What to Make of Climate Science

By Kennedy Maize

Here at my western Maryland farm, we just got the fourth significant snowfall of the winter. We caught four inches while we were on vacation in the South Pacific in late November, over 20 inches on December 20, six inches a few days ago, and four inches last night (Feb. 2). The National Weather Service says we are going to get another foot or so over the weekend.

Last winter, we had very little snow. According to the Washington Post, the region got fewer than 10 inches of snow each of the past three years.

Must be global warming, right? Wrong, of course. Weather and climate are not the same thing. This is an El Nino year, and the results are showing up on my farm. I’m prepared for the snow, and I’m not complaining. Winter snow means a well-charged summer aquifer for those of us who live on wells and septic systems.

I raise the issue because the louder acolytes of global warming — or, as they now prefer, climate change — always claim that extreme weather events are the result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. Unless, of course, the events are wintry. Hurricanes, glacial melts, torrential monsoons, all reveal the hand of man, according to the climate orthodoxy. Snow storms and frigid temperatures are just weather.

You can’t have it both ways.

Now, the orthodoxy is faltering and the heterodox crowd (count me in) are beginning to gain some public traction. As the science behind the United Nation’s 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report becomes increasingly suspect, who can honestly believe that anything weather-related is climate-related? Or vice-versa?

The recent revelations about the allegedly scientific endeavors of the IPCC are very troubling. In December, we learned that the climate gurus at the UK’s Climate Research Unit were cooking the books on past climate patterns in order to forestall skeptical analysis, AKA “Climategate.”

Then it turned out that the IPCC accepted unscientific reports on glacier melting in the Himalayas and South America, in order to bolster the case for policies to reduce CO2 emissions. The IPCC report relied on unreviewed claims put forth by an advocacy group, World Wildlife Fund.

Now, a leading researcher has disputed the IPCC’s assessment of the impact of global warming on the Amazon rainforest, also apparently based on unreviewed material in a WWF report. A leading academic researcher called the IPPC work on the effects of global warming on rain forests “a mess,”, adding that the WWF report “contains no primary research data”.

A couple of years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, climate campaigners, including some reputable scientists, claimed that climate warming was causing extreme hurricane events. The actual hurricane scholars scoffed. Since then, hurricane seasons have been relatively benign. The advocates of catastrophe were proven wrong.

The lesson from all of this is that climate claims, particularly those based on the 2007 IPPC report, are not reliable. They may be right, but they may be very wrong, and it’s difficult to tell who has the correct story. That’s always been the case, but the latest revelations show that some scientific  “claims” were meaningless from the beginning and remain bogus.

How to tell what’s real and what’s faked? That’s the trick, and it’s a difficult task for anyone really concerned about the science of global warming.