Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Church of the Environment puts its money where its mouth is

Did someone mention the name "Madoff"? I am going to enjoy seeing the outcome of this. "A fool and his money are soon parted"

The Church of England's Church Commissioners have gone green, investing 150 million pounds with former US Vice-President Al Gore's environmentally minded investment firm, Generation Investment Management.

On Nov 18 the First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith reported that in late September the Commissioners had placed the funds with Gore's boutique management firm which follows an "environmentally sustainable global equities mandate." Funding for the investment came from "cash and Treasury bills", he said, and not from the sale of UK equities as initially planned.

In Oct 2007 Mr Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in raising awareness of the potential threats from climate change. Generation Investment Management was founded in 2004 by Mr Gore and David Blood, former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and had almost œ5 billion under management before the market collapse. The firm invests in companies that follow "socially responsible" business model such as insulin manufacturer Novo Nordisk, Swiss food conglomerate Nestl‚, and San Francisco's New Resource Bank --- a "green" lender in the US.

Speaking at a press conference last March in Geneva, Mr Gore said private industry should take the lead in creating environmentally friendly market capitalism noting that "more money is allocated by markets around the world in one hour than by all the governments on the planet in a full year." "The principles and ways and values that have an impact on the way markets allocate resources can have an enormous effect" in tackling climate change, he said.

Institutional investors in his fund are "more attracted to the strategy we follow are managing long-term assets toward long-term goals." "Those looking for a quick hit in the market place, to skim the cream and go somewhere else, those are not the investors attracted to this strategy," Mr Gore said, according to wire service reports.


Record cold in Europe

Skiers are declaring snow conditions in Europe the best for a generation. Despite the strength of the euro, British bargain hunters are heading to the snow-covered mountains of Europe to enjoy the best start to a skiing season for more than 20 years. Record snowfalls and an oversupply of accommodation caused by the credit crunch have prompted a last-minute rush to snap up savings worth hundreds of pounds., the largest ski holiday retailer in Britain, is offering luxury chalet holidays with discounts of up to 360 pounds per person. It also has budget family deals for as little as 229 a head. Simone Clark, the company's sales and marketing director, said: "We have been bombarded by people looking for last-minute trips. They're not necessarily looking for really cheap, but good value. It is driven by the conditions. Two seasons ago, when the snow was poor, we had holidays for 99 pounds and no one wanted them."

Skiers say that these are the best European conditions for a generation, with the deepest snow to be found in the Swiss resorts of Saas-Fee and Andermatt, where the base is more than 3m (11ft) thick.

Graeme Spratley, publisher of Snow magazine, said: "I have friends in Sauze d'Oulx in Italy who say it usually looks like Basingstoke in December but this year it's thick with snow. If you've got the money, it's a great year. There is no shortage of bargains."

The "deal of the day" yesterday with Inghams, the largest independent ski tour operator, was seven nights in late February in Borovets, Bulgaria, for œ199 per person including half-board. Lynsey Devon, the company's public relations manager, said: "It's one of the best-value seasons you're ever going to see because the snow is phenomenal everywhere. On Boxing Day, the phones just went nuts. People thought, "Things are not as bad as we thought, we still have jobs, so let's see what's out there.'"


Record cold in Britain

Millions of people are expected to brave sub-zero temperatures tonight to welcome in 2009, in what is forecast to be the coldest New Year's Eve since the mid-1990s. The credit crunch will cast a further chill over celebrations, with tickets being offered at discounted prices in many venues yesterday as promoters struggled to fill events. More than a third of Britons will shun bars and clubs and stay at home to save money, a YouGov survey has found.

The Met Office warned those who do venture outside to wrap up well in readiness for a return to the deep freeze of a few weeks ago, during the coldest start to December for more than a decade. Temperatures could drop to minus 6C (21F) in parts of Scotland and minus 4C (25F) in England. "Many parts will be below zero and very frosty. It's a big contrast to the milder weather we've had in the past five years or so," a Met Office spokesman said.

In London, up to half a million people are expected to gather beside the Thames for one of the world's biggest parties. Having approved a budget for the event of 1.6 million pounds, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, appears to have the same enthusiasm for fireworks as his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.

The cold outlook was good news for Edinburgh, where heavy rain has forced the cancellations of the Hogmanay celebrations in the past. With clear skies and little wind, the conditions were considered almost perfect. At least 100,000 people are expected to cram into the city centre for the street party. Organisers released extra passes yesterday after the first 50,000 sold out four days earlier than last year, despite doubling in cost from 5 to 10 pounds.


Spokane roofs collapsing under record snow

The weight of record snowfall has caused roofs to collapse in the Spokane area, while snow was blamed for at least one death. Portions of the roof at a church, a grocery store and a building supply company were among 19 collapses attributed to the wet, heavy snow, officials said.

The latest snowstorm that brought some 10 inches to the Spokane area this week was also blamed for the death of Venita Johnson, 85, of Rockford, about 15 miles southeast of Spokane, the Spokane County sheriff's office said. She suffocated over the weekend when snow apparently fell from her rooftop and buried her as she shoveled her sidewalk, the sheriff's office said. A neighbor stopped by the victim's home Sunday and found the front door open. He checked the yard and found her body, deputies said.

More than 59 inches of snow has fallen in Spokane in December, a record for one month.

The Spokane Fire Department responded to several collapsed roofs, including one at a Rosauers grocery store on Monday that caused one minor injury. Roofs also partially collapsed Tuesday at Evergreen Building Supply and at Trinity Baptist Church. There were no injuries, officials said.

The National Weather Service on Tuesday forecast more hazardous weather for Eastern Washington. Snowfall ranging for 1 to 3 inches was expected in the Wenatchee, Omak, Spokane and Pullman areas Tuesday evening. A major winter storm also was forecast to begin New Years' Day and last into Friday, followed by another storm Sunday, bringing moderate to heavy snow accumulations.

Elsewhere in Washington, a winter storm warning was posted for the Olympics and Cascades through Wednesday afternoon, with a strong weather system bringing 1 to 2 feet of new snow. Much of Western Washington, including Seattle and the Puget Sound area, can expect rain and gusty winds of up to 50 mph as the storm blows through.

As of Tuesday, the weather service said Spokane had received 59.7 inches of snow in December., breaking the one-month record of 56.9 inches set in January 1950. Snowfall records in the area have been kept since 1893.


Australia: Greenie laws create shark danger for swimmers

The number of man-eating sharks in Australian waters is growing, according to experts, who blame the surging numbers on a ban on killing the predators. Marine biologist Adam Smith said initial research and accounts from fishermen and divers pointed to a rise in the number of sharks in Australian waters. Dr Smith, who has created the Great Australian Shark Count to obtain firm data on numbers, said great white sharks were no longer allowed to be hunted and fishermen faced fines of about $20,000 and a possible jail sentence for breaking the law, The Australian reports. "They were once targeted as trophy fish by game fishermen, or caught by commercial fishermen because they were a nuisance," he said. Dr Smith said globally shark numbers were under threat, but Australian law protected them.

Shark researcher Terry Peake, who established the Shark Research Institute of Australia, agreed that the ban on killing great whites had helped their numbers. "Nobody is fishing for the great white, it has no human predators and commercial fisherman are telling us they're seeing an increase in numbers," he said. Mr Peake also warned that increasing contact between great whites and humans could occur as many of the shark's traditional food sources, including salmon species, are more aggressively fished. "For every one shark attack, there are reports of 20-50 close calls," he said.

The news came as a Western Australian couple reported a close encounter with a 5m shark in the same waters where a 51-year-old man was killed in a shark attack four days ago.


Below is the sort of thing Australians now have to put up with. I think it would chill the bones of most people:

A man has described how a giant shark eyeballed him and his wife while crabbing off the Port Kennedy beach where Brian Guest was killed on Saturday. The Warnbro pair was tending crab pots when the shark -- that they said was longer than their 4.5m boat -- swam alongside and rolled over before swimming off. The terrified couple immediately headed for shore and raised the alarm.

The sighting came just before 9.30am and authorities were quick to get people out of the water and clear the beach. Water police, sea rescue vessels and aircraft were sent to the area and the shark was spotted heading out to deep water.

Paul Vickery and his wife Lesley from Warnbro were fishing and drop-netting for crabs when the shark came out of the water. ``We were about 50m off the beach and pretty close to where the guy (Brian Guest) got taken the other day. ``We had burlied up and had the crab nets down in the water when he came up and had a look at us. ``It was just like Jaws except he had his mouth closed. ``The boat lurched when he rolled over and he either touched it or the displacement of water made us tip. ``It was pretty violent and gave us a bit of a scare. ``He seemed to be curious. I don't think he was going to attack but we weren't hanging around to see if he was coming back. ``It scared the 'bejesus' out of us. ``We got out of there as quickly as we could and a guy on the beach who saw it had already rung the police. ``When we were on the beach the shark started to feed in the shallows. ``We normally go snorkelling but in light of what happened we thought we'd take the boat out. ``My wife didn't even want to go and my name's mud now. She was crying on the beach afterwards.''

Fisheries boat tracks giant shark: ``They've noticed quite a large shark swim under their boat and . . . decided the best course of action was to head back,'' Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti said. ``Our boat then immediately headed in that direction and picked up a shark, which was reported to be about three to four metres. ``They followed it but it went into the weed and disappeared . . . so they then proceeded back to shore to help these people back to the boat ramp. ``About half-way there they saw some swimmers in the water so they thought it prudent that the swimmers got out. ``So the couple (who) had originally seen the shark made their own way back to the boat ramp and our boat then rounded up any swimmers and told them to get out of the water.''



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


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Clouds" Spencer has a new site

Prof. Roy Spencer has many distinctions but an important one is that he is a leading researcher into the way clouds affect the earth's climate. Greenies generally seem to feel that they need no such knowledge. They just assume that they know what cloud effects to plug into their models. Spencer's research tends to indicate, however, that those assumptions are the reverse of the truth -- with the result that the models predict far more warming than is in fact likely. Prof. Spencer has set up a new site to help circulate knowledge of what really happens. It is here. But below is the general introduction from his new site:

'Global warming' refers to the global-average temperature increase that has been observed over the last one hundred years or more. But to many politicians and the public, the term carries the implication that mankind is responsible for that warming. This website describes evidence from my group's government-funded research that suggests global warming is mostly natural, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity's greenhouse gas emissions and aerosol pollution.

Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of has simply been assumed that global warming is manmade. This assumption is rather easy for scientists since we do not have enough accurate global data for a long enough period of time to see whether there are natural warming mechanisms at work.

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims that the only way they can get their computerized climate models to produce the observed warming is with anthropogenic (human-caused) pollution. But they're not going to find something if they don't search for it. More than one scientist has asked me, "What else COULD it be?" Well, the answer to that takes a little digging... and as I show, one doesn't have to dig very far.

But first let's examine the basics of why so many scientists think global warming is manmade. Earth's atmosphere contains natural greenhouse gases (mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane) which act to keep the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer that they otherwise would be without those gases. Greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation -- the radiant heat energy that the Earth naturally emits to outer space in response to solar heating. Mankind's burning of fossil fuels (mostly coal, petroleum, and natural gas) releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this is believed to be enhancing the Earth's natural greenhouse effect. As of 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 40% to 45% higher than it was before the start of the industrial revolution in the 1800's.

It is interesting to note that, even though carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth to exist, there is precious little of it in Earth's atmosphere. As of 2008, only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules of air were CO2, and it will take mankind's CO2 emissions 5 more years to increase that number by 1, to 40.

The "Holy Grail": Climate Sensitivity: Figuring out how much past warming is due to mankind, and how much more we can expect in the future, depends upon something called "climate sensitivity". This is the temperature response of the Earth to a given amount of 'radiative forcing', of which there are two kinds: a change in either the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth, or in the infrared energy the Earth emits to outer space.

The 'consensus' of opinion is that the Earth's climate sensitivity is quite high, and so warming of about 0.25 deg. C to 0.5 deg. C (about 0.5 deg. F to 0.9 deg. F) every 10 years can be expected for as long as mankind continues to use fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. NASA's James Hansen claims that climate sensitivity is very high, and that we have already put too much extra CO2 in the atmosphere. Presumably this is why he and Al Gore are campaigning for a moratorium on the construction of any more coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

You would think that we'd know the Earth's 'climate sensitivity' by now, but it has been surprisingly difficult to determine. How atmospheric processes like clouds and precipitation systems respond to warming is critical, as they are either amplifying the warming, or reducing it. This website currently concentrates on the response of clouds to warming, an issue which I am now convinced the scientific community has totally misinterpreted when they have measured natural, year-to-year fluctuations in the climate system. As a result of that confusion, they have the mistaken belief that climate sensitivity is high, when in fact the satellite evidence suggests climate sensitivity is low.

The case for natural climate change: I also present an analysis of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which shows that most climate change might well be the result of....the climate system itself! Because small, chaotic fluctuations in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems can cause small changes in global average cloudiness, this is all that is necessary to cause climate change. You don't need the sun, or any other 'external' influence (although these are also possible...but for now I'll let others work on that). It is simply what the climate system does. This is actually quite easy for meteorologists to believe, since we understand how complex weather processes are. Your local TV meteorologist is probably a closet 'skeptic' regarding mankind's influence on climate.

Climate change -- it happens, with or without our help.

Scrooge was a people hater
"Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.'' "Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'' "If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

That phrase--surplus population--is what first tipped me off to Dickens' philosophical agenda. He's taking aim at the father of the zero-growth philosophy, Thomas Malthus. Malthus' ideas were still current in British intellectual life at the time A Christmas Carol was written. Malthus, himself, had joined the surplus generation only nine years before. But his ideas have proved more durable.

Malthus taught the world to fear new people. An amateur economist, he created a theoretical model which allegedly proved that mass starvation was an inevitable result of population growth. Populations grow, he said, geometrically, but wealth only grows arithmetically. In other words, new people create more new people, but new food doesn't create new food.

Malthus' influence, unfortunately, grew geometrically and not arithmetically. His ideas provided fodder for Darwin, and Darwin's lesser mutations used the model to argue for the value of mass human extinction.

Hitler's hard eugenics and Sanger's (founder of Planned Parenthood) softer one, both owed a great debt of gratitude to Thomas Malthus. So do the zero-growth, sustainable-growth, right-to-die, duty-to-die, life boat bio-ethicists who dominate so much of our intellectual discussion. Malthus turned out to be, ironically, right in some sense. His prediction of mass death has taken place; not because he was right, but because he was believed.

Dickens, I think, saw it first. Ebenezer Scrooge was clearly a Malthusian. When he turns away an opportunity for alms giving, he uses the zero growth rationale. When he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, he reiterates it:
"You have never seen the like of me before!'' exclaimed the Spirit.

"Never,'' Scrooge made answer to it.

"Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family; meaning (for I am very young) my elder brothers born in these later years?'' pursued the Phantom.

"I don't think I have,'' said Scrooge. "I am afraid I have not. Have you had many brothers, Spirit?''

"More than eighteen hundred,'' said the Ghost.

"A tremendous family to provide for!'' muttered Scrooge.

At this, the Ghost rose in what I presume is indignation. Scrooge cowers and submits. Then the ghost raises his torch (in the shape of a cornucopia) and leads Scrooge to the public market, brimming with food from all around the world. Dickens especially emphasizes the fruits of trade: almonds, Spanish onions and oranges (in winter, no less). The message is clear: The dirge-ists of the day are wrong. England, even with its poor classes, is a prosperous society. The world is abundant. Rest is possible. So is generosity.

Scrooge's philosophy is not one based on the evidence; he ignores the evidence. He keeps setting aside the evidence of his senses with reference to the secular philosophy of his time. When he sees a spirit, he says that it's just a piece of undigested beef causing him to hallucinate. He denies the realm of the spirit until it becomes simply undeniable.

Scrooge is not following reason; he's following trauma. His mother died when he was young. He was sent to a boarding home where he and the other children were poorly fed. By the time he was brought back from exile to his home (which his sister said is 'like heaven'), the damage to his core personality was done.

Dickens' message is clear enough: The Malthusians of his day did not need evidence (which they ignored every day in the marketplace) or reason. They needed conversion. They needed healing. They needed to be reminded on the day where the world celebrates the birth of a child whom Rome and Herod try to assign to the role of 'surplus population,' that the frightened men who rule the world in the name of scarcity should not be followed, but saved.


"A Scam, With No Basis In Science"

Our friend William Katz has been corresponding with physicist and mathematician Frank Tipler at Urgent Agenda on the subject of global warming. A few excerpts from Professor Tipler's letter to Katz:
As regards global warming, my view is essentially the same as yours: Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a scam, with no basis in science.

It is obvious that anthropogenic global warming is not science at all, because a scientific theory makes non-obvious predictions which are then compared with observations that the average person can check for himself. As we both know from our own observations, AGW theory has spectacularly failed to do this. The theory has predicted steadily increasing global temperatures, and this has been refuted by experience. NOW the global warmers claim that the Earth will enter a cooling period. In other words, whether the ice caps melt, or expand --- whatever happens --- the AGW theorists claim it confirms their theory. A perfect example of a pseudo-science like astrology.

In contrast, the alternative theory, that the increase and decrease of the Earth's average temperature in the near term follows the sunspot number, agrees (roughly) with observation. And the observations were predicted before they occurred. This is good science.

I no longer trust "scientists" to report observations correctly. I think the data is adjusted to confirm, as far as possible, AGW. We've seen many recent cases where the data was cooked in climate studies. In one case, Hanson and company claimed that October 2008 was the warmest October on record. Watts looked at the data, and discovered that Hanson and company had used September's temperatures for Russia rather than October's. I'm not surprised to learn that September is hotter than October in the Northern hemisphere.

Another shocking thing about the AGW theory is that it is generating a loss of true scientific knowledge. The great astronomer William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, observed in the early 1800's that warm weather was correlated with sunspot number. Herschel noticed that warmer weather meant better crops, and thus fewer sunspots meant higher grain prices. The AGW people are trying to do a disappearing act on these observations. Some are trying to deny the existence of the Maunder Minimum.

Professor Tipler notes the discreditable role played by Obama's chief science adviser, the left-wing partisan John Holdren:
AGW supporters are also bringing back the Inquisition, where the power of the state is used to silence one's scientific opponents. The case of Bjorn Lomborg is illustrative. Lomborg is a tenured professor of mathematics in Denmark. Shortly after his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was published by Cambridge University Press, Lomborg was charged and convicted (later reversed) of scientific fraud for being critical of the "consensus" view on AGW and other environmental questions. Had the conviction been upheld, Lomborg would have been fired. ...

I find it very disturbing that part of the Danish Inquisition's case against Lomborg was written by John Holdren, Obama's new science advisor. Holdren has recently written that people like Lomborg are "dangerous." I think it is people like Holdren who are dangerous, because they are willing to use state power to silence their scientific opponents.

Finally, he points out how toxic the combination of government (which is to say, politics) and science can be:
I agree with Dick Lindzen that the AGW nonsense is generated by government funding of science. If a guy agrees with AGW, then he can get a government contract. If he is a skeptic, then no contract.

This is why I am astounded that people who should know better, like Newt Gingrich, advocate increased government funding for scientific research. We had better science, and a more rapid advance of science, in the early part of the 20th century when there was no centralized government funding for science. Einstein discovered relativity on his own time, while he was employed as a patent clerk. Where are the Einsteins of today? They would never be able to get a university job...

Science is an economic good like everything else, and it is very bad for production of high quality goods for the government to control the means of production. Why can't Newt Gingrich understand this? Milton Friedman understood it, and advocated cutting off government funding for science.

Provocative stuff, but clearly correct insofar as it relates to global warming. In the Telegraph, Christopher Booker writes, "2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved." As usual, though, the politicians are lagging far behind the advance of scientific knowledge.


Optimistic Data Pessimistic Reporting

Washington Post correspondant Juliet Eilperin, in her 12-26-08 report entitled "New climate change estimates more pessimistic," dutifully surveys the latest bleak findings of the climate change community. Her primary source is a recently released survey comissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program - expanding on the findings of the 2007 4th IPPC Report on Climate Change. Apparently this "new assessment suggests that earlier projections may have underestimated the climatic shifts that could take place by 2100." One of Eilperin's primary examples of alarming new data is reported as follows:
"In one of the reports most worrisome findings, the agency estimates that in light of recent ice sheet melting, global sea level rise could be as much as 4 feet by 2100. The IPCC had projected a sea level rise of no more than 1.5 feet by that time, but satellite data over the past two years show the world's major ice sheets are melting much more rapidly than previously thought. The Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are now losing an average of 48 cubic miles of ice a year, equivalent to twice the amount of ice that exists in the Alps."

This indeed sounds ominous, until one recalls the data from just over two years ago, released and reported with similar overtones of dreadful urgency. Our October 20th, 2006 report entitled "Greenland's Ice Melting Slowly" referenced then recent findings from NASA indicating that Greenland's ice was melting at "a net loss of 27 cubic miles of ice per year."

In our above-noted critique of this 2006 NASA report, we correctly noted 27 cubic miles of new water in the world's oceans per year would result in a net rise of sea level of 1.2 inches per century. The calculations for this claim are fairly straightforward and are outlined in that post. Now in this new 2008 report in the Washington Post, not only Greenland, but Antarctica as well are only combining to contribute 48 cubic miles of net ice-melt per year into the world's oceans on average during the last three years. That is about 2.0 inches per century, and clearly these datapoints don't indicate a trend towards faster melting, when Antarctica's ice mass is nearly 10x that of the Greenland ice cap.

It would help if Eilperin and others would have included links to the original just-released study from the USGS Climate Change Science Program, "Abrupt Climate Change." Using the key words "USGS faster climate change feared," the many, many links found on, including the Washington Post story's own link to the study, only reference the Washington Post story itself. And despite the overwhelming intent of all these posts spawned by Eilperin's latest dispatch, to crow yet again that our worst primal diluvian fears could come true, the most supposedly alarming data they themselves have cited suggest strongly otherwise. Three years ago what NASA quantified as an alarming loss of annual ice loss from Greenland was easily demonstrated at that time to be an insignificant loss, and today NASA's updated data appears to suggest the annual rate of global polar ice loss has actually decreased since then.



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


Monday, December 29, 2008

The Worst Climate Predictions of 2008

"2008 will be the hottest year in a century:" The Old Farmers' Almanac, September 11, 2008. We're now well into the earth's third straight harsher winter-but in late 2007 it was still hard to forget 22 straight years of global warming from 1976-1998. So the Old Farmer's Almanac predicted 2008 would be the hottest year in the last 100.

But sunspots had been predicting major cooling since 2000, and global temperatures turned downward in early 2007. The sunspots have had a 79 percent correlation with the earth's thermometers since 1860. Today's temperatures are about on a par with 1940. For 2008, the Almanac hired a new climatologist, Joe D'Aleo, who says the declining sunspots and the cool phase of the Pacific Ocean predict 25-30 years of cooler temperatures for the planet.

"You could potentially sail, kayak or even swim to the North Pole by the end of the summer. Climate scientists say that the Arctic ice . . . is currently on track to melt sometime in 2008." Ted Alvarez, Backpacker Magazine Blogs, June, 2008. Soon after this prediction, a huge Russian icebreaker got trapped in the thick ice of the Northwest Passage for a full week. The Arctic ice hadn't melted in 2007, it got blown into warmer southern waters. Now it's back.

Remember too the Arctic has its own 70-year climate cycle. Polish climatologist Rajmund Przbylak says "the highest temperatures since the beginning of instrumental observation occurred clearly in the 1930s" based on more than 40 Arctic temperature stations.

"Australia's Cities Will Run Out of Drinking Water Due to Global Warming." Tim Flannery was named Australia's Man of the Year in 2007-for predicting that Australian cities will run out of water. He predicted Perth would become the "first 21st century ghost city,' and that Sydney would be out of water by 2007. Today however, Australia's city reservoirs are amply filled. Andrew Bolt of the Melbourne Herald-Sun reminds us Australia is truly a land of long droughts and flooding rains.

"Hurricane Effects Will Only Get Worse." Live Science, September 19, 2008. So wrote the on-line tech website Live Science, but the number of Atlantic hurricanes 2006-2008 has been 22 percent below average, with insured losses more than 50 percent below average. The British Navy recorded more than twice as many major land-falling Caribbean hurricanes in the last part of the Little Ice Age (1700-1850) as during the much-warmer last half of the 20th century.

"Corals will become increasingly rare on reef systems." Dr. Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, head of Queensland University (Australia) marine studies. In 2006, Dr. Hoegh-Guldberg warned that high temperatures might kill 30-40 percent of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef "within a month." In 2007, he said global warming temperatures were bleaching [potentially killing] the reef. But, in 2008, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network said climate change had not damaged the "well-managed" reef in the four years since its last report. Veteran diver Ben Cropp said that in 50 years he'd seen no heat damage to the reef at all. "The only change I've seen has been the result of over-fishing, pollution, too many tourists or people dropping anchors on the reef," he said.

No More Skiing? "Climate Change and Aspen," Aspen, CO city-funded study, June, 2007. Aspen's study predicted global warming would change the climate to resemble hot, dry Amarillo, Texas. But in 2008, European ski resorts opened a month early, after Switzerland recorded more October snow than ever before. Would-be skiers in Aspen had lots of winter snow-but a chill factor of 18 below zero F. kept them at their fireplaces instead of on the slopes.

More here

'Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino'

The satellite data gives a very different picture from ground-based thermometers -- with all their known problems of heat-island effects, incautious siting and uneven distribution etc.

This has been in my inbox for a couple of weeks, so on a fairly quiet day for weather, I thought I'd put this out there. John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville reported earlier this month that the Earth's climate change over the past 30 years has been rather uneven: It's gotten much warmer in the Arctic and, at the same time, cooler in the Antarctic. Christy and his colleague Roy Spencer, who are known in some quarters as global warming skeptics, use data from satellites to measure the temperature of the Earth. The more well-known NASA GISS and National Climatic Data Center data sets primarily measure surface temperatures.

Overall, Christy found that Earth's atmosphere warmed an average of about about 0.72 degree F in the past 30 years, according to NOAA and NASA satellites. More than 80 percent of the globe warmed by some amount. However, while parts of the Arctic have warmed by as much as 4.6 degrees F in 30 years, Christy says that much of the Antarctic has cooled, with parts of the continent cooling as much as the Arctic has warmed. "If you look at the 30-year graph of month-to-month temperature anomalies, the most obvious feature is the series of warmer-than-normal months that followed the major El Nino Pacific Ocean warming event of 1997-1998," says Christy. "Right now we are coming out of one La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event and we might be heading into another. It should be interesting over the next several years to see whether the post La Nina climate 're-sets' to the cooler seasonal norms we saw before 1997 or the warmer levels seen since then," he says. He adds that most of the warming found in the satellite data has taken place since the beginning of the 1997-98 El Nino, and that Earth's average temperature showed no detectable warming from December 1978 until the 1997 El Nino.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported yesterday that the USA "faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a report led by the U.S. Geological Survey."


Skeptical scientist profile: Dr. John Brignell

I've been wanting to do this for sometime, because I've linked to Dr. Brignell's warmlist page a countless number of times. From his CV:
Professor Emeritus (ESD) John Brignell was educated at Stationers' Company's School and began his career as an apprentice at STC. He studied at Northampton Engineering College (which became The City University, London) and took the degrees of BSc(Eng) and PhD of London University. He joined the staff at Northampton and was successively Research Assistant, Research Fellow and Lecturer. He worked in a number of areas including dielectric liquids and computer aided measurement, co-authoring a book "Laboratory on-line computing" in 1975.

He was for ten years Reader in Electronics at The City University and held the Chair in Industrial Instrumentation at Southampton for twenty years from 1980. He has researched and written extensively in the area of sensors and their applications, and in 1994 co-authored a book with Neil White on "Intelligent sensor systems". He had an extensive private consultancy practice for many years and has advised some of the larger international companies, as well as many small ones in the UK, on all aspects of industrial instrumentation. He pioneered the use of a number of technologies in sensing, such as thick film, and latterly turned his attention to the considerable possibilities of micro-engineering.

He was elected Fellow of IOP, InstMC, IEE and RSA. In 1994 he was awarded the Callendar Silver Medal by InstMC. He served on the ISAT Committee of IoP from its inception and was the founding chairman of the first joint professional group of the IEE (J1), having served on both its predecessors (E1 and C11).

What Dr. Brignell has done is simple genius--keep a linked list of actual media stories and articles that purport to show the horrors--both past, present, and future--associated with manmade global warming and climate change. Simply reading the mass of links is mind-boggling; in my opinion, visiting this one page is all that one needs to do to understand how stupid this global warming hoax is.

Dr. Brignell goes further with his entire Number Watch site--he's showing us how the media can misbehave when using numbers and statistics. Thank you, Dr. Brignell, for being brave enough to stick your neck out in this politically correct environment. As he says: Number Watch - All about the scares, scams, junk, panics, and flummery cooked up by the media, politicians, bureaucrats, so-called scientists and others who try to confuse you with wrong numbers.


Global cooling bites Britain: 'set for shockingly cold weather'

It's time to get out the thermal underwear and thickest pullovers - Britain is set for shockingly cold weather for at least the next couple of weeks. After a glorious Christmas, with not a hint of a snowflake, temperatures have been slipping steadily downwards, with minus 11C (12F) recorded in Aviemore, in the Highlands, on Saturday night. The plunge into a Siberian blast of cold will worsen in the coming week as raw easterlies freeze the country. "This coming week, maximum daytime temperatures will be between 2C (36F) and 4C (39F) but temperatures at night could be well below zero for many places," said Stephen Holman, forecaster at the Met Office.

The freezing conditions are being swept down from a strong high-pressure system anchored close to Scandinavia. Like a boulder firmly stuck in a river, this anticyclone is refusing to budge and sending our usual wet and windy winter weather on a wide detour, a system known as a blocking weather pattern.

Although it will feel bitterly cold, conditions will also largely be dry, at least for the next few days, and no significant snowfall is expected, although northern and eastern regions could experience some snow. Exactly how cold it will become largely depends on where the high pressure sits and how much cloud it drags off the North Sea. And cloudy skies are needed, because they act like a duvet cover, helping to prevent some of the heat loss from the ground. If the nights turn clear and winds are light, though, temperatures could plummet as low as minus 10C (14F) even in the South of England in the next fortnight.

In winter, low pressure tends to dominate over Iceland and high pressure to the south, over the Azores. These two pressure systems dance in tune with each other and drive our winter weather, in what is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When the Icelandic low and Azores high are strong, they steer wet and mild weather over the UK; but when they slacken off in a negative phase, that turns the UK bitterly cold. At present the NAO is turning negative, sending a powerful signal that the weather is set to continue cold.

How bad could this winter sink? The weather maps are a chilling reminder of some our most savage winters, such as the notorious 1962-63 winter, the coldest for 180 years. This was when the sea froze around the coast of southeast England and crops were dug out of frozen ground with pneumatic drills and blizzards paralysed the nation. Even if next month is freezing, the Met's long-range forecast predicts that the winter will melt away into warmer conditions in February.



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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The costs of environmental protection

How many plankton can fit on the head of a pin? And how much are they worth? In an environmental case argued this month, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether any cost is too high for limiting damage to the environment. How the Justices decide will have important consequences for energy efficiency and the future cost of electricity. Entergy Corporation v. Riverkeeper deals with the interpretation of a provision of the Clean Water Act. Under the Act, power plants are required to use the best technology available for reducing their impact on the environment. It's up to the EPA to measure the cost of technological upgrades against their marginal benefits to the environment.

That, at least, has been the operating procedure for decades, whereby the EPA could decide against requiring fixes to power plants and manufacturing facilities when the cost of the new system was "wholly disproportionate to the benefits." During oral argument, Justice David Souter asked, "Are a thousand plankton worth a million dollars? I don't know."

In Entergy, a green lobby named Riverkeeper is seeking to make power plants go beyond what was judged necessary by the EPA's cost-benefit analysis. According to Riverkeeper's lawyer, Richard Lazarus, "The EPA has no authority in any circumstance to decide that fish aren't worth a certain amount of cost." In other words, while EPA may consider whether the industry is able to bear the costs, it should not weigh those costs against harm to the environment.

If it sounds fishy, that's exactly what the environmentalists have in mind. When power plants draw in water from lakes and rivers to circulate into coolant systems for power generation, some fish and marine life forms are harmed. To reduce the mortality rate, the enviros suggest, a better option would be cooling systems that recycle water or air within the plant. Small problem: The conversion cost can run to hundreds of millions of dollars per plant, while decreasing efficiency. According to EPA estimates, 20 new power plants would have to be built nationwide to compensate for the new cooling process.

As technology marches forward, there will be a great many improvements in the way companies are able to deflect their environmental impact. Already, using things like fish screens and barrier nets, companies are able to reduce the fish harm by 80% to 95%. That's a level of effectiveness approaching the fancier systems at a fraction of the cost.

Green groups have a history of rejecting cost-benefit analysis as a matter of ideology more than utility. They don't trust business, and they believe that their own specific environmental goals are a higher public good than whatever is lost to society from exorbitant costs. But there is a price for everything in life, and reasonable regulation ought to include a judgment about relative costs and benefits.

If anything the EPA considers costs far too little in writing its rules. Yet in Entergy, the greens want the High Court to demand an even higher standard. If it does, everyone will pay, and sooner or later so will the plankton as a poorer America has less ability to afford the investments that will kill fewer of them while generating electricity.


Obama may have committed environmental crime by pouring grandmother's ashes into the sea

A ceremony arranged for his grandmother, whom he lost during the election process, may end up causing quite a headache for Barack Obama. In a ceremony held in Hawaii, Obama, teary-eyed, poured his grandmother's ashes into the sea from the sand-lined shore.

Environmentalists were quick to stand up against the move. The reason behind the contention was the state's Department of Land and Natural Resources Protection Law, which prohibits ashes from being dropped into the ocean. According to the regulation in place, ashes must be poured at a distance of at least three nautical miles. It has not yet been determined whether Obama will receive a fine for his actions.


2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved

Looking back over my columns of the past 12 months, one of their major themes was neatly encapsulated by two recent items from The Daily Telegraph. The first, on May 21, headed Climate change threat to Alpine ski resorts, reported that the entire Alpine "winter sports industry" could soon "grind to a halt for lack of snow". The second, on December 19, headed The Alps have best snow conditions in a generation, reported that this winter's Alpine snowfalls "look set to beat all records by New Year's Day".

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. Last winter, as temperatures plummeted, many parts of the world had snowfalls on a scale not seen for decades. This winter, with the whole of Canada and half the US under snow, looks likely to be even worse. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Ever shriller and more frantic has become the insistence of the warmists, cheered on by their army of media groupies such as the BBC, that the last 10 years have been the "hottest in history" and that the North Pole would soon be ice-free - as the poles remain defiantly icebound and those polar bears fail to drown. All those hysterical predictions that we are seeing more droughts and hurricanes than ever before have infuriatingly failed to materialise.

Even the more cautious scientific acolytes of the official orthodoxy now admit that, thanks to "natural factors" such as ocean currents, temperatures have failed to rise as predicted (although they plaintively assure us that this cooling effect is merely "masking the underlying warming trend", and that the temperature rise will resume worse than ever by the middle of the next decade).

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Thirdly, as banks collapsed and the global economy plunged into its worst recession for decades, harsh reality at last began to break in on those self-deluding dreams which have for so long possessed almost every politician in the western world. As we saw in this month's Poznan conference, when 10,000 politicians, officials and "environmentalists" gathered to plan next year's "son of Kyoto" treaty in Copenhagen, panicking politicians are waking up to the fact that the world can no longer afford all those quixotic schemes for "combating climate change" with which they were so happy to indulge themselves in more comfortable times.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess.

As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that - unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming "energy gap" - within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians - along with those of the EU and President Obama's US - were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.


'Dear Mr. Obama,' Why are our Kids so Brainwashed?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has launched a wonderful little feature that will run until Barack Obama takes the oath of office next month. They are calling it "Dear Mr. Obama" and it is a heartwarming exercise in child indoctrination and brainwashing. The Post-Gazette will be publishing letters from local students to Obama asking him for all sorts of global warming fixes, Iraq war enders, and big government programs.

Sadly, it appears that the government schools these kids have been subjected to have failed to teach their charges about anything like the American system, federalism, even science seems neglected. But they SURE taught their kiddies that government is there to spend, spend, spend, that government is to be treated like our collective parents, and that the war in Iraq is obviously an evil venture. Obviously.

And, yes little kiddies, The One, your very own Obamessiah, is flying to the rescue like a super hero. Cue the theme music -- I'd suggest the theme to 2001, like Elvis used, is appropriate for the sentiment here. The Obamessiah has entered the building!

The tykes are all about the alternative energy these days. They are full of exhortations to The One that he should force upon us all a reliance on wind power and solar cells. Obviously these youngsters have not been taught that no alternative energy source has thus far been found that is cheaper than oil and the fossil fuels. These kids are under the illusion that just instituting a government program is all it takes to overcome the science of the matter and make them cost effective and feasible. Yes, all we need is a word from our new religious icon in Washington DC cum Obamalot.

The first letter was amusing for its complete fraud. It is supposed to be from a ten-year-old child, yet it talks about alternative energy, the war in "Irak" and lays out a fairly detailed idea for a new method of education. It is painfully obvious that no ten-year-old ever wrote this letter.

Also we see little Neil Pandya, age 10, who asked Obama to lower the age limit on driving. Apparently, Neil was not told that states are supposed to legislate that restriction, not the federal government. Sadly, states' rights is not a subject taught to our young Mr. Pandya.

Several of the children are worried about mythical man-made, global warming and have been indoctrinated that Obama can control such things from the Mount Olympus of Washington. Here, for instance, are the worries of little Anna Devinney.
The first one is pollution. A lot of animals are dying because of pollution. Fish are dying from garbage being dumped into their habitat. People are dumping barrels of toxins into the oceans and many sea animals are losing food. Another problem in the U.S. is global warming. In the future, all the land will be flooded with water because the icebergs are melting and the sea level is rising.

To be so misled by one's teachers is so disheartening. The thing we can take from this is that who ever said kid's can't learn is way off base. Unfortunately, what they are learning is a thorough left-wing agenda. To paraphrase a famous saying, it isn't that our kids don't know anything. It's that what they know is all wrong. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, thinking it's cute, is all too willing to display for all to see what a failed education looks like.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Possible climate effects of variations in Earth's orbit

An interesting email below. Comments sought

I have been desparately seeking ratification of a theory I have that explains the Little Ice Age and the current climate shift (if there really is one). I will make the assumption that you are aware of the relationship between the effects on the absorption of the sun's energy by the eliptical shape of the Eart's orbit plus the 23.5 degree angle of the axis of rotation.

Every thing I've read points to the fact that the northern hemisphere is hotter in the summer because of the sub-solar near-perpendicularity with the northern land masses and the longer summer due to the further distance from the sun at the aphelion. During the winter, the Earth is at perihelon and the southern waters absorb the sun's rays and distribute the heat around the planet.

Nowhere has the phenomenon, which I call the Leap Year Effect, been used to explain climate change, such as that which occurred 200-500 years ago, the Little Ice Age (LIA). It's incredible that this has been overlooked and that I am the only person aware of it. I hope you can verify the following....

Since every 4 years we have to add a day (Leap Year) to accomodate the calendar and make it coincide with the seasons, it also means that the Earth is also approximately 1 degree of longitude further advanced relative to its position in its orbit 4 years earlier. No big deal, but that means that in 720 years the earth will have rotated 180 degrees from it's position at the aphelion, and at the perihelion as well, since the axis of rotation has gone thru insignificant precession.

The effects are self evident, the southern waters are heating up, sending more warm water north, but the heat reflecting land masses are cooler. This is what happened in the LIA, and we are headed for another one right now, with more and more evaporated water in the air condensing in the cold air of the northern hemisphere at the same time as the higher density water is melting the Artic ice from below. If I'm wrong, please tell me why.


After various helpful comments from readers, the author of the above concludes that he was in error in what he said.

Solar Meets Polar as Winter Curbs Clean Energy

Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy. This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up, biodiesel congeals in tanks and solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun. And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow, rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine. So in regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. "At least I can get to them with a long pole and a squeegee," said Alan Stankevitz, a homeowner in southeast Minnesota.

As concern has grown about global warming, many utilities and homeowners have been trying to shrink their emissions of carbon dioxide - their carbon footprints - by installing solar panels, wind turbines and even generators powered by tides or rivers. But for the moment, at least, the planet is still cold enough to deal nasty winter blows to some of this green machinery.

In January 2007, a bus stalled in the middle of the night on Interstate 70 in the Colorado mountains. The culprit was a 20 percent biodiesel blend that congealed in the freezing weather, according to John Jones, the transit director for the bus line, Summit Stage. (Biodiesel is a diesel substitute, typically made from vegetable oil, that is used to displace some fossil fuels.) The passengers got out of that situation intact, but Summit Stage, which serves ski resorts, now avoids biodiesel from November to March, and uses only a 5 percent blend in the summertime, when it can still get cold in the mountains. "We can't have people sitting on buses freezing to death while we get out there trying to get them restarted," Mr. Jones said.

Winter may pose even bigger safety hazards in the vicinity of wind turbines. Some observers say the machines can hurl chunks of ice as they rotate. "It's like you throw a plate out there and that plate breaks," said Ralph Brokaw, a cattle rancher in southeast Wyoming who has 69 wind turbines on his property. When his turbines ice up, he stays out of the way. The wind industry admits that turbines can drop ice, like a lamppost or any tall structure. To ameliorate the hazard, some turbines are painted black to absorb sunlight and melt the ice faster. But Ron Stimmel, an expert on small wind turbines at the American Wind Energy Association, denies that the whirling blades tend to hurl icy javelins. Large turbines turn off automatically as ice builds up, and small turbines will slow and stop because the ice prevents them from spinning - "just like a plane's wing needs to be de-iced to fly," Mr. Stimmel said. Mr. Brokaw says that his turbines do turn off when they are too icy, but the danger sometimes comes right before the turbines shut down, after a wet, warm snow causes ice buildup.

From the standpoint of generating power, winter is actually good for wind turbines, because it is generally windier than summer. In Vermont, for example, Green Mountain Power, which operates a small wind farm in the southeastern part of the state, gets more than twice the monthly production in winter as in August.

The opposite is true, however, for solar power. Days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky during the winter, ensuring less power production. Even in northern California, with mild winters and little snow, solar panels can generate about half as much as in the summer, depending on how much they are tilted, according to Rob Erlichman, chief executive of Sunlight Electric, a San Francisco solar company.

Operators of the electrical grid do not worry much about the seasonal swings, because the percentage of production from renewable energy is still so low - around 1 percent of the country's power comes from wind, and less from solar panels. In addition, Americans use slightly less electricity in the winter than in the summer because air conditioners are not running. This is especially true in sunny areas, so solar panels' peak production matches the spikes in demand.

But as renewable energy becomes a bigger part of the nation's power mix, the seasonable variability could become more of a problem. Already, power developers are learning that they must make careful plans to avoid the worst impacts of ice and snow. Trey Taylor, the president of Verdant Power, which has put small turbines in the tidal East River in New York City and plans more for the St. Lawrence River in Canada, said that ice chunks could slide over one another "like a deck of cards," pushing ice below and harming turbines. That may rule out parts of otherwise promising sites like the Yukon River in Alaska, he said.

Kevin Devlin, the vice president for operations of Iberdrola Renewables, a wind developer, said that winter was probably the hardest time of year to maintain turbines, because workers must go out in snow and ice. Occasionally, he said, the turbines will shut down or set off alarms if it is too cold, and workers must brave the elements to fix them.

For homeowners, the upkeep of their power sources can also be a bother. Mr. Stankevitz keeps his panels tilted 40 degrees or higher, but they still become covered with snow - and experts say that if even one cell in a panel is covered, the panel will not produce power. On the other hand, the panels can get extra power from sunlight reflected off nearby snow. And like other electronic gear, solar panels work better when cold. Mr. Stankevitz said that on some rare winter days, when the Minnesota sky is clear, the weather is freezing and the sun is shining brightly, his panels can briefly churn out more electricity than they were designed to produce, more than on the balmiest days of summer.


No Matter What Happens, Someone Will Blame Global Warming

Global warming was blamed for everything from beasts gone wild to anorexic whales to the complete breakdown of human society this year -- showing that no matter what it is and where it happens, scientists, explorers, politicians and those who track the Loch Ness Monster are comfortable scapegoating the weather. takes a look back at 10 things that global warming allegedly caused - or will no doubt soon be responsible for - as reported in the news around the world in 2008.

1. Cannibalism

In April, media mogul Ted Turner told PBS's Charlie Rose that global warming would make the world 8 degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years. "Civilization will have broken down. The few people left will be living in a failed state, like Somalia or Sudan, and living conditions will be intolerable," he said. Turner blamed global warming on overpopulation, saying "too many people are using too much stuff." Crops won't grow and "most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals," Turner said.

2. The Death of the Loch Ness Monster

In February, Scotland's Daily Mirror reported that 85-year-old American Robert Rines would be giving up his quest for Scotland's most famous underwater denizen. A World War II veteran, Rines has spent 37 years hunting for Nessie with sonar equipment. In 2008, "despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming."

3. Beer Gets More Expensive

In April, the Associated Press reported that global warming was going to hit beer drinkers in the wallet because the cost of barley would increase, driving up the price of a pint. Jim Salinger, a climate scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said Australia would be particularly hard hit as droughts caused a decline in malting barley production in parts of New Zealand and Australia. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Salinger said at a beer brewer's convention, the AP reported.

4. Pythons Take Over America

Giant Burmese pythons - big enough to eat alligators and deer in a single mouthful - will be capable of living in one-third of continental U.S. as global warming makes more of the country hospitable to the cold-blooded predators, according to an April report from The U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service investigated the spread of "invasive snakes," like the pythons, brought to the U.S. as pets. The Burmese pythons' potential American habitat would expand by 2100, according to global warming models, the paper reported. "We were surprised by the map. It was bigger than we thought it was going to be," says Gordon Rodda, zoologist and lead project researcher, told "They are moving northward, there's no question."

5. Kidney Stones

A University of Texas study said global warming will cause an increase in kidney stones over the next 30 years, the Globe and Mail reported in July. Scientists predict that higher temperatures will lead to more dehydration and therefore to more kidney stones. "This will come and get you in your home," said Dr. Tom Brikowski, lead researcher and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. "It will make life just uncomfortable enough that maybe people will slow down and think what they're doing to the climate."

6. Skinny Whales

Japanese scientists, who have claimed that the country's controversial whaling program is all in the name of science, said in August that if they hadn't been going around killing whales, they never would have discovered that the creatures were significantly skinnier than whales killed in the late 1980s, the Guardian reported in August. The researchers said the study was the first evidence that global warming was harming whales by restricting their food supplies. As water warmed around the Antarctic Peninsula, the krill population shrank by 80 percent as sea ice declined, eliminating much of the preferred food of the minke whale. The whales studied had lost the same amount of blubber as they would have by starving for 36 days, but the global warming connection couldn't be proven because no krill measurements are taken in different regions.

7. Shark Attacks

A surge in fatal shark attacks was the handiwork of global warming, according to a report in the Guardian in May. George Burgess of Florida University, a shark expert that maintains an attack database, told the Guardian that shark attacks were caused by human activity. "As the population continues to rise, so does the number of people in the water for recreation. And as long as we have an increase in human hours in the water, we will have an increase in shark bites," he said. Shark attacks could also be the result of global warming and rising sea temperatures, the Guardian said. "You'll find that some species will begin to appear in places they didn't in the past with some regularity," Burgess said.

8. Black Hawk Down

Although it happened in 1993, the crash of a U.S. military helicopter in Mogadishu that became the film "Black Hawk Down" was blamed on global warming by a Massachusetts congressman in 2008. "In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine," Rep. Edward Markey told a group of students who had come to the Capitol to discuss global warming, according to "That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down."

9. Frozen Penguin Babies

Penguin babies, whose water-repellant feathers had not grown in yet, froze to death after torrential rains, National Geographic reported in July. "Many, many, many of them-thousands of them-were dying," explorer Jon Bowermaster told National Geographic. Witnessing the mass penguin death "painted a clear and grim picture" of global warming. "It's not just melting ice," Bowermaster said. "It's actually killing these cute little birds that are so popular in the movies."

10. Killer Stingray Invasion

Global warming is going to drive killer stingrays, like the one that killed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, to the shores of Britain after a 5-foot -long marbled stingray was captured by fishermen, the Daily Mail reported in June. A single touch can zap a man with enough electricity to kill, the Mail said, and global warming is bringing the Mediterranean killers north. "Rising sea temperatures may well have brought an influx of warm water visitors," sea life curator Alex Gerrard told the Mail. "Where there's one electric ray, it's quite likely that there are more."


The Great Seattle Salt Silliness: Sand on roads worse than salt, scientists say

Sand — one of Seattle's main weapons against icy streets — is more likely to harm aquatic life than the salt the city refuses to use out of concern for its environmental effects. That's the opinion of scientists who have studied the issue and officials from other cities that use salt to clear icy roads.

Seattle doesn't use salt, an effective ice-buster used widely by other cities and the state Department of Transportation, because of environmental concerns. Since last Thursday, Seattle has sprinkled more than 6,000 tons of sand on city streets and this week ordered 700 more tons for storage.

Instead of clearing major roads, Seattle aims to create a "hard-packed" snow surface suitable for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, and front-wheel-drive vehicles with chains. The packed snow is then sprinkled with sand and sprayed with de-icer. The strategy failed to clear ice from many streets, leaving drivers struggling to navigate this week. More snow was expected overnight.

Richard Sheridan, of the Seattle Department of Transportation, said the city is less concerned about sand because the streets are swept once the snow is gone. Seattle has not used salt since the mid-1990s, he said, because it corrodes metal bridges and "degrades" the marine environment. But he could not say which areas the city is concerned about. Sheridan said sand is more environmentally friendly than salt, but scientists say sand damages waterways by clogging the spaces in gravel where insects live, making it hard for them to cling to rocks. Insects, a key part of the food chain, are an indicator of stream health.

Salt is less an issue because melting snow dilutes it, according to two scientists who studied effects of road salting on aquatic life. "In general, what my colleagues have found, and I have found, is that sand actually has a greater impact, at least on stream systems," said University of Dayton (Ohio) professor Eric Benbow, an aquatic ecologist. "Sand's the problem, as much as people don't want to recognize it."

Canadian studies on road salting in the late 1990s found potential impacts on groundwater, roadside plants and creatures in streams near roads where large amounts of salt were used. In a place such as Seattle, where salt is used infrequently, Benbow said he couldn't imagine the concentrations getting high enough to do any harm. Doug Myers, of the environmental group People for Puget Sound, said salt on city streets would not likely impact saltwater in the Sound. He said he is concerned about the impact on creeks that feed the Sound because they may contain species sensitive to salt or creatures already compromised by toxic chemicals. The group has not taken a position on the use of sand, he said.

Seattle's aversion to salt is shared by Bellevue and Spokane, which use chemical de-icers. Judy Johnson, Bellevue's street-maintenance superintendent, said the city used nothing to clear icy streets for a while. But the streets were too slick, so the city started using calcium chloride, which contains a rust inhibitor to protect cars. "We needed something in the toolbox for ice, for safety reasons," Johnson said, noting the decision to use chemicals was driven in part by concerns about the harm from sand. "It's a balancing act," she said. "You don't want to use a lot of any of this stuff. It's all got environmental effects."

Tacoma uses a saltwater brine before and after it snows, then follows up with a mixture of salt and sand. It has used 2,000 tons of the salt and sand mixture already this year. Environmental concerns about salt haven't garnered a lot of attention in Tacoma, but community-relations manager Rob McNair-Huff said sand is actually of larger concern. "It both clogs up the drainage systems and can be damaging as far as the habitats of macroinvertebrates [insects] and salmon," he said.

Everett has tried several products, but its standby is an 8-to-1 mix of sand and salt, said Kate Reardon, the city's spokeswoman. Since the city's drainage is treated in combined sewers or detention ponds, it doesn't drain directly to the Sound, she said. Vancouver, B.C., also uses salt and sand.

Decisions about snow clearance are influenced as much by social, financial and political concerns as by science, said Mark Devries, chairman of the winter-maintenance committee for the American Public Works Association, a professional organization. "We're driven by our budgets, we're driven by the level of service we're expected to give and we're driven by what's available to us in our areas," said Devries, the maintenance supervisor for McHenry County, Ill.

Professor Wilfrid Nixon, a winter-highway-maintenance expert at the University of Iowa College of Engineering, said salt is the best ice-buster around and that using it should be weighed against the environmental costs of other measures. Plows burn more fuel when they have to plow more, and accidents caused by icy roads have environmental consequences, too, he said. "Every crash in the winter is an environmental disaster," Nixon said. "You have spills of engine oil, gas, coolant. ... It may not be hundreds of miles of road, but the effect is intensely local."


Emailed comment from W. F. Lenihan [] on the story above:

Gov Gregoire had no choice. The roads throughout the state are a mess. More snow has fallen in the Seattle area recently than any other time except the winter of 1942-43. I am a Seattle native and 78. I had a paper route in 1942 and had to slog through snow 2 to 3 feet deep dragging a sled. This snow pack remained for four or five weeks.

The real stupidity by far is that of Mayor Nickels, who prohibited the use of salt on roads because it might harm fish in Puget Sound (salt water). See: here. You will FDLOL.

The spin from the mayor is that rubber edges on plow blades that pack the snow on the roads rather than remove it is used in NY and Chicago, both of which have flat terrain while Seattle's is more hilly than SF. Nickels and the entire city council should be recalled for stupidity.

Another point that is not clear from your post is that Gregroire's pride is enacting the Western Climate Initiative (Little Kyoto cap and trade system) involving 7 states and 4 Canadian Provences. Already a hundred or so employees are busy inventorying emission levels and determining the CO2 emission quotas for all emitters notwithstanding the fact that WA has one of the smallest carbon footprints in the nation.

A $6.5 billion deficit is anticipated for the current budget cycle, that is large enough to bankrupt the state. The idiot Dems that control the Legislature and run the State and major cities are determined to ruin the economy while solving non-existent problems.


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


Friday, December 26, 2008

Statewide emergency declared in Washington state as snowfall reaches record levels

Gov. Gregoire is a Warmist. Will she let such close-up reality interfere with her Warmist faith? Unlikely

On Christmas Eve, Gov. Chris Gregoire proclaimed a state of emergency in Washington due to the state's ongoing series of winter weather and storms. Gregoire notes snowfall has reached record or near-record level in 30 of Washington's 39 counties.The proclamation enables the state to respond quickly to local requests for emergency support and assistance arising from new storms.

Prior to the Governor's declaration the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) convened an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss current conditions and the forecast for two major winter storm systems that could bring another 18 inches of fresh snow to the region. After a lengthy discussion that included representatives from emergency management, the BOCC determined that Spokane County is responding in every way possible and will remain on high alert status. However the BOCC said they would not declare a state of emergency until all available County resources have been depleted.

In the course of the discussion, it was determined that no additional funding or resources would be available from the State of Washington, until the County could verify that all its own resources had been exhausted. At such time, the County Commissioners will convene an emergency meeting to declare an official, countywide State of Emergency. Governor Chris Gregoire has been in contact with the BOCC and offered whatever assistance the State can provide at the time an emergency is officially declared.

Meanwhile, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner Wednesday declared an emergency within the City of Spokane as a result of record snowfall in the past week and forecasts for continuing snow today and throughout the week. December 2008 already is the fifth snowiest on record, with more than a week to go. The emergency declaration is the first step in seeking a "Proclamation of Emergency" from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to gain access to state and federal assistance. The County Commissioners were also briefed that road crews have finished plowing primary arterials and emergency routes, and are currently working on secondary arterials and well-traveled hills. With more snow in the forecast through Monday, residential areas may not be serviced for several days.


Some more pesky findings

Here's a Christmas present for all greenhouse skeptics . three scientists from the meteorology program at Northern Illinois University collected data on the 241 largest snowstorms in the eastern two-thirds of the United States over the period 1950-2000. As seen in Figure 2, there is considerable variability in the number of large storms, but no trend whatsoever. Changnon et al. describe their results:
The average was 4.8; however, there was great year-to-year variability (i.e., standard deviation of 2.2) with the numbers ranging from 1 large snowstorm per winter (1973/74, 1980/81, and 1991/92) to 10 storms (1993/94). The winter values did not exhibit any long-term up or down trend during the 50-yr period. A 5-yr running mean also had no trend. The winter counts for each decade showed that the frequency peaked in the 1950s with a minimum occurring in the 1970s and 1980s. None of these decadal mean values were significantly different than the average for the rest of the period when using the Student's t test.

Granddad and grandmom may not believe it, but there is absolutely no trend whatsoever in the data. Apparently global warming causes neither a decrease nor an increase in big snowstorms in the U.S.

Figure 2. The number of large snowstorms occurring east of the U.S. Rockies each winter, 1950/51-1999/2000. Five-year running mean value is shown by the line (from Changnon et al., 2008).

Many might argue that the United States is only 1.54% of the planet, and since Changnon et al. examined the eastern two-thirds of the country, they were studying only one percent of the Earth. If we really want to talk snow and ice on a grand scale, we need to look to Antarctica. If we do a web search on "Global Warming and Antarctica," we are treated to 1.5 million sites, with many arguing that the snowpack and sea ice are melting away (despite the fact that the UN IPCC says the ice is thickening).

An article entitled "Antarctic sea ice variability and trends, 1979-2006" appeared recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research, and one sentence in the abstract caught our eye stating "The total Antarctic sea ice extent trend increased slightly, from 0.96 ~ 0.61% decade-1 to 1.0 ~ 0.4% decade-1, from the 20- to 28-year period, reflecting contrasting changes in the sector trends." It seems from the outset of this article that sea ice around Antarctica is expanding and the expansion has increased in the most recent eight years . our kind of results at World Climate Report.

The work was conducted by two scientists with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and financial support for the research was provided by NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Program and by NASA's Earth Observing System. Cavalieri and Parkinson begin by correctly noting that "A great deal of attention has been paid recently to the decline of the Arctic sea ice cover as observed by satellites over the past several decades. In contrast to the Arctic, the total Antarctic sea ice cover has been gradually increasing from the mid-1970s through 2002." We would add that while a great deal of attention has been paid recently to the Arctic (where the trend seems to broadly fit the global warming script), very little attention has been paid to the Antarctic where the trend in sea ice seems at odds with expectations for a warming world. We are sure there is no media bias here, just a convenient oversight on journalists around the world. The scientists use passive microwave data to accurately map the extent of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere, and their results are shown below (Figure 3). They explain:
The yearly and seasonally averaged extents all show positive trends. The yearly trend in sea ice extents is 11,500 ~ 4,600 km2 a-1 [per year]. This trend is somewhat greater than the value 11,000 ~ 7,000 km2 a-1 reported previously for the 20-year period 1978-1998 and is statistically significant at the 95% level. On a seasonal basis autumn shows the largest positive km2 a-1 trend followed by the winter trend. The spring and summer trends are about half those for autumn.

Sure enough, the sea ice is expanding, the expansion is increasing in the most recent period, and the trends are statistically significant.

Figure 3. Time series of (a) monthly averages of sea ice extent for the Southern Hemisphere from November 1978 through December 2006. The inset shows the annual cycle computed from the 28 years of data, (b) monthly deviations of sea ice extent fitted with a linear least squares best fit trend line, (c) yearly and seasonal averages of sea ice extents with linear least squares best fit trend line. Summer averages (Su) are for January-March, autumn averages (A) are for April-June, winter averages (W) are for July-September, and spring averages (Sp) are for October-December (from Cavalieri and Parkinson, 2008).

While the greenhouse crusade is all too quick to blame the retreat of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere on global warming, blaming this statistically significant expansion of sea ice on global warming would be a stretch, to say the least-but don't think folks aren't working on it! Cavalieri and Parkinson conclude that in Antarctica "the question of what is driving the observed changes remains unanswered, and the physical mechanisms explaining these changes remain to be determined."

Enjoy the holiday season, with or without snow-but just don't blame global warming for whatever you get!

More here

Solar Activity Between 1250-1850 Linked To Temperature Changes In Siberia

Here is a very mixed bag of reporting from ScienceDaily, when you read this article it says it's the Sun and then says it's not the Sun. What it is trying to say is that they can follow a correlation in the solar activity in the past but are unable to apply the same logic in recent years as the CO2 theory would not work!

The reason they are unable to apply the solar activity in modern times is that it will put a spanner in the works. A higher amount of solar activity since the 1950's has warmed the oceans releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. This article does not account for this, instead it insists the extra CO2 from man made emissions has driven world temperatures out of control, if this is the case then why are world temperatures falling and CO2 is still rising?
"While changes in the solar activity were a main driver of temperature variations in the pre-industrial period, the temperatures in the Altai have shown a much higher rate of increase than that of solar activity during the past 150 years. The strong increase in the industrial period, however, correlates with the increase in the concentration of the greenhouse gas CO2 over this time.

This article is full of contradictions, but still worth a read.


The Unscientific American

"Top 10 Places Already Affected by Climate Change"

1. What caused the drought that (the article says) caused the slaughter in Darfur: AGW.

2. What caused the hurricanes that hit the Gulf coast: AGW.

3. What caused the chikungunya (dengue fever variant) epidemic in Italy: AGW.

4. What caused wine quality to improve in northern Europe (SciAm thinks this is a problem): AGW.

5. What caused bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef: AGW.

6. What caused subsidence of some of the island nations: AGW.

7. What caused illegal aliens to come to the United States: AGW.

8. What caused sea ice changes in the arctic: AGW.

9. What caused the (alleged) decline (it's not) of skiing in the Alps: AGW.

10. What caused enviro crusaders to expel the hill farmers from their land in Uganda, prompting armed resistance: AGW.

Every one of the above propositions is easily disproved. "Scientific" American should return to science and abandon religion. What an embarrassment.



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


Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Frigid Future Is Upon Us

The heated debate about global warming suddenly has cooled off. It's no longer between the fanatic adherents of global warming (AGWers - Anthroprogenic [human-caused] Global Warming adherents) and the more sober-minded, so-called "deniers." It's now between the warmiacs and Mother Nature, and she's winning handily. If you doubt that, take a look a national temperature charts that show below-zero temperatures as far south as the nation's lower midsection, a blizzard in Las Vegas and snow in New Orleans, and a fire-ravaged Malibu - and all happening before winter really sets in.

This is only the beginning. If I'm correct about what I've been saying since 1997, (The Ice Man Cometh) the onset of an ice age, little or big, is now upon us, and what's ahead is anything but pretty. This winter will tell the story. What we're experiencing now is going to prove mild in comparison to what is waiting in the wings. Before this winter ends - and that won't be until late May or early June - most of the world will be in the deep freezer and under the incredible amounts of snow that record-breaking blizzards will continue to bring us.

This is not to say that the now-panicky members of the Gore brigade will throw in the towel - they'll be telling us that the frigid weather is a result of global warming. But by that time, nobody will be listening, and even if they were, they wouldn't be able to hear anything through their earmuffs. What we are now witnessing is the triumph of reality over shabby and fraudulent scientific theory. The only hockey sticks we'll be seeing will be in the frozen hands of NHL players.

In my 1997 series, I showed how the scientific community was wedded to the possibility that we were approaching the end of the present interglacial period and headed for a new ice age. "Understanding Climate Change," which the National Academy of Sciences published in 1975, makes these observations on page 181: "The present interglacial interval - which has now lasted for about 10,000 years - represents a climatic regime that is relatively rare during the past million years, most of which has been occupied by colder, glacial regimes. Only during about 8 percent of the past 700,000 years has the earth experienced climates as warm or warmer than the present. "The penultimate interglacial age began about 125,000 years ago, and lasted for approximately 10,000 years. Similar interglacial ages - each lasting 10,000 plus or minus 2000 years and each followed by a glacial maximum - have occurred on the average every 100,000 years during at least the past half-million years. "During this period, fluctuations of the northern hemisphere ice sheets caused sea level variations of the order of 100 meters."

On page 189, the question is asked: "When will the present interglacial [period] end? "Few paleoclimatoligists would dispute that the prominent warm periods (or interglacials) that have followed each of the terminations of the major glaciations have had durations of 10,000 plus or minus 2000 years. In each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after the interglacial interval. "Since about 10,000 years have passed since the onset of the present period of prominent warmth, the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brink of a period of colder climate." "The question remains unsolved. If the end of the interglacial is episodic in character, we are moving toward a rather sudden climatic change of unknown timing ... If on the other hand, these changes are more sinusoidal in character, then the climate should decline gradually over a period of a thousand years."

A study prepared for the 95th Congress in 1978 agreed with the National Academy of Sciences position as explained in the above-quoted study. The document "Weather Modification: Programs, Problems, Policy and Potential" warned: "In geological prospective, the case for cooling is strong ... If this interglacial age lasts no longer than a dozen earlier ones in the past million years, as recorded in deep sea sediments, we may reasonably suppose the world is about due to slide into the next ice age."

That made sense then, before the global-warming gravy train brought billions in research grants to global warming researchers, and it makes sense now. Moreover, Mother Nature has now begun to show her hand by pouring ice water on the AGW hoax. The mere fact that we are overdue for a new ice age itself lends great credence to the idea that the great freeze is upon us. Current increasingly frigid weather enhances it. In a contest between Al Gore and Mother Nature, she holds all the cards. And she's playing them now.


Festive feasts 'contributing to climate change'

A fanatical voice is heard from Australia

Wasted food at Christmas time is now being highlighted as an environmental problem. Jon Dee, the chairman of Do Something, says gases from leftover food rotting in landfill are 20 times more potent than the carbon pollution from car exhausts.

Mr Dee says there are simple ways to avoid over-catering at Christmas and damaging the environment. "Australians waste more than 3 million tonnes of food every year and of course a lot of that food is wasted at Christmas," he said. "It's really basic. Draw up a shopping list and stick to it and try and not cook more than you need, and if you do have leftovers you can always put it in tupperware and freeze it."


Bloggers find a hole in official arctic ice data

You may recall the guest post from Jeff Id of the Air Vent I carried about a week ago called Global Sea Ice Trend Since 1979 - surprising In that post, a note of correction was issued because that we were led to believe (by Tamino) that the entire post was "invalidated" due to an error in accounting for ice area very near the pole. Both Jeff and I were roundly criticized for "not reading the documentation", which was one of the more civil criticisms over there at Tamino's site.

After further investigation It turns out that the error was in NSIDC's public documentation, and they have issued a correction to it. Even more importantly the correction now affects NSIDC's own trend graph, and they are considering how to handle it.

This episode illustrates how citizen science can be useful. Sometimes people too close to the science they publish can make mistakes, (we've all been there) which is why peer review of papers is important. But "web review" in this day and age of instant publication is equally important. It also illustrates how mistakes, however embarrassing initially, can be useful if you learn from them and study the cause. There is no shame in mistakes if they are corrected and you learn from them. But, the blogospheric noise of angry and sometimes juvenile criticism (on both sides) really isn't useful as it often masks the real issue. The key is to put that aside and find the truth behind the error....

If we assume worst case that the NH hole in the data was 100% filled with ice (it wasn't), the calculation from before produces a slight downslope in comparison to the flat trendless line in my original post. The result is only a trend equaling a 4% reduction in global sea ice over a nearly 30 year period. Not exactly disastrous either way. I am going to continue my work on this by matching (regressing) the last two years from other sites on the end of the data. With the recent global cooling, it should be interesting to see where global sea ice is today.

More here (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Madison on the brink of impressive snow record for December 2008

The approach of Christmas Eve -- and still more imminent storms -- heightens the temptation to talk about the weather this December in biblical terms. As of Monday morning, the National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sulllivan office was reporting 30.1 inches of snowfall on Madison for the first three weeks of the month. That's well ahead of the pace observed during last year's seasonal snow record, when a mere 23.6 inches had fallen over the same period. The NWS daily summary for December 21 in Madison also notes that the seasonal total for 2008 is likewise ahead of the 2007 pace. So far this winter, 34.4 inches of snow have fallen on Mad City. That's almost 10 inches more than the 25.1 that fell through Dec. 21, 2007.

To see what this looks like in chart form, check out the NWS comparisons here. A winter weather advisory is in effect on Tuesday, with light snow falling overnight and an additional accumulation of several inches expected through the day. An overlapping winter storm watch is scheduled to take effect late Tuesday and extend through Wednesday afternoon, meanwhile, with still another four to five inches of snow forecast for that period. Total projection for Madison between now and Christmas Eve: nine to 11 inches. This puts the city on the brink of its snowiest December on record, with figures dating back to 1871. The record: 35 inches, measured between December 1-31, 2000.

Adding the nine to 11 inches of snow forecast between now and Christmas Eve to the 30.1 inches that have fallen since the beginning of December, and we're looking at snowfall totals in the neighborhood of 40 inches for the month -- with another full week to go before we turn the page from into the new year. This is great news for skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts, kids with sleds, people who like to shovel and anyone else who subscribes to the notion that as long as it's going to be cold outside, there might as well be plenty of snow to enjoy. Not so great for iceboaters and ice-skating enthusiasts. But if everyone was happy all at once, life might be so enjoyable we wouldn't be able to bear all that good fortune.


British extremists face long jail sentences after blackmail conviction

Four animal rights extremists involved in a six-year hate campaign against people and companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) each face up to 14 years in jail after being convicted of conspiracy to blackmail. The two men and two women were found guilty yesterday of orchestrating the campaign designed to shut down HLS, one of the world's largest contract research companies.

The convictions follow a two-year, 3.5 million pound police investigation into Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an international campaign against the company, which has an animal testing laboratory in Cambridgeshire. The campaign was funded in large part by public donations collected on the high streets. Two founding members, Gregg Avery, 41, and his wife Natasha, 39, along with fellow activist Daniel Amos, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to blackmail. Prosecutors believe that among these members of SHAC's hierarchy were some of the key figures in the Animal Liberation Front, the movement that acts as an umbrella for much animal rights extremism worldwide.

Yesterday, after a three-month trial at Winchester Crown Court, Heather Nicholson, 41, Avery's former wife and fellow SHAC founder, was found guilty of the same offence, as were three further conspirators, Daniel Wadham, 21, Gerrah Selby, 20, and Gavin Medd-Hall, 45. All will be sentenced next month. An eighth defendant, Trevor Holmes, 51, from Newcastle, was acquitted.

HLS, which tests pharmaceutical and other products for clients around the globe, became a focal point for anti-vivisection campaigners partly because of the scale of its operation. SHAC's victims, who worked for companies that did business directly or indirectly with HLS, received threatening letters, hoax bombs and sanitary towels allegedly contaminated with the HIV virus, while their neighbours were sent anonymous letters warning them that they lived near a paedophile.

The managing director of one targeted company received a letter in December 2006 that threatened: "We will attack your property, your family or you, whichever we see fit. . . The screams of the animals are in our heads. We will not fail them. You will pay for their agony." Nocturnal "home visits" from extremists left cars covered in acid, menacing messages painted on houses and ALF slogans daubed on nearby roads. Victims were targeted after they were listed as "collaborators" on SHAC's website, a process that involved detailed research and was co-ordinated by the Averys and their fellow conspirators, who knew what the likely result of that listing would be.

Michael Bowes, QC, for the prosecution, said that although the darker part of the campaign was labelled ALF, the attacks that followed a victim's appearance on the SHAC website were "all part and parcel of the conspiracy". SHAC still lists "targets" on its website, although it claims to engage only in legal activity. A spokeswoman told The Times: "We have absolutely no control over what happens to that information."

Operation Achilles, a two-year investigation that included bugging SHAC's Hampshire headquarters, culminated in the arrests of 32 people in a series of raids involving 700 police officers across Britain and in Belgium and the Netherlands in May last year. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Robbins, of Kent Police, who led the operation, said: "The public should be aware that money donated in good faith to SHAC was in fact being used to finance this criminal conduct."



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