Archive for July, 2013

From the London Evening Standard:

Energy Minister Michael Fallon: The South East must accept fracking
Joe Murphy, Political Editor

nimbyThe South East must accept shale gas exploration for the sake of Britain’s economic future, Energy Minister Michael Fallon declared today.

He stepped after Surrey-based peer Lord Howell caused outrage by saying “desolate” areas of the North East should be targeted instead.

“It cannot be right to confine it to areas of the industrial North,” he told the Evening Standard.

“Shale exists under towns, villages and countryside. Shale gas is everywhere and could well be in quantity under attractive areas of the country as well as industrial areas.”

The Tory minister was cool about the remarks made by Lord Howell of Guildford, who is George Osborne’s father in law and a former Energy Secretary.

“He has apologised and it’s probably best left there,” he said. Lord Howell has been widely condemned by northern politicians and bishops for suggesting drilling should avoid the South.


Bit of a turnaround for the Guardian this. It looks like the ‘Making Science Public’ blog posts Warren Pearce has been running at Nottingham University’s website looking at Dana Nuccitelli’s ‘97% consensus paper have had the opposite effect to that which Dana hoped for. Along with many other well known critics, plus Prof. Mike Hulme, I assisted in giving the 97% consensus paper ‘a bit of a kicking’.


Click to visit Josh’s site – and buy a mug or something.

Are climate sceptics the real champions of the scientific method?
Warren Pearce 30-7-13

Since climate change came to prominence in 1988, the role of scientific knowledge – especially an idea of scientific consensus – has played a starring role in the ensuing academic enquiry/political debate/trench warfare (delete as preferred).

Beyond a depressingly binary characterisation of simply pro or anti-science, I’d argue sceptics cannot simply be written off as anti-science orconspiracy theorists

Many climate sceptics worry climate science cannot be dubbed scientific as it is not falsifiable (as in Popper’s demarcation criterion). They claim that while elements of climate science may be testable in the lab, the complexity of interactions and feedback loops, as well as the levels of uncertainty in climate models, are too high to be a useful basis for public policy. The relationship of observations to these models are also a worry for climate sceptics. In particular, the role of climate sensitivity.

As well as their use of models, the quality of observations themselves have been open to criticism; some of which have been attempts to clean up issues deriving from the messiness of data collection in the real world (eg the positioning of weather stations), while others have focused on perceived weaknesses in the proxy methods required to calculate historic temperature data such as cross-sections of polar ice sheets and fossilised tree rings



Image and illustration courtesy NASA

Big thanks to contributor ‘Scute’ whose fascinating thread on the companionship of the meteor which burst over Chelyabinsk in Russia and the large asteroid which made a close flyby of Earth around the same data has run and run to 600 comments. Now he has come up with a paper on Arxiv which provides another leap forward for the solar-planetary theory we have been working on here for the last three years alongside the evolving body of literature being published with increasing frequency in the field. This theory posits the idea that solar variation is coincident with changes in the disposition of masses in the solar system, i.e. the motion of the planets, and that the reason for this is that there is cybernetic feedback occurring between the planets and the sun. In other words, the level of solar activity affects the planets, and in turn the positions of the planets affect the level of solar activity. For more, look for posts tagged ‘solar system dynamics’ using the ‘Select articles by category’ facility on the left.

The paper is by exoplanet researchers Poppenhaeger et al, and it is about a stellar system HD 189733 which due to it’s uncommon configuration in having both a companion dwarf star and a close-in large planet, a ‘Hot Hupiter’, is able to give us clues about the effects planets can have on their parent star.  By comparing the stage of Stellar evolution of both the main star and the dwarf companion, Poppenhaeger concludes that:

This star is not acting its age, and having a big planet as a companion may be the explanation. It’s possible this hot Jupiter is keeping the star’s rotation and magnetic activity high because of tidal forces, making it behave in some ways like a much younger star.(1)

We consider it a more likely possibility that the stellar angular momentum of HD 189733A has been tidally influenced by the Hot Jupiter, which has inhibited the stellar spin-down enough to enable the star to maintain the relatively high magnetic activity we observe today.(2)


Apparently climate is cooling…

Posted: July 29, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Rebecca Smith calls out Steven Goddard. Place bets now.

My Thanks to Nicola Scafetta for alerting us to his new paper co-authored with Richard Willson. The introductory section has a good condensed history of the solar-planetary theory worth a post in its own right really. But the meat of the paper deals with exciting new findings, including a finer resolution examination of the z-axis component than Ray Tomes or I have done.
Empirical evidences for a planetary modulation of total solar irradiance and the TSI signature of the 1.09-year Earth-Jupiter conjunction cycle
Nicola Scafetta : Richard C. Willson
Astrophysics and Space Science
 Astrophys Space Sci DOI 10.1007/s10509-013-1558-3
Received: 30 April 2013 / Accepted: 2 July 2013

The time series of total solar irradiance (TSI) satellite observations since 1978 provided by ACRIM and PMOD TSI composites are studied. We find empirical evi-dence for planetary-induced forcing and modulation of solar activity. Power spectra and direct data pattern analysis reveal a clear signature of the 1.09-year Earth-Jupiter con- junction cycle, in particular during solar cycle 23 maximum. This appears to suggest that the Jupiter side of the Sun is slightly brighter during solar maxima. The effect is observed when the Earth crosses the Sun-Jupiter conjunction line every 1.09 years. Multiple spectral peaks are ob- served in the TSI records that are coherent with known planetary harmonics such as the spring, orbital and synodic periods among Mercury, Venus, Earth and Jupiter: the Mercury-Venus spring-tidal cycle (0.20 year); the Mercury orbital cycle (0.24 year); the Venus-Jupiter spring-tidal cycle (0.32 year); the Venus-Mercury synodic cycle (0.40 year); the Venus-Jupiter synodic cycle (0.65 year); and the Venus- Earth spring tidal cycle (0.80 year). Strong evidence is also found for a 0.5-year TSI cycle that could be driven by the Earth’s crossing the solar equatorial plane twice a year and may indicate a latitudinal solar-luminosity asymmetry. Be- cause both spring and synodic planetary cycles appear to be present and the amplitudes of their TSI signatures appear enhanced during sunspot cycle maxima, we conjecture that on annual and sub-annual scales both gravitational and electro-magnetic planet-sun interactions and internal non- linear feedbacks may be modulating solar activity. Gravitational tidal forces should mostly stress spring cycles while electro-magnetic forces could be linked to the solar wobbling dynamics, and would mostly stress the synodic cycles. The observed statistical coherence between the TSI records and the planetary harmonics is confirmed by three alternative tests.


My Thanks to Paul Vaughan for alerting me to a new paper which has appeared on ARXIV purporting to rebut Abreu et al’s 2012 paper  ‘Is there a planetary influence on solar activity?’. Paul has something to say about this paper, as well some other matters related.

No evidence for planetary influence on solar activity
R.H. Cameron and M. Schussler

Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 2, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
July 26, 2013

Context. Recently, Abreu et al. (2012, A&A. 548, A88) proposed a long-term modulation of solar activity through tidal effects exerted by the planets. This claim is based upon a comparison of (pseudo-)periodicities derived from records of cosmogenic isotopes with those arising from planetary torques on an ellipsoidally deformed Sun.
Aims. We examined the statistical significance of the reported similarity of the periods.
Methods. The tests carried out by Abreu et al. were repeated with artificial records of solar activity in the form of white or red noise. The tests were corrected for errors in the noise definition as well as in the apodisation and filtering of the random series.
Results. The corrected tests provide probabilities for chance coincidence that are higher than those claimed by Abreu et al. by about 3 and 8 orders of magnitude for white and red noise, respectively. For an unbiased choice of the width of the frequency bins used for the test (a constant multiple of the frequency resolution) the probabilities increase by another two orders of magnitude to 7.5% for red noise and 22% for white noise.
Conclusions. The apparent agreement between the periodicities in records of cosmogenic isotopes as proxies for solar activity and planetary torques is statistically insignificant. There is no evidence for a planetary influence on solar activity.


This essay by Prof. Mike Hulme appears in a document entitled ‘Future directions For Scientific Advice in Whitehall’ published in April this year (coincident with the appointment of Sir Mark Walport as chief scientific advisor).

Mike Hulme

One of the common public expectations of science is that it speaks
authoritatively about the way the physical world works and thereby what the
physical consequences of different human actions and policy interventions
are likely to be. Science and scientists are believed to offer something
different to public life compared to that offered by politicians, journalists,
lawyers, priests or celebrities. But what is meant by ‘authoritative’? And
how does scientific practice best earn and maintain its authority in the
face of public challenge and scepticism? In these few remarks, I want to
explore one important dimension of scientific authority-building, namely
the interplay between the ideas of consensus and dissensus. And I want to
do this using the example of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (the IPCC). The question I wish to answer can be put simply:
does the pronouncement of a scientific consensus on an issue such as
climate change increase or weaken the authority of science? And for whom
exactly are such pronouncements effective – scientists, different publics,
policymakers, politicians?


lagarde-sarkozyL’affaire Lagarde rumbles on. The lady who was recently telling us that unless we all donned sackcloth and ashes and lived in Carbon abstinence we would all be “roasted, toasted fried and boiled” has found herself in even deeper hot water than she was already.

From the Telegraph:

An undated copy of the letter was found at Mrs Lagarde’s flat in Paris during a raid by police investigating a spiralling financial scandal surrounding payments to businessman Bernard Tapie.

“I’m on your side to serve you and serve your projects for France,” she said in the letter.

“Use me during the time that suits you best and fits your action and your cast….If you decide to use me, I need you as guide and supporter: without guide, I might be ineffective, without support I might be implausible.”

She signed off: “With my immense admiration, Christine L.”


george-mitchellFrom the New York Times:


George P. Mitchell, the son of a Greek goatherd who capped a career as one of the most prominent independent oilmen in the United States by unlocking immense natural gas and petroleum resources trapped in shale rock formations, died on Friday in Galveston, Tex. He was 94.

On a hunch, Mr. Mitchell began drilling shale rock formations in the Texas dirt fields where he had long pumped oil and gas.

Mr. Mitchell’s role in championing new drilling and production techniques like hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is credited with creating an unexpected natural gas boom in the United States. In a letter to President Obama last year, Daniel Yergin, the energy scholar and author, proposed that Mr. Mitchell be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“It is because of him that we can talk seriously about ‘energy independence,’ ” he said. (Mr. Mitchell did not receive the award.)


Real Science

ScreenHunter_239 Jul. 26 22.08

Share this: President Obama’s Plan to Fight Climate Change | The White House

Actually the ignorance and superstition in the White House is the most extreme on record.

In 2013, more than two-thirds of the US is below normal temperature.

ScreenHunter_240 Jul. 26 22.11

YearTDeptUS.png (688×531)

Forest Fires have been the second quietest on record.

ScreenHunter_241 Jul. 26 22.14

National Interagency Fire Center

Tornadoes have been the quietest on record.

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torngraph-big.png (1000×650)

Obama has had the fewest hurricanes of any president

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Chronological List of All Hurricanes

In 1934, almost the entire country was over 100 degrees.

According to the EPA, the worst heatwaves occurred during the 1930s.

Heat waves occurred with high frequency in the 1930s, and these   remain the most severe heat waves in the U.S. historical record

Obama wants to lead an effort against a problem which doesn’t exist and which he couldn’t do anything about it if it did exist. He has…

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Horror For Arctic Alarmists Deepens

Posted: July 27, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Real Science

ScreenHunter_248 Jul. 27 04.34

COI | Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

Julienne Stroeve made this comment two days ago :

Back when the sea was thick and lasted for years, cyclones tended to spread the ice out and actually increase its extent, said Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Now, when ice gets spread out, it simply breaks up and disappears.

“As our ice cover has thinned, some of our old rules are changing,” said Stroeve.

Summer cyclone chewing up Canada’s Arctic sea ice | CTV News

Einstein explains this remark :

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

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From Wired

The British prime minister’s internet filters will be about more than just hardcore pornography, according to information obtained by the Open Rights Group.

The organisation, which campaigns for digital freedoms, has spoken to some of the Internet Service Providers that will be constructing Cameron’s content filters. They discovered that a host of other categories of supposedly-objectionable material may be on the block-list.

As well as pornography, users may automatically be opted in to blocks on “violent material”, “extremist related content”, “anorexia and eating disorder websites” and “suicide related websites”, “alcohol” and “smoking”. But the list doesn’t stop there. It even extends to blocking “web forums” and “esoteric material”, whatever that is. “Web blocking circumvention tools” is also included, of course.


In his interview, Ed Davey took exception to the graph of global temperature referred to by Andrew Neil. Neil pointed out that the data had a reputable source, the Climate research Unit. This was the only dubious statement he made that I’m aware of. He went on to ask Davey about the ‘pause’ in warming. Personally I don’t like the description ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ as both imply a future recommencement of warming, which may of course, not happen. At least , not until after a significant cooling.  😉

The CRU document is here



From the BBC, the concluding section of David Shukmans post following the briefing given by climate scientists in London a couple of days ago. Some long unanswered questions are going to have to be addressed soon. Like, if a negative phase of natural variation can overpower the radiative forcing of co2 for 20 years (1997-2017), why can’t it have added to it for 20 years (1977-1997)?: 

cap-trade-swimming-global-warming-cartoonProfessor Rowan Sutton, of Reading University, said computer simulations or models of possible future climate scenarios often show periods of ten years with no warming trend – some even show pauses of 20-25 years.

And Professor Stephen Belcher, head of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said observations and models showed that on average there were – or would be – two pauses in warming every century.

I asked why this had not come up in earlier presentations. No one really had an answer, except to say that this “message” about pauses had not been communicated widely.


Some good info and points for debate in this article from Jonathan Michaels. All points of view about the UK’s energy future must be considered and discussed

Michelle Spaul

Why is shale gas important?

On 27 June the Department of Energy and Climate Control (DECC) released a study by the British Geological Survey (BGS) showing that the shale gas resources under a swath of northern England, called Bowland-Hodder shale, could be enough to fuel the UK for 40 years.

As a headline this is remarkable; with hopes of emulating the boom experience by the US over the last 30 years, there is much excitement that UK shale gas could bring economic prosperity to regions rich in this resource and because it could mean UK energy independence.  Looking deeply into the report and other materials suggests that we may want to hold off celebrating just yet.

Where is all the gas?

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josh-treehouse*THWACK*  Take that Dana. 

From Warren Pearce’s posting of Ben Pile’s excellent article at ‘Making Science Public

Mike Hulme July 25, 2013 at 6:39 am

Ben Pile is spot on. The “97% consensus” article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country that the energy minister should cite it.


environmental-god-cartoonFrom EUactiv:

Beijing Communist Party Secretary Guo Jinlong, the city administration’s highest ranking official, pledged this week to improve air quality, telling a meeting of municipal officials that controlling pollution is in the people’s interests, and important for China’s national image too.

But Janez Potočnik, European commissioner for environment is aware that Europe cannot expect China to seriously clamp down on harmful emissions unless it does the same.

“We are also not only talking about talking the talk but walking the walk. I think that is the most difficult part of all. Sometimes it is easy to agree on the political initiatives [and] I don’t want to blame anyone but I always say that if you want to be internationally credible, first you have to clean in front of your own house”, he said.



Watts Up With That?


From Dr. Judith Curry:

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Andrew Neil writes on the BBC website:

Click to access video of the interview at the BBC website

Click to access video of the interview at the BBC website

The Sunday Politics interview with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey on July 14 provoked widespread reaction in the twittersphere and elsewhere, which was only to be expected given the interview was about the latest developments in global warming and the implications for government policy.

The main purpose of the interview was to establish if the government thought the recent and continuing pause in global temperatures meant it should re-think its policies in response to global warming.

Many of the criticisms of the Davey interview seem to misunderstand the purpose of a Sunday Politics interview.

This was neatly summed up in a Guardian blog by Dana Nuccitelli, who works for a multi-billion dollar US environmental business (Tetra Tech) and writes prodigiously about global warming and related matters from a very distinct perspective.

He finished by saying: “[Andrew] Neil focussed only on the bits of evidence that seemed to support his position”.

This is partly right. We did come at Mr Davey with a particular set of evidence, which was well-sourced from mainstream climate science. But it was nothing to do with advocating a “position”.



By chance I noticed Prof. Phil Jones giving his affiliation

Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.


Center of Excellence for Climate Change Research, Department of Meteorology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

This stuck me as a new departure but I am often last to know.

Page left linked here.

“Vice President for Educational Affairs, Prof Abdurrahman Alyoubi, received at his office Prof Philip Jones, of the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK.

The meeting was attended by Dr Mansour Almazroui, Director of the Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research, and Prof Ahmed Al-Sa’idi, Advisor to the Vice President for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research.