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The past 30 years has seen more "hot" (orange), "very hot" (red) and "extremely hot" (brown) summers, compared to a base period defined in this study from 1951 to 1980  (Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)
Hotter summers have become the norm from 1980 to present compared to 1951 to 1980 (the base period)

NASA researchers have claimed to find new evidence for everyone's favorite topic: global warming
 
James Hansen, study leader from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), as well as GISS researchers Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy, have concluded that summer heat waves (mainly in the U.S. Midwest) have become the norm over the last 30 years compared to a base period 30 years before 1980 -- and it's because of global warming. 
 
Their study works like this: the team collected mean summer temperatures from 1951 to 1980. This was considered the base period for the study. They then looked at the surface temperature data from the last 30 years (1980 until now) to determine whether extreme heat events were increasing. 
 
From there, the team wanted to see how much heating and cooling occurred in both time periods. To do this, they used a bell curve, which is a common tool that places the middle ground at the top of the bell (for instance, if this were a grading curve, a "C" would be at the top while the next tier down on each side would be a "B" and a "D," and the bottom of the bell would be an "A" and an "F). In this case, the top of the bell would be mean temperature, the next tier down would be "cold" on one side and "hot" on the other, then "very cold" and "extremely cold" on one side moving down while "very hot" and "extremely hot" are moving down the bell on the other side. 
 
Researchers then applied mean temperatures from 1980 until present, and found that 1980s, 1990s and 2000s fell more to the hot side than cold. The curve widened and flattened as well, which means there was a broader range of variability. This is important because Hansen once predicted that global warming's connection to extreme events would become more apparent in the decades from 1980 to present, but natural variability can play a role too and actually mask the trend. It was important to distinguish the two. 
 
This wider curve created the new "extremely hot" category, which was barely there in the base period. However, hot has become considered normal in the last 30 years. To be more specific, 75 percent of land area on Earth had "hot" summers in the last decade alone, where only 33 percent had "hot" summers from 1951 to 1980 total. 
 
According to the researchers, an "extremely hot" summer is considered a mean summer temperature that is experienced by less than one percent of Earth's land area during the base period. But since 2006 alone, approximately 10 percent of land area across the Northern Hemisphere had a summer like this. 
 
"This summer, people are seeing extreme heat and agricultural impacts," said Hansen. "We're asserting that this is casually connected to global warming, and in this paper, we present the scientific evidence for that."
 
The study noted "extremely hot" summers in other areas besides just the U.S. Midwest, like Texas, Mexico and Oklahoma in 2011 and Eastern Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East in 2010.
 
This study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Source: Science Daily



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RE: Cherry picking
By amosbatto on 8/9/2012 1:07:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apparently the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998, a period of fourteen years has no statistical significance whatsoever but a period from 1980 to 2000 does.

You are wrong. If Hansen had chosen the years 1998-2012, then the trend toward global warming would have been even stronger. See: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/

1980 is the year when the global warming trend became very clear, but in 1998 the average global temperatures rose significantly. 1998 and 20005 were the two warmest years since the thermometer was invented (although 2012 is on track to be even warmer still).

quote:
The letter was signed by seven Apollo astronauts, a deputy associate administrator, several scientists, and even the deputy director of the space shuttle program.

Sorry, but those people aren't experts in this field of study. The question is whether they have found problems with the methodology used by Hansen. They have failed to show why Hansen's science is wrong. Lots of people would like Hansen to be wrong, but his work has consistently stood up to peer-review by the top climate scientists. You should read his scientific articles (or at least his book Storms of My Grandchildren) before defaming the man. He is a very careful scientist.


RE: Cherry picking
By KoS on 8/9/2012 6:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ya right Hansen is solid person. Some people would disagree. Take a read...http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=...

quote:
Award-winning NASA Astronaut and Physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA’s Apollo 7 also recently chastised Hansen. “Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASA’s own data contradict him,” Cunningham wrote in an essay in the July/August 2008 issue of Launch Magazine. “NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science,” Cunningham wrote.

[Note: Theon joins many current and former NASA scientists in dissenting from man-made climate fears. A small sampling includes: Aerospace engineer and physicist Dr. Michael Griffin, the former top administrator of NASA, Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology and is formerly of NASA, Geophysicist Dr. Phil Chapman, an astronautical engineer and former NASA astronaut, Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist and Moonwalker Jack Schmitt, Chemist and Nuclear Engineer Robert DeFayette was formerly with NASA’s Plum Brook Reactor, Hungarian Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist with 30 years of experience and a former researcher with NASA's Ames Research Center, Climatologist Dr. John Christy, Climatologist Dr. Roy W. Spencer, Atmospheric Scientist Ross Hays of NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility]


I really wish I could find the link to a video where a sentor talked about himself and Hansen deciding to have that infamous 88 meeting. But here is a link referencing what I have mentioned....http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/publications/spe...

quote:
“We called the Weather Bureau and found out what historically was the hottest day of the summer. Well, it was June 6th or June 9th or whatever it was. So we scheduled the hearing that day, and bingo, it was the hottest day on record in Washington, or close to it. What we did is that we went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right, so that the air conditioning wasn't working inside the room.”


RE: Cherry picking
By amosbatto on 8/9/2012 9:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
The article you site does little to prove your argument. First of all, Walter Cunningham has never published a peer-reviewed article on the climate (at least I couldn't find any with a Google search and a search through Cunningham's bio). The only place he seems to have published an article is the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank. I downloaded the PDF of his article: http://www.waltercunningham.com/factsfaith.pdf

A quick read found a number of problems with his arguments. For example, he writes the article in 2010, but he chooses to use a temperature graph published in 1998, which doesn't show recent warming and is based on proxy data which has had significant revision since the late 90s. If he were being honest, he would have chosen a recent graph with the latest science. I'm not sure what temperature is being measured in Figure 1, but at -32C it clearly isn't the global average for the whole Earth.

Then he argues that CO2 levels do not cause temperature change and that correlation is not the same as causation. The problem with this argument is that scientists have proven that CO2 does hold heat (unlike many other gasses) and that we have millions of years of correlation between CO2 levels and temperatures. Then he goes on to use graphs from Willie Soon purporting to show that the sun causes global warming, not CO2. These arguments by Soon were thoroughly debunked back in 2003. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Soon
Cunningham should be embarrassed to even use these arguments in a 2010 paper.

Then, Cunningham argues "In reality, water vapor has more than twice the impact on temperature as atmospheric CO2". Yes, it is true that water vapor holds twice the amount of atmospheric heat as CO2, and no climate scientist denies that fact, however water vapor is not the *cause* of global warming. Cunningham makes no attempt to show that water vapor is causing global warming, because he knows that he can't. The 4% extra water vapor in the atmosphere today is caused by rising temperatures. It is the effect, not the cause.

Cunningham then argues that CO2 levels can't cause temperature
increases, because: "it becomes clear that temperature
increases have preceded high CO2 levels by anywhere from 100 to 800
years, suggesting that higher temperatures cause CO2 levels to rise, rather than vice versa." Yes, this is true, and the reasons that temperature rises right before CO2 rises has already been explained by many climate scientists including Hansen. This argument doesn't debunk CO2 as the cause of global warming.

I don't know where Cunningham got Figure 4 in his article, but its temperature numbers do not correspond to any published graphs that I have seen in other places. Since it was published in 2001, I suspect that it is using proxy temperature data that is no longer considered accurate. Cunningham could have chosen more recent and accurate temperature proxy data, but that data would have disproven his argument.

In figure 5, Cunningham cherry picks one temperature graph in a particular location to prove that there has been very little warming. Actually the graph disproves his point showing an average 0.3C rise between 1979 and 2009, but if he shown a graph of global average temperatures, we would see a 0.5C rise.

On page 12, Cunningham sites a 2009 report on Antarctica with all sorts of quotations which directly contradict the known science on the Antarctica, however the source for these quotes was not the report itself but simply a list of quotes compiled by people who are known to be funded by petroleum companies. See what wikipedia has to say about one of the authors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Singer

Judging from Cunningham's paper, I can only conclude that Cunningham is more interested in producing propaganda than real science.

As for the other people quoted in the article that you linked to, Joe Romm has written a good article showing that the New York Times' reporter Revkin was misquoted and wasn't really saying those things about Hansen. See: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/01/28/203620...

Hansen has frequently been far ahead of his fellow scientists in his predictions, but history has proven him right. For example, he was saying that we should aim for 350 ppm of CO2 when other scientists were saying 450 or 550ppm. Today, most scientists have come to believe that Hansen was right. Saying that Hansen thinks that sea rise will be faster than most models predict does not make him wrong. In fact, ice is currently melting far faster than most scientists predicted and the predictions of Hansen on the speed of ice melt are currently happening.

Your article also quotes Dr Theon at great length. Here is what Romm has to say about Theon:
quote:
Note: On RealClimate, NASA's Gavin Schmidt writes: "Dr. Theon appears to have retired from NASA in 1994, some 15 years ago. Until yesterday I had never heard of him (despite working with and for NASA for the last 13 years). His insights into both modelling and publicity appear to date from then, rather than any recent events. He was not Hansen's 'boss' (the director of GISS reports to the director of GSFC, who reports to the NASA Administrator)."


Look, if you want to convince anyone, you have to site peer-reviewed studies which debunk Hansen's work, not retired nobodies who have never published any serious work on climate science. Otherwise, you are just repeating propaganda from right-wing think tanks and politicians.


RE: Cherry picking
By KoS on 8/10/2012 8:52:12 AM , Rating: 2
And the other gentlemen? Or just picking on the low hanging fruit?

Peer review doesn't mean much in my book. They are gate keepers, if they don't like something(based on personal views), it doesn't get past them. And it does happen. I know, those in the bubble think the peer-review is the holy grail.

I remember arguing with a Poli-Sci professor about the validity of polls. He swore they were the greatest thing since slice bread and how accurate they reflected what was going on. Well, a few months after that, he was on radio talking about how surpurising the local election results were. The results didn't match up with the polls, it couldn't be, the polls said it was suppose to be x, but in reality it was y.

When uncertain language is used, like possible, potential and the like. I don't trust the findings.

In the end, when I have climate scientists tell me in private they dont' really know for 100% for sure what is going on. Models have about 14 variables they are making assumptions on. There are problems basing our future or policy on, if that is the case.

In the end, let the planet warm. I will enjoy the weather! Right now, people in positions of authority, leadership and the like, really can't be trusted. They will need to re-earn that trust before I move on anything they wish.


RE: Cherry picking
By amosbatto on 8/10/2012 4:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Peer review doesn't mean much in my book. They are gate keepers, if they don't like something(based on personal views), it doesn't get past them. And it does happen. I know, those in the bubble think the peer-review is the holy grail.


Many climate change skeptics seem to think that there is a grand conspiracy to exclude any science which casts doubt on the consensus because it would threatens all their research funding.

The problem with that theory is that a large percentage of funding institutions which would love climate change to not be true and they would gladly fund their research if it were even remotely credible. The Koch brothers are funding anything which looks like it could disprove climate change and Exxon has funded a whole lot of junk science.

Anyone who could truly prove that global warming were a hoax would win wide acclaim and probably win a Nobel Prize for his work. The whole world would be so glad if the science could be disproven, because it would mean that we could avoid all sorts of difficult changes. Look at how hard the politicians are trying to avoid actually doing anything about climate change except talk. Most corporations would love climate change not to true, because they wouldn't have to change their business plans for the next 50 years.

The idea that a couple thousand scientists would conspire to hoodwink the entire world is pretty far-fetched, especially when a lot of their data is in the public domain. What makes it even more unlikely is that their funders (governments and corporations) would love climate change to not be real. The fact that scientists keep coming to conclusions that almost everyone hates should tell you that they are probably telling the truth.

Aside from all that, you can verify a number of things with your own eyes. Look at the number of hurricanes, heat waves and floods that are occurring compared to 50 years ago. Look at all the extreme weather that is occurring which is exactly what Hansen predicted back in 1988. Look at how the coral reefs are bleaching and how animals are migrating. These are things which you can verify yourself.

quote:
When uncertain language is used, like possible, potential and the like. I don't trust the findings.

Uncertain language is how science works when you are dealing with natural systems. This isn't the real of pure mathematics, but the messy real world. It is almost impossible to have 100% certainty, but as Bill McKibben noted, the chance that the world would have 327 months in a row with temperatures above the 20th century average is 1 in a google (1 followed by a 100 zeros).

quote:
In the end, when I have climate scientists tell me in private they dont' really know for 100% for sure what is going on. Models have about 14 variables they are making assumptions on. There are problems basing our future or policy on, if that is the case.

Yep, and they don't just say it privately. James Hansen notes many limitations of climate models in his book, Storms of My Grandchildren (p. 44, 74, 75-6, 81-2, 226), and he was one of the first to work on climate models. Hansen is the first point out that the models are based upon assumptions and there are many things that the modelers don't know. Hansen says that research priority should be placed in this order:
1. accurate measurement of the current atmosphere,
2. study of the Earth's history,
3. climate models
He trusts climate models the least of the three and thinks they must be constantly verified by current measurements and the Earth's history.

Hansen is up front about the problems with climate modeling:
quote:
Thirty years later, models alone still cannot do much better. Here is another killer: Even as our understanding of some feedbacks improves, we don't know what we don't know--there may be other feedbacks. Climate sensitivity will never be defined accurately by models. (p 44)




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