Sunday, May 21, 2017

How to lie with statistics: Climate change is turning Antarctica GREEN

Choosing your start and finishing points is a great trick when you want to use statistics misleadingly.  Below they have arbitrarily chosen the last 50 years for their calculations.  And their calculations may be correct.  What they don't say is that all the supposedly causative temperature rise happened in the first (approx.) 30 years of that period.

The most recent 20 years have seen no effect, no change -- the famous "hiatus" during which there has been no statistically significant net temperature rise globally.  So if the greening has continued into the last 20 years -- which they imply -- it is NOT due to global warming. Things that don't exist can't cause anything.  If it has NOT continued into the last 20 years it is a finished trend of no current interest.

I note also that their data was obtained from the extreme end of the Antarctic peninsula, and the peninsula as a whole is known to be anomalous to Antarctica as a whole. It shows occasional warming (probably due to subsurface vulcanism) when the great mass of Antarctica is cooling.  The study below is therefore from several viewpoints inadequate to sustain any generalization.  Putting it plainly, it is just another bit of  slippery Warmist propaganda

Few plants live on Antarctica but scientists studying moss have found a sharp increase in biological activity in the last 50 years.

Plant life exists on only 0.3 per cent of Antarctica. However moss is well preserved in chilly sediments.  This offers scientists a way of exploring how plants have responded to such changes.

Scientists gathered data from five ice cores drilled from three islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. They then looked at the top 20cm of each of the cores.

This allowed the scientists to look back over 150 years and explore changes over time. Changes included the amount of moss, and its rate of growth.

They also looked carbon in the plants that indicates how favourable conditions were for photosynthesis at a certain point in time.

The latest study claims the rate of moss growth is now four to five times higher than it was pre-1950.

A team including scientists from the University of Exeter used moss bank cores – which are well preserved in Antarctica's cold conditions – from an area spanning about 400 miles.

They tested five cores from three sites and found major biological changes had occurred over the past 50 years right across the Antarctic Peninsula.

'Temperature increases over roughly the past half century on the Antarctic Peninsula have had a dramatic effect on moss banks growing in the region,' said Dr Matt Amesbury, of the University of Exeter.

'If this continues, and with increasing amounts of ice-free land from continued glacier retreat, the Antarctic Peninsula will be a much greener place in the future.'

Recent climate change on the Antarctic Peninsula is well documented with warming and other changes such as increased precipitation and wind strength.

Weather records mostly began in the 1950s but biological records preserved in moss bank cores can provide a longer-term context about climate change.

The scientists analysed data for the last 150 years, and found clear evidence of 'changepoints' – points in time after which biological activity clearly increased – in the past 50 years.

'The sensitivity of moss growth to past temperature rises suggests that ecosystems will alter rapidly under future warming, leading to major changes in the biology and landscape of this iconic region,' said Professor Dan Charman, who led the research project in Exeter.

'In short, we could see Antarctic greening to parallel well-established observations in the Arctic. 'Although there was variability within our data, the consistency of what we found across different sites was striking.'

The research teams, which included scientists from the University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey, say their data indicates that plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming.

The same group of researchers published a study focusing on one site in 2013 and the new research confirms that their unprecedented finding can be applied to a much larger region.

Plant life only exists on about 0.3 per cent of Antarctica, but the findings provide one way of measuring the extent and effects of warming on the continent.

The researchers now plan to examine core records dating back over thousands of years to test how much climate change affected ecosystems before human activity started causing global warming.

The paper, Widespread biological response to rapid warming on the Antarctic Peninsula, is published in the journal Current Biology.

SOURCE.  The academic journal article is "Widespread Biological Response to Rapid Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula"

Coral bleaching not a response to temperature changes

Regional coral responses to climate disturbances and warming is predicted by multivariate stress model and not temperature threshold metrics

Timothy R. McClanahan et al.


Oceanic environmental variables derived from satellites are increasingly being used to predict ecosystem states and climate impacts. Despite the concerted efforts to develop metrics and the urgency to inform policy, management plans, and actions, few metrics have been empirically tested with field data for testing their predictive ability, refinement, and eventual implementation as predictive tools. In this study, the abilities of three variations of a thermal threshold index and a multivariate stress model (MSM) were used to predict coral cover and community susceptibility to bleaching based on a compilation of field data from Indian Ocean reefs across the strong thermal anomaly of 1998. Field data included the relative abundance of coral taxa 10 years before the large-scale temperature anomaly, 2 years after (1999–2000), and during the post-bleaching recovery period (2001–2005) were tested against 1) a multivariate model based on 11 environmental variables used to predict stress or environmental exposure (MSM), 2) estimates of the time until the current mean maximum temperature becomes the mean summer condition (TtT), 3) the Cumulative Thermal Stress (CTS) for the full satellite record, and 4) the 1998 Annual Thermal Stress (1998 ATS). The MSM showed significant fit with the post-1998 cover and susceptibility of the coral community taxa (r2 = 0.50 and 0.31, respectively). Temperature threshold indices were highly variable and had relatively weak or no significant relationships with coral cover and susceptibility. The ecosystem response of coral reefs to climatic and other disturbances is more complex than predicted by models based largely on temperature anomalies and thresholds only. This implies heterogeneous environmental causes and responses to climate disturbances and warming and predictive models should consider a more comprehensive multiple parameter approach.

McClanahan, T.R., Maina, J. & Ateweberhan, M. Climatic Change (2015) 131: 607. doi:10.1007/s10584-015-1399-x

"Experts" warn rising sea levels will DOUBLE coastal flooding by 2050, and tropical regions will be hit worst

Just another prophecy derived from "models" that have no known predictive skill

Rising sea levels caused by global warming are set to dramatically boost the frequency of coastal flooding by 2050.

Tropical regions will be the worst hit, and researchers forecast a 10-to-20 centimeter (four-to-eight inch) jump in the global ocean watermark by mid-century.

Major cities along the North American seaboard such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, along with the European Atlantic coast, would be highly exposed, the researchers say.

Up until now, global models of future coastal flooding haven't adequately taken into account the role of waves.

'Most of the data used in earlier studies comes from tidal gauge stations, which are in harbors and protected areas,' said Dr Vitousek, lead author of the study and a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

'They record extreme tide and storm surges, but not waves.'

So to make up for the lack of wave data, Dr Vitousek and his colleagues used computer modelling and a statistical method called extreme value theory.

'We asked the question: with waves factored in, how much sea level rise will it take to double the frequency of flooding?' Said Dr Vitousek.

The researchers found that with waves factored in, it didn't take much sea level rise to double flooding frequency in the future

And, it would only take half as big a jump in ocean levels to double the number of serious flooding incidents in the tropics, including along highly populated river deltas in Asia and Africa.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago, even at the low end of sea rise spectrum, coastal cities such as Mumbai, Kochi in India and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire would be significantly affected.

'We are 95 percent confident that an added 5-to-10 centimetres will more than double the frequency of flooding in the tropics,' study lead author Dr Sean Vitousek, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told AFP.

He said that small island countries, which are already vulnerable to flooding, would fare far worse.

'An increase in flooding frequency with climate change will challenge the very existence and sustainability of these coastal communities across the globe,' said Dr Vitousek.

Coastal flooding is caused by severe storms, and it's made worse when conditions of large waves, storm surge and high tides come together.

For example, 2012's Hurricane Sandy in the US caused tens of billion of dollars worth of damage, and 2013's Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines left more than 7,000 people missing or dead - and both of these events saw extreme flooding.

But rising sea levels are also a contributing factor to coastal flooding.

Rising seas are caused by the expansion of warming ocean water and water runoff from melting ice sheets and glaciers.

However, up till now, global models of future coastal flooding haven't adequately taken into account the role of waves.

'Most of the data used in earlier studies comes from tidal gauge stations, which are in harbors and protected areas,' said Dr Vitousek. 'They record extreme tide and storm surges, but not waves.'

So to make up for the lack of wave data, Dr Vitousek and colleagues used computer modelling and a statistical method called extreme value theory.

'We asked the question: with waves factored in, how much sea level rise will it take to double the frequency of flooding?'

The researchers found that with waves factored in, it didn't take much sea level rise to double flooding frequency in the future.

Currently, sea levels are rising by three to four millimetres (0.10 to 0.15 inches) a year, but the rate has increased by about 30 percent over the last decade.

The rate could accelerate even more as continent-sized ice blocs near the North and South poles continue to shed, especially in Antarctica, which Dr Vitousek called the sea level 'wild card.'

If sea levels rise by 25 centimeters by 2050, 'flood levels that occur every 50 years in the tropics would be happening every year or more,' said Dr Vitousek.

But some estimates for sea level rise are even more extreme: The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts global average sea levels will rise by as much as 2.5 metres (98 inches) by 2100.

Global average temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius (1.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the mid-19th century, with most of that happening in the last 70 years.

The 196-nation Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, calls for capping global warming at well under 2C (3.6F), a goal described by climate scientists as extremely daunting.


Electric vehicles to cost the same as conventional cars by 2018

A Swiss bank knows how to produce much cheaper electric cars?  Elon Musk eat your heart out!  But hey! If you're tired of your SUV and you want instead a compact car that is not practical in cold climates, maybe an electric car is for you.  You could probably tootle around Boca Raton pretty well in one

The cost of owning an electric car will fall to the same level as petrol-powered vehicles next year, according to bold new analysis from UBS which will send shockwaves through the automobile industry.

Experts from the investment bank’s “evidence lab” made the prediction after tearing apart one of the current generation of electric cars to examine the economics of electric vehicles (EVs).

They found that costs of producing EVs were far lower than previously thought but there is still great potential to make further savings, driving down the price of electric cars.

As a result, UBS forecasts that the “total cost of consumer ownership can reach parity with combustion engines from 2018”, with this likely to happen in Europe first.

“This will create an inflexion point for demand,” the analysts said. “We raise our 2025 forecast for EV sales by ~50pc to 14.2m -  14pc of global car sales.”

If the prediction comes to pass, traditional car industry giants could face ruin. Germany’s Volkswagen Group - the world’s biggest car company - is racing to catch up with rivals’ investment levels in electric drivetrains, the components which deliver the power into the wheels, having largely ignored the technology in the past.

UBS’s research was to help understand what it called the “most disruptive car category since the Model T Ford”. The findings are based on its deconstruction of a Chevy Bolt, which it considered to be “the world’s first mass-market EV, with a range of more than 200 miles”.

The 2017 car - which cost $37,000 - was taken apart piece by piece and the parts analysed. UBS said that the Bolt’s electric drive was $4,600 cheaper to produce than thought, “with much cost reduction potential left”.

“We estimate that GM (which produces the Bolt) loses $7,400 in earnings before interest, and tax on every Bolt sold today, mainly due to a lack of scale.”

Tesla’s highly anticipated Model 3 - another small electric vehicle - is expected to lose billionaire Elon Musk’s company $2,800 per car for the base version, according to UBS, but Tesla will break even at an average selling price of $41,000.

The bank predicts this will be achieved as customers opt for higher specification vehicles, making electric cars a viable business proposition, with upmarket EVs likely to be more profitable than mid-range versions.

“Once total cost of ownership parity is reached, mass-brand EVs should also turn profitable,” UBS said.

Although the costs of EVs and current cars will be the same for motorists by 2018, manufacturers will not reach parity until 2023, when they will make 5pc margins on EVs - about equal to the profit on current vehicles.

EVs matching the cost of conventionally fuelled cars sooner than expected will send a seismic shock throughout the sector, from manufacturers right down through their supply chains, with UBS warning “the 'time to get ready' and win in the space shrinks”.

It also warns that the aftermarket for replacement parts could be radically disrupted because electric drivetrains suffer less wear than traditional engines.

“Our detailed analysis of moving and wearing parts has shown that the highly lucrative spare parts business should shrink by ~60pc in the end-game of a 100pc EV world, which is decades away,” UBS said.

It also forecast tech companies grabbing a bigger slice of the industry, with the deconstruction of the Bolt revealing that its electronics content was $4,000 higher than in an internal combustion engines, excluding the battery.

Professor David Bailey, car industry expert at Aston University, said: “If this really is the moment that the car industry reaches parity then the inflexion point is far earlier than anyone was expecting.”

Ian Fletcher, principal automotive analyst at  IHS Markit, added: “We are not going to see the death of diesel or petrol anytime soon but manufacturers are weighing up the investment cost of traditional engines against electric, as well as the levies they face over the emissions of their fleets.”


Chemistry Expert: Carbon Dioxide Can’t Cause Global Warming

by Dr Mark Imisides (Industrial Chemist)

Scarcely a day goes by without us being warned of coastal inundation by rising seas due to global warming.

Why on earth do we attribute any heating of the oceans to carbon dioxide, when there is a far more obvious culprit, and when such a straightforward examination of the thermodynamics render it impossible.

Carbon dioxide, we are told, traps heat that has been irradiated by the oceans, and this warms the oceans and melts the polar ice caps. While this seems a plausible proposition at first glance, when one actually examines it closely a major flaw emerges.

In a nutshell, water takes a lot of energy to heat up, and air doesn’t contain much. In fact, on a volume/volume basis, the ratio of heat capacities is about 3300 to 1. This means that to heat 1 litre of water by 1˚C it would take 3300 litres of air that was 2˚C hotter, or 1 litre of air that was about 3300˚C hotter!

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you ran a cold bath and then tried to heat it by putting a dozen heaters in the room, does anyone believe that the water would ever get hot?

The problem gets even stickier when you consider the size of the ocean. Basically, there is too much water and not enough air.

The ocean contains a colossal 1,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres of water! To heat it, even by a small amount, takes a staggering amount of energy. To heat it by a mere 1˚C, for example, an astonishing 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy are required.

Let’s put this amount of energy in perspective. If we all turned off all our appliances and went and lived in caves, and then devoted every coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, wind and solar power plant to just heating the ocean, it would take a breathtaking 32,000 years to heat the ocean by just this 1˚C!

In short, our influence on our climate, even if we really tried, is miniscule!

So it makes sense to ask the question – if the ocean were to be heated by ‘greenhouse warming’ of the atmosphere, how hot would the air have to get? If the entire ocean is heated by 1˚C, how much would the air have to be heated by to contain enough heat to do the job?

Well, unfortunately for every ton of water there is only a kilogram of air. Taking into account the relative heat capacities and absolute masses, we arrive at the astonishing figure of 4,000˚C.

That is, if we wanted to heat the entire ocean by 1˚C, and wanted to do it by heating the air above it, we’d have to heat the air to about 4,000˚C hotter than the water.

And another problem is that air sits on top of water – how would hot air heat deep into the ocean? Even if the surface warmed, the warm water would just sit on top of the cold water.

Thus, if the ocean were being heated by ‘greenhouse heating’ of the air, we would see a system with enormous thermal lag – for the ocean to be only slightly warmer, the land would have to be substantially warmer, and the air much, much warmer (to create the temperature gradient that would facilitate the transfer of heat from the air to the water).

Therefore any measurable warmth in the ocean would be accompanied by a huge and obvious anomaly in the air temperatures, and we would not have to bother looking at ocean temperatures at all.

So if the air doesn’t contain enough energy to heat the oceans or melt the ice caps, what does?

The earth is tilted on its axis, and this gives us our seasons. When the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, we have more direct sunlight and more of it (longer days). When it is tilted away from the sun, we have less direct sunlight and less of it (shorter days).

The direct result of this is that in summer it is hot and in winter it is cold. In winter we run the heaters in our cars, and in summer the air conditioners. In winter the polar caps freeze over and in summer 60-70% of them melt (about ten million square kilometres). In summer the water is warmer and winter it is cooler (ask any surfer).

All of these changes are directly determined by the amount of sunlight that we get. When the clouds clear and bathe us in sunlight, we don’t take off our jumper because of ‘greenhouse heating’ of the atmosphere, but because of the direct heat caused by the sunlight on our body. The sun’s influence is direct, obvious, and instantaneous.

If the enormous influence of the sun on our climate is so obvious, then, by what act of madness do we look at a variation of a fraction of a percent in any of these variables, and not look to the sun as the cause?

Why on earth (pun intended) do we attribute any heating of the oceans to carbon dioxide, when there is a far more obvious culprit, and when such a straightforward examination of the thermodynamics render it impossible.



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