Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How Mature Is Climate Science?

Finding new data and incorporating it in support of or opposition to theory is the way science works–and it works very well. We live in an amazing and wonderful world because of it.

The term ‘climate science’ is actually an umbrella phrase that covers a number of disciplines that contribute to our overall understanding of the many forces acting and interacting on our climate. Some of these disciplines are mature–like physics. Others are not.

Many of the participants in the political debate about what to do regarding future climate change do not understand this. Many others are conversant with one of the sub-topics and think that allows them to speak with authority on other topics. The result is dismal–and what you see around you.

I will just point out that a science that just discovered that black soot turns out to be the second-greatest man-made forcing of temperatures, almost as great as CO2, should not be considered mature.


Inaugural Lies and the Big Chill

By Alan Caruba

In his second inaugural speech, Barack Obama said, “We must respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”?

To what “climate change” is Obama referring? Is it the now thoroughly debunked “global warming” hoax? Is it the climate change of the 11,500 years since the last ice age? Or is it “the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms” to which Obama referred?

If it is the latter, does anyone actually believe that these natural events can be mitigated by anything Americans or the entire population of the world can do? Did any among the thousands in attendance at the inauguration, shivering in the frigid weather, wonder what the President was talking about or why?

After more than three decades of being told that the Earth was dangerously heating up by people like Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there are more voices warning that the current cold cycle that will last, at a minimum, several decades.

The public continues to be misled to the mainstream media and, more importantly, by the federal government whose increased environmental regulations are based on the global warming lies, so who can you believe?

Publications such as Science magazine have been so politicized at this point as to be virtually useless. Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies, recently released a study that updates his study of the magazine, noted that “In a 2009 paper I documented that Science magazine published 40 editorials critical of the Bush Administration during its two terms, and only 1 such critique of the Clinton Administration’s previous 2 terms. I have just updated this analysis through the first term of the Obama Administration, and found no editorials critical of the Obama Administration.”

It should be noted that Obama routinely refers to “climate change”, the new name for “global warming”, and has already wasted billions on “renewable” energy, wind and solar, including algae, otherwise known as pond scum. The Obama EPA is releasing an avalanche of new regulations based in part on the “global warming” myths and dubious “science” regarding levels of pollution that are worthless.

Recently I received a book by John L. Casey, “Cold Sun: A Dangerous ‘Hibernation’ of the Sun Has Begun” ($14.50, Trafford Publishing, softcover), the president of the Space and Science Research Corporation (SPSC). It is essentially a one-man operation and Casey’s book is an effort to warn the public about the fact that the sun has entered a cycle of very low sunspot activity. More sunspots mean warming weather and fewer mean cold weather. SPSC has the support of a number of scientists who concur that the planet has entered a cooling cycle, something well known to meteorologists, climatologists, and solar scientists, even if it remains generally unknown to the public.

Casey has been issuing press releases since 2007 warning of a decades-long period of cooling that will likely have some extremely serious effects on the planet that include droughts, increased volcanic activity, earthquakes, and the death of millions as the history of such events in the past demonstrates. He is candid about his credentials and the lack of response he has gotten from the media and those in the government he has tried to inform.

Of one release, he says that “In fact, it was seen with even less credulity since it was proposed by someone essentially unknown in the professional climate science community, a person without any past record of university research and not one published paper in any scientific journal.” It would be easy to dismiss Casey, but he has been a consultant to NASA, “performing space shuttle and space station analysis” and done studies for the Department of Defense “performing rocket launch studies.” He has a BS degree in physics and mathematics and a MA in management. So it can be said he has extensive experience in areas that require a sound body of knowledge.

Others are also forecasting a serious cold cycle. In January 2012, Habilbullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences predicted a sharp drop in temperature starting in 2014 and a new “little” ice age that will last at least two centuries with a peak in 2055. It would be the fifth such event over the past nine centuries, the last of which lasted from 1300 to 1850 when the last warming cycle began.

In January 2012, Wall Street Journal science columnist Matt Ridley, noted that the cycle of warm weather between ice ages that the Earth has been enjoying “is already 11,600 years old, and it must surely in the normal course of things, come to an end.”

One of the leading authorities on ice ages, Robert W. Felix, author of “Not By Fire, But By Ice”, like Casey, became fascinated with ice age cycles and spent eight years studying them before publishing his book in 2005. He maintains a website, www.iceagenow.info that is well worth visiting as he documents the weather events of our current cold cycle and the advent of a new ice age.

Casey’s book reflects his mission to educate the public to the dangers of a sun whose low number of sunspots (magnetic storms) is well known among solar scientists and generally under-reported. “This particular solar cycle (#24) peak is one of the lowest since cycle #14 in 1906 which had approximately 64 sunspots,” Casey told me. “We measure each solar maximum every eleven years to determine the average of solar activity by sunspot count. We have had solar maximums in the past there were over 200 sunspots and some as low as 50. The relevance of information about the number of sunspots is that when the count goes below 50 we enter a much colder climate era.”

Some will dismiss Casey for not having the credentials of climatologists and meteorologists. Many with these credentials jumped on the global warming hoax by way of securing grants and other funding. A courageous few debunked global warming until it became obvious that it was a lie. There will be those who will dismiss his warning as hyperbole. In “Cold Sun” he says “A historic reduction in the energy output of the Sun has begun. The most likely outcome from this ‘solar hibernation’ will be widespread global loss of life and social, economic, and political disruption.”

As the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” It is very likely that as the current cooling cycle—now over 16 years old—wlll increase, Robert W. Felix’s, Casey’s, and others with traditional credentials in meteorology, climatology, geology and physics will eventually be heeded and the Big Chill will have become self-evident.


Even Germans being forced back to the past by energy costs

With snow blanketing the ground, it's the perfect time of year to snuggle up in front of a fireplace. That, though, makes German foresters nervous. When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country's woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes.

"The forest is open for everyone to enter and people just think they can help themselves, but they can't!" says Enno Rosenthal, head of the forest farmers association in the northeastern German state of Brandenburg. "Naturally, those log piles belong to someone and there is a lot of money and work that goes into them."

The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany's Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone. A side effect is an increasing number of people turning to wood-burning stoves for warmth. Germans bought 400,000 such stoves in 2011, the German magazine FOCUS reported this week. It marks the continuation of a trend: The number of Germans buying heating devices that burn wood and coal has grown steadily since 2005, according to consumer research company GfK Group.

That increase in demand has now also boosted prices for wood, leading many to fuel their fires with theft.

Rosenthal said just last weekend someone stole an entire bundle of oak wood worth about €150 ($199) from a private forest in the town of Neuruppin outside of Berlin. "Many foresters come back to their wood piles and find them a little smaller or even gone," he says.

About 10 percent of the firewood that comes out of Brandenburg's forest every year is stolen, resulting in losses of about €500,000, Rosenthal estimates. In the southern German state of Bavaria some 5 percent is absconded with annually says Hans Bauer, head of the state's forest owners association.

"A gray zone has developed," says Rosenthal. "Normally if you sell sausages, you create a business and pay taxes, but with wood some people are laxer." He says many people steal wood and then resell it via ads in the newspaper. Such sales, needless to say, tend to be of the under-the-table variety.

Other thieves are more spontaneous, says Bauer. Often people will just drive by a pile of wood and see it as invitation to steal, he says. "Drivers just stop, open up their trunks and put the wood in and drive off," he says. "It's that easy."

Bauer says that a couple of years ago, a driver loaded up €2,000 worth of wood into a truck and drove off. He was eventually caught and paid a fine to the forest owner. But Bauer says such retribution is rare.

Bauer now advises foresters to keep wood deep in the forests away from busy thoroughfares and to make logs too large to fit in regular cars, keeping temptation for casual thieves at bay.
Often, however, even those measures aren't enough. Rosenthal said that just a few years ago foresters would leave log piles in the forest for up to a year to dry. Now, though, he says they aren't kept for more than a month before moving to more secure locales. "Keeping the wood under your own surveillance is the best protection," says Rosenthal.

In the western German city of Hessisch Lichtenau other foresters are taking a more extreme approach, according to local daily the Hessische/Niedersächsische Allegemeine. In recent years, two major tree heists have taken place in town and the state experiences losses of millions of euros as a result. The paper reports that now some foresters are outfitting log piles with GPS devices to track thieves.


Green Germany: 800,000 German Households Can No Longer Pay Their Energy Bills

Germany’s consumers are facing record price rises for green energy. Social campaigners and consumer groups complain that up to 800 000 households in Germany can no longer pay their energy bills.

Over the last few days, it has become obvious that the Green Energy Levy will rise to record levels next year. The first thing Peter Altmaier, Germany’s federal environment minister, would say is this: consumers should save electricity. After a meeting with local authorities, the energy industry, consumer advocates and charities he announced that to achieve this he wants to send free energy consultants to all households in Germany.

His proposal, however, was met by massive criticism: the chief executive of the Joint Welfare Association, Ulrich Schneider, said: “It would be naive to think that growing poverty caused by rising energy costs can be solved by free energy-saving advice.” The environment minister of Lower Saxony pointed out that energy advice was already available. What was needed now was an immediate response to the rising cost of electricity.

A few days later, Altmeier finally said that he wanted to shake up the Renewable Energy Act and thus get any further expansion of the renewable energy under control.

Electricity and heating costs overwhelm German households

The fact remains that as of next year electricity will be more expensive for Germans than ever before. This is all the more frustrating as they have to pay increasingly more for other things too. Yet energy costs are turning into a so-called ‘second rent’, making life for Germans ever more expensive.

Some years ago the tariffs for water, sewage, refuse collection and street cleaning were regarded as a nuisance, but looming price increases for energy are focusing Germans’ attention, says the Association of German Tenants in Berlin. “The disproportionate rise in electricity and heating costs makes living costs a growing problem for many households,” said DMB director Lukas Siebenkotten.

On average 34 percent of net household income are spent on rent and energy. That is more than ever. And it is only partly because housing rents are rising: The Association of House and Apartment Owners has found that energy prices have increased far more than rents in the past 15 years. According to the Association of Energy Consumers, heating and hot water costs now comprise 41 percent of bills on average - and rising.

Hundreds of thousands cannot pay their bills

Especially for small household budgets – with real incomes more or less stagnant for many years – energy costs are becoming increasingly intolerable. In 2009, Germans spent about 100 billion Euros for energy – an average of 2,500 Euros per household. Social campaigners and consumer groups complain that up to 800 000 households in Germany can no longer pay their electric bills. If the rise in energy prices continues, this “second rent” could soon exceed the main rent in some parts of Germany.


Global cooling coming

NASA reports this week that we may be on the verge of another Maunder Minimum (a period with an unusually low number of sunspots, leading to colder temperatures):
Much has been made of the probable connection between the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year deficit of sunspots in the late 17th-early 18th century, and the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters.  The mechanism for that regional cooling could have been a drop in the sun’s EUV output; this is, however, speculative.

The yearly averaged sunspot number for a period of 400 years (1610-2010). SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

The sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now.  Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 is the weakest in more than 50 years.  Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion.
NASA explains that interactions between the sun, sources of cosmic radiation and the Earth are very complicated, and it takes an interdisciplinary team of heliophysicists, chemists and others to quantify what is really going on.  And the Earth’s climate is also affected by cosmic radiation.

So – even if NASA’s prediction of a period of an unusually low amount of sun spots is proven correct – it is hard to know whether that will lead to a large or small reduction in temperature trends.


Boris Johnson on Global Cooling

As Mayor of London he has to step cautiously

"The Sun is god!” cried JMW Turner as he died, and plenty of other people have thought there was much in his analysis. The Aztecs agreed, and so did the pharaohs of Egypt. We are an arrogant lot these days, and we tend to underestimate the importance of our governor and creator.

We forget that we were once just a clod of cooled-down solar dust; we forget that without the Sun there would have been no photosynthesis, no hydrocarbons — and that it was the great celestial orb that effectively called life into being on Earth. In so far as we are able to heat our homes or turn on our computers or drive to work it is thanks to the unlocking of energy from the Sun.

As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands — when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic thermonuclear fireball around which we revolve.

I say all this because I am sitting here staring through the window at the flowerpot and the bashed-up barbecue, and I am starting to think this series of winters is not a coincidence. The snow on the flowerpot, since I have been staring, has got about an inch thicker. The barbecue is all but invisible. By my calculations, this is now the fifth year in a row that we have had an unusual amount of snow; and by unusual I mean snow of a kind that I don’t remember from my childhood: snow that comes one day, and then sticks around for a couple of days, followed by more.

I remember snow that used to come and settle for just long enough for a single decent snowball fight before turning to slush; I don’t remember winters like this. Two days ago I was cycling through Trafalgar Square and saw icicles on the traffic lights; and though I am sure plenty of readers will say I am just unobservant, I don’t think I have seen that before. I am all for theories about climate change, and would not for a moment dispute the wisdom or good intentions of the vast majority of scientists.

But I am also an empiricist; and I observe that something appears to be up with our winter weather, and to call it “warming” is obviously to strain the language. I see from the BBC website that there are scientists who say that “global warming” is indeed the cause of the cold and snowy winters we seem to be having. A team of Americans and Chinese experts have postulated that the melting of the Arctic ice means that the whole North Atlantic is being chilled as the floes start to break off — like a Martini refrigerated by ice cubes.

I do not have the expertise to comment on the Martini theory; I merely observe that there are at least some other reputable scientists who say that it is complete tosh, or at least that there is no evidence to support it. We are expecting the snow and cold to go on for several days, and though London transport has coped very well so far, with few delays or cancellations, I can’t help brooding on my own amateur meteorological observations. I wish I knew more about what is going on, and why. It is time to consult once again the learned astrophysicist, Piers Corbyn.

Now Piers has a very good record of forecasting the weather. He has been bang on about these cold winters. Like JMW Turner and the Aztecs he thinks we should be paying more attention to the Sun. According to Piers, global temperature depends not on concentrations of CO2 but on the mood of our celestial orb. Sometime too bright the eye of heaven shines, said Shakespeare, and often is his gold complexion dimmed. That is more or less right. There are times in astronomical history when the Sun has been churning out more stuff — protons and electrons and what have you — than at other times. When the Sun has plenty of sunspots, he bathes the Earth in abundant rays.

When the solar acne diminishes, it seems that the Earth gets colder. No one contests that when the planet palpably cooled from 1645 to 1715 — the Maunder minimum, which saw the freezing of the Thames — there was a diminution of solar activity. The same point is made about the so-called Dalton minimum, from 1790 to 1830. And it is the view of Piers Corbyn that we are now seeing exactly the same phenomenon today.

Lower solar activity means – broadly speaking – that there is less agitation of the warm currents of air from the tropical to the temperate zones, so that a place like Britain can expect to be colder and damper in summer, and colder and snowier in winter. “There is every indication that we are at the beginning of a mini ice age,” he says. “The general decline in solar activity is lower than Nasa’s lowest prediction of five years ago. That could be very bad news for our climate. We are in for a prolonged cold period. Indeed, we could have 30 years of general cooling.”

Now I am not for a second saying that I am convinced Piers is right; and to all those scientists and environmentalists who will go wild with indignation on the publication of this article, I say, relax. I certainly support reducing CO2 by retrofitting homes and offices – not least since that reduces fuel bills. I want cleaner vehicles.

I am speaking only as a layman who observes that there is plenty of snow in our winters these days, and who wonders whether it might be time for government to start taking seriously the possibility — however remote — that Corbyn is right. If he is, that will have big implications for agriculture, tourism, transport, aviation policy and the economy as a whole. Of course it still seems a bit nuts to talk of the encroachment of a mini ice age.

But it doesn’t seem as nuts as it did five years ago. I look at the snowy waste outside, and I have an open mind.




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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