Thursday, May 8, 2014

Open letter to Judith Curry, a basic climate lesson.

{In the previous post, I offer the background to understand why I feel justified writing this letter.
For the record final edits noon-ish May 9, 2014 - then sent to Dr. Judith Curry at Georgia Tech.}  

Dr. Judith Curry, 

Why do you ignore the most important basics?  Why do you expect every distal detail to be quantified before we can draw critically important conclusions from the core of what scientists have learned?

Why your focus on uncertainties that amount to inconsequential minutia when placed next to the big certainties and the looming threat to society, to say nothing of our biosphere as we've come to love it?  

Why did you devolve into this mesmerist intent on distracting your audience from the critically important lessons without which none of the rest of climate can make any coherent sense?  

We have a planet that is nearly a closed system!
It is a heat distribution engine composed of oceans, land, ice and atmosphere.

Before thinking about local weather, we need to understand the underlying global system.  At it's simplest it's fair to make an analogy: consider weather like bubbles on the surface of heating water.  They make no sense until you understand what's happening within that system.  Add more heat and the bubble action will increase, even though we may not be able to map the exact sequence and position of those evolving bubbles, we dang well know that adding more heat to the water will energize those bubbles.  Simple undeniable, unavoidable physics.

Likewise, it's useless spending all day arguing about the statistical details of hurricanes, or extreme weather, etc., as though an exact understanding would make any difference.  The past decades tell us all we need to know about the monster we are dealing with.  How do uncertainties regarding the exact details of future destruction justify you lobbying for continued inaction?

I know, some will argue viciously that there has been no change in extreme weather, heck some even claim there's no warming, but it takes some unbelievable and quite disingenuous contortions to make those arguments.  

It's even more useless to spend all your time using past weather patterns to argue we're doing OK.  Why can I say that with certainty?  Because we know we have increased our planet's atmospheric insulating medium by a third within the past century, that's a split-second in geologic time.  It is"settled science" that we live in a different and rapidly evolving climate system, one that can never return to what humanity has known all these tens and hundreds of thousands of years.  

Expecting the entire system to immediately and completely reflect such changes is an absolutely disconnected expectation, but one that you drive.  Judith, why do you encourage ignoring the known critically important fundamentals?



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For those interesting in understanding our global climate system NASA collaborated with Nova on a breathtaking and very informative video.  It conveys a sense of the massive currents at work:

Earth From Space HD 1080p / Nova

Published on May 29, 2013The groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.
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Here we explore our planet's all important ice component,

"NASA's Tour of the Cryosphere"

Uploaded on Nov 15, 2011

An Intro to climate - This animation leads viewers across the icy reaches of Antarctica, the shrinking ice cap around the North Pole, and other frozen, terrestrial regions of the globe. It conveys the interconnectedness of the cryosphere and impact of climate change on the earth system.
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Amount of old ice in Arctic, 1987 2013

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The Republican/Libertarian machine had engaged in an endless campaign of dirty tricks and lies to distract people and their leaders from paying attention to our real life situation.

Global Warming: What We Knew in 82
In 1982, Mike MacCracken, then a senior researcher at Livermore Laboratory, 
gave a lecture at Sandia Labs on the subject of global climate change. 
To view Dr. MacCracken's complete 1982 talk link here.

These are worth watching a few times over, because only by appreciating these down to Earth basics can other arguments be put into a realistic context.

More greenhouse gas insulation will increase our planet's heat retention.

More heat retention will impact eco-systems and energize weather patterns.

The past few decades have witnessed our weather system beginning a fundamental shift towards a more chaotic, more brutal beast.

We are at the beginning of this transformation and it's unrealistic to think we need to know the exact details of each and every extreme excursion before we should start acting.

Judith Curry and pals have done a contemptible, if fantastically successful, job of shifting the goal posts and tricking an under-educated and largely apathetic public into a state of confusion and paralysis.  Now that I'm into my fifth decade of watching this ultimate of short-sighted human fiascos going down, all I can think is shame on the whole bunch of youz.


1 comment:

citizenschallenge said...

The 1968 lecture by Michael MacCracken is available on YouTube in six parts. I've compiled those videos together onto a single page along with some biographical information over at my nice guy blogspot.

Dr. Michael MacCracken's 1982 Climate Change Presentation