Monday, May 21, 2007

More climate sanity resources

Anyone interested in Earth's climate and climate change should read the excellent World Climate Report, the best overall climate blog and the world's longest-running as well. They have a large number of postings running back to 2004; their older content, running back to 1995, is organized as periodic issues in PDF format. The postings are organized chronologically but also tagged under topics ranging over many specialized areas of climate.

(Even WCR, like Homer, nods now and then. They recently referred to methane as the second most important IR-active gas in the Earth's atmosphere. Readers of Kavanna know that it's the third, after carbon dioxide - and our old friend, water.)

New climate books come to our attention now and then. A fairly recent entry is Leroux and Comby's fine Global Warming: Myth or Reality? The Erring Ways of Climatology (2005). The authors are French climatologists, the second an ecologist as well.

Longer and more involved than Essex and McKitrick, the book's early part is directed at a non-technical audience, with an incisive analysis of the role of the news media and powerful crusading politicians, while the later parts amount to giving a good spanking to the whole assembled congregation of climatologists, meteorologists, and geophysicists to task for allowing themselves to be dragged in, often against their better judgment. Leroux and Comby's scientific case against global warming is less theoretical and more widely-ranging and empirical, although they also discuss the many faults of computer climate models. They wrap up with an alternative list of "things climatologists should be doing instead of worrying about global warming." This blog will also return to that theme periodically - as well as touch base with a number of methods for diagnosing global climate that are better founded than those (strictly speaking) meaningless temperature averages you keep hearing about.

The book is published by Springer - it's one of the large and expensive scientific tomes for which the German publisher is famous. It's not the sort of thing you want to buy for yourself, but it is an excellent addition for libraries - especially academic libraries.

Skeptics and opponents of the global warming hysteria are not all American, nor does the issue neatly divide America from the rest of the world, contrary to activist and media sanctimony. Actually, second and third thoughts are spreading rapidly in Canada and the EU about both the flimsy science of global warming and the immense cost of implementing the Kyoto treaty. The danger in the US is that, having seen the science case collapse, the politico-journalistic side will just decide that "something must be done" anyway, regardless of science or of cost. The cause has long had a pseudo-religious aura; this will strip away its last intellectual pretensions and turn it into something more like the war on drugs - a crusade designed largely to make people in it feel good about themselves.

Aren't there cheaper and better ways of feeling good about ourselves?

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