Category Archives: Environment

Bikes and windmills

Wind… Gone with the Wind?

Amsterdam Cycle Chic

We see tourists walking through the Red Light District, queuing for the Anne Frank house and sitting in ‘coffeeshops’. But what we, ‘Amsterdammers’ don’t see is that a lot of them also leave the city to discover its surroundings and see a bit more of the Netherlands. One of the places they like to visit is the Zaanse Schans. And, by accident, I was there too on one of my cycle tours on a lazy sunny Sunday. And what I saw were windmills, many windmills, and bikes!

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The Heat Is On, And It’s Time To Prepare

By Evan Girvetz and Frank Lowenstein Whether you look globally or locally, the last several months featured heat, heat and more heat. And by looking at weather station records over the past 60 years, researchers led by renowned NASA scientist Jim Hansen show this is part of a new trend toward much warmer summers. Extremely […]/p

 

via The Heat Is On, And It’s Time To Prepare.

Watts Bitch Slaps BEST: New Research Indicates Global Warming May Be Overstated By 2 to 3X

The fabrication of global warming has been a real issue of contention in recent years with much proof of its existence – now with the help of the WMO agency, the proof is irrefutable, artificial warming is significant resulting in a robust overstatement of global warming trends

(click on images to enlarge, source)

Artificial global warming Best WATTS rural compliant sitesRead here. Watts et al. have released a new study that shows, without doubt, that temperature readings from U.S. climate weather stations have been severely contaminated by human factors that artificially increase the thermometer measurements. This research documents that between the contaminated measurements and NOAA’s exuberance to adjust all temperatures upward, the artificial warming may be 10 times higher than the actual background natural warming (read below).

Similarly, the global climate weather stations are most definitely likely affected in the same manner. The result would be that there is a huge overstatement of global warming. And that would mean the most recent release of the BEST research is significantly contaminated with bad data – the BEST research just got bitch slapped, big time. (For more bitch slapping, Ross McKitrick unloads with some significant whacks)

From the new Watts et al. study, we learn that by using new WMO-ISO standards  for the siting and classifications of weather stations, one can ascertain what factors at a station will produce non-contaminated temperature readings – these non-contaminated stations will produce results reflecting an actual background (be it from solar, cosmic, greenhouse gases, etc.) climate warming/cooling trend. Those factors would include:

1. A weather station that is placed in a true rural area, significantly away from any human materials and influences that would generate an artificial warming environment.

2. A weather station that is not placed at, or near, a rural airport.

3. A weather station that uses the latest MMTS thermometers sited and maintained in a compliant manner.

When these three simple conditions are met, the Watts team found that these high quality stations produced a decadal warming trend of +0.032C degrees – per century, that’s a warming of only one-third of a degree, which is a fraction of the “officially” reported U.S. warming (from above Powerpoint slide).

Artificial global warming BEST WATTS non-compliant sitesIn contrast, if the temperature dataset includes older thermometers that are poorly maintained, plus being sited in a non-compliant manner, plus being located at both urban and rural airports, the per century warming jumps to a 2.5 degrees per century trend (see adjacent Powerpoint slide) – that’s an artificial warming in excess of 7.5 times the compliant rural site using the latest MMTS technology.

Unfortunately, because of gross stupidity or gross negligence or other reasons, the U.S. climate research agencies have placed most climate weather stations in areas that are not truly rural in environment (especially the airports and urban locations); that are poorly sited by being too close to human materials and heat generating equipment; that are poorly maintained; and, that use older thermometer technology.

Compounding this problem are the subsequent “quality control” adjustments made by NOAA to the U.S. temperature weather station data. For example, NOAA will take an artificially high reading from a poorly maintained and sited station at an airport and adjust it upward (not lower); they then take the temperature reading from a nearby rural, perfectly sited and maintained thermometer and adjust its readings upward to match the previously adjusted temperature reading from the non-compliant airport location. This is how NOAA fabricates false warming trends across the entire U.S.

How false? Well, magically NOAA turns an inflated 2.5C degree per century trend into a 3.1C degree trend via their unique style of “quality control” adjustments (see 2nd Powerpoint slide above). That represents almost a 10 times increase over a perfectly sited, perfectly maintained rural climate weather station.

This is what Watts and associates discovered when applying the newest WMO-ISO standards/classification to the U.S. climate network and temperature dataset. The same issues that drastically increase a natural warming trend across the U.S. applies to the global climate network and temperature datasets.

This means that the current stated global warming trend is very likely to be overstated by at least 2 to 3 times (at some of the GHCN sites, the overstatement may reach 10 times greater too), including the new BEST global temperatures. Until BEST and the other climate research agencies apply the strictest WMO standards to their datasets, at best, the “significant” global warming they report is bogus, if not negligently fraudulent.

Conclusion: What the Watts‘ bitch slapping adequately demonstrates is that until BEST makes the requisite effort to remove the artificial warming from contaminated sites, their research presents no added-value over the results being produced by NOAA, NASA and UK Met Office (HadCRUT). It’s more of the same old, same old, using bad data that produces false global warming trends.

 

C3: Fabricating Fake Temperatures

Want to use a C3 chart? Policy here.  

The major climate agencies across the world have claimed that global warming is “unequivocal” yet there is this constant revisionism of historical temperatures to produce faux “global warming.” For sure, there has been unequivocal temperature fabrication.

Source here          Additional C3 Charts

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Global warming science facts noaa fake climate science fabricating temperatures

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NOAA Fabricates Global Warming

NOAA temperature fabrication since july 2011

NOAA temperature fabrication since December 2008

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Connect the dots global warming statistics manipulation 1

Connect the dots global warming statistics manipulation 2

Connect the dots global warming statistics manipulation 3

Connect the dots global warming statistics manipulation  4

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Arctic stations fake temperature fabrication

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GISS temperature fabrication Iceland

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Fabricating temperatures Kansas City

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Hansen Nasa Dublin Ireland fabricated temperatures

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Fabricating Iceland warming

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Nasa us temperatures 1999 james hansen fabrication

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NOAA Warming Fabrication 2011

NOAA Fabrication Warming Since 2008

NOAA Temp fabrication 2011 monthly adjs

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NCDC Global Temp Adjsmnts

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November 2009 NCDC Global Temp Adjustments

NCDC cumulative adjustments 2010

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Pre-2000 US Temp Adjs

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IPCC Bogus Hockey Stick Chart

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Tisdale Hansen Ocean Heat 1955

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Fake temperature fabrication arhangel_before_after

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Volcanoes | suyts space

Many people in the climate discussion refer to volcanoes.  They are used on both sides of the discussion.  They are often seen as an aberration of our climate, in that they cause things to happen which would not otherwise occur, in both the short and long run.  I disagree.  I believe they are every bit of the natural part of our climate and that large eruptions have very little effect on our climate.  More specifically our global temp anomaly.  Volcanoes, in some part of this world are always erupting.  I should point out there are various types and subtypes of volcanoes.  For today’s purposes, I’m not making any distinction.  Today I want to examine the temp responses to the large eruptions of the last century.  The criteria I will use is the VEI.  We will examine the volcanoes of the last century with a VEI of 5 or 6.  There were no 7 or greater.  The Tropospheric injection and
Stratospheric injection are described as “substantial“.

Here is the listing of 5-6 volcanic eruptions last century.

           6 Santa Maria 1902
5 Ksudach 1907
6 Novarupta 1912
5 Colima 1913
5 Cerro Azul 1932
5 Kharimkotan 1933
5 Bezymianny 1956
5 Mount Agung 1963
5 Mount St. Helens 1980
5 El Chichon 1982
6 Mount Pinatubo 1991
5 Mount Hudson 1991

Starting with Santa Maria of 1902 see a slight drop of 0.2°C over a 3 year period of time.  Then things continue as they were.

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For Ksudach, we can’t really tell, the temps went down and then up and then down again, so we’re not certain about the effects of time but at most it can be described as causing a          -0.3°C change over 4 years.

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Novarupta didn’t seem to have much of any effect…. if it did the time it did was very short. and the Colima had the inverse if at all.

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Again we have two volcanoes and a very negligible effect.  Cerro Azul could have caused a  -0.4°C decline over 2 years, but then Kharimkotan would then have had zero effect.

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Here we have a WTF? moment. Bezymianny erupted over the period of time covering 55-57.  And the temps responded by increasing by about 0.6°C.

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Mount Agung has a near equal and opposite response!!!!

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Okay, so Mt. St. Helens effect was negligible.  But, the temps cooled after Chichon.

1991 marked a year in which there were two significant eruptions.  Mount Pinatubo, and the less famous Mount Hudson.

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One would have thought we would have seen a very strong signal with a 5 and a 6 occurring in the same year.  But, temps started to climb in 1993.

Contrast these to other known climatic variations…….

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The El Nino of 1998 had a temp response of a positive 0.6°C and the 2007-2008 La Nina had a temp response of -0.5°C.  There is no compelling reason to believe volcanic eruptions of the 5-6 magnitude significantly alters any temp anomaly for any real duration.  And they don’t seem to be outside the normal variations of just regular every year temp anomalies.  We looked at 12 eruptions.  Two of them the temps responded by increasing.  Another’s effect seemed null.  The most recent two didn’t cause anything outside normal variation in spite of occurring within the same year.

 

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I’m skeptical of denialism | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

DISCOVER Magazine. Science, Technology and The Future

Bad Astronomy

Sometimes, words matter. Crispian Jago brought this up recently on his blog, discussing the difference between the words “skeptic”and “denier”.

I have used the phrase “global warming denialists” in the past and gotten some people upset. A lot of them complain because they say the word denial puts them in the same bin as holocaust deniers.

That’s too bad. But the thing is, they do have something in common: a denial of evidence and of scientific consensus.

Moon hoax believers put themselves in this basket as well; they call themselves skeptics, but they are far from it. Skepticism is a method that includes the demanding of evidence and critical analysis of it. That’s not what Moon hoax believers do; they make stuff up, they don’t look at all the evidence, they ignore evidence that goes against their claims. So they are not Moon landing skeptics, they are Moon landing deniers. They may start off as skeptics, but real skeptics understand the overwhelming evidence supporting the reality of the Moon landings. If, after examining that evidence, you still think Apollo was faked, then congratulations. You’re a denier.

Really, it’s this difference that biases people against skeptics like me. I am always accused of having a closed mind — of being a denier. But that’s not only not true — I can be convinced I am wrong by evidence or a logical argument — but it’s usually the person accusing me that has a mind closed against reality. No matter how much evidence you put in front of them showing them clearly and obviously that they are wrong, they refuse to see it. Just go read the comments on my latest UFO post for evidence of that.

I guess the most ironic thing of all is that people who say I should be more open-minded are too open-minded, and have closed their mind to the one true thing: reality itself.

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Deniers, disgust, and defamation | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

DISCOVER Magazine. Science, Technology and The Future

denialist outrage. This includes the odd ad hominem or two, like the sneering “What does an astronomer know about the climate?”, because apparently not having an advanced degree in science makes someone a better judge of the data.

But the slings and arrows I get here are nothing, nothing, compared to what professional climate scientist Michael Mann gets. He is, after all, the researcher who first published the hockey stick diagram which shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth has warmed up. To the deniers, he is Enemy Number 1. They have attacked his diagram and his research many times, always coming up short. The data and methods are solid, and it’s clear the Earth really is warming up.

So what’s a denier to do when all the evidence is against them? They attack Dr. Mann himself, of course.

These onslaughts have been documented endlessly, and they include Congressional shenanigans, witch hunts by the Virginia Attorney General, and even death threats.

All that is, sadly, to be expected. But now, ramping up the rhetoric to full-on disgusting, comes The National Review. A far-right paper (to say the least), they are not exactly supportive of the reality of global warming. But a few days ago they published a blog article by Mark Steyn that calls Mann a scientific fraud. This may be expected from deniers, but doesn’t change the fact that when you say that the research done by a scientist is deliberately fraudulent, you are stepping into defamation territory.

Needless to say, Mann isn’t sitting back and taking this. He contacted his lawyer, who has sent a letter to The National Review saying they knowingly defamed him by accusing him of scientific fraud, and demanding an apology and that the defamatory article be taken down. Mann put up a copy of this letter on his Facebook page. As he points out, Mann has been cleared of all wrongdoing multiple times by multiple independent agencies (like here, and here, and here, and here, and of course here), despite the efforts of the global warming deniers to do whatever they can to take him down. I certainly hope The National Review complies, and issues an apology.

Oh, but we’re not done just yet. Amazingly, it gets worse.

The National Review article quotes another article, written by Rand Simberg of OpenMarket.org. I hope you’re sitting down, and haven’t eaten anything recently, because in that article, Simberg compares Dr. Mann to Jerry Sandusky. Seriously, this guy compares a climate scientist who is promoting the reality and danger of global warming to a convicted child molester.

Yeah.

In his awful National Review piece, Steyn quotes this truly disgusting thing and then with faint damning says, “Not sure I’d have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point.”

Wow. Stay classy, Mr. Steyn.

I think Mann is correct to have his lawyer contact The National Review, since the defamatory nature of the article and the attack on his scientific credibility is clear. But I think the slimy analogy is what makes me angrier. Sadder, too. As we’ve seen, this is what discourse has become in politicized science. Ironically, too, deniers accuse scientists (including me) of politicizing science, but neither I nor any scientist has politicized it. The attacks on global warming science originated clearly and obviously from the far right, and it was those attacks that politicized the science. What scientists have done since then is a reaction to those partisan and political attacks. As usual, deniers accuse scientists of precisely the sort of tactics they themselves are using. It’s 1984 come alive.

For more on this I recommend reading the excellent Climate Crocks site, as well as the American Geophysical Union blog. [NOTE: Mann has also written about these extensive attacks on him, his reaearch, and his character in his book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.] And if you are a scientist, pay attention. It doesn’t matter if you are a climatologist, a biologist, or an astronomer. In this political climate, all of science is vulnerable to ideological attack when reality disagrees with political beliefs.

It’s disgusting, and it’s dangerous, but it’s also the new political reality. We must be ever vigilant against such attacks, because that is the true price of defending reality.


Related Posts:

Climategate 2: More ado about nothing. Again. (and of course the nonense that was the original Climategate manufactroversy)
Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA (and a followup)
The Heartland Institute sinks to a new low
A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target

View article..

Big energy users get seven times more Treasury meetings than green sector | Environment | guardian.co.uk

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Oil giant Shell has had multiple meetings with ministers since May 2010, including various one-on-one meals.  Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian Oil giant Shell has had multiple meetings with ministers since May 2010, including various one-on-one meals. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian

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Monday 23 July 2012

Chancellor George Osborne has not met a single green sector representative since the Coalition came into office

Ministers at the Treasury have held meetings with representatives from energy-intensive sectors seven times more often that with green sector representatives since the Coalition government was formed, according to a list of contacts released by the department.

In total, Treasury ministers have held 17 meetings with either green campaign groups or clean energy lobbyists since May 2010. In comparison, they have met with representatives from fossil fuel and energy companies; airports and airlines; and the motoring lobby and car manufacturers on 119 occasions over the same period.

Some companies appear to have enjoyed disproportionate access to ministers at the Treasury. Ministers have met with Shell on 12 separate occasions, including at least three one-on-one lunches and dinners, and there have been six meetings with the gas and electricity giant Centrica.

George Osborne, the chancellor, has not met a single “green” sector representative during his tenure, compared to eight meetings with oil companies and motoring lobbyists. Between April and May last year, Osborne met individually for a “general discussion” with Centrica, Exxon, Total and the offshore drilling trade group Oil and Gas UK.

The Treasury publishes a quarterly register of ministerial meetings with “external organisations” on its website. Most meetings involving either green or energy intensive sector representatives have been with the economic secretary to the Treasury. Until October 2011 this office was held by Justine Greening MP, but following her promotion to transport secretary, Chloe Smith MP has held the post.

By the time Smith held her first “climate change discussion” with a cluster of development NGOs in January of this year, she had already met with oil companies on eight occasions. Her first meeting with an environmental campaign group came in March, at which she met with 12 groups at once, including WWF, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Renewable UK.

Due to the Treasury’s limited description of each meeting, it is not always clear what the topic of discussion was between a minister and an energy company. For example, in March of this year Smith met with RWE npower “to discuss energy issues”. However, the German-owned company has a renewables division in the UK, as well as owning a number of coal and gas-fired power stations.

The Treasury has long been accused of harbouring an anti-green bias. On Monday, Tim Yeo, the Tory chair of the Commons energy and climate change select committee, accused the Treasury of undermining government attempts to develop the clean-energy sector. He said: “The Treasury has never been signed up to the green agenda, but this has got much more serious in the past year. Their interventions on the energy bill, and clear interference over [renewable energy subsidies] ROCs have shown this – it all adds up to a clear sign that they are not supportive of progress on the low-carbon energy sector.”

The Treasury did not respond to a request for comment.

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Nitrogen Cycling within Forests Growing in a Warmer World

CO2 Science

Reference
Butler, S.M., Melillo, J.M., Johnson, J.E., Mohan, J., Steudler, P.A., Lux, H., Burrows, E., Smith, R.M., Vario, C.L., Scott, L., Hill, T.D., Aponte, N. and Bowles, F. 2012. Soil warming alters nitrogen cycling in a New England forest: implications for ecosystem function and structure. Oecologia 168: 819-828.

Background
The authors say that in an ecosystem where plant growth is limited by nitrogen (N) availability, “an increase in N has the potential to enhance photosynthetic rates and carbon (C) storage in trees,” as has been reported by Melillo et al. (2002, 2011); and they state that “this can happen through increases in N deposition in precipitation (Melillo and Gosz, 1983; Thomas et al., 2009),” and that “increased N availability to plants can also occur in response to soil warming (Melillo et al., 1995, 2002, 2011) as N is moved from the soil where the C:N mass ratio in woody tissue is often less than 30:1, to the plants where the C:N mass ratio in woody tissue is 200-300:1 (Melillo et al., 2002, 2011).”

What was done
Butler et al. conducted a soil warming study within the Harvard Forest in central Massachusetts (USA), where they increased soil temperature 5°C above ambient using buried resistance cables as described by Melillo et al. (2002, 2011), and where for a period of seven years they measured various biogeochemical and plant responses in 900-m2 heated and control areas, in order to see “how a temperate forest ecosystem is affected by warming-induced changes in the N cycle.”

What was learned
The thirteen U.S. scientists state that “since the start of the experiment, we have documented a 45% average annual increase in net nitrogen mineralization.” And they say that they have seen “no evidence of increases in gaseous or solution N losses from the heated area relative to the control,” which means, as they describe it, that “the system has maintained a closed N cycle in spite of warming.”

So where did the extra plant-available nitrogen go? Quoting the researchers, “the warming-induced increase of available nitrogen resulted in increases in the foliar nitrogen content and the relative growth rate of trees in the warmed area.” And with respect to the generality of these findings, Butler et al. indicate that “the increase in N mineralization in response to warming that we documented in this study has also been observed in other studies; some in forests (Peterjohn et al., 1994; Hartley et al., 1999; Rustad et al., 2001; Melillo et al., 2002), some in grasslands (Shaw and Harte, 2001) and some in tundra (Chapin et al., 1995).”

What it means
With respect to the increases in leaf N concentration of the trees growing within the heated area of the Harvard Forest, the U.S. research team additionally writes that “leaf N is positively correlated to photosynthetic rate and carbon storage in many plants growing across the globe (Field and Mooney, 1986; Reich et al., 1994, 1995, 1997; Ollinger et al., 2008),” and they say that this relationship suggests that “the increases in leaf N we see with warming likely correspond to increases in C assimilation in the heated area.” And they go on to say that “coupled with increases in leaf N, warming leads to general increases in the relative growth rate of trees, particularly for red maple,” adding that “recent studies have shown that red maple saplings increase in relative growth rate with increasing N availability,” citing Finzi and Canham (2000) and Zaccherio and Finzi (2007).

What is of most interest of all, however, is Butler et al.’s statement that “interactions between increasing temperatures and other factors predicted to change in the future, such as CO2 concentrations, could reinforce the ecosystem responses to warming alone,” as they note that “Bazazz and Miao (1993) found that, when N was added to seedlings in growth chambers at Harvard Forest with elevated CO2 (700 ppm), the biomass of red maple and red oak increased significantly relative to controls.”

In light of this additional fact, the U.S. research team concludes that “as CO2 concentrations increase and warming stimulates increases in N availability, it is possible that we may see further increases in growth rates of these species.” And, as they continue, that is likely why “results from Duke University’s Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) experiment in North Carolina show red maples also benefiting from CO2 enrichment (Mohan et al., 2007),” while growing in a forest soil described by Finzi and Schlesinger (2003) as being in “a state of acute nutrient deficiency that can only be reversed with fertilization.”

Apparently, however, nature herself – via warming – can provide the needed nitrogen for CO2-enhanced tree growth even in extremely nutrient-deficient soil.

Bye, bye, progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis!!!

References
Chapin, S.F., Shaver, G.R., Giblin, A.E., Nadelhoffer, K.J. and Laundre, J.A. 1995. Responses of arctic tundra to experimental and observed changes in climate. Ecology 76: 694-711.

Field, C. and Mooney, H.A. 1986. The photosynthesis-nitrogen relationship in wild plants. In: Givnish, T.J. (Ed.). On the Economy of Plant Form and Function. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 25-55.

Finzi, A.C. and Canham, C.D. 2000. Sapling growth in response to light and nitrogen availability in a southern New England forest. Forest Ecology and Management 131: 153-165.

Finzi, A.C. and Schlesinger, W.H. 2003. Soil-nitrogen cycling in a pine forest exposed to 5 years of elevated carbon dioxide. Ecosystems 6: 444-456.

Hartley, A.E., Neill, C., Melillo, J.M., Crabtree, R. and Bowles, F.P. 1999. Plant performance and soil nitrogen mineralization in response to simulated climate change in subarctic dwarf shrub heath. Oikos 86: 331-343.

Melillo, J.M., Butler, S., Johnson, J., Mohan, J., Steudler, P., Lux, H., Burrows, E., Bowles, F., Smith, R., Scott, L., Vario, C., Hill, T., Burton, A., Zhou, Y.-M. and Tang, J. 2011. Soil warming, carbon-nitrogen interactions, and forest carbon budgets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108: 9508-9512.

Melillo, J.B. and Gosz, J.R. 1983. Interactions of biogeochemical cycles in forest ecosystems. In: Bolin, B. and Cook, R.B. (Eds.). The Major Biogeochemical Cycles and Their Interactions. Wiley, New York, New York, United States, pp. 177-222.

Melillo, J.M., Kicklighter, D.W., McGuire, A.D., Peterjohn, W.T. and Newkirk, K. 1995. Global change and its effects on soil organic carbon stocks. In: Zepp, R. and Sonntag, C. (Eds.). Report of the Dahlem Workshop on the Role of Nonliving Organic Metter in the Earth’s Carbon Cycle. Wiley, Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom, pp. 175-189.

Melillo, J.M., Steudler, P.A., Aber, J.D., Newkirk, K., Lux, H., Bowles, F.P., Catricala, C., Magill, A., Ahrens, T. and Morrisseau, S. 2002. Soil warming and carbon-cycle feedbacks to the climate system. Science 298: 2173-2176.

Mohan, J.E., Clark, J.S. and Schlesinger, W.H. 2007. Long-term CO2 enrichment of a forest ecosystem: implications for forest regeneration and succession. Ecological Applications 17: 1198-1212.

Ollinger, S.V., Richardson, A.D., Martin, M.E., Hollinger, D.Y., Frolking, S.E., Reich, P.B., Plourde, L.C., Katul, G.G., Munger, J.W., Oren, R., Smith, M.-L., Paw, U.K.T., Bolstad, P.V., Cook, B.D., Day, M.C., Martin, T.A., Monson, R.K. and Schid, H.P. 2008. Canopy nitrogen, carbon assimilation, and albedo in temperate and boreal forests: functional relations and potential climate feedbacks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105: 19,336-19.341.

Peterjohn, W.T., Melillo, J.M., Steudler, P.A., Newkirk, K.M., Bowles, F.P. and Aber, J.D. 1994. The response of trace gas fluxes and N availability to elevated soil temperatures. Ecological Applications 4: 617-625.

Reich, P.B., Kloeppel, B.D., Ellsworth, D.S. and Walters, M.B. 1995. Different photosynthesis-nitrogen relations in deciduous hardwood and evergreen coniferous tree species. Oecologia 104: 24-30.

Reich P.B., Walters, M.B. and Ellsworth, D.S. 1997. From tropics to tundra: global convergence in plant functioning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 94: 13,730-13,734.

Reich, P.B., Walters, M.B., Ellsworth, D.S. and Uhl, C. 1994. Photosynthesis-nitrogen relations in Amazonian tree species. Oecologia 97: 62-72.

Rustad, L., Campbell, J.L., Marion, G.M., Norby, R.J., Mitchell, M.J., Hartley, A.E., Cornelissen, J.H.C. and Gurevitch, C. 2001. A meta-analysis of the response of soil respiration, net nitrogen mineralization, and aboveground plant growth to experimental ecosystem warming. Oecologia 126: 543-562.

Shaw, R.M. and Harte, J. 2001. Response of nitrogen cycling to simulated climate change: differential responses along a subalpine ecotone. Global Change Biology 7: 193-210.

Thomas, R.Q., Canham, C.D., Weathers, K.C. and Goodale, C.L. 2009. Increased tree carbon storage in response to nitrogen deposition in the US. Nature Geoscience 3: 13-17.

Zaccherio, M.T. and Finzi, A.C. 2007. Atmospheric deposition may affect northern hardwood forest composition by altering soil nutrient supply. Ecological Applications 17: 1929-1941.

Reviewed 13 June 2012

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ENSO: A Permanent Feature of a Future Warmer World?

CO2 Science

Reference
Davies, A., Kemp, A.E.S., Weedon, G.P. and Barron, J.A. 2012. El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability from the Late Cretaceous Marca Shale of California. Geology 40: 15-18.

Background
The authors write that “variations in the frequency and amplitude of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) recorded in both instrumental and paleoclimate archives have led to speculation that global warming may cause fundamental changes in this preeminent mode of global interannual climate variability (Fedorov and Philander, 2000).” More specifically, they state that there is speculation that “warmer climates may promote a permanent El Niño state (Wara et al., 2005; Fedorov et al., 2006).”

What was done
In a study designed to further explore this possibility, Davies et al. analyzed the latest Cretaceous laminated Marca Shale of California, which permits, as they describe it, “a seasonal-scale reconstruction of water column flux events and, hence, interannual paleoclimate variability,” during what is known to have been a “past ‘greenhouse’ climate state.”

What was learned
The four researchers report that “significant spectral peaks obtained from lamina-derived time series analysis of the Marca Shale closely resemble those of modern and historical ENSO variability.” In addition, they indicate that “the parameters from which the time series are derived (biogenic- and terrigenous-lamina thickness and bioturbation index) appear directly related to the marine production and flux, incursion of oxygenated waters, and input of terrigenous sediment that would be influenced by ENSO-type mechanisms of interannual variability.”

What it means
In light of their recent findings, Davies et al. say there is “little support for the existence of a ‘permanent El Niño’ in the Late Cretaceous, in the sense of the continual El Niño state depicted by Fedorov et al. (2006),” and they say this evidence “builds on results from the Cretaceous Arctic (Davies et al., 2011) and from younger Eocene and Miocene warm periods (Huber and Caballero, 2003; Galeotti et al., 2010; Lenz et al., 2010) to emphasize that there was robust ENSO variability in past ‘greenhouse’ episodes and that future warming will be unlikely to promote a permanent El Niño state,” which point they also emphasize in the final sentence of their abstract, where they say that their evidence for robust Late Cretaceous ENSO variability “does not support the theory of a ‘permanent El Niño,’ in the sense of a continual El Niño-like state, in periods of warmer climate.”

References
Davies, A., Kemp, A.E.S. and Palike, H. 2011. Tropical ocean-atmosphere controls on inter-annual climate variability in the Cretaceous Arctic. Geophysical Research Letters 38: 10.1029/2010GL046151.

Fedorov, A.V., Dekens, P.S., McCarthy, M., Ravelo, A.C., deMenocal, P.B., Barreiro, M., Pacanowski, R.C. and Philander, S.G. 2006. The Pliocene paradox (mechanisms for a permanent El Niño). Science 312: 1485-1489.

Fedorov, A.V. and Philander, S.G. 2000. Is El Niño changing? Science 288: 1997-2002.

Galeotti, S., von der Heydt, A., Huber, M., Bice, D., Dijkstra, H., Jilbert, T., Lanci, L. and Reichart, G.J. 2010. Evidence for active El Niño Southern Oscillation variability in the Late Miocene greenhouse climate. Geology 38: 419-421.

Huber, M. and Caballero, R. 2003. Eocene El Niño: Evidence for robust tropical dynamics in the “hothouse.” Science 299: 877-881.

Lenz, O.K., Wilde, V., Riegel, W. and Harms, F.J. 2010. A 600 k.y. record of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO): Evidence for persisting teleconnections during the Middle Eocene greenhouse climate of Central Europe. Geology 38: 627-630.

Wara, M.W., Ravelo, A.C. and Delaney, M.L. 2005. Permanent El Niño-like conditions during the Pliocene warm period. Science 309: 758-761.

Reviewed 9 May 2012

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The 2012 Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs

CO2 Science

At the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium recently held in Cairns, Australia, it was announced that more than 2500 marine researchers and managers from around the world have signed a new Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs, which calls on all governments to ensure the future of earth’s coral reefs via two different approaches. One of these courses of action calls for improved local protection of coral reefs from land-based sources of pollution, sedimentation and overfishing, which is both laudable and needed. The other approach calls for global action to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, which is notlaudable because it is not needed.

The writers of the Consensus Statement begin to make their case for its strident calls to action by noting that “approximately 25-30% of the world’s coral reefs are already severely degraded by local impacts from land and by over-harvesting,” which is easily proven. But they go on to add that the warming of the world’s oceans over the past century or so, plus its slight CO2-induced acidification, have resulted in “unprecedented coral bleaching and mortality events,” which statement cannot be proven.

All that we do know is that if there truly has been a recent unprecedented increase in coral bleaching and mortality events, it has occurred within the combinatorial context of (1) the local impacts mentioned in the Consensus Statement and (2) the global impacts of the concomitant increase in the air’s CO2 concentration, which is known to be promoting the movement of the world’s oceans towards a state of mild acidification (which is still a long ways off), but which is merely believed (and that only by some) to be responsible for the lion’s share of the warming of the seas over the past century or so, based on the output of mathematical models of climate (which are always improving, but which never quite attain to the level of predictive correctness their creators would like them to achieve).

Now the Consensus Statement says it is the warming of the world’s oceans that has “resulted in unprecedented coral bleaching and mortality events.” But this contention cannot be proven in the broadest sense. It is true that in some cases periodic extreme warmth may indeed have been the proximate cause of coral demise; but it may well be the case that, in the absence of man’s many local affronts to reef environments, the coral bleaching and mortality events of the recent past would not have occurred. Put another way, if the local impacts mentioned in the Consensus Statement had not been building up over the years, decades and even centuries, it is possible, if not likely, that the heat events that sometimes kill corals nowadays may not have been able to do so if the corals had not been severely weakened by mankind’s historical and continuing deleterious affronts to their watery environs.

An important empirical fact that argues in behalf of this proposition is the fact that coral species that are being negatively affected by periods of high temperature in our day and age successfully lived through both equally warm and sometimes warmer periods in ages past (i.e., the Medieval and Roman Warm Periods, as well as the much warmer and considerably longer Holocene Climatic Optimum). Therefore, it is our belief that if the many local assaults of humanity upon today’s coral reefs and their watery environments could be gradually reversed and ultimately halted, we might possibly never see another case of coral bleaching due to either high temperatures or ocean acidification.

Of course, such a dramatic reversal of anthropogenic behavior will likely never occur; but by doing our best to reverse what damages have already been done, and by discouraging the types of local activities that caused those damages, we will come much closer to achieving the goal we all would like to reach than we ever will by trying to drastically diminish anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are actually helpful to many of the inhabitants of both aquatic and terrestrial environments, as may readily be ascertained by perusing the wealth of substantiating materials we have archived under a wide array of pertinent topics that are identified in our website’s Subject Index.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

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New Paper: IPCC Models Exaggerate Warming From Water Vapor

Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:04 The Hockey Schtick

The Observatory

The theory of global warming claims that a trivial warming from CO2 levels will result in more water vapor in the atmosphere and an alleged ‘runaway greenhouse effect‘. However, satellite observations published in a new paper show that global water vapor has instead declined over the past 12 years despite steadily rising concentrations of CO2. These observations provide further support that the positive water vapor feedback in IPCC models is overstated and therefore claims of future warming greatly exaggerated.

Climate scientist Roger Pielke Sr. comments on the new paper:

However,the figure [above], if it turns about to be robust, raises fundamental issues with respect to the ability of global climate models to skillfully model the role of humans in altering the climate. Indeed, the Vonder Haar et al 2012 provides further support to the conclusion by De-Zheng Sun in the paper

Sun, D.-Z., Y. Yu, and T. Zhang, 2009: Tropical Water Vapor and Cloud Feedbacks in Climate Models: A Further Assessment Using Coupled Simulations.J. Climate22, 1287-1304

that I posted on in

Tropical Water Vapor and Cloud Feedbacks in Climate Models: A Further Assessment Using Coupled Simulations by De-Zheng Sun, Yongqiang Yu, and Tao ZhangAs part of their conclusions, they wrote

“The extended calculation using coupled runs confirms the earlier inference from the AMIP runs that underestimating the negative feedback from cloud albedo and overestimating the positive feedback from the greenhouse effect of water vapor over the tropical Pacific during ENSO is a prevalent problem of climate models.

While De-Zheng was reluctant to relate his findings to multi-decadal global climate model simulations of the role of humans in the climate system, the new Vonder Haar et al 2012 paper provides further support that the water vapor feedback is overstated by the IPCC models.

Related: posts onwater vapor as a negative feedback

The Hockey Schtick, 16 July 2012

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Jennifer Marohasy » Activist Scientists Crying Wolf on Coral Bleaching and Climate Change

Derek Tipp – Jennifer Marohasy

THE propaganda from our Great Barrier Reef scientists at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium is relentless. According to Janice Lough, Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the rate of change from anthropogenic global warming is unprecedented and is already having a catastrophic impact on the Great Barrier Reef. Also in front of the TV camera today, Phillip Munday, James Cook University, said the most spectacular of our coral reef fish will disappear. And John Pandolfi, University of Queensland, was begging us to do more to save the reef.[1] Australian Institute of Marine Science research director Peter Doherty told the $10 million symposium of more than 2000 marine scientists from 80 countries of an “alarming and unsustainable decline” in coral over large sections of the Great Barrier Reef in nearly three decades.[2]

But I reckon it’s all a put-on: they are crying wolf.

One of the symposium themes is ‘Climate change and bleaching’.

There have been some spectacular bleaching events in the last 15 years. The reality, however, is that most of the Great Barrier Reef has not bleached, and those areas that have bleached have almost fully recovered. The following are some interesting facts about heat and coral growth: [3]

 

1. All the species of coral that occur in the Great Barrier Reef also grow in Papua New Guinea where the waters are 2 degrees warmer.

2. Coral growth rates and tissue thickness generally increases with increasing temperature. The only regularly temperature-stressed corals in Queensland are in Moreton Bay, because the ocean water there regularly gets too cold.

3. The short lived Acropora corals which are most susceptible to bleaching make a choice of the symbiotic algae which resides inside them. It is the expulsion of these algae that causes bleaching. It is now known that the some clades of algae make the coral grow very fast but also renders them susceptible to bleaching. On the other hand, other clades of algae make the coral grow slowly but to be less susceptible to bleaching. By selecting different clades of algae, it is now apparent that the corals can easily adapt to major temperature changes, whether these are natural or not.

4. If global warming occurs and the sea-level rises in consequence, there will be a spectacular increase in coral cover on the large areas of reef flat which are now almost devoid of corals due to the fall in sea-level that has occurred in Queensland over the last 5000 years. These areas are presently below the spring low tide level and are thus exposed to the air. Sea level rise will allow these areas to recolonise.

5. High surface water temperatures associated with the two major bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef in recent decades were a result of periods of extended calm associated with strong El Niño conditions. At such times normal wave mixing ceases as does the normal wave driven currents across shallow reef tops. This permits unusually high water temperatures to develop and the water on top of reefs to become especially warm. There is no evidence to indicate any influence of anthropogenic climate change in these events nor of any increase in the frequency or strength of such events.

Scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and various universities depend upon generous government funding to study the supposed threats of climate change and coral bleaching. But rather than reporting their research findings in a scientifically meaningful way they behave as political activists and propagandists and talk nonsense.

Shame.

*****
Links, And

1. Climate change could make reef boring, Conor Duffy, July 10, 2012. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2012-07-10/climate-change-could-make-barrier-reef-boring/977326

2. Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns hears of threats to our natural ocean wonders, Peter Michael, July 10, 2012. http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2012/07/10/227711_local-news.html

3. Interesting facts about heat and coral growth compiled by Professor Peter Ridd, James Cook University.

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C3: Extreme Temperature Change: NOAA Data Prove Extreme Temperatures Occurred Prior To Large CO2 Emissions

The modern U.S. extreme temperature changes occurring under high atmospheric CO2 levels are insignificant, compared to those that happened under low global CO2 level conditions – below 350 ppm

(click on image to enlarge)

Extreme temperature change Noaa co2 emissions Expanding on previous ‘C3’ articles, here and here, this new chart reveals, record-setting U.S. maximum and minimum temperatures occurred with much more frequency prior to the large influx of human CO2 emissions.

The decades prior to the 1960’s produced 84% of the hot maximum, record-setting temperatures; for the same decades, they produced 62% of record-setting cold temperatures.

And despite the much higher atmospheric CO2 levels, the 21st century is not producing the IPCC-predicted, record-setting temperatures, be they high or low.

Look closely, since 1999, zero hot record-setting U.S. temperatures have happened; but wait……OMG, one new cold extreme temperature, in one single U.S. state was confirmed!

Of course, the U.S summer of 2012 has been a hot and dry one for major regions of the country, and new maximum state records will likely happen. But frankly, per the chart, it appears the U.S. was long overdue for a sizzling summer of records and thus the probability for it to happen was high, regardless of CO2 levels.

Conclusions: Extreme temperature change is not a function of high atmospheric CO2 levels – those above 350 ppm. For the U.S., the vast majority for both extreme hot and cold record-setting temperatures took place prior to 1960 when human CO2 emissions were a tiny fraction of today’s. The NOAA/NCDC climate research agency has verified this as empirically correct.

Modern, regional, historical and fabricating-fake temperature charts.

July 2012

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C3: Global Warming Science Facts: Study Confirms 50% of Warming Is Fake – IPCC Failed To Account For

Most scientists now recognize that climate science is rife with fraud, and that it was highly likely fake temperature datasets were being used for political purposes – now new research confirms that reported IPCC global warming science “facts” are fictions

(click on image to enlarge and animate)

US climate scientists fabricate global warmingRead here. The IPCC reports global warming to have increased from +0.7°C to +0.8°C over the past century. But a new peer reviewed study determines that real global warming was closer to +0.4°C, with the remaining IPCC amount claimed to be a result of man-made adjustments.

Essentially, about 50% of “global warming” has been faked by climate “scientists.”

To see how this works, the adjacent gif animation was put together by Steve Goddard of Real Science. In his example, he documents how “scientific” adjustments have been made to the U.S. temperature dataset. The original (‘raw’) dataset indicates a cooling trend for the U.S. over the last century, but by the time the “scientists” are done with the data, the original cooling has been magically converted into a warming trend. (click on image to animate)

This same technique has been used by agenda-driven scientists across the world in order to produce faux-warming in order to influence policymakers and the public. Fake global warming is the currency of the IPCC realm.

Based on a systematic study of scientific literature, we classify and evaluate the observed inhomogeneities in historical and modern time series, as well as their adjustment methods. It turns out that these methods are mainly statistical, not well justified by experiments and are rarely supported by metadata. In many of the cases studied the proposed corrections are not even statistically significant…we calculated the differences between the adjusted and non-adjusted linear 100-year trends. It was found that in the two thirds of the cases, the homogenization procedure increased the positive or decreased the negative temperature trends…the use of homogenization procedures and tend to indicate that the global temperature increase during the last century is smaller than 0.7-0.8°C.” [E. Steirou, D. Koutsoyiannis 2012: Geophysical Research Abstracts]

Conclusions: This study indicates that the majority of climate researchers involved with the major land and ocean temperature datasets are not to be believed. The global warming science facts are that reported “global warming” is fake and the IPCC promulgates this misinformation without any due diligence or fact checking.

Previous fabricating-fake and peer-reveiwed postings. Fabricating-fake, modern, regional and historical temperature charts.

July 17, 2012 at 05:45 AM

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Hansen’s Death Trains – now with extra scary ‘coal fallout’ | Watts Up With That?

WUWT readers surely remember this:

hansen_coal_death_train1

NASA’s Dr. James Hansen once again goes over the top. See his most recent article in the UK Guardian. Some excerpts:

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

And this:

Clearly, if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more.

Well, Hansen’s “death trains” have taken on a crazier, even more wobbly, left spin. Physicist Gordon Fulks writes Via Lars Larson nationally syndicated radio show:

 

Hello Everyone,

I asked my brother, who lives near Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to send some photos of the railroad tracks used by coal trains to carry vast amounts of Wyoming coal east. The BIG SCARY issue raised by the political Left here in Oregon is no longer the theoretical ‘Global Warming’ from the burning of this coal but a much more practical concern: black coal dust from the trains polluting local communities. They have stirred up images of Oregon blighted by coal dust from trains carrying the coal down the Columbia River to export terminals in St. Helens, Oregon and other communities that can accommodate ocean going ships.

As with so many other such scares dreamed up by those who specialize in deliberate misinformation, this one has no validity. My brother notes that dust is a perpetual problem during the hot, dry, and windy summer months in the Nebraska Panhandle. But the dust is brown not black and therefore of natural origin. His photos (attached) show that the railroad tracks and overpasses themselves are remarkably clean, despite the passage of thousands of coal cars each week. This is a main route for coal trains heading east, perhaps the main route.

With such a stark contrast between what Alarmists claim and what the reality is, we have to wonder if these people are capable of any honesty at all. They are a factor in all such environmental discussions because the press (such as journalist Scott Learn at The Oregonian) gives them prominent and largely unquestioned coverage.

When I am faced with people who have lied to me, I refuse to be duped a second time. In a public hearing in California years ago I asked a very prominent attorney why we should believe what he was now saying, “since you did not tell us the truth previously.” His response was classic: “This is a different case?” The fallout from my question was dramatic. His client dropped him! In my opinion, we must hold people responsible for deliberate deceptions or those deceptions simply continue from the same people and from imitators.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

Here’s the picture. See any black?

This all got started by some activists that are equating some door to door poll with science. This is what likely got them bent out of shape:

Port of St. Helens approves coal export agreements with two companies

And the reactions, from http://www.beyondtoxics.org/blog/

==============================================================

Stopping coal: A renewed moral imperative

By on July 11, 2012

I want to be clear: I am not against trains (I often travel by passenger train)! I am, however, critical about using our rail system to haul coal to coastal ports and then load the coal and ship it off to Asian destinations. And justifiably so! Besides the significant safety issues posed by rail shipment of massive amounts of coal, we should consider the certainty of grave health problems we will have to address.

It is already true that health problems associated with polluted air occur in our community. Beyond Toxics has engaged with community health issues in the River Road, Trainsong and Bethel neighborhoods for many years. Recently we completed a community health survey in West Eugene. A striking pattern emerged. We found that 30% of the nearly 350 households we interviewed believe that at least one family member suffers from asthma.

===========================================================

Lisa Arkin, Exec. Director

Lisa Arkin, Exec. Director Oregon Toxics Alliance – aka the Coal lady

Gosh, knock on a  few doors, run an uncontrolled non-scientific survey by activist friends (no control group), ask about asthma, then claim it is the moral basis for shutting down coal trains. Who could fault logic like that? /sarc.

They don’t just want some changes, they want wholesale stoppage: see  Stopping Coal in Oregon

Here’s the entire basis for worry, a FAQs on the BNSF railroad company page:

Coal Dust-Frequently Asked Questions and it addressed the question, How extensive is the coal dust problem?

“Since 2005, BNSF has been at the forefront of extensive research regarding the impacts of coal dust escaping from loaded coal cars … From these studies, BNSF has determined that … The amount of coal dust that escapes from Powder River Basin coal trains is surprisingly large. …BNSF has done studies indicating that from 500 lbs to a ton of coal can escape from a single loaded coal car. Other reports have indicated that as much as 3% of the coal loaded into a coal car can be lost in transit. In many areas, a thick layer of black coal dust can be observed along the railroad right of way and in between the tracks. … large amounts of coal dust accumulate rapidly…”

She continues:

So let’s do the math. Multiplying the amount of coal projected to arrive at the Port of Coos Bay, which is 6 – 10 million tons per year, by BNSF’s suggested 3% product loss, this calculation suggests that coal trains would release as much as 300,000 tons of coal dust along its journey through Oregon. That is an immense amount of highly toxic coal dust every day of the year!

300,000 tons, all in Oregon? Gosh. Heh. She seems to miss the fact that the trains move, and that the lightest dust will be dropped from the train first, as it gains speed as air moves over the train.  And, that coal dust is much much heavier than air, and settles quickly. Much of what escapes may not be dust, she cites “500 lbs to a ton of coal can escape from a single loaded coal car” but really, just how much of that is dust?

From the BNSF website, it doesn’t go far, and seems to settle right on the tracks:

It also seems to be more like pebble sized detritus, rather than “dust”.

If you look at this image from the BeyondToxics.org website, you’d think dust was a huge and widespread problem:

Source: http://www.beyondtoxics.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/CoalTrainVideoFF_CROP1-300×233.jpg

That’s a crop from this one video shot in Pennsylvania, which has become a favorite of those anti-coal activists:

But if you look at video of other coal trains from the Powder River Basin, I don’t see a repeat of that issue. Of course when it is raining (as it does a lot in the Pacific Northwest) there’s no coal dust at all.

If such dust and losses were a huge and widespread problem (even in Oregon), we should be able to see the difference via aerial photos in West Eugene where train tracks should be pitch black with the supposed 300,000 tons of coal dust/year accumulated over the years.

Southern Pacific rail yard in West Eugene, OR – note the nearby houses, and try to find all that coal dust – click to enlarge

BTW that grey you see is roadbed for the train tracks, composed of golfball sized crushed rock. Note the nearby residences, probably where they knocked on doors.

Source: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=44.067276,-123.12692&spn=0.01494,0.027938&t=h&z=16

But, annoyingly inconvenient for the activists, it seems the problem has been solved by BNSF, who voluntarily implemented coal dust standards in 2010 for their rail shipments. But Oregon’s BeyondToxics doesn’t tell you that.

From the very same BNSF FAQs page where they cite the coal dust loss as being a problem, there’s this:

What are the coal dust standards?
BNSF’s coal dust emission standards are contained in Items 100 and 101 of BNSF’s Coal Rules publication called Price List 6041-B. The standards require that coal cars must be loaded in conformance with a specified loading template. The new coal loading profile produces a more rounded contour of the coal in coal cars that eliminates the sharp angles and irregular surfaces that can promote the loss of coal dust when cars are in transit.
BNSF’s coal dust emission standards also provide that the amount of coal dust emitted from a train may not exceed specified levels as measured by trackside monitors (TSM) at two locations on PRB lines. One TSM is located at milepost 90.7 on the Joint Line and the other TSM is located at milepost 558.2 on BNSF’s Black Hills subdivision. A third trackside monitoring station has been constructed on the Big Horn subdivision at milepost, and will be fully operational in early 2010.

Yes, they built a coal weather station, see http://www.bnsf.com/customers/what-can-i-ship/coal/coal-dust/pdf/q4_2.pdf

It doesn’t seem to be much of a problem anymore in Wyoming at the source either. I’ve looked at dozens of coal train photos and videos out of the Powder River basin in Wyoming, and they all look pretty much like this:

Source: Highball productions Railfan video

POWDER RIVER – THE ORIN LINE

Staggering, continuous coal train action on BNSF’s Orin line in the Powder River coal basin. UP shares the line, and there is a continous parade of trains. Lots of meets, a couple of side by sides, and 8 (yes, eight) trains in one shot, and even a broken knuckle. Some nice storm light and some nice sunset shots, this is one amazingly busy place.

While Ms. Larkin ponders the lack of black on the ground in that aerial photo, and the photos of the Powder River coal trains, and the coal dust solution put in place by BNSF (and why she doesn’t report it), she can also take a minute to read this essay, which I’m repeating here:

U.S. Life Expectancy in an Era of Death Trains and Death Factories

Guest post by Indur M. Goklany

In a recent op-ed in the Guardian that WUWT commented on, James Hansen of global warming fame, argued for closing coal fired power plants asserting that “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.”

So what’s happened to US life expectancy as the number of coal fired death factories have multiplied and as the climate has gotten warmer?

us-life-expectancy-era-of-hansen-death-trains

Figure 1: Data are plotted for every ten years from 1900-1940, 1945, and each year from 1949 onward. Data sources: life expectancy from Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009, and earlier editions; coal usage from Goklany (2007) for 1900-1945, and EIA (2008) for 1949-2007; carbon dioxide emissions for 1900-2005 from Marland et al (2008).

As the above figure shows, US life expectancy at birth increased by 30.5 years, from 47.3 years to 77.8 years, between 1900 and 2005, while coal usage more than tripled. Carbon dioxide emissions in 2005 were nearly nine times the 1900 levels.  And, of course, the climate has also gotten warmer (not shown). To appreciate the magnitude of this improvement in life expectancy, consider that the approximate life expectancy in pre-industrial societies varied from 25-35 years.

While the increase in life expectancy is not directly due to greater coal use or CO2 emissions, much of it was enabled in one way or another by the prosperity fueled in large part by coal and fossil fuel consumption, as I have noted in my book, The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet.  Also recalling the IPCC’s temperature trends from 1900 onward, according to my eyeball analyzer there seems to be a better correlation between life expectancy and coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms than that between temperature increase (either for the US or the world) on the one hand and, on the other hand, coal use (and CO2 emissions) or their logarithms.

It may be argued that Hansen’s comments pertain to the future, not to the past or present. But to this I would respond that the above figure is based on real data whereas Hansen’s declaration is based on some unknown projection about the future based on unknown, unvalidated and unverified models.

Giving up fossil fuel energy use and, with that, compromising the real improvements in life expectancy and other indicators of human well-being that have accompanied that energy use, would be like giving up a real bird in hand to avoid being attacked by a monster that may or may not exist in the bush, that is, a monster that may only exist in the virtual world.

This doesn’t seem like a rational trade-off.

==============================================================

I just can’t get too worked up about railroad coal dust, which in my opinion, is a non-problem unless you are mining it and exposed to high levels of it constantly. Plus, it seems BNSF already solved the problem, but the activists aren’t telling you that.

As a kid, I had a coal bunker in my basement, with coal dust permeating the house at times when we’d get a new shipment. Somehow I managed to survive.

UPDATE: in comments, Les Johnson points out that coal cars are sprayed with something to prevent such dust losses. I checked this out. It seems this has been solved a long time ago, as the patent for the process goes back to 1979:

Control of dust during coal transportation

Spraying of coal in an open top hopper car with an aqueous composition containing at least about 2.5% of a binder material consisting of solid material in an aqueous suspension of an asphalt emulsion or a black liquor lignin product and containing 0.1 to 2.0% of water soluble ethoxylated alkyl phenol or sulfo succinate wetting agent results in the formation of a crust layer which provides protection against loss of coal due to wind action during rapid movement of the car.

Improvements to the patent are as recent as 2006:

http://www.google.com/patents/US4169170

Like I said, this is a non-problem, already solved. But, that one video from Pennsylvania gets a lot of folks all worked up about black lung disease I’m sure.

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R3-Radio Blackout Storms (Strong) are currently in effect

2012-07-12 17:14 UTC

R3-Radio Blackout Storms (Strong) are currently in effect. Region 1520, located close to center disk, is the culprit on today’s events.  It is still to early to see if an Earth-directed CME or energetic particles are associated with this event, however SWPC forecasters are monitoring the situation. Stay tuned for further information on this event and other Space Weather news.

 Effective Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 1600 UTC (10:00 AM MDT), SWPC will modernize its geomagnetic storm watch products. These products will now be issued relative to the highest expected geomagnetic storm category (NOAA Scale) and will be based on the 3-hour geomagnetic K-index rather than the 24-hour A-index. Watch products will still be valid for the entire UTC day, just as they are under the A-based watches today. This change will better align SWPC’s geomagnetic watch products with its geomagnetic warning and alert products and NOAA Scale designations. Product Subscription Service customers are not required to take any action regarding this change. The current A-based watches contain expected geomagnetic storm scale (G-level) information so all subscriptions will be automatically transferred to the new G-based watch products.

For more information, please see the NWS Service Change Notification at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/notification/scn12-24improved_space_wx.htm or contact SWPC Customer Support at SWPC.CustomerSupport@noaa.gov

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

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UK ranked most energy efficient of world’s largest economies

Beddington Zero Energy Development, Hackbridge, London, Britain, Sustainable housing, zero-carbon

Beddington Zero Energy Development, Hackbridge, London, is an environmentally friendly Peabody housing development. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

It lacks the glitz or glamour of the Olympics but the UK won a race that really does matter on Thursday, taking the gold in energy efficiency.

A report launched in Washington by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy on Thursday ranked the UK first among the world’s 12 largest economies for reducing pollution in industry, transport, and buildings.

Medal power house America was humbled, dragged down to ninth place because of its long-running love affair with gas-guzzling cars.

The US was beaten by Germany and Italy, who occupied second and third place respectively, and even China, which is currently the world’s biggest carbon polluter.

China shared sixth place with the EU and Australia. Canada and Russia brought up the rear in 11th and 12th place.

India, whose emissions have also been rising rapidly, was not rated.

The UK energy secretary, Ed Davey, said he welcomed the recognition. “Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to encourage low-carbon growth,” he said in a statement.

But none of the countries put in truly stellar performance. The UK earned just 67 out of a possible 100 points.

The study calculated each country’s efforts to reduce energy use in industry, transport, and buildings, the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in developed economies, as well as overall policies.

The UK took top place for energy savings in industry and transport.

America was weighed down by its investment in roads, rather than public transit, but lifted its score by adopting stronger builder codes and energy standards for appliances.

UK ranked most energy efficient of world’s largest economies.

Just a gentle reminder; CO2 is good rather bad.

Water vapor and clouds must amplify the direct effects of CO2. In fact observations suggest that water vapor and clouds actually diminish the already small global warming expected from CO2 and not amplify it. The evidence comes from satellite measurements of infrared radiation escaping from the Earth and outer space from measurements of the sunlight reflected from clouds and measurements of the temperatures of the Earth’s surface.

Dr.William Happer University of Princeton EPW Testimony

The Economist Provides Readers With Erroneous Information About Arctic Sea Ice | Watts Up With That?

Climate sensitivity is defined as the average increase of the temperature of the Earth that you get (or expect) by doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere – from 0.028% in the pre-industrial era to the future value of 0.056% (expected around 2100).

Recall that the contribution of carbon dioxide to the warming is expected because of the “greenhouse” effect and the main question is how large it is. The greenhouse effect is nothing else than the absorption (of mostly infrared radiation emitted by the Earth) by the “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere, mainly water vapor – but in this case we are focusing on carbon dioxide, one of the five most important gases causing this effect after water vapor.

WUWT regular “Just The Facts”:

A June 16th article in the Economist “The vanishing north” states that;

A June 16th article in the Economist “The vanishing north” states that;

“Between now and early September, when the polar pack ice shrivels to its summer minimum, they will pore over the daily sea ice reports of America’s National Snow and Ice Data Centre. Its satellite data will show that the ice has shrunk far below the long-term average. This is no anomaly: since the 1970s the sea ice has retreated by around 12% each decade. Last year the summer minimum was 4.33m square km (1.67m square miles)—almost half the average for the 1960s.

The Arctic’s glaciers, including those of Greenland’s vast ice cap, are retreating. The land is thawing: the area covered by snow in June is roughly a fifth less than in the 1960s. The permafrost is shrinking. Alien plants, birds, fish and animals are creeping north: Atlantic mackerel, haddock and cod are coming up in Arctic nets. Some Arctic species will probably die out.

Perhaps not since the 19th-century clearance of America’s forests has the world seen such a spectacular environmental change. It is a stunning illustration of global warming, the cause of the melt. It also contains grave warnings of its dangers. The world would be mad to ignore them.”

The Economist Provides Readers With Erroneous Information About Arctic Sea Ice | Watts Up With That?.

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