Sunday, September 30, 2007

Kyoto Forest sinks sunk Trees confirmed as methane emitters.

Keppler's work on methane produced aerobically by green plants which was published early last year brought a substantial response of arguments both for and against the paper.

Recently Tom Dueck and colleagues have published in New Phytologist findings that they found no CH 4 emissions from plants.

This brought some interchange as reported on climate feedback at nature.

Both groups have criticized the other's choice of experimental method. Dueck says that Keppler's group kept plants in sealed plastic containers instead of flow chambers, and exposed them to sources of stress such as bright sunlight and high temperature, which could have produced methane as an artefact. Keppler retorts that the use of 13C is an artificial piece of chemical trickery with unknown effects on plant metabolism, and also argues that methane production can vary by up to three orders of magnitude between species.

Keppler says other teams will be publishing results that back him up on the methane; but Mike reports that at least one other team is siding strongly with Dueck

Now we see the publication from another team at Max Planck and the authors are some very heavy artillery.

Citation: Sinha, V., Williams, J., Crutzen, P. J., and Lelieveld, J.: Methane emissions from boreal and tropical forest ecosystems derived from in-situ measurements, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 7, 14011-14039, 2007

Abstract. Methane is a climatologically important greenhouse gas, which plays a key role in regulating water vapour in the stratosphere and hydroxyl radicals in the troposphere. Recent findings that vegetation emits methane have stimulated efforts to ascertain the impact of this source on the global budget. In this work, we present the results of high frequency (ca. 1 min−1) methane measurements conducted in the boreal forests of Finland and the tropical forests of Suriname, in April–May, 2005 and October 2005 respectively. The measurements were performed using a gas chromatograph – flame ionization detector (GC-FID). The average of the median mixing ratios during a typical diel cycle were 1.83 μmol mol−1 and 1.74 μmol mol−1 for the boreal forest ecosystem and tropical forest ecosystem respectively, with remarkable similarity in the time series of both the boreal and tropical diel profiles. Night time methane emission flux of the boreal forest ecosystem, calculated from the increase of methane during the night and measured nocturnal boundary layer heights yields a flux of (3.62±0.87)×1011 molecules cm−2 s−1(or 45.5±11 Tg CH4 yr−1 for global boreal forest area). This is a source contribution of circa 8% of the global methane budget. These results highlight the importance of the boreal and tropical forest ecosystems for the global budget of methane. The results are also discussed in the context of recent work reporting high methane mixing ratios over tropical forests using space borne near infra-red spectroscopy measurements.

As an amount equal to approximately 90% of the annual emissions (450 Tg year) is oxidized through photochemical reactions initiated by OH radicals in the troposphere,A 8-10 % source addition adds substantial uncertainty to the carbon credit industry and carbon offsets.

Or as David Lowe comments in National Geographic.

"And of course this also affects the understanding of the current conditions."

Lowe notes that any reassessment of current climate change models could include some interesting political ramifications.

For example, the Kyoto protocol—an international treaty designed to try and curb climate change—requires complex accounting that holds countries to specified greenhouse gas emissions limits.

"Several countries are counting their forests as vegetative sinks for carbon dioxide," he said.

"But are you absorbing more carbon dioxide than you are [possibly] releasing methane? I suppose that the Kyoto protocol accountants are going to be working overtime trying to figure that one out."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Trouble with Lichen

“This is not the age of reason, this is the age of flummery, and the day of the devious approach. Reason’s gone into the backrooms where it works to devise means by which people can be induced to emote in the desired direction.”John Wyndham, J. (1960), The Trouble With Lichen.

There is a popular belief that the ozone layer has been "saved". Not so, says Joe Farman, one of the scientists who discovered the Antarctic ozone "hole" - even as the Montreal Protocol celebrates its 20th birthday, much remains to be done. Reports the BBC

The mid-70s saw the publication of several seminal scientific papers identifying the possibility of ozone-destroying chain reactions in the stratosphere.

Ozone depletion in early spring over Antarctica had been reported in the journal Nature in May 1985, much more severe than any prediction, and confirmed by Nasa in October 1985.

Lets ask the question what if it has been always there,as evidenced by the biosphere in responding to spring ozone losses!

There are few methodologies to show suitable proxies to ascertain the UV levels and variation ,Nitric acid in ice cores is one,but the resolution is coarse and shows only multidecadeal variation signals .Another method is to view the response of the biosphere to changes in UV.

As we have discussed here and here the changes and effects of UV flux is the precursor mechanism for the oscillations in CO2 absorption and emission from the biosphere and hence changes in the atmospheric levels.

The ability of biological species to adapt to adverse environments is one of the paradoxes of Ecological science.

How the exclusion of some “players” from the” marketplace” will allow for smaller players to dominate the market due to enhanced adaptability.

Changes to the ozone levels and UV penetration are cyclical over the solar cycles from the 27 day rotation, the 11 year cycle ,the Gleissberg cycle and longer orbital parameters.

Solar variability is observed on three main time scales: solar rotation (27-day), solar cycle (11year) and the Grand Minima time scale. The magnitude of the variability progressively increases from the short to long scales. Earth's climate responses are now found on all these scales. The most recognized are the responses to solar irradiance variations. These variations strongly depend on wavelength rising from 0.1% per solar cycle in total irradiance (mostly infrared-optical range) to 10% in UV and 100% per solar cycle in X-ray range. The variations in the total irradiance produce a small global effect. More substantial is the effect of solar UV variability on large-scale climate patterns. These patterns are naturally excited in the Earth's atmosphere as deviations (anomalies) from its mean state.

How does the distribution of UVB, UVA, and photosynthetically active radiation vary on sensitive surfaces within the biosphere in the agricultural and forest canopies over the growing season? Plants have widely varying sensitivity to solar UV radiation. This can result in shifts in the competitive advantage of one plant species over another and consequently composition and health of both manages ecosystems.

The so-called "season responders" are species with an opportunistic strategy growing only under optimal light conditions mainly in summer, whereas the "season anticipators", grow and reproduce in winter and spring.

This suggests that the microalgae have adapted to predicting not only the early spring photosynthetically active radiation, but also high spring flux of UV due to ozone loss as seen by the levels of melanin pigmentation

Rozema et al in a number of physical experiments have shown proofs that the responses to changes in UV by the biosphere in both Antarctic algae, and various Lichen is equivalent to a 15% change in Stratospheric ozone.

The growth of the lower land organisms studied, i.e. the lichens Cladina portentosa, Cladina foliacaea and Cladonia arbuscula, and the club moss Lycopodiumannotinum, was not significantly reduced when grown under elevated UV-B radiation (simulating 15% ozone depletion).

Most of the plant species and plant groups tested were well adapted to the enhanced UV-B simulating a 15% depletion of stratospheric ozone.

Thus the evolution of plant and animal life on Earth seems partly to have been governed by the changing UV climate, seen today in the array of different life forms, field habitats, and protective strategies.

Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology 66 (2002) 2–12

The role of UV-B radiation in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems—an
experimental and functional analysis of the evolution of UV-absorbing

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The inversion modulation of the heliosphere magnetic field and Cosmic radiation

Plasma populations are embedded in a back ground neutral gas throughout the solar system, from the solar transition region, to planetary upper atmospheres, to the heliosphere’s interface with the interstellar medium. These populations transfer energy and momentum through multi-scale, nonlinear interactions which act to redistribute the bulk flows that, in turn, feed energy back into the original coupling system. For example, the upper atmospheres of planets, including Earth, are dramatically affected by energetic inputs originating at the Sun in the form of photons, particles, and fields.

How ever, there are many pathways by which that solar energy is transformed and redistributed throughout the atmosphere until the energy is ultimately re-radiated to space. Connected with these processes is much of the inherent variability of the atmosphere over daily to millennial time scales. The lower atmosphere is periodically pumped and heated, giving rise to a spectrum of small scale gravity waves and longer-period oscillations. These waves can propagate into the mesosphere and thermosphere depositing momentum. The atmospheric mean circulation is thereby modified, resulting in changes to the temperature structure and redistribution of radiation absorbers and emitters. The mean wind and temperature structures in turn influence the propagation of the waves and the manner in which they couple the lower and upper atmosphere.

Similar processes are also key to understanding the upper atmosphere weather and climate on Mars and Venus. The ionospheric electron density distribution depends on thermospheric composition and winds, together with electric fields that can be generated within the I-T system or im posed from the magnetosphere. In turn, the ionospheric plasma can inhibit or accelerate thermospheric winds that produce electric fields via an electrodynamic interaction. The interactions and feedback mechanisms remain a mystery due to a lack of simultaneous measurements of all the parameters that describe the fully coupled system. These interactions can occur on a global scale, but can also pro duce mesoscale structures, such as high latitude thermospheric density cells that affect satellite orbits, or midlatitude electron density enhancements that disrupt aircraft navigation systems being implemented by the FAA.

In addition, smaller scale structures cause ionospheric irregularities that degrade communication system performance. Turbulence is another example of a very important multi-scale, nonlinear process that transports particles and fields effectively, but is not well understood. Numerical simulations and laboratory experiments demonstrate that, in the presence of rotation or magnetic fields, turbulent motions create small-scale and large scale dissipative structures. In addition, electrodynamic and mass coupling along magnetic fields are fundamental physical processes that cut across many disciplines of space science. The interface between the heliosphere and the interstellar medium is a coupling region about which we are just beginning to learn. Finally, mass loading through ionization and charge exchange is a phenomenon of broad interest from planetary and atmospheric erosion to energetic particle creation and loss.

In an interesting paper we see shown that the heliomagnetic field (HMF) near Earth increased steadily over the past 580 years, exhibiting the strongest fields during the last 50 years. The estimates indicate that the HMF at sunspot minimum has exhibited steadily increasing “floors” between the several Grand Minima, similar to the one evident in satellite data since 1965.

This helps understand the step like changes in the satellite record temperature record.

Changes in the cosmic ray and heliomagnetic components of space climate, 1428–2005, including the variable occurrence of solar energetic particle events
Ken McCracken ASR 2007

The cosmic-ray record has been used to study the variations in the space climate, 1428–2005. Inversion of the data shows that the heliomagnetic field (HMF) near Earth increased steadily over the past 580 years, exhibiting the strongest fields during the last 50 years. The estimates indicate that the HMF at sunspot minimum has exhibited steadily increasing “floors” between the several Grand Minima, similar to the one evident in satellite data since 1965. The cosmogenic data for the past 10,000 years contain an 2300 year periodicity, and it is proposed that the increasing HMF strength since the 15th century represents the first quarter cycle of a 2300 year quasi-periodicity. It is concluded that the 11-year average total magnetic flux of the Sun has increased by a factor of 4.5 over the past 580 years. It is speculated that this could indicate a factor of 9 variation over the 2300 year cycle. The cosmic ray data and theoretical considerations show that the 22-year periodicity in the cosmic radiation flux at Earth was more dominant at times of low solar activity, compared to the present epoch. Comparison of the occurrence of solar energetic particle events, and the estimated HMF, shows that a substantial decrease in the size and frequency of occurrence of GLE (ground level enhancements) after 1958 coincides with a substantial increase in the HMF. This is consistent with the conclusion of [McCracken, K.G., Dreschhoff, G.A.M., Smart, D.F., et al. A study of the occurrence of large-fluence solar proton events and the strength of the interplanetary magnetic field. Solar Phys., 224, 359–372, 2004.] that lower values of the solar magnetic fields result in increased values of the Alfven Mach number, and thence to more efficient acceleration of solar cosmic rays prior to 1958. It is suggested that the variability of the solar and heliospheric magnetic fields may have introduced long term changes into the nature of geomagnetic phenomena; particle acceleration throughout the heliosphere and heliosheath; and possibly to the luminosity of the facular network of the Sun.

The observed long term modulation of the cosmic radiation has led to the conclusion that the heliospheric magnetic field, and hence the open magnetic field of the Sun, has varied by a factor of 4.5 over the past 600 years. Section 5.4 has shown that this predicts long term changes in the acceleration of cosmic rays by the Sun, in accord with observation. The magnetic field has a pervasive influence on the physics of the solar wind, and the corona, and other long term effects can be expected. Several are suggested in the following for theoretical and experimental investigation in the future.
–Modulation of the interaction of the solar wind with the geomagnetic field, leading to long term changes in the nature of geomagnetic disturbances, and the efficiency of acceleration of auroral electrons.
–Substantial changes in the Alfven velocities leading to long-term changes in the acceleration of ions and electrons in shock waves throughout the heliosphere, at the termination shock, and in the heliosheath.

Lean et al. (1995) discussed the role of the photon emission from the network of faculae that normally covers the Sun, even during the sunspot minima in contemporary times. They speculated that the emission from the faculae would track the overall level of solar activity, being weaker during periods such as the Spoerer and Maunder Minima, and greater during periods similar to the present epoch. The faculae are magnetic phenomena, and this proposition appears plausible in view of the factor of 4.5 change of the solar magnetic flux inferred. Clearly, it is desirable to investigate the quantitative changes in the facular emission, and consequently the total solar irradiance of the Sun, as a consequence of this 4.5-fold change in the magnetic fields of the Sun.

The cosmic ray record has been used to investigate the variability of a number of the components of the space weather. Overall, this study shows that there have been large changes in a number of components of the “space climate” over the past 600 years and it further concludes that the space climate will exhibit an 2300 year periodicity.
The inversion process of Caballero-Lopez et al. (2004) has shown that the HMF increased steadily over the past 580 years, exhibiting the strongest fields during the last 50 years.

The inversion shows that the strength of the HMF at sunspot minimum was significantly less between 1901and 1944, compared to 1954, onwards. The estimates indicate that the HMF near Earth increased from an average of 2.5 nT for the sunspot minima in 1889 and 1901 (the Gleissberg minimum) to 3.5 nT averaged over the sunspot minimum of 1911–1944. Between 1944 and 1954, it increased to 5.2 nT, and the satellite and cosmic ray data show that the field at sunspot minimum remained at 5.2 nT between 1965 and 1996. Together, the cosmic ray and direct satellite measurements show that there was a step-wise and long lived increase in the strength of the HMF between 1944 and 1954.

The cosmogenic data for the past 10,000 years contain an 2300 year periodicity, and it is speculated that the increasing heliomagnetic field strength since the 15th century represents the first quarter cycle of a 2300 year periodicity in the HMF.
On the basis of these estimates, it is concluded that the total magnetic flux of the Sun has increased by a factor of 4.5 over the past 580 years. It is speculated that this could indicate a factor of 9 variation in solar magnetic flux over a 2300 year cycle.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Andromeda strain ?

As we discussed in Panspermia previously this month

A vocal minority of biological investigators, including Nobel winner Francis Crick have put forward views stating that life as we know it ,did not commence here on Earth at all, but was imported from outerspace. Specifically that the ingredients and precursors such as spores or microorganisms from life bearing planets are transported across the Galaxy.

We can see interesting developments from a meteorite in Peru.

Hundreds of people in Peru have needed treatment after an object from space - said to be a meteorite - plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say.

They say the object left a deep crater after crashing down over the weekend near the town of Carancas in the Andes.

People who have visited scene have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea after inhaling gases.

A team of scientists is on its way to the site to collect samples and verify whether it was indeed a meteorite.

Whether it is a physical response to instantaneous high energy heating of the local environment or other reasons it is a truly unique phenomena.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Solar minimum and the price of wheat

Reap the harvest ,hence you will sow,
Except fallow years, and depths of snow

Wheat Prices Send Italian Pasta Costs Up Is the headlines from the world press.

Consumer groups organized protests in Rome, Milan and Palermo — and even handed out free pasta, bread and milk to passers-by to help ease the pain for those who decided to support the strike and forego pasta purchases at supermarkets and restaurants.
Activists say Italians will soon be paying up to 20 percent more for their daily serving of fettuccine, spaghetti or linguine. They say prices are being driven up by middlemen, while earnings for farmers and producers remain flat.
"Prices increase by five times between production and consumption," Toni De Amicis, a leader of Italian farm lobby Coldiretti, said during a protest in Rome. "The right recipe is to reduce the gap between production and consumption."
Similar charges have been lodged in France, where shoppers are grumbling that their aromatic baguettes will soon cost more because of rising flour prices. A consumer group warned in August of likely bread price increases of about 8 percent.
The warning prompted accusations that supermarket chains were disproportionately hiking prices on breads, as producers noted that the price of flour only represents 5 percent of the total price of bread.

Competition for supply from non food manufacturers (biofuels) ,globalization,and climate change, have been arraigned as suspects.The effects of the solar cycle and wheat price behavior are well documented due to the importance of long life staples in the pre industrial era.

The first suggestion of a connection between wheat price and sunspots was made by William Hershel (1801). Over 40 years (1779 – 1818), Hershel regularly observed sunspots and their variations in number, form and size. Unfortunately, most of his observations took place in a period characterized by the lowest solar activity since the Maunder Minimum (later called the Dalton Minimum), when solar activity behaved very unusually: spots in minimums disappeared totally, and the max-max interval increased up to 17 years (1788-1805). These irregular variations of sunspot numbers prevented Hershel from discovering the 11-year period in solar activity. However, he paid attention to an evident correlation between the observed number of spots and the state of the wheat market, based on a series of wheat prices published by Adam Smith in his classical work “Wealth of Nations” (1776). As Herschel showed in his report to the Royal Society (1801), five prolonged periods of few sunspots correlated with costly wheat. In 1801, Hershel published the results of his observations of sunspots, remarking on the possible connection between sunspots and wheat prices, in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Unfortunately, his conclusions met with such strong and widespread rejection, even ridicule, that in spite of his great authority and his status as Royal Astronomer, he had to cancel his next public presentations of his results. However, it is known from his biography, that he continued sunspot observations and analysis up to last days of his life. Hershel suggested that a possible reason for the influence of sunspots on wheat prices was changes in the Earth climate produced by modulations in solar radiation, caused by variation of the emitted surface.

The next scientist in this field was the well-known English economist and logician William Stanley Jevons, one of the creators of Neoclassical Economic Theory. In his study (1875), he focused on the first part of the data published by Professor Rogers in the first volume of his work. Wheat prices over 140 years, from 1259 to 1400, were presented in this volume. Jevons discovered that the time intervals between high prices were close to 10-11 years. The coincidence of these intervals with the period of the recently discovered 11-year cycle of solar activity led him to suggest a solar cycle as a “synchronization” factor for fluctuations in wheat prices3 (Jevons, 1878).

In a paper by Lev A. Pustilnik , Gregory Yom Din entitled INFLUENCE OF SOLAR ACTIVITY ON STATE OF WHEAT MARKET IN MEDIEVAL ENGLAND the authors correlate a direct link between prices of wheat and sunspots over 10 solar minimum periods from the 17th century.

ABSTRACT. The database of Prof. Rogers (1887), which includes wheat prices in England in the Middle Ages, was used to search for a possible influence of solar activity on the wheat market.We present a conceptual model of possible modes for sensitivity of wheat prices to weather conditions,caused by solar cycle variations, and compare expected price fluctuations with price variations recorded in medieval England.

We compared statistical properties of the intervals between wheat price bursts during years 1249-1703 with statistical properties of the intervals between minimums of solar cycles during years 1700-2000. We show that statistical properties of these two samples are similar, both for characteristics of the distributions and for histograms of the distributions.We analyze a direct link between wheat prices and solar activity in the 17th Century, for which wheat prices and solar activity data (derived from 10Be isotope) are available. We show that for all 10 time moments of the solar activity minimums the observed prices were higher than prices for the correspondent time moments of maximal solar activity (100% sign correlation, on a significance level <>

Whilst we have posted on this prior, the present depth of the solar cycle is the deepest for some time,TSI showing solar minimum was in early 2006,other indices show we maybe approachink it later this year.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Climate controversies circa 1874 Royal Society NZ


You will find at page 391 of the Transactions for 1873, a short notice of a discussion on Solar and Terrestrial Radiation, introduced by Mr. C. R. Marten, who explained that the black bulb thermometer in Southland frequently ranged as high as 170°, being 30° higher than in Sydney, and much higher than it has ever reached in the North Island.

As some doubts are implied in the printed report of the correctness of the readings, I wish to state that Mr. Marten is not only an enthusiast in meteorological pursuits, but a most painstaking observer, with whom my duties as first Director of Meteorological Stations in New Zealand brought me in very pleasing communication. As this is a subject on which I formerly took much trouble, and may claim-for myself the merit of having established all the principal Meteorological Stations in New Zealand, and as it was a great comfort to have the co-operation of Mr. Marten, I am anxious to explain why I believe the observations referred to are correct. Of course we all know how difficult it is to prevent “cooking” of observations. In looking over my correspondence with a distinguished savant who had a great deal to do with getting up meteorology in India, he notices how discouraging it was to work at the results of people who had no training in the use of instruments. The stupidity of some observers is impregnable. An intelligent, well-educated man supplied him a long series of wet-bulb observations obtained by holding a thermometer under water and reading off—the bulb was wet, what more could be wanted! You will understand, then, the comfort, in starting a number of Meteorological Stations, of having a Member of the Meteorological Society of England for a coadjutor.

Water Vapor and Greenhouse observations

The calorific rays of the sun pass through- air devoid of aqueous vapour with no appreciable loss; but if water in the form of invisible vapour be present, the air is not perfectly transparent to those rays, and offers, I believe, a slight obstruction to their passage. It is almost opaque to radiant heat from the surface of the ground. Transparency to heat and light is witnessed in the passage of the sun's rays through the glass windows of our dwellings. The heat in a close room into which the sun shines may be overpowering, while the glass, through which the whole of the heat has passed, remains cold. The greater the proportion of aqueous vapour the more solar heat is absorbed in its transit through the atmosphere. Now, the quantity of vapour in the air depends mainly on temperature. In the colder regions of the south, although the air may be saturated with vapour, the relative proportion of vapour to air is much less than in tropical climates;

Californian Tree huggers

I find that in California they are already alarmed at the rapid destruction of their forests, containing the largest and finest trees in the world. It is estimated that one-third of all the available timber has been consumed, and that the whole of the available timber will be consumed in twenty years. One of the worst features of the settlement of new countries is the reckless way in which the timber is destroyed. Not only is the practice condemned in severe terms by thoughtful men in California, but the opinion must be gaining ground that the State should interfere. The only remedy seems to them to be for the Legislature to take up the matter, and by proper laws to provide not only for the preservation of the forests, but for the planting of trees pari passu with the settlement of the country.

Greenland Glaciers

Professor Phillips, at a late meeting of the British Association, remarked that one is almost frozen to silence in presence of the vast sheets of ice which some of his friends, followers of Agassiz, believe themselves to have traced over the mountains and vales of a great part of the United Kingdom. He refuses to accept the proposition that these “ice-rubbers” plough out the valleys and lakes, until we possess more knowledge than has yet been attained regarding the resistance offered by ice to a-crushing force, seeing that under a column of its own substance 1000 feet high it would not retain its solidity.

I have alluded to Phillips' opinion, because I see in Geikie's late work that reference is made to the fact that from the foot of glaciers in Greenland streams of water issue and unite to form considerable rivers, one of which, after a course of forty miles, enters the sea with a mouth nearly three-quarters of a mile in breadth—the water flowing freely at a time when the outside sea was thickly covered with ice.

This flow of water, Geikie thinks, probably circulates to some extent below every glacier, and he accounts for it by the liquefaction of ice from the warmth of the underlying soil. I am sure you will find a more natural solution of this flow of water from glaciers—estimated not less than 3000 feet thick—in the suggestion first made by Professor James Thomson, and subsequently proved by his brother, Professor W. Thomson, that the freezing point of water is lowered by the effect of pressure 0.23° Fahr., or about a quarter of a degree for each additional atmosphere of pressure. Now, a sheet of ice 3000 feet thick is equal to a pressure of eighty-three atmospheres, at which pressure it would require a temperature of 19° below freezing point to retain the form of ice. In the state of running water below the glacier, it might readily, as Geikie states, absorb heat from the underlying soil sufficient to retain its liquid form, as the overlying weight gradually lessened at the edge of the glacier. In this, too, we have a safe assurance that these enormous thicknesses of glaciers can exist only where there is scarcely any or no inclination of the land to the sea board, and that no sheets of ice of such enormous thickness could possibly exist on the sides of mountains, as they would have between them and the mountain side a stratum of water; and, to use a common expression, would come down “ on the run.”

Climate glaciations European or global

Captain Hutton admits that the glaciers of the South Island have been at some former time of much larger dimensions than they are at present, and that there may have been a glacial epoch in the southern hemisphere. But he does not admit that such an epoch bears any relation to, or was contemporaneous with, that of Europe. He would refer it, if it ever existed at all, to a period long antecedent. At the same time he guards himself by stating that we have no proof of a change of climate;

Greenland warmer climate

In latitudes so high as those of Greenland, no hypothesis, based on an assumed elevation or depression of land, will account for the warm climate which must have existed in Greenland in times remotely ancient. We might look to changes in the great luminary whose rays vivify either directly or indirectly all growth on earth.

Professor Heer has concluded from his examination of the fossil flora that the temperature of Greenland was about 30° higher than it is now. You will find from Professor Heer's “Contributions to the Fossil Flora of North Greenland” much wonderfully calculated to revolutionize our notions of the climate of the north of Europe. In the deposits of the outskirting land under the great ice-field which now obliterates all indications of hill and valley were found “thirty different kinds of cone-bearing trees, including species allied to the gigantic Wellingtonia, at present growing in California, with other trees, such as beeches, oaks, planes, poplars, maples, walnuts, limes, a magnolia, hazel, blackthorn, holly, logwood, and hawthorn. These were represented not merely by leaves, which occurred, however, in vast profusion, but by fossil flowers and fruits, including even cones of the magnolia, thus proving,” says a writer in the “ Popular Review,” “that they did not maintain a precarious existence, but ripened their fruits. Vines twined round their trunks—beneath them grew ferns having broad fronds, and with them were mingled several evergreen shrubs.”

Transactions of the Royal society of NZ Volume 7, 1874

APEC Leaders follow conclusions of Joint Academies of Science

The leaders of 21 nations participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have adopted a draft declaration on greenhouse gases, accepting for the first time concrete global goals to reduce CO2 emissions.

Although the draft plan, dubbed the "Sydney Declaration" by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, sets only non-binding targets, it represents a dramatic compromise between rich and poor APEC economies and retains the UN climate change convention as the primary framework to fight global warming.

Most significantly, it is seen as a triumph for the U.S. and Australia in persuading China, a major polluter, and other developing nations to accept measurable reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

With the Kyoto Protocol on climate change due to be replaced in the coming years by a more binding agreement, the APEC draft will likely serve as the basis for the UN climate change summit in Bali, Indonesia in December.

The statement, which was released ahead of Saturday's summit-level meeting, said in part: "We call for a post-2012 international climate change arrangement...that strengthens, broadens and deepens the current arrangement and leads to reduced global emissions of greenhouse gases."

Among the initial targets agreed to, energy efficiency in the Asia-Pacific region will be improved by at least 25% by 2030 over 2005 levels.

Forest areas in the region will also be increased by 20 million hectares by 2020.
The statement said that, if achieved, the new forest cover would store approximately 1.4 billion tons of carbons, equivalent to around 11% of annual global emissions.

As we reported on the Joint academies of science from the G8 Energy summit in Russia in 2006.

The g8 Joint science academies have released the outline for the global situation and the security of the energy complex for sustainability, innovation,and development.As we have suggested there are a number of interesting developments ,that will see a mix of new technology,efficiency and evolution of existing technology.

Broad international consensus recognizes three principal, inter-related components of sustainable development: economic prosperity, social development, and environmental protection. Sustainable and reliable supply of energy is one of the major conditions for achieving these three goals ,for all countries of the world: if energy sustainability and security fail, the primary human development goals cannot be achieved.

Providing for global energy sustainability and security will require many vigorous actions at national levels, and considerable international cooperation. These actions and cooperative steps will need to be based on wide- spread public support, especially in exploring venues for increased efficiency of energy use. Secondly, it will be necessary to develop and deploy new sources and systems for energy supply, including clean use of coal and unconventional fossil resources, advanced nuclear systems, and renewable energy. Diversification of engine fuels, increased use of low-emissions technologies in personal transport, and greater emphasis in deployment of urban mass transit would introduce much-needed flexibility and economy in a rapidly urbanizing world.

The necessary changes and transitions in energy systems and paradigms will not be possible without achievement of many challenging scientific, technical and economic objectives, and will require the investment of enormous resources in a sustained way over decades. They will also require major openness and transfer of knowledge, technology and capital.

We call on world leaders, especially those meeting at the G8 Summit in July 2006, to:
- Articulate the reality and urgency of global energy security concerns;
- Plan for the massive infrastructure investments, and lead times required for a transition to clean, affordable and sustainable energy systems;
- Itensify cooperation with developing countries to build their domestic capacities to use existing and innovative energy systems and technologies, including transfer of technologies;
- Promote by appropriate policies and economic instruments the development and implementation of cost-competitive, environmentally beneficial, and market acceptable clean fossil, nuclear, and renewable technologies;
- Ensure, in cooperation with industry, that technologies are developed and implemented and actions taken to protect energy infrastructures from natural disasters, technological failures, and human actions;
- Address the serious inadequacy of R&D funding and provide incentives to accelerate advanced energy-related R&D, also in partnership with private companies;
- Implement education programs to increase public understanding of energy challenges, and to provide for energy-related expertise and engineering capabilities;
- Focus governmental research and technology efforts on energy efficiency, non-conventional hydrocarbons and clean coal with CO2 sequestration, innovative nuclear power, distributed power systems, renewable energy sources, biomass production, biomass and gas conversion for fuels.

The InterAcademy Council, established by the Academies of the world, is now engaged in an in- depth examination of this energy technology transition challenge, to be completed by November there are some interesting perspectives in the initial drafts.

We can conclude that the "consensus" of the Joint academies is for innovative cost efficient solutions and technological transfers.It is a priori that there is incentive not disincentive for investment viz a viz the "taxation and command and control regimes" suggested by the strange inhabitants of the "eco groups"

Friday, September 07, 2007

Note on Glacier-Recession, By T. V. Hodgson.

I would ask, what right have we to accept so readily the assumption that the temperature-conditions are becoming less severe, and that therefore the ice-cap is receding? It appears to me that the evidence is very weak at the best.
To begin with the Barrier, the amount of recession is small compared to its enormous area. It is greatest on the eastern side, where we have absolutely no knowledge whatever as to the source of supply. As compared to the mountains of the west, King Edward VII Land, from the little that has been seen of it, is low-lying country, and if such should ultimately prove to be the case it may also prove to be the larger feeding-ground.

Only in one spot has the rate of movement of the Barrier been measured. It was a rather crude measurement on a sledge journey near Minna Bluff, and is probably only local; it works out roughly at about a quarter of a mile a year. There is no evidence whatever as to the seasonal fluctuations of this ice-sheet: a series of mild or of severe seasons seems to me to be amply sufficient to account for the difference in the position of its northern face. The icebergs met with by the “Discovery” were for the most part very small, and I think I am right in saying that none of them were over three miles long.

As to glaciers, many of them do not come down to sea-level, but end abruptly, frequently at some considerable distance from it, and it is very much open to question if they have ever been anywhere near sea-level.

These facts have been interpreted as proof positive that the glaciation of the region is receding, it being regarded as certain that in no very far distant period in such a climate all these glaciers did come down to sea-level, and that those that do so now were formerly of far greater extent. This, I think, is far too hasty a conclusion, especially when we consider that McMurdo Sound has never previously been visited by man, and very little is known of the entire region from the point of view of its physiographical conditions. Some of the so-called glaciers, like that in McMurdo Sound described in the present paper, the Drygalski ice-sheet, and probably others, require more detailed examination before any really definite and satisfactory opinion can be pronounced.

Within forty miles of our winter quarters were no less than three active volcanoes, one smoking vigorously, the other two quiescent, and in such a volcanic district it is only fair to ask what would be the probable effect of—(1) volcanic eruption, (2) earthquake.

First with regard to volcanic eruption. For how long would the trace of such an occurrence be perceptible except by actual and close examination of the ground? Apparently not more than a few weeks. Lava-flows certainly might be conspicuous for a much longer period; but their age and finer characters are not to be detected at distances measured by the mile. Ashes and other volcanic ejecta might cover large areas, and under some conditions, such as seen in the Brown Island rubble-mass, would absorb the sun's heat and quickly effect considerable changes in the subjacent snow and ice. Under other conditions the snow might speedily and effectively hide all traces of any eruption as visible from a distance.

In the matter of earthquakes, their effect might be far more serious, and at the same time even less conspicuous. It is by no means inconceivable that the land in the vicinity of McMurdo Sound has undergone some change of level quite recently from a geological point of view. How could it be recognized on a first visit? Further, what would be the effect of a “good average” earthquake on the sea ice in such a region? It would certainly mean considerable rupture, with probably a serious effect on the adjacent shores. From such a sheet at the Great Ice Barrier it is quite reasonable to suppose that a single earthquake of any magnitude would make such a difference to that sheet as would take many years to replace.

Statement of a denier

Monday, September 03, 2007

Why there is a consensus of Politicians on Climate Change

"One day sir, you may tax it." Faraday's reply to William Gladstone, then British Minister of Finance, when asked of the practical value of electricity.

Of course

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Coefficients of Egoism or how Altruism is important until it affects my Political majority (Climate change mitigation)

A round of climate change talks under the auspices of the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded in Austria today with agreement on key elements for an effective international response to climate change.

“Countries have been able to reassess the big picture of what is needed by identifying the key building blocks for an effective response to climate change,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer. “There is a consensus that the response needs to be global, with the involvement of all countries and that it needs to give equal importance to adaptation and mitigation.”

Government delegates also debated how the response can be enabled by an approach
that opens the way for financial flows to climate-friendly and climate-proof investments. This was based on a report on the investment and financial flows relevant to the development of an effective and appropriate international response to climate change, presented to the conference by the UN Climate Change Secretariat.

“The report clearly shows that energy efficiency can achieve real emission reductions at low cost,” said Yvo de Boer. “It also shows that many cost-effective opportunities for reducing emissions are in developing countries, but also that industrialised countries need aggressive emission reduction strategies”, he said, alluding to the potential of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM permits industrialized countries to invest in sustainable development projects and thereby generate tradable emission credits.

One of the primary reasons for the failure of the Kyoto protocol was the inadequacy in the beginning for the countries (actors) agreeing upon ``fair play'' principles, (a priori) in accordance to an equilibrium strategy. Quantative and qualitative attributes for the Kp were not ascertained prior but after the initial agreement ,meaning ratification of the KP was politically untenable for the US and others and as was seen in the 95-0 in the US Senate for emission and energy reforms under the Clinton/gore administration.

The St Petersberg school of game theory showed that this would be the outcome in the late 1990’s .

The late Yuri. M. Svirezhev, W. von Bloh, and H.-J. Schellnhuber showed the application of the “emission game” to Co2 perturbations that agreement and cooperation was a priori to an ESS(evolutionary stable strategy) in a NON-ANTAGONISTIC game.

If there are no doubts that we must reduce the total emission of carbon dioxide then the problem of how much different countries should be allowed to contribute to this amount remains a serious one. We suggest this problem to be considered as a non-antagonistic game (in Germeier's sense). A game of this kind is called an ``emission'' game. Suppose that there are n independent actors (countries or regions), each of them releasing a certain amount of CO per year (in carbon units)into the atmosphere, and that the emission would be reduced by each actor. Each actor has his own aim: to minimise the loss in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) caused by the reduction of emissions. On the other hand, taking into account that it is impossible to estimate more or less precisely the impact of the climate change on GDP for each country today, a common strategy will be to reduce the climate change. Since one of the main leading factors in global warming is the greenhouse effect, then the common aim will be to reduce the sum of emissions. This is a typical conflict situation. How to resolve it? We can weigh the ``egoistic'' and ``altruistic'' criteria for each actor introducing so-called ``coefficients of egoism''. This coefficient is very large, if the actor uses a very egoistic strategy, and conversely, if the actor is a ``super-altruist'', then the corresponding coefficient is very small. Using these coefficients we get the general solution of the game in a form of some Pareto's equilibrium. The solution is stable and efficient.

So what are ‘tenable solutions for the “problem’ perceived or otherwise As we analyzed here A Paradigm shift in Policy mechanisms for Energy Security from the G8 will produce more realistic outcomes then Kyoto. Part 2

As we previously suggested in our first report on the likely outcome of the G8 Gleneagles communiqué on Climate change, the communiqué has provided a consensus on additional strategic pathways for implementing the primary goal of stabilizing anthropogenic GHG emissions.

This multi faceted approach has brought consensus on outcomes, and will allow a global set of mechanisms that will introduce improvements to energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner energy systems, new technology and the transfer of technology to developing countries whilst maintaining global growth.

It also introduces a number of mechanisms for the low cost introduction of cleaner renewable energy systems for developing countries that will help to provide growth and allow them to bypass the use of carbon based energy systems.

The primary goals that were identified by the communiqué were

1 Transforming the way we uses energy
2 Powering a cleaner future
3 Promoting research and development
4 Financing the transition to cleaner energy
5 Managing the impact of climate change
6 Tackling illegal logging
7 Lower cost energy

These have signified a change from one of tariff based emission reduction to a broader role of technology and the delivery mechanisms of energy. This will create substantial opportunities in the areas of scientific research, engineering technology especially micro measurement, electrical efficiency and fuel technology.

What the G8 initatives will do,is to implement transparency of the energy complex,identify areas of cooperation in energy resource management and transfer.Provide structure for the efficient and economic transfer of technology to the worlds poorest countries to enable development and independence,This will also enable those countries to bypass the carbon cycle where possible and to enable positive economic growth and improved standards for education,health,and infrastructure.The initiatives will enable existing economic growth .

Therefore the simplest solution is the transfer of technology at low cost to the poorest countries instead of “financial largesse’ which has not worked over the last 50 years,This can include agriculture technology to enhance food output.

A win/win outcome.

The Herd trampling on Tall Poppies, or the myths of peer review publications.

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth, if it be such as would obliged them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.


One of the Great controversies is how the “closed shop” of scientific review for publication and funding can lead to the passage of scientific consensus into blind cul-de-sacs of scientific theory .Indeed we can cite many Nobel laureates who when questioning the ‘Paradigm” were treated with contemptuous ridicule from the “consensus club”

Thomas Gold cited the behavior of the Nasa consensus of ‘in-house peer review”as the closed herd (neutron star rotation).

Another area where it is particularly bad is in the planetary sciences where NASA made great mistakes in the way in which they set up the situation. NASA made the grave mistake not only of working with a peer review system, but one where some of the peers (in fact very influential ones) were the in-house people doing the same line of work. This established a community of planetary scientists now which was completely selected by the leading members of the herd, which was very firmly controlled, and after quite a short time, the slightest departure from the herd was absolutely cut down. Money was not there for anybody who had a slightly diverging viewpoint. The conferences ignored him, and so on. It became completely impossible to do any independent work. For all the money that has been spent, the planetary program will one day be seen to have been extraordinarily poor. The pictures are fine and some of the facts that have been obtained from the planetary exploration with spacecraft - those will stand but not much else.

We have seen this with the conflicts with eminent scientists such as Arthur Eddington and the controversy with Chandrasekhar on neutron stars.

In astrophysics circles this controversy is usually described in terms of Eddington as a great man with deep philosophical beliefs and unorthodox views on how the laws of science might change i.e., it was not clear whether he was morally right in “putting down” a young man so thoroughly and consistently, but it was not clear either till much later that he was scientifically wrong. However, in 1946 I was a graduate student in physics, not in astrophysics, my thesis advisor was Rudolf Peierls and it was clear that Eddington was wrong right from the start! At least this was the situation with two very specific papers of Eddington’s.

These two papers(Eddington 1935a and 1935b) were mainly concerned with the laws of physics in existence at the time, especially quantum mechanics and special relativity, not with philosophy or the future (in one of them there was one delightful digression into the “magic numbers” in astronomy and physics which was vintage Eddington, but this did not impinge on the main text). There were two aspects to these papers: (i) they pointed out genuine difficulties that would be faced if one
wanted to carry out very rigorous and very accurate calculations, and (ii) an explicit calculation of the equation of state for relativistic electrons as Fermi-Dirac particles which not only gave the wrong result but consisted of sheer nonsense or double-talk or both! An example of (i) was how to treat Dirac electrons under high pressurewhen they are not free particles but are confined by a strong gravitational field. My thesis advisor had solved this problem within a year (Peierls 1936), although it was not a trivially simple calculation. And I have worried off and on over the last 50 years about (ii). Eddington was a great man and on some level of consciousness he must have known he had written nonsense — how could he live with himself and how could two respectable journals publish such papers? I have felt that much of the answer stems from the genuine problems in (i) obscuring the treatment in (ii).I consider the juxtaposition of macroscopic and several microscopic complications in one problem a particularly exciting challenge for a theorist.

One of the greatest examples is Alfvén

Alfvén became active in interplanetary and magnetospheric physics at a time when a contrary viewpoint prevailed. Alfvén's views were consistent with those of the founder of magnetospheric physics, the great Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland. At the end of the nineteenth century Birkeland had laid out a compelling case-supported by theory, laboratory experiments, polar expeditions, and a chain of magnetic-field "observatories" around the world -that electric currents flowing down along the earth's magnetic fields into the atmosphere were the cause of the aurora and polar magnetic disturbances.

However, in the decades following Birkeland's death in 1917, Chapman became the acknowledged leader in interplanetary and magnetospheric physics. Chapman proposed, in contradistinction to Birkeland's ideas, that currents were restricted to flow only in the ionosphere with no downflowing currents. Chapman's theory was so mathematically elegant that it gained wide acceptance over the Birkeland theory. Based on Chapman's theory, algebraic expressions of the ionospheric current system could, with complete mathematical rigor, be derived by any student of the subject. Birkeland's ideas might have faded completely had it not been for Hannes Alfvén, who became involved well after Chapman's ideas gained predominance. Alfvén kept insisting that Birkeland's current system made more sense because downflowing currents following the earth's magnetic field lines were required to drive most of the ionospheric currents. The issue was not settled until 1974, four years after Chapman's death, when earth satellites measured downflowing currents for the first time.

This story was typical of the difficulties Alfvén faced in his scientific career. Interplanetary space was commonly considered to be a good vacuum, disturbed only by occasional comets. This viewpoint was widely accepted because space "looked" that way, having been viewed only by using telescopes at optical wavelengths. In contrast, the electrical currents proposed by Alfvén generated a telltale signature only in the radio portions of the electromagnetic spectrum so they had not yet been observed. Thus Alfvén's proposal that there were electrical currents in space was received with great skepticism.

And as we see published in Science and reported in the New Scientist .

Elusive magnetic ripples called Alfvén waves have been spotted shimmering in the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona, for the first time. The waves travel 10 times faster than the speed of sound and may help crack the mystery of why the corona is so much hotter than the Sun's visible surface.

At 2 million degrees Celsius, the corona is hundreds of times hotter than the Sun's visible surface, which lies beneath it and simmers at a mere 5000° C. But figuring out what injects so much heat into the corona has eluded scientists for decades.

One idea is that the corona is heated by magnetic ripples called Alfvén waves. These waves – which had been observed in the solar wind but never in the corona – are vibrations of the Sun's magnetic field lines.


Returning to Thomas Gold

I sometimes wonder if the much encouraged and proclaimed interaction among western astronomers leads to a form of mental herd behavior which, if it does not actually put a clamp upon free thinking, insidiously applies the pressure to follow the fashion. This makes the writings of our Soviet colleagues who have partly developed ideas in comparative isolation all the more valuable.

Yes, I have wondered whether one should in fact pursue subjects with a big wall between two groups that are working in the same field, so that they absolutely cannot communicate, and see a few years later whether they come even approximately to the same conclusion. It would then give some perspective of how much the herd behavior may have been hurting. But we don't have that. Even with our Soviet colleagues, unfortunately, we have too much contact to have a display of real independence, to see where it would have led.

Transformation of Alfven waves and the effective propagation without dampening in loops and coronal heating is described in the Soviet literature by

Pickelner s And Liftshitz M 1964 Astron J 41 1887 (in Russian)
Pickelner S 1966 The principles of Cosmic Electrodynamics p 407(in Russian)

Just because it is not known or published in Western literature does not preclude the theory being less important then the “consensus’

Indeed the publications of the Royal society and in the US put cosmology down a blind alley for 30 years.

Or as American Scientist says

It appears that everybody is interested in cosmology. In one anthropological study, every one of the more than 60 separate cultures examined was found to have several common characteristics, including "faith healing, luck superstitions, propitiation of supernatural beings, … and a cosmology." Apparently, to be human is to care how the physical world came to be, whether it has boundaries and what is to become of it. Modern cosmology is a highly sophisticated subject funded by governments with hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It is unquestionably interesting, but is it, even in its modern guise, convincing?

The current Big Bang paradigm has it that the cosmos is expanding out of an initially dense state and that by looking outward into space, one can, thanks to the finite speed of light, look back to much earlier epochs. This understanding owes much to two accidents: astronomers' discovery of redshifts in the spectra of distant nebulae and the fortuitous detection of an omnipresent background of microwave noise, which is believed to be the remnant of radiation from a hot and distant past. Set in the theoretical framework of Einstein's general theory of relativity, such observations lead to a model that makes predictions and can thus be tested.

Of late, there has been much excitement over precision measurements of the cosmic background radiation and the discovery of very distant galaxies of great antiquity. There is even talk of a "concordance model" in which all of the observations come together to paint a coherent picture of how the universe must be constructed.

Alfven has some strong views on this

To Alfvén, the problems being raised were not surprising. "I have never thought that you could obtain the extremely clumpy, heterogeneous universe we have today, strongly affected by plasma processes, from the smooth, homogeneous one of the Big Bang, dominated by gravitation."

The problem with the Big Bang, Alfvén believed, is similar to that with Chapman's theories, which the scientific community accepted mistakenly for decades: Astrophysicists have tried too hard to extrapolate the origin of the universe from mathematical theories developed on the blackboard. The appeal of the Big Bang, said Alfvén, has been more ideological than scientific. When men think about the universe, there is always a conflict between the mythical approach and the empirical scientific approach. In myth, one tries to deduce how the gods must have created the world - what perfect principles must have been used."

To Alfvén, the Big Bang was a myth - a myth devised to explain creation. "I was there when Abbe Georges Lemaitre first proposed this theory," he recalled. Lemaitre was, at the time, both a member of the Catholic hierarchy and an accomplished scientist. He said in private that this theory was a way to reconcile science with St. Thomas Aquinas' theological dictum of creatio ex nihilo or creation out of nothing.

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