Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Unusual heat over the Arctic

It is well-known that there is extensive and vigorous subsurface vulcanism in the Arctic, particularly around Gakkel and Lomonosov ridges, but that is never called on as an explanation of surface warming.  WHY NOT?  Arctic warming is irregular, just like volcanoes are and the Arctic warms by much larger amounts than the rest of the globe.  It is completely out of sync with global warming, which hardly exists

Climate scientists are used to seeing the range of weather extremes stretched by global warming but few episodes appear as remarkable as this week's unusual heat over the Arctic.
Zack Labe, a researcher at the University of California at Irvine, said average daily temperatures above the northern latitude of 80 degrees have broken away from any previous recordings in the past 60 years.

"To have zero degrees at the North Pole in February - it's just wrong," said Amelie Meyer, a researcher of ice-ocean interactions with the Norwegian Polar Institute. "It's quite worrying."
The so-called Polar Vortex - a zone of persistient low-pressure that typically keeps high-latitude cold air separate from regions further south - has been weakening for decades.

In this instance, "a massive jet of warm air" is penetrating north, sending a cold burst southwards, said Dr Meyer, who has relocated to Hobart to research on the southern hemisphere, and is hosted by Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

"The anomalies are really extreme," Andrew King, a lecturer in climate science at the University of Melbourne, said. "It's a very interesting event."

Warm, moist air is penetrating much further north than it would normally at a time when the North Pole is in complete darkness.
Cape Morris Jessup, the world's most northerly land-based weather station, in Greenland, touched 6 degrees late on Saturday, about 35 degrees above normal for this time of year.

Robert Rohede, a Zurich-based scientist with Berkeley Earth, posted on Twitter that Cape Morris Jessup had already recorded 61 hours above freezing so far in 2018.

The previous record of such relative was just 16 hours recorded to the end of April in 2011. "Parts of Greenland are quite a bit warmer than most of Europe," Dr King said.

The cold snap will sink temperatures moderately below freezing in London each day until Friday. However, cities such as Berlin will dive to as low as minus 12 degrees and Moscow to minus 24.

With a weak jetstream, surface winds are taking an unusual course - bringing snow from the east and prompting some commentators to dub the event the "Beast from the East".

"For Britain and Ireland, most weather systems would typically blow in from the west, but [on Tuesday] we will see a cold front cross Britain from the east," Dr King said.

 There is open water north of #Greenland where the thickest sea ice of the #Arctic used to be. It is not refreezing quickly because air temperatures are above zero confirmed by @dmidk's weather station #KapMorrisJesup. Wacky weather continues with scary strength and persistence.

Along with the unusual warmth over the Arctic, scientists are monitoring the retreat of sea ice in the Bering Sea.

The ice coverage in the region is now at levels previously seen only in May or June, Mr Labe posted on Twitter, citing data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre.

While climate change itself is only likely to have exacerbated regional weather variability, the long-term shrinkage of sea ice has a reinforcing effect on global warming in a region already warming faster than anywhere else on the planet, Dr King said.
Ice reflects sunlight back to space. When it melts, the sea ice exposes more of the dark ocean beneath, which then absorbs that solar radiation, adding to the warming.

Sea ice coverage is currently at or close to record low levels at both the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

The impact of the relatively warm air in the Arctic could play out for months to come. Multi-year ice is likely to be thinner and more cracked, leading to a faster melt when spring arrives, Dr Meyer said.

While researchers had pegged 2050 as a possible year when the Arctic will become ice-free, this winter and the previous one - also unusually warm - had thrown those estimates out.
"It's going much faster than we thought," said Dr Meyer, who will begin work later this year at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes.


Our next energy and security crisis?

Importing 65% of US oil in 2005 vs 100% of many key minerals now (from China and Russia)

Paul Driessen

Oil and natural gas aren’t just fuels. They supply building blocks for pharmaceuticals; plastics in vehicle bodies, athletic helmets, and numerous other products; and complex composites in solar panels and wind turbine blades and nacelles. The USA was importing 65% of its petroleum in 2005, creating serious national security concerns. But fracking helped cut imports to 40% and the US now exports oil and gas.

Today’s vital raw materials foundation also includes exotic minerals like gallium, germanium, rare earth elements and platinum group metals. For the USA, they are “critical” because they are required in thousands of applications; they become “strategic” when we don’t produce them in the United States.

They are essential for computers, medical imaging and diagnostic devices, night vision goggles, GPS and communication systems, television display panels, smart phones, jet engines, light-emitting diodes, refinery catalysts and catalytic converters, wind turbines, solar panels, long-life batteries and countless other applications. In 1954, the USA imported 100% of just eight vital minerals; in 1984, only eleven.

Today, in this technology-dominated world, the United States imports up to 100% of 35 far more critical materials. Twenty of them come 100% from China, others from Russia, and others indirectly from places where child labor, worker safety, human rights and environmental standards are nonexistent.

The situation is untenable and unsustainable. Literally every sector of the US economy, the nation’s defense, its energy and employment base, its living standards – all are dependent on sources, supply chains and transportation routes that are vulnerable to disruption under multiple scenarios.

Recognizing this, President Trump recently issued an executive order stating that federal policies would henceforth focus on reducing these vulnerabilities, in part by requiring that government agencies coordinate in publishing an updated analysis of critical nonfuel minerals; ensuring that the private sector have electronic access to up-to-date information on potential US and other alternative sources; and finding safe and environmentally sound ways to find, mine, reprocess and recycle critical minerals – emphasizing sources that are less likely to come from unfriendly nations, less likely to face disruption.

The order also requires that agencies prepare a detailed report on long-term strategies for reducing US reliance on critical minerals, assessing recycling and reprocessing progress, creating accessible maps of potentially mineralized areas, supporting private sector mineral exploration, and streamlining regulatory and permitting processes for finding, producing and processing domestic sources of these minerals.

Incredibly, the last report on critical minerals and availability issues was written in 1973, the year the first mobile telephone call was made. That inexcusable 45 years of neglect by multiple administrations and congresses dates back to the era of “revolutionary” Selectric typewriters and includes the appearance of desktop computers in 1975 and the first PC in 1981. (That PC had a whopping 16 KB of memory!)

As former geologist, Navy SEAL and military commander – and now Secretary of the Interior – Ryan Zinke has observed, allowing our nation to become so heavily “reliant on foreign nations, including our competitors and adversaries,” for so many strategic minerals “is deeply troubling.”

It’s actually far worse than “troubling” or “neglectful.” It involved a concerted, irresponsible, ill-considered effort to place hundreds of millions of acres in wilderness, wilderness study and other highly restrictive land use categories – often with the very deliberate intention of making their mineral prospects off limits, before anyone could assess the areas’ critical, strategic and other mineral potential.

The 1964 Wilderness Act had contemplated the preservation of a few million or tens of millions of acres of wild and primitive areas and natural habitats. To ensure informed land use decisions and access to vital mineral resources, Congress included “special provisions” that allowed prospecting and other activities in potential and designated wilderness areas – and required surveys by the US Geological Survey “on a planned, recurring basis,” to gather information about mineral or other resources – if such activities are carried out “in a manner compatible with the preservation of the wilderness environment.”

In 1978, while hiking with him, I asked then Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Rupert Cutler how he could defend ignoring this clear statutory language and prohibiting all prospecting, surveys and other assessment work in wilderness and study areas. “I don’t think Congress should have enacted those provisions,” he replied, “so I’m not going to follow them.”

As of 1994, when geologist Courtland Lee and I prepared a detailed analysis, areas equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined (427 million acres) were off limits to mineral exploration and development. The situation is far worse today – and because of processes unleashed by plate tectonic, volcanic and other geologic forces, these mountain, desert and other lands contain some of the most highly mineralized rock formations in North America, or even the entire world.

The deck was stacked: for wilderness, and against minerals and national security. This must not continue.

These areas must be surveyed and explored by government agencies and private sector companies. The needs of current and future generations are at stake. Failure to conduct systematic evaluations violates the most fundamental principles of national defense, national security and responsible government.

The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior should follow the special provisions of the Wilderness Act; abolish, modify or grant exceptions to existing motorized access restrictions; and ensure that areas are evaluated using airborne magnetic and other analytical equipment, assay gear carried in backpacks, truck-mounted and helicopter-borne drilling and coring rigs, and other sophisticated modern technologies.

This approach also complies with environmental and sustainability principles. It ensures that we can get vital strategic minerals from world class deposits on small tracts of land, instead of having to mine and process vast quantities of low quality ores. That protects most of our wild, scenic and wildlife areas – and modern techniques can then restore affected areas to natural conditions and high quality habitats.

Even ardent environmentalists should support this, because the renewable energy, high-tech future they want and promise depends on these minerals. For example, generating all US electricity (3.5 billion megawatt hours per year) from wind would require some 14 million 1.8 MW turbines, requiring some 8 billion tons of steel alloys and concrete, 2 million tons of neodymium, other rare earths, and vast amounts of cobalt, molybdenum and other minerals. Substituting photovoltaic solar panels for turbines would require arsenic, boron, cadmium, gallium, indium, molybdenum, selenium, silver, tellurium and titanium.

Backing up that electricity for seven windless or sunless days would require 700 million 100kw Tesla battery packs – and thus millions of tons of lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel and cadmium.

Every generation of renewable energy, computer, communication and other high-tech equipment requires new materials in new quantities – and thus renewed exploration, mining and processing.

The United States is the only country that locks up its strategic mineral resources. No sane, responsible nation risks or forecloses its energy, technology, economic, employment, defense and sustainable future. So it will be fascinating to see which legislators, judges and pressure groups vilify the activities proposed in the Trump executive order, government minerals report and this article.

Those that try to block progress in these areas should be named and shamed (along with their financial supporters) – and their actions made key issues in election campaigns and social responsibility discussions. Perhaps they should be the first to get shut off from electricity, cars, computers, cell phones, medical care, social media and other modern benefits that depend on petroleum and critical minerals.

Let the Interior Department know your views on these vital issues. And maybe take a page from the Cutler-illegal immigrants playbook: Become a sanctuary county or state, simply ignore troublesome laws, regulations and court dictates – and just initiate your own exploration and mining programs. J

Via email

The Weaponization of the EPA Is Over: An Exclusive Interview With Scott Pruitt

In his first year as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt has already transformed the agency in many ways. He spoke exclusively to The Daily Signal before addressing attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s annual Reagan Dinner. An edited transcript of the interview is below.

Rob Bluey: You gave a speech at CPAC last year where you were just at the beginning of your tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency, and you outlined some of the things that you wanted to do. Here we are a year later, you’ve repealed, taken back, 22 regulations at a savings at $1 billion, a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, as President Donald Trump talked about in his speech. What does that mean?

Scott Pruitt: Busy year. And it was great to be at CPAC about two weeks after having been sworn in last year. And I talked last year about the future ain’t what it used to be, that Yogi Berra quote that I cited about the change that was gonna take place at the agency and I think we’ve been about that change the last year. Focusing on rule of law, restoring process and order, making sure that we engage in cooperative federalism as we engage in regulation.

But the key to me is that weaponization of the agency that took place in the Obama administration, where the agency was used to pick winners and losers. Those days are over.

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You know, to be in Pennsylvania as I was early in my term, shortly after the CPAC speech last year, and to spend time with miners in Pennsylvania and be able to share with them underground. I was a thousand feet underground and 3 miles in. First time that an administrator in history had done that, and I talked to those long wall miners in Pennsylvania, and delivered the message from the president that the war on coal is over. That was a tremendous message for them, emotion that I saw on their faces.

Can you imagine, in the first instance, an agency of the federal government, a department of the U.S. government, declaring war on a sector of your economy? Where is that in the statute? Where does that authority exist? It doesn’t. And so to restore process and restore commitment to doing things the right way, I think we’ve seen tremendous success this past year.

Bluey: President Trump cited a number of examples that have come out of EPA in his speech to the CPAC attendees, and one of them was coal, another one was the Paris climate treaty. Talk about those two issues and your work with the president in terms of why you decided to take those actions in conjunction with him?

Pruitt: The president’s decision to exit the Paris accord—tremendously courageous. When you look at that decision, it put America first, which is what the president said in the Rose Garden in June.

What was decided in Paris under the past administration was not about carbon reduction. It was about penalties to our own economy because China and India, under that accord, didn’t have to take any steps to reduce CO2 until the year 2030. So, if it’s really about CO2 reduction, why do you let that happen?

“That weaponization of the agency that took place in the Obama administration—where the agency was used to pick winners and losers—those days are over.”

When you look at who’s led the world in CO2 reduction, it’s us. From the year 2000 to 2014, we reduced our CO2 footprint almost 20 percent through innovation and technology. So, we have nothing to be apologetic about as a country, and yet, the past administration went to Paris, hat in hand, and said, “Penalize our economy”, which is what happened with the Clean Power Plan.

The president saying no to that and putting America first was the tremendously courageous and right thing to do. I’m very excited about that decision. I know he talked about that in his speech and it was a wonderful decision he made, and I think great for the American people.

Overall, this regulatory reform agenda—this regulatory certainty that we’re about—is achieving good things for the environment, but it’s also achieving, as you say, good things for our economy. We can do both. And I think that’s what’s key.

President Donald Trump listens to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after announcing his decision that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Newscom)
Bluey: President Trump certainly cited deregulation as just as significant, I believe he said, as the tax cuts. We’ve seen some of the benefits for many American businesses, and certainly American workers as a result of that.

Pruitt: When you think about an EPA—armed, weaponized, if you will—like a rule like WOTUS, the Waters of the United States rule, that would take a puddle and turn into a lake. To take land use decisions away from farmers and ranchers and landowners across this country, and people think it was just farming and ranching. It was the building of subdivisions. It was really all land use decisions.

I was in Utah last year meeting with some folks there that were building a subdivision, and there was an Army Corps of Engineers representative that was standing outside the subdivision with me, and he pointed to an ephemeral drainage ditch and he said, “Scott, that’s a water of the United States.” And I said, “Well, it’s not gonna be anymore.”

That’s exactly the kind of attitude that drove the past administration. It was all about power. It wasn’t about outcomes necessarily. It was about power and picking winners and losers, and we’re getting that corrected.

Bluey: That’s one thing I want to talk to you about because right now your agency is going across the country. You’re having hearings on the Clean Power Plan. You’re trying to get input from Americans, and not just Americans in Washington, D.C., and the Beltway, but places like Wyoming and Missouri and West Virginia. Why is that important to get out and hear from Americans about how government affects their lives?

Pruitt: Couple things: One, we’ve been to 30-plus states. And as we’ve met with stakeholders, farmers and ranchers, and those in the utility sector and the energy sector, landowners, representatives from the state’s governors, and DEQs from across the country, I think what we didn’t recognize over the last several years with the past administration is that those folks are partners. They care about outcomes.

“We shouldn’t start from the premise that those folks are adversaries or don’t care about clean air or clean water. We should start from the premise that they do, and work with them to achieve good outcomes.”

Think about those farmers and those ranchers. They’re our first conservationists. They’re our first environmentalists. I think of the young man, David, in Florida that I meant about a month ago, 12 years old. I was speaking to a group of individuals in Florida. David was there with his dad and his granddad was there. Now, think about what their greatest asset is? Their land. And they’re teaching David how to cultivate and harvest and care for that land and act as a steward.

That’s the message we’re sending across the country.


Why are government scientists manipulating data on behalf of the Church of Environmental Radicalism?

In the 1970’s it was called “Global Cooling.” When that didn’t happen, it was switched to “Global Warming.” After another failure, the Church of Environmentalism finally came up with a new phrase that was sure to catch all, “Climate Change.” This new phrase could not possibly be wrong because it means if anything changes, it must be Climate Change. Now the church has gone even further than changing a name, it has resorted to changing the data to fit its narrative.

For anyone that has taken a high school science class, manipulating data to fit a hypothesis is not considered science. But that is where we find ourselves, and one of the U.S. government’s scientific organizations is in the crosshairs again. It seems the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been caught manipulating weather data to fit a narrative yet again.

Paul Homewood was reviewing the NOAA data for the recent cold spell experienced in the Northeast. You may remember it was bitterly cold this past January with tales of animals freezing and falling from trees and sharks freezing in the ocean. But when Homewood looked at the data from NOAA, it didn’t seem to match what was observed. When Homewood got to the raw temperature data, he found it had been manipulated.

Homewood stated, “So at the three sites of Ithaca, Auburn and Geneva, we find that January 2018 was colder than January 1943 by 1.0, 1.7 and 1.3F respectively.” He continued, “Yet NOAA say that the division was 2.1F warmer last month. NOAA’s figure makes last month at least 3.1F warmer in comparison with 1943 than the actual station data warrants.”

Upon further investigation, Homewood found more data manipulation in 2013. Homewood remarked, “on average the mean temperatures in Jan 2014 were 2.7F less than in 1943. Yet, according to NOAA, the difference was only 0.9F…Somehow, NOAA has adjusted past temperatures down, relatively, by 1.8F.”

This is not the first time NOAA has manipulated data to prove a hypothesis. In 2015, NOAA published the Karl study that reportedly showed there was no “climate change hiatus” between 1998 and 2013. During this time frame, the rate of global temperature growth slowed, throwing a wrench in every climate model. The Karl study adjusted the data to show the warming had not decreased.

John Bates, a retired NOAA climate scientist, blew the whistle on the study accusing NOAA of, “flagrant manipulation of scientific integrity guidelines.” He went on to hint the study was rushed to publication, so it could have an impact on the 2015 Paris climate talks. You may remember the Paris Climate Agreement is an international agreement that does nothing for the environment.  However, it does put a stranglehold on the U.S. economy, because the U.S. government was the only government likely to enforce the harsh regulations against its citizens.

The situation has gotten so bad Congress has gotten involved. For over two years the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology has been fighting with NOAA to get to the bottom of the data manipulation. NOAA has decided it is not going to cooperate with Congress and has fought oversight through the entire process. If they did nothing wrong and are proud of their work, what are they hiding?

As people sit back and try to figure out why data manipulation is crucial to them, they must realize policymakers and government bureaucrats are making decisions based on the manipulated data. When policy is enacted based on biased data grocery and fuel bills go up, electric and heating bills go up, and people are put out of work.

It is not enough to be wrong about almost every prediction since the 1970’s. The Church of Environmentalism has taken to flat out lying to reach its goals. Congress must continue to investigate NOAA and force the truth to come out. Scientists that manipulate data to fit a narrative are not scientists; they are committing fraud.


Polar bears are flourishing, making them phony icons, and false idols, for global warming alarmists

One powerful polar bear fact is slowly rising above the message of looming catastrophe repeated endlessly by the media: More than 15,000 polar bears have not disappeared since 2005. Although the extent of the summer sea ice after 2006 dropped abruptly to levels not expected until 2050, the predicted 67-per-cent decline in polar bear numbers simply didn’t happen. Rather, global polar bear numbers have been stable or slightly improved. The polar bear’s resilience should have meant the end of its use as a cherished icon of global warming doom, but it didn’t. The alarmism is not going away without a struggle.

Part of this struggle involves a scientific clash about transparency in polar bear science. My close examination of recent research has revealed that serious inconsistencies exist within the polar bear literature and between that literature and public statements made by some researchers. For example, Canadian polar bear biologist Ian Stirling learned in the 1970s that spring sea ice in the southern Beaufort Sea periodically gets so thick that seals depart, depriving local polar bears of their prey and causing their numbers to plummet. But that fact, documented in more than a dozen scientific papers, is not discussed today as part of polar bear ecology. In these days of politicized science, neither Stirling nor his colleagues mention in public the devastating effects of thick spring ice in the Beaufort Sea; instead, they imply in recent papers that the starving bears they witnessed are victims of reduced summer sea ice, which they argued depleted the bears’ prey. There are also strong indications that thick spring-ice conditions happened again in 2014–16, with the impacts on polar bears being similarly portrayed as effects of global warming.

The polar bear's resilience should have meant the end of its use as an icon of global warming doom

One reason that the 2007 predictions of future polar bear survival were so far off base is that the model developed by American biologist Steven Amstrup (now at Polar Bears International, an NGO) assumed any polar bear population decline would be caused by less summer ice, despite the Beaufort Sea experience. Moreover, Amstrup and fellow modelers were overly confident in their claim that summer ice was critical for the polar bear’s survival and they had little data on which to base their assumption that less summer ice would devastate the polar bears’ prey.

Consequently, many scientists were surprised when other researchers subsequently found that ringed and bearded seals (the primary prey of polar bears) north of the Bering Strait especially thrived with a longer open-water season, which is particularly conducive to fishing: These seals do most of their feeding in summer. More food for seals in summer means more fat seal pups for polar bears to eat the following spring, a result that’s probably true throughout the Arctic.

As long as polar bears have lots of baby seals to eat in spring, they get fat enough to survive even a longer-than-usual summer fast. And while it’s true that studies in some regions show polar bears are lighter in weight than they were in the 1980s, there is no evidence that more individuals are starving to death or becoming too thin to reproduce because of less summer ice.

Not all bears get enough to eat in the spring, of course. Starvation has always been the leading natural cause of death for polar bears, due to a number of factors including competition, injury, tooth decay and illness. Some cancers induce a muscle-wasting syndrome that leads to faster-than-usual weight loss. This is likely what happened to the emaciated Baffin Island bear captured on video in July 2017 and promoted by National Geographic late last year. The videographers claimed it showed what starvation due to sea-ice loss looked like — an implausible conclusion given the time of year, the isolated nature of the incident, and the fact that sea ice that year was no more reduced than previously.

That starving-bear video may have convinced a few more gullible people that only hundreds of polar bears are left in the world. But it also motivated others to locate the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List report for 2015 that estimated global polar bear numbers at somewhere between 22,000-31,000, or about 26,000, up slightly from 20,000-25,000, or about 22,500, in 2005. Newer counts not included in the 2015 assessment potentially add another 2,500 or so to the total. This increase may not be statistically significant, but it is decidedly not the 67-per-cent decline that was predicted given the ice conditions that prevailed.

The failure of the 2007 polar bear survival model is a simple fact that explodes the myth that polar bears are on their way to extinction. Although starving-bear videos and scientifically insignificant research papers still make the news, they don’t alter the facts: Polar bears are thriving, making them phony icons, and false idols, for global warming alarmists.




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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