Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Scientists uncover Earth's largest volcanic region two kilometres below Antarctic ice sheet

Well, well, well!  For some years now Warmists have been agonizing about bits of melting in West Antarctica.  And equally routinely, I have pointed out that there is evidence of vulcanism in West Antarctica so the melting was most probably the work of volcanoes rather than of Anthropogenic global warming.  So I now stand amply vindicated.  There are not only some volcanoes underneath the ice there, there are BIG ones there.  It is actually Earth's largest volcanic region

Their explanation for the vulcanism is rather pathetic, though.  They appear not to know that the earth is not spherical.  It is flattened at the poles.  So the earth's molten core is closest to the surface at the  poles.  So magma is more apt to break through there.  Which is why there is also huge subsurface volcanic activity in the region of the North pole -- particularly along the Gakkel ridge

A team of scientists unearthed a volcanic region previously hidden under ice sheets, with the geologist who led the team warning of destabilising consequences.

Edinburgh University researchers uncovered almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest almost as tall as Switzerland's 3,970-metre Eiger.

Geologists think the region, which sits two kilometres below ice in west Antarctica, will dwarf east Africa’s volcanic ridge, which is rated as the world's densest concentration of volcanoes.

Glacier expert Robert Bingham, who helped author the paper, warned The Guardian the range could have worrying consequences. 'If one of these volcanoes were to erupt it could further destabilise west Antarctica’s ice sheets. 'Anything that causes the melting of ice – which an eruption certainly would – is likely to speed up the flow of ice into the sea.

'The big question is: how active are these volcanoes? That is something we need to determine as quickly as possible.'

The Edinburgh volcano survey, featured in the Geological Society’s special publications series, examined the underside of the ice sheet for hidden peaks of basalt rock similar to those produced by the region’s other volcanoes.

Over the past century, explorers have reported sightings of their tips, which reach above the ice.

The survey team's youngest member, Max Van Wyk de Vries, is a volcano fanatic who wouldn't stop wondering how many tips lie below the ice.

An undergraduate at the university's school of geosciences, he set up the project with Dr Bingham.

They used ice-penetrating radar carried by planes and land vehicles to analyse measurements made by previous surveys and survey strips of west Antarctic ice.

Dr Bingham explained the results were compared with satellite and database records and geological information from aerial surveys.

'Essentially, we were looking for evidence of volcanic cones sticking up into the ice.'

After collating the results, the team reported 91 previously unknown volcanoes, adding to 47 others discovered over the previous century by explorers.

These newly discovered volcanoes range from 100 to 3,850 metres high. All are covered in ice, sometimes in layers that are more than 4km thick.

Dr Bingham was shocked to find the active peaks concentrated in the west Antarctic rift system, which stretches 3,500km from Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf to the Antarctic peninsula.

'We were amazed. We had not expected to find anything like that number. 'We have almost trebled the number of volcanoes known to exist in west Antarctica.

'We also suspect there are even more on the bed of the sea that lies under the Ross ice shelf, so that I think it is very likely this region will turn out to be the densest region of volcanoes in the world, greater even than east Africa, where mounts Nyiragongo, Kilimanjaro, Longonot and all the other active volcanoes are concentrated.'

The volcanic activity could have crucial implications for Earth. If one erupts, it could further destabilise ice sheets in the region, where global warming has already had an impact.

Dr Bingham's fear is that the Antarctic ocean's meltwater outflows will cause sea levels to rise.

'We just don’t know about how active these volcanoes have been in the past.

'The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.

'Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.'

Significant warming caused by climate change in west Antarctica has already affected its ice sheets.

If they reduce significantly, this could release pressure on volcanoes lying below.

This would lead to eruptions that could further destabilise ice sheets and enhance sea level rises, something Dr Bingham is keen to monitor. 'It is something we will have to watch closely.'


Life in fossil-fuel-free utopia

Life without oil, natural gas and coal would most likely be nasty, brutish and short

Paul Driessen

Al Gore’s new movie, a New York Times article on the final Obama Era “manmade climate disaster” report, and a piece saying wrathful people twelve years from now will hang hundreds of “climate deniers” are a tiny sample of Climate Hysteria and Anti-Trump Resistance rising to a crescendo. If we don’t end our evil fossil-fuel-burning lifestyles and go 100% renewable Right Now, we are doomed, they rail.

Maybe it’s our educational system, our cargo cult’s easy access to food and technology far from farms, mines and factories, or the end-of-days propaganda constantly pounded into our heads. Whatever the reason, far too many people have a pitiful grasp of reality: natural climate fluctuations throughout Earth history; the intricate, often fragile sources of things we take for granted; and what life would really be like in the utopian fossil-fuel-free future they dream of. Let’s take a short journey into that idyllic realm.

Suppose we generate just the 25 billion megawatt-hours of today’s total global electricity consumption using wind turbines. (That’s not total energy consumption, and it doesn’t include what we’d need to charge a billion electric vehicles.) We’d need more than 830 million gigantic 3-megawatt turbines!

Spacing them at just 15 acres per turbine would require 12.5 billion acres! That’s twice the land area of North America! All those whirling blades would virtually exterminate raptors, other birds and bats. Rodent and insect populations would soar. Add in transmission lines, solar panels and biofuel plantations to meet the rest of the world’s energy demands – and the mostly illegal tree cutting for firewood to heat poor families’ homes – and huge swaths of our remaining forest and grassland habitats would disappear.

The renewable future assumes these “eco-friendly alternatives” would provide reliable, affordable energy 24/7/365, even during windless, sunless weeks and cold, dry growing seasons. They never will, of course. That means we will have electricity and fuels when nature cooperates, instead of when we need it.

With backup power plants gone, constantly on-and-off electricity will make it impossible to operate assembly lines, use the internet, do an MRI or surgery, enjoy favorite TV shows or even cook dinner. Refrigerators and freezers would conk out for hours or days at a time. Medicines and foods would spoil.

Petrochemical feed stocks would be gone – so we wouldn’t have paints, plastics, synthetic fibers or pharmaceuticals, except what can be obtained at great expense from weather-dependent biodiesel. Kiss your cotton-polyester-lycra leggings and yoga pants good-bye.

But of course all that is really not likely to happen. It would actually be far worse.

First of all, there wouldn’t even be any wind turbines or solar panels. Without fossil fuels – or far more nuclear and hydroelectric plants, which rabid environmentalists also despise – we couldn’t mine the needed ores, process and smelt them, build and operate foundries, factories, refineries or cement kilns, manufacture and assemble turbines and panels. We couldn’t even make machinery to put in factories.

Wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce consistently high enough heat to smelt ores and forge metals. They cannot generate power on a reliable enough basis to operate facilities that make modern technologies possible. They cannot provide the power required to manufacture turbines, panels, batteries or transmission lines – much less power civilization.

My grandmother used to tell me, “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.” Well, they’d be back, as the USA is de-carbonized, de-industrialized and de-developed.

Ponder America and Europe before coal fueled the modern industrial age. Recall what were we able to do back then, what lives were like, how long people lived. Visit Colonial Williamsburg and Claude Moore Colonial Farm in Virginia, or similar places in your state. Explore rural Africa and India.

Imagine living that way, every day: pulling water from wells, working the fields with your hoe and ox-pulled plow, spinning cotton thread and weaving on looms, relying on whatever metal tools your local blacksmith shop can produce. When the sun goes down, your lives will largely shut down.

Think back to amazing construction projects of ancient Egypt, Greece or Rome – or even 18th Century London, Paris, New York. Ponder how they were built, how many people it took, how they obtained and moved the raw materials. Imagine being part of those wondrous enterprises, from sunup to sundown.

The good news is that there will be millions of new jobs. The bad news is that they’d involve mostly backbreaking labor with picks and shovels, for a buck an hour. Low-skill, low-productivity jobs just don’t pay all that well. Maybe to create even more jobs, the government will issue spoons, instead of shovels.

That will be your life, not reading, watching TV and YouTube or playing video games. Heck, there won’t even be any televisions or cell phones. Drugs and alcohol will be much harder to come by, too. (No more opioids crisis.) Water wheels and wind mills will be back in fashion. All-natural power, not all the time.

More good news: Polluting, gas-guzzling, climate-changing cars and light trucks will be a thing of the past. Instead, you’ll have horses, oxen, donkeys, buggies and wagons again … grow millions of acres of hay to feed them – and have to dispose of millions or billions of tons of manure and urine every year.

There’ll be no paved streets – unless armies of low-skill workers pound rocks into gravel, mine and grind limestone, shale, bauxite and sand for cement, and make charcoal for lime kilns. Homes will revert to what can be built with pre-industrial technologies, with no central heat and definitely no AC.

Ah, but you folks promoting the idyllic renewable energy future will still be the ruling elites. You’ll get to live better than the rest of us, enjoy lives of reading and leisure, telling us commoners how we must live. Don’t bet on it. Don’t even bet on having the stamina to read after a long day with your shovel or spoon.

As society and especially big urban areas collapse into chaos, it will be survival of the fittest. And that group likely won’t include too many Handgun Control and Gun Free Zone devotees.

But at least your climate will be stable and serene – or so you suppose. You won’t have any more extreme weather events. Sea levels will stay right where they are today: 400 feet higher than when a warming planet melted the last mile-thick glaciers that covered half the Northern Hemisphere 12,000 years ago.

At least it will be stable and serene until those solar, cosmic ray, ocean currents and other pesky, powerful natural forces decide to mess around with Planet Earth again.

Of course, many countries won’t be as stupid as the self-righteous utopian nations. They will still use fossil fuels, plus nuclear and hydroelectric, and watch while you roll backward toward the “good old days.” Those that don’t swoop in to conquer and plunder may even send us food, clothing and monetary aid (most of which will end up with ruling elites and their families, friends, cronies and private armies).

So how about this as a better option?

Stop obsessing over “dangerous manmade climate change.” Focus on what really threatens our planet and its people: North Korea, Iran, Islamist terrorism – and rampant poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death among the billions who still do not have access to electricity and the living standards it brings.

Worry less about manmade climate cataclysms – and more about cataclysms caused by policies promoted in the name of controlling Earth’s climate.

Don’t force-feed us with today’s substandard, subsidized, pseudo-sustainable, pseudo-renewable energy systems. When better, more efficient, more practical energy technologies are developed, they will replace fossil fuels. Until then, we would be crazy to go down the primrose path to renewable energy utopia.

Via email

An Inconvenient Split?

In many ways, the climate debate has hardly changed since I got interested in it about ten years ago. Public opinion wobbles up and down with hardly any real change. The same tired arguments and claims come round again: every climate conference is the last chance to save the planet; the Arctic ice is always about to vanish in one or two years, or ten years; climate scientists continue to be accused of selecting data sets to create hockeysticks and manipulating data; and teams of climate scientists keep producing reports saying almost exactly the same thing as the previous reports, which then get misrepresented and hyped by the media.

So when something does appear to change it’s worth taking note of. I have a feeling that a split may be developing on the ‘warmist’ side, between what we might call the ‘extremists’ and the ‘moderates’. Here are three recent examples of this.


Some social scientists believe that telling people that there’s a consensus on climate change acts as a ‘gateway belief‘ leading to public action, even though their own data does not really support this claim.  Others have questioned this, saying that consensus messaging is an unhelpful distraction, see Geoff’s recent post and also this paper that says that other factors such as scientific integrity are more important.

Uninhabitable Earth?

One of the most ridiculous recent alarmist articles was The Uninhabitable Earth, by a journalist for New Yorker magazine, full of doom, terror, alarm, starvation and plagues. Because of this, it got a lot of attention, which presumably was the intention, and it even has its own wikipedia page. While David Roberts at Vox said that trying to scare people in this way was fine, many mainstream climate scientists criticised the article. A team at Climate Feedback (usually used to attack sceptical articles in the media) said that its scientific credibility was low and it exaggerated the risks. New Scientist said that such doomsday scenarios were unlikely to happen, and even Michael Mann thought that the article overstated the evidence.

New Gory film

Al Gore has a new film out, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”. He’s currently in the UK promoting it, which started the recent Lawson kerfuffle.  Apparently his film has been an inconvenient flop at the box office.  It’s no surprise that Bjorn Lomborg in the Wall Street Journal says that the film misses a few inconvenient facts. But what is more inconvenient for Mr Gore is that the Guardian doesn’t like it either, describing it as “desultory and surprisingly vainglorious” and awarding it only two stars. Apparently it is “more a portrait of Gore than a call to arms”.

The left-leaning New Republic writes of The Troubling Return of Al Gore, saying “But not everyone on the left is celebrating Gore’s reemergence—and for reasons that sometimes contradict each other. Some worry he’s too polarizing a figure, and therefore could paralyze progress on climate change.” They also have a paragraph supporting the main hypothesis of this post: “This skepticism about Gore reveals a lot about the climate movement, which has fractured significantly since An Inconvenient Truth. Whereas a decade ago there was a relatively united focus on spreading awareness about climate change, today there is no clear consensus on how to fight it.”

Psychologist and climate activist Adam Corner isn’t impressed either, saying that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel could just make climate rift worse. He says the film preaches to the converted and focuses too much on Gore himself, asking “wouldn’t a smarter choice, in terms of reaching beyond the usual suspects, have been for Gore to remove himself from the picture, dial down the Republican-baiting, and instead provide a platform for new, less politically divisive voices?” And here’s another review from a believer, describing the film as “just middling”.

It’s quite hard to find a positive review of the film. The Boston Globe is reasonably positive, saying that it has a number of memorable moments, but only gives it three stars.


Exactly how much warming can be attributed to human emissions? And exactly how much to known natural causes such as solar activity, ocean currents, etc.?

And how much warming is there, anyway, really?

Gernot Patzel, an Austrian scientist of considerable standing, answers that last question in these words: “Over the past 10,000 years it has been warmer than it is today 65 percent of the time.”

There are other scientists who quibble with the statement. But that just goes to show that the issue of climate change is far from being the “settled science” proclaimed ex cathedra from the presidential podium of Barack Obama, the pages of the New York Times and other thrones of progressivism.

Despite fire ‘n’ brimstone hectoring from liberal pulpits, even the most basic tenets of the climate-change issue continue to be topics of contention. Even the simple question: What’s the temperature, globally speaking?

A recent paper by three scientists — James P. Wallace 3d, Joseph S. D’Aleo and Craig D. Idso — cast doubt on the official temperature assessments of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies.

The paper concluded that “historical data adjustments” removing “cyclical temperature patterns” have produced readings “totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.” (Seven other scientists associated with leading research universities endorsed the paper’s conclusion.)

Yes, other scientists vocally contest the paper’s thesis. But this, again, only supports the point that climate change is not the “settled science” that liberal choirs keep singing hosannas to.

Here’s another basic question climate alarmism hopes to avoid by creating noisy distractions: What about China and India? China’s now No.1 in global-warming emissions. And India’s fast moving up the ranks.

What are the chances they’ll be willing to rein in their carbon emissions — which is to say rein in their economies — in a King Canute-like gesture of commanding the planet to cool off?

Another dead giveaway that you’re in the realm of politics here, not science, is the use of lawyer-like verbal contortions, small-print qualifiers to hedge the sweeping claims of alarm.

The headlines herald disaster. But in the footnotes of its scary reports, the U.N.’s IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — adds weasel-words walking back its frightening claims.

The panel hedges its cataclysmic scenarios by couching them in terms of “confidence” levels, not actual knowledge. This is the IPCC’ s sneaky way of saying — and hoping you’ll not notice — “We actually don’t know for sure.”

After raising the spectre of soaring temperatures, melting polar caps and rising sea levels, the IPCC goes on to say — tucked away in reams of its own verbiage — that it can’t really quantify with any specificity how much of warming is attributable to nature verses how much to man.

Down below the scary, disaster-movie rhetoric, the IPCC goes on to observe — and the media to largely ignore — that even the most basic parameters of the issue are in some doubt. The IPCC’s scientists state, almost sotto voce, that “confidence in future climate projections remains low,” and the extent to which “regional climate variability will change also remains uncertain.”

Yes, it’s likely that human existence does indeed have some, maybe even significant, effect on climate. After all, even exhalation and flatulence are known to be greenhouse emissions.

Might it not be more sensible, then, to direct government grants away from hysteria-promoting, Chicken Little/Sky Is Falling “research”?

Might it not be smarter to redirect that money into potentially more useful areas? To add it to the ongoing research efforts seeking to improve the efficiency of existing energy? Or to the ongoing research efforts to develop new sources of clean energy?

Is there really a need for the government to go on pouring big sums into “studies” — actually, political manifestos mislabelled “Science” — that use their “findings” as propaganda to expand regulatory bureaucracy and revenue shakedowns?

What purpose do more and more tendentious academic treatises serve in warning us, over and over, that climate apocalypse looms just around the corner?

What purpose other than furnishing university sinecures for prophets of doom who parade around in sandwich boards proclaiming, “The end is nigh!”? What purpose besides affording other activists the opportunity to indulge themselves in self-righteous preening, in virtue-signaling?

A leading article of faith among the climate-change apocalyptics is that “renewable energy” — solar and wind — will be our savior against the Beelzebubs of oil, gas and coal.

You can get an idea how big a leap of faith this is from an Energy Information Agency statistic: Solar and wind now provide a piddling 1.6 percent of the planet’s total energy demands. (And this thanks largely to government fiat artificially driving up the price of gasoline and carbon-fueled electricity to make renewables marginally more competitive.)

Nonetheless, the federal government, and state governments, are rushing out monarch-style edicts decreeing that renewables in short order shall be major sources of energy.

King Canute at least recognized his own limitations.

He commanded the tides to recede not to show off his fanatastic powers but just the opposite — to show his subjects there are things even a king can’t accomplish. Little such humility is evident in high places these days.


The gods must be laughing—at Al Gore

By Tom Harris

Overlooked in the controversies about former Vice-President Al Gore’s global warming films, An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017), is that truth is not possible in science. Scientific hypotheses, and even scientific theories, are not truth; they can be, and often are, wrong.

Truth applies to mathematics, chess, and other endeavors in which we write the rules. It never applies to our findings about nature, which are educated opinions based on scientists’ interpretations of observations. Philosophers since ancient times have recognized that observations always have some degree of uncertainty and so they cannot prove anything to be true. Not only are our methods of observing imperfect but, as human beings subject to many influences, we all have biases that affect how we interpret what we think we see.

At first, it was mostly activists and politicians who made claims to certainty about climate change. But increasingly, more scientists now use such language as well. A prime example is scientists who work with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has repeatedly claimed that some of their major conclusions are “unequivocal,” in other words, ideas that cannot be wrong.

For instance, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Synthesis Report starts, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of…”

Although a supporter of the dangerous human-caused global warming hypothesis, Lehigh University philosophy professor Steven Goldman explained in a personal communication that the IPCC statement is faulty. It is “an attempt to persuade extra-logically,” said Goldman. “Strictly logically, no observations can lead to an ‘unequivocal’ interpretation.”

David Wojick, a Virginia-based Ph.D. in the logic and philosophy of science, disagrees with Goldman about climate change but agrees that the IPCC made a serious mistake in the Synthesis Report. “Reasoning from evidence is inductive logic,” said Wojick. “As for unequivocal, that is never the case in inductive logic.”

Yet, in speaking about the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group I co-chair Dr. Thomas Stocker asserted that “warming in the climate system is unequivocal.” Canadian historical climatologist Dr. Tim Ball calls Stocker’s statement “nonsense.”

The promotion of absolute truths in science has impeded human progress for centuries. For example, when the Greco-Egyptian writer Claudius Ptolemy proposed his Earth-centered system, he did not say it was physical astronomy, a true description of how the universe actually worked. He promoted it as mathematical astronomy, a model that worked well for astrology, astronomical observations, and creating calendars.

It was the Catholic Church that, relying on a literal interpretation of the Bible, promoted the Ptolemaic system as truth to be questioned at one’s peril. This was why Nicolaus Copernicus, a Canon in the Church, waited until he was on his death bed before he allowed his revolutionary book showing the Sun to be the center of the universe to be published, even though the text was completed three decades previous. This is also why Galileo had so much trouble when he claimed that the Church was wrong and that Copernicanism was the truth, a position that Galileo could not really know either.

Later, the assumed, unquestionable truths of Isaac Newton’s laws eventually acted to slow the advancement of science until Albert Einstein showed that there were important exceptions to the laws. When authorities preach truth about science, progress stops.

Einstein once said, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” It might be humorous to the gods, but when eco-activists like Gore succeed in suppressing debate about climate change, one of the most important issues of our age, we all lose.




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


No comments: