For years the modelers have maintained that there is no such thing as natural climate change…yet they now, ironically, have to invoke natural climate forces to explain why surface warming has essentially stopped in the last 15 years!

Another certainty is that 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.

Greenhouse gas emissions were higher in 2010 than in 1990, as shown in the chart below.

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.

Earth's elliptical orbit around the Sun and the degree of tilt of Earth's axis in its path around the Sun, are factors that must be considered when discussing climate change. In the cycle of Earth’s Great Year the line off the North Pole axis (extending toward Polaris) scribes a complete circle in the heavens about every 25,800 years. A complete cycle takes between 25,000 and 28,000 years, depending on the amount of Earth's wobble. One cycle is “Earth’s Great Year” (also called a "Platonic Year.") Climate and atmospheric changes appear to become more acute toward the end and beginning of a new year.

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.”


Alice Linsley said...

The savage-minded followers of this story would portray Kansas as a backwards holdout of reactionaries and fundamentalists. The reality is that Kansas as produced at least 20 famous scientists. Here is the list:

George Washington Carver (1864–1943), botanist and chemist

Karl Menninger (1893–1990), psychiatrist

Philip Fox (1878–1944), astronomer

Carl Owen Dunbar (1891–1979), geologist and paleontologist

Lou Montulli, a founding engineer at Netscape and responsible for many HTML and web innovations

Douglas Youvan, (born 1955), biophysicist and inventor

Charles Bachman (born 1924), computer scientist

C. Olin Ball (1893–1982), food scientist

John D. Carmack (born 1970), computer programmer

David Fairchild (1869–1954), botanist and explorer

Ebbe Hoff (1906–1985), neurologist

Jack Kilby (1923–2005), inventor of the integrated circuit

Homer A. McCrerey (1919–1999), meteorologist and oceanographer

Charles D. Michener (1918–), entomologist

Ernest Fox Nichols, (1869–1924), scientist

Wallace Pratt (1885–1981), petroleum geologist

Walter Sutton (1877–1916), geneticist and physician

Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), astronomer

Samuel Wendell Williston (1852–1918), paleontologist

Margaret said...

English Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn watches sun spots and the relationship between the sun, moon and earth, and has been accurately predicting extreme weather events world wide for many years. He, and not the British media, predicted the little ice age England has had for the last few years. He's worth googling. Corbyn says the earth is in a cooling trend for the next 20 years, and it's cause is not because of humanity. It's time there was balance in this issue, there is a lot of unreported scientific dissent.

Alice Linsley said...

Thanks, Margaret, for your thoughtful comment.

Corbyn is resented because he is very accurate in his predictions. For earth, the Sun is our source of heat. He keeps a close eye on solar events.

Since the UN climate summit met in Qatar last November, I've noticed a change in language. The phrase "global warming" was dropped - since the northern hemisphere is cooling - and now we read instead about "climate change".

Alice Linsley said...

A family member just called to my attention that my father's 2 maternal uncles were educated in Kansas public schools.

Roger John Williams (1893–1988), was an biochemist who named folic acid and discovered pantothenic acid, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and President of the American Chemical Society. He founded and directed the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas (now called the Biochemical Institute). In 1972, he served as a member of President Nixon's Advisory Panel on Heart Disease.

His brother, Robert R. Williams, was also a chemist who discovered the cure for Beriberi. In 1936 Williams made the correct structural determination of vitamin B1 and designed a synthesis for it. Williams named vitamin B1 “thiamin” and submitted it for addition to the American Medical Association’s publication New and Non-Official Remedies. The American Chemical Society added an e to the end of the name to reflect the amine nature of the vitamin. Thiamine, found in whole-grain cereals, meats, yeast, and nuts, acts as a cofactor in the enzymatic reaction that breaks down carbohydrates, alcohol, and some proteins. Robert was also a product of Kansas public schools.