Sunday, November 28, 2010

British Met office still asserting that hot weather proves man-made global warming

It's an assertion offered without any proof -- because there is no proof. And with breathtaking intellectual dishonesty they always say that cold weather does not prove global cooling. If weather is evidence in one case why is it not evidence in both cases? Don't expect science from the British Met office. The Pope at the Met office (Dr Vicky Pope) is clearly a religious leader too.

And the amusing thing is that with the recent savage onset of a very cold winter in England and elsewhere, 2010 is clearly NOT going to be unusually warm overall anyway

The latest temperature statistics are a sign of man-made global warming, the Met Office says. This year is heading to be the hottest or second hottest on record, according to the Met Office. It says the past 12 months are the warmest recorded by Nasa, and are second in the UK data set, HadCRUT3.

The Met Office says it is very confident that man-made global warming is forcing up temperatures.

Until now, the hottest year on record has been 1998, when temperatures were pushed up by a strong El Nino - a warming event in the Pacific. This year saw a weaker El Nino, and that fizzled out to be replaced by a La Nina cooling event.

So scientists might have expected this year's temperatures to be substantially lower than 1998 - but they are not. Within the bounds of statistical error, the two years are likely to be the same. "It's a sign that we've got man-made global warming," said Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate science advice at the Met Office.

Climate sceptics say that until now, warming has plateaued over the last decade. The Met Office agrees that the rate of warming has slowed - but it maintains that is due to natural variability, not because man-made warming has stopped.

They think factors in the slower warming may have been - a natural downturn in solar radiation; a small reduction in water vapour in the stratosphere; a possible increase in aerosol emissions from Asia; and the fact that strong warming in the Arctic is poorly represented in the way data is collected.

There is a question over how many times the Met Office has forecast a record previously. Dr Pope said they had not done so from her recollection. But a Met Office press release shows a forecast that 2007 would probably beat 1998. And a BBC report implies that they made the same prediction for the other El Nino year of 2003. Sceptics say this could prove the third time they have been wrong.

Professor John Christy, a climate sceptic from the University of Alabama in Hunstville, said global temperature had plunged in the past two weeks, so 2010 was likely to remain in second place.

He challenged the Met Office conviction that greenhouse gases were to blame for the warmth. "The cause of the warmth is speculation. There are numerous feedbacks at work (many of which are poorly modelled if at all), and it seems to me unimaginative to conclude that greenhouse gases are the dominant cause," he said.

"There is no proof of such a cause in classical scientific sense - so we end up with a lot of opinions on the matter. Evidence is strong that centuries in the past 10,000 years were warmer than today without influences from human-related greenhouse gases."


The latest insight from "New Scientist": Melting Antarctic ice will cause the sea level to FALL

The latest wriggle-out from the pesky state of the sea levels? The theories change but they always lead to the same foreordained conclusion: Man-made global warming is happening!

The vast ice sheets of the Antarctic may be more stable than we thought, because a key piece of physics has been overlooked.

Glaciologists have long worried that the West Antarctic ice sheet will collapse over the next few centuries, raising sea levels dramatically. At present the ice sheet is grounded on underwater islands, which insulate some of the ice from the melting effect of the seawater upon which the rest of the sheet floats. But because the ice has started to melt because of climate change, more water is probably flowing underneath the sheet over the surface of the islands, accelerating its destruction.

The ice sheet has a defence mechanism, however. As it melts, sea levels around it will fall, say Natalya Gomez and Jerry Mitrovica of Harvard University and colleagues. That is counterintuitive, because the ice sheet will release extra water into the sea – but because the mass of ice has shrunk, its gravitational pull on the seawater will be weaker. Also, the bedrock will rise up as the weight of ice on it drops.

"You get a fall in sea level within 2000 kilometres of the ice sheet," Mitrovica says. This means there will be less water sloshing around the sheet's base, so it will last longer. "It will slow down the retreat," says Gomez.

The findings need to be included in the models used to predict ice sheet melting, says David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK. But he says the gravitational effect would only make a big difference if the entire sheet were melting at once – which so far it isn't.


Statisticians debunk the proxies behind the "hockey stick"

The divergence of tree ring "proxies" from the thermometer readings in the second half of the 20th century would be enough evidence for me that the alleged proxies are NOT in fact proxies for temperature but the authors below have gone much further than that -- JR

Major doubts have been raised about the reliability of the historical temperature record by two US statisticians in a paper that has yet to be published but has already provoked a strong response from leading US climate scientists.

The paper re-opens the controversy over the so-called hockey stick graph, made famous by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth”, and may re-energise climate change sceptics in the wake of “climategate” and on the eve of the United Nations Cancun climate conference.

The hockey-stick graph, constructed mainly from tree ring “proxy” data by US climate scientist Michael Mann, shows historic temperatures remaining fairly steady and then rising sharply since the industrial revolution. But statisticians Blakeley McShane of Northwestern University in the US and Abraham Wyner of the University of Pennsylvania in the US write in a new paper that “we conclude unequivocally that the evidence for a ”long-handled” hockey stick (where the shaft of the hockey stick extends to the year 1000 AD) is lacking in the data”.

Temperature records reconstructed from tree rings, ice cores and other so called proxies that give indications of ancient temperatures “do not predict temperature significantly better than random series generated independently of temperature”, McShane and Wyner state in their paper which has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Applied Statistics.

The two statisticians conclude that climate scientists “have greatly underestimated the uncertainty of proxy based reconstructions and hence have been overconfident in their models”. They comment that the long flat handle of the hockey stick is best understood to be a feature of the data processing and “less a reflection of our knowledge of the truth”.

“The fundamental problem is that there is a limited amount of proxy data which dates back to 1000 AD; what is available is weakly predictive of global annual temperature,” McShane and Wyner comment in their paper which is called “A Statistical Analysis Of Multiple Temperature Proxies: Are Reconstructions Of Surface Temperatures Over The Last 1000 Years Reliable?".

The paper is due to be published early in 2011 but has already met a robust response from climate scientists including hockey stick graph creator Michael Mann, from Pennsylvania State University in the US, and Gavin Schmidt of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Schmidt and Mann have, with Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University in the US, written a comment paper, accepted for publication by the same journal, in which they contest the methods used by McShane and Wyner. In it Schmidt and colleagues say “the absence of both proper data quality control and appropriate “pseudoproxy” tests” by McShane and Wyner “to assess the performance of their methods invalidate their main conclusions.”

The McShane and Wyner paper is being published as a “discussion paper” and the editor of Annals of Applied Statistics has invited contributions commenting on this work. Reporting Climate Science.Com understands that there are 13 papers “in press” (that is, still to be published) including the piece by Schmidt, Mann and Rutherford, that comment on the original paper.

McShane and Wyner are preparing a response to all the issues raised by these various comment papers. Reporting Climate Science.Com understands that all the papers – the discussion paper, the comments and the response - will be published together in the first 2011 issue of Annals of Applied Statistics. Typically a discussion paper in an academic journal will have three or four other papers commenting on it – the fact that this paper has attracted 13 is a measure of its importance.

McShane and Wyner have told Reporting Climate Science.Com that they did not want to respond to the points raised in the various comment papers on the record until their formal response has been finalised for publication. However, Wyner wanted to stress that they were “not saying that proxies have no value for reconstructing temperatures at all”. He pointed out that their claim is actually much more narrow, and is as follows: that proxies can not reliably reconstruct temperatures over epochs of time that are relatively short (1000 years), nor can they be used to reliably detect rapid changes in temperature over a period of say 30-50 years. And this is the rationale for their view that it can not be said that the modern period is an anomaly with statistical certainty.

A scientific controversy first erupted over the hockey stick in 2003 when Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre and Canadian economist Ross McKitrick, from the University of Guelph, questioned the statistical methods used by Michael Mann and colleagues. This was vigorously rebutted by Mann.

It is a complicated process to reconstruct a record of ancient temperatures. There were no thermometer measurements until around 150 years ago. This means that scientists must look at so called proxies such as tree rings, ice cores, corals, plant remains, or sediment cores from lakes, among many others. These all exhibit features that are affected by the temperature and can help scientists to infer what temperatures were in the past.

Scientists must extract the data from the proxy and then convert it into a record of surface temperatures – this enables them to “backcast” or ”reconstruct” historical temperature records. This involves significant statistical analysis and it is this part of the process that McShane and Wyner have criticised. “Our paper is an effort to apply some modern statistical methods to these problems,” they state. “While our results agree with the climate scientists findings in some respects, our methods of estimating model uncertainty and accuracy are in sharp disagreement.“


Tuvalu - the touchstone of global warming and rising sea level

Even frantic and nonsensical "adjustments" to the sea-level record can't save the Warmist case

By Cliff Ollier


I taught an introductory course in Geology at the University of the South Pacific in 1977. Each of the countries that participated in USP was invited to send 2 students. They had varying interests, and it was amusing to watch how they woke up when we were teaching geology relating to their own job. Some were interested in gold mining, others in highways and landslides, some in coastal erosion, others in active volcanoes. It was rather a surprise when the sole student from Tuvalu approached me one day and said "Sir, this is all wasted on me. My island is just made of sand." Any news from Tuvalu always struck a chord from that moment.

Since then, of course, Tuvalu has become "hot news" as the favourite island to be doomed by sea level rise driven by global warming, allegedly caused in turn by anthropogenic carbon dioxide. If you look up Tuvalu on the internet you are inundated with articles about its impending fate. Tuvalu has become the touchstone for alarm about global warming and rising sea level.

The geological background

There may have been good reason to think that Tuvalu was doomed anyway. Charles Darwin, who was a geologist before he became a biologist, gave us the Darwin theory of coral islands which has been largely substantiated since his time. The idea is this: When a new volcano erupts above sea level in the tropical ocean, corals eventually colonise the shore. They can grow upwards and outwards (away from the volcanic island) but they can’t grow above sea level. The coral first forms a fringing reef, in contact with the island. As it grows outwards a lagoon forms between the island and the living reef, which is then a barrier reef. If the original volcano sinks beneath the waves a ring of coral betrays its location as an atoll.

But besides the slow sinking of the volcanic base there are variations of sea level due to many causes such as tectonics (Earth movements) and climate change. If sea level rises the coral has to grow up to the higher sea level. Many reefs have managed this to a remarkable extent. Drilling on the coral islands Bikini and Eniwetok shows about 1500m thickness of limestone and therefore of subsidence. Coral cannot start growing on a deep basement, because it needs sunlight and normally grows down to only 50 m.

If the island is sinking slowly (or relative sea level rising slowly) the growth of coral can keep up with it. In the right circumstances some corals can grow over 2 cm in a year, but growth rate depends on many factors.

Sometimes the relative subsidence is too great for the coral to keep pace. Hundreds of flat-topped sea mountains called guyots, some capped by coral, lie at various depths below sea level. They indicate places where relative sea level rise was too fast for coral growth to keep pace.

Sea level and coral islands in the last twenty years

What about the present day situation? The alarmist view that Tuvalu is drowning has been forced upon us for twenty years, but the island is still there. What about the changes in sea level?

Rather than accept my interpretation, look at the data for yourself. First take a regional view. For a number of well-studied islands it can be located here. The Tuvalu data is provided here.

The results are shown graphically in their Figure 15 and reproduced here.

Graph of sea levels in Tuvalu

These island data have never been published in a "peer reviewed" journal. They are only available on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website in a series of Monthly Reports, as in the examples given above. Some measure of the reliability and responsibility may be gauged from the disclaimer at the start of the document:

"Disclaimer. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)". But the names of the authors are not provided.

As you can see, apart from a low in the early records, which seem to be associated with a tropical cyclone, there seems to be no great change in sea level since the early 1990s.

Explaining it away

Vincent Gray explained in his newsletter, NZCLIMATE AND ENVIRO TRUTH NO 181 13th August 2008, that something had to be done to maintain rising sea level alarm, and it was done by in a paper by John R Hunter here.

Hunter first applies a linear regression to the chart for Tuvalu. He gets -1.0±13.7mm/yr so Tuvalu is actually rising! The inaccuracy is entirely due to the ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) effect at the beginning. He then tries to incorporate old measurements made with inferior equipment and attempts to correct for positioning errors. He gets a "cautious" estimate for Tuvalu of 0.8±1.9mm/yr. He then tries to remove ENSO to his own satisfaction, and now his "less cautious" estimate is 1.2 ± 0.8mm/yr.

Does this show the island is rising? Just look at the inaccuracy. The commonsense interpretation of the sea level graphs is surely that Tuvalu, and 11 other Pacific Islands, are not sinking over the time span concerned. The sea level is virtually constant.

Similar manipulation of sea level data is described in Church and others (2006), who consider the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Their best estimate for sea level rise at Tuvalu is 2 ± 1 mm/yr from 1950-2001. They wrote "The analysis clearly indicates that sea-level in this region is rising." Does this square with simple observation of the data in Figure 15? They further comment: "We expect that the continued and increasing rate of sea-level rise and any resulting increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme-sea-level events will cause serious problems for the inhabitants of some of these islands during the 21st century." The data in Figure 15 simply do not support this excessive alarmism.

Models and ground truth

Before getting on to the next part of the story I shall digress on to the topic of "models’ versus "ground truth’. The past twenty years might be seen as the time of the models. Computers abounded, and it was all too easy to make a mathematical model, pump in some numbers, and see what the model predicted. It became evident very early that the models depended on the data that was fed in, and we all know the phrase "Garbage in, Garbage out". But the models themselves do not get the scrutiny they should. Models are invariably simplifications of the natural world, and it is all too easy to leave out vital factors.

"Ground Truth’ is what emerges when the actual situation in a place at the present time, regardless of theories or models. It is a factual base that may help to distinguish between different models that predict different outcomes - just what did happen, and what can we see today.

In the case of Tuvalu’s alleged drowning, we are usually presented with a simple model of a static island and a rising sea level. As Webb and Knetch expressed it: "Typically, these studies treat islands as static landforms". "However, such approaches have not incorporated a full appreciation of the contemporary morphodynamics of landforms nor considered the style and magnitude of changes that may be expected in the future. Reef islands are dynamic landforms that are able to reorganise their sediment reservoir in response to changing boundary conditions (wind, waves and sea-level)".

In simple language we have to include coral growth, erosion, transport and deposition of sediment and many other aspects of coral island evolution. The very fact that we have so many coral islands in the world, despite a rise in sea level of over 100 m since the last ice age, shows that coral islands are resilient - they don’t drown easily.

The actual growth of islands in the past twenty years

Webb and Kench studied the changes in plan of 27 atoll islands located in the central Pacific. They found that the total change in area of reef islands (aggregated for all islands in the study) is an increase in land area of 63 hectares representing 7% of the total land area of all islands studied. The majority of islands appear to have either remained stable or increased in area (86%).

Forty three percent of islands have remained relatively stable (< ±3% change) over the period of analysis. A further 43% of islands (12 in total) have increased in area by more than 3%. The remaining 15% of islands underwent net reduction in island area of more than 3%.

Of the islands that show a net increase in island area six have increased by more than 10% of their original area. Three of these islands were in Funafuti; Funamanu increased by 28.2%, Falefatu 13.3% and Paava Island by 10%. The Funafuti islands exhibited differing physical adjustments over the 19 years of analysis. Six of the islands have undergone little change in area (< ± 3%). Seven islands have increased in area by more than 3%. Maximum increases have occurred on Funamanu (28.2%), Falefatu (13.3%) and Paava (10.1%). In contrast, four islands decreased in area by more than 3%.


In summary Webb and Kench found island area has remained largely stable or increased over the timeframe of their study, and one of the largest increases was the 28.3% on one of the islands of Tuvalu. This destroys the argument that the islands are drowning.

Vincent Gray, an IPCC reviewer from the start, has written SOUTH PACIFIC SEA LEVEL: A REASSESSMENT, which can be seen here

For Tuvalu he comments that "If the depression of the 1998 cyclone is ignored there was no change in sea level at Tuvalu between 1994 and 2008; 14 years. The claim of a trend of + 6.0 mm/yr is without any justification".


Church, J.A., White, N.J. and Hunter, J.R., 2006. Sea-level rise at tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. Global and Planetary Change, v. 53, p. 155-168.

Webb, A. P., Kench, P. S. 2010. The dynamic response of reef islands to sea level rise: evidence from multi-decadal analysis of island change in the central pacific, Global and Planetary Change, v. 72, p. 234-246.


An amusing false prophecy from Warmists in the year 2000

See below:

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event". "Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.

More stupidity HERE

Growing opposition to Australia's windmill lunacy

Australia is not nearly as far down the windmill road as Britain and there seems a good chance that it never will be

JOHN Coombs, the former maritime union heavyweight who refused to let radioactive waste cross the nation's docks, has experienced a change of heart.

He reckons it's time Australia went nuclear. And that's the message he wants to send to the man who stood beside him during the waterfront dispute - former ACTU secretary, now Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet.

His conversion is part of a new world of climate change politics, in which unlikely alliances are being formed and long-held positions being revised.

Mr Coombs, long retired as national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, now finds himself in the same camp as ABC chairman and former Australian Securities Exchange chair Maurice Newman.

Both own property at Crookwell on the NSW southern tablelands, a couple of hours southwest of Sydney. And both have serious doubts about the wisdom of a planned explosion of wind-power developments in the area. "There is a view that wind power will turn out to be for electricity generation what the Zeppelin was for air transportation," Mr Newman said. "It looked promising but was not the answer."

The concerns expressed by Mr Coombs and Mr Newman mirror doubts being expressed in South Australia and southwest Victoria about the cost, efficiency, social impacts and health effects of the new-generation wind turbines that cost more than $2 million each and are as tall as a 45-storey building with blades that take up more than 1ha of sky and create enough turbulence to tear apart any bird that strays too close. Since Australia's first large-scale wind turbine was installed at Breamlea, near Geelong in Victoria, in 1987, more than 1000 have sprung up in wind farms built in every state, with almost half in South Australia. Together they generate about 1.5 per cent of the nation's electricity needs - enough to power 770,000 homes. But there are plans for a multi-billion-dollar, 10-fold increase in the amount of power generated from wind as the federal government pursues a target of generating 20 per cent of our power needs from renewable resources by 2020 as part of its carbon reduction plans. It is estimated that about 40 per cent of the renewable energy target will come from wind.

Yet there is a growing tide of concern that Australia is tying too much of its energy future on a technology that is less efficient, less carbon-friendly and ultimately more expensive for consumers than alternative electricity sources, such as natural gas, coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage technology and nuclear.

Then there are the side-effects of wind turbines - their visual impact, the way they divide rural neighbours when a farm springs up on one property, their effect on wildlife and, potentially, on the health of nearby communities.

Family First senator Steve Fielding has established a Senate inquiry to investigate the health impacts of living near windmills, including concerns over noise and vibrations and the effect of rural wind farms on property values.

Submissions are rolling in and calls are growing for a re-evaluation of nuclear energy.

In Canberra this week, International Energy Agency executive director Nobuo Tanaka said it would be "very difficult" for Australia to meet its target of a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if its gamble on carbon capture and storage - the burial of carbon emissions in deep underground reservoirs - failed and it did not have nuclear power as a back-up. His comments came as a review of international studies, published by Australian researchers in the journal Energy, identified nuclear energy as the cheapest technology to help tackle global warming.

With the billions of dollars earmarked for wind power, which costs more than twice as much as electricity from coal or gas, Mr Coombs said the sensible thing was to consider nuclear energy.

"Of course if you were to mention me (politicians) could say, 'That bloke fought against nuclear waste going out of this country for 20 years', and I did.

"For 20 years I . . . stopped any ship coming in to pick (nuclear waste) up because we refused to let it go to Third World countries.

"Politically, a lot of members were opposed to nuclear energy but it was a long time ago and I gave up the fight . . . to try to stop the use of nuclear power in this country. Of course nuclear power is a reasonable thing to consider."



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this most interesting blog.

Can I just nit-pick the comment that "There were no thermometer measurements until around 150 years ago." I assume that you mean global temperature measurements and know that the Central English Temperature record goes back 350 years.