Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prepare for new Ice Age, says Australian scientist

This has aired on Australian TV. An article on the topic by Chapman is also reproduced below (third down)

Sunspot activity has not resumed after hitting an 11-year low in March last year, raising fears that - far from warming - the globe is about to return to an Ice Age. Geophysicist Phil Chapman, the first Australian to become an astronaut with NASA, said pictures from the US Solar and Heliospheric Observatory showed there were currently no spots on the sun.

He said the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C. "This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930," Dr Chapman writes in The Australian today. "If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over."

The Bureau of Meteorology says temperatures in Australia have been warmer than the 1960-90 average since the late 1970s, barring a couple of cooler years, and are now 0.3C higher than the long-term average.

A sunspot is a region on the sun that is cooler than the rest and appears dark. Some scientists believe a strong solar magnetic field, when there is plenty of sunspot activity, protects the earth from cosmic rays, cutting cloud formation, but that when the field is weak - during low sunspot activity - the rays can penetrate into the lower atmosphere and cloud cover increases, cooling the surface.

But scientists from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research published a report in 2006 that showed the sun had a negligible effect on climate change. The researchers wrote in the journal Nature that the sun's brightness varied by only 0.07per cent over 11-year sunspot cycles, and that that was far too little to account for the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution.

Dr Chapman proposes preventive, or delaying, moves to slow the cooling, such as bulldozing Siberian and Canadian snow to make it dirty and less reflective. "My guess is that the odds are now at least 50:50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades," he writes.


His Eminence also says that global warming is over

It ended 10 years ago but a few courageous people are now being allowed to note the fact in print. Article below by Cardinal George Pell, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

Canada has just experienced the coldest winter and the heaviest snowfalls since 1970-1, which was called a once in a thousand years event. Another 18 centimetres of snow would set an all time record. A Kingston newspaper had a marvellous cartoon of a tough old Canadian, rugged up against the cold and hacking the ice off the windscreen of his car. The caption read "Global warming my a."!

In China the Chinese New Year coincided with a fierce cold snap and snow storms which prevented many city workers returning to their villages for the celebrations. Police had to deal with the ensuing riots. London has just experienced snow at Easter.

The world is much bigger than both China and Canada combined, which might be the exceptions to the new rule of man-made global warming, but they are inconvenient facts for the climate change bandwagon. And it is an intolerant bandwagon with loud exaggerated claims that the issue is settled and that an unchallenged consensus among scientists confirms the hypothesis of dangerous humanly caused global warming. In fact the issue is far from settled. Politicians sceptical of these claims would need unusual courage to resist the strong tides of public opinion. However the rest of us are not so constrained and we should consider all the available information. Three points are of some significance.

Last December more than 100 prominent international scientists, some of them members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned the U.N. that attempting to control the earth's climate was "ultimately futile". So did 500 experts in Manhattan in March. Fighting climate change was distracting governments from helping the most vulnerable citizens adapt to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever they might prove to be. Futile attempts to prevent global climate change would be a tragic misallocation of resources, they claimed.

Secondly none of the natural changes observed with glaciers, sea-levels and species migration is outside the bounds of known variability, including the warming of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the late twentieth century. But the 1930s decade was warmer than the 1990s. Most importantly the global temperature has not increased since 2001. Global warming has ceased (New Statesman 19/12/2007). This finding invalidates the global warming hypotheses because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase and the temperature should be increasing too. It isn't.

The last point to be acknowledged is that today's computer models cannot predict climate over long periods because there are too many unknowns and variables. We should never forget that while computers are miracles of human ingenuity, able to assimilate extraordinary amounts of information in the briefest time, they are also limited, cannot think for themselves and are totally obedient to their last human master. More than this is needed to predict the future.


Sorry to ruin the fun, but an ice age cometh

By Phil Chapman (Phil Chapman is a geophysicist and astronautical engineer who lives in San Francisco. He was the first Australian to become a NASA astronaut)

The scariest photo I have seen on the internet is, where you will find a real-time image of the sun from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, located in deep space at the equilibrium point between solar and terrestrial gravity. What is scary about the picture is that there is only one tiny sunspot.

Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

It is generally not possible to draw conclusions about climatic trends from events in a single year, so I would normally dismiss this cold snap as transient, pending what happens in the next few years. This is where SOHO comes in. The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers. It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790. Northern winters became ferocious: in particular, the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812 was at least partly due to the lack of sunspots.

That the rapid temperature decline in 2007 coincided with the failure of cycle No.24 to begin on schedule is not proof of a causal connection but it is cause for concern. It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age, similar to the one that lasted from 1100 to 1850.

There is no doubt that the next little ice age would be much worse than the previous one and much more harmful than anything warming may do. There are many more people now and we have become dependent on a few temperate agricultural areas, especially in the US and Canada. Global warming would increase agricultural output, but global cooling will decrease it. Millions will starve if we do nothing to prepare for it (such as planning changes in agriculture to compensate), and millions more will die from cold-related diseases.

There is also another possibility, remote but much more serious. The Greenland and Antarctic ice cores and other evidence show that for the past several million years, severe glaciation has almost always afflicted our planet. The bleak truth is that, under normal conditions, most of North America and Europe are buried under about 1.5km of ice. This bitterly frigid climate is interrupted occasionally by brief warm interglacials, typically lasting less than 10,000 years. The interglacial we have enjoyed throughout recorded human history, called the Holocene, began 11,000 years ago, so the ice is overdue. We also know that glaciation can occur quickly: the required decline in global temperature is about 12C and it can happen in 20 years.

The next descent into an ice age is inevitable but may not happen for another 1000 years. On the other hand, it must be noted that the cooling in 2007 was even faster than in typical glacial transitions. If it continued for 20 years, the temperature would be 14C cooler in 2027. By then, most of the advanced nations would have ceased to exist, vanishing under the ice, and the rest of the world would be faced with a catastrophe beyond imagining. Australia may escape total annihilation but would surely be overrun by millions of refugees. Once the glaciation starts, it will last 1000 centuries, an incomprehensible stretch of time.

If the ice age is coming, there is a small chance that we could prevent or at least delay the transition, if we are prepared to take action soon enough and on a large enough scale. For example: We could gather all the bulldozers in the world and use them to dirty the snow in Canada and Siberia in the hope of reducing the reflectance so as to absorb more warmth from the sun. We also may be able to release enormous floods of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) from the hydrates under the Arctic permafrost and on the continental shelves, perhaps using nuclear weapons to destabilise the deposits.

We cannot really know, but my guess is that the odds are at least 50-50 that we will see significant cooling rather than warming in coming decades. The probability that we are witnessing the onset of a real ice age is much less, perhaps one in 500, but not totally negligible.

All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead. It will be difficult for people to face the truth when their reputations, careers, government grants or hopes for social change depend on global warming, but the fate of civilisation may be at stake. In the famous words of Oliver Cromwell, "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."


Rules for increasing deaths on the road released

The new goals can only be achieved by making cars smaller and lighter -- and thus less protective of the occupants in crashes

The government on Tuesday plans to release a proposal to raise fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks, putting the nation's fleet on track to reach 35 miles per gallon by 2020. Transportation Department Secretary Mary Peters was making the Earth Day announcement in Washington, responding to a new energy law pushed by Congress last year and signed by President Bush.

Congress sought tougher standards requiring the nation's fleet of new vehicles to increase its efficiency by 10 mpg from its current average of 25 mpg, or a 40% increase. The new law represented the first major changes to the auto mileage rules in three decades.

The proposal will set fuel economy standards from 2011 to 2015 and are expected to be finalized before the end of the Bush administration. A Transportation spokesman declined comment on the plan. The fleet of new passenger cars is currently required to meet a 27.5 mpg average, while sport-utility vehicles, pickups and vans need to hit a target of 22.5 mpg.

Members of Congress and environmental groups have pushed for higher standards, arguing that requiring vehicles to become more efficient would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the nation's dependence upon imported oil. Democrats have said the fuel economy requirements will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs and reduce oil demand by 1.1 million barrels a day when the more fuel-efficient vehicles are in wide use on the road.

Automakers opposed increases to the regulation in previous years, but supported a compromise version of the legislation amid rising gasoline prices and concerns about global warming. The new law is expected to push the auto industry to build more gas-electric hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs running on diesel and advances such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.


Gore Won't Ask Wealthy Hollywoodans to Alter Lifestyle to Save Planet

If you needed a better example of the hypocrisy involved in Nobel Laureate Al Gore's global warming hysteria, read this delicious segment from an article just published by the British Sun:
The man who is now as much part of the Hollywood Establishment as he was a political player with the Democratic Party is very careful not to upset any of his celebrity friends. He wouldn't dream of suggesting that their lavish jet-setting and gas-guzzling lifestyles could be reined in for the good of the environment.

Imagine that. But that was only the beginning of the hypocrisy:
When we point out that David Beckham has recently been given the dubious title of having the worst carbon footprint in history - clocking up enough air miles to fly to the moon and owning 15 gas-guzzling cars, Mr Gore shifts uncomfortably in his seat. [...] When asked what he would say to the football icon - a hero to millions - about his impact on the environment, Mr Gore refuses to be drawn. He gives a huge belly-laugh at the notion that Posh and Becks could invest in an environmentally-friendly hybrid car such as a Toyota Prius. He careful considers his answer before saying: "I don't think that's my place. I don't want to get into personally criticising anyone."

It's not his place? He doesn't want to personally criticise anyone? How about your regular references to everyone that disagrees with you as being "deniers" and "flat-earthers?" And why is it okay for you to travel the world telling governments how they need to alter their energy policies and tax codes, which will end up costing regular people billions nay trillions of dollars, but you don't think it's your place to tell the wealthiest members of society to change their lifestyles?

At the same time, Gore's VERY interested in telling regular people what THEY should do:
"Long-life lightbulbs, recycling, window treatments, extra insulation - these things can all help. "I appreciate they cost money to begin with but they will save money in the long run. "But the main benefit of people going green is that they will join a movement to pressure their governments."

So, let's add this all up: He doesn't want to tell the wealthiest people in the world that they need to make sacrifices in order to save the planet, but he's more than happy telling the common man to spend more money in order to pressure governments to raise taxes and energy prices. Meet the new Robin Hood, ladies and gentlemen: he steals from the poor so the rich can continue their lavish lifestyles without feeling guilty about imminent planetary doom. Honestly, you can't make this stuff up.


Greenie tyranny: British father of four taken to court and fined ... because he overfilled his wheelie-bin by just four inches

With his rubbish collected only once a fortnight, Gareth Corkhill's wheelie bin was so full the lid wouldn't shut. And for that, the father of four finds himself with a criminal record. Magistrates convicted the 26-year-old bus driver after hearing evidence that the lid was four inches ajar, which is against rules to stop bins overflowing. He was ordered to pay 210 pounds - a week's wages - after he declined to pay an on-the-spot fine imposed by the local council's bin police, who visited him wearing stab-proof vests and carrying photographic evidence of his crime. To add insult to injury he was told to pay a 15 pound victim surcharge to help victims of violence - despite there being no victim - and threatened with prison if he failed to pay. Rapists, murderers and other violent criminals who have earned a jail sentence rather than a fine are immune from the penalty.

Yesterday the council, Copeland in Cumbria, said that Mr Corkhill's family had caused problems for "the battle to reduce waste".

His penalty compares with the typical on-the-spot fine of 80 pounds given to shoplifters - even repeat offenders. For failing to pay his fine Mr Corkhill, from Whitehaven, will now have a criminal record which he will have to disclose if he applies for a job, credit or a mortgage over the next five years. Even after that he will have to reveal his crime if he applies for a job in the NHS, working with children, in a bank, or as a security guard. "I can't believe I now have a criminal record for simply putting rubbish in my bin," he said. "My only crime was to leave the lid slightly open. Now I might go for a job interview and be better than someone else but the employer will see that officially, I am a criminal. "They won't know the details of what I did. They won't know that I only put a little too much rubbish in the bin."



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Anonymous said...

Uh, unlike 10K years ago, modern humans are not exactly powerless to innovatively thrive for 1000 centuries on top of a ball of ice. We even did pretty well the last time. Snow, for one thing, is a great insulator and source of fresh water. Nuclear Power is ready to go and solar will be an easy sell in about 20 years (minus a few % if the sun mellows out). Building structures out of bricks of ice is trivial. Imagine a totally "science fiction" society. And though the change in temperature may be abrupt, and indeed may cause mass deaths, so might a simple, antibiotic resistant, airborne flu season. My point is that there are many more survival strategies based on on high energy availability, low and high tech adaptations and high tech food production techniques that are available for humans to weather a new ice age over 1000 centuries than there are for us to handle runaway warming. And there are many more ways indeed to avoid a natural ice age in the first place than there would be ways to cheaply counteract runaway greenhouse warming.

Eventually, in say 100 years, a space elevator or self-reproducing asteroid mining machinery could produce billions of microsatillites that via radio control or even autopilot, block *or* MIRROR extra sunlight to either cool or warm the earth. The Earth receives sunlight according to its size. If billions of mirrors were put in orbit, the needed few % of extra sunlight we need would be provided. We already have satellites that float in triads, able to measure variations in distance between them less than the width of a proton. Simple mirrors? Not a huge technological challenge!

Beware that the scaremongers may switch to an ice age again and in some way figure out the right politics to have *that* become a socialist front for creation of anti-capitalistic control over industry. Any emergency will suit such a political purpose.

Though I am skeptical of their possibility, if quantum computers are created in this century as "flying car" type of optimists hope, their effect on TECHNOLOGY would be utterly unbelievable. Why? Since no conventional computer, even if they double in speed every year, can solve the problem of how proteins fold to create the micromachinery of living cells. A quantum computer would allow us to predict such folding, and thus be able to design atomic-scale machines from scratch. How about a photosynthetic bacteria that that lives on top of snow and melts it by simply getting hot enough to do so? Let it survive merely on CO2 and sunlight, and able to fix nitrogen, and not need minerals, but which can easily be killed by radio wave reception.

There is a reason why evolution has not made use of Radar. Since unlike the blurry eyesight of "half an eye", even "half a radar receiver" has no survival value. Why? Since there are few natural sources of radio waves of any use to detect, so yes evolution can create Sonar (since natural sound is very useful to detect even a little bit) but not Radar. But a real Creator, that being mankind equipped with quantum computation could trivially create bacteria that could commit suicide given the right radio signal.

The first big US city to be covered in ice would be Minneapolis. Each year, as it snowed more, even when it snowed every day, the snow could easily be cleared, melted and piped away as liquid water to less populated areas, used to build vast ice castles, heat and lit by nuclear, fossil fuel, solar and eventually fusion power. Snow-shedding, inflatable, self-suspending domes could also be put over the vast areas.

Bucky Fuller would be proud, that being his idea for Manhattan, to avoid the hassle of winter.

With fusion power, melting a lot of ice would be child's play, and in a freezing world, building structures out of re-frozen water, such as vast hydroponic, artificially lit, mile-high (due to extremely strong nano-ice structural beams made mostly of air, another Bucky Fuller idea), mile-wide, hydroponic farms.

Ice plus energy plus nanotechnology sounds like a potential paradise if we have a century instead of a couple decades to allow industry to take advantage of it. Nor would mile high glaciers form in a mere couple of decades.

Eskimos thrive on ice. Oceans take centuries to cool. Ice is the ideal "plastic" building material in arctic locations, since like rapid prototyping, you merely spray it, in layers, straight from your computer design. No rivets or bolts needed! Fire-proof too. Do warm Eskimo igloos melt away? No. In fact, their biggest problem is in overheating, since snow blocks are one of the best insulators around (it works just like down feather insulation or styrofoam beer chests, by being mostly air, but air that cannot circulate so to allow heat to conduct) and thus an igloo can stay survivable warm from body heat alone, plus a an oil lamp or two. To create a permanent building, one need merely insulate the walls, so the arctic temperature outside keeps the walls solid, while the interior can be kept as warm as desired.

To mention that an entirely new industrial revolution based on ice technology would be a huge boon for the world economy would be to state the obvious.

Unfortunately, cooling-based gloom and doom would also be much easier to turn into propaganda than warming.


Anonymous said...

Harbin, China builds entire towns out of ice, already: