Thursday, October 04, 2012

Warmist finally notices Antarctica

In the NYT, Justin Gillis  points out that the ice loss in the Arctic is greater than the ice gain in Antarctica -- but his use of extreme-group statistics greatly exaggerates the effect. Climatologist Patrick Michaels points out that by using all the data we find that the Arctic loss is only about twice the Antarctic gain.  And that is no surprise since the Antarctic is already very cold and much of the Arctic loss was caused by storms rather than any warming.

The main point Gillis overlooks however is that the effects are not global.  They are local  -- completely the opposite of what Warmism predicts

Compared to the change in the Arctic, what does the Antarctic summer minimum look like? Well, the trend there is definitely opposite to the Arctic trend — summer sea ice is growing through time. But not by that much. And this past summer melt season did not set any record; it was only the sixth-highest minimum in the satellite era.

Again, let’s average the first five years of the satellite record, from 1979 to 1983. In that period, the sea ice left at the end of the summer melt season covered about 13.8 percent of the surface of the Southern Ocean. In the most recent five years, the average rose to 14.6 percent of the ocean.

So, expressed as a percentage of ocean cover, the decline going on in the Arctic is almost 25 times the increase going on in the Antarctic. Walt Meier, a top scientist at the snow and ice center, told me, “It should be pretty clear that the change in sea ice in the Arctic is much more substantial than what is happening in the Antarctic.”

We’ll do similar math for the winter maximum in Antarctica. In the first five years of the satellite era, the average sea ice peaked at 91.9 percent of the surface of the Southern Ocean. In the most recent five years, counting this record-high year, it increased to cover 92.9 percent of the ocean.

How does that compare to the trend in the Arctic for the same season? I’ll spare readers another deluge of numbers, but in percentage of ocean cover, the decline in Arctic winter ice is eight times as fast as the increase in Antarctic winter ice.

A search of skeptic blogs for that particular statistic comes up empty, somehow.

Now, don’t get me wrong: What is happening to sea ice in the Antarctic is very much an interesting scientific question. Why is it growing slightly even as the planet, over all, is warming up? Far from hiding anything, mainstream climate scientists are all over that issue, and have been for years. For a summary of their research, check out this fascinating article from the magazine Oceanography.


Steve Goddard is wrong because he's right

Or something. Steve wrote that "Antarctica has broken the record for the greatest sea ice extent ever measured at either pole."  Alex Halperin,  news editor at the Leftist "Salon", didn't like that so he consulted a climatologist who told him:

"The end of the Antarctic winter — the northern hemisphere’s early fall — is generally when the expanse of Antarctic ice reaches its greatest breadth. Indeed, this year’s record high of 19.5 million square kilometers was a jump from 18.8 million last year. (The previous high of 19.35 was in 2006.) However, Meier called this year’s total “barely above what we might consider a normal range.”"


"So there!", Halperin seems to say, ignoring what he was told.  His tame climatologist ADMITTED that Steve was right and the Antarctic extent was at a record high.  Warmists really are pathetic

Warmist admits that Warmist policies are costly

The problem is that you don't always get to talk about political issues the way you want to. Your opponents get to talk about them too. And they won't be shy about labeling virtually any serious green policy as a price hike for consumers and a regulatory burden for business. What's more, conservatives have an unusual advantage when they say this: it's actually true. Things like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies really will increase the price of energy for consumers. That's the whole point. Conversely, if you limit yourself to generally popular issues like CAFE standards and building more solar plants in the desert, voters will support it, but only because the price hike is small enough (and hidden enough) that it has only a modest impact on climate change in the first place.

What really matters, then, is what happens when potential voters are presented with messaging from both sides. To get an idea of how effective this is, take a look at the Gallup polls below. The first poll asks people if the threat of global warming is generally exaggerated or not, and it hits bottom in 2006, at about the time of the release of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Then it starts to rise as conservatives fight back, reaching a peak in 2010, shortly after the release of the "Climategate" emails. It's gone down since then, which is good news, but it's still way higher than it was even five years ago. Likewise, the bottom chart shows that even Democrats and Independents are far more likely to think that news of global warming is exaggerated than they were back in 2006.

So there's a long way to go before public opinion is anywhere near where it needs to be. We need to get to a point where even if people know that it means an increase in gasoline and electricity prices — even if their noses are rubbed in it — they still support serious green policies. This is the work ahead of us.

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

100 Million Examples of Global Warming Absurdity

It’s desperation time for global warming alarmists. Don’t believe me? Just look at what they’re parading as their best media story right now.

They’re in a frenzy this week, crying “The Sky Is Falling!” in light of predictions by a group called DARA that global warming will kill more than 100 million people during the next 18 years and destroy the global economy. Yes, you read that right – global warming will kill more than 100 million people during the next 18 years!

The predictions are laughable on their face. Perhaps if the head of some respected scientific organization made such claims, we would chalk up the ridiculous predictions as an early sign of dementia and mercifully decline to report the predictions so as not to embarrass the person as he or she checks out of the real world.

But this is not an accomplished scientist or a respected scientific organization making the ridiculous predictions. DARA is an obscure, heretofore irrelevant non-government organization dedicated to guilting people in wealthy nations into forking over money to the rest of the world due to a host of Western Democracy sins, and especially our climate change sins. The problem for DARA is that up until now, nobody has known or cared about the group’s existence. DARA has long been in the lower minor leagues of non-government organizations, assuming there is a lower minor league desperate enough to have them.

But DARA, as irrelevant as it was, figured something out. Make ridiculously unsupported global warming claims and big league environmental activist groups will beat a path to your door. In fact, the more ridiculously stupid the claims, the more street cred you will get with environmental activist groups and their liberal media sock puppets. So DARA decided to shoot for the big leagues and out-ridiculous every alarmist global warming prediction the group had ever seen.

Not that DARA made any effort to mask its alarmist, redistributionist predispositions. At the very beginning of the DARA paper making the alarmist global warming predictions, the group added a full page containing nothing but the words, “Dedicated To The Innocent Victims of Climate Change.”

Now THAT’S an objective scientific study for you!

So a heretofore irrelevant activist group with an economic self-interest in selling a global warming crisis absurdly and unverifiably predicts that global warming will cause catastrophic misery and death (over 100 million people killed during the next 18 years!), and the alarmists trumpet it like news of the Apollo astronauts first setting foot on the moon.

“Global Warming Wiped 1.2% from Global GDP, May Claim 100 Million Lives,” screams a headline in the International Business Times.

“Shocking Study: By 2030, Climate Change Could Kill 100 Million People,” claims Yahoo News.

“Climate Change Deaths Could Total 100 Million by 2030 If World Fails to Act,” reads a headline in the Huffington Post.

“Climate Change Reducing Global GDP by $1.2 Trillion,” claims a Businessweek headline.

It all comes down to credibility. Alarmists claim global warming will kill more than 100 million people during the next 18 years. Based on such an absurd prediction, they want us to trust them to reshape our society and govern the world economy.

No thank you – the rest of us live in the real world.


Crony Capitalism Gone Wild: Duke Energy CEO Backs President Obama

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers sets a new standard for crony capitalism. While the vast majority of crony capitalists are pragmatic businessmen who pursue a partnership with President Obama for purely financial reasons, Rogers is a different breed.

Most CEOs are political agnostics and see cronyism as a shortcut to bypass the competitive free enterprise system to a pot of gold. These business executives walk a political tight rope, trying to balance the benefits of political favors against the risk of drawing media scrutiny and controversy of looting the public treasury.

For Jim Rogers, passion for progressive politics appears as great as being a CEO and making money.

In addition to reaping the financial benefits of collaborating with President Obama’s energy policy, Rogers exceeds the actions of crony capitalists by aggressively using Duke Energy’s assets to advance left-wing policies.

And Rogers does not stop there. Extraordinarily for a CEO, Rogers also aggressively seeks the media limelight to defend the president.

Duke Energy’s role in the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC exposed Rogers’ passion for the Democratic Party and President Obama.

Rogers went all in for the convention and for President Obama’s re-election. He was the co-chair of the host committee and according to news sources he personally donated $100,000 – the maximum allowed – to support the convention. Rogers and his wife gave $10,000 to the President’s campaign.

Clearly, what Rogers does with his personal time and money is his right.

However, Rogers crossed the conflict of interest line when he used Duke Energy’s assets to back the financing for the DNC by establishing a $10 million line of credit. The company also provided the Duke Energy building’s office space for DNC staffers as an in-kind contribution.

The line of credit was a creative way to circumvent the DNC ban of direct corporate support for the convention.

Using Duke Energy as a bank for the Democratic Party is inconsistent with expectations of shareholders that invested in a utility company.

Because the host committee fell short of its fundraising goal of about $37 million, according to Bloomberg News, it was forced to use the line of credit with the details of the Duke Energy loan to be revealed in a report to the Federal Elections Commission in October.

In addition using his company as a bank, Rogers also defended President Obama’s record. In an interview with Soledad O’Brien on CNN during the Democratic Convention, Rogers defended the President, saying, “Well, from an energy sector, we're better off today than we were four years ago. Think about it. President Obama pursued all-of-the-above strategy.”

By any objective measure, Obama’s energy policy is not for all sources of energy.

Jim Rogers’ answer totally ignored President Obama’s war on coal, and the dramatic rise in gasoline prices that are a result of the President’s energy policy. In fact, because of EPA regulations, Duke Energy is closing coal-fired power plants in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina.

Rogers was a major backer of the President’s cap-and-trade energy policy. In an effort to pass the law, Rogers aggressively lobbied for the legislation including testifying in Congress and joining the United States Climate Action Partnership – a coalition of businesses and environmental activist groups that want nationwide limits on carbon dioxide emissions.

Unsurprisingly, Rogers’ support of President Obama and his policies has rewarded Duke Energy and its CEO generously. Duke Energy was a grant recipient of Obama’s stimulus plan, including a whopping $200 million award from the Department of Energy for development of smart grid technology.

Rogers was also rewarded for his DNC fundraising chore by obtaining a speaking slot at the Democratic Convention.

It’s possible that Jim Rogers’ unwavering support of President Obama is motivated by seeking a position in the next Obama Administration if the President is re-elected. In 2008, The Washington Post mentioned Rogers as a candidate to head the Energy Department, and his herculean efforts supporting Obama in 2012 might be enough to secure the post.

Rogers denied he was angling for the Energy Department post in response to a question posed by my wife Deneen Borelli at Duke Energy’s 2011 shareholder meeting. Despite his denial, his actions point to a different conclusion.

Undoubtedly, Rogers has gone above and beyond to trumpet the progressive agenda, and to support the re-election effort of President Obama.

While crony capitalism undermines free enterprise, Roger’s form of progressive cronyism offers a more dangerous version, where a CEO uses his company to support his personal political beliefs and possibly secure his next job.


Polar bear alarmists use secret data too

How unsurprising

In my last post, Western Hudson Bay polar bears are not like the others – Part 1, I stopped at the point where the following question arose: “The documented decline in cub survival and condition of females documented above occurred between 1985 and 1992 – what about now?“

I promised to address that question in a separate post because it revealed some interesting issues that deserve star billing.

What I found might surprise you: apparently, virtually all of the data supporting a decline in the western Hudson Bay polar bear population since 1985 has been collected but has not been published. This revelation came from none other than the 2012 summary by Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher that I’ve mentioned before here.

Stirling and Derocher (2012:2699) state that “the mean mass of adult females [in western Hudson Bay] declined (by about 20%) between 1980 and 2007 (Fig. 5).” It is this parameter (mean body mass of females), what they call “a proxy for body condition”, that has apparently had detrimental effects on reproduction (including production of triplets (litter size) and age at weaning) and cub survival that is “statistically linked to the progressively earlier breakup of sea ice.”

However, it turns out that the data used to construct Figure 5 (as well as Figure 4, “relationship between date of breakup and the physical condition of adult females and adult males…”) is not only out of date (it goes to 2007 only) but it uses unpublished data.

Not even “paper submitted” or “in review” but information collected from studies that have not been peer-reviewed and data that cannot be verified. [two similar figures appear in Stirling 2011, pgs. 290 ("fig. 20") & 285 ("fig. 19"), see my review of his book here].

I’ve copied Figure 5 from the Stirling and Derocher paper below. The “Stirling and Parkinson 2006″ paper cited in the original caption presents data from 1980 to 2004 only, which means the additional data (2005-2007) are held by in the private archives of Nick Lunn and Ian Stirling.

So what about the evidence that cub survival and other reproductive parameters (like litter size and age at weaning) in the WHB population have changed as a result of declines in the body condition of females since 1985?

Regarding recent proportion of independent yearlings (weaned 1.5 year olds), Stirling and Derocher (2012:2698) state:

“the proportion of independent yearlings fell from over 81% before 1980 to a mean of 34% in 1980-1992 (Derocher & Stirling, 1995). By the late 1990s, the proportion of independent yearlings dropped to <10 1999="1999" 2000s="2000s" al.="al." almost="almost" and="and" by="by" data="data" early="early" et="et" nonexistent="nonexistent" p="p" stirling="stirling" the="the" tirling="tirling" unpublished="unpublished" was="was">
Regarding incidence of triplets, Stirling and Derocher (2012:2698) state:  “Triplet litters, which comprised 12% of 265 litters between 1980 and 1992 (Derocher & Stirling, 1995), are now rarely seen (I. Stirling, unpublished data).“

[update Sept. 28, 2012: Robinson et al. (2012:139) also cite unpublished data from Ian Stirling ("I. Stirling, Canadian Wildlife Service, personal communication") for the statement that triplets are "less commonly observed today." ]

Again, not “paper submitted” or “in review” but “take Ian Stirling’s word for it, you don’t need to see the numbers.” Conclusions based on information collected from studies whose methods have not been peer-reviewed, using data that cannot be verified by anyone.

So in fact, all three of the biological parameters that Derocher and Stirling (2012) claim changed in a significant way since the early 2000s in WHB – that are “statistically linked to progressively earlier breakup of sea ice” – are based on unpublished data. They have drawn conclusions based on data that we are not allowed to see.

If Stirling has up-to-date information that conclusively demonstrates how dire this situation is, why on earth has he – or whoever collected it – not published that data?

While Stirling and Derocher (2012) claim to “summarize the evidence” that documents the effects of “climate warming” on polar bears, it turns out there has been no published data available for size of WHB litters or proportion of independent yearlings since 1998 (Stirling et al. 1999) - 14 years ago – and no more recent data on cub survival in WHB since 1992 – 20 years ago (Derocher and Stirling 1995).

There has been no more recent data published on body mass of lone females since 2004, or of adult males and females with cubs in WHB since 1998 – 14 years ago – (Stirling et al. 1999:296; Stirling and Parkinson 2006:265), even though this is the data that suggests “climate warming” has been negatively impacting WHB polar bears since 1985!

And those dates of spring breakup of Hudson Bay sea ice that are apparently correlated to changes in polar bear life history traits? Those  data are unpublished as well. See Stirling and Derocher’s (2012) figure 3 below, where the published data available stops at 1998 (taken from Stirling et al. 1999), even though the graph goes to 2007. And since it is now 2012, that graph is woefully out of date.

Why on earth did Stirling and Derocher not update that graph? Could it be that the data from 2009 (a very late breakup year) would make their line flatten out? See my discussion of a virtually identical figure that appears in Stirling 2011, reviewed here.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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