Thursday, April 26, 2012
Awkward finding: Changes in wind currents responsible for melting Western Antarctic sea ice
Antarctic sea ice (floating ice) as a whole is not melting but even if it did it would have no effect on sea levels -- See Archimedes. The various bits of scare talk below are just speculation at best -- if not outright dishonest
Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds.
That suggests [how?] that future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting.
The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet (seven metres) of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists weren't exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor. The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role — but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice were merely melting from warmer air.
Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, said research using an ice-gazing NASA satellite showed that warmer air alone couldn't explain what was happening to Antarctica. A more detailed examination found a chain of events that explained the shrinking ice shelves.
Twenty ice shelves showed signs that they were melting from warm water below. Changes in wind currents pushed that relatively warmer water closer to and beneath the floating ice shelves. The wind change is likely caused by a combination of factors, including natural weather variation, the ozone hole and man-made greenhouse gases, Pritchard said in a phone interview.
As the floating ice shelves melt and thin, that in turn triggers snow and ice on land glaciers to slide down to the floating shelves and eventually into the sea, causing sea level rise, Pritchard said. Thicker floating ice shelves usually keep much of the land snow and ice from shedding to sea, but that's not happening now.
That whole process causes larger and faster sea level rise than simply warmer air melting snow on land-locked glaciers, Pritchard said.
"It means the ice sheets are highly sensitive to relatively subtle changes in climate through the effects of the wind," he said.
What's happening in Antarctica "may have already triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat", the study concludes. If the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt — something that would take many decades if not centuries — scientists have estimated it would lift global sea levels by about 16 feet (4.87 metres).
NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati, an expert in Earth's ice systems who wasn't involved in the research, said Pritchard's study "makes an important advance" and provides key information about how Antarctica will contribute to global sea level rise. [Che?]
Another outside expert, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, said the paper will change the way scientists think about melt in Antarctica. Seeing more warm water encircling the continent, he worries that with "a further push from the wind" newer areas could start shrinking.
Is global warming just hot air? World temperatures have risen by just 0.29C in the last two decades
This article appeared in Britain's widely-read "Daily Mail"
World temperatures have remained almost stagnant in the last two decades, new figures have revealed. Temperatures across the globe rose by around a third of a degree last year from the average of 14 degrees Celsius recorded between 1961 and 1990. In some years, temperatures rose by just 0.29 degrees C while in others they rose by .53 degrees.
The findings come as consumers feel the full force of a raft of environment policies introduced by the coalition and the previous Labour government in the name of climate change. By 2030, ‘green’ policy burdens could cost families an extra £267 a year and have already raised current energy bills by £78 annually.
The figures on global temperatures were published by Environment Minister Gregory Barker in a parliamentary answer to Tory MP Anne Main.
Mrs Main said it raised questions about whether vulnerable people should be made to make the choice between heating and eating. She said: ‘These figures show that the cost to domestic energy bills from these policies will be significant and is a cause for concern.
‘I understand the Government is trying to mitigate the increase with the Green Deal and by encouraging people to insulate their homes.
‘However in areas like St Albans that have many listed properties, often owned by elderly people where they cannot benefit from energy efficiency schemes; mitigation may not be the answer and energy bills will rise.
‘I am worried that the most vulnerable in my constituency could be hardest hit by these policies; the Government needs to take this into account if bills are to be kept down.’
The figures were unveiled as an environmental guru and maverick scientist admitted that he may have been ‘alarmist’ about climate change. James Lovelock, who warned that billions would die before the end of this century and only the Arctic would be fit for human habitation, said: ‘The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.’
The 92-year-old told MSNBC in America: ‘The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now. The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising.’
The scientist is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared.
‘It will be the third in a series and follows on from his best-selling: Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back – and How We Can Still Save Humanity, and The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can.
The folly of E15 anti-hydrocarbon policies
The Obama Administration’s anti-hydrocarbon ideology and “renewable” energy mythology continues to subsidize crony capitalists and the politicians they help keep in office – on the backs of American taxpayers, ratepayers and motorists. The latest chapter in the sorry ethanol saga is a perfect example.
Bowing to pressure from ADM, Cargill, Growth Energy and other Big Ethanol lobbyists, Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency has decided to allow ethanol manufacturers to register as suppliers of E15 gasoline. E15 contains 15% ethanol, rather than currently mandated 10% blends.
The next lobbying effort will focus on getting E15 registered as a fuel in individual states and persuading oil companies to offer it at service stations. But according to the Associated Press and Washington Post, Team Obama already plans to provide taxpayer-financed grants, loans and loan guarantees to “help station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years” and promote the use of biofuels.
Pummeled by Obama policies that have helped send regular gasoline prices skyrocketing from $1.85 a gallon when he took office to $4.00 today – many motorists will welcome any perceived “bargain gas.” E15 will likely reduce their obvious pump pain by several cents a gallon, thus persuading people to fill up their cars, trucks and maybe even boats, lawnmowers and other equipment with the new blends.
That would be a huge mistake.
E15 gasoline will be cheaper because we already paid for it with decades of taxpayer subsidies that the Congressional Budget Office says cost taxpayers $1.78 every time a gallon of ethanol replaced a gallon of gasoline. Ethanol blends get fewer miles per tank than gasoline. More ethanol means even worse mileage. People may save at the pump, but cost per mile will increase, as will car maintenance and repair costs.
Ethanol collects water, which can cause engine stalls. It corrodes plastic, rubber and soft metal parts. Pre-2001 car engines, parts and systems may not be able to handle E15, which could also increase emissions and adversely affect engine, fuel pump and sensor durability. Older cars and motorcycles mistakenly (or for price or convenience) fueled with E15 could conk out on congested highways or in the middle of nowhere, boat engines could die miles from land or in the face of a thunderstorm, and snowmobiles could sputter to a stop in a frigid wilderness.
Homeowners and yard care professionals have voiced concerns that E15’s corrosive qualities could damage their gasoline-powered equipment. Because it burns hotter than gasoline, high ethanol gasoline engines could burn users or cause lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, blowers and other outdoor power equipment to start inadvertently or catch fire, they worry.
As several trade associations have noted in a lawsuit, the Clean Air Act says EPA may grant a waiver for a new fuel additive or fuel blend only if it has demonstrated that the new fuel will not damage the emissions control devices of “any” engine in the existing inventory. E15 has not yet met this requirement. EPA should not have moved forward on E15 and should not have ignored studies that indicate serious potential problems with this high-ethanol fuel blend.
Largely because of corn-based ethanol, US corn prices shot up from an annual average of $1.96 per bushel in 2005 to $6.01 in 2011. This year we will make ethanol from 5 billion bushels of corn grown on an area the size of Iowa. E15 fuels will worsen the problem, especially if corn crops fall below expectations.
Ethanol mandates mean more revenues and profits for corn growers and ethanol makers. However, skyrocketing corn prices mean beef, pork, poultry, egg and fish producers pay more for corn-based feed; grocery manufacturers pay more for corn, meat, fish and corn syrup; and families see prices soar for almost everything on their dinner table.
Farmers like pork producer Jim A were hammered hard. Over a 20-year period, Jim became a part owner in a Texas operation and planned to buy out the other shareholders. But when corn and ethanol subsidies went into effect, the cost of feed corn shot from $2.80 per bushel in 2005 to “over $7.00” a bushel in 2008. “We went from treading water and making payments, to losing $100,000 a month,” he told me.
His farm was threatened with foreclosure and the ominous prospect of having to make up the difference in a short sale. After “never missing a single payment to anybody” in his life, he almost lost everything. Fortunately, at the eleventh hour, a large pork producer leased the property, the bank refinanced his loans and Jim arranged a five-year lease. But thanks to ethanol he almost lost everything he’d ever worked for.
Even worse, the price of tortillas and tamales also skyrocketed, leaving countless poor Latin American families even more destitute. Soaring corn and wheat prices have also made it far harder for the USAID and World Food Organization to feed the world’s malnourished, destitute children.
Simply put, corn ethanol is wasteful and immoral. And yet E15 advocates want to go even further.
“For 40 years we have been addicted to foreign oil,” says Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Our nation needs E15 to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, keep gas prices down at the pump, and end the extreme fluctuations in gas prices caused by our reliance on fuel from unstable parts of the world.”
That’s nonsense. America is blessed with centuries of untapped petroleum resources that antediluvian Deep Ecologists, ideology-driven politicians and EPA officials, and subsidy-obsessed renewable energy lobbyists seem intent on keeping locked up, regardless of the negative consequences.
These oil and gas deposits cannot be developed overnight. However, 40 years is not overnight. Yet that’s how long America has kept Alaska’s ANWR coastal plain, most of our Outer Continental Shelf, and most of our western states’ public lands and resources off limits to leasing, exploration and drilling.
If we had started the process twenty, ten or even five years ago, we’d have enough oil flowing to slash imports and cut world crude and US pump prices significantly. If President Obama had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, within two years over 800,000 barrels of Canadian, Montana and North Dakota crude would be flowing daily to Texas refineries – with similar effects on imports and prices.
Developing these resources would also generate hundreds of thousands of jobs – and billions of dollars in lease bonuses and rents, production royalties, and corporate and personal taxes.
America’s surging natural gas production has already driven that fuel’s price from $8 to barely $2.00 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btus). That alone will persuade auto makers to build nat-gas-powered cars and trucks (and consumers to buy them), without massive new subsidy programs as advocated by T. Boone Pickens and assorted politicians. Natural gas can even be converted into ethanol (and diesel).
It will happen, unless Congress interferes – or EPA tries to regulate horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) into oblivion, and send natural gas prices back into the stratosphere.
Right now, we are burning our own – and the world’s – food, to fuel cars and trucks. And to grow corn, convert it into 14 billion gallons of ethanol, and ship it by truck or train, we are consuming one-third of America’s entire corn crop – and using millions of pounds of insecticides, billions of pounds of fertilizer, vast amounts of energy (all petroleum-based), and trillions of gallons of water.
Just imagine how those numbers will soar, if E15 is adopted nationwide – or if Big Ethanol’s big dream becomes reality, and motorists begin to burn “cheap” corn-based E85 in flex-fuel vehicles.
Will President Obama, Democrats and extreme environmentalists ever end their hatred of hydrocarbons, and their obsession with biofuels – and start embracing reliable, affordable energy that actually works?
Lie, Cheat, Steal: Save the Planet!
Speaking of lies and the liars that spread them: In light of yesterday's column on the cottage industry of global warming hysteria and the slant they give the day's news, I got a nice email from the people at the Heartland Institute reminding me of the theft and alteration of documents from Heartland by hysterical warming apologist Professor Peter Gleick, a supposed ethics expert with the Pacific Institute.
I first covered the story as it was occuring in February, when Heartland reported the theft. Sinced then Heartland has published a list of websites and periodicals that abetted Gleick. I have have appended that list at the end of this column.
Gleick, who was chairman of the ethics committee at the American Geophysical Union, admitted that he recently stole some documents- and he may have forged others- from the conservative think-tank. But that’s all in a day’s work for a work-a-day climate warrior. The important thing isn’t the quest for the truth in global climate research, but, as Charlie Sheen would say, winning. With winning comes cash.
Because for some time it’s been clear, that in the climate debate, instead of actually accomplishing something worthwhile, all the attention will be on the winners and losers. And some losers in the debate are much bigger than others.
“In the field of climate science, when someone — especially skeptics — did something ethically questionable or misrepresented facts,” writes MSNBC, “scientist Peter Gleick was usually among the first and loudest to cry foul. He chaired a prominent scientific society's ethics committee. He created an award for what he considered lies about global warming.”
No word yet whether Gleick will create an award for forgery. I hear the pool of candidates isn’t deep this year since all of the forged data from Climategate has already gone pro.
The authentic documents stolen from Heartland were released by Gleick, along with some documents the Heartland folks say are forgeries.
The real documents were prepared by the think-tank to counter the global warming bunk that is being taught in US schools.
I know about the global warming hysteria that is taught at the elementary and secondary level, because my kids come home everyday and instead of telling me about how they’ve learned to read and write and how great George Washington was, they instead tell me that “transfer calculations indicate that strong gradients in both ozone and water vapor near the tropopause contribute to the inversion.” Ah, huh. I think neither they, nor their teachers, nor the authors, nor myself, knows what that means.
Still I hope the question is on the ACT. But I doubt it.
This is a very serious issue.
“Heartland has not said whether any of the documents it unwittingly released were altered,” reports the LA Times, “and Gleick said he did not change any of the material he got. But several of the key points the purported strategy document makes are backed up in the material Gleick obtained from Heartland. Most notably, in a fundraising document, Heartland identifies one of its priorities as reshaping the discussion of climate change in K-12 classrooms.” Ohmygosh!
Well let’s just say that the Heartland Institute is in BIG trouble now. How dare these right-wing troglodytes have a scientific position contrary to the United Nations Interplanetary Council on Wealth Transfer and Class Envy.
No, no. no. You can’t do that. Not under an Obama administration.
Yeah sure: The UN misspends our money on their sex scandals, mismanagement of programs designed to secure peace and prosperity and engage in habitual human rights abuses by a majority of the members states who make up the one-world-government to-be. But clearly, those problems aside, they have the skill to put together a group of scientists who can report objectively on the science behind global warming; especially the part where the remedies include:
1) You footing the bill; and
2) They get your money.
Don’t we mere mortals know that our puny powers of reason and deduction are impervious to the powers granted to the Society of Ethical Geophysicists by the government of the United Nations?
That’s why the scientist, Geophysicist Ethicist Mr. Gleick, is now being hailed by the director of research for Greenpeace, Kert Davies, as a “hero,” says the LA Times.
Most other commentary declaims Gleick's methods, while not-so subtly applauding his aims.
The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has had about the only rational response, concluding that Gleick is crazy:
"And ethics aside, what Gleick did is insane for someone in his position--so crazy that I confess to wondering whether he doesn't have some sort of underlying medical condition that requires urgent treatment. The reason he did it was even crazier. I would probably have thrown that memo away. I might have spent a few hours idly checking it out. I would definitely not have risked jail or personal ruin over something so questionable, and which provided evidence of . . . what? That Heartland exists? That it has a budget? That it spends that budget promoting views which Gleick finds reprehensible?"
When conservatives question global warming, we are lying, apparently. When liberals steal in the name of global warming, it can't be a sign of desperation, poor science or character. No; they must be crazy, with due respect to Ms. McArdle, who I believe is sincere .
I guess since liberals haven't yet embraced retroactive abortions, the next, best thing they can do is label someone crazy when they want to cut them from the herd, as they did recently with Media Matter's David Brock.
Skeptics- or rather, deniers, as we’d much rather be called- will point out that increasingly the public is distrustful of global warming science.
Despite a little bounce in the polls, 60 percent of US respondents to a Rasmussen survey don’t think that global warming is man made. “In a January survey of the top 22 policy priorities for the US,” writes Our World 2.0 “the public ranked climate change dead last, according to the Pew Research Center.”
“When government muzzles scientists for political reasons, it cuts at the fundamental principals of good science,” Stephen Hwang, professor of general internal medicine at the University of Toronto told Our World.
But when the doctors and scientists seek to muzzle the rest of us it’s all A.O.K.
And for some weird reason the public just doesn’t trust those scientists who are fully sponsored and funded by the UN, US, UK and other government grants, which in turn were funded by you.
By talking about it, you troglodytes just emit more carbon. Good going. Your proper role is to just shut your big, fat mouth and fork over a carbon credit or cash equivalent so the truth-seeking can continue unimpeded.
For more information you can see the Heartland's website on the scandal at Fakegate.org.
Cuddly Symbols Not Cooperating in Climate Panic
In a better world, debates about science -- and nearly everything else -- would be conducted without resort to demagoguery, sentimentality, cynical manipulation, or hysteria. In the world we inhabit, those tactics are dismayingly routine. Still, the great weakness of overwrought predictions of doom is that they can be checked.
The past year has not been kind to the most potent symbols of climate change hysteria. Consider the polar bears. Among the most moving images of the warmists' warnings was the solitary polar bear, supposedly marooned on an ice floe. The image became iconic after it was published in Science Magazine. Among the most memorable moments in Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," was an animated clip depicting struggling polar bears.
You don't hear stories, as you do with dolphins, of polar bears rescuing drowning humans. But polar bears, especially cubs, have a different claim on our sympathy -- they're adorable. We shudder to see winsome, furry mammals drifting off to sea on ice floes -- all because we couldn't part with our SUVs. A children's book prepared by the United Nations put it just that way.
Well, according to WattsUpWithThat.com, the picture of that "stranded" polar bear has been lampooned as "ursus bogus." Experts on those creatures always found the warmists' interpretation of that photo odd, since polar bears can swim for hundreds of miles at a time. The longest recorded polar bear swim, according to National Geographic, was 426 miles straight (though National Geographic is all in on climate change). Since polar bears swim for a living, they're probably pretty good at gauging where land and ice floes are.
A new study from Canada, based on aerial surveys along the western shore of the Hudson Bay -- a region considered a bellwether for bear numbers in the Arctic generally -- found that the polar bear population was 66 percent higher than expected. Drikus Gissing, director of wildlife management for the Nunavut region, told the Globe and Mail, "the bear population is not in crisis as people believed. There is no doom and gloom." Oh, and the scientist for the Department of the Interior whose 2004 work on drowning polar bears inspired Al Gore and others has been placed on administrative leave for unspecified wrongdoing.
On the other side of the globe, a new survey using satellite technology has found that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica as previously thought. Science Daily reports, "Using a technique known as pan-sharpening to increase the resolution of the satellite imagery, the science teams were able to differentiate between birds, ice, shadow and penguin poo or guano. They then used ground counts and aerial photography to calibrate the analysis." The results: 595,000 birds dressed in black tie, almost double the previous estimates.
Less beguiling, but no less important for symbolic value, are the melting glaciers. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore) predicted in 2007 that "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and if the present rate continues, the likelihood of their disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate." The melting glaciers, we were told, would "devastate" the lives of more than a billion people living in Asia and eventually, swamp Manhattan and other coastal cities.
In 2010, the IPCC admitted that the melting Himalayas prediction was not based on science but on a 1999 media interview given by one scientist. They said they regretted the error.
Now, a study in nature, based on satellite imagery, has shown that some melting of lower altitude glaciers is taking place but that higher glaciers have been adding ice. The range called Karakorum, which includes the K2 peak, has been adding mass over the past decade, while other regions have lost mass. None of the glaciologists knows why.
Nature reports that the loss of ice from the Himalayas, once estimated at 50 gigatons per year, was actually measured at only 4 gigatons per year between 2003 and 2010. That's quite a difference.
That the climate is warming is not, if you ask most scientists, in question, though it hasn't warmed much -- if at all -- in the past decade. But the panic mongering of the global warmists has not just undermined their own cause -- it has diminished the prestige of science generally, and that is a serious loss.
Australian public television presents both sides of climate debate
IT'S the taxpayer-funded TV journey which set out to change opinions on the climate change debate - and ends with little ground being made by either protagonist.
After four weeks of filming around the world and 60 hours of interviews (at a cost of 60 tonnes of carbon), I Can Change Your Mind About Climate has barely shifted the opposed views of its stars, former Howard government finance minister Nick Minchin and climate activist/author Anna Rose.
The premise was simple: Pitch up a list of people who hold your views on climate science, then go about convincing each other to change.
Funded jointly by Screen NSW (under the O'Farrell government) and Screen Australia's national documentary program scheme, it was produced by filmmaker Simon Nasht and entrepreneur Dick Smith.
It airs on ABC1 tonight.
Mr Minchin, who led opposition to a carbon trading scheme, claimed he was "a little shocked the ABC had signed off on this proposal as it involves airing the views of those sceptical of anthropological global warming ... and it doesn't do a lot of that".
The program flew the pair across Australia, then to Hawaii, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Washington and London filming meetings with leading professors and anti-global warming bloggers.
Mr Nasht said producers purchased renewable energy offsets for Ms Rose and four production crew.
Mr Minchin argued the federal government was "making a mistake spending billions on the assumption we're the ones causing climate change and I don't think that's right".
He believes the show's value was "in Anna beginning to understand what I call the scare-mongering is actually counter-productive".
Ms Rose said yesterday: "Nick did not present any evidence or coherent explanation for why the world has warmed so significantly that could be attributed to anything other than fossil fuels, cars, coal-fired power stations."
She took up the challenge to educate "people watching at home who might still have some questions about climate science and be able to answer them in a clear way".
While she is steadfast in her position that the climate crisis is a real and urgent one, the duo did share in their disappointment at having several of their suggested interview subjects cut from the final edit.
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Posted by JR at 2:24 PM