The Week That Was
November 9, 2002

1. KILIMANJARO MAY WELL BE SHRINKING (as Prof Lonnie Thompson observes) BUT TEMPERATURES THERE ARE DECLINING (as Fred Singer writes in the NY Times)









2A. Better detection, not global warming, behind increase in large Antarctic icebergs

Contrary to opinions held by some researchers, a new analysis of more than 20 years of historical data has found no evidence that the increasing number of large icebergs off Antarctica's coasts is a result of global warming trends.

"The dramatic increase in the number of large icebergs as recorded by the National Ice Center database does not represent a climatic change," said Brigham Young University electrical engineering professor David Long, who, with Cheryl Bertoia of the U. S. National Ice Center, reports these findings in the new issue of EOS Transactions, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. "Our reanalysis suggests that the number of icebergs remained roughly constant from 1978 to the late 1990s."

"Dr. Long's analysis shows that the increase is only an 'apparent increase,' and that it is premature to think of any connection between this kind of iceberg (growth) and global warming," said Douglas MacAyeal, a University of Chicago glaciologist who tracks icebergs. "His research, particularly that with his amazing ability to detect and track icebergs, is really the best method" for determining the actual rate of the creation of icebergs.

Using BYU's supercomputers, long enhanced images of the waters around Antarctica transmitted by satellite. Comparing this data to records from the federal government's National Ice Center, which tracks icebergs larger than ten miles on one side, he determined that previous tracking measures were inadequate, resulting in a gross undercounting. An additional recent spike in large icebergs can be explained by periodic growth and retraction of the large glaciers that yield icebergs every 40 to 50 years, he said, noting previous research done by other scientists.

Long is careful to distinguish between the birth of large icebergs and the widely publicized collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf last year, which yielded many smaller icebergs. Other scientists have clearly shown, Long said, that event was the result of localized warming.

Referring to his current study, he said, "This data set is not evidence of global warming. Nor does it refute global warming."

Long and his student assistants have pioneered the use of images generated from the SeaWinds-on-QuikSCAT satellite for tracking icebergs. The NASA satellite carries a device called a scatterometer, which measures the wind speed and direction by recording the reflection of radar beams as they bounce off ocean waves. Until recently, the resolution of the images generated by the scatterometer was too low to distinguish icebergs. Long's team developed a computer processing technique that produces images sharp enough to reliably track icebergs.

The BYU group has been working with the National Ice Center since 1999, when Long rediscovered a massive iceberg, the size of Rhode Island, threatening Argentine-shipping lanes. The Ice Center had lost track of it because of cloudy skies.

Ref: D.G. Long et al, Is the number of icebergs really increasing? Eos 83, No 42, Oct 24, 2002

2B. Antarctic sea ice season lengthens overall

Ref: Parkinson, C.L. Trends in the length of the southern Ocean sea-ice season, 1979-99. Annals of Glaciology 34: 435-440, 2002.

What was done?

Satellite passive-microwave data were used to calculate and map the length of the sea-ice season throughout the Southern Ocean for each year of the period 1979-99.

What was learned?

Over the 21 years of the study, most of the Ross Sea has, in the words of the author, "undergone a lengthening of the sea-ice season, whereas most of the Amundsen Sea ice cover and almost the entire Bellingshausen Sea ice cover have undergone a shortening of the sea-ice season," while "results for the Weddell Sea are mixed." Overall, Parkinson reports that "the area of the Southern Ocean experiencing a lengthening of the sea-ice season by at least 1 day per year over the period 1979-99 is 5.6 x 106 km2, whereas the area experiencing a shortening of the sea-ice season by at least 1 day per year is 46% less than that, at 3.0 x 106 km2."

What it means?

Although different sea-ice trends are clearly occurring in different sectors of the Southern Ocean, there is no question that "a much larger area of the Southern Ocean experienced an overall lengthening of the sea-ice season over the 21 years 1979-99 than experienced a shortening," according to the author, which, according to simple logic, is absolutely contrary to what would be expected in a world that climate alarmists claim was concurrently experiencing a warming they describe as unprecedented over the past thousand years.

Copyright © 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


3. The IPCC Hockey Stick is contradicted by other paleo-data and by solar observations

In 1999, a paper Dr. Michael Mann (Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts) et al., published in `Geophysical Research Letters' altered the whole landscape of how climate history of the past 1000 years was to be interpreted. It also stood in stark contrast to other analyses of proxy data and to the challenge posed by the solar scientists.

The infamous `Hockey Stick' was adopted by the IPCC to claim that the 20th century was the warmest in 1000 years.

Using tree rings as a basis for assessing past temperature changes back to the year 1,000 AD, supplemented by other proxies from more recent centuries, Mann completely redrew the history, turning the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age into non-events .

From his diagram, the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age have disappeared, to be replaced by a largely benign and slightly cooling linear trend in climate - until 1850 AD. . His climate record shows no evidence of solar influences but matches more or less the concentration of atmospheric CO2.

In every other science when such a drastic revision of previously accepted knowledge is promulgated, there is considerable debate and initial skepticism, the new theory facing a gauntlet of criticism and intense review. Only if a new idea survives that process does it become broadly accepted by the scientific peer group and the public at large.

This never happened with Mann's `Hockey Stick'. The coup was total, bloodless, and swift as Mann's paper was greeted with a chorus of uncritical approval from the greenhouse industry. Within the space of only 12 months, the theory had become entrenched as a new orthodoxy.

The ultimate consummation of the new theory came with the release of the draft of the Third Assessment Report (TAR-2000) of the IPCC. Overturning its own previous view in the 1995 report, the IPCC presented the `Hockey Stick' as the new orthodoxy with hardly an apology or explanation for the abrupt U-turn since its 1995 report. They could not even offer any scientific justification for their new line.

Before and since the Mann, Bradley, Hughes paper, other analyses showed large climate variability in the past 1000 years, with a medieval warm period (MWP) temperature maximum around 1100AD, followed by the Little Ice Age (LIA) from about 1270 to 1850AD. The final blow to the Hockey stick has come from Lonnie Thompson et al (Science 298, 589-593, 2002) who report a LIA in the tropics. Their finding contradicts the IPCC claim that the LIA was a local event confined to NH high latitudes and Europe.


4. From Jim Hansen's E-mail to Climate Skeptics (10/27/02)

"I would not be surprised at all if, when an unusual injection of CO2 is put into the air, as it has been, that there are some pathways for some of it to get out of the air, into the ocean, land, biosphere. The question is how large those pathways are -- minor or substantial The growth of CO2 in the air has been smaller, given the magnitude of the fossil fuel injection, than most carbon cycle people would have predicted, so maybe some path(s) are significant. As years go by we will get more empirical data on this, so it is interesting. That is why I like to make graphs of the data, e.g., the ratio of "air borne" CO2 to fossil fuel emissions. I have no expertise on this at all, but my gut feeling is that the experts have understated somewhat the ability of the ocean and biosphere to take up excess CO2, but the jury is still out."


5. Length of growing season and CO2

From CO2 Science Magazine, 23 October 2002

Climate model predictions of global warming suggest that a number of climate, weather and biological phenomena will be affected by the atmosphere's increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. One such phenomenon is the length of the growing season, which is projected by the models to increase in direct response to a rise in global temperature. In this summary, we review several studies that have examined growing season trends and whether they can properly be attributed to CO2-induced global warming.

For the period 1930 to 1998, Kozlov and Berlina (2002) examined several phenological variables to look for possible changes in the length of the growing season in the taiga forests of northern Russia. No trend in the date of first snow was detected, but the date of permanent snow cover in the forests began 13 days earlier at the end of the study period than at its beginning. In addition, snow around tree-trunks was found to melt 16 days later in the spring at the end of the record. The duration of the snow-free period in the forests also decreased by 20 days over the 68-year period, while the ice-free period of lakes decreased by 15 days. Comparison of the above trends with seasonal precipitation data failed to provide an explanation for the observations.

Kozlov and Berlina note that the results of their study "clearly contradict the expected regional warming" that is championed by believers in CO2-induced global warming. In fact, the data represent such a dramatic contradiction of the climate-alarmist thesis that the authors openly questioned whether something was wrong with their data. However, as they report, "close scrutiny of the original records, protocols, and other relevant information did not reveal any possible source of error." Thus, they confidently concluded that the length of the growing season on the Kola Peninsula "really declined during the past 60 years due to both delayed spring and advanced autumn/winter."

Elsewhere, Menzel and Fabian (1999) report different results for the growing season in Europe, although their findings apply to a much shorter period of time. In a study of 30 years of phenological data derived from observations of identical clones of trees and shrubs maintained by the European network of the International Phenological Gardens - which network is located within the area bounded by latitudes 42 and 69° N and by longitudes 10° W and 27° E - they determined that the mean date of spring bud-break had advanced by fully six days since the early 1960s, while leaf senescence in the fall had been delayed by an average of 4.8 days over the same period. Thus, for this much shorter interval of time, Menzel and Fabian reported an approximate eleven-day increase in the growing season.

What is the source of the apparent discrepancy between the results of the two papers noted above? The answer may lie in the degree to which the North Atlantic Oscillation influences climate at the two locations. According to D'Odorico et al. (2002) - who investigated the possibility that earlier onsets of the growing season in Europe are due to warmer winters that are associated with a change in the phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) - "spring phenology in Europe is found to be significantly affected by the North Atlantic Oscillation," with high-NAO (warm) winters hastening the occurrence of spring phenophases (budburst and bloom), as well as the production, release, dispersal and transport of pollen. In fact, they describe the relationship between the dependence of the onset of the pollen season on the phases of the NAO as nothing short of remarkable. They also identified "a significant degree of dependence between NAO and spring cryophenology in northern-central Europe," with high-NAO phases being characterized by warmer winters leading to earlier dates of ice breakup. In accomplishing this task, D'Odorico et al. determined the NAO index dependency of the dates of first leafing and blooming in a number of different plants, the time of pollen season initiation, and the beginning dates of ice breakup on several lakes. Hence, if changes in the NAO largely explain "both the high- and the low-frequency variability of plant phenology," as these authors have shown, there's not much need to invoke anything else as their cause, including global warming.

Moving to the United States, Robeson (2002) used daily minimum air temperature data for the period 1906-1997 obtained from 36 U.S. Historical Climatology Network stations in the state of Illinois to calculate the date of last spring freeze, the date of first fall freeze, and the resulting length of the freeze-free growing season. They report that, "(1) the date of the last spring freeze is nearly one week earlier now than it was 100 years ago, (2) fall freeze dates have not changed in a systematic fashion, and (3) the growing season is nearly one week longer now," which directly follows from observations 1 and 2.

With respect to the first of these observations, Robeson notes that it is driven by the century-long amelioration of the very coldest spring minimum temperatures and not by a uniform upward shift (warming) of the entire distribution of all minimum temperatures for the month in which they normally occur, i.e., April. Likewise, he notes that the second phenomenon is a result of the fact that the very coldest autumn minimum temperatures have not changed all that much over the century of record, in spite of the fact that the entire distribution of all minimum temperatures for the month in which they normally occur, i.e., October, actually cooled at a very significant rate. The complexity of the results makes it difficult to point to a particular forcing mechanism that could be responsible for the observed trends.

Lastly, White et al. (1999) investigated growing season length over an 88-year period (1900-1987) for twelve sites in the eastern deciduous broadleaf forest of the United States, noting that ten-day growing season length decreases were characteristically observed over periods of one to two decades throughout the 88-year study period, while increases of the same magnitude occurred in as little as four to six years. Thus, recent observations of seven- to eight-day increases in growing season length in high northern latitudes over the past decade or so (Myneni et al., 1997; Zhou et al., 2001), which have been suggested by some to be evidence of CO2-induced global warming, are, according to White et al., "neither unusual nor necessarily a sign of permanent climate change."

In conclusion, it does not appear that changes in the length of the growing season can be construed as evidence of CO2-induced global warming.
SEPP Comment: These results are not surprising. Satellite data (since 1979) show regions of warming at NH midlatitudes (esp. NW Europe and eastern Siberia)

D'Odorico, P., Yoo, J-C. and Jaeger, S. 2002. Changing seasons: An effect of the North Atlantic Oscillation? Journal of Climate 15: 435-445.

Kozlov, M.V. and Berlina, N.G. 2002. Decline in length of the summer season on the Kola Peninsula, Russia. Climatic Change 54: 387-398.

Menzel, A. and Fabian, P. 1999. Growing season extended in Europe. Nature 397: 659.

Myneni, R.C., Keeling, C.D., Tucker, C.J., Asrar, G. and Nemani, R.R. 1997. Increased plant growth in the northern high latitudes from 1981 to 1991. Nature 386: 698-702.

Robeson, S.M. 2002. Increasing growing-season length in Illinois during the 20th century. Climatic Change 52: 219-238.

White, M.A., Running, S.W. and Thornton, P.E. 1999. The impact of growing-season length variability on carbon assimilation and evapotranspiration over 88 years in the eastern US deciduous forest. International Journal of Biometeorology 42: 139-145.

Zhou, L., Tucker, C.J., Kaufmann, R.K., Slayback, D., Shabanov, N.V. and Myneni, R.B. 2001. Variations in northern vegetation activity inferred from satellite data of vegetation index during 1981 to 1999. Journal of Geophysical Research 106: 20,069-20,083.

Copyright © 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


6. Fixing global warming costs 'next to nothing' say "experts"

[SEPP comment: This is not our story. We put the quotes around "experts"]

A Swedish economist says fixing global warming now will have next to no impact on the long-term global economy. He uses the same economic data as those who tell President George Bush that industry will suffer if he stops them polluting. People are expected to be five times richer in 100 years time but the new study says that will be delayed by just two years if politicians act now.

Christian Azar, a Swedish energy economist, teamed up with US climate scientist Stephen Schneider to carry out the study. They believe their work will persuade the public that acting now will bring few hardships.

Azar says he has based his work on the same figures used by Bush's advisors but claims his report just puts the cost in context. Those advisors predict stabilizing carbon dioxide at twice their pre-industrial levels would cost between $1 trillion and $8 trillion.

Although that sounds like a lot, Schneider says the same economists predict a 2% annual economic growth rate, which would almost mask the long-term cost. Schneider claims "To be 10 times richer in 2100 versus 2102 would hardly be noticed."

He adds: "The wild rhetoric about enslaving the poor and bankrupting the economy to do climate policy is fallacious, even if one accepts the conventional economic models."
The paper is published in the Journal of Ecological Economics.

SEPP Comments: Stabilizing CO2 levels require more severe emission restrictions than called for by Kyoto and must involve the developing nations as well. Of course, Azar/Schneider never consider the benefits that could be derived from alternative uses of $1 to 8 trillion. Both authors serve on the Editorial Board of the journal; we wonder who peer-reviewed their study.


7. News from COP-8
The Times of India Oct 30, 2002

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday hit out at the industrial nations for demanding greater commitments from developing countries for preventing climate change. Vajpayee said developing countries should not be set the same targets as rich countries when it comes to emission reduction.

Developing countries, however, have to make inventories of their emission levels and develop national action plans for cutting them back -- with financial and technical help from developed nations.

"Per capita greenhouse gas emissions (of developing countries) are only a fraction of the world average and in order of magnitude below that of many developed countries… This situation will not change for several decades to come. We do not believe that the ethos of democracy can support any norm other than equal per-capita rights to global environment resources," Vajpayee said

The UN conference [COP-8] in New Delhi, in which 169 countries are participating, is focusing on future action needed to tackle global warming and preparatory work to be done ahead of the Kyoto Protocol coming into force early next year.


8. Professor Fred Singer answers Prof. Kanestroem in the latest issue of "Teknisk Ukeblad" (Vol. 149, No. 38, page 46; dated Oct. 24, 2002). His answer is titled "Riktig paastand".
Singer's answer is also found on the Web, dated Oct. 18, 2002:



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