The Environment

Everyone loves a healthy debate. Post an idea or comment about a current event or issue. Let others post their ideas also. This area is for those who love to explore other points of view.

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Postby piqaboo » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:57 pm

I have no idea what you are talking about, sir. I am not litigious :bats eyelashes innocently:

(I do need to find a better editor tho!) :lol:
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Postby Shapley » Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:15 pm

Ain't that 'edit post' button wonderful...
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Postby GreatCarouser » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:35 am

Here's the newest global warming study....since it's been so quiet around hereabouts lately ....Peaceful Carouser

re:changing temperatures and hurricane intensity
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:50 am

Always ready for a :argue: :D

Discover interview with meteoroligist William Gray

You don’t believe global warming is causing climate change?

G: No. If it is, it is causing such a small part that it is negligible. I’m not disputing that there has been global warming. There was a lot of global warming in the 1930s and ’40s, and then there was a slight global cooling from the middle ’40s to the early ’70s. And there has been warming since the middle ’70s, especially in the last 10 years. But this is natural, due to ocean circulation changes and other factors. It is not human induced.

That must be a controversial position among hurricane researchers.

G: Nearly all of my colleagues who have been around 40 or 50 years are skeptical as hell about this whole global-warming thing. But no one asks us. If you don’t know anything about how the atmosphere functions, you will of course say, “Look, greenhouse gases are going up, the globe is warming, they must be related.” Well, just because there are two associations, changing with the same sign, doesn’t mean that one is causing the other.

With last year’s hurricane season so active, and this year’s looking like it will be, won’t people say it’s evidence of global warming?

G: The Atlantic has had more of these storms in the least 10 years or so, but in other ocean basins, activity is slightly down. Why would that be so if this is climate change? The Atlantic is a special basin? The number of major storms in the Atlantic also went way down from the middle 1960s to the middle ’90s, when greenhouse gases were going up.

Why is there scientific support for the idea?

G: So many people have a vested interest in this global-warming thing—all these big labs and research and stuff. The idea is to frighten the public, to get money to study it more. Now that the cold war is over, we have to generate a common enemy to support science, and what better common enemy for the globe than greenhouse gases?

Are your funding problems due in part to your views?

G: I can’t be sure, but I think that’s a lot of the reason. I have been around 50 years, so my views on this are well known. I had NOAA money for 30 some years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any NOAA money. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.


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Postby GreatCarouser » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:20 am

Maybe if Scaife has any money left over after his foray into TV production he can give some to this gentleman.

I'm not going to dispute this man's knowledge or his acumen in his particular discipline. He could be absolutely correct. I will just ask you to ask yourself this; he claims his problems are political, that he's the victim of a 'conspiracy'. Isn't it at all possible his conclusions on this may be based on 'bad science'? Is it at all possible he's just wrong? I'd be more inclined to give him more credence if we were under a Gore Administration now but we have been under an 'anti-global warming' Administration and Congress for 6 years. Why can't he get money from them? :?
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:46 am

I can't answer that, except to say point out that that has been reported numerous places - you don't giet the funding unless your 'science' fits the current political thinking. You can get funding from those who have an interest in debunking the 'human-induced global warming' theories, but then your research will be discredited - not on its' merits but on the source of its' funding - see our discussions on the 'hockey stick' earlier.

I found it interesting that he says that most of those he knows who have been in the business 40-50 years aren't buying into the 'global warming' theories, indicating a generational divide on the issue. This would seem logical, as the younger climatologists would rely on the 'new' scienctific data using computer models and simulations, while the 'old guys' would stick to tried-and-true methods of analysis. The youngsters would also be more likely to fall prey to sensationalism - not having been around to see the previous cycles of storm activity, the current cycles would actually be 'the worst they've ever seen'. As my Grandpa would have said "Well, you ain't been around to see much."

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Postby jamiebk » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:06 am

Report links global warming, storms
- Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scientists say they have found what could be the key to ending a yearlong debate about what is making hurricanes more violent and common -- evidence that human-caused global warming is heating the ocean and providing more fuel for the world's deadliest storms.

For the past 13 months, researchers have debated whether humanity is to blame for a surge in hurricanes since the mid-1990s or whether the increased activity is merely a natural cycle that occurs every several decades.

Employing 80 computer simulations, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and other institutions concluded that there is only one answer: that the burning of fossil fuels, which warms the climate, is also heating the oceans.

Humans, Ben Santer, the report's lead author, told The Chronicle, are making hurricanes globally more violent "and violent hurricanes more common" -- at least, in the latter case, in the northern Atlantic Ocean. The findings were published Monday in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hurricanes are born from tropical storms fueled by rising warm, moist air in the tropics. The Earth's rotation puts a spin on the storms, causing them to suck in more and more warm, moist air -- thus making them bigger and more ferocious.

In that regard, the report says, since 1906, sea-surface temperatures have warmed by between one-third and two-thirds of a degree Celsius -- or between 0.6 and 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit -- in the tropical parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, which are hurricane breeding grounds.

Critics of the theory that greenhouse gases are making hurricanes worse remained unconvinced by the latest research.

Chris Landsea, a top hurricane expert, praised the Proceedings paper as a worthwhile contribution to science, but said the authors failed to persuasively counter earlier objections -- that warmer seas would have negligible impact on hurricane activity.

Landsea, science and operations officer at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, noted that modern satellite observations have made hurricanes easier to detect and analyze, and that could foster the impression of long-term trends in hurricane frequency or violence that are, in fact, illusory. The surge in hurricane activity since the mid-1990s is just the latest wave in repeating cycles of hurricane activity, he said.

Philip Klotzbach, a hurricane forecaster at Colorado State University, said that "sea-surface temperatures have certainly warmed over the past century, and ... there is probably a human-induced (global warming) component." But his own research indicates "there has been very little change in global hurricane activity over the past 20 years, where the data is most reliable."

Researchers report in the Proceedings paper an 84 percent chance that at least two-thirds of the rise in ocean temperatures in these so-called hurricane breeding grounds is caused by human activities -- and primarily by the production of greenhouse gases.

Tom Wigley, one of the world's top climate modelers and a co-author of the paper, said in a teleconference last week that the scientists tried to figure out what caused the oceans to warm by running many different computer models based on possible single causes. Those causes ranged from human production of greenhouse gases to natural variations in solar intensity.

Wigley said that when the researchers reviewed the results, they found that only one model was best able to explain changing ocean temperatures, and it pointed to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The most infamous greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a product of human burning of fossil fuels in cars and factories.

Wigley estimated the odds as smaller than 1 percent that ocean warming could be blamed on random fluctuations in hurricane activity, as some scientists suggest.

The debate among scientists was triggered in August 2005, a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, when hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of MIT wrote an article for the journal Nature proposing that since the 1970s, ocean warming had made hurricanes about 50 percent more intense in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Later, two scientific teams, both at Georgia Tech, estimated that warmer sea-surface temperatures were boosting both hurricane intensity and the number of the two worst types of hurricanes, known as Category 4 and Category 5 storms.

Nineteen scientists from 10 institutions were involved in the Proceedings paper. In addition to Lawrence Livermore, other U.S. institutions included Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA, UC Merced, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla (San Diego County), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Santer's co-authors included six Livermore colleagues -- Peter J. Gleckler, Krishna AchutaRao, Jim Boyle, Mike Fiorino, Steve Klein and Karl Taylor -- and 12 other researchers from elsewhere in the United States and from Germany and England.


Assuming that warmer water equals more bad hurricanes, scary times could be ahead for inhabitants of hurricane-prone regions.

That's because "the models that we've used to understand the causes of (ocean warming) in these hurricane formation regions predict that the oceans are going to get a lot warmer over the 21st century," Santer said in a statement. "That causes some concern."
################
You all can argue whether mankind is responsible for global warming....and make an interesting discssuin/debate of it. My money is on the credentialed climatologists. Ignoring this problem will not make it go away.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:29 am

My money is on the credentialed climatologists.


You seem to be implying that there are no 'credentialed climatologists' on the other side of the debate. You should look at Prof. William Gray's credentials. Also, those of Philip Klotzbach, mentioned as one of the skeptics in the article you posted.

Here's an interesting article on the release of greenhouse gases caused by polar ice melting. In it you will find this interesting factoid:

Looking at sediments laid down during the past 30,000 years, they measured the amount of tar left behind by methane seepage and also the temperature at the ocean surface as recorded by the oxygen isotopes included in the shells of tiny sea animals.

Methane emissions peaked between 16,000 to 14,000 years ago and again 11,000 to 10,000 years ago, both periods when glaciers were melting and the ocean was warming.

"Tar deposition lines up with significant periods of warming," Hill said.

The warming climate between glaciations might have destabilized the "frozen" biological methane, causing changes in the sea floor, such as landslides, that increased seepage from below the surface, Hill said. Adding more methane to the atmosphere would have increased the warming trend.

Such natural methane seeps are present around the world, Hill said. Throughout the past several thousand years while climate has been stable, seepage has been relatively constant, but it might increase if the oceans warm significantly.


In other words, 'greenhouse gases' could be a bi-product of warming oceans, not the other way around...

I wonder how that fits into their computer models...

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Postby analog » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:17 pm

There's a huge carbon cycle going on that dwarfs our fossil fuel consumption, namely plants growing and decomposing. We're only a percent or two as big as that natural cycle. Thank God for chlorophyl. We won't change things much in the few decades we've been burning carbon..

Over time of course the trickle we're adding will change things.

I for one refuse to panic. Mankind has time.

Dad was a hurricane forecaster from the late 1930's to the early 70's. He swore hurricane activity was synchronized to the 44 and 77 year sunspot cycles. Sorta hard to check - how good are hurricane records pre 1900? Looking at it from the viewpoint of heat transfer, hurricanes are a way for the planet to shed itself of excess surface heat, sorta mother nature's fire sprinklers. Of course his time was before the weather bureau bought supercomputers and got today's sophisticated models - in his day the forecasters regarded the computer forecasts as 'GIGO'- garbage in garbage out. He'd be amazed at how well they predict hurricanes now.
Last edited by analog on Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:25 pm

They're still GIGO, they're just putting in a better grade of garbage.
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:33 pm

So, when do the computer models predict the globe will start cooling off? (It always does.)
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Postby barfle » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:50 pm

GreatCarouser wrote:Isn't it at all possible his conclusions on this may be based on 'bad science'?

Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe there's enough information to provide us with "good science."
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:10 pm

I will just ask you to ask yourself this; he claims his problems are political, that he's the victim of a 'conspiracy'.


I don't think he has attributed it to a 'conspiracy', unless I missed something in the interview. He indicates that President Clinton's administration started directing NOAA monies towards other viewpoints. That does not a conspiracy make, it simply reeks of politics which, not surprisingly, isn't unusual in Washington.

He's not the first nor the most vocal to point out that research dollars are steered towards those who 'follow the headlines'. The same has been said about cancer research, AIDS research, or any other research that requires researchers to go begging from the Federal trough for funding.

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Postby analog » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:42 pm

BigJon wrote:So, when do the computer models predict the globe will start cooling off? (It always does.)


Some say when the sun eases back a bit from its pesent intense cycle, others say after we get CO2 back down.......
Here's one says the ocean has already cooled down last three years! http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... t-numbers/

The eggheads are working on it,,
I think they'll sort it out over the next ten years...

Lord Kelvin said it:
"In physical science the first essential step in the direction of learning any subject is to find principles of numerical reckoning and practicable methods for measuring some quality connected with it."

The supercomputers are just beginning to find those "principles of numerical reckoning". http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=332

This is a very interesting time in which to live!
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Postby shostakovich » Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:56 pm

I like the advice once given by (possibly) Alfred North Whitehead:

"When all the experts agree on a subject, an observer can only conclude the opposite opinion is unlikely. When the experts are divided, an observer has no right to an opinion."

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Postby Shapley » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:03 pm

Biofuels Threaten To Do More Harm Than Good

I know that someone has already posted this viewpoint before, but here is an article from another source.

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Postby Shapley » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:55 am

Analog asked:
Sorta hard to check - how good are hurricane records pre 1900?


Interesting question. According to hurricane experts, prior to the last hundred years we only have records of hurricanes that made landfall, which represents a fraction of actual hurricanes. The only other record would be from ship's logs of vessels that sailed through - and survived - hurricanes at sea.

I will note that Capt. Joshua Slocum reported that he sailed the Aquidneck through a hurricane off the coast of New York in March of 1886, well outside of the North Atlantic hurricane season. Capt. Slocum was a seasoned sea captain and, it should be expected, would know a hurricane if it hit him in the face. However, that does not mean that the seaman's definition of 'hurricane' in 1886 is the same as a modern climatologist's definition. The seaman's definition is defined by the Beaufort Scale, measured by wind speed and wave action. The weather glass measured rise or fall of barometric pressure, but did not accurately measure the value of barometric pressure. Therefore the definition, even by seasoned sailors, would have been subjective.

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Postby Haggis@wk » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:44 am

NOAA Historical Hurricane Tracker

The hurricanes listed go back to at least 1851 so some method of tracking the hurricanes existed for at least the last 150 years or so.

Caution, it’s tricky to use and your monitor needs to be able to go to 1152 X 864
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Postby jamiebk » Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:18 am

From today's news. I am sure everyone has opinions on this, however, I choose to believe that mankind has been responsible for adding to our warming and that, indeed, we must address it. This will not correct itself. Scientists have now added increased seismic and volcanic activity to the consequences of global warming and reduced ice caps.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15003895/
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:08 pm

Jamie,

The problem with the report is that they cite evidence of warming, but then make the leap that pollution is responisble for it. They do not even attempt to provide evidence that human activity is responsible for it, they just list it as if it is a known fact.

If we are approaching the warmest level in 12,000 years, or even in a million years, what caused the warming 12,000 years or a million years ago? We also do not know what criteria was used to determine what the levels were prior to the existence of accurate measuring devices. This is the basis of the debate on the 'hockey stick'.

I will point out again that evidence that global warming is occuring on Mars should point to a solar source, for which evidence has been shown. In addition, as this article notes - thawing in the arctic regions is autocatalytic - thawing ice exposes soil and rock which trap heat, increasing warming and producing greater rates of thaw - hardly a pollution-related condition, unless you accept that we were responsible for the initial increase in thaw rates - which not all scientists are in agreement on.

Increased volcanic activity will be a corrective action - volcanic ash in the atmosphere reduces the amount of sunlight which reaches the Earth, and results in cooling in the regions affected. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1992, significant global cooling resulted:

The eruption plume of Mount Pinatubo's various gasses and ash reached high into the atmosphere within two hours of the eruption, attaining an altitude of 34 km (21 miles) high and over 400 km (250 miles) wide. This eruption was the largest disturbance of the stratosphere since the eruption of Krakatau in 1883 (but ten times larger than Mount St. Helens in 1980). The aerosol cloud spread around the earth in two weeks and covered the planet within a year. During 1992 and 1993, the Ozone hole over Antarctica reached an unprecedented size.

The cloud over the earth reduced global temperatures. In 1992 and 1993, the average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere was reduced 0.5 to 0.6°C and the entire planet was cooled 0.4 to 0.5°C. The maximum reduction in global temperature occurred in August 1992 with a reduction of 0.73°C. The eruption is believed to have influenced such events as 1993 floods along the Mississippi river and the drought in the Sahel region of Africa. The United States experienced its third coldest and third wettest summer in 77 years during 1992.

Overall, the cooling effects of Mount Pinatubo's eruption were greater than those of the El Niño that was taking place at the time or of the greenhouse gas warming of the planet. Remarkable sunrises and sunsets were visible around the globe in the years following the eruption.


Large increases in volcanic activity would result in significant reductions in global temperature. Over the long term, this would result in a restoration of the artic ice cover and a reversal of the autocatalytic effects of ice thaw.

Just to put things in perspective, iIt is significant to note that the study you cite points to an increase of .2 degrees celsius over thirty years, while Mt. Pinatubo produces twice that level of cooling in one year. It is also worth noting that, while, most articles on Mt. Pinatubo refer to measured global cooling of .4 to .5 degrees centigrate during 1992 and 1993, the article you cited shows a drop of only .2 degrees during that time frame.

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