Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Facts melted by 'global warming' by Christopher Booker

CATscience says "Booker keeps up the pressure on 'warmists' by citing examples of current weather. But is he looking at the climate changing trends? Is the BBC involved in a 'warmist' conspiracy!?"

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Something very odd had happened to the daily updated graph on the official Nansen website last weekend, writes Christopher Booker.

Butterflies and polar ice
Butterflies and polar ice are enlisted in warmist cause
Photo: Getty

Last weekend, that heroically diligent US meteorologist Anthony Watts noticed that something very odd had happened to the daily updated graph on the official Nansen website that shows how much sea-ice there is in the Arctic. Without explanation, as he reported on his Watts Up With That website, half a million square kilometres of ice simply vanished overnight.

This might have brought cheer to all those, such as Al Gore and the BBC, who have been obsessively telling us that the Arctic ice will soon disappear altogether. They were dismayed enough last winter when, after reaching its lowest point in 30 years, the ice bounded back to near "normal". This winter the freeze has been even faster and greater, making the extent of the ice, according to the other main Arctic website, Crysophere Today, 500,000 sq km greater than this time last year. How better to maintain the chosen narrative than to lose that half-million square kilometres simply by "adjusting" the graph downwards?

The warmists are so locked into their general narrative that the plummeting temperatures and abnormal snowfalls of the past two winters have thrown their army of media groupies into quite a tizzy.

The BBC did at least deign last week to notice the worst snowstorm to hit Las Vegas for 30 years, but without mentioning the freak snow and ice storms affecting many other parts of the US, as far south as New Orleans. The BBC was also quick to pick up from Pravda the unusual lack of snow in Moscow, without mentioning Siberia's record freeze that lowered temperatures to -60C.

Elsewhere in recent days, there have been reports of seven species of penguin being put on the endangered list owing to global warming – although Antarctic sea-ice this year reached easily its highest level since satellite records began in 1979.

Another warmist perennial to get an outing, from Dr Martin Warren of Butterfly Conservation, is the threat to the survival of many of our butterflies. As a longtime student of butterflies, I am keenly aware of various factors leading to the alarming decline in their numbers, but global warming is not one of them. If it were, how did such dwindling species as the Mountain Ringlet and even the Small Tortoiseshell survive the much warmer temperatures 1,000 years ago, before SUVs were invented?

Perhaps the get-out for the beleaguered warmists was provided by Friday's Today programme, when it reported heavy snowfalls on the Cairngorm ski slopes, only two years after the BBC was excitably reporting fears that ski-ing in Scotland might soon be but a memory. A local spokeswoman helpfully suggested that the thing about "climate change" was that it was always coming up with the unexpected.

So whatever happens, hot or cold, wet or dry, it can all be put down to that pesky old "climate change". As the rest of us might observe with a wry smile, how very true.

Paint cities white to tackle global warming, scientist says

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Roads and buildings should be painted white in order to tackle global warming, according to a scientist.

Paint cities white to tackle global warming, scientist says
White buildings and surfaces reflect far more sunlight than dark ones. Reflected sunlight does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, unlike the heat energy emitted by dark surfaces heated by the sun

Photo: GETTY

Hashem Akbari believes that whitening 100 of the world's largest cities could wipe out the effect of the expected increase in emissions over the next decade.

Dr Akbari, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, also argues that if built-up areas were made white, less heat would accumulate within them, allowing residents and workers to reduce their use of air-conditioning units, which use a large amount of power.

Dr Akbari has calculated that making 100 of the largest cities white would increase the amount of sunlight reflected by Earth by 0.03 per cent. He believes it would cancel out the warming caused by 44billion tonnes of carbon emissions.

He told The Guardian: "Roofs are going to have to be changed one by one and to make that effort at a very local level, we need to have an organisation in place to make it happen."

He argued that while the move would not address the cause of climate change - rising carbon emissions - it would delay its effects.

"We can give the atmosphere time to breathe," he said. "I just don't see a downside to this idea. It benefits everybody and you don't have to have hard negotiations to make it happen."

Climate change 'irreversible', warn scientists

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Climate change is irreversible and projects to prevent temperature rises will have no impact for at least thousand years, scientists have warned.

Climate change 'irreversible', warn scientists
Halting carbon emissions will not see temperatures reduce before the year 3000,

according to the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory.
Photo: AP

Contrary to popular opinion, halting carbon emissions will not see temperatures reduce before the year 3000, according to the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory.

Nevertheless, Susan Solomon, who led the research, said cutting emissions remained important.

She added: "People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years - that's not true."

Ms Solomon is lead author of an international team's paper reporting irreversible damage from climate change, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

She defines irreversible as change that would remain for 1,000 years even if humans stopped adding carbon to the atmosphere immediately.

Ms Solomon said: "Climate change is slow, but it is unstoppable - all the more reason to act quickly, so the long-term situation does not get even worse."

In recent years Britain has seen regular instances of flash flooding.

The latest findings were announced as US President Barack Obama ordered reviews that could lead to greater fuel efficiency and cleaner air, saying the Earth's future depends on cutting air pollution.

Alan Robock, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, agreed with the research, adding: "It's not like air pollution where if we turn off a smokestack, in a few days the air is clear.

"It means we have to try even harder to reduce emissions."

In her paper Ms Solomon, a leader of the International Panel on Climate Change and one of the world's best known researchers on the subject, noted that temperatures around the globe have risen and changes in rainfall patterns have been observed in areas around the Mediterranean, southern Africa and south-western North America.

Warmer climate also is causing expansion of the ocean, which is expected to increase with the melting of ice on Greenland and Antarctica, she said.

"I don't think that the very long time scale of the persistence of these effects has been understood," Ms Solomon added.

Global warming has been slowed by the ocean, but that good effect will wane over time with seas eventually helping keep the planet warmer, she said.

Climate change has been driven by gases in the atmosphere that trap heat from solar radiation and raise the planet's temperature.

Carbon dioxide is the most important of those gases because it remains in the air for hundreds of years.

Snow is consistent with global warming, say scientists

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Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists.

Temperatures for December and January were consistently 1.8 F ( 1 C) lower than the average of 41 F (5 C)and 37 F (3C) respectively and

more snow fell in London this week than since the 1960s.

But despite this extreme weather, scientists say that the current cold snap does not mean that climate change is going into reverse. In fact, the surprise with which we have greeted the extreme conditions only reinforces how our climate has changed over the years.

A study by the Met Office which went back 350 years shows that such extreme weather now only occurs every 20 years.

Back in the pre-industrial days of Charles Dickens, it was a much more regular occurrence - hitting the country on average every five years or so.

During that time global temperatures has risen by 1.7 F (0.8 C), studies have shown.

"Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming," said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford.

"If it wasn't for global warming this cold snap would happen much more regularly. What is interesting is that we are now surprised by this kind of weather. I doubt we would have been in the 1950s because it was much more common.

"As for snowfall that could actually increase in the short term because of global warming. We have all heard the expression 'too cold to snow' and we have always expected precipitation to increase.

"All the indicators still suggest that we are warming up in line with predictions."

This winter seems so bad precisely because it is now so unusual. In contrast the deep freezes of 1946-47 and 1962-63 were much colder - 5.3 F (2.97C) and 7.9 F (4.37C) cooler than the long-term norm.

And with global warming we can expect another 1962-63 winter only once every 1,100 years, compared with every 183 years before 1850.

Dave Britton, a meteorologist and climate scientist at the Met Office, said: "Even with global warming you cannot rule out we will have a cold winter every so often. It sometimes rains in the Sahara but it is still a desert."

Scientists point out that the people must distinguish between climate and weather. Weather is what happens in the short term whereas climate is the long term trend.

"Just as the wet summer of 2007 or recent heat waves cannot be attributed to global warming nor can this cold snap," said Bob Ward, spokesman for the Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change at London School of Economics.

"What is important to do is look at the long term global trends and they are still up. What we experience in the short term in this country is not important. After all, Melbourne had a heat wave last week."

As for the suggestion that the recent cold weather is due to a reversal of the warming Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift - otherwise known as the Thermohaline Circulation - this has been mostly ruled out by recent research.

"It has a very low chance of happening and if it does occur it will be in centuries time," added Mr Ward.

The North Atlantic Drift is an extension of the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water from the Gulf of Mexico to northern Europe, including Britain. Its effect is to bring up the average temperature.

Marcus Brigstocke examines the argument from climate change denier and environment minister Sammy Wilson

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Marcus Brigstocke makes the analogy between CO2 and human excrement.

Feb 10, 2009 15:32:32

Cool your boots Guardianistas and enviro-squakers. ­Before you board your sustainably sourced wooden pedalos and set off for Northern Ireland ­with organic vegetables in hand ready to pelt the Democratic Unionist party's environment minister, Sammy Wilson for daring to air his reservations regarding anthropomorphic climate change, let's hear the man out. What does he think? Why does he think it? He's not convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, well let's suppose he's right. Brilliant. What a relief. Woohoo!

Wilson believes the warming planet has nothing to do with us, so he must have read some pretty convincing science from some pretty reputable sources to arrive at that serene position – after all, he's advocating nothing short of an astonishing scientific paradigm shift. I can't wait for him to reveal his scientific sources.

But I doubt that Wilson is a bad man. I think he's wrong but he's not saying that we should spend all that extra money instead on having a big party where we soak a plane in oil , set fire to it and watch as it flies into a refinery. No, he wants to free up money to tackle poverty, Aids, education and any number of other worthwhile projects – seemingly anything other than the environment. All laudable causes, but perhaps odd ones for the Northern Ireland Assembly's environment minister.

Here's what he has to say: "Most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about it." Although I think what he must have meant is: "The people who shout 'Climate change is not man made have not read one article about it.'"

But my being facetious is not going to convince him he's wrong. Only science can do that, using things like facts and evidence and research and well, you know, science.

I've been very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with climate scientists on two trips to the Arctic with Cape Farewell in 2007 and 2008. One of the most interesting things I read while there was in Wallace Broecker and Robert Kunzig's excellent book, Fixing Climate, where they discuss the introduction of underground sewage removal and the resistance to it from people I imagine to be very similar to Sammy Wilson. As underground sewage removal was proposed and planned, these towering Wilsons of their day claimed that it was too expensive to take the filth from the streets and carry it away underground and that the links between ill health and crap all over the pavements were unfounded. They lost the argument, mercifully, it cost us some money, but on balance I'm glad that I don't have to navigate my way through my neighbour's excrement to reach the station. If only CO2 emissions were as visible as sewage. It's so hard to make the case for leaving crap all over the place when people can see you're standing on a heap of it.

Back with today's Wilson, he says, "In 20 years' time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves How on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all?"

I'm trying not to resort to patronising sarcasm and abuse as I look at this, but it's getting harder and the heat under my collar when confronted by this level of mendacity or ignorance is enough to melt an ice cap. Read a book you idiot, or the UN Earth Audit, or the Stern review, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings, or Google it, just read something, anything. Well almost anything, not Jeremy Clarkson. Oh, and check the source of what you've read.

Of course scientific argument cannot be won by democracy. According to a survey last month the overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe global warming is manmade (97% in fact). Not because their huge grants depend on it either but because the evidence has led them to that conclusion. Please someone show me the climate scientist living in a 20-room mansion and rolling out of expensive nightclubs with Krug in hand to be driven home in an Aston Martin – those grants are not as large as some might have you believe. Even if you lump in the ones who work for oil companies, 82% of earth scientists believe the data on manmade climate change.

Writing about the survey, Peter Doran, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences University of Illinois at Chicago along with Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, conclude that

"the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes."

Wilson doesn't yet. But with further reading, I'm sure he will. In the meantime Sammy ­ show us your science or it's to the pedalos and organic veg.