Thursday, September 08, 2016

Global warming is causing Europe's glaciers to retreat by hundreds of feet a year (?)

The article below is a bit of a mish-mash.  It reports glacier retreat from 1850 and then skips to the year 2015.  It is true that there has been some warming since 1850 so some retreat due to that might be expected.  And it is true that 2015 was an anomalously hot year.

But other details are omitted.  The fact that Hannibal walked elephants over the Alps in the Roman warm period -- where glaciers are now -- suggests that glacial fluctuations are a natural phenomenon and that warming does not have to be anthropogenic.

And something that is admitted below is not properly confronted.  It is admitted that glacial retreat is partly due to reduced precipitation.  In fact, the global temperature changes have been so  small that precipitation has to bear the main burden of explanation.

But what does reduced precipitation imply?  COOLING.  A warmer world would evaporate more water off the oceans, which would come down again as rain/snow.  So it is clearly regional COOLING that lies behind shrinkage of Alpine glaciers.  The authors have just not thought through the cause of the reduced precipitation that they admit.  To get reduced precipitation during warming would be anomalous

It is the longest glacier in the Eastern Alps, weaving through the scoured valley beneath Austria's highest mountain. But the Pasterze glacier, near Heiligenblut at the Grossglockner in Austria's High Tauern mountain range, is a shadow of its former self, having diminished by half in the past 150 years.

The retreat of this once mighty glacier is being repeated across Europe where the vast majority have lost approximately two thirds of their volume since 1850.

Scientists blame rising temperatures due to global warming for the increased melting of these rivers of frozen water that have helped to grind out the Alps' dramatic landscape since the last ice age.

In Austria glaciers retreated an average of 72 feet in 2015 – more than twice the rate of the previous year – with 96 per cent of the country's 92 major glaciers receding.

The Austrian Alpine Association's annual glacier survey showed that three of the country's glaciers retreated by more than 320 feet.

Warm summer temperatures have been compounded by poor winter snowfall in recent years.

According to the survey the Pasterz retreated by 177 feet in 2015 while the Hornkees in the Zillertal Alps retreated by 446 feet last year.

The Mittlerer Guslarferner in the Otztal Alps of Austria has shown a particularly rapid disintegration into four parts since 2003.

Dr Andrea Fischer, a glaciologist and head of the Aplenverein-Glacier Monitoring Service, said: 'Summer 2015 was warmer by more than 2°C above the long term average.

'Long lasting anticyclones and the lack of summer snowfall, these are the ingredients for a much too warm measuring year and therefore reason for the current glaciers declines.'


Global warming in 167 maps: Climate scientist reveals chilling artwork showing how the planet has warmed since 1850

Pretty pictures are no substitute for the actual numbers, which show that the changes were tiny.  The text does give numerical identities to the colors  but the temperature range  given is 5 degrees C ("-2.5C to + 2.5C."), which no-one claims.  Two thirds of one degree is the generally agreed change over the last 150 years.  So this is very strange work indeed.

Climate change has become one of the most hotly debated topics in recent years, but in a powerful new visualization, a climate scientist lets the evidence speak for itself.

Ed Hawkins, creator of the viral ‘spiral global temperatures’ animation, has now mapped global temperature changes dating back to 1850, presenting a side-by-side view of the yearly anomalies.

This simple presentation reveals the stark reality of our warming planet, showing an overall trend of rising temperatures that has accelerated in recent decades.

The visualization created by the University of Reading climate scientist complies 167 maps, plotting every year from 1850 to 2016 using the HadCRUT4.4 dataset from the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The data show global historical surface temperature anomalies relative to a 1961-1990 baseline, with a colour scale of roughly -2.5C to + 2.5C.

In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth. Those without enough data are coloured grey.

‘The visualisation technique of ‘small multiples’ is often used to communicate a simple message,’ Hawkins wrote in a post for Climate Lab Book.

And, the message in this case is clear – over the years, surface temperatures risen dramatically, especially since the 1990s.
In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth, and, those without enough data are coloured grey

In the maps, blue indicates cooler temperatures while red shows warmth, and, those without enough data are coloured grey

This isn’t the first time Hawkins has highlighted climate change through a unique visualization.

In May, the climate scientist revealed the ‘Spiralling global temperatures’ animation, which shows how global temperatures have changed month-by-month between 1850 and 2016.

A similar animation even made an appearance at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

In the graphic, the global temperature change remains relatively small until the 1930s, but starts growing slowly after that. The animation shows how global temperatures have changed month-to-month since 1850

When the GIF reaches the late 1990s, however, the temperature change increases considerably.

Speaking to MailOnline in May, Dr Ed Hawkins said, 'I wanted to try to visualise the global changes we have seen in different ways to learn about how we might improve our communication.

'The pace of change is immediately obvious, especially over the past few decades, and the relationship between current global temperatures and the internationally discussed limits are also clear.'

Within the animation it is also possible to see how global events such as the El Nino phenomenon alter temperatures around the world.

For example, there is a small amount of cooling between the 1880s and 1910 due to volcanic eruptions before warming again between 1910 and the 1940s.

Dr Hawkins said this warming was due to a small increase in solar output and natural variability and recovery from the volcanic eruptions.

Temperatures also remain largely flat between the 1950s and the 1970s, he explained in his blog, because aerosols released into the atmosphere mask the impact of greenhouse gases.

The researcher cautions that this technique is not meant to suggest the downfall of our planet, but instead to spur efforts toward reversing the human-induced damage.

Dr Hawkins said: 'Some have used the graphic to suggest that temperatures are "spiralling out of control", but I disagree - human activities are largely responsible for past warming so we do have control over what happens next.'


Fracking Didn't Cause Oklahoma Earthquake

The earth moved for environmental extremists Saturday when a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck Oklahoma. As soon as the first aftershock, the greenies were in full voice blaming fracking, the technology that has fueled America’s oil and natural gas boom.

Oklahoma state regulators ordered 37 disposal wells used by frackers shut down and Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein tweeted:

Fracking causes polluted drinking water + earthquakes. The #GreenNewDeal comes with none of these side effects, Oklahoma. #BanFracking

Hydraulic fracturing, the technical term, does not cause earthquakes nor has there ever been evidence that it contaminates drinking water. Fracking has been used in oil and gas production in Oklahoma since 1949 and now, more than six decades later, the chicken littles of the left are claiming it now causes major destructive earthquakes? As Investor’s Business Daily editorialized:

"So desperate have the greenies become to stop the oil and natural gas boom produced by the use of fracking that they resorted to claims that fracking can cause earthquakes. A recent report by the National Research Council dispelled that notion. U.S. Geological Survey seismologist William Ellsworth says he agrees with the research council that "hydraulic fracturing does not seem to pose much risk for earthquake activity."

The mixture used to fracture shale is in fact a benign blend of 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% chemicals such as the sodium chloride of table salt and the citric acid of the orange juice you had for breakfast. Shale formations in which fracking is employed are thousands of feet deep. Drinking-water aquifers are generally only a hundred feet deep. There's a lot of solid rock between them….

"This 60-year-old technique has been responsible for 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas," according to James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and in whose state fracking was first commercially applied in 1949. "In hydraulic fracturing's 60-year-history," he says, "there has not been a single documented case of contamination."

Fracking involves the injection under pressure of the aforementioned mixture of common elements, mainly water itself, to shatter the porous shale rock and releasing trapped oil and natural gas which is then extracted to the surface. Disposal wells do sometimes disturb the earth, but does not cause major destructive earthquakes, according to a study by the National Research Council, part of the National Academies of Science:

Does hydraulic fracturing -- the process of forcing water, sand and a few chemicals down the bore hole and into shale formations -- cause earthquakes? The National Research Council (NRC), part of the National Academies of Science, says the answer to that would be “no, fracking does not cause earthquakes.” That’s according to a new study just released by the NRC titled “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies”….

The study found that out of a sample size of 35,000 oil and gas wells that have been horizontally fracked, earthquakes have been detected -- get ready -- in one instance. One. Which is statistically dead zero.

But what about those earthquakes in Ohio? And the ones down in Arkansas? That was from fracking, right? No, it wasn’t. It was from injecting wastewater from Marcellus drilling deep underground into what are called injection wells -- a method of disposing leftover fracking water. There are over 30,000 active injection wells in the United States. When an injection well is located near or over top of a fault and fluid is forced down into the well and the fluid leaks into the fault, guess what happens? An earthquake. According to the NRC study how many earthquakes have resulted from those 30,000 injection wells? Eight. Once again, statistically zero.

It is fracking that has produced a boom in the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel, that has produced a significant reduction in the U.S. of so-called “greenhouse gases”. As the Washington Times reported:

White House senior advisor Brian Deese cheered the falling carbon dioxide levels at a Monday press conference without mentioning the outsize role played by natural gas, as the cleaner-burning fuel increasingly overtakes coal in electricity generation.

“For those of you who are not breathlessly following the most recent data that has come out, I would note recent data that we’ve seen suggests or finds that for the first half of 2016, energy sector emissions in the United States are actually down 6 percent from last year, and 15 percent from 2005,” said Mr. Deese. “And they’re at their lowest level in nearly 20 years.”

He said nothing about the U.S. natural gas boom, an omission that critics say has become par for the course as the Obama administration highlights renewable energy and emissions restrictions without acknowledging the role of fracking in natural gas extraction.

“To add dishonesty to injury, his administration is bragging about the reduced CO2 emissions of [the] U.S. industry without crediting the fracking for natural gas, a fossil fuel, that largely caused it,” said Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

Fracking itself is in fact saving the environment by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases the greenies hate. It does not slice and dice birds, including endangered species, en masse like wind turbines, nor does it fry them to a crisp like solar panel farms have done. And it does not cause major disastrous earthquakes.


Nutty far-Leftist in Britain  pledges to ban fracking as part of Labour Party's new green agenda

A Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn would ban fracking, ditch all coal-fired power stations and massively increase renewable energy, his leadership campaign has announced.

In the clearest signal yet that the party intends to embrace an ambitious environmental agenda and break its traditional strong links to mining and fossil fuel extraction, the Labour leader has pledged to phase out all coal power stations by the “early 2020s” and invest heavily in energy-saving to avoid building many new power stations.

His environment and energy manifesto, to be launched on Wednesday in Nottingham, a former centre of the mining industry and a potential future site of fracking, states that the controversial technique for extracting shale gas “is not compatible with climate change prevention”.

He is expected to say in Nottingham: “Research shows that as much as 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned if the world is to keep global temperature rises to 2C [above pre-industrial levels]”.

“When Labour gets back into power, Britain will lead the world in action on climate change. We will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, and take our fair share of action to meet the Paris climate agreement – starting by getting on track with our climate change act goals.

“We want Britain to be the world’s leading producer of renewables technology. To achieve this we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future.”

The manifesto includes a commitment to create over 300,000 renewable energy jobs and to set a target of 65% of UK electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In addition, Labour would invest heavily in energy saving, making building insulation a national infrastructure priority.

“We will launch a publicly funded National Home Insulation programme that would see at least 4m homes insulated. This would create tens of thousands of jobs across every community, reducing the need for expensive new energy generation, and helping millions of people to save money on their bills,” Corbyn will say.

The party would also commit to matching all EU environmental directives if Britain leaves the EU and refuse to agree to any Brexit deal that reduces protection of nature. This would include the Birds and Habitats directives, and air pollution standards.

Other initiatives pledged include reinstating the energy and climate change department, which was abolished in July, and supporting a proposal to mobilise schools and communities to help plant 64m trees in 10 years to help to tackle the UK’s air pollution crisis.

In addition to promoting the growth of over 200 ‘local energy companies’ and making public, not-for-profit companies and co-ops the centrepiece of a new energy economics, the Labour manifesto intends to support the development of 1,000 community energy co-operatives, with rights to sell energy directly to the localities they serve.


Bat-ageddon: Wind Industry Slaughters Millions of Bats – all to ‘Save’ the Planet

Bats are known to be some of the world’s savviest aerial acrobats. Using their mysterious sonar system and shape-shifting wings, bats adeptly swerve and swoop and dive in flight to avoid collisions with both stable and moving objects.

And yet bats stand no chance against a 200-meter high wind turbine with blades the length of a football field, spinning at speeds up to 275 km per hour. Even if their tiny bodies can avoid a blunt-force collision with one of these merciless steel beasts, just the act of drawing near to a wind turbine may nonetheless expose bats to jarring air pressure changes that cause fatal lung damage (barotrauma).  The latter is the main reason why bat carcasses can be found scattered beneath wind turbines at locations across the world.

The slaughtering of bats by wind turbines isn’t slowing down; it’s getting worse. The 21st century wind turbine bat-killing rate has already begun to seriously threaten the long-term survival of the world’s 172 endangered bat species. According to scientists publishing in the journal Mammal Review (O’Shea et al., 2016), the spinning blades of wind turbines (together with white noise syndrome) are now the leading cause of multiple mortality events in bats.

O’Shea et al., 2016

Two factors led to a major shift in causes of MMEs [multiple mortality events] in bats at around 2000: the global increase of industrial wind-power facilities and the outbreak of white-nose syndrome in North America. Collisions with wind turbines and white-nose syndrome are now the leading causes of reported MMEs [multiple mortality events]  in bats.”

Canada: 15.5 bats killed annually by each individual wind turbine

The global-scale slaughter of bats promises to get even worse in the coming few decades. In Canada alone, for example, scientists Zimmerling and Francis (2016) have determined that an average of 15.5 bats are killed at each individual wind turbine site every year.  At current (2013) installed wind capacity, 15.5 killings per turbine per year means that 47,400 bats are killed annually in Canada.  With the 350% increase in installed wind capacity intended for Canada within the next 15 years, about 166,000 bats are projected to be slaughtered on a yearly basis by about 2030.

Zimmerling and Francis, 2016

Bat mortality due to wind turbines in Canada

On average, 15.5 ± 3.8 (95% CI) bats were killed per turbine per year at these sites (range = 0−103 bats/turbine/yr at individual wind farms). Based on 4,019 installed turbines (the no. installed in Canada by Dec 2013), an estimated 47,400 bats (95% CI = 32,100−62,700) are killed by wind turbines each year in Canada. Installed wind capacity is growing rapidly in Canada, and is predicted to increase approximately 3.5-fold over the next 15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 166,000 bats/year. … The little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), which was listed as Endangered in 2014 under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), accounted for 13% of all mortalities from wind turbines”

U.S.: 750,000 bats killed by wind turbines annually

And that’s just Canada. The Canadian wind turbine bat-killing rate is likely similar to the bat-killing rate in the United States, with some evidence suggesting the U.S. rate could be higher.  For example, Davila (2016) found that there were an average of 10.8 bat carcasses under each of the four Illinois wind turbines studied — over a span of just 20 weeks.

Davila, 2016

Our study focused on four single-standing turbines found in Erie, IL, Sherrard, IL, and two in Geneseo, IL. We searched for dead bat carcasses within a 48 m radius of the turbine base to determine frequency of bat mortality each week from 6/8/2015 to 10/31/2015 [20 weeks] to include summer roosting and fall migration periods. Dead bats located within the circular plot were marked with GPS, and species were identified. Anabat acoustic detectors were used to determine species present in the surrounding habitat.  …Forty-three carcasses were found at the sites“

An average of 10.8 bats killed per turbine in 20 weeks would extrapolate to an average of 28 bats slaughtered by each wind turbine per year — almost double the Canadian bat-killing rate.

As of December, 2015, there were 48,500 wind turbines installed in the U.S. according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)1, up from 46,600 as of September, 2014 (Hutchins and Leopold, 2016)2.   The U.S. will be installing tens of thousands more wind turbines in the coming decades to meet the U.S. Dept. of Energy goal that says 10% of supplied electrical energy must come from wind by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 20503.  As of 2015, wind accounted for just 4.7% of supplied electrical energy in the U.S4.  The share of electrical energy supplied by wind will therefore need to more than double in the next 5 years just to meet the first of the U.S. Dept. of Energy goals.

Using the conservative determination of 15.5 bats killed per wind turbine (Zimmerling and Francis, 2016) described above, the 48,500 currently operating U.S. wind turbines are now slaughtering over 750,000 bats per year. This bat-killing rate appears to fall in line with other published estimates.  For example, Hein and Schirmacher (2016) indicate that recent studies suggest U.S. wind turbines were slaughtering between 600,000 and 880,000 bats per year as of 2012.

Hein and Schirmacher, 2016

Two recent attempts were made to estimate bat fatality in the United States for 2012. Hayes (2013) followed a similar approach to Cryan (2011) and based his analysis primarily on the limited dataset from Arnet et al. (2008). Hayes (2013) indicated that >600,000 bats were killed at wind energy facilities in 2012 and suggested that this was a conservative estimate. Smallwood (2013) estimated up to 888,000 bats were killed in the United States in 2012.”

But this is just Canada and the U.S; there were only about 53,000 wind turbines installed in these two North American countries combined as of 2015. Worldwide, there are currently (2015) 314,0001 wind turbines spinning and slaughtering bats by the millions.   Yes, by the millions … every year.

Using the conservative average of 15.5 bats killed yearly by each wind turbine (Zimmerling and Francis, 2016), it can be estimated that there are now about 4.9 million bats slaughtered every year by the world’s 314,000 wind turbines. Even if the killing rate per individual wind turbine was generously reduced to ten bats killed per year instead of 15.5, wind turbine bat slaughter rates would still exceed 3 million per year.

But a rough estimate of 3 to 5 million bats killed yearly by wind turbines is only the current rate.  As of 2015, just 2.5% of electrical energy was supplied by wind worldwide1, 5.  There are deliberate plans to have wind turbines “realistically” generate 18% to 34% of the world’s supplied electrical energy by 20505, 6.  To achieve this massive expansion, installed wind capacity will need to double and triple and quadruple in the coming decades.  The number of bats slaughtered by wind turbines could easily grow to a rate of more than10 million annually within ten to 15 years.  At some point, there may not be enough species of bats left to kill.

The immeasurable ecological value of bats…may soon disappear

Bat species can be found dwelling in a wide variety of terrestrial habitats, including deserts and along sea coasts. Each species may play a fundamental role in its local ecosystem.  For example, Kuntz et al. (2011)7 indicate that 528 different plant species rely on bat pollination and seed dispersal for sustainability.  Boyles et al. (2011)8 estimated that by controlling pest populations (insects), the agricultural benefits of bats may reach $22.9 billion (U.S.D.) annually in the continental U.S. alone.

Bat population at risk

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, five species of bats have already been classified as extinct as of 2015, and another 172 species are listed as “critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable” (Hoffmaster et al., 2016)9.  The prospect of losing bat species to wind turbine slaughter has increasingly become an acute topic in recently published scientific literature.   For example, Hein and Schirmacher (2016) indicate that the current rate of wind turbine bat fatalities has become “unsustainable” for the already fragile maintenance of many of their species, and that actions to reduce wind turbine slaughter should be “implemented immediately”.

Hein and Schirmacher, 2016

Given that bats have a low reproductive rate—typically only having 1 or 2 pups/year—and require high adult survivorship to avoid population declines (Barclay and Harder 2003), this level of impact [hundreds of thousands of bats killed by wind turbines per year in the U.S. alone] presumably puts bat populations at risk. Moreover, many species were thought to be declining prior to the onset and expansion of wind energy development, including species impacted by white-nose syndrome (Winhold et al. 2008, Frick et al. 2010). Although population data are sparse or lacking for many bat species, current and presumed future level of fatality is considered to be unsustainable, and actions to reduce impact of wind turbines on bats should be implemented immediately.”


Black Lives Matter UK says climate change is racist

Everything the Left disagrees with is racist

In Britain on Tuesday, members of Black Lives Matter UK gained access to London City Airport, where they chained themselves together on the runway in protest. Flights into the capital were diverted for several hours. Nine activists were arrested.

It followed a similar demonstration on a road outside Heathrow, London’s largest airport, last month.

But while the activists at Heathrow emphasized police brutality, the group at City Airport wanted to highlight something else: climate change. A statement from the group said climate change has a disproportionate effect on people of color in the developing world. "Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis," the group said.

In videos released online, Black Lives Matter UK has also drawn attention to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. They argue that this is another area where black people are disproportionately victimized by Western governments.

Joseph Harker, the Guardian's deputy opinion editor and a former editor of the Black Briton newspaper, isn't surprised that BLM has grown in Britain. “It has been such a successful movement in the States ... so it's natural that its success has led people to want to reproduce that," Harker said.

He sees parallels between the black British experience and the situation for African Americans, particularly when it comes to racism. But he believes there are essential differences. "The backdrop in Britain is very similar — the black population in Britain is traditionally a Caribbean population, which was also enslaved for generations," he says. "But there's not the same levels of shootings of unarmed people. So it's more difficult to get that same level of engagement in Britain."

Harker also questions whether a new environmental or migration agenda will resonate with the wider black community in the UK. "If you asked a hundred black British people what their top 10 issues are in terms of racism and discrimination in Britain, environment and climate change will come very low on the list — if at all," he says.

Critics of Black Lives Matter UK have also noted that most of the activists involved in the runway protest appear to be white. The group has posted a series of tweets that appear to respond to this.  "UKBLM is and always has been black led," said one. "Today's protest is an example of white allyship under black leadership," said another.

"There's a need for white people to take responsibility in a society that privileges them through racism and anti-black racism in particular."



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maps showing Global Warming since 1850 are mainly showing the effects of the end of the Little Ice Age. After hundreds of years of cooler temperatures, how many years does it take to reverse the growth of glaciers during those cooling years?

Most of the ice losses they document occurred before CO2 increases began.