Free Markets, Free People


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Irene–hurricane of hype?

What a weekend.  Hurricane Irene, the most hyped hurricane since Katrina, lived up to its billing … as a category 3 hurricane.   In other words, it did what you’d expect a cat 3 to do.  But if you listened too the press and government officials, this was a mega-storm, a storm that was the “harbinger of a change in climate” as the NY Times breathlessly claimed.

Instead it turned out to be a pretty ordinary hurricane that did indeed do some damage, but no more than a normal cat 3 (although it did make landfall twice) and it unfortunately killed some people, but mostly in freak accidents.  Finally, it blew out, downgraded to a tropical storm, before it ever reached New York City.

However the spectacle created on-shore by the approach of the hurricane was something to behold.  It had to be at least category 6.  We have a president with plummeting poll numbers taking “command” at the National Hurricane Center.  And we have the press out and about, trying to make the storm much more than it was:

For the television reporter, clad in his red cagoule emblazoned with the CNN logo, it was a dramatic on-air moment, broadcasting live from Long Island, New York during a hurricane that also threatened Manhattan.

“We are in, right, now…the right eye wall, no doubt about that…there you see the surf,” he said breathlessly. “That tells a story right there.”

Stumbling and apparently buffeted by ferocious gusts, he took shelter next to a building. “This is our protection from the wind,” he explained. “It’s been truly remarkable to watch the power of the ocean here.”

The surf may have told a story but so too did the sight behind the reporter of people chatting and ambling along the sea front and just goofing around. There was a man in a t-shirt, a woman waving her arms and then walking backwards. Then someone on a bicycle glided past.

So much for Irene the storm.  What was all the hype about?

A couple things seem apparent.   Politically the storm was seen as a, forgive the word choice, windfall.  It was something which would allow the government to prove its worth, to demonstrate the lessons it had learned since Katrina (funny that this is the first hurricane since Katrina on which this could be “demonstrated”).  It also gave the president national face time (speech), a way to demonstrate leadership (without risk) and hopefully a surge in the polls.  The compliant press was glad to go along:

The White House sent out 25 Irene emails to the press on Saturday alone.

There were photographs of President Barack Obama touring disaster centres and footage of him asking sombre, pertinent questions. With his poll ratings plummeting, Obama needed to project an aura of seriousness and command. He was all too aware that the political fortunes of his predecessor George W Bush never recovered after the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005.

The press mostly reported the message the White House had carefully crafted: “Obama takes charge” read the headline of one wire service story.

Instead, it all turned out, it seems, to have been a giant over-reaction.  We’ve handled numerous cat 3 (and higher) hurricanes throughout our history without all the governmental drama and dire warnings.  One can only factor sinking poll numbers into this particular event to have it make any sense.

Then there was the global warning crowd who seems bent on using any weather event as a “harbinger” of things to come because of wicked, evil humans and their carbon drenched lifestyles.  And they end up trying to use a fairly ordinary cat 3 hurricane as their example.  But, of course, the hurricane seasons of the past few years have been a bit of a disappointment to those types, hasn’t it? Fewer storms and of a lesser intensity.  You know your theory is bankrupt when you’re reduced to hyping a cat 3 as Justin Gillis did in the New York Times:

The scale of Hurricane Irene, which could cause more extensive damage along the Eastern Seaboard than any storm in decades, is reviving an old question: are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change?

The simple answer to the question seems to be – “no”.

But that doesn’t stop the alarmists from using this occasion to tar the skeptical side with ad hominem attacks instead of facts.

Paul Krugman publishes pure fiction:

In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.

And, of course Al Gore is reduced to calling skeptics the equivalent of racists.

Back to Krugman though.  As I’ve followed it, climate science seems to be saying exactly the opposite of is assertion seems to be true. A) it seems most scientists are becoming more aware of how much we don’t know about the climate (certainly not enough to be drawing the conclusions being drawn), B) the CERN study seems to put “broken” on the alarmist modeling which has driven the AGW crowd’s argument (I won’t dignify it with the word “theory”) and C) if anything, science now sees the possibility of a cooling trend, not a warming trend.

But you have to actually “follow climate science” to know that.

Meanwhile in Australia, a study is coming out that links mental illness to climate change:

RATES of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says.

The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse.

As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events.

Yeah, is the “emotional injury” a result of “climate change” or having your house, which shouldn’t have been built in a flood plane to begin with, washed away in a flood?  Obviously people are going to be emotionally injured when they lose their house.  But the same could be said about them if it burned down because of a grease fire.

These examples provide a look at two groups desperately casting around for favorable examples and coverage for themselves and their agendas.  Politicians who’ve now decided the new normal for weather events is to have a media event, and the AGW crowd who will use anything, absolutely anything, no matter how absurd, to try to revive their dying assertions.

Welcome to the hurricane of hype. 


Twitter: @McQandO

CERN: ‘Climate models will need to be substantially revised’

The findings by CERN which have finally been published in Nature magazine, are fairly explicit about the validity of current AGW models. They will need to be “substantially revised”.


Because the findings substantiate the fact that the sun plays the major role in changes in our climate and not the human factors claimed by warmists. It’s all about the sun, clouds, cosmic rays and nucleation.

CERN conducted a CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets") experiment to test a theory at odds with current warmist theories about cloud origins. As it turns out, the findings provide:

… support for a "heliocentric" rather than "anthropogenic" approach to climate change: the sun plays a large role in modulating the quantity of cosmic rays reaching the upper atmosphere of the Earth.

Who knew that big yellow hot thing that hangs in the sky each day would play a major role in our climate?

Prior to publication of the Nature article, it had been assumed the findings were negative to warmist theories when the head of CERN (director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer) warned his scientists to just provide the facts and not interpret them.

Here’s how CERN presented the data via lead physicist Jasper Kirkby:

"Ion-induced nucleation will manifest itself as a steady production of new particles that is difficult to isolate in atmospheric observations because of other sources of variability but is nevertheless taking place and could be quite large when averaged globally over the troposphere."

Kirkby is quoted in the accompanying CERN press release:

"We’ve found that cosmic rays significantly enhance the formation of aerosol particles in the mid troposphere and above. These aerosols can eventually grow into the seeds for clouds. However, we’ve found that the vapours previously thought to account for all aerosol formation in the lower atmosphere can only account for a small fraction of the observations – even with the enhancement of cosmic rays."


"[I]t is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours [sulphuric acid and ammonia] and water alone.

Here is another unknown finally known. Yet the scientists on the warmist side tried to claim they had all the information they needed to build their models and make their wild claims. However, as more and more real science comes it, it becomes clearer and clearer that their science falls at best in the “junk science” category and their claims are unsubstantiated assertions. As we’re finding out, they’re certainly not backed by science.

So, what should be taken from this? A) the climate models are junk. Most observers have known this for quite some time. They are incomplete, their forcing data are all out of whack, and they not only can’t forecast the future, they can’t reproduce the past. B) We’re really just now beginning to understand the climate and its dynamics. And, unsurprisingly for most, despite the warmists attempts to ignore it, the sun plays a major role in determining temperature on earth.

Seems like common sense to me. So why has it taken so long to finally surface?

As with all such things, follow the money.


Twitter: @McQandO

Climate alarmist theory dealt yet another factual blow

This is becoming almost laughable.  James Taylor, from the Heartland Institute and writing in Forbes brings us the story that new data from NASA has all but proven the alarmist climate model predictions are clearly and demonstrably wrong.

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

The nitty-gritty:

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Well it should indeed dramatically alter the debate, but there’s really no debate going on.  On the one side you have those who continue to pile scientific fact after scientific fact on the collapsing theory of AGW.  And on the other side you have those who stopped looking at the science after the last IPCC report and stubbornly cling to the anti-science belief in “consensus” while charging full-speed ahead trying to pass a regime of insane taxation.    The reason should be obvious by now – politics and big bucks.

Here’s what this new information means:

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

So that means:

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

Or, if the relevancy and accuracy of alarmist computer models hasn’t been called into question before, if it isn’t now, you’re just simply unwilling to consider new facts or science and should be treated accordingly.

Oh, and before I forget it, the “polar bears are drowning” guy is in a bit of hot water – no pun intended:

A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.

Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues." But he has not yet been informed by the inspector general’s office of specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Just a little FYI.  Meanwhile Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) thinks is pretty sure that all this opposition against the theory of AGW is just a result of “vested interests” in the oil and coal industries and it is imperative that the government start educating people about why this stuff is serious (and why they need to let government tax the crap out  of them as a result):

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to launch a national climate-change-education campaign.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), in a letter to Chu, said the public’s understanding of climate change is “diminishing” in part because there are “powerful vested interests in the oil and coal industries successfully fanning disbelief.”

“I ask you to investigate the disconnect that appears to be growing between the scientific and the public understanding of climate change,” Waxman said. “I hope you will then decide to lead a national effort to ensure the public is fully and accurately informed about the science of climate change and its implications for human health and welfare.”

Facts?  We don’t need no stinkin’ facts.   Not when billions in revenue for government are at stake.  And they wonder why no one trusts them.

[HT: looker]


Twitter: @McQandO

And now for something completely different–PC’s and embryos

A couple of topics of interest.  Reuters carries a story entitled “Aging PC giants see writing on the wall”.   Seems funny to call the personal computer industry an “aging” industry, but I think the thrust of the article is right – at least regarding the “desktop” computer:

Silicon Valley’s old guard is waking up to the fact that the era of consumer PC may be in its twilight, accelerating the need to invest and adapt to rapidly changing tastes.

This week’s earnings from the giants of technology had one thing in common: they underscored yet again how consumers are increasingly shunning desktop PCs and going mobile.

Intel, which had argued that pessimistic expectations about the market were out of whack, reduced its 2011 PC forecast. Microsoft Windows sales, that reliable indicator of PC market strength, fell short of expectations for the third straight quarter.

And Apple Inc, which single-handedly showed with its iPad that many consumers are more than happy with an unladen, light and mobile computer, obliterated all estimates by selling a whopping 9 million tablets.

"The desktop, at least for consumers, probably doesn’t have a great future, and the iPad and similar tablets can deliver a lot of the functionality of a laptop," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management.

Using only my own experience as a guide, I rarely use my desktop computer anymore.  In fact, I think of it as a legacy computer.   Just about everything I do now is on a laptop.   As for the iPad, I use it extensively as well, but not primarily.  In the type work I do, to include blogging, it is more of a supplementary tool.  But I can see that could easily change.   Given the paucity of good apps for blogging that presently exist – especially Word Press -  I’m on the laptop instead.   However, should that change, the iPad could easily become dominant (especially with the bluetooth keyboard).

On the business side of things, I can see the desktop being around for a while longer.   However, again, my experience working for a company in the field had me only operating off of laptops.   I could see beefed up tablets taking that bit of the market – i.e. that part of the business market that relies on laptops.  So yeah, I’d say the “aging giants” are right.  The desktop is likely headed for the museum.  Laptops probably have a longer (leaner and lighter) future.  At some point, I imagine the tablet and laptop will merge and dominate.

Topic two, from the UK:

Scientists have created more than 150 human-animal hybrid embryos in British laboratories.

The hybrids have been produced secretively over the past three years by researchers looking into possible cures for a wide range of diseases.

The revelation comes just a day after a committee of scientists warned of a nightmare ‘Planet of the Apes’ scenario in which work on human-animal creations goes too far.

This is a plot right out of a bad mad scientist SciFi movie.  The question of course is “why”?

That question was asked by this committee of scientists and the answer was apparently less than satisfying:

Last night he said: ‘I argued in Parliament against the creation of human- animal hybrids as a matter of principle. None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment.

‘Ethically it can never be justifiable – it discredits us as a country. It is dabbling in the grotesque.

‘At every stage the justification from scientists has been: if only you allow us to do this, we will find cures for every illness known to mankind. This is emotional blackmail.


‘Of the 80 treatments and cures which have come about from stem cells, all have come from adult stem cells – not embryonic ones.
‘On moral and ethical grounds this fails; and on scientific and medical ones too.’


All have now stopped creating hybrid embryos due to a lack of funding, but scientists believe that there will be more such work in the future.

To recap – they promise wondrous cures in an area where none have been produced and the marketplace has obviously turned its nose up on the effort of producing embryonic stem cells because funding has dried up one suspects to be placed in the area where there is promise and that’s adult stem cells.   So there’s no apparent market or reason to make embryonic hybrids.

Much discussion in the article about the “ethics” of the effort.  Is it indeed “dabbling in the grotesque”?  Is it “never … justifiable?” 

Your thoughts.


Twitter: @McQandO

That big yellow thing that hangs in the sky each day

It appears the warmist agenda is about to take another hit if this is being interpreted properly:

The chief of the world’s leading physics lab at CERN in Geneva has prohibited scientists from drawing conclusions from a major experiment. The CLOUD ("Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets") experiment examines the role that energetic particles from deep space play in cloud formation. CLOUD uses CERN’s proton synchrotron to examine nucleation.

CERN Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Welt Online that the scientists should refrain from drawing conclusions from the latest experiment.

"I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?

Because, Heuer says, "That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters."

Oh … “only one of many parameters”, eh?  You mean like that big yellow thing that hangs in the sky each day?  

Imagine that  – cosmic rays have a role in cloud formation and the sun is extraordinarily active in how many cosmic rays are able reach the atmosphere and carry out that function.  And  the effect?

The CLOUD experiment builds on earlier experiments by Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark, who demonstrated that cosmic rays provide a seed for clouds. Tiny changes in the earth’s cloud cover could account for variations in temperature of several degrees. The amount of Ultra Fine Condensation Nuclei (UFCN) material depends on the quantity of the background drizzle of rays, which varies depending on the strength of the sun’s magnetic field and the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Emphasis mine.   Back to that big yellow thing – what role does it have?:

Since clouds often cover 30 percent of the earth’s surface, a moderate change in cloud cover clearly could explain the warming/cooling cycle.

Svensmark noted the gigantic “solar wind” that expands when the sun is active—and thus blocks many of the cosmic rays that would otherwise hit the earth’s atmosphere. When the sun weakens, the solar wind shrinks. Recently, the U.S. Solar Observatory reported a very long period of “quiet sun” and predicted 30 years of cooling.

Got it?  We’re in a solar minimum and the temp hasn’t risen in the 10 years since it has begun.  Go figure.

So where does this leave us given the CERN gag order?  What can you infer from that?  Nigel Calder does a good job of rounding them up:

Four quick inferences:

1) The results must be favourable for Svensmark or there would be no such anxiety about them.

2) CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It’s OK to enter “the highly political arena of the climate change debate” provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark’s heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.

3) The once illustrious CERN laboratory ceases to be a truly scientific institute when its Director General forbids its physicists and visiting experimenters to draw the obvious scientific conclusions from their results.

4) The resulting publication may be rather boring.

Indeed … boring only in the sense of reading dense scientific material.  Not boring in its impact.

The CERN experiment is supposed to be the big test of the Svensmark theory. It’s a tipoff, then, that CERN’s boss, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, has just told the German magazine Die Welt that he has forbidden his researchers to “interpret” the forthcoming test results. In other words, the CERN report will be a stark “just the facts” listing of the findings. Those findings must support Svensmark, or Heuer would never have issued such a stifling order on a major experiment.

Can’t wait to watch this one unfold.  But the gag order is very suspicious and certainly infers that the results don’t support the warmist theory … or should I say “assertion” now?


Twitter: @McQandO

So much for the myth that only the uninformed and ignorant are skeptical of AGW

Powerline’s Steven Hayward brings us the results of a revealing  paper by Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University.  It attacks one of the popular myths that only dummies reject the “consensus” because they are ignorant of the science.  Not so says the CCP:

The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

Hayward points out that these results validate an earlier finding from the journal Risk Analysis (2008):

By examining the results of a survey on an original and representative sample of Americans, we find that these three forces—informedness, confidence in scientists, and personal efficacy—are related in interesting and unexpected ways, and exert significant influence on risk assessments of global warming and climate change. In particular, more informed respondents both feel less personally responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming. We also find that confidence in scientists has unexpected effects: respondents with high confidence in scientists feel less responsible for global warming, and also show less concern for global warming.

Now one could conclude that it is actually the least informed who buy into the AGW because they’re less likely to seek out explanations to the underlying “science” that supports the theory.  Instead they accept it whole cloth and defend it instead of taking a skeptical point of view – a view which science demands.  Questioning the theory would also indicate intellectual curiosity instead of the rote acceptance of what is presented.

There’s a bit of irony to had here.  Hayward:

Whoa there: The more science you know about climate change, the less likely you are to think it is a crisis?  This suggest that all the money environmentalists have spent (I think the Environmental Defense Fund has spent $300 million alone on climate change) has had a negative effect on public opinion, and it offers the ironic possibility that the best thing Al Gore could do to advance his cause is shut up and grow his beard back in a Tibetan monastery.

It makes the case that a) the public isn’t stupid, b) propaganda is still mostly recognized as propaganda and c) the intellectually curious are more likely to be “skeptical” than the less intellectually curious.

Not a particularly flattering portrait of the AGW crowd, is it?


Twitter: @McQandO


Study claims sulphur pollution responsible for decade long cooling trend

Check out this story from Reuters:

Smoke belching from Asia’s rapidly growing economies is largely responsible for a halt in global warming in the decade after 1998 because of sulphur’s cooling effect, even though greenhouse gas emissions soared, a U.S. study said on Monday.

The paper raised the prospect of more rapid, pent-up climate change when emerging economies eventually crack down on pollution.

World temperatures did not rise from 1998 to 2008, while manmade emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuel grew by nearly a third, various data show.

The researchers from Boston and Harvard Universities and Finland’s University of Turku said pollution, and specifically sulphur emissions, from coal-fueled growth in Asia was responsible for the cooling effect.

Sulphur allows water drops or aerosols to form, creating hazy clouds which reflect sunlight back into space.

"Anthropogenic activities that warm and cool the planet largely cancel after 1998, which allows natural variables to play a more significant role," the paper said.

Natural cooling effects included a declining solar cycle after 2002, meaning the sun’s output fell.

Oh, wait … "natural cooling effects included a declining solar cycle?" Yeah, much less significant that "smoke belching" from Asia.

What they’re attempting to say here is it is still man who is in command of the atmosphere and climate. Really? If in fact that’s true, and AGW is the most significant problem we face in our future, then it stands to reason that pollution from "coal-fueled growth" is in our best interest, no?

In fact, what they’re describing is the albedo effect which is much more wide-spread than just sulfur pollution. You know – clouds? As I’ve mentioned many times, most of the models don’t consider cloud albedo in their modeling.

Wikipedia has a fairly good description of cloud albedo:

Cloud albedo is an important factor in the global warming effect. Different types of clouds exhibit different reflectivity, theoretically ranging in albedo from a minimum of near 0 to a maximum approaching 0.8. "On any given day, about half of Earth is covered by clouds, which reflect more sunlight than land and water. Clouds keep Earth cool by reflecting sunlight, but they can also serve as blankets to trap warmth."

Albedo and climate in some areas are affected by artificial clouds, such as those created by the contrails of heavy commercial airliner traffic.  A study following the burning of the Kuwaiti oil fields during Iraqi occupation showed that temperatures under the burning oil fires were as much as 10oC colder than temperatures several miles away under clear skies.

Note the final paragraph’s citing of the Kuwaiti oil field fires.  Note where it claims this cooling took place.  Yes, that’s right – only locally.   What the study above is purporting is widely spread coal-fired plants in a few emerging countries are responsible for holding temperatures down globally for a decade.

Do you buy that?

Also note this from Wikipedia:

Aerosols (very fine particles/droplets in the atmosphere) have both direct and indirect effects on the Earth’s radiative balance.

The direct (albedo) effect is generally to cool the planet; the indirect effect (the particles act as cloud condensation nuclei and thereby change cloud properties) is less certain. As per [27] the effects are:

  • Aerosol direct effect. Aerosols directly scatter and absorb radiation. The scattering of radiation causes atmospheric cooling, whereas absorption can cause atmospheric warming.
  • Aerosol indirect effect. Aerosols modify the properties of clouds through a subset of the aerosol population called cloud condensation nuclei. Increased nuclei concentrations lead to increased cloud droplet number concentrations, which in turn leads to increased cloud albedo, increased light scattering and radiative cooling (first indirect effect), but also leads to reduced precipitation efficiency and increased lifetime of the cloud (second indirect effect).

Clouds, however they’re formed, are sort of like the window-shades of the world.  In general, increased cloud cover has a cooling effect (clouds can also trap heat, thereby keeping it warmer at night in an area than another area that doesn’t have cloud cover).  In general, decreased or no cloud cover means warming.   Increased evaporation of the oceans due to increased temperature has a tendency to see more clouds form as the percentage of water vapor rises.  Cooler temps mean less evaporation and thus less cloud formation.  It is a mechanism that is and has been studied for years, but science still doesn’t completely understand the process. 

But you don’t have to be an atmospheric scientist to know it is a critical part of any study of the earth’s climate, but one that has essentially been relegated to the sidelines in the AGW scare, at least till now. 

Finally, note the "oh, yeah, by the way" moment in the article – "declining solar cycle". Tell me – which do you suppose might have more effect – pollution from a couple of emerging countries or a huge burning solar mass that can heat your day up from 69 degrees at 7am to 94 degrees by noon and now showing declining activity?

Yeah, me too.

Oh and one other question – if the AGW crowd is terrified of the increase of global temps, and if they actually believe that we must find a way to allay that, doesn’t it seem that (stipulating this study is actually correct) they should be encouraging the increase in coal-fired plants to offset the effect of the rise in CO2 (again stipulating that CO2 has the effect they claim it has)?

[HT: looker]


Twitter: @McQandO


Dwight Eisenhower – a warning from the past concerning science and government

If you’re any student of history, you’re aware of the speech President Eisenhower gave upon his leaving the presidency. It is often referred to as the "Military/Industrial complex speech".

In it he warned against the future problems we’d encounter by the establishment of a permanent "military/industrial complex" (something we’d never had prior to WWII).

But are you also aware he warned against the establishment of something else that it took WWII to create (think Manhattan Project)? You’ll recognize it immediately:

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Emphasis is mine and it is something which has indeed come true and is alive and well in the current “science” of global warming.

Then add this – because this hasn’t been changed or disproven.  From S. Fred Singer’s book, “Unstoppable Global Warming – every 1500 years” (2007, 2008):

…[T]he Antarctic ice cores tell us that the earth’s temperatures and CO2 levels have tracked closely together through the last three ice ages and global warnings. However, CO2 has been a lagging indicator, its concentrations rising about 600 to 800 years after the temperatures warm. Oregon State climatologist George Taylor explains the significance of this fact:

Early Vostok analysis looked at samples centuries apart and concluded correctly that there is a very strong relationship between temperatures and CO2 concentrations. The conclusion for many was obvious: when CO2 goes up, temperatures go up, and vice versa. This became the basis for a number of scary looking graphs in books by scientist Stephen Schneider, former VP Al Gore, and others, predicting a much warmer future (since most scientists agree that CO2 will continue to go up for sometime). Well, it’s not as simple as that. When the Vostok  data were analyzed for much shorter time periods (decades at a time rather than centuries), something quite different emerged. Huburtus Fischer and his research team from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography reported: "the time lag of the rise in CO2 concentrations with respect to temperature change is on the order of 400 to 1000 years". In other words, CO2 changes are caused by temperature changes.

Yet somehow the science has been perverted over the years to now characterize CO2 as not only a current indicator of warming but a cause of warming.  As far as I’ve been able to determine, what is written above has yet to be disproven or disputed.

So here we are with a government which is interested in increasing revenue by literally creating a tax out of thin air, and we have a well funded government “science”  – a $103 billion dollar “gravy train” (that figure was quoted quite often at ICCC6) and we wonder why we’re getting the conclusions we’re getting from those scientists?

Ike was a pretty smart guy.  He saw all of this coming from way off.  Whenever government takes control of science (or any other field) to serve its purposes by providing huge incentives to do so, it’s going to get what it wants.   And it has, at least to a point.   What it hasn’t gotten, however, is indisputable truth concerning its theories concerning CO2.  That means its taxation scheme is dead.

However, as long as it continues to fund science and scientists with massive amounts of money, it will provide tremendous incentive to get at least a portion of those who call themselves scientists to serve government’s policy aims.  That’s incredibly dangerous.

The answer is precisely what we’ve seen happen in this particular debate – skepticism.  Insistence on the scientific method.  The understanding that, as Roy Spencer said, “It only takes one scientists (skeptic) to be right for the IPCC to be wrong”.   And we’ve seen that quite often as the IPCC’s findings and conclusions have been shown to contain errors of fact, errors of omission, propaganda and alarmism unsupported by fact or science.

We need to get government out of science. Wasn’t this the administration which said it was going to “restore” science to its proper place? That proper place is without government subsidy or, as we’ve experienced through the AGW fiasco, “[t]he prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money …”, perverts science and makes it a servant to political policy. That, friends is infinitely more dangerous to our freedoms than the military/industrial complex.


Twitter: @McQandO


At the climate conference

Well I’ve managed to make it to ICCC6, which has the theme of “Restoring the Scientific Method”.

I’ve discussed that, in previous posts on the subject of climate change. Anyone who has followed this discussion is aware of the fact that I don’t believe the scientific method has been used well at all in advancing the alarmist message. And of course, “consensus” has absolutely no place in discussions of science.

Anyway, on with the show. To answer Huxley’s question, I’d say this is mostly a skeptic’s conference. We’ll see how it proceeds.


Twitter: @McQandO

What do AGW alarmists and Harold Camping have in common?

Jeff Jacoby points out that climate change alarmists have fouled their nest so badly that the majority of the public in general has now concluded their cause is overhyped.   Climate change, as a pressing priority, is receding in the public’s eyes.  It simply doesn’t consider the warning credible.  Why?

Well answer this – if Harold Camping came out today and claimed that the world was going to end on October 21st, after previously claiming it would end on May 21st, how much credence would you give his claim? 

About as much as the scaremongers in the AGW game, one supposes, since much of what they warned would happen not only hasn’t happened but doesn’t appear likely to happen.  As I noted yesterday, however, that doesn’t keep the scare machine from cranking out new and more horrible predictions.

Jacoby points to one made by Newsweek which is, well, laughable on its face.  

“Worldwide, the litany of weather’s extremes has reached biblical proportions,’’ Newsweek intones, pointing to tornadoes in the United States, floods in Australia and Pakistan, and drought in China. “From these and other extreme-weather events, one lesson is sinking in with terrifying certainty. The stable climate of the last 12,000 years is gone.’’ This is what comes of burning fossil fuels for energy, which has increased atmospheric CO2 levels by 40 percent above what they were before the Industrial Revolution. “You haven’t seen anything yet,’’ Newsweek preaches. “Batten down the hatches.’’

Anyone spot the blatant bit of nonsense in there?   We’ve never had a “stable climate” for the last 12,000 years.   Jacoby quotes William Happer, distinguished Princeton physicist, on the reality of that time period:

“Carbon is the stuff of life,’’ he points out. “Our bodies are made of carbon.’’ Yes, atmospheric CO2 is higher today than it was before the industrial age — 390 parts per million now vs. 270 ppm then — but there was a time when “CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.’’ Indeed, greenhouse operators artificially boost CO2 concentrations in order to grow better flowers and fruit.

So why recoil from the modest increase in carbon emissions caused by fossil-fuel use? Because more CO2 means more climate change? Happer shoots down that idea. The earth’s climate is always changing, sometimes dramatically. During the medieval warming of a thousand years ago, temperatures were much higher than they are now; during the Little Ice Age six centuries later they were much lower. “Yet there is no evidence for significant increase of CO2 in the medieval warm period, nor for a significant decrease at the time of the subsequent little ice age.’’

It is like history and the climate records that go with it don’t exist for the alarmist crowd.  If you can’t explain it, apparently it is now ok to ignore it.  Thus the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age – inconvenient facts that refute the claim – seemingly never happened.  Not if you want to push the “12,000 years” of “stable climate”.

As I’ve asked any number of times, when did the science that previously saw CO2 as a lagging indicator change it into a leading indicator or cause of warming?  It hasn’t.  Nor does it have the amplifying effect that the alarmists claim through their flawed models.   In fact, none of the predictions they have made over the years have even come close to fruition for the reasons they state.   And it is clear, as we actually have real scientists study the atmosphere and climate, that there is still a vast amount they are discovering about the climate.  This, for instance:

Scientists at Marine Biological Laboratory say trees in a mini-forest where they simulated future global warming stored more carbon, a bonus offset for expected higher CO2 releases from the faster decay of organic matter in soil as Earth heats up.

Apparently as the atmosphere warms, trees store more carbon as “woody tissue”.  Result?

But project leader Jerry Melillo of MBL said this study demonstrates for the first time that global warming would also be likely to increase the carbon storing potential of trees, by speeding up nitrogen cycling in the forest — more matter decomposing frees up more inorganic nitrogen compounds, such as ammonium (also known as garden fertilizer), causing greater tree growth and more tree tissue available to store carbon.

The increased carbon storage capacity of the trees in MBL’s Harvard Forest experiment was enough to outpace atmospheric CO2 gain resulting from the warmer soil, Melillo concluded.

And most likely, any human contribution, as small as it is, would also be absorbed.  One could also theorize that other plant life might also store more CO2 than they do now.  Of course, if true,  that would likely mean that the human contribution (or CO2 for that matter) was not having the effect that alarmists attempt to claim, but instead the warming was due to other causes.

I’m sure, however, since this is a recent discovery, that the models don’t factor that in.  Of course, they don’t factor in cloud albedo either – something not only  critical to our climate, but fundamental.  But hey, that would get in the way of the desired results, wouldn’t it?

AGW is slowly strangling on its own fouled science.  As I pointed out yesterday and Jacoby points out today, that’s only increased the stridency of these cranks.  Scaremongering is headed to new heights in the coming months.  And, as it turns out, the basis for their “end of the world” scenarios is about as firm as that of Harold Camping and his end of the world claims.


Twitter: @McQandO


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