Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sea levels expected to rise two feet within the next 70 years and eight feet by 2200

The latest bit of dumb extrapolation.  Note that the journal it is published in is a "pay to publish"  organ,  very low on the food chain of academic journals and unlikely to present the best science.  An interesting statement from the Abstract:  "modern change is rapid by past interglacial standards but within the range of ‘normal’ processes"

Sea levels will rise two feet within just 70 years and eight feet by the year 2200, according to a new study which suggests hundreds of coastal cities face being wiped out within a matter of generations.

Scientists now claim we have awoken a 'sleeping giant' and that sea levels won't stop rising until they are between 25 to 30 feet higher than now.

Alarmingly those predictions are based on the assumption that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere remain at what they are today.

Some 600 million people currently live within 10m of present-day sea level and that area generates rougly 10 per cent of the world's total GDP.

The combined effects of rising sea levels coupled with land subsidence and population growth mean that by the 2070s, the population exposed to flooding risk may have tripled.

Researchers found current rate of sea-level rise are roughly twice as any other period between ice ages.

Meanwhile levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and other factors that cause temperatures to rise, are increasing 10 up to times faster than at any other period before the industrial revolution.

Eelco Rohling, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in Canberra, told NBC News: 'We have awoken a sleeping giant, he is now here to stay.'

The scientists sat that as the earth continues to warm, the major ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica will begin to melt, a process that takes a long time to start and stop.

The findings, reported in the journal Scientific Reports, are based on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels stabilising at today's level of 400 parts per million.

But if they continue to rise then even ice that is considered stable, such as the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, could also begin to destabilise.

According to Rohling, if levels hit a worst case scenario of 1,000 parts per million, then 'all bets are off'.


Nobel Laureate Declares Boycott of Top Science Journals

UC-Berkeley professor and 2013 Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process.

This article reveals that leading scientists know that the “prestige” academic journals are biased in favor of flashy and politically correct research findings, even when such findings are frequently contradicted by subsequent research. This is important in the context of the global warming debate because Nature and Science have published the most alarmist and incredible junk on global warming and refuse to publish skeptics. (Full disclosure: Nature ran a negative editorial about us a few years back, and a much better but still inaccurate feature story.) Claims of a “scientific consensus” rely heavily on the assumption that expertise can be measured by how often a scientist appears in one of these journals. Now we know that’s a lie.

Along these lines, I highly recommend a 2010 book titled Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us – And How to Know When Not to Trust Them, by David H. Freedman, “a science and business journalist, contributing editor at Inc. magazine and has written for The Atlantic, Newsweek, NYT, Science, HBR, Fast Company, Wired, Self, and many other publications.”

He says experts can be wrong because:

1.  Pandering to audience or client

2.  Lack of oversight

3.  Automaticity (assuming every problem has the same solution)

4.  Flawed evidence (rely on other scientists for data)

5.  Careerism (publish or perish, never admit mistakes)

6.  Publication bias

7.  Confounding variables

8.  Conflicts of interest

He says we believe experts because we are predisposed to embrace people who espouse:

1.  Certainty (absence of doubt)

2.  Simple explanations (never more than three causes)

3.  Universality (these factors/processes/principles apply to everything!)

4.  Upbeat (good news)

5.  Actionable (we can fix this)

6.  Palatable solutions (we can afford to fix it)

7.  Dramatic finding or insight (wow factor)

8.  A compelling narrative (connects the dots)

9.  Consensus (everyone believes this!)

Some excerpts from the book:

“In an anonymous survey conducted by Martinson and his colleagues and published in Nature in 2005, and responded to by some 3,200 researchers who had received funding from the National Institutes of Health, about one-third of participants admitted to at least one act of misconduct with regard to designing, conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of studies within the previous three years.” (pp. 106-7)

“In a 2000 survey of biostaticians, half said they personally knew of research studies that involved fraud, and of that group, about half went on to say that the fraud involved the fabrication of falsification of data.” (p. 107)

“. . . researchers need to publish impressive findings to keep their careers alive, and some seem unable to come up with those findings via honest work. Bear in mind that researchers who don’t publish well-regarded work typically don’t get tenure and are forced out of their institutions.” (p. 108)

“Perhaps more important, tenured researchers still have to bring in research funding, and the pressure to do so often considerably increases with tenure, since senior researchers sometimes have to take most of the responsibility for getting entire labs funded.” (p. 109)

“Back in 1989 economists at Harvard and the National Bureau of Economic Research estimated that virtually all published economic papers are wrong, attributing this astoundingly dismal assessment to the effects of publication bias.” (p. 112)

“If a scientist wants to or expects to end up with certain results, he will likely achieve them, often through some form of fudging, whether conscious or not – bias exerts a sort of gravity over error, pulling the glitches in one direction, so that the errors tend to add up rather than cancel out.” (p. 114)

“Nature quoted the Princeton professor, Nobel laureate, and former Bell Labs researcher Philip Anderson as saying, ‘Nature’s editorial and refereeing policy seems to be influenced by the newsworthiness of the work, not necessarily its quality, and Science seems to be caught up in a similar syndrome.” (p. 119)

“Does the scientific community do anything effective to single out lousy research? Actually, yes – it makes sure that some of the worst research gets the most acclaim.” (pp. 122-23)

“Research by Dickersin and others suggests that on average positive studies are at least ten times more likely than negative studies to be submitted and accepted for publication.” (p. 123)

And my favorite:

“Many liberals, on the other hand, seem constitutionally incapable of giving fair consideration to, or in some cases even acknowledging, expert evidence and arguments (even if in the minority) that question whether we are really in the midst of a man-made global climate crisis.” (p. 78)


Slate Criticizes Heartland Science While Calling Penguins 'Mammals'

The liberal media outlet Slate embarrassed itself Tuesday by publishing an article referring to penguins as mammals, while simultaneously criticizing the Heartland Institute’s scientific writings.

In an article titled, “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” Slate claimed the traditional incarnation of Santa Claus as “an old white male” brings “insecurity and shame” to nonwhite kids. To solve the asserted problem, Slate argued Santa Claus should hereafter take the form of a penguin, which Slate asserted is a mammal.

According to Slate, it is time to let the “universally beloved waddling mammal” take over from the old white man the chore of handing out Christmas presents.

Responding to an army of outraged readers – presumably Kindergartners – Slate thereafter discovered penguins are actually birds rather than mammals and corrected its article.

Slate’s equal part appalling, equal part comical belief that penguins are mammals calls to mind a Christmas Eve moment in my household several years ago. My wife and I spread out a map of the world and asked our two daughters where they thought Santa might be.

“I think Santa is in Turkey,” said my older daughter, then five years old.

“I think Santa is in Ham,” said my younger daughter, then four years old.

“Ham?!! Ham isn’t a country!” exclaimed my outraged five-year-old daughter.

My four-year-old daughter may not have known at the time that Ham is not a country, but even she would have been able to tell you that penguins are birds.

Which brings us back to Slate. On the very same day that Slate scientifically soiled itself by proclaiming penguins are mammals, Slate published an article criticizing the Heartland Institute on scientific matters.

Last month I published an article at noting that a recent survey showed only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause. Scientists have verified that my article was accurate. Nevertheless, upset that I did not make all sorts of caveats and excuses to hide the lack of scientific consensus, Slate – on the very same day that it claimed penguins are mammals – published a lengthy article attempting to smear the Heartland Institute on matters of science.

Well, we can all have our different scientific opinions, but we can’t all have our different scientific facts.

Only 52 percent of American Meteorological Society members believe global warming is occurring and humans are the primary cause.

And at least the Heartland Institute knows that penguins are birds.


Life-long exposure of corals to elevated CO2

Discussing: Noonan, S.H.C., Fabricius, K.E. and Humphrey, C. 2013. "Symbiodinium community composition in Scleractinian corals is not affected by life-long exposure to elevated carbon dioxide". PLOS ONE 8: e63985.

In the words of Noonan et al. (2013), "ocean acidification (OA) is expected to negatively affect coral reefs," but they say that "little is known about how OA will change the coral-algal symbiosis on which reefs ultimately depend." In fact, they indicate that "to date it remains unknown if corals are able to respond to rising CO2 concentrations by changing to better adapted dominant Symbiodinium types after long-term exposure to elevated pCO2 in the field," where field, of course, to them means ocean.

Against this backdrop Noonan et al., as they describe it, "used denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of ribosomal DNA to investigate the dominant types of Symbiodinium associating with six species of scleractinian coral that were exposed to elevated partial pressures of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in situ from settlement and throughout their lives."

This was done "at three naturally occurring volcanic CO2 seeps (pCO2 ~500 to 900 ppm, pHTotal 7.8-7.9) and adjacent control areas (pCO2 ~390 ppm, pHTotal ~8.0-8.05) in Papua New Guinea," while "Symbiodinium associated with corals living in an extreme seep site (pCO2 >1000 ppm) were also examined."

The three Australian researchers report that within five of the six species studied, "85-95% of samples exhibited the same Symbiodinium type across all sites, with remaining rare types having no patterns attributable to CO2 exposure."

The sixth species of coral, however, did display "site specific differences in Symbiodinium types," but these were "unrelated to CO2 exposure."

Last of all, they found that "Symbiodinium types from the coral inhabiting the extreme CO2 seep site were [also] found commonly throughout the moderate seeps and control areas."

The findings of Noonan et al. suggest that the six species of coral they studied, plus the various Symbiodinium types they encountered, were all able to not only survive, but to function well throughout the full range of CO2-induced pH values to which they had been exposed throughout their entire life spans.


The strange "global warming" of the Antarctic peninsula  -- where higher average temperatures have led to LESS extreme weather

Discussing:  Franzke, C. 2013. "Significant reduction of cold temperature extremes at Faraday/Vernadsky station in the Antarctic Peninsula". International Journal of Climatology 33: 1070-1078.

Antarctica is a region of the planet expected to see a great increase in temperature as a result of greenhouse gas-induced global warming. Temperatures there have been routinely measured at the Faraday/Vernadsky station on the Antarctic Peninsula ever since February of 1947; and they reveal a warming of approximately 3.8°C through January 2011, making the peninsula a veritable global warmer's paradise.

But the location has one ... small ... problem. According to the study of Franzke (2013), "there is no evidence for an increase of the annual maximum temperature."

"Typically," in the words of Franzke, "one would expect that a significant warming also leads to absolute warmer temperatures and not just to a reduction in cold temperatures." But the latter is precisely what has happened at the Faraday/Vernadsky weather station: it's only the colder temperatures that have gotten warmer.

Franzke also notes that "global climate projections suggest that the frequency of hot extremes will increase due to global warming," citing Meehl et al. (2007). The models therefore also miss the mark as it applies to the Antarctic Peninsula, and to other parts of the world as well (see, for example, Kukla and Karl, 1993; Easterling et al., 1997).

And thus it is that Franzke writes that the data from the Antarctic Peninsula "are somewhat at odds with the general opinion that global warming leads to more frequent and larger extremes."

In fact, on the Antarctic Peninsula, Franzke finds that "annual maximum temperatures are almost constant over the last six decades," while minimum temperatures have actually gotten less extreme.

And so it is that there may not have been even a relative heat wave on the Antarctic Peninsula since the start of temperature measurements there some six and a half decades ago.


A darker shade of green

Miranda Devine on the Sydney scene in Australia

THE rape of a Belgian tourist in a dark alley in Potts Point last month is a warning that environmentally sensitive street lighting will take a terrible human toll.

The 25-year-old was walking down a dimly lit Victoria Street from her serviced apartment to buy food at 8.30pm when a man forced her into the alley between two terrace houses.

It was so dark that the traumatized woman could not give police a description of her assailant, or even tell them the color of his clothes.

The alley where she was attacked is at the northern end of Victoria street in a residential enclave just a block from the bright lights and fleshpots of Darlinghurst Road.

And yet the lighting was like something out of the backblocks of St Ives: completely inadequate as a deterrent to crime.

There was a solitary lamppost near where the alley runs into the dead-end Tusculum Lane, positioned 6m south and covered by a tree canopy three storeys high. Nor is there any street light on that side of the road for 50 metres in the direction the victim was walking.
It was clearly an ideal spot for a predator.

To the council’s credit, it has installed three new lights since the assault and is planning to install extra lights at nearby Butler Stairs.

The new lights are the low energy LED (light-emitting diode) lights which the council is rolling out across Sydney to replace traditional street bulbs.

But the big worry is that LED lights will make Sydney’s dim lighting fade even more, thanks to Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s jihad against “carbon pollution”.

Sure, LED technology is terrific in an enclosed space for focused light but there are drawbacks when it comes to providing uniform illumination for pedestrians to walk safely.

LED lights are white and easier to look at ,without the halo effect of traditional street lights. They have the advantage of being more focused so that light doesn’t “spill” into houses.

But the light doesn’t spread as far, so the area of illumination is smaller. Lighting is further reduced by tree canopies, which abound in areas like Potts Point.

What’s more, LED lights don’t suddenly blow, but degrade over time which means residents may not notice as illumination fades.
And while LEDs measure up to the old lights in “lumen output”, the human eye doesn’t perceive the same broad coverage.

But street lights are council’s biggest single contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and our Lord Mayor is an ardent greenie.

She boasts that Sydney is the first city in Australia to roll out the new lights, after a trial in Alexandria Park, Kings Cross, Martin Place and Circular Quay.  The venture will reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2,185 tonnes a year.

The council claims 90 percent of residents surveyed during their trial found the new lights “appealing”.

But when towns in the US and UK have trialled LED lighting residents complained about reduced illumination.

Almost every resident in the two streets in Salford, England, where LED lights were fitted in 2011 signed a petition asking, unsuccessfully, for the old lights to be reinstated.

In Sydney, AUSGRID maintains the traditional street lamps on Victoria Street under contract for the council. A spokesman said yesterday it was in discussions about upgrading lighting there but that council decides how many street lights to install and Standards Australia “dictates how bright lights should be.”

You can expect those lights to be dimmer in future since the Australian standard AS/NZS 1158 has been under review to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More secret enviro-meddling will come from a body called the “National Strategy on Energy Efficiency” which has been working since 2011 on a plan to “significantly improve street lighting energy efficiency by 2020.”

We can assume “improve” is meant in the Orwellian sense, as cities around the world dim their lights.

Electric light has been the wellspring of human progress over the last century, protecting us from the creatures of the night. Now the luddites of the green movement want to send us back to the dark ages.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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