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In Defence of ‘Heaven and Earth’ (Part 2) June 21, 2009

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In Defence of ‘Heaven and Earth’ (Part 2)

Jennifer Marohasy blog, June 19, 2009

DON Aitkin, a former member of the Australian Science and Technology Council and Foundation Chairman of the Australian Research Council, wrote to Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Sciences, concerning his public criticism of Ian Plimer’s new book Heaven and Earth.  Professor Aitkin waited ten days for a response, and, in its absence, has decided to release his letter more widely.

Date: Sun, Jun 7 2009 7:03 pm
From: Don Aitkin

Dear Kurt,

It was a coincidence that I started to write a set of comments about your review of Ian Plimer’s book when The Canberra Times told me of your Queen’s Birthday honour, for which I congratulate you. I’ll make a further tiny comment about that at the end.

I didn’t hear your talk, but I have read the transcript, and make some comments about it, given Robyn Williams’ remark, in introducing you, that ‘the stakes couldn’t be higher’. I might have simply read, shrugged and passed on, had it not been for your comment that ‘Heaven and Earth is not a work of science, it is an opinion of an author who happens to be a scientist’. I puzzled over that line. It’s the kind of remark I would make about the IPCC authors’ statement that they were 99 per cent certain, or whatever the figure was, that the warming we were having was the result of human activity. That was not science, if you will allow me to say so. It was the opinion of scientists. My own feeling is that the claim would have been better expressed as ‘We are pretty sure that…’

Indeed, the IPCC reports, the last two of which I have read, seem to me very similar, in that respect, to ‘Heaven and Earth’. There is abundant use of refereed journal articles, and that’s fine. The science there described is used for the purposes of the IPCC. And that’s fine too. We use what others have done for our own purposes. What then distinguishes the 4AR from Heaven and Earth? Ian Plimer uses what he can find to build a case, and so do the IPCC authors. Both think they are right. I can’t myself see a difference.

I agree with you (and I am sure that Ian Plimer would too) that ‘climate change’ is such a complex process that no single individual can do the work necessary to explain it all. But that is why we use the work of others, knowing that we cannot do everything, but hoping that we have made a contribution — and knowing also that later someone else will come and show faults in what we have done. I see no reason to suppose that the IPCC process is necessary, and you have quite frankly recognised some of the faults in it. There are many others, and they don’t give me great confidence in the output.

Nor do I see any need for consensus — and that is the second remark you made that prompted this comment. As I see it, science is never about reaching consensus — that’s a political process. Science is about formulating hypotheses and testing them experimentally. Inasmuch as there is consensus about anything (the kind that allows textbooks to be written) it too is understood to be subject to review and dislodgment if the evidence points elsewhere. And Plimer’s book offers abundant examples of that kind of evidence.

Read the rest here


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David Archibald on – The State of the Sun – 16th June, 2009 June 20, 2009

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David Archibald on – The State of the Sun – 16th June, 2009

June 16th, 2009 by Warwick Hughes

The Ap Index is heading down sharply.
Ap time series
The F10.7 flux is flatlining. Note that the volatility has gone out of it
F10.7 flux
The rate of decline of the heliospheric current sheet suggests that the month of solar minimum may be still a year off.
heliospheric current sheet  time series
Like the Ap Index, the Interplanetary Magnetic Field recently headed down sharply.
Interplanetary Magnetic Field
The Oulu neutron count is trending up steeply. If the month of solar minimum is still a year off, the neutron count can be expected to continue rising for another two years.
Oulu neutron count
Solar wind flow pressure is going to new lows.
Solar wind flow pressure
Summary
The Sun has gone very quiet and several indicators of activity are still heading down. Solar Cycle 23 may end up being 14 years long. Solar activity modelling that I have recently become aware of suggests that the Sun will have very low activity until 2016.

The Wong-Fielding Meeting On Global Warming June 19, 2009

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The Wong-Fielding Meeting On Global Warming

Via Jo Nova, June 19, 2009
Guest Post by Dr David Evans

Finally, the question we’ve all wanted to ask of the people in power: Where’s the evidence?

Senator Fielding holds a crucial vote on the proposed Emissions Trading Legislation.  Fielding and four independent scientists faced the Minister for the Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, The Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett, and Professor Will Steffan, director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University. Read what happened from someone who was there.  Joanne Nova


Guest Post by Dr David Evans
17 June 2009

The Australian Parliament
Australia’s Parliament House

Introduction

Australian Senator Steve Fielding met with the Australian Minister of Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, on 15 June 2009. Senator Fielding was seeking evidence that human emissions of carbon dioxide were the main cause of global warming; Senator Wong presumably wanted Senator Fielding’s vote for the upcoming Emission Trading Scheme legislation.

I was at that meeting, one of four independent scientists invited by Senator Fielding. Many people have asked me what happened, so I am replying to everyone at once like this. These are my impressions of the meeting, with special attention to the way the meeting was conducted and to the arguments used by the alarmists. This account is not primarily a science discussion; nor is it a record of who said what. I took some notes during the meeting, but otherwise it is written from memory over the next three days.

Meetings between official alarmist and skeptical scientists are so rare they are newsworthy in their own right (see, there was no debate). The aim here is to inform the public about what sort of things happen at an event like this. While it is not the aim of this account to persuade anyone of a point of view on the causes of global warming, obviously it will be told from my skeptical viewpoint.

Background

Steve Fielding before the meeting
Senator Fielding in his office before the meeting.

It is skeptics calling for a debate.

Alarmists avoid debate (especially Al Gore and Stephen Schneider). At the Bali 2007 Conference we challenged Greenpeace to debate but they didn’t even reply, and in 2008 Greenpeace announced an official policy of not debating the causes or merits of climate change. If Greenpeace is so right and moral, what are they afraid of?

When Senator Fielding called last week asking me to come to Canberra to attend this meeting, I figured it was the best offer I was ever likely to get, and accepted.

By the way, Senator Fielding held a five-minute press conference just before the meeting. The camera was trained on the Senator, but you should have seen the looks of contempt and certainty on some (but not all) of the reporters who were asking questions. It was clear what the views of those reporters were. If they are not professional enough to hide their personal views on the job, how accurate are their reports?

Read the rest here

NOAA a Major Outlier Again June 18, 2009

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NOAA a Major Outlier Again

Via ICECAP

By Joseph D’Aleo

NOAA proclaimed May 2009 to be the 4th warmest for the globe in 130 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment showed it was the 15th coldest May in the 31 years of its record. This divergence is not new and has been growing. Just a year ago, NOAA proclaimed June 2008 to be the 8th warmest for the globe in 129 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA satellites showed it was the 9th coldest June in the 30 years of its record

We have noted in the last year that NOAA has often become the warmest of the 5 major data sets in their monthly global anomalies. They were second place until they introduced a new ocean data set to be discussed later.

NOAA and the other ground based data centers would have more credibility if one of the changes resulting in a reduction of the warming trend and not an exaggeration which has been the case each time.

THE MANY ISSUES WITH THE STATION BASED DATA CENTERS

NOAA and the other station base data centers suffer from major station dropout (nearly 3/4ths of the stations) many of them rural, there has been a tenfold increase in missing months in remaining stations, no adjustment for urbanization even as the population grew from 1.5 billion to 6.7 billion since 1900 and documented bad station siting in the United States and almost certainly elsewhere. Also 70% of the earth is ocean and the methods for measurement there over the years have changed from ship buckets to ship intake to satellite surface sensing. Each measures a different level and produces different results. Transitioning was gradual making estimation more challenging.

STATION DROPOUT

NOAA’s allowing over 2/3rds of the world’s stations to dropout in 1990. You can see the coverage difference between the stations on this GISS analysis of the NOAA gathered stations from 1978 versus that in 2008.

image

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Notice the big gaps in Canada (where May was very cold), South America, Africa, western Asia, Greenland and Australia. Since many of these areas are more rural, this dropout led to more urban bias and thus warming.

URBAN HEAT ISLAND

In the United States, NOAA has removed the US Urban Heat Island (UHI) adjustment and performs no UHI adjustment on global data. This is despite the facts that NCDC’s own Director Tom Karl in Kark et al (1988 J Climate) in Urbanization: its detection and effect in the United States climate record, showed the importance of urban adjustment and the Hadley Centre’s Phil Jones (2008) in Jones et al. ”Urbanization effects in large-scale temperature records, with an emphasis on China”, showed UHI’s contamination of data in China. There are many other peer review papers supporting the need for UHI adjustment even for smaller towns to determine climate trends. The removal of the UHI adjustment resulted in an enhanced warming trend as you would expect but an oddball cooling in the 1930s.

image

Removal of the UHI for the US resulted in a warming relative to GISS (which still does a UHI adjustment that seems to work for the US) with UHI in the United States of an amazing 0.75F since 1940.

image
See larger image here.

BAD SITING

Anthony Watts has clearly shown increasingly bad siting can lead to warm bias here. “During the past few years a team of more than 650 volunteers visually inspected and photographically documented more than 860 of these temperature stations. We were shocked by what we found. We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.
In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10- fail to meet the National Weather Service�s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.  In other words, 9 of every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited. The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7C (about 1.2F) during the twentieth century. My report is available in full as this PDF document here.

TURNING TO THE OCEANS

Now having gotten all the warmth possible out of the land temperatures, they turn to the oceans, so promising as they cover 70% of the earth’s surface. It appears they have found more warming there be reanalysis of past data.

Thanks to Bob Tisdale, we have a better idea why that is the case with his story �Recent Differences Between GISS and NCDC SST Anomaly Data And A Look At The Multiple NCDC SST Datasets� covered in the recent WUWT post Something hinky this way comes.

NOAA has a revised warmer sea surface data set now implemented that is significantly warmer than the prior and the current version used by GISS.

image
See large image here.

SATELLITE A BETTER WAY

Satellite are widely believed to be the most reliable source of reliable trend information if you can calibrate the differences as one bird gets phased out and a new one goes online. UAH and RSS have gotten very good at this in a very cooperative way in recent years.

When you compare the satellite trends of both UAH and RSS with NOAA, you see an increasing warm bias in the NOAA data which explains why months with major cold in the news get ranked so high by NOAA and not by the satellite sources. The difference is approaching 0.5C (almost 1F).

image
See larger image here.

The satellite data is regarded even by NOAA administration to be the most reliable but they don�t use it in releases as it is only available for 30 years. It has shown a cooling since 2002.

image
See larger image here.

OCEAN HEAT CONTENT

Roger Pielke Sr.advocates using ocean heat content as a measure of climate change. Bill DiPucchio showed how using Pielke�s Willis (2008) data and Loehle�s data since 2003 deployment of the Argo buoys, ocean heat content has fallen as well.

image
See larger image here.

These all suggest we ignore NOAA’s nonsense global monthly press releases and follow instead the satellite and ocean temperature trends. See PDF. A much more detailed assessment is being submitted to the EPA and will be posted next week after the EPA deadline.

HadCrut3 Temperature Anomaly May 2009 June 17, 2009

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HadCrut3 Temperature Anomaly May 2009

( May 2008 to May 2009 )

Source

Fielding gets no answer June 16, 2009

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Fielding gets no answer

by Andrew Bolt
Herald Sun, June 16, 09

Steve Fielding confronts Climate Minister Penny Wong with his question: why has the world not warmed these past seven eight years when we’re pumping out more carbon dioxide than ever?

AUSTRALIA’S top scientists have met Family First senator Steve Fielding to try and convince him that climate change is real… It was a case of duelling scientists at the high-level meeting in Canberra today. Senator Fielding took along a team of sceptical scientists.

In Climate Change Minister Penny Wong’s corner were Australia’s chief scientist, Penny Sackett, and eminent climate scientist Will Steffen.

“Global warming quite clearly over the last decade hasn’t been actually occurring,” Senator Fielding said before the meeting… He took charts into today’s meeting to show that global temperatures had not increased since 1998…

Prof Steffen emerged from the 90-minute meeting to say that global warming was real. While 1998 was a particularly hot year, the decade since had remained warmer than average.

“The climate’s still pretty warm,” the Australian National University academic said….

A spokesman for Senator Fielding said the evidence put forward by his team had given Senator Wong food for thought. The Senator felt his key questions had not been answered in the meeting, but he was going to spend some time thinking it over.

It sounds indeed as if Fielding got no answer to his very interesting question.

UPDATE

Lucia’s The Blackboard tracks global temperatures since 2001, as measured against predictions of a warming of 2 degrees this century (brown line):

image

Conclusion? Global temperatures have fallen over the past eight years, despite increases in our emissions:

The trends for both UAH and RSS are negative since 2001 with RSS having the larger negative trend.

But Lucia notes that over a longer term, the temperature trend has gone slightly up, rather than down, and hazards this guess:

For what it’s worth: My bet is on the longer term trend being positive. Why? The past longer term trend was positive. I’m inclined to believe the longer term trend will be less than 2C/century. Why? The current data says it’s less than 2C/century and the longer term trend is less than 2C/century. Other than models, there is no evidence the climate trend has increased from historic levels to reach a rate of 2C/century.

This does not indicate any runaway warming, devastating warming or necessarily even man-made warming. And only time will tell if the world will actually resume warming.

UPDATE 2

Lucia notes that a third of the world’s main four measurements of global temperature confirms cooling since 2001.

UPDATE 3

Now the “proof” given by Penny Wong’s advisors is not the atmospheric temperatures they’ve used for so long, but the sea:

STEVE FIELDING: Now up until now, we have seen carbon emissions go up and global temperatures, the way the IPCC has been measuring them, not going up.Now if that is the case that is a real problem.Now yesterday, yesterday’s meeting with the chief scientist and Professor Steffen, they outlined that they are using a different temperature measure which is ocean temperature. Now that is something we are going to have to look at because that is something that the IPCC wasn’t using to prove that carbon emissions were driving up global temperatures.Previously they were using something from the Hadley Institute or the Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia. That is the measurement that I have been given and it quite clearly shows that carbon emissions have been going up but global temperatures haven’t.Now yesterday they showed another figure which is ocean temperature.

So let’s now look at ocean temperatures, as plotted by Dr Craig Loehle in Energy & Environment from the profiling floats of the 3000 Argo buoys. A gradual rise in temperature ended – or paused – six years ago:

image

Ocean heat content data from 2003 to 2008 (4.5 years) were evaluated for trend. A trend plus periodic (annual cycle) model fit with R2 = 0.85. The linear component of the model showed a trend of -0.35 (~0.2) x 1022 Joules per year. The result is consistent with other data showing a lack of warming over the past few years

This confirms what Roger Pielke snr had noted.

What else they got?

Climate change? No worries here June 15, 2009

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Climate change? No worries here

By Ross McKitrick
ICECAP

Polls show that global warming has fallen to the bottom of the list of Americans’ worries. Meanwhile 170 Michigan professors signed a letter calling for tough climate legislation. I read the professors’ letter, and I have to say I’m with the people on this one.

Their letter would be more convincing if they weren’t so dismissive of the costs involved. They cite unnamed “recent studies” that claim emission cuts could create 150,000 jobs in Michigan. I put more stock in the analysis by the Energy Information Administration of last year’s Lieberman-Warner bill (which is similar to the Waxman-Markey bill now before Congress). The EIA pointed out that cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions requires driving up energy prices, and this will shrink the economy. U.S. manufacturing would decline by 3% to 7%, depending on how lucky the United States is at developing alternative energy sources, and manufacturing employment will fall between 3% and 10% (p. 39). Of course the professors won’t lose their jobs, but they should still be concerned about these things.

It is true that if you could convince taxpayers in the other 49 states to subsidize new, money-losing green energy projects in Michigan, then you might gain some jobs. But when every other state is hoping to pull the same trick on you, it’s a zero-sum game. Actually it’s worse: Subsidies for green jobs end up reducing national employment, not increasing it.

I also found the letter’s scientific content unconvincing. Regional climate forecasting is very conjectural, and models often contradict each other. I suppose it is possible that all four trout species could disappear as a result of a few degrees of warming over 100 years, but if trout were that delicate, the annual arrival of summer would have wiped them out long ago.

As for the litany of potential damages from recent warming trends, I browsed some of the longest weather station histories for Michigan, such as Grand Rapids, Cheboygan and others. There are some trends, but after 1920 they are pretty small, especially considering the known warming bias in long-term climate data from regions undergoing urbanization.

The professors claim that these small trends could, among other things, destroy Michigan agriculture. Let’s give farmers a bit more credit. If farmers could not adapt to weather variability, agriculture in Michigan would have disappeared by the 1930s.

Even if the long list of problems could be blamed on CO2 emissions, the professors failed to mention that the small cuts envisioned under the proposed regulations would not change anything. The differences would be minuscule at the global scale, which is where they matter.

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, where he focuses on environmental economics. Read post here.

See follow-up post in the Detroit Free Press on Check This Data here. See his response to Senator Dingell after testimony in congress here. See that testimony here.

There’s none so deaf as those who will not hear June 14, 2009

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There’s none so deaf as those who will not hear

Professor Bob Carter

Professor Bob Carter

by Professor Bob Carter
Quadrant Online, June 11, 2009

It has been widely accepted amongst politicians and the commentariat that the global warming issue is a “poison pill”, and that to challenge it publicly is to commit political suicide.

Many Australian politicians are well aware of the inflated nature of global warming alarmism, but dare not express their scepticism in public for fear of electoral intimidation by ecosalvationists and their coven of media supporters.

From being nowhere on the political agenda a few years ago, the likely Senate defeat of Labor’s carbon dioxide taxation scheme has promoted the global warming issue into the prime political spotlight for the next election. Global warming policy has already caused a change in the Liberal leadership, thereafter destroyed the unity of the  Liberal-National coalition, and threatens next to split the wet, green liberals from their dry and more climate-realistic colleagues.

Yet the coalition need not be left staring at the ashes of its funeral pyre. For the next election is there to be won by a strong leader who provides scientifically well informed, economically realistic and environmentally sensible policies of adaptation to future climate change, whether those changes be of natural or human causation.

Recent polling shows a worldwide swing in public opinion away from warming alarmism, as citizens react to the huge costs, infringements of liberties and pathetic ineffectuality of the anti-carbon dioxide measures that are being mooted. In addition, the increasingly silly warming hysteria that is being generated by self-interested groups in the lead up to the December Copenhagen conference is now hurting rather than helping the COP 15 alarmist cause.

For example, that 60 national scientific academies, led by the Royal Society of London, have just signed up in common cause to the scientifically-hyped issue of “ocean acidification” is a sure sign that politics rather than science now dominates the message. Copernicus’s, Newton’s and Einstein’s insights became accepted in the face of such conventional wisdom, not because of it; it is only dream worlds like Lysenko’s that require the sanction of authority for their sustenance. Despite – or perhaps because of – the unabated stream of propaganda that continues to mark “official climate science”, the tide of public opinion is turning, and perspicacious politicians are going to ride it.

All of which makes it noteworthy that several U.S. politicians appeared on their surfboards to address the Heartland 3rd ICCC. These included congressmen James Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin) and Dana Rohrabacher (Republican, California.), both of whom have a history of climate scepticism. Congressman Rohrabacher commented to strong applause that those politicians who are supporting the Waxman-Markey bill are “stampeding the public and elected officials in the biggest power grab in the history of human kind”.

The third U.S. politician who participated, Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma), has for many years provided balanced commentary and information on global warming in his public speeches and on his website. This includes the famous and prescient warning that he issued to the Senate in 2003 that the threat of catastrophic global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.


More unusually, perhaps, Australian Senator Steven Fielding was also a member of the 3rd ICCC audience, and a keen participant in informal discussions and briefings between the sessions. Holding, as he does, a significant and perhaps casting vote when the Rudd government submits its emissions trading legislation to the Senate, Fielding had come to Washington determined to inform himself thoroughly about the scientific and economic arguments that swirl around the global warming issue.

Read the rest here

School President Censors Science June 14, 2009

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School President Censors Science

By Jo Nova, June 10, 2009

Michael Kundu, Board President of Marysville (Washington State, USA) District #25 has written to colleagues to urge them to trash a free science resource that discusses logic, reason and evidence, and the core of science. The Skeptics Handbook has arrived at school board presidents’ desks around the US.

“I would encourage all of you to stuff that junk mail directly into the recycle basket.”

In a spot of unwitting self-parody he states:

“…we need to have the ability to tell fact from fiction.  This last mailing is an excellent example of ‘fiction’.”

Thus Michael Kundu, whale photographer, pronounces the data from NASA, Hadley, UAH, CSSP, IPPC, as fiction.

Michael Kundu Censors Science

Michael Kundu has no evidence or logical reason to back his claim. He exhorts everyone to use good sources (then uses Wikipedia), and make intelligent decisions to spot the propaganda, and gives nothing except logical errors. All he can offer is the typical, low base ad hominem attack. So on a science topic, he reasons by ’smear’.

“I am sure that history will file your names alongside such ‘credentialed luminaries’ as Hwang Woo-suk, Luk Van Parijs, Jon Sudbo, and William Summerlin.”

“if you want to continue spreading your propaganda, I am sure the oil industry (I understand that they had another year of record profits) can provide you with significant funding,”

Thus proving to be rude, ignorant, and unable to reason. He is at least up front about it. It was honest of him to CC Bob Carter in at the start. Though it appears to be more unfounded arrogance than an attempt to communicate.

Professor Bob Carter writes:

“As the president of a school district board, you have a particular responsibility to encourage informed discussion on controversial matters of the day, rather than to denigrate in ignorant fashion one aspect of a complex, multi-sided argument of which you happen to disapprove.

The Skeptics Handbook is a carefully and accurately written account of matters to do with contemporary climate change. Every statement in it is founded in data contained in numerous research papers in refereed scientific journals.”

Joseph Bast agrees:

…none of our work is “propaganda.” More than 100 academics and 150 elected officials participate in our research and education programs.”

Read the rest here

Global Warming Song: B4 it goes wrong June 14, 2009

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Global Warming Song: B4 it goes wrong

H/T Climate Change Fraud

A cheeky look at the global warming issue – written & sung by SHISHA.