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...

While a few decades back we could confidently claim that no "rogue" weather event can be blamed on Anthropogenic GHGs... 
basic down to Earth logic suggests that today 
NO "extreme" weather event can be considered free from the influence of an altered atmosphere - along with it's increased heat retention ability.  

It's the "New Normal"
After all, it is the "climate" that spawns "weather" patterns.
Or would anyone disagree?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Seems to me it's as simple as reaching first base in a baseball game.
If one doesn't achieve the "First Base" {of comprehending what Greenhouse Gases are doing} there can be no further progress.

As we've witness in decades worth of systemic inaction.

added 10/17/2013

I shared these thoughts over at SkepticForum and it's been interesting.  I think the following exchange is worth sharing and that it fits in over here.

Re: Society driven extreme weather  Post #16 

D wrote:  It's pretty simple CC... you can (especially in retrospect) look at a pattern of weather events and call them unusual, then match them to a trend that is the result of AGW. I suspect that we'll be able to do just that with present weather. 
You cannot however, simply pick some of those events now and say they meet a set of criteria making them the result of AGW. 
What you're missing in your desire to preach is that I'm not disagreeing with your central point... that extreme weather is one likely result of AGW. I am disagreeing with your ability to say that "Storm X" happening this year was the result of AGW. It may have been, it may not have been, but the science doesn't support that kind of conclusion with that degree of resolution, and you sound desperate and foolish when you try to pretend that it does.
CC replied:
D our contemporary atmosphere contains 400 ppm CO2 and it's guaranteed to keep rising, 
Do you appreciate the significance of that? 
Do you realize that during the last couple million years it varied from roughly 200 to 300 ppm and we are at 400ppm! *   
Follow what I'm saying here: 
The physical parameters of our global heat distribution machine {that is our climate system} IS altered, weather coming out of that altered climate system can no longer be likened to the pre 350 ppm weather patterns - statistics be damned  pastedGraphic.pdf  
It's not a question of can this particular storm be blamed on AGW influences - ALL current weather patterns, extreme or regular, can, no, must, be linked to AGW influences -> because the system they form out of and that drives them has been undeniably and significantly altered. 
The new normal.
~ ~ ~ 
It's like I hear you saying: It ain't happening unless statistics can overwhelmingly prove it 
But, I'm calling BS on that mentality - if the physical composition of our climate system is radically altered {and it is, as explained above} the weather coming out of that system will be likewise altered. 
Whether we are savvy enough to recognize it... that's another question, one were your statistical games... and player motivation plus biases come in.

*  CO2 Higher Today Than Last 2.1 Million Years
Study Offers Detailed Look at Past Greenhouse Gas Levels
"The authors show that peak CO2 levels over the last 2.1 million years averaged only 280 parts per million"


Anonymous said...

One must be very careful with a statement like "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?" Under equilibrium situations, the Earth radiates as much energy as it receives. The greenhouse effect causes a warming of the lower atmosphere to achieve this balance. Given that, there IS a build-up of heat in the oceans as they attempt to come into equilibrium- it takes all that water much longer than it takes the atmosphere.

citizenschallenge said...

"Under equilibrium situations"

Sure, but keep in mind the speed at which we have increased our atmosphere's greenhouse gas components - it has been phenomenally fast compared to past geophysical transitions.

Right now our system is increasingly out of equilibrium and it will take decades, actually centuries for a new equilibrium to establish itself.

I believe my characterization remains a good general description.