Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A recent Warmist sea-level estimate

"20th century rise was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries".  But it's all guesswork. The author has form as a nitwit.  See here, and here

Kopp et al. (2016) “compiled a global database of regional sea level reconstructions from 24 localities, many with decimeter-scale vertical resolution and subcentennial temporal resolution. Also included are 66 tide-gauge records.”

Immediately, the issue appears of how representative are the samples of 24 localities and 66 tide-gage records? There are hundreds of tidegage records giving dramatically different results. For example, the Gulf of Bothnia, and in Scandinavia tidal gages show sea levels are falling, due to rebound of the land from last Ice Age, called post-glacial rebound or isostatic rebound.

Other areas, such as tidewater Virginia, tidal gages show sea levels are rising due to land subsidence, primarily from groundwater extraction. Gages at The Battery, show Manhattan may be subsiding, from heavy buildings built on bedrock.

In the Kopp study, the long-term proxy data and the tide-gage data are dominated by the East Coast of the US and by Western Europe, with no proxy data from Scandinavia. The sample appears not to be representative of the coast lines of the world, thus may be of little value.

An obligation of research proposing samples are representative is to remove every possible source of bias, not to introduce bias. A second major issue is the use of semi-empirical models, which Willem de Lange and Robert Carter found to be the most alarmist of all the techniques they reviewed in their study of global sea-level change.

In general, these modeling techniques do not explicitly state assumptions, that can be challenged or substantiated by observations. They tend to be built more upon assumptions supporting assumptions, which has little value in understanding the physical world.

A third major issue is excessive precision in estimates of 20th century sea level rise. Adding speculative probability statements only adds doubt to the skeptic.

In sum, the conclusion of the Kopp study that 20th century sea level rise was extremely likely faster than during any of the 27 previous centuries is not substantiated, although there is little doubt that sea levels are higher than they have been since the last interglacial period, the Eemian, about 115,000 to 130,000 years ago.


Be Skeptical of Those Who Treat Science as an Ideology

Below is a good description of the scientific method. It is roughly the opposite of Warmist practice

Scientific knowledge is always provisional. The point is to produce evidence, not doctrine.

Skepticism is the lifeblood of scientific progress. By constantly asking whether there is a different answer, a better approach or an alternative view, scientists drive improvements and innovations that ultimately benefit everyone. It is not “antiscience” to be skeptical—it’s definitively pro-science. At a time when people of all ideological stripes are seeking definitive sources of truth, we should all embrace our inner skeptics and turn to the scientific method for a fresh approach to resolve our differences.

When I started out as an oncologist in the mid-1980s, women with the most aggressive form of breast cancer were subjected to surgical removal of not only their breasts but large amounts of their chests and rib cages. Treatment later evolved toward less-extensive surgery but greater use of chemotherapy, which too often came with debilitating side effects. I still remember what I called “the mother sign”—women being helped into my clinic by their moms because they were so weak from the therapies I gave them.

In the 1990s I left patient care for biotechnology, which held promise in improving cancer treatments. I led product development at Genentech, where we developed drugs such as Herceptin, which targeted cancerous cells and left healthy ones largely intact. By challenging the status quo, we found ways to treat at least some patients without first making them sicker. In a little over a decade, cancer treatment moved from disfiguring surgery to powerful drugs to precise gene therapies. Today, harnessing the immune system to treat cancer shows immense promise for the next advance.

But whereas skepticism and uncertainty have always been the heart and soul of science, confidence and certainty are the coin of the realm in much of today’s public discourse. Unquestioning confidence is deeply troubling for the scientific community because it is not the currency we trade in, and it has led people in America and around the world to question scientific enterprise itself. We should all be troubled when science is treated as if it were an ideology rather than a discipline.

Valuing beliefs over science manifests itself as cynicism at best, denialism at worst. Scientists talk about skepticism to assert that nothing should be accepted or rejected without considerable evidence.

Denialism—the refusal to accept established facts—is different and dangerous. According to Harvard research, between 2000 and 2005 AIDS denialism in South Africa led to an estimated 330,000 deaths because the government rejected offers of free drugs and grants and dragged its heels on establishing a treatment program.

And in just eight weeks last year—April 7 to June 2—Minnesota saw more cases of measles, a disease easily prevented with a vaccine, than had occurred in the entire United States in 2016.

The point of science is not to produce doctrine, but to collect and test evidence that points toward conclusions, which in turn inform approaches, treatments and policies based on rigorous research. These conclusions are provisional. Scientific investigation is undertaken to question today’s knowledge, to seek new evidence through research and experimentation.

That is not to say that previous evidence was “false,” merely that it was less complete. Those surgeons who performed radical mastectomies in the 1980s were acting with the best knowledge available at that time. As the understanding improved, so did the methods. Nor is it to say that current knowledge shouldn’t be trusted—there is strong evidence that vaccines save lives, for example, and scant evidence that they cause harm.

When I was a practicing oncologist, one way I built trust with patients was to be open and honest about what I knew for certain and what I didn’t. On my best days, I didn’t just talk; I listened. I answered patients’ questions to the best of my knowledge and did follow-up research on the ones I couldn’t answer. If I witnessed an outcome I didn’t expect, I revisited my assumptions. That’s how I applied the scientific method in the wild.

I follow a similar approach in my current job. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation uses a data-driven, evidence-based decision-making model. When the evidence changes, so does our strategy—as it did with malaria. Once it was clear that controlling the disease world-wide was practically and politically unsustainable, we increased our focus on accelerating elimination in regions where it is feasible now. At the same time, we’re continuing to support efforts to save lives and develop the tools that will eventually allow us to eradicate the disease.

What is undeniable is that the scientific breakthroughs in which we invest, such as new vaccines and hardier crops, help people around the world survive and thrive. How many more people benefit—and how quickly—will depend in part on public confidence in science.

We can rebuild that confidence by uniting around the qualities of the scientific method. As the name suggests, the scientific method is not a belief system, it is a practice. We would all benefit from more practice.


Melting Greenland ice caused by geothermal activity, not anthropogenic global warming

I have been pointing out the role of geothermal heat at both poles for years so this is nice confirmation

In North-East Greenland, researchers have measured the loss of heat that comes up from the interior of the Earth. This enormous area is a geothermal “hot spot” that melts the ice sheet from below and triggers the sliding of glaciers towards the sea.

Greenland's ice sheet is becoming smaller and smaller. The melting takes place with increased strength and at a speed that no models have previously predicted.

Today, in the esteemed journal ‘Scientific Reports’, researchers from the Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources present results that, for the first time, show that the deep bottom water of the north-eastern Greenland fjords is being warmed up by heat gradually lost from the Earth's interior. And the researchers point out that this heat loss triggers the sliding of glaciers from the ice sheet towards the sea.

Icelandic conditions

“North-East Greenland has several hot springs where the water becomes up to 60 degrees warm and, like Iceland, the area has abundant underground geothermal activity,” explains Professor Søren Rysgaard, who headed the investigations.

For more than ten years, the researchers have measured the temperature and salinity in the fjord Young Sound, located at Daneborg, north of Scoresbysund, which has many hot springs, and south of the glacier Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden, which melts rapidly and is connected to the North-East Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS).

By focusing on an isolated basin in the fjord with a depth range between 200 and 340 m, the researchers have measured how the deep water is heated over a ten-year period. Based on the extensive data, researchers have estimated that the loss of heat from the Earth's interior to the fjord is about 100 MW m-2. This corresponds to a 2 megawatt wind turbine sending electricity to a large heater at the bottom of the fjord all year round.

Heat from the Earth’s interior – an important influence

It is not easy to measure the geothermal heat flux – heat emanating from the Earth’s interior – below a glacier, but within the area there are several large glaciers connected directly to the ice sheet. If the Earth releases heat to a fjord, heat also seeps up to the bottom part of the glaciers. This means that the glaciers melt from below and thus slide more easily over the terrain on which they sit when moving to the sea.

“It is a combination of higher temperatures in the air and the sea, precipitation from above, local dynamics of the ice sheet and heat loss from the Earth's interior that determines the mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet,” explains Søren Rysgaard.

“There is no doubt that the heat from the Earth’s interior affects the movement of the ice, and we expect that a similar heat seepage takes place below a major part of the ice cap in the north-eastern corner of Greenland,” says Søren Rysgaard.

The researchers expect that the new discoveries will improve the models of ice sheet dynamics, allowing better predictions of the stability of the Greenland ice sheet, its melting and the resulting global water rise.


Do our politicians realize that wind and solar are intermittent power sources?

A comment from Belgium

Something I have wondered for a long time: do the politicians who want to go for 100% wind & solar realize that these power sources are intermittent and therefor balancing and/or storage is needed in the transition? When I look at the competencies of the Minister of Energy, his crew and the energy experts among the politicians, then I fear for the worse. The need for balancing/storage is completely absent in the discussion. We only hear that we need more wind and solar in our energy mix, but never about measures to overcome intermittency.

My initial guess was that they don’t realize it, that they consider intermittent energy sources to be dispatchable energy sources and go from there. Then I saw this tweet from the spokes woman of the Minister of Energy. It seems a statement of the Minister himself:

‘The real challenge is storage. There is not always wind and the sun is not always shining. I strongly believe in innovation and I am counting on the enterprises to help us find solutions to make the #energy transition together'

This shows that he at least realizes that wind & solar are intermittent and therefor storage is important in a continuous working system.

However, it also shows that he currently has no clue how to solve the issue of intermittency, he just “believes in innovation” and “counts on enterprises” to “find solutions”. They are making it up as they go along, hoping that a solution for the intermittency will be found in the future. This is in stark contrast with other power sources that don’t have the same privilege. For example, new developments in nuclear power are not even considered and basically ignored or dismissed.

They are probably silent about this because it could demotivate the public, knowing that the construction of wind mills and solar panels is not the end of the investments, but only the beginning. Do they plan to present the public (the voters) with a fait accompli?

Not sure whether they realize the extent of the problem, more specific seasonal variation and the risk of having an insignificant supply of both solar and wind energy in winter at peak consumption. That is not really clear, not only because it is not mentioned in their communications, but also since they seem to gamble on future innovation of the private sector to solve the issues.

So yes, our politicians seem to realize that wind & solar are intermittent and backup will be a challenge, but that is not so reassuring after all. Knowing that our transition is in the hands of a group of bureaucrats (trained in law and political sciences) who apparently have no real plan to solve intermittency/backup/storage and in the meanwhile are willing to increasing the share of wind & solar while working very hard on phasing out conventional power sources, yet are happy with the prospect of possible future innovation…

What could ever go wrong?


The Never-ending Battles of the Coral Sea

Viv Forbes

For at least 50 years Australian taxpayers and other innocents have supported a parasitic industry in academia, bureaucracy, law, media and the tax-exempt Green Alarm “Charities”, all studying, regulating, inspecting and writing about yet another “imminent threat to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef.”

It has become the never-ending battle of the Coral Sea.

The threats change, but there is always a doomsday forecast – Crown-of-Thorns, oil drilling, fishing, cane farming, coastal shipping, global warming, ocean acidity, coral bleaching, port dredging, chemical and fertiliser runoff, coal transport, river sediments, loss of world heritage status etc. Every recycled scare, magnified by the media and parroted by politicians, generates more income for the alarm industry, usually at the expense of taxpayers, consumers or local industries.

The reality is that sea creatures would starve in pure water – all marine life needs nutrients, salts and minerals. These come from other life forms, from decomposing rocks and organic matter carried to the sea by rivers, from dissolving atmospheric gases, or from delta and shelf sediments stirred up by floods, cyclones, dredging or coastal shipping. No one supports over-use of toxic man-made chemicals, but well-run cane, cattle and coal companies can co-exist with corals.

Corals first appeared 500 million years ago and have proven to be one of Earth’s great survivors. They outlasted the Carboniferous Forests, the Permian and Cretaceous extinctions, the dinosaurs, the mammoths, the Neanderthals and the Pleistocene cycles of ice age and warming. They thrive in warm tropical water, cluster around hot volcanic fumaroles and survive massive petroleum spills, natural oil seeps, tidal waves and volcanic dust. They have even recolonised the Montebello Island waters devastated by atomic bomb testing in the 1950’s.

The ENSO oscillation of blobs of warm Pacific water which caused recent coral bleaching can be identified in historical records for at least 400 years. Corals have survived El Nino warmings for thousands of years and they will probably outlast Homo Alarmism as Earth proceeds into the next glacial epoch.

Corals do not rely on computer models of global temperature to advise them – they read the sea level thermometer which falls and rises as the great ice sheets come and go.

In the warming phase like the one just ending, ice melts, sea levels rise and the reef that houses the corals may get drowned. Corals have two choices – build their reef higher or just float south/inshore and build a new reef (like the Great Barrier Reef) in shallower, cooler water. When islands sink beneath rising oceans, corals may build their own coral atolls as fast as the water rises.

Then when the cold era returns, ice sheets grow, sea levels fall, and the warm era coral reefs (like the Great Barrier Reef) get stranded on the new beaches and coastal plains. Usually the process is slow enough to allow the coral polyps to float into deeper warmer water closer to the equator and build another reef.

This eminently sensible policy of “move when you have to” has proved a successful survival policy for the corals for 500 million years.

Humans should copy the corals – “forget the computer climate models but watch real data like actual sea levels and . . . move when you have to.”




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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