Free Markets, Free People

Science

Science in the service of politics

We’ve talked about this at other times in the past but there are some examples in a recent Victor Davis Hanson peice that make the point again.  Science is science.  It should not be something in service to anything, especially politics.  It should stand alone and we should deal with its findings as objectively as possible.  Unfortunately, today we have “science” (and yes the quote marks do indicate that what I’m going to note has nothing to do with real science) in the service of politics and for hire to whomever can provide it the most grant money.  It’s become a bit like expert witnesses in court.  Need one to conclude a certain way?  We can find that “expert” for you.

Anyway, there is one particularly egregious example in the VDH piece (at least more egregious than some, at least to me) that I want to note because it has so recently been in the news and used in politics to further an agenda:

The president still talks of “settled science” in the global-warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.

There is no scientific basis for the president’s assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California’s climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons for the fact that this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.

California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state’s water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea — on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.

In other words, government has been lax (no forward planning or construction for the water needs of an expanded population), environmentalists have been extreme (demanding an entire valley be dried up for a mostly useless fish) and the result has been to aggrevate a natural penomenon to disaster levels.

But they will tell you that it has to do with “global warming”, not poor government, not environmental extremism.  What Obama is pushing is pseudo-science, fashioned to support a political position.  There is no reason that this drought should be as severe as it has been.  And again – it isn’t global warming causing the severity.

Remember, this was the guy who promised he’s put science back in the place it belonged.  Apparently that place is the same place he claimed it was before he took office.  As a political tool to push an ideological agenda.  That’s precisely what he was doing in California.

But then, the fact that he lied shouldn’t suprise anyone, given his track record.

~McQ

A story of how this administration misuses “science”

But first a fond farewell to Piers Morgan – don’t let the doorknob hit you in the ass as you head back to the UK, you jackwagon.  Oh, and would you mind taking Alex Baldwin and that Beiber thing with you?

Now to the point.  One of the things that the Obama administration told us in the beginning is that it planned on putting “science” back in its proper place as something serious and non-political (an obvious political shot at the opposition who, candidate Obama claimed, used it for political purposes).

How’s that gone?  Well we’ve watched the global warming bunkem.  And the Keystone Pipeline nonsense.  But here’s a story that will demonstrate best how much of a lie (and I don’t know how you describe what’s happened any other way) that original promise was:

A case in point is the story of DOI science adviser and scientific integrity officer, Dr. Paul Houser, who found out that by simply doing his job can be hazardous to one’s career. Dr. Houser is an expert in hydrology who was hired by DOI’s Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate scientific data used in the department’s decision making process. He was assigned several Western State projects including a scheme to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in Northern California—the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. When a summary of science posted on the web to support DOI’s claim for removal of the dams omitted several crucial factors from expert panel reports, Dr. Houser brought his concerns to his superiors. He was repeatedly told to refrain from sharing his concerns through electronic communication, which could be subject to Freedom of Information Act discovery.

Dr. Houser learned firsthand that policy was driving the science, rather than the other way around, when he was told by his superiors at DOI, “Secretary Salazar wants to remove those dams. So your actions here aren’t helpful.”

According to the DOI the premise for Klamath River dams removal is to restore Coho salmon spawning habitat above the dams. However, official DOI documents reveal scientific concerns that dam removal may, in fact, result in species decline based on millions of tons of toxic sediment build up behind the dams that will make its way to the ocean. Water temperature increases without the dams could also negatively impact the salmon. These studies were ignored. Concerns about the human toll and impact to local Klamath Basin communities were also brushed aside. Those most interested in the well-being of the environment they live and work in, were given a backseat to special interests thousands of miles away.

The Klamath hydroelectric dams provide clean inexpensive energy to thousands of local residents who will be forced to pay much higher premiums if the dams are removed because California has strict new laws for use of renewable energy. The town of Happy Camp sits on the banks of the Klamath River and could be wiped out with seasonal flooding without the dams. Once Coho salmon are introduced into the upper Klamath, farmers and ranchers will be faced with water use restrictions and invasive government regulation of private land. The economic impact will be devastating, property values will depreciate and the agriculture community, often operating on slim profit margins, will be subjected to the fate of the once vibrant logging industry which fell victim to the spotted owl crusades.

Last year, Dr. Houser raised these concerns and was subsequently fired by the DOI. “I put my concerns forward and immediately thereafter I was pushed out of the organization,” he stated. The agency sent a clear message to the rest of their employees and scientists – Salazar’s dam busting agenda cannot be subject to any internal scientific scrutiny. Goebbels would be proud. Truth must be repressed when it contradicts the objective.

Dr. Houser did the right thing. He did his job. His integrity as a scientist was more important than a paycheck. But he remains concerned about his colleagues in DOI, “There are a lot of good scientists that work for the government but they are scared, they are scared that what happened to me might happen to them. This is an issue (about) the honesty and transparency of government and an issue for other scientists in government who want to speak out.”

Those fish have an advocate.  That advocate is named Salazar.  Salazar has decided he wants a certain outcome.  “Science’s” role is to justfy it.  Never mind the human toll.  Never mind the economic toll.  Never mind any of the toll.  Ken Salazar and his radical environmental cronies will feel just peachy about themselves if they accomplish this … even if the fish actually die as a result.  Because, well because this is how nature did it to begin with, people are pests and it is more important that we let fish spawn where they once did than worry about how it will effect the pests.  And by George he has the power of government and “science” behind him to do as he wishes.  Houser didn’t toe the line, had actual scientific integrity and spoke out.  And was fired.

Frankly, this doesn’t surprise me a bit.

You?

~McQ

Coming in 2014 whether you like it or not

Just for an intro:

A Russian expedition ship carrying global warming scientists got stuck in ice earlier this week. Now a Chinese ice breaker sent to rescue the scientists is frozen too just miles away.

Yes friends, “global warming”, “climate change” or whatever the alarmists choose to call it next year, will be with us and with a vengeance.

You see, “if you like your insurance you can keep it” Obama has said it will be one of his highest priorities.  There’s gold in that thar air.  It is an as yet untapped revenue source that, well, he’s bound and determined to tap – science, or lack thereof, be damned.

Nevermind that 13 new Obama taxes go into effect this next year and will likely stunt economic growth … again.  Global warming produces an entire new opportunity to gouge taxpayers “for their own good” — you know, just like ObamaCare.  And, of course, the grab will be couched in language much like ObamaCare.  They’ll promise the moon.  They’ll deliver misery. The only institution which will benefit?  Government.

What will be chipped away?

A little more of your freedom.  Your liberty.

It is obviously okay now for government to just engage in bald faced lies and get away with it.  Obama’s “if you like your insurance …” lie led the parade of Pinocchio awards by that renowned right-wing rag the Washington Post. Result? Nada? Penalty? Nada?

Lesson learned by the perpetrators of the lie?

Hey, it’s okay, there are no penalties and it works.

Next up?

Global warming (and your wallet).

You’ve been warned.

~McQ

We share the same climate as … the Romans?

What climate alarmists will swear to is a) today’s climate is unprecedented in human history and b) is a result of human action (specifically, industrialization).

But what if these conditions have existed prior to now during another era?  Wouldn’t that put the end to both “a” and “b”?  Well you’d think the Medieval Warm Period would have done that, but alarmists have all but handwaved that away as an “anomaly” if they admit it existed at all.

However, a study has found another era that seems to have shared our climate:

A Swedish study found that the planet was warmer in ancient Roman times and the Middle Ages than today, challenging the mainstream idea that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main drivers of global warming.

The study, by scientist Leif Kullman, analyzed 455 “radiocarbon-dated mega-fossils” in the Scandes mountains and found that tree lines for different species of trees were higher during the Roman and Medieval times than they are today. Not only that, but the temperatures were higher as well.

Oh, my.  Those industrialized Romans must have been the blame.  Right?  I mean if you choose to be consistent about your argument, wouldn’t you have to at least consider that as a claim to why the Roman era was even warmer than now (burning that fossil fuel, huh)?  I mean, if you’re sure it is human action leading to the rise in temperatures and, specifically, industrialization?

Yeah, that’d be the logical approach, wouldn’t it?  So this new data (among all the other “new” data that is so roundly ignored by so-called scientists who are pushing the alarmist line) is very inconvenient.  And, in reality, the study points out that 5,000 to 9,000 years ago, without any real human action or industrialization, the global temperature was even higher than it was during the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman era:

“Historical tree line positions are viewed in relation to early 21st century equivalents, and indicate that tree line elevations attained during the past century and in association with modern climate warming are highly unusual, but not unique, phenomena from the perspective of the past 4,800 years,” Kullman found. “Prior to that, the pine tree line (and summer temperatures) was consistently higher than present, as it was also during the Roman and Medieval periods.”

Kullman also wrote that “summer temperatures during the early Holocene thermal optimum may have been 2.3°C higher than present.” The “Holocene thermal optimum was a warm period that occurred between 9,000 and 5,000 years ago. This warm period was followed by a gradual cooling period.”

According to Kullman, the temperature spikes were during the Roman and Medieval warming periods “were succeeded by a distinct tree line/temperature dip, broadly corresponding to the Little Ice Age.”

So what’s a skeptic to do when he see’s this data which directly contradicts the alarmist claims?

That’s easy … remain very skeptical of the “science” underlying the alarmist nonsense and make sure that politicians don’t try to cash in on bad science by taxing you for something that just isn’t your problem.

~McQ

It’s time to call Warmists “deniers”

Because they deny both science and fact to push an agenda that is demonstrably false.  Yet have the temerity to call those who are skeptical of their claims “deniers”.  And, of course, they have their “scientific” mouthpieces as well.  For instance:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its “State of the Climate in 2012” report, which states that “worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record.”

But the report “fails to mention [2012] was one of the coolest of the decade, and thus confirms the cooling trend,” according to an analysis by climate blogger Pierre Gosselin.

“To no one’s surprise, the report gives the reader the impression that warming is galloping ahead out of control,” writes Gosselin. “But their data shows just the opposite.”

Well of course it does. It’s not like we haven’t seen this sort of thing from them before. It is “Headline” science. It’s also Chicken Little Science.  Always the alarmist.  Always the problem … a problem that only government can fix, of course.  And a problem that also includes you losing some freedom of action.  You know, the usual prescription.

Then there’s the confusion:

Although the NOAA report noted that in 2012, “the Arctic continues to warm” with “sea ice reaching record lows,” it also stated that the Antarctica sea ice “reached a record high of 7.51 million square miles” on Sept. 26, 2012.

And the latest figures for this year show that there’s been a slowdown of melting in the Arctic this summer as well, with temperatures at the North Pole well below normal for this time of year. Meteorologist Joe Bastardi calls it “the coldest ever recorded.”

Oh, my … an “inconvenient truth”. Now what?

Well, because the facts don’t support the usual assertion, AP was forced to retract a photo and caption:

The Associated Press had to retract a photo it released on July 27 with the caption, “The shallow meltwater lake is occurring due to an unusually warm period.”

“In fact, the water accumulates in this way every summer,” AP admitted in a note to editors, adding that the photo was doubly misleading because “the camera used by the North Pole Environment Observatory has drifted hundreds of miles from its original position, which was a few dozen miles from the pole.”

I guess they were out of distraught polar bears hanging on to a sliver of ice or something.

And then there’s this:

NOAA also reported that the “average lower strastospheric temperature, about six to ten miles above the Earth’s surface, for 2012 was record or near-record cold, depending on the dataset” even while the concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, continued to increase.

But don’t worry … the real science will be ignored.  Why?  Because a certain set of politicans are sniffing the wind and they smell an opportunity to create a tax out of thin air.   And that, my friends, is all it takes.  Politicians and junk science … a marriage made in hell.

~McQ

Cold Fusion?

So, there’s this Italian guy named Rossi who has a little device he calls the "E-Cat" reactor tube. He says this reactor tube produces a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR), or what the rubes call "cold fusion". Rossi has been a very secretive little fellow about his device, and has essentially been classified as either a crank or a scam artist—and has a white collar conviction record. So, he’s not especially trustworthy. He’s been challenged to submit the E-Cat to independent testing, because his claims about seem too good to be true.

Well, apparently he did. A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and Bologna University in Italy have uploaded a paper to Cornell’s xarchiv pre-press archive server entitled, "Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device", in which they say they observed the E-Cat in two tests, during which says things like, "the E-Cat HT2’s performance lies outside the known region of chemical energy densities," and it’s "at least one order of magnitude above the volumetric energy density of any known chemical source." To wit, the paper says the team observed "observed power production of 2,034 Watts thermal for an input of 360 Watts."

Not everyone is convinced, of course, and there are still troubling references to Rossi’s "industrial trade secrets". Skeptics are saying the physicists who took part in this are being hoodwinked by Rossi.

But if—and it’s a big if—the paper’s observations are true, then this is big. Really big. Still, it would’ve been nice if, in addition to the physicists, the team had taken a good journeyman electrician along, to look for the simple stuff.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

What? We’ve lost no ice mass in Antarctica? But “consensus” said we would!

And, as we’ve said for a while, “consensus” is wrong.  I won’t call it ‘scientific consensus’ because there’s no such thing.  And, as you’ll see, there wasn’t much science involved in previous predictions anyway.  But first the news according to The Register:

Twenty-year-old models which have suggested serious ice loss in the eastern Antarctic have been compared with reality for the first time – and found to be wrong, so much so that it now appears that no ice is being lost at all.

“Previous ocean models … have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place,” says Tore Hattermann of the Norwegian Polar Institute, member of a team which has obtained two years’ worth of direct measurements below the massive Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica – the first ever to be taken.

You don’t say.  And why is that?

It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass.

The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted …

So let me see if I get this straight … previous “scientific” studies were based in models that used no “direct data for comparison or guidance” and led us on this unscientific wild goose chase for what, 20 years?

But don’t expect this to stop anyone.  Scientific findings?  Bah, humbug.  They’re meeting right now, under the auspices of the UN, to save the world from the dire predictions the same sorts of models have forecast for our future – most likely based on about as flimsy a basis as these models were.

The rational among us know that. The ‘environ – mental’ crowd, however, will ignore this as they have every other bit of actual contrary evidence and we’ll continue to hear them claim that we’re losing antarctic ice mass at an alarming level (because remember, that sort of land based ice mass is bad because it will raise ocean levels and that fits their worldview and their agenda).

Science per se is not at all something they worship – unless it says what they want it to say.  If it doesn’t, they feel free to ignore it and pretend the contrary info comes from charlatans and “deniers”.

~McQ

ICYMI: Global warming appears to have stopped 16 years ago

But, of course, it is one of the Obama administration’s priorities (could it be because a carbon tax would most likely kill even more jobs?).  Bottom line?

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week. The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported. This stands in sharp contrast to the release of the previous figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year.

Of course the figures, as mentioned, were “quietly” released without an media fanfare.  None.  They were just plopped out there.

Die-hard warmists aren’t going to pay any attention to it though.  Just watch.  Those who claim “science” should trump and we should be doing something to curb our carbon footprints really don’t care about science.

Does it matter that campaigners and the media are actively peddling disinformation? For the most part, probably not, as the public is by now used to such nonsense on just about every subject from unemployment figures to Barack Obama’s birth certificate. But there is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates. But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation — even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change — may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.

Absolutely.  But back to Roger Pielke Jr’s question at the beginning.  Does it matter that politicians and the media are actively peddling disinformation?  Yes, in fact it does.  Because they are able, if they convince enough people, to force us to pay for one of their revenue schemes with the false science they peddle.  So yes, it does matter.   But his point about scientists is important as well.  It is the scientific community that should be up in arms about the fiasco that global warming, or as warmists now prefer, “climate change”, has been presented.  Pure, grant peddling, hogwash.

Dr. Judith Curry at Georgia Tech says:

The data confirms the existence of a ‘pause’ in the warming. The impact of this pause within the climate dynamic community has been to focus increased attention on the impact of natural variability, particularly the impact of internal multi-decadal oscillations in the ocean.  The new climate model calculations for the AR5 have focused on trying to assess what it would take to accurately simulate these multi-decadal ocean oscillations and how predictable they might be.  These new observations and climate modeling results will hopefully impact the the IPCC AR5 deliberations so that we do not see the same overly confident consensus statements that we saw in the AR4.

Got that?  They don’t even know what it will take to simulate the “multi-decadal ocean oscillations”.  That should tell you all you need to know about the efficacy of the previous models which so “over confidently” claimed both viability and consensus.  As we’ve since learned, they had neither.

Final nail?  Oh, no.  Zombie warmism will be with us until the newest man-made apocolypse is “discovered”.

~McQ
Twitter: @McQandO
Facebook: QandO

Damn global warming!

This … this … this just can’t be!

Antarctica has broken the record for the greatest sea ice extent ever measured at either pole. If current trends continue, the Earth will be completely covered with ice much faster than the climate models predicted.

It has to be nonsense, right?  Is it the Onion?  We all know ice is melting and sea levels are rising … the media tells us so.  And then there’s Al Gore, the voice of reason.  We all know this can’t be true.  Just ask us:

OK, so the floating Arctic ice cap appears to be shrinking. Catastrophe if it goes on, right? As white ice reflects heat into space, past a certain point more and more heat will not be reflected, more and more ice will melt. Past such a “tipping point”, the ice cap would never recover – it would vanish completely, taking with it the ice cover of Greenland which would cause huge rises in sea levels and Biblical flooding worldwide. Not so much, according to the latest research by German climate scientists.

Really?  You mean, the ice isn’t melting?  The world won’t flood?  It’s not getting warmer?

What’s that you say?  You have actual science to back that up?

Real world measurements are the best tools we have at our disposal to monitor what impacts, if any, our use of fossil fuels is having on earth’s climate. Measured temperature increase has stopped for over a decade despite large increases in carbon dioxide. Loss and gain of sea ice in the Arctic is directly tied to cycles of warming and cooling ocean temperatures. Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Antarctic temperature is not increasing. The number of hurricanes around the world is not increasing and the strength of hurricanes worldwide is decreasing.

Antarctica’s temperature is not increasing?  You’ll probably claim sea temperatures haven’t risen either:

Using data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UEA, it appears sea surface temperatures may explain Antarctic Sea Ice at record levels. SST in the southern hemisphere have a cooling trend of -0.068C per decade over the last 15 years.

Oh, my.  The sea has been cooling for all these years?  But what evidence do you have that there’s more ice?

Global average sea levels fell by 5mm last year, presenting an inconvenient fact in a climate change narrative that warns of severe long-term threats to coastal settlements. The 5mm decline was almost twice the rate of the 3mm-a-year average increase recorded over the past 20 years and three times the 130-year average rise rate of 1.7mm a year.

Wow … so how do we hide that decline?

Just askin’

~McQ
Twitter: McQandO
Facebook: QandO

Oxygen isotope ratio cycles support skeptical climate change view

Anthony Watts publishes the following chart over at Watts Up With That:

O18

It has nothing at all to do with CO2 but instead with Oxygen isotopes (O18).  Why is that significant in the climate debate?

Oxygen isotope ratio cycles are cyclical variations in the ratio of the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 18 to the abundance of oxygen with an atomic mass of 16 present in some substances, such as polar ice or calcite in ocean core samples. The ratio is linked to water temperature of ancient oceans, which in turn reflects ancient climates. Cycles in the ratio mirror climate changes in geologic history.

Connection between temperature and climate

The 18O/16O ratio provides a record of ancient water temperature. Water 10 to 15 °C (18 to 27 °F) cooler than present represents glaciation. As colder temperatures spread toward the equator, water vapor rich in 18O preferentially rains out at lower latitudes. The remaining water vapor that condenses over higher latitudes is subsequently rich in 16O.[2]Precipitation and therefore glacial ice contain water with a low 18O content. Since large amounts of 16O water are being stored as glacial ice, the 18O content of oceanic water is high. Water up to 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than today represents an interglacial, when the 18O content of oceanic water is lower. A plot of ancient water temperature over time indicates that climate has varied cyclically, with large cycles and harmonics, or smaller cycles, superimposed on the large ones. This technique has been especially valuable for identifying glacial maxima and minima in the Pleistocene.

Steve McIntyre notes:

Oxygen isotope series are the backbone of deep-time paleoclimate. The canonical 800,000 year comparison of CO2 and temperature uses O18 values from Vostok, Antarctica to estimate temperature. In deep time, O18 values are a real success story: they clearly show changes from the LGM to the Holocene that cohere with glacial moraines.

[…]

Given the high reliance on O18 series in deep time, one would think that paleoclimatologists would be extremely interested in a publication of the Law Dome O18 data and be pressuring Tas van Ommen on this point.

[…]

But despite the apparent opportunity offered by Law Dome, there has been virtually no technical publication of a high-resolution O18 or delD isotope series.

That’s not to say, however, it wasn’t offered:

On its face, Law Dome, which was screened out by Gergis and Karoly, is an extraordinarily important Holocene site as it is, to my knowledge, the highest-accumulation Holocene site yet known, with accumulation almost 10 times greater than the canonical Vostok site. (Accumulation is directly related to resolution: high accumulation enables high resolution.) The graphic below compares glacier thickness for some prominent sites for three periods: 1500-2000, 1000-1500 and 0-1000. its resolution in the past two millennia is nearly double the resolution of the Greenland GRIP and NGRIP sites that have been the topic of intensive study and publication.

[…]

A Climategate email shows that Phil Jones asked about the omission of the Law Dome series from the IPCC illustration in the AR4 First Draft. I asked the same question about the AR4 Second Draft. They realized that the Law Dome graphic had an elevated medieval period and thus, including it in the graphic would – to borrow a phrase from the preparation of AR3 – would “dilute the message” and perhaps provide “fodder to skeptics”.

Why would it “dilute the message” and provide “fodder to skeptics”?  Well look at the chart.  A clearly defined Medieval Warm Period and no hockey stick.

Speaking of “inconvenient truths”.

Much more on the subject here.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO