Saturday, June 05, 2010

Major Australian science organization "hiding the decline" too

This time in methane levels

FEDERAL Treasury and the CSIRO are supposed to be among the most trusted institutions in Australia. They are both supposed to be founded in objective rationalism.

The Treasury building in Canberra houses the greatest collection of economic analytical and policymaking brainpower in Australia. The same, in the fields of science, goes for the CSIRO in Melbourne. Together they should form the rock-solid foundation of policymaking in Australia.

We need to be able to trust Treasury to advise the government based on the best possible economic analysis. Arguably its most important task is to deploy its economic heft against usually well-intentioned "good ideas at the time", or failing that to at least limit their damage.

From the CSIRO we need, very simply, good science. As its own strategic plan puts it: "We are committed to scientific excellence and working ethically and with integrity in everything we do."

Both have, in their separate ways, breached that trust. This is a very serious matter for the governance of Australia. If we can't trust Treasury to give us rational economics and we can't trust the CSIRO to give us good, or even just honest, science -- as in both cases they have generally done for a good three-quarters of a century or more -- we are adrift in a sea of irrationalism.

For that, indeed, is what links the two failures: in each case an apparent triumph of theology over reason. First the CSIRO.

In March, it joined with the Bureau of Meteorology to produce a "snapshot of the state of the climate to update Australians about how their climate has changed and what it means". Although the pamphlet had a neutral title, "State of the Climate", it was clearly designed to bring the great weight of the apparent credibility of these two organisations to bear against, and hopefully crush, those pesky climate change sceptics.

But as one of the peskier of them, Tom Quirk -- our version of Canada's even peskier Stephen McIntyre -- discovered, there was a very curious omission in one of the CSIRO graphs. It showed the rise and rise of concentrations in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and its fellow greenhouse gas methane. It was an almost perfect replica of the infamous (Michael) Mann Hockey Stick. After being virtually stable for 900 years, concentrations of both CO2 and methane went almost vertical through the 20th century. But as the eagle-eyed Quirk noticed and wrote about on Quadrant Online, methane was plotted only up to 1990, while the plots for CO2 continued to 2000.Why so, when the CSIRO measures methane concentrations and has data up to last year?

Did the answer lie in the inconvenient truth that methane concentrations have plateaued since the mid-1990s? Yet here is the CSIRO, the organisation dedicated to scientific truth, pretending -- even stating -- that they're still going up, Climategate style. This is bad enough, but just as with Treasury, real policies are built on this sort of "analysis". The first version of the so-called carbon pollution reduction scheme included farming to address the methane question. But as Quirk has shown in a peer-reviewed paper, atmospheric methane is driven by a combination of volcanos, El Ninos and pipeline (mostly dodgy old Soviet) leakage.

A second curious, and even dodgier, thing happened after Quirk's Quadrant report. CSIRO "updated" its main graph to include the more recent methane data. No admission was made and the graph's scale made it all but invisible and did not show the plateauing. Further, the CSIRO published a more detailed second graph showing what has happened in the past 30 years, as opposed to the first graph's 1000 years. But only for CO2, despite the fact that it had exactly the same data for methane.

In short, the CSIRO is a fully signed-up member of the climate change club. It wanted to project the horror story of continually rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. So it simply disappeared inconvenient evidence to the contrary, in the process announcing it cannot be trusted ever again to deliver objective scientific evidence.


Arctic Ice Volume Has Increased 25% Since May, 2008

The Navy requires accurate sea ice information for their operations, and has spent a lot of effort over the years studying, measuring, and operating in Arctic ice both above and below, such as they did in the ICEX 2009 exercise.

So, if you are planning on bringing a $900 million Los Angeles class submarine through the ice, as the captain might say to the analyst after receiving an ice report: “you’d better be damn sure of the ice thickness before I risk the boat and the crew”.

Below is a blink comparator of U.S. Navy PIPS sea ice forecast data, zoomed to show the primary Arctic ice zone.

The blink map above shows the change in ice thickness from May 27, 2008 to May 27, 2010. As you can see, there has been a large increase in the area of ice more than two metres thick – turquoise, green, yellow and red. Much of the thin (blue and purple) ice has been replaced by thicker ice.

This was quantified by measuring the area percentage in the Arctic Basin of the 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 metre ranges. The graph below shows the results. This technique assumes an equal area projection, which should be fairly accurate north of 70N.

In 2008, less than half of the ice (47%) was greater than two metres thick. Now, more than 75% of the ice is greater than two metres thick. In 2008, 18% of the ice was more than three metres thick. This year that number has increased to 28%. There has been nearly across the board ice thickening since 2008. There was slightly more 4-5 metre ice in 2008, due to the big crunch in the summer of 2007....

Now let’s look at the volume percentages. In 2010, 87% of the ice (by volume) is greater than two metres thick. But in 2008, only 64% of the ice (by volume) was greater than two metres thick.

A few weeks ago, when extent was highest in the JAXA record, our friends were asking for “volume, not extent.” Their wishes have been answered. Ice volume has increased by 25% in the last two years, and those looking for a big melt are likely going to be disappointed.

Do you think it odd that this increase isn’t prominently mentioned on the PIOMAS site? It seems very relevant

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

Climate: The Extremists Join the Debate at Last!

Lord Monckton debunks the Abraham video point by point

ONE of the numerous propaganda artifices deployed by the now-retreating climate-extremist movement has been the careful avoidance of any debate with anyone on the skeptical side of the case who happens to know anything about climate science or economics.

As the extremists lose the argument and become more desperate, that is changing. John Abraham, a lecturer in fluid mechanics at a bible-college in Minnesota has recently issued – and widely disseminated – a hilariously mendacious 83-minute attempted rebuttal of a speech by me about the climate last October in St. Paul, Minnesota.

So unusual is this attempt to actually meet us in argument, and so venomously ad-hominem are Abraham’s artful puerilities, that climate-extremist bloggers everywhere have circulated them and praised them to the warming skies.

As usual, though, none of these shallow bloggers makes any attempt actually to verify whether what poor Abraham is saying actually has the slightest contact with reality.

One such is George Monbiot, a scribbler for the British Marxist daily propaganda sheet, The Guardian. What is Monbiot’s qualification to write about climate science? Well, like Abraham, he is a “scientist”. Trouble is, he’s a fourteenth-rate zoologist, so his specialization has even less to do with climate science than that of Abraham, who nevertheless presents himself as having scientific knowledge relevant “in the area”.

Here’s the thing. All of the sciences are becoming increasingly specialized. So most “scientists” – Abraham and, a fortiori, the accident-prone Monbiot among them – have no more expertise in predicting or even understanding the strange behavior of the complex, non-linear, chaotic object that is the Earth’s climate than the man on the Clapham omnibus.

They pretend otherwise, of course. Almost four years ago, when I wrote a 2500-word article in the Sunday Telegraph pointing out that the notion of a very large climate warming attributable to future increases in CO2 concentration was scientifically ill-founded, Monbiot wrote a scathing 1800-word response in the Daily Kommissar, in which he made a dozen laughably elementary scientific errors.

Monbiot made the mistake of pretending that he understood the fundamental equation of radiative transfer, of which he had plainly not previously heard.

Here it was I who had the advantage: before writing the article in the Telegraph I had spent three months tracking the equation down, because – though it converts changes in the flow of radiation at a planetary surface to changes in temperature, and is therefore essential to discovering how much warming a given increase in CO2 concentration will deliver – the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 climate assessment reports do not mention it once.

And why not? Well, put simply, the equation shows that at the temperatures prevailing on Earth you need a very large increase in radiative flux to achieve a pathetically small increase in temperature. That’s not the sort of thing the climate-extremists want known, so they carefully don’t mention it, which is one reason why puir wee Moonbat hadn’t heard of it.

Ever since I compelled the Daily Apparatchik to publish a letter from me correcting Monbiot’s invincible ignorance of elementary planetary physics and undergrad math, Monbiot has seized every chance to have a go at me whenever one of his climate-extremist Comrades asserted that I’d gotten something wrong.

And how he crows at the news of Abraham’s “evisceration” of my Minnesota speech.

Abraham’s approach is novel. He’s saying not that I got one thing wrong but that I got just about everything wrong. And how plausible is that? A couple of pointers. First, it’s now June 2010, and I spoke in October 2009, almost eight months ago. I’ve made a lot of speeches since. Why has it taken Abraham so long to cobble together his ramblings?

The answer – and, as I shall show, it is the right one – is that his deliberately dishonest personal attack on my integrity and reputation is an ingenious fiction, he knows it, and he has therefore had to go to some elaborate and time-consuming lengths to conceal the steps he has taken to hide the truth and make this nonsense look plausible.

Secondly, during the eight months of “investigation” (Abraham’s word) that he carried out, at no single point did he ever contact me to ask me to clarify one of the numerous references which, he said over and over again, were not clear in my slides.

That failure on his part to check with me when he could not find the sources of my data was clearly deliberate. He didn’t want to give me any advance notice that he was planning to launch a widely-disseminated attack on me, because otherwise I might have pointed out his errors to him in advance, and that would have made it a great deal more difficult for him to get away with publishing them.

In a short space I won’t have time to cover more than a representative selection of Abraham’s errors. Let’s begin, though, with the question of sources.

“Monckton’s data don’t even agree with themselves”

Abraham says I displayed two graphs, both citing NOAA as the source, showing the downward global mean surface temperature trend since 2001, but – by an elaborate point-by-point comparison – he shows that the two graphs are slightly different from one another. Why, he asks, can’t I even make sure that my own data agree with themselves? His implication is that presenting temperature data is something that laymen really can’t be expected to get right.

What Abraham has done, here as elsewhere, is to wrench my data deliberately out of the context in which I actually (and accurately) presented then, and then to lie about it.

The truth is that the first graph, plainly labeled “”, is the SPPI’s well-known global-temperature index, compiled monthly from four separate global-temperature datasets, as Abraham well knew because I explained in my talk. It was not a NOAA graph, and was not labeled as such. Naturally, therefore, it differed at some points from the NOAA graph.

Abraham went on and on about how a graph shouldn’t have been labeled with the name of an institution such as “” unless it was that institution that had compiled the graph. That, of course, as he could have discovered if he had bothered – or, rather, dared – to check, was indeed the institution that had compiled the graph, taking the arithmetic mean of the global-temperature anomalies from the HadCRUt, NCDC, RSS, and UAH datasets.

But – and this was the point I made, though Abraham was remarkably careful not to say so – I had showed the SPPI’s four-sources graph in testimony before Congress, to show that there had been global cooling for seven or eight years, and Tom Karl, the director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, who had been present, had failed to admit after questioning from a leading Congressman that global temperatures had indeed been falling for the best part of a decade. He had wriggled and waffled.

So the Congressman had asked me to write proving my result, and I had done so by preparing the second graph, from Tom Karl’s own NCDC (it was labeled as such), which had also showed a pronounced downtrend in global temperatures.

Abraham knew this, because I had said so in my talk. But he also knew that practically no one watching his 83-minute presentation would go to the lengths of looking up what I had actually said. He knew he could get away with a flagrant and deliberate misrepresentation – provided that at all points he was careful never to consult me while planning and circulating his attack.

“Monckton’s data are not properly sourced”

Even when the source is in fact plainly stated on my slides, Abraham is prone to say I have not provided the source. I had shown a graph, which I had said was compiled by satellite, of temperatures at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, where there has been no warming for 30 years.

The graph was plainly labeled “UAH”, which – as a mere Bible-College lecturer in fluid mechanics might not know, but anyone with any real knowledge of climate science would of course know – is the University of Alabama at Huntsville, one of only two organizations producing regularly-published satellite-based global temperature records.

Much more HERE

More evidence that Greenie motivation is more devious than it appears

Even the Warmist below can see that

Here's a pop quiz. A, B, C, and D are four rich industrialized countries in Western Europe with similar living standards. Country A's carbon dioxide emissions stand at 9.24 tonnes per capita per year. The corresponding figures for countries B, C, and D are 5.81, 5.62, and 5.05 tonnes a year, respectively.

Can you guess which of these four countries has become the darling of the environmental movement, hailed as a model for a low carbon economy?

It is country A, Denmark -- even though its per capita CO2 emissions are almost twice as much as countries B (France), C (Switzerland), and D (Sweden).

In a piece entitled "The Copenhagen that Matters", New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman speaks for many environmentalists when he says,
Denmark is the most energy efficient country in the E.U.; due to carbon pricing, through energy taxes, carbon taxes, the 'cap and trade' system, strict building codes and energy labeling programs. Renewable resources currently supply almost 30 percent of Denmark's electricity. Wind power is the largest source of renewable electricity, followed by biomass...

My fellow Americans, the fact that the recent Copenhagen climate summit was a bust in terms of solving our energy/climate problems doesn't mean that we can ignore those problems -- or that we can ignore how individual countries, like Denmark, have effectively addressed them.

There is no doubt that Danes emit far less CO2 than Americans. But compared to some other Western European countries, Denmark's performance is distinctly modest.

Why then, do many greens hold up Denmark as the ideal low-carbon economy? Why not France, or Switzerland, or Sweden, which emit significantly less CO2 per capita?

The answer is that their preference for the Danish model has little to do with greenhouse gas emissions or with climate change, and more to do with the ideology and metaphysics of the Green movement.

In France, nuclear power accounts for about three quarters of all the electricity generated, while about 15 percent comes from hydro power. Switzerland gets about 55 percent of its electricity from hydro power and about 40 percent from nuclear. And in Sweden, about 45 percent comes from hydro power, while another 45 percent comes from nuclear power.

Denmark, meanwhile, generates no nuclear power and very little hydro. A significant portion - some 30 percent - of Denmark's electricity is generated by wind power but still, much of the rest is generated by traditional coal power plants.

Among many environmentalists, nuclear energy and hydroelectricity are anathema even though they do not emit CO2. There tends to be particular hostility towards nuclear energy, even though the scientific and engineering evidence shows that modern nuclear power plants are safe, clean, and economical.

The green movement's antipathy towards nuclear power is part of a broader ideological distrust of scientific-technological fixes for solving our environmental problems. It is founded on a deep pessimism about human development, and scientific and technological progress.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

There can perhaps be no better example of ideological distrust of scientific-technological fixes than in the case of genetically engineered (GE) crops. Commonly known (somewhat misleadingly) as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), many greens abhor GE in agriculture with an intensity that matches or even exceeds their antipathy towards nuclear power.

GE food crops have been largely banned in Europe due to the opposition of environmentalists, but have been widely grown and consumed in the United States since 1996. More than 60 percent of field corn, 85 percent of soybean, 75 percent of canola, and 80 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. comes from GE crops. In all these years, GE crops have not been found to be any more harmful to humans or the environment than non-GE crops. On the contrary, the environmental benefits of GE crops have been substantial.

Crops that have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (e.g., roundup-ready corn, roundup-ready soybean) have enabled farmers to adopt no-till and reduced-till farming practices, allowing for the conservation of topsoil, preservation of more natural vegetation, and sequestration of much of the soil organic carbon.

Crops that have been genetically engineered to be pest resistant (e.g., Bt Cotton, Bt Corn) have brought about dramatic reductions in chemical pesticide usage. For example, the introduction of Bt Cotton in India has caused chemical pesticide usage in the cotton crop to fall by half even as output has doubled.

Such achievements, significant though they are, merely scratch the surface of agricultural biotech's immense potential for doing environmental good. A promising new technology is a rice plant genetically engineered to be more efficient in utilizing nitrogen than conventional rice, thereby reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer needed by half. According to Greenpeace estimates, greenhouse gas emissions from the worldwide production and use of nitrogen fertilizer is equivalent to the total CO2 emissions from all the power plants in the United States. Nitrogen efficient GE crops could thus be crucial to mitigating climate change.

Agriculture - of any kind - is, by definition, a human intervention in nature with ambiguous environmental consequences. Agricultural biotechnology, with its potential to greatly increase marketable yields of existing farmlands, can play a major role in resisting the pressure to cultivate virgin land to feed a global population estimated to grow from six billion people now to nine billion people by 2050.

A Paradox

To anybody following the debate over nuclear power and GE crops, it soon becomes clear that the Green position on science and technology is rather paradoxical. On one hand, many Greens eagerly invoke science to emphasize the severity of our environmental problems, especially global warming. On the other hand, they are quick to reject scientific-technological fixes for these same environmental problems.

In the Green climate change narrative, great importance is given to scientific data and reasoning. When climate change skeptics question the seriousness of human induced climate change, arguing that the scientific evidence is insufficient, environmentalists respond (rightly, in my opinion) that the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that global warming is indeed a real and serious problem.

When it come to GE crops, however, their position is reversed. Here, Greens reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that GE crops are no more dangerous than non-GE crops and claim that the scientific evidence is not sufficient to make a reasonable determination.

Interestingly, Green rejection of scientific-technological fixes for environmental problems is structurally very similar to the rejection of climate science by global warming skeptics.

The fact of the matter is that science is not in the business of absolute certainties -- that is the domain of religious revelations. Science can never establish with absolute certainty that climate change is human induced and will be devastating if left unchecked. Science is no more than a certain outlook and a certain technique ('the scientific method') that uses reason, observation, and experimentation to investigate phenomena and acquire or modify knowledge of the material world.

It is a reasonable scientific inference, based on the available evidence, that human-induced climate change is real and serious. It is also a reasonable evidence-based scientific inference that GE crops are not inherently more harmful to humans or the environment than non-GE crops. Indeed, the level of scientific certainly regarding the safety of GE crops is far greater than any long-term prognosis regarding climate change, if only because it is so much easier to conduct controlled scientific experiments with GE crops than with the global climate.

This science/anti-science paradox is evident in Al Gore's celebrated documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." The entire movie takes the form of Gore delivering a science lecture, arguing that human induced climate change represents a clear and compelling danger. In criticizing climate change skeptics, Gore denounces ideological influences on science, comparing it with Soviet practices.

Gore recommends a solution proposed by scientists Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala -- the only policy framework for global warming mitigation discussed in the movie. This approach calls for reducing CO2 emissions by using a using a combination of seven "stabilization wedges," or techniques, e.g. more efficient vehicles and carbon capture and storage. In the movie, Gore graphs how the wedges can reduce CO2 emissions but he makes one glaring omission: Socolow and Pacala's approach calls for seven wedges while Gore shows only six. The missing wedge? Nuclear power.

Paradoxically, even while emphasizing the scientific evidence for climate change, Gore deliberately ignores a scientific-technological fix that could help solve it.


Warmists are consistent only in their Warmism

Britain’s Met Office warned that cities might become a lot warmer at night, which of course will kill old people:
In 30 years time the Met Office predicts that average temperature will have risen by 3.6F (2C), but that this will be accompanied by an increased frequency of extremely hot spells. In the summer of 2003, thousands more elderly people died than normal due to the hot weather. Across Europe, there were up to 35,000 “excess deaths”. This was largely due to high night time temperatures. When temperatures do not drop below 68F (20C), the body finds it harder to recover from the heat stress experienced during the day.

According to the Met, the cause of hot city nights is a combination of global warming and the urban heat island effect.

That would be the same urban heat island effect that the Met tried to disprove in 2004:
A major argument used by sceptics of global warming is flawed, a UK Met Office study in Nature magazine says. This argument maintains that much recorded climate data is inherently unreliable because of where weather instruments are situated. Most are in or near cities, which produce their own heat; so the rapid warming measured over the last century could be just a record of urbanisation. The Met Office believes its study shows this “urban heat island” idea is wrong.

The lesson is simple, when skeptics point to the urban heat island effect, they are flawed and wrong. When the urban heat island effect can be used to prop up the global warming hoax, it is sound science. Any questions?


U of East Anglia Learns Nothing -- still in coverup mode

In breach of calls for openness and transparency in climate science, the University of East Anglia, together with Eugene Wahl and Caspar Amman, have refused to provide documents critical to the inquiry that Muir Russell should be undertaking.

One of the most notorious Climategate emails was Jones’ request to Mann, Briffa, Ammann and Wahl that they delete correspondence pertaining to AR4 review, which included correspondence carried out between Eugene Wahl and Keith Briffa in violation of IPCC procedures. Jones even told FOI Briffa that Briffa “should say” that no such correspondence existed.

The Climategate letters contain references to attachments to Wahl’s surreptitious correspondence with Briffa, but the attachments themselves were not included in the Climategate documents.

On April 5, 2010, I sent an EIR (FOI) request to the University of East Anglia for the attachments (as well as an attachment of the Wahl and Ammann version used in the First Order Draft, sent to Briffa directly and not now available at IPCC.) My request was as follows:

Pursuant to the Environmental Impact Regulations, I request copies of the following documents (reference is attached to Keith Briffa letter):

Wahl_MBH_Recreation_JClimLett_Nov22.pdf (attachment mentioned in Jan 4, 2005 458. 1104855751.txt)

Wahl-Ammann_3321_Figures.pdf; Wahl_Ammann_3321_Final_21Feb.doc – attachments mentioned in Feb 21, 2006 647. 1140568004.txt

Wahl_Ammann_3321_Final_21Feb-Revision1.doc – attachment mentioned in 650. 1140838402.txt Feb 24

AW_Editorial_July15.doc; AR4SOR_BatchAB_Ch06_ERW_comments.doc; Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_12jul06_ERW_suggestions.doc – attachments to 716. 1153470204.txt July 18, 2006

Ch06_SOD_Text_TSU_FINAL_2000_25jul06KRB-FJ-RV_ERW_suggestions.doc – attachments to 733. 1155402164.txt from July 27, 2006

Thank you for your consideration, Regards, Steve McIntyre

On May 5, 2010, I received a response from UEA extending the response time
Further to your request for information received 5 April 2010, I am writing to advise you that we are, pursuant to Regulation 7(1) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, extending the statutory deadline for our response to your request from the 20 working days set out in Regulation 5(2) to the 40 working days allowed by Regulation 7(1). This will alter the deadline from 5 May 2010 to 2 June 2010. I apologise for the late notification of this extension but it was only this week that it became clear that we would require the extension.

This extension is claimed because of the age and relative obscure provenance of the information requested, we quite simply are having difficulty identifying and locating some of it. An initial search indicates that some of the information is not held but I wish to ensure that we have not overlooked any possible location prior to making that formal assertion.

It is my opinion that, at this particular time, it is impracticable to either comply with the request or to formulate any other response within the statutory period as set out in Regulation 5(2) We are addressing your request currently and I expect that we will be able to provide a substantive response in advance of the revised deadline.

Today, on the last day of the extension period, they refused virtually everything that I had requested....

I’ll post up a longer chronology showing precisely where the Wahl correspondence fits into Climategate – Mosher and Fuller and touch on it in CRUtape but additional context has emerged over time. The Wahl correspondence was undertaken in direct contravention of IPCC rules and procedures. Briffa knew that the correspondence violated IPCC rules – the correspondence is marked burn-after-reading. It’s quite natural that Wahl and Ammann (and CRU) want to keep these violations secret.

I’m sure that Muir Russell panelist David Eyton of BP understands.

More here


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