Frozen in Time
Nov 14, 2018
California Gov. Brown Shirks Blame for Devastating Wildfires

By Katy Grimes August 9, 2018

Icecap Note:

California has had no downtrend in annual precipitation since 1895.

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It’s tragic issues with wildfires the last two years are the result of radical governmental and environmental policies/inaction. The people in the path of these fast moving infernos and the brave firefighters trying to save lives and property are suffering because of bad state government and greed by large NGOs.

See more here.
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CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed Bipartisan Wildfire Management Bill in 2016

Last year, as all Hell was breaking loose in California as residents were burned out of their homes, neighborhoods and businesses, Gov. Jerry Brown was jetting around the world spouting climate change propaganda, and calling this California’s ‘new normal.’

“With climate change, some scientists are saying Southern California is literally burning up, and burning up as maybe a metaphor or a description not just to the fires right here, but what we can expect over the next years and decades,” Brown said.

RELATED:

Nov. 13, 2018 - CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed 2016 Wildfire Management Bill While CA Burned
Aug. 12, 2018- California Wildfires Caused By Radical Environmentalists, Not Climate Change
Aug. 6, 2018 - California burns: The “new normal” thanks to Obama Era Environmental Regulations
Aug. 9, 2018 - CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed Bipartisan Wildfire Management Bill in 2016
July 9, 2018- Jerry Brown’s California: Socialist, Climate-Conscious Open Borders Utopia

Today, as California burns once again under torrential wildfires, many Californians have been asking why the dramatic increase in wildfires in the last five years… that is everyone except Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown claims that year-round, devastating fires are the “new normal” we must accept.

Megan Barth and I reported Monday:

“Supporting Obama-era regulations have resulted in the new normal: an endless and devastating fire season. Obama-era regulations introduced excessive layers of bureaucracy that blocked proper forest management and increased environmentalist litigation and cost - a result of far too many radical environmentalists, bureaucrats, Leftist politicians and judicial activists who would rather let forests burn, than let anyone thin out overgrown trees or let professional loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle infestation, or selectively cut timber.”

Mismanaged, overcrowded forests provide fuel to historic California wildfires, experts say. The 129 million dead trees throughout California’s forests are serving as matchsticks and kindling.

Jerry Brown, busy mulling ways to prevent the end of the world, took the Clinton and Obama-era gross regulations a step even further when he vetoed a bipartisan wildfire management bill in 2016.

At the request of the City Council of Laguna Beach, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), authored SB 1463 in 2016, a bipartisan bill which would have given local governments more say in fire-prevention efforts through the Public Utilities Commission proceeding making maps of fire hazard areas around utility lines.

California fires produced as much pollution in 2 days as all the state’s cars do in a year

Laguna Beach went through four fires sparked by utility lines in the last ten years, and has done as much in the way of prevention as they could afford. The bill would have allowed cities to work with utilities to underground utility lines, and work with the Public Utilities Commission to develop updated fire maps by requiring the PUC to take into consideration areas in which communities are at risk from the consequences of wildfire, not just those areas where certain environmental hazards are present.

Moorlach’s bill came about when on February 2, 2016, the PUC served the final version of Fire Map 1, and the City of Laguna Beach was not placed within the low-risk margins of the Utility Fire Threat Index.

Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1463, despite being passed by the Legislature, 75-0 in the Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate. That tells you this was political. The Governor’s veto message did not properly address why he vetoed the bill. Brown claimed that the PUC and CalFire have already been doing what Moorlach’s bill sought to accomplish. How on earth could Brown kill this bill when the state was burning down?

“SB 1463 would have not only safeguarded Laguna and other high fire-risk communities in Orange County, but would have helped other vulnerable communities throughout the state that are often threatened by wildfires caused by sparks from shorted or fallen utility lines,” Sen. Moorlach said in a statement following the surprise veto. “The Governor’s veto impedes the necessity to more urgently address the California Public Utilities Commission’s focus on identifying high risk areas that should be prioritized for appropriate mitigation measures.”

California fires produced as much pollution in 2 days as all the state’s cars do in a year.

After SB 1463 was killed by Gov. Brown, Sen. Moorlach and his brilliant staff had an epiphany: Redirect the state’s accumulated cap-and-trade funds into wildfire prevention.

Authored in 2018, the new Senate Bill 1463, aptly named “Cap and Trees,” would continuously appropriate 25 percent of state cap-and-trade funds to counties to harden the state’s utility infrastructure and better manage wildlands and our overgrown and drought-weakened forests, Moorlach recently wrote in a San Francisco Chronicle op ed.

The idea was to actually reduce the state’s highest source of greenhouse gas emissions, curb the impacts of future wildfires and prevent unnecessary damage to life and property, the new SB 1463 fact sheet reported.

However, SB 1463 was killed in the radical Senate Environmental Quality Committee by Democrats, even though there was no opposition to it. The killing was purely political, with no regard given to the people of the state.

Cap and Trade was a scheme born out of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, known as AB 32, which charged the California Air Resources Board with lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, AB 32 requires the ARB to inventory GHG emissions in California, and approve statewide GHG emissions limits.

Sen. Moorlach’s second version of SB 1463 would also have required the California Air Resources Board to include greenhouse gas emissions from wildland and forest fires in their updated Scoping Plan. The ARB does not actually track GHGs - they just estimate. The ARB is extorting millions of dollars from California businesses on their best guesses.

It is estimated that “for every 2 to 3 days these wildfires burn, GHG emissions are roughly equal to the annual emissions from every car in the entire state of California,”

USA Today/Reno Gazette reported in 2017. Last year, there were more than 9,000 major wildfires which burned over 1.2 million acres. Several of the large fires were caused or exacerbated by sparking utility lines.

The problem is that the Air Resources Board Scoping Plan ignores the most egregious of all GHG emission problems - manmade wildfires. Instead, the ARB spends a substantial amount of cap and trade funds on high-speed rail, which literally increases GHG emissions and eliminates large carbon sinks. The ARB has a history of diverting funds to pet projects and programs that have little or nothing to do with actually reducing GHG emissions.

The Senate Environmental Quality Committee, responsible for killing Moorlach’s SB 1463, has a radical environmentalist/preservationist as the committee consultant. In the only bill analysis done on SB 1463, this is the drivel she wrote:

“...natural disasters that emit GHGs (such as wildfires) occurred before climate change, will continue to occur as the climate continues to change, and will persist even if mankind ultimately solves the problem of climate change.”

“While science can now conclusively attribute individual extreme events to climate change, it is important to distinguish that extreme events like the recent wildfires in California are a symptom of climate change, not the cause.”

“The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists is that climate change is anthropogenic, meaning human activity has caused the rising GHG concentrations in the atmosphere and, therefore, increasing average global temperatures and the extreme events climate change causes.”

“To include GHG emissions from natural disasters in the state’s inventory that tracks progress towards California’s climate goals, even ones that are made worse by climate change, betrays the fundamental scientific understanding that human activity is responsible for climate change.” (Her emphasis, not mine) 04/19/18- Senate Environmental Quality

Jerry Brown’s Exploitation of California Events

“There is no hope for the truth when world leaders like Governor Brown of California (he runs the 19th largest economy in the world) can present such utterly false information in pursuit of a political agenda,”

“Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.” - Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown’s Real Legacy

Remember when Gov. Jerry Brown said the world needs ‘brain washing’ on climate change. Sounding indeed brainwashed, Brown said, “The problem… is us. It’s our whole way of life. It’s our comfort… It’s the greed. It’s the indulgence. It’s the pattern. And it’s the inertia.”

Brown screeched in 2015 that California has an overpopulation problem, and the ongoing drought was proof that the explosion of population in California has reached the limit of what the states’ resources can provide. “We are altering this planet with this incredible power of science, technology and economic advance,” Brown told the publisher of the Los Angeles Times. “If California is going to have 50 million people, they’re not going to live the same way the native people lived, much less the way people do today...You have to find a more elegant way of relating to material things. You have to use them with greater sensitivity and sophistication.”

Brown has managed to divert the fawning, slobbering California media away from his actual responsibilities as California Governor, and instead has them focused on hysteria, doom, gloom, and intangibles like “climate change.”

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Marc Morano and Craig Rucker add:

California’s wildfires are a horrific tragedy. At last report 63 people are dead, 631 missing and 11,862 structures have been destroyed. We hold those lost and suffering in our thoughts and prayers.

Not unexpectedly, Governor Jerry Brown would have us believe the harm caused by California’s wildfires is the result of climate change. But that is false.

As CFACT’s Marc Morano explains through extensive coverage at Climate Depot, California’s rain and drought are historically normal.  In fact, the total U.S. acreage burned by wildfires is actually down in recent years.

That said, there are anthropogenic roots to this catastrophe. But they are not the human causal links Governor Brown points to.

Rapid population growth, extensive development, poor water management, and most critically, irresponsible forest management are principally to blame.

Green activists blocked forest clearing in the name of species protection, leaving California with 129 million dead trees, clogging 8.9 million acres.

If government actually wanted to promote the rapid and uncontrolled spread of deadly wildfires, it would be hard-pressed to find a better approach.  Once again the Greens find themselves on the wrong side of the implacable law of unintended consequences, as the very species they profess to care about, are incinerated before our eyes.

Governor Brown, if you are still searching for the anthropogenic link to California’s tragic fires, I expect somewhere in the governor’s mansion there’s probably be a mirror.

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California Gov. Brown Shirks Blame for Devastating Wildfires

Liberal California Gov. Jerry Brown has never been one to take personal responsibility. He has made a career out of blaming others for his and the failures of extreme left-wing policies.

It comes as no surprise that just one day after Pres. Donald J. Trump criticized the state for the gross forestry mismanagement linked to surging wildfires, Gov. Brown was quick to blame climate change and climate deniers.

“Managing all the forests in everywhere we can does not stop climate change. And those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that we’re now witnessing, and will continue to witness in the coming years,” Brown reportedly said. “We’re fighting nature with the amount of material we’re putting in the environment, and that material traps heat, and the heat fosters fires, and the fires keep burning.”

But it’s an inconvenient truth that Gov. Brown and his merry band of West Coast liberals have imposed radical environmental regulations that run contrary to appropriate forest management.

Pres. Trump has cited the Democrat laws designed to protect species such as the Spotted Owl that effectively ended the ability of loggers to clear-cut swaths of forests. Clear-cutting acted as a deterrent to wildfires spreading over vast areas because it cut off the fuel supply.

Under Pres. Clinton, old-growth trees were protected from logging and that effectively ended the timber industry’s ability to clear-cut in 1994. More far-left policies also ended grazing by cattle and other farmers.

“(Prior to 1994) mostly fuels were removed through logging, active management - which they stopped - and grazing,” Bob Zybach, a reforestation consultant with a Ph.D. in environmental science, reportedly said. “You take away logging, grazing, and maintenance, and you get firebombs.”

While these policies may have been well-intentioned, Democrats pushed through solutions that caused much greater problems. Now, those habitats and species they sought to protect are completely destroyed, thousands of Californians have been displaced and the death toll continues to rise.

In 2005, the Western Governors Association released a report that warned such policies would have dire consequences.

“Over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires, and the resulting loss of forest carbon is much greater than would occur if the forest had been thinned before fire moved through,” the WGA reportedly stated. “In the long term, leaving forests overgrown and prone to unnaturally destructive wildfires means there will be significantly less biomass on the ground, and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

But these mostly Republican governors from cattle and farmland states were dismissed and no fact-based actions were taken to restore logging as an effective means of forest management.

But perhaps the larger problem with regards to wildfires is that the left-leaning media appears ready to come to Gov. Brown’s defense even while liberal journalists know he is dead wrong. A prime example is the New York Times that is changing its tune after they criticized the end of clear-cutting in 2012.

“The U.S. Forest Service estimates that more than 190 million acres of public land are at risk of catastrophic fires, including 60 percent our national forests. Too many trees, too much brush, and bureaucratic regulations and lawsuits filed by environmental extremists are to blame,” The New York Times stated in 2012. “Timber harvests have plunged more than 75 percent from 12 billion board feet per year to less than 4 billion board feet per year. The result: historically large ponderosa pines which grew in stands of 20 to 55 trees per acre now grow (and burn) in densities of 300 to 900 trees per acre.”

At the time the article was published, the NY Times stated that wildfire devastation escalated from 81,043 fires burning 1,329,704 acres in 1998 to 74,126 fires burning 8,711,367 acres in 2011. The NY Times attributed the incredible uptick in lost habitats to the failed policies started by Clinton and pushed further by radical liberals.

These days, the NY Times is simply trying to support any claim by any Democrat because the failed newspaper has zero interest in fact-based reporting. Rather than stand by its claims made six years ago, the NY Times trolls out a liberal writer to make an odd claim that Pres. Trump is somehow incorrect. A recent piece misleads by pointing readers to forest thinning rather than clear-cutting. Dead brush and twigs may be the root cause of a wildfire, but stopping a wildfire means cutting off its fuel supply. That fuel is trees, particularly pine trees.

“Researchers are attributing at least part of the difference to climate change because in a warming world vegetation dries out faster and burns more easily,” NY Times writer Kendra Pierre-Louis states.

The NY Times writer goes on to try and shift blame to the federal government, claiming the state of California doesn’t own much of the impacted land. Either naive or just “dishonest,” as the president often says of the publication, the regulations apply to state and federal agencies alike.

Liberals ended the most effective tool to stop wildfires - clear cutting - and bog down anyone who tries to take precautionary measures through proper forest management. Perhaps Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it best.

“Every year we watch our forests burn, and every year there is a call for action,” Sec. Zinke reportedly said. “Yet, when action comes, and we try to thin forests of dead and dying timber, or we try to sustainably harvest timber from dense and fire-prone areas, we are attacked with frivolous litigation from radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods.”

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More and more people have left the squalor of the sanctuary cities and high property costs and taxes and move to beautiful wooded areas they put themselves in greater danger given the eco fanatics control.

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Nov 08, 2018
Global Warming for the Two Cultures

The Global Warming Policy Foundation Dr. Richard Lindzen

Over half a century ago, C.P. Snow (a novelist and English physical chemist who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government) famously examined the implications of ‘two cultures’:

A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists.

Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?

I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question - such as, What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? - not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.

I fear that little has changed since Snow’s assessment 60 years ago. While some might maintain that ignorance of physics does not impact political ability, it most certainly impacts the ability of non-scientific politicians to deal with nominally science-based issues. The gap in understanding is also an invitation to malicious exploitation. Given the democratic necessity for non-scientists to take positions on scientific problems, belief and faith inevitably replace understanding, though trivially oversimplified false narratives serve to reassure the non-scientists that they are not totally without scientific ‘understanding.’ The issue of global warming offers numerous examples of all of this.

I would like to begin this lecture with an attempt to force the scientists in the audience to come to grips with the actual nature of the climate system, and to help the motivated non-scientists in this audience who may be in Snow’s ‘one in ten’ to move beyond the trivial oversimplifications.

At the heart of this nonsense is the failure to distinguish weather from climate. Thus, global warming refers to the welcome increase in temperature of about 1C since the end of the Little Ice Age about 200 years ago. On the other hand, weather extremes involve temperature changes of the order of 20C. Such large changes have a profoundly different origin from global warming. Crudely speaking, they result from winds carrying warm and cold air from distant regions that are very warm or very cold. These winds are in the form of waves.

The strength of these waves depends on the temperature difference between the tropics and the Arctic (with larger differences leading to stronger waves). Now, the models used to project global warming all predict that this temperature difference will decrease rather than increase. Thus, the increase in temperature extremes would best support the idea of global cooling rather than global warming. However, scientifically illiterate people seem incapable of distinguishing global warming of climate from temperature extremes due to weather.

In fact, as has already been noted, there doesn’t really seem to be any discernible trend in weather extremes. There is only the greater attention paid by the media to weather, and the exploitation of this ‘news’ coverage by people who realize that projections of catastrophe in the distant future are hardly compelling, and that they therefore need a way to convince the public that the danger is immediate, even if it isn’t. This has also been the case with sea-level rise. Sea level has been increasing by about 8 inches per century for hundreds of years, and we have clearly been able to deal with it.

In order to promote fear, however, those models that predict much larger increases are invoked. As a practical matter, it has long been known that at most coastal locations, changes in sea level, as measured by tide gauges, are primarily due to changes in land level associated with both tectonics and land use.

Moreover, the small change in global mean temperature (actually the change in temperature increase) is much smaller than what the computer models used by the IPCC have predicted. Even if all this change were due to man, it would be most consistent with low sensitivity to added carbon dioxide, and the IPCC only claims that most (not all) of the warming over the past 60 years is due to man’s activities. Thus, the issue of man-made climate change does not appear to be a serious problem.

However, this hardly stops ignorant politicians from declaring that the IPCC’s claim of attribution is tantamount to unambiguous proof of coming disaster.

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Cherry picking is always an issue. Thus, there has been a recent claim that Greenland ice discharge has increased, and that warming will make it worse. Omitted from the report is the finding by both NOAA and the Danish Meteorological Institute that the ice mass of Greenland has actually been increasing. In fact both these observations can be true, and, indeed, ice build-up pushes peripheral ice into the sea. Misrepresentation, exaggeration, cherry picking, or outright lying pretty much covers all the so-called evidence.

Conclusion

So there you have it. An implausible conjecture backed by false evidence and repeated incessantly has become politically correct ‘knowledge,’ and is used to promote the overturn of industrial civilization. What we will be leaving our grandchildren is not a planet damaged by industrial progress, but a record of unfathomable silliness as well as a landscape degraded by rusting wind farms and decaying solar panel arrays. False claims about 97% agreement will not spare us, but the willingness of scientists to keep mum is likely to much reduce trust. in and support for science. Perhaps this won’t be such a bad thing after all - certainly as concerns ‘official’ science.

There is at least one positive aspect to the present situation. None of the proposed policies will have much impact on greenhouse gases. Thus we will continue to benefit from the one thing that can be clearly attributed to elevated carbon dioxide: namely, its effective role as a plant fertilizer, and reducer of the drought vulnerability of plants. Meanwhile, the IPCC is claiming that we need to prevent another 0.5C of warming, although the 1C that has occurred so far has been accompanied by the greatest increase in human welfare in history. As we used to say in my childhood home of the Bronx: ‘Go figure’.

Sep 25, 2018
Many Climate Scientists Have Unintentionally Aided and Abetted Climate Alarmists

By Dr. Alan Carlin

One of the most curious aspects of the climate debate is that almost no one insists on mathematically rigorous tests of the major hypotheses that are involved. This is true among the warmists, of course, but is often true among the skeptics as well. Why the skeptics do not do so is beyond me. But most skeptics do not appear to do so. This often takes the form of endorsement of both natural and man-made sources of global warming, often with the view that the skeptics believe the man-made effects are minor. One of many examples is Benny Peiser, the Executive Director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, probably the leading climate skeptic group in Britain. He has done many useful things for the skeptic cause, but endorsing the concept of man-made global warming is not one of them.

Peiser is a social anthropologist - a discipline that may not widely use the relevant rigorous statistical methods in their work. Peiser has stated that climate change is due both to natural and man-made causes. But there is no rigorous evidence for the latter offered by Peiser or anyone else. So why is it advantageous to skeptics to support the opposition for a belief that has not been rigorously supported using the most appropriate mathematical techniques?

This may be crucial to the outcome of the debate here in the US since a legal case can be made that even a minor human effect is sufficient to invoke the Clean Air Act (CAA), assuming that the Act is even applicable to climate as the courts (but not Congress) have ruled. Now the US CAA is not applicable in Britain, so perhaps Peiser can be excused for not understanding the implications in the US, but the result is the same.

However, everyone needs to use the mathematically proper tools that are readily available, particularly in a controversial topic like climate. This is particularly true given the enormous, totally unnecessary costs involved if the current “consensus” on climate science has in fact no rigorous proof of its validity. The principal “evidence” offered by the warmists is not really evidence at all. Their elaborate mathematical climate models prove nothing except that they make a lot of assumptions, and the results reflect the assumptions they have made. Many billions have been wasted on this “research,” perhaps because some people actually believe in this sophisticated nonsense since all General Circulation Models (except the Russians’wink get similar results.

The Merits of an Econometric Approach Compared to Climate Models

Regarding the merits of the methodology discussed here versus that used in developing the climate models relied upon in EPA’s Endangerment Finding and in the IPCC publications, a quote from Congressional testimony by Dr. John Christy is useful here:

“The advantage of the simple statistical treatment discussed here is that the complicated processes such as clouds, ocean-atmosphere interaction, aerosols, etc., are implicitly incorporated by the statistical relationships discovered from the actual data. Climate models attempt to calculate these highly non-linear processes from imperfect parameterizations (estimates) whereas the statistical model directly accounts for them since the bulk atmospheric temperature is the response-variable these processes impact. It is true that the statistical model does not know what each sub-process is or how each might interact with other processes. But it also must be made clear: it is an understatement to say that no IPCC climate model accurately incorporates all of the nonlinear processes that affect the system. I simply point out that because the model is constrained by the ultimate response variable (bulk temperature), these highly complex processes are included.

“The fact that this statistical model {typically} explains 75-90 percent of the real annual temperature variability, depending on the data set, using these influences (ENSO, volcanoes, solar) is an indication the statistical model is useful. This result promotes the conclusion that this approach achieves greater scientific (and policy) utility than results from elaborate climate models which on average fail to reproduce the real world’s global average bulk temperature trend since 1979.”

Warmists Like Some Econometric Methods but Not Others

Although the warmists are all for using econometric methods to tease out the smallest possible indication that pollutants (e.g., NOx, XOx, ozone, etc.) cause adverse economic or physical effects, they seem adamantly opposed to using mathematically proper econometric techniques to determine what impact CO2 have had on Earth’s temperatures. The point is that the proper mathematical methods must be used in both types of analyses. And the proper conclusions produced to date are that actual pollutants above various concentration levels can cause adverse medical and economic effects, but the effects have unfortunately sometimes been exaggerated, but that increasing CO2, including human-related emissions, have not resulted in statistically significant increases in temperatures in the real world.

Unfortunately, many climate skeptics have not accepted these econometric findings and continue to rely on general statements that the effects of increasing CO2 concentration levels have only minor effects on temperatures. But from a US legal viewpoint and the Clean Air Act this may turn out to be a critical issue. There is simply no basis for believing that increasing atmospheric CO2 has had any significant effect in the real world on temperatures and skeptics need to raise this point at every opportunity. The issue is not whether there may be theoretical effects of CO2 on temperatures, but rather whether any significant such effects actually occur in the real world. It is important to point out that there is no basis for climate extremism’s basic tenet. They will no doubt be attempts to ignore this fact, but sometime, somewhere, people might actually pay attention to what the science actually says.

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ICECAP NOTE:

Earth’s temperature changes which have cycled predictably in multi-decadal ways shown to change with ocean and solar cycles and volcanism. When these are considered in a rigorous econometric way, they explain all the changes in temperatures in 14 different data sets without any residual - required if CO2 was a driver.

And by the way note, the carbon pollution most warmists talk about (since CO2 is a beneficial gas to all vegetation and crops and humans breathe out 100 times more CO2 than they breathe in.

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And NOx and Ozone are at or below target levels and declining.

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Sep 02, 2018
Climate change is the new scapegoat for failed forest and water policy

Todd Fichette

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Poor forest policy is making conflagrations all over California the new norm as forest thinning and logging was halted decades ago.

Blaming climate change for the recent California fires and the state’s water woes appear to be like the kid blaming his dog for eating his homework.

The reality of climate change isn’t the issue. The earth’s climate has warmed and cooled since the beginning of time. Mankind’s impact on climate change remains debatable and laced with hyperbole that does little to solve problems but much to perpetuate political agendas and poor public policy.

Not to be out done, President Trump jumped into the mix recently with a typical tweet that cast the blame on state officials for taking water that otherwise could be used to extinguish fires. While California and the feds seem to be in the business of banning human access to fresh water, that’s not the issue.

Decades ago a hue and cry went out across the U.S. that the timber industry was killing the Northern Spotted Owl, and to end this, logging had to stop. A major California newspaper did a series of stories on logging that used hyperbole and exaggerations, along with some very good photography, to sell this point and win a Pulitzer Prize.

Logging was stopped. Small towns crumbled, and forests became so overgrown that they began to die. Too many trees then competed for a finite amount of water that fell on the forests during the winter months. A northern California rancher once told me that streams and springs he knew as a child dried up because of this competition for water.

This forced deer and elk migrations to change and further changed natural patterns in the forest that exacerbated the problem. Voter-approved ESA-like protections given to the mountain lion didn’t help as the large predators decimate deer herds that once foraged on the forest. We’ve now introduced wolves that will further cause declines in deer and elk populations and force ranchers grazing their cattle on public lands to relocate them.

Stressed trees became fodder for the bark beetle that also killed vast forest vistas. The view from highways connecting places like Susanville and Red Bluff, or Chester and Quincy bear this out. Forest Service policies of squashing just about every lightning-sparked fire compounded the issue as fire has always been a natural part of the forest ecosystem. It is now virtually impossible to have a small, controllable fire anymore.

The consequences of decisions like these are legion, and expensive. Lives and property are lost and destroyed as millions of dollars in fire suppression costs, infrastructure repair and insurance claims are racked up annually because of mankind’s mismanagement of forests.

Public policy is not going to reverse heating and cooling cycles that moved the planet in and out of ice ages. We are likely at the apex of a warm cycle and, according to information I’ve heard, some scientists believe a cyclical change in sunspot patterns may soon move us into a period of cooling.

ICECAP NOTE: Todd is living the story in California. See this rebuttal that supports Todd’s message here.

Aug 30, 2018
Meteorological Summer

Dr. John Christy, Alabama State Climatologist

Meteorological summer (June, July and August) is now over and it’s time to check how the summer temperatures compare with other years.  For a research project a few years ago we developed a statewide summer temperature index for four 100-mile diameter regions centered on the major cities of the state, Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville going back to 1883.  This summer will go down in that database and in NOAA’s official records as being slightly cooler than average.

Somewhat related to this, a reader sent me a link to a New York Times interactive website that claims to provide the number of days above 90F each year for cities across the country.  The results are produced for the Times by an outfit (some might call it an environmental pressure group) called the Climate Impacts Lab.

Since I build numerous datasets of this type, I took a look.  The website asks you for the town and year in which you were born, then provides a time series purportedly showing the number of 90F days per year since your birth and how that has increased.

Though a native of California, I have lived in Huntsville more years than any other place, so I put in my birth year and Huntsville as my hometown.  Immediately I became suspicious when their dataset started only recently in 1960 (and a few years after my birth!) Evidently the Times and the Climate Impacts Lab don’t want to deal with folks older than 58.

For Huntsville and Montgomery, here are their results - kind of scary.  It appears that the number of 90F days has risen to their highest levels ever.  I’m told that in 1960 Huntsville had about 45 days above 90F but by 2017 it was 57 days and rising.

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Then, to make matters even scarier, they use climate model projections to 2090 to tell me that when I’m “80” in 2040, there will be 73 such hot days in Huntsville as seen below.  Yikes!

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Before you sell your house and move to Canada, let’s take a look at the real story.  Having built many climate datasets of Alabama, some starting as early as 1850, I knew the Times story was designed to create alarm and promote the claim that humans who use carbon-based energy (gasoline, natural gas, coal) to help them live better lives are making our summers ever more miserable.  Be aware reader, this webtool is not designed to provide accurate information.

First of all, climate data for Alabama began in the 19th century, not 1960.  In 2016 Dr. Richard McNider (Alabama’s former State Climatologist) and I published a carefully constructed time series of summer temperatures for the state starting from 1883 that utilized numerous station records, some that even the federal government had not archived into its databases (which is the most common source for outfits like the Climate Impacts Lab.) I’ve updated that work to include summer temperatures through 2018 - the result is below.  Not only are summer daytime temperatures not rising, they have actually fallen over the last 136 years.  Hmmm… after looking at the graph, why do you suppose the Climate Impacts Lab decided to start their charts in 1960?

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We went a step further in that paper and demonstrated that climate models failed completely to replicate the downward temperature trend in Alabama over the past 120 years - 76 different models with a 100% failure rate.  Would you trust these same models to tell you about the future as the Times does?  Why did they not check the models for validity?

Now, what about the number of “hot” (or in Alabama we would say ‘typical") 90F days?  For Alabama and the nation, I’ve calculated the average value per station each year since 1895.  The results below speak for themselves (there is no increase of days hotter than 90F) and expose the misinformation provided through the Times.

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Providing accurate information on Alabama’s climate is what we do in our office.  In fact, using real data, I can’t even come close to reproducing the images that the Climate Impacts Lab did which show 2010’s as having the most 90F days in Alabama - I’m guessing they are using some theoretical output rather than sticking with observations. Notice how smooth their graph is compared to real data - it doesn’t look real to me.  I’ll check and follow-up as I can, but something is fishy. 

This is a great state in which people can enjoy life and in which businesses can operate - and our climate resources are one of the reasons we are doing so well in recruitment.  Occasionally though the time comes when I must address claims made by those whose intention is not to inform but to promote false alarm - this usually happens when an environmental pressure group generates a press release whose dramatic statements are published by a willing media (without any fact-checking.) This is one of those times, and I’m sure it will not be the last.

Citation:

Christy, J.R. and R.T. McNider, 2016: Time series construction of summer surface temperatures for Alabama, 1883-2014, and comparisons with tropospheric temperature and climate model simulations.  J. Applied Meteor. Climatology, DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-15-0287.1.

Data from the New York Times website accessed on 5 and 6 September, 2018.

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