The Heat Is Online

SEPP: IPCC Chairman Says Weather Extremes Not Linked to Global Warming

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TO NATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDITORS:

SEPP: IPCC Chairman Says Current Weather Extremes Not Linked to any Global Warming; Claims by Gore, Environmental Activists Cause for Mistrust, Says Bolin

FAIRFAX, Va., June 23 /E-Wire/ -- Dr. Bert Bolin, chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has publicly refuted claims by the Clinton Administration and many environmental activist groups that any floods, droughts, hrricanes, or other extreme weather patterns are the result of rising global temperatures. "There has been no effect on countries from any current change," said Bolin, adding that efforts by activists to establish such a link "is why I do not trust the Greens."

Bolin, chairman of the IPCC for eight years and a respected Swedish meteorologist, raised this point on June 2 in Stockholm, Sweden, during the first of two debates on the global warming issue with University of Virginia atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. Speaking before an audience of scientists, journalists, and industry representatives, Bolin remained adamant that there has been some human influence on climate, but conceded that "man-made increases in temperature arc so small as to be barely detectable."

Bolin took issue with the statement by Tim Wirth, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, that global warming science was "settled." "Tim Wirth may have said that," said Bolin, "but I've talked with him and I know he really doesn't mean it." (Bolin is apparently also at odds with a group of scientist/activist, who stated in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, June 19, that "scientific questions surrounding global warming have largely been resolved and that the government must take quick action, including reducing fossil fuel emissions.")

For his part, Fred Singer made it clear that the science certainly was not settled, and expressed surprise that those at the highest levels of the IPCC seemed unaware or unable to respond to many of the latest findings. During an hour-long presentation, illustrated with numerous graphs showing recent observations, Singer demonstrated the following points:

1. An anti-correlation -- discovered by researchers at SEPP -- between global temperature over the last century and sea level, i.e. when temperature goes up, sea level goes down. Comparing data on temperature and sea level published in the peer-reviewed literature, Singer found that the ongoing sea level trend showed a drop between 1925 and 1940, when temperatures were rising (recovering from the "Little Ice Age"). If confirmed, this would indicate that during a global temperature increase, any glacial melting would be more than offset by increased ocean evaporation and precipitation (snow) at the poles.

2. New evidence -- discovered by researchers at SEPP -- of regional climate warming at northern mid-latitudes (over Europe and the United States), which shows a startling correlation to patterns of commercial airline traffic. Singer theorizes that thin contrails of ice particles -- not CO2 -- are creating a regional warming at the surface. Airline traffic is increasing at a rate of 5 percent per year, yet Singer notes that this effect has not been addressed by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

3. Large and rapid natural variations in the temperature and CO2 record (from ocean sediment cores and tree-ring data), unrelated to human activities, over the entire history of the earth. Singer demonstrated that even in recorded history -- the last 3,000 years -- there have been rapid temperature variations, exceeding anything predicted by the IPCC, that produced no apparent ill-effects.

4. The impact of the heat-island effect on land-based temperature stations, specifically the research on land-based stations in California by meteorologist James Goodridge, which show a wide disparity between tmperature readings in large-population counties (large increase over time), medium-population counties (small increase), and small-population counties (no increase at all).

5. The continued unreliability of computer climate models, including the much-touted three-dimensional models. Singer cited University of Virginia meteorologist Patrick Michaels' critique of the IPCC results, showing that the claimed temperature trends are still the result of the time frame selected -- i.e. when you start and when you stop; and Richard Kerr's article in the May 16, 1997 issue of Science, "Greenhouse Forecasting Still Cloudy," which reveals considerable doubt about the models, even among scientists affiliated with the IPCC.

6. The impact of solar radiation -- as outlined by Danish scientists Eigil Friis-Christensen and Henryk Svensmark -- which affects climate by modulating the cosmic radiation, which in turn affects cloudiness. This mechanism has been detailed by respected British science writer Nigel Calder in a popular book, The Manic Sun (Pilkington Publishers, 1997), which has just been published in Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Bolin, who appeared flustered, focused almost entirely on the three-dimensional computer modeling, saying only that the climate and CO2 records over thousands of years were "irrelevant" and that "the only thing that's important is the next 100 years." He did promise, however, that the IPCC would examine the impact of commercial airline traffic in its next climate change report, and he acknowledged that a greater reliance on nuclear power was an option -- though with political considerations -- if nations desired to reduce C02 emissions. "We do not deny the obvious facts about energy," he said.

In the question-and-answer period that followed, the discussion appeared to go decidedly against Dr. Bolin's IPCC position. Said one scientist, Dr. Wibjorn Karlen: "What has happened in the last 100 years is in no way different from what has happened before. I cannot be convinced that man is so important as to effect the climate." In wrapping up the session, moderator Dr. Marian Radetzki noted: "There seems to be agreement among our academic colleagues that there is so much disagreement that much more research is needed."

Singer's Stockholm debates with Bert Bolin came just four days after a similar public confrontation with IPCC-affiliated scientist Dr. Eero Holopainen in Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Holopainen, who has a local reputation for terrorizing industrialists on the global warming issue, was expected to provide some fireworks. The face-off, before an audience of scientists and government officials, was something much less.

Dr. Holopainen, who'd had two weeks to prepare a rebuttal, stepped up to the lectern, put two transparencies on the projector and then took them off with no clear explanation, and then went through a lengthy recitation of his professional credentials, especially his IPCC credentials. Little "rebuttal" was given beyond that. At one point during the question-and-answer period, Holopainen held the latest IPCC Climate

Change Report aloft and said simply, "How can you question this bible?"

At every stop during Dr. Fred Singer's five-city speaking tour, he stressed that although the IPCC Climate Change Report is generally a good compilation of what was known about climate up to that point, the so-called Policymakers Summary invariably tends to overstate and to leave out the caveats.

In Helsinki, Singer received surprising support on this from Robert Reinstein, former chief State Department negotiator on the climate treaty during the Bush administration. Attending the presentation with the current chief negotiator for Finland, Reinstein stood and confirmed to the audience that the wording of the summary did not simply reflect the views of the scientists involved but was negotiated at length by international delegations. "Because of this," he said, "the summary must be considered purely a political document, not a scientific one."

As Singer noted later, however, it is the Policymakers Summary not the scientific research, that underpins ongoing efforts to impose energy taxes and mandatory limits on fossil fuel emissions. Dr. Singer's debates in Stockholm and Helskinki came at the end of a highly successful speaking tour that also took him to London, Munich, and Copenhagen. President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project, a research group he founded in 1992 to foster environmental policies based on sound science, Singer is now accepting invitations for another round of environmental seminars and debates when he returns to Europe in the fall. He has already received an invitation to speak to the German Society of Environmental Geologists and a tentative invitation to address the Danish Society of Environmental and Energy Journalists.

For more information, see the SEPP Web site at http://www.his.com/~sepp/

SOURCE Science and Environmental Policy Project

-0- 6/23/97

/CONTACT: Candace Crandall of the Science and Environmental Policy

Project, 703-503-5064, or e-mail, crandall@sepp.org /