Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Paper: Sea Level Rise Not Accelerating

A paper published yesterday in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, confirms other studies of tide gauge records which show that there has been no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise over the past 100+ years, in contrast to statements of the IPCC and Al Gore. Sea levels have been rising naturally since the peak of the last major ice age 20,000 years ago, and the rate of rise began to decelerate about 8,000 years ago:

Reconstruction of regional mean sea level anomalies from tide gauges using neural networks

Authors: Manfred Wenzel, Jens Schröter

The 20th century regional and global sea level variations are estimated based on long-term tide gauge records. For this the neural network technique is utilized that connects the coastal sea level with the regional and global mean via a nonlinear empirical relationship. Two major difficulties are overcome this way: the vertical movement of tide gauges over time and the problem of what weighting function to choose for each individual tide gauge record. Neural networks are also used to fill data gaps in the tide gauge records, which is a prerequisite for our analysis technique. A suite of different gap-filling strategies is tested which provides information about stability and variance of the results.

The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration.

The regional mean sea level of the single ocean basins show mixed long-term behavior. While most of the basins show a sea level rise of varying strength there is an indication for a mean sea level fall in the southern Indian Ocean. Also for the the tropical Indian and the South Atlantic no significant trend can be detected. Nevertheless, the South Atlantic as well as the tropical Atlantic are the only basins that show significant acceleration. On shorter timescales, but longer than the annual cycle, the basins sea level are dominated by oscillations with periods of about 50–75 years and of about 25 years. Consequently, we find high (lagged) correlations between the single basins.

Note: The 1.56 mm/yr non-accelerating rate of sea level rise would result in sea levels 6 inches higher than the present in 100 years. The oscillations noted in this study correspond to the typical full and half-cycle lengths of the natural Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the natural 60-year climate cycle. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation warm phase has been shown to produce a marked temporary rise in global mean sea levels.


'Big Solar' Struggles To Find Home In California

Once again, there's no such thing as a happy Greenie

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set an ambitious plan that requires a third of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. But a fight over where to build large clean-energy projects is slowing the green revolution.

One of these battlegrounds is Panoche Valley, ringed by rolling, scrub-covered hills. Located in California's rural San Benito County, the area was used mostly for cattle grazing, and it has escaped the notice of many Californians. Until now.

Michael Peterson, CEO of Solargen Energy, was drawn to this slice of Central Valley ranchland because it gets almost as much sun as the scorching Mojave Desert. This valley seemed less controversial than the Mojave, which has become a nightmare for many solar entrepreneurs because of its protected national monuments and desert tortoises. For Peterson, the Panoche Valley seems perfect for large solar projects.

"When we had an engineer come who'd built a lot of different solar [projects] around [the region], we took him down to the property. And his comment was, 'Wow. God made this to be a solar farm,' " Peterson says, laughing.

Peterson wants to build one of the nation's biggest solar facilities of its kind. It would power about 120,000 homes. Another benefit of the project: Huge transmission lines already run right through Panoche Valley, making it unnecessary to build costly new power lines.

"It's key. It's everything," he says. "If you don't have it, the land is only as good as the ability to connect to the power."
More In The Series

So far, five cattle ranchers have agreed to sell their land to Peterson's company, but not everyone thinks Solargen's plan is such a green idea.

"They would like to build an industrial project that extends the entire length of the valley," says Kim Williams, who moved to the Panoche Valley about four years ago to run an organic egg business called Your Family Farm. "Once you take the vegetation off the soil, the high winds are just going to be whipping up the topsoil and creating dust."

Williams is among several critics, including local chapters of the Audubon Society, that say the project would ruin the character of the valley and harm wildlife. Hints of lawsuits and requests to extend the environmental review process by some of these critics have slowed down Solargen's application.

It turns out this valley floor is teaming with creatures — some of them, like the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, are endangered. Solargen's investors have spent more than $7 million gathering information for a required environmental impact report. They have hired more than 20 biologists to conduct wildlife surveys.

Mike Westphal, an ecologist for the Bureau of Land Management, gives a brief overview of the Panoche Valley site and proposed plans for a solar farm.

Solargen has offered to buy another 11,000 acres adjacent to the proposed solar array. The idea is that animals, threatened by the project, could relocate to this land. But critics like Williams don't buy that argument. "It would be impossible to ask the animals living on the floor to just move," Williams says.

Time Running Out

Similar debates over land use are playing out across California, and that has created a juggernaut of big solar and wind proposals — more than 200 are waiting approval. Michael Picker, the governor's renewable energy adviser, is trying to hurry the process in order to obtain billions of dollars in subsidies.

"Everybody wanted to step up the pace in order to capture these federal stimulus dollars and to leverage the private investment from banks and from other kinds of investment," he says. But time is running out — to qualify, projects must break ground before the end of this year.


Britain's green taxes could treble by 2020, costing taxpayers more than £16billion a year

Taxes to pay for contentious climate change policies are set to treble over the next decade, soaring to more than £16billion a year. The hike is the equivalent of 4p on the current rate of income tax, a report from think tank Policy Exchange claimed.

By 2020 the tax take from green levies will be roughly equivalent to total public spending in England on both the police and fire services, the figures show.

Householders will pay £4.3billion in taxes on their energy bills by 2015 – more than double the £2billion they will pay this year. This will soar to £6.4billion by 2020, or around £280 for every household.

Firms will also be hit hard, with energy prices rising from £3.7billion to £9.9billion in the next decade.

The think tank warned that poorer households tended to spend more on energy so would have more of their meagre income swallowed up by taxes levied on household bills.

The policies which are driving up tax are intended to support either carbon emissions reduction or the promotion of renewable energy.

But the report argues many of them do little to curb global warming because they pay householders to produce power uneconomically through technologies such as solar panels.

Policy Exchange’s head of environment and energy, Dr Simon Less, said: ‘Climate policies need to be much more cost-effective, to maximise the impact of available resources on carbon reduction.’

A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: ‘We need an energy mix which is as affordable as possible for householders and avoids the UK becoming dependant on imports and volatile fossil fuel prices.’


More than half of Britain's wind farms have been built where there is not enough wind

It's not exactly rocket science – when building a wind farm, look for a site that is, well, quite windy. But more than half of Britain’s wind farms are operating at less than 25 per cent capacity. In England, the figure rises to 70 per cent of onshore developments, research shows.

Experts say that over-generous subsidies mean hundreds of turbines are going up on sites that are simply not breezy enough. Britain’s most feeble wind farm is in Blyth Harbour in Northumberland, where the nine turbines lining the East Pier reach a meagre 4.9 per cent of their capacity.

Another at Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at only 5.3 per cent of its potential, the analysis of 2009 figures provided by energy regulator Ofgem found. The ten turbines at Burton Wold in Northamptonshire have been running for just three years, but achieved only 19 per cent capacity. Europe’s biggest wind farm, Whitelee, near Glasgow, boasts 140 turbines. But last year they ran at less than a quarter of their capacity.

The revelation that so many wind farms are under-performing will be of interest to those who argue that they are simply expensive eyesores.

Michael Jefferson, the professor of international business and sustainability who carried out the analysis, says financial incentives designed to help Britain meet green energy targets are encouraging firms to site their developments badly. Under the controversial Renewable Obligation scheme, British consumers pay £1billion a year in their fuel bills to subsidise the drive towards renewable energy.

Turbines operating well under capacity are still doing well out of the scheme, but Professor Jefferson, of the London Metropolitan Business School, wants the cash to be reserved for the windiest sites. He said: ‘There is a political motivation to drive non-fossil fuel energy, which I very much respect, but we need more focus.’

He suggests that the full subsidy be restricted to turbines which achieve capacity of 30 per cent or more – managed by just eight of England’s 104 on-shore wind farms last year. Those that fall below 25 per cent should not be eligible for any subsidy. Professor Jefferson said: ‘That would focus the mind to put them in a sensible place.’

Britain has 2,906 wind turbines spread over 264 sites. But a further 7,000 are planned for the next 12 years to meet European targets on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Nick Medic, of Renewable UK, which represents the wind industry, said talk of efficiency was ‘unhelpful’. He added: ‘Other types of energy, from hydro to nuclear, operate at 50 per cent efficiency at best due to factors including maintenance shut downs and fluctuating demands.’


180 degree turn: Now global warming causes FEWER hurricanes!

The plain fact is that it's all speculation

Recent research shows that the color of the ocean can have a big influence on the occurence of hurricanes -- the greener the ocean, the more hurricanes. And that's a good thing. The ocean's tint comes from the presence of chlorophyll, the green pigment in phytoplankton that helps the organisms convert sunlight into food, and thus forms the foundation of the oceanic food chain, as well as a prime environment for hurricanes. However, as we recently pointed out in another study, warming temperatures of the oceans are having a negative impact on phytoplankton populations, which have dropped 40% over the last 60 years. And that means fewer hurricanes as well.

According to a press release from the American Geophysical Union, "In a simulation of such a change [in color of the ocean] in one region of the North Pacific, the study finds that hurricane formation decreases by 70 percent. That would be a big drop for a region that accounts for more than half the world's reported hurricane-force winds."

Anand Gnanadesikan, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, and his team are publishing the study in the next issue of Geophysical Research Letters. They describe how a decrease in chlorophyll concentration, and thus a drop in the greenish hue of the ocean, directly causes a drop in the formation of hurricanes in that area.

The discovery occurred when the team used computer simulations of real conditions of chlorophyll concentrations in the North Pacific, and simulations where chlorophyll concentrations in the subtropical gyre of the of the North Pacific were set to zero. They found that the absence of chlorophyll in the subtropical gyre modified air circulation and heat distribution patterns enough that hurricane formations were impacted. Outside the gyre, hurricanes increased by 20%, yet there was a 70% decrease in storms further north -- more hurricanes would hit the Philippines and Vietnam, but fewer would make landfall in South China and Japan.


Climate Change In Germany Has Become “A Loser Topic”

I couldn’t help but to relish the story that follows.

The German European Institute For Climate and Environment (EIKE) brings our attention to a report by the publicly funded NDR German television news show Panorama concerning the state of climate science and politics today in Germany. If you’re a climate activist, things just couldn’t be worse.

In summary the topic of climate change in Germany has gone far beyond its shelf-life. It is used up and no longer draws a bit of interest from the public. As the clip shows, the German public has grown tired of the constant barrage of climate alarmism, and is now über-bored by it. Editors have since taken climate news off the front pages. The public doesn’t want to hear it anymore, editors fret.

At 0:36 of the clip, normal citizens are asked about climate change. The reaction: they couldn’t care less about it. Indeed some even say warmer is better. Climate change? No worries at all!

The depth of public apathy has left climate activists and experts like Professor doom & gloom Hans Joachim Schellnhuber frustrated, depressed and resigned. Schellnhuber at the 1:39 mark: "Just a few years ago it was so that when a meteorological extreme occurred, the phones would be ringing off the hook. Today hardly anyone calls; climate change has quasi become taboo."

Nobody wants to talk about it. And after the disaster that was Copenhagen, neither do the political leaders. In Schellnhuber’s view, the optimism in achieving a climate treaty is gone. That was clearly visible at the recent UN Climate Conference in Bonn. Says Karsten Sach, leader of the German negotiating delegation: "Everyone knows we’ve reached a dead-end".

The media has lost interest in reporting on the constant failure by policymakers. At the 3.56 mark, accompanied by gloomy music, a chart shows how the number of reports on climate change appearing in three major centre-left newspapers has dwindled. The hype is over. The public is fatigued, fed up, and disinterested.

Editor Dagmar Dehmer of Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel says somberly: "Editors know the topic is important, but it’s not topic no. 1 at the moment. Climate is no longer on the front pages, and is not viewed as an earth-moving topic."

The video clip then moves to a car-tuning meet, where one auto-tuning enthusiast says: "Nobody cares about it".

And what about Chancellor Angela Merkel? Climate change has become a thorn in her side. She associates the issue with failure and hopelessness. Says Tagesspiegel editor Dagmar Dehmer at the 5:38 mark: "Climate change has become a loser topic. And Angela Merkel wants nothing to do with it".

Yet, Merkel’s minister of environment insists that climate change is an important topic for the future.

For the future, yes. But not for today. The report ends with relaxed vacationers chuckling when asked by the journalists about the threats of climate change.



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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