Thursday, July 22, 2010

A classic example of jury-rigging

After Climategate and Glaciergate the UN (Mr. Ban Ki-Moon) and IPCC (R.Pachauri) have selected, who should investigate them. I wonder who Al Capone would have appointed to investigate him, if he had the chance, and what the results would have been? Probably similar.

Ban and Rajendra chose the InterAcademy Council and the InterAcademy Council established a 12 member investigation panel. The investigating panel is an interesting bunch of fellas. We have already heard rumours about some of them. This is probably the first attempt to asseses them all.

The list looks like they all met at some stinking rich UN reception with plenty of caviar and expensive vintage wine. All of them are CEOs or top managers. The nobility. I did not know, that being an independent and unbiased investigator requires one to be a VIP top manager?

(Carbon market is a big business for rich VIPs. Who else would be better to investigate it than VIPs themselves? They know the ropes.)

So here they are. They are totally independent, unbiased and with no ties to environmentalism, UN, Pachauri or suchlike. Totally independent. See for yourself.

1. Harold T. SHAPIRO: Chairman of the investigation committee. By a coincidence he is in the board of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which happens to be one of the key sponsors of IAC (source). By another coincidence he is one of the top sponsors of Mr.Pachauri’s company TERI-NA (North America). For instance in 2001 Pachauri got some 45 000 USD from them for his TERI-NA (see here and here, page. 21). Pachauri is to be investigated by his own sponsor? Well, I guess one has to watch over his own investments, right?

2. Roseanne DIAB: She was in the International Ozone Commission (IOC), where – I guess –they would not let any climate skeptic. The World Wildlife Fund gave her a grant for the environmental education (read: brainwashing, source). Not only she is an environmentalist, she even poisons young minds with that green slime (source).

3. Carlos Henrique de BRITO CRUZ: Director of FAPESP, a governmental bureau, which finances research and technical development in Brazil. Is Brito one of the people, who decide, that alarmist research gets all the cash, while climate sceptical scientists get none? This is a problem, which for instance the hurricane expert William Gray complained about (see). You get no grants, you cannot produce a study, so they kick you out of the Uni. Publish or perish. Or is Brito the exception?

4. Maureen CROPPER: An economist from the World Bank (along with UN this is the institution, for which IAC is supposed to provide advisory services). What is she doing here? World Bank is giving advice to itself? Also, Maureen is on board of the eco-foundation Resources for the Future (see), where a climate skeptic certainly would not sit. RFF is a sponsor (yeah, another one) and a partner of Mr.Pachauri’s TERI-NA. What is worse, Maureen was a member of the advisory panel to EPA. The very EPA, which is now making a coup-d-etat to impose the carbon tax, bypassing the US Congress, see).

5. Jingyun FANG: Teaches at the department of environmentalism of the Beijing University. Hardly a place to look for an unbiased person or a skeptic.

6. Louise O. FRESCO: She is on board of Rabobank, which organises, among others, trade with carbon credits at the electronic stock-exchange CLIMEX. If she fails to “exonerate” IPCC, her colleagues will lose cash at the stock exchange (see).

7. Syukuro MANABE: A pioneer of computerised 3D models of climate. Worked with NOAA. I doubt he would like to make his friends at NOAA angry. He would not get invited to BBQ any more. BTW, he is nicknamed a “godfather of greenhouse gases”, due to his climate models. And now they want him to be unbiased when assessing his own models, his life work? (source). Something like: “My bleeming models overestimated CO2 forcing, my work is crap, let me get some rope and hang myself.”

8. Goverdhan MEHTA: A former director of the "Indian Institute of Science" in Bangalore. This institute has many ties to Pachauri’s TERI. It was established as a foundation of the Tata company. Tata was started a century ago by an Indian industrialist (an Indian Ford). Pachauri is now the boss at Tata. (see).

9. Mario MOLINA: One of the leading authors of the Fourth Assessment Report of IPCC. So now he is invited to assess his own work? How is he supposed to question himself? He is a director from the freaked Union of Concerned Scientists. He signed a letter to the US Congress, urging them to forget Climategate, which is just a storm in a teapot. A solid unbiased guy.

10. Sir Peter WILLIAMS: A vice president of the British Royal Society. We know the management of RS are renowned alarmists. Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, is an apocalyptic visionary (in an interview he said: “The chances, that mankind survives the next century, is 50:50”). Rees is up to his neck stuck in the fraudulent whitewash investigation of UEA. His predecessor Lord may called sceptics “crackpots”. And guess what. This green extremist lord May was a member of IAC in years 2005-2009! I have no reason to believe Williams is any different.

11. Ernst-Ludwig WINNACKER: The first director of the European Research Council. I doubt the maoist Barosso would entrust this job to someone, who is not a believer in the green religion. After all the ERC was founded to strengthen the iron grip of politicians over the helpless scientists. To make them write what the politicians want.

12. Abdul Hamid ZAKRI: The director of the "Institute of Advanced Studies" (A UN university) (see). Also he is a director of "Centre for Global Sustainability Studies" in Malaysia, where alarmist faith is a must. Also an advisor to the PM of Malaysia.

And the IAC director? Robbert Dijkgraaf is nuts. In an interview he said, that they would not investigate the Climategate e-mails, because, they are not “directly related” to the work of IPCC. Amazing. And I thought, that they are e-mails of the leading authors of IPCC describing the background, how the IPCC procedures work.

I guess they selected the members by randomly tearing a page out of the “Who is Who in Alarmism” encyclopaedia. It seems like choosing NSDAP officials to investigate Herman Göring at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

All these people have built their careers on the IPCC alarmism. It is their faith. It is unlikely any of them would be willing to undermine their own careers by biting the hand that feeds them.

Is it really such a problem in a planet with 7 billion people to find 12 unbiased people without ties to Pachauri and his Blues Boys? And why is there no climate skeptic there? What sort of court is that without any prosecutor being invited?


Some reasons not to scare children

'The truth is the worst will probably not happen in our lifetime. But it will happen in our children's lifetime. And it will happen big time during their children's lifetimes.'

Three sentences above taken from a statement issued to justify spreading alarm about climate into schools. I want to dwell on the confidence in the assertions: the 'it will happen' and the 'it will happen big time'.

The truth is we are not in a position to make such confident claims. Our knowledge is patchy. Our computer models are recognised as inadequate for such forecasts, even by their builders. They prefer to use the term 'projections' instead, but that is merely playing with words, a 'game' exploited successfully by those who facilitated and did the final edits of IPCC summary reports for policy makers, perhaps anxious that those policy makers (who partook in some editing of the reports, see (2)), be not too distracted by the primitive condition of climate science.

I make my counter-case in four chunks below.

(i) Some of the assertions underpinning the climate models are simplistic, speculative, and wrong.

The application of a 'greenhouse effect' which does not explain why greenhouses get hot, the use of radiation budgets which seem to defy the laws of thermodynamics by displaying a relatively cool body (the troposphere) transferring heat to a relatively warm one (the Earth's surface) , and the insertion of a speculative feedback mechanism involving water vapour. Previous posts in this series have materials relevant to this.

'The scientific method requires that a scientific hypothesis be judged by its ability to produce correct predictions. The scientific hypothesis of human-caused climate change has failed this test of science. To paraphrase the eloquent statement of Professor Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, it does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.'
Source: (3).

In the 2001 report they [the IPCC] said, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate state is not possible.” James Lovelock, Gaia hypothesis speculator said, “It’s almost naive, scientifically speaking, to think that we can give relatively accurate predictions for future climate. There are so many unknowns that it’s wrong to do it.” Kevin Trenberth, IPCC author and CRU associate said, “It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system… This may be a shock to many people who assume that we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate, but we don’t.”

More leads on the limitations of climate models can be found by using the tag 'model_limitations' at:

(ii) The forecasting methodologies, or rather lack of them, deployed to raise alarm are grossly unsatisfactory.
Experts in forecasting methodology, Green and Armstrong have this to say:

'The IPCC WG1 Report was regarded as providing the most credible long-term forecasts of global average temperatures by 31 of the 51 scientists and others involved in forecasting climate change who responded to our survey. We found no references in the 1056-page Report to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods despite the fact these are conveniently available in books, articles, and websites. We audited the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCCs WG1 Report to assess the extent to which they complied with forecasting principles. We found enough information to make judgments on 89 out of a total of 140 forecasting principles. The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 principles.

Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical. The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.'
Source: (5).

(iii) Many of the IPCC-projected temperatures over the next 100 years might be troublesome, may not be unprecedented, and could be mainly beneficial.

In which case, even for those naive enought to believe these forecasts, there is no need for alarm, only the sensible anticipation of challenges. In particular, we can prepare schoolchildren, rather than scare schoolchildren. A popular article mentioning some of the benefits of a warmer climate is to be found here: (6). More on benefits, with further links here: (7). It should be noted that warmer air temperatures of a few degrees on average will not raise air temperatures over the major icecaps and glaciers above freezing - they may in fact grow due to increased snowfall according to some warming scenarios. The headline-generating scare of massive rises in sea-level is probably one of the least credible of all the assertions of the doomsters.

(iv) A cooler world would present enormously larger problems and challenges than a warmer one.

Yet this possibility is apparently dismissed by the IPCC, despite the strong evidence from the historical records that a new glaciation will arrive due course to end our rather pleasantly warm interglacial period, and that there are good reasons to take seriously the possibility of a briefer cooling spell over the next 20 to 30 years. The assurance with which assertions are made about warming has served to weaken our ability to deal with cooling, for example by wasting money on extravagant and unreliable energy sources instead of building more coal and nuclear power stations, and encouraging research in both technologies. A website dedicated to cooling, with many links on the topic, is here: (8).


The confidence in climate predictions is misplaced. The alarms about warming are over the top. Cooling is a far bigger concern. But note the phrase ‘the worst will probably not happened in our lifetime’. This has immense value in freeing the proponent from having to produce convincing evidence. ‘The worst is yet to come!’ they can cry without fear of refutation. Like the High Street placard bearers sometimes seen in cartoons and in reality, with their ‘The End of the World is Nigh’ warnings, they can if they wish define‘Nigh’ to mean '50 to 100 years from now’ and continue their pacing without fear of contradiction. But while we'd chuckle at their harmless eccentricity, the IPCC has found a more sophisticated way of doing the same thing, and has been taken so seriously by many governments that they are threatening to devastate their own economies in response, and of course harm the physical and mental wellbeings of their citizens on the way.

SOURCE (See the original for references).

The author of the comments above has just completed a 25 year spell in statistical consultancy for industry. Before that he worked as a physicist in nuclear fuel research for three years, as a schoolteacher for one year, and as a meteorologist for four years

Eminent Physicists who are skeptical about man-made global warming

But they could be even more skeptical

Freeman Dyson:

* The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models, than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That is why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.

Robert Laughlin:

* The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control.

Edward Teller:

* Society's emissions of carbon dioxide may or may not turn out to have something significant to do with global warming--the jury is still out.

Frederick Seitz:

* Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.

Robert Jastrow:

* The scientific facts indicate that all the temperature changes observed in the last 100 years were largely natural changes and were not caused by carbon dioxide produced in human activities.

William Nirenberg:

* The available data on climate change, however, do not support these predictions, nor do they support the idea that human activity has caused, or will cause, a dangerous increase in global temperatures. ...These facts indicate that theoretical estimates of the greenhouse problem have greatly exaggerated its seriousness.

We see that the main skeptical argument used by these eminent physicists is that climate modeling is complex and that observations do not match very well with observations. Fair enough.

But the eminent physicists do not criticize the very physical basis of climate alarmism: the greenhouse effect supposedly resulting from atmospheric backradiation: The mantra that says that doubled CO2 will cause a global warming of 1.2 C, by basic physics which cannot be questioned by anybody eminent or not.

Does it mean that the eminent physicists possess a basic physical theory supporting the mantra of the greenhouse effect and backradiation? No, it does not seem to be the case. It seems that this theory is hanging freely in the air, because upon scrutiny it evaporates into the atmosphere. Maybe it is now time for eminent physicists to make this clear to the World and its people and leaders?


Did NASA/GISS discover 30% more land in the Northern Hemisphere?

Some very strange statistical jiggery pokery from Jim Hansen's outfit

Frank Lansner has been a busy man, and he’s asking some very thought provoking questions.

The Northern Hemisphere has a ratio of 40% land to 60% oceans, and the Hadley Met Centre seems to use a similar ratio (NH HadCrut Series: 58% ocean, 42% land). But Frank Lansner wondered why, when he graphed the GISS land-data-set alongside the combined-sea-surface-temperatures (CSST), GISS comes up with an “averaged” line that runs much closer to the land data set and not the sea surface set. If it were weighted 60:40 (ocean:land) the combined Northern Hemisphere line ought to run slightly closer to the ocean based temperatures.

So Lansner mixed the land and sea temperatures in different ratios and graphed them and an odd thing occurred. Perhaps there is some good reason for it, but the GISS NH average line is currently running close to a mix that could be almost 70% land, and only 30% ocean. Back in 1985 the NH Average was closer to the sea temps as would be expected. In fact as late as 1995, the NH line still ran at around 40% land area. But somewhere post 1995 – 1999 for some reason (see the update at the bottom for some good suggestions) the average tracks closer to the 70% line. According to Frank, this effect does not occur with the HadCrut average.

Frank is looking for feedback and suggestions, and wondering if there could be any other explanation. So am I. The effect is clear also in this graph. The land-based datasets are the brown ones near the top. The blue ones in the middle are GISS and then below that Hadley, then finally the black line is the satellite measured average for land and sea, and the combined sea surface temperatures. It’s interesting how closely the satellite set compares with the sea surface data.

Lansner points out that the key difference between the brown lines at the top and the blue-black lines underneath is that Urban Heat Island only affects the lines at the top (i.e. there is no urban heat island over the oceans, and not too much “urbanity” near the satellites either). Lansner further split up the satellite measurements into satellite-land versus satellite-ocean and what’s especially interesting is how the satellite-land values agree better with the ocean measures after 2001 than they do with the surface-land thermometers. Are we eyeballing the effects of UHI and siting problems in the thermometers on the land, and are GISS somehow inadvertantly amplifying these artificial effects with weighting, homogenisation, gridding or averaging proceedures that rely more on these land measurements than on the independently consistent satelites and sea surface measures?

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

Faulty estimates of sea levels

It seems that the "best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley" -- to quote an ancient and much respected authority

Discussing: Quinn, K.J. and Ponte, R.M. 2010. Uncertainty in ocean mass trends from GRACE. Geophysical Journal International 181: 762-768.


The authors write that "ocean mass, together with steric sea level, are the key components of total observed sea level change," and that "monthly observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) can provide estimates of the ocean mass component of the sea level budget, but full use of the data requires a detailed understanding of its errors and biases."

What was done

In an effort designed to provide some of that "detailed understanding" of GRACE's "errors and biases," Quinn and Ponte conducted what they describe as "a detailed analysis of processing and post-processing factors affecting GRACE estimates of ocean mass trends," by "comparing results from different data centers and exploring a range of post-processing filtering and modeling parameters, including the effects of geocenter motion, PGR [postglacial rebound], and atmospheric pressure."

What was learned

The two researchers report that the mean ocean mass trends they calculated "vary quite dramatically depending on which GRACE product is used, which adjustments are applied, and how the data are processed." More specifically, they state that "the PGR adjustment ranges from 1 to 2 mm/year, the geocenter adjustment may have biases on the order of 0.2 mm/year, and the atmospheric mass correction may have errors of up to 0.1 mm/year," while "differences between GRACE data centers are quite large, up to 1 mm/year, and differences due to variations in the processing may be up to 0.5 mm/year."

What it means

In light of the fact that Quinn and Ponte indicate that "over the last century, the rate of sea level rise has been only 1.7 ± 0.5 mm/year, based on tide gauge reconstructions (Church and White, 2006)," it seems a bit strange that one would ever question that result on the basis of a GRACE-derived assessment, with its many and potentially very large "errors and biases."

In addition, as Ramillien et al. (2006) have noted, "the GRACE data time series is still very short," and results obtained from it "must be considered as preliminary since we cannot exclude that apparent trends [derived from it] only reflect inter-annual fluctuations." And as Quinn and Ponte also add, "non-ocean signals, such as in the Indian Ocean due to the 2004 Sumatran-Andean earthquake, and near Greenland and West Antarctica due to land signal leakage, can also corrupt the ocean trend estimates."

Clearly, the GRACE approach to evaluating ocean mass and sea level trends still has a long way to go -- and must develop a long history of data acquisition -- before it can ever be considered a reliable means of providing assessments of ocean mass and sea level change that are accurate enough to detect an anthropogenic signal that could be confidently distinguished from natural variability.


Not Such a Bright Idea After All

For those who are advocates of clean, renewable energy, the sun couldn’t shine brighter on solar panels. Through government incentives for homeowners and through grants and loans for solar companies, one would think that the production of solar energy electricity in the U.S. would be increasing exponentially. Yet it still only accounts for 0.02 percent of net electricity generated in the U.S.

Ouch. It seems like that number should be higher with more homeowners and businesses installing solar panels on their rooftops, but solar electricity has a few obstacles still to face.

“Solar energy electricity still has a lot of questions marks,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “Right now solar panels aren’t a viable part of the market.”

The use of solar to create electricity is not a bad idea. But the federal government creating a false market using taxpayer’s money is. Before Americans take to solar panels as a valuable product a few kinks need to be worked out with the technology.

First of all you need sun. Because sunlight isn’t constant other forms of electricity are needed as backup. Even when the sun is shining, changes in atmospheric pressure, pollution, dust and the earth’s positioning to the sun can affect the productivity of photovoltaic solar panels.

In a summary of solar power, the Institute of Energy Research (IER) states, “Though solar technologies are improving, meeting current U.S. electricity needs with today’s PV technology would require about 10,000 square miles of solar panels — an area the size of New Hampshire and Rhode Island combined.”

The summary goes onto say that considerations would have to be made for power lines needed to get the electricity from the sunny desert to other areas of the nation that don’t have as much sunlight. If electricity had to travel great distances across these transmission lines to get to its final destination, then much of it would naturally be lost along the way.

Avoiding power lines and lost electricity, homes and businesses are investing in this relatively new technology as part of their infrastructure.

Gary Gerber, president and CEO of Sun Light & Power and president of CALSEIA in California, says for an average-sized house in California a solar system carries a price tag of about $30,000. That does come down some through various state rebates and federal government incentives, but it is still a costly investment — especially when factoring in the need for backup electricity.

Gerber stands by the benefits of a residential solar system. “It is a simple job of math,” he says. “There is great certainty about what kind of savings you will produce; the real unknown is what the energy costs will be in the next 20 years.”

He’s absolutely right. In California energy prices have been steadily rising year after year, Gerber says, but that doesn’t mean that trend will continue. It’s a gamble. And it’s a gamble that can cost you $30,000 if you make a wrong decision.

If you decide to buy a solar system for your home, how long can you expect the panels to last?
“Solar systems on average last 30 years,” Gerber says. “A 30- to 40-year lifespan is not out of the question at all.” Gerber has a strong warranty on his solar panels for 25 years.

There are still concerns about how long solar systems will last and what happens to them if they no longer work or break. Gerber admits that the industry is young and growing. “People are looking into and doing research on what the long-term solutions are,” he says.

While most solar panels are made of silicon, a well-used and understood material in the U.S., other types of solar modules contain chemicals like Cadmium Telluride, which can be problematic. Cadmium is primarily used for the production of rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries and also can be used in coatings and plating and as stabilizers for plastics, as indicated by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is nominating Cadmium Telluride to be included in the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

Treehugger, an organization focused on green news and product information, had this to say about the chemicals, “How can we conscionably posit that cadmium telluride is fine in solar panels just because that technology is ‘green’ relative to electricity production, without having seen a full-blown risk management evaluation that encompasses how cadmium is produced and incorporated into the CdTe matrix, and, then, how it will be reclaimed at product end of life? Well,…‘we’ can’t do that, is the answer.”

Because the technology of solar panels is so new, the recycling methods are still unknown. For the “green” market especially, this poses a heavy risk to the environment. Gerber is confident that the technology will be way beyond what it is now by the time these modules need to be recycled.

It seems the environmental-friendly solar panel industry still has some details to work out. Not to mention most production, about 90 percent, of photovoltaic solar panels takes place overseas and requires electricity in the production methods, thus resulting in the release of greenhouse gases.

Regardless of the fiscal costs to homeowners and the posed environmental costs to Mother Nature, the federal government continues its heavy push for solar energy through the use of solar panels. So much so that because production costs in the U.S. are so high for making solar panels, federal stimulus (taxpayer) money is being shipped overseas along with the manufacturing of the modules. This doesn’t sound like a big win for U.S.

“The American people want an end to government picking winners and losers in the energy sector with subsidies to politically favored industries,” says ALG’s Wilson. “If there was a market for solar panels, the free market would create it on its own. Until then, we should continue producing nuclear, oil, coal, and natural gas resources that provide the foundation for meeting the nation’s power needs.”

Until there is a bigger demand for solar panels in the U.S. and until the job market and economy are back in stable conditions, maybe the government should focus its efforts elsewhere.

Just because the federal government thinks it has a bright idea, doesn’t mean the sun shines on it 24 hours a day.



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