Sunday, April 08, 2018

Top Climate Scientist: CO2 Model Assumptions “Invalid”…”Natural Climatic Variations Dominate”!

The addition of an esteemed Norwegian climate scientist to the London-based GWPF will help bring some sobriety back to a science that has all too often been immersed in alarmism.

The London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently announced Professor Ole Humlum of Norway was joining its Academic Advisory Council. This brings another persuasive voice to the influential think tank.

Dr. Ole Humlum is a former Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard, Norway, and Emeritus Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Oslo. He is a member of the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research.

The GWPF appointment is a move that climate science critics say will deliver some much needed sobriety to a science that has too frequently found itself immersed in activism, hysterical projections and alarmism.

In the wake of his appointment, Prof. Humlum answered some questions on climate science posed by NTZ via social media.
Sea level rise projections overblown

Concerning global sea level rise, Prof. Humlum believes the planet will see only “8-15 cm rise by the year 2100”. And though most scientists agree man is warming the planet through CO2 emissions by burning fossil fuels, Prof. Humlum wrote that the figure for CO2 climate sensitivity is completely in dispute.

Natural factors at play, modest cooling ahead

On what has driven the climate change observed over the past 40 years, Prof. Humlum wrote that it goes far beyond just CO2 and that the sun, clouds and oceans have played huge roles. Over the coming decades he thinks the planet will cool, but that “it won’t be dramatic”.

Concerning whether the 20th century warming has led to more weather extremes today, he answered: “No, not according to statistics known by me.”

“Natural climatic variations dominate”

He summarized:

    "On the global scale natural climatic variations dominate over effects caused by man. Climate models often claim to incorporate natural variations, but this is not correct, as can be shown by statistical analyses. Thus, the argument that only by assuming a large effect of CO2 can climate models reproduce global climate change since 1950 is invalid.”

Bringing expertise to climate science

Prof. Humlum has authored or co-authored some 100 publications on climate related topics. Few scientists are able to claim having such a broad and valuable interdisciplinary knowledge that Professor Humlum possesses. His specialties include:

  • Glacial- and periglacial geomorphology

  • Landforms derived from bedrock weathering, with emphasis on rock glaciers

  • Reconstruction of Quaternary ice sheets, glaciers in the North Atlantic region

  • Historical and modern climatology of the Arctic and North Atlantic region

  • The impact of climate on societies the North Atlantic region

  • Comparison and integration of different climate proxy series

  • Numerical modelling in geomorphology

  • Mapping Arctic and Antarctic surface temperature changes

  • Modelling natural cold-climate geomorphic processes and -hazards

  • Permafrost and periglacial processes

  • Physical geography of Svalbard

  • Snow avalanche risk in Svalbard


Another Reason to Reject Wind Farms

There are a number of legitimate reasons for opposing wind farms; (1) they kill birds, bats and other animals, (2) they create undesirable ambient noise, (3) they blight the landscape and (4) the power they generate is far more costly per kilowatt hour than that obtained from conventional fossil fuels.

Now, however, thanks to the studious research* of six Chinese scientists (Tang et al., 2017), we can add a fifth reason for avoiding wind farms — they reduce the productivity of surrounding vegetation.

In reaching this conclusion, Tang et al. used remotely-sensed imaging data, including leaf area index (LAI), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), an enhanced vegetation index (EVI), gross primary production (GPP) and net primary production (NPP), coupled with other climate-related data (temperature, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, albedo and wind) over the period 2003-2014, to analyze the effects of a recently built wind farm on summer (Jun-Aug) vegetative growth in the Bashang region of northern China.

Located in the Hebei province, the Bashang study area (40.9-41.5°N, 113.9-114.7°E) witnessed a total of 1747 wind turbines constructed between the period 2005 and 2011. Land cover in Bashang primarily consists of grassland and crops, which account for 53.4 and 44.7 percent, respectively, of the total cover.

Thus, using the remotely-sensed and climate data described above, Tang et al. set out to determine whether the wind farm construction in Bashang exerted any influence on the growth and productivity of the region’s summer vegetation.

And what did their analysis reveal?

In describing their findings, Tang et al. report that construction of the wind turbines elevated both day (by 0.45-0.65°C) and night (by 0.15-0.18°C) temperatures, which increase, they say, “suppressed soil moisture and enhanced water stress in the study area.”

As a result, local vegetative growth and productivity decreased (see Figure 1). More specifically, they calculated an approximate 14.5, 14.8 and 8.9 percent decrease in LAI, EVI, and NDVI over the period of study, as well as “an inhibiting [wind farm] effect of 8.9% on summer GPP and 4.0% on annual NPP.”

Consequently, these several findings led Tang et al. to conclude that their research “provides significant observational evidence that wind farms can inhibit the growth and productivity of the underlying vegetation.”

And thus we have yet another reason to question the wisdom of policy makers who are seemingly rushing to install more and more of these bird-killing, noise-polluting, eyesore-viewing, cost-prohibiting and vegetative-decreasing low power producing energy sources.

It doesn’t make any sense, does it?


Why is the Media Suddenly So Interested in the EPA?

Funny what happens when a Republican wins the White House. The media mob suddenly develops an interest in transparency and fiscal responsibility. This week—in a story that has been developing over several months—all eyes are on the Environmental Protection Agency.

For eight years, President Obama’s two EPA administrators—Lisa Jackson and Gina McCarthy—received very little scrutiny from major news organizations. Reporters and opinion writers overlooked their misconduct at the EPA: excessive travel costs; blatant disregard of congressional oversight and lying to Congress; deleted texts and phony email accounts; colluding with activists who sought to use the agency to impose their costly, ideological agenda.

When the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the agency’s Clean Power Plan in 2016 because it exceeded administrative authority—the first time the court blocked a major EPA rule—no one called for McCarthy’s resignation or even criticized her role in writing the bad regulation. The editorial boards at the New York Times and Washington Post didn’t demand that McCarthy step down after she apologized for the disastrous Gold King Mine spill in Colorado, where 3 million gallons of toxic sludge befouled a river system spanning three states.

When McCarthy defended her agency’s role in the Flint water crisis, the Washington Post described her as some sort of hero: “She stood up to often-furious questioning at a congressional hearing that included Republican calls for her resignation, asserting that under the law her agency had done all it could to protect Flint’s residents.”

Time and again, sympathetic scribes in the mainstream media gave the EPA chiefs a pass.

But that drastically changed on December 7, 2016, when Donald Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to be his EPA administrator. Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general, was an outspoken critic of the agency and sued the EPA several times in his role as the Sooner State’s top lawyer. His appointment was a Southern-styled boot-kick to the far-left scientific establishment and the environmental lobby, signaling an end to their unchecked power grip at the EPA.

To his credit, Pruitt refused to try and win them over: He immediately scrubbed the EPA’s website of climate change propaganda and encouraged the president to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

The unrelenting media assault on Pruitt is yet another tale of contrasts between how the Washington press corps covers the Trump Administration versus how it covered for the Obama Administration. One quick example: The New York Times, which has a particularly vicious vendetta against Pruitt, has published 395 articles, columns, and editorials about the current EPA chief since November 9, 2016: Nearly all are negative. The Times has churned out dozens of stories about Pruitt’s travel expenses, including his purchase of first-class airline seats for foreign trips. (Jackson and McCarthy did, too. The pair tallied over $1 million in travel costs on international junkets, according to a report last month in the Washington Free Beacon.)

But from March 2013 until November 2016, the Times only ran 156 articles that mentioned McCarthy. While she received some tepid criticism from the paper for her mishandling of the Flint water crisis, most of its coverage was nebulous if not glowing.

One puff piece described McCarthy as “a listener and a saleswoman” with a “salty sense of humor and a history of negotiating with polluting industries.” Even though that same article referenced McCarthy’s “regular cross-country road trips that are both listening tour and sales pitch,” the Times’ reporters didn’t bother to ask how she traveled or demand to see any expense reports. In fact, the only Times article that raised McCarthy’s travel schedule is buried at the end of a piece on Pruitt’s travel:

"Gina McCarthy also traveled frequently to her home in Boston. A spokeswoman estimated that Ms. McCarthy traveled home roughly every other weekend during her term. She said Ms. McCarthy paid for the travel. Ms. McCarthy’s travel could not be immediately verified because her travel records are not publicly available."

Exactly. Her travel records were not publicly available because no one asked for them.

Now ponder a lengthy Times piece on Pruitt’s official schedule. Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman reviewed 320 pages of Pruitt’s schedule from February through May of last year, then accused the EPA chief of holding “back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates—and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates.”

Midway through the story, Lipton and Friedman briefly mention how they reviewed one year of McCarthy’s official schedule and concluded it “also demonstrated a partisan bent.” McCarthy “held a disproportionate number of meetings with Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups, particularly in the summer of 2014, when the administration was making the case for sweeping climate-change regulations.”

That’s it. Although McCarthy handled most of Obama’s arm-twisting and bureaucratic chicanery to impose his unlawful climate change agenda, the Times could only muster a few brief paragraphs about her meeting and travel schedule over a four-year period. After she was gone.

So it’s no surprise that McCarthy found a safe space on the Times’ editorial page last week to blast Pruitt for his recent announcement to end the use of “secret science” at the EPA. The insular scientific establishment—which portrays any outside request for accountability as an “attack of science”—is furious that Pruitt will no longer allow burdensome and unnecessary federal regulations to be buttressed by independent research that is not publicly available.

Pruitt, quite logically, told The Daily Caller that the EPA must “make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record. Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”

In an interview with the Hoover Institution, Pruitt further defended his move:

We have rules that we’ve adopted as an agency, historically, where we’ve contracted science out to a third party, and as the third party provides the findings and the conclusions, they don’t provide the data and the methodology that was used to reach the conclusion. We just simply made the change that if we contract out any particular third party to undergird rules, we’re going to make sure that the data and methodology is transferable and can be viewed by the public to ensure that it’s been done right.

But McCarthy, who has been accused of withholding potentially biased data from Congress, wants the research kept under wraps.

“But don’t be fooled by this talk of transparency,” she wrote in her Times op-ed. “[Pruitt] and some conservative members of Congress are setting up a nonexistent problem in order to prevent the E.P.A. from using the best available science. These studies adhere to all professional standards and meet every expectation of the scientific community in terms of peer review and scientific integrity.”

(Pruitt’s action is based on legislation sponsored by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican and longtime McCarthy critic.)

None of the Left’s non-stop condemnation of Pruitt has anything to do with fiscal restraint or solid science. Pruitt has been a one-man wrecking crew at the EPA, dismantling Obama’s cherished climate change legacy, repealing the Clean Power Plan, dismissing activist-scientists who feed at the public trough, and ending the practice of “sue and settle,” a tactic used by special interest groups to force the agency to enact regulations they demand.

There is no greater threat to the reach and power of the federal government than Pruitt right now, and the Left not only wants him gone, they want him destroyed. (Thanks to the media’s despicable coverage of Pruitt, he and his family are facing an unprecedented number of death threats.)

The anti-Trump mob is also terrified at the prospect that Pruitt would replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, where he would undoubtedly apply the same smash-mouth approach and uncover God-knows-what. They want him so damaged that he’d never survive a Senate confirmation hearing.

It is difficult to calculate how hypocritical the media has been in covering this administration versus the previous one. But its collective coverage of the EPA and Scott Pruitt in particular has to be the most appalling—and destructive—example yet.


Easter Island myths and realities

The island’s demise was a human and Little Ice Age tragedy, not “ecological suicide”

Dennis Avery

In a recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof misleads us about the awful history of Easter Island (2,300 miles west of Chile), whose vegetation disappeared in the cold drought of the Little Ice Age. In doing so, he blinds modern society to the abrupt, icy climate challenge that lies in our own future.

Kristof repeats the archaeological myth that Easter Island’s natives committed “ecological suicide,” by cutting down all their palm trees. They supposedly used the logs as rollers to move their famous huge statues. Afterward, they could no longer build canoes to catch the fish that were their key protein source. Worse, he says, clearing the trees resulted in so much soil erosion that most of the population starved and/or killed each other in famine-driven desperation.

This myth disguises the impacts of the Little Ice Age on Easter, and ignores the inevitable reality that our coming generations could relatively soon face another icy age that will harshly test our technologies. The cold centuries may even make man-made global warming look positively attractive!

Easter Islanders never cut their palm trees at all! According to their cultural legends, when the Polynesians’ canoes reached Easter about 1000 AD, the island was covered in grasses. There were only a few palms. Modern pollen studies confirm this, showing that the island did have palm trees in the ancient past – but most died in the cold droughts of the Dark Ages (600–950 AD). The few surviving palms died during the Little Ice Age after the Polynesians colonized the island. The last palm died about 1650.

Kristof seems not to understand the killing power of the cold, chaotic, carbon dioxide-starved climate in those “little ice ages.”

The islanders wouldn’t have used palm logs for canoes in any case. The Polynesians knew palm logs are far too heavy. Canoes need to skim on top of the waves, even when carrying heavy loads. The Polynesians made their canoes out of sewn planks from the much-lighter toromiro trees, whose seedlings they’d brought with them from the Marquesas Islands to the west.

Soil erosion? The Easter Islanders didn’t need to clear trees from their land to grow their crops of taro, yams and sweet potatoes. They planted the tubers between the stumps of smaller trees cut for occasional house-building. The cut trees re-grew from their living stumps; their root systems remained alive and continued to protect the soil. In fact, the islanders’ agricultural techniques protected soil even more effectively than mainland farms did until the advent of modern no-till farming.

No fish to eat? A U.S. Navy lieutenant, who visited Easter in 1886, shortly after the Little Ice Age ended, reported that the natives ate huge amounts of seafood! Most of the fish were caught from small inshore canoes, with rockfish a favorite. The natives also speared dolphins in the shallows, after confusing the animals’ famed “sonar” by clapping rocks together. Crayfish and eels abounded in the shoreline’s rocky crevices, and flying fish flung themselves onto the beaches. Turtles and shellfish were plentiful.

Nor did the islanders kill each other off in hunger wars – although the sweet potato crops were scanty and population numbers dropped during those chilly Little Ice Age droughts.

What did happen to the Easter population? The truth is a sickening look at exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people on earth by some of the most powerful of the day. Peruvian slave-raiders took most of the men to Peru in the 1800s, to dig shiploads of seabird dung (guano) from offshore islands to fertilize Europe’s fields. Terrible conditions, overwork and European diseases killed most of the kidnapped slaves.

Peruvian citizens’ outrage over their mistreatment eventually forced the authorities to return the few who had survived. Unfortunately, the survivors carried smallpox back to Easter. Only a few natives lived through the ensuing epidemic. Later, well-meaning missionaries brought tuberculosis.

The final disaster was Peru’s leasing of the island’s grasslands to absentee landlords for sheep-grazing. The sheep destroyed the last of the toromiro trees, while the surviving natives were (unbelievably) penned behind barbed wire – until 1960 – when worldwide condemnation finally intervened.

Kristof, who may have gotten his Easter Island myths from Jared Diamond’s misguided book Collapse, demeans the sustainable traditions of the South Pacific’s Polynesian settlers. Their insightful tradition was not to use up a resource more rapidly than they could see it restoring itself.

Mother Nature, not the Polynesians, destroyed the trees. She did it over and over: in the Iron Age Cooling, during the cold Dark Ages and then again amid the Little Ice Age. Nor was Mother Nature being “careless.” She was responding to the age-old commands of the sun, the gravitational fields of the four biggest planets, and the other powerful natural forces that have always governed Earth’s climate.

Those same planetary patterns also govern our future, whether we like it or not. Another “icy age” will inevitably replace our current and relatively supportive climate warmth and stability. That probably (hopefully) won’t arrive for another several centuries. Our current warming period is only 150 years old; the shortest Dansgaard-Oeschger warm phase on record was the Medieval, which lasted 350 years.

The Easter Islanders were technologically capable enough (if barely) to sustain their society through Nature’s climate cycles. Elsewhere, nomads from the Black Sea region survived the Last Glacial Maximum (in temperatures below -40 degrees Celsius/Fahrenheit) by inventing mammoth-skin tents to survive the cold as they followed migrating mammoths. Those huge furry beasts were themselves forced to move frequently as the Ice Age turned the grass into less-nourishing tundra.

Our ancestors also made the most important discovery in all human history farming, only about 10,000 years ago. Farming finally allowed humans to become more than scattered hunting bands, carrying their babies and scant possessions on their backs. They could support larger populations, create languages, build temples, cities and trading ships, and launch industries that made copper, bronze and then iron.

Collective learning has now gotten us to the point where we create resources rather than just finding them. Think nitrogen fertilizer, which is taken from the air that’s 78% nitrogen, and then returned to the sky through natural processes. Think computer chips and fiber optic cables made from sand.

We are no longer doomed to thrive, only to collapse again. Our challenge today is not to retreat into a harsh and uncertain dependence on Mother Nature and her deadly “ice age” betrayals. Rather, we can and must prepare for the next “icy age” we know is coming – by continuing our collective learning, using a matured wisdom, and not turning our backs on the fossil fuel, nuclear and other reliable, affordable energy sources that have made our industries, health, innovations and living standards possible.

Mr. Kristof’s mythology would lead us back into ignorance, not forward.

Via email

Australian Greens’ agenda targets bosses and billionaires in tax-the-rich plan

The Greens are Leftists who have learnt nothing

The NSW Greens are pushing a hard-left policy manifesto that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, heavily tax the nation’s wealthy and cap the salaries of chief executives.

The manifesto also supports starving private schools of public cash, cutting the standard working week, abolishing higher education debts and making university and public transport free.

The policy document, released by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge, threatens to further undermine national leader Richard Di Natale and expose the party to ridicule in the lead-up to the next federal and NSW elections.

Mr Shoebridge has outlined dozens of detailed policy positions, headlined by a billionaires’ tax of up to 10 per cent that the party says could raise as much as $11 billion.

Dismissing the drug ecstasy as “relatively safe’’, the document also suggests renters should be able to stay as long as they like if they continue to meet their financial and contract obligations.

It argues that there should be no “handouts’’ to churches and backs renationalising the power grid.

Although Mr Shoebridge backs Senator Di Natale’s push for a $250bn-plus universal basic ­income, he is critical of the party’s failure to capitalise on a ­reduced Liberal and Labor vote at the 2016 federal election.

He advocates a more radical ­social and economic agenda that includes targeting the richest Australians.

“There is a false perception that the Greens focus almost entirely on the environment at the expense of other economic and ­social issues, which are more important to likely and former Greens’ voters,’’ he writes. “This perception is a barrier to growing our vote.’’

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese blasted the Greens as a virtual “secret society’’ that banned scrutiny of their party conferences and just stopped short of “abolishing all private ownership in anything’’.

“When the public examine the specifics of their policies they reject them,’’ Mr Albanese said.

Openly borrowing from British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Shoebridge says Australia’s wealthiest have $111bn between them. “It’s time that wealth was shared,’’ he said. “That’s more than three times the government’s annual spend on education; it’s more than the wealth of most countries.

“If in addition to income tax, which is largely avoided by the super-wealthy, we taxed billionaires just 5 per cent of their accumulated wealth each year, we’d have $5.5bn more to spend on public education, affordable childcare, housing and cheap, clean energy.

“If we taxed their wealth at 10 per cent, that figure jumps to $11bn. This pays for an awful lot of things that will benefit all of us, not just the mega rich.’’

He adds that chief executive salaries could be capped at 10 times or 20 times average earnings, claiming the average chief executive earns 78 times more than the average worker.

Institute of Public Affairs policy director Simon Breheny said: “The Greens manifesto is a grab-bag of radical socialist proposals. These policies would be disastrous for Australia. They would result in our best and brightest entrepreneurs and risk-takers leaving Australia.”




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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