News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nature Mag., UK Met aerosol study conflict, NASA astrophysicist Weymann says aerosol data 'must be done from space,' Gavin Schmidt agrees, 3/4/11

Two NASA satellites crashed-in 2009 and 2011-before being able to retrieve "desperately" needed information about aerosols and global warming, that "must really be done from space," (astrophysicist) Weymann said." NASA's Gavin Schmidt, 3/4/11, "Because we can't easily distinguish what's what from space, we don't have good global coverage of exactly how much of the aerosol is anthropogenic, and how much is natural."
4/12/12, "Pat Michaels – on the death of credibility in the journal Nature," Patrick Michaels guest post on WUWT

"Atmospheric Aerosols and the Death of Nature"

"Big news last week was that new findings published in Nature magazine showed that human emissions of aerosols (primarily from fossil fuel use) have been largely responsible for the multi-decadal patterns of sea surface temperature variability in the Atlantic ocean that have been observed over the past 150 years or so. This variability—commonly referred to as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO—has been linked to several socially significant climate phenomena including the ebb and flow of active
  • Atlantic hurricane periods
  • and drought in the African Sahel.

This paper marks, in my opinion, the death of credibility for Nature on global warming. The first symptoms showed up in 1996 when they published a paper by Ben Santer and 13 coauthors that was so obviously cherry-picked that it took me and my colleagues about three hours to completely destroy it. Things have gone steadily downhill, from a crazy screamer by Jonathan Patz on mortality from warming that didn’t even bother to examine whether fossil fuels were associated with extended lifespan (they are), to the recent Shakun debacle. But the latest whopper, by Ben Booth and his colleagues at the UK Met Office indeed signals the death of Nature in this field.

The U.K. Met Office issued a press release touting the findings by several of their researchers, and didn’t pull any punches as to the study’s significance. The headline read

These shifts in ocean temperature, known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO, are believed to affect rainfall patterns in Africa, South America and India, as well as hurricane activity in the North Atlantic – in extreme cases leading to

Ben Booth, a Met Office climate processes scientist and lead author of the research, said: Until now, no-one has been able to demonstrate a physical link to what is causing these observed Atlantic Ocean fluctuations, so it was assumed they must be caused by natural variability.

“Our research implies that far from being natural, these changes could have been largely driven by dirty pollution and volcanoes. If so, this means a number of natural disasters linked to these ocean fluctuations, such as persistent African drought during the 1970’s and 80’s, may not be so natural after all.”

An accompanying “News and Views” piece in Nature put the findings of Booth and colleagues in climatological perspective:

If Booth and colleagues’ results can be corroborated, then they suggest that multidecadal temperature fluctuations of the North Atlantic are dominated by human activity, with natural variability taking a secondary role. This has many implications. Foremost among them is that the AMO does not exist, in the sense that the temperature variations concerned are neither intrinsically oscillatory nor purely multidecadal.

But not everyone was so impressed with the conclusions of Booth et al.

For instance, Judith Curry had this to say at her blog, “Climate Etc.,”

Color me unconvinced by this paper. I suspect that if this paper had been submitted to J. Geophysical Research or J. Climate, it would have been rejected. In any event, a much more lengthy manuscript would have been submitted with more details, allowing people to more critically assess this. By publishing this, Nature seems to be looking for headlines, rather than promoting good science.

And Curry has good reason to be skeptical.

“In press” at the journal Geophysical Research Letters is a paper titled “Greenland ice core evidence for spatial and temporal variability of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” by Petr Chylek and colleagues, including Chris Folland of the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office.

In this paper, Chylek et al. examine evidence of the AMO that is contained in several ice core records distributed across Greenland. The researchers were looking to see whether there were changes in the character of the AMO over different climatological periods in the past, such as the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period—periods that long preceded large-scale human aerosol emissions. And indeed they found some. The AMO during the Little Ice Age was characterized by a quasi-periodicity of about 20 years, while the during the Medieval Warm Period the AMO oscillated with a period of about 45 to 65 years.

And Chylek and colleagues had this to say about the mechanisms involved:

The observed intermittency of these modes over the last 4000 years supports the view that these are internal ocean-atmosphere modes, with little or no external forcing.

Better read that again. “…with little or no external forcing.”

Chylek’s conclusion is vastly different from the one reached by Booth et al., which in an Editorial, Nature touted as [emphasis added]:

[B]ecause the AMO has been implicated in global processes, such as the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes and drought in the Sahel region of Africa in the 1980s, the findings greatly extend the possible reach of human activity on global climate. Moreover, if correct, the study effectively does away with the AMO as it is currently posited, in that the multidecadal oscillation is neither truly oscillatory nor multidecadal.

Funny how the ice core records analyzed by Chylek (as opposed to the largely climate model exercise of Booth et al.) and show the AMO to be both oscillatory and multidecadal—and to be exhibiting such characteristics

  • long before any possible human influence.

Judith Curry’s words “By publishing this, Nature seems to be looking for headlines, rather than promoting good science” seem to ring loud and true in light of further observation-based research.

May God rest the soul of Nature."


Among comments to Patrick Michael article:


"Doug Proctor says:

This isn’t an attempt at science. This is a barrage designed to be picked up by the MSM, another peer-reviewed study that can be quoted that “supports” the warmist view, but NOT to be considered seriously by scientists. It is part of the fighting back of CAGW: if they won’t agree, if they won’t stay silent, then

Never have I seen a paper so far out since Veilokovsky: at least he believed what he wrote."


"Mac the Knife says:

Our research implies that far from being natural, these changes could have been largely driven by dirty pollution and volcanoes. If so, this means a number of natural disasters linked to these ocean fluctuations, such as persistent African drought during the 1970’s and 80’s, may not be so natural after all.”

  • ‘Our research implies….
  • changes could have been….

dirty pollution.

  • If so,…..

natural disasters…..

  • may not be so natural at all.’

All paranoid climate conjecture. No substance. This drivel is beyond lame. It’s pathetic. It’s shameful and a real embarrassment to the hundreds of thousands of honest scientists and engineers pushing the bona fide boundaries of science with data driven research and analyses.

Nature: Oh, how very low the once respected have fallen!



"Andrew30 says:

The idea that the minute human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is a driving force for the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is lunacy. That the idea has been programmed in to a single climate model and when run the model

  • produces the pre-programmed output
  • is par for the course, so nothing new there.

Perhaps this is a test of the global panic-alarm system, to see how many media transmitters are still working. Only the most committed media outlets will run this, so it will serve as a gauge of support in advance of the next meeting of the global warning kleptocracy."


Ed. note: NASA climate satellites charged specifically with monitoring aerosols crashed in 2009 and 2011 before either could retrieve information scientists said we "desperately" needed about climate and aerosols, information that could only be obtained from space:

3/4/11, "Perhaps that's why the loss hurts most, because Glory "was directed very specifically at the place where our knowledge was weakest", he said."..."A tragedy for climate science."..."an area that desperately needs more study."...

3/4/11, "Raze of Glory: NASA Earth-Observing Climate Satellite Fails to Reach Orbit," Scientific American, John Matson

"A launch malfunction sent the Glory satellite crashing into the ocean,

  • almost exactly mimicking the
  • 2009 loss of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory"
"In the last few years NASA has built and launched two world-class climate satellites, both of which promised invaluable new data on the natural and human influences on Earth's changing climate. Neither of them, however, will ever deliver the data
Both spacecraft, in fact, are at the bottom of the ocean, having succumbed to nearly identical rocket mishaps that prevented them from reaching orbit.

The latest incident occurred in the wee morning hours of March 4, just after the Glory spacecraft lifted off atop a Taurus XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. About three minutes into the flight the protective nose cone, or fairing, enshrouding Glory failed to separate from the rocket as commanded, and the entire assembly came tumbling back to Earth. That is just what happened in February 2009, when NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) blasted off on board another Taurus XL rocket and came crashing down in the waters off Antarctica."All indications are that the satellite and rocket are in the southern Pacific ocean somewhere," NASA launch director Omar Baez said of Glory in a somber March 4 news conference following the liftoff. Given the comparable launch weights of Glory and the OCO and the similarity of the malfunction, Glory may have ended up in close proximity to its fellow climate satellite....

Glory was to monitor the intensity of solar energy reaching Earth's upper atmosphere and to measure airborne atmospheric particles that affect how much of that energy reaches the surface. Those measurements would have reduced uncertainties in models that project future climate trends and helped to sort out
  • how much climate influence man-made aerosols
such as soot and smoke have compared with natural sources such as sea spray and airborne soil particles.

"It would have made important measurements for the understanding of Earth as a system," Mike Luther of NASA Headquarters said in the press conference. Climate modeler Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, writing at the blog RealClimate, called Glory one of the most important satellites in ages. Its ability to not only measure aerosols but to distinguish between different kinds of aerosols would have been unique, Schmidt wrote. "It may seem surprising, but despite many different attempts [so far], almost all remote sensing of aerosols from space is only capable of detecting the total optical depth of all aerosols," he wrote.

"Because we can't easily distinguish what's what from space, we don't have good global coverage of exactly how much of the aerosol is anthropogenic,
  • and how much is natural."
At the moment, NASA has no plans for a replacement, says NASA spokesperson Steve Cole. In the case of OCO, NASA was able to fund a replacement mission, now in development for a 2013 launch. "Judging by what happened with OCO two years ago, it will take many months to make a decision as to which path to pursue," Cole says.

Orbital Sciences Corp., which operates the Taurus XL, said that it had made significant changes to the system that triggers the separation of the fairing from the rocket since the 2009 OCO mishap. "We went so far as to completely change out the initiation system, and in the intervening years that system flew three times," Orbital Sciences' executive vice president, Ronald Grabe, said at the news conference. "We went into this flight really feeling that we had nailed the fairing issue."

Luther said that NASA had been comfortable using the Taurus XL again. "We felt going in that we had an acceptable level of risk," he said. "Clearly we missed something." He added that the
mishap might affect the launch of the replacement Orbiting Carbon Observatory, OCO 2, which is also scheduled to ride into orbit on a Taurus XL. "We'll have to evaluate the outcome of this investigation and adjust our plans appropriately," Luther said."


3/6/11, "NASA crashes hit geoscience efforts," AFP, News24, Washington

A pair of costly satellite crashes have dealt a major blow to Nasa's earth science efforts just as the US space agency faces scrutiny from Congress over whether climate science should be part of its focus at all.

The $424m Glory satellite to monitor aerosols and the sun's power plunged into the Pacific on Friday shortly after launch, just two years after a similar satellite to study carbon dioxide in the atmosphere met the same fate.

"The loss of the Glory satellite is a tragedy for climate science," said Bruce Wielicki, senior scientist for earth science at Nasa's Langley Research Centre.

  • "The time to heal a lost space mission is typically three to seven years depending on budgets and how many spare parts remain from the last instrument builds," he said.

Both Nasa and the rocket maker, Orbital Sciences Corp, have launched investigations into why the protective nose-cone, or fairing, failed to separate, weighing down the satellite and preventing it from reaching orbit.

"It's not like we have spares on the shelf," said Glory programme scientist Hal Maring, adding that the advanced instruments on board would have offered detailed data in an area that desperately needs more study.

"The effect of aerosols is the place where our uncertainty is greatest in terms of being able to understand and predict climate," he told AFP.

Knowledge weakest

Perhaps that's why the loss hurts most, because Glory "was directed very specifically at the place where our

  • knowledge was weakest", he said.

Glory's crash came just hours after Nasa administrator Charles Bolden finished two days of testimony before lawmakers, defending the US space agency's plans for the future of human space flight and climate science.

President Barack Obama's 2012 budget, which has yet to be approved by Congress, calls for a 25% increase in Nasa's budget for earth science, bringing the total to $1.8bn

  • of Nasa's overall $18.7bn budget....
"Space missions are expensive by nature, risky by nature, and our nation has decided not to spend the kind of resources it would take


Ed. note #2: 'Nature' is in a tough spot because its parent company Macmillan admitted paying bribes to get contracts for educational books for children in the Sudan. The case didn't involve Nature but shows the character of the head office:

5/6/2010, "Macmillan faces World Bank ban over Sudan payments," BBC


Ah yes, "the Sahel." The African 'Sahel' is Ground Zero of UN climate sales pitch for 'redistribution' of wealth from US to Africa.

1/3/12, "Der Spiegel: The “Ground Zero Of Climate Change” Is Becoming Green – Expanding Sahara Is A Myth," P. Gosselin, NoTricksZone

"Climate change because of man is causing more death and drought – especially in Africa,

  • so claim the “experts”.

via Tom Nelson

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