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ICECAP in the News
Sep 11, 2007
It’s Cool in Here

National Review Online, September 4, 2007

Bjorn Lomborg is back, and his critics will not be happy. In 2001, the Danish statistician published The Skeptical Environmentalist, an optimistic assessment of global environmental trends that provoked intense controversy and debate. His data-driven challenge to the “Litany” of environmental pessimism incited vitriolic attacks from environmentalist doomsayers. Malthusian environmental activists sought to discount his message, accusing Lomborg of “scientific dishonesty” and, in one case, throwing a pie in his face. Such tactics failed to accomplish anything but increase Lomborg’s notoriety and boost book sales.

If The Skeptical Environmentalist gave eco-pessimists epileptic fits, Lomborg’s new book could provoke outright seizures. Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming is Lomborg’s take on the number one environmental issue of the day. Lomborg remains stubbornly optimistic about humanity’s future as he argues we must “cool our conversation, rein in the exaggerations, and start focusing where we can do the most good.” For Lomborg, this also means cooling the push for binding limits on greenhouse-gas emissions.

At times Lomborg’s discussion seems a bit technocratic, and he understates the degree of uncertainty inherent in climate-change policy. Estimates of future emissions and energy use patterns decades hence are highly suspect. So too are climate projections that are based on such uncertain inputs. This does not mean that climate-change concerns should be dismissed, but it does counsel against pretending cost-benefit analyses can be conducted with any degree of precision. Despite these flaws, Cool It is a highly valuable contribution to the climate-policy literature. In clear and concise prose, Lomborg diagnoses the problems plaguing contemporary climate policy, injecting a needed tonic of realism and common sense into the climate debate. And for that very reason, it is sure to make Lomborg’s critics hot-under-the-collar.

Read more here.

Sep 05, 2007
Thoughts on the Arctic Passage

By Gary Sharp, Scientific Director, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study

Read in this blog, the thoughts from Gary Sharp on the Arctic passage. We posted a recent story about Wrong Way Flanagan getting trapped in the arctic ice during an effort to be the first yachtsman to traverse the arctic in modern times to illustrate global warming. Although there will be stories about the melting of ice in the western arctic in the news, Gary discusses why this is not unusual historically. You will find some of his links fascinating and his stories about Joseph Fletcher inspiring. We hope to link to some of the videos and lectures of Dr. Fletcher on Icecap. See also Gary’s website Its All About Time here.

About arctic passages Gary notes “Joe pointed out several times to me in his B/W movies that there were seasons of nearshore ice-free situations - and others when skis or overflights were the only way in or out. Unfortunately - not enough years of observations - or guys with the right questions out there. Between 1956 and 1989 there were 33 passages. They are listed in the book Northwest Passage by Edward Struzik published in 1991. One was by K. Horie aboard the Japanese sloop Mermaid, who made an east to west passage in 1981-83. Another was by W. De Roos in a 42 foot ketch named Williwaw, who made the first single handed Passage in 1977 when the Northern Hemisphere was rather cold. Then, of course, there were all those US and Russian submarines cruising under the polar ice in the late 1950-90 Cold War period – that would occasionally find a hole – and pop up for a look-see.”

Sep 05, 2007
New Changnon Paper on Winter Storm Losses

By Kevin Vranes

Changnon’s new paper has the following in the abstract: “Winter storms are a major weather problem in the USA and their losses have been rapidly increasing. A total of 202 catastrophic winter storms, each causing more than $1 million in damages, occurred during 1949–2003, and their losses totaled $35.2 billion (2003 dollars). Catastrophic winter storms occurred in most parts of the contiguous USA, but were concentrated in the eastern half of the nation where 88% of all storm losses occurred.

The time distribution of the nation’s 202 storms during 1949–2003 had a sizable downward trend, whereas the nation’s storm losses had a major upward trend for the 55-year period. This increase over time in losses, given the decrease in storm incidences, was a result of significant temporal increases in storm sizes and storm intensities. Increases in storm intensities were small in the northern sections of the nation, but doubled across the southern two-thirds of the nation, reflecting a climatic shift in conditions producing intense winter storms.

Icecap Note: What was that climate shift? After the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1979, the frequency of El Ninos increased dramatically, with incidences nearly double those of La Ninas. El Ninos favor a southern storm track in winter, La Nina storms ride across the north. Wolter’s MEI Index are shown below from 1950 to 2006. Note red spikes are El Ninos, blue La Ninas. Note the increase in El Ninos after 1979.


During El Ninos, southern storm tracks are favored in winter

Sep 04, 2007
The Year the Global Warming Hoax Died

By Alan Caruba on Sep 02, 07

When did the global warming hoax die? Historians are likely to pinpoint 2007. It will take another decade to insure it cannot be revived, but the avalanche of scientific studies and the cumulative impact of scientists who have publicly joined those who debunked the lies on which it has been based will be noted as the tipping point.

It took some forty years to unmask the Piltdown Man hoax that began in 1912 alleging that the skull of an ancient ancestor of man had been found in England. Any number of British anthropologists unwittingly contributed to the hoax by confirming the authenticity of the skull until it was found that the jaw of an orangutan had been cunningly attached. The unmasking of “global warming” has taken less than half that time.

Hoaxes have a life of their own and “global warming” is now coming to an end. Mark 2007 as the year it began to seriously bleed to death. Read reasons why here.

Aug 31, 2007
Models Trump Measurements

By Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post

We are doomed, say climate change scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body that is organizing most of the climate change research occurring in the world today. Carbon dioxide from man-made sources rises to the atmosphere and then stays there for 50, 100, or even 200 years. This unprecedented buildup of CO2 then traps heat that would otherwise escape our atmosphere, threatening us all.

“This is nonsense,” says Tom V. Segalstad, head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo and formerly an expert reviewer with the same IPCC. He laments the paucity of geologic knowledge among IPCC scientists—a knowledge that is central to understanding climate change, in his view, since geologic processes ultimately determine the level of atmospheric CO2.

“The IPCC needs a lesson in geology to avoid making fundamental mistakes,” he says. “Most leading geologists, throughout the world, know that the IPCC’s view of Earth processes are implausible if not impossible.”

Catastrophic theories of climate change depend on carbon dioxide staying in the atmosphere for long periods of time—otherwise, the CO2 enveloping the globe wouldn’t be dense enough to keep the heat in. Until recently, the world of science was near-unanimous that CO2 couldn’t stay in the atmosphere for more than about five to 10 years because of the oceans’ near-limitless ability to absorb CO2.
Amazingly, the hypothetical results from climate models have trumped the real world measurements of carbon dioxide’s longevity in the atmosphere. Those who claim that CO2 lasts decades or centuries have no such measurements or other physical evidence to support their claims. Neither can they demonstrate that the various forms of measurement are erroneous.

“They don’t even try,” says Prof. Segalstad. “They simply dismiss evidence that is, for all intents and purposes, irrefutable. Instead, they substitute their faith, constructing a kind of science fiction or fantasy world in the process.”

Read full story here.

Aug 30, 2007
National Wildlife Federation

By Craig Woods, WOOD TV8 Blog

I have somehow gotten on the email list for the National Wildlife Federation and just last week I received an email written by Amanda Staudt, Ph.D. She is apparently the climate scientist for that organization. She has great credentials; she “directed the National Academies of Science Climate Research Committee and helped author more than a dozen reports on topics including the U.S. strategy for supporting climate change research, radiative forcing of climate, past records of surface temperature, and practices for effective global change assessments. She holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences (2001) and an A.B. in environmental engineering and sciences (1996) from Harvard University.”

So you’d think she’d know better than to make the following pronouncements: “Hurricane Dean: A Sign of Storms To Come” “Global Warming is Putting Hurricanes on Steroids”

I wonder if she has read any of the papers by Roger Pielke Sr., Roger Pielke Jr, Phil Klotzbach from Colorado State, Chris Landsea from the National Hurricane Center and others, or read about this workshop held by the World Meteorological Organization, who say the evidence does not support such a claim—probably not.

It is interesting to note that in 1955, Hurricane Janet, another category 5 storm, hit at approximately the same location as Dean in the Yucatan, near Chetumal, and claimed 600 lives. Dean didn’t claim any in the Yucatan this year.

Read more in Craig’s blog here.

Aug 30, 2007
Scientists Warm Up to Watts’ Work

By Ryan Olson - Staff Writer, Chico Enterprise Record

During a scientific workshop this week in Boulder, Colo., Watts presented his research on hundreds of weather stations used to help monitor the nation’s climate.  The preliminary results show Watts and his volunteers have surveyed about a quarter of the 1,221 stations making up the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. Of those, more than half appear to fall short of federal guidelines for optimum placement.

Some examples include weather stations placed near sewage treatment plants, parking lots, and near cars, buildings and air-conditioners — all artificial heat sources which could affect temperature records.

Watts was surprised at how well his work was received after his 15-minute presentation.

“I was very, very worried that I would be seen as an outsider with a heretical idea,” Watts said during a telephone interview Wednesday.
Watts said his findings show there are potential problems with the placement of many weather stations. Although it’s not conclusive, temperature records from many stations, reposted on Watts’ blog, showed notable increases after being moved closer to heat sources.

Watts and his volunteers are continuing to investigate the 1,221 USHCN observer stations. The stations are monitored by a branch of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Jay Lawrimore, chief of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, said he’s aware of Watts’ work. He said his center invites anyone with expertise to contribute to the scientific process. “I think any effort to better understand the observation system that’s used to collect data and analyze it is helpful,” he said.

For the USHCN stations being checked by Watts and others, Lawrimore said there are checks to ensure the data is accurate. Some stations are placed on less-than-ideal sites, but he said it’s important to note the impact of those has been analyzed and accounted for. NOAA is working on a new network of weather stations called the Climate Reference Network. Lawrimore said the new system is being built with climate in mind and is geared to avoid artificial factors that affect readings.  Read full story here.

Aug 28, 2007
Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?

By Dr. Fred Singer

In the past few years there has been increasing concern about global climate change on the part of the media, politicians, and the public. It has been stimulated by the idea that human activities may influence global climate adversely and that therefore corrective action is required on the part of governments. Recent evidence suggests that this concern is misplaced. Human activities are not influencing the global climate in a perceptible way. Climate will continue to change, as it always has in the past, warming and cooling on different time scales and for different reasons, regardless of human action. I would also argue that—should it occur—a modest warming would be on the whole beneficial.

This is not to say that we don’t face a serious problem. But the problem is political. Because of the mistaken idea that governments can and must do something about climate, pressures are building that have the potential of distorting energy policies in a way that will severely damage national economies, decrease standards of living, and increase poverty. This misdirection of resources will adversely affect human health and welfare in industrialized nations, and even more in developing nations. Thus it could well lead to increased social tensions within nations and conflict between them.

If not for this economic and political damage, one might consider the present concern about climate change nothing more than just another environmentalist fad, like the Alar apple scare or the global cooling fears of the 1970s. Given that so much is at stake, however, it is essential that people better understand the issue.  For Dr. Singer’s take on the issue, read full lecture here. 

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