Monday, January 11, 2016
2 Reasons US Having 2nd Hottest Year in 2015 Doesn’t Prove Climate Catastrophe Is Imminent
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released data showing that 2015 was the second hottest year on record (since 1895) for the U.S. On cue, the media and politicians used this data to hype impending climate catastrophe, pointing to extreme weather events that NOAA data show are not linked to warming trends.
At first glance, the headline for the NOAA data would seem to put to bed the claim that there has been no significant global warming for 15-20 years, but it doesn’t. First, there are serious questions about the quality of the weather stations and the adjustments made to the raw data.
There are serious questions about the quality of the weather stations and the adjustments made to the raw data.
Many of the weather stations are located in areas that have been increasingly compromised. For instance, stations that used to be in fields but are now surrounded by buildings and parking lots can have the temperature readings affected by the retained heat of asphalt and concrete and by heat given off by heating and cooling systems. In addition, the stations are not distributed in a regular, comprehensive geological pattern.
Though NOAA tries to adjust for the many thorny temperature data problems, the adjustment process seems to have inserted an upward bias to the temperature trend. Researchers have found that the U.S. warming trend with the adjusted data is 50 percent greater than for the raw data from the most reliable weather stations.
Second, this recent data report, only for the U.S. NASA’s satellite temperature record for the world, shows a definite leveling of temperatures for the past decade or two. It also clearly shows that the 2015 El Niño year was cooler than 1998, with its monster El Niño.
The predictions of global warming catastrophe depend on reality following model projections from the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). These projections show accelerating warming. However, for recent decades, data (even the NOAA data) show that warming decelerated after a period of moderate warming.
In recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, NASA award-winning scientist John Christy compared the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections to actual data from four weather-balloon datasets and two satellite datasets.
He found that so far, the IPCC models have predicted more than twice as much warming as has actually occurred. Since these models cannot explain what has occurred for the past 30 years, there is little faith that they can accurately predict temperatures centuries into the future.
The actual data also contradicts claims that we are already observing increased damage from CO2-induced extreme weather. NOAA and IPCC data show no increasing trends for hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, or floods.
History is replete with record-breaking weather events. The future will have them as well, whether CO2 levels increase, decline, or stay the same.
More hokey Warmist exaggeration
Designed to show that CO2 has a bigger effect than it does
In a recent paper, NASA scientists led by Kate Marvel and Gavin Schmidt derive the global mean surface temperature (GMST) response of the GISS-E2-R climate model to different types of forcing. They do this by simulations over the historical period (1850–2005) driven by individual forcings, and by all forcings together, the latter referred to as the ‘Historical’ simulation.
They assert that their results imply that estimates of the transient climate response (TCR) and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) derived from recent observations are biased low.
Marvel et al. use the GISS-E2-R historical period simulation responses to revise estimates of the transient climate response (TCR) and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) from three observationally-based studies: Otto et al. 2013, Lewis and Curry 2014 and Shindell 2014. Their revisions give figures that are substantially higher than in the original studies. Remarkably, the Marvel et al. reworked observational estimates for TCR and ECS are, taking the averages for the three studies, substantially higher than the equivalent figures for the GISS-E2-R model itself, despite the model exhibiting faster warming than the real climate system. Not only is the GMST increase simulated by GISS-E2-R is higher than that observed, but the ocean heat uptake rate is well above the observed level. No explanation is given for this surprising result.
The press release for the paper quotes Kate Marvel as follows:
‘Take sulfate aerosols, which are created from burning fossil fuels and contribute to atmospheric cooling,’ she said. ‘They are more or less confined to the northern hemisphere, where most of us live and emit pollution. There’s more land in the northern hemisphere, and land reacts quicker than the ocean does to these atmospheric changes.’
and continues by saying: ‘Because earlier studies do not account for what amounts to a net cooling effect for parts of the northern hemisphere, predictions for TCR and ECS have been lower than they should be.’
However, this is not true when the effective radiative forcing (ERF) measure of aerosol forcing – preferred by IPCC AR5 and used in the observational studies Marvel et al. criticises – is employed. When calculated correctly using Marvel et al.’s data, bases and assumptions, aerosol ERF had a transient efficacy of 0.97 – almost the same as the 0.95 for GHG forcing and 1.00 for CO2 forcing. This result is in line with the findings in Hansen 2005.This implies that aerosol forcing has had almost the same effect on GMST since 1850, relative to its ERF, as did CO2 and GHG forcing. Its concentration in the northern hemisphere did not lead to a greater cooling effect globally since 1850.
Studies like Marvel et al. can be valuable in showing the effects of differing forcing agents in climate models, which – if similar across climate models – may provide a guide to their effects in the real climate system. Unfortunately, I believe that the Marvel et al. results are substantially inaccurate and misleading. Its conclusions are therefore unfounded. But, as with any single-model study, even were its results unimpeachable they would reflect the behaviour of the particular model involved, which may be very different from that of other models and, more importantly, from that of the real climate system.
Much more HERE
UK: Met Office’s 'wettest ever’ claim fails again
Official records show that December ranked as only the 20th wettest since 1766, despite what we've been told
We are all aware that parts of the country, including the north of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, have lately been hit, at huge cost, by abnormal amounts of rain.
But as soon as the Met Office rushed to proclaim that 230mm of rain (9in) had made it “the wettest December on record” (and the “wettest calendar month”) – predictably echoed by the BBC and the Prime Minister – we knew it might be wise to examine the small print behind its claims.
We know how eager these people are to seize on any “extreme weather event” as a sign of unprecedented “climate change”, as they did when the Met Office trumpeted on July 1 that it had been “the hottest July day evah”, solely on the basis, it turned out, of a fleeting temperature spike probably caused by an airliner passing its temperature gauge near a runway at Heathrow.
Sure enough, the Met Office’s longest rainfall record, covering England and Wales (thus including two of the areas most affected) showed, with its 145.1mm (5.7in), that December ranked as only the 20th wettest since 1766. Even Northern Ireland didn’t break its own record from 1919 – so only Scotland’s 351mm (14in) was unprecedented. But if the Met Office had more honestly reported merely that it had been the wettest December recorded in Scotland, this would scarcely have provided the BBC and Mr Cameron with the headlines they were after.
According to the Met Office’s own data, last December in England and Wales was way behind the 193.9mm (7.6in) recorded in 1876; while the wettest calendar month was October 1903 with 218.1mm (8.6in). As for the other impression the Met Office likes to give, that extreme rainfall is becoming more frequent, graphs meticulously plotted from Met Office data by Paul Homewood on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat website show no evidence at all for this, either for December or more generally.
Just as shameless last week was the Environment Agency’s boast of all the measures it has taken to avert any repetition of the disastrous floods that covered a large area of Somerset in 2014. It has dredged the main drainage river, installed many new pumps, reactivated others, and seen the setting up of a new Somerset Rivers Authority to organise the cleaning of ditches by local drainage boards.
What the agency didn’t admit was that all this marked a complete reversal of the “ultra-green” policy it followed in the years before 2014, which deliberately misused various EU directives and made flooding inevitable, supposedly in the interests of wildlife (much of it then wiped out when the inevitable happened).
And this policy U-turn would never have taken place but for the decisive intervention of the former environment secretary Owen Paterson who, after talking to local engineers and other practical experts, called a halt to what he terms the “green-plating” of EU directives, and came up with detailed plans to avert such a disaster happening again. Dredging and all, these included every point on which the agency is now trying to take credit.
TransCanada Challenges Obama's Keystone Ruling
After five years, the Obama administration rejected the proposed Keystone XL pipeline ahead of December’s Paris Climate Summit (gotta look good going into an international meeting like that).
On Wednesday, TransCanada Corp., the company that proposed the pipeline, sued the Obama administration in Huston Federal court, saying Barack Obama exceeded his authority when his administration rejected the project.
It’s a surreal situation when a foreign company — only here to make money — challenges the federal government to say that it broke the law. “In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project,” the company said in a statement. “Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”
TransCanada argued that Obama overstepped his authority when he said he had power over the project because it crossed international borders. Instead, the company argued, Congress keeps the power to regulate interstate commerce and neither the Constitution nor the North American Free Trade Agreement gives Obama that power.
Knowing the Obama administration’s track record in the courts, we might be hearing more about the Keystone XL pipeline in the future.
The heat is on!
Why should Volkswagen be investigated for emission deception, but not government agencies?
The heat is on! Not the unusual winter warmth in much of the United States – but the unrelenting heat generated by propaganda and pressure campaigns that the White House, EPA, Big Green and news media are unleashing in the wake of the Paris climate agreement … and as a prelude to the 2016 elections.
A recent Washington Post editorial laid out the strategy. The long-term warming trend is “concerning.” Maybe we can’t blame this year’s strong El Niño “squarely on climate change,” but “one paper” says the number of strong El Niño years could double. Obama’s “landmark” carbon dioxide regulations “played a key role” in securing an “unprecedented” international climate deal that could eventually compel all nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to “avoid serious risks” of climate catastrophes.
Above all, we must “build on 2015’s climate progress.” There must be no backpedalling on the Paris accord, EPA regulations, or replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Above all, no “fishing expeditions designed to personally discredit scientists and undermine peer-reviewed research” that supports the elimination of carbon-based fuels. Republican claims are mere “bluster” and “buffoonery.”
Never mind that White House and EPA events, the Paris climate conference, the Vatican climate summit and even Science magazine have offered virtually no forum for numerous scientists who contest claims that humans are causing “dangerous manmade climate change” to present their case or debate alarmist witnesses and officials. Never mind that climate chaos claims look increasingly flimsy.
A fundamental principle is at stake here: policies and rules that affect our lives, livelihoods and living standards must be based on honesty, accountability and verifiable scientific evidence.
The Justice Department has sued Volkswagen on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. They want up to $18 billion dollars in penalties, because VW installed special software that caused its diesel cars to emit fewer pollutants during tests used to ensure compliance with emission regulations. The falsified tests allegedly duped American consumers into purchasing 580,000 diesel-powered vehicles.
Federal prosecutors are also conducting criminal probes of Volkswagen and its executives. Countless other civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions have companies and citizens in their crosshairs. Such actions are often warranted, even if the draconian incarceration and monetary penalties are not.
No one should be victimized by fraud or other criminal activities, by private companies – or by government agencies and bureaucrats, or third parties they hire and use to validate their policies.
Equally important, no one forces us to buy a VW or any other car. But when it comes to laws and regulations, we have no choice. Submit, or else. If those rules are based on dishonesty – on emission deception at massive, unprecedented levels in the case of climate – we pay a huge, unacceptable price:
Our taxes support science that may be manipulated and fabricated. More taxes fund regulatory behemoths that target energy producers and energy-dependent industries, while giving billions in subsidies to crony-corporatist allies. Still more tax money is transferred to alarmists like Michael Mann and Jagedish Shukla, who launch vicious attacks on skeptics. And the resulting regulations inflict soaring energy costs that kill jobs and hammer families, companies, hospitals, schools and communities, for few or no benefits.
Congress has every right to investigate this. Indeed, legislators are duty-bound to ferret out fraud and abuse. These are not “fishing expeditions.” They seek to determine the reliability and integrity of data and studies presented to support enormously expensive policies, and ascertain the veracity of government officials and tax-supported scientists who want more power and too often refuse to answer questions.
EPA and Justice Department investigators demand full disclosure and tolerate no obstruction, obfuscation or misleading information. This is fitting and proper. But why should we and our elected representatives have to tolerate such actions by heavy-handed regulators who want to control every aspect of our lives, but routinely hide their data and methodologies, and refuse to be held accountable?
There are good reasons to doubt their climate chaos assertions, and even their integrity. What little warming our planet has experienced in the past 19 years is measured in hundredths of a degree, especially when adjusted for the El Niño effect that transfers warm surface Pacific Ocean temperatures to the atmosphere. The warming that has the Post, Mr. Obama and EPA in a tizzy began around 1850, as Earth emerged from a 500-year-long Little Ice Age – which by happy coincidence for climate alarmists also marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that they blame for most warming in recent decades.
Hurricanes and tornadoes, storms, droughts, polar ice and sea levels are all within the realm of historic experience. There is nothing “unprecedented” about them, and certainly nothing to justify shutting down our carbon-based energy system, restructuring our economy, or redistributing our hard-earned wealth to countries that are not bound by any energy and emission reductions agreed to in Paris.
The fracking revolution proves we are not running out of oil or natural gas. That means we have a century or more to develop affordable, reliable replacement energy technologies. It means environmental radicals now have only climate cataclysm hysteria to justify demands that we abandon hydrocarbons. It explains why they’ve concocted the fairytale that CO2 is “acidifying” oceans that are and will remain firmly alkaline, and why they have been in regulatory hyperdrive during Obama’s final years in office.
However, as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in Paris, even if all the industrialized nations’ CO2 emissions declined to zero, “it wouldn’t be enough [to prevent alleged climate disaster], not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.” Even assuming that carbon dioxide does drive climate change, all the costly, job-killing regulations that EPA is imposing would prevent an undetectable 0.018 degrees Celsius (0.032 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.
Earth’s climate fluctuates regularly. What actual evidence do climate alarmists have that recent changes are dangerous, unprecedented, and due to fossil fuel use? That any warming above 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) would be catastrophic? (A cooler planet would be much worse for wildlife, people and agriculture.)
What actual evidence do they have that government can control climate and weather by limiting the amount of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide that humans emit into the atmosphere? That justifies letting anti-energy activists and bureaucrats “fundamentally transform” our entire energy and economic system?
Why do they refuse to present their asserted evidence for all to see – amid robust debate and cross-examination – and try to defend their “97% consensus” science? Why do some of them think “climate deniers” are mentally ill for questioning the manmade climate Armageddon mantra?
President Obama insists that climate change is the biggest problem facing America. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to agree. They all think Bigger Government is the answer.
The citizenry fundamentally disagrees. One recent Gallup poll found that Americans view our already huge government, the economy, jobs and terrorism as the biggest threats facing our nation. Pollution came in at #23; global warming didn’t even register among 48 listed issues. Another Gallup study found that 69% of all Americans (88% of Republicans) say Big Government is the most serious threat we face.
That is what this year’s elections are all about.
How much bigger (or smaller) will our government become? Who gets to rule your lives: We the People, or another dictatorial president and her army of faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats? What will the future hold for our lives, liberties, livelihoods and living standards?
Get informed. Get involved. Get to the polls. Better yet, take a page out of the Democrats’ playbook: get to the polls early, vote often, and make sure your dead friends and relatives vote too.
11 Fatal Flaws with Wind Power
Despite President Barack Obama’s pocket veto Saturday of attempts to repeal the Clean Power Plan and recent increases in taxpayer support, solar and wind energy are in a tough spot, requiring an estimated $90 trillion of investment to meet carbon dioxide reduction goals.
The fundamental issues of solar and wind power are numerous, so let’s review the top 11.
1: Power Storage Is Incredibly Expensive On A Large Scale
It is currently impossible to economically store power for times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Purchasing enough batteries to provide just three days of storage for an average American household costs about $15,000, and those batteries only last for about five years and are very difficult to recycle.
This is true for home power storage as well, even with the latest batteries. A Tesla power-wall capable of powering a home costs $7,340 to buy. A conservative analysis estimates that a power-wall can save its owner a maximum of $1.06 a day. Such a system would take approximately 25 years to pay for itself, according to the same analysis.
One of the world’s largest and most powerful batteries, located in Fairbanks, Ala., weighs 1,300-metric tons and is larger than a football field. It can only provide enough electricity for about 12,000 residents, or 38 percent of Fairbanks’ population, for seven minutes. That’s useful for short outages, which happen a lot in Alaska, but isn’t effective enough to act as a reserve for solar and wind.
The best way we have of “storing” power is pumping water up a hill, which actually accounts for 99 percent of all global energy storage.
2: The U.S. Power Grid Is Older, And Has Trouble Handling Solar And Wind
“Our power grid works well today. Some complain, but blackouts are rare and large-scale blackout are really rare. The power grid was set up for the [electrical] generation we have. Building a lot of new wind and solar requires much greater expenditure on the grid,” Vice President for Policy of the Institute for Energy Research Daniel Simmons told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
According to the Department of Energy, 70 percent of the transmission lines and power transformers in the country are at least 25 years old.
In order for the power grid to function, demand for energy must exactly match supply. Power demand is relatively predictable and conventional power plans, like nuclear plants and natural gas, can adjust output accordingly. Solar and wind power, however, cannot easily adjust output. They also provide power unpredictably relative to conventional power sources.
On an especially cloudy or windless day, the electrical grid can’t supply enough power from solar or wind alone. Wind and solar also run the risk of producing too much power which can overload and fry the power grid. This is why electrical companies will occasionally pay consumers to take electricity.
3: Rebuilding The Power Grid To Handle Solar And Wind Is Absurdly Expensive
The three power grids that supply the United States with energy are massive and expensive pieces of infrastructure. The power grids are valued at trillions of dollars and can’t be replaced in a timely manner. It takes more than a year to manufacture a new transformer, and transformers aren’t interchangeable, as each one must be individually built specifically for its location. At a time when the U.S. government is more than $18 trillion in debt, building power grids that can handle solar and wind may not be feasible.
Merely building a 3,000-mile network of transmission lines capable of moving power from wind-rich West Texas to market in East Texas proved to be a $6.8 billion effort that began in 2008 and still isn’t entirely finished. Building the infrastructure to move large amounts of solar or wind power from the best places to generate it to the places where power is needed would be incredibly expensive and could cost many times the price of generating the power.
4: Solar and Wind Don’t Provide Power At Useful Times
“Solar is better than wind for providing electricity when electricity is used,” says Simmons. “But during much of the year in, for example, peak electricity demand comes after dark. For example, [on December 17] in California peak electricity demand was at 6pm. But peak solar was at 12:36 and by 6pm, solar production was a zero.”
Power demand is relatively predictable. The output of a solar or wind power plant is quite variable over time and generally doesn’t coincide with the times when power is most needed. Peak power demand also occurs in the evenings, when solar power is going offline. Adding power plants which only provide power at intermittent and unpredictable times makes the power grid more fragile.
5: Solar And Wind Can’t Keep the Lights On By Themselves
Solar and wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power when they cannot. Since the output of solar and wind plants cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators have to keep excess reserve running just in case.
But natural gas, coal-fired, or nuclear plants are not simple machines. They can require days to fully turn on from a dead stop. This means that solar and wind power require conventional sources in “stand-by” mode, which means they’re still generating electricity.
Despite this, environmental groups like The Sierra Club still call for “100 percent” solar and wind power.
6: The Best Places For Solar And Wind Are Usually Far Away From Consumers
The places with the highest potential for generating solar or wind power are typically relatively far away from the people who will consume power, according to the Department of Energy. The government agency even maintains maps of how unfeasible long-range transmission can become.
The vast majority of people who use power do not live in deserts or consistently windy areas. The kind of high voltage power lines needed to transport even relatively small amounts of power cost $1.9 to 3.1 million per mile built. Additionally, the kind of “smarter” power systems which can be adjusted to varying energy production created by wind and solar power can cost up to 50 percent more.
7: Solar And Wind Are A Very Small Percent Of The Power Grid Despite Years of Subsidies
“The first 8 months of 2015 wind and solar combined to produce 2.3% of the energy the U.S. consumed. Also wind production is down this year compared to last year,” says Simmons.
Solar and wind have been heavily subsidized since at least the 1970s. In 2010, wind power alone received $5 billion in subsidies, swamping the $654 million oil and gas received in subsides. One in four wind suppliers have gone out of business in the past two years.
In 2014, solar and wind power accounted for only 0.4 and 4.4 percent of electricity generated in the United States, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration. The total amount of energy created by solar and wind is relatively small even though both systems are heavily subsidized.
8: The Solar And Wind “Low-Hanging Fruit” Have Already Been Taken
The locations where solar and wind power make the most economic sense generally already have a solar or wind power system. Since solar and wind power are only effective in a limited number of locations, “green” power sources are difficult to expand and are simply not practical in some areas.
9: Natural Gas Prices Are Very Low In The United States
Natural gas prices are currently incredibly low in the United States, making it much more difficult for solar and wind power to become cost competitive. Natural gas is already passing coal power as the most used source of electricity. Additionally, natural gas is quite environmentally friendly.
The Department of Energy agrees with research organization Berkeley Earth that “the transition from coal to natural gas for electricity generation has probably been the single largest contributor to the … largely unexpected decline in US CO2 emissions.”
10: Nuclear Energy Has Enormous Potential
The United States just approved its first new nuclear reactor in 20 years. New nuclear reactor designs are much safer and emit less radiation than the coal plants they replace. Nuclear plants take up far less space than wind or solar and do not emit any carbon dioxide.
Recent breakthroughs in fusion could also potentially restart the atomic age when nuclear progress was lauded as a pinnacle of human achievement. Operational fusion power will put most other forms of electricity generation permanently out of business and could occur very soon. Fusion power could easily be “too cheap to meter,” meaning that the cost of generating new power would be below the cost of determining how much power an individual was using, effectively making electricity generation nearly free.
11: Encouraging Wind And Solar Creates Incentives For Massive Corruption
Attempts by governments to encourage solar and wind power have created incentives for corruption even environmentalists acknowledge. The recent Volkswagen scandal illustrates that regulatory attempts to force a specific technology, in this case the adoption of cleaner diesel engines, create incentives that lead to sophisticated cheating by companies. The main incentive of the regulatory agencies is to make rules while avoiding bad publicity, not to actually solve the problem.
The push to encourage “green” systems has already led to serious corruption, such as the Solyndra scandal. Such corruption “crowds out” investment dollars that could be better spent on more workable solutions.
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
Posted by JR at 1:11 AM