Tuesday, December 02, 2008

2008 - A TIPPING POINT?

An email from David Whitehouse [me@davidwhitehouse.com]

In a few weeks the data will be in on the global average temperature for 2008. Although one should always be wary about assumptions regarding data (the December data hasn1t been measured yet) it does seem highly likely that 2008 will continue the trend seen in recent years (since 2001) of no increase in global temperatures. In most people's minds the question is how much cooler it will turn out to be than previous years. Personally, I expect the errors will make it unlikely that anything other than a flat line will be justifiable, but I may be wrong.

Given this, the spin regarding these figures has already begun presumably intended to avoid any misinterpretation by so-called climate skeptics and the media. This is what I expect.

In January's press releases about the data it will no doubt be emphasised that as 2008 was in the top ten or fifteen warmest years since records began it shows that global warming is still taking place. Take a look at the UK Met Office 'Fact 2' in their section on their website on climate change myths. It says that despite the static trend the public are not to be confused as global warming is continuing, as the last decade is warmer than the pervious one. Therefore the long-term trend is for rising temperatures. This is a misleading approach to the data ignoring parts of the data that are in some people1s view problematic (it is the same approach as adopted by the IPCC). True, the last decade is warmer than the previous one, nobody is seriously disputing that, but the important question is has it got any warmer in the past decade. The answer to that direct question is obviously that the data says no, it hasn't.

But does it matter? Is the fact that the world hasn1t got any warmer since 1998 and has had an impeccably constant temperature since 2001 of any significance? This period has been called a 'short interval' and the lack of change merely 'year on year variability.' Frankly, this analysis is wearing thin. It is beginning to strain credibility to ascribe 2008 to yet another example of unchanging 'year on year variability.'

The recent warming trend began in 1980 and continued to 1998. During that time there was a general temperature increase modified by the Pinatubo and El Chichon volcanic eruptions and the 1998 strong El Nino. Without the 1998 El Nino the increase would not have been so great, shown by the fact that when it subsided the temperature declined and did not continue to increase.

Since 1998 there were two cooler years then a slight increase and since 2001 there has been no increase, the difference between years being much smaller than the error of measurement. Another important point is that since 1998 there has been no volcanic effect. It is the effect of Pinatubo and El Chicon, coupled with a selective choice of time intervals, that can falsely give the impression through the judicious use of 'trend lines' that there were periods of standstill and temperature decline between 1980 and 1998 and that therefore the post 2001 standstill is nothing unusual.

It is now obvious that the recent global warming period has two components - a rise between 1980 and 1997-8 and a subsequent standstill.

It has been said that this was not unexpected and that nobody ever said there would be an ever increasing rise in temperature even as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration increased. Ups and down were always part of the picture. Well, just look at the IPCC reports and find where they said that? Until mid 2007 many scientists refused to even countenance the idea that there could possibly be a standstill.

That has now changed. Nobody can ignore this data any more. If nothing else the important paper in Nature earlier this year by Keenlyside et al showed that the change in the data required an explanation which they suggested was due to ocean turnover. Despite this some scientists savagely attacked the Keenlyside paper showing that there is no scientific consensus about global warming data.

One should also raise the important point that if the observed period of global warming was, as is claimed by some, so unusual and strong then why have natural processes been able to counteract it so effectively. I thought the whole point was that man's effects were greater than that produced by natural processes!

One should also ask why the annual global temperature has remained constant when the CO2 concentration is going ever upward. The effect of increasing CO2, according to the greenhouse hypothesis, is to provide a 'force' that drives temperature up. For each year that the temperature remains constant and the CO2 increases the greater is that force. This implies that whatever is keeping the earth at a constant temperature is increasing its effectiveness in step with increasing CO2 and having to produce more and more cooling each year to maintain a constant temperature. This is a highly unphysical and contrived situation.

In climate terms ten years is long enough to get an indication of what is going on and to smooth out any yearly variability. One should not read too much into it but the data is not meaningless and should not be ignored or dismissed as statistical fluctuation. Remember that when James Hansen testified in front of the US Government about the perils of global warming he did so in 1988 with less than a decade of credible warming data to back up his views. If one was generous with an interpretation of his analysis of the available scientific data of the time one would say he was acting in precautionary mode. But what is the difference in terms of science and philosophy from using less than a decade of warming data to say 'look there might be something going on here' from looking at a longer period of no increase of global average temperatures and saying 'look there may be something going on here.'

Also, I wonder if is too much to hope for a more good natured and scientifically informed debate about these figures and not have accusations of lying and spreading disinformation on behalf of big oil and conservative think tanks. This is a clich‚, unscientific, inaccurate and increasingly missing the point as more and more reputable scientists ask serious questions about what is going on. To respond to such scientific enquiry with snide innuendo and implied associations is to spread disinformation. Next time someone insists there is no problem with the global warming data and attacks the credibility of those who ask a perfectly reasonable scientific question, ask yourself where their beliefs come from? Perhaps they make a living writing unbalanced books and op eds about the impending catastrophe, or make a living studying it, and therefore have a vested interest. Worse, perhaps they believe that unscientific extremism is justified to get the public's attention.

The graphs we will see in January about the 2008 data and the 1980 - 2008 warming period will no doubt have their x-axis squashed so that the past ten years are not easily discernable. The temperature axis will be expansive and one-sigma error bars will be used. If the data were published with two-sigma bars and just for the past 50 years then they would give an entirely different impression.

But don't worry. It will all pick up in 2009. The UK Met office has said that global warming will begin in earnest in 2009 because by that time greenhouse emissions will overtake natural climate variability!

So that's the world we live in, spin and disinformation by vested interests who find real world data inconvenient - data deniers. The world is warmer than in previous decades but is, for the moment at least, not getting warmer, despite as one scientist from the Tyndall Centre said 'since 2000 the world has gone ballistic in terms of carbon emissions.' Global warming is coming, next year, or in a decade or so after understandable global cooling. If temperature increases it is global warming, if it does otherwise it is climate change.

Leave the models to one side for a moment and ponder that the only way to prove the global warming hypothesis is wrong is if the temperatures doesn't rise as the CO2 does. If that happened what will real world data look like?







A COMPREHENSIVE REPLY TO A CLIMATE ALARMIST

There are still a few Warmists who attempt a serious defence of their house of straw. One of them is Andrew Glikson. You can judge the adequacy of his efforts by the systematic reply to his points below. Reply by Paul Biggs [p.m.biggs@bham.ac.uk]

1) Arctic/Antarctic:

Why compare current Arctic temperatures with the arbitrary period cherry picked period 1951-1980? Why not compare the Arctic warming around the 1920s-1930s, or 1000 years ago, or even 6000-7000 years ago?

Less ice in the Arctic Ocean 6000-7000 years ago: Recent mapping of a number of raised beach ridges on the north coast of Greenland suggests that the ice cover in the Arctic Ocean was greatly reduced some 6000-7000 years ago. The Arctic Ocean may have been periodically ice free. "The climate in the northern regions has never been milder since the last Ice Age than it was about 6000-7000 years ago. We still don't know whether the Arctic Ocean was completely ice free, but there was more open water in the area north of Greenland than there is today," says Astrid Lys†, a geologist and researcher at the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU). See here

Arctic sea ice has undergone a strong recovery this year following the peak melt, putting the recovery on a par with 2002. Winds and atmospheric circulations have played a significant role in recent sea ice losses. See papers referenced at my website Climate Research News:

New Papers on the Role of Winds and Atmospheric Circulations in Arctic Sea Ice Loss: See here

Winds are Dominant Cause of Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet Losses: See here

The East and West Antarctic ice sheets have demonstrated divergent climate histories over the past 14 million years, a phenomenon that persists today. Data from the Dry Valleys reveals an East Antarctic Ice Sheet that is high, dry, cold, and stable, at least in its central area. The ANDRILL cores suggest a more volatile West Antarctic Ice Sheet that is subject to the changing temperatures of the sea in which it wades. (ANTARCTICA: Freeze-Dried Findings Support a Tale of Two Ancient Climates. Science 30 May 2008: 1152-1154)

Glaciers in Norway Growing Again. See here

Bad weather was good for Alaska glaciers. See here

2) Slow-down of the North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor belt:

The 2005 Bryden et al paper Glikson refers to was debunked in Science magazine: 'False Alarm: Atlantic Conveyor Belt Hasn't Slowed Down, Kerr, Science 17 November 2006: 1064a'

3) Hurricanes:

The attempts to link hurricane frequency or intensity with 'global warming' have floundered, e.g. 'Multi-decadal variability of Atlantic hurricane activity: 1851-2007,' by Petr Chylek and Glen Lesins, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (doi:10.1029/2008JD010036) (2008).

The Abstract states: An analysis of Atlantic hurricane data (HURDAT), using a hurricane activity index that integrates over hurricane numbers, durations and strengths during the years 1851-2007, suggests a quasi-periodic behavior with a period around 60 years superimposed upon a linearly increasing background. The linearly increasing background is significantly reduced or removed when various corrections were applied for hurricane under-counting in the early portion of the record. The periodic-like behavior is persistent in uncorrected HURDAT data as well as in data corrected for possible missing storms. The record contains two complete cycles: 1860-1920 and 1920-1980. The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were unusual in that two intense hurricane seasons occurred in consecutive years. The probability for this happening in any given year is estimated to be less then 1%. Comparing the last 28 years (1980-2007) with the preceding 28 years (1953-1980) we find a modest increase in the number of minor hurricanes (category 1 and 2), however, we find no increase in the number of major hurricanes (category 3-5). The hurricane activity index is found to be highly correlated with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Mode (AMM).

A document-based 318-year record of tropical cyclones in the Lesser Antilles, 1690-2007 by Michael Chenoweth and Dmitry Divine, GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, VOL. 9, Q08013, doi:10.1029/2008GC002066, 2008

Abstract: The most comprehensive and longest document-based time series of tropical cyclone activity for any area of the world is presented for the Atlantic and Caribbean region of the Lesser Antilles for the years 1690-2007. Newspaper accounts, ships' logbooks, meteorological journals, and other document sources were used to create this new data set, and a new methodology was applied for classifying historical tropical cyclone intensity. This compilation estimates the position and intensity of each tropical cyclone that passes through the 61.5øW meridian from the coast of South America northward through 25.0øN. The additional resources used here fills in gaps in the HURDAT record, which undercounts tropical storms and hurricanes by 28% (7%) in the years 1851-1898 (1899-1930) over populated islands from 12 to 18øN. The numbers of tropical cyclones show no trends that were significant at the 5% level. The time span 1968-1977 was probably the most inactive period since the islands were settled in the 1620s and 1630s.

4)Methane:

2007 Global Atmospheric Methane Rise Not Due to Man:

Boston (MA) - Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature - and not the direct result of man's contributions. T G daily: MIT scientists baffled by global warming theory, contradicts scientific data.

Rigby, M., R. Prinn, P. Fraser, P. Simmonds, R. Langenfelds, J. Huang, D. Cunnold, P. Steele, P. Krummel, R. Weiss, S. O'Doherty, P. Salameh, H. Wang, C. Harth, J. Mhle, and L. Porter (2008), Renewed growth of atmospheric methane, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2008GL036037

Arctic 'Methane Chimneys' Alarmism - A Note of Caution. See here

Scientists claim to have discovered evidence for large releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen seabed stores off the northern coast of Siberia. But climate experts have expressed caution at the claims, which have yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Methane release from stores of so-called gas hydrates, that can form on land or under the sea, is not new to researchers. Huge quantities are known to exist in the Arctic, but special circumstances would need to exist for significant releases to occur.

5) Sea level rise:

Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-Century Sea-Level Rise, W. T. Pfeffer, J. T. Harper, S. O'Neel, Science, 5 September 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5894, pp. 1340 - 1343. DOI: 10.1126/science.1159099

Abstract: On the basis of climate modelling and analogies with past conditions, the potential for multimeter increases in sea level by the end of the 21st century has been proposed. We consider glaciological conditions required for large sea-level rise to occur by 2100 and conclude that increases in excess of 2 meters are physically untenable. We find that a total sea-level rise of about 2 meters by 2100 could occur under physically possible glaciological conditions but only if all variables are quickly accelerated to extremely high limits. More plausible but still accelerated conditions lead to total sea-level rise by 2100 of about 0.8 meter. These roughly constrained scenarios provide a "most likely" starting point for refinements in sea-level forecasts that include ice flow dynamics.

6) Climate sensitivity to CO2:

3C for a doubling of CO2 is not a 'conservative estimate,' but the midpoint of the IPCC modelled scenarios which range from 1.1C to 6.4C. Climate models may well have a large positive feedback bias:

Potential Biases in Feedback Diagnosis from Observational Data: A Simple Model Demonstration by Roy W. Spencer and William D. Braswell. Journal of Climate, Volume 21, Issue 21 (November 2008) Article: pp. 5624-5628

Abstract: Feedbacks are widely considered to be the largest source of uncertainty in determining the sensitivity of the climate system to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations, yet our ability to diagnose them from observations has remained controversial. Here we use a simple model to demonstrate that any non-feedback source of top-of-atmosphere radiative flux variations can cause temperature variability which then results in a positive bias in diagnosed feedbacks. We demonstrate this effect with daily random flux variations, as might be caused by stochastic fluctuations in low cloud cover. The daily noise in radiative flux then causes interannual and decadal temperature variations in the model's 50 m deep swamp ocean. The amount of bias in the feedbacks diagnosed from time-averaged model output depends upon the size of the non-feedback flux variability relative to the surface temperature variability, as well as the sign and magnitude of the specified (true) feedback. For model runs producing monthly shortwave flux anomaly and temperature anomaly statistics similar to those measured by satellites, the diagnosed feedbacks have positive biases generally in the range of ?0.3 to ?0.8 W m?2 K?1. These results suggest that current observational diagnoses of cloud feedback - and possibly other feedbacks - could be significantly biased in the positive direction.

I could go on, but it suffices to say that global warming seems to have stopped for now at least. There has been no warming trend since about 2001, and no increase in ocean heat content since 2003, despite rising CO2 emissions. We seem to have entered a cooling phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) which should last to about 2030. Looking at the UAH Globally Averaged Satellite-Based Temperature (1979 - 2008), as Roy Spencer points out, "when one takes into consideration that the early 1990s cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption and the warming from the 1997-98 El Nino warming event were not part of any underlying long-term trend, globally-averaged temperatures were flat from 1990 until 2000, then there was a brief warming until about 2002, after which temperatures have once again remained flat. Note that the longer temperatures remain flat the greater the warming that will be required to put us back 'on track' to match the climate model projections used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."





HOUSE OF LORDS SCEPTICAL ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGETS

HOUSEHOLDS are facing large rises in their electricity bills in the coming decade because of the "dash" for renewables, according to an influential House of Lords report.

Consumers across Britain face an extra œ80 a year on their energy bills as a result of the Government's commitment to source 15% of the UK's power from renewables by 2020. In Scotland, the target is higher, with ministers pledging to source 50% of the country's electricity from renewables by that year.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said it was "sceptical" that the UK Government's 20% target could be met by 2020 and warned that the plans could lead to an over-reliance on "intermittent sources" such as wind.

Other sources of energy would be required to back up wind as a result, the committee warned, meaning that the costs of electricity production would rise to œ6.8bn a year - or œ80 a year more on annual fuel bills.

The report - entitled the Economics of Renewables Energy - comes amid a growing row between UK and Scottish ministers over energy generation. It comes with the EU demanding that all member states boost the amount of energy they source from renewables sources over the coming decade. Scottish ministers have ruled out the use of nuclear energy, insisting that Scotland can rely on wind, wave and carbon capture storage.

The House of Lords committee has now warned that even the UK Government's less ambitious plans are a cause of concern.

It declared that the full costs of wind power "remained significantly higher" than coal, gas or nuclear energy. It also warned that wind power "cannot be relied upon to meet peak demand".

More here






AND THE UNENDING TALKS GO ON

Repeated very pleasant travel experiences for the hordes of taxpayer-supported parasites who attend

Delegates from 186 nations are in Poznan, Poland today (1 December) to launch 12 days of talks designed to bring forward an international deal to tackle climate change. But the conference is currently overshadowed by an EU internal row over how to share the 'effort' of reducing CO2 emissions. "Even if it is too early to expect major breakthroughs, the Poznan conference must shift gear from exploratory discussions to concrete negotiations," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated on 28 November.

There are hopes that Poznan, which runs from 1-12 December, will produce a text, accompanied by a detailed work programme, that can provide the basis for detailed negotiations to prepare for a global deal during the December 2009 conference in Copenhagen.

But while the European Commission has high hopes for Poznan, the EU, which has repeatedly championed its own 'leadership' in global efforts to address climate change, has been increasingly flirting with a loss of face and international credibility as its member states bicker over the details of their climate and energy package.

Failure to reach a deal would not only be embarrassing for the EU, but would send the wrong signal to Poznan, according to groups like the WWF.

Brussels is seeking to downplay the situation. "We don't have a position on the distribution of the efforts internally, but what parties are interested in is not how much the package will cost to Poland or to Germany (sic), but they are interested that the EU has decided targets at the highest political level and that they stick to these targets and that becomes the law," a Commission spokesperson said in Brussels on 28 November.

This year's conference will conclude at the same time as the EU summit of 11-12 December, when the bloc's heads of state and government are scheduled to wrap up their discussions on the climate and energy package.....

High-level meetings between heads of state, meanwhile, are reserved for the last two to three days of the conference and will thus be held in parallel to the EU summit. The precise level of interplay between the EU summit and the last days of Poznan remains uncertain.

Source





When the Warmest in History Isn't

Here's another reason why people don't trust newspapers. When science reporters write about, say, hormone therapy or drinking red wine, they report on studies that find that hormones or red wine can be good for you, as well as studies that suggest otherwise. Any science involving complex organisms is rarely black and white. When it comes to global warming, newspapers play up stories that reinforce the prevalent the-sky-is-falling belief that global warming is human-caused and catastrophic. But if a study or scientist does not portend the end of the world as we know it, it rarely rates as news.

In that spirit, many papers (including The Chronicle) have reported on a UC San Diego science historian who reviewed 928 abstracts of peer-reviewed articles on global warming published between 1993 and 2003, and concluded, "Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position." Over 10 years, not one study challenged the orthodoxy -- does that sound right to you? If that were true, it would strongly suggest that, despite conflicting evidence in this wide and changing world, no scientist dares challenge the politically correct position on the issue.

No wonder, David Bellamy -- a botanist who was involved in some 400 TV productions, only to see his TV career go south after he questioned global warming orthodoxy -- wrote in The Australian last week, "It's not even science anymore; it's anti-science." Bellamy notes that official data show that "in every year since 1998, world temperatures have been getting colder, and in 2002 Arctic ice actually increased." Exhibit B: Richard S. Lindzen, the MIT Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, recently wrote, "There has been no warming since 1997 and no statistically significant warming since 1995."

Such findings rarely are reported, even as, Marc Morano, communications director for the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told me, "Scientists keep coming out of the woodwork" to challenge the so-called consensus. "It's almost like a bandwagon effect."

The Global Warming Petition Project urges Washington to reject the Kyoto international global warming pact as there is "no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." So far, The Politico reports, more than 31,000 scientists have signed it.

The latest skirmish in the global warming war -- barely reported in America -- occurred after two bloggers found that the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies data wrongly cast this October as the warmest in recorded history. It turns out that the mistake was due to an error that wrongly tapped September temperature records from Russia. Christopher Booker of The Sunday Telegraph of London found the mistake "startling" in light of other contrary climate statistics, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration findings of 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month.

In an e-mail, Goddard researcher Gavin Schmidt explained, "The incorrect analysis was online for less than 24 hours." (Thank bloggers Anthony Watts, an American meteorologist, and Canadian computer analyst Steve McIntyre for catching the mistake.) The error occurred because a report "had the wrong month label attached. There is quality control at NOAA and GISS but this particular problem had not been noticed before and the existing QC procedures didn't catch it. These have now been amended." As for the snowfall records and low temperatures cited by Booker, Schmidt chalked them up to "cherry picking" data. He added, "Far more important are the long-term trends."

Now, honest mistakes happen -- even in high-powered, well-funded research facilities. Just last year -- again thanks to the vigilance of Watts and McIntyre -- Goddard had to reconfigure its findings and recognize 1934 -- not 1998, as it had figured -- as the hottest year on record in American history.

Alas, it is hard to see Goddard as objective when its director, James Hansen, testified in a London court in September in support of six eco-vandals. A jury then acquitted the six Greenpeace activists on charges of vandalizing a British coal-fired power plant based on the "lawful excuse" defense that their use of force would prevent greater damage to the environment after Hansen predicted the one Kingsnorth plant could push "400 species" into extinction. Of course, he could be wrong.

Source





Australian Federal Parliament closes its ears to climate facts

Note what Labor does when Liberal MP Dennis Jensen tries to table evidence in Parliament that directly contradicts the global warming hype:
Dr JENSEN_ (Tangney) (8:10 PM) -I support the motion put forward-in particular real assessment of the scientific data. The global water cycle atlas based on the IPCC fourth assessment report climate models by Lim and Roderick was published this year, using the same dataset for precipitation models as used by the fourth IPCC report. In the 39 models examined, the Australian average precipitation from 1970 to 1990 varied from-get this-190.6 millimetres to 1,059.1 millimetres per year. The observed annual precipitation for Australia over the 20th century falls in the range of 400 to 500 per year. Hence there were large differences between model simulated precipitation and observations.

Of the 39 model runs examined for the A1B scenario, 24 showed increases in Australian precipitation to the end of the 21st century while 15 showed decreases. The overall average across all model runs was for a small increase in Australian annual precipitation of eight millimetres per year by the end of the 21st century. Within that average, some models predict a drop in annual precipitation of as much as 100 millimetres per year-notably CSIRO-while others predict increases of the same order. Note that CSIRO is one of the most pessimistic models in terms of future rainfall predictions. Guess which model the Garnaut report relied on.

Much discussion of the Murray-Darling Basin relates to inflows. This is fair enough in terms of examining what is important, which is water in the system, but allows blame to be attributed to climate change. This is baloney, as can be seen by the Bureau of Meteorology rainfall charts, where it can clearly be seen that rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin is normal. The reasons for reduced run-off are more plantations in the top of the catchments; catchment-wide drainage management plans put in place in the 1980s and 1990s to lower water tables and more efficient water use resulting in less leakage.

So much for the science being settled; we now have bad policy based on bad science. At present, green ideology is inhibiting the correct definition of the problem, and the Murray-Darling will continue to suffer as a result. Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to table these documents.

Leave NOT granted.

Jensen's wider point - that the regional models of global warming touted by the CSIRO are useless - have been confirmed by other studies. No doubt that's something else Parliament will refuse to hear.

Source

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