Sunday, October 30, 2016

Why does our planet experience an ice age every 100,000 years?

More Warmist rubbish -- confusing cause and effect again. Of course there was more CO2 dissolved in the oceans during cooler periods.  That is what cooler water does.  It dissolves more CO2.  Your Coca Cola would not fizz otherwise. So they really have no causal explanation at all for the matter they discuss

I add the journal abstract following the popular summary below.  The opening comments of the abstract indicate that the period of cyclicity was cooler  as a whole.  I quote: "The ~100 k.y. cyclicity of the late Pleistocene ice ages started during the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), as ice sheets became larger and persisted for longer"

Only a carefully dated tabulation of temperature and CO2 levels showing which changes came first could establish the theory they offer. They offer nothing of that sort.  They report on CO2 proxies only

Experts from Cardiff University have offered up an explanation as to why our planet began to move in and out of ice ages every 100,000 years.

This mysterious phenomena, dubbed the ‘100,000 year problem’, has been occurring for the past million years or so and leads to vast ice sheets covering North America, Europe and Asia. Up until now, scientists have been unable to explain why this happens.

Our planet’s ice ages used to occur at intervals of every 40,000 years, which made sense to scientists as the Earth’s seasons vary in a predictable way, with colder summers occurring at these intervals.

However there was a point, about a million years ago, called the ‘Mid-Pleistocene Transition’, in which the ice age intervals changed from every 40,000 years to every 100,000 years.

New research published today in the journal Geology has suggested the oceans may be responsible for this change, specifically in the way that they suck carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere.

By studying the chemical make-up of tiny fossils on the ocean floor, the team discovered that there was more CO2 stored in the deep ocean during the ice age periods at regular intervals every 100,000 years.

This suggests that extra carbon dioxide was being pulled from the atmosphere and into the oceans at this time, subsequently lowering the temperature on Earth and enabling vast ice sheets to engulf the Northern Hemisphere.

Lead author of the research Professor Carrie Lear, from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, said: “We can think of the oceans as inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, so when the ice sheets are larger, the oceans have inhaled carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making the planet colder. When the ice sheets are small, the oceans have exhaled carbon dioxide, so there is more in the atmosphere which makes the planet warmer.

“By looking at the fossils of tiny creatures on the ocean floor, we showed that when ice sheets were advancing and retreating every 100,000 years the oceans were inhaling more carbon dioxide in the cold periods, suggesting that there was less left in the atmosphere.”

Marine algae play a key role in removing CO2 from the atmosphere as it is an essential ingredient of photosynthesis.

CO2 is put back into the atmosphere when deep ocean water rises to the surface through a process called upwelling, but when a vast amount of sea ice is present this prevents the CO2 from being exhaled, which could make the ice sheets bigger and prolong the ice age.

“If we think of the oceans inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide, the presence of vast amounts of ice is like a giant gobstopper. It’s like a lid on the surface of the ocean,” Prof Lear continued.

The Earth’s climate is currently in a warm spell between glacial periods. The last ice age ended about 11,000 years ago. Since then, temperatures and sea levels have risen, and ice caps have retreated back to the poles. In addition to these natural cycles, manmade carbon emissions are also having an effect by warming the climate.


Breathing more deeply: Deep ocean carbon storage during the mid-Pleistocene climate transition

Lear, Caroline et al.


The ~100 k.y. cyclicity of the late Pleistocene ice ages started during the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT), as ice sheets became larger and persisted for longer. The climate system feedbacks responsible for introducing this nonlinear ice sheet response to orbital variations in insolation remain uncertain. Here we present benthic foraminiferal stable isotope (d18O, d13C) and trace metal records (Cd/Ca, B/Ca, U/Ca) from Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 607 in the North Atlantic. During the onset of the MPT, glacial-interglacial changes in d13C values are associated with changes in nutrient content and carbonate saturation state, consistent with a change in water mass at our site from a nutrient-poor northern source during inter- glacial intervals to a nutrient-rich, corrosive southern source during glacial intervals. The respired carbon content of glacial Atlantic deep water increased across the MPT. Increased dominance of corrosive bottom waters during glacial intervals would have raised mean ocean alkalinity and lowered atmospheric pCO2. The amplitude of glacial-interglacial changes in d13C increased across the MPT, but this was not mirrored by changes in nutrient content. We interpret this in terms of air-sea CO2 exchange effects, which changed the d13C signature of dissolved inorganic carbon in the deep water mass source regions. Increased sea ice cover or ocean strati cation during glacial times may have reduced CO2 outgassing in the Southern Ocean, providing an additional mechanism for reducing glacial atmospheric pCO2. Conversely, following the establishment of the ~100 k.y. glacial cycles, d13C of interglacial northern-sourced waters increased, perhaps re ecting reduced invasion of CO2 into the North Atlantic following the MPT.


How many scientific papers just aren’t true?

Enough that basing government policy on ‘peer-reviewed studies’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

We’re continually assured that government policies are grounded in evidence, whether it’s an anti-bullying programme in Finland, an alcohol awareness initiative in Texas or climate change responses around the globe. Science itself, we’re told, is guiding our footsteps.

There’s just one problem: science is in deep trouble. Last year, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, admitted that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” In his words, “science has taken a turn toward darkness.”

Medical research, psychology, and economics are all in the grip of a ‘reproducibility crisis.’ A pharmaceutical company attempting to confirm the findings of 53 landmark cancer studies was successful in only six instances, a failure rate of 89pc. In 2012, a psychology journal devoted an entire issue to reliability problems in that discipline, with one essay titled “Why science is not necessarily self-correcting.” Likewise, a 2015 report prepared for the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve concluded that “economics research is usually not replicable.” Its authors were able to verify the findings of only one third of 67 papers published in reputable economics journals. After enlisting the help of the original researchers, the success rate rose to a still dismal 49pc.

Government policies can’t be considered evidence-based if the evidence on which they depend hasn’t been independently verified, yet the vast majority of academic research is never put to this test. Instead, something called peer review takes place. When a research paper is submitted, journals invite a couple of people to evaluate it. Known as referees, these individuals recommend that the paper be published, modified, or rejected.

If one gets what one pays for, it’s worth observing that referees typically work for free. They lack both the time and the resources to perform anything other than a cursory overview. Nothing like an audit occurs. No one examines the raw data for accuracy or the computer code for errors. Peer review doesn’t guarantee that proper statistical analyses were employed, or that lab equipment was used properly.

Referees at the most prestigious of journals have given the green light to research that was later found to be wholly fraudulent. Conversely, they’ve scoffed at work that went on to win Nobel Prizes. Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, describes peer review as a roulette wheel, a lottery, and a black box. He points out that an extensive body of research finds scant evidence that this vetting process accomplishes much at all. On the other hand, a mountain of scholarship has identified profound deficiencies.

Peer review’s random and arbitrary nature was demonstrated as early as 1982. Twelve already published papers were assigned fictitious author and institution names before being resubmitted to the same journal 18-32 months later. The duplication was noticed in three instances, but the remaining nine papers underwent review by two referees each. Only one paper was deemed worthy of seeing the light of day the second time it was examined by the same journal that had already published it. Lack of originality wasn’t among the concerns raised by the second wave of referees.

Anyone can start a scholarly journal and define peer review however they wish. No minimum standards apply and no enforcement mechanisms ensure that a journal’s publicly described policies are actually followed. Some editors admit to writing up fake reviews under the cover of anonymity rather than going to the trouble of recruiting bona fide referees. In 2014, a news story reported that 120 papers containing computer-generated gibberish had nevertheless survived the peer review process of reputable publishers.

Politicians and journalists have long found it convenient to regard peer-reviewed research as de facto sound science. If that were the case, Nature would hardly have subtitled a February 2016 article: “Mistakes in peer-reviewed papers are easy to find but hard to fix.” Over a period of 18 months, a team of researchers attempted to correct dozens of substantial errors in nutrition and obesity research. Among these was the claim that the height change in a group of adults  averaged nearly three inches (7 cm) over eight weeks. The team reported that editors “seemed unprepared or ill-equipped to investigate, take action or even respond.” In Kafkaesque fashion, after months of effort culminated in acknowledgement of a gaffe, journals then demanded that the team pay $1,700 in one instance and $2,100 in another before a letter calling attention to other people’s mistakes could be published.

Which brings us back to the matter of public policy. We’ve long been assured that reports produced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are authoritative because they rely entirely on peer-reviewed, scientific literature. A 2010 InterAcademy Council investigation found this claim to be false, but that’s another story. Even if all IPCC source material did meet this threshold, the fact that one out of an estimated 25,000 academic journals conducted an unspecified and unregulated peer review ritual is no warranty that a paper isn’t total nonsense.

If half of the scientific literature “may simply be untrue,” then half of the climate research cited by the IPCC may also be untrue. This appalling unreliability extends to work on dietary cholesterol, domestic violence, air pollution – in short, to all research currently being generated by the academy.

The US National Science Foundation recently reminded us that a scientific finding “cannot be regarded as an empirical fact” unless it has been “independently verified.” Peer review does not perform that function. Until governments begin authenticating research prior to using it as the foundation for new laws and huge expenditures, don’t fall for the claim that policy X is evidence-based.


Using pepper spray and bean bags, police clear out N.D. pipeline protesters

Law enforcement officers wearing riot gear and firing bean bags and pepper spray on Thursday ousted protesters from a camp on private land in the path of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard — some on foot and others driving trucks, military Humvees and buses — began the operation at midday and slowly enveloped the camp, arresting more than a dozen protesters who refused to leave.

There were no serious injuries, although one man was hurt in the leg and received treatment from a medic.

Protesters initially set up roadblocks and started some fires to slow the law enforcement advance but eventually retreated.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that the camp had been cleared by nightfall although police were still dealing with protesters on the perimeter, and he said police would stay put for now.

"We’re not leaving the area," Kirchmeier said. "We are just going to make sure that we maintain a presence in the area so the roadway stays open, and to keep individuals from camping on private land."

The confrontation marked a major escalation of a protest that has raged for months. Opponents of the pipeline moved in over the weekend to establish a camp on private land where the developer was working to complete the 1,200-mile pipeline designed to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois. The route of the pipeline skirts the Standing Rock Reservation and the tribe says it could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites. The state of North Dakota says no sensitive cultural sites have been found in the area.

The tribe sought to block the pipeline in court, challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision granting permits at more than 200 water crossings. But a federal judge in September denied their request to block construction. Three federal agencies then stepped in and ordered construction to halt on Corps-owned land around Lake Oahe, a wide spot of the Missouri River, while the Corps reviewed its decision-making. Construction was allowed to continue on private land owned by developer Energy Transfer Partners.

The operation to push out the protesters began a day after they had refused to leave voluntarily.

The camp is just to the north of a more permanent and larger encampment on federally-owned land which has been the main staging area for hundreds of protesters, including Native Americans from across North America, environmentalists and some celebrities.

Aaron Johnson, 50, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota, said he and other protesters weren’t happy with the day’s outcome. "I came here for peace and prayer," he said. "When somebody sets something on fire, that’s not peace and prayer."


Now Greenie laws are wrecking our grass! Cambridge University's perfect lawns are ripped up by crows as bugs thrive after ban on pesticide

The lawns of Cambridge University are being torn apart by crows feasting on bugs after an EU ban on a pesticide.

Lawns at seven colleges have been blighted by birds digging up ground in search of the chafer bug, a beetle that lives in soil and feeds on grass roots.

The population has soared since an EU-wide ban on a spray containing a chemical called imidacloprid, which is harmful to bees.

The problem is so severe at two colleges, Jesus and Pembroke, that the lawn is being replaced.

Gardeners have introduced nematodes, microscopic worms that eat chafer grubs in a bid to combat the problem but the method is not proving entirely successful.

A post on the Jesus College Facebook page said: 'The situation has become quite severe over the last two to three weeks and large areas of lawn have suffered as a result, First Court in particular.

'The use of nematodes has proved unreliable. Our gardeners will apply topsoil and seed along with fertiliser, which the birds dislike, once the destructiveness has ceased.'

Paul Gallant, head gardener of Selwyn College, said the damage is worse at some colleges than others because the grubs only thrive in some types of soil.

He said: 'The grubs like light sandy soil like the soil at Selwyn. Wolfson and Robinson don't have the problem because they're on clay.'

The chemical imidacloprid was one of three pesticides harmful to bees banned in April 2013.

The law was reviewed this year but in April it was confirmed that imidacloprid is highly toxic to bumblebees and was taken of the market.

The problem could improve over winter as the cold weather will force the grubs deeper into the soil and out of the reach of crows.

Guy Barter, chief horticulturalist for the Royal Horticulturalist Society, said: 'All the pesticides that can be sprayed on to grass to control soil pests have been withdrawn. So there are now no chemicals that can be sprayed on to the grass.

'Imidacloprid has been withdrawn because there are issues with it damaging pollinators such as bees and such like.

'This means that the only thing that can be done is to apply nematodes that infect the soil bugs and kill underground. But they are very expensive and only work on warm soils. It would be very expensive indeed to drench a large area.'


Australia: New photos show worst coral bleaching to date: A third of the Great Barrier Reef is affected

You can of course prove anything with photos. The previous reports from this lot were found to be vastly exaggerated so this report should also be taken with a large grain of salt.  Reading between the lines, I gather that most of the reef has already recovered from the earlier bleaching but the recovery has been uneven so far.

More corals are dying and others are succumbing to disease and predators after the worst-ever bleaching on Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef.

A swathe of corals bleached in the northern third of the 1,429-mile (2,300-kilometre) long biodiverse site off the Queensland state coast died after an unprecedented bleaching earlier this year as sea temperatures rose.

And researchers who returned to the region to survey the area this month said 'many more have died more slowly'.

On the surface, coral bleaching looks like white, bleached-out coral reefs - quite a departure from the usual colourful structures.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

Andrew Hoey, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, said: 'In March, we measured a lot of heavily bleached branching corals that were still alive, but we didn't see many survivors this week.

'On top of that, snails that eat live coral are congregating on the survivors, and the weakened corals are more prone to disease. 'A lot of the survivors are in poor shape.'

Greg Torda, whose team recently returned from re-surveying reefs near Lizard Island, said the amount of live coral covering the island fell from about 40 per cent in March to under five per cent.

It is the third time in 18 years that the World Heritage-listed site, which teems with marine life, has experienced mass bleaching after previous events in 1998 and 2002.

The researchers said even though they were still assessing the final death toll from bleaching in the north, 'it is already clear that this event was much more severe than the two previous bleachings'. They expect to complete all their surveys by mid-November.

Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 700-kilometre section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition'

The reef's northern 435-mile (700-kilometre) section bore the brunt of the breaching during March and April, with the southern areas 'only lightly bleached and remain in good condition', the scientists added.

'As we expected from the geographic pattern of bleaching, the reefs further south are in much better shape,' said Andrew Baird, who led the re-surveys of reefs in the central section.

'There is still close to 40 per cent coral cover at most reefs in the central Great Barrier Reef, and the corals that were moderately bleached last summer have nearly all regained their normal colour.'

The reef is already under pressure from farming run-off, development, the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish as well as the impacts of climate change, with a government report last week painting a bleak picture of the natural wonder.



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