Friday, February 29, 2008

Now an old prohecy

There is a 1958 video here which prophesies global warming and flooding due to mankind's emissions. Fifty years later and nothing significant has happened. Odd that! The present prophecies couldn't be equally far out, could they? Background to the video here


Gore said the retreat of snow there was due to global warming. So I guess its present state proves global cooling. In fact, of course, the snow on it varies with precipitation, nothing else

A thick veil of snow had settled on Kilimanjaro the morning after my group arrived in Tanzania. Over breakfast, we gazed at the peak filling the sky above the palm trees of our hotel courtyard in Moshi, the town closest to the mountain. It was as Hemingway described it: "as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun."

I had wanted to climb to the roof of Africa before climate change erased its ice fields and the romance of its iconic "Snows of Kilimanjaro" image. But as we trudged across the 12,000-foot Shira plateau on Day 2 of our weeklong climb and gazed at the whiteness of the vast, humpbacked summit, I thought maybe I needn't have worried.

An up-and-down-and-up traverse of the south face of Kibo, the tallest of the mountain's three volcanic peaks, showed us a panorama of the summit ice cap and fractured tentacles of glacial ice that dangled down gullies dividing the vertical rock faces. And four days later, when we reached 19,340-foot Uhuru, the highest point on Kibo, we beheld snow and ice fields so enormous as to resemble the Arctic.

It looked nothing like the photographs of Kibo nearly denuded of ice and snow in the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Nor did it seem to jibe with the film's narrative: "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro."

This was the last week of January - nearly a year ago - and the middle of the dry season. But several weeks of heavy rain and snow preceded the arrival of our group, 10 mountaineering clients and a professional guide from International Mountain Guides, based near Seattle. That made for a freakishly well-fed snow pack and the classic snowy image portrayed on travel posters, the label of the local Kilimanjaro Premium Lager and the T-shirts hawked in Moshi's tourist bazaars. But to many climate scientists and glaciologists who have probed and measured, the disappearance of the summit's ice fields is inevitable and imminent.

Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University who has studied Kilimanjaro's ice fields for years, photographed the summit a year to the week, coincidentally, before we were there. He found only a few, isolated snow patches in shaded areas, a drastic difference from what we encountered. Even on the world's highest free-standing volcano, seasonal snow doesn't remain on a peak so close to the Equator.


The collage below from SDA is informative

More selective silence from the media

Last week, I broke the story of a press release issued by NOAA where they publish an opinion smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming saying that "There is nothing in the U.S. hurricane damage record that indicates global warming has caused a significant increase in destruction along our coasts."

Many readers may recall that Al Gore used hurricanes prominently in An Inconvenient Truth, and mentions hurricane Katrina specifically. Gore claims that increased hurricane activity is caused by global warming.

Last week, when the NOAA press release came out smashing any link between hurricanes and global warming, I wrote to my local newspaper editor, David Little, and said to him "Do you care to bet that AP and Reuters won't run this story?" He responded: "I hope they do, it seems newsworthy to me."

Well here is is, 4 days later, not a peep. A Google search of news stories for "NOAA increased hurricane" (keywords of the press release) reveals a tiny handful of stories about the press release. Could you imagine though if the story said the reverse? What if NOAA claimed they had established a definitive link between global warming and hurricanes. Oh my, the humanity of it all! Gloom, doom, death, destruction, angst, and demands for action on Kyoto. If it bleeds it leads. Compare to all the stories still circulating about hurricane Katrina and global warming.

Here is another story about a point from Gore's AIT hit parade; Mount Kilimanjaro. Mr. Gore asserted that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming; "Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro." That was in 2005 in his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Deforestation seems to be causing Mount Kilimanjaro's shrinking glacier. Researchers think deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the most likely culprit. Without the forests' evapotranspiration of humidity into the air, previously moisture-laden winds blowing across those forests now blow drier. The summit, no longer replenished with water from those winds, started shrinking. Studies show the ice is evaporating through a process called sublimation. You can witness this effect at home, have you ever noticed that ice cubes left in your freezer tend to shrink with time?

Last year, a British Court ruled Gore's point about Kilimanjaro not to be true. So when a news story crossed my desk today that said: "Mount Kilimanjaro: On Africa's roof, still crowned with snow" I had to wonder, will we see this one covered in the main stream media? Or maybe those beacons of truth over at Real Climate will make a note of it? Don't hold your breath. But, at least the New York Times travel section covered it. It seems more of a touristy thing to have snow on Kilimanjaro than a scientific issue of truth I suppose.


New Paper Reviews the Evidence for a Cosmic Ray-Climate Connection

A new paper is currently in press in the journal Comptes Rendus Geoscience, which reviews the evidence for a connection between Cosmic Rays and Climate. The invited review authored by Ilya G. Usoskin and Gennady A. Kovaltsov is entitled: 'Cosmic rays and climate of the Earth: possible connection' is available via Ilya Usoskin's personal website for free download (as a corrected proof). The Abstract states:

Despite much evidence relating climatic changes on Earth to solar variability, a physical mechanism responsible for this is still poorly known. A possible link connecting solar activity and climate variations is related to cosmic rays and the physical-chemical changes they produce in the atmosphere. Here we review experimental evidence and theoretical grounds for this rela tion. The cosmic ray - climate link seems to be a plausible climate driver which effectively operates on different time scales, but its exact mechanism and relative importance still remain open questions.

The paper concludes: We have reviewed the experimental evidence and theoretical models relating cosmic ray variations to the terrestrial climate changes.

On short time scale of a few days, there exists much evidence that CR changes may affect the process of cyclogenesis via the changing transparency and pressure, particularly in the North Atlantic during cold seasons. Although each individual piece of evidence is barely significant, in aggregate, they suggest that the relation can be real.

A link between low clouds and CR appears statistically significant on the inter-annual time scale since 1984 in limited geographical regions, the largest being North Atlantic + Europe and South Atlantic. We note that many reconstructions of the past climate are based on European data, where the CR-cloud relation is the most pronounced. Extension of this relation to the global scale may be misleading.

A relation between the geomagnetic field changes and climatic variations provides evidence favoring the possible CR influence on climate. A study of regional climate variations in relation to the geomagnetic dipole axis migration over the last millennium is also promising.

There is an indication of the climate changes synchronously with the CR flux on Mega-yr time scales, but this result is not straightforward to interpret. Large uncertainties make it only indicative.

Essential progress has been recently achieved in theoretical modelling of both ionizing effect of CR and physical mechanisms relating CRII to cloud variations, but the link between micro- and macro-physics is still missing. A new experimental evidence, obtained by the SKYexperiment team, confirm that enhanced ionization notably facilitates the production of small ion clusters in realistic atmospheric conditions.

In conclusion, a CR-climate link seems to be a plausible climate driver, as supported by the bulk of statistical studies and existing theoretical models. However, further studies, in particular a clear case study as well as improved model development, are foreseen to improve our understanding of the link between cosmic rays and the climate on Earth.


Brainwashed kids in Britain

British children, well versed in the effects of climate change, are putting pressure on older generations to act now to halt environmental decline. New research shows 95% of children aged between 4 and 15 were 'concerned' by global warming, with more than half 'very concerned'. And three out of four respondents believed they were more fluent on the subject than their parents.

The eco-conscious youngsters, dubbed 'Greenagers', now want to put more pressure on older generations to take a lead in environmental decision-making. Some 70% of those polled believed climate change is something that will affect them in their lifetime. Another 85% thought people should be more concerned about the issue and 96% believed it is important to encourage other people to be more environmentally friendly.

The research has been conducted by the UK kids' channel Nickelodeon as part of their environmental campaign called 'Nick's Big Green Thing'. The channel has launched a week of programming to encourage children to create a greener environment. One of the week's hosts, acclaimed adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild, was delighted to see the youngest generation were paying attention to the subject of global warming.

He said: "Our climates changing quicker than anyone ever expected and we can't afford to ignore the signs. "The good news is we have the solutions and this research proves that kids are taking action helping to create more stable environmental conditions for our future generations."

The survey further showed that more than half (59%) of children were aware of the concept of a 'carbon footprint' and were keen to alter their home life in order to reduce it. Better recycling, switching off lights in empty rooms, avoiding car travel and reducing the use of household appliances all polled highly.

Despite the awarness of home environmental initiatives, the respondents felt that they learned more about the environment from school teachers rather than their parents.


Hydrogen buses cost MUCH more to run than diesel vehicles

The experiment sounded so grand three years ago: The Valley Transportation Authority and SamTrans would test three buses that run on hydrogen fuel cells, emit no smog-inducing pollutants and help keep the valley's air clean. Green, yes. But a new report from the VTA says the $18 million state-mandated pilot project costs too much green - and raises troubling questions about whether the program should continue.

The most glaring figure: Zero-emission buses - or ZEBs - cost $51.66 to fuel, maintain and operate per mile compared with just $1.61 for a 40-foot conventional diesel coach. They break down much more frequently, and replacement parts are next to impossible to order, according to the report.

The VTA experiment could be a blow to hydrogen fuel technology, once heralded as the future of green mass transit options. At the least, the report raises significant questions about whether the state should ease off the accelerator rather than push Bay Area transit agencies to expand the hydrogen project. "When you say that there is a 50-dollar difference between ZEBs and diesel, that's exorbitant," said Dolly Sandoval, the VTA vice chair from Cupertino. She and other VTA board members are questioning whether the state should loosen its insistence on hydrogen-fuel-cell technology and allow the agency to consider using hybrid buses to meet clean-air requirements, which is being done in New York City, where hundreds of diesel-hybrid buses are in use.

But the California Air Resources Board is poised next year to launch a $36 million second phase of the hydrogen program, adding 12 more buses in the Bay Area and expanding it to include Golden Gate Transit. Analifa Bevan with CARB said her agency "is not considering any changes," pointing out that the VTA experiment involves early prototypes and that the next generation of buses will be more reliable and "cheaper to operate than diesel."

AC Transit in the East Bay has operated hydrogen-hybrid buses for two years, ones that also use electrical batteries to help cut hydrogen fuel costs and provide a smoother ride and easier acceleration and braking, much like in hybrid cars. Officials at the agency are sold on the program. "Our experience is pretty positive," said Jaimie Levin, director of alternative fuels policy and marketing with AC Transit. "These vehicles aren't cheap, but the technology is far simpler than the internal combustion engine and it keeps getting cheaper, lighter and more powerful. That's a given."

But the VTA's early results are not encouraging. Although the cost of a new hydrogen-fuel-cell bus has fallen from about $3.5 million to $2.5 million, a diesel coach costs about $400,000. And ZEBs have on average traveled 1,100 miles before needing repairs in the VTA trial, while a typical diesel bus covers about 6,000 miles.

The state approved the fuel-cell experiment in 2000, with VTA and SamTrans each contributing $6 million to the project and federal and state money covering the final $6 million. Hybrid buses running on diesel and electricity weren't included in the choices the VTA could make, since those buses contribute more to smog levels than hydrogen buses. The three zero-emission buses began running in 2005 in Santa Clara County, from express routes to the VTA's most heavily traveled lines. By 2012, 15 percent of buses in California transit agencies with 200 or more diesel buses must be ZEBs, in a program being watched across the country.

These buses don't belch smoke; they run as quietly as a golf cart and are expected to reduce soot emissions by 90 percent. Powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells, the tailpipes emit wisps of water vapor instead of plumes of diesel exhaust, which is linked to numerous respiratory ailments such as asthma and lung cancer. Hydrogen-fuel-cell technology converts hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, water and heat. The hydrogen flows into an electrode that breaks the hydrogen into electrons and protons. The electricity produced runs the bus. If you took a white cloth and held it to the exhaust of a fuel-cell bus, all you would collect would be some water vapor. No soot, no dirt, no lung-clogging grime.

But the issue is whether a $2.5 million bus operated by fuel cells can withstand the daily pounding of stop-and-go traffic, potholes and loading and unloading of thousands of passengers at a cost a transit agency can afford. After about 75,000 miles in the VTA test, red warning flags are flapping. "Five years ago, they said the technology was five years away," said VTA General Manager Michael Burns. "Today, they are still talking five years, maybe 10. "What do we do at this point, given what we know?"



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.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Many readers may recall that Al Gore used hurricanes prominently in An Inconvenient Truth."

Many readers may recall that movie tickets cost over $12 in the USA, which is over 10X what they cost when those born in the 60s or 70s were kids, and so very many readers recall not seeing any *political* movies, in the past few years, except that Schwarzenegger's movies have been turned into a TV series, so we (illegally) download those, weekly, like entire seasons or Dr. Who (4th with Tom Baker is best, but the first "old man" guy was pretty cool too), or the IT Crowd. Benny Hill is still funny but rather over-reliant on slapstick and wiggly boobies. Better is old Charlie Chaplain movies such as 'The Great Dictator', and Kurosawa flicks, or Woody Allen (in 'Sleeper' they make the joke that fatty foods are good for you now that science has dug into it) or, Fellini.

"The truth is, I can't explain why I make films. I just like to create images. There is no other reason. It's congenial to my nature. That seems enough of an explanation." - Federico Fellini

"Everything begins with the belief that something is possible." - Federico Fellini

"If you are nice to them, you are presumed to be worth even less. They hold themselves in such low esteem, they can't respect you if you would know them. Why are some people like that?" - Federico Fellini

"A world that has been impoverished is in an instant ready to accept that this is the way it has always been. The unthinkable is taken for granted." - Federico Fellini

"I have no patience with so-called common sense (a spurious article, unutterably different from the genuine one) one is told to use, and which they say one does not use as soon as one deviates from the ordinary course and takes a risk. I repeat, I have no patience with it. I have no patience with it for the very reason that my own common sense, if I reflect, leads me to wholly different results than the conclusion of narrow-minded worldly wisdom and prudent, half-hearted righteousness. Oh, that dawdling, oh, those hesitations, oh, that not believing that good is good, that black is black, that white is white." - Vincent van Gogh

"At these soirées there were always one or two social climbers who tried to remake the world in their own image and spat venom as a skunk does stink. I picked them out early and forthwith discouraged them from spewing their acid on me by urgently requesting that they talk about me and my genius. I made them so certain of my success as well as my madness that they no longer knew what to think, lest they make themselves ridiculous. They became my courtiers rather than feeling crushed, preferring to laud what they could not bring down to their own level. I have always created a humus for my success with the corpses of those who least favored my genius. I attract crackpots and backbiters, whom I turn into stepping stones or footmats for my success. In those periods I met many rattlers whom I reduced to common garden-snakes so I might tan their hides for my wallet." - Salvador Dali