“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

Violent Volcanic Blasts Ripped Through Antarctic Ice Sheet Twice

antarcticA map showing the deep West Antarctic divide ice core, the Byrd ice core and the location of three subglacial volcanoes.Volcanoes punched through a remote part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet twice in the last 50,000 years, according to research presented Monday (Dec. 15) here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Distinctive layers of brown ash in a deep ice core are evidence of violent volcanic explosions that occurred about 22,470 and 45,381 years ago, near the West Antarctic divide. Their source, however, is a mystery.

The closest active volcanoes that rise above the ice are more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) away, said study leader Nels Iverson, a volcanologist and graduate student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. Powerful eruptions from these peaks have dusted the West Antarctica divide with ash, leaving glassy shards embedded in younger layers of the ice core. However, the ash particles described here Monday are too blocky and coarse to travel long distances, even on Antarctica's fierce winds. The ash is also chemically different from eruptions at the distant volcanoes. And to draw the circle in tighter, neither ash layer appears in an ice core drilled about 60 miles (100 km) to the southeast.

Long before SUVs, Arctic was warm enough to support mastodons; leafy vegetation

mastodonIn a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team reveals that 125,000 years ago the Arctic was once a "holiday home" for mastodons, a forest-dwelling animal with a preference for "heaps of leafy goods" and a warm climate. Instead of dying out from rapid climate change or over hunting by humans as previously thought, the paper shows they simply moved south when the Arctic grew colder and they eventually died out. From the Heritage Daily:

Scientists have puzzled over this chronology as mastodons, which looked similar to modern-day Asian elephants, are known to have had a preference for forests and wetlands filled with heaps of leafy goods. In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team suggests that the Arctic and Subarctic were just temporary “holiday homes” for mastodons when the local climate was warm around 125,000 years ago.

When the cold weather returned, their populations moved much further to the south, where the paper suggests they ultimately died out about 10,000 years ago. The findings debunk theories about over hunting by early humans being the reason for their disappearance from this region as these new dates show they were wiped out locally before human colonisation.

About That Climate Change-Induced Polar Vortex Snowfall in Atlanta Earlier This Year

pvContinuing with the fact-checking of the "Southeast State Climate Change Fact Sheets" provided by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the next state on the list is Georgia.

For this state, SACE provides some "Climate Change Impacts on Georgia" that include the following:

Extreme weather, including severe storms, heat waves, cold snaps, and more intense hurricanes are all becoming more typical in a warmer world. These events have a large toll in terms of physical damage, lost productivity, higher insurance costs, and public health. For example the 'polar vortex' snowfall of 2014 practically shut down Atlanta with road gridlock while thousands of children had to spend the night at school because their parents couldn't reach them.

The link provided by SACE regarding the "'polar vortex' snowfall of 2014 [that] practically shut down Atlanta" is to an ABC News story from Good Morning America on January 29 with the alarmist title "Freak southern snow storm strands 8,000 students." The story provided the following description of the carnage, and also included a video segment with George Stephanopoulos:

HBO’s Saving My Tomorrow Is Too Boring & Gloomy To Instill Global Warming Alarmism in Kids

children of the corn?Monday night marked the debut of Saving My Tomorrow, a new HBO documentary described thusly in promotional materials*:

From the children who will inherit the planet comes a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips for protecting the earth … A lyrical mix of science, animation and music, celebrates the wonders of the natural world and is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the planet.

The last sentence of this synopsis suggests the documentary is a “celebration,” but I can report that it’s anything but. I watched a recording of episode one this morning, and it’s less a party and more a dirge.

International Emissions Idiocy

cop20Most of the people of the world have concluded that the decades of warnings about “global warming” and its successor, “climate change”, is just idiotic nonsense. Few believe that humans ever had or ever will have any role in what the weather will be tomorrow or a thousand years from now. They are right.

One of the most distinguishing factors about the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory has been the way its advocates have always predicted major changes decades into the future. When the future arrived, as it has since the first doomsday predictions were made in the late 1980s, they simply push off the next arrival date for another couple of decades. A classic example is the prediction that that Arctic and Antarctic sea ice would have all melted by now. Instead the global cold weather have been making new records of late.

Update on Geothermal Heat and Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Melt

mid-arctic riftThis article was UPDATED on Dec 17, 2014 with new information on the Arctic's rift system and its likely affects on sea ice:
The floor of the Arctic Ocean is comprised of several significant geological features, most notably the giant Mid-Arctic Rift and associated Rift System. The system is 1100 miles long / 120 miles wide and topographically expressed as high mountains and Grand Canyon scale trenches.

In geological terms this is a major rift system, forming the boundary between two tectonic plates. Given its magnitude one would expect that it has been completely researched and is thoroughly understood. Quite the contrary scientists know very little about its geology due to its remote location, thick ice cover, and perceived geological inactivity. It is understandable that to date only limited amounts of data have been gathered concerning its heat flow and fluid expulsion.

However relatively new research has indicated that this giant rift system may not be so inactive after all. Given that overwhelming amounts of data now virtually prove selective melting of the Antarctic Ice Sheet is caused by geologically induced geothermal heat flow from the West Antarctic Rift System, it only seems reasonable to reevaluate the limited amount of data available on the Mid-Arctic Rift System.

New Era Of Cheap Energy ‘Will Destroy Green Energy Revolution’

cartoonThe collapsing oil price that is reshaping the global economy could derail the green energy revolution by making renewable power sources prohibitively bad value, experts have warned. A new “era of cheap oil” would be good news for consumers and motorists – but analysts say the consequences for politics, industry and the climate could be even more radical. The ripple effects could help the Conservatives to remain in power at next year’s general election by making voters feel richer as bills fall – while hurting Scotland’s oil-reliant economy and setting back its campaign for independence.  --Tim Bawden, The Independent, 12 December 2014

The biggest threat posed by falling oil and gas prices – in the UK and globally – is to the renewable energy industry dominated by wind-, solar- and hydro-power, experts say. “Renewable energy subsidies have been mostly sold to the public on the basis of the economic benefits,” said Peter Atherton, an energy analyst with Liberum Capital. “But the economic arguments hinged on the idea that fossil fuel prices would get more expensive, while expensive renewable subsidies would be able to come down over time. That’s looking doubtful now.” --Tim Bawden, The Independent, 12 December 2014

You're not going nuts: Squirrels are behind global warming

squirrelYou can now add squirrels to the list of things that are causing the globe to warm even though it hasn't warmed in over 18 years. From The Independent:

Rapid industrialisation, population growth and air travel expansion have all been blamed for contributing to global warming and climate change.

But now it appears we have something else to hold responsible.

Squirrels. Yup, squirrels.

American scientists believe the impact of wildlife upon the release of carbon from the permafrost that occupies around a quarter of the northern hemisphere has been underestimated.

Alarmist Tom Steyer is at it again in California

steyerTom Steyer, the billionaire activist who made a lot of his money in the coal business, is now asking California's legislature to divest all of its coal investments, affecting millions of pensioners across the state. From SFGate:

With Republicans threatening to shove climate change to the back seat as they take control of the U.S. Senate, state officials including Gov. Jerry Brown huddled with one of the nation’s leading Democratic donors Monday to talk up ways to keep it on California’s agenda — including legislation that could send a shiver through the coal industry.

The state Senate’s top leader said at an Oakland forum organized by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer that he’s planning to introduce a measure next year to require the state’s public-employee pension funds to sell their coal-related investments.

Study: All-electric car may not be very green

cartoon-how-electric-cars-workPeople who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they are helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles actually make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.

Ethanol isn't so green, either.

"It's kind of hard to beat gasoline" for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. "A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean ... are not better than gasoline."

The key is the source of the electricity all-electric cars use. If it comes from coal, the electric cars produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gas, because of the pollution made in generating the electricity, according to the study, published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study examines environmental costs for cars' entire life cycle, including where power comes from and the environmental effects of building batteries.

False alarms have put us under the weather

floodNOT once when boarding a jet have I thought of ducking into the cockpit to give the pilot tips on engine thrust or fuel loads. He’s the expert. Still, if I’d booked for Bali only to land in Karachi I would know this: whatever the pilot’s credentials, he’d goofed.

I thought such a principle was so obvious that all laymen would consult it in every contact with any professional. Your extension falls down? Sue the builder.

But in one tiny yet catastrophically expensive field of human endeavour this law has been suspended. Yes, climate science.

This is the science where one plus one can equal three one day and six the next — yet never may we question the expert.