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?”
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?
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?
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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  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)?
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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.
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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.
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.
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What makes this time lapse particularly amazing–because we’ve all seen plenty of time lapse videos of the night sky–is the four telescopes in the foreground. Watching these instruments work against a black background would be endlessly fascinating on its own. Unfortunately you won’t be able to pay them too much attention. Because damn, what a sky.
Watch it on full screen if you can.
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After the story this morning about the alarmist scientist turned skeptic this story comes as the cherry on top of the AGW sundae:
Faced with the embarrassing fact that sea level is not rising nearly as much as has been predicted, the University of Colorado’s NASA-funded Sea Level Research Group has announced it will begin adding a nonexistent 0.3 millimeters per year to its Global Mean Sea Level Time Series. As a result, alarmists will be able to present sea level charts asserting an accelerating rise in sea level that is not occurring in the real world.
Human civilization readily adapted to the seven inches of sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. Alarmists, however, claim global warming will cause sea level to rise much more rapidly during the present century. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) computer models project approximately 15 inches of sea level rise during the 21st century. That’s more than double the sea level rise that occurred during the twentieth century. A more “mainstream” prediction among alarmists is 3 feet of sea level rise this century. Some alarmists have even projected 20 feet of global sea level rise this century.
Satellite measurements, however, show global sea level rose merely 0.83 inches during the first decade of the 21st century (a pace of just 8 inches for the entire century), and has barely risen at all since 2006. This puts alarmists in the embarrassing position of defending predictions that are not coming true in the real world.
So, as with temperature and other data that has been used in this scam, they decided to doctor the numbers.
The NASA-funded group claims glacial melt is removing weight that had been pressing down on land masses, which in turn is causing land mass to rise. This welcome news mitigates sea-level rise from melting glacial ice, meaning sea level will rise less than previously thought. However, it is very inconvenient for alarmist sea level predictions. Therefore, instead of reporting the amount by which sea level is rising in the real world, the Sea Level Research Group has begun adding 0.3 millimeters per year of fictitious sea level rise to “compensate” for rising land mass.
The extra 0.3 millimeters of fictitious sea level rise will add up to 1.2 inches over the course of the 21st century. While this is not monumental in and of itself, it will allow alarmists to paint a dramatically different picture of sea level rise than is occurring in the real world. For example, the current pace of 8 inches of sea level rise for the present century is essentially no different than the 7 inches of sea level rise that occurred last century. However, with an artificially enhanced 9.2 inches of sea level rise, alarmists can claim sea level is rising 31 percent faster than it did last century.
All I hope is Guam doesn’t tip over because of all of this.
If there’s anyone out there that still believes the “science” involved here is valid much less settled, you might want to buy some ocean front property in Idaho.
It’s becoming laughable, isn’t it?
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David Evans is a scientist. He also has worked in the heart of the AGW machine and consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He has six university degrees, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. The other day he said:
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.
And with that he begins a demolition of the theories and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public. The politics:
The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.
He makes clear he understands that CO2 is indeed a "greenhouse gas", and makes the point that if all else was equal then yes, more CO2 in the air should and would mean a warmer planet. But that’s where the current "science" goes off the tracks.
But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.
Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet’s temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.
The disagreement comes about what happens next.
The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas. [emphasis mine]
But it didn’t increase the height of the moist air around the planet as subsequent studies have shown since that time. However, that theory or premise became the heart of the modeling that was done by the alarmist crowd:
This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.
That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.
What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?
Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.
This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.
Evans is not the first to come to these conclusions. Earlier this year, in a post I highlighted, Richard Lindzen said the very same thing.
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.
Evans reaches the natural conclusion – the same conclusion Lindzen reached:
At this point, official “climate science” stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.
And why will it continue? Again, follow the money:
We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government — how exciting for the political class!
Indeed. How extraordinarily unexciting for the proletariat who will be the ones stuck with the bill if these governments ever succeed in finding a way to pass the taxes they hope to impose and extend even more government’s control over energy.
While you’re listening to the CEOs of American oil companies being grilled by Congress today, remember all of this. They’re going to try to punish an industry that is vital to our economy and national security, and much of the desire to do that is based on this false “science” that has been ginned up by government itself as an excuse to control more of our energy sector and to pick winners and losers. All based on something which is now demonstrably false.
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