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Jun 15, 2007
Parker 2006: An Urban Myth?

Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

If you are not a climate scientist (or a realclimate reader), you would almost certainly believe, from your own experience, that cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside - the “urban heat island”. From that, it’s easy to conclude that as cities become bigger and as towns become cities and villages become towns, that there is a widespread impact on urban records from changes in landscape, which have to be considered before you can back out what portion is due to increased GHG.

One of the main IPCC creeds is that the urban heat island effect has a negligible impact on large-scale averages such as CRU or GISS. The obvious way of proving this would seem to be taking measurements on an urban transect and showing that there is no urban heat island. Of course, Jones and his associates can’t do that because such transects always show a substantial urban heat island. So they have to resort to indirect methods to provide evidence of “things unseen”, such as Jones et al 1990, which we’ve discussed in the past.

The newest entry in the theological literature is Parker (2004, 2006), who, once again, does not show the absence of an urban heat island by direct measurements, but purports to show the absence of an effect on large-scale averages by showing that the temperature trends on calm days is comparable to that on windy days. My first reaction to this, and I’m sure that others had the same reaction was: well, so what? Why would anyone interpret that as evidence one way or the other on UHI?

Read more here.

Jun 10, 2007
CO2 Takes on Hansen in Special Issue

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso, CO2 Science

In a recent interview broadcast on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was asked if he was concerned about global warming. His response - “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with” - prompted a prominent NASA scientist, James Hansen, to tell ABC News that Griffin’s remark was “an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement,” and that it indicated “a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change.” Equally upset was Princeton University’s Michael Oppenheimer, who said that he was “shocked” by the Administrator’s statement and that he felt that he “ought to resign.”

As a public service to help people better evaluate Hansen’s characterization of Griffin, plus Oppenheimer’s call for Griffin to resign, we are devoting this week’s entire issue of CO2 Science to a comprehensive evaluation of Hansen’s 26 April 2007 testimony to the Select Committee of Energy Independence and Global Warming of the United States House of Representatives, which Hansen entitled “Dangerous Human-Made Interference with Climate.” Before any more calls are made for Griffin’s resignation, our critique of Hansen’s testimony, linked below, should be carefully studied. It is very possible that Oppenheimer’s invitation for Griffin to resign might more appropriately be extended to someone else. 

Note story can be found in this section below or on CO2 Science here.

Jun 09, 2007
Do You Prefer Hot or Cold

U.S. statistics:
During 1999--2003, a total of 3,442 deaths resulting from exposure to extreme heat or hyperthermia were reported (annual mean: 688).
During 1999--2002, a total of 4,607 death certificates (annual mean: 1536) in the United States had extreme cold or hypothermia to the underlying cause of death.

However, as an independent observer, I will say that though deaths directly from heat or cold are not a major threat to the U.S. population for the few deaths that occur from extreme temperatures, there would probably be a net reduction of overall extreme temperature deaths if the U.S. average temperatures increased somewhat. 

What is not shown in these statistics is the very large number of deaths due to respiratory infections that occur primarily during cold weather periods. That factor is why, if our climate is warming, we will be healthier as a nation with a higher average annual temperature… shorter, milder winters. See Hall of Record Blogspot.

Jun 08, 2007
Tropical Cyclones Decreasing in China?

World Climate Report, June 5, 2007

The greenhouse crowd had a field day following the active North Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, and they continue to do their best blaming any unusual tropical storm activity on global warming. Katrina remains the poster child for the link between warmer conditions and hurricanes. In the Gore film, Al explains how simple it is – warmer water will generate more storms and storms that are more powerful (and then run the Katrina footage – it seems to work every time). However, the North Atlantic hurricane season of 2006 was somewhat of a dud, so the blame machine is more than ready to go in 2007. You may have heard that tropical storm Andrea formed weeks before the 2007 official hurricane season (June 1 – November 30) got underway, and now with tropical storm Barry, we have two storms early on, and of course, global warming is to blame.

Perhaps not. The 2007 IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis is now out, and in their Summary for Policymakers we find “...Multi-decadal variability and the quality of the tropical cyclone records prior to routine satellite observations in about 1970 complicate the detection of long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity. There is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.” So despite the alarmist hype, the IPCC continues to insist that there is no trend upward in the number of tropical cyclones.

A recent issue of the International Journal of Climatology contains an article providing more evidence in support of this stance. A plot of the number of tropical cyclones impacting Hainan Island shows a highly statistically significant decrease over the period of historical records. In commenting on the figure below, Wu et al. note “A statistically significant decreasing trend at a rate ?0.9 per decade (equivalent to 13% reduction per decade) is obvious in the time series.” Furthermore, they write “Before 1978, the number of impacting TCs was greater than nine. After 1978, however, there were only 2 years (1989, 1996) when the impacting TCs were more than nine. There were only 4 years in the period 1962–2005, in which TCs made no impact on the land on the Hainan Island–and these all occurred after 1978.” They obviously missed the memo from the greenhouse crusade about how hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones are increasing – time for another showing of the Gore film!  Read full story here.


Jun 05, 2007
Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: Separating Scientific Fact from Personal Opinion

By Sherwood and Craig Idso, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

A critique of the 26 April 2007 testimony of James E. Hansen made to the Select Committee of Energy Independence and Global Warming of the United States House of Representatives entitled “Dangerous Human-Made Interference with Climate”.

After a careful study of the claims made by James Hansen in his testimony of 26 April 2007 to the Select Committee of Energy Independence and Global Warming of the US House of Representatives, we find that much of what he contends is contradicted by real-world observations.  Although Hansen speaks of a sea level rise this century measured in meters, due to “the likely demise of the West Antarctic ice sheet,” the most recent and comprehensive review of potential sea level rise due to contributions arising from the wastage of both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets suggests a century-long rise of only 35 millimeters, based on the results of 14 satellite-derived estimates of imbalances of the polar ice sheets that have been obtained since 1998. In addition, whereas Hansen claims that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating, century-scale data sets indicate that the mean rate-of-rise of the global ocean has either not accelerated at all over the latter part of the 20th century or has actually slowed.

Another of Hansen’s claims that is at odds with reality is that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are “skyrocketing,” for several studies of methane (which has historically provided a climate forcing equivalent to approximately half that provided by CO2) have demonstrated that its atmospheric concentration actually stabilized several years ago and has ceased to rise further. 

Hansen also foresees a warming-induced “extermination of a large fraction of plant and animal species,” with many at high latitudes and altitudes being “pushed off the planet.” However, as demonstrated by the scientific studies we cite, warming - especially when accompanied by an increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration - typically results in an expansion of the ranges of terrestrial plants and animals, leading to increases in biodiversity almost everywhere on the planet. Likewise, where Hansen sees nothing but “destruction of coral reefs and other ocean life” in response to a predicted CO2-induced acidification of the world’s oceans, real-world observations suggest just the opposite.

Note: In the very thorough paper, the Idso’s carefully look at each of the opinions made by Hansen in his testimony versus scientific reality.

May 30, 2007
Data Integrity Issues - How Good Really Is Our Station Observation Data?

In our About Climate Change Section, we have a section on Station Data Issues that shows some of the problems with the global and US data bases. We will soon have a much more detailed supplement (appendix) to the Fraser ISPM report on this data integrity issue (and some other areas where we found ourselves in disagreement with the IPCC report).

Please note that a lot of very good science could be found within the body of the IPCC report. We acknowledged that in the ISPM and tried to draw out those points not obvious from the Summary for Policymakers Working Group I. Where we think they missed the mark or did not cite relevant peer-review work, we commented. For major areas of disagreement, we have written more detailed appendices and will soon release them.

On the issues of station data, Steve McIntyre on the Climate Audit site has been on the hunt for raw data and documentation from Phil Jones at the Hadley data. He also has been reviewing some of the raw data and the adjustments for the USHCN data both raw and as processed and used in NCDC USHCN, NASA GISS, GHCN data bases.

You will find the following more recent blog entries illuminating:

More ISO-2000 Weather Stations from Jones and Hansen

Adjusting for the “Rural Cooling Effect”

Roger Pielke Sr. has been on top of this issue on Climate Science in recent years and this paper earlier covered and linked to in this weblog is the most comprehensive to date (repeated here in case you missed).

BTW, while on the Climate Audit site, you may also want to look at the postings relative to Mann whose “team” is still trying to breathe life into the ‘hockey stick’ corpse on Real Climate.

May 26, 2007
Actual South American Snow Cover Data Show No Climate Change

World Climate Report, May 21, 2007

It should not be too difficult to understand the concept that periods of reduced snow and ice across Earth have historically coincided with planetary warmth. With a risk of tugging on that particular linchpin of Al Gore’s scientific knowledge, here comes new research findings associated with snowpack variability in the Andes Mountains of South America. Outside of Antarctica, snow cover in the Southern Hemisphere has not received much attention in the climate change debate.

Very late in 2006, the Journal of Climate published “Snowpack variations in the central Andes of Argentina and Chile, 1951-2005: Large-scale atmospheric influences and implications for water resources in the region” (Masiokas et al. 2006). The snowpack of the central Andes serves as much more than a monitor of climate change. The authors explain that “over 10 million people in Central Chile and central-western Argentina depend on the freshwater originating from the winter snowpack of the central Andes.” Alarming is their charge that “coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models especially targeted to investigate high-elevation sites” have indicated that “for the next 80 years the central Andes will probably experience significant temperature increases” (Bradley et al. 2004; Masiokas et al. 2006). To make matters worse, Masiokas et al. note that “independent general circulation model simulations also predict a significant decrease in precipitation over the region for the next five decades” (Cubasch et al. 2001).

Masiokas et al. found no such trend in MSWE, stating that the regional record “shows a non-significant positive linear trend (+3.95% per decade) over the1951-2005 interval,” or an absolute increase of greater than 21% over the period. The group matched the MSWE record with mean monthly streamflow data for the primary rivers in the region. They found that river discharges on both sides of the central Andes “are strongly correlated with the snowpack record and show remarkably similar interannual variability and trends.” See full story here.

May 23, 2007
Climate Science: Climate Change and Its Impacts

David Legates, National Center for Policy Analysis

Scientific debate continues regarding the extent to which human activities contribute to global warming and what the potential impact on the environment might be. Importantly, much of the scientific evidence contradicts assertions that substantial global warming is likely to occur soon and that the predicted warming will harm the Earth’s biosphere.

The Earth’s climate began a warming trend after the “Little Ice Age” ended in the mid-1800s, long before global industrial development led to substantial increases in greenhouse gases beginning in the middle of the 20th century. About half of the warming during the 20th century occurred prior to the 1940s, and natural variability accounts for all or nearly all of the warming.

To assess future climate trends, climatologists rely upon General Circulation Models (GCMs) that attempt to describe Earth’s climate. The many climate models in use vary widely with respect to the variables they include and in the assumptions they make about how those variables interact. Yet some official reports, including the U.S. National Assessment published in 2000, report only the most extreme predictions, ignoring others that project only moderate warming in the 21st century.

The complexity of the climate and the limitations of data and computer models mean projections of future climate change are unreliable at best. In sum, the science does not support claims of drastic increases in global temperatures over the 21st century, nor does it support claims of human influence on weather events and other secondary effects of climate change.  Read this thorough analysis here

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