89 of 105 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2009
It is a very nice book that is crowded with graphs and information.
At the beginning, Michaels announces that he will have to leave his school in June 2009 because the current conditions don't allow him to keep both his scientific integrity and the funding. You will find some embarrassing quotes by leading IPCC scientists and Al Gore. But then the real book begins.
The authors classify themselves as believers in man-made contributions to global warming but disbelievers in the climate apocalypse. Rationally speaking, I agree with them.
They explain that the moderate climate scientists such as themselves are being prosecuted. But the bulk of the book is made out of hundreds or thousands of graphs and their clear interpretations - about the temperature history (obtained by different methods), the number of hurricanes, sea level, ice volumes, fires, droughts, methane, refugees, and lots of other things.
The evidence that there is no reason for hysteria is overwhelming. Pretty much any major consequence of the "apocalypse" is clarified by real numbers in the book and the tricks used by certain people to create a false impression of a problem often become transparent.
At the end of the book, they describe the sociological mechanisms that allow the hysteria to flourish - e.g. scientists trying to guarantee funding for their teams. Nevertheless, they also explain that the sensible, "moderate" scientific papers are so consistent that their survival rate exceeds the mad papers, anyway. Their proposals what to do can be found in the last chapter. The book has an index and a couple of colorful pages on a high-quality paper in the middle. It was published by CATO. Amazon.com (click on the left) offers you a huge discount.
Recommended both as a book to read and as a very useful reference.
99 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2009
What are climate skeptics skeptical about? Patrick Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr. do not doubt that manmade global warming is occurring, in fact, they are skeptical about claims that the global warming of the past 50 years is entirely or predominantly due to natural cycles. Early in their new book, Climate of Extremes, they counter these claims with evidence that the observed warming, while not entirely manmade, has the fingerprints of manmade global warming.
But, they are very clear that there are natural cycles--local, regional and global--and that the hysterical predictions of imminent climate catastrophe are based on either the confusion of natural variability with anthropogenic causes, or are based on faulty and biased computer models. Following the theme of Michaels' earlier book, Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media, they examine the record of the climate and of climatologists.
Both records argue for much more calm than many media, politicians and scientists exhibit. Michaels and Balling debunk the signs of climate doom. The arctic ice cap melting is not unprecedented. The much-hyped melting of Greenland's ice sheet is .008% per year, which would lead to a sea-level rise of two inches per century--not the 20 feet projected in An Inconvenient Truth--and even that is overlooking the actual net accumulation of ice that occurs inland. Increasing and increasingly deadly hurricanes, disappearing glaciers, droughts, floods, killing heat waves and more are shown to be misrepresented, misdiagnosed, or wildly exaggerated.
If global warming is not such a big problem, then why are we constantly being warned of (scared by) predictions of climate Armageddon? Asserting that non-problems lead to non-funding could be viewed as sour grapes if Michaels and Bolling stopped at assertion.
They don't. In the final chapters they look at the data on publication patterns to back up the serious charge of academic bias in favor of exaggerating the case for impending and dire climate changes.
Actual climatologists with Ph.D.s and published research, Michaels and Balling examine the data and make a strong case for non-hysteria on the climate front. While the data, detail, charts and figures make the read a bit wonkish at times, it is very interesting and well worth the effort if you are at all interested in the climate debate.
46 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2009
This is one of a small cluster of books that courageously and accurately expose the false science behind Al Gore's hoax of imminent planetary collapse if we don't - right now!!! - heed his strident warnings and ban greenhouse gases. It's written by one of the several respected State climatologists who suffered a political gag order (this one from Virginia State Governor Timothy Kline) banning him from publicly speaking about Global Warming in any way that might imply he was the State's Climatologist.
The title was changed from a lifetime honorific to an alleged political appointment. Several other governors, including Oregon's, have followed suit, and this is related in the book, which is, in fact, dedicated to three of these "politically correct" State Governors.
This book is the greatest treasure trove of current Global Warming data from behind the scenes that I've seen. The price Dr. Michaels pays for publishing it is high. He will be resigning his position as State Climatologist and his tenured position at the University of Virginia in June 2009, "as fine a public school as there is in the world."
The title, Climate of Extremes, comes from a sadness that science has become so politically polarized that gag-orders are issued and misleading lies are what the public is told. It is the political climate that has become one of extremes, and the authors' prose is surprisingly gentle about this outrage.
The politics have poisoned the science. "The rhetoric has changed. Discourse has degenerated into demagoguery. Threatening demagoguery." The author asks, "Why has it become so politically risky to not view global warming as an unmitigated disaster?"
The climate turned especially nasty when Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman wrote in November 2006, "Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers."
Originally that was applied to all who didn't believe in Global Warming. The problem was that there were few if any such people. Most informed and knowledgeable on the subject agree that there has been a small amount of Global Warming, about 0.6 degrees per century. Most see this as no big deal, and certainly not a threat of any global apocalypse.
So the definition was expanded to better target Gore's critics. "Deniers" are those who don't believe in Al Gore's manmade (Anthropogenic) Global Warming (AGW). As it turns out, the authors of this book are NOT in that class either. They believe some of the Global Warming is indeed AGW, but they don't see it as a threat. "We're not arguing against Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), but rather against Dangerous Anthropogenic Global Warming (DAGW)."
No matter, they are deniers too, and thus to be destroyed and cast out. The authors ask, "How did we get to a world of apocalyptics and deniers, a world that is also one of impossible or ineffective policies of climate change?" The book gives answers, and lots and lots of data to support them.
The climate history records have now been revised six times, each time in ways that produce more global warming. The authors deem this "in reality, improbable." Also, some 7,000 years of historic data on warm periods disappeared. Even with all that Global Warming is STILL not a threat, but some remarkable whoppers have been told. To learn this you must read the book.
It is arguably the best book around about how the science has been (and is) diddled to match political objectives. It's a treasure trove. As to why such an intense political effort and so much public money is being spent to "sell" Gore's DAGW fiction, that answer lies not in science, but in economics and political ideology. For that answer President Vaclav Klaus' book, "Blue Planet in Green Shackles," is superior (and very scary about the real threat, which isn't Global Warming but a loss of freedom and prosperity if the Environmental Extremists prevail); but for the core science, details of how it's being distorted, and a report of how we've moved to science by gag-order, "Climate of Extremes" is the book to read.
I recommend it strongly.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2009
Michaels revisits and updates Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media. The authors explain why you never get the straight scoop about global warming. They refer to Robert Rosenthal "file drawer problem." For any given research area you get only to see the 5% of the studies that support the current view, and you don't get to see the 95% that do not support it. They also mention Edward Wegman in "Controversy in Global Warming" who indicated that any paper promoting the global warming theory will be reviewed very leniently by peers meanwhile one debunking it will be reviewed most critically. To improve the quality of peer review, they propose that scientific articles submitted for review be released on the Internet so that any scientist could comment on it. Instead, such articles are reviewed by familiar and supportive peers.
Near the end of the book, the authors study the global warming bias by reviewing 116 papers published in Science and Nature in 2006. The authors indicate that the scientific community thought so far that existing models did not underestimate global warming. This suggests going forward there would be a 50/50 chance that new findings indicate that global warming is either better or worst than we thought. Instead, the authors uncovered only 10 papers (less than 9% of the 116) that suggested that global warming was moderating. All others suggested global warming was worst than thought.
The authors also refer to Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions first published in 1962. Kuhn states that scientific research supports contemporary paradigms. And, scientific work tries either to explain anomalies or to show that anomalous data are wrong. The authors suggests Kuhn's framework perfectly anticipated the behavior of the scientific community in their supporting the anthropogenic global warming paradigm. First, this community found a weak argument (CFCs) to explain out the cooling of temperatures during the mid of the 20th century. And second, it revised the data numerous times in an attempt to entirely get rid off the embarrassing mid century cooling all together.
Now, you can't even trust the data. Temperature data series have been adjusted 6 times in just the past few years. They were to factor the urban island effect and the related effect of agriculture, deforestation, and zoning changes. They all lead to artificially raising recent temperatures. So, adjusting the time series should have lowered recent temperature levels. Instead, they lowered earlier temperatures. As a result, instead of the adjustments showing a reduction in global warming, they show an acceleration. Thus, you get more warming from the same data series!
The ones who don't go along with the global warming paradigm pay dearly for it. A bunch of State climatologists (Delaware, Virginia where Michaels the co-author got fired, Oregon, Washington) have either been fired or censored by Government officials for disclosing data and analysis that does not support the global warming paradigm.
The ones who promote this global warming paradigm are often deified. Al Gore received a Nobel Prize for his work and an Oscar award for An Inconvenient Truth. Meanwhile, the authors state that all Al Gore did was developing an apocalyptic vision disconnected from the science. Al Gore projected mean expected temperature increase of 6 degree Celsius only matched by the IPCC very worst case scenario. He also projected sea level rise of 20 to 40 feet vs 8.5 to 18.5 inches for IPCC most likely outcome.
The authors also debunk numerous other exaggerations from Al Gore and followers. Long term temperature records indicate that Greenland had been warmer for several millennia than currently, and it did not shed its ice. The ice cover in Antarctica is extremely stable. Its ongoing minimal ice loss translates into a sea level rise of only 1 inch per century. The retreat of glacier on Kilimanjaro are related to a drop in moisture that far precedes the rise in CO2 concentration during the 20th century. Looking at multi-century record, fire frequency for the last 500 years has been the result of natural ocean climate cycles, and not global warming. Heat-related mortality declined as cities get warmer (graph pg. 179). Heat related mortality rates decreased by 75% for 28 American cities between the 1960s and 1990s (graph pg. 182). They also confirm that impact of CO2 on temperature rise is logarithmic. This greatly moderates the gravity of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Also, contrary to global warming advocates wheat and corn yields have risen very rapidly in tandem with temperature increases since 1950. They also refer to Steve McIntyre debunking the hockey stick increase in temperature by simply looking at a long term average in temperature vs just averages over the past 78 years (graph pg. 218). For more on this specific issue read the second chapter in Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming.
Models are still really poor at factoring cloudiness, rainfall, humidity levels. Additionally, they all project CO2 concentration that accelerates far beyond current trend way into the future. As a result, those models are highly inaccurate and exaggerate temperature increase. But, they still support the global warming paradigm. The IPCC mindset is that ten different models can't be all wrong; But, if they suffer from the same flaws and bias, they can [be all wrong].
Government policy response has so far been ineffective. Such is the case of the U.S. subsidies supporting the production of ethanol that will actually increase greenhouse emission, is highly energy inefficient, and cause substantial food inflation due to displacing a substantial portion of U.S. corn production. Meanwhile, the Kyoto Protocol has achieved little. All the member countries have failed their CO2 reduction targets by wild margins. In the end, the Kyoto Protocol just allowed the member countries to blame the non member ones. But, when you look at actual carbon emission performance over the relevant time period the difference between the two groups is ambivalent.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2014
This book is a cogent account of what is going on with "climate change" nee "global warming". The authors provide the in-depth analysis of the technical papers on the subject. I am not a climatologist. I am a geographer and environmental scientist and my research is in the related field of soil-plant associations, so I am familiar with the literature related to climate change. I first knew something was amiss in the 1990's when I was seeing papers discussing 'the impact of global warming on [fill in the blank]. I thought that was odd since I had not seen the papers showing that there was global warming affecting the topic of interest. This book confirms my suspicion that much of what we read is not science. Rather, it is "proof by assertion."
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2009
Many of us live in a climate of fear, but not the authors of this book. Fear influences popular opinion about the causes of global warning. Much of the popular media tells is that industrial emissions of C02 are driving up global temperatures, and this trend will deliver dire consequences. Michaels and Balling make a strong case against the popular view of global warning. There is no doubt that global temps rose during the twentieth century, but are the causes of this trend certain? Michaels and Balling demonstrate the flawed nature of arguments for manmade global warming.
Climate of extremes is informative and worthwhile, but not really all that unique. There are many sources for this type of information, and it is quite clear. The tide seems to be turning on this issue because there has been no net global warming in a decade as measured by satellites, slight ocean cooling as measured by diving buoys in six years. Global warming is definitely on hold and some scientists think that we have entered a period of global cooling. The case for manmade global warming was never actually proven beyond reasonable doubt. Yet many people have embraced it as the absolute and incontrovertible truth, and here we can see the value of this book.
Given the level of dogmatism among self described environmentalists the case for global warming skepticism must be made and remade frequently. Self described environmentalists want to implement policies to limit emissions that will prove costly. The proposition that human activity cannot alter the trajectory of global temperatures (as argued in this book) reveals the wasteful nature of such policies. Global warming alarmists are right about one thing, time is running out. Time appears to be running out before unnecessary CO2 policies are actually put into effect by the new administration. Fortunately, time might also be running out for those who want to implement these policies as the evidence against manmade global warming, and even warming itself mounts. If scholars like Michaels and Balling keep applying intellectual pressure we will win this debate and avoid the dire consequences of curbing modern production and transportation. I will go with four stars simply because they are not the first ones to debunk GW alarmists.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2009
Provides plenty of facts, with citations to back it up, which counterbalance global warming extremist's claims.
One complaint I read about this book is that it is a little "tedious". At this stage in the game, and with stakes as high as they are, I don't think anyone can afford to step into the fray without having his or her facts down cold. In short, you need a book which presents cold, hard facts to do battle against the onslaught of distortions used in support of global warming hysteria. This book provides you with those facts.
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2009
The preface alone is worth the price as it immediately springs into meaty issues. Thereafter the gems continue. This book is for the truth seeker and for those wanting a solid understanding of the science and of the source and development of climate alarm. The authors let the science speak for itself to reveal reality from the media and political tangle that passes for debate and science. Very early in reading this book I decided it deserved a review and so made notes while reading. These follow: Open and forthright with a clear, direct and punchy writing style. Reliance on solid data - yet remains entertaining and interesting. It makes the science come alive. It relates to people. This book is easy to read quickly since the reader can quickly grasp the meaning and significance of each point. Never laborious. Never bogged down in needless detail. Never do the authors' egos intrude as this book is written clearly for the reader and for bringing science and nature alive and returning media and political discussions of science to reality. The authors admit the unexpected and then credibly hunt for and present explanations precisely yet always with life. The authors' strength of character and integrity shine through. They make no wild or questionable statements, connections or inferences. These authors are solid. Highly credible data is supported by anecdotes that make the science come alive. Readers can relate to the topics and to the authors. Supported with highly effective graphs - always in context - and illustrations. Yet the book always remains highly readable and involving. Passionate and personable, the authors rightly see climate science and climate alarm as serious yet never become dogmatic or attached. They retain and share their sense of humour which is subtle and at times entertainingly cheeky yet always appropriate. Enjoyable reading. I found it difficult to set aside and get back to my daily routine - absorbing. It was never a chore, never a grind. It could easily be read in one sitting. The book exposes the politicisation and distortion of science. The authors boldly yet always responsibly name names. Everything is professional and matter-of-fact. Refreshingly direct and at times blunt yet at times humorously leaves open possibilities. These are not dry scientists, these are scientists who come alive with the challenge of bringing the debate back to real science in a way that incorporates discussion of human aspects and behaviour in a practical, relevant, meaningful and useful way. Never accusatory or condemning the authors allow the data and observations to speak for themselves. The authors are never condescending. Always professional and personable. If everyone in the debate acted in a way similar to that of Michaels and Balling the debate would really have ended long ago and the needless alarm would have been replaced by respect and admiration for nature. Practical and balanced, the authors seamlessly integrate economics and social considerations. The book has a human touch yet always retains credibility and scientific clout. The IPCC is unmasked using its own data. The authors' state carbon dioxide from human activity has some impact on climate although certainly not catastrophic and possibly with benefits outweighing downsides. One possible omission is lack of discussion on the supposed greenhouse gas effect as depicted by Al Gore and the IPCC when there seems to be an increasing body of credible scientists questioning that depiction. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone interested in climate, climate alarm, science, human behaviour, current affairs or nature. It is a book for people of most ages and backgrounds and presents facts credibly in a highly effective, efficient, usable and personable way. Malcolm Roberts, Brisbane, Australia
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2014
Anyone who has seriously attempted to investigate and understand the literature concerning so-called ‘man-made global warming’ has likely found that it is a very complex subject, with seemingly well-intentioned climate scientists aligned and entrenched on both sides of the issue; and with environmental and social activists, the mainstream media, and politicians adding their share of confusion. But one thing appears certain: man’s activities are contributing in some measure to a change in the Earth’s atmosphere. The real questions at odds are these: To what extent is industrialized man’s contribution of additional carbon dioxide, CO2, to the atmosphere causing the earth’s atmospheric temperature to rise? Will it be a moderate, slow rise; or a rapid, possibly catastrophic rise, as some suggest? And, what evidence supports these views and why? This book goes a long way toward answering these and many other questions concerning ‘climate change.’
In doing so, it takes what appears to be a relatively middle-of-the road approach, while examining one-by-one the principal pillars upon which what the authors term ‘extreme’ claims are based. They do so in light of current studies and the historical record. By placing these ‘pillars’ in proper historical context, they find that many are not resting on firm foundations. In later chapters, the book also sheds a great deal of much-needed light on the scientific peer review process, as it is implemented; and on the resulting possibility of publication bias.
Here are a few examples of the subjects addressed in the book and some conclusions which have been drawn. Current climate change models correctly simulate the rise of nighttime temperatures based on increasing CO2 concentrations, but without fine ‘tuning’ produce daytime temperatures which rise much faster than they really are. This brings the models into question. Historical data indicates that intense hurricanes occurred during the latter stages of the little ice age, when the oceans were much cooler. This indicates that warm ocean water isn’t a prerequisite for intense hurricane activity. This is supported by the fact that intense hurricanes are known to have inundated New York’s Long Island in 1788, 1821, and 1893 when the Northern Hemisphere was considerably cooler than it is now. With regard to sea level rise: a recent study, found that the global sea level rise is actually only 70 percent of that claimed by global warming advocates. As for arctic ice: scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently examined the logs of 434 Arctic exploration vessels which sailed between 1818 and 1910. They found that “climate indicators such as navigability, the distribution and thickness of annual sea ice, monthly surface air temperatures, and the onset of melt and freeze were within the present range of variability.” Furthermore, there is strong evidence that, as a whole, Antarctica hasn’t warmed at all in the last four decades, and even may have cooled. With regard to Mount Kilimanjaro: An examination of the two types of glaciers on the mountain revealed the retreat of all plateau glaciers be continuous and linear since 1912, whereas slope ice bodies (those on the sides of the mountain) experienced a rather rapid recession between 1912 and 1953, followed by a decreasing rate of retreat. It was concluded that “Rather than changes in twentieth century climate being responsible for their demise, the glaciers on Kilimanjaro appear to be remnants of a past [nineteenth century] climate that was once able to sustain them.” With regard to ‘extreme rainfall’: A recent study of the historical record indicates that the assertion that U.S. rainfall is getting more extreme because of global warming can’t be supported, since the frequency of extreme rain was as great 100 (colder) years ago as it is now. Similar results were found with regard to global and local wildfires, and deaths due to extreme local temperatures. And there is much more.
But, perhaps the most interesting, and telling, part of the book is the latter part which deals, in essence, with this question: Why does the general public get so much bad news about climate change and little or no good news? Interestingly enough, the answers are much simpler and more logical than one might think. For example: When a respected agency, such as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), supported by a large number of highly respected scientists, maintains that man’s continued injection of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere is causing a potentially catastrophic, and perhaps irreversible, warming, it is easy to see why scientific journals and media outlets are reluctant to convey any opposing views. So, all the world gets is bad and ever worsening news. But, why is the bad news always getting worse? According to these authors, the answer, again, is quite simple. Virtually all climate change research is funded by governments and institutions, primarily by the United States Government. And, to obtain and retain funding for this research, things must always be projected as possibly getting worse. If things were projected as being stable and okay, the funding would, of course, go elsewhere. No problem; no money.
In any case: Whether you believe that catastrophic climate change is in the offing; that the global climate isn’t changing; that it is changing, but not catastrophically; or that you just don’t know --- you’ll learn a lot by reading this book. I highly recommend it.
25 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2009
An excellent book that should be compulsory reading for all of those people that think that the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing dangerous global warming. After reading this book they will become "skeptics" and realise that the whole idea that humans are causing global warming is the greatest scam that has been inflicted on the population of the planet.