Friday, February 27, 2015

New article hailed as "proof" of climate change

It does support the notion that CO2 has some effect but how much?  The answer to that lies in the term "incredibly precise" below.  They had to use research instrumentation and methods that could detect incredibly small changes.  And that the effects of CO2 are incredibly small is just what skeptics have been saying!  The work vindicates skeptics, if anything.

Beware of the sentence below "This increase is about ten percent of the trend from all sources of infrared energy".  It does NOT say "This increase is about ten percent of all sources of infrared energy".  Ten percent of a TREND was a tiny amount.

So I am giving this study a big tick.  If I were in a critical mood I might mention that it critically involves the assumption that correlation is causation but I am inclined to be big-souled about that on this occasion

I add the journal abstract below

Scientists have witnessed carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere above the United States, showing human-made climate change 'in the wild' for the first time.

A new study in the journal Nature demonstrates in real-time field measurements what scientists already knew from basic physics, lab tests, numerous simulations, temperature records and dozens of other climatic indicators.

They say it confirms the science of climate change and the amount of heat-trapping previously blamed on carbon dioxide.  'We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there's more CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb what the Earth emits in response to incoming solar radiation,' said Daniel Feldman, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division and lead author of the Nature paper.

'Numerous studies show rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations, but our study provides the critical link between those concentrations and the addition of energy to the system, or the greenhouse effect,' Feldman adds.  He said no one before had quite looked in the atmosphere for this type of specific proof of climate change.

The scientists used incredibly precise spectroscopic instruments operated by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

These instruments, located at ARM research sites in Oklahoma and Alaska, measure thermal infrared energy that travels down through the atmosphere to the surface.  They can detect the unique spectral signature of infrared energy from CO2.

Other instruments at the two locations detect the unique signatures of phenomena that can also emit infrared energy, such as clouds and water vapor.

The result is two time-series from two very different locations. Each series spans from 2000 to the end of 2010, and includes 3300 measurements from Alaska and 8300 measurements from Oklahoma obtained on a near-daily basis.

Both series showed the same trend: atmospheric CO2 emitted an increasing amount of infrared energy, to the tune of 0.2 Watts per square meter per decade. This increase is about ten percent of the trend from all sources of infrared energy such as clouds and water vapor.

Based on an analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s CarbonTracker system, the scientists linked this upswing in CO2-attributed radiative forcing to fossil fuel emissions and fires.

The measurements also enabled the scientists to detect, for the first time, the influence of photosynthesis on the balance of energy at the surface.

They found that CO2-attributed radiative forcing dipped in the spring as flourishing photosynthetic activity pulled more of the greenhouse gas from the air....

The study is good technical work, said climate scientist Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University, but it is expected — sort of like confirming gravity with a falling rock.


Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010

By D. R. Feldman et al.
The climatic impact of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is usually quantified in terms of radiative forcing1, calculated as the difference between estimates of the Earth’s radiation field from pre-industrial and present-day concentrations of these gases. Radiative transfer models calculate that the increase in CO2 since 1750 corresponds to a global annual-mean radiative forcing at the tropopause of 1.82 ± 0.19 W m−2 (ref. 2). However, despite widespread scientific discussion and modelling of the climate impacts of well-mixed greenhouse gases, there is little direct observational evidence of the radiative impact of increasing atmospheric CO2. Here we present observationally based evidence of clear-sky CO2 surface radiative forcing that is directly attributable to the increase, between 2000 and 2010, of 22 parts per million atmospheric CO2. The time series of this forcing at the two locations—the Southern Great Plains and the North Slope of Alaska —are derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer spectra3 together with ancillary measurements and thoroughly corroborated radiative transfer calculations4. The time series both show statistically significant trends of 0.2 W m−2 per decade (with respective uncertainties of ±0.06 W m−2 per decade and ±0.07 W m−2 per decade) and have seasonal ranges of 0.1–0.2 W m−2. This is approximately ten per cent of the trend in downwelling longwave radiation5, 6, 7. These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.


UPDATE: Rog Tallbloke Has even more fun with the above study than I did.  He points out that in Alaska over the study period, the average temperature actually FELL by four degrees.  So rising CO2 must cause cooling, Right?

Another point I did not mention because I saw no point in beating a dead horse concerns the graph below.  It appeared with the original story.

It shows two nicely matching curves, does it not?  But what are the quantities being graphed?  One is CO2 but the other is NOT temperature.  It is a theoretically derived construct called forcing.  Not so impressive.

Kert Davies, a repetitious Greenpeace hit-man

Boston Globe, New York Times, and Washington Post articles cited Kert Davies’ supposedly damaging documents (screencaptures here, here and here), in an effort to trash skeptic climate scientist Dr Willie Soon.

Funny how none of those publications bothers to mention (hiding appearances of bias, we much?) Davies’ former position as Greenpeace’s Research Director.

Regarding the Washington Post article in particular, the comical aspect of it is how the late WashPo editor Ben Bradlee must be spinning in his grave at the sight of Chris Mooney as its author – Mooney being nothing like the thorough reporters who investigated the Watergate scandal under Bradlee’s command, but is instead apparently too much in love with Ross Gelbspan’s ‘industry-corrupt skeptic climate scientists’ accusation, as I described in my 2011 WUWT guest post. Conspicuous by its absence in Mooney’s WashPo bio is his association with Desmogblog, the anti-skeptic site built around the works of Ross Gelbspan.

But, that’s only part of the silliness. It isn’t simply that Kert Davies is also the source of this ‘breaking’ story for nine different science journals, it is the plain fact that there is nothing new in these reports that wasn’t already seen in older reports on Dr Soon which cited Davies just the same way.

The June 28, 2011 Reuters report about Dr Willie Soon’s “$1 million in funding” had the following quote from Davies:

“A campaign of climate change denial has been waged for over twenty years by Big Oil and Big Coal,” said Kert Davies, a research director at Greenpeace US.

“Scientists like Dr. Soon who take fossil fuel money and pretend to be independent scientists are pawns.”

The UK Guardian’s same-day variation written by John Vidal contained the identical quote from Davies, but Vidal skipped the last sentence in the Reuters article where Dr Soon said he’d gladly accept Greenpeace funding. An internet search of just that date and Dr Soon’s name shows just how far and wide those twin stories were spread.

Want to see a fun circular citation in action? Greenpeace’s own ExxonSecrets web site (created and run by Davies) has a page dedicated to Dr Soon, where it cites the above John Vidal Guardian article as the source to say Dr Soon received a million dollars of ‘big oil’ funding. Who did Vidal cite for that? Greenpeace.

All of that was in the summer of 2011. But back in the summer of 2009 — stop the presses — Kert Davies himself gave us the same ‘breaking news’ about Dr Soon’s funding at the Huffington Post (by default, HuffPo shows Davies current “Director, Climate Investigations Center” title, but rest assured that the Internet Archive for his 2009 article shows his then-current “Research Director for Greenpeace US” title):

"Finally. After years of denying its role in the campaign of climate denial, Exxon has revealed a dirty secret, that it has and likely still is directly funding junk scientists. …

The new Exxon Giving report shows straight pipe funding, in the odd but specific sum of $76,106 to the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, home of Dr. Willie Soon…"

Back in 2007, a giant 176 page official complaint was lodged at Ofcom, (the UK’s communications regulator of broadcasts) about skeptic climate scientists seen in the British video “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, and the complaint went so far as to include its criticism of Dr Soon’s non-speaking contribution to the film, while noting his ‘big oil’ funding. Who did the complaint cite for news of that? Kert Davies. Stop the presses! Breaking news!

However, this blog focuses on the origins of the overall smear of skeptic climate scientists. To see how Kert Davies fits into that, we have to go back about a decade earlier.

Prior to starting at Greenpeace in 2000, Davies worked at Ozone Action, the organization that merged into Greenpeace USA in 2000. Prior to that, he worked at the Environmental Working Group, which produced an undated Clearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) report titled “Affiliations of Selected Global Warming Skeptics” (“Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action”’s copy here), which says the following near the end of page 2….

"Willie Soon
Suspected fossil fuel funding – Compensation for services to Western Fuels Assoc. funded project"

… and this on its page 3:

"Organizational affiliations are from CLEARS database, compiled from primary sources and media reports. Additional research assistance provided by Ozone Action.

Funding information primarily compiled from:
Ross Gelbspan, The Heat is On. Perseus Books: Reading, Massachusetts. 1997,1998
Ross Gelbspan, “The Heat is On,” Harpers. December 1995.
Ozone Action, Ties That Blind: Industry Influence on Public Policy and our Environment. March-December, 1996. …"

Pages 4 through 10 at that Greenpeace scan collection is of CLEAR’s November 10, 1998 (one month after Davies began working at Ozone Action) report titled “Western Fuels Association’s Astroturf Empire.” Page 7 paraphrases a section of Ozone Action’s “Ties That Blind” report, having these key words:

"According to documents obtained by environmental group Ozone Action and journalist Ross Gelbspan, ICE messaging strategies included targeting “older, less educated males” … and “younger, lower income women.” ICE’s stated goal was to reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”

My educated guess is that Gelbspan and Ozone Action ‘obtained’ those documents (assuming their statement is accurate) sometime around late 1995, since Gelbspan first mentioned them in a December 1995 radio interview. Who did they ‘obtain’ the documents from? Well, the above CLEAR report mentions the same “older, less educated males”/ “younger, lower income women” seen in Al Gore’s 1992 book. Note how Gore’s 1992 book pre-dates Gelbspan’s 1995 radio interview quote of those same words… yet Gore later prominently said Gelbspan discovered that memo set!

I can at least say Kert Davies had ties with Ozone Action as far back as 1997, since Greenpeace saved a copy (screencapture here) of his July 29, 1997 email from his Environmental Working Group address to a person at Ozone Action.

What is the critical missing element to this 20-year collection of ‘breaking news stories’ about skeptic scientists’ funding? Any scrap of evidence proving the skeptics falsified/fabricated data or conclusions as performance required under a monetary grant or paid employee contract. It’s all guilt-by-association and nothing more.

When gullible news outlets unquestioningly cite people from the same enviro-activist clique every time, failing to realize they could win Pulitzers if they turned the tables on sources of smear material, and when they egregiously allow members of that clique to be labeled as ‘reporters’, this all invites one more “Sharptonism” to be applied to the mainstream media:

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Dem ‘Witch Hunt’ Forces Scientist Out Of Global Warming Research

An investigation by Democratic lawmakers into the sources of funding for scientists who challenge details of the greater global warming narrative has already forced one scientist to call it quits.

University of Colorado climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. has been targeted by Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking liberal on the House Natural Resources Committee, for his research challenging the claim that global warming is making weather more extreme.

This investigation, and other attacks, have forced Pielke to stop researching climate issues. He said the “incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues.”

“I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,” Pielke wrote on his blog.

Pielke is one of seven academics under Grijalva’s investigation for allegedly taking money from the fossil fuels industry in exchange for research. Pielke says he’s never been funded by fossil fuels interests — a fact which Grijalva already knows since Pielke disclosed as much when he testified before Congress.

Grijalva’s investigation into climate scientists who scrutinize conclusions about man-made global warming comes after the New York Times published a piece critical of Harvard-Smithsonian scientist Wei-hock Soon for not disclosing his funding from energy companies in his research.

“Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air-quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulation and shapes public understanding of climate scientists,” Grijalva wrote to the presidents of seven universities housing supposedly skeptical scientists.

So what’s Pielke’s connection to all of this? Grijalva’s staff wrote that Pielke “has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts.” One “2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is ‘incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.’”

Why is Pielke a target? Because White House science czar John Holdren has “highlighted what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke,” according to Grijalva’s letter to the University of Colorado.

“Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,” Pielke wrote. “He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony – which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren’s incorrect views).”

Holdren said Pielke’s views were “outside the mainstream.” Pielke presented evidence to the Senate that global warming is not causing weather, like hurricanes and floods, to become more frequent or extreme. Holdren, disagreed, and singled out Pielke in a six page statement saying that global warming was making the weather worse.

The main problem with Holdren’s argument is that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which Holdren himself often defers to — has said the evidence favors Pielke’s argument that weather has not gotten more extreme.

The IPCC says that “[l]ong-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded.”

Pielke’s views have gotten him labelled as a “climate denier” by Grijalva and some in the media. But Pielke does not deny that mankind is causing the world to warm. In fact, Pielke wrote a book calling for a carbon tax and has come out in support of the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations.

“All of this is public record, so the smears against me must be an intentional effort to delegitimize my academic research,” Pielke wrote.

“When ‘witch hunts’ are deemed legitimate in the context of popular causes, we will have fully turned science into just another arena for the exercise of power politics,” Pielke wrote. “The result is a big loss for both science and politics.”


More Hot Air about Hot Air

If it feels like the Left is preaching climate change, you’re not alone. Even liberals think environmentalism is the new religion. Instead of saving souls, they’re saving trees. From pipelines to polar bears, people have watched liberals elevate – not just nature over God, but nature over man. Secretary of State John Kerry has been using his pulpit for global warming so much that he might as well be leading the EPA.

Ironically, his latest sermon came Friday at the swearing-in of the Ambassador-at Large for Religious Freedom. At an event about international religious liberty, leave it to Kerry to talk about the planet, not the persecuted. In introducing the newly appointed Rabbi David Saperstein, Kerry made sure to squeeze in a completely irrelevant political talking point on the environment.

“[W]e have been allies in trying to awaken the world to the dangers of climate change – and let me just say that when it comes to the fundamental health of Earth, folks, we’d better stick to the Creator’s original plan, because there is no Planet B.”

If anything pulls back the curtain on this administration’s mindset, this is it. While hundreds of thousands of Christians and religious minorities flee their homes, or worse, lose their lives, the chief diplomat of the United States is talking about global warming (on one of the coldest days of the year!). With people being marked for extinction, exactly who is Kerry saving the earth for?


High-Profile Dispute Between Farm, Green Group Yields Property Rights Bill

After clashing with a non-profit land trust over the terms and conditions of a conservation easement that sits on her property, Martha Boneta saw no alternative to litigation.

That’s because the Piedmont Environmental Council, which serves as a co-holder of the easement, had overstepped its authority to the point where it was trespassing across her property without any meaningful oversight, Boneta alleged in an interview with The Daily Signal.

But thanks to new legislation that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is set to sign into law, property owners can ask the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation to step in and mediate disputes with land trusts like the PEC. The idea behind conservation easement is for property owners to receive tax breaks in exchange for agreeing to set aside a portion of their property for conservation.

The Conservation Transparency Act, which has been dubbed Boneta Bill 2, passed in the General Assembly earlier this month.

“Until we had this legislation, there was no transparency, accountability or standards placed on land trusts,” said Boneta, who owns and operates Liberty Farm in Fauquier County, Va. “As a result, groups like the PEC were making decisions acting like prosecutor, judge and jury, leaving the landowner with no alternative to full blown litigation that is costly and time consuming.”

As the Daily Signal has previously reported, Boneta had accused the PEC, a non-profit group based in Warrenton, Va. of colluding with government officials to issue zoning citations against her farm.

The PEC serves as co-holder of the Boneta easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, a public agency with a board of trustees that meets at least three times per year to take up easement enforcement and policy matters. The PEC details its side of the dispute in an online post available here.

“The bill creates an overarching authority, which did not exist up until now, for property owners to have their complaints heard and to enter into mediation,” Republican Delegate Brenda Pogge, the lead House sponsor, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “But it cuts both ways. Land trusts that have complaints and concerns can also seek mediation.”

When she initially introduced The Conservation Transparency Act, Pogge encountered a lot of opposition. But she credits the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation and her colleagues in both parties for coming together to produce a bill that attracted broad, bipartisan support.

McAuliffe has indicated that he will sign the bill into law, which would become effective on July 1. Just last year, the Democratic governor signed off on the first Boneta Bill, which protects farmers against zoning practices that were widely viewed as overly burdensome and intrusive.

“There was real need for sunlight here,” Pogge said. “We need to give an ear and an eye to what was happening. The conservation easement program was supposed to make it easier for farmers to keep their property and to receive tax breaks, but instead this turned into a situation where they could be abused and exploited.”

She added:  “My great hope is that this can keep folks out of court and that any future disputes can be resolved through mediation


Global warming: Australian deserts to expand as tropical circulation changes

Just modelling, which has so far always been wrong

Australia's deserts will expand southward and dry periods will lengthen as global warming alters key tropical circulations, according to new research by US scientists.

The researchers studied how the Hadley Circulation – the movement of warm air and moisture away from the tropics – will be affected if carbon-dioxide emissions continue to rise at the rate of 1 per cent per year.

They found evidence of a so-called "deep-tropics squeeze", in which regions closest to the equator will experience increased convection as air rises faster.

Conversely, the drier sub-tropical regions characterised by descending air and resulting high-pressure systems will expand, according to the research published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our results provide a physical basis for inferring that greenhouse warming is likey to contribute to the observed prolonged droughts worldwide in recent decades," the paper said.

Existing dry zones in Africa-Eurasia, south-west North America and much of Australia will face increased risk of drought, said William K.M. Lau, of the University of Maryland's Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Centre, and co-author of the paper.

"As inferred from the model projections, the global warming effect on expansion of deserts is likely to be already going on," Dr Lau told Fairfax Media.

The paper found that while some components of the Hadley Circulation will strengthen – resulting in increased rainfall in the deep tropics – ther elements will weaken. These findings will aid the understanding of the overall changes under way, he said.

"Detection of changes in the Hadley Circulation has been attempted by many previous authors, with no clear results whether it has strengthened, weakened or [had] no change," he said.

Steve Turton, a climatologist at James Cook University, said the PNAS paper adds to other research indicating the tropical belt is expanding, such as signs that the location of the maximum intensity of cyclone is shifting poleward.

An intensification of deep tropical rainfall would mean more rainfall for regions to the north of Australia, such as Indonesia, Professor Turton said.

A further expansion of the high-pressure belt, on the other hand, means more rainfall missing mainland Australia, and falling in the Southern Ocean instead. "It spells a pretty grim forecast for Australia," he said.

Rainfall is already on the decrease in southern Australia. Important winter rains over south-western WA have reduced by about a quarter since the 1970s, adding stresses to ecosystems and raising doubts about the prospects for wheat farming in the region, Professor Turton said.

Other regions reliant on monsoonal rains, such as the Indian sub-continent, will also likely see a disruption of rainfall patterns, he said.



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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