Friday, January 22, 2010

CO2 good for Amazon rainforests

They're gobbling up all that increasing CO2

Discussing: Gloor, M. et al. 2009. "Does the disturbance hypothesis explain the biomass increase in basin-wide Amazon forest plot data?" Global Change Biology 15: 2418-2430.


The authors write that "analysis of earlier tropical plot data has suggested that large-scale changes in forest dynamics are currently occurring in Amazonia (Phillips and Gentry, 1994; Phillips et al., 2004), and that an increase in aboveground biomass has occurred, with increases in mortality tending to lag increases in growth (Phillips et al., 1998; Baker et al., 2004a,b; Lewis et al., 2004)." However, they state that this conclusion has recently been challenged by an overzealous application of the "Slow in, Rapid out" dictum, which relates to the fact that forest growth is a slow process, whereas mortality can be dramatic and singular in time, such that sampling over relatively short observation periods may miss these more severe events, leading to positively-biased estimates of aboveground biomass trends, when either no trend or negative trends actually exist.

What was done

Gloor et al. statistically characterize "the disturbance process in Amazon old-growth forests as recorded in 135 forest plots of the RAINFOR network up to 2006, and other independent research programs, and explore the consequences of sampling artifacts using a data-based stochastic simulator."

What was learned

The researchers report that "over the observed range of annual aboveground biomass losses, standard statistical tests show that the distribution of biomass losses through mortality follow an exponential or near-identical Weibull probability distribution and not a power law as assumed by others." In addition, they say that "the simulator was parameterized using both an exponential disturbance probability distribution as well as a mixed exponential-power law distribution to account for potential large-scale blow-down events," and that "in both cases, sampling biases turn out to be too small to explain the gains detected by the extended RAINFOR plot network."

What it means

Gloor et al. conclude that their results lend "further support to the notion that currently observed biomass gains for intact forests across the Amazon are actually occurring over large scales at the current time, presumably as a response to climate change," which in many of their earlier papers is explicitly stated to include the aerial fertilization effect of the historical increase in the air's CO2 content.

More HERE (See the original for links, references etc.)

Global warming opens up Arctic for undersea cable (?)

When these guys actually go to lay their cable they might get a shock. Boardroom wisdom might not translate too well to on-site realities. The ice is bouncing back fast. It would be fun if they tried and had to give up

Global warming has melted so much Arctic ice that a telecommunication group is moving forward with a project that was unthinkable just a few years ago: laying underwater fiber optic cable between Tokyo and London by way of the Northwest Passage. The proposed system would nearly cut in half the time it takes to send messages from the United Kingdom to Asia, said Walt Ebell, CEO of Kodiak-Kenai Cable Co. The route is the shortest underwater path between Tokyo and London.

The quicker transmission time is important in the financial world where milliseconds can count in executing profitable trades and transactions. "Speed is the crux," Ebell said. "You're cutting the delay from 140 milliseconds to 88 milliseconds."

The project, while still facing many significant obstacles, also serves as an example of how warming has altered the Arctic landscape in profound ways. The loss of summer sea ice prompted the U.S. to list polar bears as a threatened species in May 2008. Walrus in two of the last three years gathered by the thousands on Alaska's northwest shore rather than ride pack ice to unproductive waters beyond the outer continental shelf.

Summer sea ice melted to its lowest recorded level ever in late 2007, and most climate modelers predict a continued downward spiral. The result is a path through the Northwest Passage, the Arctic route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific that has fascinated explorers for centuries. "That opens up the construction window to actually do something like this without the need of heavy icebreakers," Ebell said. "On the other side, you've got the market part of it and the increasing demand we're seeing for lower and lower latencies, or transmission times."


As Global Warming Movement Collapses, Activists Already 'Test-Marketing' the Next Eco-Fear! 'Laughing Gas' Crisis? Oxygen Crisis? Plastics?

As man-made global warming fears enter the ashbin of history, what will environmentalists, UN activists and politicians do to fill the void of a failed eco-scare?

Well, wonder no more.... Some forward thinking green activists and even the UN climate Chief have already taken up the task of test-marketing the next eco-scares to replace man-made global warming.

One of the most prominent eco-scares now being quietly promoted behind man-made climate fears is the allegedly "growing" nitrous oxide (a.k.a. "laughing gas") threat to the planet. See: Time for next eco-scare already?! 'Earth's growing nitrogen threat': 'It helps feed a hungry world, but it's worse than CO2'The Christian Science Monitor - January 12, 2010 - Excerpt: Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide – considered the leading cause of climate change – and the third most threatening greenhouse gas overall.

As man-made climate fears subside and the scientific, economic, cultural and political case evaporates for climate change "action," expect more and more green activists to take up the mantle for "laughing gas" as a possible replacement eco-scare.

See also: Laughing Gas Knocks Out CO2 - By Doug Hoffman - Oct. 30, 2009 - Excerpt: "In the face of ever mounting evidence that CO2 is incapable of causing the level of global devastation prophesied by climate change catastrophists a new villain is being sought. The leading candidate is nitrous oxide (N2O), better known as laughing gas. A report in Science claims that N2O emissions are currently the single most important cause of ozone depletion and are expected to remain so throughout the 21st century. The IPCC rates N2O as 310 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 on a 100 year time scale. Is this a greenhouse gas bait and switch, or are the global warming alarmists trying to up the ante."

Still can't picture former Vice President Al Gore touting the "laughing gas" crisis as the "moral" challenge of our time in a Oscar-winning documentary? Not to worry, there are many more eco-scares currently being test-marketed.

Plastics: Gore's own producer of "An Inconvenient Truth" -- Hollywood eco-activist Laurie David -- is already test-marketing another eco-scare with potential promise. "One Word: Plastics." Yes, just 43 years after the 1967 film "The Graduate", "plastics" just may be the future!

See: AGW RIP? Is It Time for Next Eco-Scare Already? Gore's producer Laure David touts plastic crisis: 'Plastic waste is in some ways more alarming for us humans than global warming' - July 31, 2009

"The rapid rise in global plastic production is leading to a rise in plastic pollution and its devastating effects on our oceans and our lives.," Laurie David wrote on July 31, 2009. Selected Excerpts From David's blog post: "This insidious invasion of the biosphere by our plastic waste is in some ways more alarming for us humans than global warming. Our bodies have evolved to handle carbon dioxide, the nemesis of global warming, indeed, we exhale it with every breath. Plastic, though present in the biosphere from the nano scale on up, is too stable a molecule for any organism to fully assimilate or biodegrade. So we have a situation in which a vector for a suite of devastating chemicals, chemicals implicated in many modern diseases, is now invading the ocean, our bodies and indeed, the entire biosphere. The prognosis for improvement in this situation is grim."

Still not convinced of either "laughing gas" or "plastics" as the next dominant eco-scare? Don't worry, we are just getting started. Just how widespread is the test marketing of a new eco-scare to replace the flailing global warming movement? It now has the attention of the beleaguered head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra Pachauri.

UN Throws Global Warming Under the Bus?! In a remarkable posting on his personal blog, Pachauri openly admitted that man-made global warming was not even the biggest eco-issue! See: Et tu? Head of UN IPCC Pachauri Now throwing global warming under the bus?! There is a 'larger problem' than climate fears?! - November 23, 2009

Pachauri wrote on November 23, 2009: "The question is whether the additional time that the world would now have to arrive at an agreement at the next Conference of the Parties in Mexico will give us time and space to look at the larger problem of unsustainable development, of which climate change is at best a symptom. Human society cannot continue to ignore the vital dependence that exists between human welfare and the health of our natural resources."

'Oxygen Crisis': The UK Green Party and a UN advisor are already concocting yet another potential new eco-scare that may be an easy transition from failed global warming fears. See: UK Green Party: 'There exists a more serious crisis than the 'CO2 crisis': the oxygen levels are dropping and the human activity has decreased them by 1/3 or ½ - By Peter Tatchell of the UK Green party - UK Guardian - August 13, 2008

Excerpt: "In the view of Professor Ervin Laszlo, the drop in atmospheric oxygen has potentially serious consequences. A UN advisor who has been a professor of philosophy and systems sciences, Laszlo writes: Evidence from prehistoric times indicates that the oxygen content of pristine nature was above the 21% of total volume that it is today. It has decreased in recent times due mainly to the burning of coal in the middle of the last century. Currently the oxygen content of the Earth's atmosphere dips to 19% over impacted areas, and it is down to 12 to 17% over the major cities. At these levels it is difficult for people to get sufficient oxygen to maintain bodily health: it takes a proper intake of oxygen to keep body cells and organs, and the entire immune system, functioning at full efficiency. At the levels we have reached today cancers and other degenerative diseases are likely to develop. And at 6 to 7% life can no longer be sustained."

Wow. Imagine scaring school children with suffocation due to our modern way of life! Documentaries, text books and Hollywood could really instill fear in the kids and adults with scary predictions of Mom and Dad choking to death due to a lack of oxygen created by evil modern society. Mom and Dad turning blue and suffering fatal convulsions sure beats the emotional imagery of a Polar Bear drowning or a building be flooded to due to rising seas. Keep your eye on this one, it just may get some traction.

Ok. Let's assume now that one of the above or yet another not ready for prime time eco-fear catches on, how would the environmental activists go about selling this eco-scare to the public? For an answer, let's review a few of the failed eco-alarms of the past 40 years.

The Global Cooling Scare of 1970's offers vital clues about how the "search-and-replace" tactics are utilized by eco-fear promoters. See: 1974 CIA report on Global Cooling: 'Embarrassing reading': 'All AGW scares are a search-and-replace job from 'cooling' to 'warming' - Dec. 3, 2009 & Climate Depot's Factsheet on 1970s Coming 'Ice Age' Claims - Oct. 6, 2009

Ever wonder how Gore and the UN would hype a "tipping point" for various new eco-scares? Newsweek Magazine first used the climate “tipping point” argument in 1975 to urge action to prevent man-made 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."

Yes, quite literally "a search-and-replace job from cooling to warming." Also See: Not again! Another 10-year climate 'tipping point' warning issued -- Despite fact that UN began 10-Year 'Climate Tipping Point' in 1989! Climate Depot Factsheet on Inconvenient History of Global Warming 'Tipping Points' -- Earth 'Serially Doomed' - Nov. 15, 2009

Overpopulation Fears: Overpopulation fears have jumped all over the place in recent years. See: Grist Mag. Going Down: Is too few people the new 'population problem?' – December 14, 2005 and Could Overpopulation Save The Earth From Global Warming? June 15, 2009. Overpopulation fears can be played any which way advocates would like. Even the guru of overpopulation fears eventually admitted his silliness.

See: An Admission finally! 'The Population Bomb's' Paul Ehrlich: 'I wish I'd taken more math in high school and college. That would have been useful' - 'If he were writing 'The Population Bomb' now, he'd be more careful about predictions' - Oct. 8, 2009 - Also see: Climate Depot's Overpopulation factsheet - August 21, 2009

Amazon Rainforest Scare: The allegedly disappearing rainforest scare was the environmental issue du jour in the 1980's and 1990's, long before climate fears took center stage. In fact, In 2000, Climate Depot's Executive Editor Marc Morano was producer and correspondent for a documentary debunking the myths about the rainforests. Morano's "Amazon Rainforest: Clear-Cutting the Myths" was greeted with massive controversy. But, just nine years later, the rainforest scare was kaput.

See: Jan. 30, 2009: New York Times: 'Galloping jungle': Farmlands revert back to nature as saving the rainforests becomes 'less urgent' - 'For every acre of rainforest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing'

NYT Excerpt: "Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing's - and much larger swaths of farmland - are reverting back to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings. These new "secondary" forests are emerging in Latin America, Asia and other tropical regions at such a fast pace that the trend has set off a serious debate about whether saving primeval rain forest - an iconic environmental cause - may be less urgent than once thought. By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster. "There is far more forest here than there was 30 years ago," said Ms. Ortega de Wing, 64, who remembers fields of mango trees and banana plants."

Also see: 'Save the trees' more political myth than environmental truth - Jan. 2009. Old eco-scares don't die, they just fade away....

More HERE (See the original for links)

The Hippy Dippy Doomsday Clock

By Alan Caruba

Largely unnoticed was the January 14 announcement by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that they had moved the hands of their imaginary Doomsday Clock back to six minutes from five minutes before the end of the world. Whoopee.

Created in 1945, the clock has been adjusted only eighteen times prior to the latest change. The Bulletin was created in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project. The Clock was introduced in 1947 “to convey both the imagery of apocalypse” at midnight “and “the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion” in a countdown to zero.”

The decisions about the Clock are made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, eighteen of whom are Nobel Prize Laureates. Considering the way elements of the Nobel Prize, particular its Peace Prize, have been totally politicized and degraded with awards to Al Gore, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and most recently to Barack Obama, this latter citation is not encouraging.

Even less encouraging is the utter blindness of the decision in the face of Iran’s long quest to create nuclear weapons with which to threaten the entire Middle East, Israel in particular, Europe via long-range missiles, and America with a nuclear device.

The Bulletin further disgraces itself by combining the threat of nuclear weapons with the thoroughly discredited fraud of “global warming”, now called climate change. The Bulletin made it clear that the geniuses behind it believe that they are encouraged by the pledges of “industrialized and developing countries alike…to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable.”

It just doesn’t get more stupid than that, given the recent UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen that thankfully achieved a big fat nothing and occurred during a blizzard that forced the President and other American delegates to flee before being snowed in or unable to land in the U.S., far across the Atlantic where yet another blizzard was in progress.

Coinciding with the Climate Conference was the revelation that the IPCC’s data was largely falsified by the handful of scientists in control of its reports of global warming doom and gloom. It was and is a Big Fat Lie.

So, the nuclear threat, a real one, and the global warming/climate change threat, an invented one, were addressed with the unalloyed optimism of the Bulletin scientists. They literally managed to ignore all the actual facts regarding both.

Perhaps most astonishing about the January 14 announcement was the “man crush” the Bulletin’s directors have on Barack Obama.

“A key to the new era of cooperation is a change in the U.S. government’s orientation toward international affairs brought about in part by the election of Obama.” The elections of Republican governors in Virginia and New Jersey, in addition to Tuesday’s election of a new, Republican Senator to represent Massachusetts suggests that even the voters of that most liberal State are not nearly as impressed with Obama. The plunging national approval ratings of the President’s performance further confirm this.

Among the comments included in the Bulletin’s announcement were those like Stephen Schneider who said “We can no longer prevent global warming…it is upon us.” No, it’s not. The planet is in a natural cooling cycle that began in 1998. Where Schneider has been since then is anyone’s guess. Perhaps on some other planet!

Others like Pervez Hoodboy of the physics department at a Pakistan university said, “We may be at a turning point, where major powers realize that nuclear weapons are useless for war-fighting or even for deterrence.” Tell that the Supreme Ayatollah of Iran.

What the Bulletin reveals is the way a PhD in a specific and narrow field of endeavor does not qualify a scientist to comment on anything other than his own sliver of expertise and, even then, you better get a second opinion.

Wishful thinking, sloppy indifference to obvious facts and events, and the conviction that their advanced degrees allow them to pontificate on the end of the world is the hallmark of the Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock.

It is time to unplug it and pay attention to what is really happening in the world.



Call for action

The Greens have indicated that they may do a deal with the Labor Party on the Emissions Trading Scheme. If they vote with the Government in the Senate, Labor needs another two votes to pass the legislation.

There is a rumour about that Senator Boyce (Liberal QLD) intends to support the Rudd Government's ETS legislation when it is re-submitted to the Senate. If you are a Queenslander (or even if you're not?), you may consider contacting the Senator to express your opinion.

Keep the pressure up .... politicians only respond when they think the may lose a few votes. Boyce's email address:

There is a Victorian Senator, Judith Troeth, who is also wavering ... her email address:

Green rise in power, fuel costs

VICTORIANS could face higher electricity and petrol prices from July 1 if the Rudd Government adopts a carbon tax proposal by the Greens to break the climate change policy deadlock. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would examine the idea and was open to discussions with all parties.

The Greens called for a $23-a-tonne carbon tax to be introduced for two years. The temporary tax would raise $10 billion a year, of which $5 billion would be paid as compensation to low and middle-income households to shelter them from higher electricity and energy prices.

Industry and small business would get about $2 billion in assistance with $1.2 billion given to help poor countries deal with climate change.

Unlike the Government's plan, petrol would be hit by the tax and it could add about 5c a litre at the pump. Electricity generators would also miss out on compensation, but farming will be excluded.

The plan aims to put the Greens back into the national debate about climate change, after they were effectively sidelined by the Rudd Government last year as it sought to strike a deal with the Coalition's former leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Greens leader Bob Brown said it was urgent and essential that a deal be struck in the short term, to begin the quest to reduce climate change, while a proper plan was worked out for the longer term. "Our job is to help get the climate change bus going again," Senator Brown said.

Mr Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme was blocked by the Senate last year. It faces defeat again when Parliament resumes.


Heeding the political lessons of Glaciergate

Governments must constantly question the science, says the editorial below from "The Australian". Pleasing to welcome the editors of Australia's national daily to the ranks of the climate skeptics

THE UN's admissions on Glaciergate are welcome, but the international body has sustained damage from its sloppiness in reporting climate change data. Its claim to speak as the authority on climate science is reduced now that its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been forced to back down over a claim that some Himalayan glaciers would probably disappear by 2035.

The IPCC's statement yesterday that the "clear and well-established standards of evidence" had not been properly applied to the claim, is an attempt to put the best possible spin on a blunder that has reverberated around the world since it was revealed last weekend. In fact Glaciergate, in large part, is about an extraordinary reliance on a third-hand source - a news story published in New Scientist almost a decade before it was included in the IPCC's fourth assessment report of 2007.

It doesn't get much more humiliating than that for a body that has positioned itself as the global scientific authority on climate change.

Until now, that authority has been acknowledged, with the 2007 report accepted as the underlying framework for discussions at the recent Copenhagen summit. While the limits of the report and the IPCC's processes have been noted, developing and developed countries alike recognise the need for some sort of consensus document if there are to be any workable solutions negotiated at a global level.

That willingness to accept the IPCC's data on climate change - albeit with reservations at times - will be tested now that its reporting methods have been revealed. This is not good news for the planet, given the need for reliable and credible assessments of scientific data on global warming. Also unhelpful is the defensive stance adopted by the IPCC when it argues that the error does not undermine the report's claims of major glacier loss in the Himalayas.

Chairman Rajendra Pachauri would have us believe this is a case of "slipping up on one number", thus ignoring what the error reveals about the culture of the IPCC, a culture that allowed it to rely on a statement from a WWF environmental campaigning document, which in turn relied on the New Scientist interview with a single scientist. The problem was apparently compounded by the inversion of a date in an earlier paper.

Part of the problem is the IPCC's diffuse and complex system of working groups and review processes. While this may be the only practical way of synthesising thousands of research findings from around the globe into an accessible document for world leaders, the modus operandi builds in significant room for error.

As we have noted before, that is fair enough so long as the shortcomings are recognised by policy-makers. But politicians prefer certainties - not caveats - when they make the case for action on climate change to voters.

The real lesson is that our political leaders must continue to question, probe and analyse the evidence before committing to policies with profound consequences. This is not about letting the IPCC off the hook. Nor is is about denying the science. It is about applying a healthy degree of scepticism to scientific claims that drive policy.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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