Sunday, November 18, 2012

British Met Office lets the side down

The following is from the official blog of Britain's Met Office news team. They are irritated by some forecasts that December will be unusually cold. But in their keenness to scotch that prediction they make a stunning admission: "The science does not exist to make detailed forecasts for temperature and snowfall for the end of this month, let alone for December or even the winter as a whole". Yet they use recent differences in temperature calibrated in tenths and hundredths of a degree to predict what the temperature will be 50 years hence? According to their own admission we surely have to say: "The science does not exist" for that

We wrote only last week that it seems that it is the time of year again for colourful headlines about an impending big freeze.

We had them at this time last year, which prompted our Chief Executive to write an opinion piece in The Times. Now we have very similar stories again, with the front page of the Daily Express declaring last week ‘Coldest winter freeze on way’ and warning that temperatures are set to plunge as low as -15C and again a week on we have another front page from the Daily Express which declares ‘Coldest winter for 100 years on way‘. with the UK expected to grind to a halt within weeks.

These longer range forecasts for December and January have not come from the Met Office and a look at our current 30 day forecast provides perhaps a more measured assessment of our weather prospects to the middle of December:

As is usual, there are uncertainties in the forecast for this period. Whilst changeable conditions are considered more likely initially, some signs are beginning to emerge for more settled conditions to develop over parts of Europe. The signal is that these conditions may extend towards the UK during the first part of December. So, although there are no strong indications of any particular weather type predominating, on balance, colder and drier-than-average conditions are favoured over the recent mild and damp weather many areas have experienced.

What is clear from the forecast is that although there are some signs that after a rather unsettled period, the weather may become colder and drier than we have seen recently there is still a lot of uncertainty in the forecast which again the article has failed to pick up on and report to its readers.

The science does not exist to make detailed forecasts for temperature and snowfall for the end of this month, let alone for December or even the winter as a whole with these types of forecasts only able to provide an indication of how our weather might change, or be different from normal, (i.e. warmer, colder, wetter, drier) across the whole UK or even Europe

Ultimately, we’re heading into winter and it is perfectly possible that we will see the whole range of weather that we get in winter at some point over the coming months, including snow and freezing temperatures, but also heavy rain, windy weather and mild conditions too.

Our five day forecasts and warnings will provide you with the best possible guidance on any periods of cold weather, frost or the likelihood of snow, giving detailed local information across the UK to help you make the most of the weather over the coming months.


Warmists now admit that warmism is "evangelism" and a "movement"

And you of course get an Old Fashioned Revival Hour to go with it. And guess who the Satan is!’s #DoTheMath was described by 350 National Coordinator Joshua Kahn Russell as a “back-to-back-to-back-to-back” tour of major cities and college campuses across the country to evangelize people around the fight to save the Earth from an impending depletion.

On November 16 the tour took over New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom for an evening of talks, conversations, music, video, exhortations and promises to start taking a more militant stand in the efforts to halt climate change.

The keynote speakers ranged in age, experience and perspective: Bill McKibben [whose Rolling Stone article “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math” had 10 times as many likes as the article published in the same issue about Justin Bieber], Nation columnist Naomi Klein author of Shock Doctrine, Josh Fox, one of the director of the award-winning documentary, Gasland, and DJ Spooky as well as Van Jones via steaming video, who talked about how erratic weather patterns caused by climate change disproportionately affects black and brown people in the global south.

As Tom Zeller pointed out recently for Huffington Post, the camaign is a way to underscore and understand the terrifying math that needs to be grappled with: “565 and 2,795. The former is the upper limit, in gigatons, of carbon dioxide that many scientists believe humanity can still dump into the atmosphere while managing to avoid the 2 degree uptick in global temperatures that would be disastrous to humandkind. The latter refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that fossil fuel companies currently possess and are seemingly ready to exploit for profit.

The dynamic speakers gave way to an unusual event that went well beyond the lecture series that many in the audience were expecting to a night filled with music, laughter and talk of movement-building.

Paul D. Miller, aka “DJ Spooky” continued on the theme of numerical patterns by performing parts of his project “Artic Notes” where he took algorithms found in weather patterns over the past few decades and used them to design beats. Miller also gave a brief presentation outlining his inspirations which included photos of a recent trip to the North Pole he took to a synopsis of a Johnannes Kepler's essay “Six Sides of a Snowflake”.

Klein spoke strongly about a movement that encouraged her own politicization. The first protest she ever attended was an anti-Apartheid demonstration on her campus during the late 1980s--outlining that #DoTheMath is calling for the next anti-Apartheid movement pulling in participation from everybody from college students, to global leaders, in order to build a mass boycott campaign with the capacity to force fossil fuel companies into the status of “social pariah” that Big Tobacco companies came to eventually occupy in this country.


Britain's Green Deal 'in tatters' as no-one registers

The launch of the Coalition’s flagship green energy project is “in tatters” after a Government minister admitted that not a single household has yet registered for the deal.

The Green Deal encourages homeowners to take out a loan to make their house more energy-efficient. The project goes live in 10 weeks but households have had since October 1 to have their home assessed for the scheme prior to its launch.

However Greg Barker, the climate change minister, has admitted that “no assessments have yet been lodged” on the Government’s official register by homeowners.

Luciana Berger, the shadow climate change minister, described the Green Deal as a “shambles” and said its launch is “lying in tatters”. The Coalition hopes that owners of up to 14 million draughty homes will sign up to the scheme.

Last night the energy industry called on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to launch an urgent marketing campaign to alert homeowners to the scheme.

Angel Knight, the head of Energy UK, which represents energy companies, said that members of the public are simply unaware of the Green Deal: “If you ask people what they think of the Green Deal they will say ‘I don’t know what it means, will you tell me about it?’”

Mr Barker made the disclosure in an answer to a parliamentary question by Ms Berger. She asked him how many in-house assessments have been carried out since that part of the scheme launched at the start of October.

Mr Barker answered: “Green Deal assessments are completed when they have been conducted in the property and the results are lodged on the Energy Performance Certificate register, through software developed specifically for occupancy assessments. While we understand a number of appointments for the in-property assessments have been made, no assessments have yet been lodged on the register.”

The Green Deal is the Government’s flagship policy to make homes more energy efficient and – ultimately - cut energy bills, which have soared in recent years. This week British Gas raised prices for the 10 million homes it supplies, and other large companies have done the same.

Under the Green Deal people can borrow up to £10,000 from a private sector loan provider and have loft and wall insulation fitted in their homes. The loan is repaid over a period of up to 25 years through higher bills. The idea is that bills will fall once the loan has been paid off because the houses need less energy.

Central to the deal is the ‘golden rule’, which states that the expected savings that a homeowner ultimately makes must be equal to or greater than the cost of the work being done.

Speaking in June 2011, Mr Barker said that the Green Deal would be “the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War”.

Homeowners could book an assessment from October 1 and the scheme actually launches on January 28. However the slow start has made people nervous.

In an effort to kick-start interest, DECC last month announced a £125 million ‘cashback’ scheme, offering homes up to £1,000 if they sign up as ‘early adopters’.

Ms Berger said that homeowners are being put off by the Deal’s complicated finance arrangements: “The scheme had the potential to create thousands of jobs and help everyone lower their energy bills. Instead bungling ministers have squandered this opportunity by designing a scheme that is a bad deal for the public and doing nothing to promote it.”

As well as lack of interest from homeowners, building companies are also shying away from getting involved.

According to the Federation of Master Builders, the UK’s biggest building trade body, only one firm from its 10,000-strong membership has signed up to become an accredited Green Deal installer.

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Only one building company [that is a FMB member] has signed up to become an installer out of 10,000 because that demonstrates the lack of a market.”

The Government’s official register of Green Deal installers, providers and assessors – including non-FMB members - shows that just under 300 companies have signed up to be involved.


What Ice Caps?

An interesting point, widely forgotten, or ignored, by the folks in a panic over arctic ice, is that we’ve not always had them. They come, they go. Life goes on.

I was looking up something else, having to do with Egypt, and ended up looking at the tendency of the entire Mediterranean Sea to come and go. So all the folks in a panic over a little sea level variation maybe ought to also think about how nature periodically erases the entire Mediterranean. Then puts it back.

Realize, too, that this isn’t exactly happening in ‘deep time’. Long long ago, yes. But we’re not talking Billions of years here. More like 5 Million. (As humans started evolving a distinct line about 6 Million Years Ago, this sort of matters to us. We humans WERE around then, just in the south of the Nile system, and changes in the Mediterranean and Nile would have chosen our destiny.)
The Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), also referred to as the Messinian Event, and in its latest stage as the Lago Mare event, was a geological event during which the Mediterranean Sea went into a cycle of partly or nearly complete desiccation throughout the latter part of the Messinian age of the Miocene epoch, from 5.96 to 5.33 Ma (million years ago). It ended with the so-called Zanclean flood, when the Atlantic reclaimed the basin.

What I found interesting about this was the probable cause, and the state of the world oceans at the time. First, the likely cause is that the Strait Of Gibraltar is not stable, in geologic terms. It just so happens that Africa is slamming into Europe from the south. So land ‘around there’ gets thrust up in some places, buckled under in others; and, it would seem, wobbles back and forth in the Strait opening and closing the spigot from time to time.

Further down that analysis of the evaporative cycles of the Mediterranean, it says:
Changes in climate must almost certainly be invoked to explain the periodic nature of the events. They occur during cool periods of Milankovic cycles, when less solar energy reached the Earth. This led to less evaporation of the North Atlantic, hence less rainfall over the Mediterranean. This would have starved the basin of water supply from rivers and allowed its desiccation.

Contrary to many people’s instincts, there is now a scientific consensus that global sea level fluctuations cannot have been the major cause, although it may have played a role. The lack of ice caps at the time means there was no realistic mechanism to cause significant changes in sea level — there was nowhere for the water to go, and the morphology of ocean basins cannot change on such a short timescale
Oh Dear! NO Ice caps?

So let me get this straight: There were NO ice caps during a critical evolutionary part of human development. We had bears and penguins and all survive quite nicely then, too? OK…

That makes it look, to me, like the folks in a panic about polar ice can choose either to accept that the history of the Mediterranean Sea is correctly understood, or that they are in a panic about not very much at all with respect to living things. (Yes, it would be a mess for coastal cities).

Heck, we had the entire Mediterranean Sea evaporating and returning, several times. I think that shows life can adapt to a little change in ocean hight. And the climate will have swung dramatically with the massive water, water vapor, and temperature moderating changes.
The water from the Mediterranean would have been redistributed in the world ocean, raising global sea level by as much as 10 m (33 ft). The Mediterranean basin also sequestered below its seabed a significant percentage of the salt from Earth’s oceans; this decreased the average salinity of the world ocean and raised its freezing point.

So some geological shifting can happen (has happened many times) and the global sea level can be modulated by 10 m or 33 feet? The entire freeze / thaw cycle can be shifted by salinity changes? Oh Dear! Talk about your climate change!

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

New York Misses Out on Natural Gas Revolution as Junk Science Carries the Day

With President Obama back in the White House next year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to roll out a new regulation to control drilling techniques used to access natural gas. Even so, the expected surge in U.S. oil production will likely outpace political paybacks to green groups that can be uprooted over time.

The International Energy Agency (IEA), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) all anticipate the U.S. becoming less dependent on foreign oil sources as the natural gas revolution takes hold. Current forecasts show that the U.S. could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2020.

At issue is a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), that makes use of pressurized water and chemicals to break open rocks to access natural gas. Green groups have worked successfully to block industry from development natural gas resources in New York by arguing that fracking could lead to groundwater contamination. In 2010, former Gov. David Patterson issued an executive order that prevents new drilling permits from being issued until after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues a new impact statement. With the public comment period now over, the DEC is expected to release an updated impact statement and a regulatory plan before the end of 2012.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist with the U.S. Department of Labor, has a recommendation.

“For fiscal health, New York should emulate Pennsylvania and develop its natural gas reserves,” she suggests. “If New York were to permit fracking, the Empire State would see new jobs, a surge of economic activity, and more tax revenues.”

At a time when New York’s budget deficit exceeds $8 billion, the economic rationale for natural gas development cannot be dismissed. But it is possible to cajole politicians and frighten the public on basis of junk science. The environmental organizations opposed to fracking incessantly claim that it opens the way to water contamination. Here are some key facts:

In a regulatory statement, the Texas Railroad Commission said “Though hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 60 years in Texas, our Railroad Commission records do not reflect a single documented surface or groundwater contamination case associated with hydraulic fracturing.

In Pennsylvania, Scott Perry, director of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Oil Management has told members of the press “There has never been any evidence of fracking ever causing direct contamination of fresh groundwater in Pennsylvania or anywhere else.”

The major claims included in the anti-fracking documentary “Gasland” aimed at shutting have also been debunked by scientists and researchers.

But here’s the kicker. The major studies funded by the environmental activists through the left-leaning Park Foundation could not find any evidence that fracking causes water contamination.

A series of papers from researchers at Duke University, for example, did not find any fracturing fluids in water wells. “The occurrences of saline water do not correlate with the location of shale-gas wells and are consistent with reported data before rapid shale-gas development in the region,” one of the latest reports concludes. Duke University receives funding from the Park Foundation, based in New York, which is also a major backer of the environmental movement.

Going forward, public officials should not allow junk science to carry the day when so much is at stake for average families, and small-sized businesses that cannot compete against well-funded green activists.

The Marcellus Shale cuts across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. It could potentially to help transform the world’s energy portfolio in manner that benefits America’s interest over the long-term. But this will require public policy decisions that rooted in sound science not unsubstantiated alarmism.


Australia: $100m off power bills after solar credits scheme axed early

The Gillard Government will phase out its solar credits multiplier because a massive surge in panels fitted to roofs was driving up electricity costs. Source: The Courier-Mail
HOUSEHOLDS will avoid up to $100 million in power bill increases next year because a green scheme is being axed early.

The Gillard Government said it would phase out its solar credits multiplier in January, six months ahead of schedule, because a massive surge in panels fitted to roofs was driving up electricity costs.

The multiplier effectively provides double payments for solar energy created by homes with photovoltaic panels.

But Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said households had borne the brunt of those payments, through higher power bills, and the multiplier should be scrapped early.

"This will lower the impact of the high uptake of solar PV on electricity costs for homes and businesses," Mr Combet said.

"Phasing out the multiplier early will strike the balance between easing upward pressure on electricity prices and supporting households and suppliers who install solar PV. The overall reduction in 2013 electricity bills is estimated to be in the order of $80 million to $100 million."

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Government had "finally admitted its solar phantom credits scheme has driven up electricity prices".

"The Coalition warned the Government for over three years that the creation of so-called 'phantom credits', where people were paid for solar energy they didn't generate, would drive up the cost of the scheme for everyone else," he said.

He said the decision to scrap the multiplier was welcome but "does nothing for the current high power bills which people have just paid this quarter".

Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes hit out at the decision, saying it had left the industry in a state of chaos.

He disputed Mr Combet's assertion that solar was driving up electricity bills, saying it would bring down generation costs and help ease demand on hot summer days.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


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