CCNet TERRA 18/2003 - 23 April 2003
      "Today Americans celebrate our 33rd Earth Day. Since the early
      1970s we've seen great environmental progress. The air and water
      are cleaner and people, especially young people, are more
      environmentally sensitive. While serious problems remain, the easy
      fruit has been picked."
           --John A. Baden, Tech Central Station, 22 April 2003

    Tech Central Station, 22 April 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 23 April 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 23 April 2003

    CO2 Science Magazine, 16 April 2003

    Kevin O. Pope <>

    Ludwig von Mises Institute, 22 April 2003


>From Tech Central Station, 22 April 2003

By John A. Baden
Today Americans celebrate our 33rd Earth Day. Since the early 1970s
we've seen great environmental progress. The air and water are cleaner
and people, especially young people, are more environmentally sensitive.
While serious problems remain, the easy fruit has been picked. Americans
now confront more subtle and contentious environmental issues.

We are, however, well prepared to deal with them. Our science has
improved dramatically. We have cause-and-effect models and much better
measures of impacts. Further, our understanding of human-environmental
relations has advanced. Here are a few certainties.

First, we understand that education and responsible prosperity foster
environmental sensitivity. Hungry folks don't have the luxury of
investing in the preservation of endangered songbirds. Second, we
recognize that command-and-control regulations have serious limitations
and are often grossly counterproductive and inefficient. Third, we have
witnessed the success of public but nongovernmental organizations
ranging from the international Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited to
thousands of local groups such as the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. We've
come a long way since the first Earth Day.

Ecotopia, however, remains elusive. It always will. That problem is
inherent to the nature of things. Here's one reason. Environmental
issues are unique in the following respect: all conjoin technical,
scientific complexity with high emotional loading. No other policy arena
consistently labors under this twin burden. Rarely are the problems and
solutions obvious and easy.

We have successfully confronted significant environmental problems such
as lead. But the professional environmental movement has strong
incentives to portray environmental threats in apocalyptic terms. At
times it employs pseudoscience to achieve its goals. This tactic is
counterproductive. It diverts attention and scarce resources from
serious problems. The orchestrated scare surrounding Three Mile Island
is illustrative.

Last month the respected journal Environmental Health Perspectives
published a 20-year follow-up study of over 23,000 people living near
the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear plant. Researchers looked at causes
of death from heart disease and cancers, including those known to be
sensitive to radiation effects such as bronchial, breast, blood, and
central nervous system cancers. It found no significant increase in
cancer deaths among residents.

Both the U.S. Department of Energy and the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Resources tested hundreds of air samples in the vicinity
of TMI shortly after the accident. They discovered only average levels
of radioactivity. University of Pittsburgh professor Bernard Cohen
asserted that "the average person living near Three Mile Island received
as much extra radiation from that accident as he would get from a
one-week visit to Denver."

The late astronomer Carl Sagan wrote The Demon-Haunted World: Science as
a Candle in the Dark to rouse us from our neglect of science. Sagan
wondered why so many people embrace the sort of pseudoscience associated
with New Age beliefs. Widespread scientific illiteracy and a dearth of
critical thinking are "perilous and foolhardy," and that's obviously
true. Stick to the facts, Sagan tells us, "There are wonders enough out
there without our inventing any."

Harvard astrophysics professor and TCS co-host Sallie Baliunas provides
an example. Europe enjoyed a warm climate between the 9th and 12th
centuries, the time when the Vikings settled Greenland (when it was
actually green). But by the 14th century the Little Ice Age had emerged.
"One severe frost in 1626 froze lakes and rivers, decimated crops and
wild vegetation...." At the time this was "unnatural." The cause -
witchery. The solution - burn "witches," 2000 in Cologne, Germany alone.

The environmental movement is far more sophisticated today than in 1970.
It is recognizing that "crisis entrepreneurs" and hysterical
environmentalism ultimately backfire. Greenpeace International's mission
against chlorine is an excellent example. Their anti-chlorine campaign
led Peru to reduce the chlorine it added to its water supply. The
result? A cholera epidemic swept through insufficiently chlorinated
water supplies, taking far more lives than the chlorine ban could
possibly have saved.

Sincere and sensible environmentalists shun such chicanery. Instead,
they promote policies based on sound science and economics, not the
machinations of crisis entrepreneurs. This is a victory to celebrate on
Earth Day.

John A. Baden, Ph.D., is chairman of the Foundation for Research on
Economics and the Environment (FREE) and Gallatin Writers, Inc. Both are
based in Bozeman.

Copyright 2003, Tech Central Station


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 23 April 2003

In our Editorial of 2 April 2003, we challenged the contention of Alley et al. (2003) that "human forcing of climate change is increasing the probability of large, abrupt events," basing our case primarily on real-world observations that clearly suggest otherwise, but additionally citing the computer modeling study of Rind et al. (2001) that also suggests otherwise.  Here, we review still more modeling and observational studies that challenge Alley et al.'s contention.

To recapitulate Alley et al.'s position on this subject, they write in their U.S. National Research Council report (Alley et al., 2002) of "large, abrupt climate changes" of "as much as 10C change in 10 years," stating that these changes "can occur when gradual causes push the earth system across a *threshold* [our italics]."  They further contend that "human activities could trigger abrupt climate change," stating that "warming and the associated changes in the hydrological cycle constitute a *threshold* [our italics] for the THC [thermohaline circulation]" of the world's oceans. "Once reduced, the THC is more susceptible to perturbations," they claim," also contending that "very close to a *threshold* [our italics], the evolution of the THC loses predictability altogether."

The THC threshold that has been most discussed within this context is the amount of freshwater delivered to the North Atlantic Ocean (supplied by increased Arctic river discharge resulting from the intensified hydrologic cycle presumed to accompany CO2-induced global warming) plus meltwater from Greenland (presumed to result directly from rising temperatures) that has the presumed power to slow, or even stop, North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation, which is believed by many to be one of the main driving forces of the THC that redistributes heat around the world and is thought to bring considerable warmth to Europe. If this "threshold hypothesis" and the more basic THC concept are correct, some as-yet-unspecified degree of global warming could conceivably induce a rapid regional or hemispheric cooling, which according to Alley et al. may have the potential to plunge much of the world into a global deep freeze ten times worse than the Little Ice Age that preceded the Modern Warm Period.

In a significant theoretical refutation of this tortured thinking, Rind et al. (2001) conducted several computer-model sensitivity analyses of this scenario, concluding that (1) NADW formation "decreases linearly with the volume of fresh water added," (2) the decrease occurs "without any obvious threshold effects," and (3) "the effect is not rapid," all of which findings fly in the face of Alley et al.'s prognostications.

The newest modeling study of relevance to Alley et al.'s human-induced abrupt climate change threshold hypothesis is that of Seidov and Haupt (2003), who begin their analysis by noting that the "asymmetry of the Atlantic and Pacific sea surface salinity (SSS) is recognized as an important element of the global ocean thermohaline circulation."  Nevertheless, they report that this aspect of the THC has received little attention from the climate-science research community. Therefore, building upon their own earlier work on the subject (Seidov and Haupt, 2002), which focuses on the role of Atlantic and Pacific sea surface salinity, they performed a number of sensitivity experiments with the ocean model of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. These experiments showed, in their words, that "Atlantic-Pacific SSS asymmetry is one of the most critical elements for maintaining the global ocean conveyor," and, hence, that "high-latitudinal freshwater impacts, as a mechanism of altering global thermohaline circulation [i.e., the hypothesis of Alley et al.], may be less effective than inter-basin freshwater communications."

Other studies conclude much the same thing, but they arrive at this conclusion from a very different conceptual direction.  Munk and Wunsch (1998), Wunsch (2000) and Wunsch (2002), for example, all conclude, on the basis of fundamental theoretical considerations, that the THC is sustained primarily by the work of the wind and secondarily by tidal forcing.  So basic are these considerations, in fact, that Wunsch (2000) categorically states that "there cannot be a primarily convectively driven circulation of any significance."

In further explaining this fact, Wunsch (2002) notes that "both in models and the real ocean, surface buoyancy boundary conditions strongly influence the transport of heat and salt," acknowledging the matters upon which Alley et al. and Seidov and Haupt have focused their attention, but he emphasizes that "these boundary conditions do not actually drive the circulation," noting again that "for past or future climates, the quantity of first-order importance is the nature of the wind field."

Although Munk and Wunsch's thoughts may seem a bit esoteric, the energy requirements of their more basic view of the subject have been observationally verified by the work of Egbert and Ray (2000), while other supporting evidence has been supplied by Berger and von Rad (2002). Hence, in view of the fact that the mass flux of the THC is primarily a creature of wind and tide, there is no valid reason to even entertain the climate-alarmist speculations that have been spawned by the reviews of Alley et al., much less succumb to the cacophony of highly irrational calls to forsake the energy source that has produced the marvels of the modern world.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso  

Alley, R.B., Marotzke, J., Nordhaus, W.D., Overpeck, J.T., Peteet, D.M., Pielke Jr., R.A., Pierrehumbert, R.T., Rhines, P.B., Stocker, T.F., Talley, L.D. and Wallace, J.M.  2002.  Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises.  National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Alley, R.B., Marotzke, J., Nordhaus, W.D., Overpeck, J.T., Peteet, D.M., Pielke Jr., R.A., Pierrehumbert, R.T., Rhines, P.B., Stocker, T.F., Talley, L.D. and Wallace, J.M.  2003.  Abrupt climate change.  Science 299: 2005-2010.

Berger, W.H. and von Rad, U.  2002.  Decadal to millennial cyclicity in varves and turbidites from the Arabian Sea: hypothesis of tidal origin.  Global and Planetary Change 34: 313-325.

Egbert, G.D. and Ray, R.D.  2000.  Significant dissipation of tidal energy in the deep ocean inferred from satellite altimeter data.  Nature 405: 775-778.

Munk, W.H. and Wunsch, C.  1998.  Abyssal recipes II: Energetics of tidal and wind mixing.  Deep-Sea Research 45: 1977-2010.

Rind, D., deMenocal, P., Russell, G., Sheth, S., Collins, D., Schmidt, G. and Teller, J.  2001.  Effects of glacial meltwater in the GISS coupled atmosphere-ocean model. I. North Atlantic Deep Water response.  Journal of Geophysical Research 106: 27,335-27,353.

Seidov, D. and Haupt, B.J.  2002.  On the role of inter-basin surface salinity contrasts in global ocean circulation.  Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2002GL014813.

Seidov D. and Haupt, B.J.  2003.  Freshwater teleconnections and ocean thermohaline circulation.  Geophysical Research Letters 30: 10.1029/2002GL016564.

Wunsch, C.  2000.  Moon, tides and climate.  Nature 405: 743-744.

Wunsch, C.  2002.  What is the thermohaline circulation?  Science 298: 1179-1181.

Copyright 2003. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 23 April 2003

Donaldson, G.C., Keatinge, W.R. and Nayha, S.  2003.  Changes in summer
temperature and heat-related mortality since 1971 in North Carolina,
South Finland, and Southeast England.  Environmental Research 91: 1-7.

What was done
For three areas of the world -- (1) North Carolina, USA, (2) South
Finland, comprising all of Finland except the northern provinces of Oulu
and Lapland, and (3) Southeast England, comprising Greater London,
Essex, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, Oxfordshire,
Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire -- the authors determined the mean
daily May-August 3C temperature band in which deaths of people aged 55
and above were at a minimum.  Then they compared heat- and cold-related
deaths that occurred at temperatures above and below this optimum
temperature interval for each region, after which they determined how
heat-related deaths in the three areas changed between1971 and 1997 in
response to the 1.0C temperature rise that was experienced in North
Carolina over this period (from an initial temperature of 23.5C), the
2.1C temperature rise experienced in Southeast England (from an initial
temperature of 14.9C), and the unchanging 13.5C temperature of South

What was learned
First, it was determined that the 3C temperature band at which
mortality was at its local minimum was lowest for the coolest region
(South Finland), highest for the warmest region (North Carolina), and in
between for the "in between" region (Southeast England), which suggests
that the populations of the three regions were somewhat acclimated to
their respective thermal climates.  Second, for each region it was
determined that cold-related mortality, expressed as excess mortality at
temperatures below the 3C temperature band at which mortality was at
its local minimum, was greater than heat-related mortality, expressed as
excess mortality at temperatures above the 3C temperature band at which
mortality was at its local minimum.

As for the third aspect of the study, i.e., changes in heat-related
mortality from 1971 to 1997, it was determined that in the coldest of
the three regions (South Finland, where there was no change in
temperature over the study period), heat-related deaths per million
inhabitants in the 55-and-above age group declined from 382 to 99.  In
somewhat warmer Southeast England, however, where it warmed by a
whopping 2.1C over the study period, heat-related deaths per million of
the at-risk age cohort still declined, but this time from only 111 to
108.  Last of all, in the warmest of the three regions (North Carolina,
where mean daily May-August temperature rose by 1.0C over the study
period), corresponding heat-related deaths also fell, and this time from
228 to a mere 16 per million.

What it means
First of all, people can adapt to both warmer and cooler climates to
some degree. Beyond that, however, local cooling tends to produce many
more deaths than local warming in all three of the areas studied, as has
also been demonstrated to be the case in a number of other locations
around the world [see Mortality (Cold Weather) in our Subject Index]. As
for the dramatic decline in the number of heat-related deaths over a
period of warming in the hottest area of this specific study (North
Carolina), the authors attribute this phenomenon to "the increase of air
conditioning in the South Atlantic region of the U.S.A.," where they
note that "the percentage of households with some form of air
conditioning in that region rose from 57% in 1978 to 72% in 1997." With
respect to the declining heat-related deaths in the other two regions,
they say "the explanation is likely to lie in the fact that both regions
shared with North Carolina an increase in prosperity, which could be
expected to increase opportunities for avoiding heat stress."

In summary, cold kills far more people than heat; and prosperity brings
with it an enhanced ability to protect oneself even further from the
stress of high temperatures.

Copyright 2003. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 


>From CO2 Science Magazine, 16 April 2003

Thejll, P. Christiansen, B. and Gleisner, H.  2003.  On correlations
between the North Atlantic Oscillation, geopotential heights, and
geomagnetic activity.  Geophysical Research Letters 30:

Background The authors note that "apparent relations between solar
activity, or parameters closely related to solar activity, and climate
data have often been reported," citing the work of Herman and Goldberg
(1978), Pittock (1983), Hoyt and Schatten (1997) and van Loon and
Labitzke (2000).  Noting further that a substantial portion of Northern
Hemispheric climate variability is associated with the North Atlantic
Oscillation (NAO), as described by Hurrell et al. (2001), they report
that the activity of the NAO itself has been found to be related to
various solar parameters (Bucha and Bucha, 1998; Boberg and Lundstedt,
2002; Kodera, 2002).  Hence, they probe these intriguing relationships
still further.

What was done
The authors investigated various spatial and temporal relationships
among a number of different parameters: the geomagnetic index (Ap), the
NAO, stratospheric geopotential height and sea level pressure.

What was learned
The authors report that "significant correlations between Ap and
sea-level pressures and between Ap and stratospheric geopotential
heights are found for the period 1973-2000," but that "for the period
1949-1972 no significant correlations are found at the surface while
significant correlations still are found in the stratosphere."  By using
"Monte Carlo simulations of the[ir] statistical procedures applied to
suitable surrogate data," they also conclude that these correlations are
due to the existence of a "real physical link."  In the 1973-2000
period, they also note that only the winter season series are
significantly correlated, which they say "is consistent with the notion
that the solar-climate link works through the stratosphere."

What it means
The authors say their findings may be explained in two different ways:
either the influence of the sun increased through time, reaching a
strong enough level in the 1970s to finally make the correlations they
studied become statistically significant, or the state of the atmosphere
changed in the 1970s, so that it became more sensitive to the solar
influence than it was before that time. Their findings also strengthen
the case for solar-induced perturbations being propagated downward from
the stratosphere to the troposphere (Hartley et al., 1998; Carslaw et
al., 2002). Hence, although unable to identify the precise nature of
the physical linkage that must exist between solar activity and climate
change, the authors were able to push the pertinent science just a
little bit closer to the day when that elusive goal will finally be

Boberg, F. and Lundstedt, H. 2002. Solar wind variations related to
fluctuations of the North Atlantic Oscillation. Geophysical Research
Letters 29: 10.1029/2002GL014903.

Bucha, V. and Bucha Jr., V. 1998. Geomagnetic forcing of changes in
climate and in the atmospheric circulation.  Journal of Atmospheric and
Terrestrial Physics 60: 145-169.

Carslaw, K.S., Harrizon, R.G. and Kirkby, J. 2002. Cosmic rays, clouds,
and climate.  Science 298: 1732-1737.

Hartley, D.E., Villarin, J.T., Black, R.X. and Davis, C.A. 1998. A new
perspective on the dynamical link between the stratosphere and
troposphere.  Nature 391: 471-474.

Herman, J.R. and Goldberg, R.A.  1978.  Sun, Weather, and Climate.  NASA
Special Publication SP-426360.

Hoyt, D.V. and Schatten, K.H.  1997.  The Role of the Sun in Climate
Change. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

Kodera, K. 2002. Solar cycle modulation of the North Atlantic
Oscillation: Implication in the spatial structure of the NAO.
Geophysical Research Letters 29: 10.1029/2001GL014557.

Pittock, A.B. 1983. Solar variability, weather and climate: An update.
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 109: 23-55.

van Loon, H. and Labitzke, K. 2000. The influence of the 11-year solar
cycle on the stratosphere below 30 km: A review. Space Science Reviews
94: 259-278.

Copyright 2003.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global



>From Kevin O. Pope <>

Dear Benny,
In my earlier comment on CNNet about the Medieval Warm Period and major
New World droughts I did not say that these droughts were simultaneous or
that they were "driven" by the Medieval Period warming as your reply
suggests. The Medieval Warm Period was not a single abrupt event, but
spanned hundreds of years.  Stott's comment in CCNet, to which I was
replying, gives the dates 800-1300 AD for the Medieval Warm Period, which
encompasses the dates you provide for the Maya, Tiwanaku, and Anasazi
droughts. My point was not that there was a single major drought in the
New World, only that this extended period of warming and
climatic "amelioration" in Europe included episodes of catastrophic
drought and cultural disruption in at least four known regions of the New
World. The fact that droughts were a reoccurring event in the Yucatan,
linked to a solar cycle of 208 years, does not detract from the fact that
the Maya Terminal Classic Period droughts in the 9th and 10th century AD
were the most severe of the last 3,500 years (e.g., Curtis et al. 1996,
Quaternary Research 46: 37-47), and perhaps the last 7,000 years (Hodell
et al., 1995, Science 375: 391-394). Similar ~200 yr. drought cycles have
been recorded in California (Ingram et al., 1996, Geology 24:331-334),
but are likewise of a much smaller magnitude compared to the Medieval
Warm Period droughts. 
I would agree that it is important to know how climatic warming in
Europe may be linked to droughts in such far away places as California,
New Mexico, Yucatan, and Bolivia, but we can only speculate at this
time. Brenner et al. (2001, in Interhemisphere Climate Linkages, V.
Markraf, ed., pp. 87-103, Academic Press, NY) note that solar forcing in
the Caribbean and Andes in this time period are out of phase, thus
direct solar forcing seems an unlikely cause. Recent studies in coastal
California point to drought linkages with shifts in atmospheric
circulation, resulting in shifts in the California Current and the
northward deflection of storms (e.g., Roark et al. 2003, Geology
31:379-382). This same study suggests that this change in atmospheric
circulation may have links to the North Atlantic (and hence to Northwest
Europe??), since it correlates with a peak in ice accumulation in
Greenland. Perhaps all we can say at this time is that the Medieval
Warm Period, and subsequent transition into the Little Ice Age,
encompasses a time when there were major climatic changes that brought
some of the most extreme (warm-cold, wet-dry) conditions of the Middle
to Late Holocene. The argument over whether or not the Medieval Warm
Period was warmer or colder than today misses the main message - which
is that the global response to this "warm" period was exceedingly
complex. These complexities caution against simple predictions of the
global impact of a warming climate.
Kevin O. Pope
Geo Eco Arc Research
Maryland, USA


>From Ludwig von Mises Institute, 22 April 2003
Recently, evangelicals have been mimicking the secular
environmentalists' assault on the market economy. Pollution,
deforestation, endangered and extinct species, food shortages, and
global warming are all, they say, evidence of our failure to be good
stewards over creation. Overconsumption, particularly in the
industrialized parts of the world, is responsible, they say. Personal
frugality, coupled with government regulation to prod along the
unrepentant SUV-driving glutton, is the answer. Late last year, the
Evangelical Environmental Network launched its "What Would Jesus Drive"
campaign, which associated low gas mileage with immorality and advocated
stricter government fuel economy regulations.

There is a great deal of activity on the environmental front, and it is
perhaps the most vigorous attack on markets that evangelicals have
launched in the last twenty years. This attack is not coming from Gaia
worshiping cultists or fringe groups within the churches. Major
Protestant denominations, and some groups of Roman Catholics, have
issued documents stating that caring for creation is inconsistent with a
market economy. Of course, many of these groups have had a statist
social policy for the better part of a century, so antimarket
environmentalism may be viewed as a variation on the same old theme...


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