"The Russian authorities are sending a ship to try to rescue some of
the hundreds of thousands of baby seals starving to death in the
country's remote White Sea. [...] The seals are trapped on ice floes in
the White Sea, after unusually strong winds stopped them drifting to
their normal feeding grounds in the Barents Sea. [...] A similar disaster
occurred in 1966, when up to 300,000 baby seals died - around 60% of the
total number born that year. An unusually harsh winter in Russia has
already caused problems for other wildlife. Endangered Siberian tigers
in Russia's far east have been struggling to survive after plummeting
temperatures wiped out large numbers of their usual prey, which include
reindeer and wild boar."
--BBC Online News, 10 May 2001

"Warmer weather on Sunday threw a lifeline to hundreds of thousands
of starving seals stranded on ice floes in Russia's White Sea,
increasing their chances of escaping to areas with more food. A scientist
who flew over vast stretches of melting ice with a Reuters television
crew said he was happy to see that grown-up seals had not abandoned their
babies and had taught them to feed on whatever the Arctic waters had on
--Nikolai Pavlov, ABC News, 14 May 2001

"Claims that 200,000 seal pups were trapped on ice floes in Russia's
White Sea and would slowly starve to death were false, say international
wildlife experts. No seals were ever in any danger, says Masha
Vorontsova, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in
Moscow, who flew over the White Sea ice floes last Thursday. "I saw only
tens of seals on the floes. The situation is normal," she told New
Scientist. "The current situation is there is no disaster at all and
there never was."
--Emma Young, New Scientist, 15 May 2001

    BBC Online News, 10 May 2001

    ABC News, 14 May 2001

    New Scientist, 15 May 2001

    BBC Online News, 10 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

    Media Research Center, 10 May 2001

    Yahoo! News, 14 May 2001

    The Greening Earth Society, 12 May 2001

     World Climate Report, 14 May 2001

     UniSci, 14 May 2001

     CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

     Duncan Steel <>


From the BBC Online News, 10 May 2001

Russian ship to rescue baby seals

The Russian authorities are sending a ship to try to rescue some of the
hundreds of thousands of baby seals starving to death in the country's
remote White Sea.

A spokesman for the crew said the vessel, weighing 20,000 tonnes, would
transfer the pups to the neighbouring Barents Sea, where they would have
more food.

The seals are trapped on ice floes in the White Sea, after unusually strong
winds stopped them drifting to their normal feeding grounds in the Barents

A Russian scientist warned on Tuesday that almost 200,000 baby seals were
doomed because of freak weather.

It is not clear how many seals the ship can carry, or how many trips it will
make. The Russian emergency ministry said it would definitely become
involved in the rescue operation.

"Only the adult seals can get themselves out on their own. The pups, and
there are approximately 200,000 of them, need help," the Russian Emergency
Minister, Sergey Shoygu, said.

Strong winds

The seals, which swim south to the White Sea to breed, normally drift back
north on ice floes to the richer feeding grounds of the Barents Sea.

But this year, the area has been hit by strong north-easterly winds, halting
the normal drift patterns.

Vladimir Potelov, of the Polar Institute of Fish and Oceanography, said it
would be impossible to evacuate or feed all the cubs, but it might be
possible to save some.

"It is possible to catch those which are searching for food on the shore,
transport them to inland waterways and then let them out into the southern
part of the Barents Sea," he said.

A similar disaster occurred in 1966, when up to 300,000 baby seals died -
around 60% of the total number born that year.

An unusually harsh winter in Russia has already caused problems for other

Endangered Siberian tigers in Russia's far east have been struggling to
survive after plummeting temperatures wiped out large numbers of their usual
prey, which include reindeer and wild boar.

Copyright 2001, BBC


From ABC News, 14 May 2001

Trapped Seals Face Better Prospects
Warm Weather, Adult Seals Could Help Save Seal Pups

By Nikolai Pavlov

OVER THE WHITE SEA, Russia, May 14 - Warmer weather on Sunday threw a
lifeline to hundreds of thousands of starving seals stranded on ice floes in
Russia's White Sea, increasing their chances of escaping to areas with more
A scientist who flew over vast stretches of melting ice with a Reuters
television crew said he was happy to see that grown-up seals had not
abandoned their babies and had taught them to feed on whatever the Arctic
waters had on offer.

"Maybe a few of them will die but most of those we have seen today will most
probably survive," Vladimir Potelov, head of the sea mammals laboratory of
the Russian Polar Maritime Research Institute, said.

As the helicopter zoomed down on ice floes, all the seals scurried into the
water in a clumsy stampede which Potelov said showed they were fit and
sticking together.

"I have not once seen grown-ups scuttle away and leave the young ones
behind. It is very encouraging," Potelov said.



From New Scientist, 15 May 2001

Claims that 200,000 seal pups were trapped on ice floes in Russia's White
Sea and would slowly starve to death were false, say international wildlife

No seals were ever in any danger, says Masha Vorontsova, director of the
International Fund for Animal Welfare in Moscow, who flew over the White Sea
ice floes last Thursday.

"I saw only tens of seals on the floes. The situation is normal," she told
New Scientist. "The current situation is there is no disaster at all and
there never was."

At an emergency meeting held in St Petersberg on Monday, seal and fishery
experts discussed their own aerial observations and satellite images of the

Peter Prokosch, director of the World Wide Fund for Nature's Arctic
Programme, in Norway, says: "It was all a bluff. The local fishery institute
gave out information that the seals were trapped and starving before they
had even made a survey. It was nothing."

A Russian rescue mission to 'save' the seals was abandoned on Saturday,
after the first reports that the claims may have been wrong, says

Missing seals

Vladimir Potelev of the SevPINRO Marine Research Institute in Arkhangelsk
claimed early last week that hundreds of thousands of harp seals were
trapped by freak winds and would die slowly of starvation. The winds were
preventing the ice floes carrying the seals to their feeding grounds in the
Barents Sea, he said.

But a survey by scientists at the PINRO headquarters in Murmansk on Friday
11 May found very few seals in the area, according to Vorontosova. The
situation is "very embarrassing" for all Russian marine institutes, adds

It is unclear why SevPINRO made the initial announcement and New Scientist
has been unable to contact the institute or PINRO.

Vorontsova says the institute's intention could have been to provide a
reason to continue the annual seal hunt. There have been recent moves in the
Russian parliament to reduce the hunt. IFAW campaigns against seal hunting
all over the world.

"It is true that after the announcement was made, the fishery ministry
announced it should be possible to kill more seals as they were all going to
die anyway," Prokosch told New Scientist.

Unlimited hunt

On 7 May, SevPINRO issued instructions about what should be done as a result
of the "emergency", says Vorontsova. The two-page document, which was
circulated around the hunters and local population of the White Sea coast,
recommended that an unlimited seal hunt should be allowed, Vorontsova
claims. It also included instructions on how to dry the seal pelts and
process the meat, she says.

Russian seal hunters slaughter about 40,000 young seal pups and about
100,000 older seals every year for their pelts and oil, says IFAW. The
hunting of young "white coats" is illegal everywhere else in the world. On
19 April, the Russian parliament's environmental committee met in Moscow to
discuss banning the hunt of these baby seals.

SevPINRO receives funding for predicting the number of seals available to
hunt each year, says Vorontsova, and any reduction in the annual hunt may
mean less funding for the institute.

She adds that it is probable that the institute did not expect to receive
such large scale worldwide media attention following the announcement.

Correspondence about this story should be directed to

1500 GMT, 15 May 2001

Emma Young


From the BBC Online News, 10 May 2001

Polar bears could be benefiting from global warming

By the BBC's Richard Lister in the Alaskan Arctic

Research in the American Arctic has revealed that the polar bear and bowhead
whale populations are booming after decades of decline, and part of the
reason for that may be global warming.

Although the long-term predictions suggest many Arctic species could be
jeopardised by any continued rise in temperatures, scientists think that at
the moment some animal populations may be benefiting from a slightly warmer

In the Arctic desert of Northern Alaska, a tiny monitoring station is
tracking the polar climate.

Research over three decades shows the amount of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere has steadily increased. Temperatures
have also risen by a tenth of one degree every year since 1977.


From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

Slonosky, V.C., Jones, P.D. and Davies, T.D.  2000.  Variability of the
surface atmospheric circulation over Europe, 1774-1995.  International
Journal of Climatology 20: 1875-1897.

What was done
Temperature, precipitation and other climate variables are largely
controlled by patterns of atmospheric circulation, especially in the
mid-latitudes. Thus, decadal to centennial changes in atmospheric
circulation or pressure may signify changes in global or regional climate.
With these facts in mind, Slonosky et al. analyze atmospheric surface
pressure data from 51 stations located throughout Europe and the eastern
North Atlantic over the past 200+ years.

What was learned
According to the authors, atmospheric circulation over Europe was found to
be "considerably more variable, with more extreme values in the late 18th
and early 19th centuries than in the 20th century." Furthermore, the authors
note that the recent positive trend in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
reported in other papers was "not as evident [in Europe] in the context of
the past 200 years" nor does it appear "unusual."

What it means
As the earth has recovered from the global chill of the Little Ice Age, the
variability of atmospheric circulation - and, hence, weather - has lessened,
which finding is in direct contrast to climate alarmist predictions of
increasing weather extremes due to global warming. Also, climate alarmists
have seized upon the recent positive trend in the NAO as proof of
CO2-induced global climate change. However, with a longer data set, such as
the one provided here, there is nothing unprecedented about the NAO's recent
positive trend. It is nothing more nor less than a manifestation of natural
climate variability.
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

The mechanism by which carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere is
commonly referred to as the "greenhouse effect." Stated very simply, CO2 is
nearly transparent to the solar radiation emitted from the sun, but largely
opaque (in certain wavelengths) to the thermal radiation emitted by the
earth. Hence, it allows most of the incoming solar radiation from the sun to
pass unimpeded through the atmosphere and warm the earth's surface; but when
the earth's surface reradiates energy back to space, a significant portion
of this thermal radiation is absorbed and reradiated by the atmosphere's CO2
molecules back to the earth's surface, incrementally warming the planet.
Without this effect of water vapor (which is responsible for the lion's
share of the warming), CO2, and other radiatively-active trace gases in the
air, the planet's average temperature would be about 34C cooler than it is

So has the greenhouse effect increased in recent years as the air's carbon
dioxide concentration has risen? In an attempt to answer this question,
Harries et al. (2001) analyzed the difference between the spectra of
outgoing longwave radiation obtained by two orbiting spacecraft that looked
down upon the earth at periods of time separated by a span of 27 years.  The
data utilized were obtained over a specific area in the central Pacific
(10N-10S, 130W-180W) and a "near-global" area of the planet (60N-60S).
The data were further constrained by masking out land/island areas and areas
believed to contain clouds.

The results of their analysis showed a number of differences in the
land-masked and cloud-cleared data, which the authors attributed to changes
in atmospheric concentrations of CH4, CO2, O3, CFC-11 and CFC-12 that
occurred over the 27-year period separating the times of their two sets of
measurements. Hence, they concluded their results provided "direct
experimental evidence for a significant increase in the earth's greenhouse
effect" over the 27-year time interval. Such a conclusion, however, is
somewhat misleading, for it does not provide direct experimental evidence
for a significant increase in earth's total greenhouse effect. It does so
only for the cloud-free part of the atmosphere located over a portion of the
planet's oceans. Furthermore, research that has been conducted on the cloudy
portion of the atmosphere over the oceans has revealed the presence of a
highly negative feedback phenomenon that is capable of totally overpowering
any temperature increase forced by the rise in greenhouse gases (Lindzen et
al., 2001).

Unfortunately, the work of Harries et al. tells us nothing about earth's
climatic response to the inferred increase in radiative forcing, which is
what the climate change debate is all about, i.e., trying to evaluate the
competing effectiveness of various positive and negative feedbacks that come
into play when there is a small change in the radiative properties of the
cloudless atmosphere. In fact, the authors' finding is so rudimentary as to
be essentially meaningless.  Assuming, for example, that their handling of
their data is correct - and this is a huge assumption they spend over half
their paper discussing - they have simply verified the definition of the
greenhouse effect! Hence, the debate continues.

Harries, J.E., Brindley, H.E., Sagoo, P.J. and Bantges, R.J.  2001.
Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave
radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997.  Nature 410: 355-357.

Lindzen, R.S., Chou, M.-D. and Hou, A.Y.  2001.  Does the earth have an
adaptive infrared iris?  Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 82:
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From Media Research Center, 10 May 2001

For Immediate Release: Kate Wright (703) 683-5004 - Thursday, May 10, 2001 -
Vol. 5, No. 15

Study: ABC, CBS and NBC Never Mentioned That Thousands of Scientists
Disagree With Doomsayers
TV's One-Sided Global Warming Nonsense

ABC, CBS and NBC are so committed to the idea that human-caused global
warming will be a disaster for the planet, they completely excluded all
other points of view from their evening newscasts this year, according to a
new study by the MRC's Free Market Project.

Out of 51 global warming stories shown between January 20 and April 22, only
CNN and the Fox News Channel mentioned experts' lack of consensus - and
CNN's nod toward balance was merely a brief recitation of a statement by
President Bush about "the incomplete state of scientific knowledge." In
contrast, FNC's David Shuster showed climate scientist Richard Lindzen, who
argued that a recent U.N. paper on global warming was exaggerated. "It came
from having scenarios with horrific and unimaginable emissions, and putting
them in the most sensitive model," Lindzen explained, offering FNC viewers
the sort of hard-news insight the other networks never bothered to find.

One textbook example of bias: On March 29, CBS's Mark Phillips packed a
report with critics of Bush's decision not to implement the 1997 Kyoto
treaty, a deal which would have forced the U.S. to cut industrial emissions
to 30 percent below where they are today, a huge economic sacrifice.

"Around the world, anger runs as deep as the flood waters being blamed on
the global warming the Kyoto treaty was supposed to fight," Phillips
melodramatically began. "President Bush says he's putting American economic
interests first in rejecting Kyoto, and in Britain, where they're having
their wettest winter ever, they sadly agree." CBS then showed the liberal
Labor government's environmental minister lecturing the United States about
"short-termism" and "isolationism."

"And that was the polite response," continued Phillips. "Others point to
severe weather conditions around the planet: flooding for the second
consecutive year in Mozambique; drought and famine in the Sudan. And, they
say, the U.S. is substantially to blame. With only about four percent of the
world' s population, the United States famously produces about 25 percent of
the world's harmful green-house gas pollution....Kyoto may have been an
imperfect treaty," Phillips groused, "but in an imperfect world, it was the
only global warming treaty we had."

By suppressing other points of view, ABC, CBS and NBC made Bush's anti-Kyoto
ruling seem irresponsible and short-sighted. Environmentalists were granted
most-favored status, quoted 20 times compared with only three appearances by
spokesmen for free market groups such as the Competitive Enterprise

If environmentalists' gloomy global warming predictions are exaggerated or
wrong, then the networks have been pushing the wrong side of the story. Dr.
Sallie Baliunas of Harvard's Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recently
told Tech Central Station's James Glassman that while the Earth is about 1F
warmer than it was a century ago, it was much warmer a few hundred years
ago, long before the smokestack was invented. She told Glassman that claims
of catastrophic human-induced warming "are exaggerated. There is maybe some
human-made warming, but it's going to be so small that it's going to be lost
in the natural variability."

But ABC, CBS and NBC shamelessly shut out the views of authentic experts
such as Lindzen and Baliunas in favor of the hyped claims of professional
environmentalists. That's not journalism, that's liberal [sic] activism. --
Rich Noyes


From Yahoo! News, 14 May 2001

By Eva Sohlman

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Rising sea levels may not be connected to global
warming and a U.N. report making the link is simplistic, a world authority
on sea changes said Monday.

Rising sea levels may instead be caused by factors including solar radiation
and the rotation of the earth, according to an association of experts on
sea, climate and land change.

"The connection between heat and rising sea levels is not as simple as the
IPCC (U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) claims," Nils-Emil
Morner of the International Association of Quarternary Research (INQUA) told

A growing number of scientists believe greenhouse gas emissions, such as
carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere, push up temperatures, melt
glaciers and so raise sea levels. The changes may also bring storms, floods
and droughts.

But Morner, professor of geology at Sweden's Stockholm University and
president of INQUA's commission on sea level changes and coastal evolution,
said the connection between sea levels and temperature increase had not yet
been established.

"Just because temperatures are rising does not necessarily mean sea levels
will rise," he added.

Morner said the average temperature during the mid-1200s was one degree
Celsius warmer than present temperatures and the sea level had remained

But Jonathan Gregory, doctor of physics at Britain's Hadley climate center,
said it was only in the mid-1900s that temperatures could be measured
properly and previous data were unreliable.


Gregory, who edited the chapter on sea changes of the U.N. report, said the
link between sea levels and temperature rises could not be dismissed.

"The sea level rise in the last 100 years was about 10 times faster compared
with the average growth over the last 3,000 years," he said.

The fact the IPCC had concluded that warming in the northern hemisphere in
the 21st century is likely to be the greatest in the last 1,000 years added
weight to claims of a link between sea and temperature movements, he added.

The IPCC report is the work of 2,500 of the world's top climate scientists
and predicts sea levels will rise about 0.08-0.98 meters between 1990 and

But Morner said calculations based entirely on field studies showed a
maximum rise of 0.11 meters in the same period.

The average temperature is expected to increase by 1.5-6.0 degrees Celsius
in the same period, according to the report.

Morner also cast doubt on concerns that low-lying island states such as the
Maldives and the Federated States of Micronesia might be flooded out because
of rising sea levels caused by global warming.

He said an INQUA study showed sea levels had fallen in the Maldives in the
past 30 years.

But Gregory said the movements of sea levels differed around the world. "In
a short time levels may have sunk but our conclusion is that sea levels rose
10-20 centimeters in the 20th century," he said.

Copyright 2001, Reuters


From The Greening Earth Society, 12 May 2001

Ideas have consequences, and bad ones produce tragedies. Certainly one of
the worst ideas in the sad history of the global warming issue was the U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recent, unqualified statement
that temperatures might rise as much as an alarming 5.8C in the next 100

Actually, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made 245
separate forecasts, and that was the hottest one. But it declined to say
which ones, if any, were more likely than others. At the low end, it
forecast 1.4C, an amount too small to stop and probably beneficial because
it occurs mostly in the cold air of winter. The IPCC offered no probability
for that one, either, even though a passel of very diverse scientists have
demonstrated that this low figure is the most likely number that results
from adjusting the various climate models using real, observed temperatures.

Stanford University's Steve Schneider is now worried. He's worried that the
press is only hitting upon that very hot forecast, and he's worried that the
IPCC's lack of assigned probabilities makes this one seem just as likely as
any of the 244 others (which itself would reduce it to very low order of
probability, 1 in 245, or 0.4 percent). What Schneider is really worried
about is himself and history - because he is one of the people who started
this mess to begin with, and the perpetrators (at least in Schneider's case)
are now being associated with this one particular gloom-and-doom forecast,
rather than other, more modest ones.

To his credit, Schneider argued before the very IPCC that produced that
5.8C whopper that it had better assign a probability of its occurrence
relative to all the other 244 forecasts. They turned him down. That's
because the U.N. knew the press, uninformed about the low order of
probability, would seize upon the big number, which is what the IPCC wanted.
Were the U.N. interested in science, it would have behaved in a more
scientific (i.e., quantitative) fashion.

The need for probabilities is what prompted Schneider's most interesting
article in the May 3 issue of Nature. He took a sample of the IPCC forecasts
(which the U.N. calls "storylines" to avoid responsibility) and found that a
considerable majority-about three-quarters-actually predict a warming that
falls in the lower half of the overall range of 1.4C to 5.8C. That range
allows the reader to make a rough adjustment for the likelihood of the
highest scenario by cutting its random probability in half. While virtually
100 percent of recent news stories highlight the big warming, its
probability of actually occurring is now down to 0.2 percent, or about one
in 500.

Figure 1. Most people would assume that the likelihood of a certain amount
of warming follows a bell-shaped curve, with the mean value of 3.6C the
most likely. But Steve Schneider recently demonstrated that the cooler half
of the distribution is much more probable.

Of course, this manner of betting the odds assumes we know a lot about
global warming science and climate change. But despite all our knowledge, we
may as well be baying at the moon. Come to think of it, that's not a bad
idea: A closer lunar look reveals something very interesting about the
earth's climate.

Every new moon occurs when the sun illuminates it from behind. We can still
see it here on earth, thanks to the light that reflects directly back from
this planet itself. The brighter (whiter) the earth, the more it reflects
and the brighter the faint new moon becomes. That phenomenon, called
"earthshine," gives rise to a measurement of how much of the sun's incoming
radiation is reflected away. by our planet.

Here's how much we know and have known about climate: Scientists used to
think that the earth reflected 42 percent of the sun's rays. We cooked that
number up because, before satellites could tell us otherwise, we thought the
sun put out a lot more energy than it does. Only by reflecting 42 percent of
its energy could we achieve our present mean surface temperature of a
comfortable 15C. When satellite data became available, we discovered the
sun wasn't warming us as much as we thought, so that reflection percentage
was adjusted downwards, to around 28 percent. That's a huge change.

We then assumed that both the sun's output and the earth's reflectivity were
constant. Silly scientists! It turns out that the sun has been outputting
more energy in the recent century than it had in past centuries. In fact, it
is likely the main driver of at least half of the warming of the planet in
the last 100 years (leaving humans a pretty paltry remainder to feel guilty
about). According to a recent report in the refereed journal Geophysical
Research Letters, it turns out that the earth's reflectivity, as measured by
looking at the new moon, varies by over 2 percent on the scale of nearly a

That, too, is a huge number. When you smoosh around all the greenhouse
effect calculations, it turns out that the observed changes in the earth's
reflectivity could easily have produced as much warming as humans might
have. So why isn't it hotter than blazes by now? Want the real answer? No
one knows!

If you think we know anything about Earth's future climate, try forecasting
for another planet that isn't as complicated as Earth and whose reflectivity
doesn't change much over time. Count every planet from Venus to Neptune out,
because their reflectivity changes noticeably within the lifetime of
scientists. On the other hand, we're probably pretty good at predicting the
surface temperature of the remaining two-Mercury and Pluto-over the next 100

So all we are left with is a planet whose climate we don't understand
saddled with a political process capitalizing on outlandish, unscientific
statements that whisk the press and the world into a froth of hysterical and
expensive policymaking.

Kudos to Steve Schneider for at least calling this to our attention, despite
the United Nations' attempts to hide the unlikelihood of their forecast of
climate disaster.


Schneider, S.H., 2001. What is "dangerous" climate change? Nature, 411,

Goode, P.R., et al., 2001. Earthshine observations of the earth's
reflectance, Geophysical Research Letters, 28, 1671-1674.


From World Climate Report, 14 May 2001

Has carbon dioxide (CO2) raised global temperatures? Simple question,
complex answer. While most climatologists (including the WCR staff) would no
doubt answer yes, that does not mean that we are right. In essence, the
debate centers around two questions: "How much?" and "So what?" But
answering those questions definitively is just about impossible.

Undeterred, several research groups have spent many years and dollars
attempting to find the CO2 needle in the global temperature change haystack
using climate model output. By prespecifying the impact of some factor over
time (such as sulfate aerosols or CO2), researchers can remove these various
"forcing factors" from temperature records and quantify the contribution of
each forcing.

It's pretty obvious that the success of that method depends entirely on our
understanding of what the various signals really are. For example, if we
don't know what the sun's impact on temperature is, it's impossible to
remove the solar influence.

In a recent paper in the Journal of Climate, North and Wu from Texas A&M
used advanced statistical approaches to try to sort out various forcing
factors in surface air temperatures taken from 72 locations equally spaced
around the globe.

Essentially, North and Wu examined those surface temperature records for
evidence of signals arising from greenhouse gases (labeled "G" in Figure 1),
anthropogenic aerosols ("A"), volcanic dust ("V"), and the 11-year solar
sunspot cycle ("S"). What remains after removing these signals is presumably
natural background climate variability. The values of those forcings each
year were estimated using an energy balance climate model and the control
runs of several general circulation models. They compared the results using
subsets of tropical and global stations with 100-year records or
combinations of locations with 50- and 100-year records.

Figure 1 summarizes the important results. The mean signal strength within
each station grouping is plotted with a symbol (asterisk, triangle, etc.),
and the vertical bars show the 90 percent confidence band. If the vertical
bars include the zero value, then it's not possible to state with confidence
that this represents a "true signal." If everything is working like the
models predict, then each value should equal one.

Figure 1.

The impact of the solar signal (panel a); greenhouse gases (panel b);
volcanic dust (panel c); and human-induced aerosols (panel d) on spatial
patterns of global temperatures. (* = 20 tropical stations with 100-year
records; x = 36 stations; diamond = 43 tropical stations with 50- or
100-year records; triangle = 72 global stations with 50- or 100-year
records; circle = 72 stations with 50-year records). If the vertical error
bars include the value of zero, then that relationship is not significant.
Note that, unlike for other forcings, the impact of aerosols is unknown.
Panel b shows the impact of greenhouse gases. These estimates' high
confidence shows that, from this analysis, there is a measurable CO2 impact
on global temperatures over the last 100 years. The value of the greenhouse
signal varies between data subset and model, but hovers around the 0.6
range, much lower than the anticipated value of one.

The volcanic signal (Panel c), is also significant in each test, although
the error bars are wider than for greenhouse gases. In general, the strength
of the volcanic signal is comparable to the CO2 signal.

In this analysis, even the solar sunspot cycle is significant. Although the
error bars are large, they do not encompass the zero value in 17 of the 25
cases run (Panel a). And the solar influence is large (note the change in
the scale of the vertical axis).

For contrast, let's look at sulfate aerosols (Panel d). Most of the
relationships are not significant, and it's not clear if the net effect of
aerosols is even warming or cooling. Sulfates were added to climate models
in an attempt to bring the large model-induced greenhouse warming closer to
the realm of believability. They also have been used to justify sudden
climate shifts-as soon as the atmosphere is cleared of sulfates,
temperatures rocket upward.

Regarding sulfates, North and Wu note that "the question of aerosol cooling
and its amplitude in the data stream is still unresolved." Two possible
reasons are a warming effect from absorption within aerosol droplets and a
cancellation of sulfate warming by tropospheric ozone cooling (the results
of which are about the same).

But most important, is that the forcing from greenhouse gases is lower than
expected, according to the authors, "might have serious implications."
Possible explanations for the weak CO2 signal include; "1) the surface
temperature field is less sensitive to greenhouse gas increases than we
thought; 2) climate is sensitive, but the oceans are playing a greater or
perhaps less obvious role in delaying the warming." WCR has long documented
that the climate model's have more sensitivity to CO2 increases than the
real atmosphere, and that the likely warming by the year 2100 is
significantly lower than most current model-generated forecasts. And North's
second point counters the recent papers on ocean warming of Levitus and
Barnett, who argue that their models accurately capture deep ocean
temperature changes (see WCR, Vol. 6, No. 16, 5/30/01).

In summary: 1) Greenhouse gases are responsible for less of the warming over
the last century than the models predict; 2) Natural forces-volcanoes and
solar changes-have significant impacts on global temperature changes; and 3)
the net role of sulfates is unknown or zero. And the 4th conclusion follows
from the first three: Global warming alarmists know less about the causes of
surface temperature change than they think they do.


North, G.R. and Q. Wu, 2001. Detecting climate signals using space-time
EOFs, Journal of Climate, 14, 1839-1863.

From UniSci, 14 May 2001

A team of American and British scientists report that radiocarbon levels in
Earth's atmosphere during the last Ice Age were more than twice as high as
today, higher even than the nuclear weapons tests of nearly half a century

They also reported in the May 11 issue of the journal Science of having
extended the record for atmospheric radiocarbon more than 45,000 years.

The researchers, who come from the University of Arizona, University of
Bristol (U.K.) and the University of Minnesota, were able to extract a
precise and near-continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in a
half-meter-long stalagmite that formed during the last glacial period in a
cave that now lies underwater in the Bahamas.

Marking time with carbon 14 requires an accurate record of atmospheric
radiocarbon through time. Archaeologists, for example, use the radiocarbon
time scale to date artifacts, but dates were only accurate as far back as
16,000 years. The information contained in the stalagmite effectively
triples the calibration period.

University of Arizona physicist J. Warren Beck and his colleagues also
discovered that atmospheric carbon 14 levels soared dramatically between
45,000 and 33,000 years ago. Beck says even more interesting was a dramatic
spike in radiocarbon levels during a millennium that began 44,300 years ago,
nearly twice as high as the "bomb pulse" produced during nuclear weapons
testing in the 1950s and 60s.

The radiocarbon peak Beck and his colleagues found correlates to other peaks
for other radioactive isotopes -- beryllium 10 and chlorine36 -- found in
polar ice cores and lake sediments. All three isotopes are produced when
cosmic rays bombard Earth's upper atmosphere.

Beck says this suggests much higher levels of cosmic rays were striking the
atmosphere during the Ice Age.

While scientists have known for some time that atmospheric carbon 14 levels
were higher and more variable in the Ice Age atmosphere than today, "the
magnitude of variation revealed by our stalagmite is surprising," Beck and
the others write in Science.

J. Warren Beck of the University of Arizona and David A. Richards of the
University of Bristol, U.K, collaborated in the 3-year study with R.
Lawrence Edwards of the University of Minnesota, Bernard W. Silverman and
Peter L. Smart of the University of Bristol, and Beck's colleagues at the UA
National Science Foundation Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Facility --
Douglas J. Donahue, Sofia Hererra-Osterheld, George S. Burr, Leal Calsoyas,
A.J. Timothy Jull, and Dana Biddulph.

The team dedicated the article to the memory of Robert Palmer and Robert
Parker, who made "invaluable contributions to exploration and fieldwork in
the Blue Holes of the Bahamas" and who died in separate diving incidents in

The researchers used mathematical simulations to examine which of four
possible factors might have produced high concentrations of radiocarbon in
the atmosphere.

Three phenomena affect the rate at which cosmogenic isotopes are produced in
Earth's stratosphere. One is cosmic ray flux, the intensity of very
high-energy "galactic" radiation coming from beyond the solar system. Two
others are the strength of the sun's electromagnetic field and Earth's own
magnetic field, both of which deflect cosmic radiation.

>From rigorous theoretical modeling, Beck and the others conclude that
variations in the strength of the solar electromagnetic field and in the
intensity of Earth's magnetic field alone aren't enough to explain the
fluctuations in radioisotope levels found in their stalagmite.

And, Beck adds, while it is possible that a burst of galactic cosmic rays
from a nearby supernova explosion dramatically increased production of
cosmogenic isotopes -- as previously hypothesized in other research by UA
geoscientists Alex McCord and Paul Damon -- whether a supernova explosion
would be powerful enough to push aside the heliosphere that shields Earth
from galactic cosmic rays "is an open question."

Any one or a combination of the three cosmogenic scenarios may have
contributed to elevated CO2 levels during the Ice Age.

"But the bottom line is that Earth's carbon cycle was significantly
different than it is today," Beck said.

The fourth factor is the structure of Earth's carbon cycle. Most carbon on
Earth is locked up in limestone and fossil fuel. A relatively small amount
of "active" carbon circulates through the atmosphere, oceans, soils and

The authors concluded -- based on their mathematical models -- that changes
in the carbon cycle must also be partly to blame for the large fluctuations
in the amount of atmospheric radiocarbon they observed. In particular, they
say that the carbon cycle must have operated more slowly during the last Ice
Age than today.

One way the carbon cycle may have differed during the Ice Age is a slower
rate of ocean organism deposition on the deep ocean floor. More organic
carbon would in that case be exchanged with the surface ocean and

Modeling that scenario comes closer to the actual evidence, "but even this
doesn't match the high concentrations in the observed record," Beck said.

What had to have been going on, according to their models, is a slower rate
of carbon exchange between the surface ocean and the deep ocean. "If we slow
that rate by about a third of the modern exchange rate, we get a simulation
that looks like the observed evidence. Ocean mixing during the glacial
period must have taken longer than it is today, " Beck said.

Ocean mixing in the geological present occurs primarily at two high latitude
regions, in the North Atlantic and off the shores of Antarctica. A breakup
of western Antarctic ice sheets, or an increase in freshwater icebergs
floating into these regions, or changes in wind that contributes to ocean
mixing, influence ocean mixing rates and could trigger abrupt change in the
carbon cycle to produce greater concentrations of atmospheric carbon
dioxide, Beck said.

While the cause of implied changes in ocean mixing rates or carbonate
sedimentation rates is unknown, the authors conclude, the observation that
the carbon cycle was significantly more sluggish in the recent past "may
have profound implications regarding the oceans' capacity to take up
anthropogenic CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning.

"We should take this as a warning that climate changes may affect the carbon
cycle in previously unexpected ways," Beck said. - By Lori Stiles

[Contact: J. Warren Beck, Lori Stiles]


Copyright 2001, UniSci


From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 May 2001

Periodically, we receive communications from people who feel it is their
moral duty to lecture us on what they believe to be the misguided opinions
we express in our weekly editorials, such as our idea that the ongoing rise
in the air's CO2 content is a blessing in disguise, in that it should
stimulate global vegetative productivity while having next to no impact on
the planet's temperature.  One such seeric source of ethical advice began
his most recent scolding of us by saying "I must encourage you to leave your
work...  You are intentionally encouraging behavior which is unnatural and
unspiritual, for the interest of industry profit... burning up our planet
for the sake of General Motors and Kentucky Fried Chicken... You have chosen
to steal your children's planet from them."

We find it both amusing and disturbing that some people are absolutely
certain they know what is right for the world without investing any effort
whatsoever in a serious search for truth, especially when the subject in
question is as complex and confounding as the CO2-climate issue, about which
some of the world's most knowledgeable scientists cannot agree. This latest
diatribe, for example, presupposes that the ongoing rise in the air's CO2
content is in fact "burning up our planet." But how does our spiritual
advisor know that? We are confident it is not because he has spent a
lifetime studying the subject; for if he had, we would surely have crossed
paths long before now. Hence, we must presume his "knowledge" of the subject
is not data-driven.  If it were, he would likely have known it was
significantly warmer than it is currently during all four of the previous
interglacials, when there was a heck of a lot less CO2 in the air than there
is now (see our Journal Review Nearly Half a Million Years of Climate and
CO2). And what does that fact say about CO2 and temperature?  Scientists
argue about it; but nearly all would probably be agreed that it certainly
says nothing to confirm what our self-anointed seer suggests.

Then there's the "chicken and egg" question. In the many instances of what
some global warming advocates misleadingly call the "lockstep" changes in
CO2 and temperature that have been documented to have occurred over this
half-million-year period (and earlier times as well), it is instructive to
consider "what came first," since cause must surely precede effect. And if
one looks at the scientific data, rather than merely divining the answer, it
is invariably temperature that is seen to rise or fall first (see the many
examples of this phenomenon that are documented in our Subject Index under
the heading CO2-Temperature Correlations); and this observation suggests -
if anything, for correlation alone proves nothing - that it is temperature
that causes CO2 to respond, and not vice versa.  Now, is this tentative
conclusion natural?  Or is it unnatural?  Spiritual or unspiritual?
Whatever one calls it, it is, simply, the closest approximation to the truth
that one can deduce at the present time.

"You have chosen to steal your children's planet from them," our antagonist
says. How so?  By championing the most well-established fact of the entire
CO2-climate debate and reporting that literally thousands of laboratory and
field experiments have established beyond any doubt whatsoever that more CO2
in the air creates more numerous and more robust plants that can provide
more food to support greater numbers of animals, as well as humans? No way.
We're not stealing our children's planet from them; we're trying to reclaim
it for them. And for all the rest of the biosphere as well!  In fact, we
truly feel we are "greener" than any organization on the face of the earth.
Seeking the best for life, in all its wonderful variety and complexity, is
what we're all about; and maintaining - or even enhancing - ecosystem
diversity and vitality is the thought that drives us, day and night, to do
what we do. And what is that?  It is to sing the praises of carbon dioxide.
After all, life on earth is based on carbon, so much so, in fact, that
scientists refer to us, and all our biospheric relatives, as carbon-based
lifeforms. And the much-maligned CO2 molecule is the primary raw material
that our vegetative cousins extract from the air to provide themselves, and
us, with what makes all the members of the biospheric family what we are.
That's as natural as it can be; and, if you will, as spiritual as it can be.

For all this, however, we are accused of "convincing people that the crude
technologies we employ for our personal convenience are more important than
the living planet which we depend upon" and of "saying it is okay to waste
and consume for short term convenience." Hogwash! Nothing could be further
from the truth. Nowhere have we ever said, or even implied, such things. And
to say we are working "for the interest of industry profit" is a blatant
misrepresentation of the facts, i.e., what in less polite conversation would
be called a lie. No, we are working solely for the interest of the biosphere
and the welfare of all the many lifeforms of which it is comprised.

This is not to say, however, that we know the truth of all matters related
to the global change debate, nor that we will not make a misstep now and
then in our interpretation of the available evidence. Indeed, we lay no
claim to any special source of knowledge that is not available to anyone
else on the planet, nor do we pretend to possess superlative powers of
discernment, as do so many of our detractors. No, we just look at the data
like everyone else does (or should) and do our level best to decide what
they mean.

So who holds the moral high ground in the CO2-climate debate? We'd like to
think we do; but the self-righteous overconfidence born of thinking of
oneself in that light can be a blinding and dangerous influence, and we
therefore proceed with much trepidation and introspection, as we continually
evaluate and reevaluate the mountains of new evidence that become available
almost daily, courtesy of the great scientific effort that is focused on
resolving this most complex of environmental issues.  As for our spiritual
antagonist, he falls short as well. His heart may be in the right place, as
are the hearts of many people on both sides of the controversy; but the
relation of his head to the rest of his body is a far different matter. This
is not to say he is not a rational person.  He may, in fact, be even more
brilliant than we, which is, however, not saying a whole lot, for we're both
pretty much your run-of-the-mill scientists. No, it is neither
self-proclaimed virtue nor innate intellectual capacity that determines
morality in this debate; rather, it is knowledge of the truth and how one
acts upon that knowledge. Ergo, the great importance, firstly, of obtaining
scientifically-confirmed facts and, secondly and subsequently, of exercising
character; for without a knowledge of the truth, what good are good
intentions?  They will lead you to do evil as well as good if you know not
the true workings of the systems in question.

Clearly, we would all do well to seriously examine the scientific basis for
what we believe about CO2 and its potential for evoking global change - both
good, as in stimulating biospheric productivity, and bad, as in
catastrophically warming the globe - by asking ourselves these two things:
First, what do we truly know - and not know - about these subjects? And
second, what are we doing on the basis of what we know or don't know?  When
our lives are over and our actions evaluated in the perfect hindsight the
historians of tomorrow will surely possess, our "morality" with respect to
the CO2-global change issue will be determined by how truthfully we answered
these two questions.  May all of us approach this weighty responsibility
with the seriousness and brutal honesty it truly deserves, that our
descendents will one day look back with pride and thanksgiving upon the
actions we took, when the future of the earth once truly did "hang in the

Dr. Craig D. Idso, President 
Dr. Keith E. Idso, Vice President 
Copyright 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change



From Duncan Steel <>

Dear Benny,

Unfortunately the testimony by Richard S. Lindzen to a U.S. Senate committee
carried today in CCNet 'Climate Change and Climate Scares' perhaps has the
potential to offend a significant fraction of the people inhabiting the
British Isles.

>To quote the great 19th Century English scientist, Lord Kelvin, "When you
>can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers, you know
>something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express
>it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind."

Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) was an Ulsterman, born in Belfast (then - in
1824 - part of Ireland, period; now part of Northern Ireland). Although he
was a student at Cambridge (that *is* in England) he worked most of his life
at the University of Glasgow (that's in Scotland). For more information,


Duncan Steel

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