Friday, September 21, 2007


An email to Benny Peiser from Dr. Paul Georgia [], Executive Director, Center for Science & Public Policy:

On September 13, Professor Scott Armstrong presented his research on climate forecasting on Capitol Hill. His power point slides and video are now available for viewing. See here

Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, has initiated a backlash as scientists, heretofore absent from the global warming debate, have begun to criticize Mr. Gore, and by extension, much of the underpinnings of the global warming hypothesis.

One such critic is Professor Scott Armstrong, a leading expert on forecasting at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Armstrong hasn't just criticized Mr. Gore; he has put his money where his mouth is by challenging the former VP to a $10,000 bet, based on climate predictions.

Professor Armstrong, along with his colleague Professor Kesten Green with Monash University's Business and Economic Forecasting Unit in New Zealand, conducted an audit of Chapter 8 of the IPCC's Working Groups I report, The Physical Science Basis. They found no evidence that the IPCC authors were aware of the primary sources of information on forecasting. They also found that there was only enough information within the IPCC report to make a judgment on 89 of the total 140 forecasting principles as described in Professor Armstrong's book, Principles of Forecasting. Of these 89 principles, the IPCC violated 72.

They conclude that, "We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming." They also concluded, "Prior research on forecasting suggests that in such situations a na‹ve (no change) forecast would be superior to current predictions."

Geographer and climatologist: Earth is not becoming desertified, it's greener all the time

Interview from Spain with Anton Uriarte -- who has studied the climate for more than a quarter of a century and believes that it has not been demonstrated that human activity has been the cause of global warming:

A few days ago we were all wrapped up, and now we're in shirtsleeves. Has the weather gone crazy?

We're not talking about any madness. There's a logical explanation.

Which is?

For the planet as a whole, February was a warmer month than normal. We received masses of cold polar air, but the Arctic wasn't left empty. Warm air from Greenland filled the Arctic. Greenland has had one of the warmest Februaries in its history. The air moves, the Earth is round and continually interchanges air masses between the tropics and the poles.

Here it's cold, but in other parts of the world it's hot; and vice versa.

Yes. In August 2003 we suffered a heat wave because of the arrival of air from Africa; but in the Atlantic and Russia they were quite a lot colder than normal.

Is the climate changing ?

The climate has always been changing. It's in imbalance.

It's unforeseeable.

The Earth being spherical, the tropics always receive more heat than the poles and the imbalance has to be continually rectified. They changes places because of the tilt of the earth's axis. And, moreover, the planet isn't smooth, but rough, which produces perturbations in the interchange of air masses. We know the history of the climate very well and it has changed continuously.

Yes, but now it's said that the main cause is man

The discussion is about to what extent the climatic change is the product of human activity. There are 6 billion human beings on earth, and that's well known.

Enough to show how we've changed the landscape.

Yes. And this also has repercussions for the climate, not just industry. It's evident that the Earth is a human planet, and that being so, it's quite normal that we influence the atmosphere. It's something else altogether to say that things will get worse. I believe that a little more heat will be very good for us. The epochs of vegetational exuberance coincided with those of more heat.

On a geological scale, the last glaciation ended not long ago.

About 11,500 years ago.

And now we're in a warm interglacial period.

Yes. Since then, there have been changes in the climate but they have been less pronounced. This is another thing which people are not clear about: in warm periods, when there are more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere - more CO2 and water vapour - climate variability is less. In these periods greenhouse gases, which act as a blanket, cushion the differences between the tropics and the poles. There is less interchange of air masses, fewer storms. We're talking about a climate which is much less variable. There is another misunderstanding: they augment the extremes, the waves of cold and heat

Isn't it so ?

Let's take the monsoons. The data that we have, which go back about 120 years, show that there is no tendency to increase or decrease. For tropical cyclones, if anything, there is a slight tendency to a decrease. The fact that this year has been a major one for cyclones doesn't impact this tendency.

Glaciers and deserts

There is alarming news, such as the disappearance of the perpetual ice of Kilimanjaro

The ice of Kilimanjaro occupies two square kilometres. It's not much. It's minute, compared to the 16 million square kilometres of snow spread among the continents. It's been calculated that in 1912, there were 12 million square kilometres, which is still quite a lot. And we know that it has diminished over the twentieth century. But it's not certain that it's due to a rise in temperatures. Satellite measurements in fact indicate a cooling. Some believe that humidity might have diminished, others that solar radiation has increased. At planetary scales, it appears that glaciers have retreated, but with some exceptions.

And what about desertification ?

To believe that the Earth is desertifying is totally erroneous. Satellite images show the opposite to be true: the Earth is becoming greener. Firstly, because there is more CO2 and this has augmented photosynthesis. Secondly there is nothing to say that warming should be accompanied by drought. At the moment we are suffering a major drought in Spain because winter has been affected by the situation in the North, by the cold. In Spain it rains more in warm weather than in cold; and in the situation of the planet too. In climate history the warmest epochs have always been the most rainy.

But there are islands and coasts condemned to disappear under the sea.

Not so. The sea is not flat, nor is its level the same everywhere. Changes in salinity mean that in some places, sea level is higher than in others: the north Baltic, with fresher water, is 40cm higher than the south. In the Atlantic, there are differences of metres. With phenomena like El Nino, it will rise in some places and fall in others. The south pole is at -40oC. With a warming of two degrees, very little is going to change. Moreover, in Antarctica, the tendency is towards cooling.

Can we relax then ?

Yes, there's no need to be worried. It's very interesting to study it, but there's no need to be worried. There are a minority of scientists, among them myself, who believe that to say that man is causing a climatic change is a fairy tale.



Discussing: Burger, K., Seidel, J., Glasser, R., Sudhaus, D., Dostal, P. and Mayer, H. 2007. Extreme floods of the 19th century in southwest Germany. La Houille Blanche: 10.1051/lhb:2007008.


One of the cardinal creeds of the world's climate alarmists is that there will be more severe flooding in a CO2-enriched warmer world; and one of their cardinal claims is that 20th-century warming has been unprecedented over the past two millennia ... and maybe a whole lot longer (Hansen et al., 2006). Hence, the world should have experienced some truly phenomenal flooding over the past century or so, and especially over the last few decades. But has it?

What was done

In a study that sheds some light on this question as it pertains to southwest Germany, Burger et al. review what is known about flooding in this region over the past three centuries, which takes us back into the Little Ice Age, when according to climate-alarmist "wisdom" flooding should have been much less significant than it has been recently.

What was learned

The six scientists report that the extreme flood of the Neckar River (southwest Germany) in October 1824 was "the largest flood during the last 300 years in most parts of the Neckar catchment." In fact, they say "it was the highest flood ever recorded [our italics] in most parts of the Neckar catchment and also affected the Upper Rhine, the Mosel and Saar." In addition, they report that the historical floods of 1845 and 1882 "were among the most extreme floods in the Rhine catchment in the 19th century," which they describe as truly "catastrophic events," and speaking of the flood of 1845, they say it "showed a particular impact in the Middle and Lower Rhine and in this region it was higher than the flood of 1824 [our italics]." Finally, the year 1882 actually saw two extreme floods, one at the end of November and one at the end of December. Of the first one, Burger et al. remark that "in Koblenz, where the Mosel flows into the Rhine, the flood of November 1882 was the fourth-highest of the recorded floods, after 1784, 1651 and 1920," the much-hyped late-20th-century floods of 1993, 1995, 1998 and 2002 not even meriting a mention.

What it means

Real-world data from southwest Germany argue strongly against the climate-alarmist contention that global warming - due to whatever - leads to the occurrence of more severe flooding. Other data from other parts of the world - see Floods in our Subject Index - generally do the same.


Journal abstract follows:

Climate variability, floods and their impacts in Central Europe have received increasing attention in Germany in recent years. In the course of this process, historical floods receive increasing attention in research works and in applied flood protection. The research group "Xfloods" from the University of Freiburg (Germany) is part of the initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a "Risk Management of Extreme Flood Events" (RIMAX). The investigations have a special focus on past extreme floods in southwest Germany. The research project integrates the information from historical data to identify and quantify extreme flood events as a basis for flood risk management. The data is extracted from historical records from 1500-1900 and supplemented by instrumental observations, which are available since the middle of the 18th century. In such a way, the results from this project can contribute to a safer handling of extreme floods in the future.

The study area is situated in the southwestern part of Germany and encompasses the Upper Rhine Valley and the eastern Rhine tributaries like the Neckar. This region was affected by different historical flood events, e.g. in 1824, 1845 and 1882. By means of the flood event from October 1824 in the Neckar catchment, the detailled reconstruction of historical floods will be presented.

New Lack of Evidence Boosts Certainty of Darwinism

From Scrappleface

Recent discoveries indicating no direct line of descent from ape-like creatures to modern man have further bolstered anthropologists' belief that Darwin's theory of descent-with-modification by natural selection must certainly account for the rise of Homo sapiens.

New research on a pair of recently-unearthed African skulls shows that Homo habilis and Homo erectus most likely did not descend one from another, as scientists have believed for years, but that the two diminutive hominids lived as neighbors during the same epoch. Other recent research indicates that Homo sapiens lived at the same time as Neanderthals.

Far from casting doubt on Darwin's theory, experts say that the lack of evidence and contradictory discoveries have helped to build "a consensus of certainty in the field."

"Finding little physical evidence to substantiate the theory only means there must still be a great deal of supportive evidence out there to be found," said an unnamed editor of the journal Nature, which plans to publish a paper on the African skulls this week. "The more we realize how little we know, the more certain we are that we're right. As I once read in a scholarly paper somewhere, `faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen'."


A claimed "first world conference on research integrity" opens in Lisbon, Portugal, today. The conference media release explains: "The controversies surrounding the recent assessment report of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demonstrates how research integrity is a critical issue not only for the science community, but for politicians and the society as a whole as well. In August 2007 the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had to withdraw previous published historical climate data.

The incident came after a British mathematician discovered that the sources used by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) have disregarded the positions of weather stations, plus intentionally using outdated data on China from 1991 and ignoring revised data on the country from 1997.

Now 350 concerned scientists, scientific managers and magazine editors from around the world are scheduled to attend the event in Lisbon, initiated and organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) and the US Office for Research Integrity (ORI). It marks a milestone for the science community as it will link all those concerned parties in a global effort to tackle the issue head on.

"At the very least, countries should know how misconduct will be handled in other countries and whom to contact if they have questions. A more ambitious goal is to begin to harmonize global policies relating to research integrity," says Conference Co-Chair Nicholas Steneck from the University of Michigan.

"By now there are no consistent global standards for defining and responding to major misconduct in research. Definitions and practices vary from country to country and even institution to institution. Improper practices that could be ignored in one country could get a researcher dismissed from a position in another country," Steneck adds.

The conference will be focusing on both individual and institutions' responsibilities, and of funding agencies as well as publishers, according to Conference Co-Chair Tony Mayer from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Mayer is also the former Senior Science Policy Adviser to the ESF.

Jose-Mariano Gago, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner for Research, Angel Gurri?a, the Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Tim Hunt from the Cancer Research UK, South Mimms will kick off the event by participating in the opening talks. .

In his keynote address, Paul David form the Oxford University, UK, and Stanford University, Palo Alto, U.S., will give an overview on analytical and empirical studies of ORI on the problem of scientific misconduct. David is well known for his research in the economics of science and technology, with special reference to the impact of intellectual property rights protections on the direction and conduct of 'open science' research.

Howard Alper, Professor of Chemistry and Vice-President Research at the University of Ottawa, and winner of the first Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal in Science and Engineering, Canada's most prestigious award for science and engineering, is also affiliated with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, because he is also an expert in the situations in developing and emerging countries. From his experiences he presents the best practices for the benefit of a society.

Herbert Gottweis from the Institute of Political Sciences, University of Vienna, Austria, will reconsider the Hwang gate from 2005 and present the lessons learned. Gottweis is vice-president of the Austrian Research Fund (FWF) and coordinator of the PAGANINI ("Participatory Governance and Institutional Innovation") project of the European Union.

The conference will also touch on the situation in developing and emerging countries, where scientists often have to produce publications in numbers under pressure to achieve the formal scientific qualifications. Thus voices from Africa, like that from Amaboo Dhai, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Parktown, South Africa, will also be heard. In addition, Annette Flanagin of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Muza Gondwe, University of Malawi, College of Medicine, Blantyre, will contribute their experiences from the "African Journal Partnership Project". Flanagin is the author of the JAMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, now in it's 10th edition.

In other words the World Conference on Research Integrity focuses on an open sore of science, taking into consideration the reality, legal and institutional aspects, as well as regional, social and psychological environments in which scientists work.It intends to be the beginning of the healing process.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. 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 (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. 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. See my post of 7.14.07 and a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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