Monday, March 29, 2010

Meet Mr Forbush

"Forbush decreases" are probably getting a bit technical for many readers of this blog but they refer to short periods (a few days) when the earth is hit by fewer cosmic rays (no relation to me) than usual. And why is that important? Because Svensmark has shown that cosmic ray fluctuations affect cloud formation and hence global warming. Clouds are a major influence on the temperature underneath them.

So whether cloud cover varies during Forbush events would seem to be a good test of Svensmark's theory. A recent German paper has claimed that Forbush events did NOT influence cloud cover so therefore Svensmark is wrong.

I have not yet seen any comment from skeptics on the paper concerned so I think I might say a word or two until more expert heads than mine get to work.

Basically, the paper seems pretty silly. They sent an aircraft up to observe the cloud cover over just a few areas of central Europe. But it is GLOBAL data that is needed to test the theory. Local weather influences can easily swamp small effects from cosmic rays -- and it is small effects that the Warmists are talking about. Their "hockey stick" graphs (for instance) are normally scaled in tenths of one degree.

Lubos Motl had some sage words about Forbush events last year.

Private British weather forecasters reject global warming

The brief below is from "Positive Weather Solutions". PWS has a much better record at forecasting than does the official British Met office, who are keen global warmers

PWS are of the firm belief that global warming is cyclical, and there is no substantial, conclusive evidence, to back up the statement that we are heading towards a 'runaway climate' scenario.

There is significant evidence to suggest the our climate is dominated by cyclical patterns.

The graph depicts analysis of tree ring data taken from 12 locations in the northern hemisphere, and despite challenges to it from some quarters, it remains in the belief of PWS, solid evidence of a cyclical pattern in weather, and furthermore, shows that humans and their related events in history do indeed coincide with variances. Even if the ring data as some suggest actually suggests cooling where there is warming, this too remains a variance, and not an over all definitive trend.

There is also a noticeable blip in the argument for climate change during the period from around 5000 - 3000 BC, known as the 'climatic optimum', where temperatures were even warmer than the allegedly runaway climate temperatures of the future, that we're supposed to be seeing if global warming were true.

Furthermore, the most reliable form of temperature measurement are satellite readings taken from the Earth's lower troposphere, and these show no apparent global warming over the last quarter of a century. Land based temperature readings are distorted, because of human influence, industry etc.

In conclusion, there have been three noticeable trend indicators in history as we understand it. The 'Medieval Climate Anomaly'; 'The Little Ice Age', and 'The Industrial Era', which have all 'affected' the climate. However, nature and the Earth in general has re balanced affairs as it ages, and whereas man has had an influence on the climate, there remains no outright conclusive evidence that within the next hundred year or so, temperatures will continue to climb and even if they do, they will plateau out, and cool down again.


How government cash created the Climategate scandal

By Andrew Bolt

Australian climate scientist policy analyst Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen tells the British parliamentary inquiry into Climategate just how much global warming science is corrupted by politics and money. Excerpts:
I was peer reviewer for IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)… Since 1998 I have been the editor of the journal, Energy & Environment (E&E) published by Multi-science, where I published my first papers on the IPCC. I interpreted the IPCC “consensus” as politically created in order to support energy technology and scientific agendas that in essence pre-existed the “warming-as -man-made catastrophe alarm."…

3.2 Scientific research as advocacy for an agenda (a coalition of interests, not a conspiracy,) was presented to the public and governments as protection of the planet… CRU, working for the UK government and hence the IPCC, was expected to support the hypothesis of man-made, dangerous warming caused by carbon dioxide, a hypothesis it had helped to formulate in the late 1980s…

3.3 ... In persuading policy makers and the public of this danger, the “hockey stick” became a major tool of persuasion, giving CRU a major role in the policy process at the national, EU and international level. This led to the growing politicisation of science in the interest, allegedly, of protecting the “the environment” and the planet. I observed and documented this phenomenon as the UK Government, European Commission, and World Bank increasingly needed the climate threat to justify their anti-carbon (and pro-nuclear) policies. In return climate science was generously funded and required to support rather than to question these policy objectives… Opponents were gradually starved of research opportunities or persuaded into silence. The apparent “scientific consensus” thus generated became a major tool of public persuasion…

4.1 ...  As editor of a journal which remained open to scientists who challenged the orthodoxy, I became the target of a number of CRU manoeuvres. The hacked emails revealed attempts to manipulate peer review to E&E’s disadvantage, and showed that libel threats were considered against its editorial team…

4.4 Most recently CRU alleged that I had interfered “maliciously” with their busy grant-related schedules, by sending an email to the UKCIP (Climate Impact Programme) advising caution in the use of CRU data for regional planning purposes. This was clearly reported to [CRU head Phil] Jones who contacted my Head of Department, suggesting that he needed to reconsider the association of E&E with Hull University. Professor Graham Haughton, while expressing his own disagreement with my views, nevertheless upheld the principle of academic freedom…

4.5 The emails I have read are evidence of a close and protective collaboration between CRU, the Hadley Centre, and several US research bodies such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where former CRU students had found employment. Together they formed an important group inside IPCC Working Group 1, the science group…

The CRU case is not unique. Recent exposures have taken the lid off similar issues in the USA, the Netherlands, Australia, and possibly in Germany and Canada… It is at least arguable that the real culprit is the theme- and project-based research funding system put in place in the 1980s and subsequently strengthened and tightened in the name of “policy relevance”. This system, in making research funding conditional on demonstrating such relevance, has encouraged close ties with central Government bureaucracy. Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Government Departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want. It becomes hazardous to speak truth to power…

Postglacial climatic history is by no means well understood and the human contributions cannot yet be assessed.


Boehmer-Christiansen responds to comments below. Yes, she is indeed Australian, but no, she is not a climate scientist but a climate policy analyst. Moreover:
What fun to read so much about oneself!

For your info: I was 16 years old when I arrived in Adelaide from Germany; now I have two passports: one Australian and one British. I use both. Most of my family live in Australia and my children have dual nationality but live in the UK. My mother died last year in Adelaide and I did some research on Australian climate policy at Adelaide Uni during the 1990s. My husband Peter Christiansen was a space physicist who died very young in the UK but wanted to go back; my father-in-law is a very famous Australian radio-astronomer, look him up (Prof.W N Christiansen). Ted Hill was also a relative…

You all missed the most important points: my 7 or so years as research fellow at SPRU (Science Policy Research Unit) working with energy economists and emission modellers, and my research fellowship (3 years) to study the science and politics of the IPCC. I interviewed many climate scientists, read much by them but would not call myself a climate scientist. At Hull I taught environmental policy and politics. I know enough about climate science, however, to know what is not known.

My political agenda? a) To demonstrate that the sciences (a group of competing globalised institutions in need of grants - climate science needs a lot of money), are themselves a major political actor in the politics of climate change. Its managers are not adverse to a little corruption.

And b) to give climate sceptics a voice because I did not trust what emerged from the IPCC’s policy-makers summaries. The IPCC was only asked to study man-made climate change (but can’t distinguish from natural change, as yet), and to serve a treaty that had already decided what and who was to blame.

And E&E;is back on-line, is peer reviewed and took up the cause of climate scepticism because of its importance for energy policy. I believe but cannot prove that we are observing energy interest (not carbon based) ‘driving’ the science, not vice versa. Do have a closer look as IPCC working group 3.


Federal Climate Change Programs: Funding History and Policy Issues

Excerpt below from a report by the Congressional Budget Office shows the huge U.S. Federal funding that Warmists have received. ANY funding received by skeptics is the merest trifle by comparison

In recent years, the federal government has allocated several billion dollars annually for projects to expand the understanding of climate change or to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

Most of that spending is done by the Department of Energy (DOE) and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), although a dozen other federal agencies also participate. The work is coordinated by committees in the Executive Office of the President.

Successive Administrations have tracked the funding of climate change programs and the cost of tax incentives related to climate change through what is sometimes called the “climate change budget.” That budget typically has included federal efforts in several categories:

Technology programs that develop, demonstrate, and deploy new products or processes to reduce GHG emissions;

Scientific research directed toward explaining the processes of climate change and monitoring the global climate;

Assistance to other countries as they work to reduce GHG emissions; and

Tax incentives that encourage businesses and households to adopt technologies that curtail the use of fossil fuels and reduce GHG emissions.

Funding for Federal Climate Change Programs

From 1998 to 2009, appropriations for agencies’ work related to climate change totaled about $99 billion (in 2009 dollars); more than a third of that sum was provided in fiscal year 2009.

In addition, climate-related tax preferences reduced tax revenues, by a much smaller amount, from what would have been collected in their absence. For most of that period, federal resources devoted to examining and mitigating climate change grew slowly and unevenly when adjusted for inflation.

Regular annual appropriations rose from $4.0 billion in 1998 (measured in 2009 dollars) to $7.5 billion in 2009. During that period, the nation’s commitment to climate-related technology development increased significantly, as has the forgone revenue attributable to tax preferences.


Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply

Has the Journal of Geophysical Research been coerced into defending the climate alarmist faith?

Science is best progressed by open and free discussion in which all participants have equal rights of contribution. This is especially the case when a scientific issue is related to a matter of high public controversy - such as the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming.

In July 2009 we published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) in which we described the results of comparing global atmospheric temperature since 1958 with variations in the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climatic framework. Our analysis supported earlier research that demonstrates a close link between these factors, and indicated that a large portion of the variability in global temperature is explained by ENSO variation, thus leaving little room for a substantial human influence on temperature.

On November 20, a newly appointed, replacement JGR editor informed us that a group of scientists led by Grant Foster (aka Tamino) had submitted a critique of our paper for publication in JGR. To which a reviewer responded “But as it is written, the current paper [Foster et al. draft critique] almost stoops to the level of “blog diatribe”. The current paper does not read like a peer-reviewed journal article. The tone is sometimes dramatic and sometimes accusatory. It is inconsistent with the language one normally encounters in the objectively-based, peer-reviewed literature.” Anonymous referee of the Foster et al. critique, September 28, 2009.

We were invited to write a response, which we did, submitting it to JGR on January 14, 2010.

On March 16, the replacement editor contacted us again. He included three referees’ reports, and indicated that on the advice of these referees he was rejecting our response to the Foster et al. critique, and that the response would therefore not be published in JGR.

The practice of editorial rejection of the authors’ response to criticism is unprecedented in our experience. It is surprising because it amounts to the editorial usurping of the right of authors to defend their paper and deprives readers from hearing all sides of a scientific discussion before they make up their own minds on an issue. It is declaring that the journal editor - or the reviewers to whom he defers - will decide if authors can defend papers that have already been positively reviewed and been published by that same journal. Such an attitude is the antithesis of productive scientific discussion.


The High Cost of Environmentalism

In Los Angeles, in the heart of California’s anemic economy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Department of Water and Power (DWP) hope to massively raise energy rates by a whopping 21% next year, with other rate increases slated through 2014, for a total 37% hike.

Are the increased rates intended to pay for a budget shortfall? No. Are they going up because the cost of energy is going up, too? Not exclusively. The increased rates would raise money to “invest” in renewable energy. In fact, Villaraigosa thought the hike was so important that he invited former Vice President Al Gore to present at the city council meeting via satellite.

The good news is that some common sense remains in the L.A. city council chambers, and the rate increase has not yet been implemented.

With unemployment at 12.5% in California, it would seem like now is the worst possible time for a rate hike. That fact, though, will not stop the environmental left. They will stop at nothing to make sure people can’t afford essential things like electricity and heating oil, all in the name of unconfirmed science.

Consumers aren’t the only ones who would take a hit under the plan. Villaraigosa also proposed a 22% rate increase for businesses and tried to hide the rate increases under the fa├žade of creating 18,000 jobs His arguments fell on deaf ears at the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, where they voted against his proposal saying “They’re just making those [jobs] up.”

It is just another costly tax increase that threatens to kill whatever growth there is in the stagnated economy. There is some good news though. Not many council members are in favor of the plan, and those that are say the extra money should go toward improving the DWP. Councilman Paul Krekorian said the plan was “an extraordinary burden on our homeowners and businesses” and “unacceptable.”

It is a telling sign that even in a place as liberal as Los Angeles, there is as much opposition to a progressive “green jobs” initiative as there is in this case. It just might be another indicator of the growing skepticism about global warming. Not even the presence of former Vice President Al Gore was enough to sway council members to pass a tax that would lead to more unemployment, more people unable to pay bills, and would worsen the recession in a state that is floundering.



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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