Mona Charen

Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, observed in 2009 that, "the globally averaged temperature anomaly (GATA), is always changing. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, and occasionally -- such as for the last dozen years or so -- it does little that can be discerned. Claims that climate change is accelerating are bizarre." Professor Lindzen was referring to the inconvenient fact that there has been no increase in global temperature since 1998. This is utterly inconsistent with the computer models that predicted steady and relentless warming if we did not radically reduce carbon emissions. The famous "hockey stick" graph offered by University of Massachusetts professor Michael Mann, which became the emblem of global warming panic, has been shown to be a fraud (see "Technology Review," Oct. 15, 2004).

Speaking of computer models, consider the recent attempt to predict Hurricane Irene's path and strength. The New York Times's Henry Fountain analyzed the meteorologists' failure to predict the storm's strength. "Forecasters had expected that a spinning band of clouds near its center, called the inner eyewall, would collapse and be replaced by an outer band that would then slowly contract. Such 'eyewall replacement cycles' have been known to cause hurricanes to strengthen. While its eyewall did collapse, Irene never completed the cycle." A hurricane expert consulted by Mr. Fountain noted that the Hurricane Center had done well in predicting the path of the storm. "But it was not surprising that the strength forecasts were off -- the accuracy of such forecasts has hardly improved over the past several decades."

This is not to mock or castigate meteorologists. There are so many factors that influence storms -- wind shear, ocean temperatures, fluid dynamics, drier air masses that drift into a storm's path and other things. It's difficult to predict a storm's intensity. Let alone next week's weather.

It's even harder to predict the overall direction of global climate. In addition to the factors named above, global climate is affected by solar radiation cycles, La Nina and El Nino, the Pacific Decadal and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations, the amount of algae in the seas, and seismic activity, to name a few. Yes, most climate scientists believe that anthropogenic global warming is happening, but the rate, the degree and the effects are all still very much in dispute.

The pro-science posture then, is to recognize the limitations of what we can currently predict and to remain open to evidence. Shrieking your insistence that the "science is settled" only demonstrates an unscientific and dogmatic orthodoxy.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Mona Charen's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
 
©Creators Syndicate