Political Climate
Oct 22, 2014
Why 2014 Won’t Be the Warmest Year on Record

Dr. Roy Spencer

Much is being made of the “global” surface thermometer data, which three-quarters the way through 2014 is now suggesting the global average this year will be the warmest in the modern instrumental record.

I claim 2014 won’t be the warmest global-average year on record.

...if for no other reason than this: thermometers cannot measure global averages - only satellites can. The satellite instruments measure nearly every cubic kilometer - hell, every cubic inch of the lower atmosphere on a daily basis. You can travel hundreds if not thousands of kilometers without finding a thermometer nearby.

(And even if 2014 or 2015 turns out to be the warmest, this is not a cause for concern...more about that later).

The two main research groups tracking global lower-tropospheric temperatures (our UAH group, and the Remote Sensing Systems [RSS] group) show 2014 lagging significantly behind 2010 and especially 1998:
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Yearly-global-LT-UAH-RSS-thru-Sept-2014

With only 3 months left in the year, there is no realistic way for 2014 to set a record in the satellite data.

Granted, the satellites are less good at sampling right near the poles, but compared to the very sparse data from the thermometer network we are in fat city coverage-wise with the satellite data.

In my opinion, though, a bigger problem than the spotty sampling of the thermometer data is the endless adjustment game applied to the thermometer data. The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never made to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data.

Furthermore, land-based thermometers are placed where people live, and people build stuff, often replacing cooling vegetation with manmade structures that cause an artificial warming (urban heat island, UHI) effect right around the thermometer. The data adjustment processes in place cannot reliably remove the UHI effect because it can’t be distinguished from real global warming.

Satellite microwave radiometers, however, are equipped with laboratory-calibrated platinum resistance thermometers, which have demonstrated stability to thousandths of a degree over many years, and which are used to continuously calibrate the satellite instruments once every 8 seconds. The satellite measurements still have residual calibration effects that must be adjusted for, but these are usually on the order of hundredths of a degree, rather than tenths or whole degrees in the case of ground-based thermometers.

And, it is of continuing amusement to us that the global warming skeptic community now tracks the RSS satellite product rather than our UAH dataset. RSS was originally supposed to provide a quality check on our product (a worthy and necessary goal) and was heralded by the global warming alarmist community. But since RSS shows a slight cooling trend since the 1998 super El Nino, and the UAH dataset doesn’t, it is more referenced by the skeptic community now. Too funny.

In the meantime, the alarmists will continue to use the outdated, spotty, and heavily-massaged thermometer data to support their case. For a group that trumpets the high-tech climate modeling effort used to guide energy policy - models which have failed to forecast (or even hindcast!) the lack of warming in recent years - they sure do cling bitterly to whatever will support their case.

As British economist Ronald Coase once said, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.”

So, why are the surface thermometer data used to the exclusion of our best technology - satellites - when tracking global temperatures? Because they better support the narrative of a dangerously warming planet.

Except, as the public can tell, the changes in global temperature aren’t even on their radar screen (sorry for the metaphor).

Of course, 2015 could still set a record if the current El Nino ever gets its act together. But I’m predicting it won’t.

Which brings me to my second point. If global temperatures were slowly rising at, say, a hundredth of a degree per year and we didn’t have cool La Nina or warm El Nino years, then every year would be a new record warm year.

But so what?

Itís the amount of temperature rise that matters. And for a planet where all forms of life experience much wider swings in temperature than “global warming” is producing, which might be 1 deg. C so far, those life forms - including the ones who vote - really don’t care that much. We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree, which no one can actually feel.

Not surprisingly, the effects on severe weather are also unmeasurable...despite what some creative-writing “journalists” are trying to get you to believe. Severe weather varies tremendously, especially on a local basis, and to worry that the average (whatever than means) might change slightly is a total misplacement of emphasis.

Besides, once you consider that there’s nothing substantial we can do about the global warming “problem” in the near term, short of plunging humanity into a new economic Dark Age and killing millions of people in the process, its a wonder that climate is even on the list of the public’s concerns, let alone at the bottom of the list.

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If it feels like winters are getting colder and snowier to you, your perception is correct. NOAA has reported, www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/, that meteorological winter (December to February) temperatures in the contiguous United States have trended downward at a rate of 0.36F per decade over the last 25 winters, 1.13F per decade over the last 20 winters, and 2.26 F per decade over the last 10 winters.

For the past 20 years, every one of the 9 climate regions has shown a downward trend in winter temperatures.

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And the Eastern US in the first four years of this decade have had more high impact snowstorm of any decade since the 1950s.

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Oct 19, 2014
The Breathless Hypocrisy Driving Energy ‘Divestment’

By Benjamin Zycher

Rockefellers would seem to be related to Forrest Gump - “stupid is as stupid does” but are more likely sly as a fox.

Stanford University. The University of Glasgow. The Educational Foundation of America. The British Medical Association. The City of Seattle, Washington. The Rockefeller Brothers (!) Fund. Amid the tolling of church bells and the thunderous self-applause of the environmental left, the fossil-fuel divestment bandwagon is on a roll. In addition to those listed above, 175 institutions, local governments, and individuals, with a total of over $50 billion in assets, as of last month have pledged to “divest” their holdings in the 200 oil, gas, and coal producers with the greatest “carbon” content of their reported reserves.

“Divest” is a curious term; a simpler verb is “sell,” and it is a source of some interest that the divesting institutions and individuals are pledging to do so within three to five years. Why not just give the assets away immediately on a first-come/first-serve basis? The obvious answer is that those divesting---selling---the fossil-fuel assets prefer to get the highest prices that they can, an objective not obviously consistent with the purported moral imperative underlying a shift out of fossil fuels and toward the “new energy economy,” about which more below.

For now let us consider the implications of the divestment stance. The fossil-fuel sector is huge---about $5 trillion in market capitalization---because other sectors demand energy, and fossil fuels overwhelmingly are the most efficient forms with which to provide it. So if investment in fossil-fuel sectors engenders some sort of moral quandary, does the same principle apply to investment in industries that use energy? After all, they are responsible for the very existence of the energy producers; will the divestment campaign expand to agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, retailing, the household sector, and all the rest? Is investment in government bonds the only moral course? Well, no: Government too uses vast amounts of energy.

And let us not stop there: Precisely why do all sectors demand energy? Obviously, it is because people demand the goods and services made affordable by fossil fuels. Notice that the correlation between energy consumption and household income is high, and rises as income increases; for the bottom three U.S. income quintiles, the respective correlations are 0.75, 0.85, and 0.91. If fossil fuels are evil, so are rising incomes, as the latter drive up the demand for the former. So let us be very clear that one central implication of the divestment campaign---remember, it is a moral imperative---is the desirability of poverty as a tool with which to dampen energy demands and thus incentives to invest in fossil-fuel sectors. This is separate from the impoverishing effect of a substitution of expensive energy in place of conventional energy produced with fossil fuels.

Accordingly, the divestment campaign, perhaps realizing it and perhaps not, has slipped into the anti-human trap that is the hidden but essential core of modern environmentalism: Far from being a resource, ordinary people are a scourge on the planet. They prefer cheap energy, strongly, but the moral imperative of divestment is diametrically opposed, and investments in people---education, health, etc.---make matters worse by increasing human capital and wealth, and thus the demand for energy. Accordingly, the “moral imperative” of the divestment campaign---its very logic---leads not only to disinvestment in virtually all economic activities, it does the same for investments in people, in particular in a third world desperate to emerge from grinding poverty.

Consider also one central dimension of what it means to be human: the application of intelligence to overcome the obstacles that define life outside the Garden of Eden. From backbreaking toil by hand, to the use of animals and tools, to the evolution of energy from wood to whale oil to coal to oil and gas to nuclear power to new technologies yet to be invented or proven competitive: The history of energy is a fundamental component of mankind’s evolution, reflecting the inventiveness that is uniquely human, a process utterly at odds with the underlying imperatives of the divestment campaign.

Supporters of divestment might respond that they too favor inventiveness, in the form of the “new energy economy,” which means such unconventional technologies as wind and solar power. Let us therefore examine the “moral” dimension of that investment shift. Because unconventional energy sources are unconcentrated, they are expensive, and cannot compete without large subsidies and guaranteed market shares. Because they are intermittent---sometimes the wind blows and sometimes the sun shines, and sometimes not---they must be backed up with conventional power units, which must be cycled up and down depending on wind and sunlight conditions.

In a word, they must be operated inefficiently, yielding an increase---yes, an increase---in the emission of conventional pollutants. And even an impossible 40 percent decrease in global greenhouse gas emissions would reduce temperatures in 2100 by about two-tenths of a degree. Would an enterprising journalist somewhere please ask the supporters of divestment about the morality of a campaign that would (1) impoverish millions of people, (2) increase conventional pollution, (3) yield zero offsetting environmental benefits, (4) forcibly extract resources from ordinary people, while (5) providing the environmental left with a rationale for moral preening?

And as long as we’re talking about morals, let us admire the breathtaking hypocrisy of the current generation of Rockefellers, announcing loudly their decision to divest the fossil-fuel assets of their charity, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, while maintaining a deafening silence about the fossil-fuel investments of the far-larger family investment and wealth management firm Rockefeller & Company. Nor have we heard that they will divest themselves of the lavish lifestyles engendered in past Rockefeller generations by the historical growth of the oil and gas sector. Their central objective is loud applause at the upper-crust cocktail parties for a divestment that will have no effect on the fossil-fuel sector, that will cost them literally nothing, and that is part of a leftist campaign that views ordinary people as a liability. Such are the dimensions of moral cowardice.

Benjamin Zycher is the John G. Searle scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.



Oct 02, 2014
Royal Society shows wind turbines cause hearing loss in new study - one of many problems

Written by Camilla Turner, telegraph.co.uk

Living close to close to wind farms may lead to severe hearing damage or even deafness, according to new research which warns of the possible danger posed by low frequency noise. windfarm sunset

The physical composition of inner ear was “drastically” altered following exposure to low frequency noise, like that emitted by wind turbines, a study has found.

The research will delight critics of wind farms, who have long complained of their detrimental effects on the health of those who live nearby.

Published today by the Royal Society in their new journal Open Science, the research was carried out by a team of scientists from the University of Munich.

It relies on a study of 21 healthy men and women aged between 18 and 28 years. After being exposed to low frequency sound, scientists detected changes in the type of sound being emitted from the inner ear of 17 out of the 21 participants.

The changes were detected in a part of the ear called the cochlear, a spiral shaped cavity which essential for hearing and balance.

“We explored a very curious phenomenon of the human ear: the faint sounds which a healthy human ear constantly emits,” said Dr Marcus Drexl, one of the authors of the report.

“These are like a very faint constant whistling that comes out of your ear as a by-product of the hearing process. We used these as an indication of how processes in the inner ear change.”

Dr Drexl and his team measured these naturally emitted sounds before and after exposure to 90 seconds of low frequency sound.

“Usually the sound emitted from the ear stays at the same frequency,” he said. “But the interesting thing was that after exposure, these sounds changed very drastically.”

“They started to oscillate slowly over a couple of minutes. This can be interpreted as a change of the mechanisms in the inner ear, produced by the low frequency sounds. This could be a first indication that damage might be done to the inner ear.”

“We don’t know what happens if you are exposed for longer periods of time, [for example] if you live next to a wind turbine and listen to these sounds for months of years.”

Wind turbines emit a spectrum of frequencies of noise, which include the low frequency that was used in the research, Dr Drexl explained.

He said the study “might help to explain some of the symptoms that people who live near wind turbines report, such as sleep disturbance, hearing problems and high blood pressure”.

Dr Drexl explained how the low frequency noise is not perceived as being “intense or disturbing” simply because most of the time humans cannot hear it.

“The lower the frequency the you less you can hear it, and if it is very low you can’t hear it at all.

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“People think if you can’t hear it then it is not a problem. But it is entering your inner ear even though it is not entering your consciousness.”
Earlier this week it was reported that bats were being lured to their deaths at wind farms because they think turbines are trees in which they can find shelter, food and sex.



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