Earth ChangesS

Better Earth

Flashback Greenland's Ice Sheet is Growing

Greenland Icesheet growing
© European Space AgencyMap of Greenland with temperature changes.

Researchers have utilised more than a decade's worth of data from radar altimeters on ESA's ERS satellites to produce the most detailed picture yet of thickness changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet.

A Norwegian-led team used the ERS data to measure elevation changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet from 1992 to 2003, finding recent growth in the interior sections estimated at around six centimetres per year during the study period. The research is due to be published by Science Magazine in November, having been published in the online Science Express on 20 October.

ERS radar altimeters work by sending 1800 separate radar pulses down to Earth per second then recording how long their echoes take to bounce back 800 kilometres to the satellite platform. The sensor times its pulses' journey down to under a nanosecond to calculate the distance to the planet below to a maximum accuracy of two centimetres.

Comment: As it stands today (March 2, 2009) Cryosat2 is scheduled to launch later this year. Interesting how such a great tool (CryoSat1) that would have helped examine the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets should have been tragically (conveniently for some) lost.

The loss of the recent CO2 emissions analyzing satellite is similarly interesting. The High Risks involved in space launches seems to find a way to target some of our most promising data sensors for "Global Warming" research.


Woman Injured by Humpback Whale Near Hawaii

A 61-year-old Bremerton woman was injured Friday when a whale fin struck the boat she was riding in, two Hawaii newspapers reported.

The Honolulu Advertiser and Maui News reported the woman, who was not identified, fell and suffered minor injuries after a male humpback whale surfaced next to the whale-watching and research vessel, and the whale's pectoral fin hit the boat's starboard side.

The woman was thrown to the deck of the vessel and struck her head. She was conscious and alert as she was being taken to a Maui hospital.


Origin of Life On Earth: Scientists Unlock Mystery Of Molecular Machine

A major mystery about the origins of life has been resolved. According to a study published in the journal Nature, two Université de Montréal scientists have proposed a new theory for how a universal molecular machine, the ribosome, managed to self-assemble as a critical step in the genesis of all life on Earth.

"While the ribosome is a complex structure it features a clear hierarchy that emerged based on basic chemical principles," says Sergey Steinberg, a Université de Montréal biochemistry professor who made his discovery with student Konstantin Bokov. "In the absence of such explanations, some people could imagine unseen forces at work when such complex structures emerge in nature."

Bizarro Earth

Almost 200 whales beached in Australia

Sydney - Nearly 200 whales and several dolphins are stranded on a beach in the southern Australian island state of Tasmania, the latest in a string of beachings in recent months.

Rescuers were headed Monday to Naracoopa Beach on Tasmania's King Island to try to save some of the 194 pilot whales and half a dozen bottlenose dolphins that began beaching themselves on Sunday evening.


US: Rare snow blankets South as East braces for storm

Alabama snow
© Associated Press/Dave MartinAn early March snowstorm dumped snow across Alabama, Sunday, March 1, 2009. The storm then moved into Georgia, causing plane cancellations and threatening the East coast.
A potent March snowstorm blanketed much of the Southeast with snow Sunday before barreling toward the Northeast, where officials prepared snowplows and road-salt for a wintery assault.

The icy blast threatened to drop up to a foot of snow in the Philadelphia area, 13 inches in New York and 15 inches across southern New England late Sunday.

Thousands of New York City sanitation workers prepared to salt city streets, and airlines preemptively canceled flights Sunday at the region's major airports.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation planned to attack the snow in the Philadelphia area with 400 trucks and 77,000 tons of stockpiled salt, assistant press secretary Gene Blaum said.

Better Earth

Steig's Antarctic Heartburn

Foreword by Anthony Watts:
penguin flames
© Dave Stephens

This article, written by the two Jeffs (Jeff C and Jeff Id) is one of the more technically complex essays ever presented on WUWT. It has been several days in the making. One of the goals I have with WUWT is to make sometimes difficult to understand science understandable to a wider audience. In this case the statistical analysis is rather difficult for the layman to comprehend, but I asked for (and got) an essay that was explained in terms I think many can grasp and understand. That being said, it is a long article, and you may have to read it more than once to fully grasp what has been presented here. Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit laid much of the ground work for this essay, and from his work as well as this essay, it is becoming clearer that Steig et al (see "Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year", Nature, Jan 22, 2009) isn't holding up well to rigorous tests as demonstrated by McIntyre as well as in the essay below. Unfortunately, Steig's office has so far deferred (several requests) to provide the complete data sets needed to replicate and test his paper, and has left on a trip to Antarctica and the remaining data is not "expected" to be available until his return.

To help layman readers understand the terminology used, here is a mini-glossary in advance:

RegEM - Regularized Expectation Maximization
PCA - Principal Components Analysis
PC - Principal Components
AWS - Automatic Weather Stations

One of the more difficult concepts is RegEM, an algorithm developed by Tapio Schneider in 2001. It's a form of expectation maximization (EM) which is a common and well understood method for infilling missing data. As we've previously noted on WUWT, many of the weather stations used in the Steig et al study had issues with being buried by snow, causing significant data gaps in the Antarctic record and in some burial cases stations have been accidentally lost or confused with others at different lat/lons. Then of course there is the problem of coming up with trends for the entire Antarctic continent when most of the weather station data is from the periphery and the penisula, with very little data from the interior.

Expectation Maximization is a method which uses a normal distribution to compute the best probability of fit to a missing piece of data. Regularization is required when so much data is missing that the EM method won't solve. That makes it a statistically dangerous technique to use and as Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said in an e-mail: "It is hard to make data where none exist." (Source: MSNBC article) It is also valuable to note that one of the co-authors of Steig et al, Dr. Michael Mann, dabbles quite a bit in RegEm in this preparatory paper to Mann et al 2008 "Return of the Hockey Stick".

For those that prefer to print and read, I've made a PDF file of this article available here.

Comment: The basic point of this paper is that the highly glorified global warming paper recently produced by Eric Steig that shows Antarctica to be warming, seems at this point and time to be highly flawed. Until Eric Steig is more forthcoming with the data he used to produce his conclusions that Antarctica is warming, the evidence at this point appears that he chose specific methods, specific data points, and specific algorithms that all provided him with the greatest possible outcome that he was seeking.

It is starting to look like the Michael Mann hockey stick debacle all over again. But in the global warming world this makes no difference. The Steig paper accomplished what it set out to do, "influence the world and reinforce the global warming propaganda."


Historical Photographs Expose Decline In Florida's Reef Fish, Study Finds

© University of California - San DiegoTrophy fish caught on Key West charter boats: a) 1957, b) early 1980s and c) 2007.

A unique study by a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has provided fresh evidence of fishing's impact on marine ecosystems. Scripps Oceanography graduate student researcher Loren McClenachan accessed archival photographs spanning more than five decades to analyze and calculate a drastic decline of so-called "trophy fish" caught around coral reefs surrounding Key West, Florida.

In a paper published online in January and printed in an upcoming issue of the journal Conservation Biology, McClenachan describes a stark 88 percent decline in the estimated weight of large predatory fish imaged in black-and-white 1950s sport fishing photos compared to the relatively diminutive catches photographed in modern pictures. In a companion paper being published in the Endangered Species Research journal, McClenachan employs similar methods to document the decline of the globally endangered goliath grouper fish.


Texas, US: Forest fire burns hundreds of acres in Bastrop County

The fire is between Bastrop and Smithville.

More than 650 acres have been burned in Bastrop County and 150 homes have been evacuated. Highway 71 at McAllister remains shut down. The fire started about 12:30 this afternoon after heavy winds knocked down power lines.

County Judge Ronnie McDonald declared the area a disaster.

"I'm concerned about every piece of the city any time land course even lives threatened is a big concern so we're working hard," he said.


The High Cost of Climate Lies

The global warming hoax didn't happen over night. It is generally dated from an appearance before Congress by Dr. James E. Hansen in 1988 predicting a dramatic rise in the Earth's temperature based on the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. At that time, Dr. Hansen, Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warned that steps had to be taken quickly to reduce CO2 emissions.

Ever since then, Hansen has been active in his effort to convince everyone that he's right and condemning anyone an opposing point of view. "The science is settled" has been the mantra of men like Hansen and, of course, the bilious Albert Gore of "An Inconvenient Truth" fame.

The background music has been supplied by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has merrily falsified alleged scientific data to advance the hoax while the UN Kyoto Protocol imposed limits on CO2 emissions. Most of the nations that signed it have largely ignored it, discovering that it harms their economies. The U.S. avoided signing, but Americans have elected a President who is utterly devoted to this "solution" to a problem that does not exist.


The 'Gore Effect' Strikes again - this time it impacts NASA's James Hansen!

Breaking: Not again! Big DC March Snowstorm to Greet 'Largest public protest of global warming ever in U.S.!' - Unseasonably Cold March Temps!
DC under 'Winter Storm Watch'...Snow and unseasonably cold temps!

'Largest public protest of global warming ever in U.S.' set for Monday March 2, 2009 at U.S. Capitol with NASA's James Hansen - Fox News - Feb. 27, 2009

Excerpt: NASA's chief climate scientist is in hot water with colleagues and at least one lawmaker after calling on citizens to engage in civil disobedience at what is being billed as the largest public protest of global warming ever in the United States. In a video on, Dr. James Hansen is seen urging Americans to "take a stand on global warming" during the March 2 protest at the Capitol Power Plant in Southeast Washington, D.C. "We need to send a message to Congress and the president that we want them to take the actions that are needed to preserve climate for young people and future generations and all life on the planet," says Hansen, who has likened coal-fired power plants to "factories of death" and claims he was muzzled by the Bush administration when he warned of drastic climate changes.