Friday, October 25, 2013

Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realities


Here is an article I wrote for November's Four Corners Free Press concerning last month's flooding in Colorado.  Should anyone find anything of value in it feel free to lift and use as you see fit.  Memes for the sharing.
{I have added many links that offer authoritative support for my claims along with basic educational sources}.
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Colorado experienced its most extreme weather event in memory between September 9th to the 15th. Golden, Boulder and Larimer counties received the worst of it with rain accumulations of sixteen/seventeen inches and more, some areas receiving nine inches on Thursday alone, resulting in massive flooding compounded by destructive run-off from mountainsides of burned-out forests that could no longer hold water.

Predictably folks are asking: Is this related to manmade Global Warming? It's an easy and tough question to answer.

Consider please, our climate system is a global heat distribution engine and our land, atmosphere, and the oceans have indisputably warmed, not only that, our atmosphere's moisture content has been measurably increasing. Given such geophysical realities, it is self-evident that all extreme weather events contain elements of this newly energized climate system.  And that much more of the same must be expected.

On the other hand,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Cornwall Alliance - Evangelical Science Denier and the Alarmist Fundamentalist Religious Cult




Here is an article written by Sou from HotWhopper.com - idea's worth sharing.  Food for thought.
What can be said of people who believe they actually understand God's mind?  It's one thing to personally believe and hold such meta-physical faith within one's heart - but expecting the rest of the world to fall in-line and to reject rational knowledge and observation based learning and trusting qualified experts who have spent entire lives committed to understanding their specialities.  No thanks.
Sad thing is, these sorts of faith-based dogmatists are one of the core reasons climate science, Earth observations and attempts at Earth stewardship have been so successfully rejected these past decades.  
How does one learn or change when disbelieve in observation based science is an article of Faith?
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The Evangelical Science Denier and the Alarmist Fundamentalist Religious Cult: The Cornwall Alliance


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Can Cyclone Phailin, or Usagi, or Sandy, or Katrina be blamed on Climate Change?

{edited 10/17/2013}

That's the wrong question.  
We need to first consider the basics of our planet and global climate system's job of moving heat around.

Think about it in terms of a nearly closed system holding in more heat... energy - than it is radiating out into space.  Will that system not become more energized and active?

The basic facts are: 
We ARE adding heat to our life sustaining 'global heat distribution engine' - aka Climate System. 
>>> means more energized and active  


... means more wind and rain and storm surges interspersed with extending "doldrums" (heat and drought), thanks to Jet Stream disruption which is being driven by our Arctic Ice Cap's solar-reflector being transformed into a
solar heat collecting medium... 
and water evaporator... 
and convection current driver...
and higher altitude atmospheric mixing and warming... 
and so on and so forth.
~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Cascading Consequences.

It seems simple self-evident physics. . . . . . . .  

Yet, that geophysics based appreciation seems so distant from the current public way of thinking.  With many demanding abstract statistical certainty above geophysical common-sense.

I fear a big part of the blame can be laid at the feet of the very human, but still child-like "Faith" thing and believing we can understand God and reduce our planet to God's toy, created six thousand years ago for some heavenly entertainment and pretending that "my" mind and petty human ego can actually understand "The Will Of God" - OK that's a pretty harsh perspective of the whole thing, but so be it.

Considering that at the root of the denialist attitude is a "Faith" that desire can be stronger than down to Earth physics.
~ ~ ~

There is no rational disputing that over the past century:
Our atmosphere's moisture holding ability has increased by 3-5%, due to increased CO2...
Our oceans are warming...
Our cryosphere is melting away...
Global temperatures have risen ~1°C...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The dialogue itself needs examining.



Let's consider two types of debate.

One is between scientists (or people dealing with real life challenges) who have a collective goal of achieving the greatest understanding available.

The other is between contenders in a bitter political battle, who's collective goal is to achieve their stated agenda.
~ ~ ~

These two different types of dialogue follow very different rules and dynamics.

For instance, in the first making mistakes is OK, because it's those "mistakes" that open up new perspectives and it's through recognizing and resolving our mistakes that we learn.  In other words, mistakes are a part of life and the building blocks of learning.

In the power-politic dialogue, it's different.  Admitting mistakes is seen as a defeat and mistakes are often morphed out of all reason into bludgeons to damage and reject all the other is trying to convey.  The object of such a dialogue is to marginalize and defeat an opponent, not to learn anything from them.

And such are the different rule-sets that govern the two sides of this Manmade Climate Change dialogue.
~ ~ ~

But, the situation is even worse.

If you have a huge group of people who believe Earth is six thousand years old and put here in a magical six day fit of creation - all intended to provide humans with a larder for the raiding and nothing more... how does one communicate with that mind-set?

How do we get through to people who believe faith is more powerful than down to Earth reality?

How do we get people to listen, when disbelieve is an Article of Faith?
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Here's an interesting lecture for those who want to learn more:

Uploaded on Oct 24, 2011
Dr Richard Milne, School of Biological Sciences, 
presents Critical Thinking on Climate Change: 
separating skepticism from denial.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh9kDCuPuU8





Monday, October 14, 2013

5 Sobering Charts from the IPCC Climate Report


OK time for an IPCC reality check.
Here's a Repost from a recent ClimateCentral article written by :


"The 5 Most Sobering Charts from the IPCC Climate Report"


The 5 Most Sobering Charts from the IPCC Climate Report (via Climate Central)
By Andrew Freedman Follow @afreedma The first installment in the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest scientific assessment on climate science came out on Friday, and it’s loaded with dense terminology, expressions of uncertainty…

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Other Dr.Mann Court Case

And since I'm on a roll {and because I allowed my original project for the day to be thoroughly side-tracked, by another denialist challenge over at SkepticForum} I may as well add one more SkepticalScience.com "Repost", this one written by Dana Nuccitelli, titled "Mann Fights Back Against Denialist Abuse" - it looks at the other Dr. Mann court case.  

The case where Dr. Mann finally said, enough is enough.  And decided that the malicious slander the Competitive Enterprise Institute fabricated and that the National Review gave top billing to, in their ongoing campaign to befuddle and confuse the public, needed to be exposed and punished. (see here and here for updates from this past summer.)

Without further ado and with much thanks to Dana and John Cook and all the other volunteers who have made SkepticalScience.com the number one source for non-scientists to become familiar with climate science... as opposed to the misleading and distracting sound-bites our right-wing prefers, here it is:



Mann Fights Back Against Denialist Abuse (via Skeptical Science)
Posted on 28 July 2012 by dana1981 At Skeptical Science, we prefer to stick to discussions of the scientific literature and body of evidence.  However, for the long time there has been a systematic abuse of climate scientists from climate denialists…

Investigating Dr. Michael Mann... a supplement


To supplement my previous post, here's a list of investigations into Dr. Mann and allegations stemming from the break in and hacking of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit, courtesy of SkepticalScience.com.  I finish with a DeSmogBlog profile of the American Tradition Institute:

What do the 'Climategate' hacked CRU emails tell us?


Michael Mann's continuing saga, Virginia FOIA case moves forward

Well, the climate science "skeptics" have unleashed another flurry substance-less claims and attacks on Dr. Michael Mann in light of the recent court decision allowing the American Tradition Institute's (and a member of  Virginia's House of Delegates, Del Marshall's) lawsuit seeking pretty much any and all working material related to the research of Dr. Michael Mann and his team.  

It doesn't matter to them that the data upon which his studies are based is and has been available, see: http://www.meteo.psu.edu/holocene/public_html/Mann/tools/tools.php

It doesn't matter to them that Mann et al's studies have been investigated many times over, see:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climategate-CRU-emails-hacked.htm
also see: 
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/08/22/301163/nsf-investigation-exonerates-hockey-stick-scientist-michael-mann/
and:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/08/22/300821/nsf-inspector-general-investigation-michael-mann/

It doesn't matter that subsequent studies using different proxies and methods have reported the same basic story, see:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-or-hockey-league.html

All that seems to matter to them, is that business leaders and politicians and the public remain as ignorant as possible about what we are doing to our life sustaining climate system.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From the Washington Post story by Tom Jackman:

Prince William FOIA case on global warming headed for Virginia Supreme Court 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/local/wp/2013/10/09/prince-william-foia-case-on-global-warming-headed-for-virginia-supreme-court/ 
"... Richard C. Kast and Madelyn F. Wessel, U.Va.’s lawyers, argued that Judge Sheridan got it right when he ruled that the university had properly interpreted FOIA. They acknowledged that there was no judicial precedent on the FOIA exemption, but that “the policy of open government under the act is not ‘absolute,’” citing more than 100 exemptions in Virginia’s FOIA law. 
They noted that the Institute and Marshall challenge the judge’s interpretation of “proprietary,” but that the conservatives “offer no alternative definition or explanation as to why the plain meaning of the term should not apply.” Plain meaning, in U.Va.’s view, being “a thing or property owned or in the possession of one who manages and controls them.” 
Mann said in an e-mail to me that “I believe Judge Sheridan’s ruling protecting faculty research correspondence is correct and is precisely what Sen. Thomas Michie intended when he proposed his legislation to amend Virginia’s FOIA law and the legislature enacted in 1984 to enhance the ability of Virginia’s public colleges and university’s to protect the scholarly research endeavor.” 
But late last month the Supreme Court agreed to take the case, which Schnare said happens in about 10 percent of the civil cases appealed to them."
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For a review of what Dr. Mann has been put through, see:

Timeline: Legal Harassment of Climate Scientist Michael Mann


For a look at the players in this most recent episode:

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Who's behind the 'information attacks' on climate scientists?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

For a bit more on the tactics used by the contrarians, see:

Climate Skeptics Try To Spin Penn State Exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”

~ ~ ~

Michael Mann, hounded researcher

~ ~ ~

NSF IG report on Michael Mann investigation: “No research misconduct. Case closed.” Don't bother telling Rick Perry.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Michael E. Mann on Climate Change and Muzzling Science CBC



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q34jLLTq15o


Published on Mar 29, 2012
MICHAEL E. MANN Physicist, Climatologist, Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, author of "The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines" was George's guest on March 28, 2012

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Michael Mann: Confronting the Climate Change Challenge - 

Conversations from Penn State


Published on Apr 12, 2012



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06DdPb_DFo0

Michael Mann was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the team of scientists that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Mann discusses his work with the panel, his current outlook on the future of the planet, and his new book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TEDxPSU - Michael Mann - 

A Look Into Our Climate: Past To Present To Future



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElI-XVGHCHs


Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011
Michael Mann is a professor in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, a climatologist, and the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. Michael is best known for his extensive background and research in the field of paleoclimatology. This work led to Michael's graph of temperature trends over the last thousand years, popularly coined as the "hockey stick graph" because of its resemblance to the sporting equipment. 

The graph has received acclaim and criticism since its publishing. He has received many awards and honors including, but not limited to, the Outstanding Scientific Paper Award by NOAA in 2002 and also was named one of the 50 Leading Visionaries in Science and Technology by Scientific American. 

Michael is also one of the founders of RealClimate.org, a highly acclaimed climate science website that was chosen in 2005 as one of the top 25 "Science and Technology" websites by Scientific American and as one of the top 15 "green" websites by Time Magazine in 2008. Michael's educational background includes an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

UPDATE - Nat'l Science Foundation CANCELS its Antarctic Research Programs

Updated October 19th - official statement regarding announcement of plans to salvage the 2013 research season for American scientists are posted at the bottom of this post.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
I read the news today, oh boy.  
The TeaParty's strategy of undermining our government in the hope of crippling it, is producing cascading consequences who's damaging impacts will be felt for years to come.  

In the science and global warming research arena untold millions of dollars will be totally wasted, as important research programs are cancelled.  Not to mention the human toll -  wasted planning and preparation; research programs requiring ongoing work will be devastated; careers sidelined; and of course, then there is the more subtle impact of disillusionment and creeping hopelessness of being under the thumb of leaders who couldn't care less about science, and in fact, believe it can be disregarded at will.

I went to the NSF website to read their announcement - but the website is basically shut down. Turns out the announcement can be found at the United States Arctic Program website.  Here I share the beginning of the LiveScience report, a link to an NPR story, the USAP announcement,  followed by a look at what the NSF website's has to say, then I finish with part of a personal account from McMurdo Station that's been posted at http://icewishes.wordpress.com.


It is a genuine tragedy that our neo-Republican leaders have become so trapped within their own ideology straightjacketed minds and the Washington "Bubble", {where obsessing over re-election, fund raising and personal advancement is the order of the day}, with the collective interest of our nation being nothing more than a pawn in their game of self aggrandizement.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Shutdown Cancels US Antarctic Research Program

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science - Dealing in Doubt


Here is a report detailing the various attacks the IPCC has been subjected to over the years.  Including tracking down their originators.  It was compiled by Greenpeace USA, and I believe it worth sharing:




Dealing in Doubt

The Climate Denial Machine vs. Climate Science

A brief history of attacks on climate science, climate scientists and the IPCC.
September, 2013.

DEALING IN DOUBT: FULL REPORT


"Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy...”
“Skepticism is not believing what someone tells you, investigating all the information before coming to a conclusion. Skepticism is a good thing. Global warming skepticism is not that. It’s the complete opposite of that. It’s coming to a preconceived conclusion and cherry-picking the information that backs up your opinion. Global warming skepticism isn’t skepticism at all.”
John Cook of Skepticalscience.com

Table of Contents:

INTRODUCTION

PART 1: A BRIEF HISTORY OF DENIAL

  • The funders
  • The Players 
  • The think tanks
  • The roots of climate denial: borne out of Big Tobacco anti science campaigns
  • 1990 – The IPCC’s First Assessment Report
  • 1995 The Second Assessment Report (SAR)
  • 2001 – The Third Assessment Report (TAR)   
  • 2007 – the Fourth Assessment Report 
  • Climategate: No Scandal behind these gates: (updated 2013)     
  • The AR5, fifth assessment report:  the cherry-picking begins
  • Australia:  A climate denial front ‘down under
  • The UK’s denial machine

PART 2: DENIER TRICKS AND TACTICS

  • Heartland’s internal workings exposed
  • Heartland’s Fake Scientific Conferences and the Unabomber
  • The Origin of the ICCC
  • The NIPCC – or “Climate Change Reconsidered” – or “Not the IPCC”
  • 2013 NIPCC in China – or: Let not the truth get in the way of a good story
  • Heartland, ALEC and the attack on science education
  • Case Study:  Bad science versus hockey sticks: Michael Mann
  • Other attacks on scientists
  • Using Freedom of Information to attack scientists
  • The American Tradition Institute vs Mann and the University of Virginia
  • ATI vs James Hansen and NASA
  • ATI vs climate scientists and journalists
  • ATI and the EPA
  • FOI in Australia
  • Conspiracy of Doubt
  • Personal attacks and death threats 
  • Attacks on the consensus
  • 2012: “Pal review” replaces “peer review”
  • 2012: Fake a Government report
  • Fake a counter consensus 
  • Fake science and polar bears
  • Can’t publish a peer-reviewed article?  Self publish a book!
  • Fake – or outdated - qualifications
  • The political effect of climate denial
  • 2013:  Republican denial

CONCLUSION

USA Government shutdown may cancel entire Antarctic research season for Americans


It has been heartbreaking realizing that we have a group of Republican Representatives who literally want to destroy the USA government they had sworn themselves to uphold.*  It adds to the growing feeling of hopelessness in the face of global issues that need an adult's objectivity rather than a self-obsessed child's destructive tantrums.


Dogma over thinking and rational problem solving.  
Rejection of learning and compromise.  Disregard for all they don't understand.  Contempt for others.  Those seem to be core principles of the TeaParty faction.  And with this attitude we are supposed to meet the growing challenges we have created for ourselves? 

*{All this over a law that got passed fair and square and that had been cleared by US courts.}

To underscore the Republican disconnect from the real world I'm sharing a few news stories including a complete REPOST of Andrew Freedman's October 1st Government Shutdown Affects Weather, Climate Programs.  First there is 
this NPR story from yesterday:

Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Professor Anastasios Tsonis replies plus comments (open letter 3)

{Last edited Friday 9:00pm}

Introduction:

I finished this about a week ago and shared it with some pen pals who are within the climate science community (which includes students and researchers and many other specialties besides "scientist").  I admit, I received little positive feedback.  Instead, I received admonishments about my approach being confrontational, even hostile.  For example:

"My advice when emailing Prof. Tsonis is to be as polite and gracious as possible, and to have a completely neutral, non-confrontational and friendly tone" and "The trick is to keep Dr. Tsonis engaged on good terms so that you/we can understand what the heck he actually thinks/understands."

To the second, I would reply, Dr. Tsonis third email does a thorough job of describing what he actually understands and thinks.

To the first one... what can I say.  I am not some student trying to get in the good graces of a professor.  I am a 58 year old adult who has been watching this Global Warming "dialogue" since the early 1970s!  At my most pompous the title "A Citizen's Indictment" comes to mind, because that's how I feel.

But, more down to Earth and realistic, this is about me trying (to the best of my limited abilities) to describe some of the mechanisms that have been used to so completely misdirect this global warming/climate change dialogue into counter-productive dog-chasing-tail dead-ends - that our children will have to pay for.

Right-wing "think-tank" strategies have forced climate scientists to achieve ever higher and more unrealistic standards of "proof" before anyone of their "preliminary findings" are allowed any real world legitimacy.  
And that is plainly counter-productive.

The success of all the misdirection is appalling and this is my effort to help confront it.  These are memes for the broadcasting...

I have no malice towards Dr. Tsonis, in fact, I suspect if we crossed paths under different circumstances we might actually enjoy each other and benefit from the interaction.  But, this is the virtual internet-world, and I only know the character in the blog quotes and the dishonest things others are claiming in his name - plus his own devious replies to my straight forward questions. 

I hope someone out there might be able to do something with the following.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Professor Anastasios Tsonis A Critical Review of Claims (open letter 3)


After posting "Professor Anastasios Tsonis: The Art Of Misdirection (open letter 2)"  Professor Tsonis sent me a much more informative letter.  I appreciate him taking the time to do that since I found his first replies disappointingly superficial.  To be clear my issue is not with Professor Tsonis the scientist who has published many interesting studies.  The problem I have is with his selective public commentary which leaves a layperson with a completely contorted and inadequate understanding of what we are collectively doing to our planet's global climate system.

I am reproducing Professor Tsonis's letter (in courier font) complete and untouched except for breaking up paragraphs in order to intersperse my commentary explaining my issues with the professor's words and the impression they project.  Since I will be posting this at my blog I have inserted many links and references to authoritative sources that have helped form my understanding and that support the claims I make.
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