Happy Birthday, Kyoto

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:34 AM GMT on February 20, 2006

Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect on February 16, 2005. The world's industrialized countries that signed the Protocol are legally obligated to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 by a total of 5.2% (compared to 1990 emissions) by 2012. The U.S. and Australia did not participate, and developing countries were not asked to. About 50% of world's emissions of greenhouse gases come from Kyoto nations, so if the treaty were successful, global emissions would fall by about 2.6%.

How are the signatory nations doing so far?
Not very well, according to both critics and supporters. It seems unlikely that Kyoto's goal will be met by 2012. For example, the European Environment Agency warned in November that the European Union was likely to cut its emission by only 2.5% by 2012, not the 8% they promised under the Kyoto Protocol. It now appears that the only EU members that might meet their targeted reductions are Sweden and the UK.

Below I've tablulated recent estimates (usually from 2003 or 2004) of how the various countries are doing, percentagewise, in terms of slashing their emissions compared to the 1990 benchmark.

Greenhouse gas emission increases, by nation, since 1990

EU countries (15% of world's total emissions)
------------------------------------------------- -----------
Germany -18%
Britain -13%
Luxembourg -11%
Sweden -2%
France -2%
Belgium +1%
Netherlands +1%
Denmark +6%
Italy +12%
Austria +17%
Finland +21%
Greece +23%
Ireland +25%
Portugal +37%
Spain +41%

Other Kyoto protocol countries:
Russia -35% (6% of world's total emissions)
Japan +19% (5% of world's total emissions)
Canada +24% (2% of world's total emissions)
Czech Republic -23%
Estonia -51%
Hungary -31%
Latvia -58%
Lithuania -66%
Poland -32%
Slovakia -28%
Slovenia -3%

Non-signatory countries
U.S. +16% (25% of world's total emissions)
India +80% (5% of world's total emissions)
China +46% (15% of world's total emissions)
Australia +31% (2% of world's total emissions)

Britain, Germany, and the former Soviet bloc countries have made big reductions. However, their cuts have had litte to do with Kyoto. Germany and some Soviet bloc countries got big one-time savings by closing inefficient coal-fired plants in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Economic hard times have also contributed to the emissions reductions in some of these countries. In the UK, electric utilities in the 1990s shifted from burning coal, which has high CO2 emissions, to cleaner-burning natural gas. Now that the price of natural gas has risen relative to coal, more UK utilities are burning coal. CO2 emissions are increasing once more, and were up over 1% in 2004 compared to 2003. The UK was slated to make a 12% cut in emissions under the Kyoto pact, and the government announced last week that this was unlikely to happen.

What can countries who are failing to meet Kyoto targets do?
Under the U.N.'s "clean development mechanism," developed countries are allowed to exceed their emissions allowance by investing in emissions projects in less-developed nations, trading the emission reduction abroad for emissions output at home. It is likely that many nations will resort to this trick in the coming years in order to meet the Kyoto requirements.

What happens if a country misses its Kyoto Protocol target in 2012?
Then they have to pay back at a penalty rate (130%) in the years after 2012, when there will presumably be a new agreement for the 2013-2018 period. Negotiations to hammer out a successor agreement are set to begin in May 2006 in Bonn, Germany. It is possible that countries that are failing to meet their Kyoto Protocol targets for 2012 will choose not to sign successor agreement, to avoid the penalty. Also, any nation that signed the Kyoto Protocol is allowed to drop out after three years--on February 16, 2008. Some nations may take this route to avoid the penalty.

Is Kyoto having a significant impact?
The Kyoto Protocol's target of a 5.2% reduction in emissions is tiny compared to what is needed in order to prevent substantial warming. Critics say this proves the worthlessness of the treaty, while supporters say it is a neccesary first step. In order to achieve a maximum 2�C temperature rise, some studies project global CO2 cuts of 50% by 2050 are required. Industrialized countries would have to cut their CO2 emissions by 80%. Considering that the world's nations that are trying to reduce emissions via the Kyoto Protocol are unlikely to meet even a 5% reduction, it looks pretty likely that we'll be seeing a much warmer world by the end of the century.

Is there hope for avoiding a major warming this century?
There is a large amount of uncertainty in both the social and scientific aspects of climate change that leave some hope that we will avoid warming the Earth by 2�C this century. I've composed a list of five possible scenarios that might cause this, and ordered them from most likely to least likely:

Dr. Jeff Masters' top five list of 21st Century scenarios that might keep us from warming 2�C this century:

1) A dramatic climate change disaster or potential disaster will suddenly unfold, spurring the nations of the world to cut emissions drastically (similar to what the emergence of the Antarctic Ozone Hole did for regulating CFCs).

2) We luck out, and climate change turns out to be at the cool end of the scientific uncertainty estimates.

3) The global economy will crash due to war, natural disaster, climate change, or other causes, bringing drastically reduced emissions.

4) A revolutionary low-cost energy technology will emerge to replace fossil fuels.

5) Aliens will land and give us their non-polluting, limitless energy technology.

I'm hoping for scenario #4 or #5, but I think there is a significant chance scenario #1 will happen in the period 15 to 50 years from now. We may well be pushing the climate system too hard and in too many ways to avoid triggering a climate shift that will cause big trouble for a lot of people. I'll expand on the possibilities in future blogs this month.

Next blog (probably on Wednesday): A possible candidate for scenario #1: the bad news from Greenland reported last Friday in Science magazine.

Jeff Masters

Cloud or flying saucer (Grim)
Cloud or flying saucer
Incoming Aliens (Lemurian)
Incoming Aliens

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103. DenverMark
3:56 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Now,back on topic. I think almost all of us agree that the Earth is warming rapidly, even though we are all over the spectrum as to how much of it is natural vs. being due to GHG emissions. But even if global warming is all natural and our attempts to reduce GHG emissions wouldn't make any difference,it makes sense for so many other reasons to begin weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels. We reduce the risk of a terrible economic shock or a major war being fought over oil, as well as reducing pollution. I hope President Bush is finally getting serious about developing alternative energy sources. It's good politics,too. If we have a huge oil price shock and a deep recession, that would result in a landslide for the Democrats.
Member Since: February 11, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 6988
102. DenverMark
3:22 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Thank you for your post on your Christian faith. You are a courageous servant of God to be willing to endure the criticism you receive. I too am a Christian.

To everyone else,
As a Christian, I believe our problems in this world are due to mankind's sin (especially pride,selfishness and greed). This includes environmental problems. I pray that you do consider what chaser said, because the day will come when each of us will have to stand before God and give account for our lives. I seek to love God with all my heart,soul and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself.

Also,in general, all of us are just human and sometimes say things we wish we hadn't. When I do, I'm always willing to apologize or be corrected by someone else on this blog.

Sincerely, Mark

Member Since: February 11, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 6988
101. miken62
3:53 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
we need to develop...nuclear; solar; and hydrogen power.... and the hell with the big oil companies.
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100. miken62
3:50 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Must be those .tunnels???????

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99. ForecasterColby
3:39 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Dr. Masters - perhaps it would be best to not allow comments on some of these controversial blog entries.
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98. DenverMark
2:21 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Good morning everyone,
It's good to be back on the blog. We had a rough night in our neighborhood - a fire broke out two houses up the street from us and then spread to our next door neighbor's home. Both homes were destroyed in a matter of minutes. We are very thankful to God and our firefighters that our home was spared with no damage other than our fence being busted down because they had to fight the fire from our back yard.
Whether it's a hurricane,tornado,flood,mudslide,earthquake,tsunami or fire,any of us can be hit by a disaster. What's most important is to be there to help our neighbor when they are in need. We may need their help sometime. I greatly admire the people on this blog from Florida and the Gulf Coast who did so much for their communities after the hurricanes.

I want to clarify some of my comments from yesterday. While I am critical of governments and corporations for their policies regarding greenhouse gas emissions,pollution,etc. I care very much about the poor in every country, be it China,India,Africa,Central America or right here in the U.S.A. One reason I am upset with the situation in China especially is that our corporations make huge profits and the communist government becomes even more powerful, while many Chinese workers are paid very low wages. If our corporations want to take advantage of cheap labor, they should be willing to help clean up power plants and their facilities in China or other countries to reduce pollution and GHG emissions. What can we do? If you own stock in one of our large corporations,consider going to their annual stockholders meeting to express your views. Vote in favor of directors who will be more responsible about the environment and against those who aren't. And of course, we always need to hold our elected officials accountable. Finally, we can support organizations which provide assistance to poor nations, especially if they help with reducing deforestation and other destructive practices. I need to do a search on the topic myself. Skyepony, you seem quite knowledgeable on the political end of things - do you have any suggestions? Or anyone else?

Member Since: February 11, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 6988
97. F5
3:12 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Or maybe just waxing poetic.
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95. F5
2:31 PM GMT on February 21, 2006

I didn't take hurricanechaser's comments as dictating. He simply stated where he is coming from. Some Christians feel compelled to share their story with the world, some feel they do better by example, that is, letting their actions speak for themselves, and some you would never know by either that they claim to be Christian. That said, he didn't call anyone else out and say they need to be a Christian and do what he's doing. He just stated what he's doing. I hardly see how that can be considered dicttating. Proselytizing, perhaps. Dicatating...No.

You can argue the the appropriateness of his comments in a weather blog, but at the same time, no one is compelling you to read his posts either. It's easy enough to simply click the mouse on the scroll bar and skip right no past. In a basically unmoderated forum, you are simply going to get a variety of comments, some on topic, some not. That's just the nature of the internet.
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94. F5
2:15 PM GMT on February 21, 2006


This study puports exactly what I stated. Once again, the problem lies in the politicizing of the research. On one hand, you have the USDA and a variety of midwestern states/universities proclaiming this and other studies are wrong, and you have this study and others proclaiming the pro-ethanol studies are wrong.

The authors of the above mentioned study have a long history of being anti-ethanol and pro photovoltaic, wind, and hydrogen fuel based alternatives. It's not a question where the USDA and pro-ethanol supporters are. It's a matter of revenue for them. I'm not claiming to know which one is correct. However, it's easy to be skeptical about any research produced by the USDA which directly benefits the people they are responsible for. Not to mention that ADM, which controls a vast quantity of the ethanol production in the US, is a huge lobbyist to the US Congress and makes a fortune off agriculture subsidies.
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93. jeffB
2:16 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
I would agree that comments about "crazy ol' President Bush" don't advance any meteorological debate. I might even agree that Phelp's remarks could be interpreted as arrogant. On the other hand, he also isn't spending thousands of words dictating to us about the very most personal topic, our spiritual beliefs.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 45
92. F5
2:06 PM GMT on February 21, 2006

I would say you aren't representing yourself very well. That is exactly the type of arrogant attitude that prevents reasonable discussion on the topic. And as a "Graduate student" in a scientific field, you should understand the need for continued questioning of scientific research. The day that questioning stops is the day science stops being science and starts becoming religion.

Finally, the "vast majority" of "legitimate" scientists do not believe in AGW as a proven fact. The vast majority have not taken a position one way or the other. A dogmatic minority have misrepresented the views of the majority. Of course, I suppose that depends on "your" meaning of the word "legitimate". I'm sure there are a large number of people who would take exception to your claim.
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91. jeffB
1:32 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
F5 wrote:

Ethanol also has issues of it's own. It currently requires more energy input to produce than the energy it creates, resulting in a net loss of energy.

As it turns out, this isn't true. Studies reaching this conclusion were based on obsolete methods of production and inaccurate accounting of coproducts. I go into a little more detail on this in my reply to Snowfire's excellent global-warming discussion.
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90. bobburg
1:57 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
What Cat 5 egos. . .
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89. F5
2:01 PM GMT on February 21, 2006

The latest trend is not to produce ethanol from corn but from bio-mass, meaning plant stalks, etc. The only reason ethanol from corn hasn't taken off is because it takes $4.00 in subsidies from the government for every $1.00 of ethanol produced. The only people getting rich from ethanol from corn are Archer Daniels Midland.

Corn would be significantly cheaper if we didn't have farm price supports to keep the price artificially high. We could easily feed the world too, if we didn't have restrictions on how much crop could be grown. Is there a market for that much agriculture? Hard to say. Obviously, the poorest nations don't have have the money necessary to purchase/transport the foodstuff to everywhere it's needed, or they are too busy spending money on weapons and fighting wars. Seems like not a day goes by that you don't simultaneously hear about starvation and fighting in Africa. And until the political situations get resolved there, it's likely the problem will never be resolved.
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88. snowboy
1:56 PM GMT on February 21, 2006
Chaser could we please stick to the weather or the climate or to topics on which Dr. Masters posts in his blog? Your articulation of your faith and beliefs (some of which could be considered quite offensive) simply has no business here. Please use your own blog if you must post this stuff.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
87. F5
1:30 PM GMT on February 21, 2006

I have a friends who are geologists who have worked the oil industry for years. They aren't really concerned about running out of oil. The world's known reserves are about 922 billion barrels. Assuming a steady consumption rate, that would be about 27 years worth of oil. Assuming a 5% growth per year, about 15 years. However, the US Geological Survey estimates that unknown reservers are around 3 trillion barrels. The question is whether all of that oil will be able to be tapped, and at what cost.

So, I'm not really worried about running out anytime soon. However, for reasons we've all discussed, we should be researching and adopting alternative energy sources, for cleaner air/water, and for the US, to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.
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82. Trouper415
10:19 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Chaser, mailed a couple questions to you.
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81. hurricanechaser
10:15 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Ok everyone,

I guess I am the only one still here and I really need to try and sleep.

Please understand that I personally respect all views that are genuinely heartfelt opinions and we should all keep our differences in their proper perspective.

I personally hold ZERO animosity towards anyone who has a completely different opinion on this issue or any other.

It is our opinions and we all have a right to agree to disagree, respectively, which is my sincere hope.:)

I hope everyone who reads this post later has a great night and day ahead.:)

Your friend,

80. hurricanechaser
10:07 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Inyo,

I just reread your post and noticed I needed to post a clarification in regards to my own opinions about climate models.

I have stated that they are an invaluable asset as a tool but one cannot ignore their limitations being most impacted by the data put into them.

The ole saying certainly applies here. "garbage in, garbage out" or something like that.

We are far from a good understanding of how our climae works, so it stands to reason that we are naturally going to have difficulty forecasting its changes.

I am not opposed to their use, but the results should be understood that they carry a large degree of error for the aforementioned reasons noted in my first post discussing this topic.

Honestly, I find myself frustrated by all the claims being presented as fact, rather than ones personal opinion(not referring to you).

Regardless, I respect your opinions on this and all subjects, and there is no doubt that you are a very articulate voice for the other possibility.


79. Trouper415
9:30 AM GMT on February 21, 2006

I have heard from many Geologists that we will run dry on oil around 2065, about 50-60 years...Pending that Alaska does have the amount of crude that we guess it does. Just looking at the oil price rises in the last 5 years which have been darned near close to a dollar and almost 2, and one can imagine what prices will be like in the short future. Changing over current infrastructure may be a bit cost heavy, however with a little more work and effort put in, (which humans hate) they could relativly easily be transformed to use another type of energy in just 5 or so years. It seems as if the Administration is now headed that direction, and with the progress they have made, I have more hope in this situation.

As for the political congruency with this global warming issue, I think the government ties in just as much as the climatologists making the speculations. The oil that this world uses, the warming of the planet, and the price and growing demand for oil all tie in very closely. However, some people tend to think they are spread far apart. So when someone makes a statement saying, 'private sectors should be the ones focusing on alternative types of energy, not the Government.' It doesnt make sense as the government running this country has as much to do with oil as the American people and private sectors demanding it. Its a global issue we're dealing with here and I feel the government SHOULD be putting more budget aside for this issue, because the longer we hold off on the problem, the harder it will be to compensate for the time lose.

Giants in 06
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78. hurricanechaser
10:03 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Stormchaser,

On a different subject, Do you also intercept hurricanes?
77. hurricanechaser
9:59 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey stormchaser,

I know and I need to be asleep big time but I'm so sick that I can't.

Please understand I am not shooting down global warming.

I have even acknowledge that human activities have most likely had some effect.

We just disagree on how much effect and whether this warming will be as severe as many dooms day proponents suggest.

Moreover, we respectfully disagree about the DIRECT cause of the warming.

So, I am not saying that I don't believe in global warming as it should be correctly defined(but isn't).


76. hurricanechaser
9:48 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Inyo,

I just realized I made an assumption based upon the thought that you said you are liberal in your political views. However, I am not absolutely sure if that was you or if that it is truly your preference.

If not, I sincerely apologize for making that incorrect assumption.

If I do remember correctly, I simply brought up our natural political philosophies in accounting for why we most likely would disagree on most things as you suggested in your post.

I also want to be clear that my reference to the Bible concerning my views on both gay marriage and abortion on based solely on my INTERPRETATION of the Bible and should be understood as such, no more and no less.

On these issues and anything politically related, I believe it is appropriate to agree to simply disagree as is everyone's right without making it personal as is too often the case in politics.

In short, I can stil respect the person and their opinions even when I disagree with their assertions and I hope the same can be true of those understanding my positions as well.


74. hurricanechaser
9:40 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Inyo,

Do you disagree with me that we should find alternative sources of energy and get away from our dependence on oil.

If so, we agree on that as well as to the believe in global warming. Likewise, we agree that human activities have most likely affected the warming.

Does that sound like someone who has any political ties to oil companies. I am not a fan of the oil companies as I am not a fan pf extremist environmental groups either.:)

Where we disagree adamantly is on the direct cause of global warming, how severe it may become, and how much of an effect we really have on climate change by our actions.

All of that in which we disagree is inconclusive no matter which side of the issue one is on. This is why I don't understand the personal animosity that this issue generates when there is sincere and legitimate reasons for that disagreement.

73. hurricanechaser
9:31 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Inyo,

Thank you for your agreement on Phelps inappropriate suggestions and please note that I didn't suggest he wasn't a legitimate scientist as he put it in reference to me.

You and I disagree because I don't hold allegiance to the liberal view(not saying that is a bad thing) just as being a conservative as I chose to affiliate myself on most but DEFINATELY not all political issues.

This is a political issue to most liberals while it is NOT a political issue to me.

My political views are reflective of my personal interpreatation of the BIBLE which makes me oposed to most liberally held views on such issues as gay marriage and abortion where conservatives and liberals strongly disagree.

So, it is understandable that you and I will most likely disagree with most(almost anything may be too strong a term because you don't know all my views on other issues)political issues as a result.

However, this is not a political issue but a scientific and logical one for me and I could be wrong just as I could be right, but it no less validates ones opinion over another.


71. hurricanechaser
9:18 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Stormchaser,

One must realize that just because they may share the opinion of the majority, does not mean that their opinion is more relevant or any more accurate than those who hold a minority opinion.

That's why it's called an opinion and not Truth.

This applies to life and not simply this topic.:)

Right now, human induced global warming is not a fact but the opinion of the more vocal majority which still doesn't make it true.

Once again, I will reiterate that I believe we are in a global warming phase(i.e.Global warming). However, I strongly believe personally that it is directly related to Natural causes than man made like GHG emissions.

Please note that I didn't say that human activities are not having any effect. WE disagree on how much and which is the biggest contributor to this warming (Natural vs. Man made).

In short, this is simply my personal opinion on the subject which is just as likely to be accurate as your contradicting one. In other words, the jury is still out and will be for some time to come no matter how many news reports come out in favor of the gloom and doom scenarios that get far more attention.


70. Inyo
9:11 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
i disagree strongly with almost anything hurricanechaser ever posts on here but i have to agree with one point - field experience, in my opinion, is vital in any science field and much more important than graduate degrees, etc. However, some graduate students do a lot of field work (at least in biology where i am) so you can't assume he has none.

I havent gone to grad school (yet anyway) and i'm pretty confident i am a better botanist/plant ecologist than most PHD's in this field that i've met, at least when it comes to more practical things.

also, i too don't understand why some of you are so disgusted with using climate models to infer future conditions when you use weather models to do this every day. Sure, weather models are not really effective past a week at most but these are intended to predict the exact locations of low pressure areas, jet streams, etc, while the long range climate models are meant only to detect very general temperature/precipitation trends. I don't see the problem in using them as a tool to predict climate.

The heat island is definitely a real effect and without a doubt affects climate at least on a small scale - temperature as well as precipitation. However, on an earth-wide scale, keep in mind that it is also true that large quantities of once arid land are now irrigated, which has a very different effect on climate than concrete does.

I would put the chance of the Tsunami affecting the hurricane season as somewhere around the chance of Katrina being create by a government conspiracy or by alien spaceships from the planet Kzortnik. I am amazed that so many people, even people well versed in science, believe this stuff, but i hear it often.

and the threat in the California Delta region is very real, but climate change is not really a big player in the immediate problem, and it will exist regardless of whether or not warming occurs. The main cause of this problem is the destruction of wetlands, just like in Louisiana. A secondary problem is logging, deforestation, overgrazing, and weed proliferation, which have lead to a large amount of sediment entering the rivers flowing into the delta. Since the rivers are confined by levees throughout the delta and can't deposit their sediment loads where they used to, the sediment builds up in the channels and clogs them.

I spent a while working on restoration projects in the area... it is not a good scene. if the levees bust, the entire California Aqueduct system could be ruined, causing severe problems for southern California and all of the farming in the San Joaquin Valley.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 918
69. hurricanechaser
9:10 AM GMT on February 21, 2006

Hmmm...I somehow have a biased view because I disagree that Global warming is being DIRECTLY(key word here)affected by human activities such as GHG emissions.

I strongly disagree that my opinion is biased but the opposite because it has absolutely no relation to my political preferences.

I can't stand when people make such incorrect statements that I don't believe in Global warming which I consistently say I do.

The disagreement is that I believe it is the DIRECT result of Natural climate variability with a minimal effect coming from GHG emissions and other human activities such as deforestation.

I ask that you Please choose your words more carefully in order to not mischaracterize ones opinion in the future.


67. hurricanechaser
8:47 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Phelp,

Just my personal opinion, but I don't consider my experience and education in meteorology to make me an expert so to speak on climate change. There are many with meteorological experience that dwarfs mine that feel as I do.

This blog contains those like Weatherguy03 who has a degree from Rutgers as well as professional experience as well who although we disagree on this subject, can respect the individual as well as the own unique experiences we have in the field, or at least I hope, Bob.:)

I think that Bob would agree with me that our professional backgrounds in the meteorological field doesn't mean that our forecasts are guaranteed to be more accurate to others making their own predictions who have not been as fortunate to be given the opportunities to work in the field or simply chose a more important career to them.

That being said, I am going back to school to finish my last semester so I can get my BS in meteorology at NC State and then will hopefully get the opportunity to pursue my degree in Christian Counseling which is by far more important to me personally. I might still occasionally work part time at the local TV station just to keep in practice so to speak.

Just wait for hurricane season and watch us educated meteorologists get beat in our forecasts by those with no formal education in the field. It is simply the inexact nature of the business that makes it so exciting to me because of the unpredictability of it.

I have always said and will always put this very important disclaimer to any forecasts I personally make that they are "my best educated GUESS".

A lot of climate prediction is based more on faith than fact. Being the legitimate scientist you are, you probably are already keenly aware of it.:)

Just for the record, I think we should all keep the personal jabs out of this blog and feel free to act immaturely if you choose by posting further demeaning comments about me in my own blog.:)

I know I have acted inappropriately in the past in this blog and sincerely apologized for it. Will you?


64. hurricanechaser
8:22 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey Phelp,

Your comments are a perfect example of the unnecessary and mean spirited personal attacks that people like myself get because we simply share a different opinion on this issue.

You said:

"Snowboy - excellent comment(s).
I am currently a meteorology graduate student, and I do strongly believe in anthropogenic global warming, as do the vast majority of legitimate scientists worldwide. please do not let hurricanechaser speak for america (or crazy ol' president bush for that matter). There are many of us who do take this issue very seriously."

Just because you are a graduate student doesn't qualify you as more of a legitimate scientist than I am. In reality, it appears you don't have the real life day to day experience in the field covering years for which I don't feel makes me anymore correct on this issue than another with ZERO background in the field.

It is obvious by your comments that your supposedly scientific educated view is impaced by your political loyalalities with the referenced to "crazy 'ol George Bush)in the same sentence as referencing myself.

You said you are currently a graduate student and yet you are implying that I am not a legitimate scientist and you are?

Where do I make inappropriate judgements and personal attacks on you?

I find it ironic however that you would conceive that your graduates degree(which I don't have)makes you more knowledgable than myself who has worked professionally as a legitimate and paid forecaster for years(which you can't say).

Who do you think is going to be considered more legitimate(since you made that inappropriate assertion)scientist and whose resume would be considered more legitimate to the NWS(where I've actually interned, not volunteered), for a REAL forecasting position(which I had for years up until this past December when I chose to pursue other opportunities)for example?

I even was a volunteer back in 1994 at the NHC and gained alot of first hand experience from that which is also on my resume.

So, anytime you want to submit your "legitimate" scientific resume with mine for a REAL forecasting position, simply let me know, so we can find out what the meteroligical profession would consider a more appealing resume.

I simpy ask that you please refrain from further unmerited, inaccurate, and unnecessary personal attacks on me or anyone else who may have a different opinion on this topic.

Please note that my differing opinion doesn't mean I take the issue less seriously than you, if so, I wouldn't comment on it and subject myself to mean spirited attacks from those like yourself.


63. hurricanechaser
6:25 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Hey snowboy,

I need to bring clarity to your comments referencing me as well as explaining my own personal reason for my lack of faith in the modeling data of the alarmists(don't mean it to be a derogatory term).

First, you said the following:

>"Have to say, I get a real hoot out of HurricaneChaser, who I believe is working on a meteorology (ie. weather forecasting) degree, panning the global climatology models. Sure the climatology models we're using to analyze and make predictions on global warming aren't perfect - but they're the best we have."

My response:

I honestly dislike discussing this issue because it is accompanied with so much unnecessary politicalization. Just look at the other comments below talking about the current administrations supposed allegiance to the oil companies at the expense of everyone else so to speak.

This kind of sentiment breeds the type of emotional responses that this issue seems to incite. I know I for one regret the fact that I let it get to me in the past.

Snowboy, was it really necessary for you to personalize our disagreement of this issue with some preconceived loyalty that I should apparently have for (proven in many cases)skewed and manipulated data being widely disseminated as "the best available data we have" for instance.

Please allow me to clarify my meteorological background so that there will be no misunderstandings about that.

First, I got a forecasting certification which is the equivalent (at the NWS level)to a two year degree in the field and allowed me to intern at the NWS a few years ago. Moreover, I continued to pursue my BS in Atmospheric Sciences at NC State and am currently ONLY one semester short on the credits needed to graduate with my degree.

Honestly, I have been back to school for awhile now and feel as though I will get my Christian Counseling degree(means two more years of schooling in the process, but very important to me)as well as attaining my Atmospheric Science degree since I'm so close and would be foolish to do otherwise.

My education along with my forecasting certification from Penn State University, opened the door for not only an internship at the NWS here, but more importantly a part time forecasting position at my local television station. It is important to note, that I have taken some time off beginning in December for family reasons(more time at home). I most likely won't go back since I my heart is most interested in pursuing a career in Christian counseling.

Regardless, I consider my education and subsequent opportunities to be a real blessing because I had some friends at both the NWS and the local TV station that helped me get so many experiences that I will forever cherish while working in the field.

Therefore, I have first hand experience with the modeling and understand their invaluable assistance, but also their limitations when used as a predictive tool for climate forecasts well out in time.

Honestly, I don't understand why I must explain some confounded assertion that I should somehow have more loyalty to climate modeling(when I disagree with its results) simply because I've worked in the field, since it is that very reason that I have my own personal opinion based on my own personal experience to draw upon for those beliefs regarding climate models and their performance.

To reiterate, please accept the aforementioned for what it is...my own personal opinion based upon my own personal experiences. How is that any different than Dr. William Gray disagreeing with those like Dr. Hansen having far more education and experience in the field than I do for sure who I suppose should have more difficulty reconciling your assertion..

For me, I call it objectivity without any emotional element like political loyalties to impact my observations(I'm not saying this is the case with you, just for the record).

I'm not saying that I'm definitely right in my perspective but the same has to be true of the other side as well.

"The models we use to make predictions on incoming hurricanes are also not perfect - I don't hear HurricaneChaser or any of the other nay-sayers advocating ignoring them. Why the double standard?"

I will try to make this response much shorter (lol). I have not once said that climate models should be ignored and far from it. However, I believe if you got back to my first appearance in this blog until now, that I have been adamant about the complexities in forecasting and how inexact a science it truly is.

This is once again based on first hand experience and my own personal opinion, nothing more and nothing less and I make no apologies for it. This is why one might wonder why it seems I am talking about the unpredictability of hurricane forecasting in spite of these invaluable models. To reiterate, I have always stated that the models are a tool(and an invaluable one at that)for forecasting and shouldn't be the sole emphasis for making the forecast. The models are only as good as the informative put into them.

This is the reason that there is so much heated discussion on the validity of much of the climate data because of the extreme data such as unreasonable levels of greenhouse gas emissions, etc. that skews the results that the models interpret.

Moreover, I believe the fact that we can agree on the difficulties that the models have trying to accurately forecast hurricanes as you already alluded to, taking into consideration the errors in track forecasts and certainly their shortcomings in intensity forecasts for a five day period, is cause to keep the computer modeling data in its proper perspective.

Think about it, we have far more understanding and research that has gone towards hurricane prediction than the relatively new attempts to accurately forecast climate change (which by most definition is a period of at least 30 years). As F5 mentioned, there are so many variables such as relocation of airports, deforestation, heat inducing man made elements such as asphalt that aren't accounted for in comparing temperatures from the past with those today and gives the presumption that the world is much warmer than it probably is.

All of this affects the reliability of the modeling data, not too mention that we have hard enough time forecasting a month in advance. Now, take all those few factors into account and ponder why I would be reluctant to believe the politically motivated(in many cases)intentionally flawed data put therein(as was the case with the modeling accepted as truth that the CSU team took serious issue with)and the many variables that go unaccounted for in comparing recorded data(as mentioned above)over a very short period of time(less than 200 years).

How can anyone suggest that I should simply accept the alarmist position as most likely(for the sake of argument)when there is conflicting modeling data giving different expectations. More importantly, I can't help but consider the natural inaccuracies of our best short term modeling forecasts, when determining my own personal opinion of the reliability of climate predictions for the next 75=80 years.

To me, I find it much harder to accept such dire scenarios of some modeling at face value when there's no way to ignore all of the aforementioned. Naturally, ones own opinion is their right and I believe is genuinely based upon their actual beliefs. However, human induced global warming cannot and should not be considered as scientific fact, for the facts themselves are most likely distorted to begin with(no accountability in reconciling the many factors that have most likely caused inevitable distortions in temperature readings from past to present).

Now, add to that the political overtones, all the lobbyist money poured into it to hype the propaganda machines by various interest groups, the subjectivity of those doing the studies and the reliability of the data that are put into the models, and the rush to judgement already underway fueled through the main stream media that is also hyping the alarmist view while ignoring the other studies that contradict it.

It is all of the aforementioned in concert with my first hand understanding of modeling reliability in making long term forecasts, that should give you a much better understanding as to why I personally don't accept the extreme scenarios that are being rushed to the forefront of the news media and helps create the mentality we have such a huge problem when the jury is still very much in serious deliberations.

Furthermore, one must also keep in mind that the more extreme the predictions, the more publicity one will get as well. Therefore, I ask you to simply agree to disagree without questioning why I could have such supposed difficulty reconciling my background in the field with my personal beliefs in regard to this one issue.

Once again, I believe that the world has indeed seen an overall increase in the global temperatures which I believe is directly related to Natural climate variability(which is complex as well)with a minimal effect relative to human activity, not just GHG emissions but deforestation as well.

I think that we can agree that the computer models are an invaluable asset and one that has made forecasting much more reliable.

However, one can't ignore the fact that the conclusions they come to are only as reliable as the data put therein. Ever wonder why the models are all over the place with their five days forecasts for hurricane prediction accompanied many times with major shifts with every new model run? I believe the answer is obvious and highlights just a part of the problem in blindly accepting some of the results.

We can also agree that we need to switch to alternative energy sources for a variety of good reasons, regardless of ones view on human induced global warming.

I'm sorry, I was incorrect on my expectation of this being a short reply. But then again, that is far more predictable and modeling is not needed for such a forecast.:)

Please forgive me that this post isn't as well written as I would otherwise like it to be. I am still very sick battling walking pneumonia that hasn't gotten any better despite being on the strongest antibiotic possible. However, I felt the need to reply.

Most importantly, I hope that you can accept all of the aforementioned as simply my personal opinion and realize that anyone's opinion of this issue requires more faith than anything else. In other words, in my personal opinion, there is no evidence presented thus far that can't be rebutted by natural climate variability and all the other variables I reference above. In short, all opinions are based foremost on ones faith on this issue.

I sincerely hope you have a great day and I respect your opinions even during those times we may simply disagree.:)

Your friend,

62. phelp
7:37 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Snowboy - excellent comment(s).
I am currently a meteorology graduate student, and I do strongly believe in anthropogenic global warming, as do the vast majority of legitimate scientists worldwide. please do not let hurricanechaser speak for america (or crazy ol' president bush for that matter). There are many of us who do take this issue very seriously.
61. AceDeuce
6:17 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
California and others looking for straight information on global warming -- you should check out the FAQs at RealClimate.org. RealClimate is a blog run by working climate scientists of various specialties. They are very even-handed, and give a very clear overview of what we know, how we know it, and what is still uncertain. While the FAQs do not require any technical background, many postings on the site can get pretty hard to follow for a layman. Even then, though , you can always figure out basically what they mean and how to understand it.

Another really interesting, very readable resource is a history of climate modelling done by the American Institute of Physics.
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60. snowboy
5:36 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Always interesting to tune into this US-centered weather blog - I don't think you all realize how influenced most of you are by your media and government, and how out of tune you are with the rest of the civilized world on the issue of global warming.

It's funny in a pathetic kind of way, because the US has as much if not more to lose as any nation if the global warming predictions (of our best climate researchers using their best models) come to pass.

Have to say, I get a real hoot out of HurricaneChaser, who I believe is working on a meteorology (ie. weather forecasting) degree, panning the global climatology models. Sure the climatology models we're using to analyze and make predictions on global warming aren't perfect - but they're the best we have.

The models we use to make predictions on incoming hurricanes are also not perfect - I don't hear HurricaneChaser or any of the other nay-sayers advocating ignoring them. Why the double standard?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
59. Skyepony (Mod)
4:04 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
I agree with Sarah~ growing for fuel is unsettling. Considering that article stated we'd need 4X the amount of corn grown now. Alot of the corn we produce now is exported as it is for food. Agriculture these days isn't as enviromently friendly as it once was. If temperatures continue to rise & a climate shift has occured, it might be difficult to produce the food we do now, not including corn for ethenal. The methenal didn't sound like it would help with emmissions issues. Though the points made as to why move away from oil were excellent.

Califonia~wrote~ I don't think any of the polar ice melt is running into the Mississippi, or rivers in California. And although a couple millimeters per rise in sea level can cause a couple millimeter difference in an estuary, river levels farther inland aren't affected by the sea level.

Yes i was mistaken to say anything of rising sea levels, I was thinking of how land on the outside of a levee is erroded away, sometimes thoughts escape wrong:). Just wanted to point out to those that live in the areas mentioned what some respected researcher's thought of their impending disaster chances. 2 out of 3 in 50 years is high for an area that populated. Also I never mentioned, nor did the article, anything concerning polar ice melts. The article talked of earthquakes (ca) & hurricanes for the areas around the Mississippi river, with the later compounded by fresh water run off due to increased rain from global warming. Mississippi River has risen by 13 ft, not millimeters, in the last century. A recent push to save St Louis, Missouri by building more levees, helped with the rise.

Oh & the models... terribly unreliable. I would like to hear of a consenses of models in this area of climate research that was crying wolf. The Ozone one when verified was most conservative. Master's just did a blog on the resent results of the global warming verification ~ warming faster than expected, atleast for the short term. & now the upcoming report on the melting earth. That's happening much sooner than expected. Their finding new breaking points, were a threshold is crossed & it releases a new mechenism that speeds the process.
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58. Zaphod
3:59 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Ideally, science will yield new energy sources that cost less than oil, obviating both the unpleasant prospect of spiraling oil prices and the unlikely significant increase in short-term oil taxes to spur conservation and transition.

I am 100% in favor of better efficiency for vehicles, homes, and businesses. Cars are getting better -- I hear the new 500hp Corvette gets 28mpg. Houses are still driven by step-in cost per square foot, so legislation or novel financing (factoring energy costs into the loan rates and limits) will be required.

Solar, wind, bio-fuels are all possible, but from what I've seen show little short-term prospects of being cheaper than oil. If they get that way, I think people will use them. Certainly it would be good to save cheap oil for airplanes and move cars to alternate sources.

Hmmm....if Kyoto can be met by decreasing emissions from developing nations, can't we just nuke 3rd-world cities to get our net rates in line with Kyoto? (just kidding)

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57. SarahFromFLA
3:58 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Theres something that doesnt quite sit right with me about turning food crops into ethanol so that people can keep diving their gas-guzzling SUVs.
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56. SarahFromFLA
3:47 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
One of the things that frustrates me about Kyoto is that it is often portrayed by media and propionates as a cure-all to all human interference with nature.

But while nobody can say with certainly to what degree, if any, human activity has affected climate there can be no question that human activity has made many disasters more destructive.

Tsunamis and hurricanes become more destructive when we overpopulate areas that act as natural barriers between land and ocean. If we continue to overdevelop vulnerable coastlines, tsunamis and hurricanes will continue to become ever more expensive and dangerous. If we keep building up the Florida and Gulf Coasts, every single hurricane that makes land fall will become a disaster.

Our Western wildfires spread more rapidly when fueled by nonnative, human introduced plants.

Deforestation facilitates mudslides.

Floods can become worse when we disrupt the natural flow of runoff.

No question, we humans are causing many natural disasters to become deadlier and more expensive. Kyoto will do nothing about that.
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55. ForecasterColby
3:15 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Anyone else having pages occasionally come up really weird here on wunderground?

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54. F5
2:49 AM GMT on February 21, 2006

I really like that site. It seems devoid of the hype you often read about the issue and focuses more on the actual science.

I guess maybe I should have said that climate models should not be used as predictive tools. Too many variables and too much uncertainty regarding pieces of the framework. They make too many assumptions, and I also am leery of using statistical "adjustments" as input factors into the model runs, especially when the adjustments are the results of ensemble runs.
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53. F5
2:38 AM GMT on February 21, 2006
Ethanol also has issues of it's own. It currently requires more energy input to produce than the energy it creates, resulting in a net loss of energy. In addition, it can aborb great amounts of water and above a certain ratio, will separate from gasoline, causing engine stalling. Finally, buring ethanol also releases volatile organic compounds which are contributors of smog.

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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