Doug L. Hoffman's blog

Asteroid Risk Rising

The asteroid that exploded on 15 February, 2013, near the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals region of Russia was the largest to fall to Earth since 1908. That was the year of the famed Tunguska blast in Siberia. This latest fireball exploded with the energy of a half megaton nuclear bomb, seven times the blast that leveled Hiroshima. Using updated information, new reports in both Science and Nature reassess the risk of Earth being impacted by a large object. The researchers found that risk of similar objects hitting our planet may be ten times larger than previously thought. It is time we stop wasting time and government money on stupid measures like windmills, solar panels and a carbon tax and do something about a very real threat to our planet.

Problems With The Pliocene

Climate alarmists are constantly warning that Earth is going to warm up, driven they say by the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. To bolster their claims they point to the Pliocene, a time 4-5 million years ago, when the planet was 4-8°C hotter and CO2 levels were 400ppm or higher. This is the climate we are heading for, the global warming supporters say—but it that really true? Superficially it seems a plausible assertion, but as it turns out there is much more here than CO2 and temperature. It is not just the average temperature but the distribution of temperature at different latitudes, both over land and sea, that controls the climate. It is the temperature gradient that drives storms and affects weather patterns and it was much different during the Pliocene. Moreover, climate models do not generate a Pliocene like climate when run with higher CO2 levels, which means climate scientists are missing something important about the way Earth's climate system works.

Naomi's Fantasy Consensus

Nothing associated with the global warming scam has been more insidiously deceptive than the constant trumpeting of consensus regarding the cause and expected impact of climate change. In a cleverly disguised piece in the journal Nature, Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes has attempted to use the story of plate tectonics as an analog for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The article is a blend of historical fact and illogic, aimed at giving the consensus science view a sheen of validity, when nothing could be further from the truth. Consensus has its place, primarily in politics, and by extension in history. It is unsurprising that Professor Oreskes embraces consensus while missing the fundamental concepts of science and the scientific method. She is an historian, not a scientist, and that difference can not be covered over by taking a poll.

Fifth IPCC Climate Change Report Released

The long awaited full text report is finally available. The Final Draft Report, dated 7 June 2013, of the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis was accepted but not approved in detail by the Twelfth Session of Working Group I and the Thirty-Sixth Session of the IPCC on 26 September 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. This report consists of the full scientific and technical assessment undertaken by Working Group I. While the final draft of the underlying Working Group I report is still subject to copy-editing and corrections in proof as normally applied to scientific reports the fundamental tone and content of the report has been set. No screaming warnings; no predictions of impending doom. The most shocking thing is that our knowledge of climate change has not advanced in almost a decade. Simply put, climate scientists are puzzled by the way nature is acting.

Not Significantly Different From Zero

There was a time when climate change alarmists stood confident in the approaching global warming apocalypse. Even a few years pause in the upward march of temperatures was shrugged off, the catastrophists smugly stating that it would take ten or more years without warming to throw a spanner into their disaster predictions. It has now been fifteen years without the promised meteoric rise in global temperatures predicted by the warmongering climatologists' computer models. Unsurprisingly, some of the anthropogenic global warming faithful have started to question current climate change dogma. In commentary in a journal dedicated to climate change, scientists have admitted that they've overestimated climate change for 20 years. What is more, they do not really know why their predictions have turned out so wrong.

Chicken Little Climate Science

Climate change has become the go to excuse for anything bad happening in the environment. Legions of climate scientists have issued dire warnings regarding the consequences of man's profligate use of fossil fuels. So common have these pronouncements become that news reporters and politicians have taken to blaming all things judged out of the ordinary on global warming. This fits the agendas of many, since global warming is supposedly caused by human activity and human activity is linked to greed, avarice and big business. But the doomsayers should take care, for there have been other times when experts have warned humanity that its evil ways have brought the world to the edge of perdition. Does anyone these days remember over population?

Sentinel: A Plan to Save Earth

A 17-meter-wide asteroid that no one saw coming exploded in February near Chelyabinsk, Russia, blazing across the sky and television screens world wide. Efforts have been made to identify asteroids larger than a kilometer—objects large enough to threaten life on Earth. Hollywood has cranked out dozens of cheesy asteroid collision movies, some bad and others worse, but none capture the magnitude of the actual threat from near Earth objects (NEOs). There may be a million asteroids with masses greater than ocean liners in Earth-approaching orbits, nearly all of which remain undiscovered and their courses uncharted. Now, a private foundation wants to build Sentinel, a satellite containing an infrared telescope that would be able to detect a half-million orbiting objects from a vantage point near Venus. Is this a project too important to trust to government agencies like NASA and the ESA?

Forget Global Warming, The Ice Age Is Coming!

Scientists have long suspected that the orbital cycles of our planet are responsible for the periodic climate variation that causes alternating glacial and interglacial periods. Milankovitch's theory of orbital cycles suggests that summer insolation at high northern latitudes drives the glacial cycles. Moreover, statistical analyses have demonstrated that the glacial cycles are indeed linked to eccentricity, obliquity and precession. Now, researchers have confirmed that a combination of two of the Milankovitch cycles conspire to start and stop ice ages. The 100,000-year eccentricity cycle amplifies the influence of the 23,000-year wobble of Earth's spin axis called precession. The new modeling also suggests that the great accumulation of mass by the North American ice sheet causes the abrupt end of glacial periods. CO2 is involved, but is not determinative, in the evolution of the 100,000-year glacial cycles say the scientists.

Slanting Science

Science is supposed to be unbiased, seeking to understand the workings of nature untainted by the personal beliefs or prejudices of its practitioners. Nature alone is the arbiter of truth—when science and nature disagree it is science that is wrong. But science is practiced by human beings, who cannot keep their beliefs, whether engendered by religious, philosophical, or political leanings, from skewing any result that is equivocal or highly complex. Presented here are two examples taken from the pages of Nature, perhaps the world's primer scientific journal. One is a rehash of temperature history in northern latitudes with a new statistical twist, the other a report on a study regarding fracking. One shows how what scientists leave out of their studies may be more important than what they put in. The other shows how a headline can spin the results of a report even when its authors are carefully neutral in their conclusions.

Forests, CO2 and H2O

Much has been done to vilify carbon dioxide in the media. Listening to the talking heads and on-air “experts” could lead one to believe that CO2 is an evil scourge that the world would be better off without. Nothing could be further than the truth. CO2 is necessary for life on Earth, forests in particular. It is not just plant food, the maligned gas also plays a role in regulating water use by the world's forests. New research has uncovered an unexpectedly strong decrease in H2O uptake caused by increasing CO2. Along with global increases in photosynthesis, forest growth rates, and carbon uptake, higher CO2 levels contribute to enhanced timber yields and improved water availability. Who says higher CO2 levels are a bad thing?

Frack Attack!

The number of earthquakes in the U.S. has risen dramatically since the advent of widespread hydraulic fracturing for the recovery of oil and natural gas. In both North America and Europe, concern that such activity could cause damaging earthquakes is rising and the debate shows signs of becoming another unscientific brouhaha fueled by ignorance and fear. It has been known for many years that fracking can cause seismic activity, as can damming rivers, mining minerals and pumping oil from underground. Is fracking being subjected to unfair criticism? Several new reports and a multi-national study, just published in the journal Science, attempt to take an objective, scientific view of the problem.

Requiem for the Electric Vehicle

This must be the season to bash electric automobiles. Even the staid IEEE Spectrum featured an article questioning the ecological soundness of electric vehicles on its cover. But aren't electrics and hybrids supposed to be the way to a green future? Think again. Environmentalists' love affair with electric vehicles (EVs) seems to be over. “If you are thinking of buying an electric car for the sake of the environment, you may want to think longer.,” says Bill Sweet of IEEE's EnergyWise. “You’re not doing the planet as much of a favor as you might think.” Does this make all those Prius drivers officially posers? Or were they all just duped by a passing green fad, which, like all green fads, was based on faulty reasoning and the triumph of emotion over reality?

The Retreat From Falsehood Begins

They took their best shot, an all court press trying to convince the people of the world that climate catastrophe was imminent, that humanity had irreversibly fouled its own nest with billowing clouds of greenhouse gasses. Yet the world remains. There has been climate change aplenty, just not the climate change predicted by the IPCC's perfidious minions. More and more scientists have begun to face the fact that their climate model estimates are not correct, forced by nature itself to conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong with how climate science is done. In a recent edition of a major scientific journal, a gaggle of climate scientists have issued a statement that just a few years ago would have been considered heresy: “The rate of global mean warming has been lower over the past decade than previously.” This leads them to conclude that a lower range of temperature increase at the point of doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration is indicated.

Modeling Flaws Plague Climate Science

Despite a decade and a half without temperature rise, climate scientists still stubbornly stick to their predictions of steadily increasing global temperatures. These predictions are all based on GCM, computer programs that model the circulation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and a myriad of other factors in an attempt to simulate our planet's climate system. The problem is, the computer models are severely flawed, flawed at such a fundamental level that two climate modelers have called for a reassessment of all computer models currently in use. Sadly, a number of the flaws they point out have been known to scientists for decades, yet mainstream climate science continues to rely on these broken models, hoping to get lucky with predictions made for the wrong reasons.

Solar Power Failing World Wide

Everyone has heard the pitch for solar energy, install solar cells on your roof and get free electricity from the Sun. Sure they cost a lot up front, but they will last 25-30 years—which just happens to be about the payback time given current electricity rates from coal, nuclear and natural gas. So when solar panels start failing in two or three years the economics of solar power collapses like a house of cards. That is exactly what is happening around the world. Cheap Chinese solar panels have flooded the market and are now starting to fail at an alarming rate. Solar panels covering a warehouse roof in Los Angeles were only two years into their expected 25-year life span when they began to fail. Worldwide, solar power adopters are reporting similar problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis. Bright sunlight is illuminating the scam that is solar power just as industry boosters claim solar is on the verge of widespread adoption.

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