Hottest year ever? Skeptics question revisions to climate data
Fox News weighs in below
2012 was a scorcher, but was it the warmest year ever?
A report released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) called it "the warmest year ever for the nation." Experts agree that 2012 was a hot year for the planet. But it’s that report -- and the agency itself -- that’s drawing the most heat today.
"2012 [wasn't] necessarily warmer than it was back in the 1930s ... NOAA has made so many adjustments to the data it's ridiculous," Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told FoxNews.com.
A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperatures up last year, to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit according to the government. That's a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998 -- and breaking such records by a full degree is unprecedented, scientists say.
But NOAA has adjusted the historical climate data many times, skeptics point out, most recently last October. The result, says popular climate blogger Steve Goddard: The U.S. now appears to have warmed slightly more than it did before the adjustment.
"The adjusted data is meaningless garbage. It bears no resemblance to the thermometer data it starts out as," Goddard told FoxNews.com. He's not the only one to question NOAA's efforts.
"Every time NOAA makes adjustments, they make recent years [relatively] warmer. I am very suspicious, especially for how warm they have made 2012," Spencer said.
The newly adjusted data set is known as "version 2.5," while the less adjusted data is called "version 2.0."
NOAA defended its adjustments to FoxNews.com.
Government climate scientist Peter Thorne, speaking in his personal capacity, said that there was consensus for the adjustments.
"These have been shown through at least three papers that have appeared in the past 12 months to be an improvement,” he said.
NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen agreed.
"These kinds of improvements get us even closer to the true climate signal, and help our nation even more accurately understand its climate history," he said.
One problem in weather monitoring occurs when there is a "break point" -- an instance where a thermometer is moved, or something producing heat is built near the thermometer, making temperature readings before and after the move no longer comparable.
"Version 2.5 improved the efficiency of the algorithm.... more of the previously undetected break points are now accounted for," Smullen explained.
He added that the report also recalculated "the baseline temperatures [that] were first computed nearly 20 years ago in an era with less available data and less computer power."
Spencer says that the data do need to be adjusted -- but not the way NOAA did it. For instance, Spencer says that urban weather stations have reported higher temperatures partly because, as a city grows, it becomes a bit hotter. But instead of adjusting directly for that, he says that to make the urban and rural weather readings match, NOAA “warmed the rural stations’ [temperature readings] to match the urban stations” -- which would make it seem as if all areas were getting a bit warmer.
Climate change skeptics such as blogger and meteorologist Anthony Watts are unconvinced.
"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," Watts told FoxNews.com.
"In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data."
More stats and history from Steve Goddard
The NOAA fraud is not even a clever fraud. Every time they make one of their "adjustments", more recent times get warmer and earlier times get cooler. Honest adjustments would be expected to go either way --JR
As of 1999, NASA showed that 1934 was more than one degree (Fahrenheit) warmer than 1998, and that 1921, 1931 and 1953 were all warmer than 1998.
They now show that 1934 is about 0.2C or 0.4F cooler than 1934. In other words, the total downwards adjustment of 1934 is almost 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit relative to 1998.
The current NOAA claim is that 2012 is 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 1998, but 1934 used to be 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 1998. This means that prior to adjustment, 1934 was hotter than 2012.
The blink comparator below shows the huge changes which have been made to the US temperature record since 1999. The past has been massively cooled, and the present has been massively warmed. A cooling trend has been turned into a warming trend, by adjusting the data.
NOAA makes bold press releases based on hugely altered data, and makes no mention that the data is altered. Then when called out, they claim that the adjustments are small, when in fact the adjustments are larger than the trend. The 1930s used to be by far the hottest decade, before the data was adjusted.
In engineering, this would be known as a signal to noise ratio of less than 1.0, which would be considered by any legitimate scientist to be almost useless data.
James Hansen of NASA wrote this in 1999.
Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.
in the U.S. there has been little temperature change in the past 50 years, the time of rapidly increasing greenhouse gases — in fact, there was a slight cooling throughout much of the country
The EPA has also published data showing that the 1930s was by far the hottest decade.
Why are NOAA and NASA trying to change the story now? Why don’t they tell us that they are altering the data? Why don’t they tell us that prior to altering the data, thermometers show that 1934 was just as warm as 2012?
Even if they believe that their adjustments are legitimate, it is extremely unethical for them to publish press releases which don’t acknowledge that the thermometer data shows no warming in the US.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Hansen : Obama Has One Week Left To Save The Planet
History is always pesky to the Left. It regularly reveals the falsity of their assertions
On January 17, 2009 – NASA’s James Hansen told us that Obama had only four years to save the planet. The clock is ticking, as Obama only has seven days remaining to rescue the Earth.
Obama lost some time playing golf this week, but I am betting that he will rescue the planet sometime on Friday.
Virginia: Energy Capitol of the East coast?
With a flood of new federal regulations hitting everything from healthcare, energy, food safety, and bird protection, it is encouraging to know that some states can still think for themselves. In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell, while campaigning, declared that he was going to make Virginia the Energy Capitol of the East Coast—after all Virginia is blessed with abundant energy resources such as coal, offshore oil and gas, and one of the largest uranium deposits in the world. His plans have been thwarted by the federal government.
The EPA is trying to regulate coal mining out of existence. Federal restrictions have prevented Virginia from being able to access its offshore oil and gas resources—despite bipartisan support within the state for drilling. However, on Monday, January 7, McDonnell was handed an opportunity to differentiate himself from President Obama—something all upwardly mobile Republicans are going to have to do following the disappointing fiscal cliff deal.
With just one year left in his term, the rising-star Republican governor can still make good on his campaign promise. Under his control is uranium mining in Virginia.
Virginia has maintained a moratorium on uranium mining for more than 30 years. It has never happened in the state—as a result, there are no guidelines or regulations for how to do it. The environmental lobby, that opposes extraction of anything, has been able to keep the moratorium in place by maximizing the fear of the unknown.
While McDonnell didn’t initially come out in favor of uranium mining—instead dodging a decision by having studies done and commissions appointed, he has come to realize that the environmentalists just don’t want any extraction. During at 2012 radio interview he sounded frustrated when he said: “These people don't want us to even study it. They've made their decision. They've made up their mind that they don't want us to look at it. They don't want us to study it. They don't want us to have any mining going on. That's just ridiculous. What I want to do is just get the facts. I don't have a decision made. They do. Our job—at the direction of the General Assembly—is to get the facts and to determine ‘can we mine it safely?’”
Well, the facts are in.
The Coal and Energy Commission’s Uranium Study Subcommittee (made up of legislators and citizens) commissioned two studies—one “quantitative” that reviewed the technical issues which was conducted by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences; and the other “qualitative” that evaluated questions of probable social and economic consequences that was conducted by a private firm: Chmura Associates of Richmond. With the study results in, public hearings held, and field trips to the Coles Hill uranium deposit and to safe and successful mining operations in Canada, the Commission, on January 7, voted 11-2 to lift the 31-year old moratorium—subject to approval by the General Assembly.
Others such as the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute have weighed in in favor of the Coles Hill project. Jay Lehr, who holds a Ph.D. in groundwater hydrology from the University of Arizona and is editor of the Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia, said the following regarding the January 7 decision:
“It is a great day indeed when a government body listens to science in making decisions that impact a state’s economy in a positive way. That is what occurred today when Virginia officials recommended lifting a long-held moratorium on uranium mining within its boundaries.
Virginia is home to what will likely prove to be one of the world’s largest uranium ore finds and certainly among the largest in the United States. Concern for the environment and public health has held up the development of this resource for many years. Reports were written, data was acquired, and the clear conclusion was that this resource can be mined to the benefit of the state and the nation with absolutely no hazard to the state’s environment or the health of either the citizens of the state or the mine and mill workers. Strict regulatory programs will be in place on the part of both the federal and state governments to ensure this very positive outcome.
At a time when our nation’s 104 nuclear power plants have been dependent on foreign sources for nuclear fuel, this is an important and positive development for our nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The January 7 hearing included speakers for and against uranium mining in Pittsylvania County—an area formerly known for Tobacco farming. Buddy Mayhew, a retired tobacco farmer and teacher who is a life-long resident of the region where the mining would take place was one of the “pro-mining” presenters. He said:
“Those of us who recall more prosperous days in Southside worry about the lack of economic opportunities in the area. As a former school teacher, I know what that means for our schools and our ability to invest in our future.
Our region continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth as both manufacturing and tobacco abandoned Southside. This is a condition that we cannot simply accept; we must continue to look for opportunities to change it. That is why the prospect of uranium mining deserves every consideration.
The Coles Hill project would mean good paying jobs for many in my community and new business opportunities for businesses already in the region. In addition, the project would attract companies that would come to support the mine and hire even more of our residents.”
(Mayhew spoke on behalf of the People for Economic Prosperity, a grassroots group of more than 1200 farmers and small business owners in southern Virginia who support the mining project.)
Uranium mining in Pittsylvania County could create 1,000 jobs, $5 billion in new revenue for Virginia companies, and $110 million in local and state tax revenue. With the global uranium market surging—430 nuclear power plants worldwide and 65 new reactors under construction (with more planned)—more uranium is being consumed than is being mined. Uranium mining in Virginia will not only help the state, it will also help the U.S. trade deficit.
State Senator John Watkins has already drafted legislation based on suggestions in a report from the Governor’s Work Study Group that would lift the moratorium. Passage of the legislation is the next step. Because the Commission has moved to lift the moratorium, and the Commission is made up of the legislators many of whom are the key players, the most knowledgeable on energy issues, the commission's vote is a positive step. Hopefully McDonnell is paying close attention. He said he wanted the commission to speak before he made up his mind. Now that they have spoken, the ball will be in his court.
Watkin’s bill will not allow mining to begin, but it will allow the process of allowing mining to begin. The appropriate agencies would begin to develop regulations that would, ultimately, open the door for companies to apply for mining permits.
At a time when leadership in government is sadly lacking, Governor McDonnell can set himself apart and secure his legacy as a job creator by signing the bill when it comes to his desk. Perhaps Virginia can become the Energy Capitol of the East Coast after all.
The EPA’s Mercury Problem
Ninety-six. That’s the number of 60-watt incandescent light bulbs I purchased last weekend after learning the other kind, the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) environmentalists are so in love with, are hazardous to my health and to the environment. I would have preferred a higher wattage but discovered the 75-watt version was outlawed January 1st.
It took about three hours to replace every CFL bulb in my house and carefully place them in a huge plastic container used to transport them to the recycling center at a local home improvement store. I said a quick prayer for safety while coasting down the road in my SUV. A HAZMAT decal would have come in handy because had I been in a collision, I had enough mercury on board to make the evening news. And because I am a Conservative, they might have labeled me a home-grown terrorist.
CFLs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Back in 2008, some Yale University scientists isolated CFLs’ benefits down to one: lower energy bills. The scientists questioned whether a little savings was worth the danger attached to mercury exposure and “runoff downstream.”
Besides making the environment sick, researchers recently discovered these “environmentally friendly” light bulbs aren’t friendly to humans either. According to the UK Telegraph, CFLs “should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head” because “they emit poisonous materials when switched on.” The report found those “carcinogenic substances” should be “kept as far away as possible from the human environment” because they may cause migraines, skin problems and breast cancer. Great.
It really makes no sense. Somehow it’s okay to have mercury housed in delicate glass bulbs inside every home in America, yet the EPA feels compelled to enact new regulations like the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) limiting mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants promising MATS would raise kids’ IQs, prevent a substantial amount of premature deaths, reduce heart attacks, and lessen childhood asthma. I’d settle for weight control and whiter teeth.
Sounds wonderful. Problem is, the EPA’s logic is about as twisted as a CFL, considering most people don’t live next to a coal-fired plant, but every home in America using CFLs is at risk of mercury exposure.
They say the pricey CFL’s are cost efficient, but fail to mention their measure for efficiency decreases if the bulbs are switched on and off. Nor do they discuss the outrageous price per bulb or the gas usage (carbon footprint) involved in transporting old bulbs. They also fail to factor in human nature; most people will simply discard old bulbs instead of spending their Saturday driving to the recycling center.
Seems to me, enacting the most expensive EPA rule revision in history, MATS, has less to do with people and more to do with coal-fired plants. Back in January 2012, the Washington Times said the rule will cost power plants up to $18 billion a year and “will be passed directly to consumers.” I’ve always believed Progressives love the planet but hate the people who live on it. Think about it. They are quick to condemn environmental violators but conveniently ignore the massive amounts of mercury Mother Nature herself spews out by way of volcanoes, deep-sea vents and geysers. Maybe we should tax the planet, just for good measure.
According to Power Engineering Magazine, by 2016, EPA rules will force the shutdown of “32 mostly coal-fired power plants” in 12 states, and possibly 36 others. The shutdowns will lead to higher power costs, less jobs, and potential rationing. Before long, we’ll be rubbing sticks together to cook food, stay warm, and find our way to the community outhouse.
But, in the meantime…tonight I celebrate. I purged my home of all those hazy mercury-filled bulbs and I’m switching on every last one of my incandescent bulbs to celebrate -- in hopes the Google Earth satellite will drift my way and snap a picture. My house will be one of the brightest spots on the planet, second only to Al Gore’s.
In Georgia, Obama is winning the war on coal
Georgia Power, that state's largest power company, announced this week that it is asking state regulators for permission to shut down 15 electrical generating units -- the closure of four power plants in all. The utility company says new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency -- known as the Utility MACT rule -- will simply make the plants too expensive to run.
The regulations in question are intended to reduce the amount of mercury released into the air. But in fact, they have every appearance of being a back-door attempt to regulate carbon emissions -- precisely the kind of scheme that then-Sen. Barack Obama had in mind when he acknowledged in 2008 that "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his energy plan.
The 15 units that Georgia Power wants to shutter -- all but two of which are fired by coal or oil -- have a combined capacity of 2,061 megawatts, or enough to provide power for roughly 1.5 million homes. The company plans to close 11 of them on April 16, 2015, the exact day the EPA's new mercury regulations are scheduled to take effect. Georgia Power will seek waivers from the EPA to keep four of the others open for an extra year, and then it will shut those down on April 16, 2016. It is unclear how Georgia's energy sector will make up the 2 gigawatts of capacity it is losing.
The EPA has claimed that its new mercury regulation will produce $140 billion in annual economic benefits. Apparently, those benefits will not be going to the 480 power plant workers in Georgia who now stand to lose their jobs. Then there are the millions of Georgia energy consumers who will soon see higher rates and higher bills. More broadly, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that this single rule will kill 1.65 million jobs nationwide through 2020 -- in the utility sector as well as in other industries -- especially manufacturing industries -- which will now have to pay more to carry out their energy-intensive tasks.
Even taken at face value, the EPA's claims of economic benefits are highly doubtful. In fact, the reductions to mercury are expected to produce only a tiny sliver of that $140 billion benefit -- just $6 million of it, in fact. But it will cost so much money to comply with these rules and produce this miniscule benefit that many plants will simply be closed instead. According to Dr. Anne Smith, senior vice president of NERA Economic Consulting's Global Environment Group, all of the EPA's estimated benefits from the Utility MACT rule come from "coincidental reductions" of fine particulate matter, which is regulated by a totally separate section of the Clean Air Act. Diehard environmentalists will be pleased that the closures will cause other pollutants to disappear, but the general public will be deprived of the electricity that those plants produce.
Obama also said in 2008 that "if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it'll bankrupt them." He seems to be making this come true, even without the carbon cap-and-trade system he once envisioned.
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