Friday, January 26, 2018

Jim Hansen covers his bets

He now says that it may not warm in the near future but it will eventually.  Rather reminiscent of old Christian prophecies  about the second coming of Christ.  Hansen implicitly admits that there is no evidence of warming so far outside tiny fluctuations in heavily cooked statistics.  But just you wait!  He could say the same if we were in the middle of an ice age.  It's not falsifiable and hence not science

by David Wojick

James Hansen, one of the key originators of climate change alarmism, is back in the news. This time it is with a prediction that we may see a ten year “hiatus” in global warming. He says that alarmism is not affected. I agree with his prediction but not with his conclusion. In my view alarmism is being falsified right before our eyes.

The big difference between us lies in whose temperature record this hiatus occurs. Hansen sees it as a pause in long-term human caused warming. But I see it as a continuation of almost no warming, and what little there is, is natural. This is a bit complicated, but here goes.

Hansen created one of the leading statistical models that supposedly estimates global surface temperatures. He did this as director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) so the model is called the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis or GISTEMP. (Hansen is an astronomer by training.)

This computer model shows more or less steady global warming for the last 40 years or so. This supposed warming is the primary basis for climate change alarmism.

GISTEMP has some well known problems, especially the fact that it has been repeatedly adjusted to increase the long-term warming. This in itself is a science scandal, but I think the problems with these statistical models go much deeper.

I argue in my article “Fake Temperatures” that all of these statistical surface models are worthless. Their purported global warming is actually just what is called an artifact of the model, not something real.

My basis for writing off these computer models is that the satellites, which actually measure temperatures, show no such global warming. In real science observations trump computer models.

What the satellites show is explained in my article “No CO2 warming for 40 years?” Simply put the record looks like this. First there is no warming from the beginning in 1978 until 1997, a period of roughly 20 years. Then there is what is called a Super El Nino cycle, which takes several years. After that there is again a long period of no warming. Finally there is the recent Super El Nino, the cycle of which is still in progress.

However, the second long period of no warming is warmer than the first. Thus there is indeed some global warming in this record, but it looks to be caused by the Super El Nino cycle. There is no evidence of human cause in this small warming and it is the only warming in the record.

This leads to the question: what will happen after the present Super El Nino cycle ends? What is obviously most likely is that we will see another long period of no warming. This period may well be a bit warmer than the last period, just as that period was a bit warmer than its predecessor.

So in this limited respect I agree with Hansen, which is something I never expected to happen! But while he sees a coming hiatus as just a minor glitch for climate change alarmism, I see it as another big nail in the coffin.

There simply is no evidence of human caused global warming in the entire satellite record. What small warming there is looks to be entirely natural, a bit of heat left over from a Super El Nino cycle.

If this pattern continues for another ten years it will surely mean that the hypothesis of dangerous human caused global warming is finally falsified by real world observation.


Sea-level FALL

British team unearths Roman amphitheatre at ancient port

A face appears eerily from beneath the ground at the site of an ancient port that once hustled and bustled supplying goods to the rulers of Rome.

The well-preserved statue is one of many stunning artefacts uncovered by British archaeologists, who have unearthed a major amphitheatre at Portus, close to Fiumicino airport.

The ancient gateway to the Mediterranean was twice the size of the port of Southampton and supplied the centre of the Roman Empire with food, slaves, wild animals, luxury goods and building materials for hundreds of years. It is now two miles inland.

The excavation team conducted the first ever large-scale dig at Portus, which has been described by experts as one of the major archaeological sites in the world.

Today it sits incongruously next to the airport runway and the team digs to the sound of jet engines.

The project concentrated on the banks of a hexagonal-shaped man-made lake which formed part of the 2nd century harbour, about 20 miles from the Italian capital, and found the amphitheatre inside a gigantic imperial-style palace. It could have held up to 2,000 people and is similar in size to the Pantheon in Rome.

The Roman port is now two miles from the current coastline

Portus project director Professor Simon Keay said he thought the material used to build the amphitheatre means it could have played host to the famous Roman emperors in the 2nd century.

Prof Keay said: 'This amphitheatre is, in fact, tucked away. It's at the eastern end of the palace and it's a very intimate building and you would not even know it was there unless you approached from the east.

'Its design, using luxurious materials and substantial colonnades, suggests it was used by a high status official, possibly even the emperor himself, and the activities that took place there were strictly private: it could have been games or gladiatorial combat, wild beast baiting or the staging of mock sea battles, but we really do not know.

'What we do know is it's unusual to find this type of building with elements of imperial architecture so close to a harbour.'

Portus was close to the ancient river port of Rome Ostia and was certainly very important and vital to the survival of the Roman Empire and so would have been of interest to the emperors, who would have used it to travel to and from the city.

The team has found a 295ft-wide canal that linked two huge basins where ships weighing up to 350 tonnes unloaded their cargo to Ostia. Cargo could then use the Tiber to travel to Rome.

Prof Keay said the dig is very important and has also uncovered thousands of smaller finds.  'It's going to generate a lot of rethinking about how ports were used and that will change the way we think about Rome's relationship with the Mediterranean,' he said.

'The site has been known about since the 16th century but it has never ever been given the importance it deserves. It has been grossly understudied. This is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

'Certainly it should be rated alongside such wonders as Stonehenge and Angkor Wat in Cambodia. So much of this imperial port has been preserved and there is much more to learn about its role in supplying Rome and in the broader economic development of the Roman Mediterranean.'


Greenie rag "New Scientist" admits bad motives among Warmists

THE idea that we are living in a historic, even apocalyptic, age exerts a powerful pull on the human mind. Eschatology – the theology of end times – is a religious concept, but crops up in many other systems of thought. Marxism and neo-liberalism were both driven by an “end-of-history” narrative. Scientific thinking isn’t immune either: the technological singularity has been called eschatology for geeks, and the study of existential risk even has its own centre at the University of Cambridge. You don’t have to believe in the four horsemen to see the apocalypse coming.

How credible are these worries? The end of the world itself is a given, but is so far off as not to be worth fretting about. However, the end of the world as we know it – aka Western civilisation – is a different matter. There is an emerging strand of respectable scientific thought that says its decline and fall has started already, or soon will (see “End of days: Is Western civilisation on the brink of collapse?“).

What are we to make of such claims? There seems little reason to doubt that Western civilisation will eventually collapse. Unless it is immune – by accident rather than design – to the forces of history, it will go the way of all civilisations. Recent political events and long-term environmental trends offer little comfort; artificial intelligence and synthetic biology add a more urgent threat.

But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and as yet the warnings of impending collapse don’t add up to a compelling reason to stock up on bottled water and canned food.

“For some activists, climate change was a golden opportunity to further their political agenda”
Nonetheless, we ought to give them a fair hearing. Unlike earlier civilisations, we have ways to identify subtle trends and the means to intervene.

But those making the case for action need to be canny. There is already ample scientific evidence of one real but avoidable threat to civilisation. And yet our efforts to avert it verge on the pitiful.

That threat, of course, is climate change. One of the reasons we’re struggling to deal with it is that some activists saw it as a golden opportunity to further their political agenda: reining in corporations, regulating free markets and imposing environmental legislation. For them, climate change was less of an inconvenient truth than a convenient one.

The point is not that the activists’ answers are wrong. Business as usual is a sure way to climate catastrophe. It is that they prematurely politicised the science and hence provoked pushback from people on the other side of the fence.

Evidence for an impending civilisational collapse is much weaker, but is already being politicised in a similar way. The causes being offered are familiar bugbears of the left: inequality, population growth and resource depletion. The proposed answers are equally predictable and contentious.

The risk is that this new and important science is turned into yet another culture war. Before proposing divisive solutions, scientific eschatologists need to concentrate on nailing the basic facts. Otherwise, historians of the future may judge us harshly for reading the danger signs but failing to act.


France fails to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions – Macron: ‘We are losing the battle’ against ‘global warming’

France failed to meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, the government said Monday, just a month after President Emmanuel Macron warned that “we are losing the battle” against global warming.

The environment ministry said the country emitted 463 tons of greenhouse gases, measured as carbon dioxide equivalents, or 3.6 percent more than its goal.

It attributed the slip in part to lower oil prices which can prompt people and businesses to consume more in areas such as transportation or heating.

But emissions were down 15.3 percent from 1990 levels.

As part of the Paris climate accord signed by 195 nations in 2015, France has pledged to cut carbon emissions 27 percent from 2013 levels by 2028, and by 75 percent by 2050.


Australia: Big talk, big cost, big battery but small result

On 1 December last, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill flipped the on switch for the giant lithium-ion battery at Jamestown and this facility went online.

It was a huge celebration all round for the South Australian Government which is facing what promises to be a very difficult election and the US company Tesla which constructed and installed the battery – well, actually, lots of smaller batteries – known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve.

The Reserve is designed to store 129 megawatt hours of power for use at times of acute shortage and is supposed to provide 30,000 South Australian homes power for more than an hour in the event of a failure. For the record, the 2016 Census reported that South Australia had 767,267 dwellings. Even the battery facility’s loudest champions can’t escape the unfortunate fact that a very small number of homes could only be supplied for a very short time if the facility was working at peak efficiency.

Premier Weatherill must be hoping that these lucky 30,000 homes are strategically scattered among Labor’s marginal seats.

The facility is linked to a wind farm owned and operated by French firm Neoen. Power produced there is sent to the battery facility and stored for future use.

Australia generally and South Australia in particular have been treated to a masterful public relations blitz by Tesla’s US boss Elon Musk who has long shown a remarkable ability to con money from governments and the public when both have been dazzled by his non-stop self promotion.

Typical of his behaviour was the extravagant bet that he would have the battery facility up and running within one hundred days of the contracts being signed or, he solemnly promised, it would be free. Other companies who tender for projects and then sign contracts for fixed-price projects within a required time do so quietly as a matter of course and don’t feel the need to shout about bets and gambles. They know what their contract requires and they do it or suffer penalties – just like Mr Musk’s contractual obligation. But the “bet” was good PR and everybody – including the South Australian Government lapped it up. And guess what? Mr Musk won his bet. What a surprise!

However, when very hot weather struck southern Australia in January, the battery facility proved to be seriously wanting.

On the two January days of highest temperatures, the wind was blowing so little in South Australia that it was only producing about 6.5 per cent of its capacity. South Australia was relying on Victoria for 31 per cent of its power, 23 per cent of which was provided by hydro-electricity.

According an Institute of Public Affairs analysis, wind contributed only 3.5 per cent of national energy generation on the second day of highest temperatures.

The South Australian Government has refused to say what this battery facility cost although it is generally accepted to be at least $50 million. The mere matter of taxpayers’ money is nothing compared to what Premier Weatherill calls “history in the making”.




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


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