Oscar time for Al Gore's movie

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:10 PM GMT on February 26, 2007

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If you haven't seen Al Gore's global warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", it's time you watched this important film. The movie took home the Oscar award for best documentary feature of 2006 at last night's Academy Awards, and also won an Oscar for best original song, singer Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up." As I wrote in a movie review last year, Gore does a good job educating the non-scientist about the science of climate change and the dangers it poses. The only major flaw scientifically in the movie is the unwarranted connections he makes between climate change and severe weather events such as Hurricane Katrina and the record number of tornadoes in 2004. I gave his science a "B" overall. I thought the movie was a bit too long and was excessively political, but definitely worth seeing (2.5 stars out of four). It is difficult to make a scientifically accurate movie about climate change that will also be interesting enough to do well at the theaters; an "An Inconvenient Truth", while admittedly imperfect, does a respectable job educating us about climate change and the challenges and dangers it poses.

Should "An Inconvenient Truth" be shown in schools?
According to a recent blog posted at realclimate.org, "An Inconvenient Truth" has a become a required part of the science curriculum in some countries. One of the producers of the film, Laurie David, recently offered 50,000 free copies of the $19.99 DVD to National Science Teachers' Association (NSTA) for use in U.S. classrooms. The NSTA turned down the offer on the grounds that the NSTA has a 2001 policy against "product endorsement", and a fear that distributing the film would place "unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters." Realclimate.org points out that one of these targeted supporters is oil giant ExxonMobil, and questions whether concern about losing funding from ExxonMobil influenced the decision not to take the free movies. I don't have a problem with the NSTA rejecting the free movies on the grounds that Al Gore's presentation is politicized. However, as pointed out in the realclimate.org post, NSTA does not offer much content on climate change in their list of recommended materials. One of the recommended books, "Global Warming: Understanding the Debate", has no business being on their recommended reading list. This book is written by Kenneth Green, a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). This fossil-fuel funded think tank recently offered $10,000 to scientists willing to criticize the recent landmark 2007 Summary of Policy Makers climate change report issued by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). AEI offered to award the money to scientists who would "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs", as explained in an article in the UK Guardian. Given the lack of quality climate change education material it offers to teachers, NSTA needs to seriously rethink their recommended offerings on this important subject. If they are going to continue to recommend a book written by the fossil fuel industry-funded American Enterprise Institute, they should recommend Al Gore's movie as well. The two best books for teaching about climate change are missing from the NSTA's recommendations: Robert Henson's excellent Rough Guide to Climate Change (high school level) and The North Pole Was Here (grades 6-9), by New York Times climate change writer Andrew Revkin.

I'll be back Wednesday with a look at the weather of January 2007--the warmest January on record, globally.

Jeff Masters

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357. grimmdogg23
6:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
two words, one man. Dr. Roy Spencer. Worked for NASA and is a climatologist. He was a proponent of global warming but has since changed his mind after his own calculations and data collection. Look him up. I would post some stuff on here but I am at work and am restricted.
Member Since: July 14, 2005 Posts: 56 Comments: 872
356. snowboy
6:08 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
hey jorick23, you made this post at 2:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007:

"Looks like I made a mistake. Millions vs. Billions. When articles state things like 200 million tons vs. 22 billion tons, they should use only one measurement (200 million tons vs. 22,000 million tons). It would be much easier to see the difference. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

Now I think there are others on this blog that owe some apologies for the acidic response to my post."

In fact, no one owes you anything. Yesterday you made the most preposterous statement I've ever seen on this blog, namely:

"Posted By: Jorick23 at 7:31 PM GMT on February 27, 2007.
Global warming caused by human pollution? I think not. One major volcano eruption can put more pollution into the air in one day than humans have ever done in their entire history."

You were called on it, and it was confirmed that you and your alter-ego MisterPerfect were dead wrong (out by a factor of 1000). Why would anyone apologize for emphatically pointing out that your statement was totally preposterous?
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
355. seaker
5:47 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
This whole global warming thing is knee jerk reaction. wait 30 years and you'll see its a load of hooooey. The earth will warm and cool it is such a slight change in the grand scheme of things.
354. hurricane23
5:41 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Thankfully gamede turned away from land and is now moving south-southwest and is not heading towards mainland Africa.This region was brushed by favio.

A couple of pics from Gamede at peak intensity.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
353. hurricane23
5:10 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Even a slow can end being deadly as we saw back in 92 and numbers predicted are just that a prediction.Overall we could see a more active season with more named storms but its all about trofs and ridges which will determine who gets affected.The intensity of this la nina remains unknown.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
352. ricderr
5:05 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
very true h23....very true....and the months in question.....experts say...are the hardest to forecast
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
351. hurricane23
5:01 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Not interested in negativity hope u have a pleasent day...

I still remember how NOAA last year made a call claiming la nina was back and we saw how everything turned out.Much is still unknown about this phenomena.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
350. ricderr
4:53 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
h23..thank god for the modify button...it wasn't there at first..good job..albeit a bit late..but..nice to see you're learning..keep it up..you're doing a good job
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
349. hurricane23
4:52 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
If this mid august nothing would develope out there with the way the SAL is right now.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
348. hurricane23
4:48 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Riderr the link has been there!You might want to hit refresh next time before you start trying to create a problem.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
347. ricderr
4:42 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
thanx h23.....you've given me another great cut and paste site..guess we both have to thank skyguy.....for my fellow cut and pasters..the above h23 post can be found in its entirety here skyguy

modified in response to my good buddies modification and a wonderfull button this mod button is......
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
346. hurricane23
4:36 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Typically During an El Nino event, energy from warm water in the Pacific is transferred high into the atmosphere and funneled, in the form of strong winds, eastward, where it settles over hurricane-forming regions of the Atlantic, thousands of miles away. The settling of this air tends to choke hurricanes in their infancy. La nina on the other hand, allows Atlantic hurricanes to develop their potential with less inhibition.Everything looks like a more active season this time around but lets wait and see how all this factors pan out in the coming months.

More info can be found here or at noaa's page.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
345. Inyo
4:20 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
RE: the logging/forest debate

it IS possible to sustainably log and in some areas it has been practiced for hundreds of years. Unfortunately in many areas, including most of the western US and Canada, unsustainable logging is occurring. In most cases, clear cutting is not sustainable within century-length timescales because it causes severe damage to the soil and type conversion of habitats. (in a few tree types such as red fir, small clear cuts are more effective and sustainable than selective logging - it depends on natural disturbance regimes).

as for co2 sequestering using trees, it only works if you bury the trees in a bog or hole. Where did the trees go that were cut out of thye old growth forest? They largely went into paper or firewood (remember only the main trunk of the tree is usable for construction.) Even wood frame buildings are short term. Also, when you clear cut a forest, much of the detritus in the soil breaks down into CO2, and often times there is as much CO2 down there as there is in the trees.

So logging forests faster won't help in any way. IT will also increase some of the ill effects of greenhouse warming such as erosion.
Member Since: September 3, 2002 Posts: 42 Comments: 905
344. hurricane23
4:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
A more active season number wise maybe instored with la nina createing a more favorable enviroment but they are alot of questions that wont be answered for the next couple of months.For example will the SAL also put the cap on 2007 as it was a factor keeping numbers down back in 2006. How will the steering currents setup?Will there be trofiness to turn systems away or will there be a ridge like in 04-05.Alot factors go into a developing tropical cyclone and warm sea surface temps is only a smart.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13846
343. ricderr
3:54 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
341. homegirl
3:47 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Very big of you to admit the mistake MrP, I'm just here to learn so I shouldn't have made the snide remark. Bygons?

Looking forward to following the blobs myself thel!
Member Since: August 1, 2006 Posts: 45 Comments: 7425
340. ricderr
3:43 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
thelmores......great to see you......sharpen your pencil...you might get to use it a little more this year than last
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
339. thelmores
3:36 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
morning all..... good to see alot of the same old faces.....

saw this and thought i would say howdy!

"Forecasters warned Tuesday that a La Nina weather pattern - the nasty flip side of El Nino - is brewing, bringing with it the threat of more hurricanes for the Atlantic."

Looks like the relative calm of last year will come to an end, and a return to a "more active" atlantic hurricane season seems to be on the horizon!

Look forward to studying and tracking "blobs" this year! :)
Member Since: September 8, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 3805
338. Dialady
3:36 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
I think one of the biggest challenges to the GW debate is the politicalization of it. I agree with greentortuloni. We live in a free country. It is a useful tool to use to do what is best for you and yours with debate. Why do we have to require the government to force us to do what one group wants. I want to have solar power on my house because it make sense not necessarily b/c I want to stop using fossil fuels. The free market system will always provide the technical innovation to overcome a problem if the financial motivation is available. Look how much more efficient everything in our houses are today .. .even something as simple as new heating / AC units.

I am concerned about the rising La Nina. Wonder how this will potentially effect our summer . . .don't think the el Nina / la Nina is a result of GW . . just the way the earth is trending right now.
Member Since: June 3, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 6
337. ricderr
3:22 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
i think i'll find a new thread..this one appears a little frayed around the edges
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
336. ricderr
3:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
pat...i've had hurricane damage from three storms....i've had a 120 foot tall tree crash through my house with becky and daughter a few feet away...i've had a wife in a coma and a daughter three months premature....i've joked about them all...a funny look at rebuilding new orleans..after saying that i agree the levees should be rebuilt...heck....listen to new orleans comedians...i'm milk toast compared to them
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
335. Skyepony (Mod)
3:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
I applaude ya'll that revisited the volcano issue, looking at research & all.

musterion~ There is an award out for anyone that can get something published questioning these models, to the tune of $10000. Beyond that What is written there about how these models work just isn't true. Not suprised they offered no links to how these models work & are tested. Check out the IPCC link up there Dr Masters left, there is accurate model info in there. There is factors that throw the models a little, we can't predict everything, true. The trend has been though that the models say it will get hot quick & the ice is going to melt quick & then it gets hotter & melt occurs faster than the models said. The last few years changes occured faster than the worse of the gloom & doom models had predicted.

TugHillTina1~ As for this being a punishment for western civilization~ I've begun to live a greener life. Changed my lightbulbs, added some insulation, caulked the house. All the apliance upgrades have payed for themselves in the energy they saved...It's like getting fancy new appliances that do their job better for free. We switched out the cars. One of them has payed for itself & payed us back in the amount it has saved us on gas. Growing a few veggies instead of flowers has tasted so much better. My standard of living is no less than before it's better with fancy appliances, better cars, I just save a few grand a year more than i did & eat healthier, better tasting veggies.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 270 Comments: 40523
330. ricderr
3:08 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
ok.....start and finish landfill project.......break levees...add water..and you have this..new new orleans...just call me CB Jr.
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
327. Madrid
3:02 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Article published on 24 Feb 07 about CO2 effects:

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- The pristine Southern Ocean, which swirls around the Antarctic and absorbs vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, is slowly losing a fight against industrial gases responsible for global warming, scientists say.

The Southern Ocean's unique wind and storm conditions make it the world's greatest carbon "sink"; the earth's oceans absorb a third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the Southern Ocean absorbs a third of that.

But the waters that surround Antarctica are becoming more acidic as they absorb increasing amounts of carbon dioxide produced by nations burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas.

Deforestation and slash-and-burn farming also releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide stored in timber or peat bogs.

The more acidic an ocean gets, the less carbon dioxide it can soak up.

"It is becoming more difficult for the Southern Ocean to absorb the excess carbon dioxide," said Dr Will Howard of Australia's Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

Howard has just returned to the Australian Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Program's base in southern Tasmania state after leading a team of 60 international scientists on a five-week expedition to gather evidence on how ocean systems are struggling to cope with the build-up of greenhouse gases.

"I would not say it's being killed," Howard said in a telephone interview. But it is being changed. "And once the system is altered ... it's going to be a different ecosystem," he said.

Rising acidification of the Southern Ocean has already begun to affect the ability of plankton -- microscopic marine plants, animals and bacteria -- to absorb carbon dioxide, scientists have found.

In the sea as on land, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Oceans soak up carbon dioxide from the air and sink it to the depths.

Member Since: January 17, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4348
325. ricderr
2:57 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
what's crazy about it?..you don't want a landfill project that gives new orleans the footprint of a palm tree?
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
322. ricderr
2:49 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
pat......i agree...the levees need to be funded or else new orleans should undergo the largest land fill project known to the US..something on the affect of the dubais project sounds good...ok..it's a joke...don't kill the comedian....but...it should not be equated with the possible destruction of the gulf of mexico...

now....regardless of co2 output..a great reason america needs to look at alternative fuels..

Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
319. weatherwhatweather
2:40 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Race and nation are a fluid thing, changing with time. What a great people recognize is the common good. It is a good better than the individual good.
There was a time in America, the time when great and very pretty bridges and dams were built by a progressive people, a people going somewhere. Many worked on those projects to feed themselves and their families. Many worked vigorously because they were glad to be a part of something bigger than themselves, something for everybody.
It would take those people to fix the levees. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be around anymore.
318. musterion
2:38 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
A post on climate modeling. I found the following port to be illuminating with regards to the difficulties of climate modeling:

Member Since: May 6, 2002 Posts: 0 Comments: 2
317. Jorick23
2:19 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Looks like I made a mistake. Millions vs. Billions. When articles state things like 200 million tons vs. 22 billion tons, they should use only one measurement (200 million tons vs. 22,000 million tons). It would be much easier to see the difference. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

Now I think there are others on this blog that owe some apologies for the acidic response to my post.
312. ricderr
1:13 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
ok......after spending some time researching volcanic releases of CO2....it would appear to a simple layman..there's enough research and collection of data for an intelligent theory concerning the amount of CO2 released versus CO2 that is used for human functions.....I think it's very conclusive that volcanoes cannot be held accountable for the rise of CO2...now...below is a link to a long read..but a great read concerning the issue....if more work about climate change could be produced in this form...more discussion of facts could be forthcoming rather than the same old rhetoric from both sidesvolcano research
Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 684 Comments: 23098
311. greentortuloni
12:59 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
The thing I do not understand is how GW becomes Rightwing versus Liberal. As a person who is both (depending on the issue), GW should be clear cut:

Liberals: feel free to use it to promote environmental concerns.

Rightwingers: feel free to use it to promote achieving energy independence for America.

Depending on the source/company involved, 4 - 37 cents of every dollar spent on filling up your car leaves the country and/or goes to regimes who are actively or passively anti-American.

The politicians who paint this as a Liberal Concern tend, for the most part, to be funded or invested heavily in Big Oil. Big Oil is NOT necessarily part of being conservative.
Member Since: June 5, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1220
310. TugHillTina1
12:36 PM GMT on February 28, 2007
Yes snowboy as usual the tug got alot of lake effect snow. AGAIN AS USUAL, nothing new but nice try. And exactly my point it doesn't matter what my weight is or my lifestyle but your messenger wants everyone else to change theirs. Make no mistake about it, this global warming religion is nothing but punishing western civilizations.
309. kellnerp
10:18 AM GMT on February 28, 2007
Snowboy and Michael STL

I hold that at any given time it is the marginal effect of adding or subtracting a component to the atmosphere is what we are talking about. In business terms, ROI (Return on investment). Adding a pound of CO2 has far less effect than adding a pound of CH4. Adding a pound of H2O like wise has a far greater effect. If you look at the contribution of all that C02 to actual energy retention it is only about three times that of the small amount of CH4 currently in the atmosphere.

The overall effect of global warming may not be what everyone thinks. If you look at the average temperature over the entire surface of the planet and you think about raising that average there are two extremes of how that average can increase. In one extreme of looking at it is that the average temperature at the equator increases and the average temperature at the poles increases. In other words for the sake of argument the average in Kenya and the average at the poles both increase could be one scenario in which the average increases. The other scenario is that the average at the pole increases while the averages around the equator remain roughly the same and the averages in deserts like the Sahara actually go down (as they did this winter). I think greenhouse gases will push things according to the second scenario.

Living in the midwest I see the effect of water vapor in the atmosphere on warming all the time. It is very apparent and very strong. This time of year, when there is no cloud cover ice will form on my windshield even when the ambient temperature is above freezing. If there is cloud cover and the temperature is below freezing there will be no ice. Once big difference between the effect of CO2 and CH4 is that they don't travel in localized features like H20 does.

Finally, at some time in the past the levels of CO2 must have been much higher than today. Ask yourself where all the carbon once was that is now locked in petroleum deposits like coal and many oil deposits. It had to be the atmosphere and it was distributed all over the planet from the equator (Nigeria, Mexico, Saudi, Russia, Siberia, Canada) to near the poles. They can look at the ice record all they want, but the petoleum record should not be overlooked.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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