Paul Stockham's Blog
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"

End of the World, Global Warming, Climategate, Conspiracies …..

When did the Weather get so interesting? I saw the movie 2012 last week, a science fiction film about the end of the World. All the usual Disaster Movie ingredients -conspiracies, Government cover-ups etc. I then started following the Climategate scandal where Scientists at the British University of East Anglia, have been accused of manipulating climate change data.
Let’s start with the movie, which has had mixed reviews. There is no doubt some of the scenarios depicted in the film are pretty far fetched. California slides into the Pacific, Earthquakes, Volcanoes – possible? Megasunamis going through the Himalayas, surfing round Everest in a 21st Century Ark – not so much!! Some of the stunts and action scenes would look more at home in a Video Game!
I am not normally a big fan of the Disaster Movie genre (Airplane was the only really good one! IMO). The usual story consists of cost cutting, cover ups, motivated by greed, selfishness leads to big bang/flood/natural disaster. Everyone “finds” themselves, a few heroes emerge, the bad guys meet some horrible death. The End, roll credits! Although 2012 follows this format, I still enjoyed it and have to say it is worth seeing, if only for Woodie Harrelson’s character Charlie Frost, a hippy who lives inYellowstone in a Camper Van and broadcasts about the Earth overheating and Government conspiracies. See link for a taster:-
Now back to the real world and the Climategate controversy. This has a number of similarities to the 2012 story (concerns about Global Warming, information being manipulated, outside Political influence). There has been ongoing debate on how much Global Warming is the result of Man made causes versus natural Climate patterns changing over the long term.
What is of particular concern with this story is that University of East Anglia is recognised as a leading authority on researching long term Global Climate change and the controversy has been fueled by the emergence of hundreds of leaked emails, “stolen” by hackers and published online, suggesting that the University’s academics themselves had massaged statistics. Links to two good articles setting out the full story follow:-

Ironically much of East Anglia is a low lying land on the East Coast of England drained by Dutch Engineers in the 1600s and would be seriously threatened by melting Ice Caps and rising sea levels.
Let’s hope the Researchers at the University have arrived at the “correct” conclusions, but if I lived in East Anglia I would be watching to see if any of them move to higher ground or start building oversized “Ark” style boats!


One Response to “End of the World, Global Warming, Climategate, Conspiracies …..”

  1. “Climategate” started out when there appeared on the Internet a collection of e-mails of a group of climatologists who work in the University of East Anglia in England. These documents reveal that some climatologists of international preeminence have manipulated the data of their investigations and have strongly tried to discredit climatologists who are not convinced that the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the cause of global warming.

    It is true that a majority of the scientists who study climatic tendencies in our atmosphere have arrived at the conclusion that the world’s climate is changing, and they have convinced a group of politicians, some of whom are politically powerful, of the truth of their conclusions.

    A minority, however, is skeptical. Some believe that recent data that suggest that the average temperature of the atmosphere is going up can be explained by natural variations in solar radiation and that global warming is a temporary phenomenon. Others believe that the historical evidence indicating that the temperature of the atmosphere is going up at a dangerous rate is simply not reliable.

    Such lacks of agreement are common in the sciences. They are reduced and eventually eliminated with the accumulation of new evidence and of more refined theories or even by completely new ones. Such debates can persist for a period of decades. Academics often throw invective at one another in these debates. But typically this does not mean much.

    But the case of climate change is different. If the evidence indicates that global warming is progressive, is caused principally by our industrial processes, and will probably cause disastrous changes in our atmosphere before the end of the twenty-first century, then we do not have the time to verify precisely if this evidence is reliable. Such a process would be a question of many years of new investigations. And if the alarmist climatologists are right, such a delay would be tragic for all humanity.

    The difficulty is that economic and climatologic systems are very complicated. They are not like celestial mechanics, which involves only the interaction of gravity and centrifugal force, and efforts to construct computerized models to describe these complicated systems simply cannot include all the factors that are influential in the evolution of these complicated systems.

    All this does not necessarily indicate that the alarmist climatologists are not right. But it really means that if global warming is occurring, we cannot know exactly what will be the average temperature of our atmosphere in the year 2100 and what will be the average sea level of the world’s ocean in that year.

    It also means that we cannot be confident that efforts by the industrialized countries to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will have a significant influence on the evolution of the world’s climate.

    Alas, the reduction of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere would be very costly and would greatly change the lives of all the inhabitants of our planet–with the possibility (perhaps even the probability!) that all these efforts will be completely useless.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

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