Archive for August, 2011

Category 6 Hurricanes? How About Category 18…

2011/08/24 1 comment

Less than enthusiastic reactions to Scientific American filling up a lull in catastrophic Atlantic hurricanes with imaginative musings about adding a new Category to the Saffir-Simpson scale.

I say, that New Scientist competitor in the “dumbed down science” section at any newsagent has not gone far enough. Had anybody remembered anything about science at the previously scientific magazine, they might have mentioned that the strongest winds in the Solar System rage around planet Neptune.

It’s 2,100kph: that is, Category 18, using Wikipedia’s formula of speed(mph)=83*10^(c/15).


If The Skeptic Society Were Not Fast Asleep On AGW (Anecdotes Do Not Make A Science)

2011/08/17 3 comments

This is what the Skeptic Society would write regarding the constant barrage of reports, blog posts, news items, peer-reviewed articles about the current and future (lack of) catastrophes related to man-made CO2 emissions – they would write it, that is, if the Skeptic Society were not fast asleep on the topic, most of the time – but not always – seeing itself as Defender of the Orthodoxy of Established Science rather than, shock! horror!, a society of skeptics:

Anecdotes Do Not Make a Science:
The ThisShouldBeWhatSkepticsAreAbout Reply
by non-Michael Shermer, non-Arthur Benjamin & non-James Randi

We realize that hour-long “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) demonstrations” do not a scientific experiment make, but there is no question that you warmists present them as if it were a scientifically known fact that “we are experiencing or going to experience Catastrophic AGW” to some degree. In your blog posts and articles, in fact, you state that these “physical phenomenon” is “something that is happening to us all,” thus stating your support of the “fact” of the existence of catastrophical man-made global warming. But scientifically speaking, the “facts” of the matter are that there is no positive evidence whatsoever for the existence of any of the increase in exceptional weather you discuss, when records are compiled in controlled scientific conditions.

Even the pro-AGWers who do serious responsible research on the matter are now admitting that their entire research program, after over fifteen decades of data collection, has produced nothing statistically significant. The few “blips” in the data that appear, quickly disappear when conditions were instead expected to replicate. This is one of the beautiful components of the scientific method—its self-correcting nature. For those who are corrected, however, it may not seem so attractive.

(Of course, Mr. Warmist, if your arguments for the validity of CAGW claims are based upon religious, rather than logical, scientific reasoning, many of these arguments may not apply to your statements. In that case we are arguing about a preferred belief system rather than a provable—or disprovable—claim).

Our position is not meant to be scornful or condescending. We only want to make the point that under controlled measurements over many decades, there has never been a proper and statistically significant finding of catastrophic increase in exceptional weather events. What CAGW people have are anecdotes about hurricanes or Arctic sea ice, and anecdotes do not make a science. Anecdotes are stories related by participants: “I saw a tornado and thought ‘this is what CAGW is about’.” Or: “I spotted some maybe-dead polar bears and made a guess about how many more have died because of CAGW.” And so on.

The simple fact is that thousands and thousands of CAGW stories, as impressive as they may seem, do not make a science. Ten anecdotes are no better than one anecdote, and a hundred anecdotes are no better than ten. Actually, a hundred anecdotes are worse than ten, if you do not also have statistically significant data showing a worrisome change in weather patterns and events somewhere in the world. It is a fact, Mr. Warmist, that NO results shown so far have been adequately obvious and clear-cut. In the case of old data—and the reputation of CAGW rests almost entirely on old, dubious paleoclimate data—those requirements often cannot be applied, obviously. But if your CAGWers are able to NOW produce data, we can show you how standard statistics can be applied. We await, with interest, your response to this suggestion.

Anecdotes are only useful to illustrate a phenomenon that already has been proven scientifically, in this case, statistically. If you do not have this, and as far as we can tell you do not, then all those anecdotes indicate is that there is something else going on that has absolutely nothing to do with CO2 emissions. To repeat the six-word phrase that should be memorized by every CAGWer and skeptic (it is difficult for all of us to understand), and repeated every night before bed:


(freely inspired to the Skeptics Society reply to the Association for Research and Enlightenment, an ESP advocacy group)

A Bovine Solution To Seasonal Forecasting

2011/08/16 1 comment

(the following has been translated and adapted from an article in Italian by Peppe Caridi of Meteoweb)

Yaks in South Tyrol

Yaks in South Tyrol

Is the European Summer coming to an abrupt end? That’s what looks like according to the yaks of South Tyrol, already back to their winter home in Solda having come down from the area around the “Città di Milano” mountain hut. According to local journalist Ezio Danieli that’s “an unequivocal sign that we are going to get cold and snow“.

For a bit of background, let’s take a step back to 26 years ago and the arrival in Solda, South Tyrol, Italy of several yaks, animals typical of the Himalayas. What happened is that during their 1983 climbing of the Cho Oyu (8,201m, 29,906ft), Reinhold Messner and Paul Hanny were helped by local cattle carrying materials to their base camp.

Messner and Hanny returned in 1985 and for the first time brought the herd of yaks to the “Città di Milano” mountain hut.. The animals remained there until the first snowfall, then returned by themselves down to the valley below, to their stables.

Since then, every Summer in early July Reinhold Messner and Paul Hanny accompany the group of Tibetan animals up to the Madriccio/Madritchspitze mountain,



surrounded by crowds of tourists and onlookers from around the world. Up the Ortles/Ortler ramps, Messner leads the herd of yaks (see at the bottom of this link the photos by Bruno Pileggi) to a spectacular alpine transhumance that ends spontaneously, every year between late August and early September when, with the arrival of the first cold and the first snow, the cattle return to the valley on their own.

This year they have returned before mid-August, and that had never happened so early since 1985! After all in the past weeks there hasn’t been much warm and heat up there, and besides the cool temperatures, thunderstorms are occurring almost on a daily basis.

Messner too is surprised by the behavior of the animals: “Normally, the descent to the valley means that their season up in the mountains is over and winter is coming, or at least the first snowfalls of the Autumn. It must be said however that at the foot of the Madriccio mountain, as I have personally verified in the past few days, the grass is still plenty even if the cold has arrived alongside the first snowflakes. Anyways, the “signal” is clear, let’s see what will happen in the coming days“.

Categories: AGW, Omniclimate Tags: , ,

(Failure at the New York Times and ClimateWorks) Why So Many People Are So Unperturbed

2011/08/02 7 comments

It says a lot about contemporary “green” journalism when a report that links the Permian extinction to “methane burps” using a Baltimore Sun article of Dec 2004 is described as “the best job I [Justin Gillis of the NYT] have seen of explaining, in layman’s terms, why scientists keep pressing the issue“.

Perhaps we simply shouldn’t have anymore laymen writing about environmental stuff.

Anyway, here’s my comments to “The Costs of Delay” by Hal Harvey and Sonia Aggarwal for the ClimateWorks Foundation:


How many times can the same concepts be regurgitated before people recognize they don’t lead anywhere?

The report says “A delay—of even a decade— in reducing CO2 emissions will lock in large-scale, irreversible change“. Ironically, this same sentence has been heard first more than TWO decades ago.

It then goes on to “Carbon “sinks” are disappearing” but “the proportion of total emissions soaked up by the oceans between 2000 and 2007 _MAY_ have declined by as much as 10 percent.” I am afraid such weaselry with words is very 2008.

the more CO2 [the seas] absorb, the more acidic they become“: a physical impossibility due to all that salt. Seawater could become less alkaline, but to call that “more acidic” is again a trite, old way of playing with words.

The pages on “impacts” only deal with future stuff that “may“, “is likely“, etc etc happen. That means it “may not”. “Estimates” are so 2008 too.

It gets even more ridiculous when the Permian extinction is linked to a “methane burpby way of a Baltimore Sun article of 2004. Is that a joke? And the authors proceed to mention two studies that depict adaptation in worse terms than even the Stern Review, thereby forgetting all the research that points in the other direction.

In conclusion the Climate Works report shows exactly why so many people are so unperturbed. The case for mitigation against climate change should be made in a less amateurish, less partisan, and decidedly more scientific way. IF that’s possible, that is.

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