Another member of the consensus group

January 29, 2010

Bin Laden Rebukes U.S. on Climate Change
By Jack Healy
New York Times:  January 30, 2010
The leader of Al Qaeda blamed developed countries for not halting climate change and said that the global economy should abandon its reliance on the American dollar.

Science in action

December 7, 2009

      

From the New York Times today, reporting on the Climate Summit in Copenhagen:

Still, speakers at the opening plenary which began with a slickly-produced video appeal from children across the world to save them from what looked like an apocalyptic future of deserts and rising seas aimed to spur negotiators forward.

Well, the apocalypse is always nigh.  Sample this, if you will:

…in the probing monograph, “Towards an Interpretation of the Drainage,” in which the author, Hilton Korngold, describes with disturbing calm the widespread deterioration of urban drainage systems in the Western World. In this work, Korngold writes:

We must arm ourselves with all the material and spiritual forces at our disposal to ensure that this crucial epoch is one of the transcendence into unity of Drainage and Drained or else our culture is doomed to destruction. Extrapolation from our present condition along the lines of Revelation yields a vision of Busting sewer mains and all waters of the world made as wormwood, unfit to drink. Mankind would be reduced to a primitive state of disunity, neighbor isolated from neighbor by vast surging cataracts of fluid, while the monument of our era’s accomplishments would gradually be submerged beneath festering pools of stagnant runoff. In this hell on earth all laws of sense will be overturned, men will go mad for lack of water to drink, sinks and cisterns will back up onto your floor instead of efficiently disposing of your wastes, and the Power of the Plumber will be null. Men in their frenzy of despair and disbelief will turn the evil upon themselves, building houses at the bottom of hills, in marshes, and along oozing gullys, while the Few Who Know will be the object of arrogant derision. And it is the folly of human inaction which will bring down on us this recapitulation of the Flood.*

More here and here.


Krug’s feet of clay…

October 24, 2009

Feet of clay

More on the theme of Paul Krugman going off the deep end after serving the country so well.  In a recent blog post of his, he weighs in on the lastest kerfluffle about climate change.  The guys who wrote the best-seller, Freakonomics, have a new book out with a chapter that is somewhat critical of the so-called consenus on human civilization causing the planet to get warmer.  He delivers himself of this ghastly howler, emphasis mine:

…not only that they didn’t check out the global cooling stuff, the stuff about solar panels, and all the other errors people have been pointing out, but that they didn’t even look into the debate sufficiently to realize what company they were placing themselves in.

No, it’s not his placing of the preposition at the end of the sentence that has my blood boiling.  It’s the idea that the way science should be done is by checking out who’s on what side of the controversy, and then joining the right team.  That’s politics, and people who can’t tell the difference shouldn’t be writing about this issue.

And by the way, I am trying to still admire Krug a little, but it’s getting hard.

“Feet of Clay,” by the way, comes from the Old Testament (Dan.2:31-32).


Medieval storm period

August 12, 2009

medieval storm

Also on NPR today, I heard a story about scientists reconstructing the record of hurricanes and severe storms over the last millenium or so.  It appears that the record year for hurricanes in 2005 (this season has been exceptionally quiet) is matched only by periods in the Middle Ages.

Aha, I thought!  The medieval warm period, the warm spell that AGW folks try to argue out existence.  If it did exist, it would raise the question of  “Is there anything special about the supposed warming of today?”

And if climate in the medieval period mirrors climate of today in some ways, including storm frequency, it would appear that like causes would be operating in both periods…and there certainly was not massive burning of fossil fuels in the Middle Ages.

Then this, emphasis added:

But the current period of intense hurricane activity differs from the medieval one in an important way, Mann says. Today’s storms are associated primarily with warmer ocean temperatures, rather than the influence of La Nina.

“We believe a substantial part of the reason for that anomalous recent warmth is in fact the human influence on climate,” Mann says.

There is still debate among scientists about the effect of warmer water on hurricanes. And skeptics say it could have been a coincidence that the medieval storms came during a period of warm water and La Nina conditions.

So what is it?  Warm water causes hurricanes, or it doesn’t?  If the medieval storms were during a period of warm waters, what warmed them?  Couldn’t the same thing warm them now?  If the water was warm then, and if the difference is that it’s warm now, isn’t that a contradiction?


Settled science..?

May 11, 2009

Order, order, order in the court!

IQ2U.S. sponsored a debate  (2007) on the global warming controversy: Resolved – global warming is not a crisis, for and against. In his opening statement against the proposition, Richard C.J. Somerville used the term settled science a few times to refer to the consensus on the AGW concept. Settled science..?

This term is an interesting example of the political nature of the debate on AGW. Settled law, is a term that is familiar to many from congressional hearings on supreme court justice nominees. Will the judge seek to overturn…Roe v. Wade? Is he an activist judge? Does he respect settled law, stare decisis? I think that AGW advocates are banking on the notion that many of their prospective supporters are politically liberal and will react positively to the settled law/science idea.

Well, there is no settled science. Scientists may mostly agree on something, or a theory may be generally accepted for so long that it seems settled, but all it takes is one set of observations to set the entire structure shaking. When Somerville talks of settled science, he really is saying, It’s done, over. Stop raising problems, you cranks. Shut up and sit down! Now, let’s make policy!!   Of course, he never actually addresses the objections.

A bit scary, very bureaucratic. A whiff of Stalinism. Come, come now, comarade. Comarade Stalin and Lysenko have made clear this point of genetics for years. Stop being an obstructionist, a wrecker!


Matthew 7:26 – Global Warming

May 4, 2009

foundation_of_sand

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

When it comes to projections of global climate change, garbage-in, garbage-out (GIGO).   The foundation of science is sound observation, good data.

  “Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?”

From the Executive Summary, emphasis added:

“Global warming is one of the most serious issues of our times. Some experts claim the rise in temperature during the past century was “unprecedented” and proof that immediate action to reduce human greenhouse gas emissions must begin. Other experts say the warming was very modest and the case for action has yet to be made.

The reliability of data used to document temperature trends is of great importance in this debate. We can’t know for sure if global warming is a problem if we can’t trust the data.

… Until now, no one had ever conducted a comprehensive review of the quality of the measurement environment of those stations.

… In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations – nearly 9 of every 10 – fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements that stations must be 30 meters (about 100 feet) or more away from an artificial heating or radiating/reflecting heat source.

In other words, 9 of every 10 stations are likely reporting higher or rising temperatures because they are badly sited.

It gets worse. We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.

The errors in the record exceed by a wide margin the purported rise in temperature of 0.7º C (about 1.2º F) during the twentieth century. Consequently, this record should not be cited as evidence of any trend in temperature that may have occurred across the U.S. during the past century. Since the U.S. record is thought to be “the best in the world,” it follows that the global database is likely similarly compromised and unreliable. …