Tag Archives: temperature

Legislating away climate change

Earth on Fire

Anthropogenic effects on climate change? GONE!! Legislated away by the BRILLIANT (as always) Republicans in the North Carolina legislature. WHY in the hell didn't we think of doing this a long time ago??!!?

I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry.  Sometimes the complete idiocy (and greed) of human beings initiates both reactions at the same time.  Take the case of North Carolina law makers this week…

If you haven’t seen it, take the time to watch Stephen Colbert’s slant to this story.  It seems that a North Carolina coastal economic development group isn’t happy with scientists.  Darn pesky scientists…they had the GALL to predict that sea level rise would be greater than 3 feet by 2100.  It makes it a LOT harder to sell coastal real estate or convince companies to locate on the North Carolina coast, when all the evidence and science in the world points to that land being underwater in 50 or so years.

So…the economic development group has partnered with Republican (of course!) lawmakers in the state to basically outlaw science!!  The businesspeople and Republican lawmakers simply are saying that scientists are wrong, and that you should ONLY look at what’s happened in the past, to predict future climate change.  None of this fretting over CO2 levels that just reached 400 ppm!!  No fretting about accelerating warming in the polar regions that will melt ice like butter in a blast furnace!! Nah….it’s the REAL ESTATE industry that REALLY knows climate science!!!

So, they’re crafting legislation that would effectively legislate away climate change science!  They would make it North Carolina LAW that any climate projections affecting policy in the state would assume that sea-level rise will simply occur at historical levels, and won’t accelerate as global warming ramps up. 

Simple! Problem solved!  We scientist…SO, so silly, worrying about gathering evidence, analyzing the data, and spitting out facts and figures.  All we really need to do is legislate science away!  Think of the possibilities!  What if the Yellowstone caldera should get frisky and threaten to erupt again?  No need for scientists to study it…just pass a law outlawing the volcano from erupting!  Giant asteroid headed on a collision course with earth?  No problem!! Just legislate it away!!

Unbelievable.  It DOES perfectly represent what the Republican Party represents, however.  After all, we CAN’T have science interfere with real estate and business! If science is butting heads with business interests, is there ever ANY doubt on which side of the argument Republicans will land?   We’ve seen this story a hundred times in other forms…fracking and polluting water supplies, endangered species habitat vs. development, air quality vs. power company lobbyists…it’s the same story every time.  What’s so pathetic is that I’m sure Republican VOTERS in North Carolina are swallowing this hook, line, and sinker, and APPLAUDING their hillbilly legislators for this bold move.

To laugh?  Or to cry?  With each move Republicans make like this, it’s getting harder and harder to laugh about it.

Warmest Spring – Ever

NOAA released some statistics this week showing that this was the warmest spring on record in the United States.   Average temperatures in the lower 48 were an astounding 5.2 degrees warmer than average.  That 5.2 degree deviance was the largest EVER deviation from normal temperatures, for any season, ever in the United States.  The last 12 months have been the warmest 12 months EVER for the United States.  EACH of the three spring months of March, April, and May had temperatures in the top-10 warmest ever for those months….the first time that’s ever happened.  EVERY state, other than Washington, has had above-average temperatures over the last year.

Just more in a long line of temperature records in recent decades.   I haven’t posted anything on climate change for quite some time.  A a scientist, for me, given the actual scientific evidence, it’s an extremely obvious fact of life that climate change is occurring.  As such, I guess it’s not a big story to me any more when news like this comes out…it’s EXPECTED in my mind.  The evidence doesn’t lie.  Climate change isn’t going away…it’s a simple fact of life, just like the sun rising in the morning.

But then I remember that hey, this is America.  Science doesn’t mean anything to a good chunk of the population.  Science has been replaced by political or religious ideology for FAR too many people…one factor that’s leading to the decline of America as the world’s leader in science.   When some new data comes in, such as the spring temperature numbers for the U.S., perhaps I SHOULD make a bigger deal out of the data…not for my OWN sake, but for the sake of all the wackos out there who refuse to acknowledge what’s happening right before their very eyes.

I’m 45.  In my lifetime, I’m not concerned that climate change will make the earth uninhabitable.  In my lifetime, I’m only a little concerned that there will be drastic social and political upheaval due to climate change.  But…I also have a 9-year old son.  In HIS lifetime?  I have NO doubt that climate change will have a profound impact in the second half of his life. 

So…when numbers like this come out…when there are reports of Arctic sensors detecting 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere for the first time ever…I SHOULD make a big deal out of it.  Not that the wackos will listen…which I find puzzling. 

I care about the world my son will inherit.  I’m not sure anymore that most Americans care about ANYTHING, other than their own personal, short-term satisfaction.

British Petroleum, you owe me $71.91 in Cherries!!!!

Cherries

Yummmmmm...Cherries. COMPLETELY due to the actions of British Petroleum, I am in danger of losing a 2nd straight cherry crop this spring.

It’s 7:30 pm.  It’s March 12th.  I live in South Dakota.  Despite these three facts, I just got back from walking the dog, wearing just jeans and a t-shirt.   It just continues what has been a remarkably warm and mild winter.  I look at the forecast for the next 10 days, and all I see are highs in the 60s and 70s, approaching 80 on some days(!!!).  The LOWEST temperature predicted for the next 10 days is 37, tonight.  After that, there are no days predicted with lows below 42 degrees.  MARCH…SOUTH DAKOTA…STILL WINTER…and yet there are no temperatures predicted to even APPROACH freezing for the next 10 days.  Remarkable.

And how does that relate to British Petroleum (BP), or cherries?   Good question!  As I got back from my walk, I noticed that my hostas next to the house are starting to poke their heads out of the ground.  Have I mentioned this is early March?  Have I mentioned this is South Dakota?  I usually consider May 12th, 2 MONTHS from now, too early to plant, as we’re still likely to get frosts after that date.  But here we are on March 12th, and I have perennials starting to poke out.  And therein lies the relationship to cherries.  I have 3 cherry trees in the backyard.  Given the weather, I have NO doubt that my cherry crop will suffer the same fate it suffered last year.  Last year we had a warm stretch in the spring, followed by the typical frosts.  I lost the blooms on my cherries, and didn’t have a single cherry on any of my three trees.  Given the incredibly warm weather we’re having now, once again, I think I’m likely to lose my cherry crop, as we will inevitably get more hard freezes after this very early warm weather.

And hence the link to BP!  Ok, it doesn’t necessarily have to be just BP, it could be Exxon, Shell, or any other oil company.  I’m using them as a scapegoat, as a representative, of all the fossil fuel producing corporations.  I’m a scientist.  I know I can’t directly relate the record-breaking warmth we’re having to global warming.  One warm stretch can’t be directly attributable to climate.  But this will be the SECOND year in a row I will be cherry-less!!  Still not enough to attribute to global warming, but I don’t care!  I’m panicking!!  I’m distraught!  No cherries!! No fresh cherry pie!! No cherry preserves!! No working in the back yard and snarfing down on fresh cherries!!

I am choosing to blame BP, in lieu of blaming all of humanity.   I therefore am sending an invoice to BP for damages.  If I am not paid in FRESH CHERRIES (to heck with the cash, give me the cherries, BP!), I will sue!!   My list of damages are as follows:

- 10 pounds of fresh cherries from this year’s crop (I just have 3 little trees right now).   At $3.99 a pound, that comes to $39.99.

- 8 pounds of fresh cherries from last year’s crop.  My small trees were even smaller last year, hence 2 pounds less of an estimated “crop”.  Damage estimate – $31.92

- 1 destroyed cherry tree.  I USED to have four cherry trees in the back yard.  Last spring, we had a monster of a windstorm, and one of my little cherry trees just snapped in two, right at the base.  Research has shown that global warming will cause an increase in destructive storm events.  It’s just one storm, but…I don’t care!!  BP, I am blaming you!!!! Damage estimate – $129.99 (that’s roughly how much the trees cost).

- Pain and suffering.  Can you imagine anything in the world that’s more traumatic than looking out your window during a thunderstorm, and seeing one of your prize cherry trees snap in two?  Well…OK, so can I.  But I was suffering for a few minutes there!!  Damages – $7.58.  

If my math is correct, I therefore am owed $71.91 worth of fresh cherries, plus $137.57 in cold hard cash to replace my destroyed cherry tree, and for pain and suffering!!  BP!  Consider this blog post to be an invoice!!  You have 30 days to submit payment, or my crack team of lawyers will be in touch!!!

Oceans acidifying at fastest rate in 300 million years

Earth on Fire

Climate change skeptics...it's not just the temperature change, the measurable change in atmospheric composition, or the measurable change in ocean acidity. It's the completely unprecedented RATE of change that points to a human hand behind today's climate change.

Those that try to deny climate change is occurring, or try to deny that humans are influencing climate change, point to changes in atmospheric composition, temperature, or other climate related variables that have occurred in the past.  Climate change idiots skeptics point out that temperature increases have occurred in the past, or that carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere have occurred in the past.  All true, but what they purposely do not address is the RATE of change that is occurring.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have skyrocketed since the industrial revolution.  In geologic time, it’s a blink of an eye, rising from 280 parts per million to nearly 400 ppm today.  Over the past 500,000 years ago, carbon dioxide levels have naturally fluctuated…but only in a range between about 200 and 300 ppm.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels today are likely the highest they’ve been in over 20 million years. 

Again, however, climate change idiots skeptics point out that atmospheric carbon dioxide rates were much higher in the far distant past.  It’s true, as CO2 levels in the atmosphere were once much higher than they are even today.   Besides the fact that the earth’s climate when CO2 levels were once 600 ppm or higher wouldn’t be very conducive to support today’s massive human population, the point that climate change idiots skeptics miss is the incredibly rapid rate of change over the past 200 years.  It’s not just that today’s atmospheric CO2 levels are so historically high compared to the last 20 million years, it’s the astonishing rate of increase over just a 200 year period, a period that just happens to correspond perfectly to industrialization and the widespread use of fossil fuels.

Last week Science published a paper that talked about effects increased atmospheric CO2 are having on ocean acidity, stating that oceans today are acidifying at the fastest rate in at least 300 million years.  As the authors of the paper note, “What we’re doing today really stands out in the geologic record.”   It’s impossible to deny the correlation between human impacts on land-use change and use of fossil fuels, and the incredibly rapid increase in atmospheric CO2.  This study on ocean acidification further strengthens the empirical evidence linking human activity with an unprecedented rate of change in atmospheric and ocean chemistry.  

I’m sure climate change idiots skeptics (and industry and politicians on the right who back them) are hard at work behind the scenes right now, trying to come up with a way to dispute the findings in this paper.  From a scientific standpoint, you keep waiting for the day when the empirical evidence is so overwhelming that even climate change idiots skeptics can’t deny it any more.   Hell, the evidence ALREADY is so overwhelming that any rational human being can’t deny it.  Unfortunately we are either a) not dealing with rational human beings, or b) those in industry or those with political motivations for denying climate change KNOW it’s happening, but are purposely trying to distort the truth for their own political or economic gain.  The latter is obviously true, as I have NO doubt that those in the fossil fuel industries KNOW climate change is occurring, and that we are to blame. I have NO doubt that politicians will PUBLICLY act like climate-change deniers, actually know the truth but are lying for political gain.

Climate Skeptic Converted: Still a Jerk

Temperature Data

Muller and the Berkeley group have simply replicated what everybody else has already shown with temperature data, yet Muller says until his results, people should have been skeptical.

I previously posted that Richard Muller, a former skeptic that the earth was warming, was “converted” when he himself conducted a 2-year study to examine global temperature data.  Prior to conducting his own investigation, he claimed skepticism over the way the data were analyzed.  After his group examined the data themselves, they came to the exact same conclusions as every other climate scientist…the earth is warming. 

So why am I saying he’s still a jerk?  When asked about the study, Muller said “The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago.”   He goes on to say “and NOW we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias.”

Muller really sounds like a jerk.   Practically every climate scientist on the planet had looked at the temperature data and saw the obvious conclusion that the earth is warming.  But Muller is basically implying that there could be no confidence in the temperature data until HE looked at it.  Scientists can be pompous jackasses.   Some skepticism is obviously good in science, as all theories need to be examined with a critical eye.   But what Muller is basically saying is that it is HIS approach that has somehow confirmed the temperature rise in the data, and that previous efforts should be examined with skepticism…despite his results looking EXACTLY like previous results.

I guess when you’ve made as much of a fool of yourself like Muller did, this is his own personal way of saving face.