Right now we’re seeing all sorts of reports come out of Japan as to what is happening at the Fukushima nuclear plants. All of them are tinged with sensationalism, and many of them contain no context to enable the reader to understand what is being reported in terms of the severity of the problem. For instance:
Readings reported on Tuesday showed a spike of radioactivity around the plant that made the leakage categorically worse than in had been, with radiation levels measured at one point as high as 400 millisieverts an hour. Even 7 minutes of exposure at that level will reach the maximum annual dose that a worker at an American nuclear plant is allowed. And exposure for 75 minutes would likely lead to acute radiation sickness.
Yes, but what does that mean outside the plant? And, how many millisieverts an hour do we naturally absorb just going about our daily lives. Both of those answers would help the reader assess the real danger of such radiation levels.
What you’ll find is that if you take an airplane and fly from say Atlanta to Chicago at 39,000 feet, you can expect to absorb 2 millirems of radiation.
So how does that convert to millisieverts? You math whiz types can figure it out here with these conversion factors:
- 1 rem = 10-2 sievert (Sv)
- 1 millirem (mrem) = 10-5 sievert (Sv)
- 1 millisievert (mSv) = 10-3 sievert (Sv)
- 1 millisievert (mSv) = 0.1 rem
To help others, 1 millisieverts equals 100 millirems. And 1 Sievert equals 1000 millisieverts. To give you an idea of what the number above means in millisieverts (mSv), we typically absorb 6.2 mSv per year in the US.
Now that number has some context and you can relate it to the danger outlined above.
As to the effect. Here’s a good table outlining the effects of different levels of absorption:
- 0–0.25 Sv: None
- 0.25–1 Sv: Some people feel nausea and loss of appetite; bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen damaged.
- 1–3 Sv: Mild to severe nausea, loss of appetite, infection; more severe bone marrow, lymph node, spleen damage; recovery probable, not assured.
- 3–6 Sv: Severe nausea, loss of appetite; hemorrhaging, infection, diarrhea, skin peels, sterility; death if untreated.
- 6–10 Sv: Above symptoms plus central nervous system impairment; death expected.
- Above 10 Sv: Incapacitation and death.
So given the information above, 3 hours at 400 mSv is equivalent to 1.2 Sv. It’s recoverable but with damage.
As for exposure outside the plant – the levels of radiation drop sharply away from the plant. So those in the most danger, obviously, are those within the plant trying to contain the problem. Reports say that most of the plant workers have been evacuated and about 50 continue to battle the problems in the reactors. Where the problem for the public may occur is if there is a release of radioactive clouds of steam, or through explosions that eject material (think dirty bomb). And naturally much of the impact would be determined by wind direction. If it is blowing directly east over the ocean, the cloud would do much less harm than if it blew west over populated areas of Japan. Additionally, the materials effect would dissipate as the cloud expanded and traveled. The possibility of any significant amount of radiation reaching the US, for instance, is not particularly high.
Finally, this article by the NYT is actually a good one for background about the problems the Japanese face and the possible outcomes. For once, they attempt to keep the reporting less sensational and more focused on relating facts.
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Of course anyone who is a student of politics knew this was coming. The anti-nuclear crowd, mostly found on the left, couldn’t wait to politicize the earthquake disaster in Japan and call for a moratorium on nuclear power plant construction.
Not that we’ve had a single nuclear power plant constructed here in the US for decades. But this is a call to kill any nascent plans for building any new plants. Right on schedule the expected reaction attempts to build public opinion against nuclear power by invoking "scare" rhetoric. The culprit is Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA):
“I am shocked by the devastation that has already been caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction that has already taken place, and to hear of so many people being killed or injured,” said Rep. Markey. “As a result of this disaster, the world is now facing the looming threat of a possible nuclear meltdown at one of the damaged Japanese nuclear reactors. I hope and pray that Japanese experts can successfully bring these reactors under control and avert a Chernobyl-style disaster that could release large amounts of radioactive materials into the environment.”
“I am also struck by the fact that the tragic events now unfolding in Japan could very easily occur in the United States. What is happening in Japan right now shows that a severe accident at a nuclear power plant can happen here," said Rep. Markey.
No Rep. Markey, they couldn’t "very easily … happen here". And while it is obvious the 8.9 quake that hit Japan has severely damaged the Japanese nuclear power plants, it isn’t at all clear that they won’t be able to contain the damage or that a similar accident is bound to happen here.
The Heritage Foundation lays out a few of the salient facts
* The low levels of radiation currently being released will likely have no biological or environmental impact. Humans are constantly exposed to background radiation that likely exceeds that being released.
* The Chernobyl disaster was caused by an inherent design problem and communist operator error that is not present at any of the nuclear plants in Japan.
* There were no health impacts from any of the radiation exposure at Three Mile Island.
* The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not need to regulate more in response to this. It already regulates enough.
* The plant in trouble in Japan is over 40 years old. Today’s designs are far more advanced. * No one has ever been injured, much less killed, as a result of commercial nuclear power in the U.S.
Obviously those represent the facts at this time when talking about the Japanese reactors and could change. However the other facts stand. Chernobyl was the nuclear industry’s Deep Horizon. A one-off occurrence that the Chicken Little’s of this world, coupled with other anti-nuclear groups, have used for years to oppose the expansion of nuclear generated power. And they plan on trying to add Japan’s troubles to the litany of opposition.
As you might expect, Markey has proposed – wait for it – a moratorium on siting “new nuclear reactors in seismically active areas”. Any guess who will get to define “seismically active area”? We have earthquakes everywhere in this country with most of them being so minor they’re not even felt. Does that qualify for a “seismically active area”?
Let’s not forget that this earthquake Japan suffered along with the resultant tsunami was massive and extremely rare. In fact, it is the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history. The largest earthquake recorded in American history occurred in 1964 off Prince William sound in Alaska coming in at 9.2. Below, on the map, are the top 15 earthquakes recorded in the US since 1872 (7.3 or above). The year they occurred is by the marker. As you can see they’re mostly centered in California with a few here and there in other areas of the US. South Carolina, for instance, hasn’t see a quake of that size since 1886 – over 100 years. Missouri not since 1812:
Let’s also not forget that Japan has suffered 275 aftershocks of 5 point or greater. In fact, since the quake, Japan is averaging 12 to 15 aftershocks per hour. That too hampers rescue and recovery efforts as well as the efforts to contain the damage at the nuclear sites.
To give you an appreciation of the magnitude of difference between the numbers on the Richter scale measurement of an earthquake, a “5” equals about 474 metric tons of TNT exploding. A “6” is 15 kilotons. A “7” is 474 kilotons. An “8” equals 15 megatons. And an 8.9 is approximately 356 megatons. The “Tsar Bomba”, the largest thermonuclear weapon ever tested, was a 50 megaton device coming in at 8.35 on the Richter scale.
That gives you an idea of the power of the Japanese quake.
Does anyone anticipate that in the vast majority of the continental US? Of course not. Is there a history of those sorts of quakes. Again, for the vast majority of the country, the answer is “no.” For Japan the answer is quite different. The islands lay on the “Pacific rim of fire”, one of the most earthquake and volcano prone areas in the world.
But that won’t stop the scare mongers from trying to gin up a movement to not just place a moratorium on “seismically active areas”, but eventually to all areas of the country.
“Seismically safe” will become the new watchword for the anti-nuke crowd. And I predict that regardless of the design, they’ll find all of them to be wanting.
“The unfolding disaster in Japan must produce a seismic shift in how we address nuclear safety here in America,” said Rep. Markey.
No, it shouldn’t. And we shouldn’t let alarmists like Markey steal a step on nuclear energy. We have the means and the technology to provide safe nuclear power generation. It should proceed with an obvious eye on the safety of such plants. But we do not need to let the scare mongers use this lifeboat incident, this outlier scenario, as a means of slowing or stopping our move to more nuclear powered energy.
We ought to be saying, “split, baby, split”. Split here and split now.
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Science is about discovery, the expansion of knowledge, how things work and what that means. What it is not, or shouldn’t be, is an accessory to politics. Politics isn’t about any of those things. Politics is about the application of power to move things in a particular direction. So when pure science teams up with politics to become advocacy “science” bad things are most likely to happen.
The IPCC report specifically, and climate science in general, are learning that the hard way. James Taylor, who seems open to the AGW arguments, asks the salient questions generated by the last IPCC report and subsequent findings. Using Godfather II as an analogy, he sets up the point:
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report was as straightforward as Frank Pentangeli’s earlier confession that he had killed on behalf of Michael Corleone. “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms,” IPCC reported.
That was in 2001. Now, however, with an unprecedented number of major winter snowstorms hitting the northeastern U.S. during the past two winters, the alarmists are clamming up and changing their tune faster than Tom Hagen can fly in Vincenzo Pentangeli from Italy to aid his brother in his time of trouble.
He’s absolutely right – there was no equivocation in the report. A leads to B. They said the same thing about hurricanes – warming would lead to many more and much more powerful storms. Instead they’re at a historically lower level. Glaciers, snowcaps, all sorts of predictions have been found to be false.
When James confronted the IPCC on this, he got the sort of mushy answer you might expect:
During the question and answer portion of the UCS press conference, I quoted the IPCC Third Assessment Report and asked Masters and Serreze if they were saying IPCC was wrong on the science.
“I would say that we always learn,” replied Serreze. “Have we learned a great deal since the IPCC 2001 report? I would say yes, we have. Climate science, like any other field, is a constantly evolving field and we are always learning.”
Really? What happened to “the debate is over” and “the science is settled”?
For years, alarmists have claimed “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.” Well, when was the science settled? When global warming would allegedly cause Himalayan glaciers to melt by 2035, or now that it won’t? When global warming would allegedly cause fewer heavy snow events, or now that it will allegedly cause more frequent heavy snow events?
You can’t have it both ways and have it be called “science” can you?
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The mantra amongst the warmist community is that if we don’t curb our carbon emissions drastically, the planet will warm severely and wreak all sorts of havoc. While the actual science doesn’t support that notion, the levers of power around the world are encouraged to heed the warmists’ warnings by curbing freedom and subsidizing things like the “green economy.” The London suburb community known as Muswell Hill took some initiative in that regard and built The Living Ark:
The LivingARK is a zero-carbon cabin designed to facilitate education on low carbon building technologies and raise awareness of climate change. It will be used to showcase sustainability not only to Muswell Hill Primary School pupils but to other local schools, community groups and residents. There are educational information boards both inside and outside the ARK which will explain the concept of a zero-carbon building and will also cover wider ranging topics such as sustainable transport, food-growing and an explanation of climate change.
Presumably, it’s called an Ark in reference to the massive flooding that’s supposed to happen thanks to Anthropogenic Global Warming. Ironically, its designed to prevent such a catastrophe from happening in the first place. Unfortunately, the designers forgot that England doesn’t get a whole lot of sun:
Eco-campaigners who built a classroom powered by the sun believed they were paving the way for the future.
Instead they have been taught a valuable lesson – there is not enough sun in North London to sufficiently heat their building.
It boasts laudable green credentials and is made from sustainable wood, sheep’s wool and soil. The roof is made of mud and grass and it has its own ‘rain pod’ and solar panels.
But there is snag – its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs.
As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons.
Oops. And at a cost of just over $40,000, and rather expensive “oops.”
Local councillors, at Labour run Haringey council, who were behind the initiative, opened it with great fanfare in December as a beacon of their climate change policy.
But today a local parent at the 419-pupil school said teachers weren’t allowing pupils into the classroom because it was too cold.
‘What is the point of a classroom that can’t be used when it’s a bit cold outside? My kids have been told it’s too cold for them to use as nobody can figure out how to heat it,’ said the parent, who did not want to be named.
‘This is just an expensive piece of hollowed out wood and no use to anyone. We are living in Britain, not the Caribbean.’
The ‘waste’ of money comes as councils across the country are facing a severe shortage of school places.
By 2018 they will need to find an additional 500,000 primary places due to a population surge.
Once again cold, hard reality smacks down attempts to wish a fantasy world into existence. Maybe they, and the rest of the warmist cult, should pay a little more attention to that science stuff that nanny-staters are always claiming to be so fond of.
Climate scientist concludes “hide the decline” done to dishonestly hide data that didn’t support AGW conclusion
You may not know who Judith Curry is, but in my estimation she’s someone to be listened too in the world of climate change. She’s a professor and the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.
She’s written a piece that’s been posted on the Climate Depot entitled “Hiding the Decline” which is a must read for anyone who has been following “Climate-gate” and especially for those ready to brush off the criticism that has been leveled at the warmists who were, in fact, engaged in hiding some data.
The question I am asking myself is what is my role as a scientist in challenging misuses of science (as per Beddington’s challenge)? Why or why not should I personally get involved in this? Is hiding the decline dishonest and/or bad science?
She concludes, after working through her questions, that it is both dishonest and bad science.
It is obvious that there has been deletion of adverse data in figures shown IPCC AR3 and AR4, and the 1999 WMO document. Not only is this misleading, but it is dishonest (I agree with Muller on this one). The authors defend themselves by stating that there has been no attempt to hide the divergence problem in the literature, and that the relevant paper was referenced. I infer then that there is something in the IPCC process or the authors’ interpretation of the IPCC process (i.e. don’t dilute the message) that corrupted the scientists into deleting the adverse data in these diagrams.
[Steve] McIntyre’s analysis is sufficiently well documented that it is difficult to imagine that his analysis is incorrect in any significant way. If his analysis is incorrect, it should be refuted. I would like to know what the heck Mann, Briffa, Jones et al. were thinking when they did this and why they did this, and how they can defend this, although the emails provide pretty strong clues. Does the IPCC regard this as acceptable? I sure don’t.
Can anyone defend “hide the decline”? I would much prefer to be wrong in my interpretation, but I fear that I am not.
That’s a pretty definitive conclusion. Take the time to read the whole thing … her reasoning and logic are solid and they support her conclusions. They also point out what many of us concluded some time ago – at least that group of “climate scientists” appear to have fudged data, hidden data or simply left it out to better use what was left to support their preconceived conclusions. In anyone’s book that should be a scandal.
Curry invites comment and rebuttal and while there’s plenty of commentary there’s very little in the way of reasonable or scientifically based rebuttal in the portion of the commentary I scanned.
Her piece, at least for me, puts the final nail in the “hide the decline” bunch’s coffin. The case she makes points to an obvious attempt to deceive. And that is not what science is or should be about. Make sure you read the whole thing.
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That’s what some are saying … well have been saying for a few years. And they’re seeing indications of that flip (something that has happened routinely in earth’s history) accelerating.
Magnetic polar shifts have occurred many times in Earth’s history. It’s happening again now to every planet in the solar system including Earth.
So what does that mean to us? Well it can mean some pretty mean weather with significant changes in its patterns, some changed coast lines, and … yes, another ice age.
One early indicator of the upcoming flip, per the article, are “superstorms” – something it claims we’ve been undergoing this year:
The first evidence we have that the dangerous superstorm cycle has started is the devastating series of storms that pounded the UK during late 2010.
On the heels of the lashing the British Isles sustained, monster storms began to lash North America. The latest superstorm—as of this writing—is a monster over the U.S. that stretched across 2,000 miles affecting more than 150 million people.
Yet even as that storm wreaked havoc across the Western, Southern, Midwestern and Northeastern states, another superstorm broke out in the Pacific and closed in on Australia.
The southern continent had already dealt with the disaster of historic superstorm flooding from rains that dropped as much as several feet in a matter of hours. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. After the deluge tiger sharks were spotted swimming between houses in what was once a quiet suburban neighborhood.
Shocked authorities now numbly concede that much of the water may never dissipate and have wearily resigned themselves to the possibility that region will now contain a new inland sea.
But then only a handful of weeks later another superstorm—the megamonster cyclone Yasi—struck northeastern Australia. The damage it left in its wake is being called by rescue workers a war zone.
In fact, and I didn’t realize it, the cyclone, Yasi, was a Category 5+ storm:
The incredible superstorm packed winds near 190mph. Although labeled as a category-5 cyclone, it was theoretically a category-6. The reason for that is storms with winds of 155mph are considered category-5, yet Yasi was almost 22 percent stronger than that.
Anyway, the point of the article is to say these sorts of storms are consistent with the flipping or switching of the poles. And, per the article, that process, i.e. the flipping, has accelerated over the past few years:
The Earth’s northern magnetic pole was moving towards Russia at a rate of about five miles annually. That progression to the East had been happening for decades.
Suddenly, in the past decade the rate sped up. Now the magnetic pole is shifting East at a rate of 40 miles annually, an increase of 800 percent. And it continues to accelerate.
I’ll let you read for yourself the supposed problems this will bring, but suffice it to say, if the numbers quoted are correct for the average length of time between flips in the earth’s history, we are certainly overdue. From an Economist article cited:
"There is, however, a growing body of evidence that the Earth’s magnetic field is about to disappear, at least for a while. The geological record shows that it flips from time to time, with the south pole becoming the north, and vice versa. On average, such reversals take place every 500,000 years, but there is no discernible pattern. Flips have happened as close together as 50,000 years, though the last one was 780,000 years ago. But, as discussed at the Greenland Space Science Symposium, held in Kangerlussuaq this week, the signs are that another flip is coming soon."
But wait, as they say in the commercials, there’s more:
According to some geologists and scientists, we have left the last interglacial period behind us. Those periods are lengths of time—about 11,500 years—between major Ice Ages.
One of the most stunning signs of the approaching Ice Age is what’s happened to the world’s precessional wobble.
The Earth’s wobble has stopped.
Sigh … who to believe, who to believe. The “science” of AGW is “settled” after all.
If science hadn’t become so politicized with grants being awarded by government to find favorably for a particular agenda, we wouldn’t likely trying to decide if this is all true or not. But regardless, it sure throws a monkey wrench into the AGW works – or should I say another monkey wrench. In fact AGW probably now owns more of those tools than any other “science” in the world.
All of this to say is there are other explanations out there to what’s going on in the world with both weather and climate. How many AGW models do you think factor for this magnetic shift that is occurring and the effect it obviously has on weather?
Yeah, not many if any I’d guess.
So? So interesting stuff, certainly something to think about and, btw, something we can’t do a damn thing about. But given the choice between AGW and this, I’d be more inclined to buy heavier winter clothes than invest in Tommy Bahamas’ stuff.
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OK, perhaps not the perfect metaphor for this but another in a long line of claims made by the UN’s IPCC report has been found to be totally false. In fact, in the case of this particular claim, there appears to be no foundation whatsoever for the claim and in reality it appears exactly the opposite of what was claimed appears to be true.
Himalayan glaciers were melting because of
global warming climate change. The facts?
Researchers have discovered that contrary to popular belief half of the ice flows in the Karakoram range of the mountains are actually growing rather than shrinking.
You have to love that sentence – “contrary to popular belief”? Is that what the so-called “science” of
global warming climate change has been reduced too?
Even more damning:
The new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that half of the glaciers in the Karakoram range, in the northwestern Himalaya, are in fact advancing and that global warming is not the deciding factor in whether a glacier survives or melts.
“Global warming” isn’t the deciding factor? But, but there was “scientific consensus” that
global warming climate change was indeed causing the glaciers to melt. And now scientists are saying that not only are the glaciers not melting – they’re instead growing – but that global warming climate change isn’t even the “deciding factor” in either case?
In fact, the study says, the real reason for advancing or retreating glaciers is much simpler than
global warming climate change. It has to do with debris fields:
Their report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found the key factor affecting their advance or retreat is the amount of debris – rocks and mud – strewn on their surface, not the general nature of climate change.
"Our study shows that there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover for understanding glacier retreat, an effect that has so far been neglected in predictions of future water availability or global sea level," the authors concluded.
Dr Bookhagen said their report had shown "there is no stereotypical Himalayan glacier" in contrast to the UN’s climate change report which, he said, "lumps all Himalayan glaciers together."
In fact, the science of global warming climate change lumps a whole bunch of things together it shouldn’t be lumping together, while it leaves off a whole mess of things it should be considering depending on the model such as clouds, sun, water vapor, etc.
By the way, a reminder of the base for the IPCC “scare-science”:
Dr Pachauri, head of the Nobel prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has remained silent on the matter since he was forced to admit his report’s claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was an error and had not been sourced from a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It came from a World Wildlife Fund report.
He angered India’s environment minister and the country’s leading glaciologist when he attacked those who questioned his claim as purveyors of "voodoo science".
Of course, now we know who the real purveyor of “voodoo science” is, don’t we?
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That’s the conclusion I gathered from a devastating essay Richard Lindzen published this past Saturday. Here are the lead 2 paragraphs:
The notion of a static, unchanging climate is foreign to the history of the earth or any other planet with a fluid envelope. The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations. Such hysteria simply represents the scientific illiteracy of much of the public, the susceptibility of the public to the substitution of repetition for truth, and the exploitation of these weaknesses by politicians, environmental promoters, and, after 20 years of media drum beating, many others as well. Climate is always changing. We have had ice ages and warmer periods when alligators were found in Spitzbergen. Ice ages have occurred in a hundred thousand year cycle for the last 700 thousand years, and there have been previous periods that appear to have been warmer than the present despite CO2 levels being lower than they are now. More recently, we have had the medieval warm period and the little ice age. During the latter, alpine glaciers advanced to the chagrin of overrun villages. Since the beginning of the 19th Century these glaciers have been retreating. Frankly, we don’t fully understand either the advance or the retreat.
For small changes in climate associated with tenths of a degree, there is no need for any external cause. The earth is never exactly in equilibrium. The motions of the massive oceans where heat is moved between deep layers and the surface provides variability on time scales from years to centuries. Recent work (Tsonis et al, 2007), suggests that this variability is enough to account for all climate change since the 19th Century.
One of the reasons I constantly ask those who believe in AGW what the “perfect temperature” for the world is and how we can achieve it is I understand that the only constant in the earth’s climate is change. The world’s climate has always been changing in various cycles since its formation. History shows us that we’ve had periods of more CO2 than now, warmer periods than now and neither of the events can be explained away by blaming man.
How we got into this scared mode of screaming about gloom and doom if we don’t do something is both interesting and constructive. But a couple of things first. Lindzen discusses the role of models in the current debate and why anyone seeing their output should be very skeptical of their conclusions. He first discusses the “dominant role” of cumulus convection in the tropics and how the models handled that. His discussion is a scathing critique of the models used:
For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn’t and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data. Thus, Santer, et al (2008), argue that stretching uncertainties in observations and models might marginally eliminate the inconsistency. That the data should always need correcting to agree with models is totally implausible and indicative of a certain corruption within the climate science community.
It turns out that there is a much more fundamental and unambiguous check of the role of feedbacks in enhancing greenhouse warming that also shows that all models are greatly exaggerating climate sensitivity. Here, it must be noted that the greenhouse effect operates by inhibiting the cooling of the climate by reducing net outgoing radiation. However, the contribution of increasing CO2 alone does not, in fact, lead to much warming (approximately 1 deg. C for each doubling of CO2).
The larger predictions from climate models are due to the fact that, within these models, the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds, act to greatly amplify whatever CO2 does. This is referred to as a positive feedback. It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. All climate models show such changes when forced by observed surface temperatures. Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget allow us to determine whether such a reduction does, in fact, accompany increases in surface temperature in nature. As it turns out, the satellite data from the ERBE instrument (Barkstrom, 1984, Wong et al, 2006) shows that the feedback in nature is strongly negative — strongly reducing the direct effect of CO2 (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) in profound contrast to the model behavior. This analysis makes clear that even when all models agree, they can all be wrong, and that this is the situation for the all important question of climate sensitivity.
So there is your “consensus” and, as Lindzen points out, the consensus is/was wrong. Furthermore:
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the greenhouse forcing from man made greenhouse gases is already about 86% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 (with about half coming from methane, nitrous oxide, freons and ozone), and alarming predictions depend on models for which the sensitivity to a doubling for CO2 is greater than 2C which implies that we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far, even if all the warming we have seen so far were due to man. This contradiction is rendered more acute by the fact that there has been no statistically significant net global warming for the last fourteen years. Modelers defend this situation, as we have already noted, by arguing that aerosols have cancelled much of the warming (viz Schwartz et al, 2010), and that models adequately account for natural unforced internal variability. However, a recent paper (Ramanathan, 2007) points out that aerosols can warm as well as cool, while scientists at the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Research recently noted that their model did not appropriately deal with natural internal variability thus demolishing the basis for the IPCC’s iconic attribution (Smith et al, 2007).
The basic reason we’re still battling this nonsense? Uh, would you believe the usual – power and money:
When an issue like global warming is around for over twenty years, numerous agendas are developed to exploit the issue. The interests of the environmental movement in acquiring more power, influence, and donations are reasonably clear. So too are the interests of bureaucrats for whom control of CO2 is a dream-come-true. After all, CO2 is a product of breathing itself. Politicians can see the possibility of taxation that will be cheerfully accepted because it is necessary for ‘saving’ the earth. Nations have seen how to exploit this issue in order to gain competitive advantages. But, by now, things have gone much further. The case of ENRON (a now bankrupt Texas energy firm) is illustrative in this respect. Before disintegrating in a pyrotechnic display of unscrupulous manipulation, ENRON had been one of the most intense lobbyists for Kyoto. It had hoped to become a trading firm dealing in carbon emission rights. This was no small hope. These rights are likely to amount to over a trillion dollars, and the commissions will run into many billions. Hedge funds are actively examining the possibilities; so was the late Lehman Brothers. Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. It is probably no accident that Gore, himself, is associated with such activities. The sale of indulgences is already in full swing with organizations selling offsets to one’s carbon footprint while sometimes acknowledging that the offsets are irrelevant. The possibilities for corruption are immense. Archer Daniels Midland (America’s largest agribusiness) has successfully lobbied for ethanol requirements for gasoline, and the resulting demand for ethanol may already be contributing to large increases in corn prices and associated hardship in the developing world (not to mention poorer car performance). And finally, there are the numerous well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue. For them, their psychic welfare is at stake.
So essentially, Lindzen is appealing for us all to stop this madness and, in a calm, rational way, discuss what we do know and why it isn’t a threat that needs drastic and expensive intervention – for instance:
Given that the evidence (and I have noted only a few of many pieces of evidence) strongly implies that anthropogenic warming has been greatly exaggerated, the basis for alarm due to such warming is similarly diminished. However, a really important point is that the case for alarm would still be weak even if anthropogenic global warming were significant. Polar bears, arctic summer sea ice, regional droughts and floods, coral bleaching, hurricanes, alpine glaciers, malaria, etc. etc. all depend not on some global average of surface temperature anomaly, but on a huge number of regional variables including temperature, humidity, cloud cover, precipitation, and direction and magnitude of wind. The state of the ocean is also often crucial. Our ability to forecast any of these over periods beyond a few days is minimal (a leading modeler refers to it as essentially guesswork). Yet, each catastrophic forecast depends on each of these being in a specific range. The odds of any specific catastrophe actually occurring are almost zero. This was equally true for earlier forecasts of famine for the 1980’s, global cooling in the 1970’s, Y2K and many others. Regionally, year to year fluctuations in temperature are over four times larger than fluctuations in the global mean. Much of this variation has to be independent of the global mean; otherwise the global mean would vary much more. This is simply to note that factors other than global warming are more important to any specific situation. This is not to say that disasters will not occur; they always have occurred and this will not change in the future. Fighting global warming with symbolic gestures will certainly not change this. However, history tells us that greater wealth and development can profoundly increase our resilience.
Trying to claim there is a “global climate” and define it with a perfect temperature seems a fools errand in light of what Lindzen points out above about regional variability. The models don’t explain those regional variables or their effects very well at all. In fact, they insist on a “global” view vs. the view Lindzen gives us, and that makes the attempt to globalize regional events even more suspect.
My favorite paragraph though, is Lindzen’s parting shot , er, conclusion:
With all this at stake, one can readily suspect that there might be a sense of urgency provoked by the possibility that warming may have ceased and that the case for such warming as was seen being due in significant measure to man, disintegrating. For those committed to the more venal agendas, the need to act soon, before the public appreciates the situation, is real indeed. However, for more serious leaders, the need to courageously resist hysteria is clear. Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence.
I’m still laughing over the last sentence. Given any intelligence and a smattering of curiosity about climate history, even a cursory examination of that history makes one immediately suspicious of the claims by the AGW crowd and very skeptical of the science. For those who Lindzen describes as “well meaning individuals who have allowed propagandists to convince them that in accepting the alarmist view of anthropogenic climate change, they are displaying intelligence and virtue”, he’s saying it is neither intelligent or virtuous.
All I can say is, “agreed”.
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A favored myth of the warmist alarmist is we’re killing off the polar bears through AGW by melting their habitat.
Not so fast says the Obama administration:
The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status. In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.
One of the more obvious things most should understand, at least by now, is getting an animal on the endangered list isn’t so much about the animal is about power. All sorts of regulatory restrictions kick in with such a designation.
And the enviros get to help enforce them. Go out on Ft. Bragg NC’s maneuver areas and marvel at the red-cockaded woodpecker’s power – and the the enviro monitors who sit out in the habitat area and ensure soldiers don’t invade the woodpecker’s space.
The same sort of power would accrue the enviros with the placement of the polar bear on the endangered list.
FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 "threatened" listing was made "following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA." At the time, the service determined the bears weren’t danger of extinction, so did not warrant the “endangered” status.
The bears were listed as "threatened" because they face serious threats from projected decline in its sea ice habitat due to global warming would result in them likely being in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
Typical of the "science" used by the alarmists is this:
In a news release issued after its conference last July, the PBSG concluded that only one of 19 total polar bear subpopulations is currently increasing, three are stable and eight are declining. Data was insufficient to determine numbers for the remaining seven subpopulations. The group estimated that the total number of polar bears is somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000. (Estimates of the population during the 1950s and 1960s, before harvest quotas were enacted, range from 5,000 to 10,000.)
So the polar bear population has more than doubled from the high 1950’s estimate yet they’re "endangered" according to some? This little caveat is also listed:
However, the PBSG quickly acknowledged that “the mixed quality of information on the different subpopulations means there is much room for error in establishing” the numbers, and “the potential for error, given the ongoing and projected changes in habitats and other potential stresses, is cause for concern.”
Or said another way, "we don’t know what the real polar bear population is but it must be in decline and, btw, our projected decline is based on those stellar climate change models that have been so accurate to this point". Regardless, it is hard to sell endangered species when the species has had a 100% plus growth in 50 years (with harvesting).
Harry Flaherty, chair of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board in the capital of Iqaluit, says the polar bear population in the region, along the Davis Strait, has doubled during the past 10 years. He questions the official figures, which are based to a large extent on helicopter surveys.
“Scientists do a quick study one to two weeks in a helicopter, and don’t see all the polar bears. We’re getting totally different stories [about the bear numbers] on a daily basis from hunters and harvesters on the ground,” he says.
Want to make a bet on who is right?
Bottom line: “Science” in the name of a political agenda is no science at all. And as more information continues to come out, it appears that the “science” of AGW isn’t based in science so much as it is the accrual of power and control to those who would love to dictate how you must live – for the planet, of course.
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While what David Rose of the Mail calls “another giant, 15,000 delegate UN climate jamboree” is underway in Cancun Mexico, the British press is hard at it again, pointing out that in the world of AGW there’s just no “there there”. As an example, Rose and others point to the Met Office and its claims:
A year ago tomorrow, just before the opening of the UN Copenhagen world climate summit, the British Meteorological Office issued a confident prediction. The mean world temperature for 2010, it announced, ‘is expected to be 14.58C, the warmest on record’ – a deeply worrying 0.58C above the 1961-1990 average.
World temperatures, it went on, were locked inexorably into an ever-rising trend: ‘Our experimental decadal forecast confirms previous indications that about half the years 2010-2019 will be warmer than the warmest year observed so far – 1998.’
Met Office officials openly boasted that they hoped by their statements to persuade the Copenhagen gathering to impose new and stringent carbon emission limits – an ambition that was not to be met.
Never mind that Britain, just as it was last winter and the winter before, was deep in the grip of a cold snap, which has seen some temperatures plummet to minus 20C, and that here 2010 has been the coolest year since 1996.
Globally, it insisted, 2010 was still on course to be the warmest or second warmest year since current records began.
But buried amid the details of those two Met Office statements 12 months apart lies a remarkable climbdown that has huge implications – not just for the Met Office, but for debate over climate change as a whole.
Read carefully with other official data, they conceal a truth that for some, to paraphrase former US VicePresident Al Gore, is really inconvenient: for the past 15 years, global warming has stopped.
Of course, that won’t stop the “jamboree” from recommending the looting of the “richer” nations to help the “poorer” nations with “global warming”. After all, that’s what the meeting is really all about. Just as Democrats are all about income redistribution and “taxing the rich” in this country, their counterparts in the world body are obsessed with the same. AGW is the perfect pseudo-scientific cause on which to pin the extortion.
In fact, say the Brits, 2010 was an “unexceptional El Nino” year.
As for that infamous “scientific consensus?” Not so much any more:
But little by little, the supposedly settled scientific ‘ consensus’ that the temperature rise is unprecedented, that it is set to continue to disastrous levels, and that it is all the fault of human beings, is starting to fray.
Earlier this year, a paper by Michael Mann – for years a leading light in the IPCC, and the author of the infamous ‘hockey stick graph’ showing flat temperatures for 2,000 years until the recent dizzying increase – made an extraordinary admission: that, as his critics had always claimed, there had indeed been a ‘ medieval warm period’ around 1000 AD, when the world may well have been hotter than it is now.
Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour – a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may account for much of the 20th Century warming.
Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a littlenoticed BBC online interview that there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.
That’s not to say the true believers (or deceivers, take your pick) aren’t going to continue to try – especially with the “jamboree” going on. Christopher Booker of the Telegraph reports:
Between their tequilas and lavish meals paid for by the world’s taxpayers, they heard how, by 2060, global temperatures will have risen by 4 degrees Celsius; how the Maldives and Tuvalu are sinking below the waves faster than ever; how the survival of salmon is threatened by CO2-induced acidification of the oceans; how the UN must ban incandescent light bulbs throughout the world.
“Scientists”, we were told, are calling for everyone to be issued with a “carbon ration card”, to halt all Western economic growth for 20 years.
Meanwhile, Dr Rajendra Pachauri was telling us that we must spend hundreds of billions on covering the world’s oceans with iron filings, on building giant mirrors out in space and on painting all the world’s roofs white to keep out the heat from the sun.
The most obvious thing about all this ritualised scaremongering was how stale it all was. Not one of these points hasn’t been a cliche for years.The only scientist who believes we should all be issued with carbon ration cards is a Prof Kevin Anderson, who has been saying it since 2004. It is only those same old computer models that predict that Tuvalu and the Maldives are about to drown, when real measurements show the sea around them not to be rising at all. Far from the oceans acidifying, their pH currently ranges between 7.9 and 8.3, putting them very firmly on the alkaline side of the threshold, at 7.0.
The prediction that global temperatures will rise by four degrees in 50 years comes from that same UK Met Office computer which five weeks ago was telling us we were about to enjoy a “milder than average” winter, after three years when it has consistently got every one of its winter and summer forecasts hopelessly wrong. (And the reason why our local authorities are already fast running out of salt is that they were silly enough to believe them.)
Wonderful stuff, eh? Oh, and speaking of the Met Office’s ‘mild winter prediction’ even when wrong “scientists” see an opportunity to push the AGW argument:
RESEARCHERS have warned the last three winters’ cold spells could be a taste of things to come for Wales – with even a chance glaciers could return to Snowdon within 40 years.
According to one theory, global warming could paradoxically trigger a collapse in temperatures in Western Europe.
There’s always that “one theory” which will, even paradoxically, doggedly try to pin even bitterly cold temperatures on “global warming”. It’s a religion, I tell you, not science.
Some truths most of us have learned while following this is 1) the real science is far from settled, 2) the climate is far more complex and still barely understood, and consequently the present day computer models and their predictions are less than useless, 3) the fact that temperatures have remained flat over the past 15 years with a slight trend toward cooling has blown the predictive models out of the water, 4) until there is much better science (and if based in models, models that can at least replicate past climate results) no major public policy initiatives – initiatives that would most likely spend money we don’t have and have a crippling effect on the economy – should be undertaken. And finally 5) alternative renewable and clean energy sources should be pursued with vigor, but until they’re viable and cheap, traditional fuel sources should be exploited to the maximum (with government getting the heck out of the way).
Of course the Third World Debating Society, aka the UN, won’t leave this scam alone until they manage to rope the richer nations into it and bleed them of a few hundred billion or so. If ever there was a time to adapt the Nancy Reagan drug slogan to other duty it is now.
“Just say ‘no’.”
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