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UPDATED BELOW!!

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I certainly hope so (but more importantly, why the hell is there a picture of Paris Hilton on this blog?)

The central question I have here is, “why has no one inspected these stations before?” I suppose everyone takes for granted that, at the very least, the instrumentation used to measure global temperatures would exist in a sort of vacuum–sensibly placed, with intelligent forethought into the environments wherein they were to abide while undergoing regular and reasonable maintenance.

According to a recently launched study by Anthony Watts at his site Surface Stations (currently offline understandably due to excessive traffic), anthropogenic global warming may in large part simply be due to human error, and possibly stupidity, when placing weather stations, and specifically global temperature measuring thermometers.

Mr. Watts is still in the beginning stages of his study (50 stations out of around 1200 in the United States) and drawing serious conclusions at this point might be a tad hasty. If his early inspections are anything to go by though, the pro-anthropogenic global warming camp may have to dream up a new way to bamboozle the public into believing that man is primarily responsible for the inevitable world-wide catastrophe due to our meddlings in the ways of mother nature (for crying out loud, the United Nations has just claimed that global warming is responsible for the genocide in Darfur–it looks as if U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is turning out a greater kook than was Kofi Annan.

Who knows? Perhaps the inconvenient truth is that Paris Hilton is more pertinent than global warming.

 

Helping along global warming

By Bill Steigerwald
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, June 17, 2007

Remember in January when the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its good friends in media trumpeted that 2006 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States? NOAA based that finding – which allegedly capped a nine-year warming streak “unprecedented in the historical record” – on the daily temperature data that its National Climatic Data Center gathers from about 1,221 mostly rural weather observation stations around the country.

Few people have ever seen or even heard of these small, simple-but-reliable weather stations, which quietly make up what NOAA calls its United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN).

But the stations play an important role in detecting and analyzing regional climate change. More ominously, they provide the official baseline historical temperature data that politically motivated global-warming alarmists like James Hansen of NASA plug into their computer climate models to predict various apocalypses.

NOAA says it uses these 1,221 weather stations — which like the ones in Uniontown and New Castle are overseen by local National Weather Service offices and usually tended to by volunteers — because they have been providing reliable temperature data since at least 1900.

But Anthony Watts of Chico, Calif., suspects NOAA temperature readings are not all they’re cracked up to be. As the former TV meteorologist explains on his sophisticated, newly hatched Web site surfacestations.org, he has set out to do what big-time armchair-climate modelers like Hansen and no one else has ever done – physically quality-check each weather station to see if it’s being operated properly.

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

“I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Meanwhile, you probably missed the latest about 2006. As NOAA reported on May 1 – with minimum mainstream-media fanfare – 2006 actually was the second- warmest year ever recorded in America, not the first. At an annual average of 54.9 degrees F, it was a whopping 0.08 degrees cooler than 1998, still the hottest year.

NOAA explained that it had updated its 2006 report “to reflect revised statistics” and “better address uncertainties in the instrumental record.” This tinkering is standard procedure. NOAA always scientifically tweaks temperature readings for various reasons — weather stations are moved to different locations, modernized, affected by increased urbanization, etc.

NOAA didn’t say whether it had adjusted for uncertainties caused by nearby burn barrels.

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Here’s a notable excerpt from Anthony Watts, Surface Stations website, courtesy of Newsbusters

Will Media Ever Investigate Accuracy of Weather Stations?

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 18, 2007 – 15:30.

Assume for a moment there was evidence some weather stations around the country were underestimating mean temperatures. Would a media fixated on expanding climate change alarmism investigate and report this phenomenon to demonstrate that the planet was actually warmer than people think?

“60 Minutes,” “20/20,” and “Dateline” would have all done rather lengthy exposés into the matter, correct?

Well, a former meteorologist for the CBS-TV affiliate KHSL in Redding, California, by the name of Anthony Watts has examined 48 of the 1221 weather stations in the 48 lower states, and found irregularities that could be skewing the data upward.

Watts reported his first startling finding on this subject at his “Watts Up With That?” website on May 9, 2007 (emphasis added throughout):

To get an idea of the measurement environment that exists today at stations used to gather climate data, I visited the Chico State University Fram on Hegan Lane, south of the city, to do a site survey in the format done by Dr. Roger Pielke of Colorado State University. This station is part of the US Historical Climate Network of weather stations that have been used as the source for surface temperature data in many climate models and studies. There were some interesting discoveries.

[…]

1. There are missing louvers on the north side of the [Cotton Region Shelter] containing the automated data logger and temp/dp sensor

2. There is clear evidence that both shelters have been repainted with latex paint, including brush marks and drip marks.

3. There is an asphalt road that curves around the site, from the southwest to the southeast

4. The surface at the site is mixture of gravel, soil, and debris. There is no grass.

5. There is a water filled evapo-transpiration pan within 10 feet of each CRS, its lineage seems to indicate it goes back to the establishment of the site in 1963

6. The fiberglass composite NEMA electronics enclosure containing the data logger, radio modem, and solar battery charger are placed inside the CRS within 6-8 inches of the temperature/dp sensor. The 12 volt gel cel battery is also inside the CRS. These items may introduce a heat bias from the operating electronics.

Watts was kind enough to include pictures of the site surveyed.

Since this point, Watts has visited many other weather stations (please visit www.surfacestations.org for all of his observations) with findings such as the following in Marysville, California:

Today I visited Marysville’s Fire Station, just off Hwy 70 at 9th and B Street, where they have the station of record for the city using the MMTS electronic sensor installed by the National Weather Service. The data from this station is part of the USHCN (US Historical Climatological Network) and is used in the computer modeling used to predict climate change.

The Marysville station is located behind the fire department building on a patio and is probably the worst site visited so far. In addition to the sensor being surrounded by asphalt and concrete, its also within 10 feet of buildings, and within 8 feet of a large metal cell tower that could be felt reflecting sunlight/heat. And worst of all, air conditioning units on the cell tower electronics buildings vent warm air within 10 feet of the sensor. Oh and lets not forget the portable BBQ the firefighters use a “couple times a week.” The area has been constantly added to, what was once a grass rear yard was turned to a parking lot, then more buildings added, then a cell tower with one, then two electronics buildings and the air conditioners…no report on how long the firefighters were BBQ’ing back there, when they figured out why I was asking all the questions they clammed up.

I can tell you with certainty, the temperature data from this station is useless.

To give you an idea of just how useless, take a look at the picture of this weather station:

Here are the mean temperature recorded by the Marysville station since the early 1900s:

Yet, as Watts pointed out, there’s another station 50 miles away in Orland, California, which is not surrounded by buildings, air conditioners, asphalt, a parking lot, or a cell tower. Take a look at a picture of how a weather station should be set up, and the insert of mean temperatures reported from said station which are quite different than from the Marysville station just 50 miles away:

As Watts correctly pointed out, “Its [sic] obvious that Marysville is measuring UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects.”

What this means is that the Marysville station is defeating the purpose of placing a temperature recorder outside of a major metropolitan area by creating an environment that looks nothing like a rural one. As a result, it is quite likely that the temperature readings at Marysville are being upwardly skewed by the environs.

As you might imagine, these are but two examples of sites visited by Watts, and the reader is encouraged to go here and here for more of his research.

Yet, the bigger question is why haven’t journalists looked into this matter? Isn’t this considered newsworthy?

Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review certainly believes so given his Sunday article on this subject (emphasis added):

To assure accuracy, stations (essentially older thermometers in little four-legged wooden sheds or digital thermometers mounted on poles) should be 100 feet from buildings, not placed on hot concrete, etc. But as photos on Watts’ site show, the station in Forest Grove, Ore., stands 10 feet from an air-conditioning exhaust vent. In Roseburg, Ore., it’s on a rooftop near an AC unit. In Tahoe, Calif., it’s next to a drum where trash is burned.

Watts, who says he’s a man of facts and science, isn’t jumping to any rash conclusions based on the 40-some weather stations his volunteers have checked so far. But he said Tuesday that what he’s finding raises doubts about NOAA’s past and current temperature reports.

I believe we will be able to demonstrate that some of the global warming increase is not from CO2 but from localized changes in the temperature-measurement environment.”

Any questions as to why major media outlets are not at all concerned with the accuracy of America’s weather stations?

NEW UPDATE (6/19/07) COURTESY OF NEWSBUSTERS

Chris Horner Identifies More Weather Station Problems

Posted by Noel Sheppard on June 19, 2007 – 14:29.

On Monday, NewsBusters exposed some serious problems at a number of temperature data-collection facilities around the country.

On Tuesday, Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” shared information with NewsBusters concerning two additional problematic weather stations:

Jim Manzi [of National Review’s Planet Gore] recently posted on the problems encountered when experts undertook even a cursory examination of the U.S.’s surface temperature measuring stations, which are the world’s most reliable…a sobering thought for reasons we all shall soon see.

Horner continued:

Consider the below exemplar of those wonders of science and technology in the field of obtaining surface temperature measurements, from Hopkinsville, KY, where the instrument: a) abuts a brick house: b) actually abuts the chimney of a brick house; c) hovers just above a black asphalt pad, and; d) what’s that directly underneath it, but a Weber grill!

Absolutely brilliant.

There is a large green garbage receptacle just off to the left, in the photo, which is where I suggest the instrument might better lie.

Next time you hear of a heat wave in Hopkinsville, KY, you might wander over to grab a burger. More likely than not the boys are just having a cookout.

This is not yet up on SurfaceStations, but based on other station photos which I’ve seen this isn’t all that aberrant, or rather is so only as a matter of degree

Horner wasn’t done, for the following picture is of a weather station somewhere in Colorado:

Horner pointed out:

Here, the weather station was placed 2 feet off of a building, but conveniently next to a large air conditioning unit. Any thoughts on the localized ambient temperature when that baby kicks on?

Horner concluded:

The folks at ClimateAudit have detected that our alarmist friends are aware, and already preparing for this story to get some legs. Our schools may be in pretty rough shape, but not that rough that this corruption of the surface data will go unnoticed.

Of course, the question still remains: When will the mainstream media investigate and report this, or will this issue continue to be one only examined in the blogosphere?

Stay tuned.

 

 

High price for load of hot air

 

June 18, 2007 12:00am

WITH understandable reluctance, Prime Minister John Howard recently donned the political hair-shirt of a carbon trading system.

On the same day, NASA chief Michael Griffin commented in a US radio interview that “I am not sure that it is fair to say that (global warming) is a problem that we must wrestle with”.

NASA is an agency that knows a thing or two about climate change. As Griffin added: “We study global climate change, that is in our authorisation, we think we do it rather well.

“I’m proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to, quote, battle climate change.”

Such a clear statement that science accomplishment should carry primacy over policy advice is both welcome and overdue.

Nonetheless, there is something worrying about one of Griffin’s other statements, which said that “I have no doubt . . . that a trend of global warming exists”.

Griffin seems to be referring to human-caused global warming, but irrespective of that his opinion is unsupported by the evidence.

The salient facts are these. First, the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998. Oddly, this eight-year-long temperature stasis has occurred despite an increase over the same period of 15 parts per million (or 4 per cent) in atmospheric CO2.

Second, lower atmosphere satellite-based temperature measurements, if corrected for non-greenhouse influences such as El Nino events and large volcanic eruptions, show little if any global warming since 1979, a period over which atmospheric CO2 has increased by 55 ppm (17 per cent).

Third, there are strong indications from solar studies that Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling over the next few decades.

How then is it possible for Griffin to assert so boldly that human-caused global warming is happening?

Well, he is in good company for similar statements have been made recently by several Western heads of state at the G8 summit meeting. For instance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserts climate change (i.e. global warming) “is also essentially caused by humankind”.

In fact, there is every doubt whether any global warming at all is occurring at the moment, let alone human-caused warming.

For leading politicians to be asserting to the contrary indicates something is very wrong with their chain of scientific advice, for they are clearly being deceived. That this should be the case is an international political scandal of high order which, in turn, raises the question of where their advice is coming from.

In Australia, the advice trail leads from government agencies such as the CSIRO and the Australian Greenhouse Office through to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations.

As leading economist David Henderson has pointed out, it is extremely dangerous for an unelected and unaccountable body like the IPCC to have a monopoly on climate policy advice to governments. And even more so because, at heart, the IPCC is a political and not a scientific agency.

Australia does not ask the World Bank to set its annual budget and neither should it allow the notoriously alarmist IPCC to set its climate policy.

It is past time for those who have deceived governments and misled the public regarding dangerous human-caused global warming to be called to account. Aided by hysterical posturing by green NGOs, their actions have led to the cornering of government on the issue and the likely implementation of futile emission policies that will impose direct extra costs on every household and enterprise in Australia to no identifiable benefit.

Not only do humans not dominate Earth’s current temperature trend but the likelihood is that further large sums of public money are shortly going to be committed to, theoretically, combat warming when cooling is the more likely short-term climatic eventuality.

In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($60 billion) on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one.

Yet that expenditure will pale into insignificance compared with the squandering of money that is going to accompany the introduction of a carbon trading or taxation system.

The costs of thus expiating comfortable middle class angst are, of course, going to be imposed preferentially upon the poor and underprivileged.

  • Professor Bob Carter is an environmental scientist at James Cook University who studies ancient climate change
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Once there was The People – Terror gave it birth;
Once there was The People, and it made a hell of earth!
Earth arose and crushed it. Listen, oh, ye slain!
Once there was The People – it shall never be again!
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936), As Easy as A.B.C. (1917)

I own a hybrid gas/electric vehicle–a Toyota Prius.

In fairness, my initial intention when I set out to purchase a Prius a year and a half ago had nothing to do with rescuing the spotted owl, repairing the ozone, putting a stop to clear-cutting of our forests, helping the environment in general, or saving the planet as a whole. I simply wanted to save gas. I’m not a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative (though reading this blog regularly might lead you to believe I was the latter.) I’m a moderate who lives in Los Angeles with a lengthy daily commute to work. In the summer of 2005, at a time when the nation was seeing some of the highest gas prices this side of the 70’s (relatively speaking), I coincidentally fell into the market for a new car. The Prius seemed a sure bet. After nearly two years of ownership, I wouldn’t go back to anything else. I love my car, and more importantly, I love the money saved at the pump.

That being said, the environment and global warming can kiss my ass.

After the preliminary report released last week by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), any credence I maintained in environmentalists’ notions that “doing our part” can help change the course of global warming (which, over the past year, had been severely truncated due to personal investigative research) has been wholly and merrily tossed out of the figurative window.

Hell, if a consortium of top scientists from around the globe all agree on predictions concerning global meteorological phenomenon a century and more into the future, it must be true. Right?

Of course, I wouldn’t even begin to postulate how often my local weather forecast has been divined incorrectly, and I live in sunny Los Angeles for crying out loud. This was most recently evidenced in the prediction of clear skies a few days previous to a good day or two of drenching rain.

Additionally, a consensus of NASA meteorologists and scientists postulated boldly (well, ‘boldly’ might be too strong a word) the previous summer that this current winter season, under the diabolical latino cloak of El Nino, would be a record-breaking season of warm weather and frequent, heavy rains with fewer but far mightier hurricanes that would rival even Katrina in their ferocity. Actually, quite the opposite has taken place. It has been an unusually cold and dry winter during the 2006 and 2007 season, and any hurricane that did make landfall managed to constitute little danger with no serious catastrophe.

While I would not dare consider myself anything approximate to an expert on global warming or weather auguring, could one suppose the conclusions drawn in the 20-page summary on global warming by the IPCC as anything other than simply a weather prediction? Considering how often the experts end up predicting incorrectly, I would say yes, and I (and just about anyone) will maintain that the earth, as has been its tendency for billions of years, goes through cycles of change constantly–some minor, some major, some short, some long–most of that time without modern industrialized human society.

What is most revealing to me concerning this preliminary report is how the IPCC arrived at their percentage–a 90% certainty that global warming is due to human activity. From the LA Times article below…

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

China is the leading consumer of coal produced energy. So despite all of the time devoted to this endeavour, despite all of the money spent through years of research and resources used in order to conduct this program, and despite the idea that these scientists are supposedly the par excellence in their respective fields, politics still managed to barge in and fudge the numbers “as easy as A.B.C.”

How is a layman supposed to trust what the IPCC claims in their report when something as inane as politics can simply waltz in, beat its chest, and ultimately influence a supposedly unbiased report? How? Because it is a biased report.

Honestly though, as a result of their proclamation I have ceased caring about this particular subject. If global warming is a “runaway train” as the IPCC states, then what’s the point of doing anything to attempt regression? “Oh, but we must save the planet for our future children, and their children’s children. We must protect nature. etc. etc. blah. blah,” so preach the environmentalists.

I will say with certainty, and there’s none on this planet who will dispute this fact–human beings are a part of nature. We are the most advanced form of life the world has ever hosted, and we’re intelligent enough to manipulate our environment and work with other of nature’s creations to make our lives more comfortable, which is what we should be doing. I for one do not desire to live in a cave in the wilderness in order to protect the planet, nor do I suspect many environmentalists, especially the wealthy ones (well, perhaps Daryl Hannah, but she’s not wealthy.) Very few would wish to live a life-style reminiscent of pre-industrial era history in order to alter the effects of global warming. Those who would are probably already doing so, deranged to a greater or lesser extent anyway.

So the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has shown us the way. Global warming is unstoppable at this point, so here’s what I recommend. Since the temperate climates will eventually become intemperate, start looking into and purchasing land in currently remote and inhospitably cold areas of the planet. While it may not benefit the buyer at this point, future progeny will thank you for your prescience.

Alaska and the Yukon Territories of Canada are looking pretty good right now.

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U.N. says there’s no stopping global warming

Report also says climate change is ‘very likely’ the result of human activities.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
February 2, 2007

In the strongest language it has ever used, a United Nations panel says global warming is “very likely” caused by human activities and has become a runaway train that cannot be stopped.

The warming of Earth and increases in sea levels “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” according to a 20-page summary of the report that was leaked to wire services.

The summary of the fourth report by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, was scheduled for release this morning in Paris. But scientists involved in the final editing process have been leaking bits and pieces from it all week, culminating in the leaking of the full report eight hours before its release.

The phrase “very likely” indicates a 90% certainty. The last IPCC report, issued five years ago, said it was “likely” that human activity was at fault, indicating a certainty of 66%.

Many scientists had argued during the editing process that the report should say it is “virtually certain” that human activities are causing global warming. That would indicate a 99% certainty.

But the change was strongly resisted by China, among other nations, because of its reliance on fossil fuels to help build its economy.

The report also says scientists’ “best estimate” is that temperatures will rise 3.2 to 7.8 degrees by 2100. In contrast, the increase from 1901 to 2005 was 1.2 degrees.

The report also projects that sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century, and perhaps an additional 4 to 8 inches if the recent melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the Larsen B ice shelf in western Antarctica continues at current rates.

That is a decrease from the maximum of 35 inches predicted in the earlier study.

Nonetheless, such an increase would inundate many low-lying areas around the world, including islands such as Kiribati in the western Pacific Ocean and marsh areas near New Orleans. Such flooding would affect more than 10 million people.

The report also predicts a melting of Arctic ice during summers and a slowing of the Gulf Stream.

In addition, the report says, for the first time, that it is “more likely than not” that the strong hurricanes and cyclones observed since 1970 have been produced by global warming. The 2002 report said scientists did not yet have enough evidence to make such a link.

The summary is a purely scientific document and does not offer any recommendations on ways to control the problem. Those are expected in a chapter to be released this year.

The obvious solution would be to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, by reducing the use of fossil fuels in automobiles, factories and power plants.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was designed to reduce such emissions, but some major countries, including the United States, China and India, have no defined targets. President Bush withdrew the U.S. from the protocol in 2001, arguing that it was an “economic straitjacket” and that it failed to set standards for developing nations.

The earlier IPCC report was heavily criticized by conservative critics and a variety of online bloggers who said it exaggerated the effects of global warming. But a new study reported Thursday in the online version of the journal Science said that the IPCC report actually significantly underestimated both the extent of warming and the extent of the rise in sea levels.

An international team of climate experts said in the Science report that data showed global temperatures had increased by 0.6 degree, at the upper limit of the U.N.’s predictions, and that sea levels had risen 0.13 inch per year, compared with the U.N. report’s estimate of less than 0.08 inch per year.

The data show that “IPCC is presenting a consensus view that has been OKd by a very large number of interests, so it tends to err on the side of making cautious statements and not exaggerating,” said geochemist Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, one of the authors of the Science study.

The Science study “looks quite solid to me, indicating … that the climate is changing in a very significant way — and model projections are not overestimates, as some charge,” said atmospheric scientist Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute, an independent think tank in Washington.

The unexpectedly large rise in sea levels may be at least partially due to the recently observed melting of the ice sheets, the authors of the Science study said.

The increase also may be due in part to a natural variability in sea levels superimposed onto rises produced by global warming, they said. It would be “premature,” they concluded, to assume that sea levels will continue to increase at the current rate.

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