Polar Bears Are Alright (How Dare You Say That!)

Polar bear walking the streets in Norilsk, Russia © Reuters / Stringer

Helen Buyniski writes an op ed at Russia Today The REAL inconvenient truth: Polar bears thriving in spite of climate change, but saying this gets scientists fired.  Others have covered this disgraceful episode, but the article provides some important details and European perspective. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Polar bears have become the poster child for climate change, their population supposedly devastated by shrinking ice cover. But when one zoologist disproved the myth, she came under the inquisition of the climate church.

Zoologist and polar bear expert Susan Crockford was shunned by the academy for her insistence that despite the polar bear’s status as a climate change icon, the warming planet had actually caused the species to thrive. She did not deny climate change – merely the idea that it was harming the bears.

After losing her contract as an adjunct professor at Canada’s University of Victoria, where she worked for 15 years, she has been vindicated by a report from northern Canada confirming her theory that polar bears are climate change’s beneficiaries, rather than its victims.

Footage of an emaciated polar bear, captioned “this is what climate change looks like,” yanked at the world’s heartstrings when it was posted on National Geographic in 2017. Eight months later, the publication changed the caption to “this is what starvation looks like,” admitting there was no way to tell why the bear was starving. But it wasn’t the first sick bear to be pressed into service for the environmentalist cause, and it won’t be the last. Climate change’s PR team may have made an unfortunate choice in elevating the polar bear to icon status.

© Reuters / Mal Langsdon

The Inuit groups who actually live with the bears in northern Canada seem to agree with Crockford’s claim that bear populations are increasing, as documented in a court affidavit by the director of wildlife management for the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board. Faced with cuts to their bear-hunting quota by an environment ministry concerned with population numbers, Nunavut residents have seen an “increase in the polar bear population and a particularly notable increase since the 1980s,” the director attested.

Nor are the (plentiful) bears suffering or sickly: “Nunavik Inuit report that it is rare to see a skinny bear and most bears are observed to be healthy,” the affidavit continued. Locals are, however, reportedly concerned about outside perception of declining polar bear numbers, fueled by groups like the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), which explicitly described the bears as the “poster child for the impacts of climate change on species.”

Crockford has been saying for years that bear populations are either growing or stable – even though they may go down in some habitats, they increase in others. She does say starvation is the most common cause of death for adult bears, but there are many factors that could lead them to the state captured by National Geographic – from too many bears, straining food supplies and leaving slower hunters out-competed; to broken jaws, other injuries, and disease.

But as ice cover decreases, she claims, polar bears thrive. The ringed seals that are one of their primary food sources multiply in the warmer water, and polar bear populations have been steady or on the rise since 2005, all predictions of doom aside.

Polar bear populations hit record highs in 2018, Crockford revealed in last year’s State of the Polar Bear report, whose publication by the climate skeptic Global Warming Policy Foundation was sparsely noted outside fellow-traveler sites like Climate Depot. Despite sea ice depletion to levels not expected until 2050, which was supposed to decimate two thirds of the bear population, the animals are thriving.

In fact, they’re thriving too much, according to the humans who have to live with them. The Nunavut government sounded the alarm last year: “Inuit believe there are now so many bears that public safety has become a major concern… the polar bear may have exceeded the coexistence threshold.” Two locals were killed in bear attacks in the region. Nor is Canada the only habitat affected – in 2017, they laid siege to the Siberian town of Ryrkaypiy, invading human homes and terrifying the locals.

Even the WWF has softened its predictions of a polar bear apocalypse, admitting that only one of the 19 bear populations are in decline as of 2017 while two are increasing and seven are stable. Yet the International Union for Conservation of Nature insists the numbers will plummet 30 percent by 2050, linking population decline with dwindling sea ice.

Crockford’s view – even though it’s based on years of research and previous studies – is considered heretical and scorned by climate doomsayers, for whom no deviation from orthodoxy is permitted, even when the facts do not match the propaganda.

The University of Victoria declined to renew her contract in May this year after 15 years of employment despite having promoted her work in the past. The school’s speakers’ bureau, which had sent her out for ten years to give lectures to schools and adult groups, dropped her like a hot potato in May 2017 after a vague outside complaint about her “lack of balance” allegedly triggered a kafkaesque cascade of deplatforming culminating in her removal. The school did not deny the reason she was let go was because of her heretical polar bear science, but would not confirm it either.

global-warming-inquisition

Misrepresenting thriving wildlife populations as a harbinger of their doom is nothing new for nature photographers and documentarians – David Attenborough’s depiction of suicidal walruses plummeting from cliffs “because of climate change” was recently exposed as less than the whole truth.Walruses ‘hauled out’ on land are spooked easily and will plummet from cliffs in their rush to return to the safety of the water. These stampedes can be triggered by polar bears, who do so deliberately in order to feast on the dead walruses left trampled or smashed at the cliff bottom, or by overhead planes (or the drones used for documentary filming).

One of the most notorious examples of phony wildlife tragedy gave rise to the myth of suicidal, cliff-jumping lemmings. A 1958 Disney nature documentary captured the little creatures marching off a precipice, seemingly to their doom, teaching viewers a valuable lesson about blindly following a leader, but that scene was staged by the filmmakers for the sake of added drama.

Climate change proponents may not be staging mass animal suicide to convince the public, but their effort to torpedo the career of a scientist for reasons unrelated to the integrity of her research is equally unprofessional. The climate change debate must be had in good faith by scientific professionals on all sides, with participants free to voice their research-based dissent with prevailing orthodoxy, or it is not science but doctrine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Empty Climate Claims

Below are a series of rebuttals of the 11 most common climate alarmists’ claims such as those made in the recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report.[2] The authors of these rebuttals are all recognized experts in the relevant fields.  H/T Joseph D’Aleo for compiling work by many experts at his website ACRESEARCH Fact Checking Climate Claims.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

For each alarmist claim, a summary of the relevant rebuttal is provided below along with a link to the full text of the rebuttal, which includes the names and the credentials of the authors of each rebuttal.

Claim: Heat Waves are increasing at an alarming rate and heat kills.
Fact:  They have been decreasing since the 1930s in the U.S. and globally.

There has been no detectable long-term increase in heat waves in the United States or elsewhere in the world. Most all-time record highs here in the U.S. happened many years ago, long before mankind was using much fossil fuel. Thirty-eight states set their all-time record highs before 1960 (23 in the 1930s!). Here in the United States, the number of 100F, 95F and 90F days per year has been steadily declining since the 1930s. The Environmental Protection Agency Heat Wave Index confirms the 1930s as the hottest decade.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: Heat Waves (08/19/19)

Claim: Global warming is causing more hurricanes and stronger hurricanes.
Fact:  Hurricane activity is flat to down since 1900, landfalls in the US are declining

The long-term linear trend in the number and intensity of global hurricane activity has remained flat or down. Hurricane activity does vary year-to-year and over longer periods as short-term ocean cycles like El Nino/La Nina and multidecadal cycles in the Pacific (PDO) and Atlantic (AMO) ocean temperature regimes favor changes in activity levels and some basins over others.

Credible data show this is true despite much better open ocean detection than before the 1960s when many short-lived storms at sea would have been missed as there were no satellites, no aircraft reconnaissance, no radar, no buoys and no automated weather stations.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Hurricanes (10/19/19).

Claim: Global warming is causing more and stronger tornadoes.
Fact:  The number of strong tornadoes have declined over the last half century

Tornadoes are failing to follow “global warming” predictions. Strong tornadoes have seen a decline in frequency since the 1950s. The years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 all saw below average to near record low tornado counts in the U.S. since records began in 1954. 2017 rebounded only to the long-term mean. 2018 ranked well below the 25thpercentile. Tornadoes increased this spring as extreme cold and late snow clashed with southeast warmth to produce a series of strong storms with heavy rains and severe weather including tornadoes. May ranked among the biggest months and the season rebounded after 7 quiet years above the 50th percentile.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttals Tornadoes (08/20/19)

Claim: Global warming is increasing the magnitude and frequency of droughts and floods.
Fact: Droughts and floods have not changed since we’ve been using fossil fuels

Our use of fossil fuels to power our civilization is not causing droughts or floods. NOAA found there is no evidence that floods and droughts are increasing because of climate change.

The number, extend or severity of these events does increase dramatically for a brief period of years at some locations from time to time but then conditions return to more normal. This is simply the long-established constant variation of weather resulting from a confluence of natural factors.
Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttals Droughts and Floods (08/22/19

Claim: Global Warming has increased U.S. Wildfires.
Fact: Wildfires have been decreasing since 1800s. The increase in damage in recent years is due to population growth in vulnerable areas and poor forest management.

Wildfires are in the news almost every late summer and fall. The National Interagency Fire Center has recorded the number of fires and acreage affected since 1985. This data show the number of fires trending down slightly, though the acreage burned had increased before leveling off over the last 20 years.

The NWS tracks the number of days where conditions are conducive to wildfires when they issue red-flag warnings. It is little changed.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Wildfires 080719

Claim: Global warming is causing snow to disappear.
Fact: Snowfall is increasing in the fall and winter in the Northern Hemisphere and North America with many records being set.

This is one claim that has been repeated for decades even as nature showed very much the opposite trend with unprecedented snows even in the big coastal cities. Every time they repeated the claim, it seems nature upped the ante more.

Alarmists have eventually evolved to crediting warming with producing greater snowfall, because of increased moisture but the snow events in recent years have usually occurred in colder winters with high snow water equivalent ratios in frigid arctic air.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Snow (09/19/19)

Claim: Global warming is resulting in rising sea levels as seen in both tide gauge and satellite technology.
Fact: The rate of global sea level rise on average has fallen by 40% the last century. Where it is increasing – local factors such as land subsidence are to blame.

This claim is demonstrably false. It really hinges on this statement: “Tide gauges and satellites agree with the model projections.” The models project a rapid acceleration of sea level rise over the next 30 to 70 years. However, while the models may project acceleration, the tide gauges clearly do not.

All data from tide gauges in areas where land is not rising or sinking show instead a steady linear and unchanging sea level rate of rise from 4 up to 6 inches/century, with variations due to gravitational factors. It is true that where the land is sinking as it is in the Tidewater area of Virginia and the Mississippi Delta region, sea levels will appear to rise faster but no changes in CO2 emissions would change that.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: Rebuttal – Sea Level (01/18/19)

Claim: Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice loss is accelerating due to global warming.
Fact: The polar ice varies with multidecadal cycles in ocean temperatures. Current levels are comparable to or above historical low levels

Satellite and land surface temperature records and sea surface temperatures show that both the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are cooling, not warming and glacial ice is increasing, not melting. Satellite and land surface temperature measurements of the southern polar area show no warming over the past 37 years. Growth of the Antarctic ice sheets means the sea level rise is not being caused by melting of polar ice and, in fact, is slightly lowering the rate of rise. Satellite Antarctic temperature records show 0.02C/decade cooling since 1979. The Southern Ocean around Antarctica has been getting sharply colder since 2006. Antarctic sea ice is increasing, reaching all-time highs. Surface temperatures at 13 stations show the Antarctic Peninsula has been sharply cooling since 2000.

Arctic temperature records show that the 1920s and 1930s were warmer than in the 2000s. Official historical fluctuations of Arctic sea ice begin with the first satellite images in 1979. That happens to coincide with the end of the recent 1945–1977 global cold period and the resulting maximum extent of Arctic sea ice. During the warm period from 1978 until recently, the extent of sea ice has diminished, but increased in the past several years. The Greenland ice sheet has also grown with cooling after an anomalously warm 2012.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland (05/19/19)

Claim: Global warming responsible for record July warmth in Alaska.
Fact:  Alaska July 2019 heat records resulted from a warm North Pacific and reduced ice in the Bering Sea late winter due to strong storms. The opposite occurred with record cold in 2012.

Alaska climate (averages and extremes) varies over time but the changes can be explained by natural variability in the North Pacific Ocean, which controls the climate regime in downstream land areas. These ocean temperature regimes (modes of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or PDO) improves season-to-season and year-to-year climate forecasts for North America because of its strong tendency for multi-season and multi-year persistence. The PDO correlates well with tendencies for El Nino and La Nina, which have a major impact on Alaska and much of North America.

See Rebuttal: AC Rebuttal- Alaska’s hot July caused by global warming (08/21/19)

Claim: Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are causing ocean acidification, which is catastrophically harming marine life.
Fact: When life is considered, ocean acidification is often found to be a non-problem, or even a benefit.

The ocean chemistry aspect of the ocean acidification hypothesis is rather straightforward, but it is not as solid as it is often claimed to be. For one thing, the work of a number of respected scientists suggests that the drop in oceanic pH will not be nearly as great as the IPCC and others predict. And, as with all phenomena involving living organisms, the introduction of life into the analysis greatly complicates things. When a number of interrelated biological phenomena are considered, it becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, to draw such sweeping negative conclusions about the reaction of marine organisms to ocean acidification. Quite to the contrary, when life is considered, ocean acidification is often found to be a non-problem, or even a benefit. And in this regard, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the robustness of multiple marine plant and animal species to ocean acidification—when they are properly performed under realistic experimental conditions.

Detailed Rebuttal and Author: AC Rebuttal – Ocean Acidification (02/04/19)

Claim: Carbon pollution is a health hazard.
Fact: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an odorless invisible trace gas that is plant food and it is essential to life on the planet. It is not a pollutant.

The term “carbon pollution” is a deliberate, ambiguous, disingenuous term, designed to mislead people into thinking carbon dioxide is pollution. It is used by the environmentalists to confuse the environmental impacts of CO2 emissions with the impact of the emissions of unwanted waste products of combustion. The burning of carbon-based fuels (fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas – and biofuels and biomass) converts the carbon in the fuels to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is an odorless invisible gas that is plant food and it is essential to life on the planet.
Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Health Impacts (02/04/19)

Claim: CO2-induced climate change is threatening global food production and harming natural ecosystems.
Fact: The vitality of global vegetation in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems is better off now than it was a hundred years ago, 50 years ago, or even a mere two-to-three decades ago thanks in part to CO2.

Such claims are not justified; far from being in danger, the vitality of global vegetation in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems is better off now than it was a hundred years ago, 50 years ago, or even a mere two-to-three decades ago.

With respect to managed ecosystems (primarily the agricultural enterprise), yields of nearly all important food crops have been rising for decades (i.e., the Green Revolution). Reasons for these increases are manifold, but they have mainly occurred in response to continuing advancements in agricultural technology and scientific research that have expanded the knowledge or intelligence base of farming (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, crop selection and breeding, computers, machinery and other devices).

Spatial pattern of trends in Gross Primary Production (1982- 2015). Source: Sun et al. 2018.

Detailed Rebuttal and Authors: AC Rebuttal Agriculture and NaturalEcosystems_Idso020619 (1)

Conclusion:

The well-documented invalidation of the “three lines of evidence” upon which EPA attributes global warming to human -caused CO2 emissions breaks the causal link between such CO2 emissions and global warming.

This in turn necessarily breaks the causal chain between CO2 emissions and the alleged knock-on effects of global warming, such as loss of Arctic ice, increased sea level, and increased heat waves, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. These alleged downstream effects are constantly cited to whip up alarm and create demands for ever tighter CO2 regulation. EPA explicitly relied on predicted increases in such events to justify the Endangerment Finding supporting its Clean Power Plan. But as shown above, there is no evidence to support such claims, and copious empirical evidence that refutes them.

Climate Doomsday Films Debunked

Debunking The Top 5 Environmental Disaster Films by Julianne Geiger at Oil Price.com Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

It’s 1983, and the height of the Cold War. The more thoughtful Gen-Xers were contemplating the chances of surviving a nuclear war in a leaky cellar, wondering if the actor-turned-president really knew what he was doing.

They weren’t thinking about whether they had to choose between a world with oil and gas or no world at all due to climate change. There was little polarization.

Climate change seemed far away, indeed. Nuclear war was the clear and present bogeyman.

It was difficult to roller skate with any enthusiasm after watching ABC’s TV movie The Day After.

As far as movies go, the nuclear-war-based film definitely wasn’t an Oscar-winner, but it did manage to horrify an entire generation.

The conclusion of nearly everyone after watching this film: That’s it. We’re screwed. And the most horrifying aspect of apocalypse-by-nuclear war is that we can’t blame it on anyone but ourselves. Alien apocalypse movies are so much easier to take.

Since then, given our addiction to anything apocalyptic, a long line-up of environmental disaster films to feed our self-fulfilling prophecies of destruction have made their way through the box office.

While The Day After back in 1983 was, by all accounts, a realistic portrayal of our pending doom, many others that have followed have been about as realistic as an alien invasion.

It’s difficult, after all, to stuff catastrophic climate change into a couple of hours.

Let us debunk some of the best ones for you in the increasingly popular ‘Cli-Fi’ genre:

#1 The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Attempting to leech off the wildly dark popularity of the 1983 doom-and-gloom, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) managed to take home the second-place trophy in an IMDB poll for favorite ‘Cli-Fi’ movie of all time (which we don’t understand).

And that is despite being simultaneously recognized as a work of highly implausible global warming fiction. It doesn’t matter: movie-goers crave catastrophes galore, and this film has a new one every minute.

But it has also been ripped apart by the scientific community–including many climate scientists–for violating nearly every law of thermodynamics.

It’s always one man against the world in movies like this. In this case, it’s a paleoclimatologist who uncovers a climate shift in ice core samples. Predictably, he is ignored and a superstorm plunges the world into catastrophic disaster upon disaster. In other words, the whole premise of the movie is that an ice age is upon us–suddenly.

To add to the hero aspect, the paleoclimatologist must travel across the US–by foot–to save his son, braving the superstorms.

Prior to the movie’s release, scientists worried the plot was so extreme it would lead people to dismiss global warming as a complete fantasy. In all likelihood, the film succeeded in sucking some legitimacy out of the climate crusade.

Wacky science will do that, and in this case, our favorite implausibility is the entire premise of the movie which suggests that a network of massive hurricane-shaped snowstorms covering entire continents deposits enough snow to reflect sunlight and create an ice age within a matter of days. This is a development that the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) debunks categorically. While temperatures in parts of the world could drop, it wouldn’t create an ice age in a matter of days. Of course, the movie only has an hour and a half to lay out the earth’s demise.

Temperatures that dropped suddenly at a rate of 10 degrees per second; or 600 degrees per minute (satellite readings themselves take even longer than this)

Helicopters crashing to the ground because their fuel froze at -150 degrees F (the tropopause, the coldest part of the troposphere, never reaches this temperature)

People freezing in place so quickly they don’t have time to exit their vehicles.

#2 Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar is definitely one of the better cli-fi movies ever made, and the science is particularly … sciencey.

Some of the science portrayed in the movie was spot on, according to scientists themselves, but some was … theoretical, at best.

The movie starts with a grim picture of an earth no longer able to sustain the growing of crops due to “The Blight”. With the world about to run out of food and humanity on the brink, a few brave souls travel to the outermost reaches of space to find a more suitable home for mankind.

The movie covers the science of a microorganism called the blight–a scenario that is particularly unlikely given that it would span across multiple types of crops, which are all genetically dissimilar.

The film also covers space-time warps (true), slingshotting around a neutron star (unlikely), and beings that can live in five dimensions in the bulk (false).

Despite some artistic liberties, it’s entertainment value is top-notch. Just don’t go rushing home to stock up on grains to prepare for a blight-induced famine. It’s just not going to happen.

#3 San Andreas (2015)

San Andreas wasn’t a work of Hollywood genius, but it has the requisite story of earth’s destruction, and a Hollywood hero played by The Rock. The film may be a fun two hours, but it seems the science behind the movie is a bit suspect.

In San Andreas, the world is rocked by the largest earthquake ever, triggered by the San Andreas fault.

There are so many scientific impossibilities that we’re not even sure where to begin. First, science does not exist to predict earthquakes in the manner shown. There is just no way to predict when and where an earthquake will happen. Second, the San Andreas fault is a land-based fault, and those don’t create tsunamis, let alone the major one shown in the movie. Despite the large earthquake in the film, new buildings are designed–particularly in California–to withstand large quakes.

The San Andreas fault is 800 miles long and 10 or so miles long. Because the magnitude of the earthquake is dependent on the area of the fault, anything more than an 8.3 is unlikely.

And that gaping hole in the ground left by the quake? Utter nonsense. While small crevasses may occur from landslides and such, the ground does not split apart, exposing the major chasm like the one shown in the movie.

#4 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Can the world really run out of water? Will water someday be the new oil?

NASA’s chief water expert, Jay Famigletti, says it absolutely can, adding that California may actually see such a scenario if its drought continues.

In Mad Max: Fury Road, which is set decades after the original Mad Max, water is definitely the new oil, and drilling for it is a horrifyingly violent business.

In the Max Max world, only people with the means to pump water from deep within the earth have any access at all. Those with lesser means are left scrambling for the most precious commodity.

Toxic dust storms and other perils depicted in the movie are possibly exaggerated, but some scientists were quick to jump on the movie’s message, saying that this is the world we may be living in if we fail to work at curbing climate change.

“Our climate models certainly predict increasing ‘desertification’,” Farnigletti said of the film, adding that there were “metaphorical elements of ‘Mad Max’ that are already happening, and that will only worsen with time.”

Farnigletti was careful to add that some conditions in the movie were exaggerated.

#5 Sunshine (2007)

The year is 2057, and Earth’s sun is dying, threatening to end humanity along with it. The planet’s only hope is an internationally diverse group of eight men and women who are brave enough to venture into space with a nuclear fission bomb that is supposed to revive the sun.

The premise is that the sun is being eaten alive from the inside out by a supersymmetric particle called a Q-Ball. It’s based on a theory by Harvard physicist Sidney Coleman, who posited that the Q-Ball may have formed during the Big Bang and potentially had the ability to break down ordinary matter made of protons and neutrons.

We’re not physicists, nor will we attempt to be, but the movie’s theory that the Q-Ball is eating away at the sun like a cancer is debunked by pretty much every scientist out there, not least because the Q-Ball theory itself has never been proven. Scientists from New York University studying the Q-Ball theory say that the biggest problem with the movie is that, if it existed, a Q-Ball would actually have the opposite effect on the sun: It would not die; rather, it’s radiation would vastly increase and we wouldn’t freeze–we’d all fry.

Footnote:  I’m sorry the list excluded my favorite:

That one inspired reflections on the fact our planet is misnamed “Earth”  when it is so obviously “Ocean.”  See Climate Report from the Water World

Coming soon to your neighborhood: Watch for it!

Beware the Climate Sirens Song

Greek mythology warned of seductive songs luring sailors to crash their ships upon the rocks.  Currently the climate sirens are singing loudly, filling the ears of captains of industries as well as ships of state.  Be forewarned of the latest example of disintormation coming again from IPCC.  Their fourth special report this  year will be a 900-page missive entitled, Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, targeted for release to the general public for commentary on September 25.

CleanTechnica had a brieting and brings the message: The World’s Oceans Are Poised To Unleash “Misery On A Global Scale”  Some of the verses from this song in italics with my bolds.

  • Drastic onsequences if humanity does not reinvent how we produce and consume so we can avoid the worst ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.
  • Over the next 80 years, melting glaciers will alternately give too much and then too little fresh water to the multitudes who depend on them.
  • 30% of the northern hemisphere’s surface permafrost could melt by century’s end, unleashing billions of tons of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.
  • Destructive changes already set in motion could see a steady decline in fish stocks;
  • A 100-fold or more increase will occur in the damages caused by superstorms; and,
  • 100s of millions of people will be displaced by rising seas.
  • Acidification is disrupting the ocean’s basic food chain, and marine heatwaves are creating vast oxygen-depleted dead zones.
  • By 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience “extreme sea level events” every year,
  • By 2100, “annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude,” or 100 to 1,000 fold,
  • Today’s small levels of migration have triggered political instability, while in the future tens of millions of people will be moving because the ocean is eating their land.

The words differ slightly, but the song remains the same:

For those wanting to keep their wits about them, here is some advice from Joel Kotkin writng in New Geography Common Sense Versus Climate Hysteria.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Whether it’s fires in California or Brazil, hurricanes like Dorian or your summer hot spell, it’s not just weather anymore but a sign of the impending apocalypse.

This specter of imminent demise tied to the everyday, notes one American Psychological Association study, has induced “stress, depression and anxiety” among a wide part of the population. The Congress’ leading green advocate, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, admits her climate concerns often wake her up at 3:30 in the morning.

Of course, significant changes in the climate could well be afoot, but our “woke” media and its favored go-to expert class seem more prone to hysteric prophesizing than properly skeptical analysis.

After Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, some climatistas confidently predicted that it was harbinger of ever more powerful tropic storms, yet it was followed for 10 years by something of a “hurricane drought” that, sadly, may be at an end.

Little is said about anything that may alter the narrative, such as reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration statistics show at most only minimal warming in the United States since 2005.

Few have heard that despite the recent fires in the Amazon, widely portrayed as part of a relentless incendiary burning tied to climate, as Mike Shellenberger notes, there’s been a 25 percent drop in fires globally since 2003; rather than burning up the forest, we have been planting more trees than harvesting them for over three decades.

And remember the California drought that Gov. Jerry Brown and his acolytes linked to climate change? That prolonged dry spell ended in a series of downpours, as it has for much of past 150 years.

The uses of apocalypse

The Catholic Church discovered millennia ago that the prospect of apocalypse provides a brilliant tool of propaganda. To people in the Middle Ages, observed historian Barbara Tuchman, “apocalypse was in the air,” the spawn of human sin. In much the same way the environmental movement links human material aspirations with impending disaster, citing manmade climate change as the singular explanation for everything from starvation, wars and crop failures to hurricanes, floods or any other unusual weather.

Unlike the medieval apocalypse, ours is cloaked in scientism, and is propelled to a certainty by computer models. Yet experience should engender some degree of skepticism — if history-challenged journalists knew different. One of the fundamental documents of modern environmentalism, the widely hailed 1972 Club of Rome report, predicted massive shortages of natural resources and the end of economic growth, claims generally accepted without skepticism in media, academic and political circles.

Yet energy and food subsequently became more plentiful than ever as the world has experienced the largest growth in affluence in its history.

Never called to account, greens and their allies can still follow the same mantra with predictable reliability. Upon the election of President Barack Obama in 2009, NASA’s James Hansen, one of the icons of the climate change movement, announced that the new chief executive had a bare “four years to save the Earth.” A year earlier ABC in 2008 claimed that Manhattan would be “under water” by 2015. None of these predictions, at least so far, have come true.

Hysteria leads to bad policy

The reinforced specter of imminent destruction increasingly drives the demand for ever more extreme policy choices. Climate researchers at Sweden’s Lund University and Oregon State University have proposed taxes on people who have children for their “carbon legacy,” even at a time of plummeting birthrates.

Part of the problem may stem from the complexity of the issue. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself has suggested that climate prediction is difficult, if not impossible. Most of their projections are far less hysterical than those embraced by the media, which generally report only the most extreme predictions.

But the notion of an impending crisis is useful if you want to lobby for greater control of everyday life.

As one of the architects of the Green New Deal recently said, “Do you guys think of [the GND] as a climate thing? Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” This proposal, echoed those recently offered by Bernie Sanders, would destroy jobs in many industries, such as aerospace and fossil-fuel energy, and force governments to compensate displaced workers.

Resilience and common sense

Common sense is really what we need. No amount of virtue-signaling by governments, celebrities, royalty or the media can make up for the fact that virtually all growth in greenhouse gases comes not from the West but from China, easily the world’s champion emitter, India and a host of poorer countries. Driving a Tesla or Prius is not going to change much, and many green-backed policies, such as in Germany and California , have done little, if anything, for the climate, but have succeeded in hurting middle- and working-class people far more than the affluent.

Given these realities, the logical course is to focus an intelligent economically sensible transition to a lower-carbon economy while pushing for resiliency measures to deal with the possible results of higher GHG emissions. Rather than seek to turn people into insect eaters and permanent apartment dwellers, perhaps we should push for measures in the new infrastructure bill before Congress to bolster coastal defenses, underground power lines, improve dams and water systems.

The future belongs not to the most self-righteous but the most adaptable.

This is gradually taking root in the policy discussion. After years of opposition, some environmentalists now accept that poorly managed forests in states like California must be trimmed to forestall massive firestorms. Others propose more expenditure on coastal walls, dispersed power systems, desalination plants and better storage of water.

The Netherlands provides a compelling role model here. After experiencing a massive flood in the 16th century, the Dutch embarked on a successful and extensive expansion of coastal berms to prevent future floods and bolstered their economy ever since. In contrast places that failed to address climate-related risks led to the decline of numerous cities in ancient Mesoamerica, the Indus Valley, Cambodia and, more recently, New Orleans.

Ultimately, the climate issue can be best addressed not by fueling anxiety but by adopting a practical and economically feasible approach. Quasi-religious hysteria may provide meaning for activists, but given the global nature of the problem, we need to address it not with panic but reason, and careful consideration about consequences, something in all too short supply today.

Joel Kotkin is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (www.opportunityurbanism.org)

Blaiming Hurricanes on Global Warming Denies the Facts

James Piereson writes at New Criterion An overblown hypothesis. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

We are well into hurricane season with a dangerous storm lurking off the coast of Florida and now poised to make a run up the east coast of the United States. As happens every year at this time, the appearance of hurricanes provokes speculation about the role of climate change in the formation of these destructive storms.

Climate change theorists assert that warming ocean temperatures are increasing the number and strength of hurricanes that form and make landfall in the United States. As David Leonhardt writes this week in the New York Times, “The frequency of severe hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean has roughly doubled over the last two decades, and climate change appears to be the reason.” He cites some statistics to support this conclusion, though his review of the facts is far from thorough.

As he notes, the underlying science holds that hurricanes develop in warm ocean waters in late summer, so that over time rising ocean temperatures will generate rising numbers of hurricanes, and stronger ones as well. According to scientists, average ocean temperatures have increased by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past one hundred to a hundred and fifty years, a finding that provides a foundation for the “hurricane hypothesis.” Thus, we hear the refrain that global warming is causing more storms with higher wind speeds, and that these storms last longer, are more destructive, and make landfall more often than in the past.

It is a plausible hypothesis and, unlike many claims in this area, is capable of being tested against the facts. The evidence for it turns out to be quite thin—at least in relation to the certainty with which it is usually expressed.

Looking at the historical data, one does not find a startling increase in hurricane activity in recent decades, and only modest evidence to suggest that hurricanes in the Atlantic basin are increasing either in number or severity.

The National Hurricane Center, a division of the National Weather Service, has compiled reliable information on hurricanes going back to the middle of the nineteenth century—though the information the nhc collects has grown much more reliable in recent decades with the development of satellite imagery and ever-more sensitive instruments with which to measure the strength and windspeeds of hurricanes. There is no shortage of information to test the claims about increasing hurricane activity.

1. Are hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean increasing in frequency with the passage of time?

The modern era of hurricane tracking and measurement got underway about 1950. From 1950 through 2018, the Hurricane Research Division (HRD) tells us that on average 6.3 named hurricanes formed per year, with a high of fifteen storms in 2005 (the year of Katrina) and a low of two in 1982 and 2013. A named hurricane is one strong enough to be classified between 1 and 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale. Again, these are storms that formed in the Atlantic, but not all of them made landfall. Broken down decade by decade, the averages look like this:

1950-59: 6.9 per year
1960-69: 6.1 per year
1970-79: 5.0 per year
1980-89: 5.2 per year
1990-99: 6.4 per year
2000-09: 7.4 per year
2010-18: 7.0 per year

Conclusion: There has been a modest increase in the number of hurricanes formed per year since 2000, but these rates are not significantly higher than the long-term average and are very close to the rates experienced in the 1950s.

2. Are more hurricanes making landfall in the United States with the passage of time?

The HRD maintains an accurate list of hurricanes making landfall in the United States going back to 1851 and running through 2018. On average over this hundred-seventy-year period, between one and two hurricanes made landfall per year in the United States. The busiest years for hurricanes since 1950 were 1985, 2004, and 2005, as six named storms made landfall in each of these years. The busiest decade going back to 1850 was the 1940s, when twenty-six hurricanes made landfall; more recently, the busiest decade was between 2000 and 2009, when nineteen hurricanes made landfall.

Average by decade, 1950 to 2018: 15
Average by decade, 1990-2018: 15
Average by decade, 1950-1989: 15

Conclusion: There has been no long-term increase in the number of named hurricanes making landfall in the United States.

3, Are Atlantic hurricanes growing more powerful with the passage of time?

Over the hundred-seventy-year period, just four Category 5 hurricanes (the most powerful of all storms) have made landfall in the United States: The Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935; Hurricane Camille, which hit the Gulf coast in 1969; Hurricane Andrew, which hit south Florida in 1992; and Hurricane Michael, which hit Florida and Georgia in 2018. These events appear unrelated to changes in ocean temperatures.

The two most destructive storms to hit the USA occurred in 1900 (Galvaston) and 1926 (Miami), long before the era of rising ocean temperatures.

From 1950 to 2018, an average of 2.7 major hurricanes have formed per year in the Atlantic basin, with highs of eight major hurricanes in 1950 and seven in 2005. There were several years in the period, most recently in 2013 and 1994, when there were no major hurricanes in the Atlantic. (The HRD defines a major hurricane as a storm classified as 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.)

A total of twelve Category 4 and 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the United States since 1950, following no particular historical pattern or trend.

Conclusion: There has been a slight increase in the frequency of powerful hurricanes since 1990, but mostly in relation to the numbers of such storms from 1970 to 1989, a quiet period for hurricane formation. The frequency of powerful hurricanes from 2000 to 2018 (3.3 per year) mirrors the rates experienced from 1950 to 1969 (also 3.3 per year). Moreover, there is no pattern or trend in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes making landfall over the 1950-2018 period.

How, then, in view of these data, should we assess the claims that Atlantic hurricanes are increasing in numbers and strength in recent decades in response to rising atmospheric and ocean temperatures, and are also making landfall at increasing rates?

There has been a modest increase in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes in recent decades along with a slight increase in their strength from year to year, but no increase in the number of hurricanes making landfall in the United States and no increase since 1950 in the number of the most powerful hurricanes (Category 4 and 5 storms) to hit the U.S. mainland. Moreover, any trend that we find in the frequency and strength of hurricanes in the past few decades is mostly washed out when we compare those rates to the ones experienced in the 1950s and 1960s. This suggests that the frequency and strength, though perhaps increasing of late, are but loosely related to recent measured increases in Atlantic Ocean temperatures.

Greenland Glaciers: History vs. Hysteria

The modern pattern of environmental scares started with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring claiming chemical are killing birds, only today it is windmills doing the carnage. That was followed by ever expanding doomsday scenarios, from DDT, to SST, to CFC, and now the most glorious of them all, CO2. In all cases the menace was placed in remote areas difficult for objective observers to verify or contradict. From the wilderness bird sanctuaries, the scares are now hiding in the stratosphere and more recently in the Arctic and Antarctic polar deserts. See Progressively Scaring the World (Lewin book synopsis)

The advantage of course is that no one can challenge the claims with facts on the ground, or on the ice. Correction: Scratch “no one”, because the climate faithful are the exception. Highly motivated to go to the ends of the earth, they will look through their alarmist glasses and bring back the news that we are indeed doomed for using fossil fuels.

A recent example is a team of researchers from Dubai (the hot and sandy petro kingdom) going to Greenland to report on the melting of Helheim glacier there.  The article is NYUAD team finds reasons behind Greenland’s glacier melt.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

First the study and findings:

For the first time, warm waters that originate in the tropics have been found at uniform depth, displacing the cold polar water at the Helheim calving front, causing an unusually high melt rate. Typically, ocean waters near the terminus of an outlet glacier like Helheim are at the freezing point and cause little melting.

NYUAD researchers, led by Professor of Mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Principal Investigator for NYU Abu Dhabi’s Centre for Sea Level Change David Holland, on August 5, deployed a helicopter-borne ocean temperature probe into a pond-like opening, created by warm ocean waters, in the usually thick and frozen melange in front of the glacier terminus.

Normally, warm, salty waters from the tropics travel north with the Gulf Stream, where at Greenland they meet with cold, fresh water coming from the polar region. Because the tropical waters are so salty, they normally sink beneath the polar waters. But Holland and his team discovered that the temperature of the ocean water at the base of the glacier was a uniform 4 degrees Centigrade from top to bottom at depth to 800 metres. The finding was also recently confirmed by Nasa’s OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) project.

“This is unsustainable from the point of view of glacier mass balance as the warm waters are melting the glacier much faster than they can be replenished,” said Holland.

Surface melt drains through the ice sheet and flows under the glacier and into the ocean. Such fresh waters input at the calving front at depth have enormous buoyancy and want to reach the surface of the ocean at the calving front. In doing so, they draw the deep warm tropical water up to the surface, as well.

All around Greenland, at depth, warm tropical waters can be found at many locations. Their presence over time changes depending on the behaviour of the Gulf Stream. Over the last two decades, the warm tropical waters at depth have been found in abundance. Greenland outlet glaciers like Helheim have been melting rapidly and retreating since the arrival of these warm waters.

Then the Hysteria and Pledge of Alligence to Global Warming

“We are surprised to learn that increased surface glacier melt due to warming atmosphere can trigger increased ocean melting of the glacier,” added Holland. “Essentially, the warming air and warming ocean water are delivering a troubling ‘one-two punch’ that is rapidly accelerating glacier melt.”

My comment: Hold on.They studied effects from warmer ocean water gaining access underneath that glacier. Oceans have roughly 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere, so the idea that the air is warming the water is far-fetched. And remember also that long wave radiation of the sort that CO2 can emit can not penetrate beyond the first millimeter or so of the water surface. So how did warmer ocean water get attributed to rising CO2? Don’t ask, don’t tell.  And the idea that air is melting Arctic glaciers is also unfounded.

Consider the basics of air parcels in the Arctic.

The central region of the Arctic is very dry. Why? Firstly because the water is frozen and releases very little water vapour into the atmosphere. And secondly because (according to the laws of physics) cold air can retain very little moisture.

Greenland has the only veritable polar ice cap in the Arctic, meaning that the climate is even harsher (10°C colder) than at the North Pole, except along the coast and in the southern part of the landmass where the Atlantic has a warming effect. The marked stability of Greenland’s climate is due to a layer of very cold air just above ground level, air that is always heavier than the upper layers of the troposphere. The result of this is a strong, gravity-driven air flow down the slopes (i.e. catabatic winds), generating gusts that can reach 200 kph at ground level.

Arctic air temperatures

Some history and scientific facts are needed to put these claims in context. Let’s start with what is known about Helheim Glacier.

Holocene history of the Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland

Helheim Glacier ranks among the fastest flowing and most ice discharging outlets of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). After undergoing rapid speed-up in the early 2000s, understanding its long-term mass balance and dynamic has become increasingly important. Here, we present the first record of direct Holocene ice-marginal changes of the Helheim Glacier following the initial deglaciation. By analysing cores from lakes adjacent to the present ice margin, we pinpoint periods of advance and retreat. We target threshold lakes, which receive glacial meltwater only when the margin is at an advanced position, similar to the present. We show that, during the period from 10.5 to 9.6 cal ka BP, the extent of Helheim Glacier was similar to that of todays, after which it remained retracted for most of the Holocene until a re-advance caused it to reach its present extent at c. 0.3 cal ka BP, during the Little Ice Age (LIA). Thus, Helheim Glacier’s present extent is the largest since the last deglaciation, and its Holocene history shows that it is capable of recovering after several millennia of warming and retreat. Furthermore, the absence of advances beyond the present-day position during for example the 9.3 and 8.2 ka cold events as well as the early-Neoglacial suggest a substantial retreat during most of the Holocene.

Quaternary Science Reviews, Holocene history of the Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland
A.A.Bjørk et. Al. 1 August 2018

The topography of Greenland shows why its ice cap has persisted for millenia despite its southerly location.  It is a bowl surrounded by ridges except for a few outlets, Helheim being a major one.

And then, what do we know about the recent history of glacier changes. Two Decades of Changes in Helheim Glacier

Helheim Glacier is the fastest flowing glacier along the eastern edge of Greenland Ice Sheet and one of the island’s largest ocean-terminating rivers of ice. Named after the Vikings’ world of the dead, Helheim has kept scientists on their toes for the past two decades. Between 2000 and 2005, Helheim quickly increased the rate at which it dumped ice to the sea, while also rapidly retreating inland- a behavior also seen in other glaciers around Greenland. Since then, the ice loss has slowed down and the glacier’s front has partially recovered, readvancing by about 2 miles of the more than 4 miles it had initially ­retreated.

NASA has compiled a time series of airborne observations of Helheim’s changes into a new visualization that illustrates the complexity of studying Earth’s changing ice sheets. NASA uses satellites and airborne sensors to track variations in polar ice year after year to figure out what’s driving these changes and what impact they will have in the future on global concerns like sea level rise.

Since 1997, NASA has collected data over Helheim Glacier almost every year during annual airborne surveys of the Greenland Ice Sheet using an airborne laser altimeter called the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM). Since 2009 these surveys have continued as part of Operation IceBridge, NASA’s ongoing airborne survey of polar ice and its longest-running airborne mission. ATM measures the elevation of the glacier along a swath as the plane files along the middle of the glacier. By comparing the changes in the height of the glacier surface from year to year, scientists estimate how much ice the glacier has lost.

The animation begins by showing the NASA P-3 plane collecting elevation data in 1998. The laser instrument maps the glacier’s surface in a circular scanning pattern, firing laser shots that reflect off the ice and are recorded by the laser’s detectors aboard the airplane. The instrument measures the time it takes for the laser pulses to travel down to the ice and back to the aircraft, enabling scientists to measure the height of the ice surface. In the animation, the laser data is combined with three-dimensional images created from IceBridge’s high-resolution camera system. The animation then switches to data collected in 2013, showing how the surface elevation and position of the calving front (the edge of the glacier, from where it sheds ice) have changed over those 15 years.

Helheim’s calving front retreated about 2.5 miles between 1998 and 2013. It also thinned by around 330 feet during that period, one of the fastest thinning rates in Greenland.

“The calving front of the glacier most likely was perched on a ledge in the bedrock in 1998 and then something altered its equilibrium,” said Joe MacGregor, IceBridge deputy project scientist. “One of the most likely culprits is a change in ocean circulation or temperature, such that slightly warmer water entered into the fjord, melted a bit more ice and disturbed the glacier’s delicate balance of forces.”

Comment:

Once again, history is a better guide than hysteria.  Over time glaciers advance and retreat, and incursions of warm water are a key factor.  Greenland ice cap and glaciers are part of the the Arctic self-oscillating climate system operating on a quasi-60 year cycle.

Naming Heat Waves is Hype

 

Dr. Joel N. Myers, AccuWeather Founder and CEO writes Throwing cold water on extreme heat hype. Excerpts in italics with my bolds H/T John Ray

A story came to my attention recently that merited comment. It appeared in London’s The Telegraph, and was headlined, “Give heat waves names so people take them more seriously, say experts, as Britain braces for hottest day

The story’s leaping-off point was a press release from the London School of Economics (LSE), which noted, “A failure by the media to convey the severity of the health risks from heat waves, which are becoming more frequent due to climate change, could undermine efforts to save lives this week as temperatures climb to dangerous levels.” .” Is it time to start naming deadly heatwaves?

It added, “So how can the media be persuaded to take the risks of heat waves more seriously? Perhaps it is time … to give heat waves names [as is done] for winter storms.”

We disagree with some of the points being made.

First, and most important, we warn people all the time in plain language on our apps and on AccuWeather.com about the dangers of extreme heat, as well as all hazards. Furthermore, that is the reason we developed and patented the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature and our recently expanded AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature Guide, to help people maximize their health, safety and comfort when outdoors and prepare and protect themselves from weather extremes. The AccuWeather RealFeel Temperature Guide is the only tool that properly takes into account all atmospheric conditions and translates them into actionable behavior choices for people.

Second, although average temperatures have been higher in recent years, there is no evidence so far that extreme heat waves are becoming more common because of climate change, especially when you consider how many heat waves occurred historically compared to recent history.

After June 2019 was recognized by a number of official organizations as the hottest June on record, July may have now been the hottest month ever recorded. That’s according to the Copernicus Centre for Climate Studies (C3S), which presented its data sets with the announcement that this July may have been marginally hotter than that of 2016, which was previously the hottest month on record.

New York City has not had a daily high temperature above 100 degrees since 2012, and it has had only five such days since 2002. However, in a previous 18-year span from 1984 through 2001, New York City had nine days at 100 degrees or higher. When the power went out in New York City earlier this month, the temperature didn’t even get to 100 degrees – it was 95, which is not extreme. For comparison, there were 12 days at 95 degrees or higher in 1999 alone.

Kansas City, Missouri, for example, experienced an average of 18.7 days a year at 100 degrees or higher during the 1930s, compared to just 5.5 a year over the last 10 years. And over the last 30 years, Kansas City has averaged only 4.8 days a year at 100 degrees or higher, which is only one-quarter of the frequency of days at 100 degrees or higher in the 1930s.

Here is a fact rarely, if ever, mentioned: 26 of the 50 states set their all-time high temperature records during the 1930s that still stand (some have since been tied). And an additional 11 state all-time high temperature records were set before 1930 and only two states have all-time record high temperatures that were set in the 21st century (South Dakota and South Carolina).

So 37 of the 50 states have an all-time high temperature record not exceeded for more than 75 years. Given these numbers and the decreased frequency of days of 100 degrees or higher,

it cannot be said that either the frequency or magnitude of heat waves is more common today.

Climate scientist Lennart Bengtsson said. “The warming we have had the last 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.”

Why Al Gore Keeps Yelling “Fire!”

Some years ago I attended seminars regarding efforts to achieve operational changes in organizations. The notion was presented that people only change their habits, ie. leave their comfort zone, when they fear something else more than changing their behavior. The analogy was drawn comparing to workers leaping from a burning oil platform, or tenants from a burning building.

Al Gore is fronting an agenda to unplug modern societies, and thereby the end of life as we know it. Thus they claim the world is on fire, and only if we abandon our ways of living can we be saved.

The big lie is saying that the world is burning up when in fact nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The scare is produced by extrapolating dangerous, fearful outcomes from events that come and go in the normal flow of natural and seasonal climate change. They can not admit that the things they fear have not yet occurred.  We will jump only if we believe our platform, our way of life, is already crumbling.

And so we come to Al Gore recently claiming that his past predictions of catastrophe have all come true.

J.Frank Bullitt writes at Issues and Insights Gore Says His Global Warming Predictions Have Come True? Can He Prove It? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

When asked Sunday about his 2006 prediction that we would reach the point of no return in 10 years if we didn’t cut human greenhouse gas emissions, climate alarmist in chief Al Gore implied that his forecast was exactly right.

“Some changes unfortunately have already been locked in place,” he told ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Sea level increases are going to continue no matter what we do now. But, we can prevent much larger sea level increases. Much more rapid increases in temperature. The heat wave was in Europe. Now it’s in Arctic. We’re seeing huge melting of the ice there. So, the warnings of the scientists 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, unfortunately were accurate.”

Despite all this gloom, he’s found “good news” in the Democratic presidential field, in which “virtually all of the candidates are agreed that this is either the top issue or one of the top two issues.”

So what has Gore been predicting for the planet? In his horror movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” he claimed:

Sea levels could rise as much as 20 feet. He didn’t provide a timeline, which was shrewd on his part. But even if he had said 20 inches, over 20 years, he’d still have been wrong. Sea level has been growing for about 10,000 years, and, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, continues to rise about one-eighth of an inch per year.

“Storms are going to grow stronger.” There’s no evidence they are stronger nor more frequent.

Mt. Kilimanjaro was losing its snow cap due to global warming. By April 2018, the mountain glaciers were taking their greatest snowfall in years. Two months later, Kilimanjaro was “covered by snow” for “an unusually long stint. But it’s possible that all the snow and ice will be gone soon. Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano, with a dormant cone that could erupt.

Point of no return. If we have truly gotten this far, why even care that “virtually all” of the Democratic candidates have agreed that global warming is a top issue? If we had passed the point of no return, there’d be no reason to maintain hope. The fact Gore’s looking for a “savior” from among the candidates means that even he doesn’t believe things have gone too far.

A year after the movie, Gore was found claiming that polar bears’ “habitat is melting” and “they are literally being forced off the planet.” It’s possible, however, that there are four times as many polar bears as there were in the 1960s. Even if not, they’ve not been forced off the planet.

Also in 2007, Gore started making “statements about the possibility of a complete lack of summer sea ice in the Arctic by as early as 2013,” fact-checker Snopes, which leans so hard left that it often falls over and has to pick itself up, said, before concluding that “Gore definitely erred in his use of preliminary projections and misrepresentations of research.”

Unwilling to fully call out one its own, Snopes added that “Arctic sea ice is, without question, on a declining trend.” A fact check shows that to be true. A deeper fact check, though, shows that while Arctic sea ice has been falling, Antarctic sea ice has been increasing.

Finally — just for today because sorting out Gore’s fabrications is an ongoing exercise — we remind readers of the British judge who found that “An Inconvenient Truth” contained “nine key scientific errors” and “ruled that it can only be shown with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination,” the Telegraph reported in 2007.

Gore has been making declarative statements about global warming for about as long as he’s been in the public eye. He has yet to prove a single claim, though. But how can he? The few examples above show that despite his insistence to the contrary, his predictions have failed.

Even if all turned out to be more accurate than a local three-day forecast, there’s no way to say with 100% certainty that the extreme conditions were caused by human activity. Our climate is a complex system, there are too many other variables, and the science itself has limits, unlike Gore’s capacity to inflate the narrative.

Footnote: 

Lest anyone think this is all about altruism, Al Gore is positioned to become even more wealthy from the war on meat.

Generation Investment Management is connected to Kleiner Perkins, where former Vice President Al Gore is one of its partners and advisors.

Who’s Kleiner Perkins? It turns out they are Beyond Meat’s biggest investor, according to bizjournals.com here. Beyond Meat is a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown. The company went public in May and just weeks later more than quadrupled in value.

Yes, Al Gore, partner and advisor to Kleiner Perkins, Beyond Meat’s big investor, stands to haul in millions, should governments move to restrict real meat consumption and force citizens to swallow the dubious substitutes and fakes.

If taken seriously, the World Research Institute Report, backed by Gore hacks, will help move the transition over to substitute meats far more quickly.

 

Arctic On Fire! Not.

People who struggle with anxiety are known to have moments of “hair on fire.” IOW, letting your fears take over is like setting your own hair on fire. Currently the media, pandering as always to primal fear instincts, is declaring that the Arctic is on fire, and it is our fault. Let’s see what we can do to help them get a grip.

1. Summer is fire season for northern boreal forests and tundra.

From the Canadian National Forestry Database

Since 1990, “wildland fires” across Canada have consumed an average of 2.5 million hectares a year.

Recent Canadian Forest Fire Activity 2015 2016 2017
Area burned (hectares) 3,861,647 1,416,053 3,371,833
Number of fires 7,140 5,203 5,611

The total area of Forest and other wooded land in Canada  is 396,433,600 (hectares).  So the data says that every average year 0.6% of Canadian wooded area burns due to numerous fires, ranging from 1000 in a slow year to over 10,000 fires and 7M hectares burned in 1994.

2. With the warming since 1980 some years have seen increased areas burning.

From Wildland Fire in High Latitudes, A. York et al. (2017)

Despite the low annual temperatures and short growing seasons characteristic of northern ecosystems, wildland fire affects both boreal forest (the broad band of mostly coniferous trees that generally stretches across the area north of the July 13° C isotherm in North America and Eurasia, also known as Taiga) and adjacent tundra regions. In fact, fire is the dominant ecological disturbance in boreal forest, the world’s largest terrestrial biome. Fire disturbance affects these high latitude systems at multiple scales, including direct release of carbon through combustion (Kasischke et al., 2000) and interactions with vegetation succession (Mann et al., 2012; Johnstone et al., 2010), biogeochemical cycles (Bond-Lamberty et al., 2007), energy balance (Rogers et al., 2015), and hydrology (Liu et al., 2005). About 35% of global soil carbon is stored in tundra and boreal systems (Scharlemann et al., 2014) that are potentially vulnerable to fire disturbance (Turetsky et al., 2015). This brief report summarizes evidence from Alaska and Canada on variability and trends in fire disturbance in high latitudes and outlines how short-term fire weather conditions in these regions influence area burned.

Climate is a dominant control of fire activity in both boreal and tundra ecosystems. The relationship between climate and fire is strongly nonlinear, with the likelihood of fire occurrence within a 30-year period much higher where mean July temperatures exceed 13.4° C (56° F) (Young et al., 2017). High latitude fire regimes appear to be responding rapidly to recent environmental changes associated with the warming climate. Although highly variable, area burned has increased over the past several decades in much of boreal North America (Kasischke and Turetsky, 2006; Gillett et al., 2004). Since the early 1960s, the number of individual fire events and the size of those events has increased, contributing to more frequent large fire years in northwestern North America (Kasischke and Turetsky, 2006). Figure 1 shows annual area burned per year in Alaska (a) and Northwest Territories (b) since 1980, including both boreal and tundra regions.

[Comment: Note that both Alaska and NW Territories see about 500k hectares burned on average each year since 1980.  And in each region, three years have been much above that average, with no particular pattern as to timing.]

Recent large fire seasons in high latitudes include 2014 in the Northwest Territories, where 385 fires burned 8.4 million acres, and 2015 in Alaska, where 766 fires burned 5.1 million acres (Figs. 1 & 2)—more than half the total acreage burned in the US (NWT, 2015; AICC, 2015). Multiple northern communities have been threatened or damaged by recent wildfires, notably Fort McMurray, Alberta, where 88,000 people were evacuated and 2400 structures were destroyed in May 2016. Examples of recent significant tundra fires include the 2007 Anaktuvuk River Fire, the largest and longest-burning fire known to have occurred on the North Slope of Alaska (256,000 acres), which initiated widespread thermokarst development (Jones et al., 2015). An unusually large tundra fire in western Greenland in 2017 received considerable media attention.

Large fire events such as these require the confluence of receptive fuels that will promote fire growth once ignited, periods of warm and dry weather conditions, and a source of ignition—most commonly, convective thunderstorms that produce lightning ignitions. High latitude ecosystems are characterized by unique fuels—in particular, fast-drying beds of mosses, lichens, resinous shrubs, and accumulated organic material (duff) that underlie dense, highly flammable conifers. These understory fuels cure rapidly during warm, dry periods with long daylight hours in June and July. Consequently, extended periods of drought are not required to increase fire danger to extreme levels in these systems.

Most acreage burned in high latitude systems occurs during sporadic periods of high fire activity; 50% of the acreage burned in Alaska from 2002 to 2010 was consumed in just 36 days (Barrett et al., 2016). Figure 3 shows cumulative acres burned in the four largest fire seasons in Alaska since 1990 (from Fig. 1) and illustrates the varying trajectories of each season. Some seasons show periods of rapid growth during unusually warm and dry weather (2004, 2009, 2015), while others (2004 and 2005) were prolonged into the fall in the absence of season-ending rain events. In 2004, which was Alaska’s largest wildfire season at 6.6 million acres, the trajectory was characterized by both rapid mid-season growth and extended activity into September. These different pathways to large fire seasons demonstrate the importance of intraseasonal weather variability and the timing of dynamical features. As another example, although not large in total acres burned, the 2016 wildland fire season in Alaska was more than 6 months long, with incidents requiring response from mid-April through late October (AICC, 2016).

3. Wildfires are part of the ecology cycle making the biosphere sustainable.

Forest Fire Ecology: Fire in Canada’s forests varies in its role and importance.

In the moist forests of the west coast, wildland fires are relatively infrequent and generally play a minor ecological role.

In boreal forests, the complete opposite is true. Fires are frequent and their ecological influence at all levels—species, stand and landscape—drives boreal forest vegetation dynamics. This in turn affects the movement of wildlife populations, whose need for food and cover means they must relocate as the forest patterns change.

lThe Canadian boreal forest is a mosaic of species and stands. It ranges in composition from pure deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous to pure coniferous stands.

The diversity of the forest mosaic is largely the result of many fires occurring on the landscape over a long period of time. These fires have varied in frequency, intensity, severity, size, shape and season of burn.

The fire management balancing act: Fire is a vital ecological component of Canadian forests and will always be present.

Not all wildland fires should (or can) be controlled. Forest agencies work to harness the force of natural fire to take advantage of its ecological benefits while at the same time limiting its potential damage and costs.

Tundra Fire Ecology

From Arctic tundra fires: natural variability and responses to climate change, Feng Sheng Hu et al. (2015)

Circumpolar tundra fires have primarily occurred in the portions of the Arctic with warmer summer conditions, especially Alaska and northeastern Siberia (Figure 1). Satellite-based estimates (Giglio et al. 2010; Global Fire Emissions Database 2015) show that for the period of 2002–2013, 0.48% of the Alaskan tundra has burned, which is four times the estimate for the Arctic as a whole (0.12%; Figure 1). These estimates encompass tundra ecoregions with a wide range of fire regimes. For instance, within Alaska, the observational record of the past 60 years indicates that only 1.4% of the North Slope ecoregion has burned (Rocha et al. 2012); 68% of the total burned area in this ecoregion was associated with a single event, the 2007 AR Fire.

The Noatak and Seward Peninsula ecoregions are the most flammable of the tundra biome, and both contain areas that have experienced multiple fires within the past 60 years (Rocha et al. 2012). This high level of fire activity suggests that fuel availability has not been a major limiting factor for fire occurrence in some tundra regions, probably because of the rapid post-fire recovery of tundra vegetation (Racine et al. 1987; Bret-Harte et al. 2013) and the abundance of peaty soils.

However, the wide range of tundra-fire regimes in the modern record results from spatial variations in climate and fuel conditions among ecoregions. For example, frequent tundra burning in the Noatak ecoregion reflects relatively warm/dry climate conditions, whereas the extreme rarity of tundra fires in southwestern Alaska reflects a wet regional climate and abundant lakes that act as natural firebreaks.

Fire alters the surface properties, energy balance, and carbon (C) storage of many terrestrial ecosystems. These effects are particularly marked in Arctic tundra (Figure 5), where fires can catalyze biogeochemical and energetic processes that have historically been limited by low temperatures.

In contrast to the long-term impacts of tundra fires on soil processes, post-fire vegetation recovery is unexpectedly rapid. Across all burned areas in the Alaskan tundra, surface greenness recovered within a decade after burning (Figure 6; Rocha et al. 2012). This rapid recovery was fueled by belowground C reserves in roots and rhizomes, increased nutrient availability from ash, and elevated soil temperatures.

At present, the primary objective for wildland fire management in tundra ecosystems is to maintain biodiversity through wildland fires while also protecting life, property, and sensitive resources. In Alaska, the majority of Arctic tundra is managed under the “Limited Protection” option, and most natural ignitions are managed for the purpose of preserving fire in its natural role in ecosystems. Under future scenarios of climate and tundra burning, managing tundra fire is likely to become increasingly complex. Land managers and policy makers will need to consider trade-offs between fire’s ecological roles and its socioeconomic impacts.

4. Arctic fire regimes involve numerous interacting factors.

Frequent Fires in Ancient Shrub Tundra: Implications of Paleorecords for Arctic Environmental Change
Philip E. Higuera et al. (2008)

Although our fire-history records provide unique insights into the potential response of modern tundra ecosystems to climate and vegetation change, they are imperfect analogs for future fire regimes. First, ongoing vegetation changes differ from those of the late-glacial period: several shrub taxa (Salix, Alnus, and Betula) are currently expanding into tundra [10], whereas Betula was the primary constituent of the ancient shrub tundra. The lower flammability of Alnus and Salix compared to Betula could make future shrub tundra less flammable than the ancient shrub tundra. Second, mechanisms of past and future climate change also differ. In the late-glacial and early-Holocene periods, Alaskan climate was responding to shrinking continental ice volumes, sea-level changes, and amplified seasonality arising from changes in the seasonal cycle of insolation [13]; in the future, increased concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases are projected to cause year-round warming in the Arctic, but with a greater increase in winter months [8]. Finally, we know little about the potential effects of a variety of biological and physical processes on climate-vegetation-fire interactions. For example, permafrost melting as a result of future warming [8] and/or increased burning [24] could further facilitate fires by promoting shrub expansion [10], or inhibit fires by increasing soil moisture [24].

5. The Arctic has adapted to many fire regimes stronger than today’s activity.

The Burning Tundra: A Look Back at the Last 6,000 Years of Fire in the Noatak National Preserve, Northwestern Alaska

Fire history in the Noatak also suggests that subtle changes in vegetation were linked to changes in tundra fire occurrence. Spatial variability across the study region suggests that vegetation responded to local-scale climate, which in turn influenced the flammability of surrounding areas. This work adds to evidence from ‘ancient’ shrub tundra in the southcentral Brooks Range suggesting that vegetation change will likely modify tundra fire regimes, and it further suggests that the direction of this impact will depend upon the specific makeup of future tundra vegetation. Ongoing climate-related vegetation change in arctic tundra such as increasing shrub abundance in response to warming temperatures (e.g., Tape et al. 2006), could both increase (e.g., birch) or decrease (e.g., alder) the probability of future tundra fires.

This study provides estimated fire return intervals (FRIs) for one of the most flammable tundra ecosystems in Alaska. Fire managers require this basic information, and it provides a valuable context for ongoing and future environmental change. At most sites, FRIs varied through time in response to changes in climate and local vegetation. Thus, an individual mean or median FRI does not capture the range of variability in tundra fire occurrence. Long-term mean FRIs in many periods were both shorter than estimates based on the past 60 years and statistically indistinct from mean FRIs found in Alaskan boreal forests (e.g., Higuera et al. 2009) (Figure 2). These results imply that tundra ecosystems have been resilient to relatively frequent burning over the past 6,000 years, which has implications for both managers and scientists concerned about environmental change in tundra ecosystems. For example, increased tundra fire occurrence could negatively impact winter forage for the Western Arctic Caribou Herd (Joly et al. 2009). Although the Noatak is only a portion of this herd’s range, our results indicate that if caribou utilized the study area over the past 6,000 years, then they have successfully co-existed with relatively frequent fire.

 

NYT Does More Weird Science: Heat Waves

Ronald Bailey writes at Reason The New York Times Says Heat Waves Are Getting Worse. The National Climate Assessment Disagrees.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Americans east of the Rockies are sweltering as daytime temperatures soar toward 100 degrees or more. It is now customary for journalists covering big weather events to speculate on how man-made climate change may be affecting them, and the current heat wave is no exception. Take this headline in The New York Times: “Heat Waves in the Age of Climate Change: Longer, More Frequent and More Dangerous.”

As evidence, the Times cites the U.S. Global Change Research Program, reporting that “since the 1960s the average number of heat waves—defined as two or more consecutive days where daily lows exceeded historical July and August temperatures—in 50 major American cities has tripled.” That is indeed what the numbers show. But it seems odd to highlight the trend in daily low temperatures rather than daily high temperatures.

As it happens, chapter six of 2017’s Fourth National Climate Assessment reports that heat waves measured as high daily temperatures are becoming less common in the contiguous U.S., not more frequent.

Here, from the report, are the “observed changes in the coldest and warmest daily temperatures (°F) of the year for each National Climate Assessment region in the contiguous United States.” The “changes,” it explains, “are the difference between the average for present-day (1986–2016) and the average for the first half of the last century (1901–1960).”

And here is the Heat Wave Magnitude Index, which shows the maximum magnitude of a year’s heat waves. (The report defines a heat wave as a period of at least three consecutive days where the maximum temperature is above the appropriate threshold.)

The maps below, from the Fourth Assessment, illustrate the trends in the warmest (generally daytime) and coldest (generally nighttime) temperatures in the contiguous U.S.:


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate models tend to significantly underestimate the decrease in the diurnal temperature range—that is, the difference between minimum and maximum daily temperatures—over the last 50 years. The panel’s latest report notes that there is “medium confidence” that “the length and frequency of warm spells, including heat waves, has increased since the middle of the 20th century” around the world. Medium confidence means there is about a 50 percent chance of the finding being correct. (The report does deem it “likely that heatwave frequency has increased during this period in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.”)

Big tip of the hat to the University of Colorado’s invaluable Roger Pielke Jr.

Footnote: Since June 2019 was only the 24th warmest in the US, alarmists will be playing catch up this summer.  A previous post explains how to mine the data to produce the bias you want from the billions of measurements recorded. Clear Thinking about Heat Records