Sunday, March 20, 2011

What do we see when we rely on actual thermometers?

As noted yesterday, the temperature record presented by Warmists like James Hansen is largely fictional. With its reliance on invalid proxies like tree rings, its selective use of temperature measuring stations, and the final "adjustments' made by Hansen and his ilk, only a true believer could accept the resulting record as proving anything. As we saw yesterday, the confected record can even show the opposite of what we know happened.

The wonder is that the Warmists haven't presented an even more severe temperature rise than they do. As it is, they show a temperature rise over the last 150 years that is entirely trivial: Less than one degree Celsius. It looks like the data is very un-co-operative with Warmist fantasies. It's entirely possible that there has not been any warming at all.

So let us look at some of the actual thermometer measures that we have. See the graphic immediately below. As you can see, it does show the tiniest long-term creep upwards over the centuries but there is absolutely nothing unique about either the 20th century or the late 20th century. And the record that goes back furthest -- from central England (CET) corroborates that

But the graph of the CET record is not entirely up to date. Below is the CET extended through 2010 -- including rapid two year cooling.

Extension by Joseph D’Aleo []

Unprecedented global warming is a myth -- JR

An amusing moan from "New Scientist" (aka "Green Scientist")

In the best Communist/Fascist style, they focus at the outset below on the importance of "authority". And that the so-called "science" presented "seemed only to harden Republican scepticism" has obviously told them nothing.

Then they go on to psychologize. But the big words in that effort still amount only to a demonstration that Leftists tend to support Warmism, which is hardly news.

And finally, they revert to a concentration on the importance of authority in persuading people. When you've got no facts but only speculation on your side, authority is all you have got left, I guess. Greenies would love Hitler's "Fuehrerprinzip" (Leadership principle)

HOW do you get your point across over an issue as contentious as climate change? As a hearing in the US Congress last week showed, the evidence alone is not enough.

At issue was the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans in the House and Senate are backing bills that would strip the EPA of that right, which is based on findings that rising carbon dioxide levels pose a threat to health and the environment.

At the hearing, House Democrats hoped to counter these moves by calling a cast of climatologists to explain the weight of scientific evidence for climate change. A meeting of minds it was not. The effort seemed only to harden Republican scepticism.

For Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University, the result was predictable. He has previously shown that simply explaining the science behind contentious issues drives the two sides further apart. But Kahan's work also suggests how warring parties can move towards consensus.

Kahan grades people on two scales of cultural belief: individualists versus communitarians, based on the different importance people attach to the public good when balanced against individual rights; and hierarchists versus egalitarians, based on their views on the stratification of society. Republicans are more likely to be hierarchical-individualist, while Democrats are more often egalitarian-communitarian.

People's views on contentious scientific issues tend to reflect their position on these scales. For example, egalitarian-communitarians tend to accept the evidence that climate change is a threat, while hierarchical-individualists reject it.

Yet people's views do change if the right person is offering the evidence. Kahan investigated attitudes for and against giving the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to schoolgirls to prevent cervical cancer - another divisive issue. After he presented people with both sides of the argument, he found that 70 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians thought it was safe, compared with 56 per cent of hierarchical-individualists.

When the "pro" argument was presented as coming from an expert painted as being in the egalitarian-communitarian camp, and the "anti" view came from a hierarchical-individualist, the split widened to 71 versus 47 per cent. But strikingly, swapping the experts around caused a big shift: 61 per cent of hierarchical-individualists then rated the vaccine as safe, compared to 58 per cent of egalitarian-communitarians. In short, evidence from someone you identify with sways your view.


Way back when climate scientists were scientists: Chapter 8, FAR, circa 1990

You’ll find this hard to believe but I get excited about the 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR). It’s very different from wading through the later ones, because it’s remarkably honest, and things are not hidden in double-speak (well, not so much). Scientists behave like scientists and talk of null hypothesis, and even of validating models. Indeed they had a whole chapter back then called “validation”. How times have changed.

The “Attribution” Chapter is the part where they try to figure out what “caused” the warming. Chapter 8 says, essentially, “we don’t know, we might never know, our models don’t work, and we can conclude it might all be natural, but then again, it might not.” Got it? This is in the same era that Al Gore was saying “the science is settled” and “there is no debate”.

What’s clear in 1990 from the FAR was that it was widely admitted that the models were bodgy, and that figuring out exactly what caused the recent warming was very difficult, indeed impossible at the time. There were too many variables, the signal to noise ratio was awful. There were almost no singularly unique points which the enhanced greenhouse effect would produce that we could use to definitively say “Gotcha!”.

Unlike today, when Professors of Climatism repeat “there is no doubt global warming is real” as if it meant something, back then they knew it didn’t. “Global mean warming for example is not a particularly good signal in this sense because there are many possible causes of such warming.”

Mind you, even in 1990, they try it on anyway, just to see how it looks. They show model runs versus real temps, over a century. The end result of that (Fig 8.1), shows that all else being equal (meaning all the other forcings exactly cancel out) climate sensitivity would be 1 to 2°C. ie: the observational data, even then, was suggesting 1.5 °C and that’s if they were lucky and the Earth’s climate was essentially stable and not otherwise changing. To get a high 4 °C sensitivity, they have to assume some natural cooling effect is coincidentally at work (which is hiding the rampant warming of CO2).

With surprising honesty, they also admit that “if the combined effect [of natural factors] was warming then the implied sensitivity was less than 1°C.” Imagine them saying that now… the “evidence is overwhelming”, and climate sensitivity is somewhere between… ah… zero and 5°C.

These 1990 IPCC scientists also admitted that sea-level rise and melting glaciers didn’t prove a jot, because anything else that warmed the planet would have caused them to rise and melt too: "Both thermal expansion and the melting of small glaciers are consistent with global warming, but neither provides any independent information about the cause of the warming." [p251]

They further acknowledged that while finding stratospheric cooling was very gratifying, it could be due to ozone depletion and volcanic action, and the models could be right about that, but wrong about everything else as well. In a nutshell, “Don’t throw a party about stratospheric cooling”. “Validation of the stratospheric component of a model while of scientific importance, may be of little relevance to the detection of an enhanced greenhouse effect”

Much more HERE

Now it's Britain's turn: Government to slash subsidies for solar power

The Government plans to slash subsidies for large-scale solar installations to divert money to smaller alternative energy projects, in a move that the industry has called a “horrendous strategic mistake”.

A review of the Feed-in Tariffs was announced in February, in response to concerns that large solar projects would soak up the available subsidy at the expense of other technologies. This followed a study that showed there could already be 169 megawatts of large-scale solar capacity in the planning system - equivalent to funding solar panels on the roofs of around 50,000 homes if tariffs were left unchanged.

Greg Barker, climate change minister, said: “I want to make sure that we capture the benefits of fast falling costs in solar technology to allow even more homes to benefit from Feed-in Tariffs, rather than see that money go in bumper profits to a small number of big investors.”

However, the Renewable Energy Association & Solar Trade Association said that the government was making a mistake. “There is disbelief within the industry that the Government has totally undermined the solar sector without having first properly understood its potential,” the trade body said.

The proposals, published on Friday, would reduce the tariff for roof-mounted schemes of more than 50 kilowatts by 39pc to 49pc and the tariff for stand-alone schemes may be reduced by more than 70pc.


Astonishing: how a mere student became an IPCC guru: The strange case of Sari Kovats

She must be good in some way we are not allowed to mention

In 1994, Kovats was one of only 21 people in the entire world selected to work on the first IPCC chapter that examined how climate change might affect human health. She was 25 years old. Her first academic paper wouldn't be published for another three years. It would be six years before she'd even begin her doctoral studies and 16 years before she'd graduate.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri says this about how IPCC authors are selected: "There is a very careful process of selection.These are people who have been chosen on the basis of their track record, on their record of publications, on the research that they have done.They are people who are at the top of their profession as far as research is concerned in a particular aspect of climate can't think of a better set of qualified people than what we have in the IPCC."

Academically speaking, Kovats was invisible back in 1994. That anyone connected to the IPCC could have considered her a scientific expert is astonishing.

I'm sorry to say that that was just the beginning. When it came time to write the next version of the climate bible, Kovats received a promotion. She was selected to be a lead author, again for the health chapter - despite the fact that her doctoral studies wouldn't begin until the year the IPCC report was published.

What do we suppose happened with the next edition of the climate bible - the one that appeared in 2007, still three full years before Kovats earned her doctorate? Was she selected once again to be a health chapter lead author? You betcha.

But by then the IPCC, in its wisdom, had decided she was a scientific expert in other areas, as well. Kovats served as a contributing author for three additional chapters in Working Group 2:

Chapter 1 - Assessment of Observed Changes and Responses in Natural and Managed Systems

Chapter 6 - Coastal Systems and Low-lying Areas

Chapter 12 - Europe

She was also an IPCC expert reviewer.

There's no mystery as to why it took Kovats a decade to write her thesis. She's had the equivalent of a full-time job just writing IPCC reports. As it turns out, the main assessments aren't the only documents with which she has been involved. The IPCC finds Kovats so enchanting it recruited her as an author for one of its smaller reports, published in 2008, about climate change and water. Soon after that, she was one of only eight members of the "core writing team" for a 2009 Good Practice Guidance Paper. The executive summary of that paper begins:

"The reliable detection and attribution of changes in climate, and their effects, is fundamental to our understanding of the scientific basis of climate change.This intended as a guide for future IPCC Lead Authors."

We're told the IPCC is a serious and rigorous body. We're told its reports are the gold-standard and that it is comprised of the world's top experts. We're told we should trust the IPCC's conclusions because of these facts. And then we discover that a woman who still hadn't earned her own doctorate was recruited by the IPCC to write guidelines for other authors.

(In true IPCC tradition, a majority - 8 of 15 - of the papers appearing in the bibliography of the guidance paper were written by none other than the authors of the guidance themselves. But never mind.)

June 2010 was a memorable month for Kovats. Not only did she finally complete her PhD, but the IPCC announced the authors of the forthcoming version of the climate bible, expected in 2013. Quelle surprise, Kovats has received another promotion. This time she isn't merely a lead author, she's a coordinating lead author - the most senior of IPCC author roles. (see page 17 of this 27-page PDF).

Her thesis, remember, dealt with mortality data in India and South Africa. Yet the IPCC has decided she's qualified to lead a chapter whose focus is Europe.

So how could all of the above possibly have happened? In truth, a lack of professionalism appears to be evident on a number of fronts. In the year 2000, when Kovats was 31 years old and had yet to even begin her doctoral studies, she was somehow considered qualified to be the chief editor of a World Health Organization publication on climate change and ozone depletion.

According to IPCC regulations, in order for her to be selected as a lead author she first had to be nominated by her own government. This means that, on at least three separate occasions, UK officials decided that someone who had yet to earn her doctorate was a world-class expert suitable for IPCC duty.

In February 2010, Kovats spoke at a conference in Bangladesh. A document from that event thrice refers to her as Dr. Kovats even though she didn't earn this title until four months later. While this was no doubt an innocent mistake on the part of the conference organizers, Kovats is also described as a "Senior Lecturer in Environmental Epidemiology."

How does one land that sort of position (and, presumably, that sort of salary) prior to finishing their PhD?

One of the reasons it's taking me so long to complete my book on the IPCC is because every time I think I'm doing some basic fact-checking I end up stumbling over something unsavoury. This is absolutely the case here. Two weeks ago, all I wanted to know was what month and year Kovats had received her PhD.

Since then, a picture that already seemed murky has become even more clouded. Kovats has had her PhD for less than one calendar year. Yet she has already filled numerous IPCC roles, is a senior lecturer at an institution of higher learning, is chairperson of her school's Centre on Global Change and Health, and is a member of the steering committee of a health and climate change project funded by the United Nations.

We're told the IPCC is comprised of top scientists. In the case of Kovats, it appears that it was actually her IPCC participation that convinced the wider community that she's an expert. This is totally improper. It represents a complete inversion of how things are supposed to work.

So when are Kovats, the IPCC, and the British government all going to admit that she is far from being a world-class scientific expert? Will she resign her position as coordinating lead author - or will the new edition of the climate bible be irretrievably tainted by her participation?


Chevy Volt: The non-electric car

Sheer Greenie stupidity

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.

At least that's what we were once told. Sitting in a Volt that would not start at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a GM engineer swore to me that the internal combustion engine in the machine only served as a generator, kicking in when the overnight-charged lithium-ion batteries began to run down. GM has continually revised downward its estimates of how far the machine would go before the gas engine fired, and now says 25 to 50 miles.

It turns out that the premium-fuel fired engine does drive the wheels — when the battery is very low or when the vehicle is at most freeway speeds. So the Volt really isn't a pure electric car after all. I'm sure that the people who designed the car knew how it ran, and so did their managers.

Why then the need to keep this so quiet? It's doubtful that GM would have gotten such a subsidy if it had been revealed that the car would do much of its freeway cruising with a gas engine powering the wheels. While the Volt is more complicated than the Prius, and has a longer battery-only range, a hybrid is a hybrid, and the Prius no longer qualifies for a tax credit.

In other words, GM was desperate for customers for what they perceived would be an unpopular vehicle before one even hit the road. It had hoped to lure more if buyers subtracted the $7,500 from the $41,000 sticker price. Instead, as Consumer Reports found out, the car was very pricey. The version they tested cost $43,700 plus a $5,000 dealer markup ("Don't worry," I can hear the salesperson saying, "you'll get more than that back in your tax credit!"), or a whopping $48,700 minus the credit.

This is one reason that Volt sales are anemic: 326 in December, 321 in January, and 281 in February. GM announced a production run of 100,000 in the first two years. Who is going to buy all these cars?

Another reason they aren't exactly flying off the lots is because, well, they have some problems. In a telling attempt to preserve battery power, the heater is exceedingly weak. Consumer Reports averaged a paltry 25 miles of electric-only running, in part because it was testing in cold Connecticut. (My engineer at the Auto Show said cold weather would have little effect.)

It will be interesting to see what the range is on a hot, traffic-jammed summer day, when the air conditioner will really tax the batteries. When the gas engine came on, Consumer Reports got about 30 miles to the gallon of premium fuel; which, in terms of additional cost of high-test gas, drives the effective mileage closer to 27 mpg. A conventional Honda Accord, which seats 5 (instead of the Volt's 4), gets 34 mpg on the highway, and costs less than half of what CR paid, even with the tax break.

Recently, President Obama selected General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.

Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?

It really is enough to get you to say Atlas Shrugged. For those who do not know, or who are only vaguely familiar with, the Ayn Rand classic, it is a story of a society in decay, where politically favored technologies and jobs are foisted on the nation, where innovations that might threaten existing corporatist cartels are financially or physically sabotaged as unemployment mounts and the nation spirals into a malaise that makes the Carter years look like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

Atlas Shrugged is about to come out as a surprisingly good and entertaining movie (which will be destroyed by Hollywood and New York Critics) on — you guessed it — April 15. Maybe the government could put in an ad before the show with Immelt exhorting Americans to care about "the environment and green jobs." All must buy Volts.



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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


A simple equation, with inputs of accepted measurements (facts) from government agencies, calculates the average global temperatures (agt) since 1895 with 88.4% accuracy (87.9% if CO2 is assumed to have no influence) (facts). See the equation, links to the source data, an eye-opening graph of the results and how they are derived in the pdfs at (see especially the pdfs made public on 4/10/10, and 3/10/11).

The future average global temperature trend that this equation calculates is down (a fact).

This trend is corroborated by the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising agt (facts). From 2001 through Dec, 2010 the atmospheric CO2 increased by 21.8% of the total increase from 1800 to 2001 while the average global temperature has not increased significantly and the average of the five reporting agencies has been declining steeply since the peak of the last El Nino in about March 2010 (facts). The 21.8% CO2 increase is the significant measurement, not the comparatively brief time period.

As the atmospheric CO2 continues to rise in the 21st century while the agt does not, more people will realize that they have been deceived.