Considering the recent news surrounding 1998 [more below] as the now not so hottest year on record in the U.S. check this article about a new study from British meteorologists:As Darcey implies, it isn’t just “natural weather variations, it’s also incompetence, or deliberate obfuscation. It seems that there is a computer glitch in the calculations showing we are experiencing Global Warming™
… Natural weather variations influencing climate? OMG! We must revise our data.
For the record the creators of this report, the UK’s Met Office predicted last year that 2007 would be the warmest year on record and in the same report stated that 2006 was the warmest year on record in the U.K..
Y2K Bug Drastically Changes US Climate Data
…the NASA temperature data used to estimate the advance of global warming has been shown to be way off the mark, due to a Y2K bug in the graphing software—and the corrected charts tell a very different story:Al Gore has a long history of hysteria on climate change, so it comes as no great surprise that NASA would once again be embroiled in a controversy on a topic related to major funding of a one of their Gore promoted projects.
Gore, when he was chairman of Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space, said that:
the Mission to Planet Earth was America’s true priority in space.What did that mean, you may well ask? At that time it was about the “ozone hole.”
NASA and The Environment: The Case of Ozone depletion
Senator Al Gore, chairman of NASA’s oversight committee, an environmentalist and an aspiring presidential candidate, saw a political opportunity. In November 1991 his legislation promoting an accelerated phaseout timetable for the Bush White House, operating through Republican lawmakers, was defeated. Now, he said, Bush had a “wake-up call” thanks to the “ozone hole. . . pointed to and predicted above Kennebunkport.” It was about time for President Bush “to think seriously about doing something,” Gore charged.86It is only fair to point out that this long document concludes that NASA fulfilled its public policy role well:
Gore took the floor of the U. S. Senate to introduce a bill to halt CFC production by 1995. He termed the information in the NASA news conference “an immediate, acute, emergency threat.” Following the debate, the U.S. Senate called for a halt as soon as possible, not specifying a date, but voting 96-0 in favor of speed-up.
On 11 February 1992, Bush announced that he was ordering American manufacturers to end, by 31 December 1995, virtually all production of chemicals that destroyed ozone.87 Under a provision of the Clean Air Act, Bush had the power to direct a change from the previously established year 2000 Montreal Protocol deadline, when circumstances merited such a move. Gore’s response was, “better late than never.” He again referred to the “ozone hole over Kennebunkport” as the reason for Bush’s change of heart.
The President’s decision and Gore’s continuing volley fanned the flames of media attention. The ozone hole was now big news, a crisis, and one announcement after another of dire consequences was made. On 8 February, the Washington Post reported that a new UN study had linked increased UV rays from the Sun to researchers’ “projections” of “300,000 new cases of skin cancer per year by the turn of the century,” as well as “an increase of infectious diseases, including AIDS.”88 On 17 February 1992 when Time magazine capped the media barrage with a cover headline entitled “Vanishing Ozone: The Danger Moves Closer to Home,” its lead article pointed to “overwhelming” evidence that the stratospheric ozone layer “is being eaten away by manmade chemicals far faster than any scientist had predicted.” The situation was dire; Time warned, “This unprecedented assault on the planet’s life support system could have more horrendous long-term effects on human health, animal life, the plants that support the food chain, and just about every other strand that makes up the delicate web of nature.”89
AN EMBARRASSED NASA
But in early March, the dreaded ozone hole over the Northern Hemisphere failed to materialize as predicted. Data from UARS showed that the concentrations of ozone-destroying chlorine monoxide within and around the polar vortex had declined significantly since the peak in January, according to NASA’s JPL scientist Joe Waters. In January, UARS detected concentrations of chlorine monoxide at 2 parts per billion (ppb) within the atmospheric vortex that swirled around the North Pole. In February, when the satellite’s orbit allowed it to look at the vortex again, chlorine monoxide levels had dropped to below 1 ppb and continued to fall. Arlin Krueger, the NASA scientist in charge of tracking data from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, acknowledged that TOMS had found absolutely no indication of an ozone hole opening over the Northern Hemisphere.90 He declared, “I can tell you categorically there is no ozone hole over Kennebunkport. There never has been an ozone hole over Kennebunkport, and I don’t really expect one.”91 NASA had never forecast an ozone hole over Kennebunkport—the Kennebunkport reference came from Gore and others. However, due to the intense media coverage, many people blamed NASA for being the source of the reference.
COMPLAINTS FROM NOAA SCIENTISTS
The flap over the arctic ozone hole brought to the surface tensions in the organizational alliance that NASA had carefully constructed. NASA was the de facto lead agency, and others did not necessarily appreciate how they were being led, especially those at NOAA. Melvyn Shapiro, a meteorological research scientist in NOAA’s Environmental Technology Laboratory in Boulder, took the occasion of a media visit to express his opinions. He harshly criticized those who downplayed natural ozone variations in favor of the CFC explanation. Implying that the arctic ozone affair was a case of “Chicken Little research,” he castigated those who exploited “a doomsday scenario” to “get a lot of money.” He charged, “Research organizations are in great competition with each other to get the politicians’ ears and obtain the necessary resources.” He did not mention NASA by name, but it was clear to which organization he was referring.
David Hofmann, senior scientist in the Ozone and Aerosols Group of NOAA’s Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory, did name NASA and complained that the Agency had given too much attention at its news conference to a CFC explanation of arctic ozone depletion. “I couldn’t understand why NASA didn’t come out and say that this could be a very unusual year because of the volcanic eruptions,” he said, further commenting that “maybe what we’re seeing is something we’ll never see again. Instead, they [NASA] seemed to imply, you know, that this is the start of something really big. That really wasn’t very wise. If there’s major ozone depletion seen this year, it’s quite likely that it is related to the volcano.”92
Shapiro was more blunt, complaining that “this [ozone issue] is about money. If there were no dollars attached to this game, you’d see it played in a very different way. It would be played on intellect and integrity. When you say the ozone threat is a scam, you’re not only attacking people’s scientific integrity, you’re going after their pocketbook as well. It’s money, purely money.”
NASA had gotten a good deal of favorable media attention for its visible antarctic ozone role. Now it took the heat for its arctic experience. Writer Micah Morrison noted strains in NASA’s relationship with NOAA and NSF-NCAR because of the arctic false alarm. He noted that NOAA and NCAR were “the junior partners” in the program. “NASA is the 800-pound gorilla in the ring,” said another scientist involved in the expedition, who insisted on anonymity. “You either go along with the gorilla or you stay out of its way.”
NASA WITHDRAWS ITS WARNING
On 30 April 1992, the NASA arctic ozone team officially concluded the arctic project and announced its findings based upon the seven months of data collected. Team leaders declared that despite their earlier fears, an ozone hole had not formed over the Arctic during the previous winter. Nevertheless, they said the threat of an ozone hole would exist each year because of manmade pollutants in the upper atmosphere. They pointed out the record levels of chlorine and other ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere over parts of Europe, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Unusually warm winter air had prevented significant problems. Although there had been a real ozone loss, said Harvard chemist James Anderson, it did not constitute an ozone hole.95
The admission of error engendered criticism of NASA, particularly in conservative circles. On the editorial page, the Washington Times published a column entitled “NASA Cries Wolf on Ozone.” It specifically singled out Michael Kurylo, manager of the Upper Atmosphere Research Program at NASA, for criticism. The editor described Kurylo as having “breathlessly” sounded an alarm. The paper accused NASA of not performing “objective” science and commented, “This is the cry of the apocalyptic, laying the groundwork for a decidedly non-scientific end: public policy.” If public policy was its true purpose, the paper said, the strategy had “worked,” but it warned NASA against crying “wolf” again.96 The Wall Street Journal also took NASA to task, saying, “The turnaround is another blow to the credibility of the space agency.”97 Having earlier received praise for linking science to policy in the case of Antarctica, NASA now garnered ridicule for wrongly predicting significant depletion of the ozone layer over the Arctic.
The ozone-depletion case is almost universally seen as a success story in the link between science and policy. In the environmental field, such success stories are few. Hence, it is worth considering why science and policy worked together in this instance. The focus of the preceding narrative has been on NASA’s role in the overall link. There are probably 1,000 heroes in any successful public policy case, and that, no doubt, is true in this one. NOAA, NSF, environmentalists, and even industry can share in the credit. Nevertheless, a key factor in the ozone-depletion issue was that there had to be someone in charge from the science side of the science-policy equation. There was a de facto “lead” agency—NASA.…though this conclusion is somewhat hard to reconcile with many parts of its content.
Thank Al Gore? No, I'll pass on that
There was never an "ozone hole over Kennebunkport" as Mr. Gore contended last spring in the course of ramming through an ac- celerated phaseout of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The infamous Feb. 3, 1992, NASA press briefing that spawned such stories was rife with misinformation and selective data. In fact, the NASA research team, headed by Robert Watson (who has secured his Clinton administration appointment) knew within two weeks of that briefing that stratospheric chlorine levels had dropped by 75 percent, and there would be no Arctic ozone hole. Yet the team withheld that information from a frightened public while the NASA budget was before Congress.NASA's "public policy role" is to secure funding, and this leads us to charges that the Bush administration is suppressing scientific discussion, charges leveled by NASA honcho James Hansen. James Hansen, is, according to CBS 60 Minutes
...arguably the world's leading researcher on global warming. He's the head of NASA's top institute studying the climate.Doesn't seem too suppressed, does he? It’s Hansen who is responsible for the fact that calculations about temperature fell prey to the Y2K bug. Well, at least he hasn’t been fired for heresy, the consequence of “climate change” disagreement during Al Gore’s stint as Vice President.
...Asked if he believes the administration is censoring what he can say to the public, Hansen says: "Or they're censoring whether or not I can say it. I mean, I say what I believe if I'm allowed to say it."
What James Hansen believes is that global warming is accelerating. He points to the melting arctic and to Antarctica, where new data show massive losses of ice to the sea.
Is it fair to say at this point that humans control the climate? Is that possible?
"There's no doubt about that, says Hansen. "The natural changes, the speed of the natural changes is now dwarfed by the changes that humans are making to the atmosphere and to the surface."
Fired at DOE
Last spring physicist William Happer found out what happens to federal scientists who ask the wrong questions. He was fired.Here’s what else Al Gore meant by “the Mission to Planet Earth:” POLITICS PUTS $100 MILLION SATELLITE ON ICE
Happer, director of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy for two years, was asked to leave at the end of May. Although he was a political appointee, he had expected to remain until his replacement was nominated, since the Clinton administration had asked him to stay on in January. But he was pushed out two months beforehand. "I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy," he says. Now the DOE's former chief scientist is back at Princeton.
Happer made the mistake of crossing Vice President Al Gore, the Clinton administration's ranking environmentalist. In April, Happer testified before the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on Appropriations. "I think that there probably has been some exaggeration of the dangers of ozone and global climate change," he said. "One of the problems with ozone is that we don't understand how the UV-B is changing at ground level, and what fraction of the ultraviolet light really causes cancer."
Happer's cautious testimony was at odds with Gore's alarmist views. "Like an acid," Gore warns in his tome Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, chlorine from man-made refrigerants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) "burns a hole in the ozone layer worldwide." Gore predicts that ozone depletion will damage crops and raise skin-cancer rates.
Gore's expectation is superficially plausible. Stratospheric ozone stops much of the sun's ultraviolet-B light from reaching the earth's surface, where excessive amounts can harm plants and animals. Sunburn is the type of UV damage with which most people are familiar. And recent satellite data indicate that ozone declined by 3 percent to 5 percent over the United States between 1979 and 1991.
But such a small decrease is hard to extract from the satellite data, since ozone levels vary widely depending upon seasons, latitude, and sunspot activity. (See "The Hole Story," June 1992) For example, the amount of UV naturally reaching the ground in Florida is twice as great as that in Minnesota. A 5-percent depletion of ozone would increase UV-B exposure by the same amount as moving a mere 60 miles south. Few people worry about moving from Philadelphia south to Baltimore because of the resulting increase in UV-B exposure.
Triana, a project born of politics, might be dying of politics. In its earliest incarnation, the satellite was the brainchild of Gore, who unveiled the idea during a speech in March 1998 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Mr. Pike pretty much sums up the separation of dispassionate science from money and politics. Unobservable. Maybe Mr. Pike thinks the SCOTUS 2000 election decision is actually the Y2K bug.
He challenged NASA to build and fly an inexpensive spacecraft that would make continuous, live pictures of the full, sunlit Earth from far out in space. Those pictures would be available to the world at all times via the Internet and television.
Other weather and scientific satellites constantly monitor Earth, but they monitor it so closely that they see only one portion of the planet at a time. None of these displays are returned instantly. And to see the entire sunlit face, several satellite images must be stitched together.
Triana would fill in those gaps.
Gore also gave the Earth-watching project its name, after Rodrigo de Triana, the lookout aboard Christopher Columbus' ship who first spotted the New World in 1492.
Gore hoped the images would inspire environmental consciousness and encourage new educational efforts.
Gore approached NASA Administrator Dan Goldin with the idea and asked whether it was feasible. The agency made a quick study of the proposal and concluded it could be completed for less than $50 million.
But after NASA took control, the Triana project grew from a simple camera to a satellite capable of making precise measurements of the Earth and sun.
Despite the added science, though, Triana became a political pinata as Republicans in Congress criticized it as Gore's pet science project and a waste of money.
It's a familiar story during presidential transitions: in with George W. Bush and out with NASA's most influential political supporter -- and his pet project, too.
"It's all the Supreme Court's fault," said John Pike, director of the GlobalSecurity.com policy-research organization. "If Gore would have had one more vote on the court, Triana would have been launched by now."