Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Giant East Antarctic glacier melting with warmer oceans

I have no reason to doubt that the glacier concerned is melting somewhat.  Glaciers do that from time to time.  They also expand from time to time.  And I don't doubt that there is warmer water in its vicinity.  But what is causing the warmer water?  They offer only assertion about that.  No data. No evidence. No survey of the possibilities.  And, since there has been no statistically significant climate change for 18 years, the cause cannot in fact be climate change.  Sub-sea volcanoes have recently been detected in West Antarctica so I suggest that sub-sea volcanoes will also be found in East Antarctica.  And having a volcano under you definitely warms you up!

Warming ocean water is said to be melting the largest glacier in east Antarctica, underscoring climate change's assault on the continent's ice cover.

Australians scientists returning with the first direct measurements of seawater from the Totten Glacier confirm it ranks alongside others in west Antarctica as a climate trouble spot.

Dr Rintoul said it became a focus of concern after satellite measurements showed it was thinning faster than other glaciers in East Antarctica, losing around 14 gigatonnes each year.

"What we have found is that warm water reaches the base of the Totten," voyage chief scientist Steve Rintoul, of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC said in Hobart on Monday.

The Totten has a 538,000 square kilometre drainage system, more than twice the size of Victoria, and its 70 billion tonne yearly outflow would top out Sydney Harbour every two and a half days.

Dr Rintoul said it became a focus of concern after satellite measurements showed it was thinning faster than other glaciers in east Antarctica, losing around 14 gigatonnes each year.

"It was thought that the glaciers on the east Antarctic ice sheet were relatively immune to the kind of melting taking place on the much smaller West Antarctic ice sheet," he said.

A recent benchmark study by University of California glaciologist Eric Rignot found the west Antarctic ice sheet had gone into an irreversible retreat, and melting would raise sea level by 1.2 metres.

But Dr Rintoul said the Totten system, east Antarctica's largest, contained ice equivalent to a six-metre sea level rise, making understanding of its behaviour critical.

Like the west Antarctic's Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers, the Totten was found to be grounded on bedrock below sea level.

"We didn't know until recently that inland, it sloped downwards, and so was susceptible to melting," Dr Rintoul said.

"Pine Island is melting and thinning more rapidly, but Totten is not too far behind," he said.

"This is a surprise because the warm waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current get much closer to the Pine Island Glacier in the south-east Pacific."

Earlier this month Australian scientists on Aurora Australis pushed through a narrow sea ice lead to spend three days taking direct measurements of the water below the Totten's ice cliffs.

They also retrieved moored instruments deployed two years ago by US researchers.

"It will take some time to work out exactly how much the water is warming,  but we can say it is sufficient cause the glacier to melt from below," Dr Rintoul said.

Dr Rintoul said the next step would be to send robotic instruments into the water below the glacier front, to find out how far, and how rapidly, it was melting back.


Climategate, the sequel: How we are STILL being tricked with flawed data on global warming

Something very odd has been going on with the temperature data relied on by the world's scientists, writes Christopher Booker

Although it has been emerging for seven years or more, one of the most extraordinary scandals of our time has never hit the headlines. Yet another little example of it lately caught my eye when, in the wake of those excited claims that 2014 was “the hottest year on record”, I saw the headline on a climate blog: “Massive tampering with temperatures in South America”. The evidence on Notalotofpeopleknowthat, uncovered by Paul Homewood, was indeed striking.

Puzzled by those “2014 hottest ever” claims, which were led by the most quoted of all the five official global temperature records – Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) – Homewood examined a place in the world where Giss was showing temperatures to have risen faster than almost anywhere else: a large chunk of South America stretching from Brazil to Paraguay.

Noting that weather stations there were thin on the ground, he decided to focus on three rural stations covering a huge area of Paraguay. Giss showed it as having recorded, between 1950 and 2014, a particularly steep temperature rise of more than 1.5C: twice the accepted global increase for the whole of the 20th century.

But when Homewood was then able to check Giss’s figures against the original data from which they were derived, he found that they had been altered. Far from the new graph showing any rise, it showed temperatures in fact having declined over those 65 years by a full degree. When he did the same for the other two stations, he found the same. In each case, the original data showed not a rise but a decline.

Homewood had in fact uncovered yet another example of the thousands of pieces of evidence coming to light in recent years that show that something very odd has been going on with the temperature data relied on by the world's scientists. And in particular by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has driven the greatest and most costly scare in history: the belief that the world is in the grip of an unprecedented warming.

How have we come to be told that global temperatures have suddenly taken a great leap upwards to their highest level in 1,000 years? In fact, it has been no greater than their upward leaps between 1860 and 1880, and 1910 and 1940, as part of that gradual natural warming since the world emerged from its centuries-long “Little Ice Age” around 200 years ago.

This belief has rested entirely on five official data records. Three of these are based on measurements taken on the Earth’s surface, versions of which are then compiled by Giss, by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit working with the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction, part of the UK Met Office. The other two records are derived from measurements made by satellites, and then compiled by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California and the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH).

The adjusted graph from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies

In recent years, these two very different ways of measuring global temperature have increasingly been showing quite different results. The surface-based record has shown a temperature trend rising up to 2014 as “the hottest years since records began”. RSS and UAH have, meanwhile, for 18 years been recording no rise in the trend, with 2014 ranking as low as only the sixth warmest since 1997.

One surprise is that the three surface records, all run by passionate believers in man-made warming, in fact derive most of their land surface data from a single source. This is the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), managed by the US National Climate Data Center under NOAA, which in turn comes under the US Department of Commerce.

But two aspects of this system for measuring surface temperatures have long been worrying a growing array of statisticians, meteorologists and expert science bloggers. One is that the supposedly worldwide network of stations from which GHCN draws its data is flawed. Up to 80 per cent or more of the Earth’s surface is not reliably covered at all. Furthermore, around 1990, the number of stations more than halved, from 12,000 to less than 6,000 – and most of those remaining are concentrated in urban areas or places where studies have shown that, thanks to the “urban heat island effect”, readings can be up to 2 degrees higher than in those rural areas where thousands of stations were lost.

Below, the raw data in graph form

To fill in the huge gaps, those compiling the records have resorted to computerised “infilling” or “homogenising”, whereby the higher temperatures recorded by the remaining stations are projected out to vast surrounding areas (Giss allows single stations to give a reading covering 1.6 million square miles). This alone contributed to the sharp temperature rise shown in the years after 1990.

But still more worrying has been the evidence that even this data has then been subjected to continual “adjustments”, invariably in only one direction. Earlier temperatures are adjusted downwards, more recent temperatures upwards, thus giving the impression that they have risen much more sharply than was shown by the original data.

An early glaring instance of this was spotted by Steve McIntyre, the statistician who exposed the computer trickery behind that famous “hockey stick” graph, beloved by the IPCC, which purported to show that, contrary to previous evidence, 1998 had been the hottest year for 1,000 years. It was McIntyre who, in 2007, uncovered the wholesale retrospective adjustments made to US surface records between 1920 and 1999 compiled by Giss (then run by the outspoken climate activist James Hansen). These reversed an overall cooling trend into an 80-year upward trend. Even Hansen had previously accepted that the “dust bowl” 1930s was the hottest US decade of the entire 20th century.

Assiduous researchers have since unearthed countless similar examples across the world, from the US and Russia to Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, an 80-year cooling of 1 degree per century was turned into a warming trend of 2.3 degrees. In New Zealand, there was a major academic row when “unadjusted” data showing no trend between 1850 and 1998 was shown to have been “adjusted” to give a warming trend of 0.9 degrees per century. This falsified new version was naturally cited in an IPCC report (see “New Zealand NIWA temperature train wreck” on the Watts Up With That science blog, WUWT, which has played a leading role in exposing such fiddling of the figures).

By far the most comprehensive account of this wholesale corruption of proper science is a paper written for the Science and Public Policy Institute, “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?”, by two veteran US meteorologists, Joseph D’Aleo and WUWT’s Anthony Watts (and if warmists are tempted to comment below this article online, it would be welcome if they could address their criticisms to the evidence, rather than just resorting to personal attacks on the scientists who, after actually examining the evidence, have come to a view different from their own).

One of the more provocative points arising from the debate over those claims that 2014 was “the hottest year evah” came from the Canadian academic Dr Timothy Ball when, in a recent post on WUWT, he used the evidence of ice-core data to argue that the Earth’s recent temperatures rank in the lowest 3 per cent of all those recorded since the end of the last ice age, 10,000 years ago.

In reality, the implications of such distortions of the data go much further than just representing one of the most bizarre aberrations in the history of science. The fact that our politicians have fallen for all this scary chicanery has given Britain the most suicidally crazy energy policy (useless windmills and all) of any country in the world.

But at least, if they’re hoping to see that “universal climate treaty” signed in Paris next December, we can be pretty sure that it is no more going to happen than that 2014 was the hottest year in history.


The Blizzard That Wasn't

Another failure of prediction.  Those models are just no good

There was no climate change where I live in a suburb of Newark, N.J. if by “climate change” you meant a dramatic blizzard with high winds and several feet of snow. It’s winter and you get the occasional, rare blizzard every few years, but more often you get snowstorms. That’s not “change” by any definition.

Listening to WABC radio follow events with callers from around the Tri-State area calling in with far more accurate reports than the meteorologists was an education in the way those trained in meteorology and the rest of us have been conditioned to believe that something is happening to planet Earth that, quite simply, is not happening.

The meteorologists spent their time trying to figure out the difference between a European computer model and one generated here in the U.S. The former predicted far worse conditions. The latter fell victim, along with the rest of us, to the mindset that the conditions the computers were interpreting did not reflect what was actually happening.

At this early morning hour, it is clear that Long Island, parts of Connecticut, and generally along the coastlines, there has been a heavier snowfall. A few miles inland however it is a far different story. Callers who had been out in the midst of the storm described light, powdery snow and perhaps two to four inches at most.

Why, they asked, did the Governors of New York and New Jersey, along with the Mayor of New York City close down the metropolitan area? They speculated on the millions of lost income for everyone involved in a storm that was not posing a significant traffic or other problems, but who had seen businesses, schools, bus lines, and other public facilities shut down. When a significantly incorrect weather prediction does that, it demonstrates how important it is to correctly interpret the data being provided by the satellites—the best source.

When, earlier in January, NOAA and NASA reported that 2014 had been "the warmest year" it should have raised far more questions and media coverage given the sheer absurdity of such a report. Remember, though, these are two federal government agencies we expect to get it right. They didn’t just get it wrong, skeptical scientists were quick to note how they had deliberately distorted the data on which they based the claim.

That is the heart of the issue surrounding the endless claims of “global warming” or “climate change.”  The planet has not been warming for 19 years at this point because the sun has been in a perfectly natural cycle of low radiation.

Centuries ago, it was noticed that when there are few sunspots, magnetic storms, the Earth got colder. Thus, “climate change” is not an unusual event, but rather a reflection of the well-known cycles of warmth or cold that the planet has passed through for billions of years.

At this writing it is too early in the morning hours to know what the rest of the East Coast looks like, but the indications are that, as one moves westward the “blizzard” has been far less than the one predicted and will likely be downgraded to a standard winter snowstorm.

That’s the good news. The bad news was the over-reaction of meteorologists and politicians. No doubt they wanted to be “safe than sorry” but they inadvertently taught us all a lesson about the way environmental organizations and a government led by a President telling us that “climate change” is the most dangerous challenge facing us have been deliberately lying about the true meteorological record in order to drag us all back to a time in which we burned wood for heat and rode horses for transportation.

The Greens don’t like humans much and that is why they have been lying about “man-made” climate change when the climate has nothing to do with human activities.

Listen to the skeptics, often maliciously called “deniers”, when they tell you the truth about the meteorological science that has been deliberately distorted since the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. It has been lying to us ever since.

Depending on where you live in the area in which the snow fell and the winds blew, trust your eyes. Trust your commonsense. Be more skeptical because the blizzard that wasn’t is not a lesson you want to forget anytime soon.



No obvious trend

In more than a hundred years of record-keeping, snowfall in New York City has only cleared the 20-inch mark a handful of times.  Below are the top five recorded snowfall figures for a single storm:

1. February 11-12, 2006:    26.9inches

2. December 26-27, 1947:  25.8inches

3. March 12-14, 1888:         21.0inches

4. February 25.26, 2010:    20.9inches

5. January 7-8, 1996:          20.2inches

The older storms, from 1888 and 1947, were deadly for many and are remembered as disasters in the city, while later storms made less of a dent because of modern technology and greater preparedness.

The 1888 blast coated the boroughs, and caused chaos by disrupting power lines and other utilities, which were later moved underground as a response.

In 1947, the storm came by surprise as it approached from the sea, where there was little infrastructure for weather warnings. Snow was piled up and dumped in the sewers or rivers from Manhattan, but districts further from water struggled for days with the huge pileups.

Storms in the 1990s and 2000s still caused widespread chaos but were handled more deftly. The 2010 storm canceled a third of all flights from New York City. Costs associated with cleaning up after the 2006 storm reportedly hit the tens of millions.


Climate alarmists all choked up without reading the fine print

By MICHAEL ASTEN (Michael Asten is a professor of geophysics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

LAST week delivered for the global warming debate, the most anticipated data point of the decade. The year 2014 was declared the hottest of the past century, by a margin of 0.04 degC. The news has been greeted with enthusiasm by those who attribute all warming to man-made influences, (notably in the Fairfax press in Australia), but few commentators have qualified their comment with the observation that NASA put an error margin of +-0.05 C on their result.

The figure below shows global surface temperature as compiled by NASA for the past 134 years. Single data points (years) are unimportant. The 5-year moving average in red is a more useful indicator of temperature trends, and its slope shows clearly the steady rising trend from 1980 to 2000, and the temperature pause from 2000 to present. Anyone with a high-school science education can look at such a graph and form their own conclusions, but four of the most important are that

 *  The slope of the rise from 1980 to 2000 is about 0.19 degC per decade (the rate consistent with current warming models for “business as usual” CO2 emissions)

 *  A closely similar rate of rise in global temperature occurred from 1910 to 1940, pre-dating current high CO2 emissions

 *  Pauses in the rate of rise occurred from 1880 to 1910, from 1940 to 1970, and from 2000 to present.

 *  The model trend as computed by the IPCC continues upwards from 2000, but the pause is a clear break of observed earth behaviour away from the models.

The pauses are regarded by the majority of scientists (both within and outside the conventional anthropogenic global warming camps) as being attributable to natural cycles in global climate, although the two groups favour different causative mechanisms.

What is surprising is that, instead of reading the multiple patterns in such a graph, enormous global publicity has followed on that single point of 2014 — even though we won’t know for a decade whether it represents a break from the current “pause” trend. Thus John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, greeted the 2014 result with the comment “This data shows not only a series of alarming years but decades of warming to make an undisputable trend”, which suggests a lack of awareness on his part of the steep warming trend which occurred from 1910-1940 without significant man-made assistance, and the pause from 2000 which occurred despite current CO2 emissions.

Will Steffen of the Climate Council also finds cause for alarm in the 2014 data point, using the occasion to release a document titled “Off the charts: 2014 was the world’s hottest year on record” in which objective graphical analysis as we teach in high schools is replaced with poetic subheadings personifying the climate as “Angry Summer”, Abnormal Autumn” and “Scorching Spring”.

We can also look back to 2007 for a fascinating morsel of history; the figure shows at that year there is a clear hint of the start of the pause, although not statistically significant at that time. When Bob Carter, a former head of the Department of Earth Sciences at James Cook University, called attention to the discrepancy between the changed temperature trend versus the modelling predictions, Andrew Ash (then acting director of the CSIRO Climate Adaption Flagship), stated “Professor Bob Carter claims that ‘no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998’. This is an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”.

I suggest this is an incredible accusation to make against a scientist who has read (correctly, as history shows) a trend in a global temperature data set. When comparing Carter’s observation with pronouncements prompted by the single 2014 warm temperature point, we see a disturbing double standard in how scientific commentary is received. (In defence of the management of CSIRO I note that CSIRO has not issued a media release related to the 2014 temperature data point).

Some climate scientists will counter my views with claims that 21st century temperatures are cause for great concern because they are “the hottest ever”. Multiple lines of geological and historical data show they are not. Observations of past surface temperatures constructed from chemical composition of clam shells as far apart as Iceland and the south China Sea point to global temperatures of medieval times (800-1300AD) being warmer than those of today, and those of Roman times even warmer. The message is, the Earth can and does cool and warm on time scales of decades to millennia, and CO2 emissions are not the dominant driver. Our grandchildren will be best served if we devote our Direct Action strategies towards robust protection of communities from effects of drought, fire and floods. All have been a part of our history. And history guarantees all will be a part of our future.


Jo Nova comments:

"We skeptics get excited about unusual things. The Australian published Michael Asten today in the Op-Ed pages, and took the extremely rare step of publishing a scientific graph (!) with a few error bars and everything. Newspapers publish economic graphs all the time, so it’s nice to see the scientific debate getting a bit more sophisticated than just the usual “deniers are evil, government climate scientists speak the word of God” type of stuff. (In the Enlightenment, data was a greater source of authority than any human; how we pine for those days.) The only thing the story should have added was a note that reminds us that the not only was the “hottest” record not beyond the error bars but that it did not occur in satellite measurements. I’m sure a lot of people mistakenly think that NASA might use satellites, but they prefer highly adjusted ground thermometers next to airport tarmac instead.

The headline on that graph could have been “Climate scientists don’t know what caused most of the big moves on this graph”. Some mystery effect caused the warming from 1910-1940. In ClimateScienceTM it is OK to call that “natural variability” and pretend to be 95% sure whatever it was has now stopped.

Parliament bid to block fracking in Britain fails

A group of British lawmakers failed Monday to block plans for shale gas fracking in Britain, but the government agreed to tougher regulation and a ban on fracking in national parks.

Some 200 protesters including the designer Vivienne Westwood rallied outside parliament as the vote was taking place, holding up placards and shouting slogans.

One sign read "Shut the Frack Up" and a colourful knitted banner read "No to Fracking", an extraction process in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped at high pressure underground to access natural gas reserves.

A committee of lawmakers had demanded a moratorium on fracking, arguing that it would endanger a pledge to cut climate change emissions.

The moratorium was rejected by 308 votes to 52 after the opposition Labour party did not take part.

However, the Conservative-led coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron accepted more regulation and agreed to ban the highly productive, but environmentally controversial technique in protected areas.

The regulations were added in an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, a broad package that includes legislation intended to boost the fledgling shale gas and oil industry that still faces a final vote to become law.

Amber Rudd, junior minister for energy and climate change, argued that a moratorium would be "disproportionate" to the risks of fracking, which opponents fear can cause earthquakes and pollute water supplies.

"We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of national beauty," Rudd told parliament during the debate.

Previously, the government had planned to allow shale gas exploration in national parks in exceptional circumstances.

The opposition Labour party said it was "a huge u-turn by the government."

"Thanks to Labour's amendment, the government has been forced to accept that tough protections and proper safeguards must be in place before fracking can go ahead," Labour's shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said in a statement.

However, Green party lawmaker Caroline Lucas, who had pushed for a freeze on fracking, criticised Labour's abstention from the vote on a moratorium as a "farce".

The government has pledged to go "all out" on developing the shale gas and oil industry, which it argues will create jobs, boost the economy and help Britain rely less on energy imports.

The drive received a blow this month when a council recommended plans by British energy firm Cuadrilla to start fracking in two sites in Lancashire in north-west England should be rejected.

A final decision on permission is expected in the coming weeks.



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


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