Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Presenter of British TV science programs for children deplores Warmist school propaganda

This is from two years back but is as topical as ever

Earth orbit changes key to climate change

For more than a century scientists have known that Earth's ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet's orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions.

The Northern Hemisphere's last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north.

But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least two, and perhaps four, millennia earlier than previously thought.

Most previous evidence for Antarctic climate change has come from ice cores drilled in East Antarctica, the highest and coldest part of the continent. However, a U.S.-led research team studying a new ice core from West Antarctica found that warming there was well under way 20,000 years ago.

"Sometimes we think of Antarctica as this passive continent waiting for other things to act on it. But here it is showing changes before it 'knows' what the north is doing," said T.J. Fudge, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and lead corresponding author of the Nature paper.

Co-authors are 41 other members of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide project, which is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation.

The findings come from a detailed examination of an ice core taken from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide, an area where there is little horizontal flow of the ice so the data are known to be from a location that remained consistent over long periods.

The ice core is more than 2 miles deep and covers 68,000 years, though so far data have been analyzed only from layers going back 30,000 years. Near the surface, 1 meter of ice covers one year, but at greater depths the annual layers are compressed to centimeters.

Fudge identified the annual layers by running two electrodes along the ice core to measure higher electrical conductivity associated with each summer season. Evidence of greater warming turned up in layers associated with 18,000 to 22,000 years ago, the beginning of the last deglaciation.

"This deglaciation is the last big climate change that that we're able to go back and investigate," he said. "It teaches us about how our climate system works."

West Antarctica is separated from East Antarctica by a major mountain range. East Antarctica has a substantially higher elevation and tends to be much colder, though there is recent evidence that it too is warming.

Rapid warming in West Antarctica in recent decades has been documented in previous research by Eric Steig, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences who serves on Fudge's doctoral committee and whose laboratory produced the oxygen isotope data used in the Nature paper. The new data confirm that West Antarctica's climate is more strongly influenced by regional conditions in the Southern Ocean than East Antarctica is.

"It's not surprising that West Antarctica is showing something different from East Antarctica on long time scales, but we didn't have evidence for that before," Fudge said.

He noted that the warming in West Antarctica 20,000 years ago is not explained by a change in the sun's intensity. Instead, how the sun's energy was distributed over the region was a much bigger factor. It not only warmed the ice sheet but also warmed the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, particularly during summer months when more sea ice melting could take place.

Changes in Earth's orbit today are not an important factor in the rapid warming that has been observed recently, he added.

"Earth's orbit changes on the scale of thousands of years, but carbon dioxide today is changing on the scale of decades so climate change is happening much faster today," Fudge said.


Britain's attention-seeking Green/Left have found a new playground

Obstructing exploratory drilling for fracking potential

The campaigners, many hardened environmental activists, have been buoyed by Sussex Police advice to Cuadrilla last week that they could not guarantee to protect the site from incursions.

As a result, Cuadrilla temporarily ‘scaled back’ its operations, a move seized on as victory by the anti-fracking groups.

But yesterday Sussex officers, appearing to respond to public criticism of that advice, began forcibly removing any activists hindering Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling at the site.

Miss Lucas was heard to scream in shock ‘That’s my son’ as a man aged in his early 20s sitting near her was one of the first to be led away by police. Officers then spoke to her briefly before leading her away to a police van.

Sussex Police has received help from ten other forces in the operation. Officer numbers swelled to more than 400 to face down the estimated 700 protestors.

Police surrounded the area and physically forced the protesters back just after lunchtime yesterday. A few who taunted officers were pulled out of the crowd and arrested by ‘snatch squads’.

A barrier of bicycles set up by protesters to slow down the police was quickly smashed out of the way.  As a result of the action the road was closed, and officers were effectively kettling protesters into a small space in front of the drilling site

Cuadrilla had hoped to carry out exploratory drilling to assess if it is worth applying for a licence to extract shale gas that might involve fracking.

The overall police operation against the protesters is expected to cost taxpayers more than £2million as it goes into its third week.  Police from other areas where fracking applications have been made have sent observers to the scene of the protests.

In London, a group of anti-fracking protestors yesterday glued their hands to the door of the offices of Bell Pottinger, the PR firm representing Cuadrilla.

Another activist climbed the High Holborn building and unfurled a banner bearing the words ‘Bell Pottinger – fracking liars’. During the noisy six-hour protest, six women aged between 25 and 59 accused the PR firm of ‘spinning dirty lies’.

Protesters also said they had staged a demonstration outside the home of former energy secretary Lord Howell, erecting an estate agent-style ‘For Shale’ sign.

Lord Howell became a target for their action when he said fracking should go ahead in the North  East because it had ‘large and  uninhabited and desolate areas’, before claiming he had meant the North West.

David Cameron yesterday broke his silence over whether he would support fracking in his Witney constituency, saying he would welcome it.  It comes a week after his spokesman declined ten times to give a definitive answer on the controversial practice.

Yesterday the same spokesman said: ‘If locally led planning processes were followed then yes, the Prime Minister would be happy [for fracking to go ahead].’

Mr Cameron has said the whole country should accept fracking as it might potentially cut rising energy bills.

Anarchists from across Europe have joined the protests in Balcombe.

The groups from Spain, France, Holland and Poland were alerted to the ‘cause’ by protest websites and freely admit they know little about the arguments for and against fracking.

Police say the village has turned into a ‘free festival’ for professional protesters who are treating the stand-off as a ‘tourist attraction’.

Camper vans, cars and tents – some of which have fully stocked kitchens – line the grass verges for almost a mile outside the West Sussex site.

One man from Malaga said he arrived in Balcombe on Sunday after he heard about ‘direct action’ methods being used. I was in London and going back to Europe when I heard about this. I’ve only recently learnt about fracking, but thought this would be fun.


Examining the social cost of carbon

On Friday, Aug. 9, the Federal Register posted an announcement calling for public comments on the use of the “social cost of carbon” in DOE rulemaking. The members of the House of Representatives have already presented their opinions on social cost of carbon by passing a bill just prior to recess prohibiting its use by the EPA without consent of Congress. It is unclear whether the Senate will take up the issue, although the prohibition would almost certainly face a presidential veto. But without good cause.

The social cost of carbon is a poor concept from the start. It is an ill-conceived, one-sided supposed measure of the damages associated with climate change resulting from human emissions of carbon-containing greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane). Or, rather, it is a measure of the damages predicted to occur by a collection of computer models — computer models which themselves largely fail at capturing the climate evolution during recent decades.

Under normal circumstances, little attention would be paid to the esoteric squabbling of economists arguing about how to place a largely theoretical value on a measure which is imprecise and ever-changing by its very nature. However, the social cost of carbon has been elevated to the limelight by the Obama administration which has introduced it into the cost-benefit analysis that must be performed for new rules and regulations.

The social cost of carbon — or its converse, the alleged benefits conferred by reducing carbon dioxide emissions — has become one the administration’s favorite tools for counteracting the high costs associated with an ever-growing string of actual and proposed new rules governing everything from microwave oven efficiency to coal-killing power plant emissions standards.

The administration is so empowered by the social cost of carbon, that, realizing still untapped potential, it recently upped its initial estimates of the social cost of carbon by about 50 percent. By assigning a central damage estimate (cost) of $35 for each ton of emitted carbon dioxide rather than $21 per ton, more and costlier regulations can be neutralized by the purported benefits of greenhouse gas reductions.

But in its haste to find a way to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the administration has turned its back on both standing federal guidelines as well as sound science.

For example, the administration dismisses federal guidelines which require an analysis of the cost of regulations from a domestic perspective. Rather than focusing only on costs expected to occur in the U.S., the administration determines the social cost of carbon from a consideration of perceived global impacts. Since the U.S. is much better positioned to respond to and adapt to climate changes than many other countries, the domestic costs are only a fraction of the total global costs. So what the administration is essentially doing is claiming ill-defined foreign benefits to justify the costs of U.S. regulations.

More egregiously, the administration turns its back on science. There is growing realization among climate scientists that the projections of climate change resulting from human greenhouse gas emissions have been overestimated. This realization stems from evidence published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature over the course of the past several years suggesting that the warming potential from greenhouse gas emissions is 40 percent lower than that which is currently encapsulated in climate models. Even while admitting that the climate sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions is a key parameter in its calculations, the administration ignores these new findings and instead increased its estimate of the social cost of carbon in the face of the best science which demands that they should have decreased it.

The social cost of carbon is a concept which is easily gamed to fit the desires of the user — a characteristic emphasized in a recent paper by M.I.T. economist Robert Pindyck where he wrote that the models used to determine the SCC “suggests a level of knowledge and precision that is nonexistent, and allows the modeler to obtain almost any desired result because key inputs can be chosen arbitrarily.”

In this case, the user, the Obama administration, desires to limit greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to mitigate climate change (an endeavor in which it will ultimately fail as the future course of climate change lies not with the U.S., but with the large, developing nations of the world). Unsurprisingly, the social cost of carbon was determined to be high and has gotten even higher just in time for the new round of regulations and executive actions making up the president’s recently announced Climate Action Plan.

Unbeknownst to most of us, the social cost of carbon is a playing an increasing role in our personal lives as our government uses it to justify making things more expensive — from cars to electricity. To do so, it lays science and best practices by the wayside.


Solar power’s going to be great: Which is why we shouldn’t be subsidising it today

Written by Tim Worstall

I'm a firm believer that all of this climate change thing is going to be solved by the application of human ingenuity. You might call me a Simonite on that point.I'm also absolutely certain that solar power is going to play a large part in that solution. There's just so damn much of it available that it would be near mad insane of us not to use it. At which point my insistence that we should not be subsidising the installation of current solar power is going to seem most odd. However, I refer you to Mike Munger:

In 20 years, solar will be useful, and used. But it's a mistake to spend our money now on an immature and still not well-engineered solar generation system.

I'd argue on the 20 years: it's going to be much sooner than that. Solar power depends upon a variant of Moore's Law (in part, at least, and then further on the efficiency with which silicon metal can be made, something increasing by leaps and bounds as well) and it's getting more efficient faster than most realise. Or more productive perhaps, to bring the falling price of it into play.

The usual argument at this point is that since solar will become efficient at some point in hte near future then we've got to subsidise the installation of it right now. Which is absurd of course: that it will be grid comparable in general (rather than just in specific locations, as now) in the near future is exactly why we shouldn't be offering any subsidiy at all for installation of the current, not efficient, generation. And the closer that near future is the stronger the argument against subsidy. If the next generation of solar, available in, say, 2015, will be cheaper than coal (a claim some make although I'm not sure it will be that quick) then why one Earth would we waste money installing not efficient solar in 2014?

Save the money and install the efficient stuff in 2015. This is true whatever your timescale for solar becoming efficient is. The more anyone insists that it will become efficient the more they ought to be arguing against the subsidy of the installation of the current generation of inefficient solar.

Subsidy for development, for R&D work, that's different, with a different set of arguments. But subsidy for the current installation, for 25 years of subsidy through feed in tariffs, when we're all also arguing that unsubsidised efficient kit will be available in 2 or 5 years, is simply ridiculous. Wait and install the good stuff instead of littering the countryside with the current bad kit.


Warmist Trenberth downgrades global warming to just a ‘hotspot’ that moves ‘unpredictably’

Kevin Trenberth told ClimateProgress’ Joe Romm:

We can confidently say that the risk of drought and heat waves has gone up and the odds of a hot spot somewhere on the planet have increased but the hotspot moves around and the location is not very predictable. This year perhaps it is East Asia: China, or earlier Siberia? It has been much wetter and cooler in the US (except for SW), whereas last year the hot spot was the US. Earlier this year it was Australia (Tasmania etc) in January (southern summer). We can name spots for all summers going back quite a few years: Australia in 2009, the Russian heat wave in 2010, Texas in 2011, etc.

Similarly with risk of high rains and floods: They are occurring but the location moves.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


No comments: