Saturday, April 04, 2009


Looks like denial is fading -- to be replaced by attempts to make it sound insignificant. Michael Mann and his bristlecone pines no longer cut it apparently. This is the latest attempt to prove that the MWP was a merely local phenomenenon. A local phenomenon that lasted 300 years? But recent discoveries of contemporaneous warming in New Zealand and Argentina blow the pretence off the map, of course. See here and here. Amusing that they call it an anomaly rather than a warm period, though. That rather sounds like prejudging the case. (Yes. I know that "anomaly" is climate-speak for "deviation" but I think the point still holds)

During the Medieval Climate Anomaly (approximately 800 to 1300 A.D.) temperatures in Europe were generally warmer than immediately before or after. The source of that warmth is hotly debated. Trouet et al. (p. 78) present a reconstruction of the North Atlantic Oscillation--the dominant mode of atmospheric circulation variability in the North Atlantic region--that extends back to the middle of the Medieval Climate Anomaly, based on data from Moroccan tree rings and a Scottish stalagmite. The North Atlantic Oscillation, it seems, was in a persistently positive state during the Medieval Climate Anomaly. The authors suggest that prevailing La Niña-like conditions during medieval times was initiated by high levels of irradiance and amplified by enhanced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.


Persistent Positive North Atlantic Oscillation Mode Dominated the Medieval Climate Anomaly

By Valerie Trouet et al.


The Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) was the most recent pre-industrial era warm interval of European climate, yet its driving mechanisms remain uncertain. We present here a 947-year-long multidecadal North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) reconstruction and find a persistent positive NAO during the MCA. Supplementary reconstructions based on climate model results and proxy data indicate a clear shift to weaker NAO conditions into the Little Ice Age (LIA). Globally distributed proxy data suggest that this NAO shift is one aspect of a global MCA-LIA climate transition that probably was coupled to prevailing La Niña–like conditions amplified by an intensified Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during the MCA

Science 3 April 2009: Vol. 324. no. 5923, pp. 78 - 80

The usual selective reporting

Wordie Ice Shelf gone, Larsen Ice Shelf next -- but it is common for some parts of the Antarctic to warm while other parts cool

ONE Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, US and British government researchers said. The Wordie Ice Shelf, which had been disintegrating since the 1960s, is gone and the northern part of the Larsen Ice Shelf no longer exists. More than 8300 sq km have broken off from the Larsen shelf since 1986.

Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the US Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available here

"The rapid retreat of glaciers there demonstrates once again the profound effects our planet is already experiencing - more rapidly than previously known - as a consequence of climate change," US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. "This continued and often significant glacier retreat is a wakeup call that change is happening ... and we need to be prepared," USGS glaciologist Jane Ferrigno, who led the Antarctica study, said.

"Antarctica is of special interest because it holds an estimated 91 percent of the Earth's glacier volume, and change anywhere in the ice sheet poses significant hazards to society," she said.

In another report published in the journal Geophysical Letters, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that ice is melting much more rapidly than expected in the Arctic as well, based on new computer analyses and recent ice measurements.

The UN Climate Panel projects that world atmospheric temperature will rise by between 1.8C and 4.0C because of emissions of greenhouse gases that could bring floods, droughts, heat waves and more powerful storms. As glaciers and ice sheets melt, they can raise overall ocean levels and swamp low-lying areas.


'Zero chance' of imminent change on US climate legislation

Article from: The Australian

THERE is "zero chance" of climate change legislation being signed by the US before the UN Copenhagen summit in December, according to sources close to the Obama administration.

Despite the emergence of an ambitious draft bill in the US Congress this week, which was seized upon by the Greens and environmental lobby groups in Australia as proof the Rudd Government was not going far enough in its own climate change legislation, significant doubts remain about the progress of any legislation in the US.

The bill, introduced by chairman of the energy and commerce committee Henry Waxman, stunned climate change proponents with its aggressive call for carbon emissions to be cut by 20 per cent by 2020, from 2005 levels. But it is seen by many in Washington as simply an ambit claim in US climate change legislation stakes.

Moves towards a comprehensive cap and trade system are being blasted by Republicans as a tax increase and senior Democrats and moderate Republicans have been pouring cold water this week on expectations of anything happening this year.

While Australian Greens senator Christine Milne characterised the Waxman bill this week as a sign the US had seized the leadership role and was surpassing countries such as Australia, the reality is very different in the US capital. The signals publicly - and more emphatically privately - are that the best President Barack Obama can hope for going into Copenhagen is, in the words of one source, "something credible to point to". This means at best legislation that is still likely to be working its way through the Senate. Even Nancy Pelosi, the liberal leader of the House of Representatives in Washington, called the bill introduced by her colleague Mr Waxman this week a "start".

And cap and trade supporter senator Dick Durbin, a key ally of Mr Obama, said there was no chance of passing any climate legislation any time soon, saying the momentum was more geared towards healthcare reform. "We still have a long way to go (on climate legislation), but we hope we can get to it," Senator Durbin told US media.

Lost in the Greens' and the environment lobby's enthusiasm in Australia over the Waxman bill was an indicative vote in the US Senate earlier this week to give Senate committees the flexibility to design a cap and trade carbon system. The vote was made as non-controversial as possible by adding the clause that it would be a system that did not increase "the overall burden on consumers". But not one Republican supported the innocuous amendment that was attached to a budget bill.

At least three Republicans would be needed in any future vote on climate change to get a bill passed in the US Senate. The three who broke ranks to help the Obama administration pass the $US787billion economic stimulus bill were Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter. "It's a complicated issue to tackle at a time when the economy is weak," Senator Collins said this week of climate change, while Senator Snowe was similarly dour. And Senator Specter is facing a likely challenge to his seat from another Republican and is showing signs of moving more to the Right to save his political skin.

While the legislative process is always messy in the US, getting a vote through the US Congress at a time of deep economic distress is doubly difficult - not one Republican in the house even voted for the stimulus package.

And the scare campaign from Republicans on cap and trade is only just starting. "The Democrats' plan to raise energy taxes in the midst of a serious recession is the wrong thing to do and the worst possible time to do it," said Republican leader of the house John Boehner.



A worthy follow-up to the very successful Thune amendment

U.S. Senator Kit Bond today won a critical victory for workers in Missouri, across the Midwest and the nation. Bond succeeded in passing his amendment to the budget resolution to protect workers from losing their jobs as a result of a costly energy tax that would come from climate change legislation.

"As many hard-hit communities across the country know, manufacturing workers are already suffering. It is critical that we protect these workers and families from job-killing proposals," said Bond.

Bond's amendment to protect workers passed with a vote of 54 to 44. The Senator's provision requires that any climate legislation passed by the Senate this year does not cause significant job loss, especially in the Midwest, Great Plains and South. Bond has long-stressed his support for cutting carbon emissions and putting our nation on the road to a clean energy future, but insists that Congress not pass proposals that will cut family budgets and worker payrolls.


Global cooling hits Minnesota

Brutal winter forces massive school cancellations ...'I don't think I have ever closed school quite this many times'‏

Long, harsh winter means fewer days for learning. A high number of school cancellations has forced districts to condense curriculum and put a greater emphasis on study outside the classroom. Makeup days, a thing of the past, might return

Many students across the Northland got an extra week of vacation this school year, thanks to the weather. “I have been doing this a long time, and I don’t think I have ever closed school quite this many times,” Lake Superior Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said. Minkkinen has been a superintendent for about 17 years. “This is definitely not the norm.”

A snowstorm that dumped more than 10 inches on the North Shore closed the Lake Superior school district Wednesday for the fifth time this year. Students also were let out early on Tuesday. Lake Superior is not alone. Students in Duluth, Proctor and Hermantown also have had an above-average number of days canceled because of weather — five in Duluth.

Teachers say the increased disruptions take a toll on learning and some parents say they can create logistical nightmares. Still, Minnesota state law doesn’t require school districts to make up snow days. According to Christine Dufour, deputy communications director for the Minnesota Department of Education, it’s up to local school boards to determine if enough school has been missed to warrant makeup days. So far, area schools aren’t going there.

Duluth plans to tighten curriculum for the rest of the year and possibly eliminate some field trips to keep kids in classes. If the weather wreaks havoc again, though, the plan could change, said Joe Hill, assistant superintendent for the Duluth school district. “Hopefully, we can stick to the calendar we have in place, but it’s hard to predict the weather,” Hill said.


CFL Replacement Available — Only $119.95

By Bob McCarty

During his radio show Monday, Rush Limbaugh mentioned some of the problems faced by people who’ve opted to give compact fluorescent light bulbs a try: They didn’t work, didn’t fit and didn’t last nearly as long as promised. In addition, he noted how CFLs deliver environmental headaches to those who break them.

But fear not! A replacement for the problematic CFL, a “green” product that likely caused at least a few Americans to become unwitting participants in Earth Hour Saturday night, is finally available — and just in time!

It is the GeoBulb™ LED Light Bulb, a product described by its manufacturer, C.Crane, as follows:

The first 60-watt direct replacement, Premium Quality High Brightness (PQ-HB) bulb that uses less than 8 watts. The GeoBulb is the same size as a conventional incandescent bulb suitable for direct replacement in any indoor open fixture. It puts out more light than a standard 60-watt bulb but uses less than 8 watts. LED bulbs last 3 years of continuous use or 10 years at about 8 hours per day. Every part of the GeoBulb™ is built for long lasting durability. The GeoBulb is the first bulb built to withstand 10 years of use.

While almost everything about the GeoBulb — including the fact that it’s available in three versions (”soft white,” “cool white” and “warm white”) — appears favorable, one nagging question remains:

Will people be willing to part with $119.95 per GeoBulb — or $113.95 each when they buy a six-pack — without first having confidence that it will live up to the promises? As for me and my house, call us laggers. Until the GeoBulb proves its worth the money, we will probably revert back to candles.



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