5 x 10: Has global warming ‘paused?’ Probably not

I’m a little under the weather today so apologies for the late posting.


A UK tabloid is certainly stirring the climate change debate — again — declaring that the reappearance of Arctic sea ice disproves
the scientists. The story, which appeared Saturday, seems as much a poke in the eye to the BBC as a statement of new science.

The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

In March, this newspaper further revealed that temperatures are about to drop below the level that the models forecast with ‘90 per cent certainty’.

The pause – which has now been accepted as real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’ predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter climate change.

Those predictions now appear gravely flawed.

Or not.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado released this assessment yesterday.

While the extent of sea ice in the Arctic is running ahead of 2012, it’s still below the average, and is tracking a familiar pattern, according to the Center.

On The Guardian’s Climate Consensus blog, John Abraham and Dana Nuccatelli call the Daily Mail’s scientific assessment “delusional.”

The reason so many climate scientists predicted more ice this year than last is quite simple. There’s a principle in statistics known as “regression toward the mean,” which is the phenomenon that if an extreme value of a variable is observed, the next measurement will generally be less extreme. In other words, we should not often expect to observe records in consecutive years. 2012 shattered the previous record low sea ice extent; hence ‘regression towards the mean’ told us that 2013 would likely have a higher minimum extent.

The amount of Arctic sea ice left at the end of the annual melt season is mainly determined by two factors – natural variability (weather patterns and ocean cycles), and human-caused global warming. The Arctic has lost 75 percent of its summer sea ice volume over the past three decades primarily due to human-caused global warming, but in any given year the weather can act to either preserve more or melt more sea ice. Last year the weather helped melt more ice, while this year the weather helped preserve more ice.

The bloggers say they predicted the increase in ice and the noise from climate change deniers as a result. They also noted that while the Daily Mail attributes “many scientists” for its contrarian view, they name only one: a Wisconsin scientist who claims global warming has “paused.” That’s incorrect, the pair asserts.


It’s harder and harder for politicians to stand out from their competition at election time. A Moorhead City Council candidate thinks he’s discovered a way. Julian Dahlquist, running for the 3rd Ward council seat, is promising to only spend money with Moorhead businesses.

His colleagues call it “a gimmick.”


Parents of adopted children are trading them in, a Reuters story today claims.

It tracks the experience of Quita Puchalla, who is now 21 and living in Wisconsin. Her parents — if that’s what you can call them — adopted her as a teenager from Liberia, had difficulty with her (see the teenager part of this) and gave up on her. They put an ad on the Internet and within two days, an Illinois couple stepped forward.

They turned out to be monsters.

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from a five-year period on one Internet message board, a Yahoo group. On average, a child was advertised for re-homing there once a week. Most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad — from countries such as Russia and China, Ethiopia and Ukraine. The youngest was 10 months old. One participant referred to the re-homing forums as “‘farms’ in which to select children.”

A 10-year-old boy from the Philippines and a 13-year-old boy from Brazil each were advertised three times. So was a girl from Haiti. She was offered for re-homing when she was 14, 15 and 16 years old.

“I would have given her away to a serial killer, I was so desperate,” one mother wrote in a March 2012 post about her 12-year-old daughter.


“By the time we graduate from high school, nearly all of us will have broken at least one law and many of us will have broken a quite colorful variety of them,” Walker Angell writes today on streets.mn.

Angell observed people on bikes:

Throughout this summer I also observed kids riding habits. I saw perhaps a hundred kids (and many parents) blow through the multitude of stop signs on that path along Centerville Rd in Vadnais Heights (above) but never saw anyone actually obey all of them (though a small handful did stop for the first two or three further back from where the photo was taken). They seemed much better at waiting for crossing signals. At busier intersections about 80% of kids waited while at others I’d guesstimate about 30% did so. Adults? not so law abiding.

These kids, nearly all under about 14, have already learned something important—U.S. laws are not necessarily to be obeyed. This seed will grow in the coming years as they begin to drive and face the fear of obeying the speed limit on a highway with nearly every other car going 10 mph over, or of deciding whether to completely stop at the rightmost side of a very lonely T-intersection they go through every day.

From the looks of things, Angell isn’t about to let you drivers off the hook. In Part 2, Angell looks at right turn on red. And who doesn’t have a story about drivers who are using that law to blow through red lights?


Ballooning over the St. Croix Valley.

Bonus I: The High Cost to Your Family of Filing for Social Security at 62, Even If You Need the Money (PBS)

Bonus II: Sioux Falls: It's Been a Boom Town Before (James Fallows – The Atlantic).

Bonus III: A golf club in Verona, Wisconsin knows how to celebrate the day several thousand people died in the U.S.


The course manager has now apologized. (h/t: Romenesko)


How are you trying to conserve energy?

(Bob answers: I bought my first LED lights last week. Three of them. Total: $80. By my calculation, I will have to live beyond my life expectancy for it to pay off monetarily)


At 8 p.m., MPR News will offer special live coverage of President Obama’s address to the nation. He’ll make his case for military action against Syria. NPR will anchor the coverage and we expect it to end at 9p. Fresh Air will be preempted.

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Young Invincibles and healthcare

Second hour: Military options in Syria.

Third hour: The emergent church movement.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Part 1: BBC documentary: “The Congress and the Commander in Chief.” (about the war powers of Congress and the president). Part 2: Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syria testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 9/3/13.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Proposals & Threats, But No Answers for Syria | The Quest to Save AM Radio | Recruiting & Retaining Women at the Top

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Driven by a desire for clean energy, by fuel prices, by federal money and legislative incentives, many Minnesota communities are turning to small, local projects to generate electricity and heat. On the leading edge is Red Wing, which is installing 217 kilowatts of solar power on city buildings, but every place that tries community power generation seems to put its individual stamp on it. Franklin has a biomass boiler to burn ag waste and wood pellets. Royalton has solar panels on city hall and is considering a wind project to pump wastewater. Lac qui Parle County is tapping geothermal potential. Others, like Ely, have been kicking ideas around for years but having trouble getting somewhere. Jennifer Vogel will have the story (which is online now).