Monday, January 02, 2017

What does Greenland's Petermann glacier tell us?

Warming evangelist Chris Mooney below focuses on a glaciologist, Andreas Muenchow, who studies the Petermann glacier and notes that Muenchow has become more convinced that, over time, the glacier has been shrinking.  It probably is.  Glaciers advance and retreat all the time.  As some melt, others will be advancing -- usually in response to movements in precipitation.   So you can make no valid generalizations from what one glacier does.

And the amusing part is that the Petermann is a SHELF -- floating ice -- and we have known since Archimedes that the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level.  Mooney indirectly acknowledges that by saying that the Petermann is "holding back" other ice.  Maybe.  But if the other ice is grounded why should anything move it other than its own internal processes?

Mooney is just a teller of tall tales

So let us look at what Mooney does NOT tell us.  I have long said that volcanic heat at both poles stands behind a lot of occasional ice melts.  So let us see what Muenchow says about that.  Below is a recent (2016) abstract from an article by him:

Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet represents a major uncertainty in projecting future rates of global sea level rise. Much of this uncertainty is related to a lack of knowledge about subsurface ocean hydrographic properties, particularly heat content, how these properties are modified across the continental shelf, and about the extent to which the ocean interacts with glaciers. Early results from NASA’s five-year Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission, based on extensive hydrographic and bathymetric surveys, suggest that many glaciers terminate in deep water and are hence vulnerable to increased melting due to ocean-ice interaction. OMG will track ocean conditions and ice loss at glaciers around Greenland through the year 2020, providing critical information about ocean-driven Greenland ice mass loss in a warming climate.

Muenchow explicitly admits that subsurface heat might cause the melting, not anthropogenic global warming.  Need I say more?

As one of Greenland’s largest ice shelves shrinks, a once-doubtful scientist has come around to the role of climate change in melting it.

Half a decade before he took this trip to the farthest reaches of the north, Andreas Muenchow had his doubts about whether warming temperatures were causing one of the world’s great platforms of ice to melt and fall apart.

He even stood before Congress in 2010 and balked on whether climate change might have caused a mammoth chunk of ice, four times the size of Manhattan, to break off from this floating, 300-square-mile shelf. The University of Delaware oceanographer said he wasn’t sure. He needed more evidence.

But then the Petermann Ice Shelf lost another two Manhattans of ice in 2012, and Muenchow decided to see for himself, launching a project to study the ice shelf intensively.

He was back again in late August, no longer a skeptic. It was hard not to be a believer here at 81 degrees north latitude, where Greenland and Canada very nearly touch. The surface of the bumpy and misshapen ice was covered with pools and puddles, in some cases frozen over but with piercing blue water beneath. Streams carved through the vast shelf, swelling into larger ponds or even small lakes.

The meltwater was a sign the ice shelf was growing more fragile, moving closer to the day when it might give up more city-size chunks of ice.

The Petermann Ice Shelf serves as a plug of sorts to one of Greenland’s largest glaciers, lodged in a fjord that, from the height of its mountain walls down to the lowest point of the seafloor, is deeper than the Grand Canyon. There’s enough ice piled up behind Petermann to raise oceans globally by nearly a foot someday.

The question for Muenchow is no longer whether Petermann is changing — it’s how fast it could give up still more ice to the seas.


Update: Honest scientist rehired after legal threat

In the eyes of the law, lying to Congress is a crime. In the eyes of liberals, NOT lying to Congress is a crime.  Dr. Noelle Metting learned that the hard way.

She was fired by Obama administration officials for honestly answering questions from members of Congress, instead of reading from a lobbying script prepared for her.

Dr. Metting, a scientist and manager in the Energy Department, met with members of the U.S House Committee on Science and Technology in 2014 to discuss a research program into how low doses of radiation effect humans.

Representatives wanted to learn more about the program before voting on a bill to officially codify it and require a report to Congress.  Energy Department officials secretly opposed the bill. They wanted to spend that money on "global warming" programs.

In an effort to sabotage the vote, a prepared script was provided to Dr. Metting and the other Energy Department officials, which was intended to hide information from Congress and mislead Members.

"DOE management developed a scheme to withhold information from congressional staff," a newly-released congressional report read. "Dr. Metting was directed to omit information from a presentation to congressional staff given during the briefing."

Rather than read from the script, Dr. Metting fully and honestly answered questions.

Not only did the Obama administration ask Dr. Metting to lie to Congress, they also asked her to illegally lobby. They prepared the script in an effort to dissuade Congress from passing the legislation.

However, it’s illegal for government employees to lobby Congress in their official capacity, which the Obama administration asked Dr. Metting to do.

The Energy Department fired Dr. Metting after the meeting.

They eventually re-hired her after she threatened legal action.

While Dr. Metting was eventually exonerated by her re-hiring, rogue Energy Department officials must still be held responsible for illegal lobbying and lying to Congress. The House is now investigating the matter and has released a report.


MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen urges Trump: "Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90% until the field cleans up’

Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has long questioned climate change orthodoxy, is skeptical that a sunnier outlook is upon us.

"I actually doubt that," he said. Even if some of the roughly $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars currently spent on climate research across 13 different federal agencies now shifts to scientists less invested in the calamitous narrative, Lindzen believes groupthink has so corrupted the field that funding should be sharply curtailed rather than redirected.

"They should probably cut the funding by 80 to 90 percent until the field cleans up," he said. "Climate science has been set back two generations, and they have destroyed its intellectual foundations."

The field is cluttered with entrenched figures who must toe the established line, he said, pointing to a recent congressional report that found the Obama administration got a top Department of Energy scientist fired and generally intimidated the staff to conform with its politicized position on climate change.

"Remember this was a tiny field, a backwater, and then suddenly you increased the funding to billions and everyone got into it," Lindzen said. "Even in 1990 no one at MIT called themselves a ‘climate scientist,’ and then all of a sudden everyone was. They only entered it because of the bucks; they realized it was a gravy train. You have to get it back to the people who only care about the science."


The Climate Science Challenge

I keep hearing people say that 97% of climate scientists are on the same side of the issue. Critics point out that the number is inflated, but we don’t know by how much. Persuasion-wise, the "first offer" of 97% is so close to 100% that our minds assume the real number is very high even if not exactly 97%.

That’s good persuasion. Trump uses this method all the time. The 97% anchor is so strong that it is hard to hear anything else after that. Even the people who think the number is bogus probably think the real figure is north of 90%.

But is it? I have no idea.

So today’s challenge is to find a working scientist or PhD in some climate-related field who will agree with the idea that the climate science models do a good job of predicting the future.

Notice I am avoiding the question of the measurements. That’s a separate question. For this challenge, don’t let your scientist conflate the measurements or the basic science of CO2 with the projections. Just ask the scientist to offer an opinion on the credibility of the models only.

Remind your scientist that as far as you know there has never been a multi-year, multi-variable, complicated model of any type that predicted anything with useful accuracy. Case in point: The experts and their models said Trump had no realistic chance of winning.

Your scientist will fight like a cornered animal to conflate the credibility of the measurements and the basic science of CO2 with the credibility of the projection models. Don’t let that happen. Make your scientist tell you that complicated multi-variable projections models that span years are credible. Or not.

Then report back to me in the comments here or on Twitter at @ScottAdamsSays.

This question is a subset of the more interesting question of how non-scientists can judge the credibility of scientists or their critics. My best guess is that professional scientists will say that complicated prediction models with lots of variables are not credible. Ever. So my prediction is that the number of scientists who ***fully*** buy into climate science predictions is closer to zero than 97%.

But I’m willing to be proved wrong. I kind of like it when that happens. So prove me wrong.


The California Gathering That Hatched Plan to Prosecute Skeptics of Climate Change

Environmental activists meeting in this seaside cottage in June 2012 strategized on how to prosecute corporations, institutions, and individuals that don't agree with the Obama administration's view that man-made climate change threatens the world. (Photo of the Martin Johnson House: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Just before joining climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore for a press conference in New York City, seven state-level attorneys general huddled with a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The political activist, Peter Frumhoff, called for them and other elected officials to move decisively against major corporations and institutions for "denying" climate change.

The seeds of that call to action in March were planted four years earlier at a gathering of environmental activists, trial lawyers, and academics across the country in San Diego.

The Daily Signal found this and other revealing bits of information among material produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against Virginia’s George Mason University, home to six academics who urged the Obama administration to prosecute individuals and organizations for not agreeing that man has caused climate change.

The detail is important because Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, demanded that 17 state attorneys general who call themselves "AGs United for Clean Energy" provide documents on interactions among their offices—and with various environmental organizations.

Such details obtained through the lawsuit "reveal the incestuous relationship between climate change activists and partisan state attorneys general," Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. He added:

They are subverting our democratic system by using the courts to silence the opposition to their economically costly, unneeded policy solutions for an unproven scientific theory. Americans should be outraged by this abuse of governmental powers by the chief law enforcement officials of these states.

Smith’s letters to the attorneys general refer to the meeting held in June 2012 in California and billed as a Workshop on Climate Accountability, Public Opinion, and Legal Strategies.

A total of 23 environmental activists, trial lawyers, and academics came together in the seaside San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla to devise a "strategy to fight industry in the courts" over climate change, the House committee chairman says in the letters.

Another goal of the meeting was to find ways to confront what attendees described as a "network of public relations firms and nonprofit front groups that have been actively sowing disinformation about global warming for years."

According to a summary of the La Jolla gathering, the activists came up with the idea of using the federal law known as RICO—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—against the fossil fuel industry.

Congress passed RICO in 1978 for the purpose of prosecuting mob crimes. In recent months, though, climate change activists have sought to use it against organizations, corporations, and scientists that aren’t convinced human activity is responsible for catastrophic climate change.

Early on in the workshop, Richard Ayres, a Washington lawyer who is a co-founder and trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, first mentioned the RICO tactic as a possible weapon against fossil fuel.

Ayres’ environmental organization is a well-endowed, tax-exempt advocacy group headquartered in New York City. Public records show it had financial assets of $268.1 million as of 2013.

Reached by telephone Tuesday by The Daily Signal, Ayres said the meeting "was a long time ago" and declined comment.

Other workshop attendees included Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who met with the attorneys general in New York in March, and Matthew Pawa, an environmental activist and trial attorney who founded the Global Warming Legal Action project.



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