Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Joe Bast replies to a lying "Catholic"

I have put "Catholic" in quotes above because a true Catholic would try not to break the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not bear false witness  ..." in particular.  Joseph Bast is President of the Heartland Institute and he is referring below to the widely-circulated letter from the ill-mannered and far-Leftist Michael Milillo that I posted yesterday

I’ve very disappointed that Mr. Michael Milillo would write such a wildly inaccurate and defamatory piece and Mr. Eric Pooley would not take the opportunity to distance himself from it. Alas, such is the state of the debate over climate change today.

The Heartland Institute does not “worship Mammon” any more than EDF and other environmental advocacy groups “worship Gaia.” We celebrate human freedom, ingenuity, and volunteerism. Like the Catholic Church, we are a nonprofit organization. Our mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic issues. My staff includes Catholics, Jews, Protestants, atheists, and agnostics. No one here “worships Mammon.”

We receive less than 5% of our funding from the fossil fuel industry, and are glad to have it. We’ve received just one grant of $25,000 from the infamous “Koch brothers” in the past 15 years and it was earmarked for our work on health care reform. The sources Mr. Milillo cites – mostly Greenpeace and the Guardian – are serial liars about our funding and the funding of other center-right groups. We’ve tried to set them right many times (see here and here) but it’s apparently their goal to defame us without regard to the truth.

More importantly, the sources of our funding do not affect our research or the positions our writers take. We have a mission (stated above) that we have never deviated from in my 31 years as cofounder, executive director, and now president and CEO. We have policies in place that protect our authors from undue influence of donors. A little bit of research would quickly reveal that claims that free-market think tanks are asked by donors to lie about the global warming is a myth started by Al Gore and repeated ad nausea by groups on the left.

Finally, we have been very careful not to criticize or show disrespect toward Pope Francis. Our message in Rome and now is that the pope is being poorly served by those advising him on this controversial subject. We urge him to listen to real scientists and other experts who say climate change is not a crisis and the billions of dollars being spent on this matter could better be spent solving real environmental and public health problems.

Past experience predicts this message won’t produce an apology and retraction from Mr. Milillo, though one might suppose his Catholic faith would prompt him to do so. But perhaps others reading it will be prompted to seek the truth by following some of the links above, and moderate their rhetoric in the future.

Via email

NOAA Study Takes World by Storm: No Global Warming Pause!

By E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.

That’s how most of the media are treating a new study, anyway. Even the Wall Street Journal ran a news piece titled “Study Finds No Pause in Global Warming.”

The source? “Possible artifacts of data bias in the recent global surface warming hiatus,” published this week in Science, by long-time global warming alarmist Tom Karl et al.

Proper first impression response (though I confess it didn’t dawn on me first thing): “These results do not support …” does not entail that no other results do. I could study the colors of cats’ eyes in my neighborhood and conclude, “These results to not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

That conclusion would be true. But it would also be irrelevant to the question whether “the pause” is real.

Imagine for a moment that you’re investigating the question, “Is there an elephant in the house?” It’s a 9-room house. Each of eight investigators finds an elephant in a different one of eight rooms. Eight rooms, eight elephants. But one investigator finds no elephant in the bathroom. Would you conclude from his finding, “No elephant in the house”?

So the crucial, first question we should ask is, “Do other results support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature”? And the answer, we shall find, is, “Yes.”

But I’ll go there in a moment. First a quick list of early critiques of Karl et al.’s article. Within a day or two of its appearance, the following critical articles had already appeared:

The most technical so far (not surprising granted the author, my friend) Ross McKitrick’s “A first look at ‘Possible artifacts of data bias in the recent global surface warming hiatus’ by Karl et al. Science 4 June 2015. Ross begins (perhaps having thought of the point I just made about “These results do not support …”) by listing eight datasets that do “support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature” (HadCRUT [land surface and ocean], HadSST [ocean surface only], NCDC [land surface and ocean], GISS [land surface and ocean], RSS satellite [lower troposphere], UAH satellite [lower troposphere], and, together in the final graph, Ocean heat content 0-2000 meter [Argo floats] and NOAA SST estimates) and provides nice graphs of all seven. Then he points out all kinds of statistical and data-quality problems in the article and concludes:

Are the new K15 adjustments correct? Obviously it is not for me to say – this is something that needs to be debated by specialists in the field. But I make the following observations:

* All the underlying data (NMAT, ship, buoy, etc) have inherent problems and many teams have struggled with how to work with them over the years

* The HadNMAT2 data are sparse and incomplete. K15 take the position that forcing the ship data to line up with this dataset makes them more reliable. This is not a position other teams have adopted, including the group that developed the HadNMAT2 data itself.

* It is very odd that a cooling adjustment to SST records in 1998-2000 should have such a big effect on the global trend, namely wiping out a hiatus that is seen in so many other data sets, especially since other teams have not found reason to make such an adjustment.

* The outlier results in the K15 data might mean everyone else is missing something, or it might simply mean that the new K15 adjustments are invalid.

It will be interesting to watch the specialists in the field sort this question out in the coming months.

Likely to be the most troubling to the climate alarmist establishment (because she’s the least identified as a “denier”) so far is Judith Curry’s “Has NOAA ‘busted’ the pause in global warming?” She points out that the datasets on which Karl et al. rely have greater uncertainties than others that they purport to correct. She then writes,

“My bottom line assessment is this.  I think that uncertainties in global surface temperature anomalies is substantially understated.  The surface temperature data sets that I have confidence in are the UK group and also Berkeley Earth.  This short paper in Science is not adequate to explain and explore the very large changes that have been made to the NOAA data set.   The global surface temperature datasets are clearly a moving target.  So while I’m sure this latest analysis from NOAA will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration, I don’t regard it as a particularly useful contribution to our scientific understanding of what is going on.”

Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen, and Paul C. Knappenberger take on Karl et al. in “@NOAA’s desperate new paper: Is there no global warming ‘hiatus’ after all?” They begin with what ought to be an obvious point but in our innumerate society (and it’s amazing how many scientists, even, are innumerate, not in that they don’t know how to do complicated math but in that they forget basic math principles, like statistical significance levels, especially when forgetting serves their purposes):

“The main claim by the authors that they have uncovered a significant recent warming trend is dubious. The significance level they report on their findings (.10) is hardly normative, and the use of it should prompt members of the scientific community to question the reasoning behind the use of such a lax standard.”

Then they point out various weaknesses in the reliability of the data on which Karl et al. rely. They conclude, “… even presuming all the adjustments applied by the authors ultimately prove to be accurate, the temperature trend reported during the “hiatus” period (1998-2014), remains significantly below (using Karl et al.’s measure of significance) the mean trend projected by the collection of climate models used in the most recent report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is important to recognize that the central issue of human-caused climate change is not a question of whether it is warming or not, but rather a question of how much. And to this relevant question, the answer has been, and remains, that the warming is taking place at a much slower rate than is being projected.”

That’s an important point. The climate models are the only grounds for fearing dangerous manmade warming. The eight more commonly used datasets show that they grossly exaggerate CO2’s warming effect. Karl et al.’s fiddled–er, reconstructed–dataset only shows that they somewhat less grossly exaggerate. That’s not exactly a ringing vindication. It still leaves us with no rational basis to fear dangerous warming, and so no rational basis for policy to mitigate it.

Bob Tisdale and Anthony Watts take on the new study in the aptly titled “NOAA/NCDC’s new ‘pause-buster’ paper: A laughable attempt to create warming by adjusting past data.” In addition to pointing out all kinds of uncertainties about the datasets on which Karl et al. rely–uncertainties much greater than those that show the “pause”–they point out that Karl et al. choose 1951 to 2012 and 1950 to 1999 as the reference period against which to compare the period of the alleged pause. But of course, there was significant global cooling going on in the 1950s through early 1970s–enough to cause panic about a coming ice age.

As Tisdale and Watts say, “If NOAA would like to revise their estimates of future global warming to reflect the more benign warming rate of 0.1 deg C/decade from 1950 to 1999, it would be a big step toward their coming to terms with reality.” Right. That would be essentially cutting IPCC’s estimates of CO2-induced warming by a third, which would put NOAA and Karl et al. solidly in the camp of–horror of horrors!–AGW deniers!

The Global Warming Policy Foundation chimes in with “Reports of the death of the global warming pause are greatly exaggerated.” (Hat tip to Mark Twain.) The article summarizes “Key pitfalls” of Karl et al.’s paper thus: “The authors have produced adjustments that are at odds with all other surface temperature datasets, as well as those compiled via satellite.” “They do not include any data from the Argo array that is the world’s best coherent data set on ocean temperatures.” “Adjustments are largely to sea surface temperatures (SST) and appear to align ship measurements of SST with night marine air temperature (NMAT) estimates, which have their own data bias problems.” “The extent of the largest SST adjustment made over the hiatus period, supposedly to reflect  a continuing change in ship observations (from buckets to engine intake thermometers) is not justified by any evidence as to the magnitude of the appropriate adjustment, which appears to be far smaller.”

Then they expand on those in eight numbered points and conclude: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA. Caution and suitable caveats should be used in using this paper as evidence that the global annual average surface temperature ‘hiatus’ of the past 18 years has been explained.”

Not to be left out, the inimitable Lord Christopher Monckton weighs in with “Has NOAA/NCDC’s Tom Karl repealed the laws of thermodynamics?”

He begins with a humorous rehearsal of a Congressional committee hearing at which both he and Karl were expert witnesses and he had shown that global average temperature had actually been falling for the past eight years, which Karl contested but the data showed true, and that hurricane frequencies hadn’t risen in 100 years, which Karl challenged, whipping out a chart that to his horror showed that Monckton was indeed wrong–they actually hadn’t risen for the last 150 years. The history is entertaining, and I can vouch for its general accuracy–I was there, as another expert witness.

Then Monckton zeroes in on the topic suggested by his title. Even assuming Karl et al.’s temperature reconstruction is right, the resulting scenario is that the ocean near-surface temperatures rose at a rate that would require considerable movement of heat into that region from above or below, but neither the troposphere nor the deep ocean showed sufficient warming to be the origin of that migrating heat. Hence, for Karl et al.’s scenario to be accurate, we must assume, as I shall here try to summarize as concisely and simply as I can, that heat radiated, both upward and downward, from cooler to warmer masses, which conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics.

Meanwhile, what seems to me about the most obvious response is this: We should keep comparing apples and apples as much as possible.

The most reliable global temperature data from 1979 to the present come from satellites. They are least subject to local contamination, sample change or inadequacy, and variation in method and instrumentation over time. And they show, as Monckton points out in “El Nino strengthens: the Pause lengthens,” that “For 222 months, since December 1996, there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS temperature – still unaffected by a slowly strengthening el NiƱo, which will eventually cause temporary warming – passes another six-month milestone, and establishes a new record length for the Pause: 18 years 6 months.”

By the way, keep in mind the psychological effect of the WSJ headline: “Study finds no pause in global warming.” That sounds so conclusive!

But had WSJ reported on the last-cited article, which appeared at essentially the same time as NOAA’s, it could have run the headline “Study finds pause in global warming.”

Indeed, WSJ could have run the two stories exactly parallel to each other on the same day.

No single study settles a matter.

And finding no elephant in the bathroom does not mean there’s none in the living room.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

October-March Snow Cover At Record High Levels

ScreenHunter_2303 Jun. 07 09.20

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past – Environment – The Independent
Fifteen years ago, climate experts said that snow is a thing of the past. Since then, Northern Hemisphere snow cover has soared to record levels.
ScreenHunter_2301 Jun. 07 09.15Rutgers University Climate Lab :: Global Snow Lab

What this tells us is that cold air is intruding further south during the snow season. It also tells us that Tom Karl at NOAA is lying about global temperatures.


GISS Guessing Arctic Temperatures “Introduces Substantial Errors”

As we know, the Arctic is supposed to be one of the fastest warming regions on the planet. According to GISS, above, most of it is between 2 and 4C warmer than it was in 1979.

Annual anomalies appear to have steadily increased since 1979 at a rate of 0.54C/decade.

However, we also know that there are next to no temperature monitoring stations anywhere near the North Pole. To fill these gaps, GISS rely on temperature readings from land stations up to 1200km away.

  The whole process of gap filling is highly controversial, but in the Arctic it carries particular problems, as Judith Curry explains:

"I am also unconvinced by NOAA’s gap filling in the Arctic, and in my opinion this introduces substantial error into their analysis.  I addressed the issue of gap filling in the Arctic in this recent publication:  Curry JA, 2014:  Climate science:  Uncertain temperature trends. Nature Geoscience, 7, 83-84.

Relevant text: "Gap filling in the Arctic is complicated by the presence of land, open water and temporally varying sea ice extent, because each surface type has a distinctly different amplitude and phasing of the annual cycle of surface temperature. Notably, the surface temperature of sea ice remains flat during the sea ice melt period roughly between June and September, whereas land surface warming peaks around July 1. Hence using land temperatures to infer ocean or sea ice temperatures can incur significant biases."

Put simply, the presence of sea ice moderates air temperatures above it, thus reducing volatility. This effect can be seen on the DMI reanalysis of temperatures north of 80 degree.

Daily mean temperature (degrees Kelvin) and climate north of the 80th northern parallel, as a function of the day of year

In summer months, temperatures rarely vary much from the mean (1958-2002), and stay only just above zero. This is the chart for last year, but most preceding years show similar patterns.

The situation on land is totally different. There, a puff of wind from the south or a bit of sunshine can dramatically increase temperatures. This effect is accentuated by low humidity in the Arctic, where a given increase in heat content will have a much larger effect than at lower latitudes.

Given these facts, there is no justification at all for gap filling from land stations in the Arctic, and it can only lead to substantial errors, as Judith Curry notes.

It is worthwhile, then, comparing the GISS temperature trends with the UAH lower troposphere ones. (UAH start from 60N, rather than 64N, but this should not make any significant difference.)

We find that the GISS trend of 0.54C per decade has been dramatically reduced to 0.23C. Unfortunately GISS do not publish monthly anomalies for the Arctic, so we cannot see whether the difference is a seasonal one.

However, if we put the two trends together, we find that most of the divergence has occurred since 2004. In comparison with GISS, UAH shows little trend since 2001.

I understand from the Karl press release that he is now working to “correct” Arctic temperatures for his next NCDC update. If he follows the GISS process, it will only lead to more spurious upward adjustments to the global temperature trend.

It is surely time that the climate establishment accepted that they have absolutely no clue what temperatures are in the Arctic, and take these out altogether from their global calculations. This will, of course, reduce global warming trends, and may even result in cooling in the last decade or so.

In any event, any warming in the Arctic means diddly squat in terms of heat content.

Unfortunately, the “melting” Arctic is their poster child. Take that away, and they have little left.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Insane, crazy – tidal power in Wales

Last week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time produced yet another twist to what is one of the strangest political riddles in Britain today. A Tory MP was put up to ask David Cameron what he thought about the £1 billion Swansea Tidal Lagoon project, in which it had just been announced that a giant Chinese firm, the China Harbour Engineering Company, is to take a £300 million stake. Mr Cameron’s response was that, although Swansea still has to be given planning permission, in general he couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the Chinese involvement in the future of generating electricity from the tides round Britain’s coasts.

This was only the latest indication of the Government’s determination to push through the Swansea Lagoon scheme as fast as possible. It was highlighted in George Osborne’s March Budget and the Tory manifesto. Mr Cameron has visited Swansea more than once, and planning permission may be given as early as this week.

Yet, as I reported on April 18, under the headline “Will Welsh eels scupper the craziest 'green’ project ever?”, in practical terms this scheme should be a non-starter. On the developer’s figures, the 16 tidal-powered giant turbines, built into a six-mile long breakwater round Swansea Bay, will intermittently generate only a pitiful amount of the most expensive and heavily subsidised electricity in the world. They will require constant back-up from fossil-fuel power stations for all the many hours when they are producing little or no power.

In return for the developers receiving a mind-boggling £168 per megawatt hour for electricity, including a subsidy of 240 per cent, even more than that for offshore wind, we shall on average get just a derisory 57 megawatts. Yet the £1 billion gas-fired power station recently built down the coast at Pembroke can produce 35 times as much electricity, whenever needed, without a penny of subsidy.

There are now reports that, with the Chinese involvement, many of the added amenities used to sell the lagoon to the local community, such as a yachting marina, may now be dropped from the scheme. Engineers have expressed doubts over the viability of the 16 giant turbines. A distinguished expert on tidal silting wrote in March that neither he nor any of his “international colleagues” can imagine that the project will not be plagued by its build-up of a million tons of silt a year, to be dumped at a site as yet unspecified.

In every respect, say many experts, this project should be laughed out of court, as should the developer’s plans to ship 1.2 million tons of stone a year from a disused Cornish quarry to build the breakwater. We still have to see the answers the Government gave to the 25 searching questions on the scheme’s environmental impact put to it just before the election by the head of its own Planning Inspectorate.

Yet the project is tipped to be given the go-ahead by our new Energy and Climate Secretary, Amber Rudd, possibly as early as Wednesday. The real mystery crying out for an explanation is why the Tory establishment should seem so recklessly hell-bent on pushing through a project the experts seem to think is ludicrously impractical, absurdly costly, environmentally damaging and utterly insane.


Santorum gets it

Says Climate change about 'political science'

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said on Sunday science behind climate change arguments is far from settled.

“This is what bothers me about this debate – the idea that the science is settled,” he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Anytime you hear a scientist say, ‘the science is settled,’ that’s political science and not real science,” Santorum added. “No scientist in his right mind would ever say the science is settled.”

Santorum, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, was responding to reports that Pope Francis will release an encyclical addressing mankind’s role in climate change on June 18.

“The pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about,” Santorum said when asked about his earlier criticism of the religious leader’s stance on climate change.

“It’s about what he should put his moral authority towards,” he said. “I think there are more pressing problems confronting the Earth than climate change.”

“We have to make public policy in regards to environmental policy,” he added.

Santorum said his position on the issue stemmed from his concern for American workers.

Implementing more environmental regulations, he argued, was not always in their best interest.

Santorum reiterated his support for a flat tax to stimulate America’s economy and help its labor force.

“The bottom line is we have to create growth,” he said.

“The Republican message is a good message on growth,” Santorum added, citing the GOP’s penchant for tax cuts and eliminating regulations.

“We have to orient that message on areas that are hurting in America today.”



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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