Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Week That Was (to July 10, 2010)

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

This week, much of the US, particularly the Northeast, experienced a heat wave. Immediately the chorus of global warmers began the refrain "The Hottest Year Ever." NASA GISS started some time ago and now NOAA has joined in. (Please see "heat wave" below.)

Readers of TWTW may recall that earlier this year when much of the inhabited Northern Hemisphere was extremely cold, Roy Spencer was reporting that the average satellite measured global temperature was well above normal - most likely from the El Ni¤o, that was then occurring. The average atmospheric temperature has been dropping since March, but Spencer reports in June the average temperature was still 0.44 deg. C above the norm for the entire record from Jan. 1979 to June 2010. (Please see here.)

The temperatures for the first six months of this year average a bit below the peak year of 1998, which corresponded with a strong El Ni¤o. John Christy says the difference is not statistically significant. Of course, the IPCC and the global warming chorus do not recognize that El Ni¤os may cause global warming, claiming that the events are too short. But if they do, and if the El Ni¤o continues to abate, then NOAA and NASA GISS would have committed the logical fallacy of hasty generalization and the chorus will have some explaining to do.

The NOAA announcement, below, is based on land and sea surface data. Joe D'Aleo and Anthony Watts have exposed the NOAA land data as biased. (Please see the report which was updated in June here). (For an update on some US stations please see here).

NOAA reports that the May sea surfaces were the second highest on record, the highest being in 1998. However, Roy Spencer reports on June 17 that sea surface temperatures as measured by satellites are plunging as the El Ni¤o subsides.

The satellite measurements by the AMSR-E instruments started in 2002. Just as it will be interesting to compare NASA GISS calculated data for the Arctic later this summer with the Danish instrument observations, it will be interesting to compare the NOAA announcements of sea surface temperature with the AMSR-E measurements. If both the NOAA and the satellite measurements show a fall with the subsidence of the El Ni¤o, then the NOAA research will affirm the importance of El Ni¤o events and the IPCC may be forced to consider El Ni¤os as a natural cause of global warming (not likely).


Last week, we began a brief review of Roy Spencer's new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder. Spencer describes how, using data from the new CERES satellite instruments and a home computer, he created a simple, one-equation climate model. Spencer thinks he has separated the feedback signal from the forcing signal in the data, and that the net feedback from carbon dioxide warming is negative. If so, the upper bound of warming from a doubling of carbon dioxide is no more than 1.1ø C, (2ø F) and Spencer thinks it may be as little as one-half that.

After estimating that feedbacks are negative, Spencer develops his thoughts that clouds are the primary cause of temperature change over the 20th Century. Clouds are virtually ignored by the IPCC reports and assumed to be constant except as a feedback of warming from CO2 forcing (warming causes fewer clouds). Anyone who has read HH Lamb may find the IPCC's position of considering clouds a constant surprising, because Lamb presents contemporary evidence indicating that, in Europe at least, during the Little Ice Age the skies were generally overcast with low clouds having a cooling effect.

Spencer then develops his argument that the principal driver in changing cloud cover is the naturally changing Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). He states that the PDO alone explains most of the temperature change for the 20th Century and 75% of the 20th Century warming. If so, the recent changes temperatures are a result of natural oscillation in the climate system itself.

Spencer's work demands a hard look from climate researchers. The models used by the IPCC produce a wide range of results, in part because the varying models contain a wide range of feedback estimates. This wide range, in turn, indicates there is something wrong with the procedures used to estimate feedback. Thus, feedback remains a varying assumption in the models. Until the assumptions are fully tested, climate science as articulated by the IPCC remains a giant logical fallacy - Petitio Principii - that which must be proven is assumed (to be true).


The number of the week is 3. Three separate British entities have investigated ClimateGate and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU): a select committee of the House of Commons, the Oxburgh Commission of the Royal Society, and the Muir Russell team (MR) which is the subject of today's science editorial. Three separate British entities have failed to investigate the science. Three for three - a trifecta. Is it that the CRU does not do science? As reader Tom Sheahen points out following quote from item 23 in the MR summary is revealing: "We do not find that it is misleading to curtail reconstructions at some point per se, or to splice data, but we believe that both of these procedures should have been made plain - ideally in the figure but certainly clearly described in either the caption or the text."


Cap and tax appears to be disappearing from the agenda of the US Congress. The latest word is that Congress will leave a week early for its summer recess and not return until mid-September. The indications are that the November election will be very bloody for incumbents. This has created speculation that the administration and Congressional leaders may try a "lame duck" session after the election, but before the new Congress comes into session, in order to enact bills that are opposed by the public. (Please see the comments by Steve Malloy under Articles.)


The new NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, announced that President Obama has given him three principal objectives - none of which are directly related to space research. (Please see "U.S. Space Program Bows to Mecca" under Articles).


BP appears to be ahead of schedule to cap the well that is releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It is probably prudent to proceed carefully to do the job properly. However, there is no excuse for the lack of a "sense of urgency" which the administration has demonstrated in cleaning up the consequences of the spill.


Climategate: The Muir-Russell report: Some initial comments

By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

In contrast to the Oxburgh report, the Muir-Russell (MR) report is quite substantive (160 pp, incl 8 appendices) and very professionally produced. MR members held some dozen meetings (presumably in Edinburgh), conducted many interviews at UAE, and accepted some 100 submissions (all unpublished). [A very few of these came from recognizable skeptics; none from Douglass, Christy or Singer, although our work is referred to on pp 148-149 -- as a threat to Jones?]

I have several major criticisms, mostly connected to the fact that the MR team had no in-house competence in the relevant science (atmospheric physics and meteorology). Prof Geoffrey Boulton is a geologist, Prof Peter Clarke is a particle physicist, and Professor James Norton seems to be a general expert on engineering and business. Sir Muir Russell himself once got a degree in natural philosophy (physics). As far as one can tell, they consulted only supporters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), i.e., supporters of the IPCC.

As a result, they could not really judge whether Phil Jones (head of the Climate Research Unit at UEA) manipulated the post-1980 temperature data, both by selection of weather stations and by applying certain corrections to individual records. Had they spoken to Joe D'Aleo or to Anthony Watts, they might have gotten a different slant on the CRU's handling of station data.

The MR Team concentrates much of the report on the `hockey stick,' and on whether the 20th century was the warmest in the past 1000 years (as claimed by Michael Mann and also by IPCC-3, relying mainly on tree-ring data,). But that issue is really irrelevant and a distraction from the main question (which is never addressed): is the warming of the past 50 years mainly anthropogenic (as claimed by IPCC-4) or natural (as asserted by NIPCC and some other IPCC critics)?

In pursuing the question, the Team must realize that the CRU deals only with land data (covering, imperfectly, only 30% of the Earth's surface) and that sea-surface temperatures (SST) are really more important. Weather stations and trees tend to be land-based.

Also, the Team never bothers to inquire about the atmospheric temperature record from satellites, the only high-quality and truly global record in existence. They seem unaware of the substantial disparity between satellites and the CRU record.

In defense of the MR Team, they consider science to be outside of their charter and within the remit of the Oxburgh team. [See Item 5 on p.10] (Having seen the Oxburgh report, however, some might consider this a joke.) Yet the Team feels empowered to speak with authority about conclusions that depend on climate science. In fact, none of the investigations so far have had a serious look at the crucial science issues.

As a result, the Team doesn't seem to realize [p.23 and 32] that "hide the decline" and "Mike's [Michael Mann] `trick" refers to a cover-up. Mann's 1000-yr temperature record (from proxies) suddenly stops at 1980 - not because there are no suitable post-1980 proxy data (as Mann has claimed in e-mails that responded to inquiries), but because they do not show the dramatic temperature rise of Jones' thermometer data.

This problem recurs again with Fig 6.2 (which is Fig 3.1 from IPCC-4) and involves misuse of the `smoothing' procedure, i.e., replacing annual temperatures with a `running average' of (usually) five years and sometimes longer. [I discussed the matter in some detail in my Science Editorial 8-09 (2-28-2009)]. As can be seen by inspection, there is little rise in temperature between 1980 and 1996, until the `super-El-Nino' of 1998 (which has nothing to do with GH gases or AGW). The satellite record shows more clearly the absence of any significant temperature rise between 1979 and 1997.

It is ironic then that the real post-1980 global temperatures may be closer to the proxy record than to the thermometer record. We will find out when we learn what data Michael Mann discarded.

In this connection, the legal demand for all of Mann's data by Virginia's Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli assumes additional significance. Based on his own statements, one suspects that Jones has deleted some crucial e-mails. It is likely that these may be discovered among Mann's e-mails, now held by the University of Virginia. It might put a new light on the whole Climategate affair.

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #21-2010 (July 10, 2010)

British Parliament Misled Over Climategate Report, Says MP

Parliament was misled and needs to re-examine the Climategate affair thoroughly after the failure of the Russell report, a leading backbench MP told us today.

"It's not a whitewash, but it is inadequate," is Labour MP Graham Stringer's summary of the Russell inquiry report. Stringer is the only member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology with scientific qualifications - he holds a PhD in Chemistry.

Not only did Russell fail to deal with the issues of malpractice raised in the emails, Stringer told us, but he confirmed the feeling that MPs had been misled by the University of East Anglia when conducting their own inquiry. Parliament only had time for a brief examination of the CRU files before the election, but made recommendations. This is a serious charge.

After the Select Committee heard oral evidence on March 1, MPs believed that Anglia had entrusted an examination of the science to a separate inquiry. Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia Edward Acton had told the committee that "I am hoping, later this week, to announce the chair of a panel to reassess the science and make sure there is nothing wrong."[Hansard - Q129]]

Ron Oxburgh's inquiry eventually produced a short report clearing the participants. He did not reassess the science, and now says it was never in his remit. "The science was not the subject of our study," he confirmed in an email to Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit.

Earlier this week the former chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Phil Willis, now Lord Willis, said MPs had been amazed at the "sleight of hand".

"Oxburgh didn't go as far as I expected. The Oxburgh Report looks much more like a whitewash," Graham Stringer told us.

Stringer says Anglia appointee Muir Russell (a civil servant and former Vice Chancellor of Glasgow University), failed in three significant areas.

"Why did they delete emails? The key question was what reason they had for doing this, but this was never addressed; not getting to the central motivation was a major failing both of our report and Muir Russell."

Stringer also says that it was unacceptable for Russell (who is not a scientist) to conclude that CRU's work was reproducible, when the data needed was not available. He goes further:

"The fact that you can make up your own experiments and get similar results doesn't mean that you're doing what's scientifically expected of you. You need to follow the same methodology of the process."

"I was surprised at Phil Jones' answers to the questions I asked him [in Parliament]. The work was never replicable," says Stringer.

In 2004 Jones had declined to give out data that would have permitted independent scrutiny of their work, explaining that "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."

This policy is confirmed several times in the emails, with Jones also advising colleagues to destroy evidence helpful to people wishing to reproduce the team's results. "I think that's quite shocking," says Stringer.

Thirdly, the University of East Anglia failed to follow the Commons Select Committee's recommendations in handling the inquiry and producing the report.

Stringer said, "We asked them to be independent, and not allow the University to have first sight of the report. The way it's come out is as an UEA inquiry, not an independent inquiry."

Stringer also says they reminded the inquiry to be open - Russell had promised as much - but witness testimony took place behind closed doors, and not all the depositions have been published.

How independent was the panel? Muir Russell's team heard only one side of the story, failing to call witnesses who were the subjects of the emails - Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit is mentioned over one hundred times in the archive - who may have given a different perspective. Nor was any active climate scientist supportive of climate change policy but critical of the CRU team's behaviour - Hans Storch or Judith Curry, let alone the prominent sceptics, for example - summoned. Stringer feels their presence would have provided vital context.

The panel included Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet and a vocal advocate of mitigation against climate change (in 2007 he described global warming "the biggest threat to our future health") and Geoffrey Boulton a climate change advisor to the UK government and the EU, who spent 16-years at the University of East Anglia - the institution under apparently 'independent' scrutiny.

In several areas the CRU academics were given the benefit of the doubt because a precedent had been set - often by the academics themselves.

The British establishment has a poor record of examining its own conduct. The 1983 Franks Report into events leading up to the Falklands Invasion exonerated the leading institutions and decision-makers, so too did the Hutton Report into the Invasion of Iraq.

For Stringer, policy needs to be justified by the evidence. "Vast amounts of money are going to be spent on climate change policy, it's billions and eventually could be trillions. Knowing what is accurate and what is inaccurate is important."

"I view this as a Parliamentarian for one of the poorest constituencies in the country. Putting up the price of fuel for poor people on such a low level of evidence, hoping it will have the desired effect, is not acceptable. I need to know what's going on."

Climategate may finally be living up to its name. If you recall, it wasn't the burglary or use of funding that led to the impeachment of Nixon, but the cover-up. Now, ominously, three inquiries into affair have raised more questions than there were before.


Climate change: a collective flight from reality

Historical records reveal the facts about climate change - it's natural

Climate change isn't a threat. CO2 isn't a significant factor. But the action we're proposing to take on climate mitigation will devastate our Western economies and impoverish a whole generation.

Over the last hundred years, mean global temperatures have increased by 0.7 of a degree Centigrade. That's all. The whole climate scare is all about a fraction of a degree. According to Professor Phil Jones of the infamous Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, there has been no significant warming for the last 15 years.

And the slight warming we have seen is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term natural climate cycles. We had the Roman Optimum (warm); the Dark Ages (cool); the Medieval Warm Period; and the Little Ice Age (when they had ice-fairs on the River Thames in London). Over the last couple of centuries, we've been moving into what seems to be a new 21st Century Optimum. It's rightly called an "Optimum." Generally speaking, human societies do better in warmer weather.

When I raised this with the European Commission, they told me that recent changes were so sharp and rapid that they must be man-made. But 12,000 years ago in the Younger Dryas cold climate period, at the beginning of the current Interglacial, we saw temperature change at 10 times that rate. And there wasn't an SUV to be seen.

When I was at Cambridge in the 1960s, everyone knew that climate was cyclical and was driven largely by astronomical cycles. And there is good evidence that recent decades have also seen warming on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system - pointing to a solar cause.

But the Warmists have the bizarre idea that only CO2 matters. Certainly CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it's not even the most important one. That's water vapor, and there's nothing we can do about it (as long as the wind blows over the ocean).

I'm horrified that the Environmental Protection Agency has declared CO2 a pollutant. They might as well declare oxygen a pollutant. We are a carbon-based life form, and CO2 is vital to the whole biosphere. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 drive increased bio-mass formation and improved crop yields.

Al Gore is excited by a correlation between mean temperatures and CO2 levels over the past 600,000 years. He's right about the correlation, but he doesn't mention that the temperature graph leads the CO2 graph by several hundred years. The inescapable conclusion is that temperature drives CO2 - not vice versa.

Over the longer term, the correlation breaks down entirely. Current atmospheric CO2 levels are quite low in geo-historical terms. They have been 10 times as high in the past - and that was during an ice age. There is no tipping point. There is no runaway global warming.

Our efforts to control climate by reducing emissions are doomed to failure. Bjorn Lomborg, author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (Cambridge University Press, 2001), has studied the economics of climate change and estimates that the European Union's 20 percent emissions-reduction target will cost around $250 billion a year. Yet the impact by 2100 on global temperatures is likely to be only 0.05 a degree Centigrade - almost too small to measure.


Climate scare hurting kids

"Throughout my school life we have had talks on climate change, and what we can do to prevent it. People my age are terrified of what might happen to our planet" -- Quote from a 15-year old.

The least forgiveable harm produced by the political success of the IPCC is, in my opinion, the harm it has done, and will still do, to children. Adults discussing theories about climate and speculating about disasters is one thing. But pushing speculations as facts, 'facts' that will scare children, is quite another.

I suppose that many, perhaps most, of the people campaigning in and around schools about the climate have no wish to 'scare children witless', to quote from (3), but it is hard to see how their vivid preoccupation with doom-laden speculations can do anything else. Some will see through them (in due course), some will ignore them, some will be scared by them.

Here are some recent reports of some that were scared, from three countries:

New Zealand. Source: (1).

'Today's children are worried about more than just their homework and peer pressure - they are also worried about terrorism and climate change and whether there will be a future for their own children.

... Auckland University Researcher Fiona Pienaar interviewed children aged 8-12 for her PhD to find out what stressed them out and how they coped.'

... 'Global warming and how a natural disaster would affect their lives were two other issues for children.

"I'm worried about the environment and the global warming, the ice and how it's going. I write it down in my little notebook ... I'm thinking people should actually stop the global warming before it's too late for their children," said one child.

... '"The future, if we have children, would there be a future for them?" asked one child.'

'Ms Pienaar said that in the past children tended to think of themselves as immortal but these days things have changed. They are far more exposed to the media and their parents' stress issues, which has led to a greater awareness of potentially stressful world issues.'

'When children have those concerns it can be very distracting and I don't think it's surprising that we have increasing behaviour problems, increasing diagnosis of childhood anxiety disorders and childhood depression.'

USA. Source: (2).

'An article by Johanna Sorrentino at (titled "Get Your Kids Global Warming Savvy") reveals survey results "of more than 1,000 middle school students across the country [that] found that kids fear global warming more than war, terrorism or the health care crisis." Not only does this statement suggest the US has a non-existent "health care crisis" but it demonstrates the dangerous power of misinformation in education. Sorrentino's article is full of the very misinformation that leads to the unwarranted fear children have about "global warming."'

The source article, by Bob Webster, goes on to explain why, and he also recommends a book for children on climate: "... parents who want to provide a good education about global warming and climate change (and how teachers are misleading students), there is an excellent book for "kids [who] fear global warming more than war, terrorism or the health care crisis." It is The Sky's Not Falling - Why It's OK to Chill about Global Warming (for children and adults) by Holly Fretwell ....

Well organized, this book presents a fairly comprehensive view of climate change and global warming designed to calm any fears children may have from gross exaggerations they may have heard at school, on TV, or in other media. While the book is written for children, it is excellent for adults whose education failed to prepare them to understand why the notion that humans can cause "climate change" is absurd.'

UK. Source: (3).

'Today, it is not the mushroom cloud that threatens to suffocate children psychologically but carbon emissions. The new bogeyman is climate change: submerger of nations, polluter of skies, slayer of polar bears.'

Here is one 15 year old quoted in the article: 'Throughout my school life we have had talks on climate change, and what we can do to prevent it. People my age are terrified of what might happen to our planet; it has been drilled into our brains at school, home and even on TV. We watch the news and see earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis, and we hope that by the time we are our parents' ages we will not be having to cope with these routinely.'

Some more disturbing quotes are in the article, but here is one by the journalist who wrote it: 'Teaching children about man-made climate change - which is very real and threatens our wellbeing - and persuading them to adopt green habits is essential, but it can be done without scaring them witless.'

Note the casual and confident assertion that 'man -made climate change ... is very real and threatens our wellbeing'. Not surprising, since this is the establishment view. But shocking, all the same. Can the journalist argue a case to defend her assertions, or would she resort to appealing to the 'authority' of the IPCC? I suspect she has acquired her opinion because there is a lot of it about, like some kind of 'flu.

Not all journalists have caught the infection, thank goodness. Here is a recent piece in the Washington Times which is sensible about climate change: (4).

But it is not just passive exposure to the media and their parents. There is a widespread and generously funded level of deliberate pushing of climate change concerns on to children. I am accumulating lists of sites that produce propaganda aimed at children, or entice them into climate-related networking groups, or 'action groups', or provide materials and project ideas for parents and teachers to push the IPCC line on climate.

I plan to publish my 'list so far', in the near future. In the meantime, there is an illustrated list of 16 'climate propaganda' sites here (5), and of these, at least 4 are specifically aimed at children. And, to end on a postive note, here is a UK link to Amazon for the book mentioned earlier (6). I have this book, and I thoroughly recommend it.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Imaginary Plants in Danger of Extinction

(Cambridge, England) Scientists have apparently created new justification for shutting down civilization. Habitat loss and climate change are now considered dire threats to millions of imaginary plants, which patiently await protection after discovery.
Faced with threats like habitat loss and climate change, many thousands of rare flowering plant species worldwide may become extinct even before discovery.

'Scientists have estimated that there could be five million to 50 million of such species, but less than two million of these have been discovered till date,' says Lucas Joppa from Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Britain, who authored the study.

Joppa, who received his doctorate from Duke University this year, said: 'Using novel methods, we were able to refine the estimate of total species for flowering plants and calculate how many of those remain undiscovered.' [.]

'This finding has enormous conservation implications, as unknown species are likely to be overwhelmingly rare and threatened,' says Joppa, according to a Microsoft Research release.
As a consequence, I suspect we'll soon see conservation programs and policies to protect imaginary plant life.

Meanwhile, could someone explain to me the scientific logic expressed by the Duke doctor that "unknown species are likely to be overwhelmingly rare and threatened." First, how can one say that a species is rare or threatened if it doesn't exist? Second, what's the difference between "overwhelmingly rare" and "rare?"

Furthermore, how on Earth does one protect plants that are "extinct even before discovery?" Additionally, what the hell does that even mean?

Frankly, I suggest that the research is simply cascading guesses by ideologically-driven, global-warming academics who arrogantly believe they can save the planet from human influence and, sooner or later, the results of the research will be pulled out to support government-mandated carbon trading.



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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