Posts Tagged 'global warming'

Climate Change and the Death of Science

Heretic

[Note: the following was written on October 31 and updated November 3, before the ‘Climategate’ CRU email scandal broke, and it is all the more pertinent in the light of those disclosures. The CRU emails show how science has been perverted into a political movement, and how scientists conspired to serve a ‘post-normal’ agenda where truth is trampled – exactly as the proponents of ‘post-normal’ science had anticipated. With the association between ‘post-normal’ science developed by Ravetz and its application in climate science by Hulme now widely exposed by this present post, Ravetz and Hulme jointly authored an article, published by the BBC on December 1, entitled ‘Show Your Working’: What ‘ClimateGate’ means in which they sought to promote post-normal science further by capitalizing on the public disgust at the corruption of ‘normal’ science. This is cynical because normal science was corrupted by covertly introducing post-normal activities in the first place.]

What has become of science? We thought that science was about the pursuit of truth. Then we became perplexed at how quickly scientists have prostituted themselves in the service of political agendas. We have seen the unedifying spectacle of scientists refusing to share their data, fiddling their results, and resorting to ad hominem attacks on those who have exposed their work to be fraudulent. We have seen the Royal Society becoming a shamelessly crude advocacy society. We have seen President Obama choosing notorious climate alarmists and liars to be his personal advisors. We have seen the peer review process and journal editors colluding to prevent publication of results that do not serve the politically-correct agenda, and scientists refusing to consider results that demolish their pet theories. What is going on here?

What is going on is that science is no longer what we thought it was. It is now a tool in the hands of socialists, and the smart money is flowing into the pockets of ‘scientists’ who will serve their agenda. Follow the money. Whilst traditional physics and chemistry departments are closing in British universities, and there is a shortage of science teachers, there is an abundance of cash being poured into departments that will serve socialist ends, and no shortage of acolytes desirous to use this as a route to power. Once there was modern science, which was hard work; now we have postmodern science, where the quest for real, absolute truth is outdated, and ‘science’ is a wax nose that can be twisted in any direction to underpin the latest lying narrative in the pursuit of power. Except they didn’t call it ‘postmodern’ science because then we might smell a rat. They called it PNS (post-normal science) and hoped we wouldn’t notice. It was thus named and explicated by Silvio O. Funtowicz and philosopher Jerome R. Ravetz, who in 1991 wrote the paper A New Scientific Methodology for Global Environmental Issues, followed in 1992 by The good, the true and the postmodern, and in 1993 by Science for the post-normal age, where they promoted the idea that

…a new type of science – ‘post-normal’ – is emerging…in contrast to traditional problem-solving strategies, including core science, applied science, and professional consultancy…Post-normal science can provide a path to the democratization of science, and also a response to the current tendencies to post-modernity.

The ‘response’ wasn’t to be a reaction against postmodernism, but an embracing of it, and going beyond it. And it has sinister ramifications.

We had already been warned about Ravetz in the 1987 work Changing Boundaries of the Political, which stated

From the perspective of Anglo-American liberalism it seems easy enough to…point out that the old predictions of the British Marxist J.D. Bernal about the triumph of basic research under socialism have proved hopelessly wrong, and that the demands of J.R. Ravetz of the University of Leeds that science be made instrumental and moral will destroy the enterprise whatever its short-term benefits.

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Arctic Sea Ice Scam

Ever been had? The Observer of July 26 under the engaging title Revealed: the secret evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide makes the following claims:

Photos from US spy satellites declassified by the Obama White House provide the first graphic images of how the polar ice sheets are retreating in the summer. The effects on the world’s weather, environments and wildlife could be devastating.

Graphic images that reveal the devastating impact of global warming in the Arctic have been released by the US military…The pictures, kept secret by Washington during the presidency of George W Bush, were declassified by the White House last week. President Barack Obama is currently trying to galvanise Congress and the American public to take action to halt catastrophic climate change caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

One particularly striking set of images – selected from the 1,000 photographs released – includes views of the Alaskan port of Barrow. One, taken in July 2006, shows sea ice still nestling close to the shore. A second image shows that by the following July the coastal waters were entirely ice-free.

Here are the images

barrow_640x480
We will show in this post that this is a hideous piece of lies and propaganda. It is very revealing since not only does it show the biased propagandizing of the Guardian/The Observer stable, but also demonstrates the crude and shameless progagandizing of the Obama Administration (which also confirms the case made in the post All who hate Me love Death that Obama was dissembling when he claimed that he wouldn’t interfere with science). We will show in this post, with additional evidence from the air and the ground, that the satellite pictures have been deliberately selectively cropped and chosen for maximum propaganda effect to mislead the public (and politicians, no doubt). It is akin to taking beach photographs of low tide one year and of high tide the following year, and putting them side by side in an argument about sea level rise. Put on the finishing touches about a Bush conspiracy and Obama’s openness and you are home and dry with something the Nazis would have been proud of.

Even the University of Alaska, Fairbanks felt compelled to comment:

Annual break-up of landfast sea ice off the coast of Barrow, Alaska received international media attention in July 2009 after the USGS made available high resolution-satellite imagery that show inter-annual variability in coastal ice conditions…However, unlike suggested by some, comparing summer ice conditions in July 2006 and July 2007 is not sufficient evidence to verify a trend.

In other words, all they show is that one year differs from another and no trend can be inferred. In the nicest possible way, this says that someone is up to no good here by distorting the science. Shame on the US Geological Survey for being prepared to become the mouthpiece of propaganda.

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Growth of Crops, Weeds, CO2 and Lies

The USA has its own Climate Change propaganda. The latest is Obama’s first big scientific report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, signed off by Obama’s appointed President’s Science Advisor, John Holdren, the neo-Malthusian who has espoused forcible sterilization and abortion for reducing the US population. As expected, it’s a classic but crude piece of propaganda peppered with images that are designed to scare, but which are unrelated to the matter under consideration – for example pictures of floods from Hurricane Katrina, which has nothing whatsoever to do with climate change, but which was merely the result of a hurricane making landfall directly on New Orleans. The Space and Science Research Center in Florida put out a press release on July 13 with a call for Holdren and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko to be removed from office because

These two individuals and other agency heads orchestrated and then signed off on the recently released government report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. This report was a piece of blatant, politically motivated bad science and pure propaganda…

And in a letter to Senator Boxer, the SSRC opine that it is

an international embarrassment of American scientific expertise and is so full of misleading data, false assumptions, and invalid conclusions that it simply cannot be relied upon as a policy making reference.

The report cites 569 references, but how many readers are going to go to the trouble of looking any of them up to discover that they don’t support the position of the text, or have been so selectively quoted that they are relied on to say the opposite to what was meant?

Unscientific

We can’t deal with the whole report, so we will mention one example from the chapter on agriculture (PDF here) as we have been considering the effects of elevated CO2 on plants. This example will demonstrate the lying propaganda, and the disregard and crafty twisting of the evidence; and this example is typical of the whole report, which is a compendium of lies.

The poster boy of the agricultural section of the report is the following image, which also appears on the associated website. The report text states

The most widely used herbicide in the United States, glyphosate (RoundUp®), loses its efficacy on weeds grown at carbon dioxide levels that are projected to occur in the coming decades (see photos below).
Higher concentrations of the chemical and more frequent spraying thus will be needed, increasing economic and environmental costs associated with chemical use.

HerbicideEffectiveness

What this is supposed to show is that as CO2 increases, the effectiveness of a common herbicide decreases. Notice anything strange? The experiment is completely unrepresentative of an agricultural situation since it is evident from the picture that there are no crops present. Well, who sows and grows fields of weeds, and who wastes time and money spraying weeds with herbicide where there are no crops growing? Who cares about weeds where crops aren’t grown? No-one.

Don’t be deceived. What the picture actually shows is that weeds, like all plants, thrive under elevated CO2, can better utilize available resources, and can overcome stresses better (in this case, the application of herbicide, which is an extreme stress). This is expected, and we pointed this out in previous posts (World Food Supplies and Carbon Emissions, and Photosynthesis and CO2 Enrichment). The picture says nothing whatsoever about what would happen to the weeds under herbicide stress when they have to compete for the same resources (water, nutrients, light, CO2 etc) as herbicide-resistant crops growing in the same patch. What we find in the real world (as we will demonstrate below) is that in a competitive environment (which is the only real-world agricultural scenario worth considering) the fertilizing effects of enhanced CO2 on crops far outweigh any slight mitigation of herbicide stress on weeds. The result is that in elevated CO2 environments, crop yield is far higher for a given application of herbicide, or alternatively for a given crop yield the herbicide requirement is considerably reduced. Thus the report is lying, the scientists who compiled it are lying, and they know very well that they are lying. The trouble is, we’re not supposed to be informed well enough to know it. We will now prove it.

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Climate Robustness

Past behaviour can give very strong indications of just how robust systems are to perturbations and forcings. Applying this to climate, we will take a view on how believable are the UKCP09 projections of warming in the UK over the next 45 years (see the post Met Office Fraudcast). The UKCP09 projections are based on computer modelling. Below are UKCP09 ‘central estimate’ projections for changes in Summer Mean Temperatures (medium emissions scenario) for the UK.

SummerMeanTemp

Note that in Northern Ireland the central estimate is for a rise of 2.1 to 3.0 degrees in Mean Summer Temperature in the 2050s (and up to 4 degrees by the 2080s). Temperatures in Northern Ireland have been recorded for over 200 years, and we have a fairly good record covering the last 160 years, see below.

Credit:Junkscience

Credit:Junkscience

It is clear that summer temperatures in the 1840s and 1850s at the beginning of the record were more consistently warm from year to year and averaged higher maximum temperatures than those over the supposedly sizzling last 20 years – maximum summer temperatures never fell below 18 degrees from 1844-1860. The upper red trace represents the daily maximum temperatures during the day (averaged across June, July and August each year), the lower blue trace represents the minimum temperature (at night), and the central purple trace is the mean of the red and blue traces, this being the Mean Summer Temperature. The straight lines through the traces are the trend lines from the values from 1844 to 2004, 160 years. It will be seen that there is practically no trend in the maximum summer temperatures – on average, summers now are not warmer than they were 160 years ago. There is a slight trend in the minimum temperatures – the nights have been getting a little warmer over the period, and who is going to worry about that? Because of the averaging between the max and min traces, this creates a slight trend also in the Mean Temperature, but it is still an extremely minor effect over the 160 year record. Although there have been periods when the mean temperature has been a little higher (the 1840s and 1850s, for example) there have also been periods when it has been a little lower (e.g. the 1870s to 1920s). A definite period is evident when there was a noticeable short-term cooling trend (1859-1884) yet there is no significant long-term trend when considered over the full 160 years (this accords with the observations in 130-year datasets from other parts of the world as indicated in the post Crops and 130 Years of Climate Records).

Yet the Met Office and Defra are now trying to make us believe that a trend line will suddenly ‘kick up’ and take off as shown in the extended part on the right because of mankind’s carbon emissions. It certainly does look fanciful.

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Photosynthesis and CO2 Enrichment

The benefits of increased atmospheric CO2 on crops are so extensive that a long article or book needs to be written to do justice to the subject and to the results of thousands of research trials. The improvement in photosynthesis efficiency at higher CO2 levels does not tell the whole story, but it is a good place to start, since all plant growth relies on this process.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants utilize visible light energy (e.g. sunlight) to convert aerial CO2 and water (from roots) into plant matter. This process also requires phosphorus and nitrogen.

There are three photosynthesis ‘pathways’, known as C3, C4 and CAM. CAM is unimportant for food crops, being the method used by cacti, succulents and agaves. Pineapple is the only food crop of any importance to use CAM, so CAM can be neglected for the present purposes. World food security depends on C3 and C4 photosynthesis.

Less than 1% of all plant species in the world use the C4 photosynthesis pathway. Of the 86 plant species that supply most of the world’s food, only five use the C4 photosynthetic pathway, of which only four are of much importance (corn [=maize], sorghum, millet, and sugarcane) yet these four constitute some 20% of all the food crops grown. Because of their high photosynthetic efficiency, the C4 crops corn and sugarcane are favoured for ethanol production by those who want to produce liquid biofuels rather than food, thus increasing food prices and poverty.

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Crops and 130 Years of Climate Records

Before we get into detail about plant biology and ecology, let us see what is being said about the effect of CO2 emissions on climate. Specifically, it is said that the earth warmed during the twentieth century. In truth, taking the earth as a whole, including parts of the earth where no-one lives and where crops are not grown (i.e most of the earth), a very small amount of warming occurred, about half a degree overall, none of which can be attributed to CO2 emissions in any robust scientific way – it has all the hallmarks of natural variation. Some parts of the earth cooled and some warmed.

We are told that the effects of future warming, coupled with decreasing rainfall, will cause terrible difficulties for crop production in the tropics and equatorial areas, because many crops in those regions are already on the limits for heat damage, and are already badly stressed due to drought (we will see the evidence in later posts that the best solution for crops that are heat or drought stressed is increased atmospheric CO2). We are told that the likely future scenarios will be worst for countries in the tropics and equatorial zones. Seldom are we told that the same scenarios predict much-needed warmth to northern Canada, northern Europe and Siberia, bringing vast tracts of land into agricultural use, which with the increased atmospheric CO2 will enable greatly increased food production – and that in countries that have the infrastructure, the technology, and the capital to make the best use of it.

But is it true that trends are pointing towards impending catastrophe in sub-Saharan Africa and South Africa? Not at all, if trends from the nineteenth century are anything to go by.

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Toxic Seawater Fraud

[Note: some understanding of chemistry (approximately A-Level) is necessary to understand this post, and it will be helpful to read the background in the previous post Ocean Acidification Scam.]

The theory behind the ‘toxic ocean acidification’ scam proceeds like this: as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, the concentration in the oceans also increases due to dissolution [true – all other things being equal]. CO2 dissolved in water reacts with water to form carbonic acid, making the seas acidic [a half truth – they become very slightly less basic]. This acidity dissolves the shells of marine life causing mass extinction [an utter falsehood].

As a matter of fact, seawater is alkaline and basic. Dissolving the carbon dioxide from all the world’s known fossil fuel reserves would never make the sea acidic. The climate alarmists coined the phrase “ocean acidification” to make it sound alarming, whereas the process is actually what is known as neutralization. The term ‘acidification’ of course sounds more scary than talking about the oceans becoming slightly less basic or a little more neutral.

To put this into perspective, the pH of seawater is, on average, around pH 8.2. Pure water is pH 7.0, and clean rainwater is pH 5.6. What is more, seawater is a highly buffered solution – it can take up a huge amount of dissolved inorganic carbon without significant effect on pH. There is not the slightest possibility that the oceans could approach the neutral pH of pure water even if all the fossil fuel reserves in the world were burned, so all talk of ‘acid’ oceans is utter nonsense. What sort of change are we talking about? Possibly a change of pH of 0.2 units this century, say from 8.2 to 8.0. That would mean by definition that the concentration of the ‘acidic’ H+ ions would still be no more than 10% of their concentration in pure water.

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