MITCHELL: Man-made global warming: Deception by degrees

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In the previous article in this series on alleged man-made global warming, we discussed how climate scientists have used inherently unreliable data to “prove” their case. We explained that the analog surface temperature readings that have been used to calculate “average” temperatures of the Earth’s land surface, oceans and atmosphere are mathematically invalid (and thus meaningless). Nevertheless, climate scientists continue to use them, and gullible people continue to be misled by them.

For 100 years, sea surface temperature (SST) readings were taken by drawing sea water from the ocean in canvas or wooden buckets aboard a ship or through engine intake cooling pipes and measuring the temperature using a mercury thermometer graduated in 1-, 3-, or 5-degree F increments. 

Since 1980, SST measurements have been the product of ship, fixed and floating platforms and satellite measurements that are combined using a computer algorithm to analyze and integrate the data to acquire an average reading for a location. That reading is then averaged with other locations across the globe. Historical databases for SST have been “adjusted” over time to correct for changes in measuring equipment and technique. The accuracy of the historical database for SST is highly questionable, to say the least.

Since 1979, polar-orbiting satellites have used microwave sounding units to measure radiances in various wavelengths from different atmospheric elevations and the oceans’ surface to obtain temperature readings. Different wavelengths of radiation result from different temperatures of the various bodies and must be converted to a temperature reading using spectrographic analysis. Adjustments to the satellite raw data are made for such things as orbital drift, diurnal drift, calibration, instrument heating and time-of-observation biases and are constantly being revised. However, of all the measurement techniques for the land, ocean, and atmosphere, the satellite readings are the most accurate. 

On Aug. 14, 2020, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), published a report entitled “Climate Change: Global Temperature.” The report concluded that the average surface temperature of the Earth had increased by 2 F for the period 1880-2020. That is an increase of 0.014F/yr., hardly a heat wave and well within the measurement margin of error using thermometers calibrated in 1F or more increments. 

The data depicted a global cooling period from 1880 to 1940, where the yearly average temperature dropped 0.3C or 0.54F, from the long-term average; and one from 1964 to 1977, where the average global temperature dropped by 0.2C or 0.36 F. From 1880 to 1977, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reportedly increased from 280 ppm to 335 ppm. Finally, based on the report, the average global surface temperature peaked in 2017 and has been declining since, while the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen to 410 ppm at the end of 2020.

Scientists at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) have been analyzing the monthly changes in the temperature of the first layer of the atmosphere, the troposphere, since NOAA launched the first polar-orbiting satellites in 1979. For the period 1979-2020, the monthly temperature changes averaged 0.134 C/decade, or 0.964 F over the 40-year period, an increase of 0.024 F/yr. For the first 20-year period, there was significant cooling, where the monthly average temperature dropped around 0.7 F/yr. 

What can one conclude from the UAH temperature database? The reported increase in the average temperature is not statistically significant, the data is too variable to draw a reasonable conclusion and the time frame too short to infer trends. During this time, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased from 350 ppm to 410 ppm. Therefore, the changes in the temperature of the Earth’s troposphere do not directly correlate with changes in CO2 concentration. 

In 2000, NOAA began to deploy the ARGO Float Program in conjunction with international partners. The floats are programmed to submerge to a depth of 2 km (1.24 mi.) then ascend while measuring the temperature, salinity and currents of the ocean. The data from the ARGO float measurements depict an increase in the average temperature of the world’s oceans to a depth of 2 km of 0.03 C/decade, or 0.054 F/decade. This represents a change of 0.005 F/yr., arguably within the measurement margin of error. These results demonstrate that there has been no statistically significant warming of the world’s oceans since the measurements began.

What can one conclude from the above analysis? There has been no statistically significantly warming of the Earth’s land mass, oceans and atmosphere in the historical temperature dataset for the period 1880-2020, even as the concentration of CO2 has increased from 280-410 ppm.  

This article is the eighth in a continuing series by Guy K. Mitchell, Jr.  Mr. Mitchell is the founder and chairman of Mitchell Industries, a diversified manufacturing company based in Birmingham, Alabama.  Mr. Mitchell is writing a book on man-made global warming.