Geoff Pohanka runs a website that purports to contain “facts” which show the climate is cooling. Is it possible that he may have found factual information that proves the climate is not warming. Geoff provides a very lengthy list of links to support his claim. Here we will look at the links he has provided.
He starts us off with a link to a page titled “This is Your President’s Science Advisor” which appears to be little more than an attack on John Holdren based on an article published in The Windsor Star on August 11th 1975. In the article John Holdren discusses the benefits of conservation. This has nothing to do with climate science in 2015. Not at all sure of how this is supposed to support the argument that the climate is cooling, but it is there at any rate.
Now we get the strangest link of them all, “Rajendra Pachauri Stands Down From IPCC Over Sexual Harassment Allegations”, while this is disturbing to read it is little more than a strange ad hominem attack with absolutely no impact climate science. If Rajendra Pachauri is in fact guilty of sexual harassment I am at a loss to understand how that impacts on the science of climate change.
Next we have a classic example of click baiting, with the outlandish claim that Christiana Figueres “admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.” What complete and utter bullshit. What she actually said was this: “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,”. Yes make changes, anyone that fails to understand why we need to move away from a growth based economy needs to do much more research into the impacts of throw away economics. If you are interested in reading all of what Christiana Figueres had to say you can view it here.
The desperation is setting in with a link to “Foreign Firm Funding U.S. Green Groups Tied to State-Owned Russian Oil Company” which has everything to do with economics and nothing to do with climate change. The green groups were attacking the fracking industry which is good news for foreign oil.
Next, we find that Geoff has provided a hodgepodge of links that jump back and forth between what he claims is evidence of global cooling. In an effort to try and make this easier to deal with we have collected his links into categories so that we can address a number of them at the same time. We will start with extreme weather.
We deal with these in chronological order starting on January 27th 2015 and the blizzard on the eastern seaboard with “Blizzard of 2015 to Continue in Eastern New England Tuesday” and “Snow, slush cover Northeast as winter storm climbs coast”. He then, oddly, supplies us with information on the storms published on February 1st 2015 by Dr. Roy Spencer “The “Historic” Blizzard of 2015 Ranked #41”. Dr. Spencer wrote for CS Daily, run by DCI Group, a lobbying firm that works for ExxonMobil, was a speaker at the International Conference on Climate Change (2009) organized by the Heartland Institute funded in part by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
We then get an article published by Ice Age Now on January 30th 2015 titled “French ski resorts closed – Too much snow” We are then hit with the article “Winter Storm Ranks in Top Five Worst for Chicago, Detroit”, published by breitbart on February 2nd 2015, discussing the snowstorm from late January 2015 which traveled up the Eastern United States seaboard. This is followed by two more articles, “Snow sets historic records in Boston” and “Boston Smashes Monthly Snowfall Record: This Is What It Looks Like Right Now” published by W.C.V.B. News and Zero Hedge on February 9th and 15th 2015 respectively.
Geoff continues his attack on global warming with the following links to snowfall, “Pinapple Express to Bring 2 ft. Rain, 10 ft. Snow to N. Cal.” by Dr. Roy Spencer published on February 2nd 2015, “Eastern US Bracing for Another Storm” by breitbart on February 22nd 2015, and “New England Snow-Boston Record” Yahoo News March 16th 2015, “Heavy snowfall brings death and destruction to animals in Spain” and “Egypt – Snow coats the streets of Alexandria” both by Ice Age Now on February 15th and 11th of 2015 respectively.
This may seem like a clear indication that the atmosphere is not warming, however it is important to understand how a warmer atmosphere impacts on precipitation. On April 29th 2015 the University of Prince Edward Island published an article titled “It’s Official! 2014-15 Snowiest Winter on Record” in which they explain “Warmer temperatures mean that the air can hold more water vapour, and as a result, there has been more moisture in the atmosphere than usual this winter.”, global climate change is just that global. The warmer moisture laden air moves around the planet, as it reaches colder regions and the air cools the moisture falls as snow. It is expected we will see increased levels of rain and snowfall as a result of a warming atmosphere.
This is supported by multiple other scientific publications such as; the Union of Concerned Scientists in “Is Global Warming Linked to Severe Weather?” and “Early Warning Signs of Global Warming: Downpours, Heavy Snowfalls, and Flooding”, IFLScience “Does Global Warming Mean More Or Less Snow?”, and Water Encyclopedia “Global Warming and the Hydrologic Cycle” to name a few.
Next the attempt is made to convince us the world is cooling by showing us examples of extreme cold periods. We start with “Coldest January/February On Record In The Northeastern US” published on February 22nd 2015 and the sneakily named wordpress site stevengoddard perhaps in an attempt to draw connection to the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. At any rate the insinuation made does not stack up against the data provided by the N.O.A.A..
Geoff then drops in a link “More Arctic Cold to Flow Across Eastern US Through End of February” which discusses low temperatures across the Eastern U.S. and at the very bottom of the article points out “As of Feb. 19, there have been approximately twice as many record highs set in the western U.S., compared to record lows in the eastern U.S.”. This is followed by “Polar vortex brings more historic cold in eastern U.S.” another link which also highlights the above average temperatures in places like Alaska. Maybe we are not actually supposed to read the articles? This is followed by “Winter Grip Tightens with ‘Life-Threatening’ Cold, More Snow” and “Record cold in Canada” another two articles discussing the cold over the same period, perhaps trying to make it look more predominant than it actually is.
Then we get a snow cover map, which is actually a Average Snowpack Temperature map from the N.O.A.A. for the 24 hour period ending 28th February 2015, what we don’t get is the context. This snow cover marked the 20th largest February snow cover extent in the 49-year period of record, however globally the Northern Hemisphere had the 14th smallest snow cover for the same 49 year period.
Next is “Record Cold Temps for NY Cities, Boston Close to Snowfall Record” another link to an extreme winter cold snap and record breaking snowfall, in science time we get an explanation of why we are getting this cold weather and why in the long term it will not continue.
Geoff then links us to “February coldest month on record for Quebec, parts of Ontario” in which meteorologist Maxime Desharnais of Environment Canada explained a jet stream of frigid air kept a cold air mass trapped for most of the month and said “The physics of the atmosphere just meant it took a long time to move,”. Oddly Geoff did not feel inclined to mention the warmer than average temperatures in British Columbia over the same period.
This barrage of links to cold snaps is completed with an article about low temperatures over a weekend in the East of the United States, titled “East Shivers Through the Final Weekend of March” published on March 29th 2015 for weather.com.
All we have been subjected to so far is a misunderstanding of the difference between weather and climate.
Weather – the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time as regards heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc.
Climate – the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period.
Now we move onto global storm intensity, an expected result of a warming climate. Geoff starts us off with a link to “NOAA: Slow Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close” which confirms that hurricanes in 2013 reached the lowest level of hurricane activity for the Atlantic since 1982, it also continues to explain why and reminds people that Mexico was battered by eight extreme storms. He then links us into two graphs,displaying hurricane frequency and cyclone intensity over the past 40 years. However the N.O.A.A. data shows there has been an increase in incidents of hurricanes globally.
Worthy of note is that the Chief Forecaster for WeatherBell is Joe Bastardi, who has connections with the Heartland Institute and ALEC.
Geoff then links us to a graph showing that death rates have declined, a rather pointless bit of data when considering all the medical, rescue, safety and early warning advancements made.
We are then linked to a wikipedia page displaying a graph by the N.O.A.A. which appears to imply a reduction in instances of tornados, however a look at the N.O.A.A. page from which it originates provides us with a second graph that appears to show an upward trend in tornado events. This graph, which can be found on the National Overview – Annual 2010, shows a clear increase from 1950 to 2010.
Next we look at cyclones, and win for Geoff there are fewer cyclones, oh but bummer; fewer but stronger cyclones are expected. Global Warming Trades Cyclone Frequency for Intensity and Science Check: is warming intensifying cyclones in the Pacific?
Moving on we look at Polar Bear populations and are given a link to “Polar Bears Have Not Been Harmed By Sea Ice Declines In Summer – The Evidence” a document written by Dr. Susan J. Crockford who has ties to the Heartland Institute. Followed by a link to “Why Less Summer Ice Increases Polar Bear Populations”. An interesting point to make here is now Geoff appears to accepting that sea ice is in decline. At any rate the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialists Group paints a slightly different picture. Geoff then links us to “Polar bear shot dead after 200-mile swim”, it speaks for itself really, then “Polar bear swims for nine straight days in search of ice” which is perhaps supposed to be an example of the prowess of the bears. Sadley the bear lost twenty percent of her body fat and her cub.
On to the solar cycle, and straight back to the polar ice growing? We get linked to “Deep Solar Minimum” from NASA and indeed we were in a deep solar minimum, strange that as we have and will show both poles continued to melt and global temperature continued to rise. Geoff gives us “Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age” and “Top Sunspot-less Day Years 1849 – 2009” two more links to confirm this solar minimum in 2008. What he does not provide us with is the research that proves the earth continues to warm.
Cherry Picking Trends
We start with the statement, there has been no measurable atmospheric global warming for 17+ years, which he supports with this graph, RSS Global Mean Surface Temperature Change,
and an article “As Its Global Warming Narrative Unravels, The IPCC Is In Damage Control Mode” published by Forbes (Author James Taylor – Heartland Institute) back in September of 2013. Sadly for Forbes and Geoff there is measurable warming.
We now get three links showing that ice extents on the great lakes has increased, we start on February 7th and Ice Age Now with “Great Lakes Ice Coverage Far Above Normal – Again” which conveniently ignores long term trends. The short term N.O.A.A. “Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis” from the 27th February 2015 showing ice concentrations on the great lakes, again not covering the long term trend. Finishing with an article published in The New York Times on March 23 2015 titled “Deep Freeze on Great Lakes Halts Cargo Shipments” which talks exclusively about the financial impacts of the freezing lakes and not at all about climate change. On the other hand the N.O.A.A. have been monitoring the Great Lakes and ice cover since the early 1970’s. To understand long term trends of ice cover the best place to look is the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory where we can find graphs like the one below which show that the trend for ice cover is in decline.
This is followed by a link to “Giant Chunks Of Ice Wash Ashore On Cape Cod” published by CBS Boston on March 9th 2015, perhaps to imply the presence of ice is an indicator of global warming not occurring. However this is explained in an article published on Attn “Why the Unbelievable Cape Cod Icebergs Might be Due to Climate Change” and further explained in “It’s Cold and My Car is Buried in Snow. Is Global Warming Really Happening?” published by the Union for Concerned Scientists. Which also explains the next link Geoff provides, “Italy captures the WORLD one-day snowfall record” in an effort to establish global cooling.
Next Geoff declares, total global polar sea ice is largely unchanged over the past 35 years. Antarctic sea ice set records for size in September 2014!! Arctic sea ice has grown 60% in the past three years, almost makes one feel embarrassed for Geoff. He supports this outlandish assertion with this graph,
which is taken from the Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois and who clearly understand the Arctic sea ice is in decline, which they outline in a response to Forbes.
This is followed with a link to “Antarctica Breaks Record for Most Sea Ice Ever Recorded” and these two graphs, provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who actually understand what is happening in the Antarctic and why. You can read what they have to say in “All About Sea Ice” and in “Why is southern sea ice increasing?” by Skeptical Science.
Then we have “Amount of ice in Bering Sea reaches all-time record” published by The Register back in April of 2012, then strangely we get two links, “Arctic SEa Ice Extent” and “Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice extent” which actually confirm sea ice loss in the region. Perhaps you are not actually supposed to be clicking the links, rather being impressed by how many there are. We can also view this video provided by the N.O.A.A. which shows sea ice loss in the Arctic from 1987 to 2014. Notice the loss of old thick ice and how it is replaced by seasonal thin ice. Also keep in mind the oil companies are not attempting to drill in the areas because there is more ice, rather because there is less ice which is providing access to previously unreachable reserves.
He then follows this up by providing links to several graphs “Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly”, “Current Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area” and “Current Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area” without providing any type of explanation of what you are looking at. Oh look a graph, that is very official. All three graphs show short term sea ice extents. All these graphs are provided by Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois who do not support the assertions being made by Geoff.
Next we get a truncated look at ocean temperatures. We are offered three graphs “Argo Heat Content”, “Five Years Global Ocean Cooling” and “Global Average Sea Surface Temperature Variations” that at best look at an 8 year period. Followed by a link to Argo and an article “The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat” reviewing the last several years of temperature data. Then we also get a graph, Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly, which actually shows warming over the short term.
Unfortunately for Geoff a look at records dating back to 1880 show definite warming.
In Conclusion The Reality is Warming
- We have evidence of the impacts of warming oceans on ice shelves.
- Ice sheet loss in both Greenland and Antarctica.
- The long term trend for Arctic sea ice is very clearly decline.
- Project Ice Bridge finds that the annual maximum extent of sea ice in the Arctic is the lowest on record.
- Ice is in dramatic retreat all over the world.
- Extreme precipitation events are increasing globally.
- Our oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb CO2.
- CO2 has passed 400 ppm.
- Global surface temperatures have been increasing over the past 100 years.
- Seal levels are rising.
It all paints a clear picture, the planet is warming.
The tactics that people like Jeff subscribe to were tried and tested by the Tobacco industry, many of the old Tobacco lobbyists are now working for Oil in the same capacity. What is important to understand here is that these people are toying with the future of not only our children but potentially complex life on our planet. We would encourage you all to do your own research, a good starting point is Merchants of Doubt.