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I've promised this diary for months (years?).  I've been lurking here for a long time now, not posting much recently (diaries or comments).  So, any newbies around here may be totally unfamiliar with me, but I'm a meteorologist.  I have a particular focus on hurricanes and post hurricane diaries here whenever there's a particular threat to the U.S.  But more in line with political discussion is the issue of global warming or global climate change (I, for one, am not afraid of the boogieman term "global warming" as, indeed, the earth is warming).  I have long promised a diary on global warming.  I posted one long, long ago to mixed reviews as many readers had a "duh, no kidding" attitude (yes, I realize I'm preaching to the choir here).  But with the resurgence of the "skeptic" community in the last couple of years, I hope the ground is more fertile for setting the record straight.  Follow me below the fold...

My point here is to debunk the myths and outright lies being spewed by the "skeptic" community.  I put "skeptic" in parenthesis because most of them aren't true skeptics.  Skepticism is an honest questioning of a theory based on some reasonably debatable premise.  There is no reasonably debatable premise amongst the skeptics.  What they are offering is deliberate obfuscation of the facts.  Plain and simple.  They are not skeptics.  They are liars.

So, I'm going to run through this point-by-point.  But first let me point out that I will rely on research, publications, data, etc from climatologists.  I am a meteorologist.  Climatology and meteorology are distinctly different even though they are both in the atmospheric science field.  Okay, then, let me start by making that my first point in debunking the "skeptics"...

  1. "Scientists still debate the issue."  No, they don't.  Meteorologists do.  But the problem is, climatology and meteorology are very distinctively separate fields.  Meteorologists are NOT experts on climate change... though many seem to think they are.  Notice that most of the "skeptics" are meteorologists (Joe Bastardi, Bill Gray, Joe D'Aleo, Weather Channel founder Joe Coleman, etc) while there are virtually NO climatologists with dissenting opinions.  In fact, a recent poll of scientistsindicated that 97% of climatologists involved in climate research "believe" (and I use that term loosely, because they KNOW... THEY are the experts... they don't simply "believe") in anthropogenic global warming/climate change; meanwhile only 64% of meteorologists were sold on it, and only 47% of petroleum geologists were (shocking! ...yes, I'm being sarcastic).  The only experts here are the climatologists!  Imagine this: You are in an automobile accident and suffer a massive head injury.  Do you go to a podiatrist?  No, you go to a neurosurgeon!  But they are both doctors!  This is EXACTLY the same thing... meteorologists and climatologists are both atmospheric scientists, but that does NOT mean you should be going to the meteorologists for your climate information.  And, in fact, a meteorologist offering up his/her uninformed opinions on the subject amounts to scientific malpractice (which is why I'm not offering my opinion... I'm trying to pass along information).  Those meteorologists are the podiatrists performing brain surgery on you... they aren't to be trusted... they are committing scientific malpractice.
  1. "Recent scandals have undermined the credibility of the climate change community."  Seriously?  There were about three cases of falsified/massaged data, misused publications or other such underhandedness.  These are indefensible.  However, these are isolated cases.  There have only been about three such incidents, while there are volumes and volumes and volumes of heavily-researched, peer-reviewed, data-verified documents on the subject.  You could probably fill an entire library with all of the research and documents on climate change.  Yet, the media's laser-focus on these isolated errors and corruption made the issue seem huge.  It, quite simply, is not.  Finding a few crooked scientists, poorly researched papers, or the like should be EXPECTED in such a large research field.  Every field has its crackpots and crooks.  I don't think, for example, Fred Phelps (of Westboro Baptist Church fame) exemplifies Christianity.
  1. "Humans can't impact the atmosphere."  Not only is this wrong, but it is far better understood than "skeptics" will have you believe.  Climatologists can and have lab-tested all atmospheric component gases to know their absorptivity and transmissivity.  Hell, the radiative forcing equations have even found their way to Wikipedia!!  The bottom line is climatologists know EXACTLY what every greenhouse gas does in the atmosphere.  Moreover, they have reasonable, if imperfect, estimates of global outputs and sinks and what the contributions are coming from.  Anyone who questions the relationship between carbon dioxid concentrations and the global temperatures need only look at the scatterplot that follows.  While, admitedly, correlation doesn't equal causality, a correlation of nearly 0.9 is pretty difficult to ignore.  Anyway, climatologists also know the volume of the atmosphere and, therefore, can make specific, good estimates as to the global warming due to human greenhouse gas emissions.  The only reason there is debate as to the amount of warming is due to questions surrounding feedback effects.  For example, a hotter earth will produce more clouds, blocking sunlight and capping the warming.  On the other hand, a hotter earth will see the melting of permafrost which, when melted, releases the very potent greenhouse gas, methane.  These are only two of MANY feedback issues.

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  1. "The models have so far overpredicted the warming."  This myth is sustained by images like the two at the bottom of this segment.  Both of these images are hugely misleading.  The first, in the barely readable fine print, notes that the 2008 data is only January through June.  How convenient!!  ...the latter half of the year was warmer, globally, and pushes the year up to +0.44C warmer than normal.  You can check the data for yourself here.  Then, 2009 was +0.57C.  And now, 2010, though only just started, is beginning quite warm as well.  As for that second image.  Well, it's just downright despicable!  The "observed" data isn't the global mean temperature!  Frankly, I don't know what it is.  Check out the link above.  You will see NO recent month below zero, as you see in that graph.  Even if you use the alternate resource it gets close to zero in January 2008, but never below.  Neither is August 2008 0.3C cooler than August 1988 (as the notation reads).  Forget the fact that it's moronic to pull out singular months as proof or disproof of climate change... the fact is, August 2008 (+0.37C) was 0.09C warmer than August 1988 (+0.28C).  Furthermore, this dishonest data-twister made sure he compared his false data to one of the warmest existing forecasts (Hansen A).  The bottom line: when comparing most forecasts to the real observed data, the models are performing exceptionally well.  They predicted, on average, about 1C warming from the beginning of last century to this.  The first decade of the 1900s averaged -0.29C; the first nine years of this century (2010 ongoing) averaged +0.53C... an increase of 0.82C.  2010 will likely nudge this up a bit.  So, while the models have, perhaps, overpredicted things very slightly, they are extremely close.

Photobucket

Photobucket

  1. "The warming is caused by solar cycles."  Wrong.  Check out the next image showing contributions to the forecast.  The model predictions are not done in a vacuum.  The climatologists and modelers know full well that there are other ongoing factors.  And they also know what the solar cycle is.  This is already factored into the models and has been determined to account for no more than about 30% of the warming.  The image, though it is something of a hindcast, does at least represent the understanding of the various parameters and the fact that they are modeled into the forecast (as best as is known... obviously, going from hindcast to forecast, future volcanic eruptions cannot be modeled in).

Photobucket

  1. "Look at all the snow in the Mid-Atlantic this year!"  This is one of the most absurd arguments and it's horrific how often it's repeated any time there is a snowstorm.  For one thing, though Al Gore was laughed at for suggesting that the snowstorms were actually ENHANCED by global warming, he's correct.  El Nino seasons (like we have now) typically feature East Coast storms; so, these storms likely would've happened anyway.  But global climate models have invariably predicted that storms would be stronger in a globally warmed environment.  The earth has already warmed almost 1C in the past century.  So, yes, these winter storms should, in fact, be getting more severe.  And, so, it is reasonable to conjecture that these winter storms may have gained a bit of their potency from global warming.  Moreover, snow doesn't equal cold.  Obviously, if it snows it's cold... but you could be snowing at 30F, instead of snowing at 28F.  In fact, for the winter as a whole, the Mid-Atlantic's temperatures were NORMAL - despite record breaking snow!  Never mind the ridiculousness of trying to disprove a global, long-term trend with localized, short-term weather.  It's just dumb.
  1. "Urban heat island effects have contaminated the data."  Wrong.  The ocean-only data shows a similar, if muted (which makes sense due to the higher heat capacity of water), warming trend.  Furthermore, the land data has been heavily scrutinized to ensure such problems do not exist.
  1. "The 1930s were hotter than the recent hot years."  This is a favorite of AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi and is so unbelievably ignorant that he should have his meteorology degree revoked!  Bastardi is looking at U.S. temperature data to argue a GLOBAL trend.  We have the global temperature data from the 30s and present years to compare (again, see the link in item #4 above).  We don't need to make some wildly absurd inferences from U.S. data.  Here's the data for you:  The 1930s had a global mean temperature anomaly of minus 0.03C (yes, MINUS) with the warmest year being +0.10C.  The 1990s (which isn't even the warmest 10-yr period of the recent years, but I'll be nice and just use a simple decade) had a global mean temperature anomaly of +0.31C with the warmest year being +0.56C.  This isn't even close.  The 1930s aren't even in the ballpark.
  1. "There has been no warming since 1998."  This is the only argument that you can find a climatologist or two to agree on.  However, even they argue that it's only short term (due to a short-term - in climatological view, decades long Pacific pattern - known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation - going into a negative/cool phase).  But most climatologists don't even agree with THAT assessment (most believe warming is continuing)... for various reasons.  First of all, one reason for this denialist statement is because 1998 was the warmest year on record (+0.56C)... "was" being the operative word.  Well, that's no longer true and hasn't been for years.  2002 equalled it (+0.56C), 2005 surpassed it (+0.62C), 2007 surpassed it (+0.57C), 2009 surpassed it (+0.57C) and it's still very early in 2010 so we'll need to see what happens, but 2010 could easily smash the record.  Second, short-term climate variations overlay the long-term trend, so most climatologists understand the 1998 was anomalously too warm due to a record El Nino; as such, it does not represent some climatological high point.  Indeed, every year from 2001 to 2009 has been warmer than 1999 and 2000 (the two years following 1998).  Third, a smoothed, decadally averaged line, to help smooth out these shorter-term perturbations, shows no cessation of the warming (see below).  1999 and 2000 are cool enough to show the line stagnating for a bit, but the 2000s have been hot enough to start pulling the line back up again - and barring renewed cooling in the next couple of years, just wait and see what happens to a 10-yr average plot once 1999 and 2000 roll off... it'll go through the roof!).

Photobucket

  1. "The earth goes through natural cycles like this."  I've sort of already covered this, but let's look again since this is probably the number one great denialist argument.  Why?  Because climatologists can't dispute it!  It is inarguably true!  The problem is, it is a "false choice argument".  That is, it presumes that there can only be one singular causality.  The argument is essentially saying that since the earth goes through such natural variability this, in turn, must be such a natural variation.  Frankly, it's moronic.  It's like saying there's only one way to get into an auto accident... that since a few accidents were the result of drunk driving that, therefore, every accident is a result of drunk driving.  Dumb nonsense, obviously.  There can be more than one cause for an effect.  Climatologists, unlike the deniers, recognize this and do not try to argue that natural variations do not exist.  Instead, they have provided MULTIPLE sources of factual evidence that this is anthropogenic.  One piece of evidence is circumstantial, it has to do with showing that the present rate of change is more rapid than anything previously witnessed by natural variation.  The other evidence, more direct and provable, is what I mentioned previously... the fact that they know the specific effect of CO2 and other gases, and can reasonably model their output and the impact on atmospheric concentrations and, in turn, the impact on temperatures.  And those global climate models (GCMs) have been very accurate.  Why?  Because the climatologists KNOW the impact and can properly model it!!  The only cause for error is, as mentioned earlier, the various feedback mechanisms.

On a side note, related to hurricanes... Yes, Atlantic hurricanes are likely to increase in intensity due to global warming.  Dr. William Gray, from Colorado State, has done some excellent hurricane work in the past, but, as a climate change denier, he is, unfortunately, twisting some data to try to argue otherwise.  He recently wrote a paper with multiple factual errors.  For one, he stated that the upper troposphere will warm as much as the lower troposphere.  If you don't understand that, don't worry.  His basic point was that the atmosphere will be no less stable, meaning that thunderstorms associated with hurricanes and, in turn, hurricane intensity, will be no stronger.  Two problems:  One, there is no assurance (and conflicting data - some suggesting otherwise) that the upper troposphere will warm as much as the lower.  He just states this highly debatable point as fact.  Here is an image of predicted lower tropospheric versus lower stratospheric temperatures (yes, lower stratosphere doesn't equal upper troposphere... but with overshooting storm tops, they could be treated the same):

Photobucket

Then, he treats hurricanes like a simple instability machine, totally ignorant of the increased latent heat from a warmed ocean... even though this latent heat is the energy source for hurricanes.  Increasing that won't assist in the development of hurricanes????  That's simply wrong.  But he does raise some interesting points.  Plus, global climate models do indicate increased shear in the Atlantic (which would decrease storms).  So, global warming's impact on Atlantic hurricanes is a complex question to answer.  The best way to deal with it is complex modeling of the environment.  This has been done!  The Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory has done the best testing possible on this.  The determination is that total number of Atlantic storms will remain the same or decrease, but the occurence of MAJOR hurricanes - which are responsible for the vast majority of destruction - will increase significantly in number/intensity over the coming century.

Well, I don't think I wrote that all up as well as I would've liked it.  But, there you have it.  I don't know how many skeptics are still "persuadable", but hopefully this information will arm you with more tools to discuss this issue.

Originally posted to millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  persuadable global warming skeptics (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, bfitzinAR

    I doubt it. This has come to be another of those anti-intellectual badges of merit. Those who hate science and education and there are many are not persuadable.

    •  I would love (0+ / 0-)

      ...to disagree with you.

      I can't.

      But I do know there are at least some who are just plain ignorant... led astray by the media fawning over non-expert opinions on the matter.  Or trying to get a, ummmm, "fair and balanced" take on the situation - rather than looking at the truth.

      The ignorant could, possibly, be educated.  The "skeptics" may well be a lost cause, since it is willful skepticism.

      Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

      by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:16:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's more than that... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, alizard, Erisacrat

      The idea of a global problem without the possibility a viable market-driven solution is anathema to some people because it highlights a glaring flaw in their worldview.

      Hence, because there is no solution consistent with their ideology, the problem must not exist.  Or, as Upton Sinclair put it: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

      There is no goal in the "War on Drugs" that couldn't be more effectively met by legalization & regulation.

      by EthrDemon on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 01:46:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couple of quick points... (5+ / 0-)
    1.  We should change the reply to "Scientists still debate the issue" and use "Climate scientists no longer debate the issue.  It's settled science."

    The idea that the uncertainty does not exist within the community of people who have advanced training in climate science needs to be underlined in one simple statement.

    The "debate" is populated with people in degrees in biology, economics and no advanced degrees at all.

    1. The email scandal.  There have been a couple of good reviews of this issue and both have found there to be nothing of import.  Climate Progress has a couple of articles about the issue.

    Here's one that just posted...

    Climatic scientists cleared again

    --

    Looks like a great diary.  I'll spend some time tonight reading it carefully.

    That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

    by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:36:39 AM PDT

    •  Hmmm ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bfitzinAR

      The expression "settled science" rubs me the wrong way.

      How about "there is very high confidence among climate scientists" or something like that?

      Your basic point is right - the "debate" about whether human activity is causing global warming is almost entirely external to climate scientists.  What climate scientists are debating is the details of how it's happening and how bad it's going to get.

      He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

      by jrooth on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It might rub you wrong... (0+ / 0-)

        But what I read from real climate scientists is that the science is settled.  The evidence has piled up so high that it is extremely unlikely that an alternate reality will emerge.

        Of course good scientists try to avoid words like "always" and "never".  They always leave the slight possibility that new data might emerge which would change things.  But when the data becomes so strong as the climate change data one moves their estimates of something major being incorrect to the 0.0000001 level.

        ---

        We need to keep the talking points short.  

        "Climate scientists no longer debate the issue.  It's settled science."

        That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

        by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:05:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is what settled science looks like... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        millwx

        20 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 25 years. The warmest year globally was 2005 with the years 2009, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002, and 1998 all tied for 2nd within statistical certainty. (Hansen et al., 2010) The warmest decade has been the 2000s, and each of the past three decades has been warmer than the decade before and each set records at their end. The odds of this being a natural occurrence are estimated to be one in a billion! (Schmidt and Wolfe, 2009)

        One in a billion - that's damn close to "certain"....

        That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

        by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:15:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And I will bet you... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jrooth, BobTrips

          2010 will break the record for the warmest ever.

          Not only do we have the anthropogenic forcing increasing every year that goes by, but we also have an El Nino (albeit weakening) occurring in conjunction with a VERY warm Atlantic.  Keeping in mind that the earth is 2/3rds ocean... this is going to contribute tremendously to some warm numbers.  The first three months of this year are already tied (with 2002) for the warmest Jan-Feb-Mar ever.  April 2002 backed off, but early evidence suggests that April 2010 will not... at least not much.  We'll see how the rest of the month plays out, but it it VERY likely that after the first third of the year 2010 will be far and away the warmest first third of the year on record.  Thereafter, I suspect it may fade a bit (as the El Nino weakens), but it may well remain the #1 year and finish up in 1st place... a dubious distinction.

          Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

          by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:22:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  About the only thing that will stop it... (0+ / 0-)

            Is if the current volcano in Iceland triggers the much larger semi-dormant one next to it and kicks a huge dust/chemical sunshade into the air.  Or another large volcanic eruption, especially closer to the equator.

            Some datasets - Jan - March hottest ever.  

            It was the hottest March in both satellite records (UAH and RSS), and tied for the hottest March on record in the NASA dataset.  It was the hottest (or tied for hottest) January through March in all three records.

            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

            by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:35:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Volcanoes (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jrooth, BachFan, BobTrips, millwx

              Indeed, it's not generally dust from volcanoes that cools the planet, but sulfur dioxide.  Furthermore, it's mainly sulfur dioxide from equatorial volcanoes that cools the planet, due to the way atmospheric circulation currents work.  But Iceland does have a glaring exception in Hekla, which is both extremely sulfur dioxide and fluorine-rich and intense, enough to overcome its latitude disadvantage.

              •  You read my mind (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Rei

                I was going to say the same thing, but decided not to because it seemed like a tangent.  Even if it could cool 2010, we'll be on our way to the next record soon enough.

                But, you've got it right (not that I need to tell you... you obviously know what you're talking about).  It is predominantly the SO2 ejecta from volcanoes that induces the global cooling effects.  And many volcanoes are not high SO2 producers.  Recall the major eruption off of South America about a year or two ago.  That was likely large enough to yield global cooling were it an SO2 rich volcano.  It's not.  And it did nothing.

                Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

                by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:11:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  But time is of the essence... (0+ / 0-)

                  It could well be a political (and long term climatic)problem if something random causes 2010 to not be the very hot year that it seems to becoming.

                  A really hot year is going to knock a lot of doubters off the fence this year, not some later years, and speed our transition away from fossil fuels.

                  --

                  BTW, look for a lot of help from rising oil prices and the impending launch of the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMev.  Gas back over $4 a gallon is going to boost the EV/PHEV market.  And help build more public transportation.

                  That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

                  by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 02:57:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Well, maybe it's pedantic of me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan

          But pretty much by definition, no science is ever "settled."

          I understand the idea of keeping points short, but on the other hand saying "settled" to a certain extent plays into the denialists' hands because they can then point to any scientific dispute (even though it's about details, not about the big picture) and use that to make the person who says "settled" look like a liar.

          It may be the hard way, but I don't think this moves much on the policy front without educating the public more about how science is done, and that includes messy stuff like speaking of probabilities instead of certainties.

          He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

          by jrooth on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:17:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Settled" is a probability statement... (0+ / 0-)

            See my post elsewhere in this thread about the odds of the observed warming being natural are estimated to be one in a billion.

            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

            by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:00:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed entirely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ariseatex

      And your first point is the one that infuriates me.  I get into arguments about global warming with fellow meteorologists all the time.  And never do they make a sound argument.  They say stuff like, "Well, we don't really know if it's caused by humans."  Well, maybe "we" don't, but the climate researchers most assuredly do so know!! ...to the highest degree of certainty which is possible within a complex scientific system.

      And the number of statisticians and chemists I've seen quoted in "respectable" publications spouting their opinions?!?!?!  ...makes me want to tear my hair out.  Self-proclaimed experts with no background in the specific field of study do so much harm to the public message on this subject it's sickening.

      Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

      by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:14:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You need to reply... (0+ / 0-)

        "Perhaps we, the meteorologists, don't know.  But climate scientists have measured the increase in CO2 and proved that the extra CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels."

        You might ask them who is best prepared to forecast the weather for the next few days, meteorologist like them or chemists, dentists, brain surgeons,....

        That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

        by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:50:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good job ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfitzinAR

    I'll add regarding the goofy "the Earth has warmed and cooled naturally in the past" argument - the skeptics' case would be a hell of a lot stronger if it hadn't.  The issue is climate sensitivity to forcing - any forcing.  The fact that there have been large past variations in global temperature implies that the forcings we are applying today can do the same.

    He took a duck in the face at two hundred and fifty knots.

    by jrooth on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:46:52 AM PDT

    •  Agree with them... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth

      The Earth has warmed and cooled many times in the past.

      But remind them that there has been a physical reason for these heating/cooling events.  It wasn't the Magic Warming Fairy coming by on a random basis.

      Then challenge them to explain why the Earth is heating this time.  

      Let them know that you won't accept changes in the Earth's orbit, increased solar output, massive volcanic eruptions, tectonic plate shifts which have caused large changes in ocean currents, or the rapid rise/fall in mountain ranges which have changed air circulation patterns.

      It's none of the reasons that previous heating/cooling cycles have occurred.  

      I'd love to hear their ideas about what's doing it this time.  

      Radio talk show hot air?

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:07:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's One Any Child Could Understand (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bfitzinAR, LaughingPlanet

    Floods are part of earth's natural cycle, so we don't need to build dams or come rescue people when they happen.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:47:39 AM PDT

  •  Good write-up and should there be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, BachFan

    any actual ignorant but seeking (as opposed to willfully and insistently ignorant, also known as stupid) out there, this should help.

    Me, I used to be a gardener (knees and back won't let me now) and all I had to see - and I've been seeing it for years now - is tomatoes being set out in April (and azaleas blooming in April right next to the tulips) to know it's real, it's happening, and it's probably too late to even mitigate it.  And just the simplest internet search (or a general geology class) tells you that previous "natural" severe atmospheric carbon-increase/warming episodes happened over the course of thousands of years - something happening in just centuries had to have help.

    •  that's a great way (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan, bfitzinAR

      to introduce folks who may be skeptical or just haven't thought about it.  More and more folks are seeing changes in their own back yard; some of them seem pretty good, too (like getting ripe tomatoes in Northern Minnesota gardens!)

      •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, bfitzinAR

        The seasons have already shifted by about a week (spring starting earlier, summer ending later).  This estimate was done a few years ago and I'm not certain what the criteria used was.  But since it was a scientific assessment (not some silly off-the-cuff pseudo-science), I presume the researcher simlpe used the old climatological normal temperature on or about March 21st (1st day of spring) and examined when those temperatures are now being reached.

        And based on a roughly 1C (2F) increase in temperatures over the past 100 years, that would, in fact, start spring about a week earlier, on average.

        Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

        by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:09:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's shifted here in NW AR (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan

          closer to 6 weeks - barring the occasional March or April snow/ice storm.  Back in the late 1970s when my brother lived here, local farmers warned us greenies not to put our tomatoes in the ground until June 1st.  (Coming from Austin, TX, we needed that warning.)  When I moved back here in 1997 the word was don't put your tomatoes in the ground before April 15th.  (And even in the 1980s the annual May "frozen daffodil festival" had become the annual April "frozen daffodil festival" - and it's now the annual March "frozen daffodil festival".)

          •  1970s (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BachFan, bfitzinAR

            The 1970s were particularly cold for compounding reasons.  So, even in AR it has probably only "officially" shifted by a week, over the course of the century.  But compared to the 1970s?  Heck, did you have summer in the 1970s?  Hehehe.  Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if the difference between the 1970s and now is about six weeks.  But in fairness that is only partially attributable to climate change.

            Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

            by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:50:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I mostly spent the 1970s (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BachFan

              in Austin, TX and the 50s & 60s in Houston - and I assure you we had summer.  I didn't realize the 1970s were particularly cooler in the Ozarks since I mostly wasn't here, but I did visit my brother during the early summer in 1977 and 1979 and helped plant the garden both times.  It was much nicer here than back in TX!  But surely if the 1970s were abnormally cooler the "old timers" would have commented on that, as well as warning folks to not put their tomatoes in the ground before June 1.

      •  Are they as happy with the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BobTrips

        Spring floods followed by late summer droughts?  Tomatoes don't fruit when the temps get over 90 - and what's already fruited doesn't ripen at those temps either.  Unfortunately what benefits the northern states will (at least temporarily) see from global warming will be far outweighed by the problems it brings.

    •  Gardening... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BachFan

      Show your meterologist friends this page....

      Planting zone changes 1990 to 2006

      This is short term observable change.  Observable changes in "weather".

      Hit Play->Reset->Play->Reset a few times and let them see winter in the US change.

      That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

      by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:13:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well done sir..... (0+ / 0-)

    and some good information with which to fight the sceptics.  

    -from one of the choir members

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

    by moose67 on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:20:15 AM PDT

  •  When the whole thing got 'political' (0+ / 0-)

    science got thrown under the bus. Paid, politically/financially motivated LIARS, make up nearly all the deniers. The political allies of the oil/coal/gas gangsters make the whole mix utterly toxic, and the MSM go along with the 'disinformation' campaign. Thank You for your analysis, it explains a complex issue well.

    "God is an iron" -Spider Robinson

    by oldcrow on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:22:31 AM PDT

  •  A thanks to and a humble request for the diarist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth

    Thanks for this.  I have been looking for something like this to deconstruct, point by point, the skeptics "arguments."

    One thing I have noticed about many skeptics is that they view this issue as purely political.  In other words, as hard as it is for many of us on this site to believe, many people's first awareness of GCC came about through watching or listening to the right wing noise machine.  Essentially, GCC became something to argue against because it was something that loony Al Gore or liberals believed in, so it must be wrong. They have no idea that the science behind this had been developing (largely free from political influence) for years.

    Rather they parrot RW talking points that the scientists that believe in GCC do so for pecuniary reasons (their grants being funded by lefties - so they have a monetary reason to promote GCC), while conveniently ignoring the very real monetary incentives of so-called experts who are skeptics and are funded largely through big oil, coal, and auto.

    Accordingly, a big "critique" that has gained some traction is that the GCC proponents have compromised incentives and the skeptics are really speaking the truth. So, I make a humble request that you supplement your excellent talking point list with another point, using your meterology background and knowledge, to briefly explain how GCC developed as a theory (and thus illustrating it was a scientific, and not political process) and the funding during this development was largely politically free.  I am thinking along the lines that it began to develop back in the 1960s when the first NASA missions to Mercury and Venus showed that atmospheric conditions on Venus made that planet much more hot than Mercury though farther away from the Sun.  In fact, wasn't this where the phrase "greenhouse gases" first came from?

    Intrepid scientists then thought, hey what if some of those Venusian gases were in our atmosphere, what would the impact be?  Presto, the beginning of a new theory.  This also explains another common "skeptic" "argument" that since climatologists recently thought that the Earth was cooling and now it is warming, they don't know what the hell they are talking about.  My recollection is that the Earth should be cooling and heading into another Ice Age down the road, but GCC is reversing that trend.  Do you have any data to lay waste to this critique?

    Also, one other suggestion, in your point #2, you might want to make the comparison that the recent East Anglia scandals do no more to taint the science behind the theory of GCC than the "Pilt-down Caper" did to the theory of evolution.  Then again, with the audience we are aiming this at, we would then have to explain evolution to them . . . .

  •  Here are the questions I've always had (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not trying to disagree, but I've done some of my own research into global warming, and by nature of being a freelance writer I've talked with some climatologists who have expressed off the record opinions to me that while they believe the climate is warming, admit that they are less than certain that it is because of carbon emissions. So here's my questions and I'd appreciate any info you have to pass along.

    1. Why is the southern hemisphere heating up at a much smaller rate than the northern hemisphere? There's only been a roughly .5 degree shift in temps in the southern hemisphere comared to a .9 or so in the northern hemisphere. I get that there are more carbon emissions in the northern hemisphere, but since the earth is interconnected shouldn't the two increase be similar?
    1. Why is the U.S. temp different that Europe? The US has only seen a .5 degree change compared to Europe which is close to .9 or more?
    1. What caused the mid-century downturn? The U.S. charts show a clear downward trend in temperatures from the 1930s to the 1970s. If carbon emissions have a consistent effect why the 30 plus years of cooling?
    1. How reliable are the records from the 1880s and early 1900s? I see the data goes back that far, but it seems to me it was all done by hand and prone to error. At the very least we had less data points in 1910 than we did in 1990. Is it possible the data is skewed as a result?
    1. Is it possible that the rise in carbon emissions and the rise in temperature are unrelated?

    These are the questions I have that keep me from buying into to the idea that global warming is man made and not naturally occurring. If you could shed some light on these questions I'd really appreciate it.

    •  Some answers (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, jrooth, Elvis meets Nixon, Tallguy
      1. Oceans warm more slowly due to the heat capacity of water.  The Southern Hemisphere has a dramatically higher percentage that is covered by oceans than does the Northern Hemisphere.  That is the reason for the Southern Hemisphere's slower warming rate.
      1. The distribution in a globally warmed environment is not even.  So, your question is certainly an intriguing one.  And, so, this comment is in no way meant to downplay it but... it is irrelevant to the overall climate change/skepticism question.  Now, in regard to your specific answer I am, quite honestly, unsure... except to, again, point out regional differences.  For example, even within the U.S. it is discontinuous.  The Northeastern U.S. has seen virtually no warming, while the Southwest has warmed by multiple degrees.  I do know that albedo is a factor (SW Desert will warm faster), but that doesn't necessarily answer your Europe question.  That may be better suited for a climate change expert (as I said, I am not one... I am just, essentially, relaying their info).
      1. Dr. Kerry Emanuel (I believe it was him) at MIT investigated this issue.  It appears, in his research, to be interestingly related to the same cause of global warming.  He found a distinct relationship between aerosols and temps.  Aerosols were ejected in mass quantities early to mid-century by industrial pollution.  Aerosols block sunlight.  Global warming took off within a few years after the Clean Air Act passed.  Globally, the 1930s to 1970s didn't see a downturn really, just a leveling off (see the chart in my post).  So, the aerosols were offsetting the greenhouse gases.  Then, aerosol emissions were reduced, while greenhouse gases continued to increase.  Thus began the more rapid warming.  That is, at least, the theory.  It, perhaps, still needs more investigation.
      1. Much work has been done to ensure clean data.  Again, I can't honestly speak to all of the details.  I do know this, though, the SST (sea surface temperature) data is probably quite reliable.  Even though that data is somewhat more sparse, its short-term temporal and spacial changes are quite low compared to land-based air temperatures.  And when you are looking at monthly and especially annual data, the sparcity becomes less of an issue as there is, cumulatively, plenty of data to obtain an excellent picture of the water temperature record.  And since the earth is 2/3rds water it follows that the entire data record is of reasonably high quality.  In fact, this has been investigated and quantified (I wish I had the link for you, but I don't recall where it is... perhaps at the East Anglia site)... the error bars, even for the 1880s data, are quite low.  So, both in theory (based on my explanation) and in statistical analyses, the data is believed to be of very high quality throughout the period of record.
      1. No.  Carbon emissions are measurable and are measured.  Most industrial nations actually report their emissions.  Those that don't are estimated based on their fuel consumption numbers (fossil fuels emit a known amount of greenhouse gases per unit burned).  As such, climatologists know with a good degree of accuracy the amount of CO2 (and methane and other gases) being delivered into the atmosphere.  As such, it can be relatively easily calculated what this does to change the concentrations in the atmosphere.  And, as I explained here, they also know explicitly what impact this has on the radiation budget.  There is zero question that CO2 (plus other greenhouse gases), in the amounts being emitted, have a measurable, noticeable warming effect on the planet.  The only questions that arise in resolving the global climate models is how all of the exacerbating and mitigating factors then play into the equation.

      Hope this helps.

      Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

      by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 11:17:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

        I'm still questioning whether global warming is man made or part of a larger natural cycle, but I appreciate your responses. I still have questions about the accuracy of water moisture in long-term climate models, and the amount of man-made gasses compared to natural gasses, but thanks for the info.

        One thing that gets me this notion that because climatologists somehow means anything. In my experience there is a lot of group think in academia, and in a field as small as climatology I'm not surprised at all that most climate scientists agree. As far as I can tell there were very few climatologists before global warming became an accepted idea. It's a very small field, most of them came from the same schools and I'd be willing to bet most of them choose to become climatologists because of their belief in global warming. Global warming research grants funds almost 100 percent of their work, so if you didn't believe in man-made global warming why would you become a Climatologist? It's a chicken and egg thing.

        •  Actually, that's not entirely true... (3+ / 0-)
          1. Climatology is a pretty large field, and diversely spread... which greatly reduces the group-think mentality.  Even in the U.S. Govt there are groups all over the place doing their own, independent climate research (NCDC, CPC, CDC, NASA Goddard, JPL, and many, many more).  Nevermind the vast array of academic institutes and other government and academic organizations throughout the globe.
          1. While it is true that climatology has become much larger since the global warming issue, it has been in existence, and not on an insignificant scale, long before then.
          1. There is plenty of opportunity for climatologists to find work in the anti-global warming side of the house.  Energy companies have poured billions of dollars into this.  This isn't a "chicken and egg" thing.  This has become a one-way street only because the scientific evidence is supportive of only one solution.  Moreover, if you believe that a group of climatologists would get no funding if they were working on some theory that disproved global warming, you'd be sadly mistaken.  I worked in the government realm for a long time.  Yes, there are a lot of politics and there is certainly some inertia.  But there is also a LOT of pride taken in performing science in an ethical and sound manner.  A theoretically sound conjecture that global warming is not occurring and is not anthropogenic would receive funding.
          1. I don't mean this to sound snitty, but this is one of my pet peeves... Look, there is zero question with regard to the impact of CO2.  Denying it is akin to denying gravity.  It is a scientifically measurable, calculable, laboratory repeatable fact.  And calculating emissions, though imperfect, can be done with at least reasonable accuracy.  Calculating atmospheric concentrations thereafter is actually quite simple.  It is also empirically verifiable, as we have actual atmospheric CO2 measurements.  This is why there is virtually zero debate amongst the experts... NOT because they know what side of their bread is buttered... because this is Atmospheric Science 101.  Now, I will say this, your questions regarding water vapor are legitimate.  It is one of the most potent greenhouse gases.  In fact, in the GCMs it, not CO2, is the primary warmer.  But CO2 is the instigator... initiating the warming, which causes the added water vapor.  The vapor then attempts to attain balance with cloud cover, only to get re-pushed by additional CO2.  That is an oversimplification, but the point is, yes, water vapor is a critical component in the equation.  But, what I am also telling you is that a denial that CO2 or methane or any other greenhouse gas does not cause warming is the same as saying the earth is flat.  It is a demonstrable fact.

          Be that self which one truly is. -Soren Kierkegaard

          by millwx on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 12:08:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your #3... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jrooth, louisprandtl

            There is plenty of opportunity for climatologists to find work in the anti-global warming side of the house

            Anyone who has worked in any sort of scientific research understands that "fame and fortune" come not from publishing even more supporting evidence, but from turning the field on its ear.  Not only is their opportunity, but there is great motivation for proving the "anti".

            Every single climate scientist knows that if he/she were to be able to disprove global climate change via some good solid research they would achieve what few achieve.  As soon as their results were confirmed they could expect....

            Ticker-tape parades from grateful people around the world.

            Personal fortunes from speaking fees and book sales.

            A named chair at a very major university

            Guaranteed research funding for the rest of your life.

            Your name in science, history, and politics books for the next few centuries.

            Just for a start....

            That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

            by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:35:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Group think... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          louisprandtl

          I would suggest that group think is much more common in disciplines which are largely devoid of scientific data.

          Climate science has a tremendous body of empirical evidence, evidence which serves to drag thinking back to reality rather than letting be led astray by clever argument.

          That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

          by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:26:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Something to share with your cohorts... (0+ / 0-)

     title=

    This is weather.  It is changing.  When weather changes long term like this we call it climate.

    Wonder where it will stop?

    Brazil just got its butt kicked.  Largest rain ever measured in one day.

    That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

    by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 03:43:20 PM PDT

  •  The Hansen projections (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth

    are based on different emissions scenarios. Scenario A assumed a higher emissions trajectory than what actually happen, so it makes the data comparison even worse. Scenario B is closer to what really happened, and it shows a decent match.

    The temp. data from the same graph probably uses satellite data that uses a different baseline temp. to calculate anomalies.

  •  millwx - Have you seen this? (0+ / 0-)

    Great set of graphs...

    And take a look at comment #3.  

    the cooling of the Stratosphere that is occurring (as the increased CO2 levels in the Troposphere are trapping more infra-red energy in the Troposphere (like a blanket) – and not letting it escape and warm the Stratosphere as much as it used to)

    I think I'd word it differently.  Something along the line of

    As greenhouse gases build up in the lower part of the atmosphere, the Troposphere, heat is trapped close to Earth.  

    Before the buildup of greenhouse gases more heat escaped and heated the upper layer, the Stratosphere.

    Is that what is happening up above us?  

    That "hopey-changey thing"? Takes a Magic Hawaiian to pull it off...

    by BobTrips on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 05:14:38 PM PDT

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