Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drought and flood are predictable from solar influences, not CO2 levels

Excerpt from a memorandum by South African hydrologist, Will Alexander

South Africa has a dry climate. In general, the drier the climate the greater the year-to-year variability. This in turn requires larger capacity storage dams to sustain the demand from them. The larger the capacity, the greater the evaporation losses from the stored water. There is another complication. As the demand from a storage dam increases, the greater the reliance on the isolated high inflows (floods) required to reinstate the volume of stored water.

An assessment of the numerical properties of the droughts that deplete water availability, and floods that restore storage became increasingly important over the years. This received growing international attention from 1950 onwards. South Africa was in the forefront of these studies. This was because of the seriousness of the problem in our drier climate and the availability of a large, comprehensive hydro-climatological database.

By the 1960s South Africa had already experienced recurrent droughts that adversely affected agricultural production as well as the need to impose water supply restrictions from major storage dams. A multidisciplinary Commission of Enquiry into Water Matters was appointed in 1966.

In 1970 the commission produced a comprehensive report. It recommended the establishment of a branch of scientific services in the Department of Water Affairs to expand the Department's research activities in the field of water resource development and management. The author of this presentation later occupied this post.

Another administrative recommendation was the establishment of the Water Research Commission that would coordinate and finance research in other water resource related fields. The Water Research Commission was established in 1971. By this time it was appreciated internationally that researchers in the field of applied hydrology were unable to develop satisfactory methods for practical applications, specifically the determination of the properties of concurrent, multi-year, multi-process sequences required for future advanced water resource development and management.

It was at this point that South Africa became a leader in this field. The reasons were twofold. They arose from further recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry. The report recommended that research be undertaken on the development of long-term river flow prediction methods as well as the possible causes of the observed multi-year anomalies being a consequence of extra-terrestrial influences.

Our subsequent research demonstrated that these two objectives were interlinked. It was shown that there was an undeniable, statistically significant (95%), predictable synchronous linkage between the double sunspot cycle, rainfall and river flow. These in turn were related to the behaviour of the Sun and the orbiting planets as the solar system moved along its trajectory through the galaxy.

Our successful, integrated approach was a world first. Our methodology and the database used in the analyses were made available in reports and publications issued during this period. We have achieved the two principal research priorities recommended by the Commission of Enquiry.

Other scientists demonstrated that the dense interior of the Sun is also affected by, and reacts to the Sun’s ‘wobble’ as it moves through the galaxy. This influences solar radiation. Other researchers postulated the presence of influences of activities beyond the solar system.

Climate change

It is not the purpose of this presentation to address climate change theory other than to point out that it is fundamentally different from the hydro-climatological studies described above. The major difference is that it is based on the theory that increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other undesirable gases into the atmosphere from coal-fired power stations, transport, heavy industries and other sources will create a greenhouse effect.

This in turn will result in a warming of the global atmosphere. This will result in increases in the hydro-climatic extremes – floods and droughts, with consequent environmental damage and loss of unique plant and animal species. One would expect that scientists undertaking these studies would immediately search for evidence of these occurrences to support their theories. Equally, if they were unable to find this evidence they had a responsibility to include this in their presentations, particularly in the widely disseminated, authoritative assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This has not happened. Instead they have gone to the other extreme. The IPCC’s assessment reports completely ignore the wealth of material on the hydro-climatological extremes published during the past 50 years. They specifically reject the possibility that the Earth's climate is influenced by variations in the receipt of solar energy and its global redistribution via large scale atmospheric and oceanic systems. They offer no plausible alternative reasons for the well documented multiyear climate variability.

Full report obtainable from Will Alexander

Al Gore kicked out of the Global Warming Club

As the world turns away from the hysterics of the global warming crowd, the True Believers are looking for a scapegoat for their turn in fortunes. To blame Michael Mann or Phil Jones would be to admit that Climategate proved once and for all the fallacy of their “science” — that it was based on the manipulation of data and outright forgery.

Looking for dead weight in this sinking ship, Myles Allen of the Guardian has decided to toss Al Gore overboard: “Al Gore is doing a disservice to science by overplaying the link between climate change and weather. To claim that we are causing meteorological events that would not have occurred without human influence is just plain wrong.”

Now only to a true believer would there be no link between weather and climate. Myles Allen is not quite there, but he seems to recognize the problem 20 years of linking odd weather to global warming has turned into a farce. If everything proved global warming, then nothing really does.

His dump on Al Gore is refreshing: “When Al Gore said last week that scientists now have ‘clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts that displaced millions of people this year,’ my heart sank. Having suggested the idea of “event attribution” back in 2003, and co-authored a study published earlier this year on the origins of the UK floods in autumn 2000, I suspect I may be one of the scientists being talked about.”

Yes, how dare Al Gore quote him.

The problem is not Al Gore. The problem is this ridiculous theory that mankind through its modern conveniences is creating too much carbon dioxide and this will eventually turn the world into a ball of fire. It’s rather Old Testament, conjuring up images of the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah. The problem is you cannot prove it. As Allen Myles lamented: “This illustrates an important point: human influence on climate is making some events more likely, and some less likely, and it is a challenging scientific question to work out which are which.”

So the science is not there yet. And without the science, we really have no logical reason to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which by the way is measured by whom? Is anyone double-checking the measurements? Measure twice, cut once.

And so Al Gore gets tossed overboard. Yesterday’s hero. More proof that like recycling, this is a fad — a fancy way for certain kids to feel superior to their parents.

Meanwhile, the London Daily Mail reported: “Britain is just weeks away from being in the grip of temperatures as low as -20C, forecasters have predicted. Parts of Britain already saw snow this week, with two inches falling in the Cairngorms in Scotland. The rest of Britain is being warned to brace itself for wintry conditions and falling snow from the beginning of November.”

So I can see why these “scientists” who have never spoken out for 20 years against using weather to burnish the global warming claims now wish to divorce themselves from that.


Energy Not Yet for All

The IEA has released a preview of its 2011 International Energy Outlook. In it is describes the challenge of providing energy access to people around the world and how current policies are falling well short.
Modern energy services are crucial to human well‐being and to a country’s economic development; and yet globally over 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity and 2.7 billion people are without clean cooking facilities. More than 95% of these people are either in sub‐Saharan Africa or developing Asia and 84% are in rural areas.

In 2009, we estimate that $9.1 billion was invested globally in extending access to modern energy services. In the absence of significant new policies, we project that the investment to this end between 2010 and 2030 will average $14 billion per year, mostly devoted to new on‐grid electricity connections in urban areas. This level of investment will still leave 1.0 billion people without electricity and, despite progress, population growth means that 2.7 billion people will remain without clean cooking facilities in 2030. To provide universal modern energy access by 2030 annual average investment needs to average $48 billion per year, more than five‐times the level of 2009. The majority of this investment is required in sub‐Saharan Africa.

Remarkably, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations do not even include energy access among their priorities. Thus, it is no surprise that the IEA places making energy access a political prority at the top if its recommendations:
Adopt a clear and consistent statement that modern energy access is a political priority and that policies and funding will be reoriented accordingly. National governments need to adopt a specific energy access target, allocate funds to its achievement and define their strategy for delivering it.

In case you are curious, what does "energy access" actually mean? The IEA defines energy access contextually, and it starts here:
The initial threshold level of electricity consumption for rural households is assumed to be 250 kilowatt‐hours (kWh) per year and for urban households it is 500 kWh per year. In rural areas, this level of consumption could, for example, provide for the use of a floor fan, a mobile telephone and two compact fluorescent light bulbs for about five hours per day. In urban areas, consumption might also include an efficient refrigerator, a second mobile telephone per household and another appliance, such as a small television or a computer.

I am sure that readers of this blog would hesitate to call such a level of consumption "energy access." The average US household uses 20-40 times as much energy! Even if US households were to cut their consumption by half (unlikely) under aggressive assumptions about efficiency, it would still vastly exceed the initial threshold defined by the IEA.

The IEA observes that energy access is actually a process:
Once initial connection to electricity has been achieved, the level of consumption is assumed to rise gradually over time, attaining the average regional consumption level after five years. This definition of electricity access to include an initial period of growing consumption is a deliberate attempt to reflect the fact that eradication of energy poverty is a long‐term endeavour. In our analysis, the average level of electricity consumption per capita across all those households newly connected over the period is 800 kWh in 2030.

In anything, the IEA has underestimated future demand for energy, as 800 kWh per year is just the start. The world needs more energy -- much more energy.


IPCC Mischaracterizes Precipitation (rain and snow) Changes

It it’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) investigated the character of the changes in precipitation that have been observed across the world over the past half-century or so. In doing so, they concluded:
Observed changes in intense precipitation (with geographically varying thresholds between the 90th and 99.9th percentile of daily precipitation events) for more than one half of the global land area indicate an increasing probability of intense precipitation events beyond that expected from changes in the mean for many extratropical regions (Groisman et al., 2005; Figure 3.39, bottom panel). This finding supports the disproportionate changes in the precipitation extremes described in the majority of regional studies above, in particular for the mid-latitudes since about 1950.

The problem is, is that the methodology that the IPCC relied upon was insufficient to base such a conclusion.

Over those regions where a more appropriate methodology has been employed, contrary to IPCC proclamations, the changes in intense precipitation events have proven to be very much proportionate to the observed changes in total annual precipitation. And even though the IPCC knew that this was the case for at least one of these major land areas (the United States), they nevertheless chose to forward the mischaracterization.

Chalk up another addition to the list of IPCC errors.

Good and Bad Methodologies

In virtually all assessments of precipitation changes, the first thing that is done, is to determine the average amount (or number) of daily precipitation (events) that fall within a predefined set of “bins.” For instance, how much precipitation falls on average in daily events between one-half and one inch, or between one and two inches, or greater than two inches. The bin thresholds are often defined by percentiles. For instance the amount of rain that falls between the 90th and 95th percentile of all rain events, or between the 95th and 99th percentile, etc. These thresholds remain fixed throughout the analysis. Then, the amount of rain that falls within each of these bins during each year over the period of analysis is examined to determine if there have been any overall changes.

Based on the results of analyses using this fixed bin approach, it is often concluded that the amount of rain falling in “heavy,” or “intense,” or “extreme” events is increasing at a rate that is disproportionate to (increasing faster than) the increase in total annual precipitation. And such conclusions base the IPCC assessment of the situation.

However, the shape of the natural distribution of daily rainfall events means that a fixed bin methodology will find disproportionate changes even when the underlying changes are perfectly proportionate to each other and to the total annual change.

We explained all of this in a paper we published (Michaels et al., 2004) back in 2004 in the International Journal of Climatology (after a long and contentious review process at Geophysical Research Letters in which we were ultimately rejected), and cautioned that fixed bin methodologies “cannot differentiate between proportionate and disproportionate precipitation changes in all cases.” And that “[t]o assess the proportionality of observed changes accurately, a different analysis technique must be employed.”

In our paper, we forward a more appropriate technique for assessing changes in precipitation—instead of using fixed bins, we proposed examining trends through ranked precipitation events (that is, the trend of the amount of precipitation that falls on the wettest day of each year, the second wettest day of each year, … the tenth wettest day of each year). We could then compare the changes in the amount of precipitation on each ranked days with the changes in a total annual precipitation.

What we found was that while the amount of precipitation falling on each of the top-10 wettest days of the year had increased in the U.S. from 1910-2001, the increase on those days was, by and large, in perfect proportion to the increase in the total annual rainfall amount.

Obviously, we concluded that labeling the observed change in heavy precipitation events in the U.S. “disproportionate” was extremely misleading.

Nevertheless (and despite our complaints; see comment 3-838 in the public comments submitted to the IPCC) the IPCC proceeded to do so anyway.

New Results

When we did our work back in 2004, we were only able to examine trends in U.S. precipitation from a fairly limited amount of available data. But in the intervening time, a much greater volume of data has become digitally available, not only for the U.S., but also internationally as well. And now, a team of scientists has performed an analysis similar to ours for China.

And they found for China precipitation the same thing we did for U.S. precipitation—that is, the change in extreme precipitation is generally in line with changes in total precipitation, despite being mischaracterized in other studies as being “disproportionate.”

Here is how Binhui Liu of the the Northeast Forestry University, in Harbin, China and colleagues summarize their work:
Previous studies have suggested that extreme precipitation events accounted for a disproportionate share of the nearly 2% increase in precipitation in China over the period of 1960–2000. Michaels et al. challenged a similar finding in the USA, arguing that fixed-bin methods for analysing extreme events obscure underlying precipitation patterns, and proposing a method that focusses on trends of the 10 wettest days of the year. Applying this method to China, we find that trends of precipitation on the 10 wettest days are generally proportional to changes in annual total precipitation.

Another strike for the IPCC as they have a big “plus” sign over China (see Figure 1) where one does not belong.

We can only wonder what would happen if the appropriate methodology were to be applied to the other regions of the world where the IPCC has deemed the changes in extreme precipitation “disproportionate” to changes in the mean. After all, in the two places that the appropriate methodology was applied, the IPCC’s assessment was found to be inaccurate in both instances.

More HERE (See the original for references, graphics etc.)

Sea Level Lowest In Almost A Decade

Envisat was launched by the EU in 2002, and is the largest and most sophisticated Earth monitoring satellite. It shows that the four lowest sea level readings all occurred in 2011. The most recent reading was fourth lowest on record, out of 321 measurements.

2011.195646 0.482924
2011.219467 0.4834722
2011.171824 0.4836651
2011.624432 0.4839605

Full list here


Carbon tax vote clears Australian Lower House

AFTER more than a decade of political argument, the House of Representatives has this morning passed legislation to put a price on carbon, paving the way for Australia's most dramatic economic reform in more than a decade.

After claiming two prime ministers, two opposition leaders and severely wounding the authority of Julia Gillard, a carbon price is now on a clear path to being entrenched in law.

The government's carbon tax package was passed 74 votes to 72, with applause from the government benches as legislation was passed with the support of independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, and Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Labor frontbenchers embraced the Prime Minister following the vote, while Coalition MPs jeered and urged Kevin Rudd to congratulate her. Mr Rudd then kissed Ms Gillard on the cheek and offered his congratulations, to cheers from opposition benches.

Speaking before the final vote, Ms Gillard said future generations would enjoy the benefits of the historic reform.

But as the 18 carbon tax bills head for a vote in the Senate before the end of the year, Tony Abbott gave his “pledge in blood” to dismantle the tax in government.

Ms Gillard said 160 million tonnes of carbon would be cut from the atmosphere by 2020 under her carbon tax. “You'll be able to see the biggest polluters changing their conduct and behaviour,” Ms Gillard told ABC Radio.

Ms Gillard says Mr Abbott will be unable to dismantle the tax because it would involve taking associated compensation measures from pensioners and families.

But Mr Abbott said he was more determined than ever to axe the carbon price if he became prime minister. “We will repeal this tax, we will dismantle the bureaucracy associated with it,” Mr Abbott said. “I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go. This is a pledge in blood this tax will go.

“If the bills pass today this will be an act of betrayal on the Australian public. We will repeal the tax, we can repeal the tax, we must repeal the tax.”

The government's related $300 million steel transformation plan also passed the House, 75 votes to 71, with the additional support of Queensland independent Bob Katter.

Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull - a carbon price supporter - voted with the Coalition as expected. But he sat stony-faced on the back bench for the votes, next to opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey.

Mr Rudd and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson sat chatting on the Labor back bench for the divisions. Greens deputy leader Christine Milne sat in the chamber's guest seats to witness the vote.

Under the government's package, a fixed carbon price of $23 a tonne will be imposed from July 1 next year, rising at 2.5 per cent a year in real terms for three years.

In 2015, the package will convert to an emissions trading scheme with a floating price.

When the floating price starts in 2015, a floor price of $15 will be imposed and a ceiling price, $20 above the expected international price, will also be imposed to prevent volatility.



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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