Monday, August 25, 2014
The Wunsch/Lloyd controversy and the ocean deeps
A month ago, "The Australian" published a summary by Graham Lloyd of a forthcoming paper by Carl Wunsch which found cooling, not the warming predicted by Warmists, in the ocean deeps. This embarrassed Wunsch, who wrote a "corrective" letter which was published in "The Australian" shortly thereafter. A warmist blog then piled onto the action in an attempt to rubbish the Lloyd article but added little to what Wunsch had said. I have now had time to read all three documents and can see nothing wrong with the Lloyd article. I reproduce below both the original article and Wunsch's reply so that people can judge for themselves.
The only substantial point Wunsch makes in his short reply was that he believes that the ocean is warming overall, though he does not say by how much. That may have saved Wunsch's reputation among Warmists but it was not the point of the Lloyd article. The point is that all the warming allegedly hidden in the ocean deeps was not found. There was in fact on average a tiny degree of cooling. Even in his reply Wunsch admits that. So the Lloyd article is indeed fatal to the last-ditch defence of their theory currently being mounted by Warmists
Perhaps the most interesting part of the Lloyd article, however, was a comment obtained from a Prof. Hogg at the very end of the article. He pointed out that change comes very slowly to the ocean deeps: “So if cooling has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century.” Equally, then, if warming has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century. The implication of that would seem clearly to be that there is NO CHANCE of current warming being found in the ocean deeps.
Puzzle of deep ocean cooling
THE deep oceans have been cooling for the past two decades and it is not possible to say whether changes in ocean heat adequately explain the “pause” in global warming, two of the world’s leading ocean scientists have said.
Warmer oceans have been a key explanation for the “missing” heat. Global average surface temperatures have not increased dramatically for more than a decade despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
A paper by Carl Wunsch from Harvard University and Patrick Heimbach from MIT, accepted for publication with the Journal of Physical Oceanography, says more work is needed.
“Direct determination of changes in ocean heat content over the past 20 years are not in conflict with estimates of the radiative forcing, but the uncertainties remain too large to rationalise, e.g. the apparent ‘pause’ in warming,” Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say.
They conclude that much less heat is being added to the oceans than has been claimed in previous studies.
Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say trends showed a warming in the upper ocean and a net cooling below 2000m. Below 3600m, the cooling is about 0.01C over 19 years.
“As with many climate-related records, the unanswerable question here is whether these changes are truly secular, and/or a response to anthropogenic forcing, or whether they are fragments of a general red noise behaviour,’’ the paper says.
Some climate scientists claim the deep oceans are not significant because of the long timeframes over which temperature changes occur.
Professor Wunsch and Dr Heimbach say shifts in deep ocean properties “may indeed be so slight that their neglect in discussions of heat uptake and sea level change is justified”.
“The history of exploration suggests, however, that blank places on the map have either been assumed to be without any interesting features and dropped from further discussion, or at the other extreme filled with ‘dragons’ invoked to explain strange reports,” they say.
The paper says that, given the combination of the high stakes for society in the accurate estimation of global heating rates and sea level rise, and the fundamental science questions of understanding of oceanic variability, direct confirmation or refutation of the existing hypothesis was essential.
Andy Hogg from ANU said while there was uncertainty about temperatures in the deep ocean, shallower regions were well understood, and the findings of the Wunsch paper were “consistent” with warming oceans. He said cooling of the deep ocean was not necessarily significant. “Most parts of the abyssal ocean take a very long time (centuries to millennia) to come into equilibrium with surface forcing,” he said. “So if cooling has occurred over large parts of the abyssal ocean, it is unrelated to global warming of the atmosphere over the last century.”
He said there were key parts of the abyss, which had a closer connection with the surface. “The paper indicates that these regions have indeed been consistent with the expected heat uptake of the ocean in a warmer world,” Dr Hogg said.
A recent paper by Matthew England, executive director of the climate change research centre at the University of NSW, said the global surface temperature “hiatus” could be explained by increased winds in the Pacific Ocean. The paper claims the strong trade winds, which pushed heat deeper into the ocean, explained why climate models had not matched physical observations on global temperatures, a key area of dispute between climate scientists and sceptics.
Understanding the ocean
THE article by Graham Lloyd will likely leave a mis-impression with many of your readers concerning the substance of our paper that will appear in the Journal of Physical Oceanography (“Puzzle of deep ocean cooling”, 25/7).
We never assert that global warming and warming of the oceans are not occurring — we do find an ocean warming, particularly in the upper regions.
Contrary to the implications of Lloyd’s article, parts of the deep ocean are warming, parts are cooling, and although the global abyssal average is negative, the value is tiny in a global warming context.
Those parts of the abyss that are warming are most directly linked to the surface (as pointed out by Andy Hogg from the ANU).
Scientifically, we need to better understand what is going on everywhere, and that is an issue oceanographers must address over the next few years — a challenging observational problem that our paper is intended to raise.
Carl Wunsch, Harvard University and Massachusetts, Institute of Technology
One Engineer’s Perspective on Global Warming</>
Many scientists and non-scientists are discussing "Global Warming" (or as it is increasingly being called "Anthropogenic Climate Change" or ACC). ACC would simply be an interesting topic for discussion if it were not for the politicization, polarization, and sensationalism that have accompanied the science.
Most scientific discussions start with a hypothesis followed by experimentation, data collection, analysis, theory modification to fit the data, and then further testing of the revised hypothesis. This is healthy scientific inquiry. When a headline says "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past" and the UN forms an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that regularly issues dire predictions of imminent catastrophe, we have moved past limiting the discussion to its scientific merits.
The site www.eng-tips.com is a technical forum for practicing engineers. ACC is a frequent topic on this site. A search of www.eng-tips.com for "Global Warming" yielded 431 discussions.
A recent discussion (Kicking the Climate Change cat further down the road) has 444 posts. The previous long discussion (A Lid for the Can of Worms, Good Heavens, We'll Freeze to Death!) had 244 posts. The one before that (can of worms alert) Globe hasn't warmed in the last 16 years had 457 posts. The last thread started by someone who could not be classed as a "denier" or "skeptic" was started in 2007 and had activity for 12 months ( "Educated" opinions on climate change) with 315 posts....
One post 19 days into the 4 month (so far) conversation carries the essence of the discussion for me:
"Rconnor - you have presented a textbook case of argumentum ad ignorantiam. Since "it" can't be a few things that we know, it obviously must be our pet theory. Natural cycles? Internal variability? Well, we don't understand that, so obviously it can't be that. Puleeze!
Now, to your asinine suggestion that, although we may know models and even computational models, because we don't know climate models we are singularly unqualified to proffer a learned opinion on said models. What a load of codswallop! I have been using computational/numerical models in the style of finite element / finite volume / and finite difference for 20 years, and have almost 20 papers in those topic areas to my credit. Damn right I know a thing or two about "models", and it matters not what is going on in the element/volume, there are certainly some universal truths:
1) Boundary conditions: all models are sensitive to their boundary conditions. For climate models, that means what's happening at the edges of the model. Any textbook description of the atmosphere shows a huge variation in temperature as a function of height (and the height being a function of latitude. Albedo is a boundary condition that is a slight function of the near-surface temperature (and geography and geology).
2) Initial conditions: our current climatological data is so spatially and temporally heterogeneous that setting proper initial conditions sufficiently far in the past so as to train or tune the model to match recent history is a fool's errand. Ergo, and training or tuning of the model to match historical conditions is not and cannot be physics-based.
3) Discretization and discretization error: the volume size in the current models are woefully inadequate to resolve spatial and temporally-significant weather and climate (climate being merely the time and spatial-integral of weather) phenomenon.
I have lived and travelled in some pretty diverse places, and I can say categorically that the spatial grid-size is poor. I've also done numerical simulations (CFD, in this case) where we are trying to simulate phenomenon such as shock waves. The grid size is everything. Have you seen such presentations of upper-level winds such as http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric... the features shown (and this is actual data, not a simulation) are very important climactically-speaking and yet the grid-size necessary to resolve such details is at least an order or magnitude greater than what the current generation of models have.
4) Volume or element formulation. I have done simulations where there are more than 20 variables per grid (including some that had three distinct temperature metrics - plasmas are a blast to model, BTW). Within a single grid, you can model only the most simple physics. Since the resolution of the current climatological models is so coarse, they try to cram all sorts of extras into each grid. Been there - done that - and it's a fool's errand.
5) Validation: this is something that has been hammered home to me so many times by professors and mentors. Does your model match an experiment or reality? Well, the divergence of the atmospheric temperatures during this long "pause" between the real world and the model world shows that validation is not yet achieved. And this failure of validation is likely due to the above-noted issues.
Now - I agree that the CO2-temperature hypothesis does not need these sorts of models. However, claims of forthcoming catastrophe most certainly do. In fact, everything in this topic that is forward-looking relies on "the models". Without catastrophe, there is no need to "act". I am certainly willing to admit that my philosophical and political leanings bias me against the proposed "actions" required to "save the planet", but being sufficiently self-aware, I also know that my technical understanding of this topic is not clouded by my pre-existing biases. Can you say the same?" ....
Everyone who is skeptical about ACC has their own reasons for this skepticism, but mostly the basis fits into one or more of the following categories:
The climate has always changed; the climate will always change; live with it. Since mankind began walking the Earth we've have ice ages, droughts that extended over decades, brief periods of clement weather, and everything in between.
It has been warmer than today by a considerable margin. It has been colder than today by an equally large margin. Life has adapted. Regardless of the cause, magnitude, or direction of the next set of changes, we will adapt if allowed to. No action by the governments of the world will prevent changes in climate. Even if the current trend is actually one of increasing temperatures, and even if that trend is due to human activity, successfully changing that human activity will only remove a single factor in an impossibly complex group of factors and some other factor will cause warming or cooling that we will have to deal with.
Mankind has survived five "ice ages" and the subsequent "global warming" that followed; there is a good chance that if the politicians don't muck it up we'll survive the next one too.
In engineering activities the fact of climate changing would be treated as an "environmental variable" that can be measured, assessed, and factored into activity, but that cannot be successfully modified. In other words "The ant really should not try of move the rubber tree plant," even with "high hopes."
The more information that is released about historical climate data, the less valid it seems.
Heat island effects. It seems to make sense to most people that urban locations will be warmer for a given solar flux, cloud cover, and wind conditions than a rural location would be. Over time cities have encroached on monitoring sites that had been rural. The warmists claim that the data can be mathematically adjusted to account for this fact to allow the station to show a consistent set of conditions over time. The magnitude and basis of the adjustment for a given station is different in different data sets.
In engineering activities this kind of systemic modification of data would be done based on explicitly divulged algorithms and would be reversible.
Station location. Souleyman Fall, et al. did a peer-reviewed study published in Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 116, D14120 in 2011, where they found that only 7.9 percent of U.S. climate monitoring stations provided data that was within ±1°C. They also found that 70.6 percent of the stations were worse than ±2°C. When you realize that the worst projections of ACC were on the order of 0.5°C/decade temperature increase, it is hard to have much faith in data that was incapable of demonstrating that number. Results this poor from the richest country on earth do not bode well for the overall integrity of the global data set.
Original data. The climate dataset is very large. Many station's data is appropriately edited (e.g., a site with a temperature instrument stuck at 999°C for several months needs to be edited), other stations have edits that are more subtle (e.g., edits for the heat island effect mentioned above). Regardless of whether the edits are done to correct errors or to adjust reality, the original data is not retained. There is no way for future researchers to evaluate different heat-island adjustments for example because the owners of the data do destructive edits in the claim that the datasets are simply too big to allow non-destructive edits.
In engineering activities destroying part of a data set or replacing measured data with "judgmental data" is done all of the time—with the ability to roll the changes back out to be able to demonstrate the magnitude, reason, and technique for the opinion that you have a "better number". Without this ability to reassess a raw data set there is no way to prove that the edits were unbiased towards any specific conclusion.
Pre-industrial data. The 20th Century data before the 1990's was all taken from analog instruments that rarely had calibrated steps tighter than 5°C. The person making the record had to interpolate between marks that were physically very close together. Even worse is the tree-ring, sea floor, and ice core data used for pre-20th Century. Tree rings are thicker when the tree sees adequate moisture and considerable sunshine. They are thinner if either moisture or sunshine is lacking. Scientists can make some reasonable guesses about temperature from an analysis of tree rings.
In engineering activities, it is important to honor the uncertainty of the data. If an instrument provides data that has an uncertainty of ±2.5°C, then it is irresponsible to report a calculation done with the data to more significant digits than ±1.25°C. The data from before the 20th Century has a temporal granularity of seasons, years, decades, and even centuries. Ice core data does not contain a direct read of temperature, but allows the creation of a temperature proxy from isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen. A computer model is used to try to typify whether the isotope mix came from the Pacific, Atlantic, or Indian Oceans, and then the model uses the magnitude of the count of the relevant isotopes to estimate the temperature required to evaporate that much water. Many papers have been written about this. An article in AstroBiology Magazine in 2012 said:
"We ran an oxygen isotope-enabled atmosphere model, so we could simulate what these ice cores are actually recording, and it can match the actual oxygen isotopes in the ice core even though the temperature doesn't cool as much," Carlson says. "That, to us, means the source of precipitation has changed in Greenland across the last deglaciation. And therefore that the strict interpretation of this iconic record as purely temperature of snowfall above this ice sheet is wrong."
The divergence problem has brought any use of tree-ring data into question, further a computer model is used to convert the limited data available from a tree ring into a temperature; some claim that this step is fraught with potential for bias.
Even with all of this temporal and magnitude uncertainty, the data from these proxies is regularly posted on a -1 to +1°C, with conclusions in the ±0.1°C range. In engineering this is referred to as "making stuff up".
"Granularity." There are parts of the world where monitoring stations are within a few miles of each other. Other parts of the world might have one station every few hundred miles. Some stations have been off line for years while wars were waged around them—in some cases the last data point recorded is simply reported forward, in other cases the date data is honored (i.e., data from 21 Nov 1999, is copied to that date in 2000, 2001, 2002, etc.), and in other cases the date data is honored but "adjusted" for global warming.
Computer modeling is a cornerstone of modern engineering so there have been many individuals with considerable expertise in computer modeling that have participated in this discussion on www.eng-tips.com. This topic is one of very few where everyone with real expertise in modeling agrees—computer models cannot prove anything. Ever.
Computer models are outstanding at pointing out areas that warrant further analysis or that have weaknesses. At best they represent the biases of the author. At worst they can easily be manipulated to tell any story the author wants to tell. It is nearly impossible for an outsider to conduct a competent audit of someone else's model. If there is intentional bias or even fraud in a model it is highly unlikely that it will ever be discovered. Every single assertion of the community supporting ACC is predicated on the output of a computer model....
Is warming bad? As we come out of the Little Ice Age and move towards temperatures consistent with the Renaissance (the first time in man's history that the general population had enough wealth to support the arts and science) you have to wonder what is bad about "warmer?" The counter argument that warmer will melt the ice in Antarctica and Greenland, flooding low lying regions doesn't carry much weight with the skeptics since both Amsterdam and Venice thrived during the last warming period.
Is atmospheric CO2 bad? The current CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa in Hawaii is around 400 ppm. Ice core data indicate that this level has been reached and passed before. Extrapolations into the previous epoch suggest that it was much higher during the time of the dinosaurs. CO2 is the fundamental building block of all life on earth—if plants don't have it then everything dies. Many commercial growers who operate physical greenhouses dope the atmosphere to 1500 ppm CO2 to accelerate plant growth. Current levels do not seem to be the pending catastrophe that we've been led to believe.
Leading or lagging? Several times in the ice core data, increases in CO2 can be correlated to increases in temperature. The problem is that the temporal granularity of the data can be as much as ±100 years (it is never better than seasonal)—meaning that all of the information gleaned from a data point was laid down somewhere within two centuries. So in one scenario, temperatures rose, some of the permafrost in Siberia, Alaska, and Canada melted, millions of tons of biological material that had been frozen for centuries began to decay, atmospheric CO2 increased.
The data supports this "lagging" theory precisely as well as it supports a "leading" theory that requires CO2 to be a cause of warming instead of an effect of warming. The inherent uncertainty of the timeline does not preclude either scenario, and a lagging level of CO2 does not require a positive feedback mechanism.
The earth hasn't warmed since the 20th century. Much has been made of the fact that all of the models from the last century predicted temperatures by 2014 that were markedly warmer than what has been observed. They predicted increased severe weather events when in fact we've seen decreased severe weather (2013 had the lowest number of deaths from hurricanes, typhoons, and tornados that has been recorded since the mid-20th century).
Warmists claim that this is perfectly well explained by the deep oceans warming even though we only have reliable ocean temperature down to about 160 ft [50 m] and no data at all from below 2,300 ft [700 m]. The only data that begins to explore this theory is the ARGO Program which has only been in effect since 2007.
Science vs. politics
If this were a pure scientific debate then every engineer "denier" that I've ever talked to would be cheering for the scientists to nail it down. We'd be helping. The problem is that climate change has become a political debate in the guise of science. A climate scientist who doesn't support the idea of ACC bringing global catastrophe will have a hard time getting published, tenure, or even a job. Few learned papers suggesting that ACC is neither real nor a pending catastrophe get published, and very few pass a peer review.
The politics are particularly insidious. Governments are doing real harm to their economies by mandating that "40 percent of the national power supply will come from renewable sources," or "CO2 emissions from power plants must be reduced by 30 percent" or "Cap and Trade" or "Carbon Taxes." The tone of the majority of engineers in the www.eng-tips.com discussions has been "Show me how raising my taxes, utility costs, and fuel costs will impact the climate that my grandchildren will live in." The only response is to trot out yet another computer model running on adulterated data with a potentially biased calibration.
The politicians and press may have convinced some portion of the general public that this proposition is supported in the science, but they are quite a ways from convincing the preponderance of the engineering community. While I can't find any "skeptics" who have become "warmists" or "warmists" who have become "skeptics," there have been a large number who have gone from "its not my field, and I don't have time to think about it" to very skeptical. Fewer of the uncaring masses have moved into the warmist camp.
Environmentalism and the Fear of Disorder
Greens engage in rituals to allay their anxieties
Why do people recycle and buy organic foods? According to Marijn Meijers and Bastiaan Rutjens, a couple of social scientists at the University of Amsterdam, they do it to realize a sense of personal control stemming from their fear that disorder is increasing in the world. Technological optimists, meanwhile, are more likely to eschew the comfort of such rituals.
To be fair, that’s not exactly how the two researchers interpret their study, which was published in the August European Journal of Social Psychology. But as we shall see, it is not unreasonable to construe their results that way.
A popular new psychological model, compensatory control theory, argues that people are highly motivated to perceive the world as meaningful, orderly, and structured. When people perceive the world as being less orderly, Meijers and Rutjens explain, they strive to compensate for the anxiety and stress this produces. Often this entails attempting to achieve personal or external control. With personal control, Meijers and Rutjens write, “it is the feeling that people are able to influence their environment that provides them with the notion of an orderly and navigable world.” With external control, “it is the feeling that an external source (e.g. an intervening God or a powerful government) exerts influence over their environments and the world in general that provides similar perceptions of an orderly world.”
A threat to one source of order boosts the motivation to affirm the other. Instability in government, for example, produces more efforts to achieve personal control.
Meijers and Rutjens note that scientific progress “can be viewed as testimony to humanity’s increasing ability to exert control over the world, and bolstering belief in scientific progress as such can provide order.” The formulation “can be viewed” is just a bit too clever. In fact, the technologies developed as a result of the processes scientific discovery have dramatically reduced a lot of the randomness and disorder that a fickle and meager nature throws our way.
For example, a 2011 Reason Foundation study reported that, as a result of the increased wealth that modern technology has created, “aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population.” Not surprisingly, such a huge reduction in actual, not just perceived, randomness and disorder does indeed go a long way toward “bolstering belief in scientific progress.”
In any case, the researchers wanted to test the hypothesis that questioning the ability of scientific progress to control “environmental challenges and natural threats” would lead subjects to reaffirm personal control by engaging in behaviors that are perceived to be environmentally friendly. Specifically, they aimed to test the idea that “behaving in an environmentally friendly way may work as an order-providing psychological mechanism and thus help to alleviate feelings of disorder.”
The researchers conducted four different studies to test their hypothesis. The first study involved having participants read two fake newspaper articles, one stressing the rapidity of scientific progress and the other suggesting that scientific developments are insufficient to deal with urgent problems, e.g., HIV and climate change. As predicted, the positive article reduced feelings of disorder, and the negative one increased feelings of disorder.
The second study used a test in which participants had to unscramble words into sentences designed to induce either feelings of order and disorder. Then they were told that an institute at their university wanted to know their opinions about environmental issues. Those exposed to sentences suggesting disorder more highly endorsed “environmentally friendly” sentiments such as “we have to take the greenhouse effect seriously.”
In the third study, the researchers sought to probe the idea that engaging in environmentally friendly behaviors increases the sense of personal control in subjects. So half of the students began by filling out the same opinion form regarding environmental behavior as in the second study. Then they were asked to imagine that they were business managers and to say, hypothetically, how much more in costs above regulatory requirements they would be willing to bear to cut air pollution at a manufacturing plant. In the final step, they filled out a survey disguised to measure their sense of personal control. The exercise was reversed for the other students, who completed the survey measuring their sense of personal control first and then went on to the environmental behavior tasks. The researchers found that participants who engaged first the environmental tasks expressed a higher sense of personal control than the others.
In their fourth study, the researchers aimed to fully test the proposition that “questioning scientific progress enhances feelings of disorder and consequently heightens environmentally friendly attitudes, intentions, and behaviors,” and vice versa. First, they had participants read newspaper articles affirming or questioning scientific progress. Next, subjects answered a questionnaire that measured their disorder perceptions (e.g., their belief that our lives are ruled by randomness) on a seven-point scale. Then, their intentions to engage environmentally friendly activities (e.g., washing clothes at a lower temperature and recycling for the sake of the environment) were measured on a seven-point scale. Finally, participants were tasked to choose groceries from six product categories, each of which featured an organic item. The products did not differ in price.
The researchers found that participants who read the article questioning scientific progress expressed greater intention to recycle, reduce washing temperatures, and buy organic foods than those who read the version affirming scientific progress. Why the difference? Because, the researchers report, “questioning scientific progress results in a relative increase in disorder perceptions, which in turn triggers the motivation to restore order via personal actions such as engaging in environmentally friendly behavior.”
A reasonable reading of these results is that a lot of environmentalists experience many aspects of the modern world as chaotic and thus seek to compensate for their perceptions of disorder by engaging in ritual behaviors that make them feel like they are exerting more personal control. It is not much of a leap to conclude that by imposing those rituals on others, some environmentalists seek to reduce their dread of disorder even more.
Why call them rituals? Because it is not all that clear that they actually do anything much for the natural environment. For example, the costs of curbside recycling often outweigh purported benefits, and lower organic crop yields mean more land taken from nature. But as Meijers and Rutjens have shown, partaking in such rites is much like reciting the Rosary, in that they, too, reduce participant anxiety.
Of course, being social scientists and sharing the customary prejudices of their tribe, that’s not how Meijers and Rutjens look at their findings. Instead they write, “Our findings have important practical implications for understanding how environmentally friendly behavior can be increased and encouraged.” How? By “looking more critically at the power of science and the limits of progress,” that is, by casting doubt of the efficacy of people to solve problems using science and technology.
Meijers and Rutjens also cannily observe that rapid progress in various scientific and technological endeavors can be framed as sources of disorder. This is precisely how many environmentalists portray biotech crops, nuclear power, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology. Advances in science and technology are constantly remaking entire industries and ways of earning a living. So anxious environmentalists alleviate the stress induced by these perceived sources of disorder by trying to exercise personal control—including activism that, ironically, demands increased external control by government
Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry
It is often said that non-scientists must rely on “expert opinion” to determine whether claims on alleged “catastrophic man-made global warming” are true. Putting aside the fact that there is no global-warming “consensus” among experts, one does not have to be a scientist, or even proficient in science, to be able to review past predictions, and then form an informed opinion regarding the accuracy of those predictions.
Suppose, for example, you regularly watch a local TV weatherman forecast the weather for your area. Would you need a degree in meteorology in order to decide for yourself how reliable, or unreliable, the weatherman’s forecasts are?
Warnings have been issued for many decades now regarding catastrophic climate change that forecasted certain trends or occurrences that we should already have witnessed. Yet such predictions have turned out to be very, very wrong. This was certainly the case with the alarmist predictions of the 1960s and ’70s that man’s activities on Earth were causing a catastrophic cooling trend that would bring on another ice age. And it is also the case with the more recent claims about catastrophic global warming.
What follows is a very brief review of these predictions compared to what actually happened.
Americans who lived through the 1960s and ’70s may remember the dire global-cooling predictions that were hyped and given great credibility by Newsweek, Time, Life, National Geographic, and numerous other mainstream media outlets. According to the man-made global-cooling theories of the time, billions of people should be dead by now owing to cooling-linked crop failures and starvation.
“If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000,” claimed ecology professor Kenneth E.F. Watt at the University of California in 1970. “This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” Of course, 2000 came and went, and the world did not get 11 degrees colder. No ice age arrived, either.
In 1971, another global-cooling alarmist, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, made similarly wild forecasts for the end of the millennium in a speech at the British Institute for Biology. “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,” he claimed. “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 and give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower quality than it is today.” Of course, England still exists, and its population was doing much better in 2000 than when Ehrlich made his kooky claims. But long before 2000, Ehrlich had abandoned global-cooling alarmism in favor of warning that the Earth faced catastrophic global warming. Now he is warning that humans may soon be forced to resort to cannibalism.
To combat the alleged man-made cooling, “experts” suggested all sorts of grandiose schemes, including some that in retrospect appear almost too comical to be real. “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climate change, or even to allay its effects,” reported Newsweek in its 1975 article “The Cooling World,” which claimed that Earth’s temperature had been plunging for decades due to humanity’s activities. Some of the “more spectacular solutions” proposed by the cooling theorists at the time included “melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,” Newsweek reported.
Of course, the big alleged threat hyped in recent decades has been global warming, not global cooling. But the accuracy of the climate-change predictions since the cooling fears melted away has hardly improved.
United Nations “Climate Refugees”
In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by “man-made global warming” would lead to massive population disruptions. In a handy map, the organization highlighted areas that were supposed to be particularly vulnerable in terms of producing “climate refugees.” Especially at risk were regions such as the Caribbean and low-lying Pacific islands, along with coastal areas.
The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010, some 50 million “climate refugees” would be frantically fleeing from those regions of the globe. However, not only did the areas in question fail to produce a single “climate refugee,” by 2010, population levels for those regions were actually still soaring. In many cases, the areas that were supposed to be producing waves of “climate refugees” and becoming uninhabitable turned out to be some of the fastest-growing places on Earth.
In the Bahamas, for example, according to the 2010 census, there was a major increase in population, going from around 300,000 in 2000 to more than 350,000 by 2010. The population of St. Lucia, meanwhile, grew by five percent during the same period. The Seychelles grew by about 10 percent. The Solomon Islands also witnessed a major population boom during that time frame, gaining another 100,000 people, or an increase of about 25 percent.
In China, meanwhile, the top six fastest growing cities were all within the areas highlighted by the UN as likely sources of “climate refugees.” Many of the fastest-growing U.S. cities were also within or close to “climate refugee” danger zones touted by the UN
Rather than apologizing for its undisputable mistake after being first exposed by reporter Gavin Atkins at Asian Correspondent, the global body responded in typical alarmist fashion: with an Orwellian coverup seeking to erase all evidence of its ridiculous predictions. First, the UNEP took its “climate refugees” map down from the Web. That failed, of course, because the content was archived online prior to its disappearance down the UN “memory hole.
Then the UNEP tried and failed to distance itself from the outlandish claims, despite the fact that the map was created by a UNEP cartographer, released by UNEP, and repeatedly hyped by the outfit in its scaremongering campaigns. Eventually, as more and more media around the world began picking up the story, a spokesperson for the UN agency claimed the map was removed because it was “causing confusion.”
It was hardly the first time UN bureaucrats had made such dire predictions, only to be proven wrong. On June 30, 1989, the Associated Press ran an article headlined: “UN Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations Off Map.” In the piece, the director of the UNEP’s New York office was quoted as claiming that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” He also predicted “coastal flooding and crop failures” that “would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”
Other UN predictions were so ridiculous that they were retracted before they could even be proven wrong. Consider, as just one example, the scandal that came to be known as “Glaciergate.” In its final 2007 report, widely considered the “gospel” of “settled” climate “science,” the UN IPCC suggested that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 or sooner. It turns out the wild assertion was lifted from World Wildlife Fund propaganda literature. The IPCC recanted the claim after initially defending it.
Pentagon Climate Forecasts
Like the UN, the Pentagon commissioned a report on “climate change” that also offered some highly alarming visions of the future under “global warming.” The 2003 document, entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was widely cited by global-warming theorists, bureaucrats, and the establishment press as evidence that humanity was facing certain doom. It also served as the foundation for the claim that alleged man-made “climate change” was actually a “national security concern.” However, fortunately for the taxpayers forced to pay for the study, the Pentagon report turned out to be just as ridiculous as the UN “climate refugees” forecasts.
By now, according to the “not implausible” scaremongering outlined in the report for a 10-year time period, the world should be a post-apocalyptic disaster zone. Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors. But none of it actually happened.
The Pentagon report even claimed there was “general agreement in the scientific community” that the extreme scenarios it envisioned could come to pass, and reporters treated it as if it were a prophecy delivered to climate sinners by God Himself. However, when interviewed by the Washington Times for a June 1, 2014 article, consultant and report co-author Doug Randall expressed surprise at how often the now-debunked forecasts were parroted. Yet he still defended the hysterical fear peddling. “When you are looking at worst-case 10 years out, you are not trying to predict precisely what’s going to happen but instead trying to get people to understand what could happen to motivate strategic decision-making and wake people up,” Randall said. “But whether the actual specifics came true, of course not. That never was the main intent.”
The first article about the climate report appeared in early 2004, when the report was leaked to the U.K. Observer, under the sensationalistic title: “Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us.” In a bullet-point summary at the top of the Observer article, journalists Mark Townsend and Paul Harris added: “Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war” and “Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years.” The rest of the article was just as outlandish, going even beyond what the now-discredited Pentagon report claimed. Other reporters took their cue from the Observer article, which in retrospect would have been a hilarious piece of writing if it had not been taken so seriously at the time.
No More Snow?
For well over a decade now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon become a thing of the past. In March 2000, for example, “senior research scientist” David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independent that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he was quoted as claiming in the article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”
The very next year, snowfall across the United Kingdom increased by more than 50 percent. In 2008, perfectly timed for a “global warming” legislation debate in Parliament, London saw its first October snow since 1934 — or possibly even 1922, according to the U.K. Register. “It is unusual to have snow this early,” a spokesperson for the alarmist U.K. Met office admitted to The Guardian newspaper. By December of 2009, London saw its heaviest levels of snowfall in two decades. In 2010, the coldest U.K. winter since records began a century ago blanketed the islands with snow.
In early 2004, the CRU’s Viner and other self-styled “experts” warned that skiing in Scotland would soon become just a memory, thanks to alleged global warming. “Unfortunately, it’s just getting too hot for the Scottish ski industry,” Viner told The Guardian. Another “expert,” Adam Watson with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, told the paper that the skiing industry in Scotland had less than two decades left to go. Yet in 2013, too much snow kept many Scottish resorts closed. “Nevis Range, The Lecht, Cairngorm, Glenshee and Glencoe all remain closed today due to the heavy snow,” reported OnTheSnow.com on January 4, 2013. Ironically, by 2014, the BBC, citing experts, reported that the Scottish hills had more snow than at any point in seven decades. It also reported that the Nevis Range ski resort could not operate some of its lifts because they were “still buried under unprecedented amounts of snow.”
The IPCC has also been relentlessly hyping the snowless winter scare, along with gullible or agenda-driven politicians. In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, for example, the IPCC claimed “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” Again, though, the climate refused to cooperate. The year 2013, the last year for which complete data is available, featured the fourth-highest levels on record, according to data from Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab. Spring snow cover was the highest in a decade, while data for the fall indicate that it was the fifth highest ever recorded. Last December, meanwhile, brought with it a new high record in Northern Hemisphere snow cover, Global Snow Lab data show.
Blame Global Warming?
After the outlandish predictions of snowless winters failed to materialize, the CRU dramatically changed its tune on snowfall. All across Britain, in fact, global-warming alarmists rushed to blame the record cold and heavy snow experienced in recent years on — you guessed it! — global warming. Less snow: global warming. More snow: global warming. Get it? Good.
The same phenomenon took place in the United States just last winter. As record cold and snowfall was pummeling much of North America, warming theorists contradicted all of their previous forecasts and claimed that global warming was somehow to blame. Among them: White House Science “Czar” John Holdren. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues,” he claimed.
That assertion, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the UN “settled science” IPCC predicted in its 2001 global-warming report, which claimed that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change.” Ironically, perhaps, Holdren warned decades ago that human CO2 emissions would lead to a billion deaths due to global warming-fueled global cooling — yes, cooling, which he said would lead to a new ice age by 2020.
Ridiculous forecasts have been made by other “climate scientists” who, like Holdren, continue to reap huge amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars in salaries, grants, and benefits despite being consistently wrong. James Hansen, for instance, who headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for three decades before taking a post at Columbia University, is one of the best known “climatologists” in the world — despite his long and embarrassing record of bad forecasting spanning decades.
In 1988, Hansen was asked by journalist and author Rob Reiss how the “greenhouse effect” would affect the neighborhood outside his window within 20 years (by 2008). “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” Hansen claimed. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.... There will be more police cars … [since] you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” In 1986, Hansen also predicted in congressional testimony that the Earth would be some two degrees warmer within 20 years. In recent years, after the anticipated warming failed to materialize, alarmists have cooled on predicting such a dramatic jump in temperature over such a short period of time.
Separately, another prominent alarmist, Princeton professor and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, made some dramatic predictions in 1990 while working as “chief scientist” for the Environmental Defense Fund. By 1995, he said then, the “greenhouse effect” would be “desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots.” By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” The situation would get so bad that “Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.”
When confronted on his failed predictions, Oppenheimer, who also served as former Vice President Al Gore’s advisor, refused to apologize. “On the whole I would stand by these predictions — not predictions, sorry, scenarios — as having at least in a general way actually come true,” he claimed. “There’s been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that’s in drought has increased over that period.” Unfortunately for Oppenheimer, even his fellow alarmists debunked that claim in a 2012 study for Nature, pointing out that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.”
Perhaps nowhere have the alarmists’ predictions been proven as wrong as at the Earth’s poles. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Al Gore, the high priest for a movement described by critics as the “climate cult,” publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.”
Speaking to an audience in Germany five years ago, Gore — sometimes ridiculed as “The Goracle” — alleged that “the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will disappear in five years.” “Five years,” Gore said again, in case anybody missed it the first time, is “the period of time during which it is now expected to disappear.”
The following year, Gore made similar claims at a UN “climate” summit in Copenhagen. “Some of the models … suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” Gore claimed in 2009. “We will find out.”
Yes, we have found out. Contrary to the predictions by Gore and fellow alarmists, satellite data showed that Arctic ice volume as of summer of 2013 had actually expanded more than 50 percent over 2012 levels. In fact, during October 2013, sea-ice levels grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1979. Many experts now predict the ongoing expansion of Arctic ice to continue in the years to come, leaving global-warming alarmists scrambling for explanations to save face — and to revive the rapidly melting climate hysteria.
Gore, though, was hardly alone in making the ridiculous and now thoroughly discredited predictions about Arctic ice. Citing climate experts, the British government-funded BBC, for example, also hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article on December 12, 2007, under the headline: “Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’.” In that piece, which was still online as of July 2014, the BBC highlighted alleged “modeling studies” that supposedly “indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.” Incredibly, some of the supposed “experts” even claimed it could happen before then, citing calculations performed by “super computers” that the BBC noted have “become a standard part of climate science in recent years.”
“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” claimed Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, described as a researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School who was working with co-workers at NASA to come up with the now-thoroughly discredited forecasts about polar ice. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be [sic] our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” (Emphasis added.) Other “experts” quoted in the BBC article agreed with the hysteria.
In the real world, however, the scientific evidence demolishing the global-warming theories advanced by Gore, the UN, and government-funded “climate scientists” continues to grow, along with the ice cover in both hemispheres. In the Arctic, for example, data collected by Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft pointed to about 9,000 cubic kilometers of ice volume at the end of the 2013 melt season. In 2012, which was admittedly a low year, the total volume was about 6,000 cubic kilometers.
Indeed, in 2007, when Gore and others started making their predictions about imminent “ice-free” Arctic summers, the average sea-ice area extent after the summer melt for the month of September was 4.28 million square kilometers. By 2013, even on September 13, the minimum ice-cover day for the whole year, ice levels were way above the 2007 average for the month — by an area almost the size of California. The lowest level recorded on a single day during 2013 was 5.1 million square kilometers. By late July 2014, Arctic sea-ice extent was almost at its highest level in a decade, and scientists expect even less melting this summer than last year.
Despite parroting the wild claims five years ago, the establishment press has, unsurprisingly, refused to report that Gore and his fellow alarmists were proven embarrassingly wrong. No apologies from Gore have been forthcoming, either, and none of the “scientists” who made the ridiculous predictions quoted by the BBC has apologized or lost his taxpayer-funded job. In fact, almost unbelievably, the establishment press is now parroting new claims from the same discredited “experts” suggesting that the Arctic will be “ice-free” by 2016.
Even more embarrassing for the warmists have been trends in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, all of the “climate models” and “climate experts” and “scientists” predicted that rising CO2 emissions would increase global temperatures, which would melt the ice in Antarctica — by far the largest mass of frozen H2O on the planet. Indeed, the forecasts were crucial to many of the other predictions about surging sea levels and related gloom and doom.
The problem for global-warming theorists is that the opposite happened. Indeed, sea ice in Antarctica is off the charts, consistently smashing previous record highs on a near-daily basis. Sea-ice area in the south is now at the highest point since records began — by a lot — and the warmists are searching frantically for an explanation. Some are, incredibly, considering their past forecasts, trying to blame global warming. But the fact remains: Their predictions for Antarctica were as wrong as they possibly could be. Instead of melting as forecasted, ice levels are surging to new and unprecedented heights. As of early July, an area of the southern oceans the size of Greenland is frozen that, based on the average, should currently be open waters. If both poles are considered together, there is about one million square kilometers of frozen area above and beyond the long-term average.
Even UN warmists have been forced to concede that they do not know what is going on or why their “climate models” that predicted melting have been proven so wildly off the mark. “There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, due to … incomplete and competing scientific explanations for the causes of change,” the IPCC admitted in its latest report. For now, the warmists have simply been trying their best to keep the public from noticing or examining the phenomenal growth in Antarctic ice.
As The New American reported earlier this year, the desperation and denial among warmists was illustrated perfectly in December. A ship full of global-warming alarmists led by a “climate scientist” went on a mission to study how “global warming” was melting Antarctic ice. Instead of completing their mission, they ended up getting their vessel trapped in record-setting levels of sea ice.
In his second-term inaugural address, Obama also made some climate claims, saying: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” Ironically, all three of the examples he provided of what he called the “threat of climate change” actually discredit his argument.
As Forbes magazine pointed out last year, the number of wildfires has plummeted 15 percent since 1950, and according the National Academy of Sciences, that trend is likely to continue for decades. On “droughts,” a 2012 study published in the alarmist journal Nature noted that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.” The UN’s own climate alarmists were even forced to conclude last year that in many regions of the world, “droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter.”
Regarding hurricanes and tornadoes, it probably would have been hard for Obama to choose a worse example to illustrate the alleged threat of man-made warming. Contrary to predictions by global warmists, hurricanes and tornadoes have been hitting in record-setting low numbers. “When the 2014 hurricane season starts it will have been 3,142 days since the last Category 3+ storm made landfall in the U.S., shattering the record for the longest stretch between U.S. intense hurricanes since 1900,” noted professor of environmental studies Roger Pielke, Jr. at the University of Colorado, who last year left alarmists who had predicted more extreme weather linked to alleged global warming silent after pointing out the facts in a Senate hearing. “The five-year period ending 2013 has seen two hurricane landfalls. That is a record low since 1900.” After adjusting the data for trends such as population growth and better reporting, it appears that 2013 also featured the lowest number of tornadoes in the long-term record.
In June 2008, Obama declared: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children … this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” He was referring, of course, to his own election, as if he were some sort of savior here to save humanity from its carbon-climate sins. In the real world, though, despite his grandiose and bombastic view of himself as global climate messiah, Obama has no more power to stop the “climate” from changing than his legions of discredited “experts” have demonstrated to successfully predict it.
Also ironically, perhaps, is that there had been no global warming since long before he took office. Worldwide, the disastrous forecasts by climate alarmists have proven to be similarly embarrassing. By now, anybody who follows “climate” news knows that “global warming” has been on what alarmists call “pause” for 18 years and counting, despite ongoing increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The stubborn refusal of temperatures to rise (and accelerate) as forecasted by all of the UN’s 73 “climate models” has discredited the models, the UN, and the alleged “science” behind the computer forecasts. Every single model predicted more warming than has occurred, an atrocious record that defies explanation. Even a monkey rolling the dice or a scam artist pretending to read the future from a crystal ball would have a better record, based only on the laws of probability.
Of course, alarmists have come up with at least a dozen excuses for the failure of temperatures to rise in accordance with their debunked models. The Obama administration’s favorite: the theory of “The Ocean Ate My Global Warming.” Last year, the Associated Press, citing leaked documents, reported that the U.S. government had pressured the UN IPCC to incorporate that excuse, for which there is not a scintilla of observable evidence, into its most recent global-warming report.
The website Watts Up With That (WUWT), run by meteorologist and climate researcher Anthony Watts, highlighted the embarrassing record in late 2013 following a particularly devastating year for “climate” predictions. “It seems like every major CAGW [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming] prediction has failed in 2013,” the article explains, citing a vast trove of scientific data debunking alarmist forecasts. “Regardless of efforts to nebulize CAGW to explain all forms of climatic and weather variation, in 2013 every loosely falsifiable prediction of the CAGW narrative seems to have failed. The apparent complete failure of the CAGW narrative in 2013 could make the most fundamentalist agnostic wonder if Mother Nature sometimes takes sides, aka the Gore Effect.” Perhaps the Almighty has a sense of humor.
Few people would make an important decision based on next week’s weather forecast. When it comes to “climate,” though, the $360 billion-per-year climate establishment is telling humanity that civilization must be reorganized from top to bottom based on failed models purporting to make predictions decades and even centuries in advance. Flawed predictions aside, a great deal of evidence suggests accuracy or truth was never the intent — generating fear to seize more money and power was (and is). Many top alarmists have admitted as much, with some responding to the implosion of their theories with calls for censorship or, more extreme still, the imprisonment, re-education, and even execution of “climate deniers.”
The Earth’s climate has always changed, and very likely will continue to change, regardless of what humans do. What is now clear, though, is that the establishment has no idea what those changes will be.
Shale gas to drag world agro prices lower
The “gale of shale” is hitting the US and the world with surplus energy. In 2000, shale was 2% of natural gas supply; in 2012, it was about 37%; and will be about 65% within the next two decades.
The US is poised for shipping out shale gas in liquefied form as net exporter of energy. According to some analysts, crude oil prices may be clipped by 30% (say, from $100 to $70 per barrel) in the foreseeable future. American motorists are consuming less gasoline, thereby limiting the blend of biofuels like ethanol. The “energy security” lobby of the US is no longer supportive of biofuels.
Ethanol is produced from corn in the US. (Brazil and India produce ethanol from sugarcane.) Apart from human consumption, corn is extensively consumed by livestock as animal feed. About 970 million tonnes of corn is produced worldwide—the largest single crop in the world. Wheat is around 700 million tonnes, rice is 470 million tonnes and soybean about 300 million tonnes.
The US’s maize output, the highest among all countries, is about 360 million tonnes. Out of this, 36% (130 million tonnes) of corn is consumed for ethanol. With sufficiency and viability of shale gas, the future demand of ethanol will shrink, resulting into demand compression of corn, especially in the US, and its price will move southwards in the coming years. As of now, corn and wheat are trading, respectively, at $190/200 and $240 per tonne FOB—lesser by 20% from last year.
There exists an empirical equation of corn with other agro commodities. For easy understanding, if corn is priced at $200 per tonne in any future exchange, wheat will be around $250-260 and soybean will be traded at $450-500. Barring unforeseen conditions, trade tentatively assumes ratio of 1:1.25-1.30 for corn versus wheat and 1:2.25-2.5 for corn versus soybean.
Rice of Asian origins is not traded at future exchanges so corn versus rice ratios cannot be established directly but can be inferred from “price/demand” elasticity of 39 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. This region imports about 11-12 million tonnes rice annually, out of 35 million tonnes of non-Basmati that is traded worldwide. If rice becomes expensive, say about $600 per tonne FOB, as in 2008, there would be significant shift to corn till rice values drop to about $350-400 levels.
Bearish corn means lower food and feed prices
Corn, wheat and soymeal are active ingredients of feed compound ingested by live stocks. In bearish corn market, a feed miller applies more corn and curtails blend of high priced wheat or soymeal and thereby trims demand of wheat or soybeans. Thus, price movements of wheat and soybean are largely governed by corn prices. Probability of corn price being higher than wheat is remote except in drought-like conditions in the US in 2011-12.
The US as an exporter of non-biofuel energy can make corn terribly bearish and may drag down world’s grain complex. GM crops can further discount grain values.
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
Posted by JR at 7:14 PM