Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SOLAR CYCLE 24 looking very quiet

An email from James Marusek [tunga@custom.net], pointing to climate change -- on the sun

The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24. The Ap index is a proxy measurement for the intensity of solar magnetic activity as it alters the geomagnetic field on Earth. Anthony Watts (meteorologist) referred to it as the common yardstick for solar magnetic activity. Measurements began in January 1932. Until the current solar minimum, the lowest monthly Ap index ever recorded was "4". This happened in December 1997. But now in this solar minimum we have three months in a row of "4"s (November 2008 - January 2009).

Jan Janssens of the Belgian Solar Section has a website called "Solaemon's Spotless Day Page". Solaemon stands for SOLar Activity & Earth MONitor.

This site tracks the current solar minimum and comparing it to past minimums. Within the site he links to an informative graph where he compares the Cumulative Spotless Days for each of the Solar Minimums (Solar Cycles 10 to present).

Each curve in the Cumulative Spotless Days graph has an element of both horizontal and vertical symmetry. Once we reach the midpoint of the solar cycle, there will be about as many spotless days to come as spotless days that have past. As of the end of January, there have been 535 spotless days within this solar minimum. If we are at the midpoint, then the current solar minimum will produce around 1,000 cumulative spotless days. Have we finally reached this midpoint? I don't know but the next few months will hold the key. It is clear that solar cycle 24 is making a state change. For much of the past century (solar cycles 16-23), the solar minimums produced significantly fewer spotless days (an average of 362).

Facing reality

An email from Norm Kalmanovitch [kalhnd@shaw.ca] of Calgary Canada. Norm is a practicing geophysicist with over 35 years of experience operating at a very basic scientific and academic level

There has statistically been no global warming for over a decade and the globe gas been cooling at a fairly steep rate since 2002. With the global temperature for 2008 already below that of the target 1990 Kyoto reference year level, one has to question why anyone in their right mind would want to reduce CO2 emissions at all, let alone reduce emissions by 4.8gigatonnes as would be done by an 80% reduction of US emissions.

The energy generated in the production of 4.8gigatonnes of CO2 is about 37.8 trillion kilowatt hours. To replace this energy with wind power at 20cents/kwh will cost $7.56 trillion per year. To sequester and bury this requires the energy equivalent of 5000bbls of oil for each megatonne which is 24million barrels of oil each year. The cost of sequestering and burying CO2 is at least $100 per metric ton (The Alberta proposal to sequester 5 megatonnes of CO2 for $2billion equates to $400 per tonne), so this would equate to an annual expenditure of at least $480billion.

The other option of course is to reduce the US energy output by 37.8trillion kilowatt hours which would have the effect of reducing the economy by that amount. At some point someone has to stand up and demand proof that wasting these vast sums of money and energy has any benefit for anyone except those involved in the carbon trading industry who promote this idiocy.

The world is no longer warming; there is no increase in sea level rise; and most importantly beyond the current concentration of CO2 there is at best only a miniscule warming effect from even a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Carbon dioxide emissions are good for both the environment and the economy; reducing CO2 emissions by any method other than by energy conservation is bad for both.


By Graham Dawson

The Stern Review and the IPCC believe that anthropogenic climate change is a serious global threat and demands an urgent response. Examining the IPCC's projections of future climate change and Stern's estimates of its costs from a free-market perspective shows that they are based on flawed methodological assumptions and reflect an excessively optimistic approach to knowledge of the future. The foundations of reliable knowledge for a sound policy framework have not been put in place.


The Stern Review analyses climate change as a market failure - and indeed not just any market failure, but `market failure on the greatest scale the world has seen' (Stern, 2007, p. 27). Or is it rather the greatest moral panic? In a neoclassical context, market failure assumes welfare maximisation, in that market failure occurs when markets fail to maximise welfare; that is, they fail to locate the one level of output (of goods whose production is carbon intensive) that brings marginal benefit and marginal social cost into equilibrium.

The economist more in agreement with the Austrian school of economics disagrees with this basic premise of Stern's analysis. It is not markets that have failed, but governments in failing to allocate property rights. One approach to environmental economics - based on the Austrian approach - understands environmental problems as interpersonal conflicts rather than market failures (Cordato, 2004). Climate change is an example of interpersonal conflict over the use of resources as some individuals use the atmosphere as a carbon sink, changing the climate and thereby making it impossible, for example, for other individuals to rely upon an unchanged climate as a resource for growing crops in particular locations. The purpose of climate change policy is to allocate the missing property rights (to a climate unchanged by human activity) and install legal institutions that will enable goal-seeking individuals to defend those rights against invasion. True, this is an arduous task but less so, in the opinion of this author, than the orthodox approach to climate change policy, which Stern inadvertently reveals to be based upon guesswork and wishful thinking, and which is without serious prospect of success.

I will try to make good this claim by examining the Stern Review and the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which Stern uncritically relies, from a free-market perspective. Firstly, I will argue that the IPCC is a near-monopoly producer of climate science, much of which is politicised. Secondly, Stern's dramatic headline figures are, I will suggest in common with other commentators, in part the result of incorporating estimates of alleged costs that are immeasurable and of using an unrealistically low discount rate. Thirdly, they are also the outcome of Stern's decision to rely exclusively on just one of the IPCC's `families' of emissions scenarios (the A2 family), eventhough the IPCC itself regards them all as equally valid. The policy framework that Stern puts forward is therefore without secure foundations in theory or evidence.


Taranto does his usual good line of sarcasm

The Boston Globe has an alarming report on a new mental disorder:
Last year, an anxious, depressed 17-year-old boy was admitted to the psychiatric unit at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. He was refusing to drink water. Worried about drought related to climate change, the young man was convinced that if he drank, millions of people would die. The Australian doctors wrote the case up as the first known instance of "climate change delusion."

Robert Salo, the psychiatrist who runs the inpatient unit where the boy was treated, has now seen several more patients with psychosis or anxiety disorders focused on climate change, as well as children who are having nightmares about global-warming-related natural disasters.

Can there be any doubt that the media--including the Boston Globe--are a major risk factor for climate change delusion, what with all their alarmist reports about global warming? Sure, it's possible that these kids were nuts anyway, and that even if they'd never heard of global warming, their psychosis would have expressed itself in a different form: Bush derangement syndrome, say, or post-traumatic slavery disorder (another story broken by the Globe).

But as long as we don't know, shouldn't journalists declare an immediate moratorium on global-warming stories--just to be safe?

SOURCE (See the original for links)


China likely overtook the U.S. in vehicle sales for the first time last month, a trend that could make China into the world's largest auto market this year. Official data for China's auto sales in January will not be out until next week. But they are expected to show sales at about 790,000 units for the month, Zhang Xin, an analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Beijing, said Wednesday. In the U.S., meanwhile, auto sales in January tumbled 37 percent to 656,976 vehicles, the lowest monthly level in 26 years.

"This is the first time in history that China has passed the United States in monthly sales," Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors Corp.'s executive director of global market and industry analysis, said in a conference call late Tuesday. For all of 2009, DiGiovanni projected that Chinese auto sales are likely to hit 10.7 million vehicles, more than the estimated 9.8 million unit sales in the U.S. this year. Autodata Corp. forecasts 2009 U.S. sales at 9.57 million.

Commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses make up a larger chunk of China's vehicle market than in the U.S., causing some people to say comparing such statistics is misleading. But China, with its 1.3 billion people, was bound to catch up with the U.S., population 300 million, sooner or later, and the latest trends suggest it may be sooner than expected due to the drastic contraction in the American auto market.


Australian bushfire catastrophe had its prime source in Greenie resistance to preventive burnoffs

(My suspicions of yesterday stand confirmed -- JR)

By David Packham

Victoria has suffered the most tragic bushfire disaster to have occurred on this continent throughout its period of human habitation. The deaths, loss of homes and businesses and the blow to our feeling of security will take decades to fade into history. The trauma will live with the victims, who, to a greater or lesser extent, are all of us. How could this happen when we have been told in a withering, continuous barrage of public relations that with technology and well-polished uniforms, we can cope with the unleashing of huge forces of nature.

I have been a bushfire scientist for more than 50 years, dealing with all aspects of bushfires, from prescribed burning to flame chemistry, and serving as supervisor of fire weather services for Australia. We need to understand what has happened so that we can accept or prevent future fire disasters. That this disaster was about to happen became clear when the weather bureau issued an accurate fire weather forecast last Wednesday, which prompted me, as a private citizen, to raise the alarm through a memo distributed to concerned residents.

The science is simple. A fire disaster of this nature requires a combination of hot, dry, windy weather in drought conditions. It also requires a source of ignition. In the past, this purpose has been served by lightning. In this disaster, lightning has not played a big part, and for this Victorians should be grateful. But other sources of ignition are ever-present. When the temperature and wind increase to extreme levels, small events -- perhaps the scrape of metal across a rock, a transformer overheating or sparks from a diesel engine -- are capable of starting a fire that can in minutes become unstoppable if the fuel is present.

The third and only controllable factor in this deadly triangle is fuel: the dead leaves, pieces of bark and grass that become the gas that feeds the 50m high flames that roar through the bush with the sound of jet engines. Fuels build up year after year at an approximate rate of one tonne a hectare a year, up to a maximum of about 30 tonnes a hectare. If the fuels exceed about eight tonnes a hectare, disastrous fires can and will occur. Every objective analysis of the dynamics of fuel and fire concludes that unless the fuels are maintained at near the levels that our indigenous stewards of the land achieved, then we will have unhealthy and unsafe forests that from time to time will generate disasters such as the one that erupted on saturday.

It has been a difficult lesson for me to accept that despite the severe damage to our forests and even a fatal fire in our nation's capital, the political decision has been to do nothing that will change the extreme threat to which our forests and rural lands are exposed. The decision to ignore the threat has been encouraged by some shocking pseudo-science from a few academics who use arguments that may have a place in political discourse but should have no place in managing our environment and protecting it and us from the bushfire threat. The conclusion of these academics is that high intensity fires are good for the environment and that the resulting mudslides after rains are merely localised and serve to redistribute nutrients. The purpose of this failed policy is to secure uninformed city votes.

Only a few expert retired fire managers, experienced bushies and some courageous politicians are prepared to buck the decision to lock up our bush and leave it to burn. The politicians who willingly accept this rubbish use it to justify the perpetuation of the greatest threat to our forests, water supplies, homes and lives in order to secure a minority green vote. They continue to throw millions (and no doubt soon billions) at ineffective suppression toys, while the few foresters and bush people who know how to manage our public lands are starved of the resources they need to reduce fuel loads.

It is hard for me to see this perversion of public policy and to accept that the folk of the bush have lost their battle to live a safe life in a cared-for rural and forest environment, all because of the environmental fantasies of outraged extremists and latte conservationists.

In a letter to my local paper, the Weekly Times, on January 25, I predicted we were facing a very critical situation in which 1000 to 2000 homes could be lost in the Yarra catchment, the Otways and/or the Strezleckies; that 100 souls could be lost in a most horrible and violent way; and that there was even a threat to Melbourne's water supply, which could be rendered unusable by the ash and debris. Horrifically, much of this has come to pass, and it is not yet the end of the bushfire season.

In the face of this inferno, the perpetrators of this obscenity should have the decency to stand up and say they were wrong. Southeast Australia is the worst place in the world for bushfires, and we must not waste any time in getting down to the task of making our bush healthy and safe. But don't hold your breath. Do you hear that lovely sound the warbling pigs make as they fly by?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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