Britain's Lessons From The Winter of 2008-2009

Guest post by Steven Goddard

The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades, and hopefully policymakers have learned a few basic lessons from this.  Here is my wish list, which seem painfully obvious.
  1. Britain can’t rely on global warming to stay warm in the winter.
  2. Britain can’t rely on solar power to stay warm in the winter.  There just isn’t enough sun (which is why it is cold in the winter.)
  3. Britain can’t rely on wind power to stay warm in the winter.   During the coldest weather the winds were calm (which is one reason why the air temperatures were so low.)
  4. Britain can’t rely on Russian natural gas to stay warm.  The gas supply was cut off for weeks due to politics.
The only large scale energy supplies the UK can rely on in the near future are coal, oil and a small amount of nuclear.  So next time you see a “coal train of life” remember to wave at the driver.  And I hate those ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside.

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Robert Wood

Coal is 100% organic.
Coal is 100% natural.
Coal is 100% good.

Mike Bryant

The British once ruled the world. Now they are the puppets of European climate busybodies and their own homegrown climate ideologues. Maybe it’s time for a revolution. Or maybe the once great nation will lay down in the snow and die.

Chris

It’ll be a pretty ironic day when the “Greenies” in Britain have to admit that they’ve used coal to keep warm during the winter, because their “sustainable energy” was so “sustainable” that it didn’t provide enough energy and Global Warming’s “faster than we ever dreamed in our wildest imagining” acceleration didn’t bring enough “catastrophic and apocalyptic” warming.

For some reason, those windmills remind me of Easter Island.
OT:
AP Interview: EPA near ruling on greenhouse gases
WASHINGTON – EPA administrator Lisa Jackson says the agency is moving toward regulating the gases blamed for global warming.
In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Jackson said the agency will decide whether greenhouse gases are a danger to human health and welfare, the legal trigger for regulation under federal law.
Jackson said the Environmental Protection Agency owes the American people an opinion, after years of the Bush administration not taking a position on the matter — a track record that she referred to as a deafening silence.
“We are going to be making a fairly significant finding about what these gases mean for public health and the welfare of our country,” Jackson said.
Recent EPA decisions have hinted that the agency was leaning toward using the Clean Air Act to regulate the gases, a step the Bush administration refused to take despite prodding from the Supreme Court.
_____________________________________________________________________
I think a legal fund needs to be set up to block / postpone this action.
Any ideas?

Pamela Gray

The next time some greenie complains about coal-fired heat sources, tell them to travel to the hinterlands of China and try to stay warm on electric heaters plugged into a windmill.

H.R.

Will the last person to leave the UK please turn out the lights?
Oh. My bad. They’ll all be turned off long before the last person leaves if Steven’s points aren’t heeded.
Heads up, US of A!

Peter S

Those ‘ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside’ will be lasting monuments to the stupidity of the current British government.
The only pleasure they give me is knowing they’ll be around for years… their rotting hulks reminding those responsible of their own incompetence.

RK

I wonder how much of the lack of solar/wind apply to US in the winter. We seem to have a lot of wind in many parts of the country. But I heard they fling ice chunks.
I am still living on fossil fuel.

Ed Scott

“…ugly, motionless windmills …”
Drive the highway between Mojave, CA and Bakersfield, CA through the Tehachapi wind turbine farm and see acres of motionless windmills. They have been there for years, presumably destroying the raptor population.

Phil's Dad

Steve says; “The UK has been experiencing the coldest winter in several decades, and hopefully policymakers have learned a few basic lessons from this.”
As your friendly policymaker I hope so too.
Here’s my list;
1/ I suspect this is weather not climate.
2/ I agree with your points 1-4.
3/ Insulating homes against extreme weather saves 50 times the CO2 per pound spent that energy from wind does and 300 times that of Solar (photovoltaic). Subsidising insulation for all would be a sound policy which ever way the climate changes.
4/ As we run out of our own oil we must find alternatives for the same reasons we can not rely on overseas gas.
Don’t give up on us Steve.

D. King

And in the future there will be great towers that harvest
the wind! and then….and then….wooden shoes!

jae

RIGHT ON, STEVEN. THERE ARE SOME SANE PEOPLE LEFT!

Steven Goddard

Ed Scott,
California has some unique circumstances which produce a lot of wind at the boundary between the cold, wet Pacific air and the hot, dry desert air. (Ideal bird chopping conditions.) And I’ve never been in Wyoming when it wasn’t windy.
England also tends to be breezy, but not during Arctic cold snaps – when electricity is needed the most. That was my point.

Eve

The sad thing happening in the UK is that excess cold related deaths have gone up 7% in 2007. There will be more when the counting is done for 2008. Why? The cap and trade has made fuel and electricity too expensive for many people so they die of cold. It’s called fuel poverty and a more deaths to add to the greenies death toll. Soon to be seen in the US and Canada.

Steven Goddard

The BBC is at it again – another front page story about global warming from a mathematics professor whom they describe as a “top scientist.”
The battle against climate change can only be won “in the hands of the many, not the few”, a top scientist has said.
Jacqueline McGlade, head of the European Environment Agency (EEA), warned the current approach left the public sidelined as “silent observers”.
Political and business leaders were not able to tackle the problem without help from ordinary people, she added.
Professor McGlade said environmental policies would also benefit from data based on public observations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7892992.stm
Just don’t report it if you are cold.

Richard P

Phil’s Dad,
I have heard politically correct politicians state that they did not need _______ because of global warming. This fill in the blank statement included things such as:
Road Salt
Snow Fences
Snow Plows
Cold Weather Clothing for various departments
Natural Gas Contracts
Winterizing Various Buildings
New Furnaces
Snow Days Built into a School Calendar
and many others.
Unfortunately, many of these people think that they are doing the public a service by saving resources. The results of the naive policies have cost us more than just money, many are injured and killed by such myopia challenged people. Too bad it is those they try to serve that suffer.

“For some reason, those windmills remind me of Easter Island.”
Tom in Texas (18:26:51) : Your words may prove all too prophetic. The phrases “Motionless idols to unknown Gods” and “Collective insanity” also have some synergy here.

Bill Illis

The UK’s weather is highly dependent on the Gulf Stream which is approximated by the AMO index (SSTs in the North Atlantic).
The AMO in January has gone negative for the first time in 7 years and the overall trend indicates it is cycling down now. These trends last decades so I’m it seems colder weather is in store now.
http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/118/amoanomalyim4.png

Phil's Dad

Richard P,
Agreed.
It is pretty embarrassing how badly we coped with a few days of snow, particularly in the south. The cost to the economy far outweighed a goodly supply of any of the items in your list.
In any event I would not use global warming as an excuse for any of it. Even the most strident warming alarmist would claim that extreme weather events are more likely not less. We should have been and should be prepared.

UKIP

Steven, are you aware this cold winter was called by the webmaster at (the currently broken) http://www.wacv.co.uk? A Hale Cycle winter, occur every 22/23 years for the UK based on the solar cycle. Makes you wonder why the Met Office can’t spot such a simple pattern. I’ll contact him to see if he will post here. We are most predisposed to colder winters when ENSO conditions are neutral or slightly negative. I wonder where the Met got their warm signal from, or whether they were just forecasting by trends and statistics rather than employing any actual meteorology. It wouldn’t surprise me.

UKIP

“In any event I would not use global warming as an excuse for any of it. Even the most strident warming alarmist would claim that extreme weather events are more likely not less. ”
I have heard about this winter
1) It would have been even colder without global warming
AND
2) Global warming makes extreme weather more likely so this is consistent with warming.
It is incredibly bizarre what sort of logical contortions AGWers get themselves into when doublethinking about climate.

Just want truth...

Phil’s Dad (18:54:50) :
Since the earth has been in a cooling trend for years you could safely stop calling these harsh winters “weather”.
Global warming is not happening. Please check the data. The earth is in a cooling trend.
I’m not going to ask you to check the science on co2 and if it has the power to change climate. My side has been asking your side to do that for years. We can see these admonitions aren’t being heard.

Phil's Dad

UKIP
I have heard similar.
My point of course is that, which ever path climate takes, these things will happen and we must be ready for them. This is, I think, what Mr Goddard says in wish list number 1. (Either way)

Jeff Alberts

Ed Scott (18:53:48) :
Drive the highway between Mojave, CA and Bakersfield, CA through the Tehachapi wind turbine farm and see acres of motionless windmills. They have been there for years, presumably destroying the raptor population.

Yep, been through there in the winters of 2004 and 2005. Not all were motionless, but most were. Beautiful country, but the windmills seemed pretty pointless.

Dave T

If this sunspot cycle trend line is systemic (likely to last through cycle 24), and the connection between cooling and lack of sunspots is valid, then this winter was just a picnic compared to the winters ahead for the next 9-13 years.
On a side note, an AGW follower on our floor was talking today about the “extreme” heat wave in Australia. Of course, this is already being blamed on AGW. It’s funny how if there is a cold snap the AGW people say you’re not allowed to cherry pick a particular weather event. But then, if it happens to be a warm spell, well then it’s OK to cite that as a symptom of warming. I decided to look up some information on this and came across this web site:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=36900
It contains a map of the temperature departure from the mean values. Of interest is that the web site is labeled as “Exceptional Australian Heat Wave” yet it is obvious from the graph that it could just as easily have been labeled as “Exceptional Australian Cold Wave” since half the country is under anomalously cold temperature deviations as extreme as the warm trend in the south. The fact that most Australians live in the southeast corner of the country is really the only reason why this hysterical type reaction was drawn. If the trend had been reversed would anyone have noticed?

Phil's Dad

Just want truth,
Agree about the cooling trend but this was the worst snowfall for nearly two decades so maybe it’s a bit of both. (Unintended irony)
Up until now recent winters haven’t been all that harsh. This year could be a point on a downward curve or an outlier. I don’t know.
My side has been asking your side…?
Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.
It would be recklessly irresponsible to risk the well being of both our own people and those of the developing nations on attempts to control just one climate factor – CO2 – when there is every indication of more powerful influences at work. There is a pressing need to identify and quantify those influences. That is why I am here listening to you.
In the end I may make policy you don’t agree with – but you will have been heard.

G Alston

Jeff Alberts — Yep, been through there in the winters of 2004 and 2005. Not all were motionless, but most were. Beautiful country, but the windmills seemed pretty pointless.
These things were there from the mid/late 80’s and were mimicing silent sentinels even then.

Just want truth...

“just one climate factor – CO2”
But this is essentially an irrelevant factor
I can see you using something like the precautionary principle.
“Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.”
It sounds like you are asserting disasters are coming.

Just want truth...

Phil’s Dad
“Up until now recent winters haven’t been all that harsh.”
Maybe in the UK they have not. But in the US it’s two years now, and in South America it’s been 3 years. Again, the data shows a cooling trend in the earth.
This is the one factor that matters above any theories–the data.
The global warming hypothesis says that as manmade co2 goes up temperatures go up. Co2 levels have been rising faster than predicted but all the while the earth has been cooling.
This is my point, let’s look at the data.

Graeme Rodaughan

Dave T (20:58:25) :
If this sunspot cycle trend line is systemic (likely to last through cycle 24), and the connection between cooling and lack of sunspots is valid, then this winter was just a picnic compared to the winters ahead for the next 9-13 years.
On a side note, an AGW follower on our floor was talking today about the “extreme” heat wave in Australia. Of course, this is already being blamed on AGW. It’s funny how if there is a cold snap the AGW people say you’re not allowed to cherry pick a particular weather event. But then, if it happens to be a warm spell, well then it’s OK to cite that as a symptom of warming. I decided to look up some information on this and came across this web site:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=36900
It contains a map of the temperature departure from the mean values. Of interest is that the web site is labeled as “Exceptional Australian Heat Wave” yet it is obvious from the graph that it could just as easily have been labeled as “Exceptional Australian Cold Wave” since half the country is under anomalously cold temperature deviations as extreme as the warm trend in the south. The fact that most Australians live in the southeast corner of the country is really the only reason why this hysterical type reaction was drawn. If the trend had been reversed would anyone have noticed?

Apart from the heat wave in SE Australia from Mid January to Feb 10th – This Summer has been mild across the nation and on the whole very WET – except in SE Oz – which has been very DRY.
Anyone could draw any conclusion that they like from the diversity of weather experienced in Australia this summer.
The conclusions that are being drawn in support of AGW related to the Victorian bushfires are a sick joke and really point to the political lust of those making them.

Just want truth...

Phil’s Dad
“It would be recklessly irresponsible to risk the well being of both our own people and those of the developing nations on attempts to control just one climate factor – CO2”
Really, at this point, there is no proof we can do anything about any factor in climate. It will happen regardless of what we will do.
But I do agree, trying to control any factor would only be harmful and a needless expense of money.
You mentioned insulation in houses. I can see some sort of one time tax break for those who would take the initiative to insulate their houses better. Insulation in not done well enough. This would not just make for lower heating bills but also more comfortable living conditions. But it wouldn’t be for reasons of global warming.

Leon Brozyna

@ Robert Wood (18:09:45) :
Coal is 100% organic.
Coal is 100% natural.
Coal is 100% good.

You left out an important point:
Coal is green.
It appears that due to increasing levels of CO2, the biosphere is becoming more vibrant and is expanding. And it’s changing — and change seems to be one thing the anti-industrialists fear most.

Just want truth...

Phil’s Dad
“There is a pressing need to identify and quantify those influences.”
I can’t see why it’s a pressing need.
I can see that it is a pressing need to cut taxes and cut government spending to help the world pull out of this recession it is in. That I see is pressing.
But the only reason anyone feels pressure to do something about climate, if man indeed could, is because of Al Gore’s movie. Then of course since he was awarded an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and the Nobel Peace Prize Al Gore has more power over people’s perception of his message. But none of these awards are scientific awards. If not for Al Gore’s movie we wouldn’t find a pressing need to try to do something about climate.

anna v

Phil’s Dad (21:12:10) :

Which side would that be? In truth I am too ignorant to take sides on this one. The only position I take is that there is a very real, life-threatening, risk in getting it wrong in either direction.

The internet is a good place to start learning about what is being pushed as global warming.
I am a particle physicist, and therefore not ignorant on matters scientific. Up to November 2007, I would get my information from generalized scientific articles and was not disagreeing with the “consensus” that there was a problem of anthropogenic global warming. I trusted on the scientific integrity of all those involved in the matter, and did not question them, as I would not expect them to question me about the quark model and my data.
Then I read that there was not medieval warm period (the famous hockey stick). That raised my generalized BS antena. It was not long before that the mummy was found at a pass in the Alps, and you have no need of scientific training to realize that the temperatures must have been higher than the current ones to have hunters on these passes. I was intrigued and started searching. I came to the Chrichton novel that a scientist friend lent me, where there are extensive plots of individualcity heat records and how the temperatures are biased ( I did not read the novel, just looked at the plots).
Then I downloaded the TAR IPCC and read it, and then the AR4 came, and I read all the 800 pages of physics etc studies in support.
Most of the time I was walking around pulling at my hair for what was offered as “science” in these reports. I was shocked out of complacency and started responding in blogs. I said it before in one of the previous threads, that the IPCC report is pseudoscience. I base my accusation in the following.
They run numerous models of the earth evolution of climate quantities with unstated parameters and unstated gridding and then present “spaghetti graphs” of the outputs of these models, without error bars around them. They treat this fan of models as if they are data, taking averages and making predictions, which they call projections, but they are predictions. This is absolutely unscientific. Each model should have come with a 1 sigma statistical error bar, i.e. where the line would go if the parameters were perturbed by 1 sigma.
This was not done for a simple reason. Even one parameter, the albedo, which is the percentage of sun light reflected before it reaches the ground, will change the “projection” by 1 degree centigrade, making it worthless.(Mind you, before I retired I had been working for 30 years fitting models to data in various ways, so I know about fits). With a one sigma change in albedo, each carefully adjusted model would no longer fit the past data, so certainly it could not project the future. With four parameters one can fit anything, with five an elephant as I think Von Neumann has said. It is the error bands that validate a fit/no-fit.
So I am on the skeptics side , insisting that the science is not settled and a lot more thought should be given to modeling than video type games.

rickM

Phil’s Dad,
I think I understand the “pressing need ” comment, but not from any point of view concerning advocacy. To assume that CO2 is causing climate “change” in the way that is being so strongly portrayed is ludicrous – simply because we know so little about our climate system. If there is a “pressing need” it’s to simply remove the advocacy and politics from the current scientific endeavor, and get back to the basics of trying to develop a more fundamental understanding of our climate and all of it’s factors.
Playing it safe in policy making has the unintended consequence of allowing the politically motivated agenda of AGW advocates to advance their cause. So, whether you “choose” a side or not, the language you use suggests that you are playing it safe, and therefore are supporting the AGW position that CO2 is the main driver and cause of “warming”. There is no hair-splitting here, and unfortunately no middle ground.
Windmills are not commerically viable without the tax credits given them. They are useless if you consider what happens to their customers when the winds are insufficient to produce electricity. They can’t be relied on to provide a baseload. Solar is also not commercially viable and neither address the need for constant power, or rapid increases in power demand in extreme weather. At best they are a supplement, at worst they are still a novelty.
Insulating a home is all well and good, but this journey we seem to be embarked on to limit the availability of electricity is ill conceived and will prove tragic, if not just costly in terms of economic growth.
I dont think that 2 consecutive harsh winters in the US can be construed as weather. If it wasnt for abundant fossil fuels, where I call home would be untenable with solar and wind for power.

anna v

Now let us treat the IPCC outputs as we would treat any prophecy of the future. Assume that they have metaphysical inspiration and errors and sigmas are not necessary.
Do these prophecies agree with the data after their publication?
No on several counts.
A model/theory/prophecy even, falls even if one datums disproves it.
The Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis’ only justification comes from the computer models, General Circulation Models (GCM), used extensively in the AR report of IPCC. ( http://www.ipcc.ch)
1)temperatures do not follow IPCC projections. Here is a plot to remind us of this:
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ipccchart.jpg
2) The fingerprint of CO2 in the tropical troposphere as set out in the AR4 report is absent in the data. Here are the links
for models:
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
data:
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/GHGModsvsReality.jpg
3) The oceans are cooling instead of warming and setting off a feedback loop of greenhouse warming: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88520025
The spin in the article is: global warming missing heat. The truth is, nature does not follow the GCM IPCC models.
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/lyman/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf
4) the specific humidity is not rising as it should in order to create the runaway feedback loop predicated in the models:
http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/Timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Specific+Humidity+(up+to+300mb+only)&level=300&lat1=90&lat2=-90&lon1=-180&lon2=180&iseas=1&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=0&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries
The basic premise of the models, that the tiny, (anthropogenic CO2 is a tiny fraction of the CO2) in the atmosphere is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and starts runaway greenhouse warming is absolutely NOT SUPPORTED BY THE DATA.
I do not see any driving correlation between the rise in CO2 and global temperatures in this plot: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Correlation_of_Carbon_Dioxide_with_Temperatures_Negative_Again.pdf

Phillip Bratby

In the UK there are currently 201 groups campaigning against these useless wind turbines (they are called wind farms because that sounds better than calling them wind power stations, particularly as most are sited in the most beautiful parts of the countryside). See http://www.countryguardian.net/
If the UK government has its way, the whole of the countryside will be covered with these useless monstrosities (most are now planned to be 100 to 150 metres tall).
The resistance to wnd farms and the huge subsidies that they need is also growing across Europe. The newly formed (October 2008) European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW, see http://www.epaw.org/) already has 264 affiliated organisations in 13 countries and is lobbying the EU, its commissioners and members of parliament for a moratorium on building wind farms.
I fear the bureaucracy will continue to ignore the voice of the people and the voice of reason. Reason has no place in the modern world.

Whether this winter is an aberration, the start of a sequence of chilly seasons or just plain winter, one thing is certain. No matter what Dr Hansen’s computer games say about the years to come, winter will be either cold or very cold.
Cold causes death. Death from cold. There is no easy way to say it, but some people struggle to afford the fuel they need to keep them alive and they die from cold. More die when it is very cold than when it is just cold.
One of the first duties of any government is to ensure its people can stay alive during normal weather. This winter is normal weather. On any view of it, it is normal weather. If it is not an aberration caused by human activity it is naturally cold, if it is caused by human activity it is the new unnatural cold. Either way, it is cold. If it is natural it might happen again next year. If it is the result of human activity it might happen next year. Either way it is cold.
I suggest we forget punitive surcharges on electricity and gas because they create too much heat in the atmosphere. I suggest we concentrate on how to create real heat in real living rooms at a price the poorest can afford.
If that means coal then it’s coal and let the doomsayers invent the means of preventing the coal boiling the arctic (if they really think it will do anything of the sort). If it means nuclear then it’s nuclear and let the doomsayers invent something better.
And while the doomsayers are inventing something better, remind them of the rural Chinese and Russians who die in droves each winter through sheer cold. Until they have completed their invention, I say more strength to coal and gas power stations to provide the vulnerable with the heat that most of us are lucky enough to be able to take for granted. We expect to survive, the vulnerable only hope. I want them to expect.

anna v

p.s. in my point 4 above the plots are not working. there is a statement when one searches for specific humidity that some pages are missing and they are working on it.
I guess one should be copying hot everything that shows disagreement with the AGW models for it to not disappear. The data are there
http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/db_search/DBSearch.pl?Variable=Specific+Humidity&Dataset=CDC+Derived+NCEP+Reanalysis+Products+Pressure+Level
as maps, not as histograms; one has to plot them and I am not up to the new tools for plotting.

Frederick Davies

Peter S: “Those ‘ugly, motionless windmills popping up all over the countryside’ will be lasting monuments to the stupidity of the current British government. The only pleasure they give me is knowing they’ll be around for years… their rotting hulks reminding those responsible of their own incompetence.”
Sort of like the Dome! 😀

Flanagan

I sometimes wonder if there’s no hidden agenda somewhere around here.
This must be the 5th or 6th post on the “incredible” British winter, which was incredible in the sense that it was the usual (20th century like) type of winter.
Now how comes there’s absolutely nothing said about the Australian heat wave, the numerous temperature, drought factor and low humidity records which were broken? What about the power outages, the deaths related to that heat wave – not even counting fire-related problems? And what about the droughts in South America?
These phenomena are much more intense and are quite rare (they take place once in a century, typically), so I wonder why…

Bart van Deenen

Anna V; your story exactly parallels mine. I have a degree in experimental physics, and have done a lot of work with critical fluids. I know modelling and their limitations.
As far as I can see between all the hyperbole there are a few things supporting the CO2 driver hypothesis:
1) the well known greenhouse effect of CO2 in laboratory settings.
2) the simultaneous rise of atmospheric CO2 and average global temperature in the 20th century.
3) GCM outputs supporting the conclusion
4) long term correlations (among other things the Vostok ice core).
The way I understand it, the lag between CO2 and temperature in the Vostok ice core is ca 800 year, strongly suggesting that the only reason for the correlation is CO2 dissolving in warmer or colder oceans. This in my opinion discards reason 4) and weakens the whole plausibility of a strong CO2 driver effect.
The GCM’s in my opinion attempt to do something that is unrealistic given the current knowledge of the whole climate. Solar input into them is limited to the solar constant and that of course is not enough to explain Maunder minima and such. This in itself shows their limits. So point 3) is meaningless as far as I’m concerned.
Remains 1) and 2) Point 1 is undisputed. However the Vostok core measurements seem to me to be indicating that the effect is not so important in the actual atmosphere, and is probably being masked by for instance biology caused albedo changes, or changes in atmospheric moisture content, or something else. If 1) was very important, one would not see the 800 year Vostok lag.
Point 2) is therefore in my opinion a correlation, no more, no less. Looking at details in global average measurements we actually don’t see a strong correlation between the continuously rising CO2 and the temperature. The temperature rise has a plateau between ca. 1940 and ’75 whereas the CO2 level was rising all the time. Looking at a correlation between sunspot numbers (averaged over 30 years, a few solar cycles) we see a correlation that is just as good.
We know from historic data a strong correlation between sunspots and climate (Dalton minimum, Maunder minimum, and all the other minima posted earlier in this thread).
For these reasons, I am not convinced that CO2 is as important as we’re supposed to believe.

Manfred

hi flanagan,
maybe because averaged over australia, january was quite average.
http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/temp_maps.cgi?variable=maxanom&area=nat&period=month&time=latest
and australian temperatures appear to be well correlated with ocean currents, implying that australian fear mongers will be proven wrong shortly as well:
http://mclean.ch/climate/Aust_temps_alt_view.pdf

Phil’s Dad, first of all, good on you for checking out what the ‘other side’ has to say. Our ‘Energy Czar’ is on record saying ‘the science is settled’, ‘the evidence is overwhelming’, the ‘tiny number of scientist who disagree’ are a bunch of reactionary old hasbeens etc etc. Hopefully, you will get the message that he is wrong on all counts and let him know he needs to revisit his opinions and reassess the ‘facts’ he based them on.
It’s understandable that busy policy makers and high officials generally trust the mainstream outlets of public knowledge such as the BBC, IPCC, Journals etc. It’s understandable that they don’t have the time to spend sifting and evaluating all the conflicting information out there on the internet.
But they need to differentiate between rant-sites, one sided ‘info-sites’, and blogs such as this run by scientifically educated people who want the truth. http://www.climateaudit.org is the premier ‘properly done stats’ site, this site is the science blog of the year site. OK, it has a majority of sceptics, but both sides are heard with the minimum of cat-calling, due to it’s good moderation.
Sceptics admit mankind doesn’t know enough about climate to rush to judgement. One of the benefits of that is that we are actively investigating all the possibilities, and so have a better chance of working out what’s really going on than those who believe ‘the science is settled’. One of the disbenefits is that we are unable to supply policy makers with neat soundbite packages which have a ring of certainty about them. I have a degree in the history and philosophy of science, and have many case studies of ‘definitely known science’ which has foundered on the rocks of ongoing, changing reality. I also have a HNC in mechanical engineering, and I’m able to see the inadequacies of the systems we currently use to provide the data we interpret.
Climate science is in it’s infancy, and climate science is far too important to leave to a clique of climatologists who justify their hefty grants by ‘being certain’.
If climate science is an everest expedition, we’re are still in the internet cafe in Katmandhu, planning the expedition after a couple of failed reconnaissances.
Stick around and travel the winding path to scientific truth with us.

Peter Hearnden

To answer Steven’s points in order: We don’t, that’s obvious and we don’t, obvious and we don’t, obvious and we don’t.
What we, the UK (but it applies everywhere I guess) need in a mix of energy sources. That’s what we have. We don’t and wont rely on any one source. Various renewable energy resources add to that mix. I fail to understand the visceral dislike that many here clearly have for what is a obviously sensible way forward.
Are coal fired power stations beautiful? No, they are dirty, huge and ugly. Are nuclear power stations easy to build? Is dealing with the waste they produce child’s play? No and no. Ok, if we had a command economy we might be able to throw a few new nuclear power stations up in years – but I don’t think anyone want a command economy ‘cos that would be ….socialist (uugghh).
As to windmills not working if it’s calm, well, what can one do? Show surprise at such a revelation? Is any energy source 100% reliable? Haven’t we had nuclear power stations shut down recently? Do coal fired power station have 100% reliability?

Alan the Brit

The UK is littered with these monstrous wind turbines many lying idle even when the wind is blowing. Beats me? I have seen the same in northern France when on holiday there. (They seem even bigger but that’s probably an illusion, a bit like AGW).
To Phil’s Dad, it is all very well hearing another opinion, the issue however is whether one has listened to that viewpoint rather than it merely being heard!!!!!!! Don’t forget the mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open!
A trace element in our atmosphere that has (sorry to say again) increased by 1/10000 part of it over 200 years (allegedly) cannot have a significant effect upon that atmosphere, it’s a trace gas & the IPCC acknowledge it. As was pointed out on Joe D’Aleo’s ICECAP who in their right minds produce a “scientific” summary well before the “science” has been completed. It just doesn’t work like that I’m sorry to say! One does the “science” first, then summarise ones conclusion afterwards, that is how ALL good science works. The Danes have found 9500 YO plant matter that when examined contained up to 330ppm atmospheric C02. There are some 90,000 accurate samples of atmospheric C02 taken over 150 years that show levels way above 280ppm. Also the losses incurred when producing ice-cores seem to have been ignored by IPCC. Again it comes down to a certain arrogance to casually dismiss these as insignificant because they don’t fit the picture. I understand that the IPCC looked at a mere 10% of these before dismissing them all, although someone correct me if this is not the case.
I find it rather arrogant of post-Victorian mankind to think of our ancestors & current primitive cultures that worshipped the Sun, probably for good reason, as ignorant, as it gave warmth & hence life to everything on the planet. I suspect they knew a little more than we dare credit them with. Time & again we see some history programme or such revealing that our ancestors weren’t quite the ignorant peoples we take/took them for, after all they survived long enough to get mankind this far, I wonder what they would make of us?
BTW & slightly OT, whilst pausing for some tasty cheese on toast for lunch the other day I see the UK History Channel is re-running that brilliant & wonderful programme, Earth Story, with Aubrey Manning. It seems it is unacceptable to re-run it on mainstream channels, although anything produced by Sir David Attenborough highlighting the plight of the planet can be. Can’t wait for the final episode when Mr Manning bangs on about Carbon Dioxide & the Carbon Cycle, & how lifeless this lump of rock would be without its abundance!!!!!!!!!
Oh & please reassure me that BS stands for Bad Science as I was beginning to worry that standards were dropping!

Peter Hearnden (01:49:16) :
Is any energy source 100% reliable?

No, but some are a lot closer to it than others will ever be, until we get a world grid online using superconducting cable.

B Kerr

Steven Goddard (19:24:48) :
The BBC is at it again – another front page story about global warming from a mathematics professor whom they describe as a “top scientist.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7892992.stm
This article is at least semi-newsworthy.
Well just.
The BBC are desperate for any story about the environment. Anything which can have an alarmist undertone. This headline news article was in the news yesterday afternoon. I could not believe what I was hearing. There was a slight debate at what could have caused this unusual behaviour, but in our hearts we really knew that we were the cause. I felt so guilty.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7894680.stm
“The incident involving the lamb and the bird of prey was recorded”
“Other unusual behaviour included an immature golden eagle running along the ground chasing after rabbits. ”
The incident was recorded!!
What alarmist twaddle is this?
Come off it. Sounds like the lamb is going to be arrested.
The web page displays a picture of the lamb, so if you see it please report it.
It is easily recognised it has a white fleece and a silly smile.
Other unusual behaviour!!
Eagles aren’t stupid; if they are on the ground and there is a free meal about why waste energy and take off.
Have these people from Scottish Natural Heritage, ever been outside a city?
I’ve had a Golden Eagle swoop down on my car.
Now that was unusual behaviour. Yes by me as I was screaming as I had only had the car three weeks.
I’ve seen Eagles walking/jumping on the ground. Wow!!
I never reported these incidents.
Who at the BBC checked this out and thought it newsworthy?
The BBC has lost it.

E.M.Smith

Minor point: The UK is very well suited for wave power, it would take far less area than wind (water density is higher..) and waves are much more reliable. While I’m generally in favor of some wind power, the ‘reasonable’ percentage has to stay small since it is not ‘dispatchable’ (fancy word for ‘no wind, no power’ when you need it). Were I the UK energy czar, I’d do about 50% baseload nuke, 35% wave, 25% baseload fossil (coal), and 15% wind / solar. I’d also hold a 25% dispatchable fossil (gas turbine, for example) on cold standby. Yes, that adds to more than 100%. You need excess for unscheduled downtime, scheduled downtime, and lack of dispatch… Add in Russian politics on natural gas and you need a large excess.
On the subject of models:
It’s not just the input data in that are ‘cooked’, the models are run ‘on juice’. There is nothing that needs doing for at least 50 years even if CO2 is doing bad things. They deliberately run the models with a ‘too fast’ feedback to get sensational results:
From “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg; page 279 discussing the GHG growth rate expressed as CO2 equivalents:
In the 1980’s the growth rate peaked at 0.76 percent, but since 1990 it has been down to just 0.58 percent. (2292) And again, this is not just pedantic, since an increase of 0.85% doubles the effective CO2 in just 82 years, compared with the 120 years needed by the measured current growth rate. (2293)
Yet most standard computer simulations use an even higher value for the CO2 increase, namely 1%. (2294) This is done for simplicity and convenience, though the IPCC admit it is “arbitrary” and “on the high side”. (2295) Again, this makes the doubling time of CO2 just below 70 years, compared to the empirical estimate of 120 years.

Page 280
The consequence is that the models run way too fast, predicting warming coming almost twice as fast (70 vs 120 years) or, equivalently, predicting much more warming in a given time. (2397) Typically, the models that we are presented with in the press are exactly these sorts of models that run much faster than the IPCC scenario, itself running faster than the observations.
So you can see that there is no ‘pressing need’. The only thing pressing is the the foot on the electronic ‘go fast’ pedal…
The Sun: Still snoozing…. no spots again today…
Finally, per Australia, there is another thread devoted to that topic. It has not been ignored. The scope of the problem has nothing to do with warming and everything to do with poor fuel management behaviours and ‘green’ laws against sane structure protection.
Heat doesn’t make fires, fuel does. (Wyoming is not exactly a warm climate and Yellowstone still burned.) I fully expect California to burn this summer too. It has every summer for 1/2 century that I personally can attest to… All you need to do is let the people who live there do the things they know how to do to stop the fires from killing them. Don’t expect that politics and laws can change the laws of nature. Clear fuel back from structures and don’t let 25 tons / acre of fuel build up for decades, clear it out. Get the government out of the way of the people.

Sekerob

[i] Robert Wood (18:09:45) :
Coal is 100% organic.
Coal is 100% natural.
Coal is 100% good.[/i]
And all the shleep stay silent as the lambs, particular on the latter point. Care to tell Robert Wood what poisons are being reintroduced into the active biosphere… such as http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste
Yes, a few cold winters in the UK and those there still thinking England is the universe declare global cooling. Oddly, as someone noted a whopping drop in 12 months from 2007 to 2008 of 0.6C, inconveniently there was in the following 12 month a rewarming of 0.4C… during a decade of supposed stagnating warming even lowering of the temps… how sad Steve Goddard and his pose is. So what evidence is there that the CO2 pipeline temp signal is not building strength within the weather noise?