Earth ChangesS


Astronaut Harrison Schmitt: Climate change alarmists 'intentionally mislead'

Harrison Schmitt
© unknownDr. Harrison "Jack" Schmitt as a trained geologist
was the first scientist-astronaut and walked on
the moon with the Apollo 17 lunar mission.

Last month Apollo 17 astronaut and moonwalker Harrison Schmitt added his voice to the growing chorus of scientists speaking out against the anthropogenic [manmade] global warming (AGW) theory. In strongly worded comments he said the theory was a 'political tool.' Now, in a speech at the International Conference on Climate Change (Link) he outlined his argument in great detail saying, "the science of climate change and its causes is not settled."

Schmitt recalled as a child in Silver City, New Mexico helping his father, also a geologist, take rain measurements. Those early experiments spurred the former astronaut's interest in earth sciences at an early age. He recalled how later in life, while on the surface of the moon, he made weather forecasts for the southern hemisphere of the earth.

In wide ranging commentary, Dr. Schmitt made a point by point argument against many of the things that global warming advocates point to in support of the theory. In a similar vein to his comments last month, he continued to admonish scientists and politicians that have politicized the issue and said those that disagree do have a battle ahead of them.


Global hurricane activity has decreased to the lowest level in 30 years.

As previously reported here and here at Climate Audit, and chronicled at my Florida State Global Hurricane Update page, both Northern Hemisphere and overall Global hurricane activity has continued to sink to levels not seen since the 1970s. Even more astounding, when the Southern Hemisphere hurricane data is analyzed to create a global value, we see that Global Hurricane Energy has sunk to 30-year lows, at the least. Since hurricane intensity and detection data is problematic as one goes back in time, when reporting and observing practices were different than today, it is possible that we underestimated global hurricane energy during the 1970s. See notes at bottom to avoid terminology discombobulation.

Using a well-accepted metric called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index or ACE for short (Bell and Chelliah 2006), which has been used by Klotzbach (2006) and Emanuel (2005) (PDI is analogous to ACE), and most recently by myself in Maue (2009), simple analysis shows that 24-month running sums of global ACE or hurricane energy have plummeted to levels not seen in 30 years. Why use 24-month running sums instead of simply yearly values? Since a primary driver of the Earth's climate from year to year is the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) acts on time scales on the order of 2-7 years, and the fact that the bulk of the Southern Hemisphere hurricane season occurs from October - March, a reasonable interpretation of global hurricane activity requires a better metric than simply calendar year totals. The 24-month running sums is analogous to the idea of "what have you done for me lately".

During the past 6 months, extending back to October of 2008 when the Southern Hemisphere tropical season was gearing up, global ACE had crashed due to two consecutive years of well-below average Northern Hemisphere hurricane activity. To avoid confusion, I am not specifically addressing the North Atlantic, which was above normal in 2008 (in terms of ACE), but the hemisphere (and or globe) as a whole. The North Atlantic only represents a 1/10 to 1/8 of global hurricane energy output on average but deservedly so demands disproportionate media attention due to the devastating societal impacts of recent major hurricane landfalls.


Global warming's no longer happening

So why are eco types moaning about record highs while ignoring record lows?

So far this month, at least 14 major weather stations in Alberta have recorded their lowest-ever March temperatures. I'm not talking about daily records; I mean they've recorded the lowest temperatures they've ever seen in the entire month of March since temperatures began being recorded in Alberta in the 1880s.

This past Tuesday, Edmonton International Airport reported an overnight low of -41.5 C, smashing the previous March low of -29.4 C set in 1975. Records just don't fall by that much, but the airport's did. Records are usually broken fractions of degrees. The International's was exceeded by 12 degrees.

To give you an example of how huge is the difference between the old record and the new, if Edmonton were to exceed its highest-ever summer temperature by the same amount, the high here some July day would have to reach 50 C. That's a Saudi Arabia-like temperature.

Better Earth

Global Warming Polar Explorers Freezing Running Out of Food

Three U.K. explorers bound for the North Pole on a scientific expedition to study global warming said they are close to running out of food after "brutal" weather conditions halted three attempts to fly in supplies.

The support team hopes to decide within hours on when it can send an airplane to land on nearby ice with provisions, Tori Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Catlin Arctic Survey in London, said in an interview today.

"We're hungry, the cold is relentless, our sleeping bags are full of ice," expedition leader Pen Hadow said in a statement e-mailed yesterday by his team. "Waiting is almost the worst part of an expedition as we're in the lap of the weather gods."

The severe weather is jeopardizing a journey aimed at projecting when global warming may melt the entire Arctic Ocean cap, a phenomenon that scientists say might trigger further gains in temperature.

Evil Rays

Irreversible CO2-Induced Global Warming?

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America on 10 February 2009, Susan Solomon and three coauthors describe a climate modeling exercise that claims to show that "climate change that takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration is largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop." In the virtual world of computer-run climate models, such may well be so; but that need not be the case in the real world, where researchers still struggle to even understand -- much less model -- the suite of complex interactions that occur among the many physical, chemical and biological phenomena that combine to determine the planet's multi-faceted climatic trajectory in response to a rise in the air's CO2 content. Hence, there is a great need to carefully evaluate Solomon et al.'s claim.

The four scientists begin their analysis by setting forth three important criteria they feel should be met by the modeled climatic parameters they study: "(i) observed changes are already occurring and there is evidence for anthropogenic contributions to these changes, (ii) the phenomen[a] [are] based upon physical principles thought to be well understood, and (iii) projections are available and are broadly robust across models." Consequently, we analyze these criteria to see how well they pertain to the first -- and most basic -- of the climatic phenomena Solomon et al. study, namely, atmospheric warming; for if there is a problem in this regard with respect to this phenomenon, there will be even greater problems with ancillary climatic phenomena that are driven by atmospheric warming.

Mr. Potato

Guardian: Al Gore says "business leaders see the writing on every wall they look at"

In today's Guardian, Al Gore is quoted as saying:
Gore says he has also detected a shift in the view of many business leaders. "They're seeing the writing on every wall they look at. They're seeing the complete disappearance of the polar ice caps right before their eyes in just a few years" .
He also acknowledged something important about his scientific limitations :
Responding to James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia theory, who said the European trading system for carbon was "disastrous", Gore says: "James Lovelock has forgotten more about science than I will ever learn. "
Al Gore ice caps gone in 5 years
© unknownAlโ€™s high five on ice caps (gone in five years)

Bizarro Earth

US: Another earthquake hits Del City, Oklahoma area

Residents in Del City and southeast Oklahoma City say they felt their houses shake Tuesday afternoon after three earthquakes hit the area. Officials with the Oklahoma Geological Survey say all three originated in Del City and happened within a three-hour period.

The first happened at 12:25 p.m. and registered with a magnitude of 2.7. The second hit at 12:41 p.m. and was a magnitude 2.5 earthquake. The third hit at 2:57 p.m. and was a magnitude 2.2.


New "Rainbow Glow" Jellyfish Found

Rainbow Jellyfish
© Martin George/QVMAG
Look on the bright side - this luminous new jellyfish species doesn't sting.

Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin caught the unnamed species in early March while swimming near a jetty off the Australian island of Tasmania with a "phototank" - a small aquarium that makes it easy to photograph sea life.

The jellyfish does not emit its own light, as bioluminescent creatures do.

Rather, its rainbow glow emanates from light reflecting off the creature's cilia, small hairlike projections that beat simultaneously to move the jellyfish through the water.

Bizarro Earth

Undersea Volcano Erupts Off Tonga

An undersea volcano has erupted near the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, sending plumes of steam and smoke hundreds of metres into the air, officials say.

Tonga's head geologist, Kelepi Mafi, said there was no apparent danger to residents of Nuku'alofa and others living on the main island of Tongatapu.

The eruption, believed to be about 10 to 12 kilometres off the Tongatapu coast, was thought to have started Monday (local time), Mr Mafi said, but it was two days before Nuku'alofa residents first reported seeing the plumes.

Officials said it may be related to a quake with a magnitude of 4.4 which struck last Friday around 35 kilometres from the capital at a depth of nearly 150 kilometres.

An eruption in 2002 in the same area off the western end of Tongatapu, near two small volcanic islands, resulted in an islet appearing for several weeks afterwards.

"This eruption is bigger than in 2002, it seems there are two vents coming out, but that is yet to be confirmed," Mr Mafi said.

Bizarro Earth

4.6 Earthquake Strikes Southern Australia

A light earthquake struck near Melbourne, Australia, but officials say there have been no reports of injuries or damage.

Geoscience Australia says the 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck 62 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon. It had a depth of 11 miles (18 kilometers).

No tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

It is the second earthquake to hit the region in two weeks. On March 6, a magnitude 4.7 tremor struck about 55 miles (90 kilometers) southeast of Melbourne, rattling buildings in Australia's second-largest city.