Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wikipedia's zealots

The thought police at the supposedly independent site are fervently enforcing the climate orthodoxy

By Lawrence Solomon

As I'm writing this column for the Financial Post, I am simultaneously editing a page on Wikipedia. I am confident that just about everything I write for my column will be available for you to read. I am equally confident that you will be able to read just about nothing that I write for the page on Wikipedia.

The Wikipedia page is entitled Naomi Oreskes, after a professor of history and science studies at the University of California San Diego, but the page offers only sketchy details about Oreskes. The page is mostly devoted to a notorious 2004 paper that she wrote, and that Science journal published, called "Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change." This paper analyzed articles in peer-reviewed journals to see if any disagreed with the alarming positions on global warming taken by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position," Oreskes concluded.

Oreskes's paper -- which claimed to comprehensively examine all articles in a scientific database with the keywords "climate change" -- is nonsense. As FP readers know, for the last 18 months I have been profiling scientists who disagree with the UN panel's position. My Deniers series, which now runs to some 40 columns, describes many of the world's most prominent scientists. They include authors or reviewers for the UN panel (before they quit in disgust). They even include the scientist known as the father of scientific climatology, who is recognized as being the most cited climatologist in the world. Yet somehow Oreskes missed every last one of these exceptions to the presumed consensus, and somehow so did the peer reviewers that Science chose to evaluate Oreskes's work.

When Oreskes's paper came out, it was immediately challenged by science writers and scientists alike, one of them being Benny Peiser, a prominent U.K. scientist and publisher of CCNet, an electronic newsletter to which I and thousands of others subscribe. CCNet daily circulates articles disputing the conventional wisdom on climate change. No publication better informs readers about climate-change controversies, and no person is better placed to judge informed dissent on climate change than Benny Peiser.

For this reason, when visiting Oreskes's page on Wikipedia several weeks ago, I was surprised to read not only that Oreskes had been vindicated but that Peiser had been discredited. More than that, the page portrayed Peiser himself as having grudgingly conceded Oreskes's correctness.

Upon checking with Peiser, I found he had done no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. I then exercised the right to edit Wikipedia that we all have, corrected the Wikipedia entry, and advised Peiser that I had done so. Peiser wrote back saying he couldn't see my corrections on the Wikipedia page. Had I neglected to save them After editing them, I wondered. I made the changes again, and this time confirmed that the changes had been saved. But then, in a twinkle, they were gone again! I made other changes. And others. They all disappeared shortly after they were made....

More here

German researchers find that the Antarctic is getting colder!

The translation into English supplied below is a little clumsy. The German original reads: "Die Tiefsee der Antarktis wird kaelter" -- which is best translated as "The Antarctic deep is getting colder"

The Antarctic deep sea gets colder, which might stimulate the circulation of the oceanic water masses. This is the first result of the Polarstern expedition of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association that has just ended in Punta Arenas/Chile. At the same time satellite images from the Antarctic summer have shown the largest sea-ice extent on record. In the coming years autonomous measuring buoys will be used to find out whether the cold Antarctic summer induces a new trend or was only a "slip".

The Polarstern expedition ANT-XXIV/3 was dedicated to examining the oceanic circulation and the oceanic cycles of materials that depend on it. Core themes were the projects CASO (Climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean) and GEOTRACES, two of the main projects in the Antarctic in the International Polar Year 2007/08.

Under the direction of Dr Eberhard Fahrbach, Oceanographer at the Alfred Wegener Institute, 58 scientists from ten countries were on board the research vessel Polarstern in the Southern Ocean from 6 February until 16 April, 2008. They studied ocean currents as well as the distribution of temperature, salt content and trace substances in Antarctic sea water. "We want to investigate the role of the Southern Ocean for past, present and future climate," chief scientist Fahrbach said. The sinking water masses in the Southern Ocean are part of the overturning in this region and thus play a major role in global climate. "While the last Arctic summer was the warmest on record, we had a cold summer with a sea-ice maximum in the Antarctic. The expedition shall form the basis for understanding the opposing developments in the Arctic and in the Antarctic," Fahrbach said.

In the frame of the GEOTRACES project the scientists found the smallest iron concentrations ever measured in the ocean. As iron is an essential trace element for algal growth, and algae assimilate CO2 from the air, the concentration of iron is an important parameter against the background of the discussion to what extent the oceans may act as a carbon sink.

As the oceanic changes only become visible after several years and also differ spatially, the data achieved during the Polarstern expeditions are not sufficient to discern long-term developments. The data gap can only be closed with the aid of autonomous observing systems, moored at the seafloor or drifting freely, that provide oceanic data for several years. "As a contribution to the Southern Ocean Observation System we deployed, in international cooperation, 18 moored observing stations, and we recovered 20. With a total of 65 floating systems that can also collect data under the sea ice and are active for up to five years we constructed a unique and extensive measuring network," Fahrbach said.


The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of mid and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, for international science organisations. The AWI is one of 15 research centres of the 'Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft' (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

In the International Polar Year more than 50,000 scientists from over 60 countries investigate the polar regions. It is their aim to investigate the role of the Arctic and the Antarctic with regard to the Earth's climate and ecosystems. Germany has very good preconditions for research in the Arctic and in the Antarctic, having the worldwide most efficient research icebreaker Polarstern, several polar stations and two polar planes. In particular, Germany can contribute to the key issues: polar regions and climate change, shifting continents, venture into unknown regions, and development of innovative technologies.


Little Ice Age in Southern South America?

Post below recycled from World Climate. See the original for links and graphics. The Warmists have the amazing habit of saying that any phenomenon that they dislike is not global, while any finding that they do like is global!

Recall our long essay series a few years (e.g., here) ago regarding the now-debunked "Hockey Stick" depiction of hemispheric and/or global temperatures. In 2001, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) rolled out a depiction of temperatures over the past 1,000 years, and as seen below (Figure 1), the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age all but disappeared, and the warming rate of the most recent 100 years looked nothing short of incredible. The second plot below (Figure 2) comes from the most recent IPCC assessment, and note that (a) the plot is clearly labeled as "Northern Hemisphere," (b) the recent warming looks less impressive, and (c) the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age periods are more prominent.

Defenders of these plots insist that the Little Ice Age was likely a regional phenomenon best seen in the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. However, a considerable debate continues in the scientific literature as to whether or not the Little Ice Age was a global or regional climate event. If the Little Ice Age was truly global in scope, then the temperature depictions presented by the IPCC underestimate the natural variability of Earth's climate over the past 1,000 years.

Figure 1. Hockey stick representation of the northern hemispheric temperature used by the IPCC in the 2001 assessment.

Figure 2. Northern hemispheric temperature reconstruction from the 2007 IPCC report

Literally dozens of articles appear in the literature every month presenting clear evidence of the Little Ice Age, but critics are correct when they argue that most of the work comes from mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. With that in mind, we at World Climate Report keep an eye out for evidence of the Little Ice Age from other parts of the planet, particularly locations far from the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. A recent article in The Holocene contains a title suggesting evidence of the Little Ice Age from southern Chile - a long way indeed from the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The article was generated by a research team from Chile's Universidad de Concepci¢n and the Pontificia Universidad Cat¢lica de Valpara¡so. Araneda et al. begin their piece noting that "Of all the climatic changes during the Holocene, the recent cooling period, the `Little Ice Age' (LIA), is one of the most broadly recognized events in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the duration and timing of the event has been disputed." Furthermore, they note "A problem for the definition of the LIA is its variable timing and duration in different regions; thus, its synchronicity as a global phenomenon is still a matter of debate." Once again, we learn that "debate" in climate change is still alive and well!

The research team states that "Chile has many historical records dating from Spanish colonial rule in the sixteenth century and it has been confirmed that these documents reliably date a succession of catastrophic events and provide a basis for reconstructing contemporary environmental conditions." With that in mind, Araneda et al. decided to focus on the San Rafael glacier (see Figure 3) located on the northwestern margin of the North Patagonian Icefield (NPI)between 46ø and 47ø S (again, a long way from mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere).

Figure 3. Patagonian icefields of southern South America and the location of the San Rafael glacier (from Araneda et al., 2007)

The Spanish explorer Antonio de Vea arrived at the San Rafael on December 15, 1675, and as was the custom, the explorers left behind maps, diagrams, and descriptions of what they discovered. John Byron was shipwrecked near the glacier 67 years later, and he too described the position of the glacier, the fjords, and the existence of icebergs in the area. Twenty four years later, Jesuit priest Jos‚Garcia Alsu‚ visited the area during a missionary campaign, and he also described the landscape in great detail, including the size of icebergs found in Laguna San Rafael.

From these descriptions, Araneda et al. concluded that it was obvious that the glacier advanced considerably from 1675 to 1766 AD. In addition, Spanish explorer Francisco Machado visited the area in April of 1769 and mentioned snow on the ground at sea-level, suggesting a much colder climate than what is found there today. Araneda et al. note that "Previous research around the NPI has shown that many glaciers are currently retreating from maximum positions reached during the LIA" and that "Both tree-ring and lichenometric evidence indicate that the glacier reached its maximum position sometime before 1876, probably early in the second half of the nineteenth century."

The research team concludes "The major contribution provided by the documentary evidence has been to confirm the occurrence of a cold period in the Laguna San Rafael area, which would be within the temporal window defined for the European LIA." Furthermore, they conclude that "the sole historical evidence suggests that warm conditions prevailed around 1675, a date in which the front of the San Rafael glacier did not extend beyond the eastern shoreline of the lake. Later, a cooling period occurred from 1766 to 1898, with a peak between 1857 and 1871, during which the glacier advanced up to 8 km into the interior of the Laguna San Rafael. This cooling period declined after 1898, as evidenced by the decrease of the San Rafael glacier, which had retreated 1 km by 1904." Most importantly to us at World Climate Report, they clearly state at the end "The recognition of the LIA in Northern Patagonia, through the use of documentary sources, provides important, independent evidence for the occurrence of this phenomenon in the region."

There are those who will insist that the Little Ice Age was not a global event, but somehow, just as the Northern Hemisphere cooled during the Little Ice Age, glaciers were expanding in southern South America? Starting to sound global to us!

ABC News Reveals Gore used fictional film clips in "An Inconvenient Truth"

Styrofoam "ice"!

Imagine a river of volcanic lava oozing down Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, or New York City's Statue of Liberty engulfed by a 300-foot tidal wave. On the silver screen, nothing matches Mother Nature gone wild. The special effects can blow an audience right out of their seats with images of killer tornadoes, catastrophic hurricanes and violent volcanoes. But is good science a myth in these movies? It's hard to tell when the visual images are so convincing.

Some weather disaster movies have no base in reality, such as the futuristic fantasy "Water World." In that one, global warming causes water to completely cover Earth. Kevin Costner's character grows webbed feet and sports gills behind his ears, supposedly to adapt to an environment without land. "Cinema makes good science and bad science equally realistic," said David Kirby, author and professor of science communication at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. Kirby attended a recent National Science Foundation meeting of scientists and entertainment producers. They concluded that good science, while maybe speeded up or compressed, lends to the credibility and entertainment value of films.

Using Movies as a Teaching Tool

Professors Kevin Furlong and Chuck Ammon use clips from popular weather disaster movies to supplement a course at Penn State University on natural disasters. "Every clip is another exercise in critical thinking," explained Ammon. "Was that real? Was that fake? Is that realistic? Or is that completely unrealistic?"

The professors said one movie, "Dante's Peak," did look like an actual volcanic eruption. The bomblike explosion spreads ash and sends gases out that obliterate buildings, topple trees and spread destruction for miles. "That's one of the scenes that probably is the most scientifically accurate," said Furlong. "We know from when Mount St. Helen's erupted, it blew outward and laid all the trees down in one direction." But as the professors say, the worse the movie, the better the teaching tool. Their course includes plenty of movies with exaggerated weather events: "Twister," "Tidal Wave: No Escape" and "Volcano." Movie audiences expect Hollywood to ramp up the action by twisting fact into fiction.

But what happens when Hollywood fiction is used as fact? Al Gore's "traveling global warming show," the award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," includes a long flyover shot of majestic Antarctic ice shelves. But this shot was first seen in the 2004 blockbuster "The Day After Tomorrow." Sculpted from Styrofoam and later scanned into a computer, the ice shelf "flyover" looks real.

Karen Goulekas, the special effects supervisor for "The Day After Tomorrow" said the shot is a digital image. She was glad Al Gore used it in the documentary since "It is one hell of a shot." Both movies use the shot to convincingly portray global warming, but it is left to the audience to decide if this created image can both entertain and educate us about our changing planet.


Earth Day is a Holiday for Liars

by Alan Caruba

Earth Day is a holiday for liars. I have followed the apocalyptic claims and the legislated mandates of the environmental movement since the 1970s and their single unifying factor has been the lies told to achieve various elements the Green agenda. Since 1970, April 22 has been celebrated as Earth Day. It is generally regarded as the date of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

There are several common attributes of environmentalism. High on the list is its barely hidden contempt for the human race, the view that the world's population has to be drastically reduced and that our consumption of everything from energy resources to agricultural and livestock production threatens the planet. The food riots occurring around the world are the direct result of environmental mandates for biofuels, based on claims of global warming, but the Earth is cooling, not warming.

Earth Day had its antecedents in the United Nations that has long maintained an international environmental program. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has generated the current climate alarmism whose "science", based on flawed computer models, has been totally discredited as often as not by the scientists it pretends to represent.

The incessant Green protests of everything and anything that might advance the welfare of the human race, from nuclear power to the Green Revolution that has insured sufficient food for the current and future population of the Earth, is the third element. These protests, too, are based on deliberate distortions of science and fact.

Fear mongering has always been the movement's instrument of choice to influence public opinion and policy. A simple case in point was the reversal of an extensive campaign in the 1970s warning of a coming Ice Age to one that began in the 1980s about "global warming."

Early Greens spread lies across a vast spectrum of issues, invariably causing incalculable harm. An example was Rachel Carson's claims about DDT that resulted in its ban. Millions have since died for lack of the protection it affords against malaria and other insect-borne diseases. A full-scale attack on all pesticides and herbicides, critical to disease control and the world's food supply, continues.

In 1968 Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb", included the claim that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over." He later claimed the Green Revolution, based on the modification of crops to resist drought and predation, would fail. Wrong again. The linking of population and food consumption is a consistent environmental theme.

The claim that greenhouse gas emissions must be drastically reduced is an attack on all forms of industrialization, i.e., corporations and the globalization that require the use of energy resources such as coal, natural gas, and oil. Energy is the single reason for America's and the world's economic growth and the enhancement of life through all manner of technologies involving transportation, communication, and agricultural advances. By blocking access to energy such as the ban on oil extraction in ANWR or off the coasts of the United States, by lobbying against the building of coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation plants, by arguing for inefficient, highly subsidized solar and wind alternatives, Greens are creating a national energy crisis. How insane is it to ban the purchase of incandescent light bulbs?

There is no scientific justification for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide represents a miniscule 0.038% of the Earth's atmosphere and increases in CO2 always follow climate change. It does not initiate it. The Greens are lying.

The increasing food riots occurring worldwide are a direct result of the way the price of corn and soy has been artificially driven upward by environmental demands for "biofuels." When Congress set in motion the mandate that countless bushels of corn be diverted as a food source for humans and livestock to the production of ethanol, it started a cascade of food shortages worldwide that were further exacerbated by weather related crop failures.

Environmentalists have spread lies about all manner of food consumption. Eating beef is high on their list of grievances. Not incidentally, corn is a major feedstock for beef and other animals that are part of our daily diet. The Associated Press recently reported that "Worldwide demand for corn to feed livestock and to make biofuel is putting enormous pressure on global supply." From prehistoric times to the present, meat has been one of mankind's most invaluable sources of our health.

Along with the nation's politicians, the nation's print and broadcast media and our educational system have accepted environmental claims without skepticism or review. Since its release, children have been required to watch Al Gore's duplicitous documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth", and today's textbooks are replete with environmental falsehoods. On Earth Day, the media is flooded with Green propaganda. Earth Day would be a good day to begin to take back the Earth from those who would deceive us and harm us.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go on, preach to the converted. What's your strategy, philologist, for converting swingable votes? You must write another book, or else you are wasting your time, blogs don't get popularity lists. The debate was won. But nobody knows there was debate in the first place, so the sore losers won, for now, like they did to create the Great Depression via tariffs.


"I grow weary of poets, of the old and the new. Superficial I hold them all, shallow seas. They thought not deep enough: therefore their emotion reached not to the bottom. A little voluptuousness, a little tediousness: these have yet been their best meditations. Their harp-strummings are to me as the sighs and rustlings of ghosts; what have they known as yet of the ardours of music! Moreover I find them not cleanly enough: they all muddy their waters that they may seem deep. And they love to call themselves reconcilers: but to me are they go-betweens and meddlers, and half-breeds and uncleanly! Alas, I indeed cast my net in their seas and sought to catch good fish; but I ever drew up some old god's head." -- Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathrusta 1891)

You don't win a debate by debating points, only via tar and feathers. You are still debating, merely. Time is not linear.