Category Archives: Climate

XR & Climate Emergency B*llocks

JR Max Wheel

21st October 2019

It is impossible to listen to or watch the news or many programmes without the ridiculous use of the phrase “climate emergency”. Many UK towns and the Government have declared it to be so, as has the Holy See, so it must be true. Except that it isn’t, in any normal understanding of the word “emergency”. XR and its lunatic antics are busy scaring the wits out of children and young adults, who naturally are concerned at the allegedly imminent planetary demise. These fanatics recall some medieval death cult, which is pretty far removed from any science, let alone the complexities of climate science.

The latter group unfortunately is equally guilty of grotesque levels of alarmism and equally quick to label any alternate views as those of “deniers”. No sane individual fails to deplore and demand action over mass pollution, air quality, loss of habitat and biodiversity, but this is all conflated with what used to be called global warming but has now morphed into climate change and again to emergency. Only part of this story is factually defensible, much is pure speculation, misleading extrapolation of trends or politically motivated . The notion that we are at or have passed some notional tipping point beyond which any adaptation or action is, or will be, fruitless is not to put too fine a point on it, nuts.

The IPCC, (not always the most reliable of sources) has rubbished this claim, as well as Dr. Taalas, the Finnish Director of the World Meteorological Organization. Speaking to Finland’s financial newspaper Talouselämä (“The Journal”) on 6 September 2019, Petteri Taalas called for cooler heads to prevail, saying that he does not accept arguments of climate alarmists that the end of the world is at hand.

This message needs to be repeated and most especially in schools, young children can hardly be expected to discriminate in an area of science which is so extreme in its forecasts, when so much is still hotly disputed. The idea that there is scientific consensus is simply wrong on both counts, the causes and degree of any give level of climate change.

 Whether the “greenhouse” effect is actually responsible for the modest levels of warming is debatable, and this argument has been going on since the greenhouse effect was first mooted in 1856. The whole debate has become “toxic”, scientists who don’t subscribe to the so-called consensus have been removed from their academic positions. Many are both well-known and formerly respected figures from prestigious universities. The latest being well known zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford from Canada’s University of Victoria, there are many, many more, whilst some have just given up an unequal struggle. That in itself is an academic scandal, as is the deliberate manipulation of temperature figures whether the infamous “Climategate saga” to emotive imagery of dying polar bears or walrus, allegedly perishing from the melting of their natural habitat of disappearing sea ice.

This has also been shown to be specious, not that anyone listening to the BBC would be any the wiser. Its extraordinary one-eyed stance on climate change means that any views outside what has become the dominant narrative are totally ignored- a further example of total bias.

Some fascinating work has been done by researchers in China who have found that the climate in N. China has been warming since 4000 B.C!  They then go on to show that there is a 500-year cycle n the behaviour of China’s monsoon. And worse that low levels of Sun activity may produce a global cooling, the very reverse of what we are taught.

What about CO2 then, everyone understands that it is a greenhouse gas, but many disagree about its causal effects. Rising levels of emissions are a fact, but if so, why is there no corresponding jump in the temperature trend. CO2 levels have been historically significantly higher than today the comparative weight given to CO2 as a causal factor seem wildly overestimated. Climate models clearly run “too hot” and hence are poor predictors.

What is fascinating is that the IPCC assigns very little weight to the role and change in the behaviour of the sun. This is astonishing, as our nearest star is a fusion reactor barely 150km away and yet its effects are regarded by the IPCC as somehow minimal.   

A controversial yet fascinating research by Professors Shaviv and Henrik Svensmark argue that the earth’s climate appears to be not especially sensitive to levels of atmospheric gases. Warming as calculated by the IPCC, based on gase,s is around 2.3W/m2 from roughly 1750-2011 This is much greater than mere sun radiance and  implies that something else is amplifying these effects, According to Svensmark and colleagues it may be the change in cosmic ray activities over the 11 year sun cycle, A very active sun interrupts the level of cosmic ray penetration to the Earth’s atmosphere, a weaker stage of the cycle allows more penetration this leads to an increase on cloud formation and reflection of heat into space. This is quite a persuasive argument and correlates well with actual LT temperature records. If so, it is a natural variation and no amount of curtailing flying,  driving , eating meat or similar measures will make the slightest difference.

So, for anyone with an open mind it looks very reasonable to look for rational explanations and to ignore the XR fruitcakes.
 

What is going on at the UK Meteorological Office?

JR Max Wheel

10 February 2014

The Met. Office used to be regarded as a bastion of UK establishment science; after all it was the UK that  invented weather forecasting, which explains our national obsession with weather. However all does not appear to be well at the top. Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office  Head hinted strongly when interviewed by the media that the incidence of stormy weather could probably be attributed to global warming. This suits the narrative of the alarmist camp, after all who can doubt that this terrible run of storms that have nearly drowned my home county and are rapidly spreading elsewhere seem unprecedented. This myth is also daily perpetuated by the BBC, who has parroted the same message that this is the wettest winter since the 1760s. Well it isn’t and that is from the self-same Met. Office records. That belongs to the winter of 1929/30.

I am indebted to Paul Homewood’s Not Many People Know This website for the attached list:

According to Met Office data, there have been eight other 2-month periods in England, which have been wetter since 1910, than the last two months total of 274mm. (The different England & Wales dataset, which dates to 1766, also shows that there were five years, prior to 1910, that also had higher 2-month totals : 1771, 1811, 1822, 1852 and 1877).

  Precipitation
mm
Oct – Nov  
1929 286
1960 294
2000 322
Nov – Dec  
1914 281
1929 340
2000 277
Dec – Jan  
1914/15 276
1929/30 280

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/pub/data/weather/uk/climate/datasets/Rainfall/date/England.txt

So was this predicted? No Here’s the forecast.

 

SUMMARY – PRECIPITATION:

Confidence in the forecast for precipitation across the UK over the next three months is relatively low. For the December-January-February period as a whole there is a slight signal for below-average precipitation. The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).

CONTEXT:

Met Office 3-month Outlook Period: December 2013 – February 2014 Issue date: 21.11.13

As discussed in the temperature section, forecast models favour a negative NAO pattern this winter, with high pressure areas more likely to be centred over or close to the UK. As in all seasons, this pre-dominance of anticyclones is likely to lead to drier-than-normal conditions across the country, as can be seen in figure P2 where the forecast shows a shift towards below-average values.

The weakening of the prevailing westerly flow means that the normally wetter western or northwestern parts of the country may see a significant reduction in precipitation compared to average, while the east or southeast may be closer to average. However uncertainty in this regional pattern of precipitation is large.

With colder-than-normal conditions being favoured, as indicated in the temperature section, the probabilities for precipitation falling as snow and for occurrence of ice this winter will be higher than the climatological values.

OK so that is alright then weaker westerly airstream and the prospect of a drier than normal winter.

The shambles at the Environment Agency and DEFRA carries on with everyone pointing the finger at each other. It now appears that the Somerset Rivers have not been dredged for years and in the process the rhynes or ditches that criss-cross its Levels have been celebrated for its wildlife heritage, in fact as the Daily Mail puts in an Environment Agency report from 2008 even suggested that it should be returned to nature  and that had we not done so we would have violated an EU directive.

I have no objection to a sensible balance of interest but this is folly of the highest order. This is vulnerable land, it floods most years but not to the extent of leaving 65 sq. miles underwater. Activist types with a deluded sense of priorities have become entangled in decision-making of some of the UK’s important agencies. This has got to stop. Wetland habitats are important as recognized by the Ramsar Agreement, but not wet lands which have ended up drowning and destroying the very species they are meant to protect, that is madness.

If it ain’t broke, go fix it anyway. Experimental fudge

JR Max Wheel & Graham Reid

5 November 2013

“The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.” – Lichtenberg

It is surely no accident that two respected journals have published editorials on flawed methodologies in science last month; the Economist (19/25th.October) and New Scientist (19th Oct 2013). One wonders what took them so long as the original paper to which both refer was originally published in 2005 by eminent US epidemiologist Prof. John Ionannidis.

They highlight that research is increasingly driven by finding topics on which funding is available, rather than vice versa, a deeply worrying trend.

He specifically took issue with biotech research and in particular neuroscience. No matter.  What is pertinent is that it has laid bare some core issues, that experimental results are frequently not capable of replication, that (some) researchers do not have good knowledge of appropriate statistical techniques and that results are accepted willy- nilly, and despite peer reviews.

Needless to say neither journal thought to extend their probe into areas where flawed research and modelling has proved to be spectacularly wrong, economic quantitative analysis (a subject which we will analyse in more detail in a separate post) and climate change, where at best, results are hotly disputed and not as most mouthpieces would have us believe, a happy consensus of settled science.

That both areas have vital implications for Government policy decisions makes this a matter of urgency.

Scientific methodology goes back at least to the Greeks and in its refined form, from roughly the 17th.C. It should consist of formulation, hypothesis, prediction, testing and analysis, so what has gone wrong?

If we follow the Economist’s analysis it has become a mix of careerism, a rise in researchers chasing funds, poor techniques and a highly questionable peer review process, more interested in promoting a cause or seeking more grants than examining results.

Yet testing is a fundamental part of the scientific process. If a leading biotech company can only repeat 6 out of 53 landmark papers and a major pharmaceutical company barely a quarter of 67 important papers, something is seriously awry. Scientists will make mistakes and as mistakes are vital to the understanding process, quality review is surely essential.

There is a less comfortable viewpoint which seems especially marked in contentious areas like climate change, deliberate avoidance, misrepresentation or manipulation of “inconvenient” data. Here the subject matter takes on a quasi religious tone and a selective deafness towards anyone questioning the mythical consensus. This is also deeply political and hence has strayed right outside the boundaries of normal scientific discourse, and so divided is opinion between “deniers” and “warmists”, that meaningful dialogue has gone out of the window.

The recent IPCC report (AR5), whose key summary is meant for policy makers, so it’s going to affect all of us is now 95% certain of its results of man-made global warming, up from 90%! Thankfully for the rest of us, Douglas Keenan has both looked at the methods and the forecasts with a keen statistician’s mind in his draft analysis.

He has concluded that the modelling of the time series data is once again deeply flawed. There are known issues about the non-linearity of climate readings over long time scales and yet the IPCC, whilst recognizing its model’s inconsistencies has no hesitation in drawing unequivocal conclusions from it.

Firstly the model is statistically inappropriate; secondly it admits that the model predictions is not outside the possibilities of natural climate variability, thirdly the report admits that, in essence, we do not understand the data well enough to choose a model. The UK Met. Office hardly comes out of this with any credit either, despite repeated Parliamentary questions about the model’s suitability and the reliability of its results, there is a deafening silence. Many errors persist from the time of the first assessment (AR1)

So, we have a policy recommendation based on a dodgy model, where the data is poorly understood and cannot be held to be statistically significant, in short we have no idea whether the Earth is warming, cooling or staying the same. If this were not bad enough the science community has closed ranks and refused to contemplate or engage with critical thought.

This is just the statistical tip of the iceberg with no consideration of alternative explanations of effects of changes to the sun’s cycles or a host of alternative viewpoints on causation of climate change.

We are grateful to the Bishop Hill blog for Keenan’s analysis http://bishophill.squarespace.com/

We started this article with Prof. Ioannidis concerns to show that the existing methodologies were flawed, short-cut or simply wrong – false positives or false negatives and in particular in bioscience. He is right to be concerned, because it is highly likely that the same issues do occur in other fields of study, in so doing he has done an important service.

The IPCC makes much of its credentials as the expert mouthpiece of the United Nations on climate, we have a right to expect more quality analysis and they have a duty to provide it. Maybe the research gravy train has simply proved irresistible.

This is not science, it is opinion and embedded in virtually every nature programme and promulgated by every environment correspondent in the national media and the BBC. So prevalent has this become that questioners are treated as hostile, so it is now dogma. This is why reform of science is critical.

 

 

IPCC- the dangers of asking the wrong question

JR Max Wheel

30th September 2013

Anyone wishing to comment on the matter of climate changes runs into a wall of noise and vituperation. This has degenerated into a quasi-religious debate, accompanied by strong overtones of original sin- it is our fault and we must adjust according to the IPCC’s highly prescriptive views, which means a massive shift to decarbonise economies in a time scale that is both increasingly unaffordable and too rapid to be achievable.

The mandate of the IPCC was not however to ask what causes climate change and what, if anything can be done about it, it was an entirely different question. It was “for the purpose of assessing “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. It does not carry out new research nor does it monitor climate-related data. It bases its assessment mainly on published and peer reviewed scientific technical literature”. In other words it assumes that climate change is a human induced matter from the outset, so asking and funding climate scientists ( and many who are not) produces an unequivocal answer that 95% of expert opinion understands that humans are indeed responsible for it.

In a devastating critique of IPCC’s methodology and practice, Professor McKitrick, a member of the IPCC demonstrates that there is an opaque method of lead author selection, an absence, even a suppression of of giving space to dissenting reviews, conflicts of interest, deliberate rewriting by lead authors, and manipulation of data. If this were not bad enough, the appointees from the 195 countries contain many who lack specific expertise on climate science. Stunningly a journalist, Donna Laframboise, unearthed that the World Wildlife Fund had appointed 130 scientists in a targeted campaign, who were responsible for penning 28 out of 44 articles and were coordinating lead authors in 15 of the 44 chapters of the last report AR4. This does not even address the now infamous Climategate scandal.  McKitrick recommendations are for improvement in the whole methodology and management of the IPCC system. Link here: http://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/mckitrick-ipcc_reforms.pdf

This matters deeply because it is a UN body and should have an unimpeachable standing. It does not and is leading to ever growing public dissatisfaction with IPCC alarmism and myth creation (melting glaciers and declining polar bear populations). The green lobby has already landed the public with inefficient wind and solar technologies supported by large subsidies and expensive back-up for intermittent and hence non-dispatchable power supply.

Instead of asking what is causing climate change, the IPCC have sought to focus on scientific papers which answer the question that they have asked themselves, the evidence that it is caused solely or mostly by human behaviour:  this is the antithesis of scientific methodology and at worst and exercise in pure propaganda. As it happens there are a number of competing views about causes of climate change from cosmic radiation and cloud formation, sun cycles, variable earth orbits, volcanic activity, ocean current circulations, these may or may not be exaggerated or diminished by human activity. The truth is we do not know and in such circumstances, scientists should follow the scientific method and establish testable hypotheses.

This is, however, a political battle as much as a scientific one and as such it is open to a mix of dogma and self-interest (attractive funding streams for academics). Climate change is certainly no new phenomenon or life on earth would simply not have evolved. In such long time scales and such complex interactions, we do not know. Why then should Lord Stern assert that “Business will be watching world leaders and their ministers to check they understand the findings of the IPCC”. Perhaps the question should be that the public ( and its leaders) should examine the workings of the IPCC and its supporters and ensure that they deliver properly structured, transparent and sensible science and policies and not assume that the rot set in 1750 with Western industrialization

Eco-Fascism- we who know best?

JR Max Wheel

16 August 2013

There are few subjects that can divide people like energy policy and its ugly sister, climate change. The total shambles that is UK energy policy is a victim of dogma, delay and dither. We are “signed up” to a totally unrealistic and legally binding EU sponsored time-scale to decarbonise the UK economy. We are trying to enact a policy that might have seemed relevant in 2005, but now looks like a badly cobbled together case and revealed to be a mix of poor or manipulated modelling, outright errors and a growing public sense that scientists actually do not know with any certainty what drives the Earth’s climate, whether man-made emissions, ocean temperatures, space weather and all their complex interactions. Despite our ignorance on these important issues, we have spawned a movement that is determined to stamp on the UK’s find and exploitation of “tight” oil and gas reserves via fraccing. The self-righteous and self-appointed eco-warriors do not want fraccing at all and so it runs therefore nor should you.  This blatant imposition of their views over yours or mine may be a bit of youthful thumbs up at the system or something much more sinister. Some of the leaders have “form”, from UK Uncut to Occupy: so a new generation of Luddites is born.

The problem is not one sided though, the Government’s own Environmental Audit Committee is led by Tim Yeo M.P. unashamedly in the pay of several renewables companies and who should be removed immediately from this job as the conflict of interest is blindingly obvious. Yeo is apparently pro-fraccing as a temporary measure until renewables are sufficiently developed. UK renewables policy is equally dreadful and focuses mainly on inefficient wind and solar. At least the Scots have taken up tidal and wave power with more enthusiasm than in the rest of the UK. Countries like Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic have been forced to cut back on renewables subsidies, leading to high profile collapses of companies. We know that these types of renewables are at best intermittent, so require hefty and costly conventional back up. So stupid is the current policy alignment, that gas-fired stations are being mothballed as uneconomic and why- because the US is shipping cheap and dirty coal to Europe which is of course far cheaper than European gas, largely sourced from the Gulf or Russia.  Germany normally a model of common sense- is certainly not on this subject!

Welche Kraftwerkstypen noch rentabel zu betreiben sind

Source: Die Welt

Germany has suffered a similar bout of eco-madness. It has returned to burning lignite- (braukohl) possibly the dirtiest of coal fuels. The legally binding targets then are quite literally going up in smoke. The falling price of coal and lignite is even below the price of nuclear generated power. Look at the price falls in the table above.Meanwhile, the UK nuclear case is stalled, despite the valuable option of thorium-fuelled reactors.

In the UK there is little attempt to have a proper informed view and no thanks to the BBC that delights in giving voice to committed eco-warriors instead of trying to inform, but then it has filled the public’s ears with global warming alarmism for years. Its correspondents like Messrs. Shukman and Harrabin are respectively a Geography and English graduate, hardly the kind of scientific background suitable to understand, let alone represent the complexities of climate science.

The small village of Balcombe, West Sussex, chosen as a test-drilling site by Cuadrilla Resources, is now host to the nearby anti-“Dash for Gas” camp, whilst its own inhabitants in a typical outbreak of nimbyism have also vocally protested, maybe they would like a very large wind farm right around them instead. I doubt it.