January 23, 2013
There are competing points of view regarding the causes of climate change in our current environment. One group has concluded that human activities in the burning of fossil fuels have increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere which has caused a recent acceleration of a 300 year trend of global warming. This point of view is usually called “Anthropogenic (man-made) Global Warming” (AGW.) The most prevalent alternative point of view is that natural variations account for most, if not all, of changes in climate.
The professional conflict between the advocates of these two hypotheses generally comes down to a debate between AGW advocates attempting to predict future climate change through unproven computer models, and the AGW skeptics point of view based on observed data and effects of CO2 on temperature changes in Earth’s present and past climates. In addition, there is often disagreement about how the existing climate data is interpreted, and the conclusions drawn from these interpretations.
We are gathering together a group of highly educated and experienced scientists & engineers from various disciplines to take on the challenge of evaluating the narratives of both the advocates of AGW and also the skeptics of AGW. A great effort will be made to understand and objectively reconcile the differences by detailed discussions of the conflicting elements of the narratives. We are being successful in our attempt to include members of the study group from both sides of the AGW argument, and we believe this is important to study all appropriate inputs and viewpoints.
Because the United States and some other nations have prematurely accepted the AGW advocates points of view and conclusions as correct, a large amount of manpower and money is being spent on an attempt to ameliorate the supposed rise in global temperature. And, also because of the colossal impact on national economies needed to make significant climate changes (if this were possible,) we believe it is critical to be certain of the reality of the conclusions on this subject. During the course of the study, reports will be provided for peer review as well as for information to the general public. In fact, we are referencing a number of studies and presentations in our List of Studies & Reports. When we have preliminary reports that are used for studies within the group, these will be password protected until they have reached a mature state.
This study is very difficult because of the extremely complex nature of the physical and chemical interactions between the sun and earth that effect our climate. However, we are encouraged because a number of the members of the study group were successful in using scientific discipline to resolve unusual problems involved in the national effort of early manned spaceflight to achieve the goals of the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program. The motto of the Mission Flight Controllers:
“Achievement through Excellence”
And the motto of the Mission Evaluation Room engineers who supported Flight Operations:
“In God we trust, all others bring data”
These were not words that guided us during Apollo, but more importantly, words that defined how we did our work. This is what made us proud to be called “Astronauts,” and “Rocket Scientists.” We will attempt to adhere to these attitudes in order to achieve the goals of this study group.
1. The science that predicts the extent of Anthropogenic Global Warming is not settled science.
2. There is no convincing physical evidence of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. Most of the alarm regarding AGW results from output of unvalidated computer models. We understand scientific arguments regarding how doubling CO2 in the atmosphere over a hundred years or more (if possible) can have a small direct warming effect, but we question the accuracy of feedback simulations in current models computing climate system responses that amplify CO2 effects. Efforts to estimate climate sensitivity to CO2 based solely on physical data have large uncertainties because many factors affect global temperatures, and CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere after the earth warms due to other factors. While paleoclimate data clearly show CO2 levels rise and fall in the atmosphere hundreds of years after temperature rises and falls due to other causes, the evidence is very weak to support claims of a catastrophic rise in global temperatures caused by CO2 emissions related to human activity.
3. Computer models need to be validated before being used in critical decision-making. Our manned aerospace backgrounds in dealing with models of complex phenomena have convinced us that this rule must be followed to avoid decisions with serious unintended consequences.
4. Because there is no immediate threat of global warming requiring swift corrective action, we have time to study global climate changes and improve our prediction accuracy. While there are many benefits due to some global warming, the major threats appear to be associated with a net loss of Greenland and Antarctica ice sheet mass that would contribute to a gradual sea-level rise. The history, current trends, and specific causes of ice sheet melting and ice accumulation by precipitation must be better understood before determining how best to respond to threats of accelerated sea-level rise.
5. Our US government is over-reacting to concerns about Anthropogenic Global Warming. More CO2 in the atmosphere would be beneficial for forest and crop growth to support the earth’s growing population, so control of CO2 emissions is not an obvious best solution to hyped-up concerns regarding AGW. Eventually the earth will run out of fossil fuels and alternative energy sources will be required. Market forces will (and should) play a big role in this transition to alternative energy sources. Government funding of promising research and development objectives for alternative fuels appears to be a better option at this time than expenditures of enormous resources to limit CO2 emissions.
6. A wider range of solution options should be studied for global warming or cooling threats from any credible cause. CO2 effectiveness in controlling global average temperatures or sea levels has not been established. More reliable and greater control authority may be available from engineering solutions that would accommodate the beneficial aspects of more CO2 in the atmosphere.