Tuesday, February 26, 2013

James Hansen, the denier

Robert W. Endlich visted  Santa Fe to hear a talk by  James Hansen.  His report below

I attended a talk by Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Sciences on effects of climate change on 21 Feb 2013.  James Hansen is also famous for being arrested, reportedly three times, for protesting the use of fossil fuels and the consequent emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dr. Hansen’s talk was illustrated by of a number of slides depicting topics concerning surface temperature history, sensing systems, and paleoclimate history. His delivery rarely spoke to the content on the screen, and often rambled into opinions on the evils of fossil fuel use, dangerous rapid temperature rise, approaching “tipping points,” and the need to heavily tax fossil fuel use.

One item after another struck me as being completely at odds with measurements. For instance, Hansen claimed Earth’s energy balance is out of balance, and we are warming rapidly, but recent global surface temperatures of land and water have not increased and in fact many measures show cooling over the past 17-19 years. In the US, there has not been a new state maximum temperature record set since 1995, and in spite of the claims to the contrary, July,1936, is still the warmest month on record, set when CO2 was less than 300 parts per million. CO2 is now 395 PPM.

The talk was 45 minutes long, with 15 minutes allotted to questions and answers.  Dr. Hansen is adept at President Obama’s knack of turning a question into an invitation to wax at length on opinions on anything vaguely related to the question. There were four questions; I asked number three.

My question was, roughly, “Dr. Hansen, one of your slides showed a time series of warming periods, indicated by reds, and cooling periods, indicated by blues, over time, indicating to me that climate warming and cooling periods are the norm.  But, your 1988 forecast to the Senate was for continuous increases in temperature, about 1C of warming, from 1988 to the present. Observations show 10 years of warming from 1988 to 1998, but steady and by many measures, even falling temperatures since, a period over 17 years where the temperature has not risen at all. The total rise since 1988 has been only 0.2 - 0.3C.  To what do you attribute the poor performance of that prediction?”

 Hansen’s reply wandered around, saying there were three scenarios forecast and that actually the climate forcing was less than the “Business as Usual, Scenario A.”  (In the basic talk he bemoaned CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use were on an ever increasing curve; to me, a non-sequitur)  He then said that temperatures had NOT decreased, despite the fact that seven of the nine commonly watched measurements of global land, sea, and greenhouse temperatures have shown falling temperatures since at least 2001 during this time of increasing CO2.  He then said I should have seen his 1983 paper and the forecast he made back then!

It has been 34 years since I have been in Graduate School. I was disappointed that a world-renowned researcher could not provide a cogent, coherent answer to a pertinent question regarding accuracy of the forecast which brought him to prominence.  “How has this guy passed his candidacy exam or prelims?” I thought.

When formal questions were over, a number of attendees approached the podium; I joined the group.  At my turn, I asked him a question about the paloeclimate records he referenced during the talk. I showed him a graphic of temperature and CO2 vs. geologic time with data provided by Berner and Scotese, which you can see if you Google  “Berner Scotese Geologic CO2 Temperature Graph”.

I asked him about two periods in geologic history. First was end of the Ordovician, about 450 million years ago when CO2 increased from 4000 to 4400 PPM but earth entered a “snowball earth” phase. Second was the end of the Jurassic 150 million years ago, when CO2 was increasing, but temperatures fell.  He told me that the data were wrong.

I specifically asked him about the measurements which showed large amounts of CO2 during the Cambrian and Ordovician about 4000-6000 PPM, and that even the IPCC speaks of large amounts of CO2 in the early Paleozoic. He said that there were no measurements of large CO2 amounts in the Paleozoic and again said I was wrong.  I guess he has not heard of the Royer Compilation http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide_png#References

I then asked about the Vostok Ice Core data which shows four previous interglacial periods CO2 was about 200-270 PPM, and temperatures were clearly much warmer that the present. “Dr Hansen, doesn’t the fact that the previous interglacials were a lot warmer than now, falsify the claim that CO2 is an important driver of climate?”  He argued with me that the Vostok Ice core data did not show this, and said I was wrong. Google http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok-ice-core-petit.png to see the data yourself.

Finally, I told him that the Greenland Ice core data showed that during the present interglacial period, temperatures were at a maximum 8000 years ago and have cooled overall since then.  I asked him if CO2 has an important effect on climate, how this could be, and I said that there was nothing alarming about the present temperatures and rate of change of temperature.  He told me that I was wrong again and his data showed today is the warmest in the Holocene Interglacial period. Google “Greenland Ice core data graph GISP2” and examine the geologic record showing temperatures and temperature changes to see how wrong Hansen is regarding this fact.

Hansen says the science is settled and there are no data which contradicts the alarmist view of imminent catastrophic temperature change and tipping points.
Who is the “denier?”

Hansen can’t accept the fact that measurements, observations, facts and data show that present temperatures are quite ordinary and that the rates of temperature change are among the smallest of the past 10,000 years, despite present CO2 concentrations.

Received via email from Bob Endlich [bendlich@msn.com], a New Mexico meteorologist

NASA thinks that the USA is the world

Their only data below is about the Eastern United states but in their 5th paragraph below they link their findings to "climate change", code for global warming.  They are a model of slippery wording but their intention is clear.  They imply that shrinking foests in the area they look at are a global phenomenon.  But are they?  They avoid that question.  It should however be noted that their data cover the last 10 years, when there has been NO global watrming, so what they found CANNOT be a global effect

NASA scientists report that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation locally and regionally have altered the growth of large forest areas in the eastern United States over the past 10 years. Using NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists examined the relationship between natural plant growth trends, as monitored by NASA satellite images, and variations in climate over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010.

Monthly satellite images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) showed declining density of the green forest cover during summer in four sub-regions, the Upper Great Lakes, southern Appalachian, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. More than 20 percent of the non-agricultural area in the four sub-regions that showed decline during the growing season, were covered by forests. Nearly 40 percent of the forested area within the mid-Atlantic sub-region alone showed a significant decline in forest canopy cover.

“We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these “We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these regions,” said Christopher Potter, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “This comprehensive data set gave us the evidence to conclude that a series of relatively dry years since 2000 has been unfavorable for vigorous growth of forest cover over much of the Eastern U. S. this past decade.” Potter is the first author of the paper titled “Declining Vegetation Growth Rates in the Eastern United States from 2000 to 2010,” published by Natural Resources, Dec. 2012, (3), 184-190.

In the past, scientists were uncertain about what was causing the changes in the forests in the eastern U. S. Based on small-scale field site measurements since 1970, forest growth was thought to be increasing in regions where soil nutrients and water were in good supply. At the same time, there were fewer wildfires throughout the eastern U.S., which scientists believe contributed to the transformation of more open lands into closed-canopy forests with more shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive plants.

More recent studies indicate that climate change could be having many adverse and interrelated impacts on the region. The warming climate this century has caused new stresses on trees, such as insect pest outbreaks and the introduction of new pathogens. Scientists consider both climate change and disease to be dominant driving forces in the health of forests in this region.

NASA’s technology is revealing an entirely new picture of these complex impacts. The MODIS satellite captures very broad regional patterns of change in forests, wetlands, and grasslands by continuous monitoring of the natural plant cover over extended time periods. Now, with over a decade of “baseline” data to show how trees typically go through a yearly cycle of leaves blooming, summer growth, and leaves falling, scientists are detecting subtle deviations from the average cycle to provide early warning signs of change at the resolution of a few miles for the entire country.

"The next studies at NASA Ames will research areas that appear most affected by drought and warming to map out changes in forest growth at a resolution of several acres," said Potter.

This research was conducted under the National Climate Assessment as part of the United States Global Change Research Act of 1990.


New boogeyman for the Warmists

A conservative charity gives money to climate-skeptic causes!  How surprising!  Roughly the whole of the conservative side of politics is skeptical of global warming so Donor's Trust sure is an heroically effective organization if they have achieved all that!    Nothing however could rival what governments around the world spend on promoting Warmist causes

While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust. We’re joined by Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian, who has written a series of articles detailing the ties between Donors Trust and opponents of climate change science. "The goal here is to create this illusion, this idea that there is a really strong movement against the science of climate change and against action on climate change," Goldenberg says. "In fact, that’s actually, to an extent, become a reality now: You see that opposition to action on climate change is central to Republican thinking."


Straight-out lies from the NYT

"The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb".  But it doesn't.  It is no higher now than it was in 1998.  The article then goes on to give an account of global warming theory that attempts to account for the average earth surface temperature.  But they miss the bus in that too.  They ignore entirely the huge adiabatic effect of the huge mass of the earth's atmosphere.  The effects of air pressure alone account for a large part of the earth's surface temperature

Climate change is arguably the most important issue humanity has ever faced. The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb and weather is increasingly volatile. Our current trajectory looks perilous.

Is the situation really that critical? I asked atmospheric chemist Dr. Laura Foster.

    "The future world will be a warmer place with different weather patterns and disease patterns and coastlines. We will have to adapt to these changes.      The pessimist in me thinks of human beings on Earth like bacteria in a petri dish: we’re going to pollute our petri dish to the point that we can no longer survive in it."

The situation is that critical. Climate change is real. Responding to it will be full of challenges. But there will also be opportunities — an aspect of climate change emphasized by Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist based at the British Antarctic Survey.

Dr. Shuckburgh speaks widely about climate change, and if you happen to be in San Francisco next week, you’ll have the opportunity to attend one of her talks. Dr. Shuckburgh will be giving a public lecture titled “Climate Disruption: What Math and Science Have to Say” as part of a Mathematics of Planet Earth series being sponsored by the Simons Foundation.

“I think this talk will be of interest to everyone — and of particular interest to those who like math and science,” says Brian Conrey, executive director of the American Institute of Mathematics. “Also, Emily is a fantastic role model — she is so accomplished — and is an inspiring speaker.”

Following is a basic overview of how the Earth’s current average surface temperature arises.

It all starts, of course, with the Sun, which blazes away 93 million miles from the Earth. The Sun radiates energy that ultimately reaches the Earth.

This radiant energy from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth, which then radiates energy back out again, enabling the planet to maintain a constant average surface temperature.

If that were the end of the story, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be about -18°C. Much too cold to support life as we know it. But there’s something else going on. Not all of the energy radiated from the Earth makes it out into space. Some is captured and returned to Earth, resulting in an actual average surface temperature of 15°C.

The capture-and-return process is remarkable. Encasing the Earth are a variety of molecules that make up what we call our atmosphere. These molecules can be classified by the symmetry of their molecular bonds: some molecules — over 99% — have symmetric bonds, while the remaining molecules have asymmetric bonds. Symmetric-bond molecules are invisible to the Earth’s radiant energy. They have no impact on the Earth’s temperature. But with asymmetric-bond molecules we have a different story.


Goodbye to a Very Green "Business Week‏"

By Alan Caruba

In late 2010, I let my subscription to The Economist expire and now I am going to do that for Bloomberg Business Week.

In the February 18-24 edition of Business Week, an editorial, “The Right Way Forward on Climate Change”, contained this gem: “Still, the U.S. accounts for about 19 percent of all emissions—emissions that are causing global temperature increases, rising seas, and destructive droughts, floods, and hurricanes, according to a government advisory panel report released last month.”

When a magazine publishes such drivel, you should not read it. There are no rising temperatures worldwide. There is, in fact, a colder world that reflects a cooling cycle that began around sixteen years ago. Glaciers are growing. Snow is falling in increasing amounts and in places one usually does not associate with snow like Arizona. The seas are not rising. Polar bears are not going extinct. Et cetera.

To not know such simple facts betrays either an appalling ignorance or an appalling agenda, the advancement of the global warming—now called climate change—hoax.

The February 25-March 3 edition had an editorial on why the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved. It began “Americans concerned about pollution and climate change have traditionally stood with science, in particular the consensus that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are warming the earth and changing the climate.” There is so much wrong with this short sentence one hardly knows where to start.

First of all, “climate change” is what the climate has been doing for 4.5 billion years on planet Earth. There have been a number of ice ages which properly can be called climate change . When the last one ended around 11,000 years ago, we entered the Holocene.

Pay attention now to this description of the Holocene: “Most recent of all subdivisions of geologic time, ranging from the present back to the time (c.11,000 years ago) of almost complete withdrawal of the glaciers of the preceding Pleistocene epoch. During the Holocene epoch, the sculpturing of the earth's surface to its present form was completed.”

“Withdrawal of the glacial ice resulted in the development of the present-day drainage basins of the Missouri and Ohio rivers, the development of the Great Lakes, and a global rise in sea level of up to 100 ft (30 m) as the glacial meltwater was returned to the seas. Warming climates resulted in the poleward migration of plants and animals.”

“The most significant development during the Holocene was the rise of modern humans, who are thought to have first appeared in the late Pleistocene.” Those modern humans did not control the climate when they arrived on the scene and they do not control it now. They will never control it no matter how many times Al Gore or the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says so.

We do not sacrifice virgins, tossing them into volcanoes to ensure a good harvest, nor do we do rain dances during a drought any more. Some of us, however, are convinced that we are the first Americans to have ever experienced a drought, a hurricane, or a blizzard.

When a magazine like Business Week employs morons to write its news and opinion, there is no point in subscribing to it in order to have your own intellect reduced by a couple of IQ points.

I am thoroughly sick of hearing that all life on the planet is threatened or going extinct. Been there. Done that.

In his weekly column on science topics, the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Ridley noted that, “When the asteroid slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula 66,038,000 years ago, North America took the brunt of the impact, because the asteroid came in from the southeast like a golf chip shot.” Globally, it wiped out all the dinosaurs, along with many bird and other species. Their relatives, the alligators survived. “Mammals reappeared within 20,000 years in North America, “probably from Asia via an Arctic land bridge.”

Right now, countless “environmental” organizations around the world are gearing up to celebrate “Earth Day” on April 22. Is it just a coincidence that it is the birthdate of Communist revolutionary and the former Soviet Union’s first dictator, Vladimir Lenin? I think not.

Business Week, the Economist, Time, Newsweek and countless other elements of the print and broadcast media will have an environmental orgasm, spewing forth the tired, old lies that undergird the greatest hoax of the modern era; one they can no longer call “global warming” because millions of people have concluded the Earth is getting colder, so now they call it “climate change.”

The alleged “consensus” of geoscientists and others that supports the climate change theory barely exists.

As reported in the March edition of The Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News, “Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

“A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.”

Meanwhile, here in America, the current administration will continue to flush billions of dollars we do not have down the environmental drain, “investing” in the most uncompetitive and least productive forms of energy ever invented. It is an administration that declared war on coal—a resource that powered fifty percent of all the electricity we use until they came along. Can we—should we—trust people who cannot reduce the nation’s insane debt and deficit by even one half of one percent?

Should we trust people, journalists, charged with the responsibility to bring us the news about economic and scientific topics when they clearly are clueless? I think not.


God and Climate Change

Obama Has Brought Religion Back Into the Environmental Conversation

President Obama once again brought up climate change in his State of the Union Address, just as he did in his inaugural address last month. This week, he spoke in the cold voice of science, but in that first address the president took a different approach, one in which the seeds of a broader environmental coalition can be found.

On his second inauguration, Obama said the U.S. must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to “preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

Climate activists have argued that science, not God, requires urgent greenhouse gas reductions. Now, as a Slate headline put it, “Obama Brings God Into the Climate Change Fight.”

Some environmentalists speculated that Obama might be hoping to reach out to devout Christians—many of them Republicans—in the hope of building a wider consensus.

Role of Christianity

This is a long way from the 1967 declaration of American historian Lynn White, in Science magazine, that Christianity bears primary responsibility for raping the earth. Indeed, Obama’s inaugural remarks appear to have been an allusion to the book of Genesis, which tells us that God gave the world to human beings for their sustenance and enjoyment, but requires us to be good stewards of his creation.

The president also might have been acknowledging the fact that among the political problems of our time, climate change could be the most “wicked” of all. Voters are being asked to bear large burdens now in order to create practical benefits that might not be realized until many of them are dead. If the case for climate change is not deeply moral, capable of invoking powerful altruistic motives, it will be politically hopeless.

Many of Obama’s environmental supporters admittedly have in mind a different message of the Christian God. If human beings alter the climate radically, they will be “playing God,” challenging God’s authority over his own creation. In the Old Testament, we learn that those who challenge God’s authority will surely be punished, typically with flood, famine, pestilence, drought, earthquake or other environmental calamity.

Today, new prophets tell us that our modern sins will lead to rising seas, stronger hurricanes and longer droughts. If we don’t reform our sinful ways, global catastrophe on a biblical scale looms. Billy Graham could hardly have said it better.

Hearing God’s call

In traditional Christian theology, there are two direct ways to access the thinking of God: the “Book of the Bible” and the “Book of Nature.”

Until Charles Darwin, Christians believed that the earth was not much changed from its creation about 6,000 years ago, meaning the design of the natural world offered a glimpse into the mind of God. John Calvin would thus write that God “daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe.” The plant and animal kingdoms are “burning lamps” that “shine for us ... the glory of its author.” To eliminate a species or damage the earth is to limit our knowledge of God.

In some ways, environmentalism should be seen as a secularized version of Calvinism, minus God. Obama has brought God back into the environmental conversation, even if his theological knowledge is incomplete.


Australia: Key climate change body loses Government funding

Amid much weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth

A key research body charged with preparing Australia to handle the impacts of global warming is running out of money.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research facility [NCCARF] has been running for five years but the Federal Government has decided not to extend its funding.

It means that from June the facility, which develops knowledge used by decision-makers from both the Commonwealth and industry, is expected to be wound up.

With more than 100 researchers set to be affected by the funding cut, Professor Jean Palutikof, director at the facility, says she is saddened and concerned that critical work may not being followed through.

"We've built up a lot of knowledge through our research programs that have really placed Australia in a very good position to deal with the challenge," she said.

"There are a lot of people out there now who know a lot about climate change and those people were not in that position five years ago.

"We might be seen an organisation that perhaps is meeting a future challenge rather than a current challenge although I have to say looking out of the window here in Queensland it looks to me like the challenge is pretty much here now.

"The bottom line is the activities of government in that respect of the present time are totally inadequate.

"Therefore we are also going to have to prepare ourselves to respond to the impacts of climate change that will inevitably happen because we haven't really managed that successfully on the mitigation front.

"When I say we haven't managed that successfully, I'm really talking about the global effort, not the effort of Australia individually."

Chief executive officer at the Investor Group on Climate Change, Nathan Fabian, says NCCARF has played an integral role in keeping the nation and industry up-to-date on what is proving an important global issue.

"Business is largely still working out what it knows and what it doesn't know about the physical impacts of climate change and to us," he said.

"NCCARF has played an important interpretive role between the science of climate change and its impacts on regions and resources and in some cases the assets that we invest in, so there is still an important role to be played."




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



Otter said...


I would like to ask permission to repost the 'James Hansen, the denier' email to another site (deviantart).

Otter (the name by which I post to various Skeptic blogs)

JR said...

ok by me but email the author