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Climate Change: The Megathread - Read Post #1 before posting

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  • Duiske wrote: »
    This piece from the NY Times suggests that while this was a big storm, describing it as "the strongest recorded storm ever to make landfall" is an exaggeration. Full article.

    And this article from the Guardian would dispute that. So who do you believe? The answer wont lie with journalists anyway.
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/nov/08/typhoon-haiyan-philippines-tropical-cyclones

    Ground based wind instruments are not necessarily reliable at these wind speeds either.

    Whatever the strength of it, it has caused absolute devastation. This is without doubt the worst I have seen since the tsunami. Very upsetting. :(




  • So long as you're happy...
    I will be when some people stop using individual storms or droughts as evidence for global warming and others stop using cold snaps and snowfalls as evidence against it.




  • Global warming is happening, that is beyond any reasonable doubt.

    The argument about whether or not this particular storm was 'caused by global warming' is silly because now that the planet is warming, all weather is affected by the new climate. All of it, that means every single weather event is 'caused by global warming' because if global warming wasn't happening, then some other weather would be happening instead.

    If it wasn't for global warming, the storm that struck this week would not have happened, but other storms would have as the prevailing climate would allow

    What we do know about global warming is that it does increase the risk of more extreme weather events. We are loading the dice in favour of more powerful storms. We are increasing the amount of energy in the atmosphere and oceans and this energy drives more powerful weather events more frequently than before.




  • Akrasia wrote: »
    Global warming is happening, that is beyond any reasonable doubt.

    The argument about whether or not this particular storm was 'caused by global warming' is silly because now that the planet is warming, all weather is affected by the new climate. All of it, that means every single weather event is 'caused by global warming' because if global warming wasn't happening, then some other weather would be happening instead.

    If it wasn't for global warming, the storm that struck this week would not have happened, but other storms would have as the prevailing climate would allow

    What we do know about global warming is that it does increase the risk of more extreme weather events. We are loading the dice in favour of more powerful storms. We are increasing the amount of energy in the atmosphere and oceans and this energy drives more powerful weather events more frequently than before.

    We do not know if we are loading the dice in favour on more powerful storms. All we know is that the oceans have more energy. How that changes the dynamics of storms is unclear. We also do not know if this storm would have occurred or not if humans were never here.




  • And now for something completely different!

    Tmax_Tmin_line_5y.png

    The link between sunshine and temperature based on UK climate records since 1933



    http://euanmearns.com/the-link-between-sunshine-and-temperature-based-on-uk-climate-records-since-1933/#more-730

    According to the authors the average hours of sunshine correlate quite well to the average temperatures in the British isles.

    It's possible that "global warming" is not global at all, but as some areas warm up they change the weather patterns such that other areas like the UK to cool.


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  • Jernal wrote: »
    We also do not know if this storm would have occurred or not if humans were never here.

    If humans had never been here things would be very, very, different.

    We have radically affected the natural balances on this planet at practically every level imaginable, starting tens of thousands of years ago, and all of these things are intimately related to, and have an effect on, the climate, and hence the weather - including this particular storm.




  • dolanbaker wrote: »
    It's possible that "global warming" is not global at all, but as some areas warm up they change the weather patterns such that other areas like the UK to cool.

    I thought the term 'global warming' had gone into disuse, replaced by the more appropriate 'climate change'.




  • dolanbaker wrote: »
    It's possible that "global warming" is not global at all, but as some areas warm up they change the weather patterns such that other areas like the UK to cool.

    Pretty much. "Global warming" refers to the rise in the average surface temperature of the globe. Local areas may be warmer or cooler than the average.




  • Global warming does not mean everywhere in the world is warming all the time, it means that the average global temperature is increasing.

    This is just semantics anyway, it doesn't matter what you call it, it's happening




  • Jernal wrote: »
    We do not know if we are loading the dice in favour on more powerful storms. All we know is that the oceans have more energy. How that changes the dynamics of storms is unclear. We also do not know if this storm would have occurred or not if humans were never here.

    Weather is dynamic and dependent on the climate . This storm would certainly never have happened if humans never existed in exactly the same way that I would never have existed if my mother and father had been having sex in a different position when I was conceived. a different sperm may have fertilised the egg and I would never have been born

    Its a silly argument


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  • I thought the term 'global warming' had gone into disuse, replaced by the more appropriate 'climate change'.

    Well, the globe is warming so why drop it. Both terms are used. I think Climate Change is used more publicly for communication reason. Both terms have a share of misconceptions about them. Climate change probably less so.
    Weather is dynamic and dependent on the climate . This storm would certainly never have happened if humans never existed in exactly the same way that I would never have existed if my mother and father had been having sex in a different position when I was conceived. a different sperm may have fertilised the egg and I would never have been born

    Its a silly argument

    We're on different wavelengths here. The point isn't that this exact storm with this exact constituent of particles and properties wouldn't have happened. The point is that it's not one bit clear whether a storm with identical properties would or wouldn't have occurred naturally. Whether the frequency of such storms would have been more or less. And even then because it's a single point of datum we simply cannot make any conclusions. It could be an outlier. It could exactly match a trend. But this storm, alone, can never tell us such things.




  • Jernal wrote: »
    Well, the globe is warming so why drop it. Both terms are used. I think Climate Change is used more publicly for communication reason. Both terms have a share of misconceptions about them. Climate change probably less so.



    We're on different wavelengths here. The point isn't that this exact storm with this exact constituent of particles and properties wouldn't have happened. The point is that it's not one bit clear whether a storm with identical properties would or wouldn't have occurred naturally. Whether the frequency of such storms would have been more or less. And even then because it's a single point of datum we simply cannot make any conclusions. It could be an outlier. It could exactly match a trend. But this storm, alone, can never tell us such things.

    I do understand the point, and it's a silly argument. Nobody is saying that this single storm is the only evidence of global warming, or that this single storm is the only consequence of global warming. What we should be saying is

    "look, this storm was horrific, if we don't want storms as horrific as this to become normal events, we should really really focus on reducing our carbon emissions to minimise global warming as much as possible."

    One of the main predictions of global warming is increased frequency of increasingly powerful weather events.




  • Jernal wrote: »
    Well, the globe is warming so why drop it. Both terms are used. I think Climate Change is used more publicly for communication reason. Both terms have a share of misconceptions about them. Climate change probably less so.

    The problem with the term 'global warming' is that all those who, for whatever reason, prefer to believe - or pretend to believe - that the climate is not changing can say "This year is colder than last year, so that disproves the idea that the climate is changing." (Not logical, but that's the nature of their arguments.)

    I don't see any similar difficulties with the term 'climate change'.

    However if the situation continues to worsen as we are seeing now, other terms such as 'runaway climate change', 'climate collapse' or 'climate breakdown' will become more appropriate.




  • The climate change deniers have been playing semantics with the term Climate change too. 'The climate is always changing, it's all a natural process'

    In fact, Frank Luntz a PR expert hired by the republican party in order to come up with strategies to combat the science of global warming advised the denier movement to focus on the term 'Climate change' rather than global warming because climate change sounds less threatening and it is easier to down play in the media

    It doesn't matter what terms are used, those whose main goal is to manufacture doubt and confusion and prevent action that will harm their political and economic interests will come up with something to confuse the 'debate'

    All we can do is point out the dishonesty behind these PR tactics




  • The problem with the term 'global warming' is that all those who, for whatever reason, prefer to believe - or pretend to believe - that the climate is not changing can say "This year is colder than last year, so that disproves the idea that the climate is changing." (Not logical, but that's the nature of their arguments.)
    But it’s ok to hold a typhoon up as evidence of climate change?




  • Akrasia wrote: »
    One of the main predictions of global warming is increased frequency of increasingly powerful weather events.
    Not really – as Jernal has already pointed out, the science behind this is still not very well understood. From the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report:
    Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones. The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms since 1970 in some regions is much larger than simulated by current models for that period. {9.5, 10.3, 3.8}
    "Likely" translates to "greater than 66% probability".




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    But it’s ok to hold a typhoon up as evidence of climate change?

    Nobody is saying that in those simplistic terms, as you will clearly see in the posts above, particularly those so well articulated by Akrasia.

    It's the general picture that provides incontrovertible evidence for climate change, and this typhoon is part of that.




  • It's the general picture that provides incontrovertible evidence for climate change...
    No it doesn't - we still don't really understand the effects of climate change on the frequency or power of tropical storms.




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    Not really – as Jernal has already pointed out, the science behind this is still not very well understood. From the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report:
    "Likely" translates to "greater than 66% probability".

    It's understood well enough to say that these changes are likely to happen
    Or unlikely to not happen

    If an experienced engineer told you that there is a 66% chance that your house will burn down if you construct it out of material x, you're not going to use material x to build your house.

    Turn on the news, right now is the consequence of extreme weather events and it is devastating. We are being told that there is greater than a 66% chance that we will be seeing more and more of these weather events as global warming gets worse and this is still not enough to convince you that we need to take action?




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    Not really – as Jernal has already pointed out, the science behind this is still not very well understood. From the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report:
    "Likely" translates to "greater than 66% probability".

    Some think that the IPCC is generally overcautious and dumbs down its findings, for a variety of reasons - not wanting to appear 'alarmist', and having to conform to what governments (politicians) feel is 'politically acceptable' in terms of emissions reductions, etc.

    An awareness that the climate change sceptics are always on the lookout for any detail that they can use may also be a factor in the IPCC's possibly overcautious approach.


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  • djpbarry wrote: »
    No it doesn't - we still don't really understand the effects of climate change on the frequency or power of tropical storms.

    What percentage of understanding do you think we need before you will accept the evidence?




  • Akrasia wrote: »
    Turn on the news, right now is the consequence of extreme weather events and it is devastating. We are being told that there is greater than a 66% chance that we will be seeing more and more of these weather events as global warming gets worse and this is still not enough to convince you that we need to take action?
    Take what action?




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    Take what action?

    A meaningful international treaty for the reduction of carbon emissions would be a good start.




  • Akrasia wrote: »
    A meaningful international treaty for the reduction of carbon emissions would be a good start.
    Hang on there now.

    You’re suggesting that I was somehow implying that no action need be taken to combat climate change, just because I’m pointing out that the science of tropical storms, and how they will be affected by climate change, is, at this point in time, poorly understood?




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    Hang on there now.

    You’re suggesting that I was somehow implying that no action need be taken to combat climate change, just because I’m pointing out that the science of tropical storms, and how they will be affected by climate change, is, at this point in time, poorly understood?
    You asked me what type of action I would like to see taken.
    Can I ask you the same question?

    Your recent posts have been discussing the uncertainty predictng what the effects of global warming will be.

    Generally the argument goes like this
    "We don't fully understand what the effects of global warming will be, therefore we should wait until we have more information before we take action"

    Of course, we will never 'fully' understand the science so we're always stuck in waiting mode.

    This is what the Oil industry lobbiests and the Oil producing nations will be and have been saying at the climate summit in Poland

    We have had enough data to take decisive action for decades now, but we're still in wait and see mode.




  • Akrasia wrote: »
    Your recent posts have been discussing the uncertainty predictng what the effects of global warming will be.
    No, my posts have been, very specifically, discussing the uncertainty associated with predicting the effect of climate change on tropical storms.

    I don’t know why you’ve leaped to the conclusion that I’m advocating inaction to combat climate change?!?




  • djpbarry wrote: »
    No, my posts have been, very specifically, discussing the uncertainty associated with predicting the effect of climate change on tropical storms.

    I don’t know why you’ve leaped to the conclusion that I’m advocating inaction to combat climate change?!?

    Ok, I apologise if I got the wrong impression and I'm glad that you recognise how important it is for us to take action on this




  • Here's a question to get everyone arguing - sorry, debating - away merrily:

    To what extent are the IPCC's predictions based on computer modelling, and to what extent are they based on palaeoclimatological records and other concrete data, such as measurements recorded in the field?

    I had read that it was primarily the former, but that the latter provides a more realistic - and much more frightening - indication of what lies ahead if greenhouse gas levels continue to increase.

    Opinions?




  • To what extent are the IPCC's predictions based on computer modelling, and to what extent are they based on palaeoclimatological records and other concrete data, such as measurements recorded in the field?

    This is pretty much a circular question. Models are the pretty much the only things that produce predictions. By analogy, you can't make a prediction on a falling object without using a model of some sort. Even if it's just a conceptual one. For example, if I ask you imagine spilling a cup of coffee how do you imagine it? By using everyday experience, experience from the past and intuitive guesses. Scientific Models are far more detailed but the principle is similar. They are tested against real world data to see how accurate they are. They are also used to tell scientists what data they need to gather or better observe so they can better identify the underlying trends. Such data can then be used to refine the models even further or propose new models that need to be developed.
    IPCC just report on current literature they don't actually do any modelling themselves as far as I'm aware?


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  • Jernal wrote: »
    This is pretty much a circular question. Models are the pretty much the only things that produce predictions. By analogy, you can't make a prediction on a falling object without using a model of some sort. Even if it's just a conceptual one. For example, if I ask you imagine spilling a cup of coffee how do you imagine it? By using everyday experience, experience from the past and intuitive guesses. Scientific Models are far more detailed but the principle is similar.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Ok, but surely, in contrast to a falling object, there are so many unknowns, and so many aspects that are difficult to factor in (such as biotic influences) that the result is consequently only a sort of hi-tech guess? (A bit exaggerated, perhaps, but you get the idea.)

    On the other hand, if, on multiple occasions in the past, such-and-such happened every time CO2 levels reached a certain level, doesn't that give a more reliable guide to the way the planet behaves under certain circumstances?

    If every time you kick the table the coffee cup spills, than that is surely a better indication of what will happen if you kick the table than a model.


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