Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deceptive temperature record claims

Warmest month announcements have no scientific basis

By Tom Harris

The U.S. government is at it again, hyping meaningless records in a parameter that does not exist in order to frighten us about something that doesn’t matter.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that according to their calculations, July 2015 was the hottest month since instrumental records began in 1880. NOAA says that the record was set by eight one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over that set in July 1998. NASA calculates that July 2015 beat what they assert was the previous warmest month (July 2011) by two one-hundredths of a degree.

But government spokespeople rarely mention the inconvenient fact that these records are being set by less than the uncertainty in the statistics. NOAA claims an uncertainty of 14 one-hundredths of a degree in its temperature averages, or near twice the amount by which they say the record was set. NASA says that their data is typically accurate to one tenth of a degree, five times the amount by which their new record was set.

So, the new temperature records are meaningless. Neither agency knows whether a record was set.

Such misrepresentations are now commonplace in NOAA and NASA announcements. They are regularly proclaiming monthly and yearly records set by less than the uncertainties in the measurements. Scientists within the agencies know that this is dishonest.

They also know that calculating so-called global average temperatures to hundredths of a degree is irrational. After all, there is very little data for the 70 percent of Earth’s surface that is ocean. There is also little data for mountainous and desert regions, not to mention the Antarctic. Much of the coverage is so sparse that NASA is forced to make the ridiculous claim that regions are adequately covered if there is a temperature-sensing station within nearly 750 miles. This is the distance between Ottawa, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. cities with very different climates. Yet, according to NASA, only one temperature sensing station is necessary for the two cities and the vast area between them to be adequately represented in their network.

In the final analysis, it is no more meaningful to calculate an average temperature for a whole planet than it is to calculate the average telephone number in the Washington D.C. phone book. Temperature, like viscosity and density, and of course phone numbers, is not something that can be meaningfully averaged. “Global temperature” does not exist.

In their award winning book, “Taken By Storm” (2007), Canadian researchers Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick explain: “Temperature is not an amount of something [like height or weight]. It is a number that represents the condition of a physical system. In thermodynamics it is known as an intensive quantity, in contrast to quantities like energy, which have an additive property, which we call extensive in thermodynamics.”

Even if enough accurate surface temperature measurements existed to ensure reasonable planetary coverage (it doesn’t) and to calculate some sort of global temperature statistic, interpreting its significance would be challenging. What averaging rule would you use to handle the data from thousands of temperature-sensing stations? Mean, mode, median, root mean square? Science does not tell us. For some groups of close temperature measures (and NASA and NOAA are dealing with thousands of very close temperatures), one method of calculating an average can lead to a determination of warming while another can lead to a conclusion of cooling.

Even if you could calculate some sort of meaningful global temperature statistic, the figure would be unimportant. No one and nothing would experience it directly since we all live in regions, not the globe. There is no super-sized being straddling the planet, feeling global averages in temperature. Global warming does not matter.

Future generations are bound to ask why America closed its coal-fueled generating stations, its cheapest, most plentiful source of electric power, and wasted billions of dollars trying to stop insignificant changes in imaginary phenomena.

The sad answer will be that it had nothing to do with the realities of science, technology or economics. The tragic blunder is based on satisfying political expedience for a privileged few, egged on by vested financial interests, and supported by largely uninformed activists granted the media platforms needed to sway public opinion. As Jay Lehr, science director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said, “It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before.”


I bet the Met Office didn't see this storm coming either! As BBC dumps climate change obsessed weather service after 93 years

By Quentin Letts

Three weeks ago, the BBC broadcast my Radio 4 programme What Is The Point Of The Met Office?  Yesterday, after a relationship of 93 years, the Corporation stunningly dropped the Met Office as its official supplier of weather forecasts.

I cannot say I was wholly surprised. And yet, despite having some doubts about the modern Met Office, I would hate to be blamed for killing off a British institution whose forecasts long kept us safe and, at D-Day, helped us beat Adolf Hitler.

The Met Office may only have itself and some of its more swivel-eyed defenders to blame. With its hunger for news headlines, it occasionally went further than it should have done in predicting ‘barbecue summers’ and so forth.

Sometimes you got the impression its forecasts were being written by the same hand that authored the Book of Genesis and its chapters about Noah’s flood. Gosh, they did love to whip up a storm about a few isobars.

The same hyperbolic desire for attention saw the Met Office meekly agreeing to dumb down its presentation techniques and allow broadcasting editors and producers to turn the Met’s once dry forecasts into melodramatic, matey interludes fronted by autocuties.

The men and women telling us the weather long ago stopped being dispassionate boffins. Instead they grinned, cooed, empathised, screwing up their eyelashes when they told us it was going to rain and advising us to wear sun cream during heat waves.

Do I think here of the likes of the infuriatingly simpery Helen Willetts, twisting her face in agony when she warned us of showers? Do I think of Tomasz Schafernaker, a tweeting turnip of a Met Office/BBC weather presenter who posed on the front of a magazine as a sex symbol wearing only his shorts? You bet I do.

Sheer meteorology of the forecasts was crushed by modish silliness, in an ill-guided quest for egalitarianism, a stupid horror of sober scientific delivery. It damaged both our society and the good reputation of the Met Office.

Has the Beeb become exasperated at the accuracy of those forecasts, such as the infamous time poor Michael Fish pooh-poohed the idea that southern England was about to be walloped by a hurricane in 1987? Surely not. (Fish’s boss, Bill Giles, subsequently took the blame.)

Give or take the odd washed-out village fete, the Met Office has been pretty good at short-term weather predictions. British weather is among the most idiosyncratic in the world.

The likes of Fish and his colleagues Bill Giles and John Kettley and their successors generally got their predictions right. They did so through a mixture of computerised calculations, scientific training and personal experience.

Now that those giants of the weather prediction game have gone from our screens, we have been left with a largely forgettable squad of presenters.

But if that is a shame in itself, it’s as nothing to the Met Office’s political lobbying, pushing a green, climate-change agenda with such force it stopped being seen as a dispassionate observer and started to look too much like a political player.

Coming on top of the earlier drift to trendiness, how could we be sure the main driver here was raw science rather than a desire to be part of the Establishment consensus?

In the course of my Radio 4 programme I interviewed senior backbench MPs Graham Stringer (Lab) and Peter Lilley (Con), who felt the Met Office had in recent years become too partisan in its presentation of the facts regarding climate-change. Mr Lilley cited Met Office predictions ten years ago of serious climate change which has not occurred.

When I put this criticism to the Met Office and its charming spokesman Helen Chivers, it was not denied.

Simply for giving airtime to Messrs Stringer and Lilley, I was savaged by the Twittersphere. The e-lynch mob was led, amazingly, by the BBC’s climate-change correspondent, Roger Harrabin. How foolish he now looks, given that his own employer has ditched the Met Office.

Some of the internet reaction was foul. A contributor to a ‘comedy website’ called for me to be shot, twice (just to make sure I was dead). ‘End the man,’ wrote another contributor; this on a website supported by advertisements from mainstream companies such as Amazon.

The vehemence of that reaction against my little programme convinced me that the green lobby has become dangerously intolerant.

The BBC indicated yesterday that money was a major reason for its shock decision — which means its forecasts may in future be provided by a private company, possibly with foreign owners. The Corporation had been paying £30 million a year for its forecasts from the Met Office. Anyone who wishes the BBC to slim down must hope that its future supplier will be a great deal cheaper.

The Beeb’s money supported a surprisingly large and chic Met Office headquarters in Labour-voting Exeter, where the bulk of the organisation’s 1,700 employees are based. The vastness of the organisation may be indicative of a dated attitude regarding manpower efficiency.

And there is the inescapable fact that the top executives at this public body have in recent years been paid more than the Prime Minister.

These salaries for the likes of chief executive Rob Varley and chief scientist Dame Juliet Slingo (both thought to be on roughly £175,000 a year) may look hard to justify if the organisation is no longer earning enough fees to pay its outgoings.

Could it be that economic realities are hitting home, and that the Met Office has become tainted by just the sort of political correctness the BBC at present needs to avoid if it is to persuade the Cameron Government to renew its Royal Charter without further infringements on its financial well-being?

In the meantime, we must wait to see what the West wind will blow us in terms of forecasts from next year. Just don’t expect breathless predictions of a barbecue summer.



Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd is gearing up to slash solar power subsidies as part of the government’s latest effort to cut costs for consumers.

Last year, Britain installed more solar panels than any other country in Europe, with demand bolstered by generous payments of 43p per kilowatt hour, nine times the wholesale rate. More Britons took advantage of the scheme than the government anticipated, with over 600,000 homes and businesses reportedly installing solar panels.

Given the greater-than-expected rate of take-up, and concerns that the subsidies – which are paid for via energy bills – were putting undue pressure on household budgets, the government began slashing the subsidies, which currently stand at 12.9p per kilowatt hour.

But it is widely expected that Rudd will go even further, cutting the current rate by as much as half this autumn.

Earlier in the year, Rudd announced a consultation on the solar subsidy scheme, which is expected to close the first week of September.

When she opened the consultation, Rudd said: “Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.”

“As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies,” she added. “We’re taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment.”

When contacted by City A.M. yesterday, an energy department spokesperson echoed Rudd’s earlier comments, saying: “We always look to get the best deal for consumers, so when forecasts showed that spending on renewable energy subsidy schemes was set to be higher than expected, we were determined to get a grip.”

The government has already removed subsidies for other renewable energy initiatives, including the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions. It is expected to reveal the results of a separate consultation, on feed-in tariffs, next month.


Anti-GMO Radicals Harass Scientists with Deluge of Freedom of info requests

Anti-GMO radicals are harassing scientists who work at state universities — including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — with an onslaught of speculative Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, according to a report in the 13 August edition of Nature magazine, one of the world’s leading weekly science journals.

Led by the leftist group, US Right to Know, the activists, who oppose the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and medicine, are requesting confidential documents that demonstrate the correspondence between academic research activity and industry.

Industry commonly funds research in academia. So does the government. Researchers who are employed at state universities, like Washington State University and the University of Florida, both of which receive state, and federal, funds, are subject to the FOI laws. Radicals at US Right to Know, ironically, are not covered by FOI, and have not disclosed their funding sources.

Radicals asked a total of 40 researchers to hand over documents, though some, like the University of Nebraska, have refused to produce the documents. Others, like Washington State, have agreed to turn over documents, including e-mail, Nature reported.

The liberals are distraught that some scientists have posted remarks on a web site called, GMO Answers, which is produced by the PR firm, Ketchum, in New York City, as the food fear assault mounted by these activists seeks to silence opposition to its un-scientific scare campaign.

Not many normal people support the unhinged leftists and their anti-science campaign. In remarks yesterday at the Heartland Institute’s open house, U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) gave a speech, which, among other things, voiced support for continued federal backing of science and technology at the Fermilab, located in Batavia, Ill., which has conducted research on the ethics of genetic engineering, among other important scientific work.


Democratic Republic of Congo climate plan ‘leaves laggards with no excuse’

The power of a plan, no less. Fantasies are not limited to Western universities

“If we are able to deliver no-one should have an excuse not to.”

The words of Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, climate negotiator for the Democratic Republic of Congo and an architect of the country’s recently submitted UN climate plan.

On 18 August the DRC, rated 186 out of 187 in the UN’s Human Development Index, became the 55th country to submit its contribution to a planned global climate deal.

Its ambition impressed and stunned many observers.  The nation of 75 million, which is responsible for 1.57% of global emissions, said it would target 17% greenhouse gas cuts on a business-as-usual baseline by 2030.

By 2025, it said 3 million hectares of trees would be planted; this in a country where nearly 68% of land is already covered by some of the world’s most diverse and ecologically important forests.

And it would also seek to protect 152 million hectares still covered by vegetation, which, according to the national plan (and depending on how you account for land use change emissions), places it in the unusual position of being a country that absorbs more CO2 than it produces.

This potentially makes the DRC’s climate pledge one of the most important to date.

“The intact forest in the Congo Basin is a globally significant carbon sink,” says Simon Lewis, a scientist from University College London who runs an African tropical forest monitoring scheme.

“We calculated that African tropical closed canopy forests account for about 0.3Gt (300 million tonnes) of carbon uptake each year… of which vast majority is in the DRC, because that is where most of Africa’s tropical forests are.”

Mpanu Mpanu worked with a team of eight to deliver the DRC’s contribution to a global climate pact well ahead of a soft deadline of 1 October set by the UN.

They identified forests, agriculture and energy as their main action areas, in a country scarred by civil wars that started in 1996, when dictator Mobutu Seso Seke stepped down from power.


Liberal scientists say global warming, not illegals, worsening California drought

What would we do without liberal scientists – scientists who, in order to earn their paychecks, are required to find problems with whatever their grants pay for?  In this case, they are required to find dangers from global warming.  If they don't, their grants are cut off, and they have to get productive jobs, or get retrained to speak Spanish and deliver social services to families of Dreamers.

Don't worry – scientists are still doing their jobs!

"Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by roughly 15 to 20 percent, scientists said Thursday, warning that future dry spells in the state are almost certain to be worse than this one as the world continues to heat up".

Oh, no!

"Even though the findings suggest that the drought is primarily a consequence of natural climate variability, the scientists added that the likelihood of any drought becoming acute is rising because of climate change".

Wait.  Would you call this hedging a bit?  So the drought is primarily natural in cause, and global warming is...what again?

“This would be a drought no matter what,” said A. Park Williams, a climate scientist at Columbia University and the lead author of a paper published by the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “It would be a fairly bad drought no matter what. But it’s definitely made worse by global warming.”

Okay.  Got it.  The only problem is, there hasn't been any global warming in 18 years.  Really.

It's all natural temperature variation.  But there is another side to water scarcity, which is consumption.  And 3 million illegal aliens in California are undoubtedly contributing to water shortages.  Why don't scientists ever talk about that?  Probably because they would lose their jobs.  It's safer to talk about a scientific process they can't prove than a factual certainty that is staring them in the face but would get them fired if they mentioned it.

Articles have started appearing talking about evil property owners who "guzzle" water for their lawns.  But you will never see articles about illegal aliens guzzling water.  Illegals don't guzzle.  They dream and are busy ascending to the most virtuous state of being mankind can ever achieve.  Meanwhile, the California water shortage is caused by a hockey stick-like increase in temperature that has not been happening for the past 18 years.

Actually, California has plenty of water available but simply chooses not to store it for human consumption.  Instead, it focuses on putting black balls in the water supply, and educating people to eat less "water rich" food.



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.  

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