Friday, September 23, 2005

This is global warming, says environmental chief





Asked what conclusion the Bush administration should draw from two hurricanes of such high intensity hitting the US in quick succession, Sir John said: "If what looks like is going to be a horrible mess causes the extreme sceptics about climate change in the US to reconsider their opinion, that would be an extremely valuable outcome."

12 comments:

KennyJC said...

It would be poetic justice if global warming came and bit the ass of the people who have been driving SUV's all these years.

Mac said...

You'll get your wish. Unfortunately, it's going to bite everyone else's asses as well.

leo said...

a m e n , m a c

Ken said...

I suppose folk are tiring of me saying this, but too bad! :-)

It's the Sun, folks. Mars is warming, we're warming, and these systems are so HUGE that I misdoubt humanity's capability to affect them seriously. It is fact that one could set off an H-Bomb in a large hurricane's eyewall and have little long term effect on that storm. The energies involved are beyond our abilities. It's that simple. IMO, to think that we are the ONLY cause of this undoubtedly true global warming is unjustifiable hubris.

An example. Hurricanes are in the news these days, and their numbers and intensities are controlled by the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, a function of benthic drift in the deep sea. There is NO WAY humanity can affect this. Whilst greater surface warmth does mean stronger hurricanes, we cannot control their generation, movement, strength, timing, etc..

Another. In the news recently, plants have been discovered 'neath an Andean glacier. Obviously, this glacier is melting now, due to global warming. Just as obviously, it has melted before. Long before humans could have ANY effect on climate.

Folks like to think humans are Big Shit, and this is all our fault. I'll tell ya a secret: we're little shits, and cannot control anything - least of all ourselves. SUVs as ego are but one example.

This is not to say that we have NO effect. I'm sure we do, but consider it relatively minor by comparison, and a generally weak influence. We're just not that hot shot.

JohnFen said...

It seems likely that Ken is fundamentally right. I'm not so sure about whether or not man can effect large-scale changes to the Earth's environment, however, the climate changes on the other planets (not just Mars, but also Venus, Jupiter and Pluto) at the same time as Earth is an awfully huge coincidence.

The cause is academic, though. Our response to it should be the same whether or not it's man's fault.

Ken said...

Venus, Jupiter and Pluto, too? No kiddin'? Gotta check that out. And, you're right, Johnfen: what ever the cause, we must respond rationally, not politically. Really, to an insular mind such as mine own, it's all mere simple backwoods common sense: Don't Shit in Bed! The corollary being, Keep the Planet Clean. I mean, lowered levels of CO2, etc., would have to help, at least a little bit. But, we humans seem to be crapping all over the place, these days. Stinks. :-{

Ken said...

Well, lookey what I found. http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/C5c.html

..."Now for a more rigorous scientific explanation of why this would not be an effective hurricane modification technique. The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20x10-13(th Power-Ken) watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 10-13(th power) watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane."...

Of course, energy useage has grown, but naetheless it is obvious that humanity does not use as much energy in a year as a SINGLE STORM. It is facts like this that make me feel we are a minor contributor to global warming. But, as Johnfen said, it matters not the cause, we still MUST respond. For whatever reason, the world is changing, and we must adapt.

Ken said...

Here's another to back up my hypothesis. Apparently I am not alone in thinking the primary cause of global warming is our dear Sol. Which, it appears, is a variable star.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml

The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame
By Michael Leidig and Roya Nikkhah
(Filed: 18/07/2004)
Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.
A study by Swiss and German scientists suggests that increasing radiation from the sun is responsible for recent global climate changes.
Dr Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research, said: "The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.
"The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years."
Dr Solanki said that the brighter Sun and higher levels of "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, both contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.... Article continues.

W.M. Bear said...

Apparently I am not alone in thinking the primary cause of global warming is our dear Sol. Which, it appears, is a variable star.

We'll all fry together when we fry. Actually, the Sun's putting out more radiation would be much more serious than the increase in CO2 in the atmostphere as a cause of warming. If the Sun really is a variable star (and, in fact, its output has been steadily increasing practically since the Solar System was born) there's not much we can do about it except maybe move to Mars.

Mac said...

It's the Sun, folks. Mars is warming, we're warming, and these systems are so HUGE that I misdoubt humanity's capability to affect them seriously. It is fact that one could set off an H-Bomb in a large hurricane's eyewall and have little long term effect on that storm. The energies involved are beyond our abilities.

Wait a second. We've been spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age. This isn't a matter of a "single year," in which case I would certainly have to agree with you that anthropogenic climate change is a myth.

I'm not declaring the Sun's role is absent or insignificant. But climate modeling shows us that some of the dangerous effects we're observing are intertwined with human activity. In the case of global warming, industrial emissions are morbidly exacerbating seasonal phenomena. Our role is *not* insignificant.

JohnFen said...

Actually, now that I've pumped up a solar-system-wide phenomena, I should mention that among mainstream astonomers it is far from clear that the cause is the sun. Many are arguing that it's something particular to the patch of space the solar system is going through.

Myself, I don't know. On the one hand, the sun has been acting freaky. On the other hand, one of the freaky things is that the sun has been growing visibly dimmer over the last 25 years. That insinuates a reduction in emitted energy (although some folks claim that the sun has been increasing the amount of energy emitted in nonvisible wavelengths).

So, even if you go with the idea that it's not an Earth-centric phenomena, that doesn't really clarify the picture a great deal.

For the record, Mac, I'm not saying that human activities are insignificant, nor am I saying that we don't have to be worried about our environmental impact. I am saying that the current effects we see aren't limited to the Earth, so whatever their cause is likely not limited to the Earth as well.

But what do I know? This is well out of my field. By the way, I omitted supporting links because I'm lazy, but I can supply them if anyone wants. Or go to DRT and search for global warming. You'll get a bunch of supporting material through there, too.

Ken said...

Ditto re Johnfen. I also do not mean to initmate that our activities are not harmful, nor insignificant. It's quite obvious they are significantly harmful, and MUST have some degree of effect on the undeniable global warming we now experience. It's not that I deny our activities' effect, but rather IMO the primary cause is Sol, exacerbated by us. And I most certainly could be wrong: it has happened before. It's a matter of emphasis, Mac, not denial. Which end of the balance beam is heavier, IMO; that's all. Could be wrong. After all, I got married .... :-{

Thanks for the link, JF. That's my kind of site, and is now bookmarked.

BTW: it's blowing 50+ knots up here, right now. Even the birds are walking!