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Earth's climate history includes numerous incidents of rapid warming and cooling. While Pleistocene ice-age glacial terminations are arguably the most dramatic recent examples of sudden climate change, during the last glacial period the climate of the Northern Hemisphere experienced several other significant episodes when the climate rapidly warmed. Scientists call these episodes Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events after the Danish and Swiss researchers who documented them using ice-core studies. These rapid oscillations are marked by rapid warming, followed by slower cooling. The most prominent coolings are associated with massive iceberg discharge into the North Atlantic Ocean known as Heinrich events (HE). The melting icebergs add large volumes of cold fresh water to the ocean, disrupting circulation patterns and causing further climate changes. Scientists look to past events like these to help us understand how Earth's climate system functions—what causes our planet to cool or suddenly warm. Recently, new data on past climate changes have led one commentator to predict the end of winter skiing in the American Southwest.
On the first of February, 2010, Dr. John A. Shanahan sent a letter regarding the future of American energy policy to Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and President Obama's Science Advisor. Attached to the letter were more than thirty pages of signatories—309 scientists, engineers and citizens from 22 countries and 36 US states. The purpose of the letter was to ask for a clarification of the Obama administration's stand on nuclear energy policy. Dr. Shanahan's conclusion: if anyone thinks that the current administration's nuclear policy solves America's energy problems, they have no idea what they are talking about.
Back in 1974, the late Richard Feynman wrote an essay based on the address he gave at Caltech's commencement that year. He titled the essay “Cargo Cult Science,” a reference to the practice of sympathetic magic by South Sea Islanders following World War II. The central point of his lecture was how science should and should not be practiced. His thoughts are well worth reviewing in light of the string of troubling revelations that have surfaced regarding climate science. In the face of what Gallup calls a sharp decline in the public's belief in global warming, it looks like many of the IPCC's scientists are practicing Cargo Cult Climate Science.
The golden toad of Costa Rica was declared extinct in 1994, five years after it was last sighted in the wild. The unfortunate toad's was the first extinction to be blamed on anthropogenic global warming and it has often been cited as an example of things to come if mankind doesn't change its CO2 spewing ways. But humanity's conviction of toadacide was premature and based on circumstantial evidence. After years of study scientists have a new finding: humans were not at fault after all.
Experts predict that, over the long term, food security can't be achieved without energy security. Add in mechanization, storage, and transport and the energy impact of a typical meal in industrialized nations is many times the amount of energy the meal's consumer derives. Recently, researchers have been taking a close look at just how much energy it takes to produce even seemingly similar foods. The conclusion: Food choices can have a significant impact on energy use in agriculture, and by extension, on greenhouse gas emissions as well. Beef lovers beware! As the world diverts more of its grain harvests into meat production, some scientists are taking a closer look at more environmentally friendly sources of protein, including insects.
There have been a rash of bogus reports in the news media about rapidly rising sea-levels supposedly caused by global warming. Sea-levels are notoriously hard to measure on a global basis since land also rises and sinks due to tectonic activity. With historical records mostly unreliable how can we tell if current conditions are normal for Earth 14,000 years after a deglaciation? A new report, based on calcium growths in caves on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, says that sea levels around 81,000 years ago were higher than today. Higher sea-levels imply less glacial ice and warmer temperatures than today as well. Even more interesting is that this occurred during a warm period called marine isotope stage (MIS) 5a, which was more than 30,000 years after the Eemian interglacial ended and glaciation had resumed. This could mean that current theories about how ice age glacial periods start are wrong.
Whenever a skeptic points out a new paper or journal article refuting some claim made by the theory of anthropogenic global warming, climate change alarmists often shout “cherry picking!” Evidently, most climate change true believers do not understand how science works or how theories are tested. Scientific theories must make predictions by which they can be tested. Providing evidence that AGW has failed in its predictions is not cherry picking, it is refutation. Unfortunately, when confronted with failed predictions the standard alarmist answer is to disavow the predictions. They will say that those are not predictions at all, they are projections—and that means AGW is not a scientific theory at all.
According to the AP, top researchers now agree that the world is likely to get stronger but fewer hurricanes in the future because of global warming, seeming to settle a scientific debate on the subject. But they say there's not enough evidence yet to tell whether that effect has already begun. Despite warnings by scientists that identifying an actual trend in storm variability is impossible due to a lack of reliable historical data, a new report in Nature Geoscience is being cited as a solid prediction of future trends in tropical cyclone activity. The other thing not mentioned is that this research is based on models of questionable accuracy.
With CO2 driven global warming becoming more discredited by new scientific evidence every day, the world's meddling climate regulators are casting about for a new gas to demonize. Last year the US Environmental Protection Agency was reportedly thinking of even classifying water vapor as a pollutant, due to its central role in global warming. Because water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, accounting for the majority of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, water vapor emissions during human activities—such as the processing and burning of fossil fuels—are again coming under increasing scrutiny by government regulators.
Around 1.2 million years ago, only 18,500 early humans were breeding on the planet. According to researchers, this is evidence that there was a real risk of extinction for our early ancestors. What's more, according to a new study it took at least a million years for humans to come back from the brink. It was not until the emergence of modern humans, Homo sapiens, around 160,000 years ago and their migration out of Africa that humanity's place on Earth was secured. Two factors helped humans to survive: an increasingly carnivorous diet and mastery of fire.
A new round of pro-global warming papers have begun to appear as the vested interests of the climate change community attempt to resuscitate their failed theory. Having been exposed as a theory full of holes, based on uncertain, perhaps even corrupt, data and overly dependent on computer modeling for “proof,” the supporters of catastrophic climate change are trying to rally. Amid mounting attacks on the IPCC, a small number of its leaders are trying to explain themselves to colleagues, the press and the people of the world. Now that their highhanded, tolerate-no-dissent approach has failed, it seems some IPCC scientists are open to compromise.
A surprising revelation from a new paper: industrial emission actually have a net cooling effect on Earth's climate. The paper that appears in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences early edition attempts to apportion blame for global warming among various economic sectors. Climate impacts of CO2, tropospheric ozone, fine aerosols, aerosol-cloud interactions, methane, and long-lived greenhouse gases were all analyzed and the appropriate human activities cited. When the dust settled, two sectors turned in large net negative (i.e. cooling) forcing values: biomass burning and industry.
The debate over anthropogenic global warming—a theory propounded by the UN IPCC—is often portrayed as an argument between deniers and true believers. The deniers supposedly claim that there is no global warming, man made or otherwise, and that the whole theory is a plot by left-wing agitators and closet socialists bent on world domination. The true believers, conversely, accept every claim of pending future disaster uttered by scientists and activists alike. As with most controversies both extreme positions are wrong and the truth lies somewhere in-between. As a scientist, I have studied the evidence and find the case for imminent, dangerous, human caused global warming unconvincing—here is why I am an AGW skeptic.
Forests and their soils are one of our planet's major sinks of biologically active carbon and contain the majority of Earth’s terrestrial carbon stock. Some climate change alarmists have said that the world's forest are in danger from the effects of climate change. Recent studies have shown increases in plant growth across many forest types. Now, a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that the increase in forest biomass is due to rising CO2 levels and warmer weather—in other words, trees love global warming whether human caused or natural.