Science, Belief and the Volcano:

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:59 PM GMT on March 08, 2009

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Science, Belief and the Volcano:

In January 2008 there was an article in the National Geographic called the The Gods Must Be Restless. The author, Andrew Marshall, describes Mbah Marijan, who has the job of satisfying the ogre that inhabits the volcano Merapi in Indonesia. The volcano is about to explode, the government has ordered an evacuation and Marijan is not convinced. Quoting the article:

“The alerts are merely guesses by men at far remove from the spirit of the volcano. The lava dome collapse? ‘That’s what the experts say,’ he (Marijan) says, smiling. ‘But an idiot like me can’t see any change from yesterday.’ ”

This past year one of the most interesting books I read was called The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great America Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan. The Dust Bowl was a period in the 1930s in the U.S. when people in the Panhandle of Texas were shoveling away morning dust drifts to get out of their house. They were dying of dust pneumonia and eating tumbleweed and road kill. There was drought. The drought, however, came on top of years of agricultural policy that plowed under the prairie to grow wheat. People had spread all over semi-arid grasslands under the promise that nurturing the Earth would be rewarded with sustaining water – and that rain followed the rails. The rhetoric and the discourse of the mid to late 1930s included the belief that people and their plows, the actions of individuals where too minuscule to cause the scope and the wrath of darkening, suffocating, house-covering dust storms. It was radical science to replant the grassland.

Science is the evidence-based generation of knowledge. Knowledge is not certainty. Science defines a process of observation and testing. Science provides a method for checking; it requires that results be confirmed by independent investigators; it requires anonymous reviews by, often, competitors. This process both confirms results and finds errors. We strive to converge to a coherent body of knowledge.

Like Marijan the ogre master, scientists, the practitioners of science, are a human mixture of their experiences, their beliefs, their religions, their wants, their needs, and their selves. The practitioner of science, however, has a commitment to questioning, testing, and review. This is a humbling experience. Copernicus concludes that we, the people of the Earth, are not the center of the universe, surrounded by objects traveling in divine, perfect circular orbits. Darwin places humans within the nature of all of the beasts of the world. Freud ties our behavior to deep, harsh self-motivation. Einstein shows that our frame of reference, our very point of view, determines our perception of even the definable physics of our universe. (See Outgrowing Self-Deception by Gardner Murphy.)

Humans do have the ability to observe, explore, accumulate, preserve, and pass on a collected body of knowledge. From the beginning, there were those who felt that evidence-based knowledge uncovered by investigation by humans could be a threat - a threat to what we believe or, perhaps, what we want. Evidence raises the potential encumbrances of responsibility. There are those for whom the evidence-based approach to climate change is irrelevant. There are those who accept the evidence, and entwine that evidence into beliefs that are far more important to them, personally, than the tangible impact on the physical and biological world. It is natural for there to be people skeptical of the body of knowledge that the climate has changed and will continue to change because of things that we do. There is little value in an evidence-based argument to convince this skeptical community otherwise; positions are much more deeply rooted than a compendium of observations of the natural world.

Marijan is a man of influence; undoubtedly successful, with an evolved body of knowledge. The government official in Indonesia is, therefore, faced with two bodies of knowledge, Marijan’s and that from observations of the volcano, Merapi. This is always the case, and it should not be the basis of inaction. Those with the belief in the science-based body of knowledge are encumbered with the responsibility of acting based on this knowledge. Problems must be addressed. This moves away from the simplicity of scientific investigation to the complexities of leadership.

Once again quoting the article The Gods Must Be Restless:

“Two days later, the lava dome collapses. Traffic grinds to a halt in downtown Yogyakarta as motorists gape at the scorching avalanche of rocks rushing down Merapi’s western flank – away from Marijan’s village. Thanks to the timely evacuation , nobody is hurt.”

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Figure 1: Building in Comanche National Grasslands, August 2008. The National Grasslands came from replanting efforts to stabilize the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl. ( National Grasslands Primer)


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73. panthan63
9:41 PM GMT on March 24, 2009
thank you for clearing up the data for me. i will follow your links and indoctrinate myself with the truth that the only contributing factor to climate change is the human use of fossil fuels.
i shall support our president in any and all efforts to reduce co2 emissions. he needs to act quickly even if it means taking plants offline and leaving parts of the country with brownouts. he should also consider unilateral action in closing coal plants in other countries even if he has to use the military.
and i shall closed my ears and eyes to any papers, documentaries, science programs, blogs that have a differing opinion. i will consider any scientist that has a different viewpoint as a fraud and question his or her credentials.
i was thinking that obama could bail out gm and Chrysler by ordering them to build zero emission vehicles and then trading them out with all of our vehicles. he could hire every body back that has been laid off. and he can force all the vehicle plants in the US, whether domestic or foreign, ford or toyota, to stop building any vehicle that has any co2 emissions, and start building the new zero emission vehicles. i do not know what total capacity that would give us, but i think it should allow us to replace the majority of four wheelers on the roads. then we tell the farmers and ranchers that they cannot use any tractors or other equipment that emits co2. they will have to drive any herds to the slaughter house on horseback like we use to.
all food will have to be canned or bagged. no more refrigerated or frozen foods. i say we can turn this whole climate thing around in 2 or 3 years by just saying we can do this. we are americans. we should lead the rest of the world in this endeavor. all else is irrelevant. the economy. food supply. terrorism. illegal immigration. drugs. education. we need to put all of this on the back burner for a couple years and attack this co2 problem.
LET'S ROLL
Member Since: March 15, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 23
72. cyclonebuster
2:33 AM GMT on March 18, 2009
It is no longer April showers bring May flowers. It is now February showers bring March flowers. In fact my blueberries are already growing about the size of bbs now.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
71. cyclonebuster
10:12 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Why did MichaelSTL get banned?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
70. cyclonebuster
10:01 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Regulated upwelling prevents all these effects.


1. Amazon Shrinks 50 Percent

If global warming turns more than half the Amazon rain forest (pictured) into something other than rain forest by 2200, the change "will lead to potentially dangerous climate change," according to most of the climate experts who participated in a survey about global warming "tipping points" released on March 16, 2009.

Tipping points occur when a small change in one factor, a "driver," can cause a disproportionately large response in an overall system.

In the Amazon Basin, climate shifts may lead to less rainfall, causing a large loss of species diversity--crippling the forest's ability to help maintain the region's air quality, fresh water cycle, and atmospheric circulation.

Between 2005 and 2006, 43 international climate experts volunteered to evaluate each of five tipping points, presented here--specifically, judging the likelihood that achieving a tipping point would lead to potentially dangerous global warming.

"Even though there's a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity in the results, our analysis shows these are not low-probability events," lead study author Elmar Kriegler, of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told National Geographic News.

Experts judged the likelihood of these tipping points to strongly increase with scenarios of potentially low, medium, and high levels of future global warming, according to the study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science this week.

2. Atlantic "Conveyor Belt" Disrupted

If the flow of ocean water worldwide is severely disrupted by an influx of fresh water from melting ice caps due to rising temperatures, potentially dangerous global warming may follow, according to a survey about climate change "tipping points" released in March 2009.

This part of the ocean "conveyor belt"%u2014called the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation%u2014transports warm water northward (above, ice ledges in the Norwegian Sea) and sends cold water south at depth.

But the potential freshwater disturbance could prevent ocean water from moving northward and may have a range of impacts on the environment, from reducing fish stocks to spawning stronger hurricanes.

Little data exists about such global warming tipping points, said lead study author Elmar Kriegler of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

For the new study, Kreigler wanted to glean experts' opinions about the likelihood that these major changes would engender dangerous global warming. The results will ideally inform policy action, Kriegler added.

3. Greenland Largely Ice Free

If the world warms by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit), the Greenland ice sheet (above, meltwater lakes and streams near Kangerlussuag) will almost unavoidably melt away--leading to potentially dangerous global warming, a majority of experts said in a March 2009 study.

An ice-free Greenland would cause up to about 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters) of sea-level rise, threatening up to 300 million people with harmful floods, experts say.

(Related: "Photos: Huge Greenland Glacier Disintegrating.")

Of the five tipping points assessed in a recent survey of climate experts, the scientists showed the "highest concern" about the Greenland ice sheet, according to lead study author Elmar Kriegler of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The survey participants also judged the likelihood of these tipping points being achieved if the climate achieves low, medium, and high levels of future global warming.


4. El Ni%uFFFDecomes Permanent

If El Ni%uFFFDa periodic disruption of the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Pacific--becomes the average state of the region's climate as global warming progresses, widespread shifts in precipitation patterns (above, homes slide into the sea during El Ni%uFFFDtorms in Pacifica, California) will ensue, said a majority of scientists who responded to a climate survey released on March 16, 2009.

Such changes could bring increased drought to Southeast Asia and the Amazon Basin, experts say.

Likewise, the South American coast would likely be heavily slammed with increased floods and changes in the marine food web, which could hurt many fisheries, the study said.
5. West Antarctica Islands Revealed

If the ice sheet over West Antarctica (above, seas pound a calving Ross Ice Shelf) disintegrates due to rising temperatures--revealing islands that are currently buried--potentially dangerous global warming could result, a bulk of experts agreed in a March 2009 survey (West Antarctica map).

Already, warming temperatures have accelerated fast-moving ice streams, causing a rush of fresh water that may affect ocean ecosystems around Antarctica.

Increased meltwater from West Antarctica may also raise the world's sea level by up to 20 to 23 feet (6 to 7 meters), the study says.


Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
69. cyclonebuster
9:50 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Why did MichaelSTL get banned?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
68. cyclonebuster
9:36 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Why did MichaelSTL get banned?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
67. cyclonebuster
9:33 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Quoting crucilandia:
Have you guys noticed that this blog is a lot more civilized now? Recent rise of peaceful and productive discussions, especially with new commers, is strongly correlated with the absolut ban of MichelSTL from WU website.

Good ridance


I miss MichaelSTL. Even though he didn't think my tunnel idea would work I was looking forward to teaching him and all of YOU otherwise. LOL!!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
66. crucilandia
9:26 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Have you guys noticed that this blog is a lot more civilized now? Recent rise of peaceful and productive discussions, especially with new commers, is strongly correlated with the absolut ban of MichelSTL from WU website.

Good ridance
Member Since: March 6, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 2212
65. cyclonebuster
4:16 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Regulated upwelling prevents this.

Climate-related Changes Affect Life On The Antarctic Peninsula
ScienceDaily (Mar. 17, 2009) — Scientists have long established that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming spots on Earth. Now, new research using detailed satellite data indicates that the changing climate is affecting not just the penguins at the apex of the food chain, but simultaneously the microscopic life that is the base of the ecosystem.The research was published in the journal Science by researchers with the National Science Foundation's (NSF) LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) program. The LTER, which has 26 sites around the globe, including two in Antarctica, enables tracking of ecological variables over time, so that the mechanisms of climate change impact on ecosystems can be revealed. The specific findings were made by researchers with the Palmer LTER, using data collected near Palmer Station and from the research vessel Laurence M. Gould. Both Palmer Station and the Laurence M. Gould are operated by NSF's Office of Polar Programs.

Hugh Ducklow, of the Marie Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, the principal investigator for the Palmer LTER project, said that the new findings are scientifically significant, but they also are consistent with the climate trends on the Peninsula and other observed changes.

However, it took new scientific tools and analytical work by post-doctoral fellow Martin Montes Hugo to verify scientifically what scientists had been inferring from other changes for some time.

"I have to say the findings weren't a surprise; I think with the weight of all the other observations that we had on changes happening to organisms higher up in the food chain, we thought that phytoplankton weren't going to escape this level of climate change," Ducklow said. "But it took Martin to have all the right tools and the abilities to go in and do the analysis and prove what we suspected."

Those data, gathered over years, were essential to tracking patterns that supported the new findings.

"That's the beauty of the LTER program," he added.

Over the past 50 years, winter temperatures on the Peninsula have risen five times faster than the global average and the duration of sea-ice coverage has decreased. A warm, moist maritime climate has moved into the northern Peninsula region, pushing the continental, polar conditions southward.

As a result, the prevalence of species that depend on sea ice, such as Adelie penguins, Antarctic silverfish and krill, has decreased in the Peninsula's northern region, and new species that typically avoid ice, such as Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins, and lanternfish are moving into the habitat.



Link
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64. cyclonebuster
3:51 PM GMT on March 17, 2009
Re 63

The denialist think it is the other way around.
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62. streamtracker
2:03 AM GMT on March 17, 2009
Quoting atmoaggie:
Look like the science of AGW is very confused about the science of AGW.

A good reminder about this work surfaced today. pdf_here

American Geophysical Union (2007, August 2). Synchronized Chaos: Mechanisms For Major Climate Shifts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/08/070801175711.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801175711.htm

"By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, they find that the systems synchronized several times.

Further, in cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then. a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability.

The authors show that this mechanism explains all global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century. "


You should note a couple things about that paper. One it is not based on a physical model. It is solely an attempt to shoehorn a theoretical mathematical model to match natural patterns. They base the climate shift on only a few years of data.

Now I find it ironic that someone like you, who has repeatedly critiqued the physical models as inadequate, would quote a model that has no physics in it at all - nada, zip! No forcings, no feedbacks, no teleconnections, nothing!

I am going to laugh my ass off if denialists hitch their cart to this one.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
61. presslord
11:40 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
counters...well said...and, before some moron says "What about Al Gore?!?!?!?!?!?!"...well...he made his money on Google stock....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
60. counters
11:23 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Panthan, your snark really isn't appreciated.

You know, this silly argument of "government grants" gets really tiresome. Here's a fun exercise: see if any climate change researchers show up in Forbes magazine as one of the 100 richest people in the world. There's no money in climate change research! You don't go into scientific research as a way to make beaucoup bucks. Well, maybe biomedical research (like pharmaceuticals and stuff) is an exception, but atmospheric science? Ha! I'm gonna have to accomplish the "American Dream" the old-fashioned way - marry into wealth! Climate science sure as hell isn't going to make me rich!

Anyways, I'm not quite sure what you're rebutting here. You're bringing in completely unrelated arguments. Why is 100 years significant, but a decade not? I told you - climate is, at a minimum, a multi-decadal phenomenon. You can either look at many thousands of years, or at a few decades, but not less. Anything data less than 30 years in length is going to be so cluttered with noise (in this case, weather) that an analysis on it is likely to have a huge amount of uncertainty. The fewer years, the more uncertainty and error. This really isn't anything extraordinary.

Your examples of weather are really boring. I'm doubting you're an upstate-New-Yorker; those rivers that froze during the Revolutionary War? Yeah, they still tend to re-freeze each year. You should head to Saratoga Springs; everything up there is still frozen (I was just there two days again). The cooler climate of the 1500's and 1600's? That was actually a warmer climate, known as the Medieval Warm Period. And before you get started on "global warming without industrialization," the MWP was a small-scale phenomenon mostly affecting Europe and likely due to an anomaly in the Gulf Stream. The LIA is a topic for another time.

One of the problems on relying upon what your friends are e-mailing you is that they're not necessarily anymore sophisticated with regards to the science than you might be. Warming on other planets? There isn't any evidence to suggest so. Even if there was, skeptics claim we barely have enough observations to make statements on the trends of the climate here on Earth; it's logically inconsistent to suggest then that we might be able to make any statement about trends on other planets.

There's really not much else to respond to. It's almost entirely claims that have been debunked time and time again. Volcanoes spewing more CO2 than humans? That's such a trivial issue that I even debunked it on my own blog.

You know, all I did was call you "un-informed." That's not meant to be derogatory; it's not calling you stupid or unintelligent. Obviously, though, I ticked a nerve, but your response confirms my suggestion. You're reacting as if I'm passing judgment on your intelligence. Pray, tell me: if I thought you were a "closed minded stupid one who would just never understand," then why would I take the time to respond to your claims, set the record straight, and suggest further reading?

If you're only commenting here to play the drama queen, then you're wasting your time. Go read the links I suggested and educate yourself. Don't you remember the PSA's? "Knowledge is power!"
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
59. panthan63
10:32 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
[APPLAUSE] i apologize counters that i do not get government grants for backing up their claims of man made global warming. i am glad that the material sent to me from friends and items i have read on here and other web sites and numerous articles in newspapers and magazines have left me a completely un-informed individual.
it is funny in your own argument, you first argue 100 years is significant, no wait 30 years, but 1-10? uh no way could 10 years ever show a trend. thank you for clearing me up on that.
still you did not address the cooler climate of the 1500's and 1600's when europeans were first coming to america. of how, during the revolutionary war, cannon was dragged across frozen rivers which no longer freeze solid enough to accomplish this feat.
i am so dumb and uninformed i cannot fathom the absolute denial of a warming trend long before industrialization i come across again and again. in many of the articles and discussions i have been involved with, others even throw out the warming occurring on the other planets. i suppose the estimate that the polar caps on mars will soon be melted is due to man dropping some machines on the planet.
we are going to bankrupt our society chasing after man made co2 emissions while simultaneously dumping pollution in the oceans killing the plankton that would take this same co2 and break it down. wow.
i apologize. i am trying not to be sarcastic. i had a friend send me a paper on arctic ice melting. the graphs showed reflectivity of ice and sea water and heat absorption rates. my first, and second and later thoughts were wow, with mankind using ships to purposely break up the ice for years, exposing more sea water to sunlight, we have been slowly warming up northern waters. but this escapes the scientist who wrote the paper. instead, he focused on co2 emissions. instead of showing as we broke up more and more ice, more ice melted, he went with the correlation that since co2 levels have gone up, that was the cause and it was man's fault cause we emit co1 from various sources. what if it is our fault not because of co2 output, but because we have purposely broken up the ice combined with our civilization constantly burying open areas of ground, decreasing, ever so slightly, the amount of vegetation around the world?
oh, sorry, an alternative idea. i apologize. the only possible cause of global warming is man made emissions of co2. no other activity or the sun is involved. i humbly apologize.

one question from an un-informed hick: considering all the volcanoes under the oceans unaccounted for, the countless forest fires and other forms of natural co2 output, just what is the percentage of output of man's co2 to that which naturally occurs? reason i ask was there was a report that a recent volcano was spewing out more co2 in an hour than the entire southwest US in a month. could be they reported it wrong. but considering that was only one of hundreds of volcanoes around the planet...
oh, one more question. when your argument is on thin ice, no pun intended, do you insist that the other person is the closed minded stupid one who would just never understand? i had thought mr. gore realized that was a childhood argument.
Member Since: March 15, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 23
58. counters
8:49 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Re #56:

Perhaps you should read the paper itself and not just the comments from the journalist at ScienceDaily:

It is interesting to speculate on the climate shift after the 1970s event. The standard explanation for the post 1970s warming is that the radiative effect of greenhouse gases overcame shortwave reflection effects due to aerosols [Mann and Emanuel, 2006]. However, comparison of the 2035 event in the 21st century simulation and the 1910s event in the observations with this event, suggests an alternative hypothesis, namely that the climate shifted after the 1970s event to a different state of a warmer climate, which may be superimposed on an anthropogenic warming trend.


What the authors of the paper are showing is quite trivial (it's only exceptional in the scale of the system they demonstrate it to exist within). Complicated systems - particularly ones that can be represented as linear combinations of independent functions - can behave exceptionally when some functions come together in specific ways. Take, for instance, a fourier analysis of a square wave pulse on a string exhibiting dispersion. The wave pulse will lose its shape over time because dispersion dictates that each independent oscillation constructing the pulse will travel at a different speed. However, at certain intervals of time, the pulse will "magically" re-appear. This is because the phase of each oscillation is a function of time; there are bound to be points in time where the phases "line up," leading to strong constructive or destructive interference.

The authors are suggesting that, with an arbitrary set of oscillations (the "indices" they constructed), they were able to use models to show how a similar phenomenon to my dispersion example might emerge in the climate system.

Interesting? Absolutely! Earth-shattering with regards to AGW theory? Not in the slightest. If anything, they lend credibility to the suggestion that natural oscillations might "mask" the global warming signal over the next few years, depressing temperatures over the short term before things reverse and we see a sudden and dramatic increase in the temperature to expected levels.
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
57. counters
8:39 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Re #53:

Panthan, the points in your argument have been addressed time and time again. I'd strongly suggest you take the time to read Spencer Weart's comprehensive document, "The Discovery of Global Warming." It's written for the layman and will clear up of lot of the incorrect assumptions you've made in your argument.

In the spirit of education and understanding though, allow me to work through your argument and show you what's wrong with it:

You start with the claim that "the earth has been warming long before any refineries or automobiles." That's only half correct; it's been warming, then cooling, then warming, and so on and so forth for eons. This is because on multi-millienial time scales, the Earth's climate is dominated by a set of orbital shifts known as the Milankovitch Cycle. This cycle, which includes axial precession, orbital eccentricity, and the orbital size, very effectively explains why we regularly pass through series of Ice Ages and then warm, inter-glacial periods. However, Milankovitch oscillations are irrelevant when discussing modern climate change because of the time scales involved. You ask why we discuss post-1880 observations, and the answer is two-fold. For starters, we have few reliable observations from before that time period. More importantly, though, around 1880 is when we began altering the atmosphere's chemistry via industrialization. Global warming didn't instantly begin at this point in time, but its roots are traced to it.

The simple refutation to your first argument is that the "natural variation" argument - especially with respect to the magnitude of observed change thus far - fails dramatically because it operates on time scales of between 7,500 and 100,000 years, while we're talking about a time scale of a about a century.

Your second argument concerns how to interpret a few years of cooler temperatures in light of global warming. We can argue ad nauseam about whether small variations - some of them negative - around a trend constitute a "dropping off" of temperature, but it's the interpretation that's more important. No one has ever claimed that AGW as a monotonic increase in temperature. Bear in mind that we do have this thing called "weather." There is a great deal of intrinsic variability in the climate system, and that variability is amplified when you zoom in to smaller temporal and spatial scales. Most climatologists talk about a "magic number" of 30 years for interpreting climate data; what they mean is that when you're looking at 1, 2, 5 - even 10 years sometimes - you're not looking at "climate." You're looking at normal, statistically plausible, minimal variations.

The bottom line is that your second argument is also irrelevant.

To adress your third argument, the "glitch" was way over-sexed by the skeptic blog-o-sphere. There was always more than one sensor gathering this data, and there is no evidence to suggest that there is more ice than currently thought. All other anecdotal evidence actually points the opposite way, adding weight to the concerns that we might soon approach a critical junction with respect to arctic sea ice.

Your final argument is much like your first. AGW boils down to time scales. Does it really matter that the Earth has gone through periods of history when there was much more CO2 in the atmosphere and it was much warmer? No, because human civilization didn't exist at that point in time. No, because cities like New York and Miami weren't built a few feet from the coast line at those points in history. No, because we hadn't developed agriculture to tame the deserts that existed at those times.

The danger with climate change isn't that the climate is going to get warmer. It's that the climate will change in possibly dramatic and counter-intuitive ways. It's all regional. What will happen if shifting precipitation patterns cause deserts to form in the world's bread baskets? What will happen if sea levels rise enough to inundate some of our biggest cities and commerical hubs? What will happen if these changes result in shifting patterns of population settlement, leading to national strife in regions such as the Middle East?


I strongly recommend you read my first link to Spencer Weart's articles. Like many skeptics, you're just un-informed on of some of the relevant science, and you're not considering the real ramifications of climate change. Just keep an open mind and start learning about what Global Warming is really about (hint - there's nothing political in the science).



Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
56. atmoaggie
8:14 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Look like the science of AGW is very confused about the science of AGW.

A good reminder about this work surfaced today. pdf_here

American Geophysical Union (2007, August 2). Synchronized Chaos: Mechanisms For Major Climate Shifts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 16, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/08/070801175711.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070801175711.htm

"By studying the last 100 years of these cycles' patterns, they find that the systems synchronized several times.

Further, in cases where the synchronous state was followed by an increase in the coupling strength among the cycles, the synchronous state was destroyed. Then. a new climate state emerged, associated with global temperature changes and El Nino/Southern Oscillation variability.

The authors show that this mechanism explains all global temperature tendency changes and El Nino variability in the 20th century. "
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
55. streamtracker
7:25 PM GMT on March 16, 2009
Looks like the head of one our major political parties is very confused about the science of AGW.

(TPM) Michael Steele has taken the GOP's global-warming denial to a new height: "We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I use my fingers as quotation marks, is part of the cooling process."
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
54. cyclonebuster
12:51 AM GMT on March 16, 2009
Regulated upwelling prevents this!!

Sea Level Rise Due To Global Warming Poses Threat To New York City
ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2009) — Global warming is expected to cause the sea level along the northeastern U.S. coast to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during this century, putting New York City at greater risk for damage from hurricanes and winter storm surge, according to a new study led by a Florida State University researcher.

Jianjun Yin, a climate modeler at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at Florida State, said there is a better than 90 percent chance that the sea level rise along this heavily populated coast will exceed the mean global sea level rise by the year 2100. The rising waters in this region -- perhaps by as much as 18 inches or more -- can be attributed to thermal expansion and the slowing of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation because of warmer ocean surface temperatures.

Yin and colleagues Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ronald Stouffer of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University are the first to reach that conclusion after analyzing data from 10 state-of-the-art climate models, which have been used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Yin's study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Link
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53. panthan63
11:40 PM GMT on March 15, 2009
i find it interesting in the argument over climate change only takes into account observations since 1880, according to what i read here. it is convenient and 'safe' to blame mankind for climate change. afterall we do put out some CO2 emissions and if man is the cause, we can fix it, theoretically. take the titanic for example. man made it, surely we can fix it. oops. it is very very scary to not be in control, and so many cling to the idea that global warming, climate change is man made.
however, if one opens ones thoughts to looking at long term global temperatures, the planet has been warming for thousands of years. take out a mild ice age or global cooling period in the 800's [which i have not seen a good argument for what caused it, not that there is not one out there] and some events like Krakatoa and i wonder what the temperature of the planet would be right now.

my argument against man made global warming is that the earth has been warming long before any refineries or automobiles. when the population of the earth was only a few million and we just started to build cities, there was global warming.

recently i saw figures from NASA that showed global temperatures have dropped the last several years. how can this be? we have continued to increase mankind's CO2 emissions and yet the data shows global temperatures have fallen several years of the past decade. the theory that CO2 emissions is the cause has to be revisited by any scientist with integrity.

another point i want some to consider is the discrepancy they found in the satellite equipment measuring sea ice. i read and heard from several sources that a 'glitch' was reading less ice than there actually was, and once corrected the levels of ice had come back to levels of twenty or thirty years ago. does anybody have any info on this? i always wondered why people were amazed by there being less sea ice when that is one area we have affected since we started using ice breakers centuries ago.

another puzzlement to me was a show i saw a few months ago covering ice samples. not the show, but the fact they introduced that there are ice cores with a lot higher CO2 concentrations, suggesting the atmosphere had at that time a much higher percentage of CO2. the earth survived that somehow. just like the sums of money being spent by our 'new' government, i believe that some of what the earth has gone through and survived to present day is incomprehensible to the average person, scientist or not.
Member Since: March 15, 2009 Posts: 5 Comments: 23
52. cyclonebuster
2:19 PM GMT on March 15, 2009
NOAA: Ninth Warmest February for Globe
March 13, 2009

The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for February 2009 was the ninth warmest since records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

The analyses in NCDC’s global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision. Additional quality control is applied to the data when later reports are received several weeks after the end of the month and as increased scientific methods improve NCDC’s processing algorithms.

Temperature Highlights – February
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for February was 54.80 degrees F, 0.90 degree F above the 20th century mean of 53.9 degrees F, ranking as the ninth warmest on record.
Separately, the global land surface temperature was 39.38 degrees F, 1.58 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 37.8 degrees F.
The global ocean surface temperature of 61.25 degrees F ranked as eighth warmest on record and was 0.65 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.6 degrees F.
Temperature Highlights – Boreal (Meteorological) Winter
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for boreal winter (December-February) was 54.72 degrees F, 0.92 degree F above the 20th century mean of 53.8 degrees F and ranking eighth warmest.
Separately, the global land surface temperature was 39.31 degrees F, 1.51 degrees F above the 20th century mean of 37.8 degrees F, ranking as ninth warmest on record.
The global ocean surface temperature of 61.20 degrees F ranked as seventh warmest on record and was 0.70 degree F above the 20th century mean of 60.5 degrees F.
Global Highlights for February
Based on NOAA satellite observations of snow cover extent, 10.7 million square miles (27.7 million square kilometers) of Eurasia (Europe and Asia) were covered by snow in February 2009, which is 0.4 million square miles (1.1 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2009 average of 11.1 million square miles (28.8 million square kilometers).
Satellite-based snow cover extent for the Northern Hemisphere was 17.4 million square miles (45.0 million square kilometers) in February, which is 0.3 million square miles (0.9 million square kilometers) below the 1966-2009 average of 17.7 million square miles (45.9 million square kilometers).
Arctic sea ice coverage during February 2009 was at its fourth lowest February extent since satellite records began in 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Average ice extent during February was 5.7 million square miles (14.8 million square kilometers). The Arctic sea ice pack usually expands during the cold season, reaching a maximum in March, then contracts during the warm season, reaching a minimum in September.
Very hot, dry conditions affected southern Australia during the end of January and beginning of February. An intense heat wave February 6-8 resulted in a high temperature of 119.8 degrees F at Hopetoun, Victoria, Feb. 7, surpassing the previous record of 117.0 degrees F set in January 1939. This is a state record and perhaps the highest temperature ever recorded for such a southerly latitude. The hot, dry conditions contributed to the development of Australia’s deadliest wildfires in history.
China declared its highest level of emergency for eight provinces that were suffering from their worst drought in 50 years. The drought conditions, which began in November 2008, affected more than 4 million people and more than 24 million acres of crops.
A strong winter storm brought heavy snow to parts of the United Kingdom on February 2, disrupting transportation and bringing London to a virtual standstill. The event, in which up to 12 inches of snow fell in southeastern England, was the UK’s most widespread snow in 18 years, according to the UK Met Office.
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.
Link
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51. cyclonebuster
12:53 AM GMT on March 15, 2009
Regulated upwelling prevents this!


Rain rain come again: That jingle came alive during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and five other Chinese cities plagued by drought and
poisonous dust storms. PlanePlanes engineered rain over the cities. The benefits are immense, says Dr Akhilesh Gupta, scientific adviser to the minister for science and technology. "Aircraft can be used for weather modification, be it making rain or preventing it with a process called cloud seeding." The process is simple. Chemicals such as silver iodide are dropped into certain clouds. These particles encourage tiny vapour droplets to coalesce into snow and melt as they fall. Heat released as the droplets freeze, boosts updrafts, which pulls more moist air into the cloud. Till now, pellets of crushed dry ice used to be dropped into the clouds. Gupta says the new technology "can prevent rains too. If rain-bearing clouds are approaching a place where you don't need them, silver iodide is used to precipitate them outside that area." Meteorologists are sceptical due to prohibitive costs. For instance, Andhra Pradesh spent Rs 18.5 crore in 2006 on seeding operations. But studies show that cloud seeding can increase precipitation by up to 30%.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Sunday-TOI/Our-air-marshals/articleshow/4265662.cms
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
50. cyclonebuster
12:48 AM GMT on March 15, 2009
Regulated upwelling prevents this!


China lets it snow, lets it snow, lets it snow

BEIJING (Reuters) - China took credit Tuesday for the first snowfall of the winter in Beijing, saying it fired sticks of chemicals into the sky to seed clouds in a bid to end a persistent drought.

Snow fell in the capital Tuesday morning, dusting the gabled roofs of the ancient alleyways and settling briefly, only the second "precipitation" this winter following artificially induced rain Thursday, Xinhua news agency said.

"But the rain was not enough to end the lingering drought," it added.

Zhang Qiang, deputy director of the Beijing Weather Modification Command Center, was quoted as saying it had fired 426 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide to seed the clouds from 28 "weather rocket launch bases" in the city.

Beijing is enduring its longest drought in 38 years, according to weather bureau records, going without rain since October 24.


Link
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49. atmoaggie
12:36 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
Quoting SWFLgazer:
And regulated upwelling will make all the children above average.


A don't forget fixing Microsoft code. I heard it will make Windoze stable.

Try it. Throw your Windoze PC into the gulf. Never have to reboot again.
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48. cyclonebuster
12:35 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
It might take about 9200 years to fill the oceans. But I am not filling them am I? I am cooling them.
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47. cyclonebuster
12:31 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
I got 1.3 trillion cubic feet per hour going through them or about four cubic miles per hour for one location in the Gulfstream.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
46. cyclonebuster
12:16 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
"The World ocean has an area of about 361 million sq km (139,400,000 sq mi), an average depth of about 3,730 m (12,230) ft, and a total volume of about 1,347,000,000 cu km (322,280,000 cu mi)."
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
45. cyclonebuster
12:09 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
Quoting presslord:


well...if we've gotta run it through those little PVC pipes....it's gonna take a while....


The one pictured is about 1/600 scale but then again it does matter how many you build.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
44. presslord
12:04 AM GMT on March 14, 2009
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Think of it this way. With the volume of water flowing through the Gulfstream how long will that take to fill the worlds oceans?


well...if we've gotta run it through those little PVC pipes....it's gonna take a while....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10479
43. cyclonebuster
11:54 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Quoting presslord:
...ya know...I could be wrong....but...it's a pretty big ocean ...and..well...it just doesn't seem to me that those little PVC pipes are gonna carry a hell of a lot of water...but...

What do I know?


Think of it this way. With the volume of water flowing through the Gulfstream how long will that take to fill the worlds oceans?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
42. presslord
11:26 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
...ya know...I could be wrong....but...it's a pretty big ocean ...and..well...it just doesn't seem to me that those little PVC pipes are gonna carry a hell of a lot of water...but...

What do I know?
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41. SWFLgazer
11:23 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
And regulated upwelling will make all the children above average.
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40. cyclonebuster
7:55 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
They can also reverse the trends on this chart.

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39. cyclonebuster
7:46 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
LOL!
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38. cyclonebuster
7:42 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Lets do this this you tell me why they won't work and I will tell you how they can work!!
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37. cyclonebuster
7:39 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Come on guys/gals Ask?
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36. cyclonebuster
7:35 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Do you need some more explainations on how the underwater suspension tunnels can prevent the ill effects of global warming. Here is a picture of one. I will be glad to explain how computer modeling can aid us in this situation if we can just get them modeled!!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20396
35. cyclonebuster
7:29 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
KE in Gulfstream prevents this.

Climate Change Affecting Antarctic Winds, Penguins
Thursday, March 12, 2009


Print ShareThisWASHINGTON — Changing wind patterns linked to global warming are altering the food chain in Antarctica and may lead to further increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The most basic food, plankton, is declining in the northern portions of the Antarctic peninsula reaching toward South America, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

At the same time, populations of Adelie penguins, who require a colder climate, have dropped sharply in that region, while warmer-weather chin-strap penguins have increased.

"We're showing for the first time that there is an ongoing change on phytoplankton concentration and composition along the western shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula that is associated with a long-term climate modification. These phytoplankton changes may explain in part the observed decline of some penguin populations," Martin Montes-Hugo, a marine scientist at Rutgers University, said in a statement.

Link
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34. cyclonebuster
7:22 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
NOAA: U.S. December-February Temperature Near Average, Above Average for February
March 10, 2009

Temperatures for winter, December 2008 – February 2009, across the contiguous United States were near average, based on records dating back to 1895, according to a preliminary analysis by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. For February 2009 alone, the average temperature was above the long-term average.




High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
Winter Temperature Highlights
The December 2008 – February 2009 average temperature was 33.49 degrees F, which is 0.53 degree F above normal.
On a regional basis, temperatures were warmer than average across the southern tier states and central Rockies, while the upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Maine, and Washington had a cooler-than-average winter.
Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 0.4 percent above average during winter.


High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
February Temperature Highlights
The average February temperature of 36.9 degrees F was 2.3 degrees F above the 20th century average.
February temperatures were above average across much of the country. Only parts of the Southeast, Northwest, and West experienced near-normal temperatures.
Oklahoma and Texas had their ninth and 10th, respectively, warmest February. Florida was the only state to experience a cooler-than-average temperature for the month.
The contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was 4.1 percent below average in February.


High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
Winter Precipitation Highlights
The United States experienced its fifth driest December-February period on record. Texas had its driest winter ever and the Southeast experienced its 10th driest winter. Only the East-North-Central region (Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) had precipitation averages that were above normal.
Twelve states (in the southern Plains, Southeast, and Northeast) had their 10th driest, or drier, January-February period in the 1895-2009 record.
February Precipitation Highlights

Link
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33. cyclonebuster
7:15 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
KE in Gulfstream prevents this.


Wind Shifts May Stir Carbon Dioxide From Antarctic Depths, Amplifying Global Warming
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — Natural releases of carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean due to shifting wind patterns could have amplified global warming at the end of the last ice age--and could be repeated as manmade warming proceeds, a new paper in the journal Science suggests.
Link
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32. cyclonebuster
7:10 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
KE in Gulfstream prevents this.

Air Pollution: Clear Sky Visibility Over Land Has Decreased Globally, Indicative Of Increased Particulate Matter
ScienceDaily (Mar. 13, 2009) — A University of Maryland-led team has compiled the first decades-long database of aerosol measurements over land, making possible new research into how air pollution changes affect climate change.Using this new database, the researchers show that clear sky visibility over land has decreased globally over the past 30 years, indicative of increases in aerosols, or airborne pollution. Their findings are published in the journal Science.

"Creation of this database is a big step forward for researching long-term changes in air pollution and correlating these with climate change," said Kaicun Wang, assistant research scientist in the University of Maryland's department of geography and lead author of the paper. "And it is the first time we have gotten global long-term aerosol information over land to go with information already available on aerosol measurements over the world's oceans."

Link
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31. cyclonebuster
7:07 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
KE in Gulfstream prevents this.

Long-term Ozone Exposure Linked To Higher Risk Of Death, Finds Nationwide Study
ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2009) — Long-term exposure to ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, is associated with an increased risk of death from respiratory ailments, according to a new nationwide study led by a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

Link
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30. crucilandia
4:17 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
very nice, thanks Aggie

Pretty cool stuff, and reinforces what I keep saying here, that we know very little about the dynamics of gas exchange at the air-water interface.

What puzzes me it that we have intensification of upwelling in the pacific during laNina years. Do we see concomitant increases of CO2 conc in the atm?
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29. atmoaggie
2:43 PM GMT on March 13, 2009
Still learning new stuff...all the time.

Wind shifts may stir CO2 from Antarctic depths
Releases may have speeded end of last ice age -- and could act again

Link
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28. cyclonebuster
7:52 PM GMT on March 11, 2009

This won't effect the KE in the gulfstream will it? LOL!

Atmospheric 'Sunshade' Could Reduce Solar Power Generation
ScienceDaily (Mar. 11, 2009) — The concept of delaying global warming by adding particles into the upper atmosphere to cool the climate could unintentionally reduce peak electricity generated by large solar power plants by as much as one-fifth, according to a new NOAA study.

Link
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27. atmoaggie
6:41 PM GMT on March 11, 2009
NOAA: Atmospheric 'sunshade' could reduce solar power generation

No $#!+? Seems fairly obvious, but I supposed it had to be quantified.

What if this geoengineering plan slowed photosynthesis? Not saying it would...I dunno. But, if it did, boy wouldn't that be a rather major screw up.

PHOTOSYNTHESIS, including absorption spectrum.
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26. atmoaggie
6:35 PM GMT on March 11, 2009
Interesting...still learning new things all the time.

New greenhouse gas identified
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
25. streamtracker
12:22 PM GMT on March 11, 2009
(Source) The federal government wants to require companies for the first time to disclose the amount of greenhouse gases they're releasing into the atmosphere.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed mandatory reporting of the gases blamed for global warming from approximately 13,000 facilities nationwide. The regulation would cover companies that either release large amounts of greenhouse gases directly or produce or import fuels and chemicals that emit heat-trapping gases when burned.

Refineries, automobile manufacturers, power plants, coal mines and large manure ponds at farms all would have to report to the government emissions of at least six different gases.

Together, these facilities account for about 85-90 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA said.
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24. streamtracker
7:51 PM GMT on March 10, 2009
Quoting atmoaggie:
Regarding humna evolution, the techniques needed to doucment recent
humna evoultrionary patterns was not around until about 15 years ago.


This
is exactly my point. Incomplete science, yet the vast majority of
scientists in the field had an opinion that was ultimately proven
incorrect. Opinions in science are dangerous and should be relegated to
just an opinion. Science influenced by opinions is not science at all.

As
to the other theories and discoveries I listed, they were against
popular opinion among peers in the scientific community for quite some
time, yet correct. The climate scientist's collective opinions leaning
so heavily in one direction is interesting...


The ammount of work done on climate science is vastly greater than that done on current evolutionary change in humans. There is no comparision really. The fundmentals for undestanding climate chage are in place. We have reached a stage of fine tuning our understanding. There are no gapping holes in our understanding that call into question the basic ideas of AGW (climate is warming, CO2 is the major driver, we are responsible for increased CO2).

And your anology is off in another way. It is one thing to conclude that the most reasonable idea is that humans have stopped evolving when you have no evidence to the contrary. It is guite a different thing to dismiss AGW when there is an overwhelming body of knowledge that supports it.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
23. atmoaggie
6:32 PM GMT on March 10, 2009
Regarding humna evolution, the techniques needed to doucment recent humna evoultrionary patterns was not around until about 15 years ago.

This is exactly my point. Incomplete science, yet the vast majority of scientists in the field had an opinion that was ultimately proven incorrect. Opinions in science are dangerous and should be relegated to just an opinion. Science influenced by opinions is not science at all.

As to the other theories and discoveries I listed, they were against popular opinion among peers in the scientific community for quite some time, yet correct. The climate scientist's collective opinions leaning so heavily in one direction is interesting...
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.