Friday, 25 November 2011

Wanted: Antacronym of Viner

Usually, an acronym is a newly fabricated word constructed from the first letters of a phrase, GIGO being one example.

I'm trying to create its opposite from the letters VINER. Dr. David Viner, formerly of Norwich Poly (sorry, that should read "...of that revered seat of learning the University of East Anglia") has achieved immortality by his keynote declaration in 2000 that within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event" and that, consequently, "children just aren't going to know what snow is."

Many a man would be embarrassed at having made such an assertation, and would salvage some vestige of credibility by retracting. Not so Dr. Viner, whose career in the GWI has flourished. Put yourself in the place of Dave's poor kids. "Daddy, what's that fluffy white stuff covering the back garden?" "Get AWAY from the windows, you little bastard! I've TOLD YOU BEFORE that we leave the curtains closed from October to March!"

So, what might a VINER be? What might the V stand for?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Green Power

At risk of labouring the point, green awareness has been a largely positive change in western society, and progress in areas such as pollution and habitat preservation is to be welcomed. However, the mushrooming of the Environmental Advocacy Industry is sinister. Since being infiltrated by extremists, the likes of WWF and Greenpeace have moved a million miles from their grassroots origins.

WWF's income in 2010 was $224m in the US alone. Greenpeace's, worldwide, was €524m. Where does it all come from; where does it all go to? Such tsunamis of loot can buy a lot of influence. Put to good use, say to buy up habitat for endangered species, it could make a real difference; deployed on propaganda in perpetuating the Great Carbon Myth it is positively pernicious. This vast PR machine is pressuring governments to fritter away precious resource on renewable energy at a time of growing hardship and poverty for the common man.
The following post is on record, but it's immersed in a sea of information, so I thought I'd highlight it:

Daniel H says:
I worked at WWF as a programmer back in my early 20s and I was still sort of naive about global warming and environmentalism in general. The job was located at their Washington, DC headquarters and I was hired to create a new database for their “Climate Savers” program. The idea was to keep better track of the enormous revenue streams that they’d extort from Fortune 500 companies in exchange for not waging organized media campaigns against them (Nike, HP, Dupont, etc).
Their Climate Change Department was staffed by creepy fanatics who would run around screaming about how Bush stole the election and other crazy things about whales and “climate justice”. I was young and didn’t know what to make of it all so I just shrugged it off. Anyway, the head of the Climate Change Department was this freaky woman named Jenifer Morgan. We just called her “the forehead” because of her massive forehead[1]. She threatened to leave DC if Bush was not impeached for war crimes. She kept her promise and got transfered to Bonn, Germany along with her personal assistants.
Last I heard, she no longer works for WWF but continues to fly all around the world on behalf of her new environmentalist NGO.
The WWF headquarters building was a state of the art corporate complex with lots of plants but of course they kept the AC cranked up full blast during the hot DC summer months. In the basement there was a modern gym that employees were encouraged to use so I started using it after work. A lot of these guys who were “campaigners” would blatantly hit on me but I’d just ignore them and keep to myself. Later I stopped going to the gym after I personally witnessed some sort of lurid gay sex going on in the locker room.
I left WWF shortly thereafter.
Anyway, the shocking fanaticism and hypocrisy that I’d witnessed made me curious to learn more about the issue of climate change and what it was all about. That was when I officially became a skeptic.
True story.
I’m not surprised about that sick 9/11 exploitation campaign they ran because many of them were openly anti-American and seemed to think Bush was the Anti-Christ. The young activists were mostly rich white kids whose parents were well connected with DC politics and/or old money families. They grew up in privileged environments completely insulated from the world at large. For some reason they were all obsessed with people like Noam Chomsky. That’s pretty much it.
Whew…It felt good to get that off my chest! :-) Any questions


This posting appeared in the WUWT post

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sunspots and Cloud Cover

As Bonnie Tyler might have sung, "We Need a Herschel".

In 1801 the genius astronomer William Herschel attempted to draw a correlation between the number of sunspots and the price of grain in London. In that era of data-paucity, it is staggering that he made such a leap with no prospect of establishing a causal relationship. And yet he did just that. Combining his well-digested knowledge of the universe with profound intuition, he bequeathed us this promising gem of an idea. To our shame we, posterity, have done bugger all with it for two centuries. The sun may influence climate and hence agriculture? Now THERE's an idea!

What a contrast with the army of intellectual pygmies of today in the Global Warming Industry! There are legions of academics with unprecedented access to data; bathed in data; swamped by data; inundated by data. Perhaps this very sensory overload explains why - as Churchill might've said - so much is paid to so many for so few scientific breakthroughs. The vast majority of scientists - at least of those who have a media presence - peddle the outrageous myth of Global Warming. With a few honourable exceptions, the majority view is that the pernicious gas carbon dioxide is heating up the Earth. When questioned as to why the effect of Thermageddon is so subtle as to be imperceptible they trot out the standard answer: "Hah! Give it a century and you'll see how right we are!" As sea levels change imperceptibly, the great threat is now said to be a rise of "of the order of a metre per century". This suggests that the timescale for concern is now - in the plural - centuries. Ah! It's in the 22nd and 23rd centuries that the great flood threatens! In one of Chaucer's stories a "learned" student deceived his ignorant landlord into spending the night in a wooden barrel in order to survive the impending flood. Said student used the night to have his wicked way with the landlord's wife. Those who peddle today's apocalypse myth is no less deceitful.

Now, correlation is not causality. But here's a promising correlation between climate and solar activity:

The above graph appears in a 2010 paper by Mauas et al of Argentina's Instituto de Astronom´ıa y F´ısica del Espacio:

When the Parana River flows at its mightiest, solar activity is at its peak. Does one cause the other? Does some other factor cause both? Or is this empty coincidence? If there truly is a link, what, precisely is the mechanism? Henrik Svensmark's hypothesis - that solar activity modulates galactic cosmic ray (GCR) penetration of the atmosphere and consequently cloud seeding - fits the bill nicely. The CERN laboratory at Geneva confirmed the GCR/cloud causal link in summer 2011. Bless 'em.

Until the Global Warming Gravy Train so badly corrupted science, conjectures remained mere conjectures until precise mechanisms of causality were described, and predictions were confirmed by observation, and repeatability was established. The wishy-washy woolly scoundrels dining out on the Great Global Warming Hoax keep their massive scam rolling by issuing vague unfalsifiable predictions...  and then have the barefaced audacity to whine about the need for extra "funding" to spin it out further. Shame on them!

Stop Press: The Maldives have gone under! Cancel the new airport: it's too late.

                           Maldives Cabinet Signs Climate Change Document 20 Feet Under Sea

It Comes, It Goes

The Global Warming Hypothesis. A few years ago, having been alarmed - and largely convinced - by Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth, I decided to seek confirmation by my own devices. Rather than take the experts' word for it - clever and sincere though they clearly were - I would devise my own tests. Some of these experts were hero-figures such as the great geneticist Steve Jones and the sainted David Attenborough. Surely, I thought, the authors of The Language of the Genes and Life on Earth wouldn't join in with a fallacy; with sodding groupthink. It Steve & Dave say it's so then, I reasoned, so it must jolly well be. But (ah, the curse of having an independent mind) I needed to satisfy myself.

Of the many dimensions of Global Warming, I chose to look at the Earth's icecaps and glaciers - the "cryosphere". There were other aspects (such as sea levels and temperature records) worthy of some forensic digging, but I chose the cryosphere.

The icecaps, it was asserted, were melting. The data upon which this claim was based must, I thought, surely be available. Let's do some digging! But it was easier said than dug. For every argument there was an equal-and-opposite counterargument. Wherever I looked for a dataset which would serve as a proxy for global temperatures - a gold standard - there were caveats, reservations, ifs-and-buts. Confusing and contradictory.

And then I discovered the Great Aletsch Glacier. Well, I didn't ackchooally discover it. Neither did Hanspeter Holzhauser, the Swiss glaciologist. But this fellow knows the Aletsch better than a mother knows her baby. He has studied it from every angle, literally and metaphorically. The techniques used are fascinating; dendrochronology is but one part of HH's toolbox, but that's another story. His studies have yielded the following graph:

[Click to enlarge.]

I think you'll see what I see. But first, let's make two assumptions here: (i) Over these timescales, temperature variations in this part of Austria are representative of worldwide variations. (ii) The length of the Aletsch Glacier is directly related to temperature: a cold century produces a bigger glacier tongue than a toasty century. Are these assumptions fair? Not entirely. The Kilamanjaro fiasco indicates that glaciers are not a perfect proxy for current temperature. Warmists loudly attributed Kilamanjaro's reduced icecap to rising temperatures; the decisive factor turned out to be deforestation and consequent reduced precipitation. (Warmists, with chaming asymmetry, trumpet the retreat of glaciers as supporting their case but are conveniently silent on historical lengthening. Perhaps they whisper: "Inconvenient. Strewth!")

Today's Aletsch Glacier is short - shorter than in living memory! Ay, there's the rub: In living memory. We would never say, "Huh, this tree isn't growing: I've been watching it for an hour now and it's the same size!" We would never say, "My bank balance has risen this past week. At this rate I'll be a millionaire in a year!" No, if you're gonna extrapolate you have to apply an appropriate timescale. And, if Mr. Holzhauser's magnificent graph is accurate, a piffling century is not an appropriate timescale. Those who draw conclusions using an inappropriate timescale are either mistaken (and subject to discovering their error of judgment) or dumb (unfortunate) or biased by ideology (religious and political types).

The Aletsch has been coming and going over the centuries. It just so happens that it's been a-going since 1860. Which doesn't neccessarily mean that it'll start a-coming again in the next few years. Even if it continues to recede for another decade or three, any claim that its current rate of recession is unique and unprecedented is not borne out by its 3200-year record of coming and going. The Aletsch says that, far from our planet having entered some neoapocalyptic end-of-days, it's business as usual.

Update 19 Mar 2012

The last ice age ended 11,700 years ago. The 3500-year record shown above is thus one third of the Holocene -  the interglacial period we are now in. Could it be that these 3500 years are atypical? Could it be that the Aletsch is atypical; that other glaciers tell a different story? Well, the answer is no. Here is a paper giving a bigger picture:
Here's a chart extracted from it:

Note the Aletsch column which includes the 3500-year chart above tipped on its side. This chart gives us a 10,000 year history - almost the entire Holocene period.

The author - our friend Holzhouser - says, "Around the middle of the 19th Century, alpine glaciers advanced to their last maximum extension within the Holocene." Think about that. If anything is worthy of the description unique and unprecedented so beloved of global warming scaremongers it's that 1860 maximum advance of the glaciers. That advance was so alarming that the Catholic church organized processions to pray for the halting of the advancing tongue of ice as it gobbled up precious pastureland. It worked! The priests prayed and the beast retreated. The subsequent retreat is no more alarming than the tide going out; it is entirely within the range of historical variation.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

What if it was the Sun?

Rather than carbon dioxide being the be-all and end-all of global temperature, there exist other possible "drivers", such as variations in the sun's activity. The IPCC shows CO2 as the great bete noire:

The Svensmark hypothesis runs like this: Solar wind deflects galactic cosmic rays to a greater or lesser extent. Variation in the arrival of cosmic rays, which create vapour trails, causes variation in cloud cover. More cloud causes cooler days and warmer nights, but the effect of cooler days is the greater. An active sun therefore results in clear skies and a warmer world; a sleepy sun results in cold decades. Since the turn of the millennium our star seems to be going back to the sleepy ways of two centuries ago when there were cool summers and cold winters. Whether the two events - very low sunspots and global cooling - were commected is an open question.

The following truism deserves repeating several times a day: Correlation is not Causality. Let's say it again: Correlation is not causality! Consider the following graph:

Did the rock music cause the oil production or was it the other way round?

Both sceptics and warmists must avoid declaring causality on the shaky grounds of pattern-matching. Pattern-spotting is human: we all do it. Pattern spotting can lead to a reasonable conjecture: "Maybe this is the explanation of that pattern", one might say. And then the real work starts: confirming or refuting the hypothesis. If confirmed, the new science will lead to firm predictions, repeatability, verifiability by others. If Svensmark is right we'll soon know: it'll get darn cold.
Back in 2001 our star looked like this:

The eleven-year cycle observed for centuries seems to have stalled. Here is today's sun:

A cooling sun? If it's true we may get an early confirmation without waiting for sea ice in the English Channel:  the CERN research centre is due to report later in the year. Their CLOUD project is intended to confirm or refute Svensmark.

The Svensmark hypothesis may turn out to be a crock. But carbon dioxide hypothesis - simpler and dumber - has managed to sway multibillion dollar government decisions. Misrepresented as "settled" science, the CO2 hoax has hijacked the agenda. Svensmark, if right, will blow the CO2 hypothesis out of the water and demolish the political rationale behind cap-and-trade and thousands of windmills.

The onus is on the Warmists to prove their hypothesis. As atmospheric CO2 continues to rise and global temperatures since 1998 refuse to, the Global Warming theory is a busted flush. The lack of integrity of the unprincipled scoundrels peddling this mtyh - and their pernicious hidden agenda - prevents them from conceding defeat. The pseudoscientists of the IPCC will stay on the gravy train until an outraged public drags 'em off it.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Ode to Global Warming

(To the melody of I Believed in Father Christmas)

They said that the world was warming,
They said we were going to fry,
They gave us the direst warnings,
Repent for the end is nigh

And I believed in global warming
I fell for a big fat lie
But listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

They priced up our carbon footprints
They filled us with guilt and sin
Indulgences sold to order
To offset the mess we’re in

And I believed in global warming
I fell for a big fat lie
But listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

Aloft with their sacred powers
The priests read the runes of old
The kings from their iv’ry towers
Went off on a quest for gold

Don’t believe in global warming
Don’t fall for a big fat lie
Listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Carbon Monomania

However did the Greenshirts manage to simplify the mindbogglingly complex field of climate down to a single variable: carbon dioxide? (That is, without being laughed out of town.) A generation ago Benoit Mandelbrot and other founders of Chaos Theory demonstrated that fractal systems must defeat the mightest Kray computer. Blind to the limits so defined, the numpties of the Hockey Team try to guess the weather* in 2100AD based solely on the useful trace gas found in beer.

A tenacious dude called Justthefacts contributed this guest post to the award-winning Watts Up With That website in July 2011. With great stamina he talks us through the many variables which have - or may have - an impact on the climate:

And the Watermelons** would have us believe that rising CO2 caused the 1975-1998 TWWP***? There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


*Weather: something very hard to guess beyond next week. Do not confuse with Climate: the weather at a future date after the career and natural life of the predictor.

**Watermelons: Lapsed Trots who have migrated to environmental extremism: green on the outside and red on the inside.

***Teeny Weeny Warm Period

More About Psychology than Physics

The Great Global Warming Debate seems (on the surface, at least) to be a question of science where opinions should count for nothing and verifiable hypotheses for everything. In general the prevailing theory explains the world until a better one comes along to displace it. If you try to disprove the laws of thermodynamics - go on, give it a go! - you'll make history if you succeed. You'll be revered.

Science is subject to something called "Popperian falsifiability", after the great science philosopher Karl Popper. Popper argued that a theory can be considered scientific only if subject to falsifiability. That is, if false it can be refuted by observation or experiment. In contrast, political ideas can be as wacky as yer like: even the most discredited ideas manage some sort of following. And as for religious 'truths'... (ah, you can complete the sentence for me).

The new religion of global warmism is immune to falsifiability. To every refutation there is an equal and opposite riposte. It is unfalsifiable. If the Britain disappears under a ten mile sheet of ice the Warmistas can sneer, "Huh! It would've been twenty miles thick but for greenhouse gases." I have on several occasions volunteered my acceptance criteria: I will accept Global Warming if (you guessed it) the..... globe warms. Specifically, if the annual mean temperature anomaly of the GISS data series exceeds 1.0C in three of the years in the current decade I'll surrender. When I challenge Warmists to state their falsifiability criteria the reply is along the lines of, "Ahhhh, no, you can't get us on THAT one! No sir! If the inevitable warming is delayed by a few years it'll be along at some later time." Substitute for the word warming for The Second Coming or The Galactic Spacefleet and the warped self-sustaining logic is just as evident.

Since time immemorial Man has had a deep-seated need to fear an apocalypse. Our ancestors feared great floods and barbarians at the gates. They feared flying saucers and commie domino effects. They feared anarchists poisoning the reservoirs and divine termination of this wicked world. Video flagare; audio clamare. Global Warming is merely the latest millennial fear; a neoapocalyptic Armageddon myth.

Is it a giant hoax; a worldwide conspiracy? I think not. I think that the maniacs peddling this scare story sincerely believe thier own nonsense. They're genuinely deluded. Listen to the coach of the Hockey Team, Michael Mann:

That's what science* is up against.


*'Science' does not include the bankrupt numerological discipline of Climatography which has been stripped of its 'ology'. They barely deserve an 'ography'.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Climate Porn: Drowning Dogs and Exploding Children

In 2009 the UK government spent £6m on a TV propaganda campaign aimed at families. Energy usage, it explained in dulcet tones, is tantamount to murder. Those who consume energy, and create a heinous carbon footprint, will cause the seas to rise and drown us. A cartoon dog disappears beneath the waves, and a child with beautiful eyes sees how wicked it is to use energy.

Courtesy of and Youtube, you can watch the most disgraceful example of propaganda since Goebbels:

Running a close second is a UK TV advert by 10:10 Ltd. With wry sense of humour (/sarc off/) and high production values, the murder of citizens reluctant to moderate their carbon footprints is portrayed. A button is pressed, some sci-fi-fantasy subcutaneous bomb explodes inside the victims, and we the viewers laugh nervously at the black humour of filmmakers who would threaten the recalcitrant with violence:

These Greenshirts.... they wouldn't, would they? They couldn't, could they? But.... they'd like to, wouldn't they?

Living With Four Degrees

In 2009 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a play entitled "Getting To Four Degrees".

At first sight it's ironic: a sendup of the most Pythonesque excesses of Global Warming alarmism. But, a few minutes in, the sane listener realises that the comedy is unintentional: the play is utterly serious; devoid of humour. The millions of climate refugees heading for Britain and being billeted on unwilling families no joke, they forecast this. The Coastal Relocation Authority banging on the door and evicting people from their houses: no joke, they forecast this.

Interspersed with the fictional portrayal of a world blighted by Global Warming are some experts. There's a University professor who says - and I quote - “I mean there are some things in science, you know, gravity will remain roughly the same, there will be lots of things in science that remain the same. And therefore we can say quite a lot about the physical makeup of the world. And if you know there’s 9 million billion people in there about how they may respond.”

I hesitate to name the distinguished academic from Manchester University. Follow this link to hear him condemn himself with his own equine faecal matter:

Now, who would like to speculate at the intellectual processes of the people who advocate the suspension of civil liberties with such great ease?