Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


That Terra'ist Truthout site has a couple of interesting reports.

In Storm Turns Focus to Global Warming, Miguel Bustillo in The Los Angeles Times says:

...Most hurricane scientists maintain that linking global warming to more-frequent severe storms, such as Hurricane Katrina, is premature, at best.

Though warmer sea-surface temperatures caused by climate change theoretically could boost the frequency and potency of hurricanes, scientists say the 150-year record of Atlantic storms shows ample precedent for recent events.

But a paper published last month in the journal Nature by meteorologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is part of an emerging body of research challenging the prevailing view.

It concluded that the destructive power of hurricanes had increased 50% over the last half a century, and that a rise in surface temperatures linked to global warming was at least partly responsible.

"I was one of those skeptics myself - a year ago," Emanuel said Monday.

But after examining data on hurricanes in the Atlantic and typhoons in the Pacific, he said, "I was startled to see this upward trend" in duration and top wind speeds.

"People are beginning to seriously wonder whether there is a [global warming] signal there. I think you are going to see a lot more of a focus on this in coming years."

Hurricane activity in the Atlantic has been higher than normal in nine of the last 11 years, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This month, the agency raised its already-high hurricane forecast for this year to 18 to 21 tropical storms, including as many as 11 that would become hurricanes and five to seven that would reach major-hurricane status. That could make 2005 one of the most violent hurricane seasons ever recorded. A typical storm year in the Atlantic results in six hurricanes.

But the agency believes that the increase in hurricanes is most likely the result of a confluence of cyclical ocean and atmospheric conditions that tend to produce heightened tropical storms every 20 to 30 years. If global warming is playing any role in the hurricanes, it is a minor one, the federal agency maintains.

Computer models have shown for years that rising sea-surface temperatures resulting from global warming could create more ideal conditions for hurricanes.

Yet before Emanuel's research there were few indications that hurricanes had become stronger or more frequent, despite well-documented increases in surface temperatures.

Moreover, skeptical hurricane scientists were quick to point out that worldwide weather records were too inadequate for a thorough examination of such trends. They said that would require an analysis of storm activity going back hundreds if not thousands of years.

"There is absolutely no empirical evidence..."

I have found that training as a scientist is not always a guarantee of your objectivity, especially when your funding requires you abandon it. Just sayin'.

Bustillo continues:

...Nonetheless, some scientists have maintained that the rise in mean global temperatures over the last half a century - a well-documented trend widely linked to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels - will inevitably have an effect on storms, if it hasn't already.

"It's the ocean temperatures and sea-surface temperatures that provide the fuel for hurricanes," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who recently published a paper in the journal Science contending that climate change could cause hurricanes to produce more rain and thereby become more dangerous.

"It's the big guys, the more intense storms, that have been increasing," Trenberth said. Hurricane scientists have been "unduly influenced by what has been happening in their corner of the world in the Atlantic. But if you look more broadly, at what has been happening in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, there is a clear trend."

Such views remain controversial among veteran hurricane scientists...

To say the least.

Dr. Trenberth has published some interesting things recently in Science:

Uncertainty in Hurricanes and Global Warming
Kevin Trenberth
Science 17 June 2005; 308: 1753-1754 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1112551]

Modern Global Climate Change
Thomas R. Karl and Kevin E. Trenberth
Science 5 December 2003; 302: 1719-1723 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1090228]

Toward Integrated Reconstruction of Past Climates
Kevin E. Trenberth and Bette L. Otto-Bliesner
Science 25 April 2003; 300: 589-590 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1083122]

Changes in Tropical Clouds and Radiation
Kevin E. Trenberth, Bruce A. Wielicki, Anthony D. Del Genio, Takmeng Wong, Junye Chen, Barbara E. Carlson, Richard P. Allan, Franklin Robertson, Herbert Jacobowitz, Anthony Slingo, David A. Randall, Jeffrey T. Kiehl, Brian J. Soden, C. T. Gordon, Alvin J. Miller, Shi-Keng Yang, and Joel Susskind
Science 21 June 2002; 296: 2095 [DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2095a]

Climate Variability and Global Warming
Kevin E. Trenberth
Science 6 July 2001; 293: 48-49 [DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5527.48]

Basically, he has some real evidence, and covers it in exquisite detail.

Farfetched? Certainly enough for me to blog on for a few days. I'll be reproducing some of it here for you to think about. Of course there will be massive farfetched interpretation for you.

In the second article, there's less objectivity, and more anger. Which, objectively, may be justified.

In Katrina's Real Name, Ross Gelbspan at the The Boston Globe says:

The Hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming... As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.

In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign.

In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet when President George W. Bush was elected president - and subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies.

As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.

Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about global warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.

When the US press has bothered to cover the subject of global warming, it has focused almost exclusively on its political and diplomatic aspects and not on what the warming is doing to our agriculture, water supplies, plant and animal life, public health, and weather.

For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied the media to accord the same weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that it accords the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations...

Ah, yes, anger over farfetched possibilities, and a report of the opinion of a majority of the world's atmospheric scientists. Which, of course, must be balanced by the best meterologists Halliburton can buy.

But enough of balance.

More reality based facts for you, as real as the coliforms swimming 20 feet deep in the streets of New Orleans tonight, with reference citations, soon.

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