`Stop Press' Stories

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For stories January to April 2001, see below

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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)

`Nenana Ice Classic' - Alaska's Coolest Lottery !  (25 April 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. 

Going... going... gone! 
2 seconds before break-up (photo: courtesy of Julie Coghill of Solar Power Press, Fairbanks, Alaska)

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.

Sea Level Dives in the Maldives   (25 April 2001)

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. 

In an article titled
"No Noah's flood" in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet on 15th April 2001, Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, professor of paleogeophysics and geodynamics at Stockholm University, Sweden (and also president  of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution) states - 

"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.”

One litmus location has been the Maldives Islands in the centre of the Indian Ocean, a coral group, which the IPCC says will drown under rising seas within a few decades (IPCC TAR chapter 11)

The IPCC prediction is based only on computer modelling, but INQUA sent a scientific expedition to the Maldives last November to find out for sure.

The result: In the Maldive Islands the sea level has risen not so much as a millimetre during the last century. Instead it has FALLEN by at least 10 centimetres (or 4 inches) within the last 20-30 years. 

And in the next 100 years the sea level is unlikely to vary more than around 10-20 centimetres. 

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 predictions.

Thanks to Timo Hämeranta, Per Ericson and Agust Bjarnason for the intel.

This Week's Global Warming Scare  (28 April 2001)

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.

The usual media circus promoted the story, well orchestrated, and holding the field to itself until next week. 
See the BBC version here.

This time, it was the turn of those `Gnomes of Norwich', Philip Jones, Tim Osborn and Keith Briffa, all veterans of the doomsayer tradition of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at Norwich, England. If there is a `central politburo' of the greenhouse industry, CRU is undoubtedly it. 

In their latest paper, they claim that 
"a thousand years' climate records show the last three decades were the millennium's warmest."

Written numerical records only go back to the late 19th century and then mainly for the northern hemisphere. Proxy indicators such as tree rings, are not really `records' at all but merely fuzzy indicators, some of which - like boreholes - scarcely deserve to be regarded as proxies at all.

For example, tree rings can only hint at whether environmental conditions were favourable to tree growth or not (temperature cannot be separated out from the other environmental factors), they only exist on forested land of course (only about 15% of the planet), and then only in summer, not the whole year.  Yet on that narrow base, some tree ring people claim to be able to calculate annual global mean temperature.  As a global  temperature proxy, tree rings are highly over-rated.

The majority of proxies, particularly the more reliable ones like ice cores and sediments, clearly indicate that the early period of the millennium was warmer than the 20th century. Even human historical accounts confirm that basic fact of early climate.

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.

The CRU trio cited tree rings, ice cores, documentary records, corals etc. and came to the conclusion, (surprise, surprise) that the 20th century was the warmest century of the last 1,000 years, and the last 30 years the warmest of the 20th century. This claim is quite false as there is a mountain of published papers in the scientific literature which contradicts it, all showing that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today.

This latest CRU claim is identical to the `Hockey Stick' theory first promoted by Michael Mann over two years ago, and now discredited.

It is precisely the hostile reaction by many scientists to the `Hockey Stick' theory which may have prompted this rearguard action to defend it - and thus prop up the latest IPCC report which unwisely committed itself to this bankrupt theory of past climates.

Click here for `The Hockey Stick: A New Low in Climate Science'.

Temperature-to-CO2 Proved  (19 April 2001)

Some studies get the full media treatment because they support global warming claims. The others just get ignored.

A recent paper titled `Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination' by Monnin et al. appeared without fanfare in Science (Science, vol.291, p.112, 5 Jan 2001), and addressed a long-standing point of contention between promoters and sceptics of global warming.

During the transition from the last Ice Age to our present Interglacial (or warm period), did rising CO2 cause temperatures to rise, or did rising temperatures cause CO2 to rise?  Global warming promoters frequently claimed or implied the former as a means to `prove' that CO2 really can warm the planet. 

Although it has been known for a long time that CO2 changes were correlated with temperature changes, the question as to which causes which has been a controversial issue.  No more.  We now know for sure.  

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.

Coincidence? - or Orchestration?  (15 Apr 2001)

Over the last several months, an odd trend has emerged in how the greenhouse industry presents its successive scare stories.

The rule appears to be - `one per week'.

Each new story (usually based on a journal paper) rarely overlaps with another. Each  seems to follow about a week after the previous story, thus keeping the general public in a permanent state of climate anxiety. Is this coincidence - or is there a degree of journal and media  orchestration going on, science in the service of political propaganda? 

This week, the journal Science (the same people who use `tick-a-box' as their idea of peer review) published two papers on consecutive pages (Science, v.292, p.267-274), one by Levitus et al. claiming to have measured man-made warming, the other by Barnett et al. claiming to have correlated ocean warming with a new model (yes, yet another model).

As examples of bad greenhouse science, these papers are discussed at length
here. However, equally interesting is how these papers attracted such a blaze of instant publicity worldwide?

Here are some timelines -

The Levitus paper was submitted to Science on 11 Dec 2000, the Barnett paper on 14 Dec 2000. The Levitus paper was accepted by Science for publication on 2nd March 2001, the Barnett paper on 7th March 2001.

However, Jeff Hecht of the popular science glossy, New Scientist, wrote a summary article about both papers which he dated 12 Feb 2001, five weeks before they had even been accepted for publication by Science.

Science finally published both papers in their 13th April edition, followed only two days later by Hecht's summary article in the 15th April edition of New Scientist.

One can imagine the panic of activity at New Scientist as the editor yells "Stop the Presses!" as he rushes to get the Hecht story into print only 2 days after Science released the papers.

Or, `New Scientist' may have had advance notice of both the content of the papers and their intended publication date so that they could match the publication date of the Hecht article right on the heels of Science. Take your pick as to the most likely scenario.

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.

Next week, there will doubtless be another scare story to alarm the public (who must be getting immune to it by now), sufficient time to let this one run its course.

It's not illegal, nor even unethical. But it is a  clear example of manipulation of public opinion to serve environmentalist politics. 

`New Evidence'  (14 Apr 2001)

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. 

Story reprinted here

Chilled Wine  (14 Apr 2001)

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.

"So much for global warming." said one grower after surveying frost damage in neighbouring vineyards. "There's damage on hillside vineyards where there's never been damage before, at least in the 37 years I've been farming out here." he said.  Presumably he is not a Kyoto fan either.

Frost is lethal for grapes at this time of year, when vulnerable spring shoots begin to sprout.

Further south, the Mojave Desert area of southern California has had a rather cool winter. Not record breaking, but definitely on the cold side of normal.

One correspondent has lived in this area for 20 years and says he cannot remember a winter with as many snow days. He said, "Some winters (including last winter) we get none. Others we get a handful, 3-4. But for a while in January and February it seemed like we were getting flurries every night of the week!"

His local paper, the `Daily Press', had the following story on April 10th - "Spring storm sprinkles snow on Victor Valley". Apparently, that in itself is odd for this area.

Opinion - `Models or Mimics?'  (14 Apr 2001)

Are computer climate models the best way to research climate?  Should public policy be dictated by them?

Natural climate processes are in a continuous dynamic state of flux, but it is an analogue system, whereas a model is digital. Climate resolves its imbalances through continuous balancing of competing forces acting over time scales from the speed of light to decades whereas models resolve their imbalances via millions or billions of feedback iterations using non-linear equations defined for them by the modellers. That method positively invites chaos effects in the model results, regardless of the size or complexity of the model.

Consider the action of a fielder in a cricket or baseball game. Some athletes can throw the ball a great distance, and with uncanny accuracy hit their tiny target spot on.  How do they do it?  How would a model do it?  The player does not solve millions of simultaneous equations and calculus problems in his head as he eyes the target, gathers strength in his arm, and throws.  Instead, his action is analogue, perfect continuous co-ordination between eyes, arms, brain, `feel' for the weight of the ball, judging of trajectory, application of force etc.  But the model?  It will solve the same mathematical problem by repetitive calculation (iterations) of complex equations involving force, gravity, trajectory, range, distance etc. to achieve an inferior result.

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

`Cigarette Science' (8 Apr 2001)

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."

Harsh words 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 companies. The 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 isolation. 

But William Gray does question it - 

"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.

Snow Job (8 Apr 2001)

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.

In 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 !

Since October, Newfoundland has been hit with enough snow to reach the top of a two-storey building. Weather experts say Newfoundland can expect to see wintry conditions for at least two more weeks.  Kyoto Protocol anyone?

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.) 

Dublin snowscape.  Photo © Brendan Fitzsimons

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.

The Hot Rock (30 Mar 2001)

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.

Their story basically was that Heard Island, diameter 25 km, had warmed three-quarters of a degree celsius in 60 years, "coastal glaciers are rapidly retreating, the sea is invading, and vegetation is expanding as ice steadily disappears at this wilderness on the edge of the polar climate zone." One of the expeditioners claimed a glacier tongue had receded 500 metres in 14 years. Scary.

Claims of atmospheric warming at Heard were based entirely on glacier retreat, not on measured temperature. This is because there is no permanent weather station there. Many glaciers in the world (e.g. Iceland) have been observed to retreat with no change in atmospheric temperature. Thus, such retreats can only be caused by increased solar radiation in recent decades or rebound from the earlier Little Ice Age.

The reported `impacts' of this real or imagined warming at Heard were dire too. More vegetation (tut-tut), more sea birds (shaking heads), many more fur seals (gasp!), and 25,000 king penguin pairs compared with only 3 pairs in 1947 (horror!). With all that new wild life bursting out all over, climate change must be `much worse than previously thought' (the now standard cliche to grab attention).

But the expeditioners were not telling the whole story. The island is volcanic. It has two volcanoes, the bigger of the two recently active. There were eruptions in 1881, 1910, 1950-1954, and  in 1985 when there was an eruption of lava flow. Satellite images and observations from an Australian base revealed additional eruptive activity in 1992. Earthquakes were felt on the island by a team of biologists in Dec. 1992. A new lava flow was observed in mid-January 1993. On Jan. 5, 1997, a pilot on an Antarctic sightseeing tour near Heard Island saw a volcanic plume. That's six recorded eruptive episodes since 1947 when the first expedition visited Heard. However, the expeditioners coyly described the island's volcanic state as `semi-active'.

So Heard Island is a hot rock, and some ice has melted on it. Time to hit the panic button.

`Authority' (8 Apr 2001)

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 Junket (29-Mar-2001)

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.

"I do not believe that the government should impose on power plants mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a 'pollutant' under the Clean Air Act." said Bush. He also pointed to the "incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climate change and the lack of commercially available technologies for removing and storing carbon dioxide."

He also cited the rising cost and shortages of energy, and the desperate power shortage in California.

His statement puts the final nail in the coffin of the Kyoto Protocol, which, although already dead in the water, has nevertheless provided a rallying point for environmentalists worldwide. With the protocol having now effectively run out of time (countries were supposed to cut emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012 - a quite impossible target for any country now), there is simply nothing left of the protocol around which to negotiate. The Green philosophy can be summed up in one word - `stop'. They have no alternative on offer to replace fossil fuels, just lots of catchy slogans and clichés like `solar not nuclear', `renewables', `no dams', etc., none of which make any engineering sense. Bush correctly recognised that without an economically viable technology for CO
2 removal, merely `stopping' emissions regardless of consequences, is simply not an option. 

There is now no possible way for the U.S. to achieve the kind of deep emission cuts so readily agreed to by Al Gore three years ago - short of President Bush taking the U.S. economy over a cliff and triggering the mother of all depressions.

See the letter by President Bush here

`Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Remained Constant During the 1990s' (12 Mar 2001)

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'.

For a more detailed report on these findings from India, see the Indian `Sunday Observer' article here

`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 - 
(Lindzen et al) found that when sea surface is warmer and therefore so too is the atmosphere above the sea, the production of cirrus clouds slows down." 

The key slip here is the remark ` when sea surface is warmer and therefore so too is the atmosphere above the sea'. Oh really?
So Nature thinks that a warmer surface
`therefore' makes the atmosphere above warmer also. They are of course quite right. But where does that leave the conflict between the surface record and the satellites/sondes records, which show a warming surface but a mostly non-warming atmosphere?

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. 

U.S. Media Child Abuse (14 Mar 2001)

"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.

Even truth would not excuse such a frightening presentation of climate to young children, but the worst part about this story is that it is not even true!

See the annual mean temperature for the South Pole here. Not only is it too cold for anything to melt, but the record shows the South Pole to be cooling.

The same applies to the sea ice around Antarctica. It has been growing in extent since 1980, not shrinking, as shown by this satellite-derived graph of Antarctic sea ice extent.

These organisations are engaging in outright falsehood and child abuse through promoting a fear campaign among young kids with scant respect for evidence to justify such a campaign.

`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." 

A High Silver Lining  (3 Mar 2001)

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. 

Mount Kilimanjaro (25 Feb 01)

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 ..." 
"According to Lonnie Thompson, a professor of geological sciences, at least one-third of the massive ice field atop Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa has melted over the past dozen years."
(Environment News Network, 22 Feb).

Here are three views of Mount Kilimanjaro taken from the same angle, 21 years apart. Sources are linked.

Kilimanjaro in 1976

A bit more snow around in 1983...

21 years later in 1997

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.

Petrol Backdown!  (1 Mar 2001)

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.  

Wizards of Oz (27-Feb-2001)

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.

Their approach with focus groups is particularly manipulative. They start by presenting the participants with several motherhood propositions, which of course are readily endorsed by the group, but with each new proposition insidiously building on the last one until the group ends up endorsing the most sweeping  propositions involving central control of social behaviour for what is both an unproven and a highly flawed theory on greenhouse.

But now, sceptics are also to be lured unsuspectingly into this Machiavellian strategy. According to one of the briefing documents on the AGO website -

"Despite the fact that controversy is no stranger in the greenhouse conversation, it is often considered damaging or even dangerous

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.."

So, controversy is `damaging and dangerous', the essential ingredient of totalitarianism, while a raging debate is sanitised to being a mere `conversation'.

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.

Molotov Cocktail (18 Feb 2001)

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 big losers have been the `coalition' parties (the Liberal Party and the National Party), who currently make up the Federal government. A federal election is due later this year and all the indications now are that they are heading for a major defeat federally.  Also losing are the Greens, who gained only 2.5% of the vote in Queensland, and the `Democrats', a pseudo green party who currently hold several federal Senate seats, but whose vote crashed out of sight in both states. 

One change has been the rise of the conservative `One Nation' party, led by Pauline Hanson, whose vote preferences contributed to the defeat of the previous Western Australian Liberal government, and whose support has been around 10 to 20% in the seats they contested. The impact of `One Nation' is likely to be even more significant in the federal election if they choose to direct preferences away from the governing coalition parties.

And the key issue according to the Queensland Labour leader? - PETROL

Petrol has been increasing in price due to the world oil price rise, being a particularly heavy burden in Australia with such big distances between centres. However, what angered the electorate most was the indexed increase in federal  excise taxes on petrol consequent on the rise in the wholesale price. The government had the option to pass up this tax windfall and thereby give some price relief to motorists. Instead, they ignored warnings from their own back-bench MPs and allowed the tax increase to go ahead, an increase which was opposed by the Labour Party.

They have now paid dearly for that mistake at the ballot box. At issue is only a few cents per litre of petrol - a very expensive few cents. Anyone in the greenhouse industry who imagines that massive `carbon taxes' could be sold to the public via the Kyoto Protocol or any other climate treaty had better think again. If the Australian electorate were prepared to revolt at the ballot box over a tax of only a few cents per litre, it takes little imagination to see what would happen to any governing party in a democracy who toyed with the idea of much larger carbon taxes.

Petrol in Australia costs around 90c (Aust.) per litre, or the equivalent of 50c (US) or 30p (UK). In other words, petrol here is much cheaper than in Europe, so any additional fuel taxes in Europe resulting from climate treaties could well result in even bigger defeats for governments there if they fail to heed this timely warning from Australia.

Waiting for El Niño (18 Feb 2001)

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.

Since the last El Niño ended in mid-1998, we have been in a fairly continuous moderate La Niña condition ever since (contrary to model forecasts which claimed the present La Niña would peter out by mid-1999). But now, it's approaching crunch time for many of these models. The El Niño Southern Oscillation is the most dramatic event to happen periodically to global climate and predicting it's timing and intensity before it actually happens has become something of an acid test for climate models. It's no good `predicting' El Niño once its first signs are evident. A real model, if it is worth anything, will publicly predict it well ahead of any precursors and stand or fall by that prediction.

Back in January 1998 at the height of the last El Niño, one of the guest authors on this website, Dr Theodor Landscheidt from Canada, used studies of solar motion cycles to predict the next El Niño
4 years ahead. Here were the key predictions in his paper -

"Precise forecasts that prove correct are the sharpest criterion of effective science...
The next negative extremum in the SOI going along with an El Niño should occur around 2002.9 (± 6 months).
La Niña conditions should prevail till 2000.1 and beyond."

He made two firm predictions here, that the next El Niño peak would be in September 2002 (give or take 6 months), and that a La Niña would see out 1999 and go into 2000 `and beyond'. His second prediction has already succeeded as La Niña did indeed go to 2000.1 `and beyond', in fact `beyond' by another full year. We now have to await the outcome of his critical prediction relating to El Niño peaking late next year. He did acknowledge a low probability of an El Niño starting in early 2001, just as the BoM reports in its latest outlook, but insists that late 2002 is the most likely time for the peak.

If Landscheidt's prediction comes true, he will be bequeathing to the world a means to predict these events not just a few months ahead of time, but
years ahead. The benefits to agriculture and industry would thus be immense. Unfortunately for the greenhouse industry, Landscheidt's model is not a climate model, but a solar model, something the industry is presently unwilling to entertain primarily for reasons of industry self-interest.

His full paper, published on this site in January 1998 (and on continuous display ever since), can be seen

`Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate' (17 Feb 2001)

This is the title of a new  book by Dr M. Mihkel Mathiesen, recently published in the USA by Writers Club Press.

The book on the one hand deals comprehensively with the mountain of physical evidence which shows that the claims of global warming by the IPCC, are at best highly suspect, and at worst completely false.

However, Dr Mathiesen goes a step further and catalogues in great detail a long history of suppression of scientific debate on a variety of recent environmental issues which have become the victim of `political correctness'. He demonstrates convincingly that essential scientific debate on such issues has become paralysed by the pressures of political correctness, or what he calls `spontaneous collective action' which becomes both oblivious to, and even hostile to, any attempt at objective debate, or presentation of contrary evidence.

In dealing with both the science and the political background to the global warming and other scares, his book is a valuable addition to the growing literature calling for a restoration of objectivity and freedom of thought in the environmental sciences.

The book is available in paperback ex-stock from Barnes & Noble. Dr Mathiesen also has his own website here. 

It's Official: Russian Winter Worst in 50 yrs (12 Feb 2001)

`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. 

More Wintry Weather Forecast for the US 
 (3 Feb 01)

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.

The Shanghai meet made a great display of their 40-odd future scenarios, only one of which was talked about - the most extreme one of course. The Nairobi meeting recycled the same predictions from Shanghai, while the Hobart conference on the oceans made the usual noises about rising sea levels. The Hobart sea levels conference was convened only 50 miles from the 1841 sea level benchmark on the `Isle of the dead', but mentioning that unmentionable subject in Hobart would have been like waving a sun-lit cross at a gathering of vampires. They simply do not want to know, and worse still, would prevent the rest of us from knowing if they had their way.

What was clearly evident at all three conferences was that
no new evidence was presented. Physical evidence in particular was lacking, most of the scenarios being based on model studies.

One of the favourite spending items of the financially bloated greenhouse industry is international conferences. You can attend one every week if you want to. They are lavish, always held in exotic locations (never in Manchester or Pittsburg), cost millions to stage, and the combined emission of greenhouse gases by all the limousines, air travel for the participants, and conference venues, would match the annual emissions of many substantial towns. In Australia alone, the combined expenditure of the greenhouse industry exceeds A$300 million. (or equivalent to US$175m). Other, larger, western countries spend in the billions. And for what? Predictions? - none of which have ever come true. Computers? - just how many models does it take? Conferences? - pass the champagne.

The greenhouse gravy train is so lavish that scientific standards have been the first casualty. Science in this industry is geared solely to the survival and growth of that industry, requiring the continual ranting to the public about climate disasters to come. Scepticism or questions about the evidence are never addressed, but result in collective hostility toward the sceptic or questioner, the triumph of an insidious political correctness over reason.

Why is the industry so hysterical of late? Three reasons suggest themselves. Firstly, the Kyoto Protocol has collapsed, but the industry cannot face the reality of their own increasing irrelevance. Secondly, there has been a sea change in Washington with a new administration bent on tax cuts for the public (possibly at the industry's expense), and who is more sceptical of the industry's claims and even its raison d'etre. Thirdly, the vicious winter all across the northern hemisphere was a severe blow to the warming scenario, requiring a desperate campaign to reinforce a waning public belief in global warming.

California Dreaming  (22 Jan 2001)

`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.

`Worse Than Previously Thought' - Again (23 Jan 2001)

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’.

In particular, they claim that the environmentally desirable removal of sulfates from fossil fuel use will remove an existing cooling brake on climate, thus provoking even stronger warming. This theory, an article of faith with the IPCC, is nothing but junk science as the only part of the globe to have warmed in recent decades is the one third above latitude 20°N, the very part which has the highest concentration of these sulfates. The other two-thirds of the planet which is largely sulfate-free has not warmed at all. According to the sulfate theory, the situation should have been reversed - a warmer southern two-thirds, a cooler one third.

Things are indeed much worse than previously thought - not for global climate, but for the Greenhouse industry and its UN sponsors, whose agenda is more to do with wealth transfer than with climate. Their claims are being greeted with increasing skepticism by both the public, the media, and even governments. Their best chance to bludgeon the world into embracing their austere future vision, the Hague Conference in November, collapsed in disarray. Since then, the world has seen a vicious northern winter in many regions across the northern hemisphere, including the USA, casting further doubt on the soundness of what passes for `science’ in the alice-in-wonderland world of the greenhouse industry. The final blow came with the departure from the political scene of greenhouse promoter Al Gore and the rise to the US presidency of George Bush, who has expressed a more cautious view on global warming.

Why should anyone take this latest UN report seriously?

It’s hard to believe in `global warming’ when one is shovelling snow from one’s backyard in the coldest winter in decades in the USA. It’s hard to believe in global warming when the only real scientific measure of global temperature - the 22-year satellite record - shows no warming at all over two-thirds of the globe and only slight warming over the remaining one third. It’s hard to believe in global warming when the scientists who study it act more like wild-eyed zealots than sober scientists. It’s hard to believe in global warming when one rural weather station after another shows a long history of nothing much at all. It’s hard to believe in global warming when rising sea levels always seem to be reported for somewhere else far away, but never in one’s own backyard. It’s hard to believe in global warming when an entire reputable science, solar science, says the sun has been getting hotter during the 20th century and therefore must have warmed the planet during that time anyway.

The IPCC has responded to their crisis of relevance by upping the ante yet again. Bigger warming `than previously thought’, higher sea levels `than previously thought’, more disasters `than previously thought’. And all on the basis of a report whose evidence is so thin and fraught with contradictions that skeptics can demolish it with ease - when the media affords them the opportunity and space to do so. 

"At present, there is no statistical reason to associate the recent warming with atmospheric CO2 increases" - not the words of a climate skeptic in a state of denial. Rather they are the words of greenhouse luminaries, Tom Wigley of NCAR and Phil Jones of CRU, in a paper they jointly published in `Monthly Weather Review’ in 1982. The historical temperature data they were using at that time has not changed, only their spin on it has changed. That’s what politicians do, not scientists. The IPCC is similarly driven by politics, not science.

The panel spokesman Robert Watson said to the BBC - "There's no doubt the Earth's climate is changing. The decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the last century and the warming in this century is warmer than anything in the last 1,000 years in the Northern Hemisphere."

That the Earth's climate is changing is hardly groundbreaking news. It always has been changing, is doing so now, and always will do so. Hi-jacking natural climate change as being entirely the fault of humanity is just political grandstanding. The 1990s were no hotter than the 1930s, a fact clearly evident in the cleaner rural weather station records from around the world [see evidence here]. As for the last 1,000 years, the Medieval Warm Period around 1200 AD was much warmer than today, proved by numerous international scientific studies (which were free of of IPCC censorship) [see evidence here]. His last claim was based on only one seriously flawed study, dismissing the hundreds of other studies which proved quite the opposite.

Upping the ante in this way is the last desperate act of a bankrupt industry. The industry is thus poised for a dramatic fall from grace. The tragedy is that other, more reputable, sciences may suffer in the backwash.

`Polar Bird' Does it Again!  (21 Jan 01)

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. 

Temperature record for Casey Station

2000 - 14th Warmest  (14-Jan-2001)

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)

Comparing surface and satellites (1998 was the year of the big El Niño) 

Here is the annual global averages of the surface and satellite  records. Each has been adjusted to a common zero point in 1979 when satellite measurements began.

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.

The assumed link between SST and air temperatures is what underpins the NOAA claim of 2000 being 5th warmest in 120 years. This inherent assumption is clearly false and makes their claim about 2000 equally false.

Most of the historic SST record originates from ships, which recorded the temperature
of sea water as it was pumped aboard as an engine coolant.

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. 

Oxymoron Science
 (17 Jan 01)

An `oxymoron' - a phrase or expression which contradicts itself, like `deafening silence' or `fighting for peace'

On 19-24 August this year, an international conference co-sponsored by the Atmospheric Science Program at Dalhousie University, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the American Meteorological Society, will be held at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The theme?

"Global Warming and The Next Ice Age"

This is the 1st international conference on this issue and the choice of fusing these two contradictory topics, in the one conference is something of a first.

Note the phrase - `the next ice age'. It is stated as a certainty, not as a possibility or conjecture. And with good reason - the causative theory underpinning the periodic ice ages, the so-called `Milankovich Mechanism' (named after the Yugoslav mathematician who first calculated the causes and timings of ice ages in the 1930s), has never been refuted. It has also been supported by paleoclimate indicators such as polar ice cores.

During the 1970s when global cooling was a cause for concern, there was speculation in scientific and media circles whether this meant we were heading for an imminent ice age, particularly as our present 11,000-year warm period (or `interglacial') was already reaching its end - consistent with the Milankovich results.

So where has the ice age been hiding these last 25 years? It's been mostly drowned in global warming hype, and the burgeoning scientific bureaucracy dependent for its very existence on that theory. But the Milankovich clock has kept on ticking regardless.

According to paleoclimatic history, the `normal' climate of the earth is that of an ice age, representing 85-90% of the last few million years, each ice age typically lasting 80,000 to 100,000 years. The abnormal or unstable climate of the earth is that of a warm `interglacial' (such as the one we have now), which takes up the other 10-15% of the time, and typically lasts about 10,000 years.

Since our present interglacial is already 11,000 years old, the next ice age is about due. If we adopted the `precautionary principle', so beloved of the Greens, and stopped all greenhouse gas emissions completely, `Mother Nature' would take undisputed charge of our climate - her first executive act being to promptly plunge us into the next 80,000-year ice age. Some `precaution'. Some mother.

The upcoming conference may well attempt to resolve the obvious contradiction between model-based claims of future global warming and the physical certainty of the Milankovich Mechanism of ice ages.

The Iceman Cometh! (9 Jan 2001)

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
snowiest December since 1960.  This put the year as a whole in New York at 53.8°F, about 1° below normal. Nine of the twelve months of 2000 in New York were below normal, including a streak of 7 straight below normal months so far (apparently continuing into January). It was the coldest December on record for Louisville and Paducha, Kentucky; the second coldest on record for Evansville, Indiana, Akron and Toledo, Ohio, and one of the coldest for Chicago, where records go back to 1872. It was also the second coldest at Kansas City, Missouri (since 1886), and at Minneapolis, Minnesota. In "the nation's icebox" of International Falls, Minnesota, it was in the top five coldest Decembers. 

November and 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 in between". 

In Russia, a severe cold wave settled in over western Siberia and the Far East, sending temperatures down as low as -70°C. The temperature, a 30-year record, was recorded in the Kemerovo region about 1,800 miles east of Moscow, while temperatures in much of the rest of Russia east of the Ural Mountains were around -40°C. The industrial city of Krasnoyarsk endured its fifth consecutive day in which the temperature fell to -50C.The Russian cold wave, which is expected to last several more days, has put a strain on Russia's power plants and heating stations. 

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.

`The Limits of Democracy' (4-Jan-2001)

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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