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`Nenana Ice Classic' - Alaska's Coolest Lottery ! (25 April 2001)
Sea Level Dives in the Maldives (25 April 2001)
This Week's Global Warming Scare (28 April 2001)
Temperature-to-CO2 Proved (19 April 2001)
Coincidence? - or Orchestration? (15 Apr 2001)
`New Evidence' (14 Apr 2001)
Chilled Wine (14 Apr 2001)
Opinion - `Models or Mimics?' (14 Apr 2001)
`Cigarette Science' (8 Apr 2001)
Snow Job (8 Apr 2001)
Bush Rejects Kyoto (31 March 2001)
The Hot Rock (30 Mar 2001)
`Authority' (8 Apr 2001)
Climate Junket (29-Mar-2001)
Bush Emissions Policy (14 Mar 2001)
`Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Remained Constant During the 1990s' (12 Mar 2001)
`Nature's' Freudian Slip (13 Mar 2001)
U.S. Media Child Abuse (14 Mar 2001)
World to Cool Substantially by 2030? (12 Mar 2001)
`Children's Exercise' (8 Mar 2001)
A High Silver Lining (3 Mar 2001)
Mount Kilimanjaro (25 Feb 01)
Petrol Backdown! (1 Mar 2001)
Wizards of Oz (27-Feb-2001)
Molotov Cocktail (18 Feb 2001)
Waiting for El Niño (18 Feb 2001)
`Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate' (17 Feb 2001)
It's Official: Russian Winter Worst in 50 yrs (12 Feb 2001)
More Wintry Weather Forecast for the US (3 Feb 01)
Industry Blitz (8 Feb 2001)
California Dreaming (22 Jan 2001)
`Worse Than Previously Thought' - Again (23 Jan 2001)
`Polar Bird' Does it Again! (21 Jan 01)
2000 - 14th Warmest (14-Jan-2001)
How Warm Was 2000? (14 Jan 2001)
Oxymoron Science (17 Jan 01)
The Iceman Cometh! (9 Jan 2001)
`The Limits of Democracy' (4-Jan-2001)
While this website in no way encourages gambling, the `Nenana Ice Classic' must surely be the exception. The Tanana River at Nenana in Alaska freezes over in winter, but the local Alaskans have been placing bets on the ice break-up dates and times since 1917. It is now a registered lottery under Alaskan law.
The earlier the break-up occurs, the warmer is the climate that year. The later it breaks up, the cooler it is. Over the years, the greatest cluster of break-ups occur around 30th April. In cold years, it doesn't break up until well into May, while in warm years it can break in late April.
Nenana Ice Classic: Final Update (9 May 2001)
The ice on the Tanana River at Nenana, Alaska, finally broke on 8th May at 1:00 p.m. (Alaska time). It was a tense several hours as the tripod which had fallen over a few days ago, but remained held by the ice, shifted 90 feet in moving ice several hours earlier, but remained held again, just 10 feet short of the required 100 feet needed to pull the securing wire taut and trigger the clock.
Out of 85 recorded ice break-ups at Nenana since 1917, this year ranks 57th in order from earliest to latest. The median date is 5th May, the earliest being 20th April in 1940 (also in the big El Niño year 1998, 90 minutes later), the latest being 20th May in 1964. Break-up date last year was 1st May, and 29th April in 1999. For a full history and analysis of Nenana Ice Classic statistics with some excellent photos by Julie Coghill, look up the Nenana Ice Classic website.
The IPCC says sea level has
already risen 10 - 25 cm in the 20th century (disputed) and will undergo an
accelerated rise of nearly a metre by 2100.
"The IPCC arguments of sea level rise is not in accordance with modern scientific knowledge."
”What happens to temperatures is one thing. What happens to the sea is
another matter. The two are not connected in the way the IPCC report claims.”
Mörner also notes that Chapter 11 on Sea Level Changes of IPCC's TAR report was written by 33 people, none of them involved in actual sea level research.
He says that sea level change in the IPCC report is based purely on models, not observations (a point made forcefully in this report on sea levels ). When it comes to sea levels, the models have proved to be hopelessly wrong.
It seems the `Isle of the
Dead' is not the only graveyard for IPCC sea level
True to the now established
industry pattern of producing a weekly scare story to keep the public in a state of permanent anxiety, this week's story is based on a
new paper in the journal Science.
In their latest paper, they claim that
These more reliable proxies are not confined to only one region, but are present all over the world.
In the end, it all comes down to which proxies one chooses to believe - and why.
This latest CRU claim is identical to the `Hockey Stick' theory first
promoted by Michael Mann over two years ago, and now discredited.
The authors examined samples from a recent ice core extracted from the Concordia Dome in Antarctica (75°06'S 123°24'E) in 1999, and which has provided a better dating resolution than previous Antarctic or Greenland cores. According to the authors, "We found that the start of the CO2 increase lagged the start of the dD (temperature) increase by 800 ± 600 years, taking the uncertainties of the gas-ice age difference and the determination of the increases into account." Even allowing for error factors in the time resolution, the temperature-to-CO2 sequence was quite clear.
The above graph (colour indicators added for clarity) shows the relationship between temperature, CO2 and methane during the Glacial-Interglacial transition, the temperature clearly leading CO2 (three matched transitions shown by blue arrows). The `YD' refers to the `Younger Dryas' cooling episode and `BA' refers to the `Bølling/Allerød' warming episode, both in the North Atlantic and mainly affecting methane. Since temperature clearly leads CO2, that means the rise in temperature caused the rise in CO2. Notice also that at the start point of the Holocene period 10,600 years ago, CO2 had risen sharply during the immediate previous centuries, with no apparent effect on temperature which had already levelled out a thousand years earlier. That suggests that CO2 has only a very weak effect on climate.
If you first learned about these new findings here, thank the media - they only run stories that promote warming.
Over the last several months, an
odd trend has emerged in how the greenhouse industry presents its successive scare stories.
Papers like these are now being
promoted by the journals to gain maximum public impact, a disturbing
departure from their stated aim to merely present scientific information. The fact that Hecht was able to date his article 5 weeks prior to their acceptance by
Science suggests that acceptance was something of a foregone conclusion. So much for
rigorous peer review. Other media outlets may have had similar advance
notice as they were all quick to publish detailed summaries.
No, not the scheduled weekly scare story. This item was published in London's `Daily Telegraph' and finds `new evidence' that global warming predictions have been grossly exaggerated.
The AP reports (14 Apr 2001)
that The worst frost to hit northern Californian vineyards in three decades has caused millions of dollars in damage to vineyards.
Are computer climate models the best way to research climate?
Should public policy be dictated by them?
Thus, the model is not really a model at all, but merely a `mimic'. And suppose the weight of the ball is changed? The fielder just bounces it in his hand once or twice to get the `feel' and that is sufficient. The model has to be told the new weight, and told to a high degree of accuracy. In other words, the model is not autonomous like the fielder - it has to get all its instructions from the modeller as to how to respond to changed situations. Thus, the model output is really only a quantified result of what the modeller has already decided qualitatively.
While the laws of physics may be immutable, it is not always predictable which law will predominate over which when a chaotic maelstrom of competing laws are acting simultaneously as happens with climate. The laws of physics in the models are no doubt correctly defined in the equations, but the dominance or subservience of one law to dozens of others is defined by the modeller, not by the model. For example how do we decide whether a radiative process is dominant, or is neutralised by, say, an action of latent heat or convection or clouds? The model can't tell us on its own as it is only a dumb machine. The modeller decides that issue in the way the codes are written.
In the end, the model simply mirrors the intellectual choices of the modeller and puts numbers to them. If those choices are based on flawed reasoning or insufficient observational evidence, it is naive to think the model will somehow solve the problems through sheer number crunching power. That would be to attribute qualities of judgement to models which they simply do not have. (The inability of current models to predict in advance anything of worth should make us pause before making policy decisions based on them).
In essence, the model does not relieve the intellectual burden of determining which variable is dominant over which. The modeller has to choose, and this choice then becomes integral to the model. Thus, the model only reflects the state of understanding of the modeller, via the programming codes - it does not have any independent power to resolve issues which the modeller has not satisfactorily resolved beforehand.
For many of the points in contention we already have the best model of all - the Earth itself. For example, we need no model to tell us what may happen to the 33°C tropical ocean temperature limit since model Earth has already told us - no change. Whether we like Model Earth's reasoning or not, the result is clear and unambiguous. On the question of polar warming as CO2 rises, Model Earth has already demonstrated that no such warming has happened or is happening. Maybe it will in future, maybe it won't, but to pretend that Model Earth's result is wrong or an aberration on the laws of physics is to make the error of putting theory above observation. In judging the worth of climate change predictions, only model Earth is authoritative.
Important observed and empirical evidence is often ignored in the development of models if that evidence does not accord with pre-conceived notions held by the modellers as to how the climate behaves or is meant to behave. Yet such models are given a degree of political credibility which their very processes do not warrant. In addition, they have proved to be poor predictive tools (unlike the more credible weather models which are firmly rooted in current observational data).
Some greenhouse scientists believe it is futile to deal with qualitative issues until they have been worked out quantitatively first. That's putting the cart before the horse. Only when the issues have been resolved qualitatively through observation and/or experiment are we then ready to apply quantitative analysis to complete the solution to the problem.
It is often said, "all science is numbers." That's true up to a point. But we should not make the reverse logical error of thinking that "all numbers is science". That's where the social sciences went wrong - and lost public credibility in consequence. Climate models are interesting research tools, but we frame public policy around them at our peril. - John L. Daly
William Gray, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado, was recently featured by the BBC. He is one of the growing number of atmospheric scientists who is sceptical of the global warming theory. William Gray said in part -
"Although initially generated by honest scientific questions of how human-produced greenhouse gases might affect global climate, this topic has now taken on a life of its own. It has been extended and grossly exaggerated and misused by those wishing to make gain from the exploitation of ignorance on this subject. This includes the governments of developed countries, the media and scientists who are willing to bend their objectivity to obtain government grants for research on this topic."
indeed for the greenhouse industry. This linkage between
funding and research has always been a sensitive issue.
`Cigarette science' was how one commentator years ago
described the `science' bought and paid for by tobacco
greenhouse industry operates in the same way but on a much
grander scale, spending upwards of $4 billion worldwide per
year. All of that money hinges on one unproven theory
about how trace gases in the atmosphere behave. Any member of
that industry questions that theory at their peril. To do so
incurs loss of funding, career stagnation, and academic
"I have closely followed the carbon dioxide warming arguments. From what I have learned of how the atmosphere ticks over 40 years of study, I have been unable to convince myself that a doubling of human-induced greenhouse gases can lead to anything but quite small and insignificant amounts of global warming."
Shhhhh.... the public, or even the President, might hear you.
See also - `Profiting From Panic' - an op-ed commentary on this same topic in the Nando Times by Prof Tim Patterson and Tom Harris, both of Canada.
See also `The myth of global warming endangers the planet' by Melanie Phillips writing in the London `Sunday Times', 15th April. Finally professional journalism is seeing through the hype.
Newfoundlanders and the Irish have one thing in common. They both copped bucketfuls of snow in the dying days of winter and in early Spring. All caused by global warming of course. At this rate of warming, the earth will freeze over.
Newfoundland, Canada, after a tough winter, most Newfoundlanders weren't
expecting more snow during Spring. But it just kept falling, breaking a record set 119 years
ago on Saturday 7th April.
People in St. John's, Newfoundland, can look back on a season that brought more snow than the
winter of 1881-82. The old record of 598.2 centimetres fell when
weather officials announced a snowfall of 599.8 centimetres. For you
metric-phobes, that's nearly 21 feet !
Ireland fared little better. After several years with little snow, the capital city Dublin was inundated with snow in the last week of February, settling to depths which lasted into March. For a brief splendid moment, the normally Emerald Isle came to resemble Santa's playground. Will the Irish government now be so enthusiastic about joining other E.U. countries in making the ill-fated protocol an all-E.U. affair? (thanks to Brendan Fitzsimons and Barry Hearn for the intel.)
Bush Rejects Kyoto (31 March 2001)
President Bush has followed up his public letter to Senator Hagel with a clear statement this week that the United States government does not support the Kyoto Protocol, and will have nothing further to do with it. He has not ruled out follow-up negotiations on climate, but made his terms clear for any future agreement. It must not harm the U.S. economy, and no major portion of the world's nations can be exempt from whatever actions are agreed. This contrasts with the unrealistic Kyoto arrangement where only the western industrial countries were required to cut CO2 emissions, and to do so based on 1990 as reference year.
Use of 1990 was a ploy put up by the European Union to enable them to capitalise economically on restructuring to energy industries in U.K., Germany and France during the 1990s for reasons unrelated to climate. Other countries like the U.S. and Australia did not have this `head start' to make their emissions reductions easier to accomplish.
If President Bush does put up new proposals, the first aspect of Kyoto which should be dumped is the fraudulent use of 1990 as reference year. Then let's see how enthusiastic the E.U. is about emission cuts.
This week's scare story in the greenhouse saga comes from Australia. Without waiting to publish results, without waiting for peer review, expeditioners of the Australian Antarctic Division returning from 5 months at Heard Island deep in the Southern Ocean
(53.10S 73.51 E), were scarcely ashore at Hobart before they were before the media telling tales of climate woe from Heard.
There are two ways in which the public can approach scientific, or pseudo-scientific claims.
One is to accept the `authority' of the source of those claims, usually scientists, sometimes the media, political figures, Nobel laureates, even film stars.
Another is to independently consider the evidence itself and make a considered judgement without regard to the academic `authority' of the source.
The first encourages uncritical compliance with what may be a bogus orthodoxy. The second is what good citizenship requires, to accept nothing on authority alone, but to review and assess the evidence for oneself.
Suppose we had gone along with `authority' in the 1970s? We would have been frantic about avoiding the next ice age. In the 1980s, we would have been building shelters against the `nuclear winter' (another discredited theory). In Britain, `authority' reassured the public about BSE disease until it had spread uncontrollably. Authority is used to promote genetic engineering of our food supply and even human reproduction itself with arrogant disregard for public misgivings about the use of such technology.
For these reasons, `authority' cannot be trusted to decide, without public debate, such key questions involving public policy.
The greenhouse industry makes much of a supposed `consensus' of 2,500 scientists, again an appeal to `authority', but on closer examination, most of these were government officials, with only about 400 actual scientists, a large proportion of whom were in fields unrelated to climate. The IPCC has made a specialty of avoiding any public debate, preferring instead media circuses to hand down their findings playing the `authority' card for all its worth.
Robert Watson of the IPCC is now defending the actions of the greenhouse industry against the new Bush policy by claiming that scientists were united 98-2 or even 99-1 in favour of the global warming theory. He exaggerates of course, as always, but forgets one little thing.
One of the `1' happens to be the President of the United States.
Climate conferences are lavish affairs, rarely held in ordinary places, but rather in exotic locations, less a conference, more a holiday junket for over-stressed climatologists.
The latest in the southern hemisphere is the `14th Australia New Zealand Climate Forum', to be held for four days in September, an opportunity for scientists in this part of the world to meet (yet again) and compare papers (repeating all the same tired old themes). But a glance at the map of Australia and New Zealand and where the main populations are located easily show where the optimum location for such a conference should be, a location which would minimise air travel for the participants, to demonstrate their commitment to avoiding excessive use of greenhouse gases in unnecessary travel. They lecture the rest of us all the time on the need for such restraint. Sydney, Melbourne or Canberra would be the optimum locations to minimise such costs to an environment they claim to hold so dear.
But not for them. "Do as we say, not as we do" is their catchcry. This conference is to be held in Darwin, Northern Territory, about as far away as one can get from all the main centres of academic activity. The location will involve the attending scientists to travel thousands of kilometres, emitting tons of greenhouse gases on the way, just to have a taxpayer-funded junket in a balmy tropical setting.
This comes at a time when the greenhouse industry is exhorting all Australians and New Zealanders to economise on the use of fossil fuels. From their actions, rather than their words, it is clear they are not really serious about climate change at all, but simply indulging their own appetite for exotic travel in the name of `fighting climate change'.
Bush Emissions Policy (14 Mar 2001)
In a letter to U.S. Senator Hagel
(R - Nebraska), President Bush has for the first time spelled out in detail his administration's position regarding carbon dioxide
emissions from electric power stations.
This is the self-explanatory title of a recent paper by P. Winsor of the Earth Sciences Centre of Göteborg University, Sweden, just published in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL v.28, no.6, pp1039-1041, March 15 2001). The study analysed sea ice thickness data from six submarine cruises, concluding - "This extensive data set shows that there was no trend towards a thinning ice cover during the 1990s."
The ice area studied was of transects from the Beaufort Sea (just north of Canada and Alaska) to the North Pole itself. While the North Pole has been the subject of recent scare stories (see special report on the North Pole here), this study found that in the Beaufort-North Pole transect, there was a slight increase in mean ice thickness at the North Pole and a slight decrease in the Beaufort Sea, neither of which was considered significant in the study. It was noted however that the Beaufort Sea showed larger variability from year to year.
This paper contradicts claims by environmentalists that the polar sea ice has been thinning during the 1990s.
World to Cool Substantially by 2030? (12 Mar 2001)
This is the controversial claim by Janardhan Negi, a geophysicist and emeritus scientist at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in India. The reason, according to Negi, is the variability of the sun. Using a combination of statistical analyses of past temperatures, evidence from sediments over the last 3,500 years, and analysis of solar cycle data, he concluded that the 20th century warming was merely a recovery to `normal' from the Little Ice Age, most of this occurring before 1940. Negi says that `solar activity and not human activity is contributing to the observed temperature variations'.
`Nature's' Freudian Slip (13 Mar 2001)
The scientific journal `Nature' ran a cover story this
week about the latest findings by Lindzen and GISS (see `A
High Silver Lining' story right), on the `Iris Effect' of cirrus clouds
and their cooling effect on surface warming. In what must have been a Freudian
slip in the story, Nature said -
The key slip here is the remark ` when sea surface is warmer and therefore so too is the atmosphere above the sea'. Oh really?
A National Research Council panel looked into this problem a year ago and took what was essentially a political, not scientific, position. They claimed that both the surface record was right and the satellites/sondes records were right, the growing disparity between the two being blamed on some unknown process in the atmosphere, so unknown that it has never been theorised, never been modelled, never been observed. Nature took no issue with these `findings' by the NRC, but here they are a year later, their guard down, and admit what every climatologist knows - that a warmer surface makes the atmosphere above warmer too, and vice versa.
If Nature admits this in another context, how do they explain the lack of warming shown by both satellite and sonde records when the surface record shows warming? Only one reasonable explanation is possible - the surface record is wrong, very wrong.
"Is the South Pole Melting?" was the
lurid headline to the latest piece of propaganda directed
this time at young children by those media icons ABC and MSN via the
ABC4Kids site. It even sports the Disney logo.
`Children's Exercise' (8 Mar 2001)
This is how MIT 's Professor of Meteorology, Dr Richard Lindzen describes the latest UN-IPCC report, adding that the Kyoto Treaty it promotes "is absurd".
In a recent interview with James Glassman, Dr. Lindzen said that the latest report of the UN-IPCC (that he helped author), "was very much a children's exercise of what might possibly happen" prepared by a "peculiar group" with "no technical competence."
He adds, "We've already signed on to the framework convention in 1990 saying that we'll always want the Kyoto-type process going on. So one has to think through a variety of decisions and get out of this loop."
In the interview, Lindzen said that there is very little consensus on global warming in the scientific community, a fact reflected in the U.N. report. "The very structure of the report acknowledges that there are hundreds of different specialties that now call themselves climate, which didn't 10 years ago. And they all want a piece of the action. That itself is a problem."
Linzden also discussed a new study out this month that he conducted with NASA scientists, which shows that cirrus clouds over the tropics "act as an effective thermostat." He added, "Our personal feeling is that you're not going to see due to man's activities...much more than a degree and probably a lot less by 2100."
The March issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reports a newly discovered climatic effect which is not presently included in climate models. Scientists from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that "High clouds over the western tropical Pacific Ocean seem to systematically decrease when sea surface temperatures are higher." They compare this observed inverse relationship to the eye's iris, which opens and closes to counter changes in light intensity. Another recent study by the University of Utah (GRL, 28, 4, 729-732, Feb 15 2001) found a similar phenomenon at work.
It is well established that clouds cool the planet. They keep the surface warm at night, but cool it during the day due to the cloud tops reflecting sunlight. The cooling effect is dominant and therefore a hypothetical warming of the planet creating greater cloudiness, would result in a strong restraint on further warming, a `negative feedback'.
There is one exception - cirrus clouds. These are those high-altitude wispy clouds that one can see on a fine day. The heat of the sun penetrates them easily, so their reflectivity effect is small, but their greenhouse effect to infra-red radiation from the ground is strong making the presence of cirrus clouds exert a net warming effect.
This latest discovery shows that over warmer surfaces, the presence of cirrus cloud reduces due to a proportionate warming of the whole atmospheric column, so that infra-red radiation is able to more freely escape to space, thus putting a cooling brake on the warming. In other words, NASA and MIT have discovered a major negative feedback, one which they call the `Iris Effect'.
The study compared observations of cloud cover from the GMS-5 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite with sea surface temperature data taken over a 20-month period (January 1998 to August 1999). It was found that cumulus cloud towers produced less cirrus clouds when they moved over warmer ocean regions.
According to a NASA press release on the discovery, "If this `Iris Effect' is found to be a general process active in tropical oceans around the world, the Earth may be much less sensitive to the warming effects of such influences as rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. .. this effect could cut by two-thirds the projected increase in global temperatures initiated by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."
The modellers have always been quick to incorporate `positive feedbacks' (any process which might enhance warming), but very slow to include, or even acknowledge, negative feedbacks which restrain warming. It remains to be seen how quickly these new findings are incorporated into the models.
It also means that the latest much-hyped UN-IPCC report is dead news.
Another scare story, this time about loss of snow from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a 5,900 metre mountain sitting almost on the Equator. It is the mountain's height which allows snow and ice to accumulate on its summit in spite of being in the tropics
"The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are rapidly receding, scientists reported this past weekend
Here are three views of Mount Kilimanjaro taken from the same angle, 21 years apart. Sources are linked.
In addition to the transient snow which comes and goes near the crater summit of this old volcano, there is also a large ice field with glaciers reaching down the slopes. These glaciers have been receding during the 20th century.
Also during the 20th century, the sun has been getting hotter, hotter than at any time since solar observations began around 1600 AD, a particularly significant factor given Kilimanjaro's location near the Equator. Glaciers respond very slowly to such changes, but Thompson is in no doubt that `climate change' (UN code for human-induced warming) is responsible, even though the warmer sun would be a more than sufficient explanation.
So the question is - are the Kilimanjaro glaciers getting their warmth from the sun, or from the CO2 greenhouse effect? The sun is a primary energy source, the greenhouse effect being secondary. But Thompson and his UN colleagues are quick to blame the secondary source without any evidence to support such attribution.
We know the sun has warmed in the 20th century. That is an indisputable fact. But has the atmosphere been warming in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro, and most particularly has the atmosphere been warming at that altitude? Thompson's claim would suggest an atmospheric warming was at work. Fortunately we have a means to determine atmospheric temperature at that location and at that altitude - those very inconvenient satellites again.
The above graph is a satellite measured temperature trace from January 1979 to January 2001, for 3.75S 36.25E, the same location as Kilimanjaro itself. More importantly, the satellites record temperatures in the free atmosphere between 1,000 and 8,000 metres altitude, Kilimanjaro being at 5,900 metres, right within the measured altitude range. Not only has there been no overall warming, but the coldest month in the entire series is actually the latest one.
Clearly, if one third of the glaciers have melted off during the last dozen years as Thompson says, it has certainly not been caused by atmospheric warming. That leaves only the sun, the obvious candidate anyway, and only ideological commitment to the UN-IPCC policies could blame man for what is obviously a natural process.
Following from the `Molotov Cocktail' story (here), the Australian federal government has finally bowed to public pressure and cut petrol taxes by 1½ cents per litre. In addition, they have abandoned the long-standing policy of indexing taxes to the world oil price.
The decision comes in the wake of humiliating defeats in recent state elections in Western Australia and Queensland.
There are wider implications for climate policy. While the Australian Greenhouse Office (story left) lives in its own fantasy world of curbing petrol consumption in its quest for the Green Holy Grail, the rest of the government has taken a reverse course, putting climate policy at the bottom of its list of political priorities.
Carbon taxes, loudly demanded by the Greens, are now off the mainstream political agenda in a belated recognition that the terms of the Kyoto Protocol were never acceptable to the Australian public.
The government controlled
Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) is now using its bloated
annual $200 million budget to `educate' the Australian population into changing their behaviour
through a new propaganda campaign of TV and newspaper ads, focus groups,
stakeholder meetings, and `educational' kits for schools and colleges.
However it can be useful. By polarising the debate and enabling groups to choose and voice their opposing concerns, middle ground is readily established as both reasonable and attainable for the majority of the population.
If governments are to use controversy productively, they need to be ready to identify and describe the middle ground with their
own messages and to guide most of the national conversation away from the extremes.."
But having given up on that idea (`free speech' is such an inconvenience to would-be bureaucratic commissars), the AGO now appear to be intent on using sceptics as tokens in a bogus `conversation', in reality to parade them as examples of `extremism' and thus monopolise the debate for themselves with their `middle ground'. But their middle ground is itself the worst of extremes - to encourage the crippling of the economy for the sake of a failed theory, failed models, and a corrupted science.
A political earthquake has shaken Australia in the past week. Two state elections only a week apart in Western Australia and Queensland have resulted in
resounding victories for the Labour Party, particularly crushing in Queensland where Labour has won
three-quarters of the seats in state Parliament.
The latest seasonal outlook summary from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
(BoM) says, "Most interest at the moment is centred on the Pacific Ocean to see if the early signs of an El Niño event unfold." They went on to say,
"While the majority of computer models are not predicting an El Niño at this stage, a few are for the second half of the year..."
A recent paper by Clarke & Gorder in Geophysical Research Letters (GRL, v.28 no.4, p.579, 15 Feb 2001) presents a model of precursor zonal windstress anomalies in the western equatorial Pacific as a way to predict it several months ahead. They tested their model against past El Niñoes, but of course that is merely retrodiction, not prediction, and they are using
already observed precursors as a tell-tale sign that one might be imminent.
This is the title of a new book by Dr M. Mihkel Mathiesen, recently published in the USA by Writers Club Press.
`Global Warming' must be the one thing Russians are praying for. All across Russia, this winter has seen frigid temperatures which have surprised even the cold hardy Russians.
Worst hit is Siberia and the Russian Far East provinces where temperatures have fallen to below -40°C, which, coupled with fuel shortages and power cuts (a legacy of the crumbling Soviet infrastructure), has left whole populations in a state of frozen misery.
In their present predicament, Russians would be the last people to cut back on fossil fuels - if they can find any.
The Russian deep freeze has been mirrored in Mongolia, Central Asia and China where winter temperatures there have also been the worst experienced in decades.
On Friday in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the famous weather prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, signalled six more weeks of wintry weather for the US . Phil saw his shadow when he emerged from his lair, taken to be a sure sign of more wintry weather to come. Phil became a world celebrity when he was featured in the movie "Groundhog Day".
If the forecast proves accurate, perhaps Phil could be put permanently on the federal payroll as Chief Meteorologist. It would be cheap at the price. Now all we need is Punxsutawney Phil's verdict on `global warming'.
Industry Blitz (8 Feb 2001)
In what has been a clearly orchestrated campaign over the last few weeks, the media has been reporting one scary greenhouse story after another. No less than three international climate conferences at Shanghai, Nairobi, and Hobart, have made the headlines, predicting doom and disaster on the basis of
failed `models', failed theories, and a lot of wishful thinking.
`California Dreaming' would be an apt way to describe energy policy in California for the last 15 years. In that time, no new power stations have been built, in spite of rapidly rising population and demand. Pandering to unrealistic Green demands has contributed considerably to this investment paralysis.
Added to that is a new `de-regulation' policy for the industry which pegged consumer electricity prices at uneconomically low prices. The result has been a desperate shortage of electricity this winter, resulting in rotating power cuts across northern and central California.
To fill the shortfall, the electricity utilities have been obliged to buy power from other states at much higher wholesale prices than they can charge their consumers. The result has been that some of these utilities are virtually bankrupt and can no longer buy power on credit.
To complete the insanity, the California legislature is now using the credit of the state government to buy power from interstate and subsidise its supply to consumers.
From an outsider point of view, California is now reaping the consequences of listening too much to Green and consumer groups at the expense of economic reality.
The UN’s panel on climate change (IPCC) have released the final version of the `Third Assessment Report' (TAR) of the IPCC scientific group at a U.N. climate conference in Shanghai, China. It was touted as a `new' report, but a draft of it was leaked to the US media last November, just hours before Al Gore's policy speech on climate.
The report has lived down to
expectations, containing the same hysterical claims, the same lack of sound science that we have come to expect from the
UN body, coupled with the same tired old cliches about things being `much worse than previously thought’.
The `Polar Bird' departed Hobart, Tasmania, on 31st December, bound for Australia's Casey Station in the Antarctic, having failed to get there on the previous voyage in November and December due to being stuck for 3 weeks in summer sea ice.
On this voyage, she again got stuck in sea ice on 7th January, about 72 nautical miles out from Casey Station. Since then, she has been edging slowly westward away from Casey as shown on this Antarctic Division map -
The red track and blue cross shows the position of `Polar Bird' on 20th January. The orange track shows the position of the `Aurora Australis' near Mawson Station, a large icebreaker which may have to sail to the aid of `Polar Bird' as she did previously. However, she is not expected to be available for a rescue for another week.
Shortly after becoming stuck, the `Polar Bird's helicopter was damaged when it rolled on take-off from the ship, thus further disrupting its supply functions to Casey Station.
`Polar Bird' has now been icebound for nearly 2 weeks in the Antarctic summer season. Added to the 3 weeks she was icebound in December, it is clear that the claimed `global warming' has had no significant impact on Antarctic sea ice in the vicinity of Casey.
23 Jan 2001 - The latest position information from `Polar Bird' indicates she has broken free from the ice and is currently sailing at 11.5 knots toward Casey Station on a south-easterly heading. Last reported position was 64.57S 109.36E
She was stuck in ice for two weeks, which, added to the three weeks entrapment a month ago, makes for 5 weeks lost time this season. `Polar Bird' has a strengthened hull for sea ice, but is not an icebreaker as such. Clearly, the need for proper icebreakers to serve the Antarctic bases has not diminished.
The satellite data is the only fully validated measure of atmospheric temperature. The satellites began their work in January 1979.
2000 is the 14th warmest since 1979, or put another way - the 9th coldest. This accords with anecdotal evidence from around the world of generally cool conditions for most of the year, consistent with 2000 being a La Niña year.
Data Sets Still at Odds (12 Jan 01)
From the above, we can see that 2000 was the 9th warmest year in 22 years in the surface record, but 14th warmest on the satellite record. The surface record has grown a full quarter deg. C. compared with the satellites, thanks mostly to urban heat islands and geographical spread errors.
The satellites are validated by sonde balloon data. The surface record is not validated by anything, and is known to be fraught with numerous errors. For the industry to prefer it to the satellite record is an ideological, not scientific, choice.
How Warm Was 2000? (14 Jan 2001)
It was as warm as the most extreme data set says it is. That's the way the greenhouse industry works.
According to the satellite data, 2000 was only 14th warmest since 1979. According to the surface record using only meteorological stations, it was 9th warmest since 1979, and 9th warmest since 1880.
But NOAA claims that 2000 was 5th warmest since 1880! What could induce them to make such a claim - and disregard other data sets as if they did not even exist?
NOAA are using a dataset which grafts together data from meteorological stations with historical sea surface temperature (SSTs), using it as a proxy for atmospheric temperature over the 71% of the planet covered by seas and oceans.
SST data is about the worst and least accurate of all data sets, as it is a ragbag of readings from buckets hoisted onto the decks of ships, of water intakes in ships hulls, and much later SSTs taken from satellites and ocean buoys.
Not only is the SST data fraught with errors, but a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters (Jan. 1, 2001) has found that SST itself does not even make a good proxy for atmospheric temperature.
It was found that sea temperature trends recorded by 19 buoys moored throughout the tropical Pacific (i.e. El Niño territory), measured at 4 metres depth were quite different to trends measured at only 1 metre depth.
Even worse, the air temperatures measured by the same buoys
at a height of only three metres above the sea surface showed less of a warming trend than did the same buoy's
water temperatures at one meter depth.
While these readings were incorporated into the temperature record as sea "surface" temperatures, most ships draw cooling water from as deep as 10 metres below the surface, often at varying depths depending upon the state of the ships cargo loading.
In other words, not only is NOAA being selective about which data set it views as being authoritative in determining global mean temperature, but it has chosen to use a data set which the latest scientific evidence shows to contain a false proxy.
Only the satellite record has proved its worth against several rigorous reviews.
An `oxymoron' - a phrase or expression which contradicts itself, like
`deafening silence' or `fighting for
The northern winter can no longer be dismissed as an isolated `cold snap'. Right across the northern hemisphere, the story has been the same - freezing cold, snow blizzards, and record-breaking low temperatures.
In the USA, the Great Lakes have been freezing over, requiring the use of ice breakers to maintain shipping traffic. In December, two ships were stuck in the icy Detroit River causing a two-day traffic jam for shipping. Lakes Huron, Erie and Michigan have extensive areas of surface ice, with the passage between Lakes Michigan and Huron requiring constant icebreaking to keep the channel open.
The cooling was widespread with 43 states recording subnormal temps.
All-time state cold records were set in Missouri, Arkansas and
Oklahoma. Buffalo received its earliest 100 inch snow total ever at
the start of this month. The 13.4 inches of snow that fell in
New York City's Central Park in December made it the
December in the U.S. was the
coldest on record, averaging 33.8°F, breaking the previous record of
34.2°F set in 1898. According to the National Climate Center, "The eastern and western United States will experience additional
cold outbreaks at least through March with periods of moderation
Mongolia in central Asia has again been gripped by a `Zud', freezing conditions which are deadly for the livestock upon which much of the population is dependent. In sub-tropical Florida, farmers have found their citrus trees under attack from the cold.
Even in the southern hemisphere, which is having its summer, highland residents in Tasmania awoke on Christmas morning to a deep cover of snow. Meanwhile an Australian Antarctic supply vessel, Polar Bird, found itself trapped in sea ice for over 3 weeks at a time when we were all told that summer sea ice at the poles was thinning.
But all this did not begin in November. The cooling in the USA began as early as June last year when summer temperatures across the eastern half of the US were well below normal, a cooling which extended into the autumn (or `fall').
The NOAA put on a defensive smokescreen of spin in the hope that the cooling would be temporary, constantly pointing to the mild winter and warm spring which preceded the cooling early in 2000. But now, months later, the cooling has persisted, raising the possibility that we may be witnessing a periodic climate `shift', the last one being a warm shift around 1976-77.
An article titled `Stormy Weather but No Sign of a Thaw in Frozen Attitudes' by Polly Toynbee was published in the normally staid British `Guardian' on 28th December 2000. It was an appalling example of scaremongering at its worst and was notable only for her failure to substantiate her extreme claims.
"This year global warming became an incontrovertible fact." She obviously only reads the Green press. Numerous articles and papers question the very foundations of that theory.
"The Hague summit collapsed while the minimalist Kyoto protocols remained unsigned by the world's greatest carbon dioxide emitter which elected (or rather, selected) a new president not only born and bred on oil, but who was set upon the US throne by oilmen's money." Is this serious journalistic comment? Apart from the possible libel directed at President-elect Bush, she focuses only on CO2 emissions and not on sinks. What matters is net emissions, not total emissions.
The Europeans are the biggest net emitters on the planet, having no adequate sinks to deal with their own emissions. By contrast, the US, Canada and Australia are low net emitters due to the existence of adequate sinks like forests. This was the key point upon which the Hague conference failed.
"The ice cap was found full of water and holes." Reality check: It always is. It always has, especially in summer when gullible IPCC scientists go there on guided tours.
"polar bears started to die" No source given for this. It's obviously a quote taken straight out of some Green flyer, with no substantiation.
"After Kyoto there was a concerted corporate denial of global warming. The biggest oil companies - Exxon Mobil, the giant of them all - spent large sums assembling 'scientists' to attest that it was all nonsense." I'm still waiting for the cheque. This was a second possibly libellous allegation in the one article. She did not state which scientists were involved nor how Exxon Mobil funded them. Such a serious allegation deserved more than a mere unsupported claim.
"But in the three years since, the climate has changed yet faster than predicted." Yes, we had an El Niño, a big one, quite unrelated to human activity, but which the greenhouse industry have been milking for all its worth ever since.
"Water levels will rise by seven metres, wiping out every major coastal city in the world." No source given, no justification for such an outrageous claim, given that the latest IPCC report only speaks in terms of 50 centimetres.
"There has never been a climate change so sharp or fast, with no time for adaptation." She really should take a history lesson here. Sharp shifts in climate are littered throughout recorded history. There is no law of nature that says our societies should fare any differently.
But much more ominous - "We may have reached the limits of democracy." Translation: `the Greens can't win by the ballot box (Nader only got 3% of the US vote) so we will consider gaining power by other means.' An attack on democracy is a sure sign that her squalid attempt at intimidation of her readers is failing.
This latest shift in the global weather, coupled with an incoming US administration which shows little interest in indulging the interests of the greenhouse industry, leaves the hapless Kyoto Protocol dead in the water. Only the European Union is mourning that document, as its terms, negotiated and consented to by Al Gore, were tailored to suit the economic interests of the Europeans. The party is now over. (thanks to many contributors for the intel.)
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