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Climategate: Shameless Science

Is Science magazine letting other concerns get in the way of publishing good science? (Also read Claudia Rosett: Another Casualty of Climategate?)

by
James Lewis

Bio

March 20, 2010 - 12:00 am
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Without a blush of shame, this week’s Science magazine just ran an article called “Contributions of stratospheric water vapor to decadal changes in the rate of Global Warming.” After wiping off the unnecessary words we’re left with: Global Warming would be here — except for that damned water vapor.” It’s the “woulda coulda shoulda” of the True Believers.

Al Gore’s Ptolemaic epicycles are being rolled onto the scientific stage, to be piled higher and deeper until they fit the curve of real temperatures –  a nearly flat line with a little bit of jitter. You could just turn it into a single equation: T = 70°F on an average day, for the average weather station around the world.

But … if you’ve been betting your whole career on planetary doom, you might try adding enough stratospheric water vapor to your predicted (but never observed) global warming, and yes, then your computer model can still explain why global warming ain’t happening.

Personally, I’d go for the flat line. It’s a lot simpler.

Oh, global warming is so 2009. Last year they told us it was already happening. Run for your lives, kids! It was “settled science.” Rational skeptics were “deniers” and James Hansen wanted them all in jail for “crimes against humanity.” Obama promised with that great messianic reverb on his woofers to “stop the seas from ri-ising!” ‘Cause … ’cause the polar bears were dying! Vanuatu was slipping under the ocean! And it’s all your fault! And we need the money! (That’s nine trillion dollars, according to Lord Nicholas Stern, the British economist who gave us the official price tag.)

Alas, now they’re telling us that Warmageddon has been postponed. Dr. Phil Jones testified that no warming has been observed for 15 years. But hellfire and brimstone are still a’comin’! You jest wait, Jed!

I sometimes wonder if Al Gore was scared as a young child by an Elmer Gantry revival meeting back in rural Tennessee. Maybe his Dad, Al Gore Sr., took little Al along for a little politickin’ at the tent meetin’, and he learned all about Hell and damnation from the preacher.

Early childhood trauma from too many raucous Tennessee revival meetings — it might explain a lot, including Al Jr.’s endless, fervent preaching about things he knows nothing about. This man can’t handle open-minded questions. He’s just like Elmer Gantry. Talk about rock-solid fundamentalism.

Dr. Roy Spencer has been one of the gutsy climate scientists pointing to water vapor as a temperature-modulating gas for a long, long time. It’s not a secret. Hot water vapor is what makes steam locomotives run, after all, and that choo-choo sound comes from letting off steam pressure, just like Mother Earth must somehow do to maintain reasonable temperature constancy over millions of years. The Earth can  pump that steam into the atmosphere, and get a little convection cooling into the bargain. All that H2O has to be a big factor in the Earth’s heat budget. But not in the Gospel according to Al. There’s a lot more money in carbon than in water vapor.

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