Droughts show global warming is "scientific fact"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Brass, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Brass


    NASA researcher's study 'reframes the question,' UVic professor says

    The Associated Press Posted: Aug 4, 2012 10:49 PM ET

    The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States, Canada and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare it can't be anything but man-made global warming, according to a new statistical analysis from a top American scientist.

    The research by a man often called the "godfather of global warming" says that, from the 1950s through the 1980s, the likelihood of such sweltering temperatures occurring was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to the study by James Hansen. The NASA scientist says that statistically, what's happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change.

    James E. Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says global warming is no longer 'some scientific theory.' (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)"This is not some scientific theory," Hansen told The Associated Press in an interview. "We are now experiencing scientific fact."

    Hansen is a scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and a professor at Columbia University. He is also a strident activist who has called for government action to curb greenhouse gases for years. While his study was published online Saturday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, it is unlikely to sway opinion among the remaining climate change skeptics.

    Several climate scientists are praising his new work.

    In a blunt departure from most climate research, Hansen's study — based on statistics, not the more typical climate modelling — blames three heat waves purely on global warming:

    The 2011 drought that devastated Texas and Oklahoma.
    The 2010 heat waves in Russia and the Middle East, which led to thousands of deaths.
    The 2003 European heat wave blamed for tens of thousands of deaths, especially among the elderly in France.
    The analysis was written before the current drought and record-breaking temperatures that have seared much of the United States and Central Canada this year. But Hansen believes this is simply another prime example of global warming at its worst.

    Simple mathematics
    The new research makes the case for the severity of global warming in a different way than most scientific studies and uses simple mathematics instead of relying on complex climate models or an understanding of atmospheric physics. It also doesn't bother with the usual caveats about individual weather events having numerous causes.

    The increase in the chance of extreme heat, drought and heavy downpours in certain regions is so huge that scientists should stop hemming and hawing, Hansen said. "This is happening often enough, over a big enough area, that people can see it happening," he said.

    Scientists have generally responded that it's impossible to say whether single events are caused by global warming, because of the influence of natural weather variability. However, that position has been shifting in recent months, as other studies have concluded climate change is happening right before our eyes.

    Hansen hopes his new study will shift people's thinking about climate change and goad governments into action. He wrote an op-ed piece that appeared online Friday in the Washington Post.

    "There is still time to act and avoid a worsening climate, but we are wasting precious time," he wrote.

    The science in Hansen's study is excellent "and reframes the question," said Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia who was a member of the Nobel Prize-winning international panel of climate scientists that issued a series of reports on global warming.

    "Rather than say, 'Is this because of climate change?' That's the wrong question. What you can say is, 'How likely is this to have occurred with the absence of global warming?' It's so extraordinarily unlikely that it has to be due to global warming," Weaver said.

    For years scientists have run complex computer models using combinations of various factors to see how likely a weather event would happen without global warming and with it. About 25 different aspects of climate change have been formally attributed to man-made greenhouse gases in dozens of formal studies. But these are generally broad and non-specific, such as more heat waves in some regions and heavy rainfall in others.

    Another upcoming study by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at the U.S. National Centre for Atmospheric Research, links the 2010 Russian heat wave to global warming by looking at the underlying weather that caused the heat wave. He called Hansen's paper an important one that helps communicate the problem.

    Disagreement likely
    But there is bound to be continued disagreement. Previous studies had been unable to link the two, and one by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that the Russian drought, which also led to devastating wildfires, was not related to global warming.

    White House science adviser John Holdren praised the paper's findings in a statement. But he also said it is true that scientists can't blame single events on global warming: "This work, which finds that extremely hot summers are over 10 times more common than they used to be, reinforces many other lines of evidence showing that climate change is occurring and that it is harmful."

    Skeptical scientist John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville said Hansen shouldn't have compared recent years to the 1950s-1980s time period because he said that was a quiet time for extremes. But Derek Arndt, director of climate monitoring for the U.S. government's National Climatic Data Center, said that range is a fair one and often used because it is the "golden era" for good statistics.

    Granger Morgan, head of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Penn., called Hansen's study "an important next step in what I expect will be a growing set of statistically based arguments."

    In a landmark 1988 study, Hansen predicted that if greenhouse gas emissions continue, which they have, Washington, D.C., would have about nine days each year of 35 C or warmer in the decade of the 2010s. So far this year, with about four more weeks of summer, the city has had 23 days with the temperature reaching at least 35 C.

    © The Associated Press, 2012

  2. Lucrum


    Quick! We need severe carbon taxes on the rich so it can be inefficiently redistributed to the poor. Problem solved.
  3. Wallet


    I guess the droughts in the 1930's that led to the dust bowl were global warming? I think you could explain it better using 40 year weather cycles..........

    You Global Warming nuts need to take your dog and pony show over to China and the likes. U.S. carbon emissions have been going down over the last several years while emerging nation levels are exponential.
  4. Polls show that as late as 1997, Republicans and Democrats had virtually indistinguishable views on the science of global warming. But an aggressive campaign by the fossil fuel industry and conservative think tanks to cast doubt about the scientific evidence that human activity is warming the planet changed that. Today, public understanding of climate science reflects a deep division along partisan lines. Tea Party Republicans are particularly inclined to deny the reality of global warming, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.

    Public reaction to another prominent congressional hearing, however, suggests that doubt-mongering has its limits. In 1994, the chief executives of the nation’s seven largest tobacco companies appeared before a House committee hearing. For three decades, their industry had invested heavily in a campaign to mislead the public about the health risks of cigarettes. Then, in the spotlight of national television, and in the face of persistent educational efforts by public health scientists, the executives testified that they believed nicotine was not addictive, and that smoking did not cause cancer.

  5. Arnie


    It was written before the recent spate of record heat and drought across the nation, but Hansen said the weather fits the pattern identified in the paper.

    If the researchers had picked a longer period that included the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the Texas heat waves of the 1950s they would not have found such extreme differences, said John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville

    What a relief to read that all that is needed to counter climate change is...

    wait for it...........

    not yet.......

    A NEW TAX !!
  6. In the scientific field of climate studies – which is informed by many different disciplines – the consensus is demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change – and that’s nearly all of them. A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject 'global climate change' published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way, focusing on methods or paleoclimate analysis (Oreskes 2004).

    Several subsequent studies confirm that “...the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (Doran 2009). In other words, more than 95% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

    We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

    In the field of climate science, the consensus is unequivocal: human activities are causing climate change.
  7. Eight


    Your audience here is about 50 people, 45 of which think you are a complete jagoff.. Last night on the Coast to Coast radio show, listened to by tens of millions, a longtime global temperature expert refuted everything in the recent "finds".

    Don't forget to set your hair on fire and run in circles screaming "mankind is horrible, they've got to be enslaved!!!!!!!"
  8. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

    Two years ago, we were talking about the record low winter temperatures. I had like 9 feet of snow in two weeks living in Baltimore, it was insane. My wife (who is from Russia) said she had never seen snow like that in her life.
  9. What? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit. Link please.

    The science is overwhelming. There is no debate among climate scientists that man's additions of CO2 into the atmosphere is causing the earth to warm up. None. The Koch bros of all people funded a recent study by a scientist who was previously a skeptic. Guess what? He is no longer a skeptic.

    Anyone denying man-made global warming might as well wear a sign proclaiming that they are an idiot.
  10. You do know that by trotting "evidence" like this out, you prove that you are totally clueless about climate.

    The stupidity you show is breathtaking.

    I'm starting to think that the few GW deniers left are simply mentally retarded.
    #10     Aug 7, 2012