Friday, January 25, 2013
A man who can't see what his own graph shows
After crowing about the high average temperature recorded for the USA in 2012, Warmist Zeke Hausfather grudgingly admits that the USA is not the globe. He says:
"While the U.S. temperature topped the charts in 2012, the world as a whole was not quite so hot. Nonetheless, it still ranks as either the 9th, 10th, or 11th hottest year on record depending on which record is used. Figure 5 shows surface temperatures from NASA, NOAA, and the United Kingdom’s Hadley Centre from 1880-2012 and satellite temperature records from the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) from 1979-2012. While the satellite records run slightly lower than the surface temperature records, the trends are comparable in magnitude."
Figure 5: Annual temperature anomalies from major global (land/ocean) records.
The graph shows clearly what even some Warmists are now admitting -- that the GLOBE has shown no warming trend in recent years. Depending on where you start, you could even see a cooling trend.
Just the numbers please
Anthony Watts hits on a fatal weak point in what the official climatologists say: If NCDC can’t accurately tell us what the past temperatures were, they are faced with a agency mission failure. Watts is commenting on the effusions of Zeke Hausfather:
Zeke is upset that I made this statement in a story at Fox news:
"Is history malleable? Can temperature data of the past be molded to fit a purpose? It certainly seems to be the case here, where the temperature for July 1936 reported … changes with the moment. In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."
"In the spirit of civility, I would ask Anthony to retract his remarks. He may well disagree with NCDC’s approach and results, but accusing them of fraud is one step too far."
I’d point out that Zeke has his interpretation but nowhere did I say “fraud”. He’s mad, and people don’t often think clearly when they are mad. That’s OK. Without getting into semantics, I’d like to ask Zeke these simple questions:
* What is the CONUS average temperature for July 1936 today?
* What was it a year ago?
* What was it ten years ago? Twenty years ago?
* What was it in late 1936, when all the data had been first compiled?
We already know the answers to questions 1 and 2 from my posting here, and they are 76.43°F and 77.4°F respectively, so Zeke really only needs to answer questions 3 and 4.
The answers to these questions will be telling, and I welcome them. We don’t need broad analyses or justifications for processes, just the simple numbers in Fahrenheit will do.
Experts can be hilariously wrong
Let's look at experts. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was a mathematician and scientist. Newton has to be the greatest and most influential scientist who has ever lived. He laid the foundation for classical mechanics, and his genius transformed our understanding of science, particularly in the areas of physics, mathematics and astronomy. What's not widely known is that Newton spent most of his waking hours on alchemy; his experiments included trying to turn lead into gold. Though he wrote volumes on alchemy, after his death Britain's Royal Society deemed that they were "not fit to be printed."
Lord William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907) was a Belfast-born British mathematical physicist and engineer. Kelvin's major contribution was in thermodynamics, and he is widely recognized for determining the correct value of absolute zero, approximately minus 273 degrees Celsius. In his honor, absolute temperatures are expressed in Kelvin units. Being an expert in one field doesn't spare one from being an arrogant amateur in others. Based on his knowledge of heat dissipation, Kelvin criticized geologists of his day and claimed that Earth was between 20 million and 100 million years old. Kelvin also said that "X-rays will prove to be a hoax," but he changed his mind after he experienced an X-ray of his own hand. Kelvin also predicted, "I can state flatly that heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
Linus Pauling (1901-94) was one of the most influential chemists in history. He was one of the founders of the field of quantum chemistry and is often called the father of molecular biology. Pauling won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, making him the only person awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes. Later, he was awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Peoples by the Soviet Union. Many of Pauling's colleagues who admired his scholarly work saw him as a naive spokesman for Soviet communism.
Despite his genius in science, Pauling peddled fringe ideas. In the 1970 edition of his book "Vitamin C and the Common Cold," he said that taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily will reduce the incidence of colds by 45 percent. In the book's 1976 revision, retitled "Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu," he recommended higher vitamin C dosages. In his third revision, "Vitamin C and Cancer" (1979), Pauling claimed that high doses of vitamin C may also be effective against cancer. In another book, "How to Live Longer and Feel Better" (1986), Pauling argued that megadoses of vitamins, such as the 12,000 to 40,000 milligrams he took daily, "can increase your enjoyment of life and can help in controlling heart disease, cancer, and other diseases and in slowing down the process of aging." There's absolutely no research that backs up any of Pauling's vitamin C claims.
The take-home lesson is that experts are notoriously fallible outside of their fields of endeavor -- and especially so when making predictions. There tends to be an inverse relationship between a predictor's level of confidence and the accuracy of his prediction. Irving Fisher, a distinguished Yale University economics professor in 1929, predicted, "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." Three days later, the stock market crashed. In 1954, Dr. W.C. Heuper of the National Cancer Institute said, "If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one."
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, in 1943 allegedly said, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." "(Research on the atomic bomb) is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives." That was Adm. William Leahy's prediction in 1945.
The bottom line is that the fact that a person has academic degrees, honors and status is no reason for us to abandon our tools of critical thinking.
Prophecies about Exhaustion of Resources go back a long way
"Indeed it is certain, it is clear to see, that the earth itself is currently more cultivated and developed than in earlier times. Now all places are accessible, all are documented, all are full of business. The most charming farms obliterate empty places, ploughed fields vanquish forests, herds drive out wild beasts, sandy places are planted with crops, stones are fixed, swamps drained, and there are such great cities where formerly hardly a hut... everywhere there is a dwelling, everywhere a multitude, everywhere a government, everywhere there is life. The greatest evidence of the large number of people: we are burdensome to the world, the resources are scarcely adequate to us; and our needs straiten us and complaints are everywhere while already nature does not sustain us." -- The words of Tertullian (Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus), written about A.D. 200
In 1865, Stanley Jevons (one of the most recognized 19th century economists) predicted that England would run out of coal by 1900, and that England’s factories would grind to a standstill.
In 1885, the US Geological Survey announced that there was “little or no chance” of oil being discovered in California.
In 1891, it said the same thing about Kansas and Texas. (See Osterfeld, David. Prosperity Versus Planning : How Government Stifles Economic Growth. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992.)
In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years.
1944 federal government review predicted that by now the US would have exhausted its reserves of 21 of 41 commodities it examined. Among them were tin, nickel, zinc, lead and manganese.
In 1949 the Secretary of the Interior announced that the end of US oil was in sight.
Claim: In 1952 the US President’s Materials Policy Commission concluded that by the mid-1970s copper production in the US could not exceed 800,000 tons and that lead production would be at most 300,000 tons per year.
Data: But copper production in 1973 was 1.6 million tons, and by 1974 lead production had reached 614,000 tons – 100% higher than predicted.
Claims: In 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb and declared that the battle to feed humanity had been lost and that there would be a major food shortage in the US. "In the 1970s ... hundreds of millions are going to starve to death," and by the 1980s most of the world's important resources would be depleted.
He forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation between 1980-1989 and that by 1999, the US population would decline to 22.6 million. The problems in the US would be relatively minor compared to those in the rest of the world. (Ehrlich, Paul R. The Population Bomb. New York, Ballantine Books, 1968.) New Scientist magazine underscored his speech in an editorial titled "In Praise of Prophets."
Claim: "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." Paul Ehrlich, Speech at British Institute For Biology, September 1971.
Claim: Ehrlich wrote in 1968, "I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971, if ever."
Data: Yet in a only few years India was exporting food and significantly changed its food production capacity. Ehrlich must have noted this because in the 1971 version of his book this commented is deleted (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource, Princeton: Princeton Univesity Press, 1981, p. 64).
The Limits to Growth (1972) – projected the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and natural gas by 1993. It also stated that the world had only 33-49 years of aluminum resources left, which means we should run out sometime between 2005-2021. (See Donella Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. New York: New American Library, 1972.
Claim: In 1974, the US Geological Survey announced “at 1974 technology and 1974 price” the US had only a 10-year supply of natural gas.
Data: The American Gas Association said that gas supplies were sufficient for the next 1,000-2,500 years. (Julian Simon, Population Matters. New Jersey: Transaction Publications, 1990): p. 90.
Much more HERE. See also here
Science facts versus Obama
Should Obama nuke China? It's where Warmism leads
President Barack Obama in his second inauguration address called for new action to “respond to the threat of climate change.” Taking advantage of the bully pulpit and a huge national audience, Obama mustered his best possible arguments in a brief case for why addressing global warming is supposedly necessary. Unfortunately for global warming alarmists, Obama’s case was exceptionally flimsy. Then again, Obama did not have much to work with, as the overall case for global warming alarmism is exceptionally flimsy.
Obama presented his argument as follows: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
Given a fresh canvas on which to work, Obama sought the most compelling examples of an asserted global warming crisis. He chose wildfires, drought and powerful storms. At the same time, he urged us to defer to the “overwhelming judgment of science” on these matters.
President Obama, I agree we should strongly consider the overwhelming judgment of science. Let’s apply the overwhelming judgment of science to your three cherry-picked examples and see what the science reveals.
Leading off the Obama “Big Three” is wildfires. What does the overwhelming judgment of science reveal?
The National Interagency Fire Center reports the number of annual wildfires in the United States has been declining for more than 30 years. In fact, the “overwhelming judgment of science” reveals the number of wildfires rose from the 1950s through the 1970s, as global temperatures declined, and has been declining ever since, as global temperatures have modestly warmed.
The really interesting part about wildfires in the United States is a recent increase in the number of acres burned per wildfire after the federal government reversed a decades-long policy of putting out as many wildfires as quickly as possible. In the 1990s, environmentalists and federal forest officials reported forests had become overgrown as a result of firefighters putting out too many natural fires too quickly. Since then, firefighters are responding to fewer forest fires and letting more acres burn.
As a result, even though wildfires occur less frequently as our planet warms and as soil moisture improves (more on that coming right up), our global warming Alarmist in Chief presents the misleading assertion that global warming rather than a change in federal wildfire policy is causing a recent increase in acres burned due to wildfires.
Next in Obama’s “Big Three” of asserted global warming crises is drought. What does the “overwhelming judgment of science” reveal?
U.S. and global soil moisture improved throughout the 20th century as our planet warmed in its recovery from the Little Ice Age. According to the Global Soil Moisture Data Bank, global soil moisture increased throughout the 20th century at almost all sites. Moreover, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 20th century droughts were quite mild when compared to droughts in previous centuries. This “overwhelming scientific judgment of science” was confirmed in November when a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature found “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.”
Finally, the President asserts that global warming is causing more powerful storms. This assertion is particularly fictitious. NOAA reports a long-term decline in strong tornadoes striking the United States. The National Hurricane Center reports that the past 40 years have seen the fewest major hurricane strikes since at least the mid-1800s. Even Hurricane Sandy reminds us that the U.S. Northeast has experienced only one major hurricane strike since 1960, but experienced six major hurricane strikes during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when global temperatures were cooler.
Clearly, the “overwhelming judgment of science” contradicts President Obama and global warming alarmists. This is a good thing.
Now let’s play a game of “pretend.”
Let’s pretend that none of the overwhelming scientific evidence presented above actually existed. Let’s pretend that science supported rather than contradicted President Obama’s assertions. The question is, what would Obama have us do to solve the problem?
Obama’s solution is to impose still more economy-killing carbon dioxide restrictions on the U.S. economy. This makes about as much sense as losing your car keys in Boston but insisting on searching for them in Los Angeles. True, global carbon dioxide emissions have risen more than 33 percent since the year 2000. However, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have declined during that time and will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that during 2012 alone, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined by 8 percent compared to 2011.
China by far emits more carbon dioxide than any other nation and Chinese emissions are growing rapidly. China alone accounts for 75 percent of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 2000. If the United States completely eliminated all of its carbon dioxide emissions today (something that is impossible to do), the only thing we would accomplish would be to delay by about five years an equal increase in Chinese emissions. And China has repeatedly and emphatically insisted it will not agree to any restrictions on its carbon dioxide emissions.
Thankfully, President Obama, the “overwhelming judgment of science” shows the asserted global warming crisis exists solely in the minds of global warming alarmists.
Greens complain about BPA-free products they helped spur
Anti-chemical environmental activists rarely consider the consequences of their policies. They demonize chemicals that have been used safely for decades and advance chemical bans based on weak science without considering whether the replacement products will be any safer.
This is why it is particularly ironic that they are now complaining about the replacement chemical for bisphenol A (BPA), which greens have pressed government to ban. BPA is used to make hard, clear plastics and resins that line food cans among other things. Suddenly, greens are up in arms because new clear plastics are made with an alternative product to BPA called bisphenol S (BPS). “[S]wapping out BPA for BPS may have meant ‘jumping from the frying pan to the fire,’” reads an article on CommonDreams.org. But the greens only have themselves to blame.
Last year, some activists pointed out that BPS may be a more potent “endocrine disrupter” and that the human body does not metabolize BPS as easily as it does for BPA. Now a research paper on the topic has appeared in Environmental Health Perspectives.
But there are many reasons to doubt that trace exposures to BPS — or any synthetic chemical for that matter — could have significant hormonal effects. Synthetic chemicals simply are not potent enough. Consider the fact that natural substances in our diets that we consume every day — such as soy, almonds and a variety of legumes — contain “endocrine mimicking” substances that are tens of thousands of times more potent than that of synthetic chemicals. And we all know, soy and nuts aren’t only safe — they are pretty good for you.
Other options are potentially more dangerous. For example, greens suggest glass because somehow they think that melting sand into a hard clear substance is more “natural” than making lighter weight, more energy efficient plastics. But who could seriously deem it safer? We all know the risks associated with broken glass. Indeed, children face far higher risks from cuts and subsequent infections than they do from a trace chemical that has been used for decades without any documented adverse health impacts.
Bans on BPA resins that line cans may pose more serious risks. Specifically, BPA resins line food containers — from soup to soda cans — to prevent the spread of deadly pathogens like E. coli. Accordingly, bans that force us to buy inferior alternatives may mean increased food-borne illnesses. Now that’s something to complain about.
Top British doctor disses global warming
A dire warning of the coming dangers of a world without functioning antibiotics has been levelled by professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England.
Routine operations may in the near future become life-threatening ordeals without the protection of antibiotics to ward off increasingly powerful hospital borne bacteria, Davies told a committee of British MPs.
“It is clear that we might not ever see global warming,” she said. “The apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”
The last oral antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea failed to cure the infection in about 7% of tested cases in a study in Toronto, a figure the authors of the work called “relatively high.”
The report, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is believed to be the first from North America of treatment failure with the antibiotic, cefixime. And it is the latest reminder that in the battle with this sexually transmitted infection, the bug is winning — and fast.
It raises concerns that convenient approaches for treating gonorrhea may soon be out of reach — a development that could lead to fewer people undergoing successful treatment for the infection.
Some strains of bacteria, notably MRSA, are becoming feared in hospital wards around the world, and there are also reports of antibiotic resistance in strains of E. coli and tuberculosis.
Painting a future where normally treatable illnesses can once again kill without resistance, Davies pointed out that gonorrhoea, for instance, is no longer treatable except with one antibiotic that has dwindling effectiveness.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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
Posted by JR at 3:25 PM