Tuesday, August 13, 2019

No Evidence Heatwaves More Common From ‘Climate Change’

A story came to my attention recently that merited comment.

It appeared in London’s The Telegraph and was headlined, “Give heatwaves names so people take them more seriously, say experts, as Britain braces for hottest day.”

The story’s leaping-off point was a press release from the London School of Economics (LSE), which noted:

“A failure by the media to convey the severity of the health risks from heatwaves, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change, could undermine efforts to save lives this week as temperatures climb to dangerous levels.”

It added: “So how can the media be persuaded to take the risks of heatwaves more seriously? Perhaps it is time … to give heatwaves names [as is done] for winter storms.”

We disagree with some of the points being made.

First, and most importantly, we warn people all the time in plain language on our apps and on AccuWeather.com about the dangers of extreme heat, as well as all hazards.

Furthermore, that is the reason we developed and patented the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature and our recently expanded AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature Guide, to help people maximize their health, safety and comfort when outdoors and prepare and protect themselves from weather extremes.

The AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature Guide is the only tool that properly takes into account all atmospheric conditions and translates them into actionable behavior choices for people.

Second, although average temperatures have been higher in recent years, there is no evidence so far that extreme heatwaves are becoming more common because of climate change, especially when you consider how many heatwaves occurred historically compared to recent history.

New York City has not had a daily high temperature above 100 degrees since 2012, and it has had only five such days since 2002.

However, in a previous 18-year span from 1984 through 2001, New York City had nine days at 100 degrees or higher.

When the power went out in New York City earlier this month, the temperature didn’t even get to 100 degrees – it was 95, which is not extreme. For comparison, there were 12 days at 95 degrees or higher in 1999 alone.

Kansas City, Missouri, for example, experienced an average of 18.7 days a year at 100 degrees or higher during the 1930s, compared to just 5.5 a year over the last 10 years.

And over the last 30 years, Kansas City has averaged only 4.8 days a year at 100 degrees or higher, which is only one-quarter of the frequency of days at 100 degrees or higher in the 1930s.

Here is a fact rarely, if ever, mentioned: 26 of the 50 states set their all-time high-temperature records during the 1930s that still stand (some have since been tied).

And an additional 11 state all-time high-temperature records were set before 1930 and only two states have all-time record high temperatures that were set in the 21st century (South Dakota and South Carolina).

So 37 of the 50 states have an all-time high-temperature record not exceeded for more than 75 years.

Given these numbers and the decreased frequency of days of 100 degrees or higher, it cannot be said that either the frequency or magnitude of heatwaves is more common today.

Finally, there is the question of whether heatwaves should be named. That’s an easy one: I oppose naming heat waves.

If such warnings existed, what would be the cutoff point or the boundary line? A heatwave in one state is not in another?

In other words, if you say the criteria is where the AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature is above some number, what happens in a nearby location that is one degree below the cutoff number?

Of course, some people still may be at risk because there is a variability of risk. An AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature of 95 may be a risk to infants and the elderly but minimal risk to others.

And if the cutoff is set too low, the naming of heatwaves would become so frequent it would be meaningless and ultimately will undermine the credibility of meteorologists.

What else are these people going to suggest we name? Hurricanes and tropical storms already get names and they have since the 1940s, and the names are selected by international agreement.

Yet, even for them, the criteria of whether and when to name a particular storm or not has left some leeway to the judgment of forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.

If we were to name heatwaves, should we also name cold waves, high-wind events, pollution events? What about whiteouts due to blowing snow?

All that would do is cause more confusion. AccuWeather believes in clearly warning of all extreme weather and explaining what the impact will be on people.

Heat-related deaths are one of the deadliest extreme-weather health outcomes in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that many heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. We agree.

AccuWeather’s core mission is to save lives, protect property and help people and businesses prosper, a directive we take to heart 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That’s one of the reasons why we developed the AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature and the guide that explains specifically what each number means, which can be found on our website.

It’s also why AccuWeather meteorologists carefully consider the words we use in our forecasts so our users understand the risk of extreme weather to themselves and their families.


How Google discriminates against conservatives and skeptics

Several months ago Google quietly released a 32 page white paper titled “How Google Fights Disinformation.” This sound good. The problem is that Google is a decidedly left wing outfit. They consider things like skepticism of climate alarmism, and conservative views generally, to be disinformation, as liberals often claim.

The white paper goes into some detail as to how Google’s search and news algorithms operate, in order to suppress what Google considers disinformation. It is clear that these algorithms will favor liberal content when displaying search results.

Generally speaking the algorithms rank and present search results based on the use of so-called “authoritative sources.” The problem is that these sources are mostly mainstream media, which are almost entirely liberal.

Google’s algorithmic definition of authoritative makes the liberals the voice of authority. Bigger is better and the liberals have the biggest news outlets. The algorithms are very complex but the basic idea is that the more other websites link to you, the greater your authority.

It is like saying that a newspaper with more subscribers is more trustworthy than one with somewhat fewer subscribers. This actually makes no sense but that is how it works. It is also true in domains other than news. Popularity is not authority but that is how the algorithm sees it.

This explains why the first page of search results for breaking news almost always consist of links to liberal outlets. There is absolutely no balance with conservative news sources. Given that roughly half of Americans are conservatives, Google’s liberal news bias is truly reprehensible.

When it comes to skepticism of climate alarmism, I documented an extreme case of this bias some time ago. My CFACT article was titled “Google’s global warming search bias.”

In this case I did individual searches on prominent skeptics of alarmism. Google’s authoritative source turned out to be an obscure alarmist website called DeSmogBlog. Their claim to fame was having nasty negative dossiers on a lot of skeptics. I am proud to say they have one on me.

In each search two things happened in the first page of results. First was a link to that skeptic’s dossier, even though it was almost a decade old. Sometimes this was the first entry in the search results. Second, roughly half of the results were negative attacks. This may not now be surprising since the liberal press often attacks us skeptics.

Searching on comparable prominent alarmists yielded nothing but praise. Again not surprising, since Google’s liberal authoritative sources love alarmists.

The bias against skeptics in this algorithm is breathtaking. This bias also extends to the climate change debate itself. Search results on climate issues are dominated by alarmist content.

In fact climate change may well get special algorithmic attention. Goggle has a category of webpages hyperbolically called “Your Money or Your Life.” These require even greater authoritative control in searches.

Pages addressing government policy issue fall under this category and climate change is arguable the world’s biggest policy issue today. Google says that for these pages they downgrade those containing “demonstrably inaccurate content or debunked conspiracy theories.” This is just how alarmists describe skepticism. They do not explain how the algorithm makes these intrinsically subjective determinations.

Google’s authority based search algorithm is rigged to favor liberal content. This will be true for virtually all conservative content. It may be especially true for the climate change debate. This deep liberal bias is fundamentally wrong, given Google’s central role in American life.


Ice-Free Alaskan Waters No Problem For Polar Bears & Walruses

Written by Susan J Crockford PhD

One of two alarming headlines that caught my eye this week was the ‘news’ on Monday that the waters off Alaska were now ice-free because of climate change, courtesy a story in the online media outlet Mashable that was later picked up by The Weather Channel and the UK mainstream paper The Independent.

In addition, a large number of mainstream news outlets, including the New York Times and Newsweek, have reported that walruses came ashore this year at Point Lay, Alaska, two weeks earlier than any year since 2007.

No one claimed this late July onshore movement of walruses was the beginning of the end of walruses but it was still blamed on human-caused climate change because it was associated with the aforementioned ice loss in Alaska.

Neither event was really ‘news.’ Moreover, neither an ice-free Alaska in early August or walruses onshore two weeks earlier than 2017 will have any negative impact on local polar bear or walrus populations, whether due to human-caused climate change or natural variation.

Well-fed polar bears everywhere are quite capable of going 4-5 months without food in the summer and a few thousand walruses at Point Lay will feed happily from this shore-based haul-out for a few days to a few weeks as they have done many summers since 2007 before moving on to other Chukchi Sea beach locations – although the ‘leaving’ events never seem to get any media attention.

Walruses will haul-out on beaches in Alaska and Russia until the ice returns in October.

Here is the map that Mashable story on an ice-free Alaska included, which indeed shows a vast area of open water off Alaska [note theirs is dated two days earlier, on 4 Aug.]:

However, what the Mashable story didn’t show is the related chart that shows the age of the remaining pack (see below), which is very thick multiyear ice. Such thick ice might thin out a bit by September but it is in no danger of disappearing:

In 2016, the Alaska coast was virtually ice-free by 12 August but by 12 November the sea ice had returned.

Any bear that had chosen to spend the summer on an Alaskan beach in 2016 would have spent 3-4 months ashore – something that bears in Hudson Bay, Davis Strait, and the Baffin Bay have done on a regular basis for as long as they have been studied and more recently, they have spent almost five months ashore without serious problems.

Despite the large expanses of open water this year in the Beaufort Sea, there have been no media reports of unusual numbers of problem bears or bear attacks along the coast of Alaska.

As for the walrus story, the Associated Press account authored by Don Joling points out that the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2017 that Pacific walrus are not threatened with extinction because of recent declines in Arctic sea ice (MacCracken et al. 2017).

USFWS also determined that future sea ice decline would not threaten walrus survival and we know that walruses have come ashore in the Chukchi Sea during the ice-free season in summer and/or fall for more than 100 years (Crockford 2014; Fischbach et al. 2016).

It all adds up to a non-story although it might work as click-bait for those few readers who eagerly seek out any event blamed on climate change.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

An establishment rebellion

Why the elite loves the eco-warriors.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has acquired a number of artefacts associated with Extinction Rebellion (XR), the protest group campaigning to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2025. Apparently, just nine months since Extinction Rebellion’s first public stunt, its paraphernalia deserves to be housed alongside some of the world’s best art and design works of the past 5,000 years.

It is hard to think of any supposedly radical protest movement in history that has been so readily embraced by the establishment as Extinction Rebellion. And the love-bombing isn’t just coming from the usual luvvies like Dame Emma Thompson and activist celebs like Lily Cole and Charlotte Church. Recently, XR attracted the attention of wealthy philanthropists. Last month, three wealthy Americans (one of whose family wealth comes from the oil industry) donated nearly £500,000 to XR and vowed to raise millions more. Other wealthy backers include a hedge-fund manager, who remains anonymous.

Then, there is the literary establishment – from heavyweight authors like Margaret Atwood and Phillip Pullman to big-name publishers like Penguin, it has thrown its weight behind Extinction Rebellion, too. This Is Not A Drill, XR’s protest handbook, was recently rushed out for release by Penguin. Penguin’s editor breathlessly declared that climate change was so pressing that XR’s book needed to be published several months before its initial release date: ‘This is an emergency, and we have to react like it’s an emergency.’ The book even features a contribution from Rowan Williams, former archbishop of Canterbury – the former head of the established church.

The reason for this establishment love-in is that Extinction Rebellion represents no rebellion at all. It has the appearance of a rebellion, certainly – protesters glue their hands to buildings, block roads and get themselves arrested. But the message is one that affirms and flatters establishment opinion rather than challenging it.

Parliament, for instance, was quick to heed XR’s demand to declare a ‘climate emergency’. More significantly, the group’s main aim of reducing UK emissions to ‘net zero’ is one that is shared not only by the Conservative government, but also by MPs of all stripes. The ‘net zero’ target for 2050 was nodded through parliament with just an hour and a half of debate and without a single vote needing to be cast. XR is only more impatient in its demand, calling for a 2025 deadline.

Many have tried to compare Extinction Rebellion’s climate crusade with past movements for progressive change. Justifying the V&A’s decision to acquire Extinction Rebellion artefacts, senior curator Corinna Gardner compared their punchy colour palette to that of the Suffragettes. Similarly, XR leader Roger Hallam claims his protesting is in the ‘tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King’.

These comparisons are delusional, pretentious and insulting. But they unwittingly highlight something important. Whether it was the Chartists, the Suffragettes, the civil-rights movement, or the gay-rights movement, these genuinely progressive campaigns were all despised by the elite at the time. These were campaigns that sought to expand human freedom, to wrest rights and resources from the establishment. By contrast, environmentalist campaigns like Extinction Rebellion are, by their very nature, against freedom. They seek to place new limits on human activity: on industry, on economic growth, on our travel, on our diets, and on childbirth.

For many years, the great and the good have been in broad agreement that something must be done about climate change. But they also seem to agree that the bulk of the costs should not be shouldered by them. Only last week, celebrities, business leaders and politicians descended on Sicily for the 7th annual Google Camp, which this year was dedicated to tackling climate change. After arriving in their private jets, mega yachts and sports cars, delegates were treated to a lecture on climate change by Prince Harry, who delivered it in his bare feet. Earlier this year, 1,500 individual private jets flew to Davos. The highlight of the summit was a conversation between Prince William and Sir David Attenborough… on climate change.

The establishment only seems to care about ‘pollution’ when it is ordinary people doing the polluting. It is always cheap flights, cheap food and cheap fashion which cause the most consternation among environmentalists. In turn, climate change presents the establishment with an opportunity to manage the little people’s habits, tastes and aspirations.

Extinction Rebellion merely provides a faux-radical gloss to this depressing and stultifying prospect.


'We don't want there to be no air travel': Qantas boss warns climate change panic could devastate the industry and take the world 'back to the 1920s'

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has warned that global warming panic could bring the aviation industry to a halt, saying additional airline taxes could take the world back to the 1920s.

Speaking at the Centre for Aviation summit in Sydney this week, Mr Joyce hit back at climate change hysteria and 'flight shaming'.

Mr Joyce referenced an increase in the amount of global warming rallies being held globally and a rise in activists criticising travellers who fly, The Australian reported. 

'We don't want to go back to the 1920s and not have air ­travel. We need to make sure that we keep the baby, because it is important for the world economy to have connections,' he said.

He pointed out that the airline industry had made a difference to the world in terms of economic trade and job creation. 

'We know there's an environmental impact, but the things we're doing as an industry are fantastic. We have targets by 2050 to reduce our CO2 emissions to half the levels of 2005,' he said.

Just last month, the French government announced an 'eco-tax' on all flights out of airports in France, which would rack up $300 million per year.

Passengers in The Netherlands have are now being slugged a levy of $11.60, amid calls for the European Union to enforce taxes across the whole continent.

Mr Joyce said the aim of the new tariffs is to limit commercial flights by slugging customers and airlines more.

The amount of passengers flying the prominent flight routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have remained stagnant, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has launched a staunch against airlines and their customers, and has even vowed to travel to the US by boat to spread her message.

As well as ruling out flying on a plane on the trip, Thunberg also refuses to travel aboard a cruise ship as they're notoriously big polluters. Meanwhile, sailors rarely brave the Atlantic in August because of hurricane risks.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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