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They then resubmerge for another 10 day drift, a cycle to be repeated 150 times or more. The distance traveled between surfacings provides a measure of the currents at the depth of the drift. The ARGO program (http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/) is an international plan to maintain a global distribution of -3000 floats as a core element of a Global Ocean Observing System (Figure 5.). Other parts of the system involve fixed sites with moored buoys and underwater profilers that record temperature and salinity all the way to the bottom of the ocean. These new technologies will give us the data we need to begin to decipher the complex climate phenomena we know to be operating in the ocean. Science is the process of testing ideas against observations, and failure to make the observations is an abandonment of the scientific process.
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Longitude Figure 5. The surface salinity of the global ocean is represented by the colors, with red being the saltiest and blue/purple the freshest. 3000 random dots, representing possible ARGO float positions, are seen to provide good sampling of the large-scale patterns of salinity variation. The Atlantic Ocean is seen to be saltiest, which helps explain why deep convection is especially likely there, and its important role in the thermohaline circulation. What Can Congress Do? 1. Support fundamental research into the processes that govern the ocean's role
in climate. This includes the basic oceanic research programs at NSF and
ONR, and international programs like CLIVAR. 2. Make a substantial and long-term commitment to the creation of a Global
Ocean Observing System. Fund the ARGO program at NOAA (Ocean Observations component of Climate Observations and Services) and the ocean observ
ing satellites of NASA. Summary:
Policy makers would like climate scientists to produce firm predictions. However, they must always remember that science is the process of testing ideas against facts and access to quantitative data is essential to the process. The ocean is a crucial element of the climate system, yet its “subgrid-scale” processes are too poorly understood and its basic structure too poorly monitored, to provide much confidence in the details of present day predictions. The National Climate Assessment Report is a good faith effort to assess the effects of global warming on U.S. climate; the regional disagreements of the two available models are to be expected, given our poor understanding of the ocean. Global warming due to the effect of greenhouse gases on the radiation balance is as certain as the law of gravity, but the issues of how rapidly heat is sequestered in the oceans, its impact on the water cycle, and the important regional variations in climate, remain very challenging research questions.
Climate prediction is a hard problem, but appears to be tractable. An abundance of evidence indicates that the key to long-term prediction is in the workings of the ocean, which has 99.9% of the heat capacity of Earth's fluids. It is the heart of the climate "beast,” the atmosphere its rapidly waving tail, with only 0.1% of the heat capacity. Let us get to the heart of the matter, with an unprecedented new look at the ocean. We have the technical capabilities. The cost is modest. The payoff is large. The society that understands long-term climate variations will realize tremendous economic benefits with improved predictions of energy demand, water resources and natural hazards, and it will make wiser decisions on issues affecting the habitability of the planet, such as greenhouse gas abatement.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much. Dr. Singer. STATEMENT OF DR. S. FRED SINGER, PROFESSOR EMERITUS
OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF U.S. WEATHER SATELLITE SERVICE
Dr. SINGER. Mr. Chairman, I have researched and published mainly in atmospheric and space physics over the last years.
I am professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group of scientists. We all work pro bono, without salary, and we do not solicit money from industry or government, so we are fairly independent. We speak our minds on many issues as we see fit. We are mainly interested in making sure that the science underlying the various policies, environmental policies is correct and sound.
The reason I have a skeptical view on the climate science underlying the assessment is because it does not fit with the evidence. My testimony concerns just three pieces of evidence, which I will briefly outline.
The first statement I make is that there is no appreciable climate warming today. I repeat, there is no appreciable climate warming. This puts me at odds with many of my colleagues, I realize that, including my distinguished colleague, Tom Karl, but I hope that I can convince him and others that the evidence supports what I have to say.
I think the evidence that the climate has not warmed in the last 2 decades is overwhelming. I have four pieces of evidence. The weather satellites, with which I am very familiar, do not show any appreciable warming of the atmosphere in the last 20 years. In fact, if you take out 1998, the El Niño year, there is even a slight cooling of the atmosphere in the last 20 years.
There has been long debate about this, but fortunately the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has published a report this year in which they essentially endorse the satellite data, and the fact that the atmosphere has not warmed in the last 20 years.
Weather balloons carrying radios get exactly the same result, and these are independent measurements of the atmosphere. They also show no appreciable warming in the last 20 years.
The third piece of evidence is the temperature record for the United States as produced by NOAA and also published by NASA.
The temperature record for the United States shows that the temperature has not warmed appreciably since about 1940.
Now, the thermometers do show a global warming. It means that there must be warming going on somewhere outside of the United States, and outside of Western Europe, because neither one of those two networks shows any appreciable warming.
This is very puzzling, and it is possible that the thermometers are not giving correct readings, or that they are contaminated in some way. The warming seems to occur mainly in Northwestern Siberia and in subpolar regions of Alaska and Canada. But when one checks proxy data, like tree rings, ice cores, and things of that sort, which also are a way of measuring temperature, they show no warming since 1940, so the thermometer data that do show a warming are the odd man out, and we need to do the necessary research to find out why that is.
As of now, I would say that there is no appreciable warming in the last 20 years and, by the way, if there is no warming in the last 20 years, this means that this is not the warmest century in the last 1,000 years. In fact, we believe it was warmer 1,000 years ago than it is today. And this is not the warmest decade in the last 1,000 years, either.
So you see, we have a chance here to have a good debate on these issues, but this is probably more appropriate for the American Meteorological Society meetings that we are going to be attending
My second point relates to the regional changes in temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture. After all, this is the important thing, because all of the impacts of climate change are based on what is actually happening in the region. My belief is, and I believe everyone would agree, that to predict regional changes is beyond the state-of-the-art of climate models.
Climate models cannot even predict properly the global changes, but to predict regional changes is practically impossible, and we have proof of that. The proof is actually in the report itself, the report that Dr. Janetos has just referred to. The two climate models that are used in the report give opposite results in 9 of the 18 regions that have been studied.
For example, when it comes to rainfall the report shows the Dakotas losing 85 percent of their current rainfall in one model, while the second model shows a gain of 75 percent. These opposite results occur in 9 cases out of 18, and in some other cases the results show a huge difference.
The same is also true with soil moisture. The Canadian model that was used predicts a drier Eastern United States. The British model that was used predicts a wetter Eastern United States.
So we conclude that the model results are not credible, and therefore we believe that the conclusions that are drawn about the impact of these climate changes are interesting exercises but should not be taken too seriously.
My third point: I want to discuss sea level rise. Sea level rise is widely feared, but also very much misunderstood. Most people think the sea level rose in the last century because temperatures rose in the last century. That is not so. Sea level has been rising for about 15,000 years. Sea level rose by 400 feet in the last 15,000, and the reason it rose is because the ice melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
First, the ice melted in North America and Northern Europe, and that caused a very rapid rise in sea level. We can actually measure it. It is about 80 inches per century, as measured.
Once that ice was gone, the melting slowed down. But the melting still continues, though, in the Antarctic, but now it is the West Antarctic ice sheet that is melting slowly, and has been melting for 15,000 years, and this slow melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet amounts to about 7 inches per century of sea level rise.
This is the sea level rise that is going on right now. This will continue for another 6,000 years, unless another Ice Age intervenes. But assuming that we do not get another Ice Age, we will have sea level rise going on for another 6,000 years no matter what
We cannot affect this in any way. We cannot stop the tides, we cannot stop continental drift, we cannot stop the Antarctic ice sheet from melting. It is just going to continue its slow-melting process. It has to do with the fact that it is warmer now than it was 15,000 years ago.
Finally: The bottom line of all of this is that the scientific evidence does not support the results of the National Assessment. It also tells us that we should be doing serious research on both atmospheric and oceanic processes, and that this research needs to be carried out much further before we can have confidence in any assessment report.
My conclusion: The National Assessment should definitely not be used to justify any irrational or unscientific energy and environmental policies, and that advice I think is particularly relevant to the forthcoming Presidential debates and campaigns.
Thank you very much.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. S. FRED SINGER, PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF ENVIRON
MENTAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF U.S.
WEATHER SATELLITE SERVICE
My name is Fred Singer. I am Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia and the founder and president of The Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) in Fairfax, Virginia, a non-partisan, non-profit research group of independent scientists. We work without salaries and are not beholden to anyone or any organization. SEPP does not solicit support from either government or industry but relies on contributions from individuals and foundations.
We hold a skeptical view on the climate science that forms the basis of the National Assessment because we see no evidence to back its findings; climate model exercises are NOT evidence. Vice President Al Gore keeps referring to scientific skeptics as a “tiny minority outside the mainstream.” This position is hard to maintain when more than 17,000 scientists have signed the Oregon Petition against the Kyoto Protocol because they see “no compelling evidence that humans are causing discernible climate change.
Others try to discredit scientific skeptics by lumping them together with fringe political groups. Such ad hominem attacks are deplorable and have no place in a scientific debate. To counter such misrepresentations, I list here qualifications relevant to today's hearing. Relevant Background
I hold a degree in engineering from Ohio State and a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. For more than 40 years I have researched and published in atmospheric and space physics. I received a Special Commendation from President Eisenhower for the early design of satellites. In 1962, I established the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, served as its first director, and received a Gold Medal award from the Department of Commerce for this contribution.
Early in my career, I devised instruments to measure atmospheric parameters from satellites. In 1971, I proposed that human production of the greenhouse gas methane, through cattle raising and rice growing, could affect the climate system. This was also the first publication to discuss an anthropogenic influence on stratospheric ozone. In the late 1980s, I served as Chief Scientist of the Department of Transportation and also provided expert advice to the White House on climate issues.
Today, by presenting evidence from published peer-reviewed work, I will try to rectify some erroneous claims advanced at the May 17 NACC hearing. 1. There Is No Appreciable Climate Warming
Contrary to the conventional wisdom and the predictions of computer models, the Earth's climate has not warmed appreciably in the past two decades, and probably not since about 1940. The evidence is abundant.
a) Satellite data show no appreciable warming of the global atmosphere since 1979. In fact, if one ignores the unusual El Niño year of 1998, one sees a cooling trend.
b) Radiosonde data from balloons released regularly around the world confirm the satellite data in every respect. This fact has been confirmed in a recent report of the National Research Council National Academy of Sciences.1 c) The well-controlled and reliable thermometer record of surface temperatures
for the continental United States shows no appreciable warming since about 1940. The same is true for Western Europe. These results are in sharp contrast to the GLOBAL instrumental surface record, which shows substantial warming, mainly in NW Siberia and subpolar Alaska and Canada.
d) But tree-ring records for Siberia and Alaska and published ice-core records that I have examined show NO warming since 1940. In fact, many show a cooling trend.
Conclusion: The post-1980 global warming trend from surface thermometers is not credible. The absence of such warming would do away with the widely touted "hockey stick” graph (with its "unusual” temperature rise in the past 100 years); it was shown here on May 17 as purported proof that the 20th century is the warmest in
2. Regional Changes in Temperature, Precipitation, and Soil Moisture?
The absence of a current global warming trend should serve to discredit any predictions from current climate models, including the extreme warming from the two models (Canadian and British) selected for the NACC.
Furthermore, the two NACC models give conflicting predictions, most often for precipitation and soil moisture.2,3 For example, the Dakotas lose 85% of their current average rainfall by 2100 in one model, while the other shows a 75% gain. Half of the 18 regions studied show such opposite results; several others show huge differences.
The soil moisture predictions also differ. The Canadian model shows a drier Eastern U.S. in summer, the UK Hadley model a wetter one.
Conclusion: We must conclude that regional forecasts from climate models are even less reliable than those for the global average. Since the NACC scenarios are based on such forecasts, the NACC projections are not credible. 3. Sea Level Rise: Controlled by Nature not Humans
The most widely feared and also most misunderstood consequence of a hypothetical greenhouse warming is an accelerated rise in sea levels. But several facts contradict this conventional view:
a) Global average sea level has risen about 400 feet (120 meters) in the past 15,000 years, as a result of the end of the Ice Age. The initial rapid rise of about 200 cm (80 inches) per century gradually changed to a slower rise of 15–20 cm (6– 8 in)/cy about 7500 years ago, once the large ice masses covering North America and North Europe had melted away. But the slow melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet continued and will continue, barring another ice age, until it has melted away in about 6000 years.
1 National Research Council. “Reconciling Temperature Trends." National Academy Press, Washington, DC. January 2000.
2 R. Kerr. “Dueling Models: Future U.S. Climate Uncertain.” Science 288, 2113, 2000.
3P.H. Stone. "Forecast Cloudy: The Limits of Global Climate Models.” Technology Review (MIT), Feb/March 1992. pp. 32–40.