Tuesday, May 20, 2008


An email from Madhav Khandekar [mkhandekar@rogers.com]. Dr Madhav Khandekar was an IPCC Reviewer 2007

Allow me to expand on Prof Lindzen's comment on 'significant warming'

Per Phil Jones & Moberg's paper J of Climate January 2003, for the warming period 1977-2001, "significant warming trends are present in only 10-20% of the available grid boxes"

Jones and Moberg use 5x5 deg grid boxes. So of the present warming, only one fifth of the grid boxes show statistically significant warming and a close look at these boxes reveal that for land-areas, most of these boxes are in the vicinity of large cities and urban centres of the world.

So in essence the statistically significant warming is primarily due to urbanization and land-use change and NOT due to increased greenhouse gases. A recent paper by Ross McKitrick & Patrick Michaels , J of Geophysical Research December 2007 succinctly show that up to half of the present warming is due to extraneous factors, urbanization, land-use change, economic activity etc.

Outside of the "significant warming' grid boxes, the warming is only modest and is of NO major concern. Further, this modest warming can be explained as due to changes in large-scale circulation patterns, solar variability etc.

So we have the basic question once again: Where is the CO2-induced warming which is statistically significant? It is elusive and hard to locate.

Finally Prof Lindzen's point re: "explaining statistically significant warming may be difficult" is well taken, but I like to think that most trained scientists and professionals today would have a sense of significant warming without knowing the statistical test of significance that precedes it!

"Politicians seem to think that the science is a done deal"

Who said that? Some skeptic? Far from it. It headlines an article in the fervently Warmist "New Scientist". Reality seems to be dawning even there. More of the article below:

"Politicians seem to think that the science is a done deal," says Tim Palmer. "I don't want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain."

Palmer is a leading climate modeller at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK, and he does not doubt that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done a good job alerting the world to the problem of global climate change. But he and his fellow climate scientists are acutely aware that the IPCC's predictions of how the global change will affect local climates are little more than guesswork. They fear that if the IPCC's predictions turn out to be wrong, it will provoke a crisis in confidence that undermines the whole climate change debate.

On top of this, some climate scientists believe that even the IPCC's global forecasts leave much to be desired.


Scientist backtracks: Rejects Link Between Global Warming and Hurricanes

Global warming isn't to blame for the recent jump in hurricanes in the Atlantic, concludes a study by a prominent federal scientist whose position has shifted on the subject. Not only that, warmer temperatures will actually reduce the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic and those making landfall, research meteorologist Tom Knutson reported in a study released Sunday. In the past, Knutson has raised concerns about the effects of climate change on storms. His new paper has the potential to heat up a simmering debate among meteorologists about current and future effects of global warming in the Atlantic.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, hurricanes have often been seen as a symbol of global warming's wrath. Many climate change experts have tied the rise of hurricanes in recent years to global warming and hotter waters that fuel them. Another group of experts, those who study hurricanes and who are more often skeptical about global warming, say there is no link. They attribute the recent increase to a natural multi-decade cycle.

What makes this study different is Knutson, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fluid dynamics lab in Princeton, N.J. He has warned about the harmful effects of climate change and has even complained in the past about being censored by the Bush administration on past studies on the dangers of global warming.

He said his new study, based on a computer model, argues "against the notion that we've already seen a really dramatic increase in Atlantic hurricane activity resulting from greenhouse warming." The study, published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, predicts that by the end of the century the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic will fall by 18 percent. The number of hurricanes making landfall in the United States and its neighbors - anywhere west of Puerto Rico - will drop by 30 percent because of wind factors. The biggest storms - those with winds of more than 110 mph - would only decrease in frequency by 8 percent. Tropical storms, those with winds between 39 and 73 mph, would decrease by 27 percent.

It's not all good news from Knutson's study, however. His computer model also forecasts that hurricanes and tropical storms will be wetter and fiercer. Rainfall within 30 miles of a hurricane should jump by 37 percent and wind strength should increase by about 2 percent, Knutson's study says. And Knutson said this study significantly underestimates the increase in wind strength.

Some other scientists criticized his computer model. MIT hurricane meteorologist Kerry Emanuel, while praising Knutson as a scientist, called his conclusion "demonstrably wrong" based on a computer model that doesn't look properly at storms.

Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist, said Knutson's computer model is poor at assessing tropical weather and "fail to replicate storms with any kind of fidelity." Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said it is not just the number of hurricanes "that matter, it is also the intensity, duration and size, and this study falls short on these issues."

Knutson acknowledges weaknesses in his computer model and said it primarily gives a coarse overview, not an accurate picture on individual storms and storm strength. He said the latest model doesn't produce storms surpassing 112 mph.

But NOAA hurricane meteorologist Chris Landsea, who wasn't part of this study, praised Knutson's work as "very consistent with what's being said all along." "I think global warming is a big concern, but when it comes to hurricanes the evidence for changes is pretty darn tiny," Landsea said.

Hurricane season starts June 1 in the Atlantic and a Colorado State University forecast predicts about a 50 percent more active than normal storm season this year. NOAA puts out its own seasonal forecast on May 22. In a normal year about 10 named storms form. Six become hurricanes and two become major hurricanes. On average, about five hurricanes hit the United States every three years


Real intelligence failures

What do you think was the most costly intelligence failure of all time? No, was is not the world's leading intelligence agencies' failure to notice that Saddam had few, if any, weapons of mass destruction. It was the failure of many leading climate model builders to be modest enough about their predictions, and the politicians' and media's failure to ask the tough questions of these climate experts. As a consequence of what we now know was an overblown global-warming scare, everyone on the planet is paying substantially more for food and fuel than is necessary.

Despite the prediction of all the major climate models, the Earth has been getting cooler since 1998. At first, it was not considered a big deal because temperatures fluctuate from year to year. However, the drop has now been going for a decade, with another big drop last year.

The global warming zealots have just been handed another rude shock, when the peer-reviewed journal, Nature, reported on May 1 that according to a new (and hopefully improved) climate model, global surface temperatures may not increase over the next decade.

Roger A. Pielke, environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado, and not previously a global warming skeptic, reacted to the Nature article: "Climate models are of no practical use beyond providing some intellectual authority in the promotional battle over global-warming policy."

Hudson Institute environmental economist Dennis Avery said: "The Earth's warming from 1915 to 1940 was just about as strong as the "scary" 1975 to 1998 warming in both scope and duration - and occurred too early to be blamed on human-emitted CO2. The cooling from 1940 to 1975 defied the Greenhouse Theory, occurring during the first big surge of man-made greenhouse emissions. Most recently, the climate has stubbornly refused to warm since 1998, even though human CO2 emissions have continued to rise strongly."

As a direct result of the global-warming hysteria, which, as noted above, was grossly overblown to say the least, governments reacted by restricting energy production from traditional sources, such as oil, gas and coal, and by enacting very costly regulations on CO2 emission sources. Governments also quickly jumped on the fad of "biomass" production, which, at least in the case of corn, does not result in less CO2 but more than standard oil and gas wells produce - a clear "intelligence" failure.

The restrictions on oil and gas have greatly increased the cost of gasoline and home heating oil, and the production cost of almost everything else, especially plastics and food. In addition, the corn-based ethanol craze has removed huge quantities of agricultural land that was used to produce things like wheat, rice and corn for animal food, to corn to be used as motor fuel. The predictable result was a huge rise in global food prices.

A revisionist history is under way, where many who believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and said so, and supported the war, are now in denial - another type of "intelligence" failure.

We now see a similar thing among these same politicians who used, in part, the excuse of global warming to justify their votes against more drilling on the North Slope of Alaska, and offshore in the Lower 48. If you prevent new oil supplies, gasoline prices will rise. If you divert farm land used for growing food crops to that of growing corn to make ethanol for transportation, food prices will increase. Two more clear cases of "intelligence" failures, or worse.

Now some of the same politicians who have, in part, created the oil and food price problems want to put a "windfall" profits tax on oil companies. (New York Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders have been particularly outspoken advocates of this idea). They seem not to have noticed that the price of oil is largely set by world supply and demand.

They have also failed to notice that over the years oil production and refining companies have had no higher profits on average than most other industries, and if you tax away all their profits this will not reduce prices at the gas pump. Most of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is the price of crude oil (only 12 percent of it controlled by private companies, the rest owned by state-controlled companies like Pemex in Mexico), and federal, state and local taxes. A windfall profits tax would only reduce investment in new production and refining and incentives to produce more oil - another "intelligence" failure.

You may wonder - if the data from the last decade show the Earth is not getting warmer, and the climate models have been making incorrect predictions - why are so many in the political and media classes continuing to shout about the dangers of global warming and insisting the "science" is settled when the opposite is true. (You may recall that Copernicus and Galileo had certain problems going against the conventional wisdom of their time.)

The reason people like Al Gore and many others are in denial is explained by cognitive dissonance. This occurs when evidence increasingly contradicts a strongly held belief. Rather than accept the new evidence and change their minds, some people will become even more insistent on the "truth" of the discredited belief, and attack those who present the new evidence - again an "intelligence" failure.

Finally, many people directly benefit from government funding global warming programs and care more about their own pocketbooks than the plight of the world's poor who are paying more for food. This is not an "intelligence" but an "integrity" failure.



Question: How many scientists does it take to establish that a consensus does not exist on global warming? The quest to establish that the science is not settled on climate change began before most people had even heard of global warming.

The year was 1992 and the United Nations was about to hold its Earth Summit in Rio. It was billed as - and was - the greatest environmental and political assemblage in human history. Delegations came from 178 nations - virtually every nation in the world - including 118 heads of state or government and 7,000 diplomatic bureaucrats. The world's environmental groups came too - they sent some 30,000 representatives from every corner of the world to Rio. To report all this, 7,000 journalists converged on Rio to cover the event, and relay to the publics of the world that global warming and other environmental insults were threatening the planet with catastrophe.

In February of that year, in an attempt to head off the whirlwind that the conference would unleash, 47 scientists signed a "Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming," decrying "the unsupported assumption that catastrophic global warming follows from the burning of fossil fuels and requires immediate action."

To a scientist in search of truth, 47 is an impressive number, especially if those 47 dissenters include many of the world's most eminent scientists. To the environmentalists, politicians, press at Rio, their own overwhelming numbers made the 47 seem irrelevant.

Knowing this, a larger petition effort was undertaken, known as the Heidelberg Appeal, and released to the public at the Earth Summit. By the summit's end, 425 scientists and other intellectual leaders had signed the appeal.

These scientists - mere hundreds - also mattered for nought in the face of the tens of thousands assembled at Rio. The Heidelberg Appeal was blown away and never obtained prominence, even though the organizers persisted over the years to ultimately obtain some 4,000 signatories, including 72 Nobel Prize winners.

The earnest effort to demonstrate the absence of a consensus continued with the Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change - an attempt to counter the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Its 150-odd signatories also counted for nought. As did the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship in 2000, signed by more than 1,500 clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics and policy experts concerned about the harm that Kyoto could inflict on the world's poor.

Then came the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's Petition Project of 2001, which far surpassed all previous efforts and by all rights should have settled the issue of whether the science was settled on climate change. To establish that the effort was bona fide, and not spawned by kooks on the fringes of science, as global warming advocates often label the skeptics, the effort was spearheaded by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences and of Rockefeller University, and as reputable as they come.

The Oregon petition garnered an astounding 17,800 signatures, a number all the more astounding because of the unequivocal stance that these scientists took: Not only did they dispute that there was convincing evidence of harm from carbon dioxide emissions, they asserted that Kyoto itself would harm the global environment because "increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

The petition drew media attention, but little of it was for revealing to the world that an extraordinary number of scientists hold views on global warming diametrically opposite to those they are expected to hold. Instead, the press focussed on presumed flaws that critics found in the petition. Some claimed the petition was riddled with duplicate names. They were no duplicates, just different scientists with the same name. Some claimed the petition had phonies. There was only one phony: Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, planted by a Greenpeace organization to discredit the petition and soon removed. Other names that seemed to be phony - such as Michael Fox, the actor, and Perry Mason, the fictional lawyer in a TV series - were actually bona fide scientists, properly credentialled.

Like the Heidelberg Appeal, the Oregon petition was blown away. But now it is blowing back. Original signatories to the petition and others, outraged at Kyoto's corruption of science, wrote to the Oregon Institute and its director, Arthur Robinson, asking that the petition be brought back.

"E-mails started coming in every day," he explained. "And they kept coming. " The writers were outraged at the way Al Gore and company were abusing the science to their own ends. "We decided to do the survey again."

Using a subset of the mailing list of American Men and Women of Science, a who's who of Science, Robinson mailed out his solicitations through the postal service, requesting signed petitions of those who agreed that Kyoto was a danger to humanity. The response rate was extraordinary, "much, much higher than anyone expected, much higher than you'd ordinarily expect," he explained. He's processed more than 31,000 at this point, more than 9,000 of them with PhDs, and has another 1,000 or so to go - most of them are already posted on a Web site at petitionproject.org.

Why go to this immense effort all over again, when the press might well ignore the tens of thousands of scientists who are standing up against global warming alarmism?

"I hope the general public will become aware that there is no consensus on global warming," he says, "and I hope that scientists who have been reluctant to speak up will now do so, knowing that they aren't alone."

At one level, Robinson, a PhD scientist himself, recoils at his petition. Science shouldn't be done by poll, he explains. "The numbers shouldn't matter. But if they want warm bodies, we have them."

Some 32,000 scientists is more than the number of environmentalists that descended on Rio in 1992. Is this enough to establish that the science is not settled on global warming? The press conference releasing these names occurs on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington.



If Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, was thought to stand for anything, it was for the poor and for the disadvantaged. If the Labour Party has a core value, it is surely support for low-income, working families. No longer, it would seem. In trying to pass itself off as a middle class 'Green' party for the public school Guardianistas, Labour is making blunder after blunder, errors of political judgment that could well cost it dear, and with likely immediate effect in this up-coming Thursday's Crewe and Nantwich by-election [see: 'Tories target "extraordinary" win', BBC Online Politics News, May 18; 'Crewe within Tories' grasp - poll', BBC Online Politics News, May 11].

The latest misjudgement is deeply concerning. In attempting to appear 'Green', Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, and Mr. Brown are having to defend the indefensible, a retrogressive, retrospective tax change which will especially hit poorer members of society and less well-off families, with no environmental benefits. In his March Budget, Darling blithely announced an increase in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) on higher emission vehicles. Unfortunately, this is effectively back-dated to vehicles registered since 2001, which means that many second-hand, older vehicles, including such popular family cars as the Renault Megane and the Ford Focus, will be caught up in the increase.

"Deeply Regressive"

Governments should always strive hard to avoid introducing such retrospective legislation, especially where tax is concerned, because it will often have unexpected, and uncosted, implications for ordinary folk. In this case, the result is disastrous. The second-hand cars which have been corralled retrospectively into the higher bands are precisely those bought by poorer families, who cannot afford new vehicles. Even the Conservatives understand this crucial point, with Justine Greening, their young Shadow Environment Minister, reported as admitting: "This measure is deeply regressive, and it will most acutely affect low-income families."

It is quite extraordinary that Labour did not think this through, especially at a time of negative equity in housing, vanishing mortgages, a difficult banking environment, higher food, fuel, energy, and petrol costs. Moreover, the effect will be to punish further the weakest in society, those already at tight margins [just like Labour's '10p' tax debacle], while, would you believe it, diminishing their ability to save to buy newer and thus cleaner cars - utter political madness. Inevitably, there are rumblings of a revolt among Labour backbenchers, with 20 MPs already having signed an early-day motion in the House of Commons for this tax change to be withdrawn immediately.

But the real judgment is likely to come from the people - from the voters - affected by the change, from those who are always hit hardest at the margins. If on Thursday Labour does lose dramatically the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, then Mr. Brown would be wise to remember, and very quickly, that the middle-class 'Green' trumpery of the wealthier readers of The Guardian will melt little ice in a cooling economy [see: 'That Sinking Feeling', May 15].

Labour needs to return to some solid core values, and to stop trying to play the trendy 'Green' Notting Hill game. Nothing it plans will have any effect on climate change, but it could well help to put the party out of office for a very long time.



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.


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