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ICECAP in the News
Aug 19, 2007
“Lights Out Upstairs”

By Stephen McIntyre, Climate Audit

James Hansen has published an online letter entitled A Light On Upstairs? The letter concludes by saying:

“My apologies if the quick response that I sent to Andy Revkin and several other journalists, including the suggestion that it was a tempest inside somebody’s teapot dome, and that perhaps a light was not on upstairs, was immoderate. It was not ad hominem, though.”

I haven’t seen the original letter and don’t know who the comment was about. However, it certainly sounds like an ad hominem remark and one that is highly inappropriate for a federal civil servant. I have a number of comments about other aspects of the letter.

Icecap note: See how Stephen then goes on to show how GISS has bounced around three times in their analysis of US since 1999, first with the result of lowering the temperatures in the warm 1930s and 1940s and raising those in recent years thus exaggerating the warming signature in the recent data then reversing it again with the latest adjustment.  Claims that anomalies the adjustments the United States only don’t hold water. Steve shows how the arctic adjustments have been just as significant. These flips and flops has to raise questions about the integrity and reliability of the global data sets for climate change assessment.

As Steve in his blog puts it:  “Whether these adjustments prove justified or not, modifications to the temperature record of this magnitude surely warrant the most careful scrutiny before turning the “lights out upstairs.” See the full blogs and the charts within here.

Aug 15, 2007
A Report from the Global Warming Battlefield

By Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama at Huntsville

In case you hadn’t noticed, the global warming debate has now escalated from a minor skirmish to an all-out war. Although we who are skeptical of the claim that global warming is mostly manmade have become accustomed to being the ones that take on casualties, last week was particularly brutal for those who say we have only 8 years and 5 months left to turn things around, greenhouse gas emissions-wise. I’m talking about the other side - the global warming alarmists.

First, NASA’s James Hansen and his group had to fix a Y2K bug that a Canadian statistician found in their processing of the thermometer data. As a result, 1998 is no longer the warmest year on record in the United States - 1934 is. The temperature adjustment is admittedly small, yet there seemed to be no rush to retract the oft-repeated alarmist statements that have seared “1998!” into our brains as the rallying cry for the fight against global warming.

Then, the issue of spurious heat influences on the thermometers that NOAA uses to monitor global temperatures has reared its ugly head. Personally, I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. Ordinary citizens are now traveling throughout their home states, taking pictures of the local conditions around these thermometer sites.

Next, my own unit and I published satellite measurements that clearly show a natural cooling mechanism in the tropics which all of the leading computerized climate models have been insisting is a warming mechanism (Spencer et al., August 9, 2007 Geophysical Research Letters).

Next, I’m happy to report that we skeptics have been getting a steady stream of new recruits. In the last year or so, more and more scientists have been coming out of the closet and admitting they’ve had some doubts about this whole global warming thing. In fact, chances are that your favorite TV weather person is a closet skeptic (unless it’s Heidi Cullen). But please observe the “don’t ask - don’t tell” rule. Most broadcast meteorologists are not ready for the public embarrassment that would accompany their outing. Read more here.

Also see Roy’s important blog post on Climate Science this week.

Aug 14, 2007
Red Faces at NASA over Climate-Change Blunder

By Daniel Dale, Star Reporter

In the United States, the calendar year 1998 ranked as the hottest of them all – until someone checked the math. After a Toronto skeptic tipped NASA this month to one flaw in its climate calculations, the U.S. agency ordered a full data review. Days later, it put out a revised list of all-time hottest years. The Dust Bowl year of 1934 now ranks as hottest ever in the U.S. – not 1998.

More significantly, the agency reduced the mean U.S. “temperature anomalies” for the years 2000 to 2006 by 0.15 degrees Celsius. NASA officials have dismissed the changes as trivial. Even the Canadian (Dr. Stephen McIntyre) who spotted the original flaw says the revisions are “not necessarily material to climate policy.”

But the revisions have been seized on by conservative Americans, including firebrand radio host Rush Limbaugh, as evidence that climate change science is unsound. Said Limbaugh last Thursday: “What do we have here? We have proof of man-made global warming. The man-made global warming is inside NASA ... is in the scientific community with false data.” Read more here.

Aug 14, 2007
The Iris Opens Again?

World Climate Report

Back in 2001, Richard Lindzen and colleagues made quite a stir in the climate community when they published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in which they describe having possibly identified an “adaptive infrared iris” that opens and closes to keep the earth’s temperature fairly steady even in light of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

In the Geophysical Research Letters. Satellite gurus Roy Spencer and John Christy teamed up again, along with colleagues William Braswell and Justin Hnilo to examine the associations between cloud cover and temperature that occur during intraseasonal oscillations that occur in the tropics.

What Spencer and colleagues found breathes new life into the iris hypothesis. Spencer’s team identified an increase in low-level water clouds during the warming phase of the tropical intraseasonal oscillations, but found that while the amount of high altitude ice clouds increased initially, they unexpectedly reversed course and rapidly declined as the temperatures continued to climb. This decline in ice clouds progressed until the temperatures peaked and began to fall again. Read more here.

image
Top) Low level atmospheric daily temperature anomalies averaged over the nine strongest intraseasonal oscillations identified by Spencer et al. (2007). (Bottom) Anomalous amount of water clouds (green line) and ice clouds (blue line) for each day averaged over the same nine events. (from Spencer et al., 2007).

Aug 12, 2007
Faking the Figures

By Dr. Vincent Gray, New Zealand Climate and Enviro Truth Newsletter NO. 154

Environmental fanatics who had confidently predicted the coming ice age in the 1970s changed tack in the 1980s when the climate took the upward path of its regular 65-70 year oscillation, and revived the greenhouse gas warming theory which had failed so miserably in 1896 when Svante Arrhenius first predicted it. He was just on the wrong part of the cycle, as the temperature fell for the following fifteen years, and the two world wars took the attention away from those inclined to doomsday predictions.

The problem with the greenhouse theory, which confidently predicts a steady global temperature increase as a result of increases in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, is that this prediction is incapable of confirmation, because it is just not practically possible to obtain a reliable average temperature of the earth’s surface.  Read more here.

Aug 11, 2007
Rubber Duckies Helping Us Understand Climate

By Ben Clerkin, UK Daily Mail

They were toys destined only to bob up and down in nothing bigger than a child’s bath - but so far they have floated halfway around the world. The armada of 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship 15 years ago. Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack. And now they are heading straight for Britain. At some point this summer they are expected to be spotted on beaches in South-West England.

image

While the ducks are undoubtedly a loss to the bath-time fun of thousands of children, their adventures at sea have proved an innvaluable aid to science. See how in this story here.

Icecap Note: This confirms the penetration of Pacific water into the arctic especially during El Nino events as has been observed by Trenberth (1999) and Shimada of JAMSTEC (2005) and the link to the Atlantic as shown by Dmitrenko et al (2003). See this Icecap story.

Aug 11, 2007
Cirrus Disappearance: Warming Might Thin Heat-trapping Clouds

By Dr. Roy Spencer, University of Alabama at Huntsville

The widely accepted (albeit unproven) theory that manmade global warming will accelerate itself by creating more heat-trapping clouds is challenged this month in new research from The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Instead of creating more clouds, individual tropical warming cycles that served as proxies for global warming saw a decrease in the coverage of heat-trapping cirrus clouds, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in UAHuntsville’s Earth System Science Center. That was not what he expected to find.

“All leading climate models forecast that as the atmosphere warms there should be an increase in high altitude cirrus clouds, which would amplify any warming caused by manmade greenhouse gases,” he said. “That amplification is a positive feedback. What we found in month-to-month fluctuations of the tropical climate system was a strongly negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease. That allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space.”

See the full report on this important new peer-review paper in the American Geophysical Union’s “Geophysical Research Letters” on-line edition here.

Aug 10, 2007
Climate of Intolerance

Scientific Alliance

Newsweek has used climate change as its cover story this week, under the title “The truth about denial”. The gist of the argument is that there is a well-funded “denial industry” which seeks to undermine the sound scientific basis for the prevailing concerns about human-induced climate change. Parallels are drawn with the tobacco industry lobby and, of course, all this is said to be taking place in the name of private profit.

This is the latest example of a deeply disturbing trend towards intolerance of dissenters, which has even led to some commentators suggesting Nuremberg-style trials of “climate criminals”. Such a febrile atmosphere is not conducive to rational thinking or discussion, so let’s take a deep breath, count to ten, and look at some of the facts.

The Scientific Alliance does not think that the prevailing IPCC view on the role of greenhouse gases is necessarily wrong. However, the evidence for it is circumstantial, there are a number of pieces of conflicting evidence, and alternative hypotheses have not all been properly evaluated. In the meantime, a complex, costly (and, at present, fairly ineffectual) set of policies for reduction of carbon intensity has been introduced. There is a danger that many countries are going further down what may prove to be a major policy cul-de-sac.

In these circumstances, people who have legitimate concerns to raise have an obligation to speak out. Constructive questioning of hypotheses serves to strengthen ones which are right and cause wrong ones to fail. How can scientists possibly object to that?  See full newsletter here.

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