Sunday, April 05, 2009


by Jeffrey A. Glassman, PhD

Some critics of the science of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) urge that its reliance on a consensus of scientists is false, while others simply point out that regardless, science is never decided by consensus. Some critics rely on fresh analyses of radiosonde and satellite data to conclude that water vapor feedback is negative, contrary to its representation in Global Climate Models (GCMs). Some argue that the AGW model must be false because the climate has cooled over the last decade while atmospheric CO2 continued its rise. Researchers discovered an error in the reduction of data, the widely publicized Hockey Stick Effect, that led to a false conclusion that the Little Ice Age was not global. Some argue that polar ice is not disappearing, that polar bears are thriving, and that sea level is not rising any significant amount.

To the public, these arguments cast a pall over AGW claims. But in a last analysis, they merely weigh indirectly against published positions, weigh against the art of data reduction, or rely on short-term data trends in a long-term forecast. Such charges cannot prevail against the weight of the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and its network of associated specialists in the field, principally climatologists, should they ever choose to respond categorically. Moreover, these proponents can support their positions with hundreds running into thousands of published, peer-reviewed papers, plus the official IPCC publications, to weigh against tissue-paper-thin arguments, many published online with at best informal and on-going peer review.

On the other hand, what can carry the day are the errors and omissions included in the AGW model with respect to real and demonstrable processes that affect Earth's climate. Here is a list of eight major modeling faults for which IPCC should be held to account.

1. IPCC errs to add manmade effects to natural effects. In choosing radiative forcing to model climate, IPCC computes a manmade climate change, implicitly adding manmade effects to the natural background. Because IPCC models are admittedly nonlinear (Third Assessment Report, ¶1.3.2), the response of the models to the sum of manmade and background forces is not equal to the sum of the background response and the response to manmade forces.

A computer run, for example, that assumes the natural forces are in equilibrium, and then calculates the effects of a slug of manmade CO2 that dissolves over the years is not valid. The run needs to be made with the natural outgassing process and anthropogenic emissions entering the atmosphere simultaneously to be circulated and absorbed through the process of the solubility of CO2 in water.

2. IPCC errs to discard on-going natural processes at initialization. IPCC initializes its GCMs to year 1750 in an assumed state of equilibrium. At this time, Earth is warming and CO2, while lagging the warming, is increasing, both at near maximum rates. This initialization causes the models to attribute natural increases in temperature and CO2 to man. The error occurs not because the models fail to reproduce the on-going natural effects. It occurs because subsequent measurements of temperature and CO2 concentration, to which IPCC fits its modeled AGW response, necessarily include both natural and manmade effects.

Earth is currently about 2ºC to 4ºC below the historic peak in temperature seen in the Vostok record covering the four previous warm epochs. IPCC models turn off the natural warming, then calculate a rise attributed to man over the next century of 3.5ºC.

3. IPCC errs to model the surface layer of the ocean in equilibrium. IPCC models the surface layer of the ocean in equilibrium. It is not. It is thermally active, absorbing heat from the Sun and exchanging heat as well as water with the atmosphere. It is mixed with vertical and horizontal currents, stirred by winds and waves, roiling with entrained air, active in marine life, and undulating in depth.

This assumption of equilibrium in the surface layer leads IPCC to model CO2 as accumulating in the atmosphere in contradiction to Henry's Law of solubility. This causes its model of ACO2 uptake by the ocean to slow to the rate of sequestration in deep water, with time constants ranging into many millennia. A consequence of Henry's Law instead is that the surface ocean is a reservoir of molecular CO2 for atmospheric and ocean processes, and causes it to be in disequilibrium.

Assuming the surface layer to be in equilibrium leads IPCC to conclude that the measured increase in CO2 is from man's emissions, without increases due to background effects or warming of the ocean. It also supports IPCC's conclusion that atmospheric CO2 is well-mixed, contradicting its own observations of CO2 gradients in latitude and longitude. This false assumption allows IPCC to use the MLO record to represent global CO2, and falsely calibrate CO2 measurements from other sources to make them all agree.

4. IPCC errs to erase the global pattern of atmospheric CO2 concentration from its model. IPCC admits that East-West CO2 gradients are observable, and that North-South gradients are an order of magnitude greater. IPCC ignores that MLO lies in the high concentration plume from massive CO2 outgassing in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific. At the same time, IPCC ignores that ice core data are collected in low CO2 concentrations caused by the polar sinks where the ocean uptakes CO2. These features show that CO2 spirals around the globe, starting at the equator and heading toward the poles, and diminishing in concentration as the surface layer cools. The concentration of CO2 should be maximal at MLO, and minimal at the poles, but IPCC makes them contiguous or overlapping through arbitrary calibrations.

5. IPCC errs to model climate without the full dynamic exchange of OC2 between the atmosphere and the ocean. IPCC ignores the planetary flows of CO2 through the atmosphere and across and through the surface layer of the ocean, and then into and out of the Thermohaline Circulation. CO2 is absorbed near 0ºC at the poles, and returned about one millennium later to the atmosphere at the prevailing tropical temperature. IPCC does not model this temperature-dependent exchange of about 90 gigatons of carbon per year, even though it swamps the anthropogenic emission of about 6 gigatons per year.

The outgassing is a positive feedback that confounds the IPCC model for the carbon cycle.

6. IPCC errs to model different absorption rates for natural and manmade CO2 without justification. IPCC considers the ocean to absorb ACO2 at a few gigatons per year, half its emission rate. It reports natural CO2 outgassed from the ocean as being exchanged with the atmosphere at about 90 gigatons per year, 100% of the emission rate. IPCC offers no explanation for the accumulation of ACO2 but not natural CO2.

Thus IPCC models Earth's carbon cycle differently according to its source, without its dynamic patterns in the atmosphere and the ocean, without its ready dissolution and accumulation in the surface ocean, and without the feedback of its dynamic outgassing from the ocean.

As a result, IPCC's conclusions are wrong that CO2 is long-lived, that it is well-mixed, that it accumulates in the atmosphere, and that it is a forcing, meaning that it is not a feedback.

7. IPCC errs to model climate without its first order behavior. IPCC does not model Earth's climate as it exists, alternating between two stable states, cold as in an ice age and warm much like the present, switched with some regularity by unexplained forces.

In the cold state, the atmosphere is dry, minimizing any greenhouse effect. Extensive ice and snow minimize the absorption of solar radiation, locking the surface at a temperature determined primarily by Earth's internal heat.

In the warm state, the atmosphere is a humid, partially reflective blanket and Earth's surface is on average dark and absorbent due primarily to the ocean. The Sun provides the dominant source of heat, with its insolation regulated by the negative feedback of cloud albedo, which varies with cloud cover and surface temperature.

As Earth's atmosphere is a by-product of the ocean, Earth's climate is regulated by albedo. These are hydrological processes, dynamic feedbacks not modeled by IPCC but producing the first order climate effects and the natural background which mask any effects due to man. IPCC global climate models do not model the hydrological cycle faithfully. They do reproduce neither dynamic specific humidity nor dynamic cloud cover. They are unable to predict climate reliably, nor to separate natural effects meaningfully from any conjectures about at most second order effects attributed to man.

8. IPCC errs to model climate as regulated by greenhouse gases instead of by albedo. IPCC rejects the published cosmic ray model for cloud cover, preferring to model cloud cover as constant. It does so in spite of the strong correlation of cloud cover to cosmic ray intensity, and the correlation of cosmic ray intensity to global surface temperature. Consequently, IPCC does not model the dominant regulator of Earth's climate, the negative feedback of cloud albedo, powerful because it shutters the Sun.

By omitting dynamic cloud albedo, IPCC overestimates the greenhouse effect by about an order of magnitude (computation pending publication), and fails to understand that Earth's climate today is regulated by cloud albedo and not the greenhouse effect, much less by CO2.


Marc Morano and Joe Romm debate the politics of climate change

Marc Morano, former Republican director of communications for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Joe Romm, environmentalist blogger and author, just debated the politics of climate change on Roll Call TV.

"It was funny to hear Romm citing how many governments support the AGW [anthropogenic global warming] claims," Marc wrote to me afterwards. "Romm used that point to 'prove' the 'science' was settled. Very alarming."

I've corresponded with Marc via email on several occasions. Each time, I've been impressed with his grasp of the science surrounding climate change. In this debate, he pretty much nails cap-and-trade, the "wealthy white politics" of the climate lobby and the flaws in the IPCC process.

There's a superb analysis of the debate over at Newsbusters - including a response from Romm. For some reason, I've been unable to embed the videos, so you'll have to watch them there or over at Planet Gore.


Yet more mind-boggling figures on global warming

Are we really to believe that the benefits gained from the Climate Change Act will amount to £1,024 billion, wonders Christopher Booker

Last October the House of Commons passed, by 463 votes to three, the most expensive piece of legislation ever put through Parliament. The only MP to question the cost of the Climate Change Act, requiring Britain to cut its CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years, was Peter Lilley. It was also Mr Lilley who, just before the MPs voted to stop runaway global warming, drew the House’s attention to the fact that, outside, London was experiencing its first October snow for 74 years.

What made the MPs’ lack of interest in the cost of this Act even more curious was that the Government’s own “impact assessment” showed that, whereas its benefits were estimated at £110 billion, its costs were £205 billion. The MPs thus happily voted for something that would be twice as costly as any benefit.

But these figures were based on the Government’s original plan to cut CO2 emissions by only 60 per cent. A last-minute amendment had this to 80 per cent (a target which can only be achieved by closing down most of Britain’s economy), so our “climate change minister”, Ed Miliband, was obliged to produce new figures. These he has now belatedly slipped out via the Department of Energy and Climate Change website – no thought of reporting them to Parliament – and truly mind-boggling they are. The cost of the Act has nearly doubled, to £404 billion, or £18.3 billion for every year between now and 2050. However, the supposed benefits are given, astonishingly, as £1,024 billion, an increase of 1,000 per cent.

How on earth were such unbelievable figures calculated? Peter Lilley has written a trenchant letter to Mr Miliband, asking this and a series of other highly pertinent questions. But pending any reply, last week I posed this question to DECC myself. I was assured that the new figures had been worked out by “a method used by the independent Committee on Climate Change, and peer-reviewed by Simon Deitz, an expert in carbon pricing from the London School of Economics”. Dr Deitz’s website shows that last year he carried out “research for the UK Committee on Climate Change”.

So this independent expert was asked to peer review the method used by an “independent” committee (which he had already been working for) to produce figures that seem rather to have been plucked from the thin air of which only 0.04 per cent – one 2,500th – consists of the self-same carbon dioxide which we are now expected to believe we will benefit by £1 trillion from not emitting. Truly we are governed these days by stark, raving lunacy – and no one is meant to notice.


Cap-And-Trade = Smoke-And-Mirrors

First, the Euphemism of the Day: as quoted in the Washington Post this morning:
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) called cap-and-trade “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time,” and said it would be difficult to pass without reconciliation because Democrats would be forced to accommodate a handful of Republicans as they did in the debate over the president's stimulus package.
Translated into English, “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time” is, of course, the biggest tax increase of our time. And being “forced to accommodate a” at least some of the opposition is not a bad working description of how a democratic legislative process is supposed to work, a process which our hope-and-change Democrats increasingly resent.

But to return to cap-and-trade, as Robert Zubrin explains so chillingly,
cap-and-trade is not just a tax, as its mechanism contains features not included in a conventional taxation system.... It is worse than a tax. It is a modern version of tax farming.
Tax farming? What’s that, you ask? Here’s Zubrin:
Tax farming was a practice followed by the Persian and various other ancient empires. Here’s how it would work. Let’s say the king needed some money to finance a war, a monument to himself, or similar worthy endeavor. Rather than fuss with the administration needed to collect taxes directly, he would sell the right to tax a given province to some wealthy crony. This public-spirited individual would then deploy his gangs of hired thugs to loot the people of the province in question. The king would get ready cash for his project, while through the exercise of unrestrained rapacity, the tax-farmer crony would generally obtain an excellent return on his investment. Thus, everyone who counted would be happy.

In essence, the cap-and-trade system works the same way. Initially carbon emission permits would be bought by utilities and industries, which need them in order to engage in their business. Such fees paid to the government for carbon permits are simply direct taxation. However, the carbon permits would be sold at auction, and many of them would be bought by financiers, not for their own use, but for the purpose of resale at profit. Provided that the government kept its issuance and sale of new carbon permits limited, which it must and therefore would in order for the system to function as desired, the resale mark up on privately held carbon permits could be very steep, allowing those with the ready cash to buy such permits in advance to tax the real economy at will. The utilities hit by these inflated costs would then pass them on to consumers, while those with the lowest incomes would be hit the hardest....

The Obama administration says that it hopes to raise some $650 billion in revenue for Uncle Sam through the sale of cap- and-trade carbon permits, and there is no reason to doubt this figure. However, that is only the government’s piece of the action. Because of the tax farming feature built into the system, the cost to the public is likely to be far greater.
You’ll have to read Zubrin’s entire (but short) article to see why cap-and-trade a) will do nothing to reduce our dependence on foreign oil; b) will do nothing to reduce global warming but c) will actually lead to an increase in global warming by d) increasing the cost of American manufactured goods, making them less competitive, thus leading to d) increased market share for Chinese goods, so that:
Since an even larger fraction of Chinese electricity and industrial process heat comes from coal than does American, the net effect of the cap-and-trade system will therefore be to increase the total carbon emissions released into the Earth’s atmosphere, not decrease it. However not only will Chinese industrialists obtain a larger market share for their products, they will be able to charge more for them, since their competition will be priced even higher. Thus the big losers overall will not only be American manufacturers and workers, but the world’s poor.
This change you can believe in, even if it’s not what you hoped for.


New Study: Black Carbon Responsible for Half of Arctic Warming

An article published this week in Nature Geoscience shows that black carbon is responsible for 50 percent, or almost 1°C of the total 1.9°C increased Arctic warming from 1890 to 2007. The paper by Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space (GISS) and Greg Faluvegi of Columbia University also notes that most of the Arctic warming – 1.48°C of the 1.9°C – occurred from 1976 to 2007. The study is the first to quantify the Arctic’s sensitivity to black carbon emissions from various latitudes, and concludes that the Arctic responds strongly to black carbon emissions from the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, where the emissions and the forcing are greatest.

Black carbon is an aerosol produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass and is estimated to be the second or third largest contributor to climate change. Its emissions cause damage in two ways: while in the atmosphere, the dark particulates absorb sunlight and emit it as heat; when it falls back to earth it can darken snow and ice, reducing their reflectivity and accelerating melting.

Arctic warming is more than twice the observed global average surface warming of 0.78°C above pre-industrial levels. According to another study published by Lenton, et al. in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year, this increased warming may soon lead to the disappearance of the Arctic summer ice, which would in turn accelerate Arctic warming by exposing darker heat-absorbing water now covered by heat reflecting ice. This would also increase the risk of releasing methane and other greenhouse gases from permafrost and from methane hydrates in the ocean, which could lead to a runaway feedback process.

“Climate conditions in the Arctic are rapidly deteriorating,” said Rafe Pomerance, president of Clean Air - Cool Planet. “This study reinforces the opportunity to control short-lived forcers of global warming including black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone in order to slow the rate of warming in the Arctic. We cannot afford to allow the shrinkage of the Greenland ice sheet to accelerate.”

Because black carbon only remains in the atmosphere for several days to weeks, reducing it can bring about almost immediate mitigation of warming, whereas decreases in temperature lag reductions in CO2 by 1,000 years or more.

“We need to broaden climate policy to include reductions in black carbon, given its critical rolein Arctic warming and overall global warming,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Black carbon is part of a package of fast-action strategies that can achieve mitigation in the near term and slow Arctic warming, including targeting short-lived, non-CO2 climate forcers such as HFCs, methane, and tropospheric ozone, as well as increasing carbon sequestration through forest protection and production of biochar.”


US Navy Physicist warns of possibly 'several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine'‏

Changes happening in the sun tell us that there are two paths ahead; each marked with a “Danger” signpost

By James A. Marusek

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. The Ap index for February and for March is "5" a slight uptick from the three consecutive months of "4's" (November 2008 - January 2009). An Ap index of "4" is the lowest recorded number since measurements began in January 1932. This solar minimum has a long ways to go before it can be declared officially over. As of the end of March, the cumulative number of spotless days (days without sunspots) is now at 586 days.

The transitions into Solar Cycles (SC16-23), referred to as recent solar cycles minimums, averaged 362 cumulative spotless days. Those minimums ranged from 227 - 568 spotless days. Since the current transition now exceeds 568 spotless days, it is becoming clear that sun has undergone a state change. It is now evident that the Grand Maxima state that has persisted during most of the 20th century has come to an abrupt end.

The old solar cycles (SC 10-15) averaged 797 spotless days, over twice that of the recent solar cycles. Those solar minimums ranged from 406 - 1028 spotless days. An increase in the number of cumulative spotless days during a solar minimum correlates to a reduction in the number of sunspots over the entire solar cycle. The old solar cycles overall produced 38% fewer sunspots than the recent solar cycles.

We are now at a crossroad. Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads "Danger"! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine. If either of these threats materializes, this nation will be hit blind-sighted. Both are related to the current state of the sun. The sun has been in a "Grand Maxima" for most of the past century. This has accounted for much of the natural warming the earth has experienced.

But as evident in this solar minimum, the sun is changing states. It might (1) revert to the old solar cycles or (2) the sun might go even quieter into a "Dalton Minimum" or a Grand Minima such as the "Maunder Minimum". It is still a little early to predict which way it will swing. Each of these two possibilities holds a great threat to our nation.

(1) Reverting to the "Old" Cycles (Solar Cycles 10-15) Since the old solar cycles produced fewer sunspots, one might draw the conclusion that we will be entering a period of reduced solar storms. But this is not true. It is quite the opposite. The old solar cycles produced very intense solar storms. The greatest solar storm in modern time known as the Carrington flare of 1-2 September 1859 occurred in Solar Cycle 10. In addition to the Carrington flare, several other massive solar storms occurred during the old solar cycles. These massive solar storms occurred on 12 October 1859, 4 February 1872, 17-18 November 1882, 30 March 1894, 31 October 1903, 25 September 1909 and 13-16 May Impact 2009 1921.

How can this be? This is because the old solar cycles produced massive sunspots. It was like the magnetic field energy was still there and had to still be released but during a shorter time interval, so the sunspots exploded in size and power. If a solar storm of the magnitude of the Carrington flare were to occur today, the effect on our modern technologically dependent society would be grave. Of these, the greatest threat would lie in the loss of stable electrical power. A massive solar storm could destroy many of the large custom Extra High Voltage (EHV) power transformer in the United States. These items are unique, costly (around $10 million each) and have manufacture lead time of a year or more for replacement.

In 2007, I described the effects from a massive solar storm in Solar Storm Threat Analysis. I also laid out a civil defense plan for major solar storms called The Solar Storm Disaster Preparedness Plan. In 2008, the National Research Council took up the subject holding a public workshop to define the solar storm threat. Their findings (which mirrored mine) were published in a report titled Severe Space Weather Events - Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts.

In their findings, their bottom line was if a massive solar storm struck the United States today "it would result in large-scale blackouts affecting more than 130 million people and would expose more than 350 major transformers to the risk of permanent damage". Imagine the effect of a total power blackout for months/years on 100 million people in the U.S. along with many millions across the globe. The report then goes on to say "Historically large storms have a potential to cause power grid blackouts and transformer damage of unprecedented proportions, long-term blackouts, and lengthy restoration times, and chronic shortages for multiple years are possible."

(2) The Sun slipping quietly towards a Dalton Minimum or even a Grand Minima such as a Maunder Minimum. Climate change is primarily driven by nature. It has been true in the days of my father and his father and all those that came before us. Because of science, not junk science, we have slowly uncovered some of the fundamental mysteries of nature. Our Milky Way galaxy is awash with cosmic rays. These are high speed charged particles that originate from exploding stars. Because they are charged, their travel is strongly influenced by magnetic fields. Our sun produces a magnetic field wrapped in the solar winds that extends to the edges of our solar system. This field deflects many of the cosmic rays away from Earth. But when the sun goes quiet (minimal sunspots), this field collapses inward allowing high energy cosmic rays to penetrate deeper into our solar system.

As a result, far greater numbers collide with Earth and penetrate down into the lower atmosphere where they ionize small particles of moisture (humidity) forming them into water droplets that become clouds. Low level clouds reflect sunlight back into space. An increase in Earth's cloud cover produce a global drop in temperature. If the sun becomes quieter than the old solar cycles, producing more than 1028 spotless days, then we might slip into a Dalton Minimum or maybe even a Grand Minima such as the Maunder Minimum. This solar state will last for decades.

Several solar scientists have predicted this will begin in Solar Cycle 25, about a decade from now. But a few have predicted this will occur now in Solar Cycle 24. A quiet sun will cause temperatures globally to take a nose-dive. We will experience temperatures that we have not seen in over 200 years, during the time of the early pioneers. Temperatures are already falling. Satellites provide generally the most accurate atmospheric temperature measurements covering the entire globe. From the peak year 1998, the lower Troposphere temperatures globally have fallen around 1/2 degree Celsius due to the quiet sun.

This is despite the fact that during that same time period, atmospheric carbon dioxide (at Mauna Loa) has risen 5% from 367 ppm to 386 ppm. The main threat from a "Dalton Minimum" or "Maunder Minimum" event is famine and starvation (affecting millions or hundreds of millions worldwide) due to shortened growing seasons and harsher weather. In the past, in addition to great famines, this cold harsh weather has also lead to major epidemics....

During the Maunder Minimum

During the Great Frost of (1683-1684) in England, the River Thames was completely frozen for two months, the ice was 11 inches thick at London. Sea ice was reported along the coasts of southeast England, and ice prevented the use of many harbors. The sea froze, so that ice formed for a time between Dover and Calais, joining England and France. The Thames was recorded to have frozen over at London during the years: 1649, 1655, 1663, 1666, 1667, 1684, 1695, 1709, and 1716. During the Little Ice Age, growing seasons in England and Continental Europe generally became short and unreliable, which led to shortages and famine.

These hardships were nothing compared to the more northerly countries: Glaciers advanced rapidly in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and North America, making vast tracts of land uninhabitable. The Arctic pack ice extended so far south that several reports describe Eskimos landing their kayaks in Scotland.

Finland's population fell by one-third, Iceland's by half, the Viking colonies in Greenland were abandoned altogether, as were many Inuit communities.


Harsh winter leads to fish kills in Minneapolis

Spring walks around some Minneapolis lakes might come with a whiff of fish because those lakes are experiencing a fish kill after a harsh winter. The Minneapolis parks department is warning on Friday of fish kills on Diamond Lake, Grass Lake, Loring Pond, Powderhorn Lake and Lake Hiawatha.

A department manager says occasional winter kills are a natural part of life in shallow Minnesota lakes and are more likely after winters with deep ice and snow cover. The winter kills rarely result in the loss of the all the fish, and fish populations rebound on their own.

On the up side, the winter kills tend to thin out the population of carp in the lakes. With fewer of the bottom feeders, the water clarity in the lake tends to improve.



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