Dr. Fauci’s Hydroxychloroquine Denial

The commentary comes from Mikko Paunio’s article Dr. Fauci’s Hydroxychloroquine Denial.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As an epidemiologist, I believe that America has been profoundly ill-served by the contribution of its public health authorities to the debate on the efficacy of treating vulnerable COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). It is a debate with a direct link to whether America’s schools should reopen next month. Even those who reject the World Health Organization’s misleading comparison of COVID-19 with the horrendous 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and its presumption that humans lack any immunity against SARS-CoV-2 would welcome improvements in our ability to treat patients with COVID-19, in order to reduce the risk in reopening schools.

Distinguished Yale epidemiologist Harvey Risch has written extensively on the meticulous research demonstrating the efficacy of the early administration of HCQ in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin and zinc. Conclusions from this research are based on criteria developed by British epidemiologist Sir Bradford Hill and Sir Richard Doll, two of the first scientists to discover the causal link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer, criteria that laid the foundations of modern epidemiology and that are used to this day to determine whether an observed association can be ascribed to causation.  

Far from exploring this potential breakthrough in the treatment of COVID-19, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were both dismissive, condemning early outpatient treatment with the HCQ triple therapy as ineffective and dangerous. Instead, these agencies state that the only permissible way to determine its efficacy and safety is with randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Virologist Steven Hatfill has described a circle of self-reinforcing media commentary based on flawed, fraudulent, and withdrawn studies and the FDA’s mistaken decision to withdraw its HCQ Emergency Use Authorization, costing thousands of American lives.  See The Real HCQ Story: What We Now Know

Demanding proof when time is short and when there is highly suggestive observational evidence has been condemned by Drs. George Fareed, Michael Jacobs, and Donald Pompan in an open letter to Dr. Fauci. They point out that the FDA has approved many drugs without RCTspenicillin was so efficacious in treating pneumonia that there was no need for RCTs. Moreover, RCTs are not designed to test the efficacy of a therapy in high-risk outpatient settings before a patient is notified of the results of a test for COVID-19. It cannot be ethical for public health bodies to demand impossible standards of proof for potential lifesaving therapies.

To require an RCT for the HCQ triple therapy is indeed unethical; evidence supporting its use comes from large patient series, controlled trials, and even a natural experiment in the Brazilian state of Pará. In assessing ongoing patient outcomes, keep in mind that observations might be affected should the SARS-CoV-2 virus lose virulence. Spanish authorities report that fatality rates have fallen, even among elderly patients, which would be consistent with reduced SARS-CoV-2 virulence. This, too, should be considered by public authorities in assessing the risks associated with reopening schools.  See Death toll mounts as FDA denies HCQ for outpatient therapy

Yet rather than engage in proper debate, Dr. Fauci has resorted to name-calling. “The pushback has been furious,” Risch writes. Dr. Fauci “has implied that I am incompetent, notwithstanding my hundreds of highly regarded, methodologically relevant publications in peer-reviewed scientific literature.” Dr. Fauci’s position calls to mind that of English statistician Ronald A. Fisher, who in the 1950s vehemently argued against Hill and Doll and their finding that smoking causes lung cancer, on very similar grounds to those used by Dr. Fauci to dispute the efficacy of HCQ—that observational data cannot prove causality. This is an extraordinary position for America’s leading health official to adopt; by the same logic, Dr. Fauci would deny the evidence that tobacco smoking kills.  See  Hydroxychloroquine: A Morality Tale

Dr. Fauci has also waded into the debate on reopening schools, arguing that they should remain closed where the virus is circulating. While the effect of reopening schools on community transmission is uncertain, we know that keeping them closed harms children, especially those in poorer communities. This should not be a matter of politics, left or right. In Britain, chief medical officers have issued a statement on the benefits of school to children and the “exceptionally small risk” of children dying from COVID-19. In my country, Finland, Prime Minister Sanna Marin, a left-of-center Social Democrat, decided in May that Finnish children should return to school, despite opposition from the teachers’ union.

It would be a needless calamity for America’s schools not to reopen at the start of the new school year—and a calamity not to protect the vulnerable with the most efficacious therapies we have.

Clinical evidence strongly supports the use of the HCQ triple therapy at an early stage for the elderly and those with comorbidities. I earnestly hope that Dr. Fauci reconsiders his opposition to HCQ and restores his hitherto considerable reputation.  See HCQ Proven First Responder to SARS CV2

Dr. Mikko Paunio, an epidemiologist, has held positions at the University of Helsinki, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the European Commission, the World Bank, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland.

Footnote:  Excerpt below from COVID-19, Orwell, and the media by Samar Razaq writing at the British Journal of General Practice.

The power of the numbers was immense; a nation paralysed despite being unable to put the numbers into any context. Telling patients that on average 10 000 people die every week in the UK2 (approximately 1500 every day) had little impact on them. The incessant 24-hour media coverage had everyone spooked by an invisible enemy, much like the Eurasian army that had spooked the inhabitants of London in Orwell’s novel.

As a degree of normality has begun to be restored, thanks to the persistently low prevalence levels of COVID-19, mundane chats with my patients often end up discussing the ‘second wave’. There seems to be a general preparedness among everyone for the ‘inevitable second wave’. Reading and hearing about the second wave often reminds me of Orwell’s masterful creation. There is a general agreement that there is no scientific consensus on what a second wave actually is; yet it is on the tongue of every doctor and patient I speak to. At what point does one declare that a second wave has begun?

The figure of 120 000 expected deaths in a winter peak makes the headlines,3 but the fact that the number could be as low as 1300 fails to get a mention in some news outlets.4 The Office for National Statistics reported a prevalence of 0.09% on 25 June 20205 (a non-significant rise from the 0.06% reported in the prior week due to overlapping confidence intervals).6 This was picked up by one media outlet as a cause for pessimism and a sign of a probable impending second wave.7 The prevalence dropped to 0.04% the following week.8 I noticed an amendment in the article a few days later, acknowledging this drop in terms of halving the number of cases.7 This received barely two lines hidden in the middle of the article, with no change to the pessimistic title of the article predicting the second wave. Data released on 17 July revealed a persistently low prevalence at 0.04%.9

Well-respected epidemiologists predicted, from the outset, that the societal, economic, and psychological harm from the unprecedented lockdowns were likely to be far greater than the perceived risk of death. However, such views were lost in the narrative of fear that predominated the early discussions on the matter and treated like an Orwellian Thoughtcrime.

As GPs we should reassure our patients and encourage their active participation in bringing forward other health worries that they may have been ignoring over the last few months.

It is important that as the collateral damage of the steps taken in the last few months to curb the virus becomes clearer and the lower than initially expected fatality rate emerges, a sense of responsibility is demonstrated by those charged with informing the public.

Postscript: This update from CDC (here)  H/T William Briggs (here)

Table 3 shows the types of health conditions and contributing causes mentioned in conjunction with deaths involving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. The number of deaths with each condition or cause is shown for all deaths and by age groups. 

Comment by William Briggs:

Six percent.

The other number of interest is the official coronadoom death total, which as of Sunday night is 167,558. Math is easy: 167,558 * 0.06 = 10,054. Rounded up, to be fair.

The remaining 157,504 died of other things—an average 2.6 other things!—with the presence of coronadoom. Some fraction of these poor people, considering false positives, died of just other things.

How many times, early on, did we scream, rant, and, yes, rave about juicing the numbers? The answer is a large positive number. Alas, the screams hit the ears of bureaucrats and politicians, our dumbest and evilest classes.

It must be recalled that many deaths were caused by the unnecessary lockdowns themselves. Lockdowns killed. This is not hyperbole or a guess. It is fact.


Covid Burnout in Canada August 28

The map shows that in Canada 9108 deaths have been attributed to Covid19, meaning people who died having tested positive for SARS CV2 virus.  This number accumulated over a period of 210 days starting January 31. The daily death rate reached a peak of 177 on May 6, 2020, and is down to 6 as of yesterday.  More details on this below, but first the summary picture. (Note: 2019 is the latest demographic report)

Canada Pop Ann Deaths Daily Deaths Risk per
2019 37589262 330786 906 0.8800%
Covid 2020 37589262 9108 43 0.0242%

Over the epidemic months, the average Covid daily death rate amounted to 5% of the All Causes death rate. During this time a Canadian had an average risk of 1 in 5000 of dying with SARS CV2 versus a 1 in 114 chance of dying regardless of that infection. As shown later below the risk varied greatly with age, much lower for younger, healthier people.

Background Updated from Previous Post

In reporting on Covid19 pandemic, governments have provided information intended to frighten the public into compliance with orders constraining freedom of movement and activity. For example, the above map of the Canadian experience is all cumulative, and the curve will continue upward as long as cases can be found and deaths attributed.  As shown below, we can work around this myopia by calculating the daily differentials, and then averaging newly reported cases and deaths by seven days to smooth out lumps in the data processing by institutions.

A second major deficiency is lack of reporting of recoveries, including people infected and not requiring hospitalization or, in many cases, without professional diagnosis or treatment. The only recoveries presently to be found are limited statistics on patients released from hospital. The only way to get at the scale of recoveries is to subtract deaths from cases, considering survivors to be in recovery or cured. Comparing such numbers involves the delay between infection, symptoms and death. Herein lies another issue of terminology: a positive test for the SARS CV2 virus is reported as a case of the disease COVID19. In fact, an unknown number of people have been infected without symptoms, and many with very mild discomfort.

August 7 in the UK it was reported (here) that around 10% of coronavirus deaths recorded in England – almost 4,200 – could be wiped from official records due to an error in counting.  Last month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock ordered a review into the way the daily death count was calculated in England citing a possible ‘statistical flaw’.  Academics found that Public Health England’s statistics included everyone who had died after testing positive – even if the death occurred naturally or in a freak accident, and after the person had recovered from the virus.  Numbers will now be reconfigured, counting deaths if a person died within 28 days of testing positive much like Scotland and Northern Ireland…

Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, who first noticed the error, told the Sun:

‘It is a sensible decision. There is no point attributing deaths to Covid-19 28 days after infection…

For this discussion let’s assume that anyone reported as dying from COVD19 tested positive for the virus at some point prior. From the reasoning above let us assume that 28 days after testing positive for the virus, survivors can be considered recoveries.

Recoveries are calculated as cases minus deaths with a lag of 28 days. Daily cases and deaths are averages of the seven days ending on the stated date. Recoveries are # of cases from 28 days earlier minus # of daily deaths on the stated date. Since both testing and reports of Covid deaths were sketchy in the beginning, this graph begins with daily deaths as of April 24, 2020 compared to cases reported on March 27, 2020.

The line shows the Positivity metric for Canada starting at nearly 8% for new cases April 24, 2020. That is, for the 7 day period ending April 24, there were a daily average of 21,772 tests and 1715 new cases reported. Since then the rate of new cases has dropped down, now holding steady at ~1% since mid-June. Yesterday, the daily average number of tests was 45,897 with 427 new cases. So despite more than doubling the testing, the positivity rate is not climbing.  Another view of the data is shown below.

The scale of testing has increased and now averages over 45,000 a day, while positive tests (cases) are hovering at 1% positivity.  The shape of the recovery curve resembles the case curve lagged by 28 days, since death rates are a small portion of cases.  The recovery rate has grown from 83% to 99% steady over the last 2 weeks, so that recoveries exceed new positives. This approximation surely understates the number of those infected with SAR CV2 who are healthy afterwards, since antibody studies show infection rates multiples higher than confirmed positive tests (8 times higher in Canada).  In absolute terms, cases are now down to 427 a day and deaths 6 a day, while estimates of recoveries are 437 a day.

The key numbers: 

99% of those tested are not infected with SARS CV2. 

99% of those who are infected recover without dying.

Summary of Canada Covid Epidemic

It took a lot of work, but I was able to produce something akin to the Dutch advice to their citizens.

The media and governmental reports focus on total accumulated numbers which are big enough to scare people to do as they are told.  In the absence of contextual comparisons, citizens have difficulty answering the main (perhaps only) question on their minds:  What are my chances of catching Covid19 and dying from it?

A previous post reported that the Netherlands parliament was provided with the type of guidance everyone wants to see.

For canadians, the most similar analysis is this one from the Daily Epidemiology Update: :

The table presents only those cases with a full clinical documentation, which included some 2194 deaths compared to the 5842 total reported.  The numbers show that under 60 years old, few adults and almost no children have anything to fear.

Update May 20, 2020

It is really quite difficult to find cases and deaths broken down by age groups.  For Canadian national statistics, I resorted to a report from Ontario to get the age distributions, since that province provides 69% of the cases outside of Quebec and 87% of the deaths.  Applying those proportions across Canada results in this table. For Canada as a whole nation:

Age  Risk of Test +  Risk of Death Population
per 1 CV death
<20 0.05% None NA
20-39 0.20% 0.000% 431817
40-59 0.25% 0.002% 42273
60-79 0.20% 0.020% 4984
80+ 0.76% 0.251% 398

In the worst case, if you are a Canadian aged more than 80 years, you have a 1 in 400 chance of dying from Covid19.  If you are 60 to 80 years old, your odds are 1 in 5000.  Younger than that, it’s only slightly higher than winning (or in this case, losing the lottery).

As noted above Quebec provides the bulk of cases and deaths in Canada, and also reports age distribution more precisely,  The numbers in the table below show risks for Quebecers.

Age  Risk of Test +  Risk of Death Population
per 1 CV death
0-9 yrs 0.13% 0 NA
10-19 yrs 0.21% 0 NA
20-29 yrs 0.50% 0.000% 289,647
30-39 0.51% 0.001% 152,009
40-49 years 0.63% 0.001% 73,342
50-59 years 0.53% 0.005% 21,087
60-69 years 0.37% 0.021% 4,778
70-79 years 0.52% 0.094% 1,069
80-89 1.78% 0.469% 213
90  + 5.19% 1.608% 62

While some of the risk factors are higher in the viral hotspot of Quebec, it is still the case that under 80 years of age, your chances of dying from Covid 19 are better than 1 in 1000, and much better the younger you are.

August 29, 2020 Arctic Ice Returns to Mean


To enlarge, open image in new tab.

The melting season this year showed ice extents much below the 13-year average, but the decline moderated in August and presently is close to the mean and to 2007.

As discussed below, the daily minimum on average occurs on day 260, but a given year may be earlier or later.  The 2020 minimum on day 239 will not likely stand, but stranger things have happened.  For now, MASIE is showing a jump of almost 300k km2 bringing yesterday very close to the 13-year average (-3.5%).  SII also stopped declining, but as is often the case, started 11 days ago showing less ice than MASIE.  The table below shows the distribution of ice in the various regions of the Arctic Ocean.

Region 2020241 Day 241 Average 2020-Ave. 2007241 2020-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 4839354 5017305 -177952 4916182 -76829
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 806154 554434 251720 707135 99019
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 354686 257290 97396 142656 212030
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 235822 363889 -128067 311 235511
 (4) Laptev_Sea 7420 192875 -185455 279554 -272133
 (5) Kara_Sea 31679 46675 -14996 112935 -81256
 (6) Barents_Sea 0 23436 -23436 10037 -10037
 (7) Greenland_Sea 262773 189236 73536 332635 -69863
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 7586 32270 -24684 39777 -32191
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 342594 317798 24795 271603 70991
 (10) Hudson_Bay 23922 26315 -2393 51493 -27571
 (11) Central_Arctic 2766030 3012169 -246139 2966791 -200761

The extent numbers show that this year’s melt is dominated by the surprisingly hot Siberian summer, leading to major deficits in all the Eurasian shelf seas–East Siberian, Laptev, Kara.  As well, the bordering parts of the Central Arctic show a sizeable deficit to average. These deficits are partly offset by surpluses on the CanAm side: Beaufort, Chukchi, Greenland Sea and CAA.

It is also the case that many regions have already registered their 2020 minimums.  And as discussed below, the marginal basins have little ice left to lose.

Background from Previous Post Outlook for Arctic Ice Minimum

The annual competition between ice and water in the Arctic ocean is approaching the maximum for water, which typically occurs mid September.  After that, diminishing energy from the slowly setting sun allows oceanic cooling causing ice to regenerate. Those interested in the dynamics of Arctic sea ice can read numerous posts here.  The image at the top provides a look at mid August from 2007 to 2020 as a context for anticipating this year’s annual minimum.  Note that for climate purposes the annual minimum is measured by the September monthly average ice extent, since the daily extents vary and will go briefly lower on or about day 260.

The Bigger Picture 

We are close to the annual Arctic ice extent minimum, which typically occurs on or about day 260 (mid September). Some take any year’s slightly lower minimum as proof that Arctic ice is dying, but the image above shows the Arctic heart is beating clear and strong.

Over this decade, the Arctic ice minimum has not declined, but since 2007 looks like fluctuations around a plateau. By mid-September, all the peripheral seas have turned to water, and the residual ice shows up in a few places. The table below indicates where we can expect to find ice this September. Numbers are area units of Mkm2 (millions of square kilometers).

Day 260 13 year
Arctic Regions 2007 2010 2012 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Average
Central Arctic Sea 2.67 3.16 2.64 2.98 2.93 2.92 3.07 2.91 2.97 2.93
BCE 0.50 1.08 0.31 1.38 0.89 0.52 0.84 1.16 0.46 0.89
LKB 0.29 0.24 0.02 0.19 0.05 0.28 0.26 0.02 0.11 0.16
Greenland & CAA 0.56 0.41 0.41 0.55 0.46 0.45 0.52 0.41 0.36 0.46
B&H Bays 0.03 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.10 0.03 0.07 0.05 0.01 0.04
NH Total 4.05 4.91 3.40 5.13 4.44 4.20 4.76 4.56 3.91 4.48

The table includes three early years of note along with the last 6 years compared to the 13 year average for five contiguous arctic regions. BCE (Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian) on the Asian side are quite variable as the largest source of ice other than the Central Arctic itself.   Greenland Sea and CAA (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) together hold almost 0.5M km2 of ice at annual minimum, fairly consistently.  LKB are the European seas of Laptev, Kara and Barents, a smaller source of ice, but a difference maker some years, as Laptev was in 2016.  Baffin and Hudson Bays are inconsequential as of day 260.

For context, note that the average maximum has been 15M, so on average the extent shrinks to 30% of the March high before growing back the following winter.  In this context, it is foolhardy to project any summer minimum forward to proclaim the end of Arctic ice.

Resources:  Climate Compilation II Arctic Sea Ice

School’s Back: Indoctrination Resumes

“Say what you want about the Liberal Arts, but they have found a cure for common sense.”

Walter E. Williams explains in his article Back To College, Back To Academic Brainwashing Excerpts in italics with my bolds. H/T IceCap

Parents, legislators, taxpayers, and others footing the bill for college education might be interested in just what is in store for the upcoming academic year.

Since many college classes will be online, there is a chance to witness professors indoctrinating their students in real time. So, there’s a chance that some college faculty might change their behavior. To see recent examples of campus nonsense and indoctrination, visit the Campus Reform and College Fix websites.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, warned congressional lawmakers “that Antifa is ‘winning’ and that much of academia, whether wittingly or unwittingly, is complicit in its success,” reported Campus Reform.

In his testimony before Congress Turley said:

To Antifa, people like me are the personification of the classical liberal view of free speech that perpetuates a system of oppression and abuse. I wish I could say that my view remains strongly implanted in our higher educational institutions. However, you are more likely to find public supporters for restricting free speech than you are to find defenders of free speech principles on many campuses.

The leftist bias at our colleges and universities has many harmful effects. A mathematics professor at University of California, Davis, faced considerable backlash over her opposition to the requirement for “diversity statements” from potential faculty.

Those seeking employment at the University of California, San Diego, are required to admit that “barriers” prevent women and minorities from full participation in campus life.

At American University, a history professor wrote a book calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. A Rutgers University professor said: “Watching the Iowa Caucus is a sickening display of the overrepresentation of whiteness.”

A Williams College professor has advocated the inclusion of social justice in math textbooks. Students at Wayne State University are no longer required to take a single math course to graduate; however, they may soon be required to take a diversity course.

Maybe some students will be forced into sharing the vision of Laurie Rubel, a math education professor at Brooklyn College. She says the idea of cultural neutrality in math is a “myth,” and that asking whether 2 plus 2 equals 4 “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.”

Rubel tweeted: “Y’all must know that the idea that math is objective or neutral IS A MYTH.”

Math professors and academics at other universities, including Harvard and the University of Illinois, discussed the “Eurocentric” roots of American mathematics. As for me, I would like to see the proof, in any culture, that 2 plus 2 is something other than 4.

Rutgers University’s English department chairwoman, Rebecca Walkowitz, announced changes to the department’s graduate writing program emphasizing “social justice” and “critical grammar.”

Leonydus Johnson, a speech-language pathologist and libertarian activist, says Walkowitz’s changes make the assumption that minorities cannot understand traditional and grammatically correct English speech and writing, which is “insulting, patronizing, and in itself, extremely racist.”

Then there is the nonsense taught on college campuses about white privilege. The idea of white privilege doesn’t explain why several historically marginalized groups outperform whites today.

For example, Japanese Americans suffered under the Alien Land Law of 1913 and other racist, exclusionary laws legally preventing them from owning land and property in more than a dozen American states until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.

During World War II, more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned. However, by 1959, the income disparity between Japanese Americans and white Americans had almost disappeared.

Today, Japanese Americans outperform white Americans by large margins in income statistics, education outcomes, and test scores, and have much lower incarceration rates.

According to Rav Arora, writing for the New York Post, several black immigrant groups such as Nigerians, Trinidadians, Tobagonians, Barbadians, and Ghanaians all “have a median household income well above the American average.”

We are left with the question whether the people handing out “white privilege” made a mistake. The other alternative is that Japanese Americans, Nigerians, Barbadians, Ghanaians, Trinidadians, and Tobagonians are really white Americans.

The bottom line is that more Americans need to pay attention to the miseducation of our youth and that miseducation is not limited to higher education.

Walter E. Williams, a columnist for The Daily Signal, is a professor of economics at George Mason University.





JimBob weighs in on “progressive” education.


And a final word from Dilbert:

How Climatism Destroyed California

Ben Pile writes at Spiked The problem in California is poverty, not climate change. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The heatwaves and the fires are natural – the electricity blackouts are not.

Events leading up to today’s power cuts follow a bizarre history. The fact that advanced economies need a continuous supply of power is well understood. Yet for three decades, the political agenda, dominated by self-proclaimed ‘progressives’, has put lofty green idealism before security of supply and before the consumer’s interest in reasonable prices. Even if the heatwaves experienced by California were caused by climate change, are their direct effects worse than the loss of electricity supply?

California’s green and tech billionaires, and its business and political elites, certainly seem to think so. But they are largely protected from reality by vast wealth, private security, gated estates, and battery banks. The high cost of property in the state of California means that, despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, and with the sixth highest per capita income in the US, it is the worst US state for poverty. According to the US Census Bureau, around 18 per cent of Californians, some seven million people, lived in poverty between 2016 and 2018 – more than five per cent above the US average.

As well as being the greenest (and most poverty-stricken) state, California can also boast that it is the No1 state for homelessness.

According to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, there are more than 151,000 homeless people in California – a rise of 28,000 since 2010. That figure is shocking enough, but it masks the reality of many thousands more moving in and out of homelessness. The same agency reports that more than a quarter of a million schoolchildren experienced homelessness over the 2017/18 school year.

It is degenerate politics, not climate change, that presses hardest on the millions of Californians who live in poverty, and the many millions more who live just above the poverty line. The problems of this degenerate politics are visible, on the street, chronic and desperate, whereas climate change, if it is a problem at all, is only detectable through questionable statistical techniques. Yet California’s charismatic governors, since Arnold Schwarzenegger, have made their mark on the global stage as environmental champions.

At the 2017 COP23 UNFCCC conference in Bonn, Germany, then governor Jerry Brown shared a platform with the green billionaire and former New York mayor, Mike Bloomberg, to announce ‘America’s Pledge on Climate’ – a commitment of states and cities to combat climate change – despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement earlier that year.

But why not a pledge on homelessness? Why not a pledge to address the problem of property prices? Why not a pledge to tackle poverty? Why not a pledge to secure a supply of energy? The only conceivable answer is that environmentalism is a form of politics that is entirely disinterested in the lives of ordinary people, despite progressive politicians’ claims that environmental and social issues are linked. Clearly they are not in the slightest bit linked.

California was the experiment, and now it is the proof: environmentalism is worse for ‘social justice’ than any degree of climate change is.

What about the wildfires? Aren’t they proof of climate change? It is a constant motif of green histrionics that more warming means more fires. But as has been pointed out before on spiked and elsewhere, places like California have long suffered from huge fires; fire is a part of many types of forests’ natural lifecycle.

What California’s rolling blackouts and its uncontrolled fires tell us is that green politics is completely divorced from any kind of reality. Environmentalism is the indulgent fantasy of remote political elites and their self-serving business backers. If California doesn’t prove this, what would?

Footnote: Bjorn Lomborg tried in 2015 to reason with Arnie Arnold Schwarzenegger Is Wrong On Climate Change Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

But that makes it even more important that those of us talking about global warming and its policy responses are responsible about statistics and data. It’s not good enough to swagger around saying, “I think I’m right and I’m going to ignore the haters.” Schwarzenegger loses me when he declares, “every day, 19,000 people die from pollution from fossil fuels. Do you accept those deaths?”

It’s emotive, but it’s wrong to say that 19,000 people are killed by fossil fuels every day. About 11,000 of these people are killed by burning renewable energy – wood and cow dung mainly – inside their own homes. The actual number of people killed by fossil fuels each day is about 3,900.

This matters for two reasons. First, it is disingenuous to link the world’s biggest environmental problem of air pollution to climate. It is a question of poverty (most indoor air pollution) and lack of technology (scrubbing pollution from smokestacks and catalytic converters) – not about global warming and CO₂. Second, costs and benefits matter.[vi] Tackling indoor air pollution turns out to be very cheap and effective, whereas tackling outdoor air pollution is more expensive and less effective. Your favorite policy of cutting CO₂ is of course even more costly and has a tiny effect even in a hundred years.

Lomborg failed to change Schwarzenegger’s mind since Arnie was so enamored of being a global environmental star as a sequel to his Hollywood movie celebrity.




Covid-19 Immunity Scenarios Encouraging

Helen Braswell explains at Stat Four scenarios on how we might develop immunity to Covid-19
Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As the world wearies of trying to suppress the SARS-CoV-2 virus, many of us are wondering what the future will look like as we try to learn to live with it.

Will it always have the capacity to make us so sick? Will our immune systems learn — and remember — how to cope with the new threat? Will vaccines be protective and long-lasting?

STAT asked a number of experts to map out scenarios of how we might come to coexist with this new threat. In a time of uncertainty, the scenarios they sketched were actually hopeful, even if the relief most envisage is not immediately around the corner.

Vineet Menachery, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston laid out four possible scenarios for how humans might interact with SARS-2 over time — in other words, what kind of immunity we might expect.

As Menachery sees it, the possibilities for the future when it comes to Covid-19 and human immunity break down as follows:

  • sterilizing immunity,
  • functional immunity,
  • waning immunity, and
  • lost immunity. 

Please remember: These are educated guesses, based on what’s known about the way the immune system works in general, and how it responds to other coronaviruses.

Sterilizing immunity

Sterilizing immunity would be a best-case scenario. It describes an immune system that is armed against a foe, able to fend it off before infection can take hold.

Diseases that we think of as “one-and-done” infections induce such a robust and durable immune response in a single encounter that we cannot be reinfected. In general terms, measles fits into this category, although there are rare reports of people contracting measles more than once.

The bad news is that viruses that infect via the mucus membranes of the nose and throat, like SARS-2, typically don’t induce sterilizing immunity.

But Florian Krammer, a professor of vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, does believe some people will develop sterilizing immunity after a bout of Covid-19.

Malik Peiris, a coronavirus expert at the Hong Kong University who was one of the co-discoverers of SARS-1, said,  “Of course, what we’d all like is immunity that protects the individual — protects from infection and protects from transmission. We may not achieve that, because protecting from infection of the upper respiratory tract and then transmission is quite a challenge.

Functional immunity

Functional immunity, on the other hand, may be within reach. In fact, it’s the scenario Menachery sees as most likely.

Under this scenario, people whose immune systems have been primed to recognize and fight the virus — whether through infection or vaccination — could contract it again in the future. But these infections would be cut short as the immune system’s defenses kick into gear. People infected might not develop symptoms or might have a mild, cold-like infection.

“I’m a believer that if you’ve gotten Covid-19, then your likelihood of dying from a second Covid-19 case is very low, if you maintain immunity,” Menachery said.

Peiris agreed. “It won’t have the impact it has now. … It becomes manageable.”  “The fact that somebody may get reinfected is not surprising. But the reinfection didn’t cause disease,” said Peiris, who knows about the case but was not one of the authors reporting it.

Christian Drosten, who is another co-discoverer of SARS-1, describes a future that fits into this category.

“I clearly expect lasting and relevant immunity that is almost sterilizing immunity against SARS-2 in almost every person infected with SARS-2,” Drosten, director of the Institute of Virology at Berlin’s Charité University Hospital, said via email.

“It may be possible to become infected again, without any change in the virus. The resulting infection will be mild or asymptomatic, with significantly lower levels of virus replication and onward transmission.”

Drosten’s last point would be a big bonus. If people who are reinfected don’t generate high levels of SARS-2 viruses in their respiratory tracts and therefore don’t contribute much to the spread of the virus, Covid-19 may become, over time, not just less dangerous, but also less common.

Waning immunity

Waning infection, the third scenario, is a variation of functional immunity. In this scenario, people who have been infected or vaccinated would lose their protection over time. But even if immunity wanes, reinfections would be less severe, Menachery said.

“You will never get as sick as you were the first time,” he said.

This is the pattern seen with the four coronaviruses that cause about 15% of what we consider common colds — OC43, 229E, NL63, and HKU1. People can be reinfected with these viruses after a relatively short period of time.

Thirty years ago, British scientists reported that a year after deliberately infecting a small number of volunteers with 229E, two-thirds became reinfected when again exposed to the virus. “However, the period of virus shedding was shorter than before and none developed a cold,” they wrote.

Krammer believes the overall picture will be mixed. Some people will have sterilizing immunity, but most will fit into either the functional or waning immunity categories. The net outcome: less of the type of disease that prompted most countries to take the extraordinary steps of locking down this spring.

Lost immunity

Lost immunity describes a scenario in which people who have been infected would lose all their immune munitions against the virus within some time frame. A reinfection after that point would be like a first infection — carrying all the same risk of severe disease now seen with Covid-19.

None of the experts who spoke to STAT felt this was a possibility.

“I can’t imagine this being a situation where I get infected and then in 10 years, I get infected again and I have zero immunity,” Perlman said.

If these experts are correct, and the worst-case scenario is off the table, humans can expect to see a waning of the threat SARS-2 poses to people over time. Our immune systems will know how to deal with it. It could become the fifth human coronavirus to cause common colds.



Silly Science Questions

Here at RealClearScience, a lazy blogging day can prompt a torrent of laughter! That’s because we occasionally return to the well of humor available at a crudely-named subreddit of the popular website Reddit to bring you “hilariously stupid science questions”. Be prepared to drown in terrible puns, painful fallacies, and poor logic. Should you survive (and somehow enjoy the experience), you can check out some of the other installments in this recurring series. H/Y Ross Pomeroy

Attempts to “Connect the Dots” With Few or No Clues

If we lose net neutrality, will the net become acidic or basic?
If global warming was real, wouldn’t the ice wall melt and let the oceans drain away? So then why is the sea level rising?
Why do meteorites always land in craters?
My pizza says to bake for 18-21 minutes, how do I bake something for -3 minutes?
Are children actually small or are they just far away?
The first dog in space died of stress. Was that because of all the vacuums up there?
If Mercury is so close to the sun how come we can get it inside thermometers???
Why are so many products harmful only to Californians?
How much higher would the sea level be if there were no sponges?
If setting off nukes creates “nuclear winters”, why don’t we set off a few nukes to offset global warming?
If electricity always follows the path of least resistance, why doesn’t lightning only strike in France?
What happens if a very stoppable force meets a very movable object?
If Pi is never ending, why is there still world hunger?
Is HIV considered a “retro virus” because it started to be a problem in the 80s?
Why does alcohol need proofs? Shouldn’t we just take their word for it?
Do strippers in the southern hemisphere spin around their poles in the opposite direction as strippers in the northern hemisphere?
If sound can’t travel through vacuums, why are they so loud?
How can we trust atoms if they make up everything?
If the human body is ~90% water, why can’t we put out fires with our bodies?
If there’s a new moon every month. Where does the old one go?
Why did ancient people bury so many buildings?
How can fish hold their breath for so long underwater?
If Corn Oil is made from corn, and Olive Oil is made from olives, where does Baby Oil come from?
Before light bulbs were invented, how did people get ideas?
Does it take 18 months for twins to be born?
I just found out I am bipolar. Should I avoid magnets?
From which sheep do we get steel wool?
When will the gorilla at the zoo turn into a person?
Is the water bug the natural predator of the firefly?
Did Schrödinger ever consider the fact that his cat had nine lives?
If oxygen was discovered in 1783 by Antoine Lavoisier, how did people breathe before then?

Just Say No to COVID Supremacists

This is your brain on Pandemic Panic.

Just Say NO!

Kira Davis explains in her article I Am Sick To Death Of COVID Supremacists.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

But leaving all that aside, and leaving aside my personal feeling that masks are more of a placebo than anything, I am willing to lean on my previously stated understanding of national compromise and don the mask. I’m even willing to admit that I might be wrong about my feelings on masks. I will concede all of that. The problem is that the other side of this debate isn’t willing to concede a single inch. All or nothing is a dangerous game, especially when it is only one side that agrees to it. Reasonable people who are forced into unreasonable acts can only be stretched so far. When they snap they will retreat to “nothing” and then that’s when real problems start. We can already see that happening.

As Edit0r-at-Large for a major online publication, I am not only tasked with staying abreast of the statistics and data connected to COVID, my writers are having daily, extended conversations about the information regarding the virus, transmission and fatality rates and recovery rates. In fact, we report factual statistics most corporate media sites have never published at all. There is a constant distillation of the issue going on behind the scenes here every single day.

I say this to explain that while I’m no Expert Scientist™, I am informed. I also believe that my willingness to compromise demonstrates an ability to reason effectively. So it has become infuriating, to the point of feeling untenable, that the “lockdown indefinitely” crowd has become so unhinged as to label people like me morons, “deniers” and pro-murder because we find the reaction to this virus outsized and dangerous.

But Kira, you can’t compromise on DEATH! Why do you hate the elderly????

Can’t we? We compromise on death every day, pandemic or not. We calculate the risk to drive our vehicles, attend events, get on airplanes. We use a complicated equation based on what facts we know, our fears and our goals. If this virus had the fatality rate we were promised in the beginning, extended lockdowns might…might…be defensible. But we are looking at a virus with a 99.6% survivability rate.  For the elderly that rate is certainly different. The solution is not to quarantine the healthy. We’ve never done that. Ever.

The solution is to quarantine the sick, encourage healthy habits and safe interactions among the healthy, and GET THE HELL ON WITH LIVING WHILE WE’RE STILL ALIVE.

We are shutting down schools when the total number of child fatalities in the entire nation stands somewhere between ten and two, depending on how you count COVID deaths. Even the Mayo Clinic says nearly all children who get the virus will never even show symptoms or only experience mild symptoms.

But Kira, the teachers and the staff are more vulnerable. Why do you hate teachers???

There are many teachers and staff who feel just fine about returning to the classroom. In K-12 education, teachers tend to skew younger and have a much lower risk. Of course, that shifts quite a bit when it comes to college professors. Invite those who feel comfortable to return to campus with the students. Those who don’t feel comfortable should Zoom in to the classroom, ideally one supervised by aides and subs. The unions are always begging for more hires. This seems like a no-brainer.

But Kira, nearly 200,000 people are dead because of COVID. Why do you hate people???

I have made my case for my informed status on this issue. I know the numbers. We are far, far, far, far, far, far shy of the 3-5 million deaths Fauci and co. promised in the beginning of all this. Even with quarantine measures we were told millions would still die. In a population of 325 million, 174,000 is statistically negligible.

But Kira, you heartless monster! How can you say you don’t care about all those people who died?

And herein lies the rub, the very heart of this rant today. I have no belief whatsoever that those screaming at me about how little I care for the lives of others actually care for the lives of those others themselves. My opinion that a virus with a 99.6% survivability rate should not bring a successful society to a screeching halt does not denote my malice for my fellow Americans. Quite the opposite.

I care very much about the daily suffering I see as people lose their jobs, businesses, and even their mental stability to this ridiculous response.

I have been patient. I have been a good citizen. I have done everything asked of me. I have tried to be gracious to those who insult my intelligence and qualifications simply because I don’t see things their way. I have tried to understand that people are scared and that not everyone has all the information and I can’t force them to have it. I have chosen the path of acceptance for those who rage and seethe and hiss all day on social media about people like me, people who have the audacity to even suggest perhaps it’s time for citizens to be making these decisions for themselves. I have genuinely tried to be the bigger person. I don’t post memes insulting people who want to wear masks, even as many of my friends and family regularly and smugly post memes insulting those of us who have questions about it all.

But I’ve had enough. The fact that we even have the space or notion to argue about the responses to this virus tells me that indeed this virus is not the apocalypse we were told it would be. I will not be judged or labeled as heartless for a simple reading of the facts available to me. I will not be told I don’t care about people when all I do all day long is worry for people and pray for people and entreat God to protect our people. I will not be shamed as a murderer for thinking maybe it’s time to start living again.

The COVID supremacists have worked my last nerve.


Greenland Ice Varies, Don’t Panic

Update September 1, 2020 on GIS Math (at end)

The scare du jour is about Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and how it will melt out and flood us all.  It’s declared that GIS has passed its tipping point, and we are doomed.  Typical is the Phys.org hysteria: Sea level rise quickens as Greenland ice sheet sheds record amount:  “Greenland’s massive ice sheet saw a record net loss of 532 billion tonnes last year, raising red flags about accelerating sea level rise, according to new findings.”

Panic is warranted only if you treat this as proof of an alarmist narrative and ignore the facts and context in which natural variation occurs. For starters, consider the last four years of GIS fluctuations reported by DMI and summarized in the eight graphs above.  Note the noisy blue lines showing how the surface mass balance (SMB) changes its daily weight by 8 or 10 gigatonnes (Gt) around the baseline mean from 1981 to 2010.  Note also the summer decrease between May and August each year before recovering to match or exceed the mean.

The other four graphs show the accumulation of SMB for each of the last four years including 2020.  Tipping Point?  Note that in both 2017 and 2018, SMB ended about 500 Gt higher than the year began, and way higher than 2012, which added nothing.  Then came 2019 dropping below the mean, but still above 2012.  Lastly, this year is matching the 30-year average.  Note also that the charts do not integrate from previous years; i.e. each year starts at zero and shows the accumulation only for that year.  Thus the gains from 2017 and 2018 do not result in 2019 starting the year up 1000 Gt, but from zero.

The Truth about Sliding Greenland Ice

Researchers know that the small flows of water from surface melting are not the main way GIS loses ice in the summer.  Neil Humphrey explains in this article from last year Nate Maier and Neil Humphrey Lead Team Discovering Ice is Sliding Toward Edges Off Greenland Ice Sheet  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

While they may appear solid, all ice sheets—which are essentially giant glaciers—experience movement: ice flows downslope either through the process of deformation or sliding. The latest results suggest that the movement of the ice on the GIS is dominated by sliding, not deformation. This process is moving ice to the marginal zones of the sheet, where melting occurs, at a much faster rate.

“The study was motivated by a major unknown in how the ice of Greenland moves from the cold interior, to the melting regions on the margins,” Neil Humphrey, a professor of geology from the University of Wyoming and author of the study, told Newsweek. “The ice is known to move both by sliding over the bedrock under the ice, and by oozing (deforming) like slowly flowing honey or molasses. What was unknown was the ratio between these two modes of motion—sliding or deforming.

“This lack of understanding makes predicting the future difficult, since we know how to calculate the flowing, but do not know much about sliding,” he said. “Although melt can occur anywhere in Greenland, the only place that significant melt can occur is in the low altitude margins. The center (high altitude) of the ice is too cold for the melt to contribute significant water to the oceans; that only occurs at the margins. Therefore ice has to get from where it snows in the interior to the margins.

“The implications for having high sliding along the margin of the ice sheet means that thinning or thickening along the margins due to changes in ice speed can occur much more rapidly than previously thought,” Maier said. “This is really important; as when the ice sheet thins or thickens it will either increase the rate of melting or alternatively become more resilient in a changing climate.

“There has been some debate as to whether ice flow along the edges of Greenland should be considered mostly deformation or mostly sliding,” Maier says. “This has to do with uncertainty of trying to calculate deformation motion using surface measurements alone. Our direct measurements of sliding- dominated motion, along with sliding measurements made by other research teams in Greenland, make a pretty compelling argument that no matter where you go along the edges of Greenland, you are likely to have a lot of sliding.”

The sliding ice does two things, Humphrey says. First, it allows the ice to slide into the ocean and make icebergs, which then float away. Two, the ice slides into lower, warmer climate, where it can melt faster.

While it may sound dire, Humphrey notes the entire Greenland Ice Sheet is 5,000 to 10,000 feet thick.

In a really big melt year, the ice sheet might melt a few feet. It means Greenland is going to be there another 10,000 years,” Humphrey says. “So, it’s not the catastrophe the media is overhyping.”

Humphrey has been working in Greenland for the past 30 years and says the Greenland Ice Sheet has only melted 10 feet during that time span.


The Greenland ice sheet is more than 1.2 miles thick in most regions. If all of its ice was to melt, global sea levels could be expected to rise by about 25 feet. However, this would take more than 10,000 years at the current rates of melting.

Background from Previous Post: Greenland Glaciers: History vs. Hysteria

The modern pattern of environmental scares started with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring claiming chemicals are killing birds, only today it is windmills doing the carnage. That was followed by ever expanding doomsday scenarios, from DDT, to SST, to CFC, and now the most glorious of them all, CO2. In all cases the menace was placed in remote areas difficult for objective observers to verify or contradict. From the wilderness bird sanctuaries, the scares are now hiding in the stratosphere and more recently in the Arctic and Antarctic polar deserts. See Progressively Scaring the World (Lewin book synopsis)

The advantage of course is that no one can challenge the claims with facts on the ground, or on the ice. Correction: Scratch “no one”, because the climate faithful are the exception. Highly motivated to go to the ends of the earth, they will look through their alarmist glasses and bring back the news that we are indeed doomed for using fossil fuels.

A recent example is a team of researchers from Dubai (the hot and sandy petro kingdom) going to Greenland to report on the melting of Helheim glacier there.  The article is NYUAD team finds reasons behind Greenland’s glacier melt.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

First the study and findings:

For the first time, warm waters that originate in the tropics have been found at uniform depth, displacing the cold polar water at the Helheim calving front, causing an unusually high melt rate. Typically, ocean waters near the terminus of an outlet glacier like Helheim are at the freezing point and cause little melting.

NYUAD researchers, led by Professor of Mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Principal Investigator for NYU Abu Dhabi’s Centre for Sea Level Change David Holland, on August 5, deployed a helicopter-borne ocean temperature probe into a pond-like opening, created by warm ocean waters, in the usually thick and frozen melange in front of the glacier terminus.

Normally, warm, salty waters from the tropics travel north with the Gulf Stream, where at Greenland they meet with cold, fresh water coming from the polar region. Because the tropical waters are so salty, they normally sink beneath the polar waters. But Holland and his team discovered that the temperature of the ocean water at the base of the glacier was a uniform 4 degrees Centigrade from top to bottom at depth to 800 metres. The finding was also recently confirmed by Nasa’s OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) project.

“This is unsustainable from the point of view of glacier mass balance as the warm waters are melting the glacier much faster than they can be replenished,” said Holland.

Surface melt drains through the ice sheet and flows under the glacier and into the ocean. Such fresh waters input at the calving front at depth have enormous buoyancy and want to reach the surface of the ocean at the calving front. In doing so, they draw the deep warm tropical water up to the surface, as well.

All around Greenland, at depth, warm tropical waters can be found at many locations. Their presence over time changes depending on the behaviour of the Gulf Stream. Over the last two decades, the warm tropical waters at depth have been found in abundance. Greenland outlet glaciers like Helheim have been melting rapidly and retreating since the arrival of these warm waters.

Then the Hysteria and Pledge of Alligiance to Global Warming

“We are surprised to learn that increased surface glacier melt due to warming atmosphere can trigger increased ocean melting of the glacier,” added Holland. “Essentially, the warming air and warming ocean water are delivering a troubling ‘one-two punch’ that is rapidly accelerating glacier melt.”

My comment: Hold on.They studied effects from warmer ocean water gaining access underneath that glacier. Oceans have roughly 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere, so the idea that the air is warming the water is far-fetched. And remember also that long wave radiation of the sort that CO2 can emit can not penetrate beyond the first millimeter or so of the water surface. So how did warmer ocean water get attributed to rising CO2? Don’t ask, don’t tell.  And the idea that air is melting Arctic glaciers is also unfounded.

Consider the basics of air parcels in the Arctic.

The central region of the Arctic is very dry. Why? Firstly because the water is frozen and releases very little water vapour into the atmosphere. And secondly because (according to the laws of physics) cold air can retain very little moisture.

Greenland has the only veritable polar ice cap in the Arctic, meaning that the climate is even harsher (10°C colder) than at the North Pole, except along the coast and in the southern part of the landmass where the Atlantic has a warming effect. The marked stability of Greenland’s climate is due to a layer of very cold air just above ground level, air that is always heavier than the upper layers of the troposphere. The result of this is a strong, gravity-driven air flow down the slopes (i.e. catabatic winds), generating gusts that can reach 200 kph at ground level.

Arctic air temperatures

Some history and scientific facts are needed to put these claims in context. Let’s start with what is known about Helheim Glacier.

Holocene history of the Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland

Helheim Glacier ranks among the fastest flowing and most ice discharging outlets of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS). After undergoing rapid speed-up in the early 2000s, understanding its long-term mass balance and dynamic has become increasingly important. Here, we present the first record of direct Holocene ice-marginal changes of the Helheim Glacier following the initial deglaciation. By analysing cores from lakes adjacent to the present ice margin, we pinpoint periods of advance and retreat. We target threshold lakes, which receive glacial meltwater only when the margin is at an advanced position, similar to the present. We show that, during the period from 10.5 to 9.6 cal ka BP, the extent of Helheim Glacier was similar to that of todays, after which it remained retracted for most of the Holocene until a re-advance caused it to reach its present extent at c. 0.3 cal ka BP, during the Little Ice Age (LIA). Thus, Helheim Glacier’s present extent is the largest since the last deglaciation, and its Holocene history shows that it is capable of recovering after several millennia of warming and retreat. Furthermore, the absence of advances beyond the present-day position during for example the 9.3 and 8.2 ka cold events as well as the early-Neoglacial suggest a substantial retreat during most of the Holocene.

Quaternary Science Reviews, Holocene history of the Helheim Glacier, southeast Greenland
A.A.Bjørk et. Al. 1 August 2018

The topography of Greenland shows why its ice cap has persisted for millenia despite its southerly location.  It is a bowl surrounded by ridges except for a few outlets, Helheim being a major one.

And then, what do we know about the recent history of glacier changes. Two Decades of Changes in Helheim Glacier

Helheim Glacier is the fastest flowing glacier along the eastern edge of Greenland Ice Sheet and one of the island’s largest ocean-terminating rivers of ice. Named after the Vikings’ world of the dead, Helheim has kept scientists on their toes for the past two decades. Between 2000 and 2005, Helheim quickly increased the rate at which it dumped ice to the sea, while also rapidly retreating inland- a behavior also seen in other glaciers around Greenland. Since then, the ice loss has slowed down and the glacier’s front has partially recovered, readvancing by about 2 miles of the more than 4 miles it had initially ­retreated.

NASA has compiled a time series of airborne observations of Helheim’s changes into a new visualization that illustrates the complexity of studying Earth’s changing ice sheets. NASA uses satellites and airborne sensors to track variations in polar ice year after year to figure out what’s driving these changes and what impact they will have in the future on global concerns like sea level rise.

Since 1997, NASA has collected data over Helheim Glacier almost every year during annual airborne surveys of the Greenland Ice Sheet using an airborne laser altimeter called the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM). Since 2009 these surveys have continued as part of Operation IceBridge, NASA’s ongoing airborne survey of polar ice and its longest-running airborne mission. ATM measures the elevation of the glacier along a swath as the plane files along the middle of the glacier. By comparing the changes in the height of the glacier surface from year to year, scientists estimate how much ice the glacier has lost.

The animation begins by showing the NASA P-3 plane collecting elevation data in 1998. The laser instrument maps the glacier’s surface in a circular scanning pattern, firing laser shots that reflect off the ice and are recorded by the laser’s detectors aboard the airplane. The instrument measures the time it takes for the laser pulses to travel down to the ice and back to the aircraft, enabling scientists to measure the height of the ice surface. In the animation, the laser data is combined with three-dimensional images created from IceBridge’s high-resolution camera system. The animation then switches to data collected in 2013, showing how the surface elevation and position of the calving front (the edge of the glacier, from where it sheds ice) have changed over those 15 years.

Helheim’s calving front retreated about 2.5 miles between 1998 and 2013. It also thinned by around 330 feet during that period, one of the fastest thinning rates in Greenland.

“The calving front of the glacier most likely was perched on a ledge in the bedrock in 1998 and then something altered its equilibrium,” said Joe MacGregor, IceBridge deputy project scientist. “One of the most likely culprits is a change in ocean circulation or temperature, such that slightly warmer water entered into the fjord, melted a bit more ice and disturbed the glacier’s delicate balance of forces.”

Update September 1, 2020 Greenland Ice Math

Prompted by comments from Gordon Walleville, let’s look at Greenland ice gains and losses in context.  The ongoing SMB (surface mass balance) estimates ice sheet mass net from melting and sublimation losses and precipitation gains.  Dynamic ice loss is a separate calculation of calving chunks of ice off the edges of the sheet, as discussed in the post above.  The two factors are combined in a paper Forty-six years of Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance from 1972 to 2018 by Mouginot et al. (2019) Excerpt in italics. (“D” refers to dynamic ice loss.)

Greenland’s SMB averaged 422 ± 10 Gt/y in 1961–1989 (SI Appendix, Fig. S1H). It decreased from 506 ± 18 Gt/y in the 1970s to 410 ± 17 Gt/y in the 1980s and 1990s, 251 ± 20 Gt/y in 2010–2018, and a minimum at 145 ± 55 Gt/y in 2012. In 2018, SMB was above equilibrium at 449 ± 55 Gt, but the ice sheet still lost 105 ± 55 Gt, because D is well above equilibrium and 15 Gt higher than in 2017. In 1972–2000, D averaged 456 ± 1 Gt/y, near balance, to peak at 555 ± 12 Gt/y in 2018. In total, the mass loss increased to 286 ± 20 Gt/y in 2010–2018 due to an 18 ± 1% increase in D and a 48 ± 9% decrease in SMB. The ice sheet gained 47 ± 21 Gt/y in 1972–1980, and lost 50 ± 17 Gt/y in the 1980s, 41 ± 17 Gt/y in the 1990s, 187 ± 17 Gt/y in the 2000s, and 286 ± 20 Gt/y in 2010–2018 (Fig. 2). Since 1972, the ice sheet lost 4,976 ± 400 Gt, or 13.7 ± 1.1 mm SLR.

Doing the numbers: Greenland area 2.1 10^6 km2 80% ice cover, 1500 m thick in average- That is 2.5 Million Gton. Simplified to 1 km3 = 1 Gton

The estimated loss since 1972 is 5000 Gt (rounded off), which is 110 Gt a year.  The more recent estimates are higher, in the 200 Gt range.

200 Gton is 0.008 % of the Greenland ice sheet mass.

Annual snowfall: From the Lost Squadron, we know at that particular spot, the ice increase since 1942 – 1990 was 1.5 m/year ( Planes were found 75 m below surface)
Assume that yearly precipitation is 100 mm / year over the entire surface.
That is 168000 Gton. Yes, Greenland is Big!
Inflow = 168,000Gton. Outflow is 168,200 Gton.

So if that 200 Gton rate continued, (assuming as models do, despite air photos showing fluctuations), that ice loss would result in a 1% loss of Greenland ice in 800 years. (H/t Bengt Abelsson)


Once again, history is a better guide than hysteria.  Over time glaciers advance and retreat, and incursions of warm water are a key factor.  Greenland ice cap and glaciers are part of the Arctic self-oscillating climate system operating on a quasi-60 year cycle.

Trump DPA Initiatives Against China Virus

Contrary to falsehoods and disinformation from the Democratic Convention videos, Trump has put the US Executive Authority  to good use, as documented in this publication from the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.


Over the first three years of his Administration, President Donald J. Trump used a combination of tax cuts, deregulation, energy dominance, and fair trade deals to build one of the most robust and resilient economies in American history. As a result of these growth-inducing policies, by January 20, 2020 – the day the Chinese Communist Party confirmed human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 – the United States economy was at full employment,1 real wages were rising,2 and black and Hispanic Americans were enjoying record low unemployment rates. 3.

Since that time, SARS-CoV-2 – hereinafter referred to as the China Virus – has taken a horrific toll. Over 160,000 Americans have died.4 As many as 18 million Americans are currently unemployed.5 Trillions of dollars of fiscal and monetary stimuli have been expended to combat the sharpest and deepest economic downturn in U.S. history. 6

Today, the U.S. economy is also in the midst of profound structural changes in sectors heavily impacted by the China Virus such as airlines and mass transit, casinos and gaming, K-12 and higher education, hospitality and leisure, oil and gas drilling, and sports and entertainment. These structural impacts could have long-lasting consequences.

Just how did this happen? And how is President Trump using the Defense Production Act (DPA) and related tools such as the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to protect the American people from the China Virus? This report seeks to answer these questions.

Table of Contents
  • The Chinese Communist Party Causes a Global Pandemic
  • Overview of the Defense Production Act.
  • The Strategic National Stockpile and DPA Mission
  • Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda
  • Using DPA Title I to Attack the China Virus
  • Using DPA Title III to Attack the China Virus
  • CARES Act and PPP Funding to Supplement DPA Efforts
  • Patriotic Companies Answering the Call to Duty

The China Virus outbreak is an invisible enemy unlike any in modern history. The intentional shielding of the outbreak by the Chinese Communist Party and World Health Organization virtually ensured the outbreak of a global pandemic that has killed over 160,000 Americans and inflicted great damage on the American economy.

Using the DPA and other authorities, President Trump has moved quickly to protect the American people and defend our industrial base. His aggressive use of the DPA has not only saved American lives during this pandemic. It is helping to protect and secure America’s production and distribution of our essential medicines and critical medical equipment and supplies.