Sunday, 25 September 2011

Education or Muddled Disinformation and Propoganda?

From Cardiff University, where I spent some time in the 1960s:
A new bilingual educational resource developed by academics from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences to help Welsh secondary schools deliver stimulating lessons about climate change has been launched by the Chair of Climate Change Commission for Wales.
The "pack" entitled Adapting to Climate Change in Wales is intended both for teachers, and for children at "key stage 4", that is between the ages of 14 and 16. The CU "Learning about climate change" news page continues
The Climate Change Educational Resource Pack for Key Stage 4 explains the scientific basis of climate change and explores how changes in climate could impact citizens of Wales. In particular it looks at how citizens could adapt to living in a different climate.
Aimed at pupils and teachers, the multidisciplinary pack is tailored to meet the requirements of the Welsh national curriculum. It will be distributed to at least 100 secondary schools in Wales to help teachers deliver high quality, balanced information and inspire young people to adapt their behaviour to ensure their future sustainability. Although the focus is on Wales, this packs draws on examples from all over the world and covers everyday issues such as how food supply, settlement, transport and health may be affected.
In the second paragraph, note "high quality, balanced information". How does the "pack" meet that description? Not too well, it seems. Right at the beginning of "Theme 1: The Global Climate Perspective" we find
Key learning outcomes
1. To understand key components of the greenhouse effect
2. To understand the influence of humans on climate
3. To understand predicted global climate changes
... and on the following page (page 7) is this, relating to item 1 of the "Key learning outcomes"
Principle of the “Greenhouse Effect”
The sun shines down on the surface of the earth. About half the heat naturally reflects back out into space. When greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are released into our atmosphere, they trap heat and stop it reflecting back out into space. This causes additional warming of the earth surface, ocean and atmosphere… just like a greenhouse!
That would seem to encompass and explain precisely none of the "key components of the greenhouse effect", in my opinion. A greenhouse doesn't trap reflected heat. The glass transmits incoming solar radiation and traps the warmed air. Greenhouse gases don't trap reflected heat. The phrasing implies that they do that only when "released into our atmosphere" and not otherwise. It isn't difficult to briefly describe the essential components of the "greenhouse effect" for all 14-16 year-olds in a similarly short paragraph, though since this is intended as the scientific basis for the entire "pack", surely it deserves a longer (and accurate) description?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sea Level in Australia - the Inexorable Rise in Alarmism

Is the sea-level around the Australian coast rising at an alarming rate? The Australian Climate Commission would have citizens and policy-makers in Australia and elsewhere believe that it is. In their 2011 report "The Critical Decade - Climate science, risks and responses" the following map is shown (mm per year)

Figure 8. Local sea-level rise (mm/year) around Australia from the early 1990s to 2008
Looks scary, doesn't it? In the southwest, somewhere near Perth, 8.1 mm/year, implying a rise of 81 cm in a century. In the north, somewhere near Darwin, a slightly lower value. Are these figures correct? As quoted "from the early 1990s to 2008" they are, but they are also very misleading - at most of the (as yet) unidentified monitoring stations shown on that map, there has been no significant sea-level rise after 1998. I can also show that most, if not all of the rise around Australia in the second half of the 20th century occurred during 1997 and 1998. during what's been called "one of the most severe ENSO events in history". ENSO is short for "El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation"  for those not familiar with the mnemonic.This is not what the Climate Commission, the CSIRO, nor the Australian government want known.

Here's my version, based on the same data, but starting from 1999, at the end of the late 90s ENSO "ramp" which grossly distorts the "early 1990s to 2008" rates shown above.

Local sea-level rise (mm/year) around Australia from 1999 to 2010
Looks rather less scary, doesn't it? Let's see where the CC got their data, and why there's such a massive difference between those two maps.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Kiribati, "where rising sea levels are a very real threat"

From the Sydney Morning Herald - Ban Ki-moon challenges climate sceptics:
Speaking at the University of Sydney, he talked of the need for world leaders to address global challenges including climate change, pandemics, and issues involving food, energy and waste.
Regarding climate change, he urged sceptics to visit the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, where rising sea levels are a very real threat.
The impoverished nation was facing a bill of $947 million just to protect infrastructure from the effects of climate change, and had yet to come up with viable ways to relocate some of the population.
Mr Ban added the country was running out of time and hoped Australia would lead the way "for your own good as well as well as that of the planet".
I for one don't need to visit Kiribati to see "rising sea levels" there. Latest data from the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project run at the BOM (to end of July 2011) which I've just graphed -

Betio, Kiribati – trend from Jan 2002 to July 2011 -5.48 mm/year

An ounce of data is worth a ton of hot air.