Friday, May 03, 2013

Riddle:  What Was February, 1985?

Rush Limbaugh always has been a Major in the Republican War on Science, and he's not easing up.  Apparently, Limbaugh two years ago was at something called the (annual) Milken Institute Global Conference and, he claimed Thursday

Gore was out there, and he went nuts again on global warming, and he started telling these people that our children and grandchildren are gonna say to us, "What were you thinking?" because their world is gonna be destroyed. (imitating Gore) "It's not a hoax.  It is happening. It is real.  And we are doing it."  He just went on and on and on.  Apparently the audience at this thing happened to love it because it's all Hollywood types.  He got an Oscar for his hoax movie on this...

By the way, this spring, 2013, has been the second coldest spring in the entire history of the United States, second only to 1975.  And interestingly, 1975 was the beginning of the global cooling panic, by the way.  As recently as 1979 Newsweek had a cover story on the coming ice age.  Second coldest spring in the entire history of the United States.  It only stands to reason that two days ago Algore, with a major speech at the Milken global conference, on global warming.  

The meteorological spring includes March, April, and May.   May has barely begun.  Final figures for April are not yet in.   Yet, a leading GOP spinmeister claims "this spring, 2013, has been the second coldest spring spring int he entire history of the United States."

March was in fact cooler than any in the United States since 1975.  Nevertheless, NOAA reports, "The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March 2013 tied with 2006 as the 10th warmest on record, at 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F)." Temperatures for the period from January through March were 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F), which is "the eighth warmest such period on record."

March, 2013 is the one month Rush can be certain about (though he's certain about everything, most of which he knows little about), was the 337th consecutive month above the 20th century average.   That's well over a quarter century in which the mean monthly temperature was above average.

"1975 was the beginning of the global cooling panic," Limbaugh contends.  Fortunately, one climate scientist and two journalists examined peer-reviewed literature published from 1965 to 1979 pertaining to climate change. "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus," published September, 2008 in the bulletin of The World Meteorological Association, founbd 71 papers which discussed a factor "which would affect the global climate from a period of decades to a century."   Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Fleck, found of these, 44 suggested warming, 20 were neutral, and "the global cooling panic" consisted of the seven (7) which suggested suggesting global cooling.

Popular literature, such as the Newsweek article cited by Limbaugh and by Republican Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma in a speech on the Senate floor in 1983, was mixed.  Most leaned toward cooling, likely because the world was in what turned out to be the last portion of a period of cold weather begun in the 1940s.

As Peterson/Connolley/Fleck illustrate, however, the scientific literature, was clear.  It is even clearer now, though Repubs, fearing both their popular base and their donor basis, claim there is no consensus.  Experts in the field have found otherwise, with 97%-98% of climate scientists most active in the field attributing warming to the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Still, Limbaugh and his corporate fellow travelers work overtime to raise doubt.  The Koch brothers partially funded a two-year study led by a climate skeptic, physicist Richard Muller. At its conclusion. and though the group did not evaluate the causes of climate change, Muller disappointed his backers by reluctantly conceding

When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

The forces behind climate denialism are not stupid, but they count on the public to be so.   That makes it a prime talking point for Rush Limbaugh, who makes $50,000,000+ banking on the gullibility of his audience.

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