Is the unusual weather we have been having a result of global warming?

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Offline Joe L. Ogan

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I believe the weather we have been having is unusual.  I would like to know if it is a result of Global warming.  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan
« Last Edit: 05/06/2011 02:02:57 by Geezer »

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Offline CZARCAR

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ocean is warmer & probly a causative factor. The debate is whether the warming is affected by man or part of a nature cycle

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Offline yor_on

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Yes.

And it will accelerate as I expect it. The worst threats isn't storms droughts tornadoes. To me it's the oceans acidity increasing, and it's ability to take up CO2 diminishing. The food fish we eat will disappear, as the reefs they use. The plankton are already diminished, with their demise around the corner as I see it. When that happens we have destroyed the oceans first food chain, and the effects that bear on all trusting in that food will come to haunt us as the ripples widen. When they are gone the process they make of taking up and disposing of CO2 will also disappear leaving a lot more CO2 in the ocean making its acidity accelerate. All living things 'live' on each other, the shoes you use, the food you eat, it all come from somewhere. Destroying the food chain we also destroy our children's  future.

This one is a little old, and it doesn't mention it all, but it's still interesting.
Oceans  Reflux.
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Offline CliffordK

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You need to first ask what weather patterns Joe is talking about, and perhaps where he is.

Such a knee-jerk reaction to blame everything on "Global Warming" and "CO2" is a disservice to climatology science, and the argument in general.

Great Britain and Europe had 100 year low temperatures last winter.  Perhaps you could argue that it was unseasonably mild and that one would have expected 200 year lows without global warming.  However, please be very careful blaming snow and ice on warm weather.

With 38 years of Records, Mt. Bachelor in Oregon now has hit the record for greatest seasonal snowfall of 665"
http://www.mtbachelor.com/winter/mountain/mountain_experience/season_recap.html

Again...  record snowfalls are generally not attributable to global warming.

The cold weather that much of Europe and North America had this last year has to do with Arctic Weather Patterns which essentially create weather patterns shifting warmer air northward (relatively speaking) and cold weather southward.

There was discussion of "Blocking Patterns" earlier which may be attributable to weak solar cycles (more on that later).  There was also a strong negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) last winter.

Average sea surface temperatures for the last 12 months have been very neutral.  Again, the question might be whether one would have expected them to be colder. 

http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html


Since mid-2010 we've been in an La Niña dominated ocean current pattern.
Note the big blue "arrow" west of Central America. 

It has actually weakened over the last couple of months, with now a warm area extending along the equator with a quite a warm area near Panama and Peru.

The La Niña weather patterns control much of the actual weather around the Pacific, and even into the Atlantic.

However, there are some other sea surface patterns too.  Note the blue area extending up along the Pacific Coast of North America and towards Alaska.  While somewhat related to the La Niña temperatures, it is considered a separate phenomenon called Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

We also seem to be in a warm Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) sea surface pattern which brings warm water to the North Atlantic, although it may have weakened somewhat in the last year or so.  The AMO was negative from the mid 60's to mid 90's, and shifted positive in the late 90's.  It could continue in the warm phase for another decade or two.

Anyway, in Oregon, we've had temperatures that have been below normal almost every day for the last 2 or 3 months, with daily average temperatures in the range of 5°F below average.  I'm certainly not blaming that on Global warming, but rather on La Niña and the cold PDO. 

This cold North Pacific along with the Arctic Weather Patterns and warm South Atlantic are creating some wicked temperature extremes across the USA and spawning many viscous tornadoes. 

When you look at the tornado statistics, initially it may appear as if we are having an increasing number of occurrences.  However, there is a large reporting bias with the weaker tornadoes, due to better detection equipment and better reporting, and perhaps increasing urbanization.  This is especially noted with the weakest of the tornadoes.

Looking at the stronger tornadoes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_F5_and_EF5_tornadoes

The tornado outbreaks this year really are too different from those clustered around 1974 and a few years before and after. 

Right now we are also in the early parts of a weak solar cycle (#24) which shares many characteristics of the weak solar cycle from about 1965 to 1976 (#20).

Whether it is related to the weak solar cycle, or the PDO/AMO/La Niña, the period from 1965 to 1976 also had 20 F5 Tornadoes, and set many temperature and snowfall records.

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Offline yor_on

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Clifford I've had this debate for five years now and I'm telling Joe exactly what I expect. That you, or for that sake me too, don't like it has nothing to do with what I expect. I wouldn't expect it if I didn't believe that I'm right here. The results of the Climate changing will be what I say. We are fast going for a tipping point, or possibly already past one. And I never liked lies.
==

Eh, lies as in telling the 'sanitized version'.
I'm through with that.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2011 12:14:34 by yor_on »
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Offline CZARCAR

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Anybody got a SUBSTANTIVE comment on Piers Corbyn?

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Offline yor_on

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Well, if you're not happy with him, you might want to try your local fortune teller.
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Offline Joe L. Ogan

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I am surprised to hear people in the scientific world expressing doubt about Global Warming.  I had thought that it was a generally accepted fact.  Are you guys really on the other side of the argument or are you just playing Devil's advocate?  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan

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Offline CliffordK

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Joe,

You asked:
I believe the weather we have been having is unusual.  I would like to know if it is a result of Global warming.  Thanks for comments.  Joe L. Ogan

As I mentioned, you did not specify what you thought was unusual.  I believe it is inappropriate to have a blanket statement that anything that seems "different" is part of Global Warming. 

There truly is no "normal" weather.  For example, one might calculate average May rain being 0.05" of rain a day.  However, that doesn't mean that it is expected to rain every day.

Should we blame the Japan Earthquake and the subsequent Fukushima meltdown on Global Warming?

Is there contention about the existence of some warming...  probably not.  But, some people do question the magnitude of the changes and the projected consequences.

As humans, we have changed our environment significantly, some for the better, some for the worse.  I believe it is a disservice to all to concentrate solely on a single aspect of these changes.

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Offline yor_on

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Don't know about that :)
But I got Joe's question alright. He's wondering about what I'm wondering about too. Nowadays I look at the weather expecting the unexpected every day :) We had some 'tromb's' (tornadoes) it seems today, very unusual, in the wrong part of the country, and at the wrong time of year too.

I expect such things to become more, freaky weather, with storms becoming stronger, not necessarily more of them, even though I myself think so, but definitely stronger. Cat 5 will become usual in the next decades. Snow where no snow been seen and droughts in other places. The ocean already moves faster due to the heat magazined in it.

So Joe's question is to the point as far as I see.
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Offline CZARCAR

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Rhodesia was breadbasket of Africa
Zimbabwe's excuse for failure/demise is that the climate changed & droughts resulted?
Rhodesia was what is now Zimbabwe

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Offline imatfaal

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I think some of the worst excesses of colonial rule coupled with some of worst excess of post-colonial rule also have something to do with that
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Offline graham.d

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We should distinguish between "weather" and "climate". Weather can be, locally, very variable on both a short and longer term so Clifford is right to ask for clarification as to the meaning of the original question. On the other hand it is fair to say there is wide agreement that the climate is changing on a worlwide scale and that a large majority now agree it is due to global warming.

There are still disagreements as to the causes of the global warming and it seems apparant that the original deniers of global warming have now just backed off (in the face of irrefutable evidence) to the position of "well OK, but it's not man-made". Whilst this is a perfectly respectable position to take, it does sound like they made a decision based on a political position and are unwilling to change their minds. It is interesting how popular opinion within countries follows the interests of their countries' main fiscal requirements. There are obvious cases but a good example is Canada where one might expect an ultra-green attitude from a country with such huge natural resources for clean power production. In fact Canada, and a majority of Canadians, are not supporters of the cause of global warming to be due to CO2. This view is more understandable when you realise that Canada is a huge exporter of oil, mainly to the USA (it is also the USA's biggest supplier). It is surprising how much national interests influences individuals' views on scientific evidence which few would understand. This certainly speaks volumes about how independently we all think about a whole variety of subjects.

Global warming affects local weather in ways that are not obvious. It does not mean that everywhere is warmer for example. If the Gulf Stream shuts down Northern Europe will end up with much colder winters for example. One thing that will happen is that weather patterns will generally have more energy in them, so there will be more extremes - stronger winds, heavier rain (when there is rain), more snow (where it snows) and it may be we are seeing some of this but it is possibly too early to be sure. Rising sea levels will be a huge problem but we won't see the consequences of this for some decades.
« Last Edit: 06/06/2011 11:44:53 by graham.d »

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Offline yor_on

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Beautifully put Graham :)
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Offline CliffordK

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While Canada and Russia risk huge climate changes, the countries also would likely reap benefits from global warming.  Thus, it is not just oil concerns in Canada, but they also have bitter cold winters.

However, again the question was ill defined. 

As far as weather.  The USA has been hammered by tornadoes this year.

Look at the NOAA graph and one sees a pattern of increasing tornadoes.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tornadoes/2010/13


You might be struck by the count jumping from about 200 in 1950 to over 1200 in 2010. a six-fold increase.

However, there are many articles indicating that more of the weak tornadoes are being detected now than had happened in the past.  I.E.  We now are close to the technology to detect every single dust devil.

If you only look at the stronger tornadoes (F3 to F5), one sees a much different picture.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/


One might actually be tempted to conclude that the warmer weather brings fewer or weaker tornadoes to the USA.

My guess is that prior to 1980, a lot of weak tornadoes went unreported, but some were reported as being stronger than they actually were, and the true trend is much flatter than presented in either graph.

The hurricane trends are a bit more difficult to define as the annual number are much lower, especially with the stronger Category 4&5 hurricanes.  So, much of the predictions of more stronger hurricanes is still in the realm of theory rather than observations.

As mentioned, Great Britain is somewhat unique in that it lies at the same latitude as much of Canada, as well as Russia, and even extends as far north as Southern Alaska.  Temperatures are more mild than would otherwise be expected due to the gulf stream.

A collapse of the gulf stream would be hard on Great Britain.  However, two years worth of harsh winters don't indicate an imminent gulf stream collapse.  It is believed that it has slowed in the past only as a response to a catastrophic dumping of freshwater into the Arctic Ocean, much faster than the oceans could mix the fresh/salt water, and much faster than we are seeing with gradual glacier melt.

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Offline Geezer

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However, there are many articles indicating that more of the weak tornadoes are being detected now than had happened in the past.  I.E.  We now are close to the technology to detect every single dust devil.


I think you could be right about that. About twenty years ago we experienced an event in NJ. There was a path of destruction no more than 100 yards wide that ran right across our town. It uprooted some huge trees and dumped them on a house on our street about four houses from ours, while there was hardly a leaf out of place at our place.

It was obviously the result of a small tornado, but I don't think it was ever declared as such. I think they might have said something along the lines of a "funnel cloud" had touched down.
There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force æther.

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Offline graham.d

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Clifford, the plots are interesting and it certainly would not be too surprising that some aspects of statistics are biassed by the limitations of precision of past equipment. I do have a problem with taking for granted statements from Dr Spencer though. Like I said before, it seems that this debate is based on political belief and then fitting the science to suit and he is a prime example, even though he is one of the more well qualified people in the ranks.

As believer in intelligent design he goes down a few notches in my estimation. He holds the view that global warming is not man made. He also says that variation in cloud cover provides negative feedback and that the IPCC models are wrong. He therefore denies that there is a significant problem with global warming at all, though he is slightly less dogmatic on this issue.

It seems another case of believing the climate scientist that supports one's own prejudices. It should be noted that the majority of climate scientists do not agree with Dr Spencer. Despite this, and because it has become (in the USA) a conservative vs liberal debate, the science has taken a back seat with just selected views being pulled out to support preformed opinion.

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Offline CliffordK

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Here is another tornado paper for you to review.

http://www.plainschase.com/secondary/MS%20Prop.pdf

The scale on the main chart is too low, but it is good to review.

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Offline graham.d

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Thanks Clifford. As I said, this does not surprise me and think this is quite believable. The problem is that it is a "straw man" argument against global warming. If the argument has been used that the number of tornados in the USA has increased in recent times (the last 20 years) in a way to show the effects of global warming then this is rather poor science and it should not have been used in this way. Again it is looking at "weather" rather than "climate" and the timescales are not really long enough to form an opinion. We should rather be looking at changes since (say) 1850. I notice, for example, that F1, F2 and F3 tornados showed an increase from 1950 to 1973. It is always difficult to rely on measurements when the baseline methods have changed.

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Offline yor_on

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==Quote=

Globally (not just in the North Atlantic), there is an average of about 90 tropical storms every year. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), globally "[t]here is no clear trend in the annual numbers [i.e. frequency] of tropical cyclones."

However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990, the long-term average number of tropical storms was about 10, including about 5 hurricanes. For the period of 1998-2007, the average is about 15 tropical storms per year, including about 8 hurricanes. This increase in frequency correlates strongly with the rise in North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and recent peer-reviewed scientific studies link this temperature increase to global warming.
===


Image from here.
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Offline CliffordK

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Right below the graph (link above) is noted:

But while the numbers are not contested, their significance most certainly is. Another study considered how this information was being collected, and research suggested that the increase in reported storms was due to improved monitoring rather than more storms actually taking place.

I certainly would have to question a study that finds 100% of the effect during a single decade, or part thereof from about 2000 to 2007.  It certainly doesn't show much of a linear trend.

In fact, you should also average in about a 20 year period from 1970 to 1990 that seemed to have lower than average tropical storms.

Reading through the comments, there are a lot of questions on whether there are significant differences in the number and intensity of storms actually making landfall which would lead me to believe that some of the increasing number would be due to better tracking of storms in the middle of the oceans.

If warming is a global phenomenon, then we should be looking at global storms.

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Offline yor_on

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Yep Clifford, I agree, there are a lot of interesting comments. And I recommend you for reading them :) I always look at the comments myself. But to make it short, I stand on the side of them, that really believe that there is a trend :)
==

This one is interesting.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 00:29:45 by yor_on »
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Offline JP

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==Quote=

Globally (not just in the North Atlantic), there is an average of about 90 tropical storms every year. According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-AR4), globally "[t]here is no clear trend in the annual numbers [i.e. frequency] of tropical cyclones."

However, in the North Atlantic there has been a clear increase in the frequency of tropical storms and major hurricanes. From 1850-1990, the long-term average number of tropical storms was about 10, including about 5 hurricanes. For the period of 1998-2007, the average is about 15 tropical storms per year, including about 8 hurricanes. This increase in frequency correlates strongly with the rise in North Atlantic sea surface temperature, and recent peer-reviewed scientific studies link this temperature increase to global warming.
===


Image from here.

Nice plot, but is it statistically significant?  If you pick at data enough you can find some subset that shows a line going in the direction you want.  That doesn't necessarily mean it's significant. 

I'm not arguing against working to slow or halt climate change.  I think it's going to cause major problems, and possibly an increase in frequency or severity of storms.  The plot might show a real phenomena that will get worse.  I just haven't seen a convincing case for it yet.

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Offline Geezer

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Looks like a typical "marketing department" graph. It would also be a bit less sensational if the origin of the y-axis was zero.
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Offline Geezer

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There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force æther.

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Offline yor_on

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Whether it's sufficient?
Probably not JP, Climate and statistics are both non-linear phenomena, at least climate :)

When the devil gets old he cite statistics :)

Statistics is what it is, one statistician making a graph/plot, another calling it 'biased'. But it reflects what I think is true. And the link I gave follows it up, with the comments. And the next link makes it even clearer, and helps to define what it is discussed. It's not storms per se, it's a lot of things.

It's your local weather changing, for better or worse, probably worse. It's the night temperature changing globally. It's more, or less rain. It's seasons for the farmers getting disturbed. We have a food crisis this year, not that we in the rich countries notice. When the oceans acidity takes its toll we're gonna have a billion, if I remember right, that will find it harder to get food from the sea.

Weather is in the end your climate, but locally. And Earth is not a linear system, so small changes globally can mean great changes locally.

"Gerry Quinn @ 120 and 121

As a weather forecaster, I would expect some rather dramatic changes in extremes with a 1C rise in temperatures. This is especially relevant in the sub/tropics, and in more poleward locations that receive subtropical advection. That’s because this would also raise the dew points by about the same 1C. Considering energy partition at fairly typical tropical temperatures and RH (70% for a crude estimate) over 2/3 of the extra thermal energy goes into evaporating water. This latent energy is made available downstream by increasing the CAPE (convectively available potential energy), thus energizing thunderstorms, tropical systems, etc.

Models are typically not gridded finely enough to resolve convective instability. That’s why an important task for warm season forecasting in the mid latitudes of the humid U.S. is evaluating the low level moisture, and the potential for instability. Even 1C extra dew point at, say, 850 mb is enough to cause a “loaded gun” barely capped airmass to blow in spectacular convection.

Poleward transport of moisture and instability by narrow low level jets, another feature not well resolved by models, also results in many flooding episodes, as well as severe convection.

Considering that the capacity of air to hold water vapor increases nearly exponentially with temperature, I think a 1C increase is truly a big deal, and will add substantial extra energy to some already strong systems, models or no."

And "the last ice age was only about 5 or 6 deg C colder than today, and that was effectively a different planet. The change by 2100 will be the same order of magnitude if we are unlucky - this is not some trivial change we are talking about."

Ah, but in the other direction :)
So no, I'm not predicting an ice age.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 13:12:49 by yor_on »
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Offline JP

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It's your local weather changing, for better or worse, probably worse.

Unless you're in Montana.  :)

But seriously, What worries me about unfounded claims about what climate change is doing is that some of them are bound to be wrong.  This is such a politically charged issue that those who oppose climate change legislation will jump all over any failed prediction to promote their views.  It's also just plain bad science to hype such claims when there isn't enough evidence to back them up!  I suspect a lot of it is the media's fault for blowing things out of proportion, but when I see graphs like the ones on the previous page without error bars, statistical analysis of the results or detailed discussion of the potential errors, I get worried. 

For comparison, I worked a bit in high-energy physics at Fermilab.  Every result there had to include a huge analysis of possible errors and results had to be quoted with error bars, saying exactly how certain the physicists were of seeing something new.  When you hear that physicists at the LHC have discovered a new particle, you can expect them to be sure they've actually discovered it.  Even if those dealing with weather aren't quite so sure about their findings, it would be nice to see how sure they are. 
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 08:05:31 by JP »

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Offline yor_on

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Sure, but this is climate JP, the whole Earth is our 'particle detector' here. If we want the same kind of certainty as you got at Fermilab we gonna need us some serious 'Borg technology', and a lot of probes, the oceans for example.

"We will overcome your climate. Resistance is futile"

It would be nice if that worked :) The models gets changed with new findings, but as we also seem to stop a lot of research, and don't want to spend the money it will cost to get all that data? There is one thing that is very easy to see for me at least. IPCC is constantly revising its trends upwards for each report it delivers. It's always choosing the lower more moderate path, and never in line with the actual climate. It seems to prefer it to be, not extrapolating, instead hoping for almost linear significances, proving their point.

Its like LHC, with 99 % of its probes taken away.
It's not the same.

But satellites seems a extremely cost effective alternative, if we just could 'afford' them :)

ahem.

Take a look here.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 09:33:25 by yor_on »
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Offline JP

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But you're missing the point!  I'm saying the plots being thrown around here are pretty meaningless and I daresay sensationalistic without some context.  If they're being related to climate change, we need numbers of how confident we are in the measurements and how confident we are that they represent an actual trend, not natural variation.  Otherwise you can't make any claims that climate change has caused, for example, an increase in tornadoes in the US this year.  If a single number, maybe "we are X% sure that the increase in storms shown in this plot is directly attributable to climate change."

Of course those numbers won't be anything like the 99.9999% confidence of particle experiments, but it would be nice to know it it was 90% or 60% or 20%.

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Offline yor_on

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Here you can find some statistics JP.

Are Category 4 and 5 hurricanes increasing in number? (2005) and rebuttals too.

And here's a interesting link Dusty hurricanes. (2007)

As most of the weather phenomena in our world everything seems linked to everything else. To attach a secure vote of confidence to a open non-linear system? Can you do that? Myself I think it's about how you limit your 'system', and also about what consequences that are known at the time a specific paper is written. If you take any peer reviewed paper I'm sure you will find limitations for its validity.

And I did not state that that graph is the absolute truth, I just showed that there can be other interpretations. My views are not based on it, okay? It's statistics, and depending on your definitions statistics seems able to define a lot of contradictory 'facts'.
==

And there seems to be some evidence for hurricanes becoming worse.
Hurricanes are getting fiercer from Nature 2008.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 13:26:09 by yor_on »
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Offline JP

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As most of the weather phenomena in our world everything seems linked to everything else. To attach a secure vote of confidence to a open non-linear system? Can you do that?

Depends on the system.  I know a bit about nonlinear dynamics in physics and with enough study, I could probably put bounds on a system's behavior.  I couldn't do it for climate or weather, but I'm not a climate scientist!  Part of their job is to study put bounds on those systems.

There is a lot of good research out there that does this, and a lot of controversy.  From what I've read, there just isn't enough good data to say conclusively in most cases what will happen weather-wise as a result of climate change.  That was my complaint.

By the way, re-reading the page from which that graph was taken (and what I should have posted in the first place instead of a complaint about the lack of error analysis) is:
Quote
But while the numbers are not contested, their significance most certainly is. Another study considered how this information was being collected, and research suggested that the increase in reported storms was due to improved monitoring rather than more storms actually taking place.

And to cap it off, two recent peer-reviewed studies completely contradict each other. One paper predicts considerably more storms due to global warming. Another paper suggests the exact opposite – that there will be fewer storms in the future.

So yes, the experts seem to believe that plot is pretty hard to take at face value at least.

We have had 30 years of scare-mongering about our use of fossil fuels causing dangerous changes to global climates and the scare-mongers blame every natural damaging weather event on us but ignore the fact that such events are not peculiar to the last 200 years. All that we can do is protect ourselves as much as we can against their effects. It is pure speculation that humans are causing any of it and we certainly have no way of controlling any of it on a global scale.

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Offline yor_on

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Yep, that's why I left the link too. I figured that it was a good example of 'graphs' and my views about them, not that I wanted to steer anyone to my view but anyone following them, reading the comments, would get a good first expression of the difficulties with choosing parameters.. When I look at it I find it incredibly complicated. It's a whole Earth that we want to define suddenly, and all the way to the sun too.

We need a he* of a lot more probes to do a really good job, but as it is I think those working with it do the best they can. And they have convinced me at least :) But not me relying on the graphs, well, some graphs are more probable than others of course, but it's reading the papers and watch the overall developments that will show you if there is a trend. And that we all can do, it's no rocket science.

But I'm not really into arguing about it anymore :)
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Offline yor_on

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And Yelder, that's not true :)

As I said, there are some simple connections between what we see now and our industrial revolution. CO2 is a big one to me. And it doesn't get better by the acidity created.

"The upper layer of the world’s ocean has warmed since 1993, indicating a strong climate change signal, according to a new study. The energy stored is enough to power nearly 500 100-watt light bulbs per each of the roughly 6.7 billion people on the planet continuously over the 16-year study period “We are seeing the global ocean store more heat than it gives off,” said John Lyman, an oceanographer at NOAA’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, who led an international team of scientists that analyzed nine different estimates of heat content in the upper ocean from 1993 to 2008.

The team combined the estimates to assess the size and certainty of growing heat storage in the ocean. Their findings will be published in the May 20 edition of the journal Nature. The scientists are from NOAA, NASA, the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, the University of Hamburg in Germany and the Meteorological Research Institute in Japan.

“The ocean is the biggest reservoir for heat in the climate system,” said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and one of the scientists who contributed to the study. “So as the planet warms, we’re finding that 80 to 90 percent of the increased heat ends up in the ocean.” A warming ocean is a direct cause of global sea level rise, since seawater expands and takes up more space as it heats up. The scientists say that this expansion accounts for about one-third to one-half of global sea level rise."

We have other evidence in ice cores, tree rings, sediments etc that all point to that this warming we see today is a 'new phenomena', extremely well correlated to our industrial revolution. All glaciers is receding now as I understands it, and in some decade(s) we will be able to open the Arctic for shipping. That mean that the old thick ice that once existed now is the same type of ice that you will find in your lake at winter, melting to each summer.

Myself I don't find it meaningful to argue about that. And the time to start acting only exist in a small time-window as I think. Maybe twenty years? Not more than fifty as a educated optimistic guess. Or maybe we missed the train, but if so, we can still minimize the effects. And you better hope that it is man made and that we can reverse it by reducing our manmade carbon footprints. Because if it's not, well, it's constantly accelerating and..
==

Here you have a good discussion about oceans acidity. It's worth reading.
« Last Edit: 08/06/2011 19:48:12 by yor_on »
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As I was saying yor_on, there is a lot of scare-mongering and there are lot of scare-mongers. Fortunately they are making less and less impression on the general population who are getting wise to the nonsense, especially after the Climategate revelations, the Hockey Stick Illusion and the UN’s COP15 fiasco in Copenhagen.

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Offline CliffordK

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It's your local weather changing, for better or worse, probably worse.
Unless you're in Montana.  :)

That is a big part of the problem with this entire argument.

Everyone believes that today we are at a "Climate Optimum", and that increasing or decreasing the temperature by 2°C or so would lead to severe negative consequences.  Yet, we believe that the planet has been as much as 8 to 10°C warmer or cooler in the past.

Most people agree that dropping the temperatures by a half a dozen degrees Celsius could be devastating for humanity, but even so, there would likely be parts of the world that would reap benefits from an overall cooler planet.

Likewise, if the planet warms, it will likely bring huge benefits to Russia and Canada, and perhaps other areas too.  Water distribution will change and some currently arid and marginal areas may get more water, and some will get less.

One of the problems is that we are already draining some very large rivers, but in many cases it is the population that puts more stress on our water resources than climate alone.

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Offline yor_on

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Maybe in America Yelder?

There climate seems to have become a political issue more than a question for science. It's a little ironic as America also have some of the best climate scientists in the world. Maybe you think you can 'debate' it away, I don't think so myself though. And what I don't like with this political definition of climate is that it makes people assume that this is exactly what it is.  A debate.

It's gone past a debate.
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Offline yor_on

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As for benefits?

I think of earth as stochastic system, non-linear, where everything goes into each other. There is no way to be sure on what country's, or where, you will survive a climate disaster best to my eyes. It's easier to see who first is going to pay the price, and that will as always be the poorest countries.


When it comes to Russia they have their tundra becoming bogs just now. That's also where the methane pipelines rest that is expected to warm Europe, now, and in the future. Methane are also released under the oceans, Methane release from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf. by Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov.
==

Seems that this link to their pdf is gone? :( So, if you missed getting the pdf, the best I can offer for the moment is Interview with Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov: Arctic seabed methane stores destabilizing, venting 2010.
=

But there is another, more immediate problem. A Warming Tundra Releases Carbon Dioxide. From 2009. And here you have a 'worst case scenario' from 2011 Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source. 

Now, I sincerely hope this is wrong. It's a rather dramatic description, there are also some links to the studies he refer too in it. And this is what scares me most. Because I think of earth as a non-linear system, I also expect it able to 'tip' from one 'stable' configuration to another 'stable' configuration fairly quick, quicker than you would ever expect in fact. And this scenario would be a 'tipping' to me.

So yes, I'm worried, if that was what you meant by scaremonger Yelder? And not over pleased over the way it seems to have become a political issue in the States.
« Last Edit: 18/06/2011 00:25:51 by yor_on »
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Offline CliffordK

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http://beta.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/intense-northeast-heat-storms_2011-06-07
Whew...
That looks HOT!!!  At least for this time of year.
Also warmer than normal in Russia, Norway, Sweden, and parts of Antarctica (although I don't think it ever really gets hot in Antarctica).

Here, on the opposite side of the country, yesterday was 3°F below normal, and I don't anticipate today to be any warmer.

The cold West and warm East is one of the reasons for the vicious storms in the middle.

Overall, this year has been cooler than recent years.

http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/weather/
http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/extreme/gfs/current/raw_temp_c.html
[attachment=14646]

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Offline Geezer

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Back to Joe's original question, I think the answer is a definite maybe.

For a start, we probably should not even use the term "Global Warming" unless we can unambiguously measure the globe's temperature. As far as I know, we can't. Let the media use the term if they wish to, but unless scientists can agree on a method of measurement, the term should not be part of their vocabulary.

What we do know is that we (humans) are altering the composition of the atomsphere in ways that can trap heat in our atmosphere and can have a profound effect on ocean acidity. In other words, we are conducting a gigantic experiment on our planet without the necessary metrology to even quantify the effects properly, or predict the outcomes.

Is this a good idea? Personally, I think it's a very bad idea to tinker with a mechanism that you don't really understand, particularly when your future depends on it. On the other hand, the mechanisms that keep global politics and economics running are probably about as well understood as the effects of altering the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, so it may be just as dangerous to tinker too much with them.

The bottom line is that we really don't have a very good handle on what's going on, and, even if we did, there does not appear to be a quick fix.
There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force æther.

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Offline graham.d

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Geezer, that is a very good post!

I would just add that politics and economics can be changed with a relatively short timescale but changing the climate can be reversible only on a very long timescale and we do not have any idea how to do it. Personally, I would take the cautious approach, even if slightly inconvenient in the short term.

Clifford, Geezer, JP, you can offer logical arguments and facts till the cows come home and it has not the least impression on the scare-mongers and doom merchants. To them we humans are destroying the earth, even though they continue benefiting from all of the improvements that humans have made and continue to make at an increasing pace. Some people just have to have something to be scared of.

Christopher Booker, who writes extensively in the Daily Telegraph on the myth of catastrophic human-made climate change, wrote an excellent book “Scared to Death” <link removed> and I picked up a copy for nowt at a second-hand shop in Watford as a reward for buying a recycled desk chair for my wife. (I’m fully against the scare-mongering over our use of fossil fuels – as long as it is clean use - but all for reusing, refurbishing, repairing and recycling rather than disposing). Perhaps the biggest problem we humans have that threatens existence is greed and too many of us suffering from the L’Oreal Disease.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2011 10:21:27 by peppercorn »

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Offline peppercorn

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I don't why most people seem to concentrate on worrying about (or equally arguing against) temperature change per se.

Bottom line is, just as the planet's climate is a dynamic system, so are natural, living systems.

Who cares if the global mean of CO2 (or whatever) was factors greater in the past?  The key point is always going to be Rate of Change. - As Graham inferred.

The question should be, not 'What happened last time CO2 levels were at today's (or tomorrow's predicted) levels?'.
It should be 'When was the rate of change this great?' and 'If we can find out, what were the effects on life?'.

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Offline graham.d

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Yelder, I think you are falling into the same category as those you call scaremongerers. There is a huge amount of politics involved here with a lot of financial weight being put behind people trying to discredit the informed opinion of a majority of those involved in climate science. As Gore said, this is an "inconvenient truth", and as the famous cartoon implied, the "reassuring lie" is an easier pill to swallow, especially as most businesses and politicians are not looking much further that their next balance sheet or the next election. Now it is reasonable to question the science, and nobody with any scientific understanding of this would claim certainty in the predictions. Unfortunately this doubt factor is an easy one to exaggerate and ridicule. And guess what, this is what is being done. It is so easy for people to project the equally scaremongering image of the people who say that we should try to do something about the changing climate as sandal-wearing hippies who think we should live in caves. The reality is that a majority of genuine climate scientists have enough convincing evidence to register a lot of concern about climate change. I think they could often do without the hysteria of support from the uninformed loonies who just present the strawmen arguments that enable the equally uninformed, but politically aware, opposition to present a seemingly convincing opposition.

According to wikipedia: Christopher Booker "often takes a stance which runs counter to mainstream views on a number of issues, including global warming, the link between passive smoking and cancer,[2] asbestos[3] and the Darwinian theory of evolution."

So he is much more believable then!!!

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Offline yor_on

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Don't fool yourself :)

We won't change a thing. We' haven't yet and I doubt we ever will, we're better at reacting at our front door than on what we see on our telly. 99.9% of the changes I see is just cosmetics, like the Kyoto deal. The only way to change it is by us committing to changing it, and we're noway near that idea, as proven in this discussion.

So I do not expect any changes to be made, and neither do you. It would cost you to do them, and we're comfortable as we are right? The summers may become a little hotter, the weather more unpredictable, but he* :)

Stay indoors :)
==

As for if we should react?
Sure we should, and we will, when it's at our front door.
« Last Edit: 09/06/2011 14:58:05 by yor_on »
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Offline Geezer

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What I want to know is how Graham found out I wear sandals and live in a cave.

It's true to say that nothing very dramatic has happened to address the issue, but it's also true to say that there has been some significant progress. At least we are talking about it, and there is far more awareness of the problem than there was, say, twenty years ago. Consequently, a lot of smart people are working on things that can all make a contribution.

For no particular reasons I find myself in the "somewhere in the middle" camp on this one. I think it's a real problem that requires urgent attention, but adopting "knee jerk" cures to try to fix it could turn out to be worse than the actual disease. I certainly do not think we should cover our eyes and chant "go away nasty problem".   
There ain'ta no sanity clause, and there ain'ta no centrifugal force æther.

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Offline imatfaal

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Damn - I must be losing it, I find myself agreeing with Geezer.  Regardless of the veracity of the claims and counter-claims, I hope that one upshot is a re-examination of our use of resources and energy.
There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.  John Von Neumann

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Offline JP

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So regarding the original question, it sounds very likely that climate change is influencing the weather somehow, and it's a definite "maybe" that it's responsible for the increase in major storms/tornados?

Graham, I think it may be a case of each to his own. In “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore offered many distortions of fact (AKA lies). Have a look at “35 Inconvenient Truths – The Errors in Al Gore’s Movie” by Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/press_releases/monckton-response-to-gore-errors.pdf.

Nigel Lawson (Lord Lawson of Blaby) said in his article “The REAL inconvenient truth: Zealotry over global warming could damage our Earth far more than climate change”
Quote
Over the past half-century, we have become used to planetary scares. .. late Sixties .. a population explosion .. global starvation. .. later .. the world was running out of natural resources. By the Seventies .. a new Ice Age. .. the latest scare, global warming, has engaged the political and opinion-forming classes to a greater extent than any of these. .. this fashionable belief has led the present Labour Government, enthusiastically supported by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, to commit itself to a policy of drastically cutting back carbon dioxide emissions - at huge cost to the British economy and to the living standards not merely of this generation, but of our children's generation, too. .. most of those scientists who speak with such certainty about global warming and climate change are not climate scientists, or Earth scientists of any kind, and thus have no special knowledge to contribute
http://www.climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&catid=1:latest&id=51:agw-zealotry-could-damage-our-earth-far-more-than-climate-change. Try his book “An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming” amazon link deleted.

As the registration page for The Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change on June 30 – July 1, the “Global Warming Conference - Restoring the Scientific Method” says
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Dozens of think tank cosponsors and hundreds of scientists will gather in an effort to “restore the scientific method” to its rightful place in the debate over the causes, consequences, and policy implications of climate change. The theme of the conference, “Restoring the Scientific Method,” acknowledges the fact that claims of scientific certainty and predictions of climate catastrophes are based on “post-normal science,” which substitutes claims of consensus for the scientific method. This choice has had terrible consequences for science and society. Abandoning the scientific method led to the “Climategate” scandal and the errors and abuses of peer review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
http://climateconference.heartland.org/.

What’s your opinion about Steven Scheider-’s promotion of scare-mongering by scientists and his reluctance to condemn them if they considered presenting a misleading picture to the general public (i.e. lying)?  As Pete Ridley pointed out on his question about the misleading demonstration in the BBC’s “Climate Wars” program “What does Iain Stewart's CO2 experiment Demonstrate” http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=38723.0
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There are those who support the view which Professor Steven Schneider expressed in 1989 about the manner in which climate science should be presented. He said "To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective, and being honest" http://www.john-daly.com/schneidr.htm. My interpretation of that statement is that it is up to each of us to decide whether to lie or not. This is expected of politicians and those who earn their living through the media but not of those in a position of trust like physicians and researchers
I think that Pete Ridley’s opinion on that is close to the bulls-eye.

I agree that
Quote
There is a huge amount of politics involved here
although I think that it’s a gross understatement. The whole thing is driven by the power-hungry like Strong, Gore, Soros, etc. supported by political organisations like the UN and EU for reasons far removed from controlling the global climates.

You forgot to mention the even more huge amount of taxpayers money going into spreading the propaganda that humans are destroying the planet?

As for Wikipedia, I suspect that the comment you refer to was written by one-time Wikipedia moderator, staunch supporter of the AGW hypothesis, one-time member of Michael Mann’s “Hockey Team” publicity section  Realclimate, software engineer Dr. William Connolleyhttp://scienceblogs.com/stoat/about.php. Many of us were delighted when he had his Wikipedia editing privileges withdrawn.

yor_on, many of us look forward to seeing Kyoto expiring quietly in its sleep with nothing to replace it. After the UN’s 2009 COP15 fiasco in Copenhagen (destoyed by the Climategate revelations) and the 2010 COP16 comedy in Cancun we can look forward to a final derailment in Durban of the UNFCCC AGW band-wagon after COP17 http://www.cop17durban.com/COP_17/Pages/default.aspx. Hopefully that will be the last of the UN’s wasteful extravaganzas (but of course, being politicians they’ll find some other way of hosting a luxury break at taxpayers’ expense).

Maybe then they'll start addressing real global problems like the disgusting waste by us in the developed economies and the disgraceful poverty in many of the developing or stagnant economies. Perhaps then our leaders will concentrate on putting resources into what we can do something about, like improving  technology for protecting humans from whatever weather extremes and other catastrophes that Nature decides to throw our way – but that is just wishful thinking, after all, they are politicians.
   
As imatfaal says
Quote
I hope that one upshot is a re-examination of our use of resources and energy
but not a further waste of resources installing things like those useless wind turbines or systems for sequestering that essential, life-supporting substance CO2 from our industrial, commercial and domestic emissions. Yes, lets research alternative energy sources so that we are ready for when those wonderful fossil fuels expire, but that won’t be for centuries yet. Put those wasted resources to good use minimising genuine pollutants from our emissions, improving repairing and preventing unnecessary damage to the natural envirnment, but most importantly of all, helping humans throughout the world to improve their enjoyment of life.

JP, you comment “that climate change is influencing the weather somehow, and it's a definite "maybe" that it's responsible for the increase in major storms/tornados?” surprises me. In my ignorance I thought that it was weather, in terms of temperature and rainfall, that were the basis of Koppen’s definitions of those different global climates (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/322068/Koppen-climate-classification). Sounds a bit like the cart before the horse, like CO2 driving temperature rather than the correct way round.
« Last Edit: 12/06/2011 10:53:32 by Yelder »