Wednesday, August 03, 2011

This guy sounds dangerously rational

He says that almost all CO2 output is caused by uncontrollable natural processes rather than human doings.

If he knows what's good for him he will still manage to say something in support of Warmism but I can't see how his heart would be in it. Synopsis of a talk just given at the Sydney institute below. A video is due to be online some time soon

Background: Professor Murry Salby holds the Climate Chair at Macquarie University and has had a lengthy career as a world-recognised researcher and academic in the field of Atmospheric Physics. Professor Salby is the author of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate due out in 2011.

Atmospheric Science, Climate Change and Carbon – Some Facts

PROFESSOR MURRY SALBY, Chair of Climate, Macquarie University, Australia

Carbon dioxide is emitted by human activities as well as a host of natural processes. The satellite record, in concert with instrumental observations, is now long enough to have collected a population of climate perturbations, wherein the Earth-atmosphere system was disturbed from equilibrium. Introduced naturally, those perturbations reveal that net global emission of CO2 (combined from all sources, human and natural) is controlled by properties of the general circulation – properties internal to the climate system that regulate emission from natural sources. The strong dependence on internal properties indicates that emission of CO2 from natural sources, which accounts for 96 per cent of its overall emission, plays a major role in observed changes of CO2. Independent of human emission, this contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is only marginally predictable and not controllable.


Are Warmists giving up on using weather as a scare?

The more sophisticated ones seem to be. And they sound quite doleful as a result. See below:

If this summer's record-breaking heat has you gulping iced tea while bemoaning the evils of climate change, you're probably not alone. But climate communications experts suggest that any extra interest in global warming triggered by the heat wave will be gone by the first winter snow.

July brought oppressive heat to much of the country, with all 50 states setting high temperature records. Climate scientists say that such heat waves will be the norm in the future if climate change continues unabated, but experts say it will take more summers as hot as this one to shift the climate change policy debate.

"It's record-setting temperatures, and people are thinking, 'This is global warming, maybe we should think about this,'" said Ye Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Decision Sciences at Columbia Business School, who has studied the influence of temperature on climate-change beliefs. "But will it have a long-term impact? Part of that depends on whether people remember these temperatures. I know every winter I'm not remembering what the hottest days of summer were like."

The inability to directly pin a single weather event on climate change makes it tough for scientists to communicate the realities of climate change, Li told LiveScience. Public opinion is split on global warming, a split that tends to fall along party lines.

The Democrat-Republican divide has been growing in recent years. A 2008 Gallup analysis found that in 1998, just under half of both Democrats and Republicans said the effects of global warming had already begun. In 2008, 76 percent of Democrats agreed with that statement, while only 41 percent of Republicans did.

Media and social networks also influence people's opinions, said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. News coverage is how most people learn about climate, Leiserowitz told LiveScience, so quantity and quality of coverage matters. Similarly, people's friends, family and colleagues may influence their beliefs.

But perhaps one of the most unexpected factors that influences people's opinions on climate change is what the weather looks like outside. Columbia's Li surveyed Americans and Australians and found that when it's hotter outside, people are more likely to be worried about global warming. When it's cooler, that worry dissipates. "This temperature effect is actually quite large," Li said. "It's possible that if you give people enough hot days, it might even overcome a staunch Republican's belief against climate change."

On the other hand, people tend to cherry-pick information based on their pre-existing beliefs about climate, Leiserowitz said. In May 2011, he and his colleagues released a report on people's assessments of global warming. They included questions about whether the winter's snowstorms and the previous summer's record-heat influenced people's beliefs about warming.

People who don't hold strong opinions about global warming tended to be swayed by the weather, Leiserowitz said. Snow made them doubt warming, while heat prompted them to accept it. But the people at the extremes — the ones whose minds were made up either way — only gave credence to the weather event that fit their preferred narrative. About 77 percent of people who were dismissive of climate change said heat waves did not make them consider the idea that global warming might be real. Likewise, 53 percent of people who are highly alarmed about global warming said snowstorms did not soothe their minds.

Exacerbating the issue is the fact that besides environmental groups, there is little public education on climate change, Maibach said. Unfortunately, he said, environmental groups are viewed with skepticism and not trusted. [I wonder why? Could it be because of their constant exaggerations, lies and false prophecies?]

This summer's temperatures are unlikely to change the equation, Maibach said. "I don't think it's going to shift public opinion dramatically," he said.


Chinese scientists show that Antarctic sea ice over the past 30 years is not only growing but growing faster

A paper published last month in the journal Climate Dynamics finds that "The Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) shows an increased trend during 1979–2009, with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade."
Sea ice trends in the Antarctic and their relationship to surface air temperature during 1979–2009

By Qi Shu, Fangli Qiao, Zhenya Song and Chunzai Wang


Surface air temperature (SAT) from four reanalysis/analysis datasets are analyzed and compared with the observed SAT from 11 stations in the Antarctic. It is found that the SAT variation from Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is the best to represent the observed SAT. Then we use the sea ice concentration (SIC) data from satellite measurements, the SAT data from the GISS dataset and station observations to examine the trends and variations of sea ice and SAT in the Antarctic during 1979–2009.

The Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) shows an increased trend during 1979–2009, with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade. Antarctic SIE trend depends on the season, with the maximum increase occurring in autumn.

If the relationship between SIC and GISS SAT trends is examined regionally, Antarctic SIC trends agree well with the local SAT trends in the most Antarctic regions. That is, Antarctic SIC and SAT show an inverse relationship: a cooling (warming) SAT trend is associated with an upward (downward) SIC trend. It is also concluded that the relationship between sea ice and SAT trends in the Antarctic should be examined regionally rather than integrally.


June 1934 – Whole Country Over 100F

Another reminder that the 1930s were much hotter than 2011.


Polar Bear Population Higher than in 20th Century: Is Something Fishy about Extinction Fears?

If polar bears had any clue of the scale of speculation about the extinction threat they are facing due to climate change, they would have probably said, "you're kidding, right?"

If you think statistics are a pointer towards the growth or decline of a species, it will be interesting to have a look at the estimates published in a 2008 report by U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations 'may now be near historic highs,'" it read.

J. Scott Armstrong of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Kesten C. Green of Business and Economic Forecasting, Monash University; and Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, published their findings in 2008, arguing that the claims of declining population among polar bears are not based on scientific forecasting principles.

The reports and photographs of polar bears dying of exhaustion from swimming, unable to navigate the larger-than-usual water bodies formed between ice covers in the arctic, also added to the fears propagated by global warming alarmists. But a quick look at polar bear facts and figures will prove that deaths of polar bears cannot necessarily be associated to swimming large distances as there can be myriad numbers of reasons for the deaths of these cold-weather predators.

According to polar bear facts provided by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the bears are excellent swimmers and have an average swimming speed of 9.7 kph (6 mph) while their average walking speed is a much less 5.5 kph (3.5 mph) which is a mechanism to keep body heat to the minimum. They have a layer of fat up to 11 cm (4.3 in) thick keeps the bears warm, especially while swimming.

Scottish scientist Dr. Chad Dick, of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso, after researching the log books of Arctic explorers spanning the past 300 years, believes the outer edge of sea ice may expand and contract over regular periods of 60 to 80 years. According to his research findings, he concluded, "the recent worrying changes in Arctic sea ice are simply the result of standard cyclical movements, and not a harbinger of major climate change."

If 300 years of study revealed 60-80 cycles of climate changes, the arctic climate would have presumably undergone many more cycles of drastic changes over the past thousands of years. And with a more than 110,000-year history of survival, it doesn't make sense to believe that polar bears are dying unable to withstand swimming exhaustion due to larger water bodies.

Award-winning quaternary geologist Dr. Olafur Ingolfsson, professor from the University of Iceland, has conducted extensive expeditions and field research in both the Arctic and Antarctic. "We have this specimen that confirms the polar bear was a morphologically distinct species at least 100,000 years ago, and this basically means that the polar bear has already survived one interglacial period," Ingolfsson said.

"This is telling us that despite the on-going warming in the Arctic today, maybe we don't have to be quite so worried about the polar bear," according to a report published by U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

If the world is actually feeling threatened that polar bears might cease to exist at some future point of time, why are they still being subjected to legal hunting? And even if only the native populace holds the right to hunt polar bears why is monitoring inadequate to track the hunting by non-natives?


Australian government carbon tax modelling based on improbable assumptions

TREASURY'S modelling of the carbon tax-emission trading scheme proposed by the government is based on the assumption that the world is taking collective action sufficient to stabilise greenhouse gas concentration levels at about either 550 parts per million or 450ppm by about 2100 in order to meet the Copenhagen objective of limiting global warming to below 2C above preindustrial levels.

This assumption is based on the fact that, since last year's UN climate conference in Cancun, 89 countries have pledged action, covering 80 per cent of global emissions and more than 90 per cent of the global economy. But what do these pledges actually promise in terms of limiting global warming? Are they enough? How much more will be required?

Treasury does not reveal the answer in its report, but an answer can be found in the work of the American public interest charity, Climate Interactive (

It runs simulations (like Treasury's simulations) of the likely impact on greenhouse gas concentrations (and global temperatures) in 2100 if all the global pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were put into effect. Confirmed proposals up to the present (excepting the new Australian proposal to move our 2050 target to an 80 per cent cut in emissions) produce an atmospheric concentration measured in CO2 equivalents (CO2e) of 1105ppm and a resulting increase in temperature above pre-industrial levels of 4.1C. Even when potential proposals are included, CO2e in 2100 reaches 670ppm and an increase in temperature of 2.7C.

Potential proposals include legislation currently under consideration, campaign promises of newly elected governments, conditional proposals, and statements from think tanks with close ties to governments.

As things stand, the world is not going to meet the targets set by Treasury in its modelling, even if all known and potential proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions were carried out. So Treasury is factoring into its expectations for global emissions reductions actions that are not even potentially likely at the present time.

But let us suppose Treasury's allocation of emissions reductions among countries were to be put in place. Permits to emit tonnes of CO2e would be issued to countries (by some authority or other) on the basis of their projected baseline emissions less their assigned emission reductions targets. In Treasury's model (but not necessarily the eventual, globally agreed, model), the volume of permits issued is a uniform percentage of each country's baseline emissions. These permits can be traded, including internationally. Countries that can reduce emissions by more than their assigned target will sell the excess to countries that cannot meet their targets from their assigned volume of permits.

Australia is assumed by Treasury to be a net buyer of permits. Far from meeting our emission reduction targets (5 per cent less than 2000 in 2020 and 80 per cent less than 2000 in 2050) off our own bat, Australia meets its targets mainly by buying reductions in emissions from other countries. In Treasury's core policy scenario, our emissions rise from 556 tonnes of CO2e in 2000 to 621 tonnes in 2020 and fall to only 545 tonnes in 2050. Hence, our 80 per cent cut in emissions in 2050 is met by a 2 per cent cut in our own emissions together with a 78 per cent cut bought from the rest of the world (meaning that other countries must be able to cut their emissions by more than their target reductions). But how are other countries able to do this if Australia cannot? And what happens to Australia's GDP if Australia can only buy permits internationally at a high price?

Treasury estimates the international price of a permit to emit a tonne of CO2e in 2050 will be $131. This seems to be a remarkably low price, resting on a faith that technological changes and replacement of capital stock can occur cheaply and at high speed across the planet. If this is not so, the carbon price could reach very high levels and the growth rate of the world's (and Australia's) GDP would fall significantly. So how confident can we be that Treasury has got the 2050 carbon price even approximately right? Not very.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My background was science, but limited (B.S. math, with physics minor)back in 1960.....

But I did take a course in scientific method, and it's clear that the proponents of AGW have no evidence to back up their claims whereas there seems to be plenty of evidence to dispute their claims.

Some time ago I put together a climate tutorial, if any of your readers are interested... there's also plenty of references to websites and books.