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February 09, 2010

Is Global Warming Going to Destroy the Ski Industry?

I don't like to wade too deep into the "Climate Change" waters, but got a link from a reader to story by a local news station about the ski industry:

Already, the Aspen Global Change Institute forecasts that if global emissions continue to rise, the local ski industry will be little more than a memory by 2100.

Among the group’s sobering findings:

“High greenhouse gas emissions scenarios… are likely to end skiing in Aspen by 2100, and possibly well before then, while low emission path scenarios preserve skiing at mid-to-upper mountain elevations. In either case, snow conditions will deteriorate in the future.”

Skeptics of global warming cite images of major blizzards and snowfalls measured by the foot in Midwestern and mountain regions. Williams says those pictures hinder efforts to convince people that a warmer future really is coming.

“It’s a small but constant change,” he said. “It’s hard for people to embrace that.”...

The Williams-Lazar report offered a glass-half-full scenario for Colorado. While other areas face devastation, change appears to be coming more slowly to places like Aspen.

That doesn’t mean it won’t come, even if freak early or late storms seem to paint a different picture.

“The way I think of it is: Do you want to ski with your grandkids? Or do you want your kids to ski with their grandkids?” Williams said.

“That’s about three generations out. That reverberates with people. They get that.”

Interesting. Scares the hell out of people.

Before I look at the methodology, I just want to point out a few things. First, there is a major correlation between the ENSO (El Nino) ocean temperatures and the snowfall in particular in either the Southwest or in the Northwest. Weather patterns caused by El Nino are well documented and there is a strong correlation.

Yet even in the strongest of El Nino years, climatologists cannot predict even within a narrow range of what the snowfall amounts will be. This is an El Nino year. How many inches approximately will Brian Head receive? Somewhere between 300-500". That is about as good as you will get.

And that is a short time horizon. That is only forward looking, say six months tops. If climatologists cannot tell me even a solid ballpark figure of how many inches of snow a particular resort will receive in a year, even as late as say--October, so I know whether or not to buy a season pass or when the opening day will be this season, how in the holy hell should I believe that they can tell me when opening day will be on average in the year 2100? In 2009, A-basin had their earliest opening EVER. October 9th. Climatologists say they can only make predictions about long term trends using fancy "closed source" computer models that have been ripped to shreds for their coding errors, not make short term predictions about anything useful. Water levels will rise several feet by 2100 and submerge half the coastal cities, but tomorrow there is a 40% chance of light showers. 40%? WTF?

Below the fold, I will get into why I am so disgusted by the scare tactics thrown around by the environmental folks that think putting up windmills is somehow going to help Aspen have good snow in 2100. And I won't even get into the Sierra Club saying that switching from coal to nuclear power is like switching from cigarettes to crack.

The study in question relied exclusively on temperature predictions taken directly from the IPCC's 2001 report. The IPCC's methods and claims are certainly in question with the recent scandals.

The folks at the UK Telegraph are all over the IPCC:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report is supposed to be the world’s most authoritative scientific account of the scale of global warming.

But this paper has discovered a series of new flaws in it including:

  • The publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity around the world, which was wrongly attributed to the website of a commercial wave-energy company.
  • Claims based on information in press releases and newsletters.
  • New examples of statements based on student dissertations, two of which were unpublished.
  • More claims which were based on reports produced by environmental pressure groups.

They are the latest in a series of damaging revelations about the IPCC’s most recent report, published in 2007.

Last month, the panel was forced to issue a humiliating retraction after it emerged statements about the melting of Himalayan glaciers were inaccurate.

Last weekend, this paper revealed that the panel had based claims about disappearing mountain ice on anecdotal evidence in a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.

And on Friday, it emerged that the IPCC’s panel had wrongly reported that more than half of the Netherlands was below sea level because it had failed to check information supplied by a Dutch government agency.

Researchers insist the errors are minor and do not impact on the overall conclusions about climate change.

However, senior scientists are now expressing concern at the way the IPCC compiles its reports and have hit out at the panel’s use of so-called “grey literature” — evidence from sources that have not been subjected to scientific ­scrutiny.

A new poll has revealed that public belief in climate change is weakening.The panel’s controversial chair, Rajendra Pachauri, pictured right, is facing pressure to resign over the affair.

That would be Nobel Prize winning Panel Chair...

But that is not the end of the story:

It can also be revealed that claims made by the IPCC about the effects of global warming, and suggestions about ways it could be avoided, were partly based on information from ten dissertations by Masters students.

One unpublished dissertation was used to support the claim that sea-level rise could impact on people living in the Nile delta and other African coastal areas, although the main focus of the thesis, by a student at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, appears to have been the impact of computer software on environmental development.

The IPCC also made use of a report by US conservation group Defenders of Wildlife to state that salmon in US streams have been affected by rising temperatures. The panel has already come under fire for using information in reports by conservation charity the WWF.

This is just not good science. It gets better for the inventor of the Hockey Stick Graph, Michael Mann:

There has also been an acclaimed new paper by Michael Mann, the creator of the iconic "hockey stick" graph, purporting to show that the world has recently become hotter than at any time in recorded history, eliminating all the wealth of evidence to show that temperatures were higher in the Mediaeval Warm Period than today.

After being used obsessively by the IPCC's 2001 report to promote the cause, the "hockey stick" was comprehensively discredited, not least by Steve McIntyre, a Canadian computer analyst, who showed that Mann had built into his computer programme an algorithm (or "al-gore-ithm") which would produce the hockey stick shape even if the data fed in was just "random noise".

Two weeks ago Dr Mann published a new study, claiming to have used 1,209 new historic "temperature proxies" to show that his original graph was essentially correct after all. This was faithfully reported by the media as further confirmation that we live in a time of unprecedented warming. Steve McIntyre immediately got to work and, supported by expert readers on his Climate Audit website, shredded Mann's new version as mercilessly as he had the original.

He again showed how selective Mann had been in his new data, excluding anything which confirmed the Mediaeval Warming and concentrating on that showing temperatures recently rising to record levels.

Finnish experts pointed out that, where Mann placed emphasis on the evidence of sediments from Finnish lakes, there were particular reasons why these should have shown rising temperatures in recent years, such as expanding towns on their shores. McIntyre even discovered a part of Mann's programme akin to a disguised version of his earlier algorithm, which he now calls "Mannomatics".

But Mann's new study will surely be used to push the warmist party line in the run-up to the IPCC international conference in Copenhagen next year to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, temperatures continue to drop. The latest Nasa satellite readings on global temperatures from the University of Alabama, one of four officially recognised sources of temperature data, show that August was the fourth month this year when temperatures fell below their 30-year average, ie since satellite records began. The US National Climatic Data Center showsis showing that last month in the USA was only the 39th warmest since records began 113 years ago.

So where is the concensus?

Posted by Justin at February 9, 2010 10:11 AM


Since Canadians and hockey sticks are referred to here I thought it would be important for anyone viewing your blog to read some of the material on this website.
David Suzuki is the grand science elder and environmentalist from Canada whose scientific specialty is genetics. When discussing something like global warming I think it is important to take it outside the political filter and try and avoid the Glen Beckisms and habits of emotionally charging and subscribing to long held beliefs that potentially scary messages like climate change are brought to us by dubious sources with questionable science and with questionable motives.
As for winter sports read from the same website:

...and in a perfect cake and eat it to scenario:
"The analysis shows that with strong federal and provincial government policies, Canada can meet the 2°C emissions target in 2020 and still have a strong growing economy, a quality of life higher than Canadians enjoy today, and continued steady job creation across the country. The analysis also shows that the federal government needs to implement far stronger policies than it has proposed to date to meet its current GHG target."

Who has tried to question these findings and proposals? The Alberta Oils Sands lobby who have gone from downright refuting global warming theory to now stalling implementation of Kyoto and other curative measures.

Posted by: AwayVisitor at February 23, 2010 06:20 PM