Friday, January 26, 2007


Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Article in Press, Accepted Manuscript

By Robert Ehrlich


A theory is described based on resonant thermal diffusion waves in the sun that explains many details of the paleotemperature record for the last 5.3 million years. These include the observed periodicities, the relative strengths of each observed cycle, and the sudden emergence in time for the 100 thousand year cycle. Other prior work suggesting a link between terrestrial paleoclimate and solar luminosity variations has not provided any specific mechanism. The particular mechanism described here has been demonstrated empirically, although not previously invoked in the solar context. The theory, while not without its own unresolved issues, also lacks most of the problems associated with Milankovitch cycle theory.



In Milankovitch theory past glaciations are assumed to arise from small quasiperiodic changes in the Earth's orbital parameters that give rise to corresponding changes in solar insolation, particularly in the polar regions. A brief discussion of five problems with this theory are listed below, and a more detailed description of some of them can be found elsewhere.(Karner,2000)

(a) Weak forcing problem: The basic problem with the theory s that observed climate variations are much more intense than the insolation changes can explain without postulating some very strong positive feedback mechanism.

(b) 100 ky problem: The preceding basic problem can be illustrated for the case of one particular parameter "C the orbital eccentricity. The dominant climate cycle observed during the last million years has a roughly 100 ky period, which in Milankovitch theory is linked to a 100 ky cycle in the eccentricity. However, the effect of this eccentricity variation should be the weakest of all the climate-altering changes, in view of the small change in solar insolation it would cause. For example, consider the Earth's orbital eccentricity, e, which has been shown to have several periods including one of 100 ky during which e varies in the approximate range: e = 0.03 0.02.(Quinn,1991)

The resultant solar irradiance variation found by integrating over one orbit for each of the two extreme e-values is about 0.055%, or 0.17w/m2 difference at the top of the Earth's atmosphere. Given that climate models show that a one percent change in solar irradance would lead to a 1.80C average global temperature change, then the change resulting from a ­0.055% irradiance change would be a miniscule 0.10C hardly enough to induce a major climate event C even with significant positive feedback.

(c) 400 ky problem: The variations in the Earth's orbital eccentricity show a 400 ky cycle in addition to the 100 ky cycle, with the two cycles being of comparable strength. Yet, the record of Earth's climate variations only shows clear evidence for the latter.

(d) Causality problem: Based on a numerical integration of Earth's orbit, a warming climate predates by about 10,000 years the change in insolation than supposedly had been its cause.

(e) Transition problem: No explanation is offered for the abrupt switch in climate periodicity from 41 ky to 100 ky that is found to have occured about a million years ago. Of these five problems with Milankovitch theory, the current theory clearly shares only (c).

In conclusion, we have here suggested a specific mechanism involving diffusion waves in the sun whose amplitude should grow very rapidly due to an amplification provided by the link between solar core temperature and luminosity.

Moreover, the phenomenon of resonant amplification of thermal diffusion waves has been empirically demonstrated, albeit not in the solar context.(Shen, 1995) A number of features of the theory still remain to be resolved, but the theory does explain many features of the paleotemperature record, and it appears to be free of most defects of the Milankovitch theory. The theory further implicitly suggests the existence of a new category of variable stars having extremely long periods "C i.e., 104 times longer than stellar periods currently considered to be very long. For some stars with M less than M, their thinner radiation zones might make the predicted periods observable.

(The Doi (permanent) address for the full article above is here)


Germany will miss its CO2 emission targets, face rising electricity prices and become "dramatically" more reliant on Russian gas if it keeps to its policy of phasing out nuclear energy, a new study warns. The 60-page paper by Deutsche Bank will add to the pressure on Angela Merkel, chancellor, to renegotiate the phase-out deal agreed by the previous government in 2000, despite her pledge not to reopen the controversial debate.

Rising concern about global warming and energy security has sparked a lively dispute in Ms Merkel's Christian Democrat-led grand coalition government about the wisdom of renouncing nuclear energy. Michael Glos, the conservative economics minister, has campaigned vigorously against the phase-out, triggering equally vigorous opposition from Sigmar Gabriel, the Social Democratic environment minister.

Without nuclear energy, the bank says, the chancellor faces a painful choice between the three goals she has set herself - to reduce emissions, cut reliance on Russian fossil fuel and keep energy prices in check. "Shutting down nuclear is inconceivable as a serious policy," said Mark Lewis, energy analyst and author of the report. "It will mean missing your carbon emission targets and lead to gas-powered plants replacing today's nuclear plants."

The environment ministry said Germany's goal of cutting CO2 emissions by 40 per cent of their 1990 level by 2020 "can be achieved without nuclear energy. But of course, nobody ever said it would be easy". The SPD has yet to show any willingness to renegotiate the nuclear exit deal. Rainer Wend, a Social Democratic MP and member of parliament's economics committee, said: "If we must import more Russian gas, then so be it. Russia is a reliable supplier."

Backers of nuclear energy point out that the phase-out has left Berlin isolated as holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, which complicates Ms Merkel's task of drafting a European energy policy at the next European Council summit in March. With nuclear covering 25 per cent of Germany's electricity needs - and taking into account rising electricity demand and the need to replace old fossil-fuel plants - DB calculates 42,000MW of new plants will be needed by 2022.

Since lignite and coal-powered plants are highly polluting, most of these would have to be gas-powered. Even so, CO2 emissions by the power sector will rise by 16 per cent in the decade from 2010, while Russian gas imports will increase from today's 35 per cent of the total to 50 per cent.



If you want an example of the sort of scientific exaggeration that should concern both scientists and advocates involved in the climate debate (but typically goes uncorrected), next week's Newsweek magazine has an article on the growing tab of disaster losses, which it attributes to global warming.

Around the country, [insurance] companies have been racking up record property losses from freakish weather, such as the ice storms last week that paralyzed much of the Great Plains and froze California's citrus crops. In recent years, wildfires in the Northwest, drought and hail in the Midwest, windstorms, lightning strikes on power grids, soil subsidence and other calamities of nature have led to cumulative property losses that exceed those caused by hurricanes. "There's a shift going on to more frequent, extreme weather events," says Evan Mills, an environmental scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "It's as much an issue in the heartland as on the coast."

Global warming is the culprit, claim many-including several insurers who are canceling policies. While scientists cannot determine whether a single weather event is caused by a natural cycle, or is evidence of more permanent, malignant climate change, the pattern of mounting losses is clear. According to Mills, weather-related catastrophe losses have increased from about $1 billion a year in the 1970s to an average of $17 billion a year over the past decade. In 2005, the year of Katrina, that figure reached $71 billion.

We have interacted with Evan Mills before, and despite having his work throughly debunked and the existence of an expert workshop report on the topic cosponsored by Munich Re, he continues to fundamentally misrepresent the state of the science to suggest that comparing disaster losses unadjusted for societal change from the 1970s to the present says something about global warming. It does not. Here are relevant conclusions from our 2006 workshop:

Analyses of long-term records of disaster losses indicate that societal change and economic development are the principal factors responsible for the documented increasing losses to date.

Because of issues related to data quality, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, length of time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss record, it is still not possible to determine the portion of the increase in damages that might be attributed to climate change due to GHG emissions.

In the near future the quantitative link (attribution) of trends in storm and flood losses to climate changes related to GHG emissions is unlikely to be answered unequivocally.



Journal of Affective Disorders, Article in Press, Corrected Proof

Global warming possibly linked to an enhanced risk of suicide

By A. Preti et al.


Background: The global increase in surface temperature (known as global warming) was found to impact on mortality through ill health, particularly among the elderly and in summer. This study sets out to explore the impact of global warming on suicide mortality, using data from Italy.

Methods: Monthly data on suicide mortality and temperature were obtained for a 30-year period (from January 1974 to December 2003), and the relation between them was investigated using the Gaussian low-pass filter, linear correlation analysis and rank analysis.

Results: For males, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures associated to a higher monthly suicide mean from May to August and, to a lower extent, in November and December. In January, on the other hand, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures appeared to be coupled to a lower number of suicides. For females, the links between temperature and suicides are less consistent than for males, and sometimes have a reverse sign, too.

Fuel Folly

Less consumption means more subsidies.

With a combination of alternative fuel mandates and increased fuel-economy standards, President Bush on Tuesday night urged Congress to “build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years.” Build on the work we have done? With similar policies in place since 1974, American petroleum consumption has increased - not decreased - by over 20 percent.

Only in Europe, where government taxation has driven gas prices to $6-a-gallon and dampened economic growth, has oil consumption declined by 15 percent. And that took 30 years, not ten.

Such draconian measures are unlikely in the U.S., meaning no decline in oil consumption - but a continued rise in wasteful, politically correct federal ethanol subsidies.

In a similar political climate in the early 1970s, Congress enacted the regulatory regime known as CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy). Today passenger cars are more efficient than ever - up 114 percent since 1974. But gasoline is so cheap - despite perpetual Middle Eastern crises - that on average Americans are driving twice as many miles as before. As a result, U.S. oil consumption has increased from 17 million barrels-a-day in 1976 to 21 million barrels today, and oil imports as a share of U.S. consumption have risen from 35 to 59 percent.

Ironically, the president’s call echoes a more severe proposal by his 2004 campaign opponent John Kerry - a recommendation that a National Center for Policy Analysis study found would not “reduce future U.S. dependence on foreign oil.”

The president’s plan also proposes an expansion of the so-called Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which currently mandates that refineries produce 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol-per-year by 2012. But, as Heritage Foundation energy analyst Ben Lieberman points out, “if ethanol were a viable fuel, you wouldn’t have to mandate it in the first place.”

Indeed, ethanol - whether made from corn or trendy cellulosic sources like switchgrass - is simply not viable as an alternative for the fundamental reason that a gallon of ethanol only goes 75 percent as far as a gallon of gas. In its comprehensive 2005 report on biofuels, the World Bank concluded that “the technologies to produce ethanol are well understood. (Thus) major breakthroughs under current processes are not expected.”

The RFS exists - not due to market demand - but to satisfy the auto and farm lobbies. For the Big Three, manufacturing “flex-fuel” vehicles (cars that run on gas and ethanol) allows them to exploit a huge loophole in the aforementioned CAFÉ laws. At minimal cost, converting vehicles to flex-fuel allows automakers to skirt the fatuous fuel rules - even though consumers only fill up the vehicles with gas.

For the farm lobby, the renewable mandate is easier to understand. It means money. Lots of money. To make ethanol price-competitive, the federal government subsidizes its production to the tune of 51 cents a gallon, costing U.S. taxpayers $4.1 billion a year. Fueled by the RFS, Big Ethanol producer Archer Daniels Midland rang up record 2006 profits that would make Big Oil blush.

Now Bush is proposing to increase the mandate to a fanciful $35 billion gallons by 2017 (whether consumers buy it or not). And as the federal honey pot grows, it is naturally attracting more flies. Investors like Sun Microsystems founder and Green activist Vinod Khosla want to invest in cellulosic ethanol sources because they are less carbon intensive to process than corn ethanol (which some studies show burns more energy to produce than it saves as a fuel) - much like sugar-based ethanol which has captured 40 percent of Brazil’s fuel market.

Brazil’s experiment has created a buzz among the alternative-fuel set - from liberal pundits like the New York Times’s Thomas Friedman to the president’s own brother, Jeb.

But like Europe’s drastic measures to decrease fuel consumption, Brazil’s heavy-handed tactics to impose biofuels have little political future here. Brazil’s ethanol conversion occurred over a period of decades as its authoritarian government nationalized energy companies, mandated ethanol-fueled cars, banned diesel fuel - and provided a staggering $1.20 per gallon government tax subsidy. As the World Bank report concluded, Brazil comes closest to commercially viable biofuels, but only as long as it “maintains a large tax differential between gasoline and ethanol.”



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 generally 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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