the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for May, 2010

Worst of all worlds

Posted by Jeff Id on May 11, 2010

From WUWT, national cap and trade rears its ugly head.

From greenhellblog, WUWT, and John Pittman, a summary of the next method to steal your money.  Don’t bother with the summary, at least read the section by section.


Section by section

Cap and trade, an obama campaign requirement which is actually more necessary for him than health care, because he promised his friends.  You know the “friends”, with the deep pockets, who got him the money to take a run for election.  Cap and trade is an industrial wealth redistribution stock market with fixed prices, forced consumers (mandated demand) and the only ones who will benefit are the insiders who know what speech will be given next by the politicians.  Imagine a president, or speaker of the house, giving an opinion that next year the price of the government allocation will double  — or halve, imagine having that bit of knowledge in your pocket two days before the speech.

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The state of climate temperature data.

Posted by Jeff Id on May 11, 2010

Bart Verheggan left a comment on the recent global land temperature thread which supports Eric Steig’s comment, that one of the reasons scientists don’t have good surface temperature data, is because it’s unglamorous.

Eric Steig made some very insightful comments here. I have the same experience as he describes:

– monitoring and data archiving is deemed uninteresting by most scientists
– it’s difficult to get it funded by the regular scientific funding channels.

Part of the problem lies with how scientific work is valued: Largely by the quantity of papers. Monitoring and data archiving are therefore a very poor investment in the way science is currently set up. That is indeed a problem, and I know lots of scientists who argue for more monitoring (e.g., and many scientists who loath the very narrow minded criterium of the number of papers.

The link Bart provided has to do with CO2 monitoring, however, it is applicable to several areas of  climate science and worth reading.  One of SteveMcIntyre’s main concerns has been reasonable archiving of paleoclimate data.  Many of our concerns have revolved around the lack of data and quality control for surface temperatures, others have spent many keystrokes lamenting the quality of CO2 measurements or ocean pH.  Climatology is different with respect to other sciences in that we’re measuring something very big and in nearly every case, the instruments are poorly suited to carry out the work.  This does not mean the data is unworkable, but it does mean that the best quality control is required.

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Robust – Not so much

Posted by Jeff Id on May 9, 2010

A reader sent me a link to a new paper by Berger, analyzing the coherence (covariance) of various popular proxy reconstructions (hockeysticks).  The paper can be accessed for free here. Similarly to global temperature metrics from the same data, such reconstructions are often declared to support each other confirming the accuracy of the methods.  Of course, it’s my opinion that they are bad data crammed together with bad statistical methods that are ‘designed’ to force a balance of noise in the calibration period which creates a correlation to temperature (the blade) out of basically — nothing.  The handles are basically noise and deamplified signal, which averages toward zero.

Burger’s analysis looked at the coherence (of the handles) of various reconstructions with each other, finding clusters of the most like of 10 reconstructions and at which significance thresholds their likeness represents. Burger writes:

By avoiding the (calibrating) instrumental period, and by using a fairly robust spectral
measure for low-frequency performance, the above coherence analysis has uncovered
several inconsistencies among the group of millennial reconstructions that figured
prominently in the latest IPCC report and elsewhere. An immediate lesson from this
10 is that simple visual inspection of smoothed time series, grouped and overlaid into a
single graph, can be very misleading. For example, the two reconstructions Ma99 and
Ma08L, which have previously been described to be in “striking agreement” (cf. Mann
et al., 2008), turned out to be the most incoherent of all in our analysis.

It’s an interesting paper, in several aspects, including the fact that despite claims by RC scientists that the reconstructions support each other, mutual comparisons of the reconstructions have not been carried out.  Yes the reconstructions all look like hockey sticks, but if they are temperature, we should have coherence.   Still, five groups of reconstructions were created from the 10 which which had a highly significant coherence >99%.  However, it’s not until we drop below 90% that the five groups begin to match each other.  An interesting result, considering that the papers often use the exact same source data.

Similarly, the 95% significance level (d=0.61) yields identical clusters, while under the 90% level (d=0.65) clusters {Br00, Es02, dA06} and {MJ03, Mo05} merge.

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The Null Theory

Posted by Jeff Id on May 8, 2010

Recently 250 scientists signed a letter on climate change, I suggest reading it as it’s being touted as a big story in the news.  As we are supposed to be the technical skeptics, there are a few issues which are easy pickings in the letter.  The letter is an undisguised attempt to alter public impressions of uncertainty in climate science.  It is no coincidence that uncertainty is the key issue which skeptical scientists have with institutional climate science.   These uncertainties are far greater than even the technical public realizes, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the uncertainty even two years ago.

Graph presented at WUWT thread on EPA report. Image is the painting by J. M. W. Turner, “Rain, Steam and Speed”. Click image for his article.

After opening sentences claiming  ‘attacks’ on good climate scientists, the letter discusses uncertainty and some non-sequitur examples of sciences that contain far different levels of uncertainty, five main dogmatically “proven” points are listed, of course I couldn’t help but answer:

(i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.

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Another Rock

Posted by Jeff Id on May 6, 2010

There is a myth about global warming, perpetuated by the media, that AGW does not have a political motive.  I’ve had several commenters complain here that the politics are not right vs left they are on both sides.  Tom Fuller would be a great example of someone on the left who sees that AGW is a bad argument.  However, in no case does any aspect of politics unilaterally keep people of another general view at 100% disagreement.  The fact that some agree or disagree does not change the reality that AGW is fully and completely about leftist politics.

You can tell it’s about politics because of the political history of the top people involved, but more importantly – the solution. Everything is an emergency, democracy is too slow, we must act now to tax and redistribute.  Policies which are foolish in the extreme, and when our current economic situation (worldwide) collapses further (which it will) ,will it be evil capitalism or the corrupting influences of small minded socialist politicians sticking their evil fingers ever deeper into the heart of our society.

Children with American flags on their shirts sent home from school.

Automatic guilt in courtrooms with only the hints of justice.

Ignoring of the US constitution in favor of government services.

America and the UK are becoming hell for people of reasonable mind, but there is nowhere to run to.  Every liberal immigrant had their own utopia in the country from which they ran, yet they come here and try again.  Every tax added is another fools errand to redistribute wealth away from the people they aspire to be.

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Ugandan Ice Cap Split in Two by Global Warming!

Posted by Jeff Id on May 6, 2010

I’m not terribly inspired this morning, but in reading the news I found this headline.

Global Warming Splits Ugandan Ice Cap

and this

Ice cap on west Ugandan mountain range splits

and this

Uganda’s highest ice cap splits on Mt Margherita

It sounds pretty serious right, listen to this quote.

Margherita is Africa’s third highest peak and is a popular spot for climbers. Scientists say the glaciers in the Rwenzori range could disappear in the next 20 years because of global warming.

I’m sure they’re right, scientists do say that.  Another quote of great import is below!

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Uncertainty be damned. When in doubt – GO BIG

Posted by Jeff Id on May 5, 2010

I’m glad that climate science doesn’t let things like physics, common sense or reason get in the way of their models.  They have taken the ridiculous uncertainty of modeling climate in the future and expanded the range all the way to 25F.  Imagine Canada with Florida temperatures, ice hockey gone with the ice caps, evaporated in the sweltering environment.  Proof that ever bigger budgets produce ever bigger computers which require ever bigger results.

Don’t let climategate stop you boys, it’s doom I say dooom.

Global Warming: Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits, Researchers Find

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2010) — Reasonable worst-case scenarios for global warming could lead to deadly temperatures for humans in coming centuries, according to research findings from Purdue University and the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Researchers for the first time have calculated the highest tolerable “wet-bulb” temperature and found that this temperature could be exceeded for the first time in human history in future climate scenarios if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate.

Wet-bulb temperature is equivalent to what is felt when wet skin is exposed to moving air. It includes temperature and atmospheric humidity and is measured by covering a standard thermometer bulb with a wetted cloth and fully ventilating it.

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Posted by Jeff Id on May 4, 2010

Guest post Ryan O


The first thread was fun.  Assuming Jeff is willing to entertain me, I think a second part is in order.

My position is best explained with a little story.

The problem with climate science is not the individual scientists or even the work being performed.  The problem with climate science is the politicization of the field.  Your work takes on a whole new dimension if it can help form the basis for a massive redesign of the global economy.  It is not just some neat math and interesting geophysics; it is now the foundation for remaking the world.

With that prospect comes the wholly human tendency to feel that it is not just the science that matters, it is also the message.  Indeed, since the world is headed for certain catastrophe unless something changes, you now have to try to balance the purity of the science against the moral imperative to prevent a disaster.  Stephen Schneider once expressed this difficulty in a not-so-eloquent fashion.  Human nature being what it is, it is simply not possible for this to have zero effect on the decisions you make (with “you” being a collective).

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Draconian and dumb climate law to face referendum.

Posted by Jeff Id on May 4, 2010

By SAMANTHA YOUNG (AP) – 13 hours ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coalition of business groups turned in signature petitions Monday for a ballot initiative that would unravel Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top environmental priority.

If the California Jobs Initiative qualifies for the November ballot, as expected, voters will be asked to consider putting the brakes on the nation’s most far-reaching global warming law.

Schwarzenegger immediately blasted “greedy oil companies” for trying to set back his sweeping environmental policy.

The 2006 law, known as AB32, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California and imposes new requirements on power plants, manufacturers and other businesses.


Unilateral action on CO2, while brave, is dumb.  All the law does is push more businesses over the edge (both financially and the border) while doing exactly zero for global warming. Let’s see if Cali’s Mexicans voters  get one right.

Here’s a great quote from Schwarzenegger who’s is to Conservatism as I am to Marxism.

“The effort to suspend AB 32 is the work of greedy oil companies who want to keep polluting our state and making profits,”

Oops!!  Think the media will catch that one?   It would be a shame if a company made a profit  — wouldn’t it Arnie!  He never was a great actor, I still enjoy a good explosion and like his movies though.

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Posted by Jeff Id on May 3, 2010

I first read about this at Tom Fullers blog and later at Climate Audit.  Regulars here already know my opinion of Mannian hockeystickizatoin, and that won’t change.  Ryan left this response in my email with a request to post here.  Despite my dislike of the Mannian work and the shock at seeing it published again and again, I am in full agreement with Ryan on this one, prosecution for his bad work, deliberate or not, is a huge stretch and is probably about fame rather than truth.

Guest post Ryan O

I have to admit that I did not follow Climategate as closely as many.  I did not follow the numerous inquiries, except to read little bits about them on CA and the mainstream media.  Except at the very beginning of the incident, I found myself rather disinterested in them.  So I must say I was quite surprised to find out that the Virginia Attorney General is apparently filing suit against Dr. Mann.  Steve McIntyre is reporting on this here:  (  Apparently Cuccinelli’s justification is fraudulent use of NSF funds.

I will second Steve’s disgust at the actions of Cuccinelli.

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Poll on Real Climate Blog Effectiveness

Posted by Jeff Id on May 2, 2010

This post is a bit long winded, but sometimes the passion to write comes in waves.

Words have immense power in our human world.  It’s really not opposed thumbs (or fear of vacuums) which set us apart from animals, it’s actually words, language, communication of complex ideas.  Imagine writing to blogspace, you sign up for an internet account, nearly anonymous, having more opinions than any human deserves and starting to write.  You see your work gets like 10 views, so you know all you’re doing is taking a record of thoughts, it might as well be on a cassette or for the yongins, a CD, stored in a dresser.

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Oil Slick Post at WUWT

Posted by Jeff Id on May 1, 2010

The recent oil rig disaster in the gulf has everyone’s attention.  There are so many safeties and backups, it’s hard to imagine which accident would cause something like this.  Currently oil is flowing rapidly into the gulf from very deep locations both through the well head and at least two fissures surrounding the well.  They are working to seal the breach using a number of methods, I’ll be surprised if they work to shut off the flow before two months time when another rig will drill into the same area and pump heavy fluid to shut the original well off.

Anthony Watts contributor Jimmy Haigh  wrote a really high quality article on the situation which people interested should check out.

Image from WUWT

If a secondary well can shut off the first with a bit of heavy fluid pumped into the wellhead,  perhaps the secondary well should be a safety requirement for deep subsurface wells.  It sure would have been nice to send an ROV and pull the lever this time.  I’m sure a subsurface explosion at 3000 ft next to the shaft could be designed such that the little zit got plugged. Perhaps the explosive could be designed into the whole length of the  well liner to be set off by an immediate proximity ROV explosion.

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