Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some foot-shooting alarmism

The people who write this stuff really are poor intellects. Note the bits highlighted in red. The first shows that Arctic melting is NOT part of a global phenomenon and the second says it is comparable to past natural melts. They are also slippery in their prophecy of a "nearly complete" melt of the Greenland icecap. In fact, the Greenland icecap stayed largely intact during much hotter eras of the past. As Bamber notes, it survived at about 50% of it present size during the Eemian period of about 125,000 years ago -- when temperatures were about 5C higher than today

A major U.S. government report on Arctic climate, prepared with input from eight Canadian scientists, has concluded that the recent rapid warming of polar temperatures and shrinking of multi-year Arctic sea ice are "highly unusual compared to events from previous thousands of years."

The findings, released on Friday, counter suggestions from some skeptics that such recent events as the opening of the Northwest Passage and collapse of ice shelves in the Canadian Arctic are predictable phenomena that could be explained as part of a natural climate cycle rather than being driven by elevated carbon emissions from human activity.

A summary of the report - described as "the first comprehensive analysis of the real data we have on past climate conditions in the Arctic," by U.S. Geological Survey director Mark Myers - warns that "sustained warming of at least a few degrees" is probably enough "to cause the nearly complete, eventual disappearance of the Greenland ice sheet, which would raise sea level by several metres."

The study also sounds the alarm that "temperature change in the Arctic is happening at a greater rate than other places in the Northern Hemisphere, and this is expected to continue in the future. As a result, glacier and ice-sheet melting, sea-ice retreat, coastal erosion and sea level rise can be expected to continue."

Ice cover in the Canadian Arctic and throughout the polar world has experienced record-setting melts in the past few years. The summer of 2007 saw polar ice cover shrink to its lowest extent in recorded history. Last summer's melt came close to matching that record, and recent research indicates that overall ice volume - because of the ongoing replacement of thicker, multi-year ice with thinner new ice - was lower in 2008 than 2007.

This past summer also saw further dramatic evidence of the unusual warming of the Canadian Arctic, including record-setting high temperatures in Iqaluit, Nunavut, rapid erosion and flooding of a glacial landscape on Baffin Island, the re-opening of the Northwest Passage, an unprecedented clearing of ice from the Beaufort Sea, and the collapse of hundreds of square kilometres of ancient ice shelves on the northern shore of Ellesmere Island.

Research for the U.S. Congress-commissioned report was conducted by 37 scientists from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Britain and Denmark. The Canadian scientists involved were Mary Anne Douglas and Alexander Wolfe from the University of Alberta, John Smol from Queen's University, Garry Clarke of the University of British Columbia, Shawn Marshall from the University of Calgary, Jerry Mitrovica from the University of Toronto, Arthur Dyke of the Geological Survey of Canada, and McGill University's James Savelle.

"The current rate of human-influenced Arctic warming is comparable to peak natural rates documented by reconstructions of past climates. However, some projections of future human-induced change exceed documented natural variability," the scientists conclude. "The past tells us that when thresholds in the climate system are crossed, climate change can be very large and very fast. We cannot rule out that human-induced climate change will trigger such events in the future."


Warmist "explorers" freezing to death in the Arctic

It's just a stunt that more realistic people will have to rescue them from -- at some danger to the rescuers

Three British explorers trying to ski to the North Pole to measure the thickness of sea ice only have one day's food left as bad weather hampers supply flights, the mission said Tuesday. Project director and ice team leader Pen Hadow and his colleagues Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels are now down to half rations and fighting to survive in brutal sub-zero weather conditions. "We're hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice and, because we're not moving, the colder we get," Hadow said Tuesday in a statement from the London headquarters of the Catlin Arctic Survey. "Waiting is almost the worst part of an expedition as we?re in the lap of the weather gods. This is basic survival."

The expedition set off on a 85-day hike on February 28 when the three were dropped off by plane on an ice floe some 668 miles, from northern Canada. During the past 17 days temperatures have consistently dropped below minus 40 degrees Celsius, and have been accompanied by strong winds increasing the chill factor. Bad weather has forced three attempts to drop food supplies to the team on a landing strip close to their camp to turn back.



Today on spiked: Editor Brendan O'Neill reports from the premiere of "The Age of Stupid", a cretinous film that unwittingly exposes the elitism and dodgy science of the green lobby.

O'Neill writes: "The film is so cretinous it makes Michael Moore look like a modern-day Bergman; so scientifically vacuous it makes Lysenko look like Einstein; so achingly middle-class it makes The Good Life look like a kitchen-sink drama about miners' wives."

Read the review in full here

Your "Carbon Legacy"

The "anti-people" agenda of the Greenies revealed again. Like the Communist Chinese, they want to restrict how many babies American women can have

Politicians who bow to the demands of the world's climate alarmists have long sought various means of reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. To date, the measures they have proposed have been rather mundane, focusing primarily on reducing emissions associated with one's household activities and transportation habits. For example, we have been encouraged to replace our incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient ones. We've also been asked to participate in municipal recycling programs, to drive less, to car pool or to utilize public transportation. But the "rules of the road" will soon be become much more stringent, and you and I may be asked - if not mandated by law - to make an unprecedented lifestyle change that could dramatically curtail one of our most cherished personal freedoms, all in the name of "saving the planet."

Writing for the scientific journal Global Environmental Change, two academics at Oregon State University - Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax - identify this lifestyle change in a paper entitled "Reproduction and the Carbon Legacies of Individuals." In this treatise they attempt to quantify, in their words, "the carbon legacy of an individual," and to examine "how it is affected by the individual's reproductive choices," based on the premise that "a person is responsible for the carbon emissions of his descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him." So what did they find?

The two researchers calculated that a woman in the United States would reduce her lifetime CO2 emissions by about 486 tons if she implemented the green-approved household and transportation activities mentioned previously. But they estimate that if she were to have just one child, that child, over its lifetime, would eventually release nearly 20 times more CO2 to the atmosphere than the reductions achieved by its mother via her more mundane green activities.

In light of these calculations, Murtaugh and Schlax conclude that "the potential savings from reduced reproduction are huge compared to the savings that can be achieved by changes in lifestyle," adding that "enormous future benefits can be gained by immediate changes in reproductive behavior," and, therefore, that "an individual's reproductive choices can have a dramatic effect on the total carbon emissions ultimately attributable to his or her genetic lineage."

We can only hope, in this regard, that everyone's future reproductive behavior will continue to be a matter of choice. But in light of the supposedly "enormous" CO2-related "benefits" of curtailing child-bearing - especially in the United States - no one can assume that such will continue to be the case, especially in light of the claims of climate alarmists such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, who consider CO2-induced global warming to be the greatest threat to the survival of civilization ever to be encountered. Faced with such a unique and unparalleled threat, we could well awake one morning and find ourselves with no choice in the matter, mandated by law to only procreate to the extent deemed ecologically appropriate by those enlightened few who somehow simply "know" what is best for the biosphere.

It may seem unthinkable today that our government - of the people, by the people and for the people - would ever assume the power to tell us how many children we can and cannot have. But much has happened in the past few months that truly was unthinkable, and only a single year ago. And if it's happened before, it can happen again; for in times of crisis - either real, as in the current economic crisis, or imagined, as in Al Gore's climate crisis - normally-rational people can do some wildly-irrational things.

We must, therefore, maintain the eternal vigilance that is needed to preserve our God-given rights that no one has the authority to rescind. Stand up with us and demand that your elected officials carefully scrutinize both sides of the CO2-climate debate and think for themselves. We need thoughtful men and women of integrity to guide our nation, not mindless lemmings.

Reference: Murtaugh, P.A. and Schlax, M.G. 2009. Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals. Global Environmental Change

CO2 Science Volume 12, Number 11: 18 March 2009

Blame sunspots for cool winter, spring weather

By George Taylor (George Taylor retired as Oregon State Climatologist last year and now operates Applied Climate Services of Corvallis)

Brrrr! It's been a cold week, in a cold month, in a cold winter. And it shows no sign of letting up. Last week the Northwest was gripped by unseasonably cold weather. Areas west of the Cascades saw temperatures dip into the 20s. Locally we dropped as low as 27 on the 13th. Eugene was even colder (24 on the 11th). Two days later, Eugene's 25 degree-low broke the daily record (26) set in 1944.

So far in March our local Hyslop Experiment Station has seen nine days with lows of 32 or below. The month of March averages 5.7 days, so we're already well ahead of average for an entire March.

As cold as it was here, the Cascades generally protected us from the coldest Arctic air, which remained mostly north and east of us. On the 11th, Spokane, Wash., reported a low of 2 degrees. This was the latest date for a temperature of 2 degrees or less. The previous latest date occurred March 6, 1891. Sandpoint, Idaho, set a similar record the same day with a reading of -4 degrees, the latest date for a temperature that low.

Western Montana saw temperatures as low as -14, and subzero readings were reported in other states. In Oregon, many daily records were set, many far below the previous. Meacham was -11 on the 11th; the record for was 7, so this week's weather broke the record by 18 degrees! LaGrande, Pendleton, Moro, The Dalles, Bend, Redmond, and others also set new records.

The cause of this cold month and cold year? Two things: the tropical Pacific and the sun.

The tropical Pacific continues in its "La Nina" mode, in which ocean temperatures off South America are cooler than average. During such conditions, winters in the Northwest are cooler than average, wetter than average, or both. Snowpacks tend to be average or deeper. Thus far, we've had a cold but dry winter, with and average mountain snowpack.

The sun continues in its "solar minimum." There is an 11-year cycle (about) in sunspots. When spots are plentiful, the sun's energy is stronger, and there is a tendency for Earth's temperatures to increase. During the low point there are few sunspots, and temperatures are more likely to drop. We have been in a solar minimum for more than a year. NASA and other agencies predicted that sunspot numbers would be increasing by now, but they are not. According to NASA, we are seeing:

* The lowest sustained solar radio flux since the F10.7 proxy was created in 1947;

* Solar wind is the lowest observed since the beginning of the space age;

* The solar wind magnetic field 36 percent weaker than during the minimum of Solar Cycle 23;

* Effectively no sunspots;

* Cosmic rays at near record-high levels.

These might make sense, but here's what it means: The sun is quiet, and has been for an unusually long period.

Looking back over the last several hundred years, we see that solar output has been high for the last 60 years; this coincided with a general increase in temperatures. There have been some periods with low sunspot counts for many years. The early 1700s and 1800s saw lengthy solar minima, accompanied by cold temperatures.

Some solar physicists are suggesting the minimum is a harbinger of lower sunspot numbers for the next several decades. That would mean lower air temperatures, in general - global cooling!

Others suggest El Nino and La Nina conditions are driven by variations in the sun; periods with low solar output would bring La Nina conditions (such as now). We'll see. But with a quiet sun and a continuing La Nina, I don't expect temperatures to warm up much in the near future. Expect a cool spring, like last year.



The bitter cold and record snowfalls from two wicked winters are causing people to ask if the global climate is truly changing. The climate is known to be variable and, in recent years, more scientific thought and research has been focused on the global temperature and how humanity might be influencing it.

However, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee could turn the climate change world upside down. Scientists at the university used a math application known as synchronized chaos and applied it to climate data taken over the past 100 years. "Imagine that you have four synchronized swimmers and they are not holding hands and they do their program and everything is fine; now, if they begin to hold hands and hold hands tightly, most likely a slight error will destroy the synchronization. Well, we applied the same analogy to climate," researcher Dr. Anastasios Tsonis said.

Scientists said that the air and ocean systems of the earth are now showing signs of synchronizing with each other. Eventually, the systems begin to couple and the synchronous state is destroyed, leading to a climate shift. "In climate, when this happens, the climate state changes. You go from a cooling regime to a warming regime or a warming regime to a cooling regime. This way we were able to explain all the fluctuations in the global temperature trend in the past century," Tsonis said. "The research team has found the warming trend of the past 30 years has stopped and in fact global temperatures have leveled off since 2001."

The most recent climate shift probably occurred at about the year 2000. Now the question is how has warming slowed and how much influence does human activity have? "But if we don't understand what is natural, I don't think we can say much about what the humans are doing. So our interest is to understand -- first the natural variability of climate -- and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural," Tsonis said.

Tsonis said he thinks the current trend of steady or even cooling earth temps may last a couple of decades or until the next climate shift occurs.


Green/Left car-hatred backfires in Britain

The contortionist's skill required to squeeze a car into a tiny modern garage and climb out of a barely opened door will become redundant under plans to allow more generous parking provision on new housing estates. A decade after the Government ordered developers to discourage car ownership by making it difficult to park, a local authority has produced new guidance that acknowledges that the policy has failed.

Far from reducing car usage, the policy has turned modern housing developments into obstacle courses for pedestrians and cyclists, who routinely find pavements and cycle paths occupied by cars with nowhere else to park. A study by Essex County Council found that 78 per cent of garages were not being used to store vehicles, largely because a trend towards larger cars and 4x4s meant that many did not fit comfortably inside the space.

Essex has become the first authority to challenge the Government's anti-car planning guidelines. It has issued draft guidelines that require larger garages and driveways, more parking spaces per dwelling, bigger on-street bays and at least 25 extra spaces for visitors for every 100 homes. The council has discussed its approach with several other authorities interested in relaxing limits on parking. The new parking standards will be treated as a minimum rather than, as at present, a maximum. Developers will be free, for the first time in a decade, to offer as many spaces as they believe their customers will want. Garages will have to be at least 7 metres by 3 metres (23ft by 10ft), as opposed to the existing guidance of 5 metres by 2.5 metres. Any garage smaller than the new dimensions will be treated as a storeroom and not counted towards the minimum number of parking spaces. Any home with two or more bedrooms will require at least two spaces.

The council found that planning guidance issued between 1998 and 2001 had created a severe shortage of spaces in many developments. Families had responded not by giving up their second car but by parking on narrow residential roads, blocking access for emergency services and refuse collection lorries. There are more than 1.5 cars per home in 35 per cent of council wards in Essex. Nationally, there are more homes with two or more cars than there are homes without a car. The proportion of car-less households fell from 45 per cent in 1976 to 24 per cent in 2006. Over the same period, the proportion of homes with two or more cars rose from 11 per cent to 32 per cent.

Norman Hume, the Conservative-controlled council's Cabinet member for transport, said: "This new parking guidance is a radical break from the past failed approach which has seen local communities blighted by parked cars. We are effectively asking people whether we should continue living in neighbourhoods that often have the appearance of disorganised car parks or if instead we should look much more closely at how we accommodate the car to allow a better quality of life for our residents."

The Campaign for Better Transport, which promotes alternatives to cars, said that Essex was undermining a decade of work to help people to become less car-dependent. Stephen Joseph, the campaign's director, said: "Essex will create a new generation of car-dominated estates, causing congestion and pollution. In the guise of offering freedom, people will be locked into car dependency. Homes will be too spread out to make good public transport feasible." Mr Joseph said that Essex should have adopted the approach in Cambridge and Kent Thameside, where clusters of new homes are being built close to dedicated bus lanes offering fast, regular services.

John Jowers, Cabinet member for planning in Essex, said: "Whether you like it or not, you have to live with the car. Rationing parking spaces doesn't stop people owning cars, it just means they park where it is most inconvenient for everyone else." He said that Essex was considering reducing the number of people commuting by car by imposing a charge on workplace parking spaces.



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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


No comments: