Weekly Climate and Energy news Roundup

The Week That Was: 2014-04-12 (April 12, 2014) Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived. Niccolo Machiavelli [H/t Tim Ball] Number of the Week: $97,000 annual salary, entry level with undergraduate degree



By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)   Continue reading

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Posted in Climate News Roundup | 23 Comments

Cosmic Rays, Sunspots, and Beryllium

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

In investigations of the past history of cosmic rays, the deposition rates (flux rates) of the beryllium isotope 10Be are often used as a proxy for the amount of cosmic rays. This is because 10Be is produced, inter alia, by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. Being a congenitally inquisitive type of fellow, I thought I’d look to see just how good a proxy 10Be might be for solar activity. Now most folks would likely do a search of the literature first, to find out what is currently known about the subject.

I don’t like doing that. Oh, the literature search is important, don’t get me wrong … but I postpone it as long as I possibly can. You see, I don’t want to be mesmerized by what is claimed to be already known. I want to look whatever it is with a fresh eye, what the Buddhists call “Beginner’s Mind”, unencumbered by decades of claims and counter-claims. In short, what I do when faced with a new field is to go find some data and analyze it. After I’ve found out what I can from the dataset, and only then, do I search the literature to find out what other folks might believe. Yes, it costs me sometimes … but usually it allows me to find things that other folks have overlooked.

In this case, I found a gem of a dataset. Here is the author’s summary:

Annually-resolved polar ice core 10Be records spanning the Neutron Monitor era

Abstract: Annually-resolved 10Be concentrations, stable water isotope ratios and accumulation rate data from the DSS site on Law Dome, East Antarctica (spanning 1936-2009) and the Das2 site, south-east Greenland (1936-2002).

The only thing better than data is recent data, because it is more likely to be accurate, and here we have seven decades of recent 10Be deposition rates (fluxes). So, without fanfare, here’s the data in question

10be flux rates greenland antarcticaFigure 1. 10Be flux rates from Law Dome in Antarctica and from Southeast Greenland. Bottom panel shows the annual average sunspot count.

So … what’s not to like about these records? Well … lots of things.

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Posted in Climate News, Cosmic rays | Tagged , , , , | 241 Comments

Climate Schlock: Joe Romm goes for the Herb Tarleck pitch

herb-tarlek[1]Being a broadcaster, one of my favorite TV shows ever was WKRP in Cincinnati. Readers may recall some of the highest forms of stereotypical comedy that came from the sales manager, Herb Tarleck, seen at right, who had the schtick of a used car salesman down pat.

So, when I saw this latest headline sales pitch from Joe Romm over at Climate Progress, with the key words “act now” and “super cheap”  I couldn’t help but think of Joe Romm channeling Herb Tarleck.

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Posted in Alarmism, Satire | 72 Comments

Earth to Lovejoy: 0.9 C° in a century is not ‘huge’

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Pseudo-science by press release has become the norm among the Forces of Darkness. With as much fanfare as McGill University could muster, the recent paper by Professor Lovejoy was promoted via a typically head-banging instance of the genre.

The gushingly flatulent halation of the university PR-wallahs is typical of the verbal diarrhea habitual among practitioners of the Dark Arts. The ipsissima verba of Lovejoy himself in the press release are of particular interest.

Here is what he is quoted as saying: Continue reading

Posted in 99% certainty, Alarmism, Bad science, Climate data | 82 Comments

DIY Climate Psychology Lewpaper Generator

Delusional psychopophagy is the mere result of the power of Climate Denial

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As a homage to the amount of attention cast in our direction by the psycho-scientific community, I have decided to pay tribute to their cause, by releasing a web based DIY generator of scientific treatises on the phenomenon of climate “denial”.

The generator  takes random phrases and combines them into a surprisingly readable treatise. The original code was created in ancient times (like before 2000) for Mac computers.

The following is an example of this random artificial intelligence at work:

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Posted in Curious things, Fun_stuff | 121 Comments

Your chance to predict future El Niño headlines

Bob Tisdale recently took some of the early wailers to task over the expected El Niño this year, saying:

I knew it wouldn’t take long. The 2014/15 El Niño has yet to form and there’s already a well-commented blog post about it that spreads more speculative nonsense than one would think possible.

So, I thought it might be time to do some forecasting of our own. First, some basics,

From Tisdales recent article, we have this graph showing another model vs. reality divergence.

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Posted in ENSO, Forecasting, Fun_stuff | 209 Comments

A Modtran Mystery

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve been messing about with the “Modtran” online calculator for atmospheric absorption. It’s called “Modtran” because it is a MODerate resolution program to calculate atmospheric infrared absorption written in ForTRAN, which calculates the result for each 1 cm-1 wide band of the wavenumber across the spectrum. Not quite a “line-by-line” calculation, but close. Here’s a sample of the input page:

modtran ir in the atmosphereFigure 1. User input page for the Modtran online calculation for infrared absorption. Left side is user input. Upper right graph shows absorption as a function of frequency. The lower right graph shows the GHG concentrations, pressure, and temperature, as a function of altitude. See here for an overview of the model. Click to enlarge

This shows the situation during the subarctic summer, with no clouds or rain.

Along the way, I ran into a curious mystery, one for which I have no answer.

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Posted in Carbon dioxide, James Hansen, Radiation | Tagged , , , | 154 Comments

Mann the delayer

Delayed[1]If you ever needed an example of just how one-sided Michael Mann is, here’s an example of how this delicate scientific flower can’t handle discovery.

Mark Steyn writes:

Breaking as-it-happens news about a trial that isn’t happening any day soon, or any half-decade soon. Previously on Mann vs Steyn et al, National Review had filed a motion asking for yet another stay in discovery pending the appeals court’s ruling on their appeal – or, indeed, the appeals court’s ruling on whether they’re allowed to appeal. Whatever. I’m bored by all this procedural flimflam and am anxious to proceed with discovery and go to trial, as I could have done by now in almost any functioning jurisdiction.

So I filed an objection. Michael Mann eventually filed an objection, too. He also wants to proceed with discovery but only against me, not against him. A voyage of one-way discovery.  Continue reading

Posted in Michael E. Mann, Opinion | 67 Comments

Lovejoy’s 99% ‘confidence’ vs. measurement uncertainty

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

It is time to be angry at the gruesome failure of peer review that allows publication of papers, such as the recent effusion of Professor Lovejoy of McGill University, which, in the gushing, widely-circulated press release that seems to accompany every mephitically ectoplasmic emanation from the Forces of Darkness these days, billed it thus:

“Statistical analysis rules out natural-warming hypothesis with more than 99 percent certainty.”

One thing anyone who studies any kind of physics knows is that claiming results to three standard deviations, or 99% confidence, requires – at minimum – that the data underlying the claim are exceptionally precise and trustworthy and, in particular, that the measurement error is minuscule.

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Posted in 99% certainty, Bad science, Uncertainty | 233 Comments

Claim: Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: Slim to none

UPDATE: a response to this paper has been posted, see below.

From McGill University , who blows the credibility of their science by putting the word “deniers” in it.

Statistical analysis rules out natural-warming hypothesis with more than 99 percent certainty

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth’s climate, according to a new study by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.

The study, published online April 6 in the journal Climate Dynamics, represents a new approach to the question of whether global warming in the industrial era has been caused largely by man-made emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Rather than using complex computer models to estimate the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, Lovejoy examines historical data to assess the competing hypothesis: that warming over the past century is due to natural long-term variations in temperature.

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Posted in 99% certainty, Alarmism | 185 Comments

Frontiers fires back again on the hype surrounding Lewandowsky’s retracted Recursive Fury paper

Readers may recall some ethics objections I raised in my complaint letter to UWA and Psychological Science, and also sent to Frontiers. It seems Frontiers agrees.

This statement was posted on their website today:

Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers

The retracted Recursive Fury paper has created quite a blogger and twitter storm. A sensational storm indeed, with hints to conspiracy theories, claims of legal threats and perceived contradictions. It has been fury – one of the strongest human emotions – that has (perhaps understandably at first sight) guided the discussion around this retraction. Not surprisingly though, the truth is not as sensational and much simpler.

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Posted in Climate ugliness, Stephan Lewandowsky | 130 Comments

Methane: The Irrelevant Greenhouse Gas

Water vapor has already absorbed the very same infrared radiation that Methane might have absorbed.

Guest essay by Dr. Tom Sheahen

Q: I read that methane is an even worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and cattle are a big source of methane emissions. How are they going to regulate that? Not just cattle, but dairy cows as well! That doubles the worry.

Fortunately, there is really nothing to worry about, scientifically. The main thing to worry about is over-reacting politicians and another layer of unnecessary government regulations.   Continue reading

Posted in Methane, Science | Tagged , , | 251 Comments

The 2014/15 El Niño – Part 2 – The Alarmist Misinformation (BS) Begins

I knew it wouldn’t take long. The 2014/15 El Niño has yet to form and there’s already a well-commented blog post about it that spreads more speculative nonsense than one would think possible. Even the title Monster El Nino Emerging From the Depths: Nose of Massive Kelvin Wave Breaks Surface in Eastern Pacific is remarkable. (H/T to Ric Werme.) The article was written by Robert Scribbler, who appears to be fiction novelist Robert Marston Fanney. It seems appropriate since that blog post is filled with fiction. Robert has a follow-up post this week El Nino Update: Monster Kelvin Wave Continues to Emerge and Intensify. It appears as though the author, who has little understanding of El Niño processes, or how the data are presented, or the history of ENSO events, is trying to suck in some blog traffic from persons with even less knowledge.

Since Robert is a storyteller, let’s tell the tale of the data.

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Posted in El Nino Basics, ENSO | 76 Comments

Solar Periodicity

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I was pointed to a 2010 post by Dr. Roy Spencer over at his always interesting blog. In it, he says that he can show a relationship between total solar irradiance (TSI) and the HadCRUT3 global surface temperature anomalies. TSI is the strength of the sun’s energy at a specified distance from the sun (average earth distance). What Dr. Roy has done is to “composite” the variations in TSI. This means to stack them one on top of another … and here is where I ran into trouble.

I couldn’t figure out how he split up the TSI data to stack them, because the cycles have different lengths. So how would you make an 11-year composite stack when the cycles are longer and shorter than that? And unfortunately, the comments are closed. Yes, I know I could write and ask Dr. Roy, he’s a good guy and would answer me, but that’s sooo 20th century … this illustrates the importance of publishing your code along with your analysis. His analysis may indeed be 100% correct—but I can’t confirm that because I can’t figure out exactly how he did it.

Since I couldn’t confirm Dr. Roy’s interesting approach, I figured I’d take an independent look at the data to see for myself if there is a visible ~ 11 year solar signal in the various temperature records. I started by investigating the cycle in the solar variations themselves. The TSI data is here. Figure 1 shows the variations in TSI since 1880

total solar irradiance lean dataFigure 1. Monthly reconstructed total solar irradiance in watts per square metre (W/m2). As with many such datasets this one has its detractors and adherents. I use it because Dr. Roy used it, and he used it for the same reason, because the study he was investigating used it. For the purposes of my analysis the differences between this and other variations are minimal. See the underlying Lean study (GRL 2000) for details. Note also that this is very similar to the sunspot cycle, from which it was reconstructed.

If I’m looking for a correlation with a periodic signal like the ~ 11-year variations in TSI, I often use what is called a “periodicity analysis“. While this is somewhat similar to a Fourier analysis, it has some advantages in certain situations, including this one.

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Posted in Solar | Tagged , , , , , , | 293 Comments

Noctilucent clouds on the increase, climate change will likely be blamed

Of course, it might just be a negative feedback at work.

From NASA: Appearance of Night-Shining Clouds Has Increased

First spotted in 1885, silvery blue clouds sometimes hover in the night sky near the poles, appearing to give off their own glowing light. Known as noctilucent clouds, this phenomenon began to be sighted at lower and lower latitudes — between the 40th and 50th parallel — during the 20th century, causing scientists to wonder if the region these clouds inhabit had indeed changed — information that would tie in with understanding the weather and climate of all Earth.

Night-shining, or noctilucent clouds on July 3, 2011, in Lock Leven, Fife, Scotland.
Night-shining, or noctilucent clouds on July 3, 2011, in Lock Leven, Fife, Scotland.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Adrian Maricic

A NASA mission called Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, was launched in 2007 to observe noctilucent clouds, but it currently only has a view of the clouds near the poles. Now scientists have gathered information from several other missions, past and present, and combined it with computer simulations to systematically show that the presence of these bright shining clouds have indeed increased in areas between 40 and 50 degrees north latitude, a region which covers the northern third of the United Sates and the lowest parts of Canada. The research was published online in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres on March 18, 2014.

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Posted in clouds, Optical phenonmena, Weather | 35 Comments

The Great Credibility Gap yawns ever wider

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Now that the UAH satellite data are available, we can update the monthly Global Warming Prediction Index, a devastatingly simple measure of how well (or badly) the IPCC’s official predictions of global warming are doing.


The 2013 Fifth Assessment Report backdated the IPCC’s predictions to January 2005. The interval of predictions, equivalent to 0.5[0.3, 0.7] Cº over 30 years or 1.67 [1.0, 2.33] Cº per century, is shown in orange.

By now, as a central estimate, there should have been 0.15 Cº global warming since January 2005, a rate equivalent to 0.5 Cº in 30 years, or 1.67 Cº per century, gathering pace rapidly after 2035 to reach 3.7 Cº over the full century.

However, the trend on the mean of the monthly RSS and UAH satellite lower-troposphere temperature anomalies is, if anything, falling, leading to an over-prediction by the IPCC of 0.17 Cº – a sixth of a Celsius degree – in the 111 months January 2005 to March 2014.


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Posted in Hiatus in Global Warming, IPCC | 174 Comments

More support for Svensmark’s cosmic ray modulation of Earth’s climate hypothesis

There is a new paper in Environmental Research Letters that give additional support to  Henrik Svensmark’s cosmic ray hypothesis of climate change on Earth. The idea is basically this: the suns changing magnetic field has an influence on galactic cosmic rays, with a stronger magnetic field deflecting more cosmic rays and a weaker one allowing more into the solar system. The cosmic rays affect cloud formation on Earth by creating condensation nuclei. Here is a simplified block flowchart diagram of the process:


The authors of the the new paper have a similar but more detailed flowchart:

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Posted in Climate News, Cosmic rays, Science | Tagged , , , | 243 Comments

The La Brea Tars Pits gets themselves in a sticky wicket over climate change and adaptation

One of the most shrill arguments from alarmists is the idea that climate change will wipe out species because they can’t adapt. The claims run from polar bears to tortoises, to plants and coral. Yes, if we listen to these arguments, Nature so poorly equipped it’s creatures that they can’t adapt to a slightly warmer future.

Except when the last ice age ended, and it got warmer, and the saber-toothed cats got bigger because the prey got bigger…instead of disappearing due to “climate change”.

From the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

La Brea Tar Pit fossil research shows climate change drove evolution of Ice Age predators

LOS ANGELES — Concerns about climate change and its impact on the world around us are growing daily. New scientific studies at the La Brea Tar Pits are probing the link between climate warming and the evolution of Ice Age predators, attempting to predict how animals will respond to climate change today.

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Posted in Alarmism | 190 Comments