Sunday, November 24, 2013

House Votes on Energy Bills

The House passed three bills this week, largely along party lines, to ease restrictions on oil and gas drilling. The first bill aimed to streamline the permitting process by setting a 60-day deadline for drilling applications on federal lands. It passed 228-192 with 10 Democrats supporting the measure. The second, which passed 235-187 with a similar number of Democrats, would block the Interior Department from enforcing rules on hydraulic fracturing in states that already have their own regulations in place. The third bill, which passed with the help of 26 Democrats, would tighten the deadlines for rulings on natural gas pipeline projects.

These bills collectively seek to encourage an oil and gas boom that would boost the economy. As we noted Wednesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently announced that by 2015, the U.S. will top Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer and, in the next 20 years, will near energy independence.

But that all makes it a primary candidate for Barack Obama to oppose. Indeed, the White House issued a veto threat and the legislation stands little chance of reaching a Senate vote. Obama continues to hold fast to his claim that the federal government is helping the energy industry even though regulations continue to stymie any opportunities for effective development of America's natural resources.


Recent 10 Months U.S. Temperature trend/decade: – 1.1 F COOLER in 100 years

And the cooling continues. Sorry – I mean that Global Warming is really an imminent threat to humankind. Especially in Warsaw

So here are the recent 10 months (year to date, January- October) US temperature from a “historic” perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 113 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 43 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

I don’t know about you, but I consider a 10 month, a year by year consecutive trend 113 years long to be a “quite good” indicator.

And as I always point out:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Met Office Global Warming Prediction Falls Flat

In 2007, a team of climate scientists from the UK Met Office led by Doug Smith wrote a paper “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model”, published in the journal Science.  Although published in 2007, the paper made predictions for the decade 2004-2014. (Presumably the work was started around 2004 and it took some time for the paper to be published). The paper made claims about the “skill” of the model, for example “Having established the predictive skill of DePreSys…”

The Smith et al paper made the following specific predictions:

*   There would be 0.3°C warming over the decade 2004-2014

*    At least half of the years after 2009 would be warmer than the record year of 1998.

Note that at that time, 2007, the warmest year was thought to be 1998; subsequent adjustments to the method made 2005 warmer than 1998.

The predictions were spread far and wide. They were included in a Met Office Press release, and a glossy brochure on “Informing Government policy into the future”, with the almost obligatory scaremongering background pictures of black clouds and people wearing facemasks.  Vicky Pope gave a talk on these predictions, saying that “these are very strong statements about what will happen over the next 10 years.”

And of course the faithful media reported the story without questioning it.

These predictions have turned out to be wrong.  We are almost into 2014 and there has been no warming at all since 2004. Of the years since 2009,  none of them have broken the record of 1998 according to HADCRUT3 data. Using HADCRUT4, 2010 is warmer by a meaningless 0.01°C (that’s one tenth of the error estimate). 2011 and 2012 were cooler and it’s now clear that 2013 will be cooler also.

The warming prediction was for  0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)], so unless we get some significant warming over the next few months it looks as though the observations will be outside the CI of the model.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Heat 'not undermining Greenland's ice sheet'

SCIENTISTS have found that record melting is not undermining Greenland's massive ice sheet, reducing fears that it could literally slide into the ocean.

A study reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found the ice sheet moved more slowly than average in 2012, despite “unbelievably warm” temperatures that triggered the most extreme melting in 123 years.

The findings alleviate concerns that lubrication caused by meltwaters which sink to the base of the ice sheet could accelerate its flow into the ocean.

“It’s a bit like walking into a bathroom with a wet floor,” said co-author Matt King of the University of Tasmania. “All of a sudden you’re moving a lot faster than you intended to.”

He said the ice sheet flowed up to twice as quickly during warm summer periods such as July 12 last year, when 99 per cent of the ice sheet experienced some melting – the most widespread melt since 1889.

For the last decade scientists have speculated that this accelerated flow could exacerbate sea level rises caused by surface runoff and icebergs breaking away from the world’s second biggest ice sheet.

Professor King said 2012 was an ideal time to test the theory, because surface temperatures had reached levels considered likely to be commonplace by the end of the century. “It gave us a great opportunity to (see) how the ice sheet responds under those conditions,” he said.

The study used GPS to track the movement of poles sunk into a 120 kilometre strip of ice in south-western Greenland. It found that the total amount of ice flowing into the ocean in 2012 was 6 per cent less than in the “average” melt year of 2009.

The researchers reasoned that accelerated summer ice flows were “negated” by unusually slow flows during the winter, when the water at the base of the ice sheet could not build up enough pressure to maintain the momentum. “The summer isn’t the full story – you need to look at the whole year,” Professor King said.

He said the finding reinforced the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that the mechanism would only have a small effect on sea levels. “But they could only have medium confidence in that (prediction),” he said.

“We’re adding more weight of evidence to their decisions. It definitely doesn’t look like this is going to be a major player in the future.”


Does  global warming WEAKEN tornadoes?

By Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the recent spate of deadly twisters, including those that tore through the Midwest over the weekend, the scientific evidence shows that strong to violent tornadoes have actually been decreasing for the past 58 years, and it is possible that the explanation lies with global warming.

That is certainly not the popular impression. Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, commented in May on the powerful tornadoes that had just hit Oklahoma. “This is climate change,” she said, adding: “You’re going to have terrible storms. You’re going to have tornadoes.” Commenting around the same time, Michael E. Mann, a prominent climatologist, was only slightly more cautious. He said, “If you’re a betting person — or the insurance or reinsurance industry, for that matter — you’d probably go with a prediction of greater frequency and intensity of tornadoes as a result of human-caused climate change.”

But the evidence shows the opposite.

I am not talking about global warming per se, which I am convinced is real and caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. But not everything attributed to global warming has a scientific basis.

Let’s begin by consulting the relevant data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On its website, NOAA has a chart plotting the total number of tornadoes recorded in the United States from 1950 to 2011. At first glance, the increase looks dramatic: The number of tornadoes in 1950 was only 200, and by 2011 it had shot up to 1,700.

But the 200 number is ridiculously small. If it had truly been that low in the past, “The Wizard of Oz” never would have been written. And indeed NOAA accounts for those early small numbers by explaining that originally only the most violent tornadoes were recorded, leading to lower reported totals. By contrast, these days even little storms are logged; backyard dust devils are reported for insurance claims, and Doppler radar makes it hard for any tornado to escape notice.

What about in more recent decades? If you look at the numbers plotted on the NOAA chart for 1976, you’ll see that only about 800 tornadoes were recorded in the United States — around half of today’s numbers. This increase also looks dramatic.

But here, too, the increase is a function of enhanced reporting. The scientists at NOAA note explicitly that the rise in the numbers has come almost exclusively from the improved documentation of so-called category EF0 tornadoes — the ones that are so weak that their legacy consists only of broken branches and damaged billboards. As another NOAA website warns, “This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency.”

Misleading indeed. If you count all tornadoes except the EF0 tornadoes, then the number has remained fairly steady from 1954 to now.

But enhanced reporting might be distorting more than just the numbers of the very weakest storms. So let’s consider only the most violent tornadoes, the ones in categories EF3 to EF5. A tornado of EF3 is “severe,” with winds of 136 to 165 miles per hour. Roofs of strong houses are ripped off; trains are overturned. EF4 and EF5 are worse, hurling cars and destroying even well-built homes. These devastating tornadoes are always reported.

The NOAA chart shows that the number of these storms has been significantly decreasing over the past 58 years, from over 50 per year in the first half to under 40 per year in the second. The statistical significance of this decrease is extremely high: well above 99 percent confidence.

How can this be? What about all the recent horrible tornadoes? What about the fact that a tornado in Oklahoma in May set a width record of 2.6 miles?

It is wise to be cautious about the panic that sets in when a storm kills a large number of people. People search for reasons to believe the storms are worse than in the past, even if the numbers contradict them. Victims naturally wish to explain why loved ones died and they look for a villain — and they can find one in global warming.

But global warming does not obviously lead to increased or more violent tornadoes. It is possible, for instance, that the increased energy brought by the higher temperatures of global warming is less significant than global warming’s reduction in the north-south temperature difference (the poles warm more than the Equator). The latter could reduce the kind of hot-cold weather fronts that generate severe storms. The current climate models are simply unable to make a clear prediction, and reduced tornadoes from global warming are just as plausible as increased ones.

One thing is clear, however: The number of severe tornadoes has gone down. That is not a scientific hypothesis, but a scientific conclusion based on observation. Regardless of the limitations of climate theory, we can take some comfort in that fact.


Australia:  The Industry Department's new secretary gives warning to climate change employees: Labelled 'unusual'

Whether it's unusual or not, it's certainly realistic.  The bureaucracy seems mostly to be comprised of people with heavily Green/Left views

Hundreds of public servants from the Industry and Climate Change departments have been told to quit their jobs if they do not want to implement the Abbott government's policies.

The warning was issued just days after the former Climate Change chief and Industry boss were sacked by the Coalition government on its first day in office and the opposition says the "extraordinary'' comments were part of a concerted effort to "intimidate" the public service.

The Industry Department's new secretary, Glenys Beauchamp, gathered about 1500 of her workers in Canberra on September 20 for a briefing and told them to reconsider their positions if they were not prepared to serve the government of the day.

The tough talk to the workers, many of whom had been moved from the abolished Climate Change Department, was leaked to former industry minister Kim Carr, leading to a grilling of Ms Beauchamp at an estimates committee hearing on Thursday in Canberra.

Under the questioning, Ms Beauchamp told the senator she had responded to a question from a worker about how they would administer climate change policy, with a reminder of their duties as public servants.

"I said a range of things, what a secretary of a new portfolio would be expected to say, there were questions from the floor," Ms Beauchamp told Senator Carr.

"There was a question around what I thought of some of the arrangements around the formation of the new portfolio and I responded in the way a professional public servant does, as in 'we are here to serve the government of the day and public servants, like any other employees have choices whether they would like to abide by code of conduct and APS values and continue the journey'."

Senator Carr said he was surprised the secretary had felt the need to make those remarks to a group of professional public servants.

"Whatever the secretary's intention, these were unusual comments to be making," Senator Carr said.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


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