`Stop Press' Stories
For stories in 1999, click here
For stories January to April 2000, click here
For stories January to April 2001, click here
For stories May to August 2001, click here
For stories September to December 2001, click here
For stories January to April 2002, click here
For stories June to September 2002, click here
For stories September to December 2002, click here
For stories January to June 2003, click here
For stories May to December 2000 see below
Warm U.S. Year? (21-Dec-2000)
Aussie White Christmas (28 Dec 00)
Arctic Ice Melt ! (21 Dec 2000)
COP6 CPR Fails (16 Dec 2000)
Return of `Zud' (16 Dec 2000)
`Polar Bird' Iced In (16 Dec 2000)
What Happens When You Run Out of Emissions Credits? (16 Dec 2000)
Cool November in the U.S. (12 Dec 2000)
BBC Sees the Sunlight (1 Dec 2000)
Commissar Suzuki (26 Nov 2000)
The Endless Waltz (28 Nov 2000)
That Sinking Feeling ... (25 Nov 2000)
IPCC Ups the Ante (21 Nov 2000)
Echoes from The Hague... (25 Nov 2000)
The Hague Conference (14 Nov 2000)
British Weather (5 Nov 2000)
The `Battle of Britain' (5 Nov 2000)
Models not so Super (31 Oct 2000)
Open Letter by Dr James Hansen (GISS) (28 Oct 2000)
Iceland Glacier (22 Oct 2000)
Statistical Games with Himalayan Ice (22 Oct 2000)
`The Greening of the American West' (22 Oct 2000)
Scientific Method (31 Oct 2000)
A Cold Front (15 Oct 2000)
Tenerife Standoff (10 Oct 2000)
`Hockey Stick' in More Trouble (9 Oct 2000)
La Niña is Back (30 Sept 2000)
Court Action over the `National Assessment' (7 Oct 2000)
Warning on Carbon Taxes (18 Sept 2000)
High on Ice (17 Sept 2000)
The Northwest Passage (9 Sept 00)
The `Isle of the Dead' Lives (4 Sept 2000)
Santa Takes a Mid-Summer Swim (21 Aug 2000)
The Day of the Triffids (20 Aug 2000)
Global Warming - from the Sun (17 Aug 2000)
A Weak Wind Change (17 Aug 2000)
Save the Trees! (and let the forest burn) (16 Aug 2000)
Crying Wolf (7 Aug 2000)
Year Without a Summer? (5-Aug-2000)
Once Upon a Time ... (5 Aug 2000)
Wise Chief Say ... (20 Jul 2000)
Educational Child Abuse (6 Jul 2000)
Forked Tongue (11 July 2000)
Plague & Pestilence! (17 Jun 2000)
Greenhouse Seminar at Parliament House, Canberra (29 June 2000)
Save the Alaska Penguins ! (4 July 2000)
Snow Job (25 June 2000)
Early Start to Australian Ski Season (3 June 2000)
Government City out in the Cold (28 May 2000)
Skeptical Climate Scientists Unite against IPCC (5 June 2000)
1% Compound Interest (27 May 2000)
Chasing the Sun (15-May-2000)
Spinning the Twisters (10 May 2000)
Testing the Waters (1 May 2000)
NOAA claims that 2000 is one of the warmest years on record. 2000 was already relegated to 4th warmest in the US before the December cold snap began. By year's end, it was only 13th.
1934 holds the record for warmest year in the US.
The US east and south has been having one of its coldest winters in many years. As far south as Texas, snow and ice has wreaked havoc with power supplies and traffic.
In Britain too, snow has blanketed much of the country, particularly in the southeast.
But what of Australia? The sunburnt country - in mid summer. Surely no Aussie could have a White Christmas in Australia?
Impossible one might say, especially in these times of `global warming'. But the weather gods had other ideas. For the last 10 days, south-eastern Australia has experienced unseasonal cold weather resulting from a mass of cold southern air being fed by a low pressure system over the southeast of the country.
In Tasmania, the cold snap resulted in heavy snow in highland areas, at an altitude of only 1,000+ metres. Residents in several `shack' villages in the highlands awoke on Christmas morning to find that `snow lay all about'. In some parts of the highlands, the snow settled to up to a metre (over 3 feet) in depth.
But some residents didn't appreciate the treat, grumbling that they would prefer the usual summer sun and `barbie' weather they were more accustomed to.
The racing yachts of the Sydney to Hobart ocean yacht race were buffeted by the same strong southerly winds and near freezing temperatures, the winner being the most appropriate one for the cold conditions - Nicorette - a Swedish yacht.
It was all caused by `global warming' of course. It always is.
"A considerable change of climate inexplicable at present to us must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been, during the last two years, greatly abated."
"2000 square leagues of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74° and 80°N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared."
"The floods which have the whole summer inundated all those parts of Germany where rivers have their sources in snowy mountains, afford ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened ..."
This is not the latest scare story from the greenhouse industry, but extracts from a letter by the President of the Royal Society addressed to the British Admiralty, recommending they send a ship to the Arctic to investigate the dramatic changes.
The letter was written, not in the year 2000, but in 1817. History repeating itself?
(The reference; Royal Society, London. Nov. 20, 1817. Minutes of Council, Vol. 8. pp.149-153. Thanks to Dr Tim Ball of Canada for the intel.)
In the wake of the failed climate talks at The Hague, some governments have made an attempt to restart the talks in Oslo before the demise of the U.S. Clinton administration.
However, after lengthy video conferencing between the major players (the USA, the European Union, Canada and Australia), the same issues that sunk the Hague talks, namely the role `sinks' should play in emissions calculations, became the key sticking point against a resumption of CO6 in Oslo.
The Europeans only want total emissions to count, they having little potential for sinks (forests etc.). By contrast, the joint US-Canada-Australia position is that what really matters is net emissions, not total emissions. In net terms, the Europeans are the biggest emitters of CO2.
President Clinton had hoped a revived COP6 conference in Oslo would give his presidency at least one major achievement in foreign policy, his other initiatives failing one by one.
But with George W. Bush now confirmed as the next president, a Bush administration is likely to be even firmer on the sinks issue.
Return of `Zud' (16 Dec 2000)
Mongolia is a large, but little known country in central Asia, wedged between China and Russia. Last winter, the coldest there in 30 years, there were massive livestock losses due to the freezing cold. Mongolians call this climatic phenomenon a `Zud'.
This came on the heels of a summer drought which parched crops and pasture. This winter, snow has already blanketed more than 90% of the country, with many roads blocked by deep snow. Several areas have already run out of fuel while herder families have been forced to move with their livestock to less severely affected areas of the country.
Of Mongolia’s 2.4 million people, about one third are dependent economically on their livestock, making this second harsh winter in a row particularly disastrous. The International Red Cross reports that Mongolia is facing another winter disaster and will urgently require international aid.
While attention was focused on the Arctic this summer, with IPCC scientists getting hysterical about finding open water at the North Pole (a normal phenomenon in an Arctic summer), another drama has been unfolding down in the Antarctic during the last week.
The Australian Antarctic supply vessel `Polar Bird' has been trapped since 25th November in thick sea ice close to the Australian Antarctic base at Casey. For the last week it has been inching westwards with the sea ice.
The red line and blue cross on this Antarctic Division map shows the 20th December position of `Polar Bird'.
Ice conditions were described earlier as `heavily rafted thick (4+ metres) ice in cake-size floes with 0.5+ metres of snow'.
The Australian Antarctic Division sent its icebreaker supply ship `Aurora Australis' from its earlier position near Davis Station to release the `Polar Bird' from the mid-summer ice. The orange dotted line and blue cross on the map above shows the current position of the Aurora Australis. It is expected to arrive at Polar Bird's position on Thursday 21st Dec.
20-Dec-2000. `Polar Bird' has finally broken free after 25 days trapped in ice. Last position was at 61.37S 110.41E. Intervention by the Aurora Australis was finally not needed.
Both ships are now returning to Hobart, Tasmania, the headquarters of the Australian Antarctic Division which operates the Australian scientific bases in the Antarctic.
What Happens When You Run Out of Emissions Credits?
(16 Dec 2000)
The `Competitive Enterprise Institute' reports in their latest economic report that California electricity shortages became much worse this week. High demand and cold weather combined with supply problems to threaten the state's power grid with massive blackouts. For over a decade, environmentalists have persuaded regulators to prevent the construction of any large power plants.
The problem has been made more severe by the fact that up to one third of the state's generating capacity has been shut down in recent days. Not all of these shutdowns are due to breakdowns or needed maintenance. Some plants were forced to shut down because they ran out of state `emissions credits'.
A December 9 article in the Washington Post noted that, "About 17 power generation plants - which together produce about 2,500 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 2.5 million homes - were idle because they had reached their pollution limits."
The Oakland Tribune (December 8, 2000), explained that, "The units not operating Thursday were under repair or had exhausted their annual allotment for emissions under air pollution standards, imposed on industries of all types by regional air quality management boards, according to government and industry officials."
Once this news became public, regulators quickly declared an `emergency' and allowed the closed utilities to resume production. The next day the Tribune (December 9, 2000) reported, "More than half the electricity generation plants shut down because they reached annual air pollution limits were back in operation... easing the unexpected pre-winter supply crises."
As expected, environmental groups decried the hasty arrangements as a sacrifice of environmental protections. Companies still holding emissions credits may also complain that the value of those credits have been reduced by this action.
If this is the result of imposing an emission credits regime in only one U.S. state, the problems which would arise from a similar regime operated internationally would be magnified a thousand-fold. The California experience will weigh heavily on the minds of Bush Administration negotiators when the next climate conference convenes, expected to be in Bonn, Germany during the middle of next year.
Cool November in the U.S. (12 Dec 2000)
November 2000 was the 2nd coldest November on record for the USA since 1895. Due to this, the year 2000 is no longer the USA's warmest year on record, but is now instead the 4th warmest. If December is colder than average (and it's off to a cold start), 2000 will be bumped even lower in the ranking.
This comes on top of the chilly US summer and autumn of this year which negated the effect of the earlier warm winter and spring. Mt. Washington in New Hampshire set a record for 8th December of -21-deg F. New York city in November did not make the top 10 coldest, but was 2°F below normal. December has continued that trend. Most of the weather experts in the US claim it is a natural anomaly ( related to the record cold in the Western US jet stream patterns) and that further cold weather is forecast. The lesson here is that transient weather events should not be attributed to long-term climate variations.
(thanks to Aaron Coyan and Harry Mandel for the intel.)
BBC Sees the Sunlight (1 Dec 2000)
Since the collapse of the Hague conference, media organisations which were previously swept along by the warming hype have now begun to look more critically at the issue, including `Aunty' herself - the BBC.
The BBC has discovered the Sun, asking that maybe it has more to do with global warming than previously thought. See these stories -
"Sun's warming influence
"Viewpoint: The Sun and climate change"
"Questioning global warming"
"Viewpoint: Get off the global warming
"Looking for the greenhouse signal"
The BBC is not the only one. Here is a similar report on sun and climate from Canada's CBC
"Global warming may be
influenced by sun"
Is the bubble bursting ?
Thanks to Tom Harris from Canada who sent in this item from the `Ottawa Citizen'. The `lone skeptic' referred to by Laurie Lemoine, the letter's author, was Tom Harris himself.
Lots of interesting material on climate change and space exploration. Tom is based in Ottawa, Canada.
The COP6 climate conference at The Hague in the Netherlands has highlighted a deep division between the various countries which the conference was unable to resolve - namely SINKS.
A `sink' is a biological means, such as a forest, to soak up excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Large growing forests make excellent sinks, and some countries, notably the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan, are well endowed with real or potential sinks.
It is estimated that the entire CO2 emission from the USA is cancelled out by the effect of the sinks that exist within the borders of the U.S.
Thus although the U.S. is the world's largest emitter of CO2, it is not the biggest NET emitter. Rather, most of the excess CO2 entering the atmosphere comes from countries who do not have, or have not provided, the necessary sinks to soak up their own emissions.
In `net' terms, the Europeans, Chinese and Indians are the biggest net emitters of CO2. It is for this reason that the Europeans wanted the conference to address the issue of emissions only - and to discount sinks as much as possible. They even wanted the `Australia Clause' withdrawn.
Predictably, the Greens with their anti-industry agenda, wanted to keep the focus entirely on emissions , with sinks to be disregarded entirely.
Neither the US, Australia or Canada were prepared to disallow sinks, and so the conference has failed to agree on this key issue, leaving the Kyoto Protocol dead in the water.
The conference was intended to fill in the missing details of the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, the Protocol itself has been effectively `sunk'.
The Endless Waltz (28 Nov 2000)
The collapse of The Hague climate conference has brought the inevitable recriminations.
The environmentalists are blaming the USA for being too rich (so what's new?)
The Australian Conservation Foundation holds Australia `directly responsible' for the collapse - because
our chief delegate said nothing at all.
The portly British deputy prime minister and former ship's steward, blamed the French in a quite sexist
attack on France's (rather attractive) female environment minister.
The Americans blamed all the Europeans (except France's rather attractive female environment minister)
The Europeans all blamed each other (and blamed the Americans too).
The Third World blamed the First World - still no cash coming their way.
Planting trees was a Green obsession. Now they don't want tree planting any more because they are sinks The Greens then collapsed sobbing and wailing like spoiled brats.
The infant `Carbon Credits' industry got a shock, wondering if they had lost their forest investments.
The Press/TV had a field day listening to all the carping - but only after it was all over.
The Greenhouse scientists didn't even show up - they were too busy looking over the latest super-model.
One scientist did show up, a skeptic, and he was burned at the stake.
The Island nations went home wondering if they would ever pull off the
`rising seas swamping our nations' sting.
The conference internet bulletin board began as a Greenie love-in, and ended in uproar because of a few
The conference president tried to broker a compromise and got abused by everyone in the hall.
The US chief delegate got a fruit pie in his face as a Thanksgiving present. Being polite and
mild-mannered, he said `thank you' - suggesting his colleague might like one too.
The sandbag dyke built by the Greens to `keep out the sea' had to be dismantled - and tossed into the sea.
Lots of ministers learned the latest scooter craze - a nice toy to carry around in the trunk of the limousine.
Beauty ... (La France) and the Beast ...(UK)
And they are going to do it all over again in 6 months time in Bonn.
[Thinks] - I could let a hundred ravenous Tasmanian Devils loose in the Bonn conference hall as a symbolic act to protest against species extinction . That way, 100 less Devils in Tasmania would not be able to kill other species here. Better the Devils bite a few surplus delegates than be a mischief here.
P.S. to `Bugs Bunny' fans. Tasmanian Devils are REAL!
IPCC Ups the Ante (21 Nov 2000)
The latest draft report of the IPCC, to be published next year, was leaked just hours before Vice-President Gore was to make an election speech about global warming. This was another example of improper political manipulation so characteristic of both the IPCC and the greenhouse industry generally.
In their report, the IPCC have replaced the small number of global warming scenarios outlined in their previous reports in 1991 and 1995 and instead produced a plethora of scenarios, divided into `families'. There are over 40 possible scenarios of future climate change in all.
The IPCC point out that no one future scenario is preferred over the others. They range from the extreme - predicting a warming of +6°C by 2100, to the moderate - just +1°C over the same period. The other scenarios fall somewhere between these two.
But the IPCC knew full well, as does the industry, which scenario would be seized upon at the Hague, and by the media, the one that would become THE scenario for everyone to focus on.
You guessed it - the very political +6°C scenario.
Echoes from The Hague... (25 Nov 2000)
`Stop Climate Change !' - Greenpeace banner near the conference hall at The Hague
"I wouldn't say it's a failure:- it's a non-success." - Danish Environment Minister, Sven Auken
The Hague Conference
(14 Nov 2000)
Another exotic city, another talkfest, the usual shrill cries that "it's much worse than we previously thought !". The Greenhouse hyperbole has gone into overdrive in the last 3 months with not a shred of new physical evidence to underpin any of it.
But will the Kyoto Protocol make any difference to climate if implemented in full? According to Greame Pearman, Australia's senior climate scientist and head of it's greenhouse research effort, not much. On ABC `7.30 Report' last night (13th) he concluded -
Dr Graeme Pearman: "The reality of the protocol as it is at the moment, is even if all of the nations were able to achieve those targets, it would hardly make any difference."
British Weather (5 Nov 2000)
Just how unusual are the British floods and gales of recent days? According to history, not very.
1703 - (during the Little Ice Age) - `The Great Storm'. On record as the worst storm ever to hit Britain, with 123 people killed on land and 8,000 sailors killed at sea.
1865 - 22nd July, hottest temperature ever recorded in Britain (in Kent), a whopping 100.6°F or 38.1°C
1910 - Catastrophic floods all across Europe, including Britain,
killing over 1,000.
1913 - 6 people killed in Glamorgan, Wales by the most deadly tornado ever to hit Britain.
1952 - 15th August, the disastrous Lynmouth flood, killing 34 people.
1953 - Savage storm gusting to 113 mph, killed 130 people as the `Princess Victoria' passenger ferry sunk in mountainous seas off Northern Ireland.
1968 - `Clyde Valley Storm' killed 9 people. Wind gusts in excess of 100 mph
1975-76 - The `Big Drought', hardly any rain and high temperatures for 3 seasons in a row left the soft green British countryside looking more like the Australian outback. The worst drought since 1749-50.
1976 - Heat Wave, the worst ever in Britain, before or since, where the temperatures throughout England were in excess of 32°C for weeks on end. It was the hottest summer in three centuries - during a cool period globally.
1979 - `The Fastnet Storm', killed 15 yachtsmen caught in a savage storm during the `Fastnet' yacht race
1981 - 105 tornadoes reported in Britain on 23 November.
1982 - 9-10th January, the coldest night ever in England, and the coldest in the whole of Britain for the 20th century.
1987 - `Storm of the Century', killed 17 people, with wind gusts up to 110 mph
1987 - Severe cold spell, with record low temperatures over much of England and Wales, the coldest such spell of weather since January 1740.
These extreme events occurred in years which were both warm globally, and cold globally. Most of them are etched in history because of the loss of life, but many more are in the records with less tragic results. In other words, global warming has nothing to do with British extreme weather events any more than global cooling does (such as the 1703 storm during the Little Ice Age).
As for 2000, the satellites show the free atmosphere to be about the same mean temperature as it was 21 years ago, so blaming `warming' on these recent storms is not supported by the data and is cited only for political expediency to justify the highest fuel prices in Europe.
Extreme weather events in Britain, over the last millennium, see this excellent
`Some Notable Weather Events' - It puts recent weather in some perspective.
The `Battle of Britain' (5 Nov 2000)
At the end of October, Britain was battered by high winds and rain, resulting in extensive flooding as river systems across Britain burst their banks. Snow fell in large areas across Scotland and northern England, October snow in England being almost unheard of. The rainfall figures were
high but not unprecedented, suggesting that changes in river management and urbanisation in the catchments may have
overloaded the river runoffs.
There is another parallel drama being played out in Britain - petrol prices. The price is now 85p per litre, about 62p of that comprising government taxes.
By contrast, motorists and businesses in Australia are paying the equivalent of 33p per litre - which includes government tax.
The result in Britain has been a massive protest movement against the fuel taxes, particularly the way in which the rising world price of oil has led to even bigger rises in fuel tax due to the so-called `Fuel Price Escalator'. The protest threatens to paralyse British roads as trucks commence a go-slow procession to London next week to demand tax relief on fuel.
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his deputy, John Prescott, have seized on Global Warming as a catch-all excuse to justify the high fuel taxes, pointing to the floods of last week as `evidence' of changing climate caused by Man. In this way, the two issues have merged. The floods are `caused' by global warming. Ergo, to fight this `threat', Britain needs its high fuel taxes to force down consumption of fossil fuels.
The blaming of global warming for what is really vagaries of the weather (for which Britain is notorious) and to justify crippling taxes as being the pain Britons need to endure to counter global warming, is a highly opportunistic and desperate political ploy, particularly with an election due next year.
Led by Blair and Prescott, Britain may engage in collective self-flagellation over global warming, but will be quite alone in the world in doing so, with a population becoming increasingly agitated over the taxes.
The British Greens are calling for fuel prices to soar even higher, a policy which could only result in a major constitutional crisis of the first magnitude.
Models not so Super (31 Oct 2000)
A new paper (GRL, v.27, no.21 p.3513, 1 Nov 2000) by Barry Saltzman of Yale, Haijun Hu of Harvard, and Robert Oglesby of Purdue Univ, Indiana, demonstrates the degree to which model predictions of global warming are highly sensitive to assumptions about the behaviour of positive and negative`feedback effects'.
Positive feedbacks are knock-on effects which would magnify any initial warming. Negative feedbacks dampen any initial warming.
The biggest positive feedback assumed in the climate models is water vapour (H20). The reasoning goes - CO2 causes a small warming (less than a degree), but this triggers the release of more H2O from the oceans. H2O is a greenhouse gas, and so further warming takes place. This releases yet more H2O, more warming etc., until the final warming can be 5 to 10 times the initial warming caused by CO2.
In effect, the models build a greenhouse mountain upon a CO2 molehill.
This latest paper shows that previous calculations of H2O feedback have been overestimated. The authors compared the H2O response of the `CCM1' model at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, with their more recent `CCM3' model. The comparison was quite staggering.
While the `CCM1' model predicts a warming of 3.5°C for a doubling of CO2 (130 years into the future), the `CCM3' predicts only 1.6°C. The reason for the difference is that the newer `CCM3' model predicts less than half the H2O increase that the `CCM1' does, thus reducing the predicted warming.
The lesson from this computer simulation exercise is clear. Since warming from CO2 itself is only in tenths of a degree, the assumptions about feedbacks are entirely theorised and dependent on assumptions incorporated in the models by the modelers themselves. The real world as demonstrated by satellites, polar and rural station data suggests that the climate system has net negative feedback, not positive as portrayed in the models. This means the final warming would be less than the initial CO2 warming, amounting to a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 125 years.
Open Letter by Dr James Hansen (GISS) (28 Oct 2000)
It may be recalled that Dr James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), first made the Greenhouse Effect a public issue during US Congressional hearings in 1988.
With the Kyoto Protocol all but dead, he has now created a furore within climate circles and the media by suggesting that alternative scenarios for the future should be considered in addition to the `Business As Usual' scenario so favoured by the IPCC.
While the focus of the Kyoto Protocol and other policy prescriptions has been to attack CO2 emissions directly, this is increasingly seen as involving too much economic dislocation to be at all feasible.
Instead, Hansen suggests, other options should be explored, ones which would secure much wider public support, such as reducing smoke and black soot pollution, reducing methane leakage, reducing NOx emissions etc.
Hansen's views received widespread criticism within the greenhouse industry, much of which was based on misunderstandings about what his paper was actually saying.
To respond to these critics, and to correct what he believes to be misrepresentations of his views by publications such as `Nature', Dr Hansen has issued an `Open Letter'. The full unedited version of his letter is available in .pdf format on this website, with Dr Hansen's agreement.
Click here for the `Open Letter'
Iceland Glacier (22 Oct 2000)
The Observer newspaper in England has again demonstrated how little homework they do on their environmental stories. Robin McKie today ran a story called "Now Europe's biggest glacier falls to global warming". A glacier from the big Vatnajokull ice cap is claimed to be in imminent danger of breaking up and running into the sea.
The cause? Global warming says the Observer.
Or could it be that having a huge volcano blasting itself right through the centre of the ice cap two years ago might also have contributed to the problem? Station records from the area show no atmospheric warming at all.
Statistical Games with Himalayan Ice (22 Oct 2000)
A recent paper in Science (Thompson et al, v.289, p.1916, 15 Sept 2000) examined ice cores from the Dasuopu Glacier (28°23'N, 85°43'E, elev. 7,200m) in the Himalayas. They measured dust, chloride and oxygen18 isotopes. Most new ice is laid during the summer monsoon and increases in dust and chlorides were associated with human activity from India. But their conclusions about the temperature grabbed immediate media attention. According to the ABC media story -
"We think this is alarming,'' said Ellen Mosley-Thompson of Ohio State University, a member of a team, led by Lonnie Thompson, who said the study provided a unique insight into global temperatures over many centuries. "This is the highest climate record ever retrieved and it clearly shows a serious warming during the late 20th century, one that was caused, at least in part, by human activity. This is a very compelling story," he said."
As with most of these `science by media release' stories, their statement to the media did not tally with what was in the original Science paper. Here is their comparison of oxygen18 isotope content (a direct proxy for temperature) in the ice, with the northern hemisphere surface temperature record. The colour has been added for purposes of clarity only.
Their caption to this graph reads - "Five-year running means of delta 18O from Dasuopu are significantly correlated with NH temperature anomalies since 1860". This statement demonstrates how the sloppy use of statistical averages can result in conclusions which are statistically true, but also misleading. A linear average since 1860 does indeed show a warming in both graphs. But a more careful examination of the trends actually shows three distinct phases.
The first phase from 1860 to around 1920 shows only natural variability on both graphs.
From 1920 we have a clear warming in both graphs until around 1945.
From 1945 to the present, the surface trend warms about +0.3°C, but the 18O actually shows a slight cooling! Ironically, their 18O correlates much better with the satellite temperature record.
This data is yet further evidence that the surface temperature record is quite wrong about recent warming. All the warming at the glacier was pre-war, a warming now widely acknowledged to have been caused by the sun. To describe the two graphs as `significantly correlated' is misleading as this conclusion is only possible if one pretends the existence of a linear trend since 1860 and ignores the reality of three distinct phases in the record. The `significant correlation' falls apart after 1945. For Mosley-Thompson to claim "We think this is alarming" only underlines how alarming the degradation in greenhouse science has become.
`The Greening of the American West' (22 Oct 2000)
This study by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change uses 49 pairs of photographs from South Dakota, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico to graphically demonstrate how grasses now are growing in desert areas, shrubs are replacing what once were grasslands, how trees are supplanting shrubs, and the West's forests are becoming more dense and are increasing in species diversity.
According to the report's authors Craig and Keith Idso, "In terms of attribution, only the concomitant rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration is capable of providing the worldwide impetus for this expansion of forests and shrub lands."
The full report is now available online here
Due to copyright restrictions on the photographs, the Idso photographic set cannot be shown online, but printed copies can be obtained from the Greening Earth Society by using an email link provided at the bottom of the report.
Some examples of `Repeat Photography', as it is called, are available on the internet. The Utah State Office of the Bureau of Land Management have a particularly good collection. To see the beneficial effect atmospheric CO2 has had on vegetation growth, click the following `before and after' photos from Utah -
Escalante River in summer 1949 The same river in August 1992
Virgin River in 1906 The same river in 1993
Other similar pairs are available from the Utah site.
Scientific Method (31 Oct 2000)
The Hamilton Spectator (14 Oct) reported IPCC chairman, Sir John Houghton (a climate scientist) thus -
"Houghton calls global warming a "moral issue". Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will, he says, "contribute powerfully to the material salvation of the planet from mankind's greed and indifference." "
Who says science and religion don't mix?
A Cold Front (15 Oct 2000)
Last winter in the U.S., the greenhouse industry capitalised on the mild winter as a sign of a rampant global warming to come. They made a big, big, beat-up about the warmer temperatures, but their silence at the latest cold turn of events is quite deafening. Perhaps they are too busy praying for another El Niño.
Climate scientists of the old school always cautioned against getting too worked up about transient events or short-run trends. Mild winters happen. Hot summers happen. But in the fullness of time, so do cold winters and cool summers. This is why the traditional rule of climatology - that 30 years is needed before a climatic trend is established - was such a good one. Short-run events like a heat wave here, a blizzard there, a drought or flood somewhere else, could be put in context; that such events have nothing to do with long-term climate, but are simply the fickle fortunes of `weather'.
If last winter and spring was a harbinger of global warming, then what do we make of the record cold temperatures being reported all across the eastern USA during the last four to five months? The summer has been much cooler than usual all across the eastern USA, a cool trend which has extended well into the autumn (`fall' to our American friends). Is this a prelude to an ice age? If we used the same standard of reasoning as the global warming promoters, this would be a justifiable conclusion. However, this is not the beginning of an ice age or a major cooling, but just the natural ebb and flow of climate.
Unlike the greenhouse industry which exploits each and every warm event to promote the idea of a warming apocalypse, cold episodes like the present one make us all pause for a reality check. In fact, while the USA was enjoying its mild winter earlier this year, nearly everywhere else in the world was experiencing colder than usual conditions, so the mild US winter was not only transient, but also highly localised.
A resident of Binghamton NY, Kimberley Nicosia, says this summer in her home town has been the second coldest on record. It had the earliest first inch of snow on record on 9th October, beating the previous record by 10 days, which was on 19th October 1972. Five out of the last six months have been below normal. Similar reports have come in from all across the eastern United States.
The weather's timing could not be worse for Al Gore's aspirations to become President of the United States as he not only favours ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, but was actually its prime architect. It was his last-minute intervention at the stalled Kyoto talks which saved the Kyoto Protocol. Gore's presidential rival, Governor George Bush has stated he opposes the Protocol due to the economic damage it would cause to the US economy and the inadequacies of the science underpinning it.
The weather gods, it seems, are smiling on Governor Bush.
Postscript (31 Oct 2000). My spies tell me that New York got its first October snow in 21 years. Nice.
Tenerife Standoff (10 Oct 2000)
As expected, the meeting in Tenerife between the solar and greenhouse sciences resulted in no resolution of their differences.
According to the Washington Post (9 Oct 2000), "a small but persistent group of scientists has revived an unsettling thought:
What if much, or even most, of the warming seen so far-- about 1.2°F since the late 19th century -- was not the result of civilization's cumulative spew of "greenhouse gases"?
What if, instead, it was caused by electromagnetic changes in the sun, a thermonuclear behemoth 93 million miles beyond human control?
When that idea was proposed in the late 1990s, it was generally dismissed by leading experts. But many researchers have become even more convinced "that the sun may be a much more important contributor to global climate change than previously assumed," according to Paal Brekke of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt."
At the conference, the solar group demonstrated that solar science has come a long way since the days of sunspot counting and have now found a clear link between changes on the sun and climate change on earth.
The Post article continued - "when the sun's magnetic field is stronger -- as it is, for example, during high sunspot activity -- it deflects more cosmic rays, preventing them from hitting air molecules. Fewer cosmic rays mean fewer clouds, which means more warming.
Svensmark and colleagues reported their latest results at a conference two weeks ago in Spain on "The Solar Cycle and Terrestrial Climate." Using data
from the International Satellite Cloud Climate Project, they found that the amount of cloud cover at elevations of two miles or lower is directly related to
cosmic ray levels -- at least over the period for which satellite data are available.
But Earth has been warming for more than a century. Has the sun's field been strengthening that long? Yes, according to Michael Lockwood and colleagues at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England, who published exactly that result in the journal Nature last year. Analyzing instrument measurements taken since 1868, they conclude that the sun's exterior magnetic field has increased by 230 percent since 1901 and by 40 percent since 1964."
So there we have it. Forget the greenhouse gases. If there was warming in the 20th century, it is more likely to have been caused by an observed change in the sun than by any theorised change in radiative forcing from a few trace gases.
`Hockey Stick' in More Trouble (9 Oct 2000)
The infamous `Hockey Stick' is the latest piece of historical revisionism coming out of the IPCC and from the discredited US `National Assessment'. It is a graph of global temperature over the last 1,000 years, largely flat for 900 years with a sharp upturn at the end (thus the `Hockey Stick' tag). It denies long-established knowledge about the climate of the last 1,000 years, particularly the `Medieval Warm Period' (MWP) around 1100 AD, and the `Little Ice Age' (LIA) around the late 1600's.
As recently as 1995, the IPCC accepted the existence of both events, but have now done a complete U-turn in only 18 months with hardly a whisper of protest from within the industry. The `Hockey Stick' now tells them exactly what they want to hear.
The `Hockey Stick' is complete fiction based on badly interpreted and flimsy evidence, mostly from a small number of tree ring sites (tree rings only recording the climate of the growing season anyway, not the whole year).
But the MWP and LIA are both alive and well in proxy records like lake beds, sea bed cores, lake levels, corals, and tree rings from all over the world. Europe, Greenland, The Sasgasso Sea, West Africa, East Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Peru, Tasmania, South Africa - all show clear and unmistakeable evidence of the reality and existence of the MWP and LIA, not as local events as the IPCC now asserts, but as truly global events.
The latest nail in the `Hockey Stick' bandwagon is a new research paper in Geophysical Research Letters (v.27, 20, p.3365, Oct 15 2000) by Winter et al.
In this paper, the authors measured oxygen isotopes in Caribbean coral, and find that during the LIA, sea surface temperature in the Caribbean was 2 - 3°C cooler than it is today, a truly massive reduction in temperature which could by no stretch of the imagination be local. We know a weaker sun (the `Maunder Minimum') caused the LIA, and now we know just how profound an effect the sun can have. This is why the `Hockey Stick' was so uncritically embraced to begin with, namely to deny the significance of the stronger sun in 20th century climate.
La Niña is Back (30 Sept 2000)
Regular watchers of the El Niño/La Niña graphs published on this website could not have failed to notice that La Niña has returned, having now averaged a Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) figure of +10 over the last month.
On 14th June this year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in their `Seasonal Climate Outlook Summary ' stated "Computer models indicate neutral conditions in the Pacific Ocean for the next 6 months - i.e. no El Niño or La Niña."
Models. Don't we all love 'em.
It is also interesting to note that Kevin Trenberth of NCAR, Boulder, Colorado claimed that Global Warming would be characterised by a shift toward more El Niño years and less La Niña years. He made this prediction in the wake of the big El Niño of 1998, perhaps getting carried away by the drama of the moment.
Since making that claim, Mother Nature has opted to do quite the opposite and has given us mostly La Niña conditions.
Court Action over the `National Assessment' (7 Oct 2000)
The U.S. National Assessment has been the subject of much criticism for its political bias and lack of science.
Now some U.S. congressmen and other interested groups have jointly sued President Clinton over his handling of the whole National Assessment process.
Under the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Act of 1990, the US Congress requires the National Science and Technology Council to prepare national assessments on climate change, including the uncertainties. The reports were to be completed at least once every 4 years, but the Clinton administration has yet to complete even one.
In particular, The plaintiffs allege that there has been no public consultation over the report as required by the enabling Act. The plaintiffs also allege the White House is rushing to release the report to give Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore a political boost before the November presidential election.
Indeed, the timing of the intended release of the first report, just weeks out from the presidential election suggests a political motive behind releasing the report now. The report itself has been condemned even by many pro-warming scientists as being excessively alarmist and obsessively pessimistic.
The lawsuit, which seeks a summary judgement declaring the report unlawfully produced, accuses Clinton and Neal Lane, director of the White House Office and Science and Technology Policy, of:
1) repeatedly violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act by holding meetings behind closed doors that should have been open to the public, and holding other meetings in the absence of a required designated federal officer;
2) violating the USGCRP Act by issuing a wrongful directive to the team working on it, expanding its work beyond its statutory authority, and asking it to "delve into non-scientific, political areas"; and
3) violating an FY '00 appropriations rider prohibiting the administration from spending money to publish the report before "completing the underlying science," and making the findings
available to the public and subject to peer review.
The report's panel of authors, co-chaired by Jerry Melillo, of the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center, Anthony Janetos, of the World Resources Institute, and Thomas R. Karl, of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, have said the report is not a scientific forecast, but rather an attempt to say what could happen if no action is taken to halt or reverse global warming.
At least here we have an admission, by the authors themselves, that the `National Assessment' is not science and that it is merely a set of `what if' scenarios, exactly the criticisms which have been directed at it from so many quarters.
We could then ask why high-profile scientists should make themselves party to to a report which they acknowledge is not a scientific evaluation.
Warning on Carbon Taxes (18 Sept 2000)
Britain, France and other European countries last week were almost at a standstill in mass public protests at high fuel prices, resulting in blockades of fuel outlets and jammed highways and ports. The rising prices were of course triggered by the increase in the world price of crude oil.
What makes the European situation different to the rest of the world is the cripplingly high level of fuel taxes levied, making a litre of petrol in Britain $2.05 (Australian $ equivalent), compared with $1.02 in Australia, and about half as much again in the USA. With such high taxes, these governments have been reluctant to relieve the rising price of crude oil through tax cuts to consumers.
There are consumer grumblings in the USA, consumer outcry in Australia, but only in Europe has the price exceeded the pain threshold point at which outcry turns to public disorder and economic disruption. The European fuel rebellion is `fuelled' by the knowledge that the high price they now pay for petrol and diesel is predominantly a product of government taxation, not world oil prices.
Let European and other governments take timely warning before committing themselves to even more draconian taxes at the next climate conference at The Hague. There is now a proven price threshold at which open consumer rebellion will result, endangering governments both at the polls, and on the streets as happened last week. Any policies which say that governments can somehow tax their way, via `carbon taxes', to the Green utopia of near-zero CO2 emissions, must now be seen for what it is - pure delusion fed by well-funded Green propaganda.
London `Financial Times' comment on the British tax revolt here
High on Ice (17 Sept 2000)
Now that a new round of climate conferences is underway, we are getting a weekly dose of junk science stories about the earth heating up. This week it is mountain glaciers in the Himalayas, claimed to be melting due to human activity.
The usual by-now familiar cliches - "much worse than previously thought ...", "alarming...", etc. - just like the nonsense at the North Pole, a story the New York Times had to retract since it was based on ignorance about polar pack ice.
Here's part of the ABC media report -
"We think this is alarming,''(that's just to grab our attention) says Ellen Mosley-Thompson of Ohio State University, a member of a team, led by Lonnie Thompson, that has analyzed ice cores from remote mountains galciers. The new cores, came from a glacier more than 20,000 feet (or 6 km) high in the Himalayas.(At that altitude, the temperature is well below zero, so the ice cannot actually melt).
Lonnie Thompson said the study provided a unique insight into global temperatures over many centuries.
"This is the highest climate record ever retrieved and it clearly shows a serious warming during the late 20th century, one that was caused, at least in part, by human activity. This is a very compelling story," he said.
So where's this `late 20th century' warming he refers to? Here is the raw (not corrected for urbanisation) temperature record from Srinagar, Indian Kashmir, the closest long-term record to K2, the mountain featured in the lead to the ABC media report. Srinagar is a high altitude city of 600,000 people, so it will have a local heat island to inflate its temperature.
The record shows the solar-induced warming of the early 20th century, but no warming in the late 20th century in spite of the heat island. In addition, the satellite temperatures show very little warming since 1979 in the northern hemisphere, even though the satellites take their data from the same heights of the atmosphere where these glaciers are located.
But be assured, there will be another similar "alarming" story next week, and of course it "will be worse than previously thought". It always is.
The Northwest Passage (9 Sept 00)
A few weeks ago during the height of the Arctic summer, when the sun shines 24 hours a day, a Canadian police vessel navigated the fabled `Northwest Passage'. The media greeted this news as if it were somehow unique (global warming etc.).
However, the Northwest Passage has a long history and these are but a few of the passages made during the 20th century. (Information obtained from here) -
1903-06 - Roald Amundsen, in the Gjoa, makes the first full transit of the Northwest Passage from east to west.
1944 - The St. Roch, an RCMP schooner, makes the first west-to-east passage. It returns west and becomes the first to make the return journey in one season .
1969 - The Manhattan, the largest ship to navigate the Northwest Passage, leads a special experiment to see if the transport of bulk oil from Alaska would be feasible through the Passage.
1975 - R. Dickinson and K. Maro, in the Pandora II and the Theta, make a west-to-east transit.
1976-78 - R. Bouvier, in the J. E. Bernier II, a ketch, makes an east-to-west transit.
1977 - W. De Roos, in the Williwaw, a Dutch 42-foot (13-m) ketch, makes the first single handed passage from east to west.
1980 - Pandora II, a hydrographic research vessel, makes a transit from west to east.
1981-83 - Japanese sloop Mermaid, makes an east-to-west transit.
1983-88 - French vessel, The Vagabond II, makes a west-to-east transit.
U.S. motor yacht Belvedere, makes a west-to-east transit.
1984 - Lindblad Explorer, the first commercial passenger vessel to make a transit from east-to-west.
1985 - Commercial passenger ship `World Discoverer', makes a west-to-east transit.
1988 - MV Society Explorer, a Bahamas-registered passenger ship, makes a west-to-east transit.
These are but a few of the vessels to make a successful transit of the NorthWest Passage. There were many more.
What makes transits of the NorthWest Passage infrequent is not the lack of open water to actually do it, but the unreliability of being able to navigate the same channels from year to year.
Vessels today have satellite navigation, satellite images of the ice and ready communication in case of trouble. Navigating the passage today can no longer be considered a `feat' as it was in 1903.
The IPCC in its draft Third Assessment Report 2000 pretends the `Isle of the Dead' does not even exist, even though its lead author on sea levels (Chapter 11), Dr John Church, is based only 40 miles away from the Ross-Lempriere benchmark at Port Arthur, Tasmania.
Scientists from his own marine science department are even now researching the benchmark, and have been doing so for 5 years.
But nothing has been published. The world only knows about this sea level benchmark thanks to this website. Even the rest of the scientific community have been kept in the dark.
Pictured above is investigative journalist for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Martti Backman, sitting on the low cliff above the Ross-Lempriere benchmark on the `Isle of the Dead', Tasmania.
Backman is preparing a documentary report on global warming for his TV station, and a personal inspection of this sea level benchmark was an absolute `must' for his research. He is pictured here at 3.45 pm AEST, 3rd Sept 2000, at mid tide, pondering the significance of a sea level survey mark struck in 1841 to mark `zero point of the sea' or `mean level of the ocean' as described by Captain Sir James Clark Ross, the 19th century marine explorer and scientist, who was responsible for putting it there.
But, the survey mark is now 35 cm above mean sea level as it exists today. In other words, the `Isle of the Dead' is telling us that sea levels may actually have fallen since 1841, not risen.
For more information on this enigma, see `The `Isle of the Dead': Zero Point of the Sea?'
The New York Times have really outdone their scaremongering this time. They ran a story about a Russian icebreaker on a summer luxury cruise for environmental `scientists', which found a stretch of mile-wide open water at the North Pole. Santa was really in the swim now, and global warming was to blame. "Recalling the reaction of passengers when they saw an iceless North Pole, Dr McCarthy said: "There was a sense of alarm. Global warming was real, and we were seeing its effects for the first time that far north" ".
Perhaps the New York Times should have done their homework about Arctic sea ice in summer before running their scare story. From it they would learn that in mid-summer, when this cruise took place, it is very common to find `leads' of open water in the ice. Indeed, the very ship they were on (the `Sovetsky Soyuz') had its own helicopter looking just for those leads. On the website announcing the schedule of the voyage prior to departure, they have this to say -
"Sunday & Monday, July
30 & 31 North Polar Ice Cap -
Our advance toward the North Pole continues. The helicopters fly reconnaissance missions, which, in conjunction with other information fed to us by satellite and our on-board ice experts, aid in finding open water "leads," or cracks in the polar ice cap. Traveling through these leads greatly facilitates our voyage. Helicopter sightseeing flights are offered and the lecture series continues. The ship's open-bridge policy enables you to watch navigation and icebreaking operations around the clock. Seeing the ship at work is exhilarating as it breaks through 9-14-foot-thick ice with ease."
In other words, they expected to find leads - and found one which happened to be at the pole itself.
Other expeditions to the North Pole report similar `leads' of open water in the ice. It is caused by the fact that the ice is only 2 to 4 metres thick, with 3 kilometres depth of water beneath. As tidal forces and ocean currents tug and pull at the ice, it cracks readily, sometimes opening up into wide `leads', familiar to Arctic summer explorers.
And this from another site -
"Scheduled to leave March 5 from Severnaya Zemlya, an island in the Russian Arctic, they'll wend their way onto the ice cap, making a mad dash to reach the Pole by Earth Day, April 22. From there, they'll head for the Canadian Arctic, covering ground fast before the spring thaw requires lifting the pooches out by helicopter and finishing up in canoe-sleds that the team members can pull or paddle. As usual, unstable ice is the greatest threat. Giant slabs can thrust together to make 30-foot pressure ridges or shift apart to create leads -- dangerous lanes of open water -- that can appear under sleds or tents."
Or this -
"Here at ARCTIC PERSPECTIVES we are excited and eager to follow Will's (Will Steger) progress during this 50-day, solo expedition from the North Pole to the coastline of Canada. During this challenging trek, Will must haul a specially designed kevlar canoe-sled, with runners for ice travel, weighing 275 pounds through thick fog, shifting sea-ice and large leads of open water - all characteristic of an Arctic summer.
Shame on you New York Times. You should have been more professional. You turned a natural phenomenon (`leads') into another excuse to grind the `global warming' tune yet again.
North Pole Update ! (30 Aug)
This retraction by the New York Times of the North Pole story was published in The Nando Times
"The Associated Press, NEW YORK (August 29, 2000 10:07 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) -
Citing a report in The New York Times, The Associated Press erroneously reported Aug. 19 that open water had been spotted on the North Pole for the first time in 50 million years, a possible sign of global warming.
In a correction Tuesday, the Times said it had misstated the normal conditions of sea ice at the pole. It said open water probably has occurred there before because the Arctic Ocean is about 10 percent ice-free during a typical summer.
The Times also said the lack of ice at the North Pole is not necessarily a result of global warming."
A famous John Wyndham sci-fi novel and movie called `The Day of the Triffids' tells the story of killer plants, the `triffids', which descend in spores from outer space, colonising the earth and killing people as they do so. Scary stuff.
Well, if the US Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is to be believed, the triffids may already be here.
A new `study' (these `studies' breed like flies every week now) asserts that Ragweed now produces twice as much pollen than it did 100 years ago, and will produce even more in coming years.
The reason? You guessed it - CO2. This time the fertiliser effect of CO2, not the warming part. The fertiliser effect will be a massive boon for plant life, crops, forests etc., but there has to be at least one down-side to CO2 fertilisation.
"This research may help us better understand the troubling impact of high carbon dioxide levels on our environment and on our health" declares Glickman. What he's talking about is hay fever! Never mind that forests will grow better, crops grow faster, billions get fed with the greening of the earth, - let's stop the world, pull down industry, let millions starve, - just because a few more people might catch hay fever 70 years from now.
Two papers just published in Geophysical Research Letters (Lean, v.27, no.16, p.2425, Aug 15 2000), (Fligge & Solanki, v.27, no.14, p.2157, Jul 15 2000) have hindcasted solar radiation based on sunspot data back to 1600 AD, observations of the behaviour of similar stars, and of our own sun during the last 20 years. The result is shown in the three graphs (left).
An overall increase in solar irradiance since the Maunder Minimum of 0.3% is indicated by Fligge & Solanki, sufficient to directly increase global temperature by around half a degree celsius even before any secondary feedbacks occur. What is particularly interesting is that these new findings about the sun in two separate studies show that the warming of the earth during the early 20th century closely matched similar increases in solar radiance.
Since about 1960, the sun has remained at this historically high level, punctuated only by the 11-year cycle shown by the small waves on the long-term trends. The satellite record shows that the earth has not warmed significantly since January 1979 (the discredited surface record notwithstanding), again consistent with the level of solar irradiance in recent decades.
The greatest increase in radiation has occurred in the Ultra-Violet region of the spectrum (+0.7%), which partly explains recent variability in the ozone layer (and the increased incidence of skin cancer). The Maunder Minimum between 1640 and 1710 exactly matches the period known as the Little Ice Age, suggesting that this sharp cooling was a worldwide phenomenon, not merely confined to Europe and Greenland. This is contrary to claims by the IPCC and the National Assessment that the past millenium was one of steady and benign climate until the 20th century.
These new findings demonstrate that the sun alone can account for all the observed warming early in the century.
A spectre is haunting the Greenhouse industry. The spectre of being ignored, and thus losing their funding.
In spite of saturation scaremongering, worse now than in any previous year, the industry has made the fatal mistake of overkill, and has largely alienated the public.
One of the longest standing warhorses of the greenhouse scare, James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute (GISS), who in 1988 declared the arrival of greenhouse warming, is now being more circumspect. With the Kyoto Protocol now quite dead, with diminishing prospects of the environmentalist's hero, Al Gore, ever reaching the White House, Hansen is now promoting a different line.
He now says we should not really despair (who's despairing?). CO2 has not really caused the early 20th century warming (we now know the sun did that), but instead points the finger of blame to other greenhouse gases, methane, nitrous oxides, tropospheric ozone, CFC, halocarbons, aerosols, even black sooty smoke. He says these other gases are equally responsible for the warming, and will be responsible for much of any future warming.
Since these gases are easier to control, without the catastrophic economic consequences of cutting fossil fuel consumption, he invites us all to instead attack these other gases and thus achieve the Kyoto objectives that way.
Is this a recant by Hansen? Or just a shift in strategy? On the fundamental tenets of the greenhouse industry - the warming predictions, the models, the denial of established climate history (notably the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age) - all these he still supports. The new strategy he espouses may have little to do with global climate and everything to do with securing continued extravagant public funding for the greenhouse industry in a post-Clinton era.
Americans are now facing the bitter lesson which Australians learnt 3 years ago during the Sydney bush fires. It is that urban environmentalists are a blight on the environment.
A natural forest will have occasional fires caused by lightning, destructive but also renewing. If the fires are sufficiently frequent, they dispose of loose material on the ground (fuel), thin the forest, and dispose of any dead trees or branches, but without a catastrophic outcome. When forests become used for forestry industries, the natural fires are quickly put out, which could result in a dangerous long-term build-up of ground `fuel'. But in such a forest, people take the place of nature and do the thinning instead, and even conduct controlled fuel reduction burns to avoid the risk of future catastrophic fires.
Enter the environmentalists, utopian dreamers, with educations which exceed their intelligence. "Save the Trees!" they demand. Using political blackmail against anyone who opposes them, they get the forest industries closed down, the fuel reduction burns stopped, and any natural fires are quickly put out to save each and every tree possible and all those furry animals.
This happened in Australia. And we paid big. The Sydney bush fires were catastrophic to the forests around Sydney. So we learned. Learned not to listen to fanatics and instead manage the forests properly. So now fuel reduction burns are back, proper management is in place again.
A San Diego Union Tribune story "Environmental politics: disaster for our forests" By Anne M. Hayes put the issue thus -
"... restoring forest health through selective thinning and other active management techniques does not conform to the environmental extremist agenda of "preserving" every single tree.
Make no mistake, the effects of these policies on our forests will last for decades. Land and lives will continue to be damaged unless the federal government starts to manage our national forests based on science and sense, not sound bites and photo-ops.
True conservation and environmental politics are two different things. We cannot afford to confuse them any longer..."
Tragically, the western forests
of the US are the latest victims of environmentalism just as ours had been,
and the same lesson is being learnt, that it is more important to save
the forest than it is to save the trees.
(thanks to Ken Nebel for intel.)
Based on a recent London `Daily Telegraph' article titled "Falling sea level upsets theory of global warming", it became clear that some Pacific Island nations are exploiting the threat of rising sea levels for their own advantage. One such nation is Tuvalu, a coral atoll group to the north of Fiji, with only 11,000 inhabitants. According to the Telegraph article -
"In the early 1990s, scientists forecast that the coral atoll of nine islands - which is only 12ft above sea level at its highest point - would vanish within decades because the sea was rising by up to 1.5in a year. However, a new study has found that sea levels have since fallen by nearly 2.5in and experts at Tuvalu's Meteorological Service in Funafuti, the islands' administrative centre, said this meant they would survive for another 100 years."
Sea level falls had also been recorded in Nauru and the Solomon Islands in the same region.
Hilia Vavae, the Tuvalu Metereological Service's director, said: "This is certainly a bit of a shock for us because we have been experiencing the effect of rising oceans for a long time." The island's scientists admitted they were surprised and "a little embarrassed" by the change. Far from being pleased at such a pleasant `shock', the Tuvalu government is stilll crying wolf about sea levels and intends to make a big issue of it at the next climate conference in November.
Unrepentant, Ms Vavae said: "We are still facing the daunting prospect of being one of the first countries to be submerged by sea-level rises related to climate change." Sounds like a nation in search of rent and compensation. To see why, here is the monthly record of sea level at Funafuti Atoll (data from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level), the main island and capital of the atoll group -
As we can see, `sea level rise' in Tuvalu is a complete sham. Sea level since 1978 has been averaging around 7,000 millimetres, with brief falls in 1983, 1992 and 1998 due to El Niño events. The data for 1999/2000 is not shown, but the Telegraph story suggests it has fallen again, without even an El Niño to force it down. The above graph is completely at odds with the shrill claims from the Tuvalu government given above, suggesting we have here a government in search of a lucrative and wholly undeserved compensation package from western countries like the US and Australia. (thanks to Barry Hearn for the intel.)
I have been receiving numerous reports from informants about the `summer' in the US.
Anonymous - "Just wanted to let you know that we had the coldest July on record in upstate New York and much of Pennsylvania. At Binghamton NY, where I live it was the coldest July on record. We were below the previous record by 0.8°F. At Scranton Pa, July 2000 was also the coldest July on record as well. Walton NY also had its coldest July on record with records going back 100 years. At Albany NY, this July tied the coldest July on record. At Albany records go way back into the 1800s!! I also want to point out that there was virtually NO press reports on the unprecedented cold!! On one July morning a few locations in upstate NY dipped into the 30s (below 4°C for you metric people)!!"
Brian Rice - "As an update to the June/July summer temps. Chicago has now gone through the month of July without reaching 90°F. There has only been one recorded summer with no days over 90° - 1875. There have been several summers with only one or two days ( 1882, 1884, 1915, 1889, and 1979 ). However, some of these earlier years are suspect due to the fact that the "official thermometer" was located very close to the shores of Lake Michigan which struggles to reach 70°F every summer. Only the summer of 1979 ( which had two days over 90 ) was the official thermometer located away from the lake, several miles inland at the airport."
Aaron Coyan - "July 2000 was the coldest July on record at Albany, New York, USA, a city in which weather records date back to the 1820s!! It was also the coldest July on record at Binghamton, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Youngstown, Ohio. July 2000 was the second coldest on record in Ohio at Cleveland, Akron and Mansfield, and the fourth coldest on record at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Springfield, Illinois recorded it's first ever June-July period with no days reaching 90°F. At Cincinnati and Indianapolis, it was the coldest July since 1984.
The month was quite hot over the western US, a typical occurrence when the east is cool.
Also of note, Kotzebue, Alaska received it's first July snowfall since July 3, 1976."
The question is - why is the media not reporting this climate phenomenon with the same zeal it reports on warming events? It amounts to a dereliction of their public duty to inform. The First Amendment right to a `free press' also carries a moral obligation to keep the public informed.
The IPCC has finally lost the plot and gone into the business of writing fairy stories.
In a `Special Report on Emission Scenarios' (SRES), they present a series of four futuristic `storylines' (their word for it, not mine), each story having a subset of four `families'. In all, they present 40 scenarios of future emissions, energy usage, population assumptions, industrial production, agricultural output and many other factors.
These 40 scenarios are somehow meant to assist `policymakers' (whoever they are), but which scenario should the policymakers take note of? The IPCC say several scenarios should be used in parallel, but insist that assumptions used in one scenario should not be applied in a crossover way with another scenario.
They say in their report - "Any scenario necessarily includes subjective elements and is open to various interpretations. Preferences for the scenarios presented here vary among users. No judgment is offered in this report as to the preference for any of the scenarios and they are not assigned probabilities of occurrence, neither must they be interpreted as policy recommendations." What, then, was the point of it all?
One thing is clear from the SRES. Any government dumb enough to fall for this latest nonsense will be committing themselves to billions of dollars in funding for armies of modellers, computer hardware, bureaucratic empires, each peddling `storylines', `families', with scenarios multiplying like rabbits, each needing to be fed with millions of tax dollars. They describe all this as `scientific', so any Neanderthal who questions the wisdom of this latest blessing from on high will be declared `unscientific' and thus marginalised.
They even want to develop a `classification scheme for classifying scenarios as intervention or non-intervention scenarios'. In other words, there is a whole new industry here in the making.
There will be no `Lived Happily Ever After' in these storylines - except for the parasites who profit from it.
"We are the ones that live
closest to the land, to Mother Earth. We live with it, we experience it,
with our hearts and souls, and we depend upon it. When this Earth starts
to be destroyed, we feel it."
- Caleb Pungowiyi , Yupik Native from Nome, Alaska, as quoted in the `National Assessment' Overview, page 81
Once the emotional tears have dried, our hearts touched, and our guilt sowed, we could ask just what has happened in Nome, Alaska to prompt such an emotional outpouring. Was rampant warming underway at Nome, or was this just rhetoric?
Click here for a seasonal and annual temperature history from 1907 to 2000 in Caleb Pungowiyi's own home town of Nome, Alaska.
As we all know (because David Suzuki is always telling us), native peoples are the only ones who care about the environment. That's why emotional quotes from `native chiefs' are always dished up to make us all feel bad. Usually these heart-tugging quotes are thought up, not by real natives, but by Green activists.
A careful look at Nome's temperature history shows the National Assessment's use of that emotive quote as a manifestly political pitch - from a document which purports to be a `scientific' assessment.
Educational Child Abuse (6 Jul 2000)
Children are today the helpless victims of environmentalist brainwashing. Far from providing them with the sense of security they need for a healthy and happy childhood, they are constantly assaulted with doomsday scenarios of a scorched earth, often dressed up as `education'.
Children need a sense of security during their young years. But environmentalist `educators' have no respect for this fundamental right of all children. In the case of the `Institute for Global Environmental Strategies', 2111 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 700, Arlington VA, their educational package for grades 5-12, paid for by a NASA grant, contains a complete set of 12 modules on global warming, ready for use by unsuspecting teachers in their classrooms.
One of these modules, "Beyond the Bite: Mosquitoes and Malaria" (download their pdf file here) directly links predictions of global warming to malaria. Predictably, these `educators' take the worst-case scenarios of global warming and ask the students to make predictions about malaria spread based on the assumption that (a) there will be a warming of 3°C by 2100, and even 6°C by 2200 (with no hint to the students that both the fact of warming and its magnitude is disputed), and (b) that malaria will spread as a direct consequence of that predicted warming.
They even provide limited temperature data for selected cities and airports in the US to enable the students to make the mental connection between malaria spread and specific locations within the US (i.e. where the children actually live), again threatening their sense of security.
As shown in the `Plague and Pestilence' story above, malaria is NOT an exclusively warm weather disease. It was rife in Europe during the MIddle Ages, even during the Little Ice Age, common in the early American colonies, and infected people as far north as the Arctic Circle. The reason malaria is now confined to the tropics is not the heat, but the low standards of public health in 3rd world countries. The tropics are mostly undeveloped economically and this is why malaria still thrives there.
If further proof were needed that development, not climate, is what protects Americans and Europeans from malaria and other `tropical' diseases, we need look no further than Australia, a developed country, half of which is actually in the tropics. It is the hottest developed country on the planet - with a level of human health second to none. Not only is malaria not a problem in Australia, neither are any of the other exotic tropical diseases which greenhouse junk scientists claim will sweep the US and Europe.
"Beyond the Bite: Mosquitoes and Malaria" is not education but the worst kind of evangelical junk science being pushed on our children. In peddling it to schools, the `Institute for Global Environmental Strategies' are not engaged in genuine education but in brainwashing and propaganda, targeted at children.
In the `National Assessment' Overview (p. 10), it says: "Humans are exerting a major and growing influence on the factors that govern climate ..."
But on the very next page, they support the IPCC claim about there being `a discernible human influence on global climate'.
Which is it? `A major and growing influence' or `a discernible influence' ?
At the risk of sounding pedantic, there is a difference.
The hysteria on global warming sweeping the US media makes a lot of noise about impending disasters such as floods, droughts, heat waves, pestilence and plague. The script for all this comes of course, not from the IPCC or science, but from the Book of Revelation and the Old Testament.
The `Ten Plagues of Egypt' which preceded the exit of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt has been recreated in modern format to stir public alarm about a warming which is not even happening.
The hyteria includes warnings of malaria sweeping out of the tropics into North America and Europe as the world warms. This is directly within the sphere of interest of the Centers for Disease Contol in the US, who know a thing or two about malaria.
A recent paper by P. Reiter of the CDC in San Juan, Puerto Rico, titled "From Shakespeare to Defoe: Malaria in England in the Little Ice Age", was recently published in our favourite scientific journal `Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol.6, no.1, Jan-Feb 2000'. It puts the malaria scare squarely into some historical perspective.
It seems malaria is not an exclusively tropical disease. During the Little Ice Age, a period not exactly on the warm side, malaria was common in England.
Reiter writes in his paper - "The complex ecology and transmission dynamics of the disease, as well as accounts of its early history, refute such predictions. Until the second half of the 20th century, malaria was endemic and widespread in many temperate regions, with major epidemics as far north as the Arctic Circle. From 1564 to the 1730s, the coldest period of the Little Ice Age, malaria was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England."
It seems it is lifestyle and simple public health which has made malaria rare in Europe and North America, not the dynamics of the disease itself. If malaria was an exclusively tropical disease, it would be endemic through most of Australia. Instead, Australians are mostly concerned about high blood pressure and their prostates - but not malaria.
If malaria is not a serious problem in Australia, it will not be a problem in any other developed country, even if the climate was warmer.
One plague down, nine to go ...
On Tuesday 27th June, about 55 people from politics, business and science, including 42 Australian federal Members of Parliament (MPs), attended a dinner and seminar at Parliament House, Canberra (Australia's capital), held under the auspices of the `Lavoisier Group' and hosted by Andrew Thomson MP. There were three presentations on the science and political economy of the Kyoto Protocol as it would affect Australia (if implemented), given by Hugh Morgan (CEO of WMC Resources Ltd), Peter Walsh (President of the Lavoiser Group and former Minister of Finance) and John Daly (myself).
Intense discussion followed, including significant contributions from the floor, indicating that Australia's politicians do have a strong concern for Australia's future, and a sense of their particular responsibilities to ensure that Australia does not go down a path that will bring impoverishment to our people, or damage our international trade.
Leading this effort to bring a vigorous climate change debate into the national Parliament is the newly-formed "Lavoisier Group" (named after Antoine Lavoisier, the 18th century French chemist, called the `Father of modern chemistry', and who, despite his great eminence as a scientist and a civil servant, was guillotined on May 8, 1794. He made the mistake, (common to many scientists before and after) of assuming, that despite the blood-letting that was going on around him, it could never happen to him).
The Lavoisier group was established recently in Melbourne with the support of leading figures in business, politics, and science.
I was privileged to be a guest presenter on the empirical science of Greenhouse to the inaugural conference of the group 5 weeks ago, and was subsequently invited to present a similar case to the Parliament House seminar.
Two representatives of the Japanese Embassy were also present as were several business leaders and journalists.
Most of the MPs present were from the government parties, with some from the opposition and minor parties. The Lavoisier Group is strictly non-partisan, and seeks to generate debate on greenhouse in all sectors of politics and business.
The National Assessment for climate change in the USA has presented a scary scenario of climate catastrophe for the 21st century. About as scary as the Y2K bug, and about as real.
But just how scientific was it? It's authors claim it was fully peer-reviewed, using the best scientific information etc. etc. For their Alaska assessment , the National Assessment Team (NAST) (their acronym, not mine) held a regional workshop at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in June 1997. A seething multitude of 100 people attended, representing academia, government agencies, private industry, non-governmental organizations, native organisations and the general public.
During the discussion, the prediction of shrinking sea ice around Alaska and in the Bering Sea attracted particular attention, especially as it was claimed it would adversely affect species like penguins.
Living in Tasmania at the bottom of the world, this was news to me. We have penguin species which live and breed in ice-free areas, so it hardly matters to penguins whether there is ice or not. Fish is what matters to them.
But penguins in Alaska ?
According to the Anchorage chamber of commerce, in a FAQ sheet, answering the question "Are there penguins in Alaska?" they give this answer - "No, penguins live only in Antarctica". They talked about polar bears, grizzlys, moose, caribou, foxes, eagles, wolves, sheep, orcas, and baluga whales - but no penguins.
It makes you wonder who the `peers' were, or where the 100 people came from who made up the regional workshop in Fairbanks. What next? Kangaroos in Missouri?
The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) is changing the way and the locations of where it takes takes snowfall measurements.
This is part of a programme of relocation and modernisation of NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), and FAA weather observation policy.
They have decided that the future emphasis on climatically-oriented observations such as snowfall should be shifted away from airports to cooperative observers (COOPs).
The reasons they give are interesting and holds a clear message for the IPCC and the Greenhouse industry at large. They state, "COOPs are climatically more stable and representative of locations where people live, work, play, and grow their food, compared to the changing and sometimes unrepresentative environments of airports due to growth and large expanses of asphalt."
So the environment at growing airports is not representative? While the focus on the surface record has been on the urban heat island, the IPCC and associated institutions have been reluctant to admit that growing airports are also affected by heat islands as shown graphically by the San Juan, Puerto Rico temperature record.
This acknowledgement by the NWS of the unsuitability of airports for collection of weather data only serves to emphasise the need for a thorough independent review of the `surface record' of temperature.
The NWS further point out the impact urbanisation has on snowfall - "As our cities continue to grow, it is apparent that one snowfall measurement location is not always representative of snowfall in some large metropolitan areas. Urbanization and city heat islands have resulted in large gradients in snowfall in many of our larger cities where much of our population lives and works."
They conclude by calling for more observation points to give a more complete picture of snowfall.
(thanks to John Sumption for the intel.)
Yes, Australia does have a ski industry in the highlands of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. This year, it is starting two weeks early due to the unusually cold weather and heavy snows which have affected eastern Australia during the past week. The cold spell is still continuing. It has even affected tropical Darwin in the Northern Territory, which normally has daytime temperatures of around 32°C. This week, temperatures at Darwin have typically been 26-27°C, a real `cold snap' for them. This may also explain the strange plunge in the Southern Oscillation Index (which compares air pressure at Darwin and Tahiti), even though there is no sign of an El Nino out in the Pacific.
The capital city of sunny Australia, Canberra, was plunged into freezing temperatures today as driving snow enveloped the city. It was the result of a blast of cold Antarctic air funneled up by strong southerly winds. When the day was done, the weather bureau announced this was the coldest May day ever recorded in Canberra.
(Abridged version of report on the Washington meeting from David Wojick, who is editor of `Electricity Daily')
Last week's summit of skeptical climate scientists had harsh words for the Third Assessment Report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Electricity Daily, May 26). The scientists unanimously claim that systematic errors and omissions, pervade the draft TAR.
A Capitol Hill crowd of about 150 heard the international group of scientists pour on the criticism. The IPCC is deliberately ignoring important science, and skewing what they do consider, the group says.
Several startling revelations came out at the meeting. Norway's Tom Segalstad reported that early ice core analyses found preindustrial carbon dioxide levels well over present amounts, indicating that there may not in fact be a significant CO2 increase at all. "But," Segalstad says, "these findings have been dropped from subsequent studies, beginning about 1985, perhaps because they are not politically correct."
Segalstad also noted that in order to get the "politically correct" low CO2 levels in the ice cores to link up properly with more recent atmospheric measurements, the age estimates had to be changed significantly. "They decided the air in the ice was 95 years younger than the ice it was in," he quips. Segalstad told Electricity Daily that he has been harassed and threatened in Norway for making such statements.
Prof. Fred Singer, who organized the summit, reported that tree ring data does not show any warming in the last century, contradicting the surface thermometer record.
Several speakers noted that there is no known way that the surface temperature can be rising while the atmospheric temperature, as measured by satellites, is not warming. "Greenhouse gas warming must first occur high in the air, not near the ground. In fact, atmospheric warming could increase evaporation and actually cool the surface, but we see none of that," American scientist Hugh Ellsaesser explains.
According to New Zealand's Vincent Gray, "The IPCC tries to prove that the satellite and balloon records are wrong. It is much more likely that these records are correct and the surface data are wrong." He added, "The increased surface temperatures in the record are mostly in cold climates in the dead of winter when we would expect the local heat effect to be most prominent."
Germany's Peter Dietze presented his own alternative model which he says incorporates many features ignored by the IPCC. According to Dietze the IPCC errors are so gross that a relatively simple model is sufficient to estimate their magnitude. "The IPCC's best guess for warming due to CO2 doubling is a factor of 4 to 6 too high," (See Dietze's paper here)
David Wojick, who chaired one of the panels, sums up
the event saying "if these scientists are right,
then the IPCC's errors and omissions are disgraceful." He notes
that the 1000 page TAR itself, at the very end, says "In
sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and
modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-liner
chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future
climate state is not possible." Wojick quips that -
"The IPCC should read its own last chapter."
The draft Third Assessment Report of the IPCC has discreetly tucked away from prying eyes, the key assumptions underpinning their predictions of global warming into the 21st century. They are discreetly buried away within the main scientific text (which few will read).
Their first assumption is that the `surface record' is the only one they will believe (it tells them what they want to hear).
The second assumption is more subtle. It predicts how CO2 will grow in the atmosphere over time. Based on these growth projections, the climate models then calculate the rises in global temperature which might then occur.
But what if the growth projections have been over-stated? The IPCC draft report suggests `equivalent CO2' will rise by 1% per year. Since methane has stopped growing and CFC s will be in decline, this 1% growth now applies only to CO2.
Now, that doesn't sound too bad does it?
But look at the effect 1% has -
Since CO2 is now 368 ppmv of the atmosphere, a 1% annual rise would represent a growth of +3.68 ppm next year, then increasing exponentially each year - like compound interest in a bank account.
The only problem is, CO2 has not been growing like that at all. Since measurements first began in 1959, the growth rate has been largely linear, not exponential, and has averaged +1.5 ppm annually over the last 20 years, not the +3.68 ppm which 1% would suggest.
By the year 2100, the graph shows just what a difference a mere 1% makes. It more than doubles the CO2 level of the atmosphere! All the warming predictions are then based on that assumption.
Does the IPCC take us all for mugs?
An item titled "Don't Blame the Sun" in `New Scientist' (6 May, p.6) gloated that - "Greenhouse effect sceptics may have lost their final excuse. The Sun has been dethroned as the dominant source of climate change, leaving the finger of blame pointing at humans".
As usual with New Scientist, they got it completely wrong. The skeptics have argued for several years that most of the warming of the 20th century was caused by the greater level of activity on the sun. While the global warming lobby have long attributed the whole of 20th century warming (claimed to be +0.6°C) to Man's greenhouse gases, this untenable position has now been widely abandoned, even by the IPCC.
The pre-1940s warming has now been squarely blamed on increasing solar activity at that time, as there was no other significant factor around at the time to blame it on anything else. Greenhouse gases were not a significant factor then.
Even New Scientist admitted as much in the very next paragraph, contradicting themselves in the process, - "A correlation between the sunspot cycle and temperatures in the northern hemisphere seemed to account for most of the warming seen up until 1985". That remark alone makes their headline somewhat absurd as it was only a few years ago that the climatological establishment furiously denied any role for the sun during the 20th century.
But, according to New Scientist, since 1985, we have a new game in town. The sun cannot account for the post-1985 warming (amounting to about +0.3°C). Indeed it can't. Even the solar scientists Friis-Christensen and Lassen (who first proved the solar impact on early 20th century climate) accept that the sun has nothing to do with any post-1985 warming. There is a good reason for this.
There has been no post-1985 warming.
The surface record which claims
otherwise is becoming increasingly degraded as rural stations close, leaving
only the satellites as the true recorder of global
temperature. Since 1979, global temperature has warmed less than 0.1°C,
an insignificant amount in climate change terms. Over the same 21 year
period, the `surface record' shows a +0.4°C warming. However, the difference
in the trending between the two records mainly occurs in places where surface
monitoring is weakest. Places like the Indian Ocean, central Brazil, West
Africa, large swathes of the Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia, northeastern
Not exactly downtown LA or London.
Over well-monitored places like the USA and Europe, there is very little difference between the two. We are therefore asked to believe that an unknown climatic process, one which the models cannot replicate, is warming the surface, but not warming the atmosphere, and conspires to do so only in those places where there is very little monitoring to see what's going on. Puhleeeeese!
That the pre-1940 warming is now blamed on its rightful source - the sun, the greenhouse industry now only have their creaking `surface record' matched against the relentless efficiency of the satellites to lay any claim to the existence of a post-1985 warming. When well-maintained rural weather stations are examined individually, the post-1985 warming evaporates into thin air.
The `Station Temperature Data' page on this site shows just how little warming there has been when rural stations are examined in isolation from their artificially-warmed city cousins.
Spinning the Twisters (10 May 2000)
Environmental News Network came out with this scary story, based on research by Dr. Jonathan Patz, et al (of the John's Hopkins School of Public Health). The ENN story gave a very pessimistic spin to the health issues associated with `climate change', whereas the research by Patz et al declined to make any definitive statement about health outcomes from extreme events due to inherent uncertainties. But they did point to some positive outcomes such as reduced cold-weather mortality. But here's how ENN summarised the findings.
"Climate change is expected to alter the frequency, timing, intensity and duration of extreme weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes and extremely heavy rainfall... . Direct results of these events are injury or death."
The inference is that `climate change' (whatever that term means - the latest IPCC draft report seems muddled about it) will increase the frequency, timing, intensity and duration of such events. But evidence presented in the latest IPCC draft report (chapter 2) indicate that far from these events being worse during the last 20 years when they allege a +0.4°C warming occurred, they have actually become more moderate. These charts are contained in that report. They both show a reduction in the occurrence of severe tornadoes and hurricanes.
The last sentence of the above quote, that these events cause injury or death states the obvious, but is clearly intended to infer an increase in death and injury rates, when in fact the reality is that deaths and injury have decreased. And guess what? Even though this information is presented in the scientific text of the IPCC report, there is not a whisper of it in the Summary for Policy Makers, the only part of the IPCC report that the media, politicians or public servants will read, the only part the public will be told about. We live in an age of spin.
"The oceans are warming!" screamed the headlines. The cause of this excitement in the media (who don't excite easily) was a new paper in Science (Levitus et al, 24 March 00, v.287, p.2225) which reports on extensive archive searching of old 1950s/1960s ocean temperature data, and comparing it with similar data for the mid-1990s.
The conclusion? The oceans have warmed all right - by about +0.06°C, or just over one twentieth of a degree. But before panic sets in, we need to ask how or why the ocean warmed at all.
While the media went into panic mode, the authors were less certain. They said they cannot `partition the observed warming' between natural and anthropogenic forcing. In other words, they do not know if the warming is natural, man-made, or a bit of both. Well, we can help them out there. The authors calculate that the atmospheric energy input needed to create this warming is +0.3 w/m2 (watts per sq. metre).
We need look no further than the increased radiation from the sun in the 20th century. (Technical note: when the sun gets hotter, it is believed by some scientists that the earth actually gets hotter too). The sun is a very efficient ocean warmer. It's energy penetrates the ocean to 100 metres depth whereas Infra-Red (IR) energy from the atmosphere and greenhouse effect only penetrates the first millimetre. Thus IR has to rely on breaking waves (if there are any) to mix in the heat, so not all IR gets into the deep ocean the way solar energy does.
A large proportion of IR hitting the ocean ends up back in the atmosphere due to evaporation from that top millimetre. That the heat reported in the Levitus paper is found at considerable depth means it was put there some decades earlier, the very period when the sun increased its activity.
Lockwood and Stamper (Geophys.
Research Letters, 26 (1999), p.2461) calculate an increased solar
radiative forcing in the atmosphere of +0.29 W/m2
during the 20th century. That matches the calculation of Levitus almost
exactly. That neatly `partitions' the observed warming into 99%
solar and 1% man-made. Since the rise in ocean temperature was +0.06°C.,
that means we can blame +0.0006°C of it
Now you may panic.
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