Francis J. Menton, Jr.
Attorney at Law
787 Seventh Avenue New York, New York 10019
The Honorable Regina McCarthy, Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20460
Re: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495-2338,
Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
This letter and its attachment are comments submitted for the proposed rulemaking regarding Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. In its “Summary,” EPA states: “This action will amend the new source performance standards (NSPS) for electric generating units (EGUs) and will establish the first NSPS for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The rule will establish C02 emission standards for certain new and reconstructed fossil fuel-fired electric generating units.”
Please consider these “comments” in the development and selection of the final rule.
As you undoubtedly know, OMS is currently in the process of reviewing comments on the document known as “Technical Support Document: - Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis - Under Executive Order 12866” ("TSO"). The TSD is designed and intended to become the basis for ongoing restriction on the use of carbon-based energy in the United States, whether through regulatory or legislative action.
I submitted one of the many letters of comment to OMS as part of its review process: A copy of my letter is attached. My letter points to several obvious aspects ofthe TSD that make it so clearly flawed as to call into question the fundamental honesty and ethics of this entire regulatory effort.
The TSD purports to rely on IPCC work as a basis for a supposed “sensitivity” of climate to increasing atmospheric C02, but fails to mention that the most recent IPCC report completely undermines any basis for determining climate sensitivity with the following statement: “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.” This means that the IPCC admits that it does not have a credible mean, mode or median value of the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter. In the mathematics of Decision Theory, this situation is called Complete Ignorance Uncertainty.
The TSD fails to note that EPA’s so-called “Endangerment Finding” of 2009 with regard to atmospheric C02 has. been invalidated by the failure of real world data to support each of the three “lines of evidence” on which EPA purported to rely in reaching its Finding.
The TSD calculates the supposed “social cost of carbon” by focusing almost entirely on supposed worldwide negative consequences of increasing C02; while completely ignoring and not even attempting to evaluate - the obvious major positives of carbon energy usage and increasing C02, such as making inexpensive energy accessible to the poor and increasing agricultural productivity.
In its current state, the TSD can only be described as fundamentally dishonest and unethical. I strongly urge you to rethink how such a completely dishonest and unethical effort, with potential enormous costs and consequences for the American people and the economy, has come to advance so far in the government’s processes. Clearly proposing a NSPS for greenhouse gas emissions makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in that such standard would then be based on both a grossly flawed Endangerment Finding and fatally flawed Social Cost of Carbon.
Please consider this letter in the development and selection of the final rule. Thank you for your consideration.
cc: Christian Fellner, Energy Strategies Group, Sector Policies and Programs Division,
Nick Hutson, Energy Strategies Group, Sector Policies and Programs Division, EPA
May 7th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
There will be many comments from others, I’m sure, but these are my initial thoughts on the 12 major findings from the latest National Climate Assessment, which proports to tell us how the global climate change anticipated by the IPCC on a global basis will impact us here at home.
The NCA report findings are in bold and italics.
My comments follow each finding.
1. Global climate is changing and this is apparent across the United States in a wide range of observations. The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels. Many independent lines of evidence confirm that human activities are affecting climate in unprecedented ways. U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3F to 1.9F since record keeping began in 1895; most of this increase has occurred since about 1970. The most recent decade was the warmest on record. Because human-induced warming is superimposed on a naturally varying climate, rising temperatures are not evenly distributed across the country or over time.
Yes, it has likely warmed, but by an amount which is unknown due to increasing warm biases in thermometer siting, which cannot be removed through “homogenization” adjustments. But there is no way to know whether “The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities...”, because there is no fingerprint of human-caused versus naturally-caused climate change. To claim the changes are ‘unprecedented’ cannot be demonstrated with reliable data, and are contradicted by some published paleoclimate data which suggests most centuries experience substantial warming or cooling.
2. Some extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades, and new and stronger evidence confirms that some of these increases are related to human activities. Changes in extreme weather events are the primary way that most people experience climate change. Human-induced climate change has already increased the number and strength of some of these extreme events. Over the last 50 years, much of the United States has seen an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, and in some regions, more severe droughts.
There is little or no evidence of increases in severe weather events, except possibly in heavy rainfall events, which would be consistent with modest warming. The statement panders to the publics’ focus on the latest severe weather, and limited memory of even worse events of the past.
3. Human-induced climate change is projected to continue, and it will accelerate significantly if global emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to increase. Heat-trapping gases already in the atmosphere have committed us to a hotter future with more climate-related impacts over the next few decades. The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of heat-trapping gases that human activities emit globally, now and in the future.
This is a predictive statement based upon climate models which have not even been able to hindcast past global temperatures, let alone forecast changes with any level of accuracy.
4. Impacts related to climate change are already evident in many sectors and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond. Climate change is already affecting societies and the natural world. Climate change interacts with other environmental and societal factors in ways that can either moderate or intensify these impacts. The types and magnitudes of impacts vary across the nation and through time. Children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor are especially vulnerable. There is mounting evidence that harm to the nation will increase substantially in the future unless global emissions of heat-trapping gases are greatly reduced.
To the extent climate has changed regionally, there is no way to know how much has been due to human activities. In fact, it might well be human-induced changes have reduced the negative impact of natural changes - there is simply no way to know. You see, those scientists who study the natural world cannot bring themselves to consider the possibility than some human impacts are actually positive. Even if the human-caused impacts are a net negative, they are far outweighed by the benefits to society (especially the poor) of access to abundant, affordable energy. Besides, for the next few decades, there is nothing substantial we can do about the problem, unless killing off a large portion of humanity, and making the rest miserable, is on the table.
5. Climate change threatens human health and well-being in many ways, including through more extreme weather events and wildfire, decreased air quality, and diseases transmitted by insects, food, and water. Climate change is increasing the risks of heat stress, respiratory stress from poor air quality, and the spread of waterborne diseases. Extreme weather events often lead to fatalities and a variety of health impacts on vulnerable populations, including impacts on mental health, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Large-scale changes in the environment due to climate change and extreme weather events are increasing the risk of the emergence or reemergence of health threats that are currently uncommon in the United States, such as dengue fever.
Most of this is just simply made up, and ignores the positive benefits of access to affordable energy which far outweigh the negatives. If there has been an increase in anxiety and PTSD, it isn’t from severe weather events...it’s from the relentless fear mongering by politicians and the news media.
6. Infrastructure is being damaged by sea level rise, heavy downpours, and extreme heat; damages are projected to increase with continued climate change. Sea level rise, storm surge, and heavy downpours, in combination with the pattern of continued development in coastal areas, are increasing damage to U.S. infrastructure including roads, buildings, and industrial facilities, and are also increasing risks to ports and coastal military installations. Flooding along rivers, lakes, and in cities following heavy downpours, prolonged rains, and rapid melting of snowpack is exceeding the limits of flood protection infrastructure designed for historical conditions. Extreme heat is damaging transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, and airport runways.
Sea level rise (which was occurring before we started emitting carbon dioxide in substantial amounts) is a very slow process, which would have to be accommodated for anyway. And the weaker global warming turns out to be, the slower sea level rise will be. Infrastructure damage occurs anyway, and is often due to weather events which exceed the design limits. You don’t engineer roads and buildings and seawalls and levees to handle any possible scenario...it would be too expensive. A large part of our flooding problems are due to the replacement of natural ground with paved surfaces, which enhances runoff into rivers. This has nothing to do with climate change.
7. Water quality and water supply reliability are jeopardized by climate change in a variety of ways that affect ecosystems and livelihoods. Surface and groundwater supplies in some regions are already stressed by increasing demand for water as well as declining runoff and groundwater recharge. In some regions, particularly the southern part of the country and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, climate change is increasing the likelihood of water shortages and competition for water among its many uses. Water quality is diminishing in many areas, particularly due to increasing sediment and contaminant concentrations after heavy downpours.
This is largely a non sequitur. The problems described exist even without human-caused climate change...to the extent that substantial human influences exist.
8. Climate disruptions to agriculture have been increasing and are projected to become more severe over this century. Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country, a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply.
I work with the people involved in tracking and long-term prediction of agricultural yields, both domestically and internationally. They see no sign of climate change impacts on agricultural yields. There are always natural fluctuations, but if there is any negative human-induced impact, it is swamped by the increasing yields due to improved agricultural practices, seed varieties, and very likely CO2 fertilization.
9. Climate change poses particular threats to Indigenous Peoples’ health, well-being, and ways of life. Chronic stresses such as extreme poverty are being exacerbated by climate change impacts such as reduced access to traditional foods, decreased water quality, and increasing exposure to health and safety hazards. In parts of Alaska, Louisiana, the Pacific Islands, and other coastal locations, climate change impacts (through erosion and inundation) are so severe that some communities are already relocating from historical homelands to which their traditions and cultural identities are tied. Particularly in Alaska, the rapid pace of temperature rise, ice and snow melt, and permafrost thaw are significantly affecting critical infrastructure and traditional livelihoods.
O..M..G. So lets help poor people by increasing the cost of everything by making the energy on which everything depends even more expensive? The people who write this drivel are so clueless they should not be allowed to influence the decision making process.
10. Ecosystems and the benefits they provide to society are being affected by climate change. The capacity of ecosystems to buffer the impacts of extreme events like fires, floods, and severe storms is being overwhelmed. Climate change impacts on biodiversity are already being observed in alteration of the timing of critical biological events such as spring bud burst and substantial range shifts of many species. In the longer term, there is an increased risk of species extinction. These changes have social, cultural, and economic effects. Events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and pest outbreaks associated with climate change (for example, bark beetles in the West) are already disrupting ecosystems. These changes limit the capacity of ecosystems, such as forests, barrier beaches, and wetlands, to continue to play important roles in reducing the impacts of these extreme events on infrastructure, human communities, and other valued resources.
Modest warming and more CO2 available to the biosphere is already having positive impacts, such as the recent greening of the planet. Trying to turn the most obvious positive outcomes into negatives leads to logical contortions which would be funny if they weren’t so serious. Nature changes anyway, folks, as evidenced by glaciers in Europe and North America receding and uncovering ancient tree stumps. Ecosystems are being “overwhelmed”? I don’t think so. Ecosystems are not static.
11. Ocean waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, broadly affecting ocean circulation, chemistry, ecosystems, and marine life. More acidic waters inhibit the formation of shells, skeletons, and coral reefs. Warmer waters harm coral reefs and alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species. The rising temperature and changing chemistry of ocean water combine with other stresses, such as overfishing and coastal and marine pollution, to alter marine-based food production and harm fishing communities.
There is increasing evidence that ocean acidification has been greatly overblown. I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve read lately, more realistic lab experiments with adding CO2 to sea water shows that the natural buffering capacity of sea water limits pH changes, and the increasing CO2 is actually good for life in the ocean...just as it is on land (because CO2 is also necessary for the start of the food chain in the ocean). I think the jury is still out on this issue...but, of course, we can’t expect government reports, which are written to facilitate desired policy changes, to provide balance on such things.
12. Planning for adaptation (to address and prepare for impacts) and mitigation (to reduce future climate change, for example by cutting emissions) is becoming more widespread, but current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences. Actions to reduce emissions, increase carbon uptake, adapt to a changing climate, and increase resilience to impacts that are unavoidable can improve public health, economic development, ecosystem protection, and quality of life.
Translation: We need more government regulation and taxation.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Follow the money, folks. This glitzy, 840-page report took a lot of your tax dollars to generate, and involved only those “experts” who are willing to play the game. It is difficult to answer in its entirety because government has billions of dollars to invest in this, while most of us who try to bring some sanity to the issue must do it in our spare time, because we aren’t paid to do it. It is nowhere near balanced regarding science, costs-versus-benefits, or implied policy outcomes. Like the previous two National Assessment reports, it takes global climate models which cannot even hindcast what has happened before, which over-forecast global average warming, which are known to have essentially zero skill for regional (e.g. U.S.) predictions, and uses them anyway to instill fear into the masses, so that we might be led to safety by politicians.
(Oh, and if you are tempted to say, “What about all the Big Oil money involved in our need for energy?” Well, that money was willingly given to Big Oil by all of us for a useful product that makes our lives better. Government money is taken from you (I’m not anti-taxation, just pointing out a distinction) that they then use to perpetuate the perceived need for more government control. If “Big Oil” could make a profit by becoming
“Big Solar”, or “Big Wind”, they would.)
When he was President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel made this disturbingly honest quote, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” The hysteria surrounding the latest administration report on global warming implies a variation on that dictum, “Never miss an opportunity to create a serious crisis.” Though many of the crises created or compounded by the administration are real enough, the release of the National Climate Assessment has been hyped (abetted by much of the media) with bogus claims of past, current and predicted climate impacts.
NCA Quote: “Precipitation patterns are changing”
Reality: Precipitation patterns were never constant. Creating a crisis from the normal allows climate catastrophists to point to every abnormal bit of wet or dry as being “consistent with models” that predict one horrible outcome or another.
NCA Quote: “sea level is rising”
Reality: Yes sea level is rising, which it has done since the end of the last ice age. But the frequent claims and predictions of accelerating sea-level rise are not borne out in the data. In fact sea-level rise has slowed recently. One main-stream climatologist says this variation “makes the 21st century of sea level rise projections seem like unjustified arm waving.”
NCA Quote: “the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events are increasing”
Reality: The latest report on the science from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and analysis provided by the administration’s own National Climatic Data Center conclude that there isn’t a case for extreme weather increases - no significant trends for floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes.
NCA Quote: “In Arctic Alaska, the summer sea ice that once protected the coasts has receded”
Reality: Global warming is supposedly global. Global sea ice (Arctic and Antarctic) is above average and, for this time of year, it is at its highest level in 30 years, which is the third-highest on record.
The authors apparently do not think anybody is checking their statements or they couldn’t possibly think they would get away with this one:
NCA Quote: “It is notable that as these data records have grown longer and climate models have become more comprehensive, earlier predictions have largely been confirmed.”
Reality: The past 15 years have seen the climate model predictions stray farther and farther from actual temperatures (here and here). Last year, prominent climatologist, Hans von Storch, said, “If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models.” Maybe Professor von Storch needs four more years to be sure the models are wrong, but there are no grounds on which the models can be declared “confirmed.” Instead, the predictions are getting worse and worse.
Vitter Calls Obama’s Climate Assessment More Political than Scientific
(Washington, D.C.) U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, made the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s National Climate Assessment.
“The Administration’s Climate Assessment suffers from problems similar to those in reports put forward by the IPCC; while intended to be a scientific document, it’s more of a political one used to justify more government overreach. Definitive policy decisions and regional planning based on far too many uncertainties could hurt our nation’s economic viability and competitiveness. Look no further than the European nations the Obama Administration aims to imitate whose policy decisions led them to economic failure,” Vitter said.
Smith: White House Climate Report Stretches Truth
Washington, D.C. - Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement in response to the White House’s release of its National Climate Assessment.
Chairman Smith: “The White House today released a report claiming that changes in regional U.S. weather can be attributed to manmade climate change. The climate is changing due to a number of factors, including human contributions and natural cycles. But the administration’s report includes unscientific characterizations on the connection between severe weather events and climate change and fails to explain the absence of warming over the last 15 years.
“This is a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of human CO2 emissions. In reality, there is little science to support any connection between climate change and more frequent or extreme storms. It’s disappointing that the Obama administration feels compelled to stretch the truth in order to drum up support for more costly and unnecessary regulations and subsidies.”
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was critical of the draft National Climate Assessment, saying that “An overly narrow focus can encourage one-sided solutions, for instance by giving an impression that reducing greenhouse gas emissions alone will solve all of the major environmental concerns discussed in this report.” The NAS has also criticized “the lack of explicit discussion about the uncertainties associated with the regional model projections,” saying that “Decision makers need a clear understanding of these uncertainties in order to fairly evaluate the actual utility of using these projections as a basis for planning decisions.”
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not attributable to human-caused climate change. Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900. The U.S. currently has gone over seven years without a Category 3 or stronger hurricane making landfall. Government data also indicate no association between climate change and tornado activity. The data on droughts paint a similar picture. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that “Climate change was not a significant part” of the recent drought in Texas. And the IPCC found that “in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, central North America ...” The IPCC also states there is “low confidence” in any climate-related trends for flood magnitude or frequency on a global scale.
Science is a wonderful thing and has made tremendous strides in the lifetimes of most of us, but there’s one message which keeps being reinforced: the more you know, the more you realise how limited your understanding really is. Scientific knowledge today is vast in extent, but constantly changing, usually incrementally but occasionally in quantum leaps. Just as one field of study seems essentially complete, new areas open up or, in some cases, the received wisdom is found wanting.
What we think of as knowledge is a hodgepodge of evidence, interpretation and theory. According to Karl Popper, science progresses by testing hypotheses against the evidence. As long as all the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis, this is taken as the current best explanation and may, over time, achieve the status of theory: never 100% proven, but as good an account of the facts as we believe is possible.
But the essence of Popper’s philosophy is twofold: that any hypothesis can be tested against evidence (that is, it is falsifiable) and that if any conflicting evidence is found, then the hypothesis must be revised or abandoned. While this may be a picture of an idealised way of doing science, the reality is often much messier.
The alternative philosophy of science, put forward by Thomas Kuhn, is that an accepted paradigm is formed and only replaced by another when sufficient evidence has accumulated for there to be a collective change of mind. In the words of Max Planck “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Or, to use a rather blunter paraphrase “science advances one funeral at a time”.
Whereas it was possible for a Lavoisier or Newton to make major discoveries as individuals with few resources beyond their own intellects, modern science is of a very different ilk. A range of specialities has been developed, in which researchers have deep but very specialised knowledge. The days of physicists and biologists having a good degree of comprehension of the other’s discipline are long gone and even connections between specialised silos in the same general area are often rather tenuous.
Because of this, much of today’s science advances incrementally in the way that Popper described, by proposing a hypothesis and testing it by experiment. But step changes in understanding are also still possible. Often, these still require years of painstaking work to provide the necessary supporting evidence, but the key ideas are often individual ones. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (hardly a household name, but the winner of a Nobel Prize in 1937 for the discovery of Vitamin C) put it very succinctly: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”
This independence of thought is what should be most cherished about science, but it takes courage for individuals to put their heads above the parapet on controversial issues. It is often said that journals are very eager to publish the work of some iconoclast, but in practice there is an inbuilt conservatism in major areas of science as in any sphere of work. Editors of major journals and the reviewers of submitted papers are part of the same Establishment which awards grants for research. Competition in academia is fierce these days, and there is rarely any funding available for work which questions some of the primary shared understanding of the scientific community. Being on-message greatly increases the chances of getting grants.
Despite its claim to represent rational thought and draw conclusions based on evidence, science is still to some extent a set of shared beliefs, some of which get overturned or supplanted over time. This can happen with or without conflict. A perfect example of how even the best science is to some extent provisional and incomplete is Newtonian mechanics.
Newton’s laws of motion perfectly encapsulate the behaviour of objects on a human scale. However, at cosmic scale and at speeds approaching the speed of light, this apparently cast-iron set of rules breaks down, and Einstein’s relativistic mechanics comes into play. His formulation of first the special and later the general theory of relativity has been found to be consistent with all the evidence gathered in the century since they were proposed. But relativistic mechanics do not replace Newton’s laws; they simply apply in different circumstances.
There are also plenty of examples of how basic understanding has changed completely, in conflict with prevailing belief; nowhere more so than in medicine. In the 17th Century, van Leeuwenhoek’s invention of the microscope showed the presence of what we now call microorganisms in water. Despite that, it was two centuries before the concept of germs as causes of disease was put forward and gradually accepted by doctors.
Until then, many diseases were believed to be transmitted by a ‘miasma’ of bad air (hence also, malaria, associated with the bad air of swamps rather than a mosquito-borne parasite). Personal cleanliness and sterilisation of surgical instruments, both of which we now take for granted as basic precautions to prevent the spread of illness, were at one time largely foreign concepts. Doubtless our great grandchildren will look back with horror on our primitive present-day understanding of disease and treatment.
These sorts of breakthroughs come sometimes because the area is seen as a fruitful one by the scientific community, but at other times it is the insight of a loner willing to question the received wisdom which catalyses the breakthrough. This attitude is one which we should encourage, particularly among young scientists. But it applies similarly to the general public.
We should all come to our own decisions based on the evidence we see, rather than simply take the word of an expert. The Royal Society’s motto is Nullius in verba, normally translated as ‘take no-one’s word for it’. Unfortunately, the Royal Society is the science Establishment, and prone to the usual inherent conservatism, despite the excellent work done by many of its Fellows. Nevertheless, both scientists and others would do well to adopt their motto and try to push the boundaries more, rather than simply be constrained by them.
Mistiming of the ‘Nation’
Letter to Nation by Martin Hertzberg
In discussing the effect of rising temperatures on the “mistiming” of food sources and the breeding of species, Naomi Klein ignores the most egregious example of “mistiming”: the Nation’s choice to feature “global warming” at a time when there has been no such warming for the last 17 years. If anything there has been a slight cooling and the current “quiet Sun” presages a period of marked cooling for the next decade or so. Imagine, a whole issue dedicated to promoting one of the greatest frauds in the history of science! We need to end the ignorant consensus that atmospheric CO2 is the prime mover of weather and climate. The acceptance of that one dimensional, narrow view of meteorology and climatology by governments, scientific societies, educational institutions and the media in general, constitutes scientific and journalistic malfeasance on a grand scale.
Dr. Martin Hertzberg
P O Box 3012
Frisco, CO 80443
Two major multi-volume reports on global warming were released in 2013 and so far in 2014, one by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and one by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).
NIPCC is an international network of some 50 independent scientists from 15 countries, many of them distinguished and with no financial stake in the debate. Their new report consists of two volumes, each approximately 1,000 pages long, together citing nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed studies.
Here is what the scientists found:
# There is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change.
# Future warming due to human greenhouse gases will likely be much less than IPCC forecasts.
# Carbon dioxide has not caused weather to become more extreme, polar ice and sea ice to melt, or sea level rise to accelerate. These were all false alarms.
# The likely benefits of man-made global warming exceed the likely costs. Here is what this means for public policy:
# Global warming is not a crisis. The threat was exaggerated.
# There is no need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and no point in attempting to do so.
# It’s time to repeal unnecessary and expensive policies.
# Future policies should aim at fostering economic growth to adapt to natural climate change.
What about those who still say global warming is a crisis?
# The UN’s new report walks back nearly a dozen earlier claims, contains more than a dozen errors, and tries to cover up new discoveries that contradict its earlier claims.
# The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies heavily on the UN’s reports for its finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. That finding is now falsified.
# Environmental groups refuse to admit they were wrong. It was never about the science for them.
Lovejoy is from the once great McGill University in Canada.
Ironically, Canada is having one of its most brutal and long lasting winters on record much like the North Central States. Great lakes ice three weeks into April and more than half way through spring, is still covering 39.9% of the lakes, more than 2000% of the long term average.
The ice on Superior is likely to linger well into May as well as the snow in southern Canada.
Friends of Science
A recent paper published by Shaun Lovejoy of McGill University, that claims 99.9% certainty of Anthropogenic Global Warming, is flawed from the outset, according to Friends of Science due to Lovejoy’s omission of known climatic variations and reliance on the discredited “Hockey Stick” graph.
Natural warming and cooling periods of climate change appear to be cyclical based on Greenland ice cores
Greenland GISP2 Ice Core - Temperature Last 10,000 years
All three warm periods occurred before industrialization; these facts effectively put Lovejoy’s argument of ‘unprecedented global warming’ to rest from the get-go
Calgary, Alberta, Canada (PRWEB) April 17, 2014
Friends of Science are rejecting the recent paper by Shaun Lovejoy of McGill University of Montreal reported on April 11, 2014 in the online science news Phys.org and published April 6, 2014 online in the journal Climate Dynamics. The Lovejoy paper claims to prove with 99.9% certainty that human industrial activity is the cause of recent warming (which stopped naturally 15+ years ago as reported May 26, 2013 in Forbes). However, assessment by Friends of Science member and geophysicist Norm Kalmanovitch, reveals the paper lacks reference to known past historical warm periods. This means Lovejoy’s conclusions are 100% wrong, say Friends of Science.
“The Lovejoy paper is fundamentally flawed in that it fails to take account of three known prior naturally warm periods and it relies on the widely discredited “Hockey Stick” graph and replications that were dismantled by McKitrick and McIntyre years ago,” says Kalmanovitch.
Friends of Science dispute Lovejoy’s methodology saying his simplistic correlation between CO2 and proxy temperatures as causing warming, fails to address the increase of solar activity, the source of all energy on earth, in the time period. Tree-ring data used in Lovejoy’s study diverges greatly from thermometer measurements, indicating that the proxies are not reliable for estimating past temperatures.
Kalmanovitch points to the earlier warming periods, Minoan Warm of 3,000 years ago, Roman Optimum of 2,000 years ago, and Medieval Warm of 1,000 years ago.
A graph published in the Journal of Quaternary Science Reviews of January 2000: pp 213-226 shows that all three periods were all warmer than the current warm period.
“All three warm periods occurred before industrialization; these facts effectively put Lovejoy’s argument of ‘unprecedented global warming’ to rest from the get-go,” says Kalmanovitch.
Evidence from satellites and radiosondes show that climate is not very sensitive to changes in CO2 due to net negative feedbacks operating in the climate system, which counteract the direct CO2 effect. The lack of warming over the past 15+ years proves that natural factors can easily negate the small CO2 effect.
Lovejoy’s paper begins the study period in the 1500’s but he does not reference known temperature records within that time. The Central England Temperature Record from January 1663-December 1762, before the Industrial Revolution shows a warming of 0.90C during this 100 year period. Humans were not responsible for this temperature change.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal of Feb. 19, 2014, the global temperature rise over the last 100 years was only about 0.7 C [1.3F], which was mostly due to natural causes, with humans having a small effect.
Other concerns are evidenced in the original press release issued by McGill University wherein Shaun Lovejoy is quoted as saying: “This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers...”
“This is appalling language, sanctioned by a Nobel Laureate University like McGill, unscientific and in very poor taste,” says Kalmanovitch.
Friends of Science are asking McGill University’s Chancellor for a retraction and apology for the language used in the press release. Friends of Science have spent a decade reviewing a broad spectrum of literature on climate change and have concluded the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2). The core group of the Friends of Science is made up of retired earth and atmospheric scientists.
Friends of Science Society
P.O. Box 23167, Connaught P.O.
Calgary, Alberta Canada T2S 3B1
Toll-free Telephone: 1-888-789-9597
Matt Briggs adds his comments on the Lovejoy claims here.
To show you how low climatological discourse has sunk, in the new paper in Climate Dynamics Shaun Lovejoy (a name which we are now entitled to doubt) wrote out a trivially simple model of global temperature change and after which inserted the parenthetical words “skeptics may be assured that this hypothesis will be tested and indeed quantified in the following analysis”. In published comments he also fixated on the word “deniers.” If there is anybody left who says climate science is no different than politics, raise his hand. Anybody? Anybody?
His model, which is frankly absurd, is to say the change in global temperatures is a straight linear combination of the change in “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature plus the change in “natural variability” of temperature plus the change in “measurement error” of temperature. (Hilariously, he claims measurement error is of the order +/- 0.03 degrees Celsius; yes, three-hundredths of a degree: I despair, I despair.)
His conclusion is to “reject”, at the gosh-oh-gee level of 99.9%, that the change of “anthropogenic contributions” to temperature is 0.
Can you see it? The gross error, I mean. His model assumes the changes in “anthropogenic contributions? to temperature and then he had to supply those changes via the data he used (fossil fuel use was implanted as a proxy for actual temperature change; I weep, I weep). Was there thus any chance of rejecting the data he added as “non-significant”?
Is there any proof that his model is a useful representation of the actual atmosphere? None at all. But, hey, I may be wrong. I therefore challenge Lovejoy to use his model to predict future temperatures. If it’s any good, it will be able to skillfully do so. I’m willing to bet good money it can’t.
December to March temperature anomalies
The Upper Midwest was hardest hit. It was the third coldest on record there all the way down to Chicago.
This continued the downtrend in winter (December to February and even December to March) temperatures for the nation, all the climate regions and the Upper Midwest for the last 20 YEARS!
It was the snowiest winter on record in parts of the Midwest like Detroit and third snowiest in Chicago (just 0.3 inches behind 1977/78) and second snowiest as far east as Philadelphia. It was top ten snowiest in many central and eastern cities.
March continue the cold from the Great Lakes to the northeast. Vermont deep in snow had their coldest March on record. In New Hampshire and Maine it was the second coldest, New York and Michigan 5th coldest.
Ice on the Great Lakes past mid april is still widespread, most on record so late.
It is running 1600% of normal for this time of the spring.
Just imagine if NCDC was not manipulating data where the wintr might have ranked. here is the adjustment from raw to final according to Steve Goddard.
By Dr. Roy Spencer
One of the most annoying things about climate forecasts is the apparent need to predict catastrophe.
Of course, it makes good press, like the latest from Bryan Walsh at Time, Climate Change Could Cause the Next Great Famine.
While such theories can always find a home with some learned academics, for those who ‘do’ rather than ‘teach’, the world is a very different place.
For the last 4 years, I have spoken at a Kansas City conference of grain growing and investment interests organized by The ProExporter Network, a company which tracks and predicts both U.S. and international grain markets and growing conditions, especially for corn, soybeans, and wheat.
I was with these folks again last week, and from what I hear, there have been no negative climate-related changes which have been identified. If they do exist, they are swamped by technological improvements...and maybe even the positive effects of CO2 fertilization (which has somewhat conflicting research results for maize).
Here in the U.S, as well as globally, grain production as well as yields (in bushels per acre) have been on an upward linear trend for at least 50 years, primarily due to improvements in varieties (e.g. with greater drought tolerance) and growing practices:
Most year-to-year interruptions in normal growing weather are due to heat waves and droughts, or less frequently, floods. High corn yields are favored by a warm spring with dry planting weather, a not-too-hot summer with sufficient rain (the most important growing period), and a warm, dry fall.
If we examine observed summer (June/July/August) temperatures over the corn belt, we see no obvious warming in the USHCN data. This is in stark contrast to the average of 42 climate models available through the KNMI Climate Explorer for approximately the same region as the corn belt:
Needless to say, the average model expectation of warming has not materialized in the corn belt. The corresponding average precipitation change in the models (not shown) has a near-zero trend for the corn belt, while there has been maybe a 10% increase in observed precipitation over the last 100 years, largely due to the Dust Bowl days early in the record.
The IPCC claims there is a negative impact of global warming on corn, but the experts I have talked to say there is no way to get that out of the data. You would have to have accurate quantitative knowledge of the technological trend, which you don’t.
In other words, without an accurate removal of the factors leading to the huge increase in corn yield (which is not possible), you can’t back out of the data any kind of climate-related signal. (If anything, the face-value evidence is that warming leads to higher yields, not lower.)
And without that accurate quantitative knowledge (and no evidence of observed corn belt climate change anyway), they tell me there is little reason to depart from a forecast of slowly increasing corn yields in the coming years.
So, unless you are an academic who is trying to remain relevant to the real world by forecasting doom and asking for government grants to support your Malthusian view of the world (wherein population increases exponentially and food production remains more constant), the real world scenario is that population will level off in the next 50 years, while grain production and yields will likely continue to grow, at least for the foreseeable future.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
I together with Art Horn have done a series of videos here on local cable TV access channels trying to inject some reality into the dialogue on climate change and energy. The universities and the legislature has been totally corrupted or taken over by environmental activists posing as scientists and representatives mainly from the Union of Concerned Scientists. They teach the children and advocate policy based on the belief that their models are trustworthy and warming and sea level rise are accelerating and that unless we act quickly snow, so important to the ski and maple sugar industry would vanish from the northeast and tourism, industry and recreation would suffer. They push renewables especially wind which has been tried and failed in Europe.
Would you believe this winter they again testified in front of the Science, Technology and Energy Committee about the threat. The first tim they had a major releases in 2007, the winter that followed had the most snow in history across central and northern New England and the best ski season on record. They did the same last January before the February and March super snows and again early this winter. They claim our climate will become more like North Carolina by 2100.
Ironically, the cooling for the last 20 years in the northeast has been 1.2F, which if extrapolated would be 6F colder and more like Quebec.
We are not going to take it lying down. We are starting a series of bi weekly stories in weekly newspapers and editorials. Here is one this morning in southern New Hampshire towns.
WEATHER WHYS AND CLIMATE WISE
As a co-founder of The Weather Channel and its first Director of Meteorology back in 1982, I have over 40 years of experience in professional meteorology. That includes 20 years as Chief Meteorologist at Weather Services International Corporation. Since 2011 my main focus has been as Chief Meteorologist for Weatherbell Analytics LLC.
As a college professor at Lyndon State College I helped establish the Meteorology program while also inaugurating the Northeast Storm Conference, now in its 39th year. In addition to being a Certified Consultant Meteorologist and Fellow of the American Meteorologist Society I am an author, speaker and contributor on the topic of weather and climate. I have also testified on the topic before federal and state legislatures and took the science lead on legal briefs to the DC circuit and US Supreme courts.
A Hudson resident for the last 25 years, I will be contributing regular stories on weather and energy issues of concern to New Hampshire residents in general and HLN readers in particular. I will provide information you probably won’t read in the mainstream media.
There are unreported changes underway in the climate and politics on a national and state level that will have a major impact on your family’s economic future you need to be aware of. I have always considered myself an environmentalist and conservationist but the environmental organizations and our universities have been taken over by radical elements that do not have your best interests in mind.
As co-founder of Greenpeace and a PhD Ecologist Patrick Moore told the US senate, “It is a powerful convergence of interests among a very large number of elites, including politicians who want to make it seem as though they’re saving the world, environmentalists who want to raise money and get control over very large issues like our entire energy policy, media, for sensationalism, Universities and professors for grants. You can’t hardly get a science grant these days without saying it has something to do with climate change.
It is a kind of nasty combination of extreme political ideology and a religious cult all rolled into one, and it’s taken over way too much of our thought process and way too much of our priorities.”
I will prove that to you with climate facts, their own words and published plans. I will also mix in interesting climate facts about recent seasons and forecast the upcoming seasons. For example did you know the last 20 years, winter temperatures in all 9 US climate regions has declined (an average of 2.26F for the US). Here in the northeast winters have cooled 1.2F. This past winter was the coldest ever in many north central locations and even the 3rd coldest since 1879 in Chicago. Joe Bastardi and I at Weatherbell forecast this downtrend many years ago and this particular memorable cold and snowy winter many months in advance for our 3600 clients based on the same factors that drive the longer term climate cycles.
Instead of our climate becoming more like South Carolina, the trends would argue (and we will give physical reasons why in the next report), we will become more like Quebec.
Global temperatures have not warmed for going on 18 years even as CO2 increased 12%. Sea level rises have dropped in half globally to just 4 inches per century. Global hurricane activity is at a 30+ year low. Sandy produced devastation but it was barely a CAT 1 storm on landfall. We had 8 major hurricanes hit the east coast from 1938 to 1960.There were 142 fewer tornadoes in 2013 than any year on record and despite two big fires made worse by environmental pushback on thinning and brush removal, the number of wildfires was the lowest since reliable records began in 1984. We are told we are seeing rapid increases in heat records, but the state all time heat records tell another story. 23 of the 50 occurred in the 1930s, 38 before 1960 and there have been more all-time cold records than heat records since the 1940s.
The only phenomena that has increased is the one that NOAA, the IPCC and Union of Concerned Scientists (really environmental activists) that now occupy our universities said would vanish....snow. In 2007, 2012 and again early this year, they advised the ski and maple sugar industries and our legislature that the ski and sugar industry would die here. 2007/08 broke records for the most snow in northern and central New England. Last year we had the super blizzards of February and March and this year is well above normal here and ranking in the top 10 in most cities from the east to Midwest and even for several locations from Philadelphia west to Chicago converging on #1. For the hemisphere 4 of the 5 highest snow cover years have occurred in the last 6 years.
But instead of admitting to their mistakes (and I have just presented the tip if the iceberg of failings), they claim whatever happens is consistent with their theories. They have created a non-falsifiable hypothesis by claiming both sides of every extreme or possible occurrence, even cooling.
Einstein noted a model or a hypothesis cannot “prove” anything. But data can invalidate a hypothesis or model. “The case is never closed. Many experiments may prove me right BUT IT TAKES ONLY ONE TO PROVE ME WRONG.”
If our legislators take the action these environmental activists here posing as scientists and the politically driven agencies in DC are pushing, your electric bills and the cost for heating oil and natural gas and gasoline, which we all felt the pain of this year, will be much higher come next winter. Europe believed in the green agenda until unemployment soared, energy prices skyrocketed and the lights went out. They have stopped subsidizing renewables and in Germany alone, they are building 24 new coal fired plants to try and save their economy. The White House and our own state leaders are ignoring the lessons learned in Europe at our peril and expense.
If you have a comment about this articles or the topic in general, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICECAP NOTE: Here is a PDF of the story. If you can use it or material from it, feel free to excerpt from it. Add your own introduction and post it locally. Or do the same for any of the follow-up stories we do. As the story notes, you can contact me at email@example.com. Art Horn is an excellent writer as you have witnessed and commented to me from posts on Icecap from time to time, but must work at various jobs like teaching classes and giving talks and doing forensic work to try and pay the bills. Your donations to Icecap are used to pay for the maintenance of this site and cover some of the travel costs when I travel to give talks or Art comes here to eastern New England for TV shows. I would like more dependably to give him something for his efforts with stories he writes and his travel expenses. If you can help us, we can do more. As always you generosity is appreciated. If you are in the northeast and would like to invite Art or I or both to give a talk to a group that needs educating or enlightenment or wants to debate the science, we would love to do so.
By Anthony Sadar and Susan Cammarata, Washington Times
Thursday, March 20, 2014
On college campuses throughout the nation, spring semester is winding down and many faculty and students will soon be heading out for a long summer break. Some professors never really leave the schoolyard, though. It’s their loss, and ours.
Daily life on the college campus is something of an unreality. Academicians are frequently surrounded by students who admire or even fear them, and they’re surrounded by like-minded, congenial colleagues. Thus, these educators and academic researchers live in something of the world’s largest echo chamber.
Within this ego-inflating environment, an academic research community must operate. How well can scientific discoveries be made, though, when blinded by the brilliance of vainglory, and when ideology can so easily trump objectivity?
Proverbs 16:18 warns that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In an academic sense, we can say that arrogance leads to ignorance and thus, a haughty professor can quickly become an arrogant ignoramus. The expression, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up,” can readily apply.
In contrast, it can be safely stated that good scientists practice humility.
Look at the world of climate science. In this world dominated by collegiate atmospheric modeling, a fundamental challenge has been - as in science, in general - to match theory with reality. Professors Richard McNider and John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville clearly demonstrated this in a Feb. 20 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, which included a graph displaying the miserable match between climate predictions and observational reality. Climate models built to make the connection between theory and reality, they wrote, have been “so consistently and spectacularly wrong.” Although currently an academician, Mr. Christy was once a missionary teacher in Africa and witnessed the effects of abject poverty and the potential benefit of low-cost energy for the masses. For those who haven’t left the comfort of the Ivory Tower, it is those souls in Third World nations in need of basic resources who are often forgotten in the process of composing climate theories that bolster anti-industrial campaigns.
In climate science, the mismatch of idealism with realism is likely due to the overwhelming influence other factors, such as water, have on climate. Yet, the political focus and funding is directed toward demonstrating that “greenhouse gases,” such as carbon dioxide, which makes up only 0.04 percent of the atmosphere, is responsible for climate change. It’s little wonder, then, that climate reality refuses to conform to theoretical fantasy.
Reality should supersede theory. Still, the Obama administration and the board of the World Bank take shaky climate-change theory to a potentially disastrous level for people eking out a marginal existence. Last June, based on his faith in climate science, President Obama announced that the United States would halt its investment in overseas coal projects and encouraged multilateral banks to do the same. Last July, the World Bank initiated a new energy strategy designed to limit financing for new coal-fired power projects.
Apparently, at the White House and the World Bank, a “poverty-fighting institution,” saving the atmosphere from the small amount of extra greenhouse gases emitted by modern fossil-fuel plants trumps alleviating age-old human suffering.
After all, there’s a messy world beyond the schoolyard where reality doesn’t always play by the rules, even if those rules take the form of vaunted academic theories and models. However, just because some ideas aren’t popular within the ivy-covered walls doesn’t mean they’re not popular in the school of hard knocks. That’s where tough love delivers an education that more closely aligns with reality.
The fact is that in a world of plenty, too many have next to nothing. Those ensconced within a largely left-leaning academia where rhetoric is highly esteemed must face the fact that their theories are partially responsible for a false reality that perpetuates the poverty of unseen others.
Anthony J. Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist, is author of “In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic’s Guide to Climate Science” (Telescope Books, 2012). Susan T. Cammarata is an environmental and family lawyer in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The winter was a cold one. NCDC updated their climate divisions and released the February and winter data Thursday.
This is what the NCEP CFSv2 based reanalysis told us for the winter.
It was a top ten coldest winter in the north central, coldest ever in spots.
Here is the CONUS trend for the last 20 years, down 2.26F (1.13F per decade). This is the trend from NCDC for the period 1995-2014. The base period is the conventional last 3 complete decades -1981-2010.
They have 9 climate regions as shown here.
They are all in a downtrend. Not all obviously statistically significant but no region had warming.
This cool down was proposed in the 2000s in this paper that eventually was published in E&E and Elsevier’s Evidence Based Climate Change in an updated form.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
March has gotten off to a brutally cold start after the coldest winter since the late 1970s.
Geoff Cornish from Erie, show how the all-time cold March record was set.
The Great Lakes ice coverage spiked back to 92.2% coverage, most for the date since records began in 1980.
NWS MKE reports Lake Michigan Ice Cover Reaches Record Coverage!
This last stretch of cold weather during late February into the first week of March caused ice concentration on Lake Michigan to rapidly increase. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor Michigan measures the ice concentration on the Great Lakes daily. On March 8th, the ice concentration on Lake Michigan was measured at 93.29%. This sets a new record ice cover on Lake Michigan. The previous record was 93.1% set in 1977. The period of record dates back to 1973.
Niagara Falls is freezing over. The color comes from all the AGW Kool-Aid being dumped in the lakes and rivers by former believers.
The Canadian Ice Service shows how it surpasses the 1993/94 levels for this week.
Over the longer data series, 2013/14 has surpassed 1993/94 and is second behind 1978/79.
It has happened before like in 1911.
By the way, the Weatherbell forecast for the winter around Thanksgiving predicted this cold based on NATURAL factors.
Back in October, Steve Goddard shows how PRI talked about Great Lakes Warming and how the Great Lakes used to freeze but it wasn’t happening anymore, a recommended phrase right out the Society of EnvironMENTAL Journalist handbook.
Thanks for your support over the years for Icecap - now going on 7 years with well over 50 million page hits. Thank you for your donations that helped us pay the bills. The account was down to $0.02 last I checked. So any help would be welcomed. We often have to subsidize the site maintenance (we needed high security because of a few hacking instances) ourselves and all out outside efforts are pro bono. We continue to battle the true deniers who are flailing away trying to explain why lack of warming is going on 20 years while sea level rises stop or slow and snow increases not decreases with colder not warmer winters. Some of their explanations are ludicrous. They have a lot to lose after gotten used to easy money from the $169B from governments and NGOs and foundations. They forgot how to do real science, real work, how to look at the data with an open mind. I never thought this could happen to the science I love.
The puppetmasters have orchestrated this hoax in the schools, in governments at all levels and the compliant left leaning media including the once reliable TWC. If we can’t stop them we will like Europe find out energy costs already hurting low and middle class becoming prohibitively high and hurting the people the government claims their care most about. There are many stories from here in the north this winter that should awaken people. We will post on those. But the public doesn’t yet blame the politicians who are hell bent on doing away with coal, natural gas, nuclear in favor of undependable and extremely costly wind and solar. Europe now recognizes their mistake in listening to the greens and are undoing them by furiously building coal and gas plants and stopping subsidies for renewables. Why can’t our politicians do their homework before following what their enviro friends push them to pursue - heavy subsidization of renewables with bug kickbacks to their cronies and supporters who manage (mismanage) them, and demonization of nuclear and fossil fuels.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
They have other motivations we will talk about in future posts.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
Meteorological winter ended with a flourish in the north country with record temperatures and extreme wind chills. The winter in this region has ranked among the great winters historically including the three in the late 1970s, 1916/17-1917/18 and 1894/95. Reports are just beginning to dribble in and we’ll update you on the cold and after the next few weeks the snow records.
Detroit snowcover record came to an end at 77 days, beating out 1977/78 with 75.
This is just the tip of the ‘iceberg’.
Persistent cold temperatures in the Midwest this winter have almost completely frozen over many of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) reported that 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen as of mid-February. The last time ice cover was even close to this extent was in 1996, when maximum seasonal ice cover was approximately 82 percent.
Percent ice cover on the Great Lakes on February 13, 2014. Shades of blue indicate ice concentration, with the darkest shade of blue indicating areas where 0 percent of the water’s surface is frozen, and white indicating areas where the water is entirely frozen over. Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data provided by the U.S. Naval Ice Center.
The map shows ice coverage on the Great Lakes on February 13. Shades of blue indicate ice concentration, with the darkest shade of blue indicating areas where 0-10 percent of the water’s surface is frozen and white indicating areas where the water is entirely frozen over. Lakes Superior, Erie, Huron, and St. Clair were 90-100 percent ice covered, while Lakes Michigan and Ontario were 82 percent and 43 percent ice covered, respectively. Overall, 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen on this date-the most extensive total ice coverage observed so far this winter.
Maximum ice cover on the lower lakes normally occurs between mid-February and end of February, while the maximum on the upper lakes normally occurs between the end of February and early March. According to the Midwest Regional Climate Center, average temperatures were below normal across the region during the second week of February. If cold temperatures persist, the MRCC reports, “it is possible that the Great Lakes could approach the record-setting year of 1979, which recorded 94.7 percent maximum ice coverage.”
But while ice cover and water levels are known to vary on the Great Lakes from year to year, scientists have observed an overall decrease in ice extent since records began in the early 1970s. From 1973 to 2010, annual ice coverage on the Great Lakes declined by 71 percent (relative to 1973).
Percent ice cover on the Great Lakes at winter maximum each year since 1973. The dashed line shows the long-term average of 51%. Prior to the mid-1990s, most years were above the long-term average; since then, most years have been below average. As of February 13, 2014, the lakes were 88% ice covered. Graph adapted by NOAA Climate.gov, from an original provided by The Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.
According to the 2009 National Climate Assessment, higher temperatures could mean more evaporation from the upper Great Lakes and hence a likely reduction in some Great Lakes water levels. Lower water levels could have potential impacts on the major industries that depend upon the lake-hydropower generation, commercial shipping, and fishing-as well as recreational beaches and coastal ecosystems.
So far this winter, extensive ice cover has allowed access into previously inaccessible ice caves near Lake Superior and provided a safe landing spot for an airplane experiencing an emergency over Lake Huron. The effects of extensive ice cover could even last into the summer and fall, potentially contributing to cooler water temperatures. Since the ice must be melted first before the water below it can be warmed, the lakes could heat up slower although weather conditions and heat storage in the lakes will be contributing factors as well, according to an FAQ on the GLERL website. Lower water temperatures could also potentially reduce evaporation from the lakes this year, which could help drive water levels up.
Canadian Ice Service shows how much above normal the ice has been.
Guest opinion by David Hoffer
Carol, in your recent CNN opinion piece, the headline was “Why are we still debating climate change?”. The very first statement in the article that followed was “There is no debate”.
The answer to your question is actually right in your own article. I’ll get to that in a bit, please bear with me. I wanted to touch on your claim that there is no debate first. I’d like you to consider the following statement, which I provide with no intent of malice whatsoever, only as a means of making a point.
Carol Costello is stupid. There is no debate.
Now what would you think if you saw this in print, followed by a long explanation as to what is wrong with people who don’t agree, and a refusal to examine any facts related to the accusation? I imagine you’d be miffed. I imagine also that any examination of the facts would prove me wrong, I seriously doubt that such a statement would stand up to any fair debate of the matter. Which brings me to a question Carol:
If the facts supporting Climate Change are so obvious, should not debating the facts of the matter strengthen those facts? Just as you would be eager to prove that you are not, in fact, stupid, should you not be equally as eager to prove your opinion by engaging in factual debate?
While you ponder that, and keeping in mind that I did say the answer to your question is in your article and I would get to that, let’s examine the only fact upon which your argument rests, which is that there is a consensus among 97% of scientists. Well Carol, I read that study. Did you? I’m guessing not.
Carol, that study was done by Margaret Zimerman, who sent the survey to 10,257 Earth Scientists. Of those, 3,146 responded. Of those, Ms. Zimmerman excluded all but 77. That fact alone should have your journalistic instincts on high alert. But it gets worse. The two questions which lead to the 97% finding were:
Q1: “When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” 76 of 79 (96.2%) answered “risen.”
Q2: “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” 75 of 77 (97.4%) answered “yes.”
The problem here Carol is that they should have gotten 100% to both questions. The earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age which was 400 years ago. So obviously the answer to the first question would be “risen” even if human influence was zero. As for the second question, you may be surprised to learn that all but a tiny fraction of skeptics agree that rising temperatures are, in part, due to human activity. You see Carol, the debate about climate change is not a simple matter of “yes” or “no”. It is much more nuanced than that. There are questions relating to order of magnitude of change, endangerment related to any change that does occur, and in regard to strategies of mitigation versus adaptation. That study did nothing to determine consensus opinion on any of the central matters of the climate debate. It is not only contrived, but nearly meaningless. But I digress.
You go on to quote studies categorizing the population. I said I’d show you the answer to your headline question in your own article. Well, here it is. Your article goes on to quote results from Anthony Leiserowitz, who categorizes the population as follows:
Well that hardly seems like a consensus. In fact you go on to claim that the Dismissives are a powerful, well funded, well organized lobby group who are muddying the debate. Well Carol, if the facts are so powerfully on one side of the debate, why begin your opinion piece by categorically insisting that there is no debate? If there is no debate, how is it that only 16% of the citizenry are alarmed? Why, by the definitions in your own article, do 82% of the people think that climate change is something that won’t, for various reasons, have a direct effect on their lives?
But most importantly Carol, if you want to change their minds, would not an open and honest debate of the facts be your most powerful weapon? Are you going to let me accuse you of being stupid, or would you like to prove me wrong?
Lastly Carol, you sum up your article on this statement:
“The good news is, those uninformed minority voices are being quieted by nature and by those who have powerful voices.”
Well Carol, on that second point, I will allow that you are correct. Powerful voices (like yours) are eager to stifle the debate. Oddly, your own article points out the importance of having one if you want the facts as you see them to prevail. Will you use your powerful voice to that end? Or shall we call you stupid, insist there is no debating the matter, and call it a day?
But more importantly Carol, the first part of your statement is wrong. It is a simple matter to see that when one looks at the data, all the predictions of the “consensus” science have failed. Arctic ice retreat has stopped, and Antarctic ice has hit record levels. On a global basis, hurricanes and tornadoes have declined in both frequency and severity. According to the temperature records kept by the “consensus” scientist themselves, the earth hasn’t warmed in close to two decades, despite ever rising levels of CO2. Nature in fact is taking sides in this debate, and not the side you seem to think.
Even the United Nations IPCC, which is consensus climate science central for the world, now admits in their recent report (IPCC AR5) that the climate models themselves are wrong. It is their expert opinion that sensitivity to CO2 lies well below the model estimates. What are the models based upon Carol, if not the science? And if the best scientists in the world, in their capacity as advisors to the United Nations and world governments alike, are collectively stating that the models and the science the models are built on are in doubt, does that not deserve public debate?
Even among the “consensus” scientists themselves Carol, there is now considerable doubt about the science. Does that not give you pause to reconsider your position?