Heat over the heartland

Grin - well I have been remarkable quiet and well behaved for perhaps a bit too long! And it may be that the heat is getting to me, since the heat wave that struck California last week is now hitting the East Coast. Now in the process it is still passing the Great American Fly-over Zone, where all those ethanol producing corn crops are busily growing - or not, since many of the states are having a drought. But, as was pointed out in comments, this will have more effect next year, than this. However, my mischief button was pressed when I heard a reporter saying that it was hotter than it has been in the region since 1936, during the dust bowl days. So, being one of them curious folks, I went to take a look. If you have read my earlier post along these lines you might not want to look below the fold.
So what am I talking about ? Well the general consensus of opinion is that with Global Warming the world is steadily getting hotter, and this is all due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide. In my previous post I had posted the temperature record for a single city in about the center of the country, where it was warmer in the Dust Bowl days,than today, and the warming trend we are now seeing had only been going on since the mid-40's. And so I got my hand spanked, because "you can't generalize from a single point". So herewith the temperature records for places in the states in a strip from the Canadian border to the Mexican one. The name takes you to the record, and it's a government site - and we know that they wouldn't lie to you (grin). And this time I am not drawing any conclusions, just pointing out the facts, but also that there has leen a lot of variation over the years.

Let's start in North Dakota - how about Bismark, N.D.

. Then we move to South Dakota, so how about Rapid City

Then there is Nebraska - let's check Lincoln

And so we come to Kansas, and Wichita

And still heading south we come to Oklahoma, let's pick Oklahoma City

And so we come to Texas, and on to Abilene

You know, it's a funny thing, but to me it looks as though in almost all these cases it was hotter during the Dust Bowl days than it is now, just as it was for the lone example that I used before.

I was talking to an acquaintance in Missouri the other day, and she was saying that the rain, what there was of it, was getting dirtier. Which is not a good sign. And if, in fact, we are going back towards those days in the 1930's, particularly in the Mid-West, then one has to wonder how successful the transition to a biofueled economy is going to be.

Grin, and in fairness I guess I should also add a couple of spots from the fringes - from the Great State of California we have Sacremento

And, for our Big Apple friends, where else but Central Park

Oddly the temperature change is not that consistent if one looks at Albany

But if I were to make a comment there, I might get my hand slapped again. So I give you this data for your comment.

Question:  How does the amount of asphalt in a city now vs 1920's affect temps?  

I would think that it would be the temps in the city go up quite a bit...even if the countryside stays the same.

Maybe checking cities doesn't give the whole picture.



I don't know about most cities but here in STL, we have an entire grid of temps across the entire metro area.  So I see the variations all over the city.  Having said that, here in STL I know our "official" weather is taken at the airport, which is not even in the "city" of St. Louis. That airport I'm sure has a type of heat island effect, expecially with the new runway just openend and the density of the surrounding area (BOEING is on the other side).

I don't think the airport was there during the dust bowl days, but you'll have to take my word for it b/c I wasnt around.  We also have a lot of weather instruments (radar etc) set up in the rural areas so I'm sure the readings are different there too.  I think it's hard to be accurate on temps when so many other variables seem to shift the focus a bit each time until you're off course entirely.

All of you missed the point.  I wasn't saying the HIE affects GW, but rather the readings on the ground.  Prior to the inception of the airport I don't know where they got the official temps. Let's even go far and say they took readings in the same spot and decades later an airport gets built and when you look at the temps, they appear to be masked as higher b/c of HIE.  My only point is that temps need to be consistent in their location to really be accurate.
The Urban heat island effect is not related to GW. See Real Climate:


Remember that the areas that are warming the most, as predicted by GW theory, are the poles. Temperatures up 3 to 5 degrees.

My brother lives in Anchorage, AK where the summer temperatures are much higher than even 20 years ago. And you can watch the snow pack dissapear from the Chugach Mountains.

Just to clarify further here, Global "Warming" does not mean it is getting hotter in your neighborhood.

The Global "Warming" phraseology is an unfortunate one that stuck before people realized it may send "wrong messages".

The increased trapping of solar energies by CO2 and other GHG's leads to Climate Change. Part of that Climate Change is the melting of the ice caps. Part of that Climate Change is the shift of annual rain patterns.

When rain fails to come to the MidWestern states, we have a dust bowl.

Yes it does make us pause and re-think the wisdom of the crowds regarding the biofuel strategy.

There is a Huge Fudge Factor (HFF) in estimating the heat island effect of growing cities when it comes to estimating the true amount of global warming.

The fact is, nobody is sure exactly how to do it--except for the ones who are surely doing it wrong.

Based on casual empiricism, my PSI (Personal Sweat Index) tells me that common estimates of the impact of urban heat islands is off by roughly a factor of two; in other words, spreading cities matter (I think but cannot prove) roughly twice as much as the most commonly quoted estimates.

The Surface Temperature Record and the Urban Heat Island
 william @ 6:33 pm

There are quite a few reasons to believe that the surface temperature record - which shows a warming of approximately 0.6°-0.8°C over the last century (depending on precisely how the warming trend is defined) - is essentially uncontaminated by the effects of urban growth and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. These include that the land, borehole and marine records substantially agree; and the fact that there is little difference between the long-term (1880 to 1998) rural (0.70°C/century) and full set of station temperature trends (actually less at 0.65°C/century). This and other information lead the IPCC to conclude that the UHI effect makes at most a contribution of 0.05°C to the warming observed over the past century.  continues...
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/the-surface-temperature-record-and-the-urban-h eat-island/

Seems that using average data is part of the problem here. The temp on Aug 1 may be hotter than the temp on Aug 1 during the dust bowl. If we have an extremely cold winter, or another season is colder than normal, it may wash out the extremes we see.

How about a series of highest recorded temperatures for cities?

Like SC (comment further below), I too have trouble with using annual average temperatures to talk about heat waves, though I've used them myself for other purposes. It's the extremes of heat (and cold) that kill people. Most of the deaths are among the ill and the elderly, just as it would be in nature.

For species less adaptible than ours, the extremes in temperature (and precipitation) are much more important than the annual averages in affecting the health and reproduction of natural populations. Plants and animals are affected, like us, by drought, blizzards, heat waves, etc. The effects tend to be most pronounced towards the edges of their geographic distributions.

I haven't run across a summary measure for heat waves, which is not to say there isn't one. However, I have looked at the annual highest temperature for 36 representative climate monitoring stations in British Columbia, where I live, for the period 1950-2001. Only about a third of the locations show evidence for any increase in the maximum temperature. The increase at those locations is about a degree Celsius in 50 years.

Reasonably complete data sets are pretty rare in my experience, especially when looking at locations with records back into the 19th century. The outcome of even simple analyses can be affected by how the missing data are treated. Temperature records have been kept in BC for about 150 years, but the analysis back to 1950 is probably the best that can be done with confidence.  

Sorry, that should be NC, not SC.  
I can only speak about Sacramento.  Not only is it hotter, but we also have far more marine layer making it our way each year now, and a lot more humidity.  We are seeing a lot more thunderstorm activity in the Sierra's and has reached all the way down into the valley.  The weather change is so pronounced that practically anyone I have spoken to notices and acknowledges it.  We have had a real nasty heat wave with lots of humidity, and now it is unseasonally cooler.  I have lived here for 34 years.  
In the early sixties I lived in Tracy, CA, not far from Sacramento but away from major heat islands. At that time it was common for summer temperatures not to dip below 105 degrees at night for three or four days at a time, temps in the tomato fields routinely went up into the 120s, and the humidity was sickeningly bad (from all the irrigation canals, it was claimed). I seriously doubt that this summer is worse than that of 1961 or 1962, but of course, it isn't over until the fat lady sighs and dies.
Lived in Bakersfield til '55. Same experience.
Hey,  I'm still alive and kickin!
How much does Methane contribute to Global Warming - compared to CO2 for example?  

How have Methane levels in the atmosphere changed over the last 100,000 or so years?

What are the main sources of atmospheric methane ?

What would be the easiest way to reduce the amount of Methane released into the atmospher?

Just curious.

I think it is 22 times more powerful (from memory I may be wrong)

Sewage, landfills, and agriculture forms it, it also occurs naturally in swamps.  There is fear melting permafrost could release large amounts, and the seafloor at high pressures and low temps has some.

22 times as powerful by volume, I think, but there's much less of it.
A few to get you started...

Methane: A Scientific Journey from Obscurity to Climate Super-Stardom
By Gavin Schmidt
Methane hydrates and global warming
 david @ 12:52 pm
There is an enormous amount of methane (CH4) on earth frozen into a type of ice called methane hydrate. Hydrates can form with almost any gas and consist of a 'cage' of water molecules surrounding the gas. (The term 'clathrate' more generally describes solids consisting of gases are trapped within any kind of cage while hydrate is the specific term for when the cage is made of water molecules). There are CO2 hydrates on Mars, while on Earth most of the hydrates are filled with methane. Most of these are in sediments of the ocean, but some are associated with permafrost soils.

Methane hydrates would seem intuitively to be the most precarious of things. Methane hydrate melts if it gets too warm, and it floats in water. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and it degrades to CO2, another greenhouse gas which accumulates in the atmosphere just as fossil fuel CO2 does. And there is a lot of it, possibly more than the traditional fossil fuel deposits. Conceivably, climate changes could affect these deposits. So what do we know of the disaster-movie potential of the methane hydrates?

Thanks medic and rat... but I was thinking about the Forests... (maybe we better start cutting them down faster ?!?!?! -see below))

I think we homo saps are still extremely ignorant when it comes to the atmosphere.  Maybe too ignorant to be pretending we know WTF we are doing???

Sometimes our godz of science are like 3 year-olds playing with loaded guns.

Scientists are ALSO politicians - in search of grants.  And they are more than happy to tell the politically correct (or politically incorrect - depending on who is paying them sometimez) and incredibly naive public exactly what it wants to here.


According to Lowe, "We now have the specter that new forests might increase greenhouse warming through methane emissions rather than decrease it by being sinks for carbon dioxide."

"The identification of a new source should prompt a reexamination of the global methane budget."

The potentially enormous natural source of greenhouse gases had thus far escaped notice, which experts say is not surprising."

(( I wonder what else might have escaped the notice of the godz of science... "just trust us... no really !!"))


Ah yes, that would explain why preindustrial methane concentrations were 680-700 ppm and are now nearly 1800 ppm. It does appear that some plants at least under certain conditions produce methane (what for we don't know) but it's definitely clear that current methane levels are nearly 3x what they were 200 yrs ago and climbing, and that the trend does not correlate with afforestation.
If there's one thing we know for sure, it's this: Take a nice ecosystem that's green and healthy and diverse, add humans who know how to farm, and a geological eyeblink, you have desert. It's been proven over and over and over again. The only chance the ecosystem has is when the humans die out.
No. Methane is now up to nearly 1800 parts per billion. CO2 is about 370 parts per million. Big difference: methane is a much smaller influence on climate, though still significant.
Yep, that's what I meant to say :)  Still up nearly 3x since preindustrial times.
Methane is 20x more effective as a heat trap so adjust your orders of magnitude again to make comparisons to CO2.  

That article shows Science (includes you) does not know enough about the atmosphere to be confident of any predictions let alone any recommendations for action.  The is not an experiment in a test-tube, this is the Real World Atmosphere with Real World Consequences.  

I hope someday the godz of Science can produce a working model they can agree on and is consistent for predicting hurricanes and their paths.

Let them Count Carbon molecules but be very skeptical of any actions Scientists recommend beyond cutting CO2 emissions.

Scientists have recently come to the support of Ronald Regan, who famously said in 1981: "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do". In a paper in Nature last January, Frank Keppler and others described how terrestrial plants emit large amounts of methane into the atmosphere under normal physiological conditions.  The estimated emissions  constitute 10-30% of the annual total of methane entering the atmosphere.

The rate at which methane has accumulated in the atmosphere has slowed in recent years. Discussing Keppler's paper in the same issue of Nature, David Lowe wrote:

Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of inexplicably large plumes of methane above tropical forests. They may also explain the current puzzling decrease in the global growth rate of atmospheric methane. Deforestation has led to a dramatic reduction in the Earth's tropical forested area (more than 12% between 1990 and 2000). Keppler et al. calculate a corresponding decrease in methane emissions from tropical plants of between 6 million and 20 million tonnes over the same period. During that decade, the rate of methane accumulation in the atmosphere slowed by about 20 million tonnes per year, suggesting that tropical deforestation may have contributed to the decrease.

Methane absorbs solar radiation strongly at infrared wavelengths, and is second only to carbon dioxide in its role in producing an enhanced greenhouse effect and warming the Earth. It also affects the way the atmosphere cleans itself of pollutants, and influences ozone depletion through the production of water vapour in the stratosphere. So methane has been the subject of intense scientific and political scrutiny, and is targeted for emissions controls under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The predominant sources of atmospheric methane are biological. The main ones previously recognized were microbial activity in wetlands (including natural swamps and rice paddy fields) and the eructations of ruminant animals. The dramatic upswing in agriculture required to feed the Earth's growing population has led to huge increases in rice culture and livestock farming in the past 250 years. The result has been large rises in methane emissions from both of these sources.

Since the main sources of methane are biological, it's hard to do much about them. Reducing the area of wetlands is generally thought to be a poor idea. Scientists remain worried that global warming, which is predicted to be most intense in the Arctic, will release large quantities of methane as the permafrost thaws.  

Hello RickD,

Ongoing research here in the Asphalt Wonderland.  The blacktop can get so hot here in the Valley of the Sun that a person can get terrible burns.




Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

HO, look at Pew Center's attribution fact sheet Understanding the Causes of Global Climate Change (pdf)
There is uniform consensus that average surface air temperatures over the 20th century increased between 1900-1940, decreased slightly between 1940-1970, and increased again from 1970 to the present, based on the instrumental temperature record.1 The first step in determining the causes of climate change is to compare this pattern of warming with what is known about the various factors that have influenced climate over the 20th century.

1900-1940. Although the burning of fossil fuels was commonplace as early as the 1700s, CO2 concentrations were only about 295 parts per million (ppm) by 1900, just 7% higher than pre-industrial levels of 270 ppm. The warming associated with this CO2 increase is considered to be too small to account for the observed warming. However, natural factors, particularly increases in solar radiation and a decline in volcanic activity, are well correlated with temperature over this time period, indicating that the warming was predominantly due to these two factors.

1940-1970. The cooling observed between 1940-1970 has been the cause of much speculation, because it is inconsistent with the larger picture of global warming over the 20th century. By 1970, concentrations of CO2 were approximately 330 ppm, 20% above pre-industrial levels, yet cooling occurred. Again, natural factors appear to have played an important role. Solar radiation decreased between 1940-70, partly explaining the observed cooling. In addition, rapid increases in human emissions of sulfate aerosols probably played a significant role by shading the Earth's surface from solar radiation.

And also ---
Recent decades have seen record-high average global surface air temperatures. The years 1998, 2002, and 2003 were the three warmest years recorded in the instrumental record (which dates back to the mid-1800s)...
Globally, you can now add in 2004 and last year, 2005, which was in a "dead heat" with 1998 (big El Nino) for hottest year in the instrumental record. I could go on... This is why I called for thorough data analysis of degree-days in my biomass post...

This whole controversy comes down to a simple axiom: "Correlation is not causation."

There are some very strong correlations between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature.

However, science does not know enough to attribute causality to those greenhouse gases; worse, they are nowhere near knowing enough to attribute warming to those greenhouse gases as a single cause.

To compound the difficulty, we are speaking about causation over time, not just at one point, which makes it even more dynamic, if not impossible, inside a complex system to say that a single X caused Y!

Causal language is dangerous, especially in a world with multiple conjunctural causality surrounding us.

I drop a pen, it falls.  Every damned time it falls.  That's causality.

Does this mean that global warming is not being caused by man-made mistakes?  Absolutely not!  

It just means that we don't have enough evidence to say if warming is being caused by multiple natural cycles/phenomena, multiple man-made activities, or the more likely of the two, BOTH.

Can we just say that there is a really strong correlation?  Please?  This whole thing is driving me semantically bonkers.

No.  It is not simply an argument about correlation, because the absorbtion by CO2 of certain wavelenghts of light, and the conversion to kenetic energy (heat) has ben demonstrated in the lab.

The argument is much more subtle.  It is about how to correctly weigh the known underlying physics of CO2 in the larger climate system.

we're saying the same thing odo.  I was trying to crystallize complexity, which never does it justice.  

yes, there are related hypotheses that have shown causal mechanisms and their effects, but the problem is that there are many causal mechanisms going on inside this system, many of them we don't understand...

sorry, that should say:

yes, there are related hypotheses, which the repeated testing of has demonstrated single causal mechanisms and their effects, but the problem is that there are multiple causal mechanisms going on inside this system, many of them we don't understand...

attributing single causality to one of them...that's tough to do.  

I'm not saying there isn't global warming, or that the concentration of gases isn't somewhat causally attributable to explaining the variance over time.  Perhaps I'm just talking semantics here...

we cannot reject the null hypothesis that there are not other cyclical factors at work, can we?

and I know that "X causes Y" is a lot easier to market than "Xsub34 is responsible for 38 percent of the variance in temperature, which is highly correlated with factor Xsub3 which also..."...yadda yadda yadda.  

I'm just tired of this whole debate being framed in a way that a single X causes all of the variation in Y over time.

Yes, I know it's a minor, trivial point in the greater good.  This has to be marketed, sold, etc., and I am supportive of the cause.  

It's just been bugging me ever since I saw An Inconvenient Truth.  "These two lines covary so they must be causal..."  Drives me insane from a scientific point of view, that's all.

But then again, I am terribly methodologically conservative.

As a long term student of methodology (How does that quote go: "A foolish concern with methodology is the hobgoblin of little minds."?) I have three rules:
  1. Be conservative.
  2. Be more conservative.
  3. Always conclude your article with a plea for more research, because it is always needed. The name of science is replications done over and over and over and over by different qualified scientists. Then when they get the same results, worry; maybe it is all a coincidence, or maybe errors counterbalanced one another.

No claim to empirical knowledge is ever immune to revision.
Shouldn't #3 say a plea for more research money?$$$
"Money" is too crude a term for "pure" scientific research; the idea that funding is the sine qua non of scientific advances is an I.H.P. (Indisputable Hidden Premise).

Please never to mention filthy lucre amongst us holy and pure ones.

"And, while you're up, get me a Grant."

It is a pity that more basic scientific research is not being done which is open to the public. I've too often read the word 'proprietary' on too many news releases. Too many deals between universities and industry as well as classified government research leaving too little for the public domain.
Partial to the Aberlour myself.
Correlation hits people in the gut, doesn't it?

He might have gone more math heavy ... but I seem to remember a prof speaking to the public's lack of understanding of the exponential ;-)

I believe CO2 emissions are one of those things currently growning on such a curve.

Prof. G.

If you locate a graph which has both CO2 concentrations and Deuterium/temperature plotted on the same time scale you will see that CO2 and Temp are correlated.  However you'll also notice that in basically all instances, temperature rises and then CO2 rises.  While there is lab evidence that CO2 will cause a temperature increase because of it's properties as as greenhouse gas, CO2 has not historically driven temperatures based on the evidence we have.  While I'm skeptical of the magnitude of human influence on climate, I'm also cautious and believe it would be prudent not to "tempt fate."

Yes, inferring causations from past CO2 and temperatures records is dicey at best. It may be a mistake to say that CO2 drives temperature changes, based on the kind of data you cite. But it may be a worse mistake to say that CO2 CANNOT drive temperature changes.

Just because some or even all past CO2 increases were preceeded by increases in temps first, doesn't rule out the opposite. If there is a positive feedback at work - rising temps liberate CO2 from some reservoir, which drives temps higher, which liberates more CO2, etc - then the current anthropgenic CO2 release can, perhaps uniquely in geologic history, initiate the same positive feedback loop.

In my opinion, recreating SOME of the conditions at the Permian-Triassic extinction event is bad policy, regardless of which exact condition was specifically responsible for initiating the extinction. It does make fascinating geologic experimentation though.

This is correct, but you're arguing by correlation: CO2 and T are correlated, in previous events T appears to lead CO2, therefore T is driving CO2. There's no causal mechanism here, nor does it preclude the possibility of CO2 driving T (the 2 are linked by feedbacks. In fact the likely causal relationships are also relevant now: an increase in respiration and weathering and decrease in solubility as more ice melts and T increases.) Temperature fluctuations on the ~10^4 yr timescale appear to be driven by Milankovitch cycles (causal mechanism). On longer timescales, tectonics dominate (causal mechanism). On the decadal timescale we're concerned with here and now, neither applies. OTOH, we do have causal mechanisms relating a rapid increase in GHG concentrations to the observed increase in temperature.
Graph of CO2 and temperature substrate was refering to is available here

Now if your going to claim higher temperatures caused the higher CO2 levels in the past rather than vice versa it helps to have a possible mechanism. I offer this: the higher temperatures in the northern hemisphere melted some of the glaciers and permafrost allowing the CO2 and methane trapped in the soil to escape.

I actually didn't intend to show causality there, poorly written I suppose.  But I've seen a number of people base assumptions on the ice core data and arguing causality of CO2 increasing temperature, where if you look closely enough at the actual data you can see that CO2 increases lag temperature increases.  As I said the ability of CO2 as a greenhouse gas has been proven in the lab and I wouldn't doubt it to cause a rise in temperature, but I'm skeptical as to the magnitude and extent of it's impact.  I also find myself leery of the data used to create the "hockey stick" graphs because they're based on the USHCN dataset which has been massaged quite a bit.  If you want to learn more about that (highly recommended) This: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html
is the place to start.  I think you'll be suprised.  But note: I'm cautious and believe it would be prudent not to "tempt fate" because the potential is there to destabilize this gem of a climate we have going right now, not to mention the (potential) benefits of ending the fossile fuel age.

Also, if you're interested in tracking down such things...there was some research done a few years ago which yeilded an interesting hypothesis that the rise of the Himalayas may actually have much to do with the climate of the Earth and the relative stability we've seen during the past some-odd thousands of years.

Some things to consider with climate(varying scales, of course):
(subject to feedbacks)
Thermohaline circulation
Global atmospheric circulation
Atmospheric composition
Ice/water/land albedo
Ocean - atmosphere interactions

(not subject to feedback, but relavent)
Position and size of continents: epeirogeny, orogeny
Solar cycles:
-earth orbit
-solar "constant" variability
Volcanic eruption
-atmospheric dust loading


Here's an explanation for the lag, admittedly by appealing to an "unknown process". However, one can envision plausible feedbacks. In any event, the average lag from interglacials is 800 years, so there's no explanation for what is happening now, is there?
I hope you aren't saying that modeling requires a detailed understanding of all underlying mechanisms, regardless of their scale or contribution.

I mean, look at the utility of things like Hubbert's methods, which are totally divorced from mechanism.

No, no...but it at least requires attempts at specification, doesn't it?
In the case of climate I think we have centuries of attempts at specification.  The computer age has allowed, as a happy accident(?) those attempts to accelerate by factors of millions.

The tragedy is of course that the only true confirmation will be time, and that ultimate confirmation of course post-dates any possible response.

(really strange to think where we'd be with global warming, but without gigaflop processors)

so, so true.
Well, we have a pretty darned good idea about all of those multiple natural phenomina, and we can model them to a reasonable degree of accurracy. Plug all of those known forcings into a GCM, and you can hindcast the global climate back thousands of years with a reasonable degree of accuracy. But you can't produce anything like the climate of the late 20th C without including anthropogenic forcings (both positive and negative).

Seems fairly conlcusive to me...

I am well aware of fallacies regarding correlation and causation. There is no natural cause (solar radiation, volcanic activity) for the current warming according to the best climate science available. The physics of CO2 (and other GHGs) in the atmosphere is well known. Weather is variable. My comments were about climate, not what has happened in Bismark North Dakota.

Re: It just means that we don't have enough evidence to say if warming is being caused by multiple natural cycles/phenomena, multiple man-made activities, or the more likely of the two, BOTH.

Nope, it appears that we do have a considerable body of independent evidence lines (eg. see the Hockey Stick studies and generally speaking, read over at RealClimate.org) for attribution of increased warming to changes we've made in the Earth's atmosphere. Can I say definitively that the 2005 warm year is attributable to GHGs? No. Can I say that the warming since 1988 is attibutable to GHGs? In the absence of other detectable causes, that would certainly be a good hypothesis. Nothing falsifies it so far. If I consider the temperature record since the 1880's, can I make a further inference? Etc. If we look at ice cores for the last 600,000 years and other paleoclimate studies and we can create climate models that are faithful to the proxy temperature record and more recent events (eg. Pinatubo), then confidence increases.

See no trend in the level of solar activity since 1950s. Also, there is a non-linear relationship that must be taken into account --

For one thing, the energy balance between radiative forcing and temperature response gives a non-linear relation between the forcing, F, and temperature to the fourth power, T4 (the Stefan-Boltzmann law). This is standard textbook climate physics as well as well-known physics. However, there is an additional shortcoming due to the fact that the equilibrium temperature is also affected by the ratio of the Earth's geometrical cross-section to its surface area as well as how much is reflected, the planetary albedo (A). The textbook formulae for a simple radiative balance model...
I agree it is reckless to make specific attributions in individual cases. But the Precautionary Principle tells us to hope for the best but assume the worst... Why don't we go with the best hypothesis we have? Jim Hansen will tell you we better act now before it's too late... Argue with him.

I agree.  See my reply to odo above.  It's easier to market X causes Y, I get that.  and it's also better to think about the WOS, especially when there's so much at stake.

I just hate calling correlations "causal."  That's all.  There's a lot we don't know about explaining the variation in temperature over time, but we know more now than we did yesterday, and we'll continue improving our models.

Tis' a complex world...

Welcome to wide, wild world of climate science!
The increasing realism of simulations of current and past climate by coupled atmosphere/­ocean climate models has increased our confidence in their use for projection of future climate change. Important uncertainties remain, but these have been taken into account in the full range of projections of global mean temperature and sea ­level change.
IPCC here.

Prof. G.

Not to pick a fight on this, but how the mean temperatures are calculated are critical to understanding global warmings impact.  The mean temperature tells you very little about the variation.  This is true for mean per day, month or even year.  

There is no richness to the data on why the mean temperatures are warmer.  Is it very hot summers alone?  Lack of cold winter alone?  Mixture of both?  Only normal days but very warm night (no radiative cooling at night) causing means to be higher?

All those details are lost in mean data sets presented by the National weather service.  But all those details are critical for plant and animal life to survive.  100 F days with 68 F nights during the summer in the midwest are not nearly as destructive to plant communities (even with droughts) as 97 F days and 78 F nights.  Might be the same means, based on amount of time at between the extremes, but the impact on plants and animals is worse with high night temperatures.

The same can be said for seasonal extremes and timing.  Check the heating and cooling degree days to see what is happening to the climate.  Where I have lived in the midwest for the past 20 years both heating and cooling degree days are increasing yearly compared to 30 year averages.  

The data presented by HO doesn't really show how we are using more energy.  In the upper midwest we are using a bit more energy to fight warmer than normal summers but we are also using much more energy fighting non-normal springs and falls.  These transition months have us setting both cold and hot daily records, often in the same month in recent years.  Only in the deep winter months are we using less energy, but that is a difference of minus 10 F up to room temperature vs 0 F up to room temperature.  This has little impact on people's energy bill because of the short duration.  

To end, the spring and fall is where energy consumption has gone way up and the climate has been most impacted.  Both  cooling extremes and warming extremes are happening often in the same month, with very little change in the mean for those months.  The biosphere has more energy in it and fluctuates back and forth between extremes.  This has more impact on life than a few weeks of summer heat or winter cold which life has adapted to by geographic location over eons.

However, science does not know enough to attribute causality to those greenhouse gases; worse, they are nowhere near knowing enough to attribute warming to those greenhouse gases as a single cause.

Current GCMs have many shortcomings, but they do have enough skill to attribute causes to effects (images from the IPCC's Third Assessment Report):

Doesn't mean the models are right, of course, and uncertainties are large and they have their share of fudge factors ("tunable parameters"). Certainly we'll never prove the case -- science doesn't do proofs. But the models do use testable mechanisms, and it certainly helps with the confidence level.

Nor is it correct to say that GHGs are the only cause for warming. It's more accurate to say that on the timescale involved, and given the behavior of the rest of the system, GHGs are the dominant mechanism that we've been able to find that can describe the present warming.

I drop a pen, it falls.  Every damned time it falls.  That's causality.

Actually that's still correlation. Now describing a force that causes it to fall and showing that it does -- that's causality.

Actually that's still correlation. Now describing a force that causes it to fall and showing that it does -- that's causality.

Bingo.  Got me there.  :)
Hence why we do not have a "law of global warming."
But yes, correlation matters, and it matters A LOT...I just wish we'd call it correlation...but it's just not sexy enough.
And for goodness sake let's not say smoking causes lung cancer, because really they're just correlated.
so does genetic predisposition, weight, height, family history, other genetic factors.  Come on, pick one that doesn't make my point...!
so does genetic predisposition, weight, height, family history, other genetic factors.  Come on, pick one that doesn't make my point...!
 The thing is a vast amount of scientific knowledge says that a majority GW is caused by humans just like the American Lung Association says
87% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking
It's the same thing, science tells you what the chances are, and for us, we need to avoid the worst.
For the 1940-1970 period, I would hypothesize that particulates thrown into the upper atmosphere by the Dust Bowl and combat during the WW2-Korean War period, roughly 1932-1954, combined with large amounts of dust and fallout from atomic bomb tests/usage changed the albedo factor enough to cool the planet. This phenomena is proven through studies on how Mt. Pinatubo's eruption's particulates caused the global temperature to drop by one half degree over one year's time. Further, this same concept is the prime part of a "failsafe" geo-engineering idea using sulfate crystals injected into the stratosphere to cool down the planet as a last resort. To my knowledge, no one has investigated my proposed hypothesis.  
You may be onto something. However, what about the twenty year period from say 1952 through 1972? Was that a period of unusually major volcanic activity? To the best of my feeble old memory it was not.

The most plausible explanation I've heard for global cooling from 1940 to 1973 is that it was due to a decrease in solar radiation during that time period, something similar to the Maunder Minimum and the Little Ice Age. However, the data are as usual, facts that never speak for themselves.

Hi Don,

I didn't mean to imply that volcanic activity was the cause; the Pinatubo example provides proof of the degree of climate forcing particulates have in the upper atmosphere. Indeed, many climatologists see pollutant particulates as currently RETARDING the rate of global warming because they change the overall planetary albedo factor. And as mentioned, we have the proposal to use sulfate particluates to cool the planet as a last ditch measure using the same process.

It takes time for particulates to reach the upper atmosphere and accumulate sufficient numbers to force albedo change. Also remember that dust bowl conditions weren't restricted to the USA; it was part of a global drought. WW2 started in 1931 when Japan invaded China; so, particulates related to war and the massive industrial ramp-up for the war started in earnest about that time. Atomic weapons "testing" transfered massive amounts of material from ground to upper atmosphere, and there has been little if any investigation into how atmospheric "tests" contributed to loading the upper atmosphere with particulates, although you'll notice that temps start to rise again a few years after the Test-Ban Treaty was implemented. Personally, I think my hypothesis could become a PhD dissertation. I hope some of the RealClimate folks lurking here will comment on its merits. Lastly, the Ozone Hole shows conclusively that aerosol particulates have great power despite their size to alter the historical norms of the atmosphere enough to greatly impact terrestial conditions.  

For some years the Hole in the Ozone had me more scared than greenhouse gases/global-warming.

I supect most of it can be attributed to sulfur or acid rain.

To my knowledge we don't have good number until later



For example and consider Soviet production during and after WWII.

In fact the only thing that is probably keeping temperatures where they are now is China industrialization.

If I'm right and we have a global depression that results in major economic slow down in China then you will see massive increases in global warming  within 2-5 years of reduced economic activity in China/India.

Other things like cloud formation from high altitude jets also contribute to lowering the rate of global warming.
Agian a massive decrease in air travel would remove the influence.

No the key point is that these suppression factors only effect the rate not the final outcome it means that the warming factor is reduces by some precent probably considerably.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/11/business/worldbusiness/11chinacoal.html?ex=1307678400en=e9ac1f6255 a24fd8ei=5088partner=rssnytemc=rss

Dammed if we do and dammed if we don't.

Anyone know if a source of multi decade solar radiation data?

It would be cool to see that plus co2 and temperature on the same plot.

There was an article in Science in 1991 showing a corelation between sunspot cycle length and temperatures between 1860 and 1980. The graph is at the top of this page

This may be related to the decrease in temperatures between 1940 and 1970, perhaps its the source of the claim I've read recently that solar activity is susposed to decrease and temperatures fall next decade.

   Without doing linear regressions to the data shown, eyeball fits seem to confirm the generally accepted temperature trends in all of the cities.  In fact, since the global average temperature has risen by about 0.7 C in the last century or so, many of the chosen cities show an above-average change.  No reputable climate scientist claims that the temperature changes by the same amount everywhere, and without year-to-year fluctuations.  It would also not be surprising to see some cities for which the temperature rise is very small over the last century.
   The record from the past is really not an issue anymore.  What is still lacking in the climate change community (as far as I understand the situation) are consistent models for geographically localized climate change projections for the future.  
I don't agree with you using yearly averages here there not all that informative you need the averages for the four seasons. Something like this http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seasonal.extent.updated.jpg This is sea ice extent but my point is looking at the overall picture you barely see the real problem which is rising summertime ice melt in this case. I think if you can get the numbers averages for each season you will see a dramatic upswing in summer followed by smaller effects in winter. Remember that temperate climates are quite modal swinging from artic to tropical. Its the onset strength and length of the various modes thats important not the overall average. A cold artic blast in the winter can easily hide the overall direction the system is heading. You alslo want to track humidity since it plus temperature is the real heat content of the atmosphere. And finally you want the numbers broken out by day and nighttime temperatures since the really important number is not temporary daytime warming but the heat retention at night which is closely related to the moisture content. If you read deep on global warming you will see that that a local level its the humidity or water vapor level that controls regional temperatures not C02 the C02 is the primary forcing agent but H20 is the premier greenhouse gas at the local/regional level and is actually the major greenhouse gas. The feedback between rising temperatures and increased humidity is the scary one thank god it rains. Now back to the dustbowl days http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4540497/ I'd suggest you play close attention to the Amazon. http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/drought/ And finally please don't post temperature records for a few selected areas to discuss global warming. Its a disservice to all. Consider this I have a pot of water and am dubious of the theory of ( pot of water warming ) on the stove and its boiling since i have the burner on its temp is 100c I come back in 10 min and its still 100c therfore I conclude that pot warming is fiction and not taking place. HEAT IS NOT TEMPERATURE !!!! Sorry for the caps but I hate when people equate heat and temperature.
A meteorologist at the University of Minnesota, Greg Sealy, has studied the climate data for Minnesota and has identified three statistically significant changes in the weather for Minnesota.  They are:

--Higher nightime temperatures;
--Higher relative humidity;
--Increase in flash flood types of rainfall.

The data has not shown statistically significant higher daytime temperatures.

Now thats the signature of global warming :)

A chart of average daily spread between high and low temps may be more indicative of GHG effect since they lower the amount of radiative cooling that can occur overnight. Both Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan set record high minimum temps on Aug 1. The temp spread was only 10K/18F.

If your graphs are intended to demonstrate that its really not all that hot this year, you have a few problems:

  1. The NYC and Albany graphs only include data up to 2003.
  2. The Sacramento is current up to 2004.
  3. All the rest do not show any data for the first 6 months of 2006. Obviously, a yearly average for 2006 cannot be calculated yet.

The monthly data in text form can be found at the links you provided. The monthly data DOES include 2006 temps through June, except for the NY and CA cities.

If you wanted to extrapolate what the 2006 data point would look like, assuming no unusual temps for the rest of the year, I think you would find that 2006 is off the charts, literally. So far, Jan-Jun of 2006 have been 1 to 2 degress hotter than any Jan-Jun of any previous year in the data sets you linked to. Even hotter than the Dust Bowl years in the few data sets I looked at.

Your data do not support your (implied) conclusion that this year's heat wave is within the normal variation recorded.

Cooling due to atmospheric particulates is masking global warming to some extent. That might help to account for geographical variations in temperature changes. Particulates may be higher in some regions leading to less temperature rise, or even cooling, while areas with lower atmospheric particulates experience warming. Also, the use of yearly averages may be somewhat misleading. It is possible that some areas experience hotter summers and little change, or even cooler, winters. Finally, as has been pointed out, the effects of global warming are, well, global, and most pronounced at the poles. Looking at local geographical region doesn't say much about the global effects.
These trends are interesting, and doubtless mean something.  But they might not mean much.  Global heating, as it should be called, is a worldwide phenomenon, observable by looking at the planet as a whole.  The continental U.S. represents only about 1.5% of the surface area of the globe.  It would not be surprising if variations in temperature of even smaller areas of the U.S. show some noise when compared with global trends.
It's sad to see the attempts to deny the human causation of GW on this site.  Except for a few holdouts, there is universal agreement among climate scientists that GW is happening, it's dangerous, and it's caused by increased levels of CO2, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.  The science has been proven for many decades, and the evidence multiplies every day.  Abrupt climate change has been proven in the past.  I repeat, Abrupt!
We all have access to the same information these days.  A previous poster asked some questions about GW.  Go find out for yourselves.  Read what climate scientists say about GW!  Is that so difficult??  Look at the evidence they present.  See Al's movie, read his book.  Excellent book: Richard Alley's "The Two-Mile Time Machine".
Denying human-caused GW is tantamount to denying PO.  Just sad...
Please explain the well-documented global cooling from about 1940 to 1973.

Thank you.

I cited the clearest summary I could find of the scientific findings.

That was caused by global dimming from large-particulate pollution.  This overwhelmed the effects of the increase in CO2.  Pollution controls initiated in the 70's reduced this pollution, letting the effects of CO2 start to be shown.  This effect is still going on - we should be seeing an even greater effect from CO2 than we are, and if there is any sort of large-scale industrial shutdown (probably due to war) the temps should really skyrocket.
Google: Global Dimming.  Learn.
Wow, this makes me think of yet another positive feedback loop:

  1. Fuel scarcity and/or global financial collapse leads to significant decrease in aviation worldwide.

  2. Decrease in number of flights significantly reduces global dimming (as was proven on 9/11 when all flights were cancelled).

  3. Reduction of global dimming effect speeds up net global warming.

Actually, this isn't a complete feedback loop unless someone can supply an argument for #3 => #1.

But I imagine 1 => 2 => 3 could contribute to reaching  a tipping point for runaway GW.

But you forgot 1A,   WWW3 starts and nukes fly,  and fill the sky with particulates which dim the sky again.

Too many possible outcomes.   Unfortunately, I don't think any of them will be planned.

Its all about population!

It's like a race to see which disaster gets us first.  The weather is the most interesting to watch I think, but it's all just fascinating, ain't it??
Yep, that's what I'm thinkin'...

An interesting point is that the climate scientists refuse to give even "for instance" predictions about what is the "worst" that could happen.  They just say, "it could be real bad" and shake their heads.  Al Gore alludes to the fact that he has wrung something out of them, but he isn't giving examples either.
Too many are still guilty of rejecting a branch of science because we don't like the answers.  The scientific method applied to our atmosphere is the same as the scientific method that made this little internet-thing possible.  If we were rational creatures, then arguing about the validity of science over the internet should make our heads explode.


The jury is probably still out on your assumption of the affects that airline travel has on climate.  From what I'd heard, in the days following 9/11 when there were flight restrictions in place, there was a noticeable drop in temperature.  This was because the exhaust from jetliners is basically CO2 and water vapor, the main culprit there being the water vapor which condenses into wispy high clouds which are better at passing visible light through, yet re-radiate the infra-red spectrum well.

This blurb (I just spent five seconds pulling up so maybe you can find something better) says that "they're not sure" basically: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/08/07/contrails.climate/index.html

You're right, the relationship between 9/11 and global dimming  appears to be more controversial than I thought.  Guess I got carried away.  Thanks for the correction.
Pollution controls in China? In India? In all the rest of the world except for a few rich countries????

Highly questionable hypothesis.

Not pollution controls but shutdowns due to worldwide economic collapse and/or energy limitations.  Often in China factories are only working 3-4 days a week because that's all the electricity they can get.  They're building new coal-fired plants at the rate of one a week, still falling behind.
According to realclimate.org

# The cooling trend from the 40's to the 70's now looks more like a slight interruption of an upward trend (e.g. here). It turns out that the northern hemisphere cooling was larger than the southern (consistent with the nowadays accepted interpretation that the cooling was largely caused by sulphate aerosols);

Google "CFC" "global cooling". Learn.


Climate's version of TOD. Real live talking scientists. Everything you want to know about climate change. A good starting point is the index.
Sunspot, by questioning a theory, or asking the RIGHT EMPIRICAL NONEMOTIONAL questions about a theory, should lead to its improvement.  

Everyone keeps providing evidence, things get refined, and we improve our knowledge.

At least, that's how it's supposed to work.

I absolutely agree.  Questioning a theory is an integral part of science.  People have made whole careers out of trying to prove Einstein wrong.  That is how science should work.  But it reaches a point where the evidence becomes clear.  There is no debate among climate scientists about the human causation of GW.  They have moved on, the matter is scientifically settled.  I will always go with the judgements of science.  It works.  Without science our civilization does not exist.  
Still and all I am reminded of a certain event a century ago when Max Planck teased out a loose end known as the Ultraviolet Catastrophe. Up to then, nothing was so certain as Newtonian physics. So as much as I accept AGW and think we need to act now, I'll also accept the limits of knowledge, and the reality that we always have to act on imperfect information.
Or, PG, you could talk about fiddking while Rome burns.
Anything that puts wind in the sails of those who continue to deny GW seems grossly irresponsible to me.
Improving our knowledge is fine and I will assume the climate scientists will do it even while the onlookers posture and deny.
And cut funding.
And nitpick and quibble and pontificate and murmur and grumble.
A cool variation on this theme would be to chart the cities named in the song "Route 66," especially given that the song is a celebration of American car culture.

Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Joplin, OK City, Amarillo, Gallup, Flagstaff, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino. Get your kicks on Route 66.

It's called global warming not upper American mid-west warming. So thanks for a cute effort that really signifies nothing.
As far as Heading Out's city charts are concerned, sciantists agree that the global average temp has "only" increased 1.13 degrees F.  Actually, it's .07 over water and 2.2 over land.  So an increase of even 2.2 degrees over the time period in those graphs simply won't show up.  It's a fact that the hottest years on record have occured recently, and '06 looks like a monster so far.  The first six months of this year were the warmest on record, and the month of July has seen temps running 10-15 degrees above average worldwide.  Even in the Southern Hemisphere they are having a much warmer than normal winter.  And these worldwide simultaneous heatwaves in the northern hemisphere are unprecedented.
Evidence!  Look at the Evidence!  And read what the Climate Scientists say.  They aren't a cult, they're scientists who gather data.  And if you think it's a scam, then take your next vacation digging an ice core in the middle of freakin' Greenland.  Now that's how to party on grant money!!
Speaking of evidence:
According to theory, global warming should cause an increase in average sea level over the globe. Correct?

Yet when I look at the same pilings in various places on the globe where I tied up a sailboat forty or fifty years ago, guess what: No evidence whatsoever of a rising sea level. On the contrary, what evidence I've seen suggests a very small (one to two centimeter) decline in average sea level over the past fifty years. Because of wide fluctuations, storms, local settling etc., it is hard to be sure, but just looking at the facts, ma'am, just the facts: I have yet to see any convincing evidence whatsoever of a rising sea level. (And yes, I do know about measurements from space.)

Let's hear from some others who have made first-hand observations on sea level variations since, say, 1950.

You need to talk to the people who live on low islands in various parts of the world who are having to abandon their homes due to sea level rise.
The sea level rise, SO FAR, is something like an inch.  You won't see it at the docks.
Melting half of the ice in Greenland will raise sea levels 10 ft.  Half the West Antarctic ice sheet, another 10 ft.  Melt all the ice in the world and we're talkin' 200 ft.
It's just beginning.  Be patient.
In the real world it is hard as heck to distinguish rising sea level from land subsidence and some other variables.

Complicating matters are a bunch of astronomical phenomena having to do with tidal fluctuations, precession of the equinoxes, and a whole shingle-load of other stuff.

Islands rise and sink all the time. Nowhere have I seen evidence that more are "sinking" than rising.

The astronomical phenomena are well understood and are already incorporated in any decent climate model.
well understood?

Ahem . . . cough, choke, sputter, spit, ahem . . . well-understood, like the cycles that cause the ice ages? So predictable those ice ages, . . . . yeah, right.

ay, ay, ay...Don, I think we're speaking a language they don't understand.
I don't know.  Tidal forces and precession are matters of newtonian mechanics ... pretty well understood.  In fact, they are understood.  Of course it very may well be we can't take these things into account with the required precision, but they are understood.
Nowhere have I seen evidence that more are "sinking" than rising.


Now you can't claim such ignorance.

Whether you see a rise in sea level can depend on where the observations are made. Along some parts of the coast, the land is rising faster than sea level due to the release of pressure from the weight of glaciers during the last glaciation. This process is called isostatic rebound.

The current estimate of sea level rise based on tide gauges and satellites is 2.8 mm plus or minus 0.4 mm per year. Careful estimates of sea level change due to expansion of the ocean as it warms show that the proportion of sea level rise due to thermal expansion over the last 15 years is 1.7 mm/y, 60% of the total. The remainder is thought to be caused by increased runoff from the land, as glaciers melt and rain and snowfall patterns change.  

Supplying this sort of data means nothing to the likes of Sailorman.
Of course, it isn't exactly data. It's "estimates" - and estimates that lie at the far end of rather uncomfortably lengthy chains of inference.

I would speculate that isostatic rebound could give an apparent cancellation of sea level rise at high latitudes, but it should exacerbate a rise at lower latitudes by forcing some extra water to go there. So at what latitudes does Sailorman tie up?

And the source of your "evidence" . . . .

Do you know the difference between fact and opinion? I think you do, because you have had an education. Knowledge is true justified opinion.

Now, where is the justification for your opinion?

Where are the replications?

Because replications are prerequisite to scientific knowledge, and if you haven't got them, well then, what you have is mere opinion--and nothing more.

I am not talking WAGs. I am not talking cobbled up "estimates." I am looking for solid scientific evidence.

Where is it?

How about producing some evidence yourself?
Apparently Sailorman gets the solid scientific evidence he's looking for when he ties up his boat at the dock and anyone who thinks this is piffle gets held to lofty standards.
Apparently Sailorman gets the solid scientific evidence he's looking for when he ties up his boat at the dock and anyone who thinks this is piffle gets held to lofty standards.

DING!  Welcome to the world of the God clearance Sailorman.

Thank you for finding a useful link.

Did you read and understand the article?

It supports my position. Thank you again for finding the scientific evidence online that I did not know was in the public domain.

(It does help to read the articles you post, Eric.)

TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 altimeter data
collected since 1992 indicate that global sea level is rising at about 2.8 mm per year.

Yup rising.  Not 'earth is falling into the sea' piffl;eing claim by a god cleared inDUvidual.

It might be more accurate to quote the full paragraph
Tide gauge data collected over the last century indicate that global sea level is rising at about 1.8 mm per year.  Unfortunately, because these data are relatively sparse and contain large interdecadal fluctuations, the observations must be averaged over 50-75  years in order to obtain a stable mean value.  It is therefore difficult to say whether sea- level rise is accelerating today.  Satellite altimeter data have the advantage of dense, global coverage and are beginning to offer, in a relatively short period of time, new insights on the global sea level problem.  TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 altimeter data collected since 1992 indicate that global sea level is rising at about 2.8 mm per year.  The significance of this result should become more clear as the record becomes longer  (it is thought that 15-20 years of continuous altimeter measurements may be needed to obtain a stable value for the current rate).
Heading Out -

I just caught this little exchange between some of you and this Don Sailorman re sea level measurments.

It's a real hoot!

If I understand correctly, Don Sailorman believes we  should accept as scientific evidence that the sea level is NOT rising because he hasn't noticed any difference in the water marks on some of the piers where he has tied his boat up over the years.

On the other hand, he questions the validity of highly accurate geophysical measurments of sea level that have been accumulated from thousands of locations all over the world.  

I guess for Don Sailorman, the location of a smudge of seagull shit on a pier is a more accurate piece of data than TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter data.

Why do you even bother trying to reason with someone like that?

Well, I'm sure you saw the time Sailorman took  on Robert Rapier over ethanol (bad idea to begin with...) and tried to use his mechanic as  proof...now, that was entertaining.
Thank you. But you forgot that I also cited my doctor, who has kept logs for years on the mileage he gets using E-85 vs. regular gasoline in his flex-fuel Taurus:


Empirical evidence gathered from real-world observation is that for this particular car over four years the difference in mileage is approximately ten to twelve percent less for E-85 compared to regular gasoline.

Now who do you want to believe? Somebodies arm-chair theory spinning? Or would you rather put credibility in actual empirical evidence?

The choice is yours.

Now who do you want to believe?

WANT to believe is the key statement.

That was abso-bloody-lutely hilarious.  We shoulda sold tickets.  
Well, HO, I guess you were a little unhappy with my post about the dangers of using coal for generating electricity... and I know why.  

But you're going to have do better than showing me the weather temperature record for Lincoln, Nebraska. On the other hand, I could just use Sacremento. But all that goes nowhere.

Generally speaking, mostly Stuart has talked about climate change here at TOD. For the most part, I have just made comments. But, really, why should either one of us have to serve as a proxy representative at TOD for the problem? As always, I suggest realclimate.org, the IPCC TAR (2001), articles in Science & Nature (and other journals), et. al. Here in the US and in Europe, we are experiencing what is called an extreme weather event. Attibuting such events to climate change is weak evidence for global warming. I tried to confine my remarks in my post to a conjecture that increased electricity usage is due -- in part -- to a warmer world. The data and analysis is not in. I cited the only study I could find addressing the issue. Unfortunately, I seem to be trying to cover mostly untrodden territory in this case.

Go see "An Inconvenient Truth."

The science is compelling. Perhaps the most telling moment, as far as a good part of this thread is concerned, is when he talks about a meta-study where the published, peer-reviewed literature regarding global warming is reviewed, over 900 studies and they found that zero, none, nil of these studies went against the world-wide consensus in the scientific community that global warming exists.

The only people who argue against global warming are either fossil fuel company hacks or spectacularly dumb people who say things like I heard a taxi driver say the other day, "You know, that global warming ain't true. Shoot. I 'member a day back in nineteen eighty-one, or two, when they was a day jess as hot as this here day."

God bless the stupid people.

Re: God bless the stupid people

Your remark is regrettable, inappropriate and rude.

I respect your sentiments and I wish I felt the same. To me
the remark, with the message and in context of this posting, is painfully telling of our whole human situation on earth.

If, as a society, we're going to reduce the looming death and displacement of tens of millions of people there will be some hurt feelings involved. More specifically, the idea that every opinion is worth balancing and that all people have some magically valid point of view isn't really helping us. Ignorance and weak thinking need to regain some negative connotations and perhaps be partially substituted with humility. Unfortunately, the current administration and media seem to favor ignorance and belief that the truth is whatever you want it to be.

That is regrettable, inappropriate, and fatal to others.

To lower the status of ignorance and poor thinking, you have quite the uphill battle. It seems that religiousness and its ignorance is now a status symbol, given Bush being a fundamentalist and the media mostly serving as a propaganda machine. Also, ever notice news stories about "faith" being made to sound like good news? It's "politically correct" to be as ignorant and trusting of dogma as possible!
Your remark is regrettable, inappropriate and rude.


Calling anyone "stupid" or implying it is not an argument, it is an ad hominem fallacy. Who among us has never been slow to learn or understand; obtuse OR tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes OR marked by a lack of intelligence or care?

I suggest you peruse the The Lost Sayings Gospel Q to understand what Jesus of Nazareth was really up to. Or any of the Great Wisdom traditions. I myself have forgotten from time to time.

I was stupid when I forgot.

Who among us has never been slow to learn or understand; obtuse OR tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes OR marked by a lack of intelligence or care?

THIS is a fallacy!

Stupid people consistently are slow to learn or understand, are obtuse, tend to make poor decisions or careless mistakes, are marked by a lack of intelligence or care.

They DO exist and in LARGE NUMBERS, this is precisely the problem!

Of course religious people deny this.
I am an atheist, I am a bit chagrined that natural selection has to wipe out the whole specie to fix this "little problem".
You probably did not read The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity no more than I read your "Gospel", where do we go from here?

I am not even remotely religious. Wisdom and faith are separate things. Consistently.... Would you include our beloved President among them? And many others I could name? I might but perhaps they are driven by more complex natural human motives like self-interest or greed. Unfortunately, natural selection is not operating for Homo Sapiens at present nor has it for a long, long time. I do suggest that when any of us look in the mirror, we remember that our ancestors were the survivors of a long weaning out process in hominid evolution.

A pity you won't look at the scholarly reconstruction of the Q Gospel which is actually a step away from blind faith in a makeover of some Indo-European storm God or Semitic God who will save us.

What is your sound scientific argument to prove the nonexistence of God (or gods)?

No evidence?

Sounds like an instance of the fallacy of invincible ignorance to me.

No evidence?

No "sound scientific argument" to prove the nonexistence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster either.

Sounds like an instance of the fallacy of invincible ignorance to me.

I admit you are an EXPERT in "fallacy of invincible ignorance".

I'm also an expert in the "begging the question" fallacy, which seems to be one of your own personal favorites.
Curious how we went directly from "stupidity" to "religious faith", although faith and belief require, in many instances, a suspension of critical thinking and are directly at odds with  what we know about physics, biology, medicine, etc. Although one can go too far with this, IMO the lack of understanding among the public, along with the many silly rationales heard, are a legitimate subject here among the Learned Ones.
Kalam cosmological argument/prime mover.....
google it
google it

Did it.

Anyway we are drifting quite a bit from PO.
I suggest you pray for a "new energy source", it should work...

I agree with Dave.  Better to keep opinions like "God bless the stupid people" to yourself than put them in print.  There will always be people that are smarter and less smart than yourself.  

As for Global Warming, all the pictures of the retreating Glaciers on our planet make the case for me.  

There is an interesting question, not so much about IQ, but about science in a democracy:

When do we the voters form an opinion, when we hear the conclusions of august and learned experts?  Or is the burden on the experts to make an arcane scientific case accessible to the general public?

PO and GW both suffer from this.  If we wait for a voting majority to understand the guts of the mathematical models, a majority will never be formed.  On the other hand, society seems to reject learned opinion at this point in history.

... who are those scientists to tell me what to think anyway?  Just because they spend decades learning about a problem they think they know more than I do!

Why is Cherenkov rude? Why are the smart GW deniers at TOD deserving of more than minimal toleration and scathing remarks?
It's kind of amusing to think of PO support and GW denial existing in the same noggin.  They both start with mathematical models, and both suggest futures that are counter to direct personal experience (it's a beautiful day and the local station has gas).  Beyond that both require that I defer to experts in the domain with more knowledge than myself.

FWIW, I think I'm swayed when experts in both areas say "out best models suggest ..."  because, after all, if we aren't going to trust the best models, what are we going to trust?

From which I gather that you qualify for either Ultranet, Mega or above .

Personally, I'm trying to rid myself of an excess of brain cells in so far as I have concluded they also cause an excess of pain. I'm sure many here have concluded that I've been successful in my assiduous efforts in this regard. Unfortunately, problems like peak oil, natural gas and the climate do not disappear but re-appear every day just like the morning sun.

Dave -

A generous daily dosing of ethanol over an extended therapy period will do wonders for clearing out all those pesky excess brain cells.

It worked for me; and it can work for you.

Just make sure that you don't drive when you use the copious amounts of ethanol in this way. But it'll be fun! Maybe that's what Bush needs to overcome religious fundamentalism, and ethanol (like drinkable E85) is a good way to do it.
The point is not so much about IQ than about plain nonsense

The morons should be made to acknowledge their "moronity" even a Nobel prize can be a moron when speaking outside his domain
The vast majority have "opinions" about ANYTHING, views differ, earth is flat...

Cream of Global Warming SOUP !!

A Primeval Tide of Toxins

Runoff from modern life is feeding an explosion of primitive organisms. This 'rise of slime,' as one scientist calls it, is killing larger species and sickening people...

"Scientists gathered from around the world to examine the damage. They wrote a paper predicting that the corals would rebound quickly, as they had for thousands of years.

"We were the best ecologists, working on what was the best-studied coral reef in the world, and we got it 100% wrong," Jackson recalled"

(( be carefull with those loaded gunz Children ...))


The rise of slime? A new biomass energy source? Where some see troubles others see opprotunities.
Oh my God I've been slimed

Ghostbusters 1984

I'm not skeered of Slime either Tom.  

I just like the part where the scientists says, "we got it 100% wrong."

Science is not a godz after all.

Here's what people don't seem to understand about the whole average temp thing.  So let me give an analogy...

Think about bowling averages.  Here in New England we bowl Candlepins (we call it Real Bowling!), and a decent average is 100.  But having an average of 100 doesn't mean that this bowler bowls 100 every game.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.  Now, as they (hopefully) improve, their average goes up.  This increases the probability that, at some point, they will have a higher game than they would have before.  A bowler with a 110 average is more likely to bowl a 140 game than a bowler with a 100 average.  And do it more frequently.
So it's the same with Global Warming - a slight increase in the Earth's average temp increases the liklihood that there will be warmer temps sometimes.  Earth's "bowling average" is a little higher.  And if it was just a matter of things being a little warmer that would be one thing, but unfortunately a little bit of GW leads to something else which is called "Climate Change".  This is what we are starting to clearly see worldwide, and the potential that we will reach some sort of "tipping point" and the weather will change very dramatically is all too real.  Research done within the last 15 years has revealed much about the past changes in climate.  Ice cores, ocean sediment cores, numerous land-based and geological studies all show the same thing.  The climate on this planet is very, very unstable.  Very bad things can happen very quickly.
At 2AM this morning it was 87 degrees on the Mass-NH border.  Unprecedented.

A bowler with a 110 average is more likely to bowl a 140 game than a bowler with a 100 average.  And do it more frequently.

This assumes the spread of each bowler is similar. Consider this:

Joe's Games: 105, 106, 108, 110, 110, 110, 112, 114, 115.

Joe's Ave:  110

Stan's Games:60, 60, 60, 60, 100, 140, 140, 140, 140

Stan's Ave: 100

Who's more likely to bowl a 140 and more frequently?

How come Stan got shorted a game?
I count 9 each.
Ok Then - Joe it is!
Stan exhibits a highly unusual distribution in scores. In the natural world, most phenomena obey normal (Gaussian) distributions. In that case, a higher average score would equate to a higher probability of acheiving a 140 game.
I could have easily made stan's a gaussian with a lower average and still had it more likely he would hit 140.  Just have stan's scores spread out so that 140 falls within one sigma of his average 100 and make Joe's distribution have 140 be, say, six sigma from his average of 110.  Same result.
it's all about the variance, baby.
Sigma, Beta, Chi squared . . .

Oh the insignificance of statistical significance:

BTW, I think Einstein was right about God not playing dice.

Oh the insignificance of statistical significance

Right, emotional bullshit is so much more appealing to the "masses".

I think Einstein was right about God not playing dice.

Sure, quantum mechanics does not work, well know to janitors and taxi drivers, God told them...

Sure, quantum mechanics does not work, well know to janitors and taxi drivers, God told them...

I think you missed the whole point of that exchange at the 5th Solvay conference. And why the Copenhagen Interpretation issue keeps coming up in Physics Today. And why we are still working on a definitive Bell's Inequality experiment.

At 2AM this morning it was 87 degrees on the Mass-NH border. Unprecedented.

Is there a problem? Very possibly. But I tend to be scientifically minded and to wonder about emotional hyperbole. Unprecedented? Now, that's a strong word. It might even be true. On the other hand, we have, what, around 125 years of anything that could be called widespread actual weather records? For times before that, we have what? Non-quantitative diary notes. Thoroughly unreliable oral tales. Dubious anecdotal tales based in part on the sort of selective memory that had so many of our forebears walking five miles to and from school uphill both ways. Dubious Kunstlerian contemporary speculation based on arcadian nostalgia for an imagined dead past when the climate was uniformly equable and life was "simple", leaving people unburdened by such unfair things as the need to study and/or acquire skill.

Before the late nineteenth century, what real clue have we got about the statistical extremes of daily or even weekly temperature? Based on the last 125 years or so, we can guess, maybe, at two-sigma values - while still knowing next to nothing, empirically, of what the long tails really look like, since with such a complex phenomenon as weather they may well not be terribly close to Gaussian. So by what means do we actually know, say, that the nighttime temperature at that 87-degree spot never exceeded 97 degrees sometime between colonization and the late nineteenth century?

There are proxies, measurement which might be used in place of direct temperatures.  But again that leads us back to the same question - someone says they have a proxy and you have to decide whether you (a) trust the scientific community suggesting that this correlation is a good one, or (b) come up to speed on all the arcane proxy-knowledge required to judge the validity of the measurement yourself.
Or there are proxies that just ring true first time. Watching temperate climate flora die off is a good one. There are lots of others. Look around. Read a newspaper sometime.
Hello everybody,

Maybe this map is not yet known here:

You can find it on the

US drought monitor page

I think this shows quite impressively, that the middle of the norh american continent is currently very dry, with some especially dry hot spots.

There is an animation which shows the development over the last couple of weeks and months....

cheers, marotti

It does look a bit Dust Bowl-ish, doesn't it?

Yes, indeed. Like a fried egg. And this needs some higher temperature!
Too many reductionist (yet bright) scientists on this site.

All this talk about Climate Change and little talk about the topic so dear to our hearts -- oil, black, sweet oil.

The convergence of Climate Change and PO is what we should be discussing. Climate change lends itself to debating little factoids. But if we are going to talk about:
Climate Change or PO or GWOT or overpopulation
we should talk about common solutions -- conservation, alternative energy, conservation, CAFE, conservatation, light rail, conservation, over consumption, conservation, etc.

Re: The convergence of Climate Change and PO is what we should be discussing

I just did though my focus was not on peak oil per se.

Noted hurricane forecaster William Gray plans to release an update Thursday morning of his seasonal hurricane prediction, to add specifics about how many storms might form the remainder of the season.

In May, Gray's team at Colorado State University predicted 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, 5 of them with winds higher than 110 mph.

http://www.earlyalert.com/Resources/templates/DrGray2005c.htm has the update. A reduction in named storms from 17 to 13; a reduction of hurricanes from 9 to 7, and a reduction of severe hurricanes from 5 to 3. If Gray is right this could turn out to be a relatively mild storm season.

that would mean I might actually get some work done this semester...
This is asinine, how can you update a PREDICTION half way through the season?  That's like calling up your bookie in the third quarter begging to take your bet back!
I enjoy the spirit of your post ... but I think you're wrong.

After reading "Fooled by Randomness" I only trust people who are willing to throw out their predictions and explain why.

(People who throw out predictions, and restart without explanation are as bad as those who stubbornly stand pat.)