Tag Archives: climate change

New research using arctic temperature data shows “warming pause” is/was not real

A newly published study indicates that the recently claimed “pause” or “slowdown” in global warming is simply an artifact of inadequate sampling of arctic temperatures. Correction of this deficiency in data shows that warming has not paused.

Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends
by Kevin Cowtan and Robert G. Way

A learned discussion of the paper and its implications can be seen at Real Climate:

Cowtan and Way apply their method to the HadCRUT4 data, which are state-of-the-art except for their treatment of data gaps. For 1997-2012 these data show a relatively small warming trend of only 0.05 °C per decade – which has often been misleadingly called a “warming pause”. The new IPCC report writes:

Due to natural variability, trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends. As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade).

But after filling the data gaps this trend is 0.12 °C per decade and thus exactly equal to the long-term trend mentioned by the IPCC.


The corrected data (bold lines) are shown in the graph compared to the uncorrected ones (thin lines). The temperatures of the last three years have become a little warmer, the year 1998 a little cooler.

The authors write in their introduction:

While short term trends are generally treated with a suitable level of caution by specialists in the field, they feature significantly in the public discourse on climate change.

This is all too true. A media analysis has shown that at least in the U.S., about half of all reports about the new IPCC report mention the issue of a “warming pause”….
The public debate about the alleged “warming pause” was misguided from the outset, because far too much was read into a cherry-picked short-term trend. Now this debate has become completely baseless, because the trend of the last 15 or 16 years is nothing unusual – even despite the record El Niño year at the beginning of the period. It is still a quarter less than the warming trend since 1980, which is 0.16 °C per decade. But that’s not surprising when one starts with an extreme El Niño and ends with persistent La Niña conditions, and is also running through a particularly deep and prolonged solar minimum in the second half.

The physics and the math aren’t changing. The ice in our cold drink is melting. We can see it.
But we keep plunging towards catastrophe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The mercury is rising….no, well, yes, … I mean toxic mercury levels in the environment

We knew there was a reason not to live in New Jersey

We knew there was a reason not to live in New Jersey

Yes, it’s getting hotter. And we are doing that to ourselves with fossil fuel burning with resultant emission of carbon dioxide. But the extraction and use of minerals/fossil fuels (particularly coal) also results in the emission and accumulation of toxic mercury in the air, land and water that surround us, and according to research by scientists at Harvard University, things are getting worse. It gets into our food, and into us, and into our brains and hearts. The EPA should come down harder on mercury emitters. Because the Republicans are just trying to make it worse.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Barack Obama will be remembered only because he got elected.

Barack Obama gave a speech today, the subject of which was his program for limiting carbon dioxide emissions. No television networks televised it (well, OK, the Weather Channel). Did he show some leadership? enough that he can claim that he did something. But it isn’t important, because it won’t change the ultimate result. It does not include a “veto” of the XL pipeline. This veto would be an essential part of limiting carbon dioxide emissions. But he will not do it. A hundred years from now, our grandchildren will be living in a very different world, and Obama will be part of the cause.
Extraction of the tar sands in Alberta will put the planet at the limit (one trillion tons) of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, that will put us at two degrees of global warming, at which scientists have estimated the effects will become truly awful (as if it isn’t already getting there). Stopping the XL pipeline will greatly impair the ability to develop the Alberta tar sands cost-effectively. But he isn’t going to do it.

It will be on him. What other legacy does he have? Drone assassinations worldwide, including U.S persons and citizens? Unprecedented surveillance of U.S. citizens?

Obama is a mixed race person, as we mostly all are, who has enough characteristics of a black man to be considered black. And he was elected president of the United States. That was historic and wonderful. That is what he will be remembered for, and that is all. Of course, his lack of accomplishments is not all his fault. The Republican Party, especially the real crazies and the financial criminals, created an economic mess, ran with the racism, and created enough confusion that the composition of Congress prevented much of anything meaningful on the legislative front. Further, the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court had been, shall we say, “re-purposed” under George W. Bush. Obama’s single claimed accomplishment, The Affordable Healthcare Act, was diluted into virtual nothingness, and will in the future be seen as nothing more than a nice thing for people with pre-existing conditions and unemployed children. He had a chance to reverse the sudden surge of militarism, illegal acts, spying, assassinations, and war crimes triggered by the events of 2001. Instead, after announcing “we do not torture,” he became the terrorist president, the only head of state in the world whose enunciated policy and personal activity is to select and execute without a trial, citizens of his own and other countries by sudden assault from the sky.  “War crime” is now an anachronism.  There is no such thing, in 2013. Similarly, so is the constitutional right to privacy.

Obama’s last hope for significance is about to be wasted, as he will approve the so called Keystone XL pipeline. This project does nothing for the US. It deprives us of land. It simply enriches a few already rich persons. And it will inevitably spill toxic petroleum and additives into our soil and our water supplies. Most importantly, it enables the development and burning of a massive store of fossil fuel, a quantity so great that it essentially means “game over” in terms of limiting the increase in atmospheric CO2. It means our chance of preventing radical climate change is really gone. It means that the sea level rise will probably be more like 200 feet, displacing millions, and the interior of the US will become “desert-ified.” It means starvation on a worldwide scale, extinction of thousands of species of plants and animals, acidification of our oceans to the point of radically changing their nature. The realities of the situation are that we HAVE to make fossil fuels more expensive, and renewables/solar/wind less expensive, to eventually eliminate fossil fuels, BEFORE we reach a trillion tons of carbon emitted. Vetoing the XL pipeline will be a huge step in shifting the cost equation in favor of renewables. Obama has failed to do it, and the significance of that dwarfs anything he has done while in office.

Obama will have no positive legacy other than being elected the “first black president.” He will have ensured that by approving the XL pipeline. OTL,S! is hard pressed to understand why, other than personal enrichment, he would do so.  The majority Democratic Party has thus far watched his performance in rather slack-jawed amazement and (largely) silent anger, tempered by knowledge of the Republican tactics. But the XL pipeline is something that he can stop by his own action. With approval of XL, his support in the progressive base of the Democratic Party will collapse, and the party will begin to fragment.

Some dreamers have misinterpreted his statement today:

“Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest, and our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,”….

‘This project” is just the pipeline itself.  This is a clear statement of the excuse Obama will use to approve the pipeline.  Pre-speech, there was no indication that he would even touch on it. He realized that without some statement about XL, his speech would be a ho hummer.  So he put in this ambiguous statement. The Wall Street Journal for 6/26 has it right:

Mr. Obama also said he would approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline later this year if it didn’t “significantly” increase net greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Clearly, He will claim that the tar sands will be exploited one way or another, and that the pipeline is the most efficient way of doing it. He will claim that the oil companies have purchased offsets. He will approve it. He has the power, and he understands what it means (one should also note that even his announced program is less aggressive than that in place already in California).

He has misled the public again. He has no shame. George W. Bush has for his legacy literally millions of dead, orphaned, widowed, and handicapped persons at home and in the Middle East, all because of his juvenile fantasies of being a war hero without actually risking his life.

Barack Obama’s legacy will be much worse. His results will be, in human/ecological/biological terms, devastating and permanent. In global historic terms, he is a failure. And, by this speech, he is shown to be a cynical one. And that will be his legacy. And why? what would motivate him? What is in the world would make him do this? OTL,S! knows of only a few big motivators of humans, and there is very very big money behind the XL pipeline. Until proven otherwise, one would assume that Obama is headed for a very very large payday in the future. His adolescent fantasy is, apparently, to be very rich.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Keystone XL Pipeline opens the eyes of conservative midwesterners

“Republicans could give a rats ass about the people out here.”

The proposed XL pipeline is a giant toxic Love Canal across America’s heartland. The Canadian corporation that wants to build it is bullying landowners in its path, threatening the use of condemnation proceedings, and the sheeple aren’t taking it lying down:

The effect of it today is to place people like Randy Thompson on an unfamiliar side of the divide between conservatives and environmentalists; and business and liberal political activists. He even testified this month against TransCanada as a witness for Henry Waxman’s minority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I’m a little ashamed to say that maybe if it hadn’t come across our land, I wouldn’t have gotten involved,” he told me. “I’ve gained a great deal of respect for people who do care about our environment I’ve become much more aware of environmental issues. I have to admire them for being concerned about our environment.”

“Republicans,” he said, by contrast, “could give a rats ass about the people out here.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, global warming/environment, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Steny Hoyer: isn't he really a Republican?, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

Texas/Oklahoma Heat/Drought

July in Oklahoma was the hottest month in any state, ever.
I hope Senator Inhofe is staying cool, while citizens of his state drop over dead (9 confirmed, 7 more yet to be confirmed http://m.newsok.com/death-toll-from-oklahoma-heat-reaches-nine/article/3589347?custom_click=pod_headline_health while others watch their farms and ranches wither and die. Haven’t heard anything from the Senator lately. Oh, wait… Here he is raving about the EPA trying to stop climate change: http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/inhofe-epa-china-india/2011/07/24/id/404677

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leaf blowers, again

leaf%20blow%201Yesterday, while riding my bike, I saw two people dealing with fall leaves. The first was a middle aged man in Mountain View, blowing madly away at leaves in his driveway, blowing them out into the street with a noisy gasoline-driven blower. I suppose then the neighbors will blow them back the next day.

The second person was a middle aged woman in Palo Alto, which prohibits gas blowers; she was suctioning up the leaves with an electric shop vacuum, rolling along on casters, to put them in her recycling bin.

Leave a comment

Filed under global warming/environment, Uncategorized

Stanford, UC Berkeley form science news wire service

The slow and lingering death of “traditional” news media has prompted some of the nations premier scientific institutions to create their own science wire service.

…35 top research universities—including Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley—have created their own “wire service” of sorts, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The service, called Futurity, is drafting and distributing articles about the universities’ discoveries to sites like Google News and Yahoo News. They are also leveraging new media, like YouTube, to get the word out. And the stories are also being posted on the consortium’s own site, Futurity.org.

“Our preference would be to have the level of coverage of science and research that we enjoyed for decades,” Lisa Lapin, a Stanford spokesman told the Merc. “But the major news organizations haven’t had the resources to provide that independent, objective look at what we are doing. It’s been declining.”

The Merc notes that newspapers across the country have been whittling down their science reporting staffs. Both the Merc and the San Francisco Chronicle closed their Science sections several years ago.

Well done, and it has to be an improvement over the coverage provided by general news reporters or even science reporters.

Leave a comment

Filed under global warming/environment, healthcare, honest people, science: not a very Republican thing to do