Monday, April 28, 2008

Wikipedia bias

Because the actual temperature record of the last 10 years is decisively against them and the only "science" that supports Warmism is speculative, the Green/Left normally rely very heavily on defamation of those who disagree with them in order to "support" their theories. And, although Wikipedia is well-known as an unreliable source of political information, they of course do their best to debauch what appears there. As Fred Singer is a leading skeptic, his Wikpedia entry has recently come under heavy attack. I reproduce below some interesting comments about that from various sources:

Jim Peden writes

I note with interest that today ( 27 April 2008, at 15:49 ) Dr. Singer's biography on Wikipedia was "modified". See

While I don't know the exact nature of today's modifications, it is clear that the AGW folks have been at work there, judging by a number of elements which are uncomplimentary and prejudicial and totally unwarranted on a general "biography". This is becoming commonplace - when the science does not support AGW, then attack the messenger trying to expose the hoax. There may be a silver lining here ( at Dr. Singer's expense ) - the AGW hysterics are now clearly in panic mode.

Under the GLOBAL WARMING section, we have

A 2007 Newsweek cover story on climate change denial reported that: "In April 1998 a dozen people from the denial machine - including the Marshall Institute, Fred Singer's group and Exxon - met at the American Petroleum Institute's Washington headquarters. They proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty." The plan was reportedly aimed at "raising questions about and undercutting the 'prevailing scientific wisdom'" on climate change. According to Newsweek, the plan was leaked to the press and therefore was never implemented.

Fred Singer replies:

1. Unfortunately, Jim Peden is correct. Unnamed parties have been inserting bizarre items into my Wiki biography. Larry Solomon has just published an article about this in the National Post.

The latest Wiki version makes me out to be some kind of wacko who believes in the existence of Martians.

2. Global Warming: The Newsweek allegation is completely untrue. No one from my organization attended such a meeting at the American Petroleum Institute. The NY Times ran the story originally and retracted it later when it was shown to be incorrect. We complained to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham and to writer Sharon Begley. But Newsweek has never corrected its story.

3. NIPCC: On ABC World News (March 23, 2008) reporter Dan Harris asserted that (unnamed) scientists at NASA, Princeton, and Stanford referred to NIPCC as "fraudulent nonsense." On the ABC web story, he changed the words to "fabricated nonsense" but never identified the scientists. I am pretty sure I know who they are (Hansen, Oppenheimer, and Schneider) and wonder if they really used the word "fraudulent" or if Harris made it up. If we sue for libel, we could find out. But is it worth it?

As an aside, ABC clearly stated that the Exxon donation of a decade ago was "unsolicited." The Wiki account does not, and attempts to link it to NIPCC.

4. When all else fails, there's always tobacco. I am nonsmoker, belong to an anti-smoking organization (ACSH), and hate cigarette smoke. But this does not affect my science. Expert epidemiologists, including those at the Congressional Research Service, all agree that EPA cooked the data in order to link 'second-hand' smoke to lung-cancer deaths. See, e.g., here or here

I wanted you to know all this but don't really expect to change Wiki.

Viscount Monckton comments:

There is a well-organized team under a computer nerd called Kim Dabelstein-Petersen who are responsible for dive-bombing the biographies of anyone known to question the alarmist viewpoint on the climate. They did it to me. When I said I would sue, they said legal action would be ineffective because they shelter behind a jurisdiction of convenience in Florida, where the publication of lies is permitted. So I told them that I'd obtain an interdict from the Scottish courts, forbidding the Internet trunk carriers from carrying any Wikipedia inaccuracies about me. That got their attention. My page has been cleaned up and locked against further tampering (for the time being, at any rate).

Lawrence Solomon comments:

Fred Singer, one of the world's renowned scientists, believes in Martians. I discovered this several weeks ago while reading his biography on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. "Do you really believe in Martians?" I asked him last week, at a chance meeting at a Washington event. The answer was "No."

Wikipedia's error was neither isolated nor inadvertent. The page that Wikipedia devotes to what is ostensibly Fred Singer's biography is designed to trivialize his long and outstanding scientific career by painting him as a political partisan and someone who "is best known as president and founder (in 1990) of the Science & Environmental Policy Project, which disputes the prevailing scientific views of climate change, ozone depletion, and second-hand smoke and is science advisor to the conservative journal NewsMax."

Innocent Wikipedia readers would be surprised to learn that Dr. Singer is no conservative kook but the first director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Center; the recipient of a White House commendation for his early design of space satellites; the recipient of a commendation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for research on particle clouds; and the recipient of a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for the development and management of weather satellites. He is, in short, a scientist of the highest calibre, with a long list of major scientific achievements, including the first measurements, with V-2 and Aerobee rockets, of primary cosmic radiation in space, the design of the first instruments for measuring ozone, and the authorship of the first publications predicting the existence of trapped radiation in the earth's magnetic field to explain the magnetic-storm ring current.

Honest accounts of Fred Singer and his accomplishments have been available on Wikipedia, and on hundreds of occasions. Those occasions don't last long, however - often just minutes - before the honest accounts are discovered and reverted by Wikipedians who troll the site. Such trolls continually monitor Wikipedia's 10 million pages to erase any hint that the science is not settled on climate change. Dissenters by the dozens have been likewise demeaned - to check for yourself, just look up Richard Lindzen, Paul Reiter, or any of the other scientists or organizations that have questioned the orthodoxy on climate change.

In contrast to the high-handed treatment that greet global warming skeptics, those who support the orthodoxy are puffed up and protected from criticism, their errors erased and their controversies hushed. This is the case with Naomi Oreskes, a scientist with a PhD who had arrived at an absurd finding: That no studies in a major scientific database questioned the UN view of climate change.

The trollers insist on characterizing Fred Singer as believing in Martians, in reality it is the Wickipedian trollers who are from Mars. Read more on this here and as most honest professors do, discourage your children from relying on Wiki as an encyclopedia of truth on at least this issue. The Martians have turned it into yet another propaganda vehicle.

The Black and White Aerosols Show

A paper published in Nature Geoscience last month received a lot of media attention. And rightly so. It showed that the Black Carbon (BC) component of soot is responsible for up to 60% as much warming as CO2. That is significant for many reasons, only some of which were covered in the newspapers. The Guardian's account is fairly typical:
Scientists warn of soot effect on climate

* Coal and wood 'more damaging than thought'

* Black carbon harms environment and health

Most reports also mentioned that BC-induced warming is more amenable to mitigation than that caused by CO2. This is because BC persists in the atmosphere for periods of days rather than the decades that CO2 does, so reductions in BC output will take more immediate effect, and because BC and the so-called white aerosols such as sulphates, which have a cooling effect, have only partially overlapping sources, providing the potential to decouple white and black aerosol production. So far, so interesting. But what didn't get mentioned is even more so.

First, there are the implications of the research for the climate models. It hardly needs pointing out that the identification of a factor that causes 60% as much warming as CO2 is going to require something of a re-adjustment of the models. The graph that usually gets wheeled out on such occasions is this one, which shows how the models juggle what are thought to be the five major forcing factors to come up with a line that kind of agrees with observed temperature variation over the last century:

Black carbon doesn't even feature. In its latest round of reports, the IPCC assigns BC a warming effect of 0.2-0.4 Wm-2 (a consensus figure based on 20-30 modelling studies), in contrast to the Nature Geoscience paper's estimate of 0.9 Wm-2 (the result of a review of the models combined with new empirical data from satellites, as well as aerial and terrestrial measurements of "brown clouds" over the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea).

More generally, the findings reveal how little is understood about the role of aerosols (regarded as having a net cooling effect) on climate dynamics. Which is especially interesting because aerosols are absolutely central to the standard way of explaining away a thorny problem for global warmers - the period of cooling (~1944-1974), which occurred in defiance of rising CO2 concentrations (see graph above). The argument goes that the temperature slump is the result of white aerosols - released from coal and oil burning - masking the warming effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, until various clean air acts in the US and Europe allowed the anthropogenic warming signal to re-emerge.

Indeed, this is one of those items of 'settled science' flagged up in an open letter to Martin Durkin's Wag TV, makers of the infamous The Great Global Warming Swindle, organised by Bob Ward, former Senior Manager for Policy Communication at the Royal Society and now Director of Global Science Networks at risk analysis firm RMS and signed by 37 scientists. The letter demanded that Wag TV correct "five major misrepresentations of the scientific evidence" before distributing the DVD version of the program. One of those major misrepresentations concerned the post-war temperature slump:
However, the DVD version of the programme does not make any mention of the impact of atmospheric aerosols on the record of global average temperature. The producer of the programme, Martin Durkin has attempted to justify this by suggesting that if aerosols caused the cooling between 1945 and 1975, then global average temperatures should be lower today, because he believes that atmospheric concentrations of aerosols should be even higher today than they were during that period. But the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report pointed out that "[g]lobal sulphur emissions (and thus sulphate aerosol forcing) appear to have decreased after 1980".

However, according to the authors of the Nature Geoscience paper, it is nothing like so clear cut. First up, University of Iowa atmospheric chemist Greg Carmichael:
Climate Resistance: Are we now not so certain that the post-war cooling is due to aerosols?

Greg Carmichael: This is an added complication. But it's also an added level of understanding. And as we get better measurements of the present, and better models that can drive these simulations for the last 50 years, or so, we'll see that we've improved our understanding and that the aerosol effect is as important as we've indicated.

CR: But we don't actually know that yet?

GC: We still have a way to go before understand how the heating-cooling push-pull really plays out.

UC San Diego atmospheric physicist Veerabhadran Ramanathan is more candid:
Climate Resistance: What are the implications of this work for the idea that the post-war temperature decline is the result of sulphate aerosols masking the warming effect of CO2 emissions?

Veerabhadran Ramanathan: After the 1970s, when the West was cleaning up pollution, there was a rise in temperatures. We stopped burning coal in cities etc, and coal puts out a lot of sulphates, and sulphates mask global warming. At the same time, in the tropics, China and India, they were growing fast and putting a lot more Black Carbon.

CR: So the sulphate component must have been reduced more than the Black Carbon component for the aerosol masking theory to hold? We now need empirical data to compare the effect of black and white aerosols during the post-war temperature slump?

VR: Exactly.

CR: Do we have that empirical data?

VR: No. The data we have is for 2002-2003. We don't know what happened in the '50s, '60s and '70s. The implication of this study is that we have to understand what is the relative change in the sulphur emissions versus the Black Carbon emissions - and we don't know that.

CR: So what is the empirical evidence that, 50 years ago, white aerosols were masking GW due to CO2?

VR: It's pretty flimsy. The main information we have [...] is our understanding of the SO2 emissions by coal combustion, and oil. But we need to know not so much how much SO2 we put out, but how much was converted to sulphates, how much was removed [etc]

CR: So you don't even know the life cycle of the SO2 and sulphates?

VR: No. All the information we have is from models... It could still be true [that white aerosols account for the post-war temperature slump]

CR: But it could not be true?

VR: Yes. The picture is complicated. But this paper is not saying it is wrong [...]

CR: So we now have a better idea of what is happening aerosol-wise in the present, but what was going on in the 1950s/'60s is still elusive?

VR: Yes, There's a lot of research needs to be done on that - what happened in the '50s and '60s, and then why the rapid ramp up [from the '70s]. I'm not saying our current understanding is wrong, just that it is a more complicated picture. I would say it's uncertain.

All of which tells a rather different story about the state of knowledge than Bob Ward's letter would have us believe. It continues:
[The Great Global Warming Swindle] misrepresented the current state of scientific knowledge by failing to mention that the cooling effects of aerosol need to be taken into account when considering the period of slight cooling between 1945 and 1975.

Just like Bob Ward failing to mention that the empirical evidence that aerosols account for the period of slight cooling between 1945 is "pretty flimsy", in fact - which is perhaps why Durkin didn't mention it. And just as Ward slights Durkin for bolstering his case by omitting 'inconvenient' facts, there is little difference between what he accuses Durkin of, and the way he and his fellow accusers carried on.


Can Scientists Really Predict a Global Climate Catastrophe?

Just as Al Gore did not invent the Internet, he did not invent global warming theory. Scientists invented it, and they continue to fuel the mass hysteria they created by making predictions about climate change and its dire consequences for our planet. But have any of their followers stopped to consider how scientists are able to predict a global catastrophe in the distant future without being able to make accurate short-term predictions?

For the last two years, scientists were predicting high hurricane activity in the United States. Yet, according to David Demming, writing in the Washington Times last year, "...neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased." The article points out that "the 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966," and that "in 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S."

Seasonal predictions are also challenging for scientists, which might help explain why we have been consulting a groundhog for so long. I live in Buffalo, and when scientists try to forecast our summer or winter weather, they are rarely accurate. Although scientists have sophisticated maps and models and cutting-edge technology, my own predictions based on intuition and conjecture would probably be just as accurate - if not more so.

Even the next day's weather forecasts are a formidable task for scientists. This past winter, on several occasions, they predicted one to two feet of snow in our area, and we barely got a white coating. Last summer, when my wife and I were trying to grow our new lawn, forecasters predicted rain every day for a week, but it hardly rained at all.

Of course, weather predictions are not always wrong. Sometimes scientists are right on target with their predictions, but often they are not, and sometimes they are way off the mark. The point is that their weather predictions should be significantly more accurate before trying to predict the destiny of the planet 50, 100 or 1000 years from now. Otherwise, it would be analogous to a student struggling with arithmetic but mastering calculus. It just doesn't happen.

It's not just scientists' predictions that cast doubt on their ability to predict a global catastrophe; it's also the predictions they don't make. They didn't predict, for example, Buffalo's surprise snow storm in October 2006, which destroyed many trees, knocked out power in Buffalo for several days, and sent the whole city scrambling to find alternative sources of heat. An early warning from scientists would have enabled us to prepare for the storm.

Nor did scientists predict that most parts of the world would be colder rather than warmer in 2007, but that is what happened. In fact, many places experienced record low temperatures and more people died from cold than warmth, according to "Year of Global Cooling." Even some Mediterranean countries like Greece and Israel that normally have mild winters were hit hard by snowstorms.

These events, which seem to conflict with both scientists' predictions and global warming theory, are often explained by global warming itself. Thus, one explanation for the cold weather worldwide is that global warming is creating strange weather patterns. Does this mean that, since global warming is supposed to happen, any event that is not consistent with global warming is strange? Also, why didn't scientists predict that global warming would -- or even could -- manifest as global cooling? In the minds of global warming enthusiasts, all events, whether they were expected or not, are proof of global warming since global warming is a foregone conclusion.

The reason scientists struggle with predictions and should be careful about making too many of them is that the world is incomprehensibly fluid and complex. The earth has always gone through warming and cooling phases. On April 28, 1975, a Newsweek article by Peter Gwynne titled, "A Cooling World," warned about the dangers posed by the earth's cooling. A few years after that article appeared, temperatures rose again, bringing us back to pre-cooling levels.

Scientists, of course, know all of this. So why do they continue to instill fear and guilt in their followers through gloomy prophecies? Perhaps they don't want to take any chances, and feel it is their duty to prevent a global catastrophe.

But how can they help us save the planet when they can't even help the poor farmer in the Midwest by warning him of the upcoming drought, or the newlyweds whose honeymoon plans have been shattered due to an unexpected storm, or the retired couple who spent their life savings on a dream vacation only to have it ruined by rain?

Although scientists are intelligent and serve an important function in our society, they are not soothsayers. Their inability to predict short-term events with a high degree of accuracy suggests their knowledge about the planet and universe is still quite limited. So can scientists really predict a global climate catastrophe? I doubt it.


Anchorage digs out after record storm: Spring dump is heaviest on record after April 1

A day after Anchorage endured one of the city's heaviest one-day snowfalls on record, people spent what would normally be a spring Saturday digging out and slogging through nearly 2 feet of fresh snow and slush.

People who had planned to put on shorts and T-shirts for the popular annual Heart Run instead got out hats, gloves and boots and postholed through the snow. The race, like other events, was postponed. In a place that saw a run of blue-sky days in the 50s earlier in the week, it felt a bit like whiplash to look out the window. Some rejoiced, others cursed, many just threw up their hands and gave over to the oddity of it. "Last night, I looked outside at 10 p.m. It was snowing AND light out," said Kenny Hood, who was playing indoor hockey in South Anchorage. "It certainly does mess with your mind."

The snowfall was the third-heaviest in a single day - measured midnight to midnight - since the National Weather Service started keeping records in Anchorage in 1915. Counting Saturday morning, 17 inches fell in West Anchorage and up to 22 inches in Muldoon. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, snow fell at the rate of nearly 2 inches per hour, according to the weather service. Before Friday, the most snow that had ever fallen in one day after April 1 was 8.3 inches. The day's official tally at the airport: 15.5.

"Everyone's grumpy," said Trace Carlos, who had been looking at bicycles to buy and getting ready for his summer kite surfing. "We need summer, and old man winter comes along and gives us a big dump."

By afternoon, much of the snow on the major roads had been plowed or melted. In many neighborhoods, though, drivers had to practically swim through it, listening to the sound of the slush on their cars' underbellies. Juliana Jaroslaw took in her car Friday morning to have the studded tires switched over. She had started thinking about wearing flip-flops. "I hate it," she said Saturday. "Everything now gets put on hold. My gardening. Everything."

The snow bent tree branches, causing electricity outages affecting more than 2,500 customers of Municipal Light and Power and Chugach Electric Association. Outages are par for the course in Alaska in the fall because snow accumulation snaps smaller branches and brings down lines, said Chugach Electric spokeswoman Patti Bogan. This much snow this time of year is highly unusual, though, and had the same effect, she said.


Premature snowfalls in Australia

As we see above, the Northern winter is not yet over but the snow has already started to fall in parts of Australia. More of that global cooling that we have been seeing in recent times. The recent Northern hemisphere winter was deadly in many places

A COLD snap across Victoria's alpine region dumped a heavy layer of snow over the weekend in an encouraging sign that the coming ski season could begin early.

After sub-zero temperatures at Falls Creek early yesterday, resort operators hope the colder than normal weather could result in the best conditions on the slopes in several years. About 15cm of snow was dumped on Falls Creek and Mount Hotham yesterday and forecasters expect more falls in the region over the next 24 hours.

Keen young skiers rugged up and hit the slopes early yesterday while snow and ice covered trees and cars around the resort. With weather experts predicting bigger than expected snowfalls in Victoria this season, Melbourne Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Stewart last night said the heavy falls around Falls Creek followed a cold snap in the area on Saturday night. "There have been some fairly good snowfalls in the last 12 to 18 hours in the alps," he said. "The main rain-producing cloud that led to the falls has pushed east of the alpine area. So over the next 24 hours there's going to be further showers pushing up over the alps."

Mr Stewart said more rain and snow were expected to fall before the weather cleared on Tuesday. "As far as the big dumps go, they've had that already, but there could be some more showers in the next day or so," he said.

Falls Creek spokesman Ian Talbot said the cold weather could herald the best skiing conditions since 2000, when the official season began two weeks early. The season is due to begin on the Queen's Birthday weekend of June 7. "All the predictions suggest we may have a season like 2000," he said. "That started off really well too." Mr Talbot said bookings were already strong for the school holiday period, and yesterday's heavy dumping of snow meant visitors could be confident of a good winter ahead. "For this time of year, it's been quite unusual weather, but from the industry's point of view it's very encouraging," he said.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning late yesterday for people in the southwest of NSW. Severe thunderstorms were expected to produce damaging winds in the region overnight, with towns including Wagga Wagga, Albury and Cobar likely to be most affected. Residents were urged to move cars away from trees, secure loose items around homes and avoid using their phones during the storm.



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