American Elephants


Could Global Warming Slow the Rise of the Sea Level? by The Elephant's Child

Since the first Planet of the Apes movie, the image of the Statue of Liberty drowning in rising sea waters has been done and done and overdone. But images are powerful and that may have helped to make many people think that a global rise in sea levels is the most to-be feared consequence of global warming. Flooding Pacific Islands, environmental refugees, panic in the streets. If I remember correctly, Santa Barbara was going to paint a line on city streets to indicate the potential rise of waters.

Remember that Obama predicted a deceleration of sea level rise when he accepted the Democratic Party nomination in 2008. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.”  Some scientists have predicted an acceleration of ongoing global rise, while others insist stoutly that there has been no increase in the rise of sea level. Here is climate scientist S. Fred Singer to explain the complications.

The difficulty with projections of sea level rise is nicely illustrated by the IPCC. The initial estimates of its first assessment report (1990) showed a range of 10-367 cm for sea level rise in 2100. The second report published in 1996 narrowed the range to 3-124 cm. The third report published in 2001 showed 11-77 cm. The fourth assessment report published in 2007 showed 14-43 cm in draft form but changed it to 18-59 cm in the final printed version.  As can be seen, the maximum SLR decreased successively as estimates improved.  All these IPCC projections are very much smaller than the extreme values of about 600 cm (20 feet!) by activist-scientist James Hansen (and by climate multi-millionaire Al Gore) — which assume excessive melting of the Greenland icecaps.

If you pour yourself a glass of water and add some ice cubes, as the ice melts the glass does not overflow. Keep that in mind. If you add another handful of ice, the glass may overflow.

During the strong warming of 1920-1940 there was no SLR — indicating a rough balance between the opposing effects.  In fact, scrutinizing the record, I can even discern a slight lowering of sea level, an over-compensation.  Unfortunately, back then in 1997 we had no data on Antarctic ice accumulation; so the hypothesis was not publishable.  However, now we do have sufficient data in support of such a scenario.

But if, as surmised, ice accumulation roughly balances ocean thermal expansion and contributions from melting mountain glaciers, why then is sea level rising?  Another riddle requiring a solution.

The relevant clue comes from corals and from geological observations: It seems that sea level has been rising for the past centuries at about the same rate as seen by tidal gauges in the last 100 years.  In other words, sea level was rising even during the colder Little Ice age, from about 1400 to 1850 AD.  This provides further support for the hypothesis that the observed global SLR since 1900 is reasonably independent of the observed temperature rise.  [It is also a killing argument against a widely quoted (‘semi-empirical’) theory that assumes rate of SLR is proportional to global surface temperature.]

Dr. Singer concludes that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is not floating ice but like a mountain glacier—contributes more water to the ocean thus raising the sea level by about 7 inches per century. The melting will continue for another several millennia until the ice sheet is all gone (barring another ice age in the meantime), and there is nothing that we can do to stop this future rise. It is as inevitable as the ocean tides. Do read the whole thing. You will become an expert, able to dispel the anxieties of the true believers, and  your own, if any. Learn how they measure, and how recent studies have clarified the picture. And no, even Obama’s valiant efforts had not the slightest effect.



Can Someone Explain The Democrats’ Ideology? by The Elephant's Child

Daniel Henninger ‘s column on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal was a particular gem (subscription barrier). Like most of us he is trying to grasp the current configuration of the Democratic Party. They are stuck. Don’t know where they are going nor why, don’t understand why they lost, and their ideas are all old, very old, and very tired.

On climate change, Democrats believe they know to the 10th decimal place that Earth is on the brink of an apocalypse. But by their own admission this week, they don’t have a clue about which way the wind is blowing with the American voter.

On Monday the Democrats released something called “A Better Deal,” a set of policy ideas to win back voters. Think of it as the party laying down the first quarter-mile of blacktop on its road back to power.

The short version of “A Better Deal” is that they would bust up corporate trusts (Teddy Roosevelt, circa 1902), ramp up public-works spending ( FDR, circa the Great Depression) and enact various tax credits (Washington, circa eternity).

The more interesting question here lies in the document’s unspoken subtext: How in God’s name did we lose a presidential election to . . . him?

There’s a very famous old cover of the New Yorker magazine demonstrating the map of the United States as the mind of New York city’s elite conceive of it. Hillary referred to middle America as “the deplorables” (probably one of the reasons she lost), and how many columns have you seen since the election explaining that those who voted for Trump were working class who were not college educated. The Democrats do like to emphasize the “not college educated” and “working class” which is, of course nonsense. The working class ( doesn’t almost everybody work?) is, I suppose, identified as those who work in the trades, or factory workers.

I know lots of people who graduated from college who didn’t learn much of anything from that experience, and lots of people who never attended college and have made a great success of their lives. Sneering at “flyover country” really identifies those who (usually incorrectly) think especially well of themselves. Most Americans think of themselves as middle class patriotic Americans, and that “class distinctions” were something we left behind with the Brits when we won the Revolution, and we enjoy when we watch old British movies and root for the “underclass” in the kitchen.

The American Dream has always been that anyone can rise and they can  hope that their kids can do better than they did. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. That everyone has the opportunity to make the most of themselves and their talents and abilities. The idea that you can make everybody equal has always been absurd, but Democrats also seem to believe that you can fix human nature, and get rid of the annoying traits that they don’t like. But human nature, by definition, is immutable and unchangeable—even with leftist indoctrination and instruction. Unfortunately, you can’t teach lefties much of anything. It all seems to be ideology.

In the news, a 20-time deported Mexican national moved to a Sanctuary City, in this case, Portland, and allegedly broke into the home of a 65-year old woman, tied her up, held her at knifepoint, and raped her. Court records show a long criminal record, besides the 20 times he was deported. Criminal aliens are drawn to sanctuary cities. Some 300 jurisdictions in the country refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.

In another case, Sanctuary cities are protecting MS-13 gang members from deportation. Can someone explain why Democrats defend Sanctuary Cities, and ignore the fact that they lure the criminal aliens, ignore the murders and violence? Surely the idea that the sanctuary designation allows them to feel good about their compassion  is not an adequate justification. That is merely an example in a long list of what would seem to be a very confused ideology. It makes no sense at all.




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