Thursday, August 02, 2012

The unpredictability of natural events

Atmospheric and ocean current events are extraordinarily complex phenomena. An example below. Show me a model that predicts it. Not only does no such model exist but it is virtually inconceivable that such a model COULD exist. Yet ocean currents are a major factor in the earth's climate

IT seems tourists have a much bigger ecological footprint than initially thought: 4500 thongs have been recovered from a Queensland beach.

The remote northern Chili Beach, north of Lockhart River, has somehow become the repository for the incredible number of thongs.

The Cairns Post reports the thousands of thongs were collected during a five-day clean-up of the idyllic sandy stretch, which netted more than 5 tonnes of rubbish.

"It was crazy - more than 4500 thongs and I don't think we found any matching pairs," organiser Heidi Taylor said.

It is believe the rubbish - mostly plastic materials - had been collected from along the east coast by ocean currents before being dumped at the remote beach. The local population - with a head count of nine - is not suspected to have significantly contributed to the mess.

Sixty volunteers from marine conservation group Tangaroa Blue took part in the effort, which also recovered a high percentage of toothbrushes, combs and plastic containers among the trash.


US rallies opponents of EU carbon tax on airlines

The US is hosting a two-day meeting of countries opposed to the EU's controversial carbon tax on airlines.

Delegates meeting at the US Department of Transportation in Washington DC are exploring an alternative global solution that would include the EU. China, India, Russia and the US are among the countries opposed to the EU scheme, which took effect on 1 January.

The US says the EU's unilateral action could lead to a patchwork system if other countries impose their own tax. International airlines will begin receiving bills in April 2013, after this year's carbon emissions have been assessed.

A US Senate committee voted on Tuesday to move forward a measure that would make it illegal to comply with the EU law.

On Monday, airline industry groups called for the Obama administration to challenge the EU law's application to foreign carriers. A letter from Airlines for America (A4A) and the US Chamber of Commerce urged the US to file an action under the United Nations' aviation body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says the looming deadline to pay up and the prospect of a trade war next year may motivate the delegates in that city to find a way out of the impasse, though no breakthrough is expected this week.

American officials have warned the EU's unilateral action could lead to a patchwork system around the world if other countries start imposing their own tax.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has denounced the EU tax as "a lousy policy, a lousy law", saying the EU "should have done it in a more collaborative way".

The EU has refused to back down and has expressed frustration that opposing countries have not come up with a serious, alternative proposal. The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) creates permits for carbon emissions. Airlines that exceed their allowances will have to buy extra permits, as an incentive to airlines to pollute less.

The number of permits is reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls. European officials say the scheme could force airlines to add between 4 and 24 euros ($5 to $29; £3 to £19) to the price of a long-haul trip, the AFP reports.

The European Commission says Europe would be willing to join a global scheme run by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) if it matches the targets set by the EU scheme.


Climate change science is a load of hot air and warmists are wrong

Climate scientists' theories, flawed as they are, ignore some fundamental data

By David Evans (Dr David M. W. Evans is a mathematician and engineer who consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office -- now the Department of Climate Change -- from 1999 to 2005)

IN THE theory of man-made climate change, two-thirds of the predicted warming comes from changes in humidity and clouds, and only one-third comes directly from the extra carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.

The theory assumes humidity and clouds amplify the warming directly due to CO2 by a factor of three: extra CO2 warms the ocean surface, causing more evaporation and extra humidity. Water vapour, or humidity, is the main greenhouse gas, so this causes even more surface warming.

Not many people know that. It is the most important feature of the debate, and goes a long way to explaining why warmists and sceptics both insist they are right.

The warmists are correct that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it causes warming, that CO2 levels have been rising, and that it has been warming.

Serious sceptics agree with all that, but point out that it does not prove that something else isn't causing most of the warming. By way of illustration, if the main cause of warming was actually Venusians with ray guns, then all those things would still be true.

The sceptic's main suspect is the sun. While the sun's radiation is roughly constant, its magnetic field varies considerably. This field shields the earth from cosmic rays that, according to recent experiments at the world's premier atom smasher CERN, might seed clouds. Clouds cool the planet, so if the sun's magnetic field wanes, then it might get cooler here on earth.

We scientists can calculate how much warming results directly from an increase in CO2 levels. We know how much CO2 levels and temperature have risen since pre-industrial times, but the warming directly due to CO2 is only a third of the observed warming. The theory assumes no other major influence on temperature changed, so the effect of the CO2 must have been amplified threefold, presumably by changes in the atmosphere due to humidity and clouds.

There is no observational evidence for this amplification, but it is nonetheless built into all the models. Sceptics point out that if the extra humidity simply forms extra clouds, then there would be no amplification.

If the CO2 theory of global warming is right, the climate models should predict the climate fairly well. If the CO2 theory is wrong, because there is another, larger driver of the temperature, then the climate models will perform indifferently.

According to the latest data from mankind's best and latest instruments, from impeccable sources, the climate models are doing poorly.

The first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 1990 predicted air temperatures would increase by 0.30 degrees per decade, and by 0.20 degrees to 0.50 degrees per decade at the outside. But according to NASA satellites that measure almost the entire planet constantly, the trend since then has been 0.17 degrees per decade at most. The climate scientists ignore these awkward results and instead only quote temperatures from land thermometers, half of which are at airports where they are artificially warmed by jet engines and hot tarmac, while most of the rest are in warming micro-climates such as near air conditioner outlets, at sewage plants or in car parks. Obviously the data from these corrupted thermometers should not be used.

Ocean temperatures have only been measured properly since 2003 when the Argo program became operational. Some 3000 Argo buoys roam the oceans, measuring temperatures on each 10-day dive into the depths. Before Argo, we used sporadic sampling with buckets and diving darts along a few commercial shipping lanes. But these measurements have such massively high uncertainties as to be useless. Since Argo started, the ocean temperatures have been flat, no warming at all.

The assumed temperature amplification due to changes in humidity and clouds exhibits itself in all the models as prominent warming about 10 kilometres up over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmospheric warming pattern since the 1960s using weather balloons, released twice a day from 900 locations around the planet, many millions of them in total, and no such "hot spot" has been detected. This is direct observational proof that the amplification is missing.

The climate models predict that the outgoing radiation from the earth decreases in the weeks following a rise in the surface temperature, due to aggressive heat-trapping by extra humidity. But analysis of the outgoing radiation measured by NASA satellites for the last two decades shows the opposite occurs: the earth gives off more heat after the surface temperature rises. Again, this suggests that the amplification assumed in the models simply does not occur in reality.

Government climate scientists tend to excuse away these failings, often blaming unmeasured aerosols whose effects are only dimly understood. These excuses wear ever thinner as the CO2 level continues to rise but the temperature plateau of the last 12 years persists.

There are huge vested interests in the theory of man-made climate change. They will soon have to face up to the fact that they have been unwittingly relying on assumed amplification by humidity for most of the predicted temperature increases, and that the amplification is not there in reality.


Nissan Leaf wilting under US heat

Owners blame hot weather for startling loss of battery capacity

Leaf owners in warmer parts of the US, such as Arizona, Texas and California, are starting to report that the car is losing up to a quarter of its charging capacity, sparking the US division of the Japanese car maker to investigate the claims.

The problem came to the attention of Nissan Americas via social media, after owners started to post on sites such as Nissan's US Facebook page that the batteries were fading fast after cars were left out in the heat for up to five hours at a time.

While not specifically mentioning that the 40-degree-plus heat was a factor in the loss of charge capacity, an open letter sent to US Leaf owners last month states the loss of battery capacity "may be considered normal depending on the method and frequency of charging, the operating environment, the amount of electricity consumed during daily usage and a vehicle's mileage and age".

A website tracking the battery charge losses speculates that up to 44 cases of flagging battery capacity have been identified.

Owners are claiming that when the Leaf - which even has a small, sunshine-friendly solar panel mounted on the roof to run the air-conditioning system while the vehicle is parked - is left out in the sun for extended periods, the car will start losing at least one of the 12 segments that make up the battery charge indicator shown on the dash.

Only two owners, though, have so far claimed they have lost a quarter of the bars after 40,000km of travel, while others claim they have lost two bars of charge after as little as 11,000km.

Carla Bailo, the senior vice-president of research and development for Nissan Americas, says the batteries of the Leaf will lose capacity as they age.

"This is normal and expected," she says. "In general, lithium-ion batteries exhibit a higher loss of capacity early in life, with the rate of loss decreasing over time.

"Nissan has projected that Leaf batteries will generally have 80 per cent of their capacity under normal use after five years, and 70 per cent after 10 years."

Bailo says it is too early to say what is happening with the Leaf batteries, "and whether their performance is within the range of expectations or not".

"Together, we are confident that by collaborating with our Leaf community - including the more than 400 owners in Arizona - we will ensure that owners experience many years of enjoyable driving as [electric vehicle] pioneers," she says.

The Leaf went on sale here in June, priced from $51,500, and the more than 40 owners who have bought one so far this year are yet to suffer through the full-blown heat of an Australian summer where 40-degree-plus days are common.


EPA Again Tramples Common Sense, Private Property Rights

Dexter Lutter was expecting an award; instead he got a $20,000 fine

He made environmental improvements on his land — his farm — by taking steps to clean up the water supply and better preserve the soil, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fined him for his efforts.

“That’s how out of touch I am,” Lutter says. “I feel like we should have won a medal for what we did, but the EPA tells us we were wrong.”

A small manmade open ditch ran through Lutter’s property in Noble County, Ind. It was in need of repair, and Lutter got permission from his county to place tile drains for the collection of the agricultural discharge and cover over the eroding open ditch. This not only saved county taxpayer dollars, but also cleaned up the water supply and prevented further soil erosion.

But that doesn’t matter. According to Noble County and Lutter, they were told they violated the Clean Water Act. This is despite the fact that Lutter said the ditch was manmade and used only for agricultural discharge and did not impede the flow of any main waterways — usual exemptions under the Clean Water Act.

It seems both the EPA and Army Corps are no longer content just monitoring activity in “navigable” waterways—as stated in the Clean Water Act, which has commonly lent itself to waterways where a vessel could in fact, navigate. These agencies seem to think they need to adopt a different interpretation of the law, which gets them another step closer to controlling all water in the U.S.

This means many more cases similar to Lutter’s will begin to surface.

Imagine if the EPA and Army Corps held the power to regulate any and all water they saw fit — water from a roadside ditch to a puddle in your yard? It’s a scary thought and greatly threatens farmers and landowners like Lutter, who now owes the EPA a hefty fine since it was his personal business that paid for much of the cleanup.

For Noble County, this Clean Water Act violation means a $75,000 fine and an additional $100,000 or more in mitigation costs to satisfy EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, says Scott Zeigler, Noble County Surveyor.

If manmade ditches, creeks and drainage system are in line to fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and/or the Army Corps of Engineers, then any farmer with a backed up drainage system or broken tile drain might need a permit before they can even be fixed. Likewise, any land you may own and would like to build on that had a standing puddle could potentially result in a rejected permit for disrupting a “wetland.”

This is very similar to what happened to Mike and Chantell Sackett.

They bought land in Idaho and decided to build a home. Once they filled the land with dirt and rocks in preparation, the EPA showed up asking for a permit claiming they had illegally filled protected wetlands and would contaminate a somewhat nearby lake. However, between the lake and the Sackett’s home were “several lots containing permanent structures.” Nonetheless, the Sackett’s were ordered to stop all renovations.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court earlier this year, and a unanimous decision stated that the Sackett’s deserved their day in court — and most importantly that EPA actions are accountable to the justice system.

The Sackett’s can now take their case against the EPA to court — a journey not many are willing to take due to the high price of fighting against a large government bureaucracy. Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out during the oral arguments of the case that because of potential fines few people are going to challenge the EPA’s decisions:

“Because of the administrative compliance order, you’re really never going to be put to the test, because most land owners aren’t going to say, ‘I’m going to risk the $37,000 a day.’ All EPA has to do is make whatever finding it wants, and realize that in 99 percent of the cases, it’s never going to be put to the test.”

The Blaze asserts that the EPA issues nearly 3,000 administrative compliance orders a year that call on alleged violators of environmental laws to stop what they‘re doing and repair the harm they’ve caused.

With a hefty fine like $37,000 a day as Chief Justice Roberts used as an example, or even Lutter’s $20,000 fine, it is easy to see why people are scared away from pushing back against the heavy-handed EPA.

As Lutter and his attorney are attempting to negotiate with the EPA in hope of lowering the fine, elected officials in Noble County are also wondering how to pay their fine of $75,000, not to mention the possibly more than $100,000 in mitigation costs to satisfy the Army Corps.

“We filled in a ditch that was about 2 to 3 feet wide and about 10 to 12 inches deep,” says Noble County Surveyor Scott Zeigler. “We did something to save taxpayers money and now we have to pay out almost $200,000 in penalties.”

Is this the penalty for folks who clean up the environment and are good stewards of their land?

The mitigation project for Noble County includes planting many new trees and implementing new practices that will detain water, resulting in water moving slower from farms. So far this hasn’t been a welcomed project.

If the EPA and Army Corps are successful in their bid to reinterpret the Clean Water Act, these agencies will be responsible for every drop of water in the U.S. — even more so than they are now.

“This paints a picture of the insanity of the EPA,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “The people making these decisions are so radical that even attempting to reform the EPA will do no good — the agency needs a complete overhaul. The job of the next administration will be to restructure and re-staff this rogue government agency.”

For now, Lutter is hoping he didn’t just lose his business over successfully cleaning up the water supply and creating a healthier environment for years to come.


Australia: Queensland government cuts Green tape

THE Queensland government insists new laws that make it faster and cheaper for developers to apply for environmental approval won't lower environmental standards. The Greentape (Greentape) Reduction Bill was passed in parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell says "green tape" has been strangling Queensland businesses.

He says the bill is the most significant reform to licensing processes in a decade and will save businesses thousands of dollars.

"It is crucial that we work with industry, particularly with the small business sector, to encourage economic growth and reduce government spending," he said in a statement.

The bill reduces the Environmental Protection Act by 90 pages by removing duplications.

A standard application for environmental approval will save companies on average $20,000, 150 pages in paper work and 68 days in processing time, while the environmental approval process will also be changed to ensure greater flexibility for operators, Mr Powell said.

The government will also save $12.5 million in administrative costs.

Mr Powell said the government had consulted "every step of the way" with industry, the community and government organisations on the changes.

"This in no way lowers environmental standards," he said. "It merely simplifies the approval process, saving applicants time and money."

The new process will apply from March 2013.



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: