Friday, June 04, 2010

Is 2010 temperature heading for a record high?

Today’s Times says, “Nasa analysis showing record global warming undermines the skeptics.” However, a closer look at the information which the Times bases its headline on shows that a combination of selective memory and scientific spin play a large role in arriving at it.

The conclusion is based on a new paper written by James Hansen and submitted to Reviews of Geophysics. The paper released by Hansen has not been peer reviewed, and he admits that some of the newsworthy comments it contains may not make it past the referees.

Hansen claims that, according to his Gisstemp database, the year from April 2009 to April 2010 has a temperature anomaly of 0.65 deg C (based on a 1951 – 1980 average) making it the warmest year since modern records began. It is a fractionally warmer than 2005 he says, although an important point to be made is that statistically speaking, taking into account the error of measurement and the scatter of previous datapoints, it is not a significant increase.

The Nasa study said: “We conclude that there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20 deg C per decade that began in the late 1970s.”

This is a selective use of a trend line that joins a datapoint in the late 1970s with the most recent one ignoring the details in the data in between. The fact is that one could have taken a datapoint a decade ago and tied it to the same point in the late 1970s and deduced an even greater rise in temperature per decade. So another way of describing the data is that the rate of increase has actually declined.

Another point to be made is that an increase of 0.2 deg C per decade, if it is real and sustained, is 2.0 deg C per century, an increase not that unprecedented in the climatic record of the past 10,000 years, and substantially less than the widespread predictions of a higher increase.

In the Times article, the Met Office in the form of Vicky Pope, said that their data showed that the past year was “just below” the 12-month record achieved in 1998. Remember, 2009 annual temperature was, according to the Met Office, statistically indistinguishable from every year between 2001–2008.

Vicky Pope then says that Nasa might be right because the Met Office had underestimated the recent warming detected in the Arctic! There are few weather stations in the Arctic and the Met Office, unlike Nasa, does not extrapolate where there are no actual temperature readings. It is curious to hear this given the criticism that Met Office scientists have expressed in the past about the way the Gisstemp dataset is pieced together this way!

Vicky Pope does say however that, “the Met Office continues to predict that 2010 is more likely than not to be the warmest calendar year on record, beating the 1998 record.” This is also a curious statement since she adds that Met Office analysis showed that the four months to the end of April were probably the third warmest for that time of year.

In only the past few weeks however the Met Office has been saying something different.

In the Sunday Times of May 23rd Vicky Pope says that 2010 could be the hottest year on record due to the current El Nino. She also says that the 2010 January – April temperature was the seventh warmest on record meaning that out of the past ten years (allowing for the 1998 El Nino) most of them have been warmer during the January – April period, though not statistically so.

In the Sunday Times article Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, adds what is missing from the article mentioned earlier: “We have seen rapid warming recently, but it is an example of natural variation that is associated with changes in the Pacific rather than climate change.”

In the Times article poor journalism is compounded with scientific spin from James Hansen’s article to give a misleading impression about the state of the science and what the data actually shows. It will be interesting to see if 2010 breaks any records in the Gisstemp or Met Office datasets. If it does the next question to ask would be, is it statistically significant as one would expect the occasional high point due to errors of measurements causing measured datapoints being scattered around a constant mean (the case post 2001).

It would be highly misleading and scientifically fraudulent to look at one datapoint that is higher than the rest yet within the error bars of the previous years and say, “look, a record.” This will not undermine the skeptics but science itself.


Climatologist is a true believer

The idiot below doesn't seem to realize that his findings make a mockery of Warmism. Saying that "greenhouse" gases are rising at a great rate while at the same time there is actually no warming going on is not the best way of supporting your theory. Note that he doesn't mention any facts about temperatures

It is windy, cold and isolated. Cape Grim is at the most north-west point in Tasmania. It is also home to some of the cleanest air on the planet and for that reason, it is the most important air measuring station in the southern hemisphere.

The Cape Grim research station, perched on the cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean, is recording the most precise account of the earth's changing atmosphere.

But it is not all good news - over the last 12 months scientists have identified two potent greenhouse gases that are accelerating rapidly. Paul Fraser from the CSIRO has been coming to the station since it opened in 1976 and he says that over the last 30 years, carbon dioxide levels have increased by 15 per cent. "Almost entirely that increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to fossil fuels and that's entirely man-made," he said.

In fact, 40 different types of greenhouse gases are measured at Cape Grim. But it is two new gases recently identified that are accelerating rapidly. One, nitrogen trifluoride, is used in the manufacture of plasma televisions. The other is sulphuryl fluoride, a fumigant used on crops.

Mr Fraser says in the long-term, the two gases will have climate-warming potential. "I think they're rising at between 5 and 10 per cent per year so they're jumping up quite rapidly from virtually zero concentrations not long ago," he said.


Mega-pesky: Climate change 'INCREASES island size'

A NUMBER of Pacific islands previously thought to be losing ground to rising sea levels caused by climate change have actually grown larger, according to scientists.

A study published in this week’s New Scientist magazine has revealed that despite long-held fears that islands in the Pacific Ocean would be washed away in coming decades due to rising sea levels from global warming, the islands are actually responding to the threat by growing larger.

The study of 27 islands by the University of Auckland and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission in Fiji found that over the last 60 years only four of the islands had shrunk, with the others either remaining stable or growing.

In the same period sea levels have risen by 120 millimetres, or 2 millimetres a year.

The reason lies in the how the islands were formed over time, the study said, as weather patterns change the islands appeared to respond.

Erosion of coral forms the foundation of Pacific islands and, as living coral provides a continuous supply of material, wind and wave action helps a constant build-up of debris to form on the islands.

Major weather events like cyclones serve to further add to the islands foundations. When Hurricane Bebe swept past Tuvalu in 1972 debris washed up on the island caused a 10 per cent increase in the main islands size.

Tuvalu is one of the first island groupings predicted to sink under rising sea levels caused by climate change with altitude of just 4.5 metres. However the study revealed that seven of its islands have grown by an average of 3 per cent since 1950.

Similar findings were made in nearby Kiribati where three of the larger populated islands grew by between 10 and 30 per cent.

However, the study warned that rising sea levels would still be a threat in many parts of the world, and that factors such as erosion could not be discounted as threats to the islands.


Impoverished SE Europeans turn to wood for heating

Another one of the usual "unforeseen" effects of Greenie policies -- but a return to the pre-industrial era is what they want so maybe the Greenies will approve of this -- despite the atmospheric pollution it must create

Rising electricity prices are increasing the use of wood for heating in South Eastern Europe to alarming levels, posing a serious threat to health and the environment, experts warned.

The South Eastern Europe region is dependent on imported energy, primarily oil and natural gas, according to a recent report by the Energy Community, a regional body intended to integrate South East European countries into the EU's internal energy market.

Several of the countries are also heavily dependent on imported electricity, the report said.

In addition, the erratic electricity consumption pattern of poorer parts of the population was singled out as a key reason for concern. Erratic consumption is driven by the fact that fuel wood is used by the poor for heating, but during the heating season electric heaters are often used when fuel wood demand spikes. This exacerbates seasonal and weather-related peaks in electricity demand. Extreme peaks can then cause black-outs or require rationing, the report says.

Experts told EurActiv that only a "miracle" saved South Eastern Europe from a long-lasting regional blackout following the January 2009 gas crisis

Governments in South East Europe are largely unable to address the problem of energy poverty, understood as the incapacity of people to heat their own homes, warned Stefan Bouzarovski, a lecturer in human geography at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Speaking on 1 June at a conference hosted by IFRI, the French Institute for International Relations, Bouzarovski said that district heating systems inherited from the communist era were "not the solution" for heating households in the region.

At the same time, as power prices soared and salaries stagnated, the use of wood for heating has increasingly become an alternative to electricity, he said. The situation might worsen as the price per kilowatt/hour is expected to increase across the region, he warned.

Bouzarovski said little had changed since the United Nations published a report entitled 'Stuck in the Past: Energy, Environment and Poverty in Serbia and Montenegro'.

According to this study, nearly half the population has been marginalised by the energy-poverty nexus. More than half the population uses wood and lignite coal as a major source of energy for heating and cooking, creating high levels of indoor air pollution and leading to chronic illnesses, the report says.

Bouzarovski warned not only of the impact of this on the environment in terms of deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions, but also to human health, as most households that rely on wood fuel have no proper ventilation.

He said the most problematic countries were not only the Western Balkan applicants, but also EU members Bulgaria and Romania. He lamented the lack of targeted EU programmes for the "energy poor".

Bouzarovski said that although many people had moved to cities over the last twenty years, the use of fuel wood had not decreased. This, he implied, was an indication that fuel wood was used not only in the countryside, but in the cities as well.

He also warned of violent micro-conflicts between forest authorities and poachers, which he said were already taking place but had received little attention.



Let the hand-wringing begin. Though Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, have announced a separation rather than a divorce after four decades of marriage, much of the press already has ramped up the tragedy. Hey, maybe they'll get back together. Or, maybe not. Still, many journalists already are in mourning over the loss of the "storybook couple," with a few daring ancillary stories drawing attention to Mr. Gore's impending single status and the couple's division of property.

Which brings us to business writer and Anxiety Institute founder Alan Caruba, who believes the "separation" is a ruse to protect those assets should there be a federal investigation of certain environmentally minded activities. Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, already has called for the Justice Department to have a look-see.

"Al Gores big, big problem these days is something dubbed 'Climategate,' the revelation that the science of global warming is entirely fabricated and utterly false," Mr. Caruba says, noting that Mr. Gore established the $1 billion Generation Investment Management LLP to invest in assorted green technologies, assisted by Goldman Sachs veteran David Blood.

"There was, Mr. Gore told everyone, a climate crisis, and in the process, he grew rich, hailed [as] the first 'carbon billionaire' for his various investments," Mr. Caruba continues. "As bad as the bursting of the housing bubble has been, the next bubble will be a very green one. And, at the heart of it will be the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore, and his partner in crime, the U.N. climate change program.

"If Al Gore and Tipper are legally separated, it will likely provide a measure of protection for the millions he has. This, I suggest, is probably the real reason for the separation. It is as coldly calculated as his global-warming lies. Even their forty-year marriage must be sacrificed," Mr. Caruba says.


Green-eyed monster sets his sights on balance of power

Comment on Australia's Green party

Bob Brown looked as animated as we have ever seen him this week, basking in the opinion poll ratings he has worked hard at stoking over many years, successfully presenting himself as the trustworthy, likeable and moderate face of a movement that is anything but.

While the Greens leader acknowledges the electorate is "volatile" he has his eyes on holding the balance of power in the Senate, after this week's Newspoll showed the Greens have more than doubled in popularity since the 2007 election to 16 per cent.

As people become increasingly disillusioned with the government (down to a 35 per cent primary vote) and wary of the opposition (on 41 per cent), there is now a real prospect of serious power in the hands of the unaccountable, job-killing ideologues of the green movement.

We can see their handiwork across the country, and they've barely warmed up. It's not just the unbuilt dams, or the green tape preventing proper fire management of bushland. In Cape York, the "sleazy deal", as Noel Pearson calls it, between the Queensland government and the Wilderness Society to take over Aboriginal land as part of the so-called "Wild Rivers" deal, threatens indigenous people's fledgling economic base for no environmental benefit. Pearson says the greens want to keep them in passive welfare dependency, only now "the welfare cheque will be on recycled paper".

On the other side of the country, the Kimberley Land Council's executive director, Wayne Bergmann, accuses the green movement of treating indigenous people like "museum pieces" and attempting to sabotage their pursuit of economic development.

The tyrannical tactics of various eco-socialist groups, which often combine to play good cop/bad cop in relentless pursuit of a goal, are unopposed by a lily-livered, increasingly complicit corporate Australia.

Out front, all we see is the clever pitching of the political wing of the green movement as safe, sensible and decent. Brown and his colleague Christine Milne present a plausible set of clean hands as the political process turns ugly en route to an election.

The end result is an electorate on the move has at least "parked" some of its votes with the Greens, while they wait for Tony Abbott to prove his suitability for the highest office.

The bleeding of support from Kevin Rudd has been breathtakingly fast and sustained now for two months. Ploys such as the resources super profit tax on mining to prop up the budget have played badly, despite Rudd's airy dismissal of criticism as "a load of balderdash, what a load of absolute bunkum".

The rally outside Parliament House yesterday of parent groups, with a tiny makeshift school canteen, protesting at waste in the Building the Education Revolution program, even as the latest victims of roof insulation fires - a Holocaust survivor and an immigrant Iranian family - hit the headlines, give an insight into the depth and breadth of the government's troubles as an election nears.

As the Lowy Institute poll, released on Monday, showed, even on Rudd's preferred strengths, foreign policy and the handling of the global financial crisis, the electorate has marked the Prime Minister poorly. For "Responding to the Global Economic Crisis", Rudd's big selling point in the upcoming election, the government scored just six out of 10. The same lacklustre score came for "promoting good relations with China", despite Rudd's Mandarin-speaking promise.

On combating climate change (the "greatest moral challenge of our time"), the government scored just 5/10, and on Japanese whaling and asylum seekers it failed, with 4/10. Only on maintaining a strong alliance with the US" came its highest mark of 7/10.

In a panel discussion after the poll's release at Lowy headquarters in Bligh Street on Monday, the former Labor powerbroker, and chairman of the Committee for Sydney, Stephen Loosley, found it hard to maintain his usually urbane imperturbability, dismissing criticism of "Kevin 747" as "Tea Party populism".

That morning's bombshell radio interview by the former premier Morris Iemma and Michael Costa only added to Loosley's concerns. Iemma has revealed in a new book by political writer Simon Benson the role Rudd had in his downfall, reneging on a promise to help him fight the unions over electricity privatisation. Iemma said Rudd asked him to delay the privatisation bid until after the 2007 federal election and in return "when the time comes, we can f--- [the unions] together".

But when the time came, Rudd told him: "It's a state issue, I can't get involved." The privatisation which was to have funded transport infrastructure collapsed, and so did Iemma's career, and health. Iemma told 2GB: "I had a commitment, a deal with the Prime Minister and it should have been honoured."

His former treasurer Costa was even more scathing: "I speak to Labor people and I'm not talking about conservative voters here. I'm talking about dyed-in-the-wool Labor people that have really turned off this bloke [Rudd]. That car radio test is the test that you apply - if a bloke comes on and you hear him speak for a couple of seconds and you turn off your radio you know he's lost the public and I think this bloke's lost the public."

With such hatred of Rudd from within the NSW Labor Right, Loosley could only shake his head grimly, and continue on the panel valiantly to praise the Prime Minister for foreign policy work such as the G20.

The understatement of the morning came from fellow panellist Arthur Sinodinos, the former Howard adviser turned banker, regarded as the pre-eminent tactical guru in Liberal circles. He described Rudd's problems as a "lack of tactical agility".

That is not a label you could ever apply to the Greens.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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