Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ooops Let's Try That Again

Courtesy of Slashdot.

Arctic Ice Extent Understated Because of "Sensor Drift"

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday February 19, @07:57AM
from the give-it-a-few-taps dept.
dtjohnson writes "The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has been at the forefront of predicting doom in the arctic as ice melts due to global warming. In May, 2008 they went so far as to predict that the North Pole would be ice-free during the 2008 'melt season,' leading to a lively Slashdot discussion. Today, however, they say that they have been the victims of 'sensor drift' that led to an underestimation of Arctic ice extent by as much as 500,000 square kilometers. The problem was discovered after they received emails from puzzled readers, asking why obviously sea-ice-covered regions were showing up as ice-free, open ocean. It turns out that the NSIDC relies on an older, less-reliable method of tracking sea ice extent called SSM/I that does not agree with a newer method called AMSR-E. So why doesn't NSIDC use the newer AMSR-E data? 'We do not use AMSR-E data in our analysis because it is not consistent with our historical data.' Turns out that the AMSR-E data only goes back to 2002, which is probably not long enough for the NSIDC to make sweeping conclusions about melting. The AMSR-E data is updated daily and is available to the public. Thus far, sea ice extent in 2009 is tracking ahead of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, so the predictions of an ice-free north pole might be premature."

What Goes Around Comes Around


Analysis: Democrats self-destructing over ethics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration and the new Congress are quickly handing over to Republicans the same "culture of corruption" issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP before coming to power.

Freshman Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., is only the latest embarrassment.

Senate Democrats accepted Burris because they believed what he told them: He was clean. Burris now admits he tried to raise money for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who authorities say sought to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

"The story seems to be changing day by day," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday.

The political mess for the Democratic Party, however, isn't Burris' conduct alone; it's the pattern that has developed so quickly over the past few months.

_The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is the subject of a House ethics investigation. It's partly focused on his fundraising practices for a college center in his name, his ownership financing of a resort property in the Dominican Republic and his financial disclosure reports.

_Federal agents raided two Pennsylvania defense contractors that were provided millions of dollars in federal funding by Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

_Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on federal charges, including allegations he schemed to sell the Senate seat to the highest bidder.

_Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader from South Dakota, abandoned his bid to become health and human services secretary and the administration's point man on reforming health care; and Nancy Killefer stepped down from a newly created position charged with eliminating inefficient government programs.

Both Daschle and Killefer had tax problems, and Daschle also faced potential conflicts of interest related to working with health care interests.

_Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confirmed after revealing he had tax troubles.

_Obama's initial choice for commerce secretary, Bill Richardson, stepped aside due to a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.

_While the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm William Lynn as deputy defense secretary, Obama had to waive his ethics regulations to place the former defense lobbyist in charge of day-to-day operations at the Pentagon.

The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Richard Durbin of Illinois, expressed his anger about the Burris case Wednesday while he was on an official visit to Greece.

"I do believe that the public statements made by Mr. Burris to this point have raised questions ... as to the nature of his relationship with the former governor and the circumstances surrounding his appointment," Durbin said.

Reid said in Nevada, "Now there's some question as to whether or not he told the truth."

Where to go next? Reid had no answer.

"What I think we have to do is just wait and see," the Senate leader said.

Senate Democrats now may be trapped in their own ethics system. Disciplinary action against a senator usually requires a long investigation by the Senate's ethics committee. While a preliminary inquiry on Burris is under way, that's only the first early step. And, with ongoing criminal investigations in Illinois, the committee probably would have to postpone any action — as it usually does — to avoid interference.

In 2006, Republicans lost control of the House after Democrats effectively used a "culture of corruption" theme against them.

The final scandal broke shortly before the election, when it was revealed that then-Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, sent sexually suggestive e-mails and explicit instant messages to teenage boys who had served as House pages.

Republicans were further harmed when it was disclosed that several of their members were aware of the problem and failed to take action.

Democrats, who've been in control of both Congress and the White House less than two months now, are lucky on one point. The next congressional election is nearly two years away.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Larry Margasak has covered Congress, including major ethics investigations, since 1983.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Former astronaut speaks out on global warming

Former astronaut speaks out on global warming By Associated Press
Sunday, February 15, 2009


SANTA FE, N.M. - Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the moon and once served New Mexico in the U.S. Senate, doesn’t believe that humans are causing global warming.

"I don’t think the human effect is significant compared to the natural effect," said Schmitt, who is among 70 skeptics scheduled to speak next month at the International Conference on Climate Change in New York.

Schmitt contends that scientists "are being intimidated" if they disagree with the idea that burning fossil fuels has increased carbon dioxide levels, temperatures and sea levels.

"They’ve seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven’t gone along with the so-called political consensus that we’re in a human-caused global warming," Schmitt said.

Dan Williams, publisher with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, which is hosting the climate change conference, said he invited Schmitt after reading about his resignation from The Planetary Society, a nonprofit dedicated to space exploration.

Schmitt resigned after the group blamed global warming on human activity. In his resignation letter, the 74-year-old geologist argued that the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making."

Williams said Heartland is skeptical about the crisis that people are proclaiming in global warming.

"Not that the planet hasn’t warmed. We know it has or we’d all still be in the Ice Age," he said. "But it has not reached a crisis proportion and, even among us skeptics, there’s disagreement about how much man has been responsible for that warming."

Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise.

Schmitt also said geological evidence indicates changes in sea level have been going on for thousands of years. He said smaller changes are related to changes in the elevation of land masses — for example, the Great Lakes are rising because the earth’s crust is rebounding from being depressed by glaciers.

Schmitt, who grew up in Silver City and now lives in Albuquerque, has a science degree from the California Institute of Technology. He also studied geology at the University of Oslo in Norway and took a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964.

In 1972, he was one of the last men to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission.

Schmitt said he’s heartened that the upcoming conference is made up of scientists who haven’t been manipulated by politics.

Of the global warming debate, he said: "It’s one of the few times you’ve seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it’s coloring their objectivity."

___

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

Friday, February 6, 2009

Global Warming Teach-In, Held in -6 Degree Buffalo!! Heh


What more can be said? When will they wake up to the fact that AGW is nonsense? Maybe if they attend enough of these sessions in sub zero weather it may make a difference.

Frigid temperatures take WNY by surprise

News Staff Reporter

Talk about great timing.

Buffalo State College hosts the national teach-in on Global Warming Situations today — a day the local temperature bottomed out at minus 6 degrees.

No evidence of global warming here, at least not this morning, when unofficial reports to the National Weather Service listed temperatures as low as 9 degrees below zero elsewhere in Erie County.


Click here for the forecast.

"We didn't have temperatures forecast to be quite that cold," weather service meteorologist David Zaff said this morning. "When you have snowpack on the ground and clear skies, temperatures can plummet. It's called radiational cooling."

That cooling phenomenon, under mockingly clear skies, posed a hardship for some morning commuters and some finger-numbing discomfort for others.

"Compared to a normal winter day, our call volume is up about 25 percent, and it's directly related to the cold," said Diana Dibble, public affairs manager for AAA of Western and Central New York.

The most common complaint, of course, was cars that wouldn't start, but the AAA also fielded calls from some early risers who locked their keys in their vehicles while trying to warm up their cars.

The cold, crisp conditions might be welcome news for one weekend event:

The Labatt Blue Pond Hockey Tournament being held Saturday at the Erie Basin Marina.

"It's perfect today," Erie County Parks Commissioner Jim Hornung said. "This is all about thin layers of ice. Our goal is to put two coats of thin water spray on the ice today."

Hornung was concerned, though, about the effect of this morning's frigid temperatures on staff members and about the possibility of frozen hoses and hydrants.

The National Weather Service reported that the low temperature of 6 degrees below zero was recorded at 6 a.m. today. The Feb. 5 record of 12 degrees below zero was not threatened.

The weather service issued a wind-chill advisory, but only until 9 a.m. and only in Erie County.

Temperatures are expected to moderate today and all the way into the weekend, with daytime highs expected to hit 5 to 15 degrees above zero today, the upper 20s Friday and the low to mid 40s on Saturday.

That could threaten the ice conditions for the Labatts tournament, at least on Saturday afternoon, but organizers and county officials are confident that the ice will survive.

"I'm OK with it," Hornung said. "I think we're still going to be pulling this off."

Good thing the tournament's not scheduled for Sunday.


Uh Oh. DC Under Water? So That's a Bad Thing?


Dire consequences if the western Antarctic ice shelf melts. If it melts. According to recent research, its been growing. Typical scare tactics here. BTW, keeping the congress out of session is not all bad. It stops them from screwing up the country even more.

Antarctic bulge could flood Washington DC

Rather than spreading out evenly across all the oceans, water from melted Antarctic ice sheets will gather around North America and the Indian Ocean. That's bad news for the US East Coast, which could bear the brunt of one of these oceanic bulges.

Many previous models of the rising sea levels due to climate change assumed that water from melted ice sheets and glaciers would simply run into the oceans and fill them uniformly. These models predict a 5-metre rise in sea levels if the West Antarctic ice sheet melts, but fail to acknowledge three important factors.

First, Jerry Mitrovica and colleagues from the University of Toronto in Canada considered the gravitational attraction of the Antarctic ice sheets on the surrounding water, which pulls it towards the South Pole. As the ice sheet melts, this bulge of water dissipates into surrounding oceans along with the meltwater. So while the sea level near Antarctica will fall, sea levels away from the South Pole will rise.

Once the ice melts, the release of pressure could also cause the Antarctic continent to rise by 100 metres. And as the weight of the ice pressing down on the continental shelf is released, the rock will spring back, displacing seawater that will also spread across the oceans.

Redistributing this mass of water could even change the axis of the Earth's spin. The team estimates that the South Pole will shift by 500 metres towards the west of Antarctica, and the North Pole will shift in the opposite direction. Since the spin of the Earth creates bulges of oceanic water in the regions between the equator and the poles, these bulges will also shift slightly with the changing axis.

Washington awash

The upshot is that the North American continent and the Indian Ocean will experience the greatest changes in sea level – adding 1 or 2 metres to the current estimates. Washington DC sits squarely in this area, meaning it could face a 6.3-metre sea level rise in total. California will also be in the target zone.

"Policy-makers must realise that the effects could be greater or smaller in different areas," says team member Natalya Gomez. The team have so far only considered one ice sheet, so the effects of other ice sheets across the world could also have a similar impact, she says.

However, these models assume that all the West Antarctic sea ice will melt, but Peter Convey from the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge points out this may not necessarily be the case. "It would be dangerously easy to get people to focus on the 6-metre figure, but it just might not happen like that," he says.

Jonathan Gregory from the University of Reading in the UK, who is part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, however, thinks the work should be helpful once this has been reliably evaluated.

Journal reference: Science: DOI: 10.1126/science.1166510

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Personal Carbon Budgets in Ten Years? Oh boy!


Check this out. Courtesy of the Guardian, UK. Aren't the Brits lucky? How soon can we get some? It won't be long if the Obama bots have any say in the matter. We'll probably beat the Brits with Browner as EPA director. We're really in for it with this administration.

Personal carbon budgets possible by 2020, says head of RSA study

Everyone in the UK could have their own carbon budget by 2020, says the head of the most comprehensive trial of the idea.

Personal allowances set a limit on emissions produced by activities such as driving and heating homes. People could switch to greener services or do without to meet their allowances, sell credits if they did not use them all, or buy credits if they went over the budget because of more highly polluting activities such as flying.

The idea was given credibility by the support of David Miliband, the former environment and now foreign secretary, and the launch of a three-year study by the Royal Society of Arts. A report into the study concludes that trading allowances is too controversial in the short term, but important elements could work, including the principal of giving every person a carbon budget, said Matt Prescott, the RSA's project director.

Initially, budgets would be likely to cover only key areas such as buildings and transport, but as technology developed they could be extended, he said.

Last year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs effectively dismissed personal carbon trading after estimating its cost would "outweigh by many times" any benefits. But the RSA report says budgets could be managed through existing technology such as bank, loyalty and fuel cards. Also, instead of individual trading, credits could be traded by local authorities or employers. A scheme would be feasible by 2013 but was "more likely around 2020", Prescott said.

The new Department for Energy and Climate Change welcomed the RSA analysis but warned of the challenges ahead.

The RSA's CarbonLimited study began in 2006. The report publishes results from three trials, none of which offered financial incentives. On average the 140 volunteers in the groups cut emissions by almost 5%. A further trial is planned.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Follow the Money


The latest from Davos. Hey, the green fanatics and the socialists have tag teamed the rest of the world when it comes to cashing in on globull worming. For the socialists we get billions invested in helping the "world" and the greenies get to profit from their investments in "green" technologies. Looks pretty transparent to me. Wonder if the rest of the world will catch on?

World Economic Forum wants $10tn to save the world

More than $10 trillion must be invested in clean technology between now and 2030 to spare the Earth from an unsustainable increase in global temperature, the World Economic Forum warned today.

A report from the body that organises the Davos meeting of political and business leaders said at least $515bn should be spent annually on measures to limit carbon emissions.

Although the worsening financial and economic crisis has pushed climate change down the Davos agenda this year, the WEF study stressed that countries needed to vastly increase spending on safeguarding the environment.

Green investment has increased more than fourfold, from $30bn to $140bn, between 2004 and 2008, but would still need to triple to meet the target set by the WEF and the co-authors of the report, New Energy Finance. Outlays of $500bn a year would be needed to prevent a rise of more than 2C in global temperatures by 2030.

The study identified eight emerging, large-scale clean energy sectors that were seen as playing a crucial role in the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy strategy over the next two decades. These were: onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal electricity generation, municipal solar waste-to-energy, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, and geothermal power.

Max von Bismarck and Anuradha Gurung from the World Economic Forum, and Chris Greenwood and Michael Liebreich from New Energy Finance, said "enormous investment in energy infrastructure is required to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change. In light of the global financial crisis, it is crucial that every dollar is made to 'multi-task' to create a sustainable low-carbon economy."

At a time when the global economy has been struggling, the report said business had an opportunity to make healthy profits from the fight against climate change. An index of the world's 90 leading clean energy companies had a five-year compounded annualised return of almost 10%, unmatched by the world's major stock indices.

Earlier a group of climate change experts including Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the UK government's report on the economics of climate change, warned against complacency in the UN climate talks, due to conclude in December in Copen­hagen to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol. They said the economic and climate change agendas should be yoked together in 2009 to ensure that spending had long-term benefits for the environment.

Gore Takes It In the Shorts Again!


Looks like the Goracle suffered another beat down at the hands of the Czech president again this weekend in Davos. This while Britain is buried in a record snowfall (heaviest in 20 years). Could it be that the tide is turning in the war against the eco fanatics?

Czech President Vaclav Klaus took aim at climate change campaigner Al Gore on Saturday in Davos in a frontal attack on the science of global warming.

"I don't think that there is any global warming," said the 67-year-old liberal, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. "I don't see the statistical data for that."

Referring to the former US vice president, who attended Davos this year, he added: "I'm very sorry that some people like Al Gore are not ready to listen to the competing theories. I do listen to them.

"Environmentalism and the global warming alarmism is challenging our freedom. Al Gore is an important person in this movement."

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, he said that he was more worried about the reaction to the perceived dangers than the consequences.

"I'm afraid that the current crisis will be misused for radically constraining the functioning of the markets and market economy all around the world," he said.

"I'm more afraid of the consequences of the crisis than the crisis itself."

Klaus makes no secret of his climate change scepticism -- he is also a fierce critic of the European Union -- and has branded the world's top panel of climate experts, the UN's IPCC, a smug monopoly.