May 9, 2012

No sea level rise catastrophe?

Filed under: Climate History

As one of the central tenets of climate change catastrophe involves inundation by rapidly rising seas, we like to visit the issue from time to time here at World Climate Report. Interestingly, or perhaps some may prefer predictably, we usually are able to uncover plenty of science that indicates that the situation is not nearly so dire.

More evidence of this was published this week in Science magazine.

A paper by Twila Moon, Ian Joughin, Ben Smith, and Ian Howat titled “21st Century Evolution of Greenland Outlet Glacier Velocities” examined the flow characteristics from nearly 200 glaciers across Greenland for the period 2000-2010 as analyzed using synthetic aperture radar data collected from various satellites. Moon and colleagues assessed changes in the flow rate of each of the glaciers.

And what they found—much like what is found whenever the climate system is examined in detail rather than painted with a broad brush—was that the patterns of flow rate changes across Greenland were complex, both in space and time. Glaciers that were accelerating during a few years were found to be decelerating in others. Some accelerating glaciers were found in close proximity to other glaciers that were decelerating. The authors hypothesize that a variety of local factors are important in controlling the flow rate of individual glaciers including “fjord, glacier, and bed geometry,” “local climate” and “small-scale ocean water flow and terminus sea ice conditions.”


April 20, 2011

Climate Coup

We are pleased to announce the latest addition to our blogroll category of “Books”—that being Climate Coup: Global Warming’s Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives—a fine publication edited by our own Dr. Patrick J. Michaels.

Climate Coup is published by the Cato Institute and is available through Cato or through Amazon.

Here is how the Cato Institute describes Climate Coup:

Global warming alarmism is invading nearly every aspect of our society. Despite convincing evidence that climate change does not portend an apocalyptic future, children are inundated with that idea in schools. Poor countries shake down rich ones in the name of climate “justice.” Lawmakers try to impose tariffs and sanctions on nations that don’t agree with their environmental views. The military uses climate change as a reason to enlarge its budget. And courts are compelling the government to restrict the amount of energy we use and the way we use it.

Climate Coup provides an antidote to this, gathering together myth-breaking insights and data from a team of experts on the pervasive influence global warming alarmism is having on health, education, law, national defense, international development, trade, and academic publishing.

”Global warming’s reach has become ubiquitous,” writes the editor, Patrick Michaels. “This book documents how far unelected bureaucracies have pushed this issue into our lives.”

Each author details the width and depth of the impact global warming alarmism is having on his or her area of expertise. The coverage includes:

-How the Constitution’s limited government restraints have been torn away, allowing global warming policy to be dictated by the president.

-The deliberate abdication of legislative authority by Congress to further concentrate regulatory power in the executive and judicial branches.

-How outrageous exaggerations of global warming fuel budget expansion within the Defense Department.

-How students are subjected to forms of climate change education that are akin to social engineering.

-How trade policies do nothing about climate change but erode market freedoms.

-Ending the myth that global warming reduces the quality of life in developing countries.

-An examination of the unrealistic and unsupported public health claims made about global warming.

Climate Coup confronts the exaggerations, opportunism, and myths about global warming that are all too pervasively altering the shape of our lives and provides the tools and insights necessary to push back against the takeover.

Climate Coup is edited by Dr. Patrick Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. According to Cato, “Dr. Michaels is widely acknowledged by climate alarmists as today’s most effective synthesizer of the nonapocalyptic view of climate change. He is a distinguished senior fellow in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has also authored multiple books on global warming, including Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.”

Climate Coup includes individual chapters contributed by:

Roger Pilon
Evan Turgeon
Ross McKitrick
Ivan Eland
Sallie James
Indur M. Goklany
Robert E. Davis
Neal McCluskey

For those interested in hearing more about what Climate Coup is all about, the Cato Institute is hosting a Book Forum on Wednesday May 4, 2011. The Book Forum will be streamed on-line, and will feature speakers Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, MIT and Bob Ryan, Fellow and past president of the American Meteorological Society and meteorologist for WJLA / ABC 7 News. The discussion will be moderated by Patrick J. Michaels.

Be sure to tune in to see all the fun!

February 8, 2011

Mixing Politics into “Scientific” Papers

There is a paper in this week’s Science magazine by a long list of authors led by Ulf Büntgen from the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research that unabashedly throws political commentary into the conclusions of their scientific research paper (i.e., it is not an opinion piece).

The work largely is an unremarkable retelling of the climate social history of Western Europe over the past two millennia or so, with a rather remarkable conclusion.

Anyone familiar with the history of European civilization and how is has been shaped by climate—a story that has been well known for some 30 or 40 years (and probably longer)—will find little new in the Büntgen et al. work.

Factually, that is.

What will come as a surprise to climate history buffs is their take of this well-known story and its implication for the future.


July 15, 2010

Solar Control on Tibet’s Climate

We see many articles like the following two that show more evidence of a solar control on climate even at the regional scale.


May 11, 2010

A Rare Bird (or Whale) Indeed

A few years ago we identified what we termed the good for bad and bad for good paradigm of global warming impacts—that is, if some plant or animal species were generally regarded as being “good”—penguins, polar bears, butterflies, etc.—then global warming was supposed to do bad things to it. Conversely, if some type of plant or animal was generally viewed in a negative light—jellyfish, poison ivy, ragweed, etc.—then the publicized global warming impacts were, of course, positive.

Reporting anything to the contrary may have the unintended consequence of leading some people to think that global warming may not be so bad after all and may in fact have beneficial consequences. Which, of course, would violate rule No. 1 of the global warming alarmists’ playbook—human alteration to the global climate is B-A-D. Period.

Case and point, the Environmental Protection Agency in justifying its finding that greenhouse gases (GHGs) endanger the public health and welfare went to great pains to play up the negatives all the while downplaying the positive aspects of climate change. After all, you can’t very well justify regulating GHGs if they lead to benefits, now can you?

So, consequently, we rarely hear that something good comes about from climate change.

So, shiver me timbers, were we surprised to read this story from the wires:


April 28, 2010

In Defense of Humans

Imagine if the global annual average temperature were about 5°F colder than it is presently.

Not quite sure how to? OK, consider this: During the Little Ice Age—a period extending from about the 1500s to the mid-1800s and thought to be one of the coldest periods during the past 10,000 years or so—the earth’s average temperature may have been 2-3°F colder than present. Associated with the Little Ice Age are all sorts of human calamities—widespread crop failures, plagues, famines, population declines, glacial encroachments, etc. For a collection of descriptions of all the fun times that a colder climate brings, take a gander at the Wikipedia page on the Little Ice Age. After spending a few minutes there, you’ll see that these were not high times for humans.

Now, consider a temperature decline twice that much. That can’t be good.

Yet that’s apparently where we would be had human ingenuity not come along.

According to a new study just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the global climate would be about 5°F colder than present were it not for human carbon dioxide and methane emissions.



April 21, 2010

Earth Day 40

Filed under: Climate History

Commentary by Dr. Patrick J. Michaels

Isn’t it fitting that Earth Day, April 22, comes a mere week after the government rakes in all your money? That’s especially true this year, as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is readying a bipartisan effort to pick your pocket with a new energy tax to fight dreaded global warming.

In the last year we have seen Climategate, Copenhagen, EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide endangers human health and welfare, and the improbably large number of errors and gaffs found in the latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climategate clearly shows a pervasive attempt to paint, in the words of one of its tree ring experts, Keith Briffa, a “nice, tidy story” about global warming. In the same emails, Phil Jones, Briffa’s boss, wishes for global warming to resume so that he can be proven right. Some objectivity.


January 22, 2010

New Hampshire’s Tumbling Icons

Filed under: Climate History

Boy, it seems like it’s been a rough couple of years for New Hampshire, as far as natural wonders go.

First, back in 2003, the rocky outcropping that was known as Old Man of the Mountain—a natural wonder gracing both the state’s license plates, and state’s quarter, came crumbling down.

Now, another one of New Hampshire’s icons has fallen—that of the highest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the earth. Back in the spring of 1934, at the observing post atop New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington—the tallest mountain in the Presidential Range and one of the most prominent peaks in the eastern U.S.—a howling 231 mph (372 km/hr) wind speed was recorded. That observation has long stood as the answer to the trivia question as to the “official” fastest wind speed ever recorded.

Now, the World Meteorological Organization has just announced that that the non-tornado surface wind speed record has been broken—actually, the WMO announced that the record was broken back in 1996, but it is just now officially recognizing the observation.

Back on April 10 1996, tropical cyclone Olivia passed near Barrow Island, Australia, where a wind gust of 253 mph (408 km/hr) was recorded. The WMO’s panel of “experts in charge of global weather and climate extremes within the WMO Commission for Climatology” has just finished a review of that observation and decided that it was indeed accurate, and thus knocking Mt. Washington’s 1934 observation from the top of the list.

But, New Hampshire can rest assured, because the general weather at Barrow Island, Australia is rather pleasant, and therefore Mt Washington’s claim to be the “Home of World’s Worst Weather” still seems be pretty safe.

January 21, 2010

More or Less Intense Hurricanes?

[see update at bottom of post]

A new article has just been published in the January 22, 2010 issue of Science magazine which finds that there will be a large increase in the frequency of the strongest hurricanes in the Atlantic basin as the climate changes from increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. But a closer look at the results shows that this model-based result is produced by a hurricane model which under-simulates the frequency of strong storms in today’s climate. And that, despite the projected increase in intense hurricanes, the frequency of those storms projected by the model to occur by the end of the 21st century is considerably less than the frequency of intense hurricanes actually observed in the current climate. If the model doesn’t work for the present, why should we trust it for the future?


December 30, 2009

A Response to Mike Mann’s Washington Post Op-ed

On December 18th, the Washington Post ran an op-ed by Penn State’s Dr. Michael Mann—a central figure in the Climategate emails—arguing that the content of the released email “doesn’t alter evidence for climate change.”

But Dr. Mann is only coming at this from one side of the issue—that of the contents of the peer-reviewed literature. However, the Climategate emails contain ample evidence that the contents of the scientific literature were being influenced by an small group of researchers who sought to suppress ‘bad’ science—that is, science that they personally didn’t like. This is not the way things are supposed to work and has an unknown, but potentially large impact, which makes it virtually impossible to make valid assessments of the “evidence for climate change” based on the contents of the extant scientific literature.

An article posted at the new blog from the Science and Public Policy Institute discusses this situation in a bit more detail and includes a letter-to-the-editor that never made its way into print at the Washington Post that makes the point that contrary to Dr. Mann’s assertions, the Climategate emails reveal that it is not so much what is in the literature that is important, but what is not in the literature.

And this situation represents a true disservice to climate science at large.

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