Archive for Science

The Planet Has a Fever…Hypothermia

What?!? We were just getting used to this!

Scenarios of a sea ice tipping point leading to a permanently ice-free Arctic Ocean were based on oversimplified arguments

New research by Till Wagner and Ian Eisenman, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, resolves a long-running debate over irreversible Arctic sea ice loss.

Ever since the striking record minimum Arctic sea ice extent in 2007, the ominous scenario of a sea ice tipping point has been a fixture in the public debate surrounding man-made climate change and a contingency for which Arctic-bordering countries have prepared.

“We found that two key physical processes, which were often overlooked in previous process models, were actually essential for accurately describing whether sea ice loss is reversible,” said Eisenman, a professor of climate dynamics at Scripps Oceanography. “One relates to how heat moves from the tropics to the poles and the other is associated with the seasonal cycle. None of the relevant previous process modeling studies had included both of these factors, which led them to spuriously identify a tipping point that did not correspond to the real world.”

Get outta here with that “real world” crap. What’s the real world got to do with it?

Don’t pi** me off. It’s not pretty.

Speaking of science that ain’t so settled:


For Figure 1, I’ve extended the new UAH version 6.0 beta and the RSS lower troposphere temperature anomaly data as far back in time as they could go while showing no warming based on their linear trends. The new UAH data show no warming for 219 months, and for the RSS data, it’s 220 months.

A little tiny baby born back in the last month of global warming can now go to a porn website and click on the “I’m over 18″ button in good conscience. Is this a great country or what?

Okay, put another way, Bill Clinton stopped the seas from rising. While the other guy was “getting us coffee”.


Good News Out of Nepal

Among the thousands of dead and injured lying in the rubble shines this gold ingot:

Nepal’s devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake on Saturday was primed over 80 years ago by its last massive earthquake in 1934, which razed around a quarter of Kathmandu to the ground and killed over 17,000 people.

This latest quake follows the same pattern as a duo of big tremors that occurred over 700 years ago, and results from a domino effect of strain transferring along the fault, geologists say.

In a sadly prescient turn of events, Laurent Bollinger, from the CEA research agency in France, and his colleagues, uncovered the historical pattern of earthquakes during fieldwork in Nepal last month, and anticipated a major earthquake in exactly the location where Saturday’s big tremor has taken place.

Not only did scientists call this one, they’re calling the next one!

“Early calculations suggest that Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake is probably not big enough to rupture all the way to the surface, so there is still likely to be more strain stored, and we should probably expect another big earthquake to the west and south of this one in the coming decades,” says Bollinger.

Cool! I only wish climate scientists were half as accurate.


Wiggle This

That would be my suggestion for your response to the next person who bends your ear about global warming:

A new analysis of 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it was projected under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Natural variability in surface temperatures – caused by interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, and other natural factors – can account for observed changes in the recent rates of warming from decade to decade and these “climate wiggles” can slow or speed the rate of warming from decade to decade, or accentuate or offset the effects of increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.

Unlike many studies, the new one in Scientific Reports uses empirical data rather climate models to estimate decade-to-decade variability. If not properly explained and accounted for, the authors note, the climate wiggles may skew the reliability of climate models and lead to over-interpretation of short-term temperature trends.

“By comparing our model against theirs, we found that climate models largely get the ‘big picture’ right but seem to underestimate the magnitude of natural decade-to-decade climate wiggles,” said Patrick T. Brown, a doctoral student in climatology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Our model shows these wiggles can be big enough that they could have accounted for a reasonable portion of the accelerated warming we experienced from 1975 to 2000, as well as the reduced rate in warming that occurred from 2002 to 2013.

“Statistically, it’s pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections. Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario.”

Cue the president:

President Barack Obama ventured into the South Florida Everglades on Wednesday to lend urgency to his environmental agenda, declaring the dangers of climate change an imminent threat to the state’s economy.

“We do not have time to deny the effects of climate change,” Obama said, standing in front of a sawgrass prairie on the eastern edge of the 1.5 million acre wetland.

Even before Obama arrived to the wide expanse of mangroves and slash pines, Republicans were dismissing his Everglades visit as a stunt meant to promote policies they claim are job killers. But during his remarks, Obama cast the issue of combating climate change as a bipartisan calling.

How did Obama get to the Everglades, by free-range donkey? Did he borrow Hillary’s van, Scooby, and fill ‘er up with ethanol (Scooby, not Hillary)? I think I know why he’s so anxious about climate change.

The California drought has been hell on its golf courses.

I suggest you all do what I did: order an autographed copy of this book from Mark Steyn’s web site:


Meet Jeremy England

Just an ordinary lad:

On a sunny afternoon, at a bustling cafe less than a mile from Stanford University’s Palo Alto campus and more than 5,000 miles from his home, an assistant professor from MIT is telling me about science. Very advanced science. His name is Jeremy England, and at 33, he’s already being called the next Charles Darwin.

Say what?

In town to give a lecture, the Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar speaks quickly, his voice rising a few pitches in tone, his long-fingered hands making sudden jerks when he’s excited. He’s skinny, with a long face, scraggly beard and carelessly groomed mop of sandy brown hair — what you might expect from a theoretical physicist. But then there’s the street-style Adidas on his feet and the kippah atop his head. And the fact that this scientist also talks a lot about God.

The science is cool, but what about the kippah?

God wasn’t a big player for England during most of his early life. While his mom is Jewish — his dad was raised Lutheran but never felt strongly about passing on his Protestant ties — there wasn’t a lot of religious talk while he was growing up. The Englands would share a festive meal for Passover and light candles for Hanukkah, but the family didn’t keep a Bible in the home. His mother, England says, was born in Poland in 1947 to a family ravaged by the Holocaust. Much of her extended family — including her grandparents — were killed by the Nazis, and in the wake of such destruction, England says, Judaism brought up negative, painful feelings for her; she distanced herself.

It seems ironic, then, that anti-Semitism would eventually push England to the faith he says his mother spurned. While studying at Oxford in the early 2000s, he faced his first anti-Israel sentiment from classmates — which got him, in expected fashion, reading books and picking people’s brains to figure out where he stood on the issue. And in 2009, he visited Israel for the first time — where he “fell in love.” Studying the Torah provided an opportunity for intellectual engagement that he says was “unlike anything I had ever experienced in terms of subtlety and grandeur of scope.”

For his part, England believes science can give us explanations and predictions, but it can never tell us what we should do with that information. That’s where, he says, the religious teachings come in. Indeed, the man who’s one-upping Darwin has spent the past 10 years painstakingly combing through the Torah, interpreting it word by word much the way he ponders the meaning of life. His conclusion? Common translations are lacking. Take the term “creation.” England suggests we understand it not as the literal making of the Earth but rather as giving Earth a name. All throughout the Bible, he says, there are examples of terms that could be interpreted differently from what we’ve come to accept as standard.

That even applies to some of the good book’s most famous players, like Joseph, the ancient biblical interpreter of dreams, who rose to become the most powerful man in Egypt after the pharaoh. Maybe, England suggests, he wasn’t a fortune-teller. Maybe he was a scientist.

I highlighted the part I found most interesting. Driven by the antisemitism indigenous to the British intelligentsia, he returned to his Jewish roots. And found truth there he didn’t know was missing.

But a bit about the science:

The 101 version of his big idea is this: Under the right conditions, a random group of atoms will self-organize, unbidden, to more effectively use energy. Over time and with just the right amount of, say, sunlight, a cluster of atoms could come remarkably close to what we call life. In fact, here’s a thought: Some things we consider inanimate actually may already be “alive.” It all depends on how we define life, something England’s work might prompt us to reconsider. “People think of the origin of life as being a rare process,” says Vijay Pande, a Stanford chemistry professor. “Jeremy’s proposal makes life a consequence of physical laws, not something random.”

England’s idea may sound strange, even incredible, but it’s drawn the attention of an impressive posse of high-level academics. After all, while Darwinism may explain evolution and the complex world we live in today, it doesn’t account for the onset of intelligent beings. England’s insistence on probing for the step that preceded all of our current assumptions about life is what makes him stand out, says Carl Franck, a Cornell physics professor, who’s been following England’s work closely. “Every 30 years or so we experience these gigantic steps forward,” Franck says. “We’re due for one. And this might be it.”

And all from a modern Orthodox Jew with fancy sneakers.

There’s more at the link, if you’re interested.


The Sound of Settled Science

You know me, I can’t let a story go. I was curious about the Great Lakes ice pack now that spring is here. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s mostly (though not completely) gone by now.

But you might be (pleasantly) surprised by this:

[T]he three largest of the Great Lakes have recorded one of the most rapid increases in water levels on record, according to a new analysis.

The quick turnaround – about two feet for Lake Superior and three feet for Lakes Michigan and Huron between January 2013 and December 2014 – ended what researchers have called an unprecedented 15-year period when lake levels fell below their long-term average.

The turnaround suggests that global warming’s impact on the nation’s fourth seacoast may be more complicated than implied in past projections, which pointed to a long-term decline in water levels, notes Richard Rood, a scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor whose research focuses on climate and adaptation and who did not take part in the analysis.

Climate science is “complicated”? That’s not what I’ve heard. I’ve been berated and cajoled into believing that it’s “settled” (but I don’t).

Recent research points to a more complex picture, he says, one less clear on whether lake levels will increase, decrease, or remain relatively stable.

Way to take a chance, Evel Knievel. You let us know when you have the first clue what you’re talking about.


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!


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.



Department of Settled Science

Another one bites the (lo-fat) dust:

Every five years, the government updates its Dietary Guidelines to help citizens make healthier food choices. One of the six core goals since the 1970s has been to limit the intake of cholesterol to less than 300mg/day, about the amount in one egg.

The nation’s top nutrition advisors, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, have decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, which could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption, according to The Washington Post.

The greater danger, experts now believe, lies not in foods including eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods loaded with saturated fat, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.

Major studies have indicated that eating an egg a day does not raise a healthy person’s risk of heart disease, though diabetic patients may be at more risk.

Over time, scientists have learned that the body creates cholesterol in amounts much larger than diet provides, that the body regulates how much is in the blood and that there is both “good” and “bad” cholesterol.

Where does the egg go to get its reputation back?

What next, global warming is a fraud?


Fascinating Film About Life In Israel Today.. And Continuing Jew Hatred In Britain

Tal ben Shahar taught the most popular course at Harvard, a psychology course about happiness. Born in Israel, educated there, in Europe and in the US, a few years ago he decided to return. He narrates a 9 minute clip about the changes that took place in the 14 years in which he lived in the diaspora. I am posting the link, but youtube seems to open to sound automatically, a big No-No on this site.

The video is excellent. Did you know that Israel is the nation that has the 3rd most companies on the stock exchange? The US is number 1, China 2, Israel 3. The European nations are in the dust somewhere, no one seems to be able to locate them. There are brief clips with Warren Buffet, Steve Balmer, and others. There is some very moving footage of a scientist who is confined to a wheel chair whose lab developed a gizmo which allows paraplegics to walk, including interviews with the people using the device. And there is footage of the guy who developed the agricultural drip system in the 60s, and how it is used in arid parts of the world today. Israel is able to produce 40% more food with half the usual water, meaning that we can all buy Israeli peppers and tomatoes and dates!

On the other hand, we can all watch the British journalist and anti-Semite, Adam Boulton, interview the Chief Rabbi of Britain on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Go to the link and listen as he blames the Jews for Jew hatred.

I put these together because it is amusing that Europe is on such a steep decline as Israel prospers.

– Aggie


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?


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…”


Eat Oatmeal, Live Longer

More oatmeal. More!

Over time, regularly eating whole wheat bread, oatmeal or other whole grains may add years to your lifespan, a new Harvard-led study concludes.

Whole grains are so healthy that a person’s risk of an early death drops with every serving added to a daily diet, according to findings published online Jan. 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

“We saw clear evidence that the more whole grain intake, the lower the mortality rate is,” said Dr. Qi Sun, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “When we looked at risk of death from heart disease, there was an even stronger association.”

The researchers estimate that every one-ounce serving of whole grains reduced a person’s overall risk of an early death by 5 percent, and their risk of death from heart disease by 9 percent.

So, if I eat 20 ounces of whole grains, I’ll live forever? Is that “settled science”?

You want a good oatmeal tip? Cook it with a little low-fat or skim milk; it comes out creamier. Also, put the raisins in early and they’ll plump up like raisins. And if you like bananas, slice one razor-thin into the gruel while its cooking; it just melts into the mixture. Yum.

See you in eternity!


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