Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Warmist lies

No mention in the scary rubbish below that there has been a slow sea level rise ever since the last ice age. No mention that it has stopped in recent years. No mention that the Arctic sea ice is now recovering from its recent low. No mention that most of Greenland is so far below zero that none of the projected temperature rises would melt much of it. No mention that Glacial modeler Faezeh Nick of Durham University in the UK and her colleagues concluded that “Our results imply that the recent rates of mass loss in Greenland's outlet glaciers are transient and should not be extrapolated into the future” No mention that the latest research, just published in Nature Geoscience, suggests that the rise in hurricane frequency since 1995 was just part of a natural cycle, and that several similar previous increases have been recorded, each followed by a decline ... etc. etc...

New scientific data says the sea is rising faster than anyone thought and under worst-case scenarios, much of Miami and South Florida could be under water by the end of the century, unless drastic measures are taken soon.

Some of the world’s leading experts on Arctic climate change are meeting in Miami this week to share the newest science and plot the course for future science. What does the Arctic have to do with Miami? Everything. Just ask Lester Hernandez. He and his family live several miles from the beach. But new scientific projections of accelerating sea level rise say, within our lifetime, hurricane storm surges could reach his neighborhood and nearly all neighborhoods east of I-95. "To tell you the truth,” said Hernandez as he strolled on the sidewalk in his South Dade neighborhood, “I wouldn't have imagined it."

The challenge is this: the cause of this slow, insidious rise in the sea level is coming from thousands of miles away at the Greenland ice sheet. Additionally, new data says the polar ice cap will be completely without ice during a summer within a few years, which compounds the problem under the Florida sunshine.

That is the heavy burden carried by the world’s top Arctic scientists studying the worsening crisis at the top of the world. So it's entirely relevant that they came to Miami, which lies only feet above sea level.

"So the combination of heavier development on the coast and rising sea levels coupled with hurricanes,” said University of Miami Rosensteil oceanographer David Kadko, “Even if they were not more destructive - and there are arguments that they will be more destructive because of climate change - will cause huge amounts of destruction of property and, of course, our insurance rates will go up."

It's not just storm surge from hurricanes that threaten South Florida. Climate change here already means more diseases from insects, more acidic oceans that threaten our seafood, dying coral reefs, salt-tainted drinking water, extreme weather events, more polluted coastlines, more expensive food, and should the gulfstream shift as some experts fear, Florida’s famous subtropical climate will change.


If we had some global warming....

Warmists are the sort of cargo cultists that eminent physicist Richard Feynman foresaw

Feynman was a winner of the Albert Einstein Award, the Niels Bohr International Gold Medal, and the Nobel prize. Famous for his unusual life style, his books and lectures on mathematics and physics remain popular to this day. His entertaining book, Surely you're joking Mr Feynman, painted a picture of a brilliant, complex yet charmingly mischievous man. He was a prankster, juggler, safe-cracker and bongo player. With an almost compulsive need to solve puzzles it seems logical that he became one of the leading Physicists of the 20th century.

Dr. Julian Schwinger described him as “an honest man, the outstanding intuitionist of our age, and a prime example of what may lie in store for anyone who dares to follow the beat of a different drum.” Often the drum was played by Feynman himself.

Impatient with pretension and hypocrisy, he had a talent for one-upsmanship and loved to be the center of attention—particularly if the attention was from a beautiful woman. Though lighthearted by nature his criticism could be devastating. During the investigation of the 1986 Challenger disaster, when interviews of high-ranking NASA managers revealed startling misunderstandings of elementary concepts, he bluntly pronounced their safety assessments unrealistic.

In 1974 Feynman gave the commencement address at Caltech, a speech that was later captured in an essay entitled “Cargo Cult Science.” In it, Feynman expressed his concern that, even though we live in an age of scientific wonders, people still believe in all sorts of irrational, mystical gibberish. More than that, he worried about falling standards among those who work in the sciences. The heart of the talk centered on what Feynman termed “Cargo Cult Science.” Feynman explains:
In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas—he's the controller—and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land.

Feynman goes on to cite numerous examples of bad science and illogical thinking, and in doing so explains what it means to be an ethical, honest scientist. In this age where climate scientists are embroiled in public scandal, it is instructive to compare the actions of the CRU crew and others so recently in the news with Feynman's ethical standards. For those not following the Climategate scandal, a number of prominent climate change alarmists were caught out withholding and ultimately destroying climate data rather than letting critics review the data themselves. Here is what Feynman said about such shenanigans:
[T]here is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school—we never explicitly say what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

It is sad to think that this lesson, which Feynman hoped young scientists would learn in school or by example, has been forgotten by climate scientists whose research could potentially impact the well-being and livelihood of every person on Earth. Feynman continued his explanation of a scientist's responsibility:
Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

Feynman summarized it this way: “the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” Yet, the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit breached Britain's Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming. In one email, Dr. Phil Jones, the Climate Research Unit's director, asked a colleague to delete emails relating to the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Were Professor Jones and his associates not in class the day scientific integrity was discussed? In America the track record is no better. Michael Mann, one of the recipients of the scandal causing emails, was already notorious for refusing to release data and details regarding his work on the infamous “hockey stick” climate graph. But climate science's problems do not end with failure to disclose data, methods and correspondence.

Cargo Cult Climate Science

The most insidious part of what I have labeled Cargo Cult Climate Science is the willingness of global warming extremists to accept as true statements that can be proven false with even cursory investigation. Witness the uncritical acceptance of the claim that Himalayan glaciers would vanish by 2035, a claim based on unsubstantiated reports in a news magazine that was folded into the IPCC's own report without verification. Not only was this claim false, when it was challenged by Vijay Kumar Raina and a number of glaciologists from around the world, the IPCC, led by the highly excitable Rajendra Pachauri, vociferously defended the indefensible while hurling personal attacks at their critics.

The extended series of faux pas from climate scientists and IPCC officials have finally caused enough damage that public trust in science is wavering. According to a new Gallup poll, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997. The percentage of Americans who believe that global warming is going to affect them or their way of life during their lifetimes has dropped to 32% from a high point of 40% in 2008. Two-thirds of Americans now say global warming will not affect them in their lifetimes.

Gallup noted that the public opinion tide turned in 2009, when several measures showed a slight retreat in public concern about global warming. This year, the downturn is even more pronounced. In 2003, 61% of Americans said increases in the Earth's temperature over the last century were due to human activities while 33% said they were due to natural changes in the environment. Now, a significantly diminished 50% say temperature increases are due to human activities, and 46% say they are not.

The rapid decline of public confidence in global warming has sent a chill through scientific circles. In an editorial in the February 19, 2010, issue of Science, Peter Agre, president of AAAS, and Alan Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS and Science's executive publisher, attempted to calm the nervous scientific community. Here are Agre and Leshner trying to tame the tempest:
Inappropriate behavior by scientists also weakens the bridge between science and society, at times to a degree out of proportion to the incidents. Widely publicized examples of scientific misconduct, or even mere accusations of misconduct, can tarnish the image and diminish the credibility of the entire scientific enterprise. Likewise, undisclosed conflicts of interest, whether real or apparent, can call into question the integrity of the whole scientific community. Scientists also jeopardize the credibility of science by overinterpreting or misstating scientific facts. Recent examples include misinformation on the prospects of Himalayan glaciers and the effects of climate change there, and newly discovered problems with a 1998 report linking vaccines to autism.

This lame apology is as close as the scientific establishment can come to admitting that climate science has been playing fast and loose with the facts and that a number of its investigators are ethically challenged. Things have been blown “out of proportion” and some are even “mere accusations” of misconduct. They also tacked on the admonition that “scientists should not tolerate threats to the integrity of science, whether they come from outside the scientific community or from within it.” I guess those threatening the integrity of science from the outside are all those despicable deniers.

Grow up gentlemen, science has fouled its own nest. Climate science by doing shoddy work and science in general by providing the miscreants with unconditional support until the public outcry grew too loud to ignore. And if conflict of interest was the yardstick the IPCC's Pachauri would be long gone by now. But Pachauri is only a side show.

At the center of the IPCC's problem is that they choose to believe a scientific theory that is based on incomplete understanding—that human generated CO2 is responsible for global warming. Not only has it become clear that CO2 is not the primary driver of climate change but claim after claim, prediction after prediction made by the warmists has failed to come true—the planes don't land.

AGW cultists waiting for some global warming to arrive.

Like the cargo cultists, the AGW cult has confused cause and effect. Higher atmospheric CO2 levels do occur naturally as climate warms, but it has always been a result of the warming, a contributing factor, not the principal cause of the warming.


One Warmist who seems to have some integrity

Judith Curry heads the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Some excerpts from an interview with her below

Q. Where do you come down on the whole subject of uncertainty in the climate science?

A. I’m very concerned about the way uncertainty is being treated. The IPCC [the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] took a shortcut on the actual scientific uncertainty analysis on a lot of the issues, particularly the temperature records.

Q. Don’t individual studies do uncertainty analysis?

A. Not as much as they should. It’s a weakness. When you have two data sets that disagree, often nobody digs in to figure out all the different sources of uncertainty in the different analysis. Once you do that, you can identify mistakes or determine how significant a certain data set is.

Q. Is this a case of politics getting in the way of science?

A. No. It’s sloppiness. It’s just how our field has evolved. One of the things that McIntyre and McKitrick pointed out was that a lot of the statistical methods used in our field are sloppy. We have trends for which we don’t even give a confidence interval. The IPCC concluded that most of the warming of the latter 20th century was very likely caused by humans. Well, as far as I know, that conclusion was mostly a negotiation, in terms of calling it “likely” or “very likely.” Exactly what does “most” mean? What percentage of the warming are we actually talking about? More than 50 percent? A number greater than 50 percent?

Q. Are you saying that the scientific community, through the IPCC, is asking the world to restructure its entire mode of producing and consuming energy and yet hasn’t done a scientific uncertainty analysis?

A. Yes. The IPCC itself doesn’t recommend policies or whatever; they just do an assessment of the science. But it’s sort of framed in the context of the UNFCCC [the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change]. That’s who they work for, basically. The UNFCCC has a particular policy agenda—Kyoto, Copenhagen, cap-and-trade, and all that—so the questions that they pose at the IPCC have been framed in terms of the UNFCCC agenda. That’s caused a narrowing of the kind of things the IPCC focuses on. It’s not a policy-free assessment of the science. That actually torques the science in certain directions, because a lot of people are doing research specifically targeted at issues of relevance to the IPCC. Scientists want to see their papers quoted in the IPCC report.

Q. You’ve talked about potential distortions of temperature measurements from natural temperature cycles in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and from changes in the way land is used. How does that work?

A. Land use changes the temperature quite a bit in complex ways—everything from cutting down forests or changing agriculture to building up cities and creating air pollution. All of these have big impacts on regional surface temperature, which isn’t always accounted for adequately, in my opinion. The other issue is these big ocean oscillations, like the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and particularly, how these influenced temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century. I think there was a big bump at the end of the 20th century, especially starting in the mid-1990s. We got a big bump from going into the warm phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation was warm until about 2002. Now we’re in the cool phase. This is probably why we’ve seen a leveling-off [of global average temperatures] in the past five or so years. My point is that at the end of the 1980s and in the ’90s, both of the ocean oscillations were chiming in together to give some extra warmth.

If you go back to the 1930s and ’40s, you see a similar bump in the temperature records. That was the bump that some of those climate scientists were trying to get rid of [in the temperature data], but it was a real bump, and I think it was associated with these ocean oscillations. That was another period when you had the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation chiming in together. These oscillations and how they influence global temperature haven’t received enough attention, and it’s an important part of how we interpret 20th-century climate records. Rather than trying to airbrush this bump in the 1940s and trying to get rid of the medieval warm period—which these hacked e-mails illustrate—we need to understand them.

They don’t disprove anthropogenic global warming, but we can’t airbrush them away. We need to incorporate them into the overall story. We had two bumps—in the ’90s and also in the ’30s and ’40s—that may have had the same cause. So we may have exaggerated the trend in the later half of the 20th century by not adequately interpreting these bumps from the ocean oscillations. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just saying that’s what it looks like.

Q. So where does climate research go from here?

A. I personally don’t support cap-and-trade. It makes economic sense but not political sense. You’re just going to see all the loopholes and the offsets. I think you’re going to see a massive redistribution of wealth to Wall Street, and we’re not going to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need a massive investment in technology. We do need to help the developing world that is most vulnerable now to the impacts of climate variability, not even the stuff that’s related to carbon dioxide. There are a lot of things going on—floods, hurricanes, droughts, and whatever—that can’t even be attributed to global warming right now. By reducing the vulnerability of the developing world to these extreme events, we’ll have gone a long way to helping them adapt to the more serious things that might come about from global warming.

Q. Do you think the IPCC is going to have a reduced role?

A. If they are going to continue to be relevant, they need to tighten up their act in terms of making the process more open and transparent. How do you actually get to be a lead author of the IPCC? I have no idea who actually makes those selections. Things like that. All the data sets need to be out there and available and documented, so we don’t have these issues that we ran into with the hacked e-mails. The UNFCCC has become a big free-for-all. The G20, or some other group of nations, is where you’re going see the action.

Q. Do you subscribe to the argument that today’s climate models are crude and need to be taken with a grain of salt?

A. No, I think the climate models are becoming quite sophisticated. We learn a lot from the simulations. But you have to keep in mind that these are scenario simulations. They’re not really forecasts. They don’t know what the volcano eruptions are going to be. They don’t know what the exact solar cycles are going to be. There will be a whole host of forcing uncertainties in the 21st century that we don’t know.

Q. You’ve said that climatologists should listen more to bloggers. That’s surprising to hear, coming from a scientist.

There are a lot of people with Ph.D.s in physics or chemistry who become interested in the climate change story, read the literature, and follow the blogs—and they’re unconvinced by our arguments. There are statisticians, like McIntyre, who have gotten interested in the climate change issue. McIntyre does not have a Ph.D. He does not have a university appointment. But he’s made an important contribution, starting with criticism of the hockey stick. There’s a Russian biophysicist I communicate with who is not a climate researcher, but she has good ideas. She should be encouraged to pursue them. If the argument is good, wherever it comes from, we should look at it...


Zamboni Baloney

Zamboni makes the ice-resurfacing carts that are a familiar sight at any hockey game, and also at any number of Winter Olympics — Turin, Salt Lake, Nagano, and way back into the past. But the company has been frosted out at Vancouver. Instead, the ice resurfacing is being done by what are called “electric Zambonis.” “Zamboni” is a bit like “Hoover” and “Aspirin” — it’s become a generic term — and it turns out the “electric Zambonis” are not Zambonis at all, but are manufactured by a company called Resurfice that landed the contract because the Vancouver organizers were determined that 2010 should be the “Green Olympics.”

In the men’s 500-meter speed skating at Richmond, all three of Resurfice’s “electric Zambonis” brought on to smooth out the ice failed. If anything, they made the ruts and bumps worse. It looked like one of those Obama-stimulus scarified repaving jobs out there. Those of us who do a little backwoods skating on North Country ponds and lakes know the damage you can do to yourself hitting a ridge even at low speed. So you don’t want to run into one at 40 miles per hour. The cameras and microphones caught furious coaches from everywhere from the Netherlands to China expressing their disgust to officials at the amateur ishness of the Vancouver organizers. The event was delayed, and the American skater Shani Davis eventually withdrew, not wanting to jeopardize his chances of a gold in the 1,000 meters by taking a spill on the 500 meters’ scarified ice. You train for years, you build your entire life to this one moment, and then the politically correct eco-gimmick screws you over. Officials attempted to reassure coaches and skaters that a non-electric Zamboni would be flown in from Calgary to prevent further delays.

Still, at least nobody’s dead. In Australia, the Labor government, eager to flaunt its green credentials, instituted a nationwide environmentally friendly roof-insulation program using energy-efficient foil insulation. It certainly reduces the carbon footprint of many Aussies’ homes: At the time of writing, 172 of them have burned down. It reduces your personal carbon footprint, too: Four installers of the foil have been fatally electrocuted. As the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair noted, the foil-insulation program has a higher fatality rate than Oz forces in Afghanistan. And, if the electrician survives long enough to get the installation completed, the good news is that, unlike the electric Zamboni, the electric attic always has plenty of juice: Colin Brierley had the foil insulation put into his Gold Coast home and was electrocuted a week later. The environmentally friendly electric shock entered through his knees, exited from his head, and led to a nice stay in hospital in an induced coma.

Australians are not happy to discover their ceilings double as the Bride of Frankenstein’s recharge slab. Having belatedly canceled the program, Peter Garrett, the environment minister, is nevertheless insistent that he bears no responsibility for the burnt-out rubble and charred citizenry.

He is a celebrity politician, formerly the lead singer of the rock band Midnight Oil, but he has no intention of getting burned by what they’re calling “Midnight Foil.” As Australia’s deputy prime minister, Julia Gillard, breezily told a TV interviewer, “Peter Garrett can’t be in every roof in this country as insulation is being installed.”

They never are, are they? Likewise, the European Union grandees and eco-poseurs of the U.S. Congress who mandated sudden, transformative increases in “biofuel” production and at a stroke turned the food supply into part of the energy industry and made grain more lucrative as fuel than as sustenance weren’t there in Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Mexico, and even Italy when the food riots broke out. Nor was Al Gore able to be up there on every one of California’s 14,000 abandoned wind turbines. They’re not entirely useless, not if you’re an ornithosadist who enjoys seeing our feathered friends sliced and diced by the Condor Cuisinarts.

These are the “green jobs” that Barack Obama says will both save the planet and revitalize the economy: electric Zambo nis, foil insulation, wind turbines, corn-powered cars. They will put America back on the cutting edge. In reality, like the spiked cutting edges of the electric ice resurfacer, they’ll leave the economy full of artificial speed bumps that, when not actually sending you crashing to the ground, will make it harder and harder ever to get going. The Germans subsidize “green jobs” in the wind-power industry to just shy of a quarter million dollars per worker per year. The Spanish government pays $800,000 for every “green job” on a solar-panel assembly line. This money is taken from real workers with real jobs at real businesses whose growth is being squashed to divert funds to endeavors that have no rationale other than their government subsidies. As the Spanish are discovering, this model is not (le mot juste) sustainable. In the meantime, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, piles up his lucrative corporate-consulting contracts, and Al Gore is on course to become the world’s first carbon-credit billionaire.

At Copenhagen, Europe attempted to do to the developed world’s entire economy what Peter Garrett’s foil insulation did to poor old Colin Brierley of Windaroo in the Gold Coast. They were stopped only by Brazil, China, and India, three countries with more conventional (i.e., non-suicidal) concepts of national interest. It took the Chinese Politburo to prevent the Western world’s hurling itself into the blades of a Condor Cuisinart. It’s hard not to conclude that many of our ruling elites are in the grip of a mass psychosis — and at this stage, even Aussie-style electroshock therapy may not work.


Is there any unmassaged climate data out there?

This is yet another example of things that don’t add up in the world of GISS temperatures in Australia. Previously, we’ve discussed Gladstone and Darwin.

Ken Stewart has been doing some homework, and you can see all the graphs on his blog. Essentially, the Bureau of Met in Australia provides data for Mt. Isa that shows a warming trend of about 0.5 degrees of warming over a century. GISS takes this, adjusts it carefully to “homogenize urban data with rural data”, and gets an answer of 1.1 degrees. (Ironically among other things, “homogenisation” is supposed to compensate for the Urban Heat Island Effect, which would artificially inflate the trend in urban centers.)
To give you an idea of scale, the nearest station is at Cloncurry, 106km east (where a flat trend of 0.05 or so appears in the graph). But, there are other trends that are warmer in other stations. Averaging the five nearest rural stations gives about 0.6 degrees; averaging the nearest ten stations gives between 0.6 and 0.88 degrees.

Mt Isa and surrounds with temperatures
Mt Isa and surrounds with temperature trends
But, they increase the slope of the trendline from less than 0.5 to more than1.1 degrees Celsius per 102 years by lowering the earlier data by 0.3C. They say they do this because they homogenise urban data for discontinuities caused by station shifts, Urban Heat Island (UHI), etc., by their stated method: “…[U]rban stations are adjusted so that their long-term trend matches that of the mean of neighboring rural stations. Urban stations without nearby rural stations are dropped.” (

The Mt Isa Graph

The Giss (red) line shows a steeper warming trend, because earlier data is adjusted down.

But in the end, the temperatures don’t fit linear trends very well. In Bourketown, for example, there was a rise, but it was mostly during 1945 – 1988, and in the last twenty years, as Ken points out, there has been a significant fall.

Burketown 327km north east

By themselves, these minor revisions wouldn’t be worth getting excited about, but the fact that they keep occurring and that they are so blatant and always in a warmer direction surely becomes too many nails in the coffin.

One can only assume that the people “adjusting” never thought anybody would check. And if billions of dollars were not on the table, probably nobody would have.

Thanks to Ken Stewart for his dedication.



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