Thursday, May 23, 2013

Senator Whitehouse and the Moore Oklahoma tornado

{I have included links to sources that offer background information to my claims.}

Over at the Detroit News Frank Beckmann has written another one of those boilerplate articles that underscores the misunderstanding too many people have regarding global warming.
{Anthony Watts couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon also... but I'll focus on Beckmann's article.}

His May 21st Detroit News headline read "Senator blames global warming for tornado" Beckmann follows up with: "Not hard to believe, but Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Monday tried to blame global warming for the tragic tornado in Oklahoma."
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To begin with, Beckmann's claim is false.

Senator Whitehouse never said what Beckmann claims.

Here's Senator Whitehouse's quote:
... So you may have a question for me:  why do you care?  Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings, and disgrace ourselves?  

I’ll tell you why.  We’re stuck in this together.  When cyclones tear up Oklahoma, and hurricanes swamp Alabama, and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, for billions of dollars to recover.  

And the damage your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas; it hits Rhode Island with floods and storms, and Oregon with acidified seas, and Montana with dying forests.  So like it or not, we’re in this together. 
You drag America with you to your fate. 
I want this future: a Republican Party that has returned to its senses, and is a strong and worthy adversary; in a strong America, that has done right by its people and the world.  That’s what I want. . . 
Secondly, Senator Whitehouse was giving that pre-written speech while the Moore catastrophe was developing.

If anything, it was sort of a prophetic {if obvious} utterance - one that folks such as Beckmann would do better taking notice of.

You see Senator Whitehouse was trying to express the reality of how we are loading the climate dice and it's a story we should all be paying attention to.
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In his second paragraph Beckmann writes: "Amazingly, these supposedly smart people are either ignorant of, or refuse to acknowledge, the history of extreme weather events on our planet, in our country, and – where tornadoes are concerned – in the American Southwest."
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This is pure folly, like trying to navigate heavy traffic with eye's glued to the rear-view mirror.  

We must realize the past is no longer a window to the future
certainly not when we have increased our atmosphere's insulation ability by about a third!  

Please realize that cloaking our planet in a few extra layers of insulation truly has changed everything.  Our "Earth: 2000s" is not the geo-physical being it was back in... say 1900s.  

Why can't Republicans bring themselves to admit that fundamental truth.  Last century's goals and solutions are obsolete, wake up to our brave new world. 
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In his final paragraph Beckmann writes: "I wish I could get people like this senator to just read and consider the information as easily available as reading a Wiki page. Read the “List of North American tornadoes and tornado outbreaks” history here."
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How ironic, I myself wish I could get people like Beckmann to appreciate that our "climate" is a "Global Heat Distribution Engine."

I wish Republicans would be interested in understanding the structure of our atmosphere starting with our dynamic but thin troposphere... where our weather happens. 

I wish people like Beckmann would stop ignoring the physics of increasing the insulating ability of our atmosphere by something like a third!

I wish people like Beckmann would think about our North Pole.  That glaring white, radiation reflecting, continent sized landscape of ice that IS now melting and evolving into a heat absorption plate called the Arctic Ocean.

More and more, every year, rather than reflecting radiation back to space, that surface is now warming and evaporating and sending up masses of moisture laden air into convection patterns that Earth hasn't experienced in geologic eons.

Then, those moist air masses displace and shove other air masses into the realm of the Jet Stream.  This in turn causes that flow to become more serpentine and erratic.

Keep in mind that weather fronts and storm patterns are pushed and pulled by the Jet Streams which circle our planet.

I wish Republicans could appreciate that yes indeed the increasing tempo of ugly extreme climate events, be they tornadoes; or hurricanes; or droughts, or torrential rains; or long lived extreme heat waves - do relate back to our society's injection of over two gigatons of greenhouse gases, per month, into our atmosphere.

The physics is clear and no amount of misrepresentation will change that reality.

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