Friday, June 29, 2012

Greenie logic hard at work

On the one hand the writer below tells us that CO2 levels in the Miocene were similar to levels today and on the other hand she tells us that the margins of Antarctica were green and hence obviously warmer. Doesn't that show that the high temperatures back then were NOT due to CO2 but rather to some other (solar? vulcanism?) influence? You would never guess it from the HuffPo narrative below

Note that the NASA press release says that "Warm conditions during the middle Miocene are thought to be associated with carbon dioxide levels of around 400 to 600 parts per million (ppm)". Thought to be? and "around"? In other words, the researchers below were just guessing about that

It may be hard to imagine, but the outer edges of Antarctica were once green, luscious and teeming with vegetation, a new study has uncovered.

Scientists at NASA, the University of California and Louisiana State University examined plant fossils taken from sediment cores beneath the Antarctic ice shelf and found that between 16.4 million and 15.7 million years ago, Antarctica was much warmer and rainier than previously thought. In fact, the continent's climate was similar to that of present-day Iceland, reaching temperatures of up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The paper was published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

When studying the sediment extracted from below the ice, the researchers found large quantities of pollen and algae -- an indication of abundant plant life. They also examined the plant-leaf wax from the sediment cores and were able to determine details about the water the plants drank when they were alive.

The greening of Antarctica occurred during a period of global warming called the Miocene period -- tens of millions of years after the last dinosaurs roamed the earth. Although it was long before the days of modern humans, during this time, the planet was home to mostly modern-looking species -- including apes, deer and horses.

The findings of the study have staggering implications for what increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere and a changing climate could mean for the planet in the not-so-distant future.

Levels of carbon dioxide during the Miocene era were around 400 to 600 parts per million (ppm) -- not much higher than the modern-day level of 393 ppm. According to the authors of the study, if CO2 levels increase at the same rate they are today, they will reach the amounts seen during the Miocene period by the end of this century.

Could Antarctica really become a green paradise before the end of our lifetimes? It's possible, according to Sarah J. Feakins, assistant professor of earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College and lead author of the study.

"Just as history has a lot to teach us about the future, so does past climate," she said. "What this record shows us is how much warmer and wetter it can get around the Antarctic ice sheet as the climate system heats up."

In the global warming that occurred during the Miocene era, the western part of the Antarctic ice sheet retreated, and the eastern part contracted, the scientists found. Those changes followed a period of substantial ice growth, however, and Earth's landmasses and ecosystems were substantially different from what they are today.

Although the underlying goal of this study was to better understand the impact of rising CO2 levels, only time will tell what the effects of a rapidly changing climate will be on not only Antarctica, but the rest of the planet.


Warmists tell us what global warming looks like

Some more Greenie logic:

"A trio of scientists say the scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions fueling catastrophic wildfires in the US offer a preview of the kind of disasters human-caused climate change could bring.

"What we're seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like," Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer said.

"It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster... this provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future."

In Colorado, wildfires that have raged for weeks have killed four people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Because winter snowpack was lighter than usual and melted sooner, fire season started earlier in the US, with wildfires out of control in Colorado, Montana and Utah.

The high temperatures that are helping drive these fires are consistent with projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said this kind of extreme heat, with little cooling overnight, is one kind of damaging impact of global warming."

But look at the graph below:

It looks like we are actually having global cooling if wildfires are the indicator.

Much more HERE

Does the Greenie logic ever stop?

"The Register" recently relayed a new finding about the Fimbul ice shelf (floating ice) in the Antarctic: It isn't melting overall and what melting there is comes from the bottom up rather than top down. That is of course very pesky for theories about the influence of atmospheric CO2.

It is so pesky that some of the Warmists involved have "replied" to the Register. Their reply in essence: "It is only one little pesky iceshelf and doesn't tell us about the whole of the Antarcric and, anyway, satellite measurements tell us that the rest of the Antarctic IS SO melting."

What they fail to mention is that the Fimbul shelf was deliberately chosen for its potential as a bellwether of the Antarctic as a whole. As Science Daily says:

"The Fimbul Ice Shelf -- located along eastern Antarctica in the Weddell Sea -- is the sixth largest of the forty-three ice shelves that dapple Antarctica's perimeter. Both its size and proximity to the Eastern Antarctic Ice Sheet -- the largest ice sheet on Earth, which if it melted, could lead to extreme changes in sea level -- have made the Fimbul Ice Shelf an attractive object of study"

Furthermore it is precisely the satellite measurements that the Fimbul data discredits. If the satellites were wrong about the Fimbul melting, what credibility do they have in telling us about the rest of the Antarctic?

The circling of the wagons concerned is below. The last sentence contains an interesting admission:

"Crafty boffins" have discovered "no ice is being lost at all" from the eastern Antarctic, the Register claimed in delighted tones on Monday.

Is it right? Not if you take a look at the research discussed by the IT blog - which has quite the penchant for publishing skeptic takes on new climate science. In fact, the research's lead author of told us it reveals a slower melt rate than previously thought for one ice shelf - the Fimbul ice shelf in Antarctica, but doesn't contradict or undermine research which shows the continent losing mass.

Under the headline 'Antarctic ice shelves not melting at all, new field data show'. the Register says:

"Twenty-year-old models which have suggested serious ice loss in the eastern Antarctic have been compared with reality for the first time - and found to be wrong, so much so that it now appears that no ice is being lost at all."

But what did the "boffins" do, and were their conclusions as dramatic as suggested?

Scientists drilled through the vast Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica to see if they could find out how fast the shelf's underside is melting and determine what is causing it. They concluded that models estimating that ice shelves in this region are losing significant amounts of ice are overestimating the melt rate. Ice shelves are floating bodies of ice that connect continental ice sheets like the East Antarctic ice sheet to the sea. They range in thickness from 50 metres or so up to a couple of hundred metres.

The scientists placed recording devices in the holes they drilled in the ice, which collected data over two years. They supplemented the data from the drilling with temperature, salinity and depth readings from sensors fitted to a group of elephant seals, which were being monitored as part of a project by biologists from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

It's a very clever way to get continuous data on conditions in the area - the seals spend the entire winter around the Fimbul ice shelf. So the data from their sensor packs gave the scientists nine months' worth of detailed information about circulation changes in the water surrounding the ice sheet - how warm and salty it was at different locations and depths.

According to the paper, the combined data from the sensors on the seals and the sensors in the ice helped the scientists understand in more detail how ocean circulation patterns heat the underside of the ice shelf, something which they note had been a "major source of uncertainty" in previous attempts to assess the melt rate of Antarctic ice shelves. Previous models simply assuming that the warm deep ocean alone caused ice shelves to melt from beneath, so this is a more sophisticated approach.

Says lead author of the sturdy Tore Hattermann: "It has been unclear, until now, how much warm deep water rises below the Fimbul Ice shelf, and previous ocean models, focusing on the circulation below the Fimbul Ice Shelf, have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place as fast as previously thought."

Slow ice shelf melt doesn't mean Antarctica's not losing ice

Based on this, the Register concludes not only that "no ice is being lost" "in the Eastern Antarctic", but also that the research casts doubt on satellite observations of ice loss in the Antarctic full stop.

According to one of the authors of the research, this isn't the case, and the conclusion doesn't accord with other research from the region. On a continental scale, satellite data from the whole of Antarctica show the continent has been losing ice in recent years, and that the ice loss is accelerating. Most of this ice loss has been from the West Antarctic ice sheet, particularly from the Antarctic Peninsula. This study doesn't undermine those conclusions.

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing ice as well - it had been thought to be reasonably stable, but more recent satellite measurements indicate the body has been losing ice since around 2006, particularly along parts of the coastline.

The new research reports that its findings agree with satellite data showing a "steady state mass balance" on the Fimbul ice sheet. This means that the ice on the shelves is currently building due to snowfall while it's also melting - processes that currently balance out. But the finding that there isn't any net ice loss at present on the ice shelf isn't the same as saying the ice isn't changing, or that there's no ice loss in the wider region.

Hatterman pointed out to us:

"In west Antarctica there is continuing rapid ice loss. Direct inflow of warm deep water is eroding some ice shelves there, such as the Pine Island glacier ice shelf"

Indeed, this paper shows that the inflow of warm deep waters is the primary control of Antarctic ice sheet loss. But, Hatterman says, the findings show it's important to differentiate between different Antarctic regions to fully understand what's happening to the continent. He adds:

"Our results do not change the overall conclusion that Antarctica is currently losing mass."

Finally, one of the authors of the paper has just responded directly to the Register, saying the story "misled" readers:

"Our results suggest that the rate at which *some* ice shelves are melting is less than previously thought. We did not question the overall conclusion that the Antarctic ice sheet as a whole is currently losing mass, which has consistently been concluded from several different methods.

A few days after our article was published, a piece profiling our work appeared at the Register of the UK written by Lewis Page entitled, 'Antarctic ice shelves not melting at all, new field data show.' This is the equivalent of turning the statement "the cancer is not as bad as we thought" into "you don't have cancer."

The severely distorted version of our study's conclusions then spread rapidly across the internet. It is a pattern that climate researchers have unfortunately observed many times, part of a widening gulf of misinformation between scientists and society.

As one of the authors of this study, I can only repeat: this is not what we said. We have been misrepresented, and you, the reader, have been misled by some of those who claim - as scientists and journalists both surely should - to provide you with facts."

It seems particularly difficult for outlets to accurately report ice shelf melt in the Antarctic. We've seen occasions when the research has been overplayed to suggest too much ice loss. Now it seems the balance has swung the other way.


World’s Lakes Show Global Temperature Standstill

Schneider et al 2012 in a poster presentation to the two-day, “Taking the temperature of the Earth Conference,” that ends today, has the clever idea of looking at the temperatures of lakes and reservoirs around the world. They point out that in situ observations of lake surface temperatures are very rare on a global scale, but infrared imagery from space can be used to infer water surface temperatures of lakes and reservoirs.

They provide data for 169 of the largest inland water bodies world- wide using three satellite-borne instruments. Together they provide daily to near-daily data from 1981 through to the present, allowing them to calculate 25-year trends of nighttime summertime/dry-season surface temperature.

They find that the surface temperatures of the water bodies have been “rapidly warming” with an average rate of 0.350 ± 0.11 deg C per decade for the period 1985–2001.

Two years ago Schneider et al published what was then described as the first global survey of lake temperatures. Then the researchers found a decadal trend of 0.45 deg C.

The researchers say the results provide a critical new independent data source on climate change that indicates lake warming in certain regions is greater than expected based on air temperature data.

Note that the trend line depends entirely on the first part of the data. For the second half there is no trend

Their graph of temperature anomaly looks very familiar to anyone who is knows the global temperature datasets over the past thirty years. However, I don’t think their regression line is a good description of the data. My preliminary calculations suggest that there is no statistically significant trend post-1997. Hence an alternate description of their findings is that the world’s large bodies of water show the well known standstill of the past decade or so seen in global temperatures.

Note: While it is possible to draw a linear regression line between 1997 and 2011 (you can draw a trendline through almost anything) that yields 0.1 deg per decade it is statistically meaningless given the large variance of the data. The error on the trendline is several times its magnitude, and it is highly sensitive to moving the start and endpoint by a year or two.

Conclusion: No statistically significant trend post-1997. Since 1997 the data is best represented by a straight line of mean 0.21 deg with a large standard deviation of 0.95 deg. Below is the post-1997 portion of the researcher's graph. It is easy to see that the trendline calculated from the 1985-2011 data does not fit this section of the data in which there is no trend

SOURCE (See the original for more graphics)

After Rio – what next?

It’s time to give all mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development

By physicist Kelvin Kemm

The Rio+20 World Environmental Conference has come and gone. The “Plus 20” comes from the fact that it took place twenty years after the first such conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Between these dates, I was a delegate at the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ever since 1992 I have watched the eco-evolution taking place.

There is a good side and a bad side. The good side is that general world environmental awareness has been enhanced. That is definitely good. But there is still so much to be done, especially in poor countries where many people are always on the edge of survival, people must eke out a living off the land, and many will do whatever it takes to earn a little cash, to just survive another day.

Here in South Africa we see the daily international poaching attacks on our elephants and rhinos. It’s disgraceful. For us in the south, on midwinter’s day in June (our winters are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere), the total rhinos shot this year stands at 251, just to get their horns, which are still viewed as aphrodisiacs and medicine in many Asian countries. Last year’s total was 448, more than one a day – so it’s getting worse. Poachers are now using helicopters and machine guns, and often taking chainsaws to still living rhinos.

There is much to do to sustain and protect the world’s natural environment. That should be done – but done well, and honestly. The bad side of Rio+20 is the degree of scientific dishonesty and economic manipulation that has crept into the international debate. That is shocking.

In recent years we have heard a great deal about “climate change.” I am on record as saying I do not believe human activities that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) are making any significant contribution to climate change – certainly not anything dangerous or catastrophic.

Observed climate change appears to be in line with past historic meteorological cycles – and likely linked to natural cosmic rays interacting with the magnetic fields of the earth and the sun’s interactive magnetic screening system.

But there are organisations in the world that want mankind to be at fault, so that there is someone to blame and attack, someone to tax and control, and someone to encourage to be “traditional” and “sustainable” – and consequently in a state of perpetual primitive poverty and disease ... on the edge of survival.

It was noticeable that Rio+20 moved away from the theme of “climate change.” It would appear that the disastrous climate change, which green extremists predicted with such great relish, has not been occurring. So climate change is dying as a “marketable concept.” They can’t use it to scare enough people anymore.

Thus the Rio+20 summit focused on the concepts of “biodiversity” and “sustainable development,” as the main themes, and therefore the main “worries.” If people can be made to worry, they can be made to fear, and then they can be controlled.

Rio+20 was all about international control. Certain green organisations clearly want to exert direct control over world governments, and want to impose their brand of world government on our planet, communities, businesses and families. The concepts of biodiversity and sustainable development give them the leverage.

The greens claim that our plant and animal species, our natural resources, our air and water, and our planet are in such desperate trouble that the extreme greens must take control. They will then defend “biodiversity,” and to do this they will decide what “sustainable development” actually means and how it must be implemented.

They will decide how, when and where any community will be permitted to “develop.” It is interesting to take another look at the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, which came out of the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg. It included language asking that the world pay attention to “the worldwide conditions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development of our people, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition … and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis."

What happened to all these human issues at Rio+20? They were gone. For some reason, the Rio version of “biodiversity” and “sustainability” did not include humans.

In Rio the head of the WWF stated that the WWF wanted “transparent annual reporting and review on subsidy reforms, leading to the elimination by 2020 of all environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies.” Who do these people think they are? And why have they said nothing at all about the nearly $1 trillion that Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports has been spent worldwide just since 2004 on wind, solar, biofuel and other “renewable” energy schemes that any objective observer would understand are simply not “sustainable” on economic, environmental or any other grounds.

Moreover, this WWF statement is intended to give authenticity to some “world government,” to tell sovereign nations how to care for their own citizens.

In many African countries building a coal-fired power station will reduce CO2 emissions. How? Because there are millions of families who have no electricity, and so cook on wood or dung fires. These fires burn inefficiently and produce not just carbon dioxide, but many airborne pollutants that harm or even kill people. If thousands of these fires are replaced by a modern coal-fired power plant, the net effect would be to lead to improved air quality and less CO2 per unit of energy.

Such an action would be a significant advance, even if the CO2 actually were a problem, though much scientific evidence shows that it is not. This evidence of course is shouted down by those with vested interests in perpetuating “dangerous manmade climate change” as a thesis, and as a professional sinecure. Such an approach is not honest, and it is not science.

Meanwhile, however, European countries have introduced a carbon emissions tax on passenger aircraft flying over their airspace. The tax, per passenger, is calculated on total miles flown, so passengers flying to Europe from faraway places like South Africa and Australia pay much higher emissions taxes to the Europeans to clean up Euro air than do the EU’s own citizens, who collectively fly far more cumulative miles around Europe. Despite appeals from South Africa to spare us the tax, we were turned down. We are getting sick and tired of this high handed First World attitude.

Now from Rio+20 we are told that a goal for development is to move away from “outdated” concepts like measuring national growth using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – and to rather use more “modern” and “equitable” measures like the “Happy Planet Index” (HPI), under which some world authority or bureaucrat is going to place an “environmental value” on keeping our environment “pristine” and “traditional.” Those values will be built into the HPI. Meantime, many people in Africa will continue to cut down habitats to burn wood and dung, and we will fight elephant and rhino poachers all by ourselves.

In Rio, eight of the world’s largest development banks announced the largest monetary commitment to come out of Rio+20, a “socially responsible” US$175 billion initiative to shift investment away from roads to public transport. They want to use the money to promote buses, trains and bicycles, instead of cars and aeroplanes.

In many parts of Africa they don’t even have a road yet. No electricity either, nor school nor clinic.

It is time for UN, EU, US and other green do-gooders to get off their anti-development high horse. It’s time to give all of mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development. It’s time to stop using a “preserving biodiversity” ruse to keep the world’s most impoverished people forever in poverty.

Received by email

Bigger EPA Fight Still to Come

While the DC Court of Appeals has just ruled in favor of the Obama Administration in rejecting challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's rules concerning carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks (the so-called "tailpipe emissions standards"), Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels believes the larger battle is still to come:

"On June 25, the public comment period for the EPA's proposed regulations on coal-fired power plants ended," said Michaels. "After thorough review, I found that the report from the U.S Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which served as the source for the scientific opinions underlying the original endangerment finding in 2010, is unrepresentative of the larger body of scientific research on the topic of anthropogenic climate change and its potential impacts on the United States."

Michaels, working with a team of experts and scientists, assembled an addendum to the USGCRP report, which they submitted as comments on June 22.

"Our review represents the most comprehensive scientific critique of the EPA Endangerment Finding on coal-fired plants ever written, and directly counters their claims on how climate change impacts in the United States, using a much more exhaustive survey of peer-reviewed science than the EPA relied upon," said Michaels.

Michaels also cautions against relying too much on static reports in rulemaking on climate change.

"No static report can provide long-term guidance as to the nature of climate change and its impacts, as this field is constantly evolving under the weight of new scientific findings. Consequently, it is imperative that the EPA reassess the current scientific understanding on at least an annual basis," said Michaels.

The EPA is expected to finalize regulations regarding emissions from coal-fired plants later this year.


Australia: Gasp! Environmental protection to be wound back to enable mining!

THE Steve Irwin Reserve on Cape York is expected to be mined, with Environment Minister Andrew Powell yesterday moving to wind back Wild Rivers environment protection.

Mr Powell released a scoping paper for a proposed management plan, which is expected to replace Wild Rivers protection on at least four rivers.

Under Wild Rivers, the previous government placed a 500m buffer zone on the Wenlock River, potentially making Cape Alumina's multibillion-dollar Pisolite Hills bauxite mine proposal unprofitable.

Wilderness Society spokesman Tim Seelig said yesterday he feared the mine would destroy the Wenlock, which had the highest number of freshwater species in Australia.

"We know Cape Alumina is just waiting to get its plans back on the table," he said. "Once protection is removed, it will be open slather."

Cape Alumina managing director Graeme Sherlock said the company was concentrating on its nearby Bauxite Hills project, rather than Pisolite Hills.

In April, Mr Sherlock said if Premier Campbell Newman changed wild rivers legislation, Pisolite Hills would be reassessed.

Cape Alumina proposes to use 12,360ha or about 9 per cent of the Irwin Reserve, which is the old Bertiehaugh cattle station.

Dr Seelig said Mr Powell was winding back the clock on environment protection.

"This will inevitably lead to more destructive development such as mining and dams in our last free-flowing rivers," Dr Seelig said.

Eight new mines had been proposed for the Cape's east and west coasts.

"(The Government needs) to commit to protecting the environment ... as the first priority and only support truly sustainable economic activities," Dr Seelig said.

He supported Mr Powell's whole-of-region conservation approach although there were few details in the scoping paper.

Mr Powell said he would release details next week but the bioregion management plan would focus on protection and management of the Cape, while allowing appropriate opportunities for economic development.

The policy would give Indigenous communities a bigger say in economic development.

Dr Seelig said he was glad Mr Powell proposed to continue the Cape York World Heritage listing process on one of the last great wild places on earth.

Activist Noel Pearson has campaigned against Wild Rivers but the process has been supported by other Murris.

The Irwin Reserve purchase was funded by former Liberal prime minister John Howard to honour television celebrity and conservationist Steve Irwin.



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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