Archive for Global Warming

Nice PhD You Got There

Shame if something happened to it:

[T]he move from “global warming” to “climate change” indicated the silliness of this issue. The climate has been changing since the Earth was formed. This normal course is now taken to be evidence of doom.

Individuals and organizations highly vested in disaster scenarios have relentlessly attacked scientists and others who do not share their beliefs. The attacks have taken a threatening turn.

Not so “silly” anymore:

Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy. So it is unsurprising that great efforts have been made to ramp up hysteria, even as the case for climate alarm is disintegrating.

The latest example began with an article published in the New York Times on Feb. 22 about Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Mr. Soon has, for over 25 years, argued for a primary role of solar variability on climate. But as Greenpeacenoted in 2011, Mr. Soon was, in small measure, supported by fossil-fuel companies over a period of 10 years.

The Times reintroduced this old material as news, arguing that Mr. Soon had failed to list this support in a recent paper in Science Bulletin of which he was one of four authors. Two days later Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, used the Times article as the basis for a hunting expedition into anything said, written and communicated by seven individuals— David Legates, John Christy, Judith Curry, Robert Balling, Roger Pielke Jr. , Steven Hayward and me—about testimony we gave to Congress or other governmental bodies. We were selected solely on the basis of our objections to alarmist claims about the climate.

In letters he sent to the presidents of the universities employing us (although I have been retired from MIT since 2013), Mr. Grijalva wanted all details of all of our outside funding, and communications about this funding, including “consulting fees, promotional considerations, speaking fees, honoraria, travel expenses, salary, compensation and any other monies.” Mr. Grijalva acknowledged the absence of any evidence but purportedly wanted to know if accusations made against Mr. Soon about alleged conflicts of interest or failure to disclose his funding sources in science journals might not also apply to us.

Perhaps the most bizarre letter concerned the University of Colorado’s Mr. Pielke. His specialty is science policy, not science per se, and he supports reductions in carbon emissions but finds no basis for associating extreme weather with climate. Mr. Grijalva’s complaint is that Mr. Pielke, in agreeing with the IPCC on extreme weather and climate, contradicts the assertions of John Holdren, President Obama ’s science czar.

Mr. Grijalva’s letters convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense—and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress. After the Times article, Sens. Edward Markey (D., Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) and Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) also sent letters to numerous energy companies, industrial organizations and, strangely, many right-of-center think tanks (including the Cato Institute, with which I have an association) to unearth their alleged influence peddling.

There’s plenty more about the actual science—science, people, s-c-i-e-n-c-e, which is anything but settled—at the link. It’s a handy summary of current understanding, if that’s the word.

But if you thought the crumbling case for climate change would mean that the chicken littles would clam up and slink away, you don’t know leftists. They grow ever more hysterical, nasty, ill-tempered. Think of a cornered wolverine in Birkenstocks.

You wouldn’t be far wrong:


Degrees? We don’t need no stinkin’ degrees!

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Prius-Driving Bastards

What’d we ever do to you?

It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars’ global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “Electric cars are coal-powered cars.”

[U]nlike the regular car, coal emissions are far away from the city centers where more people live and where damage from air pollution hits hardest.

However, new research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that while gasoline cars pollute closer to home, coal-fired power pollutes a lot more.

The researchers estimate that if the U.S. has 10% more gasoline cars in 2020, 870 more people will die each year in the U.S. from air pollution. Hybrids, because they are cleaner, will kill just 610 people. But 10% more electric vehicles powered on the average U.S. electricity mix will kill 1,617 more people every year, mostly from coal pollution. The electric car kills almost three times as many as a hybrid.

Put down the keys and step away from the Leaf. You’re under arrest.

PS: Okay, Priuses technically aren’t to blame. Hybrids are fine. But Prius is shorthand for all so-called green cars.

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Global Warming Update

Forget the eight feet of snow that’s blanketed New England over the last month (we wish we could forget); forget the ice sheet creeping over the Great Lakes; forget the return of the Polar Vortex.

Who’s up for a hike up Niagara Falls?

The famous waterfalls by the Canada-U.S. border were partially frozen this week as temperatures in the area hit 13 degrees below zero on Monday. Though the falls were hardly frozen solid—water continued to flow—layers of ice built up, giving the impression of a winter wonderland amid its icy mist and surrounding snow.

Temperatures aside, the cold weather doesn’t deter necessarily tourists. Last year, the site received more visitors during a week in early March than the average winter week as word (and photos) of the falls’ frozen appearance spread, USA Today reported.

It’s not completely frozen solid—though that may come after this frigid weekend.

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How Deep Do You Think?

Global warming offers the perfect test of how deep you think—basically, how smart you are.

Most people are not very smart:

In 2001, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” The IPCC doubled down on this claim in 2007, saying that “a growing number of case studies of larger settlements indicate that climate change is likely to increase heat stress in summers while reducing cold-weather stresses in winter.”

Of course that was stupid: the UN said it.

But your humble correspondent thinks a little deeper (like at all). He has noticed that the twenty years he has lived in Boston have been simultaneously the warmest (in modern times, according to the Warm-mongers) and the snowiest. But for the legendary Blizzard of ’78 and one or two other storms, all of the top ten “snow events” have happened during my residency here.

Coincidence, or something deeper at play?

A recent study from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology found that while warming could mean less overall snowfall in a year, it could drive more major blizzards in places like New England.

O’Gorman argued that snowfall will become increasingly rare in milder regions of the world, but cold regions like New England could see more extreme snowstorms because of increases in water vapor in the atmosphere or because of shifts in weather patterns.

“Sea surface temperatures off the coast of New England right now are at record levels, 11.5C (21F) warmer than normal in some locations,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann told the Washington Post. “There is [a] direct relationship between the surface warmth of the ocean and the amount of moisture in the air. What that means is that this storm will be feeding off these very warm seas, producing very large amounts of snow as spiraling winds of the storm squeeze that moisture out of the air, cool, it, and deposit it as snow inland.”

That’s what your humble correspondent (YHC) surmised, as repulsed as he is to see Michael Mann saying it.

But the faux Nobel laureate and (YHC) share another trait: we’re not that smart.

But not all scientists agree. The University of Alabama, Huntsville climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says claims that increased water vapor is creating more extreme blizzards in New England doesn’t hold water.

Spencer’s analysis of the data found “no relationship between available water vapor and snowstorm events over the last 27 years.”

“In fact, while warm season water vapor has increased, cold season water vapor (if anything) has decreased on average over the region, making less vapor available for storms,” Spencer wrote in his blog.

“There is always abundant water vapor available for U.S. snowstorms to feed off of, just as there is always abundant tropical water vapor available for hurricanes and typhoons,” Spencer said. “But that’s not the limiting factor in storm formation. What is necessary is the variety of conditions which can support the formation of low pressure centers….sufficient water vapor is usually ready and waiting to play its part.”

Dumb people deny the snow piling up ever higher around us; less dumb people (YHC) seize upon the evidence as proof of what the more dumb people said could never happen; and actual smart people look at the big picture, factor in the data, and say it’s snowing so much because it’s cold.

QED

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Obama Vindicated!

What was it he said?

This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow.

We all laughed at his messianism and narcissism, but who’s laughing now?

It is an indisputable fact that carbon emissions are rising—and faster than most scientists predicted. But many climate-change alarmists seem to claim that all climate change is worse than expected. This ignores that much of the data are actually encouraging. The latest study from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that in the previous 15 years temperatures had risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. The average of all models expected 0.8 degrees. So we’re seeing about 90% less temperature rise than expected.

Facts like this are important because a one-sided focus on worst-case stories is a poor foundation for sound policies. Yes, Arctic sea ice is melting faster than the models expected. But models also predicted that Antarctic sea ice would decrease, yet it is increasing. Yes, sea levels are rising, but the rise is not accelerating—if anything, two recent papers, one by Chinese scientists published in the January 2014 issue of Global and Planetary Change, and the other by U.S. scientists published in the May 2013 issue of Coastal Engineering, have shown a small decline in the rate of sea-level increase.

Go ahead, sir. Do your end-zone dance. You’ve earned it.

But after you’ve caught your breath:

This is important because if we want to help the poor people who are most threatened by natural disasters, we have to recognize that it is less about cutting carbon emissions than it is about pulling them out of poverty.

The best way to see this is to look at the world’s deaths from natural disasters over time. In the Oxford University database for death rates from floods, extreme temperatures, droughts and storms, the average in the first part of last century was more than 13 dead every year per 100,000 people. Since then the death rates have dropped 97% to a new low in the 2010s of 0.38 per 100,000 people.

The dramatic decline is mostly due to economic development that helps nations withstand catastrophes. If you’re rich like Florida, a major hurricane might cause plenty of damage to expensive buildings, but it kills few people and causes a temporary dent in economic output. If a similar hurricane hits a poorer country like the Philippines or Guatemala, it kills many more and can devastate the economy.

In short, climate change is not worse than we thought. Some indicators are worse, but some are better. That doesn’t mean global warming is not a reality or not a problem. It definitely is. But the narrative that the world’s climate is changing from bad to worse is unhelpful alarmism, which prevents us from focusing on smart solutions.

But only so smart. For no one is permitted to be smarter than He.

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NY Times Proclaims End Of Snow

One year ago the NY Times decided that global warming will end snow forever

OVER the next two weeks, hundreds of millions of people will watch Americans like Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin ski for gold on the downhill alpine course. Television crews will pan across epic vistas of the rugged Caucasus Mountains, draped with brilliant white ski slopes. What viewers might not see is the 16 million cubic feet of snow that was stored under insulated blankets last year to make sure those slopes remained white, or the hundreds of snow-making guns that have been running around the clock to keep them that way.

Officials canceled two Olympic test events last February in Sochi after several days of temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a lack of snowfall had left ski trails bare and brown in spots. That situation led the climatologist Daniel Scott, a professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to analyze potential venues for future Winter Games. His thought was that with a rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit possible by 2100, there might not be that many snowy regions left in which to hold the Games. He concluded that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.

The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.

The same could happen in the United States, where in the Northeast, more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters. As far for the Western part of the country, it will lose an estimated 25 to 100 percent of its snowpack by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not curtailed — reducing the snowpack in Park City, Utah, to zero and relegating skiing to the top quarter of Ajax Mountain in Aspen.

Meanwhile, the east coast is shut down due to SnowMaggeddon, which we’re promised for tomorrow. Oh, and the current decade is the snowiest on record.

– Aggie

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A Fool and His Money

Not soon enough:

Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer announced Thursday that he will not enter the race to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in California, a move that reshaped the early contest that has attracted a pack of potential candidates.

He said in a statement on The Huffington Post that global warming will “define the success or failure of our generation,” and the nation needs leadership in, and outside of, government.

“Given the imperative of electing a Democratic president — along with my passion for our state — I believe my work right now should not be in our nation’s capital but here at home in California, and in states around the country where we can make a difference,” he wrote.

Steyer will be seen as a prospect for a future campaign and signaled he intends to remain active in politics. Seeking to make climate change an issue, he poured about $74 million into 2014 races.

“The road we take may be less traveled and less well marked, but I am very determined. The journey is far from over — in fact, it has just begun,” he wrote.

Probably true, alas. Blowing money at a rate of $74 million every two years, he won’t run out until 2040, give or take a midterm.

But the nation’s loss is California’s gain. She’s tanned, she’s rested, she’s ready…she’s Sheehan!

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When the Hottest Year Ever Isn’t…Probably

Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the tabloids:

The news is ablaze with a report that 2014 was the “hottest year.” But there’s no reason to be excited. The story the global warming alarmists are trying to tell isn’t the only one out there.

‘For the third time in a decade,” shouted the AP, “the globe sizzled to the hottest year on record, federal scientists announced Friday.”

The Washington Post reported that “the year 2014 was the hottest ever measured, based on records going back to the year 1880.” Bloomberg News challenged readers to “deny this” and directed them to “animation below” that documents “2014: The Hottest Year.”

Hysteria also reigned at the BBC in Britain, the New Era in Africa, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald and all points in between.

In one sense, the breathless stories are correct: 2014 was the hottest year on record — by no more than four-hundredths of a degree. But that’s based on surface thermometer records, which are not reliable.

Better measurement is done by satellites, and they indicate 2014 was the third-warmest in the 36 years that satellites have been used to document temperatures.

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, says the satellite data show that temperature changes since 2001 are “statistically insignificant.”

As expected, though, some scientists — a few of whom are considered “distinguished” — take the hottest-ever report as confirmation that man is dangerously warming his planet due to fossil-fuel use.

But a few have kept their heads. Roger Pielke, professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, told the Post that “there remain significant uncertainties in the accuracy of the land portion of the surface temperature data, where we have found a significant warm bias.”

Judith Curry, professor at Georgia Tech’s school of earth and atmospheric sciences, said that “with 2014 essentially tied with 2005 and 2010 for hottest year,” the implication is “that there has been essentially no trend in warming over the past decade.”

“This ‘almost’ record year does not help the growing discrepancy between the climate model projections and the surface temperature observations,” she added.

Another take:

Dr. John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at UAH is quoted by the UAH press release issued today as saying: “2014 was warm, but not special. The 0.01oC difference between 2014 and 2005, or the 0.02 difference with 2013 are not statistically different from zero. That might not be a very satisfying conclusion, but it is at least accurate”.

Not satisfying? Since when is not frying not satisfying?

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Synergy

A socialized-medicine-global-warming-nonsense story all in one!

NHS staff have been coming into work voluntarily and unpaid to help their hospitals cope with extreme winter pressures, MPs were told today, as the country’s top emergency doctor warned over a dramatic increase in A&E visits.

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said that the additional patients coming to A&E this year could fill “eight or nine extra emergency departments”. MPs on the Health Select Committee were taking evidence yesterday on accident and emergency services in England, in response to a string of major incidents declared at hospitals throughout the country last week, as A&E waiting times rose to their highest levels in a decade.

Winter happens every year, and they were unprepared? Either winter is colder, or the NHS had its head up its ass. Still, typical British grit for the staff to work without pay.

This is a more typical NHS story:

The head of a special NHS fund for cancer medicines in England has said there will need to be further cuts to the treatments it funds.

This week it was announced 25 different cancer treatments would no longer be paid for by the Cancer Drugs Fund.

But Prof Peter Clark, an oncologist who runs the fund, said the rising cost of drugs was a problem.

He added that the system for chemotherapy drugs was “broken”.

This is also typical:

Sitting in the casualty department of one of the best-known hospitals in Britain, I can’t help but notice it’s packed to the rafters.

Yet it’s not a hectic Saturday night, but a Monday lunchtime at the beginning of December and everyone seems sober.

Despite this, I struggle to find a seat, even though it is obvious I’m in deep shock and on the point of passing out in agony. This is by far the worst pain I’ve ever suffered.

I know my upper arm is broken — I fell off a step and heard the crack — and fully expect at least a four-hour wait.

A woman having a cigarette outside warned me as I arrived: ‘Hope you’ve set aside the whole day. I’ve been waiting ages!’

As I look around the crowd, I see little evidence of painful injury. I ask the woman next to me what she’s come for — a headache, no less. ‘No point calling the GP. You can never get seen,’ she says.

It’s the same story with the worried-looking father a few rows back. With a feverish young son lying listlessly on his lap, he explains he came straight to the hospital. He didn’t even think to start with his GP.

It’s clear evidence that casualty is becoming the first port of call whether it’s an accident, emergency or just feeling a bit poorly. No wonder the staff at the Royal Free Hospital in North London look so strained.

Her broken arm put her at the top of the waiting list. (Don’t know how long the dad waited with his kid.) But her travails were only beginning:

The consultant recommended surgery.

I was to be admitted on the Wednesday evening and was told to get my necessary blood tests done in advance. And that’s when the trouble started. The blood test queue filled a large waiting room and stretched, snake-like, along the corridor.

My number was 365 — and 210 had just been called. It was two-and-a half hours before they got to me. Just as well I’d set the whole day aside.

Wednesday came and I still had no information about when and where, or indeed if, I should turn up that evening.

I called admissions. They hadn’t a clue. I emailed the surgeon’s secretary, and at 5pm I finally had a call. I was to arrive at the orthopaedic ward around 7.30pm. They’d finally found me a bed.

I’ll leave it to you to get the rest of the story. Suffice it to say, in medicine as in so much else, you get what you pay for.

And another kick in the teeth for global warming:

The prospects of a January thaw are dropping right off the map. Even the chances that the U.S. East Coast will hold on to some above-normal temperatures into the last week of the month are fading like cheap paint in the bright sun.

Instead of displaying the gold and orange of milder weather, the maps have turned blue across the Midwest, which may be the same color your lips will be when the temperature drops. For the East, the outlook is for seasonal readings, and given that it’s January, you can color those cold, too.

“The big story this week is that our expected January thaw next week has been obliterated, and that the models keep getting colder and colder in general, starting next week through the end of January,” said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI in Andover, Massachusetts.

One more on one of my favorite subjects:

January’s shivering start has led to a rapid expansion of ice cover on the Great Lakes during the first half of January.

Combined, 34.2 percent of the five Great Lakes are covered in ice as of Jan. 14, 2015, according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. This is up from just 5.65 percent on New Year’s Day.

Last year, the Great Lakes were 21.2 percent ice-covered on Jan. 14, making this year’s ice cover 13 percent higher to date.

That’s it, you’re free to go!

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Cheer Up

Don’t worry, little fella. Things are looking up!

Canadian Arctic sea-ice levels for the first week of January 2015 are higher than during the early 1980s, according to data from the Canadian Ice Service (CIS). Official data shows that Arctic sea ice coverage in Canadian waters so far in 2015 is well over 90 percent.

For years, scientists and environmentalists have been predicting the Arctic would be ice free by now, but the North Pole continues to defy such predictions and has stabilized in recent years. Though some scientists are still predicting the Arctic could be ice-free in coming decades.

Climate scientists have already declared 2014 the hottest year on record, globally. The Japan Meteorological Agency found that 2014 was the warmest year on record by 0.05 degrees Celsius, beating out 1998 for hottest year.

But the so-called hottest year on record has seen another anomaly– record levels of global sea ice-coverage. Antarctic sea ice hit record levels last year, reaching more than nine million square kilometers by Dec. 31– the highest level since records began in 1978. The only year to come even close to seeing the same level of South Pole ice coverage for that time was 2007.

December is the middle of the summer in the South Pole. During the southern hemisphere’s winter, Antarctica also shattered records, reaching more than 20 million square kilometers in September 2014, according to government data.

Arctic sea ice levels have also been much more stable than scientists previously predicted. Europe’s CryoSat-2 satellite found that sea-ice volumes during fall 2014 were above the average extent for the last five years, and only slightly lower than 2013 levels. But 2013 Arctic sea-ice levels were some 50 percent higher than 2012 levels by the end of the melting season.

“The Antarctic is actually growing and all the evidence in the last few months suggests many assumptions about the poles was wrong,” Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told the U.K. Express.

“Global sea ice is at a record high, another key indicator that something is working in the opposite direction of what was predicted,” Peiser said. “Most people think the poles are melting… they’re not. This is a huge inconvenience that reality is now catching up with climate alarmists, who were predicting that the poles would be melting fairly soon.”

“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow…”

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Ice Age II

And you thought last year was bad on the Great Lakes!

It was, btw.

The Coast Guard is dealing with the earliest and heaviest Great Lakes ice in 35 or 40 years. Ice at the straits up north is already three to five feet thick, and icebreakers have been working overtime to keep shipping going. The steel industry is dependant on ships carrying ore getting through.

The LakeCarriers’ Association says ships carried 7 million fewer tons of cargo last year. The ice came so early and lasted so long, ships couldn’t get through. The Association says it demonstrates the new for another ice breaker (like the Coast Guards Mackinac) on the lakes.

More ice equals less cargo. And you know what less cargo means:

An organization representing U.S. cargo shippers on the Great Lakes says last year’s deep freeze cost the economy an estimated $705 million and shows the need for another heavy ice-breaking vessel.

The Lake Carriers’ Association said Tuesday the volume of freight that U.S.-flagged ships hauled on the lakes between Dec. 1, 2013, and May 30, 2014, was about 7 million tons lower than the same period a year earlier.

If Obama and Congress would forget blowing billions on global warming that hasn’t evidenced itself in nearly a generation and spend instead on the icy facts on the ground (and water), we just might survive the Looming Chill.

No, I don’t expect them too either.

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Save the Rain Forests!

Burn coal:

A new research study led by NASA has reversed commonly held theories about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, finding that the emissions in fact are absorbed by tropical forests at a higher rate than they are released by them, leading to a boost in growth in the forests.

The study found tropical forests absorb 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually, using it to grow. Overall the forests and other vegetation absorb around 2.7 billion tons of CO2, about 30% of the amount emitted by humans, reports the British Daily Mail.

“This is good news, because uptake in boreal forests is already slowing, while tropical forests may continue to take up carbon for many years,” said Dr. David Schimel, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California who headed the study.

Data until now had been interpreted to suggest tropical forests were releasing more CO2 than they absorb. But the new study finds the opposite is true – tropical forests use much more CO2 to grow at faster rates than previously thought.

Settled science takes it on the chin! Again!!!

They tried to reach Bill McKibben for comment, but his line was down. The string broke.

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