Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Regarding "A Crack in the Code: Why software fails in scientific research, and how to fix it"

The above introduces an interesting discussion about why computer programs used in science are unreliable. I am not competent to comment at that technical level, but there is a more fundamental problem: computer models are being used for purposes beyond their competence, because science is intruding into areas beyond its competence. Modern science began when men suspected that some things might have a scientific explanation.

Surprisingly, this radical idea turned out to be true; and it has transformed the world in many ways. But modern modern scientists insist that everything has a scientific explanation. This preposterous idea is destroying all the previous advances of science. Modern science modestly limited itself to hypotheses which could be proved or disproved by scientific method; modern modern scientists feel entitled, and even obligated, to speak authoritatively to every question, including those hypotheses which cannot be tested by scientific method. We are returning to the "science" of medieval times, when the truth of a proposition was judged according to the fervent earnestness of its advocates.

The great physicist John von Neumann once disposed of a mathematical argument by saying, "With four adjustable parameters, I can fit an elephant; with five I can wiggle his trunk." When a mathematical model has as many adjustable parameters as computer climate models have, those parameters can be arbitrarily adjusted to "prove" any conceivable hypothesis. When a climate scientist says that he can eliminate natural causes as a possible explanation for observed climate change, he demonstrates breath-taking incompetence and/or breath-taking dishonesty. It is mathematically and scientifically impossible to make such a determination. The only legitimate application for such models is blind pattern recognition, by which I mean recognition of recurring patterns without understanding the underlying causes.

1) Adjust your parameters until the model matches past data; 2) test the model against future data, and refine it; 3) continue testing and refining until the model produces accurate predictions. Nobody at the IPCC is doing that. They adjust the parameters and the data to match the global warming hypothesis. That is why none of these climate models has yet made its first successful prediction.

Blind pattern recognition is not rigorous science. It has proven remarkably successful at predicting the behavior of financial markets; but any competent and honest economist will tell you, Do not bet any money that you cannot afford to lose. Your financial nest egg should be invested in a diverse array of assets designed to survive any conceivable economic event. No one can predict the stock market, and no one can predict the climate.

The uncertainties in climate data are so large that climate science is useless for policy analysis. Even if the data could be measured precisely, the uncertainties in the science and mathematics are so large that it would still be useless. When a climate scientist presumes to make radical policy recommendations based on computer models, we must add breath-taking arrogance to his aforementioned list of virtues. He seats himself on the very throne of God.

The above is an email from DuPree Moore []

Russians Debunk Permafrost Scam

Siberia not melting, methane gases remain stable

Russia's leading scientists have debunked false claims by environmental activist groups and left-leaning media groups that global climate change is causing significant warming of the Siberian permafrost and resulting in a large-scale release of potent methane gas. "The world's largest frozen peat bog is melting," the August 11 issue of New Scientist proclaimed. "An area stretching for a million square kilometers across the permafrost of western Siberia is turning into a mass of shallow lakes as the ground melts."

"A vast expanse of western Siberia is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming," the London Guardian asserted on August 11. "If we don't take action very soon, we could unleash runaway global warming that will be beyond our control and it will lead to social, economic, and environmental devastation worldwide," the Guardian quoted a spokesman for the activist group Friends of the Earth as saying.

"Cranked-up greenhouse gases are taking the perma out of Siberia's permafrost and turning it to mud," the September 1 Arkansas Times piled on in an article titled "No Global Warming?"

None of those articles mentioned any evidence or quoted any climate experts contradicting the global warming assertions. But plenty of evidence exists. "The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonal variations) has been remaining stable," reported the August 22 Russian News and Information Agency. "If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly."

"Unscrupulous scientists are exaggerating and peddling fears about permafrost thawing and swamp methane becoming aggressive," Professor Nikolai Alexeyevsky, doctor of geography and head of the land hydrology department at Moscow State University, told the Russian News and Information Agency.

"The alarmists' misrepresentation of the Siberian permafrost is not surprising," said Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "So long as governments hand out billions of dollars each year for climate research, there is no incentive to report the truth. The only sure way to keep receiving climate research funding is to keep claiming impending climate catastrophe."

"This is just another scare story," added Vladimir Melnikov, director of Russia's Institute of the Earth's Cryosphere, the world's only institute dedicated to investigating the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost. "This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges." Melnikov also disputed the claims that rapidly thawing permafrost is causing the formation of small lakes in Siberia. "Scientific findings and experience suggest that small lakes result from irregularities when laying oil and gas pipes and other engineering systems. But the scale on which new formations are appearing is small, and they do not pose any threat."

"The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged," agreed Yuri Izrael, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Climatology and Ecology. "At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases, and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible."


Our glaciers are growing, not melting. More falsehoods from Al Gore

"Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising," said Al Gore in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on February 27. Both parts of Gore's statement are false.

Contrary to Gore's assertions, almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are growing, not melting — and the seas are not rising. Let's look at the facts. If you click on the words "are melting" in Gore's article, you're taken to a paper by Michael Zemp at the University of Zurich. Mr. Zemp begins his paper by warning that "glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates."

However, if you bother to actually read the paper, you learn that Zemp's conclusion is based on measurements of "more than 80 glaciers." Considering that the Himalayas boast more than 15,000 glaciers, a study of "more than 80 glaciers" hardly seems sufficient to warrant such a catastrophic pronouncement. Especially when you learn that of those 80 glaciers, several are growing. Growing. Not melting. "In Norway, many maritime glaciers were able to gain mass," Zemp concedes. ("Able to gain mass" means growing.) In North America, Zemp also concedes, "some positive values were reported from the North Cascade Mountains and the Juneau Ice Field." ("Displaying positive values" means growing.)

Remember, we're still coming out of the last ice age. Ice is supposed to melt as we come out of an ice age. The ice has been melting for 11,000 years. Why should today be any different? I'm guessing that most Canadians and Northern Europeans are very happy that the ice has been melting.

Unfortunately, that millenniums-long melting trend now appears to be changing. No matter how assiduously Mr. Gore tries to ignore it, almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are now gaining mass. (Or, displaying positive values, if you will.) For starters, let's look at those Himalayan glaciers. In a great article, entitled "World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown," Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings show that the IPCC's fraudulent claims were based on "speculation" and "not supported by any formal research."

As a matter of fact, many Himalayan glaciers are growing. In a defiant act of political incorrectness, some 230 glaciers in the western Himalayas - including Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat - are actually growing. "These are the biggest mid-latitude glaciers in the world," says John Shroder of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. "And all of them are either holding still, or advancing." And get this. Eighty seven of the glaciers have surged forward since the 1960s. So much for Mr. Gore's "more than 80 glaciers."

(I don't know how many Himalayan glaciers are being monitored, but my guess would be fewer than a thousand, so it's possible that hundreds more are growing. There aren't enough glaciologists in the world to monitor them all.)

But we don't need to look to the Himalayas for growing glaciers. Glaciers are growing in the United States. Yes, glaciers are growing in the United States. Look at Washington State. The Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. The Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. Glaciers on Glacier Peak in northern Washington are growing. And Crater Glacier on Mt. Saint Helens is now larger than it was before the 1980 eruption. (I don't think all of the glaciers in Washington or Alaska are being monitored either.)

Or look at California. All seven glaciers on California's Mount Shasta are growing. This includes three-mile-long Whitney glacier, the state's largest. Three of Mount Shasta's glaciers have doubled in size since 1950.

Or look at Alaska. Glaciers are growing in Alaska for the first time in 250 years. In May of last year, Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier was advancing at the rate of seven feet (two meters) per day - more than half-a-mile per year. And in Icy Bay, at least three glaciers advanced a third of a mile (one-half kilometer) in one year.

Oh, by the way. The Juneau Icefield, with its "positive values," covers 1,505 square miles (3,900 sq km) and is the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere. Rather interesting to know that Gore's own source admits that the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere is growing, don't you think?

But this mere handful of growing glaciers is just an anomaly, the erstwhile Mr. Gore would have you believe. Well, let's look at a few other countries.

Perito Moreno Glacier, the largest glacier in Argentina, is growing.

Pio XI Glacier, the largest glacier in Chile, is growing.

Glaciers are growing on Mt. Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada.

Glaciers are growing on Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in France.

Glaciers are growing in Norway, says the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

And the last time I checked, all 50 glaciers in New Zealand were growing.

But this is nothing. These glaciers are babies when you look at our planet's largest ice masses, namely, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Contrary to what you may have heard, both of those huge ice sheets are growing. In 2007, Antarctica set a new record for most ice extent since 1979, says meteorologist Joe D'Aleo. While the Antarctic Peninsula area has warmed in recent years, and ice near it diminished during the summer, the interior of Antarctica has been colder and the ice extent greater.

Antarctic sea ice is also increasing. According to Australian Antarctic Division glaciology program head Ian Allison, sea ice losses in west Antarctica over the past 30 years have been more than offset by increases in the Ross Sea region, just one sector of east Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula, where the ice has been melting, is only about 1/50th the size of east Antarctica, where the ice has been growing. Saying that all of Antarctica is melting is like looking at the climate of Oregon and saying that this applies to the entire United States.

There was not any evidence of significant change in the mass of ice shelves in east Antarctica nor any indication that its ice cap was melting, says Dr. Allison. "The only significant calvings in Antarctica have been in the west." And he cautioned that calvings of the magnitude seen recently in west Antarctica might not be unusual. "A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded."

What about Greenland? Greenland's ice-cap has thickened slightly in recent years despite wide predictions of a thaw triggered by global warming, said a team of scientists in October 2005. The 3,000-meter (9,842-feet) thick ice-cap is a key concern in debates about climate change because a total melt would raise world sea levels by about 7 meters.

But satellite measurements show that more snow is falling and thickening the ice-cap, especially at high altitudes, according to the report in the journal Science. The overall ice thickness changes are approximately plus 5 cm (1.9 inches) per year or 54 cm (21.26 inches) over 11 years, according to the experts at Norwegian, Russian and U.S. institutes led by Ola Johannessen at the Mohn Sverdrup center for Global Ocean Studies and Operational Oceanography in Norway. Not overwhelming growth, certainly, but a far cry from the catastrophic melting that we've been lead to believe.

Think about that. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is almost twice as big as the contiguous United States. Put the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets together, and they're one hundred times bigger than all of the rest of the world's glaciers combined. More than 90 percent of the world's glaciers are growing, in other words, and all we hear about are the ones that are shrinking.

But if so many of the world's glaciers are growing, how can sea levels remain the same? They can't. The sea level models are wrong. During the last ice age, sea levels stood some 370 feet (100 meters) lower than today. That's where all of the moisture came from to create those two-mile-high sheets of ice that covered so much of the north.

And just as the ice has been melting for 11,000 years, so too were sea levels rising during those same years. But the rising has stopped. Forget those IPCC claims. Sea levels are not rising, says Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, one-time expert reviewer for the IPCC. Dr. Mörner, who received his PhD in geology in 1969, is one of the greatest - if not the greatest - sea level experts in the world today. He has worked with sea level problems for 40 years in areas scattered all over the globe. "There is no change," says Mörner. "Sea level is not changing in any way."

"There is absolutely no sea-level rise in Tuvalo," Mörner insists. "There is no change here, and there is zero sea-level rise in Bangladesh. If anything, sea levels have lowered in Bangladesh." "We do not need to fear sea-level rise," says Mörner. "(But) we should have a fear of those people who fooled us."

So there you have it. More falsehoods from Al Gore, the multimillionaire businessman who some say is set to become the world's first carbon billionaire. Our glaciers are growing, not melting — and the seas are not rising.

I agree with Dr. Mörner, but I'd make it a tad stronger. We should have a fear of those people who have conned us.


The wind-energy cover-up

The Obama administration works with lobbyists to distort reality

Barack Obama promised many things on his way into office. Key among these was transparency and a vow to banish lobbyists from insider roles in the policy process. Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Competitive Enterprise Institute has confirmed that both promises are being aggressively violated.

In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Obama told Americans on no fewer than eight occasions to "think about what's happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany" to see his model for successful "green jobs" policies, and what we should expect here.

Some Spanish academics and experts on that country's wind- and solar-energy policies and outcomes took Mr. Obama up on his invitation, revealing Spain's policies to be economic and employment disasters. The political embarrassment to the administration was obvious, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asked about the Spanish study at a press conference, and the president hurriedly substituted Denmark for Spain in his stump speech.

Team Obama was not amused, and they decided to do something about it. The crew that campaigned on change pulled out the oldest plan in the book - attack the messenger. The U.S. government's response to foreign academics, assessing the impact in their own country of that foreign government's policies, was to come after them in a move that internal e-mails say was unprecedented. They also show it was coordinated with the lobbyists for "Big Wind" and the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP).

What emerged was an ideological hodgepodge of curious and unsupported claims published under the name of two young non-economist wind advocates. These taxpayer-funded employees offered green dogma in oddly strident terms and, along the way, a senior Obama political appointee may well have misled Congress.

Congress was naturally curious about how the administration would end up attacking foreign academics, so Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, asked how these unprecedented offensives were launched, given that National Renewable Energy Lab and the Energy Department immediately offered conflicting statements to the media and a congressional oversight office. Mr. Sensenbrenner asked for details from Cathy Zoi, assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Department of Energy (DOE) and until recently, the CEO of Al Gore's climate-advocacy group. She dodged four pointed questions.

However, the documents we uncovered reveal that her office was fully aware of the answers to these questions, but elected to keep the information to itself. What transpired is difficult to discern with precision, as DOE continues to withhold numerous responsive documents. But it is clear that senior staff in Ms. Zoi's office, and another under her authority, were told by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) of its concern over the foreign economic analysis because of the media and policymaker attention it was receiving.

The questions raised about green jobs also threatened the vast increase in Department of Energy spending to pursue green jobs. The Obama administration has poured cash into renewable-energy efficiency and renewable energy with abandon. One such program at the department has grown from a budget of $1.7 billion in 2008 to $18 billion in 2009.

What is clear is that the Department of Energy then worked with Center for American Progress and the industry lobby AWEA to produce an attack that would serve all their interests.

That may not be all because we have appealed energy's decision to withhold numerous documents. Incredibly, it refuses to release documents exchanged between it and the pressure group CAP and lobbyist AWEA on the grounds that these are "inter-agency memoranda." So, lobbyists and lavishly funded political advocacy groups are, for purposes of secrecy, mere extensions of the Obama administration. Transparency in the Age of Obama means so transparent, you can't see it.


Climate Wars!

By Alan Caruba

Wars come and go, cities are destroyed and rebuilt, monuments are erected, and life goes on. This is the traditional view of war, but right now the world is engaged in the latest battle of a “climate war” that has been going on since the 1970s when the Club of Rome concluded in a report titled, “The real enemy then, is humanity itself”, that the world’s population had to be reduced.

Whereas wars in the modern era have killed millions and communism as practiced in the former Soviet Union and the early decades of Red China under Chairman Mao killed millions more on a scale with which war could not compete, the advocates of population reduction rival the worst despots to have ever walked among us.

With the revelations from leaked emails between the conspirators who kept the global warming fraud going for many years, the so-called “climate scientists” who, in fact, had created phony computer models and engaged in endless studies to “prove” that global warming posed a threat to mankind, the term “Climategate” was coined to describe their collusion.

Billions are at stake so far as the “climate scientists” are concerned. They have received millions for their research in the United States and in England. Presumably other nations, too, have provided such grants and the result of the research must always be a continuation of the “global warming” fraud. Beyond the scientists are those who profit from the sale of “carbon credits” to permit “greenhouse gas emissions”, and the millions that environmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, and others rake in.

It is no surprise, then, that those who have been victimized by the fraud will see a coordinated campaign of opinion editorials in newspapers, advertisements, and other means to keep the “global warming” fraud intact. These efforts have been renamed “climate change”, but therein lies the utter mendacity of the campaign because the Earth has always passed through cycles of climate change and always will.

On February 15th, the Boston Globe published an opinion editorial by Kerry Emanuel, the director of the Program in Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was filled with the usual “global warming” themes; the repetition of the lie that carbon dioxide and other minor atmospheric gases are causing a huge shift that is warming the Earth. Smoothly, the inaccuracies of climate computer models are dismissed as “uncertainties” resulting in “divergent predictions.”

The finest weather-related computer models available are unable to account for the action of clouds, an essential element in weather everywhere, nor can they include the unknown effects of countless undersea volcanoes in the world’s oceans that are another contributing factor. At best, if your local weatherman can accurately predict what will occur in the next two to four days, he’s doing fine.

Predicting what the climate—not the weather—will be decades and even centuries from now is pure fiction. It is the claim that is central to “global warming” and/or “climate change.”

In a rebuttal to Emanuel’s opinion editorial, Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University, noted that “A high percentage of meteorologists and/or climate scientists do not agree that the climate changes we have seen are mostly man-made. Thousands of us think that the larger part of the climate changes we have observed over the last century are of natural origin.” He added, “Over 31,000 American scientists have recently signed a petition advising the U.S. not to sign any fossil fuel reduction treaty.”

Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has just released a statement based on the release of still more emails between desperate “climate scientists” whose careers depend on the “global warming” fraud.

“According to recently disclosed e-mails from a National Academies of Science listserv, prominent climate scientists affiliated with the U.S. National Academies of Science, have been planning a public campaign to paper over the damaged reputation of global warming alarmism.”

The emails explored the ways the public could be distracted from the revelations of Climategate and enticed back to believing that “global warming” is based in real science and occurring. Among the suggestions were “Op eds in the NY Times and other national newspapers would also be great.”

Referring to this as a climate war is no exaggeration. One email said, “Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules.” One of those rules most certainly is to tell the truth!

What the public has never grasped is that this is not a science-based war. It is entirely political in nature and the Green's enemy has been the resource industries, oil, natural gas, and coal that provide the means by which energy is generated for industrial use and for societies that depend on electricity to function. The subtext of the war is the deliberate destruction of human life on the planet on a mass scale.

That explains why it is especially troubling that President Obama continues to refer to global warming as real and advocates “cap-and-trade” legislation, the largest tax on energy use in the history of mankind. It is the reason he continues to divert millions to “clean energy” and “green jobs”, neither of which have ever proven to equal traditional energy sources or provide sufficient employment to merit support.

So now the climate wars shift into a new phase, one intended to obfuscate and confuse the public again in the quest to foist the greatest fraud and attack on mankind in human history


Coral reefs safe after all

Hoagy will be disappointed

Reef ecosystems were able to persist through massive environmental changes imposed by sharply falling sea levels during previous ice ages, an international scientific team has found. This provides new hope for their capacity to endure the increasing human impacts forecast for the 21st century.

In the world's first study of what happened to coral reefs when ocean levels sank to their lowest recorded level – over 120 metres below today's levels – a study carried out on eight fossil reefs in Papua New Guinea's Huon Gulf region has concluded that a rich diversity of corals managed to survive, although they were different in composition to the corals under more benign conditions.

“Of course, sea levels then were falling – and today they are rising," said Professor John Pandolfi of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Queensland. "But if we want to know how corals cope with hostile conditions, then we have to study what happens under all circumstances. “We've seen what happens to corals in the past when sea levels rose and conditions were favourable to coral growth: we wanted to see what happened when they fell and conditions were adverse. “When sea levels drop you get a catastrophic reduction in coral habitat and a loss of connectivity between reefs.

In the Huon region, the team found, coral reefs survived the hard times low of sea levels with as much richness of species – but with a different composition to what they had during the good times. “As a rule the coral colonies during the period of low sea levels were closer to the sea floor and slower-growing in comparison with times of high sea levels.” “What we have found suggests that reef systems are able to survive adverse conditions given suitable shallow rocky habitat.

"An interesting finding of this study is that complex coral ecosystems were maintained during the less optimal periods of low sea level. These may have been critical to the re-establishment of nearby reefs once environmental conditions began to improve.” “The fossil record shows that reefs have been remarkably successful in surviving large environmental disturbances.

More HERE (I have left out the propaganda and just kept the factual bits)

Journal abstract follows:

Community dynamics of Pleistocene coral reefs during alternative climatic regimes

By Danika Tager et al.

Reef ecosystems built during successive periods of Pleistocene sea level rise have shown remarkable persistence in coral community structure, but little is known of the ecological characteristics of reef communities during periods of low sea stands or sea level falls. We sampled the relative species abundance of coral, benthic foraminifera, and calcareous red algae communities from eight submerged coral reefs in the Huon Gulf, Papua New Guinea, which formed during successive sea level fall and lowstand periods over the past 416 kyr. We found that dissimilarity in coral species composition increased significantly with increasing time between reef-building events. However, neither coral diversity nor the taxonomic composition of benthic foraminifera and calcareous red algae assemblages varied significantly over time. The taxonomic composition of coral communities from lowstand reefs was significantly different from that of highstand reefs previously reported from the nearby Huon Peninsula. We interpret the community composition and temporal dynamics of lowstand reefs as a result of shifting energy regimes in the Huon Gulf, and differences between low and highstand reefs as a result of differences in the interaction between biotic and environmental factors between the Huon Gulf and Huon Peninsula. Regardless of the exact processes driving these trends, our study represents the first glimpse into the ecological dynamics of coral reefs during low sea level stands when climatic conditions for reef growth were much different and less optimal than during previously studied highstand periods.



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