Saturday, September 24, 2005

This is global warming


I rarely watch network TV, but because of the hurricane coming in, I decided to watch the CBS Evening News last night.

And low and behold, should anyone have any doubts, they assured us that Global warming has nothing to do with these 2 top 5 hurricanes in all of recorded history. They interviewed one guy with NOAA and he did the "we are in a 25 year period of intensity bit". They didn't visit with anyone else about it. I guess it was important enough to talk about but not important enough to talk to anybody else about it.

I mentioned it tonight at dinner and our restaurant host said the same thing.

One should never underestimate the power of a mistruth spoken from the seats of power. We just haven't got the hang of this quite yet. We still think that our institutions are honest.

They are not.

Here is a different view from the Independent, which unfortunately,

CBS is probably not.

This is global warming, says environmental chief
As Hurricane Rita threatens devastation, scientist blames climate change
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 23 September 2005

Super-powerful hurricanes now hitting the United States are the "smoking gun" of global warming, one of Britain's leading scientists believes.

The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. "The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."

In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation."

Sir John's comments follow and support recent research, much of it from America itself, showing that hurricanes are getting more violent and suggesting climate change is the cause.

A paper by US researchers, last week in the US journal Science, showed that storms of the intensity of Hurricane Katrina have become almost twice as common in the past 35 years.

Although the overall frequency of tropical storms worldwide has remained broadly level since 1970, the number of extreme category 4 and 5 events has sharply risen. In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year but, since 1990, they have nearly doubled to an average of about 18 a year.

During the same period, sea surface temperatures, among the key drivers of hurricane intensity, have increased by an average of 0.5C (0.9F).

Sir John said: "Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun. It's a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes."

Asked about characterising them as "loonies", he said: "There are a group of people in various parts of the world ... who simply don't want to accept human activities can change climate and are changing the climate."

"I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer."

In the meantime, Rita has now landed,

New Orleans is flooding again,

And Lake Charles was ground zero.


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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have greatly appreciated your blogs over the past two weeks focusing on our oceans and global warming. Really loved Ms. Bright's poem and also the piece about "Gulf Scream". Who wrote that?

The hardheads who refuse to acknowledge the reality of global warming are regrouping and hunkering down in their psychological bunker. Expect more "scientific" denial of reality before the big collapse...of their reality. In other words, it will get worse before it gets better.

Thanks for the opportunity to post responses.

7:04 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

Thanks for your comment anon. Gulf Scream is part of my "tales from the future" with my life long ficticious partner Jeanelle.

Code Blue is also of that series. http://earthfamilyalpha.blogspot.com/2005/08/code-blue.html

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global Warming.

How many peopel recall the 1935 Dust Bowl? The maps of that drought cover 75 percent of this nation. The present drought is not nearly as extensive but the stress it places on water demand appears to be greater. There was heating in 1935 and one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history hit the Keys in 1935.

There are four tropical waves active right now. It seems that only one is really going to develop at this time.

One of the mitigatng factors that has dampened this years hurricanes (hmmm) is the huge dust cloud over the eastern Atlantic where the tro[ical waves come off the Sahara. The dust cloud is a part of the world weather changes.

And what ever happened to El Nino? That baby used to get blamed for everything in the weather world.

1947 -1969 there were 8.5 days of Cat 3-4 storms in the Atlantic (average)

1970-1987 the number dropped to 2.1

In 1988 and 1989 the number was 9.4 a season of more storms.

1995 up until now was the busiest Hurricne season 11 storms with Tanya being the worst.

1935 has the record low pressure 892 MB and 200 mph winds that destroyed part of the Keys. The same time the USA was suffering the mega drought and heat.

An average 2 major Hurricanes appear ever three years; Cat 3-5
There are an average of 5 landfalls every three years
and an average of 1 Cat 4 every 6 years. Is there a hurricane in the weather haus this year?
Hurricanes are on a 60 to 70 year cysle.

Americans are stuck of course on Hurricanes that hit the USA. Mitch destroyed Central America and there are many others that have blown through Mexico.

2004 saw 9-2/9-24 IVAN
8-9/8-14 Charley
8-25/9-8 Francis
8-18/8-28 Jeanne

Changes in strength of the oceanic currents that distribute heat cause the variation. The term is the Atlantic multidecade oscillation, the thermokaline circultation runs the Atlantic conveyor part of which is the Gulf Steam which in the Gulf itself can reach temperature sin the 90 degree range. From 1995 to 2005 the sea temperatures rose to an average of 83.3 F which doesn't seem all that much when the previous 1985 to 1994 sea temperature was an average of 82.7 which does seem like a big deal but these seemingly tiny variations can cause monsterous events.

And there is the quote from "Our Common Future" a book by Gro. Harlen Brundtland who said "Politics that disregard science and knowledge will not stand the test of time."

"Life is hard." said a Frenchman to his friend Msr. Voltaire. To which Voltaire retorted, "compared to what?"

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global Warming.

How many peopel recall the 1935 Dust Bowl? The maps of that drought cover 75 percent of this nation. The present drought is not nearly as extensive but the stress it places on water demand appears to be greater. There was heating in 1935 and one of the worst hurricanes in recorded history hit the Keys in 1935.

There are four tropical waves active right now. It seems that only one is really going to develop at this time.

One of the mitigatng factors that has dampened this years hurricanes (hmmm) is the huge dust cloud over the eastern Atlantic where the tro[ical waves come off the Sahara. The dust cloud is a part of the world weather changes.

And what ever happened to El Nino? That baby used to get blamed for everything in the weather world.

1947 -1969 there were 8.5 days of Cat 3-4 storms in the Atlantic (average)

1970-1987 the number dropped to 2.1

In 1988 and 1989 the number was 9.4 a season of more storms.

1995 up until now was the busiest Hurricne season 11 storms with Tanya being the worst.

1935 has the record low pressure 892 MB and 200 mph winds that destroyed part of the Keys. The same time the USA was suffering the mega drought and heat.

An average 2 major Hurricanes appear ever three years; Cat 3-5
There are an average of 5 landfalls every three years
and an average of 1 Cat 4 every 6 years. Is there a hurricane in the weather haus this year?
Hurricanes are on a 60 to 70 year cysle.

Americans are stuck of course on Hurricanes that hit the USA. Mitch destroyed Central America and there are many others that have blown through Mexico.

2004 saw 9-2/9-24 IVAN
8-9/8-14 Charley
8-25/9-8 Francis
8-18/8-28 Jeanne

Changes in strength of the oceanic currents that distribute heat cause the variation. The term is the Atlantic multidecade oscillation, the thermokaline circultation runs the Atlantic conveyor part of which is the Gulf Steam which in the Gulf itself can reach temperature sin the 90 degree range. From 1995 to 2005 the sea temperatures rose to an average of 83.3 F which doesn't seem all that much when the previous 1985 to 1994 sea temperature was an average of 82.7 which does seem like a big deal but these seemingly tiny variations can cause monsterous events.

And there is the quote from "Our Common Future" a book by Gro. Harlen Brundtland who said "Politics that disregard science and knowledge will not stand the test of time."

"Life is hard." said a Frenchman to his friend Msr. Voltaire. To which Voltaire retorted, "compared to what?"

7:14 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

if you multliplied .5 degrees times the gallons of water in the ocean times 7.5, you would get the total amount of energy that the half degree represents.

USGS says there is 332 million cubic miles of water. http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleoceans.htm.

there is 125 x 10 to the ninth cu feet in a cu mile.

multiply that by 332 x 10 to the sixth, times 50 times (lbs in cu/ft)x .5 (delta t)

I think that is one million quads.

We use 400 in the world every year.

Of course, the half degree rise probably is not present in the entire volume of water, so the number is clearly smaller than this.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Warming leads to cooling

"Think globally, study locally" could be a mantra for Veerabhadran Ramanathan. The climate expert at Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been intrigued for years by how Earth maintains its balance between incoming sunlight and outgoing long-wave radiation. Now he's bringing the problem to cloud scale, with the help of small unpiloted aircraft that will hug the tops and bottoms of marine cumulus and stratocumulus and fly inside them.

The idea behind the Global Albedo Project (GAP) is to gather the first long-term, up-close measurements of how radiation gets reflected and absorbed by cloud-borne mixtures of pollution, water droplets, and natural aerosols such as dust and salt.

To carry out the precision flying needed for GAP, Ramanathan and senior advisor Joachim Kuettner (UCAR) are teaming with colleagues in aerospace engineering and instrument design. With an NSF grant, they're custom-building a set of lightweight robotic aircraft, also known as unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs), and a set of miniaturized instruments weighing no more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds). Boasting a range on the order of 5000 kilometers (2700 nautical miles), the planes could lead to a new community fleet of research platforms. The project's findings are expected to help global modelers improve their depictions of clouds and aerosols.

How constant is Earth's reflectivity?

If there's a single number that gnaws at Ramanathan, it's 0.30. That's the best estimate of Earth's albedo, the fraction of incoming sunlight that gets reflected to space by clouds and the planet's surface.

The albedo of Earth has obvious and major implications for climate. If Earth reflected just 10% more sunlight (an albedo of 0.33), it could plunge the planet into a climate similar to that of the last ice age. If the albedo dropped to 0.27, the effect would be comparable to a fivefold increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, according to Ramanathan and Kuettner.

Less dramatic variations have emerged in observations and models. The global albedo apparently increased by as much as 2% (about 0.007) for two years after the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. And the second and third versions of the Community Climate System Model reduce albedo by about 3% (or 0.01) over the next 100 years, assuming a 1% annual rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. These data appear in an upcoming paper in the Journal of Climate by NCAR's Jeffrey Kiehl and colleagues.

Global climate models differ in their handling of albedo, given the diversity in how they treat clouds. A May 6 review in Science by Robert Charlson (University of Washington) and colleagues shows differences of more than 5% among the albedos produced by six major models in preindustrial simulations. The values range anywhere from 0.28 to nearly 0.32, depending on the model and the time of year. That's on par with the uncertainty in current estimates of global average albedo provided by satellite measurements.

What concerns Ramanathan and Kuettner is that nobody knows what short- or long-term variations the future may bring, as cloud patterns evolve and ice and vegetation adapt to a changing climate. "There could be a strong variation of the albedo that we don't anticipate," says Kuettner.

Adds Ramanathan, "We have practically no theory of why the planet's albedo should be 0.30. Given this state of the field, and given the fact that clouds exert a large global cooling effect, we need a new approach to cut through the current impasse on this fundamental problem in climate dynamics."

Also in the mix is a flurry of recent studies on "global dimming." Limited data from ground- and satellite-based radiation sensors show that less sunlight was reaching Earth from the 1950s to the 1980s—a drop of several percent per decade across land areas. The culprits seem to be pollution, mainly sulfates and other aerosols, and possibly changes in cloudiness, be it due to natural or anthropogenic causes. Aerosols can shield the sun either directly or indirectly; the latter occurs when they affect the brightness and extent of cloud cover.

"This indirect effect is acknowledged to be the largest source of uncertainty in understanding the human impact on global climate," says Ramanathan. The patchwork nature of dimming, strongest over industrialized parts of the Northern Hemisphere, also points to pollution.

Many scientists quietly acknowledged global dimming early on, but the phenomenon got little notice until the last few years, when better and longer-term data sets became available. New work published this spring in Science by Martin Wild (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and others shows a shift from dimming to brightening since the 1990s, perhaps due to cleaner industry. However, the trend hasn't yet erased all of the late 20th century's dimming.

Ramanathan's own field work supports the dimming hypothesis. "What we found in CEPEX [the 1992 Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean Experiment] was the amount of sunlight that hit the ocean surface was a lot less than the models were predicting. The atmosphere was a lot darker than we thought it would be." The Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) in 1999 produced even more dramatic findings: winter smog blocked up to 20% of the sunlight over parts of the Indian subcontinent and nearby oceans.

For many years, says Ramanathan, researchers who dealt with dimming "were viewed with skepticism, if not contemptuously. The INDOEX results came, and they were delirious."

7:13 AM  

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