All The News That’s Fit To Scare

Climate Change, Commentary, Energy, Environment, Frontier Centre, Role of Government, Worth A Look

Record high temperatures on Baffin Island last month — it hit 27C on July 21 — have made the news around the world, as has the evacuation of 21 visitors from the island’s Auyuittuq National Park. Fear that melt water from the park’s glaciers might lead to flash flooding and landslides has been reported by everyone from AFP to the BBC as proof of the adverse side-effects of man-made climate change.

Meanwhile, it is barely reported outside Alaska that America’s northernmost state is having a record cool summer.

If it reaches 19C in Anchorage today, it will be just the eighth time that’s happened this summer. Indeed, this could be the first summer ever that Anchorage never hits 24C.

Auyuittuq is at 66 degrees north; Anchorage is at 61.

The Baffin story may be more significant than the Alaska one. But why are we hearing all about one and nothing about the other? You can bet that if Anchorage were suffering a record hot summer, it would be all over the news and presented — as the Baffin temperatures are — as yet further proof of the dangerous impacts of global warming in the north.

And what of the study, released in July by Switzerland’s Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, that shows European temperatures, at least, have risen in large part because of efforts over the past 30 years to clean the continent’s skies?

Christian Ruckstuhl and 12 coauthors found that of the 1C rise in temperature in Europe over the last three decades, “at least half of the warming” is attributable to a reduction of aerosols, such as sulphur dioxide and black soot particles. As Europeans have cleaned up their smokestacks and tailpipes, and as dirty old Soviet-era East European plants have been modernized to Western standards, more sunlight has penetrated the continent’s atmosphere and warmed things up a bit.

In other words, environmentalism is causing global warming. As ecoadvocates have won tighter clean-air regulations, their efforts have been rewarded with brighter days (a good thing), but also warmer temperatures.

But you may not have heard about this little piece of climate-change news.

Nor may you have heard about conclusions by University of Guelph environmental biologist Jonathan Newman and his graduate student Anna Mika. Last week, Prof. Newman and Ms. Mika warned other researchers to use results from the UN’s 31 climate computers with great caution.

Apparently, if you are using these computer models (the data sources on which all of the UN’s climate doom and gloom rests) to determine what will happen to human or animal populations for the next century, or to forecast the spread of disease or pests and so on, the answer you get will vary according to which computer you use.

“These models are the basis on which all research in climate change is done,” Prof. Newman said in a press release. Yet despite using two computers — one Canadian, one British — that both predicted the same future climate, “we basically got opposite answers” about the potential impact on insect spread “when we should have gotten the same answer.”

No predictions of future climaterelated catastrophes are reliable enough for use in making public policy “unless they are run through many models,” according to Prof. Newton, and then only if most of the models are in rough agreement.

Or how about the discovery last month by NASA that at least 70% of global warming to date is due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the pattern of ocean currents and cloud formation connected with the El Nino and La Nina phenomena?

Or the paper by Gilbert Compo and Prashant Sardeshmukh of the Climate Diagnostics Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that concludes, “the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases.” Where were the mainstream news stories about that?

Could the oceans have warmed due to human activity and then warmed the land? Perhaps a little, say Messrs. Compo and Sardeshmukh. But natural changes in ocean temperatures could account for all the warming, even without any effect from greenhouse gases.

Why is it we hear only the Baffin stories and not the clean air/faulty climate computers/ocean warming ones? Surely it’s not because environmentalists and the journalists who cover them refuse to see any news except the news that confirms their biases.