Friday, September 18, 2015
Now for the Warmist mosquito scare
I was born and bred in the tropics, where mosquitoes sometimes seem so numerous that you almost expect them to pick you up and fly off with you. And, you know what? There are a lot of animals in the tropic too. Yet somehow the animals survive without the benefit of mosquito nets and mosquito repellent. Fur coats help a lot, of course. Is there any reason to think that furry animals that have evolved in other mosquito-prone environments would do less well? I can't see it.
And anyway, the study of local warming below was done in a period of exceptional overall temperature stability so tells us nothing about global warming. And IF global warming does ever happen we could easily help the Caribou by aerial sprayng of DDT -- which we now know has no adverse impacts for humans or birds. Before it was banned, people used to be fogged with DDT to kill various bugs -- and the people concerned came to no harm from it
And note Chip Knappenberger's comment below -- JR
The Atlantic is worried the caribou won’t survive massive mosquito swarms that are allegedly spawning earlier every year, harassing malnourished mothers and killing their young.
Arctic mosquito swarms are huge, sometimes containing millions of insects that can easily kill baby caribou and even harm mature adults as well. But environmentalists and liberals are claiming that a warming Arctic will only increase the frequency and severity of these death swarms.
“Mosquitoes responded to this early melt by hatching ahead of schedule,” writes The Atlantic’s Ross Andersen. “They also grew faster, meaning they spent less time in the vulnerable, developmental state that makes them easy prey for birds. More of them survived to adulthood, and that’s bad news for caribou.”
Special: New Probiotic Fat Burner Takes GNC by Storm
“Arctic mosquito swarms are the stuff of legend,” writes Andersen. “Some of them contain hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of insects. That’s enough to harass a pregnant caribou until she stops worrying about food. And it’s enough to kill caribou calves outright.”
Andersen’s article is based on a new study by Lauren Culler of the Dickey Center’s Institute for Arctic Studies at Dartmouth, who spent two summers studying mosquitos in Greenland. She found that in 2012, a very warm year in the Arctic, mosquitoes were breeding earlier.
“Caribou have no defense against mosquitoes,” Culler told Andersen, “except to run.”
“If the Arctic continues to warm, and there is every indication that it will, the summer tundra may soon be abuzz with larger and larger clouds of biting, blood-sucking insects,” Andersen warns in his article.
It’s a reasonable concern, but one that doesn’t ask an important question — how did caribou herds survive past warm periods? It’s a question that was asked by Cato Institute climate scientist Chip Knappenberger asked over Twitter.
The Earth’s climate has not been static in the last 15,000 years (there are cave paintings of caribou in Europe that are at least this old), as the world has warmed and cooled since that time.
The Middle Ages, for example, saw a warming spell that lasted until the late 1300s when a period known as the “Little Ice Age” came about and caused temperatures in Europe and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere to plunge.
Photographer with a tiny brain says he has documented the effects of global warming in the Arctic Circle
The period of the study was 3 years during the "hiatus", so whatever effects were observed were not the product of temperature change. The guy just swallowed the kool-Aid and ASSUMED that warming was going on over that period -- JR
For the three-year Arctic Arts Project, Kerry Koepping visited some of the most remote areas in the world to visually 'measure' climate change. The experienced snapper captured a smorgasbord of ice, water, fire and fauna during 15 trips to Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Norway - each a month long. Among the locations Kerry shot from a helicopter over Iceland's Holuhraun Volcano and captured the melting glaciers in Alaska.
One snap showed 1300-year-old Vatnajokull, also known as the Crystal Cave, had receded by 100 meters in just 12 months and is not expected to exist in its current form after the 2015 summer melt.
Kerry, from Colorado, USA, said: "We used a guide as some locations are easy to reach, but others pose significant challenges. "The last expedition was a schooner sailing trip into Scoresby Sound, Greenland.
"We had to pick up the ship in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland, said to be the most remote community in the world. Then we sailed for 10 days.
"To be in an ice cave surrounded by ice that dates back to the Vikings is pretty heady stuff. Knowing that it will be gone in a mere few months is humbling.
"The Arctic is rather epic. It's beautiful yet stark, vast yet detailed. It really makes me feel quite small.
They were only able to reach some of the locations with the help of local guides
"I think it is important that the Arctic has a voice. A voice that's not politically based, not corporately based - here's the visual, here's the data, now you make your decision on how you will affect change?" Kerry has been photographing landscapes for the last 30 years but this was the first time working on an environmental project.
He added: "I've always been an outdoors person but finding the polygon hummocks in Alaska was a life changer.
"When photographing the Arctic, I tune in to the hidden storylines within the subject and try to communicate that sense back to the viewer.
"I feel a sense of responsibility, knowing that I may be one of only a few people on earth witnessing a given subject."
Sierra Nevada snowpack hit a 500-year low in 2015. Global warming?
Since there has been no global warming for a long time, it cannot have affected current CA snow. Snow cover is mainly an effect of precipitation, so this is just another effect of the CA drought, which is part of a natural cycle. CA has been through drought many times -- JR
When California Governor Jerry Brown stood in a snowless Sierra Nevada meadow on April 1 and ordered unprecedented drought restrictions, it was the first time in 75 years that the area had lacked any sign of spring snow.
Now researchers say this year's record-low snowpack may be far more historic - and ominous - than previously realised.
In a paper published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists estimate that the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains was the lowest it had been in more than 500 years.
"We were expecting that 2015 would be extreme, but not like this," said senior study author Valerie Trouet, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona.
The report is the latest in a series of studies that have sought to characterise the depth of California's four-year drought and place it in a broader historic context. It joins a growing body of research warning that global warming will reduce the amount of snow blanketing California mountains - a development that will reduce the state's available water, even as its population continues to grow.
"This is probably the biggest water supply concern our state is facing," said Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved in the new study. "On a scale of one to 10, it's 11."
The issue, according to UC Davis hydrology expert Helen Dahlke, is that with climate change, there will be much less snow and more rain.
"That water will just be going into the ocean unless we can figure out a way to capture some of that water quickly," said Dahlke, who was not part of Trouet's study team.
Snowpack is a key factor in California's water supply: In a normal year, melting Sierra Nevada snow provides the state with one-third of its water. Another third is pumped from underground aquifers, and the rest comes from rivers and reservoirs.
Due to its importance as a water source, officials began monitoring the snowpack in the 1930s, and have established 108 measuring stations throughout the Sierra Nevada.
This spring, researchers found that the amount of water contained in the snow on April 1 was only 5 per cent of the average snow water equivalent since monitoring began. In the case of the Phillips measuring station - where Brown ordered mandatory water-use reductions - the snowpack usually reached a height of 5 feet at that time of year.
In order to reconstruct past snow conditions, Trouet and her colleagues analysed data from the reporting stations as well as two tree ring studies. The first used measurements from 1500 living and dead blue oak trees to estimate rainfall back to the year 1400. The second included tree-ring data from a different group of trees to model temperatures for the same period.
"What we know about snow and how it varies from year to year is that there are two important climatic factors that play a role," Trouet said. "One of them is the amount of precipitation that falls and the other is the temperature at the time that precipitation falls. With higher temperatures your precipitation is going to fall as rain."
When researchers put all the data into a chronology, they saw just how exceptional the 2015 snowfall was: The chance that a "snow drought" of this magnitude would affect the entire Sierra Nevada more than once every 500 years was less than 5 percent, they concluded.
For lower mountain elevations, where temperatures are warmer, the return period was estimated to be 1000 years. At higher elevations, where temperatures are much more likely to reach freezing and cause any precipitation to fall as snow, the return period was just 95 years.
The researchers noted that while California's total precipitation in 2015 fell within the bounds of natural variability, winter temperatures were among the highest ever recorded. That means less snow and more rain, which the state is ill-equipped to collect and store.
Although it's been 500 years since the snowpack was this sparse, global warming threatens to make these conditions more frequent, according to the researchers.
"With anthropogenic warming, those high temperatures are going to be rising," Trouet said. "We can assume that the return interval is going to get shorter."
Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said the study was "another piece of the puzzle in an increasingly converging picture of a really exceptional California drought."
Other scientists said the paper highlighted the precarious nature of snowpack as a key California resource.
"We've been very lucky to have a natural system in place that's worked very well for decades and decades," Gold said. "But models show that snowpack is likely to be down because of increased temperatures, and it's a concern. Is our system set up to manage this at all?"
Lucas Silva, a soil and biogeochemistry researcher at UC Davis who was not involved in the study, said he was glad the topic was getting attention in a major journal, even though he expressed doubt that tree-ring data could accurately pinpoint past drought conditions.
A single tree ring could be influenced by several years of environmental stress caused by any number of factors, he said. "I'm curious and interested, but sceptical that they can really tell that this is about water only," Silva said.
And while forecasters said it was increasingly likely that a powerful El Nino would result in a wet fall and winter, those storms may not contribute to large snowpack.
"Temperatures this winter may be warmer than usual," wrote Daniel Swain, a Stanford University graduate student in environmental and earth system science who wasn't involved in the study. "In that sense, the present paper is very relevant. Even with increased precipitation, snow at lower elevations may actually be below average."
Global Warming: Why We Don't Need To Worry Even If It's Really True
Though some will call us "deniers," the truth is we are merely global warming skeptics. We're not skeptical of climate change, though, because we know the climate has been changing since the beginning and will continue to change throughout time. We've made this point several times.
What we're skeptical of is man's role in that change. Maybe there is an anthropogenic factor. But it's impossible to say with any degree of certainty just how much of an impact, if any, man makes. The climate is too complex, the variables too numerous.
But for the sake of argument, let's say that due to man's carbon dioxide emissions, Earth is warming at the rate the alarmists claim it is. What should we do? Those driving the global warming scare want to sharply cut human carbon dioxide emissions. But those cuts aren't free. NERA Economic Consulting says that the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon rule for power plants alone would cost consumers $366 billion over 14 years.
For all that money, we'd cut the rise in global temperature by 0.02 degrees and sea level increases by 0.01 inch. And these costs don't include restrictions that could be imposed on automobile emissions, carbon taxes, any sort of carbon-trading regime or the over-the-rainbow renewable energy programs that politics have produced.
The better path is to do what humans have always done — adapt.
Hoover Institution senior fellow Terry Anderson tells of recent anthropological research at Penn State University, which, "built on a complete sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, shows that Neanderthals survived many periods of abrupt climate change, including a 'volcanic winter' caused by a massive eruption near what is now Naples."
"If they survived and adapted to abrupt climate change," writes Anderson, "surely modern man ought to be able to adapt to long-term changes, provided climate policies don't stifle human progress and economic growth."
That last point is critical. The worst thing policymakers could do is enact schemes whose costs hurt economic development. Our capabilities to offset any problems created by a warming planet are weakened if the economy struggles. If we gut our prosperity through attempts to cut CO2 emissions, we would make dealing with warming more difficult than it should be.
This is especially true in poor nations.
"A country such as Bangladesh with a per capita income of $3,190 does not have the wherewithal to build sea walls and tidal diversions as rich countries such as the United States can with a per capita income of $53,750," writes Anderson. "Getting to the point where they might be able to better adapt will require economic growth."
None of the above means we're changing our approach to the global warming scare. We're not giving in to trendiness, pressure from celebrities and other faux climate experts, or struggling to be popular. We remain skeptics — not of science but of the hype, the politics, the exaggerations, the cooked temperature record and the wild claims that have been made about man-caused climate change. The science is ongoing — and no more settled than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Environmental Expert Informs Lawmaker: CO2 ‘Does Not Have Health Impacts’
An environmental expert from Texas told a Democrat congresswoman for the same state at a hearing on Friday that the greenhouse gas emissions targeted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan are not related to health issues, including respiratory diseases like asthma.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) asked Bryan Shaw, chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, about the health care costs in their state for people with respiratory disease from air pollutants.
“Have you factored in the cost that it would take the state to continue to afford this kind of health care cost with most of our people being poor that are living in low-income areas that are damaged more frequently by these heavy environmental violations?” asked Johnson, who said she is a nurse “by education.”
“Congresswoman, the Clean Power Plan is directed at reducing greenhouse gases, which do not impact the respiratory issues,” answered Shaw, who was one of three witnesses at a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment entitled, “State Perspectives: How EPA’s Power Plan Will Shut Down Power Plants.”
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) questioned witnesses at a House hearing on the EPA's Clean Power Plan on Sept. 11, 2015. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
The following exchange then transpired:
Johnson: “Wait a minute. Repeat what you just said.”
Shaw: “The co-benefits, in other words, the rule is based on reducing the greenhouse gases…”
Johnson: “I know what the rule says, but you said it does not impact respiratory?”
Shaw: “That’s correct. Greenhouse gas emissions do not have an adverse impact on respiratory health. High CO2 levels do not cause respiratory issues. I know it’s easy to make that conclusion because some of the rhetoric from EPA sort of suggests that the Clean Power Plan is going to, by reducing greenhouse gases, lead to improvement in respiratory conditions. That’s not due to reductions of CO2.”
Johnson: “What is it due to?”
Shaw: “It’s due to their co-benefits. They’re suggesting that the process that they’re mandating to reduce greenhouse gases will also accidentally, if you will, or at the same time, likely cause reduction in other emissions that they do perceive to cause respiratory impacts.
The challenge with that, though, is that they’re actually assuming that it’s going to provide health benefits even though your area is already in attainment for the PM2.5 standard. Yet, they’re assuming that reducing PM2.5 even lower leads to health benefits, even though their standards say the Houston area is already meeting the standard, and therefore, we’re not having adverse health effects associated with PM2.5.
That’s my concern -- is that it’s misleading whenever they’ve told us that you’re going to have these health benefits associated with this rule. Most of those are unsubstantiated. The areas where there could be a benefit of those areas that are nonattainment for ozone or something along those lines, those are being addressed through other rules, and we’re making strides to comply with those regulations, so CO2 does not lead to respiratory challenges.”
Johnson: “So you’re challenging the goal of EPA. Their goal is health and safety of the people that inhabit the planet.”
Shaw: “Yes ma’am, the purpose of this rule is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and as part of that, the stated goal there is -- primarily the benefits they claim are a slight increase -- excuse me -- decrease in sea level rise -- unmeasurable – as well as a hundredth of a degree Fahrenheit reduction in increase in global temperature. Those are unmeasurable and those are not quantifiable from the benefit standpoint; therefore they went to the accidental co-benefits associated with it, not what the purpose of the rule was to claim benefits to the rule.”
Johnson: “So you’re saying it has absolutely nothing to do with the health status, that the science that has indicated that is not pure science?"
Shaw: “I’m suggesting that the goal and the objective of the Clean Power Plan and what led to this rule is climate change, climate variability, and that the contaminant that they’re specifically seeking in this, the greenhouse gases, and more, particularly carbon dioxide, which is the focus of the rule, does not have health impacts.
Carbon dioxide at the levels we that breathe it is actually good for plants. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. You have to get much higher levels of carbon dioxide than we’re ever going to see in the ambient air to get health effects associated with CO2 to the human health. So the goal of the plan is to address climate change, and yet that impact based on models--
Johnson: “And climate change has no impact on health?”
Shaw: “The model suggestions of what this rule would accomplish would be an unmeasurable decrease in sea level and one hundredth of a degree Fahrenheit in temperature change, so even the best estimate of what the climate change impact and benefit of this rule is so small as to be unquantifiable.”
Johnson: “So what we continue to see climate change, with a lot of flooding, a lot of air contamination: This is not going to impact health?”
Shaw: “For one, the IPCC -- the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change -- has indicated that the adverse weather that we’re seeing has not been correlated with climate change. So there’s certainly a science argument to be made and some additional data to be there, but it’s not clear that the global climate change is going to have those impacts, and it’s certainly clear that this rule would not have a measurable impact on any of those measurable change in climate change.”
Johnson: “Could you submit to me your research findings and the origin of them?”
Shaw: “Sure, I will be happy to provide you some of the background information on that.”
According to his bio, Shaw is an associate professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department of Texas A&M University (TAMU) with many of his courses focused on air pollution engineering. The majority of his research at TAMU concentrates on air pollution, air pollution abatement, dispersion model development, and emission factor development.
Shaw was formerly associate director of the Center for Agricultural Air Quality Engineering and Science and served as Acting Lead Scientist for Air Quality and Special Assistant to the Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Shaw also served as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Committee on Integrated Nitrogen, the EPA SAB Environmental Engineering Committee, and the Ad Hoc Panel for review of EPA's Risk and Technology Review Assessment Plan. Additionally, he is a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Air Quality Task Force.
Shaw was appointed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by Gov. Rick Perry in 2007 and is now chairman of the commission.
Republican governor faces pressure not to submit to Obama's climate plan
Free-market groups are putting pressure on Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to back down from his recent decision to comply with President Obama's strict new emission rules for power plants.
Snyder made the decision Sept. 1, nearly a month after Obama finalized the rules, called the Clean Power Plan. The plan places states on the hook to reduce their emissions a third by 2030, while incentivizing renewables and putting pressure on coal plants to close. It is the centerpiece of the president's climate change agenda.
A group of 16 states, including Michigan, is poised to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over the rule as soon as it is published in the Federal Register.
A letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, sent Monday night to Snyder by more than two dozen groups opposing the plan, says Snyder's choice undermines the legal effort to vanquish the regulation in court. The letter asks that the GOP governor reconsider his decision and stick to the game plan laid out by Michigan's attorney general in joining the lawsuit months ago.
"A state plan only provides the illusion of control," reads the letter, led by the advocacy group American Energy Alliance. "Instead of helping President Obama implement the rule, we believe the best approach is for states to reject state plans until the courts decide whether Obama even has the authority to impose his national energy takeover.
"For the sake of Michiganders and all Americans, it is worth the wait," the letter adds.
American Energy Alliance is the advocacy arm of the Institute for Energy, a nonprofit think tank that analyzes government regulations affecting the energy sector.
Other groups sending the letter include: Tea Party Patriots, Federalism in Action, State Budget Solutions, Energy Makes America Great, Campaign to Free America, Americans for Limited Government, Institute for Liberty, as well as the Hispanic Leadership Fund, National Black Chamber of Commerce and 60 Plus Association.
A number of the groups say the Clean Power Plan will drive up the cost of electricity, cause the energy grid to become more unstable, while overstepping states' rights.
Many of the 16 states preparing to sue EPA filed litigation in a previous attempt to squash the rule. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the states' challenge was premature and threw it out. The federal judges said they could not take action on a regulation that at the time was not finalized.
Now that the rule is final, the states are waiting for it to be published in the Federal Register so they can re-submit litigation.
The letter urges Snyder to wait out the lawsuit. "As you know, Michigan recently joined sixteen other states suing EPA over the carbon rule. As Michigan Attorney General [Bill] Schuette explained, the regulation is 'yet another executive action taken by President Obama and the EPA that violates the Clean Air Act and causes the price of electricity to increase, placing jobs at risk and costing Michigan families more.'"
"Choosing to submit a state plan before legal resolution of this regulation relinquishes state control of electricity and ultimately empowers federal bureaucrats," the letter says.
Snyder said Sept. 1 that complying with the Clean Power Plan was best way to keep federal regulators out of Michigan's business. "The best way to protect Michigan is to develop a state plan that reflects Michigan's priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment," he said.
"We need to seize the opportunity to make Michigan's energy decisions in Lansing, not leave them in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.," he said.
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Posted by JR at 12:44 AM