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back to article Global warming: It's GOOD for the environment

Climate change, this global warming thing, it's going to mean that the tropical forests frazzle up and then we all die, right? It will mena the death of the "lungs of the planet" – such as the miles upon miles of Amazon jungle – which turn CO2 into the O2 that we inhale. It's titsup for humanity, basically. Except, according to …

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Plants like CO2? Really?

What a revelation! Plants thrive when they have more food! Wow, really?

What's next, than animals do better with Oxygen than not.

Wow.... what will climatologists think of next?

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Re: Plants like CO2? Really?

The majority of atmospheric oxygen is produced by algea living in the sea - not trees.

Would a few deg rise in sea temperatures do more harm than the increase in CO2 will help?

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warmer sea temperature

Cold water stores more CO2 then warm water.

Warmer oceans lead to a warmer atmosphere.

A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

The warmer the water, the more vapor.

More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

The warmer the water, the more vapor.

More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

A warmer atmosphere leads to warmer oceans

The warmer the water, the more vapor.

More vapor leads to a warmer atmopshere

Oops, I must have hit a loop there .....

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Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

Oh boy, you are so clevel, describing an unstable system with a 100% positive feedback, meaning that there can not be stable temperature at all.

Since the Little Ice Age (which ended in 1800-1850) CO2 increased by more than 30%, the mean global temperatures (according to the AGW alarmists, that is) increased by less than 0.5% (less than a degree over 250 Kelvin, or so, I cant be bothered to find out, but that's less than 0.5%).

So how is it, that for 150 years, the vapor-warmer-vapor-warmer hullabaloo did not result in the oceans boiling by now? You clain 100% positive feedback, care to explain? Ooops?

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Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

"Oh boy, you are so clevel, describing an unstable system with a 100% positive feedback, meaning that there can not be stable temperature at all."

I'm not sure where the 100% comes from but, anyway, positive feedback does not imply instability. Hint: consider a simple model with a linear gain x, where 0 < x < 1 and apply some simple maths.

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Re: warmer sea temperature

You forgot the bit where warmer wetter air rises, forming clouds which radiate energy to space and reflect incoming sunlight thus cooling the earth and making it piss with rain.

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Mushroom

Re: warmer sea temperature - so why are we not frozen or boiled by now?

"Oh boy, you are so clevel,"

LOL

And so are you.

What I as the Head Climatologist of the Uranus Probing Project, have determined is the amount of METHANE calthracites being deposited in the oceans, and who's stability is dependent upon pressure AND temperature.

And since there is an absolutely staggering amount of water-methane slush on the ocean floor - as the oceans continue to warm up, the methane is boiling out and re-entering the biosphere....

This along with all the cows anus's venting millions of tons of it, AND even worsera, all of the tundra / permafrost / cold wet peaty areas - all warming up and venting squillions of tons of it - as in a lot - one of the issues is that METHANE IS a way worsera green house gas than CO2, and it may end up as the oceans rise above our heads, that the atmosphere becomes one HUGE mix of methane and oxygen and some fucker lights a match...

Flambe Atmospherus...

Thus there goes all the tinder left standing in the deserts as well.

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Re: warmer sea temperature

Yes, you did hit a loop. It's called the bullshit feedback loop. No mention of clouds in your piece of course or the fact that the oceans store 1000 x as much heat as the atmosphere, hence their temperature beyond a few m cannot be influenced by it (it's the other way around). Not that scientists know all that much about this of course. But don't let that stop you from indulging in the environmentalist's favourite feedback fantasy!

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Re: warmer sea temperature

Hey - you have forgotten about the rain. More vapour - more rain.

More C02 - trees will grow faster - did you read the article ?

Warmer climate - more land to agriculture.. and more food.

There is no proof oceans heats up much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: warmer sea temperature

@Itzman - Clouds are vastly more complicated than that.

For a start anything that reflects solar energy back out to space, also reflects energy coming up from the earth back as well.

But like I say, it's vastly, vastly more complicated than that.

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Re: warmer sea temperature

I love thumbs down on plain physics :)

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Coat

"Uranus Probing Project"

*snicker*

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Pint

Re: "Uranus Probing Project"

I know. I thought they closed that place down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: warmer sea temperature

That would be like Denmark this past June. The coldest wettest and dreariest June in 20 years. Personally, the weather here sucks at best, and Climate Change is just not delivering on its promise of a tropical paradise here in the north. These "climate scientists" have really oversold this whole shabang and I for one want them to be held accountable!

Dweeb.

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Unhappy

Re plants do not show a large response to CO2 fertilisation

You should see my garden with all the recent rain. The grass and weeds are growing faster than I can deal with them.

I think I must have a negative carbon footprint.

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Joke

Soo

you mean there are other things that need to be looked in to before we can say for sure what is going on, what can be done to change that, and do we in fact even need, have the right or are able to change it at all anyway....

But forget all that, lets carpet the country in giant wind turbines, push the price of fuel up so the least able are unable to support them selves with living basics such as heating and lecky, but we will make less CO2!

we dont need no stinking research! we need ACTIONS, especially around election times and other politically sensitive events! ;)

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Re: Soo

I'd laugh, but it ceased being funny long ago.

You're still right though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Soo

This is a hypothesis; this author of this article is hoping that vegetation can proliferate and absorb CO2 as fast as we are pumping it out. It obviously hasn't work so far - CO2/equiv levels are skyrocketing and human instigated global warming has happened, is happening and will continue to happen for quite some time.

We don't know if nature can handle that CO2 load which is why we need to stop burning so much bloody fossil fuel, we can't keep releasing so much greenhouse gas until we know it's not going to cause catastrophic climate change. Did nobody ever tell you to err on the side of caution?

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Re: Soo

Nature can handle the CO2 load, evolution will give us organisms that can cope. The question is- will the society that caused the changed climate survive?

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Re: Soo

Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount.

Now lets get some details right first. CO2 does make a difference to temperatures. It is a greenhouse gas. But to make the Earth's temperature change by upto 5 degrees within decades as the IPCC say? That's just stupid and why anthropogenic global warming fanatics are called catastrophic AGW believers. Ever since the IPCC have said that temperature would rocket, they haven't. In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998.

But CO2 levels are not a linear relationship with temperature. If they were we would be cooking ages ago. It's a logarithmic relationship and as CO2 levels increase it's effect decreases. So an increase in 0-20ppm makes a huge difference, but a increase from 300-500ppm makes only a small difference. And don't worry about suffocating at higher levels, we've got a looong way to go before then and plants will take advantage of all that extra CO2 and we'll have better crop yields meaning that the Earth can support a bigger population (or the current levels with better health etc).

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Re: Soo

"We don't know if nature can handle that CO2 load"

Sure it can. It's Homo Sapiens that's going to suffer; the Earth would get along just fine without us.

Mark my words, NONE of this alarmist "Anthropogenic Climate Change" bollocks has a damned thing to do with "saving" the planet. It's an entirely anthropocentric philosophy to lock the Earth's climate and stop it going where we don't want it to go. This is entirely about Climate Control, not climate change.

The planet's climate would be changing even if our species had never evolved far enough to give the process a name. It's normal. Yes, we are undoubtedly having some effect on it, but we sure as hell don't know exactly how all the many complex systems and feedback loops involved work and interact, so anyone who claims to know all the answers is, bluntly, talking absolute rubbish. We know plenty about space, but next to f*ck all about our planet's oceans, their internal climate systems, and how they interface with the gaseous one we live in, for example. The last thing any scientist worthy of that name should be advocating is making deliberate attempts to twist and wrench the planet's climate to do what we want it to do.

We're humans. We're adaptable by our very nature. We've already survived an ice age—and that's before we'd even invented writing! Our species already lives in environments as diverse as the deserts of the Middle East, the Arctic tundra, in towns, cities, nomadic tents—you name it. The Japanese have built major conurbations on land extremely prone to having a bit of a strop: they've adapted to that too. Hell, So no, we are most emphatically NOT going to die out because the sea levels might rise a mere centimetre or two each year over the next century. We may have to rethink zoning laws in coastal cities, but we've done that before. Coastal erosion isn't going to end just because we stop using internal combustion engines.

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Re: Soo

"You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount."

Is 30 billion tonnes a tiny amount?

The point that a lot of people miss - so don't feel too stupid about it - is that, while the vast majority of the atmosphere does not comprise greenhouse gases, the *concentration* of greenhouse gases relative to those non-greenhouse gases says nothing about the *effect* of the greenhouse gases. The effect of course depends on the absolute amount of greenhouse gas. Its effect is not somehow diluted by the non-greenhouse gases.

"But to make the Earth's temperature change by upto 5 degrees within decades as the IPCC say?"

I'm pretty sure they did not say this. Could I have a reference please? It might be one of the scenarios considered but my understanding is that the best current estimate is more like 3 C based on current trends.

"In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998."

No they haven't. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to hear it.

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Boffin

Re: Soo

Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount.

300ppm (or 550ppm, or 250ppm for that matter) is not tiny amount, for two reasons. For one, it's not inherently tiny. It only takes 270ppm of airborne hydrogen cyanide to kill, for example. So 300ppm can be a very significant figure.

For two, 300ppm is not an amount. It's a ratio. To get the amount, you'd have to multiply the ppm figure by the size of the earth's atmosphere. Then you'll have an amount.

At any rate, an increase of over 80% may not be skyrocketing, but it certainly seems significant to me.

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Boffin

Re: Soo

"..."In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998." No they haven't. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to hear it."

This is what he's talking about:

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/to:2012/trend/plot/rss/plot/rss/from:1975/to:1998/trend

There is no point citing GISS or HadCrut figures - these are now so 'corrected' (read fiddled) as to be of little use...

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Re: Soo

But we can't vote for the president of Exxon, :(

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Re: Soo

So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas. In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow.

As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios.

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Re: Soo

"This is what he's talking about:

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1998/to:2012/trend/plot/rss/plot/rss/from:1975/to:1998/trend"

That's like a parody of a climate 'skeptic' argument!

Readers, take a look at this and see if you can spot what he did.

"There is no point citing GISS or HadCrut figures - these are now so 'corrected' (read fiddled) as to be of little use..."

It is standard practice in the statistical analysis of data sets to account for known systematic biases and outliers. If you have any specific claims about invalid procedures then let's hear them as they weren't identified by the recent BEST study.

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Re: Soo

Dodgy Geezer has answered the temperature since 1998 issue.

I answered the effect of greenhouse gases by mentioning that the effect is logarithmic. The effect of CO2 diminishes as the concentration increases.

The IPCC figure of 5 degrees is one of a number of possible scenarios for 2100, the lowest is a 2 degree change in average global temperatures.

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Levelling off?

If by "temperatures have levelled off since 1998" you mean "kept going up" then you're absolutely correct

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.

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For global records, 2010 is the hottest year on record, tied with 2005.

No, it hasn't been cooling since 1998. Even if we ignore long term trends and just look at the record-breakers, that wasn't the hottest year ever. Different reports show that, overall, 2005 was hotter than 1998. What's more, globally, the hottest 12-month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010.

Though humans love record-breakers, they don't, on their own, tell us a much about trends -- and it's trends that matter when monitoring Climate Change. Trends only appear by looking at all the data, globally, and taking into account other variables -- like the effects of the El Nino ocean current or sunspot activity -- not by cherry-picking single points.

There's also a tendency for some people just to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators that can perhaps give us a better idea how rapidly the world is warming. Oceans for instance -- due to their immense size and heat storing capability (called 'thermal mass') -- tend to give a much more 'steady' indication of the warming that is happening. Here records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1998 and there's no signs of it slowing any time soon.

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Re: Soo

@The Axe

"Dodgy Geezer has answered the temperature since 1998 issue."

Did you actually look at the graph that the (aptly named) Dodgy Geezer linked to? Talk about cherry picking.

"I answered the effect of greenhouse gases by mentioning that the effect is logarithmic. The effect of CO2 diminishes as the concentration increases."

Isn't this one of Monckton's arguments? You should know better than to rely on him.

See http://www.skepticalscience.com/monckton-myth-3-linear-warming.html for a full analysis of this but a couple of key points are:

1. We aren't at equilibrium at the moment because a lot of heat has gone into the ocean. This mean that current warming rates are underestimates.

2. CO2 isn't growing at a constant rate - it's accelerating.

"The IPCC figure of 5 degrees is one of a number of possible scenarios for 2100"

Exactly. But it is not the one that is thought to be most likely.

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Re: Soo

"So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas. In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow."

He's not saying that it has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide - he's simply pointing out that you can't rely on an argument that is based on concentration.

"As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios."

But what is the significance of the ratio? What is the role of the denominator in the greenhouse effect?

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Re: Soo

So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide?

Where, in what he wrote, does he say that? In fact, he said the opposite He explained that HCn (or whatever) is poisonous. At no point did he say that CO2 was. There is a definition of the false argument type you tried to use. I can't remember so I will just say it is BS.

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WTF?

Re: Soo

"Skyrocketing? You call a change in CO2 levels to from 300ppm to over 550ppm is skyrocketing? Note that the figure is parts per million. So a tiny figures doubles. It's still a tiny amount."

60ppm of arsenic can be fatal, and that is DEFINITELY a much tinier amount!

Please provide references, preferably published in peer-reviewed journals, to substantiate your claim that nearly doubling the change of CO2 levels is an insignificant amount.

"In fact global temperatures have levelled off since 1998."

Based on the global surface record compiled by the Hadley Centre and the global UAH satellite record there has been warming over the past decade.

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3vgl.txt

http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

Peace!

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Re: Soo

So carbon dioxide has the same effect as hydrogen cyanide? Seriously? A tiny amount of a very strong poison is not the same as a tiny amount of a life giving gas.

I never said that. I used HCN as one example of how the levels we were discussing could be significant, not as the only example. Read up on analogies and how they work. As for that last sentence, in some situations they're exactly the same. One man's poison...

In fact a too small amount of CO2 will cause plants to stop growing. At levels below 30ppm plants do not grow.

Since we're already talking about levels an entire order of magnitude higher than that concentration, I don't see how that's really relevant to the discussion.

As for amount. All you are doing is making the figure look massive in the billions of tons. At that size the brain finds it hard to visualise and thinks it scary. To bring the figures down to manageable levels and to make them understandable you use ratios.

Yes, ratios are good. But when you use ratios, you need to understand ratios. The fact that you called a ratio an amount does not instill confidence that you have such an understanding.

Your own figures show a ratio of approximately 1.8:1 between current and pre-industrial CO2 levels. That's an increase of 80%. Yet you consider that insignificant. That is another indicator that you have trouble understanding ratios.

As for the logarithmic relationship, it's discussed quite in depth here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect-advanced.htm The net result: even the most conservative estimates mean a change on the scale we're talking about would mean at least a 0.5K increase in Earth's surface temperature; most put it at around 1.5K.

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Re: Soo

Ten points. I've mentioned this before, but I've always found it funny that the only thing the two sides of the climate debate seem to agree on is the one thing that's definitely wrong: that it's the future of 'the planet' that's at stake. 'The planet' is a bundle of inert dead matter hurtling through the universe. It has no consciousness and even if it did, said consciousness would not give a flying toss about a microscopic (on a cosmic scale) variation in its surface temeprature and climate and so forth.

Since we are people and are both conscious and rational and are also self-obsessed bastards, the question, as you correctly point out, is what effect such microscopic variations in climate have on _us_. 'The planet' is not capable of giving a toss either way.

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Re: Soo

You do realize you can't just pick the very highest point in the graph as the appropriate point to start a trend line from, right?

That's a graph showing an obvious broad upwards trend from 1975 to 2012, with a massive spike at 1998. So you pick the spike as your start point, and voila!, you generate a downwards trend (from an outlying start point) to 2012. If you pick *any other year between 1975 and 2000* as the starting point, guess what? You get an upward trend.

That's the best you can do? Seriously? Even serious climate skeptics are probably embarrassed for you right now.

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Re: Soo

The reason it hasn't worked so far could be as simple as we're cutting down all the new growth. It doesn't matter if the plants are growing faster and collecting all the carbon if we cut them all down and liberate it again.

I also don't think that he's hoping that. His point is that previous studies have suggested that increased CO2 levels have no effect on plant growth, but they are probably wrong (or at least too generalised). This means that raised CO2 levels may be (slightly) beneficial. It may mean that further increase in CO2 levels could be stopped/reduced if we devoted large areas to tree growth but they would probably have to be very large areas in poor countries who we might have difficulty persuading not to cut the trees down for firewood.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Soo

@The Axe - Every time there is an article on Climate change, you come out with the same zombee arguments, they are comprehensively killed, but still manage to come back to life for the next one.

You are not interested in anything other than parroting your own tired opinions and you certainly don't seem equipped to learn about subject you profess to know so much about.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Soo

IIRC the "skyrocketing" is only taking place in carefully chosen measuring stations strategically placed to insure that the readings are as high as possible (downwind from China, next to volcanoes etc.)

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OK

But what happens if there is a change in the weather patterns so that there is more cloud and rain in an area, grass can cope with it much better than trees can.

And if there is less rain then trees die faster anyway, its why there are large grass areas over most of Africa and the central US etc, lack of rain.

Extra CO2 will mean nothing then.

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Anonymous Coward

Climate change is good? tell that to all the people who were flooded.

The weather in this country is getting more extreme.

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You idiot, don't you know the difference between weather and climate? Why even a 5-year-old ...

Hang on, you're supporting the AGW argument? As you were, then.

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FAIL

"The weather in this country is getting more extreme."

Even the "climate change is killing us" BBC are pointing at the once every few years change in the jetstream and are NOT blaming the current flooding events on climate change.

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The most natural condition for weather is for it to constantly change.

Thousands of 50 to 100 year old daily high and daily low temperature records are being broken in the USA most every day these past few weeks. Cries of AGW are being heard. To which I ask a simple question, "If we've had 50 to 100 years of cumulate AGW then why has it taken 50 to 100 years to break the old records?" Another way of putting it, "if this is the result of 100 years of AGW then what the heck was happening 100 years ago to set THAT record?"

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Change in the jet stream might also be climate change

See here. I think this is still not too far past the "look what popped out of our simulations" stage (haven't followed the literature yet) but it sure has heck dovetails nicely with what we've been seeing lately.

http://earlywarn.blogspot.com/2012/04/slowing-rossby-waves-leading-to-extreme.html

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Anonymous Coward

Nobody is blaming climate change, but they are saying "we cannot say this is global climate change BUT IT IS CONSISTENT WITH OUR MODELS".

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100 year old record broken!

We're setting aside that the vast majority of the US doesn't even HAVE temperature recordings older much older than 100 years, often because it didn't have thermometers there then?

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Alert

Even the "climate change is killing us" BBC are pointing at the once every few years change in the jetstream and are NOT blaming the current flooding events on climate change.

The thing strangely overlooked by the likes of the BBC is that our actions do lead to greater flooding of our cities, but it's not inherently anything to do with the weather itself.

To be more precise: the gulf stream changes are dependant on other weather systems around it. It can change direction (within reason) quite normally.

This impact of this - rain hitting our towns, our rivers and their tributaries in the hills in larger amounts than is "normal" - has not inherently changed in the last x hundred years.

What has changed however, is the amount of green space in our cities - notably we have less of it. Green spaces are capable of absorbing great volumes of water. Take them away and where does the water go?

We've also tightened the corsets on our rivers, building ever closer to these "scenic" attractions - in the past these rivers could burst their primary banks and this would be less inconvenient because the nearest buildings would be further back, allowing the usually sloping land around a river to contain the flow. Now we have buildings which share a wall with the primary river bank with windows facing the river side!

The increase in tarmac and non draining surfaces (because they contain utilities under them) has also ensured that when rain does hit us in greater volumes than expected, it has nowehere natrual to go

And we wonder why we're experiencing more floods? It's because we've built our cities like bloody great fools! We can't simply impose our most convenient experience upon nature and expect there to be no clashes when nature doesn't follow the rules we'd like it to.

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@AC 13:46

The trouble with models is that anything can be made consistent with them if you have enough different models to start with (and also if you permit retrospective tweaks to be made). What you need is for the IPCC (or someone) to make predictions about long-term climate patterns that can then be tested against the real world.

At the moment, when results disagree with model predictions we either select a different model (from the vast array available) or change some parameter that affects the rate of cloud production (say).

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No teh cilmate is not getting more extreme..

you are just too young to remember 1847, 1948,1852..1975...etc etc.

And to green to read up on thematter.

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