Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Green Global Warming Editorial Gets it Wrong

By Alan Caruba

It's rare to come across a newspaper editorial in which virtually every assertion is false, but is absurdly titled "Face Facts."

Since 1988 the movement behind the global warming fraud has labored long and hard to mislead the citizens of the world to believe what is surely the greatest "science" hoax ever perpetrated.

However, when the leak of emails between the handful of climate scientists who conjured up the deliberately misleading data the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used hit the Internet, the November 2009 event was quickly dubbed "Climategate." In one exchange, they worried over the fact that, since the late 1990s, the Earth was demonstrably getting cooler.

It is hard to believe that any journalist could not know about Climategate or the subsequent failure of the IPCC's Copenhagen climate conference that even the President attended as the entire hoax came unraveled.
"The wildfires in Russia, the floods in Pakistan and the record heat this summer in New Jersey have one thing in common: They are exactly the kind of symptoms scientists predicted we'd experience as global warming occurs."

Only there is no global warming. The Earth has been in a decade-old cooling cycle.

Which scientists are being cited? What kind of scientists? The current IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri began his career in an Indian diesel-locomotive factory. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that, "As an academic, he staunchly defended his country's right to burn coal."

And what do isolated natural events that occur in a brief time span have to do with alleged climate trends that can only be measured in centuries? Did the editorial writer ever hear of the Medieval Warm Period or of the Little Ice Age that followed it? Both were spread over centuries, not a single summer.

"Glaciers that have been stable for centuries are now melting at an alarming rate." No, they're not. Indeed, many are melting less as the result of the current cooling cycle. The cooling is due to lower solar activity; the result of a significant reduction in solar storms that are commonly called sunspots. This is the stuff they teach in Meteorology 101.

"Hurricanes are becoming more severe as ocean temperatures rise." You mean like the Category 4 Hurricane named Earl that in a matter of two or three days became a Category 1 and then fizzled out as a tropical storm? The hurricane named Katrina was an anomaly, a category 5, and they don't occur that often. Consider the relatively tame hurricane seasons we've had since then.
"A rational person would look at this evidence and listen to the scientists who are warning of catastrophic impacts over the next few decades, such as coastal flooding and the collapse of rain-fed agriculture in many regions, especially Africa."

It's too bad the writer of this editorial didn't display enough rationality to even question what the unnamed "scientists" were saying; much in the same way Al Gore has been telling everyone the same thing only to be revealed as a charlatan seeking to enrich himself from hoped-for climate legislation. The Chicago Exchange that sells "carbon credits" is close to failure as this bogus "market" collapses from the revelation that there is no global warming.

Scientists constantly challenge one another's work. That is part of the scientific method. Journalists are supposed to exercise a healthy skepticism, but in the case of the scientists who did express skepticism, they were labeled "deniers" until the truth could no longer be hidden from the public.

"Republicans in Washington have killed any chance for climate change legislation, for now. Polls show that while most Americans believe climate change is occurring, most Republicans do not." So, apparently, the climate is determined by one's political affiliation. The polls show increasing doubt about global warming along with the trend that most Americans disapprove of the job President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have done.
"The Environmental Protection Agency under Lisa Jackson is preparing to impose regulations on carbon emissions, as the Clean Air Act requires."

Wrong again. The Clean Air Act does not include carbon dioxide, even though the Supreme Court mistakenly called it a "pollutant." Carbon dioxide does not need to be regulated because it plays no role whatever as regards the planet's climate and because it is a gas that is vital to all vegetation on Earth in the same fashion oxygen is vital to animal life. The editorial writer is a complete moron.

"As the world dawdles, this problem will grow worse, and the solution will have to be more drastic, more expensive and disruptive. For that, we will have climate-change skeptics to thank." This editorial reeks of the same eco-lunacy that could be found in the Unabomber's manifesto or the Internet declaration posted by the lunatic who took hostages in Maryland a week ago, threatening to kill them unless the Discovery channel gave him a show of his own.

The newspaper was completely within its rights to publish the repetition of the kind of alarmism contained in the editorial, but it also has an obligation to get its facts right.

It reminded me of a comment by my friend, Dr. Richard Lindzen. He is one of the world's most respected climatologists, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Atmospheric Science.

"Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century's developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age."

The journalist H.L. Mencken had it right, "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."


Climate Change and African Civil War

Late last year the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science published a paper by Burke et al which claimed that climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions was dramatically increasing civil wars in Africa, and this trend would continue in the near term.

The Cal-Berkeley press release included this quote (and the image above) from one of the authors:
"We were definitely surprised that the linkages between temperature and recent conflict were so strong," said Edward Miguel, professor of economics at UC Berkeley and faculty director of UC Berkeley's Center for Evaluation for Global Action. "But the result makes sense. The large majority of the poor in most African countries depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and their crops are quite sensitive to small changes in temperature. So when temperatures rise, the livelihoods of many in Africa suffer greatly, and the disadvantaged become more likely to take up arms."
Not long after, the paper was strongly criticized in a reply also published in PNAS:
[T]he proposition by Burke et al. (1) that warming may be a directly causative factor in the risk of civil war in Sub-Saharan Africa seems unlikely. . . Our greatest concern with the analysis is the characterization of the link between warming and large-scale conflict (>1,000 battle deaths). The title of the paper, “Warming Increases the Risk of Civil War in Africa,” suggests causation, but the evidence presented is not substantive enough to warrant such a conclusion. Although warming may serve as a proxy for correlated variables such as decreased soil moisture and reduced agricultural production, identifying warming, or even agricultural production, as primary factors in civil war oversimplifies systems affected by many geopolitical and social factors.
In their rejoinder to the reply Burke et al. appeared to back off their claims of causation:
Our paper does not argue that temperature is the only—or even the primary—determinant of civil war. Further work is needed to understand how climate affects civil war, and we note this clearly in our paper.
Just this week PNAS has published a new paper by Halvard Buhaug that thoroughly eviscerates Burke et al. Buhaug's conclusion is unambiguous (I do not see it at PNAS yet, but an early version is here in PDF):
The simple fact is this: climate characteristics and variability are unrelated to short-term variations in civil war risk in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary causes of civil war are political, not environmental, and although environmental conditions may change with future warming, general correlates of conflicts and wars are likely to prevail. . . The challenges imposed by future global warming are too daunting to let the debate on social effects and required countermeasures be sidetracked by atypical, nonrobust scientific findings and actors with vested interests.
Burke has reacted strongly against Buhaug, accusing him of having cherry-picked his datasets (Note: Figure 2 in Buhaug is pretty convincing to me.).  While climate change may not be the cause of African civil wars, it does seem to be the cause of civil wars in academia.



Critical Pacific Ocean subset of UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) temperature data now to be examined by New Zealand High Court.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world, the newly formed New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust has taken legal action against the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), a `Crown Research Institute' contracted by the NZ Government to be its sole adviser on scientific issues relating to climate change. Instead of using the New Zealand Met Service temperature record that shows no warming during the last century, NIWA has adopted an "adjusted" record of seven surface stations that shows a 1 deg. C rise, almost 50% above the global average for that period.

Because there are very few long term temperature records in the Pacific Ocean, the NIWA record bears heavily disproportionate weight in determining multi-decadal trends in global average temperatures used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, the basis for the NIWA temperature adjustments is unknown, the data and calculations that underlie the adjustment method lost, and the originator of the technique of adjustment summarily dismissed from his position at NIWA.

Read news release from ICSC affiliate, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC), which has unsuccessfully sought access to the data and calculations behind the temperature adjustment since 2006.

Read November 2009 NZCSC paper on the scandal, "Are We Feeling Warmer Yet?", by Barry Brill, OBE.

Read May 2010 response to NIWA attempts to whitewash the affair.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climategate Was No Fluke

Comment from Brown University (a private Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island):

The mainstream alarmist posturing on climate change by the likes of Al Gore, regardless of whether it meets the demands of scientific accuracy or not, is resetting political priorities and imposing billions of dollars in costs for governments the world over.

Sustained inquiry, debate and scrutiny around the dealings of those involved - from scientific practitioners to powerful policymakers - are not only inevitable, but are also absolute imperatives. The taxpayer, after all, funds most of the climate research and his life is vastly affected by the domestic and international policies that it shapes. In particular, emerging economies across the world grapple with the burden of international pressures to "green up" versus their own aspirations to fully industrialize.

In that regard, the sensational November 2009 revelation of deplorable practices by leading climate change scientists cannot have been some blind chase driven by ideology, but a significant and irreversible turn in one of the greatest geopolitical debates of all time. Notwithstanding the supposed exonerations of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) scientists in question, their behavior remains unscrupulous. Moreover, for those manning the frontiers of an issue with such enormous global implications, "hiding the temperature decline" and destroying emails with critical evidence strikes me as just outright unacceptable.

Through his column, ("Scientific Misconduct," September 1), David Sheffield '11 would have us believe that the furor that arose from clear evidence of manipulating empirical data was misplaced - because no "scientific malpractice" was found by reviews. In other words, he renders the legitimacy of any criticism to the sole discretion of those tasked to "inquire" by the status quo, or those with zero incentives for objectiveness in the issue. The implications of this approach cannot be any trickier: all we need to settle this controversy is peer review by institutions whose credentials for objectiveness in this matter are questionable.

It should be noted that the implicated universities themselves - Penn State and the University of East Anglia - as the respective employers of the scientists in question, funded two of the supposedly independent inquiries into the CRU. Finding the scientists guilty on any count would also discredit these institutions and their status as the backbone of what Gore would like us to think as the "overwhelming scientific consensus" on climate change.

Sheffield's focus on the underlying issue is quite generic in that he merely states the outcomes of the inquiries but not the accusations in question. But his judgment on "deniers" is a little more detailed and sharp. He tags the critics as "ideologically driven" and "anti-scientific" crowds who are out to achieve self-serving ends. But nothing, however, can be truer about the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change whose figured scientists were tainted in the scandal. No objective scientist but in fact one driven by ideology, can go to the same lengths that the CRU experts went in actively trying to manipulate highly consequential empirical data.

Apologists of the status quo scientists will point to the fact that the evidence (or the lack thereof) was acquired illegally by a hacker, the fact remains that the conventional climate change science is rooted in the highly secretive work of men who we now know have the capacity and sometimes, motive to tailor some of their findings to suit certain goals - or ideologies, if you wish.

That climate change has become a multibillion dollar industry is not a mystery, nor is the fact that millions of "green" dollars are lining the personal pockets of those with enough clout on environmental policy. From federal grants to windfalls from energy companies, many incentives have clouded this industry and left total objectiveness wallowing away from the top of priority lists.

Therefore, with the far-reaching implications of global environmental policies, it is mandatory to keep relentless scrutiny as an indispensable part of that matrix of interconnectedness.

To make those critical of the questionable practices of authoritative scientists appear repulsive by tagging them as "anti-scientific" borders on some sort of censorship. It is no wonder bigger climate change fundamentalists are quick to address anyone skeptical of their sensation-seeking rhetoric as a heretic, or in the words of Bill Nye, "almost unpatriotic".

By analyzing both in the same side of his article, Sheffield paints climate change "deniers" with the same brush as those guilty of scientific misconduct, like disgraced academics of Marc Hauser's sort. The only problem is that while Hauser's case presents a black-and-white scenario whose verdict was easily delivered, the whitewash of the CRU by supposedly independent inquiries is not so simplistic. It is a mere microcosm of the fundamental global debate around global warming that is both complex, and far from over.

The jury is definitely still out on the so-called Climategate, and I don't think it is time for us here at Brown to conclusively hit that gavel yet - especially at the lead of inquiries that may have well chosen convenience over objectiveness. The enormity of the stakes worldwide does not allow us that luxury.


Climate Change and Precipitation - Another IPCC And Climate Science Failure

by Dr. Tim Ball

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field" -- Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Focus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is almost exclusively on temperature, particularly on warming. That alone should condemn their work because different weather has different implications for different activities and in most cases temperature is of little concern.

They have the world in a panic for no reason and real issues are confused by their work

They have the world in a panic for no reason and real issues are confused by their work. For example, farmers and agribusiness need to know about temperature shifts, but a gradual change is of little concern and easily accommodated. IPCC claim temperature has increased 1øC in the last 100 years and that's beyond a natural increase. It did not result in any negative impacts; in fact productivity has increased dramatically.

Their future scenarios include more serious rates but every one to date has not matched even minimum increases. As IPCC member Kevin Trenberth, wrote Wed, 14 Oct 2009, "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." Now consider the changes in science, technology and society in those 100 years. Unless free enterprise is completely stifled by political ideologies, we can expect similar advances in the next 100 years. It will not be 'business as usual" as environmentalists assume.

Dramatic temperature changes, like the nearly 2øC drop in global temperature after Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815 are relatively short-lived and today would have far less impact. A possible example of a temperature change comparable to the IPCC predictions but a cooling was the 70-year decline from 1530 to 1600. Lines delineate areas of arable land lost. Notice that between 1300 and 1600 approximately half the land went out of production. With today's science and technology, especially genetic modification, adaptation is much easier.

From year to year the single critical factor for plant growth is precipitation. Ignoring this allowed Michael Mann to use temperature as the sole cause of tree growth manifest in growth rings. Precipitation patterns are much more important for the short and medium term. The IPCC forecast increased droughts with global warming, which is counterintuitive. Higher temperatures cause increased evaporation and higher atmospheric moisture with greater potential for precipitation. The 2007 Report said, "very likely precipitation increases in high latitudes and likely decreases in most subtropical land regions, continuing observed recent trends." This is based on the assumption greatest warming will occur in high latitudes, but it is also illogical. As is the assumption that current trends will continue. Temperature determines the air's capacity to hold water. Polar temperature increase would have to be orders of magnitude greater than at middle and low latitude. But there they predict, "Decreasing water availability and increasing drought in mid-latitudes and semi-arid low latitudes."

Droughts at these latitudes are cyclical not related to temperature, although the temperature can modify the intensity of the drought. They ignored this research because they are related to solar cycles.

Generally the IPCC avoids doing anything with water.

Generally the IPCC avoids doing anything with water. This is especially true in their work on the greenhouse effect. In Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis Section 2 is titled, Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radioactive Forcing.

Section 2.3 discusses Chemically and Radioactively Important Gases but the only place where water vapor is mentioned is in a section on Stratospheric Water Vapor. This is a hangover from the original mandate to focus only on manmade causes of change, which is confirmed by a separate reference in Section 2.5 titled Tropospheric Water Vapor from Anthropogenic Sources. They changed the mandate because its limitations were identified, but they cynically changed little in the Report. It's impossible to know how much water vapor is from human sources, if you don't know natural amounts.

It is generally agreed that water vapor is 95 percent of the greenhouse gases by volume. There is complete disagreement about the effectiveness in delaying heat escape to space. Part of the problem is water vapor acts in some of the same wavelengths as CO2. Another is water exists as gas, liquid, or solid and each has a different effect. The complete inability of computer climate models to replicate the effect of clouds reflects these problems. Ironically, the only time the IPCC acknowledge water vapor is in their attempt to overcome the saturation effect of CO2. Even if CO2 doubles there is an upper limit to temperature increase. They said temperature increase due to CO2 would increase evaporation and this would create a positive feedback causing temperatures to continue to increase. This is now proven incorrect and a negative feedback with increased cloud blocking sunlight as a result.

There is also the problem of the percentages of water vapor throughout the atmosphere. The IPCC incorrectly assumes CO2 is uniformly distributed. They don't even grapple with the fact that water vapor in the atmosphere varies from almost zero in the polar regions to 4 percent in the tropics and is constantly changing from hour to hour. Rates of evaporation vary with temperature, but also with wind speed.

Computer models are built on data and temperature records are completely inadequate, which is a basic reason why the models fail. Records of precipitation are even worse. Accurate measurements of rainfall are very difficult; it`s even worse for snow. Even with adequate instruments, the number of stations is inadequate. Consider this comment about Africa. "One obvious problem is a lack of data. Africa's network of 1152 weather watch stations, which provide real-time data and supply international climate archives, is just one-eighth the minimum density recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Furthermore, the stations that do exist often fail to report." (4 Aug 2006 VOL 313 Science). It is little better for most of the world.

The IPCC is a scientific, economic and political failure

For most middle latitude agriculture (30ø to 65ø) there are three primary sources of precipitation. Winter snowfall, summer rainfall and condensation in spring and fall. Measurements of the first two are less than adequate and the third is ignored. One summer, forecasts for a poor harvest on the Canadian Prairies were confounded. The obvious, but overlooked, explanation was that as much as 2 inches of moisture from condensation occurred in the late summer. This was more effective than rainfall because it occurred at ground level at night so little went to evaporation, and was available to the plant with reduced heat stress and was very widespread.

The IPCC is a scientific, economic and political failure. Its political focus on CO2 diverts climate science from producing useful research to advance practical world knowledge and understanding of weather and climate. I am glad to rain on their parade: It must be eliminated.


FOI and universities

Tony Blair's recent expressions of regret over his introduction of the Freedom of Information Act has been much chewed over in the news recently.

If I sense things correctly this is just one symptom of something rather bigger. If I discern things correctly, there are moves afoot to start reining back on the scope of the Act. I can't quite recall what prompted me to do so, but a few weeks back I sent an FoI request to the Justice Ministry, the Whitehall department responsible for the FoI Act. I asked what meetings ministers and officials had had concerning possible changes to the application of the Act in universities. The answer came back that they "didn't hold the information". On its own this would be nothing, although a firmer answer - "no such meetings" would have been more encouraging.

But then there was this a heartfelt piece on the subject of FoI from Professor Edward Acton:
[T]here are dilemmas. If data gathered by researchers is to be disclosable before they have completed work on it, issues of commercial and intellectual property become acute. Take the recent ruling by the Information Commissioner (made under the FOIA's twin, the Environmental Information Regulation) to force Queen's University Belfast to hand over painstakingly assembled Irish Tree Ring data. Are we to find that commercial companies (located anywhere in the world - our FOIA is wonderfully cosmopolitan) may secure the release of the unworked data of every UK university?

As an aside, I think Doug Keenan, the man who forced QUB's hand on this issue, might take issue with some of this. For example, the data is decades old and so can hardly count as "unworked". Also, according to Queens itself, it was stored on an electronic medium that is already virtually obsolete - floppy disks, suggesting that it was not actually being used. Readers of the Hockey Stick Illusion will recognise these issues and will know that the data should have been stored in a secure repository designed for the purpose, such as the International Tree Ring Database.

But to return to the original theme, there has now been another strong hint that the bureaucrats are on the move. Today's You and Yours programme on BBC Radio 4 discussed the question of Freedom of Information and featured someone from the University of Warwick declaring that he felt that universities should be exempt.

His reasoning for this involved a delicious misleading of the interviewer, Julian Worricker. He informed Worricker that Warwick receives 77% of its income "competively" and 23% direct from the state. This suggestion then led neatly into an insinuation that Warwick is 23% state funded (all those grants are competitive, right?), and since 23% is much less than some charities get from the state, universities should be exempt. Here, for those who are interested, is the relevant extract from the Warwick accounts:

Anyway, take a listen. The universities section starts at about 20 mins. Heather Brooke is featured later on, together with some minor discussion of climate.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


No comments: