Sunday, December 22, 2013

'Irreplacable scientific data must be saved'  

Note the value which real scientists below place on keeping  their research data generally available and contrast that with the nervous secrecy with which Warmists routinely hide their raw data.  Despite huge legal pressures, Michael Mann, for instance, is still refusing to open up his files

Researchers at the University of British Columbia chose a random set of of 516 studies published between 1991 and 2001 and found that all data from the two-year-old papers was still available but that the chance of it still existing fell off by 17 per cent for each year of age.

The paper, published this week in Current Biology, warns that scientists are “poor stewards of their data” and calls for journals to begin uploading information onto public archives so it can be preserved for the future.

Having access to the raw data of a study is vital in order for other scientists to asses, replicate or build on that work.

Data was requested from the authors of each of the randomly-chosen studies, but the researchers found that the odds for even finding a working email address declined by seven per cent each year since publication.

Tim Vines, a visiting scholar at the University of British Columbia and one of the authors of the paper, said: “Publicly funded science generates an extraordinary amount of data each year. Much of these data are unique to a time and place, and is thus irreplaceable, and many other datasets are expensive to regenerate.

“The current system of leaving data with authors means that almost all of it is lost over time, unavailable for validation of the original results or to use for entirely new purposes.

“I don’t think anybody expects to easily obtain data from a 50-year-old paper, but to find that almost all the datasets are gone at 20 years was a bit of a surprise.”

Vines argues that papers with readily accessible data are more valuable for society and thus should get priority for publication.

“Losing data is a waste of research funds and it limits how we can do science. Concerted action is needed to ensure it is saved for future research,” he said.


European Union funding £90m green lobbying con

The European Union is paying green campaign groups millions of pounds effectively to lobby itself.

Activists are being given the grants from a European Commission environmental fund, which enables a network of green groups to influence and promote EU policy.

The practice has been branded a “cash carousel” by critics, who have called for the special fund — called Life+ — to be scrapped.

In total, the fund has handed out more than £90 million to green groups in the past 15 years, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which has analysed its spending.

Just over a fifth of its funding — £7.5 million in the latest round of grants — went to help “strengthen” green groups “in the dialogue process in environmental policymaking and in its implementation”.

One Brussels-based campaign group, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), has received £10.5 million from the fund since 1997, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

The group’s stated mission is to “influence EU policymaking” and ensure EU policies are properly implemented by member states.

The European policy office of the World Wide Fund for Nature, also based in Brussels, has received £7.4 million, while Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), also based in Brussels, is the third highest recipient with £6.4 million.

In total, 25 groups have each been given more than €1 million (£850,000) from Life+. EU funding has helped to pay for a video, produced by FoEE, of a green superhero called Energy Savings Man, which lobbied the British and

German governments to back an EC energy savings directive, which has since come into force.

In its most recent round of grants for 2013, Life+ awarded £7.5 million to 32 groups, including:

 *  £290,000 to CEE Bankwatch Network, a Czech-based organisation which campaigns against “the activities of international financial institutions in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region that cause negative environmental and social impacts”;

 *  £80,000 to Counter Balance, also based in Prague, which lobbies banks to ensure they “adhere to sustainable development goals, climate change mitigation policy, and the protection of biodiversity, in line with EU goals”;

 *  £260,000 to Brussels-based Health Care Without Harm Europe, which campaigns to “address the environmental impact of the health-care sector in Europe … to make the health-care system more ecologically sustainable”;

 *  £44,000 to Kyoto Club, based in Rome, whose main actions include “lobbying and advocacy for EU climate change mitigation policies, through policy recommendations and reports, information-sharing and campaigning, participation in EU events and stakeholder meetings, and contacts with relevant MEPs, Council and Commission officials”;

 *  £350,000 to the Italian-based Slow Food, a group which campaigns to “reduce the impact of food production and consumption on the environment” and will achieve this by “participating in the international and EU debate about food through EU institution advisory committees, expert working groups and other high-level groups”.

Greenpeace, perhaps the best known environmental campaigning organisation, has refused to take any EU or government funding. A spokesman said it refused to take cash from government sources, including the EU, for fear of compromise.

“We want to be completely independent in terms of what we say and do,” said the spokesman. “Taking money from governments — central, local or European — would make it difficult for us to express our views without sullying the waters.”

According to FoEE’s accounts, published on its website, the charity received half of its £2.1 million funding last year from at least seven different departments of the European Commission.

By contrast, the charity’s arm in Britain said it receives less than one per cent of its budget from the EU, with the vast majority of its funding coming from individuals and trusts.

FoEE used its funding last year to produce a four-minute video to put pressure on the British and German governments to back a new EC directive which set a series of legally binding energy efficiency targets across Europe.

The video was co-produced with Climate Action Network Europe, which has received £2.3 million from Life+ to “improve existing EU climate and energy policies”.

The video depicted Energy Savings Man, dressed in green cape, tights and mask, who is tasked with promoting the EU directive and persuading the British and Germans to sign up.

It was used to lobby for a new EU directive that was due to be implemented but which the British and German governments were stalling on because of the costs.

The video begins in dramatic fashion. “In a land struggling with economic crisis. Unemployment at record highs. The Government in peril.

“But there is a glimmer of hope. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive can save Europe.”

It then goes on to introduce Energy Savings Man, who even speaks with a Euro-accent. “Europe needs a hero,” states the voice-over, “An energy hero.”

Life+ was set up in the 1990s with the aim of funding not-for-profit green groups “primarily active in protecting and enhancing the environment at European level and involved in the development and implementation of Community policy and legislation”.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance claims the scheme is costing the public twice — in expensive subsidies to green groups and then in additional costs as a result of the measures put in place as a result of successful lobbying.

Matthew Sinclair, the chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is a disgrace that Brussels is squandering taxpayers’ money promoting its green agenda by funding activist organisations.

“This is a cash carousel. The campaigns these sock puppets run promote more wasteful spending, higher taxes and more levies added to people’s bills.

“The British Government need to make it clear they oppose these grants and press the European Commission to abolish the scheme.”

In a report into the scheme, the TaxPayers’ Alliance concluded: “The funding is an unfair subsidy on behalf of many people who may not agree with the environmentalist campaigns’ objectives and biases European environmental policy.”

The European Commission has defended its Life+ programme.

A spokesman for Janez Potocnik, the Commissioner for the Environment, said: “One objective of the funding is to ensure a broad policy debate among as many stakeholders as possible by bringing in the independent views of the NGOs. Such broad representation is in the public interest.

“The fact that an organisation receives funding from the EU budget has no implications for its independence and right to lobby and express views that might or might not be in support of the policy proposed by the Commission.”

The spokesman said all Life+ grants were awarded through an “open, competitive and transparent” process, insisting that “EU level” groups play an important function in helping to enforce its environmental policies.

A spokesman for FoEE said the Commission had “no role whatsoever” in any of the charity’s “decision making or planning processes”, adding: “Using less energy is the best way to cut energy bills, oil and gas imports, and emissions.”

Jeremy Wates, the secretary general of EEB, insisted that the body was independent of the Commission and was not “compromised” by receiving funding.

Mr Wates was invited to a Council of Ministers’ meeting held in Lithuania in the summer, at which he was, according to reports, given a platform to address governments on the dangers of fracking.

David Cameron last week warned the European Commission not to propose EU-wide legislation to regulate the fracking industry, saying that such a move could create uncertainty and stifle investment.

Mr Wates said: “The suggestion that the Commission funds NGOs to build support for its positions, or that the EEB’s independence is compromised by such funding, is not borne out by the evidence.

“It is neither surprising nor inappropriate that the EEB receives the largest share of the core grants among the environmental NGOs, because we are the largest and most representative federation of environmental organisations in Europe.”


Scientific Critique of IPCC’s 2013 'Summary for Policymakers'

The Summary for Policymakers released in September by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is filled with concessions that its past predictions were too extreme and misleading and unscientific language, according to a team of scientists from the U.S. and Australia.

The authors are part of the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an independent auditor of the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The NIPCC receives no government or corporate funding. On September 17, ten days before the IPCC released its fifth assessment report, NIPCC released Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, a 1,000-page report listing some 50 climate scientists as authors, contributors, or reviewers.

In a new and smaller report issued in mid-October, titled “Scientific Critique of the IPCC’s 2013 Summary for Policymakers,” four of the lead authors of the NIPCC report offer a withering critique of the IPCC’s latest report. Among the 11 “retreats” they identify in the IPCC’s latest report:

* Global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago despite rising levels of carbon dioxide, the invisible gas the IPCC claims is responsible for causing global warming.

* Temperatures were warmer in many parts of the world approximately 1,000 years ago, during the so-called Mediaeval Warm Period, due entirely to natural causes.

* Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing rather than shrinking.

* Climate computer models fail to reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.

* Computer models fail to represent and quantify cloud and aerosol process.

* Solar cycles may account for the pause in global air temperature.

* “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies” (SPM-11, fn 16).”

* “Low confidence” is expressed that damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity.

The NIPCC scientists also condemn “statements by the IPCC ... written in such a way that although they may be technically true, or nearly true, they are misleading of the actual state of affairs.” They fault the IPCC for claiming the warming of the late twentieth century was “unequivocal” when many temperature databases show no warming, and for saying changes since 1950 were “unprecedented” when the historical record contains many examples of changes due to natural causes that were more rapid or more extreme.

The scientists are especially critical of the IPCC’s claim that it is “95% confident” that global warming is man-made and will be harmful. “This terminology is unscientific,” they write. “It has been used improperly to create a false impression of increasing statistical certainty through the most recent IPCC assessment reports.... IPCC’s quasi-numeric confidence statements represent considered ‘expert opinion,’ reflecting a process not very different from a show of hands around a discussion table. The terminology confers an impression of scientific rectitude onto a process that is inescapably subjective and has been widely criticized as misleading.”

Regarding the IPCC’s claim that “The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification” (SPM_7), the NIPCC authors say “This is alarmist and scientifically pernicious terminology. What is being described is actually the uncertain occurrence of a small decrease in the average alkalinity of the ocean. The IPCC assesses the likelihood of future pH change using unvalidated computer modeling that is known to be unreliable.”

Regarding the IPCC’s claim that “The total natural RF from solar irradiance changes and stratospheric volcanic aerosols made only a small contribution to the net radiative forcing throughout the last century, except for brief periods after large volcanic eruptions” (SPM_10), the NIPCC authors say the statement “is trivially true and at the same time profoundly misleading. The Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate extends far beyond simple variations in total solar insolation (TSI), and importantly includes magnetic and solar wind particle streams and their modulating effect on galactic cosmic rays. These effects are largely ignored by the IPCC.”


Britain Wins Shale Battle As EU Leaves Fracking Out Of Stricter Environment Laws

EU governments on Friday endorsed an outline deal on new rules to assess the impact on the environment of projects such as oil and gas exploration, after removing references to shale gas that had blocked agreement.

Some European nations are eager to develop shale gas as they view the United States’ shale gas revolution and cheap energy costs compared with Europe as a huge competitive advantage.

But the geology in Europe is very different and public opposition is strong on environmental grounds.

Many of those keenest on exploiting shale gas, such as Britain, say extra EU regulations on the energy form are unnecessary and would get in the way of its development.

British Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso this month laying out his arguments against new rules for shale gas.

On Friday, EU ambassadors approved a revised draft law, updating legislation first agreed more than two decades ago and for the first time including an assessment of a new project’s impact on climate change, EU diplomats said.

In a statement, Valentinas Mazuronis, environment minister of Lithuania, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, said the reforms would streamline the process and set minimum requirements across the European Union.

The proposals, endorsed by ambassadors on Friday, still need to be signed off by the European Parliament and by ministers to become law.

The parliament had called for mandatory shale gas impact assessments, but EU diplomats said negotiations between representatives of the Parliament, the Commission, the EU executive, and member states had been blocked until that requirement was dropped.


Ice Age Winter

Cold weather is expected to continue through at least the balance of the year in the U.S. Midwest which will keep many river shipping channels frozen and prevent normally smooth transfer of grain, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday. The Farmers’ Almanac in August, 2013 was using words like “piercing cold,” “bitterly cold” and “biting cold” to describe the upcoming winter.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac’s secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818. Modern scientists don’t put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

Most modern scientists have lost their objectivity. Quantum physics predicted that and after all, we should know that objective things do not exist because the subjective is always projected onto the objective. The Almanac offers solid advice to farmers exactly because it is based on correct astrophysical principles. It is as scientific as it gets when it comes to dependable weather prediction.

"For rivers to be freezing this early in the year is a bit unusual but I don’t see any relief from that, as a matter of fact after next week another blast of Arctic air is expected," said John Dee, meteorologist for Global Weather Monitoring.

Cairo saw its first snow in years as a cold snap hits Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. This snowstorm named Alexa, brought more misery to thousands of Syrian refugees living in the region, many of whom were unprepared for the cold, brutal conditions.

In Israel, where the storm reportedly brought the heaviest December snowfall since 1953, roads had to be closed and thousands were left without power from the inclement weather.

Whatever may have seemed plausible 10 years ago Global Warming is over and there is no evidence that CO2 ever was, is or will be a driver of world temperatures or climate change – indeed evidence of this relationship is leaning the other way. World temperatures have been generally declining for about 10 years while CO2 is rising rapidly,” writes famous weatherman Piers Corybyn.

We know that small fluctuations in solar activity have a large influence on climate. Subtle connections between the 11-year solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe, according to research appearing this week in the journal Science. The study can help scientists get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance,” writes Science Daily.

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has updated their monthly graph set and it is becoming even clearer that we are past solar max, and that solar max has been a dud. “The slump” continues not only in sunspot activity, but also other metrics.

Little Ice Age

Solar activity is now at a 200-year low! Back in July the low activity put us at only 100 year low but things are changing fast in a cooling direction. Solar Cycle #24 was then see to have been off to a sputtering start, and researchers that attended the meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division earlier that month were divided as to why. “Not only is this the smallest cycle we’ve seen in the space age, it’s the smallest cycle in 100 years,” NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center research scientist David Hathaway. Now in the Wall Street Journal, six months later, he is being quoted as saying, "I would say it is the weakest in 200 years."

David is a global warming proponent who is conceding the dimming sun will neutralize global warming to some extent but he keeps his mouth shut about the volcanic situation. Times of depressed solar activity do correspond with times of global cold. For example, during the 70-year period from 1645 to 1715, few, if any, sunspots were seen, even during expected sunspot maximums. Western Europe entered a climate period known as the “Maunder Minimum” or “Little Ice Age.” Temperatures dropped by 1.8 to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, times of increased solar activity have corresponded with global warning. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the Sun was active, and the European climate was quite mild.

According to NOAA and NASA, the sunspot cycle hit an unusually deep bottom from 2007 to 2009. In fact, in 2008 and 2009, there were almost NO sunspots, a very unusual situation that had not happened for almost a century. Due to the weak solar activity, galactic cosmic rays were at record levels. Solar Maximum: The sun’s record-breaking sleep ended in 2010. In 2011, sunspot counts jumped up.  However, they remained fairly low with a small peak in February of 2012. Throughout 2013, the sun was relatively quiet.

Solar activity and sunspots are minuscule in comparison to what they should be right now. Even in accordance to all NASA’s predictions to date in recent years, solar activity is way off to the low side. We are now facing an extremely low period of solar activity over the coming years and decades. Due to the strong correlation of historical evidence we can conclude that we are sitting right on the cusp of the next ice age or at a minimum, another mini ice-age.

I said in my last global cooling essay people should prepare and take care. This winter is going to freeze the guts out of the global warming crowd, it’s going to drive up the price of energy, people will freeze to death and others will be strapped to the financial wall with the increased cost of heating their homes that leak badly having never been designed for a super cold climate.


Australia allegedly has its "hottest" year

While the global temperature remained stable, with annual average temperatures varying up and down by only tenths and hundredths of a degree -- So extra heat in Australia was balanced out by less heat in other places. In every year, some places will diverge (up or down) from the average more than other places do.  That's how an average arises

2013 will go down as the year that registered Australia's hottest day, month, season, 12-month period - and, by December 31, the hottest calendar year.

Weather geeks have watched records tumble. These tallies include obscure ones, such as the latest autumn day above 45C (Western Australia's Onslow Airport at 45.6C on March 21), the hottest winter's day nationally (29.92C , August 31), and even Wednesday this week, with the hottest-ever 9am reading (44.6C, at Eyre weather station near the WA-South Australian border).

"We're smashing the records," says Professor Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of NSW.  "We're not tinkering away at them - they're being absolutely blitzed."

Global interest in Australia's extraordinary year of heat flared early on. In January, when models started predicting heat that was literally off the charts, the Bureau of Meteorology added new colours to the heat maps - deep purple and pink - to accommodate maximum temperatures of 50-54 degrees. Moomba fell a shade short, reaching 49.6C on January 12.

But for Dr David Jones, head of climate analysis at the bureau, the year's stand-out event was a whole month largely overlooked by a media diverted by the football finals and federal elections. "From a climate point of view, what happened in September was probably the most remarkable," he says.

September's mean temperature soared to be 2.75 degrees above the 1961-90 average, eclipsing the previous record monthly deviation set in April 2005 by 0.09 degrees. Maximums were a stark 3.41 degrees over the norm, with South Australia's top raised by 5.39 degrees and NSW's by 4.68.

The heat swept away the previous September mean record by 1.1 degrees.

"To have 103-104 years of observations, you don't expect to break the record for a continent for a month by a degree," Jones says. "We're very fortunate we haven't had a month that anomalous in the middle of summer."

Summer heat

Summer was a scorcher. Sydney clocked its hottest day in records going back to 1859, with the mercury peaking at 45.8C on January 18. Hobart notched up 41.8C on January 4, its hottest in 120 years of data.

January baked, becoming Australia's hottest single month in the hottest-ever summer. The duration and area affected by the heatwaves - rather than heat spikes - came to characterise much of the year of exceptional conditions.

"January was incredibly hot for such a long time for such a large area," Jones says. "In many ways we were very fortunate not to have had a frontal system like Black Saturday [in 2009] to draw down that hot air into a coastal zone with a gale-force wind."

Fires destroyed hundreds of properties in Tasmania in January, and a similar number in NSW in October. The latter came after a remarkably warm and dry stretch, in which Sydney marked its hottest July and September, and second-warmest August and October.

Sydney's record year

"August was the first month in 2013 to see year-to-date records for Sydney," says Dr Aaron Coutts-Smith, head of climate monitoring in NSW for the bureau. "September onwards pushed us ahead."

Sydney's year will break the city's record for maximum and probably also mean temperatures, Coutts-Smith says. The former was running at 23.6C before Friday's blast of summer heat - well ahead of the previous high of 23.3C set in 2004.

The harbour city's average maximum is about 1.9C above the long-term norm - enough to match a typical year in Byron Bay, about 800 kilometres up the coast.

Australians might want to get out a map to consider conditions further north than where they live. Hot years are now about two to three degrees warmer than cool ones 100 years ago.

"It's a very large change," Jones says. "That's the equivalent of moving in the order of 300-400 kilometres closer to the equator."

Nowhere below average

For Australia, the year to beat for heat was 2005, when national mean temperatures were 1.03 degrees above the long-term average. As at the end of November, the country was tracking 1.25 degrees above the norm, with a hotter-than-usual December expected.

"As best as we can tell, not a single part of Australia has seen below-average temperatures for this year," Jones says, noting that the country hasn't had a cooler-than-average year for almost two decades.

Global temperatures are rising too. Last month was the hottest November in records going back to the 1880s, the US government reported this week. That put 2013 on track to be the fourth-hottest on record - behind 2010, in first place, and 2005 and 1998, roughly equal second.

Jones dismisses claims regularly aired by climate sceptics that the planet stopped warming in 1998.

Really?  Only in his dreamworld.  Below is the actual global temperature record for the 21st century.  It oscillates but there is no rising trend. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of one degree.  ALSO note that what he says about 1998 is absolutely false.  Can we trust ANYTHING he says?  It seems not.  The data for the graph is from the University of East Anglia, a pro-Warmist outfit

"Certainly there is no global surface data set which shows 1998 was the warmest on record." Globally, the climate system holds significant heating momentum as humans continue to burn fossil fuels and drive the emission of other greenhouse gases.

Carbon dioxide levels rose 2.2 parts per million to 393.1 in 2012, bringing atmospheric levels to 41 per cent higher than in pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organisation said last month.

"If you actually look at the amount of heat that the earth's absorbing, it's tracking up almost monotonically," Jones says.

Wake-up call

Pitman says 2013's likely global ranking of fourth-hottest year ever is exceptional not least because the most significant driver of climate variation - the El Nino-Southern Oscillation in the Pacific - remains in neutral mode. He likens this to the surprise when an athlete at sea-level breaks a record that had been set at high altitude.

"We shouldn't be breaking records in any years other than an intense El Nino," he says. "Quite why the globe is as warm as it appears to be is worrisome."

By extension, the next El Nino - in which the central and eastern Pacific Ocean usually warms up and eastern Australia gets drier conditions - has the potential to exceed this year's record-breaking Australian heat.

"If we get that additional anomaly, it might even be enough to trigger an awakening in the eyes of some of our leaders," Pitman says.



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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