Sunday, July 29, 2007

Global warming now causes chunks of ice to fall from the sky!

Is there NOTHING global warming cannot do? Global warming has become the modern version of witchcraft: An explanation for every untoward event

Large chunks of ice, one of them reportedly about 50 pounds, fell from the sky Thursday in this northeast Iowa city, smashing through a woman's roof and tearing through nearby trees. Authorities are unsure of the ice's origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere - both rare occurrences.

"It sounded like a bomb!" said 78-year-old Jan Kenkel, who was standing in her kitchen when an ice chunk crashed through her roof at about 5:30 a.m. "I jumped about a foot!" She traced the damage to her television room, where she found a messy pile of insulation, bits of ceiling, splintered wood and about 50 pounds of solid ice.

At about the same time Thursday morning, Karle and Mary Beth Wigginton heard a loud "whoosh" coming through the trees. The couple, who live one street away from Kenkel, discovered several large chunks of ice in front of their home and some smaller ones in the yard and in the street. "I could see where branches were shredded, which told me it was definitely coming out of the sky," Karle Wigginton said. He estimated the original chunk of ice was the size of a basketball. "It was pure white," he said. "The main parts I picked up were very smooth."

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said investigators will contact Kenkel to try to determine the source of the ice. "It is very uncommon for something like this to come from an aircraft," Cory said. "That is really unusual if it is pure white ice, especially at this time of year." Occasionally, aircraft latrines discharge contents at altitude, resulting in colored chunks of descending ice. Airplanes also sometimes accumulate ice on their edges in certain atmospheric conditions, including high altitude and extreme moisture, said Robert Grierson, the Dubuque Regional Airport manager and a pilot.

The moisture involved in such a scenario could have come from the tops of strong thunderstorms. However, Dubuque had clear skies at the time the ice fell, said Andy Ervin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Davenport. "There was nothing unusual going on." David Travis, a professor of geography and geology and an associate dean at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has studied the phenomenon of large chunks of ice falling from a clear sky. He said it's possible the ice could have been a megacryometeor - "similar to a hailstone, but without the thunderstorm." Travis is part of a research team that has documented more than 50 possible megacryometeor cases during the past five years. Some involve ice chunks the size of microwave ovens. "It is hard to keep something like that suspended in air without a thunderstorm," Travis said. Most megacryometeor sightings have occurred in coastal areas, where atmospheric turbulence helps keep ice suspended long enough to grow into large chunks.

Travis' research team speculates the phenomenon could be linked with global warming, suggesting that climate change might make the tropopause portion of the atmosphere colder, moister and more turbulent. "But those don't typically happen in the summer time," Travis said. "It seems like they are mostly associated with the passage of passing cold fronts."

Meanwhile, Kenkel will be needing a roofer and perhaps a new bed frame to recover from the ice attack. The one in her television room was bent from the debris and ice that plunged through the roof. "I am just happy it didn't do more damage," Kenkel said. "It could have fallen on my bed."


Green hypocrites

Post lifted from Don Surber.

The tax-exempt Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., issued its annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in America. This is illustrated by a photo showing steam — water vapor — escaping from a cooling tower. Sigh.

Power plant emissions nationally are down even as electric generation is up. The report showed. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell 28% between 2002 and 2006. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell 8%. Carbon dioxide emissions — the stuff you exhale — rose by 3%.

Electric production rose about 8% in that period, using the 2% annual increase in electric use, as the same agency “Dirty Kilowatts” cited.

But of course, that is good news and the left is loathe to admit that things are getting better — especially on the environmental front. Said this tax-exempt group’s press release:

Dean Hulse, member, Clean Electricity Committee of the Dakota Resource Council, Dickinson, N.D., said: “This report is the ‘canary in the coal mine’-it points out serious problems that require immediate attention. The global warming debate is over. We are heating up the earth, and the burning of coal is one of the biggest contributors of global warming pollution. Beyond the burning of coal is the issue of coal mining. Although not discussed in this report, the mining of coal damages land and water and moves farmers and ranchers off the land. In North Dakota, keeping the coal dinosaur alive hinders the economic development of renewable energy, including wind energy, in which North Dakota leads the nation.”

OK, let this Washington-based group turn off its computers, its lights and its air conditioner because 80% of the electricity used in the nation’s capital comes from coal.

Hey, we can always go nuke. Wait, Tim McCoy suggested whale oil. Of course! Whale oil is a renewable energy source.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds: “Well, water vapor is a greenhouse gas …”


If Senate Democrats have their way, Congress may soon be returning to the days when politics trumped science in deciding which contaminants warranted a federal drinking water standard. Legislation introduced by Senate Democrats earlier this year to regulate percholrate - that may soon be considered by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - seeks to do an end-run around a carefully crafted process established by Congress. The American Water Works Association recently explained the importance of the 1996 vote, noting previous practice by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was to "regulate contaminants purely for the sake of regulating."

FACT: Congress, in amending the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) in 1996, unanimously voted to establish a process by which EPA would determine which contaminants warranted a federal drinking water standard. Current law states that to regulate an unregulated contaminant like perchlorate, EPA must find that:

*The contaminant may have an adverse effect on the health of persons;

*The contaminant is known to occur or there is a substantial likelihood that the contaminant will occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public health concern, and

*In the sole judgment of the Administrator, regulation of such contaminant presents a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems.

Further, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), in a very conservative assessment, recommended a safe level that is based upon a precursor to the adverse health effect which may occur at 24.5 ppb drinking water equivalent. The NAS chose this level to protect even the most sensitive members of our population from any possible effect of perchlorate. EPA has gathered data from 3,858 drinking water systems between 2001 and 2003. Only 2 percent of the more than 34,000 samples analyzed were above the 4 ppb reporting threshold. The average concentration was 9.8 ppb, well below NAS's health effects level of 24.5ppb.

EPA must now determine the relative source contribution (RSC) of perchlorate from other sources to determine if a drinking water standard will present "a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

EPA sought public input in a May 1, 2007 Federal Register notice, "Regulatory Determinations Regarding Contaminants on the Second Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List - Preliminary Determinations (72 FR 24016 (May 1, 2007)" on whether the regulation of perchlorate provides an opportunity to address a public health risk and how to best calculate the RSC. The Agency received comments from those who thought it had sufficient data to make a determination and those who did not; it also received comments from those who thought that data pointed to the need for a federal drinking water standard and from others who thought it did not.

The Agency must consider all of these viewpoints and the data it receives to determine if regulating perchlorate through the SDWA will protect the public health.

Dismissing this process, Democratic legislation seeks to bypass this analysis and demand the EPA promulgate a drinking water standard for perchlorate without all the data being assessed and all of the comments reviewed. Many of us may question whatever final decision EPA makes but the Agency should be given the opportunity to meet its statutory obligations, assess the science and propose a resolution to this issue. The proposed legislation prejudges the outcome of EPA's deliberations and bypasses the carefully crafted bi-partisan process that Congress put together in 1996 to ensure an open and fair system for determining where local governments will spend their limited resources.

The 1996 Amendments passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote. Is Congress really ready to throw that system away and go back to a politically charged system that that isn't based on science?


Biased Greenie TV show on Australian public broadcaster

Imagine the scandal if ABC TV ran a series promoting a controversial point of view that was partly funded by an advocacy organisation. We'd never hear the end of it, would we? Well, it all depends on the point of view. This is what the ABC is doing with its Tuesday night prime-time series Carbon Cops. This is a politically correct version of a home makeover program, where the presenters turn up and tell you the planet is doomed unless you change your house and your lifestyle.

Carbon Cops is produced in association with the ABC by FremantleMedia and December Films. December Films received $350,000 towards the series from Sustainability Victoria. This is a state government agency involved in advocacy and action, whose website claims: "Everything we do is dedicated to changing the way Victorians supply and use resources." There is no mention of this funding arrangement in the Carbon Cops program or on its website, apart from a very brief acknowledgement that the program is produced with "the assistance" of Sustainability Victoria.

Carbon Cops is at the cutting edge of global warming hysteria. It starts with this piece of emotional blackmail on the ABC website: "If you are at all concerned about your children's future . then Carbon Cops is a must-see." It continues: "We humans have caused more adverse atmospheric change in the past 100 years than the previous 1000, and the rate of change is exponentially accelerating." Both claims, put without qualification, demonstrate more certainty than the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Apparently, the energy use of the ordinary Australians who appear on the program "is creating an uncertain future" and unless this changes, "our way of life" is over.

Why did the ABC accept external funding to push this point of view? One possible answer might be that it's merely engaging in public education, because the issue is settled and all sensible people agree on what needs to be done. But the ABC itself cannot believe this, because two weeks ago it showed The Great Global Warming Swindle, a documentary sceptical of the premise of Carbon Cops. The online opinion poll held after the documentary showed 45 per cent of respondents share this scepticism.

So this is a controversial issue, which makes the acceptance of funding from an outside advocacy organisation unwise and raises some important questions. Would the ABC accept money from a coal company to fund a series putting the opposite point of view? Or is it only organisations with certain viewpoints that are to have access to the public broadcaster?

Interestingly, there is nothing technically wrong with what the ABC has done with Carbon Cops. Under its editorial policies, the corporation can't accept money from the private sector but can take it from another government organisation. The Carbon Cops example suggests this distinction ought to be questioned. There's an assumption in public debate that any point of view funded by the private sector should be regarded warily, because it might be shaped by self-interest, whereas anything funded by the public sector is pure and in the public interest. I have no problem with the first of these propositions, but the second is naive.

It's a fact of life that publicly funded bureaucrats and scientists have career interests that are influenced by the ideas and policies with which they associate themselves. Climate change is an obvious example. A large proportion of those now working in the field are in positions and organisations that did not exist 15 years ago. If it was confirmed that humans were not causing global warming, or that it was not a serious threat, most of those positions and organisations would disappear. This suggests publicly funded people in the global warming debate are just as likely to be influenced by self-interest as are people working, say, for energy or fossil fuel companies. They are all driven by the natural desire to protect their jobs and career prospects.

I don't mean they lack independence or integrity. Obviously this will vary hugely among individuals. But self-interest can occur on both sides of this debate, as with many other debates, and is not restricted to the private sector. It's time to abandon the assumption that public funding is always used to support the public interest.

The assumption is strangely persistent. One sees it in the frequent criticism of conservative think tanks and intellectuals who've received money from business. It's implicit in the ABC editorial policies' distinction between external funding from the public and the private sectors. Yet, as anyone who has worked in the public sector or watched Yes, Minister knows, public officials are human beings and often act to promote their personal interests or those of their organisation.

There was considerable disquiet some years ago when it was revealed ABC TV was taking money from the private sector to help fund some of its programs. This concern was warranted. We now need to be similarly concerned about what has happened with Carbon Cops. Ideally, the ABC ought to stop taking money from advocacy organisations. But if it sticks with the present guidelines, it should at least expand the range of government agencies from which it accepts funding. Maybe the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation would like a series on the joy of nuclear power?



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards.

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Anonymous said...

I have always been amused that cartoonists depict nuclear power plant disaster with a cracked cooling tower.

alvinwriter said...

It's really getting harder to tell if something strange that happens in the environment is related to global warming or not. But ice that falls from out of nowhere could be the result of a number of things, like airplane latrine waste. I watched an episode in CSI of a guy who gets hit by such debris. It's humorous, but it seems it can happen in real life, regardless of the origin.

Here's a great video from TheNewsRoom about that chunk of ice that fell mysteriously from the sky through the roof of a house.

You can email to find out how TheNewsRoom can be your partner for great news content in your site.

- Alvin from TheScienceDesk at

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