TCS Daily

Antarctic Ice: The Cold Truth

By Patrick Michaels - March 3, 2006 12:00 AM

This week Science Magazine's on-line SciencExpress reports that Antarctica has been losing large amounts of ice mass over the past three years, contributing to sea level rise at a rate of 0.4 ± 0.2 mm/year. This comes on the heels of a paper published by Science two weeks ago that reported that Greenland was also losing big chunks of ice and contributing to sea level rise at a rate of 0.57 mm/yr.

If this sounds like one of those repeating news stories -- Coup in Haiti, Osama Sends a Tape, etc. -- it is. And so is the response. Natural variability is sufficiently large on yearly and multidecadal time scales that it is simply impossible to conclude that anything other than natural variability is at play in either of these two stories.

The SciencExpress paper by Isabella Velicogna and John Wahr reports on 34 months of data recorded by a new NASA satellite that measures the pull of gravity. Variations in the gravitational field are related to variations in the local mass beneath the satellite. If the mass changes, the satellite observes a different degree of gravitational pull.

Velicogna and Wahl attempted to use the gravity variations observed over Antarctica to determine whether Antarctica was gaining or losing mass. But, their analysis is complicated because variations in gravity can be caused by many things. These include variations in atmospheric pressure (the atmosphere has a certain mass); gravity signals arising from outside of Antarctica; and mass changes from a process known as post-glacial rebound -- slow, ongoing changes to the earth's crust as it adjusts to the removal of its huge ice load from the last ice age. Each of these effects needs to be correctly accounted for before estimating snow and ice changes. After this process, Velicogna and Wahr derived the time history of the variations in ice mass covering Antarctica (from April 2002 through August 2005) shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The variations in ice mass (in units of volume) covering Antarctica from April 2002 through August 2005. The blue points are the values uncorrected for post glacial rebound, and the red points represent the ice mass corrected for all external influences. The dashed black line is the trend through the corrected (red) values. (Source: Velicogna and Wahl, 2006).

Additionally, the researchers calculated the ice mass changes for the two major ice sheets across Antarctica -- the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and the Eastern Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) -- which together cover the vast majority of the continent. Figure 2 shows that the there is no trend in the EAIS (which is about 3 times as large as the WAIS) and that virtually all of the mass loss is coming from the WAIS.

Figure 2. The ice mass variations over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (red) and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (green). (Source: Velicogna and Wahl, 2006).

This differs from the results published by Davis et al. in Science magazine just last summer, which used a different satellite and over a longer time period -- May1982 through May 2003. While Davis et al. did find that the smaller WAIS was losing mass, they also found that the much larger EAIS was gaining mass at a rate that exceeded the loss over the WAIS. In total, Davis et al. found that Antarctica was gaining mass (from increased snow accumulation) and contributing to a decline in sea level of about 0.09 mm/yr. The differences between these two results likely lie somewhere in the collection of factors that include different time periods, different spatial coverages, and in analysis uncertainties.

However, one thing is clear. The beginning of the Velicogna and Wahl analysis occurs during an unusually high point in the longer record of Davis et al. (Figure 3). This means that the apparent decline in the record of Velicogna and Wahl may simply be a short term correction to an anomalously high mass gain during a period of long-term mass growth. But who is to know for sure? It is impossible to tell anything about a trend in a system as vast as Antarctica with less than three years worth of data.

Figure 3. The ice mass changes (in terms of elevations change) observed over the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by Davis et al. from May 1992-May 2003. Notice that in mid-2002 (the start of the Velicogna and Wahl analysis) ice mass was at the highest level in the record.

Records of the extent of sea ice surrounding Antarctica are available from satellite observations starting back in the late 1980s. Figure 4 (from the National Snow and Ice Data Center) shows that there has been a slight increase in sea ice during the past two decades. Floating sea ice is a different system than the one being measured by either of the two studies mentioned above. Nevertheless it gives some indication as to what is going on in the environs of the extreme Southern Hemisphere. And it certainly doesn't look like ice is disappearing (notice, however, that there is a lot of variation on the yearly to multi-yearly scale).

Figure 4. Sea ice trends around the coast of Antarctica (Source:

So, all the Velicogan and Wahl results really demonstrate is that there are short term variations in the amount of ice and snow covering the Antarctic continent. Other data indicate that over the course of the past several decades at least, that the ocean-land system of Antarctica has been experiencing a growth in the amount of snow and ice there (Figure 5).

Figure 5. In some parts of Antarctica, such as East Antarctica, the ice sheet is thickening (+ symbols), whereas in others, primarily in West Antarctica it is thinning (- symbols). (Source: Vaughn, 2005).

There is nothing inherently noteworthy about the results of this three year study of Antarctic ice trends. This is not to disparage the scientific work of Velicogna and Wahl. It is to suggest that their paper serves more as a initial investigation into some of the applications of observations of gravitational variations, rather than bearing any relevance to the issue of global climate change and its implications.


Davis, C. H., et al., 2005. Snowfall-driven growth in East Antarctic ice sheet mitigates recent sea-level rise. Science, 308, 1898-1901.

Rignot, E., and P. Kanagaratnam, 2006. Changes in the velocity structure of the Greenland ice sheet. Science, 31, 986-990.

Velicogna, I., and J. Wahr, 2006. Measurements of time-variable gravity show mass loss in Antarctica. Sciencexpress, March 2, 2006.

Vaughn, D.G., 2005. How does the Antarctic ice sheet affect sea level rise? Science, 308, 1877-1878.



Signals Buried in Noise
Mind-boggling. On such an uncertain basis, the GW advocates would have us wreck the global economy in obeisance to the Gaia God who is wroth with our environmental perfidy. There is hardly any difference compared to the ancients who sacrificed virgins to appease the Gods of the Volcano.

The more I see of this, the more I realize that, for all his modern trappings of reason and rationality, contemporary mankind has evolved little in his fundamental makeup from his superstitious forebears.

Speaking of ridiculous...
I really don't see any of the global warming crowd advocating the destruction of the economy in response. If you were the sort to actually read them, instead of merely reading about them in the yellow press, you would find virtually everyone recognizing trouble up ahead to be advocating the development of new energy technologies that minimize dislocation and adverse impact. I know that's hard to believe. But it is certainly the case.

May we assume that you are entirely knowledgable in the field of climatology, and that you have found proof sufficient to your satisfaction that there is no need for concern? If so, we would appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us. It'll be such a relief to know our concerns have been unfounded.

Science does not help
Advances in mass spectrometers have enabled substance measurements to the molecular level.
Which has in turn resulted in cancer causing agents to be found in every food eated around the world, even organic vegetables.
It is pointless, unless you want to generate press, for GW advocates in the press to coninue to present such data without context and for opponents to continue to (rightly) question it.
What do the GW advocate want to do? Stop coal/oil burning? Slow the economy? Weaken the US economy? Socialize more economies? Create an effiecient, less polluted world? What...?
What do GW skeptics want to accomplish? Maintain status quo? Keep free markets?
Experience shows GW articles generate heated, personal responses. And the link to the article suggests science will not resolve the issue.
I believe what should be agreed to is that pollution of all kinds should be reduced and energy should be used efficiently.
And the best way to acheive these objectives to allow the free market to develop solutions.
As climate changes occur, a more free, economically diverse society will be better able to accomodate the changes.

You don't have to be a climatologist
You don't have to be a climatologist to understand the problems inherent in measuring low level signals in a noisy environment.

I remember one radiation activation study I did where I was seeing a pesky 25min half life isotope where no isotope should be.

Turned out my detector was too close to the linac and neutron activation was making the sodium iodide crystal radioactive.

Until the measurers achieve an order of magnitude improvement in their signal to noise ratio, I'll remain skeptical of any warming or cooling data.

I would say that there is a great deal of evidence, such as that presented in this article, that GW stemming from human activity is hardly settled. If one reads a variety of research one gets a wide-range of conclusions.

That being said, please drop the "do you know everything about climatology" argument. Using that you can discount all climatologists as well because they obviously don't know everything about it either or they would all come to the same conclusions and have no differing opinions on what our climate is doing.

As for destroying the economy: this is a very real argument especially if one reads the websites and literature of those who are raising the alarm on GW. A great many have an anti-corporate, dare I say Marxist, outlook and attitude. You don't even have to rely on the "yellow press" to gain that impression. While many speak of alternative energy a great deal also speak of severe government control, regulation, restriction of property rights, and various other designs taken straight out of the Marxist handbook.

I have seen many so called environmentalists who have been demanding such huge reductions in CO2 emissions, that only the destruction of economy could produce them.

You don't have to be an expert in climatology to recognize the BS being put out by the supports of the AGW myth.

signal to noise
Another method for improving signal to noise is to increase the measuring period. The longer the sample, the more the noise should cancel out.

3 years is not enough time to tell anything. Especially in a place like Antartica, where it often takes hundreds, or even thousands of years for changing conditions to completely ripple through the system.

Warmest winter ever in Tibet
Shanghai Daily, March 3, 2006

...Most parts of Tibet, Qinghai and western Sichuan reported winter temperatures 2 to 4 degrees Celsius higher than average. Some parts reported temperatures that were 4 to 5 degrees Celsius above average between the beginning of December and the end of February, the China Meteorological Administration said yesterday.

Meteorologists around the world have their eyes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, as it could reflect the beginnings of climate change.

...During the previous year, Tibet's winter temperatures were the third-highest on record and Qinghai's the second-highest. The winter of 2001 ranked the second highest in Tibet and the winter of 2003 ranked the third highest in Qinghai. Temperatures readings have been collected in the area since 1951.


Climate change affecting agriculture, wildlife, recreation
Great Falls Tribune (Montana), February 26, 2006

Climate studies in western Montana show spring is arriving two to three weeks earlier than it did 50 years ago. Missoula's annual average temperature is up 2 degrees over the same period. And the number of frost-free days in the growing season increased by about 16 days.

...Five years ago, many in the state shrugged off the notion of global warming or a permanent shift in the climate. They blamed drought or a weather cycle.

But as the glaciers in Glacier National Park disappear, and winter makes increasingly abbreviated appearances in Montana, climate change is drawing attention from sectors including agriculture, wildlife and recreation...

how is a sign of a "permanent shift in the climate"? I see a time span of 50 and 5 years for Montana and 55 years in China. The span of a single human life is not enough to discern any real "permanent" shift in climate much less 50 years.

Basically your argument is "Gee. It is hotter than when I was a young lad." Not very scientific.

You're getting swindled
Because all of this "hottest year on record" nonsense is purest statistical fraud. It's based on league tables, and as any statistician could tell you there's always a new hottest or 'mostest' anything coming up with some regularity. Hottest year since whenever? Who gives a ****? The only issue that matters is, what is the trend and is it changing. This is the issue that the Kyoto enthusiasts always dodge. Their best attempt was a piece of fakery in TAR by the IPCC, but McKittrick and McIntyre blew that one to bits.

So what's in this article? Just the harmless little discovery that all of this fuss over Antarctica is based on three years data cherrypicked from the top end of a curve. This is a fraud of huge proportions attempting to show black as white.

The Way I See It
All the data and all the inforation I've seen in support of and against GW/AGW seems to be somewhat summed up in this article. It also tends to prove that we don't know much about this yet.

Both sides agree, at least to a large extent, that the earth is warming.

GW activists believe it is warming faster and faster and that man's activities are the single major contributing factor in this acceleration. They believe that a major crisis is looming and that we must act now to ward off this crisis. (Here it gets hairy, from the wackos who see "The Day After Tomorrow" as a documentary to those who see the loss of any species as a disaster. Most claims, beyond a moderate change in weather patterns and sea levels, are pretty loony.)

Those arguing against GW activism are basing their argument on historic trends and noted general changes. They believe that there will be little or no effect and/or that man "can't do anything about it" and/or "has nothing to do with it". (Often times this gets a bit hairy as well. Some of these people actually claim the earth isn't warming up.)

The problems with the science are many, but the biggest difference between the two groups is the way they look at the data. GW activitists look at the last 100 years as compared to the last 1,000 or maybe 10,000 years. Those against activism tend to look at trends over 100s of thousands of years and even millions of years.

We can argue specifics until they come out our ears, but I have come to a few conclusions from the data I've read.

1. Global warming is fact not fiction. The earth's mean tempature has been on an upward trend since the last ice age. Like a graph of the stock market, the trend has many peaks and valleys, but it is definately upward. The earth has been much warmer and much colder over the past 100-200 million years. There are cycles and we will have another tropical period and another ice age over the next million years or so.

2. There is no empirical data to show an "acceleration" beyond many mother nature has provided in the past.

3. The sea-level may have risen 2 to 4 inches over the past half century but, while evidence does exist, it is still questionable. Over the past 30 years (the biggest supposed acceleration period) land ice on Antarctica and Greenland has increased. Data my show possible decreases over the past 3-5 years, but the amount and time period isn't enough to even suggest a trend.

4. This last hurricane season was bad, but there have been worse. Again, we need another 10 to 20 years of data to show a ture GW effect on hurricanes and tropical storms.

5. mean ocean tempature appears to be up. So? Global tempature is up so it would be expected that sea tempature would go up. This may be the largest factor in the reduction of pack ice (especially in the Artic)

In the end the answer to the GW question is "We don't know. We don't know if it is natural or how fast it is happening. We don't know if man is contributing much if anything to the trend. We don't know if we should do anything about it or if we can have any lasting effect on it. We don't know if the outcome is good or bad for people and the environment as a whole.

We do know that any truely devestating or positive effect won't be known for 100-500 years at the minimum. We do know that this isn't an immediate problem that we have to deal with this month. We do know that, regardless of man's influence, nature will find it's balance (even if that means doing away with man!!) eventually. In the end, GW will not have much effect on you and probably little on your kids. After that, who knows. After another 100-500 years of technological advancement it will probably be a moot point anyway.

This is a laugher, I live in Montana
and I live in the GNP area from 1998-2002, there was little decernable temperature shift. We had one of our biggest snow years ever in 1999 and one of our worst in 2001. We have been in a strange weather cycle since Mt. St. Helen's blew it top in the mid-80s, but there is no reason to believe that had any effect past the first year or two. (or did it? Perhaps this whole thing is due to a shift in the Jet Stream caused by St. Helen's??)

Shorter winters? How about 2002 and 2003 when we had our biggest snow storms (and some of our lowest tempatures) in June. February is traditionally the coldest month of the year; it was this year as well (so far) With two weeks of highs in the 50s and two weeks of highs in the -11 to 20 range. March is starting out pretty cold as well.

None of this is unusual. We've had snowfall in August and mid-70s in January before. Both happened in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. I haven't seen mid-70s from Late November to mid March since sometime in the late 70s or early 80s.

Huh, I guess the next ice age is coming.

There are GW facts worth noting. The glaciers in GNP are disappearing, and at an alarming rate. But they are remanents of the last Ice Age and have been melting for thousands of years. Also, from 1988 through 2003 we had a continious drought on the plains, with just a couple of years of near normal moisture. This was far worst and longer than the "Dust Bowl" years of the 30s. 2003-04-05 were all near or above normal so the drought seems to have abated.

Perhaps the facts are showing we are just now returning to normal after Mt. St. Helen's?? (LOL)

Exactly right
And the earth has been warming up for thousands of years. So??

Get your vision fixed
I really don't see any of the global warming crowd advocating the destruction of the economy in response.

Uh a small portion are extremely luddite and many others advocate policies that are destructive because they haven't clue one about the economic effects that would happen if we were to adopt their economic hemlock.

Apparently, your selective vision operates on many fronts.

Actually the very long term trend is a cooling trend
at least according to an interesting little book this summer. You can find it on Amazon called "The Life and Death of Planet Earth". I think one of the authors is Wakefield, or something like that. Anyway, it has an interesting explanation about why the earth is colder despite the fact that the sun is about 40% hotter than it was 500 million years ago. It's based on the sort of science that people like James Lovelock have been doing for the past 10-20 years or so.

This may be the long term trend, but there are much shorter ones a few tens or hundreds of thousands of years long such as glacial or interglacial periods. Anyway, it's worth a read; you get a much better perspective on climate than the rubbish from the IPCC.

Worldwide Coincidences
Scientists Predict Drastic Water Shortage in South Africa
Business Day (Johannesburg), March 3, 2006

...Some of the places with unstable water supplies that are likely to be hardest hit include densely populated regions of southern Africa, west Africa, and parts of the upper Nile region, according to the study. Most large rivers would run lower, and many smaller streams would cease to exist. "The Okavango will dry up completely," said De Wit.

South Africa has already had a taste of this kind of problem. Water shortages in central SA in late 2004 led to virtually no water being released from dams on the Orange River, and only very low levels of water reached Namibia.

"The important thing is that we don't want to imbue in people a sense of hopelessness. Some people might become fatalistic and throw up their hands in horror, or deny this is going to happen and look for solace in dissident view points, but we say FORE-WARNED IS FOREARMED," he said...

The study was funded by diamond-mining giant De Beers.


Glacier melt discoverers at 4C's March 6th
Cape Cod Today, March 3, 2006

Dr. Gordon Hamilton and Graduate Fellow Leigh Sterns, who discovered the accelerated melting of glaciers in Greenland while on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Gordon and Sterns perform their research through the Climate Change Institute and Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Maine. Gordon has 15 field seasons in Antarctica and Greenland and is a member of NASA’s Terra ASTER satellite mission Science Team.

Outlet glaciers transport ice from the heart of the Greenland Ice Sheet to the ocean and discharge icebergs, which contribute to sea level rise. The Kangerdlugssuaq glacier - one of several the scientists discovered disintegrating and moving at an accelerated pace - could be one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world with a speed of almost nine miles per year.

...The Greenland Ice Sheet could melt down if regional warming exceeds about five degrees Fahrenheit. Should this occur, sea level would rise approximately 23 feet over a few thousand years. However, a two to four foot rise in sea level in the next century would have significant impacts on society. More than 70% of the world's population lives on coastal plains, and 11 of the world's 15 largest cities are on the coast or reside near estuaries...

Montana's disappearing glaciers
The West takes lead on climate change
USA Today, February 28, 2006

Half a dozen Western governors impatient for more federal action on global warming are mounting state campaigns to deal with climate change on their own ... Latest to join the effort is Montana, where a U.S. Geological Survey computer model says glaciers in Glacier National Park could disappear in 25 years if temperatures increase at the current rate. They could disappear by 2100 with no additional warming, the survey says.

According to the IPCC, if the entire world adopts the Kyoto protocol, we will avoid 0.07C of warming by the year 2100. How much warming will we avoid if only Montana joins it?



While actions are needed across all sectors, some steps will have a more significant, far-reaching impact on emissions than others and must be undertaken as soon as possible.

* A program to cap emissions from large sources and allow for emissions trading will send a signal to curb releases of greenhouse gases while promoting a market for new technologies.

* Transportation is responsible for roughly one-third of our greenhouse gas emissions, and this report addresses this sector through tradable emissions standards for vehicles.

* Because energy is at the core of the climate change problem, the report makes several recommendations in this area: calling for increased efficiency in buildings and products, as well as in electricity generation and distribution. Incentives and a nationwide platform to track and trade renewable energy credits are recommended to support increased renewable power. In recognition of the key role that coal plays in U.S. energy supply, the report calls for the capture and sequestration of carbon that results from burning coal. Nuclear power currently provides a substantial amount of non-emitting electricity, and is therefore important to keep in the generation mix. The report recommends support for advanced generation of nuclear power, while noting that issues such as safety and waste disposal must also be addressed.

* While most of the recommendations focus on mitigation efforts, the report acknowledges that some impacts are inevitable and are already being seen. As a result, it proposes development of a national adaptation strategy to plan for a climate-changing world.

* Finally, despite the importance of efforts by individual countries on this issue, climate change cannot be addressed without engagement of the broader international community. The report recommends that the U.S. participate in international negotiations aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions by all major emitting countries.

Other recommendations include: long-term stable research funding, incentives for low-carbon fuels and consumer products, funding for biological sequestration, expanding the natural gas supply and distribution network, and a mandatory greenhouse gas reporting program that can provide a stepping stone to economy-wide emissions trading.

The full text of this and other Pew Center reports is available at

Looking at the data
fb-- The data are all very easy to measure. It's only putting them all together to get the big picture that's difficult.

We can readily see, for instance, without having to determine net mass loss or gain, that the heat engine is running faster in the Antarctic region. We find a steep increase in ice melt at the glacier tongues, pack ice lost from the continent, and increased precip in the normally bone dry interior. These features are within predictive norms for a warmer planet.

So does this indicate rising sea levels? In itself, not hardly. What it tells me is that we should become more concerned about the WAIS. Meltwater flowing at the base of this huge shelf could very well cause it to break away and slide. That much ice hitting the sea at once could generate a 500 foot high tsunami, and give us a sudden increase in sea level we might find discomfiting.

Of course if we all believe hard enough, that could never happen.

My response
Hi. My comments, snippy though they may seem, are really aimed toward increasing the degree of mutual understanding. IMO the two sides are talking past each other and need to agree on definitions.

First, I would never use the word "settled". You see this taunt hurled all the time. No science is settled. Climate trends are far less settled than most. It's very much a work in progress. And yes, I encourage reading a variety of research and entertaining a wide range of possible conclusions. An a priori assumption that we can predict the future with certainty is normally the mark of a dunce.

Next, I wasn't asking if the poster knew everything about climatology. I was asking whether he knew SOMEthing about climatology. Any time I read talking points lifted straight from the advocacy web sites without modification, I suspect someone's indulging in second hand thinking. Hence my asking, in essence, whether the person knew a terminal moraine from a hole in the ground.

Again, this is a subject no one knows "everything" about, as we are discovering new material every day.

On our intent to destroy the economy, let me suggest that impression lies in the eye of the beholder. I trust you would at least entertain the thought that if the development of new technologies were stirred by our need to find alternate fuels, the economy might be-- er-- stimulated?

I'm thinking your idea of "severe government control" means a reimposition of higher CAFE standards? Please tell me I'm wrong. For what it's worth, many of us have gone way beyond that page in the book. We realize that when oil hits a hundred bucks a gallon market mechanisms will do the job of providing urgency far better than enforcing higher CAFE limits.

Finally, a word of advice. Your raving at length about Marxists and property rights only tends to lessen your credibility in the sphere of climate trends. I would stay off that theme if you hope to convince. Marx has been dead a long time now, and never was much of an expert in the natural sciences.

Need to adjust field of vision
The author of the book is Peter Ward, who is a very bright guy. But what it is is a highly speculative look into the deep future-- thousands to millions of years up ahead.

There's a good reason why those of us more concerned about the possibility of GW are looking only decades ahead. That's where our own grandchildren will be living. If there's even a possibility of squandered resources, a poisoned planet and violent resource wars for what's left of any value, we like to take a close look at the race's potential for self-induced destruction. The issue is not certainty it will happen vs. certainty it will not. The issue is what are the odds of adverse consequences arising from our current life style.

Limits to Growth
Ever read Limits to Growth and Models of Doom?

According to the MIT team we should all be starving.

Have some faith in human ingenuity and free markets.

Pew who?
So who/what is Pew?

State revenue
Based upon Kyoto, the global response is more government regulation and control. Very socialist.
Don't hear much about deregulating energy markets and letting free markets truly have an opportunity to solve problems.
What would happen to state and federal tax revenues if less gasoline is sold? Or how much tax is paid on vegetable oil fuel for cars? Ever hear of water and naptha fuel for busses in Reno, NV or cars runing on air in Spain? (
There are at least 52 governemts in the USA alone that would be affected by the elimination of gasoline. The state has much to loose by too much change too fast.

No Bull
Gasoline from manure?
What will those crazy Japanese do next?
How will this affect Kyoto?

A false dilemma
You write "There are at least 52 governemts in the USA alone that would be affected by the elimination of gasoline. The state has much to loose by too much change too fast."

Not to worry. Your fevered brow is running overtime if you fear the evil regulators will outlaw gasoline. Society can't run without it. That's the whole problem.

That said, subsidies are in their essence a good idea for a short time, to stimulate innovation. But they're a very bad policy when they're permanently put in place. So as taxpayers we pay extra for corn-based ethanol for one and only one reason. Corn is grown in Iowa, and a major political primary is also in Iowa. If the primary were in Alabama, subsidies for cotton would be higher.

Rest easy, state legislatures are timid deliberative bodies, and mostly loath to raise the gasoline tax so much as a penny. The power of your mighty vote hath made cowards of them.

But tell us more about the air car. I suspect there's more to the story.

BTW the power of the free market DOES reign in this country. Our problem of a consumption rate that threatens to choke supply follows from the unusually low fuel prices that stem from overabundance. So yes, the problem is self correcting.

Just remember this: it's the easier course to take to conserve ahead of time than it is to conserve becuse gas is seven bucks a gallon.

Limits to growth
I haven't heard of your Models of Doom-- is it a mystery?

The Paul Ehrlich is pretty basic stuff. If you took a look around you would notice that we live in a preferred area of the planet. Most of it is being cut down to make room for more crops. And those crops only go to feed the highest bidder, as money is king here. So in fact, the two billion poorest among us ARE starving. And have been since the 1950's, when medical advances caused the death rate to drop and population levels began to metastasize.

Yoru own grandchildren will realize that Brazil's decision to cut down the Amazon forest to grow soy there was a stupid mistake. There is a short term gain from the cattle feed and the biofuel produced (those are the two main uses for the crop). But what is being lost is invaluable, while the gain is transitory. Any engineer would recognize the model as being unsustainable.

We would all be quite rich if growth had levelled off in the three or four billion range. What we will run out of first is affordable, clean water to grow the crops that feed all these new people.

The Pew Foundation
If you don't know who they are you could look them up. There's a little blank space in your toolbar. If you had typed in "pew center" and hit "go" you would have used fewer strokes than just asking the question.

And you would then be further educated. I always encourage everyone's reading as much as they have time for, and from the widest possible menu. Just read TCS and NewsMax, and it will cause hair to grow on your palms.

Here's a hint though. Think "charitable trusts".

Of Course Not!
Nobody, whether or not in his or her right mind, is going to openly advocate the destruction of the US economy in response to global warming.

However, under Kyoto, the US was "scheduled" for a GWG emissions reduction of 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Over the period since 1990, US population has increased by more than 1% per year on average. Using the 1% figure, US population has increased by 16% through 2005; and, it will likely increase by an additional 8% through 2012. This 24% increase in population, combined with the 7% Kyoto reduction, would require a per capita reduction in GWG emissions of more than 30%.

Also, Kyoto is only phase one of a multi-phase effort to reduce GWG emissions. However, just maintaining compliance with Kyoto in the US would require annual 1% reductions in per capita emissions to compensate for projected population growth.

Adopting the "Contraction and Convergence" approach advocated by some of the "global warming crowd" would ultimately require a ~95% reduction in US per capita GWG emissions. While this might not "destroy" the US economy, it would change it mightily! Achieving this result in a "no more nukes", "no more big hydro", wind turbines NIMBY environment would require massive development of either solar with storage or "dry, hot rock" geothermal (or both) plus electrolytic hydrogen generation for transportation.

I object to those who encourage (demand?) that we take that first step down the slippery slope without knowing what is at the bottom of the slope. Senator McCain says 7% would be cheap and easy, but doesn't mention that the 7% is really 30% per capita, which would not be either cheap nor easy. Even I don't suggest that 95% is impossible, merely that it definitely would be neither cheap nor easy, over any conceivable time frame. However, it gets even more expensive if we begin by investing in "The 7% Solution" with technologies which are not on the path to the higher percentage reductions ultimately required to satisfy the "global warming crowd". "Eyes Wide Shut" was a movie; it is not a global economic strategy!

The Problem
"Not to worry. Your fevered brow is running overtime if you fear the evil regulators will outlaw gasoline. Society can't run without it. That's the whole problem."

You are right, they won't outlaw gasoline and they will inhibit alternatives that will interfere with their tax revenue.

You have the web site for the air car. How would the state tax compressed air?

I can only buy natural gas from one company. I can only purchase electricity from one company.
The Mirage casino threatened NV Power they would install NG generators and go off the grid if they did not get a favorable rate from NV Power. NV Power caved. If I install solar or wind power will I be able to sell the excess to the power company. Depends upon the state. The energy market is highly regulated and any homebased power source has a very high hurdle to even think about homebased power. (Japan is considering nuclear batteries for buildings.)
The government sell the leases for oil production in many locations in the country. Real free market there.
Aboutn the water/naptha mix:
" According to Advanced Fuels, the ultimate cost per gallon of A-21 cannot be accurately predicted, but given current naptha prices, A-21 fuels should be less expensive than gasoline or diesel. This seems a reasonable inference--refined naptha costs approximately 1/2 that of gasoline or diesel. Thanks to the federal ruling, the fuel can now be sold just like gasoline and diesel fuels through existing distribution infrastructure (tankers, station pumps) reducing infrastructure startup costs."

Why was a federal ruling necessary?

Federal fuel tax revenue is on the order of $5 billion. Not chump change. Will the government permit any significant reduction of these funds with out replacement? Ever wonder why hyrogen is being pushed? The government can regulate(tax) it. Free market there.

Models of Doom
Library of Congress card number: 72-97037
ISBN: 0-87663-905-8

People are not starving because there is no capcity to grow food.
They are starving for political reasons. Zimbabwe and North Korea are great examples.

Stalin's USSR is another example of how not to grow food.

Populations have been shown to actually decrease as their standard of living increases. If one wants to decrease population, improve the standards of living and the only proven method in the last century has been free markets.

Charitable Trusts
So they have a lot of money to spend on NPR and other causes.
That doesn't make them objective or accurate.
Many charitable trusts are pushing socialist agendas, Ford for example.

Corporate leaders
Members of the Pew Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC):
Air Products
Alcoa Inc.
American Electric Power
Baxter International Inc.
California Portland Cement
Cinergy Corp.
Cummins Inc.
Deutsche Telekom
DTE Energy
Hewlett-Packard Company
Holcim (US) Inc.
Interface Inc.
John Hancock Financial Services
Lockheed Martin
Ontario Power Generation
PG&E Corporation
Rio Tinto
Rohm and Haas
Royal Dutch/Shell
SC Johnson
United Technologies
Whirlpool Corporation
Wisconsin Energy Corporation

No Subject
"The Pew Center receives no financial assistance from the companies of the BELC. The companies demonstrate leadership in addressing climate change by establishing and meeting emissions reduction objectives; investing in new, more efficient products, practices, and technologies; and supporting action to achieve cost-effective emissions reductions."

So Pew has done a great job convincing these companies it is their best interest, meaning they will get great PR, if they sign up for this.
Again, I don't know who funds Pew.
Also, most large corporations like these do not support free market principles. They support government regulations to control their competition.
And, I would bet, most of these companied do business in countries that support Kyoto and therefore must support the treaty in order to do business there. Aren't free markets great?

Could be, could...if... should...very decisive
Glacier melt discoverers at 4C's March 6th
Cape Cod Today, March 3, 2006

Dr. Gordon Hamilton and Graduate Fellow Leigh Sterns, who discovered the accelerated melting of glaciers in Greenland while on board the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Gordon and Sterns perform their research through the Climate Change Institute and Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Maine. Gordon has 15 field seasons in Antarctica and Greenland and is a member of NASA’s Terra ASTER satellite mission Science Team.

Outlet glaciers transport ice from the heart of the Greenland Ice Sheet to the ocean and discharge icebergs, which contribute to sea level rise. The Kangerdlugssuaq glacier - one of several the scientists discovered disintegrating and moving at an accelerated pace - could be one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world with a speed of almost nine miles per year.

...The Greenland Ice Sheet could melt down if regional warming exceeds about five degrees Fahrenheit. Should this occur, sea level would rise approximately 23 feet over a few thousand years. However, a two to four foot rise in sea level in the next century would have significant impacts on society. More than 70% of the world's population lives on coastal plains, and 11 of the world's 15 largest cities are on the coast or reside near estuaries...

Why not look the answer up?
>Again, I don't know who funds Pew.

It's public knowledge. Instead of muttering about a leftist conspiracy, do the research.

>And, I would bet, most of these companied do business in countries that support Kyoto and therefore must support the treaty in order to do business there. Aren't free markets great?

Do you have backup for your allegation that companies must publicly endorse Kyoto or face government sanctions?

Why should anyone care about "the way you see it??
I mean, what have you published about this? You're a guy on the Internet with a computer ponderously opining about your amateur hour once-over of the research, which doesn't seem to refer to any primary documents. Neverthless, we're supposed to take something like this seriously:

>2. There is no empirical data to show an "acceleration" beyond many mother nature has provided in the past."

Quote marks mean you're quoting someone. Who are you quoting?

Moreover, this isn't really the important point. Yes, the earth has experienced rapid climate change episodes in the past. That doesn't indicate that we aren't having one now, nor does it even suggest that human activity isn't a causal factor.

>We do know that any truely devestating or positive effect won't be known for 100-500 years at the minimum.

What in the world is your source for this? You say this: what is your backup? And please do not say "the reading I have done." Your unsupported say-so has no credibility whatsoever.


First data point causes trend
If you drop the first data point, it looks like you get no significant trend. The curve is essentially flat. Also by doing that you get closer to 3 calendar years and avoid any annual cycle effects.

The case for a trend looks very weak.

The air car
Marjon-- The notion is intriguing. But I can't find anything as yet on how they compress the air, so I can't say whether there is actually zero emission. It may be like hydrogen, where you have zero emission from the hydro but mucho CO2 from the gas process that separates it from water.

In any event, unless this Guy Negre has been able to have the Laws of Thermodynamics repealed, compressing the air is going to cost more therms from the usual sources than it would cost just to burn the fuel directly in the vehicle. That's the core problem with hydrogen. Thus there is no net reduction in fossil fuel use.

As for the government fiddling with alternate energy development just so they can get more revenue, I think you're barking up the wrong tree. For the feds, five billion IS chump change. It represents, for instance, about two days' interest on the federal debt. Plus which, we have fully entered the age where no one in Washington really gives a rat's nether part whether we obtain revenue or not. We've learned how to run the government on fumes. Actual money is no longer needed.

Government IS, however, a well used device for putting public money into private pockets. Look at the ethanol scam, for instance. Mr Bush has in his latest SOTU given out a clear message that pork will be ladled from the trough into the pockets of anyone claiming to be working on a way to power tomorrow's fleet with cold fusion, or antigravitrons, or orgones (probably before your time).

The buzz now on hydrogen is that development is somewhere between thirty years off and never going to happen. Much closer is tar sands and oil shales, and hybrid technology. What I like there is that so many million gallons daily are being burned in stop & go traffic, as the worker bees toil to and from work. Hybrids shut themselves off when they aren't working. This plus 70 mpg efficiency will be winning a lot of converts.

Doom Model no. 1
People are starving because they can't afford to buy food.

We live in a world where the markets, not human charity, determine everything. No money is to be made just giving food to people who can't afford it. So instead we sell to those who can.

In that sense you are correct. Market mechanisms will result, in places like Niger, in a decreased population.

Comrade Edsel
I'm truly beginning to appreciate the richness of your posts, Marjon. Ford Motor Co-- bastion of socialism. As they say, you just can't make this stuff up.

With the Pew Foundation, of course, there's no question. Just look at their mission statement, which is "to improve the quality of life".

V I Lenin would be proud. What a pernicious striving toward ideals is displayed by the sentiment. Pinkos of that persuasion should be stamped out by the forces of Freedom.

"People are starving because they can't afford to buy food."
Why can't they buy food?
Why was Zimbabwe once the bread basket of Africa?
Most people in the world are poor because of corrupt govenments.
North and South Korea share geography and culture, except one in controlled by a totalitarian Stalinist. Which country is being fed by donations from the US and the rest of the free world?

We were told in the 70s we would ALL be starving now. What happened?

Follow the money
The four founders of the Pew Memorial Foundation, which became the Pew Charitable Trusts, etc and which itself funds many, many things, were four exceedingly rich old folks named Pew.

They got their money by running the old Sun Oil Company (Sunoco). Like Bill Gates and Microsoft, there may have once been a bit of rough and tumble involved in accruing that money. But once they had a pile so high even old Croesus couldn't spend it all, they decided they might try to do some good with it.

Who ever heard of such a thing. That's unAmerican.

>We were told in the 70s we would ALL be starving now.

Who said so?

>What happened?

Why don't you tell us what your secret sources tell you about the conspiracy?

So lazy
Imminent global famine caused by the explosion of the "population bomb" was the big issue on Earth Day 1970. "Then--and now--the most prominent prophet of population doom was Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich. Dubbed "ecology's angry lobbyist" by Life magazine, the gloomy Ehrlich was quoted everywhere. "Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," he confidently declared in an interview with then-radical journalist Peter Collier in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.""

No secret
"Although Ehrlich was certainly the most strident doomster, he was far from alone in his famine forecasts. "It is already too late to avoid mass starvation," declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness. In that same issue, Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, wrote, "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine" (emphasis in original). Ehrlich and others were openly contemptuous of the "Green Revolution," underway in countries such as India and Pakistan, that had already nearly doubled crop yields in developing nations between 1965 and 1970. Ehrlich sniffed that such developments meant nothing, going so far as to predict that "the Green going to turn brown." Such fears took form in such popular Zeitgeist movies as Soylent Green (1973), which envisioned a future of hungry masses jammed into overcrowded cities."

"On the occasions when they admit things have gotten better, doomsters will claim whatever environmental progress has been made over the past 30 years is only a result of the warnings that they sounded. One of the more annoying characteristics of activists such as Ehrlich and Lester Brown is the way in which these prophets of doom get out ahead of a parade that has already started. When things get better, they claim that it's only because people heeded their warnings, not because of longstanding trends and increased efficiencies. As a result, there is always the danger that governments may actually enact their policies, thereby stifling technological progress and economic growth--and making the world worse off. Then the doomsters would be able to say "I told you so." So good or bad, they get to claim that they were right all along."

"Ironically, Exxon is also one of the biggest investors in clean technology. Their recent safety record is also significantly better than BP’s. Says George Washington’s Rivera, “The surprising thing about Exxon is that their facilities are run very well.” Better, in fact, than BP’s: After a March explosion at a BP plant in Texas City that killed 15 people and injured 170, the EPA and other agencies concluded that the deaths were preventable and that they were primarily the result of carelessness by BP management. The Houston Chronicle editorialized that “BP’s carefully nourished image as an environmentally sensitive, innovative company is at odds with its history, particularly in the Houston area.”

But while Exxon spends its money on free market think tanks, BP has chosen more picturesque causes. Delve into its Web site and you’ll find that BP is funding the Conservation Programme, which, among other things, sends students to Colombia to study “a species of parrot threatened with extinction.” After an “intensive search across the Andes for several of Colombia’s threatened parrot species” in 2002, “the team was the first to discover nests of the azure-winged parrot, the rusty-faced parrot and other threatened bird species.”"

BP is more interested in publicity than results.

to the science.

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