By Robert Sopuck, Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Environmental policy must be based on the good science and not emotion. In brief:
(1) Environmentalists can be divided into a number of categories ranging from “conservationists” who advocate a policy of “wise use” to the “deep ecologists” who tend to “humanize” nature.
(2) The public at large demands clear and unambiguous statements from environmental scientists while the scientists themselves are dealing with uncertainty and ever-changing information flows.
(3) Science has been described as the “self-correcting process of discovery” which means that what is the received wisdom of today may need to be discarded or modified based on new information.
(4) Policy makers must be aware of the flux inherent in environmental science and ensure that environmental policies must reflect the best science. Read more here.
Robert Sopuck directs the Centre’s Smart Green Frontiers Project which explores how to solve environmental problems without reducing human freedom.
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP
First of all the very best of the holidays or holydays to all of you and thanks for your support in our inaugural year (we have had well over a million hits in the first 8 months and are getting traffic at a rate of 8 million a year currently). That puts us in the top 1% of all web sites. We recently upgraded our servers to better handle the volume on busy news days. Please note the new email system though has a glich in it and our developer is away on holiday break. Hopefully any emails you have sent will be recoverable. In the meantime, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the reactions to the Inhofe story which received world coverage and sent alarmist blog sites into a fury or deep depression, there were the usual claims that the scientists were bought off. The following image submitted by Alan Siddons says it all when it comes to relative funding of the alarmist side and the skeptic side of the science since 1990 based on actual numbers.
It is so ironic that in the usual ad hominem attacks to any coverage of a skeptic, the accusation ‘bought and paid for’ is usually found though they rarely question the science. They call that projection in psychology - defined as is a psychological defense mechanism whereby one “projects” one’s own undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings (and in this case actions) onto someone else.
There is also a claim that only some of the 400 are real climatologists. Take a look at this blog post response to one alarmist blogger Eli Rabett about the backgrounds of two prominent alarmist experts the alarmist world looks up to as leaders of their cause.
Associated Press on MSN
Highways were treacherous for holiday travelers Monday in the upper Midwest in the aftermath of a blustery snowstorm that blacked out thousands of homes and businesses and snarled air travel. At least 19 deaths were linked to the weekend-long blast of ice and windblown snow, which led to multi-car pileups that closed sections of several major highways on the Plains.
Wind was measured at 88 mph over Lake Michigan, with gusts of 50 to 68 mph across the Chicago region, according to the National Weather Service. Because of the wind, airlines canceled more than 300 flights Sunday at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the city Aviation Department said. Municipal officials said the wind had knocked out nearly 170 traffic signals, and there were more than 500 reports of fallen trees and limbs.
Read more here.
Satellite imagery shows the widespread snowcover. See full size here
See the Madison, Wisconsin NWS comparison of this December with 2000, the last snowy December here.
Some very cold arctic air will start descending into the nation in early January focused at first west and central but will spread east. It will make the headlines. More snow and ice will fall along the edges. The cold will reach at times into areas that a lot of forecasters are assuring folks nothing but warmth is ahead.
This week a special report “Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007” was issued as reported in our Political Climate section. This list is the tip of the iceberg in what may be a silent majority of scientists who don’t accept greenhouse gases as the sole or most important climate driver. There are many meteorologists, climatologists and other scientists who under normal circumstances would jump at the opportunity to appear on this list. However, they can not because they fear for their jobs. Many have told me so privately face-to-face or on the phone or in emails.
In the case of the TV meteorologists they have been told by station or group management they are to avoid taking sides or saying anything controversial on this hot button issue. It is a no-win situation for them if they do, since the audience is divided on the issue and many viewers are strongly opinionated. In the ratings game, you don’t dare turn a segment of the audience against you. There are forecasters and meteorologists at The Weather Channel who do not endorse their network’s position but can’t speak out given their station’s decision to take a stand with Forecast Earth (formerly Climate Code), and stick with it despite dismal ratings.
I have been told by scholars and non-tenured professors at the big universities, they have to keep their opinion to themselves in what has been described as a ‘witch hunt’ as the schools hire alarmist professors to reorganize their departments with the goal of increasing the flow of grant money.
Many government employees (forecasters) are in the sensible middle on this issue but recall they have been told by NOAA to be silent on this issue in any public forum or with the media. I have been told by many of them they believe we cant discount either data issues nor natural variability. Pat Michaels, George Taylor and David Legates are not the only non-alarmist state climatologists, but based on what happened to them when they were more outspoken, many other state climatologists have been mum on this issue.
Many young scientists are especially nervous about speaking out because their careers are ahead of them. As MIT’s Dr. Lindzen noted in a telling 2006 Wall Street Journal Op Ed Climate of Fear “...there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse.”
The older senior meteorologists and or retirees have less or nothing to lose and they dominate this list. Hopefully this effort will give more the courage to step up and help put an end to what has been a very sad saga in the history of this noble science. Write me at email@example.com if you would like to add your name to the list and I will pass it on. Scientists from all allied disciplines are welcome.
UPDATE: See new list of recent peer review studies in recent months casting doubt on man-made climate fears updated 12/24/07.
A Live Science story “Nuclear Fallout Layer Missing in Himalayan Glacier”, reported nuclear tests in the 1950s and ‘60s spewed fallout all around the globe. Scientists find it when the drill into ice, extracting cores that reveal the layers of history that settle out of the sky. But a new study of ice cores from a big Himalayan glacier lack the distinctive radioactive signals that mark virtually every other ice core retrieved worldwide.
The mysteriously missing fallout traces suggest the Himalayan ice field has been shrinking at least since the A-bomb tests more than half a century ago. “There’s about 12,000 cubic kilometers (2,879 cubic miles) of fresh water stored in the glaciers throughout the Himalayasâmore freshwater than in Lake Superior,” said Ohio State University researcher Lonnie Thompson, who presented the results this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. “Those glaciers release meltwater each year and feed the rivers that support nearly a half-billion people in that region. The loss of these ice fields might eventually create critical water shortages for people who depend on glacier-fed streams.” There are about 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayan mountain chain. The total area of glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau is expected to shrink by 80 percent by the year 2030, according to today’s statement. Read more here.
Icecap Note: Read Dr. Madhav Khandekar’s insightful comments on this, yet another scare-mongering Lonnie Thompson story here.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
After the recent snow events, the northern hemisphere snowcover has risen above the 10 year climatology as can be seen from the following charts courtesy of Dr. Bob Hart at Florida State University. They are updated as of December 17, 2007.
Chart shows the current snowcover compared to the 10 year climatology for the date (green line).
The graph showing percent of Northern Hemispheric snowcover compared to normal and the daily anomaly (red deficit, blue surplus)
Note the deficits in much of the fall gave way to surplus the last week. Expect this to oscillate as storms depending on exact tracks, melt snow and erode edges or lay down a new swarth of snow.
Snow is important in maintaining and enhancing cold air masses in winter. I believe we will see its effect in January as some of arctic high pressure building across the high latitude snowfields in North America and Siberia makes its way into the states. January will be colder than normal in many areas the NOAA and private forecasters are promising January warmth. See update with full size images here.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
The New York Times Editorial this morning noted correctly:
“A real winter, like the one we’re having this week, means capitulating to the weather. There is no negotiating with a wind-chill of zero, no pretending that the driveway really doesn’t need plowing, no running a few errands without a hat and scarf and gloves. You simply give in and meet the season’s terms. That is part of the pleasure of a real winter.
You feel very resilient for living within its strictness. Yet if you look back in time, you can’t help wondering at the resilience of everyone who lived within winter’s strictness before central heating was invented.
There is no knowing what lies ahead, of course. This could be the start of an epic winter. It could be shirt-sleeves and gnats flying in early January again, for all we know. But if the past few winters here in the Northeast have taught us anything, it is to be prepared to do whatever winter allows at the moment it allows it. That could mean
snowshoeing through the woods on a day like yesterday or playing an improbable - and deeply disarming - round of golf.”
Icecap Note: New York City has experienced the coldest January since 1977 in 2004, the coldest February since 1979 in 2007. December last year was the 3rd warmest on record while this month so far has averaged 5F below normal. Snowfall for four years straight ending in 2005/06 topped 40 inches for the first time since record-keeping began in the 1870s and a new single storm record was set for snow in February 2006 with 26.9 inches at Central Park.
Also the big storm that hit Canada and the northern US hard this last weekend (see last blog and note from Madhav Khandekar on the impact on Toronto) hit areas to the east very hard. According to the Ottawa Citizen: Ottawa is currently under one of the biggest snow removal operations in the city’s history after Sunday’s massive snowstorm. “It’s no Academy Award, but it was the snowiest December day ever in the capital,” said Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips. In total, 37 centimetres fell in Sunday’s storm, setting a record for the most snow in a single December day since Environment Canada started keeping records in 1938. The previous record was 30.4 centimetres, which fell Dec. 21, 1977. However, the record for most snowfall in a 24-hour period remains 40.4 centimetres, which fell March 2, 1947. There is now a 75-centimetre blanket of snow on the ground in Ottawa. That’s the most snow that has been on the ground at one time since Environment Canada started keeping track in 1955, said Mr. Phillips. The previous record was 68 centimeters in 1977. The total cumulative snowfall so far this year is 148 centimeters, including almost 90 centimeters in December. At this time last year, only 18 centimeters had fallen.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
It has been a cold and wintry December so far with a series of storms that have brought ice and snow to a large area of the west, central, Great Lakes and northeast. Read an account of the snow and ice amounts compiled by NOAA here. Read about the latest storm here. NEW: See impacts on Canada here.
The first half of the month shows the cold across the northern tier and the warmth in the deep south. As usual, the storms have rolled along the boundary between the cold and warm.
The snowcover in the United States even before the last two storms had increased so that together with some new snows in Asia, the snowcover across the northern hemisphere, which had been running below normal for much of the fall, had risen to above normal for the first time this year.
Read more on December, see full size images and read some thoughts about January here.
By John McLean and Tom Harris in the Canada Free Press
Itâs an assertion repeated by politicians and climate campaigners the world over â â2,500 scientists of the United Nationâs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agree that humans are causing a climate crisisâ. But itâs not true. And, for the first time ever, the public can now see the extent to which they have been misled. As lies go, itâs a whopper. Hereâs the real situation.
The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) released during 2007 (upon which the UN climate conference in Bali was based) includes the reports of the IPCCâs three working groups. Working Group I (WG I) is assigned to report on the extent and possible causes of past climate change as well as future âprojectionsâ. Its report is titled âThe Physical Science Basisâ. The reports from working groups II and II are titled âImpacts, Adaptation and Vulnerabilityâ and âMitigation of Climate Changeâ respectively, and since these are based on the results of WG I, it is crucially important that the WG I report stands up to close scrutiny.
Consensus never proves the truth of a scientific claim, but is somehow widely believed to do so for the IPCC reports, so we need to ask how many scientists really did agree with the most important IPCC conclusion, namely that humans are causing significant climate change--in other words the key parts of WG I? An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that âhundreds of IPCC scientistsâ are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely âGreenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.â The numbers of scientist reviewers involved in WG I is actually less than a quarter of the whole, a little over 600 in total. In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9 âUnderstanding and Attributing Climate Changeâ. Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60% of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.
That the IPCC have let this deception continue for so long is a disgrace. Secretary General Ban Kai-Moon must instruct the UN climate body to either completely revise their operating procedures, welcoming dissenting input from scientist reviewers and indicating if reviewers have vested interests, or close the agency down completely. Until then, their conclusions, and any reached at the Bali conference based on IPCC conclusions, should be ignored entirely as politically skewed and dishonest. Read more here.
John McLean is climate data analyst based in Melbourne, Australia. Tom Harris is the Ottawa-based Executive Director of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (nrsp.com)
By Lubos Motl, The Reference Frame
In the International Journal of Climatology, David Douglass, John Christy, Benjamin Pearson, Fred Singer show, in their article “A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions”, that the previously discussed “fingerprint” predicted by 22 greenhouse-dominated models disagrees with the observed data summarized in 10 datasets.
For larger image go here.
Their figure 1 show where models said “Good bye” to reality. The models and observations are compatible near the surface. However, about 5 kilometers above the surface (where the greenhouse effects starts to become relevant) in the tropical zones, models predict between 2 times and 4 times higher warming trend than what is observed. Above the altitude of 8 kilometers, the theoretical and empirical trends have opposite signs. The insights strongly indicate that the true mechanisms driving the changes of temperature are not understood and the overall effect of greenhouses gases is being overestimated - between 2 times and 4 times - by all existing models. Note that with this reduction, IPCC’s sensitivity between 2 and 4.5 Â°C gets reduced to the standard 1 Â°C climate sensitivity which means that the additional greenhouse-induced warming by 2090 will be less than 0.5 Â°C.
Investors Business Daily
While Al Gore trashes the United States for the stalled climate-change talks at the U.N. conference in Bali, science that contradicts his global warming theory continues to roll out. ‘My own country, the United States,” Gore hissed as delegates wrestled in the Indonesia resort with a “road map” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, “is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali.” As usual, Gore has it backward. The obstruction of progress is the goal of the global warming alarmists. The mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide emissions they support would choke economic development worldwide and take prosperity back decades. But that’s another story for another time. Today we’re here to talk about how science is refuting fearmongers’ claims that man’s burning of fossil fuels is warming Earth in a cataclysmic way.
At the top of our list is a study found in the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology. Researchers found that many of the computer models used to predict global warming can’t even predict the past. Instead of forecasting the actual small temperature rises in the troposphere, an atmospheric layer 1 to 6 miles above the Earth’s surface, these computer models anticipated a sharp warming trend over the past 30 years. The 22 models the researchers looked at are the very ones the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change used to make its fright-filled predictions of imminent global warming disaster.
Next is yet another report discrediting the global-warming-makes-hurricanes-worse theory. Two oceanographers, whose findings will be published this week in Nature, say warmer oceans might even decrease hurricane activity.Finally, we note a letter sent this week to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon saying it’s “not possible to stop climate change,” as it’s “a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages.”
It’s possible that delegates will leave the 11-day IPCC Bali conference Friday without reaching a consensus about what should be in the report’s summary â more evidence that politics, not science, drives the global warming debate. That alone strongly argues for this foolish debate to be ended now, and for good. Read more here.
The press out of Bali today includes coverage of a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report about the fate of penguin species under climate change. The press reports draw heavily from the press release put out by the WWF to draw attention to their report on penguins, but more importantly, the WWFâs desire for large and immediate carbon dioxide emissions restrictions. From the press reports and the WWF release, things seem bad for Antarcticaâs penguin species. But, as is the case with nearly every alarmist issue, the truth reveals quite a different story. In this case, a review of the literature on penguins, climate change, and ecosystem disturbances, reveals a large variety of penguin responses to changing conditions, changes that include in addition to climate fluctuations, a large-scale alteration to the local and regional food chain as industrial whaling and fishery operations over the course of the past several decades have significantly reduced the number of many species, including both predators and prey. This perturbation to the foodweb has likely had large impacts on the resident penguin species and makes isolating or even correctly identifying impacts from a changing climate quite difficult (Ainley et al., 2007). See full story here.
New England dug out on Friday from a record-setting storm that dumped 10 inches (25 cm) of snow on Boston, more than the city typically sees in the entire month of December. Thursday’s storm hit hours before the afternoon commute, snarling roadways and leaving some travellers—many of whom left their offices early only to face the storm’s full force on the road—stranded for hours during their trips home. Others had to abandon their cars or sleep in them after running out of fuel, local media reported. More than 400 flights were cancelled at Boston Logan International Airport.
The National Weather Service said the region could expect another blast over the weekend, when a second storm is expected to drop 6 inches (15 cm) of snow and sleet starting on Saturday evening. “It is a powerful Northeaster,” said Charlie Foley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts. “The difference in this storm is that it is going to occur during the overnight hours and on the weekend, so we wouldn’t expect it to have the impact that this thing yesterday did.
Thursday’s snowfall set a new one-day record for December 13, and was more than the 7.8 inches (19.8 cm) that typically falls during the entire month of December. Fore more see here.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
A persistent strong boundary between cold air across Canada and the northern tier states and mild air to the south and southeast has produced a series of ice and snow events that have left nearly a million in the dark across at least 7 states. You can see the large area covered by snow and ice Tuesday morning.
Over the next week, two more systems will bring more precipitation in this area and in the end expand the area of snowcover to the south. Colder air will build in behind the latest system, the warmest of the series and then be reinforced later this week with a moderate precipitation event, this one mainly frozen with areas including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and perhaps Boston and Providence. The third system this weekend could become quite a major snowstorm for many areas depositing a foot or more of the white stuff. It is a little early to determine exact track and where the heaviest snow will fall but places from the nations capitol to New York City and Boston could be included although the chances will be greatest inland as is often the case with December storms. Very cold air will follow in the storms wake into the east well into next week. The snowcover by Monday could look like.
A warm-up may try and follow starting in the central later next week but warmups after a good snowpack develops in December with feeble sunshine often disappoint. La Ninas are noted for their variability month-to-month when weak and developing southeast warmth when strong. Read why that MIGHT not happen this winter here.
By Alexandre Aguiar, MetSul Weather Center, Brazil
Southern Hemispheres ice cover now is at the same level as last June, i.e., a level seen during the last winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Besides, there are two more millions square kilometers of ice now compared to December 2006. And the large positive anomaly has persisted since September.
Full image here
Icecap note: In the Northern Hemisphere, the ice and snow cover have recovered to within 1% (one snowstorm) of normal with the official start of winter still more than 12 days away
Full image here
By Lubos Motl, The Reference Frame
What’s important for the readers is not to learn something or compare arguments for various statements and their robustness. Instead, what they expect is their daily prayer, Oh the global warming, you’re so great and holy, and oh the climate skeptics and the climate traitors, they are oh so evil. Gavin Schmidt and others are optimized to write this cheap crap for this kind of people. Gavin tries to indicate that Loehle makes errors in all the five issues mentioned at the beginning. Unfortunately, his criticism is extremely vague and in the cases when it is not vague and where I could try to check his statements, they seem to be demonstrably wrong.
There might be some legitimate criticism in Gavin’s text but I couldn’t find any. The comparison of Gavin Schmidt and Steve McIntyre as “auditors” couldn’t be more startling. While McIntyre always analyzes the finest detail of the reconstructions, he reruns all relevant programs (and does some reverse engineering when necessary), Schmidt builds on superficial, Woit-like defamations and pseudocriticism that he often makes up in which he doesn’t even link to the relevant papers or sources because he probably knows himself that what he writes is not true and it only designed to manipulate with gullible readers.If you realize that charlatans such as Gavin Schmidt are paid for their work while Steve McIntyre must work as an outsider, the state of affairs in the present climate science seems sad, indeed. See more here. Also see this recent post here.