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Yet Another Amazing Detail About Climate Science

2011/01/24 3 comments

They’ve got incredible supercomputers to play with, but still our climate scientists build up global anomaly charts from only a handful of stations (1,000 or so if the guys at Climate Monitor are not mistaken, or one on average for every area the size of Bangladesh).

You’d think world-rescuing climate specialists would have computers and bandwidth enough to handle data from a million stations by now, or a billion even. But they say they don’t even need that.

Why not? Because they have discovered that 1,200-km grids are ok. Why are they ok? Because

temperature anomaly patterns tend to be large scale

How so? Here’s the root of it all, from 1987:

The 1200-km limit is the distance at which the average correlatiom coefficient of temperature variations falls to 0.5 at middle and high latitudes and 0.33 at low latitude

Who would believe that it all depends on a correlation coefficient of…0.5?

Sun Rises In Greenland, Sets In (A Few) AGWer Brains

2011/01/20 4 comments

(many thanks to Sancho and the guys at Climate Monitor for inspiring this blog)

Just like with the drowning polar bears that weren’t in 2008, the Daily Mail is now the source of another idiotic “it’s climate change!” story. Ver shortly, reports of the town of Ilulissat having seen the sun two days earlier than usual after the darkness of winter, have been presented as the result of “melting ice caps” that “have lowered the horizon allowing the sun to shine through earlier“.

Of course this was unsubstantiated speculation, starting from the simple fact that in the direction of the rising sun (due South, in these days in Ilulissat) there is no ice to melt. There have been a few theories on the “inexplicable” phenomenon. The simplest one by far, is the Novaya Zemlja Effect (h/t Fabrizio). Perhaps, it should go without saying:

The Novaya Zemlya effect will give the impression that the sun is rising earlier than it actually should…

Livescience.com manages to make a good article out of it. The best one can do about this sad story is to use to check which AGWers have been victim of scichosis (h/t TomFP), “whose sufferers use perverse extension of uncontroversial science to frighten themselves and others witless“:

1-  Thomas Posch, of the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Vienna (proving there’s always a scientist available to wildly speculate to a reporter about anything)

2- The Daily Mail Editor (as the article is unsigned)

3- Accuweather’s Mark Paquette

4- An untold number of bloggers I cannot be bothered to link to

5- That’s it

Very few people have fallen for the latest Daily Mail pearl. Maybe it’s because of Climategate, maybe catastrophism is going out of fashion (see Guardian’s “false claim” story, a journalistic indictment of the AAAS). Hope at last!

Arctic Sea Ice On The Edge (literally!)

2011/01/17 3 comments

Continuing in my investigation of how “unfair” the situation is regarding Arctic sea ice and its forever-negative anomaly (forever-negative since it is calculated against a reference is pretty much the most sea ice the Arctic will ever going to see), some curious results about where the 1.1 million square kilometers are missing from.

The edges, that is.

As of Jan 16, Cryosphere Today reports 1.131M sq km of missing Northern Hemisphere sea ice area.

If you go into more details, the situation is:

  1. Bering sea, missing .1M sq km
  2. Sea of Okhotsk, missing .15
  3. Greenland sea, missing .1
  4. Baffin/Newfoundland area, missing .4
  5. Hudson Bay, missing .3

————

Total is 1.05M sq km already. If you then look at all the other areas, you will find them pretty much all

  • At around zero anomaly
  • Full of ice (i.e. there is no space for additional ice area)

In other words, there is no way that those places could contribute a positive anomaly that would balance out the negative ones listed abov. The only Arctic place that could contribute anything positive to the anomaly is actually the Barents Sea (where it is currently zero).

And where are all these non-full negative-anomaly areas placed? Why, they are all at the edges of the Arctic ocean.

This strongly indicates it’s not a generalized Arctic warming that is behind the “missing Arctic sea ice area”/negative anomaly, but something connected to sea currents.In fact, the Hudson Bay situation shows this nicely: it’s not the actual Bay that is missing most of the ice, it’s the Hudson Strait linking the Bay to the (negative-anomaly) Baffin/Newfoundland area.

The Weather Is Really Changing (In 1953) (plus Attributions and CO2)

2011/01/16 1 comment

Yes it’s another old New York Times article, this time from July 12, 1953. Stories of unusual weather, retreating ice caps, extreme events (at the time it was tornadoes). Yada yada yada.

Couple of interesting details. Journalist Leonard Engel provides a list of past attributions to human activities:

Unusual weather  inevitably stirs up speculation as to the cause, in part, no doubt, because we like to talk about the weather anyway. And prominent event coincident with the exceptional weather is apt to be blamed. Heavy rains during World War I were popularly attributed to artillery bombardments in France. During the Twenties and Thirties it was fashionably to lay abnormal weather (along with other odd occurrences) to changes in the sunspot cycle. Today the popular villains  of freak weather are atom-bomb tests and the activities of rainmakers.

Engel mentions also greenhouse gases and in particular the concentration of CO2

In 1850 the air contained somewhat less than thirty parts of carbon dioxide per 1,000 parts of air. In the hundred years since, industrialized, urbanized man has poured unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide out of home and factory chimneys […] As a result, there are now thirty-three parts of the gas per 1,000 in the atmosphere instead of thirty.

Assuming Engel was just victim of some conversion mistake, and he meant 330ppm, it is curious to note that the figure is somewhat off Keeling’s original 1955 value of 310ppm.

Arctic Sea Ice? There Is Only So Much Space For Arctic Sea Ice…

2011/01/14 5 comments

Very quickly, a couple of notes on something that keeps bothering me…Arctic sea ice is the darling of AGW catastrophists, obviously not because its extension getting away from the 1979 maximum has been the most consistent “warming signal” (sorry, hurricanes!). But the geography of the Arctic makes it very difficult to beat the maximum.

For example looking at yesterday’s figures from Cryosphere Today (visual estimates) we have the Kara Sea, the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Basin and the Arctic Basin pretty much at 100% or slightly lower of maximum-ever sea ice. Only thing, there is no way they can get ABOVE that 100% line, simply because they are already 100% covered by sea ice.

Greenland sea ice runs at -0.05 million square kilometers (84% of its possible maximum, but it usually peaks later in the season). Similar the situation for the Chukchi Sea, the St Lawrence area and the Barents Sea.

So we’re down to where the sea ice actually is missing: Baffin (it’s half of what it should be, but what is should be is “completely covered by sea ice), Hudson Bay (almost the same), Okhotsk (there is 0.1 m sq km missing, despite the ongoing drama, and again the expected value seems to be “completely covered”).

—–

It is obviously very difficult for anybody to be above the zero-meter line if the zero-meter line is defined as the top of Mount Everest. Likewise, we should never expect news of a “healthy” Arctic sea ice extent unless it gets chocked-full of ice: in other words, we should never expect news of a “healthy” Arctic sea ice, really…

Therefore, the use of Arctic sea ice extent to investigate the effects of climate change, and in particular the use of the late-1970s as reference period, is bound to be limited.

 

Good (Unrecognized) News From American Scientist

2011/01/04 1 comment

In their weekly “Science in the News” e-mail, the folks at American Scientist have just managed to include a series of good news about the climate, without much of an acknowledgment. So here they are:

  1. scientists have been drilling beneath the Dead Sea to extract a record of climate change and earthquake history stretching back half a million years. So far, their findings include a wood fragment that’s roughly 400,000 years old“: linked NYT article also includes news about the Dead Sea’s water levels increasing by 300m between 50,000 years ago and now, and “wildly varying layers of salt and mud [representing] dry periods and wet ones” indicating how big local climate changes have been in the past, and how many of them there have been, without much human intervention
  2. researchers have found an ancient mummified forest in a nearly treeless section of the Canadian Arctic that is now surrounded by glaciers“: indeed, linked National Geographic article mentions a time in the past when “the Earth’s climate was drastically changing“, and mentions another NGS article yet, showing how forests contain in-built mechanisms to quickly expand to new areas when the conditions are warm enough. Hopefully nobody’s suggesting those mechanisms haven’t evolved in the remote past..
  3. the White House has issued guidelines to insulate government scientific research from political meddling and to base policy decisions on solid data. Under the guidelines, government scientists are free to speak to journalists and the public about their work“: actually, there is more, as mentioned in the linked NYT article, e.g. with clear wordings that would have hit hard the “hide the decline” Team: “the agencies are instructed that when communicating a scientific finding to the public, they should describe its underlying assumptions. For instance, they are told to describe “probabilities associated with both optimistic and pessimistic projections”

I do expect AS to come out against current mainstream AGW theory sooner rather than later (sooner than the hopeless critical-thinking-free Scientific American, at least). One little chip at a time, even the strongest wall will come down.

A Christmas Present From The New York Times

2010/12/23 5 comments

Not that they really wanted to be so generous, mind you…but in the printed (IHT) version of this long article about the Keelings and CO2 concentration measurements, somebody at the NYT decided to include this graph:

And so millions around the world will be able to see that temperatures have gone up and down in the past 400,000 years, with a characteristic shape (sharp increase with an even more marked peak, slow decline, then sharp increase again) that is currently being replicated (and the top temperatures of the past haven’t been reached yet). The usual reply is that in the past it’s been changes in the Earth’s orbit what drove the temperature changes: and yet, even if CO2 is the “culprit” this time there is evidently something in the Earth’s climate that:

  • Keeps temperatures from going unimaginably high
  • Counteracts the warming, whatever the CO2 concentrations
  • Mantains temperatures on average as much colder than at present

In the medium and long run, humanity should be preparing for a cooler world. Preparation means of course adaptation, the one thing nobody wants to do.

Explanation For GISS’ Global Warming Towards Cold And Snow (Aka The Half-Chicken Paradox)

2010/12/08 2 comments

If a rich man has two chickens, and a poor man none, both people are well-fed on average whilst one of them dies of starvation. Likewise for Global Warming.

This is a paradox strictly linked to the idea of working with temperature anomalies on a planetary scale. Imagine in fact if we had a Polar station with an anomaly of +15C, with average temperature going from -60C to -55C; and a Temperate-zone station with an anomaly of -5C, with average temperature going from +10C to +5C.

In those circumstances, the planetary temperature anomaly would go +10C, even if everybody would experience it quite cold. Worse: if the temperate areas had anomalies around zero, the planetary temperature anomaly would shoot to +15C, a giant number with no practical consequence whatsoever: because if the temperatures go up mostly where it’s very very cold, nobody anywhere sees any of the fabled “warming” effects linked to temperature increases.

And in case you wonder, that’s exactly what is happening, according to GISS, on planet Earth.

 

Martin Luther, Here I Come!

2010/11/18 11 comments

The “AGW is logically impossible” list (aka Global Warming Miracles) has suddenly jumped to 52 items, doubling in size in a little less than three weeks. As commented at the Italian version of the page, I am now only 43 items away from putting a poster at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Or perhaps I should find out where the bulletin boards are, at the University of East Anglia…

Indications Of A Changing Arctic (Across The Centuries)

2010/11/09 1 comment

(h/t FM)

Is there anything peculiar happening in the Arctic in our time? Unfortunately, satellite-based sea-ice measurements only start from 1979, i.e. have just barely crossed the magic 30-year line that we’re told separates “weather” from “climate” (in other words, we have just been able to say that, according to mainstream climatology, the ice in 1995 was on the decrease).

A different way to look at the issue is to source information from relatively old books and newspaper articles. And there are good indications that their analysis will show quite large changes in the Arctic sea-ice extension across the centuries.

As it happens, I was sent yesterday the link to a very interesting  1818 compendium edition of mid-1770’s North-Pole-related thoughts and reports by Danies Barrington FRS of “young Mozart” fame: “The Possibility of Approaching the North Pole Asserted“.

Barrington goes at great length both in collecting as much evidence as possible from seamen claiming to have been further North than would have been expected; and in examining such evidence with a healthy dose of skepticism. His conclusions: several ships have been beyond 82N, and many of them have reported clear water to the North (see page 61). And yes, uncertainties were put in plain sight: finding a way to reach Asia without going around the tip of South America was considered very serious business, and even a strong advocate for Polar exploration like Barrington didn’t try to hide what he might have found uncomfortable. A quarter of a millennium later, we can be fairly certain ships at Barrington’s time were regularly reaching 81N.

Fast forward to 1858 and a “letter” on the New York Times by a Col. Peter Force, actually the text of a lecture at the New-York Historical Society on July 1st of that year. Col. Force appears extremely skeptical of any claim about the very existence of a Northwest Passage, going as far as to use that old saying, “if it were there we would have discovered it by now”. And if you look at the details reported, the 82N of 80 years earlier was then almost an unreachable goal, as there is plenty of mentions of sea ice going as low as 69N.

Arctic sea ice was therefore extending much further to the South in 1858 than in 1775. But were the CO2 emissions in 1775 higher than in 1858? I do not think so.

President Vaclav Klaus At The GWPF Inaugural Annual Lecture: Quasi-live Blogging

2010/10/19 16 comments

Since I couldn’t get enough connectivity in the conference hall tonight, here are my quasi-live notes about President Václav Klaus’ Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture at The Great Room of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce in London (UK):

(these notes are provided as they are, with very little corrections – I will post my own reflections later)

(UPDATE: see also Reuters)

(UPDATE: full text of the lecture at the GWPF website)

Atrocious weather getting worse…is Al Gore in town, by any chance?

Around 70 people. Klaus’ book free to all attendants.

I meet Rupert Wyndham of BBC’s Complaint Procedure fame

Packing up quickly. Many are diplomats, as I have later learned.

7:07 Lawson and Klaus

Peiser starts. There is a lectern this time and a microphone. Videorecording equipment.

Klaus introduced as political leader but also an intellectual, of the classical liberalism variety: individual liberty, limited government, freedom to dissent.

“couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate speaker”

Copenhagen failure, Climategate, IPCC debacle: change in the political atmosphere.

Pres Klaus has been calling for rational and freedom-loving people to respond to the threat posed by collective environmentalist hysteria.

7:10
Klaus’ accent sounds better than mine

Special thanks to Nigel Lawson. Large range of institutions that support those that doubt current-prevailing dogma. This is not enough. Bias, carefully-organised propaganda needs to be countered with rationality.

Cites Bob Carter. The issue is not the warming, but the “dangerous human-induced warming”. Scientific debate is not about the policy. Public-policy debate has enormous implications. Governments, politicians, lobbyists search to grab more decision power for themselves.

Response to climate change can become the most costly mistake in history after Communism.

Cites McKitrick. Nobody is an expert on global warming. Too many aspects. Every body is an amateur on many if not most topics.

There are many respectable but highly-conflicting scientific takes on the subject. We must resist the attempt to shut down the debate. Real risk is to end up renouncing democracy.

Need to separate environmentalist myths from theories.

Has followed the literature. Carbon dioxide is a minor player, not primary cause of global warming. Cites Nobel-laureate: carbon dioxide across geological scales. Planetary changes don’t ask for permission.

Dangerous public policy consequences: many have concluded the current hypothesis is very weak. Not sufficiently tested. Can’t be used for policy decisions without looking at alternatives, opportunity costs, etc.

That is why he wrote the book about “green shackles”. (humor: since you’ve all got it, no need to continue speaking). Published in 16 different languages including Japanese and Arabic.

A year after publication, “Appeal to Reason” by Nigel Lawson. Klaus wrote the preface.to the Czech edition.

We are not on the winning side yet, but looking back since the launching of the AGW propaganda at the Rio Summit in 1992 and subsequent general pickup of the hypothesis, things have been improving.

Reputation of the scientific integrity of some of the most prominent researchers has been undermined, eg the Hockey Stick that was the basis of the 2001 IPCC report: pseudoscientific mindset, faulty data selection, frenzied propaganda, unscrupulous campaign, dubious statistics, etc etc (it’s a citation)

Copenhagen 2009 showed heterogeneity of views,

Three simple facts GW armies should keep in mind

1- Global mean climate does change, has changed, and will undoubtedly change

Over last 10k years, climate has been much the same and average temperature has not changed. Long-term, slight cooling.
GW armies are presenting a few decades as a threat to the planet to respond to with a wholesale change of our lifestyles.

Why are they so successful? Doctrines usually take much longer. Specifics of our time? Constanlty online? Religions less attractive? Desire to refill the emptiness with a new noble cause, saving the planet?

Environmentalists discovered some “more noble” than our down-to-earth lives. Can’t be accepted by somebody that lived under “noble” communism.

2- Medium-term timescales, 150 years (joke about Keynes), temperatures have shown a warming.

This is since the Northern Hemisphere emerged from the LIA two centuries ago. Trend was repeatedly interrupted.

Warming is modest and everything suggests future warming and consequences are not a cause for concern and something to battle against.

3- CO2 in atmosphere sometimes precedes, sometimes follows temp increases. Not fully understood.

No need to dispute those facts. Dispute is when people claim the coincidence in time is a “proof” of AGW. This is the current doctrine. This has existed for centuries, always with nature as the “starting point” to go back to. People are considered a foreign element. But it makes no sense to speak of a world without people, because there would be nobody to speak to (laughter).

Mentions his studies of econometric modelling. No conclusion can be based on correlation of two or more time sequences. So simple correlations do not exist.

Eg CO2 emissions did not start to grow visibly until 1940s. Temperatures at times moved in the opposite way of CO2.

Statistical analysis doesn’t demonstrate anything. Two Chinese scientists used random walk model for global temp variations. Result shows the model perfectly fits the data. No need to add human effects. No other model has given a btter fit.

There are other aspects of the doctrine, not just the simple relationship between temps and CO2. Another is the idea that increasing temperatures will be detrimental to the planet.

Many environmentalists don’t want to save man, but nature. Economics for them is irrelevant. For example the Stern review and its unreasonably low discount rate (that was what prompted Klaus to join the debate). The choice of discount rate is critical (cites Lawson). High discount rate=little meaning in any intervention.

We should use the market rate, as it is the “opportunity cost” of climate mitigation. Stern and others do not want to do that.

Klaus doesn’t deny increasing temps will see losers and winners. Even if overall is going to be detrimental, with proper discount rates the consequences are too small to worry about.

Why do many people think differently? Many have invested too much in GW alarmism. Fear of losing out on the political and professional side. Biz people hoped to make a fortune and are not ready to write it off. There is a coalition of powerful special interests endangering us. (hence the subtitle of his book.

We need to stand up against all attempts to undermine our democratic society.

We need to be prepared to all kinds of future climate changes but never accept to lose our freedom

ends at 19″43

room is packed. >100

there is a video being taken

Peter Glover: Arctic forum. No engagement at all on the two sides. The “other side” never seems to have thought things through logically.

Klaus: Many scientists are engaged Journalist in The Times keeps receiving articles and books about the dogma. The fact that the other side doesn’t listen is not new to people that lived under Communism.

Q: Roll back the ETS in Europe?

Klaus: Cap-and-trade is one of the policy measures in the hands of the environmentalists. It’s not just the USA staying away from it. But the EU is post-democratic (laughter)

Hartwell (metallurgic engineer): Presentation is political. Royal Society published paper on climate change. Many scientists there are seriously interested. We should manage the risk of future rises in temperatures

Klaus: Not impressed by science established by committee or vote. Remember nobody is an expert in GW. Another quote from Bob Carter: wide range of disciplines among “climate” scientists. Most alarm from scientists from meteor and computer modelling. Geologists see no cause for alarm.

(argument ad providentiam)

Klaus says he has used computer models too. Computer modellers are not climatologists.

Q: Ecological modernisation used by many groups to look for environmental problems to push for technology. Amount of money in the academic community is very strong. WG-III is real push for IPCC.

Klaus: can’t understand sustainable development. Environment should be differentiated from GW.

Physicist: Comment on RS. Previous head didn’t’ give space to “deniers”. current document requires further revision. Draft Copenhagen agreement deals with putting together a world government (57? 58?). Why didn’t you use that?

Klaus: Only retirees dare write against AGW. COP-15 was so confused there was no point to go there. Details impossible to follow and not relevant. Documents have no writers and no readers

Q: Bloggers have changed the nature of the debate

Lawson: Yes. Extremely-expensive decisions should not be taken without a proper debate and there hasn’t been one. The RS has been obliged to move a little bit, not much, but more than nothing. Even the BBC says dissenting voice ought to be heard.

My questions

What would convince Pres Klaus that there is something to worry about? What would he choose, climate disruption or liberty?

Klaus: Empirical evidence is what is needed. Starting point still remains. Quality of measurements for example is important. Models are not convincing, too many mistakes in the methodologies, statistics, I am not convinced

Philosopher: The psychological side. Green lobbyists want to have cars and dirty industries banned. They found the scientific reason in AGW. Political agenda feeds on fear.

Klaus: One reason for scaring us disproved, another one pops up. My interests at the beginning of the 1970a. Could get only economical reviews and scientific publications. Couldn’t understand Club of Rome and Limits to Growth. That’s total nonsense. Same computer modellers of LtG continued with AGW. Same people.

Q: AGWers are organised by somebody?
Piers Corbyn: Prepare for extreme events…ask the UN to do that?

Klaus: Anybody controlling? People that have outlived communism are oversensitive regarding the issue of getting controlled

Q: Oxford Union debate, victory. Other side went for ad-homs. Wind farms are completely useless and evidence is transparent. How do rational politicians live with that knowledge?

Klaus`; Times journo asked if other leading politicians are against AGW? Many have similar views but are afraid to say it openly. Anecdote. Some nonsense is very evident. Solar energy during the night. Wind farm generation by electrical motors.

Lawson concludes. Mentions Klaus’ bravery as he is still in office.

end at 20:29

.

Help Save Five Hundred Years Of Weather Observations

2010/10/04 8 comments
Collegio Romano in the 19th Century

Collegio Romano in the 19th Century

The prestigious collection of hundreds of years of weather observations, historical books and meteorological instruments from the Collegio Romano in Rome is at risk of being dispersed for good. Please sign the appeal to prevent such a disaster: http://www.petizionionline.it/petizione/salviamo-losservatorio-meteorologico-di-roma/2200 (in the signature section: “Nome”=First name; “Cognome”=Family name; “richiesto”=Mandatory field)

=========

A few days ago I have received the following letter via e-mail (translated and adapted in English from the original in Italian):

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that I am forwarding the attached letter – press release by the staff at the Research Unit for Applied Meteorology and Climatology in Agriculture (in Italian: CRA-CMA), the direct descendant of the first Italian National Weather Station inaugurated in 1876 and headquartered at the Collegio Romano from 1879 (in an area previously occupied by the Meteorological Observatory built in 1782 by Abbot Giuseppe Calandrelli (the first to apply gravitational theory to cometary atmospheres)). I hope that those who have taken this decision will go back on it, at least reconsider this meteorological site, by declaring its historical importance for Italian meteorology. That would mean leaving untouched its Library, Historical Archives and the Museum of Ancient Meteorological and Seismographic Instruments, as well as the historic Calandrelli Observatory. The Library is at present unique in Italy, after the closure, in the 1990s, of the Air Force Weather Service Library.

Calandrelli Observatory

Calandrelli Observatory

The accompanying “press release” says the threatened closure is due to forced savings at the CRA, even if those same savings are pretty much doubtful (premises are free of rent, and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has pledged to pay all CRA-CMA costs).

Signatures against the disappearance of the historical collections of CRA-CMA are being collected since Oct 2, but the hoped-for 5,000-signatory target is still far away. There is also a Facebook group (in Italian) where to show one’s support.

More details about CRA-CMA from the “press release”: the library, known as “Central Italian Meteorological Library”, boasts more than 40,000 rare and valuable Italian and foreign texts of meteorology and geophysics, some dating back to the 1500s; the area has played host to famous scientists who have made the history of meteorology (Galileo Galilei, Father Angelo Secchi, Enrico Fermi). There is also a collection of highly-valued rare and prestigious historical seismographic and meteorological instruments.

CRA-CMA still manages a network of weather stations located throughout the country. The historical archive of weather data is of unique importance (with six million data points for each observed weather variable) and is one of the few in the world with multi-centennial meteorological and climate data series. “Such data are key for the undertaking of climate studies aimed at land use, agrometeorology, renewable energy sources and energy saving. “To this day, CRA-CMA’s Rome Meteorological Observatory’s unbroken series of centuries of weather reporting remains of paramount importance for the study of climate changes in the city“.

As it happens, CRA-CMA’s Curator Dr Franca Mangianti is no rabid AGWer (time will tell if that’s got anything to do with the threatened closure):

Q: You take care of more than a century of continuous weather observations, recorded year after year in the “bulletins”. What can you tell us about climate change? Are we really going towards a catastrophe?

A: Actually, regarding the “global warming” issues, our data tell us that the temperature in Rome has increased 0.8C during a hundred years, i.e. less than a degree. That’s very little really. Historically Earth has seen long cold and warm periods (we are talking about years and sometimes centuries). Over the past twenty years, for example, we have experienced a warmer period and it is therefore quite normal that temperatures have slightly increased. This does not mean that temperatures will go up forever. Indeed, it is very likely that in a few years they will start going down again. Unfortunately a kind of excessive alarmism bases itself on the application of mathematical models to meteorological data, without including a proper analysis of the past. About rainfall, however, the last century has certainly seen a decrease. In Rome, it rains now far less than in the past and this better be considered before embarking into exaggerated alarms, for example, about future floods of the river Tiber. With rains like we get nowadays, and the protections built on Garibaldi’s inspiration, you can be sure that the Tiber in Rome will not overflow again.

An interesting article among the scientific literature that has come out of CRA-CMA:

M. Colacino and A. Lavagnini, Evidence of the urban heat island in Rome by climatological analyses, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Volume 31, Numbers 1-2, 87-97, DOI: 10.1007/BF02311344

The analysis of air temperature data covering a period of 12 years (1964-1975) in a meteorological station network situated in the low Tiber Valley, shows clearly the effect of the heat urban island due to the city of Rome. This effect occurs with different intensity according to the seasons and to minimum and maximum temperatures.

And lest anybody thinks Exxon and the Koch brothers have been busy taking over a meteorological station in Rome:

Andrea Toreti and Franco Desiato, Changes in temperature extremes over Italy in the last 44 years, International Journal of Climatology, Volume 28, Issue 6, pages 733–745, May 2008, DOI: 10.1002/joc.1576

Changes in temperature extremes over Italy from 1961 to 2004 were evaluated on the basis of minimum and maximum temperatures measured by 49 synoptic stations uniformly distributed over the country. A set of extreme temperature indices of the Commission for Climatology/Climate Variability and Predictability (CCl/CLIVAR) Working Group on Climate Change Detection was calculated and statistically analysed in order to detect the presence of trends and quantify the variations of the indices for different time periods. Most of the indices, averaged over all stations, show a cooling trend until the end of the 1970s followed by a more pronounced warming trend in the last 25 years. The net variation of the indices reflects an increase in the extremes of the temperature distribution. Among the most significant results, an average increase of 12.3 summer days and 12.4 tropical nights in the overall 44 years are estimated. No significant differences between northern, central and southern Italy are found for most indices, indicating that the trends originate from large-scale climate features; however, the largest increase of tropical nights is observed at coastal stations. Copyright © 2007 Royal Meteorological Society

Please do sign, and ask people to sign, the online petition to save CRA-CMA.

Part of the Library at Collegio Romano

Part of the Library at Collegio Romano

UPDATE: Here’s the English version of the online petition

The historical meteorological observatory of the Collegio Romano, in operation for 228 years, has been told to vacate its premises occupied from 1879. To this moment, nobody knows where it will be moved to, and worse, nobody knows what will be the future location of its Library, immense historical Archives and collection of old instruments, a priceless heritage cared for during more than two centuries by many great people with lots of passion.

The situation arises from research cuts put in place on September 27 by the CRA (Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture). One has to wonder how they could agree on such a decision, what the real reasons could be and how it is possible that a “Research Institute” could throw away a historical *research* archive built for over two centuries!

The closure of the observatory at the Collegio Romano is a barbaric act, against the history, culture and meteorological tradition of Rome and of Italy. The observatory is a precious piece of history that once pulled apart, will never recover.

There are further questions about the decision since, in the words of staff at the observatory, “the premises are rent-free and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has formally committed itself to support all operating expenses”. The Library, known as the Central Library of the Italian Meteorology, has been claimed as state property in 1998, and it is composed of more than 15,000 Italian and foreign, rare and valuable books of meteorology and geophysics, some dating back to the 1500s. It is also the main historical archvie for the meteorological and geophysics Italian studies in the modern age, and has been visited over the centuries by the likes of Galileo Galilei, Father Angelo Secchi, Enrico Fermi.

Alongside the books, there are many valuable weather and seismic instruments, showing the evolution of measurement systems in Italy. The historic weather archive – one of the few data series in the world covering several centuries – consists of over six million disaggregated data points for each weather variable.

The Bernacca Association, hoping to be joined in its efforts by other weather-related associations, is opposed to this decision. We want to save a priceless heritage that some “enlightened minds” are trying to squander.

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Live Microblogging Of GWPF – Montford – Bishop Hill Climategate Enquiries Presentation

2010/09/14 3 comments

I am at the House of Lords for the GWPF / Montford / Bishop Hill presentation of the climategate inquiries report

Follow @mmorabito67 on Twitter for live updates from 10am GMT

UPDATE: here the relevant Twitter entries in chronological order

  • Delingpole, Warehouse in attendance
  • Lord Lawson, Benny Peer, Lord Turnbull, Andrew Montford ready to go
  • Benny Peiser of course – curse you, Android!
  • And that was Whitehouse 😛
  • Starts right on time. Turnbull first
  • Turnbull: so far boys-will-be-boys defence. ButBritish science reputation important.
  • Turnbull: climate policy ipcc-based in UK demands almost complete decarbonisation
  • People questions if science is solid enough to warrant these sacrifices
  • Climategate enquiries timely but did they answer the original questions? New parliam commit looking at things again
  • Missing is review of science that select committee thought would be done by Oxburgh and was not
  • Montford reads. Starts with lack of independence
  • Panels full of campaigners, no skeptic selected
  • Serious allegations overlooked, selected papers by UEA and Jones themselves
  • Known fraud evidence not considered at all
  • Sir Muir Russell informed of FOI breach but did nothing about it
  • Curry, von Storch critical of the enquiries too. Reputation of British science is on the line
  • Peiser underlines it’s the enquiries that are under scrutiny, not the original allegations
  • Times journo challenges Montford on Jones’ selection claim. Good answer.
  • Turnbull: flaws from day one, prejudicial remarks, little representativity, flawed processes
  • I asked: enquiries give free hands to fraudsters as long as it’s not too serious a fraud: Bishop is more optimistic
  • Telegraph journalist asks Lords’ own opinion. Lawson mentions huge cloud of doubt when emails came out
  • Inquiries are the expertise of Lord Turnbull -these ones failed to close the debate on Climategate
  • They may be right about the science, so why did UEA engage on disreputable behaviour?
  • Guardian journalist asks how report was written (desktop job)
  • Why the Bishop? Lawson asks to judge report on merits
  • Turnbull: parliament is listening to Sir Muir and the others too
  • Montford: plenty of citations in my report if anybody is looking for them
  • Telegraph: new info? Russell minutes on website, recently available
  • UEA head of IT: Briffa took home some emails. Russell did not even mention this
  • Turnbull: can we really do AR5 as if nothing had happened
  • Lawson: there is no indication the ipcc will implement the recommendations
  • The ipcc hid the decline – very disreputable – even if Jones mentioned it in the original articles
  • Montford: only mention of hiding at the very last moment in AR4
  • Whither the IPCC? Lawson: doubts undermine its purpose
  • MP already in Sci Tech committee: our outcome not influenced by our chairman remarks
  • Continues: surprise by huge gaps when we asked none there would be
  • More: Jones and Briffa cannot reproduce their work. “Very disturbing”
  • Meeting closes at 10:53am Gmt

Live Microblogging Of McIntyre and Holland At Climategate GWPF London Event

2010/07/13 29 comments

I just came out of tonight’s GWPF event in London, chaired by Benny Peiser and with Lord Lawson in the audience.  Guest speakers about Climategate were David Holland and Steve McIntyre.

(links added – most of them… I will put all the links tonight)

As usual, here my notes as published live on @mmorabito67 (my “main” Twitter account remains @omnologos):

(for clarity, my own remarks are in italic)

  1. Around 35 in the audience so far. Holland already seated
  2. Lord Lawson and McIntyre in the room
  3. There we go. Attendance around 50
  4. Peiser quotes damning article by Harrabin in December (and here’s the quote unless the UEA inquiry is demonstrably impartial it will fail, and a new fully independent enquiry will almost certainly have to be formed“)
  5. Holland first, about his data requests
  6. Holland details how nobody could have checked the data before Kyoto’s
  7. Holland “no poor soldiers, only poor generals”
  8. Holland’s tells a tale of obfuscation by MetOffice reminding me of opening chapter of HHGTTG
  9. Holland: Russell report full of factual errors, no investigation of effort to delete emails
  10. Room almost full now
  11. McIntyre’s title slide “The ‘Inquiries'”
  12. McIntyre: 98% emails about Hockey Stick
  13. McIntyre: independent temp reconstructions not so – same names keep appearing
  14. McIntyre: Jones, Mann, Briffa prodigious writers of HS-related articles also reviewing each other
  15. McIntyre: CRU secretive to protect funding without investing on quality control
  16. FOI at stake on this but many don’t get how important it is
  17. McIntyre: first upload of emails was to RealClimate, as if a prank
  18. McIntyre makes fun of counterterrorism involvement
  19. McIntyre: UEA not investigating in the open – parliamentary reporters too clever compared to environmental ones?
  20. McIntyre: parliamentary committee left science to Oxburgh
  21. McIntyre: “trick” needed to “preserve the message” by IPCC
  22. It all sounds like propaganda reports before the Vietnam war opened eyes of journalists to the now-obvious lies
  23. McIntyre: independent science Oxburgh commission sent email from UEA
  24. McIntyre: Oxburgh left no notes or any documentation – no science examined – articles chosen by UEA
  25. Why would Lord Oxburgh want to associate his name to such a disaster?
  26. McIntyre: mention “sleight of hand” quote by UK MP
  27. McIntyre: Russell’s findings not based on anybody else but UEA, (slightly nutty) reference to “natural justice”
  28. McIntyre: mentions Harrabin referring to him as the most knowledgeable about CRU science outside UEA
  29. McIntyre: Muir Russell did not go to Jones’ interviews – no rigour, no due diligence
  30. McIntyre: odd that interviews conducted by climate activist with years of UEA work
  31. McIntyre: Jones’ request to delete emails a day later FOI request
  32. McIntyre is steadily destroying Sir Muir Russell’s credibility
  33. McIntyre: no accountability in the system
  34. McIntyre: climate science is being depreciated among public by hiding of adverse data
  35. McIntyre: climate sensitivity an issue. We can’t wait for absolute certainty
  36. First q: did MWP happen?
  37. I asked about consequences on democracy and why bother at all. Upbeat answers by Peiser and Holland
  38. Peiser speculates scientists’ jobs at stake, grandees took credibility hits as no gross misconduct apparent
  39. IPCC is not following most/any of the recommendations
  40. McIntyre: grudging consensus against preventing the release of data – would be idiotic strategy in civil lawsuit
  41. McIntyre: EPA has hockey stick among evidence – very unwise (I can’t find where and when that happened)
  42. Climategate has put the EPA in “uncomfortable position”
  43. Peiser: GWPF’s push for effective policies is gaining ground
  44. Peiser: GWPF report by Andrew Montford out end of Aug 2010
  45. Sunday Times enviro journalist: have scientists tried to present a clean narrative where knowledge still fuzzy?
  46. Holland hopeful science community understands things have to change
  47. McIntyre sees no change, grand statements, critics being blamed
  48. McIntyre: if hockey stick won’t matter, get rid of it. Plenty of PhD’s in readership, IPCC should focus more
  49. Peiser concludes hoping Climategate has changed Science and made it more open and transparent

Venus Awakening

2010/05/07 9 comments

Steve Goddard in WUWT, May 7, 2010? Luboš Motl in the reference frame, same date?

Sure, but what about Omniclimate’s 4-part series starting Feb 27, 2008? (Here parts 2, 3 and 4)

Or Omnologos’ now ancient Aug 17, 2007 post?

Alas, there was some mention of it in a July 2007 Elsevier book. But who cares? What is important is that the stale orthodoxy about Venus’ “runaway greenhouse effect” is starting to dissipate.

As forecasted in “Venus Forecast” 35 months ago: “In a few years, the old ideas of Fred Singer will come back into fashion.

Venus’ retrograde rotation, incredibly massive atmosphere and relatively young (<500 million years) surface will be elegantly explained by the crash of a massive satellite half a billion years ago (with subsequent melting of much if not the whole crust, and humongous outgassing).

Current lead-melting surface temperatures will be just as beautifully explained by simple adiabatic processes.

The role of CO2 in the heating of the atmosphere via some “greenhouse effect” will be seriously reconsidered and almost completely dismissed.

UPDATE May 10: WUWT has a new post on Venus. Among the comments, a link to another blog making a similar point (Oct 7, 2009) and to a brief communication by Carl Sagan in the pages of the Astrophysical Journal (1967) estimating the surface temperature without a single mention of the “runaway greenhouse effect”.

If It Looks Like UHI, Heats Like UHI, And Graphs Like UHI, Then It Probably Is UHI

2010/04/26 3 comments

by Guido Guidi and Maurizio Morabito

Our friend Teo has just expressed his personal and perfectly reasonable opinions about new, old publishing venture called “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“.

In fact, we find it hard to disagree with him.

The subject of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) is topical, and it is somewhat ironic that such a self-evident effect is so happily dismissed away by AGW proponents. One suspects UHI is extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable to consider to those strictly supporting only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory.

Who them? By sheer coincidence, only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory can be used to dictate deep societal changes. But that’s another story.

Let’s just add some considerations based on a Willis Eschenbach post on WUWT. It’s a simple but eloquent analysis of a dataset of temperatures, with measures coming from about seventy stations over Northern Europe. Interestingly, an analysis of the monthly data across the decades for the duration of the dataset, shows a warming trend to be occurring primarily in winter months.

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

And what kind of forcing is especially important in the coldest period of the year? No prize for guessing that one right. This is precisely what is expected from the UHI effect, and it is due to changes over time to the environment surrounding the measurement equipments. Roads, buildings, infrastructure are built, woods are fallen and so on. That’s “Anthropogenic” as well, of course, and it has all the potential for local and global consequences.

Data so heavily biased are simply not compatible with the currently fashionable “globalization of forcing“, the mistaken belief that temperatures overwhelmingly taken on land and in heavily urbanized areas, are representative of the thermal state of the entire Blue Planet.

Think of it for a minute. We are talking about temperature anomalies with a positive trend coming from winter months. We are talking of continental regions at high latitudes. We are talking about winters with little insolation, in areas with a high albedo (reflecting visible light!) due to large amounts of snow cover.

  • Temperature sensors, under those specific conditions, show a gradual Winter warming

In the summer, with a much lower visible-light albedo in the absence of snow, the incoming solar radiation is absorbed and then re-emitted as longer waves: exactly those “captured” by greenhouse gases.

  • Temperature sensors, despite the abundance of infrared radiation, show no Summer warming

How could the positive anomalies be ascribed to a greenhouse effect, that remains a mystery to us. It definitely looks like this is enough to ring more than a few alarm bells, no matter what has been said in the past and by whom.

And the problem of telling between the greenhouse gas contribution to warming, and all other anthropogenic and natural effects, does not just apply to urban setting. It remains to be seen about who’s going to care about it, bringing forward a better understanding of the climate, rather than continuing to run like headless chicken always after the next CO2 molecule, as if it were volcanic ash…

A Brief History Of Dashed UHI Hopes

2010/04/26 3 comments

by Teodoro Georgiadis – slightly romanced English version by Maurizio Morabito

And there I am, at the beginning of March 2010: me and the brand-new, Volume 1, Number 1 , January / February 2010 issue of “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)” . Editor in Chief: Mike Hulme.

Wow, a fresh journal on Global Climate Change!

Even better: according to itself, the journal is meant as

a unique platform for exploring current and emerging knowledge from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon – environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics

Wouldn’t that be a welcome novelty, in a world post-climategate, post-submerged Holland, post-quickly disappearing Himalayan glaciers, post-Amazongate…in short, in a world that has seen an intense and compact series of scientific downpours on concepts perhaps too quickly assumed as established truth.

Downstream of Copenhagen, a new journal following WIRCC’s statement of intent would surely sport a truly different outlook: new style, new peer-reviewers, new structure all with the goal of providing science with the required level of objectivity, sadly and mostly missing in contemporary climate discourse.

I proceed therefore with all enthusiasm to select an article of surefire interest to me:

David E. Parker, “Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change” p 123-133, Published Online: Dec 22 2009 12:42PM DOI: 10.1002/wcc.21

That’s it then! Finally we can leave the “gates du jour” behind and improve our knowledge of climate change.

Or maybe not.

First reference: IPCC. Second reference: Jones et al. (with Wang).

Wait a sec…what’s going on?

OK let’s move forward…alas, only to find something truly amazing:

the influence of urban heat islands on estimates of global warming is limited by the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and is absolutely unaffected by urban warming

Say what? Oh yes, the Blue Planet, ever the envy of nasty aliens such as those in HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. But hang on…most of the network of temperature measuring stations is literally on solid ground…if you place them on a map they’ll be a bunch of dots almost exactly superimposed to cities. As for the ocean temperatures, we know very well how they are derived.

This isn’t looking good.

Anything better?

Exclusion of urban sites, or selective use of rural sites, requires information (‘metadata’) about the site and its surroundings

Yes, yes…ah, that refers to a 2005 J Clim paper by Peterson and Owen…isn’t that the same Peterson unceremoniously criticized for example by McIntyre on Climate Audit, regarding the peculiar classifications of urban and rural stations? There is a truly remarkable definition of “Parking Lot Effect” on that site.

How strange though, of all the past and present discussions and questions on the topic, Parker manages to mention exactly nothing. Well, at least that might explain the article’s conclusions:

The urban heat island has had only a minor impact on estimates of global trends”… The impact is small because assiduous efforts have been made by the compilers of global surface air temperature records to avoid or compensate for urban warming

Assiduous effort“? Amen to that.

Current and EMERGING knowledge?” Not by a long shot.

My conclusions: “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“? New journal, same old story.

EUFAR’s Measurement Flights Of Volcanic Ashes

2010/04/20 1 comment

Alas, the “major measurement news” are coming out slower than expected. Anyway: all those interested can head off to the European Facility for Airborne Research  (EUFAR), where a mailing list has been set up to share information (not sure if that’s open to the public yet).

Here’s EUFAR’s relevant page as of now:

Measurement flights of volcanic ashes

This page will be updated regularly with new information.

Next EUFAR teleconference tomorrow Wednesday 21st at 2:00 P.M. (CET)

  • to report what has been measured so far
  • to share experiences.

2 teleconferences took place to discuss the “Status about the volcanic ashes measurement flights”:
– on the 19/04/2010 – meeting 01
– on the 20/04/2010 – meeting 02.

A mailing list to exchange information about the ash measurements is already operational. Please contact bureau@eufar.net to subscribe or un-subscribe.
A webpage has also been created. It is available from the “What’s new?” section of the EUFAR website homepage http://www.eufar.net or directly at:http://www.eufar.net/wiki/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/EufarCMS/VolcanicAshes?skin=view.
A repository to share all the data collected within the aircraft operators and the scientific community will be set up by Wendy Garland from BADC. You will be informed when this is completed (in the next few days).

Volcanic Debacle, Failed Models, And Mean “Greens”

2010/04/19 2 comments

Sounds like anthropogenic global warming, doesn’t it? The danger exists, but it is being senselessly exaggerated.

What if behind the decision to stop flights on a continental scale were the failure of a whole way of thinking public policy in Europe, with an asinine fixation on using computer models?

What if the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about millions dying of swine flu or maybe not, and the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about volcanic cloud making airplanes drop from the sky like flies or maybe not…what if people finally opened their eyes about the extreme limitations of computer modeling?

Who knows. Meanwhile, let me state clearly that I am fully aware of the potential risks for an airplane flying in the wrong conditions and at the wrong time through a cloud of volcanic origin. But there are enough indications to doubt the necessity of a reaction even remotely like the irrational panic that is causing the closure of European air spaces.

For example, the famous BA9 flight that almost crashed in 1982, was not the only flight to pass through that area. Wikipedia reports that the airspace around the Galunggung volcano was temporarily closed after the accident, reopened days later and permanently shut only after a similar incident to a Singapore Airlines flight around 19 days later, on July 13, 1982.

Indeed, there are indications that the first “encounter” with the ashes from Galunggung had occurred on April 5. That is, in three months and with little precaution taken, only twice the conditions were bad enough for flights to experience severe problems. And even if we consider the famous eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, despite the resulting cloud being able to travel 8,000 kilometers to the East Coast of Africa, the total tally was of 20 “damaged” planes, none of them as badly as BA9.

Think about it…billions and billions of flight hours since the Wright brothers, thousands and thousands of flight accidents of all sort and a grand total of 22 issues with volcanic ash, none of it deadly.

Sounds like anthropogenic global warming, doesn’t it? The danger exists, but it is being senselessly exaggerated. Even a recent NASA study, stating that virtually invisible and imperceptible volcanic clouds can still cause serious damage to an aircraft, can’t dispel the doubts since, were that to be true, the effect of ash would have been long noticed in the maintenance of thousands of airplanes.

Anyway…where reason fails, money can still rule the day, hence the airlines’ discontent about the decision to keep everybody grounded. Lufthansa and Air Berlin protested first to the newspapers, and even Niki Lauda moved swiftly from caution to crying foul after finding out that the cloud of Eyjafjallajökull is not everywhere and anywhere in Europe.

Besides, once the Met Office has been found out as the main reason for the air space closure, and one of its computer models, memories of recent colossal gaffes and prediction errors just make it humanly impossible to avoid a good deal of skepticism…

There is also a clear problem with procedures. What has happened in 2010 that is so fundamentalle different from 2004 for example, when the Icelandic volcano Grímsvötn caused disruption of flights but in a limited area, and only resulted in precaution about flying some parts of the North Sea?

On Sunday, trade associations of European airports and airlines have issued a statement asking why a definitely not uncommon event (Iceland is full of volcanoes and eruptions follow one another) provoked different reactions in Europe than anywhere else in the world.

How difficult could it be to close part of the Icelandic and Atlantic airspace, fly some planes and launch some balloons to measure the situation, double-check aircrafts after they land in surrounding areas? And in fact that is what is probably going to happen anyway, and measurements have already started in earnest on Monday 19 (details in German: here, here and here).

Meanwhile, reknown experts are starting to speak up against the madness. Here’s an interview (in Italian) with Prof Guido Visconti of the University of L’Aquila, Italy. Prof Visconti teaches Atmospheric Physics, is Director of the local Extreme Phenomena Center, and has worked in the past with NASA and Harvard University. His opinion? “Much precaution about nothing…we have started taking measurements today in Italy and what we see is small and unimportant“.

======

Concluding with a note of regret, one has to report (but not necessarily link) various sites who take actual pleasure in what has happened, because for a few days you there is a little less emissions of CO2, and also humanity gets to suffer instead of being happy and flying. Too bad for the people of Kenya, right?

Ash Cloud – Expect Major Measurement News On Tuesday

2010/04/19 2 comments

Can’t reveal much now but well-respected international air measurement organizations have been busy measuring up the volcanic material above the European skies, on Monday (finally). This means that we can expect for early Tuesday major news about where there are actual problems for flying.

This may or may not have anything to do with the newly-found courage by UE Transport Ministers, finally seeing the light in managing the volcanic ash risk, instead of cowering in panic.

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