Water Vapor and Climate Change

More stuff I wrote elsewhere, from today’s Albuquerque Journal, one of those straightforward pieces of climate change research that has the potential to narrow the uncertainty in the models:

A New Mexico researcher hunting for water vapor in the upper atmosphere has found less than expected, suggesting global warming may be less than some predictions.

The research, by atmospheric physicist Ken Minschwaner of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, also undercuts an argument made by global warming skeptics? that a lack of water vapor could cool the planet.

That puts Minschwaner and co-author Andrew Dessler of the University of Maryland in a comfortable middle ground between global warming skeptics and those who make extreme estimates of warming caused by human burning of fossil fuels.

“It’s kind of a nice place to be,” Minschwaner said.

One Comment

  1. For me, the key phrase in the EurekAlert press release was:

    “One of the responsibilities of science is making good predictions of the future climate, because that’s what policy makers use to make their decisions,” Dessler said. “This study is another incremental step toward improving those climate predictions,” he added.

    James Hansen proposed using scenario analysis (which the IPCC uses) to portray possible futures, because scenario analysis deals with emergent phenomena better than predictions do. Scenario analyses are becoming more useful to policy-makers.

    This study is another INCREMENTAL step…

    This is reductionist science. This is how most science is done today. Beware of any ‘groundbreaking study’ that sweeps aside all prior [anything]. Why? Because likely it is in error or the scientific method was not followed.

    Most scientific knowledge advances incrementally.


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