Posting in Cities
Hurricane Irene swept Eastern United States over the weekend. Is climate change to blame for Irene? We interviewed science and political journalist Chris Mooney to find out.
Although Hurricane Irene may have weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached New York, it still shut the city that never sleeps down over the weekend and left a trail of destruction along the East Coast. Some are telling their stories though social media and are reporting damages by crowd sourcing it. But numbers say more: Irene caused an estimated $7 billion in damages and killed 21. Still, many Americans are at risk of power outages and flooding, as rivers swell past their banks.
In due time, East Coast residents will repair damages and we will perhaps remember this storm as something everyone was worried about (but in the end, it wasn't as bad as it could have been).
To get some perspective, I asked Chris Mooney, the author of Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, about Hurricane Irene and what it might mean for the future of coastal cities. Mooney is a science and political journalist, and writes for the blog, The Intersection. Mooney is a New Orleans native, but lives in Washington D.C.
I caught up with him while he was on business trip in Mississippi.
SmartPlanet: Lucky you, you missed the hurricane! Did you think it was going to be bad?
CM: The forecasts said it was going to be a tropical storm in DC, so I moved a few bits of outdoor furniture in, and locked up. But I didn't think it was going to be very bad there, no. I did change my flight because I was afraid that it might not get out on Sunday. But now it seems DC is functioning normally.
SmartPlanet: You're from New Orleans, so Katrina personally impacted you. How does Hurricane Irene compare to Katrina?
CM: To me there's hardly any comparison. Irene was, at its peak, a Category 3 hurricane, and a Category 1 at landfall in the United States. Katrina was a terrifying Category 5 whose minimum central pressure dropped down to 902 millibars.
We got worked up about Irene because of the track the storm was on--and it did focus needed attention on the vulnerability of New York City.
But I'm afraid to say, an East Coast hurricane will arrive some day with the potential to do vastly more damage than Irene.
SmartPlanet: Now millions are without power. The storm surge is causing flooding. What do you think the long term impact of a storm like this will have? What's the solution?
CM: The upshot is that if a Category 1 hurricane can do this to the East Coast, just imagine a stronger storm, surfing atop a higher sea caused by global warming.
We can't move coastal cities. We should be building vastly stronger sea defenses right now, before it is too late. That goes for New York most of all.
SmartPlanet: As climate change raises sea level, it might intensify hurricanes. Can you explain this?
CM: Global warming has already raised sea levels somewhat, so every storm can push water further inland before. Global warming probably also increases the rainfall of each storm, once that storm comes to exist--and this may exacerbate damaging flooding.
But beyond that, I find it odd to try to link global warming to a Category 1 landfalling storm that just happened to be on a particular track up the East Coast. There are hurricanes every year, and where Irene ended up had vastly more to do with the atmospheric steering currents than anything else.
That said, there are many cities in the U.S. that are deeply vulnerable to storm surges from powerful hurricanes, and global warming only makes this risk worse over time. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg, Houston/Galveston, and New York/Long Island are among the most vulnerable, and all need to be taking steps to protect themselves.
SmartPlanet: Well Hurricane Irene was the first hurricane of the season. Any idea what the rest of the hurricane season holds?
CM: I expect several more hurricanes this year, and perhaps a few more very strong ones. We're nearing the peak of the season, but the busiest time continues until late October.
Sometimes, as in 2004 when four hurricanes hit Florida, the steering patterns set up a certain way for a season and the storms follow similar tracks. Let's hope this isn't a year like that.
Related on SmartPlanet:
Aug 28, 2011
History is watching this CO2 madness: ???Change is all around us. ??? Climate Blame was modern day omen worship and REAL planet lovers are happy and relieved a CO2 crisis was proven to be a tragic exaggeration exploited by well-intentioned scientists. Fear is always unsustainable and the new fear mongering neocons are the goose-stepping CO2 conformists. This former believer will no longer take part in this needless panic that has condemned billions of children to a CO2 death for 25 years. There are real consequences for inciting this ???climate riot??? those guilty parties will be in jail at some point. Call the courthouse now. U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001 By Phone: Department of Justice Main Switchboard -202-514-2000 Office of the Attorney General Public Comment Line -202-353-1555 Climate Blame was a sick and tragic exaggeration that made fools out of all of us.
This is the real problem. We have all become so advanced, especially in communication, that as a species, we begin self loathing. I know a single volcanic eruption can wipe out the savings from 10 years of global CF bulb use, or a solar flare, (Yes Al Gore, the Sun is actually hotter than it is a few KM below the Earths surface.) can change weather patterns in a heartbeat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnpdjXIZVro Yet isn't it so temptiing to believe that through our trivial existence, that we have total influence over the climate? Then we can hate ourselves for it. There is a solution for the climate change self loathing problem. Either get a real purpose in life or drastically reduce the number of climate change experts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd07629ezHE Just assembling a preponderance of experts, to agree on something, does not make it a fact. In fact many great scientific advancements have been made in contradiction to the preponderance of expert opinion. The experts were using computer models 40 years ago that indicated CO2 would cause and Ice Age, when is that going to happen? http://www.sciencemag.org/content/173/3992/138.abstract I for one am most worried about who is managing the Earth's thermostat. You know the type: 'temperature nazi', can't ever just leave it be. You're either freezing your axx off or sweating to the 80s, with them around. If we manage to turn the tide on global warming, who will make sure it doesn't get too cold? If I leave my solar calculator on, will it wear out the sun? Meanwhile I have been enjoying one of the coolest summers in memory, here in the desert. If that's climate change, I'll take it.
I find articles like this really absurd. All the predictions lately are just laughable...I've seen better acts watching late night ads for "psychics". make your prediction general enough and something will happen to fulfill it. What happens if you're right? Do you get to go around and tell everyone you were right once? Get a Bozo Button or Bucky Beaver Badge? Free parking? Oh yeah, you become a so-called expert because you threw the dice and came up lucky one time. What happened to putting science and research behind articles instead of just spouting whatever excretia that sounds like it will sell. If I wanted that, I'd watch the evening news. I read the articles on this site to get the "scientific" point of view on events (I think I'm going to have to re-think that after reading this article) and to see what new technology is being developed. Can some real facts and figures be provided showing trends that back up a prediction that "more hurricanes will make landfall on the East Coast". What's next Nostradamus? Will CA experience more earthquakes? I agree that something should to be done to protect our cities from natural disasters, be they hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, locusts, dogs and cats living together, etc; but articles like this don't so that...This is just a poor attempt at scare tactics and shouldn't have been given the space on this type of website...As someone stated above...re-post this on "MistakeSNBC" and keep it off this site. My prediction is that this type of article will become the norm...No answers, just an attempt to scare people into doing something, but no suggestions as to what should be done. Regards, ~DF
"But I???m afraid to say, an East Coast hurricane will arrive some day with the potential to do vastly more damage than Irene." Yeah? And someday, I might pick the right Powerball numbers. Are you serious? What a loada crap! Is this what passes for SmartPlanet-ness?
The catch-all title people have chosen to use when referring to a very common shift in cooler/hotter temperatures, "Climate Change", is not a satisfactory description for the uber-inclement weather beatings people the world over have lost family, friends, businesses and homes over. The Earth has gone through gradual pole shifting that has NOTHING to do with an earthquake or (whatever nonsensical NASA science article claimed that one) the amount of recycling we haven't been doing. The sun is hotter, is flaring (coronal mass ejections) in a big and regular way and the humans on this planet are engaged in more wars that involve more people right now than probably at any other time in its history. I really think the collective physical, atmospheric and spiritual pressure are more to blame than anything "An Inconvenient Truth" could possibly point a finger at.
Not this year. This was "I" and it wasn't so bad. What about A-H? They weren't so bad this year either. One of the big reason damages are so high is inflation... Thing cost more now that they did in the past. A Cat 1 hurricane may cause 1$ Billion in damage today, but 30 years ago the same storm in the same place may have caused maybe only $400 Million or so in damages.
Is that an absolute unsidupted truth? It's obnoxious when writers/bloggers/whoevers just state something as a fact as if a reader must start with that particular assumption. Go write for MistakeSNBC fellow.
Cyclical events since dirt. We are basing events using a monitory barometer meaning by an example what was damage in the multi millions in the 1980s is now in the billions today.
I'm British, but I think America should start a tree planting program; maybe start on the edge of deserts and work your way inwards? Just a thought... Better than decimating them like what has been done in parts of Oregon (away from the highways so the simple people don't see).
As a meteorologist, I hate these misleading articles. Actually, the article was mostly ok, but the headline was terribly misleading. Chris Mooney's comments were mostly on the mark. Yes, climate change is happening. Yes, humans likely play a significant role. But beyond that, there is little consensus in atmospheric science. The link between global warming and hurricanes is very weak at best. There hasn't been a landfall in the USA is six years. The impact of more and more humans moving into hurricane prone areas dwarfs any possible impact of climate change. The policy of national flood insurance which encourages building in dangerous areas, dwarfs any impact of global warming.
If you need proof, visit the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change website for scientific backup: http://www.ipcc.ch CO2 will never fall below pre-Industrial Revolution #s so our whole planet's ecology is changing. I'm not saying Canada and Russia will be deserts anytime soon, but there is serious mitigation needed.
The experts were using computer models 40 years ago that indicated CO2 would cause and (sic) Ice Age, when is that going to happen? http://www.sciencemag.org/content/173/3992/138.abstract Read the abstract again. The potential for an ice age was because of increasing aerosols, not CO2. It plainly stated that increasing CO2 increases surface temperatures and that the effect diminishes as the level of CO2 increases which is well known. Regarding predictions of an ice age, a survey was done of papers published from 1965 to 1979. It found over 40 papers on global warming and only 7 on global cooling and the possibility of an ice age. http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/131047.pdf
To stay current, if a storm like the cat 2 Donna of 1960 hit today following the same track you would likely see more damage than Katrina because more people are in harms way because of bad coastal development regulation. To go old school, god bless us if another storm like the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 hits the east coast on the same track. Based on historic damage records it was a cat 5 when it hit Jamestown Virginia and a cat 4 when it hit Plymouth Massachusetts. At the time the only known population centers in North America. A storm that strong following that track would kill many more than Irene. A big storm like those happens once in a while. To say global warming has anything to do with it happening again is to ignore history.
...other than CO2. I think the "pole shift" is a big one, since it is the magnetic field of our planet that determines exactly how radiation from the sun is absorbed, dispersed, or deflected. Strangely enough, this doesn't seem to get much attention in the big "climate debate". Actually, it's not so strange. It doesn't get attention because it doesn't get funded like the CO2 research does, because the political establishment doesn't care. Fluctuations in solar output and magnetic pole shifts can't in any way be blamed upon mankind, whereas CO2 is the perfect man-made boogieman that can be used as a pretense to execute various political agendas that would be rejected outright otherwise.
There are more trees in America today than there were 100 years ago. Increasing efficiencies in farming has driven farmers off marginal land, which has been allowed to either go native or gets redeveloped for other uses. (Usually with new trees planted)
It's OK for you to continue breathing. But if you care about climate change like you say you do, please don't exhale.
What sort of mitigation did you have in mind? Mitigation of what? We have somehow decided that the climate that has existed within our own puny lifetimes is somehow the ideal climate for the planet. I live 200 miles from the North Carolina coast. 200,000 years ago, this was beachfront property. Which coast line is the correct coast line?
...as it has been since the first two particles of dust were drawn together to form this planet. The debate is over the degree that human contributions of CO2 plays into it. And as we've hashed over in countless debates here, the poor joke that is the IPCC has long since been disregarded as the "gold standard" of climate science.
The Day After Tomorrow is based on the well documented theory that excess man made C02 in the atmosphere would cause enough warming that it would melt to much ice from Greenland and the Artic in general. The excess fresh water dumped into the ocean over a relatively short time of 100 or so years would trigger a shut down of the North Atlantic current. The loss of warm water moving northward would trigger an ice age. The modern theory is based in large part on the belief that the sudden release of massive amounts of fresh water from glacial Lake Agassiz triggered one of the past ice ages by causing a similar global current disruption.
The Day After Tomorrow is based on the well documented theory that excess man made C02 in the atmosphere would cause enough warming that it would melt too much ice from Greenland and the Artic in general. The excess fresh water dumped into the ocean over a relatively short time of 100 years would trigger a shut down of the North Atlantic current. The loss of warm water moving northward would trigger an ice age. The modern theory is based in large part on the belief that the sudden release of massive amounts of fresh water from glacial Lake Agassiz triggered one of the past ice ages by causing a similar global current disruption.
The jury is still out, as the frequency is increasing in some parts of the globe and decreasing in other areas. The consensus opinion, by the International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones did say this, however: ???It is likely that some increase in tropical cyclone peak wind-speed and rainfall will occur if the climate continues to warm. Model studies and theory project a 3-5% increase in wind-speed per degree Celsius increase of tropical sea surface temperatures. http://www.onestorm.org/prepare/storms-explained/hurricanes/ClimatologyFaq.aspx
It's all well and good to make suppositions like a shift in the magnetic field of the Earth. Now go do the science that shows the mechanism for that to affect climate. Until you can show a causal link it's just hand waving. The climate scientists have done the science to show how CO2 can affect the energy balance of the planet.
Keep showing people how stupid you are. The CO2 you and other living things exhale is not now and has never been a issue. It is a natural part of the carbon cycle and comes from CO2 that was originally absorbed by the plants that you ate (or the animals you eat ate). It's a stupid meaningless argument that the CO2 you exhale is an issue in any way.
...particularly the ones who ignore clear, overwhelming evidence that the way they do things is not sustainable. In case you haven't read your history, the Maya, the civilizations of the fertile crescent, the society on Easter Island, the Viking settlements in Greenland, etc. are all examples of such cultures. When faced with ecological evidence that they could not continue to live the way they were living, they chose not to change and collapsed as a result. We're no different. So climate change IS normal, but if we continue down the path we are heading, that change will overwhelm any capability for most of global culture to adapt, resulting in collapse. That's good enough reason for me to want to stay within the parameters of climate that has existed since the receding of the last ice age, thank you.
The radical environmental movement possesses a mythical impression of what America looked like around 1820 (the dawn of the industrial revolution) and any deviation from that standard is considered a human-caused aberration.
"The debate is over the degree that human contributions of CO2 plays into it." In the climate science field there isn't that much debate about this. The increase in atmospheric CO2 levels is obviously largely a result of human fossil fuel consumption.
I found "The Day After Tomorrow" to be wild fantasy with no real basis in reality. The draining of Lake Agassiz did not trigger an ice age, just the relatively short (1300 years) cooling period of the Younger Dryas. I don't expect even the collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet would fast enough to trigger another such event because it still wouldn't come close to the speed of draining Lake Agassiz which occurred over a period of weeks or months.
Show me the statistically significant numbers to back up your assertion, please. Until then, I'd have to go with the conclusions of the International Workshop that says that it is premature to say either way--yet. And it is a physical certainty that with more heat energy stored that over the long run the frequency of severe hurricanes will increase.
Larger more damaging storms hit more often in the 1600s and 1700s. You never hear about it because so few people were here back then and there were no news crews to hype it. The bigger storms to hit New England all pre date 1900. While extremely destructive in its own right, comparatively speaking, the cat 2 Donna that hit New England in 1960 was weak compared to the older cat 3, 4 and 5 storms. It has been over 200 years since a cat 3 storm or better hit New England. Yet we had 3 in the 100 years prior to that.
It has become a moving debate as the real facts are cleared up and the often-shouted warming claims are either validated or brought into question. Lately there has been more questioning than validation. One has to wonder if this flood of data questioning warming that is coming from the likes of NASA is because the coordinated efforts out of East Anglia to defend warming has been shut down. It is very possible that scientists with valid questions about the warming claims that are based on solid data and sound science are no longer afraid of having their careers destroyed by the East Anglia cabal when taking on the warming movement with valid scientific arguments.
...the science would probably get more attention. But it's hardly "casual" or "hand waving". Solar cycles are well documented and correlated. But again, since these theories do not support the political agendas of those supporting the science, it will continue to linger in the shadows.
I think you replied to the wrong comment. John questioned the role that human contributions of CO2 played in the current climate change. I pointed out that human contributions were responsible for the bulk of the increase in CO2. There is no debate of any consequence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it has certain absorption characteristics in the IR band which is the other part of the equation. You say that the rise in temperature is due to a natural trend but according to the scientists who study this the natural factors other than greenhouse gas levels would lead you to expect a cooling trend in the 1950's. There is no missing heat, it's just in places we can't easily measure it right now. I'm perfectly willing to change my mind about this as soon as someone presents some real science that refutes the current understanding. It hasn't happened yet.
Riverat, I really think you must be suffering from attention deficit disorder. John McGrew makes the intelligent comment: "Climate Change" is real......as it has been since the first two particles of dust were drawn together to form this planet. The debate is over the degree that human contributions of CO2 plays into it." You reply: "In the climate science field there isn't that much debate about this. The increase in atmospheric CO2 levels is obviously largely a result of human fossil fuel consumption. Riverat, take a very deep breath and try to focus. John McGrew wasn't arguing that most of the increase in CO2 levels in the last 50 years or so was natural. We all know it has been due to the increasing pace of industrialisation since World War 2. The debate John was raising is about why, given this anthropogenic increase, we haven't seen a significant rise in the earth's average temperature, out of line with the natural, gently rising trend in the historical record. So please don't try and switch the argument towards a non-issue. The actual debate is about the climate's sensitivity to increases in CO2. The IPCC reported that it was going to be big. But in reality it is turning out to be so small as to be indistinguishable from natural climate fluctuation. This "travesty of the missing heat" is why man-made global warming alarmism is now wrecked on the shores of reality. As John Keynes famously said during a fierce economics debate: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"
How about the unintended consequences occurring due to our excessive use of fossil fuels. That's as much fiddling with the climate as any other thing we might try. What is required to stop the effects (or at least keep them at a manageable level) is to stop increasing the level of atmospheric CO2 and take it back to around 350 ppmv or less as quickly as possible. The options proposed range upon mere political changes to reducing our standard of living to that of Afghanistan to eliminating 99.99 percent of the human population. You're setting up some pretty extreme straw men there. Nobody sane is proposing we reduced our standard of living to that of Afghanistan or eliminate 99.99% of human population. Just because you can't imagine powering our civilization by means other than fossil fuels doesn't mean it's not possible. You know, if we don't change our ways the changes in the natural world from global warming could break our civilization anyway. I'd rather try to be proactive about the changes heading our way.
I am not convinced that we have the understanding, much less the wisdom to take on intentionally "mitigating" the climate, especially when it's clear that we don't completely understand how it works in the first place. (If this was the case, all of the ethical monkey business with much of the AGW community would not have been necessary) If history is any indication, the unintended consequences are likely to be worse than the problem we think we're fixing. And remember than even within the community of "consensus" that believes that CO2 is wholly responsible for everything bad, there is absolutely no consensus on what would be required to stop the effects, what would be required to reverse the effects, or if the effects are even stoppable in the first place. The options proposed range upon mere political changes to reducing our standard of living to that of Afghanistan to eliminating 99.99 percent of the human population. And yes, or economic infrastructure is far more brittle than most people know. Ironically enough, the social/political/economic agenda of many in the warmist community seems determined to break what stability still exists within it. Well, that will be one way of reducing the population.
We can adapt by mitigating the causes of climate change, or we can adapt by mitigating the effects and disasterous consequences of climate change. I think you're right about it being likely that we will probably have to do a combination of both, but there is still enough time to make a significant dent in the impacts of climate change if we have the political leadership and willpower to start to reduce our carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Our technologically sophisticated global economic system is also much more brittle and susceptible to largescale disruptions than even 100 years ago, with the consequences being collapse of many things that were more locally regionally available in earlier times. 100 years ago, the valley I live in provided most of the vegetables and meat for our area; now most of it is imported from California, Mexico, and South America. So many folks today would go hungry whereas 100 years ago they would have been fine.
What the current warmist agenda suggests is that we no longer consider adapting as we have historically done, but that we somehow change the climate so that we don't have to. The problem with this world view is the idea that it's even possible to change the climate in ways that we'd find more desirable, and that the cost of doing so would be less than adapting as we historically always have. My fear is that we will invest scarce resources in the former, rending us unable to later do the later.
...as I dropped "RealClimate" off my regular reading list about the time it was clear that it was being "screened".
I believe that people such as Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer and John Christie are qualified scientists despite their positions on the climate change issue. They have the knowledge to have a scientific debate with other qualified scientists. I have personally seen comments from Richard Lindzen in the comments to RealClimate posts. Despite being contrary opinions they were scientifically cogent and were not censored (although they lead to a fairly sharp exchange of ideas). It's the silly stuff like "JB Tucson"'s post below about the CO2 you exhale that gets censored.
...they don't censor the comments of otherwise qualified scientists with a contrary opinion. On that point, I'll let Mr. Mann's comments above stand for themselves. Again, as we've seen here and elsewhere in the warming debate, your credentials as a "qualified scientist" are seemingly defined by where one comes down on unquestionably supporting the CO2 chorus.
I never said RealClimate was unbiased. It is biased toward real science. It was started by climate scientists as a place to present their findings in one place as a resource for others. In their comments the don't allow unscientific nonsense to be posted but they don't censor the comments of otherwise qualified scientists with a contrary opinion. There have been several exchanges of comments between the RC scientists and the likes of Richard Lindtzen and Steve McIntyre over their criticism of them.
The key is that if you factor all of these other "alternatives" together WITHOUT greenhouse gases, our climate should be getting cooler. So say their computer models, which have repeatedly been proven wrong. Without adding in the anthropogenic greenhouse gases, you can't explain the increased global temperatures, the increasing oceanic acidification, the melting icecaps, the increasing frequency of extreme meteorological events, etc. Wrong. Many can. And mostly is has to do with solar cycles. And regarding Realclimate.org--you mean one of the few websites run by and written by qualified climatologists who are recognized by their peers as experts in the field? Yes, the web site where one set of "qualified climatologists" actively filter out the voices of other "qualified climatologists" should their views not conform to the proper politic. Such is what passes for "peer review" in climate non-science.
solar radiation, deforestation, albedo, particulates in the atmosphere, volcanism, etc. are all factors. The key is that if you factor all of these other "alternatives" together WITHOUT greenhouse gases, our climate should be getting cooler. Without adding in the anthropogenic greenhouse gases, you can't explain the increased global temperatures, the increasing oceanic acidification, the melting icecaps, the increasing frequency of extreme meteorological events, etc. Like riverat said, you have to account for the facts in a way that explains what the data shows. No such model exists that successfully explains what we see without including the role of human emissions. And regarding Realclimate.org--you mean one of the few websites run by and written by qualified climatologists who are recognized by their peers as experts in the field? The website that does not dumb down the complexities of climate modeling and data into convenient sound bites? Shame on the NY Times for quoting a qualified source--what were they thinking????
From Michael Mann, as featured in the East Anglia CRU e-mails: Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you're free to use RC in any way you think would be helpful. Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we'll be very careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can. On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself. We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether or not you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you'd like us to include. You're also welcome to do a followup guest post, etc. think of RC as a resource that is at your disposal to combat any disinformation put forward by the McIntyres of the world. Just let us know. We'll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics dont'get to use the RC comments as a megaphone... http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=622&filename=1139521913.txt Realclimate.org is little more than the Internet propaganda arm of the AGW junk scientists. Considering realclimate.org as a honest site on climate science is no better than relying upon Al Gore for your science.
... was set up by several of the leading scientists in the field to counter the misinformation campaign. If you want to know what those leading scientists are saying it's the place to go. Do you have any scientific criticism of the link I posted or do you just dismiss it because of the source? It always astounds me that people believe all of these scientists are so stupid they haven't already examined those alternatives and found them wanting. It astounds me that people believe all of those scientists would risk their scientific reputations for political reasons. To falsify what they report for the sake of non-scientific considerations is to destroy their scientific reputations once the truth comes out. It's just not credible that over 95% of climate scientists would falsify their science and risk their reputations for the sake of a political argument or grant money for their research.
..."Realclimate.org" is the wholly controlled and official spokeshole for the warmists. You might was well be quoting the New York Times, which pretty much just quotes Realclimate via Revkin. There are plenty of alternatives, and we've already discussed them. The problem is that most of the alternatives are not human causes, so they are of little interest to those funding the agenda.
Show me an alternative to the current consensus that has actual science behind it and I'll pay attention to it. The East Anglia emails showed nothing but some snarkiness among the scientists involved. Five different investigations have found nothing but some minor quibbles over it. To quote Shakespeare: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. Even the author, Roy Spencer, of the paper referred to in your link says his work doesn't justify the "data blows a gaping hole in global warming" headline. Here is a response from actual climate scientists to the paper: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/ The computer models are imperfect (as all models are) but it's not a binary on/off situation. They work better than random guesses and they get better as we incorporate new knowledge in them.
... the fact that less than half of the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning remains in the atmosphere year after year. It's relatively easy to determine how much CO2 is emitted. For instance when you burn a ton of coal you produce around 2.5 tons of CO2. The change in the isotope ratio of C12 to C13 is evidence that the burned fossil fuels are responsible for the increase in atmospheric CO2. That's all solid science. That's what makes it obvious.
This supports an earlier report that was attacked by the cabal at East Anglia just months before the email leak. Some in England say the leak was from a scientist with a guilty conscience over the hatchet job done on a legitimate scientist. Several of the leaked email admitted they manipulated temperature data to build an argument against that specific report. They tried to be cleaver and mix land based temperature data from Russia taken in one time frame with tree ring data from Oregon taken in another time frame. Then they tried to claim it was all from one data set taken in Europe. It was part of a coordinated effort to publish multiple counter reports based on the bogus data.
The "denial community" (and when I say "denial community", I speak of those who deny that there is any alternative to the official "consensus" that has exists only within the politically approved AGW community) which took its biggest blow with the East Anglica document dump and has had to face internal scandal, subsequent IPCC retractions, and recent NASA reports still hangs on to Al Gore's "the debate is over" strategy. Meanwhile, outside the insular circles of the faithful, debate rages on. http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html The fate of the planet is in the hands of computer models that simply do not work. And yet, they'd have us proceed anyway.
The whole point of the scientific method is to try to identify real factors of cause, and not just trust what seems to be "obvious". What was obvious to Aristotle and his crowd, the smartest scientists of the time, seems ludicrous to us now. Undoubtedly some humans who now insist that climate change is the result of our own actions are from the same mold as the ones who, 3000 years ago, insisted that the sun and moon obviously revolve around the earth, and that the great harvest they enjoyed in the fall was obviously the result of the virgin sacrifice they performed in the previous spring.