Sunday, December 21, 2014

What We Have Here Is a Failure To Communicate

So Willard Tony still thinks it's a cool idea to give Tim Ball the keys, and Tim, well Tim has some limits.  The latest is that the first results are in from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, OCO-2 the first having crashed and burnt on launch. 

This would be no surprise to anyone who has been following the literature or the results from the orbiting SCIAMACHY instrument, but, to do the Sou thing,Tim Ball is dancing in the street
Preliminary evidence essentially exonerates humans as the source of CO2. That is a narrative unacceptable to the IPCC and all their media supporters. As a result the BBC, whose lack of journalistic integrity and political bias, was exposed in the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), are obliged to spin the evidence. One comment in the article says,

It is possible to see spikes, too, on the eastern seaboard of the US and over China. These probably include the additional emissions of CO2 that come from industrialisation. 
This misinformation is contradicted by the lower than average levels over the UK and Europe. Another comment on Figure 1 says, 
Also apparent are the higher concentrations over South America and southern Africa. These are likely the result of biomass burning in these regions. 
This misinformation is a contradiction because the area of southern Africa is mostly grasslands and desert. How does that generate “biomass burning”? Figure 2 shows a map of the climate zones of Africa, ironically, it appears in an article pleading for financial help to deal with climate change.

The claim that South American levels are due to forest burning is ridiculous. At any given time, only a small area of the forest is being burned. It was higher in the past because countries like Brazil were encouraged to provide tax incentives to farmers to clear land, with help from the World Bank. The idea was that a country must have a solid agricultural base for a viable economy. The practice was stopped when the environmental finger of rainforest destruction was pointed.
So thence commences the waving of hands for which Tim and Willard Tony are famous, but, dear reader, Eli has a question.

Biomass burning tends to be associated with fires and one of the things that satellites can do is look down and map fires, so what does a map of fires between October 12 and 26 (roughly the same as the first OCO results show?  Not too hard to find.  NASA has a real time web applet to map the fire data from Terra and Aqua and what do you know, Tim has balled it all up again

 Of course, if like the SCIAMACHY team, you monitor for a decade or so (2002-2012) why yes, Virginia, you can see the anthropogenic CO2

Eli knows, all that anthropogenic CO2 is from the beer brewers in Belgium

Saturday, December 20, 2014

In the Free Market Everything Has a Price

Some are just cheaper than others.

Eli has shown before that tobacco is really the original sin, responsible for much seemingly unrelated evil in the world, created in an effort to distract others from the problems associated with smoking.

Jules' Klimaatblog has dredged another piece of reality out of the tobacco archive which he modestly calls (Ab)using Libertarians as Useful Idiots.  Eli holds there is useful debate about one of the last two words. The memo is from the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco aka FOREST, an astroturf group, still going today, set up in 1978 by the tobacco lobby to oppose tobacco regulation.  The memo is from 1996, when tobacco regulations started to bite.  They saw trouble on the horizon from the younger generation who were growing up knowing that smoking was dangerous, but

The world still abounds with reactionaries, and in many ways, the 'fogey' strand of public opinion is probably destined to become even more prominent in the next few years, as the baby boom becomes irretrievably middle aged and gives up trying to pretend oterhwise.  The spinsterish attck on smoking and the 'wicked uncle' defenders of it (and of sedentary self indulgence generall) are both likely to gain in prominence and to quarrel with one another ever more publically.  Already the health and fitness craze has abated considerably
But there was hope
However we do not believe that the industry should despair, that the struggle for the right to smoke is destined for eventual defeat.  There is one major opportunity that FOREST has neglected in recent years, and this is the intellectual (as opposed to fogey/reationary) defense of individual liberty that has been dragged into public prominence on the coat tails of the classicla liberal or libertarian critique of the welfare state.  However in the last few years the obvious commonality of interest between FOREST and the youth wing of the libertarian/classical liberal revival has not resulted in an great active cooperation in this area
A situation they sent out to change by coopting the young libertarian wing of the Conservative Party in the UK.  Why, because politics was their only way out
What other argument is there?  Although we can and do vigorously refute the passive smoking hysteria, the primary health argument has been lost.  There is no way any feasible public case can be argued in medical terms.  While there are clearly perceivable psychological benefits from smoking, the evidence of risk to personal health is difficult to challenge.  Further, since the general population recognize these dangers our argument that smokers do exercise and "informed choice" is much stronger.
Moreover the freedom case also proactively strengthens us if the worst should happen:  if it were conclusively, scientifically demonstrated that passive smoking constituted a major health threat in normal social circumstances.  The libertarian case already argues, to use the jargon of the economists, that "externalities" are best "internalized" by the voluntary means of property rights.  In other words it would be up to individual property owners to establish smoking rules on their own property, not for the state to set down an absolute law applicable to all places.
 Permayhap bunnies recognize the similarity to how libertarians have been coopted by fossil fuel interests.  Perhaps they might recognize the same on two recent discussion threads, one at ATTP, and the other at the Good Bishops.  Perhaps.

The Shy Pacific

James Acker, a friend from USENET days writes from the Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center about some recent results

The Pacific Ocean has been remarkably shy about its intentions this year, as many of the watched indicators have for months hovered close to (but not over) the edge of definitive El Niño conditions. Despite this uncertainty, the generally warmer-than-average waters of the Pacific have contributed to record high global surface temperatures in several recent months.  These warm waters are a significant factor if 2014 ultimately becomes the warmest calendar year ever recorded (instrumentally).
While, for the most part,  El Niño or not El Niño conditions are monitored by following physical conditions, such as sea surface temperature and height differences between the western (near Asia) and eastern Pacific (near South America).  In general sea surface temperature will rise in the central and eastern Pacific during an El Niño.

There is also an noticeable biological change associated with El Nino, a change in the color of the surface due to decreased biological activity as upwelling is limited, and fewer nutrients are found at the surface.  This reduces the amount of chlorophyll.  The associated color change can be observed from space and tells a strange tale.  There has definitely been strong surface warming extending from the western to central (Niño 4) Pacific and from there to the eastern Pacific (Niño 3 and 3,4) but the region closest to the South American coast near Peru and Ecuador has not warmed at all (Nino 1,2) which is fine for those who fish in those waters and depend on the upwelling nutrients to feed the fish they seek to catch.

Niño 3

Nino 1,2

This looks much more like what has come to be called a warm pool, central Pacific or Modoki El Niño, perhaps extending a bit more towards South America than usual (or a bit less as compared to the El Niño that your grandmother knew).  In an El Niño Modoki, the west coast of the US is hotter and drier than normal, exactly the opposite from the traditional El Niño.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hot Times

NOAA, in their conference call to discuss weather in November, put down a pretty strong marker that 2014 is going to be the hottest year on record.   It's actually a proposition, and Eli is not one to want an ear full of cider, so the Bunny recommends going out there and putting a few cans of shinola on it with your friendly local climate change deniers, whom, as every lagomorph knows can't tell shit from shinola.

Anyhow, Jake Crouch from NOAA points out that right now we are at the 6th warmest land temperature anomaly of 1.71 oF (don't you just hate, hate customary units, but it is the US) for Jan - November and the record warmest ocean temperature anomaly of 1.03 oF.  This, since the oceans are about 2/3 of the surface, makes for the warmest Jan-Nov period with an anomaly of 1.22 oF.

About the only places that are cool are eastern North America and the tip of South America.

Based on the NOAA record, for 2014 NOT to be the warmest ever, December would have to be the 21st coolest December on file.

However, since the oceans have a ginourmous thermal inertia, and it is the warmth in the oceans that is driving the record temperatures, that is, not very likely, as in bet that it won't happen.

Another part of the briefing dealt with the issue of whether an El Nino is developing in the Pacific, and the answer was, who knows, driven mostly by the observation that the whole damn tropical Pacific is hot, there is no gradient between the western and eastern parts to drive the trade winds.  This may indeed be a Strange New Climate with the heat from the oceans just rising to the surface, not your fathers kid.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Purposeful Avoidance of the Truth Is Sufficient to Establish Actual Malice

So Eli hied hisself down the DC Court of Appeals and picked up a copy of the oral argument in CEI and National Review vs. Michael Mann.  Having a new toy, the Bunny is now pleased to present a piece from Michael Mann's attorney, John Williams, somewhat in response to what was written at National Review on line by Charles Cooke

Judge Easterly, meanwhile, wanted to know how the plaintiffs could demonstrate “actual malice” if the defendants “genuinely” believe that “[man-made] climate change is a hoax.” “We don’t have to get to the question of whether climate change is real to look at the accusations,” Williams shot back. This did not seem to convince. “You need clear and convincing evidence for malice,” Easterly said. Simply stating that your critics disagree with you is insufficient. 
This description has caused great rejoicing amongst the Steyn Simberg crowd, but maybe no


As to what Eli thinks is going to happen, well, as National Law Journal points out, the court has to figure out if they are going to allow immediate appeals of SLAPP suit rulings, 
In May, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that an anonymous Wikipedia editor could appeal a judge's order denying a special motion to quash a subpoena for his identity. In that case, local attorney Susan Burke sued the editor over information posted on her Wikipedia page that she argued was defamatory. Judge Catharine Easterly (at left), one of the judges hearing Mann's case, wrote the opinion.

Lawyers for the defendants sued by Mann pointed to Burke's case in arguing that the court should allow immediate appeals for denials of special motions to dismiss. The D.C. government has supported that interpretation of the law. 
As the federal and local courts sort out the practical realities of the anti-SLAPP statute, cases testing the law continue to trickle up. On the heels of the Mann case in the D.C. Court of Appeals is a defamation lawsuit filed by a local doctor against a former patient who wrote a negative review on Yelp. A judge partially granted a motion to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP law. The case is being briefed.
So probably yes, immediate appeals will be allowed, but to avoid being snowed under, they are going to have to define the grounds for dismissing under the SLAPP law in detail.  Given that, the court will, IEHO and EINAL, either affirm the ruling of the court below, or set out clear rules and toss it back.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

We Have Not Inherited the Earth From Our Ancestors, We Are Stealing It From Our Children

Kate Sheppard writes at the Huff Post about the destruction of Shishmaref

Eight years ago the bunnies  read about how this Alaskan village on the shores of the Chukchi Sea is being devoured by climate change.  Indeed, in 2007 the AAAS even made a video about how it was the canary in the coal mine, a precursor to the fate of nations and this was featured at their annual meeting

As early as 2002, it was clear that the village was doomed and plans were drawn up to move to the mainland, but alas, the plans required money, and as Kate Sheppard writes, they required a site that was also not subject to climate change
Within a couple of years, however, the plan to move to Tin Creek fell apart. Subsequent feasibility studies revealed problems with the site. It too sits on permafrost -- which, in a melting Arctic, likely means that its days as a suitable location are also numbered. The town had to select a different location.
and the plan also required a couple of hundred million dollars, for a small village, with a small population, in the middle of nowhere.

So, Eli has a question.  How can our civilization adapt to climate change if we cannot even save a small village?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Shoving the Overton Window Towards Reality

Aaron Sorkin, creator and maybe most everything else of the HBO series Newsroom has groked Richard Alley, who of very anodyne hearings on climate change said:

This is certainly not both sides. If you want both sides, we would have to have somebody in here screaming a conniption fit on the red end, because you are hearing a very optimistic side
Sorkin has given use a useful reading of the red side, and yes the vision is deeply troubling. Improbable at this time, but not as improbable as the fantasies of climate change deniers.  Below  a small clip from the show


You can view the entire scene on YouTube

Randy Malamud at the Huff Post says we really are in the end times, Dave Roberts at Grist more or less concern trolls the show, and Eli, Eli is with Ugo Bardi, at Cassandra's Legacy who points out that
So, we have always been careful to follow the instructions: avoid scaring people, avoid looking like scaremongers, avoid even hinting that things may be worse, much worse than anyone could imagine. We have been careful to end all warnings with a list of solutions; saying that, sure, it looks bad, but the problem will go away if you just insulate your home, buy a smaller car, and turn off the lights when you leave a room. What we need is just a little bit of good will.

To no avail: the climate problem is still there, bigger and more fearsome everyday. Nothing changes, nothing moves, nothing. Nothing even remotely comparable to the scale of the threat. And, sometimes, you feel that you have had enough; you feel like screaming that this is NOT a problem you can solve with double-paned windows and smaller cars; it is NOT a problem for the next century; it is NOT a problem for another generation, It is here, it is now, it is big, it is damn big, and it is out of control. You feel like screaming that aloud.
Now the busy bunnies on the denial of climate change side, somehow, Eli notices, they never shrink from telling everybunny near and far that if we do something effective about climate change, well the world will collapse, the economy will die, the commies will take over and everyone will be screwed.

There is a certain asymmetry about this, and it is high time to make it clear that climate change ain't beanbag.

As Rick Perlstein has pointed out the long con is based on a theology of fear or better put, on arousal of fear in the audience, and based on recent voting, a successful one, Anybunny on the mailing list of the National Review, Mark Steyn, or any "conservative" think tank gets their fund raising emails each morning, designed to get the blood rising and the money flowing.

So tell again, why Sorkin's shot is futile?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Plenty of Trend at the Bottom

With all the talk about the pause, the plateau, new record surface temperatures and more, Eli was looking at something from his friend Rob Honeycutt which explained the world according to Judith Curry

when the Bunny noticed an interesting thing

Lots of trend at the bottom, and maybe even something to think about.