Pause in the Global Cooling

Since there was great hue and cry recently over the completely unprecedented level* of cold that great parts of the United States have experienced this year, it’s reasonable to assume the same people are following this week’s weather news as well.

Unseasonable warm weather is causing flash flood warnings through much of the midwest. Gee, if “winter” is now considered to be a disproof of anthropogenic global warming, is “warm weather” proof? See also, “weather and climate are not the same word.”

* – by “unprecedented” we mean completely precedented in every reasonable way

It’s so cold, global warming is a hoax!

Lou Dobbs (not the most unbiased fella on the tube) had CNN meteorologist Chad Myers on the other day, and the weatherman claimed that global warming is not man-made because that would be arrogant, or something of the sort. This has been one of the various anecdotes that are being touted as proving that global warming is not happening, and even if it is, the problem is not humanity’s fault and we can’t fix it so we should just keep fiddling.  It’s sad that this comes up so frequently.

The meteorological year, December 2007 through November 2008, was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis of surface air temperature measurements. It was the ninth warmest year in the period of instrumental measurements, which extends back to 1880. The nine warmest years all occur within the eleven-year period 1998-2008.

Arctic sea ice has not, in actual scientifically verified fact, improved extent over previous years. It was, indeed, 220,000 square miles more ice cover than last year in November. However, it’s still 260,000 square miles lower than the average 1979-2000 coverage. Furthermore, the extent of coverage has peaked and stopped its rapid growth. Look at the graph linked above – we’re now seeing that the sea ice extent will likely drop below last year’s already-sad numbers by the end of 2008. Air temperatures above the ice remain unusually high, and this will cause a slowing of the ice growth. You may be familiar with warmth and melting.

Yes, it’s a blizzard. No, that doesn’t mean the climate is cooling, it just means there’s a blizzard right now. The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.”

Didn’t take long

My most linked-to post ever, yesterday’s denialists missive, has attracted the usual suspects. Not surprisingly, Akismet’s spam filter blocked them and I don’t feel like unblocking them. Typical tactic of the denialists – overwhelmingly loud shoutdowns instead of actual scientific evidence. In lieu of opening up my blog to becoming another nutjob-infested place, I will address the “issues” that denialists like to throw out in defense of the lack of action toward anything like good stewardship of the planet.

More ice is forming in the Antarctic than is being lost. This is actually a predictable effect of the current warming cycle. More warmth equals more evaporation equals more precipitation, particularly at the poles (more at the South than North for other reasons). It also equals less precipitation in the tropics. These things are predicted, and they have happened.

Antarctica is cooling. No. It had a cooling trend over 60% of its mass, several years ago. It’s a lot more clear now, as the warming trend has become much more widespread. Also, Antarctica is susceptible to warming and cooling based on ocean temperatures, so it would be predicted to warm later than the Arctic region. This is predicted, and it is happening.

It’s cold in BC right now, so global warming is a hoax. Local temperature variations do not change a global multi-decade trend. See also, “it’s been a cool year all over” for more nonsense. Yes, it has been the coolest winter since 2001. But, it’s still the 16th warmest year on record. So, “cooler” than “really hot” is not much to go by. The warmest years on record are 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007.

The arctic sea ice came back big time this winter. Yes, it did. But, there are two types of ice pack in the arctic – perennial and annual. The annual ice made a nice recovery. The perennial ice, though, is still much decreased. The perennial ice covers about 30% of the arctic, where is had covered 50-60% of that area in the past. Perennial ice (which lasts 6 or more years) covered 20% of the arctic as recently as the 1980s, but now accounts for a mere 6% of the coverage. One year does not make a trend. In the past twenty years, 17 of them are the top 17 hottest in 150 years of records.

Sunspots are to blame for the warmer temperatures. Sunspots have not increased in 20 years, so how could they be to blame? NASA says solar increases do not have the ability to cause large global temperature increases.” The Sun is approaching solar minimum, yet global warming continues.

Calling people who deny the incredible mass of data about global warming “denialists” rather than “skeptics” is an ad hominem attack and I should be ashamed of myself. I am a member of the Skeptic Society. Skeptics don’t believe things contrary to masses of evidence, willfully denying the vast majority of experts and all the research, cherry-picking bits of contradictory evidence to support a tiny minority opinion. Nope. Doesn’t happen. I’m amazed that people can call themselves “skeptics” and yet retain such unwavering belief in something.

What are the denialists afraid of? If the global warming “conspiracy” has its way, we’ll get cleaner air, cleaner water, less dependence on hostile governments, more wildlife returning to their habitats, and a booming economy based on renewable rather than finite resources. Oh, please don’t throw me in the briar patch!

Denialists, Prepare to Deny!

When the Larsen B shelf collapsed in 2002, melting a block of ice the size of Rhode Island, global warming denialists said that a 12,000 year-old stable feature was just due to collapse anyway.  Nothing to see here.

Now, the Wilkins shelf is about to calve a block about the size of Connecticut.  Want to bet how the denialists will react? Liberal media conspiracy, anyone? Maybe a nice ad hominem attack on Al Gore? Pick your logical fallacy, and handicap the race for yourself!