Author: wryheat2

Video – Carbon Dioxide in perspective

This short video from the Galileo Movement in Australia shows how minute the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is.

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Pima Pineapple Cactus recovery

The Pima Pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina) is a small (pineapple-sized) cactus that inhabits grasslands and desert scrub in Pima County and parts of Santa Cruz County, Arizona, and parts of northern Sonora, Mexico, at elevations below 4,000 feet. About 90 percent of its historic range is in Pima County.

The cactus is sparsely distributed within its range, but does have some high-density clusters. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) this species is incapable of self-fertilization, which means pollen from another individual cactus is required.

The Pima Pineapple cactus is a low-growing hemispherical cactus that may be found as single or multi-stemmed plants. Mature plants measure 4-18 inches tall and 3-7 inches in diameter. The spines are stout and arranged in clusters with one central hooked spine and 6-15 radial straight spines. Spines are originally straw colored, but become black with age. Flowers are yellow and the fruit is a green ellipsoid. See photos here. The flowers are pollinated mainly by bees. Seeds are dispersed by rodents, rabbits, and ants.

Because the cactus is small and inconspicuous, it is subject to danger from grassland fires, livestock grazing, off-road vehicles, and housing development.

The Pima Pineapple cactus was listed as endangered by FWS on September 23, 1993. FWS never got around to establishing “critical habitat” but now is proposing a recovery plan which you can read here (76 pages). If we follow the plan, which will cost $62,910,560, FWS says they can delist the cactus by the year 2046. There have been many studies of the cactus, but FWS still doesn’t know how many there are scattered around its habitat.

The main recommendations of the recovery plan boil down to protecting existing habitat from human intervention, invasive species, and wildfires. In other words, restrict land usage. FWS also recommends acquisition of private lands to increase habitat and limit development.

The plan recommends monitoring the cactus for at least 15 years. It so happens that Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge established in 1985, comprising 117,464-acres, lies in southern Pima County within the range of the cactus. Has not the FWS been paying attention to the cactus on the Refuge during the past 25 years?

I have an alternative suggestion. In order to preserve the cactus, delist it and farm it. Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge could be used as an initial farm stock source with many plots dedicated to the cactus. FWS could, if the cactus were delisted, allow commercial nurseries to grow and sell the plants to people who would like them for their yards or gardens, something that is problematical as long as the cactus is listed as “endangered.” This small cactus would make a good potted plant for porches and patios.

See also:

The Flaws in the Endangered Species Act

Thought to be extinct – when science is wrong

Species extinction is a natural phenomenon, but sometimes, as Mark Twain wrote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” The Endangered Species Act has been used for good to help some species and for political reasons to stop or inhibit mines, logging, farming, and many other activities. Below is a collection of articles which show that some reports of extinction were in error. Sometimes, “settled science” is wrong. (Note, most links have photos.)

Long-lost Tasmanian tiger may have been found

September 6, 2017

Do Tasmanian tigers still exist? A few trackers believe they have found evidence — releasing alleged footage of proof. The grainy and fleeting videotape, according to The Mercury, showed Tasmanian tigers (also known as thylacines) in their natural state: a thylacine walking slowly at a distance, a thylacine nose at the camera lens, and a thylacine with a cub.

Official accounts, according to The Mercury, suggest the thylacine became extinct on the Australian mainland more than 2000 years ago, although unverified “sightings” occur across many states of Australia from time to time. (Read more)

Boy finds ‘extinct’ frog in Ecuador and helps revive species

July 7, 2017

A school-age boy has rediscovered an Ecuadorian frog considered extinct for at least 30 years. The animal has now successfully bred in captivity.

The colourful Jambato harlequin frog (Atelopus ignescens) was once so widespread in Ecuador that it turned up in people’s homes, was something children played with and was used as an ingredient in traditional medicine. Then it was suddenly wiped out, probably by a combination of climate change and fungal disease. (Read more)

Frog not sighted in 30 years and declared extinct reappears in Costa Rica

June 07, 2017

SAN JOSE – Costa Rican scientists reported the reappearance of an endemic frog species that had not been sighted for three decades (Heredia robber frog, Craugastor escoces.) It was declared extinct in 2004 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN). (Read more)

Seychelles snail, believed extinct due to climate change, found ‘alive and well,’ says group

Sep 8, 2014, NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A snail once thought to have been among the first species to go extinct because

of climate change has reappeared in the wild. The Aldabra banded snail, declared extinct seven years ago, was rediscovered on Aug. 23 in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles. The mollusk, which is endemic to the Aldabra coral atoll — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — had not been seen on the islands since 1997, said the Seychelles Islands Foundation. Read more And here

‘Extinct’ corpse-eating fly back from the dead

July 9, 2013

Behold the bone-skipper, high in the running for the strangest fly on Earth. For the bone-skipper, fresh carcasses just won’t do. No, these flies prefer large, dead bodies in advanced stages of decay. And unlike most flies, they are active in early winter, from November to January, usually after dark. They also disappeared from human notice and were declared extinct for more than a century. That’s why they’ve often been considered almost mythical or legendary, said Pierfilippo Cerretti, a researcher at the Sapienza University of Rome. In the past few years, three species of bone-skipper have been rediscovered in Europe, setting off a buzz among fly aficionados. (Read more)

Biologists find rare snake near Gila River

July 6, 2013

The northern Mexican garter snake was once thought to be extinct in New Mexico. Not so, according to biologists at the Albuquerque BioPark. They found three of the snakes in early June near the Gila River and another three later in the month. Two of the snakes were studied, tagged and released. The remaining four were brought to the Albuquerque Zoo to establish a breeding population.(Read more)

An ‘extinct’ frog make s a comeback in Israel

Jerusalem, June 4, 2013 — The first amphibian to have been officially declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been rediscovered in the north of Israel after some 60 years and turns out to be a unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs.

The Hula painted frog was catalogued within the Discoglossus group when it was first discovered in the Hula Valley of Israel in the early 1940s. The frog was thought to have disappeared following the drying up of the Hula Lake at the end of the 1950s, and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 1996. As a result, the opportunity to discover more about this species’ history, biology and ecology was thought to have disappeared. (Read more)

Cute rodent species surfaces after 113 years

May 19, 2011

Scientists thought a mysterious guinea pig-sized rodent species that hadn’t been seen in 113 years was long extinct. Until one of them ambled up to two volunteer naturalists at a nature reserve in Colombia two weeks ago. The nocturnal animal, the elusive red-crested tree rat, turned up just as the scientists were heading off to bed, at 9:30 p.m. on May 4. It spent two hours watching as the volunteer biologists took photos of it, the n calmly ambled off into the darkness. (Read more)

India team uncovers 12 frog species

Sep 18, 2011, New Delhi – Years of combing tropical mountain forests, shining flashlights under rocks and listening for croaks in the night have paid off for Indian scientists who have discovered 12 new frog species plus three others thought to have been extinct. (Read more)

Pygmy tarsier, a tiny primate, rediscovered in Indonesia

November 19, 2008

The tiny Furby-like pygmy tarsier, presumed to be extinct, was found during a recent expedition to Indonesia. And the cuddly, huge-eyed nocturnal critter is the very definition of cute. Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M

University traveled into the mountains of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia to confirm that the pygmy tarsier was unequivocally extinct, but ended up becoming the first person in more than 80 years to spot a live one. (Read more)

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Rediscovered in Arkansas

April 28, 2005

A group of wildlife scientists believe the ivory-billed woodpecker is not extinct. They say they have made seven firm sightings of the bird in central Arkansas. The landmark find caps a search that began more than 60 years ago, after biologists said North America’s largest woodpecker had become extinct in the United States. (Read more) Note: this contention is still controversial – see here.

Coelacanths fish

Coelacanths (seel-a-canths) were once known only from fossils and were thought to have gone extinct approximately 65 million years ago (mya), during the great extinction in which the dinosaurs disappeared. Today, there are two known living species.

The first living coelacanth was discovered in 1938. For many years, living coelacanths were known only from the western Indian Ocean, primarily from the Comoros Islands, but in September 1997 and again in July 1998, coelacanths were captured in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, nearly 6,000 miles to the east of the Comoros. Read more

The moral of this story is that even “settled science” can be wrong. A good scientist should always be skeptical.

 

Related: For the past several years alarmist scientists have claimed that humans are causing “the sixth mass extinction” on Earth. Smithsonian paleontologist Doug Erwin debunks this claim in the article: “Earth Is Not in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction.”

Erwin is one of the world’s experts on the End-Permian mass extinction, an unthinkable volcanic nightmare that nearly ended life on earth 252 million years ago. He proposed that earth’s great mass extinctions might unfold like these power grid failures: most of the losses may come, not from the initial shock—software glitches in the case of power grid failures, and asteroids and volcanoes in the case of ancient mass extinctions—but from the secondary cascade of failures that follow. These are devastating chain reactions that no one understands.

 

Houston’s long history of flooding

Houston, Texas, seat of Harris County, has a long history of flooding because the city was built on a flood plain. The deluge generated by hurricane Harvey in August, 2017, is only the latest episode.

Houston lies within a coastal plain about 50 miles northwest of Galveston. The area has very flat topography which is cut by four major bayous that pass through the city: Buffalo Bayou, which runs into downtown and the Houston Ship Channel; and three of its tributaries: Brays Bayou, which runs along the Texas Medical Center; White Oak Bayou, which runs through the Heights and near the northwest area; and Sims Bayou, which runs through the south of Houston and downtown Houston. The ship channel goes past Galveston and into the Gulf of Mexico.

The land around Houston consists of sand, silt, and clay deposited by local rivers.

The sedimentary layers underneath Houston ultimately extend down some 60,000 feet, with the oldest beds deposited during the Cretaceous. Between 30,000 feet and 40,000 feet below the surface is a layer of salt, the primary source of salt domes which dot the metropolitan area. Since salt is more buoyant than other sediments, it rises to the surface, creating domes and anticlines and causing subsidence due to its removal from its original strata. These structures manage to capture oil and gas as it percolates through the subsurface. [source]

Groundwater pumping also causes subsidence in parts of the city. (See: Geologists find parts of Northwest Houston, Texas sinking rapidly )

Hurricane damage in Houston:

As described by the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) [link]:

When the Allen brothers founded Houston in 1836, they established the town at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak Bayous. Shortly thereafter, every structure in the new settlement flooded. Early settlers documented that after heavy rains, their wagon trips west through the prairie involved days of walking through knee-deep water. Harris County suffered through 16 major floods from 1836 to 1936, some of which crested at more than 40 feet, turning downtown Houston streets into raging rivers.

Houston was flooded during the September, 1900, hurricane which wiped out Galveston.

In December of 1935 a massive flood occurred in the downtown Houston as the water level height measured at Buffalo Bayou in Houston topped out at 54.4 feet which was higher than Harvey. There have been 30 major floods in the Houston area since 1937 when the flood control district was established in spite of construction of flood control measures.

In June, 2001, Harris County suffered widespread flooding due to hurricane Allison. According to HCFCD, before leaving the area, Allison would dump as much as 80 percent of the area’s average annual rainfall over much of Harris County, simultaneously affecting more than 2 million people. When the rains finally eased, Allison had left Harris County, Texas, with 22 fatalities, 95,000 damaged automobiles and trucks, 73,000 damaged residences, 30,000 stranded residents in shelters, and over $5 billion in property damage in its wake.

Some climate alarmists are claiming that global warming has played a part in the flooding produced by hurricane Harvey. Dr. Roy Spencer debunks that notion here and here. Storms of or greater than Harvey’s magnitude have happened before. Storm damage is not due entirely to weather. Some is due to local infrastructure.

It all boils down to the luck of the draw: if you choose to inhabit a flood plain, you will get wet from time to time.

P.S. Prior to Harvey, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm, the U.S. had gone a remarkable 12 years without being hit by a hurricane of Category 3 strength or stronger. Since 1970 the U.S. has only seen four hurricanes of Category 4 or 5 strength. In the previous 47 years, the country was struck by 14 such storms.

Watching a Western Spotted Orbweaver spider

For the past two weeks, I’ve been watching a spider build an intricate web near my back porch. The circular web is suspended from an ironwork fence by many strands of spider silk.

I have tentatively identified this spider as a Western Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona Oaxacensis ) also known as a zig-zag spider. It is a pretty spider with a body length of just under one-half inch.

This spider occurs throughout the mid-west and western U.S., Mexico, Central American and parts of South America. Like most spiders, the orbweaver has venom to subdue its prey, but most sources say the venom is not harmful to humans.

The spiders eat insects and anything else that gets caught in its web. It also eats spider silk. You can watch a short video from the Boyce Thompson Arboretum which shows this spider in action:

Spider silk is a protein fiber. Spiders can produce as many as seven different types of silk. Wikipedia has a long and detailed article on spider silk (link). I will summarize.

Spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel and some silk can stretch up to five times its length without breaking.

Types of silk (from Wikipedia):

Major-ampullate (dragline) silk: Used for the web’s outer rim and spokes and also for the lifeline. Can be as strong per unit weight as steel, but much tougher.

Capture-spiral (flagelliform) silk: Used for the capturing lines of the web. Sticky, extremely stretchy and tough. The capture spiral is sticky due to droplets of aggregate (a spider glue) that is placed on the spiral. The elasticity of flagelliform allows for enough time for the aggregate to adhere to the aerial prey flying into the web.

Tubiliform silk: Used for protective egg sacs. Stiffest silk.

Aciniform silk: Used to wrap and secure freshly captured prey. Two to three times as tough as the other silks, including dragline.

Minor-ampullate silk: Used for temporary scaffolding during web construction.

Piriform: Piriform serves as the attachment disk to dragline silk. Piriform is used in attaching spider silks together to construct a stable web.

It seems that spiders are more complicated than one would initially think. Have you seen this spider around your garden?

See also:

The Arizona Brown Spider – a reclusive beastie

Black Widow Spiders
A green lynx spider may be lurking in your yard

Who’s Afraid of Tarantulas?

The Monsoon Spawned Two New Flowering Plants In My Yard – Sida and Capitellata

The rains of the summer monsoon have given rise to some exotic flowering plants in my yard. My wife calls them weeds. Recently, I noticed two flowering plants by the pool that I had not seen in my yard before. I sent photographs to botanist Mark Fleming at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum who identified them for me.

The first is Sida abutifolia. Common names include Spreading Sida, Prostrate Mallow, and Spreading Fanpetal.

 

Sida is a tropical plant whose range now includes southern Arizona and New Mexico, most of Texas, and southernmost Florida.

Sida is classified as an herb that grows up to one foot high and has ground-hugging stems that have small spikes. The leaves are about one inch long and the yellow flowers are about 3/4 inch in diameter. See a more scientific description and more photos from SEINet.

This plant has what I regard as strange behavior. Most of the time the flowers are closed. They all open together around 2pm and close again after two hours. This behavior has been repeated for about two weeks so far. It would seem that this limits the opportunity for pollenation.

In Mexico, Sida was used medicinally to treat boils and kidney problems (Source).

 

The second plant is Euphorbia capitellata aka Chamaesyce capitellata, a member of the Spurge Family. It has a lovely common name: head sandmat. Other names include capitate sandmat and head spurge.

The white flowers are less than 1/4 inch in diameter when open. The flowers look pointed before they open fully. The leaves are about one inch long. See a more scientific description and more photos from SEINet.

Capitellata is a small perennial plant with a woody base from which the herbaceous stems regrow year after year. It has a milky sap that can be a skin or eye irritant.

Capitellata is native to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico.

See also:

A London Rocket in my yard 

Dr. Roy Spencer takes on Al Gore

This is a reblog from Dr. Roy Spencer.

See the original post here.

An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy

August 19th, 2017

Al Gore has provided a target-rich environment of deceptions in his new movie.

After viewing Gore’s most recent movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and after reading the book version of the movie, I was more than a little astounded. The new movie and book are chock-full of bad science, bad policy, and factual errors.

So, I was inspired to do something about it. I’d like to announce my new e-book, entitled An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, now available on Amazon.com.

After reviewing some of Gore’s history in the environmental movement, I go through the movie, point by point.

One of Gore’s favorite tactics is to show something that happens naturally, then claim (or have you infer) that it is due to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. As I discuss in the book, this is what he did in his first movie (An Inconvenient Truth), too.

For example, sea level rise. Gore is seen surveying flooded streets in Miami Beach.

That flooding is mostly a combination of (1) natural sea level rise (I show there has been no acceleration of sea level rise beyond what was already happening since the 1800s), and (2) satellite-measured sinking of the reclaimed swamps that have been built upon for over 100 years in Miami Beach.

In other words, Miami Beach was going to have to deal with the increasing flooding from their “king tides”, with or without carbon dioxide emissions.

Gore is also shown jumping across meltwater streams on the Greenland ice sheet. No mention is made that this happens naturally every year. Sure, 2012 was exceptional for its warmth and snow melt (which he mentioned), but then 2017 came along and did just the opposite with record snow accumulation, little melt, and the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere for a July.

The fact that receding glaciers in Alaska are revealing stumps from ancient forests that grew 1,000 to 2,000 years ago proves that climate varies naturally, and glaciers advance and recede without any help from humans.

So, why is your SUV suddenly being blamed when it happens today?

The list goes on and on.

Some of what Gore claims is just outright false. He says that wheat and corn yields in China are down by 5% in recent decades. Wrong. They have been steadily climbing, just like almost everywhere else in the world. Here’s the situation for all grain crops in China:

And that lack of rainfall in Syria that supposedly caused conflict and war? It didn’t happen. Poor farmers could no longer afford diesel fuel to pump groundwater because Assad tripled the price. Semi-arid Syria is no place to grow enough crops for a rapidly growing population, anyway.

I also address Gore’s views on alternative energy, mainly wind and solar. It is obvious that Gore does not consider government subsidies when he talks about the “cost” of renewable energy sometimes being cheaper than fossil fuels. Apparently, he hasn’t heard that the citizens pay the taxes that then support the alternative energy industries which Gore, Elon Musk and others financially benefit from. If and when renewable energy become cost-competitive, it won’t need politicians and pundits like Mr. Gore campaigning for it.

To counter what is in movie theaters now, I had to whip up this book in only 2 weeks, and I didn’t have a marching army of well-funded people like Gore has had. (Too bad he didn’t have someone doing fact-checking.) Despite my disadvantage, I think I present a powerful case that most of what he presents is, at the very least, very deceptive.

Wryheat comments:

I did buy and read Spencer’s book.  It’s about 81 Kindle pages long. Spencer succinctly debunks all of Gore’s claims with real evidence. Here is the table of contents:

Introduction Global Warming Background
Al Gore’s History in the Climate Debate
Not All Science is Created Equal
The Deceptions in An Inconvenient Truth (AIT)
Al Gore and Bill Nye’s Faked Science Experiment
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Warming Temperatures
Greenland Melting
Sea Level Rise and Street Flooding in Miami Storm Damage
Flooding of the 9/11 Memorial from Hurricane Sandy
Earthrise: The Big Blue Marble
Solar Power, Solar City, and Elon Musk
Pressure on India to use Solar Energy
Air Pollution in China
Typhoon Haiyan Hits the Philippines
Wildfires
Conflict in Syria and the Role of Drought
Crop Yields Are Increasing, Not Decreasing
Is the Atmosphere an Open Sewer for CO2?
The Bataclan Terrorist Attack in Paris
The Paris Climate Conference
Truth to Power
Final Comments

Eldred Wilson’s Proterozoic Mazatzal Revolution Arizona

The Arizona Geological Survey has just made available for download papers by Eldred Wilson, a pioneer of Arizona geology.

Eldred Dewey Wilson & the Proterozoic ‘Mazatzal Revolution’

Study area map of Wilson (1937)

In 1937, geologist Eldred Dewey Wilson coined the phrase ‘Mazatzal Revolution’ to describe mountain building along the western edge of the North American craton. While the Mazatzal Revolution occurred in the Proterozoic – more than 1.6 billion years ago – it continues to influence Arizona geology and mineral exploration to this day. Wilson’s 1937 Ph.D. research is now available online for the first time.

In about 1920, twenty-two-year old Eldred Dewey Wilson joined a handful of geologists – N.H. Darton, Carl Lausen and Olaf P. Jenkins, among them – wrestling with the complex geology of the rugged mountains of southern and central Arizona. Wilson was an assistant geologist at the Arizona Bureau of Mines and working on his M.S. thesis, ‘The Mazatzal Quartzite, a new pre-Cambrian formation of central Arizona’ at the University of Arizona. In 1924 Wilson was promoted to geologist at the Bureau, where he remained, with a short leave of absence to begin his doctoral research in 1931-1932 at Harvard University, until his death in 1965.

Wilson set out in 1930 to address, ‘the chief features of pre-Cambrian regional structure within part of central Arizona’, for his Ph.D. dissertation – ‘‘The Pre-Cambrian Mazatzal Revolution in Central Arizona’. His field area included the Mazatzal Mountains, Pine Creek, eastern Tonto Basin or northern Sierra Ancha, Del Rio, and the southern Black Hills areas, all of which contained extensive outcrops of Proterozoic-age rocks. Wilson concluded from his observations of the field relationships of rocks and structures that the ‘principal features of regional structure originated from a great pre-Cambrian crustal disturbance’, which he called the ‘Mazatzal Revolution’.

Wilson’s ‘Mazatzal Revolution’ was an early contribution to deconstructing the processes responsible for the geology of central Arizona. He noted, ‘The subparallel folds, thrust faults, and imbricate, steeply dipping reverse faults clearly resulted from intense north­west-southeastward regional compression. The transverse faults are believed to have been formed, also during the compression, by shearing normal to the trend of the folds.’

Wilson hypothesized, too, that, ‘structural weaknesses inherited from the Mazatzal Revolution may have influenced the localization of many of Arizona’s prevailingly north­eastward-trending veins and the pattern of the Tertiary Basin and Range faulting.’ The orogenic Mazatzal Revolution continues to impact Arizona geology today.

E.D. Wilson ca. 1960s.

Reynolds & Others (2013) on Eldred Dewey Wilson’s contribution to Arizona geology. Wilson published a number of important papers on Arizona geology. According to Reynolds and others (2013), Eldred D. Wilson provided the first geologic map and cogent discussion of the geology and mineral resources of southern Yuma County: “Wilson mapped this hitherto unknown area of southwestern Arizona from 1929-1932. In the process, he discovered a new set of mountains that had been overlooked by previous geologists and explorers. He named this range the Butler Mountains after G. M. Butler, former Director of the Bureau and Dean of the College of Mining and Engineering (Wilson, 1931). Wilson was the first person to describe and map the geology of a large number of mountain ranges in southwestern Arizona. The data from Wilson’s 1933 geologic map were incorporated into the 1969 state geologic map.”

See James T. Forrester and Richard E. Moore’s ‘Memorial to Eldred Dewey Wilson 1898-1967’ for more about the life and times of Dr. Wilson.

Note: AZGS thanks an anonymous patron who arranged at his/her own expense with Harvard University to scan Wilson’s dissertation and secure copyright permission from Dewey Wilson to re-release Dr. Wilson’s work as CR-17-C.

References 
 
Forrester, J.T. and Moore, R.E., 1965 Memorial to Eldred Dewey Wilson 1898-1967. Geological Society of America Bulletin, V. 76, p. 187-191.

Reynolds, S., Spencer, J.E., Richard, S.M., Pearthree, P.A. 2013, The Geological Exploration of Arizona: The Role of State and Federal Surveys and the Geologic Map of Arizona, Arizona Geology Magazine, Winter 2013.

Wilson, E.D., 1922, The Mazatzal Quartzite, a new pre-Cambrian formation of central Arizona. Univ. of Arizona M.S. thesis, 40 p.

Wilson, E.D., 1937, The Pre-Cambrian Mazatzal Revolution in Central Arizona. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 335 p.

This post is reblogged from Arizona Geology

Trump, the National Climate Assessment report, and fake news

The New York Times recently obtained a draft of the up-coming National Climate Assessment report. NYT is worried that the Trump administration will suppress the report. However, according to scientists who worked on the report, it has been available online since last January. (See Daily Caller story) You can download the 545-page 3rd draft report here, but don’t bother.

Besides the “fake news” story in the New York Times, we have a “fake news” story from the Associated Press printed by the Arizona Daily Star. Within that story is this sentence: Contradicting Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax,” the draft report representing the consensus of 13 federal agencies concludes that the evidence global warming is being driven by human activities is “unambiguous.”

Definition of unambiguous: “Admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion.”

Because of that statement and this one: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC, I downloaded the report to see just how unambiguous the evidence is. Here is what I found.

1) All their evidence consists of computer modeling. There is no physical evidence. That’s just like the previous National Climate Assessment report. They are, in essence, claiming that evidence of warming is evidence of the cause of warming.

2) On page 139, they discuss how they attribute causes:

Detection and attribution of climate change involves assessing the causes of observed changes in the climate system through systematic comparison of climate models and observations using various statistical methods. An attributable change refers to a change in which the relative contribution of causal factors has been evaluated along with an assignment of statistical confidence.

3) Beginning on page 144, they discuss “major uncertainties.” Oops, not so “unambiguous.”

The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the global mean surface temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling in a 1%/year CO2 transient increase experiment. The TCR of the climate system to greenhouse gas increases remains uncertain, with ranges of 0.9° to 2.0°C (1.6° to 3.6°F) and 0.9° to 2.5°C (1.6° to 4.5°F) in two recent assessments. The climate system response to aerosol forcing (direct and indirect effects combined) remains highly uncertain, because although more of the relevant processes are being in included in models, confidence in these representations remains low. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty in quantifying the attributable warming contributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols separately. There is uncertainty in the possible levels of internal climate variability, but current estimates likely  range of +/- 0.1°C, or 0.2°F, over 60 years) would have to be too low by more than a factor or two or three for the observed trend to be explainable by internal variability.

Does that sound like the evidence is unambiguous?

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

UPDATE: The material above refers to the third draft of the report. The fifth draft has just become available. One analyst noticed “that the latest draft climate report, published in June, had seemingly left out a rather embarrassing table from the Executive Summary, one that had previously been written into the Third Draft, published last December.” What has been omitted is the fact “that the hottest temperatures, (averaged over the US), were not only much, much higher in the 1930s. They were also higher during the 1920s. Indeed there have been many other years with higher temperatures than most of the recent ones.” (Source)

I would not call it a hoax as does President Trump; I’d call it a scam. The National Climate Assessment itself is fake news; a political, rather than a scientific document.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair.

Additional reading:

Alan Carlin, a former senior EPA analyst, says computer models fail because: The bottom-up GCM was a bad approach from the start and should never have been paid for by the taxpayers. All that we have are computer models that were designed and then tuned to lead to the IPCC’s desired answers and have had a difficult time even doing that.

So not only are the results claiming that global temperatures are largely determined by atmospheric CO2 wrong, but the basic methodology is useless. Climate is a coupled, non-linear chaotic system, and the IPCC agrees that this is the case. It cannot be usefully modeled by using necessarily limited models which assume the opposite. Read more

Dr. Tim Ball: Uncovered: decades-old government report showing climate data was bad, unfit for purpose. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the research arm of the National Research Council, released a study expressing concern about the accuracy of the data used in the debate over climate change. They said there are,

“Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records,” that “place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results.”

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists – where is the physical evidence

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

My comments on the previous National Climate Assessment:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/national-climate-assessment-lacks-physical-evidence/