|There is more than one pattern in climate change.|
|Links somewhat critical of Global Warming|
|Cotton and Pielke's book|
|The trailing arbutus is the first flower to bloom in much of the northeastern forest.|
| In 1973 I gave up on theoretical physics and decided to dedicate my life to studying human impacts on climate and weather. I went to the University of Virginia which had perhaps the only department in the US which was actively studying the subject. My research concerned the lower atmosphere and the effect that changes in its heat capacity had on atmospheric circulation. It was there that I met both Fred Singer and Roger Pielke, both of whom had an impact on my intellectual development. I took what I believe was the first course offered on human impacts and climate, titled Urban Meteorology which was taught by Pielke and Mike Garstang. We spent many hours discussing the effects of deforestation, desertification, and urbanization on climate. I don't think we spent more than 15 minutes on global warming. Garstang dismissed it catagorically. There was nothing that he, I or anyone else could see in the data that would lead us to think that the green house effect was in the least way significant compared to the aforementioned causes.
There are many things whic could cause the climate to change. There is the natural variation of the sun and a periodic variation of volcanic dust. Human industry can throw smoke into the atmosphere which clouds out the sun's energy. Cutting, draining, plowing,and paving can change the amount of energy the earth absorbs and how fast it heats up and cools off. This was the subject of decades of research, strong correlations, and amazingly accurate models. Most of it is now ignored.
The first time I heard anyone take the green house effect and global warming seriously it was none other than Edward Teller. His logic was simple. Nuclear power was the solution. Well it had to be the solution to something didn't it. Even in 1973 it compared poorly to all other sources of power. Only one thing distinguished it. It didn't produce carbon dioxide. So that was it. CO2 had to be the problem. Then came the green house effect.
Burning fossil fuel affects climate in two ways. The smoke blocks out the sun which has a cooling effect. The CO2 reflects back the energy the earth reradiates which has a warming effect. To some degree, they cancel each other out.
To this day, after all of the data fudging and name calling, I still think that Pielke's research and book (Human Impacts on Weather and Climate, co-authored with William Cotton) are the most objective and apolitical treatment of climate change.
A suggestion that I will make is that when a solution to climate change is proposed, we should ask if enough is known about the effects of that particular solution to be confident that it will make the problem better not worse. Increasing the mileage of vehicles and/or limiting CO2 emmissions to 100 grams per kilometer (which is possible with current technology, we just net smaller vehicles that accelerate slower and don't go as fast) requires little proof. There are only upsides. Even if CO2 is not the main problem, we aren't any worse off. On the other hand, converting gas guzzlers to ethanol guzzlers (a dubious plan which is attracting a lot of political support in the US) requires that we prove CO2 is the only cause of climate change and that all of the surface distruction caused by diverting land (Brazilian rainforest for now) to grow the crops is inconsequential. Right now, I do not see any data that would support this.