Could new NASA data deal a blow to some of the statements and predictions that have been made by global warming adherents? According to James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for environmental policy at The Heartland Institute, the answer is a resounding "yes."
In Forbes, Taylor writes about some intriguing analysis of NASA satellite data that spans from years 2000 until 2011. Interestingly, the data show that the Earth's atmosphere is actually allowing more heat to be released into outer space than global warming computer models previously predicted.
A new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing has found that United Nations computer models may be incorrect in overstating the amount of global warming that will occur in the future. The study also finds that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps much less heat that global warming enthusiasts have claimed. Taylor writes:
Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
But, this research doesn't only show that there's less heat being trapped in the first place; it also shows that the atmosphere unloads heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted. If true, this means that the Earth's atmosphere isn't holding on to warmth as long as some climate scientists say it is. Taylor continues:
Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
If it is true that more heat is escaping and less warmth is being trapped in the atmosphere than previously predicted, skeptics could gain a leg up in the debate over climate change. While Taylor claims that these findings "...are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate," climate change critics will likely disagree.
At the least, though, scientists on all sides of the debate should take heed of the research, explore its implications and examine whether current predictors and commonly held views hold up to healthy scrutiny. Taylor contends that it would be wise for the media, elected officials and climate scientists to recognize the "huge discrepancy" between global warming predictors and NASA's satellite data.
(h/t Forbes/James Taylor)