What Can I Say about Heat Waves? Heat Waves (5)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:27 AM GMT on November 28, 2013

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What Can I Say about Heat Waves? Heat Waves (5)

This blog is about a paper on extreme heat written by my student Evan Oswald and myself. I don’t usually write about my own research, but this paper poses some interesting challenges to think about heat, heat waves, climate change and public health. Or I might say, how do I explain this to my epidemiologist friends?

What we set out to do with this research was to quantify how observations from surface weather stations represent extreme heat events that are threats to human health. We started with the station observations because most often those responsible for heat warnings and those undertaking planning for climate change start with station observations in their locality. There are a lot of reasons for this choice. An important one is that these observations and any of their local peculiarities are usually well known. Hence, there is experience and the knowledge and trust that come from that experience. Once we described the behavior of all of the station observations, we had two planned paths. The first path was to see if the gridded datasets used in climate-change planning had the same behavior as the station observations. The second path was to compare the station observations to a high-resolution network of observations in a city and see how well, for example, the measurements at the airport or weather office represented the details of the city.

Of course, many researchers have looked at the station data and documented trends in heat. To earn a Ph.D., a student has to do original and independent research. There are a number of attributes that distinguish this research. Most notably, we have been working with a team of public health experts (meet Marie O’Neill), and we had a desire to use measures of environmental heat that have been found to be important in public health studies. To a meteorologist, heat might seem simple, but the human health impacts of heat are complicated. For example there is the impact of very high temperatures on those working or training outside. Another example is the threat of persistent heat, day and night, on the chronically ill who might be housebound. There is a link between heat and humidity, with many of us Southerners knowing that “it’s not the heat, but the humidity,” and not thinking about the effects of dehydration that are important in the desert Southwest. For this reason we started by looking only at temperature and not some measure of comfort such as a heat index. Then there’s a sort of obvious one, public health experts are most interested in heat effects during and around summertime, whereas to a climate scientist a “heat wave” in the winter can be as interesting and as important as a summer heat wave. There are many other complications, but I hope I have made my point, there is meaningful research to be done.

In the research reported in “A trend analysis of the1930-2010 extreme heat events in the continental U.S.”, we focused on the warm season, end of spring to the beginning of fall. We also focused on different types and characteristics of heat waves. We defined heat waves for daytime maxima and for nighttime minima. We looked at, for example, duration of heat waves, how many days did they last? Here I am going to only write about the trends that we reported in duration for three different time periods, 1930-1970, 1970-2010, and the combined time period of 1930-2010. Our study area was the continental United States.

Why these three time periods? Lot of reasons, we wanted to include the well known hot times during the 1930s, otherwise we would be accused of cheating. We did not go earlier than 1930, because we felt that the quality of the observations decreased substantially. When I was a student in the late 1970s, I remember getting excited when, say, the data for 1976 was released. Then 1977. I’d write papers about what the future would hold. Now low and behold, I have been fortunate enough to live long enough to have more than my own 30-year period. Thirty years of average temperatures is the traditional definition of “climate.” Hence, splitting things at 1970 we have two equal 40-year records, which allows us to investigate the sensitivity to which 30-year period, which “climate,” is chosen.

Lot of introduction here, so let’s get to a result. In Figure 1, I show the decadal trends at each station in the mean duration of EHEs during the 1930-1970 period. The top map shows heat events based on nighttime minimum temperatures. The bottom map shows heat events based on daytime maximum temperatures. The middle map shows events when both the maximum and minimum were elevated; that is, it did not cool off very much at night.





Figure 1: The decadal trends at each station in the mean duration of EHEs during the 1930-1970 period. The trend significance (alpha=0.10) is indicated by symbol shading. The graduated symbol groupings are based on standard deviations away from the zero value, and are different for each map. The trends in Tmin-based EHEs (top), Tmnx-based EHEs (middle) and Tmax-based EHEs (bottom) are all shown. Tmin is based on nighttime lows, Tmax on daytime highs and Tmnx require both highs and lows to be elevated.


The trends in the minimum temperature are generally positive. The exception is in the northern part of the Great Plains, right in the east-west center of the country. The largest red squares in the figure tell us that for every 2 decades we are seeing about 1 additional day of duration of very warm nighttime temperature. The bottom map for daytime minimum tells a different story. In the West there is, mostly, a warming trend in the daytime maximums. In the center of the country there is a pretty strong cooling trend. Some of my more skeptical readers and friends will go, “see there is no global warming.” In class, I would then make the assignment to describe what this figure does or does not tell us about global warming. Perhaps, I will distract a few people to carry on their arguments in the comments. It would be terribly pedantic for me to make such an assignment here, and pure hubris to expect responses.

In any case, we do see this big area of cooling of daytime maximums in the middle of the country. This was not a surprise to us, because there is growing documentation of the “Midwest Warming Hole.” This does, however, offer a challenge when discussing heat waves with my epidemiologist friends. It also might stand a little in conflict with reports such as “Heat in the Heartland,” a widely used document, for which I provided some review comments. In the next blog, I will breakdown the information in the figure a little bit, and then I will start to buildup a description that might be more usable by the public health planner.

r

Some earlier Hot Blogs

Russian Heat Wave

Heat Wave Series

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323. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:25 AM GMT on December 08, 2013
RickyRood has created a new entry.
322. Daisyworld
4:00 AM GMT on December 08, 2013
Quoting 313. Cochise111:
CO2? What CO2? German scientists, who prefer the scientific method over pre-ordained ideology, show that natural cycles drive the climate:

Link


You are wrong, Cochise111. You, and wherever your cherry-picked sources hail from.

The fingerprint of humans on the rising CO2 is very clear, and it's 50-100 times that of natural volcanic origin. The evidence is:

(1) Measurements of the CO2 output from both volcanoes and fossil fuel burning show that fossil fuel burning far exceeds that of present-day volcanoes. (Link)

(2) The increase in atmospheric CO2 is proportional to a decrease in atmospheric O2, which shows that the CO2 is being created from combustion. (Link)

(3) The carbon isotope signature of the CO2 shows an increase in 12C, which comes from living organisms. There's NO relevant increase in 13C, which comes from melting rocks (volcanoes), and NO increase in 14C, which comes from recently dead living organisms. Therefore, the carbon in CO2 is coming from once living organisms that have been dead for a very long time%u2026 aka fossil fuels. (Link)

I've posted it before, and I'll post it again. Dr. Richard Alley says it best:

Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 851
321. Daisyworld
3:22 AM GMT on December 08, 2013
Quoting 320. MisterPerfect:


I learned that Pascal Diethelm is one of the world's most recognized anti-smoking leaders and Dr. McKee is very reputable in tropical medicine. thank you for this post. They sure are experts in climate.


Funny, nothing I quoted in that excerpt from the article even mentioned the word "climate". But, since you brought it up...

From "Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?":

Five key tactics that are hallmarks of denialism:

(1) Inversionism: "... [Whereby] some of one's own characteristics and motivations are attributed to others. For example, tobacco companies describe academic research into the health effects of smoking as the product of an 'anti-smoking industry'..."

(2) Use of fake experts: "These are individuals who purport to be experts in a particular area but whose views are entirely inconsistent with established knowledge. [...] In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute developed a Global Climate Science Communications Plan, involving the recruitment of 'scientists who share the industry's views of climate science [who can] help convince journalists, politicians and the public that the risk of global warming is too uncertain to justify controls on greenhouse gases'..."

(3) Selectivity: "...drawing on isolated papers that challenge the dominant consensus or highlighting the flaws in the weakest papers among those that support it as a means of discrediting the entire field."

(4) Creation of impossible expectations of what research can deliver: "[...] For example, those denying the reality of climate change point to the absence of accurate temperature records from before the invention of the thermometer..."

(5) Use of misrepresentation and logical fallacies: "[...] Logical fallacies include the use of red herrings, or deliberate attempts to change the argument and straw men, where the opposing argument is misrepresented to make it easier to refute..."
Member Since: January 11, 2012 Posts: 6 Comments: 851
320. MisterPerfect
1:43 AM GMT on December 08, 2013
Quoting 273. Daisyworld:





Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?

Diethelm, P. and M. McKee, Eur J Public Health (2009) 19 (1): 2-4. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckn139

Excerpt:

"Denialists are driven by a range of motivations. For some it is greed, lured by the corporate largesse of the oil and tobacco industries. For others it is ideology or faith, causing them to reject anything incompatible with their fundamental beliefs. Finally there is eccentricity and idiosyncrasy, sometimes encouraged by the celebrity status conferred on the maverick by the media.

Whatever the motivation, it is important to recognize denialism when confronted with it. The normal academic response to an opposing argument is to engage with it, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the differing views, in the expectations that the truth will emerge through a process of debate. However, this requires that both parties obey certain ground rules, such as a willingness to look at the evidence as a whole, to reject deliberate distortions and to accept principles of logic. A meaningful discourse is impossible when one party rejects these rules. Yet it would be wrong to prevent the denialists having a voice. Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they employ and identifying them publicly for what they are... "




I learned that Pascal Diethelm is one of the world's most recognized anti-smoking leaders and Dr. McKee is very reputable in tropical medicine. thank you for this post. They sure are experts in climate.
Member Since: November 1, 2006 Posts: 71 Comments: 20136
319. JohnLonergan
8:57 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Austalia Well On Its Way To Hottest Year Ever



2013 is well on its way to becoming the warmest calendar year on record in Australia. The country has just set a new record for the warmest spring ever.
Mean temperatures for Australia’s spring (which occurs during the U.S.’s fall) were 1.57°C above the 1961-1990 average. September was especially hot, with an average temperature of 2.75°C or nearly 5°F above normal. October came in at 1.43°C above average, while November came closer to normal, at 0.52C above average. And in addition to being unusually warm, spring also came early. On August 31, the last day of winter, average temperatures reached 85.9°F. It was the warmest last day of winter recorded since Australia started collecting temperature data 104 years ago.
To date, the year is 1.23°C above average and 0.18°C above the previous record year, 2005.
Australia’s record-breaking spring follows a generally wet winter and a summer that was also the country’s hottest on record. Temperatures soared so high in January that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology added new colors to its temperature maps. Deep purple now represents temperatures in excess of 50°C, or 122°F. The new high end of the scale tops out at 129 °F.
Thanks to the wet winter that helped vegetation flourish, followed by a hot spring that sucked out all the moisture, the east and west coasts of Australia may have to contend with another above-normal bushfire season this summer. Bushfire season in Australia has already gotten off to an early start as four major fires ravaged western Sydney and the surrounding Blue Mountains area of New South Wales in September.
The newest record broken in Australia comes just as the Australian Senate is debating the repeal of its carbon tax. Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who ran on an anti-climate agenda, has been making good on his campaign promises, much to the dismay of the climate conscious at home and abroad. He is hard at work dismantling the country’s carbon emissions scheme, and publicly shunned the recent UN climate talks in Warsaw by declining to send a senior elected member of his government. Abbott has also confirmed that his government has no intentions of reducing Australia’s emissions by more than five percent below 2000 levels by 2020 and has cut funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Funding for ARENA over the next two years will be about one fifth of current levels.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
318. LurkyMcLurkerson
6:10 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 305. daddyjames:


Yes, but scientists are not taught how to communicate effectively with the general (non-scientific) audience. Which is crucial to foster greater understanding and support especially in terms of describing things to those who have to make a decision based on that information.

Terms such as "uncertainty" engender different responses from scientists than non-scientists. Presenting all the nuances oftentimes leads to confusion.

Of all branches in science - meteorology is one that is able to take a complex process and deliver it as a simple coherent message.

"Is it going to rain? Maybe, 70% chance."

Does anyone in the general audience really understand what that means (70% of the area? 70% of the time? 7-out-of-10 of us will be rained upon?). No. But we do know that there is a good chance of rain, and we'll grab that umbrella before going out (well, not me, I'm not made of sugar and spice so a little rain isn't going to melt me away). The uncertainty in the forecast has been communicated, but not emphasized.

Other branches of science - including mine - really need to learn this lesson to effectively communicate. Heck, I could do it better, too.



Well, and even there, how many times have we heard people -- I've even seen it on these blogs -- joking about how useless a forecast for a "50% chance" of rain is, since it gives even odds to rain vs. no rain so therefore means it's the same as guessing or making no prediction. There are a lot lot lot of people who do this, and it is a basic failure to grasp probabilities.

Thing is, whether it rains or doesn't rain on a given day doesn't generally have huge political stakes. I think scientists, apart from mostly talking within a given field (and using specialized language, assuming a shared understanding of quantifiable "uncertainty," etc), are also not used to having the political football be happening _apart_ from the standard (vicious) politics within academia.

Or, in other words, there are few other scientific subjects historically where so vastly many people have been so motivated to specifically present skewed or inaccurate representations of that science to the public, at least on this sort of scale.

So it becomes not just about presenting stuff in ways understandable to the broader public, it also becomes about becoming one little voice in this vast, confusing array of public information. Most people don't understand how to separate the total BS from the meaningful scientific information or consensus, even regardless of how well any of it is or isn't communicated.

In some ways, though of course it can be a great tool for finding stuff if you're critical of sources, I think the internet has made that problem just vastly, vastly worse. Have you tried to google basic information, like, the factual stuff so far as we know, on just about any major health issue lately? :-\
Member Since: August 26, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 368
317. Cochise111
5:32 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 316. Neapolitan:
If nothing else--and there truly is nothing else--we can always count on you to rush over hear and breathlessly repeat the nonsense your fossil fuel bosses tell you to. This time, we've got Luedecke and Weiss--who've famously flopped previously--trying yet again to push the ridiculous "It's the sun and natural cycles and the planet will cool for the next 100 years and there's an ice age starting any minute now, as soon as the current warming stops" theory, and it's got the denialosphere all hot and bothered.

Surprise.

Luedecke is, of course, a fairly well-known skeptic, at least in European circles. So, how about going to an actual climate science blog and bringing to us something written by an actual climate scientist that's peer-reviewed and published in an actual scientific journal? Can you do that?


So what if he's a "skeptic?" Simply because a scientist is a skeptic in no way diminishes his credentials, expertise or ability. As usual, you wouldn't accept anything that disproves your false theories. That's exactly what they are. Every single prediction made by your so-called "experts" has failed. Is that really science? Climate science produced by your idols is a laughingstock in the rest of the scientific world. It is nothing but political ideology driven by the potential for more taxes and control. The people on this blog have their collective heads in the sand. You even refuse to admit that there has been no warming in the last decade and a half.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
316. Neapolitan
5:24 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 313. Cochise111:
[BS culled from denialist site]
If nothing else--and there truly is nothing else--we can always count on you to rush over hear and breathlessly repeat the nonsense your fossil fuel bosses tell you to. This time, we've got Luedecke and Weiss--who've famously flopped previously--trying yet again to push the ridiculous "It's the sun and natural cycles and the planet will cool for the next 100 years and there's an ice age starting any minute now, as soon as the current warming stops" theory, and it's got the denialosphere all hot and bothered.

Surprise.

Luedecke is, of course, a fairly well-known skeptic, at least in European circles. So, how about going to an actual climate science blog and bringing to us something written by an actual climate scientist that's peer-reviewed and published in an actual scientific journal? Can you do that?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13459
315. JohnLonergan
5:03 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
From Steve Easterbrook, the most comprehensive and clear summation of the IPCC report that I've read:

What Does the New IPCC Report Say About Climate Change?

I’ve been trawling through the final draft of the new IPCC assessment report that was released last week, to extract some highlights for a talk I gave yesterday. Here’s what I think are its key messages:

The warming is unequivocal.

Humans caused the majority of it.

The warming is largely irreversible.

Most of the heat is going into the oceans.

Current rates of ocean acidification are unprecedented.

We have to choose which future we want very soon.

To stay below 2°C of warming, the world must become carbon negative.

To stay below 2°C of warming, most fossil fuels must stay buried in the ground.

Much more at Serendipity ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
314. Cochise111
4:35 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 309. Xandra:
Calamity Calling: How climate change is helping Al Qaeda





How ridiculous, but as it turns out, our current President is helping Al Qaeda and the Taliban much more than any nonexistent climate change.
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
313. Cochise111
4:32 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
CO2? What CO2? German scientists, who prefer the scientific method over pre-ordained ideology, show that natural cycles drive the climate:

Link
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
312. JohnLonergan
3:05 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Look out for that turbine! Climate sceptics are the real Chicken Littles

Several Australian corporate figures have recently disparaged climate scientists.

First, former banker David Murray questioned the integrity of climate scientists on national TV. Casting such aspersions on scientists follows the precedent set by the tobacco industry, which referred to medical researchers as an “oligopolistic cartel” that “manufactures alleged evidence.”

Attacks on scientists proceed according to the same playbook and regardless of discipline. If there is any novelty in Murray’s slur, it is that until recently he led the Future Fund, a body that is legally tasked with delivering risk-adjusted returns on the Australian Government’s budget surpluses. The adjustment of a risk by denying or ignoring it is arguably not without precedent; see the 2007 financial crisis, for example.

More recently, mining figure Hugh Morgan confronted the issue of risk head-on and declared the world’s climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to be “Chicken Littles” whose dire predictions would soon be cast aside, in the same way that the apocalyptic warnings of the Club of Rome from 40 years ago turned out to be false. (Except that when a CSIRO scientist reviewed those 40-year old projections, he found them to be remarkably accurate.)

Read More at The Conversation ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
311. JohnLonergan
2:19 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 307. Xandra:
From The frog that jumped out!:

Climate: another harassed scientist fights back

Posted by Ugo Bardi



This 2011 Nissan commercial shows how important the polar bear has become as a symbol of the ongoing climate disaster

The polar bear has become a powerful symbol of the critical climate situation in which we are. No wonder that the powers that be have been attacking on that front. First of all, they have been denying that the polar bears are in trouble. More than that, they have been using one of the classic weapons in the anti-science war manual: personal attacks against single scientists.

Just as Michael Mann has been under fire for his "hockey stick" paleoclimate reconstruction, Charles Monnet, of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been threatened and legally harassed for his studies on polar bears. It is a sad story to read: the investigation on Monnett reminds Orwell's thought police or the polical commissioners of the Soviet Union who watched the work of scientists to ensure that it was consistent with the party line.

Just as Michael Mann did, Monnett fought back and the battle is now over with a settlement in which BOEM has agreed to pay Monnett a compensation and to to remove the letter of reprimand he had received from them.

It is a victory for science, although not a complete one. But if Monnett and Mann have fought back with some success, how many harassed young scientists have given up their studies on climate? Monnett himself comments the events with a certain sadness:

"Well, I’m sad, I guess. It’s been disappointing," says Monnett. "As a young person, fresh out of graduate school, I was idealistic, and I thought that it would all be about the truth."


See also:

Climate Science Watch: Federal Arctic scientist Charles Monnett vindicated in whistleblower case against Obama administration

Media Matters for America: "Polar Bear Fraud": How Fox News Smeared A Scientist



Willard the Rat Watts is all over this story at WTFUWT, Sou has it covered here:

Disinformers are Disgusting: Anthony Watts makes up stuff and arguably moves into libelous polar bear territory

Today Anthony Watts moves right into libelous territory in my opinion (archived here and updated here). He is known for skirting close to the edge when he picks on individual scientists. This time IMO he goes over the edge.

Today Anthony Watts falsely impugns the integrity of Charles Monnett, who suffered appalling treatment from his employer, BOEM, and from the Office of the Inspector General after he published a paper about sightings of dead polar bears. Eli Rabett has written quite a few articles keeping people appraised of the saga. Michael Tobis wrote about it too. It was suggested that the investigation, which focused on other matters - not polar bear sightings, was a payback witchhunt for Monnett writing a paper about the dead polar bears he saw, presumed drowned. This article in Nature News describes some of the fiasco and there is a followup article here in Nature News.

Much More at HotWhopper ...
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
310. Xandra
1:31 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
From DeSmogBlog:

"Just the Reality:" Pipeline Safety Official Admits He’d Avoid Buying A Home Near Pipelines Like Keystone XL

A federal pipeline safety official admitted on camera recently that he made a point of ensuring his home wasn’t in the path of any pipelines before buying it, and that he wouldn't advise anyone to build in the path of a pipeline.

The official, Bill Lowery, is responsible for community assistance and technical services for the southwest region of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

At a Public Safety Trust conference on Nov. 21, Lowery was asked, "Knowing what you know about the problems in the Keystone XL's construction, what would you do if your house was in its path?"

His answer: "Here is what I did when I bought my house — I looked on all the maps, I looked for all the well holes. I found there is nothing around me but dry holes and no pipelines. And it's not because I'm afraid of pipelines, it's not because I think something will happen. It's because something could happen. ... You're always better off, if you have a choice...."

He trailed off before finishing his sentence, but added that, "If I was building a house, I wouldn't build it on a refinery, ... I wouldn't build it on a pipeline, because they're all industrial facilities. That's just the reality."

Watch video of PHMSA’s Bill Lowery explaining what measures he took to keep his own family safe from pipelines, and the "reality" of pipeline risks:



"Lowery's answer was not terribly reassuring to those along the Keystone XL route, inferring they should have done their due diligence before settling in," said Ramsey Sprague, spokesperson for the Tar Sands Blockade. "Lowery expects the public to trust that regulators will keep them safe, although he himself doesn't trust it enough to buy property near a pipeline."

Read more >>
Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
309. Xandra
1:04 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
Calamity Calling: How climate change is helping Al Qaeda



Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
308. Xandra
12:40 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
From EcoWatch:

Polar Bears in Peril From Climate Change and Hunting

By Laura Beans

New data pointing to a dramatic rise in polar bear hunting surfaced this week as the biennial meeting of the international Polar Bear Agreement kicked off in Moscow, Russia. Clearly, climate change isn’t the only challenge facing Polar Bears. Hunting of Canadian polar bears is rising at alarming rates—in excess of 10 percent over previous years, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Global sentiment on this issue seems clear, as most every country has banned the trade and commercial export of polar bear parts," said Elly Pepper, policy advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "Yet Canada continues to allow substantial harvest and trade. Their populations are perhaps key to the species climate change survival, making the country’s outlier stance all the more vexing."


The heat-stressed polar bears in Hudson Bay, Canada dig holes in the dirt, trying to stay cool by lying on the permafrost below. Photo credit: Larry Schweiger/National Wildlife Federation

A forum declaration was signed yesterday by the five countries in the polar bear’s range (Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the U.S.) ensuring conservation efforts, but scientific experts at the forum warned of the immediate impacts of sea-ice loss on the species’ survival, including loss of food sources. The parties agreed on the importance of addressing climate change and reducing additional stressors, like over-harvest, poaching and illegal trade as well as improving reporting and monitoring of legal trade. However, specific measures to implement the declaration remain unclear, reports the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Polar bears already face an enormous threat from climate change, and we absolutely must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save the species," said Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Adding overhunting to an already deadly situation is speeding up the polar bear’s extinction."

Read more >>

Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
307. Xandra
12:00 PM GMT on December 07, 2013
From The frog that jumped out!:

Climate: another harassed scientist fights back

Posted by Ugo Bardi



This 2011 Nissan commercial shows how important the polar bear has become as a symbol of the ongoing climate disaster

The polar bear has become a powerful symbol of the critical climate situation in which we are. No wonder that the powers that be have been attacking on that front. First of all, they have been denying that the polar bears are in trouble. More than that, they have been using one of the classic weapons in the anti-science war manual: personal attacks against single scientists.

Just as Michael Mann has been under fire for his "hockey stick" paleoclimate reconstruction, Charles Monnet, of the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been threatened and legally harassed for his studies on polar bears. It is a sad story to read: the investigation on Monnett reminds Orwell's thought police or the polical commissioners of the Soviet Union who watched the work of scientists to ensure that it was consistent with the party line.

Just as Michael Mann did, Monnett fought back and the battle is now over with a settlement in which BOEM has agreed to pay Monnett a compensation and to to remove the letter of reprimand he had received from them.

It is a victory for science, although not a complete one. But if Monnett and Mann have fought back with some success, how many harassed young scientists have given up their studies on climate? Monnett himself comments the events with a certain sadness:

"Well, I’m sad, I guess. It’s been disappointing," says Monnett. "As a young person, fresh out of graduate school, I was idealistic, and I thought that it would all be about the truth."


See also:

Climate Science Watch: Federal Arctic scientist Charles Monnett vindicated in whistleblower case against Obama administration

Media Matters for America: "Polar Bear Fraud": How Fox News Smeared A Scientist

Member Since: November 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 1281
306. BaltimoreBrian
6:16 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Awww my Calvin and Hobbes cartoon disappeared.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558
305. daddyjames
3:58 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 298. ScottLincoln:

I'd argue that scientists are taught to analyze, quantify, and convey uncertainty.
I think that quantifying such things is a vital component of technical, scientific writing, and part of what makes a person a scientist.


Yes, but scientists are not taught how to communicate effectively with the general (non-scientific) audience. Which is crucial to foster greater understanding and support especially in terms of describing things to those who have to make a decision based on that information.

Terms such as "uncertainty" engender different responses from scientists than non-scientists. Presenting all the nuances oftentimes leads to confusion.

Of all branches in science - meteorology is one that is able to take a complex process and deliver it as a simple coherent message.

"Is it going to rain? Maybe, 70% chance."

Does anyone in the general audience really understand what that means (70% of the area? 70% of the time? 7-out-of-10 of us will be rained upon?). No. But we do know that there is a good chance of rain, and we'll grab that umbrella before going out (well, not me, I'm not made of sugar and spice so a little rain isn't going to melt me away). The uncertainty in the forecast has been communicated, but not emphasized.

Other branches of science - including mine - really need to learn this lesson to effectively communicate. Heck, I could do it better, too.

Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
304. bappit
3:58 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 301. goosegirl1:


I think the common sense thing is where most of us get balled up- we are used to the observable universe we can touch every day, not the subatomic one. I know I had trouble with the whole "dead-not dead" cat deal, until it clicked that the whole point was it was a thought experiment, not to be taken literally. In QM, nothing becomes one or the other until it's observed. So unless you are one to argue that the cat observes itself, until you open the box... whew, that's the extent of my BS :)

Professional physicists have trouble with it, too. I enjoyed the book Where Does the Weirdness Go? by David Lindley. From 1996, but still worth reading I'm sure.

Review:

"Mr. Lindley's book has many attractions about it, not least the author's clarity and precision in describing elusive ideas....His elucidation of Schroedinger's conundrum is the clearest I have come across."

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times
Member Since: May 18, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 5955
303. BaltimoreBrian
1:29 AM GMT on December 07, 2013


1:



2.



3.



4.



5.

Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 26 Comments: 8558
302. Patrap
1:19 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Record Report

Mobile & Email Alerts Statement as of 1:25 PM CST on December 6, 2013

... Record high temperature set at New Orleans...

New record high temperatures have been established at both New
Orleans Armstrong international Airport and Audubon Park today.

At New Orleans Armstrong international Airport... the high
temperature so far today has reached 82 degrees. This breaks the
previous record of 81 that occurred in 1998... 1995... and 1951.

At New Orleans Audubon Park... the high temperature so far today has
reached 83 degrees. This breaks the previous record of 81 which
occurred in 1998.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
301. goosegirl1
1:13 AM GMT on December 07, 2013
Quoting 280. Birthmark:

I think it zooms over many heads. My guess as to the reason is that the concepts are very difficult to describe in everyday language, and that most of us (including me) would find the math that describe these things properly somewhere between daunting and indecipherable. :O)

I should also add something about the fact that common sense usually doesn't apply to QM.



I think the common sense thing is where most of us get balled up- we are used to the observable universe we can touch every day, not the subatomic one. I know I had trouble with the whole "dead-not dead" cat deal, until it clicked that the whole point was it was a thought experiment, not to be taken literally. In QM, nothing becomes one or the other until it's observed. So unless you are one to argue that the cat observes itself, until you open the box... whew, that's the extent of my BS :)
Member Since: December 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1224
299. JohnLonergan
10:42 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
From ClimateCrocks:


More Truth on Tornadoes

The other day I posted the crushing rebuttal from 5 for-realsies storm experts to the hapless pretend climate expert Richard Muller, who wrote in the fast-becoming-equally-hapless New York Times that “Tornadoes are getting weaker” due to climate change.

The major point being that due to changes in the way tornadoes are rated and recorded, there is no way to make such a claim about them, stronger or weaker. There is, however, an emerging body or research that tends to support the general strengthening of convective thunderstorms in a warming world.

Now one of those authors has co-written a letter to the same NYTimes.

Prof. Richard A. Muller (“The Truth About Tornadoes,” Op-Ed, Nov. 21) writes that “strong to violent tornadoes have actually beendecreasing for the past 58 years, and it is possible that the explanation lies with global warming.” However, a primary reason that the intensity of tornadoes has appeared to decline is that reporting has not been consistent over the period spanned by tornado records.

It is well known in the meteorological community that tornado intensities were overrated in the 1950s to 1970s and underrated in the last decade. For example, research-grade Doppler radars measured winds over 280 miles per hour, rated EF5 on the enhanced Fujita scale, in last May’s monstrous Oklahoma tornado that Professor Muller refers to. However, the official National Weather Service rating, which ignores the radar observations in favor of damage indicators, is EF3 (136 to 165 m.p.h.).

Because of the inconsistency in the records, it is not known what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity.

PAUL MARKOWSKI
HAROLD BROOKS
State College, Pa., Nov. 26, 2013


Dr. Markowski is a professor of meteorology at Penn State University. Dr. Brooks is a senior research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
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298. ScottLincoln
10:30 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 290. daddyjames:


Por quoi?

I'd argue that scientists are taught to analyze, quantify, and convey uncertainty.
I think that quantifying such things is a vital component of technical, scientific writing, and part of what makes a person a scientist.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3168
297. Patrap
8:42 PM GMT on December 06, 2013


The Toxic Smog Cloud Hanging Over Shanghai Looks Just As Bad As It Sounds
The Huffington Post | By Sara Boboltz


Posted: 12/06/2013 11:56 am EST | Updated: 12/06/2013 2:26 pm EST

Share on Google+


Shanghai is notorious for its terrible air quality, but the smog in this Chinese metropolis just hit absurd levels. The government's air pollution monitoring site records the level of PM2.5, particulate matter hazardous to health, at 477 as of this writing, one of the highest pollution levels ever recorded. The World Health Organization recommends an average PM2.5 level of 20 or below.

A fetid product of industrial pollution, car exhaust and particulate matter from coal burning, this blanket has been left to fester in the city's streets due to a bout of cold and still weather. It makes the city a dangerous place to be a living, breathing human right now. "Severely polluted" air, the government site states, puts residents at increased risk of cardiopulmonary diseases, and it's suggested that everyone in the city avoid outdoor activity.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
296. daddyjames
6:46 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 295. Neapolitan:
I can't speak for Scott, but I imagine he's disagreeing with your claim that "true scientists have difficulty" with communicating effectively. That is, some certainly do--we've seen it often enough--but a blanket statement such as yours seems more than a little unfair. Scott is a great example. So is Michael Mann. And James Hansen. And Dr. Masters. And Dr. Rood. And Kevin Trenberth. And so on, and so forth...


Ah, yes, some are better than others. But whenever "uncertainty" creeps into the conversation it is a source of confusion - for those honestly attempting to listen - and misappropriated by others.

Many a scientist gets tripped up by this when trying to explain the nuances leaving openings for those that wish to grasp at straws. Conversely, some scientists fall into the trap of trying to profess too much, given the evidence at hand (i.e. the "melting of the Arctic ice by a certain date" example we are all familiar with - I understand all the manipulations and distortions that have been done with the "Arctic ice" message).

I do agree, the statement as worded was unfair to some extent. But do want to emphasize that communication among scientists differs from that with the public. And many scientists fall into those traps when communicating to the public at large.

My assertion is better communicated in JL's post 277 (which in all honesty I had not read prior to making my comments, thanks JL):
Quoting 277. JohnLonergan:
A failure in communicating the impact of new findings

I was disappointed by the recent summary for policymakers (SPM) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assessment report 5, now that I finally got around to read it. Not so much because of the science, but because the way it presented the science.

The report was written by top scientists, so what went wrong?

More at RealClimate ...



Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
295. Neapolitan
6:33 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 290. daddyjames:


Por quoi?
I can't speak for Scott, but I imagine he's disagreeing with your claim that "true scientists have difficulty" with communicating effectively. That is, some certainly do--we've seen it often enough--but a blanket statement such as yours seems more than a little unfair. Scott is a great example. So is Michael Mann. And James Hansen. And Dr. Masters. And Dr. Rood. And Kevin Trenberth. And so on, and so forth...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13459
294. daddyjames
6:13 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 292. Cochise111:
AGW is causing US temperatures to be 40-50 degrees below normal as well.

Link
Quoting 291. Cochise111:
"Global Warming" is freezing Europe to death:

Link

Link


Weather and Climate - two different things.

Colder than average temps for a relatively short time sandwiched among years of higher than average temps does not demonstrate anything.

Regional variations do little to dispel what is happening, being measured, and experienced worldwide.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
293. Patrap
5:52 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
We lucky to have a forum like here and Dr.Masters as both do well communicating the predicament we Humans find ourselves in as to a warming Globe.


Those who obfuscate and post BS links to pseudo Science Blogs, etc, are the ones who don't comm well.

Thus the shouting above the din with Pics of Fire Breathing Politicians, and other off kilter imagery they consider relevant to the discussion, when in actuality, they only proving their vivid ignorance.



Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 421 Comments: 127566
292. Cochise111
5:45 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
AGW is causing US temperatures to be 40-50 degrees below normal as well.

Link
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
291. Cochise111
5:43 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
"Global Warming" is freezing Europe to death:

Link

Link
Member Since: February 9, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 324
290. daddyjames
4:41 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 289. ScottLincoln:

I disagree.


Por quoi?
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
289. ScottLincoln
4:35 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 288. daddyjames:

...To be able to communicate science effectively, all the nuances and a better explanation of "uncertainty" needs to be communicated. True scientists have difficulty with this, as this is not how they are trained to communicate with one another.

I disagree.
Member Since: September 28, 2002 Posts: 5 Comments: 3168
288. daddyjames
4:31 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 281. Pipejazz:


I try also. I have watched the Richard Feynman bio on the science programming channels. The movie about his work on the committee investigating the Challenger disaster was excellent. His lectures are on YouTube, they are my next challenge. But this quote of his sums it up "Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize."(c. 1965), quoted in People (22 July 1985)


In some ways that is true of all science . . . the general public wants a definitive answer. And are confused by "We don't know"s. To be able to communicate science effectively, all the nuances and a better explanation of "uncertainty" needs to be communicated. True scientists have difficulty with this, as this is not how they are trained to communicate with one another.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
287. daddyjames
4:25 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 284. iceagecoming:




Try this for a start, it is where the future of our civilization will hinge.

Though the topic is space travel, it delves into QM.
Millis summarizes nicely,
Anything by Puthoff is enlightening.

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/

Link


As much as I enjoy the romantic notion of space travel, I have my reservations that it will ever become a solution to any problems on earth.

Running away from the problems does nothing to address them.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
286. daddyjames
4:22 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 280. Birthmark:

I think it zooms over many heads. My guess as to the reason is that the concepts are very difficult to describe in everyday language, and that most of us (including me) would find the math that describe these things properly somewhere between daunting and indecipherable. :O)

I should also add something about the fact that common sense usually doesn't apply to QM.



LOL. I take solace that even Einstein wrestled with the concepts - although, I am sure that he understood the math much better than I ever will . . . I was lucky to make it through P-chem :)
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
285. daddyjames
4:19 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 283. iceagecoming:


Bringing attention to the Liberal Lunacy. I thought it was obvious?


LOL - oh, I suffer from that - guess that is why I did not get it.

Regarding the pipeline, I don't know what has gone on with that lately, but I have seen some oil execs saying it is no longer necessary. I honestly don't know why . . . obviously they have something else in the works.

BTW: You do know that the Sierra club was founded by conservatives? It is interesting to me that conservatives these days find conservation such an anathema.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
284. iceagecoming
4:15 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 280. Birthmark:

I think it zooms over many heads. My guess as to the reason is that the concepts are very difficult to describe in everyday language, and that most of us (including me) would find the math that describe these things properly somewhere between daunting and indecipherable. :O)

I should also add something about the fact that common sense usually doesn't apply to QM.





Try this for a start, it is where the future of our civilization will hinge.

Though the topic is space travel, it delves into QM.
Millis summarizes nicely,
Anything by Puthoff is enlightening.

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/

Link
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1056
283. iceagecoming
4:11 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 275. daddyjames:


What exactly is your point?
Don't misunderstand my question, I know we have different viewpoints. It's just not clear what you are trying to say.


Bringing attention to the Liberal Lunacy. I thought it was obvious?
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1056
282. georgevandenberghe
3:48 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
In a previous comment here I stated that there had been subzero temperatures at DCA four times between 1982 and 1994.

I was wrong. DCA bottomed out at +3F in the Christmas day 1983 cold
outbreak.

Member Since: February 1, 2012 Posts: 17 Comments: 1626
281. Pipejazz
2:27 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 271. daddyjames:


As hard as I try, I can never fully understand what the heck they are talking about . . . the science of quantum mechanics just zooms way over my head.


I try also. I have watched the Richard Feynman bio on the science programming channels. The movie about his work on the committee investigating the Challenger disaster was excellent. His lectures are on YouTube, they are my next challenge. But this quote of his sums it up "Hell, if I could explain it to the average person, it wouldn't have been worth the Nobel prize."(c. 1965), quoted in People (22 July 1985)
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 1 Comments: 177
280. Birthmark
1:45 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 271. daddyjames:


As hard as I try, I can never fully understand what the heck they are talking about . . . the science of quantum mechanics just zooms way over my head.

I think it zooms over many heads. My guess as to the reason is that the concepts are very difficult to describe in everyday language, and that most of us (including me) would find the math that describe these things properly somewhere between daunting and indecipherable. :O)

I should also add something about the fact that common sense usually doesn't apply to QM.

Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
279. Birthmark
1:40 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 268. tramp96:

Um the main stay of y'all's argument is the loss of Arctic ice
while you ignore the gains in the Antarctic. Looks like we can
put Chicken Little to bed. You should be happy for the coal
industry and the future of the human race.
Hey now we don't have to live in outer space like the
cadet from ABC claimed we would have to.
I know I'm wrong

Arctic sea ice loss is a symptom, and therefore something of a measure of AGW. However, it is not the only measure nor will ASI loss occur in every year. After the dramatic melting of 2007, ASI "recovered" in both 2008 and 2009...only to see further melting after. We had another record ASI low in 2012, so it's not terribly surprising that there was a "recovery" in 2013. There may be another in 2014. The trend is still steeply down, even with the 2013 "recovery."

Antarctic sea ice is a different animal. This can be demonstrated in the graph below.


As you can see, the Antarctic sea ice melts out to betweeen 1.5 and 2.5 million sqkm every year. Unlike the Arctic, there is very little multi-year ice. There is a very small upward trend in the Antarctic, but nothing like the downward trend in the Arctic.

Antarctic land ice is decreasing. That is, by far, more important.
Member Since: October 30, 2005 Posts: 7 Comments: 5469
278. JohnLonergan
1:28 PM GMT on December 06, 2013
From ScienceDaily:

New Jersey Shore Likely Faces Unprecedented Flooding by Mid-Century



The amusement pier at Seaside Heights, N.J., under attack by Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen, New Jersey Air National Guard)
Dec. 5, 2013 — Geoscientists at Rutgers and Tufts universities estimate that the New Jersey shore will likely experience a sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet by 2050 and of about 3.5 feet by 2100 -- 11 to 15 inches higher than the average for sea-level rise globally over the century.

That would mean, the scientists say, that by the middle of the century, the one-in-10 year flood level at Atlantic City would exceed any flood known there from the observational record, including Superstorm Sandy.

Ken Miller, Robert Kopp, Benjamin Horton and James Browning of Rutgers and Andrew Kemp of Tufts base their projections in part upon an analysis of historic and modern-day records of sea-level rise in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. Their research appears in the inaugural issue of the journal Earth's Future, published this week by the American Geophysical Union. It builds upon a recent study by Kemp, Horton and others that reconstructed a 2,500-year record of sea level at the New Jersey shore. Horton is a professor of marine and coastal sciences in Rutgers' School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; Kemp, an assistant professor of earth and ocean sciences at Tufts.

"It's clear from both the tide gauge and geological records that sea level has been rising in the mid-Atlantic region at a foot per century as a result of global average sea-level rise and the solid earth's ongoing adjustment to the end of the last ice age," said Miller, a professor of earth and planetary sciences in Rutgers' School of Arts and Sciences. "In the sands of the New Jersey coastal plain, sea level is also rising by another four inches per century because of sediment compaction -- due partly to natural forces and partly to groundwater withdrawal. But the rate of sea-level rise, globally and regionally, is increasing due to melting of ice sheets and the warming of the oceans."

Sea-level rise in the mid-Atlantic region also results from changes in ocean dynamics, the scientists said. "Most ocean models project that the Gulf Stream will weaken as a result of climate change -- perhaps causing as much as a foot of additional regional sea-level rise over this century," said Kopp, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences and associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute.

The researchers said sea-level rise could be higher -- 2.3 feet by mid-century and 5.9 feet by the end of the century -- depending on how sensitive the Gulf Stream is to warming and how fast the ice sheets melt in response to that warming.

Either way, the researchers' study of past sea-level change also revealed that something remarkable started happening over the last century. It's not only temperatures that have been veering upward as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. "The geological sea-level records show that it's extremely likely that sea-level in New Jersey was rising faster in the 20th century than in any century in the last 4300 years," Kemp said.

The unprecedented 20th-century sea-level rise had a significant human impact. The study found that the eight inches of climate change-related regional sea-level rise in the 20th century exposed about 83,000 additional people in New Jersey and New York City to flooding during 2012's Superstorm Sandy.

Journal Reference:
Kenneth G. Miller, Robert E. Kopp, Benjamin P. Horton, James V. Browning, Andrew C. Kemp. A geological perspective on sea-level rise and its impacts along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. Earth's Future, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/2013EF000135
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277. JohnLonergan
11:18 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
A failure in communicating the impact of new findings

I was disappointed by the recent summary for policymakers (SPM) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assessment report 5, now that I finally got around to read it. Not so much because of the science, but because the way it presented the science.

The report was written by top scientists, so what went wrong?

More at RealClimate ...


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276. JohnLonergan
11:13 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
From glaciologist Mauri Pelto's blog From a Glacier's Perspective:

The above video looks at the effort behind a long term field study, looking at images from 11 of the 30 years of our research, digital cameras became good then. Long term monitoring programs have until recently been unattractive for federal grantmakers, since they are not directly advancing the frontiers of science. However, many long duration time series from monitoring programs do advance science eventually as the response to changes in environmental or climate conditions are documented. In 1984, I responded to a request from the US National Academy of Sciences, “to monitor glaciers across an ice clad mountain range”, something that was not being done anywhere in Norther America. Thirty years later we are still pursuing this project. We have developed a 30 years time series of glacier mass balance on glaciers across the North Cascades of Washington. To ensure that the program could be sustained, we did not pursue any federal funding for the project. The data we, collect is submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) each year, the regional time series built in the North Cascade is just part of the contribution to the global glacier mass balance time series at WGMS. The cumulative North Cascades glacier mass balance record is in fact quite similar to the cumulative global mass balance time series. For the globe there have been 22 consecutive years of negative mass balance, that is the reality of the impact of global warming on mountain glaciers around the globe. The impact on the glaciers of Mount Baker was recently published Pelto and Brown (2012)

Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 3166
275. daddyjames
8:15 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 274. iceagecoming:


What exactly is your point?
Don't misunderstand my question, I know we have different viewpoints. It's just not clear what you are trying to say.
Member Since: June 25, 2011 Posts: 2 Comments: 3731
274. iceagecoming
7:43 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
In short, the Sierra Club’s goal is to take America back to the stone ages. Wind, solar and geothermal aren’t capable of replacing coal. What’s worse is that that’s just the tip of the Sierra Club’s anti-civilization agenda:
“No state has adequate protections in place. Even where there are rules, they are poorly monitored and enforced. Thanks to the multiple federal exemptions, we can’t even count on the federal government to keep us safe! Together, though, we can change that! No industry, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can withstand the righteous passion of the American people. The out-of-control rush to drill has put oil and gas industry profits ahead of our health, our families, our property, our communities, and our futures. If drillers can’t extract natural gas without destroying landscapes and endangering the health of families, then we should not drill for natural gas.”
—Allison Chin, Sierra Club president, July 28, 2012, at the Stop the Frack Attack rally



by Todd Gitlin via TomDispatch: "Apocalyptic climate change is upon us. For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood. Slow-motion, however, is not no-motion. In fits and starts, speeding up and slowing down, turning risks into clumps of extreme fact, one catastrophe after another—even if there can be no 100% certitude about the origin of each one—the planetary future careens toward the unlivable. That future is, it seems, arriving ahead of schedule, though erratically enough that most people—in the lucky, prosperous countries at any rate—can still imagine the planet conducting something close to business as usual. [...] Fossilized corporations do their thing while frozen governments produce (or opt out of) hapless and toothless international agreements. By default, initiative must arise elsewhere—in places where reason and passion have some purchase as well as a tradition, places where new power may be created and deployed. This counterpower is, in fact, developing."
The Road Ahead (and Some Bumps Along the Way)—by Michael Brune: "Between the devastation in the Philippines, deadly floods in Sardinia and Vietnam, and the COP 19 UN climate change summit in Poland, the last ten days or so have delivered more than the usual collection of global stories on climate and energy issues. But a lot was going on here at home, too, and those stories speak both to why we need a 100 percent clean energy future and the road that will get us there."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/23/1257476/


Friday, February 22, 2013
York: Obama caught in middle on Keystone
By BYRON YORK

Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
A brief moment Feb. 13 showed why President Barack Obama can’t win when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline.
In front of the White House, protesters led by actress Daryl Hannah and the head of the Sierra Club demanded that Obama kill the project. Just a few blocks away, the head of the AFL-CIO’s powerful Building and Construction Trades Department joined with the American Petroleum Institute to demand that Obama approve it.
Obama’s friends in the environmental movement and Hollywood on one side. Obama’s friends in Big Labor allied with his enemies in Big Oil on the other. What’s a Democratic president to do?
Both sides were unhappy that Obama – who took the time to talk about wind power, solar power, fuel efficiency, global warming and all sorts of other related topics in his State of the Union speech – did not mention Keystone. Not a single word.
They know that last year the president put off deciding on the pipeline until after the election. Now it appears he would rather do anything than make a choice that is going to make some of his most influential supporters very unhappy.
Environmentalists seem deeply afraid that Obama will rule against them. The Sierra Club called the situation so urgent that it decided to suspend a century-old policy against its officials taking part in civil disobedience.
“Today is a one-time event to face arrest in order to elevate discussion about a critical issue,” blogged club President Allison Chin, who, along with Executive Director Michael Brune, was arrested.












Ottawa's new anti-terrorism strategy lists eco-extremists as threats Add to ...
SHAWN McCARTHY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Feb. 10 2012, 8:49 PM EST


Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1056
273. Daisyworld
7:26 AM GMT on December 06, 2013
Quoting 254. MisterPerfect:

Quoting 262. Cochise111:

Quoting 268. tramp96:

Quoting 272. iceagecoming:


Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?

Diethelm, P. and M. McKee, Eur J Public Health (2009) 19 (1): 2-4. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckn139

Excerpt:

"Denialists are driven by a range of motivations. For some it is greed, lured by the corporate largesse of the oil and tobacco industries. For others it is ideology or faith, causing them to reject anything incompatible with their fundamental beliefs. Finally there is eccentricity and idiosyncrasy, sometimes encouraged by the celebrity status conferred on the maverick by the media.

Whatever the motivation, it is important to recognize denialism when confronted with it. The normal academic response to an opposing argument is to engage with it, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the differing views, in the expectations that the truth will emerge through a process of debate. However, this requires that both parties obey certain ground rules, such as a willingness to look at the evidence as a whole, to reject deliberate distortions and to accept principles of logic. A meaningful discourse is impossible when one party rejects these rules. Yet it would be wrong to prevent the denialists having a voice. Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they employ and identifying them publicly for what they are... "


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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.