Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Would more rain be bad for us?

Below is an academic journal abstract preceded by a popular summary of it. It makes a point that I often make but which Greenies sedulously ignore: That warming would INCREASE rainfall overall -- which is of course great for crops. The idea that increased rainfall is a problem is laughable. I grew up in the tropics, where we measured our annual rainfall not in inches but in yards. And the rain was so heavy we used to say that it came down "in sheets". All that rain was slightly pesky at times (good for raincoat sales!) but the environment sure was lush and all the crops grew like mad. We had fields of grass that was over 6' high. And the grass concerned (sugar cane) was and is the world's cheapest source of sugar and ethanol. Heavier rain would be GREAT!

And India and much of Asia have lived with monsoonal rain (seasonal tempests) for millennia. They seem to have survived somehow. People actually welcome the monsoon there, funnily enough

The slim point that the Greenies have is that rainfall PATTERNS would change. Most areas would become wetter but some will become drier. But in large countries such as Australia, China, the USA, Russia and Canada, that would lead only to slightly different patterns of internal trade. Small countries would change their international trading patterns. Overall, food should become cheaper for everyone. Normal people would celebrate that but the Greenies hate it, of course.

The article below is in fact little more than a boring confirmation of basic precipitation physics. Amusingly, however, it once again finds that reality does not fit the Warmist models!
Global warming is expected to have a large effect on the amount and distribution of precipitation, with wet areas projected to become wetter and dry areas drier, and an overall increase in total rainfall. Another important aspect of these predicted changes is the frequency of extreme rainfall events, because the impact of a few heavy rain events is very different from that of many more moderate ones. Allan and Soden (p. 1481, published online 7 August) use satellite observations and model simulations to evaluate how climate warming is affecting the frequency and strength of rain events. Heavy rains are occurring with increasing frequency when it is warm and less often when it is cold, and these extremes are happening more frequently than models have suggested they should. This implies that the impacts of precipitation changes due to global warming could be greater than have been assumed.


Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes

By Richard P. Allan and Brian J. Soden

Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However, observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model-projected changes in extreme precipitation. We used satellite observations and model simulations to examine the response of tropical precipitation events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore, the observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger than that predicted by models, implying that projections of future changes in rainfall extremes in response to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated.


Friends of Science Society


One of the goals of the Friends of Science Society is to educate the public through dissemination of relevant, balanced and objective technical information on the scientific merit of the Kyoto Protocol and the global warming issue. The science of climate change is complex. Unfortunately, politics and the media has affected the science. Climate research institutions know that they must present scary climate forecasts to receive continued funding - no crisis means no funding.

The media presents stories of climate disaster to sell their products. Scientific research that suggests climate change is mostly natural does not receive much if any media coverage. These factors have caused the general public to be seriously misled on climate issues resulting in wasteful expenditures of billions of dollars in an ineffective attempt to control climate.

This document gives an overview of climate change issues as determined by a comprehensive review of the state of climate science.The graph above shows the temperature changes of the lower troposphere from the surface up to about 8 km as determined from the average of two analyses of satellite data. The best fit line from January 2002 to August 2008 indicates a decline of 0.30 Celsius/decade.

Surface temperature data is contaminated by the effects of urban development. The Sun's activity, which was increasing through most of the 20th century, has recently become quiet, causing a change of trend. The green line shows the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, as measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The ripple effect in the CO2 curve is due to the seasonal changes in biomass.

The Science in Summary

The history of the Earth tells us that the climate is always changing; from warm periods when the dinosaurs flourished, to the many ice ages when glaciers covered much of the land. Climate has always changed due to natural cycles without any help from people.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a political organization promoting a theory that recent minor temperature increases may be caused largely by man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

CO2 is an infrared gas, and increasing concentrations can potentially increase the average global temperature as the gas absorbs radiation from the Earth and emits the absorbed energy at longer wavelengths. However, the warming ability of CO2 is limited because much of the absorption spectrum is near or fully saturated.

When CO2 concentrations were ten times greater than today the Earth was in the grips of one of the coldest ice ages. The history of climate and CO2 concentration shows that temperature changes precede CO2 changes and can not be a significant driver of climate.

Temperature changes over different time scales have been well correlated to solar cycles, cosmic ray flux and cloud cover. Recent research shows that cosmic rays act as a catalyst to create low clouds, which cool the planet. When the Sun is more active, the solar wind repels the cosmic rays, reducing low cloud cover allowing the Sun to warm the planet.

Computer model results presented in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report shows that if CO2 is the main climate driver, the temperature profile in the atmosphere will show a unique and distinctive pattern - a CO2 fingerprint of global warming. Actual temperature data shows no such CO2 fingerprint. Therefore, the comparison of observed data to computer models proves that CO2 is not the main climate driver.

In atmosphere layers near 5 km, the modelled trend from 1980 is 100 to 300% higher than observed. Real world data shows that high clouds cause a strong negative feedback on climate, but climate models assume that clouds cause a positive feedback.

The computer models are programmed to forecast a constant water vapor relative humidity with increasing CO2 resulting in a large water vapor feedback. Actual data shows the relative humidity has fallen 21% since 1948 in the upper troposphere where the models predict the greatest feedback. A new greenhouse effect theory by Miskolczi shows that the Earth maintains a saturated greenhouse effect. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere just replaces an equivalent amount of water vapour to maintain an almost constant greenhouse effect.

Several planets and moons have warmed recently along with the Earth, confirming a natural warming trend. Over longer time periods, as the solar system moves in and out of the galactic arms the cosmic ray flux changes, causing ice ages and warm ages. A comparison of temperature and solar activity proxy data suggests that solar effects can explain at least 75% of the surface warming during the last 100 years.

CO2 is plant food and the increase in the CO2 concentration may have increased the global food production by 15% since 1950 resulting in huge benefits for people. For Canada, any CO2 warming effect would also benefit us by reducing our space heating costs and making a more pleasant climate.

Much more here

California's Sun King

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, thinks he has a partial solution to America's dependence on high-priced foreign oil. But he says liberals and environmentalists are rejecting it.

Mr. Rohrabacher -- who notes 130 pending applications for solar power projects on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management -- has introduced a bill to allow the building of such plants without environmental-impact studies. He tells me that though the BLM has lifted a moratorium on new solar projects on public land that it imposed in 2005, applications are still being clogged up in a bureaucratic pipeline and no new permits have been issued to date. "We need solutions on many levels, and freeing up solar power bottlenecks is one of them," he says.

Debbie Cook, Democratic mayor of Huntington Beach and Mr. Rohrabacher's opponent in this fall's election, opposes his bill as an "extreme position." Environmental groups also oppose it, saying large swaths of vegetation could be disrupted because a sizeable solar power facility requires up to two square miles of land. "If not properly scrutinized, the solar plants have the potential to destroy wildlife habitat, affect water resources, limit outdoor recreation opportunities and prove to be eyesores," is how the Daily Pilot, a local newspaper in Mr. Rohrabacher's Orange County district, summarized the objections of local environmentalists.

Mr. Rohrabacher is amused by the controversy. "Once again the environmental community has demonstrated that they care more about animals than about people," he told me. "I rest my case."



Prime Minister Rudd is unimaginative and conventional rather than extreme but his committment to introduce Warmist laws soon has concentrated minds. Four current articles below:

"The Green Paper? Almost Legless"

Press release from Viv Forbes, Chairman of Australia's Carbon Sense Coalition

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that Penny Wong's Green Paper on the Carbon Reduction Scheme had been overtaken by scientific and political developments and was now almost legless.

The Chairman of "Carbon Sense" Mr Viv Forbes said that of the three pillars of the government's climate change policy, only one was sensible - "Adapting to Climate change that we cannot avoid".

Politicians living in the Canberra hot house seem to think that controlling the climate is as simple as adjusting the thermostat in their air-conditioned offices. Man cannot control the weather and the only feasible climate policy is to make sure we have the brains, the freedom, the flexibility, the funds and the machinery to cope with whatever surprises the climate has in store for us. "Adapt or die" has been the guiding rule for every species since life began on this ever-changing earth.

The first pillar of the policy, "reducing greenhouse gas emissions" is based on flawed science and promoted by scare stories with no evidence to support them. The science shows clearly that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cannot be a significant driver of global warming. Moreover, records going back 10,000 years confirm that CO2 does not drive temperature. Thus any attempts to reduce carbon emissions will be "pain for no gain".

The third pillar of government climate change policy aims to "shape a global solution". This policy is also flawed and should be abandoned. India, China and Russia do not believe that CO2 drives global temperatures and will only join a global agreement if it costs them nothing or, even better, they get paid "carbon sin dispensation money" by silly western nations. Russia has already banked huge carbon credit receipts and other nations are hoping to jump on this gravy train.

Moreover, anyone with a sensitive political antenna can see that in places like Britain, Germany, Canada and the US, the rising costs of food and energy, and the Green destruction of jobs, are worrying electors far more than a mythical global warming bogey-man that never arrives.

More here

Too green is no good

Rudd's Warmist policies are unwise even from an environmental viewpoint

It is too risky for the environment and the economy for Australia to take up calls to commit to cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 per cent in little more than a decade. It could be even more dangerous in the unlikely event that Kevin Rudd convinced the rest of the industrialised world to sign on to such ambitious targets in the name of saving the planet.

Although this would be Nobel prize-winning form, such promises simply would not be credible. It may feel good to hope otherwise, but too much of the industrialised world has broken its Kyoto Protocol promises. It quickly would become clear that the rich world would not deliver on even more onerous vows. The ensuing disrepute and disillusion would provoke global political fractiousness, economic tit for tat and even raw aggression, particularly if a warmer planet became increasingly uncomfortable.

By going it alone, Australia could even make things worse for the global environment by sending its emission-intensive industries offshore to dirtier regimes. Unilateral steep cuts could be achieved only at an economic cost too large for Australia's political system to digest. The likelier outcome of missing the target by a wide margin would trash Rudd's hopes for Australia to lead the world on tackling climate change.

This has been evident enough for long enough to predict that Ross Garnaut eventually would reject steep unilateral targets for reducing Australian emissions. It is similarly predictable that Rudd will broadly follow suit. Australia's political class has spent the past generation locking in economic reforms that finally allowed Australia to exploit its comparative advantage in mining and energy. Just like John Howard, Rudd will not risk junking this.

Just as predictably, climate scientists and activists are dismayed by Garnaut's proposed targets, instead calling for Australia to commit to cutting emissions by 25 per cent to 40per cent below 2000 levels by 2020. But such targets would not have the credibility needed for creating durable new property rights - the right to emit carbon into the atmosphere - that can be traded between countries. Business will not invest in less carbon-intensive production if it does not believe the system for pricing carbon will stand up as advertised over decades. Without investment in cleaner capacity, the economic costs of meeting the targets will increase, along with the potential political backlash. And developing countries such as China and India will not buy into a global scheme if the developed nations assuage Western guilt by making promises they patently won't keep.

So far, the most industrialised economies have broken their Koyoto promises to cut emissions by 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The former Soviet bloc looks good because of the post-Cold War collapse of its dirty industries, although Russia's emissions are rising on the back of its oil and gas boom. In lower-growth Europe, France will meet its target because it has gone nuclear. Britain is on track because it closed its uneconomic coalmines. But others will exceed their Kyoto targets by embarrassing margins. Japan hasn't developed its nuclear industry as foreshadowed and hasn't got the expected returns from technology investment.

Canada has abandoned its Kyoto target because higher crude oil prices have encouraged emission-intensive extraction from its vast northern deposits of tar sands. New Zealand won't be within cooee because East Asian income growth has boosted demand for its methane-rich meat and dairy production. Australia remains on target, but only because of a special deal allowing us to increase emissions to 108 per cent of 1990 levels and to include land clearing. On that basis, Australia's 2006 emissions were 4 per cent higher than in 1990. But excluding the one-off land clearing concession, Australia's 2006 emissions are 40 per cent higher, fuelled in part by the economy's China boom. That's the emissions trajectory we now aim to turn around.

As it is, Garnaut's proposal to commit Australia to reducing emissions by 10 per cent over 2000 levels by 2020 (and 80 per cent by 2050) will take a big effort. As Garnaut tells his scientific and environmental critics, a 10 per cent cut by 2020 amounts to a challenging 30 per cent reduction in per capita terms. And given our emissions are still rising, this would require Australia to cut absolute emissions by 17 per cent from 2012. A bigger, 25 per cent reductions target would amount to a 40 per cent cut in per capita terms and 35 per cent in absolute terms from 2012. Garnaut suggests that his 10 per cent target will require "significant structural change" and reduce national income growth by something approaching 0.2 percentage points a year. While this sounds small, it is a significant income loss in the context of issues such as the ageing of the population.

Even then, Garnaut's numbers assume Australia will spend big on planting forests in Indonesia or Papua New Guinea so we can, for instance, keep on smelting aluminium with coal-fired electricity. If the world doesn't set up a trading scheme to achieve a credible reductions target, the cost of achieving Australia's 10 per cent cut would escalate significantly. In this world, Garnaut lowers his 2020 target to a 5per cent emissions cut.

Garnaut's latest report encourages the idea that a full-blown global emissions trading scheme simply won't fly. Australia's other leading climate change economist, Warwick McKibbin, suggests that any such scheme would soon collapse because it would be too difficult to monitor and enforce each country's emissions targets, thus devaluing emissions permits. Leading US economist Jeffrey Sachs describes such schemes as an administrative mess.

Australians may feel good when telling pollsters they are prepared to sacrifice, but neither Rudd nor Brendan Nelson is game enough to test this by exposing motorists to climate change costs before 2013. Until the weekend, the Government of Australia's resources boom state banned the mining of uranium that could help other countries curb their emissions. That's hardly credible for a nation claiming it is prepared to wear the economic costs of leading the world in tackling climate change.


Rudd's Warmist policies threaten healthcare with $100m power bill

HOSPITALS and nursing homes face a $100 million jump in powerbills under a national emissions trading scheme, threatening to compromise future levels of service unless they are includedin government plans for compensation.

Most debate has focused on the appropriateness and scale of compensation for major emitters such as power stations, trade-exposed, energy-intense industries and low-income households. Australia's biggest not-for-profit health service provider, Catholic Health Australia, is concerned it has been overlooked in the debate, and says it is unable to pass on higher energy costs. Research by the CHA estimates the greenhouse footprint of each of the nation's 83,000 hospital beds is about 28 tonnes a year - double the emissions from an average household. When combined with the emissions from 170,000 nursing home beds and other aged-care services, the health sector accounts for about five million tonnes of CO2 a year.

CHA chief executive Martin Laverty said there was growing concern that not-for-profit organisations operating in this and other sectors would be forced to cut services as a result of an emissions trading scheme.

CHA manages about 9500 hospital beds, 19,000 aged-care beds and 6000 retirement units, and would face an increase in its energy bill of about $10 million a year at a starting price of $20 a tonne for CO2.

In CHA's submission to the Government's green paper, it has recommended all commonwealth or state healthcare funding mechanisms be indexed to compensate for the flow-on effects of a carbon price. "You must factor in a cap and trade indexation component of funding to aged care and public hospitals and private hospitals so the healthcare and aged-care sectors in Australia can play their role and not be a roadblock to climate change," Mr Laverty said yesterday.

"Any service provided by federal or local government operated by not-for-profit organisations will be in exactly the same boat. "I am concerned the green paper spent a long time arguing the science. What it should have done is look at the proper structural impacts across the entire economy, and given the start of the solution."

A coalition of civil society, representing unions, charities, churches and environment groups, yesterday called on the Rudd Government to spend up to half of all revenue from the sale of permits to assist households and vulnerable communities to cut energy consumption and adapt to higher prices. A research paper by left-wing think tank the Australia Institute has warned that the community sector has been overlooked for compensation payments, and could face increased costs in excess of $822 million under the scheme.

A spokeswoman for Climate Change Minister Penny Wong said the Rudd Government welcomed constructive feedback from the not-for-profit sector. The Government is plannning to finalise the design of the national emissions trading scheme by December.


Emissions trading 'worse than drought'

The Rudd Government's attempts to combat climate change through an emissions trading scheme will do more damage to the farming sector than the drought, senior industry figures warned yesterday. The claims were made as new economic modelling showed farm profitability under the proposed trading scheme could drop to zero. The research by the Australian Farm Institute suggests that under an ETS, the $100 billion sector could be forced into debt, with livestock farms and smaller holdings worst affected. Using 10 model farm businesses and three future emissions price scenarios, the research showed far-reaching changes for the farm sector.

Institute head Mick Keogh said that even if agriculture were not included in the scheme until 2015, as recommended in the green paper from Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, the impact would hit the sector from 2010 because of the increased prices farmers will have to pay for inputs such as fuel, freight, electricity, fertilisers and chemicals. "Reductions in farm profitability of between 5 per cent and 10per cent are projected even with quite modest emission prices," Mr Keogh said. "Under scenarios where farmers are required to pay the full cost of estimated farm emissions, the modelling projects farm profit reductions of more than 100 per cent, especially for farms running sheep and cattle," he said. "The sector, which is fully trade-exposed, is going to be significantly impacted."

The institute's findings mirror recent modelling from New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture, which showed profitability across all farm types plummeting under an ETS. Farmer Howard Crozier, 72, is sceptical of global warming, and says the ETS is a waste of time. Speaking from his 1000ha farm at Bungendore, near Canberra, he said it would mean high input costs and lower profitability. "Even if they don't include agriculture before 2015, we're still going to have to pay the higher input costs, with no relief on the credit side," the cattle and sheep farmer said. "Our ability to sequester carbon won't be counted because native pastures and native forests aren't counted under Kyoto. "We have young earnest bureaucrats from Penny Wong's office saying all we have to do is adjust the prices of our products. How? There is no capacity for us to increase our prices to adjust to the huge losses we would suffer."

Queensland Farmers Federation chief executive John Cherry said the concerns of the rural sector were being ignored by the Government, even though the costs associated with an ETS will start to hit within 18 months. "We will be less competitive on world markets from 2010," Mr Cherry said. "With 70 per cent of agricultural produce exported, there is no opportunity to pass these costs on. It's going to cost a fortune. It is an insanity."



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