Friday, February 25, 2011

Teleconference will attempt to explain huge snowstorms are due to global warming

In an apparent bid to counter skepticism of the specious claim that global warming caused the string of heavy snowfalls in the US and Europe this winter, a media teleconference with "two leading climate and weather experts" has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Mark "death spiral" Serreze and Jeff Masters will "discuss how a rise in the number of snowfalls of 6 inches or more may be related to an increase in moisture in the atmosphere," allegedly due to global warming. Major problems with this argument include weather balloon and satellite data showing that 1) tropospheric relative and specific humidity has significantly declined since the 'safe CO2 levels' of 1948, 2) atmospheric water vapor has declined since satellite measurements began in 1983,  3) there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1995, and 4) the IPCC predicted milder winters and that the "milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms."

From the excellent site Specific atmospheric humidity (g/kg) at three different altitudes in the lower part of the atmosphere (the Troposphere) since January 1948. The thin blue lines shows monthly values, while the thick blue lines show the running 37 month average (about 3 years). Data source: Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA). Data description by Kalnay et al. (1996). Last month shown: January 2011. Last diagram update: 13 February 2011.

Most climate models assume that as an increasing amount of atmospheric CO2 induces slightly increasing atmospheric temperatures, the overall evaporation will increase from the planet surface, and thereby the specific humidity of the lower part of the atmosphere (the Troposphere) will increase as well. As water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, additional warming will come about, resulting in a much larger temperature increase than that induced from CO2 alone. Climate models therefore, in general, assume the relative Tropospheric humidity to remain more or less stable, as increasing air temperatures are compensated by increasing specific humidity.

The above diagrams indicate that none of this has been the case since 1948. Only near the planet surface, the relative humidity has remained roughly constant (although with variations), but in the remaining part of the Troposphere below the Tropopause the relative humidity has been decreasing. Even for the specific humidity, this appears to be the case.

CONTACT: Randy Rieland, Union of Concerned Scientists, 202-331-6959



The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will hold a telephone press conference featuring two leading climate and weather experts explaining what is behind the string of heavy snowfalls in the U.S. and Europe this winter and put the extreme weather in the context of climate change.

They will discuss how a rise in the number of snowfalls of 6 inches or more may be related to an increase in moisture in the atmosphere and how Arctic warming and the shrinking of Arctic sea ice to record lows also may have been a factor in generating major winter storms.

Looking ahead, the scientists will talk about what we can expect in the coming months as the potential combination of earlier spring weather and deep snowpack raises the threat of serious flooding, particularly in the upper Midwest.

Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado
Jeff Masters, director of Meteorology at Weather Underground
Todd Sanford, climate scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists

Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 11 a.m. EST

The comfort of your own office. Call: (866) 961-7940; Conference ID: UCS winter and climate change teleconference

New Material Posted on the NIPCC Web site

Cyclones of the Tropical South Pacific (22 Feb 2011)

The lack of linear trends in four cyclone parameters analyzed “implies that there is as yet no evidence for climate-change forcing of these storm characteristics over recent historical times” ... Read More

Climate Change and Infectious Diseases: Unfinished Business (22 Feb 2011)

The health catastrophes that are routinely predicted to occur by the world’s climate alarmists in response to future global warming are not yet ready for prime-time consideration ... Read More

Old Trees Doing it Better than Young Trees: Responding to CO2 (22 Feb 2011)

Old-growth ponderosa pine forests of the northern Rockies have benefited from the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2 and those benefits are increasing with tree age ... Read More

The Modeling of Global Soil Wetness (22 Feb 2011)

How important is the task? ... and how well are models performing it? ... Read More

Effects of Seawater Acidification on Phytoplankton Growth Rates (22 Feb 2011)

Results indicated that marine phytoplankton “are resistant to climate change in terms of ocean acidification, and do not increase or decrease their growth rates according to ecological relevant ranges of pH and free CO2" ... Read More

Summer and Winter Deaths in Brisbane, Australia (22 Feb 2011)

Extremes of cold lead to the deaths of many more people than extremes of heat in both cold and warm climates ... Read More

The Geckos of Pemba Island, Tanzania (22 Feb 2011)

To what degree are they threatened by a projected warming of IPCC-predicted magnitude? ... Read More

Simulating 21st-Century Precipitation (23 Feb 2011)

Current climate models “cannot reliably predict changes in tropical precipitation extremes” ... Read More

Old Trees Refusing to Retire (23 Feb 2011)

They just keep on growing, and growing ever better ... Read More

Soil Moisture Trends: IPCC Simulations vs. Real-World Observations (23 Feb 2011)

Climate models employed in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment are clearly deficient in their ability to correctly simulate soil moisture trends, even when applied to the past and when driven by observed climate forcings ... Read More

Millennial-Scale Cycling of Climate in China’s Salawusu River Valley (23 Feb 2011)

Ever more evidence continues to point to a natural millennial-scale cycling of earth’s climate between relatively cooler and warmer conditions throughout the Holocene, suggesting that the recent recovery of the world from the global chill of the Little Ice Age was only to be expected, and that it need not have been driven by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, as it’s time had merely come ... Read More

Arctic vs. Global Air Temperature Change (23 Feb 2011)

A model that performs well in one time period will not necessarily perform well in another time period ... Read More

The Future of Mediterranean Forests (23 Feb 2011)

Previous reports of species decline in continental Spain “may be overestimated due to two reasons: the use of only one predictive niche-based model, and the failure to account for possible effects of CO2 fertilization” ... Read More

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Satellite launch tomorrow aims to study settled incontrovertible science

The NASA Glory satellite is scheduled for launch tomorrow and promises to help scientists "understand the dynamics of global warming and identify its causes." As explained on the mission website,
The impact of solar variability and aerosols on the Earth's climate is believed to be comparable to the impact posed by greenhouse gases.* Still, aerosols remain poorly measured and may represent the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate changes. The root of the problem is that the Earth's atmosphere and its surface have a complex relationship, which leads to large uncertainties in simulations that scientists use to describe and understand this system. The objective of the Glory mission is to reduce these uncertainties.
The mission will also study the formerly so-called "solar constant."
The Sun Factor
The primary input to the Earth's energy balance comes from a natural source: our Sun. To find out the contribution of this giant space heater to the Earth's energy budget, scientists will measure the amount of energy that reaches the Earth's atmosphere over a given period of time. The current estimate is approximately 1,361 watts per square meter. That's enough energy incident on the Earth to continuously power nearly half a million 60-watt light bulbs per person. Previous sensors have provided a data record spanning the past 30 years, but these measurements of solar intensity contain slight offsets. That's one reason why scientists must maintain a continuous solar measurement record; Glory will provide continuity of this measurement.
Energy from the Sun fluctuates depending on solar changes, such as sunspots, which peak in number with an 11-year average period. While it is easy to recognize that the Sun contributes to the "heat in" portion of the Earth's energy budget, it is not so simple to account for the subtle changes in the Sun's intensity in this budget analysis. The data from the instruments on Glory will help to answer some of these questions.
From the mission website:

The Sun provides heat to our planet. However, only about half of the sunlight heats the surface of the Earth. A third of the sunlight is reflected back into space by the surface and atmosphere, while one sixth is absorbed in the atmosphere and then re-emitted. This energy budget of "heat in" versus "heat out" directly influences the Earth's short-term and long-term climate trends.

An accurate description of Earth's energy budget is important for scientists in order to anticipate future changes to our climate. Shifts in the global climate and the associated weather patterns impact human life by altering landscapes and changing the availability of natural resources. Scientists are actively working to better understand exactly how and why this energy budget changes. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Glory mission will provide significant contributions toward this critical endeavor.

Glory: Explaining the Earth's Energy Budget

Scientists who study the Earth's energy balance consider the difference between energy entering and energy leaving the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere (generally, energy entering has a warming effect while energy leaving has a cooling effect).

Specifically, the Glory mission is intended to meet the following two scientific objectives:

Measure solar energy entering the Earth's atmosphere to determine its long-term effects on the Earth's climate record

Collect data on the properties of natural and human-caused aerosols in the Earth's atmosphere
Particle Puzzles

A second factor affecting the Earth's energy balance is the influence of aerosols, which are tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere. Aerosols come from both natural sources such as volcanoes, fires and desert dust, and from human sources, such as the burning of fossil fuels. Aerosols impact the Earth's energy balance by either absorbing or reflecting solar energy. Black carbon aerosols, for example, absorb the heat and then re-radiate some of that energy, contributing to more "heat in." Non-absorbing aerosols, such as sulfates, reflect the Sun's energy back into space causing cooling, or "heat out." In addition, aerosols also indirectly impact atmospheric cooling by changing the properties of clouds and altering precipitation patterns.

Both natural and human-caused aerosols have an impact on global temperatures. Over the past century, the average temperature of the Earth has increased by approximately 1.3 degrees F (0.7 degrees C). Accurately attributing this increase and the accompanying climate change to natural events, human sources, or a combination of both is of primary importance to scientists and policy makers. The aerosol sensor on Glory will provide scientists with accurate measurements of aerosols in our atmosphere and will help scientists better understand how they influence the climate.

The impact of solar variability and aerosols on the Earth's climate is believed to be comparable to the impact posed by greenhouse gases. Still, aerosols remain poorly measured and may represent the largest uncertainty in our understanding of climate changes. The root of the problem is that the Earth's atmosphere and its surface have a complex relationship, which leads to large uncertainties in simulations that scientists use to describe and understand this system. The objective of the Glory mission is to reduce these uncertainties.

*that's not what the IPCC table of radiative forcing components says: According to the IPCC, greenhouse gases create 2.64 Wm-2 positive forcing and aerosols + solar irradiance net to -1.08 Wm-2 (a net negative forcing) of 41% of the claimed GHG magnitude.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience

By Kenneth P. Green

Energy and Environment Outlook, American Enterprise Institute, February 2011

With $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits allocated for green manufacturers, President Barack Obama and other Democratic politicians have high hopes for green technology. But their expectations clash with both economic theory and practical experience in Europe. Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy. Wind and solar power have raised household energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany, and Denmark has the highest electricity prices in the European Union. Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better at creating jobs or stimulating the economy.

Key points in this Outlook:

•The Obama administration, its allies in Congress, and the environmental community champion the benefits of green technology and the creation of green jobs to alleviate unemployment.
•Green jobs merely replace jobs in other sectors and actually contribute less to economic growth.
•Experiments with renewable energy in Europe have led to job loss, higher energy prices, and corruption.


Both economic theory and the experience of European countries that have attempted to build a green-energy economy that will create green jobs reveal that such thinking is deeply fallacious. Spain, Italy, Germany, and Denmark have all tried and failed to accomplish positive outcomes with renewable energy. Some will suggest that the United States is different, and that US planners will have the wisdom to make the green economy work here. But there is no getting around the fact that you do not improve your economy or create jobs by breaking windows, and US planners are no more omniscient than those in Europe.

Related: Economist: Green energy cannot be defended as a source of jobs

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Magnetic North Is on the Move. Time to Panic?

By MATT RIDLEY 2/19/11

The earth's magnetic field is weakening at an accelerating rate. It is 15% weaker than it was at the time the north magnetic pole was "discovered"—and claimed for King William IV—by a British explorer in 1831. Should we be worried?

What's more, the north magnetic pole, after meandering through Canadian islands for half a millennium, is heading off across the Arctic Ocean toward Russia at the breakneck speed of 37 miles a year. It will pass close to the geographical North Pole in a few years. With the dastardly Russians about to pinch this British heirloom, should we be doubly worried?

I am, of course, just showing how easy it is to make something seem scary by failing to put it in context. The weakening of the magnetic field is indeed "unprecedented since records began," but records began very recently. Geological evidence suggests that this fluctuation is well within normal bounds: The magnetic field was much weaker 20,000 years ago.

Some of the scares we take more seriously are similarly torn from context. Four years ago (though not more recently), the retreat of Arctic sea ice was unprecedented since records began, but records began only in 1979, and there is lots of evidence of greater ice retreats in past periods, such as the 1930s or 7,000 years ago. Recent floods in Brisbane, Australia, were the worst...since 1974. And so on. Always ask: Since when?

As for the movement of the magnetic pole, the sudden acceleration is interesting and mysterious, but there is no evidence that it's dangerous. Since we cannot really measure the flows of fluid in the outer core of the earth, we cannot predict the shape of the dynamo that generates the field. Something seems to be going on deep beneath the New Siberian Islands that is drawing the pole toward them.

Though odds are strongly against it, it is just possible that this is the beginning of a polar reversal, when the North and South magnetic poles swap places. This used to happen quite often—by which I mean every hundred thousand years or so—but it's now 780,000 years since it last occurred, an unusually long interval.

During such a reversal there is probably a very brief interval (oops, there I go again; by "very brief" I mean a thousand years or so) when the earth has no stable magnetic field. This does not seem to have bothered our ancestors: There is no evidence of biological extinctions peaking during magnetic-pole reversals.

But maybe they affected bird migration. Birds generally use the sun, stars, and local landmarks for navigation, but they appear to be able to tap into magnetic lines of force as a backup system. So in a reversal, more birds may go missing.

Perhaps the next magnetic reversal will play havoc with communications by dropping the magnetic shield that protects our electronics from solar storms and cosmic rays. Our computers will crash for a thousand years. Help. Let's form a U.N. agency!

By living in a time when science finds things out, we too easily scare ourselves. Asteroid impacts did not keep our ancestors awake at night because they did not know that asteroids existed, let alone that one wiped out the dinosaurs. Two centuries ago, nobody knew of ice ages, so we imagined a stable climate. Two decades ago, before we drilled an ice core in Greenland, nobody knew of the abrupt climate lurches that happened at the end of the last ice age. Two years ago, no tourist knew that tiger sharks frequented Red Sea beach resorts.

Context is all. Most of the scary things we discover about our planet are infrequent and improbable, or getting a lot less scary because of human ingenuity. Stop fretting.

Time Magazine: Greens move on from 'climate change' to organic food movement

"Foodies Can Eclipse (and Save) the Green Movement" 2/15/11

These are dark days for the environmental movement. A year after being on the cusp of passing landmark legislation to cap greenhouse gases, greens are coming to accept the fact that the chance of national and international action on climate change has become more remote than ever. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under attack by newly empowered Republicans in Congress who argue that the very idea of environmental protection is unaffordable for our debt-ridden country. Accustomed to remaining optimistic in the face of long odds, the environmental movement all at once faces a challenge just to stay relevant in a hostile political climate. In 2004, authors Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus faced a harsh backlash from the greens when they released a polemic essay called "The Death of Environmentalism," but now it appears they might have been ahead of their time.

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular
Even as traditional environmentalism struggles, another movement is rising in its place, aligning consumers, producers, the media and even politicians. It's the food movement, and if it continues to grow it may be able to create just the sort of political and social transformation that environmentalists have failed to achieve in recent years. That would mean not only changing the way Americans eat and the way they farm — away from industrialized, cheap calories and toward more organic, small-scale production, with plenty of fruits and vegetables — but also altering the way we work and relate to one another. To its most ardent adherents, the food movement isn't just about reform — it's about revolution.

What makes the food movement so unusual is that it's not a single national movement at all, it's a series of organized smaller mobilizations — which is both an asset and a liability. A sustainable-food conference I attended in Manhattan over the weekend, put on under the TED imprimatur, shows the striking diversity of the movement(s). Laurie David, the Hollywood environmentalist and co-producer of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, explained how regular family dinners improve not just eating habits but also classroom grades and good behavior. Cheryl Rogowski, an organic farmer in New York's Hudson Valley, talked about the challenges and rewards of producing for the local food market. Dr. Scott Kahan, an obesity expert at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, spoke about the role that mass advertising plays in promoting unhealthy foods for kids. Britta Riley, a New York City–based artist, talked about window farming in the city and the growth of DIY urban agriculture. That's the food movement today: farming and eating and health and policy and business, all jostling for position and influence, but increasingly finding a common cause.

What's amazing is how quickly the food movement has become a measurable force in American society. Environmentalism can trace its origins to the Sierra Club founder John Muir pushing for the establishment of America's first national parks in 1899, but until recently, food wasn't really on the radar for progressives, beyond the mission of coping with world hunger. It wasn't until the food-safety scandals of the 1980s and '90s — followed by the publication of exposés like Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and the growing threat of obesity — that Americans really started paying attention to what they were eating. Some of them weren't very happy with it — and they wanted a change.

They're making one. There are now thousands of community-supported agriculture programs around the country, up from just two in 1986. There are more than 6,000 farmers' markets, up 16% from just a year ago. Sales of organic food and beverages hit nearly $25 billion in 2009, up from $1 billion in 1990, and no less a corporate behemoth than Walmart has muscled into the organic industry, seeking out sustainable suppliers. Green chefs like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., have become national superstars, and local sourcing has become a must for hip restaurants in Brooklyn, Berkeley and in between. First Lady Michelle Obama — she of the organic White House garden — has decided to make childhood obesity her signature issue, and she's done so by pushing the food industry to provide healthier fruits and vegetables over cheap processed options. Even the Department of Agriculture — usually a staunch ally of mainstream farming and the distributor each year of billions in often wasteful agricultural subsidies — has gotten into the sustainability game with its "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" program, which connects consumers with local producers.

Why has the food movement sprouted so rapidly, even as traditional environmentalism has stalled? Simple: it's about pleasure. Before the political games, before worries about dead zones and manure lagoons, before concerns about obesity and trans fat, the food movement arose around a simple principle: food should taste better. Like their environmental brethren, foodies could be accused of trying to force people to eat their vegetables — but these vegetables are more than metaphorical: they are from a local organic farm and they're sautéed to perfection. The food movement has also directly jacked into that other great American obsession — health — in a way that distant concerns about climate change have largely failed to do. And there's the simple fact that food is present in our lives in a way that endangered species or deforestation or Arctic melting simply aren't. We buy food, we cook food (though less and less frequently) and three times a day, we eat food — occasionally while watching cooking shows.

The challenge for the food movement will come as it matures and begins to take on established political interests. Even with all the growth and all the glossy magazine covers, sustainable food still makes up only a tiny portion of the overall American food system. Perhaps 1% of total U.S. cropland is farmed organically, and organic food and beverages still command less than 4% of the national market, even after years of growth. Slow Food USA — one of the most dynamic of the new food-movement groups — has perhaps 20,000 members nationwide, while the Sierra Club has more than 1.3 million. As foodies go from promoting the perfect heirloom tomato to tackling the country's entrenched agricultural practices, they'll need a new level of commitment, organization and energy. That challenge will only be tougher if the food movement is somehow seen as competing with environmentalism.

But here's the good news — the two sides aren't really competing. As the food movement matures and grows, it could end up being the best vehicle available for achieving environmental goals. The industrialized way we farm today damages our land, our water and our climate. Reforming agriculture and promoting sustainability won't just help us get better and healthier food; it will also fight greenhouse-gas emissions and water pollution. The food movement has been criticized as elitist, but that reputation belies recent efforts to get low-cost fruits and vegetables to urban poor who suffer disproportionately from obesity and diabetes.

Environmentalists once thought that the only way to create lasting change in the U.S. and the rest of the world was by controlling our carbon emissions. Not quite. As Brian Halweil, a leading thinker on sustainable food, put it in Saturday's TED conference, "If the environmental movement is dead, then I say, 'Long live the food movement.'" Environmental and social changes are coming — and they will be served up on our dinner plates.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dr. Noor van Andel: The data does not agree with the theory of greenhouse gas induced global warming

Dr. Noor van Andel has updated his paper CO2 and Climate Change and explains in greater detail how climate scientists have adjusted radiosonde (weather balloon) data to try to bring it into agreement with their computer models and concept of greenhouse gas induced global warming. This is the opposite of the normal scientific procedure of adjusting the models to fit the data. The unadjusted data does not show the elusive "hot spot" predicted by climate models and conventional 'greenhouse' theory. Dr. van Andel's latest version also expands on the descriptions of Miskolczi's 'saturated greenhouse' theory and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al.   
"...This behavior has been a problem for many, as it falsifies a main point of the global-warming-by- greenhouse-gases- hypothesis. The warming by increased CO2 can only result from “increased back radiation” from the atmosphere to the surface, and for this the warming of the troposphere due to increased CO2 must be more than the surface warming. all models predict much more warming at 300 - 400 hPa compared to the surface warming trend. This is not observed.

There has been a large activity to bring models and observations in line, strangely only by adjusting the measurements instead of adjusting the models. The radiosonde measurements are adjusted so that they show the larger warming trend around 300 hPa that the models must assume to exist to get antropogenic CO2 induced warming, or to attribute the surface warming to increased CO2. Scores of publications and discussions try to prove this “atmospheric hot spot” must exist in the real world because the models say so. One example I show below:

From: Toward Elimination of the Warm Bias in Historic Radiosonde Temperature Records—Some New Results from a Comprehensive Intercomparison of Upper-Air Data, HAIMBERGER et al, JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, VOLUME 21, 4587) we take the following figure: Fig. 14 shows that the unadjusted 1979-2006 tropical temperature profile trends in the tropics, left graph, dotted line, shows a constant 0.1 K/decade warming with height until 200 Pa [11 km in the tropics], and above this height a substantial cooling trend, with a minimum of -1.2 K/decade [minus twelve times the surface warming trend!] at 70 Pa. Exactly like the fig.12 observations from Hadoffice show. This behavior is does not agree with the accepted theory of Greenhouse-gas induced global warming, that assumes a decrease of the convection activity with rising SST, because the temperature and moisture at 500-100 hPa in theory both rise, and this rising θe prevents convection. This is known as the “hot spot”. It is the main “positive feedback” assumed by the models to get the high climate sensitivity to be able to attribute the warming 1976-2010 to the CO2 increase. It is also called the “super Greenhouse Effect’. It exists only in climate models. This is the reason that so many corrections or adjustments have been proposed to the radiosonde measurements; the maximum adjustment [see left graph] reaching 0.9 K/10y, or 10ºC/decade from 1979 to 2009, that makes an adjustment of 2.7 ºC between the HadAT temperature measurement. and the unadjusted radiosonde measurement. Radiosonde sensors have a precision of 0.1 ºC! Physically it is impossible that convection decreases as the driving force for convection increases. Riehl & Malkus measured and quantified this deep convection in 1958 for the first time by flying into thunderstorms and derived the θe mathematics, which are soundly and simply founded in atmospheric thermodynamics. Thunderstorms are very local phenomena, they cannot and are not well parameterized in climate models. Clearly frequency and intensity of these storms is increasing fast with SST. Any CO2 in the atmosphere, if it would increase SST, is regulated back by this deep convective cooling mechanism.

The main error in the climate models is that they suppose heating and moistening, and thus higher θe [temperature], of the upper troposphere by CO2, in contradiction with radiosonde and satellite measurements. This assumed heating & moistening leads the model to assume an increase of θe [temperature] at this height, which makes deep convection decrease as a result of increasing SST, very unphysical as we have seen here above.

In the real world however, the upper troposphere will dry out as a result of stronger deep convection, because cloud top temperature goes down and condensation efficiency increases with deep convection intensity. In the region that the air spreads from the ITCZ and subsides, radiation into space is therefore enhanced. The lowest temperatures in the troposphere are to be found in the deep convection cumulonimbus tops, sometimes -80 ºC. All water is then in solid form, which coalesces easier and snows [rains] out more efficiently. This drying out has been documented well in the ERA and in the NCEP reanalysis historical time series. But it is hotly contested by IPCC- quoted authors, again because it is incompatible with climate models. "

prior posts on Dr. van Andel

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Paper: Solar irradiance at Earth surface varies up to 24 times more than expected

A new peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds that measurements of solar irradiance at ground level at the South Pole show variations of up to 24 times more than would be expected over the course of a solar cycle. While satellite measurements find that total solar irradiance only varies 0.1% from a solar minimum to solar maximum, the ground-level measurements analyzed by the authors show a change of 1.8 ± 1.0% in the UV-A (320–400 nm) spectrum and 2.4 ± 1.9% in the visible (400–600 nm) spectrum over the course of a solar cycle.
Regressions based on all 17 solstice periods indicate approximate 1.8% and 2.4% decreases in ground-level irradiance for the wavelength regions 320–400 nm and 400–600 nm, respectively, from solar maximum to solar minimum. The associated uncertainty ranges are approximately 0.8–2.7% for the UV-A and 0.5%–4.3% for the visible.
Changes in extraterrestrial irradiance over the solar cycle surely contribute a portion of the variability deduced at the polar surface for the 320–400 nm region, although the magnitude of this contribution is uncertain. However, the inferred solar cycle dependence in the 400–600 nm visible band is too large to be of extraterrestrial origin unless one adopts values at the lowest end of the error range.
The UV-A and visible portions are the most energetic and significant portions of the solar spectrum heating the Earth. While the authors are uncertain of the origin of this variability at the surface, they note that it is "too large to be of extraterrestrial origin." Climate models assume that the solar irradiance reaching the Earth's surface only varies 0.1% over solar cycles in accordance with satellite measurements, but as shown by this paper, that may be an incorrect assumption. Another recent study has shown that solar UV activity has increased almost 50% over the past 400 years. The antiquated assumption in climate science that the effect of the Sun upon the Earth's climate is a constant (they even call it "the solar constant") is in dire need of reassessment. The IPCC, however, is only mandated to assess anthropogenic climate change and only pays lip service to the role of the Sun.

Full paper
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 1177-1189, 2011

Solar irradiance at the earth's surface: long-term behavior observed at the South Pole

J. E. Frederick and A. L. Hodge
Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Abstract. This research examines a 17-year database of UV-A (320–400 nm) and visible (400–600 nm) solar irradiance obtained by a scanning spectroradiometer located at the South Pole. The goal is to define the variability in solar irradiance reaching the polar surface, with emphasis on the influence of cloudiness and on identifying systematic trends and possible links to the solar cycle. To eliminate changes associated with the varying solar elevation, the analysis focuses on data averaged over 30–35 day periods centered on each year's austral summer solstice. The long-term average effect of South Polar clouds is a small attenuation, with the mean measured irradiances being about 5–6% less than the clear-sky values, although at any specific time clouds may reduce or enhance the signal that reaches the sensor. The instantaneous fractional attenuation or enhancement is wavelength dependent, where the percent deviation from the clear-sky irradiance at 400–600 nm is typically 2.5 times that at 320–340 nm. When averaged over the period near each year's summer solstice, significant correlations appear between irradiances at all wavelengths and the solar cycle as measured by the 10.7 cm solar radio flux. An approximate 1.8 ± 1.0% decrease in ground-level irradiance occurs from solar maximum to solar minimum for the wavelength band 320–400 nm. The corresponding decrease for 400–600 nm is 2.4 ± 1.9%. The best-estimate declines appear too large to originate in the sun. If the correlations have a geophysical origin, they suggest a small variation in atmospheric attenuation with the solar cycle over the period of observation, with the greatest attenuation occurring at solar minimum.

Related: A very simple climate model incorporating only "sunspot integral" and ocean oscillations has a correlation coefficient of .96 to global temperature, as compared to a correlation coefficient of .44 for CO2:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Economist: Green energy cannot be defended as a source of jobs

Although there was not a single mention of "climate change" in the 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama touted 'green' energy as "an investment that will... create countless new jobs for our people." However, a recent study by Senior Energy Economist Gurcan Gulen of the Center for Energy Economics, University of Texas, concludes "that adding 'net jobs' cannot be defended as a benefit of investing in green energy" and that aggressive promotion of these technologies will negatively impact purchasing power, employment and GDP.

The study finds that the "realities of the global energy scene are:

 • Most green technologies are far away from the scale that is needed to replace conventional fuels in a significant way. Although it is reasonable to expect improvements in technology and cost structure in the future, it is difficult to predict the development path that can be included in modeling exercises.

• These technologies are more expensive than conventional technologies and hence need subsidies, tax incentives and mandates to gain market share (some more than others). A carbon tax could level the playing field for wind at about $20-$30 per ton but needs to be much higher for solar and other technologies. [n.b. carbon credits were selling for $0.05 per ton on the Chicago Climate Exchange prior to its closure]

• They face integration problems due to their intermittency, immaturity of technology, scalability limits, inability to communicate with existing infrastructure, and other technical or power market economics constraints.

• Consumers, especially at the residential level, are often reluctant to adopt new technologies if they are not certain they will get the same benefits as those from current technologies and even more reluctant when it comes to changing their energy consumption behavior, which is often based on habit rather than conscious decision making.

• Pushing aggressively to increase the share of these technologies, though clearly possible, will cost large sums of money and will increase cost of energy to society, negatively impacting purchasing power, employment and GDP.

One cannot simply wish these realities away."

(emphasis added)

Largest US food distributor declares force majeure on fresh fruit and vegetables due to "devastating" freeze of "unprecedented magnitude"

Sysco, the largest wholesale food distributor in the US and primary supplier to most supermarket chains, has declared force majeure (the "act of God" clause) that allows suspension of contracted prices and supply of fresh fruit and vegetables due to the "unprecedented magnitude" of "devastating" and "extreme freezing temperatures" in a "very broad section of major growing regions in Mexico." Sysco also reports "Florida is normally a major supplier for these items as well, but they have already been struck with severe freeze damage in December and January and up until now have had to purchase product out of Mexico to fill their commitments, that is no longer an option."

Related: It's Freezing: Must be global warming

Release from Sysco to supermarket buyers (bold added):





We are doing everything we can with our growers to minimize the effect of this disaster on you. With the unprecedented magnitude of this event we wanted to immediately make you aware of the conditions. We will continue to send out communications as our people on the ground report back to us. We thank you and we appreciate your understanding during this time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spending bill looms as venue for climate battle

By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman - 02/09/11 07:57 PM ET  The Hill

The next battle over EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations could be on the House floor.

House Republicans are expected to release a spending package Thursday to keep the government running beyond early March, and hope to bring the measure to the floor next week.

In addition to proposing deep cuts in EPA spending, the continuing resolution could include a provision to hamstring EPA’s power to regulate emissions from power plants, factories and other sources.

But sources on and off Capitol Hill say a stronger possibility would be a floor amendment next week to block EPA – either through a funding limitation or outright removal of the agency’s authority.

GOP leadership aides declined comment Wednesday. But an energy lobbyist predicts an amendment next week. “There is a political element in the Speaker’s office that wants to force a vote on it,” the lobbyist said.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), a senior member (and former chairman) of the Energy and Commerce Committee, suggested Wednesday that an amendment could be in the offing.

“I do think it’s fair to put funding restrictions within the CR generically if it saves money and if we have federal agencies operating outside what we consider to be their legislative authority,” Barton told reporters, adding that he expects an “open rule” on the House floor, which means lawmakers will have a chance to offer amendments.

While plans to curb EPA’s power are also backed by some centrist Democrats, they face major hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority. But provisions attached to a must-pass spending bill nonetheless complicate things for climate advocates.

Senate Republicans have also floated bills to block EPA, while Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has legislation to suspend regulation for two years that has attracted several Democrats.

Regardless of the chances in the Senate, passage of anti-EPA amendments in the House would nonetheless be a major political rebuke of the White House green agenda.

GOP opponents of EPA rules sought to build their case Wednesday with a high-profile hearing in the Energy and Commerce Committee -- one that featured EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson facing a barrage of lawmakers’ attacks.

One former Capitol Hill aide who now works on energy issues said Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee are bracing for upcoming efforts to scuttle EPA climate rules or other EPA regulations that Republicans oppose, even though the specific committee and floor plans are unclear.

“They are planning,” the former aide said, “for anything and everything.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Judge: California's greenhouse gas law requires more review before implementation

Judge: More review needed to finalize AB32

Thursday, February 3, 2011 (AP)

State air quality regulators must conduct further analysis before fully implementing California's landmark 2006 climate law, a trial court judge has said.

In a tentative ruling last month, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith said the California Air Resources Board violated state environmental law by failing to properly study alternatives to plans it has adopted.

A final ruling could come Tuesday, when the air board's response is due, and if it's upheld, it could delay implementation of the nation's most aggressive climate change laws.

Goldsmith said the air board cannot certify a document known as the "scoping plan" for AB 32 — which seeks to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — until it completes more analysis on its cap-and-trade and other plans.

"(The board) has interpreted its regulation in a way that undermines the California Environmental Quality Act's goal of informed decision making," the judge wrote.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Alegria DeLaCruz of The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, said she hopes the judge's final ruling will force the state to consider all options before moving forward. She said the suit is not meant to stop AB 32's rollout, just make it better.

"By no means is it a victory to halt implementation of a law meant to improve public health," DeLaCruz said. "It's about how to do this best that is really at the heart of this."

For example, DeLaCruz argued that the board, in passing its so-called cap-and-trade system in December, should have looked at more alternatives to reducing the harmful pollutants.

The cap-and-trade system works by allowing a company that produces pollution, such as a utility or a refinery, to buy a permit from the state giving it permission to send a specified amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air each year.

DeLaCruz said alternatives, like banning certain high-risk air pollutants in some neighborhoods, should also be considered.

The judge tentatively ruled that because the board "did not include any facts or data to support the conclusions stated in its alternatives analysis, it abused its discretion."

Stanley Young, a spokesman for the air board, said it is reviewing the decision "and will respond within the allotted time."

Some legal analysts said if the judge does not change his ruling, it's only a temporary setback for the new law. The board could still appeal, and it could also seek a stay that would allow it to keep working on implementing the law while the legal battle continues.

"The tentative ruling, should it become permanent, will create some bumps in the road toward AB 32 implementation but I predict that the bumps will be only small ones," wrote Ann Carlson, a professor of environmental law at UCLA, in a post on her blog.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Climate Sanity Has Been Gored

By LARRY BELL 2/3/11

My new book, Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax, is dedicated to Al Gore, whose invention of the Internet made it possible–and whose invention of facts made it necessary. Beginning with the aggressively hyped 1988 U.S. Senate hearings he organized, no one has done more to melt down complacent minds with stoked-up claims of fossil-fueled climate peril.

In 2006 Gore launched an initial three-year, $300 million “Alliance for Climate Protection” media campaign to promote greenhouse gas reductions. While ads appearing in national television, print, radio, and online outlets were directed to diverse audiences, the ultimate target group was government legislators. As he stated, “NASCAR fans, churchgoers, labor union members, small businessmen, engineers, hunters, spokesmen, corporate leaders, you name it–where public opinion goes, federal policy will follow.”

An example is an early TV segment, narrated by William H. Macy, showing footage of American soldiers storming beaches of Normandy during World War II, a civil rights march, and a moon landing. The message linked these critical historic events to an urgent call for action. “We can’t wait for someone else to solve the climate crisis. We need to act, and we need to do it now. Join us. Together we can solve the climate crisis”.

What crisis? Apparently this was supposed to be self- evident. And what solution? Although the message doesn’t quite tell us, it’s actually very clear. We should all support a war against climate change. The answer, of course, is to support cap-and-trade legislation and alternative energy subsidies. And why? Speaking before a 2007 U.S. Joint House Energy and Science Committee, Mr. Gore offered a particularly important reason: “As soon as carbon has a price, you’re going to see a wave of investment in it…there will be unchained investment”. What better way to reduce evil carbon than to make it a profitable commodity?

Al Gore has been busy on both battle fronts, and has made a lot of money in the process. In 2004 he co-founded Generation Investment Management LLP (GIM) with three partners; former Goldman Sachs Asset Management chief David Blood and two others from that firm. GIM is a London-based firm that invests money from institutions and wealthy investors that are “going green”. GIM and Goldman Sachs were also big investors in the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which expected to become the New York Stock Exchange for carbon offset marketing provided that the federal cap-and-trade legislation Gore has lobbied for was enacted. The organization closed its doors after November 2010 elections removed that likelihood.

Gore joined the venture capital group Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Buyers in November 2007, whose key partner, John Doerr, has been pushing hard for biofuel subsidies. GIM also became a KPCB affiliate. As vice president, Gore had cast a 1994 Senate tie-breaking vote in favor of ethanol mandates, something he now admits to regretting. He stated four years later that, “One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had certain fondness of the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president”.

Since his nonelection to the presidency, Gore has accumulated an estimated net worth well in excess of $100 million. In addition to his six-figure speaking gigs, he signed on as a Google advisor in 2001–before it went public–and received stock options reportedly valued at more than $30 million. In 2004 he and some investment partners purchased the Canadian news network News World International (NWI) for $70 million and renamed it Current TV. Those investment partners include former Goldman Sachs senior director and Democratic Finance Committee chair Philip Murphy, Senator Diane Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum, Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy and former AOL Time Warner CEO Bill Pittman.

These and other sources of revenue have afforded means for an opulent and hardly “carbon neutral” lifestyle. His Bell Meade area Nashville mansion alone, one of three Gore homes, was reported to use about 221,000 kWh of electricity per year, more than 20 times the amount consumed by average American households. He has defended this by claiming that some of this power comes from “renewable” sources, with the balance canceled out by carbon offsets purchased through GIM, apparently making it all okay. Yet since viewers are asked at the end of his 2006 An Inconvenient Truth movie– “Are you ready to change the way you live?”–he might be well advised to rethink his own answer.

That movie, accompanied by a book of the same topic and title, demonstrates Gore’s remarkable disregard for factual accuracy. One glaring misrepresentation among many presented two graphs, one depicting CO2 increases separately aligned above another indicating temperature rises over a 650,000 year period. They were represented to purport a direct causal fit, suggesting that increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations produce warming. Yet if those two plots had been less craftily positioned, one directly superimposed upon the other, a clearer and different observation would have emerged. Yes, there is a general correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and temperatures, but one where temperature changes lead, not follow CO2 fluctuations. This is because cold oceans absorb CO2, and gradually release it when they warm due to natural causes.

Scientifically unsupportable and misleading statements prompted an October 2007 ruling in London’s High Court that An Inconvenient Truth can be shown in secondary schools only if accompanied by guidance notes for teachers to balance Gore’s “one-sided” views. Following extensive evidentiary review, the judge cited nine specific errors. Included are unwarranted global warming claims predicting a 20 foot sea level rise, flooding of low-lying inhabited Pacific Atolls, and a likely shift in Gulf Stream currents; and attributions of the disappearance of Mt Kilimanjaro snow, drying up of Lake Chad, Hurricane Katrina, drowning polar bears, and coral reef destruction due to human causes.

In comments regarding his findings, Sir Michael Burton pointed out that the “apocalyptical vision” presented in the film was politically partisan, and not an impartial analysis of the science of climate change: “It is built around the charismatic presence of the ex-vice president Al Gore, whose crusade is to persuade the world of the dangers of climate change caused by global warming…It is now common ground that it is not simply a science film—although it is clear that it is based substantially on scientific research and opinion–but it is a political film.”

Al Gore received a Nobel Peace Prize for making the world aware of a crisis. Ironically, the real crisis is one he contributed much to create–one of mass hysteria promulgated through deceptively contrived alarmist propaganda. Still, this could not have been possible were it not for an extended band of collaborators. Herein lies an exceedingly larger scandal–a conspiracy of silence on the part of many trusted scientists who knew differently, yet said nothing to expose the greatest economic and political hoax of our time.