The Shotgun Blog
Friday, February 25, 2005
Kyoto Storm Warning
Cold is thinning the ozone? Wait wait wait. RECORD cold?
I thought the planet was heating up so fast the ocean's were set to boil?
More "cool" headlines here.
Posted by Justin Bogdanowicz on February 25, 2005 | Permalink
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Hey lads, what's going on in Europia ?
Last winter the Eskimos were in bikini's all winter. The oceans were luke warm and Polar bears were dying of heat prostration.
Now they are telling us the cold Afghan-like winter is freezing the ozone layer into oblivion.
Tell the Euro's to input different garbage into their Global computer models.
I am sure you know the computer historical lingo, Kyoto garbage in Kyoto garbage out.
Cheers from Canada's banana belt.
Woodstock Ontario, Canada
Posted by: Joe molnar | 2005-02-25 7:36:59 AM
Two things here:
You know how El Nino messes up weather on the west coast? El Nino results from a half-degree rise in temperature in a fairly localized region of the pacific. But the effect of the El Nino isn't that western temperatures get 0.5 degrees warmer; the effect is lots of freak weather events.
So it is with global warming. The real danger of climate change isn't that the whole world gets uniformly a degree warmer (although if that turns into several degrees, that does become a big problem!) but that the shift in global mean surface temperature makes large changes to the weather systems which have been relatively stable for the last several hundred years.
Remember that horrible movie about climate change... oh, what was it called... The Day After Tomorrow. It was bad as a film, and had pretty bad science -- or rather, it took real science and greatly exaggerated how fast things could happen. But remember how the posters had the statue of liberty covered in ice? `Global Warming' can result in large local weather changes of much larger than the few degrees that the global surface temperature rises. If ocean temperatures shift enough to shut down the North Atlantic Conveyor, western Europe will get much colder very quickly. (Remember, Rome is only as far south as New York City...)
The second thing is that massive cold snaps can happen even during a warming trend. Anyone in Canada knows that there's a random component to weather. I've certainly seen snow in May -- even though it was a quite warm May, a cold snap can just happen. It doesn't mean the summer is going to be cold; it just means a cold snap happened.
Posted by: Jonathan Dursi | 2005-02-25 7:57:37 AM
Climate and weather are different. As Jonathan points out, global warming is not a uniform lifting of temperatures: it is a rise in the average of temperatures taken around the globe. It is also a trend.
The fact that the global average temperature is rising does not mean an end to cold weather.
Short term variations in temperature which counter the global trend do not invalidate the trend, as I think you are trying to infer.
Posted by: KevinG | 2005-02-25 8:24:41 AM
I accept the short term variations bit. But I cannot believe that in a world that is supposedly growing dangerously warmer you could on ANY part of the planet break a historical record for cold temperatures.
Cold snaps sure. But breaking the historical record? Doesn't compute.
If we are willing to wave off the record breaking cold in some parts of the world as being part of the overall global warming effect then how do we know that record breaking heatwaves aren't part of a global cooling effect??
Posted by: The Meatriarchy | 2005-02-25 8:36:08 AM
Global Warming refers to the gradual rising of the *average* global temperature around the world.
However, that doesn't mean the world turns into a furnace, that's just what the Dumb Media like to tell us in their soundbytes. (at least not until the Greenhouse Effect gets so bad as to turn us into Venus, but that ain't happening in the next Million years, if ever.)
What it *does* do is change weather patterns and climates in various parts of the world.
The Sahara could get even hotter, and expand... while Norther Europe loses the Jetstream and freezes. Australia becomes the Number 1 country for Melanoma due to the ever-expanding Ozone Hole... Brazil starts to get the Hurricanes Florida usually gets.
Climate *Change* people... change.
Luckily for humans, we can adapt, heck we survived the last Ice Age... it might just take a few Billion casualties first.
Posted by: Chris Alemany | 2005-02-25 9:25:36 AM
Justin, what record are you talking about. Are you talking about surface temperatures, temperatures at 20 km or what. When I read the article you linked to it seems to say the actic upper atmosphere is changing to resemble the antacrtic.
I'm not even going to touch the heat waves as proof of a cooling trend silliness.
Questioning the existance of global warming with this kind of reasoning is silly. Global warming exists and it is caused largely by anthropogenic effects.
IMO, if you want to question climate change you may want to consider asking questions like: (1) what are the consequences of action or inaction; (2) OK, it exists but how do we, or can we, affect any change; (3) how would you determine if changing behaviour is worth the cost of changing; (4) how would you measure those costs; (5) is climate change the environmental issue that is most pressing for the planet - should we focus on other areas.
Posted by: keving | 2005-02-25 9:37:12 AM
And of course, if there is climate change in one direction, it may trigger climate change back in the other direction without any intervention on our part - indeed, our ability to intervene may be for all useful purposes the equivalent of nil. Think back on predator-prey relationships.
Posted by: lrC | 2005-02-25 2:48:00 PM
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