Monthly Archives: August 2013

Solar energy increased at Earth’s surface from 1979-2011

Herman, J., DeLand, M. T., Huang, L.-K., Labow, G., Larko, D., Lloyd, S. A., Mao, J., Qin, W., and Weaver, C.: A net decrease in the Earth’s cloud, aerosol, and surface 340 nm reflectivity during the past 33 yr (1979–2011), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8505-8524, doi:10.5194/acp-13-8505-2013, 2013.

Measured upwelling radiances from Nimbus-7 SBUV (Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet) and seven NOAA SBUV/2 instruments have been used to calculate the 340 nm Lambertian equivalent reflectivity (LER) of the Earth from 1979 to 2011 after applying a common calibration. The 340 nm LER is highly correlated with cloud and aerosol cover because of the low surface reflectivity of the land and oceans (typically 2 to 6 RU, reflectivity units, where 1 RU = 0.01 = 1.0%) relative to the much higher reflectivity of clouds plus nonabsorbing aerosols (typically 10 to 90 RU). Because of the nearly constant seasonal and long-term 340 nm surface reflectivity in areas without snow and ice, the 340 nm LER can be used to estimate changes in cloud plus aerosol amount associated with seasonal and interannual variability and decadal climate change. The annual motion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), episodic El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and latitude-dependent seasonal cycles are apparent in the LER time series. LER trend estimates from 5° zonal average and from 2° × 5° , latitude × longitude, time series show that there has been a global net decrease in 340 nm cloud plus aerosol reflectivity. The decrease in cos2(latitude) weighted average LER from 60° S to 60° N is 0.79 ± 0.03 RU over 33 yr, corresponding to a 3.6 ± 0.2% decrease in LER. Applying a 3.6% cloud reflectivity perturbation to the shortwave energy balance partitioning given by Trenberth et al. (2009) corresponds to an increase of 2.7 W m−2 of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface and an increase of 1.4% or 2.3 W m−2 absorbed by the surface, which is partially offset by increased longwave cooling to space. Most of the decreases in LER occur over land, with the largest decreases occurring over the US (−0.97 RU decade−1), Brazil (−0.9 RU decade−1), and central Europe (−1.35 RU decade−1). There are reflectivity increases near the west coast of Peru and Chile (0.8 ± 0.1 RU decade−1), over parts of India, China, and Indochina, and almost no change over Australia. The largest Pacific Ocean change is −2 ± 0.1 RU decade−1 over the central equatorial region associated with ENSO. There has been little observed change in LER over central Greenland, but there has been a significant decrease over a portion of the west coast of Greenland. Similar significant decreases in LER are observed over a portion of the coast of Antarctica for longitudes −160° to −60° and 80° to 150°.

click here for full paper (Open Source)

Modern beliefs, social practices prevent healthy brain development in children

“Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame.”

click here for press release.

Climate models have greatly exaggerated warming

John C. Fyfe, Nathan P. Gillett, and Francis W. Zwiers. Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years. Nature Climate Change, 3: 767–769 (2013). DOI:doi:10.1038/nclimate1972

Recent observed global warming is significantly less than that simulated by climate models. This difference might be explained by some combination of errors in external forcing, model response and internal climate variability.

For additional discussion of this paper, click here.

Click here for the paper (fee).

Dr. Michael Mann quotes Bertrand Russell. Exposes a fatal flaw?

Dr. Michael Mann quotes Bertrand Russell to argue against what he labels the climate “skeptic”…..basically he is name calling again. I guess using his definition I would be a skeptic, and stupid.

Having lost the argument from science, name calling is about the only thing left to further his views. He does not realize that the science has now bypassed his prior work. But to quote Bertrand Russell in order to criticize what he calls “skeptics” as being stupid is to make a fatal philosophical error, one that I believe deals a serious death blow to everything he has ever claimed. I elaborate on this further down below this screen shot documentationupdated mann russell.

Bertrand Russell, quoted by Mann, was brilliant. (Unfortunately his brilliance failed him when it came to Christianity, but my response to Russell’s Why I am Not a Christian is for another time and place.)

Even so, I couldn’t imagine a philosophy student today worth his/her salt not having read, or at least having heard of Russell’s The Problems of Philosophy published in 1912.

In Chapter 6 of that work Russell deals forthrightly with the problem of induction. Today it is also known as the uniformity of nature. Let’s begin with an illustration from Russell himself to frame the issue. To quote from chapter 6:

“Let us take an illustration a matter about which none of us, in fact, feel the slightest doubt. We are all convinced that the sun will rise to-morrow. Why? Is this belief a mere blind outcome of past experiences, or can it be justified as a reasonable belief? It is not easy to find a test by which to ascertain what sort of general beliefs would suffice, if true, to justify the judgement that the sun will rise to-morrow, and the many other similar judgements upon which our actions are based.”

In simpler terms, on what basis can we assume that the future will be like the past. If we say we know the future will be like the past because past futures have always been like their past we are begging the question, which in effect is giving a non-answer. In the case of the sun, we could say that because the laws of motion will remain in operation until tomorrow. But that is unsatisfactory as well. On what basis can we proceed with the expectation that the laws of motion will remain in operation until tomorrow? Appealing to probability yields the same result. We are back where we started. The inductive principle, Russell concludes, cannot be proved by any appeal to experience.

More could be said about the various nuances of the problem of induction. But let’s move to on to Russell’s conclusion on the matter:

“The general principles of science, such as the belief in the reign of law, and the belief that every event must have a cause, are as completely dependent upon the inductive principle as are the beliefs of daily life. All such general principles are believed because mankind have found innumerable instances of their truth and no instances of their falsehood. But this affords no evidence for their truth in the future, unless the inductive principle is assumed.”

So, we have reached bottom. The principle of induction must be assumed. There is no rational basis, in Russell’s view, for assuming the uniformity of nature. Of course, philosophers should be very familiar with the induction problem which was first argued by David Hume.

In effect, the underlying foundation of all of Dr. Mann’s work (and my work, and every other scientist) is based on an assumption of uniformity, explicitly or implicitly.

So, for there to be catastrophic global warming, we must assume uniformity of nature right out of the box. But within the naturalistic, materialism governing science today, there is no basis for this assumption. Indeed, within such a naturalistic worldview, we progress swiftly into the future in a random, undirected, purposeless manner. Yet arguments for a global temperature hockey stick depend on induction, or that nature is uniform, an obvious contradiction.

Further, tree rings have been studied and used to reconstruct past temperatures and make temperature projections into the future. I do not fault any one for doing such studies for I think they can be useful, though not for decision making.

Very simply, what I am asking Dr. Mann is:  On what basis can it be assumed that the future will be like the past, or that the past is a reliable record of its future? In science as well as philosophy, an assumption must be justified, otherwise it is simply arbitrary and there is no rational reason to believe it versus another view. For an assumption to be justified, there must be some rational basis for it.

So, Dr. Mann, I would like to know: 

What is the rational basis for assuming induction in your work?  

On what basis do you assume that your mind is reliable and that your thoughts can be trusted, if the natural world is mindless, purposeless, unguided, and has no uniformity (as assumed by materialism).

Induction must be assumed at each step in your analysis of tree rings, that the tree rings you have examined represent the actual tree rings of the tree when it was alive, and that the ring characteristics have some relationship to air temperature which did not change over time? On what rational basis do you proceed with the expectation of uniformity of nature required as an underlying assumption in this analysis?

On what basis do you proceed with the expectation that the atmospheric processes you claim will generate catastrophic global warming, but have not accurately described or justified, will still be active in the future? Or were active in the past in the same way as today? Or will even be active tomorrow?

On what rational basis do you proceed to do science, when the conduct of science itself must assume induction as a precondition?

If the underlying assumption of induction must be made in the analysis leading to the claim that future global temperatures will increase in the shape of a hockey stick, what is the rational basis of this assumption? Indeed, if there is no rational basis for it, why should anyone take the hockey stick claim (or any of your work) seriously?

I have an answer for justifying the uniformity of nature, one that you will probably not like. But my answer is based on evidence, is rational, and reflects a worldview that enables us to make sense of the world around us, a worldview which I contend has no rival.

But, after you, Dr. Mann. What are your answers to the above questions? Then I’ll be glad to share mine and discuss further.

Old arguments recycled, ignoring best available science

In this column Dr. Michael Mann recycles old arguments in defending his hockey stick and his point of view (click here). He is certainly entitled to believe what he wants to, but the peer-reviewed science has over taken him and now his arguments are outdated.

He does not realize that his arguments and point of view have been overtaken by more recent scientific studies. Click here….

Positive effects of lowering fluoride in drinking water in Southern China

Shaoxian Chen, Boling Li, Shao Lin, Yixiang Huang, Xinhua Zhao, Min Zhang, Yuan Xia, Xiaoheng Fang, Junyi Wang, Syni-An Hwang, Shouyi Yu. Change of urinary fluoride and bone metabolism indicators in the endemic fluorosis areas of southern china after supplying low fluoride public water. BMC Public Health. 2013, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1-10.

Background: Few studies have evaluated health impacts, especially biomarker changes, following implementation of a new environmental policy. This study examined changes in water fluoride, urinary fluoride (UF), and bone metabolism indicators in children after supplying low fluoride public water in endemic fluorosis areas of Southern China. We also assessed the relationship between UF and serum osteocalcin (BGP), calcitonin (CT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and bone mineral density to identify the most sensitive bone metabolism indicators related to fluoride exposure.

Methods: Four fluorosis-endemic villages (intervention villages) in Guangdong, China were randomly selected to receive low-fluoride water. One non-endemic fluorosis village with similar socio-economic status, living conditions, and health care access, was selected as the control group. 120 children aged 6-12 years old were randomly chosen from local schools in each village for the study. Water and urinary fluoride content as well as serum BGP, CT, ALP and bone mineral density were measured by the standard methods and compared between the children residing in the intervention villages and the control village. Benchmark dose (BMD) and benchmark dose lower limit (BMDL) were calculated for each bone damage indicator.

Results: Our study found that after water source change, fluoride concentrations in drinking water in all intervention villages (A-D) were significantly reduced to 0.11 mg/l, similar to that in the control village (E). Except for Village A where water change has only been taken place for 6 years, urinary fluoride concentrations in children of the intervention villages were lower or comparable to those in the control village after 10 years of supplying new public water. The values of almost all bone indicators in children living in Villages B-D and ALP in Village A were either lower or similar to those in the control village after the intervention. CT and BGP are sensitive bone metabolism indicators related to UF. While assessing the temporal trend of different abnormal bone indicators after the intervention, bone mineral density showed the most stable and the lowest abnormal rates over time.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that supplying low fluoride public water in Southern China is successful as measured by the reduction of fluoride in water and urine, and changes in various bone indicators to normal levels. A comparison of four bone indicators showed CT and BGP to be the most sensitive indicators.

Click here for full paper (Open Source).

Solar and wind energy receive greater government subsidies

Wall Street Journal article can be read here.