Friday, March 15, 2019

An old scare still staggering on: Thermohaline Shutdown

Aiken Pitchmen, the author below, must be the most demoralized Warmist I have ever encountered.  He writes an article declaring that the Gulf Stream will slow down (Yawn!) and then adds a footnote at the end saying that nobody really knows what will happen.  One wonders why he bothered writing it at all.  He must be paid pennies per word

One of the difficulties that many climate models face is predicting the future. Environmental scientists collect tons of data, and in some instances can foretell the level of certain gases in the future. Yet, understanding how the world will respond is tricky. Wind patterns, ocean currents, and weather are incredibly dynamic systems that influence each other and are influenced by many external forces. Fully modeling how the climate behaves in response to exponentially increasing carbon levels has the equivalent complexity of predicting where a toothpick will land after being dropped in a tornado.

This uncertainty is why, even climate change scientists, tend to downplay what the possible outcomes of climate change are. There simply doesn’t exist an answer with a low enough uncertainty. It is for these reasons, discussion of the possible Thermohaline shutdown, while being incredibly terrifying, are often eschewed. However, based on observation, history, and safe assumptions scientists in publications have voiced their concerns. So let’s explore this possibility.

To start, the Thermohaline circulation is a term used to describe the ocean current phenomena on Earth. The circulation travels across the Earth’s oceans, moving water between all the hemispheres. The currents in this circulation are facilitated by varying density of salt concentration throughout the oceans and the effects of temperature (Hence the name Thermo-haline). Near the equator, the salt concentration is higher due to evaporated water. When the ocean region that contains higher salinity contacts a region with lower salinity, the higher density region is swallowed and submerged by the lower density region. This submersion creates a current that starts at the equator.

This current has a tremendous impact on the climate of regions it travels through. As warm equatorial water travels northward, the water heats up the overall climate in the central eastern United States and European regions. This is the reason these regions have more temperate climates compared to similar latitudinal located regions that are land locked. Additionally, These ocean currents are responsible for moving sea organisms (and human waste) across the hemispheres.

Over the last two decades, there has been a growing concern from the scientific community that the Thermohaline circulation is experiencing a slow down. As global temperatures pass the one degree Celsius mark, the Arctic sheets and regions of Greenland have begun to melt at an alarming rate. The Arctic, which contains roughly 70% of all fresh water on Earth, dilutes the salt concentration in the ocean as the sheets melt.

The decrease in salt concentration impedes on the aforementioned density gradient influenced current. Not surprisingly, Bryden et al. noted that the net flow of the Thermohaline circulation has slowed by 30% since the 1950’s. A slowdown may explain the decrease in temperatures in certain climates. While overall global temperatures increase, the absence of warm currents in naturally occurring regions will result in sinking temperatures. There is still much uncertainty over the affects of cooling currents. If temperatures drop slightly, they might simply counteract the effects of global warming in regions like Europe. This is not to say the rest of the world will be so lucky. In a more grim scenario, a drastic reduction in Thermohaline currents can cause temperatures to greatly drop in regions. If a slowdown continues, Europe and regions dependent on warm currents for their climate can expect an ice age.

A more concerning outcome of a Thermohaline shutdown is the potential triggering of a anoxic event. Anoxic events have been associated with halting of ocean currents and global warming events in Earth’s prehistoric period. As oceans become more stagnant, the life below becomes momentarily more active. Microbial ocean organisms, such as plankton, are given the opportunity to reproduced in large numbers. This is the same idea why drinking running water is safer than still water. Running water is less likely to foster bacterial growth.

As the biomass of the ocean explodes, the oxygen content of the ocean begins to decline. Ocean life needs oxygen to survive, yet with too much organic life, obtaining oxygen can become difficult. Regions that have low oxygen content can develop into dead zones, areas in which much of marine life cannot survive in. Kump et al. demonstrated that during such Anoxic events in the past, large quantities of Hydrogen Sulfide gas were released from the Oceans. This noxious gas was most likely related to the large die-off of organic sea life.

This would explain why previous mass extinctions were associated with Thermohaline shutdowns. Much mammalian and plant life cannot survive with hydrogen sulfide gas present in the atmosphere. The same researchers also demonstrated that the release of this gas would have damaged the Ozone layer. Their theory was further supported by fossil records that showed ultraviolet (UV) radiation related scarring. Massive amounts of UV radiation would further facilitate the extinction of land organisms. Human life, as we know it, in these environmental conditions will be impossible.

While the direct causation and links between many of these events are ambiguous, one specific trend is consistent. In all cases in which mass extinctions and Thermohaline shutdowns occurred, the Earth was experiencing record global temperatures and carbon levels. During the Permian-Triassic extinction, atmospheric carbon levels had reached 1000 ppm (Ward, page 71). Current concentrations are at 410.92 ppm. The Earth is still far from reaching cataclysmic carbon levels, yet this is no reason for apathy.

It should be understood that once the Thermohaline circulation is shutdown it cannot be reasonably reversed. Earth has recovered from such events in past, yes. Full recoveries often take a little less than a million years.


I believe I would not be doing this article scientific justice if I did not emphasize the uncertainty of Thermohaline trends in the scientific community. While a Thermohaline shutdown is frightning, data on Thermohaline slowdown is a reason for skepticism. The circulation is not constant and fluctuates in net flow. So while Bryden et al. may have noted a slow down, in such a short time frame (50 years is a short time frame relative to any global events) it’s not clear whether this event is correlated to global warming.

This article by no means declares what will happen. It simply explores one of the more frighting possibilities proposed.


Big Labor Slams Green New Deal

"We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families."

Democrats thrive on dividing Americans into constituency groups, which is a very effective way to win votes by making those groups feel beholden to the party. But every once in a while, there’s a head-on collision at the corner of such “intersectionality.” This time, that clash involves Green New Deal proponents and union representatives.

In a joint letter to Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the chief GND sponsors in Congress, 10 national labor unions on the AFL-CIO’s energy committee wrote, “We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy. We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered” [emphasis added].

What immediate harm? The GND calls for, among many other things, eliminating fossil fuels en route to completely restructuring the U.S. economy. Mark Alexander warns the GND’s authoritarian goals “would result in catastrophic worldwide economic collapse.” But if you don’t take his word for it, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore declared that “it would be basically the end of civilization.”

No wonder unions are a bit worried.

But Ocasio-Cortez tells us there’s nothing to fear from “being automated out of work.” In fact, she says, our “core problem” is that “we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.” That’s not true, of course, but it’s why her since-removed GND FAQ section called for paying even those people “unwilling to work.” Maybe unemployed union workers can ask her for a paycheck.

The irony is that the GND would hurt hard-working, blue-collar people that make up most unions — the same people who have long been Democrat voters. And because renewable energy is simply not sufficient to meet our needs, it would also hurt the poor, who are far less able to shoulder the burden of skyrocketing energy costs and other new expenses imposed by the $93 trillion boondoggle.

So while the Green New Deal is fashionable among chardonnay-sipping coastal elitists and college socialists earning gender-studies degrees, out here in the real world, even other Democrat constituency groups are afraid of its disastrous consequences.


States Need to Fight Green New Deal the Right Way

The fight over the so called “Green New Deal” has gone into the states.  Although this left-wing idea is pitched as a plan to save the environment, it has elements that don’t have anything to do with environmentalism and fall into the category of new entitlement spending and an overall push for big government. Liberty minded activists in states need to be smart in fighting this idea and to be careful not to overreach.

The national version of the Green New Deal is described by CNN as a ”14-page resolution [that] envisions a shift to 100% renewable and zero-emission energy sources, and calls for the creation of millions of new high-wage jobs to help wipe out poverty." CNN describes the resolution as emphasizing “massive public investment in wind and solar production, zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids, as well as ‘working collaboratively’ with farmers and ranchers to move towards sustainable agriculture techniques.” The resolution also addresses “historic injustices visited upon the poor and people of color.”  This is a grab bag of left-wing ideas tossed into one green package that has become the centerpiece of a national debate.

It is important to note that our economy has been a great driver of innovation in the energy sector producing “clean coal,” solar and electric cars.  Conservatives don’t want the government to play favorites and help out solar and plug-in cars, yet there is nothing wrong with renewables competing in the private sector if they can prove efficient while convincing consumers to use them. Some people don’t care about the personal cost of renewables and just want to use renewables to feel like they are helping the environment and that is every American's right.

The state of Virginia has become a battleground over environmental policy and a Virginia version of the Green New Deal.  A local Virginia paper posted an op-ed on May 5, 2019 where the VA plan was described as  “a moratorium beginning Jan. 1, 2020 on approval by any permitting agency on any new major fossil fuel projects. The legislation defined fossil fuels as ‘coal, petroleum, natural gas or any derivative of coal, petroleum, or natural gas that is used for fuel.” They want 80% from solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal and ocean tidal sources of energy. The plan is not realistic and likely will not go anywhere in the Virginia legislature.

Some have already started to fight over a privately-funded plan on private property in Spotsylvania, Virginia and calling it part of a VA Green New Deal.  This is an overreach and a mischaracterization of that private plan.

The Virginia sPower solar plan falls into the category of private individuals and corporations engaging in private contractual relationships that don’t have anything to do with the core agenda of the Green New Deal.   This project in Virginia is a $615 million private investment that, according to the Free-Lance Starr of Fredericksburg, will create “800-1,000 local employees during construction, including electricians, site contractors, landscapers, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, engineers, waste management, and security guards.” The project will generate “$110 million in economic output and another $164 million over the life of the project” as well as “approximately $13 million in new gross tax revenues for the county, which reflects a 1,800 percent increase over current tax generation without impacts on schools, public safety, transportation or other county services.”  Blind hatred of the Green New Deal should not lead Virginia residents to reflexively oppose this private plan on private property.

Conservatives want to stop the use of government subsidies and tax benefits to push renewables while discriminating against fossil fuels. The markets should rule these private decisions. Our nation has used efficiency and technological advances to lower emissions dramatically over the past few decades showing that capitalism and free markets work.

It is also true that people deserve the freedom to choose renewables if they want. Renewables, or a mix of the most efficient ones, may be the future of generating energy for Americans, yet only solar and wind seem to have taken hold in a few communities.  If private companies want to spend cash on renewables, then that is their choice. 

When the government tries to force renewables on Americans at a high cost, that is wrong and should be stopped.  The “Green New Deal” has polled as popular yet expect those poll numbers to plummet when the American people get wise to this shell game the left is playing by mixing environmental politics and the push to expand entitlement programs.


Debunking Decades of Climate Alarmism

Alarmists made wrong predictions in 2009, 1989, 1970, and even as far back as 1798.

As The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman reminds us, “Panics over looming environmental and climate apocalypse have been with us for a long time.” The rise of environmental and climate alarmism began in earnest during the 1960s and ‘70s, but the path began long before that. As Stepman explains, “Thomas Malthus famously predicted in his 1798 book 'An Essay on the Principle of Population’ that population growth would overtake food supply and mass starvation would result unless population controls were implemented.”

Subsequent centuries have featured similar trepidation. There are five notable examples, says Stepman, beginning with the inaugural 1970 Earth Day. At the time, North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter ominously predicted, “By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” Conversely, undernourishment has plummeted worldwide.

Also in 1970, Life magazine asserted, “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution [and] by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” At last look, people are still roaming the streets without gas masks — Beijing notwithstanding.

In June 1989, the Associated Press stated, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. … He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.” Today, it’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s turn to wave the dozen-years-left-to-live placard.

In similar fashion, Al Gore in 2009 prophesied, “Some of the models suggest … that there is a 75% chance that the entire polar ice cap during some of summer months could be completely ice free within five to seven years.” As Stepman notes, “In 2014, the ice caps were still there. In fact, it’s 2019 and the ice caps are still there.”

And finally, feminist Betty Friedan surmised in 1958 that swelling “ocean waters may flood most of our port cities within the foreseeable future — and … it will be followed by the growth of a vast glacier which may eventually cover much of Europe and North America.” Today, they argue just the opposite.

All of this raises an important question: Shouldn’t climate skeptics be given the freedom to counter these apocalyptic claims without fear of censorship, especially when skepticism, at least thus far, has been vindicated? Absolutely — and that would be the case even if some or all of these predictions materialized. Yet according to another report by The Daily Signal, an app that challenges the mainstream climate missive is suspected of being expurgated.

“Since March 4, users of Apple’s iPhone no longer can access the app through the tech giant’s App Store,” according to the Signal. It just so happens that Al Gore is an Apple board member who peddles snake oil. Coincidental, or willful suppression? You be the judge. Forgive us to being skeptical of the former.


Trump touts Greenpeace co-founder declaring ‘the whole climate crisis’ is ‘fake science’

President Donald Trump touted Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore’s statements that “the whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science.” Trump responded “Wow” at the end of his tweet.

Moore continued: “There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” Patrick Moore is featured prominently in the new skeptical book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change.”

Moore made his comments while appearing on Fox & Friends today. He also explained why he called AOC A ‘Pompous Little Twit’

Moore referenced Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer who is not part of the Trump administration and set to head a presidential commission on climate change. See:

Partial transcript of Patrick Moore Fox & Friends segment. Broadcast March 12, 2019:

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): It sounds like you don’t think [the Green New Deal] plan is a good one. What’s your major problem with it?

PATRICK MOORE (AUTHOR): Well, it’s a silly plan. That’s why I suggested [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] was a pompous little twit. “Twit,” meaning, “silly” in the British lexicon and, “pompous,” meaning, “arrogant.” She really rubbed me the wrong way when she said she’s “the boss,” because she can make up a proposal that’s completely ridiculous and no one else did. And that is what’s wrong about this.

In fact, the whole climate crisis, as they call it, is not only fake news, it’s fake science. There is no climate crisis. There is weather and climate all around the world. And, in fact, carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life. That’s where the carbon comes from in carbon-based life, which is all life on land and in the sea. And, not only that, a little bit of warming would not be a bad thing for myself, being a Canadian, and the people in Russia wouldn’t mind a little couple of degrees warmer either.

DOOCY: But, Patrick, you know, there are so many scientists who have come out and say — and have said that climate change is real.

MOORE: Yes, of course climate change is real, it’s been happening since the beginning of time, but it’s not dangerous and it’s not made by people. Climate change is a perfectly natural phenomenon.



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