Daily Archives: July 30, 2011

Climate models substantially hotter than actual climate

Climate models make too hot forecasts of global warming

physorg.com | Jul 29, 2011

By Daniel Horton

Data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.”

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.

In research published this week in the journal Remote Sensing, Spencer and UAHuntsville’s Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks.

Instead, the satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed energy more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak.

“At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained,” Spencer said.

This is the first time scientists have looked at radiative balances during the months before and after these transient temperature peaks.

Applied to long-term climate change, the research might indicate that the climate is less sensitive to warming due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere than climate modelers have theorized. A major underpinning of global warming theory is that the slight warming caused by enhanced greenhouse gases should change cloud cover in ways that cause additional warming, which would be a positive feedback cycle.

Instead, the natural ebb and flow of clouds, solar radiation, heat rising from the oceans and a myriad of other factors added to the different time lags in which they impact the atmosphere might make it impossible to isolate or accurately identify which piece of Earth’s changing climate is feedback from manmade greenhouse gases.

“There are simply too many variables to reliably gauge the right number for that,” Spencer said. “The main finding from this research is that there is no solution to the problem of measuring atmospheric feedback, due mostly to our inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in our observations.”

For this experiment, the UAHuntsville team used surface temperature data gathered by the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Great Britain. The radiant energy data was collected by the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The six climate models were chosen from those used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The UAHuntsville team used the three models programmed using the greatest sensitivity to radiative forcing and the three that programmed in the least sensitivity.

Army officers could be fast-tracked into police

“We are interested in radical proposals for the future of leadership and training in the police service.”

Army officers could be fast-tracked into the police under proposals to improve management standards in the emergency service.

telegraph.co.uk | Jul 24, 2011

The Government is ready to end the requirement for all recruits to undergo a two year probationary period before entering the service with every entrant being expected to serve some time as a constable.

Soldiers, lawyers and even foreign police chiefs are being considered under proposals for a fast-track entry scheme drawn up by Tom Winsor, the former rail regulator, who was called in by the Government to advise on an the future structure of the force.

“As the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons this week, we are interested in radical proposals for the future of leadership and training in the police service,” said a Home Office spokesman.

“Tom Winsor, the government’s independent reviewer of police pay and conditions, is considering the issue of entry into the police service and will make recommendations in the second part of his review, due to be published early next year.”

Last week David Cameron suggested that senior officers from abroad could be brought in to “turn round” the police force.

He called for “radical proposals” on how fresh leadership could be brought into the police force, raising the prospect of an outsiders being appointed as a chief constable.

Mr Cameron told MPs: “At the moment, the police system is too closed. There is only one point of entry into the force. There are too few – and arguably too similar – candidates for the top jobs. I want to see radical proposals for how we can open up our police force and bring in fresh leadership.

“The Government is introducing elected police and crime commissioners, ensuring there is an individual holding their local force to account on behalf of local people.”

But it was clear that proposals to bring outsiders into senior managerial positions face resistance from existing officers.

Simon Reed, the vice – chairman of the Police Federation, said it was important that recruits began as constables “in order to understand and appreciate the importance of policing by consent”.

He also said it was imperative that senior officers had an “understanding and real experience” of working within Britain’s legal system.

Peter Fahy, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, warned that allowing people from outside policing direct entry into senior positions would like “a medical student acting as a surgeon”.

Big Brother is watching you: The quiet town where EVERY car is tracked by police cameras


Quaint… and under surveillance: Royston, Hertfordshire is a small town with low-level crime, but is being monitored by the new police system

Residents believe the unmarked cameras are an invasion of their privacy.

Daily Mail | Jul 30, 2011

By Anna Edwards

A sleepy Home Counties market town has become the first in Britain to have every car passing through it tracked by police cameras.

Royston, in Hertfordshire, has had a set of police cameras installed on every road leading in and out of it, recording the numberplate of every vehicle that passes them.

The automatic number-plate recognition system will check the plates against a variety of databases, studying them for links to crimes, and insurance and tax records, and alerting police accordingly.

There were just seven incidents of vehicle crime in the town last month, and residents believe the unmarked cameras are an invasion of their privacy.

The system, due to be switched on in the next few days, also allows police to compile ‘hotlists’ of vehicles that they are interested in and which will be flagged up when the ANPR system

Details of the cars movements will stay on police records for two years, or five if the car is connected to a crime, the Guardian reported.

The system, which is operated regionally, has sparked fears that the data could be abused and has led to claims that it is a big brother network that the public are completely oblivious of.

Guy Herbert, general secretary from NO2ID, which campaigns against databases storing the public’s details, said: ‘It’s very sinister and quite creepy.

‘They can approach anyone they like, but there’s no legal basis for them doing so.

‘There’s no way to regulate how they use ANPR, they are the authority on it and they have their own rules.

‘So there’s no way to protect people’s privacy.’

Mr Herbert also takes issue with the fact that the cameras are not advertised to the motorist, so many are unaware they have even been caught on the camera.

But Inspector Andy Piper, the ANPR manager for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, and a Royston resident himself, insists that the system will not be abused.

He told the Guardian: ‘We only deal with people we’re interested in stopping – that’s the criminal element that comes into our county intent on committing crime, and unsafe drivers, disqualified drivers, or people driving uninsured vehicles, who we want to take off the road.’

The ANPR cameras, which are not usually advertised to the public, seem bizarre given Royston’s low level of crime. The town has a population of 15,000.

Following the most recent meeting of the Royston Neighbourhood Panel, it was decided that the local top priority of speeding should be replaced by shoplifting.

So some have questioned why Hertfordshire Police have taken such measures to track all of cars coming in and out of the town, which borders the Cambridgeshire and Essex counties.

Former Royston mayor Rod Kennedy believes the system is targeting the wrong area and details of vehicles should be deleted, unless they have committed a crime or are not registered.

‘I just feel that we are on this slippery slope where everything we do will be monitored. I don’t see why the honest citizen in a rural area such as this should have their movements tracked.’

But Inspector Piper told the Mail that many businesses were in favour of the system.

‘On first sight, the ANPR coverage of such a low crime town as Royston may seem an unusual choice, but ANPR works both as a deterrent and a detection tool.

‘The local district council and local business group funded the cameras to help protect their businesses and local residents from crime.

‘And when we look at the bigger picture in terms of Hertfordshire, as well as nationally, the position of the cameras makes a lot of sense strategically to target those criminals travelling into the county on the main roads in that area.’

The ANPR system uses a mixture of mobile cameras inside police cars and fixed installations in some locations.

Police argue it helps trace missing people and identify witnesses to help with crimes but James Welch, Legal Director for Liberty, a human rights campaigning group said there needs to be tougher rules to stop it from being vulnerable to misuse.

‘ANPR technology captures an identifying marker – a car’s number plate – so has the capability to track and record an individual’s movements far more intrusively than CCTV,’ he said.

‘While there may be crime detection gains the potential for abuse is great.

‘We need an informed debate about the extent and potential of this technology and proper statutory regulation is already long overdue.’

Emails Show White House Promotes Genetically Engineered Crops in Wildlife Refuges

Truthout | Jul 25, 2011

by  Mike Ludwig

Monsanto researchers in Stonington, Illinois, are working to develop new soybean varieties in this July 2006 file photo. According to PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, "The White House is engaging in a joint effort with Monsanto ... and as we understand it, it's part of a White House pledge to double exports," (Photo: Monsanto via The New York Times)

The Obama administration is supporting genetically engineered (GE) agriculture in more than 50 national wildlife refuges across the country and watchdog groups say internal emails among top administration officials reveal that the GE plots are a priority in the White House.

Earlier this year, a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and its allies halted the planting of GE crops in US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife refuges in northeastern states. Now PEER claims the Obama administration is working with the biotech lobby to shield GE plots in refuges from future legal challenges.

A January 10, 2011 email obtained by PEER reveals that biotech lobbyist Adrianne Massey contacted Peter Schmeissner, the senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology, about the legal challenge to GE crop plantings in northeastern refuges.

Massey, who has made a career out of promoting biotechnology across the world, promotes the public policy of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), a lobby funded by Monsanto and other biotech firms.

The Obama administration recently created the White House Agricultural Biotechnology Working Group and GE crop opponents claim the interagency group has teamed up with BIO to boost exports of GE crops to countries that have grown leery of America’s increasingly transgenic food supply.

Massey also emailed Schmeissner about legally mandated environmental assessments of GE crops in wildlife refuges. PEER contends the emails are evidence of “collusion” between the Obama administration and the biotech lobby, but it remains unclear how much sway BIO actually holds within the administration. The Office of Science and Technology did not respond to an inquiry from Truthout.

The biotechnology working group features top-level officials from almost every agency under the Obama administration involved in agricultural trade and beyond, including the State Department, the Justice Department, the Office of Budget and Management, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Other internal emails reveal that Schmeissner asked top officials in the working group to comment on new environmental assessments of GE crop plantings in refuges across the country. The mandatory assessment can help the government defend the GE crop plantings from legal challenges. So. how did tiny parcels GE crops in wildlife refuges become a priority for top White House officials?

For years, the Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed farming on national wildlife refuges for the purpose of habitat restoration. The agency claims farming helps develop native grasslands and provides food for wildlife.

Deborah Rocque, a top official for the wildlife refuge system, told Truthout that GE crops restore habitats in ways that conventional crops cannot. Crops that are genetically engineered to tolerate herbicide (such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn and soy) provide beneficial ground cover and the herbicides can be sprayed across entire fields, killing only unwanted weeds, but sparring the GE crops.

Conservationists can debate whether blanketing parcels of wildlife refuges with GE crops and plant-killing chemicals is sound land management practice or an ecologically dangerous experiment, but PEER believes that BIO and the Obama administration are not interested in habitat restoration.

“The White House is engaging in a joint effort with Monsanto … and as we understand it, it’s part of a White House pledge to double exports,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

The US has had trouble in recent years exporting GE crops to Europe, where many consumers are skeptical about GE foods and some countries mandate that foods containing GE ingredient must be labeled. Now that more than 90 percent of corn and soy grown in America is GE, the government has a vested interest in promoting the acceptance of GE crops in other countries.

“These plans are based on the curious notion that wildlife benefit from having the small slivers of habitat set aside for them covered by genetically engineered soybeans,” Ruch said of the program in an earlier release. “To boost US exports, the Obama administration is forcing wildlife refuges into political prostitution.”

PEER claims that Fish and Wildlife policy did not allow for GE crops in wildlife refuges unless found essential for some purpose, and some European countries pointed to the policy as evidence that GE crops are not environmentally sound. So by using environmental assessments to justify GE crop plantings in picturesque wildlife refuges, the Obama administration and agribusiness firms can clean up the tarnished image of GE crops worldwide.

Rocque, however, said that Fish and Wildlife never had a policy whether or not GE crops should be planted in refuges and it simply makes sense to use herbicide-resistant GE crops as a habitat restoration tool.

Ruch said PEER filed its first legal challenge after being contacted by Fish and Wildlife biologists who opposed using refuge land to grow GE crops. PEER later obtained an internal email among Fish and Wildlife officials that the group believes is evidence that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has put pressure on the agency to get in line with the broader administration’s stance on GE agriculture.

In the January 14 email, Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes tells Fish and Wildlife Deputy Director Tom Ashe and Interior Department official Tom Strickland that Vilsack is “somewhat exercised that the Administration is not being consistent in supporting genetically engineered crops.”

“This is the White House telling Fish and Wildlife to get out of the way,” Ruch said.

Rocque, however, said she is unaware of any internal pressure from the White House to promote the planting of GE crops in wildlife refuges.

Norwegian killer visited Malta


Anders Behring Breivik, “A pawn in a game bigger than he can ever imagine…”

Times of Malta | Jul 25, 2011

by Sarah Carabott

Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old man behind the Norwegian massacre that left at least 92 people dead on Friday, claimed Malta was among the countries “he had the privilege to experience”.

Included in his list of 24 countries, mainly northern European states, are a few “exotic” destinations such as Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, China, Mexico, Cyprus and Malta.

It is unclear, however, whether Mr Breivik, described as a far right, Christian fundamentalist, visited Malta as part of his fascination with the knights.

Related

In a 12-minute YouTube video, “Knights Templar 2083”, which was posted along with a 1,500-page manifesto six hours before the massacre, Mr Breivik recycles the iconography of the crusades into a vision of the future that sees Christians having to fight Muslims once again.

He now faces charges related to the killing of at least 85 young people attending a summer camp organised by the ruling Labour party on Utoeya island and the simultaneous bombing of the government quarter in downtown Oslo which left another seven people dead.

The YouTube video is a rant on the rise of cultural Marxism and Islamic colonisation.

The video includes quotes by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the Norwegian based “Jihadi ideologue” Mullah Krekar, while another shot depicts a bloody profile of a fair-haired girl, captioned: “Has your daughter, sister or girlfriend experienced cultural enrichment by the local Muslim community yet?”

In section three, Hope, a clip reads “Onward, Christian Soldiers! Because in only 14 years, by 2025, a majority of our Western European capitals will be Muslim cities, just as Marseille became majority Muslim in 2010! And in only 39 years, by 2050, this will be the fate of our countries as well! Unless we manage to defeat the ruling Multiculturalist Alliance!”

The video ends with images of knights during battle and a photo of Mr Behring Breivik himself in military uniform decorated with badges of merit including one that looks like a Maltese cross.

On the local far right site vivamalta.org, the Norwegian massacre attracted a lot of criticism.

The group’s leader, Norman Lowell, dismissed the gunman as a “poor patsy Jew lover. He is Zionistically, fanatically anti-Muslim”. He said the whole manifesto was “nauseatingly pro-Israel”.

Asked whether Mr Behring Breivik had made contact with him while in Malta, Imperium Europa’s founder said he had not.

The rest of the group seemed to toe Mr Lowell’s line, describing the man as “a pawn in a game bigger than he can ever imagine,” while others criticised the media for portraying the killer as a Neo-Nazi or a National Socialist.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Party disassociated itself from a claim within the manifesto which included a list of European organisations and political parties which the author said were anti-immigration or far right.

The list includes Malta’s Nationalist Party, Imperium Europa, Viva Malta and Azzjoni Nazzjonali.

In a statement, the PN said its “position on immigration is clear — people’s life and dignity supersedes any other interest. The PN celebrates diversity in customs, cultures and skin colour and does not punish them.

“The Nationalist government implemented and will continue to implement this in practice especially when faced with situations of human tragedies, of people fleeing terror, wars and famine.”

The Violent videos of Oslo killer’s ‘mentor’

The suspected “mentor” of the Oslo killer Anders Breivik has backed violent videos apparently advocating a “war between Christians and Islamists” and the establishment of “Order 777” it can be disclosed.

Telegraph | Jul 29, 2011

By Duncan Gardham

The Daily Telegraph can reveal further troubling details about the men who have emerged as a possible leading influence on Breivik.

A British blogger called Paul Ray, who uses the name “Lionheart” and his associate Nick Greger, a former German neo-Nazi, have admitted being members of a group that appears to advocate a violent struggle against Muslims.

The group, calling itself Order 777, claims to bring together Christian resistance movements and features a depiction of a Templar Knight with the slogan “The Order 777 Strikes Back!” alongside footage of a variety of armed gangs with the words “factions united.”

The groups include the UFF in Northern Ireland, Serbian nationalists, Liberian and Congolese fighters and members of the neo-fascist AWB in South Africa.

Related

Lionheart Blog

In one clip Mr Greger is handling a Kalashnikov and in another says: “The war of the future will be a war of the religions.”

Mr Ray has denied that he has had any contact with Breivik but yesterday admitted that his movement appeared to be violent.

“It might seem that way,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “What can I say? It’s pretty clear. People can understand [the videos] however they want to understand them.”

Mr Ray, originally from Luton, Bedfordshire but now living in Malta, said Order 777 was “commanded” by Mr Greger – known as “Nazi Nick” or “Mad Nick” – and he was “aligned with his leadership.”

The Order 777

“It does look quite bad doesn’t it? I can’t say it doesn’t,” he added.

The Daily Telegraph revealed earlier this week that there were striking similarities between Mr Ray and a person called “Richard (the Lionhearted)” who Breivik claimed acted as a mentor and set up a secretive group called the Knights Templar in London in 2002.

Like Mr Ray, Breivik said the man may have been “one of the founders” of the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) and much of the language used in Breivik’s list of principles for the Knights Templar was similar.

Mr Ray later told this newspaper that he could have acted as inspiration for Breivik but denounced his actions.

He added yesterday: “If he had been a follower of mine he would have attacked Muslims not left wingers. He’s just clothed himself in the Templar ideals.”

Mr Ray said he had been “racking my brains about this guy” and that Breivik may have approached him on the Facebook social network site but that he could not be sure.

“He has just taken stuff off the videos and used it for his own gain,” he added.

Mr Ray said he did not become involved in the right-wing anti-Muslim movement until 2006, when he helped found the EDL.

Nevertheless a number of similarities between the “compendium” and the Order 777 videos have begun to emerge.

Breivik said he had attended the founding meeting of the “Knights Templar Europe” in London “after visiting one of the initial facilitators, a Serbian Crusader Commander and war hero, in Monrovia, Liberia.”

Both the “compendium” and the Order 777 videos feature a man called Milorad Ulemek, a former commander of the Red Berets, a unit of the Serbian security Services called the JSO, who was arrested in 2004 and convicted of the assassinations of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic and of organising the attempted murder of the Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic.

The videos also feature Charles Taylor, the former Liberian dictator now facing war crimes trials, and a girl called “Black Diamond” who fought on the rebel army against Taylor in 2003.

Some of the videos also feature a trance music soundtrack – a kind of music Breivik enjoyed listening to.

It may be that Breivik has altered dates in order to claim association with individuals connected to Order 777 but Scotland Yard’s Domestic Extremism Unit and the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) both refused last night to say whether Breivik visited Britain and Liberia in 2002 as he claims. He admits that he did not start writing his “compendium” until 2006.

George W Bush ‘was projecting calm’ with 9/11 blank look


Bush sits in the classroom staring into space moments after allegedly being told that the United States was under attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Image still: Lions Gate Films

George W Bush says his blank reaction to the first news of the Sept 11 attacks while US president was a conscious decision to project an aura of calm in a crisis.

telegraph.co.uk | Jul 29, 2011

In a rare interview with the National Geographic Channel, Mr Bush reflected on what was going through his mind when he was informed that a second passenger jet had hit New York’s World Trade Center.

Mr Bush was visiting a Florida classroom at the time, and the incident – which was caught by television cameras – has often been used by critics to ridicule his apparently dazed response to the attack

“My first reaction was anger. Who the hell would do that to America? Then I immediately focused on the children, and the contrast between the attack and the innocence of children,” Mr Bush said.

Mr Bush said he could see journalists at the back of the classroom getting the news on their own cellphones “and it was like watching a silent movie.”

Mr Bush said he quickly realised that a lot of people beyond the room would be watching for his reaction.

“So I made the decision not to jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn’t want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm,” he said of his decision to remain seated and silent.

“I had been in enough crises to know that the first thing a leader has to do is to project calm,” he added.

The National Geographic Channel will broadcast the hour-long interview as part of a week of programs on the cable network called “Remembering 9/11” that mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

The interview was recorded over two days in May, without any questions being submitted in advance, the channel said.

National Geographic said Mr Bush gave “intimate details” of his thoughts and feelings in a way never seen before.

Most of the interview is about the first minutes and hours of the day that Islamic militants hijacked four planes and crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Executive producer and director Peter Schnall said Mr Bush, who has adopted a low public profile since leaving office in January 2009, brought no notes to the interview.

“What you hear is the personal story of a man who also happened to be our president. Listening to him describe how he grappled with a sense of anger and frustration coupled with his personal mandate to lead our country through this devastating attack was incredibly powerful,” Schnall said.

US television networks are planning a slew of specials to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.