Monday, October 25, 2010

Warmists still trying but more cautious

Note that the article below just talks about ARCTIC warming, not global warming. They use weasel words by saying that they are "concerned about global warming" but refuse to say that the Arctic warming is CAUSED by global warming. So IS the Arctic warming caused by global warming? The article immediately after the one below gives an answer

Last winter's massive snowstorms that struck the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states were tied to higher Arctic temperatures, climate scientists reported Thursday.

The new Arctic Report Card "tells a story of widespread, continued and even dramatic effects of a warming Arctic," said Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Hanover, N.H.

Researchers highlighted the snowstorms as one of the immediate consequences of the warming.

"Normally the cold air is bottled up in the Arctic," said Jim Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. But last December and February, winds that normally blow west to east across the Arctic were instead bringing the colder air south to the Mid-Atlantic, he said.

"As we lose more sea ice it's a paradox that warming in the atmosphere can create more of these winter storms," Overland said at a news briefing.

There is a powerful connection between ice cover and air temperatures, Richter-Menge explained. When temperatures warm, ice melts. When reflective ice melts it reveals darker surfaces underneath, which absorbs more heat. That, in turn, causes more melting "and on the cycle goes," she said.

Another effect of the increasing temperatures is that the sea ice extent is dropping to one of the lowest levels on record. "This isn't just a climatological effect. It impacts the people that live there," Richter-Menge said.

Atmospheric scientists concerned about global warming focus on the Arctic because that is a region where the effects are expected to be felt first, and that has been the case in recent years.

In September the Arctic sea ice extent was the third smallest in the last 30 years, added Don Perovich of the Army laboratory. He said the three smallest ice covers have occurred in the last four years.

There was a slowdown in Arctic warming in 2009, but in the first half of 2010 warming has been near a record pace, with monthly readings more than 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in northern Canada, according to the report card released Thursday.


The Arctic is indeed in a warm phase -- but it is Natural Variability

By Joseph D’Aleo, meteorologist

On October 21st the Associated Press hit the wires with a story entitled Sea Ice Melting as Arctic Temperatures Rise.

The temperatures in the arctic have indeed risen in recent years and ice has declined, bottoming out in 2007 but it is not unprecedented nor unexpected. The arctic temperatures and arctic ice extent varies in a very predictable 60-70 year cycle that relates to ocean cycles which are likely driven by solar changes.

In 2007, NASA scientists stated that after years of research, their team had assembled data showing that normal, decade-long changes in Arctic Ocean currents driven by a circulation known as the Arctic Oscillation was largely responsible for the major Arctic climate shifts observed over the past several years. These periodic reversals in the ocean currents move warmer and cooler water around to new places, greatly affecting the climate.

(The AO was at a record low level last winter explaining the record cold and snow in middle latitudes. A strongly negative AO pushes the coldest air well south while temperatures in the Polar Regions are warmer than normal under blocking high pressure)

We agree. And indeed both oceans play a role. In the record-setting (since satellite monitoring began in 1979) summer melt season of 2007, NSIDC noted the importance of both oceans in the arctic ice.
“One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.

Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine–Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss.”

“Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”

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

Standard warmist Meteorology has nowhere to go

Report of BBC Weather Project meeting at Royal Society Oct 12th., where Piers Corbyn insists on fair assessment of long range forecasts. BBC and Met Office make concessions

The Scene: An impressive room in Britain’s Royal Society off The Mall. Roger Harrabin, BBC’s chief environment correspondent in the chair surrounded by representatives of “All the Royals”, as he put it, either on the presentation line up or ‘at hand’ – the Royal Meteorological Society, The Royal Statistical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society; along with experts (statistics) from Leeds University, Philip Eden of BBC5 weather, Tim Palmer of European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (& RMS), the Met Office (seasonal forecasting division) and a range of other BBC professionals, weather people and public and Michael Fish! - numbering 50 or so in all.

The Purpose: to discuss the BBC’s ‘Weather (Test) Project.

The discussion led by Roget Harrabin proceeded as if the purpose was to compare short-range forecasts of Met office and competitors and raised many ‘difficulties’. A number of people said that BBC forecasts were confused in presentation and that although ‘forecast skill’ might be something to measure, forecast usefulness is what the public and business really need.

Piers says “It’s time to Get Real”.

Tim Palmer said the main problem of weather forecasting was that weather is a ‘chaotic system’ and very small changes at the start of a computer forward projection programme can make very different outcomes (forecasts) later; and said this could ONLY be overcome in a very general way by looking at slow changes like El Nino and Ocean currents which could have a bearing on circulation a month or so ahead and enable ‘seasonal’ forecasting.

Piers Corbyn (a member of two of ‘The Royals’ RMS & RAS) said that Tim Palmer’s point about “what he calls chaos” also must mean that small external drivers such as SOLAR ACTIVITY can fundamentally change the development of weather systems and makes (with our understanding of what the sun does) long range forecasting possible NOW, many months ahead down to detail of a few days and is especially skilled at extreme events.

We, scientists, must do better!

Piers pointed out that his own WeatherAction forecast for the winter 2009/10 had been presented last October 28th in summary form in Imperial College in front of Roger Harrabin and others of the BBC who had said they would publicise it; but the BBC had not done this and instead promoted the Met offices ‘Global-Warmist’ ‘seasonal’ forecast for a mild winter which had failed absolutely as had the Met Office seasonal forecasts for the 3 previous summers & winter 08/09.

The consequence, said Piers, was that his warning that the UK would run out of road salt was ignored by Govt, Local Authorities and Emergency services and as a result there were unnecessary road accidents and deaths. “We have to do better than this” he said to the audience - who listened carefully.

“Measure skill by ‘notional’ weather bets – & assess short and long detailed forecasts including regions & extreme events”

He pointed out that his forecasts already had independently proven significant skill especially for extreme events (See Forecast accuracy button) and it was unacceptable that his forecasts which went much further ahead and gave much more regional detail than anything long range the Met Office attempts should be excluded from a fair measure of skill.

He said the fairest way was to put the forecasts into the form of notional weather bets to include regions, dates and extremes - eg the first week of Jan will be in the ten coldest in the last 100 years for Central England Temps – Fair odds 9/1 against {NB THIS is NOT a forecast!! Just an example}.

Philip Eden asked If the Met Office would enter such a form of competition (which they had seemed reluctant to do) would Piers also enter a more general less detailed set of questions? Piers agreed and said the Test committee should consider his Solar-factors improvements to short range Met forecasts as well as detailed month ahead and many months ahead forecasts including regional detail and extreme events down to a few days time resolution.

Skill and usefulness

Piers said it was simple to resolve the conflict between skill & usefulness. The test committee should test skill of any forecasts by, eg, notional Weather bets & the public separately can say what they find useful. Roger Harrabin mentioned how useful he had found a long range holiday forecast from Piers!

“It was clear from the meeting that Standard Global-Warmist Meteorology hasn’t made any advances in 5 years - indeed it has failed - and has nowhere to go”, said Piers. “Their hope to overcome ‘chaos’ by slow changing things like ocean currents and CO2 assumptions fails just as badly as their medium range forecasts beyond 10 days because the predictable solar/lunar signal is much stronger than the noise in their ‘chaos’, and of course assumptions about CO2 are proven nonsense.

The meeting was something of a watershed and the way could open to the proper advance of science. However, first the religiosity of CO2-theory and the related obsession with models which the users absurdly believe are better than nature itself at predicting nature, must end!”.


Climate Change is dead. Long live the new Eco Lie

James Delingpole

And so it begins. With all the shamelessness of a Goldman Sachser trading in his middle-aged wife for a hot, pouting twenty-something called Ivanka, the green movement is ditching “Climate Change”. The newer, younger, sexier model’s name? Biodiversity.

When I say shameless, I’m talking so amoral it makes the Whore of Babylon look like Mother Theresa; so flagrant it makes Al Gore’s, ahem, alleged drunken “Love poodle” assault on the Portland Masseuse look like an especially delicate passage from Andreas Capellanus’s The Art of Courtly Love.

Consider this summary of the UN’s two-week Convention On Biodiversity, launched on Monday:
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are being asked to agree to new 2020 targets after governments largely failed to meet a 2010 target of achieving a significant reduction in biological diversity losses, a goal set at the last biodiversity conference in 2002. And one of the same issues that led to failure the first time around could jeopardize this meeting: money.

Developing nations say more funding is needed from developed countries to share the effort in saving nature. Much of the world’s remaining biological diversity is in developing nations such as Brazil, Indonesia and in central Africa.

Do you see what’s going on here? OK. Here’s an even bigger clue. Here’s something, unbeknownst to the world’s taxpayers and free citizens, which the UN technocrats stitched together in June.
Busan/Nairobi, 11 June 2010 - History was made, Friday, in the South Korean port city of Busan, when governments gave the green light to an Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The independent platform will in many ways mirror the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has assisted in catalyzing world-wide understanding and governmental action on global warming.

The new body will bridge the gulf between the wealth of scientific knowledge -documenting accelerating declines and degradation of the natural world – and the decisive government action required to reverse these damaging trends.

Its various roles will include carrying out high quality peer reviews of the wealth of science on biodiversity and ecosystem services emerging from research institutes across the globe in order to provide gold standard reports to governments.

“Gold standard”, eh? Now where have I heard that phrase before?

Suddenly it becomes clear why they kept Pachauri on at the IPCC. Because the IPCC simply doesn’t matter any more. Sure it will go on, churning out Assessment Report after Assessment Report, bringing pots of money to the usual gang of bent scientists prepared to act as lead authors. But the world’s mainstream media – especially all those environment correspondents who so lovingly transcribe the press releases of Greenpeace and the WWF as if they were holy writ – will have moved on, according to the dictates of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) fashionable crise du jour.

“Never mind ‘Climate Change’,” they’ll say to themselves. “Our readers and viewers aren’t really so into that now all the winters seem to have got so very cold. Biodiversity, that’s the thing.”

And guess what? Not only does the great big new Biodiversity scam already have its own IPCC but it even has its own pseudoeconomic, panic-generating Stern Report. This one is produced by a member of Deutsche Bank which – as Hilary Ostrov tells us in an excellent post well worth reading in full – has form when it comes to promoting half-witted, ill-documented, patently political climate change ****ocks.
Hmmm … Deutsche Bank … Oh, yes I’ve heard of that one. Ross McKitrick recently responded to some misinformation they had included in “a report that aims to rebut major skeptic arguments on global warming”. But I digress …

Just read how it’s billed and weep:
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Nagoya, Japan, 20 October 2010– The economic importance of the world’s natural assets is now firmly on the political radar as a result of an international assessment showcasing the enormous economic value of forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs, as well as the social and economic costs of their loss, was the conclusion of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report launched today by TEEB study leader, Pavan Sukhdev.

“TEEB has documented not only the multi-trillion dollar importance to the global economy of the natural world, but the kinds of policy-shifts and smart market mechanisms that can embed fresh thinking in a world beset by a rising raft of multiple challenges. The good news is that many communities and countries are already seeing the potential of incorporating the value of nature into decision-making,” said Mr. Sukhdev, a banker who heads up the Green Economy Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

He was speaking at the launch of the two-year study, which has involved hundreds of experts from around the world, at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th Conference of Parties meeting (CBD COP10) in Nagoya.

The TEEB study calls for wider recognition of nature’s contribution to human livelihoods, health, security, and culture by decision-makers at all levels (local to national and business to citizens). It promotes the demonstration, and where appropriate, the capture of the economic values of nature’s services through an array of policy instruments and mechanisms.

Here’s the UN’s Achim Steiner – you’ll have seen him recently on a BBC news report where David Shuckman, was it? got to go on a nice freebie to Kenya in the guise of bigging up, you guessed it, biodiversity – telling us just how SERIAL this business is.

This year’s Global Biodiversity Outlook-3, prepared in close collaboration with UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, points to ‘tipping points’ fast emerging – changes for example in freshwater systems that soon may be irreversible.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment of 2005 concluded that 60 per cent of the services provided by the world’s ecosystems that support human well being are now either degraded or heading that way.

Changes in biodiversity as a result of human activities were more rapid in the past 50 years that at any time in human history, it concludes.

The report, the output of more than 1,300 scientists from more than 90 countries supported by UNEP, the Global Environment Facility and many other partners, underlined that rather than exercising the brake the world continues to choose the accelerator.

What? Only 1300 scientists this time, was it? I’m sure the figure which used to be bandied about with global warming was more like 2,500.

Ah well, what the hell. It’s not like the “little people” are going to be able to do anything about it. That’s the beauty of the United Nations. The European Union too, come to that. Democratically unaccountable, lavishly funded, and with over a half a century’s expertise at spreading big lies round the world before the truth has got his boots on.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia: Greenie superstition masquerading as agricultural science

The angst in Murray-Darling Basin communities about proposed water regime changes belies Australian farmers' record in adopting research.

Both rain-fed and irrigation farmers have a proud record of steadily increasing sustainable productivity. The adoption of practices such as zero-till and hugely improved output per unit of winter rainfall by rain-fed farmers have resulted in grain yields doubling in the past 30 years. Irrigators have maintained the value of outputs despite using only half as much water during the drought. Both efficiencies were achieved by committed farmers backed by strong research performance from supporting agencies. There is no place for the amateur.

Michael Jeffery and Julian Cribb ("Water is the key to sustainability", The Australian, October 15) give us an interesting drop-by-drop analysis of our water resources.

They very crisply identify the challenge: minimise evaporation, recycle city waste water, don't "over-engineer" streams, preserve prime land from urban sprawls, encourage give-it-a-go farmers, maintain supporting scientific research and ensure supply of skilled personnel.

A useful definition of sustainable agriculture is that to which society has committed enough resources to identify problems, to have solutions adequately researched and to ensure adoption of the solutions: never arrive, but eternally strive! It takes time and solid support for adoption of technology: time to consider the whole impact, to change equipment, arrange finance, and make arrangements with input suppliers and product buyers. In the Murray-Darling Basin it is a whole-of-community adaptation process.

A scientific base for this development is essential but beware of false prophets! Unfortunately, Jeffrey and Cribb have been taken in by one such, Peter Andrews, of ABC TV's Australian Story fame, who scorns agricultural science in his book, Back from the Brink. He insults the rural agencies and scientists with such absurd assertions as: "In my experience most scientists are hamstrung by a fear of change", and "I know several who had an opportunity to initiate change . . . but shied away". He alleges total failure by agricultural scientists to work together on land and water management, gives no credit to the effective efforts of Landcare, state departments of agriculture-primary industries, soil conservation agencies and catchment management authorities.

Andrew's work, described as (undefined) natural sequence farming, is disconnected from the past 50 years of science which gave this country substantial increased food and fibre production and better land management. On pastures he states: "Ten per cent coverage of thistles . . . enough to maintain the fertility". Then, "grass will accumulate fertility . . . a lot slower than weeds do" and, "there isn't a pasture anywhere in Australia today . . . more productive if it had weeds growing in the grass. So it isn't just a case of weeds not being harmful; it's a case of weeds being essential."

Then again, he posits that fertilisers are not needed: "Chemical fertilisers do not really fertilise the soil; a feedback loop tells the plants to stop growing when there is not enough fertility . . . This correlation disappears as soon as you apply a chemical fertiliser. Then the plant will keep growing willy-nilly, exhausting and weakening the soil, which is then less able to cope with erosion, extremes of climate and other stressful conditions. Chemical fertilisers stimulate grass to keep growing regardless."

Surely, few readers can take such nonsense seriously? Nearly a century of scientific research and farming experience have clearly demonstrated that fertilised leguminous plants in balance with others will produce nutritious feed at the same time raising the organic matter level of the soil and protecting it from erosion.

The water conservation and food production scenario identified by Jeffrey and Cribb, and the underlying the plan for the Murray-Darling Basin, need the best trained scientific brains, well-funded for their research, capable of passing on evidence-based advice to well-trained, intelligent, adaptive farmers, who respect sound science and analysis and are capable of carrying further the successful agricultural research and development of recent decades.


Think Again: Global Aging

A gray tsunami is sweeping the planet -- and not just in the places you expect. How did the world get so old, so fast?

"The World Faces a Population Bomb."

Yes, but of old people. Not so long ago, we were warned that rising global population would inevitably bring world famine. As Paul Ehrlich wrote apocalyptically in his 1968 worldwide bestseller, The Population Bomb, "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date, nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate." Obviously, Ehrlich's predicted holocaust, which assumed that the 1960s global baby boom would continue until the world faced mass famine, didn't happen. Instead, the global growth rate dropped from 2 percent in the mid-1960s to roughly half that today, with many countries no longer producing enough babies to avoid falling populations. Having too many people on the planet is no longer demographers' chief worry; now, having too few is.

It's true that the world's population overall will increase by roughly one-third over the next 40 years, from 6.9 to 9.1 billion, according to the U.N. Population Division. But this will be a very different kind of population growth than ever before -- driven not by birth rates, which have plummeted around the world, but primarily by an increase in the number of elderly people. Indeed, the global population of children under 5 is expected to fall by 49 million as of midcentury, while the number of people over 60 will grow by 1.2 billion. How did the world grow so gray, so quickly?

One reason is that more people are living to advanced old age. But just as significant is the enormous bulge of people born in the first few decades after World War II. Both the United States and Western Europe saw particularly dramatic increases in birth rates during the late 1940s and 1950s, as returning veterans made up for lost time. In the 1960s and 1970s, much of the developing world also experienced a baby boom, but for a different reason: striking declines in infant and child mortality. As these global baby boomers age, they will create a population explosion of seniors. Today in the West, we are seeing a sharp uptick in people turning 60; in another 20 years, we'll see an explosion in the numbers turning 80. Most of the rest of the world will follow the same course in the next few decades.

Eventually, the last echoes of the global baby boomers will fade away. Then, because of the continuing fall in birth rates, humans will face the very real prospect that our numbers will fall as fast -- if not faster -- than the rate at which they once grew. Russia's population is already 7 million below what it was in 1991. As for Japan, one expert has calculated that the very last Japanese baby will be born in the year 2959, assuming the country's low fertility rate of 1.25 children per woman continues unchanged. Young Austrian women now tell pollsters their ideal family size is less than two children, enough to replace themselves but not their partners. Worldwide, there is a 50 percent chance that the population will be falling by 2070, according to a recent study published in Nature. By 2150, according to one U.N. projection, the global population could be half what it is today.

That might sound like an appealing prospect: less traffic, more room at the beach, easier college admissions. But be careful what you wish for.

"Aging Is a Rich-Country Problem."

NO. Once, demographers believed, following a long line of ancient thinkers from Tacitus and Cicero in late Rome to Ibn Khaldun in the medieval Arab world, that population aging and decline were particular traits of "civilized" countries that had obtained a high degree of luxury. Reflecting on the fate of Rome, Charles Darwin's grandson bemoaned a pattern he saw throughout history: "Must civilization always lead to the limitation of families and consequent decay and then replacement from barbaric sources, which in turn will go through the same experience?"

Today, however, we see that birth rates are dipping below replacement levels even in countries hardly known for luxury. Emerging first in Scandinavia in the 1970s, what the experts call "subreplacement fertility" quickly spread to the rest of Europe, Russia, most of Asia, much of South America, the Caribbean, Southern India, and even Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Morocco, and Iran. Of the 59 countries now producing fewer children than needed to sustain their populations, 18 are characterized by the United Nations as "developing," i.e., not rich.

Indeed, most developing countries are experiencing population aging at unprecedented rates. Consider Iran. As recently as the late 1970s, the average Iranian woman had nearly seven children. Today, for reasons not well understood, she has just 1.74, far below the average 2.1 children needed to sustain a population over time. Accordingly, between 2010 and 2050, the share of Iran's population 60 and older is expected to increase from 7.1 to 28.1 percent. This is well above the share of 60-plus people found in Western Europe today and about the same percentage that is expected for most Northern European countries in 2050. But unlike Western Europe, Iran and many other developing regions experiencing the same hyper-aging -- from Cuba to Croatia, Lebanon to the Wallis and Futuna Islands -- will not necessarily have a chance to get rich before they get old.

One contributing factor is urbanization; more than half the world's population now lives in cities, where children are an expensive economic liability, not another pair of hands to till fields or care for livestock. Two other oft-cited reasons are expanded work opportunities for women and the increasing prevalence of pensions and other old-age financial support that doesn't depend on having large numbers of children to finance retirement.

Surprisingly, this graying of the world is not by any means the exclusive result of programs deliberately aimed at population control. For though there are countries such as India, which embraced population control even to the point of forced sterilization programs during the 1970s and saw dramatic reduction in birth rates, there are also counterexamples such as Brazil, where the government never promoted family planning and yet its birth rate went down even more. Why? In both countries and elsewhere, changing cultural norms appear to be the primary force driving down birth rates -- think TV, not government decrees. In Brazil, television was introduced sequentially province by province, and in each new region the boob tube reached, birth rates plummeted soon after. (Discuss among yourselves whether this was because of what's on Brazilian television -- mostly soap operas depicting rich people living the high life -- or simply because a television was now on at night in many more bedrooms.)

Much more HERE


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