There's a fascinating blog article by the Sci Guy today about Roy Spencer, a noted global warming skeptic. As I've said before, global warming is something to be concerned about, but it a fresh breath of air to hear somebody question the prevailing wisdom that we're going to fry in the next century, and the oceans will swallow half the continents. Not so fast, Roy might say, a bunch of what is happening is a completely natural thing.
I appreciate being a skeptic about anything, since we have all these quasi-religions of group-think these days, fed like pap from the media. Let's start with the basics, that Roy thinks that we've only had good, reliable measurements of the Earth's surface temperature for about the last 7 or 8 years, with a couple of satellites for coverage. The old data cannot be extrapolated as to "mean global average temperature" because we didn't have satellites that could record temperatures covering entire swaths of the planet several times a day. Ouch, he's right on that one.
Then, over the last 7 or 8 years, his analysis can't find any global warming. This is to be expected because one really needs perhaps 20 or 50 years to really figure mean global warming. After talking about some technical mumbo-jumbo, Roy cuts to the chase: too many people are making money off global warming and it was one heckuva sales job. It takes several million dollars to create a slightly faulty model to predict future temperatures - but the naysayers might only get a thousand bucks or so for printing a skeptical argument in a professional paper or a few hundred for printing in a hack media outlet. So the people who get the millions of dollars have a vested interest in proving that their theory was right. You have to admit, Roy has a point here.
So once more I have to rethink all this, although don't mistake that climate change can be a very, very serious thing to be feared. "All it takes is a 1 or 2 percent change in global cloudiness and you can get this warming and cooling for decades upon decades, for a century." Yep, he's right on target there.