Daily Wisdom

June 25, 2009

Off To Wyoming!

Well, as the title suggests, I'm off to Wyoming! I'll be doing a bit of sight-seeing, scouting out a potential retirement location, and a getting a bit of R&R. God-willing, I will be back here in a week to resume the fight against insanity, Obama, the global-warming alarmists, et al. I'll try to take a few pics and post 'em when I get back. Prayers for a safe trip are always welcomed and appreciated.

(:D) Best regards...

June 23, 2009

The Real 'Green' Revolution

I've been following the post-election uprising in Iran with what can only be described as wide-eyes. The protesters in Iran have chosen green as their color, hence the title of this article. I've been feeling a deep need to post, but have had difficulty in framing exactly what I want to say. Well anyway, here goes...

For one thing, it is clear that the election in Iran was a sham. There is no way that 40 million hand-written ballots could have been counted that quickly. That's for sure. Ahmadinejad was so eager to declare victory, that he couldn't even wait a day or two to provide the illusion of legitimate vote-counting. In fact, he couldn't even wait for the polls to close! [Did Ahmadinejad have access to exit polling data that the rest of us were unaware of? If so, are the exit polls in Iran that much better than the ones in America? I doubt it.]

For another thing, the demographics in Iran suggest that Ahmadinejad could not have won the election with 60-70% of the vote, when 60-70% of the vote is comprised of people who are between the ages of 15 and 45. Those are the people we saw in the streets... the ones that want Ahmadinejad out. Besides that, a new report by Ali Ansari from Chatham House suggests that...

Polls prior to the election showed Iran's conservative president was in a tight race, or on his way to defeat. Yet to achieve the official results given him, the report says, in 10 of Iran's 30 provinces, "Ahmadinejad would have needed to win over all new voters, all former Rafsanjani voters, and also up to 44 percent of former reformist voters." --Scott Peterson, Protesters mourn 'Angel of Iran', Christian Science Monitor, 22 June 2009

Even the Iranian government admits that in 50 or more cities, there were more votes cast than people that were eligible to vote. That discrepancy alone could result in 3 million erroneous ballots! And then there were two whole provinces (pro-Ahmadinejad, of course) where the turn-out was more than 100%, with another four at more than 90%! See HERE. If only we could get 110-120% turn-out in America... sigh. We're lucky if we can get 50%. (Maybe they got ACORN to help people vote 3, 4 or 5 times? Maybe they got Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to vote?)

But back to reality, the turn-out for the vote in Iran was impressive. Unlike previous Iranian elections, people flocked to the polls when they first opened. That is a sure sign that they were looking for, and expected, change (not unlike the larger than expected turn-out in the American presidential election of 2008). People had high expectations that they could "make a difference". When it appeared obvious that the election had been stolen by the mullahs, the anger of the voters naturally erupted.

Iran is called an "Islamic Republic". I cannot say that the people who voted for Mir-Hossein Mousavi (and against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) want a republic that looks like America -- that would be too presumptuous. But one thing I CAN say, is that like people everywhere, they don't want to be taken for chumps. It's clear that Ayatollah Khamanei, the Guardian Council, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad treated the people of Iran as just so many cattle that could be herded wherever they wanted them to go. That was unfortunate -- and short-sighted -- for them.

I commend the brave men and women of Iran who have chosen to risk their lives to make a statement. They are dying in order to say that their vote counts. They are saying that they do not want to be ignored by a ruling oligarchy. They see freedom emerging all around them in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. They are savvy to the Internet; to Facebook and Twitter; to cell phone cameras and You-Tube. They see what is going on in the free world, and they want to share in the freedom.

I could say nothing better than what they themselves have to say. Here is a but a brief sampling, starting with pre-election campaign promotions for Mousavi..

Perhaps one day, the people of America will be doing the same thing Iranian protesters are doing today in response to a government that does not listen to its people any more. It wouldn't surprise me.

June 17, 2009

Take Heed

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
--Matthew 24:29b

And there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.
--Revelation 11:19

Day turns to night, Beijing China - June 16.

China correspondent Stephen McDonell and ABC cameraman Rob Hill saw day turn into night as a freak storm swept across the capital Beijing today. "It was pitch black outside and you could see people looking out from the office towers across the road from us," McDonell said. Today's extreme weather follows yesterday's hail storms across eastern China's Anhui province, which killed 14 people and injured more than 180, AFP reports. Anhui's Civil Affairs Bureau said that more than 10,000 people were evacuated and nearly 9,700 houses collapsed in yesterday's severe storm. Anhui was struck by hail and winds of up to 104 kilometres per hour, causing $82 million worth of damage. A similar hail storm struck the region in the first week of June, killing 23 people and injuring more than 200.

June 15, 2009

Don't Underestimate The American People

Hat-tip to DKS...

A friend of mine forwarded this video to me as an attachment to an e-mail. The video was supposedly created by a teenager named 'Justin' for the April 15th Tax Day Tea Party. That was all the information I could get from the e-mail. At the end of the video, it says 'Created by Justin Holcomb'. The name of the video file I received was called "An American Anthem", so I went to You-Tube and searched for that video and sure enough, I was directed to the following page...


...where I found the video I was looking for. I decided to post it to my blog, because I think it's great. But for the heck of it, I wanted to see if Justin was indeed a "teenager" since the video seems to be very professionally done.

The You-Tube page said that the video was connected with the Trussville, Alabama Tea Party. So I did some research and found that there was in fact a "Justin Nathaniel Holcomb" that graduated on May 28th of this year from the Hewitt-Trussville High School class of 2009 (see HERE).

I think Justin might just have a future in media presentations. See if you don't agree...

June 14, 2009

Global Warming News - May 2009

Real News Stories To Share With Global-Warming Skeptics

United States
According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC, April temperatures were slightly warmer than average for the contiguous United States, based on records going back to 1895. The average May temperature of 62.5 degrees F was 1.4 degrees F above the 20th Century average. However, it was cooler in some areas than others...

In the Fargo ND and Moorhead MN area, May 2009 finished 3.6 degrees F below average, making it the sixth consecutive month with cooler-than-normal temperatures. The long-term average May temperature is 57.4 degrees. In May, the average temperature finished at 53.8 degrees, making it the 49th-coolest May in that area since 1881. Not only did May continue the current stretch of cool weather, it also continued a long-term trend of cool Mays, as 10 out of the past 15 Mays in the Fargo-Moorhead area have been cooler than average, with many being well below average. With the exception of 1998, most of the warmer-than-normal Mays during that stretch have been just slightly above the long-term average. Cool and late springs have become the norm in the past decade.

Motorcyclist on Blue Ridge Parkway - May 18.

On May 18th, record cold temps were being forecast in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas. An overnight low of 35F was forecast for the Asheville Regional Airport with higher elevations getting even colder, according to the National Weather Service. Light patchy frost was possible in some areas. "You can have frost in the upper 30s, which can damage those tender, sensitive plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and squash," Linda Blue said, a gardening specialist with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.

“We just have an air mass of Canadian origin that continues to work south in the area,” said Chris Horne, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greer, SC, which monitors Western North Carolina weather. “We are forecasting a record low for early Tuesday.” The projection called for a low of 35 degrees at the Asheville Regional Airport. The current record low for May 19th is 36 degrees, which occurred in 1976. Marshall was forecast to be 33, Spruce Pine 34 and Swannanoa 33 degrees.

On the same day, a frost warning was issued by the National Weather Service throughout most areas of northeast Ohio away from Lake Erie. Three different weather stations in the region had already set record cold readings that morning. The mercury dropped to 34 degrees at Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Cleveland, breaking the previous mark of 36F, set in 1985. It was even colder in nearby, Erie, PA, where a new low of 30 degrees was set, breaking the old record of 35F set in 1938. It also dropped to 30 degrees at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township, breaking a record of 33F set in 1983.

Danny McConnell, who runs the 150-acre McConnell Farms in Dana in Henderson County, said he would cover the tomato plants he had out, and pull in some nursery plants back into his greenhouses. “We've never had to deal with one this late, and we've never had to think about it,” said grower Amanda Sizemore, who runs a farm in the Cane Creek area of southern Buncombe County with her husband, Jeremy. “The frost is what'll get us.” They just finished planting two acres of tomatoes, and she said they couldn't do much to protect them from severe cold.

On May 31st, a frost advisory was issued for most of New York state. The advisory issued by the National Weather Service remained in effect until 8 a.m. on Monday, June 1st. Temperatures were expected to fall into the mid-to-low 30s, and a hard frost was likely as temperatures in colder areas approached freezing. Brad Alcott, owner of Alcott's Greenhouses in Waterville, said the possible frost might catch some gardeners off guard. "Memorial Day has always been the rule of thumb for planting in the garden. So June 1st is definitely late," he said.

Alcott said the lastest frost he remembers in Oneida County occurred on June 6th. He also said the last frost of the spring is historically associated with a full moon, which this year fell on June 7th. The region’s low temperature for May 31st was expected to be about 36 degrees, which would also match the record low temperature for May 31st set in 1966, according to WKTV meteorologists and weather archives.

According to Joseph D’Aleo (CCM, ICECAP), as of May 26th, the month had been "frigid", slowing the planting and emergence of the summer crops in Canada. Late freezes and even snows were still occurring regularly and were expected through the end of the month. Parts of central Canada (around Churchill, Manitoba) were running 16F below normal for the month through the 26th. In Churchill, every day of the month saw lows below freezing, and only 6 out of the first 26 days days had highs edge above freezing. The forecast through the rest of the month was for more cold with even some snow on May 26th in Churchill, and again over the weekend perhaps even further south. Hudson Bay remained mostly frozen, though most of the seasonal melting typically occurs in June and July. The chart below shows the May 2009 temperature anomalies (that is, departure from normal) through May 24th.

May temp anomalies (Click to enlarge).

Local trees bloomed later than usual in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. According to Ted Meseyton of the Central Plains Herald Leader, "The end of May is the latest I’ve ever seen a prairie grown apricot tree flower. Cherry trees are dragging behind too." Normally, apricot trees come into bloom much earlier and they can get nipped by frost, which will impact fruit quality and quantity.

It was a cold and brutal May in Ottawa for gardeners eager to bed down their annuals -- and for the businesses hoping to sell them. May saw only about four days in a row of decent temperatures, according to senior Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips. “Hollywood could not have described a worse end to May,” he said. On Sunday, May 31st, at 2 p.m. for example, the temperature sat at a dismal 5C, with winds gusting up to 37 km/h from the northwest. The observation station at Gatineau’s airport reported ice pellets at about 3:30 p.m., according to Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Seifert. Early on the morning of June 1st, the temperature dropped to 3.9C, a cold not seen on that date since 1945.

Local gardening centers reported the effects of the wet and chilly weather. Marc Arnold, one of the owners of Rockcliffe Landscaping Design Centre & Nursery, said that while landscaping work requests have remained steady, “nursery sales are down for sure... There hasn’t really been a good weekend to go out and buy stuff,” he said. “It’s either been raining, or cool, or both.” Arnold said he can’t remember a cooler May in at least the past five years, and he’s been in the business for 20.

Alice Springs, the second largest city in the Northern Territory, had its coldest May day on record, with the temperature reaching just 9.6C on Saturday, May 30th. After a balmy 29.6 degrees Celsius the previous Sunday, winter came two days early to the Red Centre. Jenny Farlow from the weather bureau said Saturday was the coldest May day ever recorded in Alice Springs. And it was only slightly warmer on Sunday, May 31st, reaching just 10.8C. "It was actually really interesting because the minimums were very close to the maximums," she said. The cooler temperatures and steady rain caused havoc for some sporting events, including the weekend's horse racing.

Scientific Opinion

MIT Climate Study: On May 19th, MIT announced the results of a new study which said global warming could be "double previous estimates"...

Ronald Prinn and his research group at MIT.

The most comprehensive modeling yet carried out on the likelihood of how much hotter the Earth's climate will get in this century shows that without rapid and massive action, the problem will be about twice as severe as previously estimated six years ago - and could be even worse than that...

To illustrate the range of probabilities revealed by the 400 simulations, Prinn and the team produced a "roulette wheel" that reflects the latest relative odds of various levels of temperature rise. The wheel provides a very graphic representation of just how serious the potential climate impacts are.

--David Chandler, Climate Change Odds Much Worse Than Thought, 19 May 2009

Now, I must point out that the MIT study did not completely rely on the use of these roulette wheels, which in and of itself would be a farce. According to the MIT announcement...

The study uses the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model, a detailed computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes that has been developed and refined by the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change since the early 1990s. The new research involved 400 runs of the model with each run using slight variations in input parameters, selected so that each run has about an equal probability of being correct...

--David Chandler, Climate Change Odds Much Worse Than Thought, 19 May 2009

However, it is equally clear that even if a computer developed those roulette wheels, there is a clear bias in the results. The problem with computers is GIGO: "Garbage In = Garbage Out". Anyone looking at the two roulette wheels can see at a glance that the odds are "rigged". The wheel on the left is supposed to represent how much warmer the earth will become if we enact a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The possibilities vary from 1°C up to 4°C, with nearly 50% of the wheel occupied by the value of 2-2.5°C. The wheel on the right is supposed to represent how much warmer the earth will become if no policy is enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The possibilities vary from 1°C up to 7°C+, with approximately 60% of the wheel occupied by the values of 4°C up to 6°C. The wheel on the right shows values for 1°C up to 3°C occupying less than 1% of the wheel, meaning that it is a virtually unattainable target.

What's worse, is that this study used these probabilities to make a prediction about how much global-warming we can expect by the year 2100, and their estimate is nearly double what current alarmist computer models have suggested! This despite the fact that current global temperatures are declining; a decline that was not predicted by the current alarmist computer models. As you might imagine, the MIT study raised a lot of eyebrows and got a lot of reaction...

Comments On New MIT Climate Study: Chip Knappenberger, at the MasterResource blog made the following comments about the new MIT climate study...

Considering that climate models are predicting global temperatures to be rising at a rate far greater than they actually are, you would think that the model developers would be taking a long, hard look at their models to try to figure out why they are on the verge of failing. In fact, I would expect to soon start to see papers in the scientific literature from various modeling groups attempting to explain why their models have gone awry and to provide an accompanying downward revision of their projections of 21st century temperature change. After all, how long a period of no warming can be tolerated before the forecasts of the total warming by century’s end have to be lowered? We’re already into our ninth year of the 100 year forecast period and we have no global warming to speak of (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Observed monthly global temperature anomalies, January 2001 through April 2009 as compiled by the Climate Research Unit.

So imagine my surprise when a paper just appeared in the Journal of Climate by a group of researchers at MIT that nearly doubled the existing expectations of the total warming by the year 2100! This is quite a gutsy group, for not only are they saying that the prevailing model projections -- which are already way too hot -- are warming things up too slowly, but that when they re-examine the model inputs, they predict a best-guess warm-up that lies very near the current worse-case projections. The research group led by Andrei Sokolov and Ronald Prinn expects that the most likely warming by the year 2100 to be 5.2ºC with a 90% confidence range bounded by 3.5ºC on the low side and 7.4ºC on the high side. Like I said, gutsy. Just to put that in perspective, I present Figure 2 which shows generally what the temperature rise during the next 90 years, 7 months needs to look like for that prediction to be true.

Figure 2. Observed and projected 21st century temperatures and trends.

This is utterly incredible and virtually impossible. As a picture is valued at about thousand words, I probably couldn’t come up with a thousand more choice ones than Figure 2 is worth. So I’ll leave it at that.

Update: Several commentors have asked to see a longer-term history of observations against which to compare the MIT 21st century projections. Since the projections only cover the period from 2001 to 2100, I originally only showed the observations that thus far have occurred during that period (Figure 2). But for those who want to see a longer perspective, I introduce Figure 3, the observed temperatures since 1900 along with the MIT 21st century projections. To me, this doesn’t make the projection look any better, but you can judge for yourself.

Figure 3. Observed temperatures from 1900 through 2008 along with the 21st century projections from MIT.

--Chip Knappenberger, The New MIT Climate Study: A Real World Inversion?, 28 May 2009

The MIT Global Warming Gamble: Dr. Roy W. Spencer, a climatologist, author and former NASA scientist, also had a few words to say about the MIT study. Here are some excerpts...

Climate science took another step backward last week as a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was announced which claims global warming by 2100 will probably be twice as bad as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted...

Since that average rate of warming (about 0.5 deg. C per decade) is at least 2 times the observed rate of global-average surface temperature rise over the last 30 years, this would require our current spate of no warming to change into very dramatic and sustained warming in the near future. And the longer Mother Nature waits to comply with the MIT group’s demands, the more severe the warming will have to be to meet their projections...

Of course, as readers of this web site will know, the MIT results are totally dependent upon the climate sensitivity that was assumed in the climate model runs that formed the basis for their calculations. And climate modelers can get just about any level of warming they want by simply making a small change in the processes controlling climate sensitivity...

So, since the sensitivity of the climate system is uncertain, these researchers followed the IPCC’s lead of using ‘statistical probability’ as a way of treating that uncertainty. But as I have mentioned before, the use of statistical probabilities in this context is inappropriate. There is a certain climate sensitivity that exists in the real climate system, and it is true that we do not know exactly what that sensitivity is. But this does not mean that our uncertainty over its sensitivity can be translated into some sort of statistical probability.

--Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D, The MIT Global Warming Gamble, 23 May 2009

Dr. Spencer also provides us with a "slightly-retouched photo of the MIT research group"...

To read the whole article go HERE.

IPCC Member Is "Climate Realist": Dr. Willem de Lange is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Waikato, New Zealand, specializing in coastal oceanography. He deals mostly with coastal hazards, including tsunami, storm surges, sea level rise, coastal erosion and waterspouts. Since many coastal hazards are affected by climate he has been involved in researching climate variability and its effect at the coast. According to a May 23rd article he authored for the New Zealand Centre for Political Research (NZCPR), de Lange describes his IPCC experience...

In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Second Assessment Report was released, and I was listed as one of approximately 3000 “scientists” who agreed that there was a discernable human influence on climate [emphasis in original].

I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations. In keeping with IPCC procedures, the chapter was written and reviewed in isolation from the rest of the report, and I had no input into the process after my review of the chapter draft. I was not asked if I supported the view expressed in my name, and my understanding at the time was that no evidence of a discernable human influence on global climate existed [emphasis in original].

The chapter I reviewed dealt primarily with the economic consequences of an assumed sea level rise of 1m causing extensive inundation. My response was that I could not comment on the economic analysis, however, I disagreed with the initial assumptions, particularly the assumed sea level rise in the stated time period. Further, there was good evidence at the time that sea level rise would not necessarily result in flooding of small island nations, because natural processes on coral atolls were likely to raise island levels... Subsequent research has demonstrated that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase in elevation as sea level rises. Hence, the assumptions were invalid, and I was convinced that IPCC projections were unrealistic and exaggerated the problem.

Following the release of IPCC Second Assessment Report I also co-authored the sea level rise section of the New Zealand impact report, and same section for a revised report following the release of IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001)... For the New Zealand 2001 report, I was asked to state that sea level rise was accelerating, or at least could be accelerating [emphasis added]. However, my own research and published literature shows that sea level fluctuates at decadal time scales. Therefore, although there was an increase in the rate of sea level rise around 1998, I expected sea level rise to slow and reverse early in the 21st Century. The underlying long-term trend, however, was likely to decrease, and there were some tide gauge data to indicate that it had started to do so. In the 1980s, the New Zealand rate was 1.8mm per year. By 1990, it was 1.7mm per year, and by 2001 it was 1.6mm per year. These changes are small, and were not enough to prove that sea level rise was slowing. However, they clearly did not show that sea level rise was accelerating [emphasis added].

--Dr. Willem de Lange, Why I am a Climate Realist, 23 May 2009

Dr. de Lange's comments suggest several things. First, that the IPCC's procedure of having people write or review Assessment chapters in isolation is problematic. While it may speed up the process by setting out simple goals and eliminating interaction with others, it does not permit healthy collaboration with or feedback from peers. Second, the IPCC prevented reviewers and authors from participating in the process after their initial work was done, so that those who DID participate in the process could develop their final product unimpeded, all of which raises questions about manipulation. Third, the IPCC abused its privilege by implying that everyone who contributed to the Assessment Reports supported the IPCC's conclusions despite the fact that they were not even asked to weigh in on those conclusions. Fourth, IPCC contributors who questioned the assumptions or the premises of the scenarios which were presented to them were ignored. Fifth, the IPCC asked contributors to write or review work with specific predetermined goals in mind (for example, "say that sea level rise is accelerating"). As such, the UN IPCC Assessment Reports can hardly be described as "scientific".

Dr. de Lange then goes on to provide several fundamental reasons why he believes global-warming is not man-made. All of them are related to oceanography, his field of study. They are too complicated to discuss in detail here, but I will try to summarize. Regarding sea level, he speaks of satellite data being in conflict with actual tide guage data. Although the tide guage data is more accurate, IPCC relies on the satellite data. Despite the IPCC's projections of continued sea level rise, sea levels have actually declined since 2001. He says that, "Climate change occurs in cycles at various time scales, with the shorter time scales known as weather." He says that CO2 does not affect climate, but rather climate affects CO2. He talks about negative feedback loops where the environment tends to counterbalance itself. For example, warming oceans evaporate water and create clouds that reflect sunlight and heat back into space. Rain from clouds created by evaporation also tend to cool the ocean's surface. He says that the atmosphere cannot heat the oceans "to any significant degree" because...

99.9 percent of ocean heat is derived from sunlight at wavelengths less than 3 microns. The balance is mostly from heat leaking from the interior of the Earth. The Greenhouse Effect involves a delay in the loss of infra-red radiation at wavelengths greater than 5 microns.

Dr. de Lange also talks about natural cyclical patterns of ocean warmings and coolings that have occured over thousands of years "evident in paleoclimate data". He says that the current temperature increase suggests that it is part of a natural cycle. He says that we are still coming out of the Little Ice Age and that warming oceans have released dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere rather than man-made CO2 causing the oceans to warm. His conclusion...

So, I am a climate realist because the available evidence indicates that climate change is predominantly, if not entirely, natural. It occurs mostly in response to variations in solar heating of the oceans, and the consequences this has for the rest of the Earth’s climate system. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis [of] runaway catastrophic climate change due to human activities [emphasis added]. --Dr. Willem de Lange, Why I am a Climate Realist, 23 May 2009

Cooler Decades Ahead: Ned Rozell at SitNews from Ketchikan, Alaska said on May 28th that the forecast for average global temperatures during the next few decades will be cool according to Syun-Ichi Akasofu. Ned Rozell, a science writer at the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, discusses Akasofu's comments...

Akasofu, the former director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute and International Arctic Research Center, was known as an aurora expert for most of his career. Now, people are citing his opinions on global warming. Rush Limbaugh and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas recently mentioned Akasofu, who thinks it's likely that the planet will cool down until about 2030, and then warm slightly thereafter. That notion is contrary to the prediction of steadily increasing warmth made by members of the IPCC. Unlike those scientists, Akasofu thinks natural forces affect climate much more than carbon dioxide, which warms the globe by trapping heat.

Akasofu, who gave a recent presentation on his ideas in Fairbanks, bases his cooling prediction on his studies of climate records that go back several centuries, such as the breakup date of a lake in Japan that people have documented since the 1400s. He looks back to the distant past to try to see patterns of natural changes that have been occurring before levels of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere began skyrocketing after World War II.

When he looks at long-term climate records, Akasofu sees a consistent warming since about 1800. For him, it's as simple as drawing a straight line through the ups and downs of global temperature from 1800 to 2000. "This is why glaciers have been melting since about 1800," he said. "Because the planet is still warming up from the Little Ice Age (a cold period from about 1400 to 1800)."

"The IPCC paid attention to only the latest temperature rise, from 1975 to 2000," Akasofu said. "This is what I call 'instant climatology.' They didn't look at the Little Ice Age. There's no excuse for that." Akasofu has a similar critique of scientists who compare photos of glaciers that have shrunken in the last decades -- that it's too brief a look at Earth's climate. "It's not the whole story," he said...

Akasofu said that we have just crested the top of one of the warm peaks. He predicts that the average global temperature will continue to drop until about 2030. "In fact, world temperatures have already stopped rising, since 1998, which annoys the IPCC," he said. He also pointed out that a similar change happened in 1940, when the Earth cooled until about 1975. At the end of this century, in the year 2100, the average world temperature will be a few tenths of a degree warmer than the temperature now, Akasofu predicts. His view contradicts the most recent IPCC predictions of world temperatures rising by 3 to 6 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Akasofu is no stranger to the role of contrarian. He has followed gut feelings throughout his career, such as the time he looked beyond an accepted idea about the aurora and came up with the theory of the aurora substorm, when the aurora bursts with activity more than once each night. Aurora scientists will remember him for that insight, and they still refer to his 1964 substorm paper as a classic.

--Ned Rozell, Cooler Decades ahead, Researcher Says, 28 May 2009

Spotless Sun: According to Spaceweather.com, a "spotless day" is a day without sunspots, a day when the face of the sun is utterly blank. By the standard of spotless days, the ongoing solar minimum is the deepest in a century. In 2008, no sunspots were observed on 266 of the year's 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days (85%).

The lack of sunspots in 2008, made it a century-level year in terms of solar quiet. Remarkably, sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year's first 90 days (87%). The mother of all spotless runs was the Maunder Minimum. This was a period from October 15, 1661 to August 2, 1671. It totaled 3579 consecutive spotless days. That puts our current run [as of May 28th] at 17.6+% of the Maunder Minimum.

Anthony Watts at his Watts Up With That? blog said that as of May 27th, we were at 638 spotless days in the current solar minimum. A typical minimum lasts 485 days, based on an average of the last 10 solar minima. The 638 day mark makes this the longest minimum other than the Maunder minimum, the Dalton minimum (solar cycles 5 to 7), and the unnamed minimum of solar cycles 10 + 12 to 15.

Antarctic Warming Falsified: On January 22, 2009, the journal Nature published the results of a study by Steig et al. which said that...

significant warming extends well beyond the Antarctic Peninsula to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported. West Antarctic warming exceeds 0.1°C per decade over the past 50 years, and is strongest in winter and spring. Although this is partly offset by autumn cooling in East Antarctica, the continent-wide average near-surface temperature trend is positive. Simulations using a general circulation model reproduce the essential features of the spatial pattern and the long-term trend.

--Steig et al., Nature, 22 January 2009

Steig et al. Reconstruction

In other words, Steig et al. created computer simulations to reconstruct temperature trends across the entire Antarctic using temperature data from various monitoring stations. Because there are not enough monitoring stations to get an accurate picture of the continent-wide temperature patterns, this group interpolated the data to "reproduce" the missing data. Using certain assumptions and computer modeling, they came to the conclusion that the temperature trend across the entire continent was "positive", that is, warming.

The study came under immediate criticism as it did not seem to bear out other evidence, both anecdotal and quantitative. Now, a thorough review of the study's assumptions, methods, simulation programming, etc. has been completed and the results have dealt a blow to Steig et al. The work was done principally by a person referred to as Ryan O. In a May 20th article at the Air Vent, Jeff Id says...

Ryan has done something amazing here, no joking. He’s recalibrated the satellite data used in Steig’s Antarctic paper correcting offsets and trends, determined a reasonable number of PC’s for the reconstruction and actually calculated a reasonable trend for the Antarctic with proper cooling and warming distributions – He basically fixed Steig et al. by addressing the very concern I had that AVHRR vs surface station temperature(SST) trends and AVHRR station vs SST correlation were not well related in the Steig paper. [emphasis added]

--Jeff Id, the Air Vent, 20 May 2009

Ryan O Reconstruction

In a second article at the Air Vent, Ryan O did more work to verify his earlier work, including the use of additional data from Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) not included in Steig et al. Beyond the incorporation of additional data, he performed "a more comprehensive analysis of performance". He also created several reconstructions in order to "evaluate how well the method reproduces known data", and to determine how his reconstruction compared against Steig's "using the same methods used by Steig in his paper".

The concepts involved are too difficult for me to explain, but suffice it to say here that Ryan O came up with a different set of results than Steig. Whereas Steig showed a more uniform continent-wide temperature increase with a "hot spot" at the Ross Ice Shelf, Ryan O came up with increased warming in the western Antarctic peninsula (where it has been observed), reduced warming across the rest of Antarctica, and even some areas of cooling, including the Ross Ice Shelf (again where it has been observed).

1957-2006 trends; Ryan O (left); Steig (right)
(Click to enlarge)

Vitriolic Climate: Ian Plimer, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne in an article at 'The Australian', lists a number of points and unanswered questions against the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory, that were the subject of his recent book Heaven and Earth. Taken together, they form a primer for AGW skeptics. I have listed them here as bullet points slightly modifying some of his phrases for clarification purposes...

  • To demonise element number six [Carbon] in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.
  • Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food.
  • The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth's early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today's atmosphere.
  • Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2.
  • The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tons of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tons, oceans 39,000 billion tons and limestone 65,000,000 billion tons.
  • The atmosphere contains only 0.001% of the [world's] total carbon.
  • Deeper in the Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere.
  • So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into greenhouses to accelerate plant growth.
  • The first 50 parts per million of CO2 operates as a powerful greenhouse gas. After that, CO2 has done its job, which is why there has been no runaway greenhouse in the past when CO2 was far higher.
  • During previous times of high CO2, there were climate cycles driven by [interplanetary] forces, the sun, Earth's orbit, tides and random events such as volcanoes. These forces still operate. Why should such forces disappear just because we humans live on Earth?
  • A change of 1% in cloudiness can account for all the [temperature] changes measured during the past 150 years, yet cloud measurements are highly inaccurate. Why is the role of clouds ignored?
  • Why is the main greenhouse gas (water vapour) ignored?
  • The limitation of temperature in hot climates is evaporation, yet this is ignored in catastrophist models.
  • Why are balloon and satellite measurements that show cooling ignored, yet unreliable thermometer measurements are used?
  • Is the increase in atmospheric CO2 really due to human activities?
  • Ice cores show CO2 increases [follow] some 800 years after temperature increase, so why can't an increase in CO2 today be due to the medieval warming (900-1300)?
  • If increased concentrations of CO2 increase temperature, why have there been periods of cooling during the past 150 years?
  • Some 85% of volcanoes are [sub-oceanic and therefore] unseen and unmeasured, yet these heat the oceans and add monstrous amounts of CO2 to the oceans. Why have these been ignored?
  • Why have there been five significant ice ages when CO2 was higher than now?
  • Why were warming [periods] in the Minoan, Roman and medieval times natural, yet a smaller warming at the end of the 20th century was due to human activities?
  • If climate changed at the end of the Little Ice Age (c.1850), is it unusual for warming to follow?
  • Computer models using the past 150 years of measurements have been used to predict climate for the next few centuries. Why have these models not been run backwards to validate known climate changes? ... by running these models backwards, El Nino events and volcanoes such as Krakatoa (1883, 535), Rabaul (536) and Tambora (1815) could not be validated.

  • In my book, I correctly predicted the response. The science would not be discussed, there would be academic nit-picking and there would be vitriolic ad hominem attacks by pompous academics out of contact with the community. Comments by critics suggest that few have actually read the book and every time there was a savage public personal attack, book sales rose. A political blog site could not believe that such a book was selling so well and suggested that my publisher, Connor Court, was a front for the mining or pastoral industry...

    Green politics have taken the place of failed socialism and Western Christianity and impose fear, guilt, penance and indulgences on to a society with little scientific literacy. We are now reaping the rewards of politicising science and dumbing down the education system... I have shown that the emperor has no clothes. This is why the attacks are so vitriolic. --Ian Plimer, Vitriolic Climate In Academic Hothouse, 29 May 2009

    Plimer's Book Reviewed: Melanie Phillips at The Spectator, did a review of Ian Plimer's book Heaven and Earth. Here are some of her comments...

    Every so often, a book is published which, it is instantly clear, is the definitive last word on the subject. Such a book has just appeared on the global lunacy of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). In his devastating study Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science (Quartet) Ian Plimer, Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and previously Professor of Earth Sciences at the Universities of Melbourne and Newcastle systematically shreds the theory and the hallucinatory propaganda industry it has spawned. There is simply nothing left of it when he has finished – and he does so from the perspective of real science which the theory has so shockingly betrayed.

    Having painstakingly [laid] out the actual scientific facts and evidence involved in the study of climate, he concludes his book with a sustained peroration of fury and contempt at the way such scientific evidence has been dismissed in a breathtaking campaign of ‘cognitive dissonance’. As he says, there is not one shred of actual scientific evidence to sustain the claim of AGW, which rests in its entirety upon charlatanry, fraud, ignorance and ideology.

    --Melanie Phillips, The Modern Heresy Of True Science, 1 June 2009

    You can read the rest of her article HERE.

    Arctic Ice Melting: The global-warming alarmists have been claiming for years that the Arctic ice is melting at "unprecedented" rates, and this will lead to the extinction of the polar bears. In 2007 some alarmists went so far as to suggest that the Arctic would be "ice-free" for "the first time" by 2008.

    As it turns out, their predictions were wrong and Arctic ice is doing just fine at the moment, but Anthony Watts posted a great article at his Watts Up With That? blog, which suggests that the recent melting of Arctic ice is far from "unprecedented". Watts points to pictures that have been taken of nuclear subs at the North Pole where there was little or no ice. In 1958, the USS Skate was the first nuclear sub to surface at North Pole. It surfaced again in 1959...

    USS Skate (SSN-578) at the North Pole, 17 March 1959.

    Seadragon (SSN-584), foreground, and Skate (SSN-578) at North Pole, August 1962.

    Three subs at North Pole, 18 May 1987.

    USS Pargo at the North Pole in 1993.

    The Catlin Ice Follies: On May 16th, Richard Henry Lee at American Thinker discussed the failure of another global warming alarmist effort, the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey (CAS).

    Catlin member Ann Daniels struggles with 120kg sledge.

    Here are some excerpts from the article...

    The global warmists have yet another embarrassment on their hands. The Catlin Arctic Survey was the brainchild of British explorer Pen Hadow who organized an expedition to trek to the North Pole to highlight how global warming was melting the Arctic ice cap. But his quest was thwarted when Mother Nature responded with fierce winds, bitter cold temperatures, and just plain lousy weather which destroyed ice measuring equipment and hampered resupply efforts, which at one point, left the team close to starvation...

    The problems for the Catlin team began shortly after they were airlifted to a point on the ice north of Canada about 942 kilometers from the North Pole. A fierce storm arrived with high winds and cold temperatures of -40 deg C which took a toll on equipment and the team. The high tech ice measuring equipment broke down along with the data communications equipment. The three person team also suffered from the brutal conditions and one of the team members had frostbite. As a result the team only covered a total of 434 km, which is less than half way to the pole...

    The CAS made their trip at a time when the Arctic sea ice extent is recovering this year and is close to the historic averages for May. This recovery apparently reflects less melting due to cooler than average temperatures...

    Plus, the CAS team stated that they were surprised that they did not find more multi-year ice instead of the largely first year ice they encountered. But as noted in Watts Up With That, the team was in fact trekking in an area of largely first year ice so the results are not surprising. Plus, the initial measurement of 5 meters is consistent with second or multi-year ice that the German expedition found...

    The bottom line is that the Catlin team did little to advance the knowledge of the condition of Arctic ice. But they did show that the Arctic weather can be brutal, cold and dangerous. --Richard Henry Lee, The Catlin Ice Follies, 16 May 2009

    To read the entire embarrassing story, go HERE. To see more photos of the Catlin expedition, go HERE.

    Political Opinion

    The Vindication of Carbon: In May, Robert D. Brinsmead, a horticulturist and free-lance Writer, wrote a piece entitled: 'THE VINDICATION OF CARBON MEANS THE VINDICATION OF HUMAN FREEDOM'. It is 5 pages long in PDF format which you can find HERE. The following are some excerpts...

    Global warming alarmism is not a science, but a religio/political movement. This paper will show why it is a dangerous totalitarian ideology and a more serious threat to human freedom than Communism or Nazism. It is also like a bad joke, because carbon just happens to be the most wonderful of all the elements in the periodic table because of its ability to make so many organic compounds that are fundamental to the formation of life. Yet here is a movement that is all about demonizing carbon...

    The war on carbon is an ill-disguised war on humanity, a war on human freedom. Carbon and carbon emissions are simply a proxy for human activity. This whole movement to demonize carbon is driven by a world-denying, man-hating worldview. It is time to rip away the mask and expose the movement whose real aim is to put the human race in chains to a system that controls every aspect of human existence. It is time to stand up and say, “You take your jackboots off my carbon and off my life.”

    --Robert D. Brinsmead, The Vindication of Carbon, May 2009

    Study: Americans Don't Want Cap-and-Trade: According to an article at American Thinker, even those who are "alarmed" about the climate do NOT support a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions. Here are some excerpts...

    Eighteen percent of Americans have been so “alarmed” by climate alarmists that they’d strongly support any and all policies that would reduce carbon emissions. Any, that is, except cap-and-trade [emphasis added]. In fact, while the group as a whole truly believes that unchecked greenhouse gas emissions will trigger apocalyptic climate change of biblical destructive proportions -- more among them strongly oppose than strongly support a national carbon trading scheme.

    So found researchers at Yale and George Mason universities, who’ve just released the results of an autumn 2008 survey that categorized 2,129 adult Americans into six groups based upon their global warming beliefs, attitudes, fears and behaviors. In addition to the segment appropriately labeled “Alarmed,” in descending order of climate anxiety, they classified the “Concerned,” the “Cautious,” the “Disengaged,” the “Doubtful” and finally, the inappropriately labeled “Dismissive,” hereinafter the “Realists”...

    Of those considered "Concerned", who represented the largest group and mostly consider global warming real and problematic, though less so than the "Alarmed", 12% strongly support cap-and-trade while 15% strongly oppose it. And twice as many of the "Cautious, who are only somewhat convinced that global warming is real and even less concerned about it than are the "Concerned", strongly oppose (16%) than strongly support (8%). Even those who say they neither know nor care much about the subject -- the "Disengaged" -- are more likely to strongly oppose (11%) than strongly support (9%). Not surprisingly, 41% of the Doubtful -- many of whom are actually Realists -- who seriously question warming, its causes, its impact and its proposed remedies, strongly oppose, while a meager 4% strongly support. And -- needless to say -- while absolutely no one in the Realists camp, which essentially rejects manmade global warming outright, strongly supports cap-and-trade, 64% strongly oppose it.

    At the time of this survey, nearly twice the number of Americans strongly opposed cap-and-trade (23%) than strongly supported it (11%) -- and the total number in opposition was 47%...

    --Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, 29 May 2009

    To read the whole article, go HERE. To read the study which the article refers to, go HERE.

    Claim: Climate Change Kills Thousands Each Year: On May 29th, the NY Times (among others), carried a story which said that...

    global warming is causing more than 300,000 deaths and about $125 billion in economic losses each year, according to a report by the Global Humanitarian Forum, an organization led by Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general...

    In a press release describing the report, Mr. Annan stressed the need for the negotiations to focus on increasing the flow of money from rich to poor regions to help reduce their vulnerability to climate hazards while still curbing the emissions of the heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. More than 90 percent of the human and economic losses from climate change are occurring in poor countries, according to the report. [emphasis added]

    --Andrew C. Revkin, Forum Says Climate Shift Brings Deaths, 29 May 2009

    It should be obvious from the quote above, that this report from the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) was an agenda-driven propaganda piece. Climate change is being used by international socialists as a mechanism to transfer wealth from rich countries to poor countries. If I am surprised about anything, it is that Kofi Annan was so open about laying out his agenda, and that the NY Times was so open about reporting it. Usually socialists prefer to operate in "stealth mode".

    Pielke: GHF Report "A Methodological Embarassment": In response the GHF report cited above, which claims that 315,000 deaths a year can be attributed to global-warming, Roger Pielke, Jr. of the Colorado University's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, described it as "a methodological embarrassment". He was quoted in the New York Times article cited above as follows...

    Roger A. Pielke Jr., a political scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who studies disaster trends, said the forum’s report was “a methodological embarrassment” because there was no way to distinguish deaths or economic losses related to human-driven global warming amid the much larger losses resulting from the growth in populations and economic development in vulnerable regions. Dr. Pielke said that “climate change is an important problem requiring our utmost attention.” But the report, he said, “will harm the cause for action on both climate change and disasters because it is so deeply flawed.”

    --Andrew C. Revkin, Forum Says Climate Shift Brings Deaths, 29 May 2009

    At the Promethius Blog, Pielke posted the entire contents of the letter he sent to the New York Times, which included the following comments...

    1. Let me first start by noting that the same group that did the analysis for the UN, the Geo-Risks group in Munich Re, earlier this year published a peer-reviewed paper arguing that the signal of human-caused climate change could not presently be seen in the loss data on disasters. They wrote (emphasis added):

    It should be noted when assessing the results of both this paper and Schmidt et al. (2008) that it is generally difficult to obtain valid quantitative findings about the role of socioeconomics and climate change in loss increases. This is because of criteria such as the stochastic nature of weather extremes, a shortage of quality data, and the role of various other potential factors that act in parallel and interact. We therefore regard our results as being an indication only of the extent to which socio-economic and climate changes account for the increase in losses. Both studies confirm the consensus reached in May 2006 at the international workshop in Hohenkammer attended by leading experts on climate change and natural catastrophe losses.

    I co-organized the Hohenkammer workshop (referred to in the quote above) with Peter Hoeppe of Munich Re and that workshop concluded (among other things):

    Due to data-quality issues, the stochastic nature of extreme event impacts, the lengths of the time series, and various societal factors present in the disaster loss records, it is still not possible to determine what portion of the increase in damage may be due to climate changes caused by GHG [green house gas] emissions.


    The quantitative link (attribution) between storm/flood loss trends and GHG-induced climate changes is unlikely to be determined unequivocally in the near future.

    On p. 84 the GHF report itself says:

    However, there is not yet any widely accepted global estimate of the share of weather related disasters that are attributable to climate change.

    One would think that would be the end of the story. However, to fill in for the fact that there is no accepted estimate, the report conjures up a number using an approach that is grounded in neither logic, science, or common sense.

    2. Specifically, to get around the fact that there has been no attribution of the relationship of GHG emissions and disasters, this report engages in a very strange comparison of earthquake and weather disasters in 1980 and 2005. The first question that comes to mind is, why? They are comparing phenomena with many “moving parts” over a short time frame, and attributing 100% of the resulting difference to human-caused climate change. This boggles the mind...

    3. The report cites and undates the Stern Review Report estimates of disaster losses, however, in a peer-reviewed paper I showed that these estimates were off by an order of magnitude and relied on a similar sort of statistical gamesmanship to develop its results (and of course this critique was ignored):

    Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, 17:302-310. (PDF)

    This report is an embarrassment to the GHF and to those who have put their names on it as representing a scientifically robust analysis. It is not even close.

    Best regards,


    To read the whole letter go HERE.

    Why It's Easy To Be A Skeptic: Liberal Democrat Tom Fuller has just returned to his home town of San Francisco following 10 years in Europe. He has written technology commentary for The International Herald Tribune's Italy Daily, and consulted on green technology for the UK government. He wrote an article at Examiner.com where he says why he finds it easy to be a global warming skeptic...

    If you look at the behaviour of the activists supporting major action to combat climate change, it is easy to understand why skeptics are so angry. To be blunt, sometimes the activists act like thugs. On a personal level, I have been called a lot of names because I'm not convinced that temperatures will rise as high as alarmists preach. --Tom Fuller, Examiner.com, 26 May 2009

    Fuller then goes on to talk about a rather lengthy comment he made at a blog site, where (among other things) he said...

    The cheesy tactics of some alarmists should not play a big part in our deliberations on this... as a skeptical Dem I believe the Republicans will have a field day with an unelected regulatory agency mandating changes in public behaviour based on what they will call ‘labelling a gas necessary to all life a poison.’ This is a policy error. The Republicans will exploit it. Public opinion, already drifting away from the Gore ‘consensus’, will move away from the Obama administration on this. --Tom Fuller, Examiner.com, 26 May 2009

    He then quotes a remark that was made by another commenter about him, "Tom Fuller, as is typical of anti-science freaks, has no evidence whatsoever to prove that Americans are opposed to green energy and love global warming." He continues...

    But few have gone as far as Al Gore, who contacted 60 Minutes and Nightline to do stories on Mr. [Fred] Singer and other opponents of Mr. Gore's environmental policies. The stories were designed to undermine the opposition by suggesting that only raving ideologues and corporate mouthpieces could challenge Mr. Gore's green gospel. The strategy backfired. When Nightline did the story, it exposed the vice president's machinations and compared his activities to Lysenkoism: "The Stalinist politicization of science in the former Soviet Union.” Ted Koppel summed it up well during the February 24, 1994 Nightline edition when he accused Gore of “resorting to political means to achieve what should ultimately be resolved on a purely scientific basis.”

    If this was a one-time event, it might be easy to pass it off. But there are many similar stories that reinforce the idea that if you disagree with the official story about global warming, you will pay... I'm happy to publish stories defending the actions of those involved, or similar stories regarding poor behaviour by skeptics. The problem is that I haven't seen any accusations of impropriety by skeptics -- it's all about those who are trying to scare us, in my opinion without much cause.

    --Tom Fuller, Examiner.com, 26 May 2009

    The Goode Family: Jamin Brophy-Warren at the Wall Street Journal tells us how the creator of ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘King of the Hill’ has a new target: environmentalists. Appropriately titled, Making a Mockery of Being Green, the article outlines the plot and talks about its Director, Mike Judge...

    Director Mike Judge’s new animated television series “The Goode Family” is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words “What would Al Gore do?” Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet’s dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid...

    Although Mr. Judge’s past television shows, “Hill” and MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-Head,” have been successful on television and on DVD, some other recent animated series have fizzled... The animation process can be prohibitively expensive, costing more than $2 million per episode for a prospective prime-time project. Part of the problem is that each episode can take up to a year to create...

    Much as Mr. Judge’s series “King of the Hill” finds humor in the dramas of a working-class Texas family, “Goode” lampoons a liberal Midwestern household. In “Goode,” the characters are often mocked for being green just to fit in with their friends and neighbors. They are a perfect target for the 46-year-old Mr. Judge and his two longtime co-writers, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who have made careers out of finding humor in the follies and pretensions of everyday people...

    --Jamin Brophy-Warren, Making a Mockery of Being Green, 22 May 2009

    There's no guarantee the show will be a success. After 4 episodes, viewership has dropped from nearly 4 million for the pilot to less than 2 million. Like Al Gore, maybe environmentalists just aren't that funny.

    June 13, 2009

    Our Judeo-Christian Nation

    Hat-tip to DKS...

    June 11, 2009

    Stimulus Spending And Job Growth

    Barack Obama said that his stimulus package would create approximately 4 million jobs over two years...

    In the campaign, Mr. Obama vowed to create one million jobs, and after winning election he put forth a plan to create up to three million. The report [from his economic advisers] now puts the figure at roughly 3.7 million, the midpoint of an estimated range of 3.3 million to 4.1 million jobs by the end of next year [2010]. --Obama Again Raises Estimate of Jobs His Stimulus Plan Will Create or Save, New York Times, 10 January 2009

    I decided to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt, and was willing to give him 2 full years to create 4 million jobs. In order to create 4 million jobs in 24 months, the Obama administration would have to create approximately 166,667 jobs per month to reach this target -- assuming linear job growth. Of course, there is very little in the real world that is actually linear, but for the purposes of this exercise, let's assume linear job growth.

    Considering that the stimulus package was not signed into law until February 17th, I decided to waive the second half of February, and start my analysis with the month of March. As you can see from the graph below, Obama's stimulus package apparently hasn't kicked in yet, because instead of job growth, nearly 1.6 million jobs have been lost since March 1st. This means that if Obama is to achieve his goal of 4 million jobs over 2 years, he now has to create 264,143 jobs per month to make up for the 1,574,000 jobs that were lost in the last 3 months.

    Click to enlarge.

    Of course, that is far from likely. If we consider the job loss trajectory that we are now on, it will be some time before job loss turns into job growth. As you can see in the graph, I have developed a curve for job loss/growth which follows the current trajectory, and which I have labelled as "Likely". It suggests that job losses will continue for at least another 5 months but at a declining pace. I have projected that job loss/growth will remain flat, or nearly so, for approximately 4 months before businesses decide that it is safe to start re-hiring. This is followed by gradually increasing job growth up to a rate of about 200,000 jobs per month.

    If my scenario actually holds true, then it will mean that Obama's economic advisors not only completely missed the mark, but that after 2 years, stimulus spending will not have even brought us back to a point where we were before the stimulus was passed. Furthermore, considering the lack of "stimulus" in the stimulus package [huge amounts of money are allocated to health, education and pork barrel projects], there is no guarantee that any job growth we may enjoy will actually be a direct result of stimulus spending. Job loss/growth following my suggested trajectory could be the result of a "normal" economic recovery.

    I should point out that I do not REALLY expect the job loss/growth curve to look exactly like the one I have projected here. For one thing, I could hardly expect it to be that smooth. More than likely, the job loss/growth numbers will jump somewhat erratically from month to month. And I have not considered here the expected GM and Chrysler plant closings. Job losses could actually be worse than I have shown. Job growth could also be somewhat higher in the later months if the stimulus spending does indeed "kick-in". In any event, I think Obama will have a hard time creating 4 million new jobs in 2 years.

    June 09, 2009

    Captain Obama and Starship America

    In his press conference of April 30th, 2009, President Obama was asked what many called a "softball" question. It was a 4-part question from Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times: "Since becoming president, what has surpised, troubled, enchanted, and humbled you the most." It was a humorous moment that brought laughter from the White House Press Corps, and the unusual nature of the question was more widely discussed than Obama's answers.

    When Obama got to the part about what has humbled him, he first fumbled around looking for an answer suggesting perhaps that little has humbled him. But then, in a rather telling moment he said that what has humbled him most is that: "I just can't press a button and suddenly have the bankers do what I want... or turn on a switch and suddenly Congress falls in line." Apparently Obama had the "audacity" to think that the mere power of his presence in the Oval Office would make things happen. He thought it would be as easy as pressing a button or turning on a switch.

    Like Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, Obama ordered the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and said, "Make it so." But to Obama's surprise, it has not happened. Obama thought he could get the Republicans to work in a bipartisan manner simply by ordering: "Engage." But the Republicans have not engaged. They have fought him almost every step of the way. He thought he could reform healthcare simply with a word: "Proceed". But there is no healthcare bill on his desk.

    Like James T. Kirk, Obama calls down to engineering and asks, "Scotty, where's that stimulus? Stimulus would be good right about now." But Scotty replies, "I'm doin' the best I can, Captain. I'm tryin' to pick up the pieces down here." And like a starship that is being sucked slowly into the black hole of a giant recession, Captain Obama orders more power to the engines: "Warp 4... Warp 5." And as Starship America thrusts billions of dollars into the black hole, Captain Obama says, "There are glimmers of hope. We're not being sucked in as fast now as we were before."

    Captain Obama ignores the fact that half of his crew is mutinous, and the other half is confused and in disarray. They are getting anxious about his lack of a sound plan. Captain Obama orders: "Warp 7... Warp 8." Yet, he seems oblivious to the fact that he is reaching the maximum capacity of his engines. "The auto industry on the starboard nacelle is starting to break-up Captain!", a voice on the com-link shouts. "Bring it to my ready room and I'll fix it myself," orders Obama. "I'll make it more energy efficient, and it will be able to pull us out of here," he states confidently.

    But there are still dangers ahead. If Captain Obama goes past Warp 9 and Starship America somehow manages to break free from the black hole, there is a real possibility that the sling-shot effect will cause the vessel to go out of control and leave the space-time continuum altogether. It will then enter another dimension known as Hyperinflation. And then the real problems begin. Slowing down the starship to get out of Hyperinflation will cause gravity to kick back in and the ship will be dragged back to the black hole. But staying in Hyperinflation is like an endless feedback loop which drains the ship of energy. Eventually, Captain Obama will have to divert power from the life support systems to keep the ship running, but the crew will die a slow agonizing death.

    And then more bad news: "Hull-breach on Decks California, New York and New Jersey!" The ship is starting to break apart. Now is the time for one of those unbelievable Star-Trek™ moments, when the Captain realizes the predicament he is in and orders the ship to turn around and head directly into the black hole. "But sir! We'll all be killed!", say the incredulous crew members. "Not if we divert all power to the shields," says the Captain. "It'll be a rough ride, but we'll end up on the other side of the black hole in one piece."

    Will Captain Obama give the order? Or will the ship be destroyed?

    To be continued...

    June 06, 2009

    AGW And The Green™ Fallacy

    First it was man-made or Anthropogenic Global Warming™ (AGW). But then, when warming apparently peaked in 1998 and global temperatures began to flat-line or even decrease, the term "global-warming" fell out of favor. The new buzzword became Climate Change™. It's hard to say "global-warming" with a straight face when there isn't much of it going on, and when the number of skeptics is increasing daily. Climate Change™ is a much better term because it can mean so many different things to so many different people. It is a deceptive phrase, as it can cover a multitude of scenarios besides global-warming (even though most still use Climate Change™ as a synonym for AGW™). As such, it is not unusual to hear the occasional brave (or "foolhardy") soul suggest that cooling is caused by (or is a part of) Climate Change™.

    Now however, the new buzzword is Green™. We have Green™ chemicals, and Green™ packaging, and Green™ technologies, and Green™ industries. Everyone is trying to cash-in on the Green™ fad. Companies are looking at their marketing strategies to find ways they can claim that their company or their product is Green™. The term Green™ of course, implies that whatever has been labelled as such is good for the environment (or perhaps, "not nearly as bad" for the environment as the competition).

    I had to laugh at a recent TV commercial pushing "clean" energy technology. In the commercial (with wind turbines spinning in the background), an old leathery-skinned southwesterner talks first about saving "God's Green Earth" and then in the next breath suggests that we can use electric vehicles to roam all over "Hell's Half-Acre". This commercial provides us with some interesting food for thought...

    First of all, which is it: "God's Green Earth" or "Hell's Half-Acre"? Second, the southwest desert shooting location depicts no greenery whatsoever, so it looks a lot closer to "Hell's Half-Acre" than to "God's Green Earth". Is the desert southwest supposed to represent my ideal of paradise? Third, am I supposed to infer that widespread implementation of "clean energy" will convert "God's Green Earth" into "Hell's Half-Acre"? Or did I get that part wrong? And finally, if I use "clean energy", will I start to look like that guy in the commercial? Inquiring minds need to know.

    As with any marketing program or sales campaign, there is usually more "hype" than "truth" to the claims that are being made about 'green products' or 'green energy'. In the words of the old Latin adage: "Caveat Emptor", or "Let the buyer beware". Clearly, the consumers of ancient Rome were routinely conned; enough so to coin a phrase about it. We are no less free of such marketing scams today, despite the truth-in-advertising laws. The Green™ marketing campaign is just that: a scam.

    First of all, those who push Green™ energy (ie, from renewable sources) don't like to admit that such energy: a) is intermittent and low-yield, b) requires vast land usage, c) requires massive infrastructure investments, and d) poses alternative environmental threats. Solar panels are no good when the sun doesn't shine, so the power shuts off at dusk. Wind turbines are no good when the wind doesn't blow, so the power shuts off on windless days. And there is no known method for storing energy from renewable sources, so if you don't need it while it is being generated, it just goes to waste.

    Solar panels and wind turbines don't generate much electricity, so you need lots of them to do anything useful. This means huge arrays of solar panels or vast wind farms that occupy thousands of acres to do anything meaningful. Since many of these solar arrays or wind farms are in remote areas, they require huge infrastructure investments to get the power from where it is generated to where it can be used. Infrastructure requires maintenance. Maintenance requires money. And we don't seem to have enough money to maintain our existing infrastructure, let alone huge new investments.

    Because wind farms and solar arrays occupy vast stretches of land, they infringe on wildlife in the areas where they are installed. Wind turbines kill birds flying through the area. Wind turbines produce noise that nearby residents complain about. Wind farms are not particularly attractive. Cape Cod residents recently denied permission for a wind farm to be installed in their area because of its visual impact. If wind farms and solar arrays are installed in remote areas, then a significant portion of the electricity they generate will be wasted due to line losses. The wasted electricity is lost as heat, which some consider to be another form of pollution.

    Solar panels and wind turbines don't last forever. They too require maintenance. They require occasional change-out, and/or replacement of critical components. If the solar panels, wind turbines, and the supporting infrastructure are made in factories using conventional energy sources, then those devices are by default, installed with their own carbon footprint before they generate the first watt of electricity. The contractors who install and maintain these wind farms and solar arrays in remote areas must travel there, typically using conventional energy sources.

    When all is said and done, renewable energy sources can never fully replace conventional energy sources. And there are significant costs associated with renewable energy sources that make them economically unattractive. The energy they produce is far from being "free". If such energy was competitive with conventional sources, it would have been installed by now in a big way. If investments in such energy sources can only be obtained using government funding, then what happens when the funding dries up?

    Second, the vast majority of those who make Green™ claims about their company or product, are doing so in the context of public opinion, and not necessarily on the basis of sound scientific facts. While some companies are no doubt truly "green" on the basis of having eliminated "real" toxic chemicals from their products or processes, others are just jumping on the Green™ bandwagon. Many are claiming that they are Green™ because they have reduced their carbon footprint, or because they have installed some renewable energy sources like solar panels, etc.

    But the fact of the matter is that carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions does NOT make the planet "greener". Rather, just the opposite. Carbon dioxide is plant food. It is a well-known fact that carbon dioxide is an essential nutrient in green plant growth, and it is a primary environmental factor in greenhouse operations. CO2 enrichment of 2, 3 or 4 times natural atmospheric concentration will cause plants to grow faster and improve plant quality.

    Plants must absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) in combination with water, soil nutrients and sunlight to produce the sugars vital for growth. A shortage of any of these requirements will retard the growing process. Currently, there are approximately 387 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. when this level is increased to over 1000 ppm, results are increased plant growth and better plant quality.

    Horticulturalists use CO2 generators to achieve such increased carbon dioxide levels in their greenhouses. According to one manufacturer, use of carbon dioxide is one of the easiest ways to accelerate plant growth. Plants grown with supplemental CO2 can produce up to 40% more flowers or fruit. According to another manufacturer, a CO2 generator can safely provide up to 1500 ppm of CO2. Called "CO2 Enrichment" or "Air Fertilization", increasing the levels of CO2 is what produces real "greening" of the world.

    Nighttime levels of CO2 in a typical greenhouse (without CO2 enrichment) can range from 400 to 500 ppm due to plant "respiration". Shortly after sunrise, this CO2 level will drop to normal atmospheric conditions (300-400 ppm) due to the plants using the early light to start photosynthesis. After 3 to 4 hours of early morning sunlight, the CO2 level can drop to around l00 to 150 ppm, at which point plant growth is practically stopped. In other words, if by some process or device AGW alarmists were able to cut CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere from 387 parts per million to the 100-150 ppm range, then life on this planet as we know it would cease to exist because all plant growth would essentially stop.

    According to a 2001 article at the Cato Institute, Patrick J. Michaels said that global warming and higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have produced "a greener, more fruitful planet". He points to a famous 1992 video, "The Greening of Planet Earth," which was produced by the 'Greening Earth Society' in Washington, DC. In the video, several "big-name scientists" were willing to appear and argue that carbon dioxide will enhance global plant growth by directly stimulating plants and by warming the coldest air of winter, which was sure to lengthen the growing season for plants.

    The video's creators and the scientists who thus theorized have been vindicated. In 2001, Liming Zhou and five co-authors published a paper demonstrating a profound greening of the planet poleward of latitude 40º, or north of a circle passing through New York City. Using a satellite designed to measure changes in vegetation, they found that since 1981, plant life has been growing "more vigorously", and that the growing season lengthened as much as 18 days per year in Eurasia, and 12 days per year in North America.

    The net effect of this study then, is that it tells us just the opposite of what the AGW alarmists have been saying. Increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have made the planet more Green™, and not less so. Global-warming has resulted in longer growing seasons, which means that each year the planet is Green™-er longer. Longer growing seasons and increased levels of CO2 have made the planet more conducive to agricultural production. Michaels points out that in 1972, near the bottom of the mid-century cooling period, Russians were so short of food that they purchased just about every kernel of American grain. By the end of the crop year 1972, world grain reserves stood at a stunningly low 19 days. Since we warmed up, those fears have become a thing of the past.

    Last year, or seven years after Liming Zhou's work, it was reported that the trend has continued, and the Earth's biosphere is booming. Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA are scientists involved in analyzing the NASA satellite data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth’s vegetated landmass -- almost 110 million square kilometers -- enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines.

    So when you see those ads for Green™ this or Green™ that, don't believe them. As President Reagan would say, "Trust, but verify." If the ad touts its product or company as being Green™ by way of reduced energy consumption or use of alternative energy sources, then it's "false advertising". They are doing nothing to Green™ the planet at all.