Saturday, March 06, 2010

Man-made climate change evidence stronger: Claim

I will leave it to skeptical climatologists to make systematic comments on the report below but a few comments from me anyway: The peer-reviewed papers concerned almost certainly are based on data from some years back -- and there have been a lot of changes in recent years that make the conclusions laughable. Take the claim that the Earth is continuing to warm at the rate of about 0.16C a decade. Who knew? That's nowhere in the data for the last 10 years. And even Phil Jones of CRU admits that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. "Not statistically significant" means "so small that it could have been caused by chance alone".

On a more personal note, the claim that more rain is falling in high and low latitudes and less in tropical and sub-tropical regions is really a laugh. I live in the sub-tropics and we are having huge amounts of rain -- with most dams in the region overflowing and rarely seen high levels in those that are not overflowing: "Dams are holding the most water ever recorded in Queensland's history". To sum up the report below in one word: Crap -- JR

EVIDENCE that human activity is causing global warming is much stronger than previously stated and is found in all parts of the world, according to a study that attempts to refute claims from sceptics. The "fingerprints" of human influence on the climate can be detected not just in rising temperatures but in the saltiness of the oceans, rising humidity, changes in rainfall and the shrinking of Arctic Sea ice at the rate of 600,000sq km a decade.

The study, by senior scientists from Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre, the University of Edinburgh, Melbourne University and Victoria University in Canada, concluded that there was an "increasingly remote possibility" that the sceptics were right that human activities were having no discernible impact. There was a less than 5 per cent likelihood that natural variations in climate were responsible for the changes.

The study said that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had understated mankind's overall contribution to climate change. The IPCC had said in 2007 that there was no evidence of warming in the Antarctic. However, the panel said the latest observations showed that man-made emissions were having an impact on even the remotest continent.

The panel assessed more than 100 recent peer-reviewed scientific papers and found that the overwhelming majority had detected clear evidence of human influence on the climate. Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, who led the study, said: "This wealth of evidence we have now shows there is an increasingly remote possibility of climate change being dominated by natural factors rather than human factors."

However, a section of the study that said changes in hurricane activity were poorly understood is likely to be seized on by sceptics, who argue that disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have been falsely blamed on man-made global warming.

Publication of the research in the journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change comes as two inquiries are being held into accusations, based on leaked e-mails, that scientists at Britain's University of East Anglia mani- pulated and suppressed climate data. The study found that since 1980, the average global temperature had increased by about 0.5C (0.9F) and that the Earth was continuing to warm at the rate of about 0.16C a decade.

This trend is reflected in measurements from the oceans. Warmer temperatures had led to more evaporation from the surface, most noticeably in the sub-tropical Atlantic, said Dr Stott. As a result, the sea was getting saltier. Evaporation in turn affected humidity and rainfall. The atmosphere was getting more humid, as climate models had predicted, and amplifying the water cycle. This meant more rain was falling in high and low latitudes and less in tropical and sub-tropical regions.


Climategate: This time it’s NASA

The "Climategate" scandal, which broke in November 2009, revealed what many skeptics had privately suspected. Prominent climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) had collaborated to keep data out of skeptics' hands, subverted the peer review process, and used questionable methods to construct the temperature record on which the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) based its recommendations.

Now a new "Climategate" scandal is emerging, this time based on documents released by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in response to several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suits filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The newly released emails further demonstrate the politicized nature of climate science, revealing a number of questionable practices that cast doubt on the credibility of scientific data provided by NASA.

The emails reveal that GISS, like CRU, has done a poor job of preserving and managing its data. Although there is no evidence that GISS has destroyed its data, as CRU did in the late 1980s, Dr. Reto Ruedy of GISS admits in an email that "[The United States Historical Climate Network] data are not routinely kept up-to-date." In another email, he reveals that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. "[NASA's] assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data… may not have been correct," he says. "Indeed, in 490 of the 1057 stations the USHCN data were up to 1C colder than the corresponding GHCN data, in 77 stations the data were the same, and in the remaining 490 stations the USHCN data were warmer than the GHCN data."

Unfortunately, it seems that the discrepancy privately highlighted by Dr. Ruedy was not coincidental, but part of a broader pattern of misrepresentation on the part of GISS. Between 2002 and 2005, GISS chief James Hansen issued press releases headlined "2005 Warmest Year in a Century;" "2006 was Earth's Fifth Warmest Year;" and "The 2002 meteorological year is the second warmest year in the period of accurate instrumental data." In other words, global warming is happening and that immediate action is necessary.

However, as Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre points out, these releases were inconsistent with other NASA documents that suggest that the warmest year in U.S. history was actually 1934. In response to McIntyre, Hansen emailed Dr. Donald E. Anderson, saying that, "If one wished to be scientific, instead of trying to confuse the public … one should note that single year temperatures for an area as small as the U.S. (2% of the globe) are extremely noisy." In a similar email to Dr. Anderson on August 14, 2007, Hansen described the previously touted temperature "records" as "minor," "negligible," and "less than the uncertainty."

In fact, further corrections revealed by the emails indicate that U.S. temperatures on average had only increased by 0.5 degree Celsius since 1934, rather than 1 degree, as originally claimed.

The released emails from both the University of East Anglia and NASA illustrate how far the "scientific consensus" on climate change has been politicized -- to the point of unreliability. Dependent on an alarmist atmosphere for continued government funding, state-sponsored scientific organizations have a strong incentive to hire ideologically committed partisans.

Taken together, these revelations all show that we actually know much less about the workings of the climate than politicized scientists and advocates like Al Gore say we do. Yet virtually all calls to "action" to prevent climate change are based on the belief that the extent to which greenhouse gases have overwhelmed natural forces in affecting the climate is a settled question.

Despite all this, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is forging ahead with its politically motivated finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare and need to be expensively regulated. Thankfully, as the evidence of the bankruptcy of much of the "settled" climate science continues to accumulate, public outcry may help bring this politically motivated agenda to an end.


Snowball Earth: The real climate change threat

Though hopefully not for a long time. If and when it hapens again it will be a REAL disaster

Earth's glacial cycles have varied dramatically over time; at one point glaciers may have covered nearly the entire planet. Correlating various paleoclimate proxies such as fossil and isotope records from that time hinges on the ability to acquire precise age estimates of rocks deposited around the time of this so-called "Snowball Earth." Macdonald et al. (p. 1241) report new high-precision U-Pb dates of Neoproterozoic strata in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada, to calibrate the timing of carbon isotope variation in rocks from other locations around the globe. Based on the estimated past positions of where these rocks were deposited, glaciers probably extended to equatorial latitudes. The overlap with the survival and, indeed, diversification of some eukaryotes in the fossil record suggests that life survived in localized ecological niches during this global glaciation.


Journal abstract below:

Calibrating the Cryogenian

By Francis A. Macdonald et al.

The Neoproterozoic was an era of great environmental and biological change, but a paucity of direct and precise age constraints on strata from this time has prevented the complete integration of these records. We present four high-precision U-Pb ages for Neoproterozoic rocks in northwestern Canada that constrain large perturbations in the carbon cycle, a major diversification and depletion in the microfossil record, and the onset of the Sturtian glaciation. A volcanic tuff interbedded with Sturtian glacial deposits, dated at 716.5 million years ago, is synchronous with the age of the Franklin large igneous province and paleomagnetic poles that pin Laurentia to an equatorial position. Ice was therefore grounded below sea level at very low paleolatitudes, which implies that the Sturtian glaciation was global in extent.

Science 5 March 2010: Vol. 327. no. 5970, pp. 1241 - 1243

Democrat lawmakers move to restrain EPA on climate change

As climate change legislation stalled in the Senate, the Obama administration noted that it had a workable -- although admittedly unwieldy -- Plan B. If Congress wouldn't cap U.S. emissions, officials said, the Environmental Protection Agency would do it instead. Now, even Plan B may be in trouble.

On Thursday, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill that would put a two-year freeze on the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. His was the latest of various congressional proposals -- from both chambers and both parties -- designed to delay or overturn the EPA's regulations. It is unclear how far Rockefeller's bill will go. Even if it passed, it could face a presidential veto. But environmentalists are worried that the measure could attract moderate Democrats, who are worried, in turn, about driving up the prices of fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

And, in a broader sense, activists are concerned about a loss of momentum for action on climate change. Since the House passed a climate bill last summer, there has been disappointment in Copenhagen, gridlock in the Senate and increased skepticism in opinion polls. Now, some environmentalists say, it turns out the old worst-case scenario -- a crackdown by the EPA as the only option -- might not be as bad as it can get.

Rockefeller's legislation would not affect the EPA's plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. But it would prevent the agency from implementing -- or even doing much work on -- caps on emissions from such "stationary sources" as power plants and factories. Experts say the bill could postpone regulations for as much as four years.

Rockefeller said the two-year delay would allow time for Congress to impose its own rules on emissions and, perhaps, for technological breakthroughs to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels. "Today, we took important action to safeguard jobs, the coal industry and the entire economy," Rockefeller said. West Virginia is a major coal producer. Rockefeller added, "Congress, not the EPA, must be the ideal decision-maker on such a challenging issue."

Oil and mining industries started lobbying for Rockefeller's proposal as soon as it was introduced, although Lou Hayden, a policy analyst for the American Petroleum Institute, said Rockefeller didn't go far enough. Petroleum industry groups have said that higher fuel costs would be a heavy weight on the U.S. economy. "We don't know why [the freeze on EPA authority] isn't made permanent," Hayden said.

Several other Democrats have already signaled their unease about the administration's tackling climate change without explicit congressional approval.


Frog die-off: Don't tell me Warmists got that one wrong too!

Not a single mention of climate change in the report from Australia below: How unusual. A few years ago global warming was the universally acclaimed culprit worldwide

In the world of amphibians, it is the equivalent of finding the Tasmanian tiger. A species of frog presumed extinct for nearly 30 years has turned up in the Southern Tablelands. The yellow-spotted bell frog was once ubiquitous in the northern and southern tablelands of NSW, but was almost wiped out after the chytrid fungus arrived from Africa in the early 1970s.

It was found alive and well in 2008 by government researcher Luke Pearce, who was searching for a native fish, the southern pygmy perch. Instead, he spotted the bell frog, which has distinctive markings on its groin and thighs. But Mr Pearce had to wait until last October before he could return with David Hunter, the threatened species officer of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, to confirm the finding. "We heard this bell frog call," Mr Pearce said. "[We] went down looking for it and actually nearly stepped on it. It was quite amazing. This frog was just waiting there to be found."

In one stretch of stream on a farm in an unspecified part of the Southern Tablelands, an estimated 100 yellow-spotted bell frogs have been found. Six tadpoles have been taken to Taronga Zoo to establish a breeding program. "If it has a predisposition to being resistant to this fungus, as opposed to having site attributes resulting in resistance, that will afford it much greater protection when we start putting it elsewhere," Dr Hunter said.

Michael McFadden, an amphibian keeper at Taronga Zoo, said the fungus had caused the loss of seven frog species in Australia. It was thought to have wiped out two species that have been found in the past few years. In all, almost a quarter of the state's frog species have been affected by the fungus, including 15 threatened varieties such as the green and golden bell frog, the corroboree frog and the spotted tree frog. "Highland species of frogs crashed really hard," he said.

Two years ago, the armoured mist frog of northern Queensland was found after not being seen since the early 1990s. "This is the equivalent of discovering the Tasmanian tiger, in terms of amphibians, in terms of frogs," the NSW Environment Minister, Frank Sartor, said of the latest find


Dozens of ships stuck in Baltic ice

That pesky global warming again!

ABOUT 50 ships, including large ferries carrying thousands of people, are stuck in the ice in the Baltic Sea and many were not likely to be freed for hours. Swedish maritime authorities said the vessels were awaiting help from ice breakers. Two passenger ferries had been freed.

Johny Lindvall of the Swedish Maritime Administration's ice breaker unit said all the six ferries besides one were shuttling passengers between Sweden and Finland, while the Regal Star ferry had been on its way to Estonia. Sweden's TT news agency first reported that the two largest ferries, the Isabella and the Amorella, were in total carrying 2630 passengers, but later revised the number to 1841. The Isabella has been freed, while the Amorella and the Regal Star were among the ferries that are still stuck, Mr Lindvall said.

Viking Line head Jan Kaarstroem told TT that his company's ferries were well equipped to handle ice and that all the passengers were safe.

Two ice breakers are in the area where the ferries are stuck, while a third is on its way after helping commercial vessels further north in the Bay of Bothnia, Mr Lindvall said. That ice breaker “will not get there until midnight at the earliest, so they'll be stuck there until tomorrow morning at least”, he said.

Many of the commercial vessels had got stuck in the narrow Bay of Bothnia, where the ice is thicker, and around the autonomous Aaland islands. All the ferries meanwhile had run into trouble just outside the Stockholm archipelago made up of more than 20,000 islands, Lindvall said. “They got caught outside the archipelago, where there is moving ice. It's hard to navigate,” he said, adding that he had not seen a situation with so many ships stuck at once since the mid-1980s.

Sweden has suffered an unusually harsh winter this year, with temperatures across the country almost continuously lying well below freezing since December. And with gusting, freezing winds whipping the Baltic over the past week, it was easy for ships to get stuck, Mr Lindvall said.

The large ferries are equipped to break their way through the thin layers of ice that often cover parts of the Baltic they traffic. That is perhaps why a number of them decided to ignore a warning the Swedish Maritime Administration had issued this week, according to Ulf Gullne, also of the administration's ice breaker unit. “The problem is that these big ferries think they can handle the ice. They have extremely powerful engines, but in this case the ice was simply too difficult for them,” he told Swedish public radio.

But Viking Line head Kaarstroem told TT the Amorella and the Isabella had already left port when the ice warning came.

SOURCE (Update: All the ships have now been freed)


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