Thursday, September 11, 2008

PESKY! Melting ice caps could suck carbon from atmosphere

Something else that is not in the "models"

It's not often that disappearing Arctic ice is presented as good news for the planet. Yet new research suggests that as the northern polar cap melts, it could lift the lid off a new carbon sink capable of soaking up carbon dioxide. The findings, from two separate research groups, raise the possibility - albeit a remote one - of weakening the greenhouse effect. The researchers say the process of carbon sequestration is already underway. Even so, the new carbon sink is unlikely to make a significant dent in the huge amounts of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by industrial activities.

Kevin Arrigo and colleagues at Stanford University studied satellite data collected between 1998 and 2007 to see how sea surface temperatures and the quantities of sea ice and phytoplankton had changed during that time. Phytoplankton produce chlorophyll to obtain energy from CO2, and so increased phytoplankton productivity would remove carbon from the atmosphere. "We found that as sea ice diminishes, annual productivity goes up," says Arrigo. Satellite remote sensing measures the amount of chlorophyll in surface waters, and so provides an estimate of ocean productivity.

From one year to the next, the phytoplankton grew more in areas where the ice had disappeared: less ice meant more open water for longer, allowing the plankton to soak up more energy from the Sun. In some areas, production was boosted more than three-fold.

Ken Denman of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis warns that the Arctic sink as it stands is likely to have only a very small impact on human emissions. Typically between half and a quarter of the carbon soaked up by phytoplankton ends up stored at the bottom of the ocean. If the Arctic became completely ice-free and phytoplankton productivity levels were maintained, Arrigo and his colleagues calculated that the new carbon sink could in theory absorb an extra 160 million tonnes of carbon each year. "Given the current rate of human emissions, that would only account for 0.7% of total annual emissions," says Arrigo.

"When you look carefully at the amounts involved, they just are not significant relative to the massive amounts of CO2 that we are and will be putting into the atmosphere," agrees Denman. For the sink to have a larger effect, productivity would have to rise further, something Arrigo says is uncertain [Uncertainty?? We can't have that!]. "The Arctic has relatively low nutrients in surface waters, so once they are all used up production will not increase any further," he told New Scientist.

To sustain the growing phytoplankton, more nutrients would need to be brought to the surface waters, for instance from the silt on the seabed. Some studies have suggested that strong winds and more storms are mixing up Arctic waters and could eventually bring more nutrients to the surface. The findings, however, are debated.

What is clear is that the impacts of the melting Arctic ice are complex and will continue to unfold as temperatures rise. Less ice cover may mean more phytoplankton, but it also means a darker sea surface, which will reflect less solar energy back out into space.

What's more, the entire Arctic food chain could be affected, from top to bottom. "Food supplies for lower trophic levels may indeed be greater, but the loss of sea ice could precipitate profound ecological shifts," says Arrigo. Most likely, fish that live in open water would be favoured over the predators that rely on ice - ringed seals and polar bears for example - that dominate today.

"It is clear that careful monitoring of climate and ecosystem changes in the Arctic is necessary to determine the longer-term implications of substantial losses of Arctic sea ice," conclude the team. [In other words: "We don't know how it all works"]


McCain adviser backing away from Warmist policy

Appearing on the Glenn Beck radio show yesterday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) denigrated the science of climate change, saying the human impact on global warming was only "half a percent." He implied mandatory programs to reduce global warming emissions - like the cap-and-trade programs he has previously called for - would "wreck the economy." And he said that it's "understandable" that plans to fix global warming have "faded into the background" because of the "energy crisis":
But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least so me of it - you could argue it's half a percent or something more substantial - is caused by human behavior. . . But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.

Gov. Pawlenty has been a "driving force" for a regional cap-and-trade system, so it's unclear if he's just pandering to Beck, a notorious global warming denier, or if he's retreating from principle. This is not the first time an adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has denigrated the prospects for climate change legislation. In July, Steve Forbes told Glenn Beck that cap-and-trade and related proposals are not "going to get very far as people start to examine the details of them." And in May, Sen. McCain himself agreed with Beck that solutions to climate change can be delayed.


BECK: Help me make sense of something. You and McCain both are for cap and trade. The the one company that was the leading champion of cap and trade was Enron, because these big companies can trade - nothing. They can, can trade the air!

PAWLENTY: I would say a couple of things. First of all, anything that adds cost to energy prices right now is going to be viewed with a great amount of concern. And so, you notice the cap and trade debate has kind of faded into the background and it's unclear what that would look like when and if it re-emerges. I would also state Sen. McCain supports that approach, but how you do it is really important. And just cap and trade is not the same across the board. There's a lot that rises or falls depending on the details of that, so that's yet to come.

BECK: But all it is is another tax, that's all it is.

PAWLENTY: You know, it depends on how you do it. But, you know, in my view is this: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least some of it - you know you could argue it's half a percent or something more substantial, you know - is caused by human behavior. So there are some things that we can reasonably and voluntarily do to reduce the human impact without wrecking the economy or without violating, you know, Republican and conservative principles. And I think there's some room within those - that description to do something, but what you do and how you do it matters a lot. The details matter a lot. But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are, you know, struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.


Old Farmers Almanac: Global cooling may be underway

The Old Farmer's Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming. Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.

"We at the Almanac are among those who believe that sunspot cycles and their effects on oceans correlate with climate changes," writes meteorologist and climatologist Joseph D'Aleo. "Studying these and other factor suggests that cold, not warm, climate may be our future."

It remains to be seen, said Editor-in-Chief Jud Hale, whether the human impact on global temperatures will cancel out or override any cooling trend. "We say that if human beings were not contributing to global warming, it would become real cold in the next 50 years," Hale said.

For the near future, the Almanac predicts most of the country will be colder than normal in the coming winter, with heavy snow from the Ozarks into southern New England. Snow also is forecast for northern Texas, with a warmer than usual winter in the northern Plains.

Almanac believers will prepare for a hot summer in much of the nation's midsection, continuing drought conditions there and wild fire conditions in parts of California, with a cooler-than-normal season elsewhere. They'll also keep the car packed for the 2009 hurricane season, as the Alamanac predicts an active one, especially in Florida.

Last year, the Almanac correctly predicted "above-normal" snowfall in the Northeast - an understatement - and below-normal snowfall in the mid-Atlantic states. New Hampshire, home of the Almanac, saw the most snow in 134 years and missed an all-time record by 2.6 inches.

Established in 1792, the Old Farmer's Almanac is North America's oldest continuously published periodical. The little yellow magazine still comes with the hole in the corner so it can hang in outhouses. Boasting 18.5 million readers, this year's edition contains traditional tips on gardening and astronomical information and tide charts so accurate the government considered banning them during World War II, fearing they would help German spies.


Global Warming's Kaput; 2008 Coolest in 5 Years

The global warming theory is going into the freezer, some climate experts say. The first half of this year was the coolest in at least five years, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). And the global warming that has taken place during the past 30 years is over, says geologist Don J. Easterbrook, a professor emeritus at Western Washington University.

Easterbrook, who has written eight books and 150 journal publications, predicts that temperatures will cool between 2065 and 2100 and that global temperatures at the end of the century will be less than 1 degree cooler than now. This is in contrast to other theories saying that temperatures will warm by as much as 10 degrees by 2100.

In March, Easterbrook said he was putting his "reputation on the line" by predicting global cooling. "The average of the four main temperature measuring methods is slightly cooler since 2002 [except for a brief el Ni¤o interruption] and record breaking cooling this winter. The argument that this is too short a time period to be meaningful would be valid were it not for the fact that this cooling exactly fits the pattern of timing of warm/cool cycles over the past 400 years," Easterbrook wrote on March 1.

Added to his assertion was the WMO revelation that the first half of 2008 was the coolest for at least five years and that the rest of the year almost will certainly be cooler than recent years, although temperatures remain above the historical average.

The global mean temperature to the end of July was 0.28 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average, Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre for climate change research said Wednesday. That would make the first half of 2008 the coolest since 2000. Chillier weather this year is partly because of a global weather pattern called La Nina that follows a periodic warming effect called El Nino.

"We can expect with high probability this year will be cooler than the previous five years," said Omar Baddour, responsible for climate data and monitoring at the WMO. "Definitely the La Nina should have had an effect, how much we cannot say. Up to July 2008, this year has been cooler than the previous five years at least. It still looks like it's warmer than average."

Also snowing on the global warming enthusiasts is the highly respected "Farmer's Almanac," which predicts that the coming winter will be "catastrophic" because of bitter cold weather. People worried about the high cost of keeping warm this winter will draw little comfort from the prediction of below-average temperatures for most of the U.S., says the 192-year-old publication, famed for its accuracy of 80 percent to 85 percent. "Numb's the word," the almanac's 2009 edition says, adding that at least two-thirds of the country can expect colder-than-average temperatures, with only the far West and Southeast in line for near-normal readings.

"This is going to be catastrophic for millions of people," the almanac's editor, Peter Geiger, told The Associated Press, noting that the frigid forecast combined with high prices for heating fuel is sure to compound problems households will face in keeping warm.

The almanac predicts above-normal snowfall for the Great Lakes and Midwest, especially during January and February, and above-normal precipitation for the Southwest in December and for the Southeast in January and February, the almanac states. Also, the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic regions can expect an unusually wet or snowy February.

Ivy League geologist Robert Giegengack, a professor of Earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania, told that the history over the last 1 billion years on the planet reveals "only about 5 percent of that time has been characterized by conditions on Earth that were so cold that the poles could support masses of permanent ice." Giegengack also noted that, "for most of Earth's history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler."


Fear promotion is lucrative: Scientist wins nearly $1 million?

A Rockland scientist who was among the first to warn of global climate change has been awarded a nearly $1 million prize from a European foundation that honors initiatives that advance world peace. Wallace S. Broecker, a geochemist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a division of Columbia University, won the prestigious Balzan Prize. The $885,000 prize was announced last night in Milan and will be presented Nov. 21 in Rome.

Broecker is often credited with coining the phrase "global warming" more than 30 years ago.The 76-year-old scientist has spent his entire career at the institute, in Palisades. In 1975, he published a paper in a scientific journal in which he proposed that heat is transported around the world by massive ocean currents that interact with the atmosphere - the so-called great ocean conveyor, an idea still regarded as a breakthrough in climatology.

He is author of more than 400 other scientific articles and several textbooks.In 1996, he was among seven scientists awarded the National Medal of Science by President Bill Clinton for work on climate change.


Dispelling Delusions: Human-caused climate change and carbon "pollution" mythology

By Dr G LeBlanc Smith, PhD, AIG, AAPG, writing from Australia

As a retired CSIRO Principal Research Scientist (geosciences - sedimentology), I make this observation and comment on Minister Wong's statement, (and Professor Garnaut's commentary): "Climate change threatens . icons like the Great Barrier Reef, the Kakadu wetlands and the multi billion dollar tourism industries they support."

Knowing and understanding the past is a vital key to the future, and earth scientists can present much of this information in a context that can assist in exposing the truth and misrepresentations of the current "Climate Change" debate. It is fact that the vast bulk of the Great Barrier Reef area was exposed land and above sea level, prior to 10,000 years ago, when sea levels were over 70m lower than present. There was no great coral reef there until recently, and Kakadu was probably not a swampy wetland then either.

I suggest that statements from Ms Wong and Professor Garnaut should be challenged for veracity by all responsible Government advisors and the CSIRO at the very least, and by any observant scientist to test their logic against evidence. The evidence can be seen from the history of sea level variations mapped as a time-curve derived from joining dots of observed and dated sea levels that track the natural melt-out of the last glaciation ice sheets.

Sea level has risen about 130m in the 10,000 years between 17,000 and 7,000 years ago; with a maximum observed level ~8m above present sea level in marine deposits dated ~ 6000 years old in perched Antarctic lakes. It has subsequently fallen in steps as the planet has cooled to our present level. This is in the published science literature and much can be readily "Googled".

A useful summary sea level vs time graphic can be seen in Robert A. Rohde's artwork (see below) at the following internet address: This is largely based on the established 1998 science paper by Fleming (and others) that closely mapped sea level vs time from many sites across the planet. This paper is viewable at the following URL: Page 1 of 4

The detailed bathymetry levels for the GBR areas can be seen in the many depth maps crafted by Adam Lewis (see below) and in the science paper at: - Adam

By contrasting the sea levels over time with the land surface elevations it is an obvious inference that the bulk of the GBR AREA would not have supported coral growth as it was above sea level until recently, and has drowned. Any talk of presently located GBR as hundred of millions of years old is incorrect and not based on available science.

The Wong statement should probably more correctly reflect that recent natural climate change did indeed threaten that environment; it drowned the GBR AREA, which was "polluted" by sea water and accompanied by local outbreaks of coral growth, that are now seen as beneficial to our country. On the positive side: a continual current of coral spawn flows down our coasts and will repopulate any suitable growth substrate within a year. This is self evident to any diver who has looked at the thumb-nail sized corals growing on sea grass stems. This holds true also for with the Leeuwin Current on the west coast of Australia.

The massive sea level rise at the termination of the last glaciation would likely also have affected the Kakadu environment, and it may well not have been swamp then, either. Consider the significant difference between ancient Bradshaw rock paintings, dated at around 17,000 years old, and the recent rock art, and the apparent lack of fish and crocodiles in the old artworks. Worth a further thought I would think, to get the true history for these areas in context, so that objective discussion and decisions based of real science can be derived.

More solid facts from the past: It is established fact that the ice core data from both Greenland and Antarctica show information that carbon dioxide variation lags behind temperature variation, throughout the nearly half a million year record contained in the ice cores. I have graphed the last deglaciation to present time (below), from publicly available data of high veracity, which is acknowledged in the graphic. Note the ~1000 year lag of CO2 variation changes behind temperature changes, which are highlighted by the black arrows targeting significant change points on the orange (CO2) and purple (Temp) curves of the EDC ice core. This lagging fact refutes the flawed contention that carbon dioxide is the driver of temperature change. The oceans de-gas and re-gas with CO2 as the global temperatures respectively warm and cool.

The inter-hemisphere variations are striking. The northern hemisphere (green curve) shows massive temperature spikes that range over 22C degrees, which we have not experienced in the southern hemisphere records (purple and blue curves) that reflect moderation with variations under 10C degrees across the deglaciation event. This argues well for Australia, which would appear to be largely exempt from these erratic fluctuations and the extremes of variation as seen in the Greenland records. This should be factored into our planning.

There is no atmospheric hot-spot from "greenhouse CO2" despite over 20 years of serious looking for it (read Dr Evans and Dr Spencer's recent media and US Senate evidence statements). Occam's razor would point to the sun as the driver of climate change of significance. Human generated carbon dioxide is arguably around 3% of the total carbon dioxide budget, and in the light of the above, we are effectively irrelevant to the natural climate change continuum.

Natural climate change has and will continue to pose challenges and threats to human kind. Some of these we can manage for, others we will have to adapt to. My current view is that the suggestion that human-caused carbon dioxide is driving these (natural) changes is built on bad science at best, and any carbon tax will be a fraud at worst.

Much of this above information was submitted into the Garnaut Review, and presented to the Parliamentary Ministers and parties (by me), yet has apparently been ignored.

I contend that those professional scientists and advisors that are knowingly complicit in climate science fraud and all that is derived from it, will continue to be exposed by the science itself.

I wonder if class action legal challenges will flow from any implementation of carbon tax in the future - once the foundations on which it is being built are exposed for what they are? I am surprised that the ACCC has not pulled the current "carbon pollution" advert off TV for lack of truth, and probable deceptions.

I remain open to be persuaded by evidence. In summary, I have yet to see credible proof of carbon dioxide driving climate change, let alone man-made CO2 driving it. The atmospheric hot-spot is missing and the ice core data refute this. When will we collectively awake from this deceptive delusion?

To end on a positive note - Try this for a solution to a non-problem: It is also possible to re-cycle carbon dioxide into food (protein) and fuel (microbial oil) on a sustainable basis. A method I have suggested when representing CSIRO at the 2003 Queensland Science in Parliament Day forum, is to pipe concentrated carbon dioxide generated from oxygen-fired base-load coal fired power stations into farms of solar-bio converters seeded with nutrients, algae, bacteria and yeasts. The pointers to this technology have been around since the 1980s (University Toronto). Our politicians and CSIRO are aware of this.

Using this approach it could be possible to engineer and sustainably generate sufficient microbial oil to supply much of Australian needs. If laboratory production rates (as recollected) are achieved it may be possible to do this with as under 5000 hectares of solar-bio-digesters - to generate 80Mbbl oil per year. Why do our collective government parties continue to ignore this? This sustained inaction has provided us with the opportunity to buy this technology back from overseas - see Sapphire Energy - The Product at .

Key questions remain - What is the real agenda behind this pending carbon tax and is it a fraud? There are a lot of positives - none of which require a carbon tax.

Source (See the original for graphics)


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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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