|The Week That Was
Nov. 20, 2004
1. NEW ON THE WEB: A PROFESSOR OF RELIGION AND ETHICS DISCUSSES ASPECTS OF THE GLOBAL WARMING SCARE: "The puzzle is why these [skeptical] commentators, well-credentialed and experienced, have been swept aside to produce a false "consensus." What is it that produces widespread agreement among both "experts" and the general public on a hypothesis which is quite likely wrong?"
But the flap of the week is the publicity generated by the release of the ACIA (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment) summary on Nov 8. Following the pattern of the IPCC, but more lurid, it discusses a whole range of scary impacts before publishing the underlying science. A second report, which will sketch out recommended policies, is due out in a few weeks. A third, far heftier tome detailing all the scientific findings will not come out for some months yet.
BTW, one of the concerns voiced by the ACIA report is that it will make it easier and cheaper to search for Arctic oil and gas! Need we say more?
Reuters reports that "Scientists have agreed to discuss parts of
the report ahead of full publication. Some European governments
originally wanted the report issued before Tuesday's U.S. presidential
election." Does this tell you something?
But is the Arctic really warming? I asked the two scientist- presenters at the Nov 8 press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington DC. No answer; but in response to my e-mail, Dr Michael MacCracken promised to look into it (e-mail of Nov 18). No response at all from ACIA chairman Dr. Robert Corell.
So how did the ACIA come up with a warming trend that's "twice as great as the global mean" when all published evidence shows no such? Read on
And if you wish the gory details of how the ACIA diddled the temperature
records, pls contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2. ARCTIC TEMPERATURES ARE NOT RISING: Letter to FT Nov 8, 2004
3. A further Letter to the FT :ARCTIC WARMING: IS IT BOGUS?
4. ARCTIC SEA IS NOW AT RISK FROM GLOBAL WARMING FALLACIES
5. EXCERPTS FROM AN OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR MCCAIN (NOV. 16, 2004):
6. MORE ALASKAN NATURAL GAS APPEARS TO BE IN THE PIPELINE.
7. HYDROGEN ECONOMY LOOKS OUT OF REACH
8. WHAT DRIVES KYOTO?
9. IS THE ALLIANCE TO PROTECT NANTUCKET SOUND RUNNING OUT OF STEAM
Sir, You report (November 2) that the Arctic ice cap will disappear by 2070 - with all kinds of dire consequences to the ecology, the Gulf Stream and sea-level. According to an Arctic Council report put together by 250 scientists from eight nations "the Arctic is warming at twice the global rate". And, separately, a strategy to combat this imminent catastrophe is being developed at a conference in Berlin just opened by Queen Elizabeth.
What can one say - except: what warming? Forget about the tundra and about the wildlife for just a moment; the way to measure temperatures is with thermometers - and they do not show any Arctic warming.
Of course, I know that such warming is what greenhouse theory predicts. But there is this pesky matter of actual measurements that leads to the inconvenient conclusion that Arctic temperatures are not rising. In fact, the highest temperatures were recorded before 1940. Quite independently, Danish ice core data confirm that the climate "cooled between 1940 and 1995".
And why, pray, is the Antarctic continent cooling so strongly while theory predicts a significant warming? In fact, growing sea ice is interfering with the resupply of Antarctic weather stations, latest reports tell us.
Admittedly, the Arctic ice cap, the sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean,
has thinned. But ice reacts slowly to temperature changes and is still
responding to the remarkable pre-1940 warming that was of natural origin.
In any case, when floating sea ice melts, it does not raise sea levels
any more than melting ice cubes in a highball glass raise the water level.
It is positively embarrassing to find a "scientific" report
claiming that the rise from melting sea ice will be one meter when it
is really zero. Big difference, don't you agree?
Watery way to test Singer equilibrium
Quite apart from the dubious implication that water has any business in a highball glass, Prof Singer seems to have neglected all consideration of the forces at work due to the Earth's rotation. To illustrate, one might neatly construct an experiment whereby a highball glass filled with ice and water is placed in the centre of the kind of turntable formerly used to play long-playing records. At 331/3 rpm, there is a theoretical level at which an ice/water mixture will exactly reach the rim of the glass but not overflow it, which for the sake of scientific veneration we should perhaps call the point of Singer equilibrium.
When the ice in the mixture subsequently melts over time, I postulate that the increased mobility of the molecules in the ice as it becomes water should mean they react more readily to the centripetal forces exerted upon them, and the level of the water should rise at the periphery. The proof of the veracity of Prof Singer's statement will be the condition of the turntable mat 20 minutes after the point of Singer equilibrium given a constant rotation of 331/3.
I confess the above is nothing more than intuitive speculation since the lack of a disposable turntable has prevented me proving the matter one way or the other. However, the implications for the world's equatorial coasts if Prof Singer is less than fully correct are surely worth the Arctic Council funding.
SEPP Comment -- unnecessary
3. A further Letter to FT on Nov 18: Arctic Warming: Is it Bogus?
The Arctic Council's alarms of impending disaster are all based on one crucial piece of evidence: its claim that Arctic temperatures are rising rapidly, at twice the global rate. In fact, they are not rising at all; according to the best temperature records the highest values occurred around 1940.
The Council's evidence is a single graph purporting to show observed Arctic temperatures from 1900 to 2000. It gives no author or reference to any scientific publications. With its source unknown, there is no way to verify its authenticity. At a Nov 8 press briefing in Washington DC, I asked the two Council scientists present about this crucial graph; they were unable (or unwilling) to cite its provenance.
In any case, there are numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals by many reputable authors (Kahl, Polyakov, Przybylak, etc), which confirm that the Arctic is not warming. [Further references can be seen on the website www.CO2science.com]
I must conclude therefore that the Arctic Council's evidence for warming, presumably from thermometer readings, is either bogus or, more charitably, is based on selected or mistaken data. It is incumbent on the governments that sponsored and paid for the Arctic study to investigate and for the media to ask some hard questions.
In a related matter, my earlier letter (Nov 8) on the Arctic Ice Cap provoked some comments that deserve reply. Contrary to Mr Nick Beresford (Nov 11), the melting of floating sea ice will not raise sea levels -- as Archimedes demonstrated long ago. Contrary to Mr Nick Brooks (Nov 10), thinning of the ice cap does not prove current warming. Ice generally responds to a temperature change with a considerable time lag; and it certainly is warmer today than 100 years ago thanks to the strong pre-1940 warming (which is of natural origin).
To sum up: The scientific argument is not about whether human-caused
climate change is happening, but whether greenhouse warming is large enough
to be significant - or even detectable. Many of us have concluded that
it is not.
S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric physicist, is professor emeritus of
environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and former director
of the US Weather Satellite Service
A new report on the impact of global warming on the Arctic warns of impending danger to coastal areas from erosion and storms, and among other things, the economic and cultural impacts on indigenous people. However, the recently released summary of the report (the actual report is not available until January) presents more questions and contradictions than it answers, says National Post writer Ken Green:
** The 140-page summary includes only three pages discussing observable changes in the Arctic sea ice.
** From 1950 onward, sea ice has been steadily declining, yet the temperature from 1957 to 1978 was colder than usual.
** The report, compiled by some 250 scientific contributors, only had seven "outside" reviewers, just one of them was an Arctic climatologist, while three were associated with advocacy groups.
** The researchers are confident about their projections, yet they are using the same regional climate modeling that many experts have claimed is too limited for fine-scale predictions.
Furthermore, Australian economists Ian Castles and David Henderson have reported the chosen scenarios used in the report, and supported by the United Nations, are "deeply flawed." They overstate future greenhouse gas emissions by overstating the expected economic growth rate of developing countries, say Castles and Henderson.
Source: Ken Green, "Arctic Warming Scare Continues, Despite Meager
Data," National Post, November 16, 2004; and Susan Joy Hassol, "Impacts
of a Warming Arctic," Cambridge University Press, 2004.
The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report by the Arctic Council documents significant ecosystem response to surface temperature warming trends that occurred in some areas since the mid-19th century and in the last thirty years.
Estimates of the amount of surface warming trends over those periods and their causes relies on scientific knowledge of natural and anthropogenic effects, the latter including landscape modification, urbanization, plus the air's concentration of aerosols and greenhouse gases. Moreover, Arctic climate varies dramatically from one region to another, and over time in ways that cannot be accurately reproduced by climate models. The quantitative impacts of natural and anthropogenic factors remain highly uncertain, especially for a region as complex as the Arctic.
For example, for Greenland's instrumental surface temperatures a team of experts headed at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently found:
Since 1940, however, the Greenland coastal stations data have undergone predominantly a cooling trend. At the summit of the Greenland ice sheet, the summer average temperature has decreased at the rate of 2.2 degrees C per decade since the beginning of the measurements in 1987. This suggests that the Greenland ice sheet and coastal regions are not following the current global warming trend.(1)
Analysis of ice corings of the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island show that the recent warming trend is unexceptional compared to natural variability in centuries past, when the enhanced greenhouse effect cannot have had much impact:
Our sea-salt record suggests that, while the turn of the [21st] century was characterized by generally milder sea-ice conditions in Baffin Bay, the last few decades of sea-ice extent lie within Little Ice Age variability and correspond to instrumental records of lower temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic over the past three decades.(2)
From a detailed study of sea core sediment from the last 10,000 years in the Chukchi Sea, researchers concluded that, "in the recent past, the western Arctic Ocean was much warmer than it is today." They also found that "during the middle Holocene [approximately 6,000 years ago] the August sea surface temperature fluctuated by 5 degrees C and was 3-7 degrees C warmer than it is today,"(3)
The relatively recent discovery of the PDO, or Pacific Decadal Oscillation,(4) points to a strong natural component of the recent warming trend. Researchers noted in 1997:
Our results add support to those of previous studies suggesting that the climatic regime shift of the late 1970's is not unique in the century- long instrumental climate record, nor in the record of North Pacific salmon production. In fact, we find that signatures of a recurring pattern of interdecadal climate variability are widespread and detectable in a variety of Pacific basin climate and ecological systems. This climate pattern -- hereafter referred to as the Pacific (inter)Decadal Oscillation, or PDO (following co-author S.R.H.'s suggestion) -- is a pan-Pacific phenomenon that also includes interdecadal climate variability in the tropical Pacific.
The Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976-1977 is typical in the documented pattern of natural climate fluctuations going back at least several centuries. In Alaska in particular, although the onset of the 1976-1977 shift ended the several-decades-long period of cold in the middle of the 20th century recorded by many of Alaska's good weather station records, it returned temperatures to warmth seen in the early decades of the 20th century. Thus, it is unsurprising that Alaskan ecosystems have responded to recent warmth, which has the characteristic step-upward shape of the PDO, but not the gradual but large warming trend implied by the enhanced greenhouse effect.
The PDO may have shifted back in 1998-99 to its mid-20th century state, which would tend to deliver sharply cooler temperatures in the next several decades to the western U.S., including western and southern Alaska. For example, scientists from British Columbia's Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans and Oregon State University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences found recent cooling of the North Pacific:
Subsurface upper ocean waters off Oregon and Vancouver Island were about 1 degree C cooler in July 2002 than in July 2001. The anomalously cool layer coincides with the permanent halocline, which has salinities 32.2 to 33.8, suggesting an invasion of nutrient-rich Subarctic waters. The anomalously cool layer lies at 30-150 m.(5)
Surface air temperatures (SAT) going back 125 years were studied from "newly available long-term Russian observations of SAT from coastal stations, and sea-ice extent and fast-ice thickness from the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi seas."(6) Those researchers found "strong intrinsic variability, dominated by multi-decadal fluctuations with a timescale of 60-80 years." Comparing those measures of Arctic regional variability to that of computer simulations, the researchers concluded that observations do "not support amplified warming in Polar Regions predicted by GCMs [General Circulation Models]."
A comprehensive study of Arctic temperature records(7) found that "in the Arctic in the period 1951-90, no tangible manifestations of the greenhouse effect can be identified." However, strong year-to-year variability is present, as the researcher notes that "a more recent analysis of mean seasonal and annual air-temperature trends in the Arctic (Przybylak, in press) shows that in the mid-1990s there occurred quite a large rise in air temperature," and as a consequence, "the areally averaged annual air temperature for the whole Arctic for the last 5 year period of the 20th century was the warmest since 1950 (1.0 degree C above the 1951-90 average)."
Those examples demonstrate that Arctic climate has and will continue to exhibit intricate patterns not reliably reproduced by global climate simulations, thus underscoring their scientific incompleteness and need for advances in Arctic climate science, in measurements, theory and models.
The history of the Arctic and its ecosystems remains complex, a fact too often perceived by reporters under deadline or extremists as irrelevant nuance. Ecosystems and humans survived the warming at the beginning of the 20th century, as they survived the warmth from A.D. 900 to 1200, when Thule people migrated from Alaska across the Arctic while Vikings farmed in Greenland soil now permafrost and sailed in Arctic waters now permanent pack ice. They survived the warming of the last 15,000 years as earth emerged from the last glacial period, whose termination produced much more radical temperature shocks than those observed in the last several decades.
R. Tim Patterson, PhD, Professor of Geology, Carleton University, Ottawa
Tim Ball, PhD, Retired - Professor of Climatology, University of Winnipeg
Anthony Lupo, PhD, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Univ of Missouri - Columbia
David Legates, PhD, Associate Professor in Climatology, University of Delaware
Pat Michaels, PhD, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
George Taylor, M.S. Meteorology, Oregon State Climatologist
Gary D. Sharp, PhD, Scientific Director, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study
Roy W. Spencer, PhD, Principal Research Scientists, Univ of Alabama in Huntsville
Jon Reisman, Assoc Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Univ of Maine Machias/
Willie Soon, PhD, Science Director, Tech Central Station
Sallie Baliunas, PhD, Enviro-Science Editor Tech Central Station
1. P. Chylek, J.E. Box and G. Lesins 2004 Global warming and the Greenland
3. D. Darby, J. Bischof, G. Cutter, A. de Vernal, C. Hillaire-Marcel,
4. N. J. Mantua, S. R. Hare, Y. Zhang, J. M. Wallace and R. C. Francis
5. H. J. Freelnad, G. Gatien, A. Huyer, and R. L. Smith 2003, Cold halocline
6. I. V. Polyakov, G.V. Alekseev, R.V. Bekryaev,U. Bhatt, R.L. Colony,
7. R. Przybylak 2002, Changes in seasonal and annual high-frequency air
The U.S. House and Senate passed loan guarantee provisions that would provide producers with new incentives to build the Alaskan pipeline. The aim is to reduce investor concerns about the non-completion of the line and to provide a series of important regulatory and administrative provisions to speed line construction, all of which was placed in a military construction appropriations bill that just cleared both chambers.
The pipeline was originally authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Act that went into effect July 1, 1979. Construction began soon after but stopped in the early 1980s, largely because of the availability of low-cost Canadian gas. Developers, who have spent more than $125 million studying the project, say that it would take seven years to complete the pipeline, although the 10-year time frame is designed to accommodate stakeholder interests.
7. Hydrogen Economy Looks Out Of Reach
US vehicles would require a million wind turbines, economists claim. Converting every vehicle in the United States to hydrogen power would demand so much electricity that the country would need enough wind turbines to cover half of California or 1,000 extra nuclear power stations.
So concludes a British economist, whose calculation is intended to highlight the difficulties of achieving a truly green hydrogen economy. "This calculation is useful to make people realize what an enormous problem we face," says Andrew Oswald, an economist from the University of Warwick.
"Hydrogen is not a near-term prospect," agrees Paul Ekins,
an energy economist at the Policy Studies Institute, London. "There
will have to be a few fundamental breakthroughs in technology first,"
he says. Politicians eager to promote their green credentials, yet unaware
of the realities, have oversold the hydrogen dream, says Ekins. "I'm
amazed by the number of politicians who think you can dig hydrogen out
of the ground," he says.
They installed the nation's first public hydrogen pump in the Shell station
in Washington, DC, just 5.2 miles from the U.S. Capitol Building. We thought
you'd like to know just in case you're in town driving your hydrogen powered
car. Oh! I forgot -- you can't buy one, can you? GM has six hydrogen prototype
minivans in Washington, parked by the Capitol for what a GM executive
calls "educational outreach." Parked, because a round trip to
the Shell station will use a third of a tank of hydrogen. No matter, GM
isn't trying to sell hydrogen cars. Here's a WN educational outreach:
the Bush administration points to the hydrogen car to show that while
other countries sign treaties, we do something about the environment.
Here's more education: even if they solve all the problems with the hydrogen
car, it won't do squat for the environment. Pollution comes from making
the hydrogen. GM will turn out a handful of hydrogen concept-cars with
government subsidies while selling thousands of profitable SUVs, and Shell's
gasoline sales will climb filling up those SUVs, at the cost of putting
up with a few little-used hydrogen pumps, paid for with government subsidies.
8. What Drives Kyoto?
ASI blog is best when it raises questions rather than promulgates policies politically not achievable. What drives Kyoto is a good question?
Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said on BBC Today last week that EU and Japan scientists could not be trusted because they depended on Government. The flabbergasted response was that CEI was financed by oil companies. This is a dialogue of the deaf in which prejudice and stylised facts rule.
The facts are readily available [www.sepp.org] No clear evidence of warming in 20th century from weather satellites and balloons: The most experienced scientists think any warming will be modest and manageable without Kyoto: Prediction of catastrophic warming depends on models driven by contestable assumptions and science hypothesis. The science of relation between water vapour and warming is untested hypothesis.
Those who study results of imputed warming do not agree on its costs and benefits or on spatial and economic effects of any change in water levels.
Kyoto must surely be driven by pure Realpolitik? Russia, whose scientists advised against, has ratified, making the treaty possible, in exchange for EU and Japan support for Russia's attempt to join WTO-and perhaps more. No doubt, any Treaty constraints will be observed more in the breach, like European Stability Pact. And Kyoto perpetrators must have known US would not join, given almost unanimous objection in the Senate. This has cemented anti US opinion across the world. If perchance US did sign, EU-Japan would have a strong competitive advantage using less carbon per unit output. It would complete the political scene if US were to sign in exchange for EU support in Iraq
At a micro level, there is an anti market, anti capitalist environment agenda that resuscitates socialism. Old Greens like Michael Meacher still pursue the implausible precautionary principle [no end to that]. EU uses carbon control to justify its anti road, anti air transport, anti trade policies and utopians produce locally bias. The Left divided over everything else is unified over the Environment.
Distinguished welfare economists, generally rich, like Professors Sen and Layard, are now preoccupied with the notion that growth and wealth do not promote happiness - recalling the camel and eye of the needle metaphor. Among the philosopher economists, technology is seen to reduce the Feelgood factor.
Corporate sector propaganda increasingly pays lip service to environment objectives exceeding legal requirements, constraining pursuit of profit and investment. Even Pension Funds include green objectives in portfolios, becoming unaccountable, since the trade off between green and profit is obscure. The Development Banks allocate more resources to environment studies and emphasise the capability of the poor rather than their income. These widespread effects are part of the PC agenda led by the Kyoto Treaty.
So what drives Kyoto? Regeneration of socialism otherwise in disarray?
BY TIMOTHY C. BARMANN
The main group opposing the Cape Wind energy project spent $2.4 million last year fighting the proposed offshore wind farm, twice as much as it spent in 2002.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a nonprofit group based in Hyannis, Mass., disclosed its income and expenses in tax forms filed yesterday with the Internal Revenue Service and Massachusetts regulators.
The document shows that the group's spending exceeded the amount of money it received in donations and other income. Total income was $1.8 million, leaving a deficit of $597,000 for the year. The group had a deficit in 2002 of $242,000, leaving a total shortfall of $839,000 at the end of 2003.
The biggest category of expense in 2003 was $935,000 in legal fees, about 39 percent of total spending, the group reported.