The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers, revisited.

This is a response I put together for someone who asked me about this article. I don’t really do debunking much, so bear with it, and I suggest you read the article in question first. I welcome comments and critiques, as always, and suggestions.

It’s one of those things that sounds good on the surface. Predicting climate isn’t predicting weather, though. Predicting weather would be giving the range of inches of snow from this storm. Predicting climate would be saying that it will be colder between October and March than between April and September. In this case the predictions that are being made are that over the course of years, things will gradually warm.

One of the things you should always ALWAYS look for, in listening to an argument from me OR from anyone else is the mechanism – don’t take it on faith. 1998 was a very hot year, so what conditions led to that? That year there was a very powerful El Niño, which gave a sudden jump in temperature, after which things were a little cooler. There was also a cooling event a couple years before that because Mt. Pinatubo erupted, but if you look at the overall trend here you can see that while both of those events were significant, and overrode the “average”, the general temperature trend is still towards getting warmer. A number of people HAVE been saying that it’s cooling, but none of them are the scientists who think that climate change is something we can ignore. It’s mostly politicians and pundits. To be clear – just because they’re scientists doesn’t mean they’re wrong, but it DOES mean that they should show their source. Their argument stems from the fact that 1998 was the warmest year for some years, and because no other years met THAT record, the warming has stopped.

It’s a little like having a large wave come far past the current tide line, and then claiming that the tide’s not coming in because the 20 waves after it were more normal and didn’t come as far up the beach.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the total volume of ice across the globe is shrinking – glaciers are receding and polar sea ice is melting, and there’s not really anything else that will do that besides heat, unless you think someone is dumping road salt under every glacier in the world.

There is, however, new information on this front as well, because of the way things HAVE been changing in the arctic. Picture a pot of boiling water in a cold room. The steam rises up till it hits the ceiling and then spreads out in all directions. Something similar is now happening in the Arctic. There’s less ice, and the ocean has been warming in the last couple decades – it’s taken up a LOT of heat. The ice normally acts as a lid on that “pot”, holding in heat gained in the summer, but this year it’s not so much, and that heat is rising, and spreading. THAT is displacing the colder air, which is being pushed south (since there’s nowhere else to go) and cooling Europe.

Taking extreme weather is a little bit simpler, I think. I don’t think there’s any question that hot weather causes droughts. That’s because hot air holds more water than cold air, and so hot, dry air blasts a landscape, and absorbs all the water exposed to it, and so we get nasty droughts. If you look at what happened in Russia this summer, it’s not hard to see, but then all that moisture has to go somewhere. In this case, a kink in the jet stream sent it to Pakistan. The two most devastating weather events in 2010 were actually the same, really. Water picked up in Russia was dumped on Pakistan as the hot, moist air was forced up into the cooler mountains, and it released all that water.

The same thing happens in the winter – the is warmer in an area, and so it picks up moisture , and then when we get a cold front, that moisture is dropped, this time in the form of snow.

It’s true that no SINGLE event can be attributed to global warming, BUT, when we get a regular series of extreme events, year after year, that CAN be attributed to global warming. They call them 100 or 500 or 1000 year events because the historical likelihood of them happening is once every few centuries. We’re getting them pretty much every year now.

Like I said, always look for the reasons why something happens, and the data given. Climate scientists predicted the warming before it started because they saw the rise in CO2. THEN the warming started, as they predicted. This is not a case of “it’s warming, let’s find out why”, it’s a case of “CO2 is rising, what will that do? Oh, it will warm things up.”

I know it seems to easy to say that everything can be attributed to global warming, but the entire climate is changing, and like I said, that effects every single part of the earth that we encounter. Everything about our lives connects back to the climate we live in and long term climate trends DO effect short term weather, over time.
Beyond all that, the parting shot has some problems. The sun DOES have a lot to do with climate, but not with the warming trend of the last century

Saying that it’s connected to climate isn’t the same as saying it’s causing climate change. Another part is the “balance” question with Corbyn. It’s not really balance to give equal credence to thousands of scientists that actually gather data from the real world and analyze it, and one meteorologist who says he thinks they’re wrong because the sun has cycles.


One response to “The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers, revisited.

  1. Good post. I have two things to add.
    1. The people who focus on 1998’s “peak” seem to have not heard the news, rather well established on the basis of many independent data sets, that 2005 ranks as the hottest year so far, with 2009 and 2010 close behind — and it’s still possible that 2010 will be the hottest year on record (Nov 2009 to Nov. 2010 are the hottest 12 month period ever recorded).

    2. The “Warm-onger” author seems to have forgotten one of the most basic points in this debate: Just because it’s really cold in one place, does not mean it’s cold everywhere. The US constitutes no more than 6% of the total surface of the earth, for example, so a cold wave here doesn’t tell us much. Note that while Europe and parts of North America have been shivering, Greenland has “enjoyed” several recent days well above freezing — in December! and many parts of the Arctic have seen temps 10-15 degrees (F) above normal.

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