What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 11, 2010

A Few Notes For My Climate-Skeptical Friends

From Time:
Brace yourselves now — this may be a case of politicians twisting the facts. There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm. As the meteorologist Jeff Masters points out in his excellent blog at Weather Underground, the two major storms that hit Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this winter — in December and during the first weekend of February — are already among the 10 heaviest snowfalls those cities have ever recorded. The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.
And here's what Masters' blog has to say:
Heavy snow events--a contradiction to global warming theory?
Global warming skeptics regularly have a field day whenever a record snow storm pounds the U.S., claiming that such events are inconsistent with a globe that is warming. If the globe is warming, there should, on average, be fewer days when it snows, and thus fewer snow storms. However, it is possible that if climate change is simultaneously causing an increase in ratio of snowstorms with very heavy snow to storms with ordinary amounts of snow, we could actually see an increase in very heavy snowstorms in some portions of the world. There is evidence that this is happening for winter storms in the Northeast U.S.--the mighty Nor'easters like the "Snowmageddon" storm of February 5-6 and "Snowpocalypse" of December 19, 2009. Let's take a look at the evidence. There are two requirements for a record snow storm:

1) A near-record amount of moisture in the air (or a very slow moving storm).
2) Temperatures cold enough for snow.

It's not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the globe warmed 0.74°C (1.3°F) over the past 100 years. There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming, with plenty of opportunities for snow. The more difficult ingredient for producing a record snowstorm is the requirement of near-record levels of moisture. Global warming theory predicts that global precipitation will increase, and that heavy precipitation events--the ones most likely to cause flash flooding--will also increase. This occurs because as the climate warms, evaporation of moisture from the oceans increases, resulting in more water vapor in the air. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, water vapor in the global atmosphere has increased by about 5% over the 20th century, and 4% since 1970. This extra moisture in the air will tend to produce heavier snowstorms, assuming it is cold enough to snow. Groisman et al. (2004) found a 14% increase in heavy (top 5%) and 20% increase in very heavy (top 1%) precipitation events in the U.S. over the past 100 years, though mainly in spring and summer. However, the authors did find a significant increase in winter heavy precipitation events have occurred in the Northeast U.S. This was echoed by Changnon et al. (2006), who found, "The temporal distribution of snowstorms exhibited wide fluctuations during 1901-2000, with downward 100-yr trends in the lower Midwest, South, and West Coast. Upward trends occurred in the upper Midwest, East, and Northeast, and the national trend for 1901-2000 was upward, corresponding to trends in strong cyclonic activity."
Hmm. Warmer temps lead to more moisture in the air which intensifies the severity of storms leading to more rain and greater snow. Interesting.

Not that, you know, science will sway the skeptics. Witness the "science" taking place over there at the Washington Times:
Record snowfall illustrates the obvious: The global warming fraud is without equal in modern science.
Simple. To the point. And completely wrong.

So why is this such a big issue? Here's why:
We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years. Although the United States will be less affected and is better equipped than most nations to deal with climate change, and may even see a benefit owing to increases in agriculture productivity, infrastructure repair and replacement will be costly. We judge that the most significant impact for the United States will be indirect and result from climate-driven effects on many other countries and their potential to seriously affect US national security interests. We assess that climate change alone is unlikely to trigger state failure in any state out to 2030, but the impacts will worsen existing problems—such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions. Climate change could threaten domestic stability in some states, potentially contributing to intra- or, less likely, interstate conflict, particularly over access to increasingly scarce water resources. We judge that economic migrants will perceive additional reasons to migrate because of harsh climates, both within nations and from disadvantaged to
richer countries.
So who said that? Which left-leaning tree-hugging "let's ruin Amurika's economy" group had the audacity to say that?

It's from Dr Thomas Fingar, Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Chairman of the National Intelligence Council in testimony before Congress June of 2008.

Tell me who was President then?


Heir to the Throne said...

Remember When Liberals Thought Global Warming Caused Too Little Snow In Washington DC?
And which climate models predicted heavier snowfalls
Were They the same models that predicted a increase in Hurricanes after Katrina?

How do you explain this quote from Climate expert ROBERT F. KENNEDY Jr.
In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today’s anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled.

Ol' Froth said...

Kennedy is an attorney, not a climatologist or a scientest. You might as well quote the opinion of say, Mel Gibson or Paris Hilton.

EdHeath said...

Gee, HTTT, that column of RFK Jr's starts by talking about rapidly changing weather patterns, which he believes (probably correctly) are affected by climate change.

Are you disputing the idea that increased (but not total) melting of the polar ice caps could throw more moisture in the air? And while keeping in mind that weather is not climate (or anecdote is not statistical evidence), I will say that while it has been cold the past few months, we have not seen that many below zero days. Not to say we haven't seen any, or that we won't during winter, just that we have perhaps seen fewer. That sort of made the snow of the past week a bit more brutal, as it was that wet, heavy snow that piles up instead of blowing around. Of course, lower temperatures would have been that much worse for people without power, but maybe we could have used brooms to clear some of the snow.

Meanwhile, in that same RFK Jr column, Sarah Palin has an interesting quote for her vice-Presidential candidate days: ""Man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming," she told Charles Gibson two weeks ago." If Sarah believes, why can't you, HTTT?

Heir to the Throne said...

quote the opinion of say, Al Gore or John F. Kerry.

Heir to the Throne said...

If Sarah believes, why can't you, HTTT?
Not according to feminist intellectuals Eve Ensler and Joy Behar.
ENSLER: Well, I just think the idea that she doesn’t believe in global warming is bizarre.
BEHAR: Every scientist at every note believes in it but Sarah Palin doesn’t believe in it.
ENSLER: And I think we just kind of have to walk around the world at this point and look at what is happening to nature and earthquakes and tsunamis.

Of course I am not a progressive so appeals to authority do not work as well on me.

EdHeath said...

HTTT, when you say authority do you mean politicians or scientists?

The clear message underlying the conservative/Republican response to climate change is that you will say anything as long as it seems plausible to deny that human caused climate change exists. It is the Frank Luntz school of politics.

Of course, you, HTTT, frequently say gibberish as long as it is different that what a "progressive" commenter just said. I mean, you just demonstrated how Sarah Palin is just as bad or worse of a flip flopper than any Democrat, as if that proves something. And then you give us this nonsensical remark "Of course I am not a progressive so appeals to authority do not work as well on me"

No, appeals to authority don't work on conservatives/Republicans. When scientists (the NAS, the AAAS, the AMS) clearly state a position, some conservative/Republican criminal steals emails and conservative/Republicans loudly proclaim that this is the final nail in the coffin that discredits climate change. And you continue to say it loudly even when the context of the emails is explained, like small children with your fingers in your ears.

Does it ever bother you that you are not only trying to wreck the American economy, destroy our long held legal rights and cause millions of poor people untold suffering and misery, but you are also trying to destroy the environment and make the planet much, much less habitable for our children? You ever think about that, or do you have some smart-ass answer about the danger of taxes?

Heir to the Throne said...

Ed Add a few "Sirs" and you sound like a Olbermann special comment.
as for "destroy our long held legal rights"
Your side tried to ban a documentary in the Citizen's united case.

Quinn today pointed out those who were outraged by the Bush "wiretapping" are silent on this.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear argument from federal lawyers seeking legal authority for the police to demand cell phone location data without a showing of probable cause to a judge or magistrate. The case, many lawyers feel, has the potential to be "one of most important privacy rights battles of the modern era." It almost surely will end up before the United States Supreme Court and leads in the clubhouse for ruling of the year next term. It likely will determine the rights and liberties of hundreds of millions of cell phone users in the United States.

Here is the magistrate judge's written order requiring probable cause to be met. Here is a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the ACLU, the EEF and the CDT in support of the judge's interpretation of the law. The Obama administration has argued fiercely that the information sought is "non-content" data which warrants less protection for individuals (or corporations) asserting privacy rights. Keep an eye on this one--we should have a ruling in a few months and then the ol' dance on up to the Justices.

Ol' Froth said...

Shorter Heir: 'Hey, look over there!"

And BTW Heir, YOU are the one who held Robert Kennedy up as a climate "expert." He is an attorney, with an interest in enviromental issues. Unlike you however, while he may make mistakes from time to time, he understands the scientific method. And despite on what you want to blather about on his use of antedotal evidence, it still doesn't alter the findings of actual climate scientists.

EdHeath said...

OK HTTT, you have some smart ass comment about the danger of the Justice Department. I don't know the rationale for the Justice department pursing this, so I don't know what to say about it. I know my own phone is set to allow 911 operations to track me. I don't know if I have to dial 911 for them to be able to track me, or if they can do it on their own. I know my phone has two settings, E911 only or location on, so apparently no matter what there are situations where the police can know where I am. I can see the usefulness of the police being able to know where terrorist held mobile phones are, although seems to me that like there ought to be some judicial oversight, maybe something like the FISA court. So good for you, you found something that may be evil that the Obama administration is doing.

And that has to do with global warming how? That invalidates anything I said how? You are evading direct questions again.

Joy said...

In general, it's not the melting ice caps that directly put more water into the atmosphere. Temperature works directly on the water cycle, at the point where air is picking up water from the oceans (either from the pacific, which then works its way east, or occasionally from the gulf, which sometimes moves north.) When the extra-loaded warm air either rises (at mountains) or hits colder air, it cools, and the water it can no longer hold gets dumped out. (You probably did this in Jr. high or high school...sounding familiar?)

The "juicing up" of wind speed is a similar process: hot air being hotter, and therefore rising faster, leaving behind a low pressure zone--that "risen" air cooling, ready to sweep back down. All of that extra potential or kinetic energy keeping the system churning.

All of this is modified by other weather patterns, of course.

We can count ourselves somewhat lucky that we got the extra snow, not the killer winds or killer heat that have been slamming Europe off and on. (Death toll numbers from the 2007 heatwave were estimated by some sources as more than 11,000 people.) And yet, at the very same time, one of the 60-some glaciers in patagonia was actually growing! (~10 stayed the same, and the rest shrank.)

Global warming causes new, shifting, unpredictable combinations of cold air, hot air, wet air and dry air. For S. Australia, it's been mostly drought. For Europe, summer heatwaves and the occasional killer wind. For us, seesawing temperatures and some memorable extreme weather.

Jared said...

Anecdotal Evidence should be rejected.

To learn more got to: