Saturday, December 20, 2014

If Arctic Sea Ice Is Recovering, Why Is Everyone Claiming Arctic Ownership?

One of the common false claims being made is that the Arctic sea ice has made a full recovery. The truth is that it is not even close. The 2013 melt season saw a large rebound (approximately 60%) over the 2012 melt season. However, that rebound was from an exceptionally low year. The minimum sea ice extent in 2012 was so low it was shocking. A large rebound from almost nothing is still a small amount overall. Then, the 2014 minimum extent was smaller than the 2013 and approximately 40% below the 1980 level (which was large). The trend line is very clear, the Arctic sea ice extent is decreasing. Still, the claims come in, mostly by people that don't want to bother with the facts.

But, there has been a trend over the last few years that is very difficult for anyone to deny - oil businesses are moving into the Arctic Region. This would not be possible with previous ice extent. The only way it is at all possible to erect drilling rigs in the Arctic is if the ice is melting away. If you set-up on top of the ice, the drifting ice would tear you away from the drill hole. It would not be possible to get a ship through the ice to drill and, even if you did, the drifting ice would push the ship out of position. For the same reason, it would not be possible to erect a drilling platform. The ice would demolish it. The Arctic Ocean, on average, is about 1000 meters deep (about 3200 feet) with a maximum depth of 5500 meters (18,000 feet). The deep parts of the ocean are too deep for a platform, but the shallow areas could accommodate one, but only in the absence of massive, drifting ice flows. If millions of tons of moving ice hit a platform, the ice is going to win.

But, wait. Companies are actually drilling up there and making claims so they can drill in the future. The U.S., Norway, Denmark, Canada and Russia have all made claims to ownership of some part of the Arctic Ocean basin. Denmark and Russia have claimed ownership of the North Pole itself.


So, if it is impossible to drill in the Arctic Ocean with ice present, why are the companies drilling? Clearly, claims the ice extent is fully recovered are all wrong. And, that makes you wonder about the motive for people to make claims that are obviously false.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Can We Address Climate Change Without Texas?

My family came to Texas in the 1850s, making me multi-generational Texan. I was born in Fort Worth, but we lived on a farm out of town and I grew up in the countryside. I was a junior scientist and explorer, doing things and going places that many parents wouldn't allow their kids to do (my parents weren't fully informed of my activities), but would get a lot kids full scholarships to college today. All the while, I was being educated on the history and culture of Texas. As a result, I grew up loving the state and when I left academia and the military I came home.

But, the fact that I love my home state doesn't mean I have to love everything about it. There are many things I would change, if I could. Certainly, the shame of having a governor supporting creationism would be high on the list. At least, he's gone and we have a new governor coming in next month. Except, the new one is even worse than the old one. Hard to believe.

In addition to creationism, another subject our state gets a big, fat "Failed" for is climate change. This is very strange considering just how vulnerable we are to the changes. The temperature has gone up since the 1970s, water shortage is becoming the single most important issue in the state, sea level rise is threatening millions of people and the changes in weather patterns are damaging the agricultural industry, one of the largest in the world. I'm sure you have seen pictures of empty reservoirs. I've seen them in person.

I know a highway overpass over the Pedernales River between Austin and the town of Llano. This overpass crosses a beautiful canyon with lovely, high bluffs. I used to take that route just to see that sight. Of course, it is so lovely someone decided it had to be developed and they put multi-million dollar homes there, equipped with floating docks so they could have their boats on the river. Today, the river is almost completely dry and those floating docks are not only sitting on dry ground, they have been there for so long they are overgrown with bushes and trees. Not just weeds - trees. My stand is I'll know the drought is over when I see those docks floating again. It is possible they never will.

I am involved with the wine-industry and am a certified viticulturalist through Texas Tech University. The Texas wine industry is one of the largest in the country and I am right in the middle of one of the principle grape-growing regions in the state. Several of my friends have vineyards and I work in their vineyards from time-to-time. What goes on with the farm fields is big news out here. So, when hail storms come through and pound the crops into mulch in a matter of a few minutes, it is a big hit for the community. Likewise, when we get hard freezes weeks after the average last freeze, you have to wonder what is going on.

Global warming is definitely making it worse here. I was out hiking with a friend last weekend and we both commented on how plants were starting to bud. It was the middle of December and there are plants showing new growth that normally don't do that until March, April and May. Fall and spring have gotten longer, winter has gotten shorter and milder and the plants are responding. And, that is fatal because the late-spring winter storms and freezes have increased in recent decades. A hard freeze will burn off new growth like a flame-thrower. If plants are no longer dormant and are sucking fluids up into the above ground parts that fluid will freeze and split the plant open. If this happens to a grape vine you might as well pull the plant out and replace it - along with the years invested to get to that point. It takes three growing seasons to get a crop out of a grape vine.

With all of this, why is Texas so reluctant to address climate change? Well, what is the thing Texas is most known for? Oil. We pump 40% of the nation's production, we have refineries all along the coast and we have some of the largest ports for the ships that carry it. Being the largest producer of fossil fuels means we are also the number one producer of greenhouse gases in the country. Would you like to guess where much of the funding came from for Greg Abbott's run for governor? Connect the dots and it isn't hard to see why our state politicians are climate change deniers.

But, the effect on climate change doesn't stop there. The reach of the Texas industry goes far beyond the state borders. To paraphrase the old commercial, when Texas speaks in Washington, people listen.

The irony is that Texas is also one of the biggest producers of renewable energy. The United States produces more electricity from wind turbines than the rest of the world combined. Texas produces more electricity from wind than the rest of the world combined, with the exception of the U.S. Wind power is big business here and it's getting bigger all the time.  


So, as long we have a governor that states carbon dioxide can't be a pollutant because it is emitted by humans, it is going to be an uphill fight. But, the fact is, if we want to do something about climate change, we need to start right here in Austin. If we can win that fight, the rest of the world is doable.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wherefore Art Thou, John Coleman?

I issued a public challenge to John Coleman back in early November. I posted my challenge here on my blog, but I also sent an email directly to him at the Heartland Institute. They responded by asking if I was the same Christopher Keating that did the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge and I told them I was. This shows they received my challenge, but I have not heard anything from them since.

This is just one more example that confirms my belief John Coleman is nothing more than a fraud. It's fine for him to go around making unsupported claims as long as he doesn't have to defend them. But, there is no way he will go into a public forum where he could be forced to justify his statements.

In any event, if you happen to figure out where he's hiding, let him know I'm still available.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Record Heat Continues Through November

The National Climatic Data Center released the Global State of the Climate report for November this morning. The global combined sea and land temperature for November was the 13th hottest November ever recorded. The period of September through November was the hottest such period ever and the year-to-date (January through November) was the hottest year-to-date ever recorded. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for November 2014 tied with 2008 as seventh highest in the 135-year period of record, at 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F).
  • The global land surface temperature was 0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 20th century average of 5.9°C (42.6°F), the 13th highest for November on record. For the global oceans, the November average sea surface temperature was 0.59°C (1.06°F) above the 20th century average of 15.8°C (60.4°F), record high for November.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the September–November period was 0.70°C (1.26°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.1°F), the warmest such period on record.
  • The September–November worldwide land surface temperature was 0.90°C (1.62°F) above the 20th century average, the ninth warmest such period on record. The global ocean surface temperature for the same period was 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average, record high for September–November.
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the year-to-date (January–November) was 0.68°C (1.22°F) above the 20th century average of 14.0°C (57.2°F), the warmest such period on record.
Updating the tally for the year, we now have:

November was the 13th hottest November ever recorded;

October was the hottest October ever recorded;

September was the hottest September ever recorded;

August was the hottest August ever recorded;

July was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May was the hottest May ever recorded;

April tied 2010 as the hottest April ever recorded;

March was the fourth hottest March ever recorded;

We got a break in February. It was only the 21st hottest February ever recorded;

But, that break followed the hottest January since 2007 and the fourth hottest January on record.

So, let's see what the score is so far for 2014: one 21st hottest month, one 13th hottest month, three 4th hottest months, and six hottest months ever.

Additionally, we have the hottest year ever recorded.

I saw an editorial by an editor-at-large with Fox News the other day in which he stated there is "virtually no evidence that global temperatures have risen in the past two decades." Maybe he should check his facts before he says things like that. But, I guess he wouldn't be a denier if actually bothered with facts.

Greenland Mass Loss is Bad and Getting Worse

Greenland is melting, which is not good. Recent studies indicate it is even getting worse, too. Take a look at the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and see what has been going on. This is plot of the GIS mass and comes from the Danish Polar Portal site:

Source: Polar Portal


This graph is of data obtained by the GRACE satellite and shows the change in mass due to the small change in the gravity field. It is easy to see the total mass of the the GIS is declining. The upticks in the graph show the mass is growing in the winter and the down ticks show the mass is declining in the summer. Hopefully, that is not a surprise nor should there be any controversy with that. But, what we see is that over a period of time the mass is decreasing more during the summer melt season than it is growing during the winter freeze season. As a result, the overall mass is decreasing on an annual basis.

But, there is something even more significant. Take a trend line for the period of about 2003 - 2009. Then, take another trend line for the period of 2010 - 2014. The second trend line is much steeper than the first. That means the rate of decline was much greater in the second period than in the first. Is the rate of decline accelerating? The data suggests it is and is something we will need to monitor. But, it gets worse.

A recent study used NASA laser altimeter data to study the entire surface of the ice sheet. That study found the estimate of mass loss was actually low and the amount lost during the 2003 - 2009 period amounted to 243 metric gigatons per year. This mass loss was enough that it contributed .68 millimeters of sea rise per year. During that one, seven-year period, Greenland melt water raised the oceans by about 5 millimeters (about .2 inches) all by itself. Projections are that melt water from the GIS will add about 9 inches (22 centimeters) to the sea level by the year 2100. That figure does not include melt water from Antarctica and glaciers.

Meanwhile, another study has been released that also indicates the melt rate is not going in our favor. The second study has to do with the melt ponds on the surface of the ice. As the ice melts in the summer, not all of it can flow away and it forms lakes on top of the ice. Sometimes, these lakes will refreeze when winter returns. Sometimes, the ice will crack and the water can flow into the interior of the ice sheet in a matter of a few hours. Either way, melt ponds are not good. Ponds are darker than ice and absorb more sunlight than the bright ice. The more ponds you have, the more heat gets absorbed, leading to more melting. If the water flows into the interior then it transports that heat into regions that would otherwise be insulated. That heat then gets trapped inside instead of being able to radiate into space. One scenario leads to more melting. The second scenario leads to a lot more melting.

The study released some interesting data. The melt ponds normally do not form outside of a band along the edge of the ice sheet. Away from the coast, it remains cold enough through most summers to prevent melt ponds from forming. But, that melt pond band has grown by 35 miles (56 kilometers) since the 1970s and is expected to have doubled by the middle of this century. Meaning, the melt rate will accelerate.

This changing nature of the melt ponds has not been included in projections, so the authors of this study believe the projections are low and we can expect to see even larger amounts of ice melt than we previously thought we would.

All in all, the data is not looking good for anyone in low-lying coastal areas. That's only a few billion people.

Once again, tell me how global warming is good for us.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Deniers Win This One - Thanks Greenpeace

You would think a group as devoted to protecting the environment as Green Peace is would know better than to pull off the stunt they did this week in Peru. While the international climate conference was in progress in Lima, Green Peace activists decided to make a splash protest demonstration. But their choice of how to go about doing this was both poorly advised and very curiously against their own philosophy. They chose to trespass on a world heritage site and damaged the amazing Nazca lines by putting a protest message out there.

The Nazca lines are made by removing a very thin layer of what is called 'desert varnish,' a thin crust over a lighter-colored substrate. For some unknown reason, the people living in the area 1500 years ago very carefully removed this varnish to make various drawings. This varnish is so thin that walking on it will damage it. And, that is just what Green Peace did. They trespassed on the site and walked out there to place signs on the surface that were visible from the air. I wonder if future pictures of the site will point out the tracks left behind by these people.

While I laud the thought of making a statement, I condemn the way they did it. For the record, Green Peace itself has been extremely apologetic about this action taken by some of its members and apparently had no foreknowledge of it. Still, the damage is done and not to just the Nazca lines. Now, any time we talk about how climate change is damaging the environment we will have to defend climate science against this criminal act.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Are Republican's Coming Around on Climate Change?

Can the Republicans really be changing their ways? Even just a little?

Last month, Senator John Thune, R-SD, stated,
“Well, look, climate change is occurring, it’s always occurring, Chris,” he said on Fox News Sunday, addressing the host, Chris Wallace. “There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?”
Can we hear that again? - "There are a number of factors that contribute to that (climate change), including human activity." (Emphasis added.) I wonder if he got a phone call from the Heartland Institute the next day threatening to cut off their donations.

But, it doesn't stop there. Congress Chris, R-NY announced he intends to introduce a resolution acknowledging the role human emissions play in climate change.
“My district has been hit with three 500-year floods in the last several years, so either you believe that we had a one in over 100 million probability that occurred, or you believe as I do that there’s a new normal, and we have changing weather patterns, and we have climate change. This is the science,” Gibson reportedly told his audience."
 Wow! So refreshing. It is certainly a start and it's easy to think this might be the start of something good. But, let's not forget, these are the same people that decided to ignore their own scientists. Other historical evidence is not good, either.

Let's keep an eye on this and see what happens.


California Drought

As we (hopefully!) know, California has been suffering through a record-breaking drought these last few years. Recent studies have indicated that this has been the worst California drought in as much as 1200 years. Now, there is some relief coming. California has been hit with some rain in recent weeks and is now getting more. In fact, there is an atmospheric river in place that promises to bring quite a bit of precipitation. Rain would be great, snow would be even better.

If you are not familiar with the term, an atmospheric river (AR) is a narrow band of atmospheric moisture and they are responsible for the majority of moisture movement outside of the tropics. They form in the lower atmosphere and can move with wind currents for thousands of miles, lasting many days. When they strike obstacles, such as mountain ranges, the uplift causes the moisture to condense and precipitate out. That is why they cause so much precipitation in California - they travel in from the Pacific and strike the Sierra Nevada mountains. Take a look at this graphic showing the amount of precipitable water in the atmosphere and you can clearly see the atmospheric river heading into California.


Source: CCI Reanalyzer

Note how the AR passes over Hawaii, hence the nickname "Pineapple Express." Also, notice how much more moisture there is in the tropics. You can also see how the AR ends on the West Coast and doesn't move inland very much. West of the mountains will get rain, but the areas east of the mountains will remain dry. While some rain is good, ARs are capable of bringing catastrophic amounts. An AR in 1861-2 brought 43 straight days of rain to the West Coast and turned the interior valleys into lakes, causing massive amounts of damage and killing thousands.

Is this the end of the drought? We can hope so, but we'll have to wait and see to be sure. Hopefully, we won't see anything like the AR of 1861.

So, now the question is, is the drought a naturally-occurring event or because of climate change? The answer, as is typically the case, a mixture of both. California has had droughts in the past and will continue to have them in the future. This drought may have been a naturally occurring event. There are reports going both ways. But, the one thing that is consistent is that global warming certainly made this drought much worse than ones in the past. What studies have shown is that there have been droughts in the past that had even less rain than this current one, but they were all much cooler. This current drought has been a 'hot drought' and California has experienced record high temperatures (remember that the next time someone tells you East Coast temperatures mean the planet is cooling) at the same time the rain failed.

In short, the drought was caused by what has become known as the 'ridiculously resilient ridge.' This ridge caused the wind currents to go north, parallel to the West Coast, preventing moisture from reaching the coastal regions. The currents went up into Alaska and Canada before turning south and plunging into Mid-America, leading to our cooler than average winters in the east these last couple of years. There is debate if this ridge was natural or caused by climate change. But, drought was exacerbated by the high temperatures and the higher temperatures were most certainly caused by global warming.

What that means is that we can expect the naturally occurring drought cycle going forward, but they will look more and more like this last one. Even if this AR brings relief, California needs to make plans because this is going to happen again.




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Australia and Climate Change - Updated

When Julia Gillard was campaigning for Prime Minister of Australia in 2010, she stated no carbon tax would be imposed under a government she led, but did exactly that with the Clean Energy Bill of 2011. This led to her being met with placards that read 'Ju-liar' and, through a series of Parliament events, resigned her position as Prime Minister in June, 2013. Tony Abbott hammered her on the broken promise. His conservative coalition won the September 2013 election and Abbott introduced a bill on his first day as Prime Minister to repeal the carbon tax. The bill passed in July 2014, much to the fanfare of climate change deniers and fossil fuel billionaires everywhere.

Happily ever after? Not hardly.

While campaigning, Abbott vowed he would not cut popular programs. Now that he is in charge, he has cut funding for schools and hospitals by A$80 billion over the next decade. As can be expected from someone that is demonstrating his contempt for science, the science budget is being hit with cuts of A$420 million. The national science budget amount to just .6% of the national GDP. His reasoning for cutting their budgets? To cut the budget deficit.

But, wait a minute, one of the reasons Australia has a budget deficit is because Abbott cut the carbon tax and then replaced it with a tax-payer funded program to pay polluters to cut back on carbon emissions. Instead of making the polluters pay to clean-up their own mess, Abbott decided the taxpayers had to pay for it. Instead of having an income stream, he now has an expense. Who benefits and you doesn't? Well, the polluters benefit because they are now being paid by the government to pollute. The more they pollute, the more they get to clean it up. The taxpayers lost because their tax dollars are being used to pay Abbott's corporate sponsors and they have to live in the pollution.

Now, the government is reeling and Abbott is getting back what he dished out - his integrity is being questioned and he is being accused of lying about his campaign promises. Ms. Gillard probably thinks it all sounds familiar. The popularity of Abbott's coalition government has plummeted and he is being met with placards that read, "Abbott-Liar." On November 29, Abbott's coalition lost in the state election in Victoria.

Abbott is finding himself isolated in the international community, as well. As the U.S. and China negotiate limits to greenhouse gas emissions, Abbott is busy paying polluters to clean-up their own mess. Abbott tried, and failed, to keep climate change off the G-20 agenda. The man that said the "climate change argument is absolute crap," is now finding himself in the minority on the issue.

It just keeps getting worse for them. The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop has been getting hammered from all sides on the issue. First, being embarrassed at the Australia-hosted G-20 conference on the subject, and now at the climate change conference in Lima, Peru.

So, Australians decided to elect a guy that is beholden to the fossil fuel industry, and now they aren't happy when they find out he will take care of industry instead of the citizens. I feel like saying this is a case of voter beware, except for the fact that we pretty much did the same thing in this country when we gave the Republicans full control of Congress last month. That is likely to be something we will regret, so I can't wag a finger at Australia.

UPDATE (12/10/2014): Did Australia cave in to international pressure? After saying all along that Australia would not contribute to the UN's global green fund, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has now announced Australia will pledge A$200 million to the fund to help third-world countries deal with climate change. Is this the start of a change in policy? We'll have to wait and see. 






Louisiana Candidate for Congress Self Destructs

I am frequently accused of being a liberal-progressive because I stand by the science of climate change. Not only is that wildly false, it is a prime example of how polarized the debate has become. People are making assumptions on my political views with nothing to support their conclusion other than their desire for it to be true. Much like their conclusions on climate science to begin with. Who needs facts when you have a preconceived conclusion? I don't really care to discuss my political beliefs, but I will state that I am a very committed independent and I always have been. I have never belonged to any political party and I probably never will. I believe very strongly both the Democrats and the Republicans are dominated by extremists. I view the Democrats to be the party that has rejected logic while the Republicans have rejected science. Just when I think I have heard some representative from one party say something that is so stupid it can't be beat, someone from the other party will open their mouth and prove me wrong. Does anyone really wonder why we have so little trust in our elected officials?

So, I have been asked to review a statement made by Lenar Whitney, a Republican candidate for Congress in the Louisiana 6th Congressional District this past year. This statement has already been panned pretty thoroughly with PolitiFact.com rating her statement as 'Pants on Fire', but I will add my two cents worth - and I am overpaying for this whopper. You can see her statement here. The good news is she finished a distant fifth in the election last month with only 7.41% of the vote (19, 151 votes). The bad news is that means there were 19,150 voters who supported this nut case (after allowing her to vote for herself).

Let's review her statements.

She didn't waste any time getting out of the starting gate when she opened her statement that she was attacked by 'liberals and lame-stream media' for saying global warming was a hoax. Again, we see the tendency to assume what someone's political stand is based on their understanding of science and to denigrate them for that understanding. How does she know everyone that objected to her statement is a liberal or in the 'lame-stream media'? She doesn't, but it looks good to her supporters to attack anyone that disagrees with her. This is a very common tactic in the denier arsenal. When you can't refute the science, attack the people that support it.

Then, she uses a quote by George Orwell to make it sound as if she is being noble and standing up to organized deceit. Sorry, Ms. Whitney, the reason people objected to your statement is because it was unsupported by any form of science.

After that, she goes on a diatribe about how global warming is 'perhaps the greatest deception in the history of mankind.' Wow! Let's face it, there have been some pretty big deceptions over the years. The deception of the climate change deniers does not equate to that level, no matter how much deception the fossil fuel industry is selling. Oh, wait. That wasn't what she meant. But, it should have been.

Her next whopper occurs when she states any 10-year old can prove man made global warming is not real by simply using a thermometer. If it is that simple, why doesn't she do it? She is putting her lack of scientific understanding on display here. First, that 10-year old would have to go all over the planet, including the polar regions, the open oceans and all of the wilderness areas to collect that data. Then, that 10-year old would have to do it for decades on end. It isn't the temperature that is the problem, per se. It is the change in the temperature that we are concerned with.

On that point, she claims the planet has gotten colder each year since the release of the movie An Inconvenient Truth (have you ever noticed the way these people froth at the mouth with the mention of Al Gore or this movie while being unable to refute the science?). Let's look at the record and compare it to her claims. If we look only at the surface temperature we see that the 1980s where the hottest decade ever measured. Every year of the 1990s was hotter than the 1980s average, making the 1990s the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 2000s was hotter than the average of the 1990s, making the 2000s the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 2010s has been hotter than the average of the 2000s, making the 2010s the hottest decade ever recorded. So far. By the way, 2014 is already the hottest single year ever measured. So much for the planet getting colder every year for the last 10 years.

But, that is only the surface temperature. What about if we include the ocean temperature? Take a look here. Yikes. The surface temperature rise has slowed down (the so-called 'pause') but not stopped. Include the ocean temperature and we can see global warming is continuing with a vengeance.

Her next bit of proof to support her claim? She stated that in the Obama administration 'down is up, 2 plus 2 equals five and ignorance is strength.' Where is the science and data here? There is none. Once again, when you have no science to support your claims, attack.

More inaccuracies. 'Last summer, Antarctica reached the coldest temperature in recorded history.' No, that is not a true statement. One single point had the coldest temperature ever recorded, but that does not reflect the temperature for the entire continent. In fact, the significance of the measurement is that it was done using satellites in regions where we have previously been unable to collect data. This is not evidence to support either side of the debate and it shows a lack of understanding on her part to try and make it so.

"There is record sheet ice and 60% rise in ice in the Arctic sea." By sheet ice, I am assuming she means the land ice, specifically the Greenland Ice Sheet. Sorry, Ms. Whitney, the only record it has set is for the record ice melt. And, as for that '60% rise' in sea ice, this is a wonderful example of cherry picking that the deniers keep insisting on. It is so bad that it has to be concluded they are doing it for the purpose of deception. The sea ice extent in 2012 shrank to an alarmingly low level. It was expected to rebound simply because the level was so low, and it did. The 2013, level was about 60% higher than the level in 2012, but it was also more than 40% lower than the level in 1980. They continue to forget to mention that last little bit. Oh, by the way, it was lower this past fall.

Moving on. "Polar bears have been forced out of their habitat because of over population." Sorry, polar bear numbers are down.

She claims experts agree that storms have decreased, contrary to claims made by climate scientists. Once again, she's wrong.

Then, she call climate science a 'scam' and accuses the 'lap dog media' of sweeping it under the rug. Her proof? She pulls out the East Anglia email hack, popularly known as ClimateGate as her proof. She ignores the fact that the scientists were cleared of all claims made by deniers by several independent panels and it was shown the scientists were not only quoted out of context, but some of the emails were actually rewritten by the hackers to change their intent. She would have known that if she had bothered doing her homework. Read about it here. Or, here. Or, any number of other sources. The evidence is clear, the claims by the deniers are not valid and not based on the facts. Why didn't she know that? If she wants to be a member of Congress, you would have thought she would do a better job of learning the facts.

Her next diatribe is to go on a great praise of the virtues of burning fossil fuels and what a wonderful thing it has been for America. The false argument she makes here is the unstated claim that the American dream can only be achieved by burning fossil fuels and there is no other way to have the modern amenities we enjoy. Obviously, this is entirely false and it makes me believe she received political donations from organizations associated with the fossil fuel industry.

She spends the rest of the video making equally senseless claims about the political situation oveseas and here at home - all very inflammatory and all without any supporting evidence.

All in all, Ms.Whitney helped prove my point that political parties are dominated by extremists and the Republican party is the party that rejects science. Her statement is so blatantly stupid that it makes me sad to think there were over 19,000 people in her district that thought she should go to Congress. Imagine someone in Congress doing such a poor job on the background checks before voting on a bill. Well, actually, you don't have to imagine that because that is the sad truth of what is going on right now. How about the "I'm not a scientist, but...." line some of them have been using? What they are saying is, "I'm not a scientists, but that won't stop me from proving what a jackass I am."

So, a Republican has shown just how incredibly stupid she is. Would any Democrat like to match the bar?









Monday, December 8, 2014

Climate Change Impacts New England Economy

Here in Texas, hunting and fishing is big business, as is wildlife watching. Texas is one of the premier locations in the entire country for these outdoor activities. People come here to see everything from butterflies to birds to mountain lions and javelinas. Taxes on hunting and fishing gear pay for many of the natural programs we have, such as the state parks, recreational areas and wildlife areas. Tourism dollars are huge. I live in the heart of deer hunting country and the economic impact of the hunters coming out here is enormous. Many of the businesses would have a hard time surviving without the money hunters spend. And, since Texas has very little public land, hunting is done primarily on private land by purchasing hunting leases from land owners. This income for the land owners can make the difference between paying their taxes and not. According to a study by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,

In 2006, 6.0 million residents and non-residents participated in some form of fish and wildlife-related recreation in Texas. These anglers, hunters and wildlife viewers spent $8.91 billion in retail sales ($8.24 billion by residents and $671 million by nonresidents), creating $4.67 billion in salaries and wages, and supporting 139,404 jobs. The total economic effect (multiplier effect) from fish and wildlife-related recreation was estimated at $15.8 billion.
The state received nearly $890 million in tax revenue that year. That comes out to about $34 for every single person in the state. That figure does not include the tax revenue the state received from sales on ordinary items hunters purchase while on the road.

Obviously, outdoor activities is huge business and everyone in the state benefits from them.

Now, the outdoor activities in New Hampshire and Vermont do not approach the levels in Texas, but neither does the population. It is fair to say the people of those states enjoy the benefits of outdoorsmen much the way the people of Texas do. Possibly even more, on a per capita basis.

So, what's the point?

The point is the moose population in New England is crashing. The size of the population is down as much as 40% over the last three years. As a consequence, Vermont is issuing 335 moose hunting permits when it issued 1200 just a few years ago. New Hampshire is issuing 125 permits, down from 675. Along with the decrease in revenue from the sale of those permits comes the corresponding decrease in business the hunters bring along. These figures do not include the economic damage done when wildlife viewers stop frequenting the area. In other words, the people of Vermont and New Hampshire are losing the economic benefit of having moose in their states.

What caused the decline? It is related to a phenomenon known as the 'ghost moose.' A moose has a protective layer of brown hair that gives it the familiar appearance. But, the stubs of this hair is white. The moose in the area have been rubbing the hair off, leaving only the white stubs visible and turning the normally brown moose into the white 'ghost moose.'

ghost moose
Source: Don Meredith: Death in the Woods

The story behind why they do this is pretty horrific to imagine - the winter tick. Thousands of them. Sometimes as many as 50,000 ticks on a single moose. They are rubbing their hair off in an attempt to remove the tick infestations. The infestations can get so bad the moose is literally drained to death by the blood suckers, which can each grow the size of a grape. Imagine a moose covered with 50,000 grape-sized ticks.

Winter ticks are not new. They are not even new to the moose's range. What is new is the warmer winters that are allowing the ticks to multiply in such devastating numbers. The winters in New Hampshire are four degrees warmer than in the 1970s. The falls last longer and the spring comes earlier and there is less snow on the ground. The warm weather is conducive to the ticks breeding. Also, the lack of snow makes it easier for them to survive because birds will eat them when they spot them on the snow. Warmer weather and less snow means more ticks survive to breed and make the population ever larger next year. That will allow them to suck even more moose to death next year.

So, as the moose population declines (and New England is not the only place this is happening) we can expect the deniers to say, "So what? The world will be fine without a few moose." I think those people in New England that benefit from having the moose in their states will disagree. When someone tells them of how climate change is good for them, maybe they'll point out how much income they and their states have lost because of it. And, that is just the from the decline of the moose.

Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry will continue to tell you it isn't a problem.




Friday, December 5, 2014

Way Past the Deadline Claims

Dear Mr. Keeting:
I accept your challenge.
Under the rules of the Scientific Method, if the empirical evidence doesn't match hypothetical projections, the hypothesis can be deemed disconfirmed.

RESPONSE: This is a fatal misunderstanding of the scientific method. Bad start. Review this submission here for one example of someone that has already made this claim. Essentially, climate change is not a single theory. It is a umbrella term that covers at least hundreds, maybe thousands, of different theories coming together. Each of these theories is independently tested and verified. If you wish to prove AGW is not valid this way, you would have to independently invalidate each of those theories.


1) CAGW's global temp projections/Water Vapor
CAGW "best guess" Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) is 3.0C~4.5C by 2100. This projection was calculated by CO2's forcing effect 5.35 x ln(560ppm/280ppm)= 3.7 watts, which, using the Stefan-Boltzman constant, will generate NET global warming of 1.2C by 2100.
The CAGW hypothesis then projects that 1.2C of GROSS CO2 induced warming will generate a "runaway feedback loop" involving ever increasing atmospheric water vapor concentrations, which will multiply this GROSS 1.2C of GROSS potential CO2 warming by a factor of 3 to 4 TIMES, which yields CAGW's NET best guess estimate of 3.0C~4.5C by 2100.
Atmospheric water vapor concentrations are NOT rapidly increasing as the CAGW hypothesis projected as can be seen by NOAA's relative humidity data, NOAA's specific humidity data and NASA's Water Vapor Project (NVAP):


http://nvap.stcnet.com
From the above empirical data there is absolutely no signal showing an exponential growth of water vapor concentrations.

RESPONSE: I'm not sure what your point is here. As the temperature goes up, the air can hold more water vapor. As a result, the relative humidity will remain about the same even as the total amount of water vapor in the air increases. Yes, the total amount of water vapor has been increasing.
 

2) 30-yr PDO cycles and Global warming correlation
There is some sinusoidal variation of water vapor concentrations, but this is better correlated to 30-yr PDO warm/cool cycles than to the steady rise in CO2 levels. During 30-yr PDO warm cycles, global temps rise and water vapor concentrations rise due to increased ocean evaporation and during 30-yr PDO cool cycles, water vapor concentrations tend to fall due to slightly reduced ocean evaporation:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/pl...
You will also notice from the above PDO cycle graph that there is 100.00% correlation between the 30-yr PDO cycles and global temp trends, i.e when the PDO is in a 30-yr warm cycle, global temps rise, and during 30-yr PDO cool cycles, global temp trends fall.
BTW, a 30-yr PDO cool cycle started in 2005 and look what's happened to global temp trends (the last purple segment of the above graph) i.e. falling global temp trends as has happened during every 30-yr PDO cool cycle since 1850.... CAGW is screwed.
During a typical 30-yr PDO cool cycle, global temps fall at around -0.05C/decade, which means that by 2035, RSS global temp anomaly will be around 0.00C, and CAGW projections for 2035 will be around +1.2C...

RESPONSE: This is a well-debunked claim. There is a nice correlation between the PDO and the climate, but not 100% and only before modern times. In fact, this correlation is good proof that the current warming is not due to the PDO because that correlation has been busted in recent decades. You stated it yourself, the PDO went negative in 2005 and look what has happened to global temps. The SST has continued to rise. The 1980s were the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 1990s was hotter than that average, making the 1990s the hottest decade every recorded. Every year of the 2000s was hotter than that average, making the 2000s the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year of the 2010s has been hotter than than that average, making the 2010s the hottest decade every recorded. 2014 is already the hottest year ever measured and it isn't even over yet. For more, read this article here. So, the PDO turned negative, but the planet has continued to get increasingly warmer. Your premise is shown to be false. The fatal flaw in your logic here is supposing AGW means there are no more natural cycles, therefore, the presence of natural cycles proves AGW is not real. The existence of manmade changes to the climate in now way means natural cycles have stopped. The presence of natural cycles in no way demonstrates manmade climate change is not real.
 

From 2035~2100, in order for the CAGW hypothesis to be confirmed, CO2 forcing would have to generate 0.72C/decade of warming for the remaining 65 straight years to 2100, which is impossible.
Just from today, this is what global trends would have to be starting from TOMORROW to meet CAGW's upper-end "best guess" estimate of 4.5C of CO2 induced warming by 2100:

That is impossible as it already requires a trend of 0.50C/decade starting from tomorrow to reach 4.5C by 2100. The temperature trend from July 1996~ October 2014 has been -0.002C/decade for RSS.
3) CAGW model projections vs. reality
There hasn't been a global warming trend for 18 years and 4 months (RSS data). Accordingly, 73 out of 73 CAGW CMIP5 model projections are now ALL above CAGW projections, which is a 100.00% failure rate:

As explained earlier, it only gets worse from here because of the PDO cool cycle we're in now.
This complete model failure is already sufficient to disconfirm the CAGW hypothesis as NO model projected flat global temp trends exceeding 15 years. It has already been 18 years and 3 months... Reality already is outside the 95% confidence intervals of the CAGW model projections, which is sufficient for the CAGW hypothesis to be disconfirmed.

RESPONSE: I was expecting you to pull out something from Roy Spencer and you did not fail. This graph above has been shown to be fraudulent and purposefully doctored to provide false results. In fact, your entire argument about models is fatally flawed and very typical. Read my comments here.


4) Polar Ice Extents
The CAGW hypothesis projected that rising CO2 levels would cause BOTH polar ice extents to shrink. This has NOT happened. The Arctic Ice Extent did start to shrink since 1994 when the 30-yr AMO warm cycle started, but since the AMO peaked in 2007, the Arctic Ice Extent has slowly stared to recover. The 2012 Arctic Ice Extent record was an outlier caused by one of the longest and strongest Arctic cyclones in 50 years that occurred in August 2012. Prior to the August 2012 cyclone, Arctic Ice Extents were 2 million KM^2 larger than 2007 levels. Moreover, 2013 was the largest year-on-year Arctic Ice Extent recovery ever recorded, which shows that 2012 was an outlier year:

Antarctic Ice Extents have actually GROWN over the past 35 years, even though all CAGW models predicted it should have been shrinking... As a matter of fact, earlier this year, the Antarctic shattered the 35-yr Antarctic Ice Extent record:

This is just another example of the CAGW models being useless and unskillful, which means the CAGW hypothesis is useless and unskillful and doesn't reflect reality.

RESPONSE: Claims about the ice extent are false for both poles. The Arctic sea ice extent is most definitely not recovering. The sea ice extent increased in 2013, but that was relative to an incredibly bad year of ice extent in 2012. The level in 2014 was lower. The trend in the ice extent is clear. As for the ice extent in Antarctica, the continent is losing massive amounts of ice every year. This melted fresh water is diluting the sea water around the continent, lowering the freezing point. The projections of ice melting at both poles is actually turning out to be lower than the reality. You also forgot to mention Greenland. This claim has been made many times and is still false, no matter how many times someone makes it.


5) Sea Level Rise
The CAGW hypothesis projected a rapid rise in sea levels, but this is not happening. According to the peer-reviewed paper Jevrejeva et al 2014,
The rate of sea level rise in the early 20th century was only 2.03 mm/yr from 1904–1953 and actually fell to 1.45 mm/yr from 1954 to 2003..
So, from 1904 to 1953 , CO2 levels increased by about 15 ppm, and sea levels rose by 2.03 mm/yr, while from 1953 to 2003 , CO2levels increased by around 75 ppm, and sea level rose by 1.45 mm/yr. There is no correlation to sea level rise to CO2 level rise....
Accordingly, we can conclude that sea level rise has actually decelerated by 40% during the same span of years that CO2 levels were increasing by 500% (15 ppm to 75 ppm), an inverse correlation.
This establishes a strong lack of correlation between CO2 forcing and sea level rise acceleration.
This is further enforced by the new paper Jevrejeva et al 2014, which shows a mere 7 INCHES of SLR over the past 200 years...
As an excuse to explain away the total lack of a statistically significant global warming trend for the past 15~18 years (depending on temp database used), CAGW advocates suggest that the "missing heat" was buried in the oceans. However, during the past 10 years, sea level rise has actually FALLEN 30% (Cazenave et al 2014), which should NOT be possible given the thermal expansion which should have occurred if all this "missing heat" was buried in the oceans. Again, CAGW is busted.

RESPONSE: Man, you really do VERY poor homework. NOAA is pretty clear about sea level rise.

5) Severe Weather incidence projections vs. reality
The CAGW hypothesis postulated that global severe weather should be increasing in both frequency and severity as CO2 levels rise, however, the empirical evidence does not support this.
Even IPCC's 2013 AR5 report admits that their previous projections of increased severe weather incidence have been incorrect as shown in the following direct quotes from AR5:
“There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change”
“The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados”
“The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”
“There is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century”
“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin”
“In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”
“In summary, there is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale severe weather phenomena such as hail and thunderstorms because of historical data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systems”
“In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated. However, it is likely that the frequency and intensity of drought has increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and decreased in central North America and north-west Australia since 1950”
“In summary, confidence in large scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones since 1900 is low”
Even the IPCC admits there hasn't been any increasing trends in severe weather, and yet CAGW advocates still insist there are. This is a falsehood.

RESPONSE: Once again, already debunked. Or, here. That's for starters. Do some homework.


6) The 1980~1998 global warming trend is NOT unprecedented.
The CAGW hypothesis claims the short 18-yr global warming trend from 1980~1998 was unprecedented and was primarily due to CO2 forcing. This is false.
The HADCRUT4 1980~1998 warming trend was 0.14C/decade, which is even less than the 1910~1928 warming trend which was 0.17C/decade. The 1910~1928 global warming trend could not have been caused by CO2 forcing because CO2 levels hardly increased at all in the early 20th century. Even the IPCC admits that CO2 levels were only sufficient to cause any significant warming from 1950...
On a longer scale, 1980~2014, the global warming trend is 0.17C/decade compared to 1910~1944 was 0.14C/decade, which is virtually identical. Moreover, there hasn't been a RSS global warming trend since July 1996 and no HADCRUT4 global warming trend since the January 2001 (-0.001C/decade).
I'll grant you that the difference between these two 34-yr trends may be attributable to CO2 forcing, but it's only a difference of 0.03C/decade and no where NEAR the approximate 0.30C/decade trend of CO2 forcing that is required to confirm the CAGW hypothesis.
The CAGW hypothesis proposes that CO2 levels were only high enough to cause warming from 1950. If so, then why were global temps flat from 1950~1980 (-0.003C/decade). Why indeed.
So, I've shown that the CAGW hypothesis was wrong in its projections of: global warming trends, polar ice extents, severe weather incidence/severity and sea level rise.
There is virtually NO direct correlation nor a strong signal showing catastrophic global warming is possible per doubling of CO2. The empirical evidence and physics show that CO2's forcing effect is somewhere between 0.03C~0.12C/decade, with the most likely value around 0.06C/decade, which is NOTHING to worry about. This tiny amount of CO2 forcing is consistent with Lindzen Choi et al, Lewis and Curry et al, Harde et al, Otto et al, among many other peer-reviewed papers.

RESPONSE: Sorry, this amount of heating is such a short period of time is unprecedented, as well as the CO2 levels. They have not been witnessed within at least the last 800,000 years. Using Lindzen as a reference is a mistake. Everything he has ever claimed as been debunked.

You will of course call all of this data "cherry picking" as you've already indicated in previous posts, but we both know you owe me $30,000 and that CAGW is a disconfirmed hypothesis.

CONCLUSION: In summary, you failed to provide even one single bit of valid scientific evidence to prove AGW. Bad show. Sorry, you did nothing to prove global warming is not real.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Commenter Highlights Error in Thought by Deniers

Sure, I see the problem now. You're experiencing a credibility drain. This is what happens when you yoke yourself to a political movement in its infancy. The movement makes white hat claims, hucks in a hockey stick graph, pumps a couple hundred thousand data points into a model and blammo, you all save the world. But because you don't understand the politics behind the science, you don't get why those of us who have done our homework look at you sideways. To us you look like a schill; all over the talking points, ready to pivot when the predictions fail. You have likely never read the "Limits to Growth" its where we first see the hockey stick graph (PS...its used to describe a pending ice age). You likely go cross-eyed when someone asks you about the Hegelian Dialectic. You think up is down, if I'm not with you I'm against you, you love Rachel Maddow. Does that sum it up? You're a parrot. And you don't want to consider positive feedback or that a year of heat cannot be used to determine climate, or that your hero Am Gore groomed you personally to help him makes billions on cap and trade. You're just a good guy feeling very superior, but you're not a scientist and you never intended to yeild a cash prize. Which if you had would clearly go to Dan Pangburn. You want the moral high ground but you haven't earned it; you are derisive and dismissive when you aught to be listening. Here's what you're not understanding, we all believe that climate changes, we all believe carbon dioxide levels are rising starkly, and we all like green things. We know that humanity is driving atmospheric carbon levels to "scary levels". My worst fear is waking up to a lush garden and juicier fruit trees. Your worst fear is that the ocean levels will rise 20 feet and that we're all doomed because nothing will survive the changes we've inflicted on the planet. And if you weren't talking so stupidly about carbon dioxide, and if you didn't insist on the warming...you would have me. But you don't have me, because you're a schill. The oceans are not going to boil and we have real pollution issues to deal with. Plus as a guy who's planted two million trees, I'm certainly not going to imagine that you somehow care more than I do about the science of sustainability or conservation. You cherry pick your data, which you like to believe we do. You are actually intollerent to the diametrical and like I said, your challenge is a fraud. Its click bait. Bravo

Let's start with the only thing said here that has any merit, "You're just a good guy feeling very superior, but you're not a scientist and you never intended to yeild a cash prize. Which if you had would clearly go to Dan Pangburn."

Here is the real meat of this comment, Mr. Genius is stating that, in fact, someone submitted a valid proof that AGW is not real and I reneged on the deal. But, what is missing in Mr. Genius' comment is just how the submission is valid and/or my comments on it were invalid. See how that works? He makes it look as though his claim has validity, but he never provides any kind of proof to support his claim or to invalidate mine. I go through the hard work of showing why the claims are invalid and he does nothing and will pretend his stand is superior.

I have received a few comments like Mr. Genius' and my response is the same: Show me how the submission is valid and my comments are not. I am sure it comes as no surprise to learn that I am still waiting. I am sure Mr. Genius will be no exception. It sounds good to make the claim, but let's see him do the hard work and prove it. The reality is - he wont because he can't.

That is a perfect example of nearly everything said by the denier industry ('Warming has stopped.' 'Warming is good for us.' 'Models don't work.' 'Climate scientists are just alarmists.") They make claims they won't substantiate because they cant' and the expect everyone to simply believe them. Anyone that questions them is somehow an inferior person. Well, if it makes me inferior to demand proof of your statements, then I guess that makes me inferior because I will always demand the proof. It would make it more interesting if any of you guys could ever produce any. This is why I say the only way someone can deny climate change is to deny science. 

Let me complete my comments on these two sentences before moving on.

Yes, I am a scientist (Ph.D. in physics), but that really is irrelevant. I have done the hard work of proving my point in the my book (Undeniable! Dialogues on Global Warming) so the challenge was never about me. What I did would be equally valid if I was not a scientist. It was all about people like Mr. Genius that make claims and can't back them up. I gave them a chance to do just that and no one was able to come even close.

Another important part of his claim is the one where he claims I never intended to yield a cash prize. Just like all of the other deniers that have made this claim, this is not only false, but they can't produce anything to support that claim. That is how they operate - accusations without any evidence. Of course, if they needed evidence to believe something they wouldn't be deniers. Yes, in fact, I fully intended to award the prize to anyone that could prove manmade global warming isn't real. The problem, Mr. Genius, is that no could do it and I knew that going in. Simply said, not a single person provided anything new and original that had anything even resembling science to it (there were a few original claims that made me think the submitter was on drugs - or should be). Everything submitted has already been examined and found to be invalid. I would have loved for someone to prove AGW is not real. I would love to learn that we are not really heading down this path we are on. And, I would have gladly paid if someone could have removed that concern from my mind. But, no one came anywhere even close and the majority of submissions were so bad that even if AGW wasn't real (and it is), they still would not be valid. Yes, they really were just that bad.

As for Dan Pangburn, he did not, to the best of my knowledge, make a submission. I reviewed all submissions and his name was not on any of them (there are several submitted as 'Anonymous' and he could be one of those). Since he didn't make a submission, I don't owe him anything (is that logic really that hard to follow?). I have seen his name on numerous comments and they are all scientifically invalid, so it would be easy to conclude that he would not win, even if he had submitted.

Another comment by Mr. Genius was, "But because you don't understand the politics behind the science, you don't get why those of us who have done our homework look at you sideways." This really demonstrates the lack of understanding by deniers. Science is not politics. It is not an opinion. It is not a 'party' issue. It is not something you believe in (do you believe in gravity?) It is the understanding of how the universe works and the universe will do what it does with, or without, any understanding or action taken on our part. Are politics involved? Certainly. Just look at how the Republican party is making a major issue out of denying any science they don't like. But, no amount of politics will change the way the universe works and you should be pretty ashamed of yourself for suggesting otherwise. As for doing your 'homework,' you clearly have not and your comment shows that. That is why you look at us sideways (and, yes, we know why you do). That sideways look of yours is the look of ignorance and comes from denying science. If you would educate yourself that look would go away.

Most of Mr. Genius' comment is merely a diatribe, such as the comment, "your hero Am (sic) Gore groomed you personally to help him makes billions on cap and trade." For the record, I have never met Al Gore, he is not a hero of mine, I have never quoted him in any of my responses and he has never groomed me for anything. I wish I could take part in making billions (or even thousands) of dollars, but I'm afraid I'm not part of any such gambit. And, there we go with another example of the lack of logic that deniers constantly put on display. Where in the world did Mr. Genius come up with any of this?

 
He (just like the denier crowd everywhere) goes on to embarrassingly display his lack of knowledge, his ability to do homework, or to even think clearly by using $50 dollar words in an attempt to impress. There is a simple rule, the better you understand something the easier it is to explain it to people that don't understand. Mr. Genius displays his lack of understanding by pulling out terms like Hegelian Dialectic and The Limits to Growth. Why is that Mr. Genius? In case you are not familiar with the terms, a dialectic is a method of resolving arguments and is credited to the Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates. The Hegelian Dialectic is one form of a dialectic. Why didn't you just say so? You merely engaged in an attempt to look intelligent so that it would make you claims look intelligent. It didn't work. What is interesting is that I have actually used the dialectic approach with the challenge. And, Limits to Growth is a book from the early 1970s that basically found if we continue the way we were (in the early 70s) our society would eventually have to collapse under its own excess. This is very strange that Mr. Genius would quote it and makes me think he is the one that hasn't read it because the argument on climate change is practically straight out of the pages of that book. It is a perfect example of how bad things will happen if we don't change our ways.

And, I don't know who 'Rachel Maddow' is. I have never heard of her, so I cannot comment on if I 'love' her or not. Nice job of assuming something without having any evidence to support your belief. But that is what you (and other deniers) do, isn't it, Mr. Genius?

The last part of his comment continues to show the failure in logic on display by the denier crowd. He has gone through and found what he wants, and I don't mean just the comments that lead me to believe he thinks global warming is a good thing ("My worst fear is waking up to a lush garden and juicier fruit trees."), but also to his claims about what I think (or anyone else, for that matter). No, I do not believe the oceans will boil and that nothing will survive. I am not aware of anyone that is making any such claim. Once again, his lack of homework is a demonstration of why he is a denier. Things are going to change and they will not be for the good. But, it will not be the end of humanity. But, let me ask you something, Mr. Genius. What if I said 20% of humanity will die because of climate change? That still leaves 80%, so we are not talking about the end of humanity. But, wouldn't that be a calamity? What if you, or your loved ones, were in that 20%? Would you care then? But don't worry if that happens, because the rest of the 80% will continue, no matter how much their standard of living has been decreased. 

And, that, is why the logic of deniers fails. And, Mr. Genius has done a wonderful job of demonstrating just that.

One more comment, apparently I really do care more about the science of sustainability and conservation than you do. You convinced me of that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Carbon Dioxide Portrait

In case you haven't seen it, NASA researchers have developed an amazing high-resolution global portrait of carbon dioxide, showing how it travels around the planet over the time span of one year (January 1 - December 30, 2006). It is very fascinating and if you watch it multiple times certain things should stand out. The amount of CO2 decreases tremendously in the summer months and builds up in the winter months, no surprise there. But, the way it builds is stunning. And, to see most of the increase is in the Arctic region is very interesting. This correlates well with the observed disparity where we see the Arctic region warming faster than the rest of world. This brings up all sorts of thoughts, such as the effect this will have on weather in the future. One of the principle drivers in weather is a difference in temperature between one area and another. CO2 is not distributing evenly, meaning the planet is not heating evenly, and that means greater temperature differences. That can only mean we will see an increase in severe weather. And, of course, we already are. Can you say 'Buffalo, NY'?

Monday, November 24, 2014

One Datum Point Does Not Make a Globe

A reader made this comment yesterday:
Where I live last winter and this summer we had record lows. This fall we are having record lows. Same thing for friends south of me oh, also family and friends north of me. Hell even my family on the east coast says the same.
Comments like these, in fact, this kind of thinking, is an example of the false logic deniers employ all too frequently. The problem here is that they want to take their one perception and expand it to cover the entire planet. Yes, Buffalo received lots of snow, but so what? What has been going on in the rest of the world? The United States makes up less than 2% of the surface area of the planet. And, while the eastern part of the country is having a mild summer and autumn, other parts are having record heat. When we say 'global warming,' we mean the entire globe. Take a look here:

Source: Climate Reanalyzer
This is a temperature plot from last week as that cold air mass was moving in - the purple area. But, while you're at it, take a look at the West Coast - it is warmer than average. Then, take a look at Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. That massive bright red blob is where this cold air mass came from (it had to come from somewhere). Take a look at Greenland, Europe and North Africa. All of those regions are warmer than average. Then, take a look at the numbers on the bottom of the image. Those numbers are the average temperatures for the listed regions compared to the long range average. Every single region listed is experiencing above average temperatures.

That is just the land surface temperature. What is happening with the oceans? Well, take a look:

Source: Climate Reanalyzer

Yikes! Not good. And, again, take a look at the numbers on the bottom. Every ocean region listed is hotter than average.

Now, take a look at the hot water region off the west coast of North America. That is what is causing the drought in the west and the cool weather in the east in the U.S. This warm water is causing a high pressure ridge that has caused the jet stream to fold. This is directing precipitation systems to move northward before reaching the coast and is causing cool air to move southward through the middle of the continent.

And, what about those record lows? To keep our data straight, the National Climatic Data Center said October in the United States was three degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average and was the fourth warmest October on record.

Based on that, you could conclude that global warming is real, but we don't want to judge the whole planet on just one datum point.




Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Examples of Climate Change Cost

The climate change denial industry has morphed several times over the years and continues to do so. One of the versions that has appeared in recent years is the way they claim climate change is actually good for us. Of course, this is a preposterous claim and the only way they can make it is to, once again, deny any science or evidence they don't like. They will ignore the costs associated with climate change because it doesn't fit with their message.  They won't tell you about how climate change is resulting in higher utility bills, more expensive groceries, higher insurance rates, more damage due to weather extremes, more wildfires and the spread of diseases to new regions, not to mention many other effects that are already occurring. They won't bother to tell you about how the lower your income is, the more you will have to pay as a result of climate change. The only ones that are benefiting are the billionaires that are so busy spending money to convince everyone else that climate change is good. The fact is, it is good - for them. Just not the rest of us.

I have read some articles recently that highlighted these costs. One is a very amazing account of a kayak trip down a portion of the Colorado River recently revealed for the first time in over 30 years due to the ongoing drought in the Southwestern U.S. The writer of the article tells of how the Lake Powell reservoir is at 50% of capacity and this is revealing river channels and landforms that have been flooded since the early-1980s. He also talks of all of the businesses that have disappeared and of the cities that depend on the water from Lake Powell. I'm sure all of the people that lost their jobs due to this water shortage would have a problem with the claim that climate change is good for them. He also discusses the impact to agriculture and how it will mean higher food prices. (Make that check out to the billionaire of your choice.) The scientific evidence that the drought is linked to climate change is mounting almost daily. Even if there is some natural variability involved, it is clear that climate change is, at the least, making it more severe.

This article here is an interesting compilation of the worldwide costs. This is a table they presented, based on IPCC data. Take a look and find your region:
Source: Business Insider
So, next time someone tells you that climate change is good for you, ask them which billionaire they are talking about.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Polar Bear Numbers Decreasing

The polar bear, as we all know by now, has become the symbol of the argument over climate change. The bears were put on the threatened species list in 2008, despite the fact that their population was quite robust. The rationale for that decision is because the Arctic sea ice is decreasing and is at risk of disappearing completely during the summer months within a few decades. Since the bears spend most of their lives on the ice, this would constitute habitat loss for them and that would threaten their population due to their lack of hunting areas. This decision led to a firestorm of comments from the climate change crowd and even lawsuits. The argument has been clouded by the fact that additional counting methods have been introduced that seem to show the population is increasing.

Now, more data is coming in showing there is a lot of stress on the population. Before I continue, I am not going to say the polar bear is at risk of extinction anytime soon. Some of the 19 identified sub-populations are at risk, but not the species. There are approximately 25,000 polar bears in the Arctic, so the species is not at immediate risk.

Having said that, the trend of the polar bear population is becoming pretty clear - it is declining and we can expect even more decline in the future.

A scientific paper published in the Ecological Society of America journal Ecological Applications states the Beaufort Sea sub-population decreased by 40% between 2000 and 2010, from 1500 bears in 2001 to only 900 in 2010. Studies of all 19 sub-populations is not possible due to the remoteness of some of them and a lack of funding, but studies of 10 of the sub-populations has shown the population to be decreasing in four of them, stable in five of them and increasing in one. The population as a whole is decreasing.

The additional pressure on the population is highlighted by the situation this fall in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Churchill is a gathering place for one of the sub-populations in the fall as Hudson Bay begins to freeze over. They use this area as their shoving off point to go out and hunt seals and other high calorie food they need to survive the harsh winter. Except, this year there was no ice. About 800 polar bears gathered and found there was no way for them to get to their food supply. To see what this means, the size of this sub-population was about 1200 just 30 years ago. The population has dropped by one-third in only 30 years, even though there are new laws to protect them from hunting. There is legitimate fear this sub-population may disappear completely within as little as ten years.

As of today, Hudson Bay has still not frozen in the area of Churchill. Take a look at this map of the sea ice extent:
Source: Climate Change Institute

The light blue line shows the average sea ice extent for this date. Churchill is located about one-half of the way up the left side of the bay, right where there is a sharp jut-out and a little below the borderline that is shown. As you can see, this area is supposed to be iced-over by now, but it isn't. That is bad news for the bears waiting to go hunting.

Now, ask yourself, how would you like to be trapped in an area with 800 hungry polar bears? Do you think that if you were, you would come to the conclusion that climate change is not such a good idea?