Monday, October 02, 2006


Spencer and Christy have updated their tools to calculate the tropospheric temperatures between 1979 and the present era from their and NASA's satellite data to a new version 6.0 beta (readme file). The three graphs above show the global average, the Northern Hemisphere, and the Southern Hemisphere. This upgrade is also discussed by Steve McIntyre. If you look at the third graph, you see that there was no warming on the Southern Hemisphere in the last 25 years even though the "global warming theory" and the corresponding models are predicting even faster rise of the tropospheric temperatures than for the surface temperatures. The decadal trend is quantitatively around 0.05 degrees which is noise whose sign can change almost instantly.

Normally, I would think that one should conclude that according to the observations, there is no discernible recent warming on the Southern Hemisphere, and an experimental refutation of a far-reaching hypothesis by a whole hemisphere is a good enough reason to avoid the adjective "global" for the observed warming. Of course, the proponents of the "global warming theory" will use a different logic. The troposphere of the Southern Hemisphere is bribed by the evil oil corporations, and even if it were not, the data from the Southern Hemisphere can't diminish the perfect consensus of all the hemispheres of our blue planet: the debate is over. All the hemispheres of our planet decide equally about the catastrophic global warming, especially the Northern Hemisphere that shows that the warming is truly global and truly cataclysmic. Be worried, be very worried.

James Hansen, one of the fathers of the "global warming theory", has a new paper. When Hansen writes a paper, the media immediately publish hundreds of articles. The present temperatures are warmest in 12,000 or one million years, depending on the source. However, when you open their paper, you see that it looks like one of these jokes propagating through the blogosphere and the authors are kind of comedians.

First of all, most of the paper is dedicated to not-too-substantiated arguments with Michael Crichton. Michael Crichton stated in "State of Fear" as well as the U.S. Congress that Hansen's predictions from a 1988 testimony were wrong by 300 percent: a calculation based on a particular choice of time period and scenarios. Hansen then proposed three scenarios - "A,B,C" - how the temperatures would rise. "A" is a catastrophe in which no action is taken and the emissions continue to rise. "B" involves a peaceful limit in which emissions stabilize around 2000 and the warming is smaller. "C" is the scenario assuming drastic cuts of CO2 emissions.

The result as we know it in 2006? The reality essentially followed the temperatures of the scenario "C" even though the CO2 emissions continued to rise just like in the scenario "A". More details are summarized by Willis E who discusses the content of the figure 2 of the new Hansen paper. Isn't it enough to admit that Hansen was just wrong? If it is not enough, what kind of wrong prediction does he have to make in order for us to know that he has made an error? I just can't understand it.

The new paper contains even crazier assertions - e.g. the present temperature is probably the maximum temperature in the last 12,000 or one million years. This is probably based on the graph 5 on the bottom of page 5 (or 14291) and this graph's data is taken from a completely different paper written by very different authors: Hansen's only role is to hype and politicize their numbers. You see in that graph that since 1870, the oceans' surface temperature was more or less constant and the previous temperature probably can't be trusted, especially not the relative vertical shift of the graph in comparison with the current temperatures.

Even more amusingly, the paper is filled with a lot of completely off-topic comments that indicate that Hansen et al. are unable to focus on rational thinking. When I was reading one of the last sentences, I started to laugh loudly. Hansen et al. criticize the "engineering fixes" of the global climate recently discussed by Paul J. Crutzen, the 1995 Nobel prize winner for chemistry, and Ralph Cicerone, the current president of the National Academy of Sciences. Hansen says that these fixes are "dangerous" because they could diminish the efforts to reduce the CO2 emissions.

That's very funny because this is, indeed, exactly the purpose of these papers - to propose more efficient methods than the most stupid method you can imagine for the hypothetical case that we would ever need to regulate the global climate. The papers are indeed intended to diminish the role of the most uncultivated proposals how to fight with the hypothetical "climate change". As Hansen explains, that's exactly his problem with those papers.

It is very clear that the paper was only written in order to misinterpret another paper, draw media attention (which is guaranteed with Hansen), and make a purely political statement about the programs that are beginning to supersede the naive carbon dioxide cuts - political statements that have nothing do with science - in a scientific journal. Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick's comments on the paper are here. Hansen's reasoning is not too unsimilar to the reasoning of Quantoken.

Incidentally, Crutzen's proposed technology involves artificial volcanos. A major natural volcano eruption can cause 0.2-0.5 degrees of cooling over 2-3 years. Using the favorite technologies of Hansen and Gore - namely stifling the civilization - such a cooling would cost tens of trillions of dollars or many thousands of Virgin corporations. Al Gore would have to fly roughly millions of times to give his prayers for impressionable billionaires - because not all of them would decide in the same way as Branson - and these flights would probably overcompensate the cooling effect anyway.


When we note that there is a far greater human presence in the Northern hemisphere, a point that could be made is that the results discussed above point to the Northern hemisphere being one big "heat island" -- i.e. the temperature rise is a heat artifact, a direct result of human heat generation, not an effect of CO2 emissions

The good ol' generous taxpayer again

It has been hailed as "a great coup for Brisbane". But this giant seedpod cost taxpayers $400,000 as part of a $23 million State Government spending spree on artwork. Ministers have been splashing out on paintings, sculptures, designer furniture and rugs since the introduction of the Art Built-In policy in 1999. Major spending includes $430,000 on artwork for the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, $1.7 million for Brisbane Magistrates Court and $2.6 million to decorate hospitals. The aluminium seedpod sculpture, Drift, was bought for the entrance to State Government offices in Brisbane's Charlotte St. A total of $1.3 million was spent on artwork for the building, with the sculpture the most expensive piece.

A spokeswoman for Arts Minister Rod Welford said the spending was necessary to create jobs for artists and "public art project managers". But Taxpayers' Australia chief executive Tony Greco is outraged. "Twenty-three million dollars is an awful lot of money to spend on artwork and I don't understand the need for it," Mr Greco said. "What makes it even worse is that a lot of this money has been spent on making nice offices for politicians. "It's outrageous for politicians to say they can't afford extra hospital beds or doctors when they are sitting among all this expensive artwork. It's time the Government got its priorities right."

The Art Built-In policy aims to make public spaces more attractive. Under the policy, 2 per cent of government projects costing more than $250,000 is spent on art and design. "The question to be asked is: Do people want a city modelled on the concrete drabness of the old East Berlin or on a city that valued art such as Florence?" a spokeswoman for Mr Welford said.

When Drift was commissioned, then-Arts Minister Matt Foley described it as a "glowing example of Art Built-In's success". Christine Harris, 37, from Annerley, in Brisbane's south, was not impressed when The Sunday Mail showed her the sculpture. "I can't think of a bigger waste of money."



Three current reports below

Health critic faces sack

A public hospital doctor who defied a Bracks Government gag on hospital staff to become one of its most outspoken critics faces the sack. Dr Peter Lazzari claims he is being silenced, with the state election less than two months away. But the Eastern Health network said an investigation into allegations of breaches of protocols made against Dr Lazzari had nothing to do with his activism. The doctor has vowed to fight the allegations and has been "unequivocally" backed by hospital colleagues.

Dr Lazzari, a senior specialist physician at Angliss Hospital in Melbourne's outer east, has spoken out on several issues since defying a gag in 2003. In July, he called Premier Steve Bracks a "funeral director", blaming health system shortcomings for 500 patient deaths a year.

This week, Angliss bosses asked Dr Lazzari to respond to the alleged protocol breaches and warned he could be sacked. Dr Lazzari said he could not comment on the allegations, but said they were ludicrous. "This is a deliberate beat-up to try to stop me from speaking out on issues which are critical to life and death," he said.

Eastern Health spokeswoman Beth Excell said: "There have been a number of allegations made against Dr Lazzari and the hospital has a responsibility to investigate. "We are working through these with Dr Lazzari, but none relate to his choice to speak publicly about health issues." Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said: "This is an outrageous persecution of a genuine, passionate and brave surgeon who is prepared to speak out on important health issues."


Patient had to bring her own mattress

A terminally-ill woman with spine cancer had to buy a new mattress because her hospital bed sagged. Nurses encouraged the new mattress to be brought into Frankston Hospital, she said. Joy Murray, who has breast cancer that has spread to her spine, entered hospital on September 11 because of agonising back pain. But the 64-year-old says the mattress she was placed on had a 15cm dip and it put her in worse pain. Mrs Murray said nurses offered extra morphine and told her there were no spare mattresses.

When she suggested her husband, David, buy a new one, she said they encouraged her. Mr Murray went to Frankston's Clark Rubber the next day and bought a $139 mattress, while staff dumped the discarded one.

Mrs Murray, back at home yesterday, said she had never experienced anything like it during 18 years of hospital stays. Peninsula Health medical services director Dr Peter Bradford said Mrs Murray was offered four other mattresses. Opposition Health spokeswoman Helen Shardey said Mrs Murray "has endured a great deal and it's a very sad state of affairs when hospital patients are forced to buy their own mattresses".


Decaying public schools in Victoria

Sandringham College is well known for its performing arts program and broad range of VCE subjects. But to some students, it's simply the "pov school". Principal Wayne Perkins says it's disappointing to hear the term, but he is the first to admit facilities on the school's three campuses are not up to scratch. Problems include rotten window frames, a leaking heating system, and worn-out electrical wiring that is a potential fire hazard. At the Beaumaris campus, where buildings are in their 50th year of service, a boys' changeroom has holes in the walls and a staff toilet has no hot water. "We don't need a swimming pool. What we do want are good, modern, safe facilities," Mr Perkins said. "This college has not seen a significant amount of money for a long time. We are operating in a set of facilities which are totally inappropriate and physically run-down, to the point of being dangerous and unhealthy."

In the most recent statewide audit of school maintenance needs, reported by The Age yesterday, the bayside school's total repair bill was recorded at $1.86 million - the second highest in the state behind Bendigo's Flora Hill Secondary College, with $2.54 million. Since the audit in late 2005, Sandringham has received $160,000 in extra maintenance funding for items deemed urgent, and $320,000 for toilet upgrades. But Mr Perkins said more repairs were needed. "If you can't open a window to a building for ventilation because the frame is rotten . . . to me, that's urgent."

The total maintenance bill for Victoria's public schools was $268 million, of which $252 million is the responsibility of the Education Department. The figures prompted former Melbourne University dean of education Brian Caldwell to repeat his call for Victoria to pursue public-private partnerships. "The kind of commitments that the Government has made in recent years . . . (are) nowhere near adequate," Professor Caldwell said. "They are just patching up existing buildings rather than large scale redesign or replacement of schools."

The Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals said Victoria's public schools were the worst in the nation, but Education Services Minister Jacinta Allan rejected the claim. "We are certainly not denying that Victoria's schools do have maintenance needs, but making these sort of comments is not keeping it in perspective and it's really putting down state schools." Ms Allan said some of the highest repair bills were at large, multi-campus schools, schools with excess space, or schools on the planning list for capital works.

Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon said impending building works should not be seen as an excuse. "They are earmarked for capital works because they have been run down by a lack of maintenance." At Ballarat Secondary College, planning is under way for an upgrade to the East campus. "We are very pleased," said principal Paul Rose. "But the campus should have been rebuilt 30 years ago." Yesterday, the Government announced an increase in the maintenance funding provided as part of annual school budgets, up from $34 million to $41 million, which brings total Government investment on maintenance since the audit to $141 million.


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