Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jaw droppers

Part of the current art of journalism is to get others to say what you mean. Stoat's beloved Gruniad said

The conference, attended by more than 20 countries, including China, India, Britain, France and Germany, broke up with the US isolated, according to non-Americans attending. One of those present said even China and India, two of the biggest polluters, accepted that the voluntary approach proposed by the US was untenable and favoured binding measures, even though they disagreed with the Europeans over how this would be achieved.

A senior European diplomat attending the conference, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the meeting confirmed European suspicions that it had been intended by Mr Bush as a spoiler for a major UN conference on climate change in Bali in December.

"It was a total charade and has been exposed as a charade," the diplomat said. "I have never heard a more humiliating speech by a major leader. He [Mr Bush] was trying to present himself as a leader while showing no sign of leadership. It was a total failure."

The London Times put it this way

Speaking at his own climate-change conference in Washington, which European diplomats dismissed as a cynical attempt by the White House to derail UN efforts on a new global-warming accord, Mr Bush called on polluters to cut emissions, but only through voluntary steps.

Before Mr Bush spoke, John Ashton, the special representative on climate change for David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, expressed Britain’s growing dismay at Washington’s refusal to sign on to mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.

And saying it with applause (Sudwest Radio Germany)

During his twenty minute long speech the US President received a round of spontaneous applause only once: when he mentioned the United Nations. "Today we have a new beginning to reduce greenhouse gases, strengthen out energy security, promote economic development and that we continue the climatic negotiations under the roof of the United Nations.”

The applause was a clear sign from the other participants. Even when President Bush was planning to sideline the United Nations with this conference - the representatives of the developing and industrialized countries obviously want no part of that.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Listen to the bunny (Part XIV)

A couple of years ago, when Tim Kaine did the two step about Pat Michaels' being the VA State Climatologist, and said, well a) this ain't any authorized state office and b) if UVa want Michaels they can have him , Eli remarked

Now it gets amusing. First, is UVa a state agency? Commonly state agencies are directly under the control of the executive. UVa is a state university, but recently it has become essentially independent under the Virginia Restructured Higher Education Financial and Administrative Operations Act

Second, and most important, is the clear implication that the position of State Climatologist ain't no more gonna be a line in the STATE budget, and that if UVa wants Michaels to continue in the position, they are going to have to come up with the $.
Well, pretty clearly UVa has decided not at any price. Steve Bloom in a comment at Real Climate points to an article in the Daily Press
Michaels, 57, called his resignation a sad result of the fact that his state climatologist funding had become politicized, compromising his academic freedom.
The Rabett also explained
If someone is called a Research Professor or an Adjunct Professor, you can bet that the University is not paying his or her salary. In many cases the person works at a research institution/national lab, etc. and has the title so that he or she can supervise student research. In many other cases the person brings grants and contracts into the University from which his or her salary is paid. Since Research Professors of the later type occupy lab/office space there is not much of a margin when their grants run out. The rule is that when the support goes so does the Research Professor (I know you can find the occasional counterexample, but these are the general rules).
Pat knows very well that he was in a soft money position, and when the external funding goes the clock runs very fast. And, oh yes, live by political funding decisions and die by them
In 1994, Allen restored a cut of more than $100,000 to Michaels' office that had been proposed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Eight years later, as a senator, Allen rescued Michaels' office from other proposed cuts that Michaels said would have wiped out his entire funding.

Better a good Czech than a bad one

Bloggers know that Lubos Motl has lip locked to the current President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who knows not very much about climate, but does know what he thinks about it. Everyone know about Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechia and someone who by example has acquired great moral authority. Havel writes today in the NY Times under the headline, Our Moral Footprint:

OVER the past few years the questions have been asked ever more forcefully whether global climate changes occur in natural cycles or not, to what degree we humans contribute to them, what threats stem from them and what can be done to prevent them. Scientific studies demonstrate that any changes in temperature and energy cycles on a planetary scale could mean danger for all people on all continents.

It is also obvious from published research that human activity is a cause of change; we just don’t know how big its contribution is. Is it necessary to know that to the last percentage point, though? By waiting for incontrovertible precision, aren’t we simply wasting time when we could be taking measures that are relatively painless compared to those we would have to adopt after further delays?

Havel's views on climate change are that of someone who worries about the future, but is not sure of the scope or the solutions to the challenges of global climate change
I’m skeptical that a problem as complex as climate change can be solved by any single branch of science. Technological measures and regulations are important, but equally important is support for education, ecological training and ethics — a consciousness of the commonality of all living beings and an emphasis on shared responsibility.
This is a complex and rich statement which everyone should read and think about. Of those who blog on climate, perhaps it is closest to Michael Tobis' point of view, the moral case Havel sets forth for action approaches that of the Stern Report.

Stealing Michaels Cheese: In the comments (and this is somewhat truncated) Michael Tobis summarizes his view on this:
So what do I think? I thank you for what amounts to a challenge to summarize it. This is what I have managed.

A long view and a better capacity to identify real expertise are skills that to a great extent we in the economically dominant societies once had, but have lost. That is sad but it offers a way out without new cultural innovation. We simply need to recover declining skills.

We need to work on restoring the collective intellectual capacity, and the respect for the future, that we recently had, that has been in precipitous decline over my lifetime. This is nowhere near the innovation that a widespread ecological ethic would be.

Restoring the network of trust from those who think to those who decide is no small order. The deciders (pardon the expression) need better skills in whom to trust, and the thinkers need to be more trustworthy.

Unfortunately, substantial amounts of decay and corruption have set in
on both sides. This is a tall order, but it seems to me at the core of our decline and the best hope of our recovery.

So I don't mean to disagree with Havel, but I don't want that represented as the core of what I am trying to advocate.

I think the crucial social component of avoiding calamity is about competence and trust, about those offering advice reliably deserving trust and about those needing advice reliably awarding trust to those that deserve it.

Thanks for the mention, though. I'm flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as Vaclav Havel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pearls before swine

Speed and a few other things kill

Down in the Comments on a recent thread we see the appearance of the golden oldie about conservation.

"First, "conservation" need not mean living in cold dark houses and not driving."
That is exactly what it means for the poor. If conservation is enforced by regulations, higher prices are inevitable, and the poor suffer the most from higher prices.

Conservation sounds noble, and the intention is well placed, but look at history.
What we are going after today is the old standard about increasing auto mileage
For example, CAFE standards were enacted in order to encourage conservation. The result was the K-Car and other light cars the were demonstrated to be less safe. It doesn't "have" to be this way, but that was the reality. and we get a new one

but in denial land there is always something new under the sun
Another example are towns in Africa that are not permitted to have electricity unless it is green powered. Unless someone can afford the outrageously expensive solar power, they are forced to live without electricity. It doesn't have to be that way, but that is the reality.
which got stomped on pretty good by the mice and co. The first step in any such thing is to demand some evidence other than the floss between the ears of the denialist
Hank Roberts(AKA Evil Hank) said at 6:43 AM...
Cite please? It's only an example if it has a citation/source in fact.
Anonymouse 6:54 AM<>I think you have a very narrow view of "conservation" in mind that is not very realistic -- and certainly not what I am referring to.

What I am referring to is energy efficiency improvements that conserve energy (eg, gasoline for cars) and that benefit all consumers -- including the poor.

Anonymouse 7:17 said...
Some villages can't have electricity unless it is "green powered" (eg, solar, wind, water). There is no other choice!

I think some of the people making such comments live in a giant bubble -- totally divorced from reality.

They talk about Conservation "hurting the poor" but it never occurs to them that saving energy (through more efficiet cars, refrigerators, houses, lights, etc) means saving money.

This helps the poor the most, since they spend a higher percentage of their income on stuff like gas for their car and electricity for their house.
In case it was not clear above, "There is no other choice" because there are no transmission lines into some villages.
To which I might add trucking in gas or other fuel presupposes roads, carrying it in on someones back does not always work. Being able to drop in a solar generator or a wind powered one makes sense. Isolated farms in the US had a windmill as a power source before the Rural Electrification Program (thank you New Deal, take it and shove it Libertarians) brought electricity to rural areas in the US. You can see the seed of this attack in the recent mouth foaming about treadle pumps. For someone who does not have a pump a good human powered one is a great thing. The project is good for the farmers who get them and good for the environment. It meets a gold standard.

It is indeed a rich thing to choke down, the crocodile's care for the poor from those who know that greed is good for them and bad for you.

However, to paraphrase Steve Pastis about our crocs, they are proud members of Mora Fora Meea, a fraternity dedicated to the destruction of every one but them, the crocodiles are our blogging neighbors. Stupid, slow and barely articulate, these particular crocodiles are a disgrace to their species.

But, as the author says, Eli digresses.

The picture above shows the results of a 40 mph crash against a barrier by a light Mini Cooper and a heavy F-150. The F-150 comes out worse, among other things, because it is heavier. Of course in a crash of an F-150 against a Mini, those F-150 would be at less risk, principally because the things ride so high, like moose in Montana, the thing rides up on smaller cars.**

If you looked at the deaths/distance driven (US) you would see a continuing decline after the introduction of CAFE mileage standards in 1975. You are a lot safer in a new small car than in one of the big old 1960s models. Some details can be found in the CDC report 1900-1999 Motor-Vehicle Safety: A 20th Century Public Health Achievement. Quibbles and more references can be found in Death and injury from motor vehicle crashes: a public health failure, not an achievement E D Richter, et al. who think that more, not less could have been done. Richter et al. list the things that have contributed to improved safety
Box 1: Countermeasures
  1. Increased mass/volume
  2. Better seat belt designs/child restraints
  3. Improved fireproofing of fuel tanks
  4. Seat belt laws
  5. Burstproof latches
  6. Collapsible steering wheels
  7. Shatterproof window panes
  8. Padded dashboards
  9. Non-protrusive accessories
  10. Reinforced passenger cabins
  11. Rear underride absorbers for trucks
  12. Energy absorbing fixtures
  13. Airbags
  14. Drink driving legislation
  15. Truck safety standards
  16. Updated road design standards
  17. Congestion, lower speeds, and risk
Eli notes that only one has to do with mass, and that is density which is mass/volume, not mass, and even so that is only one of 17 issues. Safe small cars are being built today. They are a lot safer than what we had twenty and thirty years ago. If we could get the "mine is bigger than yours" gang off the road it would be safer still. Delanda est SUVs. Mass plays a role, but Richter, et al are big fans of congestion
We believe the universality of the strong inverse association with congestion. Everywhere, in the United States, Europe, and thegreat megacities of Asia, Latin America, and Africa, most of the increase in VMT [Vehicle Miles Travelled] and congestion occurs in and around large cities and their surrounding areas during rush hours. These are periods when mean and maximum traffic speeds approach standstill, and case fatality falls, as does Deaths/VMT—without the help of any public health policy or countermeasures. Much of the credit for the public health "achievement" comes from the failure to provide rapid travel during peak hours of use for most vehicles. Thus VMT is massively inflated. No one gets killed in a traffic jam
and they continue
In road injury epidemiology, kinetic energy is the pathogen, and risk for injury and severity are predicted by the combined effect of mass and speed derived from Newtonian laws of motion and energy. Crash, injury, and death tolls rise in proportion to the first, second, and fourth power respectively of the ratio of increase in average speeds of travel. A 10% increase in travel speeds produces a 43% rise in case fatality. Case fatality—the probability of death—among occupants of light vehicles colliding with heavy vehicles is extremely high. These empirically validated relationships mean that small increases in speed translate into large increases in deaths. We affirm that in recent years in the United States the fall in baseline risks with increased congestion has concealed the full contribution of raised speed limits and travel speeds to increasing deaths between risk and exposure is mainly due to increases in traffic
For those of you who can't do the math, kinetic energy goes as the square of the speed and the linearly with mass. Delanda est SUVs. Especially the big ones. Enforce speed limits. Nothing survives a full on with an 18 wheeler. If we have smaller, better built cars, and enforce speed we can move towards Sweden's announced goal of no traffic fatalities.

UPDATE: Steve Sadlov raises the useful point that at ~$3/US gallon the cost of gasoline is already so high that CAFE standards are not needed. While it is true this is already having an effect, the price of gasoline in the US is still half of that in the civilised world

** Moose are exceptionally stupid and big animals. They know they are the biggest damn thing in the forest and have known this for millenia. Like the hedgehog, for most situations knowing one thing well is enough, but when change comes it pays to be able to change. Standing in the middle of the road, when they hear a car coming at 100 mph, they turn and face the noise with their heads down. The auto hits their body, the neck and horns are just the right size to crash through the windshield and impale the driver. Montanans, yearning to drive fast eliminated speed limits, but had to put them back for nightime driving when the carnage mounted. Moose are big enough to see in the daylight, but all moose are gray in the dark.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Without comment

"NRG Energy, the US power generator, said on Monday it was filing the first application to build a new nuclear plant in the US in 29 years.

In seeking to build two nuclear power stations in Texas, NRG said it was taking a leading role in moving US electrical generation to cost-effective power that does not contribute to global climate change. "It is a new day for energy in America," said David Crane, NRG's president and chief executive."


"WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 — An independent power producer expects to ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday for permission to build two nuclear reactors at a site 90 miles southwest of Houston, the first time since the mid-1970’s that a company has sought approval to build a nuclear power plant in the United States.

The company, NRG Energy, based in Princeton, N.J., is seeking to build a General Electric model now used in Japan and under construction in Taiwan but untried in the United States. The announcement Tuesday will be a decision to seek a combined construction and operating license under a new process meant to avoid the long delays and cost overruns in the last round of nuclear construction, but the company has not yet ordered the reactors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates the cost of obtaining a license at $24 million, but some industry experts say it could easily be more. The plant itself would run into the billions of dollars.

Still, the application, the first of what the commission anticipates will be about two dozen in the next few months, is a milestone for the industry. More than 100 reactor projects were canceled in the 1970s and ’80s, some abandoned in late stages of construction. Revived interest in nuclear power is being driven by a combination of strong growth in demand for electricity, high prices for natural gas and the potential for taxes on carbon dioxide, which would make coal use more expensive, experts said.

By filing first, NRG is likely to get first consideration from the commission. Not having seen an application in a generation, the commission has been hiring for the task but has also warned that its capacity to deal with the work involved is not unlimited."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Learn to listen carefully young bunnies

Aaron Swartz has a strong article on the manipulation of misinformation about DDT by, among other friends of Rabett Run, Roger Bate. It has also appeared at FAIR. Now as many know Roger is the fellow who pitched fighting malaria to various tobacco companies as a way of discrediting the World Health Organization and distracting it from a soon to be launched anti smoking campaign. Among the gems that Aaron dug out were

In an interview, Bate said that his motivation had changed after years of working on the issue of malaria. "I think my position has mellowed, perhaps with age," he told Extra!. "[I have] gone from being probably historically anti-environmental to being very much pro-combating malaria now." He pointed to the work he'd done making sure money to fight malaria was spent properly, including a study he co-authored in the respected medical journal the Lancet (7/15/06) on dishonest accounting at the World Bank. He insisted that he wasn't simply pro-DDT, but instead was willing to support whatever the evidence showed worked. And he flatly denied that AFM had ever received money from tobacco, pharmaceutical or chemical companies.
Emphasis added. Eli's original post pointed to a damning letter from Bate to Dan Greenberg of Phillip Morris in which he made the pitch, but just as important to what we are talking about here are the marginal notations by Greenberg which have not previously been remarked on (maybe because the handwriting is so bad).

The lab bunnies have put this under microscope. The one on the right says
Malaria out of ESEF ~ only recently {unclear} donation and only for ESEF in malaria Earmarked funds or CCSI - Cambridge Center for Study of Institutions
Africa Fighting Malaria may not have gotten the money, but it sure looks like Bate did through ESEF or CCSI (ESEF folded about that time) and whether they passed it on and used it to found AFM is the real question.

With the like of Bate, one has to be precise.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Business as usual

The National Sea Ice Data Center has an animation showing how the sea ice minimum extent has changed from 1979 - 2006. The 2007 extent is shown on the right. Click on the image for the animation.

A true successor to Bambi meets Godzilla.

Friday, September 21, 2007

There goes another one . . .

We have all been treated to endless reps of CO2 is a response to global warming and not a cause, and I know because that is what happened as the Earth came out of the ice age. This, in spite of the fact that we know increasing CO2 can be both a cause of warming as it is today, when the gas is released by burning long buried fossil fuels and a positive feedback as gas is released from warming oceans and from soils. The accepted current guess for the lag is 800 + 600 yrs from Monnin, E., et al. "Atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last glacial termination, Science, 291, 112–114, 2001. Such measurements are made using ice cores and critically depend on coordinating the age of the ice and the age of the gas in the ice. They differ in position and must be put on the same scale

Now comes a new core, Epica, and a new bunch L. Loulergue, F. Parrenin, T. Blunier, J.-M. Barnola, R. Spahni, A. Schilt, G. Raisbeck, and J. Chappellaz in Climate of the Past, 3, 527–540, 2007 to write on New constraints on the gas age-ice age difference along the EPICA ice cores, 0–50 kyr.

Here we bring new constraints to test a firn densification model applied to the EPICA Dome C (EDC) site for the last 50 kyr, by linking the EDC ice core to the EPICA Dronning Maud Land (EDML) ice core, both in the ice phase (using volcanic horizons) and in the gas phase (using rapid methane variations). We also use the structured 10Be peak, occurring 41 kyr before present (BP) and due to the low geomagnetic field associated with the Laschamp event, to experimentally estimate the 1ag during this event. Our results seem to reveal an overestimate of the lag by the firn densification model during the last glacial period at EDC. Tests with different accumulation rates and temperature scenarios do not entirely resolve this discrepancy. Although the exact reasons for the lag overestimate at the two EPICA sites remain unknown at this stage, we conclude that current densification model simulations have deficits under glacial climatic conditions. Whatever the cause of the 1age overestimate, our finding suggests that the phase relationship between CO2 and EDC temperature previously inferred for the start of the last deglaciation (lag of CO2 by 800±600 yr) seems to be overestimated.
They are loath to speculate about where this will leave the lag, even when encouraged to do so by the referees (unheard of behavior), but it is clear that this question is being looked into intensively. If Eli HAD to guess, he would say that there should be a lag based on first principles, but would not be much surprised if it shrunk down from the previous 800 year estimate, substantially.

This paper appears to have evaded everyone's radar.

UPDATE: Fergus informs me that William and he discussed this on Stoat when it appeared, As importantly Steve Bloom points to another interesting paper that Hank Roberts finds scary
IIRC the 800 years had been thought to mesh nicely with the turnover of the oceans, but there's a fresh paper in JGR that claims more like century-scale turnover. If correct that would mesh well with the EPICA result, but unless I'm missing something it would have some rather more important implications for present calculations of ocean heat content, the time needed to reach global warming equilibrium and the time needed for CO2 saturation.
Eli has found an open access version of the paper Radiocarbon-based circulation age of the world oceans by Katsumi Matsumoto.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ethon checks out the air conditioning. . .

UPDATE: As Boris says in the comments:

Paul is right on here, which explains why the denialist side is so interested in pushing this nonsense. It doesn't matter if the trends aren't changed at all by microsite issues, doesn't matter at all that satellite data matches the surface trends extremely well, even for the US region. What matters is that we have a propaganda tool to mislead the public, the same way we mislead the public with the increases of high altitude glaciers, the lag between temp and CO2 in the ice record, erasing Hansen's graphs, and on and on and on and on...

UPDATE: BCL has some rather good stuff on the ways of the righteous and scientifical or at least how to do the job right. Curiously, very similar to what has been recommended here.

Ethon had been looking over the real estate ads at surface stations and having seen some promising properties he went out west checking out the Class 5 stations for one with a nice nesting place, A/C and perhaps a hibachi to cook the daily liver on. On the way back he dropped in at NOAA and ran into TC Peterson in the cafeteria. Tom was happily munching on his chopped liver sandwich (believe me folks it is ALL chopped liver).

Ethon and TC fell to nattering about the seminal paper by Davey and Pielke which, with little exaggeration, could be pointed to as the seed for all the heavy breathing. They did a bit of surfing and indeed did find the smoking BBQ at the defunct Climate Science blog in a comment from Roger Sr.

Thanks Dave for your comment. Their adjustments do not address the issue of whether unrecognized systematic biases are still retained due to poor microclimate exposure and its change over time. Our recommendation is that each station used to construct the USA and global land-surface temperature data record be photographed, in the manner presented in As other examples of sites, we are compiling photographs on our web site (e.g., see (with more to come).
Davey and Pielke took their Brownies and photographed some stations out in the mountain west. Out of the 10 stations that posed, six were in the USHCN network, two were "good" and four "bad". TC, being essentially the source of all homogenizations guy at NOAA (don't take this too literally) had examined the photos that Davey and Pielke relied on and looked at the data. As he said
Essentially there are two competing hypotheses about the effects of poor siting that yield very different predictions. The first hypothesis is that homogeneity adjustment methodologies would account for changes to locations with poor siting. If the homogeneity adjustments are appropriately accounting for all artificial changes at the stations, then an adjusted temperature time series from the poorly sited stations should be very similar to the time series from the stations with good siting. The trends from the poorly sited stations may be a little higher or a little lower, but they should still be about the same. This hypothesis would, of course, also hold if poor siting did not cause a bias in the original data and the homogenization did not introduce any biases. The second hypothesis is that poor current station siting produces an artificial bias in the temperature record that is not being addressed by homogeneity adjustments. While Davey and Pielke suggested that poor siting–induced bias could be positive or negative,
a point that appears to have been lost at Surface Stations although not Rabett Run as attested by some mouth foaming comments to our Cool Station of the Day series
the underlying concern about the effects of potential siting biases is whether a significant portion of the recent warming indicated by the U.S. and global temperature record could be due to this bias rather than climate change. Therefore, the second hypothesis predicts that homogeneity-adjusted temperature trends at the poorly sited station would be significantly different than the temperature trends at the stations with good siting, and that these differences would most likely be that the poorly sited stations are warming relative to nearby stations with good siting
Peterson ran the numbers, and in the words of Anthony Watt
But hey, they can "fix" the problem with math and adjustments to the temperature record.
which, of course is what Peterson found: that the trends for the good, the bad and the not very nice looking were the same after homogenization.
Now, of course, our friends in Boulder were not about to take this without some harumphing

I assumed the Peterson article would also be published with a Reply from Christopher Davey and I. However, despite my requests to permit us to prepare a Reply to the Peterson article, it was decided that there was new information in the Peterson article. My request was refused. I was written that

“In the case of your 2005 article, Jeff Rosenfeld felt that since your work raised significant (though potentially justified) criticism of an observing network that the entire scientific community relies upon and would impact the public confidence in those networks, that a companion comment was appropriate to provide additional perspective. This does not appear to be the case with Peterson’s current article, which is simply providing scientific evidence to clarify arguments for alternative hypotheses.” [Jeff Rosenfeld is Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin of the American Meterological Society].

Since the Peterson article claims to resolve the problem, yet we have serious issues with his contribution, it would seem that the same approach of two articles would have been permitted. Nonetheless, this was not allowed. This imbalance in the ability to present climate science viewpoints unfortunately permeates the scientific literature including that of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).

We have, therefore, written an article for BAMS in response to the Peterson article, and it is authored and titled

Pielke Sr., R.A, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, M. Cai, N. Doesken, S. Fall, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, H. Li, X. Lin, J. Nielsen-Gammon, D. Niyogi, and S. Raman, 2006: Documentation of bias associated with surface temperature measurement sites. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., submitted. [it should not yet be cited or reproduced as it is currently under review; comments to us on the manuscript, however, are welcome].

Eli, being a RTFR kinda Rabett went and RTFR, which has been published now. The interesting part is the conclusion
As Davey and Pielke (2005) documented and Peterson (2006) acknowledges, several USHCN stations are poorly sited or have siting conditions that change over time. These deficiencies in the observations should be rectified at the source, that is, by correcting the location and then ensuring high-quality data that are locally and, in aggregate, regionally representative. Station micrometeorology produces complex effects on surface temperatures, however, and, as we show in this paper, attempting to correct the errors with existing adjustment methods artificially forces toward regional representativeness and cannot be expected to recover all of the trend information that would have been obtained locally from a well-sited station.
Translated from the we refuse to admit we were wrong this means that homogeneity adjustments do recover regional (and thus continental) and global trends BUT, of course local information is lost and it would be better to have better stations. Let the perfect be the enemy of the useful and tally-ho.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It could be when, not how much

Simon Donner has a nice post up describing the complexities governing sea ice extent, how other factors besides temperatures are important. Some time ago, Eli pointed out that not only was sea ice declining, but the time of the minimum was moving substantially later in September. With all the emphasis on sea ice extent (guilty, guilty, guilty) it is useful to return to that point
and take a look at how the Arctic is doing today
The later the minimum, the later the freeze up, the later the freeze up, the less time to grow new ice, and the easier to reach a minimum next year. Eli may up his bet with Stoat. 60 carrots??

UPDATE: Via the Scotsman comes the news from the NSIDC that sea ice reached its minimum in 2007 between the 16th and 20th of September. This leaves Eli in a bit of a quandry. If the day of the minimum went beyond the 20th, the Rabett was going to pile on his bet with Wm Connolley. OTOH, if it came earlier, he was going to gracefully retire to the carrot patch. The current strategy is to wait for a few days and see how steep or shallow the rebuilding is compared to future years. Advice o mice?

Overview of current sea ice conditions
Sea ice extent now stands at 4.18 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles). This represents an increase of 50,000 square kilometers (19,000 square miles) compared to the value of 4.13 million square kilometers (1.59 million square miles) five-day running mean extent, observed on September 16, which appears to be the 2007 minimum.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If an article in the forest is not cited does it make any noise?

Well, actually we know the answer to that given the loud speaker brought forth by such trash as Zhen-Shan and Xian and the rest of the Schulte 7. Eli, in keeping with his mantra of RTFR did the "global climate change" search today on Web of Science. The mice will be pleased to know there are now 577 papers published since 2003, up a few each couple of days. The guys went and looked first at the top ten, the articles with the most cites

1. Evaluating predictive models of species' distributions: criteria for selecting optimal models
Anderson, RP; Lew, D; Peterson, AT ECOLOGICAL MODELLING
162 (2003) 211
Number of Citations: 127 Citations/Year: 25.40

2. Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment
Webster, PJ; Holland, GJ; Curry, JA; et al. SCIENCE
309 (2005) 1844
Number of Citations: 110 Citations/Year: 36.67

3. Soil carbon sequestration impacts on global climate change and food security
Lal, R
SCIENCE 304 (2004) 1623
Number of Citations: 90 Citations/Year: 22.50

4. The changing character of precipitation
Trenberth, KE; Dai, AG; Rasmussen, RM; et al.
Number of Citations: 90 Citations/Year: 18.00

5. Global amphibian declines: sorting the hypotheses
9 (2003) 89
Number of Citations: 90 Citations/Year: 18.00

6. Flexibility and specificity in coral-algal symbiosis: Diversity, ecology, and biogeography of Symbiodinium Baker, AC ANNUAL REVIEW OF ECOLOGY EVOLUTION AND SYSTEMATICS 34 (2003) 661
Number of Citations: 87 Citations/Year: 21.75

7. Modern global climate change
Karl, TR; Trenberth, KE SCIENCE
302 (2003) 1719
Number of Citations: 75 Citations/Year: 15.00

8. Release of methane from a volcanic basin as a mechanism for initial Eocene global warming
Svensen, H; Planke, S; Malthe-Sorenssen, A; et al NATURE
429 (2004) 542
Number of Citations: 71 Citations/Year: 17.75

9. Thermal acclimation and the dynamic response of plant respiration to temperature
8 (2003) 343
Number of Citations: 64 Citations/Year: 12.80

10. Rapid turnover of hyphae of mycorrhizal fungi determined by AMS microanalysis of C-14
Staddon, PL; Ramsey, CB; Ostle, N; et al SCIENCE
300 (2003) 1138
Number of Citations: 64 Citations/Year: 12.80

Interested mice can use Google Scholar to find many of these papers (and at a minimum their abstracts), however, Eli draws your attention to numbers 2, 4 and 7. Webster, Holland and Curry did stir up a storm.

But wait John S. asks, how did the Schulte 7 do, didn't they have a lot of citations. Sadly No.

UPDATE: The mice and bunnies were up all night in the lab. Eddie won the gold star, but then as he said:
Couldn't stop myself. Here's what I got.

1. Cao et al (2005). Cited by three other papers:
I’m not a climate scientist, so can’t say much about these papers. All three appear to have been translated from Chinese.

2. Gerhard (2004) yields 4 cites, 1 to a sceptic paper in Environmental Geology, the other three to AAPG bulletins.

3. Leiserowitz does not belong on this list. It doesn't deal with the "hard" science but with public perception of climate change. (Really, you'd have thought that its publication in a journal called Risk Analysis would have been a tip-off. Not only that, but the 7 papers that cite it also are social science oriented:
Moreover, a quick read of the abstract suggests that its implicit aim is to provide more information to those wanting to know how to get people on board the global warming "gravy train". How is this bucking the consensus? (Unless I'm missing something, this one is an embarrassment for Schulte/Monckton.)

4. Lai et al (2005) has zero cites.

5. Moser (2005) has only 1 cite.
The gScholar link doesn’t seem to go to the right place, but judging from the abstract, it’s hard to say whether this is a counter-consensus paper. Moser is merely saying that “Uncertainties in the human dimensions of global change deeply affect the assessment and responses to climate change impacts.” Seems non-controversial.

6. I got no cites for Shaviv; can't see where you got the four citations.

7. Finally, the Zhen-Shan & Xian paper, which I think James Annan savaged recently. Cited 3 times by sceptic chop-shops:
by Bob Carter in a speech delivered at the Aus/MM New Leaders Conference; by the Independent Summary for Policymakers IPCC Fourth Assessment Report put out by the Fraser Institute and co-ordinated by Ross McKitrick; and in the “Index of Leading Environmental Indicators 2007” (12th ed.) put out by

AND … that’s the total.
I got the four cites to a slightly earlier Shaviv paper one of which is the Shaviv paper you looked at. There were (as Eli recalls, and Eli is an OLD Rabett, two self cites, one refutation and one agreement. The agreement is interesting in that the authors know the CR lit, but not the climate lit. Details in the evening (left my thumb drive at home).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hors Categorie

Eli has added a new feature to the blogroll. There are some things that are beyond expectation, and the blogs of two friends of furry bloggers fit into that. Hors Categorie, for those who don't know is a classification of climbs in the Tour de France, that are so difficult that even the pros get off their bikes and walk. The English translation, beyond category, was a description that Duke Ellington used to describe the music he loved best.

As Michael Berube pointed out there are lots of dishonest grifters out there making a living off science denial. Our job, (climate changes inserted to Berube's rant) therefore, is to contest their legitimacy, and to find a way of dealing with them that denies what they want: namely, (1) important concessions or (2) outrage. They feed on (2), of course, and uses it to power their Climate Audting Center and Massive Persecution Complex and most of the time, we give it to them by the truckload. Realists need to try (3), mockery and dismissal, and thereby demonstrate, that when someone tries to blame global warming increases on hockey sticks and hibatchis, that person needs to be ridiculed and given a double minor for unsportsmanlike bullshit.

Visit Nexus and Horatio for some of the good medicine.

Horatio at the coffeehouse. . .

Horatio Algeranon lost his muse
And started a blog to find it.

Just leave it alone
Eli has added it to the blogroll

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Roger and Jim

Ethon came back from the library with some interesting reading. Of course we had to clean the liverwurst sandwich crumbs out of the copies, but underneath the stains Eli found this interesting comparison of Roger Revelle's 1990 recommendations for dealing with global climate change with Jim Hansens 2007 recommendations.

Revelle (1990)

Hansen (2007)

1. Changing the mix of fossil fuels to use more methane and less oil and coal

1. Phase out the use of coal and unconventional fossil fuels except where the CO2 is captured and sequestered. Reserve oil and gas for transportation.

2. Energy conservation, i.e., increasing energy efficiency, the benefits obtained per unit of energy used

2. There must be a rising price (tax) on carbon emissions, as well as effective energy efficiency standards, and removal of barriers to efficiency.

3. Substitution of non-fossil energy sources for coal, oil and natural gas

5. Sequestration of carbon in trees and other long lived land plants

4. Steps must be taken to ‘draw down’ atmospheric CO2 via improved farming and forestry practices, including burning of biofuels in power plants with CO2 sequestration.

6. Increasing the earth’s albedo

6. See Crutzen, Paul

4. Sequestration of organic carbon in the deep sea by stimulating spring phytoplankton production in high latitude oceans

3. There should be focused efforts to reduce non-CO2 human-made climate forcings, especially methane, ozone and black carbon.

Revelle was more enthusiastic about geoengineering, but of course 1990 were relatively early and hopeful days. OTOH, Hansen is a great believer in sequestration.

Interested mice can find more on Hansen's POV on his Columbia web site

And so it goes . . .

One of the McMice, John V, over at Climate Audit has set up his own program for calculating surface temperatures. He used this to calculate surface temperature anomalies in the US for the stations that Watt and Co classified as best (CRN12) and worst (CRN5) and GISS (boo hiss). Eli was not surprised at the result,

the three sets are pretty much the same! Eli, commenting over at CA made two points.

First, since you don't know what the station looked like 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years ago, the fact that a station is well run today, tells you nothing about how they were run in the past. Thus, each of the stations probably was good, bad and indifferent at different points in the past, so you would expect that the current classification is not very good for assigning past classifications. The best you could probably do is compare recent trends at nearby stations that appear different today.

Second, John V did exactly what science folk do, took the algorithm, wrote some code to match the description and then looked at the result. The line by line examination of the original program only comes when significant differences are found.

Great credit to him.

UPDATE: Since folk are coming over here from Real Climate, allow a small blog ad - take a look at Ethon checks out the air conditioning. . . which looks at how the photo contest got started, who started it, and important work by Tom Peterson of NOAA on how anomalies on the regional and larger scales were not sensitive to microconditions at individual stations. We will be posting soon about an additional and important 2005 paper by Peterson. Eli has to RTFR again.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Northwest Passage is open for business

The ESA reports that satellite synthetic aperture radar shows the Northwest Passage is open for business (link for HiRes image)

"The most direct route of the Northwest Passage (highlighted in the top mosaic by an orange line) across northern Canada is shown fully navigable, while the Northeast Passage (blue line) along the Siberian coast remains only partially blocked. To date, the Northwest Passage has been predicted to remain closed even during reduced ice cover by multi-year ice pack – sea ice that survives one or more summers. However, according to Pedersen, this year’s extreme event has shown the passage may well open sooner than expected."

Hmm. Looks like Northeast Passage may not have been such a wild guess.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There is nothing new in the eye of the hurricane

Eli notices that Humberto spun up from zilch to Cat 1 in record time, continuing a worrying trend. While sheltering from the rain, he found this tasty bit from 1987:

Nature 326, 483 - 485 (08 April 1987); doi:10.1038/326483a0
The dependence of hurricane intensity on climate

Kerry A. Emanuel
Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

Tropical cyclones rank with earthquakes as the major geophysical causes of loss of life and property1. It is therefore of practical as well as scientific interest to estimate the changes in tropical cyclone frequency and intensity that might result from short-term man-induced alterations of the climate2. In this spirit we use a simple Carnot cycle model to estimate the maximum intensity of tropical cyclones under the somewhat warmer conditions expected to result from increased atmospheric CO2 content. Estimates based on August mean conditions over the tropical oceans predicted by a general circulation model with twice the present CO2 content yield a 40–50% increase in the destructive potential of hurricanes.

Whom you would destroy you first defund (Part 23)

Today's NY Times brings word of a new report about the US Climate Change Science Program from the National Academy of Sciences among the conclusions are

Science quality observation systems have fueled advances in climate change science and applications, but many existing and planned observing systems have been canceled, delayed, or degraded, which threatens future progress.
The separation of leadership and budget authority presents a serious obstacle to progress in the CCSP. . . . . However, the CCSP director and agency principals lack authority to allocate or prioritize funding across the agencies, and the interagency working group members often have little budgetary authority to implement the research directions that they define. Such authority usually resides a higher levels in the participating agencies. As a result, progress is most likely when CCSP and agency interests coincide.
Why to the words seldom and never occur?
Discovery science and understanding of the climate system are proceeding well, but use of that knowledge to support decision making and to manage risks and opportunities of climate change is proceeding slowly.
Bigger and better bureaucratic ostriches.

On adaptation without mitigation

Adaptation is not the only choice. You can die. Your family can die. Your situation can deteriorate to the point it is not worth living (see Somalia, Iraq, dystopia, etc.). Happens frequently to individuals during major changes.

Adaptation is not a magic wand that makes everything good again, and sometimes it is not possible, certainly not for individuals, and often enough not possible for populations. Advocates of adaptation frequently think that it is a strategy for others and they will not have to take part. Simply to say adapt and go not further is a response of the ethically challenged. Adapt how, at what cost, in money and lives and quality of life.

Avoiding situations where dire choices have to be made is advisable, but evidently not to those who would rather not confront necessary changes to their own behavior.

Eli is not a big fan of adaptation.

UPDATE: Eli would once again remind everyone about J. Willard Rabett's four laws

J. Willard sent Eli a set of laws to guide climate change policy makers

1. Adaptation responds to current losses.
2. Mitigation responds to future losses
3. Adaptation plus future costs is more expensive than mitigation,
4. Adaptation without mitigation drives procrastination penalties to infinity.

J. Willard thinks adaptation has an important role to play, but by itself adaptation is worse than useless, it actually can make things worse by delaying mitigation. While John McCormick thinks no serious person would suggest adaptation without mitigation, there are a lot of clowns out there with megaphones and pockets full of cash.

In the words of Roger Revelle (1990)
Research and observation over the next ten to twenty years should give us a much better idea of the likely magnitude of atmospheric and global warming during the twenty first century. In the meantime we should think of ways to mitigate, adapt to, and better understand future global change and its effects on our societies and our environment
It is now 17 year since Revelle spoke those works

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Eli does a Schulte

It occurred to Eli that World of Science is not a very good tool for a Schulte as it returns a date sorted list of articles and besides which, where the Rabett is sitting, he does not have access. Google Scholar, on the other hand

How are articles ranked?
Google Scholar aims to sort articles the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each article, the author, the publication in which the article appears, and how often the piece has been cited in other scholarly literature. The most relevant results will always appear on the first page.

Plus which is free and eliminates the blogospheric trash found with Google. So, the lab bunnies did a search. Specifying only things published this year, they did the Oreskes, searching on "global climate change". The first few items were:
Effects of solar UV radiation on aquatic ecosystems and interactions with climate change - all 12 versions »
DP Hader, HD Kumar, RC Smith, RC Worrest - Photochem. Photobiol. Sci, 2007 -
... Increasing temperatures associated with global climate change are generally expected to decrease DOM concentrations and thus increase the penetration of UV-B ...
Cited by 125 - Related Articles - Web Search
Economy-wide Estimates of the Implications of Climate Change: Sea Level Rise - all 7 versions »
F Bosello, R Roson, RSJ Tol - Environmental and Resource Economics, 2007 - Springer Page 1. Economy-wide Estimates of the Implications of Climate Change: Sea Level Rise FRANCESCO BOSELLO 1,2 , ROBERTO ROSON 1,2,3, * ...
Cited by 15 - Related Articles - Web Search
Implications of Global Climate Change for Tourism Flows and Seasonality
B Amelung, S Nicholls, D Viner - Journal of Travel Research, 2007 -
... at Google Indexer on February 16, 2007 Downloaded from Page 2. Implications of Global Climate Change for Tourism Flows and Seasonality ...
Cited by 4 - Related Articles - Web Search
Awakening the Scientist Inside: Global Climate Change and the Nature of Science in an Elementary … - all 2 versions »
JJ Matkins, RL Bell - Journal of Science Teacher Education, 2007 - Springer
... c Springer 2007 Awakening the Scientist Inside: Global Climate Change and the Nature of Science in an Elementary Science Methods Course ...
Cited by 3 - Related Articles - Web Search

You can do this yourself, but the interesting things are

1. A large majority of the references dealt with the economic and biological consequences of global climate change showing the wide scientific consensus agreeing with the IPCC AR4

2. In the first 200 or so listings there were none that argued against the conclusions of the IPCC AR4.

Everybunny is welcome to repeat this exercise. Remember to use the advanced search in Google Scholar, enter the string "global climate change" in the match exact phrase box and set the limits for the year that you want.

Please send your results to Princess Denial c/o Energy and Environment.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And in this corner . . .

Eli would like to draw your attention to two new entries in the blogroll

Skeptical Science by John Cook at the University of Queensland who mission is to take the hottest skeptical arguments (he's ranked them folks) and grind them into the ground using the mighty pestle of the scientific literature. John mission statement says:

I've noticed two patterns in global warming skepticism. Firstly, many reasons for disbelieving in anthroporphic global warming (AGW) seems to be political rather than scientific. Eg - it's all a liberal plot to spread socialism and destroy capitalism (or sometimes just plain dislike for Al Gore). As one person put it, "the cheerleaders for doing something about global warming seem to be largely the cheerleaders for many causes of which I disapprove".

But beneath the politics is a more elemental instinct - an aversion to alarmism. We've been burnt before. The media predicted an ice age in the 70's which never eventuated. Y2K was going to destroy society - it was barely a hiccup. And I won't deny there are alarmists in the global warming camp. Urgent cries that the ice sheets are on the verge of sliding into the sea. Hysteric predictions that Manhattan will soon be underwater. Or emotional pleas to save those cute little polar bears. Sadly, alarmists seem to be the loudest voices in the global warming debate. But that doesn't change the science underneath.

So I avoid the distractions of political agendas, ad hominem arguments and hyperbole about "the new religion". Instead, I concentrate on the science. And I noticed when the discussion did get to science, the same flawed skeptic arguments kept popping up and got passed around the blogosphere, Chinese whispers style. This website is an attempt to examine all the scientific arguments that reject AGW.

Very much in the spirit of Coby Beck's How to talk to a global warming sceptic and very nicely done but sadly no comments. (John is smarter than Eli)

And Big City Liberal Strikes Back, climate blogging gold amongst the Canadian politics dross (Ok BG, Eli is a cynic at heart). You might enjoy his Great Balls of Dry Ice pumpkin chucker (who the hell can spell trebuchet)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Northwest Passage is open

and it looks like the Northeast Passage near Siberia will soon open. Has that EVER happened?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A farewell gift

Ethon brings word from Boulder that Roger P Sr. is retired from blogging. Climate Science is no more, although, had Eli to bet we might see RPSr. occasionally rise on Prometheus or elsewhere. Still Eth and Eli were sitting about the table wondering what gift we could send for the good times memories, when we remembered that Roger really, really wanted a measure of ocean heat content. Well, as the saying goes, what does not exist, sometimes has a proxy, and (we await correction from those who know better, such as llewelly) it may be that the hurricane track records found at Unisys might be such a proxy.

The strengthening of the storms should be related to the ocean heat content. A poor resolution perhaps, but averaged over some period of time, perhaps useful. Just an idle thought. Go gently sweet Climate Science.

Somewhat boring but let's keep the guys over at Climate Audit amused.

Although the bunnies are always looking for better burrows, we disclaim responsibility for the large number of folk surfing However, we have the next real cool site from Anthony Watts' collection, and what is cooler than Berkeley?

Our cool station of the day.

An air conditioner or a shadow do not a trend make. We can find at least as many cooling flaws in the USHCN network than warming ones, yet the surface record trend agrees with trends in other series such as the corrected satellite MSU, the sea surface temperature and more. A major problem with all the jumping up and down is, as Eli has pointed out forevah, that it is not clear how the associated offsets will affect the multiyear trend. But there goes the baby with the bathwater

Oh yeah, take a look at what the Sparrow has wrought

Monday, September 03, 2007

Cool station of today . . .

Alma MI, with the Stevenson Screen right next to a large bush and a tree to the south to provide shade

The report describes this as an urban back yard shaded in the morning and late afternoon. Wanna bet that is an Urban Cooling Effect.

As Eli said for every air conditioner there is a tree, for every piece of blacktop a bush.

Where we are

Some discussion about the number and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes has lead Eli to Weather Street, another properly obsessed site which has a very interesting graphic showing the number of hurricanes per season.

Currently 2007 is running a bit above average, but not significantly more than 2006, which was a low year, yet the most striking thing about 2006 was that there were no named storms after October 1. It is also interesting to note that the hurricane season appears to be starting earlier (June) than in the past.

UPDATE: One of the mice asked for the Atlantic hurricane tracks between 1015 and 1037, and o yeah, she also wanted the track of the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Now Eli is REALLY good folk, but unfortunately the 1015 data was recorded on an MFM disc which crashed about 1995, but 1900, a piece of cake

and for the obsessed amongst thee we have the complete record, hurricane and cyclone tracks for all the years since dot.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Listen to the bunny

A few weeks ago Eli pointed out that the Gulf of Mexico was cocked and ready to amplify any hurricane that showed up. And there were doubters

Anonymous said...

So you are forecasting a busy season? Let's revisit this in November. 11:31 AM

EliRabett said...

I think I'm forecasting an intense season. If a storm gets going everything I see out there says it will intensify strongly.

Dean showed up and went to Category 5 before slamming into the Yucatan and now we have Felix