July 19th 2014

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Divorce now costs Australia $14 billion a year

FIRST WORLD WAR Were we right to go to war in 1914?

EDITORIAL Deep fissures divide Islamist militants

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Iraq: examining the professed caliphate

SCHOOLS Preventing bullying with emotional intelligence

CANBERRA OBSERVED Media circus obscures foreign policy initiatives

FOREIGN AFFAIRS China's Confucius Institutes pushing Beijing's line

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Beijing fury over Hong Kong pro-democracy rallies

LIFE ISSUES At last, we wake up to the truth about Dr Death

EDUCATION Fifty years on: reflections of Monash's first graduate

ENVIRONMENT Alarm that emperor penguins endangered by global warming!

BOOK REVIEW Youth's call to arms

BOOK REVIEW Creator, midwife and guardian of science

BOOK REVIEW A knight-errant walking the mean streets

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Alarm that emperor penguins endangered by global warming!

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, July 19, 2014

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has, for the past 20 years, predicted imminent environmental catastrophe over global warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

Emperor penguins in the Antarctic

Its five-year reports cite global climate models as “proof” that temperatures will rise 2°C over the present century, unleashing an apocalypse of droughts, floods and natural disasters on the earth by the year 2100.

While CO2 levels are, indeed, rising — having recently reached the level of 400 parts per million (1 part in 2,500) — unfortunately global temperatures have had no net rise since 1998, some 16 years ago, despite the models’ predictions that earth temperatures should have continued to rise over that period.

The climate change industry has had to embark on a new strategy.

Instead of global warming, we are now told rising CO2 levels are causing “climate change”, contributing to everything from rising sea-levels, freezing weather in North America and Europe, acidification of the oceans, floods, wildfires and melting of the polar ice caps.

The latest alarming claim is that the iconic emperor penguins, the largest penguin species in Antarctica, are facing extinction.

London’s Daily Telegraph carried the report under the headline, “Emperor penguins are now endangered, warn biologists”. Many other papers carried similar reports.

A careful look at the article presents a different picture. It said the emperor penguins could become endangered if earth temperatures rise 2°C, as predicted by the IPCC by the end of this century.

The researchers say, “We propose that the emperor penguin is fully deserving of endangered status due to climate change, and can act as an iconic example of a new global conservation paradigm for species threatened by future climate change.”

Even a cursory look at the evidence presents a very different picture.

Scientific researchers have been travelling to Antarctica for years, looking at the lives of the penguins. After studying many penguin colonies, they have estimated that the total number is somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000.

However, recent data retrieved from satellite observation over the whole of Antarctica has shown that the actual number of emperor penguins is about 600,000, around twice the earlier land-based observations.

Further, there is no evidence that Antarctic temperatures are rising at all. In fact, the quantity of sea ice at the South Pole is now at historically high levels, suggesting that temperatures there are falling.

The reason for this is well understood. The Antarctic land mass is covered by ice. Around its periphery rage fierce winds, the northern-most portion of which are the Roaring Forties, circulating in the latitude band 40-50°S.

These winds effectively seal off the Antarctic continent from what is happening elsewhere on the planet.

In contrast, there is no land mass at the North Pole, and the Arctic Ocean which covers the area is also subject to inflows of warm water originating in the tropics. The result of this is that the quantity of sea ice in the northern hemisphere varies from a minimum of about 6 million square km to a maximum of 16 million square km every year.

Jim Steele, director emeritus of Sierra Nevada Field Campus, who has followed the fortunes of the emperor penguin, wrote recently that the evidence showed that declining penguin numbers at some sites were not due to climate change, but to interference with the colonies by the researchers themselves, causing many penguins to go to live elsewhere.

He also showed that the academic papers which predicted the demise of the emperor penguins were based on a flawed analysis of declining penguin numbers at just one colony.

Further, he showed that the researchers blamed the declining numbers in one colony on rising temperatures, when the actual temperature data collected at the research stations showed no net rise in temperature over the 58-year period from 1956 to 2014.

He also showed there was an interesting correlation between declining penguin numbers and interference with the penguin colony by researchers.

He explained: “Yet despite those obvious disruptions, and despite the growing and thickening sea ice, and despite the lack of any warming trend whatsoever, the scientific literature is spammed and the public bombarded with more propaganda claiming climate change has put penguins in peril.

“If we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics. And, basically, changing concentrations of CO2 [have] done absolutely nothing to hurt the emperor penguins” (WattsUpWithThat.com, July 1, 2014).

What is most disappointing is that climate alarmists refuse to engage with the failure of their computer models, or the absence of global warming since 1998, or the alternative explanations for the rise in global temperature in the late 20th century, including the impacts of sunspot activity, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the sequence of El Niños and La Niñas.

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