Thursday, May 29, 2014

Stranded on an ice floe

Polar bears on ice floes prove global warming so I guess this does too

(A recent photo from lake Superior)


Antarctic began melting 5,000 years earlier than first thought: Ice sheet's volatile past reveals an unstable future, claims study

The Warmists will try to spin this but the plain fact is that the Antarctic undergoes large natural fluctuations and nobody knows why.  Attributing recent changes to global warming is therefore tendentious,  a claim without evidence

The Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than first thought with a new study suggesting melting began 5,000 years earlier than previously believed.

The study reveals that shrinking of the vast ice sheet accelerated during eight distinct periods between 20,000 and 9,000 years ago causing a rapid sea level rise.

During one period 14,600 years ago, melting glaciers released so many icebergs into the ocean that sea level rose 6.5ft (2 metres) in just 100 years.

The results provide the first clear evidence for dramatic melting in Antarctic's and reflect predictions for the region's future.

It also follows recent news that destabilisation of part of the West Antarctic ice sheet has already begun and could be 'unstoppable.'

The study was conducted by an international team including researchers from Germany, Canada, Hawaii, Lapland and Australia.

The group examined two sediment cores from the Scotia Sea between Antarctica and South America that contained ‘iceberg-rafted debris’.

This is debris that has been scraped off Antarctica by moving ice and deposited via icebergs into the sea.

As the icebergs melted, they dropped minerals into the seafloor sediments, giving scientists a glimpse into the past behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Periods of rapid increase in iceberg-rafted debris suggest that more icebergs were being released by the Antarctic ice sheet.

The researchers discovered increased amounts of debris during eight separate episodes beginning as early as 20,000 years ago, and continuing until 9,000 years ago.

Up until now, the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet wasn't thought to have started until 14,000 years ago.

‘Conventional thinking based on past research is that the Antarctic ice sheet has been relatively stable since the last ice age, that it began to melt relatively late during the deglaciation process, and that its decline was slow and steady until it reached its present size,’ said lead author Michael Weber, a scientist from the University of Cologne in Germany.

‘The sediment record suggests a different pattern – one that is more episodic and suggests that parts of the ice sheet repeatedly became unstable during the last deglaciation,’ Professor Weber added.

The research has provided the first solid evidence that the Antarctic ice sheet contributed to what is known as ‘meltwater pulse 1A’,

Meltwater pulse 1A was a period when sea levels rose rapidly from between 52 to 79ft (16 to 24m) around 14,600 to 13,500 years.

The largest of the eight episodic pulses outlined in the new Nature study coincides with this event.

‘During that time, the sea level on a global basis rose about 50 feet in just 350 years – or about 20 times faster than sea level rise over the last century,’ said Professor Peter Clark, an Oregon State University.

‘We don't yet know what triggered these eight episodes or pulses, but it appears that once the melting of the ice sheet began it was amplified by physical processes.’

Some 9,000 years ago, the episodic pulses of melting stopped, the researchers say.

‘Just as we are unsure of what triggered these eight pulses,’ Professor Clark said, ‘we don't know why they stopped.

‘Perhaps the sheet ran out of ice that was vulnerable to the physical changes that were taking place.

‘However, our new results suggest that the Antarctic ice sheet is more unstable than previously considered.’

Today, the annual calving of icebergs from Antarctic represents more than half of the annual loss of mass of the Antarctic ice sheet – an estimated 1,300 to 2,000 billion tonnes.

Earlier this month, Nasa said vast glaciers in West Antarctica seem to be locked in an irreversible thaw linked to global warming that may push up sea levels for centuries, according to scientists.

In a few hundred years they say the irreversible melt that has already started could eventually add four to 12 ft (1.2 to 3.7 metres) to current sea levels.


The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' consensus

What is the origin of the false belief—constantly repeated—that almost all scientists agree about global warming?  A survey of the relevant claims below

Last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned graduating students at Boston College of the "crippling consequences" of climate change. "Ninety-seven percent of the world's scientists," he added, "tell us this is urgent."

Where did Mr. Kerry get the 97% figure? Perhaps from his boss, President Obama, who tweeted on May 16 that "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous." Or maybe from NASA, which posted (in more measured language) on its website, "Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities."

Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Ms. Oreskes's definition of consensus covered "man-made" but left out "dangerous"—and scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus, were excluded. The methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren't substantiated in the papers.

Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in "Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union" by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master's thesis adviser Peter Doran. It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed "97 percent of climate scientists agree" that global temperatures have risen and that humans are a significant contributing factor.

The survey's questions don't reveal much of interest. Most scientists who are skeptical of catastrophic global warming nevertheless would answer "yes" to both questions. The survey was silent on whether the human impact is large enough to constitute a problem. Nor did it include solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists or astronomers, who are the scientists most likely to be aware of natural causes of climate change.

The "97 percent" figure in the Zimmerman/Doran survey represents the views of only 79 respondents who listed climate science as an area of expertise and said they published more than half of their recent peer-reviewed papers on climate change. Seventy-nine scientists—of the 3,146 who responded to the survey—does not a consensus make.

In 2010, William R. Love Anderegg, then a student at Stanford University, used Google Scholar to identify the views of the most prolific writers on climate change. His findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Mr. Love Anderegg found that 97% to 98% of the 200 most prolific writers on climate change believe "anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for 'most' of the 'unequivocal' warming." There was no mention of how dangerous this climate change might be; and, of course, 200 researchers out of the thousands who have contributed to the climate science debate is not evidence of consensus.

In 2013, John Cook, an Australia-based blogger, and some of his friends reviewed abstracts of peer-reviewed papers published from 1991 to 2011. Mr. Cook reported that 97% of those who stated a position explicitly or implicitly suggest that human activity is responsible for some warming. His findings were published in Environmental Research Letters.

Mr. Cook's work was quickly debunked. In Science and Education in August 2013, for example, David R. Legates (a professor of geography at the University of Delaware and former director of its Center for Climatic Research) and three coauthors reviewed the same papers as did Mr. Cook and found "only 41 papers—0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent—had been found to endorse" the claim that human activity is causing most of the current warming. Elsewhere, climate scientists including Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir J. Shaviv and Nils- Axel Morner, whose research questions the alleged consensus, protested that Mr. Cook ignored or misrepresented their work.

Rigorous international surveys conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch —most recently published in Environmental Science & Policy in 2010—have found that most climate scientists disagree with the consensus on key issues such as the reliability of climate data and computer models. They do not believe that climate processes such as cloud formation and precipitation are sufficiently understood to predict future climate change.

Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.

Finally, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—which claims to speak for more than 2,500 scientists—is probably the most frequently cited source for the consensus. Its latest report claims that "human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems." Yet relatively few have either written on or reviewed research having to do with the key question: How much of the temperature increase and other climate changes observed in the 20th century was caused by man-made greenhouse-gas emissions? The IPCC lists only 41 authors and editors of the relevant chapter of the Fifth Assessment Report addressing "anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing."

Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists, the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in La Jolla, Calif., has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a Ph.D.). It was most recently published in 2009, and most signers were added or reaffirmed since 2007. The petition states that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of . . . carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

We could go on, but the larger point is plain. There is no basis for the claim that 97% of scientists believe that man-made climate change is a dangerous problem.


America's Highest Ranked Climate Charlatans: Obama and Kerry

By Alan Caruba

John Kerry, our Secretary of State, continues to provide reasons to believe he is either too stupid to hold such a high position or too willing to tell lies to keep pace with President Obama.

Their views on “climate change” are so lacking in scientific fact that they are telling people we’re all doomed if we don’t abandon vast traditional U.S. energy resources and continue to  throw more billions at “renewable energy” that provides a very costly three percent of the nation’s huge energy needs. Meanwhile, nations in Europe, China, India and elsewhere are abandoning solar and wind, and building coal-fired plants.

At a Boston College commencement speech on May 19, Kerry outdid himself talking about climate change. “If we make the necessary efforts to address this challenge—and supposing I’m wrong or scientists are wrong, 97 percent of them all wrong—supposing they are, what’s the worst that can happen?” The worst is more wasted billions spent on something mankind can do nothing about and the administration’s continued efforts to control every inch of land in the U.S. and all of its waters.

In the May 27 edition of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Bast, the president of the free-market think tank, the Heartland Institute, and Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist for the University of Alabama, teamed out to write about “The Myth of the Climate Change 97%.” While demolishing this Big Lie, they noted that “Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”

Obama’s and Kerry’s problem, along with all the other climate change charlatans, is that is the Earth is now into its 17th year of a natural cooling cycle based on lower radiation from the Sun, itself in a natural cycle. It is the Sun, not mankind that determines the climate of the Earth.

The Petition Project in which 31,073 U.S. scientists, over 9,000 of whom have a Ph.D. in a scientific field, participated says “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will in the foreseeable future cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

“The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists.”

In his State of the Union speech, Obama said “climate change is a fact.” Well, yes, if you keep in mind that climate change is measured in centuries, not decades or years. Claiming that every hurricane or tornado is evidence of climate change ignores this. His claim that climate change is “settled science” is just one more lie.

The Obama administration recently released a Climate Assessment report that was nothing more than a repeat of the lies the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been telling since 1983. They have all been based on computer models rigged to produce a global warming outcome. This process continues in several U.S. government agencies.

Following the last mini-ice age that lasted from 1300 to 1850, the Earth quite naturally warmed, most of which occurred prior to 1945. Meanwhile, the ice sheets of both the Arctic and Antarctica have been growing, particularly at the South Pole. The rise of oceans is measured in mere centimeters, posing no threat to polar bears or the island of Manhattan.

To Kerry’s question, “What’s the worst that can happen?” a recent Wall Street Journal opinion said that answer is “we spend trillions of dollars trying to solve a problem that we can’t do anything to stop: that we misallocate scarce resources in a way that slows economic growth; that slower growth leads to less economic opportunity for Boston College grads and especially the world’s poor; and that America and the world become much less wealthy and technologically advanced than we would otherwise. All of which would make the world less able to cope with the costs of climate change if Mr. Kerry is right.”

Mr. Kerry isn't right and that makes him and President Obama a national and a global problem.


After Election Drubbing, UK Government Climate Adviser Backs Down On Wind, Tones Down Rhetoric

Britain has approved enough onshore wind turbines to meet climate change targets, leaving the public to choose other ways to cut emissions in future, the government’s chief climate adviser has said.

Lord Deben of Winston appeared to contradict forecasts by his own Committee on Climate Change of a tripling in the number of wind farms by 2030 — equivalent to almost 10,000 more turbines.

There are 4,400 onshore turbines operating with a capacity of seven gigawatts, while a further six gigawatts have received planning permission and are being built or awaiting construction. Last year the committee published four plans for cutting emissions by 2030, all of which included 25 gigawatts of onshore wind.

However, the Conservative peer, who was environment secretary in John Major’s government, said that there were enough wind farms with planning permission to meet a legally binding target for renewable energy by 2020. After that date the public may choose other methods of cutting emissions, he added.

Lord Deben also said that it was wrong to label people such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former chancellor, as “climate change deniers”. They should be called “dismissers”, he said.

Lord Lawson said this month that the phrase “climate change denier” was “deliberately designed to echo ‘Holocaust denier’ — as if questioning present policies and forecasts of the future is equivalent to casting malign doubt about an historical fact”.

Lord Deben said: “The dismissers are people who do not deny that climate change is happening, do not deny that human beings are largely [causing it], but who think you can dismiss its urgency and seriousness. That case only stands up if you ignore the vast majority of scientists.”

The peer, better known as John Gummer, said that Britain needed “a portfolio of different mechanisms” and “you have got to keep the portfolio in balance”. He added: “I’m happy that we have already got enough onshore wind to 2020 to meet that part of the portfolio.”

Asked if more onshore wind farms should be approved after 2020, he said: “It is likely that [onshore wind] will continue to play a part in our renewables after 2020, but it is not a decision we have to make now, and there are circumstances in which it might not. The public will decide what the balance is.” He added that power from offshore wind was “falling in price very significantly”.

The Conservatives pledged last month to end subsidies for new onshore wind turbines if they win the next election. Lord Deben declined to comment on the move, saying that he spoke as an independent on climate change. He appeared, though, to support the government’s announcement this month that it would end subsidies for large solar farms in the countryside. Lord Deben said that he backed the exploitation of shale gas and criticised campaigners who regarded fracking as “a sin against the Holy Ghost”.


Europe’s Energy Death Wish

 Arthur Herman

Maybe the Ukraine crisis will awaken the Europeans to reconsider fracking and realize the danger their enviro fanatics have put them in.

Want to understand why Europe won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin’s dismemberment of Ukraine? Look at the recent meeting of the G-7’s energy ministers in Rome.

It’s common knowledge that Europeans are dependent on Russia’s state-run Gazprom for their natural-gas needs — up to 30 percent for the European Union as a whole, more for Eastern Europe. The threat of cutting off this vital supply allowed Putin to get away with annexing Crimea, cowing our NATO allies into quivering passivity in the face of naked aggression.

The energy ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Great Britain meeting in Rome know this, too. As the Brit representative at the Rome meeting put it, Europe desperately needs a plan “to prevent energy being used as a weapon in the future” — and to wean themselves off Gazprom.

But their “answer” is pathetic.

The draft 13-point plan includes everything from stockpiling more supplies of natural gas in case of a cutoff and diversifying supply sources (meaning not just buying from the Russians) to promoting more “clean and sustainable energy technologies” (meaning more windmills).

Everything, that is, except the most obvious solution of all: tapping into Europe’s own huge natural-gas reserves.

According to our Energy Information Administration, Europe sits on reserves equaling 639 trillion cubic feet of gas — roughly equal to half of Russia’s reserves (the world’s largest) and more than enough to make Europe independent of Putin and Gazprom.

But that tapping those reserves means embracing fracking, the technology that has revolutionized the US energy industry by unlocking vast amounts of shale gas and oil.

Like environmentalists here, Europe’s greens have made fracking a dirty word — and the European fanatics have more political clout.

For example, Exxon Mobil began fracking to harvest natural gas in Germany in 2008 — but had to stop when the government issued a moratorium. France has banned fracking outright. The United Kingdom has proven gas reserves of 200 trillion cubic feet in Lancashire alone — but with even the Cameron government pushing, it may be years before permits to drill get granted.

This is insanity in action. Every government in Europe knows fracking would produce enormous government revenues, create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce natural-gas prices there to something approaching the price here (which is about a quarter of what Germans or Italians pay), all while using the same technology that for 60 years has drilled 1.2 million wells in the United States without producing a single case of contaminated ground water.

But Europe’s environmentalists still see natural gas as a dreaded “fossil fuel” and so won’t let it happen. And so Putin is empowered to increase his grip over the continent’s future — even though the solution sits directly under everyone’s feet.

It’s a good lesson for us here, too. Letting the greens dictate your energy choices, whether it’s halting the XL Pipeline or fracking in New York, isn’t just bad economics. It can also leave your rivals and enemies controlling your energy destiny.


You know all those resources we're about to run out of? No, we aren't

Tim Worstall, a rare earth trader, displays the crass ignorance of Greenie resource scare-mongers

 Among the more surprising things that the BBC revealed to us last week was that the UK was going to run out of coal within the next five years. Given that the island is pretty much built on a bed of coal, this is something of a puzzler.

The article states:

In just over five years Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas, researchers have warned.

A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia.

As your intrepid mineral resources correspondent (aka El Reg's dodgy metals dealer) I thought I'd better have a look at the report that claimed this. As it happens, it appears to be an update of maps to this report from last year from the Institute And Faculty Of Actuaries that led to the claim.

Given my background, obviously I looked at the minerals rather than the fossil fuels part of it. And in this writer's opinion I have to say that the people who wrote it betray a baffling ignorance of the subject under discussion.

They appear to work under the impression that mineral reserves are somehow the definition of the number of minerals we have left to us, when in fact reserves are the working stock of extant mines (more or less). They also seem confused about mineral resources, which are the piles of stuff where we know their location, how to get them out, that we can do so while making a profit at current prices and with current technology, though we may not have got around to proving that to the required legal standard. When we have proven it, they will move from being resources to reserves.

Given that phosphate rock and potassium as resources are good for 1,500* and around 7,000** years to therefore claim that, as this report does, that they were in very scarce supply in this last decade just gone is thus, well, it's not very accurate is it?

Given that the two are also 0.2 per cent and 2.5 per cent of the entire crust of our planet the idea that we'll ever run out of either with future technologies also seems a tad suspect.

And then I spotted this one. It's a piece from New Scientist, a place I was knew as a seriously interesting magazine (Dedalus certainly used to make me larff).

In detail:

Without more recycling, antimony, which is used to make flame-retardant materials, will run out in 15 years, silver in 10 and indium in under five. In a more sophisticated analysis, Reller has included the effects of new technologies, and projects how many years we have left for some key metals. He estimates that zinc could be used up by 2037, both indium and hafnium - which is increasingly important in computer chips - could be gone by 2017, and terbium - used to make the green phosphors in fluorescent light bulbs - could run out before 2012.

This prediction was made in 2008. You recall how Apple stopped shipping iPads last year as the indium tin oxide to make the screens ran out? That we've been completely bereft of CFL lightbulbs for two years now as the terbium disappeared? No and no? Exactly.

For a metals guy, the one that stands out most is that reference to hafnium. It betrays a complete and total ignorance of how mining actually works. It's true that there are no mineral reserves of hafnium, nor are there any mineral resources. So, our guys looked at what was in stockpiles, saw there were no reserves nor resources and concluded that it will run out.

However, "resources" and "reserves" are a legal and economic description, not one of actual availability. And given that Hf doesn't form any interesting ores, we can't go digging for it and make a profit by having done so. This is not the same as stating that there's not plenty available though.

For when we go digging for zircon (the mineral sand) from which we extract zirconia (the oxide) and ultimately zirconium (the metal), we find that it contains two to four per cent Hf. We don't care though, Zr and Hf are so chemically similar that we just don't bother to separate them.

Except when we try to make nuclear-grade Zr: then we do care because Zr is transparent to neutrons and Hf opaque. So, to make those fuel rods for reactors, we extract the Hf from the Zr: and that's where the global supply of some few hundred tonnes a year (perhaps 500) of Hf comes from.

So yes, there are no reserves and no resources because we cannot mine for it directly or profitably. But we can still produce it profitably. There's some 18,000 tonnes a year of Hf in the 600,000 tonnes a year of Zr we do process and there's some thousands of years of that Zr out there for us to process. And we only use 500 tonnes a year of Hf... so it's not going to run out by 2017, is it?

This display of ignorance doesn't stop here:

Take the metal gallium, which along with indium is used to make indium gallium arsenide.

This is the semiconducting material at the heart of a new generation of solar cells that promise to be up to twice as efficient as conventional designs. Reserves of both metals are disputed, but in a recent report René Kleijn, a chemist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, concludes that current reserves "would not allow a substantial contribution of these cells" to the future supply of solar electricity. He estimates gallium and indium will probably contribute to less than 1 per cent of all future solar cells - a limitation imposed purely by a lack of raw material.

Sigh. Gallium is another one of these byproduct metals. We can't get it directly and profitably.

Fortunately we mine for aluminium by sticking bauxite into a Bayer Process plant, where we boil it in caustic soda. If you put the right doohicky on the side of this plant then you get the gallium out. It's at about 100ppm, 100 grammes per tonne of bauxite processed. Some 8,000 tonnes a year passes through those plants, which is useful because only a few of those BP plants have the doohickeys and globally we only use around 400 tonnes of gallium a year. And yes, we do know that there's around a 1,000-year supply of Ga in the bauxite that we already know that we'll process for the aluminium content.

We simply don't have any meaningful shortage of these metals that they're worrying about.



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