Archive for August 2010

We Have A New Location!

August 12, 2010

From now on visit us at:

http://notrickszone.com/

Hope to see you there!

Moving To A New Domain!

August 12, 2010

Dear Readers,

Now is the time to move to a new domain with WordPress. Our new site is:

http://notrickszone.com/

This is where we will continue blogging. This old site here will remain, but will not be used for new posts.

Moving to a new domain is a lot of work, and so blogging over the next few days will be slow. Fortunately I have a good mate who has taken me through this important step.

New new domain will enable many new features and allow readers to easily subscribe using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, RSS and so on. Overall it means better service for all of you.

Hope to see you at our new site!

Russia’s Fires Caused In Large Part By Forest Mismanagement

August 11, 2010

Der Spiegel reports here on Russia’s extreme heat that’s has contributed to higher death rates and wildfires, plunging Moscow into a thick, choking smog. Hat-tip to reader DirkH.

The following NASA photo shows where it’s hot, and where it’s cool.

So far 7600 km² have burned. NASA’s Terra satellite shows that the fires began in later July, when temperatures in the areas were 12°C and more above normal. One sees how the heat is concentrated in one spot, while the remainder of the continental area is near normal or even cool. Russian meteorologists say they are unable to find anything in the archives that compares to this, not in the last 1000 years.

While warmists are quick to pin the blame on climate change,  others point out that the fires have other primary causes. Der Spiegel writes that much of the blame for the catastrophe goes to the authorities and mismanagement of forests:

Forest fire experts say the authorities also get most of the blame for the catastrophe. Large fires like this one in Russia are caused primarily by man.

According to Johann Goldammer of the Max-Planck Institute for Chemistry at the University of Freiburg:

 There is no evidence that the fires ignited by themselves because of the drought.

Goldammer says that excessive deforestation of the landscape may be a factor in the fires because they leave barren steppe-like landscapes that tend to dry out quickly and become a tinderbox.

But then Goldammer’s makes the dubious claim that this was caused by the fact that the forests had been put into private hands, and then recommends Soviet-style land use!

It has something to do with sustainable land use, like land-use in the old Soviet Union, where it was much more efficient than today.

Now that’s the way to solve problems. I suggest Goldammer read up on how the Soviets managed to run the entire country into the ground.

 

German Media Panic Over Weather, Yet Tropical Storm Energy Near Record Lows.

August 10, 2010

Indeed here in Germany the media have stepped up the dramatic reporting in the wake of Deutsche Welle’s international conference on journalism and climate, reported here: Journalism for Dummkopfs.Driving home yesterday I heard a report on publicly funded German NDR News radio, asking a climate expert (paraphrasing):

Are the recent, numerous weather extremes seen worldwide ominous signs of the climate catastrophe?

NDR went on to mention the weather anomalies in Moscow, Pakistan, China and the local floods in the eastern part of Germany, and emphasized all the death and destruction along with it (They forgot to mention the severe cold in South America). Fortunately, the data tells the opposite story.

Cyclones and storms near all-time lows

Yet anyone taking a closer look will see that all the extraordinary drama is confined to the newsrooms, and is not what’s going on outside.  The latest tropical cyclone energy index shows that cyclones are near all-time lows. Where are all the big cyclones we were told would be coming in the wake of Katrina?

Source: http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

Nasty weather extremes have always occurred, and there are no statistics to show they’ve picked up. The number of deaths resulting from weather and natural disasters is also declining. There are many factors involved here, but the sky fell more often back then than today.

What about tornados in the USA? The following graphic also shows a downward trend. http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm

The worst happened in the past

Indeed looking at the top 10 weather catsatrophes in the USA, the worst ones happened long ago. See Live Science here.

  1. 1900 Galveston  Hurricane, 8,000 dead
2. 2005 Hurricane Katrina, 1,836 dead
3. 1930’s Dust Bowl
4. 1906 San Francisco fire / earthquake 3,000 dead
5. 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, at least 2,500 dead
6. 1980 Heat Wave, massive drought, and 10,000 dead
7. 1988 Heat Wave, between 5,000 and 10,000 dead.
8. 1889 Johnstown Flood, leveled 1,600 homes, killing 2,209
9. 1871 Peshtigo Fire; scorched 12 towns and left 1,200 dead
10. 1925 Tri-State Tornado, nearly 700 dead

But let’s not focus only on the USA, where statistics are easy to get. Let’s look at other parts of the world. Now here’s a graphic (sorry about the quality) showing cyclone activity in the bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea from 1890 until 2000. Looks downward to me. Here the vertical axis shows the annual frequency of cyclones and the x-axis shows the year. The dark line is the 10-year moving average.

Fewer people than ever are dying from weather extremes

And what about deaths globally? With all the bad climate change and growing populations, you’d think people would be getting killed on a massive scale. The following graphic shows the opposite is true.

All the panic is in the newsrooms

So why do some believe that extreme weather events are occurring more often than ever and that more people are dying and suffering? This is because the media stories have increased dramatically over the years, as they report on every Tiny Tim storm out there as if it were a Cat 5.  It’s overhyped.

Source of following graphic: http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v8/n3/fig_tab/7400924_f1.html

The above graphic shows the number of newspaper reports about climate change, which is often cited as the reason for every weather anomaly happening out there. Fortunately, things on this big blue planet of ours have been quieter weatherwise, and people have caught on with respect to what all the media hype is about.

All the commotion is coming from the over-agitated folks in the newrooms.

Bitter Cold Winter Ahead – Get Your Parkas Ready

August 9, 2010

By bitter, I mean much colder than normal. This is a summary of what the experts are saying and what the data are showing.

We just got a strong El Nino behind us and now a La Nina is forming in the Pacific and is barreling ahead in full development, see the chart below. It’s got the potential to be a big one, meaning global temperatures will go into a nosedive in the months ahead.

Joe Bastardi thinks temperatures will reach levels we saw back when Pinatubo blew its top, and maybe lower.

The next chart shows the NWS/NCEP forecast for the fall and winter. Strangely, the German weather services here are predicting a 60% chance the coming winter in Germany will be warmer than normal – which doesn’t agree with what NWS service is forecasting. Europe is projected to be about normal. Note: As Joe Bastardi’s latest video shows, regional forecasts coming out of NOAA are sometimes very very wrong!

Take a look at the Arctic in the right side panels above, i.e. December to April. We’re talking deep freeze. That’s quite a difference from the constant red bloodbath we’re used to seeing from GISS and NOAA. The months ahead are going to be really tough for those trying to avoid the Al Gore effect.

Average global temps to a great extent will depend on the depth of the La Nina. Look at the following graph and compare this La Nina with the last one back in 2007-08. What do you see? Where were we at this time in 07? Looks to me right around zero. This time around we’re already 1°C below that. Also look at the overall slope in this year’s plummet.

This La Nina will seriously depress global temps in the months ahead, thus throwing ice water on the NCDC’s fantasy of the hottest year ever. It’ll be interesting watching them try to pull it off. They need it for Cancun.

The poles are also indicating lower temperatures. No death spiral in the Arctic. Zed’s dead, baby. The DMI chart already shows freezing at 80°+N latitude. But it has ticked up a bit. No matter it was the coldest melt season in that area on record – in the “hottest year ever”. Go figure!

The Arctic will not set a new record low sea ice minimum this year, as many were hoping, panting and drooling for. It isn’t even going to set the second lowest.  A third lowest is still in the works, though the odds are tightening. Total sea ice of the north and south poles is smack normal – and again, this in the “hottest year” on record.

Okay, a winter’s forecast is not climate – many will crow. Yes, but weren’t we told that such winters were a thing of the past? To the contrary, more and more we’re hearing they may very well be a thing of the future.

Folks, all these nice graphs are available at my Climatic Indicators side bar on my homepage. Take a look and you be the judge.

Germans Give Climate Science The Big Thumbs Down

August 8, 2010
Reading all the climate doom and gloom in the more prominent German online papers like Der Spiegel, Die Welt, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, etc., you’d think by now readers would have long since barricaded themselves inside their homes and crawled under their beds in angst, in order to hide from the dreaded Klimakatastrophe

So frequent are the alarmist climate stories. Normally such stories would be better placed in the comics section. But in Germany newspapers don’t have a comics section, and so they get mixed in with the news.

Day after day normally respectable papers are filled with worst-case reports, often extracted from press releases dribbled out by tax-payer funded panic-houses like the authoritarian Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

But, hardly anyone believes them anymore:  90% to 10%.

Yesterday I read yet another rehashed panic story in Die Welt, whose title translates: Heat Waves Threaten With Increasing Frequency.

Very revealing are the reader comments. Judging from them, a majority of German readers scoff at the claims the planet is heating up catastrophically, and do so with a whoppingly huge majority. 

At Die Welt, readers who write comments can be rated by other readers with either a “thumbs up” if you agree with the comment, or a “thumbs down” if you don’t. So I counted up the number of “thumbs up” and the number of “thumbs down” for the first 20 reader comments that appeared after the above mentioned piece. The result (Saturday, 5:15 pm): 

Number agreeing with the sceptics:   1864  (90.2%)
Number agreeing with the warmists:  203  (  9.8%) 

Wunderbar! Alarmist climate science has lost its credibility, authority and trust, it seems. There’s hope for real climate science after all. Yes, a broad majority of informed Germans, at least Die Welt readers, believe climate science forecasts fundamentally are rubbish. Sure this is not a real survey. But to me it’s a clear signal.

 Some online papers have even given up allowing readers to have their say, having grown tired of being told their “news” are rubbish. So give Die Welt some credit for allowing readers to have a voice.

Interestingly, the Germans have a wide selection of words that mean “nonsense”, and one finds them used regularly in reader comments about climate. Here are some: Unsinn, Bloedsinn, Quatsch, Unfug, Dummheit, and Humbug

Now we can add another to the list of synonyms: Klimawissenschaft (climate science). So now when my son worries about a minor matter, I simply tell him: “Don’t worry, it’s all climate science”.

Kola Temperature Reconstruction Shows Solar Correlation – Refutes The Hockey Stick

August 7, 2010

Last week I wrote about a Russian-German temperature reconstruction from 1600 to 2000 derived from tree rings from the Kola Peninsula in northwest Russia . The paper appeared in the journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2009, pp. 460–468, by Kononov, Friedrich and Boettger. 

In response, German media outlets all hollered “RAPIDLY RISING ARCTIC TEMPERATURES!”, focussing solely on one statement that temperatures have been rising since 1990. 

It’s a classic example of how a scientific study comes up with Result A, but the public ends up understanding Result Z, all thanks to sloppy and incompetent communication that exists between the two. 

The press release here  provides the following Kola temperature reconstruction graph for summertime temperatures:

Kola Peninsula tree-ring temperature reconstruction. Source: Stephan Boehme/UFZ

Here it’s plain to see that the temperature reconstruction shows that Arctic temperatures in the Kola Peninsula have been rising since about 1670. This corresponds exceptionally well with Loehle’s 2007 reconstruction using 18 non-tree-ring proxies for the last 2000 years shown as follows: 

 

Both graphics show the Little Ice Age from 1650 to 1750, at which point a warming event ensues. Then it was generally flat from 1750 to about 1920, and then followed by another rise that took place until 1950. Then Kola tree-ring proxies show a cooling up to 1990. Since 1990 warming has occurred again, but it’s  a warming that is completely within the natural range of variation. 

The Kola reconstruction (1) agreed with an earlier reconstruction (2) done in the area, see map below.  What’s more, the Kola reconstruction (1) was compared with tree-ring reconstructions from other Arctic regions: Swedish Lapland (3), Yamal (4), and Taimyr (5).

Proxy locations used for Kola comparison. Source: Journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2009, pp. 460–468

The result of the comparison: 

The reconstructed summer temperatures of the last four centuries from Lapland and the Kola and Taimyr Peninsulas are similar in that all three data series display a temperature peak in the middle of the twentieth century, followed by a cooling of one or two degrees. 

Only the Yamal reconstruction differed completely, resembling the shape of a hockey stick with the blade beginning at 1900. The hockey stick is becoming an artefact of activism.

Except for the Yamal reconstruction, all tree-ring and non-tree ring reconstructions appear to agree, and so indicate no correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration.

So what could be driving temperatures then? The authors compared the tree-ring based reconstructions with historical records of sunspots (Lean et al, 1995; Lean, 2000), and say: 

We found that over the whole investigated period fluctuations of summer air temperature reconstructed for the Khibiny Mountains in the central part of the Kola Peninsula have a good consistency (r >0.50) with changes of solar radiation (Fig. 10), especially for the low-frequency signal. 

In the paper’s conclusion we read: 

The broad similarity between this temperature construction and solar radiation indicates that solar activity is an important driver of centennial to multi-decadal trends in summer temperatures of the Kola Peninsula. 

So why did all media reports holler “RAPID TEMPERATURE INCREASE IN THE ARCTIC”. Call it complete communication incompetence by the media players between science and the public.

The Kola reconstructions show no link to atmospheric CO2 concentrations. It all started with a solid scientific paper, and but then was distorted (purposely?) by a vague press release that culminated in alarmist media headlines. 

Let’s call that press release incompetence-gate.

Extreme Cold Kills 6 Million Fish In Bolivia: “Environmental Catastrophe”

August 6, 2010
Here’s an ongoing weather event, which is supposed to be rare.

We know it’s been cold as heck in South America. In fact it’s been so cold that fish have been dying on a mass scale. This today is being reported by the German online Stern and other outlets.

Authorities say that 6 million fish have died as a result of the cold. Also read here.  This report writes:

Authorities in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz declared an alert following the death of fish in the Grande, Pirai and Ichilo rivers that run through the tropical region.
This is an “environmental catastrophe” brought on by the lowest temperatures registered in Santa Cruz in nearly half a century, Gov. Ruben Costas told reporters.

We’ve seen reports on how the cold in South America has been deadly for humans too, see here. Later reports mention 500 dead.

And it’s still cold. And it’s going to remain cold as well, see here.

Gulf Oil Spill In Perspective – Stop Crying Over Spilled Milk

August 5, 2010

Not a day goes by without hearing about the “catastrophic BP Gulf oil spill”. Even the media in Europe are fretting hysterically about ocean currents eventually carrying the mess across the Atlantic and over to Europe’s shores – so say all their computer models. There’s now even a lot of discussion about setting up a world environmental court for prosecuting polluters for Crimes Against Nature and Crimes Against Humanity.When I was a kid and milk spilled, we were told not to cry about it, but instead to get up, get a mop, and to clean it up. How are media responding with the latest spill? Many are having fainting spells, some are even leaping out the windows, and the rest just want to beat the crap out of the poor kid who spilled the milk, who by the way gets up early every morning to milk the cow and brings it to the table.

Surely the oil spill was a mess and steps have to be taken to prevent these things in the future. But it’s also important to keep it all in perspective. Globally, once everything settles down, this is not going to be felt at all. It’s reported that 800 million liters have gushed into the Gulf. That sounds like a huge number. Indeed it’s like everyone in the United States dumping 3 quarts.

Pull your head up and look at the big picture. First of all, it has been reported, much to the surprise of the media, that 75% has already been either dispersed or cleaned up. That means 200 million liters are still at large. Of these 200 million liters, what doesn’t end up on shores for manual cleanup, will eventually get carried out to sea.

But for now, let’s stay with the 200 million liters floating out to Europe and beyond. How much is that with respect to the oceans’ sheer volume?
* 200 million liters = 200,000 cubic meters,
* 200,000 cubic meters = 0.0002 cubic kilometers of oil.
* Volume of world oceans: 1.37 BILLION cubic kilometers.

* Concentration of BP oil in ocean: 0.0002 km³/ 1,370,000,000 km³

This equals…folks my calculator doesn’t even get anywhere near that far out! It’s like one rat drowning in Lake Erie. It’s in the trillionths! The average lake has higher concentrations of greasy suntan lotion from swimmers.

Wildlife in the oceans are not even going to notice this, not at all! Fish have other far greater worries on their minds – like not becoming dinner for other fish.

So everybody really ought to just calm down about it. The whole thing has been overhyped a 1000 times.
The Gulf shores will get cleaned up and big mother earth will do the rest.

Source of ocean data: http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/SyedQadri.shtml

UPDATE: Claudia Bradshaw of the BBC blogs and plans a radio show about it this evening. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldhaveyoursay/2010/08/is_the_bp_gulf_oil_leak_the_mo.html#241138

I’d like to point out that the media focusses too much on the environmental disturbance of the oil spill and ignores the fact that a dozen people lost their lives in the accident. That’s the real tragedy.

And let’s not forget there have been far worse disasters.  167 people lost their lives on the Piper Alpha, making that in my view far worse than anything else in the oil industry to my knowledge. We ought to keep things in perspective.  The environment will rebound – lost lives don’t. How does someone’s business taking a temporary hit compare to loss of life? You coastal residents – you live in America, and so you’ll all get through it just fine. I know it’s tough, but count your blessings.

Hans von Storch Speaks Out On CRU, IPCC And Climate Science

August 3, 2010

Here is an outstanding interview given by Prof. Hans von Storch, one of Germany’s leading climate scientists, in an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt
(Germany’s equivalent to the Wall Street Journal) yesterday. Although a warmist, Professor Hans von Storch, much to his credit, has always kept an open ear and mind to serious climate sceptics. Here are some paraphrased excerpts of yesterday’s HB interview.HB: Are today’s hot and cold extreme events a sign of global warming?

HvS: It’s important to keep weather separated from climate. The media have certainly been focussing more on the weather. And unfortunately there are plenty of activists who like to connect heat waves and storms with climate change. And then these activists wonder why sceptics do the same when there’s a cold winter, using it as evidence against warming. It’s intellectually low. The fact of the matter is that it is trending warmer.

HB: Who recommends the scientists for participation in the IPCC?

HvS: In Germany it’s the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Reactor Safety and the Ministry of Research and Science in Bonn.  Here one can apply to participate, and this is what I’ve done. I offered to be a part of WG2. That’s where most of the errors occurred and I’d like to help out this time around to prevent such errors from happening again. My name has been sent, along with 80 others, to the IPCC in Switzerland.

HB:  The IPCC has come under fire because it dramatised climate change. How can we prevent such errors and what should quality control look like?

HvS: We have to look very closely at the literature that is handed to us. We have to be very careful with grey literature. It has to meet the highest scientific standards. Under no circumstances can literature from interest groups like reinsurers, coal industry or environmental groups be accepted.

HB:  And what about the WWF’s Amazon Rainforest report?

HvS: One cannot claim that this was a neutral scientific report. The IPCC made that mistake, and it cannot be blamed on the WWF, who have legitimate interests.

HB:  Could there be a benefit in allowing studies from interest groups?

HvS: I would not agree to that. In WG2 it would not be necessary to include material from interest groups. There’s already enough scientific literature at hand.

HB: And what about critical opinions from the scientific community? In the wake of the hacked e-mails from the CRU, some scientists complained that their publications had been blocked.

HvS: Here we have to differentiate between 2 kinds of gate-keeping. In the case of the Climate Research Unit, it is alleged, or indeed it was attempted, to keep an article with a contrary opinion from being published. Thus it was possible to assure that some results would not flow into the IPCC report.

In the IPCC report itself, minority opinions also must be allowed to be shown. We have to determine just where there is consensus, and where there are contrary opinions. This has to be done scientifically, without any prejudice.

HB: A report for the political decision makers probably has to be summarised: But isn’t that walking on a tight rope between what is scientifically exact and what the politicians understand?

HvS: A summary by the scientists for the politicians is in my opinion, not necessary. The summary emphasis takes place at a later time when the decision makers wish to present the matter to their clientel. The politicians that I’ve been involved with know what climate research is about –and especially on questions of adaptation. Personally I’m quite impressed by their competence.

HB: Last fall after errors were found in the IPCC report and the disclosure of the CRU e-mails,  climate science skidded off track and came under heavy fire.. What does this branch of science need to do in order to regain respect?

HsV: There are two strategies – and I’m afraid not much is happening for the most part. It is simply being claimed that evil media outlets and the fossil fuel industry are behind the unjust discrediting of the science. But this assertion simply is not sustainable. In the past, climate science attempted to work too much with catastrophe reports. But that bubble blew last fall. As a result, trust suffered immeasurably.

We have to take a critical view of what happened. Nothing ought to be swept under the rug. Some of the inquests – like in Great Britain – failed at this. They blew an opportunity to re-establish trust.

The second strategy us scientists have to consider is what role it is we wish to play. Are we supporters of a certain political process, or supporters of a certain brand of politics? I’m emphatically for the first, whereby we are the providers of special knowledge. We must not say that this is right, and that is wrong. This is not the competence of a climate scientist. We are merely experts in climate dynamics, and not specialists for competing political or ethical problems. Fundamentally a debate has to take place. That’s what climate scientists want, and that is what is expected from the public.

HB: Is there a danger that climate science falls on the wayside because the sceptics take up very popular slogans against the subject of anthropogenic climate change?

HsV: Many alarmists do the same– both sides don’t hold back much. We have to accept the challenges the sceptics present and step into the debate with them in order to win them over.

Many physicists, chemists, engineers or geologists have open questions about climate change which they view as unanswered. Here there is a considerable and legitimate potential at hand, which unfortunately is not addressed often enough. Instead, they sometimes get attacked and called sceptics, which only serves to aggravate them. It’s no way to build trust. We have to find a way back to a reasonable discussion.

HB: Do you have any hope that progress can be made with the next IPCC report with respect to climate protection, especially after the spectacular failure of Copenhagen?

HsV: I don’t expect that the next IPCC report will significantly improve the chances for a comprehensive climate protection program. The last report was already so emphatic that there is no way to top it. The concept that science tells politics what’s necessary has failed. We have to give up on the idea of making an agreement from top down for 150 countries, and that they will abide by it. Change has to come from the bottom.