Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What NOAA believes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a heavily politicized body and because of that they are keen to expunge any "incorrectness" from their ranks. If they were really a scientific body they would welcome diversity of views in their ranks and reject any notion of correctness.

But they are getting nervous. They obviously think that some of their employees may not know the true gospel or (horrors) not agree with it. So they have circulated a catechism to all their employees in the form of a questionnaire with the "correct" answers marked. The correct answers are also accompanied by scriptural (IPCC) references to support each answer. The catechism has been "leaked" to Climate Depot and thence to other skeptics so I reproduce it below, minus the scriptural references. The "correct" answer is starred

1. Which of the following statements about global climate change is true?
* Most climate scientists agree that global climate change is happening

2. Most scientific studies that have looked into the cause behind the increase in global temperature over the last 50 years indicate that it is.
* Caused mostly by human activities

3. Which of the following best describes the relationship between climate and weather?
* Weather describes short-term conditions; climate describes long-term conditions

4. Studies of natural records such as tree rings and layers of ice in glaciers:
* Provide a relatively consistent picture of how global temperature has changed over time

5. Over the last 10,000 years, during the time humans developed the ability to raise crops, Earth's climate has been:
* more stable than previous periods

6. Which of the following processes have been identified as the most significant causes of increasing global temperatures over the last century? Check the top three
* Burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to produce electricity and heat buildings

7. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don't Know.

A. If the amount of energy put out by the Sun decreased, Earth would get cooler
* True

B. Global climate change will eventually eliminate the differences between summer and winter.
* False

C. Climate scientists have a solid understanding of the basic physical processes that control Earth's climate system.
* True

D. Today's computer-based climate models have successfully projected the trend and magnitude of observed global temperature for the last century.
* True

E. As the ocean warms, its waters expand, raising the elevation of the sea's surface.
* True

F. Melting of glaciers and ice sheets on land is expected to have little effect on global sea level.
* False

G. Temperature measurements of Earth made from satellites are generally consistent with temperatures measured by ground based instruments.
* True

8. Climate scientists' concern about rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere relates to carbon dioxide's
* ability to absorb and release heat energy

9. Since 1750, when the Industrial Revolution began, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased
* significantly - a change of about 40% (from 280 to 392 ppm)

10. Which country below currently emits the most carbon dioxide per person? Note: This question is about per person emissions rather than total emissions.
* United States

11. Which of the following are among the expected impacts of global climate change? Check all that apply

* Heavier downpours when it rains
* Changes in the ranges of wildlife and plants
* Increase in coastal flooding due to sea level rise

12. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don't know

A. As a result of global climate change, the warmest places on Earth are likely to see the greatest increases in temperature.
* False

B. Over the last decade, the U.S. has experienced about twice as many record-breaking hot days as record-breaking cold days.
* True

C. Most of the heat added to Earth's climate system over the last five decades has been absorbed by the ocean.
* True

D. Federal agencies are already working with communities to help them prepare for extreme weather and climate impacts
* True

E. Corals in warm, tropical seas around the world are thriving as the ocean waters around them get warmer.
* False

13. Recent research shows that the acidity of ocean waters is increasing. This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, is
* a result of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean

14. By monitoring conditions within and above the Pacific Ocean, climate scientists have identified a pattern called the El-Ni¤o Southern Oscillation. This phenomenon:
* can influence global weather patterns for several seasons

Pesky new academic journal article reports that the present period is only the third warmest in the last 2000 years

The Roman and Medieval warm periods were warmer -- without a single SUV or power station in sight!
Variability and extremes of northern Scandinavian summer temperatures over the past two millennia

By Jan Espera et al.


Palaeoclimatic evidence revealed synchronous temperature variations among Northern Hemisphere regions over the past millennium. The range of these variations (in degrees Celsius) is, however, largely unknown. We here present a 2000-year summer temperature reconstruction from northern Scandinavia and compare this timeseries with existing proxy records to assess the range of reconstructed temperatures at a regional scale. The new reconstruction is based on 578 maximum latewood density profiles from living and sub-fossil Pinus sylvestris samples from northern Sweden and Finland. The record provides evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and Medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th century warmth. The first century AD was the warmest 100-year period (+ 0.60 °C on average relative to the 1951–1980 mean) of the Common Era, more than 1 °C warmer than the coldest 14th century AD (− 0.51 °C). The warmest and coldest reconstructed 30-year periods (AD 21–50 = + 1.05 °C, and AD 1451–80 = − 1.19 °C) differ by more than 2 °C, and the range between the five warmest and coldest reconstructed summers in the context of the past 2000 years is estimated to exceed 5 °C. Comparison of the new timeseries with five existing tree-ring based reconstructions from northern Scandinavia revealed synchronized climate fluctuations but substantially different absolute temperatures. Level offset among the various reconstructions in extremely cold and warm years (up to 3 °C) and cold and warm 30-year periods (up to 1.5 °C) are in the order of the total temperature variance of each individual reconstruction over the past 1500 to 2000 years. These findings demonstrate our poor understanding of the absolute temperature variance in a region where high-resolution proxy coverage is denser than in any other area of the world.


Three in one week! Another green energy stimulus recipient goes bankrupt

Last week (I know this will be hard to believe) three green energy stimulus recipients either filed for bankruptcy or had to significantly reduce their labor force! Three! Talk about green energy job creation. Talk about the sector that according to Obama and Biden is the future of the country!

From last Friday:

"Earlier this week, Stimulus beneficiary Evergreen Energy bit the dust. Then, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy. And today, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada."


When Global Warming Freezes Over

Global warming alarmists won't give up their campaign to spread fear and backward thinking until an ice bridge stretches from New York to Paris. Science, though, says they should.

Al Gore, who invented global warming hysteria, has most recently been found planning a trip to Antarctica where he will surely find evidence that man is overheating the planet.

This clearly insecure man who so desperately needs an audience that approves of his world-saving efforts says he will be taking with him "a large number of civic and business leaders, activists and concerned citizens from many countries." He expects them "to see firsthand and in real time how the climate crisis is unfolding in Antarctica."

For Gore's reading material on this trip, we suggest he look at some data released by Great Britain's Met Office. He would find himself meeting head-on a terribly inconvenient truth.

According to the data, there's been no warming for more than a decade. The global temperature that Gore and the rest of the alarmist tribe are so concerned about was about one full degree cooler (as measured in Celsius) last year than it was when temperatures peaked in 1997.

Of course 2012 could be warmer than 2011 just as 2010 was warmer than 2008 and 2009. Or it could be cooler. Who knows?

Our space program thinks it does. NASA physicist David Hathaway believes the next solar period, called Cycle 25, "could be one of the weakest in centuries."

The Daily Mail, which, unlike America's mainstream media, isn't afraid to report news that goes against the global warming narrative, says the British government agrees with that assessment.

The Mail says a Met Office research paper notes that "there is a 92% chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the 'Dalton minimum' of 1790 to 1830."

But "it is also possible," continues the Mail, "that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the 'Maunder minimum,'" which occurred "between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the 'Little Ice Age' when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid."

OK, so frozen Dutch waterways are not the same as an ice bridge linking Fifth Avenue to Avenue des Champs-Elysees. But predictions that a man-made global warming catastrophe is imminent look foolish in light of the data and the solar cycle forecasts.

In fact, they've looked foolish for quite some time. The warmer temperatures the alarmists were predicting decades ago have never arrived. Nearly five years back, Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist who believes in global warming, had to admit that "none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate."

We have no models, but even without one we think we can safely predict that the alarmist community and its sphere of influence will continue to shrink.


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

New Scientist whines about CLEAN power

“As energy demand grows, even alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear fusion could begin to affect the climate” Meh. They even whinge about our previous discovery and use of dense energy sources, calling them ‘a mistake’

Some people must still peruse the Nude Socialist because people still send us some of their items. In this one NS again fails to realize waste heat is rapidly transported away from earth’s surface by convective activity and heated packets of air are lofted until such time as they reach an altitude/temperature where radiative energy is lost to space. Oddly enough NS has in the past run items on cities creating their own weather due to UHIE and heat plumes extending both downwind and vertically. Wonder why they think this effect will cease to function and earth’s surface warm appreciably from waste heat?

Here’s the item in case you are interested:
Power paradox: Clean might not be green forever

As energy demand grows, even alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear fusion could begin to affect the climate

“A better, richer and happier life for all our citizens.” That’s the American dream. In practice, it means living in a spacious, air-conditioned house, owning a car or three and maybe a boat or a holiday home, not to mention flying off to exotic destinations.

The trouble with this lifestyle is that it consumes a lot of power. If everyone in the world started living like wealthy Americans, we’d need to generate more than 10 times as much energy each year. And if, in a century or three, we all expect to be looked after by an army of robots and zoom up into space on holidays, we are going to need a vast amount more. Where are we going to get so much power from?

It is clear that continuing to rely on fossil fuels will have catastrophic results, because of the dramatic warming effect of carbon dioxide. But alternative power sources will affect the climate too. For now, the climatic effects of “clean energy” sources are trivial compared with those that spew out greenhouse gases, but if we keep on using ever more power over the coming centuries, they will become ever more significant.

While this kind of work is still at an early stage, some startling conclusions are already beginning to emerge. Nuclear power – including fusion – is not the long-term answer to our energy problems. Even renewable energies such as wind power will have to be used with caution, because large-scale extraction could have both local and global effects. These effects are not necessarily a bad thing, though. We might be able to exploit them to geoengineer the climate and combat global warming.

There is a fundamental problem facing any planet-bound civilisation, as Eric Chaisson of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, points out. Whatever you use energy for, it almost all ends up as waste heat.

Much of the electrical energy that powers your mobile phone or computer ends up heating the circuitry, for instance. The rest gets turned into radio waves or light, which turn into heat when they are absorbed by other surfaces. The same is true when you use a mixer in the kitchen, or a drill, or turn on a fan – unless you’re trying to beam radio signals to aliens, pretty much all of the energy you use will end up heating the Earth.

We humans use a little over 16 terawatts (TW) of power at any one moment, which is nothing compared with the 120,000 TW of solar power absorbed by the Earth at the same time. What matters, though, is the balance between how much heat arrives and how much leaves (see “Earth’s energy budget”). If as much heat leaves the top of the atmosphere as enters, a planet’s temperature remains the same. If more heat arrives, or less is lost, the planet will warm. As it does so, it will begin to emit more and more heat until equilibrium is re-established at a higher temperature.


Ethanol subsidies: Down but not out

At the end of last year’s legislative session, Congress let two of corn ethanol’s market-rigging policy gimmicks—the 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit (VEETC) and the 54-cents-per-gallon ethanol import tariff—tumble into history’s dustbin.

This was good news for taxpayers and consumers. The VEETC added $5-6 billion annually to the federal deficit and the tariff propped up domestic ethanol prices by blocking competition from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.

The demise of the VEETC and tariff is the ethanol lobby’s first loss of corporate welfare benefits in more than 30 years. As the Wall Street Journal noted, “Congress created ethanol subsidies in 1978, expanded them in a 1980 bill, and then rinsed and repeated in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2007.”

But not in 2011: Congress declined to renew the subsidies just two weeks before the caucuses in Iowa, where pandering to Iowa corn farmers had been a staple of American politics for decades.

Several factors converged to kill those once sacrosanct policies: the federal debt crisis, the Tea Party movement (an Iowa Republican poll found that caucus goers were more likely to support candidates who opposed ethanol subsidies), and research by Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University refuting ethanol lobbyists’ hysterical claims that terminating VEETC would destroy 112,000 or even 160,000 rural jobs. Only about 1,000 ethanol-related jobs would disappear over the next five years, Babcock estimated. Renewing VEETC would add $30 million to the national debt for each ethanol job “saved.”

Perhaps the key factor turning the tide against the ethanol lobby was the formation in 2010 of “No2VEETC,” a coalition of business associations, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, environmental groups, budget hawks and free marketers.

Green groups like Friends of the Earth, Environmental Working Group, and ActionAid USA, limited-government groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Taxpayers Union and Competitive Enterprise Institute, and business groups like Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Turkey Federation and National Restaurant Association worked together to expose VEETC as a costly, polluting, food-price-inflating special-interest giveaway.

The coalition was also vigilant in opposing schemes to replace VEETC with Solyndra-like loan guarantees for construction of ethanol pipelines and tax credits for installation of pumps to sell E-85 (motor fuel made with 85% ethanol) at service stations.

The final critical ingredient was the emergence of legislative champions, such as Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Wally Herger (R-CA), and Pete Stark (D-CA), and Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who worked across party lines to end VEETC and oppose pipeline and blender pump subsidies.

The really good news is that the most coercive ethanol policy—a Soviet-style production quota called the “renewable fuel standard” (RFS), a.k.a. the ethanol mandate—is now vulnerable to political challenge.

Created by the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPA) and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), the RFS establishes a guaranteed market for ethanol producers, forcing refiners to blend and consumers to buy ethanol whether they want to or not.

Under EISA, sales of renewable fuels are to increase from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion in 2022, of which 16 billion gallons are to be “cellulosic”–ethanol made from wood chips, prairie grasses and other fibrous plant matter. Ethanol from corn maxes out at 15 billion gallons in 2015. But cellulosic is proving to be a spectacular flop, and the ethanol lobby is pushing to have corn ethanol qualify as “advanced” biofuel to take up the slack.

Many of the reasons persuading Congress to drop the VEETC and tariff apply in spades to the mandate. The mandate diverts massive quantities of corn from food to fuel production, making food more costly for the world’s poorest and hungriest people. It inflates U.S. corn prices, undercutting the competitiveness of U.S. cattle, hog and poultry producers. It ramps up production of water-and-fertilizer-intensive corn, expanding aquatic “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. It induces land-use conversions that can increase net greenhouse gas emissions.

By expanding supply relative to demand, the mandate has pushed the per-gallon price of ethanol below that of regular gasoline.

Nonetheless, gasoline is still a better buy, because ethanol contains one-third less energy by volume. According to the American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge, for example, on Jan. 16, 2012, the mpg-adjusted price of E-85 was $4.014/g—higher than regular gasoline ($3.387), premium ($3.663), and diesel ($3.871).

Even more telling, according to, a Web site jointly administered by the Department of Energy and EPA, flex-fuel vehicle owners will spend up to $750 a year more for fuel if they fill up with E-85 rather than regular gasoline.

Reporters, debate moderators and citizens who want to have some fun in the silly season should ask presidential and congressional candidates: If ethanol is such a great bargain, why do we need a law to make us buy it?



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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