Saturday, March 21, 2009


By email from Syun Akasofu [], International Arctic Research Center. University of Alaska Fairbanks

The global average temperature stopped increasing after 2000 against the IPCC's prediction of continued rapid increase. It is a plain fact and does not require any pretext. Their failure stems from the fact that the IPCC emphasized the greenhouse effect of CO2 by slighting the natural causes of temperature changes.

The changes of the global average temperature during the last century and the first decade of the present century can mostly be explained by two natural causes, a linear increase which began in about 1800 and the multi-decadal oscillation superposed on the linear increase. There is not much need for introducing the CO2 effect in the temperature changes. The linear increase is the recovery (warming) from the Little Ice Age (LIA), which the earth experienced from about 1400 to 1800.

The halting of the temperature rise during the first decade of the present century can naturally be explained by the fact that the linear increase has been overwhelmed by the superposed multi-decadal oscillation which peaked in about 2000.*

This situation is very similar to the multi-decadal temperature decrease from 1940 to 1975 after the rise from 1910 to 1940 (in spite of the fact that CO2 increased rapidly after 1946); it was predicted at that time that a new Big Ice Age was on its way.

The IPCC seems to imply that the halting is a temporary one. However, they cannot give the reason. Several recent trends, including the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the halting of sea level increase, and the cooling of the Arctic Ocean, indicate that the halting is likely to be due to the multi-decadal change.

The high temperatures predicted by the IPCC in 2100 (+2~6øC) are simply an extension of the observed increase from 1975 to 2000, which was caused mainly by the multi-decadal oscillation. The Global Climate Models (GCMs) are programmed to reproduce the observed increase from 1975 to 2000 in terms of the CO2 effect and to extend the reproduced curve to 2100.

It is advised that the IPCC recognize at least the failure of their prediction even during the first decade of the present century; a prediction is supposed to become less accurate for the longer future.

* The linear increase has a rate of ~ +0.5øC/100 years, while the multi-decadal oscillation has an amplitude of ~0.2øC and period of ~ 50-60 years, thus the change in 10 years is about ~ -0.07øC from the peak, while the linear change is about ~ +0.05øC.

Climate Change and Adaptation: How the Past Can Inform the Future

By Climatologist and Paloeclimate researcher Dr. Diane Douglas. Below is the abstract of a major new paper she authored that will be presented at a UNESCO conference in Ghent, Belgium on March 20, 2009. She says that natural mechanisms drive climate change and CO2 shenanigans will be futile

Global warming is one of the most important and dangerous issues facing man today. Many scientists and politicians have focused on anthropogenic causes of this change and the need to reduce CO2 emissions to limit or slow the process. Major climate changes, however, have occurred throughout earth's history. The shifting of continental plates, rise of mountains, and cyclical changes in earth's orbit around the sun are primary forcing mechanisms driving climate change. The complex coupling between the atmosphere, ocean, clouds, ice sheets, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the exchange of carbon within living organisms also affect climate. Over the past two million years, earth's climate has been punctuated by glacial and interglacial periods-periods when earth's temperature ranged from 8oC cooler to 4oC warmer than present. Hominids adapted their settlements and subsistence practices to these changes. Modern humans evolved around 40,000 years ago, during the last ice age, and at the end of the last ice age migrated to new lands and new continents. People developed new technologies and adaptive strategies in response to sea level rise and a more productive environment. Today we face climate change of a similar magnitude to the last interglacial.

This paper shows how natural forcing mechanisms may drive earth into an interglacial as warm as the last interglacial, regardless of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Sea level may rise 15 - 20 feet, and in some regions storms will increase in frequency and strength, and in others deserts will expand. Many significant heritage resources are threatened by these changes, and those that cannot be saved should be thoroughly documented to share with future generations. Others may be saved through hazard mitigation measures-but the key lies in engaging the public and governments, which requires convincing them that climate change is inevitable and planning for change is essential.


Jackboot Hansen rejects democracy

He seems to be aiming for a modern version of Hitler's street-fighting "Sturm Abteilung". Does anybody now believe that Hansen is anything but a political activist? His claim to scientific detachment is now non-existent

Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said. James Hansen, a climate modeller with Nasa, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working," he said.

Speaking on the eve of joining a protest against the headquarters of power firm E.ON in Coventry, Hansen said: "The first action that people should take is to use the democratic process. What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.

"The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes. So, I'm not surprised that people are getting frustrated. I think that peaceful demonstration is not out of order, because we're running out of time."

Hansen said he was taking part in the Coventry demonstration tomorrow because he wants a worldwide moratorium on new coal power stations. E.ON wants to build such a station at Kingsnorth in Kent, an application that energy and the climate change minister Ed Miliband recently delayed. "I think that peaceful actions that attempt to draw society's attention to the issue are not inappropriate," Hansen said.

He added that a scientific meeting in Copenhagen last week had made clear the "urgency of the science and the inaction taken by governments". Officials will gather in Bonn later this month to continue talks on a new global climate treaty, which campaigners have called to be signed at a UN meeting in Copenhagen in December. Hansen warned that the new treaty is "guaranteed to fail" to bring down emissions.

Hansen said: "What's being talked about for Copenhagen is a strenghening of Kyoto [protocol] approach, a cap and trade with offsets and escape hatches which will be gauranteed to fail in terms of getting the required rapid reduction in emissions. They talk about goals which sound impressive, but when you see the actions are such that it will be impossible to reach those goals, then I can understand the informed public getting frustrated."

He said he was growing "concerned" over the stance taken by the new US adminstration on global warming. "It's not clear what their intentions are yet, but if they are going to support cap and trade then unfortunately i think that will be another case of greenwash. It's going to take stronger action than that."


Hysteria breeds contentment

If you weren't there, you probably didn't hear much about this week's second International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by the Heartland Institute and cosponsored by 60 organizations, with scientists, economists and policy experts in New York to confront the subject of global warming. So you wouldn't have heard that global warming is as uncertain as those who would fix it.

You probably have heard, however, about the predicted global warming-related calamities, including rising seas, tropical disease epidemics, species extinction, increasing hurricanes, devastating forest fires and declining agriculture. California's greenery and agriculture "could all be gone by the end of this century" as a result of melting of snowpack on our western mountains, according to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Columbia University's Earth Institute recently warned, "The United States could suffer the effects of abrupt climate changes within decades." "Experts" tell us a "tipping point" is near, beyond which we won't be able to control the warming.

One would think that after two decades, the dire predictions would get old. The New York Times, for example, has averaged 21 stories per year on the subject since 1989; that peaked at 62 in 1997. The persistent publicity may be why so many Americans believe they know about the "problem." According to ABC News, 58 percent feel moderately well-informed about global warming, up about 15 points from earlier polls. Between 70 percent and 80 percent of those polled believe the world is warming. In a 2007 Associated Press- Stanford University poll, 79 percent thought it would be a somewhat serious or very serious problem for the world.

Numerous environmental organizations have reorganized themselves around this perceived danger. The Natural Resources Defense Council calls global warming "the biggest environmental issue of our time;" the World Wildlife Fund declares, "The common denominator in everything we do is climate change."

Given the "tipping point" of climate is upon us, activists propose surprisingly timid remedies. The National Wildlife Federation suggests: "Change the filter in your furnace;" "Change to fluorescent light bulbs" and, "Check your car's tire pressure." The Sierra Club's first recommendation? "A well-tuned car with properly inflated tires burns less gasoline - cutting pollution and saving you money at the pump. If you have two cars, drive the one with better gas mileage whenever possible." It's like going into modern battle with a slingshot. Why the gap between the calamitous warnings and the recommended response? Is it a lack of belief or a lack of commitment?

Citizens apparently don't really buy it. Despite warnings since before 1990, poll responses and lifestyle responses don't match. Since 1990, Americans have built bigger houses (by 20 percent), bought second homes and use 28 percent more residential energy. Over half of occupied houses in 2007 had six rooms or more; 60 percent of households had two people or less. Even fluorescent bulbs can't overcome such energy "inefficiencies."

As for greenhouse gases, people are emitting more carbon dioxide in travel, for both work and pleasure. Airline passenger and freight tonnage has about doubled since 1990. Cruise ship voyages reached record numbers in 2007 in some places. Nearly 1,000 restaurants in this country now have fly-in (not drive-in) customers.

U.S. gasoline use is up 24 percent since 1990 and total carbon dioxide emissions up by a similar amount. World emissions are up over 30 percent even though 180 countries, in signing the Kyoto Treaty, agreed to reduce emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels (which had already prompted predictions of catastrophe). Making matt ers worse, a report at the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009 meeting, was that carbon dioxide concentrations rose about three times as fast since 2000 as in the 1990s.

There are 25 percent more registered vehicles in the United States than licensed drivers, and each vehicle runs an average of 12,000 miles per year. Large new stadiums, shopping centers and amusement parks are going up. "Global warming" alarmists should be alarmed enough to demand double the Kyoto reductions, now! The predictions of impending devastation ought to galvanize governments worldwide to prevent it. But it has not. Why?

Because "The surgery was a success, but the patient died." The "crisis" was created but the "solutions" fail. Where is the urgency for averting global warming? Lost in the more urgent of global challenges, as it should be.

Overuse of pesticides causes pests to become immune to them. Continual gloomy predictions affect people that way. Americans have differing perceptions, understanding and feelings about global warming. But on one point they agree: The problem is not serious. They have been immunized.


Receding Glacier Park Ice Not Due to Global Warming

I recently received a letter from reader Jane Rectenwald in Missoula, Montana asking a good question: What do the melting glaciers in Glacier Park indicate about global warming? Rectenwald had heard me speaking on a local radio station after she read quite a long article in a recent issue of the Missoulian showing pictures of the glaciers.

I'm glad she asked the question. Receding glaciers in Glacier National Park are not necessarily evidence of a global warming crisis-or of anything other than natural fluctuations. Glaciers advance and recede for many reasons, of which temperature change is just one.

The alpine glacier atop East Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro, for example, is shrinking, yet scientific measurements show the mountain has been cooling for decades, and the temperature virtually never rises above freezing. So why are Kilimanjaro's glaciers melting? There are two main factors. Recent deforestation at the base of the mountain means wind updrafts are drier than they have been in the past, resulting in less mountaintop snowfall to sustain the glacier.

Moreover, even though temperatures have been cooling for several decades, they rose dramatically as the Earth emerged from the Little Ice Age 100 to 200 years ago. Kilimanjaro temperatures are still much warmer than during the Little Ice Age, and the large mountaintop glacier has yet to find its equilibrium since the Little Ice Age ended. Kilimanjaro's glacier has been receding since the 1800s, long before humans were emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide.

Something very similar is happening at Glacier National Park. The National Climatic Data Center has an official weather station very close to the park, at Kalispell, Montana. The accompanying figure shows the temperature history for Kalispell, dating back to 1896. Typical of the trend throughout the United States, temperatures peaked in the 1930s (before humans were emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide) and have been in a long-term cooling trend since then. As the figure shows, temperatures today are below the 100-year average.

Regional land use changes may be affecting the glaciers at Glacier National Park. Almost certainly the "rebound effect" is occurring as the glaciers move toward a new equilibrium in our post-Little Ice Age era.

Patrick Michaels, Ph.D., a professor of climate science at the University of Virginia and a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, uses the following example to describe how this rebound effect can occur with temperatures in a modest long-term decline:

If you take an ice cube out of a freezer at 0 degrees and put it in a refrigerator at 40 degrees, the ice cube will begin to melt. If you then turn the refrigerator down to 34 degrees and check the ice cube an hour later, it will have melted still further, even though the refrigerator temperature has declined. The declining size of the ice cube in the last hour is not an indication that temperatures rose during that hour, but simply reflects that the lower temperature of the last hour was still warmer than the temperature that existed when the ice cube formed.

Similarly, even though temperatures in the Glacier National Park region have been modestly cooling since human activities began emitting significant amounts of carbon dioxide (approximately 1940), temperatures are still warmer than they were during the prolonged Little Ice Age (approximately 1300-1875), when the Glacier National Park glaciers formed.

Thus, like the ice cube in our example, the glaciers continue to recede in response to the natural rapid warming of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, even though regional temperatures have cooled during the past several decades.



US ethanol supporters have praised President Barack Obama for resisting pressure from Brazilian President Luiz In cio Lula da Silva to eliminate the tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports.

The 0.54/gallon ($0.14/litre) tariff, which could be challenged at the World Trade Organisation by major ethanol exporter Brazil, was among the topics discussed during Lula and Obama's first meeting, on 14 March.

Lula said that he did not understand why there were tariffs on clean fuels when the US and Europe are expressing concern about climate change and carbon emissions. "I never expect an immediate answer," he said. "This is a process. As time goes by, Brazil is proving that biofuel is an extraordinary alternative and slowly other countries will join the biofuel effort."

Obama acknowledged that "the issue of Brazilian ethanol coming into the US has been a source of tension between the two countries. It's not going to change overnight, but I do think that as we continue to build exchanges of ideas, commerce, trade around the issue of biodiesel, that over time this source of tension can get resolved."

Ethanol supporters were encouraged by Obama's comments.



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Anonymous said...

"...wind updrafts are drier than they have been in the past, resulting in less mountaintop snowfall to sustain the glacier.", was quoted by you.

Another mechanism at such low pressures and temperatures is possibly the direct *sublimation* of ice into the gaseous state (not clouds though, which are in fact vapor droplets of water and bits of frozen ice crystals called snow).

-=NikFromNYC=- Posting from his tiny new Acer One wireless micro notebook.

John A said...

Dr. Diane Douglas, from the abstract of her paper, seems to be somewhat reasonable. As with Professor Lomborg, it looks like her proposals will be of actual ways to do something of value whichever way Climate Change goes. Unlike the "squeaky wheel" types (Hansen and such) whose proposals would return all but a few elite to "living" under sheltering trees or in caves (and with a horrendous reduction in numbers of people), some rationality is welcome.