Klar: Hunga Tonga and NASA climate science

NASA craters on both the moon, and volcanoes

by John Klar

At an Aug. 14 news conference, NASA and other experts proclaimed that, according to “clear science,” current record-high temperatures are attributable to human activity. Yet NASA did not present any scientific evidence to demonstrate a connection between current warm temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions, and ignored the massive non-anthropomorphic impact of last year’s record-breaking under-ocean volcano. Is NASA just another Biden/Harris social justice agency spewing unscientific climate fears to accrue more power.

A press release made plain the agency’s position: “’NASA data confirms what billions around the world literally felt: temperatures in July 2023 made it the hottest month on record. In every corner of the country, Americans are right now experiencing firsthand the effects of the climate crisis, underscoring the urgency of President Biden’s historic climate agenda,’ said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. ‘The science is clear. We must act now to protect our communities and planet.’”

The same release incorporated a similar conclusion by NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt: “This July was not just warmer than any previous July – it was the warmest month in our record, which goes back to 1880. The science is clear this isn’t normal. Alarming warming around the world is driven primarily by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.”

These two statements share an obfuscation: The science is very much not “clear.” They both rely on a presumption that all planetary warming is caused by anthropomorphic climate change and thus violate the fundamental scientific-statistical maxim that “connection does not prove causation.” No scientific evidence suggests that there is an anthropomorphic connection between this heat wave and climate change — let alone proof of causation.

NASA in Political Lockstep

NASA Astronauts Arrive At Kennedy Space Center Ahead Of Space-X Launch Test
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There is a pattern of labeling fuzzy climate-crisis claims as “clear” science. If temperatures dropped to record lows this winter and some conservatives pointed to that as evidence against climate change, the left would dismiss it as an aberration. Now there is a heat wave, and the left screams that the sky is burning. This double standard of extrapolating anecdotal evidence to conjure broad ideological certainties — while impugning the credibility of anyone who does so in chilly times — is evident in NASA’s current posture.

The lockstep dogmatic coordination between Joe Biden and Bill Nelson has been consistent since the president appointed him to make over the polluting NASA into a magic climate-solution techno-agency. Over-specialized technocrats and out-of-touch academics have overtaken common sense and accountability, and NASA, too, has fallen.

Right out of the political gate, in April 2021, NASA gushed about its environmental prowess and what a savior of the world the Biden/Harris team had become. It praised POTUS for specific policies, which include adding NASA to his White House Climate Task Force, committing to the Artemis program (staying on schedule for moon landings in 2024 and 2025 despite the heat), putting a person of color on the moon, and displaying a moon rock at the Oval Office. But what does this have to do with the (environmental) price of tea in China? How does polluting the ecosystem with more moon landings save the universe from global warming?

NASA claims it seeks “green aerospace technology,” and that its observations from space will assist in responding to global warming. Yet it is hard to imagine a solar-powered rocket launch to the moon. What is NASA’s expertise and strategy to reduce warming or pollution, and what is the carbon footprint of the Artemis program?

Volcano Impact

Satellite Images Show Before/After Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai Volcano Eruption
(Photo by Maxar via Getty Images)

It seems plausible the cause of current heat records is a record-setting under-ocean 2022 volcano eruption that NASA tracked as environmentally impactful but now excludes from any scientific consideration in the latest “clear, incredible science” that informs the agency’s “critical policymaking decisions.” If NASA is to credibly speak to planetary warming, surely it must express a clear scientific opinion about not only record-breaking heat waves but also record-breaking volcanoes. Yet it seems to have completely ignored a momentous meteorological event in its recent claims of an anthropomorphic climate crisis: Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai.

In August 2022, NASA reported that the eruption “blasted an unprecedented amount of water into the atmosphere”:

“When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on Jan. 15, it sent a tsunami racing around the world and set off a sonic boom that circled the globe twice. The underwater eruption in the South Pacific Ocean also blasted an enormous plume of water vapor into Earth’s stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. The sheer amount of water vapor could be enough to temporarily affect Earth’s global average temperature.

“Th[is] not only injected ash into the stratosphere but also large amounts of water vapor, breaking all records for direct injection of water vapor, by a volcano or otherwise, in the satellite era … The excess water vapor injected by the Tonga volcano … could remain in the stratosphere for several years. This extra water vapor could influence atmospheric chemistry, boosting certain chemical reactions that could temporarily worsen depletion of the ozone layer. It could also influence surface temperatures … since water vapor traps heat [emphasis added].”

However, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai was many times more powerful than NASA assessed. One study concluded: “[D]ue to extreme altitude reach of the eruption, volcanic plume circumnavigated the Earth in only one week and dispersed nearly pole-to-pole in three months. The observations provide evidence for an unprecedented increase in the global stratospheric water mass by 13% as compared to climatological levels … The unique nature and magnitude of the global stratospheric perturbation by the Hunga eruption rank it among the most remarkable climatic events in the modern observation era.”

These clear scientific facts don’t align with NASA’s unequivocal attribution of current warming events to anthropomorphic causes. The agency watched an epic volcano with negligible climate comment, then raised a histrionic ruckus over a heat wave as human-caused without weighing the possible impact of Hunga Tonga. So much for “clear, awe-inspiring science.” Hunga Tonga’s absence from NASA’s assessment suggests the agency is not as good at looking down at the planet as it is looking up to ideologues for direction.

The author is a Brookfield best-selling author, lawyer, farmer and pastor. Reprinted from the Small Farm Republic website.

Categories: Commentary

17 replies »

  1. And your point is? Do we just stand by and hope that you are right? Do we just wait for the atmosphere to cleanse itself? And what if the climate deniers are wrong? What do we do then?

    NASA was founded by then-President Eisenhower in 1958. There is no doubt in my mind that it will survive the current administration.

    • The volcanoes input into the atmosphere gets accounted for in the short-term modelling. That would be the point. When claiming a science based conclusion, then use science to reach it. As a diagnostician in an entirely unrelated field I see nearly every day conclusions jumped to based on expectation of a cause, or trying not to be the cause, or other reasons. Follow the data is the mantra.

      • The climate HAS changed; either temporarily or permanently. No conclusions jumped to here and I do hope that you are right and I am wrong.

    • As Mr. Klar points out in his excellent book “Small Farm Republic”, it’s clear that the preferred approach of climate alarmists is to accelerate carbon release into the atmosphere with the construction of wind and solar farms (mostly constructed using coal power and mining rare earth minerals). The main concern we should all have is to do something EFFECTIVE at combatting climate change. Scaring people with unreliable “science” and causing scared people to make hasty short sighted decisions is the exact wrong approach to solving the actual problem. It has been much more effective as a political tool to convince voters to give more power to the government in the name of a climate crisis.

    • The term climate deniers is nothing more than political propaganda. Other such statements include “follow the science, antivaccers and so on. There are many world renounced scientists that do not support the narrative that carbon will destroy the planet, such as Princeton, physicist, Happer. These same politicians and non-elected entities to include the UN are using the climate narrative as a means to assume power over the entire global population, all production and consumption of goods and your personal property and liberty and freedom. Any intelligent, critical thinking person would question the science prior to giving up control of their lives. They have special plans for the planet, people and all resources, to include limiting people to only purchasing 3-8 pieces of clothing per year, making people eat insects, as well as the global redistribution of wealth. Yes, your wealth and every other American’s, too. So, many be you should be considering the risks associated with blindly accepting the climate narrative.

    • Re: “And what if the climate deniers are wrong? What do we do then?”

      What do we do if the so-called “climate deniers” are right?

      It’s not like ‘the climate deniers’ are denying there’s a climate. What I think they’re saying is that the alleged cure is likely more dangerous than the alleged crisis. In fact, I think they’re saying, what if the climate crisis crowd is prescribing the wrong cure? What do we do then?

      “Who is more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?” O.W. Kenobi

      • Excellently stated. Let’s believe the narrative, aka science, without question, of entities that wants to control all aspects of life on earth.

      • “The alleged crisis”?? Is your house and/or business underwater or burned to the ground? Any loved ones drowned, burned beyond recognition or not accounted for? How about pets?

        Nothing better to do than single me out for your clever insults and put-downs?

  2. The author states that NASA “seems to have ignored” the impact on climate of the largest volcanic eruption that we’ve seen in a long time. Actually, it is Mr. Klar who is ignoring (or just ignorant of) the fact that, historically, large volcanic eruptions have caused the Earth’s climate to cool.,The%201912%20eruption%20of%20Mt.

  3. Some think the earth is millions of years old and others believe the earth is thousands of years old. Either way, if we have only kept weather records for about 100 years, how can anyone honestly say we have enough information to measure the earth’s patterns of weather, heating, cooling, etc?

    When you think about this subject with a much broader context, there are many intricate factors that involve our earth, sun and our entire universe that have been perfectly aligned for our benefit without any help from humans.

    I think this subject is better said to be a human arrogance problem. Some want to pretend “to know” what is unknown and then pretend “to know” a solution to what is unknown.

    The ONE enthroned in heaven laughs. Psalm 2:4

  4. Assuming, for the moment, that human produced carbon dioxide is/will produce global warming there’s an important question that seems to be unasked. I posed it to Dr. Alan Betts, the Rutland Herald’s favorite climate scientist. “Assuming humans stopped using fossil fuels immediately, how long would it take for atmospheric CO2 to return to the appropriate level?” His answer: “Hundreds or thousands of years.” If he is correct, the CO2 horse left the barn a long time ago. Thus, the only rational action is mitigation, not prevention. Giving huge subsidies to buy electric cars is idiocy. Let’s spend the money to harden places like Montpelier or Ludlow.

    • Exactly right. The horse is out of the barn. Even the most radical actions won’t have any meaningful impact for decades. But that doesn’t stop politicians from promising that their formula for radical actions, which happen to coincide with giving them more power over you, will result in dramatic results. As if one less SUV has a direct impact on major weather events. The amazing thing is that so many people buy into it without questioning whether tangible results will obtain. People need to become familiar with Bjorn Lomburg if they want to know anything about real, responsible actions that matter.

      • JT: I listen to his podcasts on climate change. Lomburg is on record stating that he aggregates UN data on climate change and has sent the UN his analysis on the economical changes that could be make, as what the UN proposed via the 2030 agenda is not economically feasible, and ineffective. His recommendations were ignored. This is not about climate change. This is about control.

  5. For all those injury driven people interested in learning more about what caused the fire in Maui, I am posting this short podcast, discussion panel. The discussion focuses on a historical account of Green policies on the environment, which exasperate the threat of wild fires, governmental failure and weaponization of the media. This is very informative.

  6. The author said that an underwater volcano last year had “massive impact” on our climate. The author didn’t tell us what that impact was. Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? No. The most significant climate impacts from volcanic injections into the stratosphere come from the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid, which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulfate aerosols. The aerosols increase the reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space, cooling the Earth’s lower atmosphere or troposphere. This is not from NASA but the US Geological Survey. Or has Joe Biden corrupted the scientists there as well?

    • GOD says to ALL Who Pretend to Know the Unknown:

      “Who is this that obscures MY plans with words without knowledge?
      Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer ME.”

      “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell ME, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!”
      Job 38:2-3