Saturday, December 13, 2008

Romm versus Motl

Lubos Motl, my favourite Pilsener, recently made some comments about the recent paper by Eichler et al., which I mentioned here on 12th. Abstract follows:
"The role of the sun on Earth's climate variability is still much debated. Here we present an ice core oxygen isotope record from the continental Siberian Altai, serving as a high-resolution temperature proxy for the last 750 years. The strong correlation between reconstructed temperature and solar activity suggests solar forcing as a main driver for temperature variations during the period 1250-1850 in this region. The precisely dated record allowed for the identification of a 10-30 year lag between solar forcing and temperature response, underlining the importance of indirect sun-climate mechanisms involving ocean-induced changes in atmospheric circulation. Solar contribution to temperature change became less important during industrial period 1850- 2000 in the Altai region."

So Eichler et al used data from the Siberian Altai region to show that solar fluctuations correlated strongly with temperature cycles up to 1850 but correlated much more weakly thereafter -- which is a rather curious finding. After 1850, CO2 took over as the major influence, we are asked to believe. Eichler et al. did however concede that even in the modern era, "up to approximately 50%" was the contribution of the sun to temperature change -- concurring with previous research that estimates 50% as the solar contribution. So Motl simply spoke of "50%" in his heading but noted in his text that Eichler spoke of "up to approximately 50%".

Big-time Warmist Joe Romm, however, seized on Motl's comment -- mistakenly attributing it to Marc Morano -- and made much of the "inaccurate" heading. Romm even went to the author of the paper to get her confirmation that "up to approximately 50%" did not mean "50%".

Motl can and no doubt will defend himself, if he thinks such a storm in a teacup is important, but I can see no fault in his logic. Why would the sun stop having an influence on climate in 1850? Who threw the switch? Because there is no such switch known or even imaginable, Motl took the high end of the estimate.

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today. How and why we are told otherwise?

How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant. Despite this President Elect Obama met with Al Gore on December 9 no doubt to plan a climate change strategy based on these problems. They make any plan to reduce of CO2 completely unnecessary.

Proponents of human induced warming and climate change told us that an increase in CO2 precedes and causes temperature increases. They were wrong. They told us the late 20th century was the warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us, using the infamous "hockey stick" graph, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did not exist. They were wrong. They told us global temperatures would increase through 2008 as CO2 increased. They were wrong. They told us Arctic ice would continue to decrease in area through 2008. They were wrong. They told us October 2008 was the second warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us 1998 was the warmest year on record in the US. They were wrong it was 1934. They told us current atmospheric levels of CO2 are the highest on record. They are wrong. They told us pre-industrial atmospheric levels of CO2 were approximately 100 parts per million (ppm) lower than the present 385 ppm. They are wrong.

This last is critical because the claim is basic to the argument that humans are causing warming and climate change by increasing the levels of atmospheric CO2 and have throughout the Industrial era. In fact, pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today, but how did they conclude they were lower?

In a paper submitted to the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski explains,
The basis of most of the IPCC conclusions on anthropogenic causes and on projections of climatic change is the assumption of low level of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. This assumption, based on glaciological studies, is false."

Ice cores provide the historic record and data collected at Mauna Loa the recent record. Both records are drastically modified to produce a smooth continuous curve with little variability. This was necessary to confirm the evidence falsely concluded from many 19th century measures that pre-industrial levels were approximately 280 ppm and didn't vary much. So how did they engineer the smooth curves and ignore the fact the 19th century record shows a global average of 335 ppm and considerable variability from year to year?

Most people don't know that thousands of direct measures of atmospheric CO2 were made beginning in 1812. Scientists took the readings with calibrated instruments and precise measurements as the work of Ernst-Georg Beck has thoroughly documented.

Guy Stewart Callendar was an earlier visitor to these records. He rejected most of the records including 69% of the 19th century records and only selected certain records that established the pre-industrial level as 280 ppm. Here is a plot of the records with those Callendar selections circled.

It is clear how only low readings were chosen. Also notice how the slope and trend is changed compared to the entire record. As Jaworowski notes,
"The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv."

Beck recently confirmed Jaworowski's research. A September 2008 article in Energy and Environment examined the readings in great detail and validated the 19th century findings. In a devastating conclusion Beck writes,
Modern greenhouse hypothesis is based on the work of G.S. Callendar and C.D. Keeling, following S. Arrhenius, as latterly popularized by the IPCC. Review of available literature raise the question if these authors have systematically discarded a large number of valid technical papers and older atmospheric CO2 determinations because they did not fit their hypothesis? Obviously they use only a few carefully selected values from the older literature, invariably choosing results that are consistent with the hypothesis of an induced rise of CO2 in air caused by the burning of fossil fuel.

So the pre-industrial level is at least 50 ppm higher than the level put into the computer models that produce all future climate predictions. The models also incorrectly assume uniform atmospheric global distribution and virtually no variability of CO2 from year to year.

Beck found, "Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm." Here is a plot from Beck comparing 19th century readings with ice core and Mauna Loa data.

Compare the variability of the atmospheric measures with the smooth line of the ice core record. Eliminating extreme readings and then applying a long term smoothing average achieved this. When smoothing is done on the scale of the ice core record a great deal of information is lost. Elimination of high readings prior to the smoothing makes the loss even greater. Also note that as with all known records the temperature changes before the CO2, in this record by approximately 5 years.

Elimination of data is also done with the Mauna Loa and other atmospheric readings, which can vary up to 600 ppm in the course of a day. Beck explains how Charles Keeling established the Mauna Loa readings by using the lowest readings of the afternoon. He ignored natural sources, a practice that continues. Beck presumes Keeling decided to avoid these low level natural sources by establishing the station at 4000 meters (m) up the volcano. As Beck notes "Mauna Loa does not represent the typical atmospheric CO2 on different global locations but is typical only for this volcano at a maritime location in about 4000 m altitude at that latitude." (Beck, 2008, "50 Years of Continuous Measurement of CO2 on Mauna Loa" Energy and Environment, Vol 19, No.7.)

Keeling's son continues to operate the Mauna Loa facility and as Beck notes, "owns the global monopoly of calibration of all CO2 measurements." Since the young Keeling is a co-author of the IPCC reports they accept the version that Mauna Loa is representative of global readings and that they reflect an increase since pre-industrial levels.

More here

An old scare

It WAS warmer in the 30s -- but then it got colder again -- as it is doing now

"Breakthrough" in Poznan

An agreement to keep talking!

The process of shaping a new climate change package in the two years between last year's Bali conference and next December's meeting in Copenhagen had already slipped behind schedule during the past six months and the workmanlike outcome of Poznan meant that 2009 would see an even steeper road to Copenhagen.

Yvo de Boer, the Dutchman who was convener of the talks, adopted a wounded tone as he defended the Poznan meeting, stressing that quite apart from the distraction of Obama's absence this was always supposed to be a low-key meeting in which the emphasis was on avoiding breakdowns rather than finding breakthroughs. "This is a blue-collar conference," he said yesterday. "It is a conference about getting a job done, it is not a conference about spectacle or breakthroughs.

"The main purpose of this conference has been to agree the negotiating agenda for the coming year: to agree on an intensification of negotiations and to provide (officials) with a mandate to come up with a negotiating text and advance the process, and this blue-collar conference has delivered on those two goals."

The conference did indeed keep the show on the road but last night delegates were left pondering whether the compromises and fudges had left a process that could come up with a worthwhile climate change agreement by the planned date of December 2009. "I don't think where we are now it is going to be feasible to develop a fully elaborated, long-term response to climate change in Copenhagen," de Boer conceded. ..


Dutch professor laments climate 'hype' --concedes she is ' increasingly ill at ease about the debate'

Like so many climate change conferences before it, the one in Poznan, Poland this week will likely end in disappointment. The issue of global warming still isn't taken seriously enough to bridge opposing interests and mobilize the funding needed to deal with the problem.

I confess that I am increasingly uncomfortable with what is being called the travelling climate circus: this incessant and expensive series of conferences about the climate. Last year in Bali, next year in Copenhagen, now in the Polish city of Poznan, where over 11,000 people from 190 countries are gathered to make agreements about the follow-up to the Kyoto protocol.

There are no less than 700 pages of proposals which are supposed to lead to a new treaty on reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the end of 2009. As the current round of talks is again threatening to end in a fiasco, the organization in Proznan is keeping its options open (they are now talking only about a "political understanding on the most important elements" rather than a binding treaty, which was the original plan).

Almost without exception, such conferences end in disappointment. Few people wonder why the climate negotiations are so difficult compared to other international agreements. It can't just be because of the considerable conflict of interests between countries -- these also exist in negotiations about world trade, which are now close to completion.

There are, I believe, two reasons for the dark clouds surrounding the climate summits: There is still no undisputed package of steps that need to be taken and the problem is clearly not considered urgent enough, despite all the testimonies, to bridge the opposing interests and mobilize funding.

This is in sharp contrast to the decisiveness and unity revealed during the credit crisis. That is clearly an urgent problem affecting all citizens directly and one which governments want to be seen tackling immediately, even if the measures involved are very expensive.

I am far from being a climate skeptic. On the contrary, I believe the evidence of man's impact on the planet is overwhelming. But I am increasingly ill at ease about the debate itself. I have just finished reading another large pile of articles about the topic and listening to various speeches. And the elements of hype and carelessness I have come across are increasing. All sorts of things are thrown together under the banner of climate change as if it is responsible for all of the world's problems.

From a practical viewpoint, it is impossible to unravel what is caused by weather fluctuations, the lack of economic growth or failed government policy -- to say nothing of proving the current effects of structural changes in the climate.

For example, everyone quotes the number of "200 million climate refugees". But closer examination reveals that migrants name drought as the least important reason for leaving their country. If at all. Even where drought is involved, it cannot be determined with certainty that it is due to climate change, because weather fluctuations happen all the time.

There are authors who claim that fertile land has already been lost to the rising sea level, a claim for which there is little evidence.

I also regularly read articles stating that climate change is leading to a decrease in food production and is behind the recent explosion in food prices. That notion that food production will decrease in the long term is still questionable -- in some areas production could even increase, and recent price increases have nothing to do with climate change. Such a suggestion is misleading at best, if not fraudulent.

And then there are the politicians who repeatedly state that we cannot continue with business as usual, like the Polish president said last week. But we are long past that point. Sustainable production has penetrated our way of thinking. It is not enough by any stretch of the imagination, but you can't maintain that we haven't learned anything.

Attempts to present these issues as dramatically as possible come from the understandable frustration about the lack of success in the climate negotiations. The louder the calls for change, the less credible they become; and the slower the progress in the negotiations, the louder the calls. The climate problem is complex and tenacious and is not helped by an inaccurate presentation of the facts.

There are enough reasons to take action, with sustainable economic growth in the forefront. But if I have to choose between alleviating hunger and poverty today and preventing CO2 emissions tomorrow, then I choose the former, in the firm conviction that only prosperity will lead to a change in mentality and the financing of energy-saving measures.


False economy: E10 fuel isn't cheaper or greener

Comment from Australia

A fuel derived from plants might appear to be a cheap and green alternative but exclusive Drive research proves this is not the case. A fuel-efficiency showdown between the three most-popular types of petrol [gasoline] on the market concludes the ethanol blend will cost you more in the long run and may not even help the environment. Ethanol-blend fuels are about three cents a litre cheaper than regular unleaded at the pump but Drive found bills are higher overall because it burns less efficiently.

The findings throw into question NSW Government claims that E10 provides cost savings for motorists. The NSW Government has mandated the sale of E10 in NSW, requiring petrol company sales to include at least 2 percent ethanol. The mandate in effect requires companies to ensure that 20 percent of the fuel they sell is E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent petrol. At the time of the announcement last year, then premier Morris Iemma described the decision as a "win for the hip pocket when it comes to fuel costs for families". Our figures prove otherwise.

Drive put the three fuels to the test, driving three identical Toyota Camrys more than 2000 kilometres in a range of conditions to see which fuel drives your dollar further. The E10-fuelled Camry in the test cost $276.55 to run, while the regular unleaded version cost $271.56 and the premium unleaded fuel version, which cost, on average, 15 cents a litre more than E10, cost $285.54. The car running on premium unleaded consumed 9.06 litres/ 100km, compared with 9.41L/100km for the regular unleaded car and 9.81 litres for the E10 vehicle.

The test-drive route covered a range of conditions, from freeway driving to off-peak and peak-hour city driving. City driving exposed E10's efficiency shortcomings -- almost as expensive as using premium unleaded, despite the huge gap in pump prices. In the700 kilometres of city driving, our E10 Camry used almost 10 litres more fuel than our premium-fuel car. The comparative fuel bills for the three cars were: E10, $105; premium, $105.91; and regular unleaded, $100.33. Had we used thirstier six-cylinder cars or less-efficient used cars, the equation would probably have strengthened further in favour of unleaded and premium fuel.

During our test, unleaded petrol was priced at $1.30 a litre, which meant the three cents a litre less we paid for E10 amounted to a 2.3 percent discount. But our figures show that the car using E10 used 4.2 percent more fuel than the car using regular unleaded fuel. During city driving, the discount remained the same but we used 7.2percent more E10 than regular and 11.2percent more than premium unleaded. Since our test, the drop in petrol prices has made E10 more attractive, because a three cents- a-litre discount translates to a 3 percent discount if fuel is priced at $1. Our findings contrast starkly with the claims made by some petrol distributors.

United Petroleum general manager David Szymczak says overseas studies find the fuel consumption difference between E10 and unleaded can be as low as1 percent. United's E10 fuel has a higher octane rating (95RON ) than that of other distributors. "When you consider that you can get 3 percent to5 percent better economy just by having the right air [pressure] in your tyres, it's a very minor issue," Szymczaksays.

Caltex spokesman Frank Topham says the fuel-consumption differences vary widely from vehicle to vehicle. "It is such an individual thing with each vehicle," he says. "People should check it out for themselves and see if they find any appreciable difference." But the head of engine development for Porsche's Cayman sports car, Jurgen Kapfer, says there is no doubt E10 is less efficient. Kapfer should know. He's just been through the certification process for Euro V, the fuel standard about to be adopted in Europe. Unlike previous fuel standards, Euro V demands car companies use an E10 blend in their cars when they complete their fuel consumption test cycle.

Under the current standard, the published fuel-consumption figures are based on a test that replicates city and country driving using premium unleaded, or 95RON, fuel. That's why Porsche published two sets of fuel-consumption figures for the Cayman at the car's global launch in Spain recently. The first set was for the current standard, Euro IV, while the second set had fuel consumption for the Euro V standard. Using E10, the base model Cayman's fuel consumption increases about 3 percent, from 8.9L/100km to 9.2L/100km.

This is what Porsche's official press information says about the switch: "When homologating a car to EU5 [Euro V], the manufacturer must provide for a new fuel grade with a higher share of ethanol. "Displacing the same volume, such fuel has a lower calorific value than the fuel required for homologation to EU4. Hence, fuel consumption under the EU5 standard is slightly higher than with EU4 on the same carbon dioxide emissions." The translation, according to Kapfer, is that the two are line-ball on saving the planet. E10 emits less carbon dioxide but you use more of it, so the benefits are negligible.....



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