Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
NASA and its subsidiaries have a history of involvement in alarmism and political exploitation of fear. Apparently, it is part of being in an agency that faces danger and requires precise science but was always actively conscious of the public relations aspect of their role.
I know through personal communication that there was early concern about their role in adding gases, especially water vapor, to the lower Stratosphere from their vehicles and causing warming. Some argue the increase in Noctilucent clouds are a result of this activity (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Noctilucent Clouds
There was also the concern about accurately determining the height of the Tropopause, mostly a result of global temperature, to calculate the frictional effect on satellites in lower orbit. I understand they misjudged with Skylab and were unable to go up and reboot it into a higher orbit with disastrous but, fortunately, not fatal consequences. There was the decision in 1986 to launch Challenger even though they were warned that “O” rings might fail at low temperatures.
NASA scientists, engineers, and administrators operate in an environment like few others. You would think that would make them more aware than most, of the dangers of practicing alarmism, of making scary predictions of doom and global collapse without solid evidence. Sadly, that is not the case, and despite an open revolt by 50 former NASA employees, including astronauts, who signed a letter protesting the misuse of science for a political agenda, it continues. Here is what they wrote in part.
As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.
The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.
Those are blunt, damning, and necessary statements, required to address the deliberate and shameful use of an important agency and science for a political agenda. How did it happen? Why aren’t people being held accountable? Why is it continuing?
The biggest involvement, especially of the subsidiaries, was in the deception that human CO2 is causing global warming (AGW). It is clear, particularly with the exposure of corruption exposed by Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, that more and more people are aware of the deception and the science created to push the agenda.
The problem for deep-state players like NASA and its subsidiaries is the basic weakness of bureaucrats, generally, and especially scientist bureaucrats. Once you create a government agency to examine and resolve a problem, you guarantee it will not happen. The agency will almost immediately begin expanding the problem and ensuring it is not resolved. As Upton Sinclair said,
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
It is even more difficult if they are using their position to push a political agenda. If the demise of your existence is inevitable, people will create new somewhat parallel problems. This has been happening for some time with the global warming deception. In 2013 I wrote an article titled, “Water is replacing Climate as the next False UN environmental Resource Scare”
NASA provides further proof that this is underway. They just released a study claiming humans are responsible for major changes to Earth’s water availability. Published in that discredited journal for its role in Climategate, Nature, we learn,
“What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change,” said co-author Jay Famiglietti, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement.
“We see a distinctive pattern of the wetland areas of the world getting wetter – those are the high latitudes and the tropics – and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion.”
He cannot know this because the current and historic records are inadequate to reach such a conclusion. It is more likely that what he is describing is a natural trend because that is the case with all government claims about change. Apparently, he doesn’t know that global temperature data is inadequate for any reasonable measure of pattern and trends, but that the precipitation data is much worse. As recently as 2008 Tapio Schneider and Simona Bordoni proposed,
“…an overhaul of a theory about the cause of the seasonal pattern of heavy winds and rainfall that essentially had held firm for more than 300 years.”
A 2006 study published in Science of model predictions of monsoons in Africa found,
“Climate scientists cannot say what has delayed the monsoon this year or whether the delay is part of a larger trend. Nor do they fully understand the mechanisms that govern rainfall over the Sahel. Most frustrating, perhaps, is that their prognostic tools— computer simulations of future climate— disagree on what lies ahead. “The issue of where Sahel climate is going is contentious,” says Alessandra Giannini, a climate scientist at Columbia University. Some models predict a wetter future; others, a drier one. “They cannot all be right.”
The study concluded,
“One obvious problem is a lack of data. Africa’s network of 1152 weather watch stations, which provide real-time data and supply international climate archives, is just one-eighth the minimum density recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Furthermore, the stations that do exist often fail to report.”
The NASA claim ignores the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assumes that the amount of water humans add to the atmosphere is of no consequence, so has no impact on climate. The IPCC acknowledges that their models are unable to determine the role of clouds in energy balance, but, of course, that means they cannot determine precipitation. The IPCC used tree ring data as a proxy for temperature, witness the ‘hockey stick,’ when its original and more accurate proxy measure is of precipitation. The authors of this Nature article should study the work of A.E. Douglas and the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona he established in 1937.
I know about Douglas’s work because I found, as he did, a very high correlation between the 22-year sunspot cycle and droughts on the Great Plains of North America. Of course, Douglas’s work is anathema to the IPCC and its adherents at NASA GISS because it looks at variables of climate change that don’t fit their politically distorted human CO2 obsession. A quote from Douglas illustrates their problem.
Thus astronomy, meteorology, and botany join in a study to which each contributes essential parts and from which, it is hoped, each may gain a small measure of benefit.”
But this was the good old days when science and especially climate science were not perverted to a political agenda. Few government agencies were more complicit in the perversion of the AGW deception than NASA.
NASA and especially subsidiaries like NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were major players in the massive deception of human-caused global warming (AGW) almost from the start. I say almost because exploitation of NASA GISS and the powerful public credibility of the NASA agency really began in 1988, but moves were afoot before then. This was an interesting point in the deception of what still occurs across government today, but especially NASA. A politician, then-Senator Timothy Wirth, was seeking a scientist who would say what he wanted to hear. He found James Hansen at NASA GISS.
In a 2007 PBS Frontline interview Wirth was asked, (Question and Answer not italicized are my inserts).
Question: The one thing that Hansen didn’t do that day in front of your committee is use the term “global warming.” He said, “Gentlemen, I’m 99 percent sure that human beings are contributing to climate change,” but he didn’t quite have the nerve, because he was outside scientific consensus at the time. …
Oh, Hansen went a long way. This was a very, very brave statement. He was on the edge of the science and almost 20 years younger than he is today, so he’s relatively new in the field. He’s working for the federal government, and certainly this was not cleared far up the line, what he had to say. So the summary of what Jim Hansen had to say that year, plus the fact that it had gotten so much attention from the [press] — it was on every channel, Hansen was widely reported. He went as far as anybody could possibly have expected him to go, I think. Again, it was a very brave thing for him to do.
Hansen proceeded to use the power of the NASA name to push his obsession with getting rid of fossil fuels, with particular attention to coal. Like many deep-state people, he broke every part of the Hatch Act including being arrested for protesting outside the White House. He retired, as most have done to date with full pension and no accountability for their misuse of their workplace. Hansen’s replacement as head of NASA GISS, Gavin Schmidt was apparently chosen for his biased views and involvement in the global warming deception scandals exposed by the leaked emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), collectively known as Climategate. A series of articles at WUWT put his work in perspective.
The NASA auxiliary agencies were set up to develop expertise in areas impinging on the basic objective of going into space. Not usually a good source, but Wikipedia provides a good summary of what they are supposed to do.
Research at the GISS emphasizes a broad study of Global Change; the natural and anthropogenic changes in our environment that affect the habitability of our planet.
I recall the early days in the late 1960s before the agency became politicized in the 1980s. They were producing excellent publications such as Herman and Goldberg’s 1978 volume, “Sun, Weather and Climate. Since then, the combination of an agency overly aware of its public image, the need for knowledge about weather and climate for their work in space, became a fertile ground for politicians like Timothy Wirth to find pliant scientists. Remember, Wirth also said,
“We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing …”
Wirth was apparently so committed that he left the Senate sinecure to become President of the United Nations Foundation an agency reportedly mostly funded by a $1 billion personal donation from Ted Turner.
It appears the letter of 50 had no effect. Hansen retired at 72 after 46 years of pushing his political views on carbon dioxide and flaunting the Hatch Act governing political activities of bureaucrats with no consequences. Gavin Schmidt carries on with a similar agenda. Despite their efforts, the AGW deception is failing, so a new human-caused disaster is required.
It follows the same route as the phony CFC/ozone issue to the even bigger fake issue of CO2 / global warming. It claims an environmental problem is threatened because of human activity and goes from academia, usually from a US west coast institution to government. There the creation of false science occurs by unaccountable bureaucratic scientists. They control the politicians and direct them to produce draconian, enormously costly, and completely unnecessary, rules and regulations. This was the function of Working Group III incorrectly titled “Mitigation of Climate Change.” It doesn’t do that. It only attempts to mitigate the false claim of CO2 induced global warming. The illusions and distortions are reinforced by exaggerated and misleading data in the Synthesis Report (Summary for Policymakers).
Dr. Gleick’s work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking. Gleick pioneered the concept of the “soft path for water,” developed the idea of “peak water,” and has written about the need for a “local water movement.”
The IPCC ignored the scientific method of disproving a hypothesis. They created computer models, even though there was inadequate data.
They programmed the models to show temperature increases with a CO2 increase when the empirical data shows exactly the opposite. They produced predictions and later projections that were consistently wrong, yet still told the world to totally change its behavior at massive financial and social cost. These were all the things the 50 ex-employees condemned. Now, NASA, through JPL, continues the same distortion of science with their claims about global freshwater.
They are doing what Gleick advocates, words that echo those of Timothy Wirth. Ignore the engineers and the data because you will be doing the right thing. It is time to shut these agencies down, or at least direct them to do something useful like collect data. They should at best be restricted to what Hubert Lamb advocated when he set up the CRU,
“…it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.”