Sunday, November 01, 2015

Global warming could make Hajj impossible later this century?

This is a typical bit of brainlessness from the Warmists.  They assume a very high global temperature rise (4 degrees) and calculate from that a wet-bulb temperature in the Gulf states of 35 degrees, which they say would make life impossible in the Gulf.  They then inform us that Gulf temperatures already run as high as 34.6.  But these things all operate on a continuum so if 35 is fatal, 34.6 should be extremely stressful too and more vulnerable people should start dying off at that point.  Yet there is no claim of that.  Half the Hajjis were not wiped out this year.

Clearly the 35 figure is just a theoretical one divorced from reality.  And I know from my own early life in the tropics that heat-adaptation does occur in humans.  The wet-bulb temperatures I experienced in Cairns would have been close to those recorded in the Gulf but we all just went about our business pretty much as usual.  We just took it a bit easy and drank a lot of beer. A cold beer on a hot day is one of life's great pleasures.  But our heat adaptation betrays us when we move away from the tropics.  A temperature that a Scot would experience as a pleasant summer's day becomes to us quite chilly

Parts of the Middle East, including the Gulf states and Muslim holy places around Mecca, could become uninhabitable even for the young and fit before the century is out, according to a new climate modelling study. The rituals of the Hajj, during which up to 2 million Muslims pray outdoors from dawn to dusk, would be impossible in summer.

Elfatih Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jeremy Pal of Loyala Marymount University, Los Angeles, used standard global climate models to show likely future temperatures in the Gulf, assuming global warming of 4 °C, which is possible later this century.

Crucially, they then made predictions of future humidity in order to assess likely “wet-bulb” temperatures, as measured by thermometers whose bulbs are kept damp.

Close to body temperature

The wet-bulb temperature is the best measure of our ability to tolerate high temperatures, because it reflects the ability of the body to cool off by sweating. When wet-bulb temperatures reach 35 °C, which is approaching body temperature, “the human body can no longer get rid of heat”, says Eltahir.

Wet-bulb temperatures are lower than dry-bulb temperatures, but the difference is greater in dry air and less in humid air, reflecting the common experience that dry heat is easier to endure than muggy heat.

“It is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming,” says Matthew Huber of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. “But any wet-bulb temperature over 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible.”

Currently, wet-bulb temperatures rarely exceed 31 °C anywhere in the world, say Pal and Eltahir.

But the Gulf states are getting closest to the 35 °C threshold. This is because high temperatures are combined with the high humidity of air moistened by the exceptionally warm waters of the Gulf.

At the end of July this year, when dry-bulb temperatures in the Gulf exceeded 50 °C at times, wet-bulb temperatures peaked at 34.6 °C, Christoph Schär of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich writes in an accompanying article in Nature Climate Change.

Dead workers

This is the first study to have predicted that populated regions could suffer conditions during this century that “may be fatal to everybody affected, even young and fit individuals under shaded and well-ventilated outdoor conditions”, says Schär. Coastal urban centres such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are most at risk.

While many Gulf citizens live their lives largely inside air conditioned buildings, there are exceptions. One is Muslims from round the world attending the rituals of the Hajj. A second is foreign workers on construction sites. Qatar has been accused of allowing South Asian workers building stadiums for the World Cup in 2022 to die from heatstroke.

In August, Islamic leaders called on Muslims around the world, including oil-producing states, “to lead the way in phasing out greenhouse-gas emissions.”

But so far the governments of Gulf states – which include some of the world’s major producers of planet-warming oil and gas supplies – have made no promises to the forthcoming Paris conference to limit their greenhouse gas emissions.


New NASA data shows Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses

So is sucking up water rather than releasing it.  Super pesky!  But it might not last, they warn predictably.  What else could they say?  Note that Antactica contains 91% of Earth's glacial ice so it is Antactica that matters.  All the rest is small change

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica – there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.”  Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.”

Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years -- I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

The study analyzed changes in the surface height of the Antarctic ice sheet measured by radar altimeters on two European Space Agency European Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites, spanning from 1992 to 2001, and by the laser altimeter on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) from 2003 to 2008.

Zwally said that while other scientists have assumed that the gains in elevation seen in East Antarctica are due to recent increases in snow accumulation, his team used meteorological data beginning in 1979 to show that the snowfall in East Antarctica actually decreased by 11 billion tons per year during both the ERS and ICESat periods. They also used information on snow accumulation for tens of thousands of years, derived by other scientists from ice cores, to conclude that East Antarctica has been thickening for a very long time.

“At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet,” Zwally said.

The extra snowfall that began 10,000 years ago has been slowly accumulating on the ice sheet and compacting into solid ice over millennia, thickening the ice in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches (1.7 centimeters) per year. This small thickening, sustained over thousands of years and spread over the vast expanse of these sectors of Antarctica, corresponds to a very large gain of ice – enough to outweigh the losses from fast-flowing glaciers in other parts of the continent and reduce global sea level rise.

Zwally’s team calculated that the mass gain from the thickening of East Antarctica remained steady from 1992 to 2008 at 200 billion tons per year, while the ice losses from the coastal regions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula increased by 65 billion tons per year.

“The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” Zwally said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.” [There are many issues and disputes in the measurement of sea level, starting from the fact that the sea never sits still.  So any inconsisency can readily be ascribed to measurement error -- JR]

“The new study highlights the difficulties of measuring the small changes in ice height happening in East Antarctica,” said Ben Smith, a glaciologist with the University of Washington in Seattle who was not involved in Zwally’s study.

"Doing altimetry accurately for very large areas is extraordinarily difficult, and there are measurements of snow accumulation that need to be done independently to understand what’s happening in these places,” Smith said.

To help accurately measure changes in Antarctica, NASA is developing the successor to the ICESat mission, ICESat-2, which is scheduled to launch in 2018. “ICESat-2 will measure changes in the ice sheet within the thickness of a No. 2 pencil,” said Tom Neumann, a glaciologist at Goddard and deputy project scientist for ICESat-2. “It will contribute to solving the problem of Antarctica’s mass balance by providing a long-term record of elevation changes.”


Study Sees Ecological Risks as Solar Expands

Solar power development is big business in sunny California, fueled by low solar panel prices and the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to tackle climate change. Some biologists, however, are growing concerned that the placement of new large-scale solar power plants in the Mojave Desert may harm the biological diversity found there.

A study published Monday shows that solar power developers in California have been using mostly undeveloped desert lands with sensitive wildlife habitat as sites for new solar power installations rather than building on less sensitive, previously developed open lands.

The study, by the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University, shows the ecological footprint of solar power development could grow to more than 27,500 square miles — roughly the land area of South Carolina — if the U.S. were to adopt a more ambitious climate goal. When thousands of solar panels are built in undeveloped natural areas, the panels crowd out wildlife and destroy their habitat.

“Solar takes out a lot of territory, right? It obliterates everything,” University of California-Santa Cruz ecologist Barry Sinervo, who is unaffiliated with the study, said. “There is as much plant biodiversity in the Mojave as there is in a redwood forest. The key part of this is, do we want to tile out the last largest wilderness area that we have, which is the Western desert?”

The Carnegie study found that of the 161 planned or operating utility-scale solar power developments in California, more than half have been or will be built on natural shrub and scrublands totaling about 145 square miles of land, roughly the land area of the city of Bakersfield, Calif. About 28 percent have been built on agricultural land and 15 percent have been built in developed areas.

Areas that have already been developed and have little wildlife habitat would be better suited for solar development from an ecological standpoint, said study lead author Rebecca Hernandez, a postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Berkeley, and a former ecologist at the Carnegie Institution.

Hernandez said she was surprised to find that nearly a third of solar development is occurring on former cropland, perhaps because farmers are shifting from growing crops to using their land to generate electricity. California’s devastating drought may be responsible for farmers’ shift to solar, something one of the study’s co-authors is researching in more depth.

“We see that ‘big solar’ is competing for space with natural areas,” she said. “We were surprised to find that solar energy development is a potential driver of the loss of California’s natural ecosystems and reductions in the integrity of our state and national park system.”


The "uncertainty loop" haunting our climate models

1).    To begin with: How will human economic activity this century translate into greenhouse gas emissions? How much will we emit? To answer that, we need to know how much population will grow, how much the global economy will grow, what per capita emissions will look like in 2050, 2080, etc.

2).    Which leads to: How will a rise in greenhouse gases translate into a rise in global average temperature? How sensitive is climate to greenhouse gases? (In the biz, "climate sensitivity" refers to the rise in temperature that would result from a doubling in global greenhouses gases from pre-industrial levels.)

3).    Which leads to: How will a rise in global average temperature translate into climate impacts (rising sea levels, etc.)? How do systems like ocean and air currents respond to temperature? What kinds of responses will be seen in different subclimates and latitudes?

4).    Which leads to: How will the impacts of climate change translate into impacts on human lives and economies? In other words, how much will climate impacts hurt us? How much GDP growth will they thwart (or reverse)? Will future people be richer and better able to adapt, or poorer because of climate change itself?

The really funny thing? The answer to 4 depends on the answer to 3, which depends on the answer to 2, which depends on the answer to 1, which depends on ... the answer to 4.

It's a loop. An uncertainty loop!

Basically, it's difficult to predict anything, especially regarding sprawling systems like the global economy and atmosphere, because everything depends on everything else. There's no fixed point of reference.

Grappling with this kind of uncertainty turns out to be absolutely core to climate policymaking. Climate nerds have attempted to create models that include, at least in rudimentary form, all of these interacting economic and atmospheric systems. They call these integrated assessment models, or IAMs, and they are the primary tool used by governments and international bodies to gauge the threat of climate change. IAMs are how policies are compared and costs are estimated.

So it's worth asking: Do IAMs adequately account for uncertainty? Do they clearly communicate uncertainty to policymakers?

The answer to those questions is almost certainly "no." But exactly why IAMs fail at this, and what should be done about it, is the subject of much debate.

On one hand, there are people who believe that making climate policy without models and scenarios to guide us is hopeless. They think IAMs can be improved, both in their accuracy and in the way they frame and express degrees of uncertainty.

On the other hand, you have people who believe that the entire exercise is futile, that the faux precision of these models only misleads policymakers, and that the attempt to predict the far future should be abandoned in favor of a more values-based, heuristic approach.


How Environmentalist Nut Jobs Are Trying To Ruin Your Halloween

Nut-jobs or attention seekers?

Halloween is the one time of year where Americans of all political stripes cut loose. There's something for kids and adults. We dress up, we eat candy, we carve pumpkins, and we...destroy the environment? From Townhall:

    Did you carve pumpkins into Jack-o'-lanterns with your children, friends or family? Well, you should be ashamed of yourself. Don't you know that pumpkins cause global warming when they decay by emitting methane (the same thing emitted from the bowls of cows), which is a far more dangerous "greenhouse gas" than carbon dioxide? The government is here to warn you.

    From the Department of Energy website:

    "At landfills, MSW [pumpkin] decomposes and eventually turns into methane—a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide (CO2). However, when MSW is used to harness bioenergy—rather than simply being thrown away—the end result benefits the environment and helps our nation become less dependent on carbon-based fuel. Harnessing the potential of bioenergy allows the United States to generate its own supply of clean energy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also limits stress on landfills by reducing waste and could ultimately create jobs for manufacturing, installing, and maintaining energy systems".

This is the liberal notion of Halloween themed fun. An organization tasked with overseeing American energy policy, that has lavished billions in taxpayer dollars on politically connected energy companies that went belly up- is taking the time to lecture everyday Americans looking for a weekend diversion from their low paying jobs and mountains of student debt- about EXCESS!

Take a deep breath, eat some candy, and as they say in New York- fuhgeddaboutit!


What's NOAA Hiding? Agency Leaves Congress in the Dark

First there was ClimateGate, the scandal that broke in 2009 when a hacker exposed extensive data belonging to the UK’s University of East Anglia. That data, which unveiled scandalous email correspondence and a fallacious methodology dubbed the “fudge factor,” revealed a concerted effort by some of the world’s most influential climate scientists to keep evidence of global cooling in a shroud of secrecy. As we noted at the time, it was the biggest scandal to rock the scientific world in quite some time. After all, environmental policy is based on what the measurements depict — that’s the claim, at least — but those measurements were manipulated and exploited by the purveyors of climate alarmism. That malfeasance, however, appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Skeptical scientists have long rejected climate hyperbole. One reason is that satellite temperature measurements continue to depict a warming hiatus, which now stands at 18 years 8 months. Faced with growing pressure to address the chatter, a group of warmists tried to quash those claims in a study published in June. According to the authors, NOAA’s own findings “do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.” The researchers even rejected the IPCC’s recent conclusion that a slowdown indeed did happen. Fine, so let’s see all the evidence. Oh, wait, we can’t, because the authors would rather keep some of it a secret.

According to the journal Nature, “Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who leads the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, asked NOAA in July for the data used in the study and for any internal communications related to it. NOAA has provided the committee with the publicly available data and has briefed committee staff on the research, but the agency has not turned over the communications.” Nor does it plan to. “Although NOAA’s latest response to the committee skirted the issue, the agency suggests in a 27 October statement to Nature that it has no intention of handing over documents that reveal its internal deliberations.” Nothing to see here, right?

Smith contends, “NOAA needs to come clean about why they altered the data to get the results they needed to advance this administration’s extreme climate change agenda.” The Investor’s Business Daily editorial board observed, “What’s strange is that major temperature revisions by NOAA and others in recent years have always been up — never down — a clear sign of possible bias.” The agency can put these allegations to rest with a little transparency. But it won’t, which leads us to just one conclusion: The ClimateGate fraud is bigger and more malicious than anyone realizes.



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