Monday, December 08, 2014

Fall snow cover in Northern Hemisphere was most extensive on record, all due to warming, of course

You can explain anything if you want to.  In science it is called an "ad hoc" explanation -- known to the layman as being wise after the event.  And the Warmist writer below does that.  He offers various explanations for why the observed cold is actually due to warming somewhere.

But he actually has nothing to explain.  He has drunk the NOAA Kool-Aid about current record high temperatures.  He hasn't noticed the carefully unpublicized fact that temperatures in the 21st century are higher than one-another only by a few hundredths of one degree.  So all we are seeing are natural fluctuations within a generally stable temperature environment.

Cold weather embarrasses him only because Warmists routinely chortle whenever we have an unusually hot spell.  He can see that, by the same token, cold spells ought to have us chortling about cooling.  That the Warmist chortling about occasional hot weather is desperate, disreputable and unscientific has escaped him

In 49 years of records, more snow covered the Northern Hemisphere this fall than any other time. It is a very surprising result, especially when you consider temperatures have tracked warmest on record over the same period.

Data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show the fall Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent exceeded 22 million square kilometers, exceeding the previous greatest fall extent recorded in 1976.

New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson, who runs the snow lab, shared these additional snow cover statistics:

North America had its most extensive snow cover on record

The Lower 48 had its most extensive snow cover on record (which is not surprising given the Arctic blast and snow events in the final two weeks)

The sprawling snows may seem counter-intuitive considering recent reports that September and October were the warmest months on record for the globe according to NOAA (and November the second warmest on record, according to satellite analysis from the University of Alabama-Huntsville).

Global temperature departure from normal for the period of January through October 2014. This year is on track to be the warmest on record, according to NOAA.

However, the amount of snow does not necessarily correlate with temperature.  It simply needs to be near or below freezing for snow to fall.  Temperatures that average 1-2 degrees F above normal over the globe can still support snow in many places.

Furthermore, slightly warmer than normal temperatures increase atmospheric moisture content, elevating potential snow amounts where they occur.

A recent modeling study showed high latitude extreme snows could increase 10 percent by the end of the century under global warming scenarios.


A British Lawyer and a Conservative Party "wet" (cf. RINO) sets us straight

Barrister Rupert Myers writes under the heading:  "The Right needs to wake up - climate change is real, and we're causing it".

So what evidence does he muster to support his view that "climate change is real, and we're causing it"?  None.  He mentions not a single climate statistic: Just the current Warmist prophecy that 2014 will be the warmest year ever.  Other than that, it's all just assertion and a warm feeling that all good chaps agree on this. I hope he argues his cases in court more convincingly

His talk about a "significant loss of landmass" is amusing.  Where?  Even Bangladesh is GAINING landmass.  Is he aware that the latest modelling shows that sea level rise will take thousands of years to happen?  See here and  here

He also acknowledges the problem that China is still building coal-fired generators but gives no answer to it.

He also says that we should stick to the "core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence" -- without giving any evidence.  He may think that his handwaving allusions to things like strawberry crops in November count as evidence but, if so, he has no idea of what constitutes  evidence in science.

I could go on but I think there is no cure for credulity.  See it in full flight below

Whenever I head to the north Norfolk coast and see the wind farm offshore, visible from the Cromer pier, my heart sinks. The blinking red lights at night and the white spinning blades during the day spoil the historic view of the channel from the Victorian seafront. It was a view witnessed by a holidaying Winston Churchill at a place recommended by Austen; the clunking towers have written it off. I have not learned to love or to even silently accept the wind farms, and I cannot understand those claim that they are beautiful or elegant.

But I am persuaded that we need them. On the day that the Met Office has recognised that 2014, the warmest year on record, is attributable to man-made climate change, it’s time to put these eyesores into perspective. The results are in, and everyone from NASA to the UN agrees that there is an urgent need to change the way we behave, to prevent widespread destruction of our environment. From melting ice to strawberry crops in november, we are starting to see the early stages of a chain of events which - if not addressed adequately - will drastically alter the planet and the lives of generations to come.

There are enclaves of scientific denial on the Right, like tiny pacific islands on which old Japanese men still believe they are engaged in World War Two. The odd bloody scalp, the odd skirmish does not prove that the war is ongoing. Nick Griffin, who called man made global warming ‘a hoax’ has expressed his support for UKIP, a party which has vowed to bin the Climate Change Act, and which clearly wants to attract those who think that the war is still to be fought.

Yet you don’t have to be a pro-EU fixie-cycling ethical barista of no fixed gender identity with a piercing through your nose to wake up and smell the coffee. Indeed, you should enjoy the smell of coffee whilst you can, since climate change is having a dramatic impact on the bean crop yields. Bemoaning the ban on filament lightbulbs needs to be seen in the context of widespread food shortages and significant loss of landmass. The cost of renewables to the UK needs to be set against the likely cost of famine, drought, and the expense of keeping an overpopulating planet even remotely peaceful as its food and its land diminish. It will not improve the views from the East Anglian coastline if the coastline itself is eroded.

The deniers argue that any globally coordinated response to this problem will involve ‘socialism’ and EU control, calling many exponents of green policies ‘watermelons’ for being green on the outside and red on the inside. Yet the same people will often argue that unilateral action on climate change would be an expensive waste of time whilst China is still building coal power plants. We can’t work together because it will interfere with freedom – but we can’t act alone because it’s pointless. Even more confusingly, there are too many on the Right who then have a go at private companies for getting into renewable energy. When the socialist-finder generals aren’t calling people watermelons, they are calling out the corporate greed of making a profit from involvement in green energy solutions. Governments are bashed for taking a statist approach to climate change, and corporations for a capitalist one.

There are many dreadful side effects to man-made climate change, though most of them will only be apparent – experts warn – once it is too late to counter them. In trying to act to prevent the worst of it, we are having to tear up parts of our countryside and even get our heads around splitting our rubbish into different forms of recycling. But one of the most irritating and immediate consequences has been from the deniers, particularly on the Right, who, while understandably mistrustful of ideology and consensus, have abandoned the core conservative principle of doing what works and looking at the available evidence. The same populist movements which would abolish the ‘elites’ in politics have decided that an international scientific consensus about complex, long-term changes is no match for their lived experience of yesterday's weather. Despite the best efforts of our Prime Minister in opposition, many on the right are abandoning a commitment to environmentalism as a costly and unproven expenditure.

It’s time for the doubters to surrender, and accept that there is nothing Right-wing about denying the global consensus of a scientific community. At this point too many of us on the Right echo the farcical warning of Stephen Colbert that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” After all, it isn’t Blofeld’s SPECTRE warning us about climate change - it’s the British boffins in our own Met Office.


No Record Temperatures According To Satellites

Unsurprisingly, the BBC put up a deliberately apocalyptic picture while telling us the world is on course for the warmest year on record.

What they failed to tell us was that the more accurate satellites, which monitor atmospheric temperatures over nearly all of the globe, say no such thing.

Figures from UAH are out for November, and these show a drop from the  October anomaly of 0.37C to 0.33C. This means that at the end of November, this year is only in a tie for 3rd with 2005, and well below the record year of 1998, and 2010.

Moreover, despite El Nino conditions for most of this year, this year is only running a modest 0.03C [three hundredths of one degree] warmer than last year.

RSS data for November is still awaited, but is unlikely to alter the October YTD position, which ranked 2014 as only 7th warmest.

What the BBC also failed to tell us was that there are large uncertainties in the surface datasets, which they are reporting on. Colin Morice of the Met Office warns:

"Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade."


Bulletin from Lima

They are, according to energy secretary Ed Davey, “the most complex negotiations the world has ever undertaken”: representatives from 190 countries attempting to draft an unprecedented worldwide deal to tackle global warming.

But the near-9,000 delegates attending the UN’s climate change summit in Peru have found they also have a more local warming problem to contend with: the venue is too hot.

Sweltering temperatures inside the meeting halls have prompted many delegates to complain that the temporary buildings are generating their own “greenhouse effect” – with one Zimbabwean representative at Monday’s opening plenary reportedly even suggesting it was “too hot to work”.

With temperatures in the mid-seventies outside, the mercury has hit more than 86F in some of the halls, which have been specially-constructed on the site of the Peruvian military headquarters in Lima.

“3 days in & it’s still crazy hot. How can they expect any smart decisions to be made in these conditions?,” Yong Ly, a delegate observing the talks for the P3 Foundation anti-poverty group, wrote on Twitter.

“Plenary hall at #COP 20 hot like [politician and former Miss World] Lisa Hanna in the Sahara,” Gerald Lindo, a Jamaican government official, tweeted. “They must be trying to remind us of global warming.”

The complaints appeared to be given short shrift by the Peruvian hosts, who responded by posting a picture of a hand-held fan on their official Twitter account. “Using air conditioning affects the planet,” they wrote. “And the heat? As simple as using a fan. Share the idea.”

However a spokesman for UN organisers the UNFCCC insisted there was no environmental restriction on the use of the venue’s air conditioning and said it was simply that “the conditions here are a little challenging for the air con system”.

While most delegates appeared in good spirits despite the heat, there remain numerous areas of disagreement over the shape of a global climate deal – which is being drafted in Lima and due to be officially agreed at next year’s summit in Paris. The aim is to come up with an agreement that will cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which scientists say the effects will be far more dangerous.

How much rich countries should pay to help poorer countries tackle and adapt to climate change is among the most contentious issues. Developed nations have so far pledged almost $10bn (£6.4bn) of public funds – including £720m from the UK – to a new UN “Green Climate Fund” (GCF) to help developing nations.

China, which aligns itself with many of the poorest countries, has complained the total so far falls far short of a 2009 pledge by developed nations to mobilise $100bn-a-year of “climate finance” by 2020. “$10 billion is just one 10th of that objective,” Su Wei, China’s lead negotiator said, Bloomberg reported.

But Elina Bardram, head of the EU’s delegation dismissed the claim, insisting the $100bn was always intended to be mixture of public and private finance. The GCF was “by no means the only vehicle for delivering the $100bn,” she told reporters on Friday.

Countries also disagree about whether their individual pledges to tackle climate change should solely cover cutting emissions or should also bind rich nations to give cash to poorer countries to help them adapt.

Pledges are due in the first quarter of next year. Mr Davey, who will attend the second week of the talks, told the Telegraph he hoped Lima at least would result in agreement on what information countries must give about their planned emissions reductions so the world could “compare apples with apples”. But he said: “No one is under any illusions that by the time most countries have put forward their initial pledges ... we will be well short of where we need to be.”

The UK hopes initial pledges will then be scrutinised and bettered, enabling “a deal in Paris that keeps the 2C limit within reach”, he said.

More than 40 UK Government officials are believed to be flying to attend the Lima conference, with an estimated footprint of more than 1,600kg of carbon dioxide each.

Flights and hotels for the entire 9,000 delegates will generate almost 29,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to an estimate by The Project Developer Forum, a group campaigning on behalf of green energy developers. That is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by the entire Pacific island state of Kiribati in six months.

Benny Peiser, of the climate-sceptic Global Warming Policy Foundation described the summit as the “green blob's annual ritual” and “an expensive form of mass tourism, never mind the carbon footprint”.

“More importantly, the ritual gathering isn't going to overcome the underlying deadlock,” he said.

“The developing world will ask for a high price which will sink the deal in the US.” He said he believed any deal would not be legally-binding and that this would lead the EU to renege on its own carbon-cutting pledges. “In short, the deal that is now in the making won't slow CO2 emissions and won't bind any nation. But it will be sold as a breakthrough – as all agreements have been sold in the past,” he said.


Hot air from the wind power lobby in Canada

On Oct. 30 we published a Fraser Institute study entitled “What Goes Up… Ontario’s Soaring Electricity Prices and How to Get Them Down.” We analyzed the factors driving the rise in Ontario’s electricity prices, focusing on the so-called Global Adjustment (GA), which is a non-market surcharge set by the province to fund payments to electricity producers for above-market revenue guarantees.

Our econometric analysis allowed us to track not only the impact of direct payments to power generating firms but also indirect effects arising when one distorted production decision subsequently distorts the incentives of others, boosting overall provincial liabilities. Among other things we found that adding wind power to the grid increases costs by about three times the amount of the direct payments to wind turbine operators, with the interaction effects making up the difference.

On November 3, The Canadian Wind Energy Association issued a response to our study prepared by the consulting firm Power Advisory LLC.

CanWEA’s press release acknowledges that electricity prices are increasing but claims that these changes benefit Ontarians.

While it is certainly true that rising prices — up 52% since 2004 in inflation-adjusted terms — have been enormously beneficial to CanWEA and its members, they are harmful to Ontario consumers and firms. It is important to understand the real factors behind price trends, and not simply to take at face value the claims of an industry group with an obvious conflict of interest in the matter.

CanWEA claims that our “study fails to acknowledge several key drivers of electricity price increases, including the costs of upgrading and renewing aging electricity infrastructure (such as transmission lines and smart meters), and charges such as the Debt Retirement Charge associated with Ontario’s past investments in nuclear power.”

This is untrue. Our study examined the impacts of all the power bill components including transmission and distribution costs, which includes smart meters. Our analysis of power bill components relies exclusively on official Ontario government sources. As shown in our Appendix A, particularly Table A1, it is clear that the Debt Reduction Charge has applied no upward pressure on rates since 2004, and transmission and distribution costs have increased 14%, while overall commodity costs increased by 68%. We focused on the rising commodity cost because it is by far the largest driver for rising rates.

The Power Advisory group complains that our study focuses only on the GA, rather than the complete wholesale cost of power (namely the GA plus the hourly market price). This is also untrue. We showed in our Figure 1 that the hourly market price has not been increasing; in fact it has fallen by more than 50% over the period of analysis. We focused on the GA because that is the component that has been driving the commodity cost increases.

Another of Power Advisory’s complaints is that our regression analysis failed to include a time trend. A time trend would be spurious in this case.

We provided a detailed explanation of the formula that determines the GA (pp. 7—10) and there is nothing in it that says it has to go up each year. In other words, it is not a trending variable. Power Advisory presents a chart showing the GA with a linear trend to support its assertion that the mere passage of time is the cause of the increase in the GA. But there is no necessary relationship between time and rising electricity costs, as evidenced by the fact that power prices outside Ontario have been falling over time. The reality is that their time trend variable is merely a proxy for the real cost drivers, particularly the policy-driven increases in wind, solar, and incremental hydro-electric generation capacity.

Power Advisory’s commentary claims (without supporting evidence) that “there is no secondary impact” of wind and solar.

This is simply not credible, given the fickle nature of renewables and Ontario’s storage-constrained grid. Many common operating conditions for wind power drive costs to consumers beyond those directly caused by payments to wind generators. For example, high wind output during low demand periods is clearly associated with Bruce nuclear generation curtailments and spilling of hydro-electric generation by Ontario Power Generation. The Power Advisory analysis assumes away these types of interactions, whereas our analysis captures them.

Finally, Power Advisory relies on the trite observation that “correlation is not causation.” Our statistical analysis provides clear supporting evidence for conclusions that also emerge from our analysis of the institutional structure of the Ontario power system, and it allows us to quantify the relative impacts of different components. It also allows us to test, and reject, the claim that increased renewables capacity are unrelated to rising Ontario electricity prices.

We stand by the findings of our study, and we reaffirm the conclusion that renewable power generation, particularly wind and solar power, are key drivers behind Ontario’s surging electricity prices.


European scientists ‘fixed evidence’ to ban pesticides, note reveals

RESEARCH blaming pesticides for the decline in honey­bees has been called into question by a leaked note suggesting scientists had decided in advance to seek evidence supporting a ban on the chemicals.

The private note records a discussion in 2010 between four scientists about how to persuade regulators to ban neonicotinoid pesticides.

The EU imposed a temporary ban last year after the European Food Safety Authority identified risks to bees.

Many farmers have blamed the ban for high levels of damage to this winter’s oilseed rape crop from flea beetle.

The leaked note says the scientists agreed to select authors to produce four papers and co-ordinate their publication to “obtain the necessary policy change, to have these pesticides banned”.

A paper by a “carefully selected first author” would set out the impact of the pesticides on insects and birds “as convincingly as possible”. A second “policy forum” paper would draw on the first to call for a ban.

The note, which records that the meeting took place in Switzerland on June 14, 2010, says: “If we are successful in getting these two papers published, there will be enormous impact, and a campaign led by WWF etc. It will be much harder for politicians to ­ignore a research paper and a policy forum paper in (a major scientific journal).”

The scientists at the meeting included Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, chairman of the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, and Piet Wit, chairman of the ecosystems management commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an influential network of scientists and environmental groups.

The task force, a group of scientists who advise the IUCN, published a report in June stating that neonicotinoids were “causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species and are a key factor in the decline of bees”.

The task force used the report to call on regulators to “start planning for a global phase-out” of neonicotinoids. The present two-year EU ban, which began last December, is due to be reviewed next year using evidence from field trials.

Nick von Westenholz, chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, which represents Bayer and Syngenta, manufacturers of neonicotinoids, said: “From reading this document it looks to me that this group decided on its conclusions first and then embarked on the research to back them up.

“That clearly flies in the face of claims that the IUCN study represents independent and rigorous science.”

Mr Wit said the leaked note was accurate but he denied the scientists had decided the conclusions of the research in advance. Dr Bijleveld van Lexmond, a founding member of WWF in the Netherlands, said the task force was independent and unbiased.



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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