Saturday, August 02, 2008

More on the Bangladesh embarrassment

Post below recycled from Planet Gore. See the original for links

The hits (or rather misses) just keep on coming, in the form of observations and facts that are proving very inconvenient for James Hansen's and the rest of the IPCC gang's paranoid, hysterical, and angry advocacy for global governance, energy rationing, Kyoto, etc. Today, it is Hansen's catastrophe posterchild, Bangladesh - which, far from being soon underwater, is actually gaining land mass rather than losing it.

It turns out that the genii at the IPCC never considered that rivers silt up. This should not be surprising: leading sea-level rise expert Nils-Axel M”rner noted that the IPCC's SLR panel is stacked with people who aren't sea-level rise experts. Possibly they are the anthropology TAs, transport-policy instructors, and others that Climate Resistance discovered among the IPCC's 2,000 "world's leading climate scientists."

So, let's review the bidding. The IPCC and the models on which it premises its version of reality are wrong on rainfall. They are wrong on GHG concentrations and behavior. Models are wrong on Antarctica, on Andean snowpack, on Bangladesh, on ocean temperatures, and wrong on the Northwest Passage. Roy Spencer's research appears to have affirmed that models are demonstrably and fatally wrong on the threshold question of climate sensitivity.

Not to worry, the U.S. government is preparing to issue a hysterical statement, on which EPA says it will base its CO2 regulations [the deadline for public comments to NOAA is August 14, everyone], claiming that at least the models are finding observations consistent with models' projections in . . . Alaska. Um, except that in April, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation - which accounted for all of Alaska's warming (with a little help from the urban-heat-island effect) - had flipped again, and cooling is in the cards.

Other than that, why, those models are perfectly wonderful tools on which to premise trillion-dollar economic decisions! Fortunately, we have two candidates for president promising to do just that.

More Model FAILURE

Climate Impact Studies Lead to 'Faulty Conclusions' - Using More Than One Model Leads to `Entirely Different Results'

Many biologists who are studying the potential impacts of climate change on different species and the environment could be coming to faulty conclusions unless they widen the scope of their research, a new Canadian study suggests. The report, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggests biologists often use only one of the 31 different climate-change models provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those models, while generally consistent at predicting climate, can differ significantly in providing data about how the living conditions for certain species are expected to change, the study found.

Co-author Jonathan Newman, a professor of environment biology at the University of Guelph, was researching the impact of climate change on the swede midge, an invasive insect that has been affecting canola crops in the United States since 1996 and has now migrated to southern Ontario. Newman's team used two models and expected some level of variation in the results. But they did not expect contradictory data. "We basically got opposite answers when we should have gotten the same answer," Newman said. "What we've shown is if you use more than one model you can get entirely different results, so (based on studies that used only one model) maybe we have no view at all of what the impacts are going to be."

A Canadian climate model found the swede midge could expand across Ontario and into northern and western regions of Canada and the United States due to warmer and moist conditions brought on by climate change. But a British model - one of the most commonly used by researchers - found that ideal conditions for the swede midge would disappear significantly with climate change, which surprised Newman. "That was worrying as a biologist engaged in the business of trying to elucidate biological impacts," he said. "What we need is a whole array of models that all make different assumptions and then we look for conclusions that are reasonably robust."

Of the 65 studies that have used the IPCC models since 1994, only about one in five used more than one model, the report found. It doesn't mean that the existing research is wrong, Newman said, but scientists should be working with multiple models so they can be certain about their research. "I certainly would hope that (the study) spurs more research like we've been doing in our lab," he said.

There's no debating that researchers should be using multiple models and variables in their research and it's not very surprising that some contradictions could emerge, said Quentin Chiotti, lead author of the Ontario chapter of Natural Resources Canada's recent report, "From Impacts to Adaptation: Canada in a Changing Climate 2007." "If there's a lesson to be learned based on this article that would be to use a wide range of models and a wide range of scenarios; fair enough, I don't know how you could try to refute that," he said.

But he also questioned just how serious the problem is and said most top-level research and work by policy-makers would be very thorough. There are many studies that only use one model and are taken seriously but researchers should always be taking that factor into account, he said.

"It's our job to look at the literature with a critical eye [A welcome thought!] and get a sense of what were they really using and what were they really saying. It's really up to the scientists to determine what are the most plausible outcomes, where can we make - from a precautionary principle perspective - the most intelligent decisions."


Note: For good background reading on why computer model "predictions" of nature are suspect, see the book: "Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future", reviewed here. Journal article behind the report above abstracted below:

Will climate change be beneficial or detrimental to the invasive swede midge in North America? Contrasting predictions using climate projections from different general circulation models

By ANNA M. MIKA et al.

Climate change may dramatically affect the distribution and abundance of organisms. With the world's population size expected to increase significantly during the next 100 years, we need to know how climate change might impact our food production systems. In particular, we need estimates of how future climate might alter the distribution of agricultural pests. We used the climate projections from two general circulation models (GCMs) of global climate, the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis GCM (CGCM2) and the Hadley Centre model (HadCM3), for the A2 and B2 scenarios from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios in conjunction with a previously published bioclimatic envelope model (BEM) to predict the potential changes in distribution and abundance of the swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii, in North America. The BEM in conjunction with either GCM predicted that C. nasturtii would spread from its current initial invasion in southern Ontario and northwestern New York State into the Canadian prairies, northern Canada, and midwestern United States, but the magnitude of risk depended strongly on the GCM and the scenario used. When the CGCM2 projections were used, the BEM predicted an extensive shift in the location of the midges' climatic envelope through most of Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime and prairie provinces by the 2080s. In the United States, C. nasturtii was predicted to spread to all the Great Lake states, into midwestern states as far south as Colorado, and west into Washington State. When the HadCM3 was applied, southern Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Washington State were not as favourable for C. nasturtii by the 2080s. Indeed, when used with the HadCM3 climate projections, the BEM predicted the virtual disappearance of 'very favourable' regions for C. nasturtii. The CGCM2 projections generally caused the BEM to predict a small increase in the mean number of midge generations throughout the course of the century, whereas, the HadCM3 projections resulted in roughly the same mean number of generations but decreased variance. Predictions of the likely potential of C. nasturtii spatial spread are thus strongly dependent on the source of climate projections. This study illustrates the importance of using multiple GCMs in combination with multiple scenarios when studying the potential for spatial spread of an organism in response to climate change.

Global Change Biology. Volume 14 Issue 8, Pages 1721 - 1733

New Paper (another one!) Demonstrates Lack of Credibility for Climate Model Predictions

A new paper by Demetris Koutsoyiannis et al has been published, which demonstrates that climate models have no predictive value. The full paper entitled, 'On the Credibility of Climate Predictions' is published in the Journal of Hydrological Sciences, and is available for free download. 18 years of climate model predictions for temperature and precipitation at 8 locations worldwide were evaluated.

The Abstract states:

Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.


UN rushes aid as 'severe unseasonable cold spell' threatens Peruvian livestock?

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has provided urgently needed medical supplies to poor farmers in the Peruvian highlands whose livestock are suffering as a result of a severe unseasonable cold spell, known locally as "El friaje." The antiparasitic medicines, antibiotics and vitamins are being used to treat some 18,000 alpacas in the country's Pilpichaca en Huanvavelica district that have been weakened or fallen ill as a result of the unexpected cold snap.

The El friaje phenomenon involves a combination of unseasonable low temperatures, frosts, snow and hail that damages crops and the high-altitude pastures on which alpacas graze, according to Marc Vandersmissen, FAO's Emergency Coordinator in Peru. This year, the cold arrived well ahead of the usual season - in March and April, instead of June - and many small-scale farmers have not been able to harvest their crops.

The early arrival of the cold weather has greatly affected alpaqueros - smallholders in high-altitude areas whose livelihoods depend completely on raising alpacas. Pastures have been covered in snow which has frozen over, making grazing impossible. Unable to find adequate food, the alpacas have become weak and susceptible to disease, Mr. Vandersmissen said. The gravity of the situation has led the Peruvian Government to declare a state of emergency in 11 of the country's 25 provinces.

While FAO's intervention has helped to treat numerous alpacas, llamas and sheep, the agency is warning of possible increased livestock sickness and mortality in September in the high Andes of central and southern Peru, where alpaca production depends on natural pastures that have been extremely affected by the friaje.

A field assessment is being carried out in the five most affected provinces and FAO is asking donors for emergency funds to prevent any further damage to the livelihoods of Peru's high-altitude alpaqueros.


Even water-bottling is a suspect industry in California

California, The Nanny State, continues to trail-blaze America's Green future with carbon caps, fuel-economy laws, even a South L.A. ban on new fast-food restaurants (to force residents to lead a healthier lifestyle). Now comes Attorney General Jerry Brown's threat this week to block a proposed water-bottling plant in Northern California unless its effects on global warming are evaluated.

According to AP's report, Brown said the plant "failed to include an examination of whether the operation will contribute to global warming through the production of plastic bottles, the operation's electrical demands and the diesel soot and greenhouse gas emissions produced by trucks traveling to and from the plant."

Of course, AG Moonbeam's criteria would kill all new manufacturing business in the state, but I suppose we should be used to such lunacy by now.


Proposed Australian climate policy already hitting Australia's electricity supply

An emissions trading scheme has not even started but the Government's hostility to carbon emissions is already choking off the supply of electricity, leading to an inevitable rise in prices. Coal is used to generate 90 per cent of Australia's electricity, but no business can fund new coal-fired power plants under the existing policy settings. The last big coal-based power station built with private funding was Millmerran in Queensland, completed in 2002 by a Shell-led consortium. One other station, Kogan Creek, also in Queensland, has been built with government funding. No others are planned.

Specifying the carbon price that new electricity generators will pay when the emissions trading scheme begins will not solve the problem either, since the carbon price will be set by politicians each year. The Government also has yet to decide when key CO2 emitting sectors such as agriculture and petrol are to be included under the cap. As long as these are excluded, the price will need to be higher for the rest.

The Government also has yet to determine many other elements of an emissions trading scheme. These include the basis on which a reserve price for carbon will be in place (effectively capping the scheme); what, if any, compensation will be provided to big emitters and big users; and whether compensation will be paid to subsidise ongoing production or as a lump sum to allow big coal power producers to close down facilities.

All this is complicated by the sale of the NSW generators. Canberra does not want to jeopardise NSW Premier Morris Iemma's abilities to raise money from the sale, which also allows the Government to exit an industry that would otherwise make substantial calls on public funding. But any bidders for the NSW assets will need cast-iron commitments about what their future carbon credit costs will be. In any case, the value of the assets has already been dramatically devalued by commitments to a future emissions trading scheme.

Before the proposals of Ross Garnaut's climate change report were released, most electricity generators expected to receive free carbon credits. The green paper dangles these before their noses, though it leaves their value unquantified. Free credits could compensate the most carbon-intensive power plants for leaving the market, with those remaining being reimbursed for the costs of buying credits by a higher wholesale price resulting from the capacity reduction.

A carbon tax at the green paper's mentioned range of $20 to $40 a tonne of CO2 should make it possible, theoretically, for gas-fuelled electricity generation (with its lower CO2 emissions) to take market share from coal-based power stations. But gas-fuelled generators would be likely to find their competitive edge eroded because they would face higher gas prices following the increase in demand. Solar-based renewables would remain uncompetitive in any case.

The sword of Damocles hanging over coal-based electricity power stations is causing supply to tighten by preventing new investment. Eventually this will be exacerbated as existing stations become obsolete and are scrapped. And obsolescence will accelerate as businesses see a truncated useful life for their facilities and scrimp on maintenance expenditures. The effect of the discouragement of new supplies is being progressively felt. Generators cannot obtain forward contracts because neither they nor retailers know what the future price is likely to be.

These developments have brought an increase in wholesale prices. Average electricity prices in NSW and Victoria during the past couple of years have been $50 a megawatt hour. Ten years ago they were about $30 a megawatt hour. That increase is already equivalent to the tax of $20 a tonne of CO2 that the green paper estimates will mean a - presumably acceptable - 16 per cent rise in electricity prices. But we have seen with petrol that very high price increases have little effect on demand; it may take a tax on electricity of $100 a tonne of CO2, bringing a 70 per cent price increase, to shave even a modest 10 per cent from demand.

Though the price increases foreshadowed in the green paper are already happening, most consumers are largely insulated from them because their retailers have contracts with generators at the previously prevailing prices. Soon, however, the higher current prices will be reflected in consumers' electricity bills. At that stage, the rhetoric about the need for higher prices will meet the reality, and test the support of the Government, the media and ordinary people for a trading scheme designed to bring deep cuts in CO2 emissions.



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