Bad news for warmists: Sun has entered ‘weakest solar cycle in a century’

The conceit that human production of carbon dioxide is capable of driving the earth’s climate is running smack into the sun. CO2 accounts for a mere 0.039% of the atmosphere, while the sun accounts for 99.86% of all of the mass in our entire solar system. And Ol’ Sol is not taking the insult lightly. Vencore Weather reports:

For the past 5 days, solar activity has been very low and one measure of solar activity – its X-ray output – has basically flatlined in recent days (plot below courtesy NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center). Not since cycle 14 peaked in February 1906 has there been a solar cycle with fewer sunspots.


We are currently more than six years into Solar Cycle 24 and today the sun is virtually spotless despite the fact that we are still in what is considered to be its solar maximum phase. Solar cycle 24 began after an unusually deep solar minimum that lasted from 2007 to 2009 which included more spotless days on the sun compared to any minimum in almost a century.


There are several possible consequences to the solar quiet. The first is counterintuitive:

By all Earth-based measures of geomagnetic and geoeffective solar activity, this cycle has been extremely quiet. However, while a weak solar cycle does suggest strong solar storms will occur less often than during stronger and more active cycles, it does not rule them out entirely. In fact, the famous Carrington Event of 1859 occurred during a weak solar cycle (#10) []. In addition, there is some evidence that most large events such as strong solar flares and significant geomagnetic storms tend to occur in the declining phase of the solar cycle. In other words, there is still a chance for significant solar activity in the months and years ahead.

Our dependence on electronic devices is such that extreme solar events could have serious consequences.  However, it is the likely impact on atmospheric temperatures that threatens the “consensus” on global warming:

…if history is a guide, it is safe to say that weak solar activity for a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on global temperatures in the troposphere which is the bottom-most layer of Earth’s atmosphere – and where we all live. There have been two notable historical periods with decades-long episodes of low solar activity. The first period is known as the “Maunder Minimum”, named after the solar astronomer Edward Maunder, and it lasted from around 1645 to 1715. The second one is referred to as the “Dalton Minimum”, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, and it lasted from about 1790 to 1830. Both of these historical periods coincided with below-normal global temperatures in an era now referred to by many as the “Little Ice Age”. In addition, research studies in just the past couple of decades have found a complicated relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays, and clouds on Earth. This research suggests that in times of low solar activity where solar winds are typically weak; more cosmic rays reach the Earth’s atmosphere which, in turn, has been found to lead to an increase in certain types of clouds that can act to cool the Earth.

It is common sense to believe that the sun has more influence on global temperatures than a trace gas. With a 17 year “pause” in the predicted outcomes of an increase in atmospheric CO2, warmists face more and more awkward questions. If temperatures actually decline as a result of an expected decrease in solar activity, at some point the game will be up, and the billions of dollars a year squandered on climate modeling that doesn’t predict what happens will have to dry up.


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Antarctic Volcano Mount Erebus “Wakes Up”

erebus jan 2015Major volcanic eruptions, such as the recent one in Iceland, capture our imagination and make worldwide news headlines. Conversely, moderate volcanic activity is typically uninteresting to the public and therefore never makes media headlines, with one important exception….volcanic activity in Antarctica.

Antarctica’s Mount Erebus cleared its magma-swollen throat on December 5, 2014, as evidenced by the occurrence of multiple earthquakes and increased volcanic activity within its massive 12,448-foot high summit (photo above). Erebus has maintained a moderate level of volcanic activity since fulltime monitoring began in 1972, punctuated by more active pulses (1984, 1993, 2001, 2005, and 2015).

When it was discovered in 1841 by polar explorer Sir James Clark Ross, it was noted to be erupting at that time. It was subsequently named after one of Ross’ two ships, the HMS Erebus. A second, albeit inactive, volcano found 19 miles west of Mount Erebus was named Mount Terror, after Ross’ second ship.

Since December 2014, earthquake swarms have continued unabated as Mount Erebus emits significantly greater amounts of heat and associated gases, frequently ejects small lava bombs, and provides  resident scientists and sightseers with frequent ash plume displays.

Volcanologists have utilized sound energy from Mount Erebus’ earthquakes to reconstruct a three-dimensional picture of the volcano’s magma chamber’s depth and extent. Research published in May of 2012 by New Mexico Tech shows that as of 2008 the main magma chamber was active (not dormant), likely at a shallow depth (approximately 4,000 feet below the summit), and more than a half-mile wide. Additionally, an earthquake sound imaging technique assisted in the mapping of the volcano’s internal guts, a complex network of deep faults. These faults connect to, and are part of, the giant West Antarctic Rift System. They act as conduits to feed lava upward and into Mount Erebus from deep mantle sources.

The West Antarctic Rift System is 3,000-mile long world-class “divergent” tectonic plate boundary that is literally ripping the Antarctic continent a part (Figure 1).

figure 1

Figure 1

A west-to-east crosscut view of the rift is shown in the Figure 2 seismic line. Seismic utilizes downward directed manually generated sound energy, typically using surface-based explosive dynamite charges, to generate an accurate picture of objects below the surface.

The seismic line clearly shows numerous deep faults associated with the Cape Roberts Rift Basin portion of the West Antarctic Rift System, fault connection to potential deep mantle heat and fluid sources, and the pull-a-part nature of the rift system (Figure 2).

figure 2

Figure 2

The power and extent of the West Antarctic Rift System is also exemplified by the recent and fortuitous discovery of several sub-glacial “active” volcanoes. In January 2010 and March 2011 scientists from Washington University and St Louis measured earthquake swarms 10 to 15 kilometers beneath thick glacial ice cover. These swarms are proven good mapping proxies for the geographic position and activity of deep sub-glacial volcanoes.

Even more telling is recent research that found distinctive volcanic eruption ash layers within Antarctic glacial ice cores dated at 23,000 and 45,000 years ago. These ash layers confirm the time and power of two major sub-glacial volcanic eruptions located along the West Antarctic Rift System, which triggered a sudden and massive heat flow release thereby melting huge quantities of overlying glacial ice.

This brief description of Antarctica’s volcanic history paints a very clear picture that the vast West Antarctic Rift and Volcanic System, including Mount Erebus, packs a tangible heat-flow punch.

The West Antarctic Rift System is responsible for other notable glacial melting and ocean heating events as summarized below and detailed in previous posting: (West Antarctica Ice Sheet Melting From Geothermal Heat, Not Global Warming).

1.) Thwaites Glacier Melting: University of Texas researchers recently published an extensive study that proves geologically induced sub-glacial geothermal heat flow is melting this glacier from below.

2.) Sub-glacial freshwater lake and stream hydraulic system: Significant amounts of research, sub-glacial wells, and observations have proven this system is widespread, interconnected, contains numerous hot springs, and most importantly, is associated with a West Antarctic Rift System heat source. This is an astounding discovery of major significance because it is yet another confirmation of the overlooked power and influence of regional geologically induced sub-glacial heat flow. The very recent discovery of several sub-glacial freshwater lakes in Greenland may just be well…the tip of the iceberg. Research has shown that basal geologically induced heat flow is present here as well (Greenland Ice Melt Geothermal, Not Manmade).

3.) Deep Ocean Rift Volcanoes: The West Antarctic Rift System continues both north and south of the continent into the deep ocean where it is actively emitting heat into and thereby warming the overlying ocean. Scientists continue to discover many of these deep ocean volcanoes. A very recent example is research done in 2011 that located deep submarine mountains just north of Antarctica (Figure 3).

figure 3

Figure 3

A chain of giant, undersea volcanoes has been found off Antarctica, scientists say.

All told a dozen previously unknown peaks were discovered beneath the waves—some up to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) tall, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

The volcanoes were found near the U.K. territories of the South Georgia Islands and South Sandwich Islands (see map) during a month long mapping expedition, which used multibeam sonar to fill in a 370-mile (600-kilometer) by 90-mile (150-kilometer) gap in existing seabed maps.

“It was amazing finding them,” said Phil Leat, a geologist volcanologist with the survey. “There were so many of these volcanoes we had no idea about.”

Also important is the fact that the still active volcanoes have hydrothermal vents (see video) that provide unique habitats for life, some of which might be analogous to organisms that might survive around hot springs on other worlds, such as Jupiter’s Europa.

In addition, the volcanoes’ rocky slopes provide excellent habitat for fish and other marine organisms.

“They’re almost like coral reefs,” Leat said.

“There’s no coral, but they are habitats for life. When we’ve looked in these areas before, we’ve found new species”

Connection to the giant West Antarctic Rift System is the key geological component that fuels Mount Erebus, and also numerous other Antarctic heating events. It is likely that on-going West Antarctic volcanism and related heat flow should be included as a prominent element of any theory that tries to explain Antarctic glacial melting.

Those supporting the global warming theory, NASA, NOAA, IPCC, and the Obama administration, have flooded the media with reports that rapid West Antarctic glacial melting is clearly and unequivocally caused by manmade global warming of the oceans and atmosphere.

Overwhelming amounts of credible evidence strongly indicates, if not proves, that geologically induced heat flow from the West Antarctic Rift System is melting glaciers from beneath. Rift System faults provide a conduit to deep mantle heat. This is the key geological component that fuels Mount Erebus, and numerous other Antarctic heating events.

An alternative reason for West Antarctic glacial melting is the Plate Climatology Theory (PCT), which provides plausible geological explanations that are testable, observable, and reproducible. While no theory is perfect (hence the term), PCT doesn’t rely on faulty computer models, the latter having failed miserably at predicting the lack of global warming for 18-plus years based on satellite observations.

The reawakening of Mount Erebus is just another piece in a nearly completed geological heat flow puzzle.

Wake Up! Join us by informing politicians and the media that you do not agree with the notion manmade global warming is the proven and consensus theory.

James Edward Kamis is a Geologist and AAPG member of 40 years and has always been fascinated by the connection between Geology and Climate. Years of research / observation have convinced him that the Earth’s Heat Flow Engine, which drives the outer crustal plates, is also an important driver of the Earth’s climate. To contact James directly, use the Contact Us page.


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You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

puppiesBut then most of us aren’t “climate scientists”, who have once again granted themselves permission to assemble a cavalcade of conjecture and omission and parade it as “evidence”, courtesy of the Australian Academy of Science. They do, however, care deeply about puppies and kittens.

The Australian Academy of Science  has hitched its wagon to the “climate change will kill kittens and puppies” school of science. This kittens-and-puppies theme was dreamed up by Harvard University’s Naomi Oreskes and endorsed by Academician and ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams — a device quite deliberately intended to make householders sit up, take notice and believe in the scariness of computer-model forecasts.

The Australian Academy of Science leadership on Monday (Feb. 16) rolled out its much-delayed booklet “Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers“, updating its 2010 version. Its website includes a three-minute video (below) of Academy luminaries such as astronomer Nobel winner Brian Schmidt saying scary stuff. [Comes at the :30 mark of the video below:]


The Academy has patched onto this video another clip called “Why people don’t believe in climate science” featuring a youthful Dr Joe Hanson — the geeky guy (pictured at right) who appears toward the end of the clip, borrowed from Public Broadcasting Service channel, the US near-equivalent of our own ABC. In Hanson’s full video (below), he psychoanalyses why ‘deniers’ stubbornly refuse to go along with climate religion, and how psychologists’ arsenal of brainwashing tricks can ensure the public gets an effective message. His advice comes at the 1:35 mark of the video below:


“Climate change is a gradual, impersonal thing, it always seems to live in the future. But if climate threatened [he drops his voice meaningfully] these puppies, wouldn’t you pay more attention?”

The three little brown puppies are on a tiny island and about to be drowned by the rising seas of climate change. They have long floppy ears, like my own spaniel, Natasha. Stop it, Academy of Science! You’re breaking my heart!

The puppies bring to mind the iconic and genuine pic of a polar bear sitting on top of a dissolving ice floe, which was supposed, by the likes of Al Gore, to represent proof the polar bear populations’ peril from climate change. The truth was otherwise, as the depicted polar bear was just doing what polar bears do, taking time out from crunching seals. As generally occurs with climate change ‘science’, the polar bears extinction meme was shown to be rubbish and bear populations are doing fine, thank you very much.

Anyway, the Academy’s new booklet will doubtless enjoy the same exposure among impressionable schoolchildren as the previous version (1 million-plus circulation). Teachers will cite it as holy writ.

Actually, the  peculiarities start on the first-page introduction by Academy president, Andrew Holmes, who cites sceptic scientist Bill Kininmonth as a reviewer of the draft paper. The wording implies that Kininmonth joined the consensus on the draft. He didn’t*.

Holmes, clearly not across his subject, also makes the claim that “enormous scientific progress has been made in our understanding of climate change‚Ä® and its causes and implications.” This progress is so “enormous” that, 34 years ago, climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 was assessed at 1.5 to 4.5 degrees. Today, after countless billions of dollars spent on further modelling and research, the IPCC estimate of climate sensitivity remains in the range of, yes, 1.5 to 4.5deg!

The low end means “nothing to worry about”. The high end means, “We’re all going to fry by 2100”.   Enormous progress indeed.

What’s the Academy line on the 18-year  atmospheric warming halt (which it pretends is only a 13-year “slowing”)? It merits a three-paragraph box on Page 10  in the 31 pages of text. The box is titled, “Has climate warming recently stopped?” This is at least at least more honest than the Academy’s 2010 “discussion”, in which it set up and knocked down a straw-man argument about whether the planet is “cooling”.

There are, so far, 66 different and often contradictory explanations in the warmist literature for the 18-year warming halt. About the only explanation not canvassed is that the CO2 control-knob theory is wrong.  So the Academy had a rich field to cherry-pick. Paragraph One on the hiatus says: “This slowdown is consistent with known climate variability. Indeed, decades of little or no temperature trend can be seen throughout the last century, superimposed on the long-term warming trend.”

This is cute, very cute. It pretends the halt was somehow foreseen or expected, when the 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports (and every warmist authority in the world) was predicting temperature doom and disaster from this decade on. The statement also alludes to the 30-year warming halt from 1940-70,  which the warmist community cannot explain. Perhaps another 30-year halt is under way?

Paragraph Two explains the halt by citing some desperate claims that the deep ocean is absorbing the (assumed) extra heat. Now let’s get real. The Argo buoy program since 2005 is the only decent ocean-testing apparatus and even then, there’s just one buoy per 200,000 cubic kilometres of ocean and that buoy drifts around, so its ability to test trends even in its 2000m depth range is hampered. Claims about tiny recent temperature changes in the deep ocean are a stretch.

One of the three studies cited in support of ‘the oceans ate my warming’ is Academy stalwart Matthew England and his claim that “wind-driven circulation in the Pacific” is what the hiatus is all about. The second claim is in a paper by Kevin Trenberth, “An apparent hiatus in global warming?” (Note the question mark).

Just for interest, this is the same Climategate Trenberth who emailed, in 2009,

“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

Moreover, Trenberth’s  2013 study about the mysterious deep oceans is in the very first issue of some new warmist journal called “Future Earth“. Not much of an academic track record for that journal, despite examinations of life-and-death topics such as “Closing the Gender Gap in Farming Under Climate Change“.

In his paper’s summary, Trenberth says the halt has only been on-going for ten years. (Can he count?). The paper’s summary says,

  • “Global warming continues but manifested in different ways
  • Natural variability is playing the major role in the hiatus, through the PDO  [Pacific decadal oscillation].”

The term “natural variability”, to warmists, means “stuff we can’t explain”.

On such a weak reed rests the most important part of the Academy paper, purportedly explaining the warming halt. The Academy three-para  box continues that the weak sun, aerosols and volcanos have been “temporary cooling factors” and tautologically, “None of these influences is likely to continue over the long term.” Another Trenberth paper is cited, “Model-based evidence of deep-ocean heat uptake during surface-temperature hiatus periods.” Apart from providing the useful clue that we’re talking computer games here, rather than observations, note the climate-science peculiarity that model output is described as  “evidence”.

The three paragraphs conclude with “Some models predict that, when the current slowdown ends, renewed warming will be rapid.”

A check on the cited footnote finds this lame conclusion is derived from the same Academy member, Matthew England, and from his same paper about “wind-driven circulation in the Pacific”.

Thus one paper, by a colleague of all the Academy authors, gets cited twice to back up two different conclusions.

Returning now to the start of the Academy paper, the first introductory paragraph suggests either sloppy drafting or ignorance. Referring to the past century’s warming, it says, “The best available evidence indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause. Continuing increases in greenhouse gases will produce further warming…”

The IPCC position, which the document is trying to endorse, is that human-generated CO2 is responsible for most of the past half-century’s warming. The Academy summary downgrades this to CO2 being the “main” cause —  which could mean much less than 51% responsibility for warming.

Well, guess what? That’s the sceptic position ‚Äì that CO2 is causing some, but not most, of the recent warming. An own-goal for the Academy warmists!

The Academy also needs some remedial education about the scientific process.  In the introduction, the Academy itself refers to   output from computer climate modeling as “evidence”, indeed, “compelling evidence”. I’m no scientist but even I know that observations, and not high-level computer-game outputs, are “evidence”.  Here’s the Academy:

“Climate models allow us‚Ä® to understand the causes of past climate changes, and to project climate change into the future.  Together with physical principles and knowledge of past variations, models provide compelling evidence that recent changes are due to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. They tell‚Ä® us that, unless greenhouse ‚Ä®gas emissions are reduced greatly and greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised, greenhouse warming will continue to increase.” (My emphasis)

Climate models weren’t de rigueur when Nobel physicist Richard Feynman was around, but he nailed it:

“It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is. It doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.”

So the IPCC (5th report) last year tested the warming cult’s computer modeling against observations, and found that 111 out of 114 model forecasts exaggerated the warming. Why are the models faulty? The IPCC has no idea:

… an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations [computer models]   reveals that 111 out of 114 realisations show a [temperature] trend over 1998‚Äì2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend [actual temperatures] ensemble. This difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing, and (c) model response error.   [chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769]

Moreover  (and you won’t find this in the Academy paper), even if you believe, wrongly, that 2014 was the hottest year on record, 2014 was yet another year where the deviation widened between the models’ hot forecasts and the actual cooler temperatures.

Still staying with the models, the Academy paper maintains the fiction that climate models accurately modeled all significant natural climate forcings in the recent past. This perfect, god-like knowledge enabled the modellers to attribute all residuals to human-caused CO2: that’s their ‘proof’ of the warmist hypothesis.

The Academy authors must have found it hard to carry off, with a straight face, this fiction of perfect knowledge.  The paper itself acknowledges that there are significant uncertainties in the impact of water vapor, clouds, aerosols, the carbon cycle, the sun, the catch-all “internal fluctuations” etc (the Academy doesn’t even mention the king-sized uncertainties about the influence of multi-decadal Pacific and Atlantic oscillations). And whatever ‘validation’ of the models occurred with respect to past temperatures, it was achieved by endless tweaking of parameters using the benefits of hindsight.

The document repeatedly asserts that the late 20th century warming is unprecedented in the past several thousand years. In fact, as any perusal of the global temperature record shows, the recent warming (now stalled) was not even unprecedented in the past century – the non-CO2 warming from 1900 to 1940 was just as strong as the late 20th century warming.

There are hundreds of peer-reviewed science papers suggesting the Medieval, Roman and Minoan non-CO2 warmings were as strong or stronger than today’s. But the Academy paper prefers to push the ‘unprecedented’ meme.

Note, also, that the Academy has never polled members about their views on the global-warming scare – that could be dangerous, as other scientific bodies have discovered.

The document instead distils the views of the small but influential group of Academy members who happen to be careerists in the $1 billion-a-day global-warming industry.

* Why has the Academy not included a contribution from its Fellow, Dr Tim Flannery, head of Australia’s  very important Climate Council? Tim, for a fat fee, could have done a section expanding on his prediction that this planet, this Gaia, will have acquired a brain and a nervous system. That will make it act as a living animal, as a living organism, at some sort of level.”

Tony Thomas blogs at No BS Here (I Hope)


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Coldest Temperatures In Years Blast U.S., Prompting Polar Vortex Chatter

articOnce again the relentless stretch of bitter cold battering Northeastern cities including Boston with record snow has many people wondering if the polar vortex is here.

On Monday morning, Boston experienced its coldest temperature since 2004, and New York City woke up to the coldest February morning in 28 years. Record cold temperatures were set from Ohio to Virginia, and all the way up to New England.

You may remember when the term polar vortex became popular last winter. The relentless and record-breaking cold experienced last year had many Americans looking for an explanation, and February of this year has been just as bad if not worse in many Northeastern cities.

Though the term makes good headlines, the truth is the polar vortex is still circulating near and around the North Pole where it’s almost always positioned. What much of the country is dealing with is a persistent chain of Arctic air masses plunging south into the continental U.S., a common situation for winter.

A majority of the time, the frigid cold experienced during the winter months is not related to the polar vortex. In fact, as the winter season progresses, the cold air masses to the north across Canada, are growing colder or “maturing”. As this happens, it also helps promote the likelihood of more frequent, and intense shots of Arctic air to move over the United States later in the winter season.

However, the arctic blast that is on the way for the second half of the week will likely be a case where the Arctic air moving in is directly influenced from part of the polar vortex itself.


The polar vortex has been known about and studied by the meteorological community for decades. It is an almost always present upper-level circulation that hangs out most of the of time around both the North and South Poles. The circulation is at it’s strongest during the winter months. It is not at the surface, nor is it an actual storm system. It is also not related to every push of cold air.

ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee says the polar jet stream is like a fence keeping the air influenced by the polar vortex in place. During the first week of January 2014, the polar jet stream was kinked enough to build a large ridge in the west and allow a lobe of the polar vortex to slip southward into Canada, greatly influencing the air that set records in the northern plains and Great Lakes.

Last year the northern Plains and Midwest were hit the hardest, but this year the pattern that set up has the trajectory of the coldest air focusing a bit more to the east.

Over the past several weeks, the jet stream has been locked in a similar pattern allowing for numerous shots of Arctic air to move right down from Canada.

Later this week, yet another blast of Arctic air will arrive, keeping temperatures well below normal through the end of the week across most of the eastern part of the country. A piece, or lobe of the polar vortex will displace itself father south in Canada and influence the bitter cold air moving in.

Looking ahead, there are no indications that this pattern will be changing, leaving the gate open for more blasts of Arctic air to plunge down from Canada. The next time major cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Boston can expect to reach above the freezing mark will be towards the end of the upcoming weekend. Forecast highs for this upcoming Sunday are currently in the mid to upper 30s.

However, this return to an average mid-late February feel will be short lived, as several additional shots of Arctic air look to be in store right through the end of the month and even into the first few days of March.

Story and graphics, video


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Warm in Seattle, but not because of global warming

seattleA beautiful sunset and highs near 60 degrees Monday in Seattle have some dreaming of summer and others screaming ‘global warming.’

Cliff Mass, professor or Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, explained that the warm, dry weather is actually due to a big area of high pressure, or ridge, over the West Coast. A trough, or low pressure, is sitting over the East Coast, which is buried in snow.

Mass said it’s been going on all winter where we’ve had either extreme dryness or periods of wet, warm conditions.

“The annual precipitation over the last winter has actually been close to normal,” said Mass.

Much to the relief of local ski resorts dealing with an abysmal snowpack, Mass predicts these conditions will last another month and then we’ll have a normal winter next year.

“We have an idea of what’s causing this. It has to do with the tropical sea surface temperatures that are kind of unusual and that causes a disturbance to propagate into the mid latitudes that produces this ridging in the west and troughing in the east. Based on previous experience, this kind of pattern will tend to fade out over about a year.”

Read rest…

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Are The Oceans Really Dying?

coral reefWhenever environmental doomsayers run out of arguments, they turn to the sea for hope ‚Äì or rather, fear. Fish stocks are collapsing, and if climate change doesn’t get us, ocean acidification will. But how true are these claims? The panic of popular science writers (and some scientists) notwithstanding, it appears many of the scares related to the oceans have been overblown. –Ivo Vegter, Daily Maverick, 16 February 2015

The scientific community plays an important role in identifying threats to human welfare and the environment, and in researching remedial actions. However, overstating threats or misattributing their causes leads to unwarranted public fear and to the misallocation of the scarce resources dedicated to mitigating these supposed dangers. If that isn’t enough of a deterrent to alarmism, there is the risk that scientists, and the media through which they often communicate, lose credibility, and become seen as the boy who cried wolf. –Ivo Vegter, Daily Maverick, 16 February 2015

Record-breaking cold has gripped the eastern United States while an icy winter storm crippled the nation’s central states. Federal offices in Washington, DC are closed today because of the poor weather. States of emergency have been  declared in North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, as well as in Washington, DC. —Reuters, 17 February 2015

Boston is having the second-coldest February in its history, according to the National Weather Service. The temperature has averaged 19.6 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than any year since 1934. Since it is so cold and miserable outside, I’ve been spending some time indoors, curled up in front of the computer watching comedy. No, not the 40th anniversary program of Saturday Night Live, but The New York Times newspaper coverage of climate change, which in this context is bitterly humorous. –Ira Stoll, Reason Online, 16 February 2015

Climate change enthusiast Bill Nye appeared on MSNBC, Monday, to lobby the network for more global warming cheerleading and the importance of linking all weather events to the phenomena. Talking to Joy Reid about the cold and snow hitting much of the country, he implored, “…Just say the word climate change. Just, like, ‘It could be climate change. It’s a possible connection to climate change. Is this evidence of climate change?'” Nye demanded, “Could you just toss that in now and then?” A compliant Reid agreed: “Absolutely. I would like to toss that in every single time.” –Scott Whitlock, Newsbusters, 16 February 2015

Dylan Evans, the author of The Utopia Experiment, was one of those oddballs who rather looked forward to the apocalypse, because it promised ‘challenging times ahead’. What Evans calls ‘preparing for the end of the world’ was in actuality deadly boring — getting fires going, keeping dry, trying to prevent small cuts from becoming infected and eating nothing save thick lentil soup. It soon became apparent that ‘the whole experiment had been a huge mistake’. Jittery, with a permanently wide-eyed expression and wanting only to kill himself, Evans was eventually detained under the Mental Health Act in a maximum security psychiatric hospital. Here the students of the mind explained to him that his project had been bonkers from the beginning. –Roger Lewis, The Spectator, 14 February 2015

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What to call a NYT reporter of climate science?

gillis lindzenThe title of Justin Gillis’ recent NYT article is an excellent tip-off of how bad environmental reporting has gotten:

What to Call a Doubter of Climate Change?

Now, as a skeptical PhD climate scientist who has been working and publishing in the climate field for over a quarter century, I can tell you I don’t know of any other skeptics who even “doubt climate change”.

The mere existence of climate change says nothing about causation. The climate system is always changing, and always will change. Most skeptics believe humans have at least some small role in that change, but tend to believe it might well be more natural than SUV-caused.

So, the title of the NYT article immediately betrays a bias in reporting which has become all too common. “He who frames the question wins the debate.”

What we skeptics are skeptical about is that the science has demonstrated with any level of certainty: (1) how much of recent warming has been manmade versus natural, or (2) whether any observed change in storms/droughts/floods is outside the realm of natural variability, that is, whether it too can be blamed on human activities.

But reporters routinely try to reframe the debate, telling us skeptics what we believe. Actually reporting in an accurate manner what we really believe does not suit their purpose. So (for example) Mr. Gillis did not use any quotes from Dr. John Christy in the above article, even though he was interviewed.

Mr. Gillis instead seems intent on making a story out of whether skeptical climate scientists should be even afforded the dignity of being called a “skeptic”, when what we really should be called is “deniers”.

You know — as evil as those who deny the Holocaust. (Yeah, we get the implication.)

He then goes on to malign the scientific character of Dr. Richard Lindzen (a Jew who is not entirely pleased with misplaced Holocaust imagery) because the majority of scientific opinion runs contrary to Dr. Lindzen, who is also a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences.

Do I need to remind Mr. Gillis that the cause(s) of climate change are much more difficult to establish than, say, the cause of stomach ulcers? There is only one climate system (patient) to study, but many millions of ulcer sufferers walking around.

And yet the medical research community was almost unanimous in their years of condemnation of Marshall and Warren, two Australian researchers who finally received the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine for establishing the bacterial basis for peptic ulcers, one of the most common diseases in the world.

Does Mr. Gillis really want to be a journalist? Or just impress his NYC friends?

The idea that the causes of climate change are now just as well established as gravity or the non-flatness of the Earth (or that ulcers are caused by too much stress and spicy food, too?) is so ridiculous that only young school children could be indoctrinated with such silly tripe.

Which, I fear, is just what is happening.


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Snowfall is Increasing in Vermont

vermont snowstormOver at the Vermont Watchdog, Bruce Parker has an article about how the “Vermont Public Interest Research Group says the Green Mountain State faces a future without snow if lawmakers don’t pass a carbon tax on gasoline and heating fuel.”

Of course, the trend in Vermont is towards more snow, not less.

Since records began in 1906-07, the Burlington climate sub-region — which dominates the Vermont landscape — has seen a highly (p<0.001) statistically significant increase in annual snowfall.


Three of the top four highest snowfall totals have taken place since the 2000-01 season, and four of the top five since 1992-93. The second highest total was just a few years ago in 2010-11.

Since 1970, there is effectively a perfect non-correlation in snowfall, and certainly no sign whatsoever of a declining trend. Over the past three decades, the correlation is positive towards more snowfall — not less — and it is nearly statistically significant.

Perhaps sometime in the future there will be no snow in Vermont, but historical trends are headed in the opposite direction.


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Mischief with factoids

cartoonFacts are facts, as any reputable scientist would tell you, and if someone tries to change them, like changing a pair of soiled pants, they risk embarrassing exposure. The global warming hysteria is premised on “facts” showing the earth is warming, but these “facts” have been repeatedly exposed as “factoids,” the playful invented word of novelist Norman Mailer, to describe something that is presented as fact, sounds like it could be a fact, but is actually not a fact. Surely imposing global restrictions on human activity, which would deny prosperity to the poorest among us, must be premised on something better than factoids.

Climate alarmists insist that weather stations worldwide indicate the planet is warming. Like a fire bell in the night, they cry in ever shriller tones that Earth is doomed, by man burning coal, oil and natural gas, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that trap the sun’s heat. Only the brave dare question the scam, because the science is settled. Facts are facts.

But factoids are not facts. Climate “scientists” have adjusted the facts to account for the effects of “urban heat islands” when readings that don’t match those of nearby weather stations. Such explanations for the cooked data might make sense, but the new figures reverse the original temperature trends. Paul Homewood, a skeptical researcher, found that in Paraguay, temperature readings for the 20th century at all nine weather stations supervised by NASA had been “adjusted” to transform a cooling trend into a warming trend. His analysis of readings in the Arctic found that rapid warming between 1920 and 1950 — before human activity could have increased the production of greenhouse gases — were adjusted downward so that the 1980s and ’90s temperatures would stand out as warmer.

Several instances of questionable temperature adjustments don’t necessarily prove deceit, but skeptics (climate change alarmists borrow Holocaust language to call these skeptics “climate change deniers”) rightly ask whether similar altered readings around the world are a deceptive numbers game. Even if such adjustments can be plausibly explained, they nevertheless raise the reasonable suspicion that facts have been molded into factoids. If the butcher must not “adjust” the scale with his thumb when figuring the price of salami, neither is it acceptable for climate scientists to adjust the facts to fit the global warming theory that could upend the global economy.

Christiana Figueres, the chief of climate-change research at the United Nations, boasted at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month that “this is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

This fits neatly into the scheme to replace free enterprise and the market economy with redistribution of wealth, and that requires replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy. This is the goal of holy-grail environmentalism: a global pact limiting the production of greenhouse gas, and an international Green Climate Fund that collects billions from developed nations and doles it out to feed bureaucracies in poorer countries to pay for “green” energy.

Socialism is often wrapped in the best of intentions, but when good intentions are not enough the good intentions give way to artful deceit. That’s the strategy for manipulating temperature data to frighten the world into accepting a new economic development model. Congress should exercise its oversight role with an investigation of NASA’s “temperature reading practices” to make sure they’re dealing in facts, not factoids.


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New chief meteorologist explains weather this winter

Weather front IdahoDean Hazen, the new meteorologist-in-chief of the Pocatello Weather Forecast Office, has spent his life analyzing climate patterns in numerous regions across the United States, including Florida, Oklahoma and California.

But he says Southeast Idaho is different than anywhere else.

“Every place has its own forecast challenges,” he said. “But this area is particularly difficult.”

Hazen said this difficulty is due to Idaho’s mountainous terrain and the state’s storm systems that originate in the Pacific Ocean.

“We have to work hard to determine our forecasts for the area,” he said. “Partly because the storms from the ocean can change so much before they hit us. Partly because there’s a lot of terrain for the storms to get through.”

Since the beginning of the year, Idaho has been in the midst of one of its warmest winters its seen in decades. The National Weather Service said multiple high temperature records were broken in January and February in Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Stanley and Challis, with snow precipitation levels well below the historical averages.

Is this warm weather the direct result of global warming and climate change? Hazen said no.

“You can’t make a direct link to global warming and one particular season,” he said.

He said the scientific reason for the unseasonably warm weather is due to a high pressure system that has predominantly settled over the West Coast and the Intermountain West over the past two years.

“Lately we’ve been seeing that whenever a storm comes in from the ocean, the high pressure system pushes it away from our area and towards the panhandle,” he said. “Then it moves south towards the plains, passing us by.”

On the flip side, Hazen said there’s been a low pressure system in the Midwest and the East Coast. He said this is why the eastern half of the country has been slammed this winter with freezing cold temperatures and blizzards, while most of the western half has been basking in unseasonably warm temperatures.

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Divestment ethics and realities

stockCollege students who support divestment of fossil fuel stocks are passionate about their cause. Just look at their word choices. Though they could never function even one week without hydrocarbon energy, they call fossil-fuel companies “rogue entities,” assert that oil, coal and natural gas interests have the “political process in shackles,” and believe most of the world’s known fossil fuel resources must “stay in the ground” to avoid “catastrophic global warming.” It’s a shortsighted view of energy ethics and corruption.  

Their over-heated hysteria over climate change is fanned by groups like and college professors who rehash doom-and-gloom forecasts about rising seas, dying species and other cataclysms that they insist can be remedied only by terminating fossil fuel use and investments in fossil fuel companies.

But in their lemming-like rush to glom onto claims that human carbon dioxide emissions will destroy life as we know it, they reveal an abysmal understanding of true science, our planet’s turbulent climate history, creative free markets, and what academia once proudly espoused: open, robust debate.

Of course, deceptive information is exceedingly useful to community organizers and agitators, particularly those who occupy Oval Offices, endowed chairs, government regulatory agencies and Big Green war rooms ‚Äì and want to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Bombarding impressionable students with such intellectually dishonest drivel is equally useful … and detestable. 

Just as bad, too many students devote their time and energy to divestment campaigns, when they should be learning and applying critical-thinking and ethical skills. Honest analysis reveals that divestment will have negligible to zero effects on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, climate change or energy company stock prices, even if every university in the country gave in to the students’ anti-fossil fuel pleas.

Indeed, college and university endowments are not large enough to create even a ripple in fossil fuel investments. A recent Bloomberg analysis found that university endowments have about $400 billion invested in stocks; the National Association of College and University Business Officers puts the figure at $456 billion. Of that, only about 2.1% was invested in fossil fuel stocks in 2010-2011. That is a pittance in the overall stock market, which was valued at some $18 trillion in 2012 and now is much larger. In fact, it amounts to only about 0.05% or a nickel out of every $100 – and any fossil fuel stocks sold by an endowment would be purchased by another investor almost immediately.

Moreover, fossil fuel stocks historically have been good investments for schools. A Sonecon study found that endowment investments in oil and natural gas equities in 2010-2011 provided returns of a whopping 52.8% – nearly twice the returns from all other U.S. publicly traded stocks, real estate securities and foreign equities. This fact is not lost on university presidents, who have a fiduciary duty to grow their endowments, to pay for student scholarships, new and remodeled facilities, and other expenditures that further their educational objectives.

American University trustees voted against divestment in November 2014, saying AU financial advisers “could not provide assurance that the effect of divestment would not be insignificant.” Actually, a recent Compass Lexecon analysis found that an  investment portfolio totally divested from fossil fuels lost 70 basis points and cost significantly more every year in management fees to keep them “fossil-free.”

When asked whether he would sell University of Colorado fossil fuel stocks, President Bruce Benson said flatly, “I’m not going to do that.” Similarly, Harvard University President Drew Faust rejected demands for divestment and reminded proponents that Harvard “exists to serve an academic mission.” Harvard must be “very wary of steps intended to instrumentalize our endowment in ways that would appear to position the University as a political actor, rather than an academic institution,” she stated.

Just as importantly, the world’s largest energy companies dwarf the likes of ExxonMobil and other U.S. firms ‚Äì but are owned by foreign governments and are not publicly traded. Caterwauling college kids at Stanford, Swarthmore and elsewhere will not cause companies to abandon what they do best: develop and produce fossil fuel energy for people who need them for jobs, living standards, health and welfare.

That raises this discussion’s most critical point, which is generally brushed aside by divestment advocates. These campaigns are part of a global anti-hydrocarbon crusade that would inflict enormous harm on working class families, and even worse consequences on Earth’s most destitute citizens.

In 2012, coal, oil and natural gas supplied 87% of the world’s energy, Worldwatch Institute figures show. Further, despite the Obama Administration’s war on coal, International Energy Agency data reveal that global coal usage is rising and by 2017 will likely supplant oil as the dominant energy resource.

Fossil fuel companies and their shareholders know traditional forms of energy will continue to power the world for the foreseeable future, because there are no viable alternatives. Solar, wind and other energy resources cannot supply enough energy to meet the world’s needs; they are not price competitive without huge subsidies; and they require fossil fuels and millions of acres to manufacture, install and operate.

Nor is it sufficient to claim anti-fossil fuel demands are well-intended, when the real-world consequences are so readily apparent and so easily predicted. In developed nations they cost jobs and degrade living standards, health, welfare and life spans. In poor countries they perpetuate electricity deprivation, unsafe water, disease, squalid environmental conditions, inability to adapt to climate changes, and early death.

To inject these vital ethical considerations and counter climate cataclysm concerns, students at a number of colleges and universities have launched Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACTcampus) chapters to promote free markets, less government intervention and regulation, and better lives for more people. Their motto is “scientific truth without the spin.”

The University of Minnesota chapter proclaims that “Western values of competition, progress, freedom and stewardship can and do offer the best hope for protecting not only the Earth and its wildlife, but even more importantly its people.” These sound science and “stewardship of creation” principles should guide discussions, debates and decisions on all campuses. So should accurate information about climate change.

Divestment activists often claim that climate science is settled. Far from it. The supposed connection between carbon dioxide and planetary temperature is far from proven. Indeed, contrary to alarmist forecasts and computer models, Earth’s temperature has not budged for 18 years, the United States has not been struck by a Category 3-5 hurricane for a record nine years, “extreme weather events” have not become more frequent or severe during the past 100 years, and other “crises” have not materialized.

Nevertheless, both NOAA and NASA, perpetual purveyors of scary climate headlines, have again used ground-based data to pronounce that 2014 was the hottest year on record. These temperature reports “are ridiculous,” say experts like Dr. Tim Ball, historical climatologist and former professor at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The measurements are taken mostly in always warmer urban areas, the raw data have been “adjusted,” “homogenized” and manipulated, and the alleged year-to-year differences are measured in hundredths of a degree ‚Äì a mere fraction of their margin of error!

Moreover, it is impossible to get accurate average global temperatures based on ground stations, because the data do not exist, Dr. Ball notes. “There are virtually no data for 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans, and practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest.” So NASA “just invents data” for these areas.

Unfortunately, instead of facts, campus politics will likely drive divestment demands this weekend (February 13-14), when college students demonstrate, hold sit-ins and organize flash mobs for Global Divestment Day. In many ways, to quote Macbeth, it will be “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” But for many people, the consequences could be dire ‚Äì or even deadly.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (,  author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

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Study: Climate Sceptics Know More About Climate Science Than Believers

cartoonIn my opinion no one … should close the road to free philosophizing about mundane and physical things, as if everything had already been discovered and revealed with certainty. Nor should it be considered rash not to be satisfied with those opinions which have become common. No one should be scorned in physical disputes for not holding to the opinions which happen to please other people best. ‚Äì-Galileo Galilei’s timeless warning in his famous Letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (1615)

Are global warming skeptics simply ignorant about climate science? Not so, says a forthcoming paper in the journal Advances in Political Psychology by Yale Professor Dan Kahan. He finds that skeptics score about the same (in fact slightly better) on climate science questions. The study asked 2,000 respondents nine questions about where they thought scientists stand on climate science. On average, skeptics got about 4.5 questions correct, whereas manmade warming believers got about 4 questions right. –Maxim Lott, Fox News, 12 February 2015

Scientists are facing a crisis of trust. Increasingly, Americans believe that what’s called science is actually political posturing. —Editorial, Mercury News, 13 February 2015

Global warming has been blamed for the Arab Spring, the current conflicts in Syria and Sudan, etc. They haven’t said anything about what’s going on in the Ukraine yet. A paper published in PNAS in 2009 bluntly declared that “Warming Increases The Risk of Civil War in Africa.” The problem is that the conflicts that are cited as examples of the phenomenon are located in areas known for both frequent conflict prior to the current warming period and for historical patterns of extreme climates similar to those seen today. It would appear that those believing that climate change is a contributor to conflict may be intuitively making sense, but they do not appear to have numbers on their side. —The Lukewarmer’s Way, 13 February 2015

There is much uncertainty in estimates about ocean warming and its changing heat content. Sea surface temperature (SST) have shown no significant trend since 1998 and possible explanations for it are many. Once ‚Äì when it was rising between the 1970s and the 1990s – SST was one of the prime metrics to measure ‘global warming’ deemed important because the greater heat capacity of the oceans would mean it would absorb more heat than the flighty atmosphere. When it became obvious that surface temperatures did not show the increases some expected it was replaced by ocean warming. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 10 February 2015

Encouraging progress at climate change talks points to the likelihood of an overall accord being reached at the Paris conference in December, but the deal is unlikely to adequately fight global warming, a top IPCC official said Sunday. Jean-Pascal Van Ypersal, the Belgian deputy vice president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told AFP: “I am optimistic. We will have an accord in Paris.” But the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to just two degrees Celsius remains elusive, and Van Ypersal said it appeared the world is not ready to do what is needed to deliver that essential target. –Christian Spillmann, Associated Press, 15 February 2015

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