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» University Of Alabama At Huntsville October 2012 Lower Tropospheric Temperature Analysis

» USA Election Day 2012

» New Paper “Climatic Variability Over Time Scales Spanning Nine Orders of Magnitude: Connecting Milankovitch Cycles With Hurst–Kolmogorov Dynamics” By Markonis And Koutsoyiannis


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» Gergis and Law Dome

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» South China Morning Post reports: China and US to ratify landmark Paris climate deal ahead of G20 summit, sources reveal

» Posting: Little-Known Documents Pertinent to Assessing the Legality of EPA’s Clean Energy Incentive Program

» Kyoto-Financed Cook Stoves Fail as Health/Climate “Intervention”

» CEQ Finalizes NEPA Guidance for Greenhouse Gases: Will Pointless Keystone XL Controversy Become ‘New Normal’?

» Democratic Platform Vows To Meet Climate Challenge with Good-Paying Jobs, Cheaper Energy from Green Sources, and National Mobilization

» Cognitive Dissonance Among Elected Climate Alarmists








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Facts and Fictions of Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth"
Admin, Wednesday 13 June 2007 - 20:43:55 // Comments are turned off for this item //     printer friendly   //     Font Size - Increase / Decrease / Reset


After Ponder the Maunder was first published, I received many emails from parents whose kids were required to watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” They were worried because Al Gore was a politician, an occupation that people just don’t trust.

I’ve watched his movie many times and researched most of his claims. The following essay is a summary of what I learned. I hope it helps.

Kristen Byrnes
Facts and Fictions of Al Gore’s

"An Inconvenient Truth"

By Kristen Byrnes

We all know Al Gore, “the ex-next President of the United States,” the man who scarcely lost his election to George Bush in 2000. Most people also know that he served as Vice President with Bill Clinton for 8 years. What you might not know about him is that his father also was a politician; he was a U.S. Representative and senator of Tennessee for 32 years. With his father’s busy life, Al Jr. was born in Washington D.C, but also spent a lot of time being raised in Carthage, Tennessee on his family’s farm. He went to college at Harvard and graduated in 1969, soon after he volunteered to go to Vietnam as a news reporter for the U.S Army. After he came back from Vietnam he attended Vanderbilt University Divinity and Law School, but won a seat in Congress before he got a degree. As for his political life, I can imagine that you know the story.

Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth does indeed have some correct facts, but as he even says himself, sometimes you have to over-exaggerate to send the message to people:

Q. There's a lot of debate right now over the best way to communicate about global warming and get people motivated. Do you scare people or give them hope? What's the right mix?

A. I think the answer to that depends on where your audience's head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

(Interview with Grist Magazine’s David Roberts and Al Gore about An Inconvenient Truth)

Al Gore said this, so how are we supposed to know fact from fiction in the global warming debate? The following paragraphs will inform the reader of the false claims, the facts, the selective facts and tactics to scare and advertise.

Throughout the film, he made inferences to his personal and political life, which has nothing to do with global warming. When he wasn’t lecturing about his personal life, he was lecturing about how global warming is man-made.

With these lectures he only considered one point of view, and did not consider the other side of the story (warming being natural), which would have made his movie a little more believable. Not only did he not look at both sides, he always assumed that every harmful phenomenon (extreme weather, rising sea levels and horrible diseases) was correlated or associated with global warming and due to “man made” emissions.

Now, lets start at the beginning of the movie, and see what has and has not been misinterpreted.

Beginning with Gore’s introduction of the film, he sounds calm, eloquent, and gloomy. His voice and tone in the introduction grabs the watchers attention. It also makes him look as if he loves nature, and that he really wants to protect his “only home.” Message: Al cares. I believed that Al cares until I learned that Al Gore’s home did not have any solar panels, windmills, geothermal system or any other “green power.” His utility bills for his home and pool house were $29,268 last year when he released his movie.

Not too long after he presents a picture of “Earth Rise,” he claims that 18 months after this picture was taken, the modern environmental movement began. Greenpeace did open their club in 1971. But in “1892 - Sierra Club founded on May 28 with 182 charter members. John Muir elected first President. In its first conservation campaign, Club leads effort to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.”

“June 30, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the State of California, as an inalienable public trust. This was the first time in history that a federal government had set aside scenic lands simply to protect them and to allow for their enjoyment by all people.”

Al does not seem to consider that his generation was not the first to love and want to protect the Earth.

Farther into the movie, Al explains the greenhouse gas effect. He presents a graphic that shows the sun’s rays heating the Earth’s surface resulting in infrared rays going from the Earth’s surface and back into space. His graphic suggests that some of the outgoing radiation is reflected from the top of the atmosphere and back to Earth. This idea is the basis of anthropogenic (man made) global warming theory. He fails to mention that this effect has never been measured, only calculated, and by scientists on one side of the debate. This is one of the most hotly debated issues in the global warming debate. Not only does this issue involve complicated theoretical quantum physics, but water vapor absorbs infrared radiation. As is often the case in global warming presentations, he forgets that water vapor is by far the most abundant greenhouse gas; 3 to 4 percent of the atmosphere. And this is important because at most, man-made greenhouse gases are 1/ 10,000 of Earth’s atmosphere.

With his description of greenhouse gases he presented a cartoon clip of the innocent sunrays being beaten up by the Greenhouse Gasses. But is water vapor really a bad thing?

Al also discusses the late Charles Keeling, a scientist who measured atmospheric carbon dioxide for many years. Al accurately describes how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises and falls with the seasons and why. He shows how Dr. Keeling measured a steady rise in carbon dioxide as the years went by, a trend often called the Keeling Curve. While some people still dispute the levels of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, I do not. For many years, carbon dioxide has been measured in many places and by many means; the results are almost identical in almost every instance.

Next, Al gets right to business showing some of the worlds receding glaciers. According to the national Snow and Ice Data Center, most glaciers around the world are receding. But when you look at scientific studies on individual glaciers you begin to understand that temperature is not always the cause and that all of the glaciers that Al mentions have been retreating for over 100 years.

Let’s start with Al’s first example, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Al might be benefited by the knowledge that Kilimanjaro began receding in 1880 before CO2 began increasing in the atmosphere (Molg et al. 2003a). Also, local temperature records show that there have not been increasing temperatures in the last 100 years (King’uyu et al., 2000; Molg et al 2003, Hay et al., 2002). Additionally, the temperature on the mountain near the glaciers never gets above the freezing point (Georges and Kaser (2002). The glaciers on Kilimanjaro and other mountains in the area are shrinking due to a change in local precipitation. In 1880 the climate in the area changed from a very humid to a very dry climate resulting in less clouds and more direct sunlight. (Kaser et al. 2004).

Al’s second example is Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park. In this case, when you look at the pictures of receding glaciers, it is easy to say that a warming climate is causing the glacier to disappear. But like Kilimanjaro, these glaciers started melting over 100 years ago.

Grinnel Glacier, Glacier National Park. Dates and arrows show melt since 1850
Grinnel Glacier, Glacier National Park. Dates and arrows show melt since 1850

Himalayas - Glaciers have been found to be

in a state of general retreat since 1850 (Mayewski & Jeschke 1979).

In this section he also claims that 40% of the worlds population gets half of their water from streams and rivers that are fed by glaciers. This is an easily confused claim. Rivers that are fed by the Himalayas get most of their run-off from the spring snowmelt. They also have many dams that ensure that water will be available during dry months.

Italian Alps -Since the end of the Little Ice Age (about 1850), the hanging

Glaciers and firn fields have retreated continuously.

Swiss Alps - Abstract. Since the culmination of the Little Ice Age,

Alpine glaciers have been in a state of general retreat.

Peru – The current warming that is melting the Quelccaya glacier in Peru began in 1830 according to Al Gore’s friend, Lonnie Thompson (Thompson 2006) * NOTE: The recent data from this ice core may be contaminated by rainwater that seeped into the top 20 meters of the ice.

And the same is true for all of the glaciers he mentioned. They all started retreating at the end of the Little Ice Age. Most glaciers around the world are retreating while some are not, mainly due to changes in storm tracks. Many of the glaciers around the world slowed or reversed their retreats during the cooling period between 1944 and 1976 and began retreating again after that. Many glacier retreats have accelerated in recent years.

Al then begins a presentation about how temperatures during the last thousand years were relatively stable until the last one hundred years using a graph that looked like the one below:

The data for this graph is from a 2003 study by Al Gore’s friend, Lonnie Thompson, a well-known scientist who studies glaciers. The graph itself has the look of what is known as a “hockey stick” graph. It usually demonstrates that temperatures were stable for the last 1,000 years but suddenly rose in the last 100 years. While this particular graph is used by Al Gore to represent global temperature for the past 1,000 years, the data is only taken from 7 locations in three mountain ranges. In fairness to Al, there have been several studies by scientists who used tree rings etc. from all over the world who have come up with the same general trend.

Now let’s look at two things that Al, and all the scientists who have provided those “hockey stick” graphs never seem to mention. First, if you go back farther than 1,000 years, there were temperature increases similar to today 2,500, 4,000, 5,200, 8,700 and 11,000 years ago. Lonnie Thompson himself in his glacier studies has identified many of these warm periods.

Second, they do not include solar activity, which is at an 11,000 year high. The graph below (Solanki 2006) shows solar activity for the past 12,000 years. In this graph you can see that there was an increase in solar activity during the same warming periods listed above.

Al’s presentation on carbon dioxide quickly falls into the biggest trap in the global warming debate. He accurately tells how scientists measure past levels of carbon dioxide from air bubbles in ancient ice from glaciers. He accurately discusses how scientists can examine isotopes of oxygen in the ice to figure out what the temperature was when the ice formed. He also uses the Vostok ice core graph to show how, over the last several hundred thousand years, temperature and carbon dioxide are closely correlated. He interprets the data, as, “when there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.” The graph below is similar to the one used by Al Gore, the blue line is temperature and green line is carbon dioxide going back 450,000 years.

What Al Gore did not mention, and what is very well known throughout the scientific community, is that higher resolution studies of the same ice cores revealed that the temperature changes came first then were followed by changes in CO2. (Mudelsee, 2001; Clark, 2003; Vakulenko et al., 2004)

During this part of the presentation Al says that when you look at the ice core that you can see the year that congress passed the clean air act. This one makes a lot of people laugh.

For instance, Eric Steig, a geochemist at the University of Washington with lots of experience in ice cores and an ardent supporter of Al Gore’s side of the debate said, “At one point Gore claims that you can see the aerosol concentrations in Antarctic ice cores change "in just two years", due to the U.S. Clean Air Act. You can't see dust and aerosols at all in Antarctic cores -- not with the naked eye -- and I'm skeptical you can definitively point to the influence of the Clean Air Act. I was left wondering whether Gore got this notion, and I hope he'll correct it in future versions of his slideshow.”
Al then shows global temperatures for the past 100 years using a graph similar to the one below. “In any given year it might look like it’s going down but the overall trend is extremely clear” I’ve added the green line, which is CO2. What Al does not show you is that most of the warming started before the CO2 increase. He also fails to mention the cool period between 1944 and 1976 does not correlate with greenhouse theory; the globe should have been warming at that time.

UPDATE: The green line in the graph above is incorrectly drawn over the temperature graph. The temperature graph itself can no longer be trusted anymore because of the problems with the temperature stations (see Follies in Measuring Global Warming). Hopefully the problems with the temperature stations will be fixed soon and I'll see if I can find someone who can draw with a mouse better than me.

Now let’s stop here for just a moment and look at the graph below. We have all heard of El Nino. During El Nino years you see reports on the news about flooding in California, but El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) also has a relation to global temperatures.

The blue shaded areas on the graph show La Nina or ENSO negative conditions (cooling) and the red shows El Nino or ENSO positive conditions (warming). Notice how there is a shift of more ENSO negative conditions before 1976 and ENSO positive conditions after 1976. Remember the year 1976, because it is an important year in later parts of this essay.

When you consider the effects of the 11,000 year solar high and the very positive phase in the ENSO in the past 30 years, you should start to see the real trend and exactly why temperatures changed the way they have in the past 30 years. And before anyone tries to say ENSO conditions are related to global warming or CO2, the NOAA says no it does not. Also, the only person I am aware of who predicted ENSO events several years in advance used a model of solar changes with a hit rate of almost 90%. Al Gore never puts into consideration El Nino’s or solar variation as a part of global warming which is one of his most crucial mistakes.

Al then discusses how many of the worlds cities have broken their temperature records in recent years. This maybe true but much of this is caused by “Urban Heat Island Effect.” Urban Heat Island Effect is when the masses of concrete in cities absorbs heat and holds it longer than vegetation in the countryside. Also, storm drains carry water away that would otherwise evaporate and thus cool the area. One of the problems with surface temperature data is that many of the thermometers are located in cities or airports. As cities grow, the temperature gets warmer. When you look at global temperatures where only data from the countryside is considered, about one third of the temperature increase of the last 30 years disappears.

In the next section Al discusses computer models, which predict future climate. In my view, predicting future climate with computers is a joke. I am not talking about how weather cannot be predicted accurately two weeks in advance; I am talking about predicting climate 50 years in advance. Three big things in nature that affect climate, solar variation, volcanoes and El Nino Southern Oscillation, cannot be predicted 50 years in advance. For example, a strong volcano and two years of La Nina conditions would be enough to eliminate all of the warming of the last 30 years. Also, computer models are not yet updated enough and the effects of many different things that affect climate such as clouds and water vapor are still not understood.

Al then starts his section on weather. He begins with hurricanes. Most people don’t think of El Nino’s being an important to weather patterns, but it is. For instance, not many people would think that El Nino’s suppress hurricanes. Dr. William Gray, considered the world’s best hurricane forecaster, said, “Al Gore doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Dr. Gray forecasts hurricanes in large part with consideration of the El Nino Southern Oscillation.

According to the NOAA,“The primary explanation for the decline in hurricane frequency during El Niño years is due to the increased wind shear in the environment.”

“In El Niño years, the wind patterns are aligned in such a way that the vertical wind shear is increased over the Caribbean and Atlantic. The increased wind shear helps to prevent tropical disturbances from developing into hurricanes. In the eastern Pacific, the wind patterns are altered in such a way to reduce the wind shear in the atmosphere, contributing to more storms.”

Using El Nino data from the NOAA and hurricane tracking information from Unisys I averaged out hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic from 1975 to 2006. I separated them by El Nino, La Nina and neutral years and found that Dr. Gray was right. During La Nina years there was an average of 9 hurricanes and 14 tropical storms with an average hurricane category 2.4. During El Nino years there was an average of 4 hurricanes and 4 tropical storms with an average hurricane category 2. During ENSO neutral years there was an average of 7 hurricanes and 14 storms and an average hurricane category 2. There were no trends that show increasing numbers of hurricanes, tropical storms or strength. The only unusual year was 2005 (ENSO neutral) where there were 15 hurricanes and 28 tropical storms.

In the next part of Al’s weather section he says that tornadoes are getting worse. Al’s claim that global warming is increasing the number of tornadoes is also misleading because new radar and satellite technology allows us to see more of them. The numbers of severe tornadoes, the ones we have been able to track, are decreasing. The graph below is from NOAA and shows the number of strong tornadoes since 1950.

Al then says that Japan set an all time record for typhoons in 2004. This was true except he failed to mention that these were only the typhoons that actually hit the coast of Japan. In reality, the highest typhoon seasons ever recorded were 39 typhoons in 1968 and 33 in 1972 and the 2004 season was normal with a total of 29 typhoons.
(Matsumura et al. 2003 with updated data from Dr. Matsumura 2006)

Al then discusses the first hurricane in the South Atlantic that hit the coast of Brazil in 2004. This was not from global warming, the sea temperatures that year were slightly cooler than normal but the air temperature was very cold causing the kind of temperature difference between surface and air that it usually takes to create a hurricane

In the last part of his hurricane section Gore talks about Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005 and was the most expensive natural disaster in American history. Al asks, “Something new for America. How in gods name can that happen here?” I can answer that question for him.

New Orleans is a coastal city that is mostly below sea level. The protective levees around New Orleans were designed to protect the city from category 3 storms. This means that the people that built the levee system were taking a chance. When Katrina hit New Orleans it was a category 4 to 5 storm.
Next, the canal walls that broke down were not being maintained. “But with the help of complex computer models and stark visual evidence, scientists and engineers at Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center have concluded that Katrina's surges did not come close to overtopping those barriers. That would make faulty design, inadequate construction or some combination of the two the likely cause of the breaching of the floodwalls along the 17th Street and London Avenue canals -- and the flooding of most of New Orleans.” The Washington Post
Finally, the human toll was a result of people who did not evacuate when they were supposed to and poor planning by individuals who were responsible for evacuating people under their care.
Al then talks about how the insurance industry pays out more money to flood and storm victims. This may be true but is because more people are building expensive beach houses right where the storms hit.
Al continues by showing that there were large flood events in 2005. He also shows that there were more droughts in 2005 in areas not too far from the flooding. He says it’s because global warming is relocating the precipitation. As evidence of this he uses Lake Chad in Africa. Here again, the experts disagree and point to natural climate change. “Fluctuations are not new to Lake Chad. About 10,000 years ago Lake Chad almost filled its present drainage basin, and spilled southwest out the Benue River to the Atlantic. In the last 1,000 years, according to fossil evidence, the lake probably dried out a half-dozen times. (Most of its fish are river-adapted species.) Geologic data, climate data, historical accounts and reconstructions all indicate a higher long-term variability than the relatively short period we have actually measured.”

Lake Chad
Next in the movie, Al Gore made several references to temperature increases in Alaska; he showed a picture of what he called “drunken trees.” He discussed how trucks that service the Alaskan pipeline can drive on permafrost roads fewer days of the year and he discussed how some homes and buildings are having structural problems because the permafrost that they were built on are melting. The graph below is a global map that shows warm weather relationships during El Nino winters. This graph shows that Alaska warms up during El Nino winters. So you would expect some melting of the permafrost in Alaska as if spring came earlier or fall came later. The weather patterns in Alaska are controlled by an ocean phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that is linked to ENSO.

The graph that Al uses to show the number of days that trucks can drive on the permafrost correlates with the ENSO phase shift explained above.

On the same point Al uses records from nuclear submarines that measured ice thickness, once again the ice begins to thin at the same time that the ENSO phase shift began.

The graph below is temperatures in Alaska for the since 1950. Note how temperatures changed in 1976.

Al then starts to show how melting ice can accelerate water temperatures in the arctic. The ice reflects sunlight, but after the ice melts the ocean absorbs the sunlight that would otherwise be reflected. This is correct and is called albedo feedback.

Next, Al makes the point that melting sea ice is not good for polar bears. He claimed that polar bears were drowning for the first time according to a scientific study. What he failed to mention was that this was a one-time occurrence. The polar bears drowned because they were caught in a storm while swimming in the ocean.
Polar Bears; Proceedings of the 14th Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group, 20-24 June 2005, Seattle, Washington, USA

Al then presents how the Earth moves heat from the equator to the poles using air and ocean currents, this is correct. The temperature at the equator would change very little, and the average increase in temperature for the hemisphere is 1/8 of the temperature increase at the poles.

Al then turns up the scare tactic. Al explains what is known as the Younger Dryas Event. This happened at the end of the last glaciation. The ice sheet on North America was about a mile thick and extended down to a line from Seattle to Indianapolis to New York. Rather than slowly melting and running off, a large lake developed in the middle of the ice sheet about half of the size of Canada. When the ice dam at the edge of the lake burst a huge torrent of water ran off the continent and shut down the North Atlantic Drift current, which provides warmth to Europe and much of Asia. The result was an immediate return to ice age conditions for over a thousand years. With the exception that the Younger Dryas drained through the Mississippi rather than the St. Lawrence, Al did a good job showing this event and it’s effects. But then he moved the focus to the possibility that Greenland might repeat the same kind of abrupt climate changing event. He leaves the audience hanging and says he will get back to that subject in a minute. But I will not. There is no evidence that the ice sheet on Greenland could cause a similar event. This would require the center of Greenland to melt, form a large lake then dump into the Atlantic Ocean all at once, something that the surrounding ocean will not allow to happen. The warmer ocean water surrounding Greenland evaporates then precipitates on the center of Greenland building up the snow pack there. This is already happening and has been observed by NASA. History also tells us something about this not being able to happen. 125,000 years ago the Earth was 3-5 degrees warmer that it is today (IPCC 2007) but ice cores from Greenland date several hundreds of thousands of years farther back. The lesson here is that Greenland could only melt slowly and not dump a huge amount of water into the ocean in a short period of time and create another Younger Dryas event.

After a brief political segment, Al continues with how species are being forced to adapting to climate change. He spoke of migratory birds in the Netherlands and Pine beetles and spruce trees in Alaska. This is true, but there is something you might learn here that Al did not intend to teach you. It is how climate change pushes evolution.

Al then speaks about how invasive species are coming into new areas and competing with native species. We have a similar problem here in Maine. Our lobster and crab industry is very important to our economy. We have two invasive species of crab, the European Green Crab and Asian Crab. But these crabs did not come here by walking across a global warming ocean bottom. They were brought here when they attached themselves to the bottom of boats hundreds of years ago. The same thing is happening to species all over the world; humans are moving them.

Al then gets into the health effects of global warming by claiming that global warming is spreading diseases and the vectors that carry them. He starts with the mosquito lines in Nairobi, Kenya and how the mosquitoes were moving to higher elevations because of a temperature increase. Mosquitoes will not move to higher elevations because of temperature increase. Mosquitoes live in areas where there is water; they are mostly found in shallow streams, ponds, or swampy areas. Another fact about mosquitoes that conflicts with Gore’s statement is that they don’t like to travel, but instead they stay about 1 mile within their breeding area.

The people who researched the malaria problem in Nairobi do not agree with Al.
“Medical researchers Amy Korman and Juma Makasa are investigating the outbreak. The research team suspected that the massive migration from the countryside was linked to the spread of malaria.

Urban gardens are breeding grounds for mosquitoes
And that is exactly what researchers discovered. The Anopheles mosquito was present in Nairobi because the environment was changing. Typical of many newly arrived slum dwellers, Paulina Karugo grows vegetables on a small plot of land behind her home.
But in the process, she and hundreds of others have unknowingly created the perfect breeding ground for the Anopheles mosquito — a hot zone of infection.”

Bats – Most bats eat fruit or insects but a few species suck blood and spread diseases such as rabies. These bats are coming into contact with people due to deforestation and because humans are moving into areas where bats live.

Fleas—Are the only vectors that can spread due to global warming because they prefer warm, moist climate. The disease that it spreads, bubonic plague, is not on the rise. According to the CDC “in the United States, the last urban plague epidemic occurred in Los Angeles in 1924-25. Since then, human plague in the United States has occurred as mostly scattered cases in rural areas (an average of 10 to 15 persons each year).”

Lice- Al Gore’s claim that global warming causes the spread lice is a joke, because what actually spreads lice is contact with a person who is infested with the parasite.

Algae- (harmful algal blooms, HAB) According to the NOAA there has been an increase in harmful algal blooms in the oceans off of North America. NOAA says the cause of these blooms is unknown. Harmful algae produce toxins such as domonic acid; these toxins accumulate in shellfish that are eaten by humans. When people eat these infected shellfish, they usually experience mild side effects, but in extreme cases people have died.

Snails – Can spread several diseases, one such family of diseases is related to “rat lung” or “roundworm.” This disease is spread back and forth when rats and snails eat each other’s feces. There is one confirmed case in the United States that happened when a boy ate a snail “on a dare”. The boy suffered flue-like symptoms for about two weeks.
This family of parasites is more common in Asia and the Pacific Islands and usually is contracted when people eat undercooked snails, but also undercooked crabs and freshwater shrimp.

Katayama’s Fever is another disease spread by snails in tropical countries. Some locals call this infection “swimmer’s itch,” you may have seen movies where people in the jungle were told not to urinate while swimming, because “the bugs will swim up your ding-dong.” Katayama’s Fever usually results in severe urinary tract infections, but some forms of the disease enter the nerves system where they lay eggs in the brain. While this disease has a low mortality rate, life for the infected human host is usually extremely uncomfortable. There are many species of snails all over the world, I have found several articles on the Internet about snails and global warming and they all talk about global warming killing snails, not spreading them. Nevertheless, if you do not want a disease spread by snails, then be careful of what you eat and what you do when you swim at the local waterhole.

In what was another laughable scare tactic, Gore noted global warming worsens various diseases. Below is a list of each disease, their causes and some tips on prevention.

  • West Nile Virus – Al gore showed a map of the United States, and how quickly the West Nile Virus spread across the country. Mosquitoes first brought the West Nile Virus to the United States aboard airliners that were not treated with insecticides. Once in the United States the disease spread quickly by native birds and mosquitoes that are plentiful in the United States.

  • Dengue fever- A disease spread by mosquitoes, and was a serious problem until the 1950’s. Between 1950 and 1970 a worldwide eradication program significantly reduced the disease by killing the mosquitoes until the use of DDT was stopped in the 1970’s. Dengue fever has been on the rise ever since, and again is becoming a serous problem worldwide.

  • Ebola virus - Contracted by eating or coming into contact with infected monkeys. Avoid local delicacies when traveling abroad.
    Planet Ark : FEATURE-Monkey brains off the menu in central Africa

  • Aona virus- Contracted by inhaling dust particles related to the feces of rodents.

  • Hanta virus- Contracted by coming into contact with mice droppings.
    Mousetraps, pet cats and precautions when camping.

  • Pulmonary Syndrome- The only listing I could find was for Hanta Virus Pulmonary Syndrome so I guess Al was slightly repetitive.

  • SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)- A respiratory/ gastrointestinal virus that spreads like the common cold. In 2003 the outbreak began in Asia when two lab workers contracted the disease after handling laboratory urine and stool samples. Eight people in the United Stated were infected with this virus after traveling to other countries where there was an outbreak of the virus. There are no known cases of the disease in the world at this time.
    CDC | Fact Sheet: Basic Information About SARS

  • Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis- Caused by inadequate treatment or improper use of the anti-tuberculosis medications.
    If you get TB, do what your doctor tells you to do.

  • E. Coli- Caused by poor food handling and eating uncooked meat.
    The best prevention is education and practice of safe food handling and cooking as suggested by public health professionals.

  • Lyme Disease- Spread to humans by ticks. More people are becoming infected because more people are moving into the wooded areas where ticks live. Lyme Disease is also common among hikers and people who spend time in the outdoors, especially those people who do not take the proper precautions. If you live in a wooded area or spend a lot of time in the outdoors, take precautions and educate yourself about the symptoms of Lyme Disease.

  • Avian Flu- The outbreaks of avian flu that have been recorded have mainly been started in China. Most people in developed countries buy chicken that is packaged and processed, but in China, people usually buy their chickens live and process them at home. This is how avian flu usually gets started; when an outbreak of avian flu is detected the Chinese government quarantines the sick people, then kills millions of chickens in markets and on farms. Avian flu is also spreading around the world by birds and has nothing to do with climate.

Al brought up the coral bleaching issue, an issue that is often cited in global warming debates. Coral has an interesting relationship with algae that is required for coral to survive. Coral does not actually bleach, the colorful algae dies causing the coral to die.

Researching the coral bleaching was interesting. When reading reputable sites, I noticed that coral bleaching due to global warming normally followed words such as “maybe,” “possibly,” “potentially,” “could be” and “might be.”

Now let’s see what was actually observed.

“Coral bleaching events worldwide have been attributed to sea surface temperatures (SSTs) rising and staying as little as 1°C higher than the usual average monthly maximum SST during the hottest months of the year (Goreau and Hayes 1994). In Jamaica, significant coral bleaching and death occur when SSTs remain at 29.3°C or higher for one month (Hoegh-Guldberg 1999).” NOAA

“Until the 1980’s, the only coral bleaching event recorded was due to flooding from Hurricane Flora that resulted in a large drop in salinity that bleached and killed many corals in Jamaica (Goreau 1964).” NOAA

“Mass coral bleaching was first recognized on the Pacific coast of Panama following the 1982-83 El Nino event (Glynn 1984). The warm SSTs associated with the El Nino event were identified as the cause of death of over 99% of corals and the complete loss of reef structures in the Galapagos Islands and the death of over 50% of corals in Panama (Glynn and D’Croz 1990; Glynn 1993).” NOAA

“The 1997-98 El Nino event is the strongest on record to date, resulting in unprecedented coral bleaching and death across the globe (Wilkinson et al. 1999).”

“The frequency and scale of bleaching disturbances has increased dramatically since the late 70’s. This is possibly due to more observers and a greater interest in reporting in recent years.” Buscheim

I also found that bleaching is related to predation by Acanthasters (sea stars). “Like most sea stars Acanthasters are carnivorous. Their feeding mechanism is almost notorious; averting their stomach outside the body over "poor, defenseless" living coral polyps, doing the old extra-cellular digestion right then and there. Oftentimes Crown of Thorns population explosions/"infestations" are attributed to human removal of predators, most notably the Giant Triton Charonia tritonis L. 1758, as well as "Cod" and some large Groupers. There are stop-gap measures in place in several countries restricting the taking of these controlling influences.”

Next, Al talks about the “second canary in the coal mine;” Antarctica. He points to the break up of large ice shelves on West Antarctica. He also warns that if the ice on West Antarctica and Greenland melted there would be sea level rise that would flood many areas of the world. I have already discussed how ice around Greenland is melting near the ocean. This is because of the warm ocean water, but that water evaporates faster and precipitates faster on the center of Greenland and is causing the snow pack in the center of Greenland to increase. But what about West Antarctica? Can you guess why Al only talked about West Antarctica and not East Antarctica? Maybe because West Antarctica is melting and East Antarctica is not. Not only is the larger ice sheet on East Antarctica not melting; it is increasing in mass. This may have something to do with the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that moves water of different temperatures around Antarctica.

Davis, C. H., et al., 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. Science, 308, 1898-1901.

The next segment discusses how China is developing and using more coal to produce energy. I agree. But I think Al missed a chance to show new technologies such as cleaner burning methanol that is made from coal and natural gas. This fuel can run automobiles and power plants and is produced for about 40 cents per gallon.

Al talks about overpopulation in the next part of the movie. I strongly agree with him on this subject but I do not agree that it is a problem causing global warming but the other way around. Human population has exploded for many reasons; especially better technology and warming climate. Since the climate began to change over 100 years ago, humans have been able to settle more land. Humans have been able to cultivate more crops in high latitudes than when the climate was cooler.

Many of the problems related to vectors and disease are from over population, not global warming.
Many of the problems he stated such as pressure on water supplies, agriculture and energy are a result of overpopulation. It is important to recognize this point because some day we will experience cold climate, whether it is another little ice age or a major glaciation era. What will happen to all of the people in Canada and Russia who will be pushed from 2their homes and countries by ice sheets that are a mile high? How many people will starve when another Tambora or Yellowstone erupts causing two to three years without a summer? These are not things that might happen, they are things that will happen, and just like Katrina and New Orleans, it is just a matter of time.

Al Gore is also correct in his next segment about how man can have an impact on the Earth’s surface when we use new technology. Diverting rivers is an easy thing for humans to do, just build a dam and a canal. The results of diverting rivers are controversies all over the world because lakes disappear. But what is important here is that Al does not identify the problem. You will not stop malaria or other diseases by reducing atmospheric CO2. But if you spend all of your resources on reducing CO2 then all of the other environmental problems created by man will not be resolved.

After a brief explanation of how Al Gore and his family moved away from the tobacco business, he spoke about scientific consensus. He says that of 928 peer reviewed articles, none of the scientists disagreed that most of global warming is man made or a serious problem. This is one of the rhetorical tools that Al and his friends on one side of the debate never cease to use. This statement is very carefully worded and intended to mislead. To say that scientists disagree is different than saying they agree. Very few scientists will agree that the science is settled and those are usually scientists who have a political bias.

This brings Al to his next point; that opposition to global warming is a fossil fuel industry conspiracy using the same tactics as big tobacco used in the past. He uses the example of Phillip Cooney, a former oil industry lawyer who was changing environmental science documents until exposed by a government scientist. He also used the example of James Hansen, a senior NASA scientist who was urged by his managers not to make alarming public statements. These instances are both true. But what Gore does not talk about are the many senior scientists who are constantly harassed by Al’s very own political allies. Scientists who do not agree with man made global warming constantly complain of everything from funding cuts, calls to decertify them because they disagree and even death threats. The false accusation that they are being paid off by oil companies is the most common form of harassment.

Al closes by discussing the economic benefits of changing over to green power and how it would create many jobs. This is true. But the changes Al says we should make are not going to solve his problem. More efficient appliances and cars will not cut CO2 emissions; they will only reduce the rate of increase. Building more solar stations will only supply future growing populations. Carbon sequestration such as planting trees will only help a little. The only way to reduce atmospheric CO2 would be to have solar panels on the roof of every house and building, windmills in every yard and electric cars in every driveway. It is something we will have to do anyway because someday the fossil fuels will run out. Doing these things will not require the political will that Al says people need to have. People will be more than happy to convert because it will save them the ridiculous amounts of money that people spend on home utilities and gasoline.


It’s easy to see why Al gore’s movie should not be shown in schools. An Inconvenient Truth is a political commercial that misrepresents a whole area of science. He admittedly uses scare tactics to get people to listen then shows them a professional slide show that blames every thing bad on so called man made global warming.

Al did not make and publicize this movie because he cares; something obvious when you consider his own lifestyle. He did not make this movie to run for president. This movie has grossed over 60 million dollars to date and it hasn’t even made it to cable. Al charges over $100,000 per slide show. But the real money that Al will make is through his new company, Generation Investment Management, a company that seeks to establish the rules and licensing for the new carbon-trading scheme. We have all heard of politicians who lie for money and power; it looks as if Al did not retire after all.

© Kristen Byrnes and Ponder the Maunder - All Rights Reserved. Reprinted on with Permission.

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