Monday, August 30, 2010

Ice Sheet Loss Cut In Half by improved analysis

The article excerpted below is a bit on the technical side but has a couple of interesting features I would like to point out. It reports that there has been a loss of ice cover from Antarctica and Greenland overall, albeit at a lower level than is usually claimed. But both poles are VERY cold, way below the melting point of ice. So it is primarily variations in precipitation (snowfall) that explain variations in ice mass. Lower snowfalls will mean less ice. But lower precipitation is a sign of global COOLING -- as all water, including the oceans, evaporates off less as it gets cooler. So the small amount of ice loss over the period studied (From April 2002 to December 2008) actually indicates slight global cooling over that period -- which is in line with other data for that period

Note also that the effect was uneven: ice loss in coastal areas slightly outweighed ice gain in central areas. So nothing "global" there -- JR

Much concern has been raised by climate scientists regarding ice loss from the world's two remaining continental ice sheets. Rapid loss of ice-mass from the glaciers of Greenland and Antarctica are cited as proof positive of global warming's onslaught. The latest measurements involve the use of satellite gravimetry, estimating the mass of terrain beneath by detecting slight changes in gravity as a satellite passes overhead. But gravity measurements of ice-mass loss are complicated by glacial isostatic adjustments-compensation for the rise or fall of the underlying crustal material. A new article in Nature Geoscience describes an innovative approach employed to derive ice-mass changes from GRACE data. The report suggests significantly smaller overall ice-mass losses than previous estimates.

The storage of water or ice on land-the presence of large bodies of water or glacial ice sheets-affect the Earth's gravitational field. This effect is detected by the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. Twin satellites were launched in March 2002, to make detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field. Since then, GRACE has been used to study tectonic features, estimate ground water volumes and calculate the amount of ice contained in the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. However, other factors can contribute to the GRACE measurements than just the volume of ice in an ice sheet. These factors include the response of Earth's crust (the lithosphere) to past changes in ice load.

As the weight of covering ice varies, the underlying surface rock can be pushed down or rise up, buoyed by the magma that the crust floats on. This would obviously impact efforts to measure the height of terrain, including glaciers. Compensating for the rise and fall of bedrock is termed glacial isostatic adjustment, and it can have a significant impact on estimated ice-mass losses. Changes in the spatial distribution of the atmospheric and oceanic masses can also enter into the picture. Correctly assessing these different factors is the key to accurately calculating ice-sheet mass balance. Xiaoping Wu and colleagues have proposed a new method for untangling these factors from GRACE measurements.

From April 2002 to December 2008, linear trends are derived from GRACE gravity data with empirically calibrated full covariance matrices, and from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's data-assimilating ocean bottom pressure (OBP) model. These are combined with three-dimensional surface velocities at 664 globally distributed sites. Although the durations of the surface geodetic time series are diverse, most of the data are collected by the global positioning system (GPS) technique during the 2000s and processed up to August 2007. Spherical harmonic coefficients of both PDMT and GIA signatures as well as other relevant parameters are then estimated from the data combination.

What is really interesting here is the resulting trend data for the change of bedrock height-the geoid height trend. The new method found that estimates used in the past were significantly in error. Antarctica was found to be rising, but not at as fast a rate as previously thought. Greenland, on the other hand, is actually sinking, particularly in the center of the ice sheet. Previous change estimates had Greenland rising everywhere.

In the figure a, shows rates estimated in the study, and b,those predicted by the ICE-5G/IJ05/VM2 model. While Wu et al. report that both Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice-mass, they are doing so at a much lower rate than previous estimates and that both are gaining ice in their interiors. "The mass loss in Greenland is concentrated along the coastal areas, and is particularly heavy in the west, and in the southeast with the large Kangerdlugssuaq and Helheim glaciers," they state. "In contrast, the interior of Greenland shows significant positive mass balance."

So, when the more exact measurement separation methodology of Wu et al. is applied to the GRACE geoid data, ice sheet shrinkage, which has been systematically overestimated, is cut in half. "The differences between the work by Wu and colleagues and earlier studies may reflect errors in present deglaciation models with respect to the ice-load history and response of the Earth's mantle," conclude Bromwich and Nicolas. According to Wu et al. "significant revision" is required. The general result-the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets will be with us for a long time to come.

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

Is the Southern ocean warming or cooling?

Even Al Gore has got a bit perturbed by evidence of expanding sea ice in Antarctica so fell with gladness on a recent paper (by Liu and Curry) which claimed that the Southern ocean is in fact warming up. As others have noted, however, the paper concerned is a very rough job, and below are a few more comments on it.

The author below is more polite than I am so I will put it bluntly: What he found was a typical bit of Warmist fakery such as we have come to expect of Phil Jones & Co. He found that the authors used data up until 1999 only. Why? Because temperatures FELL after that. Excerpt only below

The Liu and Curry (2010) paper has been the subject of a number of posts at Watts Up With That over the past few days. This post should complement Willis Eschenbach’s post Dr. Curry Warms the Southern Ocean, by providing a more detailed glimpse at the availability of source data used by Hadley Centre and NCDC in their SST datasets and by illustrating SST anomalies for the periods used by Liu and Curry. I’ve also extended the data beyond the cutoff year used by Liu and Curry to show the significant drop in SST anomalies since 1999.

Preliminary Note: I understand that Liu and Curry illustrated the principal component from an analysis of the SST data south of 40S, but there are two primary objectives of this post as noted above: to show how sparse the source data is and to show that SST anomalies for the studied area have declined significantly since 1999.

Liu and Curry use two Sea Surface Temperature datasets, ERSST and HADISST. They clarify which of the NCDC ERSST datasets they used with their citation of Smith TM, Reynolds RW (2004) Improved Extended Reconstruction of SST (1854-1997). J. Clim. 17:2466-247. That’s the ERSST.v2 version. First question some readers might have: If ERSST.v2 was replaced by ERSST.v3b, why use the old version? Don’t know, so I’ll include both versions in the following graphs.

Liu and Curry examine the period of 1950 to 1999. Sea surface temperature data south of 40S is very sparse prior to the satellite era. The HADISST data began to include satellite-based SST readings in 1982. Considering the NCDC deleted satellite data from their ERSST.v3 data (making it ERSST.v3b) that dataset and their ERSST.v2 continue to rely on very sparse buoy- and ship-based observations. ICOADS is the ship- and buoy-based SST dataset that serves as the source for Hadley Centre and NCDC. Figure 1 shows typical monthly ICOADS SST observations for the Southern Hemisphere, south of 40S. The South Pole Stereographic maps are for Januarys in 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000. Since I wanted to illustrate locations and not values, I set the contour levels so that they were out of the range of the data. I used Januarys because it is a Southern Hemisphere summer month and might get more ship traffic along shipping lanes.

As you can see, there is very little data as a starting point for Hadley Centre and NCDC, but they do manage to infill the SST data using statistical tools. Refer to Figure 2. It shows that the three SST datasets provided complete coverage in 1950 and 1999, which are the start and end years of the period examined by Liu and Curry. For more information on the ERSST and HADISST datasets refer to my post An Overview Of Sea Surface Temperature Datasets Used In Global Temperature Products.....

The title of Liu and Curry (2010) “Accelerated Warming of the Southern Ocean and Its Impacts on the Hydrological Cycle and Sea Ice” contradicts the SST anomalies of the latitudes used in the paper. The SST anomalies are not warming. They are cooling and have been for more than a decade.

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

Global cooling still hitting South America hard

Antarctic cold snap kills millions of aquatic animals in the Amazon

With high Andean peaks and a humid tropical forest, Bolivia is a country of ecological extremes. But during the Southern Hemisphere's recent winter, unusually low temperatures in part of the country's tropical region hit freshwater species hard, killing an estimated 6 million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins.

Scientists who have visited the affected rivers say the event is the biggest ecological disaster Bolivia has known, and, as an example of a sudden climatic change wreaking havoc on wildlife, it is unprecedented in recorded history.

"There's just a huge number of dead fish," says Michel J├ęgu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, who is currently working at the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. "In the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river."

The extraordinary quantity of decomposing fish flesh has polluted the waters of the Grande, Pirai and Ichilo rivers to the extent that local authorities have had to provide alternative sources of drinking water for towns along the rivers' banks. Many fishermen have lost their main source of income, having been banned from removing any more fish from populations that will probably struggle to recover.

The blame lies, at least indirectly, with a mass of Antarctic air that settled over the Southern Cone of South America for most of July. The prolonged cold snap has also been linked to the deaths of at least 550 penguins along the coasts of Brazil and thousands of cattle in Paraguay and Brazil, as well as hundreds of people in the region. Water temperatures in Bolivian rivers that normally register about 15 ˚C during the day fell to as low as 4 ˚C.

Hugo Mamani, head of forecasting at Senamhi, Bolivia's national weather centre, confirms that the air temperature in the city of Santa Cruz fell to 4 ˚C this July, a low beaten only by a record of 2.5 ˚C in 1955.


Green Police Become a Reality in Cleveland

Remember Audi’s absurd “Green Police” Super Bowl commercial where green cops arrest citizens for using plastic bags, plastic water bottles and sort through the community’s trash cans to ensure they’re recycling? Well, the absurdity is about to hit the streets of Cleveland. reports:
It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling—and fine them $100 if they don’t. The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

The high-tech collection system is an expansion of a 15,000-resident pilot program that commenced in 2007. Proponents of the program argue that not only is the $2.5 million program good for the environment, but because the city will collect revenue from the fines and from recycled goods, the trash police will eventually raise revenue. The article mentions that the city pays $30 per ton to place garbage in a landfill but would receive $26 per ton for recycling goods. We know that the city will pass the costs onto the consumer, but the article makes no mention of whether residents will reap any savings benefits.

Much more problematic is the intrusion onto individual liberties. Like much of the “Green Police” commercial—and the environmentalist movement as a whole—the goal is to change human behavior. But a recent Rasmussen survey “shows that only 17% of adults believe most Americans would be willing to make major cutbacks in their lifestyle in order to help save the environment. Most (65%) say that’s not the case.”

Skeptics of catastrophic temperature increases compare belief in global warming to a religion, saying that alarmists base their views on faith much more than concrete science. This could have significant consequences if Congress enacts cap-and-trade legislation or other policies that aim to increase Americans’ energy bills. The goal, of course, is to force consumers to use less energy.

We should allow for choice and respect the choices of others. If someone chooses not to drink bottled water because they believe it is bad for the environment, so be it. (Interestingly, the environmentalist push that tap water is unsafe led to the rise of bottled water.) Those who choose to drink tap water should respect the preference of those who enjoy bottled. Conflicts will certainly arise among people with different preferences, but to advocate that one is morally right and one is morally wrong is objectionable.


The U.N. "Clean Development Mechanism" delivers the greatest green scam of all

Even the UN and the EU are wising up to the greenhouse gas scam, "the biggest environmental scandal in history", says Christopher Booker

It is now six months since I reported on what even environmentalists are calling "the biggest environmental scandal in history". Indeed this is a scam so glaringly bizarre that even the UN and the EU have belatedly announced that they are thinking of taking steps to stop it. The essence of the scam is that a handful of Chinese and Indian firms are deliberately producing large quantities of an incredibly powerful "greenhouse gas" which we in the West – including UK taxpayers – then pay them billions of dollars to destroy.

The key to this scam, designed to curb global warming, is a scheme known as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), set up under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and administered by the UN. It enables firms and governments in the developed world to buy "credits" which allow them to continue emitting greenhouse gases. These are sold to them, through well-rewarded brokers, from firms in developing countries that can show they have nominally reduced their emissions.

Easily the largest and most lucrative component in the CDM market is a peculiar racket centred on the manufacture of CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons, classified under Kyoto as greenhouse gases vastly more damaging than carbon dioxide. The way the racket works is that Chinese and Indian firms are permitted to carry on producing a refrigerant gas known as HCF-22 until 2030. But a by-product of this process is HCF-23, which is supposed to be 11,700 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. By destroying the HCF-23, the firms can claim Certified Emission Reduction credits worth billions of dollars when sold to the West (while much of the useful HCF-22 is sold onto the international black market).

Last year, destruction of CFCs accounted for more than half the CDM credits issued, in a market that will eventually, it is estimated, be worth $17 billion. Of the 1,390 CDM projects so far approved, less than 1 per cent accounts for 36 per cent of the total value.

Even greenies have become so outraged by this ridiculous racket that the Environmental Investigation Agency has described it as the "biggest environment scandal in history". Two weeks ago the UN announced that it is suspending payments to five Chinese firms pending an investigation, with a view to a major reform of the system. Last week the EU'c climate change supremo, Connie Hedegaard, said she would be asking her officials to prepare a proposal whereby these particular CFC payments might be halted after 2013.

The CDM system itself, however, will still be in place, and we will all contribute through its chief source of revenue, the EU's $100-billion-a-year Emissions Trade Scheme (which we pay for in various ways, not least through our electricity bills). We here in Britain also have the special privilege of knowing, as I reported in February, that we are now chipping in £60 million to buy additional CDM credits through our taxes – so that the politicians and civil servants in government offices can keep warm by continuing to pump out emissions much as before.


Australia now has a watermelon in its Federal lower house -- A Trotskyite, by the sound of it

GREENS MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt has defended comments he made on a Marxist student website 15 years ago, in which he denounced capitalism and labelled the Greens a "bourgeois" political party that could be used to push a socialist agenda.

The comments, made in a two-page memo written by Mr Bandt on March 4, 1995, while he was a student activist at Murdoch University, first surfaced on Victorian political blogger Andrew Landeryou's website VexNews.

As Mr Bandt and Greens leader Bob Brown continued discussions yesterday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan about the formation of the next federal government, the memo raised questions about Mr Bandt's student politics and his views of the Labor Party, which he referred to in the 1995 memo as "almost as right-wing as the US Democrats".

In the 1995 memo, Mr Bandt said he was "towards an anti-capitalist, anti-social democratic, internationalist movement".

Identifying himself as a member of the Left Alliance, Mr Bandt said, "the parliamentary road to socialism is non-existent". He called the Greens a "bourgeois" party but said supporting them might be the most effective strategy.

"Communists can't fetishise alternative political parties, but should always make some kind of materially based assessment about the effectiveness of any given strategy come election time," he wrote in the 1995 memo.

The Greens leader said there was absolutely no need for Mr Bandt to publicly distance himself from his remarks in 1995.

Mr Bandt, a former industrial relations lawyer with Slater and Gordon, made history last weekend by becoming the first Greens candidate ever to be elected to the House of Representatives in a general election.



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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