And The Winner Is: Climate Catastrophe by a Landslide

Remember the gawd-awful movie The Day After Tomorrow from 2004? Gore used footage from the movie in his now bullet hole riddled An Inconvenient Truth for “dramatic effect”. In an odd twist, an event that inspired that movie turns out to be more about geology than climatology.

From the New Zealand Herald:

University of Canterbury research indicating a glacial ridge in the South Island was formed by a landslide could pour cold water on evidence that climate change happened simultaneously around the world. Scientists had believed the Waiho Loop moraine was created during a brief cold snap about 13,000 years ago that also affected Europe and North America.

Located 100m above the plains on the foreland of the Franz Josef Glacier in South Westland, between the township and the sea, the glacial moraine had been the focus of much international research.

The Waiho Loop moraine was widely used as evidence for direct inter-hemispheric linkage in climate change.

Professor Jamie Shulmeister, who worked on the research with Associate Professor Tim Davies and honours student Daniel Tovar, said the discovery was made as a result of a study of the Waiho Loop glacial moraine.

Professor Shulmeister said there had been huge scientific debate on the climatic implications of the Waiho Loop.

The sudden climatic event had inspired the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Day After Tomorrow, he said.

But no one had ever studied the Waiho Loop sediments. “But these new findings suggest the loop – which sits near the South Island’s Alpine fault line – was the result of a landslide, not climate change.”

“When graduate student Dan Tovar had a look, he discovered to our surprise that it was mainly made up of a rock type known as greywacke, which is different from the rocks that make up all the other moraines in front of the Franz Josef Glacier.”

Professor Shulmeister said greywacke occurred about 13km up the valley from the Loop.

All the other moraines were predominantly composed of schist which outcropped near Franz Josef township.

“The greywacke was also rather more angular than the rocks in the other moraines, suggesting it had not been transported in water or at the base of a glacier.”

As a result of the study, Professor Shulmeister’s team believes a large landslide dumped a huge volume of rock on top of the glacier, causing it to advance and, when the advance stopped, the moraine was created.

Professor Shulmeister said the findings, to be published this week in the international science journal Nature Geoscience, were like “throwing a cat among the palaeoclimate pigeons”.

See the abstract here.

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62 Responses to And The Winner Is: Climate Catastrophe by a Landslide

  1. Basil says:

    That’s a very clever headline!

  2. AnonyMoose says:

    I see. A landslide dumped a blanket of rock on top of the glacier, allowing the face to stay a little cooler and advance until the rock got dumped off? The rock was angular because it traveled on the glacier rather than being ground up under it.

  3. retired engineer says:

    No, no, the science is settled. The Earth is melting.

    (ignore that man behind the curtain)

  4. But it can’t be! The global climate at this very day and age is the appropriate temperature!! We are the ones who are making the earth someday explode!!

  5. bshelley says:

    Thanks for the facinating info. I will take a look at some of your other posts to see if I can get a grip on this. Make me warmer just thinking about it… Bryan

  6. amberxeleven says:

    cool. Um just in a general direction to anyone who can give me better help the ‘contact’ and ‘FAQ’…. I have just signed up here and I know absolutely NOTHING except that this WORD PRESS thing is way better than ‘Cutenews’ I have been told that this is way better and from what I can see it is. But I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, when I say NO IDEA, I mean I HAVE NOOOOO CLUE!!!! AT ALL all I know is how to get to this site and login and I don’t know what to do from there. Can anyone help me?

    Reply: I think you may need to check your computer configuration. There appears to be some unknown problem between the keyboard and the chair.~jeez

  7. Philip_B says:

    The Franz Joseph is an example of a glacier that has been advancing (since 1984).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Josef_Glacier

  8. The engineer says:

    Amberxeleven

    He means its an error nr. 40.
    The error is sitting 40 cms from the screen (LOL).

  9. Philip_B says:

    Someone did a study of New Zealand glaciers measuring how rapidly they respond to ‘climate change’. Some glaciers responded in as little as 5 years, like the Franz Joseph, while others took as long as 200 years to respond.

    All of the slow response glaciers were retreating. However, a significant number of the fast response glaciers were advancing.

    While I don’t consider this conclusive, it certainly indicates that the warming in recent decades could be spurious. The Franz Joseph is a west coast glacier in a pristine location. Air pollution is for practical purposes non-existant and there are no nearby human influences like industry or agriculture, never mind irrigation.

    BTW, the claim is that the Franz Joseph’s advance is due to increased snowfall, not cooler temperatures. There is probably something to this as snowfall varies with ENSO/El Nino, but I’m sceptical it fully explains the more than 20 years of glacial advance.

    Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a nearby climate station, but New Zealand’s South Island hasn’t warmed in recent decades and may have cooled a little.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2001IJCli..21.1437S

  10. timprosser says:

    While some people distract themselves and others with Gore-bashing, etc., that does nothing to refocus the discussion on our real problems – dwindling fossil fuel supplies and our addiction to them, combined with our ever-growing world population. I would like scientists to stop nit-picking at each others’ climate change-related theories and focus on figuring out how we’re going to bridge the gap between ever-increasing fossil fuel prices and the time it will take to find acceptable substitutes. In short, let’s “get real”.
    – Tim http://www.timprosserfuturing.wordpress.com

  11. timprosser says:

    Note that if carbon emissions are really a problem, then reducing energy use and switching to substitutes could directly address it. If they’re not, then we should all lean on the press and our government to not allow themselves to be distracted and do the right thing.

  12. Jeff Alberts says:

    Reply: I think you may need to check your computer configuration. There appears to be some unknown problem between the keyboard and the chair.~jeez

    aka – a loose nut behind the keyboard.

  13. statePoet1775 says:

    OT, I guess, but I remember reading somewhere that the reason the earth does not have a thick atmosphere like Venus is because of the Moon. Its gravitational attraction offsets that of the Earth enough to allow gas to escape into outer space.

    So Venus may be our sister planet, but it is an unmarried sister.

  14. This actually may make the explanation of Thermohaline Circulation (THC) shutdown effects more sensible, given that the mechanism for massive southern hemispheric cooling was always a ted tenuous.

    On a related note, no serious climate scientists ever believed that a THC shutdown would lead to a new ice age in Europe, sensationalist media reporting notwithstanding: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/ccm/1007_thc.htm

  15. Andrew Upson says:

    I’ve been to the Franz Josef glacier a couple time. And the Fox glacier. Quite impressive. You can walk to the terminal face of each (I’ve done so, twice at Franz Josef and once at Fox). It did seem like a shorter walk the second time (6 years after the first). Hmmm, what’re the LAX-CHC airfares again? I need to get back there again.

  16. deadwood says:

    The same mechanism is believed to have formed the “moraine” at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park (Alberta Canada nea Lake Louise).

    see it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moraine_Lake

  17. Leon Brozyna says:

    So much for “the science is settled” fantasy. It’s an inconvenient truth that the more that true scientists look, the more that the established dogma is overturned. The real world’s a lot more complicated than today’s paradigm of alarmist warming allows.

  18. Steve Moore says:

    “He means its an error nr. 40.”

    I’d guess a PEBKAC or an ID TEN T

  19. Leon Brozyna says:

    Speaking of inconvenient truths and as a follow-up to your recent post on Arctic volcanic activity at:

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/surprise-explosive-volcanic-eruption-under-the-arctic-ice-found/

    Your attention is further direct to a blog entry at American Thinker with some Navy pics from the North Pole:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2008/07/north_pole_ice_melting_fear_mo.html

    This just goes to show AGW alarmism for what it is — selective recreation of reality according to an artist’s value judgement, i.e. fiction.

  20. James Sexton says:

    Some unrelated questions to my learned fellow readers. Does CO2 naturally bind together with other CO2 molecules? And is CO2 lighter or heavier than the air that we breath? Does it elevate to a specific height or does it just float high or low? Other than photosynthesis, does CO2 exist in perpetuity or is there another mechanism that changes the molecule?

    Thanks in advance

  21. MikeEE says:

    timprosser,

    I think your line of reasoning is based on the misbelieve that alternative fuels can wean us off of oil. All of the alternatives are niche players because they both can’t provide the quantity of energy necessary to replace fossil fuels and they can’t provide it in a cost effective way. With oil prices rising as they are they may meet at some point in the not too distant future, but this still won’t help the first problem.

    Solar doesn’t produce power at night so its a non-starter.

    Wind requires an overinvestment because you have to have 1.5 to 2 times (wild guess but its probably ballpark) the necessary production to compensate for when the wind doesn’t blow.

    Geothermal and hydroelectric are limited in application.

    Nuclear is your best bet and liberals would never allow.

    As for fossil fuels, there is still enough fuel for centuries.

    MikeEE

  22. MikeEE says:

    I should have added…

    I don’t believe we’ll be depending entirely on fossil fuels for long, replacements will be found. As the price of oil increase because the easy oil has been consumed alternatives will phase in, and new alternatives will be found. And my guess is that the time frame will be between 10 and 50 years.

    One thing that would delay the adoption of alternatives is the widespread realization that release of CO2 is not going to end life on the planet earth. That would enable us to use coal which is cheap thus extending our dependence on fossil fuels.

    One thing that would shorten our period of dependence is the use of nuclear power, but nuclear fuel might be more limited than fossil fuels.

    Ultimately, the long term solution would seem to me to be nuclear fission. This would provide an endless supply of cheap energy with little downside. That won’t stop people from complaining though. 

    MikeEE

  23. old construction worker says:

    MikeEE
    You left out hydroelectric, but our green friends would never allow a new dam to be built.

  24. Philip_B says:

    MikeEE, I think you meant to say nuclear fusion, which even on optimistic projections is at least 50 years away from being commercially viable and producing substantial amounts of energy.

    Another point to bear in mind is that electricity distributions systems are on-demand. That is, supply is regulated to match demand. If the two get out of synch the system crashes. Photovoltaics and wind aren’t on demand, because we can’t control when the wind blows or the sun shines.

    This means the amount of energy from these sources can only contribute a small amount of energy to an electricity grid. Estimates vary, but it’s probably around 10%. To put that in perspective, it’s 3 or 4 years demand growth in a developed country and about 1 years demand growth in China.

    Passive solar to a degree (pun intended) gets around this problem by storing heat ready for use when the demand occurs.

    And of course, substituting oil products in vehicles by mains electricity requires vastly more energy, because of the inherent ineficiences in producing, distributing and storing electricity. To replace all US vehicles with electric vehicles will require at least double (and I think more like 4 times) the electricity current generated and that means hundreds of new power stations.

  25. James Sexton says:

    Reply to timprosser:

    One of the problems is the unrealistic expectations and assumptions of people, not scientists. One assumption is the dwindling cache of fossil fuels. Is there? Oil and coal, and their derivatives have been designated as fossil fuels. Most people believe our coal and oil come from old trees and animals(dinosaurs). I would submit that this denies logic. That suggests that only in particular spots on our planet did old trees and dinosaurs go to die and then somehow magically get transformed into a fuel, whereas the trees and animals in the last few millennium only decay to …..well CARBON(forgoing the entire ‘exist as a fuel step’). So what was the mechanism that created oil or coal, why doesn’t that mechanism exist today? Most of mankind already knows we are too reliant on “fossil fuels” and don’t need to be told that we are. There are mechanisms in place today that will, eventually, bring us to the Utopian world of fossil fuel independence. (Once we learn how to store AC power or force DC power to travel long distances.) Another problem is mankind hates to be BS’d. There is significant reason to believe that the earth went through a small but insignificant warming period. Most of this is explained through solar observation. Recently, contrary to the relentless drumming, we’ve experienced a cooling trend in the last 17 months. (In spite of data manipulation.) This flies in the face of the notion that CO2 has any immediate affect on earth’s temperature. (To my knowledge, we haven’t quit increasing our CO2 output.) Another problem is the cost of the proposed solutions. (Which I feel I’m more qualified to address.) We’ve already started to see economies stagnated, nations continuing in underdevelopment, squalor and even riots for food because of some of the policies set in place as a result of the AGW hysteria. While I know I’m over simplifying, we’ve had at least 2 decades to observe the premise that man’s CO2 output is going to cause catastrophe. While I’m not from Missouri, their credo “show me” seems appropriate. According to one of the most ardent advocates of AGW’s “adjusted” data……May 1988 global temp…..37(above the arbitrary mean)…….May 2008 global temp…..36(above the arbitrary mean). There should be more sarcasm to follow that last fact but I’ve already said enough and I need another beer…..
    Cheers to all

  26. Ric Werme says:

    James Sexton (17:19:11) :

    > Does CO2 naturally bind together with other CO2 molecules?

    No, at least certainly not like water, and certainly not at Earthly temperatures.

    > And is CO2 lighter or heavier than the air that we breath?

    Heavier by about 30% per molecule.

    > Does it elevate to a specific height or does it just float high or low?

    Winds mix it pretty well.

    > Other than photosynthesis, does CO2 exist in perpetuity or is there another mechanism that changes the molecule?

    It dissolves in water making carbonic acid. Shellfish and other critters use it to make shells, chalk (think the White Cliffs of Dover), limestone, and marble (metamorphosed limestone.)

  27. Paul Linsay says:

    timprosser

    There has never been a time since the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in the 1850s until today when (a) oil wasn’t running out and (b) reserves haven’t increased. Get yourself a copy of “The Prize” by Daniel Yergin for a good history of oil.

  28. swampie says:

    MikeEE:

    Wind requires an overinvestment because you have to have 1.5 to 2 times (wild guess but its probably ballpark) the necessary production to compensate for when the wind doesn’t blow.

    Unfortunately, Governor Crist does not realize that the wind is too variable in Florida to be a good source for wind power:

    Wind was not FPL’s first choice for diversifying its power sources in Florida. Last year, the utility tried hard to get approval to build a new coal plant. Gov. Crist didn’t like the idea. On June 5, 2007, regulators flatly rejected the 1,960-megawatt coal plant.

    BOWING TO PRESSURE

    Two days later, the utility announced it understood which way the political winds were blowing and said it planned to construct the first wind farm in Florida. ”This is a great first step in seeking more renewable generation resources in Florida,” said FPL President Armando Olivera.

    ”I am very pleased,” Crist responded.

    ”I’m thrilled,” said a representative of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

    Buried in the press release was a statement reiterating FPL’s longtime position: “While wind in Florida is not consistently strong and reliable enough to produce a large amount of electricity, FPL will explore ways to best use this resource.”

    FPL’S CONCERNS

    Several months later, in a little-noticed filing with the Public Service Commission, the utility was unusually blunt about how poorly it viewed Florida’s winds when the PSC staff asked why FPL wasn’t doing more with wind, when wind power was so much cheaper than solar. That seems particularly true in Florida because experts say solar here produces considerably less energy than in the American Southwest, where solar is thriving.

    FPL responded that the noted cost difference between wind and solar in Florida ”may not necessarily be the case.” The utility said it could be expensive to buy wind turbines designed to withstand hurricanes. It noted that even offshore, wind often does not have the strength for a viable wind project “and is reduced on the coast and further reduced inland.”

    Source: Miami Herald.

    Sorry for the long quote and you can remove it if you wish, but you have to log in to read the story.

  29. James Sexton says:

    Reply to Ric Werme
    Thank you very much for the information. I assume that the information provided is accepted fact….will check when time is available. If CO2 is heavier, why doesn’t it gravitate to the earth, eventually? Maybe these are simplistic questions but…. if they don’t bind and they don’t have a specific layer and assuming they will gravitate down, then what’s the problem? How does this affect refraction or reflection?

  30. Steve in NZ says:

    Apparently, this scientific work was done on a $1,000 budget. Obviously these guys are not on the AGW gravy train. The two glaciers that flow West, Franz Joseph and Fox (there are others flowing East) from the Main Divide are fast moving/retreat/advance. Keep in mind they start at around 10,000 feet and terminals are close to sea level and only a few miles from the coast. Latitude is around 45 S. Because of the maritime climate they exist in, they are influenced more by rainfall/snow accumulation rates than temperature.
    The nearest weather recording station is at Hokitika, about 200 miles North. It is one of the Hansen rural reference sites for Wellington, the subject of discussion on CA.

  31. James Sexton says:

    Swampie,
    My sympathies, here in Kansas, we have a similar situation. We had people willing to build to coal plants in our state. The Governor used a health clause to block the building of said plants. While cost of generation varies, coal electricity general costs about 2 cents/kwh to generate. We got windmills instead. What isn’t generally known is that electric wholesalers have to have backup facilities to wind generation plants. Coal and nuclear are excluded because one can’t change their output very quickly. So, they use the next best thing, hydro or gas depending upon their location. Hydro, when available is efficient and cheap. But we have to go back to the “can’t mandate climate” thing. Natural gas is the next alternative. Cost….17 cents a kwh and rising, just to supply it. Wonder what is the cost that will be passed on to the consumer? Depends on where you live. Add to the cost of 2 power plants being built as opposed to one and well, we see we have a long road in front of us. It has been said, “a lie told enough times will be believed.” But if the truth is stated loud enough,……..
    Best to all

  32. suchabastard says:

    Interesting read. Your Weblog intrigues me.

  33. Philip_B says:

    If CO2 is heavier, why doesn’t it gravitate to the earth, eventually?

    There are two processes at work. One is gravity which tends to concentrate CO2 at low altitudes and hence there is proportionally more CO2 (relative to O2 and N2) on the floor of Death Valley than the nearby mountain peaks. The other is the tendency of mixed gases to evenly distribute themselves, such that all areas have equal proportions of each gas.

    There is a bit more to this when we get high up in the atmosphere, but the above applies near to the Earth’s surface.

    So the simple answer is CO2 does gravitate to the Earth’s surface over time where is consumed by biological processes and by dissolving in water.

  34. Ric Werme says:

    James Sexton (19:22:20) :

    > Thank you very much for the information. I assume that the information provided is accepted fact….will check when time is available.

    Worth doing – my answers came off the top of my head and I didn’t have time at the moment to expound on things.

    > If CO2 is heavier, why doesn’t it gravitate to the earth, eventually?

    Consider this analogy – the next time it’s foggy, go outside and look at the fog droplets. Each droplet weighs a microgram – billions of times heavier than a CO2 molecule – and the viscosity of the air makes it difficult to impossible to see droplets fall.

    CO2 molecules do fall, but the slightest convection will keep things mixed.

    > … assuming they will gravitate down, then what’s the problem? How does this affect refraction or reflection?

    I’m not sure what problem you’re referring to. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is so small I can’t have much affect on atmospheric refraction. Temperature changes (and hence density changes) and pressure gradients cover the vast amount of refractive physics in the atmosphere.

    The main concern environmentalists have with CO2 is the Greenhouse effect, and that appears overstated for current and greater concentrations. Plants in general appreciate extra CO2.

  35. Smokey says:

    Commenting on the topic,And The Winner Is: Climate Catastrophe by a Landslide, Zeke Hausfather (15:15:54) said:

    “This actually may make the explanation of Thermohaline Circulation (THC) shutdown effects more sensible…”

    I understand why someone would want to engage in self-promotion of his blog. However, the claimed science in that statement is unsupportable.

    The thermohaline circulation will not “shut down.” The implication is that “climate change” could cause the circulating ocean currents to shut down. That is extremely unlikely, if not impossible; to understand why ocean currents will not shut down, I refer Mr. Hausfather to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    I also note that Mr. Hausfather’s blog carries a subtle anti-skeptic article on his home page entitled, Why Are So Many TV Meteorologists and Weathercasters Climate ‘Skeptics’?

    Among other terms in the article, skeptical meteorologists are labeled ‘naysayers.’ The author asks, “At a time when most climate scientists – as reflected in the IPCC’s 2007 reports – express growing certainty that Earth is warming, that humans are largely responsible, and that consequences may be severe, why do so many television weathercasters appear to think otherwise?”

    Mr. Hausfather’s blog is funded by a somewhat left-leaning organization, the Grantham Foundation [which may contribute to some good causes], but regarding climate issues, their financial support is given overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, to AGW believers such as the World Wildlife Fund; and Treehugger; and Hausfather’s blog ["We're extremely pleased to announce a generous multi-year gift from The Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment to support this site and related journalism training programs..."], and to many similar agenda-driven organizations. That is not science. That is advocacy.

    There is nothing wrong with someone using their own money to support organizations such as the WWF or Treehugger. But folks should be aware of their agenda. If the Grantham Foundation was truly interested in answering climate questions, it could easily fund a series of debates over the validity and extent of AGW in a neutral, moderated venue such as a major university, allowing each side to select its own debating team. Instead, it gives out cash “journalism” awards. Note that the media is where the entire global warming “debate” takes place.

    As we have seen repeatedly, not only do people like James Hansen refuse to debate their AGW hypothesis in a neutral, professional forum, but they refuse to publicly archive the taxpayer-funded data and computer algorithms that they used to arrive at their catastrophic global warming conclusions — which the media by and large accepts unquestioningly.

    Perhaps Mr. Hausfather could prevail upon his benefactor Jeremy Grantham to arrange a series of debates over AGW… if folks like Al Gore and James Hansen would be agreeable to publicly defend their AGW hypothesis. It would certainly be an interesting and educational event, no?

  36. swampie says:

    James, it is so frustrating. It doesn’t matter what the state of Florida wants, there just isn’t enough wind to generate any meaningful power. FPL will just have to go ahead and sink millions into a project that it knows will not work and we know will not work, and we the consumers will ultimately have to pay for it.

    “Pending regulatory approval, FPL will build 110 megawatts of solar power right here in the Sunshine State, making Florida No. 2 in the nation for solar energy,” FPL Group Chairman and CEO Lewis Hay, III announced today at the 2008 Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami. “This is made possible in part by the strong support and determined leadership of Governor Crist and the Florida legislature, who crafted a progressive energy bill that put a supportive policy framework in place for solar power.”

    As you will recall, Florida is not exactly suited to solar power. Our rainy season is in the summer, as is our peak demand for electricity. *sigh*

    Luckily, my power comes from Georgia.

  37. TD says:

    With oil pricing itself out of the market, does anyone think that the coal burning steam train might make a come-back in an updated form?

  38. Mister Jones says:

    Philip_B

    Workable and productive Fusion might be a bit closer than we think. If you ignore the huge Tokamak designs favoured by some physicists, the work of the late Dr Robert Bussard is being carried on by Dr Richard Nebel, who is getting some interesting data off a thing they call a Polywell. Specifically the WB-6 and latterly the WB-7. Drop by at IEC Fusion Technology for up to date news.

    Even students are building reactors that do work (But not enough to produce power) for $3000. Go take a look.

  39. Greg Spurgin says:

    I would love some people to comment on this item in the Australian Press:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20080702-The-changing-state-of-the-climate-system.html

    I notice that when the global temperature starts cooling the Climate Change Bandwagon starts rabbiting on about sea ice (and never mentioning Antarctica).
    My gut feeling (no science involved!) is that the sea ice is a lagging indicator. If we got warm for 30 years and now its getting cooler (or leveling of) then the seas (including the Arctic) would be slower to respond

  40. L. Gardy LaRoche says:

    ” I think you may need to check your computer configuration. There appears to be some unknown problem between the keyboard and the chair.”

    TechSupport Here=> No footprint can be found for The separately provided Carbon Unit on that SiCPU.
    CASE status:No problem found!

  41. Philip_B says:

    Mister Jones, I deliberately ommited refering to fusion as ‘hot fusion’, which is what I was referring to above.

    I’ve read the cold fusion papers and there is definitely something there and its hard to avoid the conclusion that its low temperature fusion.

    Now whether there is a viable energy source there is a whole different question. Although I do think that the billions spent on ‘climate science’, 90% of whose output is just junk, would be much better spent on looking into cold fusion.

    Greg Spurkin, at Climate Audit this phenomena is referred to as the ‘retreat to the ice’. The Warmers know the surface temperature record is deeply flawed, and ice is a relatively unambiguos measure. Unfortunately for them, the ice aint cooperating.

    We shall see what happens over the next 6 months, but if I were a betting man, I’d say the NH won’t make a record sea ice minimum and the SH will make a record maximum (for the satellite era).

    Otherwise, It’s rather sad that a SH news source focuses on what is happening in the NH and ignores the SH.

  42. thedavidmeister says:

    Um, the article doesn’t have all that much to do with current climate change as far as I can tell. I’m not sure why the discussion is revolving around CO2.

    From the article:

    “University of Canterbury research indicating a glacial ridge in the South Island was formed by a landslide could pour cold water on evidence that climate change happened simultaneously around the world.”

    Well you only have to open a first year geology book to discover that “Global Climate” is really just the sum of more local climates, that all may respond to the same stimuli (increased sunlight, changing atmospheric conditions, etc.) in different ways. Try Earth’s Dynamic Systems Tenth Edition, by Hamblin and Christiansen p.242

    So my guess is that this glacier in the S. Hemisphere was thought to react to Global climate change triggers in a similar way to certain N. Hemisphere glaciers. This new evidence might mean that we can’t automatically assume that.

    The sediment specifically referenced was thought to have been laid in the glacier 13,000 years ago, not long after the height of the last ice-age 18,000 years ago. So doesn’t really have anything to do with the climate change currently taking place, other than making it slightly harder to measure. Also, the curernt climate change has been forecast independantly on each continent around the globe, using indicators other than glaciers.

    Yes, it would be inconvenient if we can’t correlate glacial trends easily across the hemispheres without having to account for any uncertainties, but usually a finding like this wouldn’t make the mainstream newspapers?

    I’m still an Earth Sciences student so if anyone has something intelligent to say on the subject, I’m keen to learn – thedavidmeister@gmail.com

  43. Rob R says:

    Boulders on the surface of the Waiho Loop moraine have recently been dated by a surface exposure method (cosmogenic isotope dating). The work was carried out by Tim Barrows of ANU (Canbera). It turns out that the moraine is younger (by up to about 2000 yrs) than previously thought. Not sure if the article is published yet but if not it should be out within a few months. So its outside the window of the “13,000 yr” event as well as having a rather atypical composition.

  44. Terry says:

    Here is what appears to be the official non Hansen-ised temperature record for Mt Cook village slightly on the eastern side of the divide. Mt Cook itself feeds Franz Joseph Glacier. Also is the record for Milford Sound about 200 km to the south on the Western Side of the divide.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?xmilfjj3e3h

  45. Terry says:

    The previous document link had an error in the Lattitude

    Here is what appears to be the official non Hansen-ised temperature record for Mt Cook village slightly on the eastern side of the divide. Mt Cook itself feeds Franz Joseph Glacier. Also is the record for Milford Sound about 200 km to the south on the Western Side of the divide.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?xmyfcz93unz

    The Latitude in this one has been corrected

  46. Smokey says:

    Greg Spurgin said:

    “I would love some people to comment on this item in the Australian Press…”

    Greg is correct to note that, as usual, the southern ice cap is conveniently disregarded. This is cherry-picking from the overall global record.

    Moreover, I question the reliability of the maps of sea ice provided in that somewhat hysterical article. The current extent of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere is pictured here. Note that it shows a much greater extent of sea ice — in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer season — than the map of sea ice shown in the linked article.

  47. MarkW says:

    Since we have hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of hydrocarbon supplies, I don’t see why some people think the need to find something else is so urgent?

  48. MarkW says:

    The poet writes:

    OT, I guess, but I remember reading somewhere that the reason the earth does not have a thick atmosphere like Venus is because of the Moon. Its gravitational attraction offsets that of the Earth enough to allow gas to escape into outer space.

    —–

    This must explain why Mars has such a thick atmosphere.

    You really need to work on developing your ability to think critically about the things you read. Otherwise you will fall for any type of nice sounding nonsense.

  49. MarkW says:

    With oil pricing itself out of the market, does anyone think that the coal burning steam train might make a come-back in an updated form?

    ——-

    It’s much more likely that coal to gas conversion plants will be built.

  50. Dee Norris says:

    @thedavidmeister

    When I was a young (and somewhat naive) Atmospheric Sciences undergrad, I trusted (sometimes incorrectly) all I was told from professors and text books.

    Modern global warming theory is a house of cards resting on the mistaken premise that the activities of humanity are responsible for recent increase of global temperature (if there is indeed such an increase as described) and that models of the global climate are able to predict that if humanity continue these activities, we will significantly alter the Earth’s global climate to humanity’s detriment.

    The global warmers then toss in all the ‘dire’ effects of any sort of warming (man-made or natural) to scare the populace into agreeing with them and their solutions. The average Jane & Joe is psychologically eco-terrorized with all the propaganda bombarded at them.

    Most scientific progress it the slow accumulation of minor facts and theories until enough substance gathers and someone, in flash of inspiration, figures out a new grand theory. Usually several people have that flash as once and history remembers the one who published first (or published loudest).

    Shifting through the propaganda spewed into the common mindset by media attention is usually about questioning each brick in the wall of global warming one at a time, identifying bad or outdated research, blatant falsehoods told in order to support the propaganda and promoting/analyzing new research that disproved the hysteria of global warming.

    Case in point: The Warmers want Jane & Joe to believe the premise that global warming can trigger an ice age. The Waiho Loop moraine was used to support the claim that a shut-down in a ocean current caused a ‘world-wide’ mini-ice age and was due to global warming. There is now research that indicates this premise is false.

    Eventually, knock out enough bricks and the entire structure comes down.

  51. statePoet1775 says:

    “This must explain why Mars has such a thick atmosphere.” MarkW

    This is an sarcastic quote , cause I’m sure you know better.

    1) the gravity on Mars is 38% of that on earth. So this would tend to hold less atmosphere anyway.

    2) see 1) above.

  52. Smokey,

    If you had taken the time to read the post I linked, it discussed why it is highly unlikely that current warming could result in a THC shutdown. It is possible that faster Greenland melting could slow down the circulation, though and cooling caused by this would be more than offset by the continued warming trend. To truly shut down the THC would require an order of magnitude larger freshwater influx than anything predicted.

    I also quite confident that the law of thermodynamics is firmly on my side of the debate. We have good evidence that the THC has indeed shut down in the past, most dramatically as a result of the abrupt release of the massive inland freshwater lake Agassiz into the northern Atlantic during the Younger Dryas. Wally Broeker over at Columbia did much of the pioneering work on this subject, and I’d direct you to his new book or a recent Science article (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/300/5625/1519) for more information.

    I’m sorry if you take offense at the opinions of one of our contributors regarding the propensity toward climate skepticism from broadcast meteorologists. I’d suggest emailing him if you wish to argue about his article.

    Finally, I do not know nor have ever met anyone associated with the Grantham foundation, so I probably would not be the person to ask about getting James Hansen and Al Gore involved in a debate.

  53. M White says:

    ‘Is thorium the answer to our energy crisis?’
    A “safer” alternative to Uranium

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/is-thorium-the-answer-to-our-energy-crisis-428279.html

    Check it out if you haven’t done so before

  54. Smokey says:

    @Zeke Hausfather (08:31:42) :

    As I explained, I am not arguing, nor will I argue with someone who has an agenda. I have simply pointed out that your blog consists of advocacy of a predetermined position. To label meteorologists “naysayers” simply because the majority of them are skeptical of the catastrophic AGW hypothesis, is proof enough for some of us that you have made your mind up, and empirical facts will not change it.

    For a recap of the current situation, see the excellent post above by Dee Norris (07:15:50), which effectively deconstructs the ‘catastrophic global warming’ scare tactics that we see every day in the media.

    Nor will I argue with your crony, as you suggest. My comments were intended to point out the media agenda, and to present another side of the catastrophic global warming/AGW claim, for the consideration of more neutral readers.

    Finally, regarding the scare tactics of the ocean currents being “shut down” for any reason, the effect of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was pointed out because it requires ocean currents, in order to transfer heat energy from warmer to cooler locations.

    If not for ocean currents transferring heat from warmer to cooler areas, the ocean could be frozen solid at temperate latitudes, and boiling at the equator. Any claim that ocean currents could “shut down,” as you state, are based only on pseudo-science, for the purpose of scaring the public.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    ~~ H. L. Mencken

  55. Smokey points out that:

    “Finally, regarding the scare tactics of the ocean currents being “shut down” for any reason, the effect of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was pointed out because it requires ocean currents, in order to transfer heat energy from warmer to cooler locations.”

    However, the Thermohaline Circulation is driven by changes in water density caused by variations in both heat and salt content of water (hence the name: Thermo(heat)-haline(salt). The evaporation of ocean water in the North Atlantic increases the salinity of the water as well as cooling it, both actions increasing the density of water at the surface, and the formation of sea ice further increases the salinity. A massive freshwater influx, like when lake Agassiz burst through an ice-dam into the northern Atlantic during the Younger Dryas, would dramatically change the density of water in the North Atlantic, reducing the volume of water descending the surface and slowing the THC. There is an extensive body of research on this subject in Science, Nature, PNAS, and other prestigious journals. I’d be a tad careful before throwing around ad-homs about pseudo-science.

    What -is- pseudo-science, however, is the arguement that current warming could trigger an ice age in Europe. This, as you may recall, was the topic of the post I initially linked that you seem to have taken issue with.

  56. If you have access to Nature (if not at home, try your local library), they wrote an excellent review article on the state of Science regarding climate change and the THC a year and a half ago. I can also email you a copy, if you want.

    You can find the article here, and make sure to read the cited articles for a more thorough analysis: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7074/full/439256a.html

    REPLY: ummm, Zeke that link to nature is pretty much useless, since it is behind their “pay us again to read the research that you’ve already paid for via your taxes” scam. I stopped linking anything to Nature long ago because of their refusal to allow taxpayer funded research to be openly read with paying them first.

    I view it as a form of extortion.

  57. stas peterson says:

    To MikeEE

    You have the right instincts but, the average time a windmill operated based on the UK experience with some 2000 windmills, turns out to be 24.1 up time. If the wind is too low 33 mph, it must be shut down. Even worse the life expectancy of a windmill is not anywhere near the 40-60 years of a fossil or nuclear plant. The capital budget must be replaced in ONLY 9 years. The average windmill wears out sitting high up on a pole and difficult to service and maintain. Once again the UK experience is that windmills near worn out and must be rebuilt in 9 years. Frequently it is cheaper to simply replace it with a new unit.

    Since it is variable as well as being intermittent you must have an equal amount of hot spinning reserve ready to pick up demand and to stabilize the grids from going into oscillation, every moment, when wind represent more than 20% of the of potential generation. Oscillations will lead to safety trips and blackouts.

    On top of that for when the wind is not available standby cold reserves like pumped hydro equal to some multiple of wind capacity must be available. Finding hydro sites is tough to do, and seldom cna be found to represent as much as 20% of the grid, Most such installations are only a few percent of load. So the actual cost of a wind installation is also the pumped hydro, and the spinning reserve for grid stabilization. This is 5 to 6 times the capital cost of the windmill itself.

  58. stas peterson says:

    To Mike EE

    My post had a few phrases deleted in the spell check. Here it is corrected. Sorry

    To MikeEE

    You have the right instincts but, the average time a windmill operated based on the UK experience with some 2000 windmills, turns out to be 24.1% as productive up time. If the wind is too low, 33 mph, it must be shut down. Even worse the life expectancy of a windmill is not anywhere near the 40-60 years of a fossil or nuclear plant. The capital budget must plan for it to be replaced in ONLY 9 years. The average windmill wears out sitting high up on a pole and difficult to service and maintain. Once again the UK experience is that windmills are near worn out, and must be rebuilt in 9 years, per the UK experience. Frequently it is cheaper to simply replace it with a new unit.

    Since it is variable in output when running, as well as being intermittent opperating at all, you must have an equal amount of hot spinning reserve ready to pick up instantaneous demand and to stabilize the grids from going into oscillation, every moment, when wind represent more than 20% of the of potential generation. Oscillations will lead to safety trips and blackouts.

    On top of that for when the wind is not available at all, 75.9% of the time, standby cold reserves like pumped hydro equal to some multiple of wind capacity must be available. Finding hydro sites is tough to do, and seldom can be found to represent as much as 20% of the grid. Most such installations are only a few percent of load. So the actual cost of a wind installation is also the pumped hydro, and the spinning reserve for grid stabilization. This is 5 to 6 times the capital cost of the windmill itself.

  59. garron says:

    I have got to work on improving my reading speed. Even the “funny” comments are deserving of a read.

    Did I miss someone addressing TD (20:48:09)’s possibility of a modern day “coal powered” “steam” train. Isn’t the technology available or close to available to extract fuel from coal to be used by diesels?

  60. MikeEE says:

    Philip_B (18:29:17) :

    Yes, you’re right, I meant nuclear fusion … I was in a hurry.

    50 years is what I meant by long term. Beyond the small scale, and near term adoption of alternative fuels, the long term future fuel for humans will have to be nuclear fusion.

    —-
    stas peterson (17:43:16) :

    I guess that explains why whenever I drive by a set of windmills I see only about 10% of them spinning.

    MikeEE

  61. M. Simon says:

    Fusion may not be 50 years away:

    Fusion Report 13 June 008

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