Monday, January 29, 2007

We're all doomed! we're told that is

As Andrew Bolt points out:

Professor Stepen Schneider, US global warming consultant, today :

We cannot dismiss the possibility of potentially catastrophic outliers and that includes Greenland and West Antarctica [ice sheets breaking up], massive species extinctions, intensified hurricanes and all those things. There’s at least a 10 per cent chance of that. And that to me for a society is too high a risk … My value judgement when you’re talking about planetary life support systems is that 10 per cent, my God, that’s Russian roulette with a Luger.

Professor Schneider, global warming alarmist, in 1996:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tennant Creeks Beaches

The only other non urban weather station situated in the Northern Territory that has data going back to at last 1970 is at Tennant Creek. In fact this station was set up in late 1969 providing all relevant temperature data from then with the exception of Midnight which started at 1990. I once traveled out to Tennant Creek and chatted to a local at the bar. He said:

“Do you know what the best thing is about Tennant Creek?”

I replied “No”

He said “The beaches”

Tennant Creek is located almost smack bang in the middle of Australia. He replied to my look of confusion “they are all the same distance, take your pick”

There’s not a lot to do there you see. Anyway, back to science, analysis of maximum data at Tennant Creek shows no significant increase or decrease in temperatures (t = 0.4, p = 1.12). However a significant increase was found in minimum temperatures (t = 2.3, p = 0.027). Interestingly both sets of data had large negative temperatures between 1974 and 1978 which is also in line with the Alice Springs observations.

Lets have a look at the temperature data at certain times of the day. Temperatures at Midnight only have several years, so unless there is a large trend, which there wasn’t, it is not surprising to see no significant increase or decrease (t = -0.8, p = 0.45). Similarly temperatures at 3am and 6am showed no significant temperature trends (3am: t = 1.28, p = 0.2; 6am: t = 1.44, p = 0.16).

Surprisingly however we did find a significant increase in temperature when the sun rose at 9am (t = 3.62, p < 0.01). This is surprising as we found no significant difference in maximum temperatures. It was also strange that despite an increase in minimum temperatures no difference was found at the times most likely to induce a minimum temperature (3am to 6am). Temperatures at Noon (t = 1.9, p = 0.07), 3pm (t = 1.4, p = 0.17), 6pm (t = 0.16, p = 0.87) and 9pm (t = 0.51, p = 0.61) showed no significant temperature trends.

So similar to Alice Springs, the most notable increase in temperature occurred at 9am. As it was the only significant increase, Tennant Creek had not been heating up as much during the day as Alice Springs. The significant minimum temperature increase and no significant increases at night is quite bizarre, but for me this proves that working with temperatures at times that are kept constant is more accurate than working on simply maximum and minimum temperatures.

If only Tennant Creek had a beach. That would stabilise the temperature!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Alice Hots up during the day only

Heading a little east we find another isolated weather station at the Alice Springs Airport. One of only 2 non urban stations in the Northern Territory with significant data, we shall analyse temperature data for this station alone.

Analysis in maximum and minimum temperatures over the years shows a very significant increase in maximum temperatures (t = 4.66, p < 0.01) at the rate of 0.02 degrees per year or 2.2 degrees per 100 years. The increase seems to have largely occurred from about 1978 onwards. With regards to minimum temperatures no significant increase or decrease was found (t = 0.36, p = 0.71) however there does seem to be a small case for cyclic behaviour.

When analysing temperatures at different times, data ranges back to 1952 for all cases with the exception of Midnight temperatures which start 12 years later. In tendem with a no significant minimum increase, no significant increases in temperature were found at Midnight (t = 0.66, p = 0.51), 3am (t = -1.87, p = 0.67), 6am (t = -1.4, p = 0.17), 6pm (t = 0.04, p = 0.97) and 9pm (t = -1.89, p = 0.06) when the sun is down. All these temperatures are highly correlated with each other, eg a 98.6% correlation occurs between Midnight and 3am. The years in which Midnight were missing from 1952 to 1964 showed significantly higher temperatures than normal at this time, hence like the other temperatures around this time we would most likely have a decreasing temperature trend when the sun is down.

Temperatures at 3am and 9pm have decreasing trends at a rate of 2.1 and 2.3 degrees per 100 years, however it should be noted that this decrease was not significant, albeit only marginally.

When the sun rises we see a significant increase in temperature. Temperatures at 9am (t = 6.2, p < 0.01), noon (t = 5.36, p < 0.01) and 3pm (t = 3.7, p < 0.01) all have a significant increasing trend. The rate of this increase has been recorded at 3.9, 3.35 and 2.6 degrees per 100 years respectively. This corresponds the significant maximum increase in temperature. The correlation between temperatures at 6am and 9am is not as strong (r = 28%) . Note that for the temperatures at 9am, noon and 3pm, a slight decrease in temperature is shown between the start of the records and the mid 1970s, from which temperatures increased.

So what does all this mean? It means that Alice Springs has seen a significant increase in temperatures when the sun is shining. When the sun is down, a decreasing temperature trend was found however not significant.

This differs from our previous analysis on Giles, which is not that far away from Alice Springs. The Alice does have more data, but still only 50 years of data is not ideal. It is strange that temperatures during the day would increase significantly at Alice Springs but not at Giles which is located moderately nearby. Both stations recorded no significant increases or decreases when the sun was down.

A hot looking Alice:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No Temperature increase in central-east WA

Giles Meteorological Office is located on the far east of Western Australia on about the same latitude as Uluru. It is one of the BOM's most famed stations, largely due to it's isolation. It was initially built to provide data for the British atomic weapon tests and later the rocket trials from Woomera. Considering that there are no major weather stations around the area that have a good back history of data, we have decided to analyse this station by itself.

Our analysis will include maximum and minimum temperatures as well as temperature changes throughout the day over the years. Data goes back to 1957 for maximum and minimum temperatures, whilst you have to go back to 1978 for time related temperatures with the exception of temperatures at Midnight which only go back a fraction over 10 years.

Giles maximum temperatures over time are shown here with their minimum temperatures shown here. There was no significant increase or decrease in any of these over time (max: t = 0.81, p = 0.42, min: t = 1.37, p = 0.18).

It is understandable therefore that there should be no significant differences in temperature for any of the time related temperatures. And there wasn’t. Midnight showed no significant increase or decrease ( t = -0.02, p = 0.98) as well as for 3am (t = -1.18, p = 0.25), 6am (t = -0.54, p = 0.59), 9am (t = 1.36, p = 0.19), noon (t = -0.21, p = 0.83), 3pm (t = -0.64, p = 0.53), 6pm (t = -1.41, p = 0.17) and 9pm (t = -1.74, p = 0.09).

Interestingly most times showed decreases in temperature however none were significant at the 5% level. The large reason for this was in the years 2000-2002 which saw maximum temperatures at up to 1.5 degrees below the average and minimum temperatures at 1 degree below the average. Temperatures at 6pm and 9pm showed almost 2 degrees below the average during these years.

Maximum and minimum temperatures have been above average in the last 5 years, however this has proven insignificant.

In conclusion there is no evidence to prove that temperatures are increasing or decreasing in central-eastern Western Australia.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Australia's Temperature Stations

Finding out Australia's average temperature is a complicated business. The ABM calculate this as merely the average of the minimum and maximum anomalies from the 1961 to 1990 average.

There are many weather stations throughout Australia, and the ABM’s most recent report utilises around 100 of these from non urban areas. I have gathered data on these 100 stations, and eliminating one’s that do not have maximum or minimum temperature data from at least the 1970s, the map below shows the stations that are available for analysis:

What is notable from the map is that more weather stations are situation closer to where people live. This of course is understandable considering that in the past we were really only interested in the weather where we currently reside. There are large numbers of stations in Victoria, around Perth, throughout New South Wales and along the coastline. However there are also some gaps in stations in certain areas. Tasmania only has one non urban weather station with adequate temperature data. There is no stations in the northern half of south Australia. The northern territory has only 2 adequate stations, and almost the entire eastern half of western Australia is missing.

So how does one analyse such information given? Well the ABM say that they use a weighted average, in that stations are weighted due to the area of Australia. Hence in Victoria, each individual station is not counted for as much as say, in the northern territory, however combined they might well be equal. This is a complex analysis, but one that has to be looked at very closely.

We will do this on this website, step by step. In the next coming days, we will look at every section of Australia, looking at maximum and minimum temperatures and temperatures during certain times of the day. Information that has unfortunately not been analysed before, not even in the scientific literature.

One side difference however, is that we will not be analysing temperatures with reference to the 1961 to 1990 average. Instead will be analysing temperatures with reference to the average of the life span of the weather station – something which is more accurate, provides more meaningful information however is harder to compute. Luckily, I am also a computer programmer as well as a statistician.

So look back here in the next coming weeks, starting tomorrow we shall look at Giles Meteorological Office, Australia’s most isolated weather station situated on the central eastern border of Western Australia.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Australia's Climate is not Changing

Recently, the ABM produced their 2006 weather report as shown here.

They specifically go out to show that "Our Climate is Changing". Well it always does of course, but they specifically mean global warming.

With regards to rainfall they say that

Australia has experienced marked rainfall trends over the last 50 years with declines over southern and eastern Australia and increases across the northwest.

and then continue to say in the next paragraph:

The dry conditions in southern and eastern Australia in 2006 have continued the long-term rainfall deficiencies in many regions, some of which extend back more than five years.

Long term is 5 years? Has rainfall decreased in last 50 years or 5 years?

They conclude that

Aspects of this multi-year drought are highly unusual and unprecedented in many areas. Understanding the role that climate change has played in these anomalies is an area of active research.

Nice conclusion. I guess that global warming only applies to the south east of Australia.

So lets check the stats, as given directly from the ABM website:

Sure last year was very light on the rainfall, however it wasn't the lowest. This occurred in 1982. And whilst the last 5 years of rainfall in south eastern Australia have been low, it is not the lowest in the last 100 years. The period of 1940 to 1944 produced 75mm less rainfall in south eastern Australia than 2002 to 2006. But of course we are lead to believe that this is the worst drought in 1000 years, isn’t that right?

So the ABM suggest that this long term trend of 5 years is highly unusual and unprecedented. A simple analysis of the figures above show that this is far from the truth.

So have as they claim, south east Australia had significant decreasing trends in rainfall? Statistically speaking unfortunately not (t = 1.29, p = 0.2). So the ABM’s final conclusion to prove that our climate is changing with great emphasis on the current drought is, well, not true at all.

Is Australia's Climate Changing? Well not according to rainfall as the ABM suggest. Next up we'll look more closely at temperature around Australia.
The World Climate report, reports of a recent paper by Gagnon, A.S. and W.A. Gough (2006) which reports an increase in ice in Canada’s Hudson Bay region.

They report that in total, 5 of the 7 sea ice stations show either significant trends of increasing maximum ice thickness, earlier occurrence of the maximum thickness, or both. In contrast, only one station, a lake ice station, evidenced a significant thinning trend.

and conclude that their results

are in contrast to the projections from general circulation models (GCMs), and to the reduction in sea-ice extent and thickness observed in other regions of the Arctic.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Arctic Ice Shelves melting is slowing down

In an interview with Fred Michel he describes how the Arctic Ice Shelves melting rate has slowed down since 1960.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Number of Hurricanes per year is random

Climite Audit did a little bit of research and proved that

The annual hurricane counts from 1945 through 2006 are 100% compatible with a random Poisson process with a mean of 6.1 hurricanes per year. The trends and groupings seen in Figure 1 are due to random fluctuations and nothing more.

Whilst many reading this won't know what a Poisson distribution is, they are often used to measure a variable that never goes negative and has a relatively constant skewed normal distribution with sparatic big values, like for example, the total goals scored in a soccer game.

His analysis into the yearly North Atlantic hurricane counts from 1945 to 2004 as shown below lead him to conclude that

There is no obvious long term trend anywhere in the plot.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Are Polar Bears becoming extinct?

Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) delivered a Senate floor speech today analyzing the proposed Endangered Species Act listing of the Polar Bear by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Following is an excerpt of Senator Inhofe’s speech

“A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations ‘may now be near historic highs.’ So if the number of polar bears does not appear to be in decline, why are we considering listing the species as threatened? Because the ESA is broken and this proposal is indicative of what is wrong with it,” Senator Inhofe said. “In the proposal, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that for seven of the 19 worldwide polar bear populations, the Service has no population trend data of any kind,” he added.

“The [ESA] law also allows for the Fish and Wildlife Service to justify its proposal on a sample from a single population in Western Hudson Bay in Canada, where bear populations have decreased by 259 polar bears in the last 17 years. Yet hunting was allowed during that entire period in the Western Hudson Bay population. In fact, according to the latest figures collected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 234 bears have been killed in the last 5 years alone. How many more were killed in the previous 12 years and what overall affect did this have on population numbers?” Senator Inhofe said.

“Ironically, the Canadian government is right now considering a proposal to increase the quota on the harvesting of polar bears in the Western Hudson Bay population. This would allow more hunting of the population whose condition is so dire that the Service based its listing decision on it. While I support hunting as a general matter, we need to fully understand its impact on the polar bear populations before we blame global warming for changes in bear populations.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service asserts that the reason for the decline in the Western Hudson Bay population is climate-change-induced ice melting. To make that assertion, they rely on hypothetical climate change computer models showing massive loss of ice that irreparably damages the polar bear’s habitat. The Service then extrapolates that reasoning to the other 18 populations of polar bears, making the assumption that all bears in these populations will eventually decline and go extinct. Again, this conclusion is not based on field data but on hypothetical modeling and that is considered perfectly acceptable ‘scientific evidence’ under the ESA.

“I do not believe our federal conservation policy should be dictated by hypothetical computer projections because the stakes of a listing decision under ESA can be extremely high. The listing of the polar bear is no exception.”

Friday, January 05, 2007

Even the hottest of the hottest is cold

Australia is one of the dryest and hottest continents on the earth, and one of the hottest places in Australia is Marble Bar, so named because peoepl originally thought that the town was laid next to a whole range of marble. It wasn't, and 3 years work were found to be completly useless.

But anyway, Marble bar has the world record for consecutative days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8C) which was between October 31, 1923 to April 7, 1924. The average yearly temperature is 35.3 degrees celcuis, but in 2006, Marble Bar averaged just 32.5 degrees, which was the colded since records began 92 years ago. The previous coldest was in 1978 (33.5 degrees), so this record is even 1 degree colder than that, which is very large considering the low variability of their temperatures.

Len Lever, a Marble Bar resident for 37 years, said last winter felt cooler but summer was as hot as usual.

Mr Lever, 69, said ex-cyclone Isobel brought only 3mm of rain. "It's nice now. It's cooled the country down for a while."

Energy diet for a starving world?

as Marlo Lewis points out:

In his global warming scare-you-mentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth" (AIT), which was recently released on DVD, former Vice President Al Gore declares global warming is a "moral issue." It is, but for very different reasons than Mr. Gore professes.

Mr. Gore considers it immoral to oppose the Kyoto Protocol, energy taxes or other coercive schemes to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked to global warming. My meaning is quite different: It is immoral to put an energy-starved world on an energy diet.

Carbon dioxide emissions derive from energy use, which derives from, and fuels, economic activity. Controlling atmospheric CO2 levels is not remotely possible unless China, India and other high-growth developing countries restrict use of carbon-based energy.

But demand for fossil energy is growing, especially in developing countries. For example, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global energy consumption will rise by 71 percent between 2003 and 2030, with three-quarters of that growth in developing countries. Fossil fuels account for the lion's share of the increase in consumption.

The real inconvenient truth is that nobody knows how to meet current, much less future, global energy needs with low- and non-emitting technologies. Indeed, the only proven "method" for making deep emission cuts is that of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: economic collapse.

Energy poverty is a scourge, shortening the lives and impairing the health of untold millions of people around the globe. An estimated 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity, and some 2.4 billion people still rely on biomass -- wood, crop waste and dung -- for cooking and heating. Daily indoor air pollution in energy-poor countries is much dirtier than outdoor air in the world's most polluted cities, and kills about 2.8 million people a year, most of them women and children. Reliance on biomass also takes a heavy toll on forests and wildlife habitat.
There is no known way to meet the developing world's energy needs without increasing use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels. Forcing developing countries to go on an energy diet would condemn them to decades of continuing poverty, backwardness and misery.

"But Lewis," Al Gore might object, "the Kyoto Protocol exempts developing countries from binding emission limitations. It only restricts energy use in rich countries, like the United States." That is correct -- for now. But the developing-country exemption is a classic bait-and-switch ploy. Developing countries would not have ratified Kyoto unless it exempted them from carbon controls during the first compliance period (2008-2012). But Kyoto is doomed unless the exemption is repealed, and every insider knows it.

Kyoto supporters consider the treaty just a first step in a series of carbon-suppression agreements, each more stringent and inclusive than its predecessor. Even under favorable scientific assumptions, Kyoto would avert only 7/100ths of 1 degree Celsius of global warming by 2050 -- too little for scientists to detect. Taking the first step makes sense only if you are prepared to restrict energy use globally.

More critically, most European countries are not on track to meet their current Kyoto targets. They will surely miss the much tougher targets proposed for the second, post-2012 period unless they can buy large quantities of cheap emission permits from outside the European Union. China and India could provide these permits -- but only if they first agree to limit their carbon emissions. Expect increased European pressure on developing countries -- via trade penalties and foreign aid bribes -- to limit their emissions.

Even in the United States, high energy prices inflict hardship on low-income households. Millions of families already feel pinched by the high cost of gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil. A Kyoto-style system would push energy prices even higher. Does the new Congress really want to take credit for pushing U.S. gasoline prices to record highs?

Many members of Congress professed to outrage in late 2005 when gasoline prices spiked above $3 a gallon. Many European consumers pay twice as much for gasoline, due to high motor fuel taxes. Yet, despite higher fuel prices, European Union transport sector CO2 emissions increased almost 26 percent during 1990-2004 and are projected under current policies to be 35 percent above 1990 levels in 2010. How much higher than European-level gasoline prices does Al Gore think Americans should have to pay?

The perils of global warming are speculative. Those of energy poverty are all too real. Global warming is indeed a moral issue, because global-warming policies have enormous potential to harm poor people. This is a critical aspect of the global warming debate that "An Inconvenient Truth" conveniently ignores.

Marlo Lewis is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This article is adapted from his forthcoming book, "A Skeptic's Guide to An Inconvenient Truth."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Droughts are not worse, and Glaciers are retreating less

A new study by Pederson et al. (2007) does analsis on tree ring data and soil moisture variability from the highly talked about Glacier National Park. As shown below they evaluated the length of droughts in the area.

This obviously shows a large dought between 1917 to 1941 but quote that

“In terms of intensity (magnitude/duration), the 1917–41 drought was surpassed only by the drought of 1601–09.”

Just from the look of the graph, one cannot find any increase or decrease in drought activity in the area, and there is nothing to suggest that global warming in the past 30 years has influenced the area.

However, the most talked about thing in the park is it's namesake, largely, the Sperry Glacier. As shown below they say that the glacier measured 3.76km squared in 1850, 3.31km squared in 1913, 1.43km squarewd in 1945, 0.97km squared in 1979 and 0.87 km squared in 2003.

So therefore the amount of retreat of the glacier during the global warming stage from the 1970s to now has been 0.10km squared, which is obviously a lot less than it was in the past. The retreat of the glacier was at most between 1913 and 1945, where the drought of the area occured.

Whilst it looks as though the glacier will continue to retreat, there are no signs at all that it will retreat faster than it has in the past. Seems like global warming has very limited effect on the Sperry Glacier.

New Zealand's colded December in 78 years

New Zealand's capital Wellington has recorded its colded December in 78 years. This was terrible timing, as it occured right in the middle of my holiday down to the southern island, and I admit it was very cold. Even the locals as previously reported were wondering where the sun had been.