Climate Donkey

June 28, 2008

Climate change searches: Google trends show waning interest.

A popular and easy tool to track the evolution of internet search engine requests is provided by Google Trends.

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Each week, there are countless news pieces and press releases concerning zillions of climate change impacts, aspects, and prognostications about the atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere.

When searching for “climate change”, the following Google Trends plot is produced:
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The change-points are labeled A-F with the most significant being the release of the IPCC climate change report beginning in early 2007.  After the Nobel Peace Prize presentation (F), and the beginning of Northern Hemisphere winter, interest in climate change crashed in late December 2007.  The bottom time series indicates a drop off in news reference volume going into 2008 that has not reached the hysteric levels of 2007.

This chart includes worldwide searches, with the rankings according to region stacking up as follows:

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. South Africa
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Canada
  6. Ireland
  7. Singapore
  8. India
  9. United States
  10. Switzerland

It follows that the top 6 out of 7 cities are located in Australia with the first three being Canberra, Adelaide, and Sydney.

In the United States, the top state searching for climate change is Vermont, with the District of Colombia, Alaska, Maine, and New Hampshire finishing the top-5, respectively.  The number one city is Boulder CO, where the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is located and is heavily involved in climate change research.  Very few surprises here.  The more liberally oriented (blue states) areas of the country tend to care more about envrionmental issues such as climate change.

A similar plot can be produced for “global warming” searches.  The drop off over the past few months is similar to the fall-off seen in the “climate change” search.  Interest in hurricanes has become almost non-existent.  With the exception of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, in which the 4-Florida landfalls and Katrina/Rita lit up the news wires, the past 30 months have seen little interest.

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June 27, 2008

Eastern Pacific tropical systems: Boris and TD3

Filed under: Hurricanes — climatedonkey @ 8:43 pm
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Tropical Storm Boris was born earlier on Friday and is progressing slowly over the open waters of the North Eastern Pacific. As of 5 pm, NHC indicates that Boris has intensified slightly to 45 knots.

boris

To Boris’ west, Tropical Depression 3 has been declared and will be named Cristina if it develops 34 knot maximum sustained winds.

Recycled! The North Pole will be ice-free in xxx years…

Disingenuous headline and Drudge highlighting it. Exclusive: No ice at the North Pole
This story has been recycled over and over and is hardly an “exclusive”.

April 2008: Lifted quotes or new ones? from Mark Serreze…see below.

All of the stories about the North Pole being ice-free blame climate change. Well, technically that is correct, there is indeed a change in climate in the Arctic. However, to say it is simply a result of global warming is an incomplete statement. There are glimmers of understanding in some of the articles, as I shall point out, as well as some misinformation.

Loss Arctic ice would not contribute significantly to rising sea levels – one of the most feared predictions of global warming. When floating ice melts, it does not raise the water level.

But first a timeline of headlines:
Sept 20, 2006: Arctic ice melt shocks scientists

The obligatory polar bear picture from the article: sdf

But this year’s images are unprecedented, and fierce storms that fragmented and scattered already thin pack ice may be to blame, the scientists believe.

March 16, 2007: Forecast: An iceless Arctic summer
Sept 14, 2007: Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history History means since 1978 !
Dec 12, 2007: Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?

What happens in the Arctic has implications for the rest of the world. Faster melting there means eventual sea level rise and more immediate changes in winter weather because of less sea ice…In the United States, a weakened Arctic blast moving south to collide with moist air from the Gulf of Mexico can mean less rain and snow in some areas, including the drought-stricken Southeast, said Michael MacCracken, a former federal climate scientist who now heads the nonprofit Climate Institute.

This is nonsense. The Arctic is completely ice covered during the fall and winter months and well into the spring. It would take an orbital change of the Earth or a change in its tilt to change this fact. The drought connection is simply bad meteorology and ridiculous.

Tipping Point

NASA scientist James Hansen, the lone-wolf researcher often called the godfather of global warming, on Thursday was to tell scientists and others at the American Geophysical Union scientific in San Francisco that in some ways Earth has hit one of his so-called tipping points, based on Greenland melt data

Last year, Cecilia Bitz at the University of Washington and Marika Holland at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado startled their colleagues when they predicted an Arctic free of sea ice in just a few decades. Both say they are surprised by the dramatic melt of 2007.

Bitz, unlike others at NASA, believes that “next year we’ll be back to normal, but we’ll be seeing big anomalies again, occurring more frequently in the future.”

Everyone is always surprised.

And that normal, she said, is still a “relentless decline” in ice.
April 25, 2008: North Pole could be ice free in 2008
April 27, 2008: ABC News: North Pole Could be Ice-Free in 2008

“The set-up for this summer is disturbing,” says Mark Serreze, of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

But, this does not sound so disturbing:

Despite its news value in the media, the North Pole being ice free is not in itself significant. To scientists, Serreze points out, “this is just another point on the globe“. What is worrying, though, is the fact that multi-year ice – the stuff that doesn’t melt in the summer – is not piling up as fast as Arctic ice generally is melting.

Moreover, an atmospheric phenomenon known as the Arctic oscillation kicked into its strong, “positive”, phase this winter. This is known to generate winds which push multi-year ice out of the Arctic along the east coast of Greenland.

So, it is not global warming or what? It is ferocious storms and the Arctic oscillation climate pattern.

The new British government department of Flooding?

Filed under: Climate Change,Media and Climate — climatedonkey @ 1:46 am
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Flooding is now more dangerous than terrorism? Well yes indeed, due to climate change. But wait, I thought climate change was causing terrorism as well (climate change may challenge national security). Clearly this means that flooding and other natural disasters as a result of climate change are threats to the very fabric of society just like 9/11 and the London terrorist attacks. Are memories are so short.

However, the Independent reports just that in a piece reflective of Sir Michael Pitt’s conclusions about 2007 flooding in the UK.

Pitt is quoted:

flood risk should be “brought up alongside the risk of terrorism or a major flu pandemic”. To emphasis this, there should be a government cabinet committee concerned solely with flooding…

The question is floated out, “But terrorism is a continuing threat. Weren’t these floods a one-off?”

Yes and no. There has certainly been nothing like the rainfall of last summer, at least in the rainfall records which go back to 1766. June, July and August, taken together, made the wettest summer we have ever seen, and the two critical downpours, which hit Yorkshire from Hull to Doncaster on 24 June, and the area of the Severn valley on 19 July, were probably as heavy as anything Britain has experienced. The trouble is – there are likely to be more of them…Because of climate change.

The logic here is brilliant and an easy analogy can be drawn. Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was the worst natural disaster in US history, therefore a Cabinet level department should be formed called the Department of Hurricanes. That sounds like a good idea to those that would favor redistribution of income.

There are going to be “extreme rain events” over the next 30-100 years that need to be prepared for just like terrorism. Wow, talk about being proactive about a potential/theoretical problem. If only there were climate or computer models to predict terrorism.

d

June 23, 2008

NASA Scientist wants Big Oil Sued

Filed under: Climate Change,Media and Climate — climatedonkey @ 2:42 am
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Oh dear, from the Guardian UK. James Hansen wants Big Oil sued. NASA Scientist wants oil firm chiefs sued.

James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

This is all part of the launch of http://www.350.org, the website dedicated to reducing CO2 levels to 350 ppm.

Where did this 350 number come from?

Dr. James Hansen, of NASA, the United States’ space agency, has been researching global warming longer than just about anyone else. He was the first to publicly testify before the U.S. Congress, in June of 1988, that global warming was real. He and his colleagues have used both real-world observation, computer simulation, and mountains of data about ancient climates to calculate what constitutes dangerous quantities of carbon in the atmosphere. The Bush Administration has tried to keep Hansen and his team from speaking publicly, but their analysis has been widely praised by other scientists, and by experts like Nobel Prize winner Al Gore. The full text of James Hansen’s paper about 350 can be found here.

British polling shows people lack trust in climate change scientists

A public poll in the UK has found that Britons do not entirely believe the climate change scientists whose research is propelling the government on urgent socioeconomic and political upheaval.

The results have shocked campaigners who hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Now consider the NOAA Climate Extremes report that was released late last week. Was this the motivation of that report as well — to overwhelm all doubt and make drastic action a fait accompli?

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There is growing concern that an economic depression and rising fuel and food prices are denting public interest in environmental issues. Some environmentalists blame the public’s doubts on last year’s Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, and on recent books, including one by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, that question the consensus on climate change.

Here in the US, 4$ a gallon gasoline has even caused Lindsay Graham’nesty and John McCain and even the venerable Q-Tip Charlie Crist to suggest opening offshore drilling. Apparently the British do not like the price of gas especially with their government’s confiscatory and punitive energy taxes.

Ipsos MORI polled 1,039 adults and found that six out of 10 agreed that ‘many scientific experts still question if humans are contributing to climate change’, and that four out of 10 ‘sometimes think climate change might not be as bad as people say’. In both cases, another 20 per cent were not convinced either way. Despite this, three quarters still professed to be concerned about climate change.

60% think there is still a debate! Al Gore says otherwise, and puts his electricity usage up as evidence. Oops.

Two thirds want the government to do more but nearly as many said they were cynical about government policies such as green taxes, which they see as ‘stealth’ taxes.

Green jobs = Unemployment
Green taxes = clean and environmentally friendly socialism without the guilt

The proponents of AGW know that the public is skeptical and will have to redouble their efforts to scare the crap out of people. The media is complicit and will have to ramp up their coverage of floods, tornadoes, rain, clouds, wind, sunrises, etc.

June 20, 2008

Consensus Report on North American Climate is full of Conjecture

Filed under: Climate Change,Hurricanes — climatedonkey @ 5:02 am
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From my post at Climate Audit:

NOAA has released a well-manicured and comprehensive report on observed and conjectured changes in North American weather and climate extremes.
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The Final Report of CCSP 2008 provides and up-to-date scientific collation of many peer-review studies along with a consensus interpretation like the UN IPCC AR4 reports. Some of the main findings are summarized in the handy “brochure” provided on the website:
I quote here from the NOAA press release

* Abnormally hot days and nights, along with heat waves, are very likely to become more common. Cold nights are very likely to become less common.
* Sea ice extent is expected to continue to decrease and may even disappear in the Arctic Ocean in summer in coming decades.
* Precipitation, on average, is likely to be less frequent but more intense.
* Droughts are likely to become more frequent and severe in some regions.
* Hurricanes will likely have increased precipitation and wind.
* The strongest cold-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific are likely to produce stronger winds and higher extreme wave heights.

Along with attribution of the above observed changes to human activity, the report provides a likelihood estimate of future changes. Based upon model projections and expert judgment, it goes without saying that it is “very likely” that the extremes will continue into the future.

From the press release on the NOAA website, report co-chair Tom Karl of NCDC explains the motives of this report and goes on to answer the age-old question: is this flood or rain shower or hurricane caused by global warming? It is usually said as a matter-of-fact statement that one individual weather event cannot be attributed to global warming per se. However, it is likely that with global warming, we will see more of these events. Karl says as much,

This report addresses one of the most frequently asked questions about global warming: what will happen to weather and climate extremes? This synthesis and assessment product examines this question across North America and concludes that we are now witnessing and will increasingly experience more extreme weather and climate events.

This is a landmark document coming from NOAA, which has been lambasted in the past for allegedly censoring or silencing its scientists. Yet, it is an amalgamation of differing viewpoints on such issues as hurricanes and climate change, the obvious hot-button concern going forward into the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. With the terrible Midwest/Iowa flooding (not seen since 1993) ongoing, the report will get plenty of publicity in the same way that Emanuel’s 2005 Nature paper received after Hurricane Katrina. However, before attributing all observed phenomena to unnatural climate changes, we must not forget that natural climate variations exist and generate extremes all the time including plenty of weather systems. For instance, the tornado numbers as well as the Midwest flooding were largely expected from the record La Nina conditions seen in late 2007 to early 2008. With the continued negative values of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and large uncertainty in future ENSO conditions, natural climate variations are providing plenty of climate extremes all on their own.

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June 19, 2008

Shaky Science: AP Hoaxed on Earthquake and Global Warming Study

Filed under: Climate Change,Media and Climate — climatedonkey @ 3:49 am
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Cross post on Climate Audit

It appears the Associated Press needs to do some explaining or at the very least some vetting of its science reporting. Yet, it is a metaphysical certitude, no pun intended, that the story will be parroted regardless of its veracity.

There have been some attempts to link climate change to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other various geophysical phenomena. However considerable uncertainty surrounds potential mechanisms for such linkages as well as whether we can actually perceive or measure such changes. Recently, an obscure online journal publication (NU Journal of Discovery) article has made it into the press through a release by the author Tom Chalko, an Australian geophysicist. Here is a link to the 2-page published article: Chalko 2008 NU Journal of Discovery

The main finding is that earthquakes have become FIVE times more energetic over the past 20 years, a stunning discovery to say the least. A few hyperbolic statements from the press release:

The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes on Earth increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of “global warming” is comprehensively and urgently addressed…global seismic activity was increasing faster than any other global warming indicator on Earth and that this increase is extremely alarming

The pertinent figure describing the “alarming” trend shows the annual earthquake ratio, which is described in the paper. Also, the trend is predicted to grow in the future. A simple perusal of the USGS website would easily expose this paper as a complete pile of rubbish: Common Myths about Earthquakes h/t Jeremy Horpedahl

Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant throughout this century and, according to our records, have actually seemed to decrease in recent years…A partial explanation may lie in the fact that in the last twenty years, we have definitely had an increase in the number of earthquakes we have been able to locate each year. This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications.

earthquake

If one looks prior to 1970, you see the true nature of earthquake energy.
image

Continuing from the paper:

Results presented in this article indicate that the main danger for humanity on Earth may come not from a slow climate change, but from the rapidly increasing seismic/tectonic activity. In the period of time when the planetary
climate changed by a small fraction of one degree, earthquakes have become 5 times more energetic. How long do we need to wait until someone brings this problem to our awareness?

I have no answer to that question. Thankfully, Chalko provides us with one reference and a hypothesis for this increased tectonic and volcanic activity. NASA researchers (Hansen et al. 2005, Science) state that the Earth absorbs approximately 0.85 +- 0.15 Megawatts per square kilometer than it emits, an imbalance that is causing the Earth to overheat.

Planetary interior overheating is the most serious consequence of so-called “global warming” and constitutes the main danger for humanity on Earth today.

I am unsure about the peer-review standards of this journal, but my guess is that it is a bit “shaky”. A simple Google search of the author leads one on a metaphysical search for understanding one’s consciousness.

June 18, 2008

Another Polar Bear in Iceland Shot While on Vacation

Filed under: Climate Change — climatedonkey @ 9:07 pm
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Just like 2 weeks ago, a stranded polar bear in Iceland was shot dead by authorities. The article states that the bear was threatening the journalists assembled to photograph the rare occurrence. So the police implemented security procedure numero uno: shoot the bear! I guess no one figured that the polar bear was indeed a wild animal and might act in an aggressive manner. Apparently not all of them are fuzzy, cute creatures like the baby German zoo bear Knute.

polar bear

Will there be any outrage from the leftist environmental / global warming kabal about these two shootings within just 2 weeks. I sincerely doubt it. The threat is not from big oil or climate change, but from onlookers who want to see nature — and then kill it.

June 17, 2008

Ozone hole recovery and climate change: An “unholy” alliance

ozone hole

A recent Science Magazine article concerning the Southern Hemisphere (SH) Ozone hole has received little attention in the news media considering it mentions “global climate change”. One must assume that if the new research is not trumpeted in the mainstream media or on the left-wing alarmist blogs, then it must be contrary to the template/agenda/talking points assembled during the past few years. I believe we have an instance of research that introduces “uncertainty” into the “debate” which is toxic to the media.

A couple example headlines from a Google News search:

Mending ozone hold to create more climate change worries?

Ozone threat to India

Computer models show major climate shift as a result of closing ozone hole

So, even from the headlines, there is implied uncertainty. The official Science Magazine press release or news item titled UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES has some key quotes that are worth discussing.

Healing Antarctica’s ozone hole has a possible downside

Via a complicated cascade of effects, a full recovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the coming years could significantly boost warming of the atmosphere over and around the icy continent….In one sense, however, the ozone hole is somewhat beneficial: It has kept Antarctica cooler than it otherwise would have been, says Seok-Woo Son, an atmospheric scientist at Columbia University.

So, the ozone hole was a Good Thing.
martha

It turns out that of the IPCC AR4 climate models, 9 out of 19 did not include the impacts of stratospheric ozone recovery in the climate change simulations/scenarios. In this upper part of the atmosphere near Antarctica, as indicated by the Columbia scientist, greenhouse gas warming as been largely mitigated by the presence of the ozone hole through atmospheric circulation impacts. Through including a competent ozone chemistry scheme into their climate model ensemble, it was discovered that the ozone hole recovery will have the related impacts:

Warming of the lower stratosphere would tend to slow the circumpolar westerlies but strengthen winds at lower latitudes, a combination that would significantly shift weather patterns…

This result indicates that the effect of ozone-induced warming overwhelms that of greenhouse induced cooling in the lower-stratospheric polar cap…(Science, p. 1488, Son et al.)

This can all be summarized as follows:

Above where we perceive weather, in the layer of atmosphere where only the tallest thunderstorms reach, a complex battle is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. Carbon dioxide emissions and ozone molecules are allying in a battle to destroy the planet. However, they cannot seem to get their guns pointed away from each other. With this new research, considerable uncertainty exists in determining the exact impacts of ozone recovery + greenhouse gas emissions will have on the climate system. Uncertainty also means doubt. Is anyone out there “alarmed” that trillion dollar policy decisions are going to be made on global warming based upon climate change computer model scenarios that admittedly are missing such a huge component of the system (ozone). Time to fire up the air conditioners and start spewing freon to battle those greenhouse gases.

freon

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