Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Russia's brutal winter claims 123 lives

A BITTER cold spell in Russia has claimed 123 lives in the past 10 days, an official says, with the unseasonably early freeze testing authorities in a country used to notoriously tough winters.

Temperatures have plunged to around minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Moscow region and minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit) in Eastern Siberia.

"Since the start of the cold, 123 people have died of exposure and frostbite," a medical source was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

In the past 24 hours, 201 people had to be hospitalised for treatment for hypothermia and frostbite, including 14 children, the source added.

Since the start of the cold snap, 1745 people were affected, and more than 800 had to be hospitalised, the source said.

State television reports on Tuesday focused on a village in Tyva, one of Russia's poorest regions in southern Siberia, where temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius were coupled with an accident at the local heat station which left some 3000 residents stranded in the cold.

"There is nothing; not even water. We have to melt snow and the temperature at home is below zero," one bundled-up resident told Vesti-24 channel.

Some residents, including children, have been lifted by helicopter to the regional centre of Kyzyl, the report said.

Temperatures have been about 12 degrees Celsius lower than seasonal norms in Russia, where the coldest weather usually does not arrive until January or February.

In the Moscow region, Monday became an all-time record for the amount of electricity consumed by residents, Russia's power operator said on Tuesday, blaming unusually cold temperatures.

But Russia's weather service is predicting a drastic temperature hike in the European parts of Russia later this week, with 0 degrees Celsius expected in Moscow.

The emergency ministry warned however that the warming will be accompanied by strong winds and freezing rain that will likely damage communications and slow down traffic.

In neighbouring Ukraine last week, the cold claimed 83 lives, new data showed.

On Tuesday, the health ministry declared that the numbers of victims would now be made available only once a week.


Fascists sometimes wear spectacles and neckties:  Not armbands or uniforms

"The banality of evil" again.  The guy below is so full of hate that he wants the  mass murder  of climate skeptics even though his intellectual convictions tell him that the death penalty is wrong.  And he bases his conclusions about the harm skeptics do on the word of "the authorities".  Very Fascist

In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.

For years, hard-nosed scientists have been predicting global warming (GW) and its devastating consequences. For a reputable summary of arguments for and against GW, see

Some accounts are clearly exaggerated (more). But given the inherent uncertainty surrounding climatic predictions, even exaggerated accounts must be considered possible, albeit with a low probability. Consider this: If ten million people are going to die with a probability of 10%, that is like one million people dying with a probability of 100%.

When the earth’s temperature rises on average by more than two degrees, interactions between different consequences of global warming (reduction in the area of arable land, unexpected crop failures, extinction of diverse plant and animal species) combined with increasing populations mean that hundreds of millions of people may die from starvation or disease in future famines. Moreover, an unknown number may die from wars over diminishing resources (more). Even if that does not happen, thousands of plants and animals will become extinct. Islands, shorelines and coastal communities will disappear.

So far, the political response to the threat of GW has been lots of talk and little action (more). But action is urgently needed. We are in a very real sense talking about something similar to the end of the world. What will it take to get people to sit up and listen?

Much more would have happened by now if not for the GW deniers. An amazing number of people still believe that GW is a story made up by scientists with ulterior motives. For a long list of climate change deniers and their stories see desmogblog. The opinions of everyday GW deniers are evidently being driven by influential GW deniers who have a lot to lose if GW is taken seriously, such as executives in transnational oil corporations.

Of course it is possible that scientists are just making it up for their own benefit. The trouble with that argument is that scientists who publish fake data or deliberately set out to mislead people about GW have a lot to lose and nothing to win. When scientists fake data and are caught, that usually means the end of their career. It’s not the kind of risk that a scientist would like to take. It is possible someone is paying the scientists behind the scences to publish environmental doomsday stories, but again the argument is problematic: there is simply no money in environmental doomsday stories (just like there is no money in writing internet pages like this one).

And here is why: It has been clear for a long time that the cost of reducing GW to a manageable amount (whatever that is) will be enormous, and the costs incurred by not doing that or doing it too late will be many times greater. The main problem is that no-one wants to pay this money. As a rule, those who make money out of ignoring GW would rather leave this problem for our children and grandchildren to deal with. (How kind of them!) In this situation, a corrupt scientist can certainly earn a lot of money by publishing research that plays down the importance of GW, so that those who profit from ignoring it can continue their environmentally unfriendly activities – and presumably many scientists have already done so. But there is no money in publishing the uncomfortable truth about GW, except for the ordinary rewards that ordinary scientists get for publishing good research reports.

The problem gets even more uncomfortable when you consider the broader context. Even without GW (or ignoring the small amount that has happened so far), a billion people are living in poverty right now. Every five seconds a child is dying of hunger (more).The United Nations and diverse NGOs are trying to solve this problem, and making some progress. But political forces in the other direction are stronger. The strongest of these political forces is GW denial.
The death penalty

In this article I am going to suggest that the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for influential GW deniers. But before coming to this surprising conclusion, please allow me to explain where I am coming from.

I have always been opposed to the death penalty in all cases, and I have always supported the clear and consistent stand of Amnesty International on this issue. The death penalty is barbaric, racist, expensive, and is often applied by mistake. Apparently, it does not even act as a deterrent to would-be murderers. Hopefully, the USA and China will come to their senses soon.

Even mass murderers should not be executed, in my opinion. Consider the politically motivated murder of 77 people in Norway in 2011. Of course the murderer does not deserve to live, and there is not the slightest doubt that he is guilty. But if the Norwegian government killed him, that would just increase the number of dead to 78. It would not bring the dead back to life. In fact, it would not achieve anything positive at all. I respect the families and friends of the victims if they feel differently about that. I am simply presenting what seems to me to be a logical argument.

GW deniers fall into a completely different category from Behring Breivik. They are already causing the deaths of hundreds of millions of future people. We could be speaking of billions, but I am making a conservative estimate.

My estimate of “hundreds of millions” is based on diverse scientific publications about GW. There are three important things to notice about those publications, in general. First, their authors are qualified to do the research. In general they worked hard and more than full-time for at least ten years before being in a position to participate credibly in research of that kind. They are not just writing stuff off their heads.

Second, they do not generally stand to gain or lose anything if their research concludes that GW will be more or less serious than currently thought. They have a different motivation: they want their research to be published in a good academic journal so that people will read it and it will improve their career chances. As a rule that depends only on the quality of the research. Third, the authors of different studies are generally working independently of each other in different countries, universities and disciplines. If so many unbiased people independently come to a similar conclusion, the probability that that conclusion is wrong is negligible.


Another day, another non-hockey-stick

A paper published today in Quaternary Research reconstructs June-July air temperature over the past 785 years in British Columbia, Canada. The paper shows that reconstructed temperatures at the end of the record in 2010 were colder than in the 1940's and during at least 6 other periods within the Little Ice Age from 1350-1850 AD. The temperature record shows there is nothing unusual, unnatural, unprecedented, or accelerated about the 20th and 21st centuries.


Most glaciers in the British Columbia Coast Mountains reached their maximum Holocene extent during the Little Ice Age. Early- and late-Little Ice Age intervals of expansion and retreat fluctuations describe a mass-balance response to changing climates. Although existing dendroclimatic records provide insights into these climatic fluctuations over the last 400 yr, their short durations prohibit evaluation of early-Little Ice Age climate variability. To extend the duration of these records, submerged coarse woody debris salvaged from a high-elevation lake was cross-dated to living chronologies. The resulting chronology provides the opportunity to reconstruct a regional June–July air-temperature anomaly record extending from AD 1225 to 2010. The reconstruction shows that the intervals AD 1350–1420, 1475–1550, 1625–1700 and 1830–1940 characterized distinct periods of below-average June–July temperature followed by periods of above-average temperature. Our reconstruction provides the first annually resolved insights into high-elevation climates spanning the Little Ice Age in this region and indicates that Little Ice Age moraine stabilization corresponds to persistent intervals of warmer-than-average temperatures. We conclude that coarse woody debris submerged in high-elevation lakes has considerable potential for developing lengthy proxy climate records, and we recommend that researchers focus attention on this largely ignored paleoclimatic archive.


American and Worldwide Blizzards

By Alan Caruba

Reports of recent blizzards in the Midwest and Northwest filled the television news and print media, but blizzards have always been part of the history of the nation and are occurring worldwide, taking a human toll.

We tend to dig out and forget them, but they are testimony to the power of Nature and have nothing to do with “climate change.” The four seasons are “climate change.” Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are “climate change.” It is wise to keep this in mind.

In the northeast, the great blizzard of 1888, March 11-14, wrote a chapter in the history books as one of the most severe. Snowfalls of 40-50 inches fell in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It had sustained winds of more than 45 miles per hour and produced snowdrifts as high as 50 feet.

In a new book, “Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes” by John Withington ($14.95, Skyhorse Publishing, softcover) provides a look at some of the greatest blizzards to strike the nation. Writing about the Blizzard of 88, the author notes that “It paralyzed the east coast of the United States from Chesapeake Bay to Maine, as well as affecting parts of Canada.” The great plains of the nation had been hit by a comparable blizzard just three months earlier in January 1888. It killed an estimated 236 people.

The Blizzard of 88 literally shut down life for those impacted by it. “On land, an estimated 400 people died, including 100 in New York City. At least 100 seamen died.” It led to the creation of a subway system that was authorized in 1894.

There was no blather about “climate change” because people understood it was a natural event. Just like Hurricane Sandy or, earlier, Hurricane Katrina, that struck New Orleans and the Gulf States.

While there have been any number of big storms that  have struck the nation, a blizzard in March 1993 was called “the storm of the century.” As with Hurricane Sandy, it was forecast due to advances in meteorology such as weather satellites. “On 12 March, though, snow began to fall as far south as Georgia and Alabama, with Birmingham recording twelve inches.” It closed airports from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Atlanta, Georgia. Altogether, 500 people died, many from heart attacks as they shoveled snow.”, a website maintained by Robert W. Felix, the author of “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, arguably the leading authority on past ice ages and based on the best science available, notes that the planet is on the cusp of a new ice age. His website tracks news of frigid weather events.

Since December 21, IceAgeNow has reported that dozens died in a Ukrainian “cold snap” that recorded at least 83 deaths, gripping that nation. In Poland, more than 60 have died since October. At the same time, heavy snowfalls occurred in Bulgaria. Russia has been particularly hard hit.

In the U.S. up to 18 inches of snow fell on West Virginia and we have noted the recent blizzard that hit the Midwest. California’s mountains have experienced heavy snowfall with 13 feet recorded on Mt. Shasta.

There is a strong possibility of more monster storms in America and worldwide. It could portend a new ice age because the average length of interglacial periods between ice ages is 11.500 and that is the length of time since the last ice age.

In addition, solar scientists are worrying about a natural cycle of the sun which is producing less radiation (warmth) in recent years.

When people like Sen. John Kerry, nominated to be the next Secretary of State, cites global warming as “the greatest long term threat to our national security” you need to pay attention because it demonstrates not just ignorance of the facts, but a dangerous stupidity.

As Dr. E. Kirsten Peters says in her new book, “The Whole Story of Climate: What Science Reveals About the Nature of Constant Change”, “Thus, if the Earth continues to behave as she has for the past two million years, we must expect a return to bitter cold at some point, with ice sheets that reach as far south as Nebraska once again. And, as scientists have recently learned, the change to that bitterly cold climate regime is likely to be fast, happening over a generation or two.”

“If we think of climate change as our enemy, we will always be defeated.” The last ice age was one in which “glaciers had once buried much of Europe and a good measure of North America.”
This is the reason to ignore the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has been falsely predicting global warming since it conjured up the Kyoto Protocols in 1997 to require participating nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that it claims cause global warming; a warming that is not happening and a baseless claim.

It is a reason to ignore and excoriate Al Gore who has greatly profited from the global warming scare campaign. It is a reason to be deeply suspicious of President Obama who continues to speak of “climate change” and the members and agencies of his administration such as the Environmental Protection Agency that justify a flood of regulations based on this false claim.
The politicians and pseudo-scientists have misled Americans and others worldwide who are beginning to experience a very different reality.


Does Melting Ice Cause Volcanic Eruptions?

The old "correlation is causation" fallacy.  And since when have we had a "period of quickly rising global temperatures" anyway?.  Not in the last 150 years for sure

After studying data from over a million years in our Earth’s history, researchers at GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany and Harvard University have discovered periods of high volcanic activity often follow periods of quickly rising global temperatures.

To best display this trend, these researchers looked to data collected as a part of the Collaborative Research Center “Fluids and Volatiles in Subduction Zones (SFB 574).”

This project has been gathering data from the volcanoes of Central America for more than 10 years.

“Among others pieces of evidence, we have observations of ash layers in the seabed and have reconstructed the history of volcanic eruptions for the past 460,000 years,” said Dr. Steffen Kutterolf, a volcanologist with GEOMAR in Germany.

“There were periods when we found significantly more large eruptions than in others” explained Kutterolf, who acted as the lead author for the corresponding paper which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Geology.

After looking at the data, the researchers noticed periods of high volcanic activity always follow a period of fast global temperature increases. This global warming in turn leads to a rapid melting of the world’s ice.

Looking for even more evidence, the teams expanded their research to cores taken from the entirety of the Pacific region. These samples had been collected as a part of the International Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) as well as earlier programs. These samples provide a history of the Earth more than 1 million years ago. According to Dr. Marion Jegen from GEOMAR, who also participated in the study, these Pacific samples confirmed what the Central American samples had shown. To explain the relationship, the GEOMAR and Harvard teams plugged this evidence into some geological computer models.

“In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises, the weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma” explained Dr. Jegen.

“If you follow the natural climate cycles, we are currently at the end of a really warm phase. Therefore, things are volcanically quieter now. The impact from man-made warming is still unclear based on our current understanding” said Dr. Kutterolf.

The team now plans to investigate the short term variations to better understand how these changes will affect us in the modern day.


Biodiversity: A Major Deception By Environmentalists

The headline says,  “One million New Plankton Species Found.”

Leader Dr Bowler said,  “It’s the first time that anyone’s done this expedition looking specifically for plankton life, and that’s why we found so many,”

How can this be? Don’t we know the number of species on the planet? We must know because alarmists claim they’re in dramatic decline. E.O.Wilson says species are going extinct at 3 per hour. He, nor anyone else can name one of these species. If you don’t know the total you only make inaccurate alarmists claims.

Wikipedia says,  “Rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions.”

But,  “it is estimated that 99.9 percent of species that have existed on Earth are now extinct.”

Extinctions are normal? Is the current rate of extinction higher than normal? How did so many extinctions occur without the interlinked ecosystem collapsing? The truth is you can’t tell from the fossil record. It’s estimated you need 15 million in a species for it to show in the fossil record. Soft bodied species rarely survive, which is why the Burgess Shale discovery was important.




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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