Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SCIENCE Magazine Waffles on Warming

The American scientific establishment is starting to take baby steps away from taking sides in the politics of global warming. It's sad to have to read science articles for political spin, like some announcement by the Kremlin. But climate change has now become so politicized that SCIENCE magazine reflects at least as much politics as honest science. You have to read it for spin.

SCIENCE magazine is the flagship journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is the professional advocacy group for scientists in the United States. SCIENCE is both the profession's political journal (telling readers how to get government grants, for example), and it also has original findings. So it has an openly political side, as well as a real science side.

The last issue of SCIENCE is waffling like mad on the global warming fad, warning its readers that it may not be so settled a question. Under the headline "Another Global Warming Icon Comes Under Attack," SCIENCE writer Richard Kerr writes:

"...a group of mainstream atmospheric scientists is disputing a rising icon of global warming, and researchers are giving some ground." ...

"Robert Charlson of the University of Washington, Seattle, (is) one of three authors of a commentary published online last week in Nature Reports: Climate Change. ... he and his co-authors argue that the simulation by 14 different climate models of the warming in the 20th century is not the reassuring success IPCC claims it to be."

(IPCC is the supposed international scientific consensus document on global warming - JL).

"... In the run-up to the IPCC climate science report released last February ... 14 groups ran their models under 20th-century conditions of rising greenhouse gases. ... But the group of three atmospheric scientists ... says the close match between models and the actual warming is deceptive. The match "conveys a lot more confidence [in the models] than can be supported in actuality," says Schwartz. [....]

"Greenhouse gas changes are well known, they note, but not so the counteracting cooling of pollutant hazes, called aerosols. Aerosols cool the planet by reflecting away sunlight and increasing the reflectivity of clouds. Somehow, the three researchers say, modelers failed to draw on all the uncertainty inherent in aerosols so that the 20th-century simulations look more certain than they should."

What? "Somehow" they missed the biggest unknown factor in climate prediction? Highly qualified climate scientists have long warned that warming estimates have at least one giant question mark: Water vapor and other tiny particles in the atmosphere. By failing to include reliable estimates of such "hazes" (not necessarily pollutants, as the article says), global warming models are likely to err wildly on the side of warming. It's the unseen elephant in the living room. The SCIENCE article therefore finally admits what scientific critics have been saying for years.

Interested readers should also take a good look at the graph in the SCIENCE article, which superficially seems to support the global warming story. But notice the vertical bars at the right side of the graph, which show the "90 percent confidence interval" --- the chances that the graph line is actually where it is shown to be. Turns out that the orange confidence interval includes all the points on the graph between 1930 and 2000... meaning that we can't tell that any of those points are different from each other with even 90 percent certainty. And that's not even including the big Black Hole of water vapor.

Now "90 percent confidence" might sound like a lot. But in standard scientific publications a 95 percent confidence level is the minimum acceptable level. The reason is that one can just run a study 10 times, and achieve a 90 percent confidence level purely by chance. So we normally demand a higher standard of proof --- at least 95 percent confidence. The data in the SCIENCE graph therefore does not meet routine scientific standards. Many scientists will read this item as a red flag, cautioning that all is not well in the global warming game.

Happy Earth Day - and never forget that telling the truth is the first, indispensible step toward wise management of our resources.


The Gore outgassing

Most years, July 7 is notable mostly as the first day of the annual "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona. Spain. This Saturday, however, as numerologists debate the significance of the date being 07-07-07, many observers will have their eyes focused on former Vice President Al Gore's "Live Earth" concert series.

The series, billed on its website as "a monumental music event that will.. engage, connect, and inspire individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis" will consist of a total of eight concerts on all seven continents, even a small concert on Antarctica. (A planned concert for Istanbul has been cancelled). More than 100 musical artists, including Alicia Keys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Police, Snoop Dogg, Metallica, Kelly Clarkson, Bon Jovi, Lenny Kravitz and fictitious rockers Spinal Tap are among the featured entertainment. LiveEarth promoters have estimated an audience of two billion viewers.

Before a single note has been played, however, it appears the concert series may leave a larger carbon footprint than its efforts could take away. First, there are the musicians themselves. While musicians of the level performing at Gore's concerts might come for free, they do not come cheaply. For the LiveEarth concerts, local airports are expected to be filled with luxury private aircraft - aircraft that have used large quantities of fuel and polluted the skies for the sake of the environment. A single Gulfstream IV jet burns 5,000 pounds of fuel in the first hour of flight and 3,000 pounds of fuel every additional hour, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, a U.S. government agency.

Then there are the bands's equipment - instruments, microphones, lights and the stage itself. A single band alone can require an army of heavy duty trucks to move the equipment. By example, last year's European tour of legendary rock band, The Who, required 1,000 flight cases to load and unload equipment, which included seventy guitars for guitarist Pete Townshend alone, as well as a six-ton drum kit.

It has been estimated that between the actual concerts, web streaming and television broadcasting, the Live Earth concert series could produce as much as 200,000 metric tons of carbon, after the conversions from electricity have been calculated. In other words, the Gore concerts could produce more carbon dioxide than was produced by all of Afghanistan in 2006. Gore's organization, Save Our Selves, has put in place what it calls a "Green Event Standard" for the concerts. Unfortunately, these efforts are either implausible or ineffective, or contain loopholes such as certain measures will be used "where possible." Among the Save Our Selves proposals to make the concert environmentally-friendly, taken directly from their website:

* Venue offices, walkways, etc will be retrofitted with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, where possible.

* SOS staff and artist air travel will be offset through carbon credits.

* Ground travel will be hybrid or other clean fuel where possible.

* Hotels will be directed to change light bulbs to CFLs, use nontoxic cleaning products, and have recycling containers present in the rooms.

Apparently, Gore believes the carbon footprint left by jet and automobile fuel and emission, the lighting, sound equipment, sound and stage trucks, artist hospitality, web-streaming, audio and video recording, concessions and everything else that is involved in staging concerts on all seven continents will be offset by directing local hotels to change its light bulbs, use different cleaning products and place recycling containers in rooms and by paying carbon credits and, where possible, changing more light bulbs and ferrying musicians in a Prius.

Indeed, LiveEarth's own website is filled with such nonsense. One of the benefits for the environment, LiveEarth's blog states, is that not "all the artists fly in private jets." Would a musician living in New York City take a private jet to Giants Stadium anyway? "It is a manufactured get-out-of-enviro-guilt-jail-free card," said Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said of the Green Event Standard. "How they can so loudly promote their own elitism is merely further proof thereof," Horner asked.

Criticism of the possible environmental impact of the Live Earth concerts has not been limited to Washington, D.C. Even some world famous musicians have scoffed at the idea of the Live Earth concerts. "The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert. I can't believe it. Let's burn even more fuel," Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who and participant in the Live Aid and Live8 concerts for Africa told the British paper, The Sun. "We have problems with global warming, but the questions and the answers are so huge I don't know what a rock concert's ever going to do to help."

The lead singer of the rock band Muse, Matt Bellamy, referred to the musicians' consumption to participate in the concerts as "private jets for climate change "When we're using enough power for 10 houses just for (stage) lighting. It'd be a bit hypocritical," Matt Helders, drummer of the popular British band, the Arctic Monkeys told the Agence France-Presse.

Most surprisingly, Bob Geldof, the musician and Nobel Prize nominee who founded the Live Aid and Live8 concerts, singled out Gore in particular, asking, "Why is Gore actually organising them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years."

More here

Avoid global warming consensus

By Bob Carter -- Bob Carter is a geologist who researches ancient climate change

AL Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth was launched in May last year. Its message is that global warming is going to roon us all, and the polar bears, too. Initially, the film received eulogistic - and, one might say, generally scientifically ignorant - reviews in substantial newspapers and magazines globally. As it came to be watched by qualified persons, devastating critiques of the looseness of the film’s science began to appear on the internet. More than 20 basic errors, some of them schoolboy howlers, were identified.

From his film, Gore seemed to have lived his life on an imaginary planet where natural change didn’t exist, and all change was anyway morally bad. Yet the official science community, represented for example by members of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, welcomed the film. The public continued to flock to its screening, and platoons of Julie Andrews clones in dirndl skirts danced and sang in the Alpine meadows.

In March, British television’s Channel 4 screened another film about climate change that had a different message. Made by Martin Durkin, and called The Great Global Warming Swindle, this documentary explores the science of climate-change alarmism carefully and accurately. The message of Swindle, which is to be screened on the ABC this week, is that scientific knowledge does not identify carbon dioxide emissions as an environmental harm, nor does their accrual in the atmosphere cause dangerous warming. So how is the screening of Durkin’s thought-provoking film being received?

Interestingly, in the case of the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, which published a highly critical film review written by several high-ranking IPCC scientists. As well as six other critical reviews written in response to the British screening of Swindle, the BAMOS paper has been widely circulated in influential circles ahead of the Australian screening. For instance, through the deans of science at universities, through the influential lobby organisation the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, and through the Australian Marine Sciences Association, among others.

Imagine a well-provendered and equipped military fortress in time of war, for that is what the alarmist, pro-IPCC, climate lobby group represents. Suddenly, loping across the landscape outside the fort, and carrying just a single-shot rifle, appears a lone member of the enemy army. Does the camp commander respond by sending out a platoon, including a psychologist with a megaphone to check what this naive infantryman is up to? Not on your nelly. Instead, the response is remarkable in its ferocity. Three panzer divisions come tearing out of the fort - manned, as it happens, by many distinguished scientists who have volunteered for their politically correct duty of suppressing alternative views - blazing away with all they’ve got. In a trice, the landscape is turned into a moonscape, pockmarked with craters and littered with debris.

Why does this lone gunman represent such a threat to the warmaholic camp? Does it perhaps relate to the fact that on closer inspection several sections of the fortress wall are sagging, undermined by collapse from below and within? How could a lone gunman have effected that? Is it just possible that there are more powerful forces on earth than military and industrial might, or scientific authority? White ants, perhaps; or even scientific logic?

In any event, our lone infantryman is now wandering around, dazed, dirty, half-blinded, and staggering on the rim of a crater; and not a dirndl skirt in sight. But he’s still standing. He miraculously still has four limbs, and what he is saying - that human carbon dioxide emissions are not an environmental hazard - still accords with all the facts and makes complete sense.

For you see, science is not about the triumph of the weight of numbers, nor about consensus, nor about the will of the social majority. An idea such as the greenhouse hypothesis is validated not by shouting but by experimental and observational testing and logical analysis. And note especially that a hypothesis doesn’t care who believes in it, right up to and including environment ministers, heads of state and presidents of distinguished scientific academies. Rather, science requires that to be successful a hypothesis only needs to be clearly stated, understandable, have explanatory power and withstand testing. It takes one person, not an army, to accomplish that, and the names of those individuals pass down through history: Charles Darwin, Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Robin Warren-Barry Marshall and their like, mavericks one and all. God bless them.

Despite this reality, every day we find public figures on Australian TV and radio stations muttering about there being “a consensus” on dangerous, human-caused climate change, or that the science of global warming “is settled”. Such persons should be referred to the nearest psychologist, and gently dissuaded from inflicting their nonsense - for that is what it is - on the poor public.

Science is never settled, and it is about hypothesis testing against known facts, not arm-waving about imaginary futures that have been created by PlayStation 4 computer buffs. Consensus nonsensus. Oh, and by the way, it turns out that our infantryman’s name wasn’t Einstein. It was Durkin. Martin Durkin, and what a service he has rendered.


Yes. Carter's point above about the response to global warming skepticism is amusing. Skepticism cannot be aired in public without a true believer or two immediately following on with an attempt at refutation. There is obviously a fear that a treasured belief is so fragile that it must be countered immediately unless people come to doubt it. It even happened when I gave a talk on Warmism to my local Brisbane Skeptics Association. Even the Skeptics could not tolerate too much skepticism! They had to have a Warmist follow my talk immediately with a defence of the received wisdom. I don't think he made much headway, though


First snow in Buenos Aires since 1918

Thousands of Argentines cheered in the streets of Buenos Aires on Monday as the capital saw a rare snowfall, the first of its kind since 1918. Wet snow fell for hours in the Argentine capital without accumulating, after freezing air from Antarctica collided with a moisture-laden low pressure system that blanketed higher elevations in western and central Argentina with snow. Argentina's National Weather Service said it was the first major snow in Buenos Aires since June 22, 1918, though sleet or freezing rain have been periodically reported in decades since.

The snow followed a bitter cold snap in late May that saw sub freezing temperatures, the coldest in 40 years in Buenos Aires. That cold wave contributed to an energy crisis and 23 deaths from exposure. Two more exposure deaths were reported on Monday.

"Despite all my years, this is the first time I've ever seen snow in Buenos Aires," said Juana Benitez, an 82-year-old who joined children celebrating in the streets. One man stripped to his shorts to welcome the snow. Some car accidents were reported on slick suburban streets.

The storm struck on Argentina's Independence Day holiday, adding to a festive air and prompted radio stations to play an old tango song inspired by the 1918 snowfall, What a night! "This is the kind of weather phenomenon that comes along every 100 years," forecaster Hector Ciappesoni told La Nacion newspaper. "It is very difficult to predict."


Too cold for warming concert in South Africa: "Officials at Live Earth Johannesburg have blamed the effects of climate change for poor audience attendance at Saturday's South African event. Organiser John Langford believes extremely cold weather in the region - it snowed last week for the first time in a quarter of a century - kept people away from the concert, which starred Joss Stone, UB40, Angelique Kidjo and Baaba Maal. Speaking before the event, Langford said, "We're expecting 10,000 here tonight. It's a bit chilly, and we've had a strange winter... is it climate change? We had snow in Jo'burg last week for the first time in 25 years."


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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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