Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Climate change far worse than thought before

As respects temperature, the article below is false. It says anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are happening at a rate higher than projected saying: "Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were 40 percent higher than in 1990. The recent Copenhagen Accord said warming should be contained within two degrees, but every year of delayed action increases the chances of exceeding the two-degree warming mark." And it says: "Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19 degree Celsius per decade. The trend has continued over the last 10 years despite a decrease in radiation from the sun."

This latter assertion is simply false. There has been no statistically significant trend in global temperature over the past decade, and global temperature is now lower than in the El Nino year of 1998. So, "every year of delayed action " since 1998 has not had an effect that has induced any observable warming above the then global temperature. The article is plain nonsense. Most of their other assertions are questionable too but their getting the basic facts of temperature wrong makes further comment superfluous

Global alarm over climate change and its effects has risen manifold after the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since then, many of the 2,500-odd IPCC scientists have found climate change is progressing faster than the worst-case scenario they had predicted.

Their studies will be considered for the next IPCC report, but since that will come out only in 2013, the University of New South Wales in Sydney has just put together the main findings in the last three years. Most are by previous IPCC lead authors "familiar with the rigour and completeness required for a scientific assessment of this nature", a university spokesperson said.

The most significant recent findings are:

* Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were 40 percent higher than in 1990. The recent Copenhagen Accord said warming should be contained within two degrees, but every year of delayed action increases the chances of exceeding the two-degree warming mark.

Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas (GHG) warming the atmosphere.

* To keep within the two-degree limit, global GHG emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilise climate, near-zero emissions of carbon dioxide and other long-lived GHG should be reached well within this century.

More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under one tonne carbon dioxide by 2050. This is 80-95 percent below the per-capita emissions in developed nations in 2000.

* Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19 degree Celsius per decade. The trend has continued over the last 10 years despite a decrease in radiation from the sun.

* The studies show extreme hot temperature events have increased, extreme cold temperature events have decreased, heavy rain or snow has become heavier, while there has been increase in drought as well.

They also show that the intensity of cyclones has increased in the past three decades in line with rising tropical ocean temperatures.

* Satellites show recent global average sea level rise (3.4 mm/year over the past 15 years) to be about 80 percent above IPCC predictions. This acceleration is consistent with a doubling in contribution from melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice sheets.

New estimates of ocean heat uptake are 50 percent higher than previous calculations. Global ocean surface temperature reached the warmest ever recorded in June, July and August 2009. Ocean acidification and ocean de-oxygenation due to global warming have been identified as potentially devastating for large parts of the marine ecosystem.

* By 2100, global sea level is likely to rise at least twice as much as projected by the IPCC in 2007; if emissions are unmitigated the rise may well exceed one metre.

The sea level will continue to rise for centuries after global temperatures have been stabilised, and several metres of sea level rise must be expected over the next few centuries.

* A wide array of satellite and ice measurements demonstrate that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting at an increasing rate. Melting of glaciers and ice-caps in other parts of the world has also accelerated since 1990.

The contribution of glaciers and ice-caps to global sea level rise has increased from 0.8 mm per year in the 1990s to 1.2 mm per year today. The adjustment of glaciers and ice caps to present climate alone is expected to raise sea level by about 18 cm. Under warming conditions they may contribute as much as around 55 cm by 2100.

The net loss of ice from the Greenland ice sheet has accelerated since the mid-1990s and is now contributing 0.7 mm per year to sea level rise due to both increased melting and accelerated ice flow. Antarctica is also losing ice mass at an increasing rate, mostly from the West Antarctic ice sheet due to increased ice flow. Antarctica is currently contributing to sea level rise at a rate nearly equal to Greenland.

* Summer-time melting of Arctic sea-ice has accelerated far beyond the expectations of climate models. The area of summertime sea-ice 2007-09 was about 40 percent less than the average prediction from IPCC climate models in the 2007 report.

* The studies say avoiding tropical deforestation could prevent up to 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

* New ice-core records confirm the importance of GHG for temperatures on earth, and show that carbon dioxide levels are higher now than they have been during the last 800,000 years.


BBC Spins Cherrapunji Myth

Ever heard of Cherrapunji, in the remote north-east of India? No? Well neither had I. But it does have a place in the Guinness Book of Records because it is the wettest place on earth, with up to 1,000 inches of rain falling in a year, though the average is nearer 350 inches.

What’s the relevance? You may recall from previous postings that BBC environment editor Peter Thomson is part of the Society of Environmental Journalists which pushes a Columbia University guide on brainwashing techniques to persuade people of ‘climate change’ alarmism. So I have been digging further to see if there is any hard evidence on the BBC website that Mr Thomson has been evangelising among his colleagues, and if so, whether it has had an impact.

It’s here that Cherrapunji becomes interesting. Apparently, it’s been a little drier of late and this has attracted the interest of BBC Calcutta correspondent Subir Bhaumik at least three times. Back in 2003, he filed a story explaining that water holes were drying up out of the monsoon season and that locals were worried about the impact on tourism. Mr Bhaumik is quite clear about the causes. Quoting SC Sahu, deputy director of the Central Meteorological Department of the local India region, he says:

Mr Sahu blames it (the drop in rainfall) on the deforestation in the area and environmentalists agree. "Ever since Meghalaya became a separate state, there has been a rise in deforestation," says Ba Mark West, convenor of the Cherrapunji Soil Research Society. "Tree felling is rampant and the loss of forest cover around Cherrapunji is more serious than ever before," he says. In 1960, Cherrapunji was still a town of just 7,000 people. Now, there are 15 times that number and a cement plant at Mamlukcherra, a few kilometres away, was built 20 years ago. The cement plant polluted the environment and added to the population pressure in the area. And if there are more people, the pressure on the forests will increase.

I’ve quoted that at some length, because it could not be more specific. No mention of global warming at all, and none, of course of ‘climate change’ in its current loaded sense, because it had not yet been invented. According to Mr Bhaumik, Cherrapunji’s woes are the result of mushrooming population (from 7,000 to 105,000 in fifty years), industrialisation and reckless tree-felling. Of that, the local met office is sure.

Spool forward to August 2007, Mr Bhaumik, seemingly with total amnesia about his previous report, said:

Khasi tribes people in the Indian state of Meghalaya have decided to honour former US Vice President Al Gore for promoting awareness on climate change. They say changes in the weather are devastating the picturesque hill state. The tribes people say that they also want to honour him for his award-winning 2006 documentary…which….dramatically highlights changes to the environment because of global warming. The award will be handed over at the second Dorbar Ri (People's Parliament) on 6 October near a sacred forest at the village of Mawphlang, which has been preserved untouched for more than 700 years.

Astonishing! Then just before Christmas just gone, Mr Bhaumik revisited Cherrapunji again and now, the propaganda message is complete. Hey presto!

Residents say their heavenly abode in the clouds is hotter and drier than ever before - and they blame it on global warming.

He then quotes Millergrace Symlieh, no less, a senior member of Sohra Science Society, who seemingly either doesn’t know the area or has had a remarkable loss of memory. He states:

"We never cut a branch in these sacred forests. So you cannot say this adverse weather change is our creation. We are affected by what's happening all over the world. This hot weather and less rain here is not due to huge deforestation or massive industrialisation," says Mr Symlieh. "We only have a cement plant near here."

Over the next three pages, Mr Bhaumik gradually embroiders –without providing a scrap of hard evidence - this alarmist picture and readers are left in no doubt: the locals need more money to be compensated for the terrible injustice they have suffered. It’s the terrible West and its ‘climate change’ pollution that’s to blame, and Cherrapunji is on the edge of the abyss. The role of the locals in this alleged catastrophe has been totally airbrushed out.

So what has happened between 2003 and 2009 to account for this? I can only assume that Mr Bhaumik has read very carefully and ingested fully the Thomson/Columbia University diatribe, or perhaps been on a BBC brainwashing weekend.

The evidence of his writing elsewhere is that Mr Bhaumik is a typical BBC lefty. For example, on his rather polemical and partisan blog, he spouts vitriolic anti-UK anti-US sentiment and lauds the EU as the model to India’s prayers:

We cannot trust…the US because (it )…would not hesitate to use military force and other forms of power against us. As they say, if US is your friend, you really don’t need an enemy. The European Union is our long term ally of choice. But India has this huge problem of looking at Europe through Britain and Britain is in the European Union but not quite in it. It has still not accepted the Euro and it wants to retain its national identity and it is behaving like a surrogate of the US. India will not only have to look closely at the European model to create a new kind of union, so that we can handle the separatist tendencies and other internal conflicts - India will have to befriend the European Union as its ally of choice in the global arena in years to come.

So perhaps Mr Thomson didn’t have a very difficult task in converting Mr Bhaumik. I think that all adds up to a bit of a smoking gun. We know that between 2003 and 2009 the BBC news top brass all became fanatical ‘climate change’ acolytes; and we know that people like Peter Thomson took up positions in AGW organisations, who in turn proselytise that reporters should find local examples of their creed. Here, from the north-west frontier of India, is firm evidence that there’s been a concerted effort to make sure that when it comes to lying to the world about ‘climate change’, facts should never get in the way of the BBC mission to deceive. And Mr Bhaumik, it seems, is happy to do his masters’ bidding because it ties in nicely with his anti-US venom.


Record snow brings misery to Asia

It's not just America, Britain and Europe. The cooling is GLOBAL!

RECORD snow has disrupted air and road travel in northeast Asia today, grounding dozens of planes in China and South Korea and forcing schools to close in Beijing. The Chinese capital received its heaviest daily snowfall in nearly six decades on Sunday, the state news agency Xinhua reported, and more snow was predicted to follow.

The mountains of central Japan were also badly hit. One person was killed and at least two others were missing after heavy snow.

The Central Meteorological Administration reported that up to 12 inches had fallen on Beijing and Tianjin over the weekend. While skies were clear in the Chinese capital Monday, more snow was expected in northeast China. At Beijing's international airport, where nearly 1,200 flights were canceled or delayed Sunday, workers had cleared the runways and the situation was returning to normal. More than 100 flights were nevertheless delayed and two dozen canceled as of early Monday, an airport spokesman said. "I don't remember ever seeing such heavy snowfall in the city," a Beijing resident told the China Daily newspaper.

Around 10 inches of snow fell in the South Korean capital Seoul Monday, marking the biggest snowfall since record keeping began in 1937, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. The blanket of thick white snow forced the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights and about 40 international flights were delayed, airport officials said.

On the roads, up to 30 highways in Beijing and the surrounding areas were closed or only partially open to traffic Monday, the China News Service reported. Inner-city roads remained icy and covered with snow. More than 5,000 volunteers were deployed to keep order at crowded bus stops, Xinhua quoted Song Jianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, as saying.

In Seoul, traffic chaos forced the late start of a cabinet meeting, with ministers stuck in the wintry mess. More snow was expected in Seoul later Monday, but clear skies were forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Farther east in Japan, police said they had found the body of a climber on Mount Hodaka but it was not immediately clear if it was the body of one of three climbers who went missing there at the weekend. Another party of seven was rescued safely after becoming stranded on Mount Terachi due to the heavy snow, police said.


The new Deniers

We are witnessing the development of a very interesting phenomenon, in that the global warming “Alarmists” are rapidly becoming the new “Deniers.”

Ever since the now-famous e-mails from the University of East Anglia in England were made public, the global warming alarmists have been falling all over themselves to claim that those e-mails were just “inter-academic banter,” containing nothing to destroy their claims that the world is still warming up at a dangerous rate.

This is really denying the facts when they are staring you in the face. That is, if you really wish to inform yourself on the subject and not just pick and choose your data and manipulate them to suit a political purpose.

While most climate scientists generally take a long view in support of their growing understanding of how world climate really works, the alarmists have a relatively short horizon by comparison. The famous Mann “hockey stick,” for instance, manipulated data over a period of about a thousand years. Most alarmist promoters focus on the past two centuries, at best.

The vital difference between the two camps, the real climate scientists and the alarmists, is that only the very long historic view will provide insight into the constant variability of weather phenomena during billions of years. There is a rough periodicity in climate patterns, the most popularly known of which are the glacial and current inter-glacial period which we have been “enjoying” during the past 10,000 years or so. And, by the way, its not too distant future is likely to end in a much colder period, not warmer.

Within this latest interglacial there have been many warmer as well as colder periods, such as the Roman Warming (250 BC - 450 AD), the cold Dark Ages (550 AD - 850 AD), the Medieval Warming (900 AD - 1400 AD) and lastly, the most recent Little Ice Age (1500 AD - 1850 AD). Particularly during the warmer periods CO2 levels were much higher than today while there was no industrialization, no major land surface changes, and certainly no threat of catastrophic global warming.

In other words, when studying these past climatic variations it doesn’t take a graduate degree to realize that what we have observed during the past 150 years is most likely driven by the same natural climate forcing powers, such as solar emission and magnetic variabilities, global precession and orbital variances, to name but a few, that previously caused much-worse climate issues. Only because we have had the benefit of personally and consciously experiencing so much more about our worldly environment than previous generations, doesn’t mean that those same recently observed climate changes are therefore, ipso facto, caused by man!

Hence, deliberately ignoring well-researched historic phenomena is not just shortsighted, it is also very un-scientific and un-professional, while it does a huge disservice to humanity’s efforts to bring more and more millions of people out of their historic misery into a more humane and productive future.

So why all the current commotion? Could it be that unrelated, yet powerful, political motivations are really driving many environmentalists and global warming alarmists to want to destroy our singularly successful “free market” system and replace it with a version of a centrally planned “one world” type system under the aegis of the UN??

Whatever the nefarious motivations of the alarmist crowd, they should be totally discredited and ignored from here on. Governments, including our own, should come to their senses and get out of the way of the market and our industries by lowering taxes and regulations so our economy can grow again and produce jobs.

That’s a government’s primary responsibility because without a booming economy there is no money for anything else, certainly no money to pay for the exorbitant “stimulus” packages already created out of thin air.

So to conclude, while the erstwhile global warming Alarmists are now the new Deniers, the good news is that we may, perhaps, still have a shot at correcting the damage done by them before our politicians do even more very foolish things.


Greenie cattle farming

British report below. A bit amusing but if it will keep the Greenies and the food freaks from interfering with carnivores like me, well and good

New findings on traditionally reared beef and dairy foods could lead to their reinstatement as “protective foods”, as they were once known. Far from causing illness, they may play a key role in defending the body against modern diseases. Even more remarkably, their production is now being seen as part of a land management system that benefits the planet. Though methane from ruminant animals undoubtedly adds to greenhouse gases, they can play a far more important role in cutting carbon dioxide.

Britain has a long tradition of livestock farming dating from Neolithic times. Two thirds of Britain’s farmland are occupied by grassland, much of it in the hilly West and North of the country where few other crops can be grown. The climate and soils of western Britain are well suited to grass, which is why this country has long been renowned for the quality of its beef.

Today, livestock production is moving away from grassland. Around the world, large numbers of animals are confined to sheds or yards and fed diets rich in high-energy and high-protein foods such as cereal grains, maize and soya. These systems appeal to farmers because they reduce costs and speed up production. But because the feed crops are grown with heavy inputs of chemical fertiliser, pesticides and diesel fuel, they can hardly be considered “climate-friendly”. Even worse, large tracts of rainforest are felled to produce the grain for cattle.

Now the pendulum may be about to swing back in favour of grassland. The evidence is stacking up that meat and dairy foods from animals grazing fresh pasture are healthier than the grain-fed versions. Pasture-fed beef and lamb contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamin E. Pasture-fed meat and milk are also rich in a remarkable compound known as CLA, which protects against many cancers and heart disease. When animals are fed large amounts of grain, the levels of these health-protecting nutrients fall rapidly in the resulting foods.

Grasslands have another gift for humanity, one only now coming to light. Pioneering US farmers believe they could become a key weapon in the climate change battle. Scientists have long been aware of grassland’s ability to capture or “sequester” carbon. Grass leaves take in carbon dioxide from the air, converting it to sugars by photosynthesis. Some of the resulting carbon compounds are transferred to the roots and released into the soil through the normal cycles of growth and decay.

Agriculture accounts for 7 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and, of this, methane from ruminant animals makes up one third. Cows on a grass diet produce more methane than those fed on cereal grains, but grasslands more than compensate in other ways. Some pasture plants, such as bird’s-foot trefoil, are known to reduce methane emissions. In any case, about 18 per cent of methane is neutralised by bacteria in the soil under grassland. Carbon capture through photosynthesis is thought by scientists to account for up to 40 per cent of the UK’s farming emissions.

But if these American farmers are right, with skilled management the grasslands can capture far more carbon. Their inspiration has been the prairie grassland that once covered vast areas west of the Mississippi. Grazed by great wandering herds of bison, these natural grasslands built up huge stores of carbon in their soils. The level of organic matter — the carbon-rich residues of decayed plants and animals — could be as high as 20 per cent. In many UK arable soils, organic matter content averages just 2 per cent. When European settlers arrived on the prairies, they ploughed the grassland, turning it over to wheat. The vast stores of soil carbon were released into the atmosphere, adding greatly to greenhouse gases. By the 1930s the prairie soils, their fertility exhausted, blew away in dustbowls, an event that inspired Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath.

Today a group of US farmers are discovering that they can build up those same high levels of soil carbon under their own pastures. The key is to get their cattle to mimic the behaviour of the wild bison herds. As a defence against predators, these herds packed closely together and were constantly moving. This meant that each patch of grassland was trampled and grazed hard, then left to recover for weeks or months until the grazing herd returned.

Under this regime the soil carbon store builds rapidly, as today’s farmers are now discovering. They call it “mob grazing”. Using electric fences, farmers split their pastures into a large number of small paddocks. Putting their cattle into each paddock in turn, they graze it off quickly before moving the herd to the next. US farmers report that their animals stay very healthy on this grazing regime, putting on weight fast. At the same time the soil quickly becomes more fertile as it accumulates carbon compounds.

Joel Salatin, one of the Virginia farmers practising mob grazing, describes it as the closest thing he has found to a free lunch. “It doesn’t require combines, ploughs, tractors or buildings,” he says. “It’s the fastest way to sequester carbon, collect solar energy, and rebuild soil. Grazing is truly amazing.”

Mob grazing hasn’t yet arrived in the UK. But there is no reason why it shouldn’t be adapted in a country with such a long grazing tradition. It could give a boost to the livestock- rearing communities of the West and give hard-pressed farmers a new crop to sell — soil carbon. Then we could tuck into a steak with a clear conscience.


2009 Australia's second hottest year on record -- according to the BOM

But now we know how Australian temperature records are compiled, you would be gullible to believe them

THE past calendar year - 2009 - was the second warmest on record in Australia since 1910, the Australian government's Bureau of Meteorology reported today. The bureau said the high temperatures were driven by unusual or extreme heatwaves, with a temperature trend consistent with global warming, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Australia's annual mean temperature for 2009 was 0.90 degrees Celsius above a 1961-90 average, making it the nation's second-warmest year since high-quality records began in 1910, the bureau reported in an annual climate statement. The warmest was 2005.

High temperatures were especially notable in the south-east during the second half of 2009, with Australia nationally and the states Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales independently all recording their warmest July-December periods on record.

Extreme heatwaves occurred across much of southern Australia during late January/early February, resulting in a new maximum temperature record in the Victorian capital Melbourne of 46.4 degrees and a new Victoria state maximum temperature record of 48.8 degrees.

An unusual winter-time heatwave occurred in August over large parts of the inland and resulted in Australia's warmest August on record, while a prolonged heatwave occurred during November across central and south-east Australia. "Based on the analysis of daily maximum and minimum temperature data...there are clear upward trends in the number of hot events and downward trends in the number of cold events over the period 1960 to date, consistent with global warming," the bureau reported, without citing a cause for global warming.

The end of 2009 also saw the end of Australia's warmest decade on record, with a decadal mean temperature anomaly of 0.48 degree above a 1961-90 average [Picking an arbitrary base-year for your averages is fun]. This meant that in Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade, it reported.

As for rainfall, the overall Australian mean rainfall total for 2009 was 453 millimeters, down a little from a long-term average (1961-90) of 464 mms, it reported. During July to October 2009, serious rainfall deficiencies were experienced over large areas of Queensland and isolated parts of New South Wales, consistent with the development of an El Nino event during this time.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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