Archive for Saturday, June 30, 2012

We’ll adapt?

June 30, 2012

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We’ll adapt?

To the editor:

Evidence of global warming and climate change in Kansas and surrounding states was documented in several recent Journal-World articles. Temperatures reached 109 to 115 degrees in parts of western Kansas while wildfires blazed over farmland in central, north-central, and northwestern Kansas. Colorado wildfires have raged out of control and forced evacuations of many homes, and over 1,000 record temperatures were set in a single week. Rather impressive for this early in the year, and the current weather system shows no sign of rapid improvement.

We can all hope that the rest of summer will provide rain and cooler temperatures, but the long-term climate outlook is likely to worsen in the years and decades to come. What will become of America’s breadbasket if these conditions persist? If the Ogallala aquifer should no longer be capable of sustaining irrigation in the high plains and dry-land farming becomes problematic, our abundant food supply may not be as reliable as we have all thought. As sea levels rise more rapidly on the East Coast and other evidence of global warming increases, the fossil fuel industry continues its head-in-the-sand approach.

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says “society will be able to adapt.” This is the same kind of subterfuge that the tobacco industry used to assure us that cigarettes were safe until irrefutable evidence was finally obtained. My concern is that by time irrefutable evidence is accepted by Mr. Tillerson, life on this planet will no longer exist as we have known it.

Comments

rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

The problem is the evidence is refutable, George. To point at this season's unusually warm temperatures as evidence of global warming is, at best, anecdotal. It is the same argument as those that pointed at the unusually cool temperatures the past couple of years and stated it was evidence that there was no global warming. If the science that has been investigating global temperature data had not been so fraught with fraud and dishonesty, we might have a better idea what we are facing. The lies and subterfuge to come out of the scientific community, in order to secure more money, has so badly tainted their reputation that it is impossible to believe anything that they have to say at this point. Frankly, the number of scientists that now refute prior analysis and have stated that they no longer conclude that the earth is in a dire warming cycle, has reached numbers that would dissuade any critical thinker on the veracity of your argument.

Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 10 months ago

That is only a "slightly" warped view of what the scientific community thinks about climate change. Fact is, science rests on peer review of results. Painting the scientific community as money-hungry is being disingenuous at the very least. The end game of science has always been better understanding of the natural world.

Your statement: "Frankly, the number of scientists that now refute prior analysis and have stated that they no longer conclude that the earth is in a dire warming cycle, has reached numbers that would dissuade any critical thinker on the veracity of your argument". And you have this data from what source (I am hopeful that you can cite a source from one or more of the scientific societies)?

If you are a critical thinker then you must have sufficient grounding in the sciences to be able to make an informed judgment?

daisym 2 years, 10 months ago

Dowser:

Nice try, but your response to rtwngr comes up short.

Brenner’s posted opinion (on which we are all commenting) is an undisguised claim that current temps bolster the AGW hypothesis (and your core belief that it’s factual). Citing the current wild fires and record high temperatures in some States, the author made a tongue in cheek statement that said it was obviously due to AGW. This is certainly a misleading generalization. Most scientists are smart enough to know that global warming events occur on multi-decadal scales, and are not year to year weather anomalies. You know this, dowser. Everybody knows this, and also knows that you’re just defending (rather ineptly) your orthodoxy.

Not everyone knows that 1934 was the hottest year in the USA. NASA and NOAA both claimed that 2008 was the hottest year on record in the USA until a “skeptic” looked at the government’s own data and found that it was, in fact, 1934. NASA and NOAA choked and tacitly admitted they screwed up, but there was little mention of it in the media. With the current weather in some locations as hot as it’s been, people can easily find it in their hearts to blames someone (mankind) instead of Mother Nature. People can be like that.

Not everyone knows that on June 17, 2012, cities in 25 States had record low temperatures in the USA (http://www.climatedepot.com/a/16500/Meteorologist-Joe-Bastardi-When-was-the-last-time-in-summer-parts-of-25-states-had-record-lows-A-couple-of-days-ago-Amazing-counter-story-to-historic-heat-?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateDepot+%28Climate+Depot%29

Dowser, you say that science rests on peer reviewed research. The ClimateGate emails revealed that peer review among the highest echelons of climate scientists was via the so-called “good old boy” network.

Consider the 2009 Doran survey (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf) to get opinions on climate change. 76 out of 79 respondents who were actual climatologists responded that global warming was caused by mankind. This good old boy network is mighty small group!. This group may be small, dowser, but they have a supporting cast of thousands (to include you). Curiously, Doran’s own survey reported that only 48% of geologists believed that mankind is causing AGW. I guess that climatologists and geologists avoid each other, for obvious reasons!

Dowser, you chided rtwngr for speaking in general terms. You wanted to know, chapter and verse, where he got his information. To me, this is no different that expecting a listener to answer a rhetorical question. Because Brenner’s opinion was steeped in generalities, rtwngr was entitled to comment with no less precision.

Your closing sentence pretty much reveals the depth of your character. Shame on you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

And let me guess-- you're a professional troll hired by denialists to spew confusion about the reality and science of global warming/climate change.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Daisy, Your reply comes up short as well, for perhaps the same reasons as Dowser: it's difficult to discuss a complex topic in this format. With this in mind, the clear expansion on your points are offered:

Yes, weather is weather and climate is climate, and it is faulty to attribute weather events to changes in climate EXCEPT if you are up on the latest peer-reviewed research that is out there, there is the prediction and preliminary data out there that says that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events will increase with the changing climate. Furthermore, it seems that the conservative predictions of climatologists regarding climate change has consistently underestimated the rapidity and severity of that climate change, and the situation may very well be more dire and extreme than initial predictions of even 5 or 10 years ago.

The so-called climategate controversy of accusing the East Anglia data being "doctored up" was much more publicized and blown out of proportion compared to the 6 subsequent exonerations that followed, clearing the scientists of occasional poor judgement but good science. The issue of whether the global surface temp record shows real increases in temperature has been well verified by a number of additional datasets that are even more comprehensive than the HADCRUT dataset in question, so I think you are beating a dead horse here.

As regarding geologists vs climatologists, you can rest assured that the American Geophysical Union has come out loud and clear on the side of supporting the evidence for human-influenced climate change, as has the American Physical Society and a host of other professional organizations. Controversy? Of course. That's what science is all about, and something as important as climate change is assured to have it. But look at the trends, and you'll have to agree that this is not some cabaal of manipulators creating some kind of conspiracy--just science in action.

In summary, if weather extremes make folks think about their children and grandchildren's world, then it is a good thing indeed to prompt new low carbon alternatives.

rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

It is the height of arrogance to believe that humans have that kind of control over nature and its cycles of change that have existed for billions of years before we walked this planet. I give you George Carlin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB0aFP...

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Well, George was a funny guy with a shotgun sense of humor par excellence, but that doesn't change the facts. It's not arrogance, its the overwhelming data coming in from all the corners that humans are having a significant impact on our climate. It's really not such a stretch if you look at how atmospheric carbon plays such a pivotal role in the dynamics of heat retention and the cascade of feedbacks that amplify the impact. The science is pretty clear and getting clearer, whereas the denialist counter-claims are getting fuzzier and fuzzier.

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

Weather does not equate to climate. People that deny global warming/climate change because it is "cold outside" are just as bad as people that affirm it when it is "hot outside." Please stop using the two ideas interchangeably as there already exists too much confusion. Also avoid using relative/subjective terms such as "improvement" because climate is indifferent to human affairs.

Swivel chair scientists will always disagree.

Brock Masters 2 years, 10 months ago

Climate change is real and undeniable. It has been around since the beginning of time; end of the ice age and receding of the oceans that once covered the land.

The only question is if climate change is due to man. Some say yes and some say no. The answer is probably in between. Man most likely contributes to climate change, but to what significance? Man should be a protector of our environment, but government regulation should be science based and proven and not a knee-jerk overreaction to climate change.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 10 months ago

The question is if RECENT climate change has been impacted by millions of tons of carbon released in a geologic instant that had been sequestered deep underground over millions of years.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Fred said: "The only question is if climate change is due to man. Some say yes and some say no. The answer is probably in between."

More precisely, the question is whether climate change is being influenced by human activities, and if so, to what degree. It is undeniable that there are a host of factors that influence climate, including solar irradiance, the solar cycle, volcanoes, water vapor, etc. etc. but it is also undeniable the physical impact of carbon released into the atmosphere by human activities, creating a thermostat-like effect on many other feedback mechanisms. Period. We are influencing the climate significantly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, humans will adapt but it'll be a few million of us, not a few billion, that survive that process of adaptation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

Either term is acceptable. Weather is different from climate, and you have to be able to accept the precepts of science to understand any of it-- clearly, you don't. Is that because you're intellectually or ideologically incapable? Or both?

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

Matters of opinion have no weight in scientific discourse. Bozo's attack on your intelligence was equally uncalled for. And yes, past proxies are easier to study than predicting future scenarios.

The problem with increasingly political topics is that they tend to move toward binary argument tactics, which in the case of something as complex and variable as climate do not fully grasp the full breadth of the problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

" Bozo's attack on your intelligence was equally uncalled for. "

Only for the needlessly polite.

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

You've got nothing to add. Being in full agreement without a doubt is just as bad as being in total denial. Science allows for falsifiability; ideology not so much.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

But the deniers aren't operating under "doubt," and while the science behind global warming/climate change isn't 100% certain, it's pretty damn close. So close that allowing folks like TheOriginlCA to hide behind their willful ignorance and control policy is very, very, dangerous. And so is your unnecessary politeness about it.

hujiko 2 years, 10 months ago

I used "doubt" in referring to those like yourself that do not question the science and accept it as is. Denial is denial, no matter how much science is thrown at them. If science weren't doubtable, we'd still hold that the Earth is the center of everything.

"Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain." -Richard Feynman http://laserstars.org/bio/Feynman.html

The problem is, your attitude toward anyone not in full agreement is condescending and does nothing to forward your argument. My original comment was not intended to be "polite," it was instead meant to offer rational discourse on a subject many have been given misinformation on. I don't want people continuing on in willful ignorance, that's why I attempted to offer a non-biased explanation. If you want people to follow the "precepts of science," why don't you start with some objectivity and drop the personal insults. Thanks for continuing to politicize this issue, which is turning into a bigger mess than it needs to be.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Global warming is what is happening to the planet: more heat is being retained. Since warmer air can hold more water vapor, the results can be quite mixed weather-wise, including more severe winter weather due to the availability of more moisture in the air. Hence the term "climate change," which addresses the nuanced information that global warming can increase the severity of weather events in all seasons.

And of course the data doesn't tell you what happened 30 days past the summer solstice 30 million years ago, like weather forecasts try to do for today, but they are able to tell you the big picture of what happened 30 million years ago at least in some parts of the planet. And the data collected are filling in more and more of the blanks....

Kirk Larson 2 years, 10 months ago

And the Simple have the compulsive need to use inappropriate quotations.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 10 months ago

daisym,

"Not everyone knows that 1934 was the hottest year in the USA. "

Yeap, and the U.S. makes up about 2% of the globe, and 1934 was the 47th warmest year on record globally. Meanwhile the ten hottest years globally have occurred in the last 14. Sorry, what point were you trying to make here?

"Not everyone knows that on June 17, 2012, cities in 25 States had record low temperatures in the USA "
25 record lows, huh. Let's see, not really sure why you picked that particular date, but, for example, in March, 15,000 record highs were set. That's not a typo, 15,000. Not sure what point you are trying to make with the 25 record lows.
http://earthsky.org/earth/in-march-2012-15000-warm-temperature-records-broken-in-us

More of the same here:

"For the year-to-date, warm temperature records have been outnumbering cold temperature records in the U.S. by a ratio of about 7-to-1." http://snrclimatecorner.blogspot.com/2012/06/jan-1-june-21-2012-record-highs-outpace.html

"Curiously, Doran’s own survey reported that only 48% of geologists believed that mankind is causing AGW. I guess that climatologists and geologists avoid each other, for obvious reasons!"

Not going to check your numbers, but according to you, when I think I might have cancer I would be just as well to go to a pediatrician as I would to go to an oncologist.

I would not be casting any stones regarding the character of others given your transparent attempts to misinform.

Chris Golledge 2 years, 10 months ago

In isolation, the current heat wave means very little, but in the context of highly unusual heat events increasing from less than 1% of the land surface area in 1950 to 1980, to about 10% in the last three or four years, it means a bit more.

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20111110_NewClimateDice.pdf Figures 3,4.

Dignitas 2 years, 9 months ago

Every summer its hot. Every winter its cold. Anyone who thinks humans have the power to control this planet is lost in a narcissistic fairy tale!! Say hi to the bean stalk for me.. ;0)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 9 months ago

"Anyone who thinks humans have the power to control this planet is lost in a narcissistic fairy tale!! "

"Control" isn't the issue. "Out of control" is. But clearly, out of control is the direction you'd like to see us go.

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