Thursday, May 26, 2011

Of course climate change is real

One of the things that really bothers me about folks who argue using Aristotelian logic is that they truly believe that if they can find a flaw in your argument, your argument has been destroyed.  It's the "reasoning" behind the "Al Gore is fat" line so many of the ignorant right like to take.  The mistake they are making is confusing Al Gore, the spokesman, with Climate Change, the issue.

And Al Gore IS a fat target. His movie "Inconvenient Truth" (IT) ends on a childishly optimistic note that suggests fixing the problems will be relatively easy. He jets around in a private airplane. He promotes "Cap and Trade," a Wall Street swindle based on Tetzel's concept of indulgences (as long as you pay--you can keep on sinning.)

Worst of all, Gore took his movie money and built himself a huge energy pig of a mansion.  This final crime against the serious evidence in IT is the one that bugs me more than all the rest because I know how hard my brother has worked to build an energy efficient house and understand what he could have done with more money.  Yet here is Gore with plenty of money and he doesn't even TRY to build a showcase for better energy-saving technologies.

Unfortunately, it IS possible to diminish an argument by making its prime spokesman look ridiculous.  But some of the prime sources of information haven't helped much by making predictions about sea levels, etc. that have been sort of goofy.

Here is what we know about Climate Change.  The atmosphere and oceans are retaining more heat.  Heat is an expression of energy so what we know is that energy has been added to the systems that produce our weather.  That is what we KNOW.  How that plays out is just speculation.  Now some guesses will be a lot better than others and it is likely that our predictive abilities will improve over time, but at no point do the failures of these guesstimates for the outcome of climate change interfere with the basic fact that our atmosphere now has more energy than a few short years ago, and the increasing that energy will probably be a bad thing.

Last year's disasters are starting all over again.
Fears of repeat disaster as fires rage in Russian east
24 May 2011 
Russia has reported 421 wildfires burning in forests and peat bogs over the past 24 hours, covering an area of 116,098 hectares (450 sq miles).
The fires were mainly confined to remote parts of Siberia and the Urals, with no blazes reported near Moscow and other central Russian cities.
But the area on fire is twice the size of that for the same period last year.
Drought, fires and smog left dozens dead and ruined crops in 2010, and there are fears of a repeat disaster.
The emergencies ministry said in a report on its website that the biggest fires were in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), the Amur region and the Krasnoyarsk territory.
More than 6,000 personnel equipped with more than 1,140 units of fire-fighting equipment were deployed against the fires, backed by 42 aircraft.
Of the 421 fires reported on Monday, 241 were extinguished, the ministry said.
Western Russia, the centre of the country's grain production, remains largely unaffected by fire, but officials say the situation may deteriorate if dry weather persists. more
Forest fires blazing across Russia have already broken last year’s records, despite meteorologists’ promises that the smoky summer of 2010 would never return.
Monday morning saw 188 new fires raging. In total, there are believed to be 418 fires in Russia, covering 110,000 hectares. Some 300,000 hectares of forest have already been ravaged.
The rescuers blame human carelessness for the new wildfires, as in the hot, dry weather just a spark can trigger a fire.
According to the Federal Forestry Agency, 53.4 per cent of forest fires were caused by locals, 2.2. per cent by agricultural burning, and 1.4 per cent by thunderstorms.
The Emergencies Ministry says the situation in Siberia and the Far East, where the fires are already causing terrible damage, is likely to get worse.
“We've registered only a few fires in the central region and the situation is stable in the north-western and Volga districts,” Vladimir Dmitriev, representative of Federal Forestry Agency, told RT. “But unlike last year, the situation is much worse in Siberia and the Far East. Last year these regions weren't wrecked by the wildfires.”
A total of 8,563 wildfires with an area of 296,457 hectares have broken out in Russia since the beginning of the season.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry is now increasing its air fleet to fight wildfires on the territories of the Urals, Siberia, and the Far East.
The record-breaking heat in the summer of 2010 resulted in devastating forest fires that killed 62 people, destroyed 199 villages and towns and reduced 3,200 houses to ashes. more
All I know is that the weather has gotten very frightening lately and I am not easily frightened by weather.  The other night when Joplin Missouri was being leveled by a F5 tornado, we had tornadoes here in Minnesota.  I sat by my window that faces south and listened to the distant thunder.  The lightening was so far away I could not see the flashes yet I could hear the rumble as it pulsated back and forth across the horizon.  The sound was continuous.  It was VERY ominous.  Thunderstorms were NEVER like that even ten years ago.
U.S. weather extremes show "new normal" climate
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent – Wed May 18, 5:14 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Heavy rains, deep snowfalls, monster floods and killing droughts are signs of a "new normal" of extreme U.S. weather events fueled by climate change, scientists and government planners said on Wednesday.
"It's a new normal and I really do think that global weirding is the best way to describe what we're seeing," climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University told reporters.
"We are used to certain conditions and there's a lot going on these days that is not what we're used to, that is outside our current frame of reference," Hayhoe said on a conference call with other experts, organized by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists.
An upsurge in heavy rainstorms in the United States has coincided with prolonged drought, sometimes in the same location, she said, noting that west Texas has seen a record-length dry period over the last five years, even as there have been two 100-year rain events.
Hayhoe, other scientists, civic planners and a manager at the giant Swiss Re reinsurance firm all cited human-caused climate change as an factor pushing this shift toward more extreme weather.
While none would blame climate change for any specific weather event, Hayhoe said a background of climate change had an impact on every rainstorm, heat wave or cold snap.
"What we're seeing is the new normal is constantly evolving," said Nikhil da Victoria Lobo of Swiss Re's Global Partnerships team. "Globally what we're seeing is more volatility ... there's certainly a lot more integrated risk exposure." more

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