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Tilting at Windmills

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June 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GLOBAL WARMING: WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT....The LA Times reports on the work of Jay Zwally and Konrad Steffen, two climatologists studying the Greenland ice sheet:

Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.

....By 2005, Greenland was beginning to lose more ice volume than anyone anticipated an annual loss of up to 52 cubic miles a year according to more recent satellite gravity measurements released by JPL.

The amount of freshwater ice dumped into the Atlantic Ocean has almost tripled in a decade.

"We are clearly seeing the effects of climate change starting to kick in," Zwally said.

Since Steffen started monitoring the weather at Swiss Camp in 1991, the average winter temperature has risen almost 10 degrees. Last year, the annual melt zone reached farther inland and up to higher elevations than ever before.

There was even a period of melting in December.

"We have never seen that," Steffen said, combing the ice crystals from his beard. "It is significantly warmer now, and it happened quite suddenly. This year, the temperatures were warmer than I have ever experienced."

The problem is that the computer models didn't take into account the dynamics of Greenland's glaciers. So in a way, the skeptics have turned out to be right: the computer models aren't as reliable as we thought. They're too optimistic.

Kevin Drum 1:04 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (191)

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Comments

Why am I not surprised.

After reading Collapse! and The Long Emergency back to back, I've become very glum on the prospects for humanity over say, the next 100 years.

It's ok though - I'm sure we can overcome climate change if we just stay the course.

Posted by: craigie on June 25, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, trying to be positive, how much CO2 would be given off if we started burning conservaloonies for fuel? Because there certainly seems to be an inexhaustable supply of them...

Posted by: craigie on June 25, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you forgot your routine "but George Bush denies all this" lie. Please update.

Posted by: am on June 25, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Thinking this through some more, it's clear we not going to get our deposit back on this planet.

Posted by: craigie on June 25, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you forgot your routine "but George Bush denies all this" lie. Please update.

Presumably, the lie is that Shrub denies just this when in fact, he denies pretty much everything. Consider it updated.

Posted by: craigie on June 25, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

The LA Times reports on the work of Jay Zwally and Konrad Steffen, two climatologists studying the Greenland ice sheet: Climate experts have started to worry that the ice cap is disappearing in ways that computer models had not predicted.

More distortions by the "scientists." Just because the scientific community claims there's a "consensus" on global warming and icecaps doesn't mean we should believe them. As Prometheus points out, the global warming "consensus" from scientists is more about politics than real science. Liberal "scientists" have been waging a jihad against conservatives who have disproved their theories and are trying to bully conservative truth tellers from speaking the truth.

Link

"William Gray is the originator of seasonal climate forecasts and has rudely dismissed the notion of human-caused global warming, much less a connection to hurricanes. One of the lead authors of the AGU assessment has been in a public feud with Bill Gray and is a strong advocate of a human role in recent hurricane activity. It is not unreasonable to think that the AGU assessment was being used as a vehicle to advance this battle under the guise of community "consensus." It may be the perception among some that if Bill Grays or NOAAs work on seasonal forecasts, which is based on various natural climatic factors, can be shown to be fundamentally flawed, then this would elevate the importance of alternative explanations."

"The AGU case may be isolated, but it does beg the question raised by my father and others, how can we know whether scientific assessments faithfully represent the relevant community of experts versus a subset with an agenda posing under the guise of consensus? I am aware of no systematic approaches to answering this question. It is a question that needs discussion, because as political, personal, and other issues infuse the scientific enterprise, blind trust in disinterested science and science institutions no longer seems to be enough."

Posted by: Al on June 25, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

The anti-war libs now want to launch a pre-emptive strike on poor CO2.

Talk about prejudice and ignorance.

Posted by: nut on June 25, 2006 at 1:29 AM | PERMALINK

Al

You forgot to add the Michael Savage rant that NAS is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the anti-American Communist Inc. and the all the scientists who have written to support the Gore's point of view are liberal whack jobs.

Posted by: nut on June 25, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Silly me! I just wrote a long post on the irrationality of blog trolls and I used a nutjob at Pharyngula for my example. I should have used Al! (He must be accustomed to being used anyway, big time Bush shill that he is.)

Posted by: Zeno on June 25, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Al

If you want to evaluate the climate data, learn some math and science. Its not hard to do, if you really cared. When you do, you quickly learn that the remaining global-warming skeptics have the thinnest of arguments, mainly based at wishful thinking at this point.

Posted by: troglodyte on June 25, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - climate changes are cyclical. There were sweeping climate shifts hundreds, even thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution. No need for you to get hysterical.

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on June 25, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

"Thinking this through some more, it's clear we not going to get our deposit back on this planet."

LOL!

Posted by: Tom DC/VA on June 25, 2006 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Abandon All Hope Now! Beat the Rush!

Posted by: R.L. on June 25, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Can't we apply Cheney's 1% rule? If there's even a one percent chance that global warming is real, we should aggressively attack it.

Right?

Posted by: Jones on June 25, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

I am with Al, science in general is bunk. What matters is the word of GOD, the Bible, and the Ten commandments. Global warming is nothing more than earth's evolutionary cycle.

How could these liberal scientist deny Christ? Why do they always attempt to denounce any other conservative truth-tellers who claims that GOD is using him/her? These liberal scientists have no moral justification to argue against the conservative truth-tellers, they are just shouting heresy, and illogical reasoning. They ought to be imprisoned for what they believed in, i.e. science, rather than the word of GOD.

I am glad that Bush is ignoring these maniacs.


Posted by: Left Behind Advocate on June 25, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

The saddest thing is that no amount of evidence will convince folks like Al until it's far too late. Then he'll turn around and blame the Liberals for being to dumb to convince him.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on June 25, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

conservaloonies for fuel? Because there certainly seems to be an inexhaustable supply of them...

Craigie, they certainly can't be more than 16%, these conservaloonies...and if a minority beats a majority, was it a fair fight?

Posted by: exasperanto on June 25, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Can't we apply Cheney's 1% rule? If there's even a one percent chance that global warming is real, we should aggressively attack it.

Right?

Posted by: Jones on June 25, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

No. Terrorism is a threat. Global warming is not. If it's real, then it's inevitable and we'll simply adapt to it by using our God given intelligence.

Posted by: Chicounsel on June 25, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

That was a little clumsy, Chicounsel; there's supposed to be an asterik between God and given.

Posted by: exasperanto on June 25, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

If Al Gore were president, none of this would be happening.

Posted by: dnc on June 25, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

The most disturbing thing about this thread is that I can't tell the real lunatics from the parodies.

Does "Havlicek stole the ball" really believe what he's saying? What about "Chicounsel"?

Posted by: Oregonian on June 25, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

Can we all sober up for a moment?

Thank you.

Global climate change really does seem to be moving faster than we expected. Most of our glaciers are going to disappear in our lifetimes, even for people as old as I am. Where are the Kilimanjaros of yesteryear? The Alps, the Andes, the Rockies and the Himalayas are running on empty. (Lots of snow in the Sierras this year, though, so Californians remain fat & happy).

Forget tanning, folks, slather on the sunblock and stay in the shade. But please, please, please, don't turn on the air conditioner. Tough it out. Save a penguin for the rest of us.

Posted by: bad Jim on June 25, 2006 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

Oh my god. We are all going to die.

Posted by: aaron on June 25, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

Aaron, how seriously were you planning not to?

Posted by: bad Jim on June 25, 2006 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

Out of many disservices to the public, one of the greatest committed by Repubnuts is the extreme politicization of science and the subjugation of scientific method to political, religious and commercial expediency.

Their party has truly run aground in the shallows of their distorted morality.

When it comes to global climate change, the position of people like Al exactly equates to Chamberlain's "I have a piece of paper here . . . Peace in our time." They wave delusional opinions about and claim there's no reason to be alarmed as the express train of humanity roars towards a possible calamity.

These repubnuts represent the worst sort of appeasement. Wilfull and deliberate self-delusion in the face of unequivocal evidence, whilst attempting to convince everybody else to join them on the same blind ride.

God help us all, but more particularly our children and their's.

Where this gene-suicide tendency comes from I cannot fathom. I wouldn't mind if only they wouldn't include me and all my friends and relations in their pact.

The only way I can rationalize this is, as part of the ever supreme USA, they believe that they will survive and only benefit from the destruction of so many other peoples.
========================
Oh, and Greenland ice sheet 21 feet, Antarctic peninsula sheet about another 20 feet and a whole load of Antarctic ice to follow.

Posted by: notthere on June 25, 2006 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

If only we'd listened to Kevin Costner.

Posted by: Boronx on June 25, 2006 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

As ice cover disappears, the albedo of the earth decreases, more incoming radiation is absorbed, and the earth heats even more. It is a disastrous feedback loop.

Posted by: bob h on June 25, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

Not to mention the methane that will be released as the Siberian bogs begin to thaw.

Posted by: Joel on June 25, 2006 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

"....By 2005, Greenland was beginning to lose more ice volume than anyone anticipated an annual loss of up to 52 cubic miles a year according to more recent satellite gravity measurements released by JPL."

So, about a 1/3 of Mississippi River annual discharge?

From article: "Gripping a bottle of Jack Daniel's between his knees, Jay Zwally savored the warmth inside the tiny plane....raffish NASA glaciologist with a silver dolphin in one pierced ear was dismayed by how quickly the breakup had occurred.
...Homeward bound windburned, bone-chilled and greasy after weeks on this immense ice cap tilted like a beret flopped across the top of the world they all had been in a celebratory mood....
Even so, Steffen and Zwally often spent days chiseling out tables and chairs had frozen in floodwater into a single block of ice."

So other than NASA is sending it's drunks to Greenland, what else are we suppose to conclude from romantic tale of drunken slobs wasting tax dollars.

"To her surprise, she detected a maze of tunnels, natural pipes and cracks beneath the unblemished surface.

"I have never seen anything like it, except in an area where people have been drilling bore holes," Catania said. "

What bunch of screwballs.

Posted by: gbaikie on June 25, 2006 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

This year, the temperatures were warmer than I have ever experienced."

Doesn't matter. We will all die excrutiang deaths before a conservitave will ever admit Al Gore was right.

Sunscreen baby! Its the hot new investment ticket!

Posted by: SnarkyShark on June 25, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

The glacial cycle at work.


Posted by: Matt on June 25, 2006 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

People like Al, who are living in denial, because of some infantile need to be right instead of being thoughtful, need to be soundly ignored. The empirical observations of the melting of the Greenland ice sheets is cause for alarm regardless of the cause.

I challenge someone like Al to go see An Inconvenient Truth, and then come back to this blog with all of their denials.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 25, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Naturally, you conflate two different things. Nobody disputes that the earth is getting warmer. However, it's an open question how much (if any) is caused by humans and how much is simply the natural warming and cooling cycle of the earth. As everybody who didn't go to public school in a blue state knows, the earth had a bunch of ice ages before the dawn of industriliaziation....

Posted by: American Hawk on June 25, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm trying not to get depressed by this thread. The only thing I can think of is that humans just aren't advanced enough to look forward and see the consequences of what we do - humans as a group that is. I've heard about global warming for years, just like everyone else. I didn't want to change my habits, change my point of view, take it seriously, because it was too inconvenient to do so. The idea of global warming, and its consequences, and the things we will have to do to even have a chance of forestalling its worst effects, are extremely annoying. We live comfortable lifestyles - such comfortable lifestyles, and it's understandable that we don't want to hear about anything that puts it in jeopardy. But to those who look at this like a political football, or something to be sarcastic about, or just another issue that we can have entertaining disagreements about, I urge you to take it very seriously. To those who still persist in thinking that global warming is some kind of hoax, well, we humans just might be too stupid to live. You definitely are.

Posted by: Douglass Truth on June 25, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

To those who still persist in thinking that global warming is some kind of hoax, well, we humans just might be too stupid to live. You definitely are.

No, global warming is a GoodFact.. just like global cooling in the 1970s. Hey, how is that ice age the liberals predicted coming???

Posted by: American Hawk on June 25, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

"....By 2005, Greenland was beginning to lose more ice volume than anyone anticipated an annual loss of up to 52 cubic miles a year according to more recent satellite gravity measurements released by JPL."

So, about a 1/3 of Mississippi River annual discharge?

Keep in mind that the volume of water lost from Greenland is not being replaced at the same rate by precipitation, as the equivalent volume of water from the Mississippi is. The upshot of this is that the water being lost from Greenland raises ocean levels.

Posted by: David W. on June 25, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK


Couldn't we just nuke Greenland?

Posted by: Garrett Carlson on June 25, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

The saddest thing is that no amount of evidence will convince folks like Al until it's far too late. Then he'll turn around and blame the Liberals for being to dumb to convince him.

No. He'll do what George Bush did.

He'll shrug.

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 25, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

OK,there is global warming. What would you have us do?

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Computers are more optimistic than Democrats!

People on death row are more optmistic than the Democrats.

Weren't we all going to freeze just a few decades ago, Remember, the new ice age was coming?

This is just too rich for words. Jihadism has wreaked havoc on civilization and killed an untold number of innocent people in the last three decades. Global warming has yet to wound anybody, yet the left is holding this up as the greatest threat we face.

The saddest thing is that no amount of evidence will convince the left that jihadism is real before it's too late. Then they'll turn around and blame the conservatives for being too dumb to convince them.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Put a sock in it Jay. I want to talk to the grownups.

There, thats a good little lad.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Dear American Hawk; I'm sorry I called you stupid. It was rude and entirely unhelpful. But based on your response, let me try again: try looking at this issue without the political frame; it's not a liberal or conservative issue. It's really, in a certain way, not even about who's to blame, mother nature and her climactic cycles or our own human behavior. But our house is on fire, and it's beyond silly to be debating whether it was caused by a lightning strike or Johnny playing with matches. We have a chance to do something about it now. Soon, we won't have that chance. Please look at the science now, not what liberals said in the 70s. Look at the pictures, for crying out loud. The ice caps are melting - can you deny it? We have a chance to save this nice world for our children and their children. Please - this goes so far beyind petty politics. Listen - I grew up in the 50s, I drove muscle cars and motorcycles and Dodge pickups with hemi engines, and nothing was ever more fun than that. I hate the fact that we have to give up such joys. I love being able to pad, barefoot, in a t-shirt, around my house when it's 20 below outside. I like being able to run to the mall in my Forester whenever I need a cable for my video camera. It sucks that we might have to change our habits. I hate to change that, but reality is speaking, really loudly. We just can't live the way we have been living. It's not about scarcity so much as intelligence. But please try to see this in the light of what's actually happening, and not through the lense of politics. It's really that important. Our kids will thank you. And I really am sorry for calling anyone stupid. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: Douglass Truth on June 25, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

In the face of any purported crisis, whether real or imagined, I think that denial is the first reaction. I also think that enforcing order only escalates chaos. Having written that, I would like to add that no matter what your "belief system" is when the shit hits the fan you will eat your children, pets and each other with no sense of guilt whatsoever. Keep on drinking that beer amerikkka. By the way, I think this country is quicky becoming the world's largest banana republic (and I don't mean the clothing outlet).
enjoy the ride.

Posted by: someOtherClown on June 25, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Douglas, calm down. Global warming may or may not be happening and if it is, we may or may not be a small contributor to the cause of it and if we did contribute, I doubt like hell there is anything we can do about it. This planet has been around for billions of years and we must have rocks in our heads to think that we know the climatic history of those billions of years. Scientists have concluded that the recent warming trend is just over 200 years. We have no way of knowing if this is just part of a ten thousand year trend. Seriously, if the earth decides to heat up or cool down, there is NOTHING we can do. Driving less, using less hairspray or drilling for less coal is not going to move earth's barometer at all.

Mans fallacy is to think that he is all self important and powerful. Well, we are but bits of dust in comparison to this planet and universe and if and when the planet decides to roll over, we're done. Period.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

And I really am sorry for calling anyone stupid.

Don't ever apologize to a troll. They're not here to engage in rational discourse; their purpose is to disrupt the thread with bullshit. Some of them, like Jay, decry the perceived lack of civility while tossing around invectives of their own.

They're not to be taken seriously. They're just shills for the most incompetent administration in American history. They're rats who haven't the good sense to abandon the sinking ship.

Posted by: Ken on June 25, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

The general response from conservatives on the subject of human-caused global warming can be summed up as follows:

It doesn't exist.

It does exist, but it's too late and/or impossible to do anything about it.

How convenient for them, as both require they do nothing about it.

Posted by: David W. on June 25, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Do any of you goofball Dems think a President Hilary Clinton will make any difference?

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on June 25, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The general response from liberals on the subjest of jihadism can be summed up as follows:

It doesn't exist

It does exist but it's too late and/or impossible to do anything about it.

How convenient for them, as both require they do nothing about it.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Left Behind Advocate: thanks. (For the parody, I trust). Now, I dont have to go to church today and here that exact same message.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 25, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

The foolishness of American Hawk, Al, et al is analagous to someone finding out they have a tumor in their chest and asserting they aren't going to do anything about it until they determine whether it was caused by the high-tension power lines near his home or the nuclear power plant upriver.

We know it is happening and we know pollution is a bad thing - so why don't we work together to reduce pollution? Why are conservatives so bull-headed, stubborn, selfish and care so little about our children? That is the height of immorality, in my opinion.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 25, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I hope that the trolls who deny the existence of global warming do not go outside or look out their windows. Because the evidence that something is awry is in front of their noses. Earlier hurricanes, the torrential rains in the Midwest and NE, the droughts in TX and earlier, hotter summers in the Pacific NW. But as long as they keep glued to the screens and repeat their mantra (there's nothing to see, move along now), all will be well with the world.

Posted by: moe99 on June 25, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

To Havlicek,

I don't know whether Hillary could do anything about it -- she's not my ideal Dem, but she'd certainly take it more seriously than W does. Of course, if she did try to do anything, you'd be right there helping, right? Not taking pot-shots, right?

Jay, find me a liberal who claims jihadism doesn't exist. Find me a liberal who claims we can't do anything about it. The standard liberal response is that we should take police actions against existing terrorists, take border and port security seriously (unlike the GOP-run DHS). Warning: nuanced thought ahead (I'm gonna get hit for this, because some of the cons on this board can't read long sentences). Jihadism is not justified, but it is comprehensible. We and the UK and the Soviets in their time spent nearly a century messing with the Middle East: supporting dictators when it was convenient; overthrowing democracies when it was convenient (Iran 1953); influencing their societies in ways that were convenient for our energy interests, rather than good for the broad public of middle Eastern countries. I'm not saying the US is responsible for every bad thing that's happened in the world -- the Arab countries are quite capable of screwing things up on their own. And I'm not denying that we've done some spectacularly good things in our history; the occupations of Germany and Japan are the stellar examples. But in the Mid East we have repeatedly contradicted our own ideals. And (I'm repeating myself, but this stuff never seems to get through), while that does not justify jihad nor explain its origins (if you read Qutub, the really DO hate our freedoms), it does increase the number of people who are receptive to that message.

If we're serious about jihadism, and GOP actions suggest they're not, we need COMPETENT police action against existing terrorists and we need to stop unnecessarily expanding the pool of people who find jihadism attractive.

The fundamental difference between David W.'s summation of the conservative view on global warming and your summation of liberals on jihad is that David accurately summarized views that you and others had expressed just a few posts up (and more than once), whereas your summary is a projection of what you think liberals think about jihad, but you can't actually back it up.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: readerk on June 25, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Havlicek stole the ball: what a cool handle.

But, to answer your question: Yes. Effective leadership does enhance success. We need strategy and consensus among the industrialized nations.

Currently, GWB is the biggest impediment. Need to replace him with someone like you listed.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 25, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why are conservatives so bull-headed, stubborn, selfish and care so little about our children?

Something about not being able to convince someone whose income depends on them not being convinved.

Posted by: Thumb on June 25, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Well since Kriz knows for a fact that this is not just part of ten thousand year trend and that man can alter the earths climate for better or worse, explain to me the drama of claiming conservatives "don't care for our children" when GW in his SOTU laid out a platform containing a plethora of newer greener energy sources to be used immediately and the funds for research to continue a move towards greener energy sources.

Or do you just like to be a victim?

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK


To the deniers---

The American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the National Academy of Sciences have all issued formal statements observing that global warming is almost certainly due in large part to the burning of fossil fuels.

No scientist can doubt any one of the following premises:

We burn lots and lots of carbon-based fuels.

The CO2 goes up to the sky, and stays there for a long time before coming down.

CO2 is very efficient at trapping solar energy. That's why the planet Venus is so hot--it's got so much CO2 in its atmospere.

Any questions?

Posted by: Arthur on June 25, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

One of my co-workers, who could be a poster child for The Ordinary American, has decided to buy a hybrid car. The fact that she has paid attention to the issue, taken the trouble to educate herself on it, and is taking appropriate action, gives me hope.

Also, my vanpool - which had trouble getting enough riders to make its quota most months - now has so many riders that we not only make our quota most months, there was enough of a waiting list to get on that a second van has been added. Whether that's due to gas prices or recognition of GCC doesn't matter; what matters is that that many more people aren't driving to work.

It's great that enough people are at least paying attention to ensure GCC stays in the public eye. It's great that enough people are taking it seriously enough to change their behavior and buying choices.

But humanity as a whole can't really address GCC until it addresses the population issue. If we keep adding another billion human beings every couple of years to the planetary population, no amount of eco-friendly industry will be enough. It's insane to think we can keep breeding without a second thought.

Posted by: CaseyL on June 25, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Jay said: >

The earth doesn't "decide" to change its climate. Changes in global temperature are caused by what climate scientists refer to as "forcers". We can study these forcers to understand what causes changes in climate.

C02 is a forcer that causes temperature rise, all else being equal. We know this from the laws of physics and the properties of the CO2 molecule. We know that the concentration of C02 in the atmosphere is rising, becuase we can measure it. We know that humans are putting large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere because we can measure it. We know that global temperature is rising, because we can measure it.

What all but a very few climate scientists are saying is that the relatively rapid temperature increase they are observing cannot be explained by a "natural" climate forcer. On the other hand, the temperature increase fits pretty nicely with what they would theoretically expect from the increased atmospheric C02.

So what would you conclude, if you are really interested in figuring out what is going on?

Many of the global warming deniers claims, including the myth that "everyone was predicting an ice age in the '70s" are discussed at http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html. For anyone who wants to seriously understand and draw conclusions on global warming, I recommend spendings some time at www.realclimate.org.

And David, you left out the third response: quick, change the subject.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Well, this is a bizarre thread of commentary. Yes, there have been cycles of cooling and warming, but those were within the natural parameters of global cycles, without humans causing major disruptions of vast ecosystems and injecting huge amounts of greehouse gases into the atmosphere. The global ecosystem does have builtin hysteresis. The difference now, of course, is that we are destroying the buffers that assist in keeping the cycles within tolerable limits by absorbing minor climatic shocks, and the ecosystem has entered a period of chaos. This is evidenced by the unprecedented amount of flooding (loss of groundcover to mitigate rainfall), wild fires (loss of groundwater to maintain some amount of verdancy in susceptible ecosystems), loss of glaciers , and so forth. Where the new balance and what the new hysteresis will be is unknown. That we will adapt is probable, but whether the loss of diversity, human life, and health will make for a better future environment is dubious. Ingenuity only works within the parameters of the possible, and if we narrow the parameters, then our comfort and well being, and that of our children, decline.

Posted by: Carol on June 25, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, I guess I don't know how to mark a quote on this blog.

The comment of Jay's that I tried to quote was:

Seriously, if the earth decides to heat up or cool down, there is NOTHING we can do.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"There is no terrorist threat" Michael Moore,
2004

"Our occupation of Iraq has created the terorism" Dennis Kucinich 2003.

Does the advocating the use of, and funding of newer greener energy resources in the SOTU in January suggest that conservatives are not dismissing the notion of global warming, or did that get past you?

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

"Ingenuity only works within the parameters of the possible."

I like that. Did you coin it, or is it from somewhere?

Posted by: readerk on June 25, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Could it be that Venus is hot because it is millions of miles CLOSER to the sun?

One misdirected solar flare could scorch everything on this planet, including Nancy Pelosi's face lift. Well, maybe not.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it that the right thinks that climate change is a political issue? It's either happening or not, it's not subject to polls...believing something without paying attention to the data is...despotic.

Posted by: parrot on June 25, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Jay, those are good quotes. The Moore one could use some context, however, and I think I know the context for the Kucinich quote, which is that our invasion of Iraq has created the terrorism IN IRAQ. Not that Saddam was a honey, and his regime certainly terrorized Iraqis and made payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, but the phenomenon of wide-scale terrorism in Iraq is, in fact, a product of our invasion and botched occupation.

And yeah, W said all sorts of nice things in the SOTU about green energy, then cut funding for the National Renewable Energy Lab. "Or did that get past you?" If W's hot air were an energy source, we'd be fine.

Posted by: readerk on June 25, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Why are conservatives so bull-headed, stubborn, selfish and care so little about our children?

That is like asking why are selfish people so selfish.

It is what defines them as a group.

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 25, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Why are conservatives so bull-headed, stubborn, selfish and care so little about our children?

That is like asking why are selfish people so selfish.

It is what defines them as a group.

Posted by: Googles McGurk on June 25, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

"....as a result of the appropriations process, the money may or may not end up where it is suppose to" GW

After having said that, he allocated $5 million dollars to restore the NREL jobs that were cut.

Furthermore, GW's AEI provides for a 22% increase in clean energy research at DOE.

Did that one get by you?

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: re the SOTU: "advocating"? While giving tax breaks to oil companies? Doctor, I need something stronger. Calm down? Look at the pictures Jay. The ice caps are melting. Greenland will be green again soon. Been to Alaska? It's changing incredibly fast, and not for the better. Look at the pictures. This is not some figment of the liberal imagination. Listen to real scientists, not Michael Crichton.

Here's an infomative article in the NY Review of Books by Jim Hansen. Please read.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19131

To those that say we can't do anything: as Hansen shows in his article, we passed laws against ozone-destroying chemicals and fixed the problem.

To those that ask: What can we do? Good question. I'm struggling with it. Being aware and taking it seriously come first. The problem is so huge that it takes government intervention. I know some of the so-called conservatives might get hives at this suggestion. But somehow big government looking at our phone calls, emails, and financial transactions doesn't seem to bother them.

Again: this is bigger than politics.

Posted by: Douglass Truth on June 25, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

"....botched occupation"?

Three successful elections
A permanently elected representative gov't
A national constitution
A 250,000+ military/security force
Zarqawi dead
A soon-to-be gradual withdrawal
In less than four years

botched?


Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

True, it shouldn't be a partisan issue and is pointless anyway. By the time the loss of life and standard of living fully manifests 100-500 years from now, the naysayers will have morphed into apocalyptics without one shred of self-awareness about their hypocrisy. The believers in apocalypse will cling to their one true god while contributing to a backlash against science and technology. Just human nature at work. We can only hope that science and technology can provide solutions faster than the damage. We live great now so let's enjoy it while we can. Our great great great grandchildren may not have it so good but what can we do? If "civilization" still exists 1,000 years from now, I'll be impressed.

Posted by: Don'tKnow on June 25, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

A 22% increase in clean energy research through GW's AEI. Steps are being taken to address the "possible" problem.

Are you honestly saying for a FACT that humans use of CO2 in the last 150 years has negatively and unalterably effected the enviroment of a massive planet that is over a billion years old?

What I find extremely ironic is that the left throws this threat out (global warming) as undeniably real and imminent yet shrugs off the beheading of an innocent civilian at the hands of jihadists that have vociferously announced their intentions of destroying western civilization.

Let's see which threat to address first?

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Q: Why is Bush ignoring the overwhelming evidence of climate change from the Arctic and the Antarctic?

A: Because Bush doesn't make decisions based on poles.

Posted by: Joseph Palmer on June 25, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I am legitimately curious, what does motivate the trolls? I've noticed the "Liberals predicted the ice age" meme popping up in Mallard Fillmore, and I do recall the headlines in Popular Science many years ago, and I've even looked at the climate-over-time graphs that suggest that yes, in fact we are overdue for an ice age (all else being equal).

The one thing I do not recall is "liberals" in particular making a big deal of it, nor do I recall anyone claiming that humans were to blame, nor does the science that motivated these claims back then suggest that humans were to blame; it's purely a matter of observing historical trends. Perhaps a little additional CO2 is good for us.

And sure, we do we have our Chicken Littles on the left, but you guys have David Duke, Michelle Malkin, and Ann Coulter. Nobody's got a monopoly on cranks. Whoever the heck it is commenting above that thinks that global warming requires sunscreen, also needs to get a clue (that's the ozone layer, bozo).

There are some things that we do know well. We do know that the proportion of CO2 in the air has been increasing ever since the industrial revolution, if not before that, and we do know that CO2 is transparent to visible light and opaque to IR (heat). Nobody with a fraction of a clue disputes that adding CO2 is going to change the heat balance. And, further, we also know that the temperature has generally been trending upward. Causality, magnitude, that's all something to study, nobody denies that. We're not stupid, we're not naive.

And, furthermore, all the climate scientists (I am not one, but I know one, and he says that some of the biggest public deniers are spending money on long-term predictions -- that sort of undercuts the whole "worthless predictions" claim, doesn't it?) know that there are other greenhouse gasses, and that CO2 is not the whole story, and that there are as yet not-well-understood variations in the climate. They're not stupid people; if a paper passes peer review, someone has surely asked the question "hey, are you just using a simulation to confirm the model used to design the simulation?" "Are you data-dredging?" as well as other questions specific to the field.

And furthermore, trolls, consider this: follow the money. We know that a certain percentage of doctors, lawyers, executives, lawmakers, etc, are variously corruptible, and can be influenced by money. Another fraction can be relied upon to become cranks, especially when they stray out of their original field. The side of this argument with all the money, and that controls the executive, senate, house, and supreme court, is the one claiming that there is no solvable problem. What on earth would influence the majority of climate scientists to claim that humans are the cause, and to predict that it will continue to get warmer, except for a large and mostly consistent set of observations? Do you think that people with a Bad Attitude towards authority are just naturally attracted to science, or do you think that scientific training perhaps gives you a bad attitude towards authority? (and why would that be, hmmm?)

As far as WHEN things happen, I have a prediction for you. Long before coastal properties are harmed by rising sea levels, the future threat will be widely perceived. At that point, you will suddenly find yourself unable to get flood insurance for your waterfront home, lenders will balk at anything other than a short, fast mortgage, and (low-lying) coastal property values will collapse. This will happen before the sea rises much; all it needs is a decade of Greenland's glaciers dumping more ice than predicted, or some significant glacier acceleration in the Antarctic, or some other major prediction confirmed or exceeded. The insurers aren't stupid; they know that an extra foot or two of water might not by itself flood your house, but it would convert the occurrence of home-damaging waves from a 100-year event, to a 20-year event, and would change their rates accordingly.

Posted by: dr2chase on June 25, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: the more important one. I'll wager it's not the jihadists who are going to destroy Western Civ.

It doesn't need to be either/or. Do you believe that terrorists are the threat _or_ global warming. It's a false dichotomy. Obviously both are threats. We should be looking intelligently at all kinds of threats: flu pandemic, terrorism, out-of-control government, nuclear proliferation. The list is long. Why not look intelligently at the choices we have. The folks on Easter Island thought it made sense to chop down all the trees for burial ceremonies (so to speak) and they're no longer with us. We can worry about peak oil, Bin Laden, Zarqawi, and whether or not we'll make it to the grocery store or not, all at the same time. But it's crucial for us to be able to look at these possibilities with a clear eye, and leave the red blue stuff behind.

Posted by: Douglass Truth on June 25, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jay said:

"Are you honestly saying for a FACT that humans use of CO2 in the last 150 years has negatively and unalterably effected the enviroment of a massive planet that is over a billion years old?"

Yes and no. Yes to the negative part. No to the unalterable part. But, to "unalter" the effects requires us to reduce CO2 emissions pretty dramatically. The issue is not how long the earth has existed. Climate change won't destroy the earth.

Just my opinion, but if the question is which represents a greater threat to western civilization, jihadists or global warming, I'd put my money on the latter.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

parrot wrote: Why is it that the right thinks that climate change is a political issue?

Because the so-called "right" in America today consists of brainwashed, Bush-bootlicking mental slaves of the ultra-rich, hereditary corporate ruling class, a.k.a. the "top one percent", a.k.a. "Bush's base" -- in particular, with regard to this issue, the barons of the fossil fuel industry.

The CEOs of Exxon-Mobil and its ilk are already getting rich and powerful almost beyond conception, and in the era of "peak oil" -- where oil extraction levels off and declines, while demand grows, driving up prices -- they stand to become even more wealthy and powerful before the oil "runs out". Unless, of course, the world moves quickly to stop burning fossil fuels, which is what's urgently needed if we are to have any hope of averting catastrophic climate change.

A rapid reduction in the use of oil, coal and natural gas through efficiency and conservation, combined with a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like wind, photovoltaics and biofuels, would take control of energy supplies out of the hands of these oligarchs and shift it to other industries and other sectors of the society. Moreover, since technologies like wind, solar and biofuels are inherently distributed and can be implemented at the community and even the individual level, they inherently lead away from centralized control of energy supplies by a tiny, ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful elite and in the direction of local, distributed, democratic control of energy supplies for the long term. From the point of view of the CEOs of the big energy corporations, this must be stopped, or at least put off until the oil runs out.

So, the energy barons have got their puppets Bush and Cheney and Inhofe and the like in control of the federal government, and they've been running a massively funded propaganda campaign through the corporate media to keep the public confused and ignorant about the reality of anthropogenic global warming and climate change so that the public won't support, indeed demand, the changes that are necessary.

The "trolls" who regurgitate their scripted, programmed, bullshit right-wing talking points on these threads are the direct result of that propaganda campaign. They are not "conservatives" in the sense of having any real "conservative" ideology. They are weak-minded, willfully ignorant, easily manipulated, "true believer" members of the corporate-created far right-wing cult that passes for "conservatism" in America today, capable only of fawning Bush-worship (and/or Rush-worship) and slavish regurgitation of the thoughts they've been told to think by their programmers.

In reality, there is no ideological conservative "case" against anthropogenic global warming, no more than there would be an ideological conservative case against trying to stop a giant asteroid from hitting the Earth and wiping out all life, no more than there would be an ideological conservative case against defending the USA against some military threat.

Anthropogenic global warming is real. The changes that it is causing to the Earth's biosphere are real. They threaten not only the lives and well-being of hundreds of millions of human beings, but the continued existence of human civilization, and the lives and well-being of the members of numerous other species with whom we share this planet. In the extreme worst case, they threaten the continued viability of the Earth's biosphere, at least anything like the rich, diverse biosphere in which human beings evolved.

Action at all levels of society is urgently needed -- by individuals, by government at every level from local to international, by private enterprises and corporations of every size. Ideology may well enter in to your preferences about who should take what sort of action -- some may favor government regulation and mandates, others may prefer an emphasis on voluntary actions by private enterprise and individuals. (Many American corporations are increasingly in favor of the Federal government regulatiing CO2 emissions, which they prefer to dealing with a patchwork of state regulations, and which helps them deal with GHG regulation persuant to Kyoto in the international community.)

But the global-warming denier "trolls" who post here are not genuine conservatives with something to contribute to the discussion about how to do what needs to be done. They are just ignorant assholes.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 25, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

To all of you who say "don't worry, the Earth will reach a new equilibrium"--yeah, it might just not be an equilibrium that allows for the comfortable existence of humans.

But I guess the trolls here don't worry about that. As far as they're concerned, global warming is just One More Topic they can bash the liberals about.

Despicable.

Posted by: tzs on June 25, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: What I find extremely ironic is that the left throws this threat out (global warming) as undeniably real and imminent yet shrugs off the beheading of an innocent civilian at the hands of jihadists that have vociferously announced their intentions of destroying western civilization.

That's a great example of mindless right-wing drivel.

First of all, Jay, anthropogenic global warming is real and it is a threat. If you deny that it is real and/or that it is a threat, then say so, and when you've said that, you've said that it is not a threat at all, and you have no reason to discuss how big a threat it is compared to other threats, such as "jihadism".

On the other hand, if you acknowledge the reality that anthropogenic global warming is real and is a threat, then certainly you can discuss how big a threat it is compared to other threats.

And the reality is that global warming already kills tens of thousands of people every year, and threatens to kill hundreds of millions more in this century.

Global warming is by far the greater threat. The only way that terrorists -- whether "jihadists" or right-wing terrorists in the USA -- could present a threat remotely comparable to global warming is if they got their hands on nuclear weapons -- a lot of nuclear weapons.

No one "shrugs off the beheading of an innocent civilian". No one shrugs off the killing of numerous innocent civilians by pretty much all sides to every dirty war or nasty ethnic conflict going on all over the world at any given time. But the "jihadists that have vociferously announced their intentions of destroying western civilization" exist mostly in your brainwashed imagination, they don't have and will never have the means to actually do such a thing, and the threat of "global jihadist terrorism" does not even begin to approach the threat of global waming.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 25, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

"...By 2005, Greenland was beginning to lose more ice volume than anyone anticipated ..."

Anyone except the ice age experts who have looked at ice core data for a million years past.

"But our house is on fire.."

Very much on fire, and we are sitting on a massive carbon stockpile, a stockpile accumulated for over 10,000 years; 8,000 years longer than any recent glacial cycle. Actually a critical situation.

The issue is whether we can cool down at all. There are two ways to cool down, draw carbon from the bioshpere and keep it dormant , and I mean draw lots of carbon, not the the 300 gigaton we will have thrown up, but the 600 gigaton we acquired during the 10,000 year hot spell. That is a lot of carbon.

The other way to cool down might be to let Greenland melt, turn off the atlantic thermal cycle, let the Northern seas freeze, and restart the next glacial cycle. But we have no proof that we can restart the glacial cycle with this much carbon floating around.

However the solution works, it will inolve humans controlling the timing of the glacial cycle for the next million years.

Posted by: Matt on June 25, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: Driving less, using less hairspray or drilling for less coal is not going to move earth's barometer at all.

It's obvious that you know little about global warming. Thanks for the laugh though. The above sentence is hilarious. Driving less would indeed reduce CO2 production. Hairspray use (fluorocarbons) has nothing to do with global warming but instead impact the 'ozone hole' which last I heard was decreasing in size due to our ban on fluorocarbon use. Drilling for coal? Earth's 'barometer?' 'nough said (I hope).

Posted by: nepeta on June 25, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's really too bad you weren't able to benefit from the two wasted years you spent partying at Caltech -- you might have learned at least how to read polemics with some skepticism.

And you might at least have learned to read the body of stories instead of the ledes.

Here's a little science lesson for you:

Glaciers advance because of GROWTH. The reason the rate of calving has increased off Greenland is because of increased snowfall in the interior. Greenland is GAINING ice mass.

Here's a link for you:

http://www.ametsoc.org/amsnews/news522.html

and an excerpt:

Atmospheric News

[March 2006] NASA Survey finds Polar Ice Sheets Shrinking

In the most comprehensive survey ever undertaken of the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica, NASA scientists confirm climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in Earth's largest storehouses of ice and snow.

NASA says the survey is the first to inventory the losses of ice and the addition of new snow on both in a consistent and comprehensive way for a decade.

The survey shows ... an increase in snowfall in the interior of Greenland and thinning at the edges of Greenlands ice sheet...

The survey combines new satellite mapping of the height of the ice sheets from two European Space Agency satellites. It also uses previous NASA airborne mapping of the edges of Greenlands ice sheet to determine how fast its thickness is changing. Researchers used nine years of elevation mapping ... over Greenland from the European Remote-sensing Satellites 1 and 2. The survey pinpoints where the ice sheets were thinning and where they were growing.

The survey saw large ice losses along Greenlands southeastern coast and a large increase in ice thickness at higher elevations in the interior due to relatively high rates of snowfall. This study suggests a slight gain in the total mass of frozen water in the ice sheet over the decade studied, contrary to previous assessments.

And you wonder why I think you're a moron?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 25, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

These trolls remind me of a retarded pit bull chewing on a table leg. Thirty years ago some journalists decided to sell magazines by talking about the coming ice age. This stuff never gets old, just recently Popular Science had a cover illustration of those flying cars that we really and truly are going to get, some day.

To the troll mind, it's an open and shut case- journalists = liberal media, and their mind closes, never to open again. Using the same unimpeachable logic, they'll tell us the South should have won the Civil War, because it was about tariffs, not slavery, and most of the slaves were better off before they were freed.

It's a lucky thing the trolls are such a tiny part of the population, because they are going to be very unhappy people when 95% of us really want to do something about global warming.

In fact, I'm guessing a lot of them will end up in psychiatric wards, so if they had any sense they'd be lobbying for better treatment of the mentally ill. But then, if they had any sense, they wouldn't be trolls.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's got one thing wrong. Bush does not deny global warming. His strategy on this is infinitely more deceptive than that. It divides his audience into three categories:

1) Scientists and liberals

These people get "Of course, I recognize that global warming exists." Note that at the beginning of his first term Bush appointed a blue-ribbon science panel stacked with global-warming skeptics of the highest credentials. They told him their study of all the research showed that it was clear that it was worse than previous reviews suggested, that it was almost certainly caused by man (an irrelevant issue, by the way), and that it was likely to reach a point where it would accelerate rapidly.

And Bush has a policy point-man on global warming who goes out and insists that it is Bush administration policy that global warming is real and that the only debate is how to fix it.

2) The vast majority of moderate America

These people get "we are studying it and we are proposing market-based solutions" without being told that market-based solutions means the people how got enormous tax breaks for creating the problem will get massive government subsidies for pretending to fix it. And they get told that the Kyoto Protocols are unfair to America because they do not include China and India.

Sounds reasonable, but the Kyoto Protocols base their "fairness" on every country reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions by the same percentage from the same baseline. While this is unfair to every country which has contributed less to the problem than the U.S. has (which means all of them), most of them have agreed to do this. But to apply the same rules to developing nations which have contributed much less per capita to the greenhouse effect would be ludicrous. To tell the Chinese and the Indians (along with the rest of the developing world) that virtually all of their population will never have a hope of driving a car so that the vast majority of Americans can retain their right to drive SUVs makes a mockery of the concept of fairness. It is a wonder their mouths don't burst into sulfurous flames every time they tell this lie.

This all amounts to a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too promise to the majority of America. We can solve the problem of global warming without any changes on the part of those of us who are causing most of it.

3) Wingnuts like Al

All it takes is a smirk and a nudge to convince these fellow-travellers Bush is really on their side. Someday some budding political scientist will get his master's degree explaining how the only skill George W Bush ever exhibited (or even cultivated) was the manipulation of his conservative base without actually promoting their causes or their interests.

They will carry his water for him, attacking perfectly good science with pure junk science. To prove the success he has had, all you have to do is read any online discussion of the subject -- including this one.

Posted by: scotus on June 25, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant analysis Norman. I can't wait to see how the left spins this scientific data.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Geez I wonder if the information provided by Norman could just be part of a ten thousand year trend of earth's recycling of ice mass.

No. Never. It's our fault and we have destroyed the planet with our selfish and pollutant ways. Humans are evil. At least that is according to the left.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

One never knows if trolls really believe the drivel they write. I'd hate to think that Jay, AH, and the rest are as sneeringly, in-your-face stupid in RL as they are here.

Posted by: CaseyL on June 25, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

The simple fact is that the mass of the Greenland glaciers has been steadily declining since 2002. This has been measured using the "Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment" (GRACE) satellites, which measure mass directly, avoiding the problems involved in extrapolating mass from measures of altitude or runoff.

Norman Rogers apparently doesn't realize that the "facts" he offered us are really just a guess, derived from widely separated measurements with the space in between filled by averaging.

The most likely source of Norman's error is the density difference between snowfall, and the compacted ice at the bottom of the glacier. The weight of the glacier exerts such pressure on the ice at the bottom that it becomes plastic and this in fact is why glaciers flow even when it is still too cold for meltwater to lubricate the flow. A foot of snow on top of a glacier becomes only a centimeter of ice at the bottom, or less.

As anyone would know if they have ever filled a tin cup with snow and heated it by the fire to make cocoa.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Norman,

It looks like the mechanics of glacier movement are pretty complicated. I'd agree that conclusions from the rate of calving alone may not be justified.

But I don't see any contradiction between the L.A. Times article and the study you cite. The study measured ice changes through 2002. If more water is being discharged over the last few years from Greenland than was expected, that is a significant fact.

Climate models predict that one of the consequences of warming is increased snowfall in the interior of ice sheets. The trick is, what is the balance between the added snowfall and the increased rates of melting.

I certainly wouldn't cite the report as contradicting what climate scientists are saying about global warming.

From http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/ice_sheets.html.

"The survey shows that there was a net loss of ice from the combined polar ice sheets between 1992 and 2002 and a corresponding rise in sea level. The survey documents for the first time extensive thinning of the West Antarctic ice shelves and an increase in snowfall in the interior of Greenland, as well as thinning at the edges. All are signs of a warming climate predicted by computer models."

"This situation may have changed in just the past few years, according to lead author Jay Zwally of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Last month NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., reported a speed up of ice flow into the sea from several Greenland glaciers. That study included observations through 2005; Zwally's survey concluded with 2002 data."

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

And there is your spin Norman. Your science is wrong, theirs is right. Your scientific analysis is just a guess, theirs is pinpoint accurate.

ROTFLOL.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, in case you missed it, we are talking about the same science. What I quoted was from the NASA webpage referenced from Norman's that addresses the NASA study. The person who acknowledged that the situation may have changed since 2002 is the author of the NASA study.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

As anyone would know if they have ever filled a tin cup with snow and heated it by the fire to make cocoa.
Posted by: serial catowner
...

I'd forgotten (until that response) that you were a scientist, serial catowner,

... and unlikle semi-literates like jay or norman, somwhat qualified to critically assess a scientific study.

on a side note, I wondor if jay and norma know WHY there was increased snowfall in the interior of greenland recently?

Posted by: Nads on June 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

For CatWoman -- Perhaps you can offer a URL to a study MORE RECENT than the March '06 NASA on I cited too bolster your disproved theories?

For Brad -- you've confused Greenland and Antarcia (hard to blame that on Mercator projections). And OBTW, there are several studies that have found the Antarctic ice sheets gaining mass overall: http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2005/05/27/antarctic-ice-a-global-warming-snow-job/

And what all you moonbats miss, is that there is absolutely NOTHING anyone can do about climate change -- except to get used to it. If Kyoto were fully implemented, all it would do would do (according to the models) is delay the predicted temperature rise by 2100 -- TO 2106!

None of the Kyoto signators have kept their (empty) promises. They cannot.

Why do you all hate America?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 25, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

And there is your spin Norman. Your science is wrong, theirs is right. Your scientific analysis is just a guess, theirs is pinpoint accurate.
Posted by: Jay

It isn't that as much as the fact that wingnuts abhor science which they don't agree with, and therefore cannot reasonably be expected to be listened to, or have their suggestions taken seriously.

wingnuts writing about science come accross like reagan during the worst of the alzheimer's ... spittle-flecked, nonsensical, and evidence that you need someone to wipe up the drool and change your diapers.

Posted by: Nads on June 25, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Brad, the point is is that all the scientific data is inconlcusive.

"We currently have data that supports two different conclusions, meaning that the scientific community can, at best, only determine our ignorance" This is a quote from one scientist proffered up in a link provided by Joel, who posts here often. The fact is that we have NO IDEA if in fact this is real, imminent or just a part of a ten thousand or hundred thousand year trend.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

If it's real, then it's inevitable and we'll simply adapt to it by using our God given intelligence.

But to Republicans our intelligence is always suspect.

Posted by: cld on June 25, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

No sooner than I meantion something about not being able to convince someone whose income depends on them not being convinved, Norman Rodgers shows up. For those that might not be aware, and of course Norman neglets to tell us, but our very own Norman Rodgers was exposed some time ago as a board member and uber-operative of none other than the extreme right-wing Glub For Growth.

Can you say "shill?" I knew you could.

Posted by: Thumb on June 25, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Brad, the point is is that all the scientific data is inconlcusive.

Next Jay will try to impress up by explaining how a "theory" is also proof of nothing.

Posted by: Thumb on June 25, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

So the Club for Growth which advocates permanent tax cuts, school choice, limited gov't spending, private accounts for SS is extreme right wing?

Is open borders, same sex marriage, abortion on demand and the UN dictating our military actions an example of extreme left wing?

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing has more impact on the planets tempreture than the Sun.

Posted by: sdf on June 25, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

But what about the rest of the days of the week?

Mon., Tues., Wed., etc.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Gawd, Jay is like a vending machine dispensing soundbites. Ka-ching!, we hit the jackpot and out tumble four in a row, dyslexic and totally unconnected to any discussion of AGW, but, by golly, he said it and he feels better because he did!

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

This should really be a key campaign issue for Democrats. They should be saying that the Republicans have been fighting taking action on global warming and climate change for over a decade, and really only doing so because selling out to special interests.

This puts Republicans on the defensive, as they are being shown to be "not serious" about leadership and security of the American people. It also forces them to publically either return to their strategy of denying the evidence, which is the main thrust of our attack this time, or to accept that action needs to be taken.

Win-win whatever they decide to do, especially for our long-term security and the health of the biosphere (at least how it relates to our survival in it).

Posted by: Jimm on June 25, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: I don't think I confused anything. I merely pointed out that the author of the study you cited acknowledged that conditions in Greenland may have changed since 2002. I also pointed out that the conclusions of the study (as opposed to cherry picked paragraphs) give no comfort to global warming deniers.

I've reviewed abstracts for the two studies. It appears that the 2005 study examined the eastern Antarctic ice sheet, while the 2006 study examined the entire ice sheet. The conclusions in the 2006 study take into account rapid melting of the western ice sheet. That may explain the difference. I'll admit, I'm too cheap to pay for copies of the studies themselves...

Jay: A single quote with no context from a single unidentified scientist linked to by a guy named Joel really doesn't advance the discussion much. If you think that no conclusions can be drawn from the scientific data, I'd suggest you really haven't read up on this issue.

sdf: I think it's true that the sun is the most significant forcer of global temperature. However, that is not the issue. The issue is what is forcing the current temperature rise?

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing has more impact on the planets tempreture than the Sun.

Much in the same way that nothing has more impact on a boiling pot of water than the stove-top burner on which it sits. But that doesn't mean clamping a tight lid on that pot won't lead to a very different, and quite dramatic, result than leaving it open would.

Posted by: Thumb on June 25, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: The statement that we can do nothing about climate change is just flat wrong. If you'll accept for a moment that humans are altering the climate by pumping CO2 into it, then reducing the pumping will also have an effect.

I dont' think that the first phase of Kyoto was ever intended to b a complete solution as opposed to the first stage in a process. I've never understood criticims of Kyoto as a justification for doing nothing.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

absolutely NOTHING anyone can do

Or rather, that is what you want people to believe. Kyoto is a political agreement, subject to what people understood at the time, and compromises in proposed sacrifice.

First, we have more information. That's irrelevant if you are one of those steadfast and resolute people whose mind is not changed by more information, but some of us are smarter than that. A newer treaty might be a different treaty.

Second, as one of the biggest per-capita energy pigs on the planet, what we are willing to do influences what other people are willing to do. We've shown minimal willingness to do anything, it's no wonder that the compromises that emerge are lukewarm.

Third, we could do more, now. We could quadruple the gasoline tax; why should the oil companies and Venezuela get all the extra money? We could remove the various random exemptions that big vehicles enjoy (from taxes, from safety standards, from emissions and economy standards). People need to cure themselves of the whole "I have a big family, I need my behemoth." (We have three kids, we fit in a Camry. We fit in a Civic, for short trips. My wife's parents had six kids, they fit in a station wagon.) We could change auto insurance pricing to pay-as-you-go, either through an in-car monitor, or through an additional gas tax (it would be economically more efficient; lump sum yearly payments and self-reported mileage are bogus). We could get serious about encouraging carpooling (computerized matching) and serious about encouraging cycling (widen narrow roads -- keep the shoulders clean. A roof over bike paths to keep off the snow and rain, that would be glorious). We could enhance building codes to require 2x6 walls in new construction (I was surprised to find our addition going up with 2x4 -- if I had known that was all that code required, I would have asked for 2x6).

We're doing practically nothing, it's no wonder that places like China and India are unthrilled about making any sacrifices, and it's thus no surprise that Kyoto is not enough to do the job.

Posted by: dr2chase on June 25, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

You can build houses that don't have a furnace or A/C unit and don't need them. They've built over 4000 such houses in Germany already.

If you're stuck with walls that don't have enough depth, you can insulate with rigid foam. Because I'm on a tight budget and working alone, I'm using a nominal 8" wall depth and regular fiberglass. Even if I didn't need to do this for temperature insulation, it would be worth it for the sound insulation.

As for the argument that "there's nothing you can do about it"- well, that's pretty much the difference between a flatworm or dandelion, who really can't do anything about their circumstances, and people, who have minds and can learn how to wear warm clothing or take a siesta in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about y'all, bu I had a great human race with you guys. All the fighting and crazy parties 'n shit. I'd like to give a shout out to my peeps Daryl and Big Dave -- Yo! What up dashizzleawgs? Keep it real for the big bake, you hear?

Posted by: Robert on June 25, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

All right, guys: if the evidence is not conclusive as it now stands, what would satisfy you?

What evidence would you accept to acknowledge that anthropogenic global warming is real and dangerous?

Posted by: pbg on June 25, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Global warming is a very real possibility and steps are being taken to stem the tide of CO2 emissions and towards more renewable and greener energies which are very important for our future societies. The dangerousness of it? Well considering the earth is billions of years old, the possibility of that danger being realized in the next century is infinitesimal, the next two centuries is minimal. Keep in mind, a hundred years to us is the equivalent of a few seconds to the planet.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: The planet isn't the issue. We are. Most of the time in those billions of years that you refer to, the planet couldn't sustain life. A hundred years to humans is, well, a hundred years.

What steps? Have you looked at numbers to see if they will really "stem the tide?"

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

"..the possibility of that danger being realized in the next century is infinitesimal.."

Not quite. The temperature rises scene in the arctic within the last three years are what we call 4 sigma plus, meaning the probability that these temperatures represent a significant, and abrupt tipping point in the climiate is about 99.99%. In other words, it is almost a certainty that the most rapid change at the most unstable part of the glacial cycle is occuring right now.

How rapid and how sudden? Look at your ice core data, go back to the last glacial minimum, check temperature changes, and you will see.

OK, I am looking right now...hmmm... OK, I will select a point about 125,000 years ago, during the last tipping point. Rapid, extreme change in temperature, probably on the order of 75 years at the most unstable point. It is that point, when the massive ice melt occurs, the north atlantic current shuts down, and a few years later the north seas freeze.

http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/New_Data/

Apocolypses are so much fun.

Posted by: Matt on June 25, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

jay: botched?


Cost of the Iraq War:


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.

[Source: Media Stakeout, 1/19/03]


Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz:

Theres a lot of money to pay for this that doesnt have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi peopleand on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three yearsWere dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.

[Source: House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03]

Budget Director Mitch Daniels:

The United States is committed to helping Iraq recover from the conflict, but Iraq will not require sustained aid.

[Source: Washington Post, 4/21/03]

currently the total cost for US taxpayers stands at 320-billion dollars...and we are not done yet

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

""William Gray is the originator of seasonal climate forecasts and has rudely dismissed the notion of human-caused global warming, much less a connection to hurricanes."

I checked your link, and a few others. Mr. Gray has put out a few papers, none (even your quote/link) even approaching the status of "peer reviewed", by even one of his "peers".

I asked a professor friend of mine, at CSU, why no one wanted to "review" or even check Gray's work and got an answer back. It says in part, you know where every university has a loco prof they hide in the basement? Well, Mr. Gray is CSU's.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on June 25, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

No, I haven't looked into the numbers because I don't have my panties in a bunch over this like you do. I have listened to experts in this field quantify the results of on-going and future programs and offer their opinions which are encouraging.

I am a little more concerned with threats that are a bit more imminent, say for instance a group of serial killers who enjoy cutting heads off of innocent people for the purpose of pleasure, power, intimidation and control.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

So we've spent $320 billion on Iraq in over three years helping depose a dictator, conduct three successful elections, permanently form a freely elected representative gov't, recruit and train a 250,000+ military and put Saddam on trial and at the same time we spent $360 billion IN ONE YEAR on entitlement programs for American citizens. I would say the Iraqi's got the better end of the deal.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Matt be careful. You're looking a lot like the guy who stands on the corner with a sign reading:

"The world ends tomorrow"

I will tell you, between the religious right and their apocalypse and the lunatic left and their global scorching, how can I guy get any peace of mind? If it does happen and we are in that 125,000 year cycle (which is plausible and man would have had a minimal impact) then I will see you in eternity. Bon Voyage.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jay: Which experts? Which ongoing and future actions? Maybe if you looked at the numbers, your panties would feel a little tighter? ;-)

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK


jay....only in your world...does at least 6-times more than the original estimate...(rummy's figures)

not equal - botched...

and US taxpayers are not free yet...

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

How much more money over "estimates" have SS and programs like WIC cost us.

Sometimes programs are worth more than the money spent.

Posted by: Jay on June 25, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

jay: In less than four years (Iraq)

Opinion - Andrew Sullivan
The Sunday Times - January 15, 2006


....


Well, we are beginning to get some answers drip by drip, as former officials begin to leak or write memoirs. Two new books help a little. The first, My Year in Iraq, is by Paul Bremer, the former de facto pro-consul in Iraq in the critical early period. The second is a new biography of George W Bush, Rebel-In-Chief by Fred Barnes, published this week. Barnes, a former colleague and friend, has great White House access. If you piece together both books, you get a glimpse into how the most secretive presidency in years operated.

The picture is not pretty. Back in the spring of 2003 it had seemed obvious to most rational observers that we had too few troops to maintain order in Iraq. A mere 170,000 to control a country of 25m in a power vacuum was a joke. Towns and cities could be cleared of insurgents but never retained, because we had too few troops to stay put.

The borders were porous. We didnt have enough troops to secure the weapons sites that the war had been designed to eradicate. General (Eric K) Shinseki famously argued before the war that we needed 500,000 troops to do the job. He was fired. Many pro-Bush military analysts, besotted with Donald Rumsfelds vision of a lean, mean fighting machine, told us we knew nothing about military strategy.

They planned on about 40,000 troops remaining a few months after the fall of Saddam.

...

Bremer sent a top-level analysis by the Rand Corporation advocating far more troops to Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld never even bothered to acknowledge it. Later, when Rumsfeld was in Iraq, Bremer tried to make the case again.

But Rummy was more interested in reducing troop levels because of domestic political pressure.

...

"We never had enough troops on the ground to keep order in Iraq, and both George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld knew it." - Paul Bremer 1/8/06


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

just a quick addition to costs:


Taken together, annual spending for the two wars will reach $117.6 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 -- 18% above funding for the prior 12 months. - WSJ 3/8/06


War costs are rising despite Pentagon estimates of lower personnel costs: 14% less than in 2005. Offsetting that decline is an increased request for procurement of new equipment: up 35% - WSJ 3/8/06


speaking of the equipment:

"The Army cannot account for over half the equipment that Army National Guard units have left overseas." - David Walker, the comptroller general of the United States, who heads the Government Accountability Office


Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

jay: A 250,000+ military/security force

The Pentagon says that "the -only- Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded." February 25, 2006


any update since then?

been waiting..

for what its worth...bush adminstration officials claimed one year ago...

there were 3-battle ready battalions...

only in jay's world is...3 down to none in 1-year...not botched

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

jay: zarqawi dead


Early in 2002 the Pentagon drafted multiple plans to hit the camp of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al-Qaeda terrorist who was in Iraq's northern no-fly zone, outside Saddam Hussein's control. George Bush, however, refused to authorize a military strike.

-- Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 25, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I've come to the party late but it's obvious that the fix for global warming is for some very wealthy people to figure out how to make even more money from these climatic changes. And they better do it quickly because within ten years these changes will have changed to something else again. Such is the nature of chaotic systems. They have balance points which we are leaving with respect to climate and unbalanced areas where almost anything can happen. That's the area where we are now.

Buying property above the fall line would cover your butt with respect to sea level rises but what if it's not habitable because of draught, forest fires, and dust storms. Or rain, mud slides, floods and erosion?

Posted by: slanted tom on June 25, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, Ok, Ok, I believe there is global warming. Jay has totally convinced me. Anybody that dense has to be wrong.

Now can somebody tell me what can be done? So far I haven't heard much from anybody.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: Now can somebody tell me what can be done?

Phase out the burning of all fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on June 25, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - climate changes are cyclical. There were sweeping climate shifts hundreds, even thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution. No need for you to get hysterical.

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball

WRONG! Climates are stable areas in chaotic systems, sometimes they repeat, and sometimes they change forever.
Just like the exact weather at your house can't be predicted with 100% accuracy one week from now. (Rain, shine, cloudy, hotter, cooler), no one can make more than very general predictions about the unstable climate era that we have entered. Math and statistics can't take you there any more than the medicine man.
Unless, of course, someone has figured out how to model hundreds of non-linear variables.

It's like predicting the exact price of some stock 10 years from now.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 25, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, here's some suggestions:
Drive 55.
Insulate your house.
Ride a bicycle.
Shop on the internet, or, better yet, stop shopping.

Naturally the trolls will caw and jeer like crows razzing the eagle when they see actual suggestions for things that can be done.

Relax, lardbutts, we didn't mean you could do them.

These are just things thinking people can do to improve their health and wealth, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

These are just things thinking people can do to improve their health and wealth, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 6:06 PM

Those things that you suggest will certainly help, but the real bad news is that every time you spend a dollar you make the earth just a little less livable. So if it's good for the Earth it's bad for the GDP.
Our economy is nothing but the Midas wish come true. But you can't eat gold nor can you breath it. By always considering the economic value of nature we've turned it into an abstraction that we can quantify. But this abstraction does little prevent OUR extinction.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 25, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not to worry, when the Bush gang gets through with us, we won't have that many dollars to spend.

After all, somebody has to pay for Paris Hilton's cocaine. In fact, Georgie himself ain't looking too bright lately, he might want to reconsider that sobriety thing. It's not like quitting made him a genius or something.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 25, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Ron: There are dozens of web sites that list what can be done, both on an individual and a national level. Here are a few:

http://www.climatesolutions.org/

http://www.undoit.org/undoit_steps_1.cfm

http://newenergyfuture.com/newenergy.asp?id2=15905&id3=energy&

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/common-sense-on-climate-change-practical-solutions-to-global-warming.html


slanted Tom: I don't think you are properly distinguishing between climate and weather. Weather can't be predicted a week out because of chaotic systems. I don't think climate behaves chaotically. Realclimate has a pretty good discussion of it here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/11/chaos-and-climate/.


Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Solutions?

All this fossil carbon we dig up originally came from algae is the curent popular guess. It was sunk durning the carboniferous period:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carboniferous

during a time when mircobial decomposition of organic carbon had not fully developed. So you can see we have a problem, but, alas, genetic engineering will help.

We will develop a particular nasty algae, one that survives just about everywhere, and we will inject this voracious stuff into our bays, lakes, wetlands in abundant proportions.

In addition, we will develop a disenfectant of such a powerful force that is will kill all the decomposing microbes in these wetlands.

With these tools, deranged climate engineers will set the carbon levels wherever we want them, and ultimately we will control global temperaturs. Well, at least until things get out of control in a snowball earth.

Posted by: Matt on June 25, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the link, Matt.

'till I read it, I'll stay with

'Climates are stable areas in chaotic systems, sometimes they repeat, and sometimes they change forever.
Just like the exact weather at your house can't be predicted with 100% accuracy one week from now. (Rain, shine, cloudy, hotter, cooler), no one can make more than very general predictions about the unstable climate era that we have entered. Math and statistics can't take you there any more than the medicine man.
Unless, of course, someone has figured out how to model hundreds of non-linear variables.'

That 'butterfly effect' works for climate too, because multiple non-linear variables cannot be modeled to a greater accuracy than 'a range of values', like weather predictions for next week.
Math has it's limits and we've reached them.
GW, I've got to tell you that chaos rules, despite what you tell your political base.

Posted by: slanted tom on June 25, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

slanted tom: Do you have any references for your claim that the "butterfly effect" applies to climate?

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Realclimate folks are educating me, thanks.

I'm sure that they have already addressed these matters.


Posted by: slanted tom on June 25, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the links Brad. I employ a lot of the recommended "solutions" right now. You see I like to save money whenever possible. Most of the "solutions" suggested in the various links make good sense from an individual economic perspective. I suspect as gas and oil prices go up more and more of them will be adopted by people across the country.

I do know that some conservatives believe they are being told they will have to live a less full life, and I have heard that greens are asking those poor people living in the 2nd and 3rd world to give up any hope of a better life.

Is it possible to raise "standards of living" and fight global warming at the same time?

I ask this not out of some feeling that I don't want to give up anything, but with the certain knowledge that the only way to solve population growth is to raise standards of living across the globe. People who feel secure in their old age just don't have as many children as folks who don't.

I believe that all of us deserve the opportunity to live full and productive lives. All of us, regardless of where we are born, deserve the opportunity to educate our children and to take nice vacations. My beliefs are at the core of my "liberal" Christian soul.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 25, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Bush and company aren't stupid. They KNOW all about global warming/climate change, probably know more about it than you and I ever will. Our goal is to figure out the REAL reason why they aren't acting on it. My guess is that they have population/economic models that indicate global warming will hurt America's enemies (more particularly conservative America's enemies) far more than it will hurt America itself. It's the only rational reason to ignore the problem. Rational from a Republican point of view, that is.

Posted by: Conspiracy Theorist on June 25, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

REMEMBER:
There are specialized PR companies that have creations like "Jay" on staff working under contract to large corporate associations to write "independent" op-eds and run interference on popular moderate blogs like this one.

He isn't an ordinary troll. big money science topics really upset the corporate image control machine. I suspect they are still figuring out when and how to jump on the band wagon with out losing to much power.

Posted by: ChetBob on June 25, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK


Another thing you can do is write letters to your senators, congressperson, governor, state legislators, and local officials drawing their attention to the clear and present danger of global warming.

Posted by: Arthur on June 25, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers: You're welcome. I think you are right that individuals in the U.S. will adopt many of the suggested actions in response to higher prices of petroleum.

I am hopeful that we can fight global warming and raise living standards, but it is going to involve investment in research and technology to replace the buring of fossil fuels. As I see it, the longer we proceed with business as usual, the harder it will be to solve the problem without drastic lifestyle changes.

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers is just a bit too clever for his own good. His technique of sounding very learned and erudite is betrayed by the way he addresses his audience. Here's how he starts his first entry this evening:

"Kevin, it's really too bad you weren't able to benefit from the two wasted years you spent partying at Caltech ...."

Norman now writes a series of paragraphs that sound reasonable and weighty. Good solid piece of science, it seems.

Then he closes with:

"And you wonder why I think you're a moron?"

No serious provider of a legitimate counter view would start and end his point with smears of the person he is addressing. It may rev up the lower ranks out there, the Als, AHs, Cheneys and Jays, but I think it backfires with anybody who might still be uncertain about global warming and also has a bit of decency and common sense.

And any credibility Norman might have had after that was certainly destroyed when he ended a subsequent authoritative-sounding post with the old workhorse: Why do you all hate America?

Speaking of our friend Jay, this caught my eye:

It's our fault and we have destroyed the planet with our selfish and pollutant ways. Humans are evil. At least that is according to the left.

Methinks Mr. Jay revealed much about his inner workings in this little outburst. It reminds me of the squeal of a petulant 8 year old, down to his last retort in a losing fighting with a big brother. And it speaks so highly of your state of mental development, Jay. Humans are evil? You honestly have a problem with that? Oh wait, I forgot. Just our enemies are evil, not us.

And as long as were on the concept of evil, heres another Jayism (italics mine):

a group of serial killers who enjoy cutting heads off of innocent people for the purpose of pleasure, power, intimidation and control .

Let me revise the italicized phrase a bit:

a group of serial killers who proudly invade a weak country, kill tens of thousands of innocent people and torture prisoners for the purpose of pleasure, power, intimidation and control .

Oh, Im sure youll find some great moral distinction there, Jay. Go for it.

Posted by: Jones on June 26, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Insasmuch as you lefties are unlikely to subscribe to the WSJ for political reasons -- or, more likely, because most of you are severly "underemployed" -- here's an editorial on point from today's WSJ, reprinted in full:

There Is No 'Consensus'
On Global Warming

By RICHARD S. LINDZEN
June 26, 2006; Page A14

According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms -- unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over."

That statement, which Mr. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, ought to have been followed by an asterisk. What exactly is this debate that Mr. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over, it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place.

The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template -- namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie. In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.

They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

* * *
The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia -- mosquitoes don't require tropical warmth. Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales. However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession.

Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can't attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can't think of anything else. While arguments like these, based on lassitude, are becoming rather common in climate assessments, such claims, given the primitive state of weather and climate science, are hardly compelling.

A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended -- at least not in terms of the actual science.

A clearer claim as to what debate has ended is provided by the environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook. He concludes that the scientific community now agrees that significant warming is occurring, and that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system. This is still a most peculiar claim. At some level, it has never been widely contested. Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early '70s, increased again until the '90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

There is also little disagreement that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 ppmv (parts per million by volume) in the 19th century to about 387 ppmv today. Finally, there has been no question whatsoever that carbon dioxide is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas -- albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming. Indeed, if all else were kept equal, the increase in carbon dioxide should have led to somewhat more warming than has been observed, assuming that the small observed increase was in fact due to increasing carbon dioxide rather than a natural fluctuation in the climate system. Although no cause for alarm rests on this issue, there has been an intense effort to claim that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.

Given that we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change, this task is currently impossible. Nevertheless there has been a persistent effort to suggest otherwise, and with surprising impact. Thus, although the conflicted state of the affair was accurately presented in the 1996 text of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the infamous "summary for policy makers" reported ambiguously that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." This sufficed as the smoking gun for Kyoto.

The next IPCC report again described the problems surrounding what has become known as the attribution issue: that is, to explain what mechanisms are responsible for observed changes in climate. Some deployed the lassitude argument -- e.g., we can't think of an alternative -- to support human attribution. But the "summary for policy makers" claimed in a manner largely unrelated to the actual text of the report that "In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

In a similar vein, the National Academy of Sciences issued a brief (15-page) report responding to questions from the White House. It again enumerated the difficulties with attribution, but again the report was preceded by a front end that ambiguously claimed that "The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability." This was sufficient for CNN's Michelle Mitchell to presciently declare that the report represented a "unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse and is due to man. There is no wiggle room." Well, no.

More recently, a study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.

Even more recently, the Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system." This, for Mr. Easterbrook, meant: "Case closed." What exactly was this evidence? The models imply that greenhouse warming should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, and yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979. The report showed that selective corrections to the atmospheric data could lead to some warming, thus reducing the conflict between observations and models descriptions of what greenhouse warming should look like. That, to me, means the case is still very much open.

* * *
So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists -- especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce -- if we're lucky.

Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

URL for this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115127582141890238.html



Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 26, 2006 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

Well, that's mighty big of you Norman, I like to start the morning with a laugh, and just about anything from the WSJ oughta do it.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 26, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

"slanted tom: Do you have any references for your claim that the "butterfly effect" applies to climate?

Posted by: Brad on June 25, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK
The Realclimate folks are educating me, thanks.
I'm sure that they have already addressed these matters."


Brad if you should see this, since climate is average weather there is no 'butterfly effect" to climate. But I'm referring to 'stable' climate that enables our co-species to adapt and evolve. Wild swings of rainfall totals and temperature from month to month and year to year may produce ideal averages and conform to a climate model but create a world that is not very livable for most creatures.
It's those extreme weather events affecting many living creatures in an adverse way that are not very predictable with climate modeling. (Or with weather forecasting) That's the math and statistics limit that I refer to.
Got a link for "butterfly effects relating to extreme weather events, that, on the average, conform to climate modeling"?

Posted by: slanted tom on June 26, 2006 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Professor Lindzen is an embarrassment to MIT, and to the memory of Alfred Sloan. Lindzen, who should know better (i.e., actually does) starts by saying "What debate?"

Memo from the underemployed unwashed- if it doesn't start with an argument and look for the facts on which to test the argument, it ain't science. All science is a debate.

But I think the part I liked best was about the Arctic being warmer in 1940 than it is today.

Wow! That means that all the oil company guys and the military who built things based on the idea that permafrost would stay frozen must have been really really stupid, right? Because surely they were aware that sometimes the Arctic is warmer than Miami- could happen anytime, you know- and people frequently cancel their Carribbean vacations and head for Nome because it's warmer there this year. As we all know, Nome gets more sunlight than St Kitts, because of those long summer Arctic days.

(Sad to say, this idiocy is becoming typical of MIT, and their Technology Reviw has become sillier than the mutant offspring of Mad magazine and Popular Mechanics.)

In fact, the good professor looks a lot like the goofy guy with glasses and a pointer who used to show up on humorous bubblegum cards when I was a kid (so long ago that you actually got gum with the cards- sigh). Meanwhile, his "class" struggles mightily to improve their brains by reading the prestigious WSJ and trying to understand the copious amounts of smoke and mirrors employed.

For the benefit of those who don't gget the basic science, the oceans have been acting as a heat sink, analogous to the fact that when you heat a cup of coffee in the microwave, at first you can still hold the cup while the coffee is very warm, but soon the cup absorbs some of the warmth from the coffee and becomes too hot to hold.

It's hard to distinguish normal variation from the global warming signal because, once in a while, you just have a really hot summer. This is analogous to holding a good job, saving regularly, and occasionally winning when you play poker with the boys. Yes, on that particular night it's hard to tell if the dollar in your pocket came from luck or good work habits, but that doesn't mean you should quit your job and move to Vegas.

Well, enough out of me, I have to get ready for my underemployment- take it away boys!

Posted by: serial catowner on June 26, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

I said: "So, about a 1/3 of Mississippi River annual discharge?"

"Keep in mind that the volume of water lost from Greenland is not being replaced at the same rate by precipitation, as the equivalent volume of water from the Mississippi is. The upshot of this is that the water being lost from Greenland raises ocean levels.
Posted by: David W."

It does actually snow in greenland. And there no evidence that supports your idea that it isn't being replaced. It's a well known fact that the vast majority of the 2mm rise in yearly sea level is not due to greenland ice. Nor a combination of Greenland and Antarctic ice. Just check the last UN report regarding this. Nor has there been any significant increase in rate sea level increase recently or within last few decades.

Posted by: gbaikie on June 26, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Lindzen is regarded as the most credible of the relatively small group of scientists who argue that the observed warming of the atmosphere is not caused by human activities. A pretty good scoop on his testimony before congress, with some analysis of his position, can be found here. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/richard-lindzens-hol-testimony/

slanted tom: Thanks. I'll have to puzzle on that.

Posted by: Brad on June 26, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, apparently most of the recent rise in sea levels is due to the expansion of the existing oceans as they become warmer. A sobering and thought-provoking clue as to how much heat is actually being absorbed by the sea.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 26, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

...just like global cooling in the 1970s. Hey, how is that ice age the liberals predicted coming???

Weren't we all going to freeze just a few decades ago, Remember, the new ice age was coming?

No.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on June 26, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

'After having said that, he allocated $5 million dollars to restore the NREL jobs that were cut.

Furthermore, GW's AEI provides for a 22% increase in clean energy research at DOE.'

News to you: within the DoE labs, we have absolutely no faith that we're going to see said money.

"Lindzen is regarded as the most credible of the relatively small group of scientists who argue that the observed warming of the atmosphere is not caused by human activities."

Lindzen's argument is more that there is an 'infra-red iris" whereby increased humidity would result in increased cloud cover, hence increased albedo: a negative feedback effect. There is some intuitive logic in this: it'd be strange if our climate was in a metastable condition. However, IIRC, his position was refuted by Bing et al in a journal article in J.Meteorology, where they found a mild positive feedback coefficient from increased humidity with temperature.

Posted by: Random Engineer on June 26, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Norman:
'For CatWoman -- Perhaps you can offer a URL to a study MORE RECENT than the March '06 NASA on I cited too bolster your disproved theories?'

From the LA Times article:

'Indeed, Zwally and his colleagues in March released an analysis of data from two European remote-sensing satellites showing the amount of water locked up in the ice sheet had risen slightly between 1992 and 2002.

Then the ice sheet began to confound computer-generated predictions.

By 2005, Greenland was beginning to lose more ice volume than anyone expected an annual loss of up to 52 cubic miles a year according to more recent satellite gravity measurements released by JPL.'

So Norman, the observation by Zwally and his colleagues was that since 2002 there's been a big change. And those making this observation are the same as those who authored the March study for 1992-2002 data.

Reading comprehension isn't your strong suit, eh?

Zwally has authored a June 2006 study using ICESat data in Journal Geophy. Research: ICESat was launched in Jan 2003, and is the first satellite to use laser altimetry data over the Arctic Ocean: the more recent data is using new, more powerful surveying tools.

"And what all you moonbats miss, is that there is absolutely NOTHING anyone can do about climate change -- except to get used to it."

Absolute balls. We know how to capture CO2 - we've been doing it since Haber invented his process for making ammonia. We can dispose of CO2 subsurface in saline aquifers, coal beds, or former-oil and gas bearing formations, or we can to sub-sea disposal, either dispersal in >100 m depth, or deeper in the ocean where liquid CO2 is denser than water and would form a pool of CO2 on the ocean floor. StatOil of Norway have been carrying out saline aquifer disposal of CO2 in the North Sea for about five years now.

Costs run $75/tonne CO2. We certainly have transistional technologies to continue using fossil fuels and point-source capture at large consumers of fossil fuels (e.g. power stations). As this accounts for ~50% of CO2 usage, we mostly certainly can do something about CO2 emissions. And we can do it *right now* with current technology.

So Norman, you are just Making [Stuff] Up.

Posted by: Urinated State of America on June 26, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"From cores of ancient Greenland ice extracted by the National Science Foundation, researchers have identified at least 20 sudden climate changes in the last 110,000 years, in which average temperatures fluctuated as much as 15 degrees in a single decade.

"The increasingly erratic behavior of the Greenland ice has scientists wondering whether the climate, after thousands of years of relative stability, may again start oscillating."

Damn those SUV driving cave men and all their global warming inducing activities. (I'll get that Fred Flintstone if it's the last thing I do!) 20 times in 110,000 years -- or an average of once every 5,000 years. It's almost like it's part of a natural cycle or something. Nah! That's just crazy talk.

Please return to your regularly scheduled BDS activities.

Posted by: Birkel on June 26, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

The second paragraph above was meant to be in italics.

Both quoted paragraphs above are from the LAT article linked by Kevin Drum.

Posted by: Birkel on June 26, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

20 times in 110,000 years -- or an average of once every 5,000 years. It's almost like it's part of a natural cycle or something. Nah! That's just crazy talk.

Well it is crazy talk if you mention the historically cyclical nature of climate change without noting the unhistoric amounts of CO2 we've released into the air.

Posted by: cyntax on June 26, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

"So in a way, the skeptics have turned out to be right: the computer models aren't as reliable as we thought. They're too optimistic."

Who is this 'we'?

Bloggers maybe? Reporters? Politically interested citizens? The scientists know a lot about how accurate thier models are, what they can be expected to predict, how they might break down, and whether they are biased toward optomistic predictions.

The skeptics weren't right at all. Their constant claim is that the science is intentionally rigged to exaggerate the seriousness of the problem. They are the opposite of right, science is intentionally conservative, very conservative. Real conservative not 'conservative' as in willing to restructure the entire economy based on a bit of out of context econ 100 scribbled on a napkin or to actually be eager to start a war.

Posted by: jefff on June 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

gbaikie and serial catowner: I looked at the summary of the recent ice study again. Here's what it said:

""The study indicates that the contribution of the ice sheets to sea-level rise during the decade studied was much smaller than expected, just two percent of the recent increase of nearly three millimeters (0.12 inches) a year," Zwally said. "Current estimates of the other major sources of sea-level rise - expansion of the ocean by warming temperatures and runoff from low-latitude glaciers - do not make up the difference, so we have a mystery on our hands as to where the water is coming from. '"

I'd like to know where that water is coming from...

Posted by: Brad on June 26, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Catwoman advises us that [MITs] Professor Lindzen is an embarrassment to MIT, and to the memory of Alfred Sloan. Lindzen the good professor looks a lot like the goofy guy with glasses and a pointer who used to show up on humorous bubblegum cards

Now pay attention! This is the first and most important rule for leftie moonbats: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS begin your arguments by tossing ad hominem insults at whomever youre trying to discredit. Make fun of the way they look, their purported sexual orientation, their mothers, their friends, etc.

Then throw in a few non-sequitors, like confusing Arctic temperatures as measured in the 1940s with the evidence that the Arctic was a tropical region eons ago. Then pronounce yourself ever so smarter than the folks at MIT (pretend to have used its pub, Technology Review, for latrine reading). Then throw in terms like heat sink, and microwave oven and normal variation from the global warming signal and your fellow moonbats will think, Heres someone on my side who can stand up to the Right Wing!

Kinda like the John Kerry fiasco.

For Random Engineer Actually Lindzens (and others) arguments are more to what is and what is not addressed in the various models. None of the models currently deal with the most potent greenhouse gas water vapor. The problem is that more water vapor means more cloud cover which increases reflectivity hence less solar absorbtion.

The joke about the modelers is that they keep spending money and time improving their models. Why is this a joke? Because they have to! The models used to justify Kyoto would qualify as junk science today.

For Urinator You really are a moron. I cited a study from March of 06. You cite one from 2005. No wonder you cant get a job.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 26, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers wrote: "Actually Lindzens (and others) arguments are more to what is and what is not addressed in the various models. None of the models currently deal with the most potent greenhouse gas water vapor. The problem is that more water vapor means more cloud cover which increases reflectivity hence less solar absorbtion."

I don't think you've accurately represented the issue. The models do account for water vapor. Water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas. But both Lindzen and the models view it as feedback, not a forcer of climate change. As the temperature warms, the water vapor content goes up. The models treat the increased water vapor (increased greenhouse gas) as positive feedback, further warming the temperature. Lindzen asserts that increasing the amount of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere will work in the opposite direction by increasing cloud cover and albedo. His negative feedback claim appears to contradict the data.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/richard-lindzens-hol-testimony/#more-222


So, it is simply wrong to say that mainstream climate scientists ignore water vapor or that the models don't account for it. The negative feedback effect of increasing water vapor is Lindzen's claim, but can hardly be asserted as a fact.

Posted by: Brad on June 26, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

This comment section is such a perfect reflection of the state of our nation.

I'll add this: The problem for the global-warming advocates - to use a broad term - is that, to consider their mission accomplished, a four-part agenda must be won, and won in all four parts, in order. That's not easy to do in a representative democracy at all, hence the most committed advocates are VERY frustrated. The four parts they have to win, in order, are:
1. Global warming is real
2. Human activity is a cause of global warming
3. We (The U.S.A.) CAN do something about global warming
4. We SHOULD do something about global warming

In a purely logical sense, #2 could be skipped over, since it doesn't matter whether we are causing it, if it is true that we MUST solve it. But no one leaves out #2, not anywhere in all this commentary, and I don't either.

As for me personally, I am stuck at #2, trying to decide where I stand, and I'm nowhere near accepting #3 or #4, especially when I consider where China and India will be in twenty years.


Posted by: mikedevx on June 26, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers said: "You really are a moron. I cited a study from March of 06. You cite one from 2005. No wonder you cant get a job."

I think the point is that the March 2006 study only covers data through 2002. Observations since 2002 lead the study's main author to believe that things may have changed since then.

Posted by: Brad on June 26, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

mikedevx: As for me personally, I am stuck at #2, trying to decide where I stand, and I'm nowhere near accepting #3 or #4, especially when I consider where China and India will be in twenty years.

Ignoring for a moment the causation of #2, there are quite a few things we can do about it.

Right now we have the lowest MPG standards of any of the industrialized nations. Lower than, yes, even China. Since we are the highest emitter of green house gases, shouldn't we do something about it?

Right now the auto-industry is trying to prevent California from increasing its MPG standards over the next eleven years to where China's standards are today. We can't even selll our cars in China because we don't meet their standards.

The auto-industry seems to be suffering from an extreme form of myopia that not only has huge environmental effects, but even is preventing them from competing effectively in emerging world markets.

Posted by: cyntax on June 26, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Now pay attention! This is the first and most important rule for leftie moonbats: Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS begin your arguments by tossing ad hominem insults at whomever youre trying to discredit.

From Norman's own postings in this thread alone (openings only):

-- Kevin, it's really too bad you weren't able to benefit from the two wasted years you spent partying at Caltech...

-- And what all you moonbats miss...

-- Insasmuch as you lefties are unlikely to subscribe to the WSJ for political reasons -- or, more likely, because most of you are severly "underemployed"...

Way to take your own advice, Norman "ClunForGrowthShill" Rodgers.

Posted by: Thumb on June 26, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, actually, I did use Technology Review as latrine reading for about a decade, until it went sour five or ten years ago.

So anyway, where did Norman get that bit about "confusing Arctic temperatures as measured in the 40s with the fact that the Arctic was a tropical region aeons ago". Norman, Norman- if that is the level of your reading comprehension, how can we trust anything you say?

Try again, Norman, and see if you can make heads or tails of it. Hint- it was Professor Lindzen who told us the Arctic was warmer in the 40s than it is today. It was Big Oil that told us the pipelines would be stable because the permafrost would never melt. As for the fact that Nome gets more sunlight than St Kitts, well, maybe you should try reading a book about the Arctic. You might learn something.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 26, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

For Brad since you asked nicely.

The problem with ALL the models is that they really dont know what form increased water vapor will take. Nearly all of the wild-ass predictions of drastic temperature increases depend on water vapor being present in much higher concentrations (higher average humidity), because carbon dioxide is a weak greenhouse gas.

But if the increased humidity increases the cloud cover, the earths reflectivity will increase, leading to LOWER global temperatures (emissivity, primarily at night, will decrease as well).

The problem is that no one knows what elevated global temperatures will do for cloud formation and retention. The modelers are just making wild-ass guesses. They really dont know clouds at all apologies to Judy Collins. The predictions of doom you here are based on absolutely crazy assumptions of a massive feedback loop that more moisture in the air will cause temperatures to rise which will cause more moisture in the air etc. Thats where these idiots get their Armageddon predictions from. And it is unknowable.

Moreover, there is nothing that will be done to reduce manmade carbon dioxide emissions, save running out of carbon based fuels. There is neither political will nor any demonstrated need to take any action. Read Lomborg, you might learn something.

And, I think if you check the current studies, there is general agreement that Greenlands ice cover is increasing. There is still some arguing back and forth about Antactica. But, its all silliness. Seas are not going to rise by feet or meters. The moonbats are just trying to scare you.

For Thumbsucker An ad hominem attack is when a critic attacks the man (the messenger) instead of the message. If I had written, Kevin Drum is a moron and no one should believe him because he is a moron then Id be guilty as youve charged.

But, I did no such thing. My comments are of the form, You are wrong, because you said X and X is untrue because of Y,Z, etc. and youre an idiot, or Youre a moron and heres why.

And Catwoman did I hurt your feelings?

I think if you go back and read your grafs,
But I think the part I liked best was about the Arctic being warmer in 1940 than it is today.

Wow! That means that all the oil company guys and the military who built things based on the idea that permafrost would stay frozen must have been really really stupid, right? Because surely they were aware that sometimes the Arctic is warmer than Miami- could happen anytime, you know- and people frequently cancel their Carribbean vacations and head for Nome because it's warmer there this year. As we all know, Nome gets more sunlight than St Kitts, because of those long summer Arctic days.

I think it pretty clear you confused (or conflated) Lindzens statement that the Arctic was warmer in the 1940 than it is today with other studies (of core sediments) that claim the Arctic was (at least) once a tropical clime. You tell me what one has to do with the other.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 26, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

ad hominem insult: who is this idiot Norman Rogers.

I was catching up on this and read his comments on water vapor. I see the answer has already come from Brad at 1:55 PM. But I think if goes deeper than that.

Norman Roger's prior entry point to his bias. He comments that water vapor is the most potent atmospheric constituentof global warming, follows this with a "misstatement" concerning all global climate models, and follows this with only mentioning the reflectivity of cloud cover, not its insulating value also; and the fact that you can only have increased atmospheric water vapor AFTER oceans have already warmed.

It's this selective misuse of science that is so crucial to the misrepresentation of climate change.

His prior post of Lindzen's article shows the same bias. Lindzen states that weather and climate science is incomplete (Duh! Also note non-climate change believers often confuse the two for argumentative convenience) but then goes on about warming not being as fast as expected and atmospheric warming being less than expected but leaving out the whole recent ground level solar strength/atmospheric particulant effects. i.e. his argument is selective while again, for those who don't understand the nature of science, promoting any variance or debate in details as a reason for doubt.

I would point out that in almost all cases, as our knowledge and modelling improves, the forecast temperature increase and sea-level rise has been acclerating and the reinforcing and environemntal effects worseniing.

God is just staying his hand as, as some other looney pointed out, he would never allow us to actually self-destruct. Write it on the earth's last time capsule: "This `Civilization' Destroyed by Idiots."

Posted by: notthere on June 26, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

"For Random Engineer Actually Lindzens (and others) arguments are more to what is and what is not addressed in the various models. None of the models currently deal with the most potent greenhouse gas water vapor. "

Norman, you're absolutely full of it.

See http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/Iris/iris2.html for an discussion (and refutation) of Lindzen's iris hypothesis.

Posted by: Random Engineer on June 26, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Norman:

"I cited a study from March of 06. You cite one from 2005."

No, I cited a June 2006 interview with authors of said March 2006 study, talking about data from *after* the time horizon of the March 2006 study.

You just can't stop yourself from fibbing, can you?

Posted by: Urinated State of America on June 26, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

In modern history, there was notable place and period when government ideologues decided that entire academic departments and institutions were not "valid" and attempted - and over time largely succeeded - in destroying them and replacing them with "tame" government sympathizers. No I'm not talking Communist USSR, where many academies of science remained surprisingly intact. Rather it was Germany in the 1930s. But - oops - just remembered that we on the left are not allowed to talk about the parallels between Bushism and the equally win-at-any-cost politcial movement called National Socialism (fascism).

Posted by: Corduroy Joe on June 26, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: Do you have a source you can refer me to on the treatment of water vapor in the models? My understanding is that the increased water vapor caused by atmospheric warming cycles out of the atmosphere relatively quickly. Thus, it adds a relatively small amount to the temperature increase. It is simply incorrect to say that most of the temperature increase predicted by the models is due to water vapor.

With respect to cloud formation overcoming the heating effect of the water vapor, let alone the C02, I know Lindzen says that, but I'm not aware of any studies that back him up.

I'd read Lomborg very skeptically. I've read too many examples of mistakes to place much confidence in him.

Realclimate.org has a pretty thoughtful post up on the ice issue today. These guys seem to me to try pretty hard to present the state of the science without the hype.


Posted by: Brad on June 26, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Look it's really simple:

If global warming "advocates" are wrong, and we take action against global warming, it's possible that it will have a detrimental effect on the world economy. On the other hand, it might spur economic growth by creating new industries. And we will all benefit, healthwise and in other ways, by taking the necessary measures.

If global warming "advocates" are right, then we're looking at global catastrophe.

I simply don't see why this isn't a no-brainer. The only conclusion I can reach is that the idea is so scary that the natural human reaction for some people is to deny it.

But then, that's why a lot of people are conservatives, aren't they? So they can tell themselves how superior they are, that everything bad that happens happens because it's someone else's fault. Nothing will ever happen to THEM, because they are just plain better, smarter people.

And of course global catastrophe can't happen, because...well, it just can't.

Is that about right, Norman Rogers, Jay, et al? Or can it be you just don't give a shit? You've found your little belief system that lets you not worry about anybody in the world but yourself, and moreover, that tells you that anybody who disagrees with you is a moron.

It's very nice for you. But as someone who has to live on the same planet with you, and who has to live with the consequences of your relentless denial and of selfish creeps that inhabit organizations like "Club for Growth," I rather resent it.

Posted by: karma frog on June 26, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

For Brad, this stuff is pretty easy to find. I Googled water vapor cloud formation global warming (no quotes) and got this as the top non-paid entry:

http://web.mit.edu/cgcs/www/clouds.html

Concern about global change has focused attention on the temperature of the Earth's surface-or, equivalently, the heat budget of the Earth's surface. The effect of clouds on this heat budget is immense. The major radiatively active components of the atmosphere are water vapor and so-called layer clouds. The latter contribute to cooling by reflecting sunlight that otherwise would be absorbed by the surface, and contribute to heating by absorbing and re-emitting infrared radiation (essentially the greenhouse mechanism).

Recent observational studies show that these effects almost balance, but that the cooling effect is somewhat more important. From the point of view of global change, however, it is crucial to note that this small difference is about five times larger than the radiative effect anticipated from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and that the individual components of the difference are orders of magnitude larger. In existing climate models about one third of the predicted warming due to increasing CO2 arises because of the predicted cloud changes. These predictions, however, are highly speculative because none of the models include interactive cloud physics.

And do yourself a favor, read some Lomborg. Dont let anyone elses snarky remarks influence you read the stuff yourself.

As for Kermit try reading State of Fear. You might learn something (probably not).

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 26, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

So Mr. Rogers suggests that we read Michael Crichton's State of Fear as a serious source on the issue of global warming?

Michael Crichton simply is not a serious writer: previous novels of his have dealt with the economic threat posed by Japan (is anybody worried about that anymore?) and about the dangers of resurrected dinosaurs breaking loose from their cages.

Relying on Michael Crichton for information about climate change is like using the Da Vinci code as a central reference in writing a history of the Catholic Church.

Posted by: Arthur on June 27, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I love you Norman, you're such a hero to combat these loonies with so much grace, wit and outright knowledge! You'd think these idiots would listen to somebody with such obviously superior sources and wisdom. Why don't they? Do you really think it's because they hate America? I wonder if maybe it's because they hate science, knowledge, reason and common sense. Oh sure, maybe they hate this great land of ours too, and maybe even God (perish the thought!). But I think the main problem is that maybe they just hate themselves. I hate them too!

Anyway, thanks for putting them in their place! You're the man with a plan who can take the heat and dish it right back out! Stupid good for nothing liberals. God I hate them soooo much.

Posted by: justanhonestguy on June 27, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

And Mr. Rogers

Do yourself a favor. Try reading the legion of peer-reviewed scholarly articles that, for some reason, point to anthropogenic CO2 emissions as the cause of global warming. For some reason, all of these articles, written by so many different scientists in so many countries, basically concur that humans are causing global warming. Try reading the position statements issued by the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the National Academy of Sciences--all of which state that humans almost certainly are the cause of global warming.


Or, you could rely on this fellow Lindzen, who in the past has served as a hired gun for the oil
industry, and this pulp-fiction writer Crichton.

By the way, did you know that Crichton's "science" in Jurassic Park is ludicrous? Scientists basically concluded that DNA sucked up by a mosquito would have been rendered unintelligible by the bug's digestive system; in any case, as I recall, amber is not an impermeable preservative, and would have allowed for the degradation of the fragile DNA. If you are relying on Crichton--who is constructing an extremely implausible means of preserving dinosaur DNA as a basis for his entire novel--I've got some real estate in Florida to sell you.

Posted by: Arthur on June 27, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers --
"...the cooling effect is somewhat more important...this small difference is about five times larger than the radiative effect anticipated from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide..."

Undoubtedly all environmental models could do with improving (as could all major weather and economic models). Although increased cloud cover would have an ameliorating effect, its increase can only arise AFTER an increase in surface temperatures which will also include increased land evaporative rates. There is little reason to believe that there will not be increased desertification, sea-level rise with loss of land, and increased freqwuency and violence of storms, and increased rainfall erosion in differing places.

The other environmental knock-on effects such as ex-permafrost peatbog methane release, acidification and lowering salinity of the sea, the acid-rain mineral depletion of soil, the change in migration habits, viable range of destructive insects, etc., etc. are also continually being reevaluated.

However, it's impossible to trust you perpetual blind optimists (I'm being kind) over proper scientific investigation, discovery, theory and testing.

When the vaste majority of climate scientists are concerned it's not just for the next research grant. The US administration stands alone, as far as I know, among major members of the OECD in not recognizing the possible risks. Only Australia also did not sign on to Kyoto.

Sure. The non-science based Bush administration "knows" better. Great!

Posted by: notthere on June 27, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

King (or Jean?) Arthur a noted literary critic tells us, Michael Crichton simply is not a serious writer.

Thank you, Arthur. Without your wisdom and insight I might never have known this. Perhaps you should update Mr. Crichtons bio at Wikipedia the present one seems too laudatory for your taste:

John Michael Crichton was born on October 23, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois to John Henderson Crichton and Zula Miller Crichton, and raised in Roslyn, Long Island, New York.[1]

He was educated at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, A.B. (summa cum laude) 1964 (Phi Beta Kappa). He went on to become the Henry Russell Shaw Travelling Fellow, 1964-65 and Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge University, England, 1965. He graduated Harvard Medical School, gaining an M.D. 1969 and did post-doctoral fellowship study at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, La Jolla, California 1969-1970. In 1988, he was Visiting Writer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A strong credit to Crichton's entertainment work is that he is the only person to have had the number one movie, the number one book, and the number one television show in the United States at the same time.

But I do take your point, Arthur, that his 1992 novel, Rising Sun , which as you wrote dealt with the economic threat posed by Japan. And, as you wrote, is anybody worried about that anymore?

And you make my point. Fourteen years from today, will anybody [be] worried about Global Warming? I think not.

OBTW, you too fall into the liberal moonbats trap of tossing ad hominems at people who disagree with you instead of dealing with their messages hired gun Lindzen and pulp-fiction writer Crichton. Of course, if you had the science chops to read the legion of peer-reviewed scholarly [what a hoot your use of THAT adjective is] articles, you might be better able to engage in a serious discourse. And you also might find gainful employment.

For not all there, who writes, Undoubtedly all environmental models could do with improving (as could all major weather and economic models.

Indeed! And theyve been continually improving (tweaking we science chaps call it) their models for over a decade. Every time a skeptic points out some niggling little fact or effect that one of their models omitted, they rush back to their workstations to rework their programs.

And there is no experimental check to verify ANY of their work. The only correlations these folks can achieve is to run previous climate data through them to see if they WOULD HAVE predicted the next years temperatures. And all of these models predicted much higher post 1998 temperatures WHICH HAVE NOT OCCURRED!

So why are you morons so frightened?

OBTW, India and China would be exempt from Kyoto and it was your deity, Bill Clinton, who didnt even submit Kyoto to the Senate for ratification. (See he wasnt a total failure).

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 27, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Rogers,

Wow--Michael Crichton has some educational credentials! He went to school somewhere for a long time and got a postdoc (in science)! I guess we should all listen very closely to what he has to say!

At the same time, we should ignore what all the other people who have Ph.D.'s in fields relevant to climate studies have to say about global warming--and the consensus is--it's the real deal.

The fact that you cited Michael Crichton was the tipoff--learning about science from Michael Crichton is like learning about astronomy by watching Star Wars.

Crichton has been using his educational background to gull people into thinking that he has something valuable to say. Wow--if he went to the highly competitive Harvard, then he must know what he's talking about. Actually, most of the time, his formal education is only related in a vague sense to the topics on which he is writing.

Again, the "hard" science in Jurassic Park was incredibly squishy. The reason (some) people took it seriously because of the author's c.v..

He's still a trashy pulp fiction writer.

Posted by: Arthur on June 27, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

How much money was Lindzen getting paid by the oil industry. I think it was quite a lot. Do you know how much it was? I think it was substantial enough to qualify him as a hireling.

Crichton does know something about pacing and writing style, but his object is to seduce rather than inform or enlighten. That qualifies him, I think, for the category of pulp fiction writer.

Posted by: Arthur on June 27, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rodgers: The paragraphs you quote about the role of clouds and modeling appear to be more Lindzen. I don't' care who funds the guy. From my reading, he has a track record of making unsubstantiated and misleading claims. He appears to me to have a pattern of making a claim about how mainstream climate scientists have got something wrong. Then, when his claims don't hold up, he does the same thing on a new topic.

Some pretty good examples can be found at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/02/richard-lindzens-hol-testimony/.

I don't offer this as proof the the facts in the webpage are wrong, but as the reasons I approach Lindzen with a high level of skepticism. The paragraphs you quote are a good example of why. They level some pretty harsh criticism of climate models and refer to studies, yet provide no sources or links.

I'm assuming your claim that climate models predict temperatures higher than what we are experiencing also comes from Lindzen. Look at the above link and I think you'll find this is an example of why I don't place alot of confidence in him.

Finally, of course modelers respond to new information and studies by checking and modifying the models. That's how science works.

Posted by: Brad on June 27, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh well, try to be nice

Brad writes, The paragraphs you quote about the role of clouds and modeling appear to be more Lindzen. I don't' care who funds the guy. From my reading, he has a track record of making unsubstantiated and misleading claims. He appears to me to have a pattern of making a claim about how mainstream climate scientists have got something wrong. Then, when his claims don't hold up, he does the same thing on a new topic.

Now Brad, if you had gone just one click beyond the link I provided you would have discovered that the article was published by the Center for Global Change Science at MIT who list their faculty and staff in the dozens. The paper referenced is published by the Center without specific attribution. As such (and since I havent found any dissenting faculty publications), it is the opinion of all.

There you go again, casting ad hominem aspersions at the messenger to explain why you dont have to address his message. Of course, the cite wasnt Lindzens at all.

As for the cite you offered to justify your attempt to smear Lindzen you ought to read it closely.

Greenhouse Effect
Lindzen accepts the main principle of the greenhouse effect, that increasing greenhouse gases (like CO2) will cause a radiative forcing that, all other things being equal, will cause the surface to warm. He uses an odd measure of its effectiveness though, claiming that a doubling of CO2 will lead to a '2%' increase in the greenhouse effect. How has he defined the greenhouse effect here? Well, a doubling of CO2 is about a 4 W/m2 forcing at the tropopause, which is roughly 2% of the total upward longwave (LW) (~240 W/m2). But does that even make sense as a definition of the greenhouse effect? Not really. On a planet with no greenhouse effect (but similar albedo) the upward LW would also be 240 W/m2, but the absorbed LW in the atmosphere would be zero, so it would make much more sense to define the greenhouse effect as the amount of LW absorbed (~150 W/m2). In which case, doubling of CO2 is initially slightly more*, but as soon as any feedbacks (particularly water vapour or ice albedo changes) kick in, that would increase. Due to the non-linearities in the system, you certainly can't multiply the total greenhouse effect of ~33 C by 2% to get any sensible estimate of the climate sensitivity. So it's not clear what relevance the '2%' number has except to make the human additions to the greenhouse effect seem negligible. [emp added]

So it would seem that Gavins objections are rooted in his expectations of highly non-linear feedback mechanisms which are wildly speculative and immune to experimental proofs. Absent Gavins wild-ass guesses as to what ELSE might happen should temperatures rise, he actually agrees with Lindzen.

And so on if you read through the article.

The sane position taken by the warming skeptics is of the form:

The earth has been far warmer in earlier times and CO2 levels have been far higher. There does not seem to be a correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures, let alone a causation. And there is certainly no evidence of massive feedback loops occasioned by a little more humidity (which is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2).

The far more likely explanation for temperature trends is differences in Solar radiation. And since there is no chance in hell that anyone or any nation is going to commit economic suicide, were all far better off taking a deep breath.

And Brad, science works by testing theories with experiments, not by tweaking mathematical models.

And lets not forget about poor Arthur, who valiantly tries to keep up the pretense that he managed to stay awake in his ninth grade earth science class.

I suggested to someone in a post above that he read Crichtons State of Fear to get an exposure to a quite lucid claim that there are organizations who profit by scaring dimwits like you. You obviously have never read it (nor would you yours is a religious belief and evidence to the contrary as an apostasy).

Arthur, you know no science. Youve not read a book in years. And all you can do is to try throw insults at your betters.

OBTW, I have read nearly all of Crichtons works (fiction and non-fiction). And I can speak critically of him (and I have the chops to do it both from an academic and my work experience standpoint). Crichtons strength is not his storytelling or character development or imagery (although he has improved greatly over the years). What sets Crichton apart is his imagination. He takes a premise: what if this bit of our scientific understanding changed what would its effect be on people and society. In this regard he is Asimovs equal.

But, as I wrote, my suggestion about Crichton was State of Fear a book he meticulously researched AND FOOTNOTED.

So here's a challenge for you Arthur. Go to your local library (and register for a lending card -- they're free) and borrow the book and read it. Then come back with some specific complaints. Until then, I suggest you stop flaunting your ignorance.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 27, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Norman! What do you mean "try to be nice" to them! Don't EVER try to be nice to these morons! They may "throw insults", but nobody does it as good as you!

You are my hero! So just keep telling them like it is, ok? Don't back down! Fight! Fight! Fight! We can beat these global warmists at their own game. Thanks to YOU!

Posted by: justanhonestguy on June 27, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Crichton uses footnotes? Well, he must be right. Forgive me for criticizing him. I guess I lose this argument.

Posted by: Arthur on June 27, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: I perhaps should have explained why I concluded that paragraphs on the webpage "appear to be more Lindzen" I clicked all over the website. The page you cited to is a description of an area of research. The site lists seven faulty members in that area. Lindzen is one. I looked over the bios. The role of water vapor and clouds falls in Lindzen's area of focus.

I'm not sure what you mean by "paper." The webpage is a description of an area of study. It contains no references whatsoever. It refers to "recent obervational studies" but doesn't reference them. There is no reference to So what I'm left with is some factual assertions in a web page article with no identified author.

Regarding Lindzen. I think "He got money from the fossil fuel industry so that means he is a paid shill." is an ad hominem argument. I don't think that looking at a scientist's track record and critiquing his work either ad hominem or a smear. And I'm not throwing out what he says -- I'm just saying I approach him carefully.

I have read and re-read Gavin's comment and your interpretation of it. I don't understand how you reach your concluisons from Gavin's comment.

You wrote:

The sane position taken by the warming skeptics is of the form:

"The earth has been far warmer in earlier times and CO2 levels have been far higher. There does not seem to be a correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures, let alone a causation. And there is certainly no evidence of massive feedback loops occasioned by a little more humidity (which is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2).

The far more likely explanation for temperature trends is differences in Solar radiation. And since there is no chance in hell that anyone or any nation is going to commit economic suicide, were all far better off taking a deep breath."

It is exactly this type of statement that causes me to be very skeptical about the global warming "skeptics." Any climate scientist who makes the statements in the first two sentences is attempting to deliberately mislead the reader. No climate scientist contends that C02 has had the greatest impact on global temperature over the history of the earth. I believe the unanimous answer would be "the sun." So, at times of increased solar radiation, the CO2 level can be lower but the temperature lower. If you are aware of any scientific paper that takes the position that there is no correlation between atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric temperature, all other things being equal, I'd love to have a cite. I don't think even Lindzen goes that far.

The relevant issue is, what is the effect of doubling the CO2 level in the atmosphere if we don't change any of the other climate forcers? You seem to believe that the current model predictions are based mainly on "wild-ass guesses" and "massive feedback loops." I've been trying to find something that breaks down the contributions of various factors to the heating predicted in models. Perhaps you've had better luck than I.

Finally, I guess I view science as including modelling. It seems to me to be a strength, and not a weakness, to update models as new information comes in.

Posted by: Brad on June 27, 2006 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to my last post: "the CO2 level can be lower but the temperature HIGHER." I hit post instead of preview....

Posted by: Brad on June 27, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Who is this 'Brad' character? Ha! Got get him, Mr. Rogers! He doesn't stand a chance against your superior intelligence. Or any other of these morons! "Morons vs. Mr. Norman Rogers". Ha! Now there's a mismatch made in heaven! (I hope I didn't offend anybody's religion, I just know which horse to back in this cockfight!)

Posted by: justanhonestguy on June 27, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: I went back to the TAR and found what I was looking for.

Regarding the impact of water vapor on predictions:

7.2.1.1 Water vapour feedback

Water vapour feedback continues to be the most consistently important feedback accounting for the large warming predicted by general circulation models in response to a doubling of CO2. Water vapour feedback acting alone approximately doubles the warming from what it would be for fixed water vapour (Cess et al., 1990; Hall and Manabe, 1999; Schneider et al., 1999; Held and Soden, 2000). Furthermore, water vapour feedback acts to amplify other feedbacks in models, such as cloud feedback and ice albedo feedback. If cloud feedback is strongly positive, the water vapour feedback can lead to 3.5 times as much warming as would be the case if water vapour concentration were held fixed (Hall and Manabe, 1999)."

7.1.1 Issues of Continuing Interest

Water vapour feedback. An increase in the temperature of the atmosphere increases its water-holding capacity; however, since most of the atmosphere is undersaturated, this does not automatically mean that water vapour, itself, must increase. Within the boundary layer (roughly the lowest 1 to 2 km of the atmosphere), relative humidity tends to remain fixed, and water vapour does increase with increasing temperature. In the free troposphere above the boundary layer, where the water vapour greenhouse effect is most important, the behaviour of water vapour cannot be inferred from simple thermodynamic arguments. Free tropospheric water vapour is governed by a variety of dynamical and microphysical influences which are represented with varying degrees of fidelity in general circulation models. Since water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas, increasing water vapour in the free troposphere would lead to a further enhancement of the greenhouse effect and act as a positive feedback; within current models, this is the most important reason for large responses to increased anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Regarding the effect of clouds:

7.1.1 Issues of Continuing Interest

Cloud radiation feedback. Clouds can both absorb and reflect solar radiation (thereby cooling the surface) and absorb and emit long-wave radiation (thereby warming the surface). The compensation between those effects depends on cloud height, thickness and cloud radiative properties. The radiative properties of clouds depend on the evolution of atmospheric water vapour, water drops, ice particles and atmospheric aerosols. These cloud processes are most important for determining radiative, and hence temperature, changes in models. Although their representation is greatly improved in models, the added complexity may explain why considerable uncertainty remains; this represents a significant source of potential error in climate simulations. The range in estimated climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5C for a CO2 doubling is largely dictated by the interaction of model water vapour feedbacks with the variations in cloud behaviour among existing models.

Whether these paragraphs describe "wild-ass guesses" or "massive feedback loops" I think Norman has raised a legitimate issue. If I read this right, the differences in how water vapor and clouds are modeled accounts for almost the entire temperature spread in climate forecasts. It does raise my skepticometer a couple of notches and will send me back to do more reading.

Thanks Norman.



Posted by: Brad on June 27, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Brad, I don't have any answers -- just questions. I did a tour in academia where I learned the difference between an academic argument and a practical one. In an academic dispute, the ONLY goal of the participants is to win the argument -- being right doesn't matter a wit. In the real world, it's just the opposite.

There is real science that predicts rising global temperatures as CO2 levels rise. And, CO2 levels have been rising at a fairly constant rate (smoothing out the occillations). But to go from there to prophecies of the seas washing out NYC in our children's lifetimes based on some theories of feedbacks that cannot be experimentally verified -- and then insisting we drastically change our lives and economy lest we all die -- strikes me as really reaching.

There's just too much we don't know -- we can't know.

You should read Lomborg. His presumption was that the theories were all true and that the earth is warming. And his findings? If Kyoto were fully implemented it would only delay the expected average temperatures in year 2100 -- BY SIX YEARS!

And that the effects of warming would be largely confined to winter -- it would be warmer and shorter. And agriculture would benefit greatly. And developed countries would do just fine. And the best help we could give to the third world would be to help them all develop clean water supplies.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 27, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Norman. I appreciate what you are saying. I'm not trying to win an argument with you. I am interested in what is right. I've formulated some opinions, but I'd like to think they are open to change.

Trying to cut through the crap to get at the facts or to separate what we know from what we don't is tough on this issue. I do have children, and I do worry about what will happen in their lifetime. I agree that a prediction that New York will wash away in their lifetime would have to be based on on some pretty crazy assumptions about how the climate works. But that's not what the climate models predict. According to the TAR: "Global mean sea level is projected to rise by 0.09 to 0.88 metres between 1990 and 2100, for the full range of SRES scenarios."

I've read the crticisms of Kyoto, and I agree that the effect of phase 1 would be relatively small. I don't think that means whatever problem there is can't be addressed or solved. I think it means that we can't say Kyoto phase 1 is sufficient.

You've raised the economic consequences of cutting our carbon emissions. I haven't responded because I think that's a whole 'nuther can of worms. The claims that reducing our carbon emissions would destroy our economy sound to me like they have as much basis as the alarmist global warming claims.

To me, it boils down to:

1. How big is the problem?
2. How can we address it?
3. What will it cost?

I see lots of serious work on issues 1 and 2. I'm not sure we've done the heavy lifting on 3.

Finally, I disagree that there is too much we can't know. We make decisions involve billings of dollars on thousands of lives without anything close to perfect information.

I appreciate your questions, because your questions have caused me to go looking for answers. I guess I'm more optimistic on the issue of whether they are out there to find.

Posted by: Brad on June 27, 2006 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ticking time bomb for the right. They get this wrong and they will not see power for next 30 years...Unfortunately, they'll see it as the start of the "Rapture!"

Posted by: AluminumKen on June 27, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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