JANUARY 31st 2006
I have been awarded a scholarship to study at The Beijing Climate Center for the first two weeks in March. This is something of a surprise as I am a well known sceptic and I celebrate my 84th birthday, now, in China. I originally submitted a comprehensive research programme, but do not expect to carry it out in two weeks. Maybe somebody will take it over. As you might expect, I wish to study the reliability of their temperature records, and the possible influence of urban development. My wife is coming and I will take a fortnight's holiday, so the newletter will be silent in the month of March.
The enthusiasts for "Climate Change" seem to be dividing into two (comparative) extremes. The "moderates" have to deal with actual practical politics and the "extremists" have no limits on their claims and demands.
A typical "moderate"  is Sir Jonathon Porritt who spoke here last week. He tries hard to be practical, and he confessed, that inspite of pressure to do so, he refrained from recommending to the audience that each one of them should immediately sell their car and buy a bike.
At the complete extreme we have James Lovelock, whose latest (so far unpublished) book asserts that it is now too late, that universal human extinction is inevitable. So we need not bother any more. Let's enjoy ourselves while we still can.
This split has been occasioned by the virtual collapse of the Kyoto Protocol, which was, in any case a politicians cop-out, as it was admitted that the changes it specified, though economically damaging, would have such small effects on the climate that they are undetectable. It has now suffered from  the discovery that trees emit methane, so can they be used for "mitigation"
Then Britain's official extremist, Sir David King, has recently promoted a study claimimg that the Greenland ice cap will melt and inundate us all. He ignores the well-authenticxated cyclic nature of Arctic tempertures, and the reputed growth of the Antarctic ice cap, which is much bigger than Greenland..
Then we have Jim Hansen, who thinks that reducing the use oi motor vehicles is a practical policy, but is being sat upon by NASA for saying so. Perhaps they will bring back the horse.
Finally, what about this interesting discovery.
Scripps Contacts:
Mario Aguilera or Cindy Clark

For Release: January 26, 2006

Human-produced Aerosols in Many Arctic Clouds Contribute to Climate Warming
Enhanced aerosol concentrations increase the amount of thermal energy emitted by many Arctic clouds, according to scientists supported by the Department of Energy's (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program. In research published in the January 26 issue of Nature magazine, lead author Dan Lubin of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist Andrew Vogelmann conclude that the increase significantly affects the Arctic energy balance.

"The Arctic is showing the first unmistakable signs of climate warming caused by human activities, in the form of rapidly retreating and thinning sea ice," Lubin said. "This rapid climate change in the Arctic may have profound implications for both fragile ecosystems and unique modes of human habitation. Our study illustrates how human activity can influence Arctic climate in more than one way, by changing the way clouds warm the climate, in addition to the carbon dioxide increases. It is also another example of human industrial activity's surprising impact on remote polar regions, the most famous example being the Antarctic 'ozone hole' discovered in the mid-1980s."

 In a process known as the first aerosol indirect effect, enhanced aerosol concentrations cause the droplets in a cloud to be smaller and more numerous within a cloud of fixed water amount. This study found that this process can make the clouds more opaque and emit more thermal energy to the surface.

Scientists believe that the warming of the Arctic climate and decreases in the area and thickness of sea ice are caused by greenhouse gas warming. The Arctic region also experiences large periodic influxes of aerosols originating from the industrial regions to the south. Using data from the DOE ARM Climate Research Facility in Barrow, Alaska, Vogelmann and Lubin determined that enhanced aerosol amounts can make clouds emit more thermal energy to the surface. In an aerosol-cloud process, increased aerosol concentrations cause the cloud droplets to become smaller and, within clouds of fixed water amounts, more abundant. Vogelmann and Lubin discovered that this process makes many clouds more opaque and emit more thermal energy to the surface, by an average of 3.4 watts per square meter, which is comparable to that by increased greenhouse gases.

"Before this study, we didn't really know how this process would affect emission of thermal energy from the cloud to the surface," Vogelmann said. "It's now clear that it contributes significantly to warming at ground level."

Because sunlight is generally weak in the Arctic, the clouds, via their emission of thermal energy, normally exert a net warming on the Arctic climate system throughout most of the year, except briefly during the summer.

"We focused on thin, single-layer clouds that are close to the surface, with temperatures that would favor them containing liquid water," said Vogelmann. "Arctic researchers recently discovered that liquid water largely governs Arctic cloud radiative properties during spring and summer, with liquid water being found in clouds at temperatures as low as -34 degrees Celsius."

"We have concluded that the aerosol-cloud process—called the first aerosol indirect effect— operates in the clouds we studied, and results in a greater downward thermal emission from the cloud," Vogelmann said. "Its contribution to the surface warming is comparable to that by the so-called greenhouse effect."

The key to understanding the thermal impact of this aerosol-cloud effect lays in the long-term measurements made at the DOE ARM Climate Research Facility, which has an extensive suite of sophisticated instruments for measuring the surface energy balance and atmospheric properties. These data were used with aerosol measurements made next door by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Modeling and Diagnostics Laboratory. Six years of data were used to determine the impact of aerosol on Arctic clouds and the surface thermal energy budget.

The research was supported by DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

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You should know that the early climate models gave such extreme future predictions that most peopl;e would not believe them. So they welcomed with open arms a series of papers which showed that sulphur-induced aerosols could cool the climate. They could then use these to fudge the models to fit the global average temperature record from weather stations (but not its pattern).
There  are hundreds of papers in the literature showing how sulphur-induced aerosols cool the climate. This is the first time they are supposed to warm the climate. If it is general most of the models will have to be abandoned. .Perhaps it only works in the Arctic, where they have a hard job explaining why it warms there and cools over the Antarctic.
The Mayor of Wanganui, Michael Laws, has complained that Met Office temperatures for his town are too cool. The Met Service say they always measure at the airport. Not so, as the instruments from Wellington airport were moved to Kelburnm, in the centre of town, some years ago.
I have pointed out for years that weather stations are for local use only, and were never intended to provide a global average. They were all originally in towns or ports and it was only in the 30s that they stared moving them to airports. This is the probable reason why the "average temperature" fell between 1940 and 1978. It picked up since as the airports were surrounded by buildings (but not much at Wanganui). Mr Laws has been promised a special city thermoneter but it would not help to provide a fair global average.
Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax 064 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that aint so"
Josh Billings