New Studies Flip Climate-Change Notions Upside Down

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Cold Sun Rising

Sam Khoury writes: The sun will go into “hibernation” mode around 2030, and it has already started to get sleepy. At the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual meeting in July, Professor Valentina Zharkova of Northumbria University in the UK confirmed it – the sun will begin its Maunder Minimum (Grand Solar Minimum) in 15 years. Other scientists had suggested years ago that this change was imminent, but Zharkova’s model is said to have near-perfect accuracy.

So what is a “solar minimum”?

Our sun doesn’t maintain a constant intensity. Instead, it cycles in spans of approximately 11 years. When it’s at its maximum, it has the highest number of sunspots on its surface in that particular cycle. When it’s at its minimum, it has almost none. When there are more sunspots, the sun is brighter. When there are fewer, the sun radiates less heat toward Earth.

But that’s not the only cooling effect of a solar minimum. A dim sun doesn’t deflect cosmic rays away from Earth as efficiently as a bright sun. So, when these rays enter our atmosphere, they seed clouds, which in turn cool our planet even more and increase precipitation in the form of rain, snow and hail.

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Solar cycles

Since the early 1800s we have enjoyed healthy solar cycles and the rich agriculture and mild northern temperatures that they guarantee. During the Middle Ages, however, Earth felt the impact of four solar minimums over the course of 400 years.

The last Maunder Minimum and its accompanying mini-Ice Age saw the most consistent cold, continuing into the early 1800s.

The last time we became concerned about cooler temperatures – possibly dangerously cooler – was in the 1970s. Global temperatures have declined since the 1940s, as measured by Pacific Decadal Oscillation. The PDO Index is a recurring pattern of ocean-atmosphere climate variability centred over the Pacific Ocean. Determined by deep currents, it is said to shift between warm and cool modes. Some scientists worried that it might stay cool and drag down the Atlantic Decadal Oscillation with it, spurring a new Ice Age. The fear was exacerbated by the fact that Earth has been in the current inter-glacial period for 10,000 years (depending on how the starting point is gauged).

If Earth were to enter the next Ice Age too quickly, glaciers could advance much further south, rainforests could turn into savannah, and sea levels could drop dramatically, causing havoc.

The BBC, all three major American TV networks, Time magazine and the New York Times all ran feature stories highlighting the scare. Fortunately, by 1978 the PDO Index shifted back to warm and the fear abated.

By the 1990s the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had formed the “97 per cent consensus”. The consensus was that Earth was warming more than it should, not just due to natural causes but also human activity. This was termed Anthropogenic Global Warming. The culprit was identified as carbon dioxide generated from the burning of fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry »


Four Teens Arrested After Police Uncover Shooting Plot to ‘Kill as Many People as Possible’ at California High School

Four teenagers have been arrested after detectives uncovered an alleged plot to shoot students and teachers at their Northern California high school.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department announced Saturday that the shooting plot at the school in Tuolumne in the Sierra Nevada foothills was in the beginning stages and no one got hurt.

Sheriff Jim Mele said detectives found evidence verifying the plot, which he said was ‘very detailed in nature and included the names of victims, locations and methods in which the plan was to be carried out.’

Thankful: The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department announced Saturday that the shooting plot Summerville High in the Sierra Nevada foothills was in the beginning stages and no one got hurt

‘They were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible on the campus,’ Mele said.

Close call: Four students were arrested in the plot, which Sheriff Jim Mele said got 'pretty dog-gone close' to becoming a reality

He said the probe began Wednesday after fellow students at Summerville High School noticed suspicious activities and reported them to the school staff.

The suspects were arrested for investigation of conspiracy to commit an assault with deadly weapons. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown’: Man-Made Drought: A Guide To California’s Water Wars

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Rep. Devin Nunes writes: In the summer of 2002, shortly before I was elected to Congress, I sat through an eye-opening meeting with representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council and several local environmental activist groups. Hoping to convince me to support various water restrictions, they argued that San Joaquin Valley farmers should stop growing alfalfa and cotton in order to save water — though they allowed that the planting of high-value crops such as almonds could continue.

Then, as our discussion turned to the groups’ overall vision for the San Joaquin Valley, they told me something astonishing:

Their goal was to remove 1.3 million acres of farmland from production. They showed me maps that laid out their whole plan: From Merced all the way down to Bakersfield, and on the entire west side of the Valley as well as part of the east side, productive agriculture would end and the land would return to some ideal state of nature. I was stunned by the vicious audacity of their goal — and I quickly learned how dedicated they were to realizing it.

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How To Steal Water And Get Away With It

For decades, extreme environmentalists have pursued this goal in California with relentless determination. The method they have used to depopulate the targeted land — water deprivation — has been ruthless and effective.

Much of the media and many politicians blame the San Joaquin Valley’s water shortage on drought, but that is merely an aggravating factor. From my experience representing California’s agricultural heartland, I know that our water crisis is not an unfortunate natural occurrence; it is the intended result of a long-term campaign waged by radical environmentalists who resorted to political pressure as well as profuse lawsuits.

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Working in cooperation with sympathetic judges and friendly federal and state officials, environmental groups have gone to extreme lengths to deprive the San Joaquin Valley, the heart of much of the U.S. agricultural production, of much-needed water. Consider the following actions they took:

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act: Backed by the NRDC, Sierra Club and other extreme environmental groups, large Democratic majorities in Congress passed the CVPIA in 1992 after attaching it to a must-pass public lands bill. The act stipulated that 800,000 acre-feet of water — or 260 billion gallons — on the Valley’s west side had to be diverted annually to environmental causes, with an additional 400,000 acre-feet later being diverted annually to wildlife refuges.

Smelt and salmon biological opinions: Lawsuits filed by the NRDC and similar organizations forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to issue, respectively, biological opinions on smelt (in 2008) and on salmon (in 2009). These opinions virtually ended operation of the Jones and Banks pumping plants — the two major pumping stations that move San Joaquin River Delta water — and resulted in massive diversions of water for environmental purposes.

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The San Joaquin River Settlement: After nearly two decades of litigation related to a lawsuit filed in 1988 by the National Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and other environmental groups, San Joaquin Valley agriculture organizations agreed to a settlement in 2006, later approved by a Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The settlement created the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. The program, which aims to create salmon runs along the San Joaquin River, required major new water diversions from Valley communities. Despite warnings from me and other California Republicans, agriculture groups naively approved the settlement based on false promises by the settlement’s supporters that Valley water supplies would eventually be restored at some future, unspecified date.

Groundwater regulation: In September 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown approved regulations requiring that water basins implement plans to achieve “groundwater sustainability” — essentially limiting how much water locals can use from underground storage supplies. But these pumping restrictions, slated to take effect over the next decade, will reduce access to what has become the final water source for many Valley communities, which have increasingly turned to groundwater pumping as their surface water supplies were drastically cut.

A Litany Of Hypocrisy

As radical groups have pursued this campaign to dry up the San Joaquin Valley, it’s worth noting some of their stunning contradictions, hypocrisies, fallacies and failures:

“There’s not enough water in California”: Environmentalists often claim that the California water crisis stems from the state not having enough water to satisfy its rapidly growing population, especially during a drought.

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However, the state in fact has abundant water flowing into the Delta, which is the heart of California’s irrigation structure. Water that originates in the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada Mountains runs off into the Delta, which has two pumping stations that help distribute the water throughout the state.

But on average, due to environmental regulations as well as a lack of water storage capacity (attributable, in large part, to activist groups’ opposition to new storage projects), 70% of the water that enters the Delta is simply flushed into the ocean. California’s water infrastructure was designed to withstand five years of drought, so the current crisis, which began about three years ago, should not be a crisis at all. During those three years, the state has flushed more than 2 million acre-feet of water — or 652 billion gallons — into the ocean due to the aforementioned biological opinions, which have prevented the irrigation infrastructure from operating at full capacity.

“Farmers use 80% of California’s water”: Having deliberately reduced the California water supply through decades of litigation, the radicals now need a scapegoat for the resulting crisis. So they blame farmers (“big agriculture,” as they call them) for using 80% of the state’s water.

This statistic, widely parroted by the media and some politicians, is a gross distortion. Of the water that is captured for use, farmers get 40%, cities get 10% and a full 50% goes to environmental purposes — that is, it gets flushed into the ocean. By arbitrarily excluding the huge environmental water diversion from their calculations — as if it is somehow irrelevant to the water crisis — environmentalists deceptively double the farmers’ usage from 40% to 80%.

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If at first you don’t succeed, do the exact same thing: Many of the Delta water cuts stem from the radicals’ litigation meant to protect salmon and smelt. Yet after decades of water reductions, the salmon population fluctuates wildly, while the smelt population has fallen to historic lows. The radicals’ solution, however, is always to dump even more water from the Delta into the ocean, even though this approach has failed time and again. Read the rest of this entry »