Monday, February 20, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Polar Bear Numbers Still On The Rise, Despite Global Warming








Bates, Burgers & The Scientific Integrity Of NOAA

In this newsletter:

1) Polar Bear Numbers Still On The Rise, Despite Global Warming
The Daily Caller, 16 February 2017
 
2) It’s Official: Polar Bear Numbers Continue To Rise
Polar Bear Science, 15 February 2017
 
3) Bates, Burgers & The Scientific Integrity Of NOAA
Toad Liquor, 14 February 2017
 
4) Kimberley Strassel: Don’t Wimp Out On Climate
The Wall Street Journal, 17 February 2017
 
5) Francis Menton: Are Climate Alarmists Glassy-Eyed Cultists?
Manhattan Contrarian, 17 February 2017

Full details:

1) Polar Bear Numbers Still On The Rise, Despite Global Warming
The Daily Caller, 16 February 2017
Andrew Follett

Polar bear populations are still growing despite global warming, according to new research.


Image result for polar bears

The new population estimates from the 2016 Scientific Working Group are somewhere between 22,633 to 32,257 bears, which is a net increase from the 2015 number of 22,000 to 31,000. The current population numbers are a sharp increase from 2005’s, which stated only 20,000 to 25,000 bears remained — those numbers were a major increase from estimates that only 8,000 to 10,000 bears remained in the late 1960s.

Until the new study, bear subpopulations in the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin (KB) were thought to be in decline due to over-hunting and global warming. The new report indicates this is not the case.

Scientists are increasingly realizing that polar bears are much more resilient to changing levels of sea ice than environmentalists previously believed, and numerous healthy populations are thriving.

Predictions that bears would die due to a lack of sea ice have continuously not come to pass. Recent rumors about polar bear extinction underscore another time when scientists discovered the creatures possess higher resilience to changing levels of sea ice than previously believed. Another new study by Canadian scientists found “no evidence” polar bears are currently threatened by global warming.

“We see reason for concern, but find no reliable evidence to support the contention that polar bears are currently experiencing a climate crisis,” Canadian scientists wrote in their study, published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Polar bears became an icon for environmentalists who claimed that melting Arctic sea ice could kill thousands of bears. Former Vice President Al Gore heavily promoted this viewpoint by featuring polar bears swimming for their lives and drowning in his 2006 film on global warming.

Fears about global warming’s impact on polar bears even spurred the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to say that the bear was “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Polar bears were the first species to be listed over possibly being harmed in the future by global warming.

Scientists, however, have increasingly been questioning alarmists as there are way more polar bears alive today than 40 years ago.

Full story

2) It’s Official: Polar Bear Numbers Continue To Rise
Polar Bear Science, 15 February 2017


Image result for Susan Crockford: Twenty Good Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears

Susan Crockford

New estimates for polar bears in Svalbard and Baffin Bay/Kane Basin are likely to increase the global estimate of polar bears to 23,000-33,000.
 

polar_bear_pop

The 2016 Scientific Working Group report on Baffin Bay and Kane Basin polar bears was released online without fanfare last week, confirming what local Inuit have been saying for years: contrary to the assertions of Polar Bear Specialist Group scientists, Baffin Bay and Kane Basin subpopulations have not been declining but are stable.

Until recently, the Baffin Bay (BB) and Kane Basin (KB) polar bear subpopulations, that live between NW Greenland, and Baffin and Ellesmere Islands, were assessed with confidence by the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) to be declining due to suspected over-hunting (see 2016 Report, Ch. 1, pg. 4).

It turns out they were wrong.


map-baffinbay

NEW (2016) POLAR BEAR SUBPOPULATION ESTIMATES FOR BB AND KB:

Baffin Bay – 2,826 (95% CI = 2,059-3,593) at 2013
[vs. 1546 (95% CI = 690-2,402) expected 2004]
vs. 2,074 (95% CI = 1,553-2,595) in 1997
Kane Basin – 357 (95% CI: 221 – 493) at 2013
vs. 164 (95% CI: 94 – 234) in 1997

[1997 figures from 2015 IUCN Red List estimates, from Supplement, pg. 8); 2004 “expected” figure for Baffin Bay from 2016 SWG report, Ch. 1, pg. 4]
In 2014, Environment Canada’s assessments were ‘data deficient’ for Kane Basin and ‘likely declining’ for Baffin Bay (see map below):


ec_polarbearstatus_and-trends-lg_2010-2014-mapscanada_oct-26-2014

However, the results of this new study (conducted 2011-2013) would likely make KB in the map above dark blue (‘stable’), and BB light blue (‘likely stable’), depending on how the new information is interpreted (given differences in methodology between the 1991-1997 and 2011-2013 counts). Note that a recent paper by Jordan York, Mitch Taylor and others (York et al. 2016) suggested this outcome for Baffin Bay was likely (i.e. ‘stable’) but thought that the status of Kane Basin would remain ‘declining.’

This new information leaves only the Southern Beaufort subpopulation (SB) in a ‘likely declining’ condition, but since that decline was due to thick spring ice conditions in 2004-2006 (Crockford 2017), it does not reflect a response to recent loss of summer sea ice. The new population estimates for Baffin Bay and Kane Basin also suggests that a revision needs to be made to the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment with respect to the global population estimate because polar bears are clearly more abundant in Baffin Bay and Kane Basin than previously thought.

The new BB and KB subpopulation estimates should increase the 2015 global population size estimate issued in 2015 by the IUCN Red List from 22,000-31,000 to 22,633-32,257 which would likely be rounded off to 22,500-32,000. But wait! That estimate does not include a reported 42% increase in the Svalbard portion of the Barents Sea subpopulation in late 2015 (975 bears counted, up 290 over the 2004 count of 685) that was not included in the Red List assessment of 2644 (95% CI: 1,899 – 3,592) based on 2004 data. Therefore, when the Svalbard increase and the Baffin Bay/Kane Basin increases are all added to the 2015 Red List estimate, it might give a revised 2015 global estimate of something like 23,000-33,000 depending on how all the results are interpreted.

Full post

See also Susan Crockford: Twenty Good Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears

3) Bates, Burgers & The Scientific Integrity Of NOAA
Toad Liquor, 14 February 2017

Rose is not the story. Bates is not the story. The story is the circumvention of procedures put in place to protect the integrity of the data, and hence the reputation of the NOAA. There can be no confidence in data without confidence in the procedures surrounding collection and storage of data.

It is sometimes said science is all about data… observation, measurement, experiment, measurement… But that is NOT the whole story. To ensure data is reliable and understood, we’ve developed standard units of measure, and document procedures used to obtain and record measurements. The intention is to make sure BOTH the data AND collection methods can be reliably understood and used by others. The fleshed out version of this is the scientific method, and is integral to, and indispensable in the advance of science. It works because it helps eliminate bias and protect the integrity of both data and process. Any departure from rigorous adherence to these principles may or may not adversely affect data.

But it increases the risk, and introduces doubt as to the overall integrity. And any subsequent reliance on this data must not assert confidence levels beyond the weakest preceding link. For example, it would be inaccurate or dishonest to claim 100% certainty on results that can only be replicated 50% of the time.

So let’s wind forward…

There has been much suck-and-blow blather in the aftermath of the David Rose column on the whistleblower allegations by former NOAA scientist John Bates. I won’t rehash the article, other than to say Rose does seem eager to sensationalize speculative results rather than the details, but that in no way negates the seriousness of the allegations stated. What I want to discuss is the allegations and impacts. Rose is not the story. Bates is not the story. The story is the circumvention of procedures put in place to protect the integrity of the data, and hence the reputation of the NOAA.

From John Bates:
 

bates1
Predictably, both the “consensus” and skeptic camps largely missed the mark in jumping to defend or attack positions. There were a flurry of hastily written newspaper and blog reports on “bad data“, “data manipulation“, and “data tampering“. Bates’ report didn’t say data was deliberately compromised (he mentioned a “thumb on the scale” which he later seemed to walk back), but that the presentation may have been biased, and adherence to protocol was haphazard. These of course are different things. This opened the door for the usual suspects from the other side to rush out reports showing the NOAA data was largely in agreement with other datasets, directing the discussion away from the presentation and protocol questions to “The data checks out. See? No problem.”

This was cleverly, cynically, and all too accurately highlighted by Gavin Schmidt:

gavin

Let there be NO mistake: Regardless of the best efforts of Schmidt and friends to paint this as just deniers denying, if NOAA followed THEIR OWN established protocols, there would be no story. 

Now the hordes of hyperactive and secure-in-their-ignorance columnists, tweeters and bloggers from the periphery join in with escalations of character attacks, dishonest misdirections, and deliberately uncharitable interpretations of innocuous statements. The Guardian chipped in with a nastily biased bit:

bates2

Referring back to the Science Insider piece…


bates3

Just one little problem: They provide no evidence that Bates said anything about being wary of skeptics. He said “people”. And as both skeptic and consensus camps have seemingly derailed in their rush to the wrong conclusion, it could easily mean either, or more likely both.

I could go on at length about the ridiculous obfuscation and mean spirited BS thrown about during any attempted discussion of the allegations (most of which have not been denied, but rather downplayed) but I’ll save that for a separate post. That’s just another distraction from the real issue at hand.

No, the issues are as Bates outlined: “Ethical standards must be maintained”. There can be no confidence in data without confidence in the procedures surrounding collection and storage of data. And persons or organizations that place no value in these procedures further erode confidence.

Full post

4) Kimberley Strassel: Don’t Wimp Out On Climate
The Wall Street Journal, 17 February 2017

If Trump doesn’t dump the Paris accord, his economic agenda is in jeopardy.
 

President Trump with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Feb. 1.
President Trump with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Feb. 1. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

President Trump will soon turn his attention to another major campaign promise—rolling back the Obama climate agenda—and according to one quoted administration source his executive orders on that topic will “suck the air out of the room.” That’s good, but only if Team Trump finishes the job by casting into that vacuum the Paris climate accord.

That’s no longer a certainty, which ought to alarm anyone who voted for Mr. Trump in hopes of economic change. Candidate Trump correctly noted that the accord gave “foreign bureaucrats control over how much energy we use,” and he seemed to understand it risked undermining all his other plans. He unequivocally promised to “cancel” the deal, which the international community rushed to put into effect before the election. The Trump transition even went to work on plans to short-circuit the supposed four-year process for getting out.

That was three months ago—or approximately 93 years in Trump time. Word is that some in the White House are now aggressively pushing a wimpier approach. A pro-Paris contingent claims that quick withdrawal would cause too much international uproar. Some say leaving isn’t even necessary because the accord isn’t “binding.”

Then there’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who in his confirmation hearing said: “I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address threats of climate change, which do require a global response.” Those are not the words of an official intent on bold action, but of a harassed oil CEO who succumbed years ago to the left’s climate protests.al-state relationship.

Here’s the terrible risk of the wimpy approach: If the environmental left has learned anything over the past 20 years, it’s that the judicial branch is full of reliable friends. Republicans don’t share the green agenda, and the Democratic administrations that do are hampered by laws and procedures. But judges get things done. Need a snail added to the endangered species list? Want to shut down a dam? File a lawsuit with a friendly court and get immediate, binding results.

Lawsuits are already proving the main tool of the anti-Trump “resistance.” CNN reported that 11 days into his tenure, Mr. Trump had already been named in 42 new federal lawsuits. John Walke, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told NPR that his group will litigate any Trump efforts to roll back environmental regulations. He boasted about green groups’ winning track record at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which Mr. Obama and Harry Reid packed with liberal judges.

It is certain that among the lawsuits will be one aimed at making the Paris accord enforceable. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell says judges could instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to implement the deal. “If President Trump doesn’t withdraw Obama’s signature, and Congress doesn’t challenge it,” he says, “then the environmentalists stand a good chance of getting a court to rule that our Paris commitments are binding and direct EPA to make it happen.”

Think that’s impossible? Instead, think Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in 2007 cast the deciding vote to declare carbon dioxide a pollutant, and who in September defended his habit of looking for guidance to international law. And consider that a few years back, CEI’s Chris Horner unearthed a legal memo from the New York attorney general’s office that laid out a strategy to get courts to force C0 2 cuts under international treaties….

Paris was the capstone of a unilateral Obama climate agenda that ignored the law, the will of Congress, and the people. Mr. Trump ought to shred it on those grounds alone. There’s also the point that he made a rock-solid campaign pledge to both end the Paris accord and completely defund United Nations climate programs—promises that rallied many blue-collar workers to his cause.

Full post

5) Francis Menton: Are Climate Alarmists Glassy-Eyed Cultists?
Manhattan Contrarian, 17 February 2017

The word “cult” may be a little over the top, but whatever it is, it sure isn’t science.

Will Happer is an eminent physicist at Princeton who has chosen (along with his colleague Freeman Dyson) to plant a flag on the skeptic side of the climate debate.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Happer on a couple of occasions.

Recently his name has been floated as a potential candidate for the position of Science Advisor to President Trump.  (This is the position that has been held by eco-fanatic John Holdren during the Obama presidency.)  Although it is not final, and others remain in the running, Happer has said that he will take the position if offered.

Yesterday Happer gave an interview to the Guardian newspaper.  When it came to the issue of “climate change,” Happer didn’t pull any punches.  Here is my favorite quote:

“There’s a whole area of climate so-called science that is really more like a cult,” Happer told the Guardian. “It’s like Hare Krishna or something like that. They’re glassy-eyed and they chant. It will potentially harm the image of all science.”

I would only comment that in my experience Hare Krishnas don’t takes tens of billions of dollars of government money for themselves, and don’t seek to impose energy poverty on everyone else while they themselves jet around on private jets.  Other than that, Happer was spot on.

If you are still considering the question of whether what Happer calls “climate so-called science” is real science versus a cult, you may want to review a few articles from the New York Times about the recent California drought and its end.  For example, from August 2015, we have an article headlined “California Drought Is Made Worse by Global Warming, Scientists Say.”

Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by 15 to 20 percent, scientists said on Thursday, warning that future dry spells in the state are almost certain to be worse than this one as the world continues to heat up. . . .  The paper provides new scientific support for political leaders, including President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who have cited human emissions and the resulting global warming as a factor in the drought.

Or try this one from January 5, 2017 (just six weeks ago!), headlined “A Winery Battles Climate Change.”

After decades in the business, the Jacksons are sensitive to slight variations in the weather, and they are convinced of one thing: It is getting hotter and drier. . . .  Climate change is forcing the Jacksons to confront questions both practical and existential: Can you make fine wine with less water? . . .  Already, winemakers in the region are noticing distinct changes that signal a hotter, drier future.

And then, of course, things promptly turned around and the rains came — as they always do.  Suddenly California is in the news because it has had so much rain that some of its dams are threatened with overflowing.  Well, what caused that?  You guessed it — climate change!  From yesterday’s Pravda, here is the lead headline from the National Section:  “A Climate Change Warning for California’s Dams.” 

What, does “climate change” cause both wet and dry?

Scientists have said for years that a warming atmosphere should lead to more intense and frequent storms in many regions.

Now you tell us!  As usual, climate change as the cause of everything is the classic unfalsifiable proposition.  The word “cult” may be a little over the top, but whatever it is, it sure isn’t science.

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.


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