Friday, December 05, 2008

GLOBAL WARMING HAS STOPPED -- And EW (Extreme Weather) never started!

An email from Madhav Khandekar [], IPCC Reviewer 2007

Allow me to make additional remarks to my earlier commentary on "Global Warming has stopped"

As the 10,000 or more delegates at the Poznan meeting of the UNFCCC are intensely debating how to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) globally and "bring down" earth's mean temperature so as to reduce dangers of future EW (extreme weather) events, I urge these delegates to take some time out and look at the real climate as it has evolved over the past 25 years and more.

The EW events world-wide during the past 25 years have NOT increased at all! It is our perception about increasing EW primarily driven by the media which keep reporting EW happening anywhere in the world almost instantaneously these days, that has changed. This perception is also aided by publication of results from flawed climate models which keep telling us about future EW events increasing.

In reality EW events have remained about the same world-wide over the past 50 to 100 years. Even during the period 1945-78 when the earth's temp declined by about 0.25C, EW were occurring with about the same frequency, something that the climate models and the modellers never analyzed adequately. Among some of the noted EW events of 1945-78 period:

1. Indian Monsoon experienced heaviest summer ( June-Sept) rains in 150 years with devastating floods in many parts of the country

2. Only 11 year later the Monsoon of 1972 was one of the driest which resulted in severe shortfall in grain (rice in particular) yield and caused considerable hardship for next several years.

3. In November 1970 Bangladesh (then east Pakistan) was hit by a cyclone which killed about 200,000 people, largest single fatality due to meteorological disaster.

4. During 2-3 April 1974, there was a spectacular outbreak of tornadoes in USA which spawned largest number of tornadoes (~200 or more) in a two-day period.

5. Hurricane Camille struck the US Gulf Coast in July 1969 and was one of the deadliest with about 100 or so fatalities.

There are many such EW events that occurred during the cooling period of 1945-78, however none of the environmentalists or the AGW adherent suggested "dangerous climate change" then! Why are UNFCCC delegates worried about "dangerous future climate" now?

I once again urge the UNFCCC delegates in Poznan (Poland) to take a closer look at the reality of climate and stop worrying about future 'dangerous' climate. There are more dangerous events happening in the world today, especially in India where I have just arrived a few days after the ghastly massacre of innocent lives in Mumbai.

As I am sifting through dozens of news papers in India, every one here is worried about global terrorism and how to stop such ghastly events from happening again in future. None of the newspapers in India carried any news item about the UNFCCC meeting in Poland in the last four days, not even on the back page of any newspaper!


The United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway this week in Poznan, Poland, and literally thousands of folks have convened and reinforced the notion that the buildup of greenhouse gases has caused substantial warming in recent decades and that left unchecked, the continued buildup will undoubtedly cause significant warming in the decades to come. Believe it or not, it is possible that aspects of the traditional greenhouse gas explanation could be largely wrong, and if you think we are crazy, let's visit an article just published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics.

The interesting (to say the least) work was conducted Gilbert Compo and Prashant Sardeshmukh of the Climate Diagnostics Center, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Physical Sciences Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (these guys must have oversized business cards) and the work was supported financially by the NOAA Climate Program Office. The first sentence of the abstract reads: "Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land."

This sentence certainly captured our interest at World Climate Report - anyone suggesting that some warming may have been caused by something other than the buildup of greenhouse gases will always get a second look. The approach used by Compo and Sardeshmukh is actually quite simple and clever. The pair collected sea surface temperature data from 1961 to 2006 and they determined the difference between the 1991-2006 and 1961-1990 sub-periods. As seen in the Figure 1 below, the oceans of the world generally warmed between the two sub-periods.

Next, they took only the change in SSTs [Sea Surface Temperastures] to force global climate responses in a suite of climate models. Basically, instead of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration to examine the global climate response, they wondered how the climate would be impacted by the spatial pattern of sea surface temperature changes over the global oceans. In addition, they conducted a set of numerical modeling experiments that did include the set of known forcings "included time-varying solar irradiance and volcanic aerosols, anthropogenic sulfate aerosols, tropospheric and stratospheric ozone, well-mixed GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O), halocarbons, and black carbon aerosols." In the second sentence of their abstract, Compo and Sardeshmukh tell us "Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming."

Are they kidding? Are they really suggesting that the warming of the land areas of the Earth may not have been caused directly by the increased concentration of greenhouse gases? The answer is ... yes! Their figure (Figure 2 below) shows the results and to the amazement of the greenhouse advocates, the model runs forced by SSTs only did as good a job replicating the observed temperature rise as the model runs with elevated greenhouse gases or the many other forcings explored in their research.

In explaining their results, the scientists write "In summary, our results emphasize the significant role of remote oceanic influences, rather than the direct local effect of anthropogenic radiative forcings, in the recent continental warming. They suggest that the recent oceanic warming has caused the continents to warm through a different set of mechanisms than usually identified with the global impacts of SST changes. It has increased the humidity of the atmosphere, altered the atmospheric vertical motion and associated cloud fields, and perturbed the longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes at the continental surface."

It only gets better as they state "Although not a focus of this study, the degree to which the oceans themselves have recently warmed due to increased GHG, other anthropogenic, natural solar and volcanic forcings, or internal multi-decadal climate variations is a matter of active investigation." That's interesting - it seems there is some lingering debate about why the oceans have warmed, and they note "a role for natural causes of at least some of the recent oceanic warming should not be ruled out."

Here at World Climate Report, we never rule out the role of natural variability of the climate system. Their final paragraph has some priceless phrases as they report "Regardless of whether or not the rapid recent oceanic warming has occurred largely from anthropogenic or natural influences, our study highlights its importance in accounting for the recent observed continental warming. Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from our analysis is that the recent acceleration [sic-see our last couple of WCRs demonstrating a slowdown of recent warming trends] of global warming may not be occurring in quite the manner one might have imagined. The indirect and substantial role of the oceans in causing the recent continental warming emphasizes the need to generate reliable projections of ocean temperature changes over the next century, in order to generate more reliable projections of not just the global mean temperature and precipitation changes, but also regional climate changes."

Stating "global warming may not be occurring in quite the manner one might have imagined" is an interesting way to report that the entire global warming - greenhouse gas buildup link (largely unchallenged) may be a quite a bit off. Time will tell, but don't look for a lot of press coverage coming from the Poland meeting of this interesting research challenging the gospel of global warming.

Reference: Compo, G.P. and P.D. Sardeshmukh. 2008. Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics.



Stephen Hockman QC-which, if you read Rumpole, you know means queer customer-is a European (I can't say Englishman, because an Englishman would not voluntarily cede his country's sovereignty to a foreign body) who is proposing to create an International Court of Environmental Justice, whose purpose will be to "punish states that fail to protect wildlife and prevent climate change."

Isn't that nice? Besides providing make-work employment for obscure politicians, "[T]he court would also fine countries or companies that fail to protect endangered species or degrade the natural environment and enforce the 'right to a healthy environment'." It would first create this new "right to a healthy environment and provide a higher body for individuals or non-governmental organisations to protest against an environmental injustice."

Both Gordon Brown and Judi Dench have come out in favor of this new governing body, so we can guess it's only a matter of time before it is started. You might suppose that I, being a self-named climate inactivist and advocate of limited government, would be against this development, but except for one caveat, I am not. Here's why.

More here

Windmills to power Hawaii's cars

What a laugh! Have they added up how many windmills they would need to do that? Hawaii wouldn't be big enough

Hawaii is to become the first US state to create a transport infrastructure that will allow cars to run almost entirely on electricity. The plan involves building up to 100,000 charging stations in car parks and streets by 2012 and importing electric vehicles manufactured by a joint venture between Nissan and Renault. Motorists who buy the cars will be able to purchase mileage plans - including recharging services and battery swaps - or use the charging stations on a pay-as-you-go basis. Linda Lingle, the Governor of Hawaii, said that the programme would help the six large islands in the state to meet the goal of reducing the use of fossil fuels by 70 per cent within the next 30 years.

About 1.3 million people live in Hawaii, most of them in Honolulu. The islands import 90 per cent of their oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia, an arrangement that costs an estimated $7 billion a year. "Today is a part of the execution of our energy independence [strategy], and our getting off the addiction to oil," Ms Lingle said.

Most of the infrastructure will be provided and funded by Better Place, a Silicon Valley company - although the $75 million-$100 million cost of the project has yet to be raised. It will build the charging stations and provide charged batteries. The electricity is expected to come from renewable sources, such as wind power. All of this will require a significant investment, however, because Hawaii has limited wind power and there are no transmission lines to carry electricity between the islands.

Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of Better Place, said electric cars would cost the same as petrol vehicles but that over time they would become cheaper because they used half as many parts as cars with internal combustion engines. He added that Hawaii was an ideal place to show off the technology because the state hosts more than five million tourists every year. "If we can get them into electric cars when they rent we do two great things," he said. "One, we avoid emissions, and two, we use the opportunity to educate them, to teach them in Hawaii how it needs to be done in the rest of the world."

Other parts of the US, including the San Francisco bay area, and Israel, Denmark and Australia, plan to host Better Place recharging stations.

- Hawaii had 1.28 million people and 1.13 million registered motor vehicles last year

- Imported petroleum is used for 90 per cent of its primary energy

- About 80,000 Hawaiian homes are fitted with solar water heaters

- Wind power provides 1 per cent of Hawaii's energy


Britain's nukes in trouble

Blind Freddy knows that any government timetable will blow out by years so this is no surprise but it does show that the risk of blackouts is great unless money can be diverted from useless windmills to build more coal-fired plants

Widespread doubts about the ability of nuclear power to bring a new generation of reactors on stream at the right time and on budget were raised today within an industry that the UK government is relying on to meet its climate change and energy security goals. EDF Energy, the French power company that has been positioning itself as one of the leading future players in the UK market, admitted that its new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) at Flamanville in France had already run 20% over budget while major delays continue to plague a Finnish facility, the only other new plant under construction in Europe.

Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, which also wants to construct two nuclear facilities in Britain, said the 2017 target for a first new reactor in this country was "extremely ambitious" and he urged ministers to proceed with a new generation of coal plants, such as the controversial Kingsnorth scheme, to fill the growing energy gap. He was talking at a London conference organised by the Nuclear Industries Association, which was told by another top industry official that although the industry might have a range of problems to overcome, it had recently achieved an extraordinary transformation and was now perceived externally as "sexy".

Lady Barbara Judge, chairwoman of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), highlighted skills shortages and waste disposal as potential difficulties but felt they could be overcome. "Atomic was a dirty word but now it's certainly a sexy one," she argued. But she did warn that the safety of existing stations remained paramount and while the difficulties of the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters had been overcome, they could be repeated. "Everyone knows just one accident and the industry will be shut down for 20 years."

Golby raised concerns about the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate which governs the industry's health and safety but questioned whether 2017 was a realistic date for a new station. A colleague had suggested that atomic power would be available to cook the Christmas lunch that year but he said: "I have a fear it will be humble pie we will be eating rather rather than turkey."

Meanwhile at an investors' day in Paris, EDF said the EPR which is being built in Flamanville would cost 4bn euros at 2008 prices instead of 3.3bn . "This update takes into account increase in prices and the effects of some contractual indexes due to higher raw material costs and the impact of technical and regulatory evolutions," explained EDF. The new total cost of the electricity generated is 54/MW hour in 2008, instead of the 46 announced when the project was launched in May 2006.

Luc Oursel, a president at Areva, said despite the Flamanville problems and rising costs and delays at the Olkiluoto plant in Finland still made commercial sense. He insisted the mistakes learned would help build plants in Britain on schedule. Mike O'Brien, the energy minister, said he was confident industry would do all it could to deliver on time and dismissed concerns about any delays affecting climate change policies. He added: "All you can do is work towards it (a target) by a particular date."


Australia: The "Greenhouse" retreat begins

The battle with climate hobgoblins is slowly giving way to reality

FEDERAL cabinet is finalising a cautious emissions trading scheme offering higher compensation to big trade-exposed polluters and a "soft" start in pollution-reduction targets. With concern growing in the Rudd cabinet about the emissions trading scheme's potential to exacerbate already rising unemployment, particularly in crucial marginal regional seats, the target range for the regime to be released on Monday week is widely expected to be between 5 per cent and 15 per cent by 2020. But the emissions trading white paper will tie Australian emissions reduction targets to the ambition of next year's Copenhagen agreement on cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.

After months of furious lobbying from key industries, including LNG, cement and steel, the Government will offer significant changes to its original formula offering wider compensation to trade-exposed emissions-intensive industries to ameliorate corporate concern about jobs and investment moving offshore.

Senior sources also say the Government's strategy is to negotiate the scheme through the Senate next year with the Coalition, rather than the Greens and independents, meaning its final impact is likely to be even softer when an amended version finally starts in 2010.

Conservationists and renewable energy industry advocates have in recent weeks implored the Government to keep open the possibility of deeper emission cuts of 25per cent by 2020 to maximise the chances of an international deal that could limit global warming to 2C, a level that can still avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.

The Government remains determined to press ahead with its emissions trading scheme despite the global financial crisis, but in his speech to the parliament yesterday Kevin Rudd made it clear he was very worried about rising unemployment. "We have had a debate in here from time to time about where the global financial crisis goes," the Prime Minister said. "It is going to affect a lot of people who will lose their jobs. That is the truth and it is an awful thing. "Whatever our policy debates may be about that, the other thing we need to be reminded of at a time like this is, through our own work in local community, to support people who find themselves in those positions in the period ahead."

The Government's green paper released in July proposed handing out for free up to 20 per cent of permits to heavy industry in the period before an international agreement imposed similar costs on their competitors, and 30 per cent once agriculture was included in the scheme in 2015. The remainder of the permits would be auctioned. But in recent weeks officials have canvassed the prospect that this strict cap on the proportion of free permits could be increased - to about 25 per cent, or 35 per cent after the inclusion of agriculture, with more sectors qualifying for at least some free permits and companies being able to apply for permits for new projects as well. They have suggested that industry sectors could be allowed to choose between two possible formulas for calculating their eligibility for free permits and that industries previously missing out on permits - such as oil refining and some chemical production - could now be offered 30 per cent of their necessary permits for free.

But the cabinet subcommittee is understood to have considered it politically unacceptable to offer 30 per cent free permits for the methane emissions from coalmines, even though coal would probably have been eligible under the revised plans, ordering further negotiations to narrow the government assistance to the sector. No other country has plans to require coalmines to buy permits for methane emissions for many years.

Many industries that miss out on free permits are also being offered "structural adjustment" assistance from the proposed multi-billion-dollar Climate Change Adjustment Fund, created from the proceeds of permit auctions, to ease the burden from the introduction of the emissions trading scheme. The Government is also holding detailed discussions with industry about the implementation of its promised national renewable energy target (RET) alongside the ETS, with another discussion paper on the much-delayed RET set to be released before the end of the year.

Yesterday, leading economists - including nabCapital chief economist Rob Henderson, ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake, and Macquarie Group chief economist Richard Gibbs - wrote an open letter to the Government. They urged it to apply the ETS as broadly as possible, including to petrol, which the Government has pledged to exempt for the first three years of the scheme, and to set any carbon-price safety cap very high to allow the new market in carbon permits to work.

The cabinet subcommittee on emissions trading has met twice this week and the full cabinet was also scheduled to discuss the issue yesterday as the Government raced to finalise the design of its scheme ahead of its release on December 15. Cabinet is very conscious that Labor's hold on marginal seats, including Capricornia, Flynn, Dawson, Corangamite and Solomon could be strongly affected by the decisions taken.



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1 comment:

hernadi-key said...

information for you..
Global Cooling or Global Warming ???

There is huge disagreement in the scientific community about global warming. Researchers on either side have no trouble finding data to support their chosen theory. Recent climatic events highlight the importance of not over interpreting short-term data - temperature fluctuations either up or down. The environmental alarmists who have been overstating connections between extreme weather conditions and a man-made warming trend are on the opposite side of other researchers who are sounding the warning bell about global cooling. Both sides of the issue must be careful to avoid distortion of facts to support beliefs...