In a break from their usual business of overthrowing South American governments, covering up alien landings, and broadcasting coded messages through my fillings, the CIA has revived a program that teams up spies and scientists for the study of climate change. Through the program, scientists get access classified images of the polar ice caps, as well as the chance to pick the targets of off-duty spy satellites.
The program, which began under former President Clinton but was canceled by former President Bush, takes advantage of the vast array of sensors and satellites operated by the CIA. Many times more powerful than regular commercial imaging satellites, the spy satellites used in the program produce pictures of the Arctic ice cap so sharp that they have to be digitally blurred before public release, lest the resolution tip off US enemies to the power of the satellite's cameras.
The combination of the incredibly high quality of the images and the size of the area they can survey has provided scientists with a treasure trove of new data about melting and ice formation on the North Pole. In fact, the images are so unique that a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences said, "there are no other data available that show the melting and freezing processes."
Efforts to restart the program began in 2008 when former-Vice President Al Gore lobbied Senator Diane Feinstein to restart the program. Then, last October, the CIA created a unit devoted specifically to climate change, followed in November by a meeting between the climate scientists and CIA director Leon Panetta.
And for everyone worrying that these satellites are monitoring polar bears when they should be watching for Al Qaeda, rest easy. The satellites only take pictures of the ice on their off hours, making the program safe and cheap, in addition to useful.
Where can I find these pictures
Stuart Fox, you know that they are not calling it "Global Warming" anymore. Because we have observed cooling as well as warming depending on the area, it is now "Climate Change" (as you state in your article). An update to your title might be warranted.
I LOL at the CIA agents that get assigned to the climate change unit. How badly you have to screw up to be assigned to that?
And since this has Al's fingerprints, don't be surprised when you hear that the CIA has discovered some horrible new subplot in the fantasy story that is AGW.
Maybe they should train the CIA on the "science" behind global warming like the exposed emails at CRU; after all, PopSci sure doesn't want to cover that.
I'd like to express my support for PopSci still covering climate change despite the fact that many of it's more vocal readers choose to stick their head in the sand. Thank You.
I think that 'global warming' is not an incorrect term, just a misleading one. Average temperatures are going up. But calling it 'global warming' leaves *ahem* Fox News to denounce climate change "because it snowed in Houston".
You know, rather than reigniting the same old climate change debate that has played out so many countless times (I don't actually believe that anyone has ever changed their mind over what's been said on a comment thread), here's a different thought: What does anyone really have to gain from saying there is climate change if they know there isn't? Sure, there's a few million in grant money here or there. And maybe you could say that the tiny percentage of scientists who are from developing countries are hoping for some aid money. But all of the grant/research/aid money is the world related to climate change is not a small fraction of the the multi-trillion dollar industries of oil and coal. Where do you think the real propaganda is coming from?
Really, BulldogBlues? If you believe that we are only talking about a few million dollars, then you are woefully naive. This is about control of the world's economies. Those in the "sky is falling" camp want nothing less than the near-abolition of fossil fuel use. I say near-abolition, because those in charge and who know better than the masses will reserve the right to use them as THEY see fit. Meanwhile, the rest of us should be perfectly happy using solar and wind energy, and paying much higher prices.
I agree that the fossil fuel industries will use propaganda to defend themselves - it's only natural to defend your territory.
Without trying to change YOUR mind, here are my thoughts for you:
1. PopSci should continue to cover climate change issues. Any new science should always be reported, and the facts - the complete facts - will stand for themselves.
2. Instead of worrying about cap and trade, curbing CO2 emissions, etc., we need to be focused on making alternative energy sources cost-effective. If solar power becomes cheaper than coal, the we will ALL agree to switch to solar. Solve this problem, and the rest will take care of itself.
I absolutely agree with everything you said chef. An economic upheaval is in order. And technological development is certainly necessary to make that happen.
But you didn't answer my question. What do climatologists have to gain from this? They don't hold positions in the energy industry. That would be a blatant conflict of interest and their research would come into question in the first peer review. The millions of dollars I refer to are the ones that those coming out with the data stand to gain.
Energy prices would be a little higher at first, yes. But they would quickly come down. And if you had to pay twice as much for your energy bill (which you wont), that's a fairly minor economic sacrifice to make for averting the worst affects of climate change.
The sky isn't falling. We don't have to have this fixed by tomorrow, and we don't need to revolutionize our economy overnight. But if we don't start going down this road now, the consequences will be worse later. Sustainability, small-scale power decentralization, technological development, reduced deforestation and degradation, etc. are all fairly cheap and have huge impacts. What's more, they result in things that are positive without even considering emissions reductions: economic stability, independence from the clutches of middle-eastern oil and the wars that result from it, havens of biological diversity...
I think the CIA agents assigned to this unit can look forward to a more productive and worthwhile use of their time than looking for nonexistent WMDs in Iraq, for starters.
As for the "Climategate" story that is supposedly being buried, it hasn't gotten coverage much because after looking into it, the press found there wasn't much to it. Over the holidays, between good meals, family time,and watching "Avatar" at the theater and "District 9" on DVD (both great movies, btw), I looked into the whole hoopla myself. Not a flattering view of the scientists involved, particularly the maneuvering to block research they disagreed with, the obnoxious attitudes they often displayed towards other researchers they regarded as rivals, and the sometimes selective use of data they considered most helpful for their point of view. A lot of what they did was distasteful, and perhaps even unethical. However, as the 10 independent researchers from the Associated Press found, there wasn't any clear evidence of actual fraud or alteration of data in the e-mails. The data used by the CRU group may have been used by disreputable folks, but it was not itself tainted, and did not set off a chain reaction to topple the whole theory of human-influenced climate change. So if PopSci doesn't cover it, so what? I've obligingly beat the dead horse, and what do you know, it ain't getting up.
So let's drop the wild-eyed conspiracy theories. The last administration was too idiotic and obviously in the pocket of polluters to use the CIA assets to study what the Defense Department itself considers to be a real threat. Once again, more rational heads are addressing the problem of climate change and using every means of information gathering to provide a more precise view of climate change. With more information, we can avoid alarmist predictions, better educate the public, and seek a more reasonable approach to addressing the effects of climate change in the coming decades.
Phil Jones, director of climatology at the CRU at the University of East Anglia has secured over $22 million in grant money in the last two decades. Many of these "researchers" also write books making thousands to millions of dollars selling their fearsome theory, so there is a lot of personal gain to be had.
The carbon trading schemes will make HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars for many on Wall Street and for government agencies created to fix what many believe is an unsubstantiated problem. So I'll have to agree with chef that you are naive if you believe there isn't money to be made. Al Gore himself, worth just a couple of million when he left office in 2001, is now worth over 100 million dollars, largely on his movie and various carbon credit trading schemes.
No scientist has made a compelling connection between the increased CO2 we've seen in the industrial age, and the recent warming that now seems to have flattened *despite* ever increasing CO2. The models some have concocted to create warming outcomes have been fed "massaged" data and have hacks to create warming outcomes. The glaciers that have been melting recently have melted before (in the 1940's), and advanced again; it's what they do. Climate isn't static, it's quite dynamic, and if you spend a little time researching the paleoclimate, you'll find that we're right in the middle of a very typical pattern for the last 500k years.
So when you say I should pay a little more for energy, you're actually saying I should pay a little more for clothing, food and services, since all of those depend on energy. That's money that will ultimately find its way to the federal government, which habitually wastes the revenues it receives. And all for a "problem" which remains unproven. Do you really think that those of us skeptical of this science want the doom that Al Gore espouses? It's not political, it's common sense. Look into it further and you'll find that opinions can change. Mine certainly did.
I'm very happy to see you had the courage to not only examine the CRU scandal, but reply with such an accurate assessment of it. I would add that you may have missed the fact that they actively worked to dodge requests made under the Freedom of Information Act(s) in both the UK and US, a crime in both countries which under a different government in each case might well be prosecuted. I would also ask you if you believe that the now missing data, data that Jones claimed he would delete if pressed, doesn't also concern you with regard to the credibility of the science.
Finally, I would note that these are not "just a few guys who do climatology work". They are "the team"; they are the leaders, sans James Hansen, who essentially run the IPCC. These are the people who are pushing the theory that drives UN and other government policy. They have, I believe fortunately, been caught in the act of deceiving their institutions, fellow scientists and the public. This, along with the observable facts that there has been no recent warming in the last decade, is in my opinion the beginning of the end of the global warming charade.
And as for PopSci's reporting or lack thereof, I'm not surprised. What can be expected from the Brittany Spears of scientific journalism?
I actually agree with both of you to some extent on the CRU emails. Certainly the most worrying part was the attempted dodge of the freedom of information act. But there has been no press coverage of the issue because there was no substance behind the emails. 30 emails over 10 years proved that they sometimes used unfortunate language and perhaps were researching from a bias.
Again, for the most part kstauff, I agree with you. And again you didn't answer my question. Al Gore is a politician. Tom Friedman is a journalist. Name one climate scientist who has made more than a little bit on a book. It's a conflict of interest and their research would be called into question. And I would be very shocked if the $22 million you refer to went into Phil Jones' pocket. That's not an unbelievable amount for a larger research unit like East Anglia's CRU. Since he works for the university, I would guess he probably didn't get any of that since his salary comes from the school. I'm not sure, it may be public knowledge if it was a government grant. The HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS you refer to also are not going to end up in the pocket of any scientists. And the government is putting more money (thankfully) into research than it will ever get from cap and trade or carbon tax.
Climatologists to not exist in this cabal that has been portrayed recently. NASA's Goddard Institute and NOAA both have many hundreds of scientists working on climate change. Thousands of universities around the world have a school/major/program/research group working on climate change. All data is thoroughly peer reviewed. Science is a competitive field. BS just doesn't get through because people's reputations are at stake.
And I double-checked to look for that leveling out of temperatures you claim, kstauff. It essentially doesn't exist. If you look really closely at NOAA's data, then you can tell it's leveled off a bit. But NASA doesn't even bother to draw a line, they just show margin of error, which will always show a leveling off if that's where you choose to draw the line. But their maximum possible temperatures have also gone up.
Yes, there is a normal climate variation, and yes, in the pst temperatures have gone far above what they are now with no help from human hands. But that doesn't mean that this time that this time it's not. When the temperature changed in the past, it was because of greenhouse gas increases. We are currently putting CO2 into the atmosphere. I don't think it needs to be spelled out further.
Here are some books being sold by our estimable alarmists:
NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt: search.barnesandnoble.com/Climate-Change/Gavin-Schmidt/e/9780393331257
Stanford researcher Stephen Schnieder: www.amazon.com/Science-Contact-Sport-Inside-Climate/dp/1426205406
Penn State researcher Michael Mann: search.barnesandnoble.com/Dire-Predictions/Michael-Mann/e/9780756639952
And of course, the grandfather of AGW, James Hansen:
These are easy to find on google, try it. Just type in the name of your favorite alarmist followed by "book" and you'll find what they're pushing that lines their pockets personally. These scientists are the rockstars of the environmental movement, and I assure you they're all living more comfortably than most of us. Of course, none of this says anything about investments they may have made in carbon trading schemes or other so-called "green" companies. Hey, if I had invested in those, you can be sure I'd sell fear too.
"All data is thoroughly peer reviewed. Science is a competitive field. BS just doesn't get through because people's reputations are at stake."
If that's true, why are these scientists blocking dissenting opinion? Why is it they are actively working to keep the papers of skeptical scientists from being published. In this case, your assertion is false. For a listing of peer-reviewed papers skeptical of the alarmist view, please see: wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/15/reference-450-skeptical-peer-reviewed-papers/.
"And I double-checked to look for that leveling out of temperatures you claim, kstauff. It essentially doesn't exist. "
See for yourself:
If you want to pick an earlier date to draw your trend line from, say, 1979, you can show a warming trend. But then I'd ask you to pull that start date back to say the 1930's, or better yet, to the Medieval Warm Period, and your trend disappears. And yet if you superimpose the CO2 concentration, on those graphs, it's a linear trend with positive slope. Clearly, temperature is not following. But believe what you will; I think you're keeping the faith.
OK, I actually would not have expected some of those people to have books out. But I also searched for books written by other scientists at NASA, the program director of the NOAA climate monitoring branch, and some big names from the IPCC, and got nothing. Arguably the most influential climatologist on the planet: R.K. Pachauri, the Chair of the IPCC, doesn't have a book. And having personally talked to the guy, I can assure you he doesn't have time to have any stake in the energy industry.
But again, compare that kind of pocket change (a few thousand each, judging by the book rankings) to the multi-trillion dollar coal and oil industries. Who has more incentive to twist the truth?
As far as Roy Spencer, his data directly conflicts with the data on the NASA page, so there it comes down to who you want to believe. If large, public institutions are intentionally reporting false hard data, then we're all screwed and science has come to a sad, sad point.
When it comes down to it, I choose to trust my sources. I don't have time to check to see which papers are peer reviewed by whom. I have to look to the institutions I can trust to tell me which data is accurate. Since neither you nor I has taken any data ourselves, that's the way it has to be. It just depends on who you trust.
Now there are legitimate skeptical responses to climate change. The vast majority of them have to do with statistical models and predictions, and not the hard data. But there are legitimate skeptical responses, especially for the truly alarmist claims. Like I say, the Earth has gotten very warm in the past, and in fact much warmer than the MWP and obviously it was not our fault. But that doesn't mean this time it's not. We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and have for a VERY long time. We can accurately calculate the percentage of CO2 that is in the atmosphere that is anthropogenic. Therefore, there has to be SOME amount of AWG. Whether it's 9% or 90% only matters at the far ends of the spectrum, and the ability of climate scientists to predict the effects is still fairly raw. But even if we could only reduce warming potential by 20%, the money saved in damages and lost land would far outweigh the costs of a calculated, rational economic shift.
I'm afraid I have to agree with Bulldog, both on the interpretation of Spencer's graph, which actually shows a pretty clear longer-term warming trend (with the additional spike in the late 1990s attributed to El Nino), as well as the comments regarding sources.
For instance, "Watts Up with That?" is quite obviously a centrallized site for blogs and articles devoted wholeheartedly to the premise that global warming is a scam. It is predominantly composed of opinion articles, and presents only articles supporting the deniers' viewpoint of human influence on the climate -- basically the flip-side of the very problems with the CRU group. It doesn't seem to be a particularly objective source of information itself, so I think I'll stick with the research presented in publications like Scientific American, Science, and Nature, if getting it third hand from PopSci is not legitimate enough.
Also, since when is it a bad thing for scientists to publish books supporting their theories, and make some money doing it? Is Stephen Hawking any less of an authority on black holes and theories of cosmology for having written "A Brief History of Time?"
Finally, one group of scientists involved in climate research, even a fairly influential group like the CRU, does not constitute the whole scientific establishment that gathered the data and formulated the theory. They blocked publication and dissemination of research that probably was less threatening to the theory of human-influenced climate change than damaging their credibility. However, they are not "the team" solely responsible for all research, and as the "Watts Up With That" site shows, dissenting views have still managed to find an audience. Meanwhile, NOAA, NASA, numerous universities, and independent researchers have all contributed their own studies to building the current climate change models, regardless of CRU. So I think that the concept of climate change as a result of human-produced greenhouse gasses remains on pretty solid scientific ground.
I was asked to cite such means of making money and I delivered the links supporting my argument. It was in response to Bulldog's rather naive assumption that there's no personal gain for the scientists promoting AGW.
Watts' site is no doubt a skeptical site, just as Real Climate, a site created in response to McIntyre and McKitrick's review of the hockey stick, is a site run by AGW proponents. Both sites are run by scientists (Watts is a trained meteorologist, Schmidt is a NASA scientist) and both feature many articles by people who are highly trained in the field. One striking difference between the two is that Real Climate frequently censors reasonable, dissenting opinion while WattsUpWithThat only censors inflammatory language.
As for Spencer's graph, yes, it shows a warming trend if you place your start point at anything between 1979 and 1997, but my point was that there has been no statistical warming in the last 10 years, so my trend would start later than yours. As I said, if you like drawing trend lines, then maybe you'd be willing to start earlier, perhaps even going back to the MWP, in which case a warming trend disappears over a 1000 year period. That might be inconvenient, but the point remains that the warming we have seen recently is not unprecedented, and there has been no compelling observation made *in the real world* that the CO2 in the atmosphere contributes in any significant way to the warming recently observed.
In fact, the observable facts show that *despite* increased CO2, there has been no warming in the last ten years. The burden to explain how that fits in with AGW theory remains with its proponents, just as Kevin Trenberth stated. It is, in fact, a travesty that the flattening of temperatures cannot be explained by AGW; and thus far, no AGW proponent has made a satisfactory case for that problem. I remain unconvinced of the merits of AGW.
Finally, given the above facts, you can tell me about studies and consensus all you like, but none of it contradicts the reality of the temperature record. I'm sure Neils Bohr pointed to many, many papers and studies when the quantum view of the atom emerged, but it didn't change the fact that the quantum model was a better model.
You seem like a reasonable person, so let me ask you this: how long does the climate have to remain flat while CO2 increases before you stop trusting your sources and start trusting your own nose?
When one considers the numbers involved, both in the science and in the politics, and examines how *your* trusted sources have come up with their predictions, one might be less inclined to believe they have any real ability to predict anything and more inclined to believe that there are both monetary and political motives behind the "science". Count me in the latter category.
They actually used to call it "weather", then Gore and team figured they could make money off of the weather. So when solar activity spiked and there was a "short & temporary" warming, they called it "global warming". Now that solar activity is low, temperatures have been dropping for 15 years and the northern hemisphere is freezing it's butt off, they now want to call it "climate change". The facts continue to mount against the stretched out and the ridiculous theory of man made global warming.
The theory is dead, climategate put the last nail in it. Time to move on and work on economic technologies that work. Tell the last socialist politician, grant hungry activist scientist and eco-extremists left trying to milk this thing to turn out the lights behind them.
Well, I guess "climategate" just did in our grand conspiracy-- oh, wait, it didn't -- I addressed that inflated molehill in my last post. And one of the guys from the Weather Channel disputes the theory of CO2 as a factor in raising global temperatures -- man, I guess I should just throw in the towel.
At the end of the day, I'm afraid a handful of contrarians embraced by "AGW" deniers just isn't too convincing when compared to the overwhelming evidence from so many different researchers supporting the framework of climate change as a consequence of human activity. Free speech is fine, and you can post whatever blog links you want, but it doesn't carry the weight of actual substantive research that supports a theory only slightly less solid than evolution. If all your information comes from blogs from the denier camp, then there isn't much use in a reasoned discussion. If you want to argue that CO2 and methane produced by human activity don't influence atmospheric temperature, well, go pick up a science textbook somewhere. If you want to move climatic records back to the warm spell that affected Dark Ages Europe as part of your argument, we can discuss the debate over whether or not it was a global phenomenon, or the result of more localized climate variations.
However, despite the most adamanant and seemingly confident assertions from the deniers, the majority of scientific evidence does continue to support the theory that the extremes we are currently experiencing from climate change are the result of a rise of global average temperature, most likely due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from human activity over the past two centuries.
I ask you reasonable questions and I get boiler plate dogma. You seem incapable or unwilling to discuss the problems with AGW theory and instead offer more blathering about "deniers" and "contrarians". You lack any intellectual ground in these arguments, instead relying on talking points. Enjoy your paranoia. I and the vast majority of the rest of the voting public are moving on.
Thast why my house is too hot 40 celcius.