Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Earth's clouds are shifting towards its poles

LOL!  By applying heavy "corrections" to their data they got a story that would correspond to global warming theory.  I don't know where to start here, it's such a hoot.  Could there have been some bias in the "corrections"?  One would have to be naive to dismiss it.

And why did they not segregate their data into the 20th and 21st centuries?  If their theories are right that would have been a splendid way to test them. If the clouds kept moving polewards in C21, that would disprove their theory -- as there was no statistically significant warming in C21 until last year.  They obviously did NOT want to test their theory.

And what they say is wrong anyway. They found "growing dry regions" as rain-bearing clouds move polewards.  But what about the Sahel?  The Sahel is actually in the tropics so should be very strongly affected by what they claim.  And it is a very large dry region so would seem an excellent test of their theory.  So has the Sahel got any drier?  To the contrary, it has shrunk in recent years.  Much that was once desert is now green.   That's one test of their junk theory that they could not fudge -- and the theory fails its test abjectly

Journal article appended

Bands of cloud cover that swirl around the globe are slowly creeping towards the poles, causing dry regions to expand around the equator, climate scientists have warned.

Using satellite data captured between the 1980s and 2000s, researchers found that channels of cloud cover which carry storms around the globe have shifted closer to the poles over time.

As well as poleward shift in cover and expanding dry regions, they findings show the height of cloud tops have increased at all latitudes, all of which impacts on the global climate and agree with predictions for the impact of climate change.

Cloud cover is a key factor in regulating the planet's temperature, with cover reflecting solar radiation back into space or acting as a blanket to keep surface heat from escaping, depending on the type and thickness of clouds.

But while the effects of such a variable system are almost impossible to decipher in the short term, over a period of decades long-term trends begin to emerge.

Led by climate scientists at the University of California, the team was able to correct the satellite data from several sources to show such long term trends, removing errors and inaccuracies from satellite sensors and erroneous trends.

They found that dry bands over the subtropical regions are expanded – a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia – and the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

Climate scientists in the US looked at several datasets going back to the early 1980s.

By removing errors caused by satellite sensors, incorrectly calibrated systems and countering for erroneous trends, they were able to show long-term trends in cloud coverage.

They found the band of clouds which carries tropical storms around the planet have moved from the subtropical regions towards the poles.

But in their wake, they have further opened up dry areas in subtropical regions – in a belt which covers regions including the Southern United States, North Africa and Central Australia.

What's more, they found the height of cloud tops at all latitudes has increased.

The researchers have said that their observations align with predictions previously made in complex climate models.

They say the findings agree with climate models, which predict a warming climate will be accompanied with less cloud coverage in the tropics and growing dry regions.

'What this paper brings to the table is the first credible demonstration that the cloud changes we expect from climate models and theory are currently happening,' said Professor Joel Norris, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institute for Oceanography in California, who led the research.

According to the researchers, the effect on cloud cover has been caused by a combination of greenhouse gases from human activity over several decades.

But compounding this warming effect is the bounce back from two large volcanic eruptions – the El Chichón eruption in Mexico in 1982 and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines – which had a far reaching cooling effect on the climate.

When combined, these two factors result in a positive feedback loop, warming the climate.


Evidence for climate change in the satellite  cloud record

Joel R. Norris et al


Clouds substantially affect Earth’s energy budget by reflecting solar radiation back to space and by restricting emission of thermal radiation to space. They are perhaps the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate change, owing to disagreement among climate models and observational datasets over what cloud changes have occurred during recent decades and will occur in response to global warming. This is because observational systems originally designed for monitoring weather have lacked sufficient stability to detect cloud changes reliably over decades unless they have been corrected to remove artefacts.

Here we show that several independent, empirically corrected satellite records exhibit large-scale patterns of cloud change between the 1980s and the 2000s that are similar to those produced by model simulations of climate with recent historical external radiative forcing. Observed and simulated cloud change patterns are consistent with poleward retreat of mid-latitude storm tracks, expansion of subtropical dry zones, and increasing height of the highest cloud tops at all latitudes. The primary drivers of these cloud changes appear to be increasing greenhouse gas concentrations and a recovery from volcanic radiative cooling. These results indicate that the cloud changes most consistently predicted by global climate models are currently occurring in nature.

SOURCE.  [doi:10.1038/nature18273]

Crookedness at The University of Cincinnati

They published a thoroughly incompetent study which reported air pollution from fracking.  They then did a better study of water pollution which exonerated fracking.  They have now withdrawn the bodged air pollution study and held off on publishing the water pollution study. "Fracking is bad" is the only conclusion they will allow. Is there such a thing as an honest Greenie?

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has yet to publish the results of a now year-old study that found no water contamination from hydraulic fracturing in a scientific journal, despite scrutiny, media attention, and numerous calls from groups and elected officials to do so.

This indefinite delay is all the more interesting considering that UC couldn’t wait to publish the results of its 2015 study that claimed fracking was causing significant air pollution in Carroll County. That study appeared in Environmental Science & Technology just three months after it was completed.

But the UC researchers’ urgency has apparently come back to bite them as they have just retracted the study due to “errors” and “incorrect” calculations

UC’s rush to publish its air study while it dawdles for a year in publishing its groundwater study finding no harm from fracking is even more interesting considering the results of both studies were first announced at events hosted by Carroll County Concerned Citizens (CCCC), a well-known anti-fracking group. The same professor that presented the air quality study results to CCCC, study co-lead author Dr. Erin Hayes, has also participated in other anti-fracking events.

The retraction of the Carroll County air study comes as no surprise to Energy In Depth, which pointed out its many flaws last May. Not only were the study participants recruited by an anti-fracking activist group, the researchers did not use random testing, did not account for sources of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) other than oil and gas activity, and assumed worst case scenarios in their cancer hazard assessments.

A Carroll County landowner also informed EID that some of the highest PAH levels detected by the researchers were collected on his property, which is more than 10 miles from the nearest shale gas well. This completely refuted the researchers’ summation that high PAH levels correlated directly to close proximity to shale gas wells.

The authors even admitted that the sample size used for their study was too small and that the chief assumption used for their research model was “totally impractical,” according to media reports.

That didn’t keep several media outlets from accepting the authors’ conclusions as gospel with such headlines as: “Fracking may cause air pollution, respiratory issues” and “Fracking could increase risk of cancer, new study finds.” This is a prime example of a rushed study, designed to scapegoat fracking, that fails to fully vet the data collected — yet garners media coverage anyway.

Making matters worse is the fact that the Carroll County air study was 100 percent taxpayer funded. UC’s Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG) received federal tax dollars for this study in the form of a grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) for $47,910.

Of course, the authors of the study do not disclose whether their revised calculations show much lower emissions – but considering this background and the fact that the researchers just omit that data in their retraction, it’s difficult to imagine their corrected results show anything other than a repudiation of their original conclusions. Regardless, the real problem is this: By not providing that information UC is not being forthcoming with data again, just as it has by refusing to release its groundwater study.

Ohioans deserve a full explanation as to why a study that generated numerous alarmist headlines by promoting fear was retracted. It will also be interesting to see if the retraction gets as much media attention as the flawed study generated.

But, considering Ohioans are still waiting for UC to release its groundwater study (which cost taxpayers $400,000, by the way), it might not be a good idea to hold your breath on that.


Already 240 Published Papers In 2016 Alone Show AGW “Consensus” Is A Fantasy!

It is apparently regarded as “consensus” science that more than half of the climate changes occurring since the mid-20th century have been caused by humans.  For example, the IPCC’s “consensus” statement from 2013 reads like this:

"It is extremely likely more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together"

The “extremely likely” designation for this position seems to suggest there is little to no disagreement with this statement in the scientific community, or at least this is what we are apparently supposed to believe.

Interestingly, since January 2014, the last 2 and half years, 770 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published in scholarly journals that call into question just how settled the “consensus” science is that says anthropogenic or CO2 forcing dominates weather and climate changes, or that non-anthropogenic factors play only a relatively minor and inconsequential role.

Instead of supporting the “consensus” science, these 770 papers support the position that there are significant limitations and uncertainties apparent in climate modeling and the predictions of future climate catastrophes. Furthermore, these scientific papers strongly suggest that natural factors (the Sun, multi-decadal ocean oscillations [AMO/PDO, ENSO], cloud and aerosol albedo variations, etc.) have both in the past and present exerted a significant influence on weather and climate, which means an anthropogenic signal may be much more difficult to detect or distinguish as an “extremely likely” cause relative to natural variation.

Papers questioning the “common-knowledge” viewpoints on ocean acidification, glacier melt and advance, sea level rise, extreme weather events, past climate forcing mechanisms, the “danger” of high CO2 concentrations, etc., have also been included in this volume of 770 papers.

This 2016 list includes 43 papers supporting a Sun-Climate link, which can be added to the 188 papers linking the Sun to climate changes published in 2014 (93 papers) and 2015 (95 papers).

Voluminous evidence

This voluminous evidence of a strong non-anthropogenic influence on climate would seem to undermine the IPCC’s contention that the “consensus” position (e.g., climate change is mostly caused by humans) has been wholly accepted in the scientific community.

Would it be too much to ask for the IPCC to consider this scientific evidence when issuing their next report?


When human cost of 'going green' can be far too high

Buncrana tragedy shows the banning of some unpopular chemicals, such as those which could have cleared pier of slippery algae, can be catastrophic

The Buncrana pier tragedy should give us pause. It's a moment to consider life, hug our loved ones and contemplate how we might prevent such horrors happening in the future.

A major piece missing from the Buncrana pier discussion is how empty platitudes and feel-good environmental policies may have contributed to the death of five family members. We owe it to the McGrotty and Daniels families - and our own families - to take a hard look at the culture of dogmatic environmentalism.

You can't ask basic questions of environmentalists anymore without being labelled a "denier", or "anti-science" or, worst of all, a "conservative". We're supposed to "go green" without a second thought.

But when we turn off our brains for the sake of dogma - any dogma - we lose sight of the consequences of our choices. It's likely the McGrotty and Daniels families weren't thinking about environmental policy on their St Patrick's weekend outing.

They were rightfully enjoying each other's company, the weather and the beautiful view from Buncrana pier. It was their last stop before the six of them were to return home.

But, as Sean McGrotty made a three-point turn on the pier, his tyres slipped on the dangerously thick layer of algae and never regained traction. The car plummeted into the water.

"The algae was absolutely lethal," said Davitt Walsh, an eyewitness who, after seeing the accident, dived into the water and by sheer willpower, fighting the rising tide and exhaustion, was able to rescue four-month-old Rioghnach-Ann - the only family member to survive.

"When I was heading out to the family, I slipped and nearly cracked my head. On my way back, holding the baby, I could not get my feet again. I never experienced anything like it," Davitt recalled.

"The slipway is like a skating rink because of all that algae and those poor people didn't stand a chance, because they didn't know the area."

How could such a tragedy happen? How could a popular pier become so algae-dense that it contributed to five people's deaths?

The answer should cause us to question green dogma and consider the real-life cost of environmental policies.

According to an Irish Times report, this build-up of algae is a new phenomenon: "Restrictions on use of chemicals harmful to crustaceans and the marine environment also mean that algae removal on piers, slipways and at popular bathing spots is more difficult and more labour-intensive for local authorities."

"Going green" feels warm and fuzzy. It makes for good headlines and good feelings.

But no amount of emotion can overcome reality: five people lost their lives, in part because of our fear of "chemicals" and environmental impact.

Deciding to power-wash Buncrana pier instead of using more effective chemicals directly contributed to the dangerous conditions and was a major factor in this tragedy.

We must confront this truth and ask ourselves: Is it really worth it?

If the McGrotty and Daniels families were the only victims of environmental dogma I suspect some people maybe could look past their senseless deaths for the "greater good".

Although just how many crustaceans are worth a child's life these days?

But the frightening part is that these families are only the latest victims. They are five deaths out of millions. Consider the environmentalists' attack on DDT.

The use of DDT to combat malaria around the world was widely considered one of the biggest successes in scientific history. In 1965 the US National Academy of Sciences said of DDT: "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable."

By every account DDT was a miracle chemical with little risk and big rewards.

Enter Rachel Carson. Her book, Silent Spring, which started the modern environmentalist movement, purported to show the effects of DDT on birds, mammals and the wider ecosystem (her "scholarship" has since been widely debunked).

The media fell in love with the book and it gained so much traction in pop culture that, in 1972, the US banned DDT. Other countries quickly followed.

Since the DDT ban more than 50 million people have died from malaria. Yes, you read that right. And malaria is particularly dangerous to humans with weak immune systems, so children and pregnant women are over-represented in the silent slaughter.

Environmentalists often talk about "externalities" - examining the "true" societal costs of modern development. That's fair. We should examine these costs.

But we must also look at the externalities - the true costs - of going green.

What are the costs of enforcing green policies? Well, in the US car companies are producing smaller and lighter cars to meet green-inspired, government-enforced "mile-per-gallon standards".

Again there is a great feel-good factor that ignores the facts that these cars are more dangerous in crashes.

The environmental movement seems to hate "chemicals". They use the fear of chemicals to push for banning everything from fracking to cleaning a pier. And what are the costs of banning unpopular chemicals in Ireland? The McGrotty and Daniels families know all too well.

After the recent election the SDLP announced it was meeting the Green Party MLAs as part of its outreach to other "progressive" parties. But, with its unfounded fears of modern chemicals, the Green Party seem to be progressives who no longer believe in progress.

There are costs to banning chemicals, drilling and other industrial progress. There is a cost to "encouraging" people to "go green". There is a cost to dogmatic platitudes and feel-good laws.  Sometimes these costs are people's lives. We must never forget that.


The death cult of environmentalism

It's a striking development. As The Washington Post reports, 107 Nobel laureates have signed a letter blasting Greenpeace for opposing the deployment of a GMO rice which would help fix a dreaded condition, vitamin A deficiency. As the letter states:

The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people, suffer from VAD, including 40 percent of the children under five in the developing world. Based on UNICEF statistics, a total of one to two million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of VAD, because it compromises the immune system, putting babies and children at great risk. VAD itself is the leading cause of childhood blindness globally affecting 250,000 — 500,000 children each year. Half die within 12 months of losing their eyesight.

Sounds pretty serious. So what does Greenpeace have against "Golden Rice," the GMO strain that is proposed to deal with this. Well, strictly speaking, nothing. As the letter notes:

Scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity.

The mania around GMOs is a strange thing. In the U.S. it's still relatively a fringe phenomenon, but in Europe, particularly France, it's completely mainstream. Centrist politicians compete over who will ban GMOs more.

The simple fact of the matter is that humans have been modifying their environment — animal and vegetal — for millennia. There's no such thing as a wild cow, or a wild pig, or a wild shih-tzu. Wheat and corn as we know them bear almost no resemblance to their wild and distant ancestors.

How a Donald Trump rout could lead to immigration reform in 2017
There's nothing new, unusual, or dangerous about GMOs. Nothing. And all the science confirms it. And yet a strong and vocal fringe, and indeed a majority of people in some advanced countries, are opposed to GMOs. Here's Bernie Sanders vowing to fight for GMO labeling at the federal level.

This anti-science fringe is much less attacked than other fringes, because it is associated with the political left, and much of our media and commenting class assume that hostility to science is a value of the political right.

But the environmentalist left has a long history of damaging hostility to evidence, a hostility which has cost many, many lives over the decades.

Let's come up with just two examples. The biggest cause célèbre, which is also known as the founding of the modern environmentalist movement, is the (in)famous case of DDT. As a long article by Robert Zubrin in the review The New Atlantis explains, this miraculous insect-killer eliminated malaria, as well as many other insect-borne diseases, from the Southern United States, Southern Europe, and parts of South Asia, and was poised to do the same thing to Africa until it was banned by a fledgling EPA on unscientific grounds.

In 1970, in a comprehensive review on the pesticide, the National Academy of Sciences stated:

To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase in agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably, perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that, in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable.

But no matter. DDT might have endangered the spotted owl (there's no evidence it did, by the way). And so it had to go.

Another famous example is nuclear power, which has almost no carbon emissions, is very cheap to run, and works fine. Opposition to nuclear power seems mostly motivated by superstition. Indeed, coal kills 4,000 times more people per unit of energy than nuclear, but in almost every country in the world, it's basically impossible to build a nuclear power plant. After Fukushima, despite a notable lack of tsunamis on German shores, Germany banned nuclear power and replaced it with a mix of dirty coal power and imported French (i.e. nuclear) power.

And what about all those ludicrously insane predictions of Armageddon that all those scientists made in the 1970s, warning that we would all be dead, or something like it, by the year 2000, if we didn't shut down power plants and oil wells right this minute?

Environmentalism sometimes has a little bit of a whiff of a death cult. It sometimes leans towards an anti-human worldview, one that views the Earth goddess as the only valuable "life-form" and humans as parasites. And it sometimes feels like more of a fundamentalist religion than anything else.

And as we all know, fundamentalism can be mostly funny, until it kills. Protecting the environment is a great good. But environmentalist fads and junk science have killed a lot of people, and continue to, and too few people know about it. It's a shame.


Dems Push Bill Condemning Companies, Think Tanks Who ‘Cast Doubt’ On Global Warming

Democratic lawmakers are set to introduce a resolution condemning fossil fuel companies and pro-fossil fuel groups that “deliberately cast doubt on science in order to protect their financial interests.”

California Rep. Ted Lieu and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will introduce resolutions in both chambers of Congress that “urges fossil fuel companies and allied organizations to cooperate with active or future investigations into their climate-change related activities.”

The bill is meant to draw attention to investigations into ExxonMobil’s global warming stance, though the company is never mentioned by name. The bill is also meant to target groups, many of which are conservative think tanks, with alleged ties to Exxon.

At least four state attorneys general have opened investigations into Exxon based on accusations by liberal journalists that the company knew its product caused global warming and funded groups to oppose regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Exxon and a libertarian think tank have fought back and managed to defeat two of the four probes, which has effectively left only New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with an active investigation into the company.

Democrats’ bill “disapproves of activities by certain corporations, trade associations, foundations, and organizations funded by those corporations to deliberately mislead the public and undermine peer-reviewed scientific research about the dangers of their products; and to deliberately cast doubt on science in order to protect their financial interests.”

Neither of these bills are likely to even be voted on, but that’s not really the point. Lieu and Whitehouse have been pushing for state and federal prosecutors to investigate fossil fuel companies for months. Whitehouse even argued the Justice Department should launch a racketeering case against fossil fuel companies casting doubt on the liberal position on global warming.

“A lot of people haven’t seen through the scam that’s being perpetrated,” Whitehouse said in 2015. “So that’s one of the reasons I hope that we get another lawsuit out of the Department of Justice, like the one they brought against the tobacco industry that showed that the whole fraudulent scam was a racketeering enterprise, held them accountable for it.”

Emails uncovered by the Competitive Enterprise Institute — one of the think tanks targeted by liberal attorneys general — showed Whitehouse and one of his staffers were in communication with a group of scientists who asked the White House and DOJ to prosecute global warming skeptics.

Lieu has also been a huge proponent of prosecuting companies he sees as funding skeptics to protect their financial interests. He recently sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, urging her to keep investigating Exxon and its allies because freedom of speech “is not designed to protect fraud and deceit.”

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect companies from defrauding the American people or improperly disclosing information to their shareholders,” Lieu and others wrote to Harris in June.

Harris is one of the initial four AGs to begin investigating Exxon, though it’s unclear how serious the probe is, since the company has not received a subpoena from her office on this matter. Harris is also running for U.S. Senate, so she may not actually follow through on investigating Exxon.



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


No comments: