Friday, November 09, 2007

Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory?

By Daniel A Klein et al. See the warning immediately below this article


It is now well-established that rising global temperatures are largely the result of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The "consensus" position attributes the increase in atmospheric CO2 to the combustion of fossil fuels by industrial processes. This is the mechanism which underpins the theory of manmade global warming.

Our data demonstrate that those who subscribe to the consensus theory have overlooked the primary source of carbon dioxide emissions. While a small part of the rise in emissions is attributable to industrial activity, it is greatly outweighed (by >300 times) by rising volumes of CO2 produced by saprotrophic eubacteria living in the sediments of the continental shelves fringing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Moreover, the bacterial emissions, unlike industrial CO2, precisely match the fluctuations in global temperature over the past 140 years.

This paper also posits a mechanism for the increase in bacterial CO2 emissions. A series of natural algal blooms, beginning in the late 19th Century, have caused mass mortality among the bacteria's major predators: brachiopod molluscs of the genus Tetrarhynchia. These periods of algal bloom, as the palaeontological record shows, have been occurring for over three million years, and are always accompanied by a major increase in carbon dioxide emissions, as a result of the multiplication of bacteria when predator pressure is reduced. They generally last for 150-200 years. If the current episode is consistent with this record, we should expect carbon dioxide emissions to peak between now and mid-century, then return to background levels. Our data suggest that current concerns about manmade global warming are unfounded.

Journal of Geoclimatic Studies (2007) 13:3. 223-231


This article is a bit over the top for a scientific paper. Note that there is no Department of Climatology at the University of Arizona, nor is there a Daniel Klein or Mandeep Gupta in the U of A directory. Neither is there an Institute of Geoclimatic Studies. The whole things looks like an elaborate hoax. One should note that the very first sentence of the abstract is wrong. A global warming atheist would have said "widely-believed" rather than "well-established". Blue Crab has some incriminating details.

Journal of Geoclimatic Studies Editorial

Science, we are led to believe, proceeds by means of open-minded enquiry, motivated by the quest for truth. Any scientific theory is valid only for as long as it resists disproof. Such disproofs, far from being discouraged or resisted, are to be welcomed as the means by which knowledge advances.

This, anyhow, is the story we tell ourselves, at every level of every scientific discipline. Sadly, however, it no longer seems to apply in the field of climate science. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the lead paper published in this edition of our journal. It threatens to overturn the theory to which almost all climate scientists subscribe: that positive radiative forcing (global warming) is largely driven by emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels. The paper, by Daniel Klein and colleagues, appears to demonstrate that this is not the case: the process causing global warming is in fact a natural one, which is likely to peak - returning average temperatures to background levels - by the middle of this century.

In any other field a revelation of this importance would be greeted with tremendous interest by scientific colleagues. If corroborated by further investigation it is likely to have been rewarded with the highest scientific honours: it is no exaggeration to state that this is Nobel Prize material. Instead, attempts to publish this paper have been met with fear, hostility and a closing of ranks. Before approaching this journal, Daniel Klein and colleagues sent their paper to 43 peer-reviewed learned publications. All 43 rejected it. In no case could they provide a scientific justification for their decision. [A bit over the top. I have done plenty of resubmissions in my day but never that many or anywhere near it]. The editor of one very eminent journal told Klein and his colleagues that they were "criminally irresponsible" in seeking to have this material published. This is not, we believe, language appropriate to the advance of scientific understanding.

Much as we would like to exaggerate the significance of our own journal, we cannot claim that it ranks alongside the great names that rejected this paper. Though we have always strived to maintain the most rigorous scientific standards, we recognise that Klein and colleagues came to us when better options had failed. Delighted as we are to provide a home for it, we deeply regret that they were unable to publish their paper in a better-known journal.

Nor would it be accurate to claim that we leapt at the chance to publish it. Though we immediately recognised the importance of these findings, we were also aware of the possible consequences of their publication. Ours is a small journal with minimal resources, whose existence has on several occasions been endangered by budgetary crises. We realised that if we were to publish this paper we would be confronting a powerful and hostile scientific establishment, which has the means, if it so chooses, to close us down. But such is the importance of what Klein and colleagues have discovered that this is a risk we are prepared to take.

This being said, we proceeded with the utmost care before deciding to publish. We subjected it to the most rigorous process of peer-review any paper published in this journal has ever undergone. Though several of them evinced profound concerns about the political implications of publishing this paper, none of our peer reviewers could fault it on scientific grounds. We decided that it is better to be published and be damned by other scientists than not to publish and be damned in our own minds for cowardice.

We have also taken the unprecedented step of making the paper freely available on our website: something we have been reluctant to do in the past because of our severe budgetary constraints. We hope that even if the paper is dismissed and ignored by those who subscribe to the "consensus" position on climate change, the truth will eventually seep out. We accept that this is not the best route for scientific discourse to take, but none better appears to be available. We publish in trepidation, but in the knowledge that it is the right thing to do.

Journal of Geoclimatic Studies (2007) 23:3. 221-222

An email received: That tries to explain the non-appearance of authenticating particulars

Dear Dr. Ray,

Thank you for everything you do. I admire your courage and your readiness to stand up for the truth when the rest of the world looks like it's slowly going mad.

I would like to draw your attention to the really scandalous treatment of some academic colleagues by what seems like a kind of 'climate change mafia'. I am an astrophysicist with an interest in issues related to climate change. But please do not mention my name to anyone in connection with this. As you can see here, Daniel Klein and colleagues have published a paper which completely shatters the theory of `manmade global warming':

As the journal says it's Nobel Prize material. But instead of being rewarded for it they have been shut out and threatened. See the editorial here:

It's a shocking story of censorship and intimidation. Their paper was published a few days ago but no one has reported on it and it looks like its in danger of being frozen out by the climate change 'consensus'. I phoned Daniel yesterday and recommended to him he should talk to the media about it. But he's so worried that he or his colleagues could lose their funding or their jobs that he is flatly refusing. He and his colleagues have already removed their contact details from the university directories because of the hate mail they've been getting.

The way Klein and colleagues have been treated is an outrage and it makes me very sad and worried about what's happening to science. We really do seem to be entering a new 'Dark Ages'. If you can break the silence on this issue, you will be doing a major service. As I say, please do not mention my name in connection to any of this.


"Enoch was right," said Mr Nigel Hastilow, and within 24 hours of uttering those words the speaker found that he was no longer the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis. Mr Hastilow, you see, had reacted in a completely unacceptable fashion to the Office for National Statistics' report that the population of this country would, largely as a result of net immigration, rise to 71 million in 25 years' time.

Respectable opinion offers a different response to this alleged problem. Thus, on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG, KCVO said that we should be pursuing policies that would reduce our population to 20 million - a third of its current level. Meanwhile, a columnist on The Times, Melanie Reid, argued that we should look to the People's Republic of China for appropriate remedies. Referring to China's "one child" policy, Ms Reid wrote that: "I rather admire the Chinese. They recognised a huge problem and did something about it. It was dreadfully crude but it has prevented the births of 400 million people."

As that great student of Communist China, Jonathan Mirsky, retorted: "The male-female birth rate in China now is between 115 and 118 males to 100 women. The results? Rape, abduction (of females for brides) and female infanticide. Why would anyone admire this, crude or not?"

I'm not aware that anyone has rebutted Sir Crispin's suggestion that there are three times more British people than is desirable, so perhaps I should do so here. First of all, I don't accept the initial assumption that this country is unbearably overcrowded - or even would be so with a population of 71 million. No more than 8 per cent of the land mass of the United Kingdom consists of human dwellings or offices. Sheep, cows and assorted other creatures occupy much more space than we do.

The BBC's peerless economics correspondent, Evan Davis, points out that if the whole of the UK had the population density of Jersey then we would have a headcount of 180 million. Yet the people of Jersey are not engaging in bloody civil war or cannibalism - the sort of outcome that would be predicted by the population doomsters. As Davis observes, the key to managing population growth is to develop the appropriate infrastructure, which presumably Jersey has managed to do.

I was surprised to hear Sir Crispin Tickell citing 20 million as the appropriate number of residents for the UK; only four years ago, on BBC 2's Newsnight, he spoke in support of a figure of 30 million. Numbers, numbers. In his earlier broadcast, Sir Crispin remarked: "Someone has said that constantly increasing growth is the doctrine of the cancer cell. You just get out of control."

This metaphor, in effect describing the birth of children as like a metastasising tumour, is truly disgusting. Who, though, was that "someone" Sir Crispin airily quoted? His name is Paul Ehrlich and he is a patron, along with Tickell and Sir Jonathon Porritt, among others, of the Optimum Population Trust, an organisation that campaigns tirelessly for an organised reduction in human life.

Mr Ehrlich is the godfather of the environmentalist human reduction movement. Almost 40 years ago he wrote a book called The Population Bomb, which asserted that so many people would die as a direct result of starvation due to overpopulation that the world would, by 1985, be able to support only 1.5 billion humans. Mr Ehrlich also claimed that about 65 million of the victims would have died of hunger in his own country, the United States of America. As for Great Britain, Ehrlich declared that he would "take even money" that none of its inhabitants "would exist in the year 2000".

We now know that these predictions were of no more value than those given by the lunatic on a street corner declaring that the end of the word is nigh. Unlike those weirdos, however, Professor Ehrlich continues to pick up awards and is invited on to television programmes, like a sort of Cassandra in reverse (Cassandra, you will recall, got her prophecies right, but was ignored).

Even in what we used to call the Third World, life expectancy has grown by 40 per cent over the past half-century. Both the developed and the developing world have refuted the contemptible assertion - which defies both agricultural science and the human spirit - that the more we are, the worse it will be for all of us.

There have indeed been some horrendous famines - but fewer than ever before in human history and on a tiny scale compared to those foreseen by the guru of the Optimum Population Trust; these have been a result not of overpopulation but of governments taking control of land that used to be run by the farmers themselves - sometimes as part of a deliberate policy of starvation.

The population control freaks canvas a similarly insidious invasion into the intimate lives of hitherto free peoples. The Optimum Population Trust is scandalised by the fact that: "Couples making decisions about family size do so in the belief that it is a matter for them and their personal preferences alone." These professional misanthropes have now co-opted the fashionable hysteria about the consequences of climate change into their eternal quest for human self-culling.

Thus an Optimum Population Trust briefing paper rejoiced that: "A non-existent person has no environmental footprint; the emission saving is instant and total." As Frank Furedi, the author of Population and Development - A Critical Introduction, comments: "This preference for the non-existent over the existent speaks to a powerful anti-humanist sensibility."

As a matter of fact, we can expect this "problem", insofar as it can be so described, to solve itself: we now know that the process of economic development brings with it medical improvements that reduce infant mortality - and thus the compensating urge to produce very large families. That process is also accompanied by female education, which has a similar effect on what is sometimes called "fertility choice".

Note the word: choice. For the state to intervene in any way in the most personal and precious decision of our private lives would be a reduction of freedom dwarfing in significance all the minor infringements which have already occurred over such apparently unacceptable activities as the hunting of foxes while wearing red coats or smoking in private clubs.

So here is a message that we might send to the population control freaks, and I hope that it will not be found too crude. It is this: mind your own reproducing business.


Global warming? Bring it on

WHY DO we believe the Earth's climate was at its optimum at the start of the 20th century? On a chilly, damp and cloudy Saturday morning in early November, waiting for the rains to come and wipe out yet another soccer practice, I was home, thinking about the dire warnings from the global warming alarmist crowd and their pronouncements of disaster looming in Earth's not-too-distant future.

Earth's seas are supposed to rise by feet when, in fact, to date it's been fractions of inches. The ice pack is supposed to be disappearing in huge chunks, drowning all polar bears by 2050, yet all I can find is a story about four drowning during one freak storm. And while arctic ice is shrinking, the ice shelf in Antarctica is at an all-time record high.

The portending of climate-related disasters has captured the attention of a science-challenged audience. Put a white coat on a bearded man, give him a microphone and turn him loose on the public. Pretty soon, hand-wringing politicians more concerned for their reelection than the truth ensure that the grant money starts pouring in.

Given that atmospheric scientists and meteorologists can't predict whether it will rain five days from now, why is it that we are all too willing to accept their apocalyptic pronouncements of what to expect five or 50 or 100 years from now? And who's to say what epoch in the Earth's climate history represents the optimum? Could it be that a warmer Earth might actually be beneficial? This column is for you. If you heat your home with oil and have noticed that a barrel of the crude stuff is now going for almost $100, this column is for you.

Last January, as I was mowing the lawn in our back yard instead of shoveling snow off the driveway, I couldn't help but think how great it was to be outside on a sunny, 60-degree day, working on my tan two weeks into winter. That pleasant memory conjured up the specter of the winter of 1993, when we faced 18 winter storms. For months that stretched into an eternity, we were entombed in ice and snow. The mercury hovered in single digits for days. Twice on our deck my thermometer measured 11 degrees below zero. Temperatures were so low that road salt lost its ability to melt ice.

Here we are, several weeks past what is normally the peak for the leaves to be in their autumnal splendor, and this year's deciduous display is still affording us some of the most delectable eye candy in recent memory. And as trick-or-treaters were able to go door to door last week in shirt sleeves, I couldn't help but remember how many times as a child it was simply too nasty on Halloween to venture out during colder climes.

We've been here before. If my ambivalence to what apparently everyone in the world believes with religious fervor is a crisis is grating on your nerves, the truth is that we've been here before -- and nobody dies. The Earth's climate history did not start with the dawn of the 20th century. It was warmer, much warmer than it is getting now, and not for a decade or a century but for 400 years.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research explains on its Web site that the Medieval Warm Period "was a time of unusually warm climate in Europe from about 850 until 1250 A.D. ... The warmer climate caused historic events such as the spread of Viking settlements in Northern Europe. They traveled by boats to Greenland, among other places, through seas that, with cooler climates, are typically full of dangerous sea ice. During this time, grape vineyards, which require moderate temperatures and a long growing season, were as far north as [Northern] England. Today, in comparison, grape vineyards are only typically as far north as France [and Southern Germany] in Europe."

In mainland Europe, swamps dried up, and it was the mosquitoes that died instead of the children. The reduction in infant mortality caused an increase in the population from 40 million to 60 million. The warmer weather created longer growing seasons resulting in increased crop yield. A reminder: This warming occurred long before the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the internal combustion engine, and before General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were turning out those huge, gas-guzzling SUVs.

The rain never came today. In fact, the sun is starting to peek out. This week it's supposed to be sunny and in the 50s, and frankly, I wouldn't mind if it stayed that way until next April. A warmer Earth might be this planet's sweet spot. Many would stand to benefit greatly -- me included -- since I prefer mowing the lawn to shoveling snow any day.


Artificial light now incorrect

Now science is finding that our manhandling of light and time is making us sick. Artificial illumination is fooling the body's biological clock into releasing key wakefulness hormones at the wrong times, contributing to seasonal fatigue and depression. And daylight-saving time, extended by Congress this year for an extra four weeks, risks dragging even more Americans into a winter funk.

Much more than mental health is at stake. Women who work at night, out of sync with the light, have recently been shown to have higher rates of breast cancer - so much so that an arm of the World Health Organization will announce next month that it is classifying shift work as a "probable carcinogen." That will put the night shift in the same health-risk category as exposure to some types of toxic chemicals.

"Electric lights are wonderful, but as with a lot of other things, we really mess things up," said Dr. David Avery, a psychiatrist at the University of Washington School of Medicine who studies light's impact on health.

Researchers have long known that virtually all living organisms have biological rhythms that are linked to light. But the human health implications remained opaque until the 1970s, when scientists discovered the brain's internal clock: the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, a tangle of neurons in the hypothalamus connected directly to the eyes. The SCN controls the ebb and flow of hormones that influence sleepiness, alertness and hunger. Prime among them is melatonin, levels of which rise each evening, easing the onset of sleep, and then fall before dawn in advance of awakening. But the SCN does not work in a vacuum. It takes its cues from light signals passed along by the eyes.

For decades scientists presumed that those clock-setting signals came from rods and cones, the light-sensitive cells in the retina that provide black-and-white and color vision. Then, in 2002, researchers at Brown University discovered an entirely different set of light-detecting cells in the eyes of humans and other mammals: ganglion cells.

Unlike rods and cones, ganglion cells specifically detect sky-blue light. The amount of light needed to get them firing is the equivalent of the intensity of sunlight reaching the eye at about daybreak. Taken together, those traits make them the perfect cells to tell the brain when dawn has arrived, which they do via a dedicated neural conduit to the SCN.

Unfortunately, this system does not always work like clockwork. Because of genetic differences, many people's clocks are set differently from others'. In some, the evening melatonin spike is delayed and sleep comes late. Early awakening is also often difficult for these night owls, perhaps in part because their melatonin levels have not had time to drop sufficiently by morning. Others have the opposite problem: The clocks in these morning larks run fast compared with solar clock time, lulling them to sleep early and then awakening them well before dawn's early light.

Being out of phase with the natural day-night cycle can take a big toll, causing fatigue, mood disturbances and depression. But for millions of Americans, these symptoms become even worse in winter, blossoming into what is in effect a months-long case of jet lag. Scientists disagree on the cause of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, as it has come to be known. Some focus on winter's late sunrises, which appear to push various hormone cycles out of phase with the daily wake-sleep cycle. Others focus on the early sunsets, which may affect the timing of melatonin production in the brain.

But while genes clearly play a role (night owls are more often affected), location also matters. Daylight-saving time was stretched this year to Sunday for reasons that include an effort to save energy. But the change exacerbates the problem of seasonal depression and mood disorders by further delaying the time of sunrise, a key signal that resets the body's clock. "From the psychiatric perspective, the extension of daylight-saving time this year was a very bad decision," Terman said. "Our expectation is we will see increased depression and mood disorders."

The good news is that treatments for seasonal depression - primarily the use of bright light [So artificial light is good after all??], and in some cases melatonin supplements, to reset the body's clock - can be effective.



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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