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The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was the worst drought in US history
A primary tenet of global warming alarmism is invalidated.

A recurring theme in my past columns is that a moderate degree of global warming is likely to be beneficial to mankind. Al Gore, on the other hand, says climate change is already causing catastrophic results. In testimony before Congress last March, he stated, "droughts are [already] becoming longer and more intense". But the findings of a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers say otherwise.

The scientists, led by Gemma Narisma, examined 100 years of global rainfall data. Using sophisticated wavelet analysis methods, they identified 30 cases of severe droughts lasting 10 or more years. The results showed the number of droughts dropping sharply over time. From 1900-1920, seven droughts, another seven from from 1920-1940, and eight from 1940-1960. But after that, the picture changes. In the period 1960-1980, only five droughts were recorded, and from 1980-2000 (the warmest period of all), only three occurred. Furthermore, of the most severe droughts, none began in the last 30 years..

The researchers found another surprising result. Changes in rainfall levels are not only much more common than previously thought, but they tend to occur in a very abrupt, unexplained manner. More proof that climate change is part of nature.

The work represents the first systematic survey of abrupt climate changes that have occurred in recent history. Professor Johnathan Foley, who also participated in the research, says the study is important, "because previous work largely focused on ancient climates or theoretical changes in future climates".

The findings are published in Geophysical Research Letters.



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If you stop and think about it.....
By marvdmartian on 9/12/2007 9:18:36 AM , Rating: 0
If global warming truly is happening (and I'm not jumping on that bandwagon, nor am I opposing it.......yet), and causing polar ice to melt, then there would be more water than normal available to make rain, wouldn't there?

All I know is that it's far more likely that the earth will change to kill mankind, long before mankind will change the earth enough to kill it!




RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/12/2007 9:31:44 AM , Rating: 1
Indeed. The planet is warming, just like it was cooling 40 years ago. It's a continual balancing act. It is unlikely to go too far in one direction.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 9:47:51 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It is unlikely to go too far in one direction.


Just what exactly is "too far"? If a single species goes extinct because of warming, is that too far? 10 species? 100?

If a single village has to be abandoned because of rising waters is that too far? What about the entire coastline of a country?


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By TomZ on 9/12/2007 10:02:23 AM , Rating: 1
Why worry about things that are not under our (man's) control?


By nangryo on 9/13/2007 4:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why worry about things that are not under our (man's) control?


Because it was concerning with our lives, our daily lives. Indeed something are beyond man's control, but it doesn't make us to just sit there and do nothing. Everything that could help even a little to save our kind lives is worth a try.

Just like in example of tsunami, or volcanoes eruption. It's none of our control, nothing you can do to stop them. But you CAN lessen victim by place a sensor prior to detect them, although not 100% accurate, it does saves lives.

So, in this case, every little thing that can make the global warming less impact is welcome to try, and not to bashing studied that try to understand it and just do nothing.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By masher2 (blog) on 9/12/2007 10:03:49 AM , Rating: 4
> " What about the entire coastline of a country? "

Given that even the alarmist IPCC is predicting only a ~25 centimeter rise in sea level over the next 100 years, I think claims of having to abandon "the entire coastline" of a nation are a bit over the top.

The ice caps have been steadily melting for at least the last 7,000 years. If one looks at the overall history of the planet, permanent polar ice caps are a rare phenomena, existing only some 10% of the time. Do you suggest we should interfere with this natural process and prevent nature from taking its course?


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 10:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think claims of having to abandon "the entire coastline" of a nation are a bit over the top.


It is about as unrealistic as having a single species go extinct due to global warming (as opposed to a large number of species).

quote:
If one looks at the overall history of the planet, permanent polar ice caps are a rare phenomena


Even the simplets multi-cellular animals are a rare phenomena in the history of the planet. However, if you look at the history of the planet during which humans thrived, I think you'll find polar ice caps quite common.

quote:
Do you suggest we should interfere with this natural process and prevent nature from taking its course?


I think we should STOP interfering with this natural process and let is go about its own slow pace, instead of hastening it. :)


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By cochy on 9/12/2007 12:53:16 PM , Rating: 3
People are trying to point out that Humans aren't hastening it. It seems to be a pretty open question anyway at this point.

quote:
However, if you look at the history of the planet during which humans thrived, I think you'll find polar ice caps quite common.


You also missed the point that "the time which humans thrived" is a very small period of time and thus we need to examine how the polar ice caps have waxed and waned over much longer periods to reach any meaningful conclusion on the matter.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 2:31:36 PM , Rating: 1
Nah, I didn't miss the point. In fact, I don't care about any other point other than the one where humans have been around. Sure, it may be egotistical, but I'd prefer if humans were around in a million years. I don't want some rat-bear-monkey mix posting on an Internet site a million years from now about the downfall of the human race. :)


By Eris23007 on 9/12/2007 6:25:54 PM , Rating: 3
Watch out for ManBearPig!!!! I'm TOTALLY CEREAL!!!

/Al


By Pythias on 9/13/2007 8:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
Well you should. Otherwise, climate statistics are skewed.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By geddarkstorm on 9/12/2007 1:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
The End Permian event caused the extinction of 95% of the planet's species, and 50% of all phylogenetic families. The cause? Unknown; but things got quite a bit colder for awhile after that boundary before heating up into the Devonian.

We know there was a mini ice age in Europe in the 1800's, and I'm sure there were animals that went regionally or totally extinct from that, and that wasn't human fault at all. However, it is far easier for a species to adapt to heat and moisture than cold and dry. That is obvious since the hottest and moistest places on earth have the greatest biodiversity and density--and the warmest and moistest period theoretically in earth history, the Devonian, was also the richest in life of all. The converse is true, with extreme plant and animal species loss during ice age and cooling periods.

The fact the climate changes is irrefutable. Year to year the climate fluctuates, and century to century, so forth. Technically, we are still coming out of an ice age, so warming is to be expected, nor is it happening faster than per usual, especially now that NASA's data was corrected. There's nothing to be alarmed about. Did you know, that a year ago here in Kansas City on February 14, we had the coldest Valentine's in 30 years? And that incredible cold trend continued all the way up through March and April? Weather is always swinging about.

You don't have anything to worry about; if you really cared about species and the planet, you'd be more concerned with pollution and habitat loss than anything.


By Murst on 9/12/2007 2:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if you really cared about species and the planet, you'd be more concerned with pollution and habitat loss than anything.


Right, because pollution, habitat loss, and global warming have absolutely nothing to do with each other. ;)


By Oregonian2 on 9/12/2007 2:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We know there was a mini ice age in Europe in the 1800's, and I'm sure there were animals that went regionally or totally extinct from that, and that wasn't human fault at all.


What happened in America? If that happened "here" it would have been totally the U.S.A.'s fault (even if it only took up a tiny part of the continent at the time). It's a well know given that anything bad is humanity's fault, especially Americans... and that's a truism whether factual or not.

Here in Oregon we've had a very cool Summer. We think we've global cooling going on.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By smitty3268 on 9/12/2007 10:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you suggest we should interfere with this natural process and prevent nature from taking its course?

I HATE this argument, which someone always seems to make. The plague killing millions of people was a natural process, but no one is going to argue that we should let it go on. People change nature all the time for our own benefit.

quote:
Given that even the alarmist IPCC is predicting only a ~25 centimeter rise in sea level over the next 100 years, I think claims of having to abandon "the entire coastline" of a nation are a bit over the top.

Aren't there some coastlines that are already under sealevel, like maybe Belgium? I could be wrong about that. Anyway, I don't see this as a major problem either unless something unexpected and drastic happens (like the Greenland ice falling into the ocean).

I'm also not at all suprised that warming -> less drought. I've even heard that before for the midwest US, and extending it globally doesn't seem much of a stretch. As someone else said, more liquid water should intuitively lead to more total rainfall.


By TomZ on 9/12/2007 1:01:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I HATE this argument, which someone always seems to make. The plague killing millions of people was a natural process, but no one is going to argue that we should let it go on. People change nature all the time for our own benefit.

No, what happened is that humans evolved in order to avoid being killed by the plague - we improved sanitation and developed antibiotics. Same for global warming - humans will evolve to cope with the slowly-changing environment. I don't see any basis for concern.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By James Holden on 9/12/2007 1:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The plague killing millions of people was a natural process, but no one is going to argue that we should let it go on.

Lets we forget as well that the plague started as early forms of biological warfare. I'd hardly call that natural.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By smitty3268 on 9/12/2007 2:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
OK, fine, I'm changing my argument to say that no one should get MMR vaccines as a child. It's natural to get those diseases, and eventually we'll adapt everything will go as nature intended.

Ridiculous. (BTW, I'm also responding to the post above yours.)


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By TomZ on 9/12/2007 3:01:12 PM , Rating: 1
LOL, now you're talking complete nonsense. Who is saying that we shouldn't adapt ourselves to better survive in our world?


By Kenenniah on 9/12/2007 3:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
One could even argue that nature itself gave us our intellectual capacity, therefore anything we do with it is entirely natural. Just as an animal using it's version of "intellect" tries to avoid danger, or keep warm by digging a burro, we use our intellect to protect ourselves from threats and maintain comfort.


By Hyperlite on 9/12/2007 10:05:16 PM , Rating: 1
i concur, that is way off base. The argument here (the one against global warming) is whether or not we are causing or can do anything to prevent what i also believe to be a naturally occurring trend. The fact that we can and have done something to prevent disease has no place here, in my opinion.


By nangryo on 9/13/2007 4:22:23 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Do you suggest we should interfere with this natural process and prevent nature from taking its course?


What if this 'natural' process cost the demise of very large of human lives, just like on ice age ago where many species becomes extinct, do you still think that we shouldn't interfere with it at all?

You may say it it's all right, but when your family and a whole town get pawned by a huge abnormal hurricane formed by the anomally of global warming, you my say otherwise..

I'm not saying that it will happen, just in case that it "might" happen.


By Moishe on 9/12/2007 10:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
I think what is "too far" will differ for everyone (opinion). If you're in a village that gets flooded you might have a different perspective.

I think the reality is that "nature" is not really worried about individuals and it doesn't have a measure of what "too far" is. Nature is not reasoning, it is simply adjusting and going through cycles. I highly suspect that plenty species died before any significant human civilization or technology was ever around. To try to "fix" (or worse yet, stop) a process that we don't understand I think it man's ultimate arrogance. Long before we recorded our imperfect recordings nature was still doing it's thing and getting along just fine. Death happens, extinction happens and it's really just part of the way things are.

Don't for one second believe that I think humans should not conserve or take care of the environment. Letting things flow as they will is not the same as purposeful waste and foolishness.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By borismkv on 9/12/2007 11:57:13 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize that literally billions (Probably trillions) of species have gone extinct without us ever even knowing about them, right? The number of animal species forced into extinction because of human involvement isn't even a drop in a bucket compared to the number that went extinct because of an inability to adapt to changes in the environment. What's funny is that humans are the only species on the planet that actually works to *prevent* the extinction of animals. Every other species works pretty hard to kill off every other species. Nature's pretty darn harsh, my friend.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 12:18:11 PM , Rating: 2
That's a pretty ignorant argument.

Sure, perhaps you really consider human beings to be just another animal on this planet, but I think most of us think of it differently. Its kind of like saying that trillions of organisims have died from starvation in the history of the planet, so if we humans were all dying from starvation, it'd be ok.

In the history of this planet, there has never been a living thing (that we know of) that has the ability to literally destroy the planet. We are capable of doing that, if we so choose. With that comes responsibility. Although you may consider responsibility a joke, I don't think at all its something funny.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 9/12/2007 1:08:00 PM , Rating: 1
I think you need to recheck your logic. It is very egotistical to think we aren't just another animal on this planet. We are, that is the pure and simple truth of the matter. Anyone that thinks were "better" than that is kidding themselves.

We humans are the only ones to come up with all sorts of things. Mother nature changes constantly, this destroys old species that can't adapt to make way for new species that can. This is a continual cycle. The black plague wiped out 2/3 of europe. Who survived? People who could naturally survive the illness. That is an evolutional trait. The other 2/3 weren't capable of surviving and thus were eliminated from the gene pool.

Today humans can to some extent cheat the evolution system and provide vaccine's and technology to keep us alive even when naturally we would die. There are still other illnesses like AIDS, Ebola and others still keep a significant number of humans dieing. Welcome to reality. Humans have cheated evolution for quite some time and we may continue to do this indefinately, but unless we keep advancing technology and medicines we will sooner or later fail to cheat evolution resulting in a large portion of the human race (if not everyone) from being killed.

This is the reality of the situation. We may be capable of many things, but thinking you can beat mother nature is laughable at best. We can only Improvise, Adapt and Overcome whatever is thrown in our way. (Bonus to anyone who gets that reference)


By Martimus on 9/12/2007 2:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
The greatest thing about humans, is that we often don't need to adapt to our environment; we can adapt it to us.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 2:25:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It is very egotistical to think we aren't just another animal on this planet.

quote:
We humans are the only ones to come up with all sorts of things


Isn't that a contradiction? Sure, if you take the view that everything that is made up of cells is equal, then yes, we're no different from a roach. However, I think you'll be in the minority here. I think most would agree that we are by far the most unique beings on this planet.

quote:
Mother nature changes constantly, this destroys old species that can't adapt to make way for new species that can.


Exactly. I completely agree with you there. However, the point I'm trying to make is that the same should not apply to humans, especially when we don't have clue as to the effects.

quote:
Today humans can to some extent cheat the evolution system and provide vaccine's and technology to keep us alive even when naturally we would die.


I'd have to disagree with you here. Just because we're not evolving to physically cope with these, it doesn't mean we're not evolving. Our evolution is in our mental abilities to deal with issues such as the ones you've listed.

quote:
We may be capable of many things, but thinking you can beat mother nature is laughable at best.


When have I ever stated we can "beat mother nature"? I've been arguing to let nature do its thing on its own all along. I think you missed my point completely.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By borismkv on 9/12/2007 4:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Did I actually say that humans were "just animals"? No. I was pointing out that the argument, "How many lost species is too far?" was flawed, simply because that's what happens in nature. There have been periods in Earth's history of MASS extinctions on a global scale, none of which was caused by humans. From a biological standpoint, it makes complete sense that in periods of extreme change (following the end of an ice age, at the begining of an ice age, just prior to and immediately after a very hot period) that more species would become extinct, simply because they cannot adapt quick enough to the rapid changes that occur to their environment. What bugs me most about this whole global warming thing is that the people who are so vocal against the changes in America's security policy due to terrorist activities (The government shouldn't be butting into my life and taking away my freedom!!!) are the same people who think that the government should step in and wrangle the entire Industrial structure of our country into complying with guildlines that might not even work at all ("But go ahead and take away those evil corporations' freedom...that's not a problem at all."). Do you not see the hypocrisy in that?


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By Murst on 9/12/2007 5:32:42 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I completely agree that the government should not be involved (except maybe in some extreme cases), unless it is funding research, education, or something similar.

Minimizing our contributions to global warming requires action from people anyways... the government, through rules and regulations, is not willing nor capable of changing the lifestyles of its citizens.

However, I'm also against the government pretending it is not an issue. IMHO, the government should be encouraging "green" behavior, but unfortunately, I do not think it will happen with this administration, at least not at the level it should be happening.


By TomZ on 9/12/2007 7:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, I think that the so-called "green" movement is the only policy area where Bush has been successful. His sandbagging of initiatives like Kyoto has allowed us to avoid the humiliation of being in any way associated with that trainwreck.

Green is good, but it has to be based on good science, not junk science. AGW is pure junk science at this point.


RE: If you stop and think about it.....
By 3kliksphilip on 9/12/2007 10:14:58 AM , Rating: 2
...and wasn't the dust bowl a man made occurrence for over farming the same area of land?

Perhaps it should be Global Changing instead of Global Warming


By porkpie on 9/12/2007 2:07:06 PM , Rating: 1
During the Dust Bowl, rainfall decreased sharply and temperatures increased. Overfarming played a part in worsening the resulting erosion (as we were all taught in school) but natural climate change was the real trigger.


By Kuroyama on 9/12/2007 1:12:30 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, if we dump more water in the ocean it will not effect the amount of rain much because as the sea level rises the surface area (which is what matters for evaporation) will only increase minimally.

However, even if volume were what mattered, your point would not hold. The oceans have a total volume of water of 1.37 × 10^9 cubic kilometers. The Greenland glacier has a volume of 5 × 10^6 cubic kilometers, and the Antarctic ice cap has a volume of about 6.5 × 10^7 cubic kilometers. And of course, when ice melts it loses some of its volume in changing to water.

So, even if the Greenland glacier melts entirely then it will only add 0.5% to the volume of the oceans. Hypothetically, if the Antarctic ice cap were to melt then it woul raise the volume around 5%, which on the "more water = more rain" hypothesis would still only effect rainfall minimally (but would raise sea levels by 200 feet so rain would be the least of our worries).


By James Holden on 9/12/2007 1:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If global warming truly is happening

Very few people debate whether or not its occurring. People do debate its magnitude and origin. The new debate is whether or not its beneficial even.


By djkrypplephite on 9/13/2007 2:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
So by your logic, anything that happens in the weather means global warming. Sounds like a typical environmentalist.


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