1000 and Greenland

Sometime inthis post I reached comment 1000. I think it was Dano’s. So congratulations to him and happy anniversary to me. Incidentally, there are 143 posts…

Meanwhile, back at some science, the GRACE stuff gets updated at, so it is said, higher resolution. Leading to “Greenland Ice Sheet on a Downward Slide”. That found via the globalchange list.

Dismay as climate science bosses travel in private jet?

Mark Lynas has a posting on this (sadly I can’t work out how to link to it directly, so I’ll have to tell you its the Oct 19th post), saying that various from the NOC have nipped off to the states in a private jet. Which is probably dubious.

But the disturbing (to me) point about the post was the assumption he appears to have that all climate-related researchers are required to believe in GW and live the life. I thought we were supposed to be doing science in as value-neutral a way as possible and trying to keep our personal beliefs out of it.

I’m an expert (on wiki)

Why is a Stoat like a Bus? Because you wait days for a post and then 3 come along at once πŸ™‚

Its been ages since I’ve posted any wiki stuff (ahem: apart from Citizendium, tangenitally). Mostly because the climate side of wiki is very quiet and I spend my time merrily blocking people for 3RR.

But in a vaguely climate-related issue, the 2nd Ed Poor RFA (oh how the mighty are humbled; which is sad, and I’m not crowing, I mean it) I am explicitly recognised as an “Expert” (its in findings of fact #4, if you really want to know). Not that its going to get me anywhere on my annual appraisal, since wiki’s standards of expert aren’t that high.

Bold Sir Rylas…

i-cba1b48324b6237c231f972f7c2be086-DSCN7044-spiers-boden.JPG With a title like that it has to be about folk music, and indeed it is. My last music recommendation was a year ago and somewhat more highbrow. But folk is good too. You can listen to BSR here, which is from the site of official Spiers and Boden website. We first heard them at the Cambridge folk festival, where they were wonderful, the best of their year. I tried to find the words to BSR, and ended up with some sort of historio stuff but wasn’t what I wanted. Ah, now I look closer the words are here.

I also recommend The Rambling Sailor, from Through and Through, which is probably what they are playing in the pic, though it was better live – the stomps on the footboard came through.

First direct evidence that human activity is linked to Antarctic Ice Shelf Collapse

Exciting BAS press release…

The first direct evidence linking human activity to the collapse of Antarctic ice shelves is published this week in the Journal of Climate. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, University College London, and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (Belgium) reveal that stronger westerly winds in the northern Antarctic Peninsula, driven principally by human-induced climate change, are responsible for the marked regional summer warming that led to the retreat and collapse of the northern Larsen Ice Shelf.

Read the rest of it at http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/News_and_Information/Press_Releases/story.php?id=293.

[Update: wouldn’t you know it, BAS’s webserver is out of action, probably due to a brief power cut (it did odd things to our induction hob, too). What wonderful timing. I presume it will get fixed tomorrow morning -W]

[Uupdate: oh good, its back… -W]

[Uupdate: down again. Sigh. OK, here is some more of the story, in both ways. First, our webserver and stuff: its been pointed out to BAS high up that having a webserver that isn’t robust to power outages can give a rather unimpressive view to the outside world. I’m pretty such our technical people would have no problem with creating a hot-swappable replacement but they are busy on other stuff. So we’re left with the current situation, sorry. What happened was that power probs last night lead to circuit breakers tripping and other stuff I don’t know in detail. By mid today, it was all fixed, but scheduled to be taken down at 4pm today for re-fixing. So it looks like that hasn’t gone as well as it might.

As to the contents of the paper… since I haven’t actually read it I’m going to have to guess… but variations in the SAM (aka westerly winds) are known (in the obs) to be correlated to Peninsula temperatures especially in the summer, which is the key time for melting ice shelves. The models, like the obs, show increases in the winds. By running natural/anthro/ozone type runs its possible to attribute the increases. Now the interesting bit is, if you simply look for Peninsula warming in these runs, you don’t really find it. And we attribute *that* to failure to resolve key processes (waves hands). However, since the wind-temp link is fairly good in the obs, the ability to attribute the winds allows you to do the T’s. Or at least I think thats how the argument runs

Seems to have made Reuters and CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/10/17/ice.collapse.reut/ Not to mention the Toronto Sun http://torontosun.com/News/OtherNews/2006/10/17/2048866-sun.html πŸ™‚ -W]

Inhofe’s NYT refs

Someone has kindly sent me the NYT articles that Inhofe references. Lets have a look… but before we do, there are plenty more out there if you care to look

1895. The headline (“Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again”) is as described, though Inhofe fails to note it appeared on page 6 – hardly headline stuff. And the article itself points out that this is probably a periodic phenomenon rather than a trend, citing previous instances.

1933. Appears on page 1! Inhofe quote “America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-year Rise” which is correct (but, obviously enough, is not a prediction…). Curiously enough the article starts off by saying that the next ice age is clearly going to be a long way off, if the weather charts are anything to go by. It doesn’t say why people are expecting the ice age. And much of the (short) article is devoted to how wiggly temperatures have been.

1952 (on page E8). Inhofe says Then in 1952, the New York Times was back on the global warming bandwagon declaring that the “trump card” of global warming “has been the melting glaciers.” Reading the article, its clear this is about the work of Hans W. Ahlmann (who I don’t know anything about… wiki knows he was the president of the IGU) and its his trump card. And the article is indeed pretty alarmist “Dr Ahlmann, a close student of this matter, now tells us that the world temperature seems to be levelling off”. Wooo… serious stuff. But: “Probably it will take 30 or 40 years to make certain”. A good guess as it happens.

1974 (not 1975… Inhofe is confusing it with Newsweek, perhaps). Inhofe, failing to notice that it appears on page 35 (continued on page 66…), says trumpeting fear of a coming ice age read: “Climate Changes Endanger World’s Food Output.”. However… its mostly about *changes*… not necessarily cooling. I don’t see anything about ice ages in it. Unusually, this article actually quotes a scientific report (not one I have: an IFIAS one in Bonn): There is a growing consensus that the change [what change?] will persist for several decades and that the current food-production systems of man cannot easily adjust. It is also expected that the climate will become more variable [why?]. It notes a trend of cooler temperatures since 1940s; quotes Reid “human volcano” Bryson as thinking they will continue. But in fact the take-home message appears to be the need to be ready to adapt to *change*, without being certain of what change, on the grounds that population has increased so pressures are greater and the system more fragile.

Overall, a predictably poor score from Inhofe. To point out the obvious, these are hardly comparable to the certain predictions of warming you see commonly nowadays in the papers.

Global cooling: Inhofe talking sh*t* again

Now you may well say, Inhofe talking nonsense is nothing particularly notable. But in this case he is talking about my particular hobbyhorse, the global cooling stuff. The NYT has an Opinion piece pointing out Inhofe’s nonsense. Unsurprisingly, this has pissed him off, which is all to the good.

The main thing to notice about Inhofes cooling/warming stuff is the total lack of any references to the science – he sticks purely to the popular media. If you’re interested in the newsweek 1975 article, there is more here (nb: I can’t see any evidence from the article for Inhofes claims about headlines about food supply). But Inhofe’s peons have been busy in the archives and have managed to find February 24, 1895 edition of the New York Times reporting on fears of an approaching ice age: “Geologists Think the World May be Frozen Up Again.” – if anyone can get me a copy of that, I’d be grateful. His next one March 27, 1933, the New York Times reported: “America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-year Rise” seems a bit desperate, since even he hasn’t managed to pretend that it predicts anything.

After that, he is down to the “60 prominent scientists” who wrote to the canadian PM. Foolishly, he includes a link to the article, which allows you immeadiately to see that they aren’t πŸ™‚

I’m evil!

Yes, it was the Holocaust of the fluffy toys. With its explicit mention of “holocaust” it evokes… well, in RP Jr’s words: “Let’s be blunt. This allusion is an affront to those who suffered and died in the Holocaust“. Of course RP is actually talking about the phrase “Climate Change Denial” (or possibly Denier, there is some ambiguity), which seems to have arisen from obscurity recently.

But this is all part of the std labels debate: what do you call people who are averse to the std scientific consensus on global warming. “Skeptic” is the std label, which has problems, because all true scientists are skeptics. I tend to use septic. See Septics and skeptics; denialists and contrarians for some 2 year old musings.

Negative gas prices…

Apparently (this from listening to the 10 o’clock news on radio 4) there was a brief moment recently when gas prices in the UK were negative… due to mild weather, and new pipelines, and no capacity to store the stuff, people were being paid to take gas off traders hands. Weird or what. Anybody got a proper ref for that?

And from the Economist, a week or so ago: some hedge fund got burned of $6n (out of $9b under management; ouch) when one of their traders bet on a continuing trend of increasing gas prices; but they went down. He got a $95m bonus last year for being right with the same bet; presumably he gets a $0 bonus this year, but the 2-year average must be pretty good.