Climate change

Nitrogen in rocks identified as major plant fertilizer not considered by climate models

Organic nitrogen compounds such as ammonia (NH3) act as plant fertilizers. Robust plant growth consumes more atmospheric carbon dioxide during the process ofphotosynthesis. However, atmospheric nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert. It is converted to organic nitrogen compounds by bacteria in the top soil layers. (See nitrogen fixation) Climate models have assumed that the atmosphere is the only source of nitrogen and have therefore underestimated its fertilization effect and also underestimated the capability of plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. New studies show that much nitrogen comes from rocks, some already in useable organic form. Weathering of rocks releases this organic nitrogen.

“A considerable amount of the nitrogen in igneous and sedimentary rocks exists as ammonium ions held within the lattice structures of silicate minerals. In sedimentary rocks, the ammonium is held by secondary silicate minerals; in igneous rocks, the ammonium is contained largely within potassium-bearing primary minerals. Analyses indicated that most of the nitrogen in igneous rocks, and from one-tenth to two-thirds of that in sedimentary rocks (shales) occurred as fixed ammonium.” (Source)

Nitrate deposits in arid and semi-arid regions provide another source of nitrogen.

“Nitrogen bearing rocks are globally distributed and comprise a potentially large pool of nitrogen in nutrient cycling that is frequently neglected because of a lack of routine analytical methods for quantification. Nitrogen in rock originates as organically bound nitrogen associated with sediment, or in thermal waters representing a mixture of sedimentary, mantle, and meteoric sources of nitrogen.” (Source)

A new study, reported by Science Daily, concerns research conducted by University of California – Davis published April 6, 2018.

“For centuries, the prevailing science has indicated that all of the nitrogen on Earth available to plants comes from the atmosphere. But a study from the University of California, Davis, indicates that more than a quarter comes from Earth’s bedrock.”

“The discovery could greatly improve climate change projections, which rely on understanding the carbon cycle. This newly identified source of nitrogen could also feed the carbon cycle on land, allowing ecosystems to pull more emissions out of the atmosphere, the authors said.”

“Geology might have a huge control over which systems can take up carbon dioxide and which ones don’t.”

“While there were hints that plants could use rock-derived nitrogen, this discovery shatters the paradigm that the ultimate source of available nitrogen is the atmosphere. Nitrogen is both the most important limiting nutrient on Earth and a dangerous pollutant, so it is important to understand the natural controls on its supply and demand. Humanity currently depends on atmospheric nitrogen to produce enough fertilizer to maintain world food supply. A discovery of this magnitude will open up a new era of research on this essential nutrient.”

Study citation: B. Z. Houlton, S. L. Morford, R. A. Dahlgren. Convergent evidence for widespread rock nitrogen sources in Earth’s surface environment. Science, 2018; 360 (6384): 58 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4399.

Looks like “climate science” is still not settled. For instance, a 2003 study published in the same Science journal claimed, “there will not be enough nitrogen available to sustain the high carbon uptake scenarios.” Investor’s Business Daily opines: “with more nitrogen available, plant life might be able to absorb more CO2 than climate scientists have been estimating, which means the planet won’t warm as much, despite mankind’s pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.”

 

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

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Renewable energy mandates and politics versus science

Competing renewable energy mandate legislation will appear on the Arizona this fall. You can read about them in two Arizona Daily Star stories:

Arizona utility APS crafts renewable-energy initiative with escape clause

Arizona Senate puts utility-written renewable energy plan on ballot

Neither addresses the real issue: electricity produced from utility-scale solar and wind is unreliable, expensive, plays havoc with electrical grid stability, and is not as green as advertized. Rather than play with tricky fixes, the Arizona legislature should repeal the Arizona Corporation Commission’s renewable energy mandate and forbid the ACC from mandating how electricity is generated. I can find no place in the Arizona Constitution nor in the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC authority to impose such mandates.

For background of ACC action, read a report from the Goldwater Institute: “Rediscovering the ACC’s Roots: Returning to the Original Purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission” (link)

Here is the executive summary of the 26-page report:

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established through the state constitution to regulate corporations, public utilities, securities, and other investments. But in an unprecedented move, the Arizona Corporation Commission sought to single-handedly determine alternative energy policy in Arizona with a bold and unconstitutional energy mandate in 2006.1 This mandate forced energy producers to embrace state-favored alternatives instead of deciding for themselves which options are most attractive in Arizona.

Arizonans now face the real threat that the Arizona Corporation Commission will continue to seize power meant to be held by the state’s legislative branch. Important decisions about energy policy, corporate governance, and other areas have been removed from the legislative process which, for all its faults, offers more transparency, citizen input, and accountability than the opaque and bureaucratic proceedings of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The framers of the Arizona Constitution had serious concerns about the Commission’s potential to abuse its authority. Records of the state constitutional debate show the constitution’s authors intentionally limited the Commission’s powers to prevent interference with internal business decisions. The framers’ fears have been borne out.

The Commission’s attempt to act as the state’s de facto energy czar clearly oversteps its original role.

Arizona courts should re-establish a proper balance between the Commission and legislative power. Courts in other states with similar utility regulatory commissions already have concluded such agencies don’t have constitutional authority to mandate statewide policy. The Legislature also can reassert its authority by ordering an audit of the Commission that would recommend ways to streamline the agency and to restore it to its proper role. Finally, the state constitution could be amended to transfer necessary functions to other agencies and decommission the ACC to stop its policymaking power grabs, which Arizona’s founders specifically aimed to prevent.

See these articles for more detail on the consequences of the ACC mandate:

Six reasons Arizona should repeal its renewable energy standards mandate

The economic impact of Arizona’s renewable energy mandate

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity.

Political correctness versus science:

The alleged rationale for these mandates is that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to forestall dread global warming. But, there is no physical evidence that emissions from fossil fuels play a significant role in driving global temperature. See these ADI posts for more detail:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” I posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The “greenhouse” hypothesis of global warming makes four major predictions of what we should see if the “greenhouse effect” is intensified by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. All four predictions are shown by physical evidence to be wrong.

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

An alternative hypothesis with observable evidence.

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

Results from climate models based on the assumption that carbon dioxide controls global temperature diverge widely from reality.

Climate change in perspective

An overview of climate history

The 97 percent consensus of human caused climate change debunked again

The fake climate consensus

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation

Written by Jonathan DuHamel

Some European countries, particularly Germany and Denmark, have invested heavily in electricity generation from solar and wind sources with the result that the cost of electricity has increased substantially. The alleged rational for using “green” energy is that it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save us from dread global warming. The reality is that carbon dioxide emissions have not been reduced and real world evidence shows that carbon dioxide emissions have almost no influence on global temperature. (See my Wryheat post: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect).

Here is what is happening in Europe. The more installed solar and wind capacity per capita a country has, the higher the price people pay for electricity. In the graph below the vertical scale is Euro cents per kilowatt-hour, the horizontal scale is the installed capacity of renewables (solar and wind) per capita. (For reference, the U.S. average residential cost is 12 cents/kwh which is about 9.6 euro cents/kwh, lower than all European countries on the graph.)

 

Pierre L. Gosselin, a graduate of the University of Arizona who resides in Germany, writes: “Despite the rapidly growing green energy capacity being installed, the effort to reduce CO2 has failed, and what’s left is an unpredictable power grid that often produces energy when it is not needed (waste energy) and thus costing Germans hundreds of millions annually. The Green Party claims that wind energy is “the most inexpensive” on the market, but “If that is really true, then why do they need subsidies? Why are we paying 25 billion euros annually for their feed-in?” An array of expert panels have determined that wind energy is not leading to more climate protection, but rather is only making electricity outrageously expensive.” (Source)

Australians are experiencing the same thing. The last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation show that during the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade. As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. (Source) See graph at source.

Peter Rez (Professor at Arizona State University) explains Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions (Oxford University Press)

“In many circles there is a comforting belief that renewables such as solar and wind can replace fossil fuel electrical generation and leave us free to live as we do without carbon dioxide emissions. Fundamental physics and engineering considerations show that this is not so.”

“Power needs fluctuate with time of the day and, to a lesser extent, day of the week. In most places, peaks occur in the evening when people come home, start cooking, and turn on lights and entertainment systems. In Arizona in summer, the peaks are even more extreme due to the air conditioners all cutting in. There are also morning peaks, as people get up and turn on lights and hair dryers. Commercial and industrial use generally doesn’t change much throughout the day. The electrical utilities call this a baseload.”

“Solar and wind present two problems. One is low power density; massive areas have to be devoted to power generation. The other, more serious problem is intermittency. If we only wanted to run electrical appliances when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fine, but don’t expect to use solar to turn on your light at night! So solar and wind cannot manage on their own; it’s always solar or wind AND something else.” Read more

All of this has implications for Arizona energy policy.

In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) imposed the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) on non-government-owned electric utilities. REST requires that electric utilities generate an ever increasing amount of electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The original mandated goal was to reach a total of 15 percent renewable generation by the year 2025.

Now ACC commissioner Andy Tobin is campaigning for what he calls an “Energy Modernization Plan.” (See ADI article “Tobin Appears To Overstep With Energy Modernization Plan”)  Read full plan at:   http://www.azcc.gov/commissioners/atobin/letters/energyplan.asp 

From the plan: “The singular unifying goal is to have Arizona’s economy powered by clean energy sources that make up at least 80 percent of the state’s electricity generating portfolio, by 2050, with the ultimate goal being 100 percent.

The high cost of electricity from wind and solar generation refers not only to the price of electricity, but also to the cost to the environment and health of humans and other animals.

Several years ago I wrote a Wryheat post: “Petition to Arizona Legislature – Dump Renewable Energy Mandates” which lists six reasons why the Arizona legislature should get rid of this mandate. Besides the cost and grid instability, solar and wind generation are not as “green” as advertised.

For example, many PV solar panels rely on polysilicon being manufactured in large quantities and at high quality. A byproduct of polysilicon production is silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poses a major environmental hazard. Wherever silicon tetrachloride is dumped, the land becomes totally infertile. A major environmental cost of photovoltaic solar energy is toxic chemical pollution (arsenic, gallium, and cadmium) and energy consumption associated with the large-scale manufacture of photovoltaic panels.

Concentrating solar plants such as the Ivanpah generating station, in the Mohave Desert southwest of Las Vegas, uses 173,500 heliostats each with two mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower where water is converted to steam to generate electricity. This method is called “solar-flux” and it generates very high temperatures. Birds experience traumatic impact with the mirrors, but the larger danger is getting singed by the heat flux which is up to 800 degrees F. (See my post: Avian Mortality from Solar Farms)

Wind turbines chop up millions of birds and bats every year. (See: Wind Turbines Versus Wildlife) Wind turbines also cause health problems in humans and other animals due to their low-frequency noise and the “flicker” of the turbines themselves. (See: Health Hazards of Wind Turbines)

I can find no place in the Arizona State Constitution nor the Arizona Revised Statutes that gives the ACC explicit authority to dictate the methods by which utilities must generate electricity. I recommend that the Arizona legislature repeal the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff and forbid the ACC from dictating how electricity must be produced. Instead, let the free market decide.

Generating more electricity from solar and wind is just a very expensive exercise in political correctness that will have little impact on carbon dioxide emissions, but a big impact on your wallet.

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?”

This article may be reprinted/reposted  provided that credit of authorship is given with a link back to the source.

URL: https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/the-high-cost-of-electricity-from-wind-and-solar-generation/

Tuvalu and other Pacific islands resist sea level rise and add land area

Climate alarmists have long been predicting that global warming induced sea level rise would make low-lying Pacific islands disappear and cause thousands of “climate refugees” to seek new homes. Here are some examples:

Smithsonian.com, August, 2004: Will Tuvalu Disappear Beneath the Sea? Global warming threatens to swamp a small island nation.

Mother Jones, December, 2009: What Happens When Your Country Drowns?

Washington Post, August, 2014: Has the era of the ‘climate change refugee’ begun?

Bloomberg, November, 2017: A Tiny Island Prepares the World for a Climate Refugee Crisis.

The University of Arizona has been complicit in this hype; see my Wryheat post: University of Arizona dances with sea level.

These alarmist claims have not come to pass because of the geologic processes that build these islands.

A new paper published in Nature Communications on Feb. 9, 2018, shows that despite sea level rise, most islands are increasing in land area.

A University of Auckland study (Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations, Paul S. Kench, Murray R. Ford & Susan D. Owen) examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery. The paper claims that local sea level has risen at twice the global average (~3.90 + 0.4 mm.yr-1). That translates to about six inches over the 43-year period. However, the study found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, increasing Tuvalu’s total land area by 2.9 percent, even though sea levels in the country rose at twice the global average. (Read Full paper in Nature).

Here is figure 3 from that paper followed by its caption:

Caption for Tuvalu fig 3 (ha = hectares): Examples of island change and dynamics in Tuvalu from 1971 to 2014.

A Nanumaga reef platform island (301 ha) increased in area 4.7 ha (1.6%) and remained stable on its reef platform.

B Fangaia island (22.4 ha), Nukulaelae atoll, increased in area 3.1 ha (13.7%) and remained stable on reef rim.

C Fenualango island (14.1 ha), Nukulaelae atoll rim, increased in area 2.3 ha (16%). Note smaller island on left Teafuafatu (0.29 ha), which reduced in area 0.15 ha (49%) and had significant lagoonward movement.

D Two smaller reef islands on Nukulaelae reef rim. Tapuaelani island, (0.19 ha) top left, increased in area 0.21 ha (113%) and migrated lagoonward. Kalilaia island, (0.52 ha) bottom right, reduced in area 0.45 ha (85%) migrating substantially lagoonward.

E Teafuone island (1.37 ha) Nukufetau atoll, increased in area 0.04 ha (3%). Note lateral migration of island along reef platform. Yellow lines represent the 1971 shoreline, blue lines represent the 1984 shoreline, green lines represent the 2006 shoreline and red lines represent the 2014 shoreline.

 

The reason that these islands are gaining area is that as the sea rises, coral reefs grow higher and trap coral debris and sand to build up the island. The science of coral reef atolls is not new. This process was first described by Charles Darwin in 1842: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London: Smith Elder and Co. (Link to Darwin’s full description).

This figure from Darwin’s paper shows that coral atolls originate around a volcanic island or seamount. As sea level rises (or land sinks) the corals grow to remain in shallow water and the coral debris and sand cause an atoll island to form. That the corals were able to overcome a recent six-inch rise in sea level may not seem very much, but remember that these islands have been around a long time and dealt with a 400-foot rise in sea level since the depths of the last glacial epoch.

The findings of the new paper cited above support previous studies. For instance:

Kench et al., 2015, Coral islands defy sea-level rise over the past century: Records from a central Pacific atoll, Geological Society of America, in Geology Magazine, March 2015. (Source)

“Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (~5.1 + 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ~0.30 + 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level. Results suggest a more optimistic prognosis for the habitability of atoll nations and demonstrate the importance of resolving recent rates and styles of island change to inform adaptation strategies.”

See also:

The Sea Level Scam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate Craziness, Politics, and Hypocrisy

In my opinion, the greatest danger we face from global warming is that politicians think they can stop it. Politicians decree that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels even though there is no physical evidence that those emissions play a significant role is controlling global temperature. (See: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect)

The policy of reducing CO2 emissions is costing billions, even trillions, of dollars that could be put to better use. For instance, Germany will have to spend more than 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) to meet even the lower end of the European Union’s 2050 target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to a draft of a study commissioned by the BDI German industry group. (Source).

Several counties and municipalities in California as well as New York City have filed lawsuits against energy companies. These suits are seeking to force oil and gas companies to pay reparations for severe weather and infrastructure advancements to guard against future storms and rising sea levels. Read more However, as noted by Valerie Richardson in The Washington Times, the risks posed by human-caused climate change were apparently alarming enough to prompt seven California municipalities last year to sue ExxonMobil, but not serious enough to disclose in full to their investors. “Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years,” said ExxonMobil in its petition in Texas District Court. Read more.

Back in the year 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is. Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” (Source) Residents of the northeast U.S. would disagree due to the very cold weather and snowfalls this winter.

Also, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January, 2018), climate activists set up a base camp to educate world leaders about man-made global warming. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, however, as the “Gore Effect” kicked in and dumped about six feet of snow on their little stunt during the last six days. The weather at Davos did not deter the arrival of 1,000 private jets owned or chartered by elites who lecture the rest of us about limiting our “carbon footprint.” The hosting organization for the Davos forum has a formal sustainability policy that vows to “limit our environmental impact” and addresses such issues as climate change and deforestation.

Just plain crazy:

Researchers at The University of Manchester have carried out the first ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged. They considered the whole life cycle of sandwiches, including the production of ingredients, sandwiches and their packaging, as well as food waste discarded at home and elsewhere in the supply chain. Of the recipes considered, the most carbon-intensive variety is a ready-made ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwich which includes egg, bacon and sausage. Read more

Researchers at the University of Arizona set out to learn more about how people’s perception of the threat of global climate change affects their mental health. They found that while some people have little anxiety about the Earth’s changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change. Read more

Alarmist scientists have found a terrifying new ‘climate change’ threat: mutant transgender turtles. Their study, titled Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World, warns that global warming could turn the world’s sea turtle populations female, possibly leading to their extinction. Read more.

And even this: A Canadian government website claims Santa Claus signed an international agreement to relocate his workshop to the South Pole to escape the effects of man-made global warming in the Arctic. Read more.

See also:

Climate Madness 1

Climate Madness 2

Climate Madness 3

Climate Madness 4  

Climate Madness 5

Climate Madness 6

Climate Madness 7

Climate Madness 8

Climate Madness 9

Climate Madness 10

Illustrating the failure of the climate movement – in one graph

This post is reblogged from

People like Bill McKibben of 350.org make a big deal out of the “successes” of carbon divestment, where the 350.org organization bullies convinces some hapless organization to divest from coal and petroleum stocks in investment portfolios. Besides the fact that this has no real impact, since when one person or group “divests”, another one buys the shares up, this graph shows why 350.org, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, NRDC, and the whole lot of climate campaigners are just practicing an exercise in futility.

Dr. Roger Pielke writes on Twitter:

I’m preparing some slides for an upcoming talk (on climate policy, yowza!). The attached is an effort to show in a readily understandable way the mind-bending scale of the energy challenge associated with deep decarbonization. What do you think?

This graph of global fossil fuel consumption tells the true story: green efforts to reduce fossil fuel use have not succeed with any impact at all. With a 57% increase in fossil fuel use since 1992, their efforts have been completely without effect.

Be sure to save this post URL and share it widely to those that think they have “made a difference”.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

What keeps Earth warm – the greenhouse effect or something else?

The fake two degree political limit on global warming

It is a prime tenet of global warming alarmism that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to “limit the increase in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels, or risk hitting a tipping point where the impact becomes irreversible” and all hell will break loose. This two-degree number has been adopted by the IPCC and by many governments, and is the primary goal of the Paris Climate Accord (in addition to extracting money from developed nations).

Does that number, two degrees Celsius, have any basis in science? Here is some history on how it developed (graphic from Carbon Brief).

It seems that the number was accepted without much question. Where did the number come from? Emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) based at the University of East Anglia during “Climategate” revealed that Dr. Phil Jones, head of CRU, inadvertently admitted that the number was “plucked out of thin air” and has no basis in science.

In this context, “pre-industrial levels” means prior to the year 1850 which marked the end of the “Little Ice Age.” The globe has been warming (on and off) from that since 1850.

And guess what? According to the Berkeley Earth global average surface air temperature record, Earth has already warmed more than two degrees Celsius since the early 1800’s pre-industrial levels. (Source) See any irreversible tipping points yet?

Let’s examine Earth’s temperature history of the past 600 million years to see if two degrees Celsius is a big deal in Earth’s history. Estimates of temperature and CO2 content are based on geologic, biologic, and isotopic evidence.

Sources for figure above:

Berner, R.A. and Kothavala, Z, 2001, GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204.

Scotese, C.R., http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Notice in the figure above that for most of the past 600 millions years, global temperatures have been 5- to 12 degrees Celsius higher than they are now, i.e. a warmer world is the norm. There has been no “run-away” warming and life has been robust and flourishing, especially during the steamy Cretaceous Period when global temperatures are estimated to have been at least 12 degrees Celsius higher than now.

Dear politicians, the two degrees Celsius goal is a political one, not a scientific one. No matter what you do, you cannot stop climate change. Adapt to it and stop wasting trillions of dollars on this unnecessary and futile effort.

“The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” — James Hansen, “Climate forcings in the Industrial era”, PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

“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.

While controlling emissions from burning fossil fuels may have some beneficial effects on air quality, it will have no measurable effect on climate. It will have great detrimental effects on the economy and our standard of living. The greatest danger of climate change is that politicians think they can stop it.

See also:

Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

“Climategate” comes back to bite the University of Arizona

“The University of Arizona has been ordered to surrender emails by two UA scientists that a group claims will help prove that theories about human-caused climate change are false and part of a conspiracy.” (Arizona Daily Star) The professors involved are Malcolm Hughes, who is still with the UA, and Jonathan Overpeck, who left earlier this year.

The backstory begins in 2009:

In 2009, it was revealed that someone hacked in to the files of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) based at the University of East Anglia, in England. The CRU has been a major proponent of anthropogenic global warming and a principal in report preparation for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

More than 1,000 internal emails and several reports from CRU have been posted on the internet and the blogosphere had gone wild with the implications of the revealed messages. Dr. Phil Jones, head of CRU, confirmed that his organization has been hacked and that the emails are accurate. This disclosure did not include any Emails at other institutions such as Penn State or the University of Arizona.

The emails reveal a concerted effort on the part of a small group of scientists to manipulate data, suppress dissent, and foil the dissemination of the information by “losing” data and skirting Britain’s Freedom of Information Act. The emails reveal that the contention of dangerous human-induced global warming is not supported by the data, that those supporting that contention knew it, and sought to control the discussion so as to hide the unreliable nature of what they were claiming.

Part of the controversy involved the infamous “hock stick” graph devised by Michael Mann of Penn State and subsequently adopted by the IPCC.

In the “battle of the graphs” the bottom panel shows temperatures based on proxy data and measurements. It shows that the Medieval Warm Period of 1,000 years ago was much warmer than now. Mann’s hockey stick did away with the Medieval Warm Period and showed only a large spike of recent warming – hence the name “hockey stick”. The “hockey stick” made its debut in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in 1999 in a paper by Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes that built upon a 1998 paper by the same authors in the journal Nature which detailed the methodology for creating a proxy temperature reconstruction.

There are problems with the Hockey Stick according to Canadian researchers Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. “The first mistake made by Mann et al. and copied by the UN in 2001 lay in the choice of proxy data. The UN’s 1996 report had recommended against reliance upon bristlecone pines as proxies for reconstructing temperature because 20th-century carbon-dioxide fertilization accelerated annual growth and caused a false appearance of exceptional recent warming. Notwithstanding the warning against reliance upon bristlecones in UN 1996, Mann et al. had relied chiefly upon a series of bristlecone-pine datasets for their reconstruction of medieval temperatures. Worse, their statistical model had given the bristlecone-pine data sets 390 times more prominence than the other datasets they had used.

Furthermore, the statistical algorithms in Mann et al. where shown to be flawed. McIntyre ran the Mann’s algorithm 10,000 times, having replaced all palaeoclimatological data with randomly-generated, electronic “red noise”. They found that, even with this entirely random data, altogether unconnected with the temperature record, the model nearly always constructed a “hockey stick” curve similar to that in the UN’s 2001 report.” (See their detailed report)

Mann had another problem. Their proxy data began to rise, but then took a plunge into cooler temperatures. They hid this decline by truncating the proxy data and substituting rising measured temperatures without telling anyone. This became known as “Mike’s Nature Trick”. (Read more)

One other incident: In my article A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists I posed this question: “What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” In a public forum, I had the opportunity to pose this question to then UofA professor Jonathan Overpeck. He could not cite any supporting physical evidence.

 

Effects of global warming on human health

The EPA’s “endangerment finding” classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant and claimed that global warming will have adverse effects on human health. Real research says the opposite: cold is deadlier.  The scientific evidence shows that warming is good for health. This is discussed in detail in chapter 7 of Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts published by the Heartland Institute. See links to the entire publication at: http://climatechangereconsidered.org/climate-change-reconsidered-ii-biological-impacts/

Here are the key findings based on extensive review of the scientific literature:

• Warmer temperatures lead to a net decrease in temperature-related mortality, including deaths associated with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and strokes. The evidence of this benefit comes from research conducted in every major country of the world.

• In the United States the average person who died because of cold temperature exposure lost in excess of 10 years of potential life, whereas the average person who died because of hot temperature exposure likely lost no more than a few days or weeks of life.

• Some 4,600 deaths are delayed each year as people in the U.S. move from cold northeastern states to warm southwestern states. Between 3 and 7% of the gains in longevity experienced by the U.S. population over the past three decades is due simply to people moving to warmer states.

• Cold-related deaths are far more numerous than heat-related deaths in the United States, Europe, and almost all countries outside the tropics. Coronary and cerebral thrombosis account for about half of all cold-related mortality.

• Global warming is reducing the incidence of cardiovascular diseases related to low temperatures and wintry weather by a much greater degree than it increases the incidence of cardiovascular diseases associated with high temperatures and summer heat waves.

• The adverse health impacts of cold temperatures, especially with respect to respiratory health, are more significant than those of high temperatures in many parts of the world, including Spain, Canada, Shanghai, and Taiwan. In the subtropical island of Taiwan, for example, researchers found low minimum temperatures were the strongest risk factor associated with outpatient visits for respiratory diseases.

• A vast body of scientific examination and research contradict the claim that malaria will expand across the globe and intensify as a result of CO2-induced warming.

• Concerns over large increases in vector-borne diseases such as dengue as a result of rising temperatures are unfounded and unsupported by the scientific literature, as climatic indices are poor predictors for dengue disease.

• While climatic factors largely determine the geographical distribution of ticks, temperature and climate change are not among the significant factors determining the incidence of tick-borne diseases.

• The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is not only raising the productivity of Earth’s common food plants but also significantly increasing the quantity and potency of the many health-promoting substances found in their tissues, which are the ultimate sources of sustenance for essentially all animals and humans.

• Atmospheric CO2 enrichment positively impacts the production of numerous health-promoting substances found in medicinal or “health food” plants, and this phenomenon may have contributed to the increase in human life span that has occurred over the past century or so.

• There appears to be little reason to expect any significant CO2-induced increases in human health-harming substances produced by plants as the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration continues to rise.

Read the full report for details and supporting references.

For more background, see papers linked to in How Climate Has Affected Human History.

These papers show that humanity prospered during warm times (e.g. the Renaissance period) and suffered during cold times (e.g. the “Dark Ages”).

See also:

Dump EPA endangerment finding

Fourth National Climate Assessment is junk science

Fourth National Climate Assessment is junk science

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has just released the final version of its Fourth National Climate Assessment report, one that many were claiming that the Trump administration would suppress because, like its predecessors, it is mainly a political document rather than a true scientific assessment . You can read the full 477-page report here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/

The main conclusion is: “This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

The “extensive evidence” is based entirely on climate modeling rather than on observations. The results produced by models diverge widely from reality. The new report makes the same claims and invokes the same junk science as the previous 2014 report which I analyzed here: National Climate Assessment Lacks Physical Evidence.

As an example of unfounded claims made in the new report we see this statement in the executive summary: “Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent.”

But plots from the EPA and NOAA show that the most intense heat waves occurred in the 1930s.

 

Another example:

Claim in the report: “The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate changes, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.” This statement is technically correct but it represents cherry-picking and lying by omission.

The National Interagency Fire Center has a table listing the number of fires and acreage burned from 1960 through 2016 (see: https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html ).

We see from the table that there were 18,229 fires reported in 1983 which increased to 67,743 fires reported in 2016. What the report doesn’t mention is that the number of fires from 1960 to 1982 were all in the six figure range, e.g., in 1960 there were 103,387 fires and in 1981 there were 249,370 fires. The number dropped to 174,755 fires in 1982.

Fire frequency does not necessarily increase with warming. In many parts of the world, fire frequency decreases with warming. See my post “Wildfires And Warming – relationship not so clear.”

A third example of unfounded claims:

Section 2.6.1 of the report discusses the “greenhouse effect.” They claim: “As increasing GHG [greenhouse gases] concentrations warm the atmosphere, tropospheric water vapor concentrations increase, thereby amplifying the warming effect.” Climate models depend on this assumption. But NOAA’s own data show that global humidity has been decreasing with warming.

Comments by others:

Theoretical physicist Steve Koonin has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “A Deceptive New Report on Climate.”

Koonin was undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term and is director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. The WSJ article is pay-walled but you can read extensive excerpts here.

Among his comments:

One notable example of alarm-raising is the description of sea-level rise, one of the greatest climate concerns. The report ominously notes that while global sea level rose an average 0.05 inch a year during most of the 20th century, it has risen at about twice that rate since 1993. But it fails to mention that the rate fluctuated by comparable amounts several times during the 20th century. The same research papers the report cites show that recent rates are statistically indistinguishable from peak rates earlier in the 20th century, when human influences on the climate were much smaller. The report thus misleads by omission.

Note: The rate of sea level rise and fall tends to be cyclical on decadal and bi-decadal periods. See my article: The Sea Level Scam.

Koonin also comments on heat waves: The report’s executive summary declares that U.S. heat waves have become more common since the mid-1960s, although acknowledging the 1930s Dust Bowl as the peak period for extreme heat. Yet buried deep in the report is a figure [6.3] showing that heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900.

Comments by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and former program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Virginia for 30 years. Read full post “What You Won’t Find in the New National Climate Assessment.”

Under the U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990, the federal government has been charged with producing large National Climate Assessments (NCA), and today the most recent iteration has arrived. It is typical of these sorts of documents–much about how the future of mankind is doomed to suffer through increasingly erratic weather and other tribulations. It’s also missing a few tidbits of information that convincingly argue that everything in it with regard to upcoming 21st century climate needs to be taken with a mountain of salt.

The projections in the NCA are all based upon climate models. If there is something big that is systematically wrong with them, then the projections aren’t worth making or believing.

The report does not tell you that:

1) Climate model predictions of global temperature diverge widely from observations.

2) No hot spot over tropics: The models predict that there should have been a huge “hot spot” over the entire tropics, which is a bit less than 40% of the globe’s surface. Halfway up through the atmosphere (by pressure), or at 500 hPa, the predicted warming is also twice what is being observed, and further up, the prediction is for seven times more warming than is being observed.

The importance of this is paramount. The vertical distribution of temperature in the tropics is central to the formation of precipitation.

Missing the tropical hot spot provokes an additional cascade of errors. A vast amount of the moisture that forms precipitation here originates in the tropics. Getting that wrong trashes the precipitation forecast, with additional downstream consequences, this time for temperature.

When the sun shines over a wet surface, the vast majority of its incoming energy is shunted towards the evaporation of water rather than direct heating of the surface. This is why in the hottest month in Manaus, Brazil, in the middle of the tropical rainforest and only three degrees from the equator, high temperatures average only 91 F (not appreciably different than humid Washington, DC’s 88 F). To appreciate the effect of water on surface heating of land areas, high temperatures in July in bone-dry Death Valley average 117 F.

Getting the surface temperature wrong will have additional consequences for vegetation and agriculture. In general, a wetter U.S. is one of bumper crops and good water supplies out west from winter snows, hardly the picture painted in the National Assessment.

If the government is going to spend time and our money on producing another assessment report, that report should be based on empirical evidence, not climate models. Note that USGCRP is a conglomeration of 13 federal agencies that had a 2016 budget of $2.6 billion for the climate assessment project. Did you get your money’s worth?

Climate modelers make some outlandish predictions, but occasionally there is a glimmer of honesty:

“The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” — James Hansen, “Climate forcings in the Industrial era”, PNAS, Vol. 95, Issue 22, 12753-12758, October 27, 1998.

“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.

And remember: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken

One other point:

Temperatures recorded by the US Climate Reference Network (USCRN) show no statistically significant trend since this network was established in 2004. This data is from state-of-the-art ultra-reliable triple redundant weather stations placed on pristine environments. As a result, these temperature data need none of the adjustments that plague the older surface temperature networks, such as USHCN and GHCN, which have been heavily adjusted to attempt corrections for a wide variety of biases. Using NOAA’s own USCRN data, which eliminates all of the squabbles over the accuracy of and the adjustment of temperature data, we can get a clear plot of pristine surface data.

 

BACKGROUND:

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

USGCRP Science?
What is now called the USGCRP has a murky, politicized past. It was established in 1989 and mandated by Congress in 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” It is to produce a National Climate Assessment every four year. Since 1990, it has produced four reports. The last full report, the 3rd National Climate Assessment, was in May 2014. Apparently, after the election of Mr. Trump, the USGCRP decided on the CSSR, released last week. As with prior NSGCRP reports, it ignores the “natural processes of global change”, which is part of its Congressional mandate.

Such political games are part of USGCRP’s established history. After the election of Mr. Bush, in 2000, under a prior name, the USGCRP released the 2000 U.S. National Assessment of Climate Change report. As shown in the 2008 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel for Climate Change (NIPCC) (Fig 16 & pp 14 to 16), the government report had projections / predictions that were nonsense. The government entity had two different climate models for climate change to 2090, which produced dramatically different results for perception, by regions. The worst example was for the Red River watershed in the Dakotas and Minnesota. One model had a precipitation drop of about 80%, turning the region into a desert, the second model had a precipitation increase of about 80%, resulting in dramatic flooding. The disparity between two models is but one example how inadequately tested global climate models may be used to project / predict almost anything. The federal courts found that the 2000 report did not meet the standards of the Data Quality Act, also called the Information Quality Act. The recent reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the USGCRP have tried to cover up the disparities in the results of their global climate models by blending them into an ensemble. Usually, there are too few runs of any model to establish realistic forecasts for that model. The forecasts change with each run.

Further, the major problem remains, the models are not adequately tested to be used to form government policies on global warming / climate change. As comments by Patrick Michaels carried in last week’s TWTW illustrate, USGCRP ignores the existence of the important problem between the forecasts of atmospheric temperature trends by the global climate models with actual atmospheric temperature trends. The USGCRP ignores physical science.

 

For background reading:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

Analysis of the National Climate Assessment Report 2014

Trump, the National Climate Assessment report, and fake news 2017