Friday, November 28, 2014

More unsettled science

The journal article below reveals that estimates of Antarctic ice were way out.  The sea ice should be shrinking according to the famous Warmist "models" but it is in fact expanding.  And now we know that it is not only expanding in area but also thickening in size.  Pesky!  So it will be more resistant to global warming than predicted, if such warming ever eventuates.  The findings are from what they found when they sent a robot sub under the ice.

An explanation of "deformed" ice:  "These thick, craggy floes likely wouldn't exist without the fierce winds that circle Antarctica from west to east, the researchers said. Winter storms bash up the ice, freezing and reforming the rubble into new, thicker ice. "It must have been crunched up a tremendous amount and [the floes] piled up on top of each other," Maksym said"

A telling comment from one of the researchers:  ""If we don't know how much ice is there is, we can't validate the models we use to understand the global climate," Maksym told Live Science. "It looks like there are significant areas of thick ice that are probably not accounted for."

Thick and deformed Antarctic sea ice mapped with autonomous underwater vehicles

G. Williams et al.


Satellites have documented trends in Antarctic sea-ice extent and its variability for decades, but estimating sea-ice thickness in the Antarctic from remote sensing data remains challenging. In situ observations needed for validation of remote sensing data and sea-ice models are limited; most have been restricted to a few point measurements on selected ice floes, or to visual shipboard estimates. Here we present three-dimensional (3D) floe-scale maps of sea-ice draft for ten floes, compiled from two springtime expeditions by an autonomous underwater vehicle to the near-coastal regions of the Weddell, Bellingshausen, and Wilkes Land sectors of Antarctica. Mean drafts range from 1.4 to 5.5 m, with maxima up to 16 m. We also find that, on average, 76% of the ice volume is deformed ice. Our surveys indicate that the floes are much thicker and more deformed than reported by most drilling and ship-based measurements of Antarctic sea ice. We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.


Now Britian's Royal Society is doing a panic

Just computer games again, of course.  But they are giving themselves a century for it to come true.  Pretty safe.  They'll all be dead before they have to answer for being false prophets

Extreme temperatures, flash flooding is set to become far more common towards the end of the century, a group of respected scientists has predicted.

Changes in weather patterns globally will make people, especially ageing populations, far more vulnerable to extreme hot spells, according to a report published by the Royal Society.

And the experts also predict that the impact of blazing summers will increase ten-fold by 2100, while the impact of flooding will more than quadruple over the same period, the report estimates.

Scientists calculated the impact of climate change and population changes on the chances of people being affected by floods, droughts and heatwaves around the world.

Extended hot periods like that seen in 2003 - when temperatures soared to 101°F (38.5°C) and railway tracks buckled in the heat - will become far more common.

The report focuses on the risks to people from floods, droughts and heatwaves.

Drier parts of the world are expected to get drier and wetter parts, wetter.  [How handy!]

Increasing population numbers in areas that are exposed to extreme weather events exacerbate the risks from floods and droughts in many regions - especially East, West and Central Africa, India and South-East Asia.

Over-65s are one of the groups most vulnerable to heatwaves, which could hit the UK and Europe.

Changes in temperature and humidity could result in significant reductions in ability to work outdoors across much of Africa, Asia, and parts of North, South and Central America. This would impact rural communities and food production for a growing global population.

Scientists adopted a ‘worst case’ scenario by assuming an increase in average temperatures around the world of up to 4.8°C by 2100.

The researchers defined a heatwave as a run of five days during which night-time temperatures are at least 5°C above the norm. [Cripes!  By British standards, I live in a heatwave for 6 months of the year at that rate]

Professor Peter Cox, from the University of Exeter - one of the authors of the Royal Society report, said: ‘We measure exposure to individuals. That goes up because of more extreme events and because the size of the vulnerable population increases.

‘Climate change increases the risk to people by a factor of two or three and population change multiplies that by at least 1.5 and up to four times in the case of heatwaves.’ 

The report also found a dramatically increased risk of exposure to flooding in the UK and parts of western Europe, while the threat of drought hung over the Mediterranean.

Blah, blah, blah ...


A QUARTER of Canadian polar bears are under threat from global warming: They could be wiped out by shrinking ice caps (?)

Pure long term speculation based on some very complicated climate modelling procedures and using a worst case scenario.  No new observations of actual bear populations

Images of lonely polar bears seemingly stranded on chunks of drifting ice have become one of the defining images of global warming.  Now scientists warn that a quarter of Canadian polar bears could be wiped out by the end of the century because of shrinking ice caps.

Warming temperatures could destroy one tenth of the bear’s habitat, affecting their ability to roam across huge expanses of ice to hunt for food.

Biologists from the University of Alberta believe that as summers get warmer in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago - islands off the North American continent and Greenland – more permanent ice cover will melt away every year.

This means that by 2100, each polar bear population in the Archipelago may have to endure between two and five months of the year without ice at sea, which would likely lead to starvation and hamper their ability to mate.

Projected global warming would adversely affect one tenth of their habitat, which is being damaged by man-made pollution, according to the study.

It found that sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering the physical characteristics of marine ecosystems.

Predatory animals are vulnerable to these changes in sea ice conditions because a smaller amount of sea ice lessens animals' opportunities to roam across expanses of ice and catch prey.

The study, published in Plos One, used sea ice projections from 2006 to 2100 to gain an insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears.

Biologist Stephen Hamilton from University of Alberta said: ‘We predict that nearly one-tenth of the world’s polar bear habitat, as much as one-quarter of their global population, may undergo significant habitat loss under business-as-usual climate projections.’


Projected Polar Bear Sea Ice Habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Stephen G. Hamilton et al.



Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 – 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling.

Principal Findings

Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2–5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands.


Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.


Britain’s energy policy is a catastrophic mess that will keep prices high

The story of how the Labour Party destroyed Britain’s system of financial regulation, launching the ill-fated Financial Services Authority, is now well known. The tale of how it wrecked the pioneering energy market painstakingly introduced by its predecessor, a process tragically continued by the present coalition, is far less well understood. We should thus be grateful for the latest paper from Reform, the think tank, which explains exactly how it all went wrong.

The main point is that Britain no longer has a real energy market and that the Coalition’s reforms are “the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s”. Nominally private companies still generate and deliver electricity that consumers pay for but just about everything, from prices to outcomes, are now heavily determined by politicians.

The author, Rupert Darwall, finds that the result is a “vast ramshackle Public Private Partnership combining the worst of all worlds – state direction of investment funded by high cost private sector finance”. Devastatingly, as he notes cogently, almost all sorts of generation that currently take place in Britain – be it zero, low or high carbon – now benefits from handouts or various kinds of price supports.

The unfashionable truth is that the privatisation of the electricity industry in the 1980s and the introduction of genuine competition in the 1990s was a triumph. The real hero was Lord Lawson of Blaby, energy secretary in the 1980s. The system evolved and improved over time, with a key duopoly eventually broken up, with the pro-competition drive led by Stephen Littlechild, the brilliant economist who was in charge of energy regulation in the 1990s. Prices fell significantly, delivering large benefits to consumers and companies and helping to deliver a significant boost to competitiveness.

The rot really set in when Tony Blair decided in 2007 to impose a target that a predetermined proportion of energy would be generated from renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Ed Miliband’s influence on the UK’s energy policy during his time in government was also catastrophic. The return of regulation was helped by the fact that energy prices had started to rise again for the first time in years, and the increase was blamed (entirely wrongly) on privatisation and markets. Paradoxically, the interventions of the Labour and coalition years seem almost designed to dramatically hike prices.

The Labour reforms ended the free market that had been introduced by the Tories and which had worked far better than many people realised at the time. The green quotas meant that the Government had to retake control of all electricity generation: given that it started to subsidise heavily certain forms of electricity, it also had to create artificial incentives to make that enough investment remained in other sources, rigging other markets, too.

It’s all a giant mess. The Government believes that a “fully competitive and open electricity market” will only be reintroduced in 2028. Unless we return to one much sooner, we will condemn ourselves to falling living standards, gross inefficiencies and a monumental misallocation of resources. Let us hope that the next government sees sense. 


Think it's unusally warm outside? Then you must be left-wing: Climate change beliefs affect how we perceive the weather, study claims

If you don't believe in climate change, you're less likely to feel that the weather is getting warmer - and vice versa. That's according to a study that analysed how people remembered a particularly warm winter in the US in 2012.

And they found those who believed in climate change remembered it being warmer, while those who didn't thought it was colder.

The research, published in Nature Climate Change, was carried out by three US sociologists - , Dr Aaron McCright of Michigan State University, Dr Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State, and Dr Chenyang Xiao of American University.

They studied how people remembered the erroneously warm winter of 2012, which was the fourth warmest on record for the US of the previous 117 winters.

During the winter, the seasonal average was about 1.9°C (3.9°F) above the 20th century average.

The researchers compared data from Gallup polls in early March 2012 after the winter ended with temperature data from the US, reports the Washington Post.

Most correctly said that the weather had been unusual, with those in more affected areas noticing the conditions more.

But those with certain political and scientific beliefs had differing views on how severe the changes had been.

'Democrats [were] more likely than Republicans to perceive local winter temperatures as warmer than usual,' the researchers wrote.

Liberals and women were also more likely than conservatives and males to attribute the warmer-than-normal local winter temperatures to global warming.

The results suggest that, apart from actual science, people's view on climate change can be skewed by their beliefs.


Australia: Green Party leader trying to hang on to renewable energy target

Greens leader Christine Milne has reached out to key crossbench senators to try to save the renewable energy target.

Senator Milne has sent three personalised letters to RET fence-sitters Jacqui Lambie, Nick Xenophon and Ricky Muir, detailing the impact scaling back the target would have on their states.

In one letter, she appeals to fellow Tasmanian, Senator Lambie, to help drive investment in renewable energy or face "economic pain, higher unemployment and social dislocation".

Senator Lambie has pushed for hydro to be included in the RET, claiming the target disproportionately affects Tasmanians - who predominantly run on hydro-electricity.

"I fear you have been misled by industries that have a financial interest in destroying Tasmania's emerging industries," Senator Milne writes.

The government wants to slash the target of 41,000 gigawatt hours to about 27,000, claiming that figure will represent 27 per cent of energy use by 2020 instead of the bipartisan level of 20 per cent.

Senator Milne's letters, obtained by AAP, follow a crossbench plan to include existing hydro and solar projects in the RET.

The proposal - spearheaded by Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm - would mean no significant new investment in renewable energy would be needed to meet the target.

It comes amid industry uncertainty prompted by a breakdown in major party negotiations.

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer - with two Senate seats - is committed to maintaining the target, leaving Senator Muir and Senator Xenophon as crucial votes to pass the proposal if the government signs on.

Senator Milne claims including existing hydro in the target would cost households and would not reduce emissions nor drive new investment - a key aim of the policy.

"In other words, it would be all-pain for no gain," she writes to Senator Muir.

The Clean Energy Council believes the proposal would hand $13.5 billion to existing hydro power at the expense of much of the planned $14.5 billion of investment in new large-scale renewable energy.

Senator Milne has requested meetings with each senator next week.


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