Category Archives: Global Climate

Settled? Not So Much


Daily Star (UK)

During winter, entire major cities – such as London, Paris and New York – would be subjected to sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow for months.

Um, actually that’s what we used to expect every year in Syracuse, NY. 

Millions of lives would be at risk of prolonged blackouts, food and electricity shortages and cold-related health problems. 

David Dilley, CEO of Global Weather Oscillations, told Daily Star Online global warming and cooling cycles are determined by the gravitational forces of the Earth, moon and sun.

Each cycle lasts around 120,000 years, with sub-cycles of around 230 years.

I don’t take this report as gospel, but neither do I take the prediction of people regularly caught manipulating data.  There have been ice ages and warming periods in between — long before the industrial age.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

ice age britain

February.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside


It will be 46 degrees today in Raleigh.  Tomorrow, it will top out at about 36.  My Global Climate Change™ experts say that computer models based upon that trend show that the temperatures at my house will be below zero by Monday. 

Beautiful

A computer model.

According to this estimate, life itself will cease to exist outside my window in just a week or so, and as the cold overpowers the insulation of my house, and the gas pipes underground become brittle, and wires above ground crack and snap, it will become impossible to stay warm even inside.  I’ll stay blogging as long as I can, but you can’t question the computer models.

Or it could be that in the vast history of the planet, there have been periods of cold, followed by warming trends, and these patterns change all the time, regardless of our presence here. Similar to weather, but on a much grander scale.

Our ability to measure slight shifts in temperature over relatively short periods of time is limited, and our science cannot actually predict much about the future.   It’s also true that we should not panic.

 

 

The Science Isn’t So ‘Settled’


And neither is the ice on Greenland:

Evidence buried in Greenland’s bedrock shows the island’s massive ice sheet melted nearly completely at least once in the last 2.6 million years. This suggests that Greenland’s ice may be less stable than previously believed.

Two studies on this disagree as to the amount of melt, but they agree that the ice sheet mostly melted.  Which is of course bad:

If all of Greenland’s ice melted, it would raise sea levels by seven metres. Models suggest that Greenland could become ice-free as soon as 2,500 years from now, depending on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere3.

The latest papers add to a growing understanding of how Greenland’s ice has shifted over millions of years.

On the other hand, if this ice melted 2.6 million years ago, I’m going to assume that we didn’t do it. It also brings into question how well all the other studies took into account natural factors such as the sun, clouds and naturally occurring Co2 sources.

Cool.  Off the hook!

If the ‘Science is Settled,’ Why are There So Many Questions?


I read a fascinating article in Nature.com on the influence of the Southern Ocean on climate.  I’m not a scientist, so I can’t examine the truth of the article, but I do know words. Certain words and phrases in the article make me think we don’t quite have Climate Change figured out.

 The title was a bit odd for a ‘settled science.’

How much longer can Antarctica’s hostile ocean delay global warming?

The waters of the Southern Ocean have absorbed much of the excess heat and carbon generated by humanity.

The first sentences relay the first discovery of the phenomenon. Then…

Although controversial when she encountered it back in 1994, this powerful upwelling is now recognized as a hallmark of the Southern Ocean, a mysterious beast that swirls around Antarctica, driven by the world’s strongest sustained winds. The Southern Ocean absorbs copious amounts of carbon dioxide and heat from the atmosphere, which has slowed the rate of global warming. And its powerful currents drive much of the global ocean circulation.

I noticed these phrases along the way:

enormous data gaps

bolster understanding of how the Southern Ocean — and the global climate — functions

improving predictions of how quickly the world will warm

New technologies are allowing us access to these remote areas

This raises new questions 

Scientists only started to realize how important the region is for controlling global climate in the 1980s,

is leading an effort to gather the first real-time data on the chemical and biological processes 

With the new data, Sarmiento and his team can test their models and refine estimates 

researchers are getting some of their first glimpses in near-real time

the question now is whether the higher CO2 emissions during winter represent larger trends

It would imply that potentially there is a much weaker 

Le Quéré says it’s unclear 

Scientists are also beginning to pin down

I stopped less than halfway through the article.

These are by definition phrases pulled out of context.  On the other hand, they are phrases about the very real questions which are being asked about a phenomenon which has huge impact on the climate: the effect of the churning Southern Ocean.  Apparently, the watery area around Antarctica cools down the Earth as very cold water churns up from far below the surface. Do we understand it well enough? No.

This was ‘discovered” in 1994, is barely understood now, and could possibly impact all of the so-called Climate Science. It is one of many factors which may – or may not – affect the global climate.

 Settled?  Not at all.

 

But We Knew This


The left has done more damage to the social and so-called pure sciences than the right.  While the right may believe in things like creationism and reject climate change, those ideas do not hurt scientific research.  So says John Tierney in CityJournal.org:

Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology, creating what Jonathan Haidt calls a “tribal-moral community” with its own “sacred values” about what’s worth studying and what’s taboo. – snip –

The Left’s most rigid taboos involve the biology of race and gender, as the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker chronicles in The Blank Slate. The book takes its title from Pinker’s term for the dogma that “any differences we see among races, ethnic groups, sexes, and individuals come not from differences in their innate constitution but from differences in their experiences.” The dogma constricts researchers’ perspective—“No biology, please, we’re social scientists”—and discourages debate, in and out of academia. Early researchers in sociobiology faced vitriolic attacks from prominent scientists like Stephen Jay Gould, who accused them of racism and sexism for studying genetic influences on behavior.

Which side cries out that ‘the science is settled’?  Which side will march you off campus for suggesting that there might be innate differences in skill levels in men versus women.  Ask Lawrence Summers:

Former Harvard president Lawrence Summers found this out the hard way at an academic conference where he dared to discuss the preponderance of men among professors of mathematics and physical sciences at elite universities.

While acknowledging that women faced cultural barriers, like discrimination and the pressures of family responsibilities, Summers hypothesized that there might be other factors, too, such as the greater number of men at the extreme high end in tests measuring mathematical ability and other traits. Males’ greater variability in aptitude is well established—it’s why there are more male dunces as well as geniuses—but scientific accuracy was no defense against the feminist outcry. The controversy forced Summers to apologize and ultimately contributed to his resignation.

I believe in God, and science.  I figure one created the other, but your experience with it all might be different.  I also believe in healthy debate, interesting discussions and probing scientific and social science research.  When the left is in charge, all those things become harder.

 

 

It is Almost as if the Climate is Complex


And by complex, I mean complex enough that you can’t do much by cutting off greenhouse gasses.  If you could, which you can’t. Scroll down past the map of the Great Ice Age, which happened two million years ago.

Maximum extent of glacial ice

U.S. Geological Survey Map of the Great Ice Age.  No cars. No factories.  No people. Happened all by itself.  

From WUTT, and Physics Today:

But the reality of humans’ impact on climate is exceedingly complex.2 Even if greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated completely, other harmful anthropogenic [human caused] sources of climate change would remain. And even if global average temperatures were contained, human impacts on climate would manifest in other potentially dangerous ways.

One often overlooked human factor is land use. Deforestation, dryland farming, irrigated agriculture, overgrazing, and other alterations to the natural landscape can disrupt Earth’s natural balances and change weather patterns. As with the addition of CO into the atmosphere, the effects can last for decades or longer and affect regions distant from the original offense. Given continued rapid population growth, they threaten to be irreversible.

In theory, this could be really bad news.  This might mean the next Global Climate Change conference might want to address land use, through land use regulations.  A sort of Global Zoning Initiative.  Actually, I’m sorry I wrote that, because that is probably what will happen.

I think by the time the next Global Climate meeting is held — far away from where the participants live — the game will be up.  People will understand that these nuts are not saving the planet by flying jets to exotic places to write rules for others to live by.  

I say next time they get somewhere for a climate wing-ding, we get the local airport to refuse to refuel.  On account of Climate Change.

Totally Unrelated:

Source:

“Science is hard…” claims blogger.


global-warming

Source (or the blog where I found it.)

Related:

The accelerated melting of the lower Greenland ice sheet in recent years is reportedly due in large part to the increasing abundance of cryoconite granules and pigmented algae. However, how many types of microbe inhabiting in this tiny granule and what kind of environment factors promoting the activities of cold-loving microbes are still unclear.  ____________________________________________________

The official stance of this blog is that “Science is hard.”

It’s even harder when you try to examine large systems like the climate of Earth, with imperfect data collection tools and when so many of the factors which affect your data are not fully understood.  A bit harder when you try to measure a half-degree change using thermometers located at the airport, and tree rings to compare climate over hundreds of years.  

Bones tossed into a bowl with the blood of a frog and native herbs might actually yield more accurate data.

Image result for polar bear on ice

Stranded!

 

Science is made easier of course if scientists declare that ‘the science is settled'” and them take action to modify their research data to fit their conclusions.  

You can’t trust me on science. My last science classes were Dr. Brown’s Physics for Clowns,” and “Rocks for Jocks,” in which I was the only non-athlete in the room.  

On the other hand, I don’t actually fly private jets to a Global Climate Change summit, so there’s that.

Image result for polar bear on ice

” I actually enjoy floating on these things.  If I need to go somewhere, I’ll swim.”