Conundrums should be a factor

The detection of conundrums is a skill that any good skeptic needs to learn. For instance, the climate catastrophists proclaim disasters from rising global temperatures. The measure of this rise appear to be only a degree or two over a hundred years. The conundrum is how an average global change of a degree or two can have catastrophic effect.

The melting glacier observation is an example. Unless the temperatures at the glacier were very near freezing, a change in only a couple of degrees would make no difference in whether they melted or not. The American Scientist has a story that carries this a bit farther.

But the commonly heard—and generally correct—statement that glaciers are disappearing because of warming glosses over the physical processes responsible for their disappearance. Indeed, warming fails spectacularly to explain the behavior of the glaciers and plateau ice on Africa’s Kilimanjaro massif, just 3 degrees south of the equator, and to a lesser extent other tropical glaciers. The disappearing ice cap of the “shining mountain,” which gets a starring role in the movie, is not an appropriate poster child for global climate change. Rather, extensive field work on tropical glaciers over the past 20 years by one of us (Kaser) reveals a more nuanced and interesting story. Kilimanjaro, a trio of volcanic cones that penetrate high into the cold upper troposphere, has gained and lost ice through processes that bear only indirect connections, if any, to recent trends in global climate. [The Shrinking Glaciers of Kilimanjaro: Can Global Warming Be Blamed?Philip W. Mote, Georg Kaser]

This gets interesting in another vein in that it tosses out an unsubstantiated presumption – “and generally correct” – that it then proposes is not so correct because the issues are “more nuanced and interesting” than often presumed.

Mote and Kaser do provide a good overview of the factors involved and why many of the catastrophic manifestations of climate change used to promote man caused global warming have nuance and interesting stories behind them, stories that sometimes reveal a lack of intellectual integrity in the conclusions being promoted by the climate catastrophists.

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