Wednesday, August 06, 2008

APS Paper on Global Warming Debate by Atmospheric scientist Dr. Blick

Below is a preview of a paper submitted to the American Physical Society for publication. The preview below does not include graphics or reference citation details. It is reproduced with permission from Prof. Blick. The author is retired Air Force atmospheric scientist Dr. Edward F Blick [] Professor of Meteorology and Engineering at University of Oklahoma. He has 54 years' scientific experience. He is the author of 150 publications in engineering, meteorology, and cardiology, and has also written two engineering textbooks. He is the co-developer of a medical patent, and is the inventor of a new type of windmill.

Since Prof. Blick argues that manmade global warming is a hoax, the probablity of the paper being published in its intended outlet seems low. Full copies of the paper (complete with graphics and references) are now in the hands of many people (including myself), however so it will not sink without trace


World temperature records show no evidence of anthropogenic global warming ("AGW"). Solar activity in the late 20th century was extremely high. Atmospheric CO2 levels rose as the sea surface warmed. Henry's Solubility Law, with mass balances of carbon and its isotopes, show the total increase in atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial times is less than 4%. Burning all our remaining fossil fuels, cannot double the CO2, but only increase it by 20%. Beck cataloged 90,000 chemical measurements of CO2 in the 1800s, some as high as 470 ppm (greater than the current Mauna Loa value of 385 ppm). These data exposed as false the UN IPCC's 280-ppm ice core values during the 1800s. IPCC's ice core measurements of CO2 were incorrect owing to their inability to correct for problems with gas solubility and the extreme pressures in glaciers. Not man but nature rules the climate.


The recent American Physical Society (APS) debate on anthropogenic global warming was welcomed by many like myself, who believe "global warming" to be exaggerated. I have never seen any convincing evidence for it. The paper by Hafemeister and Schwartz depended upon petitio principii, in that the emissivity value was set to produce the desired climate sensitivity. The considerable evidence presented by Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley in his APS article "Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered" was convincing. The rebuttal by Dr. Smith was not.

This paper addresses two key elements in the APS global warming debate: are, first, the scientific credibility of the UN, and, secondly, the truth about the minimal increase in the amount of anthropogenic atmospheric CO2.

The UN

The UN set up the 1992 Rio de Janeiro conference entitled "The Earth Summit". It was attended by Vice President Al Gore. At this conference Maurice Strong, a UN advisor, stated, "The Earth Summit will play an important role in reforming and strengthening the UN as the centerpiece of the emerging system of democratic global governance."

Al Gore is a politician, not a scientist. He had two college natural science courses. He made a "D" in one, and a "C+" in the other. He made an "F" on his College Board physics exam and a "D" in chemistry. Gore ducks all challenges to debate (including Christopher Monckton) on AGW.

Strong and the UN set up the 1997 Kyoto conference on global warming. All countries were urged to sign a treaty to reduce their CO2 output in order to save the planet. China, India and the U.S. refused. Most of Europe joined, but have done little in the way of lowering their CO2 output. The National Review magazine, Sept. 1, 1997 quoted Strong: "The only way of saving the world may be for industrial civilization to collapse, deliberately seek poverty, and set levels of mortality". We're starting to see the collapse of U.S. trucking and airline industry as our government limits oil drilling. Timothy Wirth, former president of the United Nations Foundation, stated: "We have to ride the theory of Global Warming even if it is wrong." Richard Benedict, former advisor to Kofi Annan stated: "A global warming treaty must be implemented even if there is no evidence of global warming." In the words of H.L. Mencken: "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."

In 1988, the UN politicians set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC). There was no scientific evidence then or now of any significant AGW. Sir John Houghton, the first chairman of the UN's IPCC stated: "Unless we announce disaster, no one will listen." Here is the summary the scientists wrote for the 1995 IPCC Draft Report:

1) None of the studies have shown any clear evidence of climate changes due to greenhouse gases.

2) No study has positively attributed any climate change to anthropogenic causes.

3) Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate are reduced.

The UN removed all three of its scientists' conclusions, inserting the following text in the final 1995 Summary Report for policy-makers: The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

Many of the IPCC scientists quit, and threatened the UN with a lawsuit in order to have their names removed from the IPCC final report.

The UN's method of preparing IPCC reports is non-standard. They first publish a "Summary Report for Policy-makers". Then several months later they publish the Scientific Report so as to assure its consistency with the Summary Report. After the 1995 IPCC report, this procedure was repeated in 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports.


In the United States, the hottest years of the 20th century were in the 1930s (Fig.1). Twenty-four states had their high temperature records set in the 1930s. Only seventeen had their temperature records set in last 50 years of the 20th century! Where is the fingerprint of anthropogenic global warming?

During the 20th century the Earth warmed ~0.7 0C. The warming culminated at about the same time as the solar Grand Maximum during the 70 years centered on the mid-1960s (Fig.2). Similarly, astronomers discovered that Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto all warmed up in the 20th century. (Archibald, 2008). Since 1998, admittedly a strong El Nino year, "global warming" has ceased. We've had global cooling from reduced sun spot activity (Archibald, 2008).

The oceans "breathe" carbon dioxide in and out with cooling or heating. CO2 is less soluble in water as it warms and more soluble as it cools. The warming during the 20th century caused the oceans to emit more CO2 into the atmosphere (Endersbee, 2008, Fig. 4).

A miniscule amount of global heating of ~0.5 W/m2 is due to an increase of 2% to 4% of atmospheric CO2, owing to the burning of fossil fuels since the late 1800s (Segalstad, 1996). This corresponds to a tiny 0.50 C rise in temperature, using the climate sensitivity parameter of ~1 0C per W/m2 (Kiehl and Trenberth, 1997). This climate sensitivity parameter of ~1 0C per W/m2, adopted by the UN, is an order of magnitude greater than eight natural experiments (Idso 1998). It results in exaggerated predictions of future global temperatures.

Archer (2008) assumed a rise in atmospheric CO2 of 380 to 420 ppmv in the next 20 years. Using the University of Chicago's ModtranS facility, he obtained a 0.4 W/m2 increase in global warming. Using Idso's 0.1 0C per W/m2 sensitivity value, he predicted a 0.040C increase in temperature due to the CO2 greenhouse effect.

In 1995, the UN IPCC report included a global temperature anomaly chart shown in Fig.3. This chart agreed with hundreds of scientific papers which dealt with this Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age which followed. From about 900 to 1350 AD, the Earth was approximately 20 C warmer than now. The Vikings colonized Greenland, and many of the great cathedrals were built in Europe. The Little Ice Age which followed lasted about 400 years (Soon & Baliunas, 2003). At the principal Viking settlement of Hvalsey in SW Greenland, the bodies of the Viking colonists are now buried under Greenland's permafrost. Yet, six years after this correct chart (Fig.3), the UN's 2001 IPCC report featured a new, radically different "hockey stick" chart (Fig. 5). It showed essentially a flat temperature for the 1000 years prior to the 20th century, followed by a rapid rise of earth's temperature in the 20th century. The UN blamed the rise on AGW. Subsequently, however, McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) found statistical discrepancies that led to a report by the US National Academy of Sciences that, while finding the hockey-stick no more than "plausible", described it as having "a validation skill not significantly different from zero". A report by three statisticians for the US House of Representatives (Wegman et al., 2005), also found the graph unfit for its purpose. To this day, dozens of papers from all over the world attest to the existence of the mediaeval warm period, with temperatures up to 3.75 oC greater than the present in some places.

CO2: a natural trace gas essential to all life on Earth

CO2 is not a pollutant. It is the gas of life for plants, man, and animals. All plant life is sustained by photosynthesis, where CO2 plus water plus chlorophyll plus the Sun's energy form carbohydrates plus Oxygen. Humans and animals breathe in Oxygen and exhale CO2.

If atmospheric CO2 drops as low as 220 ppm, plants get sick. They die at 160 ppm. In a field of corn on a sunny day, unless wind currents stir up the air, all of the CO2 is consumed within one meter of the ground in 5 minutes. (Personal communication, Daryl Smika, Plant Physiologist, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture), In order to increase their yield, commercial greenhouse owners increase the CO2 levels to 600 - 1000 ppm. According to the Mauna Loa observatory the present atmospheric CO2 is about 385 ppmv, but in times past it was as high as 2450 ppmv. (Jaworoski, 1992a, 1992b). In the Cambrian era the atmospheric concentration of CO2 reached ~7000 ppmv, 18 times today's concentration (IPCC, 2001).

The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor. Its mass is 54 times greater than CO2. Dr. Reid Bryson, former director of meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, says: "The first 30 feet of water vapor absorbs 80% of the earth's heat radiation. You can go outside and spit and have the effect as doubling CO2!"

150 years ago, the atmospheric CO2 contained 700 Gt of carbon (1 Gt = 1 billion tons), and the earth contained 7000 Gt of carbon in the form of fossil fuels. It is estimated that man has burned 1000 Gt of the original 7000 Gt. (Segalstad 1998). For water, at normal temperature, Henry's Law of Solubility dictates there will be 50 parts of CO2 in solution, for one part of gaseous CO2 above the water. Experimental measurements have shown that the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 5-10 years. The UN, using a confused and widely-criticized definition of residence time, says it is 50-200 years. Hence today, after 150 years, the amount of CO2 added by man to the atmosphere is (1/50) x1000 = 20 Gt, and the increase in atmospheric CO2 is (700+20)/700 = 1.03 or a 3% increase!! (Segalstad, 1998). The UN, assuming 278 ppmv as the pre-industrial concentration said the increase is 21%.

Segalstad (1998) developed an alternative method of determining how much of the atmospheric CO2 is due to fossil fuels is by an isotopic mass balance of Carbon 12, C-12, and the heavier isotope Carbon 13, C-13. During photosynthesis more of the C-12 is absorbed by the plant than C-13. Ratios between C-12 and C-13 stable isotopes are commonly expressed as in permil by a so-called delta-13-C notation multiplied by 1000. CO2 from combustion of fossil fuel have delta -13-C values of (-26 permil). Natural CO2 has a delta-12-C value of( -7 perm). Keeling (1989) reported a 1988-measured atmospheric delta-13-C value of (-7.807permil). Using a simple isotopic mass balance equation of [26X +7(1-X) = 7.807] produces an X value of 0.042. Hence the earth's atmospheric CO2 is made up of approximately 4% CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. This is close to the 3% computed above by the alternate mass-consumed method of Segalstad. Revelle & Suess (1957) using Carbon-14 data computed the amount of atmospheric CO2 derived from fossil fuel combustion was 1.2 to 1.73 %. UN IPCC reports assume that, at present, 21% of CO2 is from fossil fuel burning!

Using Henry's Law, and assuming all the remaining 6000 Gt of carbon in our fossil fuel reserves has been burned, the increase in atmospheric CO2 will be [{(7oo+ (7000/50)}/700 =1.2], a 20 % increase over what the atmosphere contained in the mid nineteenth century (Segalstad, 1998). The UN predicts a 170% increase. Even burning all fossil fuels (7000 Gt of carbon) will have no meaningful effect on global climate. CO2 in the atmosphere cannot increase more than 20%. It cannot double!

The Earth receives about 1368 W/m2 of radiative heat from the sun. The total amount of heat withheld is about 146 W/m2, +/- 5 to10 W/m2 due to natural climatic variations. Clouds can reflect up to 50 W/m2 and can absorb up to 30 W/m2 of the solar radiation. Less than 0.5 W/m2 is produced by anthropogenic CO2, making it much smaller than the Earth's average greenhouse effect (water vapor, etc), which varies naturally across the interval [96, 176] W/m2. (Segalstad, 2006)

The total internal energy of the whole ocean is 3.3 x 1027 Joules, about 3500 times greater than the total energy of the entire atmosphere, 9.4 x 1023 joules. The global climate is primarily governed by the enormous heat energy stored in the oceans and the latent heat of melting of the ice caps. From a thermodynamic heat balance, the small amounts of heat generated by anthropogenic CO2 could not possibly cause significant increases in sea level. (Segalstad, 1995; Moerner, 2004)

1400 years of study found approximately 10 inches of difference in sea level between the thermal expansions the Medieval Warm Period and thermal contractions of the Little Ice Age. (van de Plassche, [date?])

The sharpest January-January fall in global temperatures since records began in 1880 occurred between January 2007 and January 2008 (Fig. 6) The drop in temperature was about equal to the net gain in average temperature for the 20th century.

Figure 7 -- Does the atmospheric CO2 correlate with temperature? It should if AGW were correct, for absence of correlation necessarily implies absence of causation. But Figure 7 shows it does not always correlate. Fig. 4 shows CO2 does correlates very well with sea surface temperature.

Figure 8 --The long temperature record at Armagh, Ireland shows a strong correlation of temperature with sunspot-cycle length. The longer the sunspot cycle the colder the temperature. Presently we are in Solar cycle 23 which is 12 ® years long and Archibald (2008) predicts it will last to 13 ® years, though the first sunspot with reversed polarity, indicating the approach of Solar Cycle 24, has now been observed. Solar physicists here and in Russia are predicting globally 20-30 years of cold weather, after the end of Solar Cycle 24, based on the recently-observed slowing of the magnetic convection currents beneath both hemispheres of the Sun.

Figure 9-High temperature records from all the continents and Oceania indicate that all except one high-temperature record occurred before 1943!

Figure 10-Ernst-Georg Beck's (2007) paper plotted 90,000 accurate chemical analyses of CO2 in air. These standard textbook measurements from 380 scientific papers had an accuracy of better than 3%. Several scientists who won the Nobel Prize made these measurements. Beck's CO2 peaks (`370-450 ppm) occurred around 1823, 1859 and 1944.

Figure 11 --- A comparison of Beck's CO2 data versus Neftel's ice core data show a wide difference. Beck criticized Callendar and Keeling the men who crafted the flat portion of the Hockey Stick CO2 chart. Beck found that CO2 measurements had been rejected if they did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate warming, and that Callandar and Keeling only examined 10% of the available literature.

Zbigniew Jaworowski is a CO2 glaciologist. He has studied glaciers all over the world. He has published many papers on climate, most of them concerning CO2 measurements in ice cores. He strongly believes the CO2 measurements used in the UN IPCC reports are unreliable. He pointed out, "Drilling ice cores is a brutal system and a polluting procedure, drastically disturbing the ice samples." He also states that ice cores cannot be regarded as a closed system and used to measure CO2 levels of air trapped in ice. He stated there are "more than 20 physical-chemical processes operating in situ . in the ice cores.. In cold water, CO2 is more than 70 times more soluble than nitrogen and more than 30 times more soluble than oxygen." Liquid water is commonly in present in the polar snow and ice even at the eutectic temperature of -730 C." This phenomenon alone will reduce the percentage of CO2 in the air bubbles trapped in ice. The Knudsen effect, combined with inward diffusion, depletes CO2 in ice cores exposed to drastic pressure changes (up to 300 bar, for ice buried in glaciers). The effects of increased solubility and extreme pressures could explain the difference between chemical CO2 and ice core measurements in Beck's Figure 11.

A recent attempt by a researcher to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain details of the methods by which ice cores were extracted, handled, stored, transported, and analyzed was thwarted when he was told that all such details were classified information.

Jaworowski noted that these effects were discovered, "only recently, many years after the ice-based edifice of anthropogenic warming had reached a skyscraper height.". Jaworowski noted how Neftel (1985) et. al. had inappropriately combined the CO2 values of 328 ppm from ice deposited in 1890 and combined it with 328 ppm CO2 values measured at Mauna Loa volcano , Hawaii, 83 years later. This unsafe data curve was then published in the 2001 IPCC report. The real data, 83 years apart, demonstrate that pre-industrial level of CO2 was the same as in the second half of the 20th century. Because of this absence of any appreciable difference in CO2 levels more than 83 years apart, Jaworowski believes that "human beings may be responsible for less than 0.010 C of warming during the last century".


The processes of the United Nations are an unsatisfactory medium for scientific enquiry. For the reasons outlined in this short paper, the principal conclusions of the IPCC are questionable and do not provide a sound basis for taking policy decisions that are calculated to cause severe economic harm to the economies of the West and to cause environmental damage by transferring manufactures from Western nations, where pollution is controlled, to Third World countries, where it is not.

CCSP Climate Impacts Report: A Perversion of Science

Luckily, the U.S. Climate Change Assessment Report just released by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is only a "draft" released for the purpose of gathering public comments. This means that the report's authors still have time to get things in order before a "final" publication is released. The current contents read as if the CCSP authors set aside their list of sizable scientific credentials, and instead opted to write a fantasy piece on how they wished the state of climate science to be, rather than how it actually is.

As it now stands, the draft CCSP report is a gross perversion of science. It is made even worse that it is coming from a group researchers, who, at one time at least, were regarded as some of the leaders in their fields. No fair treatment of science discusses a topic with complete disregard to opposing views that are held and published by other credible, qualified and knowledgeable persons. And yet this is precisely what is contained, ad nauseum, within the draft of the CCSP synthesis report.

The report reads as a simple rehashing of the "pet opinions" held by its authors and completely ignoring that these opinions have been harshly disputed and criticized in the scientific literature and elsewhere by other equally qualified researchers as being based upon faulty methodology and inappropriate inferences.

It is as if the CCSP authors think that if they just keep repeating the same things over and over again in different fora, they will eventually become true-or at least that the critics will have become so exasperated by their audacity and simply grow tired of responding.

I am at a loss for complimentary adjectives to describe people who are tasked by the U.S. government with assessing climate change and its potential impacts on the United States for the clear (although unstated, wink, wink) purpose of influencing policy and who know of legitimate scientific viewpoints which counter their own but yet act as if such opposition entirely doesn't exist.

I have never read a more pessimistic report on climate change (other than perhaps coverage of Al Gore's we-are-going-to-make-the-earth-uninhabitable-for-people proclamations)-and this coming from a supposed august scientific body. There are virtually no positive aspects of climate change presented or even postulated. Any that are briefly touched upon are almost inevitably countered with subsequent text along the lines of "but that effect will only be temporary."

As I read through the report, I kept flipping back to cover page to double and triple check that this report was actually put out by the U.S. governments' Climate Change Science Program and not Environmental Defense Fund, National Resources Defense Council, the Union of Concerned Scientists, or some other strong global warming advocacy group.

My level of exasperation is redlined. What kind of people think that the population of Americans will only suffer if the climate heats up by a few degrees? If you were to track the `average temperature' experienced by the `average American' over time (which we did in an analysis a few years ago), based upon population movements alone, you would find that the experiential temperature is increasing at a rate that is greater than many of the projected scenarios of climate change (Figure 1).

In other words, the population movements made by American's free will-primarily movements to more urban centers and southerly locales-has resulted in the `average American' experiencing a climate that is about 3F warmer at the end of the 20th century than at the beginning-and that doesn't even take into effect the inherent added warmth in urban environments. These changes are independent of actual climate changes. This shows that a warmer climate does not dissuade the average American from pursuing his/her interests (heck, maybe it even entices them). It hasn't dissuaded them in the past, nor should it reasonably be anticipated to do so in the future. If skiing or snowmobiling should someday be relegated to a thing of yesteryear, I am sure we'll more than find other ways to amuse ourselves (and industries standing ready to entice us into new avenues of recreation).

Figure 1. (top) Annual average temperature experienced by the average American based upon the average temperature of where they lived, 1900-2003. Figure 1 (bottom) Annual average temperature history of the United States, 1900-2003. Based upon the patterns of population movement, the average "experiential" temperature of the average American has increased by a much larger amount than the actual average temperature of the U.S. This occurs because, by their own free will, Americans are seeking out warmer climates.

How close-minded must you be that in a world where the scientific literature is overwhelmed with the results of experiments showing how plant species of endless types and varieties-including the world's major food crops-will fare better under conditions of increasing carbon dioxide, that the only plants that you draw attention to are ones that have a negative associations, that is, poison ivy, ragweed, and stinging spurge? What's wrong with singing the praises of better growing chrysanthemums, pansies, or amaryllis (won't they lift the mental health of the nation?) or how about more productive wheat, corn, soybeans, rice, potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, strawberries or sunflowers? These sound like health benefits. How can these topics not be discussed in the Chapter on Human Health where the authors saw fit to discuss poison ivy of all things?

Here are three more appalling examples of the CCSP authors completely ignoring significant scientific studies that run counter to the ideas that they decided to present in their Climate Assessment report.

The first is about damage losses from extreme weather events. Anybody with any sense ought to realize that damages from weather events are dependent on two things-the characteristics of the weather events themselves and the location where the weather event took place. After all, it doesn't matter at all how strong a tornado is if it occurs out in the middle of nowhere, yet a weak tornado hitting a highly populated area can create havoc. Just as a hurricane hitting an unpopulated stretch of beach verses one that hits New Orleans. Thus, given that damages levels are inherently dependent on two things, you can't simply show how damage estimates change over time and then conclude something about only one of the underlying influences.

Does this stop the CCSP from showing such a plot ? No. Does the CCSP expect you to think that their plot should lead you to believe extreme weather is getting worse? Of course. Why else would they show the plot? After all the CCSP report is about climate change impacts, not insurance losses.

To drive the point home, the CCSP follows with a statement about weather-related damages increasing faster than population and inflation (and thus implying actual changes in the weather). Since it is impossible to draw such a conclusion from the figure they show, they instead draw it from a paper by Evan Mills published in Science magazine in 2005. The techniques and conclusions in the Mills paper were harshly criticized in a response by Roger Pielke Jr. that was also published in Science and further elaborated on Pielke Jr.'s blog site (see here and a follow-up here ). Pielke Jr. concluded "Presently, there is simply no scientific basis for claims that the escalating cost of disasters is the result of anything other than increasing societal vulnerability." This is precisely the opposite of the CCSP conclusion. Do you think that the fact that Evan Mills is one of the co-authors of the CCSP report has anything to do with the CCSP completely ignoring Pielke's conclusions? How can a responsible fact-finding government body completely turn its back on well-founded criticism of the limited scope of material that it deems to present? This is unbelievable.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, but the general theme of the CCSP-push, push, push the "global-warming-is-disastrous" mantra and ignore, ignore, ignore anything to the contrary.

Here is another egregious example, this time about human health. Aside from the laughable attempt at trying to relate the introduction and spread of West Nile Virus across the U.S. to climate change (laughable because the range of climate that the West Nile spread through is about 20F and 30 inches of rain, so it shouldn't seem as if miniscule, by comparison, climate change would be the cause of its spread from New York City to the four corners of the continental United States in just 5 years) the section on heat waves and human mortality is shameful. The CCSP authors want you to believe that climate change will lead to more heat waves which will lead to more people dying as a result. The former is probably true, the latter is most probably false-that is, if you properly account for population changes (in other words, it is not permissible to claim more people are dying from the heat without accounting for the increase in the number of total people-this is the same type of shenanigans that they tried in the "damages" section we describe above).

When you properly account for changing population structure over time, you find that despite rising summer temperatures, the population in major urban centers across the United States has become less sensitive (that is, fewer people are dying) to summer heat extremes over the past 30-40 years (Figure 2). Simply put, we have become better adapted to heat waves. This is documented in a series of papers by Robert Davis et al. (including one which was singled out as the "Paper of the Year" by the Climate Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers). Davis et al conclude that the impacts of increasing heat waves in the future will be small and likely diminishing, despite increases in the intensity and severity of heat waves. After all, they found that the warmer the locale generally the fewer heat related deaths (in fact, most southern tier U.S. cities no longer exhibit any statistically identifiable heat-related mortality). This seems a no-brainer.

More here

It's CO2, Because We Can't Think of Anything Else it Could Be

For a while, I have written about the bizarre assumption made by climate scientists. They cannot prove or show any good link historically between CO2 and warming. What they instead do is show that they can't explain some of the warming by understood processes, so they assume that any warming they cannot explain is from CO2. Don't believe me?
Researchers are trying to understand how much of the melting is due to the extreme natural variability in the northern polar climate system and how much is due to global warming caused by humans. The Arctic Oscillation climate pattern, which plays a big part in the weather patterns in the northern hemisphere, has been in "positive" mode in recent decades bringing higher temperatures to the Arctic.

Dr Igor Polyakov, an oceanographer from the International Arctic Research Centre in Fairbanks, Alaska, explained that natural variability as well as global warming is crucial to understanding the ice melt. "A combination of these two forces led to what we observe now and we should not ignore either forces" he said.

The consensus among scientists is that while the natural variability in the Arctic is an important contributor to climate change there, the climate models cannot explain the rapid loss of sea ice without including "human-induced" global warming. This means human activity such as burning fossil fuels and land clearing which are releasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"There have been numerous models run that have looked at that and basically they can't reproduce the ice loss we've had with natural variability," said Dr Perovich. "You have to add a carbon dioxide warming component to it."

In other words, any warming scientists can't explain is chalked up to, without proof mind you, CO2. Why? Well, perhaps because it is CO2 that gets the funding, so CO2 it is. To show you how dangerous this assumption is, I note that this study apparently did not consider the effect of man-made soot from inefficient coal and oil combustion (e.g. from China). Soot lands on the ice, lowers its albedo, and causes it to melt a lot faster. Several recent studies have hypothesized that this alternate anthropogenic effect (with a very different solution set from Co2 abatement) may explain much of recent Arctic ice loss.

Here is a big fat clue for climate scientists: It is not part of the scientific method to confidently ascribe your pet theory (and source of funding) to every phenomenon you cannot explain. Or, maybe climate scientists are on to something. Why does gravity seem to work instantaneously at long distances? Co2! What causes cancer cells to turn on and grow out of control? CO2! Hey, its easy. All of our scientific dilemmas are instantly solved.


Environmental groups faltered this year -- Voters rank warming fears near dead last

Comment from a correspondent: "I am shocked – shocked - by the numbers of people who just don’t care!!! One would hope – that with mass media fixation on improbable scenarios, photo-shopped pictures of weeping polar bears, endless speeches in the Congress that arrive in thin air, and the apocryphal guidance of countless hand-wringing “authorities” - the Public would sort-of “catch-on” and learn how to give a damn!!! But no – about two hundred vocal deniers in the whole world have persuaded the entire public that the whole “environmental” thing is a sham!!! Small wonder, isn’t it, that responsible people are aware of the pressing need for censorship of this bought-and-paid-for sedition"

Former Vice President Al Gore may have made global warming a household term, but this year's tactical mistakes by the green army may have set the cause back just when it seemed to be on the brink of a legislative breakthrough. While pushing for sharp emission reductions, a number of environmental groups failed to adapt their pitch to acknowledge rising energy costs, experts say, leaving voters to believe that saving the planet will mean unaffordable energy prices.

The Senate's Climate Security Act - sponsored by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), John Warner (R-Va.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) - called for quick emission reductions that would have raised energy costs significantly for Americans. A handful of well-advertised studies by the business community painted the legislation as an economic apocalypse. But Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups were pushing lawmakers to go even further to prevent irreversible environmental damage.

In a year when gasoline soared past $4 per gallon, the green message triggered populist anger and eventually drove away a core group of moderate and conservative Democrats. When the legislation came to the Senate floor, 10 conservative Democratic senators who voted to debate the bill also vowed to oppose it later - even after it had been sweetened with billions of dollars in last-minute public energy assistance.

The group included Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who said he plans to offer his own legislation next year. He told Politico that environmentalists will be forced to compromise next year and support the development of clean coal, nuclear power and other alternative fuels. "We need to be able to address a national energy strategy and then try to work on environmental efficiencies as part of that plan," Webb said. "We can't just start with things like emission standards at a time when we're at a crisis with the entire national energy policy."

Polls show that the public clearly sees global warming and high energy prices as separate issues, rather than one overall problem. Now more Americans than ever are urging politicians to solve the skyrocketing gas prices before finding a solution to climbing temperatures. And while support for offshore oil drilling has reached a record high, solving global warming is low on the list of voter priorities.

In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, global warming ranked seventh in a list of eight top voter priorities, behind the economy and energy at the top, and also following the war in Iraq, health care, terrorism and illegal immigration. It was ahead of only housing.

"There was not enough emphasis that if we move aggressively toward sustainable energy, we will transform our energy costs," said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who said he plans to offer his own global warming bill next year. "We were not as clear as we might have been."

Still, Democrats who backed the legislation remain supportive of the greens' agenda. "I'm not discouraged at all," said Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.). "The environmental community understands that we have to have a starting point. The next bill should be modified with the greens but also with those in the business community." Boxer said environmental groups would continue to play a vital role in next year's debate. "The vast majority of green groups support the targets that are necessary to avoid the most dangerous impact of global warming," she said.

Greens deny that their policy push overlooked the energy crisis but acknowledge a public perception problem. "The solution for us next year is connecting gas prices and global warming. We have to show voters that the solution to gas prices and the solution to global warming is the same," said Greenpeace global warming expert Kate Smolski. "What's been lost on decision makers is that the cost of inaction will far exceed any costs of dealing with the problem now."

It's a balancing act that plenty of others saw coming. "You cannot have a system that emphasizes pain," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), whose American Solutions group opposed the global warming bill. "It is elitist. You'd have to be so wealthy you don't notice the cost or so dedicated that the cost is irrelevant." A study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that energy costs are disproportionally affecting lower and middle class minority families.

Sierra Club global warming lobbyist Dave Hamilton said the environmental community was partly a victim of timing. Despite efforts to educate the grass roots about the relationship between global warming and energy prices, news of the added energy assistance funding came too late and failed to resonate with key voting blocs. "The problems with energy prices have really happened in the last few months," he said. "We somehow failed in making that a priority, and I think we have a huge amount [of work] to do on energy policy."

Environmentalists say Americans want immediate action on global warming but don't want to pay for it. A recent study by the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change showed that a large majority of Americans wanted serious government action on climate change but that only 14 percent were willing to pay more than $50 a month to help the cause. "You cannot drive home environmental legislation without considering the cost on the economy," said National Association of Manufacturers lobbyist Keith McCoy. "That message was already universally unacceptable."

Leading policymakers suspect greens will continue to face hurdles if energy costs stay high. "They're defeating themselves and hurting all of us on an issue that hurts all of us," said former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who was instrumental in implementing the Clean Air Act. "The trouble comes when people try to attribute everything to global warming. Then the public gets skeptical about the claims."


Is "Green" U.S. mass transit a big myth?

As part of my research for an article on robotic cars and how they change so much of the world, I've been looking into the energy use of various forms of transportation. What I learned about public transit in the USA shocked me. I've been a fan of public transit, taking it where it's practical for me, and feeling green about it. That transit is a significantly greener way to get around than private car travel almost goes without saying in our thoughts and discussions.

Disturbingly, this simply isn't true. I started by pulling out various numbers on the energy used per passenger mile of various forms of transportation. These numbers can be found in places like the U.S. government bureau of transportation statistics figures and the Dept. of Energy Transportation Energy Data Book (Especially table 2-12). I've also found tables broken down per city.

These studies express transit energy efficiency in terms of BTUs per passenger-mile. The BTU is the English system unit of energy, and it's equal to 1055 joules. On pure conversion, there are 3413 BTUs in a kw/h. To turn BTUs/mile into miles per gallon, you divide into 125,000, the number of BTUs you get from burning a gallon of gas. Here's a useful table.

A "passenger mile" is taking one passenger a mile. If it takes 10,000 BTUs to take a vehicle with 10 passengers for one mile, that's 10 passenger miles, and 1,000 BTUs/passenger-mile. For solo vehicles, passenger miles are just miles. The figures below are for the DoE's average passenger loads over the entire USA, unless noted as solo or for a specific district.

The DoE figures describe the average car as using 5500 BTUs/mile (23mpg) or 3,500 BTUs/passenger mile with an average load of 1.57 passengers. This is a "fuel to wheels" number based on burning the gasoline.

Putting the car at 3,500 I was disturbed to learn that city diesel buses and electric trolley buses are both mildly worse than the car in energy efficiency. Light rail systems are also slightly worse, on average, though it varies a lot from city to city. Commuter rail and subway (heavy rail) trains tend to be a bit better, but not a lot better. (Non-hybrid cars are also better at long haul than they are short haul.)

I've put a lot of the figures on this chart. I've thrown in some other interesting forms of transit, including electric cars, scooters, hybrid cars, jet airplanes and more. (See a note below on the fossil fuel to wheels number for the cyclist.)

Particularly disturbing were the numbers for some of the worst transit systems, including the light rail in San Jose, which I sometimes ride. That system takes twice as much energy per passenger than private cars do. It's not even the worst.

It should be noted that the electric vehicles are much more efficient on a "tank to wheels" basis than shown here. However, while 1 kWh of electricity is only 3400 BTUs on a perfect conversion basis, most electricity is generated from heat, and 70% is generated by burning fossil fuels, mostly coal. So in fact each kWh of electricity consumes 10,339 BTUs using the DoE methodology. That's about a 2/3 loss mostly for generation inefficiency and some transmission loss. See also EIA numbers.

But yes, by and large, even the electric vehicles will generate a modestly smaller amount of greenhouse gasses per BTU as the fuel-burning vehicles, though this varies based on the electricity source.

What's not in these numbers

True "well to wheels" analysis includes more factors:

* Energy to make and recycle cars and transit vehicles. For typical cars that's 120 million BTUs, or about 15% extra over a 150,000 mile life-cycle. I don't yet have figures for transit vehicles.

* Energy to build and maintain roads (for cars and buses) and tracks (for trains) or both for street cars.

* Energy to extract, refine and ship fuel, both to cars and diesel transit, and to power plants making electricity for electric transit. For gasoline, this is about a 22% surcharge. I don't yet have figures for the energy cost of mining and shipping coal, or extracting and piping natural gas for electricity.

* Variations in the average passenger load of all the vehicles, including the cars, which make some systems highly efficient and others terrible. Likewise, some cities have higher passenger/car figures and others lower. These are, except where noted, national averages.

* The fact that sometimes transit trips require more miles (changing lines) and sometimes fewer miles (private right-of-way).

These add-ons apply both to transit and cars, though in different ways. The comparison between purely urban cars and purely urban transit is likely somewhat more favourable for transit -- but I would like to get authoritative numbers, and my instincts suggest it does not change the basic conclusion. Likewise the figures for suburban (highway) cars vs. suburban transit will be less favourable for transit.

It's been asserted that the 1.5 passengers per car average provided by the DoE is biased slightly, in that highway driving has higher loads and urban driving has lighter, but I would like to see real numbers on this. A drop to 1.2 urban would make the car's number 25% worse.

How can this be?

A full bus or trainload of people is more efficient than private cars, sometimes quite a bit more so. But transit systems never consist of nothing but full vehicles. They run most of their day with light loads. The above calculations came from figures citing the average city bus holding 9 passengers, and the average train (light or heavy) holds 22. If that seems low, remember that every packed train at rush hour tends to mean a near empty train returning down the track.

Transit vehicles also tend to stop and start a lot, which eats a lot of energy, even with regenerative braking. And most transit vehicles are just plain heavy, and not very aerodynamic. Indeed, you'll see tables in the DoE reports that show that over the past 30 years, private cars have gotten 30% more efficient, while buses have gotten 60% less efficient and trains about 25% worse. The market and government regulations have driven efforts to make cars more efficient, while transit vehicles have actually worsened.

In order to get people to ride transit, you must offer frequent service, all day long. They want to know they have the freedom to leave at different times. But that means emptier vehicles outside of rush hour. You've all seen those huge empty vehicles go by, you just haven't thought of how anti-green they were. It would be better if off-hours transit was done by much smaller vehicles, but that implies too much capital cost -- no transit agency will buy enough equipment for peak times and then buy a second set of equipment for light demand periods.

Transit planning is also driven by different economies. Often transit infrastructure (including vehicles) is paid for by state or federal money, while drivers (but also fuel) are paid from local city budgets. This seems to push local city transit agencies to get bigger vehicles and fewer drivers where they can, since drivers tend to be hired full-time and can't be kept idling in low-demand periods.

More here

Fears that subtropical koala population could disappear within 20 years

"Fears"! How awful! Must not have fears. The fact that Koalas are in plague proportions in some other parts of Australia (such as Kangaroo Is.) and are being "culled" is not mentioned, of course. For once the "problem" is not being blamed on global warming, however. We must be thankful for small mercies

Southeast Queensland's koala population could be wiped out within 20 years unless urgent steps are taken to save the iconic animal. A new report warns hundreds of koalas are dying each year because they are losing their habitat, getting attacked by dogs or hit by cars. Premier Anna Bligh yesterday revealed tough measures would need to be taken to save an estimated 20,000 koalas living in the southeast including possibly banning dogs in new housing developments or forcing existing dog owners to fence or kennel their pets overnight. The Government may also look at lowering speed limits around koala habitats and building tunnels under major roads so koalas can move between habitats. A taskforce including the RSPCA, local councils, developers, conservation groups and koala experts will be set up to recommend a rescue plan to the Government.

But the move was immediately blasted by conservationists who said it would do little to boost the number of koalas. Australian Koala Foundation's Deborah Tabart OAM said dogs and cars were not the lead killers of koalas as the Government suggested. "The post mortems of 700 koalas earlier this year showed koalas are now starving to death due to loss of food and the disease rates are going up," she said. "These (proposals) will do nothing for koalas; it's meaningless."

Ms Tabart said the state was simply panicking ahead of a Federal Government review of its koala strategy. A report released by the Government yesterday, which was commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency and the previous Caboolture, Pine Rivers and Redcliffe councils, found a 46 per cent decline in the number of koalas in Pine Rivers over the past six years.

Ms Bligh conceded the Government had not done enough in the past to protect koalas, with several measures considered but rejected by previous ministers. "It would be a great tragedy if we stood by and let the koalas of southeast Queensland be wiped out," she said. "We face total loss of koalas within 20 years. We need to take on issues that in the past we have felt were too tough on residents ... frankly we've been too cautious and it's time to take tougher action ... doing nothing is not an option."

LNP sustainability spokesman Dave Gibson said the plans would anger responsible dog owners being unfairly targeted because the Government had approved too much development near koala habitats.



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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