Environment Archives

The weather in 1959

From a very interesting post regarding weather, over at John’s Corner of the World, comes a link to a doubly interesting photo:

Per the caption, that’s a U.S. submarine, surfaced above the Arctic Circle, in 1959. Note how thin the ice sheeting is. Also included are images of the submarine surfaced in water, allegedly at the North Pole.

Weather v Climate

As my co-blogger Jim noted earlier, the increased snow the US has seen is properly called "weather", vs. those who want to call it proof that there is no climate warming.  Equally, he has called out those who find one warmer-than-normal summer and call it definitive proof of warming.  It, too, is weather.

And while he is my co-blogger, Jim’s also my brother-in-law, and I took his note to "good friends and relatives" doubly to myself, as he and I are both of those (the latter if only by marriage). 

And so, in the same spirit, I offer this bit of climate information from Wes Pruden.

The University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in Britain was regarded as the leader in climate research and the fount of raw data on which the science was based until leaked e-mails between researchers revealed evidence of doctoring of data and manipulation of evidence. The director of the research unit, professor Phil Jones, was regarded as an archbishop in the Church of Global Warming. He was pressured to resign in the wake of the scandal. Now he has conceded to an interviewer from the BBC that based on the evidence in his findings, the globe might have been warmer in medieval times. If so, the notion that fluctuations in earthly temperatures are man-made is rendered just that, a man-made notion.

The learned professor told his interviewer that for the past 15 years there has been no "statistically significant" warming. He conceded that he has lost track of many of the relevant papers — that his office was overwhelmed by the clutter of paper. Some of the crucial data to back up scare stories might be lying under other stuff, but he’s not sure. An environmental analyst for the BBC said the professor told him that his "strengths" include "integrity" and "doggedness" but not record-keeping and "office tidying." He’s just not dogged about keeping things straight.

Granted, 15 years of a reversing trend does not, in and of itself, prove that global warming isn’t happening.  However, it does call into question those computer models that didn’t predict this, it calls into question policies made based on those computer models, and 15 years is a fair bit longer than one winter or summer. 

John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and once a ranking member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says the temperature records have been compromised and cannot be relied on. The findings of weather stations that collected temperature data were distorted by location. Several were located near air-conditioning units and on waste-treatment plants; one was next to a waste incinerator. Still another was built at Rome’s international airport and catches the hot exhaust of taxiing jetliners.

Terry Mills, a professor of applied statistics at Britain’s Loughborough University, looks at the U.N. panel’s data and applies a little skepticism. "The earth," he told London’s Daily Mail, "has gone through warming spells like these at least twice before in the last thousand years."

The coup de grace of global warming science, the UN’s IPCC report, itself has had some of it’s claims exposed as fraudulent or included simply based on the biases of its authors.

The biggest issue coming out of this is that all of this information may have been still unknown to the public at large had someone not dumped data and e-mails from East Anglia and created "Climategate".  The only reason we know much of this is that someone broke through this new Iron Curtain and showed that there is more politics going on here than climate scientists were willing to admit.  And now the backpedaling is amazing to see.

So yes, let’s find out "weather" or not man is truly warming the planet, but let’s do it honestly and openly.  Doing it any other way is nothing but a power & money grab.

A Lot of Snow in America (not so much in Vancouver!)

Something for my good friends and relatives who think that a snowier than usual winter means there is no global warming/climate change; and for my other good friends who think a hotter than usual summer means there definitely is. 

It’s called weather. 

The Big Snowstorm

I Blame Global Warming

Today there was snow on the ground in 49 states

Global Climate Warming Change: it’s for the children

Despite the dire predictions of Global Warming proponents, the general public doesn’t seem to be quite so concerned. Rather, the economy, jobs, and terrorism top their list of priorities. Global warming brings up the rear, ranking 21st out of 21.

Even so, the folks at NASA have launched a special website dedicated to educating our children as to the issues pertaining to number 21 (perhaps with the hopes of raising it up a few notches).

Not to worry, though, if you have to put on an extra overcoat this winter. From the Washington Post, “This winter’s extreme weather — with heavy snowfall in some places and unusually low temperatures — is in fact a sign of how climate change disrupts long-standing patterns, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.”

Global Warming quote of the day

In Congress Went to Denmark, You Got the Bill, CBS reports on the cost to taxpayers for the recent Global Warming Climate Change summit in Copenhagen. Not surprisingly, the bill is over $1.1 million, which doesn’t include the President’s staff. However, what I think is the most interesting comment, regarding the trip, was made by Rep. Henry Waxman.

“It was cold… I was there because I thought it was important for me to be there,” Rep. Waxman said. “I didn’t look at it as a pleasure trip.”

Did you catch that? It was cold at, of all places, a summit on Global Warming.


Blaming God Gaia

Blaming God for the earthquake in Haiti got Pat Robertson some major blowback.  (He didn’t really blame God, he blamed Satan, but work with me here.)  All manner of scorn was heaped upon him.  Fair enough.  Then how about this lesser-publicized remark regarding the earthquake?

When we see what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens, you know what I’m sayin’?

(Emphasis mine.  Well, actually it’s Tim Blair’s, to whom the hat tip goes.)  See it’s OK for actor Danny Glover to blame a planet for these problems.  Heck, Al Gore’s made a living doing that.  But talk about what Blair calls “a less-fashionable deity” and all hell breaks loose.

That’s a phrase that Brit Hume used to describe his mentioning of that same deity.  Sounds like his contention that someone else wouldn’t have faced the same firestorm if they had said the same thing he did about Tiger Woods but suggested a New Age guru, is sounding more and more correct.

Want to nail Robertson for his comment?  Have at it.  But you you should give the same treatment to Glover.  The media and the liberal elite don’t, which suggests which side their on (or, more specifically, against).

Climate Information "Photoshopped" in Wikipedia

Information gleaned from Wikipedia should always be taken with a grain of salt.  As much as open-sourcing a knowledge base has certainly given the site a well-deserved reputation for being a first-stop in doing research, this situation points out (again) that bias can creep in, even with multiple hands contributing.

Lawrence Solomon at the National Post writes about a topic that WUWT readers have known about for a long time: How Wikipedia’s green doctor rewrote 5,428 climate articles.

We’ve known for some time that Wikipedia can’t be trusted to provide unbiased climate information. Solomon starts off by talking about Climategate emails.

The emails also describe how the band plotted to rewrite history as well as science, particularly by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period, a 400 year period that began around 1000 AD.

The Climategate Emails reveal something else, too: the enlistment of the most widely read source of information in the world — Wikipedia — in the wholesale rewriting of this history.

He then focuses on RealClimate.org co-founder William Connolley, who has “touched” 5,428 Wikipedia articles with his unique brand of RC centric editing….

It just seems that almost all the time, especially for highly-political issues, the censorship winds up leaning to the left.  This goes against what the Left says they stand up for; truth, free-speech, the marketplace of ideas, blah blah blah.  It’s just that when many of them are given power over ideas they do precisely what they accuse of Right of doing; censoring, silencing dissent, and all that.  Textbook projection.

But at least the "many eyes" principle, of having many editors attempt to ensure fairness and full disclosure, is working.  Now, at least.  It’s too bad that it took a major Canadian newspaper to finally get some traction in this particular case, and that the editors at Wikipedia were blind to it, but at least we might get some pullback from the bias.  Now, at least.

Going Green(back)

More than likely, you’ve received the following notice (or some variation thereof) from your financial institution, mortgage company, credit card company, etc.

Acme Bank will begin processing our 2009 year end statements on January 2, 2010. All year end statements will be mailed on or before January 31, 2010. In an effort to be more eco-friendly in our approach to sending out year end statements, we will no longer provide the history on the year end statement.

“Eco-friendly”? Are they serious? What is so eco-friendly about cutting down on the amount of paper that they mail out each year? Paper, the last time I checked, was still a renewable resource.

And answer me this, eco-earth-day-proponents… If mailing out less paper is an example of being eco-friendly, then why do I still get junk mail, weekly ads tossed onto my driveway, flyers hung on my front door, and up to 18 different versions of the same Holiday (read: Christmas) catalog per merchant I do business with (plus another half dozen versions via the merchants I rarely do business with)?

It seems to me that sending out less paper has less to do with being eco-friendly than it does with saving printing costs, resource expenditures, and postage expenses.

This disingenuous view of being ecologically responsible was evidenced at my place of employment, recently, when a new initiative of daytime cleaning was implemented. The cleaning crews, normally dispatched in the evenings, when the office workers had gone home, now do their rounds during working hours. One of the driving reasons behind the initiative was that it was tremendously cost effective, since less money would be spent on utilities to support the cleaning crew at night. Another big “benefit”, we were told, was that such an initiative was environmentally friendly. As part of the marketing promotion for the policy change, we were even given plastic toy figures stamped with “Going Green” on them. Never mind the fact that the production of such items is, in itself, not a green activity.

So, the moral of the story is, in order to better sell an idea that minimizes your own company’s cost expenditures… simply stamp it GREEN.

Palin vs. Gore

From First Things, the following quote from Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue,

At its most basic level, conservatism is a respect for history and tradition, including traditional moral principles. I do not believe I am more moral, certainly no better, than anyone else, and conservatives who act “holier than thou” turn my stomach. So do some elite liberals. But I do believe in a few timeless and unchanging truths, and chief among those is that man is fallen. The world is not perfect, and politicians will never make it so. This, above all, is what informs my pragmatic approach to politics.

From The Telegraph, a poem by Al Gore,

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea
Neptune’s bones dissolve

Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly

Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning’s celebration

Unknown creatures
Take their leave, unmourned
Horsemen ready their stirrups

Passion seeks heroes and friends
The bell of the city
On the hill is rung

The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools

And to think that Al Gore almost became President of the United States.

The phrase, “dodging a bullet” quickly comes to mind.

The Real Impetus Behind Copenhagen

Do you want to know the real reason behind all the meeting and agreements and doomsaying being done at the Copenhagen climate change confab?  Listen to the applause.

First, the warm-up act, so to speak, with hints of what was to come.

But before [Australian climate change minister Penny Wong] rose to speak the conference proceedings were interrupted by people with whistles and sirens chanting “stop green capitalism” – a sign of the anger in the developing world that the Danish host government is trying to wrest the process from the professional negotiators, who have failed to make any progress, and hand it to politicians, who might have some chance of achieving something before we all leave on Saturday.

And then the headlining act hit the stage.

Then President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”  He won a standing ovation.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is the primary purpose of the Copenhagen conference and those like it.  It’s the elites getting together to bring capitalism down and raise socialism up so that they can exert more power.  It’s a power grab, plain and simple and unashamed. 

You may have your reasons for wanting to see less carbon in the air, but those in politics and government clearly have their own agenda.  Is it yours?

Climategate vs. E-mail-theft-gate

It’s been interesting to see the diversionary approach, used by some, with regards to the recent news of pilfered e-mails regarding global warming of the doomsday variety research. Regardless of whether or not the e-mail theft was wrong (and, I think theft is wrong), these really are two separate issues. Rather than approach it as an either / or situation, we should address it in a both / and manner.

If there was theft, then those guilty should be prosecuted. If the data reveals inherent falsification of reported values, then it’s probably in our best interest not to spend countless amounts of money on addressing a problem that isn’t there.

Here’s an interesting read on the news at American Thinker (HT: Ron’s Bloviating).

Time Out for Bad Behavior? A Balanced Analysis of ClimateGate

As climate change skeptics yearn to make bad behavior by some scientists into ClimateGate, and climate change pessimists try to look the other way in the face of bad publicity, my friend and colleague (a Christian, economist, and scientist) Rusty Pritchard, the president of Flourish, provides a clearheaded and even humorous analysis of the stolen-yet-troublesome email scandal.


Pritchard writes:


As a Christian, it is easy to see that the whole arena needs to be more infused with grace. Climate scientists shouldn’t feel attacked for trying to build the best understanding they can of how the climate system operates. Those scientists who are skeptical about the mainstream science should be recognized for their important role in asking hard questions. Political operatives who pretend to be more certain than scientists about whether people are or aren’t contributing to climate change need to stop fomenting antagonism.





The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry in Flourish Magazine

On the 30th anniversary of its writing, Flourish magazine is publishing Wendell Berry’s The Gift of Good Land, a penetrating examination of the Christian stewardship of God’s creation.


It is a wonderful counterpoint to much of the silly politics and commentary leading up to the Copenhagen summit, and it is a profoundly spiritual challenge that provides deep questions about the faithful and responsible life, questions that serve the Christian far more than anything we will read in the papers and blogs in the days of Copenhagen. 


In The Gift of Good Land, Berry writes: 

The difficulty but also the wonder of the story of the Promised Land is that, there, the primordial and still continuing dark story of human rapaciousness begins to be accompanied by a vein of light which, however improbably and uncertainly, still accompanies us. This light originates in the idea of the land as a gift—not a free or a deserved gift, but a gift given upon certain rigorous conditions.

It is a gift because the people who are to possess it did not create it. It is accompanied by careful warnings and demonstrations of the folly of saying that “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Thus, deeply implicated in the very definition of this gift is a specific warning against hubris which is the great ecological sin, just as it is the great sin of politics. People are not gods. They must not act like gods or assume godly authority. If they do, terrible retributions are in store. In this warning we have the root of the idea of propriety, of proper human purposes and ends. We must not use the world as though we created it ourselves.

Considering AGW

A few thoughts, in the form of the dread bullet list, on AGW and climate in general.

  • If one uses a variable ? to represent the time-scale in which one is considering making predictions (about the weather), then we can identify a number of regimes for?. If ? is in minutes or even seconds, often we have difficulty predicting weather as gusts of wind move from our local point of view very unpredictably. If ? is in the day/week regime again weather forecasters have difficulty predicting more than 24 hours out in great accuracy temperature, wind, and precipitation. Apparently, as the recent almost decades long downturn which was … unpredicted is anyindication as well, if ? is in the time-scale of a year or a dozen years again climate scientists fail to predict accurately into the future. Yet, they would have it that if? is in the quarter century to century regime … there, and apparently only there the science is easy and they have that figured out. And they’ve both made their prediction and want us to stake the farm on their result. Now in the above conversation if one moved from weather to the market and discussed the various regimes of market, which is similarly unpredictable at any number of time scales, and suggested that based on my computer model of past events I’ve got it nailed down. I have a good model for quarter century market movement. Furthermore I am now trying to convince you to bet your entire life savings on your model. You’d rightfully point out that only several million other yokels have used past markets to predict future market behaviour and have all failed … and that such models are worth not a whole lot more than a bucket of spit. So the question is, is why you think one chaotic dynamical system is so far different from another. If you’re going to really make the claim that when ? is a half-century then that needs to be tested. And that claim that your methods and models work well for that time period will be proven … in about 200-300 years … if you can correctly predict trends now and watch the climate track your predictions. 30 years ago climate science was warning of impending ice ages. Today, it’s warming. Tomorrow?
  • One of the claims of those who would call those sceptical of AGW, “climate deniers” are quick to attempt to label the objectors as anti-science Luddites. Yet that claim doesn’t really fly. There are indeed some anti-science people on the right, and others can argue about the numbers or percentages and compare cricket race results. But there is a problem, which is people like myself. There is another problem. There are strong social idealogical reasons why those on the left are receptive to AGW where they should be perhaps (see the prior remarks) more sceptical.The left is conditioned to find fault with America and the corporate culture and behold, AGW fits right into that idea. Given then that there are secondary (and perhaps in many cases dominant) non-scientific reasons why many would be receptive to AGW … that strikes me as problematic.
  • Computer modeling has also been described as computer aided story telling. Computer modelling has been used as a shortcut in design and engineering successfully these days in automotive and aerospace design. Yet, consider for a few moments that these applications are backed up by many decades engineering, wind tunnel testing, materials/structural testing and so on. That level of testing and detail, frankly, has no way of having been matched by climate scientists. Furthermore AGW proponents desire the results of their work to have a large and costly public impact. So, are their data sets, algorithms and methods clearly and publicly accessible? Consider the deletion of files and emails in an illegal response to an FOI request? See this post for remarks on how open the AGW people have been.
  • Finally, I’m embarrassed to admit another reason that I’m sceptical about AGW … is that I was trained as a Physicist. In Physics the best and brightest move, especially in theory, to the “hot” topics. In programming, (see Mythical Man Month) there exist orders of magnitude in productivity between the very best programmers and the average (and the poor). Likewise this is true in Physics as well … at least in theoretical Physics. And here’s were the bias (or perhaps bigotry) of which I will admit to holding. I don’t think climate or meteorology is a hot topic and as a result I’m of the mindset that climate scientists are, well, second rate.This perhaps not a good reason, but for me I suspect it remains a factor.
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