Earth ChangesS


Recession byproduct - a cut in emissions

© Tim Rue/Bloomberg NewsWater vapor rose from smokestacks at a California Department of Power and Water generating plant in Long Beach last month. Yesterday, the EPA proposed establishing a national system for reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

New figures being released today show the recession helped drive down global warming emissions from Northeast power plants last year to their lowest levels in at least nine years.

Northeast power plant emissions dropped about 9 percent last year from 2007, according to preliminary projections by Point Carbon, a consulting and research firm. The Norway-based company attributed the drop to the economic slowdown, combined with the fact that power plants are burning cleaner natural gas.

The drop in emissions may be good for the environment, but was not seen as reason for celebration. "What does this say about the state of the economy?" said Robert Rio, senior vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts "We could get 100 percent below the cap if we shut every business and moved them out of state."


Why does the BBC treat us like morons over climate change?

Does the BBC have a shred of credibility left in its coverage of global warming? The question is prompted by last night's puerile report by their environment correspondent David Shukman on the warning that emerged from the Copenhagen climate summit that sea levels could rise by a metre by the century's end.

This is a deadly serious topic. Such a rise in sea levels would have a catastrophic impact on the lives of millions.

So why did the BBC's coverage treat its viewers like morons? Shukman took himself with a tape measure to the top of a sea wall and showed what an extra metre of water would mean, measuring from the top of the wall.


Warming to Cockburn and Vice Versa

In visiting the Heartland Institute's second International Conference on Climate Change, which concluded yesterday in New York, one couldn't help but be impressed by the change in mood among the 800 global warming skeptics gathered there.

Many of the scientists present felt that the intellectual tide had finally started to turn away from the conclusions of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That panel concluded global temperatures may already have reached crisis levels, and that human release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere was a major factor.

While it was fascinating to interview noted scientists who have renounced some of their earlier support for global warming theory, my most memorable exchange was with Alexander Cockburn, the left-wing columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the Nation magazine. Mr. Cockburn has undergone blistering attacks since he first dissented from the global warming "consensus" in 2007. "I've felt like the object of a witch hunt," he says. "One former Sierra Club board member suggested I should be criminally prosecuted."


The crumbling case for global warming

2009 International Conference On Climate Change
© Hearland Institute2009 International Conference On Climate Change

One young radical turned up at the Heartland Institute's climate change skeptics' conference in New York this week to declare that he had never witnessed so much hypocrisy. How, he asked the panelists of a session on European policy, could they sleep at night? Clearly puzzled, one of the panelists asked him with which parts of their presentations he disagreed. "Oh," he said "I didn't come here to listen to the presentations."

The conference - titled "Global Warming: Was it ever really a crisis?" - attracted close to 700 participants. Most of those I met displayed almost joy at being among people who dared to stand up to the mindless climate "consensus" and the refusal to debate, or even look at, the facts, as typified by that righteous young radical.

President Obama is considering a cap-and-trade system with which Canada would be forced to co-ordinate its own policies. The conference made clear how damaging and pointless such a policy would be.


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
© unknownAl’s high five on ice caps (gone in five years)