"One reason for the deficiency, says Bunde's team, might be that
models fail to include some potentially crucial factors, such as volcanic
eruptions and changes in the Sun's output, that can influence climate
over several years. It is also possible that the models do not
properly capture the fundamental workings of the climate system."
--Philip Ball, Nature, 1 July 2002

"EVER SINCE Malthus predicted that population growth would quickly
outstrip mankind's ability to feed itself, the modern world has been
routinely beset by scientific predictions of doom no less frightening,
indeed more so, than what's on offer in the Book of Revelations. None
yet has come to pass. Like the itinerant circus troupe in Ingmar
Bergman's The Seventh Seal, humanity as a whole has always outwitted the
Grim Reaper. There's no reason not to think we won't do so again, even if
every grim weather forecast proves true. We are an ingenious and
adaptive species, that has survived everything nature has thrown in our
way. We shall do so again. The real question is - has always been - can
we survive the traps we lay for ourselves? Or will the ghosts of our mind,
from which we spend so much time running, eventually consume us?"
--Bret Stephens, The Jerusalem Post, 28 June 2002 

    R. B. Govindan et al.

     Nature Science Update, 1 July 2002

    Andrew Yee <>

    CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

    CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

    John-Daly, 29 June 2002

    The Jerusalem Post, 28 June 2002

     Ananova, 28 June 2002


R. B. Govindan,1,2 Dmitry Vyushin,1,2 Armin Bunde,2 Stephen Brenner,3 Shlomo
Havlin,1 and Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber4

1Minerva Center and Department of Physics, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan
52900, Israel
2Institut fr Theoretische Physik III, Justus-Liebig-Universitt Giessen,
Heinrich-Buff-Ring 16, 35392 Giessen, Germany
3Department of Geography, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel
4Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, D-14412 Potsdam, Germany

(Received 1 November 2001; revised 22 April 2002; published 21 June 2002)

We test the scaling performance of seven leading global climate models by
using detrended fluctuation analysis. We analyze temperature records of six
representative sites around the globe simulated by the models, for two
different scenarios: (i) with greenhouse gas forcing only and (ii) with
greenhouse gas plus aerosol forcing. We find that the simulated records for
both scenarios fail to reproduce the universal scaling behavior of the
observed records and display wide performance differences. The deviations
from the scaling behavior are more pronounced in the first scenario, where
also the trends are clearly overestimated. 2002 The American Physical


>From Nature Science Update, 1 July 2002

Models simulating global climate don't capture fine-scale ups and downs of


Models that simulate and forecast global climate don't produce the right
wobbles, a new study concludes. Despite immense complexity and
sophistication, these computer models fail to capture the fluctuations of
atmospheric temperatures over months and years.

The models mimic fluctuations better when they include the effects of dust
and other small atmospheric particles or 'aerosols' on the sunlight that the
atmosphere reflects and absorbs. Over the past decade, aerosols have been
recognized as a crucial aspect of the climate system. The study supports the
contention that models that take these particles into account are more

Armin Bunde of the University of Giessen and colleagues in Israel and
Germany compared the results of seven different climate models (general
circulation models, or GCMs) against measurements of real atmospheric
temperatures. The latter consisted of monthly averages of the daily maximum
temperatures recorded over several years at two monitoring stations in
Russia and Texas.

Previously, the same team had found that a universal mathematical
relationship known as a power law describes the correlations between
temperature fluctuations over different timescales. This 'scaling law' holds
fast for timescales from a few months to ten years or more.

Now the researchers have found that existing GCMs do not generate this
observed scaling law. Some GCMs produce something that looks a little like
it on short timescales, but they mostly generate temperature fluctuations
that are essentially random over timescales of more than two years.

Even when the GCMs do produce something that looks like the proper scaling
law, the precise numerical nature of the law is different from that found in
real life, and varies for simulated climates of different geographical

One reason for the deficiency, says Bunde's team, might be that models fail
to include some potentially crucial factors, such as volcanic eruptions and
changes in the Sun's output, that can influence climate over several years.
It is also possible that the models do not properly capture the fundamental
workings of the climate system.

"It doesn't surprise me that climate models don't capture this behaviour,"
says Peter Cox of the UK Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre for Climate
Prediction and Research. Cox is nonetheless heartened that the models
reproduce the right behaviour under some conditions.

Their ability to predict long-term temperature changes, for example, is not
called into question, he points out. Cox suspects that the differences
between simulations and the real world probably stem from well-known
limitations in resolution - how finely the simulations can divide up time
and space.

And studying fluctuations, rather than trends - in effect, 'noise' rather
than 'signal' - may provide a valuable way of testing different models, he
notes. "Looking at scaling behaviour is an intriguing new way to study how a
system behaves," says Cox.
Govindan, R. B. et al. Global climate models violate scaling of the observed
atmospheric variability. Physical Review Letters, 89, 28501, (2002).
Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2002


>From Andrew Yee <>

UCAR Communications

UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8604
Fax: (303) 497-8610



New Computer Model Promises Detailed Picture of Worldwide Climate
By David Hosansky

BOULDER -- Capping two years of research, a nationwide group of over 100
scientists has created a powerful new computer model of the Earth's climate.
The model surpasses previous efforts by successfully incorporating the
impact of such variables as ocean currents and changes in land-surface

Researchers will use the model, called CCSM-2 (Community Climate System
Model, version 2) to probe how our climate works and to experiment with
"what-if" scenarios to predict what our climate may be like in the future.
The model will also look at past climate. For example, researchers plan to
perform an extended, multicentury simulation of past shifts in the climate's

The model's increased capabilities will permit new types of studies, such as
the "Flying Leap Experiment," which will track fossil fuel carbon emissions
as they are dissolved in the oceans and subsequently released back into the

Jeffrey Kiehl, a key leader in development of the model at the National
Center for Atmospheric Research, expects the CCSM-2 to play an integral role
in the next climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
the international organization that issues periodic assessments of global climate change.

Based at NCAR, the model is funded by the National Science Foundation and
the Department of Energy.

"The model is better [than its earlier version] at simulating phenomena with
worldwide climate implications, such as El Nino," says Kiehl. "The new
version has higher spatial resolution in both oceans and sea ice, and the atmosphere
is represented by a larger number of vertical layers."

To achieve the extensive modifications in the latest version, which was
released last month, scientists applied the model to specific problems. For
example, they weighed the climatic impacts of past volcanic eruptions,
fluctuations in ocean salinity, changes in land vegetation, and the
thickness of sea ice. The resulting model has far more data than the earlier
version, allowing scientists to make more detailed climate projections.

"A coordinated community activity on this scale is rare in the climate
sciences," says Kiehl. The contributors worked in groups on land, ocean, sea
ice, and other components of the model toward the single, common goal of
capturing the Earth's climate system. It was truly a collaborative effort."

Since 1983, NCAR scientists have been refining global climate models that
are freely available to researchers worldwide. CCSM-2, which supercedes the
first CCSM created in 1998, will be used to produce improved simulations of
average climate and climate variability.

Richard Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric
Research (which manages and operates NCAR) says: "The CCSM effort is a great
example of the trend towards increasing collaboration among research
institutions on complex and important scientific problems."

NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation.

On the Web:
More information about CCSM can be found at:

Researchers interested in working with the model's data can find it on the
Web at:


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

The Kyoto Protocol is based on the premise that the ongoing rise in the
air's CO2 content must be slowed as soon as possible, and ultimately stopped
altogether, in order to avoid an increase in mean global air temperature of
sufficient magnitude to inflict serious damage on the biosphere.

Consequently, those who believe in the conceptual foundation of the Protocol
- as well as some who don't (but who promote its adoption for political or
philosophical reasons) - would like to see its provisions implemented as
soon as is practicable, in order to prevent the presumed deleterious
consequences (or, alternatively, to foist their political philosophy upon
the world).

Within this context, it is important to know what the proponents of the
Protocol consider a dangerous climate impact worthy of immediate action.
Taking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as their guide, O'Neill
and Oppenheimer (2002) say it is an impact that either imposes a risk upon
unique and threatened ecosystems or engenders a risk of some large-scale
discontinuity in earth's climate system. On this basis, they claim there are
three warming-related risks that are serious enough to implement the Kyoto
Protocol with all due haste.  These risks are the potentials for (1) the
infliction of extreme damage to earth's coral reefs, (2) the disintegration
of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and (3) the virtual shutdown of the marine
thermohaline circulation.

With respect to the second of these risks - we dealt with the first one in
our Editorial of 26 June 2002 - O'Neill and Oppenheimer (hereafter, O & O)
claim that limited evidence from proxy data suggests the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet (WAIS) "may have disintegrated in the past during periods only
modestly warmer (~2C global mean) than today."  Thus, they say that setting
"a limit of 2C above the 1990 global average temperature" - above which the
mean temperature of the globe should not be allowed to rise - "is justified
to protect [the] WAIS."

If the truth be told, however, a 2C warming of the globe would likely have
little impact on the stability of the WAIS.  How do we know?  By the icy
beast's past performance.

Based on a 420,000-year temperature record derived from the Vostok ice core,
we know, first of all, that the mean temperature of all four of the prior
interglacials was at least 2C greater than the mean temperature of the
current interglacial; yet, in the words of the scientists who developed the
record (Petit et al., 1999), the evidence contained in the core "makes it
unlikely that the West Antarctic ice sheet collapsed during the past 420,000
years."  This is pretty much the same conclusion that was subsequently drawn
by Cofaigh et al. (2001), who on the basis of analyses of sediment cores
taken from the continental rise west of the Antarctic Peninsula and the
Weddell and Scotia Seas concluded that "the ice sheet over the Antarctic
Peninsula did not undergo widespread catastrophic collapse along its western
margin during the late Quaternary," and who say that their evidence "argues
against pervasive, rapid ice-sheet collapse around the Weddell embayment
over the last few glacial cycles."

Second, we know from the Vostok temperature record that the most recent
interglacial was fully 3C warmer than the interglacial in which we
presently live, but that the WAIS still did not disintegrate. Third, we know
that throughout the long central portion of the current interglacial it was
also much warmer than it was in 1990 [see our Editorial of 26 June 2002 for
references], which is the year from which O & O's 2C critical warming
increment is measured; and this fact raises the 3C temperature elevation of
the last interglacial relative to the global temperature of 1990 to
something on the order of 4 or 5C, for which, again, there was still no
WAIS disintegration.

Fourth, and in spite of the current interglacial's relative coolness, the
Vostok ice core data indicate that it has been by far the longest stable
warm period of the entire 420,000-year record, which suggests we are
probably long overdue for the next ice age, and that we may not have the "5
to 50 centuries" that O & O say could be required to bring about the WAIS
disintegration subsequent to the attainment of whatever temperature in
excess of 4 or 5C would be needed to initiate the process.

Other evidence of the inability of the significant warmth of the last
interglacial to trigger the disintegration of the WAIS was provided in a
roundabout way by the study of Cuffey and Marshall (2000), whose
reevaluation of the Greenland ice sheet's contribution to the sea level rise
of that period suggests that the Greenland ice sheet was much smaller at
that time than had previously been thought.  In light of this finding,
Hvidberg (2000) was prompted to conclude that the "high sea levels during
the last interglacial should not be interpreted as evidence for extensive
melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and so challenges the hypothesis
that the West Antarctic is particularly sensitive to climate change."

Additional evidence that the climatic behavior of Antarctica is not
particularly sensitive to what is happening in the rest of the world is
provided by the study of Comiso (2000), who assembled and analyzed Antarctic
temperature data from 21 surface stations and infrared satellites that
operated from 1979 to 1998.  In spite of the fact that much of the rest of
the world may have warmed somewhat over this period, Comiso found that both
Antarctic data sets depicted a slight cooling over the last 20 years.  This
was also the conclusion of the more recent study of Doran et al. (2002),
whose spatial analysis of Antarctic meteorological data demonstrated a net
cooling between 1966 and 2000, which for the McMurdo Dry Valleys between
1986 and 2000 averaged 0.7C per decade.

Still more support for this intriguing disconnect was provided by Watkins
and Simmonds (2000).  Analyzing satellite data obtained from December 1987
through December 1996, they observed statistically significant increases in
both sea ice area and extent; and combining their results with earlier
results for the period 1978-1987, both parameters showed increases over the
entire 1978-1996 period.  They also found that the 1990s exhibited increases
in the length of the sea ice season.  Thus, it is not surprising that in
another satellite study of Antarctic sea ice extent, Yuan and Martinson
(2000) determined that the net trend in the mean Antarctic sea ice edge over
the prior 18 years was an equatorward expansion of 0.011 degree of latitude
per year.

In view of these several real-world observations, we feel there is no
justification for O & O's claim that "a limit of 2C above [the] 1990 global
average temperature is justified to protect [the] WAIS."  There is no
convincing evidence that within the past half-million years of periodically
much higher temperatures it has ever disintegrated or even come close to
doing so, or that within the past quarter-century of supposedly
"unprecedented" global warming it has even gotten any warmer.  In fact, the
ice-covered continent has done just the opposite; it has cooled.  Therefore,
to claim that the highly improbable collapse of the WAIS is one of the three
most compelling reasons to implement the Kyoto Protocol is, well, music to
our ears, as it shows just how desperate the folks in favor of CO2 emissions
regulation have become.

Dr. Sherwood B. Idso, President 
Dr. Keith E. Idso, Vice President 

Cofaigh, C.O., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Pudsey, C.J.  2001.  Late Quaternary
iceberg rafting along the Antarctic Peninsula continental rise in the
Weddell and Scotia Seas.  Quaternary Research 56: 308-321.

Comiso, J.C.  2000.  Variability and trends in Antarctic surface
temperatures from in situ and satellite infrared measurements.  Journal of
Climate 13: 1674-1696.

Cuffey, K.M. and Marshall, S.J.  2000.  Substantial contribution to
sea-level rise during the last interglacial from the Greenland ice sheet.
Nature 404: 591-594.

Doran, P.T., Priscu, J.C., Lyons, W.B., Walsh, J.E., Fountain, A.G.,
McKnight, D.M., Moorhead, D.L., Virginia, R.A., Wall, D.H., Clow, G.D.,
Fritsen, C.H., McKay, C.P. and Parsons, A.N.  2002.  Antarctic climate
cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response.  Nature 415: 517-520.

Hvidberg, C.S.  2000.  When Greenland ice melts.  Nature 404: 551-552.

O'Neill, B.C. and Oppenheimer, M.  2002.  Dangerous climate impacts and the
Kyoto Protocol.  Science 296: 1971-1972.

Petit, J.R., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Barkov, N.I., Barnola, J.-M., Basile,
I., Bender, M., Chappellaz, J., Davis, M., Delaygue, G., Delmotte, M.,
Kotlyakov, V.M., Legrand, M., Lipenkov, V.Y., Lorius, C., Pepin, L., Ritz,
C., Saltzman, E. and Stievenard, M.  1999.  Climate and atmospheric history
of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica.  Nature 399:

Watkins, A.B. and Simmonds, I.  2000.  Current trends in Antarctic sea ice:
The 1990s impact on a short climatology.  Journal of Climate 13: 4441-4451.

Yuan, X. and Martinson, D.G.  2000.  Antarctic sea ice extent variability
and its global connectivity.  Journal of Climate 13: 1697-1717.

Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

Olafsdottir, R. and Gudmundsson, H.J.  2002.  Holocene land degradation and
climatic change in northeastern Iceland.  The Holocene 12: 159-167.

What was done
The authors studied spatial and temporal patterns of land degradation in
northeastern Iceland over the past 7500 years based on data obtained from
excavations of 67 soil profiles, comparing their results with climatic
variations known to have occurred over the same period.

What was learned
The authors report that "the [periodic] deterioration in vegetation and soil
cover noted [in their study] coincides with the recorded [periodic]
deterioration in climate." In fact, during every major cold period of their
entire record, land degradation is classified as "severe."  During every
major warm period, on the other hand, this condition is reversed, and soils
are built up again, as vegetation cover also expands.

What it means
In the words of the authors, "the implication is that climate has a
significant role in altering land cover per se and may trigger land
degradation without the additional influence of men."  They conclude that
"grazing can be seen as a contributing factor, [but] not as the major
triggering factor as is commonly believed." Hence, they reiterate that "in
Iceland severe land degradation could commence without anthropogenic
influence - simply as a result of the cold periods."
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

Olafsdottir, R., Schlyter, P. and Haraldsson, H.V.  2001. Simulating
Icelandic vegetation cover during the Holocene: Implications for long-term
land degradation. Geografiska Annaler 83 A:203-215.

What was done
The authors simulated the spatial relationship between temperature change
and potential vegetation cover for Iceland over the period of the Holocene,
evaluating their results against palynological and geomorphological data.

What was learned
During the Holocene climatic optimum, the authors calculated that vegetation
may have covered about 60% of the land. When the Roman Warm Period began to
wane about 2300 years ago, however, a long-term vegetative decline
commenced. This decline continued until the Medieval Warm Period actually
reversed the vegetation loss for about 400 years. The appearance of the
Little Ice Age, however, resulted in "an unprecedented low potential for
vegetation for the Holocene that lasted c. 600 years, i.e., between AD c.
1300 and 1900."

What it means
As Olafsdottir and Gudmundsson (2002) have more recently shown for Icelandic
soil, so it is with Icelandic vegetation: warm is good, cold is bad, it's as
simple as that.

Olafsdottir, R. and Gudmundsson, H.J.  2002.  Holocene land degradation and
climatic change in northeastern Iceland. The Holocene 12: 159-167.
Copyright 2002. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 3 July 2002

World population defines world food needs; it always has, and it always
will.  So how do things look for the future?  Will there be enough food?

To answer this question, Idso and Idso (2000) determined that world
population in 2050 will likely be 51% greater than it was in 1998, but that
world food production will likely be only 37% greater, even when including
anticipated improvements in agricultural technology and expertise that
should occur in the interim.  Although these results would normally spell
Trouble with a capital T, the Idsos determined the projected food shortfall
could be overcome - but just barely - by the benefits anticipated to accrue
from the aerial fertilization effect of the concomitant rise in the air's
CO2 content.  ... if the air's CO2 content is allowed to continue its upward
trend unimpeded by government actions, such as those specified in the Kyoto
Protocol. In this regard, however, the anti-CO2 crowd has branded the
colorless, odorless, tasteless - but highly beneficial - trace gas a
"pollutant," the aerial increase of which must be stopped at all costs.  And
we do mean all costs.

Consider, for example, the study of O'Neill and Wexler (2000), which is
described in our Editorial Limiting Life in the Name of Climatic Salvation.
These climate alarmists extraordinaire calculated the externalities or costs
and benefits "associated with the birth of a child that fall on society,"
including "the increased CO2 abatement costs necessitated by an additional
birth." The net result, according to them, is a cost of $4,400 per birth in
less-developed countries and $28,200 per birth in more-developed countries.

How serious are these people?  Let us count the ways.  One: O'Neill & Wexler
say "externalities cause inefficiencies in the economy, and their existence
is often viewed as grounds for intervention in order to improve total social
welfare."  Two: they say "efficiency would be served by imposing a tax on
births equal to the net value of the externality."  Three: they say "the
existence of a greenhouse externality strengthens the case for population
policies that lower fertility."  Four: they say "a hypothetical social
planner acting in the interests of all parents could increase social welfare
by dictating a fertility rate different from the rate parents would choose
on their own."

Schneider (2001) is also an advocate of freedom-bashing measures, as we
indicate in our Editorial The Crux of the Climate Policy Debate.  He states,
for example, that the "real cure" for the ongoing rise in the air's CO2
content involves "curbing the consumption of the rich and the population
growth of the poor."  This he proposes to do via institutions with "the
authority to enforce responsible use of the global commons," where
responsible use would be defined by folks such as he and O'Neill & Wexler.
These institutions, he further says, "would need the resources and authority
to make and monitor changes," leading to the necessity of nation states
being willing to "cede some national sovereignty to international
authorities for the global good."

Fortunately for us, the anti-CO2 hysteria of recent years was not around
when the first coal-fired steam engine chugged down the tracks. Why? Because
many of us would not even be here today if CO2 scaremongers had squelched
the Industrial Revolution. Without the enhancement of vegetative
productivity provided by the aerial fertilization effect of the CO2 produced
by the engines of industry, there simply would not have been enough food
produced to sustain all our forebears.

In our Editorial Hey, CO2! What Have You Done for Me Lately?, we describe a
CO2 depletion study that broaches this subject (Mayeux et al., 1997), in
which two wheat cultivars were grown with adequate and less-than-adequate
amounts of water. The results of this experiment demonstrated that the
100-ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration experienced over the past
century and a half should have increased the grain yields of the two wheat
cultivars by approximately 72% under well-watered conditions and 48% under
water-stressed conditions, for a mean all-condition CO2-induced yield
increase on the order of 60%.

Based on the voluminous yield-response-to-CO2 data summarized by Idso and
Idso (2000) for the world's major food crops, these results suggest that the
Industrial Revolution's flooding of the air with CO2 has resulted in mean
yield increases of 70% for other C3 cereals, 28% for C4 cereals, 33% for
fruits and melons, 62% for legumes, 67% for root and tuber crops, and 51%
for vegetables. These are huge productivity increases, about which most
people are totally oblivious; yet without them, the planet would not be able
to sustain the population it does today.  And without the benefits that
increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 can provide for our crops in
the years ahead, the earth will not be able to sustain the projected
population of the planet less than fifty years hence.

So what is the outlook for the future? In a study entitled "the end of world
population growth," Lutz et al. (2001) foresee the planet's human population
peaking at about nine billion people around the year 2070, after which they
project a slow decrease in global population. Based on the tight correlation
between atmospheric CO2 concentration and human population noted by Idso
(1989), we have calculated - in our Editorial The End of Atmospheric CO2
Growth - that the atmosphere's CO2 concentration would also top out at that
time, somewhere in the vicinity of 420 ppm, after which it too would
decline. And this unforced natural CO2 mitigation phenomenon is much more
effective than what Schneider and O'Neill & Wexler have claimed is needed.

In closing, we note that (1) rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations pose no
threat to the planet's climate, (2) they are responsible for the very
existence of a good many of us, (3) they are needed to support projected
increases in human population, and (4) as mankind's numbers level out and
begin to decline several decades from now, so too will the air's CO2 content
decline in like manner.  Naturally.

Idso, C.D. and Idso, K.E.  2000.  Forecasting world food supplies: The
impact of the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration.  Technology 7S: 33-56.

Idso, S.B.  1989.  Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: Earth in Transition.
IBR Press, Tempe, AZ.

Lutz, W., Sanderson, W. and Scherbov, S.  2001.  The end of world population
growth.  Nature 412: 543-545.

Mayeux, H.S., Johnson, H.B., Polley, H.W. and Malone, S.R.  1997.  Yield of
wheat across a subambient carbon dioxide gradient.  Global Change Biology 3:

O'Neill, B.C. and Wexler, L.  2000.  The greenhouse externality to
childbearing: A sensitivity analysis.  Climatic Change 47: 283-324.

Schneider, S.H.  2001.  Earth systems engineering and management.  Nature
409: 417-419, 421.
Copyright 2002.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From John-Daly, 29 June 2002

In central England, the alarm bells are ringing - 385 plant species are
flowering about 4 days earlier in the year than they did back in 1950s.
That's what a new paper in Science (Fitter & Fitter., `Rapid Changes in
Flowering Time in British Plants', v.296, p.1689, 31 May 02) says. They
attribute the flowering changes, predictably, to `climatic warming'

The authors mainly relied on data from a single observer in a single
location in central England which they claim is `rural' - the village of
Chinnor in Oxfordshire (5142'N 042'W). They further claimed Chinnor "has
not experienced substantial land-use change in recent years".

According to the Chinnor website ( -
"The population of Chinnor grew from 800 in 1801 to 1,300 in 1941,
continuing to increase to 1,950 in 1961 and 4,417 in 1971. The population
today is approaching 7,000. Chinnor is now one of the largest villages in

In other words, we have a classic emerging heat island there contrary to the
bland claim by the authors.  In addition, the very busy M40 motorway (a
massive heat corridor) passes only 3 miles away (it did not exist in the
1950s), while there are a ring of large cities less than 15 miles away in
different directions. London itself (8 million people) is only 30 miles
away. This hardly fits the profile of an unchanged greenfield site suggested
by the authors.

Also ignored by the authors was the developing Fertiliser Effect of enhanced
atmospheric CO2 which has particular impact on woody plants, the very plant
types which flowered earliest.

A third flaw in their reasoning was the effect of their choice of start and
end dates, namely comparing the 1950s with the 1990s. The 1950s were part of
the post-war cooling, and therefore earlier flowering now would be both
natural and predictable based on simple climatic recovery from that cold

By ignoring these external variables, fashionably focusing only on `climate
change', the authors failed a basic test of science.


>From The Jerusalem Post, 28 June 2002


As it turns out, God really is in the details.

In 1994, David Schmidt, a young Ph.D. candidate in engineering at the
University of Wisconsin, was asked by his examiners to explain why thin
shower curtains "suck in" whenever the water is turned on.

The solution to the riddle, like Fermat's last theorem, proved remarkably
elusive. According to one theory, "curtain suck" is the product of the
Bernoulli principle, which holds that pressure drops as air, water and other
fluids accelerate, leading to lift. (This same principle explains how planes
fly.) Yet another theory - the bouyancy theory - holds that curtain suck is
the result of a disequilibrium between the hot air inside the shower space
and the cold air without, which pushes in the shower curtain. But this
theory fails to account for the persistence of curtain suck when the shower
is run cold.

Intrigued, Schmidt, now at the University of Massachusetts, pressed ahead
with the investigation. He designed a $28,000 piece of software that allowed
him to model the flow of air and water within a simulated image of his
mother-in-law's bathtub. He then filled the "tub" with 50,000 tetrahedral
cells, which can detect velocity and pressure. Following that, he turned on
a virtual shower that flooded his virtual tub with four gallons of virtual
water over a period of 30 seconds. Then he let his computer crunch the

Two weeks and 1.5 trillion calculations later, Schmidt had his answer.
Aerodynamic drag causes water droplets to decelerate, transferring energy to
the air and creating air currents akin to a tiny hurricane. Low pressure in
the eye of that hurricane then tugs on the lower end of the shower curtain.
Voila! It sucks in.

WELCOME TO the curious world of climate modeling. As Schmidt's experiment
makes clear, simply to understand shifting climate patterns in the space of
a bathtub is no small matter. Yet today, huge political controversies have
been stirred on the basis of climate forecasts for the entire globe,
stretching decades into the future. According to the Worldwatch Institute,
in the 21st century "the climate battle may assume the kind of strategic
importance that wars - both hot and cold - had during the 20th."

The international fracas over US President George W. Bush's rejection last
year of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change indicates that the battle
is, indeed, a real one. But the question is, is the phenomenon over which
the battle is being fought also real? And is it worth the agony, or even the

You'd be forgiven for thinking that it is. According to Christine Todd
Whitman, current head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, global
warming is "one of the greatest environmental challenges we face, if not the
greatest." US News & World Report has offered that "by midcentury, the chic
Art Deco hotels that now line Miami's South Beach could stand waterlogged
and abandoned. Malaria could be a public health threat in Vermont. Nebraska
farmers could abandon their fields for lack of water." And then president
Bill Clinton (in a televised, ABC News Earth Day interview with movie star
Leonardo DiCaprio, no less) sketched out scenarios in which "the polar ice
caps will melt more rapidly; sea levels will rise.... island nations could
literally be buried."

Making the situation all the more deplorable, and giving it political edge,
is the belief that changing climate patterns are largely the result of
increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from man-made sources - cars,
planes, factories and so on. According to CNN's Michelle Mitchell, leading
climate scientists have reached "a unanimous decision that global warming is
real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room."

>From this, it follows that what men have wrought, men must undo. The Kyoto
Protocol calls on industrialized nations to hold their CO2 emissions to 1990
levels, principally by placing draconian limits on all energy releasing
activities and by investing massively in such alternative fuel sources as
wind power and solar cells. Anything short of this, says the conventional
wisdom, all but guarantees an uncomfortably hot future for posterity. Asks
Bob Herbert of The New York Times: "Do you think, maybe, we should be paying
more attention to this?"

THE SHORT answer is no.

If there is one thing more remarkable than the level of alarm inspired by
global warming, it is the thin empirical foundations upon which the forecast
rests. According to Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, the
best available evidence shows that global mean temperatures have risen by a
mere 0.5 degrees Celsius over the past century, and that global
concentrations of CO2 over a century have also increased by a statistically
insignificant percentage, to 0.036% from 0.028%.

There is abundant evidence showing significant variations in past global
mean temperatures, including a spike that took place around the year 1000,
long before the advent of the internal-combustion engine. (And right around
the time the Vikings settled Iceland and Greenland and briefly reached North

There is no evidence whatsoever showing that man-made emissions are the
principal source of global warming; cyclical radiation effects caused by
sunsposts make for an equally plausible cuplrit. And where there is evidence
of global warming, it appears to be happening in cooler places, thereby
making temperatures more mild, not more insufferable.

All this stands to reason. Currently it is impossible - and it may yet prove
fundamentally impossible - to make sound predictions about global weather
patterns. Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, an erstwhile Greenpeace
activist who turned skeptic after putting his own assumptions to the test,
writes that "faithfully modeling all the important factors in the climatic
system involves representing everything from the entire planet down to
individual dust particles," and is therefore beyond the reach of current
computational capabilities.

Adds Lindzen: "We simply do not know what relation, if any, exists between
global climate changes and water vapor, clouds, storms, hurricanes, and
other factors, including regional climate changes, which are generally much
larger than global changes and not correlated with them."

Then, too, anecdotal evidence of global warming turns out, on closer
inspection, to offer ambiguous lessons. Earlier this year, for example, came
news that the massive Larsen B Antarctic ice shelf, three times the size of
Hong Kong, had abruptly disintegrated, ostensibly furnishing further
evidence of global warming. But then came word that the West Antarctic Ice
Sheet was growing at a rate of 26.8 gigatons per year, and that overall
temperatures in Antarctica had declined by around 2.0 degrees Celsius.

"Continental Antarctic cooling," say researchers from the University of
Illinois, "poses challenges to models of climate and ecosystem change."

Put simply, when it comes to climate change, much more is unknown than
known, and what we do know suggests neither that mankind is on course to
catastrophe, nor indeed that we could do much about it if we were. In fact,
the only thing upon which climate scientists reliably agree is that the
world emerged from a "little ice age" around 1880, and things have been
warming, albeit slightly, with dips and variations, ever since.

Where it all might lead is anyone's guess. But simply to draw the most
apocalyptic scenarios and then insist on drastic action hardly seems the
most sensible way to move forward.

YET THAT is precisely what all of Europe, the Democratic party, a
significant segment of the scientific community, and most other ordinarily
sophisticated people seem to be doing. It's worth asking why.

Again, a little history is in order. Throughout the 1970s, the scientific
consensus held that the world was entering a period of global cooling, with
results equally catastrophic to those now predicted for global warming.
Then, in 1988, Margaret Thatcher established the Hadley Center for Climate
Prediction and Research, largely to push the global warming theory.

The reason? Thatcher wanted to break the power of the coal miners' union and
promote (non-CO2 emitting) nuclear power, and one way of doing so was to
emphasize the dangers a hydrocarbons-based economy posed to the environment.

It was, however, a too-clever gambit, which the Left was bound to seize on.
How could they not have? By 1988, every other fashionably leftist article of
faith had proved a bugaboo. Oil was not running out. Overpopulation was not
causing famines. Nuclear winter was not around the corner. But what global
warming amounted to was the perfect doomsday forecast: an environmental
catastrophe caused mainly by the overpolluting industrialized West,
universal in its dimension, requiring massive social engineering. Global
warming, like much of today's feminism, simply became another vehicle to
impose the old left-wing social prescriptions. As the International Panel on
Climate Control has itself admitted, debate over climate policy concerns "a
wide range of issues, including development, equity, sustainability, and
sustainable development."

Look at what the Kyoto Protocol proposes. Though every country is meant to
be a signatory, only developed countries must abide by the Protocol's terms.
The US, which by some calculations is said to emit five times as much CO2 as
all of Europe combined, would bear the brunt of the treaty's costs.
Meanwhile, China - the second largest emitter - would be under no obligation
to make similar efforts. Countries that adopted Kyoto would need to raise
gas and diesel taxes by as much as 25% in order to achieve called-for cuts
in overall consumption. Electricity prices wold also have to rise by an
estimated 100%.

The economic effect? The Japanese minister of environment estimated that it
would likely shave off 1% of her country's GDP per annum. A study by the
energy and economic consultancy DRI-WEFA estimated the costs of Kyoto to
Germany and Britain at about 5% of GDP and an overall job loss of 2.8
million. Matters would only be worse if these countries also phased out
nuclear power, as Germany is slated to do in the coming years.

Yet for all this, the effects of Kyoto on atmospheric concentrations of CO2
would be negligible, with temperature increases reaching "business as usual"
levels by 2100, rather than by 2094. And Kyoto would just be the beginning:
Jerry Mahlman of Princeton believes it would take 30 Kyotos to curb the
projected rate of global warming, at a projected cost of $4 trillion per

EVER SINCE Malthus predicted that population growth would quickly outstrip
mankind's ability to feed itself, the modern world has been routinely beset
by scientific predictions of doom no less frightening, indeed more so, than
what's on offer in the Book of Revelations. None yet has come to pass. Like
the itinerant circus troupe in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal, humanity
as a whole has always outwitted the Grim Reaper. There's no reason not to
think we won't do so again, even if every grim weather forecast proves true.
We are an ingenious and adaptive species, that has survived everything
nature has thrown in our way. We shall do so again.

The real question is - has always been - can we survive the traps we lay for
ourselves? Or will the ghosts of our mind, from which we spend so much time
running, eventually consume us?

1995-2002, The Jerusalem Post 


>From Ananova, 28 June 2002

Scientists have concluded young people with eating disorders should be made
to rest in hot rooms.

Research carried out in Sweden found temperatures of around 40 degrees
Celsius can help treat anorexia and bulimia.

A seven-year study found 75% of 168 patients treated with heat after meals
had regained normal weight.

The average recovery time was 14 months and only 7% had a relapse.

Patients are trained by computer to eat bigger portions of food. The warm
room stops them from moving and burning off the energy.

Plates of food are put on scales linked to a computer. Patients can track
their eating speed on a graph, trying to match it with the speed of a normal

Patients are then taken to rest in a warm room where they can only move in a
wheelchair so that they conserve energy.

Per Sodersten, a professor at the Anorexia Centre, Stockholm, told the Daily
Telegraph: "Treating anorexic patients with warm temperatures is an old
method which was long forgotten in the medical world.

"Anorexic patients have low body temperatures and often try to get warm by
moving a lot."

The study is published this week in an Proceedings of the National Academy
of Science.

Copyright 2002, Ananova

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