A funny thing happened on the road to global warming. Mother Nature is simply not cooperating. Germany's Der Spiegel noted this "problem" for global warming alarmists yesterday:
Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.
...The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.
Der Spiegel quotes a noted climatologist about this lack of global warming:
The planet's temperature curve rose sharply for almost 30 years, as global temperatures increased by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the late 1990s. "At present, however, the warming is taking a break," confirms meteorologist Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in the northern German city of Kiel. Latif, one of Germany's best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. "There can be no argument about that," he says. "We have to face that fact."
So if you're Al Gore and your entire reputation (and wallet) is invested in the cause of global warming, how do you explain away the fact that there has been no notable increase in world temperatures during the first decade of the 21st century? Simple. You propose using supercomputers to scare people about global warming by presenting them with the convenient projections you desire. And this is exactly what Al Gore proposed yesterday at the SC09 supercomputing conference in Portland, Oregon:
Supercomputing technology, according to Al Gore, will help the human race reverse climate change, both by aiding the expansion of renewable energy use and by creating models that help people understand the severity of global warming.
...Because of the way humans evolved, we are conditioned to react to immediate threats, such as animal predators or other humans who are warlike, Gore said. As a result, we rarely experience a visceral reaction to challenges like global warming in which cause and effect are separated by many years. Polls show that people are concerned about global warming, but do not rank the problem as highly as most other threats, Gore said.
Climate modeling aided by supercomputing, however, can "make impossibly large phenomena small enough to see, and impossibly small phenomena large enough for us humans to see," and thus induce the type of visceral reactions that spur political change, Gore said.
So if the actual obervations such as noticing cooler than usual weather keeps people from buying into the global warming ideology, then scare the folks by using supercomputer projections of a future apocalypse.
One problem here. Weather people still can't do accurate predictions for five days in advance but we are supposed to believe that climatologists will be accurate with a 50 year projection? Supercomputers? Well, the Der Spiegel article covered that as well:
The global temperature-monitoring network consists of 517 weather stations. But each reading is only a tiny dot on the big world map, and it has to be extrapolated to the entire region with the help of supercomputers. Besides, there are still many blind spots, the largest being the Arctic, where there are only about 20 measuring stations to cover a vast area. Climatologists refer to the problem as the "Arctic hole."
GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. The supercomputers are only as good as the information being fed into them. And a system as vast as the entire planet would require a lot more information than can be fed into them anytime in the foreseeable future. However, that won't stop Al Gore from issuing dire warnings based on highly incomplete data being fed into the supercomputers.
In the same supercomputing article, it appears that Al Gore just can't let go of his claim about fathering the internet:
"One of the pieces of legislation that I look back on with the most pride and satisfaction was the establishment of the supercomputing centers and the information superhighway, and the national research and education network," Gore said. "In a very real way, supercomputers drove the evolution of the Internet because the task of connecting the large machines in order to make it possible for teams to work together without being physically present in the same building was really what led to the higher bandwidth connections that then modeled the incredible value of having high speed data transfer networks."
Ironically this statement was preceded by Gore's claim of ignorance on the subject:
Much of Gore's speech seemed tailored to a general audience, but he did spend a good amount of time discussing supercomputing despite admitting that "I'm the person in the room who knows the least about it."
And probably also the person in the room who knows the least about climatology yet has made a career (and a financial killing) off the subject of global warming.