Thursday, January 19, 2017
Earth breaks heat record
Wednesday January 18, 2017 09:47 PM
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
It’s official: 2016 was the hottest year on record since scientists began tracking Earth’s temperature more than 100 years ago, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The 1.69-degree jump over the 20th century average, according to NOAA, marks the third year in a row that global temperatures have reached record-shattering levels. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration added that the global average temperature for 2016 was 1.78 degrees higher than a baseline period between 1951 and 1980.
Both agencies noted that Earth’s average global temperature — which NOAA pegged at 57 degrees — was higher in 2016 than in any year since scientists began tracking it in 1880.
“For the first time in recorded history, we have now had three consecutive record-warm years,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University who was not involved in the findings. “The likelihood of this having happened in the absence of human-caused global warming is minimal.”
Frightening, isn’t it? It’s what I saw when I opened the LA Times (after removing the annoying advertising wrap that obscured the front page).
But then I started reading the fine print, and it’s not so scary. That hockey stick wavy red line shows a temperature rise over the last century all right: one and a half degrees. That assumes we have, accurate to a tenth of a degree, an actual measurement of the temperature of the last century. It also takes not the actual average (as if we actually knew that) but the adjusted temperature. And I trust you noticed that “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration added that the global average temperature for 2016 was 1.78 degrees higher than a baseline period between 1951 and 1980.’
What it doesn’t mention is that the scientific community was in a tizzy about the coming Ice Age in the baseline period between 1951 and 1980. I attended most of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meetings from about 1968 to the end of the Century, and up into the 1890’s the AAAS was in a panic about Global Cooling. Some of you may recall Stephen Schneider’s book “The Genesis Strategy”, which has a picture of Schneider and Margaret Meade on the dust jacket. I took that picture (as a favor to them; I didn’t ask for or expect credit). Dealing with the coming ice was a major concern then; indeed, one of the arguments against made by President Carter’s science advisors was that nuclear waste had to be protected from glaciers in the future, thus raising the cost of nuclear energy. I even got into that debate.
Load of bollocks: 2016 allegedly ‘hottest year’ by immeasurable amount degree – While satellites show ‘pause’ continues
MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen on 2016 being called the ‘hottest year’: ‘The hysteria over this issue is truly bizarre’ – Warns of return ‘back to the dark ages’
Dr. David Whitehouse noted the ‘temperature pause never went away‘: ‘According to NOAA 2016 was 0.07°F warmer than 2015, which is 0.04°C. Considering the error in the annual temperature is +/- 0.1°C this makes 2016 statistically indistinguishable from 2015, making any claim of a record using NOAA data specious.’
Dr. Lindzen also ridiculed previous ‘hottest year’ claims. “The uncertainty here is tenths of a degree. When someone points to this and says this is the warmest temperature on record, what are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period,” Lindzen said. “If you can adjust temperatures to 2/10ths of a degree, it means it wasn’t certain to 2/10ths of a degree.”
2016 Not Statistically Warmer Than 1998, Satellites Data Shows
Dr David Whitehouse: ‘Any estimate of temperature trends that have their endpoint on the uptick of the El Nino curve will give a misleadingly high trend. It is obvious that a better trend will be obtained after the natural El Nino has ended. Likewise care must be taken if the start point is near the La Nina years of 1999-2000. The temperature trends of the oceans estimated by the new paper fall into this trap.’
You can find a great deal more if you look for it, but you’ll have to look hard; the “consensus” data get most of the ink; those who ask questions generally get short shrift. But it’s there if you want. What you need to keep in mind is that the global temperature has been rising about 2 degrees per century since the Little Ice Age, and it certainly is not as warm now as it was when Leif Ericson founded the dairy farms in Greenland, some of which are still under the ice. The Earth has been warmer in historical times; and of course we’re still technically in an Ice Age. It would be well to have the means to control earth’s temperature; but that will require a lot of power. It will almost undoubtedly requite nuclear, which emits no pollutants, and generates power that energy that did not fall on the Earth. Space Solar Power, power satellites, generate energy from sunlight that would have hit the earth anyway, but they can also be used to bring down power that would not in case we need that.
I have said this many times before, but it bears repeating: we do not have a pollution problem. We do not have a fresh water problem. With sufficient energy, pollutants can be taken apart into their constituent elements, and used water can be purified and pumped up into the mountains to refill the natural aquifers. The cleanest running stream in California is the outfalls of the maximum purification elements of the Hyperion sewage disposal plat; at the moment we pump it out to sea, but if we had the energy we could pump it up to the top of the San Gabriel’s and let it run down the natural watercourses. Los Angeles is in an arid area and we’d need some outside water; but is we recycle we wouldn’t need anywhere near as much as we take from Mono Lake and the Bay Area. All we need is the power.
This is Thursday and I will be off to LASFS shortly; I’ll post this before I go. Tomorrow is Inauguration Day, and the sick joke on the left is that if they can assassinate both Trump and Pence they can keep Obama. I think that is not true – the Speaker would become President. Of course if they can get him and the President pro temp of the Senate, we’d have Kerry, not Mr. Obama.
Assembling Notes on Brain Cancer
Great notion, to assemble and edit your notes on your health experiences. Ever since reading “The Noonday Daemon”, I’ve thought that every intense, chronic major health condition deserves that kind of aware first-person account. (I’ve been retaining notes regarding my own stroke, as potential fodder for just such a project. You’ll do it better.)
In all this, best wishes, best regards, and thanks for all the work to date – as a fan, it’s a bargain at twice the price.
I will work on that, and add recovering from a stroke as well. It is not likely to be quickly done.
Comment stimulated by Alan Johnson’s letter…
(I just re-subscribed today… long overdue: S-7WX21496FD374312K)
‘The Last Man To Walk on the Moon has Died.’ I, too, am deeply concerned about the long term decline of the nation. I think Jared Diamond’s Collapse likely covers the main causes: When governments become too large and too distance from grass roots problems they start making decisions which seem reasonable high up on Mount Olympus (given their priorities), but back on earth the decisions are wasteful and even destructive. I am personally horrified at the late 1990s de-engineering of our country, as if the talent and skills that built it are no longer of any value. Millions of man-years of real world engineering expertise have been discarded in the name of two decades of quick profits. Have we purchased the ropes from which we now hang?
Alan Johnson’s letters today were stimulating ( https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/last-man-on-the-moon-dies-health-care-discussion-new-work-coming-who-hacked-what-the-ancient-foreign-policy-and-other-matters/ )…
We must always remember that we live in a thoroughly-armed and quickly-armed society, and throwing any slice of any bell curve ‘to the wolves’ may have the most unexpectedly catastrophic consequences. Consider this simple example: A majority wishing to stop all food stamps using an over-simplistic ‘work or starve’ philosophy might result in a million armed starving people! Not good! There is an ancient saying, “Every society is just nine meals from anarchy.” Anarchy is a distributed phenomena, you can’t ‘call out’ the National Guard!
Likewise, if we begin to deny medical care to large swaths of a population (‘pay or perish’) we may increase black market medicine and treatments (as in the 3rd world, to the harm of all), home burglaries, and armed robberies by a factor of 100 or 1000. Also Not Good!
In Glory Road Heinlein used the interrelationship of rats, pigs, and dragons to illustrate the need for extreme care in tampering with natural balances. I would suggest that the ‘natural balance’ (the rules of society) of the USA is a thousand times more complex still. Rational social design isn’t impossible, it’s just really, really difficult!
But rational design assumes that people in power actually care about society vs what they can extract from society for themselves and their family/tribe/mafia of supporters… and there appears to be an enormous mass of anecdotal evidence to suggest that they Do Not and Will Never, in which case rational discussion is moot.
So how do you make a government that has evolved via natural social forces over decades into dysfunctionality toward its own society, suddenly care about this self-same dysfunctionality? They will answer that they are well fed and their paychecks are coming in regularly, so what’s the problem? Historically, the society has to collapse to a significant degree. We may be stumbling in a ‘fog of war’ along the edge of the precipice.
Which model below best approximates our society? I think it depends on the circumstances and the timing. I’ve read Tverberg’s postings for years (https://ourfiniteworld.com) and often find her thought-provoking, although I think that she underestimates the sheer mass of world economies and thus the time it will take for them to devolve. I’ve only just discovered Mr. John Michael Greer and haven’t read his work yet.
(Left: Tverberg’s talking points model. Right: Greer’s model)
You and your readers might enjoy this video on the elemental forces of governance. It’s entertaining, instructive, and worth watching. 19 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs
-John Gibbs Hackett
Thank you, and thanks for the subscription renewal. It’s time for a pledge drive. And if anyone can’t remember when they last subscribed. I suggest that now would be a good time. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/paying.html
I’ll comment another time; thanks again.
I risk sounding pedantic, but here goes:
Mr. Allan E. Johnson said, “For that matter, I’m not sure ‘justice’ and ‘rights’ . . .”
“Rights” can certainly be defined very crisply:
A right is a thing that a person may do — and action that a person may take — without first obtaining permission from another. In other words, the term “right” pertains to a verb, not a noun. I have the right to do something, not to have unrestricted access to something just because I want (or “deserve”) it.
This is my own definition, but I discovered that it agrees very well with the dictionary definition.
Saying that a person has a “right” to adequate housing, a decent job, education, etc. is a misuse of the term. While technically true, it avoids the important, nay crucial, fact that these are not actions, but goods, and someone must pay for them in some manner. I may not be arbitrarily denied access to some good thing, but I may not obligate another to provide it to me.
Del Valle, Texas
I used to teach Constitutional Law, and one of my lectures was on the nature of rights. The concept din not used to mean “entitlements”, and I am not sure the change in meaning is beneficial. It would take a longer essay to deal with this and I haven’t time. But do the undeserving have rights? Of course. Should they get free goodies? More debatable. And who decides who deserves what?
Obamacare v Defense
(1) In January 17th’s View, contributor John Thomas wrote, “I suspect that most taxpayers, given the option, would far rather their tax dollars went to creating universal health care for all citizens of the â€greatest country in the history of the world€ rather than to spend trillions in pursuit of never-ending military actions which further no real national benefit but which do much to enrich the bottom lines of multi-national corporations and co-laterally the war chests of the political parties.”
I contest his conclusion concerning defense spending, but will answer to his point about taxpayers opting for healthcare over defense.
The most healthy body in the land will not stop a bullet to the heart.
What good is health without liberty?
Given the choice? I’ll take defense. I can always see a doctor about my cough and pay for it myself, but I’ll have a hard time defending myself against strategic bombers from China or Russia or the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
I have no problem with his point about the UN or NATO allies sharing properly in the cost of defending them. After all, it is because of our covering their defense that they were able to grow from the ashes of World War II and become economic powerhouses, since they didn’t have to pay near as much to defend against the USSR. But the bottom line is that Obamacare – or ANY federal healthcare, for that matter – is unconstitutional. It is irrelevant what its quality or efficiency may be, that brings it no closer to the Constitution.
If there is any need for healthcare to be provided to citizens, it is up to the States to provide it, not the feds. So states the Tenth Amendment.
(2) Later on, you wrote, “‘If you want peace, be prepared for war’ has been relevant advice since Appius Claudius the Blind said it to the Senate of Rome.”
I have my own version of that; “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
If you would have peace, be prepared for war. All but the impoverished have known that for long time.
Trump is amusing me. This negotiation style is effective, no matter what you do you move yourself closer to the goals:
Trump’s team had discussed moving news conferences out of the small West Wing briefing room to the Old Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on ABC.
“The press went crazy, so I said, ‘Let’s not move it.’ But some people in the press will not be able to get in,” Trump told “Fox & Friends”
in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
“We have so many people that want to go in so we’ll have to just have to pick the people to go into the room – I’m sure other people will be thrilled about that,” he said. “But we offered a much larger room because we need a much larger room and we offered to do that, but they went crazy.”
“And they’ll be begging for a much larger room very soon, you watch.”
In other words, be happy with what you’ve got or you’ll learn that words can be interpreted to mean almost anything and you’ll, eventually, be seen as unreasonable, outspoken, and childish…. Did you see CNN’s Accosta? And the pressed tried to act like Trump was a volcanic bully when the CNN reporter kept trying to direct Trump’s attention away from the person he indicated had the floor.
This stuff is so childish that they’re not only making Trump resistant to any real scandal he might actually get into, but they’re creating dangers to their own job security.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
‘But is it really surprising that Trump officials would view their longtime detractors with suspicion?’
‘Guess what? I won…”
Subject: Moe Berg article errors
Dear Doctor Pournelle,
The story about Moe Berg is one of those fascinating sidebars to the secret wars fought by both sides in World War Two. However, the article needs a couple of minor corrections to errors I spotted, and since I am no expert on all the details, I suspect there were others I could not spot.
First, Berg did not undertake the 1934 Tokyo spying as a member of, or under the aegis of, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), for the simple reason that the OSS was not created until the nineteen-forties, either shortly before or shortly after the entry of the USA into the war. The wartime mission to surveill and possibly/allegedly attempt the assassination of WernerHeisenberg was done after Berg had joined the wartime OSS, so he did later have official status with the OSS.
The other niggling error(s) was that the heavy water plant in Norway was neither secret (it was owned by the Nrsk Hydro Company, and had been opened before the war, when Norway was a neutral, independent state), nor was it destroyed by the RAF after being reconned by Berg. The RAF attempted to destroy the plant from the air, but this was not feasible due to the terrain. The Norsk Gydro electrolytic cells that produced heavy water were eventually destroyed in a raid by a team of British trained Norwegian commando’s.
Niggling matters, but I know you like accuracy, so now the record is corrected.
Yes. OSS was put together from Skull & Bones people and wasn’t formed until after the war started. State department had an intelligence service. FBI wanted to be one, and there were other candidates. And of course everyone knows about the Commando raid that got the heavy water. Berg’s pictures made the RAF raid possible, but their bombing was awful.
Cold War Blues
According to Thomas Donnelly of the The Weekly Standard, “The ‘unipolar moment’ is gone: It’s now the POST Posta€“Cold War era. As President Obama leaves the Oval Office, so too will the Posta€“Cold War era exit the scene. Another Lost Ark, it may wind up in an endless, dusty warehouse, a torrent locked in a raw wood crate. What was the postâ€“Cold War era â€” a time first and forever defined by what it was not? Was it even a fleeting Pax Americana, this unipolar moment? Or were such pronouncements merely hubris, the pride that inevitably comes before a fall? We’ve seen a long parade of Big Ideas, none of which seemed to last more than a season or two.”
I last commented that “Iâ€™ve been trying to suss the state of the ‘cold war’â€. . . Despite your wisdom on the subject of escalation dominance, I still share, perhaps, with President-elect Trump, the inability to identify present-day Russia and its leader with as an enemy equal to the despots that we all lived with in the past. The discomfort that EU leaders are expressing with the presumed loss of Uncle Sugar’s NATO largess is instructive. Is it possible that the Cold War is over?
In my judgment, Mr. Putin is neither a chiliastic communist nor a typical despot; he certainly does not see himself that way, and I do not think Mr. Trump regards him as such. Russia has natural interests that do not conflict with ours, and not all that many that conflict with our friends’ interests. There are some that do conflict. Read the Art of the Deal.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.