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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Global Warming and World Flooding

Before the Saskatchewan stubble jumpers start calling in the real estate evaluators (see Small Dead Animals post “That’s not the Sound of Rushing Waters”) or London property holders start holding fire sales, whoops, make that flood sales, lets apply a little critical thinking to the question of global warming and world wide flooding.

Consider that oceans cover two thirds of the earth’s surface. The recent press reports say that global warming will melt ice will causing oceans to rise from four to six metres. Next think in terms that all land which rises above sea level would have to be covered in an ice sheet twelve metres thick, and all of that ice to melt, for that to happen. Ice does not now, nor ever has covered more than minimal portions of the earth’s land mass. So where is all this ice that is supposed to melt and flood dear old London? Ninety per cent of the ice in the world is in the Antarctic. It is reputed to be approximately 4000 metres thick. I have flown across Greenland and I know from that experience that the ice cap there rises to at least 11, 000 feet. That would cool a lot of cocktails but it, and all other glaciers, is virtually irrelevant in the world scheme of things.

British researchers in the Antarctic have drilled ice cores from which they are deducing climate change over a period of 740,000 years. That information tells me that the Antarctic ice sheet, from which they are drilling their cores, has not melted in all that time.

This ex Saskatchewan farm boy is not taking any options on Saskatchewan property, and I would suggest Kate and her confreres first corner the market on Methuselah pills if they plan to capitalize on that projected Saskatchewan land boom.

Posted by Bob Wood on March 25, 2006 | Permalink


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If you visit the Athabasca glacier, you'll see neat little signs showing how much it has receeded in the past hundred years. There are summer students there telling everyone what a serious problem this is. Many visitors seem very distressed over this. There seems to be no end to the stories over how much ice has already disappeared. The question to ask is, has the sea level risen yet? I was born 100 feet above sea level. If some projections are right, a lot of my neighbours are in trouble. As was pointed out, anyone with a knack for estimating can see that the oceans can absorb a lot of ice.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-25 5:28:03 PM

If you would like a short summary of the principal arguments against global warming, here is a summary from a survey collected by the editors of Scientific American at http://tinyurl.com/ht7q9

1. Warming may not actually be occurring. Most respondents seemed to agree that the global average temperature is rising, but some did not. Their doubts hinged mostly on the reliability of temperature and CO2 reconstructions.

2. This past winter was so cold. Where's the warming?

3. The hockey-stick graph, which suggests the present warming trend is historically anomalous, is flawed. One respondent said it "has been proven false by many papers." Others worried that, at least, it downplays the natural variability in climate. The ice core data, one of the ways used to reconstruct past climate conditions, are dubious. They may not represent the global paleoclimate because they sample only a few locations; they appear to contradict the paleobotanic (leaf stomata) data; and they cannot be meaningfully compared with modern surface temperature readings, because they are distinct data sets.

4. Ground temperature readings are subject to systematic errors such as the urban heat island effect. One respondent went further and complained that the Climatic Research Unit raw temperature data are "kept under wraps," so outside observers cannot verify that selection effects were properly accounted for.

5. Ground temperature readings contradict satellite measurements.

6. Reports of changes in polar climate are anecdotal and could be localized effects.

7. The present warming could be a natural uptick. Respondents pointed out that climate conditions fluctuate because of volcanism, the obliquity cycle, changes in solar output, and internal (chaotic) variability. Why, they asked, do climate scientists attribute all pre-industrial fluctuations to such natural causes and all industrial-age ones to anthropogenic ones? One respondent put it this way: "Every time I read that we have had 'the hottest summer in 100 years' I wonder what caused that hot summer 100 years ago."

8. It could be a rebound from the Little Ice Age or indeed the last Pleistocene glaciation.

9. It correlates "nearly perfectly" with solar output.

10. It could be explained by variations in cloud cover, which alter how much sunlight the planet absorbs. The cloud cover could, in turn, be explained by variations in cosmic ray flux, modulated by solar magnetic cycles.

11. It could be explained by decreases in Earth's magnetic field strength.

12. It could be explained by natural methane sources, ranging from termites to the recently discovered aerobic processes in plants.

13. It could be partly anthropogenic, but the natural variability is larger. A number of respondents argued that it is hubris to suggest that humanity could have such a large effect on the planet. "Many people seem to have a very exaggerated view of how significant we---and our activities---are," one wrote.

14. CO2 emissions cannot explain the warming. This is complementary to the previous item on natural causes, but I broke it out because respondents offered such a variety of hypotheses for why CO2 cannot cause warming.

15. Negative feedbacks stabilize the climate system against the direct effect of added CO2. One respondent wrote: "The Earth's ecosystem is far too robust to be affected by this minor change [in CO2 levels over the past century]."

16. If CO2 drove climate, changes in gas levels should be followed by changes in temperature. Yet paleoclimate data show the opposite: temperature changes first, then the gas levels.

17. In modern times, temperature and CO2 have been only weakly correlated. For instance, there have been long periods of declining temperatures even as CO2 levels have risen. Climate scientists attribute this to masking by aerosol cooling, but their explanation struck many respondents as ad hoc. Also, most human emissions came after 1950, yet the rise in temperature started earlier. 4. High CO2 levels earlier in geologic history (for example, during the late Ordovician) did not correlate with high temperatures.

18. CO2 is a pittance compared to water vapor. By one estimate, it can cause only 0.2% to 0.3% of the warming.

19. The greenhouse effect has "saturated"---further CO2 input does not increase it.

20. No one has done lab experiments to study CO2 absorption.

21. If CO2 causes warming, then the warmed air should rise, reducing air pressure at the surface. That is not observed. The correspondent who raised this objection cited Marcel Leroux's "Mobile Polar Highs" theory. Although CO2 may be a factor, rising levels of this gas are due not to emissions but to reduced uptake by the oceans (perhaps caused by a diminished phytoplankton population).

22. Climate models are unconvincing. In this category, I put the argument that, whatever the inherent plausibility of anthropogenic global warming, climate scientists have yet to present a solid case. The concerns here revolve around the inability of models to capture the complexity of the climate system.

23. The correlation of CO2 levels with temperature is not causation.

24. Weather forecasting is so unreliable. How could long-term climate forecasting be any better?

25. The range of model predictions is wide, casting doubt on their reliability.

26. Models can't even predict El Nino.

27. Models can't even explain past data. One respondent wrote: "Claiming the models can predict climate is either wishful thinking, ignorance or deceit." Others were more circumspect. One of the few respondents to say what could change their minds wrote: "I'd like to see environmental data from the 1970s fed into today's climate models and the 'predictions' match what actually happened." Another asked whether models can explain climate over geologic time.

28. Models are not proof. They can be used to prove anything. Being non-falsifiable, they are not really science.

29. The burden of proof rests with those claiming anthropogenic warming. Because mitigating climate change would entail huge costs, and because past warming episodes have been natural, it is up to climate scientists to dispel all reasonable doubts---not to climate skeptics to prove them wrong.

30. Warming is a good thing, so we shouldn't try to stop it. The arguments here varied from specific benefits of warming to general reassurances that Earth and its inhabitants have done just fine in earlier periods of warming.

31. It will increase humidity in tropical deserts and improve the lot of high-latitude regions.

32. Higher CO2 levels encourage plant growth, and that's good.

33. Sea level will rise gradually enough that we can readily adapt. The example the respondent gave was beachfront property. Its value will gradually decline as sea levels gradually rise, encouraging a move farther inland over the usual cycle of property investment.

34. Historically, humanity has done better during periods of warmer climate.

35. For most of its history, Earth has been warmer than today. The idea is that global warming is nothing to fear because it merely takes us back to a more natural set of conditions. Animals and plants seemed to do just fine in those periods of warm climate. One respondent wrote: "Our present chilly climate is the aberration when judged on a geological time scale." Over geologic time, the global mean temperature is 22 degrees C, versus today's 15.5 degrees C.

36. It staves off the next glaciation, which we're due for.

37. Claims that global warming has worsened storm damage, or will do so, are overblown. If storm damage seems to have increased, it is simply because more people live in storm-prone regions and their plight is more widely publicized than before.

38. Attempts to stop global warming would do more damage they than avert. Warming might be bad, but it is better than the alternative, be it Kyoto or some other mitigation strategy. The underlying assumption here is that the null strategy---letting the economy adopt non-carbon energy sources as commodity prices dictate, without any explicit reference to global warming---carries the least costs.

39. Kyoto is useless, or worse. Many of the complaints were specific to the Kyoto Protocol, which sets up a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases. It would bankrupt us. One correspondent said Kyoto mandates "a practically unlimited expenditure of effort (and money, naturally)."

40. Even it would not bankrupt us per se, it would divert resources from other, better-established priorities.

41. It would reduce warming by a meager 0.02 degrees C.

42. It exempts developing countries, whose emissions intensity and growth rates are much higher than those of developed countries.

43. People may claim to support it, but their energy-wasting habits belie their true sentiments.

44. People who argue that human activity causes global warming can't be trusted. Now we get to what seems to be the single biggest complaint: doubts as to the competence or motivation of scientists and others who accept anthropogenic climate change. Many respondents perceive scientists as jumping to conclusions, haughtily dismissing doubters, refusing to take the time to explain things, and adopting absolutist positions. One respondent wrote: "What data would convince me? I don't know if data is the problem as much as needing to perceive an objective voice." Cataloging these complaints has been hard, but here is my attempt.

45. Climate scientists have lost their credibility by making bad calls.

46. They used to predict an imminent ice age.

47. They falsely attributed the ozone hole to CFCs. The respondent who raised this point wrote that the ozone hole was clearly not due to CFCs because it began to recede before CFCs were phased out.

48. They uncritically accepted the hockey-stick graph, which was clearly "fraudulent" from the start.

49. They are guilty of doomsaying, which has been so consistently wrong in the past.

50. They were too quick to connect last year's hurricane season with global warming.

51. Climate scientists behave unscientifically.

52. They ignore contrary data and alternative explanations. Respondents complained that climate scientists are guilty of groupthink. For them to admit they might be wrong would hurt their reputation and funding chances, so they tend to cling to positions with a fervor that the data do not justify. The IPCC was said to seek out evidence that supports its preconceived conclusion. Similarly, people complained that scientific journals do not publish contrary data, presumably because of negative peer reviews by dogmatic climate scientists.

53. They are arrogant. Researchers, wrote one respondent, "go ballistic if anyone voices doubt." Another said: "A person with doubts, or simply unanswered questions, is shut out of the debate. One can only ask questions when it is phrased with unwavering support for warming."

54. They have let themselves get caught up in activists' agendas. 4. They themselves have an activist agenda. Respondents were suspicious that global climate change fits a little too conveniently into a certain environmentalist narrative that holds that humans can do no good (least of all if those humans are Republicans). Moreover, respondents said that if taken at face value, global warming seems to demand Soviet-style government action, which is problematic in its own right and a sign that the hypothesis is ideologically motivated. Because the U.S. is often singled out for its policies, there is a whiff of anti-Americanism, too.

55. They have a financial interest in global warming. Now we're starting to get into more serious accusations that scientists push global warming because it helps them curry favor with granting agencies. One person wrote: "There are no grants available to disprove global warming.... [Researchers] gather at government's teats for monetary nourishment, telling mommy whatever she wants to hear." Kyoto, too, has created vested interests and a strong incentive to "massage data."

56. Activists and journalists have gone overboard.

57. Experts do not, in fact, argue that humanity is the main cause of global warming.

58. The media sensationalizes warming. It focuses on worst-case scenarios and presents tenative research as definitive.

59. Scientific American lost its own credibility on the subject when it printed a one-sided critique of Lomborg's book. One respondent claimed that the magazine "threatened legal action to stifle debate" about Lomborg's book.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 6:12:21 PM

Fill your bathtub about half full. Measure the depth. Add a couple of buckets of ice cubes. Measure it again. Yep, that's what we're talking about. I'm not scared.

Posted by: HJD | 2006-03-25 6:12:25 PM

Better yet, HJD, and it's fitting for a Saturday night and way more fun than an icy bath, go pour yourself a rum and coke, scotch and water, whatever. Add ice. Note how full the glass is. Let the ice melt. (This means you can't drink the drink for a while, so you'd better make two.) Again, note how full the glass is. They're the same. Add more ice to the warm drink and enjoy.

Posted by: Kathryn | 2006-03-25 6:25:31 PM

This "global warming" scam sounds more and more like a scam, akin to those fortune tellers like Miss Cleo and her cheap commercials. Or perhaps it is more like a bag of magic beans. Either way, Kyoto is the Second NEP and should be treated as a casus belli and reason for immediate secession.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-25 6:35:39 PM

Alberta doesn't need to secede, the country needs to refederate. Equal rights for all.

Posted by: RK | 2006-03-25 6:43:41 PM

Oh, and I agree, this global warming crap is ridiculous. Everything is cyclical...after all, Greenland used to be...green.

Posted by: RK | 2006-03-25 6:44:45 PM

Unless, HJD, your tub is too full to start with.

People build artificats on the boundaries of naturally chaotic zones, because they find them beautiful, which they are, and then nature comes along and reminds them that the reason they're beautiful is because they're chaotic zones, during the process smiting their artifacts.

And then those people come running to the government to try to force us all to pay for their failed risk management, at the point of the sherrif's gun as hired by the taxation highwaymen.

Look at Venice. It's a joke. All the basements, all the undergirding infrastructure, are already under water. What were those people thinking? Obviously, they weren't. Well, not about the natural variability of hydrodynamic cycles anyway. They did some other things wonderfully well.

Sort of like New Orleans, a wierd place to build a city, but you have to have one at the mouth of the Mississippi, that river's too damn important not to. It's just that it has to be prepared to move relatively inland and or outland over time. Nature's boundaries are not permanent.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 6:46:12 PM

The mere fact that Greenpeace and other pro-Kyoto groups overlooked the exemptions to Ontario's auto industry and Alberta's oil patch prove that Kyoto is a bad idea. Allowing privileged groups to excape Kyoto sets a bad precedent for others. The burden will fall on the people whose ability to pay for Kyoto is questionable. I can safely say that any government that implements Kyoto under these conditions will not last long. I hope that Rona Ambrose comes up with a Made in North America version that does not ruin the economy in the process.

Whenever the biggest capitalists and anti-capitalists agree on common ground, be afraid.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-25 6:56:09 PM

Kathryn - your analogy is flawed. An appropriate analogy would be this: pour a scotch and note the level of the liquid in the glass. THEN add an ice cube and note the level. It will rise. This is grade three science.

The most recent study about melting ice sheets and ocean levels is about ice sheets that are ON LAND, not ice that's already in the water. Be as skeptical as you want, but don't be stupid.

Posted by: Calgarian | 2006-03-25 7:13:16 PM

If "Brevity is the soul of wit", my wit would have been rendered soulless had I included all my thoughts on this post. For instance how do you measure the rise and fall of ocean levels? I have seen the coastline of Burma (before it was Myanmar)which is clearly sinking, and the Saint John River in New Brunswick which is a classic case of a "drowned river" valley. On the other hand I have flown a researcher in the Arctic who was looking at raised beaches where the land is rising. I did not include the difference in volume between a given mass of water and ice when it freezes or the converse when the ice melts.
Perhaps my biggest concern is the lack of critical thought by journalists when they publicize these crackpot stories. If an old farm boy who had to get through life with no secondary education, can see right through the illogic in these press stories, surely our journalism schools are failing us if they do not imbue their students with the need to think critically and do at least minimal research before swallowing holus bolus press releases that are handed to them and then inflicting those stories on the less than critical public.

Posted by: Bob Wood | 2006-03-25 7:24:12 PM

One of the things that bothers me about the sky-is-falling doom-sayers is their relentless refusal to divide the negative effects of output (some of which are bound to exist) by the relative value denominator.

Take Canada, for example. Say someone says we have a relatively high per-capita of some environmental factor that they think is a bad thing. But we have a huge per-capita environment!

In the case of CO2, should that turn out to be relevant once the science is done, Canada is probably a net carbon sink, per capita. Because, you see, humans eat O2 and poop CO2, and trees eat CO2 and poop O2, and Canada probably has the second highest number of trees per capita after Siberia (which I believe is nominally still part of Russia).

So, if you consider our productivity-to-waste factor, sort of like an electromagnetic signal-to-noise ratio, I don't understand why some people claim that we aren't doing quite well, thank you very much. I mean you try mining critical resources that humans depend on across the world, while working at 70 below, and try not leaving your truck running.

People can complain about the oil patch 'till their blue in the face, but did you know that Edmonton, in the heart of the patch, has the cleanest sweage plant outflow in Canada? People come from all over the world to see how we've done it.

And did you know that Edmonton has arguably the most successful public school system in North America, based on Mike Strembitsky's devolution of authority and responsibilites program (aka school-based budgeting) in the late '70s. I was Mike's personal computer programmer when he worked out the algorithms for that revolution. And again people come from far and wide to see how we've done it.

You know how we did it? Because Alberta has less government, the entrepreneurs come here to set up shop. Or, in my case, stay here, while many of the friends of my youth who were more statist have long since decamped. It's the inventors who create wealth, not the operations staff. They just keep the system running (and god bless 'em for it, we couldn't do it without them).

People who are running around telling everone how to solve all the world's problems might want to pay more attention to Alberta's social engines, they are de facto producing positive results you may want to try to emulate.

(PS to Kathryn and Calgarian: If we replace the oceans with port, we won't need ice ;-)

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 7:31:50 PM

Run for the hills! The sky is falling!

Give me your money! The sky is falling!

Put me in charge of your life! The sky is falling!


'Scientists' make a good buck when they back up politicians seeking more power.

Posted by: infidel | 2006-03-25 7:38:16 PM

Bob: Sea level is easy to measure these days. Global Positioning Systems work on an ellipzoid, and can calculate from the center of that. Its not hard to determine whether the ground is sinking, or the water is rising. The systems have been around for almost 20 years now.

That was a great piece Vitruvius, but may I mention a couple more factors? Large volcanoes can affect a large area for decades. Mt. St. Helens cooled this area drastically 25 years ago. Any measurable warming in western canada could just be a return to normal. I've heard the tsunami may change climate patterns in Asia for some time. We don't know much for sure, and we have control of almost nothing.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-25 8:07:20 PM

Bob - there's no media conspiracy. The media dutifully reported the results of a major scientific report regarding glacial melting and ocean rise. That was it. It didn't make the front pages and it attracted almost zero commentary. The actual report was issued by a group of scientists from various countries, including experts from the University of Calgary. I don't see any conspiracy here.

You may think that it's charming to play the "straight-shooter," folksy, common sense angle on this topic, but frankly it's irresponsible. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but presuming to cut through the so-called MSM bias BECAUSE you have no education is ludicrous. Many issues in this world are highly complex, least of all environmental ones. I think we should leave matters of science to the experts.

Posted by: Calgarian | 2006-03-25 8:12:24 PM

For some value of experts. Part of the problem is that the media rewards people who are willing to pretend to be sure; "Well, um, we're not sure" headlines don't sell.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." --Bertrand Russell

Pay attention to the honest skeptics and iconoclasts in your midst. They'll keep your edge sharp.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 8:38:58 PM

Having grown up in Vancouver back in the 70's when eggs were dangerous to your health, I'm told now that they are good for you.

I was told we're headed for a mini-ice age back then. Now I'm told (a mere 30 years later) that it's really global warming we're heading too.

I hear someone state it was Mt. St. Helens fault that cooled things down, and we're warming up again...but that happened in 1980 - after the time I lived in Vancouver.

So this is what I've seen and experienced:

I remember shoveling snow at the Brown Brothers Ford dealership (41st and Granville) when it was almost up to my knee's. Now if snow even dusts Cyprus bowl et al up in North Van, that is an event.

I remember being in a week of -40 up at Cold Lake and told this "was normal". Now they're lucky to have -30 show up for a day.

I talk to an ol dear ex-lumberjack Sask farmer friend of mine who'd tell me stories of digging paths/tunnels out their front door due to huge snow fall and drifts that came up to their second story window.

I remember pictures of the train going across the prairies having huge snow blowers/plows on them and sometimes only the tops of the telephone poles show through the snow drifts.

I see pictures of the Columbia Icefield and notice that glacier has notably retreated, no matter who's exaggerating or not, it is shrinking.

Huge chunks of Antarctica are breaking away, well cracking...

Now some are saying global warming is bunk???

Whether it is the false CO2 crowd or natural tendencies, definitely something is happening, and that means water levels will rise if the ice does melt. Maybe not in meters, but inches.

Common sense says if you take something out of the ground you gotta fill it back up, else you get sink holes. Putting saline water back in a place where oil was before isn't the same, this is called density...

Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-25 9:02:49 PM

Reminder: the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" was NOT a documentary!

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-25 9:06:01 PM

It wasn't? Oh my gosh...guess I can take the tin foil hat off now...

Which movie was the Day after Tomorrow? The nuclear bombing of Dorothy or the Frozen Statue of Liberty?


Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-25 9:21:45 PM

oooh I remember now, Day after Tomorrow was the FedEx commercial...not the London zombie alert.

Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-25 9:22:45 PM

Day after tomorrow is Monday.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 9:31:47 PM

There were three feet of ice on the Thames in the 1600's, and across the North Sea all those Dutch painters showed people skating on the canals. It's been getting warmer since then, interrupted by three decades of cooling starting in the 1940's, a period in which most of us formed our opinion of what 'normal' weather is.

Atmospheric C02 levels can't begin to explain the changes. To those who insist Kyoto will make a difference, I say you might as well throw another virgin into the volcano.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-25 9:39:51 PM

I have severe doubts about any catastrophe to which the 'solution' has the potential to throw millions out of work in a very short period of time. Kyoto has the potential to cause another Great Depression because the new taxes and regulations would compel investors and others to shut down in Canada and move to non-Kyoto countries, including the US. They knew this from the beginning, which is why the Alberta oil patch (they aligned their compliance along existing methods to cause little if any effects) and Ontario's auto industry were both exempted.

I know too much about the Great Depression to not realize how serious this is. Any and all measures to avoid a repeat of that event must be taken, up to and including secession. It's for our present but also for our future. Albertans, think of your jobs, homes, businesses, and families when you cast your vote to secede from Canada. Ambitious easterners forced Kyoto down our throats for their benefit. It is decision time.

Posted by: Scott | 2006-03-25 9:47:27 PM

"...might as well throw another vigin into the volcano."

Can I, ah, umm, like speak with her 'in private' before you do that...?

Uh, wait nevermind, here comes the wife...


Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-25 9:47:27 PM

As one of the above pointed out, Greenland was named that way because of the unusual warming trend of the century it was colonized by the intrepid Scandinavians out on a toot, looking for new land to settle.

Iceland and Greenland. So lovely, so warm, so terrific to live in THEN.

Tremendous pain and suffering and a die off of the "lost" colonies of Greenland, and some hardship in Iceland when the situation went back to what we consider as "normal".


how many cars were around in 986 or so to cause this massive warming trend we must ask?

That was the year the intrepid Lief Erikson was sloshing around the north Atlantic in boats and naming Greenland in between wee snorts of Glogg) (or grog as it may well be)

By 1408 the Norse population has it's last recorded event. After that, they all fade to nothing. Gone. Kaput. The ice age was back in force.

Is it an ice age now? or is it warming?

We would need to answer the question WHAT CAUSED THAT WARMING PERIOD?

It was quite something and it may well have been going on for quite a while before Leif toodled off to the sea in boats in search of land.

(discovered Newfoundland too in the next few years after starting Greenlands colony).

I invite anyone who thinks that we are in a warming cycle to check the satellite photos of Greenland, and ask themselves if it even comes close to Leif's description even today in the middle of this current heat wave!

We don't know enough about weather cycles to tell if anything is even outside the norm, and looking at a documented heat wave of 500 plus years, that occurred and ended 600 years back, might be a place to start.

But hey, they don't teach history to science majors always, so what can we expect!

Posted by: Canadian freedoms fan | 2006-03-25 9:51:22 PM

I might be a bit confused, but didn't Lief name Greenland to divert attacks and attention away from the real living space, "Iceland"?

ON a side note, fozzilized trees were found in the Artic.

Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-25 9:57:52 PM

Biologists have a word for stasis. They call it death.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-25 10:00:54 PM

If she's a 'used-to-be-a-virgin' all the scientific properties are lost. Don't let your selfishness threaten the entire planet...

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-25 10:00:56 PM

Hey tomax, I remember it being colder in the past too. And I remember it being a lot warmer in mid-summer as well. I remember lots of snow in Nova Scotia, where I grew up. I also remember reading about record snowfalls there for the past 3 or 4 years. I worked in Brooks in the summer of '85 when the temp. hit 40 degrees. It hasn't been near that for years. Sure the glaciers are melting. And as for that oil in the ground, where did it come from? All that carbon was once walking around in a nice rain forest. It's not only our right, it's our duty to bring it back up, and release it back into the atmosphere. Think about it. Without a thick, robust atmosphere we could end up letting UVC rays in. That could turn us into a Martian-type world. By bringing all that carbon back up where it belongs we could extent the Earth's life cycle by millions of years. So let's all give thanks that someone is thinking ahead and helping free all that imprisoned carbon.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-25 11:27:06 PM

P.S. Saline water is denser than oil.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-25 11:31:59 PM

tomax, the thing is that you're leaving out all the other stories of the weather:

As Halfwise noted, my father tells me how the winters were really mild for half a decade when he was younger, and then ten years later spent half a decade with all these heavy snows and frigid temperatures that so many youngish seniors and late-boomers can recall now.

Yes the Columbia Icefield is retreating: it has been since the white man first saw it in the 1800s, long before industrialization. It damned well better be retreating too: the condition in which glaciers DON'T retreat is called an ice age, marked by the period where glaciers advance (hint: they don't sit still -- they either go forwards or backwards). The question becomes in the period from 1895 to 2006, what volume of ice was lost compared to the period from, say, 1795 to 1906, or 1095 to 1206. We know roughly how much volume of ice has been lost in the last century, and that it has increased from decade to decade, but is that amount and increase an anomoly? The questions that environmentalists don't want to answer.

(Also, we're told that heavy storms are a result of global warming...so did the snowstorms used to be worse in the past or not?)

Posted by: Feynman and Coulter's Love Child | 2006-03-26 2:51:40 AM


You ROCK, man. Obviously, from your posts, you're in Edmonton. You belong in Calgary, the home of critical thinking and chinooks.

For the rest of you:

Posted by: Rob R | 2006-03-26 9:25:48 AM

Hey Rob,
Edmonton needs all critical thinkers we can get. A little yeast leavens the dough-heads, etc.

Rock on, Vitruvius.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-26 9:44:44 AM

How can the EARTH BE ROUND????

Take a FLAT piece of cardboard and put water and grass on it - it STAYS. Now take a GLOBE and but water and grass on it - IT FALLS OFF...therefore the EARTH IS FLAT.

This GREAT MOMENT IN SCIENCE was brought to you by the dumb fools at the ShotDumb, "We're skeptical, unless King George II said it."

PENTAGON REPORT: "Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.."


Posted by: Justin Fossey | 2006-03-26 9:51:51 AM

The Friends of Science group has been largely discredited as an ideologically driven group of hacks. Exxon Mobil directly funds their "research" (which isn't really research, is it?). Barry Cooper was significantly involved with the project, and when the University of Calgary found out about it, they flipped a lid because they did not want to be associated with such a blatantly false piece of pesudo-science. The U of C forced Cooper to remove any references that suggested that the university supported the work.

If you're going to make arguments against climate change, don't use that group of drooling fools to bolster your arguments. The good people at http://www.realclimate.org/ address all of the dubious arguments forwarded by Cooper and his FOS cronies.

Posted by: Calgarian | 2006-03-26 9:53:37 AM

Justin, Calgarian et al
I wish I had your faith.

Climate is all about change, complexity and uncertainty. To claim that you have found a brand new cause of change (recent anthro CO2) that explains everything that is changing today, and to imply that all we need to do is remove that cause and everything will be ok, can only be termed faith. It certainly isn't science. There are lots of scientists out there who aren't drinking the IPCC Kool-Aid - try http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/

And a refutation or two of the GW skeptics based on fact instead of rhetoric wouldn't be out of place in your comments.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-26 10:05:56 AM

Seems the Kyoto Protocol is causing people in Canada to lose their jobs. A buddy of mine is losing his position as climate control co-ordinator for NL since the Tories aren't renewing the funding for these governmental positions. He blames the Tories for losing his job. I blame the Liberals for having to leave NL to find work. I guess everything is a wash.

As a sidenote, I grew up at sealevel and where our wharfs and stages are the water marks haven't increased or decreased in 35 years and the water is still too bloody cold to swim in even in August.

What about solar flares? A couple of years back we were warned about the possibility of high corrosion rates on pipelines due to the increase in solar flare activity. Solar flares eminating from the sun take years to reach the earth. Pipelines have cathodic protection and the imbalance created by solar flares on the earth's electromagnetic field was enough to reverse the cathodic protection on pipelines and make the pipelines anodic. Thus they were susceptable to stress corrosion cracking due to soil stress and the reversing of the cathodic protection. Anyone who has been around an oilfield flare can feel the radiant heat emitting from them, especially in the bigger facilities. I guess this rule of thermal conductivity doesn't apply to the sun or the universe/atmosphere.

Posted by: Lemmytowner | 2006-03-26 10:12:59 AM

Does global warming = global drought?

I think most people in Western Canada believe so. That seems to be the spin used to scare us prairie types. Comparing us to northern Africa can really get the emotions working.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-26 10:19:37 AM

Ok, I stand corrected, just checking Google on saline vs oil.


Saline formations contain highly mineralized brines, and have so far been considered of no benefit to humans. Saline aquifers have been used for storage of chemical waste in a few cases. The main advantage of saline aquifers is their large potential storage volume and their common occurrence.

Newfoundland is an overkill fjord?


Posted by: tomax | 2006-03-26 10:27:05 AM

I don't disagree that pumping oil out, and salt water in is a gamble. We know very little about how things work 1/2 mile down. There is a big risk of leakage from those old well bores. There is an area in southeastern AB that seems to be losing fresh water from an aquafer into a bunch of corroded well casings. The water enters the old casing and pours down into another zone, lost forever.

A lot of the salt water being pumped back down actually came from the same formation, mixed with crude oil. A very high percentage of AB crude is an emulsion.

Posted by: dan | 2006-03-26 10:53:39 AM

I've spent almost all my fifty years living within a few miles of where I was born, and now Rob you want me to move all the way to Calgary. What are you thinking?

Besides, Edmonton has more dirty-fingernail engineers than Calgary anyway, most of the engineers in Calgary wear ties. We call them desk jockeys. Real engineers don't wear ties because of the danger of them getting caught in the rotating equipment they're working on.

But seriously (we don't really call them desk jockeys), did you folks know that now that Schlumberger has moved their directional drilling work to Nisku, the Edmonton area has the largest collection of directional drilling expertise in the world (we were second-largest before that move).

And let me tell you, directional drilling is much better for the environment. Instead of putting roads and sites all over a sensitive area, you just build one site, extra-carefully, and then let the directional drilling go sideways, instead of the roads.

Did you know that the entire proposed footprint of the ANWR project is smaller than the Edmonton municipal airport? Yup, directional drilling.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 12:17:15 PM


I spend several hours a day studying Schlumberger's designer's drawings, trying to figure out a way to actually MANUFACTURE the tools they've dreamt up to make drilling more cost efficient. Most days, it seems like they're more interested in designing something that cannot be built than they are in making more efficient tools. Of course, that may just be my persecution complex showing through.

Sunny and +5° here, today. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by: Rob R | 2006-03-26 2:46:36 PM

And that's another problem, Calgary's just too darn hot. Fortunately, it's only +3° here. Much better ;-)

It's good to hear about your work on those tools, Rob. I'm glad to hear you're part of the solution, unlike so many who are only part of the precipitate.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 3:01:56 PM

More bullshit from Paul. As you were, carry on.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 3:06:44 PM

"...unlike those who are only part of the precipitate"

My sediments exactly.

Posted by: Halfwise | 2006-03-26 4:19:44 PM

Has anyone else heard the other global warming theory - that not only Earth but all of the other planets in our solar system are undergoing global warming too. This is apparently due to the massive solar flares of the sun - of a magnitude never observed before.

I heard Richard C. Hoagland (former NASA scientist) put this idea across on a radio talk show. However I can't seem to find any reference to it on his web site - enterprise mission.com.

Posted by: Javahead | 2006-03-26 4:22:17 PM

"A little yeast leavens the dough-heads" *and* "My sediments exactly." Heh, good stuff Halfwise.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 4:23:48 PM

It is indeed my understanding, Javahead, that there is some evidence for polar ice shrinkage on Mars, which if true, and if it is true that there is also polar ice shrinkage on Earth, argues to the solar flux hypothesis, which I think is one of the better ones for desribing what's happening (if it's happening at all).

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 4:28:25 PM

Interesting Lemmytowner, about the effect of solar flares on the pipelines.

Back in April 1997 U.S. Secretary of defense William Cohen warned of a new era of "global weather wars" at a counterterrorism conference.

He is quoted as saying - "Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanos remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.... So there are plenty of ingeneous minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreck terror upon other nations..... It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our (counterterrorism) efforts."

Scientist Richard C. Hoagland has evidence that hurricanes (Katrina and others) were manipulated through technological means. Who did the manipulating is unknown. The U.S. put through a "weather modification" bill in Oct/05. I doubt they would have done this if there wasn't weather manipulation technology.

Solar flares or deliberate weather manipulation sound a lot more interesting than blaming the poor cattle just because they have gas. I was also amazed that the former Liberal gov't regarded CO2 as a "toxic" gas. They emit toxic gas everytime they open their mouths.

I believe the lefties blame CO2 emmisions as a means of enacting their new transfer payment scheme (Kyoto Accord) where the foreign communists would benefit at the expense of the oil patch in Alberta.

Posted by: Javahead | 2006-03-26 5:41:12 PM

William Cohen & Richard Hoagland? Oy vei, best to absquatulate.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-03-26 5:45:32 PM

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