By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
Bill Nye, the "Science Guy," visits Fox Business to outline in six minutes a career's worth of climate research. Here's a look.
We tend to avoid outright politics here on SmartPlanet, but Bill Nye -- known as "The Science Guy" after his popular television show on PBS -- recently visited the Fox Business channel's Freedom Watch to explain to host Charles Payne and his viewers the intricacies of drawing a line between Irene's destruction and climate change as a whole.
The conversation, while expectedly argumentative at times, was interesting if only because Nye took great pains to simplify the science in a way that's understandable to the layman.
For example, his first response to Payne's question of whether Irene was proof of global warming:
I don't think the word "proof" is what you're looking for. "Evidence," or "a result of"? Yeah. Yeah. Now here's what the people will tell you who run these climate models. Now everybody, the word "model" in this usage is a computer program, a very sophisticated computer program. So you take data from satellites about the thickness of clouds and the extent of cloud cover over the sea. You take data about the temperature of the sea surface. You take data about the existing weather in let's say, North America or the Gulf of Mexico, as the storm moves into it, then you compute how much rain fell out of it, how much energy must have been put into it to create that much rain and it takes many months to analyze an event like Irene. Now, climate colleagues that I have will tell you that they cannot tell you today that Irene is evidence or a result of climate change, but check in with them in about March, next year, after they have a few months to collect all these millions and millions of data from weather services and satellites and compile them and run a climate model and show that Irene was a result of the world having more energy in its atmosphere.
The conversation of course continues, with Payne asking whether it was fair for Newsweek to run the coverline, "The New Normal" in reference to Irene. And it gets a bit contentious when Nye asserts that the Earth is getting warmer ("You can't disagree with that") and the two banter back and forth about whether the phenomenon is man-made, impossibly, through the lens of racism as a cultural, not scientific, construct.
Heady stuff, but Nye receives my respect for retaining his patience in outlining a life's worth of work in a six-minute segment.
Aug 30, 2011
The "NASA paper" referred to by Hates Idiots (People who live in glass houses...) is most likely. ???The long-awaited first paper from the CERN/CLOUD project has just been published in Nature. The paper, by Kirkby et al, describes changes in aerosol nucleation as a function of increasing sulphates, ammonia and ionisation in the CERN-based ???CLOUD??? chamber. Perhaps surprisingly, the key innovation in this experimental set up is not the presence of the controllable ionisation source (from the Proton Synchrotron accelerator), but rather the state-of-the-art instrumentation of the chamber that has allowed them to see in unprecedented detail what is going on in the aerosol nucleation process (this is according to a couple of aerosol people I???ve spoken about this with). ???This paper is actually remarkably free of the over-the-top spin that has accompanied previous papers, and that bodes very well for making actual scientific progress on this topic.??? Source: ???The CERN/CLOUD results are surprisingly interesting?????? by Gavin Schmidt, RealClimate, Aug 24, 2011 http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/08/the-cerncloud-results-are-surprisingly-interesting/comment-page-3/#comments
I will give him points for being able to give simple answers, but I have lost some respect for the guy over this. NASA came out this summer with a comprehensive report that completely debunks the myth of man-made CO2 and global warming. He seems to be completely ignoring that. Bill is also ignoring over 400 years of data that shows more storms and STRONGER storms hit the east coast in the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s than in the past 100 years. They did not have the TV hype so no one knows about the storms unless they go looking. Growing up in my house the 1936 flood, the 1938 hurricane, Carol in 1954 and Donna in 1960 were family history events. Everyone that was older than 10 when the event happened had a story. Believe it or not, Irene could have been far worse, but as storms go, it was a push over for most of us in the northeast. Anyone who says Irene was unprecedented needs to read a book and get up to speed on the real world.
NASA came out this summer with a comprehensive report that completely debunks the myth of man-made CO2 and global warming. That's just wishful thinking on your part. Nothing in the Spencer/Braswell paper debunks global warming. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/07/misdiagnosis-of-surface-temperature-feedback/
In this clip, Nye neither said that Irene was unprecedented nor that it was due to man-made global warming. (On the latter point, he and Payne head off on a tangent before addressing it and fail to return to it before the end of the segment.) Just want to make sure we're not putting other broadcasters' words in our subjects' mouths. Thanks. Although, a question: do you think our technological ability to know that a hurricane is coming well in advance of landfall has helped us avoid surprises and damage of historically-catastrophic proportions? Just a thought.
The history of US east coast weather also does not support Bill when he agrees that Irene is "the new normal". He said we should expect more storms like it. I was raised to expect more stroms. The east coast has been hit by larger storms than Irene in the past 400 years. Storm frequency was much worse in the 1700s and 1800s than it has been during the past 50 years. If more storms come it would not be unpresedented. The east coast was hit by 2 October hurricanes in the late 1700s. If it happens again it will not be unpresidented or brought on by some unproven event. The host was right to challenge Bill on the same predictions that followed Katrina because both the data and the history do not support Bills argument. Yes, I think technology has helped us avoid deaths, but we have also allowed our selves to build more in areas that should not be developed. Which has put many more people in the line of danger. If a storm like Donna hit the east coast now on the same track as 1960 you would be talking storm damage worse than Katrina, except over a much larger area. And Donna was only a cat 2 storm when it hit New England.