Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Living in cities makes you look older: Polluted urban air will make you age 10 per cent faster than in the country (?)

This claim is full of holes.  For a start it appears to have been done in China, where the pollution is apocalyptic in many places and includes all sorts of industrial chemicals.  So its generalizability to other countries cannot be accepted.  Secondly, the interpretation of the results is guesswork anyway.  There are many differences between city and country living other than pollution.  A more straightforward interpretation of the results would be to say that city living is more stressful and that produces the differences observed

Women who live in the countryside look younger for longer, a study suggests.  City living makes the skin age 10 per cent faster than a rural existence.

Costmetics firm Procter & Gamble claims that polluted air contains 224 chemicals which damage the skin.  The airborne particles each damage proteins in the skin called keratins, which stop cells drying out.

A study of 200 women aged between 30 and 45, funded by P&G, compared the skin quality of inner-city dwellers with that of women living in the country.

Both groups had similar lifestyles and were exposed to comparable amounts of ultraviolet radiation.

But while those from the country showed higher rates of sunlight-related ageing, overall damage was worse among those living in the inner city.

The research was carried out by Professor Wei Liu, a dermatologist at the China Air Force general hospital in Beijing.

Pollution causes inflammation, disrupts the skin’s barrier, damages the collagen that maintains skin elasticity and accelerates wrinkling and ageing.

Frauke Neuser, scientific spokesman for P&G, which makes Olay and other skincare products, said: ‘In the past it was believed toxic particles in urban dust may stick to the face, but are too large to penetrate skin.  ‘We now know particles as small as 0.1 of a micrometre, many times smaller than a grain of sand, carry a variety of these toxins and can get below the skin.’

Professor Mark Birch-Machin, a molecular dermatologist at Newcastle University, told the Sunday Times there was no dispute that air pollution can damage skin, but added: ‘There are no concrete figures as to how much of a problem this is.’


A great myth

That looks like defeated Australian Leftist leader Julia Gillard in the toon -- but I don't think she ever did ask that question

British wind farms paid £43million to stand idle so far this year because they were producing more power than the National Grid could handle

Public money spent for no public benefit

Wind farms have been paid £43million to stand idle so far this year, a new British record.  The payments, funded through householders’ electricity bills, were made to suppliers because the National Grid was unable to use their electricity.

The sums paid in ‘constraint payments’ to wind farms have risen rapidly in the past four years, according to electricity market data.  The total with two months still to go has already far surpassed the £32million paid in the whole of 2013.  Payments totalled £6million in 2012 and £174,000 in 2010.

High winds last month set new daily records for compensation - with £3.07million paid to 33 wind farms to switch off on a single day, October 26.

John Constable, of the Renewable Energy Foundation which campaigns against energy subsidies, said too many wind farms had been built too quickly, without the infrastructure to cope with the power.

Officials are also pandering to suppliers running the Government’s ‘pet technology’, he said, allowing them to charge whatever they wanted to switch off.

The wind industry claims the payments are justified because of the operational costs involved in switching off.  They say other energy industries, such as coal plants, can far more easily stop production and save money when they do so.

But critics point out that the high value of payments reflect a fundamental problem with wind power.  Wind turbines are inherently unpredictable, depending on the weather, and so must be controlled to stop surges causing physical damage to electricity cables and equipment.

The windiest places are often the furthest away from cities where the power is needed, meaning high transmission costs.

The overwhelming majority of the payments to date have been to wind farms in Scotland, where the bulk of wind farms are located.

Electricity demand in Scotland does not match the power produced on the windier days, but cable networks to take the power south into England have not yet been constructed.  As a result National Grid has to pay the wind farm owners to stop generating in order to keep supply and demand balanced.

Renewable UK, which represents the wind industry, points out that wind power is reaching more homes than ever before – supplying a record 24 per cent of the nation’s electricity on one particularly windy day last month.

Jennifer Webber, its director of external affairs, said last in October: ‘Wind power is often used as a convenient whipping boy by political opponents and vested interests.  ‘All the while, it’s been quietly powering millions of homes across the UK and providing a robust response to its vocal detractors.’

But Dr Constable said: ‘Managing wind power is a very expensive business.   'We built too much, too quickly. It is unpredictable and because it tends to be sited in a location a long way from people, it costs a lot to transmit.

‘Building more grid is given as the answer, but that is very expensive - it would have been cheaper not to build these wind farms in the first place.

‘They are charging very high prices to switch off - far higher than the cost of actually producing the power - but officials will not challenge them because this the Government’s pet technology.’

The cost of wind power has become an increasingly divisive issue at the heart of Government.  David Cameron has pledged to place new limits on onshore wind farms if the Tories win a majority at the next election, a policy that has been bitterly opposed by Liberal Democrats.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem Energy Secretary, last week said acting to scrap wind power was a dangerous and populist idea.  Speaking in the House of Commons, he attacked ‘anti-renewables, anti-wind tendency’ of his Conservative Coalition colleagues.  He said: ‘It is imperative that these tendencies are resisted, particularly in the run-up to the general election. Short-term populism is the most dangerous enemy energy and climate change policy has.’

Defending the constraint payments yesterday, a spokesman for Mr Davey’s Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘National Grid has been paying coal and gas generators – and others – to change their planned output well before wind farms joined the mix.

‘In fact, the majority of compensation goes to fossil fuel generators rather than onshore wind farms. The impact on energy bills is negligible.’

Energy regulator Ofgem told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘National Grid’s costs for making these payments have increased as more renewable generators have connected to Britain’s networks before investment programmes have been completed to build new capacity.

‘Last year Ofgem approved a major eight-year network investment programme to address this through renewing and building new capacity.’

The wind industry said it receives a tiny proportion of the budget spent on balancing electricity demand.

A spokesman for Renewable UK said last night: ‘Constraint payments are one of the tools National Grid use to manage the supply and demand of electricity, with payments going to different types of generators, both renewables and fossil fuels.

‘Last year wind received just 5 per cent of the total payments for balancing the grid, equating to 65p a year on the average household bill.’


British climate scientist mocks frantic Warmist prophet

Ed Hawkins, climate scientist at Reading University and contributor to IPCC AR5, does not seem to think too much of fellow climatologist and  uber warmist, Professor Peter Wadhams. It is Wadhams, you may recall, who has regularly been telling us that all the Arctic ice would have melted away by now.

Having failed to get it right before, the good professor now tells us we will have to wait till 2020. This is his latest offering:

"Get ready to order those beach umbrellas in Barrow. One of the leading authorities on the physics of northern seas is predicting an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2020. That’s about two decades sooner than various models for climatic warming have indicated the Arctic might fully open.

"No models here," Peter Wadhams, professor of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge in England, told the Arctic Circle Assembly on Sunday. "This is data."

Wadhams has access to data not only on the extent of ice covering the Arctic, but on the thickness of that ice. The latter comes from submarines that have been beneath the ice collecting measurements every year since 1979.

This data shows ice volume "is accelerating downward," Wadhams said. "There doesn’t seem to be anything to stop it from going down to zero.

"By 2020, one would expect the summer sea ice to disappear. By summer, we mean September. … (but) not many years after, the neighboring months would also become ice-free."

As one of Wadham’s fellow climate scientists, James Annan, observed:  "Hasn’t Wadhams already predicted 4 of the last 0 ice-free summers?"

In the meantime, Wadhams might care to study the phenomenon known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO. It might stop him looking quite so ridiculous.

When the index starts to rise, Arctic temperatures increase and ice extent falls, just as it did after 1920 and has done again since 1975.

And when it starts to fall, watch out!

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

A New Temperature History (AD 674-2010) of Southeast Finland
Paper Reviewed:  Helama, S., Vartiainen, M., Holopainen, J., Makela, H.M., Kolstrom, T. and Merilainen, J. 2014. "A palaeotemperature record for the Finnish Lakeland based on microdensitometric variations in tree rings". Geochronometria 41: 265-277.

In a study published in the journal Geochronometria, Helama et al. (2014) describe how they created, calibrated and verified a continuous dendroclimatic record of the summer temperatures of southeast Finland that spanned the period from AD 674 to 2010, based on X-ray-derived tree-ring maximum latewood density (MXD) measurements made on subfossil and modern pine (Pinus sylvesris) materials.

This record, in their words, depicts "multi-centennial warmth spanning from the 9th to the 12th century," and they say that the long-term cooling observed since Medieval times until the end of the 19th century was similar to what has been observed in MXD and multi-proxy records of northern Fennoscandia, citing Esper et al. (2012) and Helama et al. (2010), as well as what has been observed throughout the entire Northern Hemisphere, citing Mann et al. (1999). And they add that the warmest 250-year periods in the reconstructions of Esper et al. and Helama et al. occurred from AD 816-1065 and AD 932-1181, respectively, during what they refer to as the Medieval Climate Anomaly. In addition, they say this warmth appears to be "coeval to a number of proxy-based hemispheric climate records that show evidence concerning the relatively warm conditions during the same centuries," citing Ljungqvist et al. (2012).

Subsequently, the six Finnish scientists report that a "concentration of markedly cool periods was recorded from the 17th to the early 20th century," coeval with "the wide-spread climatic cooling between AD 1570 and 1900 when Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures fell significantly below their recent (AD 1961-1990) mean level," citing Matthews and Briffa (2005). They also note, in this regard, that the coolest temperatures they recorded during this "Little Ice Age" were from the years between AD 1704 and 1753. And this interval, in their words, "was synchronous with, albeit slightly post-dating, the period of the Maunder Minimum (AD 1645 to 1715," as per Eddy (1976), and especially so with the late Maunder Minimum (AD 1675-1715) that has been denoted "the climax of the Little Ice Age in Europe," as per Luterbacher et al. (2001).

Writing further about this Little Ice Age climax, Helama et al. say it was a period "during which the overall activity of the Sun was drastically reduced and sunspots virtually disappeared," citing Hoyt and Schatten (1998). And they note that cooling in this region could have been expected "approximately two decades after the solar irradiance decreases," due to "inertia in the oceanic response and shift towards the negative phase in the atmospheric oscillations pattern over the North Atlantic and European land areas," citing Shindell et al. (2001).

Taken in their entirety, these several observations clearly reveal the natural, and possibly solar-induced, warming and cooling and warming again that produced Earth's Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Current Warm Period, which phenomenon demonstrates that there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about the Earth's current level of flat-lining warmth.


IPCC’s 'scary’ new report is needle stuck in an old groove

Christopher Booker below is quite correct but his allusion to gramophone needles may escape the younger generation

Ploughing through the new “Synthesis Report” put out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we may be reminded of one of those old gramophone records, when the needle got horribly stuck in a groove. Compiled by many of the IPCC’s veteran alarmists, in yet another bid to get that “global climate treaty” that isn’t going to happen in Paris next year, it wheels on all the familiar scare stories. Melting polar ice, rising sea levels, floods, droughts and hurricanes are all in there – even though these are largely contradicted not just by the actual evidence, but even by the much more cautious contents of the vast technical reports they were meant to be “synthesising”.

On the basis of these increasingly implausible claims, the report’s authors join the growing chorus of calls for humanity to cut CO₂ emissions by 80 per cent, the cost of which, they tell us, would only require us to reduce the world’s economic growth by a mere 0.06 per cent, or 1/1,666th.

Their report is aptly dedicated to the memory of Stephen Schneider, a US physicist who died in 2010 after 40 years as one of the most fanatical “climate crusaders” of them all. Only by wondrous contortions do they try to get round their biggest challenge, in accounting for how global temperatures have failed to rise for 18 years, making a mockery of all those computer model predictions on which the IPCC’s previous four reports relied to drive the scare.

Some 40 different theories have now been offered to explain why, despite the temperature “pause”, the Earth is still in the grip of runaway warming. The latest suggests that it has been temporarily halted by “aerosols” emitted by volcanoes, which, strangely, takes us back to one of the very first scientific papers warning of disastrous climate change, published in 1971.

As a young doctoral student, Schneider predicted that, although rising CO₂ levels could cause global warming, this might be so counteracted by “aerosols” blocking out radiation from the sun that they could be “sufficient to trigger an ice age”.

That needle has sure got stuck in its groove.


Anti-car nonsense destroys convenience and hurts small business in an Australian country town

Toowoomba: HAIRDRESSER Leanne White has chipped in to pay for her customers' parking fines because she feels the parking situation in the area is unfair.

Ms White owns Lush Hair and Beauty on Ruthven St, a strip which recently lost its angle parking to make way for the addition of a bike lane.

The parallel parks outside her business are two-hour paid meters.

"The council has taken away half the parks to put in the bike lane. I'm not against the idea of having a bike lane but I never see anyone use it; cyclists use the footpaths instead," she said.

"We've lost valuable parking for clients and the lack of parking is turning people away.

"We chose this location to be in the CBD and there was ample parking at the time but now I'm considering relocating the business."

Ms White has bought private parking for her workers because she did not want them walking from the nearest long-term parking spots available, at the PCYC.  "That's costing me $1600 a year," she said.  "It's not just about business but also a safety issue for us."

She said business owners in the area were running out of patience with the lack of parking in Ruthven St.  "People are screaming for it but nothing is being done," she said.  "I'm planning on organising a petition because there are so many people concerned."

The owner of La Taste Takeaway Paul Worrall said business in the whole area had dropped off.  "I'm not aware of anyone who thought the bike lane was a good idea," Mr Worrall said.

He also had major concerns for the lack of accessibility to the library, particularly for elderly and disabled customers.

"I watched one old lady with her child who had Down Syndrome driving around trying to find a carpark and they were getting visibly upset," he said.

"The council has made the wrong decision when what you need is more car parks."



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