Thursday, October 23, 2014

Do Italian chamois prove global warming?

In the Italian Alps there are records of the weight of animals shot by hunters -- and the carcasses of chamois goats are now quite a bit lighter than they used to be.  Why?

The Warmist researchers below discovered that betwen 1979 and 2010 temperatures in the study area rose substantially  -- by around 3 degrees.  And that is the first oddity.  Global temperatures over that time rose by only tenths of a degree.  So there were some LOCAL effects at work on temperatures in the area.  The results tell us nothing about GLOBAL warming.

But do they tell us anything about what might be if the whole world warmed by the same amount?

Probably not.  In best Warmist style they used models to analyse  their data,  thus introducing possibilities of arbitrariness.  And the result is that there is no clear test of whether temperature was the driver of the effects observed.  And there was another clear driver -- population density.  The population of animals in the study area rose during the time of the study. So if there are more goats competing for feed each goat is likely to be less well-fed.  And calorie deficiency is well know to shrink body mass.

So competent research would have used some type of regression analysis to remove the effect of density before temperature effects were looked for.  The authors did not do that.  They simply plugged in both density and temperature into their models -- leaving unanswered whether there was any statistically significant effect of temperature after the variations in density had been allowed for.  Very sloppy!

Goats are shrinking as a result of climate change, researchers have claimed.  They say Alpine goats now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.  Researchers say it is a stark indication of how quickly climate change can affect animals.

They appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University.

The researchers studied the impacts of changes in temperature on the body size of Alpine Chamois, a species of mountain goat, over the past 30 years.  To their surprise, they discovered that young Chamois now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s.

In recent years, decreases in body size have been identified in a variety of animal species, and have frequently been linked to the changing climate.  However, the researchers say the decline in size of Chamois observed in this study is striking in its speed and magnitude.

The research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council is published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.

Lead author Dr Tom Mason, in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, at Durham University, said: 'Body size declines attributed to climate change are widespread in the animal kingdom, with many fish, bird and mammal species getting smaller.

'However the decreases we observe here are astonishing. 'The impacts on Chamois weight could pose real problems for the survival of these populations.'

The team delved into long-term records of Chamois body weights provided by hunters in the Italian Alps.

They discovered that the declines were strongly linked to the warming climate in the study region, which became 3-4oC warmer during the 30 years of the study.

The team believes that higher temperatures are affecting how chamois behave.

'We know that Chamois cope with hot periods by resting more and spending less time searching for food, and this may be restricting their size more than the quality of the vegetation they eat,' said Co-author Dr Stephen Willis.

'If climate change results in similar behavioural and body mass changes in domestic livestock, this could have impacts on agricultural productivity in coming decades.'


Environmental change and long-term body mass declines in an alpine mammal

By Tom HE Mason et al.


Climate and environmental change have driven widespread changes in body size, particularly declines, across a range of taxonomic groups in recent decades. Size declines could substantially impact on the functioning of ecosystems. To date, most studies suggest that temporal trends in size have resulted indirectly from climate change modifying resource availability and quality, affecting the ability of individuals to acquire resources and grow.

Here, we investigate striking long-term body mass declines in juvenile Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), within three neighbouring populations in the Italian Alps. We find strong evidence that increasing population density and warming temperatures during spring and summer are linked to the mass declines. We find no evidence that the timing or productivity of resources have been altered during this period.

We conclude that it is unlikely that environmental change has driven body size change indirectly via effects on resource productivity or phenology [growth cycles]. Instead, we propose that environmental change has limited the ability of individuals to acquire resources. This could be due to increases in the intensity of competition and decreases in time spent foraging, owing to high temperatures. Our findings add weight to a growing body of evidence for long-term body size reductions and provide considerable insight into the potential drivers of such trends. Furthermore, we highlight the potential for appropriate management, for instance increases in harvest size, to counteract the impacts of climate change on body mass.

Frontiers in Zoology 2014, 11:69  doi:10.1186/s12983-014-0069-6

A New Documentary Profiles "Liars for Hire"

The story below -- based on a book by Naomi Oreskes --  calls distinguished climate scientist Fred Singer (a man who has made enormous contributions to atmospheric physics research) a liar and a snake-oil salesman.  It is as we constantly get from Warmists -- all abuse with not a single scientific datum mentioned.  Logicians refer to such discourse as the "argumentum ad hominem"  -- one of the classic informal fallacies of logic.  But who expects logic from Warmists?

So why the extreme abuse of a prominent and truth-telling scientist?  It is the old Leftist tactic of projection -- accusing others of what is true of yourself. As I have pointed out recently, it is Naomi Oreskes who is the fraud and a liar.  She published a claim that all the scientific journal abstracts she could find on global warming agreed with it.  Benny Peiser, however, tried to replicate her study but got radically different results.  Skepticas can PROVE who the fraud is

Fred Singer has been taking advice on whether he should sue over  the libels against him but there is no way he can match the deep pockets of the Greenies.  If Oreskes & Co.  appeal a verdict against them, the cost could run to well over a million and even if they lose the appeal Singer would still face a huge loss.  In America, unlike most other jurisdictions, costs are usually not awarded against the unsuccessful party.  Very few Americans can afford to contest a libel

The New York Film Festival, now in its fifty-second year, is unusual in that it combines big-money extravaganzas like Gone Girl and Birdman with small, worthy films whose publicity budgets would barely cover the cost of Ben Affleck’s body waxings. Given the presence of so much of the film world in one place, the festival allows these latter movies to vastly increase their ability to secure media attention without the tens of millions of dollars that the studios devote to their superheroes.

A new documentary shown twice at the festival, and scheduled to be released in March, got my attention. Merchants of Doubt is directed by Robert Kenner and based on the 2010 book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, two esteemed historians of science. The film, simultaneously entertaining, instructive and extremely important, traces the techniques through which profit-seeking corporations seek to undermine honest science in the public mind so that they might continue to make money poisoning our bodies and destroying our planet.

The argument can be condensed to one simple idea: the tactics perfected by the tobacco industry, which were designed to obfuscate the cancer-causing nature of its products back in the 1950s and ’60s, are now widespread throughout corporate America. When an internal Brown & Williamson memo declared decades ago, “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public,” it created the template for countless oil, coal, chemical, agricultural, tobacco and manufacturing companies, as well as the front groups they fund and, more than occasionally, invent. By paying off members of Congress and exploiting the structural vulnerabilities of “objective” journalism, these companies have been able to fool the public and enrich themselves through a kind of slow-motion “murder for hire” operation.

The book is a first-rate piece of journalistic investigation and scientific inquiry. But we live in a culture in which the influence of books pales in comparison with that of cinema (to say nothing of television or even video games). Naomi Oreskes, who appears extensively in the film, told me that, yes, “the technical content is greatly simplified…. In the book, we had extensive but (hopefully) clear explanations of the science, including how and when scientists had come to understand the threats represented by acid rain, ozone depletion, climate change, etc. The film, however, has greater emotional impact. It’s less intellectual, but more visceral.”

The pioneers in the field are not only the liars for hire employed by the tobacco industry for so many decades, but also Cold War scientists like Robert Jastrow, Fred Seitz and William Nierenberg, who initially founded the George C. Marshall Institute to promote Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars boondoggle and then switched gears to lie about climate change—a task in which they’ve been joined by scientist/snake-oil salesman Fred Singer, who also cares more about opposing all forms of corporate regulation than he does about truth.

But the star of this show is the astonishingly charming rogue Marc Morano, a frequent cable-television guest who admits, “I’m not a scientist, but I do play one on TV.” Morano, the founder of, not only spouts his nefarious nonsense about science everywhere he goes but is also in the business of ensuring the mau-mauing of genuine scientific researchers who have felt a responsibility to go public with the dangers we face. “We went after James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer and had a lot of fun with it…we mocked and ridiculed,” Morano brags. He has also published their private e-mails, both as a means of harassment and as a warning to other scientists who might be considering doing the same thing.

Where are the media in all of this? As Oreskes explains, “It was an explicit part of the strategy of merchandising doubt to use the media to create the impression of controversy. If the media are not pulled in, the strategy fails. So a large part of the story is industry courting and, where necessary, pressuring the media to give ‘equal time’ to its views. Interestingly, what we found was that overt pressure was fairly rare. The media didn’t need to be pressured.”


Some wisdom from 1884

This New York Herald article of Friday, February 1, 1884 says that  climate change is not involved in the California drought of that era.  It points out the cyclicity of droughts in California.  So the present California drought has to be just part of a natural cycle too  -- particularly as there has been no global warming for the last 18 years

Climate change now 'irreversible' - claim

One wonders what drives the guy to make these unfounded prophecies. The only evidence he offers is the old theory that rising CO2 levels will have catastrophic effects -- despite the fact that markedly rising CO2 levels have had NO effect for the last 18 years.  He does say that CO2 for some reason takes 40 years to have an effect but that is a strange claim -- well outside the usual Warmist models.  It is however a safe claim: He may well not live long enough to see his theory disconfirmed.

He also thinks chemtrails are “geoengineering” the planet and that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.  He also lives in a straw house in the middle of the woods surrounded by animals.  A paranoid schzophrenic would be my guess

The climate change message is just depressing, no matter what way you look at it.  Best case scenario, we all have to change our lives dramatically, just to keep us vaguely on the right track.  Worst case scenario - were all doomed.

Unsurprisingly, that's a hard message for scientists to get us all to listen to, which might be why Professor emeritus Guy McPherson is a teacher of natural resources, ecology and evolutionary biology, but is also a grief counsellor on the side.

Prof McPherson taught and conducted research at the University of Arizona for 20 years before leaving the university in 2009.

He will be speaking about climate change in guest lectures in New Zealand from October 22 to November 1.

You can catch Prof McPherson at an event co-organised by AUT's School of Social Sciences and Public Policy and the Pacific Media Centre in Auckland on October 22 at 5.30pm.

Tonight on the Paul Henry Show, he explains that due to the arrogance of humans, the damage done is too far along and now irreversible.

Now, the only way to help planet Earth is to "terminate industrial civilisation".


Shale Boom Helping American Consumers as Never Before

Oil traders might see the 27 percent slide in global prices as a bear market. For U.S. consumers, it's more like an early holiday gift.

The drop in crude has pulled retail gasoline down more than 50 cents a gallon from the year's high in April. That means annual savings of $500 for the average U.S. household, which consumes about 1,000 gallons of fuel a year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration and Energy Information Administration.

"That's like somebody putting dollars right in your pocket," David Hackett, the president of Stillwater Associates, an energy consultant in Irvine, California, said by phone on Oct. 14. "That sounds like Christmas presents, going out to dinner, being able to do something."

Gasoline's slide represents the biggest benefit that U.S. consumers have seen to date from a record boom in domestic oil production, a surge that's contributing to a global crude glut and helping reduce international prices. U.S. gasoline is being exported at record levels for this time of year.

More from Monaco Murders Reveal Six Hidden Real Estate Billionaires

The average retail price fell 1.9 cents to $3.144 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based motoring group AAA said on its website. That's down from this year's peak of $3.696 in April and the lowest since February 2011. Futures have decreased 84 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange over the same period, signaling there may be further declines at the pump.

Following Crude

Gasoline is following the larger drop in the oil market. Brent crude, the global benchmark, closed at $86.16 a barrel today on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after slipping yesterday to $82.60, the lowest level since November 2010. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate settled at $82.75 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after trading below $80 yesterday for the first time since 2012.

Prices are falling with U.S. oil output at the highest level since 1985 and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producing the most in more than a year. At the same time, the Paris-based International Energy Agency lowered its estimate for global demand growth for this year and next in an Oct. 14 report.

Americans are spending about $230 million a day less on gasoline than they were on July 4, based on prices and consumption, said Michael Green, a Washington-based spokesman for AAA, the country's biggest motoring group.

‘Free Money'

Most consumers are paying $5 to $15 less to fill their tanks than they were around the Fourth of July, according to Green. "This is free money that people can use for savings or other spending in time for holiday shopping," he said by e-mail on Oct. 15.

On top of sliding energy prices, food costs fell 0.7 percent in September, driven lower by eggs, baked goods and meat, IHS Inc., an Englewood, Colorado-based consultant, said in research note on Oct. 15. Combined, the drops stand to improve the holiday season both under the Christmas tree and on the dinner table, said Michael Montgomery, a U.S. economist at IHS.

"The two most observed prices by consumers are food and energy and they play the largest role in forming consumer opinions about inflation, providing a little more room for luxuries rather than facing a squeeze from necessities," he said in the report.

Retail sales over this holiday season, from November through December, are expected to be up 4.2 percent from last year, according to IHS. That excludes motor vehicles, gasoline and food purchases.

Holiday Season

"This holiday season -- with just about six weeks until Black Friday -- is expected to glitter in comparison to the last two years," Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of IHS's U.S. consumer economics group, said in a report on Oct. 15. "The recent news on the consumer front has been relatively favorable, especially as pump prices are falling."

Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, marks the start of the holiday shopping season. It falls on Nov. 28 this year.

Americans' expectations for the economy in October climbed to the highest level in almost two years. A measure tracking the economic outlook increased to 51 this month, the strongest since November 2012, from 41.5 in September, data from the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed yesterday.

Retail Sales

Retail sales slid 0.3 percent in September, following a 0.6 percent gain in August that was the biggest in four months, Commerce Department figures show.

"Reconciling consumer confidence with consumer spending continues to be a challenge," said Jack Kleinhenz, the chief economist at the National Retail Federation in Washington, who described last month's retail sales as "surprisingly weak."

While spending on gasoline accounts for less than 5 percent of the average person's disposable income, it has an "undue influence on consumer confidence" because of the way the fuel is sold and paid for, Christopher said Oct. 15 by phone from Lexington, Massachusetts.

"When you go over to that pump, and you squeeze that liquid into your car, you're seeing the amount going higher and higher, and that's an unusual way of consuming something," Christopher said. "It's the way we purchase it. It's immediate. Gasoline is different from almost any other consumer item."


Big dam building program in Australia

The Greenies will be livid

PLANS  for the biggest dam-building and irrigation program in decades will be unveiled today in a major policy blueprint for the ­future of the nation’s agricultural sector that identifies 27 water projects for potential commonwealth investment.

The agricultural competitiveness green paper will outline a ­nation-building agenda that contemplates dam expansions, infrastructure development and greater access to ports.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will declare the government is moving to reinvigorate the dam-building agenda, arguing that it must recapture the vision and purpose of the post-war Snowy Mountains Scheme.

“Water is wealth and stored water is a bank,’’ Mr Joyce will say. “Sometimes the biggest impediment to our nation returning to the vision and purpose that built the Snowy Mountains Scheme is ourselves ably assisted by the ­caveats of sacred invertebrates, amphibians and molluscs.

“Chaffey Dam (in NSW) was almost stopped by the booroolong frog, Nathan Dam (in Queensland) was stopped by the boggo­moss snail, yet Lake Argyle (in Western Australia) created two RAMSAR wetlands that would prevent us getting rid of that dam, not that we want to.’’

The last major greenfields dam completed in Australia was the Wyarolong Dam in southeast Queensland, finished in 2011.

The pace of dam development has slowed significantly across the ­nation since the 1980s amid increasing opposition from envir­onmentalists to new projects.

The green paper identifies six irrigation projects in Tasmania and Victoria that could be considered for federal government ­investment within a year.

Five of these are Tasmanian ­irrigation projects — Southern Highlands, Scottsdale, Circular Head, Swan Valley and North Esk — and the sixth is the southern pipeline project in the Macalister irrigation district in Victoria’s Gippsland.

Four projects — the Emu Swamp dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe in Queensland, an expansion of the Nathan Dam on the Dawson River in Queensland, the Wellington Dam ­Revival Project in Western Australia and the Lindenow Valley Water Security Project on the Mitchell River in Victoria — are identified as potential candidates for federal funding, pending further investigation.

Another 17 projects are flagged as likely to be suitable for further consideration for assistance to ­accelerate feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis or design.

These include the water infrastructure components of stage three of the Ord irrigation scheme in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Four projects in NSW have been identified, including an ­enlargement of the Lostock Dam in NSW’s Hunter Valley, Apsley Dam at Walcha, the Mole River Dam in northern NSW and ­Needles Gap on the central ­tablelands.

A string of major water projects have been identified in north Queensland: the Burdekin Falls Dam expansion; the Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor; the Mitchell River system; Nullinga Dam near Cairns; and Urannah Dam near Collinsville.

Further study is slated for a north Queensland irrigated agriculture strategy around the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments. In South Australia, upgrades to dams in the Clare Valley and the use of waste water in the northern Adelaide plains are under consideration.

While emphasising not every project will get federal funding or go ahead, Mr Joyce says the government’s dams program has ­already started. “In the last month we have started the construction of the Chaffey Dam upgrade (in NSW) and allocated $15.9 million for the continuation of the piping and capping of the Great Artesian bores,” he says.

Mr Joyce will say the nation must drive down transport costs to make the rural sector more ­effective and leverage the mining sector’s common interest in requiring water and the movement of bulk commodities. He will highlight the government’s $300m to start the inland rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane and say he hopes it is later ­extended to Gladstone.

“We must work with the mining industry to see the transport capital and water capital built that is in both our interests as bulk commodity producers and users,’’ he will tell the National Farmers Federation congress in Canberra today.

The green paper will argue that improving access to reliable water supplies and better managing existing water resources is ­essential for the continued growth of the agricultural sector.

Water resources in northern Australia are less developed than in the south, meaning opportunities exist for strategic developments to support the development of water-dependent industries. About 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off occurs in far north Australia and coastal Queensland, and only 6.8 per cent in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Declaring farming and “primary and overwhelming ownership” of farms by Australians to be a national good, Mr Joyce will argue that if the nation wants to increase its agricultural output, it must motivate and send the right signals to make people want to do that.

This will involve cheaper and more effective ways of getting products to market.

The paper will argue that while a market solution is preferable, monopolies and oligopolies must be closely monitored and a fair return to the landholder is essential to the future of the industry.

The paper will back the controversial “effects test’’ supported by the chairman of the government’s competition review, Ian Harper.

Mr Harper, in his interim ­review, backed an effects test that would prohibit business and trading conduct that would have the effect of substantially lessening competition.

The 27 water projects listed in the green paper were identified after Mr Joyce chaired a ministerial working group to identity how investment in water infrastructure, such as dams and groundwater storage, could be ­accelerated and to identify priorities for investment. Tony Abbott put dam building on the national agenda prior to the last election, at the height of the Queensland floods in 2011.

The green paper will argue that government involvement in water infrastructure development should be directed to activities that are in the national interest, deliver net economic and social benefits, and broader public benefits. But given the states and territories have primary responsibility for water resources, strong state government support for a project is also a prerequisite.



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


No comments: