DON’T FORGET: Heartland Institute is sponsoring the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-6) to take place in Washington, DC from breakfast Thursday, June 30, to noon Friday, July 1, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. This event will be more modest than in the past, yet as informative and, perhaps, even more challenging to the orthodoxy. The principal speakers include S. Fred Singer, Craig Idso, and Bob Carter – all major contributors to the NIPCC reports. Of course, SEPP is a co-sponsor.
Quote of the Week:
“People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,” adding, “Our approach is not entirely empirical.” John Mitchell, principal research scientist at the UK Met Office
Number of the Week: 10 Times Sharper
By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
As stated in earlier TWTWs, SEPP joined the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Freedom Works Foundation in petitioning the US Federal Court for the District of Columbia to set aside EPA’s Endangerment Rule – that greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) endanger human health and welfare. The Court grouped our petition with many others and required a filing of a joint petition, which was submitted this Friday. SEPP reviewed the scientific basis, or lack thereof, supporting EPA’s ruling, which EPA claimed to be based on science.
The process gave an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which many Western organizations, termed scientific, have drifted from the standards of Western science – modern empirical science.
The quote of the week came from an article referenced in last week’s TWTW reporting a debate at Cambridge. The senior scientist of the UK Met Office implies that numerical models can add to scientific knowledge above empirical observations. The argument dates back to Greek and medieval science, that embraced concepts such as the earth centered solar system of Aristotle, the Ptolemy scientists, and their models.
Contrary to popular belief, initially, the intense criticism of Galileo came from his colleagues, Aristotelian scientists at the University Padua, and elsewhere. The criticism by the leadership of the Catholic Church came later. Galileo advocated that scientific knowledge comes through observation, not authority or convenient models. He outraged his colleagues by empirically testing the assumptions of Aristotelian science and found them wanting. He advocated that mathematics, because it is precise, is the proper language of science, not Latin, and he wrote in the vulgar script of Italian.
Newton synthesized the findings of Galileo, Kepler, and others into his theories of planetary motion, which required significant mathematical calculations. The precision of the mathematics in describing the movements of the planets was daunting. Incorrectly interpreting this mathematical precision as imparting scientific knowledge, many subsequent scientists claimed that scientific knowledge could be acquired by mathematics alone, such as geometry. Of course, subsequent observations, variations in observed planetary motions (leading to relativity theory) and erratic behavior of particles (leading to quantum mechanics), demonstrated that mathematics and numerical models are tools for understanding, and not sources of knowledge. Results must be confirmed by observations.
Unfortunately, many 21st century scientists, such as John Mitchell, appear to embrace beliefs held in the late 19th century that mathematical procedures can create knowledge. Such scientists appear ready to accept the results of their models over empirical observations, a concept rejected in the 20th century.
This recent, numerical-model based science contradicts the principles of modern empirical science – that empirical observations are the final determinants of validity of scientific theory and models. For example, the strength of the standard model in physics comes not from its mathematical complexity, but from repeated and exhaustive testing of its assumptions and high precision between the results of the model and observations (experiments).
On preparing its final comments for the current round of litigation against EPA, SEPP concluded the supporting science for the EPA Endangerment Rule, including the reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, US Climate Change Science Project, and the National Research Council, are based on complex numerical models that have never been validated and fail to meet the standards recognized by modern empirical science. Critical assumptions fail empirical testing. There is little consistency between model results and observations. In short, EPA relies on 19th century science, or worse, on medieval science.
A new report by the US National Research Council, “America’s Climate Choices,” reaffirms the above observation. The report calls for urgent action to stop carbon dioxide emissions and states that uncertainty about climate science and the sensitivity of the planet to increasing greenhouse gases is not a reason for inaction, but “a compelling reason for action.”
The scientific section “Advances the Science of Climate Change” was published in 2010. It repeats the, now, usual litany of disasters that will result if carbon dioxide emissions are not controlled. The report is based on the findings of the IPCC and its models. The following quote from the “Report in Brief” is illustrative:
“While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanation.”
Much of the above quote can be contested, most importantly, the report ignores that the most critical assumption fails hypothesis testing. Based on the generally accepted greenhouse theory, a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in a warming of about 1.2 deg C. The critical assumption in the models used is that this warming will be greatly amplified by an increase in atmospheric water vapor. The models, accepted by the report, project a strong secondary warming centered over the tropics at an altitude about 10 km. This assumption (hypothesis) was empirically tested [Douglass et al. 2007] and failed. Some defenders of the IPCC have tried to cover up this failure with highly dubious statistics. [See NIPCC, 2008].
The above quoted statement in the report is wrong. Further, the disasters claimed in the report are based on projections from these unverified computer models that contain assumptions that fail empirical testing. Thus, the report itself is not based on modern empirical science. Please see Article # 3 and referenced articles under: “Defenders of the Orthodoxy.”
Solar – Cosmic Ray Interplay and the Earth’s Climate: A number of readers have been waiting for the results of the CLOUD experiment underway at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The CLOUD experiment is to test the Svensmark, et al. hypothesis that cosmic rays, modulated by solar activity, influence cloud formation, therefore temperature. The more high energy cosmic rays hitting the upper atmosphere, the more low level clouds, which reflect sunlight, the cooler the planet. The greater the solar activity, solar wind and solar magnetism, the fewer the cosmic rays hitting the upper atmosphere, the less the cloud formation, the warmer the planet.
The Danish Space Research Institute conducted an experiment, SKY, to test this hypothesis. The results were encouraging for the new hypothesis. However, there remained several criticisms, including the use of gamma radiation which is different than cosmic radiation.
A new experiment, conducted by Aarhus University and the Danish Space Institute, used a particle accelerator to re-test the hypothesis. The particle accelerator produces high energy electronic particles more similar to cosmic rays than gamma rays. The hypothesis was not rejected – there appears to be a relationship between cosmic rays, solar activity, and cloud formation. Since cloud formation cannot influence solar activity and cosmic rays, the relationship can go only one way.
Roy Spencer, who has advocated that clouds influence climate, but the changes in cloud cover come from different sources such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, has been skeptical of the idea of cosmic rays influencing terrestrial clouds. However, he was impressed by the second experiment and made very preliminary calculations, based on cosmic rays reports from Moscow and the CERES earth radiative budget data. These calculations indicate that the total solar influence on temperatures may be several times stronger than solar irradiance, the only natural influence recognized in the IPCC reports.
If these experiments are supported by the CLOUD experiment, it does not mean that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide do not increase temperatures. But it does mean that the IPCC, and others, underestimated natural influences temperatures. Given the methodology used, the IPCC, and others, mistakenly overestimated human influences on 20th century warming, as highlighted in the 20008 NIPCC report, “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate.”
According to the IPCC, the methodology used first estimates natural influences on temperatures and then calculates human influences on temperatures. A change in the natural influences requires a recalculation of human influences, the models, and a re-examination of the projections from these models. Such an effort is not a pleasant consideration given the tens of billions of US dollars politicians and governments have spent in advocating the human influence based upon the projections from models that have never been validated. The entrenched interests will bitterly fight scientific research contradicting their assumptions. Please see articles referenced under “Is the Sun Rising?”
As expressed by Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, (referenced in March 5 TWTW), this spring looked foreboding for Southeast US and the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. Unlike the Great Flood of 1927, the beginning of which was concentrated in mid-Mississippi Valley, the massive waters of the current flood began in the Ohio River Valley, further upstream. Flood records were broken along the Ohio River and after the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. As these flood waters move down the Mississippi River, they are challenging the river levees (dikes, embankments) built to constrain floods, but cannot stop the largest ones.
After the great flood of 1927, which caused severe hardship for much of the South, the US Corps of Engineers built a levee system to control frequent flooding, recognizing that spillways were needed during massive floods. The system has great advantages and several disadvantages. Among the advantages are: one, it prevents the frequent flooding of the Mississippi River valley that was a great hardship for those who lived in the flood plains; two, it enhances commerce of the river by alleviating (but not totally preventing) build up of silt; three, it protects the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and, four, it prevents the Mississippi from jumping its banks and finding a new route to the Gulf of Mexico, leaving New Orleans and Baton Rouge as cities on what would become backwater bayous.
The major disadvantages of the plan are: one, sometimes spillways must be opened flooding some to prevent the possible flooding of the cities; and, two, the Mississippi delta is sinking and needs frequent replenishment of silt from flood waters. As a result much of the lower delta is experiencing salt water intrusion, which is often blamed on oil company activities.
There is no clear solution. However, the solution being glibly proposed by some, let nature take its course, is antithetical to civilization. Please see articles referenced under “Extreme Weather.”
A Note of Irony: Wind power, and other interment sources of electricity, requires reliable power that will deliver when wind power fails. All too frequently, regulatory systems are politically designed so that efficient electricity producers must subsidize the inefficiencies of interment producers.
In the Northwest US, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) handles the distribution of power from the nation’s largest hydroelectric system (the Columbia River Basin), a number of coal and natural gas plants, and a nuclear plant. It also handles distribution from wind farms with a nameplate capacity of 3500 MW. The variation of the electricity output of the wind farms has been largely adjusted by varying the electricity output from natural gas and hydroelectric. The latter procedure may require diverting waters that could be used for to produce hydroelectric power to spillways.
This spring, BPA faced a dilemma. The heavy snow pack resulted in water flows so extensive that the water going over the spillways failed to meet environmental standards for dissolved gases needed for salmon and steelhead trout, favorite game fish and an environmental cause. Thus, BPA had to reduce the diversion of water to the spillways and run more water through its electricity generating turbines.
To protect the integrity of the electricity grid, and to ensure reasonably priced electricity to its consumers, BPA announced cut backs on accepting all other forms of electricity generation Ð thermal first, and wind last. Of course, the politically privileged wind power companies screamed – what will happen to their tax credits and other subsidies.
The irony is that an industry favored by the environmental industry is complaining of actions to protect a fish favored by the environmental industry. Please see article referenced under “Alternative, Green, (“Clean”) Energy.”
Number of the Week: 10 times sharper. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is being designed to produce images 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope, which it is intended to replace in 2018. Unlike the Hubble, the GMT is earth bound. It will be built in Las Campanas, Chile, a high elevation portion of the intensely dry Atacama Desert, in northern Chile. A major benefactor is George Mitchell, who developed the technique of successfully extracting natural gas from dense shale by the use of sand, principally, to keep the pores in the rock open after hydraulic fracturing. Please see referenced article under “Other Science News,” and
For the numbered articles below please see: www.sepp.org
1. Regulation Cannot Control Malignant Melanoma
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, May 14, 2011
2. The Truth About Greenhouse Gases
The dubious science of the climate crusaders.
By William Happer, First Things, June/July 2011 [H/t Roger Cohen]
3. Sound, Fury and the Policy Of Climate Change
By Patrick Michaels, Forbes, May 19, 2011
4. Drill, Maybe, Drill
Editorial, IBD, May 16, 2011
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Science: Is the Sun Rising?
Scientists at Aarhus University (AU) and the National Space Institute (DTU Space) Show that particles from Space Create Cloud Cover
Press Release, Aarhus University, May 16, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Time to question the received wisdom on climate change?
Newsletter, The Scientific Alliance, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Excellent overview.]
Indirect Solar Forcing of Climate by Galactic Cosmic Rays: An Observational Estimate
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, May 19, 2011
Swedish Show Trial
By Donna Laframboise, No Consensus, May 19, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
Challenging the Orthodoxy
US: Carbon and carbon dioxide: Clearing up the confusion
By Paul Driessen, Hacer, May 20, 2011
IPCC Wrong Again: Species Loss Far Less Severe Than Feared
By David Whitehouse, The Observatory, May 18, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
America’s Climate Choices
National Research Council, 2011
Advancing the Science of Climate Change
National Research Council, 2010
Action Needed to manage Climate Change Risks; U.S. Response Should be Durable, but Flexible
Press Release, National Academies, May 12, 2011
Climate change denial becomes harder to justify
Editorial, Washington Post, May 15, 2011
Warming Arctic opens way to competition for resources
By Joby Warrick and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, May 15, 2011 [H/t Conrad Potemra]
Seaports need a plan for weathering climate change
By Donna Hesterman, SPX, May 18, 2011
Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism
By Dan Vergano, USA Today, May 15, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Defenders of the Orthodoxy will demand ever greater standards of performance from their critics as their position erodes.]
Major reform for climate body
Intergovernmental panel aims to become more responsive
By Quirin Schiermeier, Nature, May 16, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: Will its science remain settled?]
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Species loss far less severe than feared: study
By Staff Writers, AFP, May 18, 2011
A Changing World
As Clinton works against global warming in Greenland, some there don’t mind it
By Joby Warrick, Washington Post, May 12, 2011
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate?
Greenhouse ocean study offers warning for the future
By Staff Writers, SPX, May 20, 2011
[SEPP Comment: “If you consider that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has doubled over the past 50 years,… From about 315 ppm in 1960 to 390 ppm in 2010 is a doubling? (Mauna Loa record – NOAA)
How Mississippi River floods could save Louisiana’s sinking coasts
Before the current levee system was built, Mississippi River floods helped replenish Louisiana coastal wetlands with silt. Now that silt goes into the gulf and the coastline is disappearing. But scientists have a plan, and the great flood of 2011 could help them bring it about.
By Bill Sasser, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2011 [H/t Weather Bell]
The Political Games Continue
In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists donÕt matter
Editorial, LA Times, May 20, 2011
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Conservatives kill carbon tax
By Jessica Murphy, QMI, May 19, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
Energy Subsidies: Our Gifts Than Keep On Taking
By Larry Bell, Forbes, May 17, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Berlin doubles subsidies for electric cars
By Staff Writers, AFP, May 16, 2011
[SEPP Comment: If it doesn’t work the first time, just double down. After all, government is “the house.”]
Britain eyes 50-percent carbon emissions cut target
By Staff Writers, AFP, May 17, 2011
T. Boone Pickens: “I’m Sure Not Doing This For The Money”
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, May 18, 2011
The Dangers of CFLs Even Greater Than Previously Known
By Edmund Contoski, American Thinker, May 19, 2011
Europe may ban plastic bags
By Staff Writers, AFP, May 18, 2011
Government delays pulling plug on old-fashioned light bulbs
Tories propose pushing deadline to 2014 over lack of alternatives to incandescent
By Elizabeth Thompson, Ottawa Citizen, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Apparently sufficient quantities of new bulbs and disposal are now major issues.]
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Democrats face an Environmental Protection Agency dilemma
By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Another EPA assumed extension of authority Ð it has the authority to regulate haze.]
EPA Postpones Effective Date for Boiler Standards, Releases Coal Ash Action
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 18, 2011
Energy and Country Instability Project Report
By Energy and Security Group and Advanced Engineering Associates International, for USAID, No date given
[SEPP Comment: The direct effects of energy consumption per capita for nations receiving assistance from the US Agency for International Development include 1) higher energy consumptions leads to more stability, 2) higher energy consumption leads to increased life expectancy, and economic growth. No surprise here.]
U.S. energy policy should be “all of the above.”
By A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 13, 2011
Nuclear Fears & Responses
Japan disaster not similar to Chernobyl: officials
By Staff Writers, AFP, May 17, 2011
Utility: Fukushima Cores More Damaged Than Thought
By Dennis Normile, Science Insider, May 17, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
NRC Finds All [US] Reactors Safe, Scales Back Monitoring at Fukushima
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 18, 2011
U.S. Panel Suggests Moving Used Nuclear Fuel to Interim Sites
By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, May 15, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: Why not re-cycle?]
BRC Subcommittee Draft Recommendations Call for Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 18, 2011
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
Newly Installed Alaska North Slope Well Will Test Hydrate Production Tech
By Staff Writers, SPX, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Hydrates contain enormous quantities of natural gas.]
Phony fears on fracking
By Michael Benjamin, NY Post, May 19, 2011
A Better Way to Frack?
A new technique for natural gas extraction eliminates fears about contaminated water and stops opponents in their tracks,
By Ronald bailey, Reason, May 17, 2011
BP Oil Spill and Administration Control of Drilling
Don’t Let Alaska Oil Pipeline Shut Down
Editorial, IBD, May 17, 2011
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy
BPA Limits Power Output from Non-Hydro Sources Amid Surging Runoff Volume
By Staff Writers, Power News, May 18, 2011
Green energy failure
By Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, May 17, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
The Myth of Green Energy Security
By Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, May 17, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
Wind Power Promises and Predictions Gone Awry
By Jack Sullivan, Empire, Apr 26, 2011
The wrong sites for solar
In the name of solar energy, the Obama administration is about to open up millions of acres of desert to development. Such a move is unnecessary
By Erica Rosenberg and Janine Blaeloch, LA Times, May 18, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see www.nipccreport.org
Two Millennia of Temperature and Precipitation Changes in Arid Central Asia
Reference: Yang, B., Wang, J., Brauning, A., Dong, Z. and Esper, J. 2009. Late Holocene climatic and environmental changes in arid central Asia. Quaternary International 194: 68-78.
Western North Pacific Tropical Cyclones
Reference: Lu, Q-z., Hu, B-h., Wang, J. and Zhang, Y. 2008. Impact of large-scale circulation on the interdecadal variations of the western North Pacific tropical cyclone.Journal of Tropical Meteorology, 14: 1006-8775(2008) 01-0081-04.
Modeling the Pattern of Tropical Ocean Warming
Reference: Shin, S.-I. and Sardeshmukh, P.D. 2011. Critical influence of the pattern of Tropical Ocean warming on remote climate trends. Climate Dynamics 36: 1577-1591.
Earth’s Temperature: Deconstructing the Past to Predict the Future
Reference: Qian, W.-H. and Lu, B. 2010. Periodic oscillations in millennial global-mean temperature and their causes.Chinese Science Bulletin 55: 4052-4057
Health and Warming
The health impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty
By Keith Dear and Anthony McMichael, BMJ, May 11, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
Evidence suggests global warming is good for our health
By Jo Nova, joannenova.com, May 21, 2011
Other Scientific News
Free-Floating Planets May be More Common Than Stars
By Staff Writers, JPL, May 19, 2011
Mitchell Foundation Commits $25 Million to Giant Magellan Telescope
By Staff Writers, SPX, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The heir apparent to Hubble. A gift from the man who developed the method to successfully extract natural gas from dense shale.]
Melting icebergs fertilize ocean
Release of extra iron boosts carbon dioxide uptake by plankton
By Janet Raloff, Science News, May 16, 2011, [H/t Catherine French]
Ban mobile phones and wireless networks in schools say European leaders
By Richard Gray, Telegraph, UK, May 14, 2011 [H/t Malcolm Ross]
[SEPP Comment: Probably another effort to control human behavior by declaring a health risk. Why not ban all electrometric radiation, including light. After all, we are no longer in the Age of Enlightenment.]
No Decline in Polar Bear Population
By Terence Jeffrey, CNS News, May 18, 2011 [H/t WUWT]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Floods, Droughts Are “New Normal” Of Extreme U.S. Weather Fueled by Climate Change, Scientists Say
By Deborah Zabarenk, Reuters, May 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: The great Mississippi flood of 1927 and the great mid-west dust bowl of the 1930s were normal?]
Noted climatologist Bill Maher on Alabama tornadoes: “This is global warming.”
By Jeff Poor, Daily Caller, May 16, 2011 [H/t Timothy Wise]
Climate change and the flood this time
Midwest flooding is a taste of climate change in its early stages. We’ve got to fight back, and fast
By Bill McKibben, LA Times, May 10, 2011
PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW, including the full text of the articles, can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm…