How Many NAS Members Does It Take…

…to chip away at the integrity of climate science?

It’s either 255, or they ran out of memory on the Z80.

Never mind that a Google search on Peter Gleick, the main signatory of the (May 6) open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences in defence of climate research, reveals the guy as author of a book published (as luck would have it) on May 3 (sales will surely plunge due to his name becoming ever better known).

Just compare the following statement from the letter

When errors are pointed out, they are corrected

to Mr Gleick’s reaction (him again, publicity-shy as usual!!) on the Huffington Post and SFGate when people pointed out that the original caption of the accompanying picture on Science magazine readsThis images [sic] is a photoshop design” (in case you wonder, the text was already there on May 3)

…a fantastic peek into the way the climate denial “machine” works…small but vocal part of the infosphere dominated by the climate deniers…try to paint the entire climate science community as fake…attempt by climate deniers to divert public attention once again from the facts of climate change…

As it is apparent, when errors are pointed out, they are not corrected before a paranoid rant gets published. And what about “fame still awaits anyone who could show these theories to be wrong“? I don’t think so: in the case of climate science, that’s abuse and organized bullying what awaits them.

Venus Awakening

Steve Goddard in WUWT, May 7, 2010? Luboš Motl in the reference frame, same date?

Sure, but what about Omniclimate’s 4-part series starting Feb 27, 2008? (Here parts 2, 3 and 4)

Or Omnologos’ now ancient Aug 17, 2007 post?

Alas, there was some mention of it in a July 2007 Elsevier book. But who cares? What is important is that the stale orthodoxy about Venus’ “runaway greenhouse effect” is starting to dissipate.

As forecasted in “Venus Forecast” 35 months ago: “In a few years, the old ideas of Fred Singer will come back into fashion.

Venus’ retrograde rotation, incredibly massive atmosphere and relatively young (<500 million years) surface will be elegantly explained by the crash of a massive satellite half a billion years ago (with subsequent melting of much if not the whole crust, and humongous outgassing).

Current lead-melting surface temperatures will be just as beautifully explained by simple adiabatic processes.

The role of CO2 in the heating of the atmosphere via some “greenhouse effect” will be seriously reconsidered and almost completely dismissed.

UPDATE May 10: WUWT has a new post on Venus. Among the comments, a link to another blog making a similar point (Oct 7, 2009) and to a brief communication by Carl Sagan in the pages of the Astrophysical Journal (1967) estimating the surface temperature without a single mention of the “runaway greenhouse effect”.

Don't Miss Out On This Great Post About MWP And Hockey Sticks

As I keep saying, if on the AGW side everybody were level-headed (as Rob Honeycutt evidently is), there would be no debate about CO2 emissions, rather effective cutting measures would already be in place as a matter of course.

Unfortunately, we usually have to deal with people mutated by AGW into shouting extremists. Oh well.

Fear And Timidity No Friends Of Science

(comment posted to Jonathan Wolff’s “The journals are full of great studies, but can we believe the statistics?“, The Guardian, May 4 2010)

There are two big issues with Mr Wolff’s article.

(1) The “fear of looking foolish” seems a particularly childish approach to Science.

Insofar as one is able to argue the reasons for a particular choice in an “unsettled” scientific field, there is of course no foolishness to speak of.

In fact, looking at this the other way around, the fact that one was “very right” once, means nothing about being right in the future. Otherwise, all we would have to do would be to listen to former Nobel Prize winners.

Sadly, after the trip to Stockholm very few of them are capable of achieving anything remotely important as their acclaimed feat.

(2) There is little hope for Science really, if the goal is to hold on until an orthodoxy develops, and then sheepishly hang on to that.

We can’t simply evolve into separate tribes showing no critical thinking of what happens in other fields. And orthodoxies are meant to crumble, otherwise it is not “Science”. By the time they become widespread enough for the likes of Wolff to take them as “Truth”, they will likely be ripe for destruction by the next generation of scientists.

Come to think, a certain guy called Galileo would have failed on the Wolff strategy left, right and centre. Luckily he wasn’t afraid, and didn’t look the other way.

Fear And Timidity No Friends Of Science

(comment posted to Jonathan Wolff’s “The journals are full of great studies, but can we believe the statistics?“, The Guardian, May 4 2010)

There are two big issues with Mr Wolff’s article.

(1) The “fear of looking foolish” seems a particularly childish approach to Science.

Insofar as one is able to argue the reasons for a particular choice in an “unsettled” scientific field, there is of course no foolishness to speak of.

In fact, looking at this the other way around, the fact that one was “very right” once, means nothing about being right in the future. Otherwise, all we would have to do would be to listen to former Nobel Prize winners.

Sadly, after the trip to Stockholm very few of them are capable of achieving anything remotely important as their acclaimed feat.

(2) There is little hope for Science really, if the goal is to hold on until an orthodoxy develops, and then sheepishly hang on to that.

We can’t simply evolve into separate tribes showing no critical thinking of what happens in other fields. And orthodoxies are meant to crumble, otherwise it is not “Science”. By the time they become widespread enough for the likes of Wolff to take them as “Truth”, they will likely be ripe for destruction by the next generation of scientists.

Come to think, a certain guy called Galileo would have failed on the Wolff strategy left, right and centre. Luckily he wasn’t afraid, and didn’t look the other way.

Top 17 Signs Your Belief In Catastrophical AGW Is Going The Way Of The Dodos

Fellow AGWer! Are you worried you’re losing the climate debate? Worry no more. It’s a certainty in 17 easy-to-spot signs!!

  1. Main conversational topic among fellow believers are revolving around complaining the rest of the worls is made up of “deniers”
  2. Highlight of the month: a conference about climate change and the arts, closed by a truly inspiring dance act
  3. You’ve given credibility to fatuous claims about ill-behaving humans inducing global warming and ultimately causing bad things such as earthquakes, volcanoes
  4. Worse: an Iranian cleric has made moral remarks perfectly equivalent to yours: about ill-behaving humans (well, women…) ultimately causing bad things such as earthquakes
  5. Having waited for major legislation to materialize, you have seen it evaporating at the very last minute
  6. Worse: you’ve been spending time shoring support for major legislation that you agree would be wholly ineffectual even if it passed as dreamed
  7. Worst: the only reason to support such ineffectual bill proposal has been the remote chance it might show “leadership” (showing the world how to pass ineffectual legislation, one suspects)
  8. Worse than worst: well after the very last minute, you have openly withdrawn your support, thereby making sure nothing will ever happen
  9. You have celebrated the results of an “independent” committee setup by the British Government, even if the final report couldn’t help criticizing the IPCC in order to “pass the blame” to somebody
  10. Suddenly, the political and intellectual German classes has started to look the other way
  11. The BBC Science and Environment page is ever more struggling to find any news to report, about “global warming” and “climate change”, as all the potential physical manifestations have been quickly dismissed as “it’s weather not climate”
  12. Your preferred blogs have been chugging along tediously of late,  with naive, self-debasing and embarrassing remarks on the psychology of people that disagree with AGW catastrophism
  13. Miraculously, scientific papers have surfaced claiming the latest data support catastrophical global warming, despite the same latest data going the opposite way of previous data the same people claimed as supporting catastrophical AGW
  14. Worse: you have not noticed those are exactly the kind of claims that erode the public’s respect in AGW proponents, especially of the catastrophical variety
  15. The best answer you have had for months for your critics still concerns the well-being of people that haven’t even been born yet, and will do so in a future world we know about as much as Napoleon would have known of World War I and the trenches
  16. A great deal of people supporting your side have forever kept turning up dressed funny in front of cameras for the n-th repetition of ridiculous stunts that interest nobody any longer
  17. For months, nothing has appeared to make you happy and your blog and comments have been full only of depictions of future catastrophes. Yet when a volcano has threatened the lives and livestock of Iceland, and has stranded hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, you couldn’t contain yourself and started radiating your newly-found happiness, oblivious of the apparent nastiness and anti-human stance of yours it has shown to all

Cue ever-dwindling public and political support for your reality-challenged belief…

If It Looks Like UHI, Heats Like UHI, And Graphs Like UHI, Then It Probably Is UHI

by Guido Guidi and Maurizio Morabito

Our friend Teo has just expressed his personal and perfectly reasonable opinions about new, old publishing venture called “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“.

In fact, we find it hard to disagree with him.

The subject of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) is topical, and it is somewhat ironic that such a self-evident effect is so happily dismissed away by AGW proponents. One suspects UHI is extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable to consider to those strictly supporting only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory.

Who them? By sheer coincidence, only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory can be used to dictate deep societal changes. But that’s another story.

Let’s just add some considerations based on a Willis Eschenbach post on WUWT. It’s a simple but eloquent analysis of a dataset of temperatures, with measures coming from about seventy stations over Northern Europe. Interestingly, an analysis of the monthly data across the decades for the duration of the dataset, shows a warming trend to be occurring primarily in winter months.

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

And what kind of forcing is especially important in the coldest period of the year? No prize for guessing that one right. This is precisely what is expected from the UHI effect, and it is due to changes over time to the environment surrounding the measurement equipments. Roads, buildings, infrastructure are built, woods are fallen and so on. That’s “Anthropogenic” as well, of course, and it has all the potential for local and global consequences.

Data so heavily biased are simply not compatible with the currently fashionable “globalization of forcing“, the mistaken belief that temperatures overwhelmingly taken on land and in heavily urbanized areas, are representative of the thermal state of the entire Blue Planet.

Think of it for a minute. We are talking about temperature anomalies with a positive trend coming from winter months. We are talking of continental regions at high latitudes. We are talking about winters with little insolation, in areas with a high albedo (reflecting visible light!) due to large amounts of snow cover.

  • Temperature sensors, under those specific conditions, show a gradual Winter warming

In the summer, with a much lower visible-light albedo in the absence of snow, the incoming solar radiation is absorbed and then re-emitted as longer waves: exactly those “captured” by greenhouse gases.

  • Temperature sensors, despite the abundance of infrared radiation, show no Summer warming

How could the positive anomalies be ascribed to a greenhouse effect, that remains a mystery to us. It definitely looks like this is enough to ring more than a few alarm bells, no matter what has been said in the past and by whom.

And the problem of telling between the greenhouse gas contribution to warming, and all other anthropogenic and natural effects, does not just apply to urban setting. It remains to be seen about who’s going to care about it, bringing forward a better understanding of the climate, rather than continuing to run like headless chicken always after the next CO2 molecule, as if it were volcanic ash…

A Brief History Of Dashed UHI Hopes

by Teodoro Georgiadis - slightly romanced English version by Maurizio Morabito

And there I am, at the beginning of March 2010: me and the brand-new, Volume 1, Number 1 , January / February 2010 issue of “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)” . Editor in Chief: Mike Hulme.

Wow, a fresh journal on Global Climate Change!

Even better: according to itself, the journal is meant as

a unique platform for exploring current and emerging knowledge from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon – environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics

Wouldn’t that be a welcome novelty, in a world post-climategate, post-submerged Holland, post-quickly disappearing Himalayan glaciers, post-Amazongate…in short, in a world that has seen an intense and compact series of scientific downpours on concepts perhaps too quickly assumed as established truth.

Downstream of Copenhagen, a new journal following WIRCC’s statement of intent would surely sport a truly different outlook: new style, new peer-reviewers, new structure all with the goal of providing science with the required level of objectivity, sadly and mostly missing in contemporary climate discourse.

I proceed therefore with all enthusiasm to select an article of surefire interest to me:

David E. Parker, ”Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change” p 123-133, Published Online: Dec 22 2009 12:42PM DOI: 10.1002/wcc.21

That’s it then! Finally we can leave the “gates du jour” behind and improve our knowledge of climate change.

Or maybe not.

First reference: IPCC. Second reference: Jones et al. (with Wang).

Wait a sec…what’s going on?

OK let’s move forward…alas, only to find something truly amazing:

the influence of urban heat islands on estimates of global warming is limited by the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and is absolutely unaffected by urban warming

Say what? Oh yes, the Blue Planet, ever the envy of nasty aliens such as those in HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. But hang on…most of the network of temperature measuring stations is literally on solid ground…if you place them on a map they’ll be a bunch of dots almost exactly superimposed to cities. As for the ocean temperatures, we know very well how they are derived.

This isn’t looking good.

Anything better?

Exclusion of urban sites, or selective use of rural sites, requires information (‘metadata’) about the site and its surroundings

Yes, yes…ah, that refers to a 2005 J Clim paper by Peterson and Owen…isn’t that the same Peterson unceremoniously criticized for example by McIntyre on Climate Audit, regarding the peculiar classifications of urban and rural stations? There is a truly remarkable definition of “Parking Lot Effect” on that site.

How strange though, of all the past and present discussions and questions on the topic, Parker manages to mention exactly nothing. Well, at least that might explain the article’s conclusions:

The urban heat island has had only a minor impact on estimates of global trends”… The impact is small because assiduous efforts have been made by the compilers of global surface air temperature records to avoid or compensate for urban warming

Assiduous effort“? Amen to that.

Current and EMERGING knowledge?” Not by a long shot.

My conclusions: “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“? New journal, same old story.

The Best Way To Make People Worry About Climate Change…

…is to provide them with a university education, adequate living quarters in urban settings, and $100,000 in “investable asset”:

Climate change topped the list of concerns by some two-thirds of Hong Kong residents polled as well as majorities of residents of London, Paris, Sao Paolo, Toronto, Vancouver and Sydney, according to the poll of 2,044 urban residents around the world…The survey was conducted online from February 17 to March 1 among respondents who had university or post-graduate educations, were ages 25 to 64 and had at least $100,000 of investable asset…

(well, obviously under those conditions it should make it easier to have a little fewer of other concerns such as paying the mortgage, getting dinner organized, staying ahead of the bills)

Can’t wait to see thousands of self-styled environmentalists worldwide lobby their democratic representatives to defend the planet from climate change through a “Global Get Well Schooled, Urbanite And Rich Initiative“!

Now, that’s a Climate Campaign I would like to see started…just let me know where I can cash my $100,000, please?

UK Authorities To Impose A Ban On Lounges, Kitchens, Stairs And Ladders At Home

I will never apologise for putting safety first“, said Andrew Haines, chief executive of the British Government-controlled “Civil Aviation Authority” and formerly of “Great Western Trains” until last year.

Shall we bring Mr Haines’ logic to its natural conclusion? Why, 15,000 accidents occurred in the UK in “Lounge/study/living/dining/play areas” in 2002 alone (see HASS Table 4). A little less of 13,000 of those, in kitchens. If you sum them up, they total for around a fifth of all home accidents.

Now look at the HASS Table 2 at the same URL. A staggering 46% of all accidents concern one or another kind of falls.

Urgent initiatives are in order. A blanket ban on lounges, kitches, stairs and ladders shouldn’t be too far away. And it doesn’t have to stop there…don’t you know, “children under the age of 12 [are] the most likely of all those aged 16 and under to have reported being raped by someone they knew well” (explained as “typically refer[ring] to a friend or family member“).

Let’s outlaw families and friendship too.

EUFAR's Measurement Flights Of Volcanic Ashes

Alas, the “major measurement news” are coming out slower than expected. Anyway: all those interested can head off to the European Facility for Airborne Research  (EUFAR), where a mailing list has been set up to share information (not sure if that’s open to the public yet).

Here’s EUFAR’s relevant page as of now:

Measurement flights of volcanic ashes

This page will be updated regularly with new information.

Next EUFAR teleconference tomorrow Wednesday 21st at 2:00 P.M. (CET)

  • to report what has been measured so far
  • to share experiences.

2 teleconferences took place to discuss the “Status about the volcanic ashes measurement flights”:
- on the 19/04/2010 – meeting 01
- on the 20/04/2010 – meeting 02.

A mailing list to exchange information about the ash measurements is already operational. Please contact bureau@eufar.net to subscribe or un-subscribe.
A webpage has also been created. It is available from the “What’s new?” section of the EUFAR website homepage www.eufar.net or directly at:http://www.eufar.net/wiki/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/EufarCMS/VolcanicAshes?skin=view.
A repository to share all the data collected within the aircraft operators and the scientific community will be set up by Wendy Garland from BADC. You will be informed when this is completed (in the next few days).

Volcanic Debacle, Failed Models, And Mean "Greens"

Sounds like anthropogenic global warming, doesn’t it? The danger exists, but it is being senselessly exaggerated.

What if behind the decision to stop flights on a continental scale were the failure of a whole way of thinking public policy in Europe, with an asinine fixation on using computer models?

What if the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about millions dying of swine flu or maybe not, and the aftermath of weeks of anthropogenic fear about volcanic cloud making airplanes drop from the sky like flies or maybe not…what if people finally opened their eyes about the extreme limitations of computer modeling?

Who knows. Meanwhile, let me state clearly that I am fully aware of the potential risks for an airplane flying in the wrong conditions and at the wrong time through a cloud of volcanic origin. But there are enough indications to doubt the necessity of a reaction even remotely like the irrational panic that is causing the closure of European air spaces.

For example, the famous BA9 flight that almost crashed in 1982, was not the only flight to pass through that area. Wikipedia reports that the airspace around the Galunggung volcano was temporarily closed after the accident, reopened days later and permanently shut only after a similar incident to a Singapore Airlines flight around 19 days later, on July 13, 1982.

Indeed, there are indications that the first “encounter” with the ashes from Galunggung had occurred on April 5. That is, in three months and with little precaution taken, only twice the conditions were bad enough for flights to experience severe problems. And even if we consider the famous eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, despite the resulting cloud being able to travel 8,000 kilometers to the East Coast of Africa, the total tally was of 20 “damaged” planes, none of them as badly as BA9.

Think about it…billions and billions of flight hours since the Wright brothers, thousands and thousands of flight accidents of all sort and a grand total of 22 issues with volcanic ash, none of it deadly.

Sounds like anthropogenic global warming, doesn’t it? The danger exists, but it is being senselessly exaggerated. Even a recent NASA study, stating that virtually invisible and imperceptible volcanic clouds can still cause serious damage to an aircraft, can’t dispel the doubts since, were that to be true, the effect of ash would have been long noticed in the maintenance of thousands of airplanes.

Anyway…where reason fails, money can still rule the day, hence the airlines’ discontent about the decision to keep everybody grounded. Lufthansa and Air Berlin protested first to the newspapers, and even Niki Lauda moved swiftly from caution to crying foul after finding out that the cloud of Eyjafjallajökull is not everywhere and anywhere in Europe.

Besides, once the Met Office has been found out as the main reason for the air space closure, and one of its computer models, memories of recent colossal gaffes and prediction errors just make it humanly impossible to avoid a good deal of skepticism…

There is also a clear problem with procedures. What has happened in 2010 that is so fundamentalle different from 2004 for example, when the Icelandic volcano Grímsvötn caused disruption of flights but in a limited area, and only resulted in precaution about flying some parts of the North Sea?

On Sunday, trade associations of European airports and airlines have issued a statement asking why a definitely not uncommon event (Iceland is full of volcanoes and eruptions follow one another) provoked different reactions in Europe than anywhere else in the world.

How difficult could it be to close part of the Icelandic and Atlantic airspace, fly some planes and launch some balloons to measure the situation, double-check aircrafts after they land in surrounding areas? And in fact that is what is probably going to happen anyway, and measurements have already started in earnest on Monday 19 (details in German: here, here and here).

Meanwhile, reknown experts are starting to speak up against the madness. Here’s an interview (in Italian) with Prof Guido Visconti of the University of L’Aquila, Italy. Prof Visconti teaches Atmospheric Physics, is Director of the local Extreme Phenomena Center, and has worked in the past with NASA and Harvard University. His opinion? “Much precaution about nothing…we have started taking measurements today in Italy and what we see is small and unimportant“.

======

Concluding with a note of regret, one has to report (but not necessarily link) various sites who take actual pleasure in what has happened, because for a few days you there is a little less emissions of CO2, and also humanity gets to suffer instead of being happy and flying. Too bad for the people of Kenya, right?

Ash Cloud – Expect Major Measurement News On Tuesday

Can’t reveal much now but well-respected international air measurement organizations have been busy measuring up the volcanic material above the European skies, on Monday (finally). This means that we can expect for early Tuesday major news about where there are actual problems for flying.

This may or may not have anything to do with the newly-found courage by UE Transport Ministers, finally seeing the light in managing the volcanic ash risk, instead of cowering in panic.

Met Office Atmospheric Models Cause International Chaos – Why Am I Not Surprised?

The old computational forecasting wizards at the Met Office are behind the decision of closing so much of Europe’s airspace.

Of course they are.

(yes, it’s “well-proven” models, no direct measurement, the works!)

From the Herald Sun:

German airlines Lufthansa and Air Berlin said the decision to close much of Europe’s airspace was not based on proper testing. They said that their aircraft showed no signs of damage after flying without passengers.

The decision to close the airspace was made exclusively as a result of data from a computer simulation at the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London,” Air Berlin chief executive Joachim Hunold said.

The “Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London”? Here it is, at the Met Office:

When a volcano in its area of responsibility erupts, the London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (VAAC), based at the Met Office, runs the NAME atmospheric dispersion model. This, and similar models, are well proven and we can use them to predict the spread of pollutants following a chemical or nuclear leak or even the spread of airborne diseases. In this case we use the dispersion model to forecast the spread of volcanic ash plumes.

The London VAAC forecaster provides the location, start time, release height and the top and bottom of the plume (if known) and the model is run. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Output from this model is in a map-based graphical format, and can detail expected ash concentrations over a large region. The forecaster uses this detail to prepare the volcanic ash advisory message with the expected positions of the ash plume for up to 24 hours ahead.

The Advisory message is then used by aviation authorities to decide whether airspace needs to be closed to prevent aircraft encountering volcanic ash.

Note how the Met Office washes its hands from any decision, and yet in all those years with NAME, it has apparently decided not to complement the model results with in-situ measurements. A “revolutionary” idea brought forward at present by Lufthansa itself…

Not one single weather balloon has been sent up to measure how much volcanic ash is in the air.” Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walter added. ”The flight ban, made on the basis just of computer calculations, is resulting in billion-high losses for the economy [...] In future we demand that reliable measurements are presented before a flying ban is imposed.”

Professional Environmentalist Tom Burke: Climate Change "Not An Issue Of The Day"

Funny isn’t it how the AGW debate has recently seen a series of incredibly self-defeating remarks. Latest in the series, a couple of sentences uttered during BBC Radio4′ “Today” programme by Tom Burke, “Professional Environmentalist” and visiting Professor of environmental science and technology at Imperial College (Apr 14, around 05m26s):

(Climate Change) is not an issue of the day. There is no way that this is ever going to be an issue of the day at least until it’s too late to do something about it.

That’s very nice to know…whenever people (scientists or otherwise) will turn up claiming Climate Change has done this or that already, it will be fairly straightforward to reply to them “It is not an issue of the day!

CRU Who? Or…Can The IPCC Survive The Oxburgh Review?

Forget Phil Jones and the CRU…for all intents and purposes, Lord Oxburgh’s “International Panel” has hit the IPCC itself with quite a broadside.

This is what the friendly Panel has just deemed necessary to write about the IPCC (my emphasis):

Recent public discussion of climate change and summaries and popularizations of the work of CRU and others often contain oversimplifications that omit serious discussion of uncertainties emphasized by the original authors. For example, CRU publications repeatedly emphasize the discrepancy between instrumental and tree-based proxy reconstructions of temperature during the late 20th century, but presentations of this work by the IPCC and others have sometimes neglected to highlight this issue. While we find this regrettable, we could find no such fault with the peer-reviewed papers we examined

And here’s what the IPCC says about the IPCC (my emphasis again):

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences.

Clearly, it has now been established beyond all doubt that the IPCC has been a failure regarding the provision of “a clear scientific view” on the “peer-reviewed papers” by CRU researchers. Those papers said one thing, the IPCC another.

With Climate Change too serious an issue to be left in oversimplifying hands,  the Fifth Assessment Report is unlikely to be any good unless substantial organizational changes are implemented in the IPCC.

English-World Exclusive: Little Wonder Some Glaciers Are Melting…

(mysteriously, this piece of very interesting news has so far only appeared in Italian)

(ANSA) – AOSTA, April 9 – City-like pollution levels on the Everest and the entire Himalayan range. That’s the conclusion of project Share – Stations at High Altitude for Research on the Environment – sponsored by the EvK2Cnr Committee and highlighted in studies published by researchers at ISAC-CNR in Bologna, Italy and Lgge-CNRS in  Grenoble, France.

All observations were taken at the Nepal Climate Observatory, a.k.a. the Italian National Research Council (CND) “Pyramid”, at an altitude of 5,079 meters on the south side of the Everest. The samples were collected in the  pre-monsoon season, when pollutants from the Asian Brown Cloud are more easily transported to the high peaks of the Himalayas. According to Angela Marinoni, ISAC researcher, pollutant levels observed in early April are already beyond the already high levels reached in previous years”.

“Black carbon is close to 6 micrograms per cubic meter”, continued Marinoni, “and PM1 (the amount of fine dust)  largely exceeded 100 micrograms per cubic meter, a value never recorded at the observatory”.

These concentrations are so high, they exceed the EU-sanctioned alarm thresholds for air quality in cities. Moreover, according to Paolo Cristofanelli, head of Share’s atmospheric activities, ”these worrying particulate concentrations are accompanied by high levels of ozone, a highly-oxidizing greenhouse gas that is formed in atmosphere in the presence of primary pollutants and solar radiation” .

Original 09/04/2010 13:45 ANSA

Epidemiology And The Rise Of AGW's Ugly (Fascist) Head

Mike Kaulbars at News Junkie Post writes plenty of idiotic nonsense in the desperate attempt at finding a legal way to prevent people from ever questioning a thing about climate change.

In particular, a lot is made of the alleged analogy between global warming doubters and the tobacco companies engaged in fighting against the truth about the nasty effects of cigarette smoking. A truth discovered by British researcher Richard Doll.

But whoever mentions Doll in support of the uber-Warmists has obviously not bothered to try to understand what Doll has actually done. Epidemiology concerns the past, and can only be applied to stuff that has already happened. Doll’s results were overwhelming, with manifold increases in the risks of developing cancer and/or heart disease.

That has little to do with “climate change”. In the very words of Mike Kaulbars himself, “climate change promises to be much more deadly in the 21st century“, i.e. it is a concern for the future. And as such, its effects cannot be ascertained in advance with any degree of certainty remotely resembling Richard Doll’s.

I am also amazed that Mr Kaulbars has managed to write so much about the legal aspects of talking about climate change, without a single mention or link to the IPCC.

Poor Pachauri, so much work done and now just of figure of fun or neglect.

The 32-Step Lifecycle Of Climate Alarms

As further evidence of divine sense of humor, Arctic sea ice extent is back to average exactly as new research indicates much of the recent decline is “not a direct result of global warming“.

One may be forgiven to think that reports about the opening up of most of the Arctic to ice-free summer navigation might have been premature.

Hasn’t this script been read to us before? Yes it has: about the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro, the terrifying future hurricane seasons in the North Atlantic, the upcoming extinction of (often, drowning) polar bears, the slowing down to a crawl of the Gulf Stream, the warming-sea death of coral reefs.

But there is no need to be fooled any longer. Just keep yourself aware of the 32-step lifecycle of a climate alarm, especially if linked about Anthropogenic Global Warming (as they all nowadays are):

  1. Researchers make a barely-tamed if not completely wild claim in a scientific journal: if human GHG emissions were to continue apace, there could be dire consequences to “whatever”
  2. The claim appears in a press release by the lead author’s institution, alongside even wilder claims that were not scientifically printable but are spread around anyway
  3. Most major (and minor) news media engage in churnalism, i.e. they repeat the press release as-is with little consideration for critical thinking, just in case it may ruin the story
  4. Other editors decide the alleged consequences are not dire enough and order a further spicing up of the story
  5. George Monbiot tells us in his blog how bad he feels about “whatever”, with the help of a relevant anecdote possibly involving flowers
  6. On the basis of the above, environmental movements issue more press releases, and e-mail campaigns materialize at once, raising the alarm about “whatever” on the basis of (of course!) the “latest scientific research”
  7. The environmentalists’ press releases are fed to the newsmedia to pummel the public with another salvo of alarmism
  8. The claims percolate through the web and reach alarmist blogs. Once again, the story is repeated with not a hint of reasoning and not a shadow of doubt
  9. People start speculating how could skeptics ever live in the knowledge that “whatever” is going to be destroyed by AGW
  10. More serious places like the Nature blogs, the BBC Science News pages and NationalGeographic.com can’t help publishing about the latest claims, substituting critical thinking for a barrage of links to external, strictly-alarmist sites
  11. Suddenly, the news get populated of fear-inducing “evidence” that confirm the original claim was way too tame, and “things are worse than we thought”. Articles are accompanied by pictures of polar bears
  12. Wikipedia’s entries about “whatever” and climate change are updated
  13. An article by Bill McKibben is printed in well-known generalist magazines describing exactly how bad things are going to be for “whatever”, in case we don’t all mend our ways. News-gathered “evidence” is included, explaining that in the future we will hear “more of the same” kind of reporting
  14. In due course, people including scientists interested in discovering what is real about climate change and what is not, they start to notice that the alarms and claims are not based on strong scientific evidence, at least not as strong as claimed
  15. Somebody posts a blog or comment highlighting how, tucked away in the original article’s and press release’s full texts and unbeknownst to most churnalists and alarmist bloggers, there were very clear caveats, indicating: (a) results as “preliminary”, (b) data as “insufficient” and (c) “more studies” as “needed”
  16. These doubts percolate through the web and reach skeptical blogs, where they are repeated in a storm of criticism against the alarmists and (alas!) the original researchers themselves
  17. James Delingpole posts a blog making fun of George Monbiot
  18. Many alarmist blogs reply to any kind of doubt by denouncing a giant conspiracy by evil fossil-fuel corporations paying tens of millions of dollars to fund skeptical blogs
  19. Unanswered, doubts remain
  20. Miraculously, a new post in “Skeptical Science” demonstrates how anything (anything!) a skeptic ever thinks is wrong, as shown in the published literature
  21. A blog appears on RealClimate rebutting the doubts with rather unwise statements that, taken literally, might be used to undermine AGW alarmism
  22. Where the best scientists are involved, a new scientific paper gets published, highlighting which issues are most important to figure out, and asking for more funding as results are preliminary, data is insufficient and more studies are needed
  23. For some reason, the now-established fact that the original claims have been shown incorrect and/or premature does not appear in the news media and alarmist blogs (“climategate” notwithstanding)
  24. On DotEarth, Andrew Revkin posts a blog stating that things are not as clear-cut as they seem, skeptics and believers are both wrong, but AGW is real nevertheless and remains so independently from the claims about “whatever”
  25. Joe Romm preaches again to the converted, wondering aloud why Revkin is not toeing the alarmist line
  26. A couple of years pass…the “evidence” reported by the news disappear as all data indicate a return to “average conditions”
  27. Vicky Pope tells the media that we should not be looking for climate evidence in a record covering just a few years
  28. Nobody has the courage to publish an article or blog saying how sorry they are about having raised a demonstrably baseless alarm
  29. The online alarmist debate ignores that all and oscillates between “how can skeptics face the risk of the destruction of ‘whatever’ being right, and they wrong?” and “when can we have our climate dictatorship please”
  30. Wikipedia’s entries about “whatever” and climate change are not updated
  31. In the meanwhile, due to the law of diminishing returns and the fact that nobody can see any clear AGW climatic effect anywhere, the general public grows a little more weary of alarmism
  32. It’s time for a new article where researchers make a barely-tamed if not completely wild claim in a scientific journal: if human GHG emissions were to continue apace, there could be dire consequences to “whatever else”

In all likelihood, the above is happening right now about ocean acidification. Somebody, please make a reality TV show out of this comedy.

Greenpeace – If It Isn't Peace, Will It Still Be Green?

(comments are closed at Greenpeace’s incredibly stupid “Will the real ClimateGate please stand up? (part 2)” blog. This is what I have tried to post over there)

Juliette

You write:

At no point in this entry did Gene threaten to do anything more than civil disobedience and non-violent direct action – neither of which involve any kind of violence

There are two problems with your stance on the topic. First of all, even if the text ends mentioning “mass civil disobedience“, it also includes “We need to hit them where it hurts most, by any means necessary: through the power of our votes, our taxes, our wallets, and more“.

I have taken the liberty to emphasize the bits that may suggest violence is in the works.

Secondly, since the writer has described a progression from lawful interventions to unlawful ones because “pressuring politicians on climate change is not working“, what is there to stop the same writer from advocating violent means in the future, if “mass civil disobedience” doesn’t come up with the hoped-for results?

Words have meaning. Please let’s all try not to be disingenuous.

Heaven To Hell

With apologies to Joel Pett…

What if it's a big hoax

What if it's a big hoax

A better world? You wish. As Karl  Popper once remarked, “Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell“‬‪.

Conflict Of Interest, Data and Funding Hiding, Flimsy and Misleading Claims…

…is that nowadays de rigueur for the average alarmist paper or what?

(the following is a version of a letter recently sent by Walter Starck to PNAS; republished with the author’s consent)

19 March 2010

To:
Randy Schekman
Editor-in-Chief
PNAS
pnas@nas.edu

From:
Walter Starck
Australia

Re:
McCook, L.J., et al. 2010. Marine Reserves Special Feature: Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef. PNAS 2010 : 0909335107v1-200909335.

The above referenced study presents a number of concerns:

• The most serious concern is a major conflict of interest involving all of the 21 authors.

It should be noted that the lead author is employed by the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and all of the 20 additional authors are either employed by them or are recipients of substantial funding from them. It is incongruous in the extreme that all these employees and repeated recipients of generous GBRMPA funding, could, “…declare no conflict of interest” when they are in fact assessing the benefits of their own work and that of the organisation which supports them.

Combined with the rather unrestrained positive spin on the benefits and cost effectiveness achieved by GBRMPA management, the appearance of this report is that of a promotion piece which the most productive and respected beneficiaries of their research funding have been invited to endorse. In such case, it would have been very difficult for them to decline or to offer much objection to the claims made. At the same time, their names and status would provide credibility and deterrence of criticism while greatly increasing the prospect of acceptance for publication in a prestigious journal such as PNAS.

• In addition, on PNAS “Authors must acknowledge all funding sources supporting the work”. There appears to be no such disclosure in this study.

• PNAS papers must also, “…make materials, data, and associated protocols available to readers

McCook et al. state that, “Another important observation emerging from this review is the extent of relevant data that are not published or readily accessible. A full picture of the effects and effectiveness of zoning on the GBR has required extensive use of gray literature, previously unpublished data, and collation of separate data sources”. GBRMPA has been the sponsor of most of the research cited and, through the permit system, they exercise control over the terms of all other research conducted there. They are also a major publisher of GBR literature, both scientific and non-technical. The extent to which relevant data is not published or readily accessible is their direct responsibility.

As the data referred to for this review has obviously been assembled, why has it not been made available?

• The major claim of a doubling of fish on protected reefs appears to rest on a single example.

This is inconsistent with abundant other evidence including that which is presented in the report itself. Only one reef area of the 8 featured in the report showed a 2-fold increase and that area had the lowest level to begin and lowest difference between fished and unfished reefs. In 5 of the 8 areas featured in the report the protected reefs actually showed a decline in coral trout numbers. On fished reefs, three areas showed increases in biomass while 5 showed declines. This is hardly the “extraordinary” 2-fold increase in protected areas being bannered.

• McCook et al. state, “The economic value of a healthy GBR to Australia is enormous, currently estimated to be about A$5.5 billion annually….Relative to the revenue generated by reef tourism, current expenditure on protection is minor…Tourism accounts for the vast majority of reef-based income and employment. …income from tourism is estimated to be about 36 times greater than commercial fishing“. These claims are highly misleading.

The economic value cited includes the total value for all tourism in the region when half of all tourists do not even visit the reef. For those who do, the reef component of the large majority is a one day, one time participation in a reef tour and the value of reef tours is similar to the value of commercial fishing. If one also considers the economic value of recreational fishing, retail fish sales and seafood meals in restaurants, the total value of fishing is closer to twice that of reef tours.

In addition, the reef tour industry regularly uses only about 2 dozen out of the 2500 reefs of the GBR and, on those which are used, the actual area visited would only be about 1% of the area of even those reefs. Unfished reefs to optimize scenic value for tourism could easily coexist with an order of magnitude greater fishing effort, and no detriment at all to tourism. The attribution of total tourism value to the reef is no more justifiable than attributing it to the similar numbers who visit the rainforest or who eat seafood meals while visiting the region.

Such claims have been repeatedly made by GBRMPA and would, if used by a business, constitute violations of advertising and corporate law. To see it done repeatedly and included in a report in a leading scientific journal is a sad indictment of GBRMPA sponsored science as well as basic honesty.

• Babcock et al., 2010 (in another study published in PNAS on the same day as McCook et al.) also examined the ecological effects of marine protected areas. However, this report is much more widely based geographically and longer term.

Although the observed effects were generally positive, they were decidedly less large, rapid, extensive, and uniformly positive than those reported for the GBR. All of them also involved areas subject to much greater fishing pressure than the GBR. One might reasonably expect that increased protection for the least impacted areas would result in a less marked beneficial effect rather than the much more widespread rapid and dramatic benefits claimed by McCook et al.

For example, Babcock et al., “…found that the time to initial detection of direct effects on target species … was 5.13 ± 1.9 years…”. Note that this was the time to initial detection, not the even longer time required to reach a doubling of population. When compared to the much greater effects claimed for the GBR over two years, the latter do indeed appear to be “extraordinary”.

• Various key claims are contradicted by other more extensive work by the same researchers with no acknowledgment or discussion of this.

In reading over McCook et al., some 40 such discrepancies were noted and more detailed examination would surely reveal more. However, without going further it should be clear that PNAS has been badly used. The serious and obvious conflict of interest alone can neither be ignored nor credibly explained away. If not addressed, it makes a farce of the declaration of no conflict. It alone must surely be more than sufficient grounds to retract this study. Although doing this may be unpleasant it would be far less damaging than to try to examine and defend all of the sad and disreputable details.

Coming at a time when public credibility in science is being seriously eroded by ongoing revelations of malpractice in what the public was assured was irrefutable fact and settled science regarding climate change, these “extraordinary” (their own description) claims regarding the GBR are well positioned to become a “Reefgate”. This is especially so in that a key claim in this report and widely made elsewhere, is that a major benefit of protected areas on reefs is the increased resilience they provide against climate change.

Although controversy regarding the management of the GBR may appear of minor public interest from a U.S. perspective, it will be national news here in Australia and PNAS could find itself very much involved in a most difficult to defend position should prompt and decisive action not be taken.

A public release on all this will be made here in the near future. Whatever the decision of PNAS, it would be better made sooner than later.

Sincerely,

Walter Starck

Why I Will Not Turn The Lights Off For Earth Hour

I will not turn the lights off for “Earth Hour“.

Why?

Because I don’t want this to happen. And even if it will happen, still I will be the last one standing with a house full of lighting.

Earth Hour? No, thanks

"Earth Hour"? No, thanks

UPDATE: Meanwhile, in North Korea

"Better Act Now" Than Being Sorry Later? or The Economist vs. The Titanic

Insuring against catastrophe“, proclaims The Economist after publishing an article that just a few weeks ago would have been at the receiving end of sorts of insults by climate talibans:

Plenty of uncertainty remains; but that argues for, not against, action. If it were known that global warming would be limited to 2°C, the world might decide to live with that. But the range of possible outcomes is huge, with catastrophe one possibility, and the costs of averting climate change are comparatively small. Just as a householder pays a small premium to protect himself against disaster, the world should do the same.

The Economist is wrong.

If you want to insure yourself against catastrophe, surely the very first thing you want to do is to make sure that the end result won’t be worse than the catastrophe you’re trying to avoid.

Take for example what happened with the unsinkable Titanic. It is very likely that, had the crew just slowed down the ship without trying to turn it to avoid the iceberg, four or fewer compartments would have been flooded, and the whole sinking avoided with everybody on board surviving the accident. First Officer Murdoch simply didn’t think about the consequences of some of his actions. The cost of trying to avert the iceberg was as high as losing more the fifteen hundred lives.

And so just like with the famous liner, even if we believe he environment is soon going to crush against some disaster of an iceberg, still we can’t simply decide to do something for the sake of doing something. Uncertainty doesn’t necessarily argue for action.

Now, if only we could get the climate debate to a reasonable level, things would be a tad simpler than they are.

The National Trust Wants You To Emit Greenhouse Gases

Attack of the Killer Orange Groves? The Day of The Palm Triffids? London’s California Horror?

Apart from being scientifically flawed in the extreme (with an ocean next door, one should compare Britain to Portugal, not Sicily or Greece), the latest attempt by the National Trust to “highlight how gardens will look if global warming brings Mediterranean weather to Britain in the next few decades” might turn into a PR disaster.

People are spending thousands of pounds every year to get from Britain to somewhere sunny, and the thought of having it all at home might as well entice a good increase in GHG emissions…

National Trust: Britain today

National Trust: Heavenly (?) Britain today

National Trust: Britain today

National Trust: Hellish (??) Britain +2C

National Trust: Britain today

National Trust: Hellish (????) Britain +4C

Notably, Monbiot himself made a similar point a few weeks ago

Embarrassing "Skeptical Science" or The Return Of The Aristotelians

I was meaning to write about the cringe-inducing website called “Skeptical Science” and today’s Revkin’s piece at dotEarth finally pushed me forward.

I feel embarrassment for John Cook, Skeptical Science author, for two reasons (neither concerning his rather disturbing photograph). First of all the very existence of such a site seems to be a loud scream at all that has gone wrong with the IPCC. If Mr Cook feels it necessary to spend as much time as he does on the topic, obviously he should be the first one to agree that the IPCC has been a communication failure.

(not that he’s really any better himself at that: by stating that “eventually, the scientific reality will be so in our faces that inaction will be impossible“, Cook is confirming that “the scientific realityis currently notso in our faces” as his scholarly lists of scientific papers appear to suggest)

The second reason I find Skeptical Science a disaster is that all it is ever going to tell us is that AGW is a self-consistent theory and there has been plenty of papers written on the topic. That can only highlight what will forever be missing: the science that was prevented to be published, the open questions, the competing claims within AGW orthodoxy.

In fact, one of the comments at dotEarth (#15) pretty much reveals the kind of person that would find the Skeptical Science site of high interest. The point is not to understand the world as it is, but to accumulate evidence for one’s own rationalization of what the world is presumed to be. Hence no space for any doubt whatsoever of any sort, not even for competing AGW interpretations, let alone for non-orthodox scientists (by definition, their work is “crap“).

Simplicius (*) would have been proud of that. “Science” it is not.

(*) the defender of the Aristotelian (geocentric) view of the world in Galileo’s “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems

Nature's Weakness – Scientific Magazines' Reputation Sadly Overrated

Horrified by Nature’s idiotic editorial trying to rally the troops for a street fight? Worry no more…the esteemed British scientific magazine is not new to egregious errors, such as showing no interest in the discovery of the Krebs Cycle (in 1937) and rejecting outright the evidence for pre Cambrian complex lifeforms (1946).

Perhaps the scientists of the XXII century will have learned that reputation means truly nothing, in the realms of proper science. Especially after the invention of marketing.

Model Slaves A Common Feature At NASA

(Don’t miss out on the bonus atmospheric reference at the bottom of this blog)

Should computer modeling be banned from NASA premises? Recent grandiose public statements may suggest as much.

March 1, 2010: NASA.gov: “Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days

The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day.

JPL research scientist Richard Gross computed how Earth’s rotation should have changed as a result of the Feb. 27 quake. Using a complex model, he and fellow scientists came up with a preliminary calculation that the quake should have shortened the length of an Earth day by about 1.26 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second).

Perhaps more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth’s axis. Gross calculates the quake should have moved Earth’s figure axis (the axis about which Earth’s mass is balanced) by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters, or 3 inches). Earth’s figure axis is not the same as its north-south axis; they are offset by about 10 meters (about 33 feet).

March 4, 2010: ASI (Italian Space Agency)’s Space Geodesy Centre in Matera, Italy – since 2004, the Official Primary Combination Centre for the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS): “The earthquake in Chile and the polar axis: analysis from our centre in Matera

Using data from the International Laser Ranging Service, the global system which uses lasers to measure, with millimetre resolution, the distance between a network of stations on Earth and reflectors on satellites, the ASI Space Geodesy Centre in Matera[...]  calculated the residual motion of the pole in comparison with values from immediately before the earthquake. Preliminary results do not show significant disparities, i.e. greater than one millisecond of arc, equivalent to about three centimetres.

March 11, 2010: NASA.gov: “Did the Chilean Quake Shift Earth’s Axis?

On Feb. 27, 2010, the Chilean quake may have moved the figure axis as much in a matter of minutes as it normally moves in a whole year. It was a truly seismic shift—no pun intended. So far, however, it’s all calculation and speculation. “We haven’t actually measured the shift,” says Gross. “But I intend to give it a try.” The key is GPS.

[...] The stage is set for discovery. “Computing power is at an all-time high. Our models of tides, winds and ocean currents have never been better. And the orientation of the Chilean fault favors a stronger signal.” In a few months Gross hopes to have the answer. Stay tuned.

A dime to the first person that will make Dr Gross acquainted with ILRS!

ps Check out how doubt-free NASA’s outreach has been on the topic

Why did the earthquake in Chile shorten the day? As I explained previously in the chat, the earthquake in Chile caused the mass of the Earth to shift, which caused the figure axis (the axis about which the mass of the Earth is balanced) to change. This change in the mass of the Earth caused a changed in the rotation rate of the Earth, making it speed up slightly, thus shortening the day.

pps Finally, an atmospheric bonus…here’s how ASI explained their results being different from NASA’s

This evaluation differs from those obtained using theoretical models of the planet (such as the one produced by the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California) which can estimate the extent of a shift on the basis of geophysical and seismological data. This is the type of calculation used in meteorological forecasts, which are based on data observed before a particular date and on theoretical models of how atmospheric phenomena develop.

And of course they are.