March 30, 2010

Southern Hemisphere Hurricanes – Not Changing?

Filed under: Climate Extremes, Hurricanes

Have you heard of all the hurricane activity going on right now in the Southern Hemisphere? We are moving into the hurricane season for the Southern Hemisphere, and if you haven’t heard much about it, the reason is that right now there is zero hurricane activity anywhere on the planet. Of course, there will be a hurricane in the Southern Hemisphere in the coming weeks, and some reporter will immediately invoke global warming – this is our guaranteed prediction!

The latest research on trends in hurricanes in the Southern Hemisphere comes from a team of seven scientists from Australia’s National Climate Centre and the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research. Kuleshov et al. begin with the usual proclamation that “Trends in tropical cyclone (TC) occurrences and intensity, and possible physical mechanisms for change, have been discussed widely in recent years.” That is an understatement – we at World Climate Report have posted no end of essays on the topic based on articles on the subject that seem to appear in the literature over and over. Kuleshov et al. review key articles suggesting a substantial increase in intense TC’s for the globe, the North Atlantic, and the northwest Pacific. However, they state “Other authors have rejected these findings, mainly on the basis of the argument that changes have been so great in observation technologies and analysis techniques that the reported changes are artificial, and not due to any actual trends.”


March 22, 2010

Sesame Street Revisited: Interviewing Vegetable Puppets about CO2

Filed under: Agriculture

Back in November, Sesame Street celebrated its 40 anniversary, and the show featured First Lady Michelle Obama talking to vegetable puppets about helping curb childhood obesity. The First Lady explained to three young children and two somewhat old muppets the logistics of planting and growing tomatoes, lettuce and carrots as part of her initiative to promote healthy eating. She mentioned that eating these vegetables can make the children big and strong. At the end of the show, the cabbage puppet told her “We think you’re great too” and then led the children in three cheers for the First Lady. Mrs. Obama said at the time of recording her appearance was “probably the best thing I’ve done so far in the White House.”

We at World Climate Report were so moved by this show that we decided to ask the vegetable puppets what would make them big and strong, and the answer we got in our exclusive interview was resoundingly … “higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)!”

There are 1,000s of articles in the professional literature showing the incredible biological benefits of CO2, so in honor of the Sesame Street’s 40th Anniversary, here is the latest on tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce and carrots.


March 17, 2010

Problems with the Permafrost?

Filed under: Arctic, Climate Changes

You’ve heard it a thousand times before – greenhouse gases are causing the Earth to warm, there is more warming in the Arctic than other parts of the planet, and the permafrost is melting away. Remind the world that permafrost holds carbon and methane that can be released into the atmosphere, throw in some pictures of a drunken forest (below), claim that the permafrost melting is some type of global warming time bomb, and you will be embraced by the global warming alarmists. Do a web search on the subject of global warming and permafrost melting for 1,000s of additional ideas.

Figure 1. “Drunken forest” undoubtedly caused by widespread melting of the permafrost?

We have covered the permafrost issue before, and over and over, this story seems to be far more complex than one might expect. A recent article in Global Change Biology is yet another addition to the complicated warming = melting of permafrost issue.


March 11, 2010

Americans’ Global Warming Concerns Continue to Drop

Filed under: Climate Politics

Or so reads the headline of the press release describing the results of Gallup’s annual update on Americans’ attitudes toward the environment.

Gallup summarizes their results this way:

Gallup’s annual update on Americans’ attitudes toward the environment shows a public that over the last two years has become less worried about the threat of global warming, less convinced that its effects are already happening, and more likely to believe that scientists themselves are uncertain about its occurrence.

One particularly interesting finding was this one, regarding a decline in the number of Americans who see global warming as a “serious threat.”


March 10, 2010

Baseball’s Back—With More Peanuts Than Ever

Filed under: Agriculture

For many citizens in the USA, this has been a winter for the ages. From no end of storms in the Southwest to record-breaking snow in the Northeast, this has been one long winter. But in Arizona and Florida, the boys of summer are dusting off their bats and balls and spring training is now underway. Fans are flocking back to the ballparks, and our consumption of peanuts is on the rise. American will eat more than 600 million pounds of peanuts this year at ballparks around the country (and elsewhere), we will eat over 700 million pounds of peanut butter, and we will spend over four billion dollars on our peanut habit.

What’s the climate change rub? Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are enhancing peanut productivity and protecting the crop from the harmful impacts of atmospheric pollutants such as ozone. Which means more peanuts to go around. So next time you raise your hand and call out “Hey Beerman, how about a cold one and jumbo bag of peanuts!” remember that elevated atmospheric CO2 is helping to keep your bag full.


March 5, 2010

European Storms

The winter of 2009-2010 has produced its fair share of winter storms in the Northern Hemisphere – recall that President Obama arrived back in Washington from his appearance at the Copenhagen climate conference only to find the White House grounds buried under near-record amounts of snow. Europe and Asia have seen their share of large winter storms as well during the 2009-2010 winter. Hardly a large storm goes by without someone, somewhere suggesting that whatever we are seeing, it is related to “climate change”. If one looked no further than the Technical Summary of the IPCC, they would discover that the IPCC is rather quiet on this subject with no claims whatsoever that winter storms will increase in frequency, magnitude, duration, or intensity due to the ongoing changes in atmospheric composition.

Two new articles are out that further confirm that global warming has not and will not be causing mid-latitude winter storms to become some new destructive result of the greenhouse effect.


March 2, 2010

Most of the Observed Warming since the Mid-20th Century Likely Not from Human GHG Emissions?

Filed under: Temperature History

A few weeks ago, over at the blog, WCR’s Chip Knappenberger took a look at just how confident one should be regarding the amount of warming that anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have caused since the mid-20th century.

The IPCC claims that it is “very likely” that “most” of the warming since then has been the result of human GHG emissions. In IPCC parlance, “very likely” means with a greater than 90% likelihood. The EPA parrots the IPCC’s claim in the Technical Support Document for their Endangerment Finding (TSD, p. 2):

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations.

But, in his article, Knappenberger shows that this statement is not supported by recent findings in the scientific literature—findings that have appeared in the literature subsequent to the publication of the IPCC’s statement. He concluded that the IPCC’s statement—especially the likelihood designation—should be re-evaluated in light of what we know now.

In some sense, however, Knappenberger’s analysis did not go far enough. While he used middle-of-the-road estimates for the warming influence of some non-GHG factors, in some cases he was being too conservative—like when it comes to the non-climatic influences on local thermometers—and, further, he failed to include a potential impact from solar changes.

So here, we take Knappenberger’s analysis a bit further, and show that it is easy to demonstrate, using the contents of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, that anthropogenic GHG emissions could be responsible for less than one-third of the warming in the extant global temperature records.


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