Friday, February 23, 2018

Who is right?  Judith or Nils Axel?

Nils Axel Morner is a Swedish sea-level expert and he does searching research leading to a conclusion that the sea level is stable overall. His recent Fiji research is exemplary.  The only response to it from Warmists is an "ad hominem" one -- noting that a group of climate skeptics quite openly helped Morner with costs of his trip to Fiji.  The  Warmists see that as a fatal flaw.  They fail to see any similar problem flowing from the fact that Warmists generally have their research funded by sympathetic university departments. Universities are unbiased, you see.  Anybody who has worked in a university department will give that a horse-laugh.

Judith Curry calls herself a "lukewarmer", meaning that she accepts global warming theory but doubts that the warming will be large enough to be worth bothering about. But she does accept that there has been some sea level rise in the 20th century.

These days, just about everything bad is said to be made worse by global warming but the original scare was sea-level rise.  Both Hansen and Gore, for instance, predicted in the early '90s that substantial parts of Manhattan would be permanently underwater some time soon. If that were true, some parts of Manhattan should already by now be looking a bit watery.

Sadly, however Manhattan and most of the rest of the world are going about business as usual.  For most of the world, the sea seems to be just about where it always was.  The lay observer at least can see no change.  So Morner would seem to be the only scientist with his feet on the ground.  Only his account coincides with commonly perceived reality.

So the big threat of severe worldwide flooding seems utterly empty -- which is why a vast range of other bad outcomes from warming have been conjured up.  There have to be new fears to replace the old failed fear.

Warmists are never deterred by reality, however, and continue to assert that sea levels are rising, even if it is very slowly.  So there is a minor industry of trying to work out exactly what the sea level is doing. And most researchers agree that there is some sea level rise going on, though they all estimate only minute amounts of it.  And estimate is the word.  Gross sea level rises such as Gore and Hansen predicted would have hit you in the eye  but the tiny rises that Warmists can squeeze out of their data are very slippery. There is nothing clearly observable.  It is all guesswork.

And a moment's thought will tell you that it HAS to be guesswork.  Oceans have these pesky things called waves.  The ocean won't stay still enough for you to measure it. You can try to measure high-water marks but what if a gust of wind causes a really big splash during the day that is not repeated later in the day?  Is that the high-water mark?

In addition to those commensense limitations on measuring small changes in sea level there are more profound difficulties. Judith Curry lists some of them.  See the folowing excerpt:

"To reconstruct equilibrium sea level changes from tide gauges, account must be made of vertical shifts of the land, caused by geological processes or land use (e.g. ground water extraction). To improve scientific utility for sea level studies, numerous modern tide gauges are being augmented with automated, continuous GPS measuring instruments which records vertical land movements. Further, account must be made of non-eustatic dynamic changes in sea level due to tides, storm surges, tsunamis and large-scale ocean currents.

Further, tide gauge technology has changed over time.  Simple wooden staffs have evolved into higly sophisticated digital equipment — it is likely that the results from different equipment might not agree with each other.

A wooden staff is not going to measure with the same degree of accuracy-or under the same circumstances as a digital equipment.

Tide gauges have the following disadvantages for determining global sea level changes: uneven distribution around the world; missing data; spatial and temporal variations in ocean circulations; and land movements. Because of these disadvantages, calculating global mean sea level rise from the limited tide gauge network has proven to be difficult.

Although considerable progress has been made, further improvements to the historical record are still needed, particularly in accounting for ocean circulation changes."

Despite all that however, Judith does accept that some sea-level rise is proven.  She says:  "Global mean sea level (GMSL) has risen about 8 inches during the 20th century".

In coming to that conclusion she relies heavily on "corrected" data and Morner claims that corrections are the whole of any stated sea level rise.  For instance, Curry appears to accept the Stockholn record.  And it's true that the official Stockholm record does show a slight rise.  But what did that record show before it was "corrected"?  John Daly has the graph:

So an actual FALL in the sea level in the Baltic has been "corrected" to show the opposite.  That is some shenanigans.  But shenanigans like that are common in global warming "research".

So how do they justify their shenanigans?  They postulate just enough "isostatic uplift" to get the result they want.  By isostatic uplift they mean that the ground was rising rather than the sea level falling.  And the theory behind that is that the last ice age put such heavy glaciers on the ground that the ground sank down a bit.  So, when the glaciers retreated, the land bounced back up again.  That seems to be true.  But how come that is still happening thousands of years after the ice has gone?  It makes no sense.  It is just a theoretical fix, not reality-grounded.

It is true that in different times and places the ground does rise or fall in response to various local factors but those changes are all over the place, not just where glaciers used to be.  The most established changes are falls in the land on the East coasts of both Florida and England.  And where I live in Northern Australia, the land is geologically very ancient and very stable.  Glaciers never reached us.  Yet I have documented a notable sea-level FALL in the ocean nearby over recent decades. And let us not forget the earlier but carefully delineated sea level fall at the Isle of the Dead in Tasmania.

And that goes back to the fact that the oceans don't behave like water in a jug. Water in a jug has a fixed level.  The level in one part of a jug will be the same as the level in all other parts of the jug.  But the earth is not a jug.  It is a sphere and the water sloshes about.  So the level in one time and place will be different from the level in other times and places.  You can calculate a statistical average but there is no physical reality to it. And attributing a cause to the observed movements can only be guesswork. The RAW tide-gauge data is full of both rises and falls.  There is no detectable uniform effect -- as global warming theory would require.

But Let's get back to Stockholm and the Baltic. As a very enclosed sea situated withing a limited latitude range and little subject to air and water currents, it should be a fairly good "thermometer" of what the  sea level as a whole is doing -- if anything.  So that Stockholm data is pretty important.  So is it real?  Has the sea level really fallen that much or is it just some error of measurement?  Are there similar findings in other parts of the Baltic?  Could the Swedish scientists have been right to "adjust" it?

Hardly. The Baltic sea level really has fallen.  You can see evidence of it that no adjustment can hide. In the ancient Hanseatic port city of Talinn in Estonia at the East end of the Baltic you can see where the old sea walls used to be.  But they are about a kilometer inland from the present sea-shore.  As the sea level has fallen, Talinn has gained several hectares of new land where the sea used to be.  Even the most dedicated Warmists would have difficulty adjusting that out of existence.  So there are places on earth where the sea level has fallen and places where it has risen.  The situation is nothing like what global warming theory predicts.

Nils Axel Morner is the one in touch with reality. Now that she is retired maybe Judith too can become more skeptical -- JR.

Stronger Law on Foreign Agents Eyed Amid Russia’s Links to Green Groups

Congress appears ready to crack down on individuals and groups who work on behalf of Russia and other foreign nations but don’t fully disclose those ties.

Legislation toughening requirements and closing loopholes in the 80-year-old Foreign Agents Registration Act is advancing in response to growing concerns that some advocacy groups and lobbyists have been permitted to conceal financial and other connections with foreign governments.

In a recent phone interview with The Daily Signal, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., who introduced the legislation amending the law, expressed confidence that his bill could clear both houses of Congress with broad support.

The law isn’t achieving all that it should, Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow at  the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market think tank based in Washington, told The Daily Signal.

“The Foreign Agents Registration Act calls on individuals and organizations to provide full disclosure when they are working to advance the public policy interests of a foreign government,” Cohen said.

“This appears to be exactly what these green groups are doing,” he added, “and the law should be applied to them.”

In a letter  to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last summer, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, asked for the administration to look into allegations that the Russian government has funded U.S. environmental groups surreptitiously in a “propaganda war against fossil fuels.”

Such concerns have motivated lawmakers on the House and Senate judiciary committees to move quickly on his legislation, Johnson told The Daily Signal.

The letter from Smith, chairman of the House’s Science, Space and Technology Committee, describes how “publicly available reports connect the dots” of a complex scheme by the Russian government to “advance a political agenda with little or no paper trail” against the U.S. energy sector.

The letter says Moscow primarily targets innovative drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing, widely known as fracking, that make it possible to extract natural gas deposits from shale formations.

Smith cites government and other reports that Russia steers funds to U.S. environmental groups, often in the form of anonymous donations, so that those groups may bankroll what the Texas Republican calls “covert anti-fracking campaigns.”

What Moscow Knows

“Russia has a long track record of funding ‘green’ groups as part of an effort to slow down, if not stop altogether, domestic energy production,” Luke Coffey, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy, said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:

This has been particularly the case regarding fracking. European governments have also faced similar challenges from Russia, because Moscow knows that each barrel of oil produced in the USA or Europe is one less needed from Russia.

Ken Stiles, a 29-year veteran of the CIA, told The Daily Signal in a recent interview that congressional investigators identified a “money trail” suggesting a connection between the Russian government and activist groups opposing fracking operations and pipeline construction in vartious parts of the country.

As previously reported by The Daily Signal, Stiles suspects two anti-pipeline groups in Virginia are “agents of influence” unknowingly operating on behalf of Moscow under Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Those campaigns fell short of obstructing pipeline projects, but environmental advocacy groups have succeeded in blocking natural gas development in New York and other states.

“A very important consideration is whether these domestic forces among U.S. environmental groups actually know that they are being targeted and exploited by the Russians,” Paul Kengor, a Grover City College political science professor, said in an email to The Daily Signal.

“Moreover, if they are willfully working with Vladimir Putin’s Russia—deliberate collusion—then that would be egregious and a very serious matter demanding our government’s fully investigating the situation,” Kengor said.

“If these U.S. environmentalists are mere dupes,” he said, “that’s not legally or even morally as bad, but I think they’d have at least a moral obligation to change their ways if and once they’ve realized they’re being targeted and exploited.”

Kengor, a biographer of Ronald Reagan, added:

"Finally, politically speaking, consider the striking irony here: We have the apparent possibility of liberals from the environmental movement working with and helping Putin and the Russians at the very moment that liberals have been screaming about alleged cooperation between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russians. Imagine that."


Survey results show Christians becoming less concerned about the environment

There has been no "greening of Christianity" among people in the pews, despite efforts by some religious leaders to emphasize environmental stewardship, according to new Indiana University research.

David Konisky of IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs analyzed 20 years of survey results from Gallup public opinion polls in one of the first major studies of how attitudes about the environment by self-identified U.S. Christians have shifted over time.

He found that environmentalism is not increasing, and there are signs it is actually in decline. For example, Konisky's analysis of the survey responses from 1990 through 2015 indicates that Christians, compared to atheists, agnostics and individuals who do not affiliate with a religion, are less likely to prioritize environmental protection over economic growth, and they are more likely than others to believe global warming is exaggerated.

For example, the likelihood that a Christian survey respondent expressed a great deal of concern about climate change dropped by about a third between 1990 and 2015.

The pattern generally holds across Catholic, Protestant and other Christian denominations and does not vary depending on levels of religiosity.

"This relationship between religion and the environment is significant because of the increasing importance of climate change," Konisky said. "There may come a time when religious leaders and faith-based organizations generate more interest in protecting the environment and more willingness to demand action, but we haven't seen it yet."

The current lack of enthusiasm comes despite high-profile calls for action such as the encyclical letter on the environment released by Pope Francis in 2015 and despite initiatives led by Evangelical Protestant groups, such as the formation of the Evangelical Environmental Network.

While those efforts are relatively recent, Konisky said there is a historical divide in how Christians view their relationship to the planet: "Some believe in the importance of stewardship and practice an ethic of 'creation care,' while others believe in human dominion over the Earth, a belief that undermines any obligation to protect the environment."

Konisky said more research is needed to determine whether that belief in human dominion or some other aspect of how people experience religion is influencing a reduced concern for the environment.


US Blizzards, Snowfalls Have Increased Since1950s, Surprising Global Warming Climatologists

On January 4 NTZ weekly contributor Kenneth Richard published a list of 485 papers dumping cold water on climate alarmism in 2017.

Looking through the list I find published papers showing that snowfall frequency has in fact increased over the the past 60 years!

Blizzard activity jumps fourfold

For example a paper by Coleman and Schwartz, 2017 revealed 713 blizzards over the 55 years with 57 federal disaster declarations resulting. Of these 57 declared disasters, more than a half have occurred since the year 2000.

The published scientific study also founds that "seasonal blizzard frequencies displayed a distinct upward trend, with a more substantial rise over the past two decades".

It adds that the modeled increase in blizzard activity showed a "nearly fourfold upsurge between the start and end of the study period at 5.9 and 21.6 blizzards, respectively". If the trend continues, then we would need to expect even more such blizzards.

In a another publication, Changnon, 2017 evaluated heavy 30-day snowfall amounts east of the Rockies in the United States during the period 1900-2016. The comprehensive data assessment identified 507 stations in this long-term climate study.

The author examined the top 30-day heavy snowfall amount and the average of the top five 30-day heavy snowfall amounts. The findings also surprised global warming scientists who warned earlier that snowfall would become less frequent as the globe warmed. The publications abstract reads:

The northern Great Plains, Great Lakes, Midwest, and Northeast experienced more top five periods [more snow] in the second half of the 117-year period [1958-2016], where most of the southern states experienced top five periods throughout the study period."

Finally a study conducted by Hatchett et al., 2017 found a "winter snow level rise in the northern Sierra Nevada from 2008 to 2017". Sea surface temperatures offshore California were observed to be related to snow cover.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef

By Professor Peter Ridd.  His university is desperate to shut him up as he tells basic scientific truth, which they  see as threatening the funding that they have bought with lies and alarmism. Ridd leads the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Australia and has authored over 100 scientific papers

Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.

The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.

Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.

And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.

My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.

The problems I am facing are part of a “replication crisis” that is sweeping through science and is now a serious topic in major science journals. In major scientific trials that attempt to reproduce the results of scientific observations and measurements, it seems that around 50 percent of recently published science is wrong, because the results can’t be replicated by others.

And if observations and measurements can’t be replicated, it isn’t really science – it is still, at best, hypothesis, or even just opinion. This is not a controversial topic anymore – science, or at least the system of checking the science we are using, is failing us.

The crisis started in biomedical areas, where pharmaceutical companies in the past decade found that up to 80 percent of university and institutional science results that they tested were wrong. It is now recognized that the problem is much more widespread than the biomedical sciences. And that is where I got into big trouble.

I have published numerous scientific papers showing that much of the “science” claiming damage to the reef is either plain wrong or greatly exaggerated. As just one example, coral growth rates that have supposedly collapsed along the reef have, if anything, increased slightly.

Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.

These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s.

By a decade later, studies of the reef had exploded, along with the number of marine biologists doing them. What all these scientists lacked, however, was historical perspective. There are almost no records of earlier eras to compare with current conditions. Thus, for many scientists studying reef problems, the results are unprecedented, and almost always seen as catastrophic and even world-threatening.

The only problem is that it isn’t so. The Great Barrier Reef is in fact in excellent condition. It certainly goes through periods of destruction where huge areas of coral are killed from hurricanes, starfish plagues and coral bleaching. However, it largely regrows within a decade to its former glory. Some parts of the southern reef, for example, have seen a tripling of coral in six years after they were devastated by a particularly severe cyclone.

Reefs have similarities to Australian forests, which require periodic bushfires. It looks terrible after the bushfire, but the forests always regrow. The ecosystem has evolved with these cycles of death and regrowth.

The conflicting realities of the Great Barrier Reef point to a deeper problem. In science, consensus is not the same thing as truth. But consensus has come to play a controlling role in many areas of modern science. And if you go against the consensus you can suffer unpleasant consequences.

The main system of science quality control is called peer review. Nowadays, it usually takes the form of a couple of anonymous reviewing scientists having a quick check over the work of a colleague in the field.

Peer review is commonly understood as painstaking re-examination by highly qualified experts in academia that acts as a real check on mistaken work. It isn’t.  In the real world, peer review is often cursory and not always even knowledgeable. It might take reviewers only a morning to do.

Scientific results are rarely reanalyzed and experiments are not replicated. The types of checks that would be routine in private industry are just not done.

I have asked the question: Is this good enough quality control to make environmental decisions worth billions of dollars that are now adversely affecting every major industry in northeast Australia?

Our sugar industry has been told to make dramatic reductions in fertilizer application, potentially reducing productivity; our ports have dredging restrictions that threaten their productivity; scientists demand that coal mines be closed; and tourists are scared away because the reef is supposedly almost dead – not worth seeing anymore.

Last August I made this point on Sky News in Australia in promotion of a chapter I wrote in “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” published by the Australian free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organizations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies … the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” I said.

The response to these comments by my employer, James Cook University, was extraordinary. Rather than measured argument, I was hit with a charge of academic serious misconduct for not being “collegial.”

University authorities told me in August I was not allowed to mention the case or the charges to anybody – not even my wife.

Then things got worse. With assistance from the Institute of Public Affairs, I have been pushing back against the charges and the gag order – leading the university to search my official emails for examples of where I had mentioned the case to other scientists, old friends, past students and my wife.

I was then hit with 25 new allegations, mostly for just mentioning the case against me. The email search turned up nothing for which I feel ashamed. You can see for yourself.

We filed in court in November. At that point the university backed away from firing me. But university officials issued a “Final Censure” in my employment file and told me to be silent about the allegations, and not to repeat my comments about the unreliability of institutional research.

But they agreed that I could mention it to my wife, which was nice of them.

I would rather be fired than accept these conditions. We are still pursuing the matter in court.

This case may be about a single instance of alleged misconduct, but underlying it is an issue even bigger than our oceans. Ultimately, I am fighting for academic and scientific freedom, and the responsibility of universities to nurture the debate of difficult subjects without threat or intimidation.

We may indeed have a Great Barrier Reef crisis, but the science is so flawed that it is impossible to tell its actual dimensions. What we do know for certain is that we have an academic freedom crisis that threatens the true life of science and threatens to smother our failing university system.




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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