Saturday, February 28, 2009

I don't know what happened to Accuweather's Global Warming blog

For some reason, Accuweather's global warming blog rejected a couple of my posts. Anyways, here they are (out of context). I'm going to do an explication of the amazing Magnuson/Benson winter freeze and spring thaw data (for lakes and rivers) very soon. It's one of the most potent data sets demonstrating the full reality of global warming and potential consequences.

The following I attempted to post to this thread: Montana Warming?

A more egregious exemplar of cherry-picking could likely not be found
than your post above. To ascertain and comprehend a climatic trend
in the erratic year-to-yearness of the dates of spring thaw and winter
freeze on lakes and rivers requires a compendium of data over decades
from multiple sites. Such in fact has actually been done numerously
and numerically:

Warming Trend Seen In Late Freeze, Early Thaw Of Northern Waterways, Say Science Researchers

Losing Winter As We Knew It (a PDF document)

Trends and Variability for Ice Cover on Inland Lakes (a PDF document)

Lake Ice and Why It's Important in a Warming World (a PDF document)

Perusal of the above documentation will reveal a figure showing that
New Hampshire freeze/thaw timing is likely not in a zone as yet
greatly affected by climatic warming. It is the 3rd reference, the
11th panel.

MY CONCLUSION: Your conclusion is wrong. It is wrong because
of an apparent need to overlook, ignore, or to not acknowledge
relevant data and research. That indicates a lack of a systematic
appreciation of the information that is required to understand the
issue, and may indicate a motivation to mislead others for a political
persuasion or philosophical reasons.

The collapse of civilization IS on the table. You can read my blog
for one reason why.

Just in case you thought Paul Ehrlich
was wrong

(A note to Mark Paquette:
Do you REALLY think that increased solar activity is driving an
increase in atmospheric water vapor (RH)? If so, please call Frank
Wentz and have him explain how the system works. Please.)


The other one I posted to this: Launch of New CO2 Observing Satellite Fails

Harry L.: It's been real popular in conservative skeptical circles (it already having been shown that unthinking global warming skepticism has a clear political polarity) to celebrate the loss of OCO. Such a viewpoint is ignorance personified. OCO would not "prove" global warming; OCO was intended to better quantify a very-difficult-to-quantify climate variable. Such a remarkable advance would have provided a much better understanding of the impact of CO2 on climate, allow better targets for reductions and projections of changes due to climate -- including those which might impact human population, as described in my blog posting:

Just in case you thought Paul Ehrlich was wrong

If you want to read what OCO was going to do (and why I think NASA will likely try to build another one):

Orbiting Carbon Observatory Investigates Mystery Of The Missing Sinks

Of course, if you don't think that increasing atmospheric CO2 is a climate driver, then you won't understand any of this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trophy fish now would have been bait-size decades ago

OK, here's the post about the fish. A creative graduate student, Loren McClenachan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, documented the decline in the size of fish caught sportfishing off of Florida over several decades -- starting in the 1950s. See, when the sportfishing captains came home for the day, they showed off what their clients caught and took pictures of 'em. McClenachan's photo compilation, examining nearly 1300 fish, showed clearly the decline in the size of the fish. It's stunning -- and it's exactly what the late Ransom Myers described.

It's sad. Eat mor chikn (and turkey). Read more about it:

Photos trace Florida reef fish decline

Historical photographs expose decline in Florida’s reef fish

The picture at left is from the latter article. 1957 at top, early 1980s in the middle, and 2007 at bottom.

Sad... and stunning. Undeniable.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar dresses

My top picks.

Anne Hathaway's dress reminds me that I still have to post about fish tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trees don't pollute

OK, as if there weren't a LOT of reasons not to cut down forests:

Trees absorb one-fifth of CO2 gas

"Previous studies on the value of the rainforests had concentrated on South America and Asia. But the Leeds research included tropical forests in Africa and found trees absorb 4.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, or 18 percent of the greenhouse gas added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels."

Not to mention all the biodiversity in 'em.

Spectacular oceanic study related to that coming up next. Stay tuned, all three of you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Try to focus

Well, after a few posts about famine and pestilence and gluttony and disasters in space, I guess that means (as I noted in the pessimistic pestilential post previous) that I should do one about lust.
All done. (Kelly Brook, if you're wondering.)

Just in case you thought Paul Ehrlich was wrong

Remember the Irish Potato Famine? Prescient prophet Al Gore wrote all about it in "Earth in the Balance" -- and Paul Ehrlich predicted that eventually increasing population of the Earth would lead to food shortages and famines. Agricultural yields increased much higher than Ehrlich expected, forestalling this, but not preventing it. The problem that no one wants to think about is disease -- not us, stupid, but agricultural disease. That's what caused the Irish potato problem and that's why we have the Boston Celtics and Notre Dame. Which is bad enough. But now there's something out there that could cause lots of farmers significant problems.

This is a Washington Post article. If you don't get it, you don't get it (meaning you might need a free online registration to read it). By the way, if we don't start paying for these things, there won't be any newspapers left to read them in. And then we'll have to pay bloggers to write good things like this, because very few people make actual money blogging, and good journalists don't blog. Yet. Well, Andy Revkin does, and I'd pay for HIS stuff. Anyway:

In the Wheat Fields of Kenya, a Budding Epidemic

It's about a new and virulent form of stem rust. According to the article, once stem rust hits a field of wheat, it becomes a field of grass. No wheat kernels worth harvesting. Apparently, the right combo of climate, er, weather conditions can give stem rust the push it needs to become a problem.

If it stays cold in the winter, the fungal spores don't survive (as noted in the end of the article). So clearly there must be a border zone where they barely survive. So it if gets warmer (as it's doing, skeptics), then the border zone moves north and threatens currently safe wheat crops.

Here's where Ehrlich (and Gore) come in. Gore noted (as have others) the danger of monoculture; one bug gets fond of a particular strain that's widely used, and given the right conditions, the entire now-susceptible strain gets eradicated. Ehrlich now is noting the dangers of climate change -- exactly what stem rust is looking for, the right combination of climate conditions (and also note that this stem rust appears to be a genetic recombinant, more virulent than past versions due to indiscriminant and promiscuous gene sharing). And that's what appears to be happening -- the wheat that was bred to resist stem rust isn't resisting it because the rust has evolutionarily figured out a way past the wheat's resistance mechanism. (OK, Mr. Crichton, tip of the hat -- "Life finds a way".) So here I'll quote the article very briefly:

Coming on the heels of grain scarcity and food riots last year, the budding epidemic exposes the fragility of the food supply in poor countries. It is also a reminder of how vulnerable the ever-growing global population is to the pathogens that inevitably surface somewhere on the planet.

Now, it might not happen. The amazing agricultural scientists might figure out a way to defeat this new brand of stem rust before it makes serious hay of a lot of wheat. But we are clearly in a neck-and-neck race, dependent on high-yield agriculture to keep a lot of people barely fed. If we fall behind in this race, even a little, a lot of people will die of starvation and malnutrition. The growing human population combined with our exploration of the limits of high-yield agriculture is a dangerous game.

And there's more, back to the fish - tomorrow. That picture isn't pretty either.

I'm going to have to do another babe post. Well, the Oscars are Sunday; there might be a pretty dress on the runway.

Time for turkey burgers

Yet another article on how beef production and consumption releases way too much greenhouse gases:

Hamburgers are the Hummers of Food in Global Warming

Here's an excerpt:

"Even though beef only accounts for 30 percent of meat consumption in the developed world it's responsible for 78 percent of the emissions, Pelletier said Sunday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. That's because a single kilogram of beef produces 16 kilograms carbon dioxide equivalent emissions: four times higher than pork and more than ten times as much as a kilogram of poultry, Pelletier said. If people were to simply switch from beef to chicken [or even better, TURKEY], emissions would be cut by 70 percent, Pelletier said."

OK, OK, I've tried ground turkey. It's DRY; it doesn't have that tasty artery-clogging fat content of greasy ground beef. So what we have to figure out is how to add just enough fat to make ground turkey taste juicy and fatty and wonderful -- McDonald's should see this train wreck coming and get their best people (the ones that invented the Egg McMuffin and the Big Mac, not the ones who invented the oriental salad) working on it.

Growth Business Opportunity -- Be a Space Junkman

IN case you haven't heard, a couple of satellites -- one defunct, one working (which means it could have gotten out of the way if anyone had been paying ATTENTION -- collided last week. This has added to the load of space junk floating around in Earth orbit. The spreading cloud of high-tech fragments will eventually threaten the Space Station and it has now jeopardized the Hubble Space Telescope and its already-delayed final servicing mission.

D*mn. Well, read about it here:

The Problem of Space Junk

So clearly what's needed... is a garbage scow in space. They work in Baltimore's Inner Harbor:

So what is needed is the equivalent of a trash boat in space; floating around attracting and collecting junk to protect the valuable investments (multi-million dollar investments) up there. Furthermore, what's also needed is a wrecker; a utility satellite that goes up, gets a defunct satellite, and either a) fixes it, b) brings it back to Earth to get fixed, or c) boosts it Sunward or spaceward where it won't be a problem anymore (Sunward makes more sense and is probably a lot easier due to the gravity well).

Science fiction? It's been discussed. Once a couple more EXPENSIVE satellites go kerflooey when they get smashed into by a piece of scrap metal, nations and companies (not that either has any actual money these days) will start to pay more attention. Especially when thousands of people can't use their credit cards (not that anybody is actually doing much of that these days, either). And so I make this modest prediction: by 2020 there will be serious consideration of a space junk remediation mission. The first thing they'll do is target the defunct satellites and try to get them out of the way of the working ones; then they'll worry about the debris field.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Misidentified Mnemiopsis (it's actually Mertensia)

Baltic Sea interests were concerned about an invasion of the "American pseudo-jellyfish" (actually a ctenophore, or comb jelly) in 2007 (they probably blamed it on President Bush). Here's what Mnemiopsis looks like at left. Mnemiopsis has/had the potential to alter the Baltic ecosystem -- not that it hasn't been altered considerably already, with some noxious blooms and increasing eutrophication just about everywhere. A little Mnemiopsis might actually do something about the eutrophication, but too many Mnemiopsids would eat too much plankton, and not leave enough for the fish.

But it turns out that it wasn't Mnemiopsis, it was the Arctic ctenophore Mertensia, which is common in the Arctic and hadn't been reported in the Baltic, even though given how close the Baltic is to the Arctic, it probably had been hanging out somewhere. Here's what Mertensia looks like at right.

It's easy to see why there was a bit of confusion. Well, this is one invasion of Europe that the Americans aren't participating in.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good news from Mars

The Mars Rovers have been very, very good -- and they've been lucky. Early in the mission both of them got cleaned by dust devils, removing a lot of accumulated dust on their solar panels. Recently, Spirit has been losing considerable power as the dust built up. But though it didn't get hit by a dust devil, it apparently did get a favorable wind gust. I doubt it'll make it through the next Martian winter, but it's doing OK for the summmer.

Martian Winds Help Earth's rover Spirit

Friday, February 13, 2009

Economists in agreement: plan for climate change, even if it might not be as bad as it could be

Hmm, that's a long title. But here's the article:

Surprise—Economists Agree!:

A consensus is emerging about the costs of containing climate change. So why is no one writing that?

"If you look closely at what climate economists are saying, you can discern two areas of basic agreement. First, there is a broad consensus that the cost of climate inaction would greatly exceed the cost of climate action—it's cheaper to act than not to act."

"[Robert] Stavins, director of Harvard's Environmental Economics Program, phrased it this way in a recent paper: "There is general consensus among economists and policy analysts that a market-based policy instrument targeting CO2 emissions ... should be a central element of any domestic climate policy."

"The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, an influential but controversial 2006 report for the British government, concluded that climate action would cost 1 percent of global GDP (though Stern now warns that our failure to act is raising the price tag) and that inaction could reduce global GDP by up to 20 percent."

I had to include that last part for all those conservatives who don't think climate change -- GLOBAL WARMING -- will be a problem. It's always hard to think long-term when short-term needs are pressing, but if I moved to Oklahoma and had to buy a house without a storm shelter or basement, I'd get one dug and ready right quick before spring, because the potential costs of inaction outweigh the costs of action.

FreeRepublic on the air

This is a good idea:

The FreeRepublic Radio Hour

FreeRepublic is one of the best places to get a spectrum of conservative viewpoints that you don't get anywhere else. But the text medium doesn't do justice to the insight and intelligence of its participants. I hope I can listen in Friday nights; unfortunately the FreeRepublic Radio Hour is on the same time as "Dollhouse"! Hmmm... conservative political opinion vs. Eliza Dushku. I may have to flip a coin...

They should make it two hours. One of the many drawbacks of living on the LEFT(ist) coast.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In the category of "Couldn't have said it better..."

Harold Myerson writing in the Washington Post: (The Republican Rankin File)

"The current form of Republican inflexibility dates to the dissolution of the Soviet Union: With the end of the Cold War, the GOP's signature issue -- anti-communism -- was no more. Republicans quickly discovered that the only other issue they all agreed on was cutting taxes.

So George W. Bush called for tax cuts to deal with the dangerous budget surpluses that Bill Clinton had been running, and then called for tax cuts to close the deficit his earlier tax cuts had created. He proposed tax cuts to finance his war in Iraq. And in that same spirit, defeated
presidential nominee John McCain, in his Republican alternative to the Democrats' stimulus bill, called for nothing but tax cuts to remedy the current meltdown and complained that the Democrats were calling for spending, not stimulus. Never mind that no reputable economist believes that tax cuts get money into circulation as effectively as government spending does. The Republicans' belief in tax cuts is beyond the realm of empirical argument. Data do not daunt them, nor facts compel reflection."

Either that, or a lot more speed cameras...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

There's balance and there's imbalance

Thomas Sowell opined about the problem of students having a one-sided view of issues (particularly "politically correct" issues). I predicted there'd be a problem when I saw the title of the piece, and when I saw "global warming" in the second paragraph, I knew it.

De-programming students

Now, I actually agree with this (I removed an intervening comment)

" Another approach might be to respond to the dogmatic certainty of some young person, perhaps your own offspring, by asking: "Have you ever read a single book on the other side of that issue?"

When the inevitable answer to your question is "No," you can simply point out how illogical it is to be so certain about anything when you have heard only one side of the story-- no matter how often you have heard that one side repeated."

But then he trots out an example.

" Yet most students who have read and heard repeatedly about the catastrophes awaiting us unless we try to stop "global warming" have never read a book, an article or even a single word by any of the hundreds of climate scientists, in countries around the world, who have expressed opposition to that view.

First, a newsflash for Thomas: there are not "hundreds of climate scientists" who have expressed opposition to that view. The survey results I posted for Walter Williams are a clear demonstration of that. Under the broad umbrella of "scientists", particularly those recruited like-it-or-not, true-or-not to Senator Inhofe's Infamous List, maybe you could find hundreds. But not climate scientists.

Next from Thomas: "These students may have been shown Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" in school, but are very unlikely to have been shown the British Channel 4 television special, "The Great Global Warming Swindle."

OK, that's where he loses it. Gore's movie dramatized some things, and the British court case found some supposed errors. Gore's team addressed each one of them. The essential scientific veracity of the movie has been supported by a lot (I won't estimate how many) of actual climate scientists.

Contrast that to "The Great Global Warming Swindle". Otherwise known as Pure Propaganda

Just a bitsy excerpt: "On March 11 the Observer [British newspaper or magazine] published a letter from a group of climate scientists responding to Durkin’s film:

“This programme misrepresented the state of scientific knowledge on global warming, claiming climate scientists are presenting lies. This is an outrageous statement...

“We defend the right of people to be sceptical, but for C4 [British TV channel] to imply that the thousands of scientists and published peer-reviewed papers, summarised in the recent international science assessment, are misguided or lying lacks scientific credibility and simply beggars belief.” (Alan Thorpe, Natural Environment Research Council, Brian Hoskins, University of Reading, Jo Haigh, Imperial College London, Myles Allen, University of Oxford, Peter Cox, University of Exeter, Colin Prentice, QUEST Programme, letter to the Observer, Sunday March 11, 2007; letters/story/0,,2031117,00.html

So the thing is: if you actually had students analyze the content of AIT and TGGWS, it might be VERY educational -- because they'd develop the ability to discriminate between a media presentation that has verifiable information, compared to a media misrepresentation that distorts truth and provides fabrications, exaggerations, and misinterpretations.

Dang, I wish I could teach that class.

Shawn Johnson is going to be on "Dancing with the Stars"

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson is going to be on "Dancing with the Stars".

It's going to be real interesting to see if her skills are a asset or detriment in the competition. But I think the real problem with an aesthetic dance presentation is going to be the height imbalance. She's 4-foot-10. Just thinking about it, I'm guessing that Mark Ballas is the closest to that, but I'd guess he's still 10 inches taller. Size imbalance works great for pairs ice skating but I'm not sure about this one. But she'll "stretch" the flexibility of the pro women, I'll betcha. See picture at right.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hey Hannity, how's your memory?

I happened to be able to listen to Sean Hannity's radio show this afternoon; I don't get that chance very often and I sure don't miss it if I don't. But I do tune in to see how that end of the spectrum is thinking. I happened to catch him talking to Arlen Specter, and the subject came up, as far as I remember, that the stimulus bill would leave billions of dollars of debt for the kids.

What I want to know is if Hannity could remember Bush sticking to his tax cuts, even as the nation's budget regenerated billions of dollars of deficit every year, following the last couple of years of the Clinton administration, where there was actually a little bit of positive surplus?

It reminds me of the last year of the Gilmore administration on the other side of the river; Gov. Gilmore stuck to his "no car tax" rescindment plan even though the state budget was headed toward a big hole, one that Governor, now Senator, Mark Warner managed (and that's a good term for it) to pull the state out of.

And while I'm at it: that "no car tax" campaign was great politics and lousy public policy. Whenever I read about how much Virginyyans hated the car tax, I sympathized with 'em, but they still had a revenue stream. Gilmore didn't have a plan to replace the revenue, and when the good times ended, he left the state in the lurch, big-time.

Taxes actually pay for things. I don't like paying them, but I also don't like hitting a big pothole in the road and having to replace a wheel rim. And I haven't seen a private company yet that would fill in potholes for profit. That gets me back to my make-the-speeders-pay-for-it plan, but we'll have to wait for the governments to realize how lucrative speed cameras really are.

Oh yeah, they also work:

GHSA Touts Study Showing Speed Cameras Reduce Accidents

Don't believe the people who say they don't. People don't like getting tickets.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Global warming dope

Walter Williams amazes me. He punditizes and opines on subjects far beyond his level of expertise, and despite demonstrated egregious errors of fact, he just goes blithely onward. I was always amused reading his columns in the short-lived Baltimore Examiner; presumably he'll continue his nonsensicality in the other Examiners.

Now, Walter is a plain ol' conservative. I have no problem with that; conservatives are people too. I wish that there weren't labels like liberal and conservative. However, I've discovered over the years that when the "global warming" hot button is pushed, those labels suddenly take on new meaning. In general:

Conservative on global warming: uninformed and proud of it. Willing to accept any level of nonsensical argument to stay uninformed; not willing to undertake any critical examination.
Liberal on global warming: same thing.

HAHA you say! I thought liberals were informed on global warming! Are they? NO. The general level of scientific illiteracy in this country means that 90% of Americans don't have enough knowledge to understand the basics of this issue, and the more you know, the more likely you are to get confused. The problem is: there are people on both sides of the issue that are trying VERY HARD to keep the confusion level up. The problem with this is that the conservatives who are trying to confuse the issue are generally wrong. The liberals who are trying to confuse the issue are generally right, but they are using the issue for all the wrong reasons.

Al Gore is neither, by the way. Al Gore knows what he's talking about, and he learned it from Roger Revelle, who definitely knew what he was talking about, and furthermore, who was really, really concerned about it, despite what some duncecap-wearing blowhards might say. Link to support this:

Roger Revelle is Solomon's Latest Victim
(from Tim Lambert's Deltoid Blog)

I quote, quoting Carolyn Revelle Hufbauer, Roger Revelle's daughter: "Contrary to George Will's "Al Gore's Green Guilt" {op-ed, Sept. 3} Roger Revelle - our father and the "father" of the greenhouse effect - remained deeply concerned about global warming until his death in July 1991. That same year he wrote: "The scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time." Will and other critics of Sen. Al Gore have seized these words to suggest that Revelle, who was also Gore's professor and mentor, renounced his belief in global warming.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

When Revelle inveighed against "drastic" action, he was using that adjective in its literal sense - measures that would cost trillions of dollars. Up until his death, he thought that extreme measures were premature. But he continued to recommend immediate prudent steps to mitigate and delay climatic warming. Some of those steps go well beyond anything Gore or other national politicians have yet to advocate."

(Read more at the link.)

Why do I bring this up? Because Walter Williams is the type of secondary pundit that sucks up the swill from the primary sources of global warming propaganda, and spouts it forth unfiltered. To demonstrate this, I know will deconstruct Walter's "Global Warming Rope-A-Dope" piece from Christmas Eve, 2008. Walter deserved a chunk of coal in his stocking for this drivel.

Walter's text is in light blue, and my comments are in orange.

Americans have been rope-a-doped into believing that global warming is going to destroy our planet. Scientists who have been skeptical about manmade global warming have been called traitors or handmaidens of big oil. The Washington Post asserted on May 28, 2006 that there were only "a handful of skeptics" of manmade climate fears. Bill Blakemore on Aug. 30, 2006 said, "After extensive searches, ABC News has found no such (scientific) debate on global warming." U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said it was "criminally irresponsible" to ignore the urgency of global warming. U.N. special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland on May 10, 2007 declared the climate debate "over" and added "it's completely immoral, even, to question" the U.N.'s scientific "consensus." In July 23, 2007, CNN's Miles O'Brien said, "The scientific debate is over." Earlier he said that scientific skeptics of manmade catastrophic global warming "are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually."

The more someone knows about climate, the more they know that climate change = global warming is real. Let's look at a real survey, shall we, Walter?

the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Surely you've heard about this, but if not, here's what happened. They asked two questions:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

And here's what they found:

"In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered "risen" to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2."

The global warming scare has provided a field day for politicians and others who wish to control our lives. After all, only the imagination limits the kind of laws and restrictions that can be
written in the name of saving the planet. Recently, more and more scientists are summoning up the courage to speak out and present evidence against the global warming rope-a-dope. Atmospheric scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, "It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming."

What are scientists, anyway, Walter? Economics is a science (the dismal science, yet, but still a science). Do you think I should consult an economics professor about the details of climate change? Do you think an economics professor has the necessary knowledge to provide an informed opinion about climate change? Nonetheless, we could call an economics professor a "scientist", and thus there might be more than a few practitioners of the science of economics who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming -- particularly if they're politically conservative. And look at this result from the survey!

"The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36)."

(Gee, and we wonder why Heidi Cullen thought that meteorologists should learn more about climate!)

Dr. Goldenberg has the company of at least 650 noted scientists*** documented in the recently released U.S. Senate Minority Report: "More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims: Scientists Continue to Debunk 'Consensus' in 2008." The scientists, not environmental activists, include Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in physics, who said, "I am a skeptic … Global warming has become a new religion." Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an environmental physical chemist, said warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history … When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." "So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming," said Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace member. Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh, said, "Many (scientists) are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined."

*** Noted? How do you define that? Are they "noted" because they are "noted" in the report -- a report in which several of the 650 have noted publically that they totally agree with anthropogenic global warming, and their position has been misrepresented by their inclusion on this infamous/notorious list.

Regarding Mr. Ahlbeck: what type of measurements does he mean? Is he projecting trends into the future, or just complacent about the slightly warmer present? Quotes out of context -- can be twisted any which way.

Regarding Mr. Peden: he has a long op-ed available on the WWW right here:

It contains a fundamental, frequently-made error (usually by skeptics) regarding how CO2 absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere. Here's the answer to why he's wrong:

"If the edges of the absorption bands were completely abrupt, as if CO2 absorbed 600 cycles/cm light completely and 599 cycles/cm light not at all, then once an absorption band from a gas was saturated, that would it. Further increases in the concentration of the gas would have no impact on the radiation energy budget for the earth. CO2, the most saturated of the greenhouse gases, would stop changing climate after it exceeded some concentration. It turns out that this is not how it works. Even though the core of the CO2 band is saturated, the edges of the band are not saturated. When we increase the CO2 concentration, the bite that CO2 takes out of the spectrum doesn't get deeper, but it gets a bit broader."

"The bottom line is that the energy intensity Iout in units of W/m2 goes up proportionally to the log of the CO2 concentration, rather than proportionally to the CO2 concentration itself (we say linear in CO2 concentration). The logarithmic dependence means that you get the same Iout change in W/m2 from any doubling of the CO2 concentration. The radiative effect of going from 10 to 20 µatm pCO2 is the same as going from 100 to 200 µatm, or 1000 to 2000 µatm. "

(Dr. Peden, if you happen to be reading this: go to this link. You actually might learn something useful. The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect And by the way, the atmosphere is a couple miles thick.)

And here's another point of view on the same issue:

Saturated Gassy Argument

To address Peden, I'd quote the authors: "So, if a skeptical friend hits you with the "saturation argument" against global warming, here's all you need to say: (a) You'd still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it's the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts (b) It's not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2, (c) Water vapor doesn't
overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there's little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and (d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models."

So Mr. James A. Peden may be a noted scientist on the list of 650, but that sure doesn't mean he's a good one!

The fact of the matter is an increasing amount of climate research suggests a possibility of global cooling. Geologist Dr. Don J. Easterbrook, Emeritus Professor at Western Washington University
says, "Recent solar changes suggest that it could be fairly severe, perhaps more like the 1880 to 1915 cool cycle than the more moderate 1945-1977 cool cycle. A more drastic cooling, similar to that during the Dalton and Maunder minimums, could plunge the Earth into another Little Ice Age, but only time will tell if that is likely." Geologist Dr. David Gee, chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress, currently at Uppsala University in Sweden asks, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?"

I'll answer that, Walter -- a lot longer than three years, and preferably more than a decade. I said three years because according to pretty much everybody's measurements, 2005 was just as warm as 1998, and it didn't have an El Nino event to help, either. So we've been "cooling" since 2005 -- mainly caused by a pretty strong La Nina event.

Furthermore, why is it that even though the warmest year on record was 1998, the next seven (7) are all after the year 2000? Walter, I have a quick question. Do economics professors know anything about statistics?

Now, if it stays cold until 2015, then maybe we could say
there's a cooling going on, climatically speaking. Regarding the Sun, the skeptics have been watching the quiet Sun gleefully for the
past year or so. Solar Max is still scheduled for four years from now. I happen to think we'll probably have a nice Solar Max and a globally higher temperature year than 1998 by then. The funny thing is, if that happens, the skeptics will blame it on the Sun. Well, we'll just have to debunk that argument when the time comes.

That's a vital question for Americans to ask. Once laws are written, they are very difficult, if not impossible, to repeal. If a time would ever come when the permafrost returns to northern U.S.,
as far south as New Jersey as it once did, [we'll have to wait about 50,000 years for that, by the way] it's not inconceivable that Congress, caught in the grip of the global warming zealots, would keep all the laws on the books they wrote in the name of fighting global warming. Personally, I would not put it past them to write more.

Well, Walter, that's about it. I'll challenge you, though. Email me when you know the next time you're guesting for Rush. I'll call you. Have them clear the lines so I can get through. I want you
to ask me the top three (five if you have the time) arguments against anthropogenic global warming that you've heard from your skeptical friends. Without the WWW or any other reference, I'll easily refute each of them based on just what I know. Guaranteed. And maybe then you'll stop demonstrating your ignorance about global warming and stick to economics and conservative politics, where you're on much more solid ground.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Here's hoping for two comebacks

Nadal-Federer at the Australian Open: Classic. I find myself rooting for Fed to win the 14th, and not any more, even though three years ago I was rooting against anyone who played him because his dominant excellence was boring. Now that Nadal is his nemesis, he's become noble and heroic (and vulnerable; clearly he was disappointed, and his level of excellence certainly demands intense dedication). So I hope he's got one more in him. Nadal plays so hard, and his game demands such effort, that an injury could derail him.

Speaking of injury, here's also hoping that Sharapova can come back strong, and I'm also hoping that Ana Ivanovic can figure out where her game went and challenge for finals again. Despite the remarkable resilience and current dominance of Serena Williams -- Ivanovic vs. Sharapova would sell more tickets and also attract attention outside of the tennis world. Demonstrating why is this picture of Ivanovic modeling diamonds.

British blizzard costs billions of pounds

Over here we're talking about billions of stimulus bucks. Over there, they're talking about losing a billion pounds (or more) because of a snowstorm.

Snow may be billion-pound loss for British economy: experts

It was four inches of snow! Clearly they aren't set up to handle that.

"David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said images of snowbound Britain were embarrassing abroad.

"All the European channels were showing images of London at a complete standstill, which was not a very positive image for the UK," he told BBC radio.

"I wonder whether we have become a bit too complacent... when something like this does happen, we are caught very much on the hop."

Well, they certainly interviewed the right guy. And I think some more hops (or at least their influence on the ales) would taste good right about now.

OH, a green comet

No, not the Green Hornet or the Green Lantern, this is a green comet:

Green comet approaches Earth

(Thankfully it's not the Silver Surfer, either.) Comet Lulin is expected to peak at about magnitude 5; hard to spot near cities, probably not too hard to see if you're out in the country.

I saw a green comet: Comet Hyakutake. This picture is a lot like Hyakutake looked when I saw it in 1996.

Monday, February 2, 2009

About that annular eclipse

A picture of the annular eclipse I mentioned last week, from M.R. Taufik in Indonesia:

Water scarcity could overtake energy crunch

Water, water everywhere, and a lot less of it fit to drink.

World heads for water bankruptcy

Quoting a segment: "The report said most glaciers in the Himalayas and Tibet will be gone by 2100 at the current rate of melting, but they provide water for two billion people. About 70 major rivers around the world are close to being totally drained in order to supply water for irrigation and reservoirs."

"The WEF [World Economic Forum] said that within two decades water will become a mainstream theme for investors -- even better than oil."

Supporting link:

The bubble is close to bursting: warnings on water from world economic forum report

I'm investing in Pur.