Saturday, August 22, 2009

Record July 2009 Sea Surface Temperatures? The View from Space

Warmists have been having orgasms over a recent report that the world average sea surface temperature reached a record high in July. A bit more data, however reveals it as just a normal oscillation -- as Roy Spencer shows below (Excerpt). Does the big low at the end of 2007 also mean global cooling or do both figures tell us nothing about permanent trends? You figure

Since NOAA has announced that their data show July 2009 global-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) reaching a record high for the month of July, I thought I would take a look at what the combined AMSR-E & TMI instruments on NASA’s Aqua and TRMM satellites (respectively) had to say. I thought it might at least provide an independent sanity check since NOAA does not include these satellite data in their operational product.

The SSTs from AMSR-E are geographically the most complete record of global SSTs available since the instrument is a microwave radiometer and can measure the surface through most cloud conditions. AMSR-E (launched on Aqua in May 2002) provides truly global coverage, while the TMI (which was launched on TRMM in late 1997) does not, so the combined SST product produced by Frank Wentz’s Remote Sensing Systems provides complete global coverage only since the launch of Aqua (mid-2002). Through a cooperative project between RSS, NASA, and UAH, The digital data are available from the same (NASA Discover) website that our daily tropospheric temperatures are displayed, but for the SSTs you have to read the daily binary files and compute the anomalies yourself. I use FORTRAN for this, since it’s the only programming language I know.

As can be seen in the following plot of running 11 day average anomalies, July 2009 was indeed the warmest month during the relatively short Aqua satellite period of record, with the peak anomaly occurring about July 18.

The large and frequent swings in global average temperature are real, and result from changes in the rate at which water evaporates from the ocean surface. These variations are primarily driven by tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations, which change tropical-average surface winds by about 2 knots from lowest wind conditions to highest wind conditions.

As can be seen, the SSTs started to fall fast during the last week of July. If you are wondering what I think they will do in the coming months, well, that’s easy…I have no clue.

(Bigger image of the above here)

More HERE (See the original for links)

‘Save the planet’ sounds a lovely idea but . . .

. . . if we try to deal with climate change by turning our backs on economic growth, the poor will pay the heaviest price

By Oliver Kamm, writing from Britain

I took part in a Radio 3 discussion recently about the new age of austerity. A poet on the programme argued for the simple virtues. The recession, he said, would give consumers in rich societies an opportunity to rediscover thrift and conservation. The future of the planet depended on a curb to materialism and acquisitiveness.

That message is today’s green orthodoxy, and its advocates have a reassuring air of humanitarian concern. But it is a reactionary notion. To the student of economic history, it recalls nothing so much as the pocket sermons of the original do-nothing Republican, President Herbert Hoover. As the global economy succumbed to the Great Depression, Hoover looked on the bright side of financial panic. “It will purge the rottenness out of the system,” he declared. “High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life.”

Anti-materialism has perennial appeal, and there is a fringe of the modern green movement that specialises in smug jeremiad. “This time around,” writes a founder of Greenpeace International, “we’re not going to recover from global recession by consuming more resources and energy. Growth cannot solve the problems created by growth.”

Shome mishtake, shurely? A recession is, by definition, consecutive quarters of negative growth. Personal consumption is the biggest component of national income. If we consume more, then recovery will come. The question that less strident environmentalists raise is whether the use of resources can be made sustainable, so that present and future human needs are met while the environment is preserved. That sounds a moderate aim but it’s full of problems.

Green campaigners are rightly concerned with environmental degradation. There is copious evidence of global warming due to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat. The pace of glacial retreat and a rise in sea levels confirm it. The journalists and politicians who take issue with the science are no more credible than the ones (sometimes the same people) who dispute Darwin. Climate change poses not only environmental hazards. The desperately poor state of Bangladesh faces twin threats of catastrophic flooding and Islamist militancy. Amid the devastation of low-lying areas and a mass flight to higher ground, malevolent extremism might thrive.

For all that, environmentalism is a flawed idea. Its weakness is not that it lacks justice, but that it lacks a sense of priorities. How do you rank global warming relative to women’s rights in Afghanistan or the prevention of genocide in Darfur? “Save the planet” is an exhortation, not a policy, and it doesn’t get you far. In particular, it gives no guidance on how to weigh present needs, such as eradicating poverty in the developing world, against future constraints on natural resources. In short, it does not deal with trade-offs. That is a big omission.

If the planet faced catastrophe on the scale envisaged by the theorists of the “limits to growth”, then all public policy ought indeed to be subordinated to preventing it. But not even greens, beyond a few dystopian survivalists, argue that case. They instead invoke the Precautionary Principle (the capital letters are important, apparently).

Oddly, this has no fixed definition but is cited widely and vaguely by organisations such as Unesco as a strategy for guarding against serious, and especially irreversible, damage to natural resources. The problem, as Dick Taverne, the Liberal Democrat peer, has pointed out, is that because the Precautionary Principle “operates asymmetrically and emphasises possible harm, not benefit, it is bound to tilt the balance against innovation”. And if there is one resource that is almost infinitely renewable, it is human inventiveness.

It is not fanciful to expect substitutes for fossil fuels to be developed, to the benefit of the environment. It has happened continually. The alternative to environmentalist prescriptions is not the Pollyanna Principle. It is a recognition that our knowledge of the effects of climate change is limited, and that solutions do occur as innovation substitutes new products for old. If we elevate environmental concerns above all other goals, as a matter of policy, then there will be costs. Greens should be open that the biggest costs will almost inevitably be borne by the poorest people.

As the international economy recovers, policymakers will seek to stimulate domestic demand in the rapidly industrialising nations of China and India. Making people richer in previously poor nations is a good thing. But it will increase pollution and carbon emissions.

The relationship between living standards and pollution is complex. Some economists believe the relationship is like an inverted U-curve, in which pollution increases as per capita incomes in a developing country increase, but then declines once a certain standard of living is reached. It makes intuitive sense that people value the environment more when they have enough to eat and various material wants are satisfied.

If this is right, then the most effective long-term route to preserving the environment will be to encourage growth in the developing world. Insisting on unrealistic pollution targets now will work against that goal. But in any event, there is a short-run trade-off between environmental standards and an increase in economic welfare in the developing world.

It is far from obvious that the environment takes precedence. And there are ominous protectionist currents in green campaigns. The former Vice-President Al Gore has argued that “weak and ineffectual enforcement of pollution control measures should also be included in the definition of unfair trading practices”.

No, it shouldn’t. Integration into the global trading system benefits poor countries. They can specialise in what they produce, become more productive and thereby get richer.

That is also the long-term route to a cleaner environment. Closed economies in the developing world do not benefit from the advanced clean technologies used by multinational companies. China under Mao was an extreme case of a self-sufficient economy that emphasised local production and it was an environmental disaster. A blast furnace in every village produced unusable steel and toxic fumes. Growth and open trade are the route to a better quality of life. It is a surpassing irony that today’s green evangelists won’t recognise it.


The Real Climate Agenda

So, if the orthodox climate science is wrong, what's the real motivation for action - the real agenda? First, allow me to present a brief metaphorical context for framing the answer.

On a dark December night 36 years ago, a Lockheed 1011 jumbo jet crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing over 100 people. During the final approach to Miami, the crew noticed that one green light had failed to illuminate -- a light that indicates whether or not the nose landing gear has extended successfully. The pilots discontinued the approach, set the aircraft into a circling holding pattern over the pitch-black Everglades, and turned their attention toward investigating the problem. They became so preoccupied with their search that they failed to realize the plane was gradually descending closer and closer toward the dark swamp below. By the time someone noticed what was happening, it was too late to avoid the disaster.

Put in our current context, the unlit bulb created a diversionary scare, a false warning of certain disaster and death, while the real threat was the plane's downward spiral into a dark swamp of no return. Environmentalism generally and catastrophic man-made global warming specifically is a falsified diversionary scare distracting us from the fall of our Republic into the dark, stinking swamp of statism.

The Earth's climate system, like the Lockheed 1011's landing system, is functioning normally -- as it has always functioned. But our deadly green deception is no accident. It is here by design, with purpose: it is here to cause us to discontinue America's approach -- our children and generations of children's approach -- to the destination of American exceptionalism and the liberty purchased with the blood of patriots.

Americanism, our birthright, the only true hope of this planet's peoples, is being deliberately attacked from without and from within by determined, often wealthy, statists. We no longer have representative government, but are ruled by an alien ideology. Understand that the federal government is not us, it is them. And we can count on them always being them. That is, to be the embodiment of Lord Acton's axiom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

And where will this corruption of power lead if unchecked? More and more today, under the guise of fabricated "planetary population and environmental crises," men give sanction to the state's bursting the limits of its proper function -- with the clear and present danger of its becoming a planet-embracing Leviathan, driven by a malevolent culture of Malthusian-based eugenics. This mind-set propounds at every point of policy wealth destruction and redistribution for "social justice," and population control and reduction for "environmental sustainability."

Too dark to be believable?

Consider that President Obama's top science adviser, climate Czar, John Holdren, is a long-time globalist who has endorsed and advocated for "surrender of sovereignty" to "a comprehensive Planetary Regime" that would control the entire world's resources, direct global redistribution of wealth, oversee the "de-development" of the West, control a World Army and taxation regime, and enforce world population limits. He has castigated the United States as "the meanest of wealthy countries," written a justification for compulsory abortion and sterilization of American women, advocated drastically lowering the U.S. standard of living, and left the door open to trying global warming "deniers" for crimes against humanity.

This is the business the UN's IPCC is about. This is the eventual end-game of cap-and-trade policy. If it passes the Senate this coming September, and is signed into law, we will have passed the event horizon: the America we inherited will implode.

For the first time since America's incarnation, it will then be the official, codified policy of the federal government that the present generation must have its liberty and prosperity diminished without limits; and for the next generation, the American Dream will become criminalized. All in the name of a non-existent climate crisis.

War is upon us whether we will it or not. It is time to become angry. It is time to engage. As President Reagan said of winning the Cold War: "If not now, when? If not us, who?"


Privatize ANWR

Last year at this time, as gas prices rose and the economy tanked, the hot button issue was energy. The Left believed that humans were overindulging and the only action to take was to reduce the nation’s “carbon footprint.” While the Right believed that America should only increase production of domestic oil.

For the average American, recycling and drilling a little more probably seems like a good idea. Those ideas are very different than allowing the government to mandate recycling and subsidize drilling. This, of course, causes two major problems. The first solution restricts American’s freedoms while the second continues the spending of an already fiscally troubled nation.

But, what if there was a third option that could simultaneously get the efficient amount of energy out of America while preserving the environment? Well, there is. It is called: implementing private property rights. Private property rights allow individuals to decide what type of grass to grow after they purchase a home. And it can be applied to many of the energy problems the world faces today.

Take the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) owned by the government and the source of constant debate for drilling versus conservation. If private individuals were allowed to own the land, instead of the government, then society would get the most efficient balance of energy production versus conservation.

This is because private ownership of property allocates resources more efficiently due to people’s willingness to pay through a market price system. For example, when Adam goes to the bar he sees a beer for five dollars. The bar is expressing that at any value below five dollars they would rather keep the beer. When Adam exchanges his money for this beer, he is expressing that he values the beer at five dollars (if not more).

If this simple economic exchange were put to work in ANWR, the environmentalists and the corporations would bid for the ownership of the land. If the environmentalists value the land as a place of sanctuary more than new entrepreneurs value the oil, then environmentalists would get the property.

The environmentalists may say that they cannot possibly compete with corporations that earn profits. But the alternative is to allow greedy politicians to decide what group they can get the most votes and campaign money from, using the force of law to impose their will.

The truth is that environmentalists can compete, though they may not be able to prevent all possible efficient economic activity on the land. They would, however, be able to monitor every activity on their land while funding their causes.

Economists Emily Schaeffer and Walter Block find the example of the Audubon Society, which owns and operates the Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary. This 26,000-acre sanctuary located in Louisiana has been pumping millions of dollars worth of natural gas, while keeping the land beautiful.

The reason that the land remains beautiful is due to private ownership. The society monitors the practices of the extraction of natural gas and benefits from the profits. Implementing this solution would bring Americans the most efficient balance between energy and conservation, since those who own the property will take the most care of it and find the best uses for it.


WA: Seattle voters reject bag tax

Seattle voters firmly rejected Referendum 1, which would have made Seattle the first city in the nation to go after both plastic and paper shopping bags. The defeat — 58 percent to 42 percent, with more than half of the expected votes counted — means an ordinance passed by the Seattle City Council last year will not take effect. Had Referendum 1 passed, grocers, convenience marts and drugstores would have charged shoppers 20 cents for each bag they were provided at checkout counters.

Supporters of the charge pinned the loss on a heavily funded opponent that outspent them 15-to-1, but they said the campaign had laid the grass-roots foundation for future efforts. "Big money can come in and run deceptive scare campaigns, but in the end, people who care will defeat the people who scare," said Green Bag Campaign spokesman Brady Montz.

Most of the anti-fee campaign's $1.4 million came from the Virginia-based American Chemistry Council. Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission staff said that group's $500,000 contribution in mid-July was the largest for a local ballot measure in recent history. "I think the results confirm what the coalition has said from the beginning, that it was a costly and unnecessary tax," said Adam Parmer, spokesman for the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax. "I think you saw Seattle voters saying that this was not the right approach to protecting our environment."

The city hoped the 20-cent charge would encourage Seattle consumers to stop using throwaway shopping bags and instead take their purchases home in recycled bags or reusable totes, reducing waste. Stores with annual revenues of less than $1 million would have kept the 20 cents to cover their costs, while those grossing more would have kept 25 percent and passed the rest on to the city for recycling, environmental education and reusable bags for low-income consumers. The City Council ordinance was to take effect this year, but opposition forces quickly collected enough signatures to put the issue before voters.

Opponents regularly labeled the charge a tax rather than a fee and called it unnecessary and misguided. They said it would backfire — that as throwaway bags were phased out, people who now reuse them at home in various ways would start buying sturdier plastic bags that are even worse for the environment.


Australia: Another Greenie scare evaporates

Would you believe the evils of dredging a deeper shipping channel into Melbourne?

THEY just won't give up. "Time will tell," moaned a Blue Wedges Coalition spokesman this week. Sure, Port Phillip Bay isn't rotten with the mutant fish the eco-alarmists predicted. Sure, swimmers don't emerge from the waters glowing fiendishly from the "radioactive" waste that Green Wedges was sure would come, making "a trip to the beach a risky outing". Eels aren't flopping weakly on the beaches, poisoned to their gasping gills by "high levels of toxins" or "toxic algae blooms". Nor do the seas roaring through the unplugged Heads now cause "flooding in low-lying areas" or lap the steps of Parliament House.

But think Blue Wedges activists, who cost us millions through their scares, could finally admit they were wrong? Could they admit that the dredging of the bay's shipping lanes, now finished at last, has not caused the devastation they so wildly predicted, with the uncritical support of The Age? Not a bit of it. Being green means never having to say you're sorry -- sorry for being a reckless scaremonger whose two court actions and endless claims of doom helped cost taxpayers another $120 million in legal costs and extra green-proofing of a project that's so vital for the state's trade, now that container ships are much bigger.

Instead, as the giant Queen of the Netherlands dredger departs this week, a good job finished, there was Blue Wedges yet again, warning of monsters. "Time will tell," its spokesman said. Already, he claimed, we'd "lost a generation of anchovies". Indeed, on the Blue Wedges website remains its warning from April: that with these anchovies gone, the penguin colony at Phillip Island could "crash" in autumn.

Well, autumn has gone, but the penguins haven't, which suggests the fishiest thing about Blue Wedges' latest scare isn't the anchovies. Sure enough, the Office of the Environmental Monitor says this claim of "missing" anchovies seems based on no more than a sampling error. Ho hum.

You may say, let it go. Blue Wedges has lost, the rest of the state has won. We have our deeper shipping lanes, and leave the activists to think they at least ensured no fish need fear for it's future. But no. How many scares have we now seen not come to pass? Count 'em -- the scares about nuclear winter, acid rain, giant famines, DDT, the Y2K bug, SARS, avian flu and this swine flu that Australia's chief medical officer warned could kill 20,000 of us this season alone. Now we're told that if we don't turn off the lights we face a warming hell few humans can hope to survive. Seriously.

Enough with the panic merchants. Hold them to account before they slip free to fight another alarmist cause. Blue Wedges was wrong, and was always going to be wrong. The Age was wrong, and was always going to be wrong. Scraping a deeper trench in a giant bay was never going to end all marine life as we know it.

Not that The Age will admit it. For instance, it still hasn't informed readers that its claim that the dredging had caused dead fish to wash up at Newport was false. Just as it won't admit the planet it keeps claiming is warming has spent the past eight years cooling. "Time will tell," comes that moan again. Actually, buster, time has told. And it's told against you.



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.


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