Friday, January 12, 2007

PESKY! GLOBAL SEA LEVEL RISE SLOWED DOWN DURING SECOND HALF OF 20TH CENTURY

Excerpt from: GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, 4 January 2007

On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century

By S. J. Holgate

Abstract

Nine long and nearly continuous sea level records were chosen from around the world to explore rates of change in sea level for 1904-2003. These records were found to capture the variability found in a larger number of stations over the last half century studied previously. Extending the sea level record back over the entire century suggests that the high variability in the rates of sea level change observed over the past 20 years were not particularly unusual. The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ~ 0.35 mm/yr 1904-1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ~ 0.34 mm/yr 1954-2003). The highest decadal rate of rise occurred in the decade centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) with the lowest rate of rise occurring in the decade centred on 1964 (1.49 mm/yr). Over the entire century the mean rate of change was 1.74 ~ 0.16 mm/yr.

1. Introduction

In a previous paper, Holgate and Woodworth [2004] (hereinafter referred to as HW04), rates of mean 'global' sea level change (i.e., global coastal sea level change) were calculated from a large number of tide gauge records (177) for the period 1955-1998. HW04 found that the highest and lowest rates of change in the 1955-1998 period occurred in the last 20 years of the record. In this paper it is examined whether a few high quality tide gauge records can replace the many used by HW04. On the basis of these high quality records the work of HW04 is then extended back to the early twentieth century to examine whether the rates of sea level change experienced in recent decades are unusual.

On a decadal timescale, the length scales of sea level change are very large (O(1000) km) though not necessarily global. As a result, many tide gauges in a given region are highly correlated with each other. This paper demonstrates that a few high quality records from around the world can be used to examine large spatial-scale decadal variability as well as many gauges from each region are able to.

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4. Discussion

The nine stations selected here as high quality records capture the mean decadal rates of change described by the larger set of stations used in HW04 and also have a similar global mean rate over the common period of the two analyses (1953-1997). This provides confidence that the nine station set can be used to study decadal rates of global mean sea level change throughout the twentieth century. [18] All the stations in this study show a significant increase in sea level over the period 1904-2003 with an average increase of 174 mm during that time (Figure 4). This mean rate of 1.74 mm/yr is at the upper end of the range of estimates for the 20th century in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Third Assessment Report (IPCC TAR) [Church et al., 2001], and consistent with other recent estimates [Holgate and Woodworth, 2004; Church and White, 2006].

The rates for individual stations are consistent with those published by other authors [Douglas, 2001; Peltier, 2001; Hannah, 1990]. As has been noted previously [Woodworth, 1990], the rates for northern European tide gauges are consistently lower than the global mean. Trieste, along with other Mediterranean tide gauge stations, has shown a much lower rate of increase since 1960 [Douglas, 1997; Tsimplis and Baker, 2000]. However, the difference between the global mean and Trieste is 0.49 in comparison with the difference between the global mean and New York (the highest individual rate) which is 0.62. It would therefore seem that Trieste no more biases the mean low than New York biases the mean high. Nevertheless, excluding Trieste from the results would slightly increase the global mean from 1.74 to 1.80 mm/yr.

Although the mean rate of change of global mean sea level is found to be greater in the first half of the twentieth century, the two rates are consistent with being the same at the 95% confidence level, given their individual standard errors. However, a greater rate of rise in the early part of the record is consistent with previous analyses of tide gauge records which suggested a general deceleration in sea level rise during the 20th century [Woodworth, 1990; Douglas, 1992; Jevrejeva et al., 2006]. A twentieth century deceleration is consistent with the work of Church and White [2006] who, although finding evidence for a post-1870 acceleration based on an EOF reconstruction of global sea level, found that much of the overall acceleration occurred in the first half of the 20th century. Church and White [2006] suggested that the greater rate of sea level rise observed in the first half of last century was due to reduced volcanic emissions (and hence also lower variability in sea level) during the 1930s to 1960s. This idea is supported by results from the HadCM3 model which suggest that the simulated global mean sea level did not accelerate through the twentieth century due to the offsetting of anthropogenic warming by reduced natural forcing [Gregory et al., 2006].

The decadal rates of sea level change shown in Figure 2 are qualitatively similar to the corresponding rates in Figure 2 of Church and White [2006], with the exception of the period 1930-1940 which shows lower variability in the work of Church and White [2006]. The variability in the second half of the century is also similar to that found by 5.

Summary and Conclusions

Based on a selection of nine long, high quality tide gauge records, the mean rate of sea level rise over the period 1904-2003 was found to be 1.74 ¤ 0.16 mm/yr after correction for GIA using the ICE-4G model [Peltier, 2001] and for inverse barometer effects using HadSLP2 [Allan and Ansell, 2006]. The mean rate of rise was greater in the first half of this period than the latter half, though the difference in rates was not found to be significant. The use of a reduced number of high quality sea level records was found to be as suitable in this type of analysis as using a larger number of regionally averaged gauges.

Finally, in extending the work of HW04 to cover the whole century, it is found that the high decadal rates of change in global mean sea level observed during the last 20 years of the record were not particularly unusual in the longer term context.

FULL PAPER here




PATCHY APPROACH TO ENERGY REALISM -- SOME PROGRESS

The Bush administration yesterday moved to boost U.S. oil and gas supplies by lifting a long-standing moratorium on drilling in Alaska's Bristol Bay, as OPEC accelerated plans to reduce supplies in order to prop up sagging crude prices.

Days before the House is expected to roll back oil industry tax breaks, the Bush administration also decided to boost royalty rates by a third for ultra-deep-water oil and gas drilling. The action eliminates extra incentives that had been given to offset some of the high costs of operating in those offshore areas. The Interior Department said the change would generate an additional $4.5 billion over 20 years.

Meanwhile, as the line between environmental and energy policy continue to blur, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) announced a plan yesterday that would boost alternative fuels by requiring a 10 percent cut in the carbon content of vehicle emissions by 2020. He said it would be good for the nation's energy security while slowing climate change.

In Washington, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the administration would open 5.6 million acres in Alaska's North Aleutian Basin for oil and gas development. Congress first barred drilling in Bristol Bay in 1989 after the huge Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill damaged Alaska's coast. Congress lifted the ban in 2003 at the urging of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). But a moratorium President Bill Clinton declared on drilling in the area in 1998 remained in effect, so it took Bush's action yesterday to open it to development. Bush also lifted a presidential moratorium on part of the Gulf of Mexico that Congress opened for drilling in December.

Kempthorne said the offshore drilling in both areas and the increase in royalty fees would "enhance America's energy security by improving opportunities for domestic energy production, and will also increase the revenues that the federal government collects from oil and gas companies on behalf of American taxpayers."

Bob Greco, group director of upstream and industry operations at the American Petroleum Institute, said that "increasing access to those resources is an important step toward meeting our growing energy demand." But he said that goal would be offset in part by the increase in royalty payments, which he said would undercut industry's enthusiasm for drilling in deep waters off U.S. coasts, where a single well can cost $100 million. Higher royalties could also result in lower bids for leases in deep water, Greco said. "President Bush's decision to lift this moratorium is welcome news for people who live and work in the Bristol Bay region," Stevens said in a written statement. "Imported farmed salmon, high energy costs, and the area's remoteness have limited economic development and contributed to high poverty in the region."

Other Alaskans decried the decision, saying development would bring in less than $8 billion once all the energy was tapped while undermining a fishing industry that brings in $2 billion a year. "This decision borders on irresponsible, from our perspective," said Eric J. Siy, executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. The bay has the world's biggest wild sockeye salmon run as well as abundant red king crab, Pacific halibut and Bering Sea pollock and cod fisheries, he said. "The wise thing to do is to invest in the health of that sustainable economy."....

More here




California: "Ignorance is Strength" in Shift to Green Power

By Wayne Lusvardi

"Ignorance is strength" - slogan in novel 1984 by George Orwell

Van Nuys State Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D- CA) is reported to want to raise the bar on the percentage of green power that California cities and public utilities must purchase from 20% to 33%. However, it is well-documented that cities are not prepared to make even the lower requirement by 2010 (see here).

Levine wants 33% "renewable" energy by 2020. His Assembly Bill 94 would additionally apply to power supplies for PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric (SEMPRA) (See AB 94).

One of the pitfalls with legislative tinkering with energy and environmental pollution has been calamitous unintended consequences. Witness the disastrous results our our trying meet Federal air quality mandates which required the mothballing of old, polluting power plants and resulted in the California Energy Crisis of 2001. Witness the pollution of our water basins with the fuel additive MTBE starting in the 1980's to reduce emissions from automobiles. And witness the drop in hydropower generation during the energy crisis of 2001 possibly due to the mandate to destroy dams to restore salmon runs.

We have a tendency to forget that several people died in traffic accidents and other tragedies related to blackouts during the 2001 electricity crisis, let alone the public utilities, water agencies, and college campuses that were financially stressed due to the spike in energy prices. Recently enacted AB 32 and SB 1368 require that cities purchase 20% of their electricity from green power sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.). These pieces of legislation will result in an inevitable increase in electricity rates in affected California cities, the prospect of electricity blackouts, and may still require redundant conventional power due to the unreliability of green power (solar, wind). How does such risky "environmental" legislation even pass the environmental impact review process?

We haven't even learned what unanticipated consequences might befall us from this mandated shift, let alone an even greater shift to green power proposed under AB 94. No mention is made in Assemblyman Levine's grandstanding press release as to the impacts this will have on vulnerable populations such as the elderly and low income people, as well as the many disenfranchised immigrants in his own political District.

For those who haven't caught on, AB 32, SB 1368 and the proposed AB 94 are tanatmount to a partial state takeover of city-run utilities and an intrusion on home rule. The message in these pieces of legislation is that higher levels of government with superior knowledge know what is best for lower levels of government. Historically this has been recipe for local policy disasters.

Most political decisions must be made on the basis of inadequate knowledge. To understand this makes one approach public policies that exact high human costs very gingerly. Sociologist Peter L. Berger calls this the "postulate of ignorance." Berger's postulate of ignorance also sensitizes us to what he calls the "calculus of pain."

It additionally sensitizes us to the fact that the lowest levels of government closest to the people they serve are best attuned to make such decisions. Every human being knows their own economic and social world better than any level of government. And lower levels of government know it better than higher levels. But the new Green Power legislation has usurped this governmental principle of delegation. As Berger has aptly written:

"Policies for social change are typically made by cliques of politicians and intellectuals with claims to superior (environmental) insights. These claims are typically spurious. It is presupposed that policy should seek to avoid the infliction of pain. It is further presupposed that, in those cases where policy does involve either the active infliction of pain or the passive acceptance of pain (such as higher utility rates and the risk of blackouts), this fact requires a justification in terms of moral rather than technical necessity."

Environmentalists are quick to claim the moral high ground with the necessity to reduce global warming. But there is no public policy currently being considered by any level of government in California or elsewhere that would have a measurable impact on carbon dioxide (C02) levels and thus in climate either in the short or long run.

As pointed out by Dr. Roy Cordato and other scientists, the claims by California Senator Barbara Boxer that carbon dioxide (C02) kills 2,000 people per year lacks even the rudimentary understanding of photosynthesis and may be confused with deaths from carbon monoxide. See here. And asthma and other respiratory maladies have continued to increase despite a 70% or more decrease in air pollutants in the past few decades. See here

AB 32, SB 1368 and proposed AB 94 are targeted at cutting off the dependence of the City of Los Angeles and other cities in Southern California on imported "dirty coal" power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah. But according to the State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality: "The Intermountain Plant will meet all primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The IPP will also meet Class I increments in the National Parks in southern Utah and Class II PSD increments in the vicinity of the plant" (see here). The power plant's 710 foot stack removes 99.75 percent of all the particulates that would have gone into the atmosphere in an earlier day (see here). Additionally, the Intermountain Plant is one of the five lowest plants in sulfur oxide (S02) emissions in the U.S. according to the First Annual Top Plants Survey conducted by Power magazine in August 2002. The solution to pollution is often dilution. The pollutants from the Intermountain Plant are dissipated over thousands of miles of cubic air space.

The apparent concern about the Intermountain Power Plant is thus not health impacts, but wealth and aesthetic impacts on the tourist economy in Utah due to the haze around Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Zion, Canyonlands and Arches national parks (see here).

While the benefits of Green Power are at best speculative the expected human pain and monetary costs are more certain. Lacking technical and medical necessity, where are the moral grounds for such radical and costly measures that will likely impact the most vulnerable in our society and communities? On what grounds, technical or moral, does Assemblyman Levine propose to expand this already risky, unproven, and speculative, but highly populist legislation?

Source




CARRY ON FLYING, SAYS BLAIR - SCIENCE WILL SAVE THE PLANET

Tony Blair today wades into the growing controversy over how individuals can help to tackle global warming by declaring that he has no intention of abandoning long-haul holiday flights to reduce his carbon footprint. Days after his environment minister branded Ryanair the "irresponsible face of capitalism" for opposing an EU carbon emissions scheme, the prime minister says it is impractical to expect people to make personal sacrifices by taking holidays closer to home. "I personally think these things are a bit impractical actually to expect people to do that," Mr Blair says in an interview.

The prime minister, who recently had a family holiday in Miami, adds that it would be wrong to impose "unrealistic targets" on travellers. "You know, I'm still waiting for the first politician who's actually running for office who's going to come out and say it - and they're not," Mr Blair says. "It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere."

His remarks contrast with the tone set by Ian Pearson, the environment minister, who last week used strong language to criticise Ryanair for opposing the European commission's plan to include all flights within Europe in the EU carbon trading scheme from 2011. Mr Blair's remarks are also at odds with the declaration last month by the Prince of Wales that he would cut back on domestic and international flights.

David Cameron, the Tory leader, believes he has stolen a march on the government by emphasising green issues and his own credentials - installing a wind turbine on his new house.

The prime minister says: "I think that what we need to do is to look at how you make air travel more energy efficient, how you develop the new fuels that will allow us to burn less energy and emit less. How - for example - in the new frames for the aircraft, they are far more energy efficient."

Downing Street was irritated last night that the interview, with Sky News, was quickly interpreted as a snub to attempts to reduce people's carbon footprints. "This is not about the prime minister's travel," a source said. The prime minister's spokesman said that Mr Blair offset all his official travel, though No 10 refused to say whether he did this on personal flights. He added: "All government activity will be carbon neutral by 2015 and the prime minister has taken the lead in this."

Mr Blair says in his interview that he is taking a difficult decision on whether to replace Britain's nuclear energy capacity. In his Labour conference speech last year the prime minister mocked Mr Cameron for adopting a "multiple choice" approach by saying he would only endorse nuclear power as a last resort.

Mr Blair's message in the interview is that everyone needs to work together, but imposing strict rules would only backfire. "Britain is 2% of the world's emissions. We shut down all of Britain's emissions tomorrow - the growth in China will make up the difference within two years. "So we've got to be realistic about how much obligation we've got to put on ourselves. The danger, for example, if you say to people 'Right, in Britain ... you're not going to have any more cheap air travel,' everybody else is going to be having it. So you've got to do this together in a way that doesn't end up actually putting people off the green agenda by saying you must not have a good time any more and can't consume. All the evidence is that if you use the science and technology constructively, your economy can grow, people can have a good time, but do so more responsibly."

Emily Armistead, of Greenpeace, said: "Tony Blair is crossing his fingers and hoping someone will invent aeroplanes that don't cause climate change. But that's like holding out for cigarettes that don't cause cancer. Hoping for the best isn't a policy, it's a delusion." Mike Childs, of Friends of the Earth, said: "It's disappointing that Tony Blair is refusing to set an example on tackling climate change, but it is even more disappointing that his government is failing to take decisive action to cut UK emissions."

Source

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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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