Energy

The Weekly Carboholic: Study to determine if pine beetle affects Rocky Mountain climate

carboholic

Mountain pine beetle infestations have been killing evergreen forests since before I was born. I have memories of my father pointing out the dead and dying trees to me, saying that those beetles would kill the entire forest if they got the chance, how the warmer winters meant that more eggs and larva survived to eat and kill more trees the next year, that we needed bitterly cold winters to keep the beetles in check. Unfortunately, there have been too many warm winters in a row, and pine beetle has spread to the point that entire swaths of forest are dead or dying, not just isolated trees or stands of trees. We’re at the point that the Colorado town of Frisco held its first annual BeetleFest, with expectations of an unfortunately long run of festivals in the future. Now a new release from the National Science Foundation suggests that the dying forests will change more than just the trees themselves.

According to the article, scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) believe that the pine beetle may be responsible for changes in Rocky Mountain climate and air quality. This summer saw the start of a four-year study into how much the pine beetle-killed forests are changing cloud formation, aerosols (particles such as soot), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air. The region under study extends from southern Wyoming down to New Mexico.

Scientists expect that they’ll find increased amounts of VOCs in the air, higher amounts of aerosols, and reduced water vapor and cloud formation, and thus lower precipitation near beetle infested forests as compared to healthy forests. The scientists quoted in the release believe that trees under attack release VOCs and aerosols in the process of trying to fight off the beetle and the fungus that follows (and is ultimately responsible for killing the trees) In addition, respiration in a healthy forest releases groundwater from the tree’s roots into the air, aiding in cloud formation and raising humidity. An infested forest would have fewer live trees to perform this ecological function, and so weather patterns would be affected in the process.

It’s fact that warm winters have enabled the spread of the mountain pine beetle throughout the Rocky Mountains. Whether the pine beetle could become a disruption mechanism in the climate throughout the mountain region remains to be seen.

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New study says forest destruction costs trillions annually
A new EU study headed by Deutsche Bank economist Pavan Sukhdev has concluded that destruction of forest internationally is causing economic damage to the tune of $2 – $5 trillion, or up to 7% of the global economy, annually. That’s roughly three to seven times the amount of the U.S. financial bailout every year. This calculation was done by placing value on the various “services” that healthy, existent forests provide for free, such as carbon sequestration, water treatment, food, and water storage. Further, Sukhdev concluded that the costs were essentially regressive, since the poor rely more on natural forests for their livelihoods globally than do the wealthy.

According to the BBC article, environmental groups are hoping that The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb) study will bring the value of natural systems to the forefront of people’s minds in much the same way that the Stern Review did two years ago. And while it’s unfortunate that the intrinsic value of natural spaces has not been internalized by enough people worldwide, an economic argument for the value of those same natural spaces may have a better chance of grabbing the attention of economy-obsessed businessmen and politicians.

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Global heating will affect tropical species too
Many scientists and laypeople have assumed that the tropics would be relatively immune to the effects of global heating. After all, the tropics are hot already, and presumably the plant and animal species residing in the tropics have an inherent resistance to warmer temperatures. A new study by University of Connecticut professor and ecologist Robert Colwell and reported in the UConn Advance indicates that this may not, in fact, be as true as people had been assuming.

According to the Advance story, much of the tropics is roughly the same temperatures, so it’s only on the fringes – where the tropics meet temperate zones – that plants and animals have the opportunity to move to cooler latitudes (away from the equator). Everywhere else in the tropics species must change their elevation by climbing mountains, hillsides, etc. Colwell has found that this may not be possible for all species for several reasons.

The first is that the species on the top has no-where to go, so they must simultaneously compete with invaders from lower down in altitude and adapt to hotter temperatures, something that not all species will be able to do. The second is that human’s have clear cut many mountains and hillsides for forestry products or agriculture, preventing the movement of many species up in altitude.

In addition, as the lowlands heat up, and as species attempt to move up in elevation, they effectively abandon ecological niches in the lowlands, reducing biodiversity throughout the tropics in the process. This is especially true of species that cannot migrate to higher altitudes for various reasons and that cannot adapt to higher temperatures.

The conclusion of Colwell’s 15 years of research, as reported by the Advance, is this: the tropics aren’t immune to the effects of global heating any more than the world’s temperate zones or arctic regions are.

———-

Adapting supply chain management to high fuel prices
The Financial Times (FT) of London had a story last week about how companies will have to adapt their supply chains and inventory management methods to adapt to high oil prices. Fundamentally it’s a problem of economics – just-in-time and lean manufacturing techniques rely on cheap fuel to make transportation cheaper than inventory storage. Similarly, manufacturing off-shore becomes less economically viable when shipping goods from those countries is more expensive. And nearly all existing supply chain management schemes were designed before accounting for the costs of carbon emissions became important due to present or anticipated carbon limits or taxes.

According to the article, there are a number of ways that costs and carbon emissions can be reduced. Shifting from fast air and truck transportation to slow rail and ship helps, as does sharing delivery vehicles and even warehousing facilities when possible. However, the FT article points out that these changes take a great deal of planning and organizing, especially when different companies use different supply chain management systems. However, if companies can get past such cultural differences to work together, the cost savings, and energy and carbon savings, are significant. After all, every truck you can run full of food or other products both to and from a warehouse nearly doubles efficiency.

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Wind jobs helping employment in depressed areas
The upper Midwest and parts of the Midwest and South have serious problems with employment. These areas are some of the worst off in the nation, especially those areas that have come to rely on the Big 3 automakers. But according to a recent post in the NYTimes Green, Inc. blog, there’s a good chance that new wind turbine construction jobs will create new jobs throughout “the wind belt”.

According to the post, four new plants have opened recently. Nine plants were announced last year, and all the manufacturing plants currently in the U.S. are expected to manufacture 50% of all wind components in the U.S. by the end of the year, up from 30% in 2005. The advantages of this are pretty clear. When it comes to turbine blades, for example, they’re so large that they’re expensive to transport, so it’s cheaper to manufacture them close to where they’ll ultimately be used. And the post also suggests that wind turbine companies are starting to build plants in the U.S. because the dollar has fallen enough against other currencies that it’s cheaper to manufacture in the U.S. than it is offshore (when transportation is factored in). However, green wind jobs can’t do it alone. The post points out that GM alone has cut 19,000 jobs since early 2007, while all the new wind manufacturing jobs have created only a quarter of that.

Image credits:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mountain Pine Beetle Forest Insect and Disease Leaflet 2
Wikimedia Commons
AP, via Green, Inc at NYTimes

15 replies »

  1. Pingback: www.buzzflash.net
  2. Why do you keep publishing such nonsense
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/10/15/arctic-sea-ice-now-287-higher-than-this-date-last-year-still-climbing/
    Arctic sea ice now 28.7% higher than this date last year – still climbing.

    It stopped warming 10 years ago.
    New Research Indicates Climate Similar to the 1800s Within the Next 15 Years: First Stage of Global Cooling Will Begin During 2008-2009
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/07/prweb1081014.htm

    The recent enhanced warm season melting of the arctic ice has precious little to do with greenhouse gases but is a cyclical phenomena related to multidecadal cycles in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Atlantic appears to be the most important. The Atlantic has been in its warm mode since 1995 with a peak around 2004 and 2005. Warm water from the Atlantic makes its way into the arctic through the Barents Sea and the Pacific through the Bering Strait.

    Last year before the alarmists took control, the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) summarized the role of the ocean cycles very well in October 2007 in this way:

    “One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth. Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine�Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss. Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”

    Note Rutger’s Jennifer Frances found a similar relationship between Pacific and Atlantic water temperatures. Ignore the comment in the ‘abstract’ that the ocean changes are ‘consistent’ with greenhouse warming as we have seen the ocean changes are cyclical and predictable and quite natural. Dr. Willie Soon also found a strong correlation with solar irradiance which may ultimately drive these ocean cycles of warming and cooling.

    With a cooling of the Pacific and a less warm North Atlantic and a long, deep solar minimum, the ice should continue to rebound in the next few years. Read more on the arctic and Greenland here.
    http://www.icecap.us/

  3. What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? And Just How Sensitive is the Climate Anyway?
    A final dispatch from the International Climate Change Conference

    In the context of man-made global warming, climate sensitivity asks how much temperatures increase if one adds a specified amount of a greenhouse gas. In general, most climatologists accept the proposition, all things being equal, that if one doubles carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the average temperature will go up by +1 degree centigrade. But all things are not equal. In climate models, additional heat from carbon dioxide boosts atmospheric water vapor which in turn acts as a greenhouse gas. All models are dominated by this positive feedback loop. As a consequence, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated in its Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) last year that it “is likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C.” In other words, doubling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to warm the planet by between 2 degrees and 4.5 degrees centigrade.

    So how do we find out how sensitive climate is to CO2? During his luncheon keynote, University of Alabama climatologist Roy Spencer described how two of his new studies are attempting to answer that question. In 2001, Massachusetts Institute of Technology climatologist Richard Lindzen hypothesized that there might be what he called an “adaptive infrared iris” over the tropics through which tropical storms dissipate excess heat. But other researchers looked and found no strong evidence for such a mechanism.

    Now Spencer and his colleagues using satellite data noticed big temperature fluctuations in the tropics in which strong warming was followed by rapid cooling. So Spencer looked at 15 strong intraseasonal oscillations in the tropics to see how clouds evolve. What was known is that tropical storms produce high cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds are global warming culprits that retain heat and warm the planet. In the climate models, cirrus clouds tend to remain aloft for a long time. However, Spencer’s satellite observations found that they in fact dissipate rapidly, allowing heat to escape back into space and thus cooling the planet.

    “To give an idea of how strong this enhanced cooling mechanism is, if it was operating on global warming, it would reduce estimates of future warming by over 75 percent,” Spencer noted when the study was published in Geophysical Research Letters. “The big question that no one can answer right now is whether this enhanced cooling mechanism applies to global warming.” Clouds constitute the biggest uncertainty in climate models and Spencer is hoping the modelers will include this effect in future runs to see how it would affect climate projections.

    Next, Spencer discussed new research (accepted but not yet published) that he said strongly suggests that climate sensitivity is much lower than the climate models find. As I understood Spencer (and I could be garbling this), in the climate models a feedback is by definition a result of surface temperature change.

    As Spencer explained his preliminary thinking at the website Climate Science, “For instance, low cloud cover decreasing with surface warming would be a positive feedback on the temperature change by letting more shortwave solar radiation in. But what never seems to be addressed is the question: What caused the temperature change in the first place? How do we know that the low cloud cover decreased as a response to the surface warming, rather than the other way around?”

    In fact, using satellite data combined with a small model, Spencer finds that changes in cloudiness appear to drive changes in temperature. If this is so, Spencer suggests, this means that models have fundamentally mixed up cause and effect. He reported that his study had been peer-reviewed by the two of the climatologists on whose work the IPCC relied for estimating climate sensitivity. “Both came back and said ‘you’re right,'” claimed Spencer.

    If Spencer’s results are confirmed—and this is a huge if—it would mean that the climate is far less sensitive to perturbation by carbon dioxide than the models suggest. Spencer says that if he is right about climate sensitivity that would imply that the average temperature of the planet might rise by +0.5 degrees centigrade by the end of this century due to the effects of rising carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. (I will report more fully on Spencer’s claims once the study is published and the climatological community has gotten a chance to respond to it).

    But let’s go back to politics. The final morning of the conference began with a rousing speech by Vaclav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic. He made it clear that to call him a global warming skeptic would be a bit of an understatement. A point Klaus makes crystal clear in his just published book, Blue Planet in Green Chains – What is Endangered: Climate or Freedom? “My answer is clear and resolute: ‘it is our freedom.’ I may also add ‘and our prosperity,'” declared Klaus.

    Klaus noted that ideological environmentalism appeals to the same sort of people who have always been attracted to collectivist ideas. He warned that environmentalism at its worst is just the latest dogma to claim that a looming “crisis” requires people to sacrifice their prosperity and their freedoms for the greater good. Let me quote Klaus at length.

    “Future dangers will not come from the same source. The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical—the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of its proponents about their right to sacrifice man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality,” warned Klaus. “What I have in mind [is], of course, environmentalism and its currently strongest version, climate alarmism.”

    Klaus added, “What I see in Europe (and in the U.S. and other countries as well) is a powerful combination of irresponsibility, of wishful thinking, of implicit believing in some form of Malthusianism, of cynical approach of those who themselves are sufficiently well-off, together with the strong belief in the possibility of changing the economic nature of things through a radical political project.”

    But assume that man-made global warming is a genuine crisis. That it is a real gigantic open access commons problem. Wouldn’t that require some kind of governmental action to coordinate a solution to the problem? I have recently come out in favor of using a carbon tax as a way to spur the technological innovation toward a low-carbon energy economy (and incidentally as a way to also reduce taxes on labor and capital). This was not a popular position at the conference. Why not?

    While many environmentalists focus on mitigation (cutting greenhouse gas emissions), many of the economists who spoke at the conference argued that adaptation through wealth creation is the better strategy. Policies aimed at reducing energy consumption to mitigate man-made global warming would likely result in a poorer, less technologically adept future in which future generations would be less able to address the problems caused by climate change. This is clearly true and as a reluctant proponent of a carbon tax, I am painfully aware of this trade-off.

    As John Locke Foundation economist Roy Cordato explained: “A higher tax today means lower production and output of goods and services tomorrow, making future generations materially worse off. In setting a carbon tax you must show that future generations would value the problems solved by reduced global warming more than they would value the goods and services that were foregone.” He argued it’s not possible to know the preferences of future generations, but providing them with more wealth and better technologies will give them more options to express whatever preferences they have.

    One final note, geophysicist Russell Seitz gave an interesting talk about the future of “fossil hydrogen.” Fossil hydrogen? Yes indeed. Seitz pointed out that coal varies considerably in the amount of hydrogen it contains. Some varieties of bituminous coal are 65 percent carbon and some are 46 percent carbon. Seitz suggested that in an ideal case utilities could cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by switching to high hydrogen coal.
    http://www.reason.com/news/show/125323.html

  4. Judy, last week you commented on the Carboholic with information that was relevant to the topics I was discussing, although you were remarkably reluctant to provide data to support your argument. This week you provided data to support your position – too bad that you’re arguing a position that wasn’t mentioned at all in the post you’re commenting on.

    In fact, the only way you could possibly think that a discussion of arctic ice extents was applicable to today’s Carboholic was if you were doing a keyword search on terms like “global warming,” “climate change,” and “arctic”. I do use those terms here, but the only mention of the arctic is in this sentence:

    The conclusion of Colwell’s 15 years of research, as reported by the Advance, is this: the tropics aren’t immune to the effects of global heating any more than the world’s temperate zones or arctic regions are.

    So, Judy, who pays you to deny the existence of global heating? Icecap?

    Now I’ve got smashing your credibility out of the way, let’s try addressing those points you raised.

    First off, the data at Wattsupwiththat is accurate, if misleading. The better way to look at the data is to look at percentage change from the 2008 minimum to today (or yesterday) as compared to the 2007 minimum to 10/14/2007. The difference is still impressive: 45.3% this year compared to 28.6% last year, but it’s less impressive when you look at the rest of the data:

    2002: 39.2%
    2003: 23.3%
    2004: 32.0%
    2005: 28.8%
    2006: 25.8%
    2007: 28.6%
    2008: 45.3%

    That’s a mean of 31.9% and a standard deviation of 7.8%. 45.3% is still impressive – it’s outside of 1 standard deviation, but within 2. But then again, 2003 was outside 1 standard deviation too, and 7 data points isn’t really enough to build a good statistical sample with any significant confidence of accuracy.

    I may come back to your second link, but lack the time to research it at the moment. I’m curious who “peer reviewed” that book you’re talking about, though – usually “peer reviewed” books are bogus, although whether that’s the case here I couldn’t say at this point.

  5. I missed a couple of things:

    The rest of what you quoted from Icecap in your first comment really boils down to the following, quoted from your post:

    Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.

    Changes in ice extent may be driven by ENSO, but you, and that Icecap quote, have hardly proven so. Provide data, Judy, and we’ll talk about this again – preferably on a post where I’m actually talking about the Arctic in some way.

    As for the Reason quote you provided in comment #2, it really comes down to the following:

    If Spencer’s results are confirmed—and this is a huge if—it would mean that the climate is far less sensitive to perturbation by carbon dioxide than the models suggest. Spencer says that if he is right about climate sensitivity that would imply that the average temperature of the planet might rise by +0.5 degrees centigrade by the end of this century due to the effects of rising carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.

    If you’d bothered to read back issues of the Carboholic, you’d find that I’ve acknowledged that the sensitivity of the water cycle to CO2 variation is one of the major issues with climate modeling. But you’ll also find that there’s a great deal of research going on in this area (aerosols leading to more or less cloud cover, for example – in item 6) that will lead to a significant advances in the next months and years.

  6. I think it behoves the Climate Cult to prove their hypothesis, not the other way around,.

    Scientists Challenge UK Govt Climate Committee to ‘Drop flawed science and the Climate Change millstone – Save the economy’. CO2 is the Gas Of Life (‘GOL’), it is not a problem

    Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction long range forecasters.

    The recommendation that the UK cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent* is “total madness based on false science” said Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction long range forecasters.

    “There is no evidence that Carbon dioxide has ever controlled, is controlling or will ever control world temperatures or climate and I challenge the promoters of this nonsense to produce evidence to justify their policies – or drop them, just as 13 world scientists** have similarly challenged the UN.

    “Climate Change policy is a millstone around the UK and world economies. The beneficiaries are oil companies who ram up prices with abandon (taking advantage of limits placed on expansion of coal), bio-fuel producers who are increasing food prices and starvation, and the booming industry of climate change parasites such as carbon traders and nuclear power-mongers.

    “Taxpayers and the developing world are the losers. There is a world recession now upon us which is being made deeper by Climate Change policies and the perpetrators must be called to account. Banks and industry are going bust yet the green fundamentalists want to impose more of this madness on the world. They actually want to increase their burden on the UK economy and deepen the world recession**.

    “Genuine green policies to defend bio-diversity and reduce waste should be supported but the deceitful manipulation of the goodwill of many people in order to promote policies of mass taxation, expensive and dangerous energy like nuclear power and cuts in world living standards must be stopped. The UK and the world now need cheap energy solutions like coal to diesel technology which can be made smoke free. The danger for honest green campaigners – unless they break from the stranglehold of the Climate Change lobby – is that when the Global Warming swindle is exposed their spirited defence of nature will be forgotten too.

    “CO2 is no problem – it is the Gas of Life (GOL). The problem is Climate Change Policy – not Climate Change which is beyond man’s control. Global warming is over. World temperatures have fallen from their peak ten years ago while GOL (CO2) has been rising rapidly. The world was much warmer than now in the Bronze age 4,000 years ago and there was much less GOL (CO2) then. The bounteousness of world vegetation goes up with GOL. We need more GOL not less!

    “13 world scientists wrote** to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in July asking for evidence to justify UN Climate Change policy and calling for the UN’s climate committee (IPCC) to be made accountable. Tim Yeo MP** (chair of the Parliament Environment Audit Committee) was also written to in July. Neither have acknowledged or replied. The reason is they have nothing to say. I urge members of the public to send the scientists’ letter to the UN** to their MP and ask their MPs to make the UN and Tim Yeo+ ‘Put Up or Shut Up’. Gordon Brown** was also written to and his office promised to reply”.http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=1956

  7. Let’s see here, Judy. Um, they have. Repeatedly. And cutting/pasting press releases with easily disproven statements from climate deniers isn’t doing your position any good.

    “There is no evidence that Carbon dioxide has ever controlled, is controlling or will ever control world temperatures or climate…”

    False. Check out this discussion of this issue, – which I referred you to last week too – for starters. I’ve also talked about this in my debunking of David Evan’s supposed facts in am op-ed in The Australian newspaper. There’s a growing body of data that points to the Permian-Triassic mass extinction having been caused by carbon dioxide-driven global heating, possibly in concert with the mass release of methane from hydrates. Dragging in climate modeling (since models do help prove the connection), a study out of the University of Utah compared the results of models with direct analyses of actual climate data and found that there was almost no difference between the two using a number of independent and robust statistical techniques.

    …Climate Change which is beyond man’s control.

    Climate change is not beyond our control in any way – desertification is climate change, and people cause it in certain parts of the world. Deforestation produces climate change – precipitation in the Amazon basin is falling (excuse the pun) due to deforestation. And those are just the first two examples that came immediately to mind.

    World temperatures have fallen from their peak ten years ago while GOL (CO2) has been rising rapidly.

    Again, as I pointed out last week (and you never addressed, interestingly enough), a 10 year linear trendline is pretty much meaningless, statistically speaking. Getting the error down to something that’s realistic and reasonable takes a lot more than just 10 years of data.

    The world was much warmer than now in the Bronze age 4,000 years ago and there was much less GOL (CO2) then. The bounteousness of world vegetation goes up with GOL. We need more GOL not less!

    Again, I addressed both of these points last week too. If you’re unwilling to read what I say, to educate yourself, then there’s really nothing I can do for you except minimize the damage you do to people who actually care about the science.

    There are global heating skeptics and deniers, Judy. The former use science and data and research to find holes in the arguments and hypotheses underlying global heating. Anthony Watts is a skeptic, and his work pointing out problems with weather and climate monitoring stations will ultimately end up producing better science. I think that he and/or some of the people he chooses to associate with on his website misuse or misunderstand the data they’re looking at, but because he’s working to improve the science – wherever it may lead, even though he’s convinced he knows where that is – he’s worthy of respect.

    Deniers, on the other hand, come in two varieties – those who refuse to allow themselves to be educated due to blind faith in an ideology, and those who know better and seek to blind others in a cynical attempt at control for economic or ideological reasons. The first kind of denier deserves patience, since there’s always a chance that they’ll open their eyes eventually. The second kind deserves scorn.

    Since you categorically refuse to engage with data, you’re clearly not a skeptic. So which kind of denier are you, Judy?

  8. CO2 HAD LIMITED EFFECT ON RECENT TEMPERATURE DATA
    Science

    “The recent atmospheric global temperature anomalies of the Earth have been shown to consist of independent effects in different latitude bands. The tropical latitude band variations are strongly correlated with ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) effects. The maximum seen in 1998 is due to El Nino of that year. The effects in the northern extratropics are not consistent with CO2 forcing alone.” New paper by David Douglas and John Christy rebuts IPCC conclusions about CO2 and climate.
    http://www.climatescience.org.nz/images/PDFs/0809.0581.pdf

  9. First off, I don’t know a serious climate scientist who would disagree with the key statement above: “The effects in the northern extratropics are not consistent with CO2 forcing alone.” Most would go even farther and say that the effects globally are not consistent with CO2 forcing alone, but neither are they consistent with natural forcings alone.

    Second, both the paper and the IPCC (2001) found a CO2-forced increase in tropical temperatures of about +0.07 degrees C per decade, so CO2 is having an impact. The question is how much.

    Third, just because the CO2 forcing is theoretically equal throughout the atmosphere doesn’t mean that humanity isn’t screwing around with the climate in other ways too. In fact, the paper makes this point to explain how the variability in the northern hemisphere (outside the tropics) can’t be just CO2:

    [N]on-CO2 effects include: land use [Peilke et al. 2007]; industrialization [McKitrick and Michaels (2007), Kalnay and Cai (2003), DeLaat and Maurellis (2006)]; high natural variability, and daily nocturnal effects [Walters et al. (2007)].

    And all of that doesn’t add up to global heating how, exactly? Land use changes messes with carbon emissions of various forms of carbon, and the Vulcan Project out of Purdue University has found that local CO2 concentrations can be significantly higher than global averages measured at Mauna Kea. It’s not at all unlikely, logically if not proven with data, that having higher concentrations of CO2 (and aerosols, which have been shown to boost local heating) boosts local temperatures. It’d be interesting to read data on whether this is true or not, and I suspect someone is doing the research already.

    And finally, here’s a new paper that directly opposes the Douglass/Christy paper you linked: Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in
    the tropical troposphere
    . Key passages include:

    One recurring criticism of such findings is that the climate models employed in fingerprint studies are in fundamental disagreement with observations of tropospheric temperature change (Douglass et al., 2004, 2007)….

    [T]he first report of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) noted that progress had been made in identifying and correcting for errors in satellite and radiosonde data. At the global scale, newer upperair datasets showed ‘no significant discrepancy’ between surface and tropospheric warming, consistent with model results (Karl et al., 2006, p. 3).

  10. Ok, Judy, we understand that you’re against suggesting that humans are responsible, etc, etc, etc.

    So what do you propose that we do: nothing? I hear you talking, but i have no idea what it is that you’re trying to say…or if you’re actually trying to say anything at all. Sometimes it seems that you may simply enjoy the sound of your own voice.

    Aside from heckling Brian, do you have a purpose behind these posts? Any insight on the pine beetle? Have you ever thought of starting your own blog?

    And, Brian, thanks for the succinct differentiation between skeptics and deniers. May i add that the former are apt to present thought provoking questions while the latter are likely to copy and paste.

  11. There is no reason for me to reinvent the wheel, when so many others say it so much better,

    “An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, “Man-made global warming is junk science,” explaining that worldwide manmAn analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, “Man-made global warming is junk science,” explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year “equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration … This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun’s radiation. This is an insignificantly small number.” ade CO2 emission each year “equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration … This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun’s radiation. This is an insignificantly small number.” http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/10/20/lorne-gunter-thirty-years-of-warmer-temperatures-go-poof.aspx

    Of course, I don’t suppose the significance of that will penetrate the Carbon Cult mentality.

  12. I don’t know what happened to the post, so I will try again this time posting the whole thing

    Thirty years of warmer temperatures go poof
    Lorne Gunter, Ful Comment

    In early September, I began noticing a string of news stories about scientists rejecting the orthodoxy on global warming. Actually, it was more like a string of guest columns and long letters to the editor since it is hard for skeptical scientists to get published in the cabal of climate journals now controlled by the Great Sanhedrin of the environmental movement.

    Still, the number of climate change skeptics is growing rapidly. Because a funny thing is happening to global temperatures — they’re going down, not up.

    On the same day (Sept. 5) that areas of southern Brazil were recording one of their latest winter snowfalls ever and entering what turned out to be their coldest September in a century, Brazilian meteorologist Eugenio Hackbart explained that extreme cold or snowfall events in his country have always been tied to “a negative PDO” or Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Positive PDOs — El Ninos — produce above-average temperatures in South America while negative ones — La Ninas — produce below average ones.

    Dr. Hackbart also pointed out that periods of solar inactivity known as “solar minimums” magnify cold spells on his continent. So, given that August was the first month since 1913 in which no sunspot activity was recorded — none — and during which solar winds were at a 50-year low, he was not surprised that Brazilians were suffering (for them) a brutal cold snap. “This is no coincidence,” he said as he scoffed at the notion that manmade carbon emissions had more impact than the sun and oceans on global climate.

    Also in September, American Craig Loehle, a scientist who conducts computer modelling on global climate change, confirmed his earlier findings that the so-called Medieval Warm Period (MWP) of about 1,000 years ago did in fact exist and was even warmer than 20th-century temperatures.

    Prior to the past decade of climate hysteria and Kyoto hype, the MWP was a given in the scientific community. Several hundred studies of tree rings, lake and ocean floor sediment, ice cores and early written records of weather — even harvest totals and censuses –confirmed that the period from 800 AD to 1300 AD was unusually warm, particularly in Northern Europe.

    But in order to prove the climate scaremongers’ claim that 20th-century warming had been dangerous and unprecedented — a result of human, not natural factors — the MWP had to be made to disappear. So studies such as Michael Mann’s “hockey stick,” in which there is no MWP and global temperatures rise gradually until they jump up in the industrial age, have been adopted by the UN as proof that recent climate change necessitates a reordering of human economies and societies.

    Dr. Loehle’s work helps end this deception.

    Don Easterbrook, a geologist at Western Washington University, says, “It’s practically a slam dunk that we are in for about 30 years of global cooling,” as the sun enters a particularly inactive phase. His examination of warming and cooling trends over the past four centuries shows an “almost exact correlation” between climate fluctuations and solar energy received on Earth, while showing almost “no correlation at all with CO2.”

    An analytical chemist who works in spectroscopy and atmospheric sensing, Michael J. Myers of Hilton Head, S. C., declared, “Man-made global warming is junk science,” explaining that worldwide manmade CO2 emission each year “equals about 0.0168% of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration … This results in a 0.00064% increase in the absorption of the sun’s radiation. This is an insignificantly small number.”

    Other international scientists have called the manmade warming theory a “hoax,” a “fraud” and simply “not credible.”

    While not stooping to such name-calling, weather-satellite scientists David Douglass of the University of Rochester and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville nonetheless dealt the True Believers a devastating blow last month.

    For nearly 30 years, Professor Christy has been in charge of NASA’s eight weather satellites that take more than 300,000 temperature readings daily around the globe. In a paper co-written with Dr. Douglass, he concludes that while manmade emissions may be having a slight impact, “variations in global temperatures since 1978 … cannot be attributed to carbon dioxide.”

    Moreover, while the chart below was not produced by Douglass and Christy, it was produced using their data and it clearly shows that in the past four years — the period corresponding to reduced solar activity — all of the rise in global temperatures since 1979 has disappeared.

    It may be that more global warming doubters are surfacing because there just isn’t any global warming.”

    http://www.nationalpost.com/893554.bin

  13. My insight into the pine beetle situation is that it is lack of good freezing weather and cutbacks to the Forestry Service in British Columbia…where I live…that allowed the situation to get out of hand .

    Forestry asked for a budget increase of $30 million to combat the beetle by selective cutting and burning. Instead their budget was cut by $50 million. It was thought that the govenment of the day (and still) favored mining interests which would be happy if those pesky trees and tree huggers would disappear.

  14. First, you’re atmospheric chemist is wrong. The Mauna Loa Observatory’s CO2 tracking trend shows that the increase in CO2 in 2008 was 2.2 ppm, from about 381 ppm to 383 ppm atmospheric concentration. That’s an increase of 0.58%, or 34.5x the chemist’s bogus number.

    Second, I covered the details of the Douglass/Christy paper already, so no need to go back into those.

    Third, Dr. Lohle’s work is contested by climate scientists who aren’t convinced that he’s dating correctly, validating his models correctly, or using his non-tree ring proxies correctly. Considering those three things run to the heart of his analysis, it’s fair to say that the jury’s still out on that one. Scientists agree that there was a warm period in Europe, but given the lack of good proxy data from the rest of the world, there’s as yet no consensus that the so-called Medieval Warm Period actually existed outside of the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps not even outside eastern North America and Europe.

    Finally, if we apply some math to the chemist’s false claims, we see that he’s claiming that solar absorption by CO2, as a percentage, is about 1/26th of the percentage increase in CO2. Corrected for the actual CO2 increase (0.58%, not .0168% as claimed), that’s an increase in solar absorption of .022%. Solar variability due to the solar cycle is about +/- 0.5 W/m^2 around an average of about 1366 W/m^2. That’s a total variability of .0366%. In other words, if we assume that the chemist is right about his 1/26th adjustment (and that’s not a good assumption), then increasing CO2 concentrations are about 40% of the total increase (.022% of .058% total), solar plus CO2. Not the “insignificant” amount that your latest article suggests. And again, that’s assuming the chemist is correct – a great deal of other science says he’s wrong.

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