Another feather for your global-warming hat

OK, we all remember Hurricane Katrina last year.  And many of us remember the talk about how global warming was to blame for all of these horrible hurricanes.  So as the anniversary of Katrina comes, one should ask, how many hurricanes have their been this year?

Answer: 4.

That’s as compared to Katrina being #11 of last year.

This is what bugs me about the global warming crowd.  They pick on one item as an indicator of global warming and use it to make their case.  Not only is the one indicator not necessarily fool-proof, there is also no counter articles written when that SAME indicator no longer helps them.  They just move onto something new.

So, this year it’s all about the heat wave that ran across America.  What you don’t hear is that high pressure systems (aka heat waves) actually have the effect of reducing hurricanes.  So, while this year we’ve been boiling (global warming!) the last couple years have been relatively cool which had the affect of allowing more hurricanes in the Atlantic (global warming!).

The reality is that we really don’t know what effect the VERY small changes in temperature we’re experiencing would cause.  We also don’t know with any confidence whether the small up-tick in weather we’re seeing is the beginning of a long trend or just a small up-tick.  The first half of the 20th century saw a small down-tick.  Furthermore, we don’t really know what causes these fluctuations.  People can point all they want to CO2 emissions, but we put out plenty of those in the first half of the 20th century (coal plants anyone?).  Similarly, we haven’t been able to track as accurately as we’d like other factors that could have just as large of an effect.  For example, some believe the sun in burning hotter these days than in the past and the various flare-ups (remember those fears a few years ago about a flare-up that was going to take down the communications industry someday) are a sign of that.

So what do we know?  The answer, despite what Al Gore wants you to believe while you put $10 in his pocket is: Not much.

5 Responses to “Another feather for your global-warming hat”

  1. Ken's Brother Says:

    See that’s why I didn’t put $10 in his pocket. I’ll put my monthly subscription fee in Netflixes pocket and watch his “movie” that way…

    speaking of gore, did you catch the ManBearPig episode of South Park? It was effing brilliant! Made him out to be a total loser.

  2. Brian Conaghan Says:

    I just got back from a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. What I was struck by was that there are not many Glaciers. Evidently the number has dropped from 27 to 9 and is expected to go to 0 in 20 to 30 years. It was sad, and makes me think this global warming thing is really happening.

    I agree that it is controversial and that the data is not as clear as the pro side would like it to be, but at least in the news outlets I follow they made a point of not claiming last years hurricane season or Katrina in particular were GW caused. What we do need to look at is the systematic shifts over longer time frames. Admittedly, I have not dug into the data on this and I probably should to be more informed.

    The one counter argument I buy is that most temp readings are done at airports, which as cities have sprawled have gotten a change in reflectivity/absorbtion (more lacktop) giving a higher read temperature for the same “real” global temp.

    And I do not like seeing Al Gore in front of a glacier that has massive amounts of itself falling into the ocean – yes, temperatures do shift rather distinctly, but seasonally … I don’t really care if there is less snow in the summer, that makes sense.

    But I worry that global warming is our smoking habit. Humans are not good at reacting to bad things when no discenrable effect happens short term. Why do people smoke when they know it will kill them? Because it won’t kill them today, or next year, or even in a decade. And that is today, when it is fully accepted fact that it will kill you.

    That brings me to the other post I wanted to comment on … but I will just leave it to, how do you desire truth from “lies, damn lies and statistics”?

    In the end, I personally think using less fossil fuels is a good thing; most specifically, fossil fuels that drive questionable foreign policies.


  3. Ken Crawford Says:

    Brian, thanks for commenting.

    I agree that cutting down on fossil fuels is a good thing and I do much to contribute to that (drive small cars, live close to work, etc.). It’s not so much a policy issue as it is a conceptual issue to me. There is great danger in pointing to the wrong things even if it drives the right policy decisions. It can lead to disasterour public policy down the road.

    I am undecided on whether global warming exists. What bugs me is that we as a society are completely incapable of finding out in today’s political climate. Anyone who intends to do research to question the existence of global warming is black-balled. The result is that honest people who really want to know are left lacking an honest answer.

    Not sure what you mean by you’re asking in your final question (how do you desire truth from “lies, damn lies and statistics”?)…

  4. Brian Conaghan Says:

    Oops, I meant derive – how do you derive truth from “lies, damn lies and statistics”? (a reference to your career woman post and a quote I have always liked)

    As you point out, what I mean is, how do you get real objective data on this subject which is so much at the whim of the way people want to look at the data and the political climate.


  5. Ken Crawford Says:

    Ah I see. Yeah, it’s real difficult and I don’t think I have a comprehensive answer. I guess the best I can come up with is that there is truth in any actual research, it just may not be the truth that either the promoters, or for that matter the scientists themselves, claim.

    So I try to read more details about the research than just the hype. If it was a survey, what were the EXACT questions asked? If it was statistics based on collected data, was there a good control group? (That’s something that environmental science can rarely provide by the way) If it was an experiment, what was the experiment really? (Did you hear that the non-destructive embryo stem cell extraction was false hype: they actually destroyed the embryos because to get enough cells to have a hope of actually starting a stem cell line they needed more than one cell? As a result they destroyed something like 4 embryos (each of about 10 cells) to get two stem cell lines?)

    So I guess it’s not the actual numbers and experiments that is the problem but the conclusions that can be all wrong. Statistics are particularly susceptible for false conclusions.