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Archive for March, 2008

Joe Bastardi: Unbelievable Al Gore

2008/03/31 16 comments

Joe Bastardi, long-range forecast expert at Accuweather.com, responds to Al Gore’s statements on CBS’s 60 Minutes that people skeptical of AGW are “almost like the ones who still believe that the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and those who believe the world is flat“:

I am absolutely astounded that someone who refuses to publicly debate anyone on this matter and has no training in the field narrated a movie where frames of nuclear explosions were interspersed in a subliminal way in scenes of droughts and flood, among other major gaffes, can say these things and then have them accepted… by anyone.

[…] What gets me most is he goes on unchallenged one-on-one on this. Never in all my years of competition have I seen someone elevated to a level that he is, in any thing, without any face-to-face competition to establish credibility.

[…] anyone that believes he knows absolutely what is going to happen with the climate in the future, well you be the judge as to who is the card carrying member of the flat Earth society, that person, or the skeptic.

If This Doesn’t Kill Off Climate Hysteria…

2008/03/31 5 comments

If Professor Mike Hulme’s new document titled “Five Lessons of Climate Change” doesn’t kill off climate hysteria, I do not know what will.

Who he?

I’ve been researching changes in climate and their significance for societies since 1981, first looking at the relationship between rainfall variability in Sudan and traditional drought-coping mechanisms. I have published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles on climate change topics, served as a Lead Author on the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change in 1996 and 2001, trained 11 PhD students and from 1988 to 2000 wrote a monthly climate column for The Guardian newspaper. I was the Founding Director of the internationally renowned Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, am currently co-ordinating the EU’s biggest project researching into options for European and global climate policy, am one of three chief editors of the journal Global Environmental Change and teach an MSc module on ‘Climate change: science, society and policy’ at the University of East Anglia.

Just read the whole PDF carefully (I learned about it thanks to Bishop Hill).

Prof Hulme is saying, if development for the poorest people in the world will bring climate change, so be it.

Adaptation, not prevention; changes as resources not just risks; and “no global climate governance” that can turn into “a distraction from taking purposeful action“.

Hello Tapuz Users

There’s some traffic coming here from the Tapuz forum in Israel. Among the topics of conversation, my “Results of HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (V)” blog.

As my knowledge of the Hebrew language is limited to “ken” (“yes”), “lo” (“no”) and “meshuga” (“fool” – please don’t ask!!!), details on what is being said will be very appreciated…

Categories: Omniclimate Tags: , ,

The Eskimo Word for Robin

Contrary to what reported by the BBC World Service and Sen John McCain by way of Andrew Revkin on The New York Times, there is a word for “robin” in several Eskimo (Inuit) languages.

For the record:

Alaskan Eskimo: Shab’wak
Mackenzie Eskimo: Kre-ku-ak’tu-yok
Nunamiut Eskimo: Koyapigaktoruk

You can read more about how another cute (and ill-founded) global warming scare story bites the dust on the World Climate Report.

84-Year-Old Accused of Future Deaths, Extinctions and Economic Damage

2008/03/29 2 comments

Goebbelism has hit ABC News where AGW skeptic Fred Singer has been accused of being able to delay “government action on global warming by a decade or more by convincing the public through a disinformation campaign that there was an ongoing debate among scientists about global warming”.

Well, for one, I wish I’ll be able to do a tenth of that, when I am 84.

Seriously, NewsBusters is reporting Dr Singer has requested an apology. Let’s see.

But ABC’s shameful portrait of the “grandfather of the global warming skeptics” is just the umpteenth confirmation that the whole Global Warming struggle is not about science, or the environment.

It is about freedom, the freedom AGWers are trying to stifle in all sorts of ways.

XIX Century’s AGW Believers

Again from “Indian Summer: A Myth And A Fact, Too; What The Weather Men Have To Say About The Mild Period Of The Autumn“, by Charles Fitzhugh Talman, The New York Times Magazine, November 5, 1933

[…] Other writers of a few generations ago sought to explain the discordance between the Indian Summer tradition and the Autumn weather actually observed in their own times as one of the manifestations of a changing climate. Belief in the decadence of the “old-fashioned Winter” was then entertained even more widely than it is today, and it was natural to assume that there had been an equally conspicuous change in the character of the Autumns. Both of the supposed changes were usually attributed to the clearing and settlement of the country […]

Categories: AGW, Omniclimate Tags:

Unseasonable Weather, A Common Occurrence

2008/03/27 3 comments

AGW proponents seldom fail to point at episodes of unseasonable weather as evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing.

Trouble is, “unseasonable weather” has been with humanity for a long time. So long, in fact, people have had time to give names to metereological events deemed exceptional, yet recurring.

Here’s a list extracted from an article on The New York Times Magazine, November 5, 1933 (“Indian Summer: A Myth And A Fact, Too; What The Weather Men Have To Say About The Mild Period Of The Autumn“, by Charles Fitzhugh Talman):

Names for Unseasonable Warm Periods:

  • January Thaw (North America)
  • Indian Summer (North America, September to December)
  • Martinmas (Europe, November; around the days dedicated to Saints Luke, Martin, Michael, Bridget, Teresa, or Wenceslaus)
  • Altweibersummer (“Old Wives Summer”, Germany, November)
  • Halcyon Days (Ancient Greece, 14 days of calm weather around the Northern Hemisphere Winter solstice)

Names for Unseasonable Cold Periods:

  • Blossom Winters (eg Blackthorn Winter, Whitethorn Winter in England; Snowball, Redbud, Dogwood Winters in North America; cold periods during springtime, between April and May)
  • Ice Saints (Europe, May; cold days around the days dedicated to Saints Mamertus, Pancras, Servatius and Bonifacius May 11-14)
  • Schafkaelte (“Sheep Cold”, Germany, June; cold enough to cause problems with young lambs)
  • Squaw Winter (North America, September to November; cold and snow before the Indian Summer)
  • Beet Winter (France, September to November; freezing cold)

Names for Unseasonable Heavy Rains:

  • Lammas Floods (England, beginning of August)
  • Equinoctial Storms (Ancient Rome and Europe, both equinoxes; North America, Autumnal Equinox; torrential rains, in the latter case likely to be the tail-end of hurricanes)

I am sure there’s lots more in many more cultures. The “truth” simply is that “seasonable weather” is not cast in stone: and it never has been.

Categories: AGW, Omniclimate Tags:

The Failure of AGW Advocacy

Are climate skeptics helping prevent AGW policies from being implemented? That may well be true: but the actual situation is much more complex.

In truth, one cannot fault people expressing their opinions, and their dissent from “consensus”, for the fact that their views appear to be listened to by politicians (not sure they truly are), whilst the “consensus” usually results into idle talk or cures that are worse than the illness (see biofuels, or the idiotically expensive Kyoto treaty).

One important point to remember is that much of the Anglo-Saxon world’s brouhaha around climate change is linked directly to the hysteria accompanying a lot of AGW proclamations and actions. Likely due to political naivete, groups of scientists-advocates have joined Greenpeace and the likes in an escalation of hyperboles, with the world depicted almost as turning into cinder by Tuesday, if we don’t all go back to living in caves.

As some AGW scientists said about Al Gore’s movie, those hyperboles are not scientifically right, but are deemed ok to “convey the message”.

Distortion of science for a good cause was and unfortunately still is in fact a tactic devised to break down the BAU inertia (aka the “cost of Doing Something”). The problem is that there are only so many times such inertia can be countered with doom-and-gloom. AGWers have been unlucky enough to show up years if not months after major scares have fizzled out, like Y2K and SARS.

The general population then, and many politicians, have been healthily inoculated against unwarranted exaggerations. That’s why the AGW camp, still using obsolete influencing techniques, have literally painted themselves into a whining-and-crying corner, with few listening to them unless when there is an occasion for swindling public money (see US corn subsidies, and the European cap-and-trade system).

You can just read Dr Pachauri’s incredible declarations about the latest Antarctic huge iceberg, to see what I mean by hyperbole, exaggeration and distortion of science:

“if the huge bodies of ice of western Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets, sitting on land, were to collapse […]”

There is no danger nor forecast nor model that suggests anything of the sort happening for a long long long time even under the direst temperature increases we can imagine. So what is the point of talking about that, rather than more pressing concerns, such as the droughts and floods that do seem to come out of the model runs???

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And so the situation is: in a corner, AGW scientists and advocates kicking and screaming for action. In the rest of the world, lots of people that are turned off any meaningful action…by the kicking and screaming of those AGW scientists and advocates. Little wonder politicians do nothing of any meaning on the topic, apart from when they can spread “pork” and get more votes.

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Every once in a while some analysis appears begging the “environmental” movement to change their ways of communicating what they care about:

But the AGWers are still in the dark ages, as far as advocacy is concerned.

Lately the only novelty is that they appear to have decided to be relentless, as if following the old saying that if you keep repeating a lie, eventually it will be taken as truth. But time is not on their side: year-on-year climate fluctuations are larger than any AGW “signal”, as admitted even by RealClimate.

There is so much we can say, think and care about the world in 2020, let alone 2050, when the models say evidence would be so much stronger. And when the news talk about a catastrophe for the 1,000-th time, the impact on the public will be much much smaller than it was 999 times before.

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Anybody believing in AGW can keep on lamenting the situation…just please, try to understand: the lament is part of the problem. The existence of scientist-dissenters is not.

Just look at France: where a “green package” was discussed, defined and delivered without anybody running around like headless chickens. Believe it or not, I may have even signed that package myself!

No Worries, Blair and Branson Are Thinking About Our Climate…

2008/03/26 1 comment

…with a few chums, on a private island of course.

Having reached the agreement that (“the world is on fire” and) there must be an agreement but nobody knows what kind of agreement, they relaxed by sailing off in a dozen catamarans for a little beach party. With Blair’s security people behind in a motorboat, of course.

Global warming has been defeated! Glory be to Rich People That Care About the Planet!

Next: a zero-emission, perpetual-motion device. A couple of island retreats should suffice…

UPDATE: from a letter published in today’s IHT:

Get real on ‘green’ talk

Regarding the article “A getaway for a bit of ‘green’ talk, via jet-pool” (March 21): You’d think this group of wealthy, powerful fellows who were so involved in developing new uses for the Internet would have heard about teleconferencing. They could view one another on big screens and meet, in real time, without such a profligate use of the petroleum they want the rest of us to do without.

It’s so transparent: They just want to make more money. There is nothing wrong with making money, but they shouldn’t pretend they are trying to save the world.

Betty Perkowski North Stonington, Connecticut

Venus Atmosphere Still A Mystery

2008/03/26 5 comments

From Universe Today: “Although the bright haze of Venus’s atmosphere has been identified, many dark patches have also been observed. So far, there is no explanation for these patches of atmospheric chemicals absorbing solar UV“.

In the meanwhile, raypierre of RealClimate summarizes the latest info about the atmosphere of Venus, but somehow forgets to include the UV absorption mystery (it only shows up as an afterthought, comment #2).

One wonders why? Obsession with consensus and the need to demonstrate there exist such a thing as “climate science” spring to mind.

Too Much Ice? Who Knows?

2008/03/22 4 comments

Much blogosphere talk about a report by “Svend Erik Hendriksen, a certified weather observer in the Kangerlussuaq Greenland MET Office, who is responsible for all the weather observations at Kangerlussuaq Airport (near to Sisimiut)” according to whom polar bears this year are “very hungry” because of “too much sea ice“.

Since skepticism is not something to turn on and off at will, I have done some research on the topic. Turns out that there is at least one member of a forum that calls himself “S.E. Hendriksen” and claims to be from Kangerlussuaq.

He mentions metereological stuff in at least one post.

Has Mr Hendriksen commented about hungry polar bears in 2008, and too much sea ice? I haven’t found any “original” text so I am simply unable to tell.

One thing for sure, he is not your average AGWer, and publishes curious if somehow jaw-dropping “Roschach-like” analysis of Al Gore’s movie.

Let’s wait a few more days…usually, fake or overblown remarks don’t live that long.

Global Warming: Solution not Problem for a Thirsty Planet

2008/03/21 8 comments

On World Water Day, the United Nations have come out with yet another dire prediction: “By 2025, fully a third of the planet’s growing population could find itself scavenging for safe drinking water“.

And just in case anybody would miss it: “even as scientists and governments look for ways to satisfy a thirsty world, another threat looms on the horizon: global warming“.

In truth, rising seas and more frequent droughts don’t seem such a particularly bad idea. Think of a cooling world: would that be a drier world too, as more and more water is locked up in glaciers and ice sheets?

Of course a warmer world is a wetter place. The equation warm=dry is mostly if not only in the minds of scientists and journalists living in Europe and North America (i.e., the Northern temperate regions: where in fact it rains less in the Summer).

Anybody worried about water availability should definitely hope for further warming…

Boris Winterhalter’s Climate Blog (in Finnish)

2008/03/21 1 comment

NASA Discovers New Sun-Earth Connection

2008/03/20 2 comments

Very interesting new findings from Science@NASA (also involving the Goddard Space Flight Center):

Spring is aurora season. For reasons not fully understood by scientists, the weeks around the vernal equinox are prone to Northern Lights. […] This is a bit of a puzzle. Auroras are caused by solar activity, but the Sun doesn’t know what season it is on Earth […]

Such outbursts are called auroral substorms and they have long puzzled space physicists. […]

NASA’s THEMIS mission–a fleet of five spacecraft launched in Feb. 2007 to study the substorm phenomenon […] may have found the substorm power supply–and a springtime connection:

The satellites have detected magnetic ‘ropes’ connecting Earth’s upper atmosphere directly to the Sun,” says Dave Sibeck, project scientist for the mission at the Goddard Space Flight Center. “We believe that solar wind particles flow in along these ropes, providing energy for geomagnetic storms and auroras.”

It turns out that rope-like magnetic connections between Sun and Earth are favored in springtime. It’s a matter of geometry: As Earth goes around in its orbit, Earth’s tilted magnetic poles make different angles with respect to the Sun, tipping back and forth with a one-year cadence. Around the time of the equinox, Earth’s magnetic field is best oriented for “connecting-up” with the Sun. […]

Geomagnetic disturbances are almost twice as likely in spring and fall vs. winter and summer, according to 75 years of historical records […]

Pseudoscientific Elements in Climate Change Research

2008/03/19 1 comment

Pseudoscientific elements in climate change research” by Arthur Rosch – published by the Science and Public Policy Institute, Feb 16, 2008

Abstract

Alarming statements from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning global warming are being challenged by a considerable number of scientists from different disciplines with a variety of arguments. The disputes comprise the collection and interpretation of data, the validation of hypotheses and climate models, the use of those models for scientific decision making, and the quality of the scientific discourse on these matters.

Many of the critical scientists are not directly involved in climate research. This brings into focus the weight to be given to views of experts relative to that of non-experts when the use of the scientific method is discussed in general, and a critique on the use of the peer review system in scientific journals that is supposed to safeguard the quality of science.

The concern of some climatologists and scientists from other disciplines is that the supposed dangerous warming seems to be exaggerated.

The possible causes of exaggerated conclusions are investigated. It is concluded that the general practice of parameterization of computer models in climate change research shows an element of pseudo science because it leads to self-confirmation of input hypotheses (dogmas) and insufficient challenge of theories.

The theory of the enhanced greenhouse effect of increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere – the very basis for alarming messages concerning future climate change – is itself largely a modelling concept. It is suggested, that for the sake of the progress of science, this theory requires reinvestigation.

Amazing First on The New York Times

2008/03/19 9 comments

Something absolutely unheard-of before: an entire New York Times article talking about Global Warming but… with no hint of impending doom or catastrophes:

In a Warmer Yellowstone Park, a Shifting Environmental Balance by Jim Robbins – published: March 18, 2008

Alexander Cockburn on Climate Blasphemy

From Spiked-Online: “Intellectual blasphemy – Alexander Cockburn tells spiked that when he dared to question the climate change consensus he was met by a tsunami of self-righteous fury

[…] The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice. This is a fantasy. In truth, environmental catastrophism will, in fact it already has, play into the hands of sinister-as-always corporate interests. […]

The marriage of environmental catastrophism and corporate interests is best captured in the figure of Al Gore. As a politician, he came to public light as a shill for two immense power schemes […] His arguments, many of which are based on grotesque science and shrill predictions, seem to me to be part of a political and corporate outlook. […]

Through the process of peer review, of certain papers being nodded through by experts and other papers being given a red cross, the controllers of the major scientific journals can include what they like and exclude what they don’t like. […]

Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. One individual, who was once on the board of the Sierra Club, has suggested I should be criminally prosecuted […]

This experience has given me an understanding of what it must have been like in darker periods to be accused of being a blasphemer; of the summary and unpleasant consequences that can bring. There is a witch-hunting element in climate catastrophism […]

Scientific American’s Mauling to Pieces of Nature’s Review Process

2008/03/18 1 comment
This will be no news to those that know of the Hockey stick controversy
Nature editors reject peer review process that reduces gender bias

Following a surprisingly unscientific line of reasoning, the editors at the most renowned and prestigious of science journals have rationalized away the need to fix an ailing peer-review system.

Increasing skepticism about the effectiveness and integrity of single-blind peer review—the process by which most academic papers submitted for publication are accepted or rejected—has prompted empirical evaluation of the system.

Standard practice is: reviewers—selected for their expertise and fluency in the chosen discipline—are aware of all authors’ names and affiliations, while authors are kept in the dark about the identity of their reviewers (although some journals allow them to request specific referees).

The growing argument against this lopsided method is that knowledge of authors’ identity—gender, nationality, research institution, level of experience in the field—can (and does) bias reviewers’ opinions on the merit of the research.

The most vocal critics of the current system are those who believe their submissions do not get fair consideration—women, early-career scientists, people with foreign-sounding names—when matched up against authors who sail through the submission process on the status of their lab or the history of their career. And in an environment in which research funding, hiring, tenure, salary, and academic reputation are massively dependent on publishing record, one can easily imagine the ripple effects such a disadvantage would bring. […]

Global Warming “has not occurred in the last 4 years”

From Roger Pielke, Sr. “Climate Science” “Reality Check On This Year’s Cold and Snowy Weather – Implications For Global Warming“: we can state that global warming has not occurred in the last 4 years

With respect to the change in upper ocean heat content, as reported on a Climate Science weblog on February 15 2008, the paper

Willis, J. K., D. P. Chambers and R. Steven Nerem, 2008: Assessing the Globally Averaged Sea Level Budget on Seasonal and Interannual Time Scales. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans (in press),

reports on no upper (700m) ocean warming since  2004.

Thus while we cannot state that the recent widely distributed cold waves or overall cooling of the troposphere are evidence of the end of global warming over decadal and longer time scales, we can state that global warming has not occurred in the last 4 years. This is a major issue for both climate science and for policymakers, as only those who blindly (or deliberately) ignore the scientific evidence can still accept the 2007 IPCC conclusions as settled science.

This is part of the original quote from Chambers and Nerem:

“Despite the short period of the present analysis, these results have important implications for climate. First, from 2004 to the present, steric contributions to sea level rise appear to have been negligible. This is consistent with observations of ocean surface temperature, which show relatively little change in the global average between 2003 and 2006 [Smith and Reynolds, 2005, see NCDC global surface temperature anomalies]. It is in sharp contrast, however, to historical analyses of thermal expansion over the past decade [Willis et al., 2004] and the past half-century [Antonov et al., 2005; Lombard et al., 2005; Ishii et al., 2006]. Although the historical record suggests that multiyear periods of little warming  (or even cooling) are not unusual, the present analysis confirms this result with unprecedented accuracy.”

“Glacier Shrinkage” Data Reveal Extent of Measurement Bias

2008/03/17 1 comment

Glaciers suffer record shrinkage” say the BBC on its front page, International version tonight. Cue mentions of millions of people in danger of being left almost without water; talks about canaries and coal mines; and appeals for an immediate “green” change of people, economies and the whole society.

Google News report an alleged 122 news articles about the same story:

The rate at which some of the world’s glaciers are melting has more than doubled, data from the United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] has shown

So much for the news though. Let’s investigate the original source. And lo and behold, things are quite different from what has been reported.

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A quick search brings one to the website for the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), the Zurich-based group that is actually collecting the data for the UNEP. Top news on their home page, “The preliminary mass balance data for the year 2006 is now available!“.

Why it is out now, it’s explained in the other news: “Workshop on mass balance measurements and modelling (26-28 March 2008, Skeikampen, Norway)!

WGMS say more or less what the news is reporting:

Preliminary mass balance values for the year 2006 are now available from more than 80 glaciers worldwide. The continuous mass balance statistics below are calculated based on the 30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges*** […]

The average mass balance of the glaciers with available long-term mass balance series around the world continues to decrease, with tentative figures indicating a further thickness reduction of 1.4 m w.e. (*) during the hydrological year 2006. This continues the trend in accelerated ice loss during the past two and a half decades and brings the total loss since 1980 at more than 10.5 m w.e.

An analysis of the published data reveals something else.

First of all one minor error (positive balances occur in 5 glaciers, not 4). Then something a tad more significative: the actual reported mean thickness reduction is 1.301m, not 1.4m. The difference is around 10cm, that is 100 times the claimed resolution of 1mm.

But the biggest revelation is actually a confirmation: of the extraordinary extent of measurement bias in all things about so-called GLOBAL warming.

(1) What is the distribution for the “30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges” included in the WGMS analysis? 20 in Europe; 4 in North America; 6 in the rest of the world. That is: 66.7% in Europe, 13.3% in North America, 20% in the rest of the world.

(2) How many glaciers are included in the full WGMS list? 111. Of those: 60.4% in Europe, 24.3% in North America, 15.3% in the rest of the world.

(3) For how many glaciers is there data for 2005/2006? 97. Of those: 66.0% in Europe, 22.7% in North America, 11.3% in the rest of the world.

(4) How are thickness reductions distributed? Of the largest 19, 18 relate to European glaciers, and only one to a North American glacier. The first glacier from the rest of the world ranks 35 out of 97.

(5) How many glaciers show a thickness reduction larger than 10cm? 88. Of those: 69.3% in Europe, 20.5% in North America, 10.2% in the rest of the world.

(6) What is the average thickness reduction in all the glaciers for which data is available? 1.142m. In particular: 1.337m for Europe, 0.865m for North America, 0.565m for the rest of the world. Surely it must be by pure chance that the official WGMS statistics use a particular set of glaciers whose average thickness reduction is larger than the whole dataset’s.

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The pro-European (and pro-North American) bias is so blatant it doesn’t need any further qualification.

I have already shown how the IPCC itself may have unwittingly indicated that “Global Warming may be just European“. And now it may as well be the turn of the WGMS: for all we know, glaciers have been shrinking especially in the Northern Hemisphere temperate regions.

Is this sign of a “global” phenomenon? Who knows?

In truth, there is no meaning in speaking of “global warming” or of “global climate change” until the data are sufficiently “global“.

Let’s hope it will happen, one day…

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(*) w.e.” means “water equivalent“.

Mass balance is reported in meters of water equivalent. This represents the average thickness gained (positive balance) or lost (negative balance) from the glacier during that particular year.”

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