Tuesday, November 15, 2005


(A summary of Goosse, H., Renssen, H., Timmermann, A. and Bradley, R.S. (2005): "Internal and forced climate variability during the last millennium: a model-data comparison using ensemble simulations" Quaternary Science Reviews 24: 1345-1360 from CO2 Science Magazine, 9 November 2005)


The Northern Hemispheric temperature reconstruction of Mann et al. (1999) and the global temperature reconstruction of Mann and Jones (2003) fail to clearly portray the existence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA), which failure has led many proponents of CO2-induced global warming to conclude that these multi-century intervals of relative warmth and cold were but regional temperature anomalies that occurred in certain lands surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean, as opposed to true Northern Hemisphere-wide or global phenomena forced by variations in some factor or factors external to earth's climate system.

What was done:

In the present paper, the authors "address the question as to whether the MWP and the LIA are robust features which were forced by solar and volcanic activity or whether they are representations of internal climate noise." This is done via a three-dimensional climate model that was used to perform 25 simulations over the last millennium driven by what the authors believe to be "the main natural and anthropogenic forcing." The results of these model runs were then "compared to available reconstructions in order to evaluate the relative contribution of internal and forced variability during this period."

What was learned:

The results of this "model-data comparison," in the words of Goosse et al., was that the MWP and LIA were found to be "hemispheric-scale phenomena, since the temperature averaged over the Northern Hemisphere was, respectively, generally higher/lower during those periods because of a stronger/weaker external forcing at that time."

With respect to the former of these periods, they say "the MWP was a hemispheric-scale phenomenon, at least [our italics], since the temperature averaged over the Northern Hemisphere was generally higher during the period 1000-1200 AD than during the following centuries," and they state that "this is the consequence of a global [our italics] forcing, external to the climate system itself."

Natural internal variability of the system still exerts itself, however, and in some places and at some times it masks the external global signal; and "because of this role of internal variability," as they put it, they conclude that "synchronous peak temperatures during the MWP between different locations are unlikely to have occurred." Nevertheless, they find that on local and regional scales, the external forcing results in "a higher probability for any location to have warm conditions than cold ones during the MWP."

What it means:

These findings are very significant, for they support the likely global-scale reach of the MWP and LIA. They are not yet the end of the story, however, for as noted by Goosse et al., they were "only able to test the response of the physical processes well represented in the model and processes not included might imply a different behavior," as well, we would add, as a different magnitude of temperature change. Many of the papers whose archived reviews may be found in our Subject Index, for example, portray a much warmer MWP than is suggested by the data employed by Mann et al. and Mann and Jones in developing their temperature histories. Hence, we believe it will not be too much longer before it will be impossible to deny that the MWP was at least as warm as it has been in recent decades, the significance of which conclusion resides in the fact that whatever caused the warming of the Medieval Warm Period (which we know was not CO2) could well be responsible for creating the equivalent (or possibly even lesser) warmth of the Modern Warm Period.

Nature cult's devious tactics exposed

Nature cultists have been lying for decades about the supposedly "devastating" impacts of ranching, mining, lumbering, and just about any other productive use of the Western lands that you can think of. One of their favorite tactics is to post misleading photos of "damaged" lands on their Web sites -- blithely ignoring the fact that many ecosystems depend on large ungulates (today's cattle partially replacing yestersday's bison, elk or antelope) to trample grass seeds into the ground, fertilize and stir up creeks to promote insect hatches, etc.

Down in Arivaca, Ariz., near the Mexican border, rancher Jim Chilton, 66, went on the Internet and was shocked to find a bunch of green extremists dubbed the Center for Biological Diversity had done the same job on him, posting photos which they claimed showed the harm Joe's 425 cattle were doing to his mountainous 21,500-acre leased alotment of U.S. Forest Service land. But this time, they'd picked on the wrong cowhand. True, Jim Chilton is a fifth-generation descendant of frontier settlers who still owns the first saddle he got as a child (it's now used by his 4-year-old grandson), and often spends 12-hour days in the (now presumably larger) saddle. But Jim Chilton is neither struggling economically, nor unversed in the ways of the world. Besides ranching, Joe is president of a Los Angeles municipal investment bank he co-founded, and which his oldest son now largely runs, The Wall Street Journal reported in an Aug. 19 feature story.

Mr. Chilton set about taking his own photos of the very areas the nature cultists contended his cattle had destroyed -- showing the pro-desert group's photos had been carefully framed to make isolated dirt patches amidst plentiful greenery look like some kind of war zone. His real coup, though, concerned photo No. 18 -- a shot of Joe's cattle resting on a bare stretch of sand. Joe Chilton filed a defamation lawsuit against the center in January 2004, contending the stretch of sand depicted in photo No. 18 had been the site of a big May Day weekend campout involving several hundred people only two weeks before the center's posted photo had been taken. And he produced a photo of the campout. Under oath at the two-week trial, CBD member A.J. Schneller admitted that he had attended the camporee on the Forest Service site, and knew darned well what had trampled down the land.

Mr. Chilton said he would have been happy with the vindication of a $1 damage award. But the Tucson jury was not so forgiving, awarding $600,000, including $500,000 in punitive damages against the lying anti-human green extremists, whose co-founder now says the jury award could financially devastate the group. Let's hope so. The real goal of these fruitcakes is to remove all human activity from vast swatches of the rural West (turning most of it back into an untended desert), whereupon they seem to imagine only they and their closest friends will be handed picnic permits.

And the Center for Biological Diversity is actually among the more litigious of these gangs; a third of its $3 million income in 2003 came from court awards and settlements, according to the Journal. Live by the sword, die by the sword? Jim Carlton of the Journal reports the Chilton case "if upheld, could spark a legal uprising by ranchers against environmentalists, experts say." The lawsuit "has given hope to a lot of ranching families," agrees C.B "Doc" Lane, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association. And about time.

More here

DDT Saves Lives in Fight against Malaria

The President's decision in June to spend an additional $1.2 billion over five years to halve the cases of malaria around the world was very welcome. Sadly, this noble gesture may be worth less than it should be, due to excessive reliance on bad advice and continued trust in an agency with a poor record on malaria control.

It is the current fashion in international public health to attempt malaria control with insecticide-treated bednets. However, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has been put in charge of the project, buys very few nets. In the recent past, while USAID has spent over $400 million on malaria control, analysis of the 2004 budget shows less than 10 percent of this was spent on actual commodities that save lives. USAID considers that its area of expertise is to provide technical assistance and this is consistent with why 81 percent of its 2004 budget never left the United States. While USAID advises people to sleep under bednets and doctors to buy drugs, it regards the provision of these essentials to be somebody else's job. USAID is reticent about publishing data on its projects, but in the few cases that have been detailed it was shown that, while this advice had been dispensed, neither bednets nor drugs were available.

Net Distribution is not Disease Prevention. Nevertheless, USAID touts its policy as a success and hopes to apply the model in Angola . According to its own reports: "[T]he distribution of free ITNs [insecticide treated nets] to mothers at the time they bring their children for immunizations has been very successful in both Togo and Zambia ." Ninety percent of mothers went away with bednets. But distribution is not protection; unfortunately USAID considers distribution a successful end-point. This is a fatally flawed assumption for several reasons.

In the rural areas, after six months, only 72 percent of households had even bothered to hang up the nets. iv Donald Roberts, Professor of Tropical Diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, analyzed USAID's papers for Africa Fighting Malaria-the organization that we head-and said that: "A review of data on use of insecticide treated nets in Zambia and Togo show that even when nets are provided free of charge, less than 56 percent of children possessing nets actually sleep under them. Net usage in urban areas is considerably less than the 56 percent usage in rural areas."

Only one net per household is distributed. Since children under five are at greatest risk of death, the youngest child is often allowed the protection, but what if there are several children under five in the house? What about other family members? Many malaria l mosquitoes enter houses at sunset and feed most aggressively in the early hours of darkness, so unless a child is actually in bed under the net at nightfall he is at risk. If the protected child cannot sleep and wants to get into bed with Mom and Dad, stay up late, or get up early he is at risk.

Furthermore, the insecticide-usually synthetic pyrethroids-in the net wears off after several months and, unless USAID is planning to buy long lasting insecticide nets, the net has to be taken for re-treatment. It is unclear from the reports from Zambia and Togo how many nets were brought back for re-treatment. Additionally, nets can be torn easily and subsequently offer very little protection. USAID cannot claim success in net distribution when it doesn't even know if the nets have been re-treated. None of these problems were measured in USAID-backed reports to estimate real efficacy, and, far more importantly, there was no effort to measure impact on morbidity or mortality from malaria .

The Solution: Indoor Residual Spraying. Fortunately, there are highly effective alternatives. Several southern African states have initiated their own programs using a proven prevention method along with new treatment drugs to successfully control malaria . The only problem with this method is that it is politically unpopular in the developed world, and, most dismaying, it is shunned on environmental grounds that have no relationship to usage in malaria control.

The best method of protection against malaria, in use for 50 years, is indoor residual spraying (IRS), which consists simply of spraying insecticide on the interior walls of houses. And the most effective, safest, cheapest, longest-lasting insecticide for this job is DDT-it crucially deters mosquitoes from entering a building where it has been sprayed. DDT eradicated malaria from the U.S. and Europe and its careful use led to dramatic declines in many other parts of the world. But over the last four decades environmental activists have persuaded public health professionals against using insecticide sprays, especially DDT.

Where this dubious advice has been followed, malaria rates have risen proportionately to the reduction in spraying. But fortunately, those countries that did not have to rely on foreign funding for malaria protection-and could therefore afford to make their own public health decisions-went back to using DDT. A private initiative by a mining company in Zambia, covering over 360,000 of its workers, their families, and surrounding villages, reduced malaria incidence by 50 percent in just one year. After South Africa suffered its worst ever malaria outbreak, it decided to risk Western displeasure and revert to the old methods. In one year, incidence of malaria was reduced by 80 percent. Uganda is currently considering a return to DDT but is being threatened by the European Union (EU) with sanctions against agricultural products....

Concluding his analysis of bednet distribution programs in Togo and Zambia and USAID's favored approach, Professor Roberts says: "These data show the fatal flaw of placing total reliance on use of insecticide treated nets for malaria prevention. Additionally, the costs, planning, and infrastructure required for net use are far greater and more demanding of scarce public health resources than proponents are willing to admit."

Conclusion. President Bush has shown great foresight and compassion in determining to control malaria , and has consistently mentioned the need for IRS. But by setting a target that is not measurable, and using USAID, which grudgingly accepts moderate coverage of IRS, as implementing organization, little good will come. Yet it is not too late. If the Bush Administration shifts USAID to buying malaria-preventing commodities, especially DDT, and assesses performance on actual cases and deaths rather than simple bednet distribution, real success is possible.

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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