Baby, It’s Cold Outside

by Deroy Murdock
Deep freeze, hard data refute “global warming”

During his recent visit to Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered 5,957 words on so-called “global warming.” As he told students at Jakarta’s American Cultural Center on February 16: “Terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — all challenges that know no borders — the reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them.” Kerry added, “Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” He continued: “The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie.”

Meanwhile, in the nation that Kerry represents, snow coated 49 of the 50 United States, including Mount Mauna Kea in Hawaii; only Florida escaped. The morning of February 18 brought snow to the sidewalks of New York, which were already icy from a February 15 snowstorm — the sixth in one week. That blizzard, in turn, arrived barely a day after the previous blast, which dumped snow from Georgia to Maine, toppled power lines, left at least a half million Americans in the dark, and killed 25 people.

After six feet of snow pounded mountains in Colorado in recent days, three avalanches have devoured four people. These snow slides have been “breaking trees that have been there a long time,” the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s Brian Lazar told the Washington Post. “This is a good indication that avalanches are running bigger than they have.” So far this winter, avalanches have killed 15 individuals.

Two polar vortices lately have made New Orleans feel like Chicago with flying beads. The Great Lakes are now 85 percent frozen. “Average ice cover at this point in the season is 35 percent,” the Michigan Daily reports. “The current levels are the highest since 1979, when the lakes were almost 95 percent covered.” Lake Erie already is at that level; Lake Huron is nearly 96 percent frozen.

Cold rain and snow have cancelled some 87,000 flights since December 1. That’s a record since the Transportation Department started tracking scrapped airline departures in the winter of 1987.

Americans who awoke on cold airport floors probably ground their molars as they looked up and saw Kerry pontificating on TV screens near their departure gates. It must have been equally galling for Americans to shovel their snowy driveways and then hear Obama declare in drought-ravaged Los Baños, Calif., on February 14: “Unless and until we do more to combat carbon pollution that causes climate change, this trend is going to get worse. And the hard truth is even if we do take action on climate change, carbon pollution has built up in our atmosphere for decades.” Obama ominously added: “The planet is slowly going to keep warming for a long time to come.”

True, the Golden State has been cursed with scarce rain lately (and, conversely, blessed with toasty sunshine that allowed one to bike comfortably in shorts and then enjoy Christmas dinner in Los Angeles while wearing a Madras shirt). But the federal Endangered Species Act has aggravated matters.

“Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the [state water-delivery] system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish,” according to Investor’s Business Daily. “That move forced the flushing of 3 million acre-feet of water originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years.”

Just this annual waste of some 600,000 acre-feet of water equals about one quarter of the 2.3 million acre-feet typically delivered by the State Water Project, California’s largest aquatic conduit.

“There’s plenty of water,” says Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.). “But the courts say it can’t be touched, so it’s flowing out to sea under the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Kerry, Obama, and most of their fellow Leftists cling to the gospel of so-called “global warming” just as fervently as the geocentrics of yore insisted that the heavens revolved around Earth. Who the hell was that crackpot Galileo to question settled science?

Among many other brilliant ideas, Kerry, Obama, and the other high priests of the Church of Global Warming demand cap-and-trade schemes, green-energy subsidies, and taxes on “carbon pollution” (i.e. the toxic fumes that YOU keep pumping into the atmosphere each time you exhale).

With so few people feeling globally warmed these days, liberals now denounce “climate change” — an all-encompassing condition whose alleged risks conveniently are confirmed by snow and sunshine, ice and heat waves, cool breezes and hurricanes, droughts and floods, and everything else on the Weather Channel.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently decreed brand-new “climate action hubs” to help farmers cope with the impending doom that this supposed problem surely will unleash . . . any day now. The need for this assistance is so desperately urgent, Vilsack explained on February 5, that Team Obama had no choice but to commence this project unilaterally. “These climate action hubs are really part of the president’s climate action plan and its directive of us actually to act, not wait for Congress, not wait for laws to be passed, but to do it on our own.”

Before Obama issues further such decrees, he should study the recent findings of Dr. Roy Spencer. He is a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Spencer earned a Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1981 and eventually became a senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Spencer recently reviewed temperature readings from 1983 through 2013 as recorded on Earth’s surface by sensors known as Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit Temperature, Version 4 (HadCRUT4), and from outer space via satellites tracked by UAH. Spencer then compared these actual temperature observations against predictions made by 90 different climate models that compose the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5).

The forecasts that these computer models generate are exactly what the high priests of so-called “global warming” use to foresee Earth’s doom and prescribe massive government intervention to prevent Judgment Day. Christians have their prophets. Warmists have their models.

Unfortunately for the Warmists, Spencer’s research finds their models more uncertain than a roomful of agnostics. Of the 90 CMIP5 models that Spencer scrutinized, 86 (95.6 percent) predicted temperatures higher than what surface-measurement devices actually observed. Even worse, 88 of these models (97.8 percent) overpredicted warming on Earth, when compared with temperatures captured by satellites.

Spencer evaluated these models, the surface-measurement stations, and satellite-based detectors from the same starting point. That baseline represents the five-year global average temperature from January 1, 1979, to December 31, 1983. From there, the models soon began predicting that temperatures would rise much higher than the ground-level and orbiting detectors actually reported. By the end of 2013, the models forecast that Earth’s analogous five-year average temperature would increase 1.17° Fahrenheit (0.65° Celsius). But the actual surface readings were only 0.68°F (0.38°C) higher; satellite observations were just 0.61°F (0.34°C) above baseline.

In other words, the Warmists’ hallowed computer models overshot real thermometer readings here on Earth by 71 percent and readings taken from space by 91 percent. Almost every one of these theoretical models resembles a car whose steering wheel drifts slightly to the left: This small error eventually nudges one out of the fast lane and into oncoming traffic.

Spencer also has presented satellite data from January 1979 through January 2014. They show how much the global average temperature has diverged at various times from the average that prevailed on Earth between 1981 and 2010. The satellite-based reading for January 1979 was 0.47°F (0.26°C) below that 30-year average. In April 1998, the satellite data peaked at 1.19°F (0.66°C) above baseline. Since then, Earth’s average temperature has failed to match or exceed that level. In January 2014, in fact, the average global temperature was only 0.52°F (0.29°C) above the 30-year average.

Spencer’s research proves that so-called “global warming” has been AWOL since April 1998. Thus, the “climate crisis” — if it ever existed — slipped away almost 16 years ago. Obama and those suffering from his condition are demolishing the economy and trashing personal freedom so they can rescue Earth from a disease that exists only in their heads (e.g. prohibiting the Thomas Edison light bulb, banning wood-burning stoves, sinking the coal sector, destroying coal-industry jobs, etc.). This is a sterling example of what George Will calls “a collective hallucination.”

Whatever one thinks of Spencer’s long-term thinking, his short-term outlook will sadden winter-weary Americans.

“Cold arctic air is going to gradually return to the Eastern U.S., and especially the upper Midwest and Great Lakes,” Spencer predicted on February 19. “The eight-day forecast for Thursday night [February 27] has -50 deg. F temperatures knocking on the door in Minnesota, and below-freezing temperatures pushing into northern Florida. . . . Time to fire up your SUV, sacrifice the groundhog, or something.”

Those who wish to learn more from Dr. Roy Spencer should read his volume Climate Confusion (Encounter Books, 2008). Those tempted to dismiss him as an industrial tool should consult his website. “He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service,” it states. “Not even Exxon-Mobil.”

So, with the federal government $17.3 trillion in debt and deepening, Obama, Kerry, and their ilk should stop flying across the country and around the world chasing mythical monsters. Their quest for climate bogeymen is as foolish as riding Air Force One in search of Sasquatch.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

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