Thursday, September 24, 2015

Aren't we clever?  Or so the latest crop of bright-eyed Warmists seems to think

The story below is that global average temperatures are not a good index of global warming.  That seems to me to be a contradiction in terms but let logic go by for now.  The claim is that we should look at the occurrence of extreme events instead.  And we should look at them not in terms of overall averages but rather at what occurs in different parts of the globe.  The logic of that is also suspect (It's called "cherry-picking") but let that go by too.

So with the benefit of much indulgence, we have a large claim that global warming began much sooner that is usually said.  But on what is that claim based?  If we go back to the original academic journal article -- a pesky habit of mine -- we find more limited claims.  And, most crucially, we find that the whole thing is just a modelling exercise, not a survey of real world data.  I think we just need to know one sentence from the journal article.  Here it is -- from the "Conclusions" section of the paper:

"This study suggests that for much of the world, the anthropogenic emergence of temperature extremes has already occurred as of the present date, at least in model simulations"

It's just computer games for grown-ups.  No Warmist model has predicted anything accurately yet so let that be a guide to you in assessing this article

We Could Have Discovered Climate Change As Early As the 1940s if We Had Just Looked

The signs of global warming are hitting us over the head today — if you’ll remember, the fire and drought-ridden summer of 2015 was the also hottest in recorded history — but how long has our planet actually been feeling the heat? In parts of the tropics, anthropogenic climate change has been tinkering with the thermometer since the 1940s.

That’s the surprising conclusion of a new modelling study published today in Environmental Research Letters. Running 23 global climate simulations that combine historical trends (beginning in 1860) with future emissions scenarios, researchers at the University of New South Wales estimated when the very first fingerprints of climate warming — extreme temperatures and shifts in the mean annual temperature — would have become measurable across the world, had we been paying any attention. Near the equator, the writing was on the wall decades before the concept of anthropogenic climate change had been realised.

“Remarkably our research shows that you could already see clear signs of global warming in the tropics by the 1960s but in parts of Australia, South East Asia and Africa it was visible as early as the 1940s,” said lead study author Andrew King in a statement. (That’s decades before the the fore-thinking researchers at Exxon discovered global warming!)

Climate change is hitting high latitude ecosystems the hardest — the Arctic, for instance, is warming twice as fast as the world at large. For that reason — and the fact that most big research universities are located in countries with seasons — what’s happening in the tropics has been largely ignored. But as the new study shows, tropical ecosystems may offer an even better long-term thermometer. Lacking a distinct summer and winter, the tropics have a much narrower distribution of temperatures year-round, which makes it easier, statistically speaking, to spot small deviations and outliers years.

And while the tropics are experiencing smaller levels of warming than, say, boreal forests, climate change stands to wreak even more ecological havoc around the equator....

SOURCE.  The paper is "The timing of anthropogenic emergence in simulated climate extremes" by A.D. King et al.  It is such useless stuff that I will not reproduce any more of it.

Surface temperature of Venus

In my last post yesterday, I pointed out that there is no need to posit a "runaway greenhouse effect" to explain the high surface temperature of Venus.   A reader has emailed me with the following thoughts on the subject

OK, so let's look at Venus' adiabatic process, as that is the secondary reason for its atmosphere being as hot as it is at the surface.

Most important question to ask is this: "Where does the heat come from in the first place?"

Pressure alone does not maintain heat; pump a tyre up all you want, it will have cooled to ambient temperature if left alone.

So .... whilst the adiabatic process can maintain a temperature within an atmosphere, there is still the need to add "new" heat to the system to prevent the gas column from cooling down. If Venus' surface was not as volcanic as it has been proven to be, the entire atmosphere would by now have cooled down and with it the surface.

If there is no "new" heat added at the bottom of the adiabatic process then the entire gas column has no option but to cool, considering that the gas column radiates heat into space at all times, so heat is lost all the time.

The surface temperature would end up in direct consequence of the solar energy reaching it; in Venus' case, as no solar energy reaches the surface, the surface would continue cooling until somewhere along the gas column an equilibrium was reached between solar radiative energy input and gas column radiative energy output.

When such an equilibrium is reached, no further cooling will take place and the whole system becomes an easy to calculate temperature profile based on solar input and absorptivity vs. emissivity of the gas column.

Thus, on Venus, as on Earth, it is the surface that heats the gas column and the adiabatic process recycles this heat, losing at the top of the gas column and gaining at the surface. It's gravity versus specific gravity that drives the adiabatic process, which in itself does not create heat, it merely recycles it by expanding and contracting the same gas mass.

The surface of Venus has been shown to be mostly smooth, caused by recent and active volcanism; that activity means that the surface is constantly renewed and is thus close to the temperature of molten rock. This process is in turn driven by the gravitational forces which in turn are driven by its proximity to the Sun; same as on Earth but to a lesser degree, thankfully.

So the surface of Venus will be hot due to underlying volcanism and not due to its hot atmosphere!

Additionally, the formula for adiabatic "heating" is looking at the phenomenon upside down .... The atmosphere cools with increasing altitude, it does not warm with decreasing altitude! Hah! Same result, different way of looking at the reality.

It all starts and finishes with the output of our Sun, the ONLY driver of our climate. All other influences are secondary and a consequence of the solar input in the first place.

Carbon dioxide or any other gas has no function in making or keeping Earth or Venus "warmer than it should be."

I am still a skeptic

The Associated Press has just revised their stylebook to say that both "climate skeptic" and "climate denier" are now deplored. Journalists should now say "climate change doubters" or "those who reject mainstream climate science".

Anthony Watts has said that he too will adopt AP usage.  He does generally try to maintain some respectability in establishment circles so that decision is to be expected of him.  And he may be wise to do so.

I however have zero inclination to make nice with frauds and charlatans, so will continue to call myself and similar others "skeptics".

I in fact probably deserve the title of skeptic more than almost anyone else.  My many papers in the journals attest that I am totally skeptical of the mainstream claims within my own field of political psychology and that is only my starting point.

I also don't believe in Jesus Christ, Karl Marx or Global warming.  I further don't believe in the adverse health effects of dietary fat, salt or sugar.  And I most certainly don't believe that Leftists are "compassionate".

Am I the world's most skeptical person?  Could be.  And perhaps because I am not burdened by any false beliefs, I live a very  happy life.

UPDATE:  Someone has suggested that, as well as saying what I do not believe in I should also say what I DO believe in.  And that is very easy.  I believe in all the things that Leftists consider stupid and old-fashioned:  Honesty, truth, frankness, objectivity, integrity, morality, humility, generosity, kindness, laughter, courage, justice (without adjectives) and, above all, the central importance of children and the family.  How crazy can you get? I am old now so what I think matters little but I am pleased that my mathematician son has similar values.  He even laughs at my jokes!

Why are those at the top of organisations so much more gullible on climate?

I’ve noticed a repeated pattern throughout the world that the people who run organisations tend to be the most extreme of the climate extremists. Why?

Some examples: the Pope, US president, Nurse (former head of Royal Society), Richard Branson.

Here are some suggestions:

* Those who can do … do. Those who can’t do … become managers. In other words, those who understand how things work in the world, tend to be interested in things that work. After all … it’s no great skill for us humans to interact with other humans. And management is really not that difficult – any decent parent knows how to be a manager, but only a few of us have the skills, education and experience to various aspects of the world.

* Heads of organisations are seldom great thinkers. Instead, they are great at convincing other people to hand over ideas, power, etc. In other words, it is not what you know, but who you know who knows what you need to know – and the head’s ability to persuade underlings to hand over what they know to the heads who don’t know. So, the heads become powerful, by creating a coalition of people to feed them information, rather than knowing the information for themselves. As such they are extremely vulnerable to false information and “group-think”. Particularly ideas of their social grouping which they like … because to put it quite simply, they lack the knowledge/intelligence to know when they are being fed bullshit.

* You don’t get to be head of some big organisation without a great deal of arrogance. And there can be nothing more arrogant than the idea that us humans could significantly change the climate. But also heads of organisations tend to live “consensus” decision making. Not that they seek a consensus, but instead, if they perceive a “consensus” even if all the individuals are cautious about a subject, they will tend to see “consensus” as showing that there is no need for caution. So, often heads, despite their almost total ignorance on a subject, will, if a “consensus” is present, be far less cautious than their advisers on a subject. Which works – when the advisers have all formed their own views – but is a recipe for disaster when they all come to their view from the same source.

* World leaders today have a particular problem with climate. Because unlike those of us, who have pretty much stayed in the same place for decades on end, and whose own experience tells us the climate extremists rhetoric is bullshit, someone who has constantly moved location in their political career and doubtless goes on exotic foreign trips to relax rather than walk out their own front door … they haven’t a clue what is “normal” for even their own “local” climate. That’s because they don’t have a “local” climate.


Bryozoans to the rescue!

Some Warmists are hedging their bets. They have found something else that is not in their dinky models

FOR years scientists have been telling us that climate change is bad.  And at the rate it is happening, it is.

The polar ice caps are melting much quicker than previously thought with experts predicting sea levels could rise by as much as a metre within the next 100 to 200 years.

For Australia this means more destructive storm surges causing more widespread flash flooding.

But now it seems there is a positive to all this ice melting.

A team of scientists who have been studying the sea life in the West Antarctic have found the melting ice has boosted the number of creatures living on the sea floor.

Not only that but these particular marine animals, bryozoans or moss animals, are now acting like a carbon sink.

A what?

Basically, these creatures suck up CO2. And because their numbers have doubled over the past two decades, scientists estimate they are sucking up so much CO2 it is equivalent to about 50,000 hectares of tropical rainforest.

The findings were published in the journal, Current Biology, this week.

“It was a surprise that life had been invisibly responding to climate change for more than a decade below one of the most obviously visible impacts of climate change: the ‘blueing’ poles,” David Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said. “We’ve found that a significant area of the planet — more than three million square km — is a considerable carbon sink and, more importantly, a negative feedback on climate change.”

Mr Barnes says it is well known the polar ice caps melting has had a negative effect on Earth.

He explained when sea ice melts it exposes more darker patches. So the poles go from being a reflective white to a much darker blue therefore absorbing more heat and melting more ice.

According to the study, it was once thought that Arctic forests and new algal blooms where ice shelves disintegrated were, to some extent, working against climate change.

Scientists now believe, based on studies of West Antarctic bryozoans, that other organisms living on the sea floor “could be more important than both” when it comes to accumulating and burying carbon.

In the new study, Mr Barnes and his colleagues collected specimens across West Antarctic seas and calculated the density of creatures on the sea bed using high resolution images.

The data, which was collected over 20 years, revealed a marked increase in the production of carbon in the bodies of West Antarctic bryozoans.

The researchers calculated that growth of the bryozoans has nearly doubled, with the animals taking in more than 2 x 10x5 tons of carbon per year since the 1980s.

They also estimated the bryozoans absorbed around 2.9 x 10x6 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to about 50,000 hectares of tropical rainforest.

What has the researchers more excited is that they believe this carbon is likely to become trapped and buried at the bottom of the ocean.

Mr Barnes said there were surprising differences in the amount of carbon taken up in different regions in Antarctica linked closely to the sea ice losses at each location.

He said the South Orkney Islands — the world’s first High Seas Marine Protected Area — was a “bang on a carbon hotspot, without us realising”.

“The forests you can see are important with respect to the carbon cycle and climate change, but two-thirds of our planet is ocean, and below it the life you can’t see is also very important in climate responses as well,” he said..

Scientists now hope to study the Arctic to find out if similar things are happening there.


EPA’s Gold King Whitewash

By Paul Driessen

“EPA and ER had simply ‘miscalculated’ how much water had backed up…. We were ‘very careful.’ The highly acidic, toxic flood was ‘worse aesthetically’ than in reality. Contaminants were ‘flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat.’ … The river is ‘restoring itself’ back to ‘pre-spill conditions’. We just need a ‘focused dialogue’ moving forward.

Can anyone imagine EPA or President Obama making such statements in the wake of a private industry accident? Just recall the hysteria over the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, PCB contamination in the Hudson and Fox Rivers, Duke Energy coal ash spill in North Carolina, and other accidents.”

Tom Sawyer would be proud. Rarely has there been a finer whitewash than EPA’s with the Gold King Mine disaster. Let’s hope that the whitewash eventually erodes, so that we can get to the truth about Gold King, learn from the disaster, and make better decisions about how to clean up thousands of abandoned mines—while still harvesting the vital raw materials that make modern life possible.

On August 5, as most people now know, an Environmental Restoration (ER) company crew—supervised by officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS)—used a big excavator to dig away tons of collapsed rock and debris (“overburden”) that since 1995 had created a natural dam and blocked the entrance to the Gold King Mine, above Silverton, Colorado.

The mine had been abandoned since 1923, except for a brief period in the late 1980s, and water had been seeping out of the caved-in portal for years. The water was acidic and contained iron, lead, cadmium, mercury, and other heavy metals.

The crew kept digging—until the greatly weakened rock and earth dam burst, unleashing (at least) a 3-million-gallon toxic flash-flood that rapidly contaminated the Animas and San Juan Rivers, all the way to Lake Powell in Utah. To compound the disaster, EPA then waited an entire day before notifying downstream mayors, health officials, families, kayakers, farmers, ranchers, and fishermen that the turmeric-orange water they were drinking, paddling in, or using for crops and livestock was contaminated by heavy metals.

Three million gallons of water and sludge would fill a pool the size of a football field down seven feet (120 x 53.3 x 2.3-yards). As professional geologist Dave Taylor had warned in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper a week before the blowout: Faults, fractures, other mines, topographic features, rainfall, and snowmelt in the area meant water had probably backed up hundreds of feet upward into mine drifts, raises, stopes, rooms, and other passageways that begin at 11,458 feet above sea level. Other experts had given the EPA and DRMS similar warnings as much as two years earlier.

Water was likely accumulating at the rate of 500 gallons per minute, Taylor said, building a “head pressure” of 1 PSI for every 2.3 feet of vertical rise. That meant a sudden release would send toxic water and sludge flash-flooding with incredible power down nearby creeks and rivers. Which is exactly what it did. Not surprisingly, the official downplaying and whitewashing began almost immediately.

EPA and ER had simply “miscalculated” how much water had backed up. It was just trying to stick a pipe into the top of the mine to safely pump liquid out for treatment. We were “very careful.” The highly acidic, toxic flood was “worse aesthetically” than in reality. Contaminants were “flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat.” Barely a week after the spill, the river is “restoring itself” back to “pre-spill conditions.” We just need a “focused dialogue” moving forward.

Can anyone imagine EPA or President Obama making such statements in the wake of a private industry accident? Just recall the hysteria over the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, PCB contamination in the Hudson and Fox Rivers, Duke Energy coal ash spill in North Carolina, and other accidents. Those cases drew vicious, long-lasting condemnation:

The affected waters will be polluted for years or even decades. Wildlife will be wiped out. There is no safe threshold for chemicals. They are toxic and carcinogenic at parts per billion. Criminal corporate polluters should be jailed and fined big-time. We will keep our boots on their necks.

Astounding incompetence and negligence

Gold King is an unconscionable disaster that should never have happened. EPA is the government agency that wants to control every puddle of water, every cubic foot of air and carbon dioxide, every car, household, hospital, mall, office building, highway, farm, and factory in America. Its cavalier incompetence and gross negligence in this case are astounding.

Environmental Restoration, the private EPA contractor that caused the toxic flood, had produced a June 2014 work plan for the planned cleanup. Regarding the lack of access to the mine since 1995, when the entrance partially collapsed, the plan warned:

This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. In addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred, creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.

That work plan, Dave Taylor’s letter, and prior experience with the nearby Red & Bonita Mine (discussed later in this article) meant both EPA, DRMS, and ER knew the high risks in advance. And yet they went ahead, with no containment pond to catch runaway water, and no emergency procedures to deal with a blowout and toxic spill. They didn’t even follow their own ill-conceived plan.

(The EPA contingent had actually begun work at Gold King in September 2014 and had removed some 20 feet of “overburden” material that was blocking the entrance. However, it halted the operation when it determined that its analysis of the mine layout was partly in error; it then backfilled the area with crushed rock, compacted the fresh material, and made plans to return in August 2015—which it did. In the process, the team may have blocked two water drainage pipes that had been installed at the floor of the portal.)

During 2015, EPA intended “to remove the blockage [to the mine entrance] and reconstruct the portal at the Gold King Mine, in order to best observe possible changes in discharge caused by the installation of a bulkhead” in the Red & Bonita Mine, the plan says. Despite warnings of a water impoundment, the plan of operations assumed there would be little water in the mine. It reads in part:

Use removed material to create manlift access ramp to area above portal….

Excavate loose material from the top of the high wall.
Hang wire mesh on the high wall as excavation to the sill of the portal proceeds.

Excavate to the sill and into the competent rock face at the portal.

Gradually lower the debris blockage with the appropriate pumping of the impounded water……

EPA had posted 191 photographs of the area and the crew’s progress—covering the period right up to and for several hours after the flash-flood. These made the agency and contractor negligence very apparent. However, a day after my article and link to the photo archive was posted, the entire collection mysteriously disappeared. Most of those pictures and many others relating to the incident and the belated emergency response were finally reposted and can now be seen in this collection and in this one.

None of the photos shows the crew creating a manlift or excavating from the top of the high wall. They make it clear that the crew simply dug and hauled away enormous volumes of overburden, from above the portal downward—until the remaining rock and soil could no longer hold back 3 million gallons of water, and a toxic orange flood roared out of the mine.

(The August 6 long distance photos at 12:51 and 12:53 suggest how much rock and debris had filled in the portal area. The August 4 image at 10:28, with the Caterpillar excavator, shows that extensive overburden had already been removed on the first day.

The August 5 photo, at 10:51, clearly shows the portal and extent of excavation; the Cat has already been moved, because the dam has begun giving way. By 10:54 water is flooding out. By 10:56 a real gusher washes away part of the road and at 11:08 a half-submerged Chevy Suburban is adrift in the flash-flood which, as EPA notes in its internal report, lasted nearly an hour. The August 6 close-up at 12:53 shows the portal after the flood had washed the remaining natural dam away.)

Adding insult to the injury and flagrant negligence, a month after the spill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told the Navajo Nation  that FMEA would not provide disaster relief – and EPA began removing emergency water tanks it had provided to Navajo ranchers. This was after the first water tanks it provided were still contaminated with oil from a previous operation! But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy did say she was “absolutely, deeply sorry this happened.”



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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