Tuesday, December 08, 2009


There is so much being written about climate at the moment that it is difficult to know what to put up. One thing I am NOT putting up is any of the "defenses" by the IPCC and others in answer to "ClimateGate". Why? Because I have yet to find ONE such defence that mentions a single scientific fact. All the defences are solely ad hominem. They say that something is right because of who said it. Such arguments are among the classic informal fallacies of logic and deserve no respect from anybody at any time. So on to some more factual reports and commentaries -- JR

More acidic oceans DON'T dissolve shellfish

Big blow to a big scare. Another simple theory does not survive an encounter with reality

In a striking finding that raises new questions about carbon dioxide's (CO2) impact on marine life, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists report that some shell-building creatures -- such as crabs, shrimp and lobsters -- unexpectedly build more shell when exposed to ocean acidification caused by elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).

Because excess CO2 dissolves in the ocean -- causing it to "acidify" -- researchers have been concerned about the ability of certain organisms to maintain the strength of their shells. Carbon dioxide is known to trigger a process that reduces the abundance of carbonate ions in seawater -- one of the primary materials that marine organisms use to build their calcium carbonate shells and skeletons. The concern is that this process will trigger a weakening and decline in the shells of some species and, in the long term, upset the balance of the ocean ecosystem.

But in a study published in the Dec. 1 issue of Geology, a team led by former WHOI postdoctoral researcher Justin B. Ries found that seven of the 18 shelled species they observed actually built more shell when exposed to varying levels of increased acidification. This may be because the total amount of dissolved inorganic carbon available to them is actually increased when the ocean becomes more acidic, even though the concentration of carbonate ions is decreased.

"Most likely the organisms that responded positively were somehow able to manipulate…dissolved inorganic carbon in the fluid from which they precipitated their skeleton in a way that was beneficial to them," said Ries, now an assistant professor in marine sciences at the University of North Carolina. "They were somehow able to manipulate CO2…to build their skeletons."

Organisms displaying such improvement also included calcifying red and green algae, limpets and temperate urchins. Mussels showed no effect.

"We were surprised that some organisms didn't behave in the way we expected under elevated CO2," said Anne L. Cohen, a research specialist at WHOI and one of the study's co-authors. "What was really interesting was that some of the creatures, the coral, the hard clam and the lobster, for example, didn't seem to care about CO2 until it was higher than about 1,000 parts per million [ppm]." Current atmospheric CO2 levels are about 380 ppm, she said. Above this level, calcification was reduced in the coral and the hard clam, but elevated in the lobster

The "take-home message, " says Cohen, is that "we can't assume that elevated CO2 causes a proportionate decline in calcification of all calcifying organisms." WHOI and the National Science Foundation funded the work.

More HERE (The rest of the article is a collection of ad hoc theories designed to rescue something for global warming. The factual bit is above)

Dutch study: Gore Wrong on Snows of Kilimanjaro

Newspapers and news sites in the Netherlands today extensively broke the news of the findings of a research team led by Professor Jaap Sinninghe Damste — a leading molecular paleontologist at Utrecht University and winner of the prestigious Spinoza Prize — about the melting icecap of the Kilimanjaro, the African mountain that became a symbol of anthropogenic global warming.

Professor Sinninghe Damste’s research, as discussed on the site of the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research (DOSR) — a governmental body — shows that the icecap of Kilimanjaro was not the result of cold air but of large amounts of precipitation which fell at the beginning of the Holocene period, about 11,000 years ago.

The melting and freezing of moisture on top of Kilimanjaro appears to be part of “a natural process of dry and wet periods.” The present melting is not the result of “environmental damage caused by man.”

Professor Damste studied organic biomarker molecules in the sediment record of Lake Challa, near Mount Kilimanjaro, and reconstructed the changes and intensity of precipitation in this part of Africa over the last 25,000 years. They observed an 11,500 year cycle of intense monsoon precipitation. In the dry period between 12,800 and 11,500 years ago, Kilimanjaro was ice-free. At the end of this period, a dramatic climate change from very dry to very wet took place — driven by changes in solar radiation — resulting in the creation of an icecap. At the moment, this part of Africa seems to be at the end of a similar dry period, resulting in the disappearance of the famous icecap.

DOSR calls Al Gore’s iconic use of the melting cap of Kilimanjaro “unfortunate” — since it now seems to be mainly the result of “natural climate variations.”

The journal Nature published the highly technical article by Professor Sinninghe Damste’s team. The website of Elsevier magazine — the Netherlands’ most circulated political weekly — broke the news as follows: “Dutchman discredits Al Gore’s climate evidence.”


Computer Models vs. Physical Evidence

The debate over "climate change" is odd, in that the climate changes constantly, and always has. Like most natural processes, maybe all, the climate never stands still. The Earth is always getting either warmer or cooler. At various times in the past it has unquestionably been warmer than it is today, and also colder--as when the place where I am typing was buried beneath ice a half-mile thick. That being the case, the fact that global temperatures have risen a bit during the last couple of decades is hardly a shock.

In the 1970s, when temperatures had been dropping for a while, there was a "global cooling" crisis in which many scientists predicted that humanity was doomed by catastrophic cooling. As soon as temperatures rebounded, what happened? Naturally, we had a "global warming" crisis. The two crises were polar opposites, except in the measures that were recommended to fend them off: government control over the economy.

In order to persuade anyone to take the most recent crisis seriously, the alarmists had to argue that there was something different, something unprecedented, about the slight warming that we have recently experienced. Hence the famous "hockey stick" graphs that alarmists have created, purporting to show that the rate of temperature increase in the last couple of decades is unique, and that present temperatures are warmer than those of the Medieval Warm Period and other historically warm eras. This required them to write revisionist history, using computer models to override physical evidence of past warm eras.

Kenneth Haapala of the Science and Environmental Policy Project explains:
As the questionable actions of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia are being revealed, we are witnessing how the life work of Hubert H. Lamb was tarnished by the very organizations he helped create. A pioneer in the scientific study of climate change, H.H. Lamb was the founder and first director of the CRU.

After he retired, Lamb wrote the classic, Climate, History and the Modern World, (Routledge, 1982 & 1995). Lamb synthesized the physical evidence demonstrating that since the last ice age ended, the earth has been both warmer and cooler than today. For over 3,000 years, 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, it was 2-3 degrees C warmer than today. The evidence for the Northern Hemisphere is extensive. Throughout North America and Eurasia trees grew 200 to 400 km closer to the North Pole than they grow today and in the mountains grew at higher elevations than they do today. The Sahara Desert was wetter. For example, cave paintings in the middle of the Sahara show natives hunting hippopotami in canoes or boats.

Because the land mass of the Southern Hemisphere is far less than the land mass of the Northern Hemisphere there is less physical evidence in the Southern Hemisphere. However, in the mountains of the Southern Hemisphere trees grew at higher elevations than today and Australia was wetter.

Lamb contended that temperature and climate changes were not uniform and differed both spatially and temporally; but, they existed world-wide and that temperature changes were more pronounced in the mid and upper latitudes than in the tropics. Based on his analysis, Lamb stated that warm periods were beneficial for humanity, and cold periods were harmful. He advocated that governments should fund studies on climate change so humanity will be better prepared for the next cold period that was sure to come. In the 1995 edition, he expressed concern that the study of climate change (global warming) had taken a wrong turn.

Lamb's research has been largely dismissed by the human caused global warming community. For example in discussing Lamb's work, Chapter 6, "Palaeoclimate" of the 2007 The Fourth IPCC Assessment Report (AR4) states:
These local warm periods were very likely not globally synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) (Lorenz et al., 2006). When forced by 6 ka orbital parameters, state-of-the-art coupled climate models and EMICs capture reconstructed regional temperature and precipitation synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) p. 460.

The IPCC offers a graph showing a cooling of the tropical North Indian Ocean and the tropical Pacific Ocean as claimed proof that the extended warm period demonstrated by Lamb was regional, not global. Of course, there is little physical evidence of warming or cooling of these oceans to verify or contradict the computer simulations. Thus according to the IPCC, compelling physical evidence of extensive warming in one part of the globe is counterbalanced by computer simulations of cooling in another part of the globe for which physical evidence is lacking. The life work of Lamb in compiling physical evidence has been trumped by computer simulations with little or no supporting physical evidence.

And yet we know that those computer models are wrong, because they can't account for the past, they can't explain the geographic and atmospheric distribution of temperatures, and the current flat-to-cooling trend lies outside of the range of temperatures that they predict.


US scepticism grows over manmade global warming theory

AMERICANS who think global warming is caused by human activity, including vehicle and industrial emissions, are now a minority for the first time in nearly two years, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Only 45 per cent of the 1041 adults surveyed on December 2-3 believed global warming was a proven fact and mostly caused by human activity, down from 56 per cent in October 2007.

By comparison, Americans who believed global warming was caused by natural changes unrelated to man have increased to 22 per cent from 20 per cent two years ago, and those who believed global warming was a yet unproven theory grew to 31 per cent from 23 per cent.

Regarding how the United States should tackle global warming, 58 per cent of those surveyed said it should cut carbon dioxide emissions unilaterally, down from 66 per cent in October 2007. Those who thought the United States should cut CO2 emissions only if other countries do so as well remained basically unchanged at 17 per cent, from 16 per cent two years ago.

But those who said carbon emissions should not be cut regardless of what the rest of the world does jumped to 24 per cent, from 15 per cent two years ago.

With a three per cent margin of error, the poll coincided with the start yesterday of a landmark, 12-day conference on tackling climate change in Copenhagen attended by more than 110 heads of state or government.


More hatred of democracy from the Green/Left

The More Americans Learn about Global Warming, the Deeper in "Denial" They Sink

It must be true; I heard it on NPR this morning. On my way to work, I was listening to this segment on NPR's Morning Edition about how and why climate change has become less and less a priority for Americans.
A recent Harris Poll, among the latest of several over the past year, shows that barely half of the American public believes that the carbon dioxide that's building up in the atmosphere could warm up our planet.

But here is the best part about this segment: After explaining that Americans have much to worry about these days and that, naturally, they will tend to worry more about things that are of more direct concern to them, we find out that democracy is an important reason for this problem:
Even as scientists become more confident that climate change is a serious hazard, public opinion is shifting the other way, says Kari Marie Norgaard at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. "This seems irrational," she says. "And in that sense, it's challenging the basic premise that we have of an enlightened, democratic, modern society."

Or is it simply fear and denial?
Norgaard studied this shift in public opinion and found that as people start to feel overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, they simply turn away from the topic. It's a form of denial, she says. "We just don't want to know about it, so we are actively distancing ourselves from it or trying to protect ourselves from it."

So basically, the more we know about global warming and believe in it, the more we want to bury our heads in the ground like ostriches.

Seriously? Yes. However, in this craziness I would like to salute the host of Morning Editions, whose name escapes me at this time. He noted that because Obama, our green leader, had changed his plans about attending the Copenhagen meeting from the start and would now only show up at the end, he will have to make a separate trip to Oslo to receive his Nobel Peace Prize, seriously increasing his carbon footprint. That must be denial.


Australian conservatives riling UN climate bosses

THE head of the world's top climate research body has compared Tony Abbott to former US president and climate sceptic George W. Bush and conceded the failure of Australia's cap and trade carbon bill has given momentum to climate naysayers worldwide. In an exclusive interview with The Australian just hours before he was to deliver the keynote address on the opening day of the Copenhagen global climate summit, Rajendra Pachauri denied the defeat of the legislation would provide enough impetus to derail negotiators at Copenhagen from delivering an agreement.

But Dr Pachauri, who chairs the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US vice-president Al Gore, said more important was the decision of US President Barack Obama to defer his Copenhagen trip to coincide with the leaders meeting on the last day of the summit. "Yes, of course, it will be a motivator (for climate sceptics), but several positives have taken place, like President Barack Obama coming on December 18th and not the 9th," he said. "The Chinese and Indian prime ministers are also coming."

Asked how he might deal with Mr Abbott -- who has previously described global warming as "crap" -- should he topple Kevin Rudd at the next federal election, Dr Pachauri cited US president George W. Bush's reversal on climate change during his second term. "You don't know what a person will do from one point in time to another. People have also been known to change their opinions," Dr Pachauri said. "I talked to George W. Bush on his sixth or seventh year as president and his beliefs had changed drastically from when he first took office."

As well as the defeat of the Australian legislation, the lead-up to the Copenhagen conference, which began last night, has been complicated by the scandal of "Climategate", the leaking of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit which appear to undermine data showing global warming.

IPCC vice-chairman Jean-Pascal van Ypersele said the theft of the emails was not the work of amateurs, but was a sophisticated attempt to destroy public confidence in the science of man-made climate change. He said the fact the emails had first been uploaded to a sceptics' website from a computer in Russia was an indication the hackers were paid. "It's very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services," he said. "If you look at that mass of emails, a lot of work was done, not only to download the data, but it's a carefully made selection of emails and documents that's not random at all. This is 13 years of data, and it's not a job of amateurs."

UN Environment Program director Achim Steiner said the theft of the emails had echoes of Watergate -- the burglary of the US Democratic Party's offices at the Watergate building in Washington in 1972. "This is not climate-gate, it's hacker-gate. Let's not forget the word `gate' refers to a place where data was stolen by people who were paid to do so. So the media should direct its investigations into that."

In Adelaide yesterday, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong conceded she would go to the Copenhagen summit with Australia's position significantly weakened because of parliament's rejection of the ETS. "We wanted to go to Copenhagen with a plan to meet our targets; it's unhelpful that we're not," Senator Wong said. "But of course Australia will still be doing all we can to contribute to getting the agreement Australia needs and the world needs."

Senator Wong said that although it was unlikely a legally binding treaty would be finalised in Copenhagen, she was determined to get an "effective political agreement". "We need to do what President Obama said: that is, an agreement that's comprehensive and that has immediate effect," she said.

Last week's Senate vote on the ETS legislation, which would have seen emissions trading in Australia begin in July 2011, had been closely scrutinised by the US and other Western nations which are considering similar domestic measures to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. A political agreement on carbon trading in Australia, the developed world's biggest per capita emitter, would have helped to garner support for action in Copenhagen from other countries. But the legislation was voted down after a mutiny within opposition party ranks led by Mr Abbott, who overthrew former leader Malcolm Turnbull over his support for the ETS legislation.

Dr Pachauri described Mr Rudd, whom he met last month during the Prime Minister's lightning trip to India, as a "remarkable leader and an experienced politician". He said he was confident the ETS bill's defeat last week was a "minor setback". During his India visit Mr Rudd pledged $70 million in funding for a host of new joint agriculture and energy research projects, several of which involved India's top environmental organisation, TERI (The Energy Resources Institute), which Dr Pachauri also heads. "It seems to me the Australian public is fully committed to taking action because Australia is probably one country that has suffered from the impacts of climate change more than any other," Dr Pachauri said from Denmark. "(Climate sceptics) will get momentum from time to time but they are certainly a minority so I don't see in a democracy how they would succeed. "I think as long as Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister of the government in power and he wants to move in a particular direction the country will rally around the PM."

Dr Pachauri said he was "pretty optimistic" an agreement could be reached in Copenhagen and had been encouraged by commitments made in the past fortnight by China, India and the US.



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is deeply unimpressed by some openly acknowledged media collusion designed to promote the Copenhagen climate conference.


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