Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Pick Points

On Saturday evenings I like to take a stroll around some of the Climate sites to see what is new and interesting in the discussion over the past week. Climate Audit is unfortunately down at the moment, so we'll have to give it a pass. At Real Climate there have only been a couple of posts this week.

The first was on the fires in Australia and the premise that global warming is intensifying tragedies of this type. After initially taking a stance that AGW didn’t cause the fires, the article then quotes an article from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued this month, that points to the number of record temperatures recorded in the continent. It also indicates that the low humidity is expected due to AGW, and droughts are likely to be a result of AGW. The more recent post deals with tree growths and deaths in the Pacific Northwest and California and ties, through global climate models (GCMs) which not unsurprisingly find that the models, as built, cannot account for the change in conditions wholly from natural change, and that therefore it has to be due to human forcings. The item that they key on is the Snow Water Equivalent number which relates to water year precipitation and they find that April snow is a key variable. Given that California already has a big water problem this year, I suspect this may be only the first of many articles.

And so on to Anthony Watt’s pages where equipment failure reports continue, with there currently being a problem with the estimates for the Ice Melt in the Arctic. One of the satellite sensors has apparently failed. This problem first cropped up last week, and which has led to a discussion on the reliability of the data at The Cryosphere Today site (CT), someone even picking up on the George Will debate
In an opinion piece by George Will published on February 15, 2009 in the Washington Post, George Will states “According to the University of Illinois’ Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.”

We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.

It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts. ”
Thing is, the article was written January 1st, not Feb 15th, and Mr Will was comparing the END OF 2008 with the END OF 1979. Not Feb 15th of each year (which was still a month and a half away from happening when he wrote it).
Why did Cryophere Today blatantly misrepresent what the author was writing about?

In other posts from the past week, there is another weather station improperly located (I need to send our data in), a little more controversy over an elementary school text and the one that caught me for an hour this afternoon is a link to the debate between William Schlesinger and John Christy on Climate Change. If you have an hour its worth a listen. (Lots of scare from Schlesinger, lots of facts from Christy).

Over on Gristmill they are still upset with the Will column and obviously did not see, or agree with the quote I inserted above. There apparently has been a miniature firestorm about it on the internet and I missed it all. There is another post on mountaintop coal mining at Coal River and, just for the record, if the writer’s home is shaking as much as he implies, he should get records that will stand up in court. Because the rules on how much blasting is allowed, and the impact it can have on local residences are very well and pretty restrictively defined. (My colleague who is currently doing "The Detonators" can give you bible and verse on it). Similarly there are other regulations that, if properly enforced, should quiet a lot of the arguments in the piece – but when folk get emotional about their property it is difficult to make those arguments. I do wonder though what is to stop Coal River from putting in the wind farm after the mine is finished, Access will be a lot easier, and with a large flat area then the winds should work a lot better.

Oh, and this week they didn’t like hydrogen either, and one gets the idea that if you live where there is neither the option for wind or solar, then you had better move!

No comments:

Post a Comment