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UN climate claims ‘based on student essay’

I picked this up at ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company).  There is a lot of talk about Climategate and Glaciergate but now we find a new instance of the IPCC reports that were not based on peer-reviewed scientific information.

Now that the IPCC has admitted one problem, it is obvious that everyone is going to go through every claim with a fine-tooth comb. For the sake of the IPCC, I hope that there aren’t more problems discovered. If there are, then the entire global warming conversation will take a significant move towards skepticism.  It is interesting that this is almost precisely the problem that Michael Crichton described in his novel on global warming “A State of Fear” and why he spoke out about the issue of bad scientific discover.

A Glacier Meltdown – The Himalayas and climate science.

An excellent opinion in the Wall Street Journal. It is absolutely amazing that there are so few media companies that try to get the story straight.

Last November, U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri delivered a blistering rebuke to India’s environment minister for casting doubt on the notion that global warming was causing the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening,” the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the Guardian newspaper. “I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

UN climate change expert: there could be more errors in report

I am absolutely amazed at the arrogance of Dr. Rajendra Pachauri when he says “It was a collective failure by a number of people. I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. Its best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.” How can you legitimately say that he is running an international agency that is designed to collate the scientific truth when he says this. He needs to own up to a massive mistake that has caused nations around the world to take massive actions to curb industry.

From Times Online:

The Indian head of the UN climate change panel defended his position yesterday even as further errors were identified in the panel’s assessment of Himalayan glaciers.

A Tour of the Cryosphere 2009

I first saw this on Net-Cool which is a great site to subscribe to for finding really interesting things on the web.

This movie explains some of the reasons of concern for monitoring the increase in temperatures that we have felt since the 1960s.  It is very well done and enjoyable to watch.  Unlike An Inconvenient Truth, it admits that this is not pure imagery but some CGI has been done.

If you can handle the bandwidth, you will see better graphics here rather than watching the embedded YouTube video below.

New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

All that being said, I tend to agree with the core of their opinion. The United States should concentrate more on natural gas. It would most likely help the environment and it would help to lessen the choke hold that foreign interests have on our economy.

The following parts of their opinion appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

Harnessing this large supplyplus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sourcesis essential to achieve three strategic national priorities:

Energy security: The internal combustion engine makes us dependent on oil that’s concentrated in a handful of countries in some of the world’s most volatile regions. In June, we imported 374 million barrels of oil, nearly two-thirds of what we used, at a cost of $24.7 billion. With 70% of imported oil going into cars and trucks, our transportation system is perilously at risk to shaky oil markets and even shakier regimes.

Economic security: Last year more than $155 billion was invested in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and China and India plan to invest hundreds of billions in renewable energy sources. The annual market for clean energy may escalate in the next decade to between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. The race is on.

Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.

Atmospheric Pattern Promoted Rapid Melt of Sea Ice in July

AccuWeather.com has an excellent update on the status of the Arctic ice last month – July 2009.  Looks like the melting was pretty bad.

And here is an image from NSIDC (National Science and Ice Data Center) showing the current ice coverage and the median.

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Scientists and Engineers are upset

If you read this site often, you will know that I am an engineer by training (even though I don’t currently practice). I tend to respect this profession a great deal as being fairly straight-forward and hard working. As a group, they also tend to be a pretty smart bunch.

One of the major trade rags in engineering is C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News). It is edited by Mr. Rudy Baum. If you aren’t in that trade, you would probably never pick up an issue so you may not be familiar with it. I haven’t read the publication in a long time but was recently made aware of a bit of controversy by Climate Depot. While the readers of C&EN are likely not climatologists, the science of CO2 and its affect on the atmosphere is very steeped in chemistry which their target market knows a bit about.

Scientists find bigger than expected polar ice melt

There is no question that our climate has changed slightly compared to 20 years ago.  Most of the data points to increases of temperature and the most significant (and obvious if you are in the Arctic) is the diminished amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean.  While there is some question as to the cause of this melting (see my ocean currents article), there is little question that it is occurring.

This article discusses some of the observations that scientists have seen regarding the ice melt and some possible repercussions.  The article is somewhat refreshing though in that it focuses on what can be observed rather than focusing on what might be causing the warming.  Since it was so evenly reported, I felt it was of significant interest to my readers.

Scientists flip-flop on Antarctic melting

I originally found this opinion in “The Detroit News” and so you can click through and read the entire article.  I really cannot explain this topic better than Mr. Taylor and I suggest that you read my highlights here and then read the full article if it is interesting to you.

Understand that Mr. Taylor works for the Heartland Institute which is known as being pretty close to the edge when it comes to rational discussion on this issue.  However, even people with extremely strong feelings on an issue are not totally wrong and need to be listened to. 

Is it too cold outside to have global warming?

There has been some talk in the press and on some of the blogs that it is too cold in the last couple years to have a global warming trend. Some even say that the warming trend is reversed and it is now going to get colder. There are a variety of people that discuss that the ice caps are re-freezing after having melted which signals that global warming is reversing. Some talk of a local low record that was set at some airport.

The reality is that much of this talk is about weather and not about climate. It is not possible to measure climate within a couple year span. It takes much longer than that to eliminate the various highs and lows from the trend so most climatologists suggest 5-10 years (or longer) before anything is really called climate.