For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fascinating read

Well worth checking out. I particularly agree with the closing paragraph.

Global warming is not a moral issue. There is no evidence to support the claim of an impending human caused climate crisis. There are and always have been natural fluctuations in climate to which humans and other living creatures have adapted and will continue to adapt.
The funds diverted into imaginary potential disasters are already sufficient to have alleviated the real disasters of hunger, disease and lack of clean water that afflict the world’s poor. We have forgotten that we have been fooled before. We have jumped from one fashionable fear to another, always giving those fears higher priority than real present problems. We have allowed vast suffering and hunger to continue unnecessarily. The real moral issue is the manufacture of panic over global warming and other invented crises for the sake of publicity and profit.

check it out

I found this satirical website hilarious. I hope you get a chuckle out of it, too. :-D

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wrapping up the year.

Obligatory disclaimer...

Hello again! I hope everyone had a great Christmas, as well as the other holidays being celebrated this time of year.

I'd been staying off the computer a fair amount, but I still tried to get in my morning news. On Boxing Day, I found myself greeted with this headline.

Records broken in heat waves in North America, Europe

It was accompanied by the usual photo of adorable polar bears - a mother with two cubs, in this case.

The whole article was an interesting read, contradicting earlier articles and data, as well as the usual misleading wording (though that's not a reflection on the writer, but rather the terminology). Just a few examples.

January was the warmest first month on record worldwide - 0.85 degrees Celsius above normal. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1880 that the globe's average temperature has been so far above the norm for any month of the year.

At least it included "since record keeping began," which is considerably better than the usual "ever" or "in history." It's still misleading. I assume the writer is referring to a global average temperature, but worldwide, few places kept temperature records that early. Heck, even today, there are huge gaps in temperature records simply because there are no stations. Most records a from the US, the UK, Canada to a certain extent, and temperature readings from the oceans gathered by co-operative ships' crews that tossed a bucket over the side, pulled in some water and tested it, then recorded their readings for the behalf of others.

There's also the term "normal." The definitions of "normal" and "anomaly" are things I've discussed before, but in a nutshell, they mean something different in climatology and meteorology than in regular usage. "Normal" is the mean average temperature taken over a number of years (usually 30, because most weather stations have existed for at least 30 years). An "anomaly" is anything that isn't "normal," - in other words, anything above or below the mean average. Since mean averages are reached by taking a group of numbers, adding them together, then dividing that total by the number of integers, the range involved can be quite wide. So a temperature difference of 0.85C isn't necessarily unusual - it's just not the mean average.

Next we have...

And as 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

The decade of 1998-2007 has been the warmest on record, it said.

I found these to be an interesting claims as well. Especially in light of these earlier articles.

Year of global cooling
By David Deming December 19, 2007

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Has global warming stopped?
David Whitehouse Published 19 December 2007

With only few days remaining in 2007, the indications are the global temperature for this year is the same as that for 2006 – there has been no warming over the 12 months.

The fact is that the global temperature of 2007 is statistically the same as 2006 as well as every year since 2001. Global warming has, temporarily or permanently, ceased. Temperatures across the world are not increasing as they should according to the fundamental theory behind global warming – the greenhouse effect. Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what or else we may spend hundreds of billions of pounds needlessly.

The period 1980-98 was one of rapid warming – a temperature increase of about 0.5 degrees C (CO2 rose from 340ppm to 370ppm). But since then the global temperature has been flat (whilst the CO2 has relentlessly risen from 370ppm to 380ppm). This means that the global temperature today is about 0.3 deg less than it would have been had the rapid increase continued.

For the past decade the world has not warmed. Global warming has stopped. It’s not a viewpoint or a sceptic’s inaccuracy. It’s an observational fact. Clearly the world of the past 30 years is warmer than the previous decades and there is abundant evidence (in the northern hemisphere at least) that the world is responding to those elevated temperatures. But the evidence shows that global warming as such has ceased.

So which is it? Warmest ever, or statistically unchanged? Let's see what else there is...

U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. weather data.

England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there, shattering the record set in 1865 by more than 0.6 C.


Smashing records was common, especially in August. At U.S. weather stations, more than 8,000 new heat records were set or tied for specific August dates.

Well, I can't say much for England, because I simply don't know anything about their system, but perhaps these might explain why the US weather stations continue to show warming.

Climate scientists say that the Arctic, which serves as the world's refrigerator, dramatically warmed in 2007, shattering records for the amount of melting ice. Sea ice melted not just to record levels, but far beyond the previous melt record.

Another misleading statement - how far back to these records go? Not very far, though a search of other records has shown that this has happened before. There is even reason to believe the Arctic Ice Cap has melted away completely in the past. (And the polar bears survived just fine.)

The ice sheets that cover a portion of Greenland retreated to an all-time low and permafrost in Alaska warmed to record levels.

That would depend on how far back you look at the records, and what evidence you're looking for, whether in Greenland or Alaska.

That article then goes on to describe several extreme weather events, then saying...

Individual weather extremes can't be attributed to global warming, scientists always say. However, "it's the run of them and the different locations" that have the mark of man-made climate change, said top European climate expert Phil Jones, director of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in England.
This is one I hear a lot - many claim that the weather we're having is somehow unusual, yet these claims are made over and over again. Having reviewed the book, Wild Weather, as well as other historical records, extreme weather events have always happened - and humans always search for something to blame it on. In the Dark Ages, it was blamed on witchcraft. In the 1970's, it was the coming ice age. Today, it's global warming.

Get used to it, scientists said. As man-made climate change continues, the world will experience more extreme weather, bursts of heat, torrential rain and prolonged drought, they said.

They've covered everything... No matter what the weather does, it can be blamed on global warming.

"We're having an increasing trend of odd years," said Michael MacCracken, a former top U.S. federal climate scientist, now chief scientist at the Climate Institute in Washington.

"Pretty soon odd years are going to become the norm."

Funny thing is... it already *is* the norm.

Although I suppose it depends on what your definition of "normal" is.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a joyous and prosperous year in 2008.

"See" you after Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some interesting questions

From Pat Sajak, of all people. I only know him from the game show. Anyhow, in this article, he puts forward 10 sensible questions in regards to global warming and climate change. These are his 10 questions, however go and visit his article to check out his comments for each question, too.

1. What is the perfect temperature?
2. Just what is the average temperature of the earth?
3. What factors have led to global warming in the past, and how do we know they aren’t the causes of the current warming trend?
4. Why is there such a strong effort to stifle discussion and dissent?
5. Why are there such dramatically different warnings about the effects of man-made global warming?
6. Are there potential benefits to global warming?
7. Should such drastic changes in public policy be based on a “what if?” proposition?
8. What will be the impact on the people of the world if we change the way we live based on man-made global warming concerns?
9. How will we measure our successes?
10. How has this movement gained such momentum?

I feel these are all very reasonable questions that we need answers to in order to make the right decisions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

19 Ways to save the planet

I've seen almost all of these in various recent news articles, but this writer has put them (and this is by no means all of them) in one list.

And some people still wonder why global warming shills bother me.

Fascinating reading

I knew that the Northwest Passage has been navigated before several times, but I had no idea just *how many* times! Check out this post, which is filled with reference links. In a nutshell, though, these are the years the Northwest Passage has been navigated.


While we're at it, these two articles were published on the same day.

Scientists fear Arctic thaw has reached 'tipping point'
Seth Borenstein
Associated Press

Dec. 12, 2007 12:00 AM WASHINGTON - An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer, a warning sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One even speculated that summer sea ice would be gone in five years.

Arctic Sea Ice Re-Freezing at Record Pace
After Record Summer Melt, Recovery Still Lags

The record melting of Arctic sea ice observed this summer and fall led to record-low levels of ice in both September and October, but a record-setting pace of re-freezing in November, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. Some 58,000 square miles of ice formed per day for 10 days in late October and early November, a new record.

Oh, and check this out - from the above article...

The record melting of Arctic sea ice this summer was widely viewed as a harbinger of global warming, though unusual wind patterns played a role and many factors affecting fluctuations in Arctic ice are poorly understood by scientists. Still, so much ice melted that the fabled Northwest passage opened for the first time in history,
First time in history? I wonder how they can make that claim?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Playing the numbers game.

Obligatory disclaimer...

One of the biggest myths surrounding global warming/catastrophic climate change is that over 2000 scientists contributing to the IPCC reports agree. Here's an explanation of the numbers, and who gets the final say.

IPCC must come clean on real numbers of scientist supporters
The UN Climate Change Numbers Hoax
By Tom Harris: John McLean Friday, December 14, 2007


An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that ‘hundreds of IPCC scientists’ are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.”

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”. Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60% of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

An open letter...

See also:

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change
Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged


A new call to reason
Terence Corcoran, National Post
Published: Thursday, December 13, 2007

An open letter to the US Secretary General on Global Warming.
(I've found this on too many sites to know where properly link to, so I'm just copying the whole thing here.)

updated Dec. 16: My thanks to Mr. Harris for giving me the right link for this. :-)

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages…

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC’s conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by ­government ­representatives. The great ­majority of IPCC contributors and ­reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

z Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.

z The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

z Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today’s computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is “settled,” significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the “precautionary principle” because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future…

Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity’s real and pressing problems.

Signed by,

The following are signatories to the Dec. 13th letter to the Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the UN Climate conference in Bali:

Don Aitkin, PhD, Professor, social scientist, retired vice-chancellor and president, University of Canberra, Australia

William J.R. Alexander, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Member, UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994-2000

Bjarne Andresen, PhD, physicist, Professor, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Geoff L. Austin, PhD, FNZIP, FRSNZ, Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Timothy F. Ball, PhD, environmental consultant, former climatology professor, University of Winnipeg

Ernst-Georg Beck, Dipl. Biol., Biologist, Merian-Schule Freiburg, Germany

Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen, PhD, Reader, Dept. of Geography, Hull University, U.K.; Editor, Energy & Environment journal

Chris C. Borel, PhD, remote sensing scientist, U.S.

Reid A. Bryson, PhD, DSc, DEngr, UNE P. Global 500 Laureate; Senior Scientist, Center for Climatic Research; Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin

Dan Carruthers, M.Sc., wildlife biology consultant specializing in animal ecology in Arctic and Subarctic regions, Alberta

R.M. Carter, PhD, Professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Ian D. Clark, PhD, Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa

Richard S. Courtney, PhD, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.

Willem de Lange, PhD, Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, Waikato University, New Zealand

David Deming, PhD (Geophysics), Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma

Freeman J. Dyson, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J.

Don J. Easterbrook, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Geology, Western Washington University

Lance Endersbee, Emeritus Professor, former dean of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Monasy University, Australia

Hans Erren, Doctorandus, geophysicist and climate specialist, Sittard, The Netherlands

Robert H. Essenhigh, PhD, E.G. Bailey Professor of Energy Conversion, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University

Christopher Essex, PhD, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Associate Director of the Program in Theoretical Physics, University of Western Ontario

David Evans, PhD, mathematician, carbon accountant, computer and electrical engineer and head of 'Science Speak,' Australia

William Evans, PhD, editor, American Midland Naturalist; Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

Stewart Franks, PhD, Professor, Hydroclimatologist, University of Newcastle, Australia

R. W. Gauldie, PhD, Research Professor, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean Earth Sciences and Technology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Lee C. Gerhard, PhD, Senior Scientist Emeritus, University of Kansas; former director and state geologist, Kansas Geological Survey

Gerhard Gerlich, Professor for Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, Institut für Mathematische Physik der TU Braunschweig, Germany

Albrecht Glatzle, PhD, sc.agr., Agro-Biologist and Gerente ejecutivo, INTTAS, Paraguay

Fred Goldberg, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden

Vincent Gray, PhD, expert reviewer for the IPCC and author of The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of 'Climate Change 2001, Wellington, New Zealand

William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University and Head of the Tropical Meteorology Project

Howard Hayden, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Connecticut

Louis Hissink MSc, M.A.I.G., editor, AIG News, and consulting geologist, Perth, Western Australia

Craig D. Idso, PhD, Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Arizona

Sherwood B. Idso, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, AZ, USA

Andrei Illarionov, PhD, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity; founder and director of the Institute of Economic Analysis

Zbigniew Jaworowski, PhD, physicist, Chairman - Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland

Jon Jenkins, PhD, MD, computer modelling - virology, NSW, Australia

Wibjorn Karlen, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Olavi Kärner, Ph.D., Research Associate, Dept. of Atmospheric Physics, Institute of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics, Toravere, Estonia

Joel M. Kauffman, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

David Kear, PhD, FRSNZ, CMG, geologist, former Director-General of NZ Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Zealand

Madhav Khandekar, PhD, former research scientist, Environment Canada; editor, Climate Research (2003-05); editorial board member, Natural Hazards; IPCC expert reviewer 2007

William Kininmonth M.Sc., M.Admin., former head of Australia's National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological organization's Commission for Climatology Jan J.H. Kop, MSc Ceng FICE (Civil Engineer Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers), Emeritus Prof. of Public Health Engineering, Technical University Delft, The Netherlands

Prof. R.W.J. Kouffeld, Emeritus Professor, Energy Conversion, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Salomon Kroonenberg, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Geotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Hans H.J. Labohm, PhD, economist, former advisor to the executive board, Clingendael Institute (The Netherlands Institute of International Relations), The Netherlands

The Rt. Hon. Lord Lawson of Blaby, economist; Chairman of the Central Europe Trust; former Chancellor of the Exchequer, U.K.

Douglas Leahey, PhD, meteorologist and air-quality consultant, Calgary

David R. Legates, PhD, Director, Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware

Marcel Leroux, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Climatology, University of Lyon, France; former director of Laboratory of Climatology, Risks and Environment, CNRS

Bryan Leyland, International Climate Science Coalition, consultant and power engineer, Auckland, New Zealand

William Lindqvist, PhD, independent consulting geologist, Calif.

Richard S. Lindzen, PhD, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A.J. Tom van Loon, PhD, Professor of Geology (Quaternary Geology), Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; former President of the European Association of Science Editors

Anthony R. Lupo, PhD, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Dept. of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri-Columbia

Richard Mackey, PhD, Statistician, Australia

Horst Malberg, PhD, Professor for Meteorology and Climatology, Institut für Meteorologie, Berlin, Germany

John Maunder, PhD, Climatologist, former President of the Commission for Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization (89-97), New Zealand

Alister McFarquhar, PhD, international economy, Downing College, Cambridge, U.K.

Ross McKitrick, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Guelph

John McLean, PhD, climate data analyst, computer scientist, Australia

Owen McShane, PhD, economist, head of the International Climate Science Coalition; Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies, New Zealand

Fred Michel, PhD, Director, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Carleton University

Frank Milne, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Economics, Queen's University

Asmunn Moene, PhD, former head of the Forecasting Centre, Meteorological Institute, Norway

Alan Moran, PhD, Energy Economist, Director of the IPA's Deregulation Unit, Australia

Nils-Axel Morner, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden

Lubos Motl, PhD, Physicist, former Harvard string theorist, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

John Nicol, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Physics, James Cook University, Australia

David Nowell, M.Sc., Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, former chairman of the NATO Meteorological Group, Ottawa

James J. O'Brien, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Meteorology and Oceanography, Florida State University

Cliff Ollier, PhD, Professor Emeritus (Geology), Research Fellow, University of Western Australia

Garth W. Paltridge, PhD, atmospheric physicist, Emeritus Professor and former Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia

R. Timothy Patterson, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences (paleoclimatology), Carleton University

Al Pekarek, PhD, Associate Professor of Geology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Dept., St. Cloud State University, Minnesota

Ian Plimer, PhD, Professor of Geology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia

Brian Pratt, PhD, Professor of Geology, Sedimentology, University of Saskatchewan

Harry N.A. Priem, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Planetary Geology and Isotope Geophysics, Utrecht University; former director of the Netherlands Institute for Isotope Geosciences

Alex Robson, PhD, Economics, Australian National University Colonel F.P.M. Rombouts, Branch Chief - Safety, Quality and Environment, Royal Netherland Air Force

R.G. Roper, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

Arthur Rorsch, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Molecular Genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, principal consultant, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, B.C.

Tom V. Segalstad, PhD, (Geology/Geochemistry), Head of the Geological Museum and Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology, University of Oslo, Norway

Gary D. Sharp, PhD, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, CA

S. Fred Singer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia and former director Weather Satellite Service

L. Graham Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario

Roy W. Spencer, PhD, climatologist, Principal Research Scientist, Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama, Huntsville

Peter Stilbs, TeknD, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Research Leader, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Stockholm, Sweden

Hendrik Tennekes, PhD, former director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Dick Thoenes, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Brian G Valentine, PhD, PE (Chem.), Technology Manager - Industrial Energy Efficiency, Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Maryland at College Park; Dept of Energy, Washington, DC

Gerrit J. van der Lingen, PhD, geologist and paleoclimatologist, climate change consultant, Geoscience Research and Investigations, New Zealand

Len Walker, PhD, Power Engineering, Australia

Edward J. Wegman, PhD, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Virginia

Stephan Wilksch, PhD, Professor for Innovation and Technology Management, Production Management and Logistics, University of Technolgy and Economics Berlin, Germany

Boris Winterhalter, PhD, senior marine researcher (retired), Geological Survey of Finland, former professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, Finland

David E. Wojick, PhD, P.Eng., energy consultant, Virginia

Raphael Wust, PhD, Lecturer, Marine Geology/Sedimentology, James Cook University, Australia

A. Zichichi, PhD, President of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva, Switzerland; Emeritus Professor of Advanced Physics, University of Bologna, Italy

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some articles of interest

Obligatory disclaimer...

Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics

Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research

Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.

(many links to follow in that above site. See also this manifest.)

Dishonest political tampering with the science on global warming
By OnTheWeb: Christopher Monckton Monday, December 10, 2007


Two detailed investigations by Committees of the House confirm that the IPCC has deliberately, persistently and prodigiously exaggerated not only the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature but also the environmental consequences of warmer weather.

My contribution to the 2007 report illustrates the scientific problem. The report’s first table of figures - inserted by the IPCC’s bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent - listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10.

The result of this dishonest political tampering with the science was that the sum of the four items in the offending table was more than twice the IPCC’s published total. Until I wrote to point out the error, no one had noticed. The IPCC, on receiving my letter, quietly corrected, moved and relabeled the erroneous table, posting the new version on the internet and earning me my Nobel prize.

United Nation Climate change, Bali
Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing’ At UN Conference
By EPW Blog Tuesday, December 11, 2007

BALI, Indonesia - An international team of scientists skeptical of man-made climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore, descended on Bali this week to urge the world to “have the courage to do nothing” in response to UN demands.

Lord Christopher Monckton, a UK climate researcher, had a blunt message for UN climate conference participants on Monday.

“Climate change is a non problem. The right answer to a non problem is to have the courage to do nothing,” Monckton told participants.

“The UN conference is a complete waste of our time and your money and we should no longer pay the slightest attention to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,)” Monckton added. (LINK)

Monckton also noted that the UN has not been overly welcoming to the group of skeptical scientists.

“UN organizers refused my credentials and appeared desperate that I should not come to this conference. They have also made several attempts to interfere with our public meetings,” Monckton explained.

(check out the many links in the above article, as well)

10 December 2007 – 19h00 GMT

The best brains in the world have turned their backs on the methodology and analysis used by the IPCC, yet the psyche of Governments and their “scientific” advisers remains focused on the false science and false consensus claims put forward by the IPCC, why?

(an open letter; pdf file)

update: I guess I wasn't finished yet. Here are some more.

Dissenters Are Left High And Dry In Bali
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, December 07, 2007 4:20 PM PT

Environment: While global warming alarmists revel in self-importance at their 11-day forum in Bali, dissenting scientists are being shut out and credible charges are leveled that the U.N. has doctored sea-level data.

Marketing global warming
By David Holland - posted Monday, 10 December 2007

One disputed issue remains fundamental to concerns over global warming. It is whether 20th century warming is so exceptional that it can only be explained by changes to the atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels. It, and with it the theory of human causation, is incapable of absolute proof and is at best a matter of judgment, or if the arguments are not fully considered, simply a matter of belief.

How the IPCC has dealt with this issue exposes poor process, bias and concealment that make the IPCC assessments unreliable as the monopoly authority on the science.

The Bali Climate Conference and Global Warming Issues Explained
By Arthur E. Lemay, 12/10/2007 4:16:56 PM


Actually, most of the world’s climate change scientists are skeptics. Although the IPCC has over 2,000 scientists on panels, there are thousands more who have eschewed participating in the IPCC because they believe it is biased. And, 17,000 of them have signed the Oregon petition denying that man is causing global warming.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Obligatory disclaimer...

Ok, I really should be getting ready to head out for the day, but I can't help it. I just have to comment on an article in today's news.

Protesters across the world call for action to stop climate change catastrophe

Because of the time zone differences, such a protest is happening in our city right now, and is supposed to continue for several more hours. Greenpeace is one of the organizers, so you know it'll be suitably dramatic. Not that they have a monopoly on the dramatic.

LONDON - Skiers, fire-eaters and environmental campaigners joined in demonstrations worldwide...

From costume parades in Manila to a cyclist's protest in London, ...

Hundreds of people rallied in the Philippines' capital - wearing miniature windmills atop hats, or framing their faces in cardboard cutouts of the sun. ...

Apparently, intelligence is not required.

"We are trying to send a message that we are going to have to use renewable energy sometime, because the environment, we need to really preserve it,"

I have this sudden image of this poor, hapless beauty pageant contestant, stammering about "the Iraq" and people not having maps.

...some 1,500 people marched through the streets holding banners and placards saying "No to carbon dioxide."

Really? Well, let's all just commit suicide, then - but not until after we've killed off all creatures that respirate. And find some way to prevent them from decomposing. And keeping ourselves from decomposing. Oh, and we'll have to get rid of the oceans, since they are the largest carbon sinks, releasing the most CO2 into the atmosphere.

Oops... that's not what they meant? My bad.

At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, ice sculpture artist Christian Funk carved a polar bear out of 15 tonnes of ice as a memorial to climate protection.

Say what? Have you ever seen how ice sculptures are made? They use chain saws. And blow torches. As my husband put it, it's a bit like f****ing for virginity.


There, I feel better now. Sorry about the shouting, though.

In Helsinki, Finland, about 50 demonstrators ground their skis across the asphalt along the main shopping street, calling for decision makers to give them their snowy winters back.

K, that's just painful, but if they want to ruin expensive ski equipment, they're welcome to it. How they expect anyone to "give them their snowy winters back" is a mystery to me - unless they are willing to "credit" the current snowfall and cold records occurring around the world on human activity? Somehow, I don't think so.

Fire-eaters blew billowing clouds of flame in Greek cities where demonstrators demanded decisive action against climate change,

Uhm... see my chainsaw wielding ice sculpture comments above.

The London protest has singled out one particular target - U.S. President George W. Bush - calling his administration the biggest obstacle to progress at the Bali talks. ... "We will not just stand by and allow Bush - or anyone else - to wreck the global effort to save billions of lives from climate catastrophe."

You just knew someone would bring in the evil Bush, didn't you? I know I did. It's always the fault of G.W.Bush and the big bad US of A.

The U.S. position that technology and private investment - not mandatory emissions cuts - will save the planet has taken a beating.

Because we all know that taxes, government intervention, enforced wealth distribution and enforced behaviour is SO much more efficient and effective. Right?

In Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S. activists prepared to make "polar bear" plunges into icy cold bodies of water.

I'm sure the locals just love these guys...

I think I'll pass on today's flamboyant activities. Instead, the kids and I will be meeting with friends at the local science centre.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

story link without comment

Science reading for Bali's beach
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post
Published: Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Stripped of its 2,000-year sensation, the IPCC now trumpets a new chart as the official Global Temperature Record. This is the first graphic in the IPCC's latest official pre-Bali "synthesis" report on climate science. It's another scientific icon that purports to show temperatures soaring over the last 25 years. The recent jump, the IPCC says, is "very likely" due to man-made carbon emissions.

But a new paper by Ross McKitrick of Guelph University and Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute suggests the latest IPCC climate-change icon could be as flawed as the hockey stick. One of the main problems with the 2,000-year graphic is that it wiped out a well-known Medieval Warm Period from 1,000 years ago. The McKitrick/Michaels analysis looks at the other end of the time spectrum and finds that much of the recent warming trend may be a function of faulty, contaminated data. It may simply be wrong.


Monday, December 03, 2007

A little thing called integrity - they don't have it.

I've made no secret that I have a low opinion of the UN. I've come to believe it's probably the most corrupt organization in the world - a noble idea gone terribly wrong. The UN has no integrity left anymore, and do more harm than good. As such, I can't understand those who seem to put the UN on some sort of pedestal, and am alarmed by those who suggest the UN should have even more power over the world. In my opinion, we'd be better off disbanding the UN completely, and this is just another example of why.

Editorial link here.


The UN often exaggerates issues it thinks are worthwhile, be it AIDS, global warming, refugees, hunger, children, poverty, etc. It doesn't do this recklessly or by accident, but to force awareness on an otherwise apathetic public, to raise money for whatever the cause is.

As for the exaggeration of the AIDS "pandemic," especially in Africa, AIDS author Helen Epstein told the Washington Post that the UN's "tendency towards alarmism fit a certain fundraising agenda."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not that it'll change their tactics...

So it turns out fewer people are dying than predicted.

Fall in weather deaths dents climate warnings
David Smith

GREEN scientists have been accused of overstating the dangers of climate change by researchers who found that the number of people killed each year by weather-related disasters is falling. Their report suggests that a central plank in the global warming argument – that it will result in a big increase in deaths from weather-related disasters – is undermined by the facts. It shows deaths in such disasters peaked in the 1920s and have been declining ever since. Average annual deaths from weather-related events in the period 1990-2006 – considered by scientists to be when global warming has been most intense – were down by 87% on the 1900-89 average. The mortality rate from catastrophes, measured in deaths per million people, dropped by 93%.

So what's Greenpeace's response?

Greenpeace attacked the International Policy Network, one of the Civil Society organizations, which is publishing the report in Britain.

“The International Policy Network is known for being in the pay of the world’s biggest oil company,” a spokesman said.

The network said: “Funding for this project has come entirely from private individuals and foundations.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book review - final impression - The CIG to Global Warming

Here's part two of my review of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Global Warming by Michael Tennesen.

This probably won't be as thorough as I'd normally like, but I've picked up a nasty cold and my head space is pretty foggy because of it. :-P I apologize now if I go off on a confused ramble...

First off, I've had it verified that one of the things that bugged me about the book - that it seemed to "talk down" to the reader - is in fact a format of the Idiot's Guide series. So I made the effort basically ignore that, which made it easier to read.

After my initial response to the forwards in my first impressions review, I was pleasantly surprised at the rest of the book. It was a lot more evenhanded than I had started to expect it to be.

The age of the book (copyright 2004) was both a positive and negative. On the negative side, some of the information is longer up to date - specifically anything from the 2001 IPCC report, which is the only one referred to, and the claim that of the 10 hottest years on record, most occurred in the 1990's, which was corrected well after this book was published. On the positive side, the only mention of Al Gore was in his role as vice-president, and there's no hysterical mentions of Hurricane Katrine. Other hurricanes are mentioned, but since they all happened at least a few years before the book was published, they're not in the forefront.

The book does a decent job of explaining the mechanisms behind various climactic events and the history of Earth's climate, as well as we know it. The event that gets the most space is El Nino. Unfortunately, the author has a habit of throwing in rhetorical questions after describing some major climactic event (hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever...), along the lines of "how much worse will it be in a warmer world?"

There were a number of contradictions, as well. For example, the author would go on about how incredibly complex climate is, that we are just beginning to understand it, and that there are many things we still don't know. He'd then go back to talking about CO2, as if 1) it where the only thing that drives climate and 2) as if climate was actually simple, and that we understood it completely.

Another area where of contradiction is with computer models. After going on about how difficult it is for a computer to model climate, not only because we don't know what all to put in, but no computer is powerful enough to include what we *do* know, etc., he then goes on to put complete faith in what the computer models predict.

When it comes to the CO2 numbers, he only talks about how CO2 levels have never been lower than 200ppm or higher than 280ppm until the industrial revolution (which he conveniently backs up to when it started 150 years ago in England, rather than when it had spread to significant portions of the world and was actually large enough to be considered). He then talks about current (to 2003) levels and the doubling expected (560ppm). It turns out that when he says CO2 levels have never been lower/higher than 200/280ppm, he actually means the last 10,000 years. I found that interesting, since he talks about the Younger Dryas (which ended about 11,500 years ago), during which temperatures suddenly dropped, then ended with temperatures increasing and estimated 8C in about 10 years, but never mentions what the CO2 levels are believed to have been during that period. (The best I've been able to find, by the way, is that it was <200ppm). class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4">handbasket. Sure, he does use words like "could" and "might," but then switches to "will" rather quickly. There isn't much room for doubt in how these predictions are described, that these are things we're supposed to expect to happen. He spent a great deal of time describing the disastrous effects following the 1997/98 El Nino (I remember 1998, and I don't remember it being that bad!), then goes on to suggest a future where our climate is like that all the time.

What really got me, though, were the odd statements he'd throw in. For example, at one point he write that, sure, the medieval warming period was good for some areas, but it allowed Vikings to rape and pillage the coastlines of Europe. ???

Eventually, the book started to talk about the cure - what we can do to stop global warming. There's the usual stuff that we individuals can do - make our homes more energy efficient, use alternate forms of transportation, recycle, and so on. Then he talks about alternate energy sources, such as solar, wind, water, even fuel cells and nuclear power get mentioned.

In the end, I found the book to be both informative and frustrating. The lack of references to back up statements are my usual pet peeve, of course. The contradictions and lack of solid information rather than blanket statements are a problem.

The main reason I would NOT recommend this book, however, is that it is (dare I say it!) obsolete. While the basic information about things like how different weather systems work still apply, and I would recommend it as a backgrounder, there are too many key points that have been refuted for this book to be a decision maker.

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's really in the report

This article talks about the difference between what's being reported about the latest IPCC summary report - and what it actually says.

IPCC: separating fact from fright.


What the IPCC reports actually talk about are the more prosaic problems of water supply, agricultural production, disease, extreme weather events and flooding: all of these are already-existing problems, and all of them are potentially resolvable through relatively simple societal and technological developments.

Yet rather than discussing the need for more development, and a concerted global strategy to tackle social problems as they exist right now – not just in 100 years time – all of the attention and energy of political leaders is being focused on how we can stop producing so much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Food for thought, as well as plants...

By David Bellamy and Jack Barrett


Carbon dioxide is not the dreaded greenhouse gas that the global warmers crack it up to be. It is in fact the most important airborne fertiliser in the world and without it there would be no green plants at all. In fact, a doubling of the levels of this gas in the atmosphere would bring about a marked rise in plant production -- good news for everyone, especially those malnourished millions who can't afford chemical fertilisers. Perhaps the time is ripe to really start worrying (again) about the fact that for the last 200 million years the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has been falling. Indeed it dropped to dangerously low levels during recent ice ages. The Plant Kingdom responded to this potentially catastrophic (no carbon no food) situation by producing the so-called C4 plants that can survive low CO2 by using sunlight more efficiently.

Please talk to your plants -- and as you do, rest assured that they in effect will thank you, by recycling your waste carbon dioxide to make more plant material and return oxygen to the earth's atmosphere.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another first impressions book review

Obligatory disclaimer...

I'm trying to alternate my reading between pro- and con-AGW views. I like to look at both sides of issues and come to my own conclusions. After having to rush through my comparatively short and incomplete review of the last book before returning it to the library, I wanted to make sure I don't fall behind again.

This time, I'm working on The Complete Idiot's Guide to Global Warming, from Michael Tennesen. (Passages quoted from the book will be in red italics.) This is a first impressions review only - I haven't finished the book. I'll be basing this review only on the forward, introduction, and back-of-the-book references. Although I'm about half way through the book itself, I won't touch that content until I post my final review.

The copyright for this book is 2004 (it took me a while to find that), so I would guess that the information in it is up to date to late 2003, perhaps early 2004. As such, I know that some of the information in there may not be accurate anymore, as our knowledge and technical abilities have increased. I expect that this will be only a small issue, though.

To begin, I have to say that this is my first exposure to any of the Idiot's Guide books. I'm thinking that the basic premise (that the readers are idiots??) is why, right from the start, I felt like I was being talked down to. The book actually starts on the inside cover with a letter to the reader, where it explains what the book is going to be about. Just in case the title, bullet points and quotes on the cover weren't quite enough, I guess. [scratches head] Why the book has two sets of contents ("Contents at a Glance" followed by "Contents"), I'm not sure. Part of the Idiot's Guide format?

The forward is written by two people. Stephen H. Schneider and Michael D. Mastrandrea. At first, I had some encouragement that there would be a level of scientific balance as, in the first paragraph, they write:

" is those who make knee-jerk, black-or-white statements about climate change is either "good for you" or the "end of the world" who are the real idiots, not basing their assertions on the full spectrum of scientific knowledge and understanding."

Unfortunately, that's about as balanced as it gets, as the writers later go on to to bemoan that, while it's appropriate for journalists to report "both sides" in other areas...

"In science, it's different. ... when reports present arguments for and against the existence of global warming, they are often giving equal voice to a mainstream, well-established consensus and the opposing views of a few extremists. To the uninformed, each position seems equally credible - after all, each claimant has a Ph.D. But you, the reader of this guide, will quickly see that these falsely dichotomous debates do not pit equally credible sides against each other. That is, although some "experts" and many politicians - especially in the United states, those affiliated with the fossil fuel industry or big car companies - assert that human-induced emissions have little impact on the climate, the vast bulk of those truly knowledgeable about climate change and its potential impacts are convinced there is overwhelming evidence for global warming and legitimate reason for concern. With this book you will have the facts to understand these concerns, and to better decide for yourselves who the real "idiots" are."

Wow. In a single paragraph, the writers say that...

  • when it comes to science, the media shouldn't show "both sides" of an issue.
  • that "both sides" refers to the existence of global warming, not the facts surrounding global climate in general (the "skeptics," by the way, aren't arguing whether or not there has been global warming. It's one of the few points both sides agree on. Not according to these two, it seems.)
  • that when they do, the pro-AGW people are all part of the "mainstream, well-established consensus," but everyone else is just an extremist.
  • that these debates are "falsely dichotomous."
  • claims that only one side is credible - it's pretty obvious which side they mean.
  • by putting "experts" for the other side in quotations, they imply that these "experts" are anything but. I find it funny that they include politicians on that side of things, what with Al Gore being the consummate politician, and very much in the AGW camp.
  • blatantly insinuates that people who disagree with AGW are in the pay of some evil emp... er... industry, while equally implying that AGE proponents aren't in the pay of any special interest groups at all, which is absolute hooey...
  • while only those "truly knowledgeable" are on the AGW side of things, implying that anyone who disagrees can't possibly be "truly knowledgeable."
  • and finally, those who disagree with AGW are the true "idiots."

Wow. All that in just a few sentences. That was truly impressive!

So who are these two? Bios for both of them are conveniently included under the forward. Both have a substantial list of achievements (strangely, actual credentials are not mentioned - are they Ph.D's, too? It doesn't say.). Among them, Schneider is described as "active in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," and consultant to presidents. Mastrandrea, among other things, is a researcher, including "intergrated assessment modeling of the climate and economy as a tool for international and domestic climate policy analiysis, forecasting the impacts of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle... as a policymaking tool and analyzing the effects of global climate change on the world ecosystems."

Which looks to me like both their jobs rely on AGW being a big problem and, as such, might be just a touch biased. :-P Well, I wouldn't expect otherwise under the circumstances. We all have our biases, whether we admit to them or not.

Next is the Introduction, with includes "what you'll learn in the book","Extras","Acknowledgments","Special thanks to the technical reviewer", and "Trademarks."

Right from the start, the author is pretty clear on the book's basic premise - that global warming is a problem, CO2 is causing it, and it's our fault. The author does at least state that there is controversy over some things. He then mentions the IPCC predictions that CO2 increases will cause the earth's temperature to increase between 2.5F to 10.4F (1.4C to 5.8C) within this century.

At this point, I became curious about sources and dates, because I know that the IPCC has since lowered that prediction and, in their last report (not the summary of all reports that just got released), they admitted that temperatures haven't actually increased since 1998. That's when I skipped to the back.

Now, I have to admit I came to this book with certain expectations. One of those was that, unlike the last pro-AGW book (first impressions, final impression) I read, this one would be able to dedicate space to references and bibliographies. So I was surprised when I flipped to the back of the book and didn't find any at all!

This is what I did find.

Appendix A is a list of "Concerned Organizations."
Appendix B is "Further Reading," which includes "Books on Climate and Climate Change," (while some appear to be generic, others seems to be pro-AGW, which is to be expected) "Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC)," (only 2001 is mentioned, 3 titles), "Field Guides," (3 titles, seem to be generic), and finally, "Books on the Environment," (while a couple of titles seem generic, most seem to be of the disaster variety).
Appendix C is the glossary.
Then there's the Index.

No references. No bibliography. So on what basis is the reader to believe in the accuracy and research behind this book?

It turns out the answer to that is back in the Introduction.

After listing what the reader will learn in the 6 parts of the books (again - is this an Idiot's Guide format? Because I've never countered this sort of thing before), and a description of the Extras - text boxes scattered throughout the book under 4 headings, Climatoids, Warm Words, Hot Debates and "Caution" Global Warnings (the word caution is in a drawing of a sign).

In the Acknowledgments, the author mentions and thanks "all the people that helped me assemble the facts for this book," followed by a list of names and titles, then mention of many others too numerous to list.

Finally, there's the Special Thanks to the Technical Reviewer. It turns out that one person - "an expert who double-checked the accuracy of what you'll learn here..." is our guarantee, a David Reusch. No mention of who he is or why he is so eminintly qualified to replace any references, research papers, etc. A quick search shows me that he's with the EMS Earth and Environmental Sciences Institute with Penn. State University. His role as technical writer for this book is included on the list of accomplishments in his online CV. He does seem to be quite accomplished, and more than competent to be the tech writer for this book. I just would really prefer to see references and footnotes to actual research, etc.

So my first impression of this book is one of cautious skepticism. The lack of references in a book of this scope really bothers me (can you tell? *L*). While there seems to be a token effort towards balance, it's clear without even reading the book itself that there's only one conclusion the author intends for the reader to reach, even while claiming some sort of middle ground, and its purpose to be helping the reader reach their own conclusions based on facts. It's a contradiction, and one I find off-putting.


What can I say...

... to a story like this?

Green hero slammed as climate heretic

The conclusion (second page)

David Bellamy has come full circle in his four-decade-long career as an environmental activist. In the 1960s, before the era of environmental activism, his was a lonely voice decrying environmental damage by an official establishment insensitive to any view but its own, and dedicated to the conventional wisdom of the times.

He then became an exemplar of the establishment, and helped make the environment a feature of the establishment as well. Now his is a lonely voice once more, again on the outs with an insensitive officialdom. The one constant throughout the decades: Prof. Bellamy's relentlessness in his fight for what he believes to be right.

What an amazing story. And AGW proponents wonder why people are increasingly having a hard time taking them seriously!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In the news

Obligatory disclaimer...

A selection of interesting articles.

NASA Sees Arctic Ocean Circulation Do an About-Face

Linzen Says Chill Out

Polar bears in danger? Is this some kind of joke?

The Myth of Dangerous Human-Caused Climate Change. (pdf)

Despite predictions, sky is not falling

Know The Past And You Understand The Future. (pdf)


Just playing around

Hmm... this is a lot smaller on here that I meant it to be. Click on the image for the full size.

I was just playing around on my Paint Shop Pro. I made a picture tube using scanned images of famous diamonds, then came up with this. I think it turned out ok.

update: this is weird. The graphic disappeared some time after I posted it, even though it was working fine before. I've got it back again and hopefully it'll stay this time.


Monday, November 12, 2007

A quote for thought...

The first key to wisdom is constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.

-- Peter Abelard (A.D. 1079 - 1142)


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Some interesting numbers

Obligatory disclaimer...

I was reading this article in the National Post, and thought it's be interesting to look at just the numbers.

Average deaths (per year unless otherwise specified):
Place............ heat related deaths.......... cold related deaths

Helsinki ............298........................................... 1,655
Athens.............. 1,376........................................ 7,852

UK..................... 2,000 (single event, see below)
England and Wales......................................... 25,000 (average each winter)
...........................................................................47,000 (average between '98-2000)

Europe.............. 200,000.............................. 1,500,000


Europe, 2003 heat wave, single event, total of 35,000 including:
France................ 15,000 (3,500 in Paris)
Germany............ 7,000
Spain and Italy.. 8,000
UK....................... 2,000


I need to verify this, but I believe Canada's average number of cold related deaths is 35,000 per year, and 150,000 in the US.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Book review

Obligatory disclaimer...

I had to push to finish this book today, as I have to return it to the library tomorrow. Well, I should've returned it today, but I'll just have to pay the late fee for one day. ;-) That's what I get for, you know, having a life. *L*

Today's review is for the book, The Politically Incorrect Guide (TM) to Global Warming and Environmentalism, by Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

I'll start off with the things I didn't like about the book.

First off, the author has a rather sarcastic style of writing. Sarcasm has its place, I suppose. Used well, it can bring about a knowing chuckle, and he does use it well. After a while, though, it starts to get annoying. Kept up, it starts to feel pretentious. Depending on the chapter, he sometimes bounced back and forth between the line of annoying and pretentious. I have to admit, however, that I have little patience for sarcasm in the first place, so others would undoubtedly disagree with me.

I also found a couple perplexing errors in the book. Several times, for example, the author says that in AIT, Al Gore claims that polar bears can't swim. Considering he also brought up the computer generated animation of a swimming polar bear, unable to find any ice large enough to support it, I found that rather odd. Another example is an obvious typo that got missed - Arctic was used instead of Antarctic when discussing ice cores from Vostok. From the rest of the paragraph, it was obvious he was talking about the Antarctic and not confusing them.

The biggest problem I have with this book, however, is that the people who need to read it most, won't - or if they did, they wouldn't accept any of it. Horner and the CEI, you see, are on the black list of industry hacks in the pockets of Big Oil (that's if you believe the conspiracy claims). As such, we're not supposed to believe anything he says.

For those who are a bit closer to the fence, or even sitting on it, the book will be an eye opener. For those who have already done their homework and disagree with the alarmists (which does not, I want to make clear, mean denying that the Earth has warmed, or that humans are contributing more CO2 into the atmosphere), most of what's in the book is old news.

The author does a decent and thorough job of confronting the usual claims made by alarmists, and a few more that I was less familiar with. More importantly, the entire book is riddled with reference numbers. There are over 32 pages of references (that's after reducing the size of the font) backing up his claims, with each chapter having its own section.

Throughout the book are sidebars and text boxes with all sorts of extras. Some are charts and additional information. Others are quotes from articles or individuals. There's even a number of "books you're not supposed to read" titles. What really got my attention, though, were the quotes from various "green" organizations and their spokespeople. These quotes alone would be enough to call serious question the real motives of these people and organizations.

Where this book really sets itself apart, however, is the author's own perspective as an insider within the US political system. He's been at the meetings, he's read the reports (including the full IPCC reports, not just the Summaries for Policymakers), he's been part of the discussions - and he's seen the sorts of back room manipulations that are going on. His revelations are particularly devastating to the carefully contrived image of self sacrificing eco-heroism Al Gore tries to surround himself with.

The author also spends a fair amount of space exposing the hypocrisy of the EU governments, which he clearly dislikes, and in how the Bush administration is being vilified for doing things the Clinton government did. One of his points is a claim I've heard many times - that Bush has refused to sign the Kyoto agreement. I've heard it often enough that it was a bit of a surprise when he pointed out that Bush can't possibly sign the agreement. It's been already signed. By Clinton. It just hasn't been ratified by the US senate, which has already said it won't do. So Bush is now being admonished for doing that same thing Clinton did. Or should I say for not doing what Clinton didn't do. How's that for hypocrisy! *L*

There was another thing about the book that I slowly began to appreciate as I got farther into it, and it involves a peculiarity of US authors (though not unique to US authors; it's just where I see it the most). While it's perfectly normal for writers to write from the perspective of the country they're in, US authors (and the US media) tend to forget there are places outside the US, or if they do mention them, it tends to be from a viewpoint of superiority. Not so with Horner. One moment he'll be discussing events within the US government, the next he'll be talking about a similar event in Canada. He'll reference experts from around the world as easily as he'll reference experts from the US, with no difference in how he writes about them. Strange that it was the lack of disrespect that caught my eye. It actually wasn't until I noticed this that I realized how little I've been seeing that.

The book is a lot broader than the issues AGW and and anthropogenic climate change. He also covers other issues surrounding the green industry. He exposes just how much environmentalism has become big business, and the incredible amounts of money and effort they put forward to influence government to their advantage. They're doing the exact same thing they accuse Industry and Big Oil of doing, and for motives that are just as selfish.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend the book to people who have doubts and are looking for answers. It gives plenty of answers from an insider's perspective.

For those already convinced that AGW and anthropogenic climate change is going to be the disaster AGW proponents say it is, I'd still recommend it, but the book would probably just piss them off.


A few more interesting things.

Obligatory disclaimer...

First, check out these real-time images of the sun. Notice anything interesting?

No sunspots.

In fact, there haven't been any sunspots visible since an "All Quiet Alert" was issued on Oct. 5.

The correlation between Earth temperatures and solar activity is far closer than anything else. The more solar activity, the higher the Earth's temperatures. Less solar activity is followed by colder temperatures. There's a lag of about 2-3 years.

I don't know of any other time we've observed 0 sunspots at all, never mind for such a long period, though it certainly may have happened before and we just don't know it. What will this mean for us within the next few years?

Next are a series of videos from a presentation called Climate Change - Is CO2 the Cause?
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Then there's this interesting article by one of the IPCC's expert reviewers.



Monday, November 05, 2007

Partial book review: final impression

Obligatory disclaimer...

This is the continued review of the book, Wild Weather; The Truth Behind Global Warming. You can find part one here.

When I left off my earlier review, I was into the chapters of actual extreme weather events; Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Blizzards, Ice Storms, Drought and Fire.

Each chapter gave a at least one extreme weather events from the past, and at least one in recent years. Aside from the occasional statement of "global warming will make this worse/happen more often," it was quite balanced. The author does particularly well when discussing his specialty, trees. I did find his phrasing curious for many things. For example, when describing how insects survive freezing in the winter, such as how important it is that the freezing occurs between the cells, not in them, he describes it as if they are in control of the process. Or that animals choose whether to hibernate or migrate. I had this strange image of a squirrel thinking "gee, it's getting cold out. I wonder if I should store food and hang around for the winter, or go south this year?" I think, perhaps, a lot is lost in trying to simplify the descriptions, or perhaps he's just used to writing children's books and has the habit of talking down to children that is so common in books aimed at children. I don't know, but it sure was strange to read it.

Beyond that, there are little extras, such as How to Make a Quin-Zhee, or How to Prepare for a Hurricane Watch, as well as tidbits of trivia.

In reading the chapters, I came away with two things. First, the 1880's were a nasty time (which I'm not really surprised at, since there were two major volcanoes that decade, one in 1815, and Krakatoa in 1883). Second, even though he tries to imply that extreme weather events are more common and worse off today because of global warming, what we're seeing now doesn't hold a candle to some of the events in the past, such as three hundred year droughts.

Then we get to the second last chapter, Global Warming. This is where the balance disappears. I'll excuse the claim that 2005 was the hottest ever recorded, as the book was probably published after Hansen's error was discovered and NASA was forced to republish the corrected list, showing that 1934 was the hottest year instead of 1998. The claim that "Overall, Earth's temperature is within 1.8F (1C) of its highest temperature levels in the past million years," however, is another story altogether. It's already been established that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than now, and that the Roman Optimum was even warmer still.

The one that really had me shaking my head was his description of the greenhouse effect itself.

While I can understand why the greenhouse was used as a metaphor to describe what these gases in our atmosphere do, it's probably caused more misunderstandings than anything else.

The author writes:

Radiation emitted by the sun passes through the Earth's atmosphere, which resembles, in a crude way, a pane of glass on the roof of a greenhouse. As the sun's short-wave electromagnetic energy (visible wavelengths between 380 and 775 nanometers) passes through the glass roof, it hits the floor of the greenhouse - the surface of the Earth.

So far, so good.

Energy is absorbed and then re-radiated as a much longer wave (longer than 775 nanometers).

Still on the right track...

The long-wave radiation cannot pass through the glass roof, and thus, the greenhouse gets warmer. Similarly; the next time you open your car door after it has been sitting out in the full sunshine with windows closed, you will immediately notice that it is much hotter than the air outside.

That loud noise you hear is me banging my head on the desk.

The car in the sun analogy is even worse than the greenhouse - and it's an analogy taken straight from a David Suzuki speech, if I remember correctly.

Here's what really happens. When those long waves pass through the atmosphere, the greenhouse gases absorb them - the word "trap" is often used - for a short time. These gases then re-radiate the energy back out in all directions, some back to the earth, some out into space.

There's more to it than that, though, and you will rarely hear about it on either side of the issue. Earth is not a closed system the way a real greenhouse is, and certainly not like a car in full sunshine with the windows closed! What is forgotten is fluid dynamics. Things like clouds, wind, solar activity, even cosmic winds, the Earth's rotation and the tilt of its axis, all have their influence. The car in the sun with the windows closed has none of those things. That's why temperatures in a car can get hot enough to kill. To accurately compare, you'd have to not just open the windows, but the doors and the sunroof. You'd then have to make sure the car is in shade at least sometimes, slosh some water or ice shavings in there every now and then - oh, and it needs to be moving, too.

It doesn't get any better. In describing the make up of the atmosphere, he writes:

"... the troposphere, is made up of nitrogen (78 percent), oxygen (21 percent), argon (0.9 percent), and .1 percent other gases. This is the air we breathe. The "other" category includes gases such as CO2, methane, water vapor, and about 27 other trace gases..."


Once again, he relegates water vapor to a trace gas, after CO2 and methane. It would be more accurate to call it a "variable gas."

PERMANENT gases in the atmosphere by percent are:

Nitrogen 78.1%
Oxygen 20.9%

(Note that these two permanent gases together comprise 99% of the atmosphere)

Other permanent gases:

Argon 0.9%
Neon 0.002%
Helium 0.0005%
Krypton 0.0001%
Hydrogen 0.00005%

VARIABLE gases in the atmosphere and typical percentage values are:

Water vapor 0 to 4%
Carbon Dioxide 0.035%
Methane 0.0002%
Ozone 0.000004%

Note that water vapor can be up to 4%. Heck, anything better than 1% puts it higher than all but two of the permanent gases - hardly a "trace gas." (I would like to know just where in the world water vapor in the atmosphere would be 0%, since even the driest areas of the world, such as the tundra and the Antarctic, still have some moisture in the air.) Water vapor is also responsible for most of the greenhouse effect (I've read anywhere from 70% to 95% of the greenhouse effect is due to water vapor. See page one page two page three for a detailed description.)

The author then proceeds to make pretty much the same claims about CO2 and global warming that Gore does in AIT. Even the charts he uses look like the same ones in AIT. At least he brings up the Maunder Minimum and the effects of solar activity, though he repeats the claim that polar bears numbers are diminishing (they aren't), among others. On and on he goes with the litany of evils laid at the feet of global warming - without any references to back up his claims. Given what he's been using for resources, listed at the back of the book, it's no surprise that many of these are exaggerated, misrepresented, or simply wrong. I won't bother listing them here, since I've already discussed them when reviewing both the book and movie, AIT.

The final chapter is Hope for the Future. After another list of doom and gloom, he talks about things like how expected increases in the cost of gas is a good thing, as more companies are looking to producing hybrids, and mentions companies expanding into or using alternative energy sources. His historical perspective regarding recycling is a bit off, as he writes:

Twenty-five years ago, recycling was in its infancy. Today, recycling is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry.

He forgets that humans have recycled (and reused) anything and everything they could for as long as we've around - it's just that no one ever called it recycling. The metal industry in particular has always encouraged recycling, Medieval tavern owners used to pay people to return the bottles drinks were sold in, and even scrap wool was sold on street corners to passersby.

That final chapter is the shortest of them all, at barely over 5 pages, and it's rather empty of anything that might be described as hopeful - unless you've got stocks in GE or DuPont. I'm not sure what that says about the author's real thoughts are about the future.

The book ends with a Wild Weather Timeline, Amazing Facts and Figures and What Others Say.

In conclusion, I found myself mostly unimpressed with this book. I can make exception for some things due to the size of the book, and I can live with the slightly odd phraseology he uses. The actual extreme weather events he describes are interesting, but he fails to make his case that these events are occurring more often, that they will get worse, or that global warming is the cause. There are too many factual errors and gaps of information, and a complete lack of hard references.