March 7, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Smoke Gets in the Eyes of Climatologists

Wildfire smoke and other factors have not been properly taken into account in climate models.

This article is not a judgment on global warming, but only on the limitations of scientists. In a vast field of study such as climate and its history, there are far more factors than can be adequately known in detail; every factor always comes with uncertainties or error, and the more factors, the more the errors compound. In addition, the strong possibility exists that unknown factors are being overlooked.

As the following articles show, mistakes are still being made in assumptions and measurements that could throw off model predictions. If this is the case with climate—which is presently observable—how much more with Darwinian evolution, which supposedly covers the entire history and biosphere of the earth? Consider too that evolutionists presume that humans have only kept records for 0.00025% of their moyboy history of the earth. Let these glimpses into climate uncertainty be a warning about experts.

Uncertainties Due to Fire

UW Researchers Find Wildfire Smoke is More Cooling on Climate Than Computer Models Assume (University of Wyoming). The first sentence says, “A study of biomass burning aerosols led by University of Wyoming researchers revealed that smoke from wildfires has more of a cooling effect on the atmosphere than computer models assume.

Biomass burning aerosols in most climate models are too absorbing (Nature Communications). A large team studied the effects of smoke particles from biomass burning (BB) by humans on reflectivity of solar radiation. The conclusion: “Our findings suggest that current modeled BB contributes less to warming than previously thought, largely due to treatments of aerosol mixing state.”

Carnegie Mellon Research Shows How Wildfires May Have Larger Effects on Cloud Formation and Climate Change than Previously Thought (Carnegie Mellon University). This article does not come to a decision on whether wildfires make global warming worse or better. It only states that particles from fires create more condensation nuclei for clouds than expected. That would seem to cause more precipitation (rain and snow), producing a cooling effect. Clouds also reflect more incoming heat from the sun than clear skies do. Interested readers can read their paper in Science Advances, which states that “biomass-burning plumes likely have more extensive effects on cloud microphysical properties and climate over larger spatial extents as the smoke is transported through the atmosphere than previously recognized.

Impact of Amazonian Fires on Atmospheric CO2 (Geophysical Research Letters). As the climate warms and dries, this paper says, it leads to more natural wildfires in the Amazon rainforests. These four authors believe that more fires lead to more CO2 in the atmosphere, thus warming the climate. Their results, however, are far from certain, requiring investments in futureware:

Our study further suggests that the Amazon forest changes from a CO2 sink to a CO2 source during the fire season. The increase in the CO2 can lead to a warmer climate and produce more fires. It is still a challenge for current models to simulate the impact of fires on atmospheric CO2 correctly, especially the interannual variability. Results in this study can help us better constrain models in the future.

Fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke more harmful than pollution from other sources ( Californians can’t forget the devastating fires of 2020. Each year seems to set new records. This article says that wildfire smoke is bad for health, but does it really affect climate models? The authors assume so. “Climate change delays the start of the region’s rainy season, which pushes wildfire season closer to the peak of the Santa Ana winds in early winter,” the article asserts without citing evidence. “Additionally, as populations grow in wildland urban interface areas, the risks of ignitions and impacts of wildfire and smoke increase for those who live inland and downwind.”

A shorter, sharper rainy season amplifies California wildfire risk (Geophysical Research Letters). Author Daniel Swain believes that climate change is responsible for California’s wildfires, but he can only say with scientific rigor that the wildfire trend is “consistent with climate model projections for the region’s future.” For a different interpretation on the factors behind California’s wildfires, see this five-minute episode on Prager U.

Uncovering patterns in California’s blazing wildfires ( Aaron Sidder of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) agrees that population encroachment on flammable areas is an important factor in the destructive impact of California wildfires, but he cites only research that tips the conclusion toward anthropogenic global warming; e.g.,  he argues that climate change increases aridity, and thus flammability of the vegetation. He agrees, though, that “region-specific guidance for forest management in the state … could help limit risk in future years.”

Multidecadal climate oscillations during the past millennium driven by volcanic forcing (Science Magazine 5 March 2021). Humans, obviously, cannot be blamed for heat and smoke from volcanoes. This team looked at climate records for the past 1,000 years and concluded that a cycle called the “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a 50- to 70-year quasiperiodic variation of climate centered in the North Atlantic region,” is not a natural climate cycle. Instead, it is “forced externally by episodes of high-amplitude explosive volcanism.”

Other Uncertainties

High end of climate sensitivity in new climate models seen as less plausible (Princeton University, via Most perceptive readers familiar with climate-change rhetoric are familiar with the “hockey-stick” graph showing a rapid and extreme growth in warming in recent decades. These Princeton scientists say that increasing levels of carbon dioxide don’t tell the whole story.

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Miami reported that newer models with a high “climate sensitivity”—meaning they predict much greater global warming from the same levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide as other models—do not provide a plausible scenario of Earth’s future climate.

Those models overstate the global cooling effect that arises from interactions between clouds and aerosols and project that clouds will moderate greenhouse gas-induced warming—particularly in the northern hemisphere—much more than climate records show actually happens, the researchers reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The high-end models are more pessimistic, predicting dire consequences and leading governments to panic at meetings such as the Paris Accords. Instead, these authors believe that models with low climate sensitivity are more accurate. Two graphs at the beginning of the article contrast the two approaches. The low sensitivity graph looks more benign.

These findings are potentially significant when it comes to climate-change policy, explained co-author Gabriel Vecchi, a Princeton professor of geosciences and the High Meadows Environmental Institute and principal investigator in CMI. Because models with higher climate sensitivity forecast greater warming from greenhouse gas emissions, they also project more dire—and imminent—consequences such as more extreme sea-level rise and heat waves.

Climate change impacts on population growth across a species’ range differ due to nonlinear responses of populations to climate and variation in rates of climate change (Louthan and Morris, PLoS One 3 March 2021). People tend to think of trends in straight lines (linear), but many physical properties have nonlinear dynamics. They might be exponential, parabolic, hyperbolic, concave, convex, or chaotic. These two authors find that different animals can have nonlinear responses to a changing climate. One cannot assume that birds and bears will suffer equally if the climate changes. The shapes of their responses “can differ substantially across populations, such that populations may differ dramatically in responses to future climate even when their current responses are quite similar.

Field study shows icing can cost wind turbines up to 80% of power production (Iowa State University). Remember the windmills that froze in Texas in late February, leading to massive power outages and deaths from hypothermia? That was no fluke. Wind turbine blades can accumulate a foot of ice, says aeronautics professor Hui Hu at Iowa State. To find windmills to test, he had to go to China, where cold sea breezes deposit snow on the blades. He measured them with instruments and drones and concluded that energy production can drop by 80% when the blades freeze. Just like Texas found out, the blades rotate slower and even come to a stop.

Media Remains Biased Anyway

Above are nearly a dozen recent reports detailing uncertainties about climate change. Shouldn’t reporters know about these things before spreading climate panic and threatening to cancel skeptics of the consensus?

Three possible futures for global climate scepticism (Eloise Harding, The Conversation). Harding presents a typical anti-Trump, anti-conservative screed attacking climate change deniers. She needs an education about how climate-change sausage is manufactured. Reading the papers above would be a start at a more moderated, realistic view of what climate scientists know and can know.

Social tipping points: slouching toward climate salvation ( Another climate grouch like Harding, Marlowe Hood includes a photo of crybaby Greta Thunberg as an authority of some sort. She maps out the “ticking time bombs” to climate catastrophes, thinking that electric cars and solar panels will provide human salvation. Her only hope is that “The world appears to have finally woken up to the existential threat of global warming, and the drive to fix the problem is accelerating across the board.”

UBCO researchers part of global team working to curb misplaced conservation (University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus). This article is in the genre of “trust us scientists, you peons” where communication is always one-way, from experts to the masses. The experts arrogate to themselves the right to define what misinformation is. “Misinformation related to vaccines, climate change, and links between smoking and cancer has made it harder for science to create better policies for people,” snorts Dr Adam Ford, linking very dissimilar issues together for maximum association effect. But then, the article turns a corner and shows how some misinformed conservation efforts can backfire if well-meaning people have incorrect information. He suggests a “big tent” approach that focuses on things all sides agree on, rather than doing things that polarize people. It’s a nice idea, except that authority over what constitutes correct information remains with the experts. Humility and acknowledgement of one’s fallibility never seem to enter into the experts’ thinking.

Get Some Alternative Views

The following are not given as endorsements by CEH, but only to acquaint readers with alternative views on climate change and human responsibility for it. Otherwise, the secular media can seem completely one-sided.

Global Warming and Climate Change by David Rives (David Rives Ministries). Take a quick read at this creation ministry leader’s views about climate change. “The climate change debate is really about different views of the past,” he argues.

What is Big Green? (Prager U). In this five-minute video, Ryan O’Handley follows the money to see where the environmental movement gets its oomph. The cost of the Green New Deal and other environmental initiatives to combat global warming is a factor too big to ignore.

Climate Hustle 2: The Rise of the Climate Monarchy (ClimateHustle2 website). This is a follow-up documentary to the producers’ earlier Climate Hustle movie. It features a number of notable climate skeptic scientists who argue that the climate-change agenda is about concentrating power among an unaccountable oligarchy of experts.

Catastrophist predictions of which NONE have been realized. This is a screen capture of a chart made by Dan Asmussen, posted on Twitter by @JWSpry, a climate skeptic in Australia. It should be pondered by those interested in the authority and trustworthiness of scientists and experts. (Disclaimer: details and sources of predictions not verified by CEH.) Compare with this blog post by Mark J. Perry, “50 years of failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions; the so-called ‘experts’ are 0-50.” Perry includes links to original sources of the claims.





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