Thursday, June 30, 2011


Whether you believe in the concept of Gaia or a totally rational physics-based approach to the problem, surely only cretins and liars can now hold on to their denial.

“Extreme floods, prolonged droughts, searing heat waves, massive rainstorms and the like don't just seem like they've become the new normal in the last few years—they have become more common, according to data collected by reinsurance company Munich Re (see Part 1 of this series). But has this increase resulted from human-caused climate change or just from natural climatic variations? After all, recorded floods and droughts go back to the earliest days of mankind, before coal, oil and natural gas made the modern industrial world possible. Until recently scientists had only been able to say that more extreme weather is "consistent" with climate change caused by greenhouse gases that humans are emitting into the atmosphere. Now, however, they can begin to say that the odds of having extreme weather have increased because of human-caused atmospheric changes—and that many individual events would not have happened in the same way without global warming. The reason: The signal of climate change is finally emerging from the "noise"—the huge amount of natural variability in weather. Scientists compare the normal variation in weather with rolls of the dice. Adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere loads the dice, increasing odds of such extreme weather events. It's not just that the weather dice are altered, however. As Steve Sherwood , co-director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia, puts it, "it is more like painting an extra spot on each face of one of the dice, so that it goes from 2 to 7 instead of 1 to 6. This increases the odds of rolling 11 or 12, but also makes it possible to roll 13." Why? Basic physics is at work: The planet has already warmed roughly 1 degree Celsius since preindustrial times, thanks to CO2and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. And for every 1-degree C (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature, the amount of moisture that the atmosphere can contain rises by 7 percent, explains Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the U.K. Met Office's Hadley Center for Climate Change. "That's quite dramatic," he says. In some places, the increase has been much larger. Data gathered by Gene Takle, professor of meteorology at Iowa State University in Ames, show a 13 percent rise in summer moisture over the past 50 years in the state capital, Des Moines.” (Click here for more)

Click here for Helen Shapiro

The secret word is Distruption


Aleleeinn said...

There have been several recent discoveries, which are tipping points for climate change. Notability that the ocean is nearly at saturation levels for carbon dioxide. If the CO2 doesn't disolve in the seas it will stay in the air and the changes will speed up even more.
What seems to confuse most if not all of the climate change naysayers it that ecological events don't stop on a dime. Twenty five years after the clean water actis of the 1970 signs of life began to appear in some of the polluted rivers. Fixing climate change will take time.

Dr Who said...

I don't believe that there can be many people still able to rub two brain cells together that now dispute that the climate is changing, though some still doubt the part played by humans. But even if it's totally our fault, unless you manage to turn back time and undo the Industrial Revolution and its 170 years or so of inescapable consequences, what's the point of banging on about it ad nauseam? It's done and can't be undone, however we may like to wring our hands or kid ourselves. (Anyway, we've all seen enough to know the unpredictable dangers of messing with the timeline.)

Aleleeinn said...

I disagree Dr. Who. At one level we began the process with the first round of clean air and clean water laws of the '70s.
I remember reading the the Britain cleaned the old building removing 100+ years of soot. There was finally a chance the buildings would stay clean.
This is basically the same. We need to control our emissions. We will not go back to any pre-industrial age society. We could not sustain the population of the planet.
We need a sewage system for our air like we have for our water. I do think it will take decades at least to stop this train and actually see results, but waiting only will make it worse.

Dr Who (or maybe Doom) said...

Hi Aleleeinn,
Although I am not convinced
that we can achieve the control you speak of, I wasn't really advocating that we shouldn't try to make things better, rather that yet another accusing finger wagged at the human race wasn't terribly helpful.
It's easy for us all to scream "Planet Killer!" at the easy targets of Big Bad Corporate Energy, but there's an "Evil Drug Dealer" parallel here, namely if we didn't want it, they wouldn't be in business in the first place. We weren't, and aren't, reluctant consumers who had to be bullied into crossing the World in jets and cars, and filling our homes with the labour-saving tools and power-hungry gadgets that entertain us (and make this exchange possible), we demanded it and now millions more have the desire and are gaining the economic viability to follow us - they won't give that up and neither will we, because as you rightly say, a pre-industrial age planet simply couldn't cope with today's population, never mind future levels.
That's all I meant.

Aleleeinn said...

Dr. Who, I agree in part. Mick may have some of the wonderful ads from the '50s that sold us the new modern "hi-tech" lifestyls without mentioning the real price. Now that we are "addicted" it will ber very hard to stop. The idea of earth as a finite system has not been part of our culture. And the "end of the world" gang don't help things because they simply claim that the world will end before we break the planet.
I'm not one to preach. I make my living in IT. My main take is the timeline of ecology. It doesn't change quickly, and will take at least a few years to stop the forward progress. And most of what is being proposed is inherently a good idea in its own right. As individuals we put our trash in the trash can and we don't shit in the middle of the livingroom rug. That IMHO needs to be our standard on a planetary level.

Aleleeinn said...

Damn!! I love that storm picture. Lifelong fascination (sense of awe)with lightning and storms.