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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #400 on: November 02, 2010, 11:11:53 AM »

The Current Wisdom

Posted by Patrick J. Michaels

The Current Wisdom  is a series of monthly posts in which Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels reviews interesting items on global warming in the scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press.

The Current Wisdom only comments on science appearing in the refereed, peer-reviewed literature, or that has been peer-screened prior to presentation at a scientific congress.

 More Good News About Sea Level Rise

In the last (and first) installment of The Current Wisdom, I looked at how projections of catastrophic sea level rise—some as high as 20 feet this century—are falling by the wayside as more real-world data comes in. In the last month, there’s been even more hot-off-the-press studies that a) continue to beat down the notion of disastrous inundations, and b) received no media attention whatsoever.

Last month, I featured a new analysis which showed that the calibration scheme for satellite gravity measurements was out of whack, leading to an overestimation loss of glacial ice from Greenland and Antarctica by about 50%.   

This time around, there are two brand-new studies which further dampen the fears of rapid sea level rise spawned by a warming climate.  The one estimates that about 25% of the current sea level rise has nothing whatsoever to do with “global warming” from any cause, but instead is contributed by our increasing removal of fossil groundwater to suit our growing water demands. And the second estimates that the total sea level rise contribution of one of Antarctica’s biggest outlet glaciers—one which has been called “the weak underbelly” of the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet—is most likely only going to be about 1/2 inch by the year 2100. Neither met the press, which is why you are reading about them here.

Last month we concluded that “things had better get cooking in a hurry if the real world is going to approach these popular estimates [3 to 20 feet of sea level rise by 2100]. And there are no signs that such a move is underway.” Now, there are even more signs that the massive sea level rise candle is flaming out as rapidly as cap-and-trade in an election year.

A team of scientists from the Netherlands, headed by the appropriately surnamed Yoshihide Wada, have been investigating the magnitude and trends of groundwater usage around the world. For millennia, humans  “mined” water under the surface, but the volumes were globally inconsequential.

Wada et al. found many regions, including the Midwestern and Southwestern U.S., in which groundwater extraction exceeds groundwater replenishment. Around the world, Wada et al. found that the total excess was about 30 cubic miles per year in 1960, which rose to about 68 by the year 2000.

What on earth does this have to do with sea-level rise?

Remember that, outside of nuclear reactions, matter is never destroyed.  Water taken out of the ground either runs off to a creek and makes it back to the ocean, or it evaporates.  Because the total water vapor concentration in the atmosphere is constant (depending upon the average temperature of the water/atmosphere interface), the additional evaporation is available for precipitation, adding to that which runs off.   

68 cubic miles of added water to the ocean each year amounts to about three-hundredths of an inch of sea level. Granted, this is a small amount, but (despite the scare headlines emanating from our greener friends), the annual rate of global sea level rise during the past 20 years has only been about 0.12 inches per year.  So groundwater extraction accounts for about a quarter (.03/.12) of the current rate of sea level rise.

This is a rather large bite out of the apple of sea level rise, and it means that estimates of just how much sea level rise is being caused by ongoing global warming have to be slashed.

In a much-hyped paper appearing in Science magazine back in early 2007, Stefan Rahmstorf and colleagues (including NASA’s infamous Cassandra James Hansen, the Nouriel Roubini of climatology), proclaimed that sea level rise is occurring at a rate which was at the very high end of the projections from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—fuelling claims that the IPCC sea level rise projections from climate change were too conservative.

(Hansen is also the lonely champion of the notion that sea level will rise 20 feet in the next 89 years.  Twenty years ago, he predicted that New York’s Westside Highway would be inundated by now.)[1]

If the Rahmstorf et al. analysis were updated through 2010 and the impact from groundwater depletion figured in, it would turn out that the observed rate of sea level rise from global warming would fall at or below the IPCC’s mid-range projection which ultimately results in about 15 inches of sea level rise by 2100. Such a finding of course would ignite very  little hype—which is why you are reading it here.

Ah, but you say, don’t the global warming doomsayers tell us that  the rate of sea level rise will accelerate rapidly as the climate warms and glaciers atop Greenland and Antarctica slip off into the seas, and so the total rise by the end of the century will be much above a value based on an extrapolation of the present?

The idea—graphically portrayed in Al Gore’s science fiction film—is that summer meltwater will flow down the, say, 10,000 feet required to get to the bottom of Greenland’s ice, and “lubricate” the flowing glaciers.  (Of course, the reason glaciers flow to begin with is because the pressure is so great that the bottom water is liquid, but never mind that fact).

Last time, I noted a recent paper by Faezeh Nick and colleagues that basically pooh-poohed the idea that surface meltwater does this.

Offing the PIG

Another oft-repeated threat is that there are a plethora of glaciers in Antarctica that are grounded in the oceans, and that higher water temperatures will lead to melting from below that will ultimately “unground” them, floating them and causing rapid retreat. 

Alarmist fingers are most often pointed at Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier (PIG), the leading candidate to unground and raise sea levels by up to 4.5 feet a relatively short amount of time.  It was Terence Hughes (from University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, which—surprise—thrives on climate change) in the early 1980s that labeled the PIG as the “weak underbelly” of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet for, in his view, having the biggest potential to contribute a lot of sea level rise in a short amount of time.  Hughes’s belief has become popular of late as the rate of retreat of the PIG increased in the early 1990s.

In 2008,  University of Colorado’s Tad Pfeffer and colleagues projected that the PIG (and the nearby Thwaites glacier) would add between 4.3 and 15.4 inches of sea level rise by 2100.  In early 2010, the reliably alarmist New Scientist headlined “Major Antarctic Glacier ‘Past its Tipping Point’”, inaccurately quoting Oxford’s Richard Katz who actually said “the take-home message is that we should be concerned about tipping points in West Antarctica and we should do a lot more work to investigate” (translation: can I scare you into sending me more money?).

But throwing cold water in the PIG pen are the prolific polar researcher Ian Joughin and his colleagues.  In a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, Joughin et al. reported their efforts to simulate the future behavior of PIG using a “basinscale glaciological model” that they verified against a large amount of satellite observations documenting the flow rate and thinning rate of the PIG. Once they were happy that their model depicted the observations correctly, they turned to look at what the future may hold in store.

What they found came as a bit of a surprise.

Instead of an accelerating retreat, it seems that the PIG’s still-tiny decline may remain constant. Joughin et al., write:

PIG’s dramatic retreat and speedup may not indicate a trend of continued acceleration, and speeds may stabilize at their current elevated levels as thinning continues.

This result ties into another investigation of  recent PIG behavior that was published this summer.  In that one, Jenkins et al. concluded that the geometry of the sea floor upon which the PIG rested is what allowed for a rapid retreat when warming first commenced. In other words, the PIG was predisposed to a rapid response—initially.

When Joughin et al. plug potential future climate change into their glaciological model of PIG, they found that the initial acceleration is not maintained for very long, and instead soon stabilizes. This has large implications. Instead of PIG contributing many inches of sea level this century, they found about a single inch—and that was the worst case.  Joughin and colleagues best estimate is something closer to ½ inch.

Joughin et al. conclude:

While we have not modeled the other [nearby Antarctic] glaciers, PIG is the most rapidly changing and largest contributor to the current imbalance, indicating future model-derived upper bounds on 21st century sea level for the entire region are likely to fall well below the heuristically derived 11-to-39 cm upper bound [Pfeffer et al., 2008].

Hardly catastrophic.

Sooner or later, these facts may penetrate into public consciousness… but until then I hope you’ll continue to consult The Current Wisdom.

References:

Hughes, T. J., 1981, The Weak Underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice-Sheet. Journal of Glaciology, 27, 518–525.

Jenkins, A., et al., 2010. Observations Beneath Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica and Implications for its Retreat. Nature Geoscience, 3(7), 468–472, doi:10.1038/ngeo890.

Katz, R. F., and  M. G. Worster, 2010. Stability of Ice-sheet Grounding Lines. Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 466, 1597-1620.

Nick, F. M., et al., 2009. Large-scale Changes in Greenland Outlet Glacier DynamicsTtriggered at the Terminus. Nature Geoscience, DOI:10.1038, published on-line January 11, 2009.

Pfeffer, W. T., Harper, J. T., and S. O’Neel, 2008. Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st-century Sea-level Rise. Science, 321, 1340-1343.

Rahmstorf, S., et al., 2007. Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections. Science, 316, 709.

Joughin, I., Smith, B. E., and D. M. Holland, 2010. Sensitivity of 21st Century Sea Level to Ocean-induced Thinning of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L20502, doi:10.1029/2010GL044819.

Wada, Y., et al. 2010. Global Depletion of Groundwater Resources. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L20402, doi:10.1029/2010GL044571.

 
[1] In 1988, author Robert Reiss asked Hansen, whose office is on Broadway, what greenhouse-effect changes would occur in the next twenty years.  He said, among other things, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-current-wisdom-2/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #401 on: November 10, 2010, 12:09:51 PM »

The Shocking Truth: The Scientific American Poll on Climate Change

Posted by Patrick J. Michaels

November’s Scientific American features a profile of Georgia Tech atmospheric scientist Judith Curry,  who has committed the mortal sin of  reaching out to other scientists who hypothesize that global warming isn’t the disaster it’s been cracked up to be.  I have personal experience with this, as she invited me to give a research seminar in Tech’s prestigious School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in 2008.  My lecture summarizing the reasons for doubting the apocalyptic synthesis of climate change was well-received by an overflow crowd.

Written by Michael Lemonick, who hails from the shrill blog Climate Central, the article isn’t devoid of the usual swipes, calling her a “heretic,, which is hardly at all true.  She’s simply another hardworking scientist who lets the data take her wherever it must, even if that leads her to question some of our more alarmist colleagues.

But, as a make-up call for calling attention to Curry, Scientific American has run a poll of its readers on climate change.  Remember that SciAm has been shilling for the climate apocalypse for years, publishing a particularly vicious series of attacks on Denmark’s Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist.  The magazine also featured NASA’s James Hansen and his outlandish claims on sea-level rise. Hansen has stated, under oath in a deposition, that a twenty foot rise is quite possible within the next 89 years; oddly, he has failed to note that in 1988 he predicted that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would go permanently under water in twenty years.

SciAm probably expected a lot of people would agree with the key statement in their poll that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is “an effective group of government representatives and other experts.”

Hardly. As of this morning, only 16% of the 6655 respondents agreed.  84%—that is not a typo—described the IPCC as “a corrupt organization, prone to groupthink, with a political agenda.”

The poll also asks “What should we do about climate change?” 69% say “nothing, we are powerless to stop it.” When asked about policy options, an astonishingly low 7% support cap-and-trade, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June, 2009, and cost approximately two dozen congressmen their seats.

The real killer is question “What is causing climate change?” For this one, multiple answers are allowed.  26% said greenhouse gases from human activity, 32% solar variation, and 78% “natural processes.” (In reality all three are causes of climate change.)

And finally, “How much would you be willing to pay to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change?”  80% of the respondents said “nothing.”

Remember that this comes from what is hardly a random sample.  Scientific American is a reliably statist publication and therefore appeals to a readership that is skewed to the left of the political center.  This poll demonstrates that virtually everyone now acknowledges that the UN has corrupted climate science, that climate change is impossible to stop, and that futile attempts like cap-and-trade do nothing but waste money and burn political capital, things that Cato’s scholars have been saying for years.

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/the-shocking-truth-the-scientific-american-poll-on-climate-change/
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G M
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« Reply #402 on: November 12, 2010, 12:54:01 PM »

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/11/11/inside-line-our-chevy-volts-battery-miles-cost-more-than-the-g/

During its time with us, our 2011 Chevy Volt tester consumed energy at the rate of 39.0 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles when in electric-only mode and averaged 31.1 mpg in gas engine assistance mode. We paid an average of $0.31 per kilowatt-hour of electricity and $3.31 per gallon of 91 octane swill, so the magic of arithmetic tells us that each one of the Volt's miles driven on electricity cost us more money than if it'd simply consumed gasoline instead. That's due in part to our high electricity rate - had our rate dropped to $0.24 per kilowatt-hour, we'd have reached parity on a cost-per-mile basis between electrons and dinosaurs.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #403 on: November 13, 2010, 05:30:06 PM »

Anyone who can remember the heating and air conditioning capability of an old air-cooled VW might wonder what heat or even defrost capability you will have in your all-electric car.  I also wonder how the already short range might be affected by running the AC at full blast.  Don't get me wrong.  I love electric vehicles, just not when I need to go fast, go far, carry a load, pull a boat or travel in foul weather.

While our progressive-in-chief and his entourage are jetting the globe, hard core liberals here in the north country are wishing they had put chains on their bicycle tires and sand and salt on their bake trails last night before the seasons changed so quickly and so drastically:

http://www.startribune.com/  (Minneapolis paper, current lead story)
SNOW EMERGENCIES DECLARED
Foot of snow; thousands without power
The largest November snowfall in two decades stormed across Minnesota on Saturday, dumping a foot of snow in parts of the Twin Cities. | Statewide warnings.
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G M
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« Reply #404 on: November 14, 2010, 08:28:22 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111204494.html

George Will takes it apart.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #405 on: November 14, 2010, 10:13:37 AM »

Thanks GM and George Will.  This whole episode turns my stomach over all that is wrong in this country.  One is the lies - it is not all-electric. The govt money was not paid back. It doesn't save the earth etc.  Two is the govt ownership, one of the most egregious of all the unconstitutional federal actions I have ever seen.  Three is the tax credit.  Where to start on that one? The govt pays you to buy from them.  What ever happened to equal protection under the law.  Pay me equally to not buy one.  It's a $41k new car, have ordinary taxpayers pay rich ones?? Since we are already a TRILLION AND A HALF in deficit, no one is paying.  We are just devaluing our standard of living to pretend we are paying someone to do something of no commercial or market value.  Then they count the 7500 expense as a TAX CUT huh Four, It has absolutely no environmental value.  How many Dolt buyers will have this as there only car - then refuse all air travel, home heating, air conditioning etc all the other 'sources' of carbon.  It is a bunch of BS. Even the plug goes into a carbon based coal supply while drag our feet another decade with no new nuclear.

If you believe the pathological science, the tax credit should go only to people who will go 100% off the grid, which of course is illegal in most of this country.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #406 on: November 17, 2010, 11:40:17 AM »

Cost-effective ways to address climate change
By Bjorn Lomborg
Wednesday, November 17, 2010;

One of the scarier predictions about global warming is the suggestion that melting glaciers and ice caps could cause sea levels to rise as much as 15 to 20 feet over the next century. Set aside the fact that the best research we have - from the United Nations climate panel - says that global sea levels are not likely to rise more than about 20 inches by 2100. Rather, let's imagine that over the next 80 or 90 years, a giant port city - say, Tokyo - found itself engulfed by a sea-level rise of about 15 feet. Millions of inhabitants would be imperiled, along with trillions of dollars' worth of infrastructure. Without a vast global effort, could we cope with such a terrifying catastrophe?

Well, we already have. In fact, we're doing it right now.

Since 1930, excessive groundwater withdrawal has caused Tokyo to subside by as much as 15 feet. Similar subsidence has occurred over the past century in numerous cities, including Tianjin, Shanghai, Osaka, Bangkok and Jakarta. And in each case, the city has managed to protect itself from such large relative sea-level rises without much difficulty.

The process is called adaptation, and it's something we humans are very good at. That isn't surprising, since we've been doing it for millennia. As climate economist Richard Tol notes, our ability to adapt to widely varying climates explains how people live happily at both the equator and the poles. In the debate over global warming, in which some have argued that civilization as we know it is at stake, this is an important point. Humankind is not completely at the mercy of nature. To the contrary, when it comes to dealing with the impact of climate change, we've compiled a pretty impressive track record. While this doesn't mean we can afford to ignore climate change, it provides a powerful reason not to panic about it either.

There is no better example of how human ingenuity can literally keep our heads above water than the Netherlands. Although a fifth of their country lies below sea level - and fully half is less than three feet above it - the Dutch maintain an enormously productive economy and enjoy one of the world's highest standards of living. The secret is a centuries-old system of dikes, supplemented in recent decades by an elaborate network of floodgates and other barriers. All this adaptation is not only effective but also amazingly inexpensive. Keeping Holland protected from any future sea-level rises for the next century will cost only about one-tenth of 1 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Coping with rising sea levels is hardly the only place where low-cost, high-impact adaptation strategies can make a huge difference. One of the most pernicious impacts of global warming is the extent to which it exacerbates the phenomenon known as the urban "heat island effect" - the fact that because they lack greenery and are chockablock with heat-absorbing black surfaces such as tar roofs and asphalt roads, urban areas tend to be much warmer than the surrounding countryside. Ultimately, we're not going to solve any of these problems until we figure out a way to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

But in the meantime, there are simple adaptive measures we can employ to cool down our cities: We can paint them. Hashem Akbari, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who specializes in cost-effective methods of combating the effects of climate change in urban areas, has shown that by painting roofs white, covering asphalt roadways with concrete-colored surfaces and planting shade trees, local temperatures could be reduced by as much as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Akbari and colleagues reported in the journal Climatic Change last year that for every 100 square feet of black rooftop converted to white surface, the effects of roughly one ton of carbon dioxide would be offset.

Painting streets and rooftops white may sound impractical, if not silly, but it's a realistic strategy - which is to say, it's effective and affordable. Indeed, for an initial expenditure of $1 billion, we could lighten enough Los Angeles streets and rooftops to reduce temperatures in the L.A. Basin more than global warming would increase them over the next 90 years.

Obviously, whether it involves dikes or buckets of white paint, adaptation is not a long-term solution to global warming. Rather, it will enable us to get by while we figure out the best way to address the root causes of man-made climate change. This may not seem like much, but at a time when fears of a supposedly imminent apocalypse threaten to swamp rational debate about climate policy, it's worth noting that coping with climate change is something we know how to do.

The writer is head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School. He is the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist" and "Cool It" and the subject of the movie "Cool It."

His previous pieces for The Post include: A better way to fight global warming , Carbon cuts liable to harm more than help, A better way than cap and trade and Stop fighting over global warming - there's a better way to attack it .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/16/AR2010111604973.html
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DougMacG
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« Reply #407 on: December 11, 2010, 03:33:37 PM »

Grateful for no house fire while the snow drifts blocked the doors to our house. (wrong thread?)  Deaths in Europe, the Eiffel Tower closed, 100 year lows in Cancun - during the global warming conference!

People I know from here who still believe in global warming spend their winters elsewhere. Thanksgiving this year was the coldest in 20 years and freezing ever since. Lead story of the local paper right now: MSP Airport closed after blizzard warning extended; metro bus service suspended http://www.startribune.com/  Forecast: more snow, more wind, 20 degrees colder.

I'm not complaining, we love the subtle change of seasons, it was near 70 in early Nov.  My next door neighbor back from south Florida for the holidays has a smile on his face as he takes a great big snowblower where the snowplow can't go.  I'm just saying winter is still on after a hundred and fifty years of fossil fuel use.
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G M
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« Reply #408 on: December 14, 2010, 06:11:15 PM »

http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/superwheat/

Climate change alarmists hate it when we refer to carbon dioxide as “plant food”, even though the description is accurate. And what a food it is! Earlier this year, the ABC’s Landline program reported on an experiment conducted by the Victorian Department of Primary Industry, which blasted a patch of wheat with higher CO2 levels:

    [ABC reporter] CHRIS CLARKE: A series of pipes pour extra carbon dioxide over a trial plot of wheat. You can hear and feel the gas coming out. So how much are you putting over this area?

    [Scientist] GLENN FITZGERALD: In the centre of the ring there is a little sensor, a little cup that maintains that centre concentration at 550 parts per million which is the concentration we expect in the atmosphere over the whole planet in the year 2050.

    CHRIS CLARKE: The experiment’s in its third year.

    GLENN FITZGERALD: CO2 is called a fertiliser, it’s a CO2 fertilisation effect which means that carbon dioxide is a food source for plants if you will, that’s the carbon that goes into the bulk of the biomass of the plant. So raising levels of CO2 actually increases that growth, increases the biomass and in agriculture, increases the yield. Given, of course, that there’s sufficient water and sufficient nitrogen and that is what we’re seeing here. We have a number of different varieties in this trial and we’re seeing overall on average 20 per cent yield increase due to elevated CO2.

    CHRIS CLARKE: They’re not just measuring how much wheat is grown. An important part of this experiment is temperature and temperature relates to water use. More carbon dioxide should increase the plants’ water efficiency …
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Freki
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« Reply #409 on: December 25, 2010, 09:34:15 AM »

Wait a minute!  You mean to tell me the climate changed due to a shift in the orbit and I have not heard one word about it from global warming advocates!!!!

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-earth-orbital-shift-sahara.html
 shocked shocked
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G M
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« Reply #410 on: December 25, 2010, 11:01:29 AM »

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past

By Charles Onians

Monday, 20 March 2000

 

Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. Average temperatures in Britain were nearly 0.6°C higher in the Nineties than in 1960-90, and it is estimated that they will increase by 0.2C every decade over the coming century. Eight of the 10 hottest years on record occurred in the Nineties.

However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event".

"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he said.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #411 on: December 25, 2010, 12:54:50 PM »

Freki:  That is fascinating.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #412 on: December 26, 2010, 07:11:42 AM »

From, surprise!, Pravda on the Hudson:

Bundle up, it is global warming
Judah Cohen

THE earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside. Over the past few weeks, subzero temperatures in Poland claimed 66 lives; snow arrived in Seattle well before the winter solstice, and fell heavily enough in Minneapolis to make the roof of the Metrodome collapse; and last week blizzards closed Europe’s busiest airports in London and Frankfurt for days, stranding holiday travelers. The snow and record cold have invaded the Eastern United States, with more bad weather predicted.

All of this cold was met with perfect comic timing by the release of a World Meteorological Organization report showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record.

How can we reconcile this? The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes. Last winter, too, was exceptionally snowy and cold across the Eastern United States and Eurasia, as were seven of the previous nine winters.

For a more detailed explanation, we must turn our attention to the snow in Siberia.

Annual cycles like El Niño/Southern Oscillation, solar variability and global ocean currents cannot account for recent winter cooling. And though it is well documented that the earth’s frozen areas are in retreat, evidence of thinning Arctic sea ice does not explain why the world’s major cities are having colder winters.

But one phenomenon that may be significant is the way in which seasonal snow cover has continued to increase even as other frozen areas are shrinking. In the past two decades, snow cover has expanded across the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Siberia, just north of a series of exceptionally high mountain ranges, including the Himalayas, the Tien Shan and the Altai.

The high topography of Asia influences the atmosphere in profound ways. The jet stream, a river of fast-flowing air five to seven miles above sea level, bends around Asia’s mountains in a wavelike pattern, much as water in a stream flows around a rock or boulder. The energy from these atmospheric waves, like the energy from a sound wave, propagates both horizontally and vertically.

As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. So the snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.

The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. When snow cover is more abundant in Siberia, it creates an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains, and this amplifies the standing waves in the atmosphere, just as a bigger rock in a stream increases the size of the waves of water flowing by.

The increased wave energy in the air spreads both horizontally, around the Northern Hemisphere, and vertically, up into the stratosphere and down toward the earth’s surface. In response, the jet stream, instead of flowing predominantly west to east as usual, meanders more north and south. In winter, this change in flow sends warm air north from the subtropical oceans into Alaska and Greenland, but it also pushes cold air south from the Arctic on the east side of the Rockies. Meanwhile, across Eurasia, cold air from Siberia spills south into East Asia and even southwestward into Europe.

That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier. They have ignored the snow in Siberia.

Last week, the British government asked its chief science adviser for an explanation. My advice to him is to look to the east.

It’s all a snow job by nature. The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.


Judah Cohen is the director of seasonal forecasting at an atmospheric and environmental research firm.


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G M
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« Reply #413 on: December 26, 2010, 01:08:35 PM »

So, little or no snow=global warming

Lots of snow=global warming

Sounds very scientific to me.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #414 on: December 26, 2010, 03:13:45 PM »

Cold means global warming.  Drought or flood means global warming.  Correction, make all those climate change.

No one where I am since October has been dreaming of a white Christmas as we scramble to keep the roofs from collapsing.  But don't believe your lying eyes, the world is warming out of control. (sarcasm)

CO2 is not a primary determinant of temperature.
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G M
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« Reply #415 on: December 27, 2010, 10:28:17 AM »

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/557597/201012221907/The-Abiding-Faith-Of-Warm-ongers.aspx

The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Climate: Nothing makes fools of more people than trying to predict the weather. Whether in Los Angeles or London, recent predictions have gone crazily awry. Global warming? How about mini ice age?

The sight of confused and angry travelers stuck in airports across Europe because of an arctic freeze that has settled across the continent isn't funny. Sadly, they've been told for more than a decade now that such a thing was an impossibility — that global warming was inevitable, and couldn't be reversed.

This is a big problem for those who see human-caused global warming as an irreversible result of the Industrial Revolution's reliance on carbon-based fuels. Based on global warming theory — and according to official weather forecasts made earlier in the year — this winter should be warm and dry. It's anything but. Ice and snow cover vast parts of both Europe and North America, in one of the coldest Decembers in history.

A cautionary tale? You bet. Prognosticators who wrote the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, global warming report in 2007 predicted an inevitable, century-long rise in global temperatures of two degrees or more. Only higher temperatures were foreseen. Moderate or even lower temperatures, as we're experiencing now, weren't even listed as a possibility.

Since at least 1998, however, no significant warming trend has been noticeable. Unfortunately, none of the 24 models used by the IPCC views that as possible. They are at odds with reality.

Karl Popper, the late, great philosopher of science, noted that for something to be called scientific, it must be, as he put it, "falsifiable." That is, for something to be scientifically true, you must be able to test it to see if it's false. That's what scientific experimentation and observation do. That's the essence of the scientific method.

Unfortunately, the prophets of climate doom violate this idea. No matter what happens, it always confirms their basic premise that the world is getting hotter. The weather turns cold and wet? It's global warming, they say. Weather turns hot? Global warming. No change? Global warming. More hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? You guessed it.

Nothing can disprove their thesis. Not even the extraordinarily frigid weather now creating havoc across most of the Northern Hemisphere. The Los Angeles Times, in a piece on the region's strangely wet and cold weather, paraphrases Jet Propulsion Laboratory climatologist Bill Patzert as saying, "In general, as the globe warms, weather conditions tend to be more extreme and volatile."

Got that? No matter what the weather, it's all due to warming. This isn't science; it's a kind of faith. Scientists go along and even stifle dissent because, frankly, hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants are at stake. But for the believers, global warming is the god that failed.

[b**]Read it all.[/b]

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« Reply #416 on: January 07, 2011, 05:38:41 AM »

Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Was Fraud, Journal ReportsBy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 5, 2011
               
Filed at 12:15 a.m. EST on January 06, 2011

LONDON (AP) — The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.

The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.

Wakefield could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and requests to the publisher of his recent book, which claims there is a connection between vaccines and autism that has been ignored by the medical establishment. Wakefield now lives in the U.S. where he enjoys a vocal following including celebrity supporters like Jenny McCarthy.

Deer's article was paid for by the Sunday Times of London and Britain's Channel 4 television network. It was published online Thursday in the medical journal, BMJ.

In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield's study "an elaborate fraud." They said Wakefield's work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.

Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.

But measles has surged since Wakefield's paper was published and there are sporadic outbreaks in Europe and the U.S. In 2008, measles was deemed endemic in England and Wales.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #417 on: January 13, 2011, 05:26:41 PM »

We learned in the Wizard of OZ that a new snow fall has a cleansing affect on the earth and I am grateful to have another new snowfall every day so far this year.  I assume the extreme cold and snow is because of greenhouse warmth and maybe CO2 is seeding the clouds.

We are slipping on this thread, where is my friend Guinness?
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« Reply #418 on: January 14, 2011, 11:40:19 AM »

BBG emailed me about a heavy work load but says he will be back.
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« Reply #419 on: January 19, 2011, 12:11:40 PM »

(Of course Tom Friedman is the NY Times columnist who openly envies the more efficient Chinese system that doesn't rely on checks and balances or consent of the governed. Friedman's free speech however is not at the expense or sanction of the U.S. government.)

The Tom Friedman of Climatology
 
January 18, 2011 John Hinderacker, Powerlineblog.com

One of the striking features of our political era is that increasing numbers of liberals are coming out of the closet as enemies of the Constitution and of democracy. The latest is James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen is, to be blunt, an awful human being and one of the worst of the global warming fraudsters. Under his guidance, NASA's data have become so unreliable as to be an embarrassment to any scientists who may still be in the picture.

Hansen was in China in November, but only recently have his public comments there received the publicity they deserve. Hansen revealed himself as the Tom Friedman of climatology: how much better things would be if we could do away with that pesky Constitution and the democracy it protects! Pat Michaels reports:

    The nation's most prominent publicly funded climatologist is officially angry about [Congress's refusal to enact cap and trade], blaming democracy and citing the Chinese government as the "best hope" to save the world from global warming. He also wants an economic boycott of the U.S. sufficient to bend us to China's will. ...

    According to Mr. Hansen, compared to China, we are "the barbarians" with a "fossil-money- 'democracy' that now rules the roost," making it impossible to legislate effectively on climate change. Unlike us, the Chinese are enlightened, unfettered by pesky elections. Here's what he blogged on Nov. 24:

        "I have the impression that Chinese leadership takes a long view, perhaps because of the long history of their culture, in contrast to the West with its short election cycles. At the same time, China has the capacity to implement policy decisions rapidly. The leaders seem to seek the best technical information and do not brand as a hoax that which is inconvenient."

Historically, the Communist Chinese have tended to shoot those whom they found inconvenient--as opposed to climate realists, who not only don't shoot the alarmists, but confine themselves to arguing against them with scientific evidence.

    Mr. Hansen has another idea to circumvent our democracy. Because Congress is not likely to pass any legislation making carbon-based energy prohibitively expensive, he proposed, in the South China Morning Post, that China lead a boycott of our economy:

    "After agreement with other nations, e.g., the European Union, China and these nations could impose rising internal carbon fees. Existing rules of the World Trade Organization would allow collection of a rising border duty on products from all nations that do not have an equivalent internal carbon fee or tax.

    "The United States then would be forced to make a choice. It could either address its fossil-fuel addiction ... or ... accept continual descent into second-rate and third-rate economic well-being."

And this guy has been on the payroll of the United States of America for decades! Global warming has always been about political power, not science. As public opinion turns ever more decisively against the alarmists, we can expect more naked totalitarianism from the climate left.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/
http://liten.be//GWfsZ
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bigdog
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« Reply #420 on: January 20, 2011, 12:18:07 PM »

The Truth Wears Off
Is there something wrong with the scientific method?by Jonah Lehrer

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer#ixzz1BbJXgS5h
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #421 on: January 20, 2011, 01:49:57 PM »

BD:

That idea in that piece is a profoundly challenging one.  If correct, much of what we know, isn't so.

What do you make of it?
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G M
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« Reply #422 on: January 20, 2011, 05:37:41 PM »

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

Quantum physics says goodbye to reality

Apr 20, 2007

Some physicists are uncomfortable with the idea that all individual quantum events are innately random. This is why many have proposed more complete theories, which suggest that events are at least partially governed by extra "hidden variables". Now physicists from Austria claim to have performed an experiment that rules out a broad class of hidden-variables theories that focus on realism -- giving the uneasy consequence that reality does not exist when we are not observing it (Nature 446 871).

Some 40 years ago the physicist John Bell predicted that many hidden-variables theories would be ruled out if a certain experimental inequality were violated – known as "Bell's inequality". In his thought experiment, a source fires entangled pairs of linearly-polarized photons in opposite directions towards two polarizers, which can be changed in orientation. Quantum mechanics says that there should be a high correlation between results at the polarizers because the photons instantaneously "decide" together which polarization to assume at the moment of measurement, even though they are separated in space. Hidden variables, however, says that such instantaneous decisions are not necessary, because the same strong correlation could be achieved if the photons were somehow informed of the orientation of the polarizers beforehand.

Bell's trick, therefore, was to decide how to orient the polarizers only after the photons have left the source. If hidden variables did exist, they would be unable to know the orientation, and so the results would only be correlated half of the time. On the other hand, if quantum mechanics was right, the results would be much more correlated – in other words, Bell's inequality would be violated.

Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell's inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell's inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.

Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.

They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell's thought experiment, Leggett's inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we're not observing it. "Our study shows that 'just' giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics," Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. "You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism."

However, Alain Aspect, a physicist who performed the first Bell-type experiment in the 1980s, thinks the team's philosophical conclusions are subjective. "There are other types of non-local models that are not addressed by either Leggett's inequalities or the experiment," he said. "But I rather share the view that such debates, and accompanying experiments such as those by [the Austrian team], allow us to look deeper into the mysteries of quantum mechanics."
About the author

Jon Cartwright is a reporter for Physics Web
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #423 on: January 22, 2011, 02:45:14 PM »

GM:

Not sure why you put that in this thread huh

Anyway, with his permission here are some comments from Dr. Tricky Dog (PhD in Physics):

Indeed a fascinating consequence - I hadn't heard of this result previously.  What is semantically challenging though is the meaning of "reality does not exist when we are not observing it".  Words like "reality", "exist" and "observing" are somewhat misleading when their physics meaning is compared to our lay meaning.  What do we think someone is saying when that is said?  You have to have deep specialists knowledge to attach correct meaning to the words.

The problem with quantum mechanical contexts is that they are so anti-intuitive that it is difficult to talk about them at all (and still
make any sense).  The implications are subtle at best.  Particularly as none of these QM effects have been shown to apply at macroscopic scales - they get washed out on the way to big - observations about grains of sand don't apply to beaches.

And yet tremendously fascinating stuff.  The closer we look at the fabric of reality, the more we come to the conclusion that there are no threads in the fabric.  At least, not in the conventional sense.

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G M
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« Reply #424 on: January 22, 2011, 05:16:21 PM »

Crafty,

I put it in here as a response to the seeming failures in the scientific method posted by Bigdog. Is it possible that observing things at this level causes a shift in how/if they work because of the quantum level?

No idea. This is way over my head, but reading Bigdog's post reminded me of this.
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trickydog
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« Reply #425 on: January 22, 2011, 09:47:32 PM »

Hi - Tricky parachuting in for a glib follow-up or two - I don't peruse the forums too much for lack of time.  But I see that Crafty et al have brought some interesting points to bear.  And he just quoted me - so...

Re: quantum effects - as mentioned, the interesting nature of QM doesn't really play at the macroscopic (read "human") scales.  Various attempts have been made to see QM happening at longer scales - and some interesting things have been seen - but only under very carefully crafted circumstances.  It is largely wishful thinking (so far) to speculate QM has any large-scale relevance day-to-day. 

And science may yet prove otherwise - that's what is really enjoyable about the endeavor.

Much more likely is that human perception and cognition are responsible.  Without impugning anyone's intentions, we often find ourselves experiencing a more subjective reality than we like to admit.  Unless experiments are constructed very carefully, "human effects" creep in almost inevitably.   People often talk about bias - but frankly, that's not even a question in my view - we see what we want to see as matter of course.  Seeing otherwise takes a tremendous amount of discipline and careful process.

A healthy amount of skepticism is warranted - and in fact required by the methodology.

Most of what is being discussed here revolves around very human processes and highly complex systems.  Almost anything have to do with human process is overloaded with uncontrolled influences, many of them cognitive and complicated by socio-political views.  It's pretty difficult to do "hard science" (in the sense of physics) in those circumstances.  Take homeopathy and chiropractic as an example - while both have been next to impossible to prove as beneficial, there are wide-spread reports of benefit.  People have positive experiences and effects that they attribute to the practices.  So what is "true"?

Just try to separate out the human effects from the controllable processes.  It has led to all kinds of strife and struggle - and it is largely because scientific methodology is very difficult to apply reliably in those "soft" contexts".  Particularly as we are not able to isolate the influence of belief and the mind on the body's response.  The placebo effect is the classic case that underscores this influence.

So if you are pointing at science pertaining to anything with a significantly human context, then I fully expect it to be pretty squishy and subject to revision.  Quite likely endlessly.

Similarly, if you are talking about complex systems - such as the global climate - you had better be prepared to be frustrated and challenged.  Not only are there an incredible number of different influences on the system (science often relies on reductionist methods), none of which can be easily tested for, but many of them are highly non-linear.  Which is why we are so bad at predicting the weather on a day-to-day basis.  Or the stock market.  Which isn't to say we know nothing about them.

Thus it doesn't surprise me much to hear that things are not quite the way we thought they were - especially regarding science around soft and/or complex systems.  And you don't have to resort to QM effects to explain it.  Occam's razor.

Meanwhile, I don't think you'll be finding the accuracy of the measures of the speed of light in a vacuum will be slowly falling in the near future.




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trickydog
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« Reply #426 on: January 24, 2011, 10:07:41 AM »

As it happened, I was reading an analysis of the role  of mythology in scientific undertakings (a personal favorite of mine) and found a passage that exemplified some of what I was just referring to in the previous post:

Quote
While many myths simply try to give form to our own past, others are intended to be both descriptive and prescriptive. Like laws of nature, they must hold true everywhere and for all time. Their adherents can brook no alternative perspective. The tendency to settle prematurely on a particular outlook is exacerbated in the guild system of health care. The practitioner must not be seen as equivocating, and the field as a whole must not be seen as thoroughly divided in its core orientation. Science is unitary, and in order to appear scientific, at least provisional assent must be yielded to a unitary vision. Such a unitary vision is likely to start out as largely myth.

The aspirational social sciences have a particular problem here because it is so difficult for a proposition to rise to the level of established fact or theory. Indeed one can sympathize with political scientist Clinton Rossiter who declaimed at one point: “I believe this so strongly that it almost becomes a fact.” Instead these fields move forward by consensus. If reasonable consensus is achieved within a discipline, then provisional scientific validity is simply claimed. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of psychiatry is perhaps the best exemplar of this process at work. The science behind it is meager, but that becomes a non-issue in the face of general acquiescence to the DSM formalism. What we have here, plain and simple, is myth masquerading as science.

We actually have a ready diagnostic to distinguish myth disguised as science from actual science. If a particular proposition brings forth strong emotions in its defense, then we are dealing with myth. One can be sure that no one mounts the ramparts on behalf of Newton’s Laws of Motion.

Siegfried Othmer - from Wagner, Myth and the Brain

Active social mythology is not given significant attention in my view.  But that's another post another time.
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G M
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« Reply #427 on: January 24, 2011, 10:14:11 AM »

I hope you keep contributing here, Trickydog. Good to have someone grounded in the hard sciences around.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #428 on: January 24, 2011, 10:32:04 AM »

A hearty "Amen!" from me on that as well, and I am sure BBG will agree when he returns-- that was a fine meaty quote you shared there Tricky.

Concerning "consensus".  A German MD internet friend of mine recently wrote that " 'Consensus' means there is no definitive proof" or something like that.

Anyway, this today from todays Pravda on the Beach/LATimes, which actually runs counter to its biases and therefor gets a hat tip of respect from me:
=====================

Predictions that climate change will drive trees and plants uphill, potentially slashing their range to perilous levels, may be wrong, suggests a new study that found vegetation in California actually crept downhill during the 20th century.

The research, published in the Jan. 21 issue of the journal Science, challenges widely held assumptions about the effect of rising temperatures on shrubs and trees that play a critical role in mountain environments.

Various studies in recent years have predicted that to survive global warming, mountain plant communities will march to higher elevations in search of cooler temperatures — and, if they are unable to do so quickly enough, could perish.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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But comparing data from the early and late 20th century, authors of the Science paper found that despite warming, many plant species in California mountain ranges are growing at lower elevations than they did 80 years ago. The scientists attributed the shift to a wetter climate in Central and Northern California, which offset the effect of higher temperatures.

The lesson, said coauthor John Abatzoglou, a University of Idaho assistant geography professor, is that "we'd be remiss if we just focus on temperature," in forecasting the influence of climate change on plant life. "This might mean species extinction rates may not be as dire as predicted."

Climate warming models have consistently indicated that California will get hotter. But modeling has been less certain about the effect on total precipitation. Some models suggest the state will grow wetter — if less snowy. Some suggest it will grow drier.

The researchers were careful to say that the rise in precipitation in much of California over the last century could be a function of natural variability and have no link to the effects of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.

For whatever reason, Abatzoglou said the Sierra was 5% to 10% wetter in the final half of the 1900s than in the first half, allowing tree and shrub species to take hold at lower elevations.

Comparing historic vegetation data from 1905 to 1935 to information gathered from 1975 to 2005 by researchers and federal agencies, the study found that about five dozen species had on the whole migrated downhill an average of about 264 feet.

Researchers relied in part on a treasure trove of botanical information collected in the 1920s and '30s as part of a broad-ranging survey of California wild lands directed by U.S. Forest Service silviculturist Albert Wieslander. Partly funded by New Deal programs, it includes records from about 14,000 plots, hand-drawn maps and several thousand photographs that document timber stand conditions.

"These data sets provide us with an unprecedented view" of the large-scale changes in plant distribution that have occurred over the last 75 years in California, said coauthor Solomon Dobrowski, an assistant forest management professor at the University of Montana.

Those shifts, he said, were driven by changes in water availability rather than in average annual temperature, which rose about 1 degree across the state during that period.

Implications of the findings extend beyond California. Globally, "many locations north of the 45-degree latitude have experienced increased precipitation over the last century," Dobrowski said. "And global climate models generally predict these locations [will] become wetter over the next century."

If it turns out that California does grow drier with global warming, "We would expect things to turn a corner and start moving uphill," he said.

Even if they don't, the effect of climate change on mountain environments could be complex. Insects are more sensitive to temperature and are likely to move uphill, Dobrowski said. And if the plants they eat and pollinate are shifting downhill, that could be an issue.

"We can't oversimplify the problem in terms of biological communities," he said.

Connie Millar, a U.S. Forest Service research ecologist who is studying climate change's effects on alpine ecosystems, said the Science paper demonstrated that global modeling results can't just be uniformly applied. "There are surprises at regional and local scales," she said, adding that land managers needed to take that into account in planning how to deal with climate change.

For instance, if valued plant communities are moving out of public lands at higher elevations into private property downhill, they will be more vulnerable to development and more in need of open space corridors connecting them to protected areas.

Millar's research in the Eastern Sierra and the Great Basin has also found that tree lines are moving down rather than up, although for slightly different reasons. They are shifting down slope into drainages that are cooler, and coincidentally, moister.
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G M
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« Reply #429 on: March 18, 2011, 07:15:55 AM »

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/16/chevy-volt-ayn-rand-opinions-patrick-michaels.html

Chevy Volt: The Car From Atlas Shrugged Motors
Patrick Michaels, 03.16.11, 06:00 PM EDT
Who is going to buy all these cars?

The Chevrolet Volt is beginning to look like it was manufactured by Atlas Shrugged Motors, where the government mandates everything politically correct, rewards its cronies and produces junk steel.

This is the car that subsidies built. General Motors lobbied for a $7,500 tax refund for all buyers, under the shaky (if not false) promise that it was producing the first all-electric mass-production vehicle.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #430 on: March 25, 2011, 03:38:17 PM »

Reporting from my assigned weather station, the earth did not boil over.  We know about the email fraud and the changing data tweaking algorithms, also what we see with our own lying eyes. 'Climate' changes more day to day and year to year than what is alleged in a century, and only a smidgen of that is man-caused.

Here I offer my own 'backyard' today (March 25) showing snowdrifts covering a wind powered watercraft awaiting a melting of the still snow covered view of Minnesota's busiest lake, still frozen with feet-thick ice.  Spring so far has been 2 days of blizzard and 2 days of 15 degree sunshine.  The earliest recorded ice-out was March 11, 1878, and the latest recorded date was May 8, 1856.  This year looks to be around mid-April, roughly the 100 year average.  - More proof of global warming (sarc.)

In May the water will be a sky blue reflection and the trees a beautiful shade of forest green, just like 100-150 years ago. The Pianese flowers will bloom in full color the second week of June, like clockwork.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 03:49:33 PM by DougMacG » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #431 on: March 25, 2011, 07:39:42 PM »

Hey Doug.  On a lighter note. 

Nice back yard!

Is that your Cat?  I don't now, but I used to have an 18' catamaran (Prindle)
and would do ocean racing most weekends.  Then I changed to
a light weight 25' mono hull.  Better for cocktails after the race.  grin  And longer distance. 
Even that I finally gave up since I couldn't find a date to either take the tiller or take
down sail when the wind picked up.  Being hit by the boom and tossed overboard is not fun.
Still, I have good memories.

Have you ever sailed on the ice?  I hear that's a lot of fun; very fast.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #432 on: March 26, 2011, 10:07:19 AM »

JDN, Thanks. Yes, that is the Prindle 18-2.  Goes like a rocket - in the right conditions  smiley.  It took your Wisc. background to know the tundra under the ice and snow isn't just wasteland.  Ice boating: I've wanted to, but... a very cold sport with a winter wind, a very short season. You need ice safely frozen but limited snow on it, not the 85 inches we had this year, also today's boats are solo. In my Dad's youth, the boats handled a group of friends, more like our 'E' boat.  When you fall overboard or any other crash, no soft landing.

On a different note since I know you are a racquet sports enthusiast, another outdoor winter sport we play is paddle tennis (Platform tennis).  Because of the continuous flow of the game, all doubles, one serve, using the screens, long points (high speed chess), it keeps your blood flowing for a couple of hours to where zero to 20 degrees is ideal and anything much more than that is too warm to play.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #433 on: March 30, 2011, 08:52:11 AM »

Bombshell conclusion – new peer reviewed analysis: “worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years”
Posted on March 28, 2011  by Anthony Watts

The paper is currently in press at the Journal of Coastal Research  and is provided with open access to the full publication. The results are stunning for their contradiction to AGW theories which suggest global warming would accelerate sea level rise during the last century.

 

“Our first analysis determined the acceleration, a2, for each of the 57 records with results tabulated in Table 1 and shown in Figure 4. There is almost a balance with 30 gauge records showing deceleration and 27 showing acceleration, clustering around 0.0 mm/y2.”



The near balance of accelerations and decelerations is mirrored in worldwidegauge records as shown in Miller and Douglas (2006)

Abstract:

Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses



J. R. Houston†  and R. G. Dean‡  †Director Emeritus, Engineer Research and Development Center, Corps of Engineers, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180, U.S.A. james.r.houston@usace.army.mil

‡Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Coastal Civil Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A. dean@coastal.ufl.edu

Without sea-level acceleration, the 20th-century sea-level trend of 1.7 mm/y would produce a rise of only approximately 0.15 m from 2010 to 2100; therefore, sea-level acceleration is a critical component of projected sea-level rise. To determine this acceleration, we analyze monthly-averaged records for 57 U.S. tide gauges in the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base that have lengths of 60–156 years. Least-squares quadratic analysis of each of the 57 records are performed to quantify accelerations, and 25 gauge records having data spanning from 1930 to 2010 are analyzed. In both cases we obtain small average sea-level decelerations. To compare these results with worldwide data, we extend the analysis of Douglas (1992) by an additional 25 years and analyze revised data of Church and White (2006) from 1930 to 2007 and also obtain small sea-level decelerations similar to those we obtain from U.S. gauge records.

Received: October 5, 2010; Accepted: November 26, 2010; Published Online: February 23, 2011

Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses, J. R. Houston and R. G. Dean

Discussion: (excerpt)

We analyzed the complete records of 57 U.S. tide gauges that had average record lengths of 82 years and records from1930 to 2010 for 25 gauges, and we obtained small decelerations of 20.0014 and20.0123 mm/y2, respectively. We obtained similar decelerations using worldwide-gauge records in the original data set of Church andWhite (2006) and a 2009 revision (for the periods of 1930–2001 and 1930–2007) and by extending Douglas’s (1992) analyses of worldwide gauges by 25 years.

The extension of the Douglas (1992) data from 1905 to 1985 for 25 years to 2010 included the period from 1993 to 2010 when satellite altimeters recorded a sea-level trend greater than that of the 20th century, yet the addition of the 25 years resulted in a slightly greater deceleration.

Conclusion:

Our analyses do not indicate acceleration in sea level in U.S. tide gauge records during the 20th century. Instead, for each time period we consider, the records show small decelerations that are consistent with a number of earlier studies of worldwide-gauge records. The decelerations that we obtain are opposite in sign and one to two orders of magnitude less than the +0.07 to +0.28 mm/y2 accelerations that are required to reach sea levels predicted for 2100 by Vermeer and Rahmsdorf (2009), Jevrejeva, Moore, and Grinsted (2010), and Grinsted, Moore, and Jevrejeva (2010). Bindoff et al. (2007) note an increase in worldwide temperature from 1906 to 2005 of 0.74uC.

It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.

Full paper available online here
WUWT download (faster) here: jcoastres-d-10-00157.1

h/t to John Droz and to Dr. Willem de Lange

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/28/bombshell-conclusion-new-peer-reviewed-analysis-worldwide-temperature-increase-has-not-produced-acceleration-of-global-sea-level-over-the-past-100-years/
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« Reply #434 on: March 30, 2011, 03:10:14 PM »

2nd post.

Jeepers, I coulda swore somewhere I read that even tangential associations with deep pocket entities corrupts scientific findings. Does that sword cut both ways?


MARCH 11, 2011 4:00 A.M.
All Aboard the Climate Gravy Train
There was a time when climate scientists were not extremely well paid, but that is no longer the case.

Global-warming alarmists often portray climate scientists as poorly paid academics whose judgment is impervious to the influence of money. This seems strange given the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been invested in climate science over the past few years. And as the public-choice school of economics has clearly shown, the opportunity for reward affects even supposedly disinterested professionals.

Therefore, it is fair to ask: Just how well rewarded are climate scientists? As it turns out, by some measures they are paid as well as corporate CEOs.

When it comes to comparing the annual salaries of various professions, there is an obvious problem. Some work extremely long hours — about 2,600 a year for firefighters — while others work far fewer — 1,400 a year for teachers. To iron out this difficulty, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey converts yearly salaries into hourly pay. From that we can see that teachers, at $37.91 an hour, are actually much more highly paid than firefighters, at $21.68 an hour, despite their comparable annual salaries ($53,000 for teachers, $55,000 for firefighters).

What about climate scientists? Well, university lecturers and professors earn an average of $49.88 an hour over a 1,600-hour work year, for a total salary of about $80,000. In the public sector, “atmospheric, earth, marine, and space sciences teachers, postsecondary” earn considerably more than the average university teacher ($70.61 per hour). They also work much less (1,471 hours each year), and despite their lower workload, they pull down about $104,000 a year. Climate scientists’ hourly pay ranks them higher than business-school teachers at public universities, who earn $63.35 an hour, but not public-sector law-school professors, who earn over $100 an hour.

So climate scientists are very well compensated, out-earning all other faculty outside of law in hourly-wage terms. What about the rest of the public sector? Astonishingly, only one other public-sector profession — psychiatrist — pays better than climate science, at just over $73 an hour. In other words, climate scientists have the third-highest-paid public-sector job, ranking above judges.

What about the private sector? That’s led by airline pilots, who earn about $112 an hour, but work for only 1,100 hours a year, followed by company CEOs at an average of $91 an hour. Physicians and surgeons earn almost as much as CEOs, at $89.51 an hour. Private-sector law-school professors, interestingly enough, earn far less than their public-school counterparts, at $82 an hour. After that come professor-level jobs in engineering, at $76.11, and dentists, at $73.19. These are the only private-sector professions that pay more than climate science. Taking the public and private sectors together, by my reckoning, climate scientist is the tenth-highest-paid profession in the nation.

Bear in mind that these averages are statistical means, and are therefore inflated by extremely high salaries at the top end, particularly in the case of CEOs and physicians. If we look at median earnings — what the earner right in the middle of the pack gets — we see that climate scientists get $75.29 an hour, compared with private-sector CEOs at $75.48 and physicians at $81.73.

The story gets even more interesting when we look back at the figures from 2005, the year before Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth launched the current wave of climate alarmism. Back then, university teachers were paid $43.16 an hour, while climate scientists were paid $54.65 an hour. In other words, climate-science compensation has risen by 30 percent in five years, while pay for other university instructors has increased by only 15 percent.

There was a time when climate scientists were not extremely well paid, but that is no longer the case. Not only have their earnings grown far faster than their colleagues’, but on an hourly basis they now earn as much as CEOs. When climate skeptics talk about a global-warming gravy train, the numbers back them up.

— Iain Murray heads the Center for Economic Freedom at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/261776/all-aboard-climate-gravy-train-iain-murray
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #435 on: April 06, 2011, 07:52:02 PM »

Oh my goodness, this is great stuff. A company that forecasts weather for business purposes, some of which are high risk, has been assembling its own climate data set. Independently, Berkeley Climate Data Project is trying to clean up the mess left in the wake of various hockey sticks and email scandals, hoping to produce a clean dataset all can agree on. It looks like the two efforts are using parallel techniques, but the company selling forecasts is moving more quickly and efficiently to process data, as it has an economic interest in a clean outcome that can then be used to forecast with.

Bottom line, it looks like there will be a second dataset to contrast and compare the one Berkeley is working on, one driven by a market force need for accuracy and the second claiming a traditional scientific ethic. It will be fun to see how it all turns out.

A lot more nuanced explanation with lotsa illustrations here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/04/an-investigation-of-ushcn-station-siting-issues-using-a-cleaned-dataset/#more-37271
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G M
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« Reply #436 on: April 18, 2011, 06:34:20 PM »

Too bad "Kindle" is already taken as a brand name.

http://www.wfsb.com/news/27586692/detail.html

BARKHAMSTED,Conn. -- A hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt believed to have sparked an overnight blaze in a garage in Barkhamsted last week, reignited again on Monday.
The state fire marshal's office is investigating how the electric car parked at a Center Hill Road home caught fire Monday morning.
Last week, homeowners Storm Connors and his wife, Dee, woke up to the sound of a smoke alarm around 4 a.m.
The couple's garage, where they parked their new Chevrolet Volt hybrid, was on fire. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze. A firewall built between the home and the garage saved their home.
Investigators with the state fire marshal's office and the couple's insurance company, at the time, suspected the hybrid car have had something to do with the blaze.
On Monday morning, firefighters were called back to the home when the car caught fire again.
The fire is under investigation.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #437 on: April 24, 2011, 07:56:47 AM »

Voodoo Economics? How about Voodoo Climate Science?

by Patrick J. Michaels

This article appeared on Forbes.com on April 21, 2011.

When will our greener friends at the UN learn that it's just not a good idea to make definite predictions about certain disasters?

This time they have been called out on their 2005 prediction that by now there would be 50 million "climate refugees" — people choosing to emigrate because of bad weather. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) even came up with a global map showing precisely where people would migrate from.

Pretty much every forecast about climate change or its effects should be viewed as a hypothesis rather than a fact. After all, as Firesign Theater once noted, "the future's not here yet". But the UN named a specific year (2010) which allows for an actual test of their prediction.

retty much every forecast about climate change or its effects should be viewed as a hypothesis rather than a fact.
Census takers around the world have inadvertently adjudicated the UN's forecast. It was dead wrong. Pretty much every recent census reveals that populations are growing rapidly precisely where everyone was supposed to be migrating from. (And where is the story that global warming causes babies?).

Folks were supposed to be streaming away from low-lying tropical islands because of worse and more frequent hurricanes. The population of the Bahamas, which catches about as many tropical cyclones as any place on earth, is up 14% since 2000. The Solomons, up 20%. Sychelles: 9%.

Did I mention that global hurricane activity has recently sunk to its all time measured low, despite the UN's strident statements about more frequent and terrible storms? (Note that the hurricane data is only reliable for the last fifty years or so, hence the word "measured".)

Is this exaggeration of an affect of climate change by the UN an isolated incident? Hardly. Recent history reveals the UN to be a systematic engine of climate disinformation.

In 2007, the UN famously stated that, if warming continued at present rates (whatever that means — there hasn't been any since the mid-late 1990s), the massive Himalayan glaciers would disappear 23 years from now. While the source, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proclaims itself the consensus of climate science, there's no credentialed climatologist on earth who believes that this ice cap, which is hundreds of feet thick, could possibly disappear so soon.

When the government of India, which knows something about the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great Ganges River, challenged the UN's forecast, the head of the IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, labeled it "voodoo science".

It turns out that the UN was the voodoo practitioner. Dr. Murari Lal, who authored the statement, eventually admitted that it was in the UN climate report to spur the governments of India and China into reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, and that it was not based on anything in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

In the same report, the IPCC claimed that even a slight variation in tropical rainfall would cause a disastrous loss of the verdant rainforest — despite incoming satellite data that showed a remarkable resilience to an ongoing sharp drought.

Then it made the absurd claims that 55% of the Netherlands was below sea level, and that there has been no change in ice coverage in the southern hemisphere, where polar ice is indeed growing significantly.

The IPCC also stated that a mere nine years from now, tropical crop yields would be cut in half by a massive decline in annual rainfall. Even computer models that assume large scale drought reduce yields by about half of this.

Is all of this due to chance?

Scientists, as humans, make judgemental errors. But what is odd about the UN is that its gaffes are all in one direction. All are exaggeration of the effects of climate change. In each case, the IPCC was relying upon scientific literature that was not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense. No one has found analogous errors in the other direction (which would be an underestimation of climate change based upon the "grey" literature), and you can bet that people have been looking very hard in an effort to exonerate the UN.

In an unbiased world there should be an equal chance of either underestimating or overestimating the climate change and its effects, which allows us to test whether this string of errors is simply scientists behaving normally or being naughty.

What's the chance of throwing a coin six times and getting all heads (or tails)? It's .015. Most scientists consider the .050 level sufficient to warrant retention of a hypothesis, which in this case, is that the UN's climate science is biased.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=13048
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #438 on: May 19, 2011, 09:24:21 PM »

Say it ain't so: scientists misconstruing data in a manner that underwrites their beliefs and supports the tenets of their discipline:

Exaggerating Species Extinction
Jonathan H. Adler • May 19, 2011 10:45 am

A new paper in Nature has sparked a firestorm of debate over species extinction rates. The paper, by two ecologists, shows how the use of the species-area curve produces inflated projections of species extinction rates. As an accompanying article in Nature explains:

The most common method of predicting extinction rates relies on the species–area curve, the mathematical relationship showing that larger areas tend to contain greater numbers of species.

Researchers typically extrapolate backwards from this curve to calculate how many extinctions can be expected from a given amount of habitat loss. But that is inaccurate, say the study authors, because the area that must be removed to cause extinction is always larger than the area needed to encounter a species for the first time.

“Extrapolating backwards makes a hidden assumption that any loss of population, regardless of how small, commits a species to extinction — which is not reasonable,” says Stephen Hubbell, a theoretical ecologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-author of the paper.


As you might expect, the paper has sparked substantial criticism and debate, as noted in Greenwire and on Dot Earth, even though there have been concerns about the reliability of the species-area curve for some time. One reason for the intense debate is the well-intentioned fear that research of this sort will dampen concerns about biodiversity loss. If, as the study suggests, expected extinction rates are far lower than conventional estimates, will this lessen the urgency of biodiversity conservation? Perhaps, but that would not justify relying upon erroneous extinction estimates. Moreover, even if projected species extinction is only half of conventional estimates, it is still a serious concern.

http://volokh.com/2011/05/19/exaggerating-species-extinction/
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G M
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« Reply #439 on: May 19, 2011, 09:31:31 PM »

Next thing you'll tell me is that all the polar bears aren't drowning because of global warmingclimate change.   evil
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« Reply #440 on: May 23, 2011, 02:32:12 PM »

Inconvenient Truths About 'Renewable' Energy
By MATT RIDLEY

What does the word "renewable" mean?

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a thousand-page report on the future of renewable energy, which it defined as solar, hydro, wind, tidal, wave, geothermal and biomass. These energy sources, said the IPCC, generate about 13.8% of our energy and, if encouraged to grow, could eventually displace most fossil fuel use.

It turns out that the great majority of this energy, 10.2% out of the 13.8% share, comes from biomass, mainly wood (often transformed into charcoal) and dung. Most of the rest is hydro; less than 0.5% of the world's energy comes from wind, tide, wave, solar and geothermal put together. Wood and dung are indeed renewable, in the sense that they reappear as fast as you use them. Or do they? It depends on how fast you use them.

One of the greatest threats to rain forests is the cutting of wood for fuel by impoverished people. Haiti meets about 60% of its energy needs with charcoal produced from forests. Even bakeries, laundries, sugar refineries and rum distilleries run on the stuff. Full marks to renewable Haiti, the harbinger of a sustainable future! Or maybe not: Haiti has felled 98% of its tree cover and counting; it's an ecological disaster compared with its fossil-fuel burning neighbor, the Dominican Republic, whose forest cover is 41% and stable. Haitians are now burning tree roots to make charcoal.

You can likewise question the green and clean credentials of other renewables. The wind may never stop blowing, but the wind industry depends on steel, concrete and rare-earth metals (for the turbine magnets), none of which are renewable. Wind generates 0.2% of the world's energy at present. Assuming that energy needs double in coming decades, we would have to build 100 times as many wind farms as we have today just to get to a paltry 10% from wind. We'd run out of non-renewable places to put them.

You may think I'm splitting hairs. Iron ore for making steel is unlikely to run out any time soon. True, but you can say the same about fossil fuels. The hydrocarbons in the earth's crust amount to more than 500,000 exajoules of energy. (This includes methane clathrates—gas on the ocean floor in solid, ice-like form—which may or may not be accessible as fuel someday.) The whole planet uses about 500 exajoules a year, so there may be a millennium's worth of hydrocarbons left at current rates.

Contrast that with blue whales, cod and passenger pigeons, all of which plainly renew themselves by breeding. But exploiting them caused their populations to collapse or disappear in just a few short decades. It's a startling fact that such "renewable" resources keep running short, while no non-renewable resource has yet run out: not oil, gold, uranium or phosphate. The stone age did not end for lack of stone (a remark often attributed to the former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani).

Guano, a key contributor to 19th-century farming, was renewable fertilizer, made from seabird dung harvested off Peruvian and Namibian islands, but it soon ran out. Modern synthetic fertilizer is made from the air and returns to the air via denitrifying bacteria, yet few would call it a renewable resource. Even fossil fuels are renewable in the sense that they are still being laid down somewhere in the world—not nearly as fast as we use them, of course, but then that's true of Haiti's forests and Newfoundland's cod as well.

And then there is nuclear power. Uranium is not renewable, but plutonium is, in the sense that you can "breed" it in the right kind of reactor. Given how much we dislike plutonium and breeder reactors, it seems that the more renewable nuclear fuel is, the less we like it.

All in all, once you examine it closely, the idea that "renewable" energy is green and clean looks less like a deduction than a superstition.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703421204576327410322365714.html
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ccp
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« Reply #441 on: May 24, 2011, 03:11:40 PM »

http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Muller.pdf
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« Reply #442 on: May 26, 2011, 01:37:18 PM »

A 600 year earthquake has had its direct nuclear radiation death toll reduced to 0 out of 20,000 total earthquake/tsunami deaths, so out go all new nuclear plans and several existing ones in favor of the much 'more safe'  huh greenhouse gas based fossil fuel combustion.  

That policy shift alone in one island country will add 7 TRILLION more pounds (350 billion tons)of CO2 per year into the atmosphere.

What could possibly go wrong with that?


http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/18/fukushima-open-thread-6/
http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/2011/05/updated_analysis_the_costs_of_canceling_japans_plans_for_nuclear_power.shtml
-------------

CCP, The Muller piece is very interesting.  He covers both sides fairly well.  No question there was some warming.  No question there is some human component in it. And no question that there are other factors, known and unknown, and no question our ability to measure any of it is flawed.  No question that previous accounts were exaggerated.  If his is the first reliable data, that isn't much data.  Unfortunately, for the umpteen hundredth time, I read through an entire 'scientific' climate change pdf with glorified headlines to find no answer to the two burning questions: how much was the warming and what component of it was human caused.

Cherry picking, I found this: " if we cut back and China continues to grow and India continues to grow [and they will], our cutting back will not achieve any real good."

(See the first half of the post, other countries are NOT cutting back.)

I will be more impressed when some scientist gets both the climate science and the economics of it right.  Cap trade and every other artificial mechanism to get energy prices up and energy use down here will move manufacturing to India, China and all other places outside our jurisdiction.  It already has.  Instead of doing no measurable good, while destroying our economy, these laws do no good at all, and Muller, give him credit, admitted it.

The answer to replace fossil fuels will come, most likely, from private sector innovation, like most other major technological developments.  I would argue that allowing the private sector to re-energize robustly is the solution, not the problem.  When energy prices go up for real instead of artificially, an economic alternative solution will emerge, It always does.  We will solve this better from a position of economic strength instead of desperation, IMO.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 01:44:56 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #443 on: May 26, 2011, 04:14:14 PM »


By WILLIE SOON
AND PAUL DRIESSEN
The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued 946 pages of new rules requiring that U.S. power plants sharply reduce their (already low) emissions of mercury and other air pollutants. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims that while the regulations will cost electricity producers $10.9 billion annually, they will save 17,000 lives and generate up to $140 billion in health benefits.

There is no factual basis for these assertions. To build its case against mercury, the EPA systematically ignored evidence and clinical studies that contradict its regulatory agenda, which is to punish hydrocarbon use.

Mercury has always existed naturally in Earth's environment. A 2009 study found mercury deposits in Antarctic ice across 650,000 years. Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment. This is why our bodies evolved with proteins and antioxidants that help protect us from this and other potential contaminants.

Another defense comes from selenium, which is found in fish and animals. Its strong attraction to mercury molecules protects fish and people against buildups of methylmercury, mercury's biologically active and more toxic form. Even so, the 200,000,000 tons of mercury naturally present in seawater have never posed a danger to any living being.

How do America's coal-burning power plants fit into the picture? They emit an estimated 41-48 tons of mercury per year. But U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons; Chinese power plants eject 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year.

VAll these emissions enter the global atmospheric system and become part of the U.S. air mass. Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.

In the face of these minuscule risks, the EPA nevertheless demands that utility companies spend billions every year retrofitting coal-fired power plants that produce half of all U.S. electricity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which actively monitors mercury exposure, blood mercury counts for U.S. women and children decreased steadily from 1999-2008, placing today's counts well below the already excessively safe level established by the EPA. A 17-year evaluation of mercury risk to babies and children by the Seychelles Children Development Study found "no measurable cognitive or behavioral effects" in children who eat several servings of ocean fish every week, much more than most Americans do.

The World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry assessed these findings in setting mercury-risk standards that are two to three times less restrictive than the EPA's.

The EPA ignored these findings. Instead, the agency based its "safe" mercury criteria on a study of Faroe Islanders, whose diet is far removed from our own. They eat few fruits and vegetables, but they do feast on pilot-whale meat and blubber that is laced with mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)—but very low in selenium. The study has limited relevance to U.S. populations.

As a result, the EPA's actions can be counted on to achieve only one thing—which is to further advance the Obama administration's oft-stated goal of penalizing hydrocarbon use and driving a transition to unreliable renewable energy.

The proposed standards will do nothing to reduce exaggerated threats from mercury and other air pollutants. Indeed, the rules will worsen America's health and well-being—especially for young children and women of child-bearing age. Not only will they raise heating, air conditioning and food costs, but they will scare people away from eating nutritious fish that should be in everyone's diet.

America needs affordable, reliable electricity. It needs better health and nutrition. It needs an EPA that focuses on real risks, instead of wasting hard-earned taxpayer and consumer dollars fabricating dangers and evidence.

Mr. Soon, a natural scientist at Harvard, is an expert on mercury and public health issues. Mr. Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #444 on: May 26, 2011, 05:23:30 PM »

http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/26/is-natural-gas-really-worse-th
Reason Magazine

Is Natural Gas Really Worse Than Coal? A Case of Activist Science Versus Real Science?

Ronald Bailey | May 26, 2011

Cornell University environmental biologist Robert Howarth led a team of researchers that put together and published an article in Climatic Change back in April that claimed natural gas produced by means of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) is worse than burning coal when it comes to man-made warming of the atmosphere. The argument turns on the fact that a molecule of methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.

Howarth and his team made some highly contestable number jiggering with methane's over-all global warming potential (GWP) and estimates about how much methane escapes from wells and pipelines into the atmosphere. Climatologists generally consider the effect of methane over a 100 year period, but Howarth's team decided to use a 20-year period. This considerably boosts methane's near-term GWP from the more usual 25 times that of carbon dioxide to more than 105 times. In addition, Howarth uses very dodgy data with regard to just how much methane escapes into the atmosphere.

Now the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory has done a life cycle analysis of gas versus coal and comes to a very different conclusion with regard to their effects on climate change:

Average natural gas baseload power generation has a life cycle GWP 50 percent lower (emphasis added) than average coal baseload power generation on a 20-year time horizon.

So even accepting Howarth's controversial 20-year time horizon, natural gas is much better than coal. This is basically the conclusion that most analysts had reached for years now. Never mind, the damage is done. Funds will be wasted on unnecessary research and regulations.

I cannot prove it, but I am beginning to get scared that Howarth's paper is an example of a growing trend in politicized sciences. When the herd of independent minds that constitutes the environmental community decides something is "bad," some activist scientist (motivated by the best of intentions I am sure) will step into the breach to cobble together a paper in support that foregone conclusion. Peer review appears to be powerless before the pressure of this kind of groupthink.
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« Reply #445 on: May 27, 2011, 12:13:03 PM »

Great post BBG!  The issue of methane escaping is separate from the issue of ground water contamination but perhaps part of the ad hominem attacks against all energy production.  I don't see why methane producers would want methane to escape.  If true perhaps we ne a capture technique, not a ban on production.

Following up to that post and a subject Crafty started with an NY Times series (Feb 27 2011 post over in Energy Politics) attacking the production techniques of natural gas: "Regulations Lax...Tainted Water Hits Rivers".  I read that piece with skepticism.  As with liberal media techniques on other topics, they find a claim with a credible sounding source, in the Ron Bailey piece it was Cornell University, get it into the NY Times and then repeat it across the country before anyone can disprove the negative.  The NYT piece was loaded with question marks and "may do this" and "may do that" and very light or absent of real data or contamination samples.

I followed up with a long, hard-to-follow post March 8, same thread, discrediting the allegations.  Most damning I thought and buried in my post were the specific, actual statements quoted that I copied and pasted out of a pdf and reprinted, where nearly all the state regulatory agencies of nearly all the natural gas producing states denies that this has ever happened in their state. These include all the states referenced in the NY Times hit piece.  Reprinting here with state names and regulatory agencies in bold to be easier to follow and the use of italics is mine. The full letters are at the pdf link.  These are regulatory agencies, not greedy producers, though a liberal source might say there is no difference if they side with business.


"After 25 years of investigating complaints of contamination, DMRM geologists have not documented a single incident involving contamination of ground water attributed to hydraulic fracturing."  - Ohio Department of Natural Resources

After review of DEP's complaint database and interviews with regional staff that investigate groundwater contamination related to oil and gas activities, no groundwater pollution or disruption of underground sources of drinking water has been attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations.  - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

"we have found no example of contamination of usable water where the cause was claimed to. be hydraulic fracturing."  - New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department

"I can state with authority that there have been no documented cases of drinking water contamination caused by such hydraulic fracturing operations in our State."  - STATE OIL AND GAS BOARD OF ALABAMA

"Though hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 50 years in Texas, our records do not indicate a single documented contamination case associated with hydraulic fracturing."  - chief regulatory agency over oil and gas activities in Texas

"There have been no verified cases of harm to ground water in the State of Alaska as a result of hydraulic fracturing."  - Commissioner Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

"To the knowledge of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff, there has been no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado."

"There have been no instances where the Division of Oil and Gas has verified that harm to groundwater has ever been found to be the result of hydraulic fracturing in Indiana."  - Director Indiana Department of Natural Resources

"The Louisiana Office of Conservation is unaware of any instance of harm to groundwater in the State of Louisiana caused by the practice of hydraulic fracturing."

"My agency, the Office of Geological Survey (OGS) of the Department of Environmental Quality, regulates oil and gas exploration and production in Michigan. Hydraulic fracturing has been utilized extensively for many years in Michigan, in both deep formations and in the relatively shallow Antrim Shale formation. There are about 9,900 Antrim wells in Michigan producing natural gas at depths of 500 to 2000 feet. Hydraulic fracturing has been used in virtually every Antrim well.
There is no indication that hydraulic fracturing has ever caused damage to ground water or other resources in Michigan."

"No documented cases of groundwater contamination from fracture stimulations in
Wyoming."

Link again: Hydraulic Fracturing –15 Statements from Regulatory Officials
http://www.hydraulicfracturing.com/Documents/Hydraulic_Fracturing_SGEIS_comments.pdf
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« Reply #446 on: June 02, 2011, 11:56:28 AM »

Kyoto is croaking and now the bottom is falling out of carbon trading. Snicker:

Countdown to flatline: world carbon trading market falls for first time – World Bank reports rumblings of possible failure
Posted on June 2, 2011  by Anthony Watts
I wonder how long before flatlining occurs, like last year with the Chicago Climate   Exchange  (CCX):

 

Even the Guardian is covering this “failure” of carbon markets . They write:

The international market in carbon credits has suffered an almost total collapse, with only $1.5bn (£916m) of credits traded last year…

Now that the Kyoto protocol is essentially dead , the economic markets will surely pull life support for carbon trading with no political support in place for emissions reduction. With this report and news coverage, you can hear the traders already running for the exits.

Then there’s this from Reuters  – The Europe Union’s carbon market could be flooded with excess pollution permits over the next decade, cutting prices in half and depriving governments of billions in budgeted revenues, EU sources say

Growth in Global Carbon Market Pauses Amid Uncertainty

Press Release No:2011/514/SDN

World Bank Releases 2011 “State and Trends of the Carbon Market” Report

Barcelona, June 1, 2011 – The World Bank’s annual review of the global carbon market shows that 2010 was a watershed year as the market ended five years of robust growth with a slight decline compared to 2009. The State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011, released today at Carbon Expo in Barcelona, shows that the total value of the global carbon market was estimated to be US$142 billion last year.


The report’s authors noted that several reasons help to explain the decline, including the continuing lack of clarity about the market after 2012 and the loss of political momentum on setting up new cap-and-trade schemes in several developed economies. Some buyers from industrialized countries, which in previous years had reached or surpassed targets, consequently made fewer purchases in 2010. As well, lingering effects of the recession in several industrialized countries led to lower greenhouse gas emissions, easing emissions reduction compliance obligations.

Furthermore, the primary Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) market, which accounts for the bulk of project-based transactions, fell by double digits for a variety of reasons, including lower demand for credits and competition from more predictable assets (Assigned Amount Units and secondary CERs). The CDM market is now at its lowest level since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005, having dropped by 46% to an estimated US$1.5 billion in new project-based transactions. Similarly, other carbon markets also declined or stayed at their plateau. Nevertheless, cumulatively, primary offset transactions have reached almost US$30 billion since 2005 and are expected to have catalyzed much larger resources, mostly from the private sector.

“The global carbon market is at a crossroads. If we take the wrong turn we risk losing billions of lower cost private investment and new technology solutions in developing countries,” said Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change. “This report sends a message of the need to ensure a stronger, more robust carbon market with clear signals.”

State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011 shows that, relative to each other, EU Allowances (traded under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, ETS) remain the largest segment by far, with 84% of the total value of the carbon market. Taking secondary CDM transactions into account, the value of the market driven by the ETS reached 97% of the global market value.

The authors of the report predict that, in the next two years, the difference between gross demand for and the cumulative supply of carbon credits generated under the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms will be slightly less than US$140 million. Virtually all demand will be from European governments. Beyond 2012, although the potential demand for emission reductions could reach 3 billion tons or more, the only substantial and unconditional demand to date comes from Europe, estimated at 1.7 billion tons. The supply available between 2013 and 2020, through existing projects, is seen as sufficient to fill that demand, leaving little incentive for project developers to invest further and create a future supply of emission reductions.

The fall in market value was contrasted with what was generally seen as the successful outcomes of negotiations at the UN climate change conference in Cancun in December which resulted in relatively more positive market sentiment.

Although some opportunities for strengthening regulatory frameworks were missed in industrialized countries, national and local low-carbon initiatives gathered strength and offered hope.

“Carbon market growth halted at a particularly inopportune time: 2010 proved to be the hottest year on record, while global emission levels continued to rise relentlessly,” said Alexandre Kossoy, World Bank Senior Financial Specialist. “At the same time, other national and local low-carbon initiatives have picked up noticeably in both developed and developing economies. Collectively, they offer the possibility overcome regulatory uncertainty and signal that, one way or another, solutions that address the climate challenge will emerge.”

In the face of lagging demand, the World Bank has undertaken a number of initiatives to give confidence to a post-2012 carbon market. The Partnership for Market Readiness, launched in Cancun in December 2010, aims to support the trend of national mitigation efforts using market approaches. A number of the World Bank’s carbon funds and facilities, such as the Carbon Partnership Facility, the second tranche of the Umbrella Carbon Facility, and a new facility for low-income countries currently under development, also respond to future needs by supporting scaled up mitigation and purchasing carbon credits beyond 2012. Furthermore, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is supporting REDD+ initiatives which, to date, have not been included under the CDM. The Bank sees carbon markets as an important and versatile tool to provide incentives for a shift to lower carbon development paths.

State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011 was released at CARBON EXPO 2011, the largest carbon fair in the world with more than 3,000 representatives from governments, private sector and civil society organizations involved in greenhouse gas emission reduction transactions around the world.

For more information on the World Bank’s carbon finance activities and the electronic version of this report, please visit the website: www.carbonfinance.org

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/02/world-carbon-trading-market-falls-for-first-time-rumblings-of-possible-failure/
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #447 on: June 03, 2011, 11:29:32 AM »

For those tracking these sorts of tempests and tea pots, the University of VA is currently fighting a FOIA request for hockey stick peddler Michael Mann's emails, while George Mason University just released skeptic Ed Wegman's emails without any fuss. An amusing deconstruction follows:

Mann’s Hockey Stick, Climategate, and FOI – in a nutshell
Posted on June 2, 2011 by Anthony Watts


On the Climate Audit thread, The Vergano FOI Request the irascible Nick Stokes provokes another commenter “mpaul”, to lay out all the history in a simple summary that even Nick might understand. I thought it was worth repeating here for readers who have not followed the twists and turns in detail, and also in the hope that Dr. Michael Mann might read it and get a clue. Obstruction doesn’t pay.

From this Climate Audit comment:

mpaul

Posted May 30, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

Nick writes:

But I don’t think snooping through people’s private emails is a dignified activity.

Nick, I’ll turn the sarcasm off for a moment. I agree with you on this point. I have been an advocate for Cuccinelli CID process. Say what you will about Cuccinelli’s motives, but the American justice system provides protections for the accused and standards of procedure that do not exist in the court of public opinion.

We have arrived at this point in history along the following path:

(1) Steve wanted to replicate MBH98 and asked for data. Mann initially complied, but then began to obstruct.

(2) Steve successfully obtained the needed data and demonstrated serious flaws in Mann’s approach.

(3) Mann defended his work by saying that other Hockey Stick reconstructions validated his method and his conclusions.

(4) Attention turned to replicating the other reconstructions. By now, the Team had become extremely defensive and a sort of bunker mentality took over. Years of obstruction followed.

(5) Those seeking the data and methods used in the HS reconstructions became more and more aggressive, eventually turning to FOIA as a tool to pry loose the information.

(6) Then “a miracle happened’. A file containing materials and emails requested under FOIA turned up on the internet. Most everyone would agree that the contents of the emails warranted an investigation. The only investigation that specifically looked into Mann’s conduct was undertaken by Penn State. Penn State cleared Mann noting that Mann stated:

(a) he had never falsified any data, nor had he had ever manipulated data to serve a given predetermined outcome;
(b) he never used inappropriate influence in reviewing papers by other scientists who disagreed with the conclusions of his science;
(c) he never deleted emails at the behest of any other scientist, specifically including Dr. Phil Jones, and that he never withheld data with the intention of obstructing science; and
(d) he never engaged in activities or behaviors that were inconsistent with accepted academic practices.

(7) Critics have charged that the Penn State investigation was inadequate. Michael Mann has subsequently stated that he did, in fact, participate in an orchestrated effort to delete emails covered under FOIA, raising questions about the veracity of statements he made to the Penn State investigators. Penn State seems untroubled by this.

A real, independent investigation, subject to rules of evidence and judicial procedures, is needed. Such an investigation is the only way to put and end to Climategate and is the only way to restore the tattered reputation of climate science. I think both Virginia and Pennsylvania should conduct an investigation. However, if UVa continues to obstruct the CID, then FOIA is the only option and Mann will be afforded no protection of his privacy.

Mann and UVa are playing a losing game. Its sheer folly to attempt to frustrate a State AG in a law enforcement investigation. Cuccinelli has nuclear weapons at his disposal and UVa has water pistols. If Cuccinelli loses the CID battle, he will simply file a lawsuit and obtain the materials through discovery. Or, if UVa really pisses him off, he will convene a Grand Jury. For Mann personally, this would be catastrophic. Mann and UVa should cooperate with the CID process.

It’s sad that we have arrived at this place. But at every juncture in this journey, Mann has chosen the wrong path.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/02/manns-hockey-stick-climategate-and-foi-in-a-nutshell/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #448 on: June 08, 2011, 11:46:25 AM »

I came to this alarmist storyby way of this title at Real Clear Politics:
Bad Weather Is Due to CO2 Emissions - Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2011/06/13/110613taco_talk_kolbert

At the liberal link I found no new science or logic linking manmade CO2 to Joplin than I do linking CO2 to high of 78 and sunny here today, photo update below confirming what I posted in April that the ice and snow would be gone and the pianese in full bloom by the second week in June, like clockwork - with or without increases levels of trace element components of greenhouse gas.  Tornado hitting my property aside, storms here are no worse so far than 24 years ago according to my own lying eyes.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #449 on: June 15, 2011, 01:28:17 PM »

Lengthy piece that looks at the underlying assumptions of the latest IPCC report. Serious holes are poked in its various assumptions.

http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/14/overconfidence-in-ipccs-detection-and-attribution-part-iv/
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