Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Global Warming Skeptic Guide for the Perplexed

How should responsible Global Warming Skeptics respond to opinions from intelligent members of the general public who have been perplexed by the Warmists and Alarmists?




We should reply in a strictly fact-based way, using official sources, and being careful not to speculate or over-complicate the matter. Here is my shot at it.

At a recent meeting of a local discussion group a well-spoken retired teacher presented a list of important issues that, in his opinion, have received less coverage by the media than they deserve. "Climate Change" was on his list.

He said it was unfortunate that the main proponent of human-caused "Global Warning" was a prominent Democrat (former VP Al Gore), because that led to the issue becoming politicized, with his fellow Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other. He speculated that had a leading Republican promoted the same issue, the reaction would probably be the reverse.

He then raised several points, citing the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other expert sources. He said that Global Warming is really happening, with a rise of over 0.7⁰C, and we humans are the main cause due to our massive use of fossil fuels that generate atmospheric CO2, a greenhouse gas that warms the Earth.

During the discussion period I agreed that global warming is real, that atmospheric CO2 undoubtedly causes warming, and that some of the increased CO2 is certainly due to human actions. However, I pointed out that, although atmospheric CO2 levels continue to rise, and at an accelerating rate, global temperatures have not statistically increased for at least 15 years. Therefore, while CO2 levels have definitely caused some of the warming, and rising CO2 is mostly caused by human activities, CO2 cannot be the main cause.

The presenter assured me that he respected my opinions, but, while he was not a scientist, he was relying on scientists and scientific organizations that had studied the issue. He then read a few quotes, including one that said human actions were likely to lead to a "tipping point" where the ice caps melt and there is runaway warming on a catastrophic scale.

I have prepared the following strictly fact-based response, using sources the presenter himself mentioned and being careful not to speculate or over-complicate the matter.

1- It is undoubtedly true that average surface temperatures have increased significantly since 1880. Human activities are responsible for some portion of that warming. [The image below is the latest GISS Global Temperature Index anomaly. The black squares indicate the mean temperature anomaly for each 12-month calendar year. The thick red line indicates the mean temperature anomaly smoothed over 60 months (five years). This graphic shows a net increase of about 0.8⁰C (about 1.5⁰F) since 1880. While I think "data adjustments" have increased the apparent warming by a few tenths of a degree, I accept that warming since 1880 is at least 0.5⁰C (about 1⁰F)]
Source:  - downloaded 6 Sep 2014

2- Atmospheric CO2 levels have risen steadily, and the rate of increase has doubled since reliable CO2 data from Mauna Loa became available around 1959. [The image below is the latest NOAA ESRL Atmospheric CO2 showing an increase of about 1 ppm/year in the 1960's and about 2 ppm/year in the 2000's. The current level is approaching 400 ppm. The pre-industrial level is estimated to have been about 280 ppm.]
Source: - Downloaded 6 Sep 2014. Annotations in purple by Ira.
3- When compared to actual polar satellite temperature observations, the IPCC climate models have predicted too much warming, particularly after 1998. [The image below is the latest RSS Global temperature anomaly since about 1979 when good global temperature data from polar orbiting satellites became available. Note how, from 1999 to the present, the actual observations of temperature (thick black line) consistently fall below the yellow band (IPCC climate model prediction range with supposed 95% probability).]
Source: - Downloaded 6 Sep 2014. Annotations in purple by Ira.
[NOAA Caption "Fig. 1.  Global (80S to 80N) Mean TLT Anomaly plotted as a function of time.  The thick black line is the observed time series from RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU Temperatures.  The yellow band is the 5% to 95% range of output from CMIP-5 climate simulations.  The mean value of each time series average from 1979-1984 is set to zero so the changes over time can be more easily seen. Again, after 1998, the observations are likely to be below the simulated values, indicating that the simulation as a whole are predicting too much warming."] (my bold)
Please note that, according to the actual RSS polar satellite temperature observations (thick black line), there has been absolutely no net warming after 1998. Indeed, 2013 is about 0.6⁰C (more than 1⁰F) cooler than the middle of the predicted range, and even 0.3⁰C (more than 0.5⁰F) cooler than the lower edge of the predicted range. Also note that the thick black line falls well below the yellow band, which indicates that the statistical 95% confidence level claimed for the IPCC climate models is not valid. Over the most recent 15-year period, actual satellite temperature observations have consistently been cooler than the central prediction of the IPCC climate models, by from 0.2⁰C to 0.8⁰C (about 0.4⁰F to 1.5⁰F).   

4- According to the NASA GISS Global Temperature Index, when smoothed over a calendar year, there has been no net warming for 15 years. Even when smoothed over a longer period of five years, there has been no net warming for seven years. [The image below is a close-up of the upper right corner of the first image in this posting.]
Source: Close-up view of the upper right corner of the NASA GISS Global Temperature Index anomaly from the first graphic in this posting. Annotations in purple by Ira.
[The black squares represent the temperature anomaly for each given calendar year (12 month average). Note that 1998 is warmer than 2013, indicating no net warming for 15 years. The thick red line represents the 5-year running mean (smoothed over 5 years which is 60 months). Note that 2003 is at the same temperature as 2010, indicating no net warming for at least seven years.]


All of the above facts and data is directly from official, government-sponsored climate research organizations, and I have provide web links so anyone can check them his- or herself. If any reader thinks I have distorted or misrepresented any of the above material I will appreciate it if he or she posts a comment to this blog detailing any objections. (If you cannot figure out how to post a blog comment, please send your material to me in an email to and I will be happy to post it for you.)

Unlike the above, the following conclusions involve some speculation on my part.

a- Politicization of the issue. I agree that "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" have been way over-politicized. Had the main proponent been a Republican, positions might have been reversed. However, I cannot imagine any Republican President or VP or other Republican office-older of similar national prominence falling for the idea that we humans are responsible for the majority of the warming we have experienced, or that the warming process is likely to lead to global catastrophe. And, even if he or she went along with the initial dire predictions, any reasonable and responsible politician (of either party) would understand that the absolute disconnect between actual temperature observations and predictions of IPCC climate models invalidates the idea of human-caused catastrophic climate change, and reverse their positions.

b- Activists in the catastrophic climate change industry purposely misrepresent the views of responsible Skeptics by making a number of false claims:

  • FALSE CLAIM - Skeptics do not believe the basic science of the Atmospheric "greenhouse" effect. RESPONSE - We do accept that water vapor, CO2, and other 'greenhouse" gases are responsible for the Earth being around 33⁰C (60⁰F) warmer than it would be if there were no "greenhouse"gases in the Atmosphere. However, based on the failure of the IPCC climate models to comport with actual temperature observations for at least 15 years, we question the IPCC position that doubling of CO2 will warm the Earth surface by 1.5⁰C to 4.5⁰C (3⁰F to 8⁰F). For example, I believe the true value (called "climate sensitivity") is only a half or a third of what the IPCC claims.
  • FALSE CLAIM - Skeptics do not believe the Earth surface has warmed significantly since 1880. RESPONSE -  We do accept that average global surface temperatures have increased by at least 0.5⁰C (1⁰F) since pre-industrial times. Many of us think that the thermometer record is somewhat unreliable. It is a matter of official record that, in recent decades, old temperature data prior to the 1970's have been adjusted down by as much as 0.3⁰C (0.5⁰F) and date after the 1980's adjusted up, which has increased claimed net warming by a few tenths of a degree. NASA GISS and other official record-keepers say these "data adjustments" are valid, but many of us think they are self-serving. However, we could be wrong, and the net warming since 1880 might be as much as 0.8⁰C (1.5⁰F). 
  • FALSE CLAIM - Skeptics do not believe that human activities have any part in causing the warming. RESPONSE - We do accept that unprecedented burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, and some changes in land use, are responsible for a significant fraction of the actual warming. However, based on comparison of actual temperature observations with IPCC climate models, I am convinced that the majority of warming is due to natural causes and processes not under human control or influence.

Looking forward to your comments.

Ira Glickstein

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My New Wheels - Yes, It Is a Girl's Bike!

Just got a 7-speed Schwinn 700c (27") to replace my Bike Friday fold-up that had a chain slip problem due to worn-out gears.

Like many an "old dog", I can't swing my foot as high as I used to, so I really appreciate the step-thru feature of a girl's bicycle. (Thanks to my good friend Herb for suggesting that I get a girl's bike.) 

My Schwinn is a lovely powder blue (they were out of the pink ones :^).
The new bike was $150 (plus tax) at Walmart, which is only a bit more than it would have cost to replace the gears and chain on my old bike, and I no longer need the folding feature. I gave my old bike to my good friend Garf whose son is in the bicycle business so he can fix it up for someone who wants a fold-up.

I've been riding a fold-up for decades, including a trip to England as well as several places in the US and Canada. The one I discarded was my third Bike Friday, and I will miss it, but I no longer take my bicycle on trips to distant places, so the folding aspect is not of value to me anymore.

At 75 years old, I still do 30-40 miles a week on the relatively flat streets and recreation paths of The Villages, FL, and hope I can keep it up for a few more years at least.

Ira Glickstein

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Vi and Ira Glickstein were married 50 years ago, in 1964.

The following postings include highlights of our life together and of our 50th anniversary family Baltic cruise.

  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)

50th-1 Wedding and Farm Days

50 YEARS OF MARRIAGE - FLAG DAY, JUNE 14th 1964 to 2014

TOP: We were young and foolish when we got married on June 14th 1964. 
BOTTOM: But look at what 50 years together has done! Lower middle photos are distorted using iPad "twisted" camera feature, but that is how we really feel! Ira (and Vi)

Fifty years ago, a few days after our wedding, I rented a Cessna 152 and flew my new wife from Chatham Airport in NJ up to Niagara Falls, NY, stopping in Binghamton, NY for fuel. (Little did we know that less than two years later I would accept a job at IBM Owego, in the Binghamton area, and we would live and work there for nearly 40 years!)

TOP LEFT: Vi and Ira, Co-Pilot and Pilot for life, prepare to depart from Chatham Airport in Morristown, NJ. 

MIDDLE: We stopped in Binghamton, NY to refuel.
TOP RIGHT: Inflight on our  "Honeymoon Special" adventure! 
BOTTOM: We rented a car and spent the night at the aptly named "Honeymoon Motel"on the Canadian side. 

We flew home the following day but the weather got bad so we had to spend the night at a hotel in Binghamton, returning the rented airplane in NJ the following morning.


Early in our marriage, I took a job at IBM Federal Systems, Owego, NY, not far from Binghamton!
We purchased an old farm house with three barns and 88 acres of land in Newark Valley, NY, about 12 miles north of Owego.

TOP LEFT: Vi's parents, Gilbert and Clara Stark, visit our farm where we raised sheep. We had a kerosene heater in the kitchen and propane heaters in two other rooms. Our bedroom lacked any heater at all. I can still imagine what they were thinking "What have you done to our daughter?"
BOTTOM LEFT: Ira's parents, Morris and Ruth Glickstein, visit our farm. With the help of the New York State Agricultural Extension Service, we built a 1/4 acre pond on our land above the house and barns. We sometimes camped there.
RIGHT: Vi and Lisa get close and personal with one of our Angus beef cattle.
Some more views of our "Green Acres" FARM DAYS (1965-1973). 

TOP: In addition to the very old house and barns, the purchase included Trixie, our loyal dog. We built a dirt road up to the pond we put on the land above the house and barns.

BOTTOM LEFT: Me with my Dad Morris on road overlooking house and barns. Dad enclosed the front porch and made major improvements inside the house.

BOTTOM RIGHT: I'm in the middle, shoveling the chicken manure left over from the hens raised for eggs by the previous owners. Steamy and pungent, but great fertilizer!

  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)

50th-2 Passing the Genes and Memes

We successfully passed our genes and memes to the third and fourth generations.


TOP LEFT: Ruth and Morris Glickstein, Ira's parents.
MIDDLE: Clara and Gilbert Stark, Vi's parents.
TOP RIGHT: Ira and Vi as children.
BOTTOM RIGHT: At our wedding reception and dinner.
LEFT: Our daughters Lisa, Rena, and Sara as youngsters
MIDDLE: As newlyweds with Jerry, David, and Avi, respectively.
RIGHT: Our grandchildren, Samantha, Michaela, Alexia, ... and Isaac (Emerson not pictured)


LEFT: Ira's Father, Morris, holds his great grandchildren Alexia, Michaela, and Samantha. Ira is Morris's son, and Lisa is the mother of Morris's great-grandchildren.
RIGHT TOP: Vi's grandmother Julia (and her husband, Chaim), with her great-grandchildren, Lisa, Rena, and Sara. Clara is Julia's daughter, Vi's mother, and grandmother of the children. Vi is the mother of Julia's great-grandchildren.
RIGHT BOTTOM: Julia with her great-grandchildren. Man at right is Gilbert, Vi's father.


LEFT: Ira's Bar Mitzvah (1952). Vi & Ira's Jewish wedding (1964)

MIDDLE: Lisa, Rena and Sara's Bat Mitzvahs (1978, 1980, 1982)

RIGHT: Alexia, Michaela, and Samantha's Bat Mitzvahs (2011) 

  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)

50th-3 Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)

Both Ira and Vi had great careers involving computers. In 1978, we purchased one of the first 3000 Apple II home computers and introduced our children to it, well before most Americans ever considered the idea of owning a computer.  We also purchased one of the first IBM Personal Computers when they became available in 1981.


Our children's knowledge of computers was big news at the time, and the subject of two stories in the Binghamton newspaper.

LEFT: Lisa demonstrates a computer at her school in Owego, NY.
RIGHT: Rena and Sara demonstrate our Apple II at home.
BOTTOM: Vi, Rena, and Sara were interviewed about our computer.


Ira joined IBM-Owego in 1965. In 1994, IBM Federal Systems Division was sold to Loral, and then, a year later, to Lockheed-Martin. Ira was 55 years old and had 28 years with IBM when our facility was sold, so he took early retirement from IBM keeping his job and seniority at the new company. Seven years later, in 2001, he retired from Lockheed-Martin.

Ira lugged our Apple II into the IBM facility to teach a course on Artificial Intelligence. When IBM came out with the PC-1, Ira was assigned the job of teaching engineers how to use this new tool and was the first person at the facility to have a PC in his office.  We also purchased one of the first IBM PC's for home use.

TOP LEFT: Ira used the PC to develop and demonstrate Advanced Visionics concepts for helicopter pilots.
RIGHT: Ira's innovative use of the IBM PC to develop and demonstrate Multi-Purpose Computer Display concepts, and his role as the Lead Engineer for IBM's HH-60 Technical Proposal, resulted in an IBM Federal Systems Division Golden Circle Award that included a trip for Vi and Ira to Hawaii.
BOTTOM LEFT: In 1984, an issue of the IBM Federal Systems Division "Technical Directions" magazine was devoted to "The Rational Cockpit and Advanced Automation" based partly on Ira's work.

TOP: Vi & Ira in HH-60 lab at IBM (1986) 
BOTTOM: Pave Low Night Training Mission (1986). Ira, Blake, & Murchie ("IBM" - get it?) used night vision goggles to experience low level flight over Dobbins AFB. The second night we witnessed an in-air refueling from a C-130. IMPRESSIVE!
RIGHT: Five US Patents, issued 2001-2007, with Ira's name on them.

LEFT: Ira's retirement plaque (2001). 
MIDDLE: Suspended in air at SF Science Museum.
RIGHT: Ira's first two jobs were in NJ & CT. Ira designed and hooked this small rug in 1976, based on a US postage stamp issued for the 200th birthday of the USA.


Vi got a job at IBM-Owego in 1984 and retired from Lockheed-Martin in 1999.

TOP LEFT: As a result of our getting an Apple II home computer, Vi earned her Masters Degree in Computer Science from Binghamton University, taught there, and then got a job at IBM Owego. (Keeping up with Vi, Ira earned his Masters Degree in System Science in 1990 and his PhD in System Science from Binghamton University in 1996.)
BOTTOM LEFT: IBM Marketing award.
MIDDLE: Vi was the Lead Software Engineer for the Army Special Operations Project, and received an Appreciation Award.
TOP RIGHT: Ira and Vi on vacation in Tahiti.
BOTTOM RIGHT: Lockheed-Martin Recognition Award.

LEFT; Vi and Ira in the Owego Artificial Intelligence laboratory in 1986.
TOP RIGHT: An issue of IBM FSD's "Technical Directions" included an article by Ira about "AI Aids for the Pilot".
BOTTOM RIGHT: Ira taught a course on "Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life" at the Brandeis University (Boston) "Summer Odyssey" in 2000 and 2001.
(No Photo) While working and after retirement, we each taught online graduate courses for the University of Maryland University College up until 2013. (Ira in System Engineering and Vi in Software Engineering).
  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)

50th-4 Retirement in The Villages, FL

In 2003, after some 38 years in upstate New York, most of it in Apalachin, we moved to The Villages, FL, known as "America's Favorite Retirement Home Town". There must be something in the water or the air, because, like almost all of our neighbors, we can't help saying "It's a beautiful day in The Villages" every chance we get. The photo montage below depicts our active retirement.


RIGHT: We built a house in a wonderful location on a golf course pond. Our view, from the rear of our home, faces the north and the golf cart paths are on the other side of the pond so we get very few golf balls intruding on our property. We installed a hot tub we enjoyed with our grandchildren and other visitors.

TOP LEFT and MIDDLE:  I (Ira) joined the wonderful bicycle club and participated in weekly rides. I also went on two bike/barge trips, the first to the Loire River area of France and the second from Brussels to Bruges in Belgium. About 20 of us lived on a barge for a week. After a night's sleep in a small but comfortable room, we had breakfast on the barge and packed a lunch to take along on a bicycle ride to the next port. A tour guide led us along excellent routes with stops at historic towns and other sights of interest. We usually arrived at the location of the barge by 3 or 4 PM, for sight-seeing there or, in my case, a nice nap before a wonderful dinner, served by the crew. After dinner we would take a walk and socialize with our friends.

TOP: Vi was active in photography, giving talks about the then-new topic of digital photography to the photography and computer clubs. She also joined a knitting group.

BOTTOM LEFT: We were founding members of Temple Shalom, a Reform congregation.

We both enjoy other activities in The Villages, such as water aerobics and visiting the town centers, dining at restaurants, and going to the movies. 


In 2012, we made the latest major change in our Active Retirement - Our move to Freedom Pointe, an excellent Independent Living facility in The Villages, FL.
LEFT: After years of rural life in New York and a private home in Florida,we've moved to an apartment house, reminiscent of our roots back in Brooklyn, over 70 years ago! We live on the fourth floor, with a view of a major road intersection, a shopping plaza, The Villages Hospital, and the sight and sounds of ambulances, helicopters, and fire engines. Of course, our current digs are a major "mov'in on-up" in lifestyle, see We enjoy monthly parties at Freedom Point, a daily restaurant-style meal, and other amenities.
MIDDLE: We are still in The Villages, thus have access to all amenities, remain close to most of our old friends, be it for dinner or water aerobics. Photo shows Vi on a zip-line in Ketchikan, Alaska, on a cruise we shared with most of our children and grands. Up till 2013, we both taught online grad courses for the University of Maryland (Vi-Software Requirements, Ira-System Engineering). 
RIGHT: I (Ira) remain intellectually and physically active, giving talks at the Philosophy Club, Science-Tech Club, and others. I made a popular YouTube video based on a link a granddaughter sent me, see In preparation for kayaking with my granddaughter and son-in-law during our Baltic cruise, I took a few friends from Freedom Point on an 8-mile kayak paddle on the Rainbow River, near Dunellon, FL. 

  1. Wedding and Farm Days 
  2. Passing the Genes and Memes
  3. Computers R Us (Ira and Vi's careers)
  4. Retirement in The Villages, FL
  5. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Air Travel and Shipboard activities)
  6. Our 50th Anniversary Baltic Cruise (Land-Tours)