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« Reply #450 on: June 15, 2011, 01:53:56 PM »

2nd post. Those in the catastrophic warmosphere are trying to wrap their heads around the fact that the current solar minimum may lead to dramatic cooling. JPL explains the possibilities below. Note how the predictions are qualified, a prudent habit warmists ought to emulate:

NASA JPL on New Insights on How Solar Minimums Affect Earth
Posted on June 14, 2011 by Anthony Watts

The Sun today, quiet, small spots - click for more

This is the first of what I’m sure will be a series of solar stories related to the stunning (at least to people who have not been following WUWT since 2008) announcement that it appears sunspots are on the wane, and we may be headed to an extended Maunder type minimum.
See: BREAKING – major AAS solar announcement: Sun’s Fading Spots Signal Big Drop in Solar Activity

From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab website:

Since 1611, humans have recorded the comings and goings of black spots on the sun. The number of these sunspots waxes and wanes over approximately an 11-year cycle — more sunspots generally mean more activity and eruptions on the sun and vice versa. The number of sunspots can change from cycle to cycle, and 2008 saw the longest and weakest solar minimum since scientists have been monitoring the sun with space-based instruments.

Observations have shown, however, that magnetic effects on Earth due to the sun, effects that cause the aurora to appear, did not go down in synch with the cycle of low magnetism on the sun. Now, a paper in Annales Geophysicae that appeared on May 16, 2011 reports that these effects on Earth did in fact reach a minimum — indeed they attained their lowest levels of the century — but some eight months later. The scientists believe that factors in the speed of the solar wind, and the strength and direction of the magnetic fields embedded within it, helped produce this anomalous low.

“Historically, the solar minimum is defined by sunspot number,” says space weather scientist Bruce Tsurutani at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who is first author on the paper. “Based on that, 2008 was identified as the period of solar minimum. But the geomagnetic effects on Earth reached their minimum quite some time later, in 2009. So we decided to look at what caused the geomagnetic minimum.”

Small magnetometers like these measure magnetic strength on Earth and in the atmosphere to determine how much of the sun's magnetic energy has been transferred to Earth's magnetosphere. In 2009, that energy reached record lows. Images credit: Glassmeier, et al.

Geomagnetic effects basically amount to any magnetic changes on Earth due to the sun, and they’re measured by magnetometer readings on the surface of the Earth. Such effects are usually harmless, with the only obvious sign of their presence being the appearance of auroras near the poles. However, in extreme cases, they can cause power grid failures on Earth or induce dangerous currents in long pipelines, so it is valuable to know how the geomagnetic effects vary with the sun.

Three things help determine how much energy from the sun is transferred to Earth’s magnetosphere from the solar wind: the speed of the solar wind, the strength of the magnetic field outside Earth’s bounds (known as the interplanetary magnetic field) and which direction it is pointing, since a large southward component is necessary to connect successfully to Earth’s magnetosphere and transfer energy. The team — which also included Walter Gonzalez and Ezequiel Echer of the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research in São José dos Campos, Brazil — examined each component in turn.

First, the researchers noted that in 2008 and 2009, the interplanetary magnetic field was the lowest it had been in the history of the space age. This was an obvious contribution to the geomagnetic minimum. But since the geomagnetic effects didn’t drop in 2008, it could not be the only factor.

To examine the speed of the solar wind, they turned to NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE), which is in interplanetary space outside the Earth’s magnetosphere, approximately 1 million miles toward the sun. The ACE data showed that the speed of the solar wind stayed high during the sunspot minimum. Only later did it begin a steady decline, correlating to the timing of the decline in geomagnetic effects.

The next step was to understand what caused this decrease. The team found a culprit in something called coronal holes. Coronal holes are darker, colder areas within the sun’s outer atmosphere. Fast solar wind shoots out the center of coronal holes at speeds up to 500 miles per second, but wind flowing out of the sides slows down as it expands into space.
“Usually, at solar minimum, the coronal holes are at the sun’s poles,” says Giuliana de Toma, a solar scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research whose research on this topic helped provide insight for this paper. “Therefore, Earth receives wind from only the edges of these holes, and it’s not very fast. But in 2007 and 2008, the coronal holes were not confined to the poles as normal.”

The magnetic fields from the center of coronal holes in the sun's atmosphere have large fluctuations known as Alfvén waves, while those from the sides have smaller fluctuations. The side fields do not transfer energy as well from the sun to Earth's magnetosphere. Image credit: NASA/Park

Those coronal holes lingered at low latitudes to the end of 2008. Consequently, the center of the holes stayed firmly pointed towards Earth, sending fast solar wind in Earth’s direction. Only as they finally appeared closer to the poles in 2009 did the speed of the solar wind at Earth begin to slow down. And, of course, the geomagnetic effects and sightings of the aurora along with it.

Coronal holes seem to be responsible for minimizing the southward direction of the interplanetary magnetic field as well. The solar wind’s magnetic fields oscillate on the journey from the sun to Earth. These fluctuations are known as Alfvén waves. The wind coming out of the centers of the coronal holes has large fluctuations, meaning that the southward magnetic component – like that in all the directions — is fairly large. The wind that comes from the edges, however, has smaller fluctuations, and comparably smaller southward components. So, once again, coronal holes at lower latitudes would have a better chance of connecting with Earth’s magnetosphere and causing geomagnetic effects, while mid-latitude holes would be less effective.

Working together, these three factors — low interplanetary magnetic field strength, combined with slower solar wind speed and smaller magnetic fluctuations due to coronal hole placement — create the perfect environment for a geomagnetic minimum.

Knowing what situations cause and suppress intense geomagnetic activity on Earth is a step toward better predicting when such events might happen. To do so well, Tsurutani points out, requires focusing on the tight connection between such effects and the complex physics of the sun. “It’s important to understand all of these features better,” he says. “To understand what causes low interplanetary magnetic fields and what causes coronal holes in general. This is all part of the solar cycle. And all part of what causes effects on Earth.”

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
« Reply #451 on: June 15, 2011, 01:59:29 PM »

3rd post:

IPCC WG3 and the Greenpeace Karaoke

On May 9, 2011, the IPCC announced:

Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

In accompanying interviews, IPCC officials said that the obstacles were not scientific or technological, but merely a matter of political will.

Little of the increase was due to ‘traditional’ renewables (hydro and ‘traditional’ biomass, mostly dung), but to solar, wind and non-traditional biomass.

I, for one, was keenly interested in how IPCC got to its potential 80%. Unfortunately, in keeping with execrable IPCC practices, the supporting documents for the Renewables Study were not made available at the time of the original announcement. (Only the Summary for Policy-makers was made available at the time.) This showed one worrying aspect of the announcement. The report was based on 164 ‘scenarios’ and the ‘up to 80%” scenario in the lead sentence of their press release was not representative of their scenarios, but the absolute top end. This sort of press release is not permitted in mining promotions and it remains a mystery to me why it is tolerated in academic press releases or press releases by international institutions.

The underlying report was scheduled for release on June 14 and was released today on schedule. Naturally, I was interested in the provenance of the 80% scenario and in determining precisely what due diligence had been carried out by IPCC to determine the realism of this scenario prior to endorsing it in their press release. I hoped against hope that it would be something more than an IPCC cover version of a Greenpeace study but was disappointed.

The scenarios are in chapter 10 of the Report. authors of the chapter are as follows (mainly German):

CLAs -Manfred Fischedick (Germany) and Roberto Schaeffer (Brazil). Lead Authors: Akintayo Adedoyin (Botswana), Makoto Akai (Japan), Thomas Bruckner (Germany), Leon Clarke (USA), Volker Krey (Austria/Germany), Ilkka Savolainen (Finland), Sven Teske (Germany), Diana Ürge‐Vorsatz (Hungary), Raymond Wright (Jamaica).

The 164 scenarios are referenced to a just-published and paywalled article by two of the Lead Authors (Krey and Clarke, 2011, Climate Policy). Update – Since this article has been relied upon in an IPCC report, it is liberated here.

Chapter 10 isolated four scenarios for more detailed reporting, one of which can be identified with the scenario featured in the IPCC press release. The identification is on the basis of Table 10.3 which shows 77% renewables in 2050 for the ER-2010 scenatio attributed to Teske et al., 2010. (Teske being another Chapter 10 Lead Author. This scenario is described as follows:

Low demand (e.g., due to a significant increase in energy efficiency) is combined with high RE deployment, no employment of CCS and a global nuclear phase-out by 2045 in the third mitigation scenario, Advanced Energy [R]evolution 2010 (Teske et al., 2010) (henceforth ER-2010).

Teske et al 2010 – online here – is cited as follows:

Teske, S., T[homas] Pregger, S[onja] Simon, T[obias] Naegler, W[ina] Graus, and C[hristine] Lins (2010). Energy [R]evolution 2010—a sustainable world energy outlook. Energy Efficiency, doi:10.1007/s12053-010-9098-y.

Someone interested in how the world

However, googling the title led me first to a different article with the almost the same
title ‘energy [ r]evolution:A SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL ENERGY OUTLOOK’ online here. This version is a joint publication of Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council, self-described as the ‘umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry’. the title page shows:

project manager & lead author – Sven Teske
EREC Oliver Schäfer, Arthouros Zervos,
Greenpeace International – Sven Teske, Jan Béranek, Stephanie Tunmore
research & co-authors
DLR, Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, Department of Systems Analysis and
Technology Assessment, Stuttgart, Germany: Dr. Wolfram Krewitt, Dr. Sonja Simon, Dr. Thomas Pregger.
DLR, Institute of Vehicle Concepts, Stuttgart, Germany: Dr. Stephan Schmid
Ecofys BV, Utrecht, The Netherlands: Wina Graus, Eliane Blomen.

The preface to the Greenpeace report is by one R.K. Pachauri, who stated:

This edition of Energy [R]evolution Scenarios provides a detailed analysis of the
energy efficiency potential and choices in the transport sector. The material presented in this publication provides a useful basis for considering specific policies and developments that would be of value not only to the world but for different countries as they attempt to meet the global challenge confronting them. The work carried out in
the following pages is comprehensive and rigorous, and even those who may not agree with the analysis presented would, perhaps, benefit from a deep study of the underlying assumptions that are linked with specific energy scenarios for the future.
Dr. R. K. Pachauri

Returning now to the original lead to the IPCC Press Release on renewables:

Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

The basis for this claim is a Greenpeace scenario. The Lead Author of the IPCC assessment of the Greenpeace scenario was the same Greenpeace employee who had prepared the Greenpeace scenarios, the introduction to which was written by IPCC chair Pachauri.

The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future. It expects more from IPCC WG3 than a karaoke version of Greenpeace scenario.

It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10, that the Greenpeace employee, as an IPCC Lead Author, should (like Michael Mann and Keith Briffa in comparable situations) have been responsible for assessing his own work and that, with such inadequate and non-independent ‘due diligence’, IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.

Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.
« Reply #452 on: June 15, 2011, 02:33:17 PM »

4th post:

Goklany, I.M. 2011. Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 16: 9-13.
Partly to reduce the perceived impacts of global warming, which are expected to strike developing nations the hardest, the United States and the European Union are subsidizing and mandating production and use of biofuels in order to displace fossil fuels (Jordan et al., 2007; Searchinger et al.,2008; Robertson et al., 2008; Tyner, 2008). However, these policies have been questioned on the grounds whether (a) biofuels actually reduce net energy consumption from non-renewable sources (Patzek and Pimentel, 2005a, 2005b; Wang, 2005; Wesseler, 2007;) and net greenhouse gas emissions (Searchinger et al., 2008; Scharlemann and Laurance, 2008; Fargione et al., 2008; Hertel et al., 2020) and (b) their environmental consequences for land, water, and wildlife resources are positive (Robertson et al., 2008; Scharlemann and Laurance, 2008; Service, 2009; Fargione et al., 2009). In addition, several analyses indicate that increased production of biofuels has contributed to higher food prices, which, in turn, has increased hunger and poverty in developing countries (Pimentel and Patzek, 2006; FAO, 2008, 2009; Godfray et al., 2010; De Hoyos and Medvedev, 2009; World Bank, 2009). Since hunger and poverty are major contributors to death and disease around the world (WHO, 2002, 2009), Goklany (2011) argues that the artificially induced increase in biofuel demand would add to the global burden of death and disease. He then sets out to estimate order-of-magnitude increases in death and disease due to increased biofuel production.
The methodology used by Goklany (2011) is as follows:
1.   Obtain estimates of the increase in the current headcount for absolute poverty in the developing world due to increased biofuel production.
2.   Develop the relationships (or "coefficients of proportionality") between the poverty headcount on the one hand, and the global burden of death and disease attributable to "diseases of poverty" on the other hand. The headcount and the burdens of death and disease should be for the same time period.
3.   Apply the coefficients developed in step 2 to the increase in poverty from step 1 to estimate the increases in death and disease from the increase in biofuel production.
Step 1. Based on a search of the existing literature, Goklany identified only two studies-De Hoyos and Medvedev (2009) and Cororaton et al. (2010)-that provided estimates of increases in poverty induced by greater biofuel production in both rural and urban populations for a large segment of the developing world's population, while also accounting for adjustments by consumers, producers, economies and governments to reduce hunger and poverty. Both analyses covered 90% of the developing world's population. Both indicate that higher biofuel production increases global poverty, even after first order adjustments have been made.
Both studies used the same suite of World Bank models to estimate the effects of additional biofuel production on the poverty headcount. Both estimated the increases in poverty headcounts as the difference in poverty levels between pairs of scenarios, with one scenario assuming a higher level of biofuel production and the other being a baseline scenario with a lower biofuel production level.
Cororaton et al.'s baseline scenario assumed growth in global biofuel production from 2004 through 2020. Thus, they underestimate the contribution of total biofuel production to the poverty headcount. De Hoyos and Medvedev's baseline scenario assumed that biofuel production at the actual 2004 level. They calculated the increase in poverty over the baseline scenario for a scenario in which biofuel production increased after 2004 along its historical path through 2007, and then increased further through 2010 in response to then-existing biofuel mandates and production trends. Therefore, this latter study should give a more accurate estimate of the increase in poverty due to biofuel subsidies and mandates, although it too would be an underestimate since it assumes 2004 production levels as part of the baseline. Despite the latter shortcoming, Goklany used the De Hoyos and Medvedev estimate, after adjusting it upward to account for the incomplete coverage of the world's population. Based on this, Goklany estimated that the poverty headcount increased by 36 million people in 2010 due to an increase in biofuel production over the 2004 level.
Step 2. In order to estimate the coefficients of proportionality between the poverty headcount, and death and disease in developing countries due to poverty-dominated diseases, Goklany used estimates of (a) cumulative burden of deaths and disease from poverty-dominated health risks from the World Health Organization (2009) analysis of global health risks for 2004, and (b) the World Bank's poverty headcount for that year (Chen and Ravallion, 2007) adjusted to be consistent with the more recent World Bank (2009) data and estimation methodology (Chen and Ravallion, 2008).
In order to identify diseases of poverty, Goklany calculated for each risk factor, the ratio of its burden of disease per capita for low-income countries compared to that of lower-middle-income countries. In order to develop a conservative (lower bound) estimate for the effect of biofuel production on death and disease, it was assumed that if the ratio exceeded 5, then the risk factor was poverty dominated. Six risk factors met this criterion: global warming; underweight (largely synonymous with chronic hunger); zinc deficiency; Vitamin A deficiency; unsafe sex; and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. These six factors accounted for 7.7 million deaths and 268 million lost DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) worldwide for 2004. Of these, more than 99.3% of the deaths and lost DALYs were in developing countries.
Using a less restrictive criterion for the ratio of 2 would have added four more risk factors to the above list, namely: unmet contraceptive needs, indoor smoke from solid fuels, sub-optimal breast feeding and iron deficiency. Many consider these to be poverty-related (Brundtland, 2003). Including these in the list would increase their cumulative toll of poverty-dominated risks in 2004 to 11.3 million deaths and 384 million lost DALYs. However, to err on the side of conservatism, the more restrictive definition of "poverty-dominated" was used.
Regarding the poverty headcount in 2004, Goklany re-estimated the World Bank's headcount estimates for 2004 so that it was consistent with the data and methods used by De Hoyos and Medvedev (2009), which are also consistent with World Bank (2009), to estimate the increase in headcount due to additional biofuel production. Based on this, the 2004 headcount was estimated at 1,454 million. Thus, assuming proportionality between mortality and lost DALYs from poverty and the headcount, there are 5,270 deaths and 183,000 lost DALYs per million people living in absolute poverty in developing countries.
Step 3. Combining the estimates derived in Steps 1 and 2, Goklany (2011) estimated that the increase in the poverty headcount due to higher biofuel production between 2010 and 2004 implies 192,000 additional deaths and 6.7 million additional lost DALYs in 2010 alone.
Other Conclusions. 1.   Biofuel policies are retarding humanity's age-old battle against poverty. 2.   Since according to the World Health Organization's latest estimates, 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs in 2004 could be attributed to global warming (WHO 2009), biofuel policies may currently be deadlier than global warming, especially since the inertia of the climate system means little or no reduction in these numbers from any slowing of global warming due to any increase in biofuel production from 2004 to 2010.
Additional References
Brundtland, G.H. (2003). Statement by the Director-General, 111th session of the Executive Board. Geneva: WHO, 2003. Available at: Accessed Dec 11, 2010.
Chen, S, and Ravallion, M. (2007). Poverty and hunger special feature: absolute poverty measures for the developing world, 1981-2004. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 16757-16762.
Chen, S, and Ravallion, M. (2008). China is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty. Policy Research Working Paper No. 4621. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Cororaton, C.B., Timilsina, G., and Mevel, S. 2010. Impacts of Large Scale Expansion of Biofuels on Global Poverty and Income Distribution. IATRC Public Trade Policy Research and Analysis Symposium, Global Warming in World Agriculture: Mitigation, Adaptation, Trade and Food Security, Universit�t Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, June 27 -29, 2010.
De Hoyos, R.E., and Medvedev, D. (2009). Poverty effects of higher food prices: a global perspective. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4887. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
Fargione, J., Hill, J., Tilman, D., Polasky, S., and Hawthorne, P. (2008). Land clearing and the biofuel carbon debt. Science 319: 1235-1238.
Fargione, J.E, Cooper, T.R., Flaspohler, D.J., et al. (2009). Bioenergy and wildlife: threats and opportunities for grassland conservation. BioScience 59: 767-777.
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). (2008). State of Food Insecurity 2008. Rome: FAO.
Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). (2009). State of Food Insecurity 2009. Rome: FAO.
Godfray, H.C.J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., et al. (2010). Food Security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science 327: 812-818.
Goklany, I.M. (1999). Meeting global food needs: environmental trade-offs between Increasing land conversion and land productivity. Technology 6: 107-130.
Goklany, I.M. (2009) Is climate change the "defining challenge of our age"? Energy & Environment 20: 279-302.
Hertel, T.W., Golub, A.A., Jones, A.D., et al. (2010). Effects of US maize ethanol on global land use and greenhouse gas emissions: estimating market-mediated responses. BioScience 60: 223-231.
Jordan, N., Boody, G., Broussard, W., et al. (2007). Environment: sustainable development of the agricultural bio-economy. Science 316: 1570-1571.
Patzek, T.W., and Pimentel, D. (2005). Thermodynamics of energy production from biomass. Crit Rev Plant Sciences 24: 329-364.
Pimentel, D., and Patzek, T. (2006). Green plants, fossil fuels, and now biofuels. BioScience 56: 875.
Pimentel, D., and Patzek, T.W. (2005). Ethanol production using corn, switchgrass, and wood; biodiesel production using soybean and sunflower. Natural Resources Res 14: 65-76.
Robertson, G.P., Dale, V.H., Doering, O.C., et al. (2008). Agriculture: sustainable biofuels redux. Science 322: 49-50.
Scharlemann, J.P.W., and Laurance, W.F. (2008). How green are biofuels? Science 319: 43-44.
Searchinger, T., Heimlich, R., Houghton, R.A., et al. (2008). Use of US croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land use change. Science 319: 1238 -1240.
Service, R.F. (2009). Another biofuels drawback: the demand for irrigation. Science 326: 516 -517.
Tyner, W.E., (2008). The US ethanol and biofuels boom: Its origins, current status, and future prospects. BioScience 58: 646-653.
Wang, M. (2005). A comparison between the new Pimentel/Patzek study and other studies. Center for Transportation Research, Argonne National Laboratory; 2005: Available at: Accessed Dec 11, 2010.
Wesseler, J. (2007). Opportunities (costs) matter: a comment on Pimentel and Patzek ethanol production using corn, switchgrass, and wood; biodiesel production using soybean and sunflower. Energy Policy 35: 1414 -1416.
World Bank. (2009). Global Economic Prospects 2009. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.
World Health Organization (WHO). (2002). The World Health Report 2002- Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. Geneva: WHO.
World Health Organization (WHO). (2009). Global Health Risks: Mortality and Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risks. Geneva: WHO.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #453 on: June 15, 2011, 02:36:03 PM »

I'm not sure that some policies from the environmental left that might result is a large loss of human lives is an unintended result.
Power User
Posts: 7835

« Reply #454 on: June 16, 2011, 07:34:56 PM »

Forum | Energy & Sustainability   See Inside A Quick Fix to the Food Crisis
Curbing biofuels should halt price rises

By Timothy Searchinger  | June 16, 2011 | 6
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Image: John Zoiner Getty Images
When food prices rose steeply in 2007 and climaxed in the winter of 2008, politicians and the press decried the impact on the billion or so people who were already going hungry. Excellent growing weather and good harvests provided temporary relief, but prices have once again soared to record heights. This time around people are paying less attention.

The public has a short attention span regarding problems of the world’s have-nots, but experts are partly to blame, too. Economists have made such a fuss about how complicated the food crisis is that they have created the impression that it has no ready solution, making it seem like one of those intractable problems, like poverty and disease, that are so easy to stash in the back of our minds. This view is wrong.

To be sure, reducing hunger in a world headed toward more than nine billion people by 2050 is a truly complicated challenge that calls for a broad range of solutions. But this is a long-term problem separate from the sudden rise in food prices. High oil prices and a weaker dollar have played some part by driving up production costs, but they cannot come close to explaining why wholesale food prices have doubled since 2004. The current price surge reflects a shortfall in supply to meet demand, which forces consumers to bid against one another to secure their supplies. Soaring farm profits and land values support this explanation. What explains this imbalance?

Crop production has not slowed: total world grain production last year was the third highest in history. Indeed, it has grown since 2004 at rates that, on average, exceed the long-term trend since 1980 and roughly match the trends of the past decade. Even with bad weather in Russia and northern Australia last year, global average crop yields were only 1 percent below what the trends would lead us to expect, a modest gap.

The problem is therefore one of rapidly rising demand. Conventional wisdom points to Asia as the source, but that’s not so. China has contributed somewhat to tighter markets in recent years by importing more soybeans and cutting back on grain exports to build up its stocks, which should serve as a warning to policy makers for the future. But consumption in China and India is rising no faster than it has in previous decades. In general, Asia’s higher incomes have not triggered the surge in demand for food.

That starring role belongs to biofuels. Since 2004 biofuels from crops have almost doubled the rate of growth in global demand for grain and sugar and pushed up the yearly growth in demand for vegetable oil by around 40 percent. Even cassava is edging out other crops in Thailand because China uses it to make ethanol.

Increasing demand for corn, wheat, soybeans, sugar, vegetable oil and cassava competes for limited acres of farmland, at least until farmers have had time to plow up more forest and grassland, which means that tightness in one crop market translates to tightness in others. Overall, global agriculture can keep up with growing demand if the weather is favorable, but even the mildly poor 2010 growing season was enough to force a draw down in stockpiles of grain outside China, which sent total grain stocks to very low levels. Low reserves and rising demand for both food and biofuels create the risk of greater shortfalls in supply and send prices skyward.

Although most experts recognize the important role bio­fuels play, they often underestimate their effects. Many of them misinterpret the economic models, which understate the degree to which biofuels drive up prices. These models are nearly all designed to estimate biofuels’ effects on prices over the long term, after farmers have ample time to plow up and plant more land, and do not speak to prices in the shorter term. Commentators also often lump all sources of crop demand together without recognizing their different moral weights and potential for control. Our primary obligation is to feed the hungry. Biofuels are undermining our ability to do so. Governments can stop the recurring pattern of food crises by backing off their demands for ever more biofuels. 

Power User
Posts: 42512

« Reply #455 on: June 16, 2011, 11:48:02 PM »

BTW, count Fox's Bret Baier (for whom I have genuine respect, unlike many of the Barbie and Ken dolls that populate some of Fox's shows) as amongst the readers of this forum and indeed, this thread.  Tonight he reported on the possibility that a decrease in Solar Flares could results in Global Cooling.
« Reply #456 on: June 17, 2011, 06:42:21 AM »

Interesting. Luke warmist Judith Curry has been slapped around by the warmist high priests for having an open mind, examining all evidence, dealing in data rather than demonization, and so hence has been accused of tangential relationships with big oil amongst all the standard panic monger tactics. As such when another warmist took to criticizing the IPCC/Greenpeace backscratch, Curry wrote the following, which includes warning on what he can expect:

An opening mind
Posted on June 15, 2011 by curryja| 306 Comments
by Judith Curry

I suspect that many readers of this blog have already seen Steve McIntyre’s post “IPCC and the Greenpeace Karaoke” that identified Greenpeace as the source of a key recommendation on renewable energy in the recently released IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation.

Such IPCC transgressions are becoming sufficiently regular that they barely seem like news anymore.  The reaction of Mark Lynas to McIntyre’s analysis, however, is indeed news IMO.

Mark Lynas

From his Wikipedia bio:

Mark Lynas (is a British author, journalist and environmental activist who focuses on climate change. He is a contributor to New Statesman,  Ecologist, Granta and Geographical magazines, and The Guardian and The Observer newspapers in the UK; he also worked on the film The Age of Stupid. He holds a degree in history and politics from the University of Edinburgh.

In 2004, Lynas’ High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis was published by Macmillan Publishers.  He has also contributed to a book entitled Fragile Earth: Views of a Changing World,  which presents before-and-after images of some of the natural changes which have happened to the world in recent years, including the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, alongside a bleak look at the effects of mankind’s actions on the planet.

In January 2007 Lynas published Gem Carbon Counter,[3] containing instruction to calculate people’s personal carbon emissions and recommendations about how to reduce their impact on the atmosphere.

In 2007 he published Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, a book detailing the progressive effect of global warming in several planetary ecosystems, from 1 degree to 6 degrees and further of average temperature rise of the planet. Special coverage is given to the positive feedback mechanisms that could dramatically accelerate the climate change, possibly putting the climate on a runaway path. As a possible end scenario the release of methane hydrate from the bottom of the oceans could replicate the end-Permian extinction event.

In 2008 National Geographic released a documentary film based on Lynas’s book, entitled Six Degrees Could Change the World.

So far, Lynas reflects stellar “warm” credentials.  Circa 2010, things started to change.

In 2010, Lynas published an article in the New Statesman entitled “Why we Greens Keep Getting it Wrong”[4] and the same year was the main contributor to a UKChannel 4 Television programme called “What the Green Movement Got Wrong.”[5] In these he took a line similar to other right wing critics of environmentalism such as Patrick Moore, Bjorn Lomborg and Richard D. North, explaining that he now felt that several of his previous strongly held beliefs were wrong. For example, he suggested that opposition by environmentalists, such as himself, to the development of nuclear energy had speeded up climate change, that proscription of DDT had led to millions of deaths and that GM crops were necessary to ‘feed the world’.

This latter position was attacked as patronising and naive by some developing world commentators, including one featured in a Channel Four debate after the programme aired. A number of experts also criticised Lynas’s factual errors in contributing to the film. British environmentalist George Monbiot wrote in theGuardian that ‘Brand and Lynas present themselves as heretics. But their convenient fictions chime with the thinking of the new establishment: corporations, thinktanks, neoliberal politicians. The true heretics are those who remind us that neither social nor environmental progress are possible unless power is confronted.’

Reaction to McIntyre’s essay

Lynas has a blog, whose current post is entitled “New IPCC error: renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace.”  Some excerpts:

That release of the full report happened yesterday. And a close reading of it shows that the IPCC has made an error much more serious than the so-called Himalayagate and associated non-scandals last year – it has allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO. Moreover, the error was spotted initially by none other than Steve McIntyre, who has been a thorn in the side of the IPCC and climate science generally for a long time. Yet this time McIntyre has got it right.

So what to conclude? My view is that the IPCC renewables report has told us nothing – except that Greenpeace thinks we can solve the climate change problem entirely with renewable energy, which of course we already knew. But whilst I still hold the hard-science Working Group 1 of the IPCC in very high regard, I have lost a lot of confidence in Working Group 3. That it allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO is an extraordinary failure, and one which cannot simply be forgotten.

The IPCC must urgently review its policies for hiring lead authors – and I would have thought that not only should biased ‘grey literature’ be rejected, but campaigners from NGOs should not be allowed to join the lead author group and thereby review their own work. There is even a commercial conflict of interest here given that the renewables industry stands to be the main beneficiary of any change in government policies based on the IPCC report’s conclusions. Had it been an oil industry intervention which led the IPCC to a particular conclusion, Greenpeace et al would have course have been screaming blue murder.

One last thing: McIntyre points out that the Greenpace propaganda report which has regrettably destroyed the credibility of the IPCC’s effort on renewables contains a preface – written by none other than R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC itself. I have great respect for Dr Pachauri, as for the IPCC as an institution. I only wish he – and it – would be more careful.

The comments are even more interesting.  Some of the Climate Etc. Denizens and other skeptics showed up to comment on Lynas’ blog, presumably steered there by BishopHill.  Bob Ward also showed up to criticize Lynas.  In the comments, Lynas recommends nofrakkingconsensus.  Barry Woods recommends that he read Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion and Climate Etc.(!)   Lynas responds:

I haven’t read the Hockey Stick Illusion, but I will if you send me a free copy! Same with Judith Curry – I have seen her being vilified, but I haven’t gone deeply into it.

I posted a link to my latest attribution post, Lynas replied:

Thanks Judith – it’s a long post, but I’ll have a go!

Another of Lynas’ comments:

Hmm, yes, I sort of agree with you. In principle, anyone can call anyone else they disagree with a ‘denier’ and shut down the argument, like you say. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the term, though I have used it admittedly. I did side with Mike Mann on the Hockey Stick thing, without personally having the expertise to really go in and check the argument about statistical methodology. But I have to admit that McIntyre is right about this, and that I and others should have spotted the problem earlier. There should be no campaigners or anyone else with a vested interest on the ‘lead author’ team for any IPCC publication – ever.

Keith Kloor, Andy Revkin and Bishop Hill have posted reactions to Lynas’ post.

JC’s message to Mark Lynas

I’ve been engaging with skeptics since 2006 (before starting Climate Etc., I engaged mainly at ClimateAudit).  People were suspicious and wondered what I was up to, but the vilification didn’t start until I recommended that people read The Hockey Stick Illusion.  The book itself, plus more significantly my vilification simply for recommending that people read the book, has pushed me over the ledge and into a mode of aggressively challenging the IPCC consensus.  That you are willing at this point to read the book speaks volumes to me.  It is my sad conclusion that opening your mind on this subject sends you down the slippery slope of challenging many aspects of the IPCC consensus.

Shortly after I started Climate Etc., I received this email message from a colleague:

A few years ago, I started interacting with a skeptic who somehow passed through my “ignore skeptics” filter.  He has an engineering degree and is quite knowledgable.  My rationale that “all skeptics are troglodytes” has been tattered, and my view of the climate debate has  irreversibly changed.

Opening your mind on this subject is a slippery slope into listening to what skeptics have to say.  Sure there are alot of crazies out there, but there is some very serious skepticism at ClimateAudit and other technical skeptic and lukewarmer blogs.  I look forward to a growing climate heretics club, where people that generally support the IPCC consensus (either currently or in the past) dare to question aspects of it.

I predict that your actually reading the Hockey Stick Illusion and mentioning it on your blog will get you removed from RealClimate’s blogroll.
« Reply #457 on: June 20, 2011, 11:29:50 AM »

The Paradox of Urban (and Global) Warming

by Patrick J. Michaels

Ah, summer in our cities, where the climate is woebegone and the temperature is almost always above normal.

Cities tend to get warmer, whether or not there is global or regional warming. Bricks, buildings and pavement absorb more heat during the day than a "natural" vegetated state, and urban structures impede the flow of ventilating winds. The result is that, as cities grow, temperatures rise. In Washington, there is additional warming caused by the waste heat from all the money changing hands.

The official (and silly) definition of "normal" temperature is the average for the past 30 years. In a growing urban environment (which includes suburban sprawl) that number is likely to be lower than what it is now.

Patrick Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and author of Climate Coup: Global Warming's Invasion of our Government and our Lives.

As a result, cities are inadvertently testing a dear hypothesis of my greener friends: that global warming will result in increasing heat-related mortality.

Those who have read Freakonomics can see this hanging curveball. Global warming should reduce urban mortality as heat waves become more frequent.

I've done a bit of work in this area. Robert Davis, a former colleague at the University of Virginia, and I examined three decades of heat-related mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control for the 28 largest U.S. cities. We then teamed up with a UVa medical statistician, Wendy Novicoff, who made sure we adjusted for different demographics between cities; we did this because the elderly and infants are most susceptible to heat-related mortality, and we wanted to compare disproportionately old cities (like Phoenix) with disproportionally young ones (like Seattle). After all was said and done, we found that heat-related mortality is dropping like a stone in almost every major urban area in the nation.

Before you go to the "comments" and blast me with the European heat wave of 2003 or the Chicago disaster in 1995, read on.

The 2003 heat wave in Europe was devastating. In France alone, and very dependent on the way you count things, it appears there were about 35,000 excess deaths. That heat wave was a lulu, with European temperatures about three standard deviations above the average, something that has a 1-in-333 chance of occurring averaged over your state or province. Given that there are a lot of places of similar size on the planet, such an anomaly can usually be found somewhere. In 2003, that somewhere just happened to be at the epicenter of global warming angst.

Then there was the great French heat wave of 2006.

Whoops. Don't know about that one? Climatically, it was pretty comparable, but far fewer French fried.

A. Fouillet and his team of researchers wrote this up in a 2008 paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology. They started off with a simple (i.e. logical and testable) model relating temperature to mortality and found that something in addition to the heat killed a lot of people in 2003. While their model predicted about 17 deaths per 100,000, the observed rate was 21 per 100,000, or about nearly 7,000 bodies.

(There's plenty of speculation on the cause, with fingers pointed at France's August recess, when everyone — including health care workers — takes to the beach or the hills and leaves the old folks at the non-airconditioned home)

In 2006, their model showed nearly 4,500 fewer deaths than expected.

What the French did was (begrudgingly) emulate urban Americans. They adapted. The government bought air conditioning (formerly a crass Yankee invention) for retirement homes. They implemented a National Heat Wave Plan that keeps tabs on the elderly, who were left to swelter in 2003. They set up cooling shelters for those without A/C.

And, of course, adaptation is what's happening in our cities. Perhaps the most politically incorrect thing an urban administration can do is to be caught flatfooted by the weather. Chicago's Daley dynasty was (temporarily) swept away by a 1979 snowstorm when it selectively canceled rail service in southside black neighborhoods. And who can forget Washington's colorful mayor Marion Barry, cavorting at the 1987 Super Bowl during back-to-back storms. White stuff set him up.

Want proof of our adaptation to heat? Two extremely hot cities, Tampa and Phoenix, have virtually no heat-related mortality, despite sporting the oldest populations in our study. In only one city is mortality increasing. That would be young and vibrant Seattle, where summer heat is still very rare.

I am sure many consider it immoral to export heat-related mortality to the North, but that won't last for long. Seattle's latitude is about 48 degrees north. The vast majority of our hemisphere's cities are south of there, and by the time you get to 60 degrees, not very far away, you tend to run out of cities. At that point, global warming will have squeezed urban heat-related mortality off of the map.
« Reply #458 on: June 20, 2011, 11:41:36 AM »

2nd post.

Peer Review and "Pal Review" in Climate Science

by Patrick J. Michaels

Publishing in the scientific literature is supposed to be tough. Submit a manuscript to a reputable journal and it will go through "peer review," where your equals criticize your work, send their comments to a journal editor and then the editor will decide whether to accept your submission, reject it outright, or something in between.

In order to limit any bias caused by personal or philosophical animosity, the editor should remove your name from the paper and send it to other experts who have no apparent conflict of interest in reviewing your work. You and the reviewers should not know who each other are. This is called a "double blind" peer review.

Well, this is "the way it is supposed to be." But in the intellectually inbred, filthy-rich world of climate science, where billions of dollars of government research money support trillions of dollars of government policy, peer review has become anything but that.

Patrick Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and author of Climate Coup: Global Warming's Invasion of our Government and our Lives.

More by Patrick J. Michaels
There is simply no "double blindness." For reasons that remain mysterious, all the major climate journals leave the authors' names on the manuscripts sent out for review.

Economists, psychologists and historians of science all tell us (and I am inclined to believe them) that we act within our rational self-interest. Removing the double-blind restriction in such an environment is an invitation for science abuse.

What about if my professional advancement is dependent upon climate change monies (which applies to just about every academic or government climatologist)? I'm liable to really like a paper that says this is a horrible and important problem, and likely to rail against an author who says it's probably a bit overblown. May God have mercy on any manuscript that mentions the rather large elephant in the room, which is that we probably can't do much about it anyway.

Such "confirmation bias" has been noted and studied for years, but the response of science in general — and atmospheric science in particular — has only been to make things worse.

Peer review has become "pal review." Send a paper to one of the very many journals published by the American Geophysical Union — the world's largest publisher of academic climate science — and you can suggest five reviewers. The editor doesn't have to take your advice, but he's more likely to if you bought him dinner at the last AGU meeting, isn't he? That is, of course, unless journal editors are somehow different than government officials, congressmen, or you.

Or, if you get wind that someone is about to publish something threatening your gravy train, maybe you can cajole the editor to keep it out of print for a year while you prepare a counter-manuscript.

That's what the "Climategate" gang did with the International Journal of Climatology when University of Rochester's David Douglass submitted a paper. His work showed that a large warming at high altitudes in the tropics — one of the major ways in which the enhanced greenhouse effect is supposed to change the climate — isn't happening. For the gory details, click here. The story on this one is still unfolding as the journal has declined to publish a sequel to the counter-manuscript.

Or you could simply ignore manuscripts sent to you that find problems with temperature histories.

But there has to be a gold standard somewhere, right? Perhaps the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)?

Dream on. If you are a member of the National Academy, you can submit four manuscripts a year, called "contributed papers" as long as you do the "peer review" yourself! That's right: you send your manuscript to two of your friends, and then mail your paper along with their comments. Again, pal review.

The PNAS editor then rubber-stamps the results. In fact, the editor probably goes through quite a few rubber stamps a year, given that only 15 of the 800-odd contributed papers submitted in the last year were rejected. For comparative purposes, Nature would have accepted only about 50 out of that number.

A recent paper submitted to PNAS by National Academy member Richard Lindzen was afforded special treatment. The editor insisted that it be held to a different standard of review because of its "political implications." Lindzen's research found that carbon dioxide warming is likely to be much lower than what is being calculated by current climate models.

So what about the legion of alarmist papers from NASA firebrand James Hansen that PNAS publishes via pal review? Don't they have "political implications" too? In the mind of our National Academy, apparently some political implications are more equal than others.

There's a lot of confirmation bias working in Hansen's favor, because it's back to the back of the plane for ham-and-egger climate scientists if Lindzen is right. That's where the "political implications" get personal.

There's a lot more to this story. Lindzen eventually published his paper — which actually benefited from a real review — in an obscure journal. But the next time you think that peer review is unbiased, think of confirmation bias, pal review and Climategate, and try to figure a way out of the mess that climate science has gotten itself into.
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Posts: 7835

« Reply #459 on: June 20, 2011, 02:43:41 PM »

"BTW, count Fox's Bret Baier (for whom I have genuine respect, unlike many of the Barbie and Ken dolls that populate some of Fox's shows) as amongst the readers of this forum and indeed, this thread.  Tonight he reported on the possibility that a decrease in Solar Flares could results in Global Cooling."

From the latest Economist on this issue:

***Special reports Technology quarterly Solar physics
Sun down
Several lines of evidence suggest that the sun is about to go quiet
Jun 16th 2011 | from the print edition
Spots of bother?DURING the four centuries that it has been studied in detail, the sun has usually behaved in a regular manner. The number of spots on its surface has waxed and waned in cycles that last, on average, 11 years. Such cycles begin with spots appearing in mid-solar latitudes and end with them near the equator. And the more spots there are, the more solar storms there are around.

Sometimes, though, the sun sulks and this solar cycle stops. That has happened twice since records began: during the so-called Maunder minimum of 1645 to 1715 and the Dalton minimum of 1790 to 1830. These coincided with periods when global temperatures were lower than average, though why is a matter of debate.

An absence of sunspots also means an absence of solar flares and their more violent siblings, coronal mass ejections. Such outbursts disrupt radio and satellite communications, electricity grids and a variety of electronic equipment, so the pattern of solar activity is of more than academic interest. A new solar minimum, then, would test theories about how the climate works and also make communications more reliable. And many solar physicists think such a new minimum is on the cards. A group of them, who all work for America’s National Solar Observatory (NSO), have just had a meeting in New Mexico, under the aegis of the American Astronomical Society, to announce their latest results.

Frank Hill and his team were the discoverers, 15 years ago, of an east-west jet stream in the sun. They also worked out that the latitude of this wind is related to the sunspot cycle. At the beginning of a cycle the jet stream is found, like sunspots, in mid-latitudes. As the cycle progresses, it follows the spots towards the equator.

Intriguingly, however, Dr Hill’s studies indicate that the jet stream of a new cycle starts to form years before the sunspot pattern. This time, that has not happened. History suggests a new cycle should begin in 2019. If the sun were behaving itself, Dr Hill’s team would have seen signs of a new jet stream in 2008 or 2009. They did not. Nor are there indications of one even now. If a change in the jet stream really is a leading indicator of solar activity, then no new cycle is on the horizon.

The second study which suggests something odd is happening looked at the strengths of sunspots. Matthew Penn and William Livingston have analysed 13 years of data which indicate that, independently of the number of spots around, there has been a decrease in their strength.

Sunspots are caused by irruptions into its surface of the sun’s deeper magnetism. These create local drops in temperature, which make the surface gas darker. Over the period which Dr Penn and Dr Livingston analysed, the average magnetic strength of the irruptions has declined. Below a certain threshold, they will not be strong enough to overcome the convective mixing of the gas at the surface, and spots will disappear altogether. If the present trend continues, that will happen in 2021.

The third measure of the sun’s decline is in its outer atmosphere, the corona. At each solar maximum, the corona sloughs off the magnetic fingerprint of the previous cycle by pushing it to the poles. According to Richard Altrock, the leader of another NSO team at the meeting, that does not appear to be happening in the present cycle. It looks, then, as if a new, extended solar minimum is about to begin.

That is good news for operators of communications satellites. And it is interesting news for those who worry about global warming. If the Maunder and Dalton minima actually did affect the climate, then a new one might counteract the effects of the extra greenhouse gases people are now pumping into the atmosphere—at least, until the solar cycle returns. Whether the breathing space thus granted would be used wisely or squandered is another matter. Do not expect that debate to be as placid as the spotless sun.

from the print edition | Science and Technology***
« Reply #460 on: June 20, 2011, 02:48:57 PM »

3rd post. Interesting. A blogger who usually finds himself on the catastrophic warming side of things is starting to realize how poorly reviewed IPCC reports are. Earlier he was commenting on the poor form involved in allowing a Greepeace employee to author a piece he then inserts into an IPCC report, for which he was also a reviewer of. Now Lynas is noting the same sort poor quality control where hydropower is involved:

New allegation of IPCC renewables report bias

20 June 2011 19 comments
Following the suggestion last week that a lead author from Greenpeace may have had undue influence over the outcome of the IPCC’s latest report on renewable energy, a new allegation has now been made regarding possible conflicts of interest amongst the lead authors of the report’s chapter on hydropower.

“The value of the IPCC report is weakened by the strongly biased treatment of hydropower,” says Peter Bosshard, policy director for International Rivers, which campaigns to raise attention of the damaging effects large dams can have on riverine ecosystems. “At least half of the lead authors of the hydropower chapter are not independent scientists, but have a vested interest in the promotion of hydropower. This creates a conflict of interest, which is reflected throughout the report.”

All Working Groups of the IPCC have strict procedures for multiple reviews of draft chapters, including with the final product being approved line-by-line by the world’s governments. That these procedures might have failed to detect – or correct – a pro-hydro bias in the draft report is worrying, given the importance for the planet’s future of getting the right mitigation options for tackling climate change. The chapter on hydropower (PDF) suggests a ‘technical potential’ of four times the current 926 GW of installed capacity – of up to 3,721 GW. This would mean significantly encroaching on the natural flows of river basins in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The IPCC report states:

“Of the total technical potential for hydropower, undeveloped capacity ranges from about 47% in Europe and North America to 92% in Africa, which indicates large opportunities for continued hydropower development worldwide, with the largest growth potential in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

There is expected to be significant pressure for new hydropower development because water stored behind dams can balance out the intermittency challenge inherent in large-scale use of strongly-fluctuating solar and wind power in modern electricity grids. However, water released from behind dams tends to be at a lower and more stable temperature than the water in undammed rivers, altering ecological signals and damaging wildlife. Flow regimes also vary widely, according to the needs of electrical consumers rather than the seasonal signals of snowmelt, drought and flood. It is partly because dams can have devastating effects on riverine ecology that freshwater biodiversity is amongst the most endangered on Earth.

As with the issue of Greenpeace’s involvement with Chapter 10 of the report, the allegations of bias in Chapter 5 do not suggest that the report is totally one-sided or should be entirely rejected. There is a section dealing with ecological issues which points out the possible negative implications of hydropower, for example. Instead, the problem lies with the tone of the report and its headline conclusion. Says Bosshard from International Rivers:

“The hydropower chapter of the new report at time reads like a marketing brochure of the hydropower industry. It ignores or misrepresents the findings of the independent World Commission on Dams, and glosses over the findings of many scientific reports which came to conclusions that are not convenient for the hydropower industry.”

This is a serious allegation, which potentially adds to the loss of prestige the IPCC has faced over the Greenpeace/renewables issue. Yet Bosshard is not attacking the IPCC per se, as he makes clear:

We have high respect for the scientific rigor and independence of the IPCC. We were surprised and dismayed to see that the preparation of the new report’s chapter on hydropower was left to a group of authors of whom a majority has a vested interest in the promotion of hydropower. The nine lead authors include representatives of two of the world’s largest hydropower developers, a hydropower consultancy, and three agencies promoting hydropower at the national level.

We recognize the need to have hydropower expertise on the panel and do not question the personal integrity of the authors. Yet it is not appropriate for IPCC to commission individuals with a business or institutional interest in the subject matter to prepare a report that is supposed to be unbiased and independent. The resulting conflict of interest weakens the quality of the report’s hydropower section.

Of the two overall co-ordinating lead authors of the hydropower chapter, one – Tormod Schei – works for a large dam-building company, Norway’s Statkraft, which runs 277 hydropower plants in more than 20 countries, and is currently building the Kargi dam project in Turkey. In the wider lead author team, Jean-Michel Devernay is a senior director within the energy company EDF, and is also vice-president of the board of the International Hydropower Association, whose brief is to “advance sustainable hydropower’s role in meeting the world’s water and energy needs”, according to its mission statement.

According to the ‘planetary boundaries’ work published by Rockstrom et al in Nature, 2009 – which forms the backbone for my upcoming book – freshwater use is one of the planet’s key ecological limits which humans need to respect to protect the integrity of the Earth system. The quantified boundary proposed leaves little room for accelerated big dam development, suggesting that carbon emissions need to be reduced in ways which do not negatively affect the other proposed boundaries. Once again, this emphasises that we need to see the Earth in a more integral way, and focus on ways in which we can solve one global ecological problem without negatively affecting others.

As International Rivers’ Peter Bosshard aptly puts it:

Combating climate change must be part of a holistic effort to protect the world’s ecosystems. We cannot afford to sacrifice the planet’s arteries to save her lungs.
« Reply #461 on: June 22, 2011, 10:05:45 AM »

A lot of doomsaying scientists have outside sources of income directly related to their doomsaying pulpit, which is often times a job paid for by taxpayers. "Deniers" are often subjected to all sorts of specious attacks due to their tangential associations, now it appears the panic mongers are contending with investigations of their direct conflicts of interest and double dipping:

NASA’s Hansen asked to account for outside activities
Posted on June 21, 2011 by Anthony Watts
Gavin Schmidt’s time spent on editing during working hours apparently was the trigger for a broader investigation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Contacts: Christopher Horner,  Paul Chesser,

ATI Law Center Asks Court to Force NASA to Produce Ethics-Related, Outside Employment Records of Dr. James Hansen

The American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center today filed a lawsuit in federal district court in the District of Columbia to force the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to release ethics records for taxpayer-funded global warming activist Dr. James Hansen, specifically records that pertain to his outside employment, revenue generation, and advocacy activities.

ATI seeks to learn whether NASA approved Hansen’s outside employment, which public financial disclosures and other documents reveal to have brought him at least $1.2 million in the past four years. This money comes on top of and, more troubling from an ethics and legal perspective, is all “related to” and sometimes even expressly for his taxpayer-funded employment, all of which outside employment commenced when Hansen stepped up his “global warming” activism from his perch at NASA.

On January 19, ATI filed a Freedom of Information Act request (PDF) with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which sought records detailing NASA’s and Hansen’s compliance with applicable federal ethics and financial disclosure laws and regulations and with NASA Rules of Behavior. Thus far the agency has denied ATI’s request for Hansen’s Form 17-60 “Application for permission for outside employment and other activity”, and internal discussions about same.

Arguing that release would constitute a “clearly unwarranted violation of Hansen’s privacy rights” NASA claims that ATI’s pages of explanation failed to establish that the one-page applications — if they exist, which ATI has reason to doubt — would“contribute to the public’s understanding of the activities of the Government, or how it would shed light on NASA’s performance of its statutory duties.”

This despite that whether NASA complies with ethics laws is patently of public interest, and that Hansen’s position requires him to file vastly more detailed Public Financial Disclosure filings, or Form SF 278, which are made available to the public on request. Both are for the simple reason that a senior employee’s outside revenue-generating activities are inherently in the public’s interest according to the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.

Dr. Hansen engages in high-profile public advocacy with regard to global warming and energy policy, directly trading on his platform as a NASA astronomer to gain interest and attention. This outside employment and other activities relating to his work have included consulting, highly compensated speeches, six-figure “prizes”, a commercial book, advising Al Gore on his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” and, lately, advising litigants on suing states and the federal government.

Since escalating the “provocative” (in Hansen’s word) nature of his advocacy in a 2006 “60 Minutes interview”, these outside activities have become extraordinarily lucrative — yielding on average more than a quarter of a million dollars per year in extra income between 2007 and 2010 from outside sources, all relating to the work he is paid by the taxpayer to perform for NASA.

ATI’s director of litigation Christopher Horner says, “Under federal statutes and NASA rules, employees may not privately benefit from public office; outside income must be disclosed, certain activities avoided, andpermission must be applied for before engaging in permissible outside employment or activities. ATI’s Request seeks official documents which — if they in fact exist — would inform the public about NASA’s and Hansen’s adherence to all such rules which compliance, given records already obtained and the public record, is in doubt.”

Dr. Hansen has admitted that lucrative offers of “prizes” and “awards” for his public service began flowing after that “60 Minutes” interview, in which he accused the Bush Administration of “censoring” his global warming views. Records show a sudden spike in highly compensated speeches on the subject of his work, as well.

NASA has already provided Form 17-60 documents for Dr. Hansen’s subordinate Gavin Schmidt to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Schmidt writes for and edits the climate alarmism blog, during normal business hours. That Hansen and NASA had not required Schmidt to file Form 17-60 seeking permission for these activities, until NASA was asked about this matter, triggered ATI’s inquiry into whether Hansen, too, was avoiding this requirement. Other records obtained by CEI and posted on ATI’s Web site indicate that Dr. Hansen has also used NASA staff for his own commercial activities.

The President and the Attorney General have made clear their commitment to transparency and a high standard of ethical behavior by government employees. NASA needs to clear the air by releasing the documents about Dr. Hansen and about whether he had permission to wear his government hat when engaging in a lucrative effort to sway government policy, said Dr. David Schnare, Director of the ATI Environmental Law Center.

See ATI Environmental Law Center’s Complaint and Prayer for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in federal court in its Freedom of Information Act case against NASA (PDF).
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Posts: 9481

« Reply #462 on: June 25, 2011, 12:58:32 AM »

The Hanson story is disgusting.  He accuses exactly what he is doing.  Put Bush in a situation where he will appear to be guilty of being political, as accused, if he fired Hanson as he should have.
This is a terrible story too, fraudulent research grants.  Could go under botched government programs and could go under media issues, for a deplorable lack of follow up:

 What's Missing from this Story?

June 24, 2011 Posted by Steven Hayward,

Nature magazine--not exactly on the top of the sales rack even at Barnes & Noble (I subscribe)--last week reported a bizarre story that is receiving no attention in the U.S. media that I've seen: The Eurocrats in Brussels have uncovered a massive organized crime effort that secured $72 million in fraudulent scientific research grants. An excerpt:

    The fraud has been conducted in a "highly sophisticated manner, resembling money laundering", by means of a cross-border network of fictitious companies and subcontractors, says Pavel Bořkovec, a spokesman for OLAF. Several project coordinators stand accused of having claimed inflated costs, or expenses for non-existent research activities and services, he says.

    "The projects were apparently organized with the sole intention to deceive the commission and its control mechanisms," says Boublil. To make them seem legitimate, grant applications included the names of real scientists, established research institutes and existing companies, he says. But in most cases the alleged project partners were included without their knowing.

The strange part of this story is that it offers no details about what specific areas of government research funding were pilfered, or what "results" may have come of the fraudulent research projects they supported. Could it have been in the climate science domain, where the most government research money seems to be sloshing around? We know that there has been organized fraud in the European carbon trading market. Trading had to be halted back in January when it was discovered that millions of dollars of carbon allowances had been stolen and cashed on the spot market, so this wouldn't be the first time that organized crime had fixed on the climate circus as an easy mark. And one of the overlooked e-mails in the "Climategate" scandal involving the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit two years ago was a message from one of the scientists suggesting that a particular grant be routed through a Russian organization as a means of tax evasion.

Seems like this story needs some follow up.
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Posts: 9481

« Reply #463 on: July 05, 2011, 06:12:31 PM »

I love this story. Just a few years ago I remember Copper Mountain Colorado warning that snow skiing die as a sport because of global warming.

Snowbird caps longest season with Fourth of July snow skiing
Published: Monday, July 4, 2011
LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON (Utah) — A few thousand mostly red-and-blue-clad skiers celebrated the Fourth of July on the white slopes at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.  By being open for skiing Monday Snowbird set a record for the number of days it was able to stay open in a single season with 202...
Snowbird also had a record for snowfall this season, with 783 inches...
(For those of us who appreciate skiing in fresh powder, that is over 65 feet of snow in one season!)
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« Reply #464 on: July 12, 2011, 08:49:50 PM »

When the lying and data hiding stops, maybe we can move global warming updates over to environmental sciences...

Temps right now are very close to both the 30 year and 3000 year averages if I am reading the charts below correctly.  Temps are up and down year to year more than they are in 30 years.

Dr. Fred Singer, Univ of Virginia, has a 24 page analysis of all the latest information, a  must read if you care about the survival of the planet.

A few key points pulled out by John Hinderacker: (You need to read this at the source: to keep his comments and Singer's separate.  Impressively, Singer called Mann on the Hide the Decline scandal long before the lies and deception were exposed in the climategate emails!  (read it all - Doug)
(Hinderacker)Dr. Singer points out that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the supposed authority on which pretty much all global warming alarmism relies, has changed its approach to the topic in each of its reports:

    (Singer)The IPCC has wavered on methodology. Their First Assessment Report (FAR–1990) simply pointed out that both GH gases and temperatures have increased but paid little attention to the long cooling period (from 1940 to 1975). Their Second Report (SAR–1996) tried to show that observed patterns of warming trends (“fingerprints”) agreed with calculated patterns. Their Third Report (TAR–2001) simply claimed that the 20th century was the warmest in 1000 years (as if this proves anything). The fourth report (AR4– 2007) basically said: We understand all natural forcings – so everything else must be anthropogenic.

(Hinderadker)The alarmists are consistent in only one respect. No matter what the data show, or what analyses are brought into play, the conclusion is always the same: the Earth is warming catastrophically, and the only solution is government takeover of all free economies.

Climate alarmism is based on computer models, but those models don’t correspond to observations in the real world. In the realm of science, when a computer model is contradicted by empirical observation, the model is deemed to have been refuted. Only in the field of global climate do purported scientists refuse to recognize that basic principle. The linked paper explains in summary fashion how the alarmists’ models are contradicted by observation.

Two 20th-century climate trends are undisputed: the Earth warmed from around 1910 to 1940, and cooled from around 1940 to the late 1970s. The climate alarmists base their theory on a warming that they claim took place between 1979 and 1997. Whether that latter warming actually took place is, however, highly debatable:

    (Singer)The 1910 to 1940 warming is seen in the surface thermometer record; there were no balloon or satellite observations to provide independent confirmation. However, the proxy data of tree rings, ice cores, etc, all show this warming so that we can be fairly sure of its reality. Its cause is generally believed to be due to natural factors, although Wigley and Santer have claimed it to be anthropogenic (Science, 1998).

    On the other hand, the reported 1979 to 1997 surface warming [Fig. 10] is not seen by atmospheric observations. [Fig. 11]. If one takes the near-zero atmospheric trends from radiosondes and (independent) satellite instruments [Fig. 5] seriously, then – because of “amplification” — the surface trend should be smaller – and therefore even closer to zero– especially in the tropical zone.

(Hinderacker)The fact that satellite observations do not verify the alleged surface warming from 1979 to 1997 is a huge problem for the alarmists. One might expect them to have a theory to explain the discrepancy, but they don’t. This graph shows satellite observations from 1979 to 2011:

Dr. Singer’s presentation explores possible explanations for the apparent rise in surface temperatures. Suffice it to say, for now, that the surface data are less than reliable and are biased in several respects toward warming. I was shocked when I learned that the data used by the IPCC do not even try to adjust for the urban heat island effect, which is well recognized. That fact, by itself, renders those data essentially worthless.

Beyond that, Singer talks about the frauds revealed by Climategate. The surface temperature data on which climate alarmism is based are heavily politicized. This is where the famous “hockey stick” comes into play, as well as the alarmists’ attempt to “hide the decline” through “tricks.”

    (Singer)One word about the relationship between Climategate and the “Hockey stick” temperature graph of Mann, Bradley, andHughes. When the graph was published [Nature 1998, GRL1999], public attention immediately focused on their claim that the 20th century was the warmest in the last 1000 years [Fig. 20]. It was then shown by McIntyre and McKitrick that some of the data had been fudged and that the statistical methodology used was faulty.

    They also demonstrated that feeding random data into the Michael Mann algorithms would invariably yield a hockey stick curve. (Mann [PNAS 2008] has now quietly changed the hockey stick into a graph that shows both the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age [Fig. 21].) In any case, we know that the MWP, around 1000 to 1200 AD, was warmer than today, based on many independent investigations [Fig. 22].

    But that fact (a warmer MWP) has little relevance to the question of the cause of current warming (if indeed such warming exists). Therefore, when the hockey stick was first published, my attention focused on the fact that Michael Mann’s proxy record seemed to stop in 1979 and that the continuing temperature data came entirely from the Jones analysis of surface thermometers. [I think this is the real explanation of “Mike’s Nature trick,” referred to in the Climategate e-mails that speak of “hiding the decline.”]

    I immediately sent e-mails to Mann and questioned him about this point, asking him why his proxy temperature record suddenly stopped in 1979. I received back a rather brusque reply that no suitable data were available.

    But I already knew that such data are indeed available [Figs23,24] and therefore surmised that his proxy data did not show the increase in temperature demanded by the surface thermometers. So he simply terminated his analysis in 1979 to hide this fact (his “Nature trick”) – in order to be “politically correct” and support the IPCC story of a temperature increase.

    The Climategate e-mails make it clear why Mann terminated the Hockey stick in 1979. There is a huge irony here that should be readily apparent. As I maintain above, there was in fact no increase in surface temperatures after 1979, and therefore Mann’s (never-published) proxy temperatures are correct. He simply did not have the courage to believe in his own results. To emphasize this point, I show some of the several proxy data in the published literature [Fig. 25].

This chart shows global temperatures as reconstructed from ocean sediment data:

(Hinderacker)It has become glaringly obvious to nearly everyone who pays attention that the alarmists’ alleged data are wrong, and their computer models are contradicted by observation. Rather than dealing with these fundamental issues as scientists, the alarmists have shifted into the political arena, smearing their critics and trying to jam major economic changes down our throats before more voters catch on to the fact that global warming alarmism is a fraud–an immensely profitable fraud for those who perpetrate it and for the crony industries that stand to profit by banning the efficient production of energy, but a fraud nevertheless.
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« Reply #465 on: July 28, 2011, 02:08:55 PM »

Nasa satellite data shows atmosphere releases far more heat than WHO computer data:
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« Reply #466 on: July 28, 2011, 06:56:33 PM »
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« Reply #467 on: July 28, 2011, 06:58:47 PM »

When does Al Gore get investigated?
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« Reply #468 on: July 30, 2011, 12:37:15 PM »

A waste of money?  From Scientific American - biofuels unable to live up to promise.  A synopsis of an article from recent issue:

 ****Scientific American Magazine » August 2011
Feature Articles | Energy & Sustainability 
The False Promise of Biofuels
The breakthroughs needed to replace oil with plant-based fuels are proving difficult to achieve

By David Biello  | August 10, 2011 | 3

In BriefDespite extensive research, biofuels are still not commercially competitive. The breakthroughs needed, revealed by recent science, may be tougher to realize than previously thought.
Corn ethanol is widely produced because of subsidies, and it diverts massive tracts of farmland needed for food. Converting the cellulose in cornstalks, grasses and trees into biofuels is proving difficult and expensive. Algae that produce oils have not been grown at scale. And more advanced genetics are needed to successfully engineer synthetic micro­organisms that excrete hydrocarbons.
Some start-up companies are abandoning biofuels and are instead using the same processes to make higher-margin chemicals for products such as plastics or cosmetics.

Range fuels was a risky but tantalizing bet. The high-tech start-up, begun by former Apple executive Mitch Mandich, attracted millions of dollars in private money plus commitments for up to $156 million in grants and loans from the U.S. government. The plan was to build a large biofuels plant in Soperton, Ga. Each day the facility would convert 1,000 tons of wood chips and waste from Georgia’s vast pulp and paper industry into 274,000 gallons of ethanol. “We selected Range Fuels as one of our partners in this effort,” said Samuel Bodman, then secretary of energy, at the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2007, “because we really believe that they are the cream of the crop.”

That crop has spoiled in the ground. Earlier this year Range Fuels closed its newly built biorefinery without selling a drop of ethanol. Turning biomass into a commercially viable, combustible liquid is tougher than anticipated, the company has found. As expensive equipment sits idle, the firm is searching for more funding to try to solve the problem.
« Reply #469 on: August 04, 2011, 12:06:24 AM »

Another problem with the biofuels that gets over looked is how water intensive crops like soy and corn are. A lot of the world is facing down the big problem of running out of water. The last thing a lot of people need is for the little water that's left to be used to drive their cars.
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« Reply #470 on: August 29, 2011, 11:57:16 AM »

****Clouds in a jar
A new experiment with old apparatus reveals a flaw in models of the climate
Aug 27th 2011 | from the print edition
CLOUD chambers have an honoured place in the history of physics. These devices, which generate vapour trails that mark the passage of high-energy subatomic particles, were the first apparatus that allowed such passage to be tracked. That was in the 1920s and led, among other things, to the discovery of cosmic rays. Science has moved on since then, of course, and cloud chambers are now largely museum pieces. But the world’s leading high-energy physics laboratory, CERN, outside Geneva, is dusting the idea off and putting it into reverse. Instead of using clouds to study cosmic rays, it is using cosmic rays to study clouds. In doing so, it may have thrown a spanner into the works of the world’s computer models of the climate.

Clouds are formed by the condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere around clusters of molecules such as ammonia and sulphuric acid. Ions created by the passage of cosmic rays can trigger the formation of such molecular seeds—a process of particular interest because the arrival of cosmic rays is regulated, in part, by the sun. The 11-year solar cycle, which governs the appearance of sunspots, also changes the sun’s magnetic field. That, in turn, affects the passage of cosmic rays (which are mostly protons released by distant supernova explosions), and thus the number of such rays that make it to Earth. Since clouds help regulate the climate, by reflecting sunlight back into space and cooling the atmosphere, some researchers think cosmic rays are a means by which changes in solar activity are translated into terrestrial climate change.

Just how much cosmic rays affect cloud formation has, however, remained elusive. A team at CERN, led by Jasper Kirkby, therefore decided to recreate both the solar cycle and the atmosphere in a lab. Their “cosmic rays” are generated by one of CERN’s particle accelerators. To simulate the atmosphere, they have built a special cloud chamber of their own, with the air manufactured from scratch, using liquid nitrogen and oxygen together with precise amounts of trace compounds, including sulphuric acid and ammonia.

A typical run at CLOUD, as the experiment is unimaginatively named, begins by tracking the growth of seeds from single molecules into clusters in the presence of ultraviolet radiation, which is known to encourage such growth. An electrical field removes any ions present, so the rate of seed growth should be equivalent to that in nature with no cosmic rays around. Next, the field is switched off, allowing actual cosmic rays to permeate the chamber for a while. Finally, a beam of artificial rays from the accelerator is added to the mix.

By comparing rates of seed formation during the different phases of the experiments, the researchers have been able to put a figure on cosmic rays’ contribution to the process. The results, reported in this week’s Nature, suggest naturally occurring rays enhance seed-formation rates by a factor of ten. That implies the rays’ varying intensity could indeed affect the climate.

Dr Kirkby and his colleagues remain cautious about the result, however, because of a second finding. To their surprise, they discovered that the seed-formation rates for sulphuric acid and ammonia are between a tenth and a thousandth of those needed to account for the cloud seeding actually seen in the atmosphere. That suggests other compounds are important, too—and this, in turn, implies that current climate models, which assume most seeds are made of ammonia or sulphuric acid, may require revision.

Atmospheric physics is, of course, notoriously complex. And it would be foolish to start reprogramming all the models on the basis of this single result. But it does suggest that a closer look is needed into what is going on in the real atmosphere. Clearly, there is life in the old cloud chamber yet.

from the print edition | Science and Technology
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« Reply #471 on: September 15, 2011, 05:49:59 PM »
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« Reply #472 on: October 06, 2011, 12:33:30 PM »

Has anyone heard from BBG?

Five Truths About Climate Change
During the decade that Al Gore dominated the environmental debate, global carbon-dioxide emissions rose by 28.5%.


Over the past two months, environmental activists have held protests at the White House and elsewhere hoping to convince the Obama administration to deny a permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Some of those same activists have launched a series of demonstrations called "Moving Planet" to move "the planet away from fossil fuels towards a safer climate future." And next month, leaders from dozens of countries will meet at the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa.

But for all of the sturm und drang about climate change, what has actually happened? It's time to acknowledge five obvious truths about the climate-change issue:
Related Video

Robert Bryce on why global warming alarmists are losing their crusade.

1) The carbon taxers/limiters have lost. Carbon-dioxide emissions have been the environmental issue of the past decade. Over that time period, Al Gore became a world-renowned figure for his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," for which he won an Oscar. In 2007, he, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), collected a Nobel Peace Prize for "informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change." That same year, the IPCC released its fourth assessment report, which declared that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions." (Emphasis in original.)

Two years later, Copenhagen became the epicenter of a world-wide media frenzy as some 5,000 journalists, along with some 100 world leaders and scores of celebrities, descended on the Danish capital to witness what was billed as the best opportunity to impose a global tax or limit on carbon dioxide.

The result? Nothing, aside from promises by various countries to get serious—really serious—about carbon emissions sometime soon.

Here's a reality check: During the same decade that Mr. Gore and the IPCC dominated the environmental debate, global carbon-dioxide emissions rose by 28.5%.

Those increases reflect soaring demand for electricity, up by 36%, which in turn fostered a 47% increase in coal consumption. (Natural-gas use increased by 29% while oil use grew by 13%.) Carbon-dioxide emissions are growing because people around the world understand the essentiality of electricity to modernity. And for many countries, the cheapest way to produce electrons is by burning coal.

2) Regardless of whether it's getting hotter or colder—or both—we are going to need to produce a lot more energy in order to remain productive and comfortable.

3) The carbon-dioxide issue is not about the United States anymore. Sure, the U.S. is the world's second-largest energy consumer. But over the past decade, carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. fell by 1.7%. And according to the International Energy Agency, the U.S. is now cutting carbon emissions faster than Europe, even though the European Union has instituted an elaborate carbon-trading/pricing scheme. Why? The U.S. is producing vast quantities of cheap natural gas from shale, which is displacing higher-carbon coal.

Meanwhile, China's emissions jumped by 123% over the past decade and now exceed those of the U.S. by more than two billion tons per year. Africa's carbon-dioxide emissions jumped by 30%, Asia's by 44%, and the Middle East's by a whopping 57%. Put another way, over the past decade, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions—about 6.1 billion tons per year—could have gone to zero and yet global emissions still would have gone up.

4) We have to get better—and we are—at turning energy into useful power. In 1882, Thomas Edison's first central power station on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan converted less than 3% of the heat energy of the coal being burned into electricity. Today's best natural-gas-fired turbines have thermal efficiencies of 60%. Nearly all of the things we use on a daily basis—light bulbs, computers, automobiles—are vastly more efficient than they were just a few years ago. And over the coming years those devices will get even better at turning energy into useful lighting, computing and motive power.

5) The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere.

Furthermore, even if we accept that carbon dioxide is bad, it's not clear exactly what we should do about it. In September, Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder published a report that determined "switching from coal to natural gas would do little for global climate." Mr. Wigley found that the particulates put into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants, "although detrimental to the environment, cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight."

If Mr. Wigley's right, then using sources that emit no particulates, like nuclear and natural gas, will not make a major difference in averting near-term changes in the climate caused by carbon dioxide. But then—and here's the part that most media outlets failed to discuss when reporting on the Wigley study—widespread use of renewables such as wind and solar won't help much, either.

Will Happer, a professor of physics at Princeton and a skeptic about global climate change, recently wrote that the "contemporary 'climate crusade' has much in common with the medieval crusades." Indeed, politicians and pundits are hectored to adhere to the orthodoxy of the carbon-dioxide-is-the-only-climate-problem alarmists. And that orthodoxy prevails even though the most ardent alarmists have no credible plans to replace the hydrocarbons that now provide 87% of the world's energy.

It's time to move the debate past the dogmatic view that carbon dioxide is evil and toward a world view that accepts the need for energy that is cheap, abundant and reliable.

Mr. Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His latest book, "Power Hungry: The Myths of 'Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future" (PublicAffairs, 2010), was recently issued in paperback.
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« Reply #473 on: October 07, 2011, 07:42:52 PM »

October 6, 2011 by Steven Hayward in Climate
The New Hockey Stick?

Everyone who follows the climate change controversy even casually will know about the “hockey stick” controversy.  Well, Nature magazine this week offers a new graph of interest: the rising trend of retractions of scientific research papers (see blow).  Lo and behold, it looks like a hockey stick!  (Heh.)

The Nature story notes:

    Behind at least half of them lies some shocking tale of scientific misconduct — plagiarism, altered images or faked data — and the other half are admissions of embarrassing mistakes. But retraction notices are increasing rapidly. In the early 2000s, only about 30 retraction notices appeared annually. This year, the Web of Science is on track to index more than 400 — even though the total number of papers published has risen by only 44% over the past decade.

There’s a lot more here to ponder, such as the essentially hollow and meaningless nature of modern peer review, and the increasingly tribal and ideological drift of much of the academic scientific establishment.  Some other time perhaps I’ll get further into these matters.

Dan Sarewitz, always worth reading

Elsewhere in this week’s issue of Nature, Dan Sarewitz of Arizona State University, one of the truly honest brokers in the academic science and policy world, offers a terrific essay on what’s wrong with so-called “consensus” science reports.  (Dan is a pal, but hat tip to RH for bringing Dan’s piece to my attention.)  The article may be behind a subscriber firewall, so here’s a relevant excerpt:

    When scientists wish to speak with one voice, they typically do so in a most unscientific way: the consensus report. The idea is to condense the knowledge of many experts into a single point of view that can settle disputes and aid policy-making. But the process of achieving such a consensus often acts against these goals, and can undermine the very authority it seeks to project. . .

    The very idea that science best expresses its authority through consensus statements is at odds with a vibrant scientific enterprise. Consensus is for textbooks; real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge. Science would provide better value to politics if it articulated the broadest set of plausible interpretations, options and perspectives, imagined by the best experts, rather than forcing convergence to an allegedly unified voice.

    Yet, as anyone who has served on a consensus committee knows, much of what is most interesting about a subject gets left out of the final report.
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« Reply #474 on: November 01, 2011, 01:41:11 PM »

 'There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

(Where is BBG?)

The story so far: ten days ago a self-proclaimed "sceptical" climate scientist named Professor Richard Muller of Berkeley University, California, managed to grab himself some space in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) claiming that the case for global warming scepticism was over. Thanks to research from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project, Professor Muller stated confidently, we now know that the planet has warmed by almost one degree centigrade since 1950. What's more, he told the BBC's Today programme, there is no sign that this global warming has slowed down.

Cue mass jubilation from a number of media outlets which, perhaps, ought to have known better – among them, the Independent, the Guardian, The Economist and Forbes magazine. To give you an idea of their self-righteous indignation at the supposed ignorance of climate change deniers, here is the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson in full spate:

    We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.

    Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.

Problem is, Eugene, almost every word of those two paragraphs is plain wrong, and your smugness embarrassingly misplaced.

As you know, I had my doubts about Muller's findings from the start. I thought it was at best disingenuous of him to pose as a "sceptic" when there is little evidence of him ever having been one. As for his argument that the BEST project confounds sceptics by proving global warming exists – this was never more than a straw man.

Now, though, it seems that BEST is even worse than I thought. Here is what Muller claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

    In our data, which is only on the land we see no evidence of [global warming] having slowed down.

But this simply isn't true. Heaven forfend that a distinguished professor from Berkeley University should actually have been caught out telling a lie direct. No, clearly what has happened here is that Professor Muller has made the kind of mistake any self-respecting climate scientist could make: gone to press with some extravagant claims without having a smidgen of evidence to support them.

Here, to help the good professor out, is a chart produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation's David Whitehouse. It was plotted from BEST's own figures.

Note how the 10 year trend from 2001 to 2010 – in flat contradiction of Muller's claims – shows no warming whatsoever.

What's odd that BEST appears to have gone to great trouble – shades of "hide the decline", anyone? – to disguise this inconvenient truth. Here is a graph released by BEST:

The GWPF's David Whitehouse is not impressed:

    Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.

Muller's colleague Professor Judith Curry – who besides being a BEST co-author chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology – is even less impressed.

    There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

« Reply #475 on: November 01, 2011, 08:26:09 PM »

A self confessed "luke warmer" frames what is wrong with climate apocalypse orthodoxy:

I'm grateful to Matt Ridley for allowing me to post the text of his Angus Millar lecture at the RSA in Edinburgh.

It is a great honour to be asked to deliver the Angus Millar lecture.

I have no idea whether Angus Millar ever saw himself as a heretic, but I have a soft spot for heresy. One of my ancestral relations, Nicholas Ridley* the Oxford martyr, was burned at the stake for heresy.

My topic today is scientific heresy. When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Let us run through some issues, starting with the easy ones.

Astronomy is a science; astrology is a pseudoscience.

Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.

Molecular biology is science; homeopathy is pseudoscience.

Vaccination is science; the MMR scare is pseudoscience.

Oxygen is science; phlogiston was pseudoscience.

Chemistry is science; alchemy was pseudoscience.

Are you with me so far?

A few more examples. That the earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare is pseudoscience. So are the beliefs that Elvis is still alive, Diana was killed by MI5, JFK was killed by the CIA, 911 was an inside job. So are ghosts, UFOs, telepathy, the Loch Ness monster and pretty well everything to do with the paranormal. Sorry to say that on Halloween, but that’s my opinion.

Three more controversial ones. In my view, most of what Freud said was pseudoscience.

So is quite a lot, though not all, of the argument for organic farming.

So, in a sense by definition, is religious faith. It explicitly claims that there are truths that can be found by other means than observation and experiment.

Now comes one that gave me an epiphany. Crop circles*.

It was blindingly obvious to me that crop circles were likely to be man-made when I first starting investigating this phenomenon. I made some myself to prove it was easy to do*.

This was long before Doug Bower and Dave Chorley fessed up to having started the whole craze after a night at the pub.

Every other explanation – ley lines, alien spacecraft, plasma vortices, ball lightning – was balderdash. The entire field of “cereology” was pseudoscience, as the slightest brush with its bizarre practitioners easily demonstrated.

Imagine my surprise then when I found I was the heretic and that serious journalists working not for tabloids but for Science Magazine, and for a Channel 4 documentary team, swallowed the argument of the cereologists that it was highly implausible that crop circles were all man-made.

So I learnt lesson number 1: the stunning gullibility of the media. Put an “ology” after your pseudoscience and you can get journalists to be your propagandists.

A Channel 4 team did the obvious thing – they got a group of students to make some crop circles and then asked the cereologist if they were “genuine” or “hoaxed” – ie, man made. He assured them they could not have been made by people. So they told him they had been made the night before. The man was poleaxed. It made great television. Yet the producer, who later became a government minister under Tony Blair, ended the segment of the programme by taking the cereologist’s side: “of course, not all crop circles are hoaxes”. What? The same happened when Doug and Dave owned up*; everybody just went on believing. They still do.

Lesson number 2: debunking is like water off a duck’s back to pseudoscience.

In medicine, I began to realize, the distinction between science and pseudoscience is not always easy.  This is beautifully illustrated in an extraordinary novel by Rebecca Abrams, called Touching Distance*, based on the real story of an eighteenth century medical heretic, Alec Gordon of Aberdeen.

Gordon was a true pioneer of the idea that childbed fever was spread by medical folk like himself and that hygiene was the solution to it. He hit upon this discovery long before Semelweiss and Lister. But he was ignored. Yet Abrams’s novel does not paint him purely as a rational hero, but as a flawed human being, a neglectful husband and a crank with some odd ideas – such as a dangerous obsession with bleeding his sick patients. He was a pseudoscientist one minute and scientist the next.

Lesson number 3. We can all be both. Newton was an alchemist.

Like antisepsis, many scientific truths began as heresies and fought long battles for acceptance against entrenched establishment wisdom that now appears irrational: continental drift, for example. Barry Marshall* was not just ignored but vilified when he first argued that stomach ulcers are caused by a particular bacterium. Antacid drugs were very profitable for the drug industry. Eventually he won the Nobel prize.

Just this month Daniel Shechtman* won the Nobel prize for quasi crystals, having spent much of his career being vilified and exiled as a crank. “I was thrown out of my research group. They said I brought shame on them with what I was saying.”

That’s lesson number 4: the heretic is sometimes right.

What sustains pseudoscience is confirmation bias. We look for and welcome the evidence that fits our pet theory; we ignore or question the evidence that contradicts it. We all do this all the time. It’s not, as we often assume, something that only our opponents indulge in. I do it, you do it, it takes a superhuman effort not to do it. That is what keeps myths alive, sustains conspiracy theories and keeps whole populations in thrall to strange superstitions.

Bertrand Russell* pointed this out many years ago: “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.”

Lesson no 5: keep a sharp eye out for confirmation bias in yourself and others.

There have been some very good books on this recently. Michael Shermer’s “The Believing Brain”, Dan Gardner’s “Future Babble” and Tim Harford’s “Adapt”* are explorations of the power of confirmation bias. And what I find most unsettling of all is Gardner’s conclusion that knowledge is no defence against it; indeed, the more you know, the more you fall for confirmation bias. Expertise gives you the tools to seek out the confirmations you need to buttress your beliefs.

Experts are worse at forecasting the future than non-experts.

Philip Tetlock did the definitive experiment. He gathered a sample of 284 experts – political scientists, economists and journalists – and harvested 27,450 different specific judgments from them about the future then waited to see if they came true. The results were terrible. The experts were no better than “a dart-throwing chimpanzee”.

Here’s what the Club of Rome said on the rear cover of the massive best-seller Limits to Growth in 1972*:

“Will this be the world that your grandchildren will thank you for? A world where industrial production has sunk to zero. Where population has suffered a catastrophic decline. Where the air, sea and land are polluted beyond redemption. Where civilization is a distant memory. This is the world that the computer forecasts.”

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts", said Richard Feynman.

Lesson 6. Never rely on the consensus of experts about the future. Experts are worth listening to about the past, but not the future. Futurology is pseudoscience.

Using these six lessons, I am now going to plunge into an issue on which almost all the experts are not only confident they can predict the future, but absolutely certain their opponents are pseudoscientists. It is an issue on which I am now a heretic. I think the establishment view is infested with pseudoscience. The issue is climate change.

Now before you all rush for the exits, and I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself. Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that you can accept all the basic tenets of greenhouse physics and still conclude that the threat of a dangerously large warming is so improbable as to be negligible, while the threat of real harm from climate-mitigation policies is already so high as to be worrying, that the cure is proving far worse than the disease is ever likely to be. Or as I put it once, we may be putting a tourniquet round our necks to stop a nosebleed.

I also think the climate debate is a massive distraction from much more urgent environmental problems like invasive species and overfishing.

I was not always such a “lukewarmer”. In the mid 2000s one image in particular played a big role in making me abandon my doubts about dangerous man-made climate change: the hockey stick*. It clearly showed that something unprecedented was happening. I can remember where I first saw it at a conference and how I thought: aha, now there at last is some really clear data showing that today’s temperatures are unprecedented in both magnitude and rate of change – and it has been published in Nature magazine.

Yet it has been utterly debunked by the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. I urge you to read Andrew Montford’s careful and highly readable book The Hockey Stick Illusion*. Here is not the place to go into detail, but briefly the problem is both mathematical and empirical. The graph relies heavily on some flawed data – strip-bark tree rings from bristlecone pines -- and on a particular method of principal component analysis, called short centering, that heavily weights any hockey-stick shaped sample at the expense of any other sample. When I say heavily – I mean 390 times.

This had a big impact on me. This was the moment somebody told me they had made the crop circle the night before.

For, apart from the hockey stick, there is no evidence that climate is changing dangerously or faster than in the past, when it changed naturally.

It was warmer in the Middle ages* and medieval climate change in Greenland was much faster.

Stalagmites*, tree lines and ice cores all confirm that it was significantly warmer 7000 years ago. Evidence from Greenland suggests that the Arctic ocean was probably ice free for part of the late summer at that time.

Sea level* is rising at the unthreatening rate about a foot per century and decelerating.

Greenland is losing ice at the rate of about 150 gigatonnes a year, which is 0.6% per century.

There has been no significant warming in Antarctica*, with the exception of the peninsula.

Methane* has largely stopped increasing.

Tropical storm* intensity and frequency have gone down, not up, in the last 20 years.

Your probability* of dying as a result of a drought, a flood or a storm is 98% lower globally than it was in the 1920s.

Malaria* has retreated not expanded as the world has warmed.

And so on. I’ve looked and looked but I cannot find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm.

No doubt, there will be plenty of people thinking “what about x?” Well, if you have an X that persuades you that rapid and dangerous climate change is on the way, tell me about it. When I asked a senior government scientist this question, he replied with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. That is to say, a poorly understood hot episode, 55 million years ago, of uncertain duration, uncertain magnitude and uncertain cause.

Meanwhile, I see confirmation bias everywhere in the climate debate. Hurricane Katrina, Mount Kilimanjaro, the extinction of golden toads – all cited wrongly as evidence of climate change. A snowy December, the BBC lectures us, is “just weather”; a flood in Pakistan or a drought in Texas is “the sort of weather we can expect more of”. A theory so flexible it can rationalize any outcome is a pseudoscientific theory.

To see confirmation bias in action, you only have to read the climategate emails, documents that have undermined my faith in this country’s scientific institutions. It is bad enough that the emails unambiguously showed scientists plotting to cherry-pick data, subvert peer review, bully editors and evade freedom of information requests. What’s worse, to a science groupie like me, is that so much of the rest of the scientific community seemed OK with that. They essentially shrugged their shoulders and said, yeh, big deal, boys will be boys.

Nor is there even any theoretical support for a dangerous future. The central issue is “sensitivity”: the amount of warming that you can expect from a doubling of carbon dioxide levels. On this, there is something close to consensus – at first. It is 1.2 degrees centigrade. Here’s* how the IPCC put it in its latest report.

“In the idealised situation that the climate response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 consisted of a uniform temperature change only, with no feedbacks operating…the global warming from GCMs would be around 1.2°C.” Paragraph

Now the paragraph goes on to argue that large, net positive feedbacks, mostly from water vapour, are likely to amplify this. But whereas there is good consensus about the 1.2 C, there is absolutely no consensus about the net positive feedback, as the IPCC also admits. Water vapour forms clouds and whether clouds in practice amplify or dampen any greenhouse warming remains in doubt.

So to say there is a consensus about some global warming is true; to say there is a consensus about dangerous global warming is false.

The sensitivity of the climate could be a harmless 1.2C, half of which has already been experienced, or it could be less if feedbacks are negative or it could be more if feedbacks are positive. What does the empirical evidence say? Since 1960 we have had roughly one-third of a doubling, so we must have had almost half of the greenhouse warming expected from a doubling – that’s elementary arithmetic, given that the curve is agreed to be logarithmic. Yet if you believe the surface thermometers* (the red and green lines), we have had about 0.6C of warming in that time, at the rate of less than 0.13C per decade – somewhat less if you believe the satellite thermometers (the blue and purple lines).

So we are on track for 1.2C*.  We are on the blue line, not the red line*.

Remember Jim Hansen of NASA told us in 1988 to expect 2-4 degrees in 25 years. We are experiencing about one-tenth of that.

We are below even the zero-emission path expected by the IPCC in 1990*.

Ah, says the consensus, sulphur pollution has reduced the warming, delaying the impact, or the ocean has absorbed the extra heat. Neither of these post-hoc rationalisations fit the data: the southern hemisphere has warmed about half as fast as the northern* in the last 30 years, yet the majority of the sulphur emissions were in the northern hemisphere.

And ocean heat content has decelerated, if not flattened, in the past decade*.

By contrast, many heretical arguments seem to me to be paragons of science as it should be done: transparent, questioning and testable.

For instance, earlier this year, a tenacious British mathematician named Nic Lewis started looking into the question of sensitivity and found* that the only wholly empirical estimate of sensitivity cited by the IPCC had been put through an illegitimate statistical procedure which effectively fattened its tail on the upward end – it hugely increased the apparent probability of high warming at the expense of low warming.

When this is corrected, the theoretical probability of warming greater than 2.3C is very low indeed.

Like all the other errors in the IPCC report, including the infamous suggestion that all Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 rather than 2350, this mistake exaggerates the potential warming. It is beyond coincidence that all these errors should be in the same direction. The source for the Himalayan glacier mistake was a non-peer reviewed WWF report and it occurred in a chapter, two of whose coordinating lead authors and a review editor were on WWF’s climate witness scientific advisory panel. Remember too that the glacier error was pointed out by reviewers, who were ignored, and that Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, dismissed the objectors as practitioners of “voodoo science”.

Journalists are fond of saying that the IPCC report is based solely on the peer-reviewed literature. Rajendra Pachauri himself made that claim in 2008, saying*:

“we carry out an assessment of climate change based on peer-reviewed literature, so everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry [the] credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don't settle for anything less than that.”

That’s a voodoo claim. The glacier claim was not peer reviewed; nor was the alteration to the sensitivity function Lewis spotted. The journalist Donna Laframboise got volunteers all over the world to help her count the times the IPCC used non-peer reviewed literature. Her conclusion is that*: “Of the 18,531 references in the 2007 Climate Bible we found 5,587 - a full 30% - to be non peer-reviewed.”

Yet even to say things like this is to commit heresy. To stand up and say, within a university or within the BBC, that you do not think global warming is dangerous gets you the sort of reaction that standing up in the Vatican and saying you don’t think God is good would get. Believe me, I have tried it.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

After all there’s pseudoscience and confirmation bias among the climate heretics too.

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least* sceptics do not cover the hills of Scotland with useless, expensive, duke-subsidising wind turbines whose manufacture causes pollution in Inner Mongolia and which kill rare raptors such as this griffon vulture.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

At least homeopaths have not made expensive condensing boilers, which shut down in cold weather, compulsory, as John Prescott did in 2005.

At least astrologers have not driven millions of people into real hunger, perhaps killing 192,000 last year according to one conservative estimate, by diverting 5% of the world’s grain crop into motor fuel*.

That’s why it matters. We’ve been asked to take some very painful cures. So we need to be sure the patient has a brain tumour rather than a nosebleed.

Handing the reins of power to pseudoscience has an unhappy history. Remember eugenics. Around 1910 the vast majority of scientists and other intellectuals agreed that nationalizing reproductive decisions so as to stop poor, disabled and stupid people from having babies was not just a practical but a moral imperative of great urgency.

“There is now no reasonable excuse for refusing to face the fact,” said George Bernard Shaw*, “that nothing but a eugenics religion can save our civilization from the fate that has overtaken all previous civilizations.’’ By the skin of its teeth, mainly because of a brave Liberal MP called Josiah Wedgwood, Britain never handed legal power to the eugenics movement. Germany did.

Or remember Trofim Lysenko*, a pseudoscientific crank with a strange idea that crops could be trained to do what you wanted and that Mendelian genetics was bunk. His ideas became the official scientific religion of the Soviet Union and killed millions; his critics, such as the geneticist Nikolai Vavilov, ended up dead in prison.

Am I going too far in making these comparisons? I don’t think so. James Hansen of NASA says oil firm executives should be tried for crimes against humanity.  (Remember this is the man who is in charge of one of the supposedly impartial data sets about global temperatures.) John Beddington, Britain's chief scientific adviser, said this year that just as we are "grossly intolerant of racism", so we should also be "grossly intolerant of pseudoscience", in which he included all forms of climate-change scepticism.

The irony of course is that much of the green movement began as heretical dissent. Greenpeace went from demanding that the orthodox view of genetically modified crops be challenged, and that the Royal Society was not to be trusted, to demanding that heresy on climate change be ignored and the Royal Society could not be wrong.

Talking of Greenpeace, did you know that the collective annual budget of Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth was more than a billion dollars globally last year? People sometimes ask me what’s the incentive for scientists to exaggerate climate change. But look at the sums of money available to those who do so, from the pressure groups, from governments and from big companies. It was not the sceptics who hired an ex News of the World deputy editor as a spin doctor after climategate, it was the University of East Anglia.

By contrast scientists and most mainstream journalists risk their careers if they take a skeptical line, so dogmatic is the consensus view. It is left to the blogosphere to keep the flame of heresy alive and do the investigative reporting the media has forgotten how to do. In America*, Anthony Watts who crowd-sourced the errors in the siting of thermometers and runs;

In Canada*, Steve McIntyre, the mathematician who bit by bit exposed the shocking story of the hockey stick and runs

Here in Britain,* Andrew Montford, who dissected the shenanigans behind the climategate whitewash enquiries and runs

In Australia*, Joanne Nova, the former television science presenter who has pieced together the enormous sums of money that go to support vested interests in alarm, and runs

The remarkable thing about the heretics I have mentioned is that every single one is doing this in his or her spare time. They work for themselves, they earn a pittance from this work. There is no great fossil-fuel slush fund for sceptics.

In conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time on climate, but it could have been dietary fat, or nature and nurture. My argument is that like religion, science as an institution is and always has been plagued by the temptations of confirmation bias. With alarming ease it morphs into pseudoscience even – perhaps especially – in the hands of elite experts and especially when predicting the future and when there’s lavish funding at stake. It needs heretics.

Thank you very much for listening.
« Reply #476 on: November 03, 2011, 08:03:14 AM »

This tinkles on a climate narrative or two:

Who are the world’s worst “polluters”? According to a new high-spectral-resolution Japanese satellite — it’s developing countries.

Who knew detailed spectroscopic data on Earth’s atmosphere was available to figure out where the CO2 and other greenhouse gases are being produced and absorbed?

In January 2009, a Japanese group launched a satellite “IBUKI” to monitor CO2 and methane spectral bands around the world to establish exactly where the world’s biggest sources and sinks of greenhouse gases were. With climate change being the perilous threat to millions, this data would seem so essential you might wonder why didn’t someone do it before. As it happens, NASA tried — it launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory in Feb 2009, which was designed to do exactly the same thing, but it crashed on launch. Oddly, NASA don’t seem to be prioritizing the deadly climate threat, as it will take NASA four years to figure out why the Taurus XL rocket failed and relaunch it.

The results from from Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)  show that Industrialized nations appear to be absorbing the carbon dioxide emissions from the Third World. (Can we get carbon credits for that?) The satellite shows that levels of CO2 are typically lower in developed countries than in air over developing countries.

If the evil modern polluters were producing more CO2 (and it mattered to the global flux), then we’d see higher levels of CO2 (more red dots) over the first world. Right? But CO2 levels are lower than average (see the blue dots). The highest emissions, at least on this graph are predominantly in China, and central Africa.)

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the US midwest earn Gold Star environment awards for their low carbon dioxide levels.

Likewise, the methane picture is remarkably similar.

Cheifio sums up the Japanese results: “For now, I think it’s pretty clear that the “CO2 From the Evil Western Polluters” meme has a serious hole in it… “

Chiefio (E.M Smith) goes on to say:

This isn’t that much of a surprise to me. I’d figured out some time ago that trees and bamboo could consume far more CO2 than I “produce” via burning oil and gas. I’ve also pointed out that The West is largely letting trees grow, while mowing our lawns and having the clippings “sequestered” in land fills (along with an untold tonnage of phone books and junk mail…) while the 3rd world is busy burning and cutting down their forests. The simple fact is that “jungle rot” will beat out my “gallon a day” of Diesel any time. Basically, we in the west grow far more wheat, corn, soybeans, wood, lawns, shrubs, etc. than we burn oil. In the 3rd world, they burn their sequestering plants. (And it takes one heck of a lot more wood to cook a meal than it does coal via a highly efficient furnace / electric generator / microwave oven.) But it’s nice to see it documented in aggregate in the “facts in the air”.

You can see in the graph on the right (click if you want to look up close) that the Japanese satellites have got a seriously high quality spectroscope to figure out the levels of greenhouse gases.

These are the kind of results they are getting, the spectral bands over the south pacific in March 2009. Click to enlarge. Gawk at the detail. They are serious graphs. Source

Chiefio has also posted a truly beautiful animated graphic. Watch as those Siberian forests, suck up CO2 in summer as they grow, thus reducing the levels to 360 ppm in  August 2009 (but curiously not as much in August 2010).

Man-made emissions are only 4% of the total
Since 96% of all CO2 emissions are natural, those sinks and sources will make or break any theory based on whether man-made emissions are problematic.

This topic fits in with Murry Salby’s work — could it be that changes in the natural sources of CO2  drive the global level, rather than our emissions?
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« Reply #477 on: November 03, 2011, 12:34:53 PM »

VERY interesting BBG!
« Reply #478 on: November 03, 2011, 12:40:30 PM »

A Modest Proposal—Forget About Tomorrow
Posted on October 31, 2011 by Willis Eschenbach
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

There’s a lovely 2005 paper I hadn’t seen, put out by the Los Alamos National Laboratory entitled “Our Calibrated Model has No Predictive Value” (PDF).

The paper’s abstract says it much better than I could:

Abstract: It is often assumed that once a model has been calibrated to measurements then it will have some level of predictive capability, although this may be limited. If the model does not have predictive capability then the assumption is that the model needs to be improved in some way.

Using an example from the petroleum industry, we show that cases can exist where calibrated models have no predictive capability. This occurs even when there is no modelling error present. It is also shown that the introduction of a small modelling error can make it impossible to obtain any models with useful predictive capability.

We have been unable to find ways of identifying which calibrated models will have some predictive capacity and those which will not.

There are three results in there, one expected and two unexpected.

The expected result is that models that are “tuned” or “calibrated” to an existing dataset may very well have no predictive capability. On the face of it this is obvious—if we could tune a model that simply then someone would be predicting the stock market or next month’s weather with good accuracy.
The next result was totally unexpected. The model may have no predictive capabilitydespite being a perfect model. The model may represent the physics of the situation perfectly and exactly in each and every relevant detail. But if that perfect  model is tuned to a dataset, even a perfect dataset, it may have no predictive capability at all.

The third unexpected result was the effect of error. The authors found that if there are even small modeling errors, it may not be possible to find any model with useful predictive capability.

To paraphrase, even if a tuned (“calibrated”) model is perfect about the physics, it may not have predictive capabilities. And if there is even a little error in the model, good luck finding anything useful.

This was a very clean experiment. There were only three tunable parameters. So it looks like John Von Neumann was right, you can fit an elephant with three parameters, and with four parameters, make him wiggle his trunk.

I leave it to the reader to consider what this means about the various climate models’ ability to simulate the future evolution of the climate, as they definitely are tuned or as the study authors call them “calibrated” models, and they definitely have more than three tunable parameters.

In this regard, a modest proposal. Could climate scientists please just stop predicting stuff for maybe say one year? In no other field of scientific endeavor is every finding surrounded by predictions that this “could” or “might” or “possibly” or “perhaps” will lead to something catastrophic in ten or thirty or a hundred years. Could I ask that for one short year, that climate scientists actually study the various climate phenomena, rather than try to forecast their future changes? We still are a long ways from understanding the climate, so could we just study the present and past climate, and leave the future alone for one year?

We have no practical reason to believe that the current crop of climate models have predictive capability. For example, none of them predicted the current 15-year or so hiatus in the warming. And as this paper shows, there is certainly no theoretical reason to think they have predictive capability.

The models, including climate models, can sometimes illustrate or provide useful information about climate. Could we use them for that for a while? Could we use them to try to understand the climate, rather than to predict the climate?

And 100 and 500 year forecasts? I don’t care if you do call them “scenarios” or whatever the current politically correct term is. Predicting anything 500 years out is a joke. Those, you could stop forever with no loss at all

I would think that after the unbroken string of totally incorrect prognostications from Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren and James Hansen and other failed serial doomcasters, the alarmists would welcome such a hiatus from having to dream up the newer, better future catastrophe. I mean, it must get tiring for them, seeing their predictions of Thermageddon™ blown out of the water by ugly reality, time after time, without interruption. I think they’d welcome a year where they could forget about tomorrow.

Regards to all,

« Reply #479 on: November 08, 2011, 09:16:09 AM »

Global Warming: The View from China

Volume 14, Number 45: 9 November 2011

"Global climate change," in the words of Fang et al. (2011), "is one of the biggest challenges to human society in the 21st century." And noting that "carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change are considered the main factors causing global warming," plus the fact that "carbon emissions affect social and economic development," they correctly state that "climate change has been shifted from an academic topic to an international political, economic, and diplomatic issue."
The five Chinese researchers - all of whom are associated with the Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes of the Ministry of Education at Peking University in Beijing, and two of whom are also associated with the Climate Change Research Center of the Academic Divisions of the Chinese Academy of Sciences - introduce their review of the climate change issue by noting that the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been the primary voice of those who support the thesis that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been responsible for a worrisome increase in global temperature that is claimed to produce "a series of negative effects on natural systems, including snow and ice melt, sea-level rising, and disturbances in the hydrological cycle," as well as "the acidification of sea water," all of which phenomena are claimed by the IPCC to directly or indirectly threaten terrestrial and marine ecosystems and social systems.

More recently, however, Fang et al. state that the claims of the last IPCC report "have been largely questioned," noting that "the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), established in 2007, has introduced a number of controversial and divisive debates," citing Singer et al. (2008) and Idso et al. (2009). They also write that "the 'Climate-gate' and 'Glacier-gate' scandals have especially questioned the public credibility of the report," citing Hefferman (2009) and Schiemeier (2010). And as a result, they state that "the IPCC report is no longer the most authoritative document on climate changes, as it is restricted by its political tendencies and some errors and flaws."

In their own review of the subject, Fang et al. come to the following conclusions. First, "global warming is an objective fact," but there is "great uncertainty in the magnitude of the temperature increase." Second, "both human activities and natural factors contribute to climate change, but it is difficult to quantify their relative contributions." Third, with regard to the IPCC claim that "the increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (including CO2) is the driving force for climate warming," they note the following four problems: (1) "it remains unclear how the human and natural factors, especially the aerosols, affect the global temperature change," (2) "over the past century, the temperature change has not always been consistent with the change of CO2 concentration," since "for several periods, global temperatures decreased or were stable while the atmospheric CO2 concentration continuously increased," (3) "there is no significant correlation between the annual increment of the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the annual anomaly of annual mean temperature," and (4) "the observed significant increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration may not be totally attributable to anthropogenic emissions because there are great uncertainties in the sources of CO2 concentration in [the] atmosphere."

This is but one view of the subject, albeit an important one, simply because it comes from China, the world's most populous country. Many different groups have many different ideas about the topic; and that is the nature of the long-running controversy: there is no agreement on these and other core issues. Consequently, and contrary to what the IPCC crowd continually contends, the science of global climate change is definitely not "settled."

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

Fang, J.Y., Zhu, J.L., Wang, S.P., Yue, C. and Shen, H.H. 2011. Global warming, human-induced carbon emissions, and their uncertainties. Science China Earth Sciences 54: 1458-1468.

Heffernan, O. 2009. Climate data spat intensifies. Nature 460: 787.

Idso, C.D. and Singer, S.F. 2009. Climate Change Reconsidered; 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The Heartland Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Schiermeier, Q. 2010. IPCC flooded by criticism. Nature 463: 596-597.

Singer, S.F. 2008. Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). The Heartland Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
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« Reply #480 on: November 08, 2011, 09:20:41 AM »

China is not going to cut it's "greenhouse gas emissions". Even if the science was actually settled. Which it isn't, of course.
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« Reply #481 on: November 08, 2011, 11:58:04 AM »

GM: "China is not going to cut it's "greenhouse gas emissions"."

But if they do, they first have spent decades maximizing those levels in order to to set the benchmark plenty high.  I think they might be burning all that coal just for the CO2 to make their crops grow faster.  

Short term cooling on a small slice of the earth means nothing of course except to show us what we don't know: that warming is not everywhere, it is not continuous, it is not accelerating, and we don't know if it will continue.

NCDC data shows that the contiguous USA has not warmed in the past decade, summers are cooler, winters are getting colder
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 12:00:15 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #482 on: November 20, 2011, 11:02:13 AM »

You can be forgiven if you didn’t know that we’re in the middle of an ice age right now, what with all the talk about global warming. But it’s true. We’re in what geologists call “the Quaternary glaciation,” an ice age that’s lasted for the past 2.5 million years.

Ice ages last a very long time, with periods of extreme cold punctuated by warmer periods, or interglacials. We’re in such an interglacial right now: The Holocene epoch began about 12,000 years ago. It’s best thought of as a brief respite from the most severe ravages of Quaternary ice.

So global warming actually began around 10,000 BC, when the ice sheets that had covered large portions of North America and Eurasia retreated to the poles. And what has happened since this (entirely natural) warming began? The Neolithic Revolution, the dawn of civilization and the expansion of human populations like never before.
Civilization rose during a respite from the cold: Diego, Manfred, Sid and the lost child in the animated film “Ice Age.”
Civilization rose during a respite from the cold: Diego, Manfred, Sid and the lost child in the animated film “Ice Age.”

In other words, homo sapiens, which existed in its more or less anatomically modern form for 100,000 to 200,000 years, began to flourish and thrive as a result of this most fortuitous warmth.

In short: Global warming is good for people.

If you don’t believe me, look at the temperature variations within the Holocene: The so-called Roman Warming coincided with the heights of classical civilization; then came a period of cooling which coincided with the social collapse of the Dark Ages.

Then there was the Medieval Warm Period, which coincided with the rise of monumental cathedrals in Europe and the settlement by Vikings in a lush Greenland, followed by the Little Ice Age (from roughly the 14th to the 19th centuries) — which saw widespread political upheavals, famine and disease.

Finally, there is the current warming trend of the last century and a half or so.

In each instance, the result is broadly the same: The warmer the Earth, the better it has been for people.

So let’s be thankful for the Holocene — civilization could never have arisen without it. And let’s be thankful we live in this especially warm period within the Holocene, which has seen human populations achieve measures of health and wealth unparalleled in all of history.

But let us also not be fooled — this blessed respite will someday end. The ice will return. It always has, it always will. And when it does, it will threaten all we have built, and indeed, our very existence.
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« Reply #483 on: November 22, 2011, 01:19:23 PM »

Agenda science, the gift that keeps on giving:

/// The IPCC Process ///

<1939> Thorne/MetO:

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical
troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a
wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the
uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these
further if necessary [...]

<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<1611> Carter:

It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much
talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by
a select core group.

<2884> Wigley:

Mike, The Figure you sent is very deceptive [...] there have been a number of
dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [...]

<4755> Overpeck:

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s
included and what is left out.

<3456> Overpeck:

I agree w/ Susan [Solomon] that we should try to put more in the bullet about
“Subsequent evidence” [...] Need to convince readers that there really has been
an increase in knowledge – more evidence.  What is it?

(Much more at the link)
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« Reply #484 on: November 25, 2011, 08:53:17 PM »

Sea Level Continues Its Historic Decline

Who knew?
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« Reply #485 on: November 25, 2011, 09:03:06 PM »

Sea Level Continues Its Historic Decline

Who knew?

OMG! It's so hot, the sea is boiling away!

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« Reply #486 on: November 25, 2011, 11:41:17 PM »

All that extra moisture in the air explains the drought in Texas too!
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« Reply #487 on: November 26, 2011, 09:38:36 AM »

OMG! It's so hot, the sea is boiling away!

All that extra moisture in the air explains the drought in Texas too!
Global warming is even more  of a joke here - we didn't have to dream of a white Thanksgiving up here this year, the snowblowers, plows and salt trucks have already been out.  That is why they changed the name global warming to climate change - consistent or accelerating warming was so easy to disprove.  Climate change covers hot and cold, wet and dry - as if those variances did not previously occur.  If you can observe it or measure it, then it was caused by capitalism, fossil fuel use and the greediest 1%.  Fit the data to the theory.

I was reading some pretty good pieces lately about the errors the climate modelers were making in the late 1990s.  Because they deny the effects of phenomenon they don't understand or know about, cosmic rays, solar magnetism, cloud cover variabilities, etc. they attribute all observed warming to CO2.  When temps go up more they are even more confident and determined to spread the fright, but when temps go down they switch from satellite to surface to lower tropospheric or tree rings or whatever helps the new data fit into the old, flawed theory until it is fully discredited.  Critics of this say put the data first and fix your model even if that would mean the scientifically unthinkable - lower levels of government paid research funding.

Around 'The Inconvenient Truth' time I tried to make a bet with one of my outspoken liberal friends about ocean levels.  The rising sea seemed to be the most dramatic of the Al Gore predictions:

"A 20 ft (6m) rise in sea level would create over 100 million refugees."

Apologies here but I am picturing Crafty and family out on a Pacific lifeboat with their survival kit waiting for CO2 levels on land to subside.  I tried to bet my friend $5 that the map of Florida would not be noticeably changed by the end of this century.  The Atlantic Ocean will be right about where it is now and where it was when my grandparents bought property a block from the ocean 65 years ago.  It goes up and down everyday with the tide more than it changes in a century.  He wouldn't take the bet because we couldn't figure out how to live long enough to verify Al Gore's claim.  Maybe he thinks all that sea rise could be in the last few years...

The point in this data isn't that levels are catastrophically falling - we are looking at millimeters not feet, it is just that ocean levels go in cycles we don't understand.   A small decline over 2 years and counting proves the rate of increase is neither constant nor accelerating, and not determined by one minor variable alone.

We don't need to wait until the year 2100 to know they were wrong.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 09:43:21 AM by DougMacG » Logged
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Posts: 2004

« Reply #488 on: November 26, 2011, 10:25:02 AM »

The only "OMG" is THIS article which is a joke.  A "statistical" post by an armchair blogger (any 3rd grader is a blogger now) (“Steven Goddard” is a pseudonym used by an anonymous climate denialist crank, so incredibly sloppy that he's posts often even embarrasses other climate deniers") in AU who has no qualifications and who won't even identify himself, provide scientific references, cites, or links, but merely blogs and collects aberrations supporting his position from newspaper articles around the world.

However, using this blogger's "scientific method" I bet I could "prove" that Martians have landed over 100 times in MN if I had his qualifications or if I used his scientific techniques.  I mean did your read some of his other posts?  Martians truly are more believable.  With the internet, if I looked long enough I could prove anything to anyone as long as you don't question my source.  Quacks are everyone; fun reading, amusing, entertaining, but hardly scientific.

Now I have no idea if the ocean is rising or falling.  Or if the sea is boiling away.  Or why there is a drought in Texas.   Opinions differ.

But this guy doesn't know sh#t.  Nothing wrong with an armchair opinion, we all have opinions, but let's be clear, he's no more, maybe less qualified to comment than my high school neighbor taking his first semester of oceanography.  References and/or their source should have at least some credibility, otherwise simply post your own opinion - it's probably equally if not more valid than this guys.

A blogger with no qualifications who collects unsubstantiated articles.....  That is not a reference.  That is not the search for truth....

Maybe I should post with a pseudo link "Martians land and live in St. Paul." 
Wow is it really true? 

Power User
Posts: 9481

« Reply #489 on: November 26, 2011, 12:00:15 PM »

Your link: proves my point just as well.  Thank you for that!   wink
Power User
Posts: 9481

« Reply #490 on: November 26, 2011, 01:39:47 PM »

The data I posted previously and below was sourced and linked to the same satellite based ocean measurements that NASA and NOAA use, not from a 3rd grade blogger, and your personal insults to my post were not necessary or helpful to the discussion level on the board you meanspirited internet troll. The EPA site you linked with a billion times more funding posts nothing from the last two years because that data does not support their Occupy America agenda.

Dates and Ocean measurements:
2009.762544 4.983938e-01
2009.786452 4.986906e-01
2009.810016 4.978843e-01
2009.834542 4.964168e-01
2009.858177 4.950515e-01
2009.882085 4.943344e-01
2009.905994 4.943233e-01
2009.929902 4.946768e-01
2009.953810 4.949439e-01
2009.977719 4.947911e-01
2010.001627 4.940890e-01
2010.025536 4.929729e-01
2010.049444 4.918703e-01
2010.073352 4.913476e-01
2010.097261 4.917230e-01
2010.121169 4.927341e-01
2010.145077 4.936435e-01
2010.168986 4.937882e-01
2010.192894 4.931054e-01
2010.216803 4.921310e-01
2010.240711 4.914826e-01
2010.264619 4.913422e-01
2010.288528 4.914230e-01
2010.312436 4.913864e-01
2010.336344 4.912200e-01
2010.360253 4.911966e-01
2010.384161 4.915188e-01
2010.408070 4.920793e-01
2010.431978 4.925840e-01
2010.455886 4.928454e-01
2010.479795 4.928986e-01
2010.503703 4.928435e-01
2010.527611 4.926382e-01
2010.551520 4.921086e-01
2010.575428 4.911581e-01
2010.599337 4.899450e-01
2010.623245 4.888302e-01
2010.647153 4.881369e-01
2010.671062 4.879415e-01
2010.694970 4.880703e-01
2010.718878 4.882825e-01
2010.742787 4.884623e-01
2010.766695 4.886481e-01
2010.790426 4.889007e-01
2010.814662 4.891458e-01
2010.838322 4.892256e-01
2010.862143 4.889994e-01
2010.885965 4.885108e-01
2010.909787 4.879770e-01
2010.933608 4.876641e-01
2010.957430 4.877281e-01
2010.981252 4.881207e-01
2011.005073 4.886330e-01
2011.028895 4.890310e-01
2011.052716 4.891611e-01
2011.076538 4.889289e-01
2011.100360 4.882206e-01
2011.124181 4.869459e-01
2011.148003 4.852498e-01
2011.171824 4.836647e-01
2011.195646 4.829230e-01
2011.219467 4.834688e-01
2011.242192 4.850516e-01
2011.267372 4.868304e-01
2011.290932 4.878911e-01
2011.314753 4.878862e-01
2011.338575 4.871719e-01
2011.362396 4.864411e-01
2011.386218 4.861811e-01
2011.410039 4.864160e-01
2011.433861 4.868410e-01
2011.457682 4.871225e-01
2011.481504 4.870342e-01
2011.505325 4.864432e-01
2011.529146 4.854239e-01
2011.552968 4.844569e-01
2011.576789 4.843574e-01
2011.600611 4.854777e-01
2011.624432 4.870849e-01
2011.648254 4.882340e-01
2011.672075 4.886173e-01
2011.695896 4.883880e-01

Argos was developed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES, the French space agency), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, USA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, USA).

The system utilizes both ground and satellite-based resources to accomplish its mission. These include:

    instruments carried aboard the NOAA polar orbiting environmental satellites (POES) and the EUMETSAT MetOp satellites,
    receiving stations around the world,
    and major processing facilities in France and the United States.

This fully integrated system works to conveniently locate and deliver data from the most remote platforms to the user's desktop, often in near real-time.

Argos is operated by CLS/Argos, based in Toulouse, France. CLS has subsidiaries in the U.S., namely, Service Argos, Inc. and North American CLS.
    8-10, rue Hermès,
    Parc Technologique du Canal
    31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne
    Tel.: +33 (0)5 61 39 47 00
    Fax: +33 (0)5 61 75 10 14

    CLS America, Inc., USA
    CLS Perú, Peru
    Novacom Services, France
    PT CLS Argos Indonesia, Indonesia
    Altamira, Spain

    Cubic-I, Japan
    KL Trading, Korea
    ES-PAS, Russia
    Cunlogan, Chile
    Satellite Information Technology Pty Ltd, Australia
    CLS Bruxelles, Belgium
    CLS Vietnam, Vietnam
    Tianjin Haihua Technology Development Center , China
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 02:18:30 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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Posts: 2004

« Reply #491 on: November 26, 2011, 06:08:40 PM »

So the EPA doesn't post data because "that data doesn't support their Occupy America agenda"
Surely you are joking?  Did Steven Goddard say that too?

Your link: proves my point just as well.  Thank you for that!   wink

Hmmm while as I said I have no idea if the ocean is rising or falling, or why TX is wet or dry, I think if you read the scholarly EPA report, while it does raise various issues, it does not prove Mr. Goddard's point.  I'm surprised you thought so.

As for Steven Goddard, I beg to differ; he IS a 3rd grade blogger; yet that is who you specifically referenced; not some scholarly paper or expert.  Further, data is data; the man who interpreted the data is what's important.  In this case, he won't even give his real name nor has he published in any scientific journals.  An anonymous  poser.  His name pops up on the "quack" list over and over if you simply Google him.

However, note, I never personally insulted you, just your occasional research techniques.  While I may or may not agree, you posted an excellent article, well documented on Mexico today from The Economist.
In another post, you raised good points regarding an article by Lawrence Summers today.

You then posted another article on Foreign Policy quoting another qualified expert (again, I disagree, but I do respect her expert opinion and I learned from the article).

My point is that the criticism was not directed at you, but rather that you are quoting someone as "truth" yet he has no qualifications other than he owns a computer.  Put it in the humor section if you want.  But don't call or even imply it's science.  Truly, my neighborhood high school student who is taking oceanography is probably more qualified.
« Reply #492 on: November 27, 2011, 04:24:59 PM »

I've been off in the boonies supporting cave science and so missed when this came out earlier in the week. It is, however, a treasure trove, and goes a long way towards demonstrating many on the looming climate apocalypse side of the argument have fewer scruples then the theoretical high school students JDN cites above:
Power User
Posts: 9481

« Reply #493 on: November 27, 2011, 11:46:30 PM »

Welcome back BBG.

JDN, The post of mine in question that you compare to Martians landing in St. Paul uses the best sources on the planet.  The data says that sea level has dropped for 2 years.  I said that proves the rise is not continuous or accelerating.  Al Gore said oceans rising 20 feet displacing hundreds of millions.  Your EPA link contradicts that.  You impugn a guy who drew the line through the data (a two variable linear regression), but pretend to be impugning the data.  Really you are attacking me personally; I am the one who brought that information to this board.  Nothing you wrote or posted corrects or refutes the above.  You call the EPA scholars but they are agenda driven politicians barking up the wrong tree, oblivious to the damage they inflict.  They have a massive budget, a whole section on sea level and don't publish the data.  WHY NOT?  An internet troll is one who intentionally and repeatedly brings the conversation backwards, sideways, in circles or anywhere except forward.  Don't be that guy.  Don't tell me on this thread a couple other posts were good like that excuses you for saying my post was equivalent to  Martians landing in St. Paul.  Did they?  Why don't you post this on the board: 'Doug, here are some data that contradict what you posted'?  I know why not.  You don't have any.  You drivel that a kid on an electric scooter named Dana1961 says that guy who the pulled the data from the most reliable information known and ran the most recent 2 years in a regression analysis is using a pseudonym.  That's scary, and Dana 1961 is the long name his mom gave him?  You post that he has issued a correction to a past post.  What the hell does that have to do with the satellite data that I posted?  If nothing, then retract it.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #494 on: November 28, 2011, 12:56:07 AM »


I did not question the data; just the interpretation of the data.  That's the key.

My point was that your post referenced Steven Goddard - it was not focused on the data, but his ignorant and mistaken interpretation of the data. 

As for your source, Steven Goddard, he is such a charlatan that EVEN the source BBG referenced (interesting site - I agree with BBG) debunked and refuted Steven Goddard.
Note I too previously (see above) referenced that site and it's "correction" of Steven Goddard's ignorance.  Further that site disavowed your source, i.e. Steven Goddard as being credible and
no longer allows him to do business or publish on their site.  He's a FAKE.  As I said, my high school neighbor......  smiley  At least I know my neighbor's name; this so called "expert" is a FAKE...

Why should I retract comments regarding a fake?

As I said I don't know really know IF or why the the ocean is rising (I'm learning), but at least post references/articles from credible sources; not jokes.  BBG often brought this information to the board,
and while he and I may have disagreed and we had our differences, he has enlightened me on global warming, but he quotes credible sources to persuade me.

As for Martians landing in St. Paul, let me check on it; I'm sure someone like Steven Goddard (or maybe he posted that too) has post somewhere..... 
Dana1961 or whatever does not put himself out as an expert.  Steven Goddard does.  My suggestion...  Don't quote fakes.....

Further as i said, BBG's site which I also referenced above even repudiated Steven Goddard.

You are a smart guy.  You often post well.  But you can't defend Steven Goddard; it's a joke.  Like the Martians in St. Paul.  Or are there?   smiley
Maybe that's more credible than Steven Goddard.    grin

« Reply #495 on: November 28, 2011, 01:31:17 AM »

Uhm, JDN you cite a site set up to debunk Watt's Up With That, and then attribute the link to me. On the real Watts site I can't find criticism of Goddard, rather they cite other posts that cite his work, though I only clicked on the first half dozen links or so.

Not sure how one flubs a link so badly that it's conflated with its antithesis; either you are very sloppy or truly trolling.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #496 on: November 28, 2011, 09:29:48 AM »

"Sloppy" research is the appropriate criticism.  Mea Culpa.  The link was a mistake; I confused wAtts with wOtts. 

That said, as I looked this morning, it seems an article was published by Steven Goddard and later apologized for by Anthony.

Arctic Ice Graphing Lesson Increasing By 50,000 km2 Per Year
By Steven Goddard

The real Watts site wrote "[Note: The title and conclusion are wrong due to bias in the start/end point of the graph, the mistake was noted by Steven immediately after publication, and listed below as an addendum. I had never seen the article until after the correction was applied due to time difference in AU. My apologies to readers. I'll leave it up (note altered title) as an example of what not to do when graphing trends, to illustrate that trends are very often slaves to endpoints. - Anthony]"

I also previously quoted another site questioning Steven Goddard's logic.  Quite a few exist.

However, as I have pointed out, I do not have an opinion, much knowledge, or for that matter an interest in "global warming".  That was never my point.

I do however think credible research is important.  A pseudonym used by an anonymous poster.... Someone who may have (we don't know who he is do we?) no knowledge of the subject, yet puts himself out as an "expert" is not credible..  It really could be my high school neighbor. 

As I mentioned Doug posted three other times that day; each post referenced a qualified expert.  One may or may not agree with each author, but each author had earned
the right to be considered an "expert".  It's like a court of law; their CV determines their credibility.  A reference to an "expert" (blogger) who uses a pseudonym and is anonymous would be laughed out of court.

As I have said, global warming may be real or a fiction; I don't know and frankly I don't have much interest in the subject. Others seem quite passionate about the subject; I enjoy occasionally reading about
it, but I do prefer reading posts/articles from credible sources.  Why post and reference articles from a source that has no credibility? 

I think I made my point the it's important to have credible references; that's research 101.  So no need to pursue this subject further.

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Posts: 9481

« Reply #497 on: November 28, 2011, 09:34:31 AM »

There isn't any interpretation of the data in any of this. No one has claimed to know what it means.  If you don't like the regression analysis, ignore his line, look at the dots, draw your own line. There isn't any part of this story that is about the person you attack. He could be an armed robber or child molester, it wouldn't affect the substance of this.  You already made your limp attack-the-messenger argument 7 posts back. My link to his chart links to the actual data. It is for my own integrity that I credit that post rather than pretend I found the raw data myself.  It should be in a mainstream source, why don't YOU send it to the LA Times and I will link them.  But it won't be published there or in my local paper or at the EPA or the NY Times.  This data doesn't fit their story.  

I already answered all this by posting the raw data and the original source with the link to show it is the same source used and funded by NASA and NOAA, during your witch hunt, 5 posts back.  Strangely you wrote that you accepted the data and then drivel on with personal attacks that hit me.  That is what I mean by a circular argument - the opposite of moving a discussion forward.  This had happened with you one too many times last time.  That doesn't happen by accident.  You could post opposing views or context or leave it alone when you have nothing, but no, it is just argue backwards, sideways and in circles.  What a waste.
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Posts: 7835

« Reply #498 on: November 28, 2011, 05:39:25 PM »

From the Economist:

****Climate change
Good news at last?
The climate may not be as sensitive to carbon dioxide as previously believed
Nov 26th 2011 | from the print edition

..CLIMATE science is famously complicated, but one useful number to keep in mind is “climate sensitivity”. This measures the amount of warming that can eventually be expected to follow a doubling in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its most recent summary of the science behind its predictions, published in 2007, estimated that, in present conditions, a doubling of CO2 would cause warming of about 3°C, with uncertainty of about a degree and a half in either direction. But it also says there is a small probability that the true number is much higher. Some recent studies have suggested that it could be as high as 10°C.

If that were true, disaster beckons. But a paper published in this week’s Science, by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University, suggests it is not. In Dr Schmittner’s analysis, the climate is less sensitive to carbon dioxide than was feared.

Existing studies of climate sensitivity mostly rely on data gathered from weather stations, which go back to roughly 1850. Dr Schmittner takes a different approach. His data come from the peak of the most recent ice age, between 19,000 and 23,000 years ago. His group is not the first to use such data (ice cores, fossils, marine sediments and the like) to probe the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide. But their paper is the most thorough. Previous attempts had considered only small regions of the globe. He has compiled enough information to make a credible stab at recreating the climate of the entire planet.

The result offers that rarest of things in climate science—a bit of good news. The group’s most likely figure for climate sensitivity is 2.3°C, which is more than half a degree lower than the consensus figure, with a 66% probability that it lies between 1.7° and 2.6°C. More importantly, these results suggest an upper limit for climate sensitivity of around 3.2°C.

Before you take the SUV out for a celebratory spin, though, it is worth bearing in mind that this is only one study, and, like all such, it has its flaws. The computer model used is of only middling sophistication, Dr Schmittner admits. That may be one reason for the narrow range of his team’s results. And although the study’s geographical coverage is the most comprehensive so far for work of this type, there are still blank areas—notably in Australia, Central Asia, South America and the northern Pacific Ocean. Moreover, some sceptics complain about the way ancient data of this type were used to construct a different but related piece of climate science: the so-called hockey-stick model, which suggests that temperatures have risen suddenly since the beginning of the industrial revolution. It will be interesting to see if such sceptics are willing to be equally sceptical about ancient data when they support their point of view.

from the print edition | Science and technology
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Posts: 9481

« Reply #499 on: November 28, 2011, 10:08:58 PM »

More coverage IBD of the story CCP already posted from the Economist.
The study in the journal Science found that global temperatures appear to be far less sensitive to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than originally estimated...The study's findings are simple and devastating. "This implies that the effect of CO2 on climate is less than previously thought," said Oregon State University's Andreas Schmittner, the study's main author.
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