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View Diary: Climate Change is Here, Now (55 comments)

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  •  The Problem With not Understanding Climatic Change (0+ / 0-)

    We know the earth is getting warmer because we have measurement that prove that the earth is getting warmer. We know that extreme weather events are more likely. However, nothing that has happened in the US proves that the earth is getting warmer. Similar weather events have happened over the past hundred years. Although it is unusual to have so many of  them happen in such a short span of time, it is very possible that it could have happened absent the changes brought on by a warmer planet.

    I caution against using major storms to try and convince people that global warming is real. We will likely have  years, where the weather is ordinary, and the same people who were convinced that Sandy proves global warming will be equally convinced that global warming was just a huge hoax and will return to dismissing any efforts to address it effects. The effects of a warming planet will be felt in many painful way from the extinction of species as their habitats alter faster then they can adopt possible leading to the collapse of their eco-system, to out of control diseases and parasites who will not have cooler temperatures to put a check on them. Storms get people's attention but on their own they prove nothing.

    •  Not quite. In fact you suggest the proof yourself (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marleycat, elwior
      years. Although it is unusual to have so many of  them happen in such a short span of time, it is very possible that it could have happened absent the changes brought on by a warmer planet.
      In fact while it is possible, it definitely is not very possible.  In fact, itis exceptionally unlikely that the natural variation alone could produce this pattern. We understand a good deal of the level of background variability on the annual scale and the odds of all this happening in a short time is quite small.  These exceptional events ought to be randomly distributed, more or less, across the record, but they are not at all.  They're very clumped in the current period.  This is like saying it could be natural variation that caused all those smokers to get lung cancer not smoking.  Some smoker do get lung cancer by chance alone, but the association between smoking and lung cancer is very unlikely to exist purely because of a fluke of chance.  Much more likely to have a causal link.   Similarly, we have both a credible mechanism for these events and a strong statistical association. Together, we can safely say that the rise in extreme weather events is proof of climate change because the "no change" null hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain this pattern.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:13:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While it is hard to prove attribution (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marleycat, elwior

      of any given storm to global warming, the actual warming that we measure is evidence, the actual levels of CO2 we haven't seen for hundreds of thousands of years is evidence, and the basic physics that connect CO2 to global warming kind of ties everything together.

      The effect on the frequency and magnitude of storms is a complex problem. I've read papers suggesting fewer hurricanes, but larger in amplitude.

      However, one thing that is pretty certain is that warming induced sea level rise will dramatically increase storm surge and therefore damage levels from any significant coastal storm regardless of what 'caused' the storm in the first place.

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