Sunday, February 03, 2013
National liars federation?
They call themselves the National Wildlife federation but it doesn't take much to catch them in a lie. Just note the brief excerpt below and try to square it with the story following. How long does cooling have to go on before they deign to notice? They had their little period of global warming in the '80s and 90's and are forever stuck on that. They talk as if nothing had changed since then. The one thing they cannot face is that climate CHANGES!
The climate crisis is already changing the playing field for wildlife and urgent action is needed to preserve America’s conservation legacy, according to a new report released today by the National Wildlife Federation. Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis examines case studies from across the country illustrating how global warming is altering wildlife habitats. It recommends solutions to protect both wildlife and communities across America from the growing climate-fueled threats such as extreme weather, sea level rise and wildfires.
Alaska has warmed about twice as much as the continental United States and warming is severely altering the Arctic landscape including melting permafrost. In the face of this unprecedented warming, many uniquely polar habitats—like the sea ice that polar bears, seals, and walrus require to hunt —are shrinking fast.
Forget global warming, Alaska is headed for an ice age
The 49th state has long been labeled one of the fastest-warming spots on the planet. But that's so 20th Century.
In the first decade since 2000, the 49th state cooled 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a "large value for a decade," the Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said in "The First Decade of the New Century: A Cooling Trend for Most of Alaska."
The cooling is widespread -- holding true for 19 of the 20 National Weather Service stations sprinkled from one corner of Alaska to the other, the paper notes. It's most significant in Western Alaska, where King Salmon on the Alaska Peninsula saw temperatures drop most sharply, a significant 4.5 degrees for the decade, the report says.
The new nippiness began with a vengeance in 2005, after more than a century that saw temperatures generally veer warmer in Alaska, the report says. With lots of ice to lose, the state had heated up about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, in line with rising global greenhouse gas emissions, note the Alaska Climate Center researchers, Gerd Wendler, L. Chen and Blake Moore. After a "sudden temperature increase" in Alaska starting in 1977, the warmest decade on record occurred in the 1980s, followed by another jump in the 1990s, they note. The third warmest decade was the 1920s, by the way..
Will Alaska’s frigid spell last long? The researchers don't know. The report notes, however, that Alaska endured three decades of relative cold starting in the mid-1940s.
Alaska’s cold trend may even be strengthening this winter. National Weather Service meteorologist Shaun Baines reported Saturday that as of Dec. 21, Anchorage had already spent 10 days below zero this month. The city's average temperature this December is just 5.3 degrees, nearly 8 degrees shy of the December average of 13.2 degrees. Even though warmer air is due by Christmas Day, Anchorage was already enroute to the coldest winter since 1982.
Could it warm up a bit during the second half of Alaska’s winter? Anything is possible, but the National Weather Service in Anchorage recently completed its 90-day forecast and calls for colder-than-normal temperatures at least through the end of March, said meteorologist Dave Strickland.
New Research Blows Climate Science Wide Open
THE world’s great forests have long been recognised as the lungs of the earth, but the science establishment has been rocked by claims that trees may also be the heart of its climate. Not only do trees fix carbon and produce oxygen; a new and controversial paper says they collectively unleash forces powerful enough to drive global wind patterns and are a core feature in the circulation of the climate system.
If the theory proves correct, the peer-reviewed international paper co-authored by Australian scientist Douglas Sheil will overturn two centuries of conventional wisdom about what makes wind. And it will undermine key principles of every model on which climate predictions are based.
The paper, Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapour condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics, is not designed to challenge the orthodox view on climate science. But Sheil, a professor of forest ecology and conservation at Southern Cross University’s School of Environment, Science and Engineering, says he is not surprised that is how the paper has been received internationally.
Boiled down, he says, bad science is protecting shoddy climate models.
The paper, lead authored by Anastasia Makarieva, sparked a long-running and furious debate about whether it should be published at all. At the end of a bruising assessment process the editorial panel of the prestigious journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics chose to publish and be damned.
In an accompanying statement the journal editorial board said: “The paper is highly controversial, proposing a fundamentally new view that seems to be in contradiction to common textbook knowledge. The majority of reviewers and experts in the field seem to disagree, whereas some colleagues provide support, and the handling editor (and the executive committee) are not convinced that the new view presented in the controversial paper is wrong.
“The handling editor (and the executive committee) concluded to allow final publication of the manuscript in ACP in order to facilitate further development of the presented arguments, which may lead to disproof or validation by the scientific community.”
Sheil says the key finding is that atmospheric pressure changes from moisture condensation are orders of magnitude greater than previously recognised. The paper concludes “condensation and evaporation merit attention as major, if previously overlooked, factors in driving atmospheric dynamics”.
“Climate scientists generally believe that they already understand the main principles determining how the world’s climate works,” says Sheil. “However, if our hypothesis is true then the way winds are driven and the way rain falls has been misunderstood. What our theory suggests is that forests are the heart of the earth, driving atmospheric pressure, pumping wind and moving rain.”
In a blistering assessment of the paper, international climate scientist Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA are Warmist evangelists] recommended that publication be rejected.
“The authors make an extraordinary claim that a term that is traditionally considered to be small, to the point that it is sometimes neglected in atmospheric models and, even when not neglected, rarely commented on, is in fact dominant in driving atmospheric circulations,” Held said. “A claim of this sort naturally has to pass a high bar to be publishable, given the accumulated evidence, implicit as well as explicit, that argues against it. I am afraid that this paper does not approach the level required.
“I have done my best to keep an open mind, but do not see any cogent arguments that overturn the conventional wisdom.”
In reply, the authors claimed Held’s logic was bad for science.
“A higher bar for unconventional ideas automatically implies a lower bar for conventional ones,” they said. “Introducing a positive feedback – relating the height of the higher bar to the number of studies that have passed the lower bar – in time, if this continues, a once-vibrating scientific community can be trapped in dogma.”
Shiel says he is not surprised at the resistance from within the climate science establishment. “These guys are under a barrage of claims every day and we are just another one,” he says. “But we are serious scientists, we have serious reasons for looking at this and if you can show us where our analysis is wrong, that’s fine, that’s how science works.
“Accepting our theory would basically mean the climate models are wrong. It wouldn’t mean that theories about carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses are wrong.
“The basic physical issues are still there. Winds are still caused to some degree by temperature differences, global warming will still be potentially caused by greenhouse gasses. But what we are saying is one of the major reasons that air moves around the surface of the globe, and one of the main reasons that rain falls where it does, is to do with these patterns of moisture evaporation and condensation.”
For Sheil, who returned last year from working at the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation based in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, the significance of the findings goes way beyond climate-change politics.
It could have dramatic consequences for how vegetation is considered and managed. And it could have ramifications for securing future rainfall for some of the world’s most impoverished regions.
“Our theory also explains how declines in both rainfall and rainfall reliability can result from forest loss elsewhere,” Sheil says. “Such patterns have been observed in various parts of the world and are clearly of major importance for many people – for example, those who are suffering from the increasingly irregular monsoon rains in West Africa.
“I would have said Australia is a desert because of the global climate cycles, but if you do the calculations, a forest across the surface of Australia would produce forces strong enough to water it and you wouldn’t need to irrigate.
“When we look at the Amazon and ask, is the forest there because there is a lot of rain, we are saying, no, it is the other way around: the rain is there because there is a lot of forest.
“It may sound strange – forests causing wind, forests causing rain – but the physics is quite convincing.”
Climate scientists, however, still say the significance is not as great as has been claimed.
“It has now gone from a discussion about mechanism to a discussion about magnitude,” Sheil says, adding that a key objective of his work is to make climate models more reliable.
“At present the models are incorrect,” he says, “because they are missing one the key mechanisms of how the global climate works. I know it does sound amazing to say this, but once you look at these models they are not as detailed and not as smart as you would think.
“A lot of it is, they are calibrated to fit. There is a little bit of people hiding the problems, and that is bad science.
More environmental extremism
David Attenborough has made a good living out of wildlife but it is now clear that he is driven by a dislike of people rather than by a love of nature. If he were really a lover of nature he would be living somewhere like New Zealand's unspoilt Southland rather than in London. The scenery is famous, the water is trustworthy, they all speak English (with a funny accent) and internet access is good in the Southland
A recent report out of England is a perfect illustration of the thesis that a major component of the modern environmentalist movement consists of religious worshipers of a decidedly peculiar pagan proclivity, to wit, worshipers of Thanatos, the god of death.
The story is about the famous BBC broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, brother of the famous British actor Richard Attenborough. Sir David is a fixture of British TV, hosting various nature shows, including the acclaimed series Life on Earth.
Sir David has just put forward the simply lovely view that human beings are a disease afflicting the planet. He is greatly perturbed by the bête-noirs of the environmental movement: global warming and overpopulation. “We are plague on the Earth,” he cried piteously, adding, “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
Need I add that Sir David is a big supporter of the Optimum Population Trust, an NGO devoted to curtailing growth of the population?
With folks like him, Thanatos is God and Malthus was His Prophet.
Citing as an example Ethiopia, the “compassionate” Sir David averred, “We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and that’s not an inhuman thing to say.”
No, Sir David, it isn’t an inhuman thing to say — just a stunningly simplistic thing to say. The endemic famine in Ethiopia — like all famines in the last century — is mainly the consequence of a bad government and economic system, merely triggered by natural calamity. In the case of Ethiopia, it was most recently a drought, a natural weather cycle that has happened throughout recorded history. In fact, as the brilliant Bjorn Lomborg noted just recently, there hasn’t been any significant increase in drought worldwide over the last 60 years. There has been more drought in southern Europe and western Africa, true enough, but there has been less in northwestern Australia and central North America.
And by the way, if you do want to limit population growth, what you need to do is limit government and promote free enterprise, which invariably results in higher living standards. As the middle class increases, population growth declines. Depend on it.
The very flexible "sustainability" concept
Activist sustainability concepts don’t meet environmental, humanitarian or sustainability tests
Companies everywhere extol their sustainable development programs and goals. Sustainability drives UN programs like Agenda 21, EU and US green energy initiatives, and myriad manufacturing, agricultural, forestry and other efforts. But what is sustainability? What is – or isn’t – sustainable?
Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland said sustainability means we may develop … and meet the needs of current generations … only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
At first blush, that sounds logical, perhaps even ethical. But on closer examination, it is neither. It’s right out of Alice’s encounter with an anthropomorphic egg in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” Humpty Dumpty replied, “who is to be master. That’s all.”
Obama presidential science advisor John Holdren has said we cannot talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power and control. That troubling reality is at the core of growing debates about Washington, DC central power versus state federalism, individual rights and liberties, United Nations and European Union attempts to make decisions for sovereign nations, and the growing power and influence of activist nongovernmental organizations on energy, environmental, economic and other matters.
Because those who define the terms of debate increasingly determine public policies, they also determine who is to be master: those who must live with the consequences of their personal choices, or unaccountable mandarins who impose policies, regulations, decisions and consequences on others.
Putting that vital discussion aside for another day, one can discern three kinds of sustainability.
The public relations variety promotes corporate images and inspires flattering ads and press releases, but is largely devoid of real substance. A favorite example is a consulting company’s annual sustainability report, which boasted of having reduced the number of – paper cuts among employees.
Real sustainability seeks constantly improving technologies and practices: conserve energy, be more efficient, cut costs, to keep companies profitable and employees employed; tune up cars, keep tires inflated, and improve traffic light sequencing, to move traffic along, increase gas mileage and reduce pollution; use high yield farming to get the most crops per acre, reduce water use and improve nutrition.
This is tikun olam (repair of the world); the precept that you are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to abandon it; the Boy Scout prescription that we must leave our world better than we found it; the Judeo-Christian principle of stewardship of creation: or Robert Kennedy’s declaration: I dream things that never were and say, Why not?
This brings us back to sustainability á la Gro Brundtland, the UN, Rio+20 and environmental activists: We may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The concept it inherently unworkable and inequitable.
No one predicted, certainly not years in advance, that the Hearthstone House in Appleton, Wisconsin would suddenly be lit with hydroelectric power, or that electricity would safeguard and enhance our lives and economy in the numerous ways it does today. No one foresaw widespread natural gas use for electricity generation and home heating, ubiquitous laptop computers, flash drives, fiber optic cables replacing copper, or little mobile phones with far more power than a 1990 desktop computer.
Today, the pace of technological change has become mind-numbing. And yet, under sustainability dogma, we are supposed to predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s development activities will somehow not compromise those technologies’ unpredictable energy and raw material requirements.
Sustainability dogma also demands that we base policy decisions on knowing how many years energy, metal or other resource deposits will last, and to determine whether developing and using them will be sustainable. But what if new technologies let us find and develop new deposits, or make existing deposits last decades or centuries longer: 3-D and HD seismic, deepwater drilling and production, instant metallic mineral analysis gear in a backpack, or horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, for instance? How long must those expanded reserves last, before using them won’t be sustainable? And who decides?
How can politicians, regulators and environmental activists decree that oil and gas are not sustainable – even as seismic, fracking, drilling and other technologies unlock a century of new deposits? And then insist that corn ethanol is sustainable, even though this year’s US ethanol quota requires 40% of our corn crop, on an area the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water, huge quantities of hydrocarbon-based pesticides, fertilizers and tractor fuel, vast amounts of natural gas to run the distilleries, and perpetual subsidies … to produce a fuel that drives up food prices and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline?
How can they decree that wind energy is sustainable, despite killing millions of birds and bats every year?
How is it sustainable, ethical or “environmental justice” for the United States to use so many of the world’s oil, gas, rare earth, platinum, gold and other resources – because we refuse to allow exploration and development of our own vast energy, metallic and other deposits right here in the United States?
How is it ethical to safeguard the needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations, health and welfare of the most impoverished, energy-deprived, malnourished, politically powerless people on Earth? How much longer must 700 million Africans, 400 million Indians and another 300 million people in other countries continue to live without electricity and all its countless blessings, because eco-activists obsess about global warming, insist on wind and solar, and oppose coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants?
How long must billions of people remain destitute, diseased and malnourished, because environmental activists and UN bureaucrats don’t like economic development, insecticides or biotechnology, either?
Does anyone suppose human ingenuity, creativity and innovation (what Julian Simon called our ultimate resource) will suddenly stop functioning? Assuming there is no government restriction on or confiscation of our God-given rights to innovate, create, invest and build – will human beings ever stop doing so?
The fundamental problem with UN/activist/EPA “sustainability” is that it is infinitely elastic and malleable. No one can really know what it means, and it’s the perfect weapon in the hands of anti-hydrocarbon, anti-development activists. Whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable.
To the extent that their agendas foster “social justice” and “poverty eradication,” they will do so only in the context of climate protection, biodiversity, green growth, renewable energy, and an end to “unsustainable patterns of consumption and production” – as defined, evaluated and implemented by UN or EPA-approved scientists, regulators and activists, assisted largely by assumption-laden, agenda-driven computer models.
Worst of all, this UN/activist/EPA version of sustainable development gives unelected regulators increasing control over energy use, economic growth, wealth redistribution, and people’s lives, living standards, health and well-being. And they get control without the essential safeguards, checks and balances of robust science, independent courts, democracy, transparency, honesty and accountability.
We should and must always strive to conserve energy, water and other resources, reduce dangerous air and water pollutants – and be sustainable. But we cannot afford to let “sustainable development” become just one more pretext for ceding more power to unelected, non-transparent, unaccountable overseers.
Received via email from Paul Driessen [email@example.com]
Climate signals uncertain in Australia
Australia is a big place (MUCH bigger than Texas) so tends to have both droughts and floods at roughly the same time (in different parts of the country) so it takes a Warmist to extract any generalizations from that. Even they are growing hesitant, however, as we see below
For Australia, 2013 looks like being a "year of living extremely" if January is anything to go by. The Bureau of Meteorology says January was the hottest ever month in just over a century of records. Nationwide, the January average maximum temperature anomaly was 2.28 degrees, "a substantial increase" on the previous record of 2.17 degrees set in 1932. [And it was similarly hot way back in 1790]
And, thanks to the unusual scale of the massive heatwave that dominated the first half of January, all states and territories posted above-average temperatures, the bureau said
This week's floods, of course, added to the extremes. The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, warned damage to the state's economy was $2.4 billion and rising, eclipsing the $2.388 billion bill from the huge flooding of 2011. Insurers don't think it will be that bad for them.
Add in record low rainfall for much of southern Australia, a flurry of bushfires and it looks a lot like climate change is kicking in - or does it?
Professor John McAneney, the director of Risk Frontiers, an independent research group funded mostly by the insurance industry, says that based on a database of natural hazard events in Australia, including some dating back to 1803, "there has been no increase in the frequency of natural hazard events since 1950".
But what of the spiralling insurance claims in the wake of hailstorms, floods, cyclones (think Yasi at $1.4 billion) and bushfires ($4 billion for Victoria's Black Saturday firestorms)?
"What we can see very clearly is that when this dataset … is corrected for the increases in numbers of buildings at risk and their value, no long term trend remains," Professor McAneney said.
"It is indisputable that the rising toll of natural disasters is due to more people and assets at risk."
He said US hurricane modelling to identify a signal climate change is contributing to storm strength suggests it could be a while before the data is definitive. Averaging 18 different climate models, "it's going to take 260 years", he said.
"This whole thing about climate change being responsible for an increase in extreme weather, or natural disasters, is just a fiction really."
Cue howls of protests from climatologists and cries of "gotcha" from climate change doubters? Not quite.
Some climate change signals are clearer than others, and there is no reason to ignore the direction most indicators are clearly pointed, said Andrew Ash, director of the climate adaptation flagship at the CSIRO. "It doesn't mean all extremes are changing," Mr Ash said.
Take temperature, for instance. The weather bureau notes that during 2001-11, the frequency of record high temperatures in Australia was 2.8 times (for maximum temperatures) and 5.2 times for minimums than the rate of record low temperatures.
Sea temperatures are also increasing, with waters in the Australian region [Only in the Australian region? Sounds like a local phenomenon, not a global one] about 0.6-0.7 degrees warmer than they were in 1900, said Neil Plummer, assistant director of the weather bureau's climate information services.
Add a warmer atmosphere - with temperatures about 1 degree higher than pre-industrial levels [i.e. over 150 years!] and rising - there is little doubt more moisture can be held and then dumped in the form of more severe rain deluges.
A peer-reviewed report for the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate by researchers including Seth Westra, a hydrologist at the University of Adelaide, bears that out. The report found statistically significant increasing trends globally of annual maximum daily precipitation, using a dataset of 8326 high quality observing sites with more than 30 years of records. [Yet Warmists contantly tell us that it is drought that proves global warming!]
The median intensity of extreme precipitation increases "in proportion with changes in global mean temperature at a rate of between 5.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent per degree, depending on the method of analysis," the report found.
The big wet, when it comes, is getting wetter. But what of Australia? The weather bureau says it depends where you look.
The annual number of days with more than 30 millimetres of rain from 1950-2012 has decreased in the southern and eastern parts of the country but increased in the north.
And as for the frequency of disasters, such as cyclones, the answer is complex because there aren't many instances in the record to count.
"Because you're dealing with a very small number of very extreme events … the size of the signal you would need to have before it was statistically significant is detectable is quite big," said Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the bureau.
"The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."
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 1:30 PM