Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cities' role in global warming said to be minor

A neat and unsurprising demolition of a straw man. The original academic journal article is here. It's just another modelling exercise by the energetic Mark Z. Jacobson. I wonder how he will feel when he realizes that his hundreds of papers were all based on a false premise (AGW)? He is relatively young so he will most probably live to see that day.

Anyway, the conclusions of this paper are undoubtedly correct, if trivial. Less than 1% of the earth's surface is covered by cities so their overall heat contribution has to be minor. What Jacobson overlooks is the reality not captured by the models: The reality that the locations of temperature monitoring stations are far closer to urban heat sources than is allowed for in the official statistics. Hansen apparently makes some such allowances but he keeps secret the details so we can assume that the adjustments are poorly done if not fraudulent.

Urban expansion means that urban heat is captured much more in actual temperature measurements than it would be in a ideal world. Jacobson deals with the ideal rather than the real. Because of the peri-urban location of many temperature-measuring stations, urban heat is almost certainly much larger in its influence on the statistics than it should be and the tiny increment (measured in tenths of a degree) in global temperature over the last century or so could be entirely due to the steady encroachment of urban areas into what were once rural locations

Cities put more heat into the atmosphere than rural areas but U.S. researchers say it's modest compared with what greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.

"Between 2 percent and 4 percent of the gross global warming since the Industrial Revolution may be due to urban heat islands," Mark Z. Jacobson, Stanford University professor of civil and environmental engineering, said.

Greenhouse gas contributes about 79 percent to gross warming and black soot from burning fossil fuels accounts for about 18 percent of, a Stanford release said Wednesday.

Some global warming skeptics have argued the urban heat island effect is so strong it has been skewing temperature measurements that suggest global warming is happening.

Jacobson and his colleagues dispute this.

"This study shows that the urban heat island effect is a relatively minor contributor to warming, contrary to what climate skeptics have claimed," Jacobson said. "Greenhouse gases and particulate black carbon cause far more warming."


California is behind the trend this time

Spent some time on the phone today with one of my favorite New York Times reporters (that’s not a joke—there are a couple I actually do like and trust to play a story straight up, even when their own views might be otherwise—man bites dog!) about California’s plan to launch their long-promised cap and trade program to fight global warming starting tomorrow.

It is a sure sign that California has jumped the shark, or perhaps a better cliché is that California has certified that it is no longer the leader/innovator it once was thought to be, but is a positively reactionary force—a lagging indicator of where the world is really going. Because just when California decides to join the carbon reduction bandwagon, the wheels are coming off that bandwagon.

Tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal will include these two headlines that are up already online:

Japan Reconsiders Plan to Cut Carbon Emissions


EU Weighs Pullback on Cutting Emissions

Here’s the Europe lede first:

BRUSSELS—The European Union is for the first time clearly questioning whether it should press ahead with long-term plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if other countries don’t follow suit, in what could herald a significant policy shift for a region that has been at the forefront of advocating action to combat climate change.

In a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the European Commission’s energy department says the EU should consider whether the region should seek to switch its domestic energy base away from carbon-emitting sources in the absence of a global climate-change deal.

Here’s the Japan lede:

TOKYO—Japan is reconsidering plans to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 25% by 2020 due to a rethinking of its energy future, and the country is worried that it is spending too much on carbon-credit programs, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Japan’s doubts, prompted in part by its nuclear disaster in March, come at a time the European Union is questioning whether it should press ahead with plans to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if others don’t follow suit.

Meanwhile, one of the Obama administrations climate negotiators, Jonathan Pershing, tells the Journal, “We do not believe conditions are right for a mandate in Durban [site of the next UN climate treaty negotiations next month] for a legally binding agreement.” Sounds like game over for the climate campaign. Coming next from the Obamanauts: Approval of the Keystone Xl pipeline.

How many ways can you say that this whole charade is over, that people are seeing through the Emperor’s New Clothes?


Why I Deny Global Warming

by David Deming (Prof. Deming is a geophysicist)

I'm a denier for several reasons. There is no substantive evidence that the planet has warmed significantly or that any significant warming will occur in the future. If any warming does occur, it likely will be concentrated at higher latitudes and therefore be beneficial. Climate research has largely degenerated into pathological science, and the coverage of global warming in the media is tendentious to the point of being fraudulent. Anyone who is an honest and competent scientist must be a denier.

Have you ever considered how difficult it is to take the temperature of the planet Earth? What temperature will you measure? The air? The surface of the Earth absorbs more than twice as much incident heat from the Sun than the air. But if you measure the temperature of the surface, what surface are you going to measure? The solid Earth or the oceans? There is twice as much water as land on Earth. If you decide to measure water temperature, at what depth will you take the measurements? How will the time scale on which the deep ocean mixes with the shallow affect your measurements? And how, pray tell, will you determine what the average water temperature was for the South Pacific Ocean a hundred years ago? How will you combine air, land, and sea temperature measurements? Even if you use only meteorological measurements of air temperature, how will you compensate for changes in latitude, elevation, and land use?

Determining a mean planetary temperature is not straightforward, but an extremely complicated problem. Even the best data are suspect. Anthony Watts and his colleagues have surveyed 82.5 percent of stations in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. They have found – shockingly – that over 70 percent of these stations are likely to be contaminated by errors greater than 2 deg C [3.6 deg F]. Of the remaining stations, 21.5 percent have inherent errors greater than 1 deg C. The alleged degree of global warming over the past 150 years is less than 1 deg C. Yet even in a technologically advanced country like the US, the inherent error in over 90 percent of the surveyed meteorological stations is greater than the putative signal. And these errors are not random, but systematically reflect a warming bias related to urbanization. Watts has documented countless instances of air temperature sensors located next to air conditioning vents or in the middle of asphalt parking lots. A typical scenario is that a temperature sensor that was in the middle of a pasture a hundred years ago is now surrounded by a concrete jungle. Urbanization has been a unidirectional process. It is entirely plausible – even likely – that all of the temperature rise that has been inferred from the data is an artifact that reflects the growth of urban heat islands.

The "denier" is portrayed as a person who refuses to accept the plain evidence of his senses. But in fact it is the alarmist who doesn't know what they are talking about. The temperature of the Earth and how it has varied over the past 150 years is poorly constrained. The person who thinks otherwise does so largely because they have no comprehension of the science. Most of these people have never done science or thought about the inherent difficulties and uncertainties involved.

And what is "global warming" anyway? As long ago as the fifth century BC, Socrates pointed out that intelligible definitions are a necessary precursor to meaningful discussions. The definition of the term "global warming" shifts with the context of the discussion. If you deny global warming, then you have denied the existence of the greenhouse effect, a reproducible phenomenon that can be studied analytically in the laboratory. But if you oppose political action, then global warming metamorphoses into a nightmarish and speculative planetary catastrophe. Coastal cities sink beneath a rising sea, species suffer from wholesale extinctions, and green pastures are turned into deserts of choking hot sand.

In fact, so-called "deniers" are not "deniers" but skeptics. Skeptics do not deny the existence of the greenhouse effect. Holding all other factors constant, the mean planetary air temperature ought to rise as the atmosphere accumulates more anthropogenic CO2. Christopher Monckton recently reviewed the pertinent science and concluded that a doubling of CO2 should result in a temperature increase of about 1 deg C. If this temperature increase mirrors those in the geologic past, most of it will occur at high latitudes. These areas will become more habitable for man, plants, and other animals. Biodiversity will increase. Growing seasons will lengthen. Why is this a bad thing?

Any temperature increase over 1 deg C for a doubling of CO2 must come from a positive feedback from water vapor. Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere, and warm air holds more water than cold air. The theory is that an increased concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere will lead to a positive feedback that amplifies the warming from CO2 by as much as a factor of three to five. But this is nothing more that speculation. Water vapor also leads to cloud formation. Clouds have a cooling effect. At the current time, no one knows if the feedback from water vapor will be positive or negative.

Global warming predictions cannot be tested with mathematical models. It is impossible to validate computer models of complex natural systems. The only way to corroborate such models is to compare model predictions with what will happen in a hundred years. And one such result by itself won't be significant because of the possible compounding effects of other variables in the climate system. The experiment will have to repeated over several one-hundred year cycles. In other words, the theory of catastrophic global warming cannot be tested or empirically corroborated in a human time frame.

It is hardly conclusive to argue that models are correct because they have reproduced past temperatures. I'm sure they have. General circulation models have so many degrees of freedom that it is possible to endlessly tweak them until the desired result is obtained. Hindsight is always 20-20. This tells us exactly nothing about a model's ability to accurately predict what will happen in the future.

The entire field of climate science and its coverage in the media is tendentious to the point of being outright fraudulent. Why is it that every media report on CO2 – an invisible gas – is invariably accompanied by a photograph of a smokestack emitting particulate matter? Even the cover of Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, shows a smokestack. Could it be that its difficult to get people worked up about an invisible, odorless gas that is an integral component of the photosynthetic cycle? A gas that is essential to most animal and plant life on Earth? A gas that is emitted by their own bodies through respiration? So you have to deliberately mislead people by showing pictures of smoke to them. Showing one thing when you're talking about another is fraud. If the case for global warming alarmism is so settled, so conclusive, so irrefutable...why is it necessary to repeatedly resort to fraud?

A few years ago it was widely reported that the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause poison ivy to grow faster. But of course carbon dioxide causes almost all plants to grow faster. And nearly all of these plants have beneficial human uses. Carbon dioxide fertilizes hundreds or thousands of human food sources. More CO2 means trees grow faster. So carbon dioxide promotes reforestation and biodiversity. Its good for the environment. But none of this was reported. Instead, the media only reported that global warming makes poison ivy grow faster. And this is but one example of hundreds or thousands of such misleading reports. If sea ice in the Arctic diminishes, it is cited as irrefutable proof of global warming. But if sea ice in the Antarctic increases, it is ignored. Even cold weather events are commonly invoked as evidence for global warming. People living in the future will look back and wonder how we could have been so delusional.

For the past few years I have remained silent concerning the Climategate emails. But what they revealed is what many of us already knew was going on: global warming research has largely degenerated into what is known as pathological science, a "process of wishful data interpretation." When I testified before the US Senate in 2006, I stated that a major climate researcher told me in 1995 that "we have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period." The existence and global nature of the Medieval Warm Period had been substantiated by literally hundreds of research articles published over decades. But it had to be erased from history for ideological reasons. A few years later the infamous "hockey stick" appeared. The "hockey stick" was a revisionist attempt to rewrite the temperature history of the last thousand years. It has been discredited as being deeply flawed.

In one Climategate email, a supposed climate scientist admitted to "hiding the decline." In other words, hiding data that tended to disprove his ideological agenda. Another email described how alarmists would try to keep critical manuscripts from being published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. One of them wrote, we'll "keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!" Gee. If the climate science that validates global warming is so unequivocal, why is it necessary to work behind the scenes to suppress dissent? You "doth protest too much."

As described in my book, Science and Technology in World History: The Ancient World and Classical Civilization, systematic science began with the invocation of naturalism by Greek philosophers and Hippocratic physicians c. 600-400 BC. But the critical attitude adopted by the Greeks was as important as naturalism. Students were not only allowed to criticize their teachers, but were encouraged to do so. From its beginnings in Greek natural philosophy, science has been an idealistic and dispassionate search for truth. As Plato explained, anyone who could point out a mistake "shall carry off the palm, not as an enemy, but as a friend." This is one reason that scientists enjoy so much respect. The public assumes that a scientist's pursuit of truth is unencumbered by political agendas.

But science does not come easy to men. "Science," George Sarton reminded us, "is a joykiller." The proper conduct of science requires a high degree of intellectual discipline and rigor. Scientists are supposed to use multiple working hypotheses and sort through these by the processes of corroboration and falsification. The most valuable evidence is that which tends to falsify or disprove a theory. A scientist, by the very definition of his activity, must be skeptical. A scientist engaged in a dispassionate search for truth elevates the critical – he does not suppress it. Knowledge begins with skepticism and ends with conceit.

Finally, I'm happy to be known as a "denier" because the label of "denier" says nothing about me, but everything about the person making the charge. Scientific theories are never denied or believed, they are only corroborated or falsified. Scientific knowledge, by its very nature, is provisional and subject to revision. The provisional nature of scientific knowledge is a necessary consequence of the epistemological basis of science. Science is based on observation. We never have all the data. As our body of data grows, our theories and ideas must necessarily evolve. Anyone who thinks scientific knowledge is final and complete must necessarily endorse as a corollary the absurd proposition that the process of history has stopped.

A scientific theory cannot be "denied." Only a belief can be denied. The person who uses the word "denier" thus reveals that they hold global warming as a belief, not a scientific theory. Beliefs are the basis of revealed religion. Revelations cannot be corroborated or studied in the laboratory, so religions are based on dogmatic beliefs conservatively held. Religions tend to be closed systems of belief that reject criticism. But the sciences are open systems of knowledge that welcome criticism. I'm a scientist, and therefore I must happily confess to being a denier.


Global warming is influential even when it is absent

Blaming bad weather on global warming is a kneejerk reflex for the U.N. and many others. They are so sure it is happening that they fail to notice the fact that there has been NO global warming for the last 12 years or so. So recent temperature changes CANNOT have caused recent weather changes -- because there have been NO recent temperatire changes

The UN is trying to exploit deaths caused by ongoing heavy Central American rains. Agence France Presse reports:
More than 90 people were counted dead Tuesday from heavy rains pounding Central America after Guatemala reported more people swept away by raging floodwaters and Costa Rica found four drowned.

An estimated 700,000 people were displaced by floods and landslides following as much as 120 centimeters (47 inches) of rain in the past week in some areas — three times the monthly average this season — officials said.

In Guatemala, five more deaths were reported, including four swept away, bringing the death toll to 34 over the past week in a nation that has been hit particularly hard in 2011 by flooding and heavy rains, officials said.

The mayor of the northern Guatemala community of Mixco, Amilcar Rivera, reported the four new deaths and warned the toll may rise further.

Naturally, the the rains are being blamed on global warming:
Officials have blamed the effects of global warming for the spate of deadly rains and flooding.

“Climate change is not something that is coming in the future, we are already suffering its effects,” said Raul Artiga with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD).

But then the AFP reported:
The United Nations considers Central America one of the world regions most affected by climate change. Over the past 40 years, natural disasters have killed some 50,000 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, according to European and Latin American studies.

It must have been great before climate change started.


Obama admin caught revising history

Someone affiliated with the Department of Energy has been going back to make changes to press releases posted on the Internet weeks and months ago, CNBC has found.

The changes occurred in two press releases from the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program — the same program that has been the center of controversy surrounding the failed solar company Solyndra.

Both were changed to remove the name of a company that has received negative press attention in recent days, SunPower, and replace it with the name of another company, NRG Energy [NRG 20.89 -0.14 (-0.67%) ].

Generally, it is not considered correct procedure to revise old press releases retroactively on the Web. More commonly, government agencies will issue a new press release with a current date explaining any changes that have occurred.

In the April case, the Department of Energy loan programs office announced in a press release on April 12 "conditional commitment" to a $1.187 billion loan guarantee to support the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which it said was "sponsored by SunPower Corporation."

But that release was later changed on one website to say the project was "sponsored by NRG Energy." The date on the release remained "April 12, 2011."

The two companies are closely linked. Just before the announcement of the loan guarantee in September, NRG completed its long-in-process acquisition from SunPower of the same California Valley Solar Ranch project that had received federal support.

But in April, that project was still owned by SunPower, not NRG.

In a second instance of retroactive press release revision, someone changed a release from September 30 that announced the finalization of the California Solar Generation project. In an early version of the September 30 press release, the government said the project was "sponsored by SunPower." That was later changed to "sponsored by NRG Energy."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Department of Energy said that the changes were made by outside contractors for the department responsible for maintaining the Loan Programs Office website.

"The only website that changed was a separately maintained loan program webpage that is managed by support services contractors," the spokesman said. "While updating the project fact sheet to reflect the changes in the ownership of the California Valley Solar Ranch project, those contractors inadvertently changed the news bulletins posted on the LPO website."

Update: On Wednesday evening, a Department of Energy spokesman said that the press releases had been returned to their original content as a result of CNBC's inquiry about the changes.


Warmists Now Claim Global Warming 'Worse than Predicted'?!

Climate Depot Responds: 'The scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed'

'Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears. The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim -- from A-Z -- the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed'

The proponents of man-made global warming are now claiming that man-made climate change is worse than they predicted. In a October 18, 2011 Daily Climate article, global warming activists claim that the “evidence builds that scientists underplay climate impacts.”

The article by Daily Climate editor Douglas Fischer claims: “But as the impacts of climate change become apparent, many predictions are proving to underplay the actual impacts. Reality, in many instances, is proving to be far worse than most scientists expected..."We're seeing mounting evidence now that the scientific community, rather than overstating the claim or being alarmist, is the opposite," said Naomi Oreskes, a science historian with the University of California, San Diego. [...] And reporters.., "need to learn that, if they wish to discuss 'both sides' of the climate issue, the scientifically legitimate 'other side' is that, if anything, global climate disruption is likely to be significantly worse than has been suggested in scientific consensus estimates to date." [End Daily Climate article excerpt]

Climate Depot's A-Z Scientific Reality Check: The only thing “worse than we thought” was shoddy journalism like the Daily Climate which parrots warmist activist Naomi Oreskes' worn chatter. Recent scientific data and developments reveal that Mother Nature is playing a cruel joke on the promoters of man-made climate fears.

The scientific reality is that on virtually every claim -- from A-Z -- the scientific case for man-made climate fears has collapsed.

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in the past few summers, the Arctic has rebounded in recent years since the low point in 2007, polar bears are thriving, sea level is not showing acceleration and is actually dropping, Cholera and Malaria are failing to follow global warming predictions, Mount Kilimanjaro melt fears are being made a mockery by gains in snow cover, global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade or more, deaths due to extreme weather are radically declining, global tropical cyclone activity is near historic lows, the frequency of major U.S. hurricanes has declined, the oceans are missing their predicted heat content, big tornados have dramatically declined since the 1970s, droughts are not historically unusual nor caused by mankind, there is no evidence we are currently having unusual weather, scandals continue to rock the climate fear movement, the UN IPCC has been exposed as being a hotbed of environmental activists and scientists continue to dissent at a rapid pace. [Note: Climate Depot will soon be publishing an exhaustive and exclusive A-Z report on the scientific reality of the failure of man-made global warming claims. Stay tuned...]

In addition, The Daily Climate article cited animal species as some sort of “proof” of the impact of man-made global warming. The article cited a “study showing that plants and animals are moving to higher elevations twice as fast as predicted in response to rising temperatures.” Climate Depot covered this flawed and downright silly study when it was released.

See: Species warming study ripped: 'It rather clear that they didn't investigate whole globe. It's very likely that they didn't investigate the whole N. Hemisphere, either' -- 'The figure of 200 or even 300 kilometers per 20 years has clearly nothing to do with observed global warming rate...if you're an animal and you move by 100 or 200 miles, it's 4 or 8 times more than the right distance justified by 'global warming'

The Backstory to the 'Fleeing Species' Claim: 'Study Author Thomas' track record is, shall we say, problematic. It would seem that many of his peers hold his work in less-than-high regard' --'Six months from now it may be Science's turn to publish three critiques of this new paper. But journalists won't even notice. So we won't hear a word about it'

AP's Seth Borenstein Goofs! Claims 'Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north' -- S. Hemisphere animals flee warmth by heading North?!

Physicist Mocks AP article: 'Let me tell you, dear critter, that if you live in S. Hemisphere & you want to escape heat by heading North, it's a pretty stupid decision!'

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


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