Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Are We To Make of This?

For a little over two years, I have been fortunate enough to have had the time to carefully examine issues of public importance like global warming. The "science," as the proponents of global warming like to say, is a closed book and those who refuse to accept it are immediately labeled "deniers." Having read most of the "science," I was, until six months ago, mostly convinced that it was settled.

As I have stated in this space previously, I am concerned, and will remain so until convinced otherwise by observation, and the application of logic and reason, that the solutions to the greenhouse gas conundrum need to be carefully scrutinized so that they do not make matters worse rather than better.

So far, national cap and trade, regional cap and trade, and cap and trade, in general, make me nervous because I pride myself on not being fooled more than once. When Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other "banks" are major supporters of this solution, like they were of making housing more affordable through the use of "derivatives" and other calculus (that is neither transparent nor particularly well understood 2.5 years into the housing catastrophe!), I remain highly skeptical of cap and trade, of any variety, period, and so should you.

However, putting the half-baked but lucrative for the banks and investors, cap and trade game aside for a minute, what are we to think of the March 5, 2010 SCIENCE article entitled,

"Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming"?

Now this article really does confuse me since, if the "science" is settled, well, read the summary for yourself and, if you have the tenacity read the whole article, and you decide whether healthy skepticism is really denial or, in fact, highly rational and in the general public's best interest. Before we poor billions down the next "housing affordability-type" rat hole, "greenhouse gas amelioration," it would be highly logical if the most prestigious science publication could help us resolve the "science" of the issue more precisely and "permanently."

Originally published in Science Express on 28 January 2010
Science 5 March 2010:
Vol. 327. no. 5970, pp. 1219 - 1223
DOI: 10.1126/science.1182488


Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming

Susan Solomon,1 Karen H. Rosenlof,1 Robert W. Portmann,1 John S. Daniel,1 Sean M. Davis,1,2Todd J. Sanford,1,2 Gian-Kasper Plattner3

Stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000. Here we show that this acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000–2009 by about 25% compared to that which would have occurred due only to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. More limited data suggest that stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% as compared to estimates neglecting this change. These findings show that stratospheric water vapor is an important driver of decadal global surface climate change.

1 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, CO, USA.
2 Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
3 Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

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