Sunday, July 08, 2007


By Robert Ehrlich

Abstract: 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.

1. Paleotemperature data The possibility that fluctuations in solar luminosity may be responsible for changes in global temperatures has not been overlooked by researchers (Lean, 1997), although most explanations for periodicities in paleotemperatures are believed to involve factors unrelated to solar luminosity (Zachos et al., 2001). Nevertheless, some researchers have suggested that periodic solar variability has been the cause of global temperature cycles, with periods ranging from the 11 year sunspot period to cycles as long as 2000 years (Hu et al., 2003 and Van Geel, 1999). Earlier reports, however, suggest no specific mechanism for long term solar periodicity. Paleotemperatures are inferred from the 18O/16O ratio found in benthic sediments and in ice cores versus depth. In particular, it is believed that a decrease in global temperature corresponds to a 0.1% increase in the 18O/16O ratio (i.e., delta 18O) in benthic sediments (Lisiecki and Raymo, 2005)......

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 and Mandelis, 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 -- 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.

FULL PAPER at Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 69:759-766, May 2007


Recent journal article:

Ancient Biomolecules from Deep Ice Cores Reveal a Forested Southern Greenland

Eske Willerslev et al.


It is difficult to obtain fossil data from the 10% of Earth's terrestrial surface that is covered by thick glaciers and ice sheets, and hence, knowledge of the paleoenvironments of these regions has remained limited. We show that DNA and amino acids from buried organisms can be recovered from the basal sections of deep ice cores, enabling reconstructions of past flora and fauna. We show that high-altitude southern Greenland, currently lying below more than 2 kilometers of ice, was inhabited by a diverse array of conifer trees and insects within the past million years. The results provide direct evidence in support of a forested southern Greenland and suggest that many deep ice cores may contain genetic records of paleoenvironments in their basal sections.

Science 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 111 - 114

Gore: Ignorant or Dishonest?

Gore is correct in saying that the high temperatures observed on Venus are normally attributed by scientists to a greenhouse gas effect in which CO2 figures but nobody disputes that CO2 also contributes to the greenhouse effect on earth. The dispute is over the magnitude of the contribution and since the concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere is only the tiniest fraction of the concentration in the atmosphere of Venus, the most obvious inference (at least at the Gore level of reasoning) is in fact that CO2 has only a TRIVIAL effect on earth's climate. Some further comments below by George Reisman:

In his July 1, 2007, New York Times Op-Ed piece, "Moving Beyond Kyoto," Al Gore states:

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground - having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years - and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It's the carbon dioxide.

No, Mr. Gore, it's not the carbon dioxide. If you take the trouble to do an internet search on Google for "carbon dioxide" + "Martian atmosphere," you will learn that the Martian atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide, yet the average surface temperature on Mars is -63ø C (-81ø F). (It's true that the atmosphere on Mars is only about .6 percent as dense as that on Earth, but it's also true that its relative concentration of carbon dioxide is about 2400 times as great as that of Earth, which appears to make up for the thinness of the Martian atmosphere about 14 times over.)

But even putting this decisive objection aside, there is simply no informed or honest way for you to suggest that the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth is or ever will be comparable to the amount on Venus. According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, the atmosphere of Venus is 96 percent carbon dioxide. The atmosphere of the Earth, in contrast, is less than .04 percent carbon dioxide. That's not .04, but .0004, i.e., four one-hundredths of one percent. To be precise, carbon dioxide is presently 383 parts per million of the Earth's atmosphere. All of the brouhaha going on about the subject is over a projected increase to perhaps as much as 1000 parts per million by the year 2100, i.e., to .1 percent, which is 10 one-hundredths of one percent.

It is on the basis of such ignorance or dishonesty that you declare that

we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.

The "global warming pollution" you talk about is the production of the energy that lights, heats, and air conditions our homes, powers our automobiles, trucks, trains, airplanes, and ships, runs our refrigerators, television sets, computers, and all other electrical appliances, and powers the machinery and equipment that produces all of the goods we buy. You want to cut this by a staggering percentage!

You conclude by describing this suicidal program as one of a "privilege":

The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

Such mindless, rabid enthusiasm for a cause so self-destructive calls to mind the equal moral fervor and rising to "spiritual challenges" of the generations led by such madmen as Lenin and Hitler. It is also very much in the spirit in which suicide bombers depart on their missions.

You feel free to make your calls for unprecedented economic destruction from the comfort of a home that consumes more than 20 times the electricity of the average American home. You apparently have no awareness of the extent of your hypocrisy because you have purchased "carbon offsets," in such forms as paying for the planting of a few trees here and there that will supposedly absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to that emitted in powering your home. (Mark Steyn, "Rev. Gore Doesn't Practice What He Preaches," The Bulletin, March 8, 2007.) Yet your "spiritual challenge" does not include such offsets for the rest of the American people, so that they too might go on enjoying their lives.

If you understood in personal terms what you are talking about, you would know that your supposedly glorious "spiritual challenge" is a call for Mrs. Gore to scrub your laundry (if you would still have any) against a rock on the bank of a river, the way women do in Third World countries. That's the actual meaning and measure of your "spiritual challenge." You want to turn our glorious economic system into a poverty-stricken hell-hole. You need to calm down, Mr. Gore, and give yourself and the world a rest. Along the way, you should try to understand the extent and depth of the horrors you want to unleash.


Chorus does not justify climate prophecies

Michael Duffy writes from Australia:

The next week promises some excitement for those who believe global warming threatens our future. Today they can enjoy the Live Earth concert in Sydney. But on Thursday they will have to suffer ABC TV's showing of The Great Global Warming Swindle, a British documentary sceptical of the orthodoxy. There's been criticism of the decision to show this program. Some critics have been at pains to stress they would welcome intelligent debate, but Swindle regrettably is full of errors, put forward by unreliable individuals who have no support from other scientists.

This might seem a reasonable argument, indeed a shocking indictment of ABC TV's decision to put the show to air. But in fact it's just the standard response to criticism that defenders of the orthodoxy always trot out. I've seen Swindle, and most of the scientists in it are important figures in their fields, and lots of other scientists share their views about global warming.

The documentary is passionate, sensational and entertaining. Sometimes it attributes too much certainty to matters that are still in doubt. In other words, it is similar to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. I can't recall ABC TV devoting any significant space to questioning the greenhouse orthodoxy before. Indeed, it is running an entire series, Carbon Cops, to boost that orthodoxy. So it seems a bit mean-spirited to criticise the station for devoting a mere 51 minutes to the alternative viewpoint on one of the biggest public issues of the day. Just to make sure young children are not led astray by the program, there will be a panel discussion afterwards in which supporters of the orthodoxy can present their point of view and discuss it with others (including myself).

One thing Swindle doesn't tell you about is a major objection to the orthodoxy that emerged at a New York conference last week. The new claim says that when scientists stop doing science and start making forecasts, they are engaging in a very different form of intellectual activity, one at which they're not very good.

A lot of people assume that if you accept that human-created carbon dioxide warms the atmosphere, then it is almost inevitable that a number of bad climate changes will occur in coming decades, rising temperatures being the most important. However, the links between the two propositions are many and long, and involve a large number of facts and theories about how climate works. In other words, the orthodoxy involves a lot of complicated forecasts. The new critics say the processes by which these forecasts have been made are so poor we can't trust the results.

Professor Scott Armstrong is at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Kesten Green is with the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University. They're experts in forecasting techniques. (Many people are unaware that forecasting is a subject with many academic experts and a body of research going back to the 1930s. The website attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.) Their paper is Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts. It was written for the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting.

Armstrong and Green looked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group 1 report from earlier this year. This is the major source for the orthodoxy. They focused on chapter eight, which sets out the methodology used for the forecasts in the report. They found that the panel, despite its immense assembly of scientific talent, appeared to have no idea of how to make a reliable forecast. Although the chapter has 788 references, none relates to forecasting methodology. Armstrong and Green rated the methodology used by the panel against 89 principles of good forecasting derived from years of research. They found that the panel report breached 72 of those principles. They concluded that the forecasts the weather was likely to change in many negative ways were worthless.

What are some of the main principles of forecasting? One involves the notion, so popular among orthodoxy advocates, of consensus. While consensus might say something about testable scientific theories, it says nothing about forecasts. Armstrong and Green say: "Agreement among experts is weakly related to accuracy. This is especially true when the experts communicate with one another and when they work together to solve problems, as is the case with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process."

Another principle involves uncertainty and complexity. The more of each you have, the less sure you should be of your forecasts. Climate forecasts involve so many factors and so much uncertainty that Armstrong and Green believe they're useless.

Many people believe these complex forecasts can be trusted because computer models are used. But so much uncertainty and subjectivity is involved in the input that Armstrong and Green say the use of these computer models is just a modern version of an old practice: the use of mathematics to make personal opinions sound more impressive. (Robert Malthus's predictions on population increase and food decline, very influential in the 19th century, were presented with a lot of mathematics. They were wrong.)

Armstrong and Green note: "To our knowledge, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that presenting opinions in mathematical terms rather than in words will contribute to forecast accuracy." Armstrong has just offered Al Gore a $US20,000 ($23,000) bet that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change temperature forecasts are wrong.


No alternative to cars

The solution to so-called "automobile dependence" within the contemporary planning community is almost alway more mass transit: more trains and buses. But is this realistic, particualarly given current strategies and approaches to providing mass transit? Most investments in mass transit are patently unsustainable, requiring huge investments in capital and dramatic reductions in mobility (measured by travel time) to achieve ridership goals. Proof of mass transit's unsustainability is obvious to anyone willing to look at it objectively:

* Mass transit's share of travel continues to fall, even as it seems to have stemmed a decades -ong decline in the absolute number of miles traveled;

* Increasing market share and transit riders requires dramatically reducing mobility by either increasing congestion or ratcheting up personal autombile costs artificially through devices such as registration fees or gas taxes;

* While automobile use is subsidized, transit is subsidized at even higher levels, with users paying substantially less than half operating costs. Many communities offer some transit services for free, or a near free fares, to entice people onto trolleys, buses, and trains;

* Even in places where TODs are considered "successful", such as Ballston or the Chicago Loop, most trips are still by autombile unless people live (or work) in uniquely highe density places such as Manhattan.

In short, providing transit using the current paradigms and strategies is unsustainble. Transit's success depends on the ability of planners to make the lives of travelers worse off by making it harder to get around, restricting housing choice and type, and subjecting people to all manner of externalities and lifestyles they routinely choose to avoid in the current housing market place (e.g., small homes, urban noise, and air pollution).

Is there a future for mass transit? I think so, but it will take outside the box thinking on the part of transit managers and policymakers. Transit lost its way more than four decades ago when it largely ignored the needs and desires of a wealthier and more mobile middle class. The key is to recapture that market by expanding niche services that compete on the things that matter most to the broad base of travelers--fast, reliable, dependable service.

These are going to be niche services rather than the dense, comprehensive transit networks that characterized early 20th century systems. Some transit agencies have begun to shift in this diretion, opting for faster, more flexible and more niche focused transit services such as bus rapid transit. The Central Ohio Transit Authority is pursuing this strategy. Houston has found that high volume bus service can benefit from highway capacity improvements, experiencing gains in market share along some routes. Even Los Angeles is implementing a bus rapid transit route that has the potential to compete based on time and reliability, providing a meaningful alternative to automobile travel.

The key to transit success in the 21st century is improving mobility in a tangible competitive way. In most urban areas, creating a sustainable transit system will mean rebuilding transit networks and markets from the ground up.



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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1 comment:

Arthur Dent said...

Something to believe in, the Ramones.
From YouTube...Ramones-Aid.
Green or mean?