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Thread: Sandy and climate change

  1. #1 Sandy and climate change 
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    Bloomberg Business week published an article titled 'It's Global Warming, Stupid'

    But the climate scientist haven't jumped all over this very well.

    So where are the scientist on this given their chance to tell a story about the past, present and chances about the future?

    Why aren't they shouting about the obvious...tidbits I'll share:

    First off, it's an "S" named storm....the historical average is "H" or "I" ends the season.
    And historically those late season storms don't get very strong. Most of the really bad ones are early to mid seasons...we're well familiar with the Andrew, Gilbert's, Camille...well you get the idea--these are etched into the minds the survivors ..and every budding meteorologist. (list of retired storms--because they did historical damages
    Retiring Names Of The Worst Hurricanes)

    Ocean temperatures off the Carolina coast were not only warm, but record warmth and depth--warmer than historical average temperatures from September, when they usually reach their peak. (and we have data going back over 250 years).

    What about hybrid storms? Those are a rather rear combination of baroclinic storms, such as the East Coast gets during the winter combined with tropical moisture. They don't really have a distinctive name, because they are so uncommon but not unheard of. The "Perfect Storm" was one such storm when Hurricane Grace (a "G" name) combined with an arctic front off the coast.

    I still have quite a few friends in the field...and there isn't a one that wasn't just awestruck by this event as well as the undeniable context of what it means as they've watched the ingredients that produced this storm become more common with each passing decade.

    --
    My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and the shattered communities along the New Jersey and New York shores, but some of this highlights the importance of facing climate change. Hundreds of the homes destroyed this year were rebuilt after damage from Irene last year! How do you make reasonable policies after getting two historically unappreciated storms in back-to-back years? Should they be allowed to rebuild at all? FEMA would prevent it, but they don't know how to calculate risk giving the changes happening; even if they try, it will take at least five years to update their risk maps, and even then they'll have to fight an political uphill battle before they force communities to adjust to rules that prohibit building and mandate much higher insurance rates. Will they even try as as some states try to legislate against considerations of climate change, as if they can pass a laws to prevent storms. The result will be a more preventable damage tallying billions and more lost lives when the next one hits.

    --
    I hope after this election is over, we hear a lot more. We watched debates in Florida and North Caroline, both places that will likely loose thousands of square miles and suffer immensely in the next few decades--yet there wasn't a single question related to that dim future. Romney even snidely remarked about it during his nomination speech.

    Climatologist, Meteorologist, Oceanographers and government officials need to communicate that we have every indicator that things are going to get worse. And most importantly, communicate that climate change doesn't express itself in gradual average changes over 30 year periods such as a foot of lost retreating coastline per year. It usually expresses itself in events like Sandy, by twenty foot storm surges that sweep clear pleasant coastal communities and leave them as new inlets and bays. "S" storms that devastate huge areas with unprecedented fury.

    I hope the scientist don't do what they usually do. Collect the data, go back to their Universities, marshal their graduate students and work with government research agencies for supercomputer time, run their models, analyse the results, present the results to conferences, and finally in about three years from now, make some dry comments--such as "we conclude there's that climate change amplified Hurricane Sandy with 95% confidence." It will be on page five, probably misreported, and in the context of a dozen whatupwithcrap blog postings that cherry pick and pull out of context "factoids" from observational technical bulletins, conference presentations, or more stolen emails and than fed that misinformation to tens of millions of scientifically uneducated voters and their representatives even before scientist chose to join the conversation.

    I really hope it doesn't go down that way--the scientist need to engage NOW.






    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; November 3rd, 2012 at 11:20 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Have to say I was a bit disappointed with Kevin Trenberth's remarks about the sea surface temperature anomaly in the region. It was 5 degrees. He pointed out that the increase in global ocean temperature is only 0.6C - so warming only contributed 20%. He completely missed the chance to point out that 0.6 average global temperature increase means that there must be regions where temperatures have risen more or less than that. That's what average means.

    As for scientific communication, I read something from a woman climate scientist (Jennifer Francis possibly but maybe not).

    "Climate science used to be a science of projection. It's now a science of attribution."

    I'm starting to feel that the next AR from the IPCC is going to have a lot stronger language in it this time round. Let's face it, if the process continues in the same way from now on, there won't be much to report on Arctic sea ice in 5 years' time except more about the impacts on jet stream, Rossby waves, WACCy weather and how things are likely to go with less and less ice for more and more months of the year.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  4. #3  
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    Very important Thread. Isn't it always better to err on the side of caution? If a barrel of apples arrive and the first apple we pick up for a bite has a large grub sharing it, wouldn't this be a matter of concern.?

    Well, here we have Hurricane Sally. That;s our grub.

    OK. I've been pushing for intervention at an early stage of storm developement where ever there is the likelehood of major developement into more severe systems.

    It seems by the re-action on The Science Forum that we are not there yet.

    Why? Too bloody hard basket? Are we paralised? Don't say we can't afford to develope some preventative or moderating influence on these Storms. Just spend the Insurance Money up front instead of after the wreck.

    I f we don't get our act together on this then poor old Planet Earth will soon become the Boss of Change, taking it out of our hands. Our Civilisations make progress. We build. The Dutch People Build. Why?. Because they want to survive. And that is what it will come down to in the United States.

    I'm not a Scientist. Just as well. Because I would be raising merry hell in Scientific Circles, knocking over the Temple Tables and wacking Their sacred cows with a big stick. westwind.
    Words words words, were it better I caught your tears, and washed my face in them, and felt their sting. - westwind
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  5. #4  
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    Some one needs to be saying that more severe weather is what to expect as global warming continues. If you turn up the heat under a pot of simmering soup what you get is more vigorus and violent boiling long before the pot gets hotter.
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    The executive summary of the article rendered in the OP appears to be "Stop doing science and get emotional."

    I'm not sure that would work.
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    "Stop doing science and get emotional."?

    I think it's more along the lines of scientists being prepared to stand up and say in public what they now only say privately to colleagues and family.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  8. #7  
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    Side note: Apparently, this year is the first time in history that a small regular (non-Icebreaker) sailboat crosses from Greenland to Alaska this far north.
    (Maybe its just me, but if arctic polar cap start to become heat absorbing liquid instead or planetary deflector shield white, it might not be the greatest thing for climate stability).
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    Yet another immerging thread to the Sandy aftermath is the disconnect between likely environmental change and future planning.

    For example this article that concludes: "But for the storms to come, we’d better start planting a lot more oysters. "
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/op...the-storm.html

    While he is correct to point to dredging protective Oyster bed removed a natural barrier to storm surges and battering waves along the coast, it ignores that at present rates of increasing ocean acidification, most natural oyster beds will likely be gone in a few decades (it's already happening in other places). Paul Greenberg, doesn't have a multidisciplinary view of the science-in this reducing our options.
    --

    And here's another article with a similar suggestion:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/ny..._r=0&ref=earth
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  10. #9  
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    this year is the first time in history that a small regular (non-Icebreaker) sailboat crosses from Greenland to Alaska this far north.
    That was through the Northwest Passage. There were a couple of lightweight boats, one at least was a catamaran, that have done both directions around the Arctic itself rather than within the confines of the Canadian archipelago. Across the North Pole - Arctic Sea Ice
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    The executive summary of the article rendered in the OP appears to be "Stop doing science and get emotional."

    I'm not sure that would work.
    If presenting the science unemotionally doesn't work well enough - and I think a persuasive argument can be made that that is the case - where does the motivation to push for and accept significant change to the way we do things come from? Where to draw the line between being scientists to being activists may be a question but, particularly in the absence of serious solutions being seriously undertaken from within business and government and in the presence of organised efforts to engender doubt, denial and delay, to say it's a line that shouldn't ever be crossed is one I'd disagree with. The distinction between scientist and activist may need to be kept clear but as long as science is done by people they will have the right to be politically active. Given what's at stake I think they have an obligation to do so.

    John, I would note that I think the science is more than sufficient to make ignoring it a dangerously irresponsible proposition. That doesn't mean doing science should stop; plenty of uncertainties that it would be good to narrow down are still there. But I don't really think you would see it as a strictly one or the other proposition.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; November 6th, 2012 at 07:45 PM.
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  12. #11  
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    One strategy might be for scientists to let others, like this girl in the link below, make the emotional running and to come in with the rational, reasonable comment along the lines of, "I can see why a young person would be so worried because research in my area shows ..... lots of boring technical stuff .... The science tells us she should be concerned."

    In The Wake Of Sandy, A 16-Year Old Climate Activist Speaks Her Mind | Open Mind

    As for scientists getting emotional. There may be no need, the science alone looks to be in the 'oh shit' no-other-emotion-needed category. But we won't see the report for another 12-18 months.

    Former UN official says climate report will shock nations into action
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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