Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Disproving the second law of Thermodynamics?‏

A recent study highlighted earlier on this site, claimed to have recorded the signature of global warming cum climate change cum climate disruption via the re-radiated energy coming from atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). From it I quote the following pertinent sections:

"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."

There you have it, they have disproved the second law of TD in one easy session without further ado!

The authors seem not concerned that amplification and the addition of energy require new energy, which they claim comes off atmospheric CO2. If engineers are made aware of this extraordinary property of CO2 they will surely be able to design equipment to capture and double the available energy output. If it were true then CO2 would be used in industry as an energy source, which of course it isn't. But it is widely used as a COOLANT, with new applications being researched right now - e.g. here

CO2 does indeed cause more cooling, although that is by only a tiny amount, but it's all that CO2 can do. See  here

A scientific fact is that neither the greenhouse effect nor any climate forcing parameter exist in the open to space atmosphere in which we all live, despite all that you read. Both require energy or create energy out of thin air, literally, see the K&T earth energy budget, where the atmosphere is depicted as source of energy with even more power than the sun itself.

A communication from Hans Schreuder of Sky Dragon fame.  The "addition of energy to the system" is certainly a very strange claim


AP’s Seth Borenstein hypes Antarctic melt fears – Recycles same claims from 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 & 1901!

'The Associated Press is recycling more than century old Antarctica ice sheet melt and sea level rise fears.  Reporter Seth Borenstein is not the first one to hype these same Antarctica melt fears. Virtually the exact same claims and hype were reported in 2014, 1990, 1979, 1922 and 1901!

2014: Watch: WUSA 9 DC TV station on Antarctic melt fears features images of DC monuments underwater. ‘It’s our choice how fast the seas rise’ – We control sea level rise? Watch Now: Local DC News Schlock Report on Antarctica & Sea Level Rise

1990: Flashback January 11, 1990: NBC’s Today Show features Paul Ehrlich warning of impacts of Antarctic ice melt: 'You Could Tie Your Boat to the Washington Monument'

1979 NYT: “Boats could be launched from the bottom of the steps of the Capitol’ in DC–‘Experts Tell How Antarctic’s Ice Could Cause Widespread Floods - Mushy Ice Beneath Sheet’]

1922: 'Mountain after mountain of [Antarctic] ice will fall into the sea, be swept northwards by the currents, and melt, thus bringing about, but at a much more rapid rate, the threatened inundation of the land by the rising of the sea to its ancient level.' - The Mail Adelaide, SA - April 29, 1922

1901: ‘London On The Border of Destruction’: ‘To Be Wiped Out By A Huge Wave’ - Queanbeyan Age – August 10, 1901 - Excerpt: ‘Geologists believe that this great ice sucker has reached the stage of perfection when it (Antarctica) will, break up again, letting loose all the waters of its auction over the two hemispheres, and completely flooding the low-lying lands of Europe, Asia, and North America.'

The Associated Press and Seth Borenstein are at it again. The article by Seth Borenstein and Luis Andres Henao titled ‘Glacial Melting In Antarctica Makes Continent The ‘Ground Zero Of Global Climate Change’‘ was published on February 27, 2014.

The AP left out contrary peer-reviewed studies, inconvenient data and trends that counter the articles ‘worse than we thought’ narrative. The AP paints an erroneous picture of potential sea level rise, volcanic causes of any melting and the current state of Antarctica and the geologic history of the continent.

Why did the AP not include any ice specialists with differing views? See: Prominent Scientist Dissents: Renowned glaciologist declares global warming is ‘going to be a big plus’ – Fears ‘Frightening’ Cooling – Warns scientists are ‘prostituting their science’ – Dr. Hughes is an internationally renowned glaciologist who pioneered many of the modern ideas currently under study in the field.’ Dr. Hughes has travelled to the Arctic ten times and the Antarctic thirteen times since 1968, mostly as the principal investigator of NSF-funded glaciological research.

Of course this was no surprising given the article was co-written by Seth Borenstein who’s recent reporting on ‘hottest year’ claims had to be corrected. See: AP ‘clarifies’ ‘hottest year’ claims: ‘Kudos to Marc Morano for keeping the heat (heh) on about this’

AP’s Seth Borenstein at it again! Claims ‘global warming means more Antarctic ice’ — Meet the new consensus, the opposite of the old consensus

Borenstein has a long history of promoting global warming fears at the expense of journalistic ethics. See: ‘Long sad history of AP reporter Seth Borenstein’s woeful global warming reporting’ More on Borenstein here.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Now it's caterpillars that cause global warming!

A new study published in Nature Plants shows that hungry, plant-eating insects may limit the ability of forests to take up elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reducing their capacity to slow human-driven climate change.

The finding is significant because climate change models typically fail to consider changes in the activities of insects in the ecosystem, says Richard Lindroth, a professor of ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the leader of the study. The research suggests it's time to add insects to the models.

Carbon dioxide typically makes plants grow faster and makes them more efficient in how they use nutrients. But the amount of damage caused by leaf-munching bugs in the study nearly doubled under high carbon dioxide conditions, leading to an estimated 70g of carbon-sequestering biomass lost per meter squared per year.

"This is the first time, at this scale, that insects have been shown to compromise the ability of forests to take up carbon dioxide," Lindroth says.

In addition, as feeding increased, more nutrients moved from the canopy to the forest floor in the form of insect fecal material and chewed-on leaf scraps, mixing into the soil and likely altering the nutrient profile of the forest.

"Insects are munching on leaves and they're pooping out remnants, so they are changing the timing of nutrient cycling as well as the quality," Lindroth says.

John Couture, a former graduate student in Lindroth's lab and the lead author of the study, spent three years with his team studying the impact of elevated carbon dioxide alone, elevated ozone (which is highly toxic to plants) alone, and elevated levels of both gases combined on stands of aspen and birch growing in what was once one of the largest simulated ecosystems in the world, the Aspen Free-Air Carbon dioxide and ozone Enrichment (Aspen FACE) experiment located near Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Unlike a greenhouse or atmospheric chamber, the FACE site (now decommissioned) was a massive outdoor experimental area that allowed trees to grow under natural conditions, like natural soil, sunlight, and rainfall. The only artificial conditions were those that were experimentally manipulated.

The site consisted of a dozen stands of trees growing in 30 meter diameter plots, surrounded by a network of PVC pipes designed to vent gases into the environment around them.

They were exposed to carbon dioxide and ozone at levels predicted for the year 2050, although Lindroth says the 560 parts-per-million carbon dioxide level studied is probably too low.

The trees were planted as saplings in the mid-1990s and by the time Couture collected data for the study from 2006 though 2008, they had grown to resemble any number of the disturbed forest stands found throughout Wisconsin.

Couture and his team walked through each site, clipping leaves from the canopy using scissors at the end of pruner poles or from scaffolding near the top of the canopy. They also set out frass baskets -- laundry baskets lined with sheets -- to collect scraps of leaves dropped by messy, munching caterpillars and other bugs dining in the canopy, and to collect their fecal droppings.

Tens of thousands of leaves and countless frass baskets later, Couture measured the amount of leaf area consumed by the insects in each plot and sifted through the frass and food droppings in the baskets to assess just how much eating the bugs were doing, to measure the amount of nutrients leaving the trees via their droppings, and to assess the loss of tree biomass.

Why insects would do more munching in a carbon dioxide rich forest is in part a matter of chemistry. Because carbon dioxide is a limiting resource for plant growth, high levels of the gas change the way trees use other resources, like nitrogen, typically leading to less nutritious plants.

"It's like a slice of Wonder Bread versus a slice of high density, protein-rich bakery bread; there's a lot more protein in the bakery bread than the white bread," says Couture. "Insects have a base level of nutrients they need in order to grow and to reach that, they can choose either to eat higher-nutrient food -- unfortunately, insects don't always have that choice -- or to eat more."

Overall, the team found high ozone plots were less hospitable to insects, reducing their munching behavior and leading to less biomass loss.

With the findings, the researchers created models allowing them to predict what could happen in forests under changing environmental conditions.

"The big question is, will northern forests grow faster under elevated carbon dioxide?" says Lindroth. "Carbon dioxide is a substrate for photosynthesis. It gets converted into sugars, which then become plant biomass. Will trees take up more carbon dioxide and thus help reduce its increase in the atmosphere?"

As humans continue to contribute more carbon dioxide to Earth's atmosphere, the answer should be yes as trees act as sponges for the greenhouse gas. But it turns out, very hungry caterpillars and their bug brethren -- in their own quest for food in an elevated carbon dioxide environment -- may limit that growth and reduce the capacity of forests to slow climate warming.


UPDATE: Craig Idso has emailed some preliminary comments on the above claims.  He notes the powerful point that, despite all the cries of doom from Warmists, the earth is steadily greening -- as one would expect from increased atmospheric CO2.  Those caterpillars might have to munch harder!  Craig's comments below:

While I have not seen the paper discussed in this press release, I would not be concerned about the headline of this paper.  There are numerous counter papers showing the opposite is more likely to be true, some from THE VERY SAME FACE LOCATION!  The devil is always in the details and I suspect it may have been related to their experimental design.

Coincidentally, I am just finishing a manuscript that will be submitted to a journal that discusses this very same topic in a section of the paper, and again, the results are overwhelmingly in the other direction where elevated CO2 REDUCES herbivore attack damage.

The net greening observed by satellites is a combination of several factors, including  rising CO2, temperature, precipitation, nitrogen fertilization, policy (e.g., afforestation), etc.  I also discuss this in my forthcoming paper.

Regardless of the causes, the important point in the matter is the fact that despite all of the many real and imagined assaults on vegetation over the past several decades from forest fires, droughts, floods, deforestation, insect outbreaks, and the “dreaded” rise in temperature and CO2 concentrations, which the alarmists claim should be destroying nature, on the whole, there has been a net greening.  And that is a very powerful point that must be made again, again, and again.

UK: Forget MPs and 'cabs for hire’ – the green lobby is already at the wheel

It was scarcely believable that Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw should have been so shameless and so naive. Both were caught out by exactly the same trick that, five years ago, led to Stephen Byers happily admitting to a carefully placed Dispatches briefcase that, when it came to “cash for access”, he was “like a cab for hire”. But at least those former ministers were only touting for thousands of pounds a day after they had left their positions of direct power and influence over government policy. What, then, are we to make of those politicians who receive astonishingly lavish rewards from firms engaged in “renewable energy” when they are still in a position to influence government policy, or have only just stepped down from having responsibility for it?

Last week I referred to the speed with which Charles Hendry MP switched from being minister of state for energy and climate change to the chairmanship of Forewind Ltd. That, you may recall, is the consortium to which his old ministry has just given the go-ahead to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which in its first 10 years of operation is likely to receive some £9 billion in public subsidies. Mr Hendry, we see from his declarations of interest, last year earned £48,000 from Forewind, at up to £1,000 an hour; and also earns £60,000 a year from a company called Bombo, which hopes to build an “interconnector” to bring renewable energy to Britain from Iceland.

He, of course, replaced Lord Deben (aka John Gummer), who was persuaded to resign from Forewind when he was appointed chairman of the “independent” Climate Change Committee, on which the Government relies for advice on its energy policy. But he still, for a while, managed to retain his directorship of Veolia, a company which hopes to make a fortune from connecting wind farms to the grid.

Then, of course, there was the controversial case of Tim Yeo MP, who long served as chairman of the also supposedly “independent” select committee on energy and climate change, despite earning £200,000 a year from various renewable and “low carbon” energy firms. These included his directorship of Eurotunnel, which plans a new interconnector to bring French electricity to Britain, specifically to provide back-up for our unreliable wind farms.

Mr Yeo eventually had to step aside as chairman after being allegedly caught on video admitting to having “coached” an employee of a solar energy firm in which he had an interest on how to handle questions from his own committee. But he was cleared by the Commons standards watchdog, and still remains on this hugely influential committee.

These men had no need to become “cabs for hire”. They have been able to cruise, all above board, in that strange twilight zone between positions of influence and the greatest public subsidy bonanza Britain has ever seen


Chilling Climate Change at New York Times

Yes, climate really does change, running hot and cold with mainstream media news cycles. Just one week after the New York Times showcased a Feb. 21 hatchet piece on Dr. Willie Soon, a man-made climate alarm doubter at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics “who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming”, its front page Feb. 27 piece was far more chilling.

Headlined “28 Days on Ice” and illustrated with dramatic ice and snow scenes, the later feature indicates that Dr. Soon along with other skeptical scientists may have very good reasons to doubt that any crisis exists after all. As the subtitle states, “From the Hudson to La Guardia Airport, this February may be New York’s coldest since 1934, the National Weather Service Says.”

Before I go any further with this, let me be very clear that neither I nor anyone I know doubts that climate changes. This has been going on throughout our planet’s history — beginning long before the Industrial Revolution introduced smokestacks and SUVs.

Let’s also recognize a big difference between local and ever-changing short-term weather events and regional/global climate shifts characterized over at least a three decade long period. Accordingly, weather changes occurring during a single season or even over a few years in one region don’t validate global climate trending one way or another, much less any measurable human influences.

Consider, for example, that Icelandic Vikings raised livestock in grasslands on Greenland’s southwestern coast as recently as 1,000 years ago. These Norse settlements were then abandoned by about 1350 — after temperatures dropped. Temperatures dropped dramatically again in the middle of the 16th century. The end of this time witnessed brutal winter temperatures suffered by Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1777-78, and Napoleon’s bitterly cold retreat from Russia in 1812.

Although temperatures and weather conditions have been generally mild over about the past 150 years, the past century has witnessed two periods of warming. The first occurred between 1910 and 1945 when CO2 levels were relatively low, compared with now.

The second warming which followed a full climate cycle cool-down began in 1975. Global mean temperatures rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year. Satellite records show that since then, and despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels, temperatures have been statistically flat over the past 18 years and counting.

Consider that less than a half-climate cycle after the planet had experienced a full cooling cycle, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore’s minions already determined that human fossil-fueled CO2 emissions had put the world at tipping point crisis. Then, after Mother Nature intervened to suggest otherwise, the story changed. Global warming not only became re-termed climate change — now it even caused global cooling. And yes, as a matter of fact, U.S. winters have been getting colder over the past 20 years.

Still, according to the IPCC, “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” As recently as last month, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy teamed with the Aspen Skiing Co. and a pair of Olympic snowboarders at the "X Games" to put out the message that reduced snow due to climate change would ruin the ski industry. Yet according to a snow report website, “Current snowpack levels are at 165 percent of average” for Aspen.

On the other hand, haven’t global warming activists been warning us that since warmer air adds more moisture, snow storms will become worse? As the Center for American Progress headed by former Obama White House adviser/Clean Power Plan proponent John Podesta claimed, “climate change may have affected the [recent Boston] snow storm  — may have made it more likely, may have made it worse than it would have been without so much greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.” Incidentally, this very same John Podesta will most likely head Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Besides, given that U.S. winter temperatures are actually colder, how does this warmist argument explain record snow and ice? At the same time that Connecticut experienced the coldest February in recorded history, nearby Boston amassed a near record 101.8 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, ice breakers had to open pathways through the Hudson River to keep ships moving. New England lobster boats became frozen in ports for weeks. And on Jan. 27, Canadian adventurer Will Gadd, using ice picks, became the first person ever to scale Niagara Falls which had frozen solid.

So if some of us have come to suspect that we’re witnessing a feverish snow job, does this really qualify us as climate change deniers? Golly, this is all so confusing. It’s enough to give anyone attempting to keep track of the changing story cold sweats.


Running Updates on the "Witch Hunt"

Roger Pielke, Jr.

This post will serve as a running update on the so-called "investigation" of my research on disasters and climate change at the University of Colorado. I will update it as warranted, with newer stuff at the top. Pointers and tips welcome in the comments.


    Rep. Grivalja has walked back his requests, according to Ben Geman at the National Journal: Climate Letters Went Too Far. Since Rep. Geman already has complete access to all my financial COI disclosures, I guess we now know that the letter was an unnecessary stunt designed to smear. Nice.

    The Denver Post (March 3) has an editorial titled "CU rightly defends Roger Pielke Jr. against political bully" -- key quote: Rep. Grijalva's "gambit amounts to a bold, abusive assault on academic freedom."

    Mark Steyn asks why no reporters appear to be interested in the fact that an anonymous person had forewarning of Rep. Grivalja's "investigation" and used a fake email account from a Russian server to taunt those who would later receive letters from the Congressman. Bizarre to be sure, and if I hadn't seen the taunting email in advance I might not have believed it. But as I've said, nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore.

    To believe that Rep. Grijalva's "investigation" has merit, you have to believe either (a) in a shadowy conspiracy of fossil fuel interests funneling me (and others) money under the table to produce certain research results and testimony, which have somehow mysteriously passed peer review and been accepted by the IPCC, or (b) there is no such conspiracy, but I (and others) need to be falsely accused and smeared in order to remove us from the debate. Tin foil hat or unethical campaigner? Not a great choice.

    Several reporters have asked me why I testify before Congress if I know that my results will be used by Republicans. Aside from the interesting framing of this question, I have written on my views of providing testimony here in PDF (following the testimony that I am now being investigated for) and please take careful note of the "To Avoid Any Confusion" bullets on p. 2 of my testimony here in PDF.

Original bullet points

    This week I have been invited to do various interviews for print/online and radio. I'll update here when these are available and I have more details.

    9 News in Denver had a excellent story, shown in the video above and online here.

    For those interested in my actual research on climate please head over to this summary in the final post at my climate blog, The Climate Fix.

    A group called the Energy & Environment Legal Group has filed state freedom of information act requests modeled on the Rep. Grijalva letter with 4 universities (Colorado, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia Tech) requesting funding information from 5 researchers. This is obviously a retaliatory act, legitimized by Rep. Grijalva's campaign. It is just as wrong-headed.

    Here in PDF is that strongly worded letter from the American Meteorological Society to Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) warning that he is sending "a chilling message" to all researchers.

    Yesterday I had a nice chat with Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) who represents my district here in Boulder. What we said will stay between us, but it was very a positive conversation.

   Also yesterday @EricHolthaus - a widely read scientist and climate activist - taunted me with the following bizarre Tweet: "It’s getting harder and harder for @RogerPielkeJr to remain relevant." Upon later learning that I'm no longer doing climate change research Holthaus Tweeted that his earlier taunt was no longer relevant. Great evidence that a lot of this is about eliminating unwelcomed voices in the debate.

   At The Breakthrough Institute, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus take the high road and argue that political intimidation of academics in unacceptable, defending both me and Michael Mann.



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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