Ecocentric

A Silent Hurricane Season Adds Fuel to a Debate Over Global Warming

We've passed the midpoint of the Atlantic hurricane season, and there's been not a storm to see. What does a hurricane drought tell us about how climate change will impact tropical cyclones?

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NASA / Getty Images

How will climate change affect storms like Sandy, seen in a satellite image?

It’s been quiet this hurricane season — too quiet. Back in May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a “very active” tropical-storm season, one with between seven and 11 hurricanes. The agency lowered that estimate in August to between six and nine hurricanes, but still predicted that three to five of them would become major storms, with winds above 111 m.p.h.

We’re now a day away from the exact midpoint of the Atlantic hurricane season, the period when storm activity is historically at its strongest — Sept. 10 — and so far we’ve experienced … nothing. While there have been a handful of tropical storms, we have yet to see a single hurricane — a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of at least 74 m.p.h. This is extremely unusual, and if the calm continues, 2013 could rival 2002, which didn’t experience its first hurricane until Sept. 11. What gives?

(MORE: Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods)

It’s important to remember that while some of the biggest hurricanes have struck in August or very early September — Andrew in 19941992, Dolly in 1996, Katrina in 2005 — the storm season officially lasts until the end of November. Last year Sandy struck at the very end of October, and statistically, the back half of the hurricane season tends to be much stronger than the front half. An October surprise of a storm could still be out there, waiting to strike.

Still, the lack of activity in the first half of the storm season demands explanation. The abundance of warmer, drier air across the Atlantic this summer has made the atmosphere more stable, discouraging the development of strong storms. There’s also a lot of wind shear, when wind at different altitudes occur in different speeds and directions, which tends to snuff out new tropical storms. It’s also possible that dust from North Africa, which can reduce the temperature of the sea surface, may be stalling storms. (Hurricanes are fed by warm ocean waters, which is why they form in the tropics.)

The truth is that scientists aren’t really sure why there hasn’t been a hurricane yet this season, nor do they know why an intense hurricane — Category 3, 4, 5 — hasn’t made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma all the way back in 2005. (Sandy, for all the damage it did, was barely a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall along the East Coast.) And as Andrew Revkin reported in the New York Times, leaked drafts of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seem to reflect a reduced scientific certainty that global warming will make storms stronger and more frequent. In the 2007 report, the IPCC said that it was more likely than not — a greater than 50% certainty in the panel’s terminology — that human activity was contributing to an observed intensification of hurricane activity in some parts of the world. Now the IPCC — or at least the draft — says it has “low confidence” of that relationship, which means it believes that there is only a 2-out-of-10 chance of being correct. The estimated probability that the 21st century will see more intense hurricane activity has fallen as well.

(MORE: Task Force: Coasts Should Prepare for Rising Seas)

What happened? Chris Mooney at Mother Jones notes that some recent studies cast doubt on the connection between warming and stronger storms:

There’s an intense scientific debate going on here, and new research conducted since 2007 has given indications that the hurricane picture under climate change may be more complicated than previously supposed. That’s because even as warmer oceans provide jet fuel for hurricanes, changes in atmospheric wind patterns can still interfere with their formation by preventing storms from forming or, literally, tearing them apart.

In particular, the IPCC in its latest round likely took note of a major 2010 paper in the journal Nature Geoscience, authored by no less than 10 hurricane experts, finding that “it remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity have exceeded the variability expected from natural causes.” It’s also important to keep in mind how the IPCC works: There’s a cut-off date for assessing the existing scientific literature to be included in each report, and work published after the deadline just doesn’t get taken into account.

Indeed, some more recent studies offer evidence that climate change will indeed soup up storms, including one I reported on in July:

new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, however, suggest that we may not be so lucky. Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and one of the foremost experts on hurricanes and climate change, argues that tropical cyclones are likely to become both stronger and more frequent as the climate continues to warm — especially in the western North Pacific, home to some of the most heavily populated cities on the planet. But the North Atlantic — meaning the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast — won’t be spared either. Bigger bullets, faster gun.

Then there’s another new study that predicts that changing atmospheric conditions created by climate change could actually make storms like Sandy — which struck the East Coast of the U.S., with disastrous consequences — less likely in the decades to come.

(PHOTOS: The Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes of All Time)

The back-and-forth over hurricanes underscores how heated the scientific debate remains over the exact effects of future warming. If it’s difficult for scientists to understand why there’s been a drought of hurricanes so far this year, you can imagine how challenging it remains to project storm activity decades into the future. But we do know that warming will cause the seas to rise, which in turn will amplify the coastal flooding that tends to cause the most damage when a storm strikes. A study published last week found that the sea-level rise we’ve already experienced has already doubled the chance of a Sandy-like flood in New York City. Depending on how much sea level continues to rise, Sandy-like flooding could occur in New York once every few decades by the end of the century. Add in the fact that the value of property and the number of people living in coastal areas continues to rise, and you can understand why we’ll need to remain on guard for tropical storms — no matter what global warming does.

MOREThe Most Destructive U.S. Hurricanes of All Time

SEE ALSO:  The Big Surprise of Martin Luther King’s Speech

447 comments
DaveIppolito
DaveIppolito

Climatologists are NOT real scientists! They do not follow the scientific method. They have the luxury of conjecture without the need to reexamine the evidence... simply because there is sooo much contradictory evidence on every issue.   They can be wrong repeatedly and it seems its inbred into their paradigm. 

The only one who want the debate on MM GW to be over are those who want control over carbon based energy and those who stand to get very rich in the process.



PaulMays
PaulMays

On a note about sea level...  Yes it rises and has been doin g so for 20,000 years... The rate it's rising today is the same as it has risen for the last 7000 years.... We can find cities all around the globe under 100's of feet of water, miles out to sea because the sea rises during a Interglacial warm period...  While they use Big Numbers to scare the uninformed masses just think about it before getting all scared and crap....  The Scare ... The Ice Caps are melting at a rate of 278 Gigatonnes per year....  Damn that's a lot... We all going to drown ..... Except that is a rate of melt of .001% of the total Ice at just the South Pole....   So Yes the oceans will rise at about 1 inch per decade so Cities will do as they have always done, be swallowed up if they are built on the shore line... Until this short interglacial warm period comes to an end (It's due) and we go back to Normal climates with North America under a mile thick hunk of ice....

JBiden2016
JBiden2016

No hurricanes because of Global Warming! Hurray for Global Warming"

RobCentros
RobCentros

In other words, these scientists predictions are failing to predict, so it's time for revisionism. "Oh no, we didn't say that." What a joke. 

rutnerh
rutnerh

As usual our learned scientists are wrong in predicting anything concerning climate change, the weather, hurricanes, etc, etc. Just proves that human wisdom is mere foolishness in the eyes of God who started it all and runs the universe. 

0Sundance
0Sundance

Those of us who tried to educate Chris Mooney, when he was still selling future hurricane carnage at his Discover Blog, were called deniers by the Mooney minions. Now Mooney is eating his alarmist words and he is reduced to writing for radical rags like DeSmog and Mother Jones.

JamesShosesesta
JamesShosesesta

This is the same segment of scientists who said we were headed into a new ice age in the 70's. The recommendation? Paint the polar caps black to absorb heat.  Get a clue people, weather prediction is not a science.99% of this BS is to generate funds for research to keep themselves employed.

Search for the famous cover of this very magazine, "How to Survive the Coming Ice Age" 1977

MarkBaird
MarkBaird

"Has nothing to do with "consensus". Science is not decided by consensus. There was a consensus against Einstein on Relativity. And where did that end?"

If you do not believe in collective judgement then how can you believe in the power of free markets or Democracy?

Is there enough consensus on the following science for you?

CO2 allows shortwave radiation (light) to pass thru and reach the earth. CO2 absorbs long wave energy (heat). This is proven science. Carbon is neither created or destroyed, again proven science. Some carbon is sequestered in living plants and dead plants (oil and coal), proven science. Man is burning oil and coal recycling the carbon into another form called CO2, back into the atmosphere, provable science.

My guess is that in this case a simple explanation will not do but in other cases, such as economics, a simple explanation will. How and when does society decide when to take action on collective judgement?


GerryEllenson
GerryEllenson

For Pete's sake, CNN: The headline should read "Haven't" not "Hasn't. I'm available for editing if you have English-challenged writers. That's far from the first bad writing I've seen on the CNN site.

anopinionatedsob
anopinionatedsob

The "debate" over human activity accounting for climate change is a waste of time. Their can be no intelligent argument that humans are not responsible for some alteration of the natural condition of weather any more than you can argue we are not depleting the amount of fossil fuel tyhe planet has to offer.The true debate should be what we can do to0 mitigate that change before we turn this planet into another Venus with the resulting extinction of life, all life. Just so you know it, the climate is changing. The question is why and how will it affect our future and the future of our species and the others we share this rock with for it will be a very bad place when "Soylent Green becomes our only food supply. Google that and decide how your politics play out with your taste buds!!!!!

eagle11772
eagle11772

In short, it's a crapshoot.  Nature is so incredibly complex, with so many subtle factors, that we just don't know.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Good to see that insanity still reigns. Chainsaws and guns over a subdecadal phenomenon that may or may not mean anything at all except emphasize that regional weather is dictated by things we don't understand well yet.

In the meantime, CO2 did pass 400 ppm for the first time in 3My, and the earth's CO2 cycle takes about 200,000 years. 

What's all that mean?

It means that no matter if you were spoonfed by Drudge or not, it gonna take at least a few thousand years before all that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, and that's only if we stopped generating CO2 right this minute.

So have fun and remember to properly and respectfully dispose of the bodies.

B1adeRunner
B1adeRunner

"...nor do they know why an intense hurricane — Category 3, 4, 5 — hasn’t made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma all the way back in 2005."

Uhhhm a few million of us down in Houston would tend to disagree with this statement.  There was a little something called Hurricane Ike that made landfall in 2008 and it was a cat 4, the costliest hurricane ever to impact Cuba, the third-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States, and the costliest hurricane in Texas history. 

NishiHundan1
NishiHundan1

It just shows you that nobody knows jack s***. All these so called experts--they sit around with their white shirts in air conditioned offices talking out of their fat @sses. I'm not just talking about climate change--I'm talking about every subject--food, health, foreign affairs--they don't know s***.

Nightbreaker
Nightbreaker

Global Warming is a joke! A figment of the imagination of those trying to justify their jobs and keep the taxpayer's funded grant money flowing into their pockets!

amd525
amd525

And maybe, just maybe, the whole notion of man driven climate change is utter nonsense.

Now non-man drive, that's a whole different issue. We live in a dynamic universe where all kinds of external factors come into play.

But you can't tax a natural process the same way you can tax people.

So that's I figure they blame carbon, because the sources (aka people) can be used as a cash cow.

formerTREEhugger
formerTREEhugger

Sunspots!  E-UV's can increase 10 fold during solar maximum.  Here is what NASA is saying.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

Look at sun cycle 6 and 12, very similar to our current cycle 24.  This cycle is the first "non-upward" trend of the solar maximum since 1890.  

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/02/the-sun-is-still-in-a-funk-sunspot-numbers-are-dropping-when-they-should-be-rising/

USA today May 2013

Rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a "fertilization effect" on plants in arid regions that has contributed to the flourishing of foliage there, Australian researchers report.


ThisNameInUse
ThisNameInUse

Bryan Walsh slightly misrepresents here the leaked and still preliminary IPCC report.  They are less confident than before in the notion that warming the planet will bring more FREQUENT hurricanes, but they are still confident that it will bring more severe ones when they do occur.

"The climate panel foresees fewer hurricanes, overall, but a rise in strength in those that do form."

 http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/30/hurricane-marco-rubio-a-winning-climate-campaign/?_r=1

PaulMays
PaulMays

@JamesShosesesta   I've tried many times to explain that point but to the B'Levers of AGW it's always well Climate Scientists say.....   Climate Science is Not Hard Science..... It's called a Soft Science and is more akin to Alchemy than Hard Science....  It basic provenance of Climatologists is nebulous  Opinion  with never having the meet the requirement of  following the Scientific Method....  They get to claim Authority while not have to show verifiable, repeatable and testable Physical Evidence for their opinion.... Same applies to Alchemy ....  Yet the B'Levers would take the Opinion of a Climatologist on the Physics climate than a Physicist.... 

Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@JamesShosesesta

You are right. And there were plenty more suggesting global cooling.

  • “The Earth’s Cooling Climate,” Science News, November 15, 1969.
     
  • “Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age,”Washington Post, January 11, 1970.
     
  • “Science:  Another Ice Age?”  Time Magazine, June 24, 1974.
     
  • “The Ice Age Cometh!”  Science News, March 1, 1975.
     
  • “The Cooling World,” Newsweek, April 28, 1975.
     
  • “Scientists Ask Why World Climate is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead,” New York Times, May 21, 1975.
     
  • “In the Grip of a New Ice Age?” International Wildlife July-August, 1975.
     
  • “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable,” New York Times, September 14, 1975.
     
  • “Variations in the Earth’s Orbit, Pacemaker of the Ice Ages,” Science magazine, December 10, 1976.

PaulMays
PaulMays

@MarkBaird   Science is Not Politics and is where the problem begins...   Science is Not about the collective agreement on anything...  It is mainly about Dis-Proving what has been agreed on...   You are completely Wrong  on that CO2 Paragraph on several levels....  Well while not totally wrong on the Specific, very wrong on the completeness of the concept... And Totally Wrong on some parts...  While CO2 does as you say and pass short waves and absorbs long wave it does so in a Very Narrow band width where as H20 has the same pass and absorption in that bandwidth it also is so in a Much Broader band width and contains Far greater Mass for retransmission ... CO2 is only .036% of so called Green House actors... 

As for Oil it is Not Settled science that it comes from dead plants...  As long chain hydrocarbons are found on other planets in abundance and the chemical makeup of Oil better matches a Chemical Process than a organic process...   http://www.wnd.com/2008/02/45838/


Also there is No Such Thing as Provable Science....  Other than a Mathematical Proof there is No Such thing as Proof in Science...   I'll give you an easy to understand example...

A guy sees a single piece of actual Physical evidence... (actual Physical evidence is Testable, Repeatable, Verifiable) and says that single piece of Physical evidence is Enough to prove a claim....   But the next Guy sees that same Physical evidence and does Not think it proves the claim... In fact the Second guy might see 1000 pieces of Physical evidence and still not consider the evidence enough to consider a claim Proven...  


That is why Real Science is Not made by Consensus, Real science is trying to tear consensus apart..  Right Now real scientists are trying as hard as they can to debunk Einsteins Relativity and special Relativity  ...  There are Real Scientists trying to destroy Newtonian Physics...  

Real Scientist Ask for debate, Real Scientist seek to have their theories ripped apart ...  Anytime someone says the Debate is over, The Science is Settled, We have Consensus we have left Science and are allowing Politics to control the outcomes... 

 And Worse of all so many are giving authority to Climatologist...  Might as well let P.T. Barnum have authority...  Climatologists are Not Real Scientists... They do not have to abide by the Scientific Method and are Entirely Opinion based with wiggle room... More akin to Alchemy than hard science....    



Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@MarkBaird 

There is no free market involved here. These climate scientists are funded mostly by the federal government. They are doing what their left leaning political bosses want them to do. 

Just take Mann. He get's most of his funding from NSF, NOAA, DOE et al. Politicians have a vested interest in promoting global warming. It means they can tax more and spend more. 

Look at what happened in Australia. The left leaning Labor party used a massive carbon tax to fund it's social programs and not for reducing the carbon footprint. And Australians who got tired of the carbon tax threw out the Labor party and brought in the Liberal party that promised to undo this scam.

Obama is waiting for an opportunity to introduce the carbon tax, that could cripple the weak US economy, but will fund his favorite social programs and spread the wealth. 





EveStevens
EveStevens

We could raze all the cities on the planet and let them return to bush.

dperry428
dperry428

@anopinionatedsob Someone who doesn't know the difference between "their" and "there" is the last person I'd listen to giving advice on climate change.  Climate is, indeed, changing.  It always has and always will.  I suggest you start watching solar cycle 24 for some answers as to what causes climate change.

EveStevens
EveStevens

Please turn off the big breaker on your breaker box. If you do not know where it is, just stop paying your electricity company. They will turn it off for you. Stop buying gasoline and heating fuels. You won't need the heating fuels as your furnace will not work without electricity.

BTW, the removal of C02 from the atmosphere is 5 years but please do not let that stop you from ceasing to use fossil fuels.

dperry428
dperry428

@fitty_three You'd best hope that "all that CO2" is never removed from the atmosphere.  It's essential for plant growth and your very existence.

Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@formerTREEhugger

Thanks for sharing. Particularly interesting is the statement ""If there is indeed a solar effect on climate, it is manifested by changes in general circulation rather than in a direct temperature signal."", especially when considering the fact that the cooling phase of the Pacific Decadal Occilation is being blamed by climate scientists for the steady temperatures of the past 15 years.

But then again, climate scientists supporting warming would be least interested in this observation or others causes. They have latched on to CO2 as the primary cause of warming like a pit bull and sure won't let it go any time soon.

amazed108
amazed108

@ThisNameInUse They can't even look out the window and tell you what it's going to be doing an hour from now but you believe their predictions for the next three months?

pcappitelli
pcappitelli

@ThisNameInUse You are still here/  I thought that the fact that NASA NOAA was not only wrong, but they look like complete incompetent fools now with the arctic sheet growing over 60% from last year.  They were still claiming last week it would be completely gone by the end of 2013...lol  Those poor 'scientists' are frantic now that more and more evidence is showing their multi-billion dollar fraud for what it is.  The only thing that will be shrinking is the tax dollars they have been scaring out of the people for their 'research'.

PaulMays
PaulMays

@MarkBaird ...I meant .036% in Human accounting for so called Green House Gasses...

Jeffy
Jeffy

@Caspianusa @MarkBaird So you're not a skeptic of the existence of global warming, after all. You're just afraid of what the government will do with the information? At least that's honest.

anopinionatedsob
anopinionatedsob

@EveStevens The plus to that would be the lowering of the crime rate to absolute zero. Not a bad plan to solve the welfare crisis either!

anopinionatedsob
anopinionatedsob

@dperry428 @anopinionatedsob BTW, my EXACT comment was that we ARE accountable for "SOME" portion of the current climate change. Learn to read before you critisize things you don't understand!

fitty_three
fitty_three

@dperry428  

Um, obviously you don't have much information upstairs.  Please.  Go get some.

RobCentros
RobCentros

@Jeffy @Caspianusa who wrote: "I just wish the 'skeptics' would be more intellectually honest with their arguments."

Oh really? I just wish you would apply your advice to the global warming alarmists. A little honesty from them would be refreshing for a change. Remember how desperate they were to keep their private emails (where they admitted the world wasn't warming) secret. They're liars and they know it.

Jeffy
Jeffy

@Caspianusa @Jeffy Publication bias is very real. Any researcher has a vested interest in publishing positive results rather than negative ones. Hard to separate those things, absolutely. But that private sector researchers are immune to this bias because they have a marketing department? Laughable at best. The bias in research from the private sector far, far, far outpaces that from academia. Kind of an off topic point but needed addressing.

I think we're probably the only two still visiting this page--the story itself is off the first page of Time. So this will be my last post. I'm not 100% sure that the significant warming trend is leading us somewhere catastrophic. I don't think anyone can be 100% sure of that. But nor can you or anyone else be 100% sure that it isn't. I also realize that full reversal of the industrial revolution is a) impossible and b) if possible, rife with even more catastrophic economic implications.

What disheartens me is when peer reviewed science is broadly and unequivocally dismissed by those who have little to no background in the subject area on the basis of "it doesn't fall in line with my pre-ordained and (this is key) highly rigid opinions." I would cite anti-evolution crowd and the vaccines-cause-autism crowd as parallel groups. Despite volumes and volumes of literature to the contrary, these people continue with their unfounded and very, very rigid opinions. It not only leads to the dissemination of disinformation but it also then inevitably leads to MORE MONEY (not less) being spent in a given arena to further bolster what is already more or less known.

No one with any scientific credibility disagrees with the CO2-global warming concept as such: "man is responsible for more CO2 in the atmosphere and that is causing the planet to be warmer than it otherwise would be." Where that will lead us is unclear, but that statement is not up for debate. That you can continue to claim otherwise means either you're uninformed (based on your posts I doubt this) or are letting your pre-formed opinions bias your interpretation of the data.

If one has never had their opinion swayed by new information can one truly claim to be paying attention. Isn't that what science is about? Learning more and adjusting theories and opinions accordingly rather than starting with a fixed point of view and viewing all new information through that lens?

Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@Jeffy @Caspianusa

I don't see a problem with the government funding scientists. What many have a problem is with scientists becoming activists for a cause. Science is not activism. 

One great example is James Hansen who used his position to advance the cause of global warming, despite the protestations of his own supervisor Dr. John S Theon. Hansen had his people in the political establishment that protected him from being reprimanded for his activism. Embarrassingly Michael Mann is another cause celebre for the warming movement. Unfortunately funded by taxpayers. 

We need people who do research and nothing but research. Their job is not push their products in the market. How many researchers in the private sector do we see walking around marketing their latest gizmos they invented or spacecrafts they built or life saving drugs they brought into the market. None. There is a marketing group that does that. Also politicians should stay out of the research field to ensure that the researchers have credibility. 

The point being, when scientists push their research to be accepted in public, then everything gets a little suspect. Now their credibility, egos, career prospects, ambitions et al  become part of the story they are trying to tell. Whether their research is good or bad, whether it is true or false, they have a vested interest in seeing it accepted as fact. That is not their job. Their job is to simply do the research and let the evidence speak for itself. Let the public and policy makers decide whether their research has a basis, since they are the ones having to make the payment if the research is accepted as valid and when actions are taken. 


Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@Jeffy @EveStevens 

El Nino and La Nina are part of the ENSO and PDO climate system. If you were to loak at the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) graph, you will be able to see that they all end up cancelling each other in terms of their warming and cooling effect. Thus maintaining the heat equilibrium. 

Urbanization is not part of the cycle and hasn't helped the warming cause. Just look at the "urban heat island effect" and you can see that the EPA says that urban areas can be warmer as much as 5.4 F during daytime and up to 22 F at night than the surrounding regions. As all the heat gets absorbed by the pavement and building and the heat get's radiated back to it's surroundings. Buildings and pavement have low "albedo" and tend to absorb the heat and radiate back to it's surroundings. We need to do better by reversing the "urban heat island effect" as much as possible through better planning and design of buildings and surrounding areas. 

And I think studies need to be done to ensure that urbanization does not contribute to global warming. But I don't think we can link this subject of "urban heat islands" to man made CO2 and it's effect on global warming, which many scientific studies have shown is very limited. 








Jeffy
Jeffy

@Caspianusa @Jeffy So you agree that man is contributing but not via CO2. Got it. Agree to disagree then.

Your view of the role of scientists is, IMO, a little bit myopic. Of course climate scientists are funded by the goverment (who else can fund them?). So are microbiologists and infectious disease researchers--does that mean the increase in drug-resistant bacteria that has been seen isn't real? That those scientists are just trying to drum up  grant money?

Jeffy
Jeffy

@EveStevens But "warming period" and "cooling period" are not binary events. There are rates of warming and cooling that people just ignore out of their own convenience. If you played the stock market and you were up 1% for 10 years then down 1.5% for 10 years then up 0.7% for 8 years then down 3.5% for 6 months would you think it was just natural movement in the market (if that rapid a drop or rise had never been seen before?)

Of course the number of people and land changes and cities contribute. Are you suggesting that things like increasing population sizes and urbanization are just part of the cycle and not a part of man-made global warming?

Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@Jeffy @Caspianusa 

I am sure that we as humans can do better. All those Amazon forests and others that are being cut to replace with Soy and Corn hasn't helped. Nor has man's obsession with building huge cities that serve as heat islands. And there is no question that we can strive for cleaner fuels that cause less pollution. Even help with research funding for alternate fuel sources and provide tax breaks for establishing natural gas stations that can support cars that run on them in the interim. I believe in common sense approaches that will help us wean away from non-renewable's. 

Now, I do not believe that CO2 is the reason why warming is happening. The evidence just doesn't exist. Past or present. There are natural variations that are causing warming which is not being investigated by climate scientists because the very people that fund these scientists are directing them to pursue CO2 as the culprit. Just follow the money trail I mentioned earlier. The funding that the Mann et al are receiving comes mostly from government sources. And for a good reason. Call CO2 the culprit and they can tax and spend it as they want. And if they find a natural variation, people cannot be taxed. This takes away the opportunity for more taxes.

Conspiracy. Like in people sitting down and coming up with a plan. No. Closing their eyes and hindering research into the real causes of warming, since policies could go their way if CO2 can be blamed as the culprit. Yes. And most climate scientists who live off public funding are paid toadies who will do their political masters will. Funding is often channeled to the ones that can produce the "results" for them. Imagine a 30 something old like Mann receiving most of the funding in global warming when there are researchers who have spend decades on this subject who never get to see the kinda money he sees. And are there people who believe in this paranoia that the world will come to an end if we don't reduce CO2 emissions immediately. Yes. Oh, and I debate with them every day. They are the real scary ones. Care less for the real science and earths past history of warming and cooling and the facts and driven by the paranoia. Unfortunately caught between the wily politicians and the climate scientists who carry water for their political masters.  

You have to realize that there is a real hatred among a small segment of population towards the corporations and some politicians on the left know how to use them to their advantage. Large corporations are seen as evil and need to be muzzled. There are good and bad sides to them but they are not evil. Anything that corporations are involved in is seen with suspicion. Except that this small segment forgets that they themselves are the most organized special interest group attempting to sway public policies and resources their way that is generated by the very corporations that they are demonizing. 

And CO2 is a great trump card up their sleeve. Just need to call it the culprit for all our world problems. That should allow the government to tax and channel more towards these special interests groups. Spreading the wealth. Yea. What a great concept. Which is exactly what happened in Australia. The Labor party used the carbon tax to pursue their socialists policies instead of using it to curb the "evil" effects of CO2. And the people of Australia saw the ruse and voted them out. And brought in a party that promised to undo this mess. Is there a great lesson to learn for America. Yes. Absolutely. There is an old saying that goes like this. A smart man learns from his mistakes while a wise man learns from that of others and a foolish man never. Let's see if America and the world can learn from what happened in Australia. Let's see if we are wise or foolish. 


EveStevens
EveStevens

Ok, it did warm after the cooling period, which followed the warming period before that which followed the cooling period before that etc. It is no longer warming. Personally I would prefer to be in a warming world which has less storms, hurricanes, etc. But I do not get to choose. When I was born, there were 2 Billion people on this planet. There are now over 7 Billion. Do you think that those extra 5 Billion might contribute to this warmth. The land use changes, such as paving over farmland and bushland, the enlarging of cities which are all heat retaining materials. Do you think that may have made a difference?

Jeffy
Jeffy

@Caspianusa I just wish the "skeptics" would be more intellectually honest with their arguments. If, just once, somebody would say "You know what, I actually do think the planet is warming and that it might be due in some part to human activity, but I'm going to go ahead and wager that either a) it will self-correct or b) it will become a major problem so distantly from now that I don't care because I like my SUV and I resent the very possibility of governemental intervention," I could at least accept it. I would disagree with it, but I'd accept it.

Anyone who looks at the available data and says the current trend is simply an ebb in the ebb and flow of natural climate variability either hasn't bothered to look closely and is regurgitating propaganda, or is deliberately obfuscating the issue in hopes that others will subsequently not look closely and then regurgitate the propaganda.

This post isn't meant to re-hash the myriad arguments that have already taken place in this thread. I'm not particularly interested in hearing counterpoints because I think I've heard just about everything either side has to say. That we are contributing to the warming of this planet is as debatable as the validity of the theory of evolution (most in this thread would actually probably agree with me here).

Whether continued warming will produce catastrophic consequences is, on the other hand, a fair question to debate. So let's debate that and not say things like "we're actually cooling now" and "sea levels are dropping so it's not real" and "no hurricanes means every climate scientist is a tax-stealing, governmental-tete-sucking fool" and all of the other distractors that have abounded. If you honestly think that GW is no big deal and not worth the effort to correct, that's your right. If you think that there's no sense in trying to do anything until we can force India and China to make similar concessions, that's very fair (and probably the best argument against taking action in this country). But the idea that it's just a figment of the collective imagination of science, or worse yet, that the scientific community is somehow complicit in a massive conspiracy theory? Ugh.

 

Caspianusa
Caspianusa

@Jeffy @Caspianusa @MarkBaird 

I believe warming is happening and it's part of the natural cycle. The medieval ages were warmer than today. This was followed by a mini ice age. And starting with the 19th century it started to warm again. 

DFSpencer
DFSpencer

@fitty_three @dperry428 

Um, you obviously have no idea what he {dperry428} is talking about. It's nice to see someone like you proud of his ignorance. Regrettably you don't seem to be alone.

There is a rather important biochemical reaction in plants called "photosynthesis". That's a big word but you can cut and paste it into Google and search for it. Photosynthesis is where plants capture energy from sunlight and with carbon dioxide and water as the starting chemicals synthesize simple sugars. In the process water is split and yields oxygen. Oxygen is handy for animals including humans. Without it we don't do very well. But you seem to be vying for poster-child of the brain anoxia foundation so you already have discovered that. It would be essentially impossible to remove all CO2 from the atmosphere but if some genius did that the results would not be good. Maybe you missed the fact that plants are essential for animal life (and that does include us), and not just because you can smoke some of them or that they make tasty salads. No CO2, no plants. No plants no animals. It's not that complicated.