Wednesday, October 07, 2009

More on the ocean acidity scare

There is quite a debate over ocean acidity going on among the skeptical community and I seem to get most of the emails copied to me. The debate is over just how ocean acidity works. The Warmists just assume they know but the facts contradict their ideas. I have no claims to being a chemist, however, so I am not going to post any more of the debate. I put up two excerpts yesterday so from now on I will wait until someone else who really knows the science puts it all together. Meanwhile, however, a reader has sent me some links that look very interesting:

See this PDF of pH measurements of "Monterey Bay Aquarium Incoming Seawater". Note that from when measurements started until the present, there is no trend. The range is from about 7.7 to 8.1, with the first and last being about 7.9, which is consistent with this PDF -- which makes clear that ocean pH is highly variable, with an "average" of around 7.6 (a skewed distribution?), meaning that the bay is more alkaline than average ocean water.

So any claim that there is a "given", global or proper level of ocean acidity is as absurd as the claim that there is a "given", global or proper level of temperature. Acidity is highly variable, follows no simple rule and we have much to learn about it. Warmist certainty in the matter is just the work of con-men with no respect for the facts.

Antarctic Ice Melt at Lowest Levels in Satellite Era

Where are the headlines? Where are the press releases? Where is all the attention? The ice melt across during the Antarctic summer (October-January) of 2008-2009 was the lowest ever recorded in the satellite history. Such was the finding reported last week by Marco Tedesco and Andrew Monaghan in the journal Geophysical Research Letters: "A 30-year minimum Antarctic snowmelt record occurred during austral summer 2008–2009 according to spaceborne microwave observations for 1980–2009. Strong positive phases of both the El-NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) were recorded during the months leading up to and including the 2008–2009 melt season."

Figure 1. Standardized values of the Antarctic snow melt index (October-January) from 1980-2009 (adapted from Tedesco and Monaghan, 2009).

The silence surrounding this publication was deafening. It would seem that with oft-stoked fears of a disastrous sea level rise coming this century any news that perhaps some signs may not be pointing to its imminent arrival would be greeted by a huge sigh of relief from all inhabitants of earth (not only the low-lying ones, but also the high-living ones, respectively under threat from rising seas or rising energy costs). But not a peep.

But such is not always the case—or rather, such is not ever the case when ice melt is pushing the other end of the record scale. For instance, below is a collection of NASA stories highlighting record high amounts of melting (or in most cases, simply higher than normal amounts in some regions) across Greenland in each of the past 3 years, as ascertained by Marco Tedesco (the lead author of the latest report on Antarctica):

NASA Researcher Finds Days of Snow Melting on the Rise in Greenland: “In 2006, Greenland experienced more days of melting snow and at higher altitudes than average over the past 18 years, according to a new NASA-funded project using satellite observations….”

NASA Finds Greenland Snow Melting Hit Record High in High Places: “A new NASA-supported study reports that 2007 marked an overall rise in the melting trend over the entire Greenland ice sheet and, remarkably, melting in high-altitude areas was greater than ever at 150 percent more than average. In fact, the amount of snow that has melted this year over Greenland is the equivalent of more than twice the surface size of the U.S…”

Melting on the Greenland Ice Cap, 2008: “The northern fringes of Greenland’s ice sheet experienced extreme melting in 2008, according to NASA scientist Marco Tedesco and his colleagues.”

And lest you think that perhaps NASA hasn’t had any data on ice melt across Antarctica in past years, we give you this one:

NASA Researchers Find Snowmelt in Antarctica Creeping Inland: “On the world’s coldest continent of Antarctica, the landscape is so vast and varied that only satellites can fully capture the extent of changes in the snow melting across its valleys, mountains, glaciers and ice shelves. In a new NASA study, researchers [including Marco Tedesco] using 20 years of data from space-based sensors have confirmed that Antarctic snow is melting farther inland from the coast over time, melting at higher altitudes than ever and increasingly melting on Antarctica’s largest ice shelf.”

But this time around, nothing, nada, zippo from NASA when their ice melt go-to guy Marco Tedesco reports that Antarctica has set a record for the lack of surface ice melt (even more interestingly coming on the heels of a near-record low ice-melt year last summer).

So, seriously, NASA, what gives? If ice melt is an important enough topic to warrant annual updates of the goings-on across Greenland, it is not important enough to elucidate the history and recent behavior across Antarctica? (These are not meant as rhetorical questions)

SOURCE (See the original for links)

But Revkin of the NYT makes some grudging admissions

Accompanied by speculation, as usual

The National Snow and Ice Data Center released its summary of summer sea-ice conditions in the Arctic on Tuesday, noting a substantial expansion of the extent of “second-year ice” — floes thick enough to have persisted through two summers of melting. The result could be a reprieve, at least for a while, from the recent stretch of remarkable summer meltdowns.

According to the center, second-year ice this summer made up 32 percent of the total ice cover on the Arctic Ocean, compared with 21 percent in 2007 and 9 percent in 2008. The percentage of ice that was many years old, forming thick pancaked expanses, was at its lowest since satellite observations began 30 years ago. But that could change next year as the second-year ice adds mass through the long winter freeze.

Walt Meier, an ice center scientist, described the situation this way in a statement:
We’ve preserved a fair amount of first-year ice and second-year ice after this summer compared to the past couple of years. If this ice remains in the Arctic through the winter, it will thicken, which gives some hope of stabilizing the ice cover over the next few years. However, the ice is still much younger and thinner than it was in the 1980s, leaving it vulnerable to melt during the summer.

The shifting conditions raise a question. None of the sea-ice specialists I’ve interviewed since 2000 on Arctic trends ever predicted a straight-line path to an open-water Arctic, but quite a few have stressed the longstanding idea that as white ice retreats, solar energy that would have been reflected back into space is absorbed by the dark sea, with that heat then melting existing ice and shortening the winter frozen season. I’ve just sent out a query to a batch of experts, asking if the potential ice recovery now raises questions about the importance of that light-dark shift in albedo compared to other dynamics in the Arctic Ocean. I’ll update this post as responses come in.

The conditions also bolster the views of ice and climate specialists who have stressed that the many factors shaping Arctic conditions year by year, from winds and atmospheric pressure to highly variable ocean currents and soot, still dominate the influence of heat trapped by building greenhouse gases. So the “ death spiral of the Arctic ice system” could well be more like a series of descending loop the loops. Whether the Arctic’s 21st-century journey ends with a tipping-point style crash or a whimper remains uncertain, but — even with the current recovery — it’s hard to find a researcher probing Arctic ice trends who does not foresee open-water summers, and all that comes with them, in coming decades, as long as greenhouse gases keep accumulating in the atmosphere.


Stanford U. Censorship of Skeptical Climate Film

They are trying to protect a climate crook

Stanford University has banned a skeptical documentary film from airing a climate change interview with one of its prominent warming activist professors, Stephen Schneider. After legal threats from Stanford University -- apparently on behalf of Prof. Schneider -- the documentary filmmakers were forced to use a blank screen and an actor had to read the transcript of Schneider's already taped but legally banned climate interview. The skeptical global warming documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong”, set for its international premier on October 18, 2009, interviewed Schneider about his flip-flop from a coming ice age proponent in the 1970s to his current advocacy of man-made global warming fears. Schneider is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University.

Irish filmmaker Phelim McAleer told Climate Depot: “Lawyers for Stanford University have tried to ban our documentary from reporting on how one of their professors previously predicted an imminent ice-age, but is now a leading global warming advocate.” (Schneider joins others like Obama Science Czar John Holdren. See: Climate Depot's Factsheet on 1970s Coming 'Ice Age' Claims -- 'Fears of a coming ice age, showed up in peer-reviewed literature, at scientific conferences, by prominent scientists and throughout the media')

To watch the “banned” video excerpt from “Not Evil Just Wrong” of an actor portraying Schneider's interview click here.

Climate Depot has obtained a copy of Stanford University's legal letter prohibiting the Irish filmmakers from airing Schneider's already taped interview in which he was questioned about his inconvenient conversion from a global cooling advocate in the 1970s to a present day global warming activist.

Stanford University sent a scathing letter to the documentary makers declaring: “You are prohibited from using any of the Stanford footage you shot, including your interview of Professor Stephen Schneider. Professor Schneider likewise has requested that I inform you that he has withdrawn any permission for you to use his name, likeness or interview in connection with any film project you may undertake.”

The Stanford letter concluded: “Please confirm to me in writing that you have received and will comply with Stanford's directive that all shots of Stanford University (both indoors and outdoors) and all parts of Professor Schneider's interview will be removed from your footage. We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter."

Climate Depot has also obtained the exclusive pre-release video and the transcript of Schneider's interview which Stanford University lawyers deemed too hot for broadcast. McAleer called on Stanford to withdraw the legal threat which has forced the filmmakers to use a blank screen and an actor's voice to read the text of Professor Schneider's interview about his changing climate positions. “The lawyers at Stanford sent the unprecedented letter after we asked Schneider about his flip-flopping on climate alarmism,” the film's director McAleer explained. McAleer said he is shocked at the legal maneuvering by Stanford to censor an interview with one of their most prominent professors. "This will have a chilling effect on academic freedom and students. It sends out the message - don't ask your professors embarrassing questions because they will not be tolerated,” McAleer said.

McAleer's documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong” takes a skeptical look at man-made global warming claims. “Not Evil Just Wrong” attempts to "show the human cost of extreme environmentalism." "It reveals how global warming legislation such as cap-and-trade will chase jobs out of America during one of the biggest recessions in living memory," McAleer said.

In the 1970s Professor Schneider was one of the leading voices warning the Earth was going to experience a catastrophic man-made ice-age. However he is now a member of the UN IPCC and is a leading advocate warning that the Earth is facing catastrophic global warming. In 1971, Schneider co-authored a paper warning of the possibility of a man-made “ice age.” See: Rasool S., & Schneider S."Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols - Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate", Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141 – Excerpt: 'The rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg. K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

Schneider was still promoting the coming “ice age” in 1978. (See: Unearthed 1970's video: Global warming activist Stephen Schneider caught on 1978 TV show 'In Search Of...The Coming Ice Age' – September 20, 2009) By the 1980's, Schneider reversed himself and began touting man-made global warming. See: "The rate of [global warming] change is so fast that I don't hesitate to call it potentially catastrophic for ecosystems,” Schneider said on UK TV in 1990.

Schneider also has made controversial remarks advocating “scary scenarios” to convince the public of climate threat. “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have." (For full context of Schneider's quote see here.)

Schneider also reversed himself after issuing a public debate challenge to skeptical scientists in 2009. Schneider originally boasted that skeptics would be "slaughtered" in a debate, but after numerous challengers stepped forward, he quickly backed off and declared he would not "schedule some political show debate."

Despite many claims to the contrary, the 1970's global cooling fears appeared in peer-reviewed literature, scientific conferences and were widespread among many scientists and in the media. Newsweek Magazine even used the climate “tipping point” argument in 1975 to hype global cooling. Newsweek wrote April 28, 1975 article: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."

More HERE (See the original for links etc.)

UN Quietly Scrubs Embattled Graph from Climate Report

In yesterday’s article, UN Climate Reports: They Lie, we discussed the problems associated with a chart that appeared in the UN’s most recent climate report. One such issue was that the graphic, which claimed to establish a “correlation between temperature and CO2,” used a temperature plot immediately recognizable as the infamously debunked “Hockey Stick Graph.”

And the agency’s timing couldn’t have been worse. For starters, the immediate recognition of MBH98 on page 5 of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 sparked email exchanges which lead to this piece at Climate Audit, which, in turn, lead to immediate on-line outrage among many who write on the subject. Then, only days later, CA’s Steve Mcintyre received and analyzed data he had been denied for years, which allowed him to debunk the data alarmists had been using to defend the notion that 20th century warming was unprecedented for the millennium.

But as now reported by Anthony Watts at Watt’s Up With That, UNEP has replaced the embattled graphic, which was taken not from peer-reviewed journals but rather a 2005 Wikimedia posting by an unknown Norwegian research biologist, with a more traditional (and carbon free) chart from GISS.

Here’s the original page 5, as I first saw it on September 24th: And here’s what you’ll find if you pull the PDF today. Notice the new graph in the upper right hand corner.

Not surprisingly, as Anthony correctly points out, even in choosing the replacement graph -- the UN was less than honest. The reconstruction of Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature Change used was Hansen et al. (2006). But that chart has been replaced on the GISS data site by the one below, dated January 2009.

It appears the latest downtrend was just too much truth for these UN “scientists” to handle. Unbelievable. Still -- Any idea what may have prompted UNEP’s sudden chart switch decision?

SOURCE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

More evidence that 20th century climate was similar to 18th century climate

Captain James Cook’s weather reports, which he logged meticulously at noon each day on his voyages to unknown lands, are helping scientists to predict changes in the climate. Ships’ logs from Cook’s Discovery and Resolution, William Bligh’s Bounty and 300 other 18th and 19th-century explorers’ vessels are being transcribed and digitised in a project that will allow climatologists to trace changing weather patterns.

The records, stored in the National Archives at Kew, contain a unique and highly accurate account of temperature, ice formation, air pressure and wind speed and direction in remote locations all over the world. There are plenty of land-based weather reports from this period, but very little is known about the climate history of the three quarters of the world’s surface covered by sea.

The UK Colonial Registers and Royal Navy Logbooks project, a partnership that includes the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of Sunderland, aims to make all the logs available online. The weather reports are being charted to allow instant comparisons between past observations and current conditions.

The log from HMS Isabella, which set out in 1818 to seek the fabled Northwest Passage, reveals that there was a small but significant decline in the sea ice in Baffin Bay over the past 190 years. Until now, scientists tracking sea ice formation have largely relied upon observations from satellites. However, some of the logs suggest that there has been little or no change in sea temperatures elsewhere in the Arctic. Climate change sceptics are likely to seize on these records as evidence that man-made greenhouse gases are having less impact than many scientists have claimed.

HMS Dorothea formed part of an 1818 Royal Navy expedition to the North Pole, commanded by David Buchan. He turned back after failing to penetrate the pack ice north of Svalbard. The ship’s log gives the earliest account of weather in the Norwegian Arctic and shows the summer of 1818 was not markedly colder than was typical in the late 20th century.

Most of the meteorological information in the logs was taken from each ship’s barometer and thermometer, which were extremely expensive instruments at the time and were usually kept in the captain’s cabin.

Dennis Wheeler, the project leader and a climatologist at the university, said that the thermometer readings were almost always taken in the shade of the unheated cabin and were therefore directly comparable with modern readings.

The absence of marine chronometers, which were invented by John Harrison in the mid-18th century but not widely used until the 19th century, has proved fortuitous for climate scientists. Without knowing the precise time, the captains needed to log very accurate weather details, including wind speed and direction, in order to gauge their longitude. Dr Wheeler said: “Reading these logs gives me a growing respect for the navigation skills of these captains and officers. The lives of everyone on board often depended on the accuracy of their observations. “Their conscientious and remarkably detailed reporting has given us an invaluable data resource which fills huge gaps in our knowledge about the history of the climate.”

He said that the logs helped to prove the effect on the climate of volcanic eruptions. Several captains observed a decline in temperature in 1816, which became known as the year without a summer. The eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 sent so much sunreflecting sulphur into the atmosphere that global temperatures dipped the following year, with snow reported in June in New York State.



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