Sunday, September 13, 2015

First pick your glacier

Sarah Palin pointed out that Obama had picked out one of the Alaskan glaciers that seem to be shrinking while ignoring others that are growing.  The story below is a reply to that.

In the reply, however, they made a crucial and damaging admission:  Glacier mass is primarily a function of precipiation (snowfall, mainly) rather than of changes in air temperature. So much so that glaciers can in fact GROW amid a warming climate.

That makes their chart below doubly amusing.  It shows that glaciers have overall been losing mass right up to the present time.  Since there has been no global warming during the last 18 years of that time, the chart proves that overall glacial mass proves NOTHING about global warming.  The shrinkage is due only to reduced snowfall/rainfall.

But why would precipitation be reducing?  Hard to say for sure.  But there is one easy answer:  Reduced precipitation is due to COOLING. Cooling reduces evaporation off the sea and so there is less moisture to come down as rain/snow.  So the seas in most areas adjacent to glaciers are likely COOLING!  Logic is pesky stuff, is it not? -- JR

Glaciers normally grow through snow accumulation in the winter and then recede by melting in the summer. But lower levels of snow accumulation or higher temperatures will lead to an imbalance in that process and the glacier will retreat and lose mass over time.

But Palin pointed out that not all glaciers are losing ice. In a post on the opinion website IJ Review, she highlighted the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. According to NASA, the Hubbard has indeed been advancing since measurement of the glacier began in 1895, at rates ranging from 13 meters to 36 meters per year. Here is how Leigh Sterns, a glaciologist at the University of Kansas, explained the glacier’s growth for NASA: “Hubbard’s advance is due to its large accumulation area; the glacier’s catchment basin extends far into the Saint Elias Mountains. Snow that falls in the basin either melts or flows down to the terminus, causing Hubbard to steadily grow.”

In short, regional variations and increasing snowfall thanks to climate change could cause some glaciers around the world to grow, even as global temperatures rise. In fact, the pace of the Hubbard Glacier’s advance has increased since 1984, which coincides with a period of increased precipitation rates.

Just as overall global temperatures are more relevant than what happens in individual areas, the overall trend for glaciers is more relevant, too. The global and Alaskan glacial trends are toward massive loss of ice as the world has warmed. The World Glacier Monitoring Service, which runs under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organization and other partners, reports that the latest data continue “the global trend in strong ice loss over the past few decades.” This general trend is apparent in the chart below, from the WGMS.

On CNN, Tapper pushed back at Palin, saying that “90 percent of glaciers, according to scientists, 90 percent of them are—are shrinking, are melting.” According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder, that’s true for alpine glaciers, which are most susceptible to retreat: “Over 90 percent of the measured alpine glaciers in the world are retreating, in almost every major glaciated region.” The NSIDC explains that the causes are “varied,” but “the underlying primary causes are a warming climate and the effects of increased soot and dust in areas of higher agricultural and industrial activity.” Both the Exit and Hubbard glaciers are alpine, of differing types—the former is a valley glacier, with its flow confined by valley walls and the latter is a tidewater glacier, which terminates into the ocean.

According to the most recent WGMS data, only 22 of the 126 glaciers it analyzed were adding mass, while 104—about 83 percent—were losing mass.

In spite of that trend, a minority of glaciers, such as the Hubbard, will likely continue to expand even with warmer temperatures. For example, a study published in 2014 in Nature Geoscience described the stable or growing glaciers of the Karakorum region in Asia. The reason for those glaciers’ deviation from the global trend has to do with localized changes to winter precipitation—snowfall, essentially, helps the glaciers stay stable or grow. The authors concluded that “[o]ur findings suggest a meteorological mechanism for regional differences in the glacier response to climate warming.” In other words, local weather patterns play a role in how glaciers respond to climate change.

Most glaciers in Alaska and around the world are losing ice as the world warms. Palin suggested that Obama was cherry-picking his glacier to make a point, but she was guilty of that trick herself.


Here's why the Warmists are being careful about the Pacific "blob"

The blob was covered on this blog on 11th.  It's a body of slightly warmer water in the Northern Pacific.  It is leading to slightly warmer temperatures than normal in Alaska.  At a time when EVERYTHING is due to global warming, you would think that Warmists would be seizing on the phenomenon as "proof" of global warming.  But Warmist scientists are in fact saying it is just "weather".  Why?  The recent paper below might give us a clue.  It shows that Pacific temperatures were 2 degrees HOTTER 8,000 years ago, long before humans were doing much.  So demonstrably NATURAL warming leaves the present blip for dead, suggesting that the blob is natural too --JR

Southern Ocean contributions to the Eastern Equatorial Pacific heat content during the Holocene

Julie Kalanskya et al.


Temperature reconstructions from a shallow core (375 m) from the Peru Margin are used to test the influence of Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) on the eastern equatorial Pacific (EEP) thermostad and thus the effect of southern high latitude climate on interior ocean heat content (OHC). Temperature estimates, based on Mg/Ca measurements of planktonic and benthic foraminifera (Neogloboquadrina dutertrei and Uvigerina spp ., respectively) show higher temperatures in the early Holocene, a cooling of ∼2° by 8 kyr B.P. and after relatively stable temperatures to the present. The temperature signal is similar in direction and timing to a rather robust Holocene climate signal from the southern high latitudes suggesting it originated there and was advected to the core site in the EEP. Based on the N. dutertrei and Uvigerina Mg/Ca temperature and δ13C records we conclude that SAMW acted as a conduit transporting the southern high latitude climate to the interior of the equatorial Pacific. We propose that the early Holocene warmth is related to a southward migration of the Subtropical Front, which enhanced the influence of warm subtropical water in the region of SAMW formation and was then transported to the EEP thermostad. The early Holocene warmth recorded in the EEP thermostad has a muted sea surface temperature expression indicating this mechanism is important for sequestering heat in the ocean interior.


Greenie secrecy again  -- time to open it up?

Leaders of the scientific community, nudged by the media (including Nature), are acknowledging that a culture of science focused on rewarding eye-catching and positive findings may have resulted in major bodies of knowledge that cannot be reproduced.

Private-sector, academic and non-profit groups are leading multiple efforts to replicate selected published findings, and so far the results do not make happy reading. Several high-profile endeavours have been unable to reproduce the large majority of peer-reviewed studies that they examined. Meanwhile, the US National Academies is preparing to publish a high-profile report on scientific integrity that will flag irreproducibility as a key concern for the research enterprise.

As the spotlight shines on reproducibility, uncomfortable issues will emerge at the interface of research and 'evidence-based' policy.

Consider, for example, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, a US bill that would “prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible”. Passed in March by the House of Representatives essentially along party lines (Republicans in favour, Democrats opposed) and now awaiting action by the Senate, the bill has been vigorously opposed by many scientific and environmental organizations.

They argue, probably correctly, that the bill's intent is to block and even roll back environmental regulations by requiring that all data on which the rules are based be made publicly available for independent replication. One of the main objections is that a lot of the scientific research that informs regulatory decisions is not of the sort that can be replicated. For example, a statement of opposition from numerous scientific societies and universities explains that: “With respect to reproducibility of research, some scientific research, especially in areas of public health, involves longitudinal studies that are so large and of great duration that they could not realistically be reproduced. Rather, these studies are replicated utilizing statistical modeling.”

Precisely. Replication of the sort that can be done with tightly controlled laboratory experiments is indeed often impossible when you are studying the behaviour of dynamic, complex systems, for example at the intersection of human health, the natural environment and technological risks. But it is hard to see how this amounts to an argument against mandating open access to the data from these studies. Growing concerns about the quality of published scientific results have often singled out bad statistical practices and modelling assumptions, and have typically focused on the very types of science that often underlie regulations, such as efforts to quantify the population-wide health effects of a single chemical.

Although concerns about the bill's consequences are reasonable, the idea that it would be bad to make public the data underlying environmental regulations seems to contradict science's fundamental claims to objectivity and legitimacy. In June, a commentary in Science by an array of leading voices, including the current and future heads of the National Academies, flagged “increased transparency” and “increased data disclosure” as crucial elements of science's “self-correcting norm” that can help to address “the disconcerting rise in irreproducible findings” (B. Alberts et al. Science 348, 1420–1422; 2015). This is more or less the position taken by the Secret Science bill's sponsor, Representative Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas): “The bill requires the EPA to use data that is available to the public when the Agency writes its regulations. This allows independent researchers to evaluate the studies that the EPA uses to justify its regulations. This is the scientific method.”

This battle for the soul of science is almost surreal in its avoidance of the true issue, which is ideological. One side believes that the government should introduce stricter environmental regulations; the other wants fewer restrictions on the marketplace. Science is the battleground, but it cannot adjudicate this dispute. At its core, the disagreement is about values, not facts. But just as importantly, the facts themselves are inevitably incomplete, uncertain, contested and, as we have been learning, often unreliable.

Like a divorced couple bitterly fighting over the custody of their child, both sides in the Secret Science debate insist that they have only the interests of science at heart. Republicans are using a narrow, idealized portrayal of science — that it produces clear and reproducible findings — as a weapon to undercut environmental and public-health regulation of the private sector. But many scientists, environmentalists and Democrats have long used similar portrayals to justify the same regulations, and to bash Republicans as anti-scientific when they did not agree.

More and more, science is tackling questions that are relevant to society and politics. The reliability of such science is often not testable with textbook methods of replication. This means that quality assurance will increasingly become a matter of political interpretation. It also means that the 'self-correcting norm' that has served science well for the past 500 years is no longer enough to protect science's special place in society. Scientists must have the self-awareness to recognize and openly acknowledge the relationship between their political convictions and how they assess scientific evidence.


Wait, Polar Bears Can Hunt on Land?

A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE finds that polar bears aren’t nearly as helpless as ecofascists want us to believe. In fact, they can even hunt on land. Shocking, we know. In the study abstract, authors Robert Rockwell and Linda Gormezano say, “Climate change is predicted to expand the ice-free season in western Hudson Bay and when it grows to 180 days, 28–48% of adult male polar bears are projected to starve unless nutritional deficits can be offset by foods consumed on land.”

But that nutrition can be found in snow geese and their eggs, as well as even caribou. Rockwell writes, “Polar bears are opportunists and have been documented consuming various types and combinations of land-based food since the earliest natural history records.”

Additionally, “Analysis of polar bear scats and first-hand observations have shown us that subadult polar bears, family groups, and even some adult males are already eating plants and animals during the ice-free period.”

This isn’t to say that ice melt won’t present challenges, but it is to say, once again, that the science isn’t settled. Combine this with recent news that polar bears are quite adept at diving, and the fact that their population has multiplied from 5,000 bears in the ‘60s to 25,000 bears today, and climate alarmists should just chill.


Hydrocarbons are the Major Source of Energy

Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

One Paul Gilding recently posted an article with the title “Fossil fuels are finished—the rest is just detail.” That sure made my (thinning) hair curl. What a nonsense!

This poor man (?) has no idea what he is talking about. 'Fossil fuels' (more correctly, hydrocarbons) are driving the world and will continue to do so for a very long time; in fact they are the major energy source going—and growing by leaps and bounds!

To prove my point, let’s look at some energy/fuel facts, like the bar-graph showing the world energy production by source in the year 2013, source: Manhattan Inst.

As you can see, fossil fuels account for approximately 85% of the entire world energy consumption. When you add to that the fossil energy used to build and maintain windmills, and to “pre-heat” solar renewable types of energy (see my post on “More alternative energy follies,” it’s probably more than 90% of all energy consumed. Even the “biomass” energy component needs plenty of electric or other power that, in turn, is largely supplied by fossil resources. In most cases, these fossil energy consumptions are not even accounted for in most “renewable” energy production numbers; details, details…

Altogether, the idea that fossil fuels are finished is simply preposterous. The facts are entirely different from that claim and fossil fuels are in more demand than ever. In absolute terms, coal energy alone still rises at a rate of about three times that of renewables’ energy and oil and natural gas are close behind coal. But not just the demand is steadily increasing, lo and behold, the available and known resources are as well.

Are we Running out of Hydrocarbons?

Whether you believe it or not, I do remember a specific assignment from early public school (60+ years ago), namely to write an essay (OK, say a list of points) on what would become of the world without the sun shining. It was both a serious and fun task at the time.

The question of “what would become of the world without carbon/hydrocarbon energy resources” is not much different, at least in my mind. The attached graph will demonstrate that, fossil energy is still by far the biggest and most reliable way for power generation. Whether you drive a car, fly in an airplane, enjoy a trip on a ship, turn on the lights, or just want some heat, most of all that energy is provided by fossil fuels. Even much of your “free” (as per sunshine and wind advocates’) energy is, in fact, fossil resource based.

The world may indeed run out of fossil carbon energy resources at one point. However, that point in time gets continuously pushed further into the future. Not only is the current consumption being met with new finds to compensate for it, between the new technologies and newly discovered finds, the future supply is increasing at a steady rate. For example, on Aug. 30, 2015, the Wall Street Journal, reported on a massive new natural gas find offshore Egypt’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea.

Many discoveries of similar kind are also made in other areas, onshore and offshore, all around the world. So, it’s incredibly naive and false to claim that fossil fuels are finished. Nothing of that sort is happening, neither in available resources or consumption terms.
Another point

There is also another point I’d like to mention. It’s the relative large amount of coverage given by some search engines to news items of the kind I’m referring to here. For example, Gilding’s own blog page at has not a single comment on his article and shows a grand total of “4 followers.”

However, when searching for the query given below, you’d think his works are in great demand, see for yourself. The major search engine results for the query (on Aug. 30, 2015): “gilding” +“fossil fuels are finished” are as follows:

Clearly, there appears to be a discrepancy between the results offered by these three search engines. I cannot say which one is better but am wondering about the reason for that sizable difference. Could it be because of a bias in the direction of a particular view? You be the judge on that but there’s one thing which I’m quite sure:

Gildings musings about fossil fuels being finished are total baloney.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Greenie irrationality at Sydney university

The Greenie religion is a powerful one.  Universities started out as religious bodies and it seems that we are returning to that.  And the religion is not much different:  Preaching doom for evildoers

Last week, Ideas@theCentre argued that Newcastle Council has entered an alternative reality by withdrawing deposits from banks that fund coal and (potentially) companies involved with alcohol.
Given the Newcastle region's dependence on coal industry and wineries, it is hard to imagine a more bizarre divestment decision.

But this week, we have another organisation entering the Twilight Zone: Sydney University is reportedly cutting its investments in mining companies while increasing investment in alcohol, soft drinks and tobacco. Sydney University is effectively saying it is OK for me to unwillingly receive second hand smoke, but it is wrong to replace unhealthy wood fires with electricity from coal.

Air pollution from indoor fires causes 4.3 million deaths around the world per year and the divestment movement opposes replacing these fires by coal-fired electricity. Yet again, a first world organisation (with reportedly $1.4 billion under investment) is dictating to developing countries that they shouldn't use coal, when coal could save more lives than would ever be lost due to global warming. The University is being paternalistic towards the third world, while at the same time academics at the University criticise Western imperialism.

In addition, as Peter Kurti has previously pointed out in relation to the Anglican Church's coal divestment strategy, coal's cheap energy has been instrumental in raising the living standards of hundreds of millions in developing countries around the globe.

The University's divorce from reality is compounded by the increased investment in tobacco, and it is hard to see how they could possibly justify that as better than investment in coal.



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


1 comment:

Slywolfe said...

Just a note of appreciation to JR.
Thank you for Greenie Watch!