Thursday, November 14, 2013

That pesky temperature stasis (referred to by Warmists as a "slowdown" now that they have eventually admitted it)

Since even Warmist figures show temperatures on a plateau for the last 17 years that is mighty embarrassing to Warmists.  Something must be done!  And, regrettably, the only thing that CAN really be done is to throw all the existing figures out the window!  And a new paper by Cowtan and Wray (no relation) does just that. And their new method of juggling the figures shows warming!

Skeptics have of course been having a ball poking  holes in it but I will simply reproduce below Judith Curry's evaluation of the paper.  As a senior climate scientist, she knows where the skeletons are buried.  After a thorough survey of the paper she concludes as follows:

Let’s take a look at the 3 methods they use to fill in missing data, primarily in Africa, Arctic, and Antarctic.

1.  Kriging
2.  UAH satellite analyses of surface air temperature
3.  NCAR NCEP reanalysis

They state that most of the difference in their reconstructed global average comes from the Arctic, so I focus on the Arctic (which is where I have special expertise in any event).

First, Kriging.  Kriging across land/ocean/sea ice boundaries makes no physical sense.  While the paper cites Rigor et al. (2000) that shows ‘some’ correlation in winter between land and sea ice temps at up to 1000 km, I would expect no correlation in other seasons.

Second, UAH satellite analyses.  Not useful at high latitudes in the presence of temperature inversions and not useful over sea ice (which has a very complex spatially varying microwave emission signature).  Hopefully John Christy will chime in on this.

Third, re reanalyses in the Arctic. See Fig 1 from this paper, which gives you a sense of the magnitude of grid point errors for one point over an annual cycle.  Some potential utility here, but reanalyses are not useful for trends owing to temporal inhomogeneities in the datasets that are assimilated.

So I don’t think Cowtan and Wray’s analysis adds anything to our understanding of the global surface temperature field and the ‘pause.’

The bottom line remains Ed Hawkins’ figure that compares climate model simulations for regions where the surface observations exist.  This is the appropriate way to compare climate models to surface observations, and the outstanding issue is that the climate models and observations disagree.


That's a pretty swingeing dismissal of the paper.  Note: Kriging is estimating a curve from a small number of data points:  Educated guesswork, in short -- JR

Another puerile atempt to exploit the recent cyclone in the Philippines

We skeptics have blood on our hands according to Jeffrey Sachs, a prominent Warmist academic  -- who claims that  Typhoons and the like are increasing.  Roger Pielke Jr., however, shows what the facts are:  He Tweeted:

"Wrong @JeffDSachs Attached figure from paper you (mis)cite for WNP basin (where Haiyan hit) showing trends, see any?"

There is of course no trend.  WNP = Western North Pacific -- one of the 7 basins where cyclones occur

More typhoons will happen unless liberal energy policies are adopted, and those who disagree have “blood on their hands” – at least according to climate alarmist Jeffrey Sachs.

Sachs, a friend of liberal billionaire George Soros and head of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a favorite of the news media, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Nov. 12 to discuss the recent tragedy caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

“What’s happening here, and this is the part that people have a hard time, you know, coming to grips with, is that we’re partly causing this,” Sachs said. “We’re causing this because there are more and more of these storms, because of the way that humanity is changing the world’s environment.”

Sach’s referenced an unnamed study that said that inclement weather was getting worse over time. “I brought along from 2008 a scientific study showing that the number of extreme storms or – not the frequency, but the power of them has been rising decade by decade, as the ocean water is warming And so this kind of event, we’re seeing more of it.”

Sachs’ claim was right out of the global warming activist playbook for any sort of natural disaster. However, he ignored the Atlantic hurricane season forecasts’ “bust” in 2013. In fact, so far 2013 has been only two storms away from going the entire season without a single hurricane.

Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons all fall in the category of tropical cyclones according to Time. Time’s Bryan Walsh in a piece advocating for reductions in greenhouse gase emissions admitted that the IPCC’s latest report had “low confidence” there would be more intense tropical cyclones in coming decades. He also wrote, “if existing climate change played a role in supercharging Haiyan, it’s likely tiny, as NASA climatologist Bill Patzert told the Pasadena Star-News: The fingerprint is very small, if at all. If the winds are 200 mph, global warming might have contributed 5 mph to that 200 mph.”

Despite what Sachs and the media have claimed about climate change not all scientists are of the same viewpoint. More than 1,000 scientists are on record dissenting in some way from the so-called "consensus." U.S. government atmospheric scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said, "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic [manmade] global warming." Other scientists disagree about the extent of man’s influence on climate or over how threatening that is to the planet.

According to Sachs, those who oppose changing the way our nation uses energy are to blame for these kinds of disasters. “This kind of event will happen more frequently unless we change the way we run our energy system. This is what humanity is doing. This is very, very hard to come to grips with,” Sachs said.

Sachs wasn’t just saying that energy policy has to be changed either. He thinks that people responsible for opposing “green” energy plans are guilty whenever someone dies from a natural disaster. Sachs tweeted on Nov. 10 that “Climate liars like Rupert Murdoch & Koch Brothers have more & more blood on their hands as climate disasters claim lives across the world.”


The theology of global warming (It's all theology anyway)

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, M.Div., Ph.D.,  Professor of Theology and Immediate Past President of Chicago Theological Seminary, fills us in.  She seems to think God is a Warmist.  Maybe someone should thwaite her thistle.  My theological pronouncement on the matter:  "All Thistlethwaites and Gilfillans have icewater where blood should be"

Christian theology distinguishes between “natural evil,” that is, destruction and suffering that can be caused by natural phenomena like earthquakes or storms, and moral evil, the kind of evils that result from the interlocking effects of human sin.

Is the destructiveness of Typhoon Haiyan a tragedy of “natural evil,” the kind of horrible occurrence that occurs randomly in nature?  Or, is it actually moral evil, traceable to human sin?

There is no doubt this storm is a massive evil. Haiyan, with its sustained wind speeds of 150 to 170 mph, is among the strongest storms on record and it has produced mass suffering and death, as well as widespread destruction.

The fact that we are having to invent new language to describe such massively destructive storms, like “Super Typhoon Haiyan” or “Superstorm Sandy” suggests we need to take a different look at such violent storms today and theologically assess the human responsibility for them.

These “superstorms” aren’t an “act of God,” but an act of willful disregard for God’s creation, and the neglect of the human responsibility to care for the planet.

There is a stronger and stronger case to be made that these “superstorms” and “supertyphoon” phenomena are product of abrupt climate changes due to global warming produced by the continued (and increasing) burning fossil fuels.

As these massively destructive storms capture our attention, our compassion, and hopefully our charity as well, they are also convincing many more Americans that human activity is the cause.

There is a theological prescription, in a classical sense, for what we must do: confession, repentance and change.  In the case of what we are up against in terms of planetary destruction, those theological directives look like this:

Admit human caused, violently destructive climate change is happening.  The harm to God’s creation is real, it is happening and human beings bear enormous responsibility for it.

Repent for what we have already lost by inaction. Those who talk about “reversing the effects of climate change” are also engaging in a form of denial. There is no reversing, but that does not mean the climate change is unstoppable at current levels. But action to stop what we have already done, and slow down future changes, is urgent.

Change personal practice and public policy. The World Health Organization has a good analysis of climate change policies that are needed. So do many other reputable organizations. Individuals need to take responsibility as well, both to move toward less of a carbon footprint, and to vote for those who will make positive policy changes.


Political rows over energy ‘will leave Britain debating in the dark’

Political rows over energy policy will leave Britain “having a debate in the dark” as investors are spooked from building new power plants, a leading investor has warned.

Wind farm developer Dong Energy said it was now extremely difficult” for the company to make investment decisions in the UK because energy was being treated as a “political football” and delays to policy reforms.

The chief executives of two other energy giants, Drax and E.On, echoed the warnings at an energy industry conference on Tuesday, saying the political climate was worrying and driving up the cost of capital.

Benj Sykes, UK country manager at Dong Energy, which has invested about £4bn in the UK over the past decade, said: “We are now living in the world of rhetoric and unfortunately rational debate is becoming an endangered species.”

The company was now looking back “wistfully” on the past few years’ broad consensus on energy, he said, adding: “My goodness what a difference a conference season can make.”

Since Ed Miliband announced plans at the Labour Party Conference for a retail energy price freeze, the Prime Minister has responded with an announcement of a review of "green levies". Some ministers have suggested this includes a review of levies to subsidise new power plants, despite denials from the Energy Department.

Mr Sykes said he was struggling to convince Dong’s board in Copenhagen that there was the political agreement and certainty needed to invest in the UK, warning: “We need to get back to agreeing on a few things otherwise we are all going to be sat here having a debate in the dark.”

Mr Sykes also criticised the slow pace of the Government’s energy policy reforms, which are supposed to encourage construction of new power plants. He complaining the process had been going on for three years and had “more than 4,000 pages of consultation and documentation” but still had “quite a bit to go, quite a lot of detail to be finalised”.

“For us that is starting to become a challenge. Our future round of investments – we are talking a few billion pounds worth of investments - they are not on the horizon, they are actually knocking on the door now. So we do need that certainty, and time is getting short,” he told the EnergyUK conference.

Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax, which is in the process of converting the UKs largest coal-fired power station to burn biomass, also warned about the nature of the political debate. “I worry about what’s going on,” she said. “Rational behaviour starts to get set aside when things get too emotional. And there is a lot of emotion at the present.”

She said the industry wanted to find a solution to the basic challenge of balancing affordability, energy security and decarbonisation but warned:

“There is no obvious solution,” she added.

Tony Cocker, chief executive of E.On, said: “The perception of political risk has increased over the past few weeks.”

Mr Cocker has already written to Mr Miliband to warn that the cost of capital for investors – and therefore future energy prices - had been increased because of the “disproportionate and inappropriate” price freeze.


Warmists debate a  "green dictatorship"

But the writer below concludes regretfully that it would be too hard to do

This diary was composed in response to a comment in my last diary to the effect that what the world needs is some sort of "green dictatorship" -- that if people are not going to do of their own free will what is necessary to mitigate the coming global warming catastrophe, then people need to be forced to quit accelerating the Earth's transformation into some sort of cooler version of Venus through runaway global warming.  I can only assume that arguments of this sort are made out of a sort of realistic desperation, given the enormous scope of the problem and the general unwillingness of present-day human governments to do a whole lot about it....

As I understand them, dictatorships (and authoritarian governments in general) are mostly about process.  Fundamentally, they are about two processes which can be queried as follows: 1) what does it take to become a dictator?  and 2) what does it take to maintain a dictatorship?  Generally dictatorships thrive on mechanisms of power: total surveillance, militarization of everyday life, persecution of dissidents, placation of the masses, ideological propaganda, and so on.  We have plenty of that throughout the world even though it coexists with "democracy" quite well.

Consumer products are good things for a dictatorship, because the masses can be bribed with them.  Accept our tyranny, the regime says, because most of you will get a cheap toaster oven.  Capitalism is also good for authoritarian governance, because that way you can have "leaders" who take responsibility for official actions, and moneyed power behind the scenes directing everything with massive infusions of cash.

Voting is good for dictatorship maintenance.  Voting is especially good when you have an oligarchic system, with two major parties.  The dictators can switch positions now and then, and the electoral system can endlessly promote "voter choice" even when the outcomes are similar in many respects regardless of who wins.  (The idea that "the Republicans are worse," although true, does not contradict this reality.)  Dictatorship is not contradicted by voting; the Soviets voted.  Real democracy is when the public will makes policy decisions -- it's not "American Fascism" or "inverted totalitarianism" or "no functioning democracy."  Thus the word "democracy" -- "demos" = the people, "cratein" = to rule.

The masses are going to need some amount of hope, and global warming is not going to give them hope.  So I don't see how the coming eco-dictatorship is going to supply people with hope.  I suppose they could feed everyone a bunch of false hope while pursuing a green agenda, but who is going to buy into that?  And where is the truth when everyone is lying?  Apparently the Chinese want to pursue green energy to a much greater extent than they do, but they still keep burning enormous quantities of coal nonetheless, having thrown their lot in with the ideological hopes of capitalist growth.  And even so, ecology appears to be on the side of rebellion in China, which has experienced no shortage of despairing anti-pollution protests in the past few decades (at least if you believe the economist Minqi Li).

Dictatorships typically arise on the crest of an ideological wave.  The Nazis had Nazism, which was created before their takeover in 1933; Mussolini's autobiography boasts that he had parlayed the culture of the people into a position of power, and the Soviets combined Czarist brutality with a cultural communism which had already been part of Russian culture by the time 1917 rolled around.  So why would green-thinking people want to trust a dictatorship to remold the world today?

Groupthink thrives in dictatorships.  Even if our favored dictatorship's groupthink were the "right" groupthink -- for instance, you'd want everyone to agree that something needs to be done about global warming -- you'd still run into implementation problems.  We'll need creative solutions to the food problem, for instance, as the global food transportation system is partially dismantled in favor of local food production/ consumption.  Climate change is the sort of problem that requires creativity, and creativity is hindered when everyone is following orders or going along with official directives.

Wanting to remold society according to one's wishes is nice, pleasant wishful thinking.  In reality, the means of remolding would take over if we could somehow amass the power to realize eco-fantasies of global transformation through dictatorship, and bring us the same crazy world we thought we were trying to transcend.  If we are to change the world to survive global warming, we must have the patience, humility, and expertise of star teachers, and cultivate learning experiences in which the people find out how to direct their own, collective fates.  It can happen democratically.


Australia: Vegetation clearing rules to be eased in fire-prone parts of NSW

The NSW government plans to loosen planning rules to give residents in bushfire-prone regions more freedom to clear vegetation around their homes without a permit.

The new rules, to be introduced next year in the next session of Parliament, would allow homeowners in designated areas to fell trees within 10 metres of their homes and clear shrubs and other vegetation out to 50 metres on their own land without requiring planning permission.

The proposal comes weeks after early-season bushfires in the Blue Mountains and elsewhere destroyed more than 200 homes and damaged 120 more.

"Residents in designated bushfire prone areas will not need to seek permission to sensibly clear vegetation from around their property that is posing a fire risk," Premier Barry O'Farrell said in a statement.

"This will need to be done in an environmentally responsible manner."

Homeowners will be encouraged to "responsibly manage fire risks on their own properties", Mr O'Farrell said.

"Our changes will ensure the rules regarding hazard reduction are based on protecting lives and property – and not satisfying a narrow Green agenda that seeks to put trees before people."

While the clearing rules won't go before the Parliament this year, the government will this week introduce laws giving the Rural Fire Service Commissioner the power to carry out hazard reduction burning on private land without consent of the owner if "reasonable attempts to contact the landowner have failed", the statement said.

The RFS Commissioner will also have the power to direct a Bush Fire Management Committee to amend its Bush Fire Risk Management Plan if it is considered to be inadequate, the statement said.

"We need to ensure the community is as prepared as it possibly can be for future bushfires and that authorities have the powers they need to conduct essential hazard reduction work," Mr O'Farrell said.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone asked me if the relief efforts are carbon neutral. I wonder how many climate change believers shut off their lights and parked their SUV's to cancel out the flights into the Philippines with relief aid.