Day by Day

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Answer is not Blowing in the Wind - The Futility of Wind Power

For nine years Alice and I lived on a small ranch east of Livermore, California. Two of my closest neighbors were the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and the Altamont Pass wind farm. I could only see a hint of the sprawling Livermore Lab campus, but from my backyard I could watch many of the wind turbines at Altamont not doing much.

On two occasions recently I drove through the Altamont Pass on Highway 580 and both times did not see even one wind turbine turning. The first time was understandable; it was just after noon on a desultory summer day. The second time, however, was during a driving rain storm.

Aside from their demonic ability to kill Eagles and raptors during their rare periods of operation, Altamont Pass should be viewed as a living laboratory of the futility of wind power. (For a very clear exposition of this point, click on this link to an excellent Master Resource blog post)

Its near neighbor, the Livermore Lab, is another matter. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle reported: "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reported Thursday they have taken a major step toward harnessing the forces that power the sun in an effort to create unlimited energy on Earth."

There it is in a nutshell. On the one hand, the supposed scientifically enlightened pursue a very limited, costly, and as common sense demonstrates, futile method of meeting burgeoning energy needs. On the other hand, science is just taking baby steps to develop nuclear power production, which assuredly will one day become the means of satisfying mankind's ever increasing energy needs. One direction leads nowhere while fueling the cry that what must be done is for mankind to stop economic progress. The other direction unleashes the potential for mankind to achieve economic security for all, thereby reducing the need for politicians and their acolytes to preside over the division of shrinking resources.

We know which road politicians will choose, so common sense (and science) will lead us to choose the other.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Global Warming – Last Place and Falling Fast

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press published its annual assessment of the public’s – our – priorities for 2010. Unlike the Obama Administration, we the people seem to have arranged our priorities by common sense rather than liberal ideology. The economy, jobs, terrorism – makes sense to me.

Last and falling steadily, global warming.

Interestingly, this steady decline in our concern about global warming preceded the disclosures of the chicanery and incompetence practiced by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC). After recent disclosures (slowly gaining traction in the news against the main stream media’s attempts to ignore them) concerning misrepresenting and suppressing skeptical studies of global warming, making unsupported alarmist claims of Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035 and of ocean acidification in a decade, and using articles from advocacy organizations like the World Wildlife Fund as if they were peer-reviewed science studies, the next Pew review shouldn’t even include global warming on its list of public priorities.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wikipedia - The Heavy Hand of William M. Connolley Distorts Global Warming

Every article concerning climate change in Wikipedia seems to have been edited by William M. Connolley to the detriment of neutrality and balance. Mr. Connolley has edited 5,428 Wikipedia articles, and controlled the editing process of many of them (his editing privileges may have been rescinded. Now how will the damage he's done be undone?). Until recently (circa 2007) He was a member of RealClimate and contributed to their unabashed promotion of anthropogenic global warming.

For instance, Wikipedia has a page: Description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports .

The opening paragraphs of this page are below:

The description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports has changed since the first report in 1990 as scientific understanding of the temperature record of the past 1000 years has improved. The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) are the best-known temperature fluctuations in the last millennium.

Critics of the "hockey stick graph" of later reports have claimed that the record of the MWP and LIA were suppressed in the IPCC Third Assessment Report, although every report has discussed the phenomena.

When the various links above are followed, what is found are one-sided expositions of the Mann et all “hockey stick” temperature reconstruction of the past 1,000 years – which wrote off the Medieval Warm Period – and dismissal of the criticism by Steve McIntyre and the total ignoring of Soon et al finding that the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon and was warmer than the present period. It also has no mention that the tree-ring proxy reconstructions of temperatures do not show warming after 1960, casting doubt on their ability to show prior warming (i.e., Medieval Warm Period warming).

The assertion that the "scientific understanding of the temperature record of the past 1,000 years has improved" is unsupported by any by any reference to what caused the improvement, and in what way it was improved.

The statement concerning suppression of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, that "every report has addressed the phenomena" can only be considered accurate to the extent that some contained a brief mention without discussion, and others contained brief, broad dismissals of them.

From the first progress report of the IPCC from 1990 on page 202, the above is graphics 7c [12], in which the Medieval Warm Period was portrayed as clearly warmer than the present.

Any claim by Wikipedia of fairness and neutrality in their pages concerning climate change are therefore subverted by the heavy-handed editing of William M. Connolley, who selectively includes or omits information and sources on the basis of whether they are in accord with anthropogenic global warming.

Apparently Mr. Connolley thinks he can simulate fairness by adhering to the strict title of this Wikipedia page, that it is about the description of the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age in IPCC reports without going into the criticisms of the IPCC description.

I could do the same by making a post describing how God created the Earth 6,000 years ago, and only allowing items in the post concerning God’s creative accomplishments. I could dismiss criticisms by noting that many theologians are on board with my post, and have been for thousands of years.

I don’t understand why Wikipedia allows the pursuit of knowledge to be hijacked by an advocate of a point of view. Then again, the Church did the same with Galileo, lost credibility, and opened the way for the Reformation.

Wikipedia, reform thyself!

“Robust” is the Global Warmists Favorite Word

What is it with the Warmists and “robust”?

Dr. Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), admitted that they had wrongly asserted that glaciers in the Himalayas would melt by 2035, but then defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalize based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.

“Was ist das “robust”? I sputter in German (confronted with such arrogance, my English failed me.)

What is robust about a review methodology that (1) includes a 1999 news report on Himalayan glaciers that was never reviewed by glacier science experts? (2) that then was lifted from and cited as a source a 2005 World Wildlife Fund report that contained a basic arithmetic error (the rate of average annual glacier retreat for 121 years was determined by dividing the total distance by 21 instead of 121)? and (2) ignored critical comments generated in the course of the IPCC “robust” review process?

Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.

An authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: “Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.”

Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced the Indian government report as “voodoo science”.

However, it is apparently robust voodoo science.

Next we consider Michael Mann of “hockey stick” fame, immortalized by Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Inconveniently for both Gore and Mann, the hockey stick has been totally broken and discarded by serious climatologists, thanks primarily to the outstanding work and persistence of Stephen McIntyre. Suffice it to say, “trees don’t make good thermometers,” since they grow well with more rain, more CO2, logging which removes their neighbors, farming that does the same and adds fertilizers, and sometimes grow poorly when it gets really hot. Mann et al compounded their tree-ring proxy scam by using small, carefully selected samples, and by using algorithms that produced hockey sticks even when fed random, spurious data.

But with all these problems, a global warming enthusiast pronounced historical temperature determination through Mann’s tree-ring proxies to be robust. I think what “robust” means in this context is that a lot of global warming alarmists – Mann, Briffa, Jones – are complicit in the fraud.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Interesting Points Debunking Global Warming

It seems we notice what interests us. I’m very interested in seat belt goodies - and debunking the Warmists.

Some recent writers to our weekly newspaper, the Independent Coast Observer, called me a global warming denier and claimed that science by consensus supports their view of anthropogenic global warming. However, we have to thank Al Gore for inadvertently teaching us that 600,000 years of Vostok (Antarctica) ice core samples show CO² lags rather than precedes warming. If further studies are needed to prove that CO² is not the primary driver of global warming, we only have to look at the past seventy years to see that in over half of those years we had cooling as CO² rose.

In fact, the claim that recent warming is unprecedented was disproven by the observed warming of 1860 to 1880, 1910 to 1940, the Medieval Warm Period (800 to 1300 AD), and other periods of the past 10,000 years such as the Roman and the Holocene Climate Optimum.

Adding to the chaos of Climategate –leaked emails revealed how UN IPCC scientists tried to withhold data from public scrutiny – other recent disclosures shed light on the dubious science of anthropogenic warming. The first concerns melting Himalayan glaciers.

During our vacation in India, Alice and I read an article by an Indian scientist that contradicted claims by the UN IPCC that Indian glaciers were melting rapidly. Then we learned that the Indian skeptic was right. The UN claim in 2007 that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 was based on a news story generated by a brief telephone interview with a little-known Indian scientist in 1999. The scientist’s research was never peer-reviewed and does not support what he purportedly said – and he now denies what was reported in his name - in the interview. A UN official now says he will recommend that the glacier assertions be eliminated from the IPCC assessment.

The fallacious Indian glacier melting ties in with apocalyptic predictions by Al Gore and the IPCC of sea level increases of six feet or more by 2100.

Jason Lowe, a leading climate researcher: "(W)e think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is simplistic and unsatisfactory."

The consensus may be frozen, but its science is melting away.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Really Dumb Football - San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys

A friend watched the NFL playoff between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings with a Cowboys fan and his pet monkey. The Cowboys started off strongly, and as they gained one first down after another, with each first down the monkey went giddy with excitement, leaping, screeching, and jumping excitedly from chair to chair, from wall to wall. Each celebration was wilder than the preceding. My friend had never seen anything like it.

“That’s incredible!” my friend exclaimed. “What does your monkey do when the Cowboys do something really special?”

“I don’t know,” the Cowboy supporter replied, “I’ve only had him for ten years.”

If Wade Phillips continues as the Dallas coach, the monkey probably won’t live long enough to give us the answer.

Wade Phillips was a strong contender, but Norv Turner can’t be beat for NFL playoff stupidity. In the first instance, his players didn’t show poise or composure. It’s one thing to miss a tackle, or drop some passes – the players are human, and their opponents are trying to make them miss, or make mistakes. However, losing 15 yards for taunting after doing a great job of covering a kickoff, or kicking the challenge flag when instant replay was going to confirm that the player made a good sideline catch are the sort of undisciplined acts that a coach should have indoctrinated his players against.

But what can you expect from a coach like Norv Turner who can’t even discipline himself against making stupid decisions? Turner’s decision to on-side kick was criticized by announcer Phil Simms in detail before the kick was made, and Simms gave all the logical reasons why an on-side kick was a bad idea with over two minutes to play and a timeout and two-minute warning to stop the clock. First, on-side kicks usually don’t work, especially if one is expected. Second, with a normal kick-off, the Jets would probably start deep in their own territory, particularly since they were prepared to defend against the on-side kick and had their “hands” team in with only one kick returner and no blockers deep to receive a normal kickoff. Third, if the Jets started on or about their own 20-yard line, they would probably only call conservative running plays, and if faced with a fourth down and a yard to go, would punt instead of going for it on fourth down.

Not so strangely, after many years of watching NFL football (and playing high school eight-man football half-a-century ago), I had already arrived at the same position concerning an on-side kick as Phil Simms. It’s too bad for the Chargers that Norv Turner didn’t tap his football knowledge to arrive at the same conclusion.

Having the Jets think you were going to on-side kick was a good idea. Actually doing it wasn’t.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Global Cooling - Al Gore Shows the Way

I declare that this recent prolonged cold period is the beginning of global cooling - and of course is also the end of global warming.

"Wait," I hear the cry of Al Gore and His Acolytes. "How can you declare global cooling after just a month of some of the worst cold weather in the past 100 years?"

That's the easy part. Al Gore and The Warming Gurus declared a piddling Category 3 hurricane, Katrina, proof of global warming just because it got a lot of headlines for its unlucky strike ("lucky" for the Warmists) on New Orleans. So after 15 years of no appreciable warming, and almost ten years of modest cooling, I feel it's time to declare the coming of Global Cooling.

It's not like it's unprecedented. For over a million years we have had long glacial periods broken by shorter interglacial periods. The last Ice Age ended just over 10,000 years ago, and since then we have had warmer periods than today interspersed with cooler periods. In fact, during the past 11,400 years about 7,500 of those years were warmer than the present. However, the warming has been diminishing and the Little Ice Age (1300 to 1850 AD) was colder than recent preceding cold periods.

It looks like we're on the verge of another cold period, probably one similar to the Ice Age. Unlike Al Gore and His Panic Mongers, I don't think it will happen fast. The mile-thick ice sheets over Chicago won't be there for another 20,000 years. By then the sea levels will be over 400 feet lower than today.

You wouldn't need a Channel Tunnel to go from Europe to the United Kingdom, just a snowmobile or skis.

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