Sunday, February 18, 2018

Snow-covered beaches? Chilly iguanas? They are part of a mysterious ‘hole’ in global warming

Mysterious is the word.  You can't have a hole in warming. Thermodynamics would not allow it.  The "hole" discussed below is just a fancy name for saying that over large areas reality does not match the theory.  It's just another example of special pleading, which always weakens the theory.  In science, very little special pleading would be tolerated before the theory is discarded

Frigid iguanas in Florida. Snowball fights on North Carolina’s beaches. Recent winters have delivered a bitter chill to the Southeast, reinforcing attitudes among some that global warming is a fraud.

But according to a scientific study published this month, the Southeast’s colder winter weather is part of an isolated trend, linked to a more wavy pattern in the jet stream that crosses North America. That dipping jet stream allows artic air to plunge into the Southeast. Scientists call this colder weather a “hole” in overall global warming, or a “warming hole.”

“What we are looking at is an anomaly,” said Jonathan M. Winter, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and the principle investigator in the study. “The Southeast is the exception to the rule.”

Winter and lead author Trevor F. Partridge, a Dartmouth graduate student, say this year’s extreme cold in Southeast could be a product of the warming hole. “It is the same mechanism that causes this bitterly cold air to come down,” said Winter.

The Southeast’s warming hole has been studied many times before, but the Dartmouth study in Geophysical Research Letters nails down some of its key features. The study concludes the trend started in the late 1950s, and is concentrated in six states — Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Nearby states are also affected, such as east Texas, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Either because of coincidence or cooler climes, residents of these states tend to be relatively doubtful that global warming is happening and is largely caused by human activities, according to surveys compiled by Yale and George Mason universities.

As some streets flood from king tide events, Miami Beach launched an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise. The city will spend between $400 to $500 million over the next five years. (From March 15, 2016.) Emily MichotMiami Herald

Yale researchers are now curious the “warming hole” has influenced opinions about climate change in the region. “That is something we are actively investigating,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was one of the warmest years on record globally. But during snows and freezes of the last two months, some Americans scoffed at such claims. This included President Trump, who tweeted right before New Year’s Eve that “perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming.”

The unusually cold weather has produced a mix of outcomes for farmers, wildlife and human residents. South Carolina peach farmers welcome a certain number of cold winter days for their trees to produce a full crop. But they’ve been walloped when a freeze arrives late, as have Florida’s citrus growers and Georgia’s Vidalia onion farmers.

Across the region, the cold helps knock pests, but it can stress native flora and fauna. Some 35 manatees died of cold stress syndrome in January, according to a preliminary report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The cold also numbed the state’s invasive iguanas, some of which started falling out of trees in January, prompting Floridians to rush to their rescue.

Climate change scientists say the Southeast is an illustration of how global warming is not a globally uniform phenomena. Certain regions will see different effects than others, based on El Ninos and other natural weather patterns.

In the arctic, a natural phenomenon known as the polar vortex is a huge driver of colder winters. When the polar vortex is stable, arctic cold air is contained by the jet stream flowing to the south.

But when the jet stream is wavy, it allows frigid winds to blow down into the Southeast, a pattern that has repeated itself in many, but not all, years since the 1960s.

What is causing the more wavy jet stream?

A study published last year suggested that rapidly melting arctic ice sheets, an impact of climate change, could be contributing. But cyclical patterns in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans could also be important factors, say the Dartmouth researchers and scientists who wrote about the warming hole for the third National Climate Assessment in 2014.

“From our research, we are confident there is a natural variability component,” said Winter. “We hypothesize there is a contribution of climate change. But we don’t want to get out over our ski tips on that.”

The Southeast’s warming hole tends to last through the winter and spring. After that, the warming hole tends to shift to the Midwest, where evaporation from large-scale agricultural production causes an abnormal cooling affect, says the study.

The Dartmouth researchers based their findings on examining NOAA data from 1,407 temperature stations and 1,722 rain stations across the United States, from 1901 until 2015. They then identified stations that were persistently cooler than average from 1960 to 2015, which gave them their results on the six states at the center of the warming hole.

Overall, daily temperatures in the hole have cooled by an average of 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1958, whereas global average temperatures have risen 1 degree over the same time period.

The southeastern United States is one of two major warming holes globally. The other is in the North Atlantic Ocean, where a mysterious “blob” of cold water has concentrated near where Greenland’s ice sheets are melting. Is there a connection? Scientists are studying if influxes of fresh water from melting sea ice are disrupting currents, known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which carries warm water north from the equator.


New Paper: "No significant trend" in hurricanes

“Continental United States Hurricane Landfall Frequency and Associated Damage: Observations and Future Risks“

The abstract reveals findings that contradicts the mainstream news narrative about hurricanes during 2017. It cites other studies with similar findings (all ignored by journalists). Roger Pielke Jr. mentioning some of this data got him labeled a “climate denier” by climate activists (details here). The conclusions are a clear example of focused research applied to questions important for America.

“While United States landfalling hurricane frequency or intensity shows no significant trend since 1900, growth in coastal population and wealth have led to increasing hurricane-related damage along the United States coastline. Continental United States (CONUS) hurricane-related inflation-adjusted damage has increased significantly since 1900. However, since 1900 neither observed CONUS landfalling hurricane frequency nor intensity show significant trends, including the devastating 2017 season.

“Two large-scale climate modes that have been noted in prior research to significantly impact CONUS landfalling hurricane activity are El Niño-Southern Oscillation on interannual timescales and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation on multi-decadal timescales. La Niña seasons tend to be characterized by more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do El Niño seasons, and positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation phases tend to have more CONUS hurricane landfalls than do negative phases.

“Growth in coastal population and regional wealth are the overwhelming drivers of observed increases in hurricane-related damage. As the population and wealth of the US has increased in coastal locations, it has invariably led to the growth in exposure and vulnerability of coastal property along the US Gulf and East Coasts. Unfortunately, the risks associated with more people and vulnerable exposure came to fruition in Texas and Florida during the 2017 season following the landfalls of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Total economic damage from those two storms exceeded $125 billion.

“Growth in coastal population and exposure is likely to continue in the future, and when hurricane landfalls do occur, this will likely lead to greater damage costs than previously seen. Such a statement is made recognizing that the vast scope of damage from hurricanes often highlight the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of building codes, flood maps, infrastructure, and insurance in at-risk communities.”

We are told that global warming makes hurricanes worse — some combination of more frequent and more intense (depending on the source). There is an easy first test of this. The world has been warming since the middle of the 19th century. The IPCC’s AR5 tells us that…

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

What is the trend in hurricane activity during the past 12 decades? One of the best records is that of landfalls on continental US. The authors show the data. First, all hurricane landfalls. Then landfalls of major hurricanes (Saffir-Simpson Category 3-5). These cause over 80% of all hurricane-related damages. Do you see any trend in either graph, in the “natural” era (1900-1950) or the anthropogenic era (1951-2017)?


Overheated claims on temperature records

It’s time for sober second thoughts on climate alarms

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Now that the excitement has died down over the news that Earth’s surface temperature made 2017 one of the hottest years on record, it is time for sober second thoughts.

Did the January 18 announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that 2017 was our planet’s third-hottest year since 1880, and NASA’s claim that it was the second hottest year, actually mean anything?

Although the Los Angeles Times called 2017 “a top-three scorcher for planet Earth,” neither the NOAA nor the NASA records are significant. One would naturally expect the warmest years to come during the most recent years of a warming trend. And thank goodness we have been in a gradual warming trend since the depths of the Little Ice Age in the late 1600s! Back then, the River Thames was covered by a meter of ice, as Jan Grifier’s 1683 painting “The Great Frost’ illustrates.

Regardless, recent changes have been too small for even most thermometers to notice. More important, they are often less than the government’s estimates of uncertainty in the measurements. In fact, we lack the data to properly and scientifically compare today’s temperatures with the past.

This is because, until the 1960s, surface temperature data was collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which constitute 70 percent of the planet’s surface area, had more than an occasional station separated from its neighbors by thousands of kilometers or miles.

The data collected at the weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit). In most cases, the real-world accuracy was no better than +/-1 deg C (1.8 deg F). Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful. Displaying average global temperature to tenths or even hundreds of a degree, as is done in the NOAA and NASA graphs, clearly defies common sense.

Modern weather station surface temperature data is now collected using precision thermocouples. But, starting in the 1970s, less and less ground surface temperature data was used for plots such as those by NOAA and NASA. This was done initially because governments believed satellite monitoring could take over from most of the ground surface data collection.

However, the satellites did not show the warming forecast by computer models, which had become so crucial to climate studies and energy policy-making. So bureaucrats closed most of the colder rural surface temperature sensing stations – the ones furthest from much warmer urban areas – thereby yielding the warming desired for political purposes.

Today, virtually no data exist for approximately 85 percent of the earth’s surface. Indeed, fewer weather stations are in operation now than in 1960.

That means surface temperature computations by NOAA and NASA after about 1980 are meaningless. Combining this with the problems with earlier data renders an unavoidable conclusion: It is not possible to know how Earth’s so-called average surface temperature has varied over the past century and a half.

The data is therefore useless for input to the computer models that form the basis of policy recommendations produced by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and used to justify eliminating fossil fuels, and replacing them with renewable energy.

But the lack of adequate surface data is only the start of the problem. The computer models on which the climate scare is based are mathematical constructions that require the input of data above the surface, as well as on it. The models divide the atmosphere into cubes piled on top of each other, ideally with wind, humidity, cloud cover and temperature conditions known for different altitudes. But we currently have even less data above the surface than on it, and there is essentially no historical data at altitude.

Many people think the planet is adequately covered by satellite observations, data that represents global 24/7 coverage and is far more accurate than anything determined at weather stations. But the satellites are unable to collect data from the north and south poles, regions that the IPCC, NOAA and NASA tout as critical to understanding global warming. Besides, space-based temperature data collection did not start until 1979, and 30 years of weather data are required to generate a single data point on a climate graph.

So the satellite record is far too short to allow us to come to useful conclusions about climate change.

In fact, there is insufficient data of any kind – temperature, land and sea ice, glaciers, sea level, extreme weather, ocean pH,  and so on – to be able to determine how today’s climate differs from the past. Lacking such fundamental data, climate forecasts cited by climate activists therefore have no connection with the real world.

British Professor Hubert Lamb is often identified as the founder of modern climatology. In his comprehensive 1972 treatise, Climate: Past, Present and Future, he clearly showed that it is not possible to understand climate change without having vast amounts of accurate weather data over long time frames. Lamb also noted that funding for improving the weather database was dwarfed by money being spent on computer models and theorizing. He warned that this would result in wild and unsubstantiated theories and assertions, while predictions failed to improve. That is precisely what happened.

Each and every prediction made by the computer models cited by the IPCC have turned out to be incorrect. Indeed, the first predictions they made for the IPCC’s 1990 Assessment Report were so wrong that the panel started to call them “projections” and offered low, medium and high “confidence” ranges for future guesstimates, which journalists, politicians and others nevertheless treated as reliable predictions for future weather and climate.

IPCC members seemed to conclude that, if they provided a broad enough range of forecasts, one was bound to be correct. Yet, even that was too optimistic. All three ranges predicted by the IPCC have turned out to be wrong.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is right to speak about the need for a full blown public debate among scientists about the causes and consequences of climate change. In his February 6 television interview on KSNV, an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, Mr. Pruitt explained:

“There are very important questions around the climate issue that folks really don’t get to. And that’s one of the reasons why I’ve talked about having an honest, open, transparent debate about what do we know, and what don’t we know, so the American people can be informed and they can make decisions on their own with respect to these issues.”

On January 30, Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that a “red team-blue team exercise” (an EPA-sponsored debate between climate scientists holding differing views) is under consideration. It is crucially important that such a debate take place.

The public needs to understand that even the most basic assumptions underlying climate concerns are either in doubt or simply wrong. The campaign to force America, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world to switch from abundant and affordable coal and other fossil fuels – to expensive, unreliable, land intensive alternatives – supposedly to control Earth’s always fluctuating climate, will then finally be exposed for what it really is: the greatest, most damaging hoax in history.

Via email. Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition

Bitter cold at Winter Olympics chills global-warming hype

The bone-chilling cold and icy winds in Pyeongchang have contributed to any number of wipe-outs for Olympic skiers and snowboarders, not to mention a public-relations face plant for the climate-change movement.

Its dire warnings about how the Winter Olympics face an existential threat from global warming have been all but buried by the flurry of reports about frigid conditions at the 2018 games in South Korea, which are expected to set an Olympic record for cold temperatures.

Climate activists have also been frustrated by a lack of global-warming coverage by NBC Sports, prompting a social-media campaign led by Public Citizen, Protect Our Winters and Climate Nexus urging the network to stop the “climate whiteout.”

“Winter sports are taking a huge hit from our warming planet and the athletes who depend on cold weather and snow—are witnessing and experiencing climate change first hand,” they said in a statement on Alternet. “We can no longer talk about the Winter Olympics without warming.”

This year, however, it’s impossible to talk about the Olympics without freezing. Organizers handed out blankets and heat pads to spectators at Friday’s opening ceremony, which was shortened by two hours in response to wind-chill temperatures that dipped below zero.

A number of skiing events have been delayed as a result of high winds and ice pellets, and reports of spectators leaving outdoor events early in order to escape the brutal cold are rampant.

“It was unbelievably cold,” ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan told the AP. “The noise of the wind at the top of the jump was incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like that on the World Cup circuit. I said to myself, ‘Surely, they are going to cancel this.’”

Skeptics like Climate Depot’s Marc Morano couldn’t resist needling leading environmental groups as they struggled to keep the global-warming theme afloat.

“More bad luck for climate activists as they push for more talk of ‘global warming’ during what is perhaps the coldest Olympics on record,” said Mr. Morano, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.”

“The activists had the climate script written well in advance of the Olympics, but their message has literally been frozen out by the extreme cold,” he said in an email. “Despite this cold reality, the activists demand that the climate narrative go forth.”

Climate groups have touted an updated 2014 study by University of Waterloo geography professor Daniel Scott, whose climate models found that nine of the 21 previous host cities would be too warm by midcentury to accommodate the games.

“According to Scott’s research, using emissions projections in which global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise through midcentury and global temperatures increase by 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, nine of the host locations will be too hot to handle the Games,” said the University of Waterloo in a Jan. 12 press release.

The last two winter games—Sochi in 2014 and Vancouver in 2010—saw organizers bring in artificial snow after being hit with unexpected warm temperatures.

Since the 1920s, the average temperatures at the Winter Olympics have risen from about 33 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 46 degrees for games held since 2000, according to Yale Climate Connections.

“The climate in many traditional winter sports regions isn’t what it used to be, and fewer and fewer places will be able to host the Olympic Winter Games as global warming accelerates,” said Mr. Scott in a statement.

The problem with climate models in general is their shaky track record, said University of Colorado Boulder meteorologist Roger A. Pielke Sr.

“Such claims are based on climate models that have shown essentially no skill at predicting multidecadal changes in regional climate statistics when tested against observed multidecadal regional climate changes and variations over the past decades (called “hindcasting”),” said Mr. Pielke in an email.

“If they cannot skillfully predict such changes in the past, we should have no confidence in what they tell us with respect to the coming decades,” he said. “Claims to the contrary are based on political advocacy and not robust science.”

The 2018 Winter Olympics are on pace to go down as the coldest in recorded history, with night temperatures in Pyeongchang falling as low as -20 degrees Celsius, or -4 Fahrenheit, according to Reuters.

Such a mark would easily surpass the record of -11 degrees Celsius set at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

David Arkush, managing director of Public Citizen, argued that the overall trend still supports warmer global temperatures and what his group described as “disappearing winters.”

“Nothing in climate science says the temperature today must always be higher than yesterday or one year ago,” he said in an email. “But the overall warming trend is unmistakable and alarming.”

He pointed to quotes from skiers and other winter athletes who have said deteriorating snow conditions have made it more difficult to train.

“It’s a scary thing right now for winter sports,” U.S. aerials coach Matt Saunders told AP. “There’s fewer and fewer places and all the glaciers are melting. It’s definitely getting harder and harder to get on snow early, for sure. We are having to travel further and further.”

Climate activists have also argued that frigid weather is consistent with global warming—former Vice President Al Gore said last month that bitter cold is “exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis”—prompting skeptics to accuse them of adjusting their theories to fit the latest weather patterns.

The International Olympic Committee has seen a drop in interest in cities interested in hosting both the summer and winter games, although for reasons related more to rising costs—Sochi spent a mind-boggling $51 billion—and lack of public support than climate change.

Six European localities have pulled out or opted not to make bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics, and only four cities have shown interest in the 2026 winter games.


Permitting reform is key for economic growth, infrastructure planning, and national security

You may not know it, but a hearing on Capitol Hill today, in the House Natural Resources Committee, will have an impact on every American. The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources is holding a hearing on legislation introduced by Rep. Mark E. Amodei (R-Nev.), H.R. 520, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. The U.S. has become increasingly dependent on imports of these minerals despite having an abundance of many of them. Congress and the Trump administration are looking to change the permitting process for not just these mines, but for all projects.

Last year, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a report frightening report titled, “Critical Mineral Resources of the United States— Economic and Environmental Geology and Prospects for Future Supply.” The report lists minerals that are important for the economic health and national security of the U.S.:

Antimony (Sb), barite (barium, Ba), beryllium (Be), cobalt (Co), fluorite or fluorspar (fluorine, F), gallium (Ga), germanium (Ge), graphite (carbon, C), hafnium (Hf), indium (In), lithium (Li), manganese (Mn), niobium (Nb), platinum-group elements (PGE), rare-earth elements (REE), rhenium (Re), selenium (Se), tantalum (Ta), tellurium (Te), tin (Sn), titanium (Ti), vanadium (V), and zirconium (Zr).

The world as we know it cannot exist without these critical minerals. Cobalt is one of the most essential minerals on the list. Just about every battery on the planet has cobalt in it, including cell phones and electric vehicles. The military and civilian aviation use cobalt in jet engines. Life would be very different from what we know without this mineral.

A group of elements known as rare earth elements is probably the most important. The group represents 15 elements between atomic numbers 57 and 71. The elements have unusual physical and chemical properties that give them multiple applications.

The most common use for rare earth elements is in magnets. Two magnets used extensively in military technologies are samarium cobalt (SmCo), and neodymium iron boron (NdFeB). These are powerful magnets. The NdFeB magnet is considered the world’s strongest permanent magnet. This allows a small magnet to be used instead of a larger device and aides in the miniaturization of technology.  SmCo magnets are used for high-temperature applications where stability over a wide range of temperatures is essential.

The Congressional Research Service listed defense-related applications for REEs:

fin actuators in missile guidance and control systems, controlling the direction of the missile;

disk drive motors installed in aircraft, tanks, missile systems, and command and control centers;

lasers for enemy mine detection, interrogators, underwater mines, and countermeasures;

satellite communications, radar, and sonar on submarines and surface ships; and

optical equipment and speakers.

It’s pretty clear we do not have a worthy Defense Department without these critical minerals. Unfortunately, the U.S. is 100 percent dependent on foreign mines to supply U.S. needs, and China supplies 97 percent of the world’s supply. Yes, that is right. The U.S. military is dependent on an adversary nation for its weapons systems.

The bill has passed the House in previous Congresses but continuously dies in the Senate. That could change with President Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan, the key of which calls for a reduction in regulations for projects. Currently, the permitting process for projects takes years and crosses multiple agencies. According to the Department of Transportation, the median length of time to complete an environmental impact study is 3.5 years, and that is just some asphalt for a road.

The process gets much more cumbersome when discussing the mining industry. The average time for final permitting approval in the U.S. is 7-10 years, while Canada and Australia average just two years. Mining consulting giant, Behre Dolbear, listed “permitting delays” as the most significant risk to mining projects. Who is willing to invest hundreds of millions in a project before even a shovel of dirt can be dug up? This is not the way to stir economic growth.

President Trump and Congress must pass permitting reform before the infrastructure bill is passed. It does no good to pass an infrastructure bill without permitting reform. If that were to happen, the money would disappear into the federal bureaucracy instead of going to the needed projects. H.R. 520 must be included in the permitting reform. In fact, the upcoming budget is the perfect place to put the legislation with the rest of the permitting reform. President Trump and the Republicans should use their leverage to press permitting reform. By putting it in the budget, it is one less thing that can be bargained away in the infrastructure negotiating process.




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


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Reality is not supported by the data.