Friday, March 18, 2011

Is this in the "models"?

North Atlantic oceanic currents play a greater role in the absorption of carbon than previously thought

The ocean traps carbon through two principal mechanisms: a biological pump and a physical pump linked to oceanic currents. A team of French researchers have managed to quantify the role of these two pumps in an area of the North Atlantic. Contrary to expectations, the physical pump in this region could be nearly 100 times more powerful on average than the biological pump. By pulling down masses of water cooled and enriched with carbon, ocean circulation thus plays a crucial role in deep carbon sequestration in the North Atlantic. These results are published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The ocean traps around 30% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere through human activity and represents, with the terrestrial biosphere, the main carbon sink. Much research has been devoted to understanding the natural mechanisms that regulate this sink. On the one hand, there is the biological pump: the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water is firstly used for the photosynthesis of phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that proliferate in the upper layer of the ocean. The food chain then takes over: the phytoplankton is eaten by zooplankton, itself consumed by larger organisms, and so on. Cast into the depths in the form of organic waste, some of this carbon ends its cycle in sediments at the bottom of the oceans. This biological pump is particularly effective in the North Atlantic, where a spectacular bloom of phytoplankton occurs every year. On the other hand, there is the physical pump which, through oceanic circulation, pulls down surface waters containing dissolved carbon dioxide towards deeper layers, thereby isolating the gas from exchanges with the atmosphere.

On the basis of data collected in a specific region of the North Atlantic during the POMME campaigns, the researchers were able to implement high-resolution numerical simulations. They thus carried out the first precise carbon absorption budget of the physical and biological pumps. They succeeded, for the first time, in quantifying the respective proportions of each of the two mechanisms. Surprisingly, their results suggest that in this region of the North Atlantic the biological pump would only absorb a minute proportion of carbon, around one hundredth. The carbon would thus be trapped mainly by the physical pump, which is almost one hundred times more efficient. At this precise location, oceanic circulation pulls down the carbon, in dissolved organic and inorganic form, to depths of between 200 and 400 meters, together with the water masses formed at the surface.

The key role of the physical pump in the North Atlantic had never been quantified before. Its importance raises numerous questions: how long does the carbon transported by the physical pump remain trapped at depth before being driven back to the surface by the reverse mechanism? Is this proportion between the biological pump and the physical pump observed in other oceanic regions of the planet? And, last but not least, how will this mechanism evolve with climate change, which affects both the physical mechanism and the biological mechanism?


Global warming as 'cargo cult science'

During World War II, remote Pacific islands like Vanuatu became involved in war efforts when they became part of supply lines. To the natives the arrival of noisy "birds" was almost miraculous, bringing delicious foods and wondrous cargo.

After the war the birds left. Into the uncertain vacuum returned old terrors of hunger and sickness, and an angry Earth. Superstitious natives copied what they had seen. They made model planes and runways. They had the form right – the outward form of religion – but lacked power. As they had seen so they, and their priests, did. But no airplanes landed. Anthropologists call this religion a "cargo cult."

Likewise cargo cult "science" can arise, noted physicist Richard Feynman, when researchers go through the motions of scientific rituals without actually doing science. Experiment first, conclusions later is the basis of scientific inquiry. Cargo cult science predetermines conclusions and reverses the order. This is a conscious perversion of normal scientific practice. It can be called post-normal science because power over other people, not truth, is the goal. Post-normal science is a deformed bloom in which the search to explain our physical world is less significant than the quest to use scientific authority to achieve political goals.

Global-warming federal-scientific partnerships form the basis for several cargo cults. Many billions of dollars are thrown at studying global warming, and recent Climategate scandals reveal prominent scientists failing (or forbidding) to ask critical questions that might challenge cherished beliefs, or threaten gravy trains. Annual federal funding to study global warming is around $4 billion and rising.

Understand the destructive worldview – and religion – of radical environmentalism – watch the powerful DVD set "Resisting the Dragon"

Mike Hulme, a professor of climate change and priest in this cargo cult, explains:

"The function of climate change I suggest, is not as a lower-case environmental phenomenon to be solved. … It really is not about stopping climate chaos. Instead, we need to see how we can use the idea of climate change … to rethink how we take forward our political, social, economic and personal projects over the decades to come." ("Why We Disagree about Climate Change")

So global warming is not essentially about science, but essentially about politics. Then science becomes not about seeking to understand our world, but about activism and influencing public opinion.

After three hard winters with long periods of cold and heavy snowfall, not only in this country but worldwide, anyone with memory might feel dazed and confused. On the one, hand the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) constantly assure us the pace of global warming is accelerating.

On the other hand, these same IPCC scientists assured us only recently that "[m]ilder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms" and make for "shorter snow accumulation periods" (United Nations IPCC, Climate Change 2001: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability). And make no mistake, these claims were not made lightly. No ifs, ands, or buts were allowed. You must remember the science was settled, the facts incontrovertible, the debate over. The IPCC even won a Nobel Peace Prize to testify to the truth of these contentions. But … there is the snow and global cooling for over a decade. In the Alice in Wonderland world of the post-normal, global warming means … whatever you like. Global warming means global cooling, if that is politically convenient. Reality is stranger than fiction.

Pagan priests would explain dissonance in terms of inadequate devotion; planes fail to come because we are not living correctly. The global-warming cargo cult is also almost magical in its ability to explain how almost every environmental calamity – too much, or too little, snow – is caused by humanity's insensitivity toward our mother planet.

For Christians, Truth is paramount. My book "Resisting the Green Dragon" explains how for pagans, what matters most is power, not truth. So it was in Vanuatu where pagans worshipped the Serpent as a spirit of evil. They lived in abject terror of his influence and directed all their worship toward pacifying his rage. In cargo cult science, are we unconsciously returning to the dark age of magic, in which truth suffers and people tremble for fear that their smallest actions may offend an "angry" Earth?


Another false prophecy from "scientists"

Ten Million To Die From Mad Cow Disease By 2010

A false alarm, at least


U.S. Life Expectancy at All-Time High

Back in the fall of 2008, we summarized our arguments that we submitted to the EPA as to the myriad reasons why the EPA should not make a finding that “greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.” Ultimately, our arguments fell on deaf ears.

Perhaps the most persuasive argument that we made, in our minds anyway, was that the most direct measure of human health and welfare that there is—life expectancy—has increased by about 2/3rds over the past 100 years, while surface temperatures rose about 0.7°C. The EPA thinks that this temperature rise is primarily the result of rising human greenhouse gas emissions (although we think that they are overly confident in this assertion).

Now, don’t get us wrong, we don’t believe that much of the rise in life expectancy is due to climate change, but we do assert that a substantial portion of it comes from the benefits derived from a plentiful and inexpensive energy supply, largely from fossil fuels.

And life expectancy just keeps on rising. The latest report from the Centers for Disease Control is that in 2009 the U.S. life expectancy exceeded 78 years for the first time ever. At the turn of the last century, this number was 47.3 years. In fact, in the life expectancy during 10 of the past 10 years was the highest on record.

These numbers and trends are not what one would expect if climate change/greenhouse gas emissions, in the EPA’s words, “endangered” human health and welfare.

The EPA nonetheless insists upon saving us from ourselves by limiting our emissions of greenhouse gases. For the foreseeable future anyway, the only way to do so is to lower our use of energy—which has the very real possibility of stopping or slowing the growth of life expectancy.

While the EPA apparently is convinced that this is a risk worth taking, a lot of the rest of us aren’t so sure. A question worth asking: Is our health and welfare more endangered by U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, or by attempts to reduce them?


Earth Hour: A Dissent

By Ross McKitrick (Professor of Economics, University of Guelph)

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores.

Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading. Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don't want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in "nature" meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don't want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.


Australia: Don't vote Greens, say Catholic bishops

A pastoral warning that the environment is only one part of a broader, very Leftist, "Green" agenda

CATHOLIC bishops have warned the faithful against voting for the Greens in the state election, saying some of their policies were of "grave concern".

Yesterday the NSW Greens outlined a plan which would transfer government funding from wealthy private schools to public schools.

A two-page document entitled The Green Agenda is being circulated by Catholic agencies and through schools. It states the party's human rights and social policy areas are in direct conflict "with the beliefs and values of virtually all religious people, and the beliefs of many other people as well".

"Greens who are elected will bring a whole set of policies. You cannot pick and choose. They are not only concerned for the environment," it reads. It also warns about voting for candidates who might share similar views, pointing out that some MPs in the main parties had voted for "bad legislation" such as same-sex adoption.

The document was signed by 10 NSW bishops including the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell. The Bishop of Bathurst, Michael McKenna, and the Bishop of Broken Bay, David Walker, did not sign the statement.

But the Greens said the document was at times "profoundly misleading". "The bishops have misrepresented both our polices and the facts in order to attack the Greens," the MP John Kaye said.

The letter outlines six areas of "grave concern", including the Greens' treatment of personal drug use as a health and social issue "and therefore acceptable", and its efforts to legalise gay marriage. "Changing the law on marriage would expose churches and schools to coercive pressures from the state to cease teaching their beliefs about marriage and family," it reads.

Echoing the sentiment of a letter posted on the Christian Schools Australia website this week, it also criticised the party's commitment to remove religious exemptions from the Anti-Discrimination Act, and warned funding cuts to non-government schools would force fees to rise, "possibly by as much as $1500 a year".

But Mr Kaye rejected that the Greens would slash school funding by anything like the 85 per cent the bishops' letter claimed. The NSW Greens' education policy, launched yesterday, calls for the transfer of $780 million a year from state and federal funding of non-government schools to public education. It argues the shift would not cause any Catholic or independent school to need to raise its fees or close its doors. Mr Kaye said non-government schools have enjoyed a decade of "ever-increasing public funding".

The Greens policy includes proposals to boost the number of public school teachers by 6000 (12 per cent) to reduce class sizes and provide more time for professional development.

An extra 2100 teachers would be hired in 581 public schools that serve the most disadvantaged communities. Funding for these extra teachers would come from stripping the 79 wealthiest private schools of government funding to raise $204 million a year.

The finance for the 6000 new teachers would be found by freezing state and federal funding of all other non-government schools at their 2003 level plus inflation. This would raise $576 million.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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: