Friday, October 12, 2007

Judicial wisdom from Britain

Following are the inaccuracies in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" as found by a British High Court judge:

The decision by the government to distribute Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth has been the subject of a legal action by New Party member Stewart Dimmock. Although a full ruling has yet to be given, the Court found that the film was misleading in 11 respects and that the Guidance Notes drafted by the Education Secretary's advisors served only to exacerbate the political propaganda in the film.

In order for the film to be shown, the Government must first amend their Guidance Notes to Teachers to make clear that 1.) The Film is a political work and promotes only one side of the argument. 2.) If teachers present the Film without making this plain they may be in breach of section 406 of the Education Act 1996 and guilty of political indoctrination. 3.) Eleven inaccuracies have to be specifically drawn to the attention of school children. The inaccuracies are:

The film claims that melting snows on Mount Kilimanjaro evidence global warming. The Government's expert was forced to concede that this is not correct.

The film suggests that evidence from ice cores proves that rising CO2 causes temperature increases over 650,000 years. The Court found that the film was misleading: over that period the rises in CO2 lagged behind the temperature rises by 800-2000 years.

The film uses emotive images of Hurricane Katrina and suggests that this has been caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that it was "not possible" to attribute one-off events to global warming.

The film shows the drying up of Lake Chad and claims that this was caused by global warming. The Government's expert had to accept that this was not the case.

The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.

The film threatens that global warming could stop the Gulf Stream throwing Europe into an ice age: the Claimant's evidence was that this was a scientific impossibility.

The film blames global warming for species losses including coral reef bleaching. The Government could not find any evidence to support this claim.

The film suggests that the Greenland ice covering could melt causing sea levels to rise dangerously. The evidence is that Greenland will not melt for millennia.

The film suggests that the Antarctic ice covering is melting, the evidence was that it is in fact increasing.

The film suggests that sea levels could rise by 7m causing the displacement of millions of people. In fact the evidence is that sea levels are expected to rise by about 40cm over the next hundred years and that there is no such threat of massive migration.

The film claims that rising sea levels has caused the evacuation of certain Pacific islands to New Zealand. The Government are unable to substantiate this and the Court observed that this appears to be a false claim.


Arctic passage highly variable

By Gary Sharp, Scientific Director, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study. Excerpt:

I was fortunate enough to have been given a long in-depth introduction to the subject over several years by Joseph Fletcher - whose Team that set up the first Ice Island Observation system - known as T-3 - or Fletcher's Ice Station - He also gave me a VHS tape of the black/white movies that his 'camera-man' (and 3rd member) of the Team. He and his crews had been flying back and forth over the Arctic and North Pacific/Aleutians for a long while - war causes lots of odd opportunities. - Joe turned 87 this year - and is alive and living in Sequim Washington and his family are well aware of his roles - many - such as this story, or this or this -

After leaving the Air Force in 1963 after 20 years- he went on to become Rand Corporation's Polar Science Wizard, then Director of NSF Polar Programs - where he became immersed in Internationalization of these studies -and then he moved on to become Director of the US Ocean and Atmosphere Laboratory System, out of Boulder Colorado - where he initiated the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data set (COADS) - as a follow-on to Mathew Fontaine Maury's initial 1850s efforts - and on it went until he retired in 1993. We had met during my own efforts to get System science applied in the NOAA Fisheries Monitoring/Management process - and Joe and I were in total agreement about this startup statement in his COADS History - `We all learn at an early age that the first and most essential step in answering a question is to understand what the question is-and then, all too often we see that obvious principle violated." ....

Joe pointed out several times to me in his B/W movies that there were seasons of nearshore ice-free situations - and others when skis or overflights were the only way in or out. Unfortunately - not enough years of observations - or guys with the right questions out there. Between 1956 and 1989 there were 33 passages. They are listed in the book Northwest Passage by Edward Struzik published in 1991. One was by K. Horie aboard the Japanese sloop Mermaid, who made an east to west passage in 1981-83. Another was by W. De Roos in a 42 foot ketch named Williwaw, who made the first single handed Passage in 1977 when the Northern Hemisphere was rather cold....


Meteorologist Craig James Debunks Myths about Northwest Passage


The headline in this press release from the European Space Agency reads "Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history". In history! That sounds like a long time. However, when you read the article you find "history" only goes back to 28 years, to 1979. That is when satellites began monitoring Arctic Sea ice. The article also says "the Northwest Passage - a long-sought short cut between Europe and Asia that has been historically impassable."

I guess these people flunked history class. It has been open several times in history, without ice breakers. The first known successful navigation by ship was in 1905. This is all very similar to the story on the NBC Nightly News Friday, 14 Sep 07 where the story on water levels in Lake Superior never mentioned that the lowest recorded water level on the lake occurred in March and April 1926, when the lake was about 5 inches lower than it is now. Instead, NBC interviewed several people who could never remember seeing it this low and blamed most of the problem on global warming. Never mind that the area has seen below normal precipitation for several years and for most of this year has been classified as being in an extreme to exceptional drought.




Paleoclimate scientist Bob Carter, who has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, noted in a June 18, 2007 essay that global warming has stopped. "The accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998.

Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2. Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 %)," In August 2007, the UK Met Office was finally forced to concede the obvious: global warming has stopped.

The UK Met Office acknowledged the flat lining of global temperatures, but in an apparent attempt to keep stoking man-made climate alarm, the Met Office is now promoting more unproven dire computer model projections of the future. They now claim climate computer models predict "global warming will begin in earnest in 2009" because greenhouse emissions will then overtake natural climate variability.


Prominent Environmentalists Turn on Movement - Slam Greens as `doomsayers and scolds'


For angry heretics on the run, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger sure know how to enjoy themselves. Sitting in a cozy Berkeley restaurant just a few blocks from San Francisco Bay, exchanging tasting notes on the vermentino ("cold white wine is so good with fatty, fried food," Shellenberger says), they recount with perverse pleasure, in tones almost as dry as the wine, how they've been branded as infidels by fellow environmentalists.

It started in 2004, when they published their first Tom Paine-style essay accusing the movement's leaders of failing to deal effectively with the global warming crisis. "We thought that someone was going to take a swing at us," Shellenberger says. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope published withering counterattacks, and the two men were dubbed "the bad boys of American environmentalism" by author Bill McKibben.

Nordhaus, 41, and Shellenberger, 36, didn't set out to infuriate their former colleagues. On the contrary, they were good Berkeley citizens - partial to black clothing, into biking (Nordhaus) and yoga (Shellenberger), fluent in pinot noir. Above all, they were passionate about the environment. For the better part of a decade, they toiled in the green movement as consultants and political strategists, each hoping to change the world. Instead, the climate crisis changed the rules: It demanded a new way of framing the debate, and the pair became disillusioned when the environmental establishment stubbornly refused to adapt. That led to their fateful essay, with the not-so-subtle title The Death of Environmentalism.

Overnight, the two became pariahs. And now, with the October publication of their first book, Break Through: From "The Death of Environmentalism" to the Politics of Possibility, they are going to face the full fury of enraged environmentalists. Pope, who has read the book, predicts that the reception from the movement "will be harshly negative." .....

Environmentalists, therefore, have missed a huge opportunity. Rather than being leaders in solving the global climate crisis, they are content to be doomsayers and scolds. What Nordhaus and Shellenberger advocate is what might be called post-environmentalism, an ambitious new philosophy that isn't afraid to put people ahead of nature and to dream big about creating economic growth - neither of which environmentalists have been very good at.

Their vision cuts across traditional political divides: It's pro-growth, pro-technology, and pro-environment. They have specific proposals about Brazilian rain forests, the auto industry, and global warming preparedness. But the heart of the book is its unabashed desire to create a new way to think about our problems. Just as computer technology fueled the economic boom that started in the mid '90s, greentech can drive the first boom of the new millennium. "Global warming," they write, "demands unleashing human power, creating a new economy, and remaking nature as we prepare for the future." .....

The two authors respond with their usual feisty aplomb. "No environmentalist will say investment isn't important," Nordhaus says, "but look at what they are actually putting their resources into." He and Shellenberger are certain that the public will support massive government spending on greentech - bigger than anything the Sierra Club or Silicon Valley VCs are proposing - only if it is presented not as an attempt to rein in prosperity and economic growth but as a quantum leap for the global economy and climate. If they're wrong, Shellenberger and Nordhaus may be best remembered for tilting at windmills - when windmills were what they were fighting for all along.



The paper below is from 2005 but is still rather startling

Ice Age Epochs and the Sun's Path through the Galaxy

By D. R. Gies and J. W. Helsel


We present a calculation of the Sun's motion through the Milky Way over the last 500 million yr. The integration is based on estimates of the Sun's current position and speed from measurements with Hipparcos and on a realistic model for the Galactic gravitational potential. We estimate the times of the Sun's past spiral arm crossings for a range of assumed values of the spiral pattern angular speed. We find that for a difference between the mean solar and pattern speed of Omega 0 - Omega p = 11.9 ~ 0.7 km s-1 kpc-1, the Sun has traversed four spiral arms at times that appear to correspond well with long-duration cold periods on Earth. This supports the idea that extended exposure to the higher cosmic-ray flux associated with spiral arms can lead to increased cloud cover and long ice age epochs on Earth.

The Astrophysical Journal, 626:844-848, 2005 June 20

Pesky glaciers: "All eyes are on Greenland's melting glaciers as alarm about global warming spreads. This year, delegations of U.S. and European politicians have made pilgrimages to the fastest-moving glacier at Ilulissat, where they declare that they see climate change unfolding before their eyes. Curiously, something that's rarely mentioned is that temperatures in Greenland were higher in 1941 than they are today. Or that melt rates around Ilulissat were faster in the early part of the past century, according to a new study. And while the delegations first fly into Kangerlussuaq, about 100 miles to the south, they all change planes to go straight to Ilulissat -- perhaps because the Kangerlussuaq glacier is inconveniently growing".


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