Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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Global warming media mess indicates why AIDS critics must be heard

Hard to think that the global warming naysayers can be right when one reads the editorial in the New Yorker this week, “Global Warning”, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

By the time one finishes it one feels that anyone challenging global warming must be an extreme holdout risking the welfare of future generations by turning a blind eye to what is happening right there on our television screens. Bush must be the dumbest president ever to ocupy the Oval Office, any critics must be in the service of industrial interests, denial of the urgent need to take action at whatever cost is merely evidence of right wing obstinacy, etc etc.

The atoll’s evacuation fits into a pattern of grim, if unsurprising, news. In September, the area of Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low, prompting glaciologists to conclude that the ice had entered a state of “accelerating, long-term decline,” and to warn that at the current rate of loss the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free in summer “well before the end of this century.” At about the same time, a team of researchers at the University of Colorado announced that the extent of surface melt on the Greenland ice sheet had reached a new high, and a second team of researchers, at Georgia Tech, reported that the number of Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes had nearly doubled in the past three decades. Global temperatures, meanwhile, continued their steady upward climb; 2005 is on track to be the hottest year since record-keeping began, in the late eighteen-hundreds. (Eight of the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1996.)


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COMMENT

GLOBAL WARNING

by Elizabeth Kolbert

Issue of 2005-12-12

Posted 2005-12-05

The Kilinailau Islands—also known as the Tulun Islands, or the Carteret Atoll—which lie four hundred miles from the coast of Papua New Guinea, are tiny, low, and impoverished. Their fate, thanks to global warming, has long been a foregone conclusion. In 1995, most of the shoreline of Piul and Huene washed away, and the island of Iolasa was cut in half by the sea. Saltwater intrusion has now reached the point where islanders can no longer grow breadfruit, and have to rely on emergency food aid. Last month, Reuters reported that the decision had finally been made to give up. The islands’ two thousand residents are being relocated, at the expense of the Papua New Guinean government, to the slightly higher ground of Bougainville Island, some sixty miles to the southwest.

The atoll’s evacuation fits into a pattern of grim, if unsurprising, news. In September, the area of Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low, prompting glaciologists to conclude that the ice had entered a state of “accelerating, long-term decline,” and to warn that at the current rate of loss the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free in summer “well before the end of this century.” At about the same time, a team of researchers at the University of Colorado announced that the extent of surface melt on the Greenland ice sheet had reached a new high, and a second team of researchers, at Georgia Tech, reported that the number of Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes had nearly doubled in the past three decades. Global temperatures, meanwhile, continued their steady upward climb; 2005 is on track to be the hottest year since record-keeping began, in the late eighteen-hundreds. (Eight of the ten hottest years on record have occurred since 1996.)

These events are the all too relevant backdrop for the current round of international climate talks taking place in Montreal. The talks are the first since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force, this past February. Technically, the United States, not being a party to the protocol, will be excluded from many of the sessions in Montreal. But, by virtue of its contribution to climate change—Americans produce nearly a quarter of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions—it will still have a great deal of influence on what does, and does not, get accomplished there.

When the Bush Administration’s policy on climate change was first articulated by the President, in early 2002, critics described it as a “total charade,” a characterization that, if anything, has come to seem too generous. Stripped down to its essentials, the Administration’s position is that global warming is a problem that either will solve itself or won’t. The White House has consistently opposed taxes or regulations or mandatory caps to reduce, or even just stabilize, greenhouse-gas emissions, advocating instead a purely voluntary approach, under which companies and individuals can choose to cut their CO2 production—that is, if they feel like it. (At the G-8 summit this summer, the President embarrassed British Prime Minister Tony Blair by refusing to accede even to minor modifications in this position.) In Montreal, the Administration’s chief climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, has been touting the efficacy of the voluntary approach, pointing out that between 2000 and 2003 the United States’ carbon-dioxide emissions dropped by .8 per cent. Conveniently left out is the fact that since 2003 they have shot back up again. According to the latest government figures, the country’s CO2 emissions are now three per cent higher than they were three years ago. (The brief dip, it should be noted, had nothing to do with government policy; it was entirely a function of the downturn in the economy.)

Much of the Montreal talks will be taken up with the nitty-gritty of implementing Kyoto—how, for example, to structure the “clean development mechanism,” under which industrialized countries can receive credit for financing emissions-reducing projects in developing ones. Such details are clearly important if the protocol is to have an impact. But Kyoto is, and has always been understood as, a first step, and a baby step at that. As President Bush likes to point out, the protocol imposes no restrictions on countries like China and India, whose emissions are growing rapidly. (China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest carbon emitter sometime around 2025.) Kyoto, moreover, is a temporary measure; it lapses in 2012, at which point it will need to be replaced by something much more ambitious. The protocol took almost three years to negotiate and seven years to ratify; at that rate, work on its successor should have begun back in 2002. Many countries are pressing for post-Kyoto talks to commence immediately. In characteristic fashion, the Bush Administration is refusing to participate. “The United States seeks to focus attention on progress . . . rather than to detour positive approaches toward a new round of negotiations” is how Watson put it shortly after arriving in Montreal last week.

America’s failure to ratify Kyoto is widely viewed as a scandal. The Administration’s effort to block a post-Kyoto agreement has received less attention, but is every bit as dangerous. Without the participation of the United States, no meaningful agreement can be drafted for the post-2012 period, and the world will have missed what may well be its last opportunity to alter course. “If we don’t get a serious program in place for the long term in this post-Kyoto phase, we will simply not make it,” Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton, told reporters last month. “We will be crossing limits which will basically produce impacts that are unacceptable.” Such is the nature of global warming that the problem is always further along than it seems. The kinds of changes that are now becoming evident—the rise in sea levels, the thawing of permafrost, the acidification of the oceans, the acceleration of ice streams—mean that much larger changes are rapidly approaching. To continue to delay is not to put off catastrophe but, rather, to rush toward it.

This is inciting stuff. Aux armes! Aux armes! To the barricades!

Then one turns to Benny Peiser’s CCNet and one sees once again that the answers are not so easy. For example the sensational reports that the Arctic is melting are balanced by ice accruing in the Antarctic, according to the online science editor of the often alarmist BBC, no less.


While the headlines blaze that the Arctic is declining we should take a look at the ice at the other end of the planet. By far, most of the world’s ice is held in Antarctica and the evidence there is, by and large, that the amount of ice there is growing.

Many scientists know this, but the mantra of ‘global warming happening due to humanity’s flagrant release of greenhouse gases’ is now an established political correctness. Many of them realise there are significant areas of doubt but if they voice that doubt they run the risk of losing research funds. When scientists are afraid to express doubts we are all in trouble, human-made global warming or not.

– David Whitehouse

Copyright 2005, BBC Focus

Nature’s recent sensational report that global warming would stifle the Gulf Stream and leave Europe to shiver in a continental freeze is also countered by skeptics, including one in Science (Dec 2):

Science magazine’s Richard Kerr covers the Bryden et. al. findings in the December 2nd issue of the magazine with an article titled “The Atlantic Conveyor May Have Slowed, But Don’t Panic Yet.” Kerr’s look at the issue is a bit more critical than most other mainstream press reports. He notes that the trend reported by Bryden et. al. is hardly bigger than the uncertainty in the calculations, and even quoted Bryden as telling him “we don’t know enough about the ocean to know whether [our result] represents a trend” that will persist.

And on Sun (Dec 4) as CCNet notes (see below, where the whole email is reproduced to show how much you are missing if you don’t sign up for it) we had the Times’s Andrew Revkin and his odd article explaining that the Kyoto Treaty approach is not going to be the answer as long as China and India won’t curb emissions, and alternative energy to fossil fuels is underresearched. One reason it seemed odd was because it didn’t mention nuclear power, possibly because the deep cuts to his article that he complains of.

All in all, the discussion relayed by Benny Peiser in the Cambridge Conference Net (CCNet) almost daily reveals how superficial and misleading even the science media have become these days on climate warming, an issue which is simply too big for them to handle. Anyone who wants to get a reliable clue as to what is going on in climate change has to read CCNet or Fred Singer’s listserves, and then tread very carefully in the minefield of politics if commenting publicly on the topic.

Exactly the same caution applies to HIV/AIDS, of course. The media mess in climate change is yet another signal that the revisionism in AIDS science cannot be dismissed without serious examination.

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From: B.J.Peiser@ljmu.ac.uk

Subject: CCNet: NATURE’S ICE AGE SCARE FLOPS

Date: December 5, 2005 6:03:00 AM EST

To: cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk

CCNet 159/2005, 5 December 2005

NATURE’S ICE AGE SCARE FLOPS

———————————

Scientists say that global warming is slowing the Gulf Stream and that Britain may face a new ice age as a result. In the eyes of one expert, it is the greatest natural hazard facing the planet. Professor Bill McGuire decided to calculate the risk of the Gulf Stream shutting down. Based on what is known about previous ice ages and on recent

ocean data, he calculated that there is almost a one in two chance of the current stopping. “The world is facing a disaster.”

–Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 4 December 2005

The occurrence of a climate state without the Gulf Stream anytime soon – within tens of millions of years – has a probability of little more than zero.

–Carl Wunsch, MIT, Nature 428, 601, April 8, 2004

In fact, climate researcher Jeff Knight of the Hadley Centre and colleagues recently reported that changing sea surface temperatures suggest that the conveyor has speeded up a bit since the 1970s (Science, 1 July, p. 41). And physical oceanographers Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach of the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just crunched far more oceanographic data from a variety of sources over the interval of dramatic change (1993 to 2004) in the NOC analysis. In a paper submitted for publication, they report a small slowdown, a quarter the size of the NOC group’s. The change in heat transported northward is negligible, they calculate.

–Richard A. Kerr, Science, 2 December 2005

By far, most of the world’s ice is held in Antarctica and the evidence there is, by and large, that the amount of ice there is growing. Many scientists know this, but the mantra of ‘global warming happening due to humanity’s flagrant release of greenhouse gases’ is now an established political

correctness. Many of them realise there are significant areas of doubt butif they voice that doubt they run the risk of losing research funds. When scientists are afraid to express doubts we are all in trouble, human-made

global warming or not.

–David Whitehouse, BBC Focus, December 2005

Today, in the middle of new global warming talks in Montreal, there is a sense that the whole idea of global agreements to cut greenhouse gases won’t work… Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that

perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed.

–Andrew C Revkin, The New York Times, 4 December 2005

(1) DOOMSDAY BILLY: “50% CHANCE GULF STREAM WILL SHUT DOWN THIS CENTURY”

Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 4 December 2005

(2) IS THE ICE REALLY MELTING?

David Whitehouse, BBC Focus, December 2005

(3) COMMENT & ANALYSIS: DON’T BELIEVE ALL YOU READ ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

David Whitehouse, BBC Focus, December 2005

(4) ON CLIMATE CHANGE, A CHANGE OF THINKING

Andrew Revkin

(5) A CURRENT AFFAIR

Pat Michaels, Tech Central Station, 2 December 2005

(6) SETI: “UNEXPECTED METEOR SHOWER REVEALS PRESENSE OF POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS COMET”

Peter Jenniskens, SETI

(7) NATURE HAS BEEN PUSHING ALARMIST SCIENCE FICTION

Allan MacRae

(8) APOPHIS NUMEROLOGY

Robert Matson

(9) TSUANAMIS HITTING SW SPAIN AND PORTUGAL DURING THE HOLOCENE

Francisco Ruiz et al., Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. December 2005

(10) ANCIENT LEGENDS GIVE AN EARLY WARNING OF MODERN DISASTERS

Robin McKie, The Observer, 4 December 2005

(11) AND FINALLY: “BUSH, BLAIR, BECKETT: CLIMATE CRIMINALS”

The Daily Telegraph, 3 December 2005

(12) UNDER THE BOTTOM LINE: THE INDIE’S FEAR OF GHOSTS

The Independent (frontpage story), 3 December 2005

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

(1) DOOMSDAY BILLY: “50% CHANCE GULF STREAM WILL SHUT DOWN THIS CENTURY”

The Sunday Times, 4 December 2005

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1902950_1,00.html

SO ARE WE GOING TO FREEZE OR FRY?

Scientists say that global warming is slowing the Gulf Stream and that Britain may face a new ice age as a result. Confused? Jonathan Leake explains the oddities of climate change

[…] Others, however, believe that even if the different local impacts of climate change are uncertain, the overall picture is clear.

In the eyes of one expert, it is the greatest natural hazard facing the planet.

Professor Bill McGuire, director of the Benfield Hazard research centre at University College London, has calculated the threat from a range of geophysical hazards – based largely on how often they have occurred in the past.

He found that the risk of a major comet impact in the average person’s 70-year lifespan was about 8,570:1.

That compared with a risk of 143:1 for an ocean-wide tsunami. Recently, McGuire decided to calculate the risk of the Gulf Stream shutting down. Based on what is known about previous ice ages and on recent ocean data, he calculated that there is almost a one in two chance of the current stopping.

“Global warming is no longer a future threat, it is a reality and it is happening faster than anyone ever predicted,” he said. “The world is facing a disaster.”

For McGuire, Wadhams and most other scientists the real wonder is no longer the rapidity of climate change but the incomprehension and inaction of the public and politicians.

Last week Lord Robert May, used his final address as president of the Royal Society, Britain’s pre-eminent science organisation, to warn of the consequences of inaction.

“Climate change is undeniably real, caused by human activities, and has serious consequences,” he said. “The forecasts are for warming of 1.4 to 5.8C by 2100. This would be the warmest period on Earth for the last 100,000 years. If this ‘experiment’ is to end in success for humankind, it is essential that progress be made at the climate negotiations in Montreal.”

Even the doomsayers admit, however, that the interactions of the various elements of the earth’s climate are so complex that predicting what will happen is uncertain.

It is not clear, for example, what the effect would be of global warming combined with a European freeze. Just possibly, the cooling caused by a slowing of the Gulf Stream might match the warming caused by global climate change, making northern Europe one of the few hospitable parts of the world … possible, but unlikely.

Copyright 2005, TST

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bill McGuire has a rather notorious track record of similar doomsday

prophecies that have been debunked by leading experts in the field

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_5-1-2005_pg7_10

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(2) IS THE ICE REALLY MELTING?

BBC Focus, December 2005

http://www.focusmag.co.uk/

By David Whitehouse

Recent reports suggest that Arctic sea ice is declining faster than ever. But do we know enough to say what’s happening with any certainty?

Recently the news headlines told us that scientists at the University of Colorado had found that the extent of Arctic sea ice – the floating ice that covers the Arctic Ocean – is declining rapidly. Almost everyone said that anthropogenic global warming was to blame and that it was another example of humanity’s detrimental effect on the planet.

The data was obtained from a satellite that uses microwave radiation to monitor sea-ice changes. According to Mark Serreze of Colorado University’s National Snow and and Ice Data Center, it indicated that in September 2004 sae ice extent (in other words, the ice’s surface area) was almost 14 per cent below average. September usually marks the end of the summer melt season when the extent of the ice is at its lowest. Even so, the decline in sea ice extent during September has only been around eight per cent during the past decade. “This is the third year in a row with extreme ice losses, pointing to an acceleration of the downward trend,” Serreze told BBC Focus. Researchers say a dip in the September ice extent one year is often followed by a recovery the following year, but that this has not been the cased in the past year. The September 2004 sea ice loss was especially evident in northern Alaska and eastern Siberia.

“One possible explanation for the continuing loss of sea ice is that climate warming from human activities like the burning of fossil fuels is becoming more apparent,” says Serreze. “Climate models are in general agreement that one of the strongest signals of greenhouse warming will be a loss of Arctic sea ice.”

UK on ice

Some say it’s a crisis. According to the University of Colorado’s Julienne Stroeve, we may soon reach a ‘tipping point’ – a threshold beyond which the sea ice can no longer recover. The result would be a runaway loss of ice, leading to an ice-free Arctic in a few decades. This would alter the global energy balance and affect ocean circulation patterns, possibly causing the North Atlantic drift that keeps Britain’s shores ice-free, to fail.

Serreze believes natural climate variability likely plays some part in the observed changes. “However, the most reasonable view is that the nice decline represents a combination of both natural variability and the greenhouse effect, with the latter becoming more evident in coming decades,” he says.

But scientists need to be careful. The records of ice in the Arctic do not go very far, meaning that researchers cannot be completely sure whether what they see is a result of man or nature.

“It’s always difficult with a short period of observations to determine if a trend seen over a short period will continue,” climate scientists Professor Duncan Wingham, of University Collage London, told BBC Focus. “We know that Arctic ice has cycles of decline and recovery, but the recent decrease seems considerable. It does seem to be indicative of a larger change than we have ever seen before.”

Cryosat coverage

But not all scientists agree that the declining surface area of ice in the Arctic is an indication that the total amount of ice is diminishing. It is known that ice can get thinner in some regions and thicker in others so that even when the total area declines there could be little change in the total volume.

Scientists thought they had a solution to the problem of finding out exactly what was happening to the Arctic ice – in the form of a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite called Cryosat. “Cryosat was designed to improve the data coverage of the Arctic ice and to tell us how much ice ikn total, not just the area of ice, was disappearing from the Arctic,” says Professor Wingham.

But disaster struck. Cryosat was launched on a Russian rocket from the Plesetsk complex in Northern Siberia on 8 October. A few minutes after launch it suffered a malfunction and instead of entering orbit crashed onto the very ice it was supposed to monitor. Dismayed scientists say that Cryosat most be rebuilt and relaunched, perhaps as soon as three years from now.

At Liverpool John Moores University, Dr Benny Peiser points out that the Arctic ice is a complex system and that if you look at it in too simplistic a way, you will not be able to draw valid conclusions: “We must be careful in equating a decrease in the quantity in surface ice area with a real decrease in the quantity of ice. There is much variation in growth and decay from year to year and place to place., by as much as a metre in just a few years. Natural variability is considerable. Mankind may not be to blame after all.”

Dr David White House is Science Editor of BBC News Online

Copyright, 2005 BBC Focus

========

(3) COMMENT & ANALYSIS: DON’T BELIEVE ALL YOU READ ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

The fact is that we don’t know very much about the natural cycles of ice growth and decline in the Artic. Detailed measurements only stretch back barely two decades and that is just too short to tell what is really happening.

The ice on our world is always changing, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. When we look at glaciers and become worried that they may be shrinking and what it might mean, bear in mind that only 2000 years ago there were no glaciers at all in the Alps and hardly any in Norway. Their spectacular growth since then has had nothing to do with human influence. It has been due to natural cycles of climate change that we have lived through successfully.

The media are also not telling the whole story, but rather are ‘cherry-picking’ the news that fits the credo that the world is warming and the ice is retreating because of human influence. It must be noted that for every glacier in the Alps or Greenland that shows signs of shrinking, there are others elsewhere in the world that show signs of growing.

While the headlines blaze that the Arctic is declining we should take a look at the ice at the other end of the planet. By far, most of the world’s ice is held in Antarctica and the evidence there is, by and large, that the amount of ice there is growing.

Many scientists know this, but the mantra of ‘global warming happening due to humanity’s flagrant release of greenhouse gases’ is now an established political correctness. Many of them realise there are significant areas of doubt but if they voice that doubt they run the risk of losing research funds. When scientists are afraid to express doubts we are all in trouble, human-made global warming or not. David Whitehouse

Copyright 2005, BBC Focus

==========

(4) ON CLIMATE CHANGE, A CHANGE OF THINKING

Andrew Revkin

This got deeply cut and edited, but you might still find it interesting.

– andy

———

The World: On Climate Change, a Change of Thinking

The New York Times, 4 December 2005

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/weekinreview/04revkin.html

By ANDREW C. REVKIN

IN December 1997, representatives of most of the world’s nations met in Kyoto, Japan, to negotiate a binding agreement to cut emissions of “greenhouse” gases.

They succeeded. The Kyoto Protocol was ultimately ratified by 156 countries. It was the first agreement of its kind. But it may also prove to be the last.

Today, in the middle of new global warming talks in Montreal, there is a sense that the whole idea of global agreements to cut greenhouse gases won’t work.

A major reason the optimism over Kyoto has eroded so rapidly is that its major requirement – that 38 participating industrialized countries cut their greenhouse emissions below 1990 levels by the year 2012 – was seen as just a first step toward increasingly aggressive cuts.

But in the years after the protocol was announced, developing countries, including the fast-growing giants China and India, have held firm on their insistence that they would accept no emissions cuts, even though they are likely to be the world’s dominant source of greenhouse gases in coming years.

Their refusal helped fuel strong opposition to the treaty in the United States Senate and its eventual rejection by President Bush.

But the current stalemate is not just because of the inadequacies of the protocol. It is also a response to the world’s ballooning energy appetite, which, largely because of economic growth in China, has exceeded almost everyone’s expectations. And there are still no viable alternatives to fossil fuels, the main source of greenhouse gases.

Then, too, there is a growing recognition of the economic costs incurred by signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.

As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, a proponent of emissions targets, said in a statement on Nov. 1: “The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge.”

This is as true, in different ways, in developed nations with high unemployment, like Germany and France, as it is in Russia, which said last week that it may have spot energy shortages this winter.

Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed.

The basic template came out of the first international pact intended to protect the atmosphere, the 1987 Montreal Protocol for eliminating chemicals that harmed the ozone layer, said Richard A. Benedick, the Reagan administration’s chief representative in the talks leading to that agreement.

That agreement was a success, but a misleading one in the context of climate. It led, Mr. Benedick now says, to “years wasted in these annual shindigs designed to generate sound bites instead of sober contemplation of difficult issues.”

While it was relatively easy to phase out ozone-harming chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons, which were made by a handful of companies in a few countries, taking on carbon dioxide, the main climate threat, was a completely different matter, he said.

Carbon dioxide is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal. Its production is woven into the fabric of an industrial society, and, for now, economic growth is inconceivable without it.

Developing countries – China and India being only the most dramatic examples – want to burn whatever energy they need, in whatever form available, to grow their economies and raise the living standard of their people.

And the United States – by far the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases – continues to say that emissions targets or requirements would stunt economic growth in both rich and poor nations. All this has turned the Montreal meeting, many participants have conceded, into, at best, a preliminary meeting on how to start over in addressing the threat of global warming.

Indeed, from here on, progress on climate is less likely to come from megaconferences like the one in Montreal and more likely from focused initiatives by clusters of countries with common interests, said Mr. Benedick, who is now a consultant and president of the National Council on Science and the Environment, a private group promoting science-based environmental policies.

The only real answer at the moment is still far out on the horizon: nonpolluting energy sources. But the amount of money being devoted to research and develop such technologies, much less install them, is nowhere near the scale of the problem, many experts on energy technology said.

Enormous investments in basic research have to be made promptly, even with the knowledge that most of the research is likely to fail, if there is to be any chance of creating options for the world’s vastly increased energy thirst in a few decades, said Richard G. Richels, an economist at the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit center for energy and environment research.

“The train is not leaving the station, and it needs to leave the station,” Mr. Richels said. “If we don’t have the technologies available at that time, it’s going to be a mess.”

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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(5) A CURRENT AFFAIR

Tech Central Station, 2 December 2005

http://www.techcentralstation.com/120205F.html

By Pat Michaels

In the December 1st issue of Nature magazine, Harry Bryden and colleagues at Britain’s National Oceanography Centre report that the Atlantic meridional circulation (also known as the thermohaline circulation (THC) — the density driven current that carries warm surface water northward and returns colder deep water southward — has slowed by 30 percent between 1957 and 2004.

The significance of this finding is difficult to assess in light of other recent observations.

Climate model simulations estimate that a complete shutdown of the THC would result in a cooling of Europe of 4ºC or more. So, shouldn’t a 30% slowdown have some noticeable impacts, such as a pretty sharp cooling trend?

Just two days before the Bryden results were published, a report from the European Environment Agency detailed all of the ills that Europe has been facing recently because of how warm it has been, and prominently proclaimed that Europe’s four hottest years on record were 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004. And yet, how many breathless news stories, like the one in London’s Guardian, played the Bryden paper as reflecting a long-term (read: anthropogenic influenced) trend in the THC?

A close read, however, shows that the THC changes have really only taken place sometime since 1992. Since 1957, the characteristics of the Atlantic Ocean that Bryden et al. used in making their calculations were sampled 4 more times — in 1981, 1992, 1998, and 2004. No remarkable changes were detected between 1957 and 1992, but since then, Bryden found indications that the THC had slowed a bit by 1998, and further in the 2004 data.

A large-scale, arguably “natural” event took place during that same time. Karcher et. al. recently reported a large freshwater release from the Arctic Ocean into the North Atlantic Ocean in the mid-1990s as a result of atmospheric circulation patterns resulting from an extremely intense North Atlantic Oscillation (or NAO, a measure of the pressure distribution over the North Atlantic Ocean basin). Since the early to mid-1990s, the NAO has returned to more normal values indicating that the trend from low NAO values characteristic of the 1960s to the historically high values in the early 1990s has ended. The return to normal NAO conditions has also, according to Karcher et. al., resulted in a more normal degree of freshwater input to the subpolar North Atlantic. Addition of a pulse of freshwater to the North Atlantic is one mechanism for slowing the THC, and so it is possible that the freshwater release in the mid-1990s identified by Karcher could have acted to slow, temporarily, the THC — perhaps an effect picked up in Bryden’s analysis.

And further, a recent paper by Knight et. al. reconstructed the history of the THC in the Atlantic for the past 125 years or so based upon a combination of climate model simulations and sea surface temperature observations. They concluded that the THC had increased substantially since the 1970s — a finding in opposition to that of Bryden et. al. Squaring these disparate findings is not a simple matter and indicates that the situation is much more complex than perhaps realized.

Science magazine’s Richard Kerr covers the Bryden et. al. findings in the December 2nd issue of the magazine with an article titled “The Atlantic Conveyor May Have Slowed, But Don’t Panic Yet.” Kerr’s look at the issue is a bit more critical than most other mainstream press reports. He notes that the trend reported by Bryden et. al. is hardly bigger than the uncertainty in the calculations, and even quoted Bryden as telling him “we don’t know enough about the ocean to know whether [our result] represents a trend” that will persist.

Here is how Kerr concludes his look into the issue:

The picture is still fuzzy, however. “It would be dangerous to jump to the conclusion that there’s a persistent weakening” of the conveyor circulation, says ocean and climate modeler Richard Wood of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Exeter, U.K. Wood, Rhines, and Bryden all worry that the near-instantaneous snapshots taken by the ocean surveys might have been misleading. Like any part of the complex climate system, the conveyor is bound to slow down at times and speed up at others. The two latest surveys, Wood says, may have happened to catch the Atlantic as the conveyor slowed temporarily, giving the impression that a permanent change had taken place.

On the other hand, the [Bryden’s] analysis may not have even captured what happened in the past decade or so. Climate models simulating the conveyor in a warming world don’t call for such a large slowdown until sometime in the next century, Wood notes. In fact, climate researcher Jeff Knight of the Hadley Centre and colleagues recently reported that changing sea surface temperatures suggest that the conveyor has speeded up a bit since the 1970s (Science, 1 July, p. 41). And physical oceanographers Carl Wunsch and Patrick Heimbach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have just crunched far more oceanographic data from a variety of sources over the interval of dramatic change (1993 to 2004) in the NOC analysis. In a paper submitted for publication, they report a small slowdown, a quarter the size of the NOC group’s. The change in heat transported northward is negligible, they calculate.

So has the conveyor slowed? Might it continue to slow? “We don’t know,” says Wunsch. And it may take a decade or two more of watching and waiting to know for sure.

Together, all of this points to a far less clear picture about the state of the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean than is generally being reported. On the other hand, if Bryden et. al. have discovered a real long-term change in the THC, then this will in turn change the paradigm as to how the THC relates to a huge host of climate parameters — parameters that, at present, don’t seem to be behaving like they should if the THC is indeed slowing dramatically. Not often does one anomaly break a paradigm. It happens — but rarely.

References:

Bryden, H.L., et al., 2005. Slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation at 25ºN. Nature, 438, 655-657.

Karcher, M., et al., 2005. Arctic Ocean change heralds North Atlantic freshening. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi:1029/2005GL023861.

Kerr, R., 2005. The Atlantic Conveyor May Have Slowed, But Don’t Panic Yet. Science, 310, 1403-1404.

Knight, J.R., et al., 2005. A signature of persistent natural thermohaline circulation cycles in observed climate. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi:10.1029/2005GL024233.

Copyright 2005, TCS

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

(6) SETI: “UNEXPECTED METEOR SHOWER REVEALS PRESENSE OF POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS COMET”

http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=1233789

by Peter Jenniskens

SETI Institute scientist and meteor expert Peter Jenniskens reports in a telegram issued by the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center (http://www.seti.org/site/pp.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=1233789) that an unexpected burst of meteors on October 5, 2005 has occurred, which betrayed the presence of a thusfar unknown, potentially Earth-threatening, comet.

The burst of meteors radiated from a direction on the border of the constellations Draco and Camelopardalis, and the new shower is called the October Camelopardalids. The meteors were caused by dust ejected by an Intermediate Long-Period comet during its previous return to the Sun, and the detection of the comet’s dust trail implies that the comet itself could wander into Earth’s path, if so directed by the gravitational pull of the planets. The comet itself has not yet been discovered and is likely to return to Earth’s vicinity only once every 200 – 10,000 years. Chances are very small that Earth will be at the intersection point at the time of the return, hence, there is no immediate concern. The dust, however, is forensic evidence that may provide more insight into the nature of this new comet when the meteor shower is seen again in the future.

2005 OCTOBER 5 OUTBURST OF OCTOBER CAMELOPARDALIDS

Peter Jenniskens, Jarmo Moilanen, Esko Lyytinen, Ilkka Yrjölä, Jeff Brower

http://www.seti.org/atf/cf/{B0D4BC0E-D59B-4CD0-9E79-113953A58644}/WGNreport.pdf

Abstract of the report in WGN: the Journal of the International Meteor Organization

“Jarmo Moilanen (Finland), detected twelve meteors from a compact geocentric radiant at R. A. = 164.1 ± 2.0º, Decl. = +78.9 ± 0.5º, on the border of Draco and Camelopardalis, in the evening of October 5, 2005. The differential mass distribution index was a low s = 1.4 ± 0.2 (+0 to -6 magnitude). The new shower was confirmed by Esko Lyytinen (2 meteors, early period only, located at 25.00 E; +60.25 N) and Ilkka Yrjölä (4 meteors: 26.4 E, +60.9 N) at nearby locations, and by Sirko Molau in Germany (7 meteors). Esko Lyytinen calculated an apparent speed of Vg = 47.3 ± 0.5 km/s from one two-station meteor, close to the parabolic limit. We conclude that the event was caused by the 1-revolution dust trail of a yet unidentified potentially Earth-threatening (Halley-type or) Intermediate Long-Period comet with orbital elements similar to those of the meteoroids: Epoch = 2005 October 05, a = Inf. (15 – Inf.) AU, q = 0.993±0.001 AU, w = 170.5±1º, W = 192.59±0.04º , and i = 79.3±0.5º (J2000.0).”

Copyright © 2005, SETI Institute

========= LETTERS =========

(7) NATURE HAS BEEN PUSHING ALARMIST SCIENCE FICTION

Allan MacRae

RE: This was important data, well presented and well discussed, which we reported accurately and responsibly. It was not a scare; nor was it silly; nor did it say anything about forthcoming ice ages.

–Oliver Morton, Chief News and Features Editor, Nature, 1 December 2005

I agree with you Benny,

For years, Nature has been pushing silly, alarmist science fiction masquerading as climate science. So have other journals, including EOS, Science and Scientific American. Their lack of editorial objectivity has utterly discredited these once-great journals, so I no longer waste any time on them.

As McIntyre and McKitrick found while exposing Mann’s bogus “hockey stick”, it takes years of hard work and adversity to discredit this junk. Meanwhile, these alarmists’ scares become the latest religion for the scoundrels and imbeciles who make a living by peddling the phony global warming crisis.

Dr. Richard Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a co-author of the 2001 UN IPCC and US NAS reports, elegantly wrote in the Wall Street Journal on June 11, 2001,

as follows:

“The full IPCC report is an admirable description of research activities in climate science, but it is not specifically directed at policy. The Summary for Policymakers is, but it is also a very different document. It represents a consensus of government representatives (many of whom are also their nations’ Kyoto representatives), rather than of scientists. The resulting document has a strong tendency to disguise uncertainty, and conjures up some scary scenarios for which there is no evidence.

Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been done with both the reports of the IPCC and the NAS. It is a reprehensible practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions…”

Best regards, Allan

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

(8) APOPHIS NUMEROLOGY

Robert Matson

Hi Benny,

I’ve been following the 2004 MN4 Apophis story since its discovery almost a year ago, and only today did the humo(u)r in its formal numbering- 99942 – occur to me. Whether through happenstance or possibly deliberate jiggering by the MPC (some of whose members have an admitted fondness for Douglas Adams ;-), Apophis’ designation can be split into:

999: the emergency phone # in the UK (if I’m not mistaken)

42: the ultimate answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything.

Best wishes for the holidays from across the Pond,

Rob Matson

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

(9) TSUANAMIS HITTING SW SPAIN AND PORTUGAL DURING THE HOLOCENE

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Volume 229, 20 December 2005, Pages 212-229

http://tinyurl.com/ap9ub

Evidence of high-energy events in the geological record: Mid-holocene evolution of the southwestern Doñana National Park (SW Spain)

Francisco Ruiz a), Antonio Rodríguez-Ramírez a), Luis M. Cáceres a), Joaquín Rodríguez

Vidal a), María Isabel Carretero b), M. Abad a), M. Olías a) and M. Pozo c)

a) Departamento de Geodinámica y Paleontología, Univ. de Huelva. Avda, Fuerzas Armadas, s/n. 21071-Huelva, Spain

b) Departamento de Cristalografía, Mineralogía y Química Agrícola, Univ. de Sevilla, Apdo. 553, Sevilla, Spain

c) Departamento de Química Agrícola, Geología y Geoquímica, Univ. Autónoma de Madrid, 28049-Madrid, Spain

Abstract

Four phases are distinguished in the Mid-Holocene evolution of the southwestern Doñana National Park (SW Spain), based on the multidisciplinary study of sediments in drill cores. In the oldest phase (> 5500-5400 cal. years BP), a coastal, brackish lagoon occupied the central part of the study area, partly enclosed by the Doñana spit and limited by fluvial levees. An evolution from subtidal to intertidal conditions characterized the areas located close to the inner side of the Doñana spit during the same phase. The following phase (5400-5200 cal. years BP) is characterized by a high-energy event (tsunami?), which caused the breakthrough of the Doñana spit and the creation of new littoral strands in the inner areas. In the first period of the third phase (5200-4200 cal. years BP), estuarine infilling was probably the dominant process, with the accumulation of phyllosilicate-rich clays in the lagoon bed. This was followed by a renewed phase of instability (4200-4100 cal. years BP) indicated by the presence of fine storm-lain deposits and thicker, probably tsunami-induced shelly deposits. The last phase (4100-3700 cal. years BP) comprises: a) an infilling period, with a diminution of the marine influence; and b) two new high-energy events, which caused the erosion of the Doñana spit and the creation of new cheniers.

In the last 7000 years, the comparison of these results with a revision of both geological and historical records has revealed the occurrence of twenty tsunamis (at least) during this period in Portugal and southern Spain. Evidences of these high-energy events are washover fans, bioclastic coarse-sized layers within salt marsh deposits or the presence of giant boulders and pebbles. The determination of the recurrence period is very difficult owing to the very scarce data, although our data and other authors do not discard a possible periodicity of 2000 years for a cycle of two events separated by 300-400 years.

FULL PAPER at http://tinyurl.com/ap9ub

doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2005.06.023

Copyright © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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

(10) ANCIENT LEGENDS GIVE AN EARLY WARNING OF MODERN DISASTERS

The Observer, 4 December 2005

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1657262,00.html

The new science of geomythology is being harnessed by researchers who believe folklore can save lives

Robin McKie, science editor

Sunday December 4, 2005

The Observer

On the banks of Siletz Bay in Lincoln City, Oregon, officials dedicated a memorial last week to one of America’s worst calamities: a huge earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Native Americans 300 years ago.

But the memorial’s main job is not to commemorate the disaster, which has only just come to light, but to warn local people that similar devastation could strike at any time.

The area sits over massive fault lines whose dangers have been highlighted by a startling new scientific discipline that combines Earth science studies and analysis of ancient legends. This is geomythology, and it is transforming our knowledge of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, says the journal Science.

According to the discipline’s proponents, violent geological upheavals may be more frequent than was previously suspected.

Apart from the ‘lost’ Seattle earthquake, geomythology has recently revealed that a volcano in Fiji, thought to be dormant, is active, a discovery that followed geologists’ decision to follow up legends of a mountain appearing overnight.

Geologists have found that Middle Eastern flooding myths, including the story of Noah, could be traced to the sudden inundation of the Black Sea 7,600 years ago. The Oracle at Delphi has been found to lie over a geological fault through which seeped hallucinogenic gases. These could account for the trances and utterances of the oracle’s mystics.

‘Myths can tell us a great deal about what happened in the past and were important in establishing what happened here 300 years ago,’ said Brian Atwater, of the US Geological Survey in Seattle.

Along the Oregon and Washington coast, there are Native American stories about boulders, called a’yahos, which can shake to death anyone who stares at them. In addition, Ruth Ludwin, a seismologist in Seattle, discovered tales of villages being washed away and of whales and thunderbirds locked in fights.

These stories were a key influence on Atwater, who started to study the 680-mile long Cascadia subduction zone fault along the coast. What he found provided a shock. Long stretches had suffered sudden inundation relatively recently.

The study of trees stumps in this drowned landscape indicated there had been a huge earthquake and a tsunami between 1680 and 1720. ‘We didn’t know whether it was one massive quake or a couple of slightly smaller ones. Nor did we know exactly when the disaster occurred,’ added Atwater.

Later research on tree rings put the date at between 1699 and 1700. Then local legends helped again. Japanese colleagues studied their records and traced an orphan tsunami – a giant wave not linked to a local earthquake – that destroyed several villages on 27 January, 1700.

‘That told us two things: that our earthquake must have been vast, Richter scale 9, to devastate part of Japan thousands of miles away. It also gave us a precise date for our disaster.’

Scientists now believe huge earthquakes and tsunamis devastate the Seattle area every 200 to 1,000 years. ‘We may be due one soon,’ added Atwater.

However, until this year, the lesson of that tsunami was remembered only as a dim legend. Other such stories have been put to better use, however.

Last year’s tsunami was also triggered by a strong earthquake, and around 300,000 people died. The Moken – or sea gypsies – of Thailand, however, have a tradition which warns that when tides recede far and fast, now known as a precursor of a tsunami, then a man-eating wave will soon head their way: so they should run far and fast. Last 26 December, they did – and survived.

Another example of the power of geomythology is from Patrick Nunn, of Fiji in the South Pacific. His studies of volcanoes on the Fijian island of Kadavu indicated they had not been active for tens of thousands of years.

‘Then I heard legends of recent eruptions,’ he told The Observer. ‘I thought them unlikely. When a road was cut there in 2002, I found there had been a volcanic eruption long after it had been occupied by humans. It made me look at myths in a new light.’

Now, Nunn is working for the French government to compile tales that might pinpoint Pacific islands where scientists should look for warnings of earthquakes, volcanoes and catastrophic landslides.

These include stories of deities who fish up islands from the water and others in which they are thrown back into the sea.

‘If you had asked me 10 years ago if there was value in local myths I would have said “not a lot”,’ added Nunn. ‘Since then I have had a Pauline conversion.’

Copyright 2005, The Observer

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

(11) AND FINALLY: “BUSH, BLAIR, BECKETT: CLIMATE CRIMINALS”

The Daily Telegraph, 3 December 2005

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/03/uclimate.xml&sSheet=/portal/2005/12/03/ixportaltop.html

Thousands of UK demonstrators have taken to the streets as others protested around the world for action to combat the threat of global warming.

Almost 10,000 people chanting slogans, waving banners and blowing whistles marched through the capital calling on the Government to tackle climate change, organisers said.

The demonstration in London coincides with other events in 32 countries and with critical United Nation talks in Montreal which will be attended by the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, and Elliott Morley, the Environment Minister.

The march has been organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change and many of the UK’s leading social, environmental and political groups including Friends of the Earth.

Phil Thornhill, national co-ordinator for the Campaign Against Climate Change said: “Climate change is probably the greatest threat humanity faces – it has consequences of catastrophic proportions.

“We are demanding urgent action at a global level to deal with it.

“We need an international treaty to deal with that and we need to have a target to bring emissions down and keep to that, that’s the only way it will work.”

The demonstration had a party atmosphere as many of those taking part banged on drums, whistles and chanted anti-political slogans.

Some carried banners saying ‘Bush, Blair, Beckett: climate criminals’, while others waved banners which read ‘Save Our World’.

Mr Thornhill was joined by environmental campaigner George Monbiot when he handed in a letter to Downing Street mid-way through the march which travelled from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Grosvenor Square, the site of the American Embassy.

Mr Thornhill said the letter demanded that the Government reaffirm its commitment to an international climate treaty with legally binding targets on emission reductions.

Copyright 2005, The Daily Telegraph

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

(12) UNDER THE BOTTOM LINE: THE INDIE’S FEAR OF GHOSTS

The Independent (frontpage story), 3 December 2005

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article330863.ece

THE ‘X’ FACTOR?

[…] What’s predicted is terrible enough. But it is what’s not even on the radar that some scientists fear most of all – the possibility that global warming might bring about some sudden, extreme and devastating climatic phenomenon that we cannot yet even imagine. The climate is a complex system, and we know that complex systems, when subject to stress, can collapse – it happens on your office desk when your computer crashes – and the global climate is now being subjected to stresses that have never been put on it before. Last year’s global warming disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow tried to show this with the northern hemisphere freezing solid in a matter of weeks. Most people dismissed it as far-fetched, but something just as catastrophic may be out there, not far in the future.

————

CCNet is a scholarly electronic network edited by Benny Peiser. To subscribe, send an e-mail to listserver@livjm.ac.uk (“subscribe cambridge-conference”) or contact the editor at b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk. (http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis).

Dismissing skeptics in global warming as simply compromised by right wing bias is too easy, although one may be tempted to do so when faced with the excessive conviction they profess. The letter from Allan MacRae to Beiser included in the above email is typically overly adamant that it is the scaremongers who are biased in their alarms. MacRae is a follower of Richard Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, author of the 2001 UN IPCC and US NAS reports, and one of the toughest skeptics in this arena.

For years, Nature has been pushing silly, alarmist science fiction masquerading as climate science. So have other journals, including EOS, Science and Scientific American. Their lack of editorial objectivity has utterly discredited these once-great journals, so I no longer waste any time on them.

As McIntyre and McKitrick found while exposing Mann’s bogus “hockey stick”, it takes years of hard work and adversity to discredit this junk. Meanwhile, these alarmists’ scares become the latest religion for the scoundrels and imbeciles who make a living by peddling the phony global warming crisis.

Here is a letter that MacRae wrote a year ago to the Canadian Meteorological and Ocean Society (CMOS) Bulletin:


There is a growing body of evidence that CO2 is a minor factor and that a hypothetical doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, a concentration that is unlikely to ever be caused by humankind, would only have a theoretical impact of about 1 degree Celsius average warming of global temperatures. Such a minor change would be barely noticeable within natural climate variation and would be much better dealt with by means other than the flawed Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto supporters, citing unproven computer models that assume amplifiers of up to 600% of the base CO2 effect, have predicted global average humanmade temperature increases of up to 6 degrees Celsius and thus justify the need for Kyoto. There is no evidence for such CO2 amplifiers, and some scientists suggest that the impact of a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2 could be less than 1 degree Celsius due to moderating feedbacks in the climate system.

It is simply self-evident that such climate computer models prove absolutely nothing, especially when the models include amplifiers that distort the results by factors of up to 600%.

(show)

Date: June 14, 2004

Subject: Letter to the Editor, CMOS Bulletin (for publication)

I was disappointed in the letters of Henry Hengeveld and Julian Brimelow (Vol. 32, No. 2), which were more reminiscent of our parliamentary debates than of scientific discussion. Their letters avoided real scientific arguments and consisted primarily of deliberate distortions of my letter and appeals to authority such as the IPCC.

For example, everyone in this debate accepts that the so-called “greenhouse effect” exists and that the world would be too cold to be habitable without it. The fact is that water vapour is by far the predominant greenhouse gas and CO2 is just one of many lesser factors that influence the equation. Putting aside such attempts at obfuscation, the question we should be discussing is: how significant is CO2 as a factor that influences the greenhouse effect?

There is a growing body of evidence that CO2 is a minor factor and that a hypothetical doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, a concentration that is unlikely to ever be caused by humankind, would only have a theoretical impact of about 1 degree Celsius average warming of global temperatures. Such a minor change would be barely noticeable within natural climate variation and would be much better dealt with by means other than the flawed Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto supporters, citing unproven computer models that assume amplifiers of up to 600% of the base CO2 effect, have predicted global average humanmade temperature increases of up to 6 degrees Celsius and thus justify the need for Kyoto. There is no evidence for such CO2 amplifiers, and some scientists suggest that the impact of a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2 could be less than 1 degree Celsius due to moderating feedbacks in the climate system.

It is simply self-evident that such climate computer models prove absolutely nothing, especially when the models include amplifiers that distort the results by factors of up to 600%.

Further, appeals to authority such as the IPCC usually fail to differentiate between the technical reports prepared by the scientists and the IPCC Summary for Policymakers, which was not prepared by the scientists and not endorsed by them.

Dr. Richard Lindzen, Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and one of the co-authors of the UN IPCC and US NAS reports on climate change, wrote an informative letter in the Wall Street Journal in June 11, 2001 – an excerpt of which is included below:

“The full IPCC report is an admirable description of research activities in climate science, but it is not specifically directed at policy. The Summary for policymakers is, but it is also a very different document. It represents a consensus of government representatives (many of whom are also their nations’ Kyoto representatives), rather than of scientists. The resulting document has a strong tendency to disguise uncertainty, and conjures up some scary scenarios for which there is no evidence.

Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been done with both the reports of the IPCC and the NAS. It is a reprehensible practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions. A fairer view of the science will show that there is still a vast amount of uncertainty — far more than advocates of Kyoto would like to acknowledge — and that the NAS report has hardly ended the debate. Nor was it meant to.”

I am further disappointed by the attempt to denigrate the legitimate work of honorable, competent researchers like Jan Veizer and Ross McKitrick. I know and trust these individuals and am confident that when the full body of evidence is compiled, their courageous work will stand the test of time.

Soon and Baliunas et al (Climate Research 2003) and McKitrick and McIntyre (Energy and Environment 2003) are not unique in challenging Mann’s “hockey stick”: Briffa et al (Journal of Geophysical Research 2001) and Esper et al (Science 2002 and Eos 2004) raise serious doubts about the hockey stick – in fact Mann’s work is the “outlier” in this body of science and it is most unusual that it has received so much undeserved attention and credence. This part of the debate is not over, but it appears highly probable that Mann’s conclusions will be refuted.

Some legitimate questions for this debate would include:

1. What caused the Medieval Warm Period (ca. 900 to 1300 A.D.), how is it best characterized in location and time and was it as warm or warmer than today?

2. How accurate are various proxies in establishing temperatures from disparate input variables?

3. What is the evidence for using CO2 amplifiers of up to 600% in climate computer models and are such amplifiers legitimate or not?

4. Why do weather balloon and satellite measurements not show significant warming in the lower troposphere since 1979?

5. What caused the cooling period from 1940 to 1975 (during a time of rapid increase in atmospheric CO2) and what is the evidence for this cause?

6. What is the evidence that allegedly proves that CO2 is much more significant than other factors that influence climate, such as variations in solar intensity?

Kyoto supporters have consistently avoided scientific debate of such questions and have even tried to suppress such debate. It is time for them to cease their rhetoric and honestly address valid technical questions that challenge their theory of catastrophic humanmade climate change, or leave us to conclude that they have no solid scientific basis for their position.

Yours truly,

Allan MacRae, B. Sc., M. Eng., P. Eng.

#201 – 318 26th Avenue SW

Calgary AB T2S 2T9

403 244 7947

firsst@shaw.ca

As far as the facts of the matter go, it is hard to see how such certainty can be gained in what has to be the most complex modeling challenge in science, with the models still constructed to a large extent of guesses and the claims and data still changing.

Judgement in the absence of complete data

All we can say is that debate seems to be characterized by the same two opposing sides that seem to form in almost every global debate in science. On the one side is the more skeptical engineering mentality, preoccupied with double checking the data and finding details that reveal to them a contrary conclusion and prove the other side wrong. We are thinking of Fred Singer, John Stossel, Tom Bethell, and all the scientists and authors who tend to challenge the mainstream and support the right wing conservative political view that environmental and other concerns are ill informed scares.

On the other side, are the generalists, in science politics fairly consistently on the left wing, as it were, who form the opposite overall conclusions, yet who often seem to be caught short by the engineers and their data details, and seem to be shown up as ill informed in specific ways by the latter group.

To draw a rather forced parallel with presidents and their executive style, you have on the one hand the Jimmy Carter types, who like to make a study of the specifics and are very well informed, yet somehow fail at making judgments at the meta level. In quoting Carter as a type we are merely talking about executive style here, of course, not Jimmy Carter’s views, which on global warming are mainstream.

On the other side, you have the Ronald Reagan types, more intuitive and sensitive to the possibilities of the future than the engineering mentality. For reasons inexplicable to the well informed engineers, however. they seem to succeed in larger judgements and in steering the right course into the future. We are referring to the intuitive Reagan management style here, of course, not his views on science.

This split seems to have happened in the global warming debate, where the meta-analysts cry human global warming and it is the more hands-on engineers who reject this alarm as entirely unproven and possibly completely unfounded and misguided.

Given the tendency in political history of the former type – the intellectually detail-focused – to fail in the realm of large action, and of the latter type – the meta analyst – to succeed (to the annoyance and bafflement of the engineering types), perhaps the intuitive side is right after all despite the data-based objections of the engineers. Maybe they are just smarter, or maybe in a scientific debate where the data is incomplete, such as global warming, data-based opinion can be wrong.

In other words, when information is not complete, perhaps one can choose the meta analytical, intuitive judgement over the micro objections raised against it. In the case of global warming, this would dictate acknowledging human-caused warming, and taking remedial action, whatever the cost, since the future of the world is at stake, and whatever the superficial persuasiveness of particular skeptical arguments against.

Whatever the truth of this possibly spurious argument, there has to be some way of accounting for the fact that so many factual arguments can be raised against the liberal view in crucial scientific debates, yet the editorial opinions of those such as Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker and the combined opinion of thousands of ‘concerned’ mainstream scientists and other sources of liberal enlightenment seem so … well, enlightened.

Yet in the case of AIDS, it seems to us from careful study of the scientific review literature that the data based objections to the ruling paradigm are completely persuasive and the enlightened mainstream judgement is entirely wrong.

So perhaps the mere fact that views seem ‘enlightened’ has nothing to do with whether they are true or false. This, of course, is exactly what conservative critics are saying.

Or perhaps the difference is that in AIDS it is the mundane and not very smart engineers who support the mainstream view, and their detailed justifications of the paradigm are merely Ptolemaic rationalizations of its inconsistencies and paradoxes. Perhaps it is the HIV?AIDS critics who are simply smarter and more perceptive.

For in AIDS there is one fact that seems indisputable. Peter Duesberg is a much smarter scientist than any of his opponents. Anyone who doubts this has not read his classic papers, which are indisputably beautifully argued works, as the use by Walter Gilbert of one of them at Harvard to exemplify brilliant paradigm challenge for his graduate students confirms.

8 Responses to “Global warming media mess indicates why AIDS critics must be heard”

  1. Robert Houston Says:

    As with AIDS revisionism, scientific concern about global warming likewise should not be dismissed without serious examination and likewise is contrary to the position of the U.S. government and entrenched industries. Your 2nd paragraph is amusing but essentially correct, given that one can be “in the service of industrial interests” without being paid. Many prominent “global warming naysayers,” however, in fact are (see “Some like it hot” in Mother Jones, May-June 2005. Click HERE for the pay chart). In any case, thank you for sharing the superb editorial by Elizabeth Kolbert, which seems entirely accurate.

    Other phenomena she doesn’t mention, such as changes in the Gulf Stream and Antarctica, are consistent with climate change. In fact, the BBC News took serious note of the recent report in Nature that part of the Gulf Stream system has slowed by 30% (“Ocean changes ‘will cool Europe’,” BBC News, 11/30/2005 – click HERE to see it). So did the NY Times and Washington Post (12/1/05).

    Regarding Antarctica, you quote Dr. David Whitehouse, a science editor at BBC, as claiming that “by and large, the amount of ice there is growing.” But Whitehouse got his facts wrong. The BBC’s own account of the report in Science states, “Antarctica’s ‘weight gain’ is due to extra snowfall, caused by rising temperatures, the US-UK team thinks. However, the scientists worry the overall mass of the Antarctic may be decreasing because ice near the coasts is melting” (BBC News, “Antarctic buffers sea level rise,” May 5, 2005, emphasis added). To his credit, Dr. Whitehouse has also written:

    A broad consensus of mainstream scientific opinion holds that human-produced greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), are driving an unnatural rise in global temperatures. Before industrialization the atmosphere contained 280 parts per million (ppm) of CO2. At present it stands at 370 ppm. (D. Whitehouse, “Greenland’s ice cap under threat,” BBC News, April 7, 2004.)

    More recently, BBC reported that “CO2 and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years” (BBC News, Nov. 24, 2005). The real “media mess in climate change” is that many journalists take a dismissive attitude to such findings and give equal or preponderant weight to a few scientific naysayers, such as social anthropologist Benny Peiser or physicist S. Fred Singer (see pay chart in Par. 1). The problem is well-described by science writer George Monbiot (who has held a fellowship in environmental policy at Oxford) in his amusing article, “The Fossil Fools” (Guardian, 4/27/04). Click HERE to read it.

  2. Robert Houston Says:

    As detailed above by Dr. Whitehouse, there has been a one-third rise in CO2 levels since the late 19th century. That this has been accompanied by what most climate scientists recognize as a more than 1 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures invalidates the claim by engineer Allan MacRae that a doubling of CO2 would be required for such an increase. Mr. MacRae’s unpublished claims are typical of the specious disinformation generated by the fossil fuel lobby and its paid consultants, such as Richard Lindzen, whom he follows. Dr. Lindzen is not “author of the UN IPCC and the US NAS reports” but one of many co-authors. The 2000 experts who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which concluded that human-generated global warming was real, include not just “generalists” but mainly hard-nosed, meticulous scientists.

    Your use of Carter and Reagan to represent “engineer” vs. “generalist” mentalities is confusing, if these correspond respectively to skeptics vs. environmentalists. (But by “engineer” perhaps you mean railroad engineer – the operator of a fossil-fueled train to the desert.) Pres. Carter indeed has a background in nuclear physics but has expressed his serious concern about global warming (“Global warming concerns Carter,” Anchorage Daily News, 7/7/05 – click HERE to see it). In his acceptance speech for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize (12/10/02), he stated that “contraints on global warming…must be fully implemented.” Pres. Reagan, on the other hand, was critical of environmental controls on corporate polluters. The essential point is that many “greenhouse skeptics” would rather focus myopically on some dry twigs while ignoring the distant, smoldering forest fire.

    A terrific new book on these issues is Boiling Point by Ross Gelbspan, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and editor, which contains 30 pages of references documenting the many signs of climate change and the connections of Lindzen and other skeptics to the coal and oil interests defending the status quo. His website is a real eye-opener: heatisonline.org.

  3. Robert Houston Says:

    The section on “Disinformation” at the above website contains articles countering arguments of greenhouse skeptics. Three articles, including one from the Wall St. Journal (10/26/05), describe new studies that exonerate the “hockey stick” findings of climatologist Michael Mann. His famous graph showed global temperatures fairly level for 900 years then swerving upward in the past century like the blade of a hockey stick. An attempt to discredit it by two non-scientists, mining exec Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, who were cited by Mr. MacRae in your post, was itself found to be flawed by two recent studies in Geophysical Research Letters.

    Your premise that it’s mainly the skeptics who are technically-oriented leads you to contradictions (e.g. Carter) because it’s incorrect. Technical people are on all sides. The real conflict is between Defenders of the status quo, who will try to debunk and kibbitz to death any new findings that challenge it, and the Deducers who will follow data and logic in an honest pursuit of truth. Duesberg seems to be a shining example of the latter. In climate research, the odd situation today is that it’s mainstream science that’s challenging the status quo and it’s the skeptics who are aligned with all the power and money.

  4. Robert Houston Says:

    Truthseeker may be right: engineers may tend to be skeptical of greenhouse warming, After all, engineers tend to be Republicans and to work for polluting industries. The IPCC, however, was the largest peer-reviewed research project in history and showed that the overwhelming consensus of thousands of the top technical experts in climate science had concluded that global warming was real and was caused mainly by fossil fuels.

    So let’s direct some healthy skepticism towards the “greenhouse skeptics,” as one by one their favorite claims are sunk by the evidence. Here’s the major claim of their Naysayer-in-chief, Fred Singer, repeated for 20 years: “There is no convincing evidence that the global climate is actually warming” (see link in 1st Par.). It’s been slightly revised:

    I do not deny the principle of global warming… I believe the climate is currently warming as a result of the increase of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is real.
    (S. Fred Singer, Ph.D., Christian Science Monitor, 4/22/05, Opinion Sec., p. 8.)

  5. Allan MacRae Says:

    I note that the above post by “truthseeker” suggests that I have been intemperate in my comments on the subject of global warming. He has managed to come up with two of my more inflammatory sentences, which are not representative of the vast body of my well-researched writing on the subject of global warming.

    Nevertheless, I do not apologize for my harsh statements, because as time unfolds, everything I’ve written about the science of global warming has proven essentially correct, and the claims of the climate alarmists are falling one by one.

    Suggest you read the recent Wegman report that irrovocably breaks the Mann hockey stick, and the latest developments proving the influence of cosmic rays on low-level cloud formation (just announced today in Denmark).

    Truthseeker is good at Google searches so he can find the references – if he is true to his name, he is about to travel down his own personal “road to Damascus”.

    By the way, I think it is inaccurate to characterize me as right-wing – for example, I am very active in caring for homeless people in my home city. It’s not about right versus left, my friends – it’s about right versus wrong.

    Best regards, Allan MacRae

  6. Allan MacRae Says:

    This “Wegman” report was prepared by a group of statisticians at the request of a Committee of the US Department of Energy and Commerce.

    In a sensible world, this report should be the final word on Mann’s bogus “hockey stick”. It is a scathing rebuttal of Mann et al (MBH98 and MBH99, etc.), Mann’s hockey stick, the hockey team, and Mann-made global warming. It is furthermore a full vindication of McIntyre and McKitrick’s criticism of the hockey stick (MM03/05a/05b). We are all deeply indebted to Canadians Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick for their competence and perseverance.

    The Wegman report said what the recently-commissioned US NAS report should have said, if the NAS report had been more forthright and less politically-correct.

    The proper next steps should be to scrap Kyoto and all its clones, and go back to conducting basic research on climate change, to determine if there is a real problem or not.

    Here is a preview: Those of us who have opposed Mann’s hockey stick and Mann-made global warming believe that humanmade CO2 does not pose a risk of catastrophic global warming. There will be some warming due to human activities, but it will be small (less that 0.5C) and not harmful.

    We have been proven correct so far – and I am confident that we will be proven correct again.

    Regards, Allan M.R. MacRae
    Calgary

    AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION

    Findings

    In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis.

    However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians.

    In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface. This committee does not believe that web logs are an appropriate forum for the scientific debate on this issue.

    It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

    Recommendations

    Recommendation 1. Especially when massive amounts of public monies and human lives are at stake, academic work should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.

    Recommendation 2. We believe that federally funded research agencies should develop a more comprehensive and concise policy on disclosure. All of us writing this report have been federally funded. Our experience with funding agencies has been that they do not in general articulate clear guidelines to the investigators as to what must be disclosed.

    Federally funded work including code should be made available to other researchers upon reasonable request, especially if the intellectual property has no commercial value. Some consideration should be granted to data collectors to have exclusive use of their data for one or two years, prior to publication. But data collected under federal support should be made publicly available. (As federal agencies such as NASA do routinely.)

    Recommendation 3. With clinical trials for drugs and devices to be approved for human use by the FDA, review and consultation with statisticians is expected. Indeed, it is standard practice to include statisticians in the application-for-approval process. We judge this to be a good policy when public health and also when substantial amounts of monies are involved, for example, when there are major policy decisions to be made based on statistical assessments. In such cases, evaluation by statisticians should be standard practice. This evaluation phase should be a mandatory part of all grant applications and funded accordingly.

    Recommendation 4. Emphasis should be placed on the Federal funding of research related to fundamental understanding of the mechanisms of climate change. Funding should focus on interdisciplinary teams and avoid narrowly focused discipline research.

  7. Allan MacRae Says:

    IMPORTANT: Getting closer to the cosmic connection to climate

    The following press release announces a very important scientific development, which tends to support the theory that solar/cosmic rays drive the Earth’s climate much more than does humanmade CO2.

    I have stated repeatedly that this is my belief, and Veizer (2005), among others, has strongly supported the solar/cosmic ray hypothesis .

    Veizer Summary

    The standard explanation for vagaries of our climate, championed by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), is that greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are its principal driver. Recently, an alternative model that the sun is the principal driver was revived by a host of empirical observations. Neither atmospheric carbon dioxide nor solar variability can alone explain the magnitude of the observed temperature increase over the last century of about 0.6°C. Therefore, an amplifier is required. In the general climate models (GCM), the bulk of the calculated temperature increase is attributed to “positive water vapour feedback”. In the sundriven alternative, it may be the cosmic ray flux (CRF), energetic particles that hit the atmosphere, potentially generating cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Clouds then cool, act as a mirror and reflect the solar energy back into space. The intensity of CRF reaching the earth depends on the intensity of the solar (and terrestrial) magnetic field that acts as a shield against cosmic rays, and it is this shield that is, in turn, modulated by solar activity. Cosmic rays, in addition to CCN, also generate the so-called cosmogenic nuclides, such as beryllium-10, carbon-14 and chlorine-36. These can serve as indirect proxies for solar activity and can be measured e.g., in ancient sediments, trees, and shells. Other proxies, such as oxygen and hydrogen isotopes can reflect past temperatures, carbon isotopes levels of carbon dioxide, boron isotopes the acidity of ancient oceans, etc. Comparison of temperature records from geological and instrumental archives with the trends for these proxies may enable us to decide which one of the two alternatives was, and potentially is, primarily responsible for climate variability. This, in turn, should enable us to devise appropriate countermeasures for amelioration of human impact on air quality and climate.

    Veizer Excerpt

    The postulated causation sequence is therefore: brighter sun => enhanced thermal flux + solar wind => muted CRF => less low-level clouds => lower albedo => warmer climate. Diminished solar activity results in an opposite effect.

    Best regards, Allan

    Press release

    Embargoed until 4th of October 2006 (European time)

    Getting closer to the cosmic connection to climate

    A team at the Danish National Space Center has discovered how cosmic rays from exploding stars can help to make clouds in the atmosphere. The results support the theory that cosmic rays influence Earth’s climate.

    An essential role for remote stars in everyday weather on Earth has been revealed by an experiment at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen. It is already well-established that when cosmic rays, which are high-speed atomic particles originating in exploded stars far away in the Milky Way, penetrate Earth’s atmosphere they produce substantial amounts of ions and release free electrons. Now, results from the Danish experiment show that the released electrons significantly promote the formation of building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei on which water vapour condenses to make clouds. Hence, a causal mechanism by which cosmic rays can facilitate the production of clouds in Earth’s atmosphere has been experimentally identified for the first time.

    The Danish team officially announce their discovery on Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, published by the Royal Society, the British national academy of science.

    The experiment

    The experiment called SKY (Danish for ‘cloud’) took place in a large reaction chamber which contained a mixture of gases at realistic concentrations to imitate the chemistry of the lower atmosphere. Ultraviolet lamps mimicked the action of the Sun’s rays. During experimental runs, instruments traced the chemical action of the penetrating cosmic rays in the reaction chamber.

    The data revealed that electrons released by cosmic rays act as catalysts, which significantly accelerate the formation of stable, ultra-small clusters of sulphuric acid and water molecules which are building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei. A vast numbers of such microscopic droplets appeared, floating in the air in the reaction chamber.

    ‘We were amazed by the speed and efficiency with which the electrons do their work of creating the building blocks for the cloud condensation nuclei,’ says team leader Henrik Svensmark, who is Director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research within the Danish National Space Center. ‘This is a completely new result within climate science.’

    A missing link in climate theory

    The experimental results lend strong empirical support to the theory proposed a decade ago by Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen that cosmic rays influence Earth’s climate through their effect on cloud formation. The original theory rested on data showing a strong correlation between variation in the intensity of cosmic radiation penetrating the atmosphere and the amount of low-altitude clouds. Cloud cover increases when the intensity of cosmic rays grows and decreases when the intensity declines.

    It is known that low-altitude clouds have an overall cooling effect on the Earth’s surface. Hence, variations in cloud cover caused by cosmic rays can change the surface temperature. The existence of such a cosmic connection to Earth’s climate might thus help to explain past and present variations in Earth’s climate.

    Interestingly, during the 20th Century, the Sun’s magnetic field which shields Earth from cosmic rays more than doubled, thereby reducing the average influx of cosmic rays. The resulting reduction in cloudiness, especially of low-altitude clouds, may be a significant factor in the global warming Earth has undergone during the last century. However, until now, there has been no experimental evidence of how the causal mechanism linking cosmic rays and cloud formation may work.

    ‘Many climate scientists have considered the linkages from cosmic rays to clouds to climate as unproven,’ comments Eigil Friis-Christensen, who is now Director of the Danish National Space Center. ‘Some said there was no conceivable way in which cosmic rays could influence cloud cover. The SKY experiment now shows how they do so, and should help to put the cosmic-ray connection firmly onto the agenda of international climate research.’

    Publication data

    Published online in “Proceedings of the Royal Society A”, October 3rd

    Title: ‘Experimental Evidence for the role of Ions in Particle Nucleation under Atmospheric Conditions’.

    Authors: Henrik Svensmark, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, Nigel Marsh, Martin Enghoff and Ulrik Uggerhøj.

    For more information and supporting material: http://www.spacecenter.dk/media

    Requests for interview and original article: press-requests@spacecenter.dk

  8. Allan MacRae Says:

    Increased atmospheric CO2 theoretically causes warming, but the relationship is logarithmic, not linear or exponential. As atmospheric CO2 increases, it has less and less impact on warming. The following note by Jarl Ahlbeck explains the relationship. Even if one assumes (unconservatively) that all observed warming is caused by humanmade CO2, then the projection is just over 1 degree C, versus the 0.59 cited by Ahlbeck.

    Regards, Allan

    EXTRAPOLATING OBSERVED WARMING TRENDS
    by Jarl Ahlbeck (Turku, Finland)

    We should not confuse the word “possibility” with “probability” as some
    people do when they compare different simulated results with each other.
    Everything is possible, but probability has a mathematical definition and
    should not be used when comparing simulated results. These reported
    (Nature, 27 Jan 2005) values of 1.9 to 11.5 deg C warming are
    possibilities, computerized speculations, nothing else. Also: Let’s not
    to talk about percent possibilities. All possibilities are
    100% possible.

    But of course, a kind of reality check can be made very easily: Say that
    half of the observed 20th century warming of 0.8 deg is due to greenhouse
    gases (CO2 increase from 280 to-370 ppm) and half is due to increased sun
    activity. As the relation is logarithmic, 0.4 deg=k*ln(370/280), giving
    k=1.435. For 2*CO2 (560 ppm), an additional warming of 1.435*ln(560/370)
    =0.59 deg C could be expected. This is a speculation as good as any
    produced by a computer climate entertainment program.

    In fact, 0.59 deg may be an overprediction as the observed warming has been
    partly caused by CFCs and CH4. As we know, the atmospheric concentration of
    CFC has decreased, and there is no more increase in CH4. This means that
    the k-value for CO2 should be lower than 1.435.

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