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Climate Change

[ 84 ] January 9, 2013 |

Yeah, I’m sure the United States having its hottest recorded year in history in 2012 by a full degree and Australia’s Bureau of Meterology having to come up with new colors for its temperature maps because of the hottest temperatures in the history of the continent is just anecdotal evidence of climate change. Nothing to see here. After all, there’s 3 inches of snow on the ground in the northeast!

Comments (84)

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  1. leinad says:

    To be pedantic: our trendy new shades are for modelled predictions of hotter-than-the-hottest temps. So far we’ve “only” had a week of national averages all in the top 20 hottest.

    It honestly feels less weird going back to hotter-than-average summers than the super-charged uber-wet la Ninas of the last two years, but I guess we’ll start getting used to those as well.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Right, it’s not just hot that’s the new norm. It’s extreme more generally.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        Maybe the extreme weather will finally make the extreme people see the light?

        Nah, who am I kidding?
        There’s a lot of money in denial.

        Maybe if Newt Gingrich has to show up on TV shows shirtless, because of the heat, we’ll try to do something – if it’s not too late already.
        Which it probably is…

  2. Joey Maloney says:

    I am at this moment sitting under a hailstorm in Tel Aviv. There’s high winds, flash flooding, and snow all around the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. If only you hadn’t kicked God out of your schools, you, too, could be enjoying these cooler temperatures.

  3. “After all, there’s 3 inches of snow on the ground in the northeast!”

    Not for long though. Forecasts are for well above 40F for the rest of the week, with the weekend pushing close to 60F. Blah blah blah, weather =/ climate, I’m still not used to wearing shorts in January.

    • Kurzleg says:

      I, for one, could get used to wearing shorts in January. I’m not going to like the 125F with 90% humidity in July, though.

  4. leinad says:

    Hotter and wetter.

    Other fun effects appear to include zones of habitation for our so-poisonous-they-really-will-kill-you-in-minutes tropical jellyfish expanding southwards.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Jellyfish is one thing that will really benefit from climate change. Seems they will become the oceans’ dominant animal.

    • Andrae says:

      For those readers north of the equator, this really is a serious problem.
      In northern Queensland they have sharks, rays, stone-fish, cone-shellfish, sea-snakes, and 5m salt water crocodiles, but when you talk to them, the only thing that scares them are the jellyfish.

      Fraser Is, mentioned as the site of the stings in the article, is southern Queensland. A similar geographical comparison would be if swarms of alligators from FL suddenly started attacking people in North Carolina.

  5. Cody says:

    The use of anecdotal evidence to dismiss global warming because “those hot days are just anecdotal evidence!” always amused me.

    Soon everyone who makes fun of Northern Indiana will suffer though, when you all come begging for fresh water.

    Although, to be fair, I should probably get a house with a basement ASAP. All that water won’t stop me from being sucked up…

  6. Greco says:

    And Algore has picked a new shade of FAT! Nyuck nyuck!

  7. Ken Houghton says:

    “After all, there’s 3 inches of snow on the ground in the northeast!”

    What Northeast do you live in? I–not to mention my usual ski area–would pay dearly for three inches of natural snow, instead of looking forward to 10-degree weather this weekend only for those who use the Centigrad scale.

    • Murc says:

      Well, I live in Rochester and can tell you that until it started to melt off a couple years, all of Western New York had way more snow than three inches on the ground.

      Pretty sure that Scott and Erik (Albany and Rhode Island respectively) have similar amounts. Do we have anyone up in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine?

  8. This seems like an appropriate place to reccomend Chasing Ice. I saw it last night and if you need a visual demonstration of the extent of climate change, you should see this film. Even for someone mostly up on the science, it was still stunning to see, and the scene at the very end is worth the price of admission alone.

  9. bradP says:

    The last thing I had read on the matter was that temperatures have been stable since the 1997 el Nino. High, but not trending upwards.

    • guthrie says:

      Unfortunately that is incorrect. The trend is still upwards, because if you do the statistics, one high outlier doesn’t stop the warming.
      A great deal more information proving that the last thing you read was hopelessly wrong is here and on other posts at that site:

      • Malaclypse says:

        Was it JenBob, or some other troll, who kept insisting that the fact that the earth was substantially warmer 4.5 billion years ago meant that global warming was nothing to fear?

      • bradP says:–chart-prove-it.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

        I’ll read yours, you read mine. It doesn’t seem like the plateau is disputed whatsoever, just downplayed for its brevity.

        • The Dark Avenger says:

          The Daily Mail, where one goes to get scientific certainty.

          • bradP says:

            I linked to it bacause it came up on google when I did my search.

            Does John Christy and Roy Spencer work?


            The lowest level of the global atmosphere has warmed
            almost one half of a degree Celsius (0.48 C or 0.86 degrees
            Fahrenheit) during the 34 years since instruments aboard
            NOAA and NASA satellites started collecting data on global
            temperatures in late November 1978, according to Dr. John
            Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of
            the Earth System Science Center at The University of
            Alabama in Huntsville. While the atmosphere has warmed
            over the full 34-year time span, it has not warmed
            noticeably since the major El Niño of 1997-98 — giving us
            about a decade and a half of generally stable temperatures.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Does John Christy and Roy Spencer work?


            • John Protevi says:

              I linked to it bacause it came up on google when I did my search.

              I think I can spot the problem here

              • Malaclypse says:

                The funny thing was, simply googling their names does give a whole lot of results, nearly all of them very, very bad.

                Someday, Brad will learn that knee-jerk contrarianism means that one is usually wrong.

                • DrDick says:

                  No he won’t. He is a libertarian, after all.

                • bradP says:

                  The daily mail wasn’t where I originally read it (I saw it on Reason last week and then a couple months ago). The dailymail article is just the first article that comes up when you type in temperature 16-year plateau.

                  I’m not familiar with the Daily Mail’s reputation, but since Phil Jones’ admits the plateau exists (but is insignificant), I didn’t think much more was needed to show and actual plateau does exist.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I’m not familiar with the Daily Mail’s reputation, but since Phil Jones’ admits the plateau exists (but is insignificant), I didn’t think much more was needed to show and actual plateau does exist.

                  And you wonder why DrDick mocks you when you go on like this. Stunning, I know. Keep fucking that walrus, I guess.

                • JMP says:

                  “I saw it on Reason last week”

                  Shouldn’t that have tipped you off that it was total bullshit?

                • bradP says:

                  And you wonder why DrDick mocks you when you go on like this. Stunning, I know. Keep fucking that walrus, I guess.

                  I don’t understand. It seems Phil Jones admits the plateau exists, but says that it is not significant.

                  Are you saying that the Daily Mail misrepresented Jones’ statement on the matter? I wouldn’t be surprised, but it doesn’t seem that controversial that the Met’s dataset from 1998 to 2012 don’t show much of a temperature increase at all.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I’m saying you should perhaps look at data that does not come from completely discredited sources. We’ve had this conversation before. When you read only discredited contrarian bullshit, you don’t end up smarter.

                • bradP says:

                  I’m saying you should perhaps look at data that does not come from completely discredited sources. We’ve had this conversation before. When you read only discredited contrarian bullshit, you don’t end up smarter.

                  Yes, but the Met and NOAA satellite dataset show very modest gains in temperature from 1997 to 2012.

                  I don’t think people are denying this, they are just saying that it isn’t significant because of the short time frame and the choice of starting year.

                • DrDick says:

                  the Met and NOAA satellite dataset show very modest gains in temperature from 1997 to 2012.

                  I have highlighted the relevant passage here. The trend is still upward, though possibly not as rapid (though I have seen other analyses that completely refute this). Perhaps this graph will be a bit easier for you to understand. There is no scientific debate on whether global warming is happening.

                • sparks says:

                  How long till bradP brings up Watts? McIntyre? Curtin? Morano? Goddard? Knappenberger? The strangely quiescent Pielkes?

                  C’mon, bradP, you haven’t half run out of bad arguments yet.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Handy global warming pie chart, from the always-awesome Phil Plait.

            • The Dark Avenger says:

              If the temperatures haven’t gone up, why is the Arctic Ice Cap smaller than it was in the late 20th Century?:

              The average sea ice extent for December 2012 was 12.20 million square kilometers (4.71 million square miles). This is 1.16 million square kilometers (448,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month, and is the second-lowest December extent in the satellite record.

              At the end of December, ice extent in the Atlantic sector remained far below normal, as parts of the Kara and Barents seas remained ice-free. Ice has also been slow to form in the Labrador Sea, while Hudson Bay is now completely iced over. On the Pacific side, ice extent is slightly above normal, with the ice edge in the Bering Sea extending further to the south than usual. The Bering Sea has seen above-average winter ice extent in recent years and is the only region of the Arctic that has exhibited a slightly positive trend in ice extent during the winter months.

            • While the atmosphere has warmed
              over the full 34-year time span, it has not warmed
              noticeably since the major El Niño of 1997-98 —giving us
              about a decade and a half ofgenerally stable temperatures.

              Brad, take a look at this chart.

              That is not “generally stable temperatures.” The values on that chart are not the slightest bit stable; they are wildly variable. Looking at a longer time span, you can see that the variability from year to year has always looked as noisy at it has in the past decade and a half, and that such noisiness has been a constant throughout the period of rising temperatures.

              This whole argument is based on a word game – to take two points on a bouncy graph and call it a trend. “It declined from blah-blah to blah blah; therefore, the trend is downward.” That’s certainly not enough to convince me that the well-established trend has plateaued.

          • Cody says:

            How bad does your science reporting have to be for academics to start having to publicly proclaim their incompetence?

            • Malaclypse says:

              I’m just wondering why Brad didn’t find a more credible source, such as the Weekly World News.

              • J R in WV says:

                Now be careful about dissing the WWW – here we loves our Bat-Boy!

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I wasn’t dissing them – I do think they are more respectable than the Daily mail’s “science” reporting. Reading the WWW is not likely to leave you actually stupider than you were before.

                • Keaaukane says:

                  Brad is working with the Daily Mail
                  It’s a steady job if you want to a Climate Denier
                  Climate Denier…

            • sharculese says:

              More importantly, how bad does it have to get before even the Huffington Post looks down on it?

        • Brian says:

          “Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university…”


        • Njorl says:

          It isn’t just downplayed for its brevity, it is fully consistent with the long term warming trend and expected randomness.

        • guthrie says:

          Indeed, the plateau is not disputed amongst climate scientists at all, because there isn’t one…
          David Rose has a long record of lying about climate science.
          You’ll note that no actual science is mentioned, just some data. The data is in fact fully consistent with ongoing warming, as demonstrated at the website I linked to.
          Moreover Judith Curry has no standing left amongst climatologists – she jumped the shark 2 or 3 years ago, and issues diatribes that are so nonsensical that even I can see they are mince. Prof Jones is featured, but he isn’t really media savvy, and you can see his quotes have been ‘managed’ to suit.

          Meanwhile, oceanic heat content continues to rise:

          indicating that there is still a great deal of energy being stored on the earth, as expected because of the greenhouse effect ensuring more of it hangs around, as it were.

        • Njorl says:

          I read it. It was uninformative. It didn’t investigate the statistics at all. It drew unfounded conclusions. Read Guthrie’s links and you’ll see the mistakes of the Daily mail article.

          Take a plot with an increasing trend, add a random component, y=mx+k+r(x) where m is a small upward slope, and r(x) is a small random function. If you pick a point on this curve where r(x) is an unrepresentitively large positive number, the curve will appear to flatten for higher values of x in the short term.

          The last 15 years have been an unremarkable statistical artifact.

        • It doesn’t seem like the plateau is disputed whatsoever

          A stalagmite at the foot of a hill does not equal flat ground. There was one unusually-warm year, followed by a reversion to the well-established, decades long upward trend.

  10. SP says:

    It’s pretty obvious what will happen- with normal fluctuation, some year after 2012 will not be quite as hot as 2012 was and we’ll hear that the world is really cooling, just like it was after the previous peak in 1998. Why are people so stupid/evil?

  11. Brandon C. says:

    392 days in Chicago without an inch of snow. Longest on record apparently.

    Its honestly quite scary. I can’t believe that people don’t wake up to the fact that this might indeed be a very bad thing.

    • Murc says:

      I can tell you that around here, the prevailing opinion on our warmer winters of the past three to five years is people being very pleased by salt not corroding their cars and not having to shovel their driveways.

      Some have connected this fact to the longer, hotter, drier summers that make everyone want to die.

      It’s also had economic effects. This part of New York is apple country. The last four years running the apple farmers have been biting their fingernails because it starts getting really warm in early March, and they’re scared their trees will bloom early, then we’ll get a couple nights with killing frost and everything dies.

      It finally happened last year. It may happen again this year.

      • Malaclypse says:

        There were cherry blossoms on the trees on the Public Garden in Boston on First Night.

      • Linnaeus says:

        I have friends and family who live in the fruit belt near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and last year’s weather wasn’t kind to the crops (the fruit belt is possible due to a pretty delicate balance of temperature, soil, precipitation, etc.) and they’re worried it’s going to repeat this year.

      • Sherm says:

        Cut down the apple trees and plant some grapes for the wineries. Problem solved.

        • The Dark Avenger says:

          What do you do when it gets too hot for grapes?

          Farmers have always been gamblers, long accustomed to betting on the probabilities of the weather. But for the Napa Valley, where temperatures have been ideal for the wine industry, shifts in the Earth’s climate could be a game-changer.

          “They’re used to rolling the dice every year,” said Stuart Weiss, a conservation biologist and chief scientist at the Creekside Center for Earth Observation in Menlo Park, which assists growers and municipalities dealing with the disruptions caused by the changing climate. “Now, though, climate change is stacking the dice.”

          During the next 30 years, Weiss estimates, the temperature in the Napa Valley will rise by 1.8 degrees – a significant shift for a wine industry whose product can be affected by the smallest of temperature changes. Such a warming would be an 80 percent jump over the historical increase of about 1 degree every three decades, the change recorded since weather data in Wine Country were first kept around the turn of the 20th century.

          It isn’t just Wine Country that is having to adapt. From the vast fields of fruits and nuts in the Central Valley to wheat farms in the Imperial Valley, changing weather is altering the fundamental conditions for growing food, prompting a reassessment of the way California’s largest industry operates.

    • wengler says:

      Oh the warm weather in winter isn’t a bad thing at all. It was the massive, severe drought last summer that was a bad thing.

  12. Major Kong says:

    I’m pretty sure we broke the planet.

    • BigHank53 says:

      Oh, the planet is fine. The planet will be around for a long time, until the sun decides it’s time to be a red giant. On the other hand, the biosphere is a damn sight smaller than the planet. It’s only a mile and half thick, and everything we eat and breathe is there.

      I suppose Jesus might come along and give us a new one after we fuck this one up, but I wouldn’t plan on it.

      • John Protevi says:

        Why do you hate Jesus? He loves you, and this is how you repay him, by mockery.

        • Murc says:

          As an aside, I’ve always believed that Jesus must have been personally incredibly hilarious, it just isn’t documented.

          He was a jewish working stiff who spent all his time on the road in occupied territory, but was also relentlessly compassionate and upbeat. Moreover he was surrounded by some pretty smart people, and in my experience smart people who aren’t complete sticks in the mud are also pretty humorous.

          Guy was probably full of wisecracks and awesome one-liners we’ll never know about. Plus, JC was a complete revolutionary, and humor is one of the most revolutionary acts their is. Good humor is inherently subversive.

          • Linnaeus says:

            Good humor is inherently subversive.

            Yep. So be careful if you’re a monk in a Benedictine monastery.

          • Anonymous says:

            Matt 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church…”
            Peter in Aramaic is “rock” (also in Greek, with some gender issues).

            Jesus made a pun.

  13. Eli Rabett says:

    Jason Box and Bill McKibben are crowdsourcing an expedition to Greenland to investigate the extreme melting there and its relation to darkening of the ice by black carbon emissions

    Video at climate crock

    Give your darling a sponsorship certificate to hang on the wall!

  14. Leeds man says:

    Climate deniers will have the last laugh when the next super volcano blows.

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