Climate Tidbits

10 Feb 2010

Science Daily January 2nd ... it is now being claimed Swiss glaciers were melting faster than modern times as recently as the 1930s/1940s warming phase. A couple of years ago Jim Hansen was forced to admit that 1934 was warmer, or as warm as 1998. Three years in the 1930s were as warm as current temperatures (see http://climateaudit.wordpress.com archive for story) but this was confined to the US - i.e. it was GISS data that was found to be faulty and for some reason it never went further than that. What the situation is concerning the rest of the world has never been divulged. In 2009 we had the revelation that sea ice in the Arctic was as low in the 1930s as it has been over recent years - and heavily hyped by AGW and green activists. Science Daily (see www.sciencedaily.com archive) in May 2007 had an article that revealed some high mountain glaciers are not melting - such as Mont Blanc. Alpine glaciers below 4000m in altitude had shrunk - or could be shown to have changed in thickness and flow rate (but two interesting web sites might keep us informed as satellites have been recruited into the glacier debate - (see http://www.extremeicesurvey.org and http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMY4HUJ15G_planet_0.html ). However, in 2008 Science Daily had an article that confirmed the general thrust of most climate models as C02 trapped in ice samples showed that levels were lowest during the Ice Ages - when the planet was much colder. In 2009 Science Daily had another article which focussed on abrupt climate changes during the Ice Age which was found to have had a global impact - the Heinrich events. (from a Cardiff University study published in Nature). Abrupt changes in the north occurred at the same time as equally abrupt change in the South Atlantic. However, in the south the oceans were warmer (somewhat like the winter of 2009/2010). This may have a connection to a shift in the Polar Front (and jet stream) to somewhere near the latitude of northern Iberia - inhibiting the transfer of warm water into the North Atlantic. In other words, it seems that from this study the Ocean Circulation System differed - and even now it differs from year to year. For example, the El Nino event now taking place has led to a mild winter in parts of western North America (including Vancouver where the Winter Olympics are taking place) in a band towards the Great Lakes. Toronto, for example, has not had a great deal of snow this year, unlike last year. Instead, the cold weather has been across central US and as low in latitude as Florida and Texas. Now, the evidence from Heinrich events is of prolonged coolings following prolonged warmings (the Dansgaard-Oeschger events) but if climate changes as a result of ENSOs and these changes in the Ocean Circulation system had occurred as often as they do nowadays what evidence would be found in ice cores? Ice cores do not produce reliable year by year information, but blocks of information (say of five or ten years). How reliable is the evidence and does it need studying in finer detail? There appears to be a lot of unknown science waiting to be discovered.

Newspapers appear to be falling over themselves to publish some negative articles on AGW presumably in order to realign themselves in case the sceptics are right - yet politicians still have their faces firmly averted from Climategate. The environmentalist lobby is desperately trying to baton down the hatches as new scandals emerge almost on a daily basis, and green journalists are finding excuses for the IPCC and HADCru scientists whilst the government appears to have scotched the prospect of prosecutions taking place - or a proper enquiry. The Met Office refuses to allow public scrutiny of the role it played in IPCC reports - which was very influential. The Hockey Stick graph in the 2007 report (the original version was shattered by Steve McIntyre) was re-engineered and included with the support of the Met Office director of climate sciences who is on record as saying the earth is now hotter, in 2007, than at any time in the past 1300 years. This, in spite of the Medieval Warm Period and the Tudor or Little Medieval Warm Period.

The Telegraph (see www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7177230/ ) claimed the IPCC report of 2007 had even more flaws - the publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity, various claims such as press releases and newsletters, statements based on student dissertations (some unpublished) and claims made by environmental activists. The report also claimed half of the Netherlands was below sea level which has enraged the Dutch government (in spite of the fact they are as AGW as our own). Green journalists are trying to pass off these errors as minor in comparison with the actual size of the report - which is extremely lengthy. In addition, claims that carbon emissions from nucleur power stations and statements that nucleur was cheaper than coal or gas were actually taken from the web site of a nucleur power promoter and did not involve actual science or journalistic research. Meanwhile, former chairman of the IPCC Bob Watson, now chief scientists for DEFRA, and keeping an eye on the windy livestock, is still insisting there is evidence of climate change by human activity. This article, by Christopher Booker, is an example of how some sceptics operate. Criticism of the 2007 report is confined to small bits here and there and tends to ignore most of the scientific arguments. More to my taste is Andrew Neil who has a blog on the BBC web site (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/dailypolitics/andrewneil/ ). In one of his postings he says AGW has had a bad press recently - but not everything is going against it. This is a reference to average global temperatures for January from satellite readings compiled by the University of Alabama which show a substantial spike in temperatures - upwards. This is surprising as many people around the world have experienced cold, ice, and snow in January but these are global averages - and in the southern hemisphere it is summer. Not only that, most of the southern hemisphere is ocean and this where the warmth is coming from, the Ocean Circulation System. We are in the middle of an El Nino event that is transporting warm tropical water southwards and westwards (and eastwards towards NW N America) towards Indonesia and Australia (which is enjoying a hot summer) and into the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic (it will eventually affect the North Atlantic). The information behind the warming oceans actually comes from an AGW sceptic scientist, Dr Roy Spencer (see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/05/spencer-record-january-warmth-is-mostly-sea/ ) and is worth reading. Climate science is complex which is why the scare stories are often so ludicrous - and ignored by sane people. 

www.physorg.com February 5th ... I said ocean acidification might raise it's head as an AGW side issue - and it has. A polar marine biologist says the increasing acidity of the world's oceans is a growing threat to marine species and proof that C02 is causing climate change and affecting the oceans environment. Apparently, the scare involves a decline in surface pH from 8.2 to 8.1. You have been warned. 

Science Daily February 8th ... glaciologists at Toulouse University (and Canadian and US scientists who took part in the research) have shown that all previous studies of mass loss from mountain glaciers have been overestimated. Modern satellite data show a much lower rate of ice loss which is apparently greatest in Alaska and NW Canada. The article, in Nature Geoscience, says mountain glaciers are an important source of water from melt and contribute to sea level rise. There has been an acceleration in ice loss in N America since the mid 1990s - which conforms to the current warming phase of the climate.