Yesterday, I wrote about Allegheny County Person-at-Large Heather Heidelbaugh's climate change skepticism/denial.
As I like Heather a great deal personally, I want to help her out of her self-imposed scientific illiteracy.
We should start, perhaps, with Businessweek:
An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. On Oct. 29, Foley thumbed thusly: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.” Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (and former deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek), offers a baseball analogy: “We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”Weather on steroids that "amp up" the factors that contribute to big storms. Hurricane Sandy is but an example. But what's the evidence to back that up?
In an Oct. 30 blog post, Mark Fischetti of Scientific American took a spin through Ph.D.-land and found more and more credentialed experts willing to shrug off the climate caveats. The broadening consensus: “Climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms. For example, the oceans have warmed, providing more energy for storms. And the Earth’s atmosphere has warmed, so it retains more moisture, which is drawn into storms and is then dumped on us.” Even those of us who are science-phobic can get the gist of that.
Back in July, NOAA released it's annual "State of the Climate" report and with it came a press release and in that press release we find this:
Worldwide, 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, yet temperatures remained above the 30 year average, according to the 2011 State of the Climate report released online today by NOAA. The peer-reviewed report, issued in coordination with the American Meteorological Society (AMS), was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice and sky.So what's in that report? Let's go to the climate indicators for some answers.
“2011 will be remembered as a year of extreme events, both in the United States and around the world,” said Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D. “Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment. This annual report provides scientists and citizens alike with an analysis of what has happened so we can all prepare for what is to come.”
We can ask the question: Have the oceans warmed?
Yes, yes they have. Take a look:
The temperature at the surface of the ocean has been rising over time. The blue line in the graph above shows how far above or below the 1981-2010 average (dashed line at zero) the sea surface temperature has been each year since 1950. The data shown are one of several ocean temperature records included in State of the Climate in 2011, each of which shows similar anomalies. Each year in the past decade, the sea surface temperature has been warmer than the 1981-2010 average, an indicator of long-term climate change.And has the atmosphere warmed?
Yes, yes it has. Take a look:
Earth’s average annual surface temperature is higher today than it was when record-keeping began in the late 1800s, an indicator of long-term, global-scale climate warming. The red line shows how far above or below the 1981-2010 average (dashed line at zero) the combined land and ocean temperature has been each year since 1880. The data shown are one of several temperature analyses included in the State of the Climate in 2011, all of which show a warming trend.So there's the evidence (rising sea and air temps) that climate scientists are now saying contribute to making big storms worse.
So unless, Heather, you can claim the evidence is wrong or how the conclusion based on them is wrong, you're kinda stuck with the idea that climate change is not a hoax.
We can keep going if you like...