Monday, March 05, 2012

Warmists cautious in trying to exploit bad weather this time

"Climate Central" actually admits that tornado frequency could DECREASE in a warming world. But they are not giving up their religion just yet. They say: "Climate change is already changing the environment in which severe thunderstorms and their associated tornadoes form". But how can it be changing anything when it doesn't exist? Even Warmist scientists now admit that average temperatures have been flat for the last 15 years. So "Climate Central" is still faith-based, certainly not reality-based

Hours after one of the biggest storm outbreaks in March’s history, residents across at least 10 states turned to the frantic search for survivors on Saturday after a series of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms ripped apart the South and Midwest, killing at least 37.

At last report, the storms killed 19 in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one in Alabama, but the death toll may rise as the scale of the devastation made it impossible to immediately assess the damage.

According to Mike Hudson of the National Weather Service’s office in Kansas City, the breadth of the storm system stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and was so wide that an estimated 34 million people were at risk from severe weather. At one point, the storms were coming so fast that as many as four million people were within 25 miles of a tornado.

Climate change is already changing the environment in which severe thunderstorms and their associated tornadoes form, and at some point in the future it may have a discernible influence on tornado frequency and/or strength. Tornadoes form when ingredients such as wind shear, warm and unstable air, and a triggering mechanism such as a cold front, come together at the right time and in the right proportions. Massive outbreaks such as this one are rare, and are most common between now and June. The record for the largest March outbreak is 74 tornadoes from March 11-13, 2006.

With regards to climate change and tornadoes, no discernible trend has been detected in the long-term observational data, and studies of how tornadoes will fare in a warmer world show somewhat conflicting results, largely because computer models don’t yet have the ability to accurately simulate events on such small scales.

While hurricanes can be hundreds of miles wide, tornadoes are often less than a mile in diameter, which requires much more computing power in order to accurately simulate. Scientists are currently working to overcome that challenge.

Rather than simulating tornadoes themselves, scientists have made progress in studying the factors that make conditions favorable for severe thunderstorms to form.

As temperatures warm, air holds more water vapor, which adds “fuel” to the fire, so to speak. Last spring, when the Southeast was struck by multiple deadly outbreaks, the Gulf of Mexico was warmer than average, and the same situation is occurring today. This is important because it means there is more moisture flowing northward from the Gulf, and a humid environment is necessary for severe thunderstorms to form.

But wind shear, which was present in abundance during this latest outbreak, is projected to decrease as the climate warms. This would suggest that tornadoes will become less frequent in the future.

Which factor wins out in the end - the increase in water vapor and heat energy, or the decrease in wind shear - may determine how tornadoes fare in a warming world.


An Embarassment of Riches

There is seemingly a bottomless well of nonsense on disasters and climate change. I have long ago accepted that such nonsense is, like the presence of arguments rejecting the basic science of climate change, a situation to be lived with rather than changed. Even so, I can still poke some fun.

* Climatewire reports uncritically a claim coming from Swiss Re that "the financial toll of global weather disasters amounts to between 1 and 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product annually." This totals $160 billion to almost $2 trillion.

* Reality Check: The actual number for global losses as a percent of US GDP is closer to 0.1%, with the maximum about 1.2% in 2005. The total cost of all hurricanes since 1900 in normalized dollars is about $1.4 trillion. The media (in general) rarely question numbers given to them from the reinsurance industry and on disasters and climate change have a strange aversion to the peer reviewed scientific literature. Innumeracy.

* NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and NCDC head Tom Karl write in Physics Today about the 14 "billion dollar disasters" tabulated by NOAA for 2011 and ask "Why did we see such expensive damage last year?" Their answer, predictably, includes "climate change" and is followed by a lengthy exposition on why NOAA needs more money.

* Reality Check: Lubchenco and Karl somehow failed to note that NOAA and NCDC have cautioned against drawing any such conclusions from the "billion dollar disasters." And even though Lubchenco and Karl cite the recent IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events, they also somehow forgot to mention this part: "Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded." Deceiving.

* Swiss Reinsurance and the Reinsurance Association of America teamed up yesterday with a few US Senators to call for the US government to adopt policies to protect their industry from extreme events resulting from climate change. They also ite the NOAA billionz analysis and explain via press release ""From our industry's perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear," said Franklin Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America."

* Reality Check: The ability of the reinsurance industry to accurately reflect the state of the science of disasters and climate change has long been questionable. The industry is currently awash in money, a condition that Guy Carpenpter characterized just a few months ago as "the reinsurance sector remains adequately capitalized with a significant excess capital position" (PDF). In such a context, when reinsurers ask the government to take on some of their risks justified by "climate change," you should hold tight to your wallet. Conflicted.


Warmists jump onto a very old bandwagon

Measuring the wealth of a nation by way of per capita GDP is universally acknowledged to be imperfect. So as far back as I can remember (over 40 years) there have been rumblings that a better measure is needed. But all proposals founder on the subjectivity required. How do we weight the various components that we want to incorporate into a new measure? There will never be broad-based agreement on that. And that is why GDP is still generally used. It is basically an accounting measure that does not require subjective decisions. It may be imperfect but it's the best we have got from a scientific point of view. So the aspirations below will not be met

Politicians, scientists, businesspeople, academics, economists and environmental groups are among a loose coalition forming to push for a radically new measure of the costs of economic growth as a tool to help estimate the looming risks posed by climate change.

Instead of using the universal yardstick of gross domestic product, which looks only at production and consumption, to gauge economic well-being, the unusual amalgam wants a far broader measure — or rather range of measures — that takes account of sustainability, environmental damage, biodiversity and social impacts.

The new measure, which some call GWB for Global Well-Being, will be among the larger issues raised at the so-called Rio+20 international talks in Rio de Janeiro beginning June 13. The U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development will mark the 20th anniversary of talks that led to the Kyoto Protocol to curb climate change…


LA Times flunks basic journalism to promote climate alarm

A recent Brookings Institution opinion poll asked Americans the vague question: "Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer?" -- and found 62% agreed. The poll did not ask any questions about the cause or whether mankind is fully or partially responsible for global warming or climate change.

Nonetheless, the alarmist LA Times conflated and twisted the poll result to report that "62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring."

After several years of finding that fewer and fewer Americans believed in man-made climate change, pollsters are now finding that belief is on the uptick.

The newest study from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which is a biannual survey taken since fall 2008 and organized by the Brookings Institute, shows that 62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and 26% do not. The others are unsure.

That is a significant rise in believers since a low in spring 2010, when only about 50% of Americans said they believed in global warming, but still down from when the survey first began, when it was at around 75%. The pollsters talked to 887 people across the country.

What’s caused the sudden rise? Mostly the weather. “People, for good or for bad, are making connections in what they see in terms of weather and what they believe in terms of climate change,” said Christopher Borick, co-author of the survey. He is an associate professor of Political Science and director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion in Pennsylvania. His co-author is Barry Rabe, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and a professor at the University of Michigan.


Saving Face by Slaying Owls

The sun was setting, and the miles of skyscraper (tall sunflowers) served as the backdrop for this cool picture perfect evening. And there it was: a giant owl not in flight but gliding through the sky without flapping its wings.

The owl maneuvered with the grace of an Olympic ice-skater and defied gravity by moving higher and lower at will. The owl was on the prowl for an evening meal, and the intended target would never see or hear it coming. It was simply a blessing to sit there to watch, absorb, and appreciate that moment.

This brings me to the news the Obama administration is prepared to shoot and kill the barred owl in an effort to save the spotted owl. Keep in mind the spotted owl became a major cause of contention as efforts to save it from loggers eventually saw hundreds of logger jobs lost as millions of acres were set aside for their protection. Those special efforts haven't stopped the population of the spotted owl from plummeting more than 40% over the last 25 years. So, once again drastic measures must be taken.

In this case, Ken Salazar has given the green light to shoot and kill the larger cousin to the spotted owl. Environmentalists have taken to calling the barred owl, just 2 pounds in weight, a "bully" driving out their symbol of victory against mankind and capitalism.

Of course the spotted owl is a carnivore, and its prey includes flying squirrels, wood rats, and smaller birds. Maybe it's from my childhood and watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I have a soft spot for flying squirrels¡Vwhere are their rights not to be eaten? But more seriously, this is really amazing that one species could be destroyed to stop what might simply be the process of natural selection. For those enlightened folks in the elitists halls of the White House who spend their day patting themselves on the back laughing at us simpletons, there is surely respect for the course of nature.

Obviously, it's not the case that the natural course of things should be allowed to happen in nature or business.

The administration admits an "ethical dilemma" but says they came to this decision from a science-based approach to forestry. It's one thing to kill sea lions to preserve salmon, which still doesn't sit well with me, or to kill coyotes and other predators to save livestock¡Xa no-brainer. But, I think what we are seeing in the newest chapter in the saga of the spotted owl is a sense of outsized power to decide winners and losers in all facets of our lives. There are 162 species of owls in the world, and I would think they all had the same rights to evolve and survive without interference from mankind. Perhaps it¡¦s symbolism and the need to avoid embarrassment.

Back in the heat of the battle to save the spotted owl, (Northern variety) environmentalists hid huge spikes in into trees that not only ripped teeth out of chainsaws but exacted bloody damage to loggers working to pay bills and feed their own families. What would it say if, after all the verbal and psychical attacks, all the money and time and all of the finger wagging preaching from elites that never saw an owl and might eat one off a menu of a fancy Manhattan restaurant, the spotted variety still saw its demise?

Even as hardworking Americans were being put out of work, we were told new jobs for biologist would be created to conduct surveys. Of course the net job loss and true economic value of logging lumber that's used to build homes and create paper that carries words that change worlds and help to maintain order could never be covered by biologists and surveys. But as the sidebar shows, there is a lot of money being poured into this thing. What's really being protected with the killing of barred owls?

Not to belabor this point, but another story getting little press is another Ken Salazar scheme to wreak havoc in the name of saving a single species of animal. The administration wants to demolish three dams on the Klamath River in order to help Steelhead trout, Coho salmon and Chinook salmon. There are numerous dams along the river, and I'm not sure which would be blown away, but they are all so old you wonder why they need to go now in order to save these fish?

Link River Dam 1921
Fall Creek Dam 1903
Keno Dam 1931
Copco Dam 1917 and 1920
JC Boyle Dam 1958
Iron Gate Dam 1962

Destroying these dams would hurt homeowners, ranchers and small businesses, along with destroying sources of clean hydroelectricity and water for irrigation. Professor Paul R. Houser of George Mason University called the source of this decision "junk science," and even Bullwinkle is smart enough to know that's probably right.

It would be a serious dilemma if the spotted owl ate Chinook salmon. This isn't lightweight stuff as it points to an attitude that is very dangerous. I'm willing to live with and deal with obstacles created by God not by those created by a single human being with his own idea for who wins and who loses based not on fitness but fancy.


Psychologist Lewandowsky at the University of Western Australia claims that Greenie lies and deceit are justifiable

During my career in psychological research I repeatedly came across very low intellectual standards among my colleagues so Lewandowsky is no surprise. Psychologists are very good at believing what they want to believe -- JR

Comment below by Anthony Cox

In a recent article Stephan Lewandowsky has attempted to justify the fraudulent procurement of confidential material from the Heartland Institute by Peter Gleick. Gleick is described as:
"a hydroclimatologist by training, with a B.S. from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley from the Energy and Resources Group. His research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrological impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.

Dr. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert and was named a MacArthur Fellow in October 2003 for his work. In 2001, Gleick was dubbed a “visionary on the environment” by the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 2006 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C."

That’s as good as it gets in respect of climate credentials. Gleick is at the top of the global warming [AGW] pile. Yet what Gleick did is lie, deceive, procure and publically disseminate private information; along with a fake document which he either produced or willingly used.

Lewandowsky, a psychologist and avid disciple of the AGW ‘church’, would have us believe that Gleick’s actions put him in the same class as strategy to defeat the Nazis or Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon papers. This is a weird comparison. How can a strategy to put an enemy like the Nazi’s off-guard or the release of documents which contain important, relevant information for citizens in a democratic society be compared with fraudulently obtaining irrelevant information about a private entity in a democracy?

Lewandowsky claims that since Heartland is at the forefront of denialism [sic] and opposing measures to ‘save’ the planet from AGW that infringement of its rights is in order.

We should not be surprised about this line of ‘reasoning’ from Lewandowsky. The pro-AGW side has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to exaggerate, lie [see comment 246], break the law, oppose the democratic structure itself to ‘save the planet’ and be misanthropic. Lewandowsky and other pro-AGW advocates have indicated a willingness to censor and suppress ‘denier’ viewpoints; they have been prepared to hide their doubt about the ‘science’ supporting AGW in private while promoting the false idea that this ‘science’ is settled. The Climate-gate emails clearly show this.

So, we should not be surprised at any tactic used or capacity of the pro-AGW supporters.

But is their cause a noble one? Lewandowsky is in no doubt: “Revealing to the public the active, vicious, and well-funded campaign of denial that seeks to delay action against climate change likely constitutes a classic public good.”

Some facts about this noble cause of “action against climate change”:

* AGW ‘science’ and predictions unquestionably contributed to and acerbated the consequences of the 2 worse natural disasters in Australia in recent times. They were the 2010 QLD floods and the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

* The funds directed to ‘solving’ AGW in Australia runs into 10’s of $billions. Between now and 2015 the Gillard government will ‘give’ $13 billion to sustainable energy schemes. That is money down the drain since the primary recipients of this money, wind and solar, do not work in any meaningful way and never will.

But it is worse than just $13 billion. All the ‘real’ energy producers will be obligated to source 20% of their power from renewables by 2020. The $13 billion will allow start-up schemes to be created on paper with the ‘potential’ power able to be on-sold to the hapless ‘real’ power producers. That will at least double the initial $13 billion and will be passed straight on to the consumer, assuming the ‘real’ power producers don’t close, who will pay for nothing in return.

* There is no doubt the $23 per tonne carbon tax will send many companies to the wall; there is no doubt it will bankrupt Australia and in all likelihood cause power shortages. People will suffer and possibly die to lack of heating or air-conditioning.

* There is not a scintilla of evidence to support AGW; if the effect of AGW does exist it is entirely dominated by natural processes and variation. All the predictions of AGW have either not eventuated or are false correlations and a product of natural variation.

So, we have a theory, AGW, with no evidence, which has already greatly harmed people and will economically decimate the nation being used by people like Lewandowsky as an excuse for illegal and otherwise unethical behaviour.

There is no noble cause. So this is not noble cause corruption. It is just corruption.



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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