AGW and The Latest China Syndrome

The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyway…


Dr. Judith Curry, Georgia Tech University.

The AGW pep-squad has lately found itself befuddled. Kevin Trenbarth of NCAR National laboratory in Colorado, summed up their problem in an email to Dr. Michael Mann.

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

Fear not, holders of scientific grants to study AGW. The Earth still has a fever! The devious Chinese have just masked it according to Dr. Mann’s most recent dexterous manipulation of scientific truth. Co-authoring with Dr. Robert Kaufmann, an economist from Boston, he has written an entertaining new version of The China Syndrome entitled “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008.”

Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008…..Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

Dr. Mann claims the increased amount of coal dirt aloft has led to a cancellation effect that prevented Global Warming. It will, he assures us, be temporary. Congress must therefore send him more money of course.


Dr. Judith Curry isn’t buying that which Dr. Mann has for sale. She points out that the global aerosol mass-loading remained virtually unchanged from 2000-2006. This occurred in partially synonymy with an observed increase in Chinese coal use from 2004 to 2007. It doesn’t take a genius grant to determine the problems with Dr. Mann’s hastily jerry-built answer to Dr. Trenbarth’s epistemological dilemma.

The sulfur liberated airborne when coal is burned gets entrained by water droplets and forms sulfuric acid in a liquid state. This liquid film then coats solid dirt particles that typically form clouds. These are known as Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN). From that time on, the days which these coated aerosols remain aloft are numbered.

Gravity and rainfall go to work and reduce the concentrations of these nasty acid balls within a week or two. Think of the thunderstorm you see as how the lower atmosphere takes a bath. Thus the sulfur that gets emitted in East Asia will pretty much fall out of the sky somewhere in the general vicinity of the Asian Coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The CO2 emitted by China is a totally different story. CO2 remains gaseous and has an atmospheric half-life measurable in years. This is why Al Gore gets one thing right in An Inconvenient Truth by using CO2 levels measured in Hawai’i as a proxy for CO2 levels throughout the Earth’s Troposphere. Atmospheric Chemists thus describe CO2 as a well-mixed atmospheric pollutant.


This further explains why Cap and Trade plans such as Waxman-Markey can actually succeed in reducing acid rainfall, but would fail epically at preventing continued Global Warming. Sulfur emissions in China will never produce acid rain in The Adirondack Mountains. CO2 emissions from China will travel the world like Al Gore in his private jet.

Thus, capping CO2 emissions in the US, forcing US corporations to shut down their factories and reopen in China, will cap US employment emissions and trade more of our economic power abroad. Nice try, Dr. Mann. You, Kevin Trenbarth and the rest of the Climate Scientologists peddling AGW still have a serious AGW problem.

P.S. Here’s an area where the US Environmental Movement (and Federal Government) should tell Dr. Mann to go (NSFW) himself and proudly and rightfully proclaim victory! Team America, Baby! What masks Global Warming here, Dr. Mann?

No, Dr. Mann, The Earth Does Not Have More Sulfur Pollution Than in 1998.


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