Monday, March 19, 2012

Some bargepole treatment of skeptical science

This is even more interesting than it at first seems. A few years ago, most academic journals would happily and rapidly reject any outright challenge to Warmism. Now none of a journal's reviewers want to bear the responsibility for doing that. Neither accept nor reject is their new cowardly policy: A long way to go yet but an important change in the right direction

An email below from Gerhard Kramm regarding an article submitted to the journal "Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics" (ACP). Dr. Gerhard Kramm is Research Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute and Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Natural Science and Mathematics

On February 14, 2012 I uploaded a manuscript entitled "Comments on the Paper ‘Earth’s energy imbalance and implications' By J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Kharecha, and K. von Schuckmann" to ACP. The manuscript is authored by Kramm and Dlugi.

Now, I received the e-mail message below in which it was stated that the Editor Assignment has been interrupted. For your information: ACP has an not only an Editorial Board, but also an Advisory Board (See here). Members of this Advisory Board are: Paul Crutzen, Meinrat O. Andreae, Daniel McKenna, Stuart A. Penkett, and Veerabdhadran Ramanathan. In addition, there are five Executive Editors and 120 Co-Editors.

As documented in the Manuscript Record, on March 13, 2012 no editor was available to handle our manuscript. It is unbelievable. What may be the reason?

In our manuscript we showed that the calculation of the radiative imbalance for the top of the atmosphere by Hansen et al. (2011) is based on an invalid value for the solar constant of about 1366 W/m^2. If the SORCE/TIM value of 1361 W/m^2 is used, then there is either no imbalance or a negative imbalance. The latter means that more infrared radiation is emitted to the space as solar radiation is absorbed by the earth-atmosphere system.

It is interesting that before 1978 not only X15-Rocket aircraft measurements, but also satellite measurements suggested a solar constant of 1361 W/m^2 (see Raschke et al., 1973). Several years later, Prof. Dr. Raschke became my M.S. advisor, but I was not involved in this satellite research.

In our manuscript we cited Hansen et al. (2011):

"The basic physics underlying this global warming, the greenhouse effect, is simple. An increase of gases such as CO2 makes the atmosphere more opaque at infrared wavelengths. This added opacity causes the planet’s heat radiation to space to arise from higher, colder levels in the atmosphere, thus reducing emission of heat energy to space. The temporary imbalance between the energy absorbed from the Sun and heat emission to space, causes the planet to warm until planetary energy balance is restored."

Dlugi and I were able to show that no reduced emission is existent because, as mentioned before, there is either no imbalance or a negative imbalance. We also cited Kopp and Lean (2011, see attachment):

"Instrument inaccuracies are a significant source of uncertainty in determining Earth’s energy balance from space-based measurements of incoming and reflected solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial thermal radiation. A nonzero average global net radiation at the top of the atmosphere is indicative of Earth’s thermal disequilibrium imposed by climate forcing. But whereas the current planetary imbalance is nominally 0.85 W m-2 [Hansen et al., 2005], estimates of this quantity from space-based measurements range from 3 to 7 W m-2. SORCE/TIM’s lower TSI value reduces this discrepancy by 1 W m-2 [Loeb et al., 2009]. We note that the difference between the new lower TIM value with earlier TSI measurements corresponds to an equivalent climate forcing of 0.8 W m-2, which is comparable to the current energy imbalance."

Butler et al. (2008) already discussed results of SORCE/TIM (see attachment). Butler is a NASA scientist. Even Hansen et al. (2011) knew the paper of Kopp and Lean, they misinterpreted it by arguing:

"Recent estimates of mean solar irradiance (Kopp and Lean, 2011) are smaller, 1360.8 +/- 0.5 W/m^2, but the uncertainty of the absolute value has no significant effect on the solar forcing, which depends on the temporal change of irradiance."

This argument is clearly wrong as documented by our analysis. The argument is, certainly, in the interest of NASA because it would mean that the youngest satellites were for the birds. It might be that Hansen's days at NASA are numbered.

In principle, I expected such a stupid trick of the ACP Editors. Thus, when I realized that the paper of Hansen et al. was uploaded on arXiv of the Cornell Unversity in May 2011 (see here) I also uploaded our comments to that paper on arXiv on March 5, 2012 (see here).

During that time I had no information about the manuscript record of ACP. Note that I suggested five names of possible referees. To protect them I erase their names. But the original is available.

Received via email

Australian Warmist recognizes that science has taken a hit because of the global warming controversy

In good Warmist style, he mentions no science but instead appeals to authority -- which is a profoundly unscientific thing to do. And in a second fallacy he argues "ad hominem". Very Warmist but quite illogical!

And comparing tiny Heartland to the Roman Cathoic church of the Middle ages is a hoot. But he has got it right that the prestige of science has been greatly damaged by the dispute.

May it never recover. Reality should be established via open and independent scrutiny of the facts, not via reputation

Recent revelations that several prominent global warming sceptics are in the pay of the free-market American think tank the Heartland Institute come as no surprise to many who have witnessed the slow descent of the debate from the lofty ''great moral issue of our time" to the cynical "great big tax on everything".

The national climate report released by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday added to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting anthropogenic warming, but a recent CSIRO survey found politics was the primary factor in determining public views on the matter. A large majority of those who agree with the science are Labor/Green voters, while most of those who disagree are Coalition voters.

The partisan nature of the debate suggests the hegemony of science that has characterised the two centuries since the Enlightenment is under serious threat. Scientists, hitherto in the vanguard of modern civilisation, are viewed by many as irrelevant, incompetent or untrustworthy. A particularly mild summer has only strengthened the view that, in Tony Abbott's words, "climate change is crap".

How have we reached the point where our previous deference to expert scientific opinion on everything from space exploration to hair care has suddenly waned on potentially one of the most significant issues in human history?

It's worth considering our predicament in the context of the Age of Enlightenment, since the tensions of that time reflect significantly the tensions now. The most important Enlightenment values were the rejection of arbitrary power, divine right, irrationality, superstition and myth. In part, these were derived through the ascendent discipline of science. Any claim was to be subject to empirical observation and rational assessment. One of the political dividends of this was that dominant social interests were made more accountable to the public interest.

However, while the Age of Reason effectively challenged the power of church and monarchy, it ultimately did little to arrest the headlong march of the 20th century into secular ideologies. Fascism, communism and neo-liberalism all involved the same pre-Enlightenment subservience to received truth, reversion to myth, and co-opting of reason to support dominant social interests.

Heartland's ideological defence of powerful vested interests and rejection of the inconvenient truths of science is similar to the church's reaction to astronomy in the 16th century. A heliocentric world in which the Earth was not at the centre of the universe contradicted biblical teaching and threatened the power of the church. This led to charges of heresy for inquisitive types such as Galileo.

In much the same way, climate scientists are now being stigmatised and the status quo defended at all costs by free-market purists who view the whole concept of climate change as little more than a vehicle for the market interventions of big government. Amplified through the populist media, the typical narrative involves a cast of rent-seeking bureaucrats, closet socialists and elites, now joined by the scientific academies of the world in their plot to sabotage the wheels of industry.


The Ozone hole: What a crock


The NASA graphic above shows that the ozone hole has just fluctuated for the last 20 years. There is no clear direction of change. So the ban on CFCs has clearly not had the intended effect.

And we see another fallacy below: Taking one year as the measure of a trend:

The sustained damage to the ozone layer had been caused by aerosol spray cans and refrigerators emitting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). In 1987, the United Nations responded, banning the manufacture and use of CFCs and other substances under the Montreal Protocol. Since then, the hole in the ozone layer has been shrinking.

In autumn 2010, scientists reported the first success, saying the ozone layer had begun to heal. Now a new study shows for the first time that the healing of the ozone layer is also actually improving the health situation for people. Carcinogenic UV rays on the ground have also been diminishing in recent years, researchers led by Christos Zerefos at the Research Centers for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology at the Academy of Athens in Greece conclude in their study, published by the scientific publication Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

"The results are encouraging," said Markus Rex, a respected ozone expert at Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Potsdam. The fact that the ozone layer in the regions researched has become thicker is a result of the successful Montreal Protocol, he added.


Alaska has its coldest January on record

But it's all due to warming!

Even by Alaska standards, this winter is unusual for the hardy residents of the state's largest city.

Near-record snowfall buried Anchorage neighborhoods, turning streets into canyons with walls of snow on each side. The snow's weight collapsed the roofs of some buildings. Moose are fleeing into the city to get away from too-deep snow.

And the city dumps are close to overflowing with snow that may not melt entirely before next winter....Alaska had its coldest January on record.

Two different weather phenomenon - La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation - are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, climate scientists say.

"When you start to see the extreme events become more common, that's when you can say that it is a consequence of global warming," University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver said.



Three current articles below

Australia not very Green

That fact is spun below as a bad thing but considering how well-off Australia is when compared with the financial crises in "Greener" countries, it can be seen as something associated with GOOD policy

AUSTRALIA'S economy is less equipped to deal with a low carbon emissions world than it was nearly two decades ago, an international study has found.

The study, backed by think tank the Climate Institute and multinational GE, found that since 1995, Australia's dependence on polluting activities had grown relative to almost every other major economy.

The study ranked Australia 16th out of 19 countries in being ready to deal with a low-carbon world — ahead of just India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

The rankings are based on 19 measures, including emissions growth, energy generation, export industries, transport and investment in clean technology.

A retrospective analysis found Australia ranked 12th in 1995 on a "low-carbon competitiveness index", but had since been overtaken by Turkey, Mexico, Russia and South Africa. The list was headed by France, Japan, Britain, South Korea and Germany.

Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson said relative to other countries Australia's economy had become more dependent on pollution, not less.

"Among other things our energy sector is dominated by coal, our use of oil is inefficient, we have high rates of deforestation and our export industries are based on low-value-added resources and not high-value-add technologies," he said.

The study, using an index created by British consultants Vivid Economics, does not factor in Australia's carbon price scheme and associated clean energy funding as the laws do not take effect until July 1.

It is based on an assumption that, while the global economy is volatile, there is an underlying "mega-trend" towards low emissions goods.

The authors cite evidence that more than 100 countries have policies to support clean energy, leading to a record $US260 billion spending in the area last year, and that major emitters have agreed to work on a climate pact to be signed by 2015 and take effect by 2020.


$5 carbon price to halt innovation as clean energy plan at risk

INTERNATIONAL carbon prices are predicted to be as low as $5 by 2020, undermining the ability of Australia's carbon package to force technological changes to cut emissions, one of the world's leading emissions pricing forecasters has told big business.

The research emerged as the energy sector warned that crackdowns on drilling for coal-seam gas also pose a threat to a key plank of the clean-energy package forcing power stations to switch from coal to gas because a regulatory blitz could force up gas prices and reduce the competitive advantage the carbon price was designed to give it over coal.

The $5 carbon price forecast has been produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which last week briefed the nation's largest emitters at an Australian Industry Greenhouse Network meeting.

The imminent introduction of Australia's $23 a tonne price from July 1 has sparked concerns from major business groups in the wake of the collapse in the EU emissions trading price to about $10 and a corresponding slump in the value of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism Certified Emissions Reduction units.

Some peak industry bodies are this week expected to discuss a renewed push for a rear-guard effort calling on the government to either drop the $23 carbon price to $10 or delay the scheme altogether, as anxiety about the impending introduction of the scheme mounts.

Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson told Sky News's Australian Agenda yesterday the government would "press ahead" with the current scheme.

He said compensation measures in the package included "large offerings" of free permits

of up to 95 per cent, "which means for those most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries, the average carbon price is $1.30 per tonne not $23 but $1.30 per tonne".

"Now what we need to do is put in place a sensible carbon pricing mechanism that will actually achieve behaviour change, and calls to put it in at $5 or $10 would not achieve their stated objectives of reducing our emissions," Dr Emerson said.

The government's argument will today be backed by research from the Climate Institute and international energy giant GE, which defends the $23 starting price.

The report warns that Australia is falling behind the rest of the world in its efforts to cut emissions and that many other countries, including Britain ($24-$30), Sweden ($130), Switzerland ($30-$60), Norway ($53) and Ireland ($24-$37) have higher prices than Australia's $23 starting price.

Bloomberg's prediction of a E4 to E5 price for CERs by 2020 is based on an expected oversupply of emissions offsets programs over the course of the decade as big emitters such as the US stay out of the international carbon market.

CERs have broadly followed the trajectory of the EU emissions trading price but have traded at a discount. Bloomberg predicts that the EU price will decouple from the CER price over the course of the decade as tighter European caps and an economic recovery drive the EU price to more than $40.

CERs are likely to remain depressed because Europe will buy less of them because of limits on purchasing offshore units in the EU scheme, and the US is not expected to enter international trading markets, based on the Bloomberg "base case".

Under the Australian scheme, when the price moves to a floating trading system, Australian firms will be able to access 50 per cent of their carbon emissions liabilities offshore. A floor price of $15 will be introduced from 2015 and remain until 2018.

If the European price rose above $40 but the UN schemes were closer to $5, Australian firms would be likely to purchase their offshore credits from the UN scheme to gain access to the lowest cost abatement.

"The main message we have at the moment for our clients is that the international market does not have a huge amount of price support," Bloomberg New Energy Finance Australian manager Seb Henbest told The Australian.

"You have an interesting situation the carbon price right now is low in the rest of the world but initially high in Australia.

"That is likely to reverse when the European price is expected to get a lot higher. The Australian price will be kept low, partly because of price controls in the market but also because of the natural economic forcing of the CER price as firms buy cheap credits and use them for compliance.

"From an economic perspective, carbon could be pretty cheap in Australia for a period of time to come and we ask ourselves if that is a politically sustainable solution. If you've got a price in 2020 of $5, that is not necessarily reflecting the sort of carbon prices that would be needed in Australia to incentivise broad behavioural change in the energy sector, for example," Mr Henbest said.

Amid the Bloomberg predictions, the Energy Supply Association of Australia whose members include Origin Energy and the Australian arm of International Power-GDF Suez has warned that a regulatory crackdown on CSG could hurt energy security nationwide and efforts to slash greenhouse emissions as the government plans for its carbon price to lead to at least a 200 per cent increase in gas-fired electricity by 2050.

Coal-seam gas is cheaper to produce than gas from some conventional sources such as the new offshore gas fields in Victoria's Gippsland Basin, while in Western Australia there are fears of domestic gas supply shortages as early as 2015 because most supplies are exported as lucrative liquefied natural gas to Asia, the group said.

In a submission to the government's draft energy white paper, the ESAA urged governments to refrain from further regulatory interventions that would spook investors, saying there was an extra $240bn of investment required in the sector by 2030.

Investors were already plagued by uncertainty because of the continued failure of the major parties to reach an agreed position on greenhouse policy, while the failure of most state governments to scrap retail price controls on energy was a further barrier.

On top of this, the $10bn Clean Energy Finance Corporation could crowd out the private sector and small government-mandated climate-change schemes, including the convoluted Renewable Energy Target, were causing price hikes, the group said.

As LNG exports to Asia (including from CSG projects) could put pressure on prices and make it harder for domestic buyers such as power stations to lock in long-term contracts for gas, the ESAA argues in the submission that this makes it important to allow access to the "widest range" of sources.

"The massive rebuild and re-investment required to modernise infrastructure and transform to a lower emissions footing presents Australia's energy sector with an investment challenge bigger than ever before," the submission states.

"Investment of this magnitude will not happen by itself. It requires industry to have the confidence to commit to very large investments. Australia must consequently be an attractive destination if we are to raise the volumes of capital required at the lowest cost."


Western Australia clears the way for fracking

W.A. covers about a third of Australia so this is a big deal. Put together Alaska, California and Texas and you have just about got the area involved

A RECENT decision by the West Australian Environment Minister to allow small-scale hydraulic fracturing in the Perth Basin without the need for environmental assessments could be a sign of things to come for unconventional gas resources, which some have tipped as the next energy frontier for the boom state.

Rising domestic gas prices and the rapid growth of unconventional gas markets overseas have prompted increased scrutiny of WA's onshore Perth Basin. WA Department of Mines and Petroleum figures reveal use of the prominent exploration technique for unconventional gas reserves, hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking", has quadrupled in a year.

Unconventional gases differ from conventional forms like liquefied natural gas, because while LNG can be found in relatively easily accessible sandstone rock formations, unconventional gasses are hidden in hard rock like shale, or unporous sandstone, like tight gas, or in coal seams. Environmental concerns have followed the spread of fracking from the coal seams of Queensland, to NSW and now to WA's shale and tight gas reserves.

The Perth Basin's tight gas fields could hold 9 trillion to 12 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, and are located near existing pipelines, according to WA Department of Mines and Petroleum records.

One trillion cubic feet of gas can provide enough energy to power a city of 1 million people for 20 years.

The WA Mines Minister, Norman Moore, said it was too early to know what an unconventional gas industry could mean for exports, although in the US net exports of total petroleum products last year exceeded imports for the first time in 60 years based on shale's contributions.

Alcoa, in partnership, has committed $100 million to exploration and development of the basin's onshore Warro gas field, of which it has a 65 per cent interest. The project's operator, Transerv Energy, through its wholly owned subsidiary Latent Petroleum, holds the remaining 35 per cent. The joint venture hopes to hit first tight gas production from Warro in late 2013.

AWE has received the green light to fracture three wells at the Woodada gas field for tight and shale gas and is expected to start exploring within the year.

Earlier this month the WA Environment Minister, Bill Marmion, backed an Environmental Protection Authority decision not to perform environmental assessments for a group of similar proposals, including AWE's, to fracture the basin for unconventional gas.

"The public advice issued by the EPA states that 'an impermeable barrier of shale separates the hydraulic fracture stimulation zone from the freshwater aquifers in the area providing confidence that there is unlikely to be an impact on freshwater aquifers," he said.

He added that "in contrast to fracking operating in other states, these proposals are significantly deeper and further from aquifers".

The Curtin University head of petroleum engineering, Brian Evans, said there was about 1.5 kilometres of sandstone under West Australians' feet, followed by about one kilometre of shale.

"If we fracked that it wouldn't make any difference to the shallow ground water where problems have existed such as in the eastern states," he said. The WA Basins have the potential to be a far larger energy source than the North-West Shelf, according to Mr Evans.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: