Sunday, March 12, 2006


I have highlighted the funniest bits.

In Westminster [the British Parliament] the age of environmental correctness is dawning. Everyone is desperately keen to be green. The other day, a Conservative asked a perfectly reasonable question about Zimbabwe or something and a Labour MP snapped back: "Still driving that big 4x4, are you?"

Green snobbery is especially rampant at Environment Questions. Everyone is always up in arms over cars (evil) and holidays abroad (almost satanic) but yesterday MPs exceeded even their usual standards for green outrage when they got uppity about household batteries. The Liberal Democrats, who live to name-and-shame on such things, have discovered that the Government's recycling strategy has a "batteries not included" tag. They accused the Government of allowing 600 million batteries a year to go into landfill (which could make for a pretty lively landfill).

Ben Bradshaw, the minister, was in a good mood for he is a bride-to-be, having just announced that he is to have a same-sex civil partnership ceremony. Nevertheless, Mr Bradshaw was clearly embarrassed about the batteries and started babbling about the European Union's draft Batteries Directive, which is apparently heading our way soon. "But isn't there still a phenomenal amount to do?" demanded the Lib Dems (though if anyone needs new batteries, it is them). "Yes!" cried Mr Bradshaw. Such was his predicament that he did not even lie.

The Tories are in a race to be even more sanctimonious than the Lib Dems. Andrew Robathan, a former army officer, led the charge yesterday. What, he demanded, was the Government going to do about cars that idle? It was, he said, simply unacceptable. Mr Bradshaw did not laugh at this but leant forward as if idling cars were an even worse crisis than languishing batteries. The worst culprits of all, cried Mr Robathan, were government ministers. They must learn to "switch off". "If Westminster City Council doesn't have that power, will YOU instruct all ministerial drivers to switch off their engines?" Mr Bradshaw, who is a cyclist and therefore a bit unhinged about cars, nodded eagerly. I think he could already see himself, no doubt in a snazzy uniform, racing round issuing instant fines to ministers and their lazy old cars.

He may even have been thinking of what had happened to Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, when she went to Cabinet that very morning. She has a Rover but when it tried to leave No 10, the hydraulic ramp came up at exactly the wrong time. The car dangled in mid-air. Surely this constituted the perfect punishment for idling ministers in their environmentally incorrect cars. Mr Bradshaw's thoughts returned to the Commons with a start. He chortled: "I too get very annoyed by motorists who leave their vehicles idling for no reason."

Suddenly he became aware that next to him was his boss Margaret Beckett. It must be said that she is not a green snob. Indeed, yesterday, she told us for no apparent reason that there was no way to get from Latin America to London on a bicycle. (Is this true? Don't tell the Lib Dems.) Mrs Beckett is not allowed a Jag or a Rover but she does have a car, albeit a Peugeot, and it must have to idle, if only occasionally. Mr Bradshaw let out a little bark and said that, of course, there could be good reasons for ministerial cars to idle. But then a junior minister, Jim Knight, just couldn't resist a little name-drop about his hybrid car. "Not in our Priuses," he snorted, as snobs do


Assessing Antarctica's Mass Balance Via Measurements of Time-Variable Gravity from Satellites

Discussing: Velicogna, I. and Wahr, J. 2006. Measurements of time-variable gravity show mass loss in Antarctica. Sciencexpress: 10.1126science.1123785.

What was done:

Using measurements of time-variable gravity from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, the authors determined mass variations of the Antarctic ice sheet for the 34 months between April 2002 and August 2005.

What was learned:

Velicogna and Wahr concluded that "the ice sheet mass decreased significantly, at a rate of 152 ~ 80 km3/year of ice, equivalent to 0.4 ~ 0.2 mm/year of global sea level rise," all of which mass loss came from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, since they calculated that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance was 0 ~ 56 km3/year.

What it means:

What these results imply about the real world is highly dependent upon their ability to truly represent what they presume to describe; and in this regard Velicogna and Wahr say there is "geophysical contamination ... caused by signals outside Antarctica," including "continental hydrology ... and ocean mass variability." The first of these confounding factors, according to them, "is estimated [our italics] using monthly, global water storage fields from the Global Land Data Assimilation system," while "the ocean contamination is estimated [our italics] using a JPL version of the Estimating Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) general circulation model [our italics]."

In addition to these problems, the two researchers note that the GRACE mass solutions "do not reveal whether a gravity variation over Antarctica is caused by a change in snow and ice on the surface, a change in atmospheric mass above Antarctica, or post-glacial rebound (PGR: the viscoelastic response of the solid Earth to glacial unloading over the last several thousand years)."

To adjust for the confounding effect of the variable atmospheric mass above Antarctica, Velicogna and Wahr utilize European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) meteorological fields, but they acknowledge that "there are errors in those fields," so they "estimate [our italics] the secular component of those errors by finding monthly differences between meteorological fields from ECMWF and from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction."

With respect to post-glacial rebound, Velicogna and Wahr say "there are two important sources of error in PGR estimates: the ice history and Earth's viscosity profile." To deal with this problem, they "estimate [our italics] the PGR contribution and its uncertainties using two ice history models [our italics]."

All of these estimates and adjustments are convoluted and complex, as well as highly dependent upon various models. In addition, the estimates and adjustments do not deal with miniscule effects, as Velicogna and Wahr acknowledge that "the PGR contribution is much larger than the uncorrected GRACE trend." In fact, their calculations indicate that the PGR contribution exceeds that of the signal being sought by nearly a factor of five!!! And they are forced to admit that "a significant ice mass trend does not appear until the PGR contribution is removed."

In light of the latter humungous confounding problem, Velicogna and Wahr rightly state in their concluding paragraph that "the main disadvantage of GRACE is that it is more sensitive than other techniques to PGR." In fact, considering the many other adjustments they had to make, based upon estimations utilizing multiple models and databases with errors that had to be further estimated, we are led to totally discount the significance of their final result, particularly in light of the additional fact that it did not even cover a full three-year period. Much more likely to be much more representative of the truth with respect to Antarctica's mass balance are the findings of Zwally et al. (2005), who determined Antarctica's contribution to mean global sea level over a recent nine-year period to be only 0.08 mm/year compared to the five-times-greater value of 0.4 mm/year calculated by Velcogna and Wahr.


Zwally, H.J., Giovinetto, M.B., Li, J., Cornejo, H.G., Beckley, M.A., Brenner, A.C., Saba, J.L. and Yi, D. 2005. Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992-2002. Journal of Glaciology 51: 509-527.



From "Science" magazine

A Major Ecosystem Shift in the Northern Bering Sea

By Jacqueline M. Grebmeier et al.

"Until recently, northern Bering Sea ecosystems were characterized by extensive seasonal sea ice cover, high water column and sediment carbon production, and tight pelagic-benthic coupling of organic production. Here, we show that these ecosystems are shifting away from these characteristics. Changes in biological communities are contemporaneous with shifts in regional atmospheric and hydrographic forcing. In the past decade, geographic displacement of marine mammal population distributions has coincided with a reduction of benthic prey populations, an increase in pelagic fish, a reduction in sea ice, and an increase in air and ocean temperatures. These changes now observed on the shallow shelf of the northern Bering Sea should be expected to affect a much broader portion of the Pacific-influenced sector of the Arctic Ocean."

Back to the village well for Brisbane, Australia

Anything rather than build enough dams

Thousands of Brisbane residents will get a taste of the Outback when they are connected to bore water over coming months. Suburbs from Darra to Eight Mile Plains will receive a mixture of groundwater and dam water once 40 new bores are connected to local water mains. The taste and characteristics of the water will change, but the magnitude of the difference will not be determined until tests are done. Bores will be dug at two sites each in Darra and Runcorn, and properties in Sunnybank, Algester, Parkinson and Kuraby/Eight Mile Plains.....

The city wants to generate 20 megalitres of water a day as part of its $30 million aquifer project. The first bore in Darra struck water at 80m yesterday. Residents will be connected to bore water over the next few months once it has been treated. Water Services Association of Australia executive director Ross Young said the taste of groundwater would vary according to the physical characteristics of the aquifer. "It might be harder to get a lather up in the shower and it might taste different, but it's perfectly safe to drink," he said. "People will get used to the taste if the supply is consistent."

Six years of below-average rainfall have left the Wivenhoe, North Pine and Somerset dams at a third of capacity. [That reminds one of the 60 consecutive bad seasons Soviet Russia had]

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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