Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Arctic: See for yourself

The MODID satellites provide near real-time visible/actual photos of the Artic Ocean from space (ie they are not the computer program generated graphics from the NSIDC.)

Here is a good sat picture of the North Pole from today - June 29, 2008 (ie. there is lots of melting to go yet before the Pole is ice-free for the few weeks of the year predicted.)

And see the NorthWest Passage (upside down but still frozen solid.)

Source. (Comment 116)


An email from Hermann G W Burchard, Dept of Mathematics, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078 []

An interesting resource on energy reserves from a global perspective can be found in "Statistical Review of World Energy 2008" by BP. The report was mentioned in a presentation based on it at Rice University by Mark Finley, BP America general manager for global energy markets, hosted by Amy Myers Jaffe, assoc. director, Baker Institute for Public Policy (on C-SPAN2 June 24, rerun June 30).

The talk was quite informative: Global reserves are good for 40 years in oil and natural gas, 150 years in coal. Charts showed that oil reserves, while expected to decline (peak oil), instead have been going up year after year. Most interesting in this regard, during the Q&A following the talk was Mark Finley's response to an unrelated question that in recent years the deep water discoveries of oil have been most signifcant in raising reserve estimates.

This should make it easier for Floridians and others to a accept offshore drilling. Rigs will be over the horizon past continental shelves. My ears perked up when I heard "deep water." Those regions would be nearer the Earth's mantle where presumably we have lots of abiotic petroleum from the primordial solar nebula (see recent find by NASA of hydrocarbons on Saturn's moon Titan).

With a tendency of continental margins to run parallel to very deep subsidence basins (geoclines), increased seepage of oil from the mantle into accesible strata may be expected to occur. By contrast, sedimentary deposits in the abyssal plane of oceans primarily are fossil-poor clastic sediments, such as turbidites and volcanics, with few organic remains from ancient fossils, because the ocean floor is being recycled at a fairly rapid clip by plate tectonics.

Amazing: Global warming questioned on popular Australian TV show

Channel 9s "Sunday" show. Video links at the source given below

The theory of anthropogenic, or man-made, global warming has become an unchallengeable fact, a piece of black letter law almost unique in the world of science.

Proponents of the theory say the time for scientific debate is over. It would irresponsible to fund any further research into counter views on the relationship between elevated levels of carbon dioxide and a rise in temperatures since the mid-1970s.

It's regarded as career suicide for scientists to advocate any counter view of the causes of global warming, let alone deny the orthodox consensus view as adopted by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, there is a school of thought that our knowledge of climate systems is as yet insufficient to be so conclusive on the causes of global warming.

Today Sunday examines the political consensus building that has portrayed global warming as the most urgent crisis humankind has ever faced.

Skeptics point to the gaps in the knowledge base and the flaws in the measurement of vital climate and weather data upon which the consensus is based.

Social researchers also highlight the dangers of conducting science as a form of religion, divided into believers and deniers.

They warn that as governments prepare to make expensive policy decisions, such as carbon emissions trading schemes, this consensus may not reflect the best science.

Source. Andrew Bolt comments here


University of Canterbury research indicating a glacial ridge in the South Island was formed by a landslide could pour cold water on evidence that climate change happened simultaneously around the world. Professor Jamie Shulmeister, who worked on the research with Associate Professor Tim Davies and honours student Daniel Tovar, said the discovery was made as a result of a study of the Waiho Loop glacial moraine.

Professor Shulmeister said there had been huge scientific debate on the climatic implications of the Waiho Loop. Located 100m above the plains on the foreland of the Franz Josef Glacier in South Westland, between the township and the sea, the glacial moraine had been the focus of much international research. The Waiho Loop moraine was widely used as evidence for direct inter-hemispheric linkage in climate change. "But these new findings suggest the loop - which sits near the South Island's Alpine fault line - was the result of a landslide, not climate change."

Professor Shulmeister said a moraine was a ridge that marked the end of an earlier glacier limit. Scientists had believed the Waiho Loop moraine was created during a brief cold snap about 13,000 years ago that also affected Europe and North America. The sudden climatic event had inspired the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Day After Tomorrow, he said. But no one had ever studied the Waiho Loop sediments. "When graduate student Dan Tovar had a look, he discovered to our surprise that it was mainly made up of a rock type known as greywacke, which is different from the rocks that make up all the other moraines in front of the Franz Josef Glacier."

Professor Shulmeister said greywacke occurred about 13km up the valley from the Loop. All the other moraines were predominantly composed of schist which outcropped near Franz Josef township. "The greywacke was also rather more angular than the rocks in the other moraines, suggesting it had not been transported in water or at the base of a glacier."

As a result of the study, Professor Shulmeister's team believes a large landslide dumped a huge volume of rock on top of the glacier, causing it to advance and, when the advance stopped, the moraine was created. Professor Shulmeister said the findings, to be published this week in the international science journal Nature Geoscience, were like "throwing a cat among the palaeoclimate pigeons".

Source. See also here


He made a prediction and it did not happen. Fair enough, that is how science progresses, but any relationship between the Hansen phenomenon and science is rather remote. His latest calling down of fire and brimstone is upon the wicked oil executives, who are allegedly stoking up infidel opposition to the true gospel of the global warming catastrophe to come.

That this is not true is evident from the greener-than-thou advertisements put out by that industry. They know a good racket when they see one and if there are a few billion taxpayers' dollars on offer they want their share of them. They are, however, likened to the tobacco giants who so misled the public. Yes those were liars; but so were their opponents, led by the EPA, and they turned out to be better at it.

The current big lie is that all the sceptical commentators are in the pay of the nefarious industry. Hansen's answer to it all is to call for an inquisition (he is a bit late into that game, by about five years). "May you have what you wish for" is an ancient curse and it would be satisfying to see Hansen have his day in court.

The reason that Monty Python's dead parrot so rapidly became a dead metaphor is that it encapsulates the modern political phenomenon of lying with a straight face, when all parties involved know that it is a lie (It's not a constitution, it is just a treaty). So now, when we are told that Global Warming isn't dead, it's just restin', we accept it as just a normal part of the political process. Formerly it would have been regarded as an example of the fifth of Langmuir's laws of bad science.

It is quite extraordinary that this sort of activity should fester within the world's most notable scientific and engineering organisation. Anyone who has had the misfortune to have been reluctantly involved with such a weirdo will feel the embarrassment for all those genuine professionals whose ingenuity, among many other achievements, put a man on the moon.

They obviously tried to subject him to some sort of control, quite properly in a tax-funded, non-academic institution, which led to his wild claim to being censored. He must be the least censored person on the planet, thanks to his friends in high places.

Perhaps the world will one day be grateful to the brave band of volunteers, who have at last got together to provide an audit of the activities of such fanatics. Owing to the efforts of the likes of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts, we have been able to penetrate the unscientific veil of secrecy behind which they brew their spells and hokum.

Not only are the standards of software production and maintenance way, way below the standards officially embraced by NASA, some of the procedures are unbelievably bizarre, including even the Orwellian process of systematically rewriting the past. A phenomenon indeed!


Global Warming as Mass Neurosis

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited. Now it's time for political scientists, theologians and psychiatrists to weigh in. What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").

But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.

This last item is, of course, a forecast, not an empirical observation. But it raises a useful question: If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.

So let's stop fussing about the interpretation of ice core samples from the South Pole and temperature readings in the troposphere. The real place where discussions of global warming belong is in the realm of belief, and particularly the motives for belief. I see three mutually compatible explanations.

The first is as a vehicle of ideological convenience. Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore - population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations - and global warming provides a justification. One wonders what the left would make of a scientific "consensus" warning that some looming environmental crisis could only be averted if every college-educated woman bore six children: Thumbs to "patriarchal" science; curtains to the species.

A second explanation is theological. Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Finally, there is a psychological explanation. Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. What's remarkable is the extent to which penance sells among a mostly secular audience. What is there to be penitent about?

As it turns out, a lot, at least if you're inclined to believe that our successes are undeserved and that prosperity is morally suspect. In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.

In "The Varieties of Religious Experience," William James distinguishes between healthy, life-affirming religion and the monastically inclined, "morbid-minded" religion of the sick-souled. Global warming is sick-souled religion.



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