Wednesday, March 8, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: One Of Greatest Mass Extinctions Was Due To An Ice Age And Not To Global Warming








New Study: More Arctic Sea Ice Now Than For Nearly All Of The Last 10,000 Years

In this newsletter:

1) Oops: One Of Greatest Mass Extinctions Was Due To An Ice Age And Not To Global Warming
Science Daily, 6 March 2016
 
2) New Study: More Arctic Sea Ice Now Than For Nearly All Of The Last 10,000 Years
No Tricks Zone, 2 March 2017
 
3) Climate Alarmists Use Photoshop And Fraud To Deceive
PowerLine, 6 March 2017
 
4) Global Warming Slowdown? The Argument Is As Clear As An Unseasonal Blizzard
The National, 4 March 2017
 
5) This Bill Would Block EPA From Using ‘Secret Science’ To Write Regulations
The Daily Caller, 6 March 2016
 
6) German High Court: Federal Agency Has Right To Denounce Critical Science Journalists
Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 March 2017

Full details:

1) Oops: One Of Greatest Mass Extinctions Was Due To An Ice Age And Not To Global Warming
Science Daily, 6 March 2016
Source: Université de Genève

Summary: The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It's the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes.

 
Permian-Triassic boundary in shallow marine sediments, characterised by a significant sedimentation gap between the black shales of Permian and dolomites of Triassic age. This gap documents a globally-recognised regression phase, probably linked to a period of a cold climate and glaciation. Credit: © H. Bucher, Zürich

Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, working alongside the University of Zurich, discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It's the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes. This research, which can be read in Scientific Reports, completely calls into question the scientific theories regarding these phenomena, founded on the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, and paves the way for a new vision of Earth's climate history.

Teams of researchers led by Professor Urs Schaltegger from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Science of the UNIGE and by Hugo Bucher, from the University of Zürich, have been working on absolute dating for many years. They work on determining the age of minerals in volcanic ash, which establishes a precise and detailed chronology of Earth's climate evolution. They became interested in the Permian-Triassic boundary, 250 million years ago, during which one of the greatest mass extinctions ever took place, responsible for the loss of 95% of marine species. How did this happen? for how long marine biodiversity stayed at very low levels?

A technique founded on the radioactive decay of uranium.

Researchers worked on sediment layers in the Nanpanjiang basin in southern China. They have the particularity of being extremely well preserved, which allowed for an accurate study of the biodiversity and the climate history of the Permian and the Triassic. "We made several cross-sections of hundreds of metres of basin sediments and we determined the exact positions of ash beds contained in these marine sediments," explained Björn Baresel, first author of the study. They then applied a precise dating technique based on natural radioactive decay of uranium, as Urs Schaltegger added: "In the sedimentary cross-sections, we found layers of volcanic ash containing the mineral zircon which incorporates uranium. It has the specificity of decaying into lead over time at a well-known speed. This is why, by measuring the concentrations of uranium and lead, it was possible for us to date a sediment layer to an accuracy of 35,000 years, which is already fairly precise for periods over 250 million years." Ice is responsible for mass extinction.

By dating the various sediment layers, researchers realised that the mass extinction of the Permian-Triassic boundary is represented by a gap in sedimentation, which corresponds to a period when the sea-water level decreased.

The only explanation to this phenomenon is that there was ice, which stored water, and that this ice age which lasted 80,000 years was sufficient to eliminate much of marine life. Scientists from the UNIGE explain the global temperature drop by a stratospheric injection of large amounts of sulphur dioxide reducing the intensity of solar radiation reaching the surface of Earth. "We therefore have proof that the species disappeared during an ice age caused by the activity of the first volcanism in the Siberian Traps," added Urs Schaltegger. This ice age was followed by the formation of limestone deposits through bacteria, marking the return of life on Earth at more moderate temperatures. The period of intense climate warming, related to the emplacement of large amounts of basalt of the Siberian Traps and which we previously thought was responsible for the extinction of marine species, in fact happened 500,000 years after the Permian-Triassic boundary.

This study therefore shows that climate warming is not the only explanation of global ecological disasters in the past on Earth: it is important to continue analysing ancient marine sediments to gain a deeper understanding of Earth's climate system.

Journal Reference:
Björn Baresel, Hugo Bucher, Borhan Bagherpour, Morgane Brosse, Kuang Guodun, Urs Schaltegger. Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanismsScientific Reports, 2017; 7: 43630 DOI: 10.1038/srep43630

Reminder -- Global warming 250 million years ago would have caused 'hell on Earth'
The Daily Telegraph, 8 November 2011

The sudden and extreme global warming that wiped out almost all life on the planet 250 million years ago would have created a hell on Earth experience, research has shown.


The sudden and extreme global warming that wiped out almost all life on the planet 250 million years ago would have created a hell on Earth experience, research has shown

The largest study yet of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction concludes that the event probably occurred because of catastrophic greenhouse gas emissions.
Huge amounts of carbon dioxide and/or methane from the largest volcanic eruption in history sent temperatures soaring, triggering raging wildfire which destroyed forests and turned fertile land into deserts.

Meanwhile, shallow marine environments were drained of oxygen.

The cataclysm killed off 95% of marine life and 70% of all life on land.

In their paper, the researchers said the timing and pace of the mass extinction indicated that both land and marine ecosystems collapsed "very suddenly".
Rapid global warming would have caused "continental aridity" and "widespread wildfires" they added.

Prof Henderson said: "We do not discuss modern climate change, but obviously global warming is a biodiversity concern today. The geological record tells us that 'change' happens all the time, and from this great extinction life did recover."


Full story

2) New Study: More Arctic Sea Ice Now Than For Nearly All Of The Last 10,000 Years
No Tricks Zone, 2 March 2017
Kenneth Richard

In a new paper (Stein et al., 2017), scientists find that Arctic sea ice retreat and advance is modulated by variations in solar activity. In addition, the sea ice cover during the last century has only slightly retreated from the extent reached during coldest centuries of the Little Ice Age (1600s to 1800s AD), which had the highest sea ice cover of the last 10,000 years and flirted with excursions into year-round sea ice.
 
 
 
stein2017
 
The Medieval Warm Period sea ice record (~900 to 1200 AD) had the lowest coverage since the Roman era ~2,000 years ago. Of note, the paper makes no reference to carbon dioxide or anthropogenic forcing as factors modulating Arctic sea ice.

Stein et al., 2017
The causes that are controlling the decrease in sea ice are still under discussion. In several studies changes in extent, thickness and drift of Arctic sea ice are related to changes in the overall atmospheric circulation patterns as reflected in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO). The NAO and AO are influencing changes of the relative position and strength of the two major surface-current systems of the Arctic Ocean.

The increase in sea ice extent during the late Holocene seems to be a circum-Arctic phenomenon, coinciding with major glacier advances on Franz Josef Land, Spitsbergen and Scandinavia.  The increase in sea ice may have resulted from the continuing cooling trend due to decreased solar insolation and reduced heat flow from the Pacific.

The increase in sea ice extent during the late Holocene seems to be a circum-Arctic phenomenon as PIP25-based sea ice records from the Fram Strait, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea  display a generally quite similar evolution, all coinciding with the decrease in solar radiation.

The main factors controlling the millennial variability in sea ice and surface-water productivity are probably changes in surface water and heat flow from the Pacific into the Arctic Ocean as well as the long-term decrease in summer insolation, whereas short-term centennial variability observed in the high-resolution middle Holocene record was possibly triggered by solar forcing.
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3) Climate Alarmists Use Photoshop And Fraud To Deceive
PowerLine, 6 March 2017
John Hinderaker

Watts Up With That has a funny instance of warmist deception. You may have seen the headline, I did: Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F. Where? Base Esperanza. Where is Base Esperanza in relation to what we normally think of as Antarctica? A long, long distance away:
 
esperanza
 

Base Esperanza is close to Tiera Del Fuego and not far from Africa, so warm temperatures there are not exactly shocking. Plus, the weather phenomenon that caused the recent high temperature is well understood and has nothing to do with global warming:

Esperanza presents a prime example of how temperatures can rise dramatically without any increased input of heat. Argentina’s Esperanza weather station is situated on the most extreme equatorward tip of the Antarctic peninsula and its mean monthly temperature for March is -3.6 C. [About 25 degrees Fahrenheit] But Esperanza’s location subjects it to episodic warm northwesterly winds which is why it is also infamous for its foehn wind storms that can dramatically increase temperatures by 10 to 40 C degrees in a matter of hours.

This record 17 C (63.5 F) temperature recently recorded, is 20 C above average, and as expected the record temperature is the result of foehn winds. Foehn winds warm temperatures via adiabatic heating (no heat input) as descending winds passing over the nearby mountains warm from adiabatic compression. It is meaningless weather as regards penguins.

Now we get to the really fun part: the photo that accompanied the alarmist MSN article:

 
photoshop
 
This alleged picture is very silly. Having lived in Minnesota for more than 40 years, I am an expert in how piles of snow and ice melt. They don’t melt from the bottom, leaving a shape like an anvil that–I suppose–eventually topples over. They melt from the top, leaving a gentle mound, such as I see in the cul-de-sac in front of my house every spring. The one way a formation might look like this is if it is being worn away at the bottom by waves. But that, of course, has nothing to do with global warming.

Then, too: what are the penguins doing on top of that weird anvil formation? As Jim Steele points out, “Climbing such a structure would be a difficult technical climb for an experienced mountaineer.” Are we to assume that the penguins have been there for weeks or months as the snow under them melted weirdly away? No. Penguins go into the ocean to hunt, daily. More from Steele and WUWT:

Furthermore when Adele penguins come ashore to breed they avoid the ice if possible, only crossing snowfields as the seek ice-free breeding territories. Lastly if you magnify the picture 500%, the penguins become extremely pixilated, the ice chunk less so, and the background rocks even less so, a fingerprint of 3 different photographs with different resolutions that have been overlain.

So the whole thing is a fake.

It is fun to trace the provenance of the photoshopped penguins. Before that photo was on MSN, it was published by the Christian Science Monitor in June 2016. But it originated with Reuters.

On Google Images, we find that it was published by Reuters on January 1, 2010, so it had nothing to do with any alleged warm spell at Base Esperanza in 2017. The caption says:

Two Adelie penguins stand atop a block of melting ice on a rocky shoreline at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in East Antarctica January 1, 2010.

That is not, as noted, a “block of melting ice.” And Cape Denison is over by Australia, thousands of miles from the site of the allegedly alarming global warming at Camp Esperanza. The photoshopping apparently dates back to the original Reuters photo, something that the folks at Reuters should look into.

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4) Global Warming Slowdown? The Argument Is As Clear As An Unseasonal Blizzard
The National, 4 March 2017
Robert Matthews

The argument over the strength of global warming shows how difficult climate research really is.




The recent run of chilly rain and snow in the UAE seems to affirm the UN’s admission in 2013 of a decline in temperature rises. But the complexities of time and maths make it hard for scientists to say whether that is permanent.

Snowball fights in the UAE, snowless slopes in the Alps. Chilly winds in Dubai, balmy weather in Minnesota.

Another winter, another outbreak of weird weather. Still, that is climate change for you.

Or is it? Ask a local taxi driver and you may end up in a debate about how plunging temperatures can be squared with global warming.

So what do the experts say? At last month’s regional meeting of the World Meteorological Organisation in Abu Dhabi, the talk was of how warming Arctic air and declining sea ice is affecting the flows of air and seawater that influence the region’s weather.

In particular, the polar jetstream – the band of fast-moving air that can stop polar air from reaching farther south – has been flailing around like a snake in a sack, flipping the weather around in a heartbeat.

But do not expect climate experts to seize on the recent bout of freak weather and insist it must be man-made global warming. They know it is all more complex than that.

From the strange, barely predictable temperature changes in the Pacific, known as El Nino, to random upheaval, global warming is not the only influence on the weather.

And according to some, it may no longer be the threat it once was.

The idea that global warming may be grinding to a halt has been around for a decade, and is based on data collected from thousands of weather stations around the world. When plotted against time, the temperature measurements produce a zig-zag pattern, with some years cooler and others warmer than before. The long-term direction is clear enough, however: upwards.

But around 2007, some researchers began pointing out that the trend seemed to be breaking down.

Initially, many dismissed the claim as simply part of a denialist agenda to discredit the concept of global warming. Yet, as the years rolled by and more data came in, it became harder to dismiss.

In 2013, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed that a slowdown was under way. The data pointed to a warming rate from 1998 onwards that is barely half that of the previous half-century’s.

And for reasons unknown, the slowdown had not been predicted by computer models of the climate.

Unsurprisingly, climate-change sceptics seized on the IPCC’s “admission” as proof that the models could not be trusted to predict global warming.

Some scientists suspected, however, that the problem might lie elsewhere – namely, with the raw data.

In 2015, a team led by Thomas Karl, at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pointed to changes in temperature measurement techniques that could have introduced subtle bias into the data.

Sure enough, once these were corrected, and new data from more sites added in, the slowdown vanished – suggesting the models were correct after all.

Although hardly a ringing endorsement of the reliability of global warming data, the NOAA’s findings were welcomed by many climatologists. Hard science, it seemed, had once again defeated the deniers.

But the story did not end there. Last year, the Nature Climate Change journal published work by another team that claimed the newly-corrected data were still biased – this time by subtle atmospheric influences on the Earth’s temperature.

When these were taken into account the slowdown appeared again, although less strongly and over different timescales.

Last month, the story took a more dramatic turn. A former data scientist at NOAA alleged the Karl paper had been rushed out without proper checks.

Whether the allegations are really all that serious remains unclear.

Sceptics view them as proof of the questionable nature of much climate research. Many climatologists dismiss them as nitpicking. One commentator even declared the whole controversy to be “fake news”.

Although that may be pushing it too far, the continuing debate does highlight the limitations of science as a means of checking “alternative facts”.

Those involved in research know that the scientific process is shockingly simple to subvert – inadvertently or otherwise.

For on the face of it, what could be simpler than telling whether something is getting hotter or not?

If your exposure to science stopped at school, you would know exactly what to do: stick a thermometer on it, measure the temperature over time and see if the resulting graph rises, falls or stays the same.

Telling if the entire Earth is getting warmer is a different ball game, however. Simply collecting readings from weather stations is not going to be enough: the data will be plentiful near towns and cities, far less so in remote areas – and virtually non-existent over much of the oceans, which cover most of the Earth’s surface.

Measuring the rate of warming raises another, tougher problem: what is the relevant timescale?

A few years are not long enough: the Earth’s climate is affected by a host of influences that ebb and flow from months to millennia.

Several decades of data are probably the minimum needed to reveal a genuine shift.

Certainly, claiming a hiatus in global warming on the basis of data from a handful of years is premature.

Finally, there is the problem of deciding if any detected trend is real or just a fluke.

The textbook way of deciding is to use so-called significance tests, statistical methods that show the chance of getting the observed results, assuming they are a fluke.

Yet statisticians have been warning researchers for decades that these techniques are prone to mistaking random noise for genuine effect.

They have come under renewed scrutiny recently because of their role in the so-called “replication crisis” in research, in which many highly cited advances fade away on reinvestigation.

Last year, the American Statistical Association took the unprecedented step of issuing a public warning about the dangers of using significance tests.
The argument over the strength of global warming shows how difficult climate research really is.

It also shows the naivety of thinking that on “hot button” issues such as global warming, science can debunk fake news in a flash.

Robert Matthews is visiting professor of science at Aston University, Birmingham, UK

5) This Bill Would Block EPA From Using ‘Secret Science’ To Write Regulations
The Daily Caller, 6 March 2016
Michael Bastasch

The bill stipulates EPA advisers “shall have no current grants or contracts from the [EPA] and shall not apply for a grant or contract for 3 years following the end of that member’s service on the Board.”

“This bill would ensure that scientists advising EPA on regulatory decisions are not the same scientists receiving EPA grants,” said Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.


Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Smith also introduced a bill to prevent EPA from using “secret science” to develop major regulations. Republicans argue EPA and other agencies shouldn’t be able to base regulations on non-public scientific data.

EPA and environmentalists traditionally argued such science should be kept non-public to protect confidential patient data — though it’s not clear why that can’t be redacted.

“Suffice it to say it will not make the EPA great again; it will gut the EPA at the expense of public health and safety,” Andrew Rosenberg, with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told InsideClimate News in February when Smith scheduled a hearing on EPA “secret science.”

Scientists sitting on EPA advisory panels are charged with evaluating the research used to justify regulations, but Republicans have increasingly called into question the true “independence” of advisers benefiting from federal funding.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute sued EPA last summer to prevent its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee from meeting based on data showing 24 of the 26 members of a clean air advisory panel had gotten, or are the current recipients of, EPA grants.

In total, panel members received more than $190 million from EPA, according EELI attorney Steve Milloy.

Milloy also found 17 of the 20 scientific advisers sitting on EPA’s ozone panel received a total of $192 million in EPA grants over the years.

Smith has long been a critic of EPA’s scientific process, which he says doesn’t have proper checks against bias. Smith noted in 2014 that EPA science panel advisers often reviewed regulation based on their own research without disclosing this to the public.

Smith’s bill prevents EPA advisers from reviewing rules based on their own research unless they publicly disclose this and their research has already been peer-reviewed.
“As both of these bills move forward, our committee is working hard to preserve EPA’s scientific integrity and to help strengthen EPA’s internal review process,” Smith said.

Full story
 
6) German High Court: Federal Agency Has Right To Denounce Critical Science Journalists
Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 March 2017
Michael Miersch, Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung

A German High Court has decided that the Federal Environmental Agency has the right to publicly denounce science journalists who report critically about climate issues.

In the US, government agencies are calling some journalists “Fake News” in order to discriminate against them. In Germany that would be impossible, right? Wrong. A federal agency, which is under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment, has attacked journalists in the same way. Unfortunately, however, there is no court in Germany to protect the freedom of the press.

What happened?
On 2 February 2017, the High Court of Magdeburg (OVG) reached a decision in the lawsuit “Miersch v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland” (file 3 L 44 / 16.Z) and rejected my appeal against the sentence of the Administrative Court of Halle from 18 November 2015.

This decision is final. Since the start of the procedure, almost all observers were convinced that the disputed action of the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) would not stand in the courts. However, now the Government agency has won in court.

What is this all about?
In 2013, the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) published a brochure entitled “And Yet It Is Warming”. The brochure stated that, unfortunately, there were scientists and journalists who spread untruths about climate change. In addition to a few others, I was mentioned (at the time, I was the science editor at the German weekly magazine FOCUS). Specifically, my articles were accused of “not agreeing with the state of knowledge of climate science” (page 112).
The brochure called me a “climate change sceptic” [Klimawandelskeptiker]. In other sections of the text, the machinations of climate change sceptics were presented as dishonest. The brochure also accused climate change sceptic of being paid lobbyists of the oil industry. I sued against this defamation, initially with Dirk Maxeiner, who later gave up when the costs of the lawsuit became more and more oppressive.

On 18 November 2015, the first chamber of the administrative court in Halle (the action took place there because the UBA is located in Saxony-Anhalt) decided that the comments in the brochure were not exaggerated. The classification of journalists was in line with the task of the UBA to clarify environmental issues. The assertion that climate change sceptics were impure and paid by the oil industry would not refer to me as they were further in the text and are not directly linked to my name.

In light of the court’s decision, I submitted the application for appeal to the Magdeburg High Court, which has now been rejected.

How does the High Court justify its decision?
The decision by the Magdeburg High Court is fully in line with the sentence of the Administrative Court of Halle. It says that the German Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) had the right to impute that I had reported contrary to the “state of scientific knowledge “. It was also the right of the Government to counteract “post-factual discourse” (page 13 of the explanatory statement). With “post-factual discourse”, they mean my articles. It is also allowed for the Federal Environment Agency to classify me as a climate change sceptic.

Why is this relevant?
The High Court’s decision establishes a precedent. With the same right, the Ministry of Economics could denounce its critics as writing “contrary to the state of economic knowledge “. A journalist who is not in good standing with the Ministry of Health would then be one would reported “contrary to the state of medical knowledge”.

“The role of a government agency is not to brand critics of government policy as dissenters”, the German Association of Journalists (DJV) said when the UBA brochure was published. Its chairman asked the then Federal Environment Minister, Peter Altmaier, “not to further distribute the brochure in the present form, and to apologise to the colleagues concerned”.
Altmeier did not apologise, and the brochure is still widely disseminated by the Federal Environment Agency. Like other observers, the German Association of Journalists was confident that the courts would decide against the UBA.

What does the Bavarian Association of Journalists say about the High Court decision?
Jutta Müller, the Managing Director of the Bavarian Association of Journalists (BJV), to whom I belong, wrote to me: “It seems that the court did not sufficiently appreciate the aspects of freedom of the press and the value of free journalism independent from the influence of the state. An incorrect signal was set. It is important to remain vigilant when journalistic action is evaluated by the authorities and thus ultimately restricted. ”

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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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