Discourse / Letters / October 16, 2008

Letter to the Editor: On the “myth” of global warming

I attended Chris Horner’s speech “The Global Warmlogy Mythology” on Tuesday, Oct. 14. During the presentation, I noticed some of his graphs were completely missing labels. He spoke very quickly, and for some graphs, he brushed over what the graph was actually showing and merely pointed out whether the slope was going up or down. On two occasions Mr. Horner stated that we could find all of this information “online.”
When going to a lecture refuting scientific evidence, I expect to see solid scientific evidence as a rebuttal. I would have expected that the speaker had researched the topic thoroughly, especially using credible scientific journals in his defense against the “myths” of global warming. Because I was hoping he had some better explanations to his “data,” I asked him which scientific journals he had used. He responded by quickly reading off one he could find, then said he could email me the sources.
Mr. Horner did keep his word and this morning (Wednesday), I received the majority of his slide show via email. I then went slide-by-slide and graph-by-graph to look up the articles he was citing.
I did not look at every piece of information (such as the statements about Enron), but I’ll give a summary of the relevant data presented by Mr. Horner:
I found a total of three scientific journals cited: Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, and the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Out of a total of 33 graphs (with relevant information), only eight graphs had a full citation of the website, news article, or journal it was from. Eleven graphs had a citation inferred from either the title, the name of the data (i.e. USHCN Annual Mean Temps), or the notes accompanying the graph. Fourteen graphs had no citation whatsoever.
Some of the graphs were lacking units, thus giving the independent and/or dependent variable no meaning.
For some graphs, Mr. Horner claimed a trend when the label of the graph showed it was something different.
An example: In the graph showing the Earth’s average temperature for the past 11,000 years, Mr. Horner failed to mention that the graph was actually charting the change in temperature with its mean temperature being whenever the data was taken. He pointed out to us that the present day’s temperature is approaching the “average.” As I just said, this “average” IS the present day’s temperature.
For some graphs that were either hand created from data or were added onto by hand, he compared the 1920s through the 1950s to the 1990s through the present, or he compared 1998 to 2008. For each of these examples, the latter data sets were SMALLER; therefore, ratios needed to be used, not the data as-is.
An example: He showed a graph of the hottest 20 years through the past 120 years. In the notes, he states that 1920-1953 had six of the ten hottest years and 1990-2006 had four of the ten hottest years. He showed us this as proof that the present day isn’t any warmer than the “last cycle.” If you look at the ratios (6 hot years : 33 years and 4 hot years : 16 years) the math shows that the more recent data set (1990-2006) has actually had more “hottest years.”
I can list off many more problems with Mr. Horner’s presentation, but I’ll end my notes with my personal favorite contradiction.
He showed us two separate satellite-rendered images (from the National Snow and Ice Data Center) of the ice from the North Pole. One picture was from August 2007 and one was from August 2008. He pointed out that there is more ice in 2008 than there was last year. Mr. Horner said that this goes against what global warming mongers have been telling us—more ice must mean the world’s temperature is decreasing rather than increasing.
After looking up the graphs online, I found the press release they were pulled from. The NSIDC has already stated that 2007 had the least amount of ice measured on record. The NSIDC also said, “The 2008 season strongly reinforces the thirty-year downward trend in Arctic ice extent. The 2008 September low was 34% below the long-term average from 1979 to 2000 and only 9% greater than the 2007 record.”
A credible scientific institute issued a press release reinforcing the theory of global warming, and Mr. Horner simply pulled a picture from their website and made his own conclusion about it with no scientific reasons to back himself up.
I hope I’ve enlightened everyone else who attended Mr. Horner’s presentation on Tuesday.

Margaret Allen

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