Friday, December 31, 2010

Global cooling is on the way!

Bob Foster []

A millennium ago, a sage opined “He who foretells the future, lies – even when he tells the truth”. However, with 6 billion mouths to feed, our policy-makers live in vastly different times. Now, they must address the future; and surely, they need guidance from the Geological Society of Australia – because lives depend on getting it right.

Sadly, the recent “Publicity and Media” report (The Australian Geologist of 9/2010, p.5) reveals an opportunity lost. A list of six “attention-grabbing headlines” generated by the Australian Earth Sciences Convention (AESC) lacks the crucial “Global cooling ahead!”

The 300-year warming from ‘quiet Sun’ of the Maunder Minimum to ‘hyperactive Sun’ of the Modern Grand Maximum is over. Strong solar cycles are punctual – averaging only 362 spotless days between cycles during the MGM. In 2004, NASA predicted Solar Cycle 24 would begin in early 2006, peak in 2010, and be extra strong.

I promise I am not making this up: there are now an amazing 813 days without sunspots since 2004, when Cycle 23 began to weaken - including 7-10 October 2010. Late cycles are weak; and indeed, Cycle 24 is very late. Embarrassing for NASA, I know; but will it now tell the world’s policy-makers? A big test for Dr James Hansen!

What lies ahead? As our sage so sagely said, no-one can foretell the future; but every new spot-free day makes it more likely that Earth is entering the Landscheidt Minimum – predicted at its coldest by 2030. In its Little Ice Age look-alike (the fearsome Maunder, 1645-1715) a third the population of Europe died. Planners ready?

Puzzlingly, the AESC list also reveals an opportunity misspent – “Sea levels to rise at double expected rate”. But first, I need to tell you that when Dr Rajendra Pachauri (then head of Tata Energy Research Institute, and now also head of IPCC) was President of the International Association for Energy Economics, I was among his flock.

The Report of November 2009 “The Effect of Climate Change on Extreme Sea Levels in Port Phillip Bay” is by Kathleen L. McInnes, Julian O’Grady and Ian Macadam of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research. It asserts a dramatic acceleration of sea level rise, totalling a massive 0.82 metres by 2100 - based on the “IPCC 2007 A1FI scenario”.

Unchanged from 2001, “A1” is IPCC’s high-end A1 Marker scenario for projected global economic growth. “FI” is IPCC’s most-fuel-intensive story-line for calculating global CO2 emissions - which IPCC says are the primary cause of people-driven change to a stable and benign pre-industrial climate. (A warmer climate would mean an increasing rate of sea level rise.)

In IPCC’s base-year of 1990, South Africa’s consumption of commercially-traded primary energy (in million tonnes oil-equivalent) was 90.5 MTOE – similar to the 89.0 MTOE in Australia. But a phenomenal 77% of South African primary energy was coal (because of oil-from-coal at SASOL); while in Australia, coal’s share was an unexceptional 44%.

Obviously, South Africa used a very atypical proportion of coal. In 1990, per-capita GDP in South Africa was 2.8 (all GDP numbers are 1990 US$ thousands) compared to 17 for lucky Australia. But by 2100 – according to IPCC’s A1 Marker scenario – fortunes change. South Africa will be blessed to enjoy a GDP of 470, compared to 61 in pathetic Australia. Thus, IPCC’s beneficent projections for South Africa have it going from a per-capita GDP of only x0.16 that of Australia in 1990, to a whopping x7.7 that of ours in 2100.

Put another way, South Africa’s projected real-terms per-capita GDP growth of x168 is vastly better than the utterly pedestrian growth of x3.6 projected for Australia. Might we expect Australian economic refugees sailing to South Africa by 2100?

Surely, this question must be asked – and answered – before CSIRO’s sea-level work can be taken seriously. Why did Australia’s premier scientific body embrace IPCC’s nonsensical – and self-serving - economic projections? Could it be that CSIRO put advocacy above science?


A further six days (18-22 December 2010) show no sunspots visible on the solar disc – there are now an amazing 819 spot-free days in the Cycle 23/24 interregnum. No-one can foretell the future, of course. But the longer it takes Cycle 24 to fully-develop the weaker it will be; and the more likely it becomes that Earth is entering the next - and long-predicted - Little Ice Age cold period. Will it be an in inconvenient Dalton (1800-20), or a killing Maunder, look-alike?

From: The Australian Geologist, Newsletter 157 December 2010, pp. 7, 8

This winter set to be Britain's coldest in 300 YEARS

If you thought last week was as cold as you could bear it, brace yourself. Forecasters say the worst is yet to come, and this winter could be the harshest since the Thames froze over more than three centuries ago. Temperatures for December are the coldest on record, with the average reading close to minus 1c – almost six degrees below normal.

And with forecasters warning that this winter’s ‘mini ice age’ might last until mid-March, this winter could be the worst since 1683-84 when a fair was held on the Thames.

Met Office figures show that the average temperature from December 1, the first day of winter, to December 28 was a bitter minus 0.8c (30.5f). This equals the record December low of 1890.

But, with the mercury traditionally at its lowest in January and February, and more bracing weather on the way, this winter could bring the biggest freeze in 327 years.

Forecaster Brian Gaze of The Weather Outlook said: ‘It’s very unusual to have a sub-zero month - the last one at any time of year was February 1986. ‘January and February are expected to be significantly colder than average, with further snow for most of the country, and it will be no surprise at all if this persists until mid-March. Net weather forecaster Ian Michael Waite said: ‘We expect January to be colder than average – there’s no way we’re moving out of this mini ice age any time soon.’

During 1683-84, the coldest winter on record, average temperatures of minus 1.17c (31.7f) between December and February saw the frozen Thames turn into a winter wonderland of puppet shows, food stalls, horse races and ice bowling.

John Evelyn, a contemporary of Samuel Pepys wrote of the frost fair: ‘Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, as in the streets; sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water.’

The figures come from the Central England Temperature record, which contains data for an area enclosed by London, Bristol and Manchester from 1659 to the present day.

Met Office spokesman Dave Britton said: ‘What has been quite unprecedented has been the prolonged nature of the cold. ‘We have had some colder spells in December but what has been quite noticeable about this one is quite how prolonged it was and the amount of snow we had.’

With milder weather forecast for the next few days, we still have some way to go to beat the coldest month on record. In January 1795, temperatures averaged just minus 3.1c (26.4f).


No Correlation Between Arctic Ice And Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent

(From here)

There has been amazing amounts of noise from the climate science community claiming that the extensive snow cover this year is due to a lack of Arctic ice. But as you can see in the graph above, there is no correlation between Arctic ice extent and snow cover. Some years have more snow, some years have less snow. Arctic ice has nothing to do with it.

(From here)


New paper much less alarmist about 21st century

Physicist and Arctic research expert Syun-Ichi Akasofu of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the US predicts that the temperature in 2100 will be 0.5C ~ 0.2C higher than today, rather than the 4.0C ~ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC.

Akasofu is an acknowledged climate change sceptic - although he prefers the term critic - and his prediction is based on an attempt to separate out the effects of naturally-driven warming from man-made greenhouse warming. Akasofu states that the warming trend recorded during the nineteenth and twentieth century may be a combination of a natural recovery from the so called Little Ice Age mixed in with greenhouse warming.

Akasofu's paper, "On the recovery from the Little Ice Age", has been published in Natural Science. During the Little Ice Age global temperatures are believed to have been around 1C lower than today. The Little Ice Age is thought to have begun around 1200 and to have ended in the period between 1800 and 1850. Since then, global temperatures have been recovering at a linear rate of around 0.5C per century with the effects of multi-decadal oscillations superposed, according to Akasofu.

Crucially, Akasofu believes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age is still ongoing and is in part responsible for recent warming. He suggests that the effects of multi-decadal oscillations have halted the current warming and were also responsible for a flattening in warming seen between 1940 and 1975.

As much as 0.5C of the 0.6C rise recorded in the last century may be due to the natural recovery from the Little Ice Age, according to Akasofu. He bases this on the fact that there has been an underlying linear warming since the early nineteenth century where as carbon dioxide levels only started to increase significantly from around 1946.

Understanding the relative contribution of man-made changes to global warming is important as it enables climate scientists to accurately assess the sensitivity of the climate to increases in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The accompanying diagram, from the paper, shows that the linear temperature trend between 1880 and 2000 is a continuation of the recovery from the Little Ice Age, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation. It also shows the predicted temperature rise by the IPCC after 2000. It has been suggested by the IPCC that the thick blue line portion was caused mostly by the greenhouse effect, so the future IPCC prediction is a sort of extension of the blue line, according to Akasofu. The diagram assumes that the recovery from the Little Ice Age continues to 2100, together with the superposed multi-decadal oscillation, which would suggest a further 0.5C warming. This view could explain the apparent halting of the warming after 2000 as a result of the impact of multi-decadal oscillations. The observed temperature in 2008 is shown by a red dot with a green arrow.

The implication is that over the next ten years or so there will be a significant and measurable divergence between the IPCC prediction and the the prediction generated by Akasoku's hypothesis of recovery from the Little Ice Age.

1) The Earth experienced the Little Ice Age (LIA) between 1200-1400 and 1800-1850. The temperature during the LIA is expected to be 1C lower than the pre-sent temperature. The solar irradiance was relatively low during the LIA.

2) The gradual recovery from 1800-1850 was ap-proximately linear, the recovery (warming) rate was about 0.5øC/100 years. The same linear change contin-ued from 1800-1850 to 2000. In this period, the solar irradiance began to recover from its low value during the LIA.

3) The recovery from the LIA is still continuing today.

4) The multi-decadal oscillation is superposed on the linear change. The multi-decadal oscillation peaked in about 1940 and also in 2000, causing the temporal halting of the recovery from the LIA.

5) The negative trend after the peak in 1940 and 2000 overwhelmed the linear trend of the recovery, causing the cooling or halting of warming.

6)The view presented in this paper predicts the temperature increase in 2100 to be 0.5C ñ 0.2C, rather than 4C ñ 2.0C predicted by the IPCC

"On the recovery from the Little Ice Age" by Syun-Ichi Akasofu. Natural Science Vol.2, No.11, 1211-1224 (2010)


James Hansen 2008: Warm Winters “Clear Sign” of Global Warming

I won’t waste any time or space on a lead-up to this one, it speaks for itself:

"Hansen’s visit to London last week was partly inspired by the decision to approve construction of a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent.

This, Hansen wants to warn us, is a recipe for global warming disaster. The recent warm winters that Britain has experienced are a clear sign that the climate is changing, he says."

And the recent excruciatingly cold winters? No doubt they’re also a sign of global warming.


Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

A new year is around the corner, and some climate scientists and environmental activists say that means we're one step closer to a climate Armageddon. But are we really?

Predicting the weather -- especially a decade or more in advance -- is unbelievably challenging. What's the track record of those most worried about global warming? Decades ago, what did prominent scientists think the environment would be like in 2010? has compiled eight of the most egregiously mistaken predictions, and asked the predictors to reflect on what really happened.

1. Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event." Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

Ten years later, in December 2009, London was hit by the heaviest snowfall seen in 20 years. And just last week, a snowstorm forced Heathrow airport to shut down, stranding thousands of Christmas travelers.

A spokesman for the government-funded British Council, where Viner now works as the lead climate change expert, told that climate science had improved since the prediction was made. "Over the past decade, climate science has moved on considerably and there is now more understanding about the impact climate change will have on weather patterns in the coming years," British Council spokesman Mark Herbert said. "However, Dr Viner believes that his general predictions are still relevant."

Herbert also pointed to another prediction from Viner in the same article, in which Viner predicted that "heavy snow would return occasionally" and that it would "probably cause chaos in 20 years time." Other scientists said "a few years" was simply too short a time frame for kids to forget what snow was. "I'd say at some point, say 50 years from now, it might be right. If he said a few years, that was an unwise prediction," said Michael Oppenheimer, director of Princeton University's Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy.

Of course, Oppenheimer himself is known for controversial global warming scenarios.

2. "[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers." Michael Oppenheimer, published in "Dead Heat," St. Martin's Press, 1990.

Oppenheimer told that he was trying to illustrate one possible outcome of failing to curb emissions, not making a specific prediction. He added that the gist of his story had in fact come true, even if the events had not occurred in the U.S.
"On the whole I would stand by these predictions -- not predictions, sorry, scenarios -- as having at least in a general way actually come true," he said. "There's been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that's in drought has increased over that period."

That may be in doubt, however. Data from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that precipitation -- rain and snow -- has increased slightly over the century.

3. "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000." Christian Science Monitor, June 8, 1972.

Ice coverage has fallen, though as of last month, the Arctic Ocean had 3.82 million square miles of ice cover -- an area larger than the continental United States -- according to The National Snow and Ice Data Center.

4. "Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010." Associated Press, May 15, 1989.

Status of prediction: According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1989. And U.S. temperature has increased even less over the same period. The group that did the study, Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., said it could not comment in time for this story due to the holidays.

But Oppenheimer said that the difference between an increase of nearly one degree and an increase of two degrees was "definitely within the margin of error... I would think the scientists themselves would be happy with that prediction."

Many scientists, especially in the 1970s, made an error in the other direction by predicting global freezing:

5. "By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half." Life magazine, January 1970.
Life Magazine also noted that some people disagree, "but scientists have solid experimental and historical evidence to support each of the following predictions."

Air quality has actually improved since 1970. Studies find that sunlight reaching the Earth fell by somewhere between 3 and 5 percent over the period in question.

6. "If present trends continue, the world will be ... eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age." Kenneth E.F. Watt, in "Earth Day," 1970.

According to NASA, global temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1970.

How could scientists have made such off-base claims? Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of "The Population Bomb" and president of Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology, told that ideas about climate science changed a great deal in the the '70s and '80s.

"Present trends didn't continue," Ehrlich said of Watt's prediction. "There was considerable debate in the climatological community in the '60s about whether there would be cooling or warming … Discoveries in the '70s and '80s showed that the warming was going to be the overwhelming force."

Ehrlich told that the consequences of future warming could be dire. The proverbial excrement is "a lot closer to the fan than it was in 1968," he said. "And every single colleague I have agrees with that."

He added, "Scientists don't live by the opinion of Rush Limbaugh and Palin and George W. They live by the support of their colleagues, and I've had full support of my colleagues continuously."

But Ehrlich admits that several of his own past environmental predictions have not come true:

7. "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.

Ehrlich's prediction was taken seriously when he made it, and New Scientist magazine underscored his speech in an editorial titled "In Praise of Prophets."

"When you predict the future, you get things wrong," Ehrlich admitted, but "how wrong is another question. I would have lost if I had had taken the bet. However, if you look closely at England, what can I tell you? They're having all kinds of problems, just like everybody else."

8. "In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970

"Certainly the first part of that was very largely true -- only off in time," Ehrlich told "The second part is, well -- the fish haven't washed up, but there are very large dead zones around the world, and they frequently produce considerable stench."

"Again, not totally accurate, but I never claimed to predict the future with full accuracy," he said.



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