Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Some strange logic

See the the last sentence below

TOURISTS and residents at a popular vacation resort in the French Alps have been warned that they could be drowned if a giant water pocket under a glacier on Mont Blanc bursts.

The pocket, under the Tete-Rousse glacier on the French Alpine slopes, contains the equivalent of 26 Olympic swimming pools and was described by the National Center for Scientific Research as a “pressure cooker.”

It would take just 15 minutes for the pocket to flood St. Gervais valley, a noted vacation spot and home to 3000 people, researchers said.

There would be “a brutal emptying of water which carries along everything in its path,” said Christian Vincent, a geophysics engineer with the center. Vincent said a torrent of mud six to eight times bigger than the original volume of water would be created if the water was released.

At least 175 valley dwellers were drowned by an estimated 80,000 cubic meters of water the last time a similar pocket burst, on July 12, 1892.

The pocket, which contains 65,000 cubic meters of water, was discovered by scientists using magnetic resonance imaging. Glaciologists will spend two months trying to pump out 25,000 cubic meters of water from one part of the pocket and hope to obtain a precise location for the remaining 40,000 cubic meters.

Vincent said that the most likely explanation for the formation of the pocket was a period of particularly cold temperatures within the glacier, freezing the water’s escape routes. This may be a result of global warming, which has reduced the snow covering on the glacier and exposed it to the cold.


So where did all that extra "cold" come from that was exposed by the global warming? And was there global warming in 1892 as well?

Predictive accuracy: Proof that the Sun controls our weather and climate

Generating accurate predictions is the ultimate test of a scientific theory. Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn shows that solar-based theory does so. The Warmists have never predicted anything accurately yet. Britain's Met office tried but failed so badly that they now make forecasts only a few days ahead

When I think of all the evidence I have been presented with over the past several years regarding the main driver of our climate, one man stands tall. That would be Piers Corbyn, founder of in the UK. He does long range weather and climate predictions and his accuracy is amazing, especially for the extreme events all based on the Sun.

I had seen his forecasts on the web but I had my first chance to talk with him in person at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York put on by the Heartland Institute. It was March and Piers had saved his first public trial forecast in the USA for the conference.

The prediction was for a record Midwest snowfall in the middle of March, then 2 or 3 weeks away. There was nothing about it from the national weather people. This forecast was way out there. What was more the data for the prediction was available more than a month, as much as 3 months in advance and it was based on the Sun! It was such an extreme prediction that it made eyeballs roll.

For those of you who recall that storm, you know it came true. Did it ever! Since then I have observed the outcomes of the predictions Piers has made and he has been amazing in his performance. There have been a few misses but his success is around 85% around the world and a bit higher in the USA. He regularly posts on You Tube, so you can see his predictions come true several times during the year. Let’s get to the discussion:


That pesky Medieval Warm period keeps popping up -- and not only in the North Atlantic region

Discussing: "Ely, L.L. 1997. Response of extreme floods in the southwestern United States to climatic variations in the late Holocene. Geomorphology 19: 175-201.

What was done

In an attempt to determine the environmental origins of extreme flooding events throughout the southwestern United States, according to the author, "paleoflood records from nineteen rivers in Arizona and southern Utah, including over 150 radiocarbon dates and evidence of over 250 flood deposits, were combined to identify regional variations in the frequency of extreme floods," which information "was then compared with paleoclimatic data to determine how the temporal and spatial patterns in the occurrence of floods reflect the prevailing climate."

What was learned

Ely reports that "long-term variations in the frequency of extreme floods over the Holocene are related to changes in the climate and prevailing large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns that affect the conditions conducive to extreme flood-generating storms in each region," which changes, in her view, "are very plausibly related to global-scale changes in the climate system."

With respect to the Colorado River watershed, for example, which integrates a large portion of the interior western United States, she writes that "the largest floods tend to be from spring snowmelt after winters of heavy snow accumulation in the mountains of Utah, western Colorado, and northern New Mexico," such as occurred with the "cluster of floods from 5 to 3.6 ka," which occurred in conjunction with "glacial advances in mountain ranges throughout the western United States" during the "cool, wet period immediately following the warm mid-Holocene."

The frequency of extreme floods also increased during the early and middle portions of the first millennium AD, many of which coincided "with glacial advances and cool, moist conditions both in the western U.S. and globally." Then came a "sharp drop in the frequency of large floods in the southwest from AD 1100-1300," which corresponded, in her words, "to the widespread Medieval Warm Period, which was first noted in European historical records." With the advent of the Little Ice Age, however, there was another "substantial jump in the number of floods in the southwestern U.S.," which was "associated with a switch to glacial advances, high lake levels, and cooler, wetter conditions."

What it means

In distilling her findings down to a single succinct statement, and speaking specifically of the southwestern United States, Ely states that "global warm periods, such as the Medieval Warm Period, are times of dramatic decreases in the number of high-magnitude floods in this region."


Judith Curry still has fire in her belly: Still standing up for the scientific method and against science as power politics

It sounds like she has a genuine concern for the environment instead of a political motivation. The interview below seems to be from a site with some sympathy for Warmism

Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, has a knack for setting off tremors in the climate blogosphere. There was a lot of rumbling last week after Curry got into a rather contentious exchange with Gavin Schmidt and readers at Real Climate. Other notables, such as Joe Romm and William Connolley jumped into the fray. All this was precipitated by a review of Andrew Montford’s book, The Hockey Stick Illusion, posted at Real Climate. As Roger Pielke Jr. observed, these debates over the hockey stick controversy “can be arcane, technical and simply impenetrable due to years upon years of perceived slights, a practice of in-group shorthand and a chorus of followers on either side cheering on the spectacle.”

Last week’s ritual bloodletting of Curry in blogland was remarkable for how unrestrained it was. I am struck by the phenomena of this respected climate scientist who is being met with increasingly derisive scorn from prominent members of her own community and from many climate advocates. I’m curious as to what drives her to keep engaging in what appears to be a very lonely battle.

Earlier today, we had an email exchange, in which I pressed Curry to explain what is driving her to keep banging away on certain issues and themes.

KK: Why do you feel the need to revisit the hockey stick debate? It’s not central to our understanding of climate science, nor does it factor into the policy debate. The general public is surely not paying attention to it anymore. So why do you feel so compelled to defend this particular book by Andrew Montford?

JC: I am not so much defending this book as recommending that people read it. Climate scientists can learn a lot from Montford’s book. Not in terms of who is “right” or “correct” in terms of the science (that is still being debated), but how to avoid unnecessary conflict in the climate debate. While the hockey stick is not of any particular scientific importance, Montford’s book explains why the hockeystick became a big deal, owing to the IPCC’s choice to make the hockey stick a visual icon for the IPCC in its marketing of the IPCC. Therefore, in the public’s mind, challenges to the hockeystick metaphorically became challenges to the entire global warming argument.

And the Climategate emails, while not illuminating any actual scientific misconduct, provided a view into the underbelly of how the consensus was actually built: upon human judgment that was influenced by petty rivalries, a sense of self importance, a political agenda, and the brutal dismissal and even sabotage of competing viewpoints. Not a pretty picture.The fundamental mistake made by the climate researchers involved in the hockey stick debate was to mistake McIntyre et al. as merchants of doubt (a la Oreskes and Collins), when instead they were motivated over a concern for public accountability of the research. The response of the climate researchers to McIntyre and McKittrick, by attacking their qualifications and motives rather than trying to work with them or at least understand what they were trying to say, backfired big time and arguably culminated in Climategate.

KK: I’m still trying to understand what gave rise to this latest round of Curry bashing?

JC: My hypothesis is that the level of vitriol in the climate blogs reflects the last gasp of those who thought they could influence national and international energy policy through the power politics of climate science expertise. The politics of expertise is about how scientific information is used in the policy making process, including how diverging viewpoints are interpreted and how science is weighed relative to values and politics in the policy debate.

The problem comes in when the “power” politics of expertise are played. Signals of the “power” play include: hiding uncertainties and never admitting a mistake; developing a consensus with a high level of confidence; demanding that the consensus receive extreme deference relative to other view points; insisting that that science demands a particular policy; discrediting scientists holding other view points by dismissing them as cranks, trivializing their credentials and say that they are not qualified to hold an opinion; and attacking the motives of anyone that challenges the consensus.

Sound familiar? In the case of climate change, the authoritarianism of “science tells us we should . . . ” could not withstand the public perception of scientists engaging with pressure groups, lack of transparency that meant people were unable to evaluate the information themselves, and then the climategate affair that raised questions about the integrity of the scientists.

Romm quickly honed in on the view that it was far more important to discredit me than Montford or McIntyre. Romm is “America’s fiercest” practitioner of the power politics of climate expertise, making brutal attacks on scientists and others that diverge from climate orthodoxy. My comments rankle so much with Romm because I used to be in the stable of experts that he cited. My putting the spotlight on uncertainties and too much confidence, plus listening to other view points and posting on rival blogs, and now calling people out on the power politics of science issue, has to be mighty uncomfortable for Romm. Romm didn’t just stop with his “Shootout at the RC corral” post. Now he has dredged up an interview I gave a few months ago to a Brazilian reporter. I wrote out my replies to the questions of the Brazilian reporter. My answers were then translated into Spanish. Which were then translated back to English. Has anyone ever played the game of telephone?

KK: I question if there is really this breach of trust between the climate science community and the general public. Again, the average person is probably not paying much attention to these fractious debates between skeptics and a subset of the climate science community. I mean, every profession gets dinged by its share of controversies. The foundation for anthropogenic global warming rests on numerous solid pillars, which you agree with. So how is that a batch of intemperate emails and a decade-old scientific controversy over the hockey stick can rock this foundation, which is what you seem to be arguing?

JC: Evidence that the tide has changed include: doubt that was evidenced particularly by European policy makers at the climate negotiations at Copenhagen, defeat of a seven-year effort in the U.S. Senate to pass a climate bill centered on cap-and-trade, increasing prominence of skeptics in the news media, and the formation of an Interacademy Independent Review of the IPCC. Concerns about uncertainty and politicization in climate science are now at the forefront of national and international policy. There is an increasing backlash from scientists and engineers from other fields, who think that climate science is lacking credibility because of the politicization of the subject and the high confidence levels in the IPCC report. While these scientists and engineers are not experts in climate science, they understand the process and required rigor and the many mistakes that need to be made and false paths that get followed.

Further, they have been actively involved in managing science and scientists and in assessing scientists. They will not be convinced that a “likely” level of confidence (66-89% level of certainty) is believable for a relatively new subject, where the methods are new and contested, experts in statistics have judged the methods to be erroneous and/or inadequate, and there is substantial disagreement in the field and challenges from other scientists. The significance of the hockey stick debate is the highlighting of shoddy science and efforts to squash opposing viewpoints, something that doesn’t play well with other scientists. Energy Secretary and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu made this statement in an interview with the Financial Times:

First, the main findings of IPCC over the years, have they been seriously cast in doubt? No. I think that if one research group didn’t understand some tree ring data and they chose to admit part of that data. In all honesty they should have thrown out the whole data set.

But you don’t need to be a Nobel laureate to understand this. I have gotten many many emails from scientists and engineers from academia, government labs and the private sector. As an example, here is an excerpt from an email I received yesterday: “My skepticism regarding AGW has been rooted in the fact that, as an engineer/manager working in defense contracts [General Dynamics], I would have been fired, fined (heavily) and may have gotten jail time for employing the methodology that [named climate scientists] have used.”

KK: Are you suggesting that the methodology of certain climate scientists rises to the level of a crime? Also, I have to ask you to defend this assertion that the failures of Copenhagen and the Senate climate bill are somehow tied to rising skepticism of climate change by policymakers. I don’t see the evidence for that, though I realize that climate skeptics make for convenient scapegoats by advocates such as Joe Romm.

JC: I am not suggesting that at all. Scientists make mistakes all the time, that is actually how science progresses, provided that the mistakes are acknowledged and learned from. If you want to understand the palpable impact of Climategate on European (particularly Dutch) politics, read this paper.

Skepticism has been rather unfortunately defined to be anyone who diverges from IPCC orthodoxy, not only in terms of the science, but in terms of accepting the policies that science “tells us” we must have. The revolt is more in the sense of breaking this linear link between science and policy (see also this post by Pielke Jr.).

KK: The majority of comments at both Real Climate and Climate Progress were quite disparaging of you, which in my mind, speaks more to their readerships, since I have no way of knowing how the respective blog hosts chose to moderate the comments. After experiencing this latest blogospheric hazing, you have to wonder, what’s the point? Are any of your colleagues advising you to move on to a more constructive venue, and if so, what would that be?

JC: Well, first I have to comment on the moderation of RC and CP on this. They chose comments that consisted of personal attacks, while rejecting many comments that were supportive of my viewpoints or asked challenging questions. The reason that I know what comments were rejected because many of these people subsequently posted on climateaudit or emailed me. In one instance, a comment was rejected by CP from someone who had previously made a guest post at RC. So this reflects not only on their readership, but reflects specific choices made by the moderators at RC and CP, that I personally interpret as an attempt to discredit me.

The point is this. I have gotten hundreds of emails from practicing scientists and engineers in a range of different fields and holding positions in academia, government, and the private sector. I have also had discussions with a number of climate researchers who are concerned about the politicization of the field and the overconfidence in the IPCC. They are encouraging me to continue standing up for the scientific method and against the politicization of science. I’m sure that there are some of my colleagues that don’t like it or wonder what the point is, but they are not talking to me about it. I am getting feedback from scientists that like what I’m doing.

In terms of something more productive to do, I would encourage climate scientists to reflect on how to dig out from the hole we’ve dug for ourselves. Time to listen to some new ideas and some new experts. This time, I suggest listening to a plurality of viewpoints, and for scientists to make sure their data and methods are transparent to the public. And stop trying to simplify all this into a straight climate change science drives global energy policy strategy, which was misguided and na├»ve, to say the least.

The real problem is sustainability, which is a complex confluence of ecosystems, food, water, energy, population growth, finite natural resources, and the desire for economic development. Sustainability is a value that nearly everyone can share. The fundamental spatial unit of sustainability is the region, which makes it easier for people to identify their common concerns and secure their common interests.

Yes, there are global elements to all this in terms of climate change and finite natural resources, and the realization that regional instabilities can have global consequences. It’s not a simple problem, and there is no silver bullet, but there are millions of little solutions that can all add up. Climate change needs to be considered as but a single element in the context of all these issues. And independently of the broader sustainability issues, we need rational energy policies that account not only for environmental issues, but also economic and national security issues.

Once you start thinking about sustainability and the broader issues of energy policy as the main challenges, and not climate change, then the overwhelming barrier of politics and economics becomes less monolithic. And more importantly, climate science can get back to being science rather than being about politics. My citations of Feynmann on the RC thread were to remind people of the difference. Climate science is a fascinating and important scientific problem. Lets step back and figure out how to do a better job so that our field can regain the respect of the Nobel laureates in physics, scientists and engineers from other fields, and credibility of the public. Most importantly we need to stop playing the power politics of climate science by saying “Here is what science says we must do” and start saying “Here is our best understanding, and here is where our uncertainties are . . .”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate Profiteers

While the oil and gas companies are bearing the brunt of taxation, regulation and environmental angst, others are doing just fine, thank you. If you think cap-and-trade is dead, just follow the money.

According to a recently released Center for Responsive Politics review of reports filed with the U.S. Senate and U.S. House, General Electric and its subsidiaries spent more than $9.5 million on federal lobbying from April to June — the most it's spent on lobbying since President Obama has been in office.

Why? As the fight over cap-and-trade grows, so does lobbying. Since January, GE and its units have spent more than $17.6 million on lobbying — a jump of 50% over the first six months of 2009.

GE is just one of many organizations and individuals that stand to make money if cap-and-trade makes it through Congress. GE makes wind turbines, not oil rigs, and has a vested interest in shutting down its fossil fuel competitors.

In an Aug. 19, 2009 e-mail obtained by Steve Milloy of, General Electric Vice Chairman John Rice called on his GE co-workers to join the General Electric Political Action Committee "to collectively help support candidates who share the values and goals of GE."

And what are those goals, and just what has GEPAC accomplished thus far? "On climate change," Rice wrote, "we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is enacted into law, it will benefit many GE businesses."

GE is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which advocates cap-and-trade legislation and leads the drive for reductions of so-called greenhouse gases. One of its subsidiaries was involved in Hopenhagen, a campaign by a group of businesses to build support for the recent Copenhagen Climate Conference, which was supposed to come up with a successor to the failed Kyoto Accords.

To be fair, coal and gas companies lobby too, both out of self-preservation and self-interest.

But they produce a useful product that creates jobs and boosts GDP. Alternative energy, even after huge subsidies, adds little to our energy mix. Evidence suggests alternative energy is a net job loser, siphoning resources from productive areas of the economy.

Renewable energy sources like wind, solar energy and biomass total only 3% of our energy mix. Spain's experience is that for each "green" job created, 2.2 jobs are lost due to the siphoning off of resources that private industry needed to grow.

There's money to be made in climate change even if the climate doesn't change, and the profit motive may now be the main driver of cap-and-trade.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) was formed to buy and sell carbon credits, the currency of cap-and-trade. Founder Richard Sandor estimates the climate trading market could be "a $10 trillion dollar market."

It could very well be if cap-and-trade legislation like Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer are signed into law, making energy prices necessarily skyrocket, and as companies buy and trade permits to emit those six "greenhouse" gases.

As we have written, profiteering off climate change hysteria is a growth industry as well as a means to the end goal of fundamentally transforming America, as the President has said was his goal.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has called climate change a religion whose zealots seek the establishment of government control over the means of production. It reminds him, he said, of the totalitarianism he once endured.

After the Climate-gate scandal broke, Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said of the scientists at Britain's Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and those they worked with: "They're criminals." He also called them "huckstering snake-oil salesmen and 'global warming' profiteers."

Like the scientists who lived off the grant money they received from scaring us to death with manipulated data, others hope to profit off perhaps the greatest scam of all time.


Von Storch: "The concept that science tells politics what’s necessary has failed"

Here is an outstanding interview given by Prof. Hans von Storch, one of Germany’s leading climate scientists, in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt (Germany’s equivalent to the Wall Street Journal) yesterday.

Although a warmist, Professor Hans von Storch, much to his credit, has always kept an open ear and mind to serious climate sceptics. Here are some paraphrased excerpts of yesterday’s HB interview.

HB: Are today’s hot and cold extreme events a sign of global warming?

HvS: It’s important to keep weather separated from climate. The media have certainly been focussing more on the weather. And unfortunately there are plenty of activists who like to connect heat waves and storms with climate change. And then these activists wonder why sceptics do the same when there’s a cold winter, using it as evidence against warming. It’s intellectually low. The fact of the matter is that it is trending warmer.

HB: Who recommends the scientists for participation in the IPCC?

HvS: In Germany it’s the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety and the Ministry of Research and Science in Bonn. Here one can apply to participate, and this is what I’ve done. I offered to be a part of WG2. That’s where most of the errors occurred and I’d like to help out this time around to prevent such errors from happening again. My name has been sent, along with 80 others, to the IPCC in Switzerland.

HB: The IPCC has come under fire because it dramatised climate change. How can we prevent such errors and what should quality control look like?

HvS: We have to look very closely at the literature that is handed to us. We have to be very careful with grey literature. It has to meet the highest scientific standards. Under no circumstances can literature from interest groups like reinsurers, coal industry or environmental groups be accepted.

HB: And what about the WWF’s Amazon Rainforest report?

HvS: One cannot claim that this was a neutral scientific report. The IPCC made that mistake, and it cannot be blamed on the WWF, who have legitimate interests.

HB: Could there be a benefit in allowing studies from interest groups?

HvS: I would not agree to that. In WG2 it would not be necessary to include material from interest groups. There’s already enough scientific literature at hand.

HB: And what about critical opinions from the scientific community? In the wake of the hacked e-mails from the CRU, some scientists complained that their publications had been blocked.

HvS: Here we have to differentiate between 2 kinds of gate-keeping. In the case of the Climate Research Unit, it is alleged, or indeed it was attempted, to keep an article with a contrary opinion from being published. Thus it was possible to assure that some results would not flow into the IPCC report.

In the IPCC report itself, minority opinions also must be allowed to be shown. We have to determine just where there is consensus, and where there are contrary opinions. This has to be done scientifically, without any prejudice.

HB: A report for the political decision makers probably has to be summarised: But isn’t that walking on a tight rope between what is scientifically exact and what the politicians understand?

HvS: A summary by the scientists for the politicians is in my opinion, not necessary. The summary emphasis takes place at a later time when the decision makers wish to present the matter to their clientel. The politicians that I’ve been involved with know what climate research is about –and especially on questions of adaptation. Personally I’m quite impressed by their competence.

HB: Last fall after errors were found in the IPCC report and the disclosure of the CRU e-mails, climate science skidded off track and came under heavy fire.. What does this branch of science need to do in order to regain respect?

HsV: There are two strategies – and I’m afraid not much is happening for the most part. It is simply being claimed that evil media outlets and the fossil fuel industry are behind the unjust discrediting of the science. But this assertion simply is not sustainable. In the past, climate science attempted to work too much with catastrophe reports. But that bubble blew last fall. As a result, trust suffered immeasurably.

We have to take a critical view of what happened. Nothing ought to be swept under the rug. Some of the inquests – like in Great Britain - failed at this. They blew an opportunity to re-establish trust.

The second strategy us scientists have to consider is what role it is we wish to play. Are we supporters of a certain political process, or supporters of a certain brand of politics? I’m emphatically for the first, whereby we are the providers of special knowledge. We must not say that this is right, and that is wrong. This is not the competence of a climate scientist. We are merely experts in climate dynamics, and not specialists for competing political or ethical problems. Fundamentally a debate has to take place. That’s what climate scientists want, and that is what is expected from the public.

HB: Is there a danger that climate science falls on the wayside because the sceptics take up very popular slogans against the subject of anthropogenic climate change?

HsV: Many alarmists do the same– both sides don’t hold back much. We have to accept the challenges the sceptics present and step into the debate with them in order to win them over.

Many physicists, chemists, engineers or geologists have open questions about climate change which they view as unanswered. Here there is a considerable and legitimate potential at hand, which unfortunately is not addressed often enough. Instead, they sometimes get attacked and called sceptics, which only serves to aggravate them. It’s no way to build trust. We have to find a way back to a reasonable discussion.

HB: Do you have any hope that progress can be made with the next IPCC report with respect to climate protection, especially after the spectacular failure of Copenhagen?

HsV: I don’t expect that the next IPCC report will significantly improve the chances for a comprehensive climate protection program. The last report was already so emphatic that there is no way to top it. The concept that science tells politics what’s necessary has failed. We have to give up on the idea of making an agreement from top down for 150 countries, and that they will abide by it. Change has to come from the bottom.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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