Friday, March 06, 2015



Looking back







Just Another Warmist Lie

by Viv Forbes

2015 is the make-or-break year for climate alarmism, with a crucial battle planned for Paris in November. So we can expect regular bursts of global warming propaganda. panic button

The year started on cue with a breathless announcement from the US National Climate Data Centre: “2014 was Earth's warmest year on record” (their records start in 1880).The Little Ice Age ended in about 1880.

Therefore it is no surprise that global temperatures have generally risen since then. And it reveals nothing about the cause of the warming.Moreover the announcement hides more than it reveals.

Firstly the alleged new peak temperature is just 0.04℃ higher than 2010. Who are they kidding? No weather recording station can measure to that accuracy. Once the likely error bars are added to the averaged data, the story changes to “recent global temperatures remain flat”.Secondly, what does “average” mean?

Almost every place on Earth has a different average temperature, and the averages range from 34℃ to -58℃, a range of 92℃. With very large daily and seasonal variations, an unevenly scattered and variable set of temperature recording stations, plus frequent “adjustments” to the raw figures, their calculated “global average” is probably a manipulated and meaningless number.Trends are more important than spot values.

Satellite data and proxies such as ice core data give more reliable long-term “average” temperature trends; both records say that 2014 is NOT unusually high.Moreover, information on global temperature trends go back far beyond 1880 - ice core data goes back 20,000 years, as shown below in the GRIP ice core data records.



These show there were several periods in the last 10,000 years with global temperatures significantly above that for 2014.

SOURCE





Naomi Oreskes Warps Climate Skeptic History

Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes is best known to climate realists for her 2010 screed Merchants of Doubt, but a short, obscure, error-riddled essay she wrote as a chapter in the book How Well Do Facts Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge is more significant. In it she examines the 1991 origin of the “skeptics are paid industry shills” narrative found in a legendary set of “leaked Western Fuels memos.”

Oreskes’ chapter is important because she interprets the memos as industry’s plan for a vast national campaign using paid climate scientists to create lasting public doubt about global warming. That’s the same interpretation repeated ad nauseam by climate alarmists such as Al Gore, Ross Gelbspan (1997’s The Heat Is On), and Canadian attack website DeSmogBlog.

Appallingly, nobody in this parade of critics ever fact-checked the memos, not even historian Oreskes. Critics misinterpreted what they were looking at in the hundred-or-so pages of “Western Fuels memos.” They cherry-picked pieces that made skeptics look worst and patched them together into an assumption-laden fairy-tale.

According to Russell Cook’s excellent Heartland Institute Report Merchants of Smear, and numerous interviews with the “memo” sources, all the critics had was a hodgepodge of e-mail exchanges from a loose coalition of 24 large and small electric utilities worried about a carbon tax bill in Congress.

The fairy tale spinners focused only on emails from the utilities’ coal suppliers. The coalition explored lobbying to raise public concern about the impact of the tax, along with pointing out the weaknesses in the claims humans were causing climate change, using well-established skeptical scientists as spokesmen to balance the deluge of alarmist publicity.

The “memos” were the everyday work products of coalition members—including the Edison Electric Institute, a large trade group of investor-owned utilities—filed away in no particular order. EEI coordinated the most misinterpreted document, a campaign proposal by opinion survey firm Cambridge Reports of Massachusetts. The other “memos” included letters, meeting notices, reports from a hired Washington public relations firm, sample ads from a North Dakota direct mail firm, and similar items.

Innocuous Trade Association Demonized

Less than one-third of the jumbled “memos” involved Western Fuels Association. It’s ironic that they became known as the “Western Fuels memos,” because WFA is just the opposite of what the alarmist critics thought. It wasn’t a lobbying group but rather a nonprofit, member-owned co-op serving consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives and other public power systems. WFA manages mining and transportation of coal from member-owned mines and buys additional coal in the open market, facts printed on the inside cover of WFA’s annual reports.

The coalition’s climate skeptics picked the semi-humorous acronym “ICE,” and Cambridge Reports suggested several names to fit, including “Informed Citizens for the Environment” and “Information Council for the Environment.” Western Fuels used the latter.

The single most misinterpreted page, “Strategy,” listed nine goals, topped by “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” Critics mischaracterized that as “orders from headquarters” to reposition the public into believing global warming is not a fact. Al Gore even featured it in ominous red letters spread across a frame of his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Actually, it was merely a suggestion offered by Cambridge Reports.

Coalition Dissolves

Even more importantly, Western Fuels Association officials did not even read the Cambridge Reports proposal, because they had already hired Simmons Advertising of Grand Forks, North Dakota. They never saw the “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” goal, and they say they wouldn’t have used it if they had, because it was too abstract.

The national campaign never happened, a three-city test run flopped, and the coalition dissolved amid disagreements between skeptics and pragmatists. In July 1991, coalition members went their separate ways. Smaller ones, generally skeptics, chose to fight for sound science and against new regulations, whereas big, investor-owned utilities abandoned the science debate and chose to lobby to favorably influence legislation.

Slanted Focus, Coverage

Of the original “Western Fuels memos,” only fifty poorly scanned, frustratingly incomplete images on a Greenpeace Investigations site are publicly available today. So, where did Oreskes get the entire set?

She claims she found them “in the archives of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Washington, D.C.” and advises, “scholars wishing to consult these materials should contact the AMS.”

AMS is actually headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts It maintains a small Washington, DC office for government affairs, but it has no archives. The AMS archivist in Boston verified no such documents ever existed in the society’s archives.

Oreskes said an “Anthony Socci” brought the documents to her attention. The AMS archivist said Socci—a Senate Commerce Committee staffer from 1991 to 1993 who managed hearings for Sen. Al Gore—had been an AMS employee for a time, and likely had a personal copy he made available to Oreskes.

How did Socci get the documents? The most likely answer comes from a letter on EEI letterhead dated May 6, 1991, showing the group’s global warming task force strongly disparaged the skeptic campaign. Within a month, the memos were circulating among environmentalists in Washington. The Sierra Club forwarded a copy to the New York Times, mentioned in a July 8, 1991 article headlined, “Pro Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea.”

A noted historian, when asked for the simplest definition of history, said, “History is what really happened.” That’s not what Oreskes wrote.

SOURCE





Sustainability has failed, but does Britain's Green party know it?

The sustainable development model has long been doomed to failure, but the Green Party is still in denial, argues John Foster in The Guardian

The coming general election is the least predictable for many years. One reason for this is the “green surge” – the Green party is unprecedentedly polling at around 7%, with recent evidence suggesting that it could affect the outcome in at least 18 seats and thus, in a volatile situation, the overall result.

More people are now members of the Greens than the Liberal Democrats. This is already a major change to the political environment within which business has to operate. Has the green agenda finally arrived in British politics?

The Greens are arriving just as it is becoming evident that the sustainability paradigm has failed. The issue of climate change illustrates this failure. If we don’t keep average atmospheric temperature to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels, we are (as all credible experts now agree) in for dangerous and potentially disastrous climate change.

Unless we are already well embarked on a programme for drastic reductions worldwide, we won’t achieve them; as the permanently crossed fingers of the international sustainability establishment testify, we clearly have not.

This example illustrates how impotent the sustainable development model always was. Constraining present needs (or desires) to serve future needs could only offer a toolkit of lead spanners, liable to bend under any real strain. No wonder we still find the nuts and bolts of unsustainable living stubbornly unshiftable.

Greens are perhaps as deep in denial about climate change as those with more standard vested interests. This can be encapsulated in the words of the Green Party member who said: it can’t be too late to stop climate change, because if it was, how could we find the energy to go on campaigning?

This logic is now coming under breaking strain. Defending the idea that it can’t be too late, from the knowledge that we have barely started, gives rise to techno-fantasy. The Oxford geoengineering programme, for instance, canvasses the introduction of sulphur dioxide particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect away a proportion of incoming sunlight, or adding nutrients to the oceans to increase draw-down of atmospheric carbon.

But such projects belong to the realm of science fiction and, as even their proponents tacitly recognise, merely continue the mindset which has brought us to our present plight.

Since that mindset is doomed, we are going to have to learn to live with post-sustainability. This will be bleak. It means accepting that we face what a former UK government chief scientist has called a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages worldwide, with all their consequences in terms of attempted migrations, struggles for resources and associated conflict. The only way to retrieve anything for human hope from this mess will be to re-conceive emerging post-sustainability positively, as ‘post- hubris’.

Hubris is overweening confidence in human ability to control our surroundings and what happens to us. The modern project of managing the natural world for human benefit, launched by the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment, now stands revealed as a lethal form of this failing. To have pointed this out is the green movement’s real achievement hitherto.

This is now gaining wider recognition with unexpected support for what could become a green-led recovery from hubris. We see this in the contempt for all conventional politicians, who promise betterment but fail to deliver.

Correspondingly, there is a growing sense that our resilience lies in the strength of both national and local culture, which further moves towards multiculturalism can only subvert. A confused form of this awareness can be seen in the UKIP phenomenon.

Closely related is recognition of our need to recover solidarities of community, which neoliberal capitalism under governments of the right and (vaguely) the left has trashed. This explains the haemorrhaging of Labour support to the Greens and nationalists on issues like transport, healthcare and welfare.

Post-hubristic consciousness is clearly still inchoate and embraces many contradictions – Scottish nationalists reject the UK but yearn for the EU, many UKIP supporters resist the realities of climate change. The need to rebuild what viable resilience we can is impossible to ignore.

Also impossible to ignore is that these are all profoundly ecological recognitions, of which the Greens should be natural trustees. Will they rise to that responsibility?

One thing can confidently be predicted about this general election, is it will cost the Greens an heroic expenditure of effort for very minimal results in terms of seats and parliamentary voice. Given excited expectations among a much larger membership, disillusion will be all the more acute. Will it lead to a reappraisal of strategy and realignment with new allies? For the business community, as for the rest of us, much hangs on the answer.

SOURCE





Former IPCC Climatologist Lennart Bengtsson Calls Out Spiegel On Climate Gloom: “Wrong…Hopelessly Naïve…Ought To Know Better”

Some days ago I wrote about how German news weekly Der Spiegel had resorted once again to catastrophe-hopping when it recently rolled out its print edition whose front cover featured a burning planet caused by human climate change.

Skeptics in Europe reacted harshly, but at the same time dismiss the doomsday piece as a desperate sensationalism stunt in a bid to stem its hemorrhage of readers.

Some criticism even came from rather hefty figures in the climate scene. For example Swedish professor Lennart Bengtsson, former IPCC climatologist and former head of the German Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.

Bengtsson posted a commentary concerning the Spiegel doomsday piece at the Swedish Anthropocene site here. He calls the alarmist views of book author Naomi Klein, which Spiegel cited in its article: “not only wrong, but also hopelessly naïve.”

Bengtsson, who has gravitated from being an regular alarmist to a non-alarmist luke-warmer over the years, thinks that the growing emission of greenhouse gases is a problem over the long term, but that it is not an urgent problem. He writes there is no scientific basis showing the weather has become more extreme.

The storms are not worse than before, and they will be fewer in a warmer climate as a result of the polar regions warming up.”

On sea level Bengtsson writes that it is now rising at about 3 mm per year, but has not accelerated over the past 23 years. It makes no sense to rush and to make “hasty and inaccurate decisions“. He writes:

"The reason for the increased emissions of carbon dioxide is the increasing earth‘s population and the desire of all the poor to live a life that is a little better and more hopeful, and perhaps someday even take a taxi at any time – surely among some of Naomi Klein’s environmental sins.”

Bengtsson calls the belief that a non-capitalist system can solve the earth’s energy and environmental problems “completely naïve” and uninformed, citing past failed experiments in socialism.

"If anyone ought to be familiar with the costs needed to solve the problems left behind by communist East Germany, it is Spiegel. The Elbe River was a dead river at the time of the German reunification. Now, thanks to the capitalist system, it has returned to life.”

As an example of a successful approach to lower CO2, emissions, Bengtsson uses the United States: “In fact, one of the few countries that has significantly reduced CO2 emissions are the United States, through its growing gas exploration!”

Bengtsson adds:

"The only hope to solve the planet’s long-term environmental problems is via the open and free society, not least of all by a socialist dictatorship on a global scale. This at least Spiegel’s editors ought to know.”

SOURCE





The Political Assault on Climate Skeptics

Members of Congress send inquisitorial letters to universities, energy companies, even think tanks

By RICHARD S. LINDZEN

Research in recent years has encouraged those of us who question the popular alarm over allegedly man-made global warming. Actually, the move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

As to the science itself, it’s worth noting that all predictions of warming since the onset of the last warming episode of 1978-98—which is the only period that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) attempts to attribute to carbon-dioxide emissions—have greatly exceeded what has been observed. These observations support a much reduced and essentially harmless climate response to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

In addition, there is experimental support for the increased importance of variations in solar radiation on climate and a renewed awareness of the importance of natural unforced climate variability that is largely absent in current climate models. There also is observational evidence from several independent studies that the so-called “water vapor feedback,” essential to amplifying the relatively weak impact of carbon dioxide alone on Earth temperatures, is canceled by cloud processes.

There are also claims that extreme weather—hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, floods, you name it—may be due to global warming. The data show no increase in the number or intensity of such events. The IPCC itself acknowledges the lack of any evident relation between extreme weather and climate, though allowing that with sufficient effort some relation might be uncovered.

World leaders proclaim that climate change is our greatest problem, demonizing carbon dioxide. Yet atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have been vastly higher through most of Earth’s history. Climates both warmer and colder than the present have coexisted with these higher levels.

Currently elevated levels of carbon dioxide have contributed to increases in agricultural productivity. Indeed, climatologists before the recent global warming hysteria referred to warm periods as “climate optima.” Yet world leaders are embarking on costly policies that have no capacity to replace fossil fuels but enrich crony capitalists at public expense, increasing costs for all, and restricting access to energy to the world’s poorest populations that still lack access to electricity’s immense benefits.

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

The latest example began with an article published in the New York Times on Feb. 22 about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Mr. Soon has, for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. But as Greenpeace noted in 2011, Mr. Soon was, in small measure, supported by fossil-fuel companies over a period of 10 years.

The Times reintroduced this old material as news, arguing that Mr. Soon had failed to list this support in a recent paper in Science Bulletin of which he was one of four authors.

Two days later Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, used the Times article as the basis for a hunting expedition into anything said, written and communicated by seven individuals — David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr., Steven Hayward and me— about testimony we gave to Congress or other governmental bodies. We were selected solely on the basis of our objections to alarmist claims about the climate.

In letters he sent to the presidents of the universities employing us (although I have been retired from MIT since 2013), Mr. Grijalva wanted all details of all of our outside funding, and communications about this funding, including “consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and any other monies.” Mr. Grijalva acknowledged the absence of any evidence but purportedly wanted to know if accusations made against Mr. Soon about alleged conflicts of interest or failure to disclose his funding sources in science journals might not also apply to us.

Perhaps the most bizarre letter concerned the University of Colorado’s Mr. Pielke. His specialty is science policy, not science per se, and he supports reductions in carbon emissions but finds no basis for associating extreme weather with climate. Mr. Grijalva’s complaint is that Mr. Pielke, in agreeing with the IPCC on extreme weather and climate, contradicts the assertions of John Holdren, President Obama’s science czar.

Mr. Grijalva’s letters convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense—and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress.

After the Times article, Sens. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) also sent letters to numerous energy companies, industrial organizations and, strangely, many right-of-center think tanks (including the Cato Institute, with which I have an association) to unearth their alleged influence peddling.

The American Meteorological Society responded with appropriate indignation at the singling out of scientists for their scientific positions, as did many individual scientists. On Monday, apparently reacting to criticism, Mr. Grijalva conceded to the National Journal that his requests for communications between the seven of us and our outside funders was “overreach.”

Where all this will lead is still hard to tell. At least Mr. Grijalva’s letters should help clarify for many the essentially political nature of the alarms over the climate, and the damage it is doing to science, the environment and the well-being of the world’s poorest.

SOURCE





Official Australian report finds climate change benefits

Climate change could have positive economic spin-offs, a new government report says.  It's only one sentence in a vast bureaucratic document but it is a sign of the times to see some realism creeping into officialdom

The Intergenerational Report released on Thursday includes a chapter on "managing the environment", which has been a feature of previous versions of the five-yearly economic and budget update.

The report sets out the government's plan to reduce carbon pollution through its $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund.

But it also says "some economic effects may be beneficial".  "Where regions become warmer or wetter this may allow for increased agricultural output - while others may be harmful," the report said.

"For example, lower rainfall may reduce crop yields, or transport infrastructure (such as roads, ports and rail networks) may become more susceptible to damage from extreme weather events."

The report reinforces the government's aim to cut emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.

But, despite the report being about Australia in the period to 2055, it does not discuss a possible new target.

"Australia will meet its Kyoto target for 2020 and will join with the international community to establish post-2020 targets with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions," it said.

"The international community has agreed to aim to keep global warming to a less than two degrees celsius increase above pre-industrial climate levels."

The intergenerational report produced by Labor in 2010 found that unmitigated climate change would leave Australian GDP in 2100 about eight per cent lower than the level it would be in the absence of climate change.

Former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello's 2007 report concluded: "There does seem to be consensus around the fact that significant levels of global warming imply losses in global GDP over the longer term that should be factored into the policy choices made today."

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Thursday, March 05, 2015


An Obama promise that has come true!

Watch him make the promise here.  And people voted for him!  The power of a dark skin in a nation brainwashed into guilt by the Left

In contrast to the steep decline in the gasoline price index over the past year (which led to a decline in the overall Consumer Price Index), the seasonally adjusted electricity price index hit an all-time high in January, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In January, the seasonally adjusted price index for electricity was 212.290. That was up from 210.489 in December, which was the record up until then. Before that, the high had been the 209.341 recorded in March of last year.

The annual electricity price index set a record in 2014 of 208.020 up from 200.750 in 2013.

In January, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity also hit an all-time high for that month of the year.

According to BLS, a KWH of electricity cost an average of 13.8 cents in January 2015, which was less than the 14.3-cent cost in June, July and August of 2014 (and 14.1-cent cost of September 2014) but more than the average cost of a KWH in any month—including the summer months—of 2013. In that year, the average price of a KWH peaked at 13.7 cents in the months from June to September.

The rise in the electricity price index ran counter to the gasoline price index, the overall energy price index, and the overall Consumer Price Index, all of which declined in January as well as over the past twelve months.

“The gasoline decrease was overwhelmingly the cause of the decline in the all items index, which would have risen 0.1 percent had the gasoline index been unchanged,” said BLS.

The BLS’s price indexes measure relative change in prices against a baseline of 100. The seasonally adjusted monthly electricity price index exceeded 100 between September and October of 1983, when it rose from 98.9 to 101.0.

Historically, increasing electricity prices have not been inevitable in the United States. From 1913 to 1946, the electricity price index trended down from 45.5 to 26.6. By 1974, it was still only 44.1, which was less than it had been in 1913.

SOURCE  





After the collapse of Communism, global warming is the next great hope of the far Left -- in their hunger for global mastery

Interview summary

Lord Christopher Monckton says the “climate change” issue is really a way to gain control of the world.  Lord Monckton, former award winning journalist who was once an advisor to Margaret Thatcher, contends, “This is a story that has been grossly, I mean grossly, oversold.  They have exaggerated beyond all reason.

Just this week, I’ve had a major paper published in the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Science which gives the reasons why they got it wrong.  We went into their wretched climate models and took them apart.  We’ve found what they did wrong, and we exposed it.  The left have gone ballistic.”

Lord Monckton goes on to say, “What seems to be happening is the communist, in particular the hard left, have taken up these climate cudgels in a very big way, and they are the ones that are really driving this agenda.  Why are they doing this?  That is the first question.  The reason, of course, is they have long wanted to set up what used to be called the socialist international.  It’s a single giant global communist tyranny.

Of course, you get Obama, whose father was communist.  His chief mentor was communist.  His rhetoric is communist.  He has taken this up in a big way.  The State of the Union Address was really rather pathetic. . . . I never thought I’d see the United States electing a communist as President.”

Lord Monckton also points out, “These people are totalitarian.  These are people who want global government. They want to be part of a regime of total control. . . . This is what the hard left has always wanted.  It was the same in Hitler’s Germany. . . .Now, you got the communist party in the United States, but now they are calling it the Democrats.”

The co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, has made public statements that say there is “no scientific proof” humans are the cause of global warming.  Lord Monckton, who knows him personally, says, “Patrick Moore has made a very moving speech about how he tried to set up a genuine environmental organization.  Its intention was to make the world a better place, to leave a smaller environmental footprint on the world. . . . He is heartbroken.  I can’t tell you how sad he is at the perversion of the organization he founded.

Goofy teenagers are giving it money and going around collecting money, not realizing that what they are actually collecting money for is not an environmental organization anymore.  It is a communist front.  It is there solely to bring in a world government to put its people in charge, using the environment just as Hitler used it as the excuse for additional totalitarian control.

Let’s not forget, it was Hitler who first founded the green movement and first used the environmental movement, not for the basis for genuine concern about the environment, but as a basis for getting control over every detail over people’s lives so they couldn’t argue back.  That’s what this is really all about. . . .  I get criticized all the time as to why I don’t just stick to the science.  I say somebody has to tell the truth, not only about the science, but also about the politics.”

Lord Monckton believes there is climate change, but he does not believe man has anything to do with it.  Lord Monckton says science will ultimately back up that claim.  Why the recent push on climate change that is also called global warming?  Lord Monckton says, “I think they are panicking because they know that this process  . . . cannot be kept going for very much longer because . . . it’s been 25 years since the UN produces a report saying we were all doomed, and since then, the rate of warming has been half of what they predicted and well below their entire range of estimates.”

Also, former Vice President Al Gore predicted the polar ice caps would be melted by now.  Just the opposite has happened, as Lord Monckton points out, “If you took the Artic and the Antarctic together, global sea ice was the greatest it’s been throughout the 35 years of the satellite era.  It is greater than it has ever been before.”

Lord Monckton closes by saying, “God Bless America, and in light of what’s to come, if we don’t stop it, God Bless us all.”

SOURCE  





More Ice on Great Lakes Now Than During 2014 Polar Vortex

 The total ice cover of the Great Lakes is currently 88.3 percent, or 2.3 percentage points more than it was at the same time during last year’s polar vortex, when 86 percent of the lakes’ surfaces were frozen solid, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The ice accumulation is also much higher than the 51.4 percent long-term average since 1973. However, it is still short of the record of 94.7 percent, which was set on Feb. 19, 1979.

Lakes Erie, Huron and Superior are almost completely frozen over, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA). Three quarters of Lakes Michigan and Ontario are also covered in ice.

Ice cover on the Great Lakes currently runs from a high of 96.18 percent on Lake Huron to a low of 71.16 percent on Lake Michigan, Lt. David B. Keith, public affairs officer at the U.S. National/Naval Ice Center (NIC), told CNSNews.com.

As of Sunday, the ice cover on each lake was:

Lake Huron: 96.18 %
Lake Erie: 96.01 %
Lake Superior: 94.14 %
Lake Ontario: 76.13 %
Lake Michigan:  71.16 %

There is so much ice on Lake Erie that the Arthur M. Anderson, a 767-foot freighter, got stuck in it for five days late last month. The Coast Guard ice breaker Bristol Bay also got stuck in the 8-to-10-foot thick ice itself while on a mission to rescue the stranded freighter. Both vessels were finally released by the Griffon, a Canadian Coast Guard ice cutter.

Imagery from NOAA’s polar-orbiting satellite is used to take daily readings of the surface temperatures of the Great Lakes. NIC produces a twice-weekly overview of current conditions during the winter months.

According to the National Weather Service’s 30-day outlook for March, which was released on Feb. 28, below-average temperatures are predicted in the eastern half of the United States this month:

“The update to the March temperature outlook indicates an increased probability of below-normal mean temperatures over a more extensive area of the Eastern U.S. covering most regions east of the Rocky Mountains with the exception of the Southeast.”

However, NOAA does not believe that the Great Lakes ice record set in 1979 will be broken this year.

"I'm not expecting to break the record this year as we've got a ways to go (record is 94.76%, sounds closer than it actually is) but we may still see an increase of ice later this week with another cold push into the upper Midwest,” said Brian Jackson, NOAA’s Great Lakes ice analyst.

“Our maximum ice extent this year, so far, occurred on Saturday, Feb. 28, when we hit 88.75%. This puts this year in 5th place on record (since 1972).

Record: 94.76% - 1979
2nd: 92.19% - 2014
3rd: 90.7% - 1994
4th: 90.06% - 1977
5th: 88.75% - 2015

“It may be possible to move into 3rd or 4th place into this weekend, depending on how much the ice shifts and melts ahead of the colder air moving in," Jackson noted.

But Joe D’Aleo, co-founder of the Weather Channel, thinks that the record could be broken. During “the next 5-10 days, cold temperatures will help challenge the record,” he said in a blog post.

SOURCE





Obama’s claim that Keystone XL oil ‘bypasses the U.S.’ earns Four Pinocchios

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.” – President Obama, interview with WDAY of Fargo, N.D., Feb. 26, 2015

President Obama, seeking to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline, in an interview with a North Dakota station repeated some false claims that had previously earned him Pinocchios. Yet he managed to make his statement even more misleading than before, suggesting the pipeline would have no benefit for American producers at all.

The Fact Checker obviously takes no position on the pipeline, and has repeatedly skewered both sides for overinflated rhetoric. Yet the president’s latest comments especially stand out. Let’s review the facts again.

The Facts

As we have noted before, when the president says “it bypasses the United States,” he leaves out a very important step. The crude oil would travel to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel (known as a distillate fuel in the trade). Current trends suggest that only about half of that refined product would be exported, and it could easily be lower.

A report released in February by IHS Energy, which consults for energy companies, concluded that “Canadian crude making its way to the USGC [Gulf Coast] will likely be refined there, and most of the refined products are likely to be consumed in the United States.” It added that “for Gulf refineries, heavy bitumen blends from the oil sands are an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America.” It concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States.

Enviromentalists dismiss IHS as a biased source, but the analysis mirrors the conclusions of the State Department’s final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL project. This is what is especially strange about Obama’s remarks, as he appears to be purposely ignoring the findings of the lead Cabinet agency on the issue.

“Comments were received throughout the review process speculating that WCSB heavy crude oil supplies carried on the proposed Project would pass through the United States and be loaded onto vessels for ultimate sale in markets such as Asia,” the State Department said. “As crude of foreign origin, Canadian crude is eligible for crude export license as long as it is not commingled with domestic crude. However, such an option appears unlikely to be economically justified for any significant durable trade given transport costs and market conditions.”

The report added:

“Once WCSB [Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin] crude oil arrives at the Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast refiners have a significant competitive advantage in processing it compared to foreign refiners because the foreign refiners would have to incur additional transportation charges to have the crude oil delivered from the Gulf Coast to their location….  Gulf Coast refineries have the potential to absorb volumes of WCSB crude that go well beyond those that would be delivered via the proposed Project. On this basis, the likelihood that WCSB crudes will be exported in volume from the Gulf Coast is considered low.”

Finally, note that Obama said Keystone was just for Canadian oil, and “we should be focusing on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers.” But actually, Keystone would help U.S. oil producers in North Dakota and Montana. TransCanada, the builder of the pipeline, has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken area –and hopes to build that to 100,000. That’s nearly 10 percent of the region’s production.

The Congressional Research Service in 2013 estimated that about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity had been set aside for crude from the Bakken region. Of course, delays in the Keystone project have sent oil producers in search of other methods of transport, potentially making this link less relevant, but the president can’t argue the project was not proposed without U.S. producers in mind.

Moreover, as we have noted before, U.S. companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region. Thus, contrary to Obama’s suggestion, it is not strictly Canadian.

We have poked fun at TransCanada for suggesting the pipeline would reduce reliance on foreign energy — when in fact Canada is a foreign country — but that does not give Obama license to suggest there is no possible American benefit from the pipeline.

(Incidentally, while the president spoke of 250 to 300 permanent jobs, the State Department report actually says 35. But this is a construction project. How many construction projects result in very many permanent jobs?)

The White House declined to provide an on-the-record defense of the president’s statement. That certainly suggests officials are unwilling to make a public case contradicting the State Department findings.

The Pinocchio Test

When Obama first started making the claim that the crude oil in the Keystone pipeline would bypass the United States, we wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios — and strongly suggested he take the time to review the State Department report.

Clearly, the report remains unread.

The president’s latest remarks pushes this assertion into the Four Pinocchios column. If he disagrees with the State Department’s findings, he should begin to make the case why it is wrong, rather than assert the opposite, without any factual basis. Moreover, by telling North Dakota listeners that the pipeline has no benefit for Americans, he is again being misleading, given that producers in the region have signed contracts to transport some of their production through the pipeline.

Four Pinocchios

SOURCE






Making the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

by JANET LEVY   -- a BOOK REVIEW  of "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" by  Alex Epstein

In the anti-fracking film Gasland, producer Josh Fox proclaims that the process of extracting previously inaccessible oil and gas from shale pollutes water supplies, increases the incidence of cancer and leads to higher levels of seismic activity, despite ample contrary evidence. This self-proclaimed environmental watchdog and anti-fracking crusader has led extensive efforts to end or prevent fracking throughout the United States by obfuscating the truth and stopping communities from reaping the benefits of America's shale boom. Josh Fox and others like him are uninterested in looking for improvements in fracking technology and safety. Instead they seek to shut down shale exploration and other fossil fuel extraction altogether.

In his recent book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein challenges the ethical bias of environmentalists who oppose fossil-fuel use and deftly argues that fossil fuels have vastly improved the planet and the lives of its human inhabitants. He contends that a human-centric moral value that supports the well-being and prosperity of human beings ranks on a higher ethical plain than the utopian, environmentalist ideal of a "wild" earth or environment absent little or no human impact. Epstein's moral position is that man should serve human beings, not nature, and that it is wrong-headed and misguided to view man as a destructive force meriting punishment for cultivating the environment for his benefit. With fossil fuels, limiting their use creates reduced economic prosperity, higher levels of human starvation, lower life expectancies and higher rates of infant mortality.

To environmentalists, any transformation of nature is inherently bad and man bears primary responsibility for negatively impacting nature in the quest to develop and utilize resources. Epstein counters this view with the assertion that man's very survival depends on transforming the environment and that the goal should be responsible resource use, not lack of human impact. Fossil fuel use should be embraced for the many ways they improve our lives, he contends.

To counter the fallacy of environmental harm from fossil use, Epstein reviews past predictions of resource depletion and planetary destruction that never came to pass. In 1972, the Club of Rome and ecologist Paul Ehrlich, then still a Stanford University faculty member, declared that we would run out of oil, natural gas, and certain essential minerals by 1993. In 1970, Life magazine reported that within a decade that city dwellers would need to wear gas masks to survive rampant air pollution, that sunlight reaching the earth would be greatly diminished and that hundreds of thousands of people would die.  Of course, none of these dire predictions came to pass and our air and water are cleaner than ever.

Epstein applauds fossil fuels' many benefits in developed countries and contrasts impoverished societies with their unreliable and low levels of fossil-fuel resources and utilization and the resulting poor sanitation, rampant disease, limited food production, and minimal transportation of goods. A poignant example is a hospital in Gambia, where infant mortality rates are extremely high due to lack of electric power for ultrasound machines to diagnose in-utero problems and incubators to save the lives of premature babies.

Epstein cites data showing that the more fossil fuels are used, the fewer deaths occur from droughts, floods, storms and other climate-related disasters. He compares undeveloped nations with low fossil-fuel use to developed nations and concludes that the latter have higher levels of safety because of better transportation for relief efforts, sturdier buildings and higher agricultural yields. Fossil fuels have enabled us to turn unusable water into usable water and eradicate disease through mass production of pharmaceuticals and vaccines and improved sanitation facilities. Plus, fossil fuels give us the opportunity to move to other climates or change our existing environment to be safe and comfortable despite climate challenges. The machines that run on fossil fuels have transformed the hazardous natural environment to a healthier human environment, Epstein says.

The author also examines the argument that renewable resources can augment or replace fossil fuels entirely. He notes, first, that not a single, independent free-standing wind or solar power plant exists anywhere in the world. He then delineates the problems with renewable energy. Compared to fossil fuels which are cheap, plentiful, reliable, easily extracted and naturally stored, renewable energies, solar and wind, are not plentiful, accounting for under two percent of our energy usage; cannot be naturally stored; and are not reliable because they depend on the vagaries of weather. While fossil fuels are intrinsically concentrated, solar power is diffused and requires many additional resources to concentrate its energy. Plus, it relies on fossil fuel-powered backup systems for off-peak periods.

Although wind farms release no emissions, rotating turbines kill and injure more than a million birds and bats annually and cause pollution from extraction of rare-earth minerals needed to manufacture the turbines. Both wind and solar power require extensive land use and aesthetically degrade the landscape.

Further, wind-energy production causes noise that many find disturbing. Epstein concludes that fossil fuel exploration actually impacts the environment far less than the renewables favored by environmentalists.

 Today, dire predictions exist that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will cause climate catastrophe within a few decades. The truth, Epstein writes, is that, although significant warming has not occurred for a few decades, humans actually thrive with warmer temperatures and plant life proliferates. Both conditions led to drops in climate-related deaths in the past, Epstein says, citing data to back up his claims from the UN Environment Programme's, Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (CRED/OFDA).

Amidst the hysteria surrounding claims of global warming and campaigns to stop fossil fuel use, the question should be raised, "What ultimately benefits human life?" Far from being a danger to the planet, fossil fuels have vastly improved the quality of human life. Our real concerns should be about policies based on unsubstantiated and fallacious claims that would ultimately restrict our use of traditional energy resources that have served us so well. Ultimately, we should focus on how to continue improving the planet for human beings and not on saving the planet from human beings

SOURCE




Venezuela Uses 'F Word' to Discredit Fracking

ALL oil producing nations are probably cursing American ingenuity at the moment


A socialist president who still seems to like his pomp and circumstance

Venezuela is not mincing words with a new exhibition titled "F---ing Fracking" that denounces the environmental toll of hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

"Today at 4pm .... Inauguration of the educational exhibit #FuckingFracking ... Don't miss it," ruling Socialist Party official Ernesto Villegas said on Twitter.

The event features speeches by an economist and oil expert, and will wrap up with a play, according to a half-page advertisement in newspaper Ultimas Noticias. The ad depicts a fractured heart dripping with black oil with dried up leaves coming from the arteries.

President Nicolas Maduro has for months alleged that the United States is deliberately flooding the market with shale oil to sink prices and destabilize his OPEC nation, as well as Russia.

The decline in oil prices has slammed his increasingly cash-strapped and unpopular government in the midst of a deep recession and ahead of important parliamentary elections.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting water and chemicals deep underground to break up rock and release oil and gas.

Environmental groups have expressed concern about risks linked to the process, such as chemical leaks into groundwater and disposal of waste water produced in the process.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015



Disproving the second law of Thermodynamics?‏

A recent study highlighted earlier on this site, claimed to have recorded the signature of global warming cum climate change cum climate disruption via the re-radiated energy coming from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). From it I quote the following pertinent sections:

"They say it confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.  'We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there's more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,' said Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division and lead author of the Nature paper.

'Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect,' Feldman adds.  He said no one before had quite looked in the atmosphere for this type of specific proof of climate change."

There you have it, they have disproved the second law of TD in one easy session without further ado!

The authors seem not concerned that amplification and the addition of energy require new energy, which they claim comes off atmospheric CO2. If engineers are made aware of this extraordinary property of CO2 they will surely be able to design equipment to capture and double the available energy output. If it were true then CO2 would be used in industry as an energy source, which of course it isn't. But it is widely used as a COOLANT, with new applications being researched right now - e.g. here

CO2 does indeed cause more cooling, although that is by only a tiny amount, but it's all that CO2 can do. See  here

A scientific fact is that neither the greenhouse effect nor any climate forcing parameter exist in the open to space atmosphere in which we all live, despite all that you read. Both require energy or create energy out of thin air, literally, see the K&T earth energy budget, where the atmosphere is depicted as source of energy with even more power than the sun itself.

A communication from Hans Schreuder of Sky Dragon fame.  The "addition of energy to the system" is certainly a very strange claim

   



AP’s Seth Borenstein hypes Antarctic melt fears – Recycles same claims from 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 & 1901!

'The Associated Press is recycling more than century old Antarctica ice sheet melt and sea level rise fears.  Reporter Seth Borenstein is not the first one to hype these same Antarctica melt fears. Virtually the exact same claims and hype were reported in 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 and 1901!

2014: Watch: WUSA 9 DC TV station on Antarctic melt fears features images of DC monuments underwater. ‘It’s our choice how fast the seas rise’ – We control sea level rise? Watch Now: Local DC News Schlock Report on Antarctica & Sea Level Rise

1990: Flashback January 11, 1990: NBC’s Today Show features Paul Ehrlich warning of impacts of Antarctic ice melt: 'You Could Tie Your Boat to the Washington Monument'

1979 NYT: “Boats could be launched from the bottom of the steps of the Capitol’ in DC–‘Experts Tell How Antarctic’s Ice Could Cause Widespread Floods - Mushy Ice Beneath Sheet’]

1922: 'Mountain after mountain of [Antarctic] ice will fall into the sea, be swept northwards by the currents, and melt, thus bringing about, but at a much more rapid rate, the threatened inundation of the land by the rising of the sea to its ancient level.' - The Mail Adelaide, SA - April 29, 1922

1901: ‘London On The Border of Destruction’: ‘To Be Wiped Out By A Huge Wave’ - Queanbeyan Age – August 10, 1901 - Excerpt: ‘Geologists believe that this great ice sucker has reached the stage of perfection when it (Antarctica) will, break up again, letting loose all the waters of its auction over the two hemispheres, and completely flooding the low-lying lands of Europe, Asia, and North America.'

The Associated Press and Seth Borenstein are at it again. The article by Seth Borenstein and Luis Andres Henao titled ‘Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The ‘Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change’‘ was published on February 27, 2014.

The AP left out contrary peer-reviewed studies, inconvenient data and trends that counter the articles ‘worse than we thought’ narrative. The AP paints an erroneous picture of potential sea level rise, volcanic causes of any melting and the current state of Antarctica and the geologic history of the continent.

Why did the AP not include any ice specialists with differing views? See: Prominent Scientist Dissents: Renowned glaciologist declares global warming is ‘going to be a big plus’ – Fears ‘Frightening’ Cooling – Warns scientists are ‘prostituting their science’ – Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field.’ Dr. Hughes has travelled to the Arctic ten times and the Antarctic thirteen times since 1968, mostly as the principal investigator of NSF-funded glaciological research.

Of course this was no surprising given the article was co-written by Seth Borenstein who’s recent reporting on ‘hottest year’ claims had to be corrected. See: AP ‘clarifies’ ‘hottest year’ claims: ‘Kudos to Marc Morano for keeping the heat (heh) on about this’

AP’s Seth Borenstein at it again! Claims ‘global warming means more Antarctic ice’ — Meet the new consensus, the opposite of the old consensus

Borenstein has a long history of promoting global warming fears at the expense of journalistic ethics. See: ‘Long sad history of AP reporter Seth Borenstein’s woeful global warming reporting’ More on Borenstein here.

More HERE  (See the original for links)





Now it's caterpillars that cause global warming!



A new study published in Nature Plants shows that hungry, plant-eating insects may limit the ability of forests to take up elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing their capacity to slow human-driven climate change.

The finding is significant because climate change models typically fail to consider changes in the activities of insects in the ecosystem, says Richard Lindroth, a professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the leader of the study. The research suggests it's time to add insects to the models.

Carbon dioxide typically makes plants grow faster and makes them more efficient in how they use nutrients. But the amount of damage caused by leaf-munching bugs in the study nearly doubled under high carbon dioxide conditions, leading to an estimated 70g of carbon-sequestering biomass lost per meter squared per year.

"This is the first time, at this scale, that insects have been shown to compromise the ability of forests to take up carbon dioxide," Lindroth says.

In addition, as feeding increased, more nutrients moved from the canopy to the forest floor in the form of insect fecal material and chewed-on leaf scraps, mixing into the soil and likely altering the nutrient profile of the forest.

"Insects are munching on leaves and they're pooping out remnants, so they are changing the timing of nutrient cycling as well as the quality," Lindroth says.

John Couture, a former graduate student in Lindroth's lab and the lead author of the study, spent three years with his team studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide alone, elevated ozone (which is highly toxic to plants) alone, and elevated levels of both gases combined on stands of aspen and birch growing in what was once one of the largest simulated ecosystems in the world, the Aspen Free-Air Carbon dioxide and ozone Enrichment (Aspen FACE) experiment located near Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Unlike a greenhouse or atmospheric chamber, the FACE site (now decommissioned) was a massive outdoor experimental area that allowed trees to grow under natural conditions, like natural soil, sunlight, and rainfall. The only artificial conditions were those that were experimentally manipulated.

The site consisted of a dozen stands of trees growing in 30 meter diameter plots, surrounded by a network of PVC pipes designed to vent gases into the environment around them.

They were exposed to carbon dioxide and ozone at levels predicted for the year 2050, although Lindroth says the 560 parts-per-million carbon dioxide level studied is probably too low.

The trees were planted as saplings in the mid-1990s and by the time Couture collected data for the study from 2006 though 2008, they had grown to resemble any number of the disturbed forest stands found throughout Wisconsin.

Couture and his team walked through each site, clipping leaves from the canopy using scissors at the end of pruner poles or from scaffolding near the top of the canopy. They also set out frass baskets -- laundry baskets lined with sheets -- to collect scraps of leaves dropped by messy, munching caterpillars and other bugs dining in the canopy, and to collect their fecal droppings.

Tens of thousands of leaves and countless frass baskets later, Couture measured the amount of leaf area consumed by the insects in each plot and sifted through the frass and food droppings in the baskets to assess just how much eating the bugs were doing, to measure the amount of nutrients leaving the trees via their droppings, and to assess the loss of tree biomass.

Why insects would do more munching in a carbon dioxide rich forest is in part a matter of chemistry. Because carbon dioxide is a limiting resource for plant growth, high levels of the gas change the way trees use other resources, like nitrogen, typically leading to less nutritious plants.

"It's like a slice of Wonder Bread versus a slice of high density, protein-rich bakery bread; there's a lot more protein in the bakery bread than the white bread," says Couture. "Insects have a base level of nutrients they need in order to grow and to reach that, they can choose either to eat higher-nutrient food -- unfortunately, insects don't always have that choice -- or to eat more."

Overall, the team found high ozone plots were less hospitable to insects, reducing their munching behavior and leading to less biomass loss.

With the findings, the researchers created models allowing them to predict what could happen in forests under changing environmental conditions.

"The big question is, will northern forests grow faster under elevated carbon dioxide?" says Lindroth. "Carbon dioxide is a substrate for photosynthesis. It gets converted into sugars, which then become plant biomass. Will trees take up more carbon dioxide and thus help reduce its increase in the atmosphere?"

As humans continue to contribute more carbon dioxide to Earth's atmosphere, the answer should be yes as trees act as sponges for the greenhouse gas. But it turns out, very hungry caterpillars and their bug brethren -- in their own quest for food in an elevated carbon dioxide environment -- may limit that growth and reduce the capacity of forests to slow climate warming.

SOURCE

UPDATE: Craig Idso has emailed some preliminary comments on the above claims.  He notes the powerful point that, despite all the cries of doom from Warmists, the earth is steadily greening -- as one would expect from increased atmospheric CO2.  Those caterpillars might have to munch harder!  Craig's comments below:

While I have not seen the paper discussed in this press release, I would not be concerned about the headline of this paper.  There are numerous counter papers showing the opposite is more likely to be true, some from THE VERY SAME FACE LOCATION!  The devil is always in the details and I suspect it may have been related to their experimental design.

Coincidentally, I am just finishing a manuscript that will be submitted to a journal that discusses this very same topic in a section of the paper, and again, the results are overwhelmingly in the other direction where elevated CO2 REDUCES herbivore attack damage.

The net greening observed by satellites is a combination of several factors, including  rising CO2, temperature, precipitation, nitrogen fertilization, policy (e.g., afforestation), etc.  I also discuss this in my forthcoming paper.

Regardless of the causes, the important point in the matter is the fact that despite all of the many real and imagined assaults on vegetation over the past several decades from forest fires, droughts, floods, deforestation, insect outbreaks, and the “dreaded” rise in temperature and CO2 concentrations, which the alarmists claim should be destroying nature, on the whole, there has been a net greening.  And that is a very powerful point that must be made again, again, and again.




UK: Forget MPs and 'cabs for hire’ – the green lobby is already at the wheel

It was scarcely believable that Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw should have been so shameless and so naive. Both were caught out by exactly the same trick that, five years ago, led to Stephen Byers happily admitting to a carefully placed Dispatches briefcase that, when it came to “cash for access”, he was “like a cab for hire”. But at least those former ministers were only touting for thousands of pounds a day after they had left their positions of direct power and influence over government policy. What, then, are we to make of those politicians who receive astonishingly lavish rewards from firms engaged in “renewable energy” when they are still in a position to influence government policy, or have only just stepped down from having responsibility for it?

Last week I referred to the speed with which Charles Hendry MP switched from being minister of state for energy and climate change to the chairmanship of Forewind Ltd. That, you may recall, is the consortium to which his old ministry has just given the go-ahead to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which in its first 10 years of operation is likely to receive some £9 billion in public subsidies. Mr Hendry, we see from his declarations of interest, last year earned £48,000 from Forewind, at up to £1,000 an hour; and also earns £60,000 a year from a company called Bombo, which hopes to build an “interconnector” to bring renewable energy to Britain from Iceland.

He, of course, replaced Lord Deben (aka John Gummer), who was persuaded to resign from Forewind when he was appointed chairman of the “independent” Climate Change Committee, on which the Government relies for advice on its energy policy. But he still, for a while, managed to retain his directorship of Veolia, a company which hopes to make a fortune from connecting wind farms to the grid.

Then, of course, there was the controversial case of Tim Yeo MP, who long served as chairman of the also supposedly “independent” select committee on energy and climate change, despite earning £200,000 a year from various renewable and “low carbon” energy firms. These included his directorship of Eurotunnel, which plans a new interconnector to bring French electricity to Britain, specifically to provide back-up for our unreliable wind farms.

Mr Yeo eventually had to step aside as chairman after being allegedly caught on video admitting to having “coached” an employee of a solar energy firm in which he had an interest on how to handle questions from his own committee. But he was cleared by the Commons standards watchdog, and still remains on this hugely influential committee.

These men had no need to become “cabs for hire”. They have been able to cruise, all above board, in that strange twilight zone between positions of influence and the greatest public subsidy bonanza Britain has ever seen

SOURCE





Chilling Climate Change at New York Times

Yes, climate really does change, running hot and cold with mainstream media news cycles. Just one week after the New York Times showcased a Feb. 21 hatchet piece on Dr. Willie Soon, a man-made climate alarm doubter at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics “who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming”, its front page Feb. 27 piece was far more chilling.

Headlined “28 Days on Ice” and illustrated with dramatic ice and snow scenes, the later feature indicates that Dr. Soon along with other skeptical scientists may have very good reasons to doubt that any crisis exists after all. As the subtitle states, “From the Hudson to La Guardia Airport, this February may be New York’s coldest since 1934, the National Weather Service Says.”

Before I go any further with this, let me be very clear that neither I nor anyone I know doubts that climate changes. This has been going on throughout our planet’s history — beginning long before the Industrial Revolution introduced smokestacks and SUVs.

Let’s also recognize a big difference between local and ever-changing short-term weather events and regional/global climate shifts characterized over at least a three decade long period. Accordingly, weather changes occurring during a single season or even over a few years in one region don’t validate global climate trending one way or another, much less any measurable human influences.

Consider, for example, that Icelandic Vikings raised livestock in grasslands on Greenland’s southwestern coast as recently as 1,000 years ago. These Norse settlements were then abandoned by about 1350 — after temperatures dropped. Temperatures dropped dramatically again in the middle of the 16th century. The end of this time witnessed brutal winter temperatures suffered by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777-78, and Napoleon’s bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.

Although temperatures and weather conditions have been generally mild over about the past 150 years, the past century has witnessed two periods of warming. The first occurred between 1910 and 1945 when CO2 levels were relatively low, compared with now.

The second warming which followed a full climate cycle cool-down began in 1975. Global mean temperatures rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Satellite records show that since then, and despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels, temperatures have been statistically flat over the past 18 years and counting.

Consider that less than a half-climate cycle after the planet had experienced a full cooling cycle, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore’s minions already determined that human fossil-fueled CO2 emissions had put the world at tipping point crisis. Then, after Mother Nature intervened to suggest otherwise, the story changed. Global warming not only became re-termed climate change — now it even caused global cooling. And yes, as a matter of fact, U.S. winters have been getting colder over the past 20 years.

Still, according to the IPCC, “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” As recently as last month, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy teamed with the Aspen Skiing Co. and a pair of Olympic snowboarders at the "X Games" to put out the message that reduced snow due to climate change would ruin the ski industry. Yet according to a snow report website, “Current snowpack levels are at 165 percent of average” for Aspen.

On the other hand, haven’t global warming activists been warning us that since warmer air adds more moisture, snow storms will become worse? As the Center for American Progress headed by former Obama White House adviser/Clean Power Plan proponent John Podesta claimed, “climate change may have affected the [recent Boston] snow storm  — may have made it more likely, may have made it worse than it would have been without so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.” Incidentally, this very same John Podesta will most likely head Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Besides, given that U.S. winter temperatures are actually colder, how does this warmist argument explain record snow and ice? At the same time that Connecticut experienced the coldest February in recorded history, nearby Boston amassed a near record 101.8 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, ice breakers had to open pathways through the Hudson River to keep ships moving. New England lobster boats became frozen in ports for weeks. And on Jan. 27, Canadian adventurer Will Gadd, using ice picks, became the first person ever to scale Niagara Falls which had frozen solid.

So if some of us have come to suspect that we’re witnessing a feverish snow job, does this really qualify us as climate change deniers? Golly, this is all so confusing. It’s enough to give anyone attempting to keep track of the changing story cold sweats.

SOURCE





Running Updates on the "Witch Hunt"

Roger Pielke, Jr.

This post will serve as a running update on the so-called "investigation" of my research on disasters and climate change at the University of Colorado. I will update it as warranted, with newer stuff at the top. Pointers and tips welcome in the comments.

Updates

    Rep. Grivalja has walked back his requests, according to Ben Geman at the National Journal: Climate Letters Went Too Far. Since Rep. Geman already has complete access to all my financial COI disclosures, I guess we now know that the letter was an unnecessary stunt designed to smear. Nice.

    The Denver Post (March 3) has an editorial titled "CU rightly defends Roger Pielke Jr. against political bully" -- key quote: Rep. Grijalva's "gambit amounts to a bold, abusive assault on academic freedom."

    Mark Steyn asks why no reporters appear to be interested in the fact that an anonymous person had forewarning of Rep. Grivalja's "investigation" and used a fake email account from a Russian server to taunt those who would later receive letters from the Congressman. Bizarre to be sure, and if I hadn't seen the taunting email in advance I might not have believed it. But as I've said, nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore.

    To believe that Rep. Grijalva's "investigation" has merit, you have to believe either (a) in a shadowy conspiracy of fossil fuel interests funneling me (and others) money under the table to produce certain research results and testimony, which have somehow mysteriously passed peer review and been accepted by the IPCC, or (b) there is no such conspiracy, but I (and others) need to be falsely accused and smeared in order to remove us from the debate. Tin foil hat or unethical campaigner? Not a great choice.

    Several reporters have asked me why I testify before Congress if I know that my results will be used by Republicans. Aside from the interesting framing of this question, I have written on my views of providing testimony here in PDF (following the testimony that I am now being investigated for) and please take careful note of the "To Avoid Any Confusion" bullets on p. 2 of my testimony here in PDF.

Original bullet points

    This week I have been invited to do various interviews for print/online and radio. I'll update here when these are available and I have more details.

    9 News in Denver had a excellent story, shown in the video above and online here.

    For those interested in my actual research on climate please head over to this summary in the final post at my climate blog, The Climate Fix.

    A group called the Energy & Environment Legal Group has filed state freedom of information act requests modeled on the Rep. Grijalva letter with 4 universities (Colorado, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia Tech) requesting funding information from 5 researchers. This is obviously a retaliatory act, legitimized by Rep. Grijalva's campaign. It is just as wrong-headed.

    Here in PDF is that strongly worded letter from the American Meteorological Society to Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) warning that he is sending "a chilling message" to all researchers.

    Yesterday I had a nice chat with Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) who represents my district here in Boulder. What we said will stay between us, but it was very a positive conversation.

   Also yesterday @EricHolthaus - a widely read scientist and climate activist - taunted me with the following bizarre Tweet: "It’s getting harder and harder for @RogerPielkeJr to remain relevant." Upon later learning that I'm no longer doing climate change research Holthaus Tweeted that his earlier taunt was no longer relevant. Great evidence that a lot of this is about eliminating unwelcomed voices in the debate.

   At The Breakthrough Institute, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus take the high road and argue that political intimidation of academics in unacceptable, defending both me and Michael Mann.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Tuesday, March 03, 2015



Just When You Thought Scientists Couldn’t Possibly Get Any Stupider

Three years ago, ingenious scientists predicted that DC cherry trees would bloom in February

ScreenHunter_7616 Mar. 02 00.33Could cherry blossoms one day be blooming in winter? – The Washington Post


We just had our second coldest February on record, and Chesapeake Bay is frozen over.

ScreenHunter_7603 Mar. 01 20.02


With lots more record cold on the way.

ScreenHunter_7617 Mar. 02 00.36


You have to wonder how these people are able to tie their own shoes, much less find their way to their ivory tower to write and peer-review this kind of garbage.

SOURCE





Polar Vortex Common In The 19thC



I came across a chapter in Hubert Lamb's "Climate, History and the Modern World", which has more than a bit of topical relevance.

We are all well aware of the extremely cold winters in the eastern half of the States, both this year and last. This has coincided with warm winters in the west, the sort of extreme weather which warmists would like to blame on "climate change".

Well it turns out that they had the same weather patterns in the 1850's and 60's, and the reason was just the same - a meridional jet stream.


HH Lamb - Page 253

Lamb believed that this meridionality was actually more common during the Little Ice Age, and there is plenty of evidence of the same phenomenon during the cooling period of the 1960's and 70's.

Is the latest incarnation of this just weather, or an indication of a return to a colder era? Either way, it won't stop junk scientists blaming it on "global warming".

SOURCE





Warmists still promoting their flop film

Below is part of a blurb from "Newsweak" trying to drum up interest in the cinematic Kenner/Oreskes attack on climate skeptics.  It's been out for a while now but seems to have been a box-office flop.  I have said all I want to say about it before so will refer readers back to that

In Merchants of Doubt, their 2010 book that vivisects bad science and industrial cynicism, science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway decried the uneven battle for the popular imagination fought, on one side, by scientists ill-equipped for high-volume cable-TV tussles and, on the other, by the "well-financed contrarians" bent on dismantling whatever lab results, peer-reviewed theories and settled science might lead to even the most benign corporate regulations.

The authors unraveled the deny-and-obfuscate tactics concocted in the 1950s by Mad Men and Big Tobacco to cloud understanding of what even the proto-mainstream media was beginning to grasp. "Cancer by the Carton," read a 1953 headline in Reader's Digest. "Doubt," countered a public relations memo exhumed decades later from Big Tobacco's yellowed files, "is our product."

And doubt, argued Oreskes and Conway, became the mantra for purveyors of acid rain, ozone holes and, most significant, global warming. Keep the cigarettes burning, the CO2 combusting and the profits flowing for as long as possible.

Joining the fray is filmmaker Robert Kenner, whose surprisingly rollicking screen adaptation of Merchants of Doubt opens March 6 in New York and Los Angeles. It's a worthy follow-up to his 2008 Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., which arrived when Americans were primed to point fat fingers at Big Agra. This time, Doubt lands amid a national debate over science-legit, pseudo or just plain bad-that intensifies with every foot of Boston snow or new case of Disneyland measles.

Along with corporate greed and Madison Avenue chicanery, Kenner's film exposes a devoted and long-lived cadre of scientists (and their philosophical descendants) who established their careers during the A-bomb era and the Cold War's Big Science rivalries. Anti-communist ideologues, well-trained and often brilliant scientists such as physicists S. Fred Singer and the late Frederick Seitz saw (and see) corporate regulation as a pathway to socialism, an endgame more fearsome than any secondhand smoke or patchy ozone.

SOURCE





Now Europe wants to ban halogen light bulbs

The sale of halogen bulbs which are used in millions of homes could be banned as early as next year as part of the EU's energy-saving drive.  It follows the prohibition of traditional incandescent bulbs, which have been phased out in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Millions of halogen bulbs are sold in Britain every year, often for use in kitchen and bathroom spotlights. Any ban could consequently cause enormous inconvenience.

The European Commission and green campaigners say halogens are not much more efficient than traditional bulbs so should be replaced by energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs - known as CFLs - and LEDs.

Yet these alternatives can be as much as 15 times more expensive. There is the additional problem that some LEDs do not work with the dimmer switches and wiring circuits currently used by halogen bulbs, while CFLs can take up to five minutes to reach full brightness.

The EC is due to hold a vote on the issue in April, when it could agree to go ahead with the proposed 2016 ban or push back the date to 2018.

Consumer group Which? argued there are good reasons for a delay. A spokesman said: `Half of Which? members still have halogen bulbs in their home and more than two in five have halogen spotlights. Delaying the ban until 2018 would allow more time for some of the compatibility and user issues to be resolved.'

And a campaign group of manufacturers called LightingEurope is demanding any ban on halogens is delayed until 2020 at the earliest, in order to minimise the impact on consumers and the industry.

The group's secretary general, Diederik de Stoppelaar, said: `A phase-out before 2020 is going to be costly and inconvenient to consumers. The industry supports the change to more energy efficient lighting... however, an earlier date does not allow for alternative developing technologies to be widely available.'

But Which? added that despite the inconvenience, there are some positives to switching. The new bulbs last longer and, because they are more energy efficient, they will cut electricity bills over time.

Typically, halogens use 10 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs, while CFLs use 60-80 per cent less and LEDs up to 90 per cent less. LED lights are so efficient that a 5-watt bulb is, in theory, equivalent to a 35-watt halogen.

But while a typical 35-watt halogen spotlight costs about œ1, a 5-watt LED can be anything from œ5 to œ15.

The managing director of British lighting company BLT Direct, Steven Ellwood, supports the 2016 ban.

He said: `We understand the concerns of experts who want to delay the ban in order to iron out some issues. [But] implementing the ban sooner rather than later would see plenty of benefits for consumers, not to mention the environment.'

Other advocates of the 2016 deadline argue that the energy savings for Britain as a whole could be so large that it would eliminate the risk of black-outs caused by the closure of old and run-down power stations.

One analysis suggests that if all 27 million homes reduced their need for lighting by 100 watts on winter evenings, this would cut peak energy demand by 5 per cent.

SOURCE




Warmist Jihad?

Climate Crisis extremists attack experts who challenge claims of imminent climate Armageddon

Paul Driessen

ISIL and other Islamist jihad movements continue to round up and silence all who oppose them or refuse to convert to their extreme religious tenets. They are inspiring thousands to join them. Their intolerance, vicious tactics and growing power seem to have inspired others, as well.

After years of claiming the science is settled and unprecedented manmade catastrophes are occurring right now, Climate Crisis, Inc. is increasingly desperate. Polls put climate change at the bottom of every list of public concerns. China and India refuse to cut energy production or emissions. Real-world weather and climate totally contradict their dire models and forecasts. Expensive, subsidized, environmentally harmful renewable energy makes little sense in world freshly awash in cheap, accessible oil, gas and coal.

Perhaps worse, Congress is in Republican control, and in 23 months the White House and Executive Branch could also shift dramatically away from the Freezing-Jobless-in-the-Dark Side of the Force.

Climate Crisis industrialists are also fed up with constant carping, criticism and questions from growing numbers of experts who will not kowtow to their End of Days theology. Once seemingly near, their dream of ruling a hydrocarbon-free world of "sustainably" lower living standards become more remote every week. Extremist factions had dreamed of a global climatist caliphate and want vengeance.

So borrowing from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mentor Saul Alinsky's book, Rules for Radicals, they have gone on the attack: Pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. A good tactic is one your people enjoy. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions. They've also borrowed from the Islamic State playbook: Silence your enemies.

Led by Greenpeace associate Kert Davies, this Climatist Jihad wing of the climate chaos movement has launched a well funded, carefully choreographed vendetta of character assassination and destruction, vilifying dangerous manmade climate change "deniers" and trying to destroy their careers. Their Big Green, Big Government and media allies are either actively complicit, rooting from the sidelines or silent.

Instead of bullets, bombs and beheadings, they use double standards, Greenpeace FOIA demands, letters from Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva, threats of lost funding and jobs, and constant intimidation and harassment. Submit, recant, admit your guilt, renounce your nature-rules-climate faith, Climatist Jihadis tell climate realists. Or suffer the consequences, which might even include IRS, EPA and Fish & Wildlife Service swat teams bursting through your doors, as they did with Gibson Guitars.

Their first target was Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon. Working closely with Greenpeace's Climate Investigations Center, the Boston Globe and New York Times alleged that Dr. Soon received $1.25 million from the fossil fuel industry, but failed to disclose those funds when his scientific papers were published and falsely claimed he had no conflict of interest.

The charges are bogus. Harvard had full knowledge of Dr. Soon's research financing and took 40% of the grant money off the top: some $500,000! The details are all public records, and Dr. Soon has a solid track record of going where his careful and extensive research takes him - regardless of where the money comes from. Not a scrap of evidence suggests that he falsified or fabricated data or conclusions, or twisted his science to satisfy research sponsors, on any of the numerous topics he has studied.

He has received incredible flak from environmentalist pressure groups, media outlets and even his own university - and has courageously stood behind his research, analyses and findings, which continue to withstand intense scientific scrutiny. Harvard-Smithsonian recently said it "does not support Dr. Soon's conclusions on climate change," and Harvard Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Daniel Schrag averred that Soon's approach to finding global average temperatures was perhaps not "as honest as other approaches." But they offer not a scintilla of evidence to support their allegations of inaccuracy and dishonesty, and give him no opportunity to respond.

Indeed, one of the most prominent aspects of the climate imbroglio is the steadfast refusal of alarmist scientists to discuss or debate their findings with experts who argue that extensive, powerful natural forces - not human carbon dioxide emissions - drive Earth's climate and weather. "Manmade disaster" proponents also refuse to divulge raw data, computer codes and other secretive work that is often paid for with taxpayer money and is always used to justify laws, treaties, regulations, mandates and subsidies that stifle economic growth, kill jobs and reduce living standards.

Dr. Soon is not the only target. The Climate Jihadists are also going after Robert Balling, Matt Briggs, John Christy, Judith Curry, Tom Harris, Steven Hayward, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke, Jr. More are sure to follow, because their work eviscerates climate cataclysm claims and raises serious questions about the accuracy, credibility, integrity and sanctity of alarmist science.

Climate Crisis, Inc. wants a monopoly over the issue. Its members focus almost exclusively on alleged human causes of climate change and extreme weather events - and would love to see skeptics silenced. Crisis proponents will not even attend scientific conferences where skeptics discuss natural causes and alarmists have opportunities to defend their hypotheses, models and evidence. (Perhaps the FCC needs to investigate this monopoly and issue "climate neutrality" rules, to ensure honest and balanced discussion.)

It fits a depressing pattern: of the White House, Democrats and liberals shutting down debate, permitting no amendments, conducting business behind closed doors, not allowing anyone to read proposed laws and regulations, rarely even recognizing that there are differing views - on ObamaCare, ObamaNetCare, IRS harassment of conservative donors and groups, PM Netanyahu's speech to Congress, or climate change.

The Climate Crisis industry thrives on tens of billions of dollars annually, for one-sided climate research, drilling and fracking studies, renewable energy projects and other programs, all based on dubious claims that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions threaten climate stability and planetary survival.

Businesses, job holders and consumers pay the huge costs of complying with the resultant regulations and soaring energy costs. Taxpayers pay for much of the research and propaganda that drives the rulemaking. Russia and hard-left foundations have also contributed billions to the process; and government unions, environmental pressure groups and renewable energy companies give generously to researchers and to politicians who keep the alarmist research programs, regulatory processes, mandates and subsidies alive.

All of this raises another elephantine issue. If a couple million dollars over a decade's time creates near-criminal conflict-of-interest and disclosure problems for skeptic/realist scientists, what effects do billions of dollars in research money have on alarmist researchers and their universities and institutions?

Few, if any, alarmist researchers have disclosed that their work was funded by government agencies, companies, foundations and others with enormous financial, policy, political and other interests in their work, ensuring that their conclusions support manmade factors and debunk natural causes. Many of those researchers have signed statements that their research and papers involved no conflicts, knowing they would not get these grants, if their outcomes did not reflect the sponsors' interests and perspectives.

Moreover, ClimateGate, IPCC revelations and other investigations have revealed extensive and troubling incidents of manipulated data, faulty models, wild exaggerations, broken hockey sticks, and completely baseless claims about hottest years, disappearing glaciers, coastal flooding and other "crises." And those claims severely impact our energy costs, jobs, living standards, economic growth and freedoms.

We need to end the double standard - and investigate the alarmist researchers and institutions.

Or better yet, let us instead have that all-out, open, robust debate that climate realists have long sought - and alarmists have refused to join. Equal government and other money for all research. All cards and evidence on the table. No more hiding data and codes. Answer all questions, no matter how tough or inconvenient. And let honest science decide what our energy and economic futures will be.

Via email




Historic documents show half of Australia’s warming trend is due to “adjustments”

Adjustments that cool historic temperatures have almost doubled Australia’s rate of warming



There was a time back in 1933 when the CSIRO was called CSIR and meteorologists figured that with 74 years of weather data on Australia, they really ought to publish a serious document collating all the monthly averages at hundreds of weather stations around Australia.

Little did they know that years later, despite their best efforts, much of the same data would be forgotten and unused or would be adjusted, decades after the fact, and sometimes by as much as one or two degrees.

Twenty years later The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics would publish an Official Year Book of Australia which included the mean temperature readings from 1911 to 1940 at 44 locations.

Chris Gillham has spent months poring over both these historic datasets, as well as the BoM’s Climate Data Online (CDO) which has the recent temperatures at these old stations. He also compares these old records to the new versions in the BOM’s all new, all marvelous, best quality ACORN dataset. He has published all the results and tables comparing CDO, CSIR and Year Book versions.

He analyzes them in many ways – sometimes by looking at small subsets or large groups of the 226 CSIR stations. But it doesn’t much matter which way the data is grouped, the results always show that the historic records had warmer average temperatures before they were adjusted and put into the modern ACORN dataset. The adjustments cool historic averages by around 0.4 degrees, which sounds small, but the entire extent of a century of warming is only 0.9 degrees C. So the adjustments themselves are the source of almost half of the warming trend.

The big question then is whether the adjustments are necessary. If the old measurements were accurate as is, Australia has only warmed by half a degree. In the 44 stations listed in the Year Book from 1911-1940, the maxima at the same sites is now about half a degree warmer in the new millenia. The minima are about the same.

Remember that these sites from 1911-1940 were all recorded with modern Stevenson Screen equipment.  Furthermore, since that era the biggest change in those sites has been from the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect as the towns and cities grew up around the sites. In some places this effect may already have been warming those thermometers in the first half of the last century, but in others UHI can make 5 to 7 degrees difference.

If Australian thermometers are recording half a degree higher than they were 70 – 100 years ago, we have to ask how much of that warming is the UHI effect? Common sense would suggest that if these older stations need any correction, it should be upward rather than downward to compensate for the modern increase in concrete, buildings and roads. Alternatively, to compare old readings in unpopulated areas with modern ones, we would think the modern temperatures should be adjusted down, rather than the older ones.

Chris Gillham discusses the potential size of the UHI changes:

“In 2012 and 2013 it was anticipated that UHI warming in south-eastern Australia will continue to intensify by approximately 1C per decade over and above that caused by global warming (Voogt 2002), with tests in 1992 showing a UHI influence up to 7.2C between the Melbourne CBD and rural areas. [PDF]

Smaller but significant UHI influences were found in regional towns, with a 1994 test observing a UHI intensity up to 5.4C between the centre of a Victorian town and its rural outskirts.”

The situation with adjustments stays roughly the same if we go back even further. Gillham compared 226 stations during the period from 1855 -1931 and the average is about half a degree less than what it is now — from 2000-2014.

The first station in the CSIR record, Melbourne, starts in 1855. Each year, new stations came online. By 1865 there are ten stations and by 1880 there are nearly 30.

Ideally we could compare 50 stations which didn’t move or start and stop over the same period, but even the ACORN dataset in the 1900s doesn’t do that, introducing new stations up to the 1970s.

It is hard to draw conclusions from the CSIR record as is. But neither can it be ignored. Roughly two thirds of the temperatures were recorded on Stevenson screens, but much of the data in the 1800s was recorded on screens, sheds and shades until Stevenson screens were introduced across Australia over the 20 year period from 1887 – 1907. And scientists in the 1930s were very much aware of the effect of slight changes in screens as one long running comparison of different screens side by side had already been going for over 30 years in Adelaide. (I’ll write more on that soon).

It’s rough but, as rough guides go, it’s the only data we have. Other peer reviewed papers have estimated Australia’s average temperature change to 0.09C  in 1000AD based on two groves of trees in Tasmania and New Zealand. Wouldn’t thermometers be kinda useful?

One small piece of good news is that at least the early CDO records maintained by the BoM online appear to match the averages within the Year Book and CSIR tables. At least the copies of the original data put online are accurate as far as these rough tests go.

The Bottom line

There is a treasure trove of information in these historic documents for people interested in long-term climate.

The difference between the original records and the adjusted ACORN dataset suggests that the adjustments cooled original temperatures by 0.4C between 1910 and 1940, which means that around 45% of the modern “warming” trend is due to these homogenisations and adjustments which have not been independently justified and oddly appear to go in the opposite direction to what common sense would suggest might be necessary. In the older and larger CSIR tables, there is an overall cooling adjustments of 0.5C.

Thanks to Chris Gillham for the massive amount of data crunching and tracking it takes to provide meaningful numbers.

Chris Gillham’s Conclusions:

Downward ACORN adjustment of historic temperature records from weather stations before 1940 adds 0.3C or 0.4C to Australia’s rate of climate warming since 1910 but the reason for the downward adjustments is unclear.

Various timescale and station comparisons show insignificant changes or warming up to 0.5C from 1931 to 2000-14. These temperatures from 1855 to 1940 are compared to what the BoM describes as the hottest decade ever recorded in Australia (2014 claimed as the third hottest).

Other historic documents add weight to the evidence that pre-1910 temperatures were not significantly cooler than current readings.

For example, On the Climate of the Yass-Canberra District published in 1910 by Commonwealth Meteorologist Henry Hunt shows temperatures at 10 locations were on average 0.1C warmer in all years before 1909 than in 2004-2013. Hunt also presents 1909 summer and winter mean temperatures at six northern Australia locations which average 0.2C warmer than those locations in 2004-2013 (download PDF).

Their dataset timescales include the first 85 years of temperature recording at most weather stations across Australia in a network more than twice as large as ACORN, and their averages are a legitimate historic record indicating climate warming has been significantly less than calculated with adjusted data since 1910.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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