Monday, August 06, 2012

Hansen's selective history

Any idea why Hansen chose to survey only the last 60 years? No mystery at all: That avoids the '30s, which were hotter and attended by more extreme weather than now. What a fraud! Steve McIntyre details some of the severe droughts of past centuries, many much worse than anything today

HUMAN-DRIVEN climate change is to blame for a series of increasingly hot summers and the situation is already worse than was expected just two decades ago, a top NASA scientist says. James Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wrote in the Washington Post on Saturday that even his "grim" predictions of a warming future, delivered before the US Senate in 1988, were too weak.

"I have a confession to make: I was too optimistic," Hansen wrote.

"My projections about increasing global temperature have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather."

Hansen and his colleagues have published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences an analysis of the past six decades of global temperatures, revealing a "stunning increase in the frequency of extremely hot summers," he wrote.

Describing "deeply troubling ramifications for not only our future but also for our present," Hansen said the analysis was based not on models or predictions, "but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened."

The peer-reviewed study shows global temperature has been steadily rising due to a warming climate, about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) in the past century, and that extreme events are more frequent.

The study echoes the findings of international research released last month that climbing greenhouse gas emissions boosted the odds of severe droughts, floods and heatwaves in 2011.

Hansen said the European heatwave of 2003, the Russian heatwave of 2010 and massive droughts in Texas and Oklahoma last year could each be attributed to climate change.

"And once the data are gathered in a few weeks' time, it's likely that the same will be true for the extremely hot summer the United States is suffering through right now," he said.


Yet more evidence that the Middle Ages were warmer than today

Discussing: Bunbury, J. and Gajewski, K. 2012. Temperatures of the past 2000 years inferred from lake sediments, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Quaternary Research 77: 355-367.


Bunbury and Gajewski obtained sediment cores from Jenny Lake (61.04°N, 138.36°W) that "yielded chironomid records that were used to provide quantitative estimates of mean July air temperature." As to how this was done, they write that "inference models were developed to estimate mean July air temperature from the fossil chironomid data using 145 modern sites from Barley et al. (2006), 39 sites from Wilson and Gajewski (2004), and an additional two sites from Bunbury and Gajewski (2008)," which exercise, in their words, "resulted in a new chironomid calibration dataset containing 186 samples, 74 species, and 17 environmental variables."

This effort revealed the existence of "relatively warm conditions during medieval times, centered on AD 1200, followed by a cool Little Ice Age, and warming temperatures over the past 100 years." And from the authors Figure 8, reproduced below, it can be estimated that the Medieval Warm Period at Jenny Lake extended from about AD 1100 to 1350, and that the most recent (AD 1990) of their temperature determinations was about 0.8°C cooler than the peak warmth of the Medieval Warm Period.

Figure 1. Chironomid-inferred mean July air temperatures for Jenny Lake, Canada. Adapted from Bunbury and Gajewski (2012).


The pathetic bleat of the Warmists to findings such as the above is to say that the MWP was a "local" North Atlantic phenomenon. But the Yukon is a long way from the Atlantic -- JR

Rate of Sea Level Rise: Predictions vs. Measurements

Discussing: Boretti, A.A. 2012. Short term comparison of climate model predictions and satellite altimeter measurements of sea levels. Coastal Engineering 60: 319-322.


The author begins by noting that in its report of 2007, the IPCC projected that global sea level was likely to rise somewhere between 18 and 59 cm by 2100; but he says that certain "model-based analyses performed recently have predicted much higher sea level rise [SLR] for the twenty-first century," even "exceeding 100 cm if greenhouse gas emissions continue to escalate," citing most pointedly in this regard the studies of Rahmstorf (2007, 2010). However, he notes that studies reaching just the opposite conclusion have also been published, referencing those of Holgate (2007), Wunsch et al. (2007), Wenzel and Schroter (2010) and Houston and Dean (2011).

What was done

Working with what he calls "the best source of global sea level data," which he identifies as the TOPEX and Jason series of satellite radar altimeter data, Boretti applies simple statistics to the two decades of information they contain to "better understand if the SLR is accelerating, stable or decelerating."

What was learned

The Australian scientist reports that the average rate of SLR over the almost 20-year period of satellite radar altimeter observations is 3.1640 mm/year, which if held steady over a century would yield a mean global SLR of 31.64 cm, which is just a little above the low-end projection of the IPCC for the year 2100. However, he also finds that the rate of SLR is reducing over the measurement period at a rate of -0.11637 mm/year2, and that this deceleration is also "reducing" at a rate of -0.078792 mm/year3.

What it means

Boretti writes that the huge deceleration of SLR over the last 10 years "is clearly the opposite of what is being predicted by the models," and that "the SLR's reduction is even more pronounced during the last 5 years." To illustrate the importance of his findings, he notes that "in order for the prediction of a 100-cm increase in sea level by 2100 to be correct, the SLR must be almost 11 mm/year every year for the next 89 years," but he notes that "since the SLR is dropping, the predictions become increasingly unlikely," especially in view of the facts that (1) "not once in the past 20 years has the SLR of 11 mm/year ever been achieved," and that (2) "the average SLR of 3.1640 mm/year is only 20% of the SLR needed for the prediction of a one meter rise to be correct."

Clearly, the more-rabid-than-the-IPCC-crowd has it all wrong when it comes to both sea level and climate, for as Boretti concludes, "the oceans are truly the best indicator of climate," and what they suggest is not compatible with what those alarmed about climate change continually claim. This is the crystal-clear sermon preached by the satellite radar altimeter data; and we give it a loud Amen!


Diversity of opnion not allowed among Warmists

A couple of Warmists decided to interview Richard Muller, who has recently claimed, with no discernible logic, that his temperature measurements support the idea of man-made global warming. They were outraged that he did not buy into the whole range of Warmist scares and were apalled when he said said that many were exaggerated. See below.

After an extended period of contact with the temperature record, the one thing Muller could not have avoided seeing was how tiny the temperature rise has been, so it is no wonder that he cannot see all the dramas attributed to it by Warmists.

Note that the Warmists, as usual, quote not one scientific fact. It's all appeals to authority (aka Leftist intellectual fashions)

On Wednesday, Progressive Radio Network host/veteran green journalist Betsy Rosenberg and I were honored to interview, the one-time climate change skeptic Dr. Richard Muller, whose Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project --- which was funded in part, ironically enough, by the notorious climate change deniers at the Charles G. Koch Foundation --- recently came to the same conclusion that virtually all climate scientists not affiliated with libertarian think tanks have long since recognized: climate change is "real" and "humans are almost entirely the cause," thanks to the the anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases. [Our audio interview is posted in full below.]

As a Republican who had a similar climate awakening nearly two years ago myself, I looked forward to speaking to Dr. Muller; in the moments before the interview, I wondered if we could find some common ground.

Let's just say I was too naïve for my own good...

The interview, before it became rather feisty, began as pleasantly as possible, with Rosenberg asking Muller about the study's conclusions. Muller was quite proud of the so-called "BEST" team, boasting of the group's qualifications and objectivity.

I then asked Muller about his contention that Hurricane Katrina had nothing to do with global warming. Considering that Boston Globe reporter-turned-environmental activist Ross Gelbspan noted in 2005 that Katrina's "real name was global warming," I found Muller's claim curious to say the least. Muller suggested that Gelbspan was trafficking in exaggeration, though a plain reading of Gelbspan's piece indicates that Gelbspan only contended that Katrina was a sign of things to come climate-wise. Muller resisted this interpretation, and also firmly rejected Bill McKibben's 2011 contention that Hurricane Irene's "middle name" was global warming.

Rosenberg asked Muller about one of his old assertions: that Al Gore exaggerated the risks of global warming in Davis Guggenheim's 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Muller doubled down, alleging that Gore played fast and loose with the facts regarding sea level rise --- a point debunked by Peter Sinclair in this 2009 video --- and suggesting that climate activists were ill-served by making what he viewed as hyperbolic claims about future peril. He even went so far as to offer a tortured definition of the idea of "skepticism" by equating Gore with climate change skeptics, just "on the other side" of the data spectrum, somehow.

But the interview's friendly climate changed and really began to heat up when I asked Muller if his findings finally put to rest the far Right's claim that the cockamamie (and debunked-many times-over) "Climategate" affair "proved" that climate scientists linked to the pseudo-scandal were fudging their global warming data.

Incredibly, Muller asserted that "Climategate" was not a settled issue, and that the scientists involved were found to have "hidden" data. (He also asserted, without evidence to support it, that the "controversial" e-mails at the center of the pseudo-scandal were intentionally "leaked by a member of the team," rather than hacked. He claims that "most people" believe that to be the case, though he was unable or unwilling to back up that element of his charge either.) I pointed out that eight different investigations all found that no data manipulation took place; he asserted that temperature data had been "hidden", not manipulated. When I asked if "hiding" data was not a form of manipulation, he gave a muddled non-answer (though he made sure to get in some particularly nasty, and seemingly personal, shots at acclaimed Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann).

Rosenberg then addressed America's recently-shattered temperature records, wildfires and unrelenting drought, asking Muller if there was a clear link between these extreme weather events and climate change; Muller, again, curiously downplayed any connection, ultimately suggesting that the drought wasn't that much different from the 1930s Dust Bowl.

I told Muller that those of us who are concerned about carbon pollution are frustrated for good reason: the efforts to educate the public about the risks of climate change have been sabotaged by corporate libertarians who have used a political party and a "news" network to sell folks on the falsehood that the world is getting cooler when it is not. Muller agreed that the disinformation campaign (which is, of course, financed by such figures as his own benefactors, Charles and David Koch) is part of the problem, but once again suggested that alleged climate alarmism is also a problem.

More HERE (See the original for links)

No, no. Say it isn't true: Twenty-three new coal-fired power plants are being built across Germany

They are even using the hated brown coal (It's cheap). How COULD They? Burning more coal in the Greenest country on earth (and the "Urquelle" of Greenieness)? Surely reality has not encroached!

Twenty-three new coal-fired power plants are being built across Germany, with the capacity to generate 24,000 megawatts. Campaigners for the environment protection group Greenpeace say these new plants will emit 150 million tons of CO2 each year.

Plans by the minister to construct even more plants are being heavily criticized by the opposition and environmental groups, who believe high carbon dioxide emissions are the driving force behind climate change. “Whoever is serious about energy and climate change cannot be in favor of coal-fired power plants,” Jürgen Trittin, head of the Greens political party, said in an interview when asked about Altmaier's remarks.

Greenpeace too is concerned, “We don't support the building of new coal-fired plants at all, as they are likely to remain on the grid for around 40 years. This blocks the transition towards power from renewable sources for years,” said Gerald Neubauer, an energy expert with Greenpeace, in an interview with DW. Instead, he demanded stronger support for power from renewable sources, together with the use of gas-fired plants. According to Neubauer, such plants would also be easier to handle when it comes to balancing out contributions of power from renewable sources to the grid.

Another point that favors the building of new coal-fired plants for Altmaier is cost, as electricity from renewable sources is still relatively expensive. In order not to jeopardize the German economy, one would have to “be in a position to be able to offer energy at prices that can compare with that of the main power competitors in other industrialized countries.” For this to be successful, it is necessary to convince pre-existing industry of its benefits.


GOP Probe: White House “pressure” made Solyndra deal

A congressional report concluded Friday that "political pressure" by a White House eager to tout stimulus spending was largely to blame for fast-tracking the ill-fated $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee -- findings compounded by the release of an email that showed the former CEO once referred to the aid as "The Bank of Washington."

The email and the report were released by Republicans, who continue to use the scandal to portray the Obama administration as careless with taxpayer money in pursuit of its alternative-energy agenda.

The email, posted online by the Republican National Committee, was a late 2009 message from ex-CEO Chris Gronet. "The Bank of Washington continues to help us!" he exclaimed, pointing to the recently approved loan guarantee and other tax incentives the company might use.

The report, meanwhile, was released by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and caps a nearly yearlong investigation by the panel into why the government allegedly ignored red flags to approve the loan. Solyndra, a solar-panel firm, filed for bankruptcy last year.

"It is clear (the Department of Energy) should never have issued the loan guarantee to Solyndra," the report said, adding that a subsequent decision to restructure the terms "violated the plain language of the law."

The report, which follows another GOP-authored congressional study earlier this week on the Justice Department's Fast and Furious scandal, is sure to fuel an election-year furor over questionable taxpayer investments in private companies.

The Obama administration has argued that the overall loan guarantee program has been successful and critical to supporting alternative energy innovators. In response Thursday, the administration blasted the GOP report and defended the integrity of the program.

"This is month 18 of this congressional investigation and everything disclosed ... affirms what we said on day one: this was a merit based decision made by the Department of Energy," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. "As Republicans won't answer how much investigation has cost taxpayers, we believe they should instead be focused on legislation to creating jobs and grow the economy."

But an overriding theme in Thursday's report is that the Department of Energy was under pressure from the beginning in 2009 to approve the Solyndra loan guarantee despite warning signs.

"This report conclusively shows that DOE pushed forward with the guarantee despite these warnings because of the Obama administration's desire to use the Solyndra guarantee to highlight its stimulus," the report said.

The report cited a March 2009 phone call between an Energy Department official and the White House, calling that the genesis of the "conditional commitment" -- incidentally just a few weeks before a major Obama speech on the stimulus -- though "key terms" of the deal were not settled.

Further, the report said the September 2009 closing was guided by a Sept. 4 groundbreaking event, claiming the closing date was set by the White House and Energy Department before the budget office's review.

That review, the report said, then "took a mere 9 days, even though it was the first DOE loan guarantee ever made."

The report concluded that the overall loan guarantee program was a "poor fit for the stimulus," citing an October 2010 memo that noted some projects probably would have gone forward without federal funding.

The report did not level corruption charges at the administration, despite early suggestions by lawmakers that cronyism was at play. The report did claim that George Kaiser, an Obama backer whose foundation invested heavily in Solyndra, was "closely involved" in decisions on the loan.

Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would end for good the loan guarantee program and impose new safeguards over existing loans.



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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