By Chris Nelder
Posting in Cities
Hurricane Sandy could finally put an end to climate change silence and denial, and teach us to build a more resilient and climate-friendly infrastructure.
Hurricane Sandy is a cruel teacher, but she's about to accomplish what decades of scientific research have failed to do: Persuade the public that climate change is a real and serious problem, and motivate the transition to distributed power generation and backup.
The global climate is an enormous, and enormously complex, system. Modeling it with absolute precision is beyond the reach of contemporary science. At best, it consists of a range of probabilities for things like extreme weather events, water levels, and the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. But probabilities fail to motivate humans to take action. As long as there's a chance of not having to do anything we don't want to do, we're generally willing to throw the dice. Anyone who stands to lose from energy transition, like utilities and fossil fuel producers, can use the uncertainty, however small, to stymie progress. And a public that is insufficiently literate in the complexity of the science is easily persuaded to ignore the problem entirely if just one contradicting point can be mustered and blown out of proportion.
In short: We suck at dealing with complex, long-range problems, particularly if we don't experience them personally. If it isn't happening right now, to us, it doesn't seem like it's happening at all. We struggle to recognize what applied mathematician Samuel Arbesman has termed mesofacts -- facts that change slowly. Our schools don't teach us about them. Our corporate and government systems are blind to them. And, as I detailed a few months ago, we tend to think and act in a knee-jerk, tribal fashion. In important ways, that's literally how we are wired.
Exploiting these human tendencies has been easy for those who would halt action on climate change. Get one senator to repeat that climate change is a hoax -- in the face of mountains of evidence that it's all too real, and despite the lack of any evidence of actual hoaxing or hoaxers -- and you're halfway there. Make a mockery of a few key individuals and trash their reputations, buy some Congressmen and academics, drop a few hundred million dollars into think tanks and lobbying firms and ad agencies, convince people that doing anything will be scary and expensive, and you're home.
It all works beautifully until people get slapped in the face with the reality, hard. Then, suddenly, they begin to get a lot more interested in facts and solutions than glib denials and propaganda campaigns.
We don't yet know what the total damage will be, but we know the bill is going to be hefty. Millions of people are without power, clean water, transportation, and other essential services, and could remain so for a week or longer. It seems likely that Sandy will go do down as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.
We need not be able to say with complete certainty that climate change directly caused Hurricane Sandy, or that carbon emissions are the original culprit. It's enough to know that such disastrous storms are becoming more likely.
The new Voldemort
It's not like we haven't known that the climate was changing, and that this could cause stronger and more frequent hurricanes.
Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground, told Amy Goodman on Monday, "There’s been ample evidence over the last decade or so that hurricane season is getting longer — starts earlier, ends later," and that the warming of the oceans directly increases the winds of hurricanes. Then he put a finer point on it:
Climate change has become the new Voldemort of our times, that which cannot be named. And it’s ridiculous that we can’t talk about a subject that’s directly influencing our lives now and will continue to do so even more strongly in the future. I see superstorm Sandy here as kind of a wake-up call coming the week before the election. "Hey, America, hey, politicians, pay attention to this." We’re experiencing an unusual number of very rare meteorological events, and they’re probably not all due to just random variations in the weather. We do expect extreme events of this nature to increase in the future, and we should be paying attention to the fact that we’ve had a very large number of these billion-dollar sorts of disasters in recent years.
Heavy rainfall events are also increasing. The "100-year flood" ain't what it used to be. In a 2008 post, Masters rounded up recent research on the risk of flooding due to climate change, including a 2002 study by Milly et al. which found that great floods have occurred more often in recent decades:
In the past century, the world's 29 largest river basins experienced a total of 21 "100-year floods" -- the type of flood one would expect only once per 100 years in a given river basin. Of these 21 floods, 16 occurred in the last half of the century (after 1953). With the IPCC predicting that heavy precipitation events are very likely to continue to increase, it would be no surprise to see flooding worsen globally in the coming decades.
Climate researchers and groups like the IPCC aren't the only ones who are worried. Global reinsurance companies have issued numerous dire warnings in recent years. And well they should: The New York Times reported Monday that insurance claims from Sandy are expected to range from $10 - $20 billion, with newer estimates running much higher.
For example, a joint 2009 publication by Swiss Re and various foundations warned that the window of opportunity for adaptation was closing, and that beyond 2030, climate change "could be so disruptive that we will face major losses that cannot be averted." Country by country, it detailed potential losses in the hundreds of billions, and cited a UNFCCC estimate that by 2030 the world will be spending $36 - $135 billion a year to cope with the impacts.
For another, Munich Re issued a study a few weeks ago entitled "Severe Weather in North America," which noted that weather-related losses have quintupled in the last 30 years, and said that climate change was a principal reason.
Another recent report backs up the notion. Published in the September 11 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it found that the chance of unusually warm or cool seasons has risen in the past 30 years, and that "extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small."
Another PNAS paper published in August found that damaging Atlantic cyclones are correlated with warmer sea temperatures, and that the frequency of Atlantic hurricane surge events has been increasing since 1923. By the end of this century, the researchers predict that there will be 9.5 tidal surges each year owing to Atlantic cyclones and hurricanes -- nearly twice the incidence in 1923.
A 2008 paper from the U.S. National Intelligence Council even specifically detailed an "October Surprise" scenario, in which "New York City is hit by a major hurricane linked to global climate change. . ."
And so on, and so on.
The point is: None of this is really new information. A storm like Sandy would not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the science, instead of the politics. As New York Governor Cuomo tweeted on Tuesday, "anyone who says there hasn't been a dramatic change in weather patterns is in denial."
Politics run amok
The problem, of course, is that almost no one actually studies climate research unless their jobs demand it. Having spent hundreds of hours reading such studies over the years, I know why: they're difficult, un-fun, and they deal with probabilities, not certainties.
Instead, most people simply repeat what their political tribes tell them, unaware and uncaring of how wrong those claims might be, or whose motivations they might serve. Madness ensues.
That's how North Carolina got to the point of proposing legislation that would redefine sea-level rise, effectively enshrining climate change denial into law.
That's how Mitt Romney wound up mocking rising ocean levels at the GOP convention, and mocking the idea that we need more police and fire personnel, calling federal spending on disaster relief "immoral."
That's how climate change came to be entirely absent from the longest and most-covered election in history. And why Romney's pledge to shut down FEMA now sounds insane. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," may make good ideological politics, but in a disaster of this magnitude, who isn't grateful for the federal safety net? Who really thinks that every state could be equipped to deal with something like this on their own -- particularly the less prosperous ones?
Spending a few hundred million dollars more on weather satellites will look like a bargain instead of a bargaining chip, as it was last year when the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration called the cuts to her budget a "disaster." "Because we have insufficient funds in the [fiscal] '11 budget, we are likely looking at a period of time a few years down the road where we will not be able to do the severe storm warnings and long-term weather forecasts that people have come to expect today," she warned.
Satellite technology and hurricane forecasting tools were essential to anticipating Sandy's path several days in advance, allowing crucial time to evacuate threatened areas, position emergency response assets, and save countless lives. As Brad Plumer pointed out in the Washington Post, hurricane forecasting has improved enormously in the past few decades, but it takes federal funding to maintain things like satellites, NOAA, and the National Weather Service. We're only beginning to appreciate how badly we need them, and de-funding them over an ideologically extreme position on climate change and the role of the federal government isn't going to wash with a traumatized people.
A teachable moment
When this is all over and the reckoning begins, it's going to be as hard to find a climate change denier in the wreckage as it is to find an atheist in a foxhole. And so we will arrive at yet another "teachable moment." The question is: Will we learn this time?
I think we will. And this time, the prescriptions will sound eminently sensible.
First and foremost, the wisdom of distributed power supply will be plainly evident, as businesses and residences with backup power blaze on through the power outages. When the rebuilding begins, residents should be inquiring about installing some solar power and battery backup on their homes, and businesses equipped with natural gas lines should be looking into fuel cells.
Micro-grids, a strategy I've been banging on about for years, should finally get the attention of city planners and administrators whose municipalities are now without power. With good planning and modest investment -- particularly compared to the losses they're realizing from outages -- there is no reason why most communities can't keep critical electrical loads running when the big grid goes down. We should also see a renewed commitment to building a smarter, more robust power grid, including burying overhead power distribution lines.
More broadly, the notion that we should not take action on climate change until our global competitors (namely, China) do will seem silly. As indeed it is. That's like sitting in a sinking boat and refusing to bail water until everybody else in the boat does. Only this time, I hope that we'll get focus right and concentrate on building renewable energy capacity instead of trying to capture, sequester, cap, or trade emissions from fossil fuel plants. . . a strategy that has gotten us nowhere, and prompted vested interests to mount an anti-climate change campaign.
Self-contained emergency response units with power generation, cell towers, and water purification capabilities should also finally find buyers. I've seen several designs offered to the market since Hurricane Katrina, in nifty hardened boxes that can be pulled like a trailer or dropped from a helicopter, but none of them really seemed to take off. On Monday night, the New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service tweeted that NYPD cell phone batteries and radios were dying, and cell sites were down and overloaded. This problem has a cure, and again it's very reasonably priced. Perhaps now municipal governments and the National Guard will invest in some of these units.
Transportation should also get a fresh look, with an eye toward resiliency. Trains, while not immune to storm damage, can often run when airplanes can't. Well-planned emergency ground transportation routes with strategic fuel dumps can get people and goods moving again long before all the gasoline stations are restocked and all the roads are cleared.
I hope that this moment will inspire entrepreneurs and investors to forget about creating the next Zynga or Facebook, and start thinking about creating more resilient infrastructure for the real world.
I hope it will remind all of us how crucial our shared, taxpayer-funded services are, and how we are really all in this together, red and blue states alike.
And I hope it will finally put an end to the game of climate change denial. Play time is over. It's time to get serious about protecting ourselves, and preparing for a much more disaster-prone future.
Photo: Hurricane Sandy destroying the Atlantic City boardwalk uptown on Monday, courtesy hoeboma/Instagram
Oct 30, 2012
bb_apptix ... (et. al. : ) ... how are you accounting for the melting of the polar ice caps? Do the melting arctic icecaps indicated a 'trend'? Thanks.
Since when does one medium sized hurricane end the debate on climate change. Just because it hit New York? If we really did have global warming then the temperature difference between the poles and the equator would be getting smaller. Thus the driving force for greater weather events would be shrinking. Claiming that the hurricane is an indicator of global warming / climate change (unless that means that the climate is getting colder at the poles:) is counter to your own argument. The climate on earth has been changing since the first time it coalesced from a cloud of dust. Please tell me when the climate of the earth was at its optimum so that you can differentiate it from now. After the last ice age? How about after the ice age before that? Maybe the ice age before that one? The current politically left emphasis on climate change has been nothing more than a club to beat up western civilization in general and the United States in particular. At the same time it is being used as a club to keep developing nations from using their natural resources and keep them dirt poor. As for the "scientific community" they, especially the IPCC, have some real credability problems as it has been revealled that they have been manipulating and cherry picking their data for years. I deny your anthropormophic climate change becuase there are too many other studies that link climate change directly to solar cycles with a much higher degree of accuracy. Which do you think has more influence on climate; the sun or human activity? I will pick the sun.
Sandy and the climate conversation: "The message that climate change did play a role in Hurricane Sandy isn't getting the attention it should, Mann said. "The climate change discussion needs a tipping point I call it a Cuyahoga River moment," Mann said, referring to the polluted Ohio river that caught fire in 1969 and sparked an environmental movement. [Reality of Climate Change: 10 Myths Busted]" http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/sandy/will_sandy_change_the_climate/1000613
Great article with great ideas for moving forward! Some folks would say let's study this for a bit longer say 2000 or 200,000 years so we make the right decisions. Doing any or all of the things you mention would make the United States a better place to live. Thanks!
Before running off for easy politically motivated answers, it seems like quite a number of questions need to be answered. I looked at the NOAA precipitation data, and amount of rainfall on the NYC during Sandy's landfall was miniscule. Likewise the persistent wind speed was very low. It was hardly a "hurricane" at all and the effect more like a tsunami. Most of the damage was caused by the "storm surge" which was mentioned but not emphasized pre-landing. I have read some of the explanations of the surge, like the low pressure, but have not heard of a comprehensive model of why this storm produced a record surge. Also, why is it taking so long for the water to drain now that the storm is over? Surely, you're not claiming that the earth's oceans rose 13 ft in one day, and only on one side of the Atlantic Ocean due to icebergs melting? Question, question, question.
I believe that the state of Chris Nelder's brain is such that when the comments section turns roundly against him he believes that "paid shills" are descending upon him. Mr. Nelder - read these comments carefully. See how many are critical of you, and how these comments get the most thumbs up. This is a very poor piece of hyper-velintating politicized science you have presented here. If the comments are this negative on a Smarter Planet web site, just imagine how poor they would be on a more mainstream web site. It looked like you were breaking through to the mainstream with Financial Times and Slate pieces. Now that is appears to be over. Perhaps the poor quality of your research explains why. You can do better. Please do.
Smartplanet should re-label itself as idiotickumbya. This hack opinion piece is beyond the pale. Let me clue you folks into something. The climate on earth has been changing since its inception. There is no evidence that people adversely influence the natural cycles and the evolution of the earth's cycles and climate. End of story. You left wing wackos would apply strangleholds to businesses and have us return to stone age living all on the premise of your misguided religion.
I can't believe so many of the commenters here who try to conflate a weather event with climate change. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING! Climate is the long-term average weather of an area. H. Sandy was a WEATHER event, a storm, and not even unprecedented at that. Of course the high tides were a problem - a full moon near Perigee means higher tides, and the storm surge was simply added to that.
Hurricane Sandy losses are a direct result of stupid people building things stupidly in stupid places. The Bible itself warns against building on sand, and millions along the Eastern Seaboard ignored the wisdom of millenia. Don't blame fossil fuel use for the consequences of your own dumb decisions.
And always will. Everytime a big storm happens, we have to listen to the BS about climate change as if storms have never occurred.
Having spent the evening checking out statistics on previous storms, I don't see any evidence that they are getting worse. In fact, they seem to be getting a lot better. As they used to say in the old cigarette comercials, "Milder - much milder." Sure you can skew the results any way you wnat if you cherry pick your data - but look at all the data you can find for as large an area as you can, and you will get a more accurate picture. For example, take a look at Texas Hurricane History by David Roth of the National Weather Service (I know this is just one area, but I mention it because the data is very complete, and it's just a starting point for looking all around the globe). You can focus on recent history and say that the number of hurricanes has quintupled over the past 20 years (from 1 in the 1990's to 5 in the 2000's), or you can go back a little further and see that we had 8 in the 1940s and 8 in the 1880s...which presents a totally different picture. From another perspecitive, the death toll of Sandy presently stands at 72 (though it can only go up). Compare that to the Lower Texas Coast Hurricane of 1553 (1700) or the Galveston Hurricane of 1818 (over 1,000) Global Warming must have been REALLY bad back then, ya think? If you want to see some real devastation, look at the 1900 Galveston Hurricane...8,000 dead! Eight thousand!! Sandy was a gentle breath of air compared to that. Here in Florida where I live, we've had a number of hurricanes in the past that were far worse than anything we've seen recently. Storms just SEEM worse now because coastal areas are much more built up than they were in the past, so the damage is correspondingly greater. I don't want to be accused of name-calling, but what can I say about people who are completely blind to historical facts?
I have a feeling that CO2 is misunderstood here. Here goes as simply as possible... As CO2 levels rise in the atmosphere (and they have been), long wave radiation (heat) is more efficiently kept from radiating out into space at night. CO2 acts like an insulating blanket that doesn't allow the same amount of energy out of the earth's atmosphere at night compared to the amount it receives from the sun each day. Even if the sun cycled into a period of least output, a certain level of CO2 if high enough, would still disallow the planet to balance heating and cooling. There are other feedback features that make our climate change problems worse. Daytime temperatures overall in the past 100 years or so have not risen that much world wide, now measured around 1.4 degrees F on average, but the warming trend is accelerating. If you look closely at weather data, you'll find that nighttime lows have been more impacted. Nighttime lows have warmed more on average than daytime highs. Water covers over 2/3rds of our planet's surface and gains/releases heat at much slower rates than land areas. Luckily, large bodies of water act as global temperature moderating units. Unfortunately, the oceans are also warming. Not as much or as fast as the atmosphere, but warming none the less. Warming water expands, causing some sea level rise. The overall warming has also caused land and sea ice to melt off at increasing rates. Melting land based ice (glaciers) adds to sea level rise. Most glaciers around the world have been shrinking. Weather pattern changes have allowed a very few glaciers to expand at certain mountain elevations, but even these are losing volume at lower elevations. Sea level rise will eventually pose increasing problems for most low lying coastal areas. Any storm surge will be exacerbated by sea level rise, regardless of tides. Sea level rise is not a theory. It's not spiritual. It's not political. It's not magical. But it is measurable and it is a fact. So even if storms don't get any more powerful, storm surge spillover will become a more frequent threat to vulnerable coastal communities. Highly populated low lying coastal areas may want to look at what the Netherlands have done to keep the frequently stormy North Sea out of their lands. I'm sadly disappointed that the Megalopolis has not already undertaken serious engineering steps to lessen or even prevent the catastrophic type of damage that Sandy managed to deliver. Sandy was a very large category 1 hurricane. What would have resulted from a category 3, 4 or 5 on a similar path? No one could possibly imagine or want to see. CO2 released by burning carbon based fuels and worsened by deforestation (forests, especially the tropical kind, scrub CO2 from the atmosphere), have been the major causes of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels during the last 100 years by far. The CO2 doesn't come from any other source in consequential amounts. There are other very complicated cyclical causes that drive climate change through the ages, but during this short 100 or so year period, we have fully engaged an extremely interesting terrestrial experiment that pits human activity against formidably deadly and destructive forces of nature. No matter the cause, sea level rise and climate change will increasingly produce random and powerful life threatening events that we must rise to meet and beat. Hardening our frail infrastructure, building sea barriers and realistic planning and execution will go a long way toward protecting against loss of life while making recovery feasible along our coasts for generations to come. Costs of building the required protective systems would be great, but not nearly as great as the immeasurable costs in life and property that destructive storms, like Sandy and others, can and will cause in the future if nothing is done.
...have already been duped by the Head-In-The-Sand Climate Change Denial politics. Oh well: Shiller had it right... "Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens". Not surprised when you consider how many of these same posters staunchly defend big business which SO doesn't give a rats about them.
in order to drag out their idiotic idea about climate change or global warming. Such storms, and even bigger ones, have occurred during our lifetimes, and, even before any one could conceive of the idea of man-made global warming. The earth has had global warming periods in the past, and way before the automobile, and before electricity, and before the demand for powering any part of the world economies. But, NO!, the environmental wackos, mostly the liberal kind, will use any crisis or any storm, to predict doom and gloom. Never mind that their science has been debunked, time and time again, by real science.
Hey Chris! Thanks for the Connect. Here's my proof of climate change- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_2012_North_American_derecho. Forget the science! That's way beyond most engineers understanding. I've been living in Virginia for 52 years now and I have never seen anything like this summer's Derecho storm. HELL,... I'd never heard of an El Derecho before then! Talk about HAARP and Upper atmosphere convective heating! WOW! My wife and I stood outside at dusk and watched the willow tree next door blow all its branches VERTICAL. Looked like a Bad Hair Day. I'd say as a species, We've done a pretty good job of ticking off Mother Ma Nature. She'll of course have the last laugh. Cheers! Mark
A lot of the problem is that people think climate equals weather. Climate is a moving average of weather conditions occuring over a long time span. There are always extreme weather events that occur from time to time. It is healthy to be skeptical but skepticism should be based on open and honest debate. What is not acceptable is politicizing science, meaning that if we were to vote on whether global warming is real or not would be a pointless excersize. We in the US have managed to elect the least science literate folks as well as the least qualified to lead. It does help to talk about what is going on with the weather. The idea that more CO2 in the atmosphere collects heat is a start. Hurricanes are driven by heat and wind, two forms of energy that contribute to the intensity of the storms. Another bit of data is that late season hurricanes are not as rare as they were. An indication of change is when a previously normal range of temperature and precipitation become erratic due to going way over or under the normal range with increasing differences going on year over year. Sandy is a destructive storm. It could be a fluke or it could be a trend; we can only know by observing the conditions. The weather satellites that helped provide the warning about Sandy are have a finite life and are getting close to the end; adding more weather satellites will help improve weather forecasting as well as to monitor small changes that can accumulate to a great effect. If the satellites fail and not replaced then we will be back to less accurate monitoring that would probably fail to give as much warning as the current system did.
Having lived in the NYC area, and being an Engineer, I wonder about something. Yes, the subways and the tunnels are below sea level. They are equipped with pumps, however. The tunnels will be emptied out within hours after the power is restored. It is the same with the subways. So, why the long predicted delays on getting the systems working again? New York City will just not function without the Subways. The streets are not wide enough to allow both cars and all the people who have to move from place to place. The tunnels can wait for a while, but, the Subways are vital for that area.
Distributing the power grid by having millions of people run generators is a terrible idea, for a lot of reasons. First, casualties from the generators would far outnumber casualties from power outages. Second, it would be horrifically expensive. Third, outages of major distribution lines are few and quickly fixed. It's all the local distribution lines that take so long to repair after damaging storms. Distributing the electricity generation won't help. Fourth, even during normal times, distributed generators would be MORE prone to damage, breakdown, vandalism, etc. compared to a few centralized generators. Sure, fewer people would be affected at any given time from distributed generation breakdowns, but the overall people-hours of downtime would go up. Fifth, if these distributed generators were diesel then you'd have MORE pollution and CO2, not less. If instead you made them wind or solar, then they'd be useless during the very weather emergencies we're talking about here.
Chris Nelder said: "When this is all over and the reckoning begins, itâs going to be as hard to find a climate change denier in the wreckage as it is to find an atheist in a foxhole." Wouldn't most people on this site be contemptuous of foxhole converts? And don't foxhole converts tend to return to atheism once danger is past? Perhaps exploiting this human tendency explains the constant media barrage equating far-flung isolated weather disasters to anthropogenic global climate change (AGCC). The US East Coast had an unusually gorgeous spring this year. Why wasn't that attributed to AGCC?
That's what Chris Nelder is telling you here, let there be no doubt. No high tide, no flooded subway tunnels. Clear?
Regardless of "Global warming", "Climate Change", what Romney said or Obama did, the fact remains that 60 million of our brothers and sisters are affected by this monstrous storm. 40 people have lost their lives. Please............ let us say a prayer for their safety and for those departed. Think of what we can do to help these unfortunate people.
Here are some links to see what others are saying: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/30/reality-check-who-believes-hurricane-sandy-isis-not-caused-by-global-warming/ Also a quote from an interview with Joe Bastardi (a chief weather forecaster at Weatherbell Analytics): BASTARDI: My father used to call it âthe shortcut storm.â He said he was confident he would see it before his days were numbered, and he's finally seen it, okay? That's the first thing. Second thing is, get used to it along the East Coast. Maybe not this kind of track, but we are in a perilous time because the Atlantic's warm; the Pacific's cold. It's the 1950s all over again. It has nothing to do with global warming, it has everything to do with nature, and then we'll go back to where we were in the sixties and seventies. ... Do you realize we had ten major hurricanes run the Eastern Seaboard between '54 and 1960? Six of them in '54 and '55 -- six hurricane hits -- from North Carolina northward. So, you know, the old Bachman-Turner song, âYou ain't seen nothing yetâ? If anything, I was too quick on the gun several years ago when I said we were gonna see this type of thing. He says some similar things on his blog: http://patriotpost.us/opinion/15187 And finally a site where 31,487 American Scientists have questioned the truth of man-made Global Warming: http://www.petitionproject.org/index.php Which leads me to the subject of my comment. To say that the science is settled immediately proves that the person making the statement is not following the Scientific Method : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method And name-calling is most certainly NOT a part of true science. It may be acceptable to call people skeptics (which is what a true scientist ALWAYS is), but when we start using the lingo of "deniers" then we are entering the 'Faith" - not - the "Science" realm. The truth is that the science on what is actually driving Global Warming is far from settled when there are other theories out there (Sun activity for just one example). The truth should be determined by a calm and logical examination of ALL of the facts - NOT - by who can simply scream/mock the loudest or secure the most grant money. Lastly, I find it intellectually dishonest to equate someone who questions the "Man-Made" theory as a person that questions that Global Warming has been happening. Although I have worked in software development for many years, my scholastic background was as a geoscientist - so I would dare say that I believe that this planet has seen many episodes of Global Warming / Global Cooling throughout it's existence and don't have a problem with believing that we may be going through another warming episode currently. So do not falsely paint me as a person that 'denies" the scientific FACT that your "homework is missing", just because I question your THEORY that "the dog ate it"!
G'moring my friends. I find it very curious in that no-one has brought up the accepted fact of the Earth's axis shifting. By doing so it has exposed the polar latitudes to a much higher and longer amount of Solar heating which makes man's puny addition almost laughable. May I suggest that modifying, or actually eliminating the Gulf stream flow,by the continuing oil spill is bound to have a serious effect, which could be cooling, etc. hmm it seems that we do have a can full of wriggling worms going every which way to point the finger of guilt to, besides man, who happens to be more convenient.. Oh well, he is a very conveniet and profitable target. Don Jose de L Mancha Also, as it was correctly brought up, one must look at the entire planet at the same period, not just North America.
That fire was not a reflection of man changing the climate. It was one of man ruining the ecology with very real, very dangerous pollutants. The environmental laws written after that incident and others changed the look of the nations environment for the better. Sandy cannot be attributed to climate change. Anyone who makes that leap is ignorant of what just happened and how it was predicted. Too bad global warming proponents are now obsessed with the CO2 output of US power stations while turning a blind eye on the toxic soup being pumped into the atmosphere by the ever increasing use of dirty burning coal in India, China and now Germany. The dirtiest burning coal power plants in the US are cleaner than the coal power plants in India and China and just as clean as the new German coal power plants that burn dirty soft brown coal.
A geologist from NYC predicted that the location the city was built on made it very vulnerable to even a modest storm surge from a weak hurricane. Irene last year was a warning. In short, it was the multi front attack of the water that did it. The water built up in Long Island Sound because of the persistent east wind. What is at the end of Long Island Sound? NYC. The same happened in the Hudson River Basin at the same time. With water coming from both sides the city did not stand a chance. This guy predicted everything that happened. http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2012/10/29/nyc-the-most-dangerous-place-in-the-world-for-stor On your last question. You are now seeing the bath tub effect holding the water. The ineffective seawalls that could not hold back the water are now holding the water in place in many areas. A great example was LaGuardia Airports runways sitting in 8 feet of seawater with 3 lonely fire trucks sitting at the end of a runway pumping the water over the seawall and back into the harbor.
You know what? The Earth doesn't care about politics. It's going to do what the physical parameters lead it to do. It doesn't matter how many people are for or against something when it comes down to it. Mother Nature bats last and she doesn't pay attention to the riffraff.
From what I have read, the climate scientists are reluctant to make Sandy the poster child for global warming. The reason is as you pointed out, there were several factors that made this hurricane nastier than it would have been normally. The other reason is that the factors that show evidence of global warming are seen in longer time periods than a single event. Personally, I thought the calls to blame the storm on global warming to be as irrisponsible as saying that god is punishing the US for becoming gay friendly. Both statements happened and both reflect the lack of skeptical thinking.
by those in the religion of global warming. GIGO.... Which means that, when you start out with flawed data, and with flawed analysis, and flawed results, everything else that follows, will reflect the junk science results. If one were to manipulate the numbers for economic activity, and all of the analysis were to be deliberately skewed to show a great economy with massive new employment, then, people might start believing those numbers, even when the reality on the ground tells them something different. Same with junk science, where there are people who have an agenda, which necessitates that, the data and the models for analysis be made to fit a predefined set of results. CO2 levels have been falsely magnified to make them fit the narrative of the global warming junk-scientists. When you start out with a false premise, you will end up with blatantly wrong analysis and conclusions.
Sadly, they will also continue to fall in frequency and strength, cycling over the ages, as they already have, for EONS!
100+ years ago, the popular establishment narrative would have been "Look how God is punishing us - You'd better do what we tell you or else!". Today, it's "Global warming is causing this - You'd better do what we tell you or else!". Little has really changed.
most of what the proponents of "global warming", are the ones politicizing science for political gains. It's junk science, motivated by the desires of many to take even more power from the people and to allow the government to control the economy. The ones in denial, are the people who insist that, they must have their way over real science.
'Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain.' I have an appropriate response to that. Wenn eine sachliche Debatte Wow the system censored german. Impressive.
The ecological record is replete with evidence that the earth's climate is constantly evolving. The liberals are really the "flat earther's" on this one, thinking that the climate should be static and not changing. For them, business is the "sea monster" which exists on the periphery ready to swallow up any unsuspecting traveler. Glacial ages and warming periods occur with regular frequency. The Americas were once covered by ice interspaced by vast inland seas. Yes, the dinosaurs are real. It's too bad that liberals are like the dinosaurs and don't realize that their days are numbered. They are really insane.
It was by no means the first on the east coast. The last large one happened in New York state in 1998. It extended into parts of Canada and Pennsylvania. Smaller ones happen every year. They just look like a small nasty storm line on the nightly news radar. To blame the June one on global warming is a bit over the top.
I saw one video of water flowing down from a ramp about half a story high, into one of the tunnels. Didn't make much sense at all to me. If it was a flood, wouldn't the water have risen starting at street level and then entered the tunnel at its opening. Or was water being pushed up from the sewers and water mains? I didn't see any video showing 13 foot high currents coming down the streets of Lower Manhattan. I saw only the water barely lapping above the pavement at Battery Park. I am not questioning the extent of the damage, but the video evidence paints a puzzling story of what actually happened!
realise how much wter you are talking about. it is not like draining pool dude.we are talking days if not weeks to pump them out . not to to forget presure diffrence that has to be stable or run the risk of colapse
Seawater can be very corrosive for systems and materials never designed to deal with salt water immersion. Even when limited to short term exposure. The subway tunnels have to be drained and everything should be given a freshwater flush before/during repairs. Proper water tight storm gates at all of the tunnel access points would have limited the damage. Backed up by independently powered pumps the tunnels might have stood a chance of seeing a fast post storm recovery. They did not even move the train cars to high ground. A few hundred of them ended up in up to 6 feet of salt water in a rail yard. The electric motors on all of them are under the cars. It may be months before those cars are usable.
We want to aim for Hydrogen/Solar generators. Use solar cells to generate hydrogen, then use the h2 in fuel cells to make electricity. The military is pursuing this technology for battlefield use, and we should for emergency situations.
Looking at the geological record, we are in a very warm period, and have been for around 10,000 years now. Sea level is up by over 200 meters, and if all the ice at both poles melted tomorrow, it would make less than a 10 meter difference. It has been warmer in the past. It has also been much much colder. Most of the past 5 to 10 Million Years have been much colder. But before that, it was much warmer. The estimates for that time give a temperature average of about 5 degrees C warmer. That period is called the 'Mid Eocene Climactic Optimum'. It was 'optimum' for a reason. The number of species of both plants and animals peaked. Apparently, everything bloomed. That was when horses and camels began.
...that these events are entirely caused by humans, and thus are justification for political/totalitarian control over and and all human activities. Solar variations, magnetic pole shift, etc can't possibly be blamed on humans, so they are ignored.
Please present any evidence you have that the Earth's axis is shifting to the degree necessary to cause something like this. As far as I know the North Pole is still pointing (nearly) at Polaris. The Earth's axial tilt does change over time between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees and that does have an effect. But the length of a cycle is about 41,000 years so it's not fast enough to make a significant difference over a span of a few centuries. Right now the tilt is in a decreasing phase which tends to make the winters warmer and the summers cooler and overall leads toward cooling. The minimum tilt will be reached around the year 11,800 CE.
Answer is very simple, and I'm guessing you already know...doesn't fit the control agenda AND there's far more profit to be made on the scam before the majority of people finally catch on.!
It doesn't sound like one. Sea walls are cheaper than solar power. By multiple orders of magnitude. Do you see how little sway your "nature bats last" nonsense has over the public? Even Obama won't tout AGW anymore. People are not buying "nature bats last" anymore. The NYC response to Sandy will be the development of better sea walls. Not an abondonement of fossil fuels.
This is the third, and final, option liberals/Democrats/Socialists (take your pick) use when all else fails! First, of course, is that ANYTHING screamed loudly enough, long enough, and often enough, MUST be true (whether it is or not)! Second, when you can't refute the argument, or the facts, attack the accuser! Third..... you already know!
In most applications it probably more efficient to use the electricity generated by solar cells directly, but hydrogen could be used for overnight storage of solar generated power.
If all of the polar ice including the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets were to melt sea level would rise about 70 meters (230 feet). If you're going to argue at least get your facts straight.
Solar variation is well documented and has been for a long time. Sunspot records go back 400 years and we have continuous satellite monitoring since before 1980. There's no evidence that it has varied enough recently to account for the changes we've seen. The temperature increase in the first half of the 20th Century was largely due to an increase in solar irradiance but since then the trend has been slightly down. I just don't see how you can say it's being ignored. I've never seen any evidence that a shift in the magnetic pole would have any effect on weather or climate (in the same way that a shift in the orbital parameters would). If someone were to present a plausible mechanism for that to occur I'd be interested in seeing it. There's nothing political about scientific facts, just maybe the way you interpret them.
Hmm... Interesting read. Thanks. However the article is simply talking about what I brought up in my first response to Don, the axial tilt or obliquity which has a ~41,000 year cycle. There are other orbital parameters that also have an effect on climate and the full theory is referred to as Milankovitch Cycles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles None of those acts on a short enough time scale to have a significant effect over just a couple of centuries and if you look at the forcings from all of the components of Milankovitch Cycles together the net effect is a slight cooling bias at the moment.
Maybe this is what Don is refering to. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/08/14/earth-wobble-climate.html
I think scientists would have noticed if the Earth's orbital parameters had changed outside of the expected variations.
G'morning River Rat,, have you taken into calculation the wobble also? Coffee? Don Jose de La Mancha
...when anything contrary to the narrative is either discarded or ignored? No, it's religion. 100+ years ago, the popular establishment narrative would have been "Look how God is punishing us - You'd better do what we tell you or else!". Today, it's "Global warming causing this - You'd better do what we tell you or else!". Little has really changed.