Friday, February 17, 2006

What A Difference Twenty Years Makes


At least for some.

The concept of Global Warming first got wide spread notice in the early to mid eighties. The idea was still new and the science raw. People were interested, but not sold on the idea. The pro business forces of the world denounced it as a crack pot idea developed by scientist with nothing better to do. They spent millions or billions to disprove this idea. They worked hard to spread confusion and encourage a do nothing agenda.

Over the last 20 years, the conversation has shifted. It has become more difficult to denounce the event as not occurring, so now the pro business groups focus of trying to raise doubt about the cause, and keep the agenda at lets do nothing and keep researching.

But for many the questions that may have existed about Global Warming back when Reagan blamed it on the trees has evolved into a real understanding, respect and now some fear.

researchers using satellite data and other observations have made an alarming discovery: The rate at which it is shrinking has suddenly begun to accelerate.

It more than doubled between 1996-2005, due mostly to glaciers sliding more quickly into the ocean. Greenland is now adding a volume of water to the North Atlantic every two years that is about equal to the total in Lake Erie.

The finding is significant because it suggests that current estimates of Greenland's contribution to rising sea levels may be far too low.


But, the official position of our government is, let do nothing, it doesn't exist, and if it does it isn't a man made situation. With DC's elevation being only 10 feet above sea level, maybe as their feet get wet, some of our politicians will finally take notice.

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4 comments:

JFH said...

Man, John, I haven't seen a more uninformed opinion on Global warming in a long while:

"They spent millions or billions to disprove this idea."
As opposed to the billions "they" have spent trying to prove the hypothesis? And having to continue the impacts of global warming downward, each time the models don't predict the actual situation?

"It has become more difficult to denounce the event as not occurring" No educated person has ever denied that the global temperture in the last century has risen aprox. 1 degree Celcius, nor that a change in Greenhouse gases wouldn't contribute to this effect; merely that this contribution effect is much smaller than the "models" estimate that they do.

BTW, the models 15 years ago predicted 10 times the amount of sea level rise than even the worst case scenario model does now

Lynne said...

John, your point about D.C. being only 10 feet above sea level made me laugh. Only 10 feet to go.

John said...

jfh

You make some interesting comments.

Scientist doing research do studies, and yes it does cost money. They study to see what will happen, but should not be trying to prove something. Companies fund research to prove their POV, and suppress research that is harmful. The tobacco companied did it for generations and now energy companies (and trade groups and right leaning think tanks) have followed their path.

Science being done at a NASA lab, or an independently funded college campus will be a lot less tainted than the work done in the tobacco and oil company labs. If history is any lesson, it will also be a lot more honest.

In addition, I saw few studies that made any real predictions of sea level rises or temp flux 15 and 20 years ago. Most I saw listed ranges from very little to radically high. All agreed that there was to little data to know the final result, but more than enough to say the event was occuring. It sounds like you are taking the high numbers and presenting them as predictions. I don't think they were ever developed as such.

In fact most of the current studies indicate that the changes are occuring much faster than expected, not slower.

Another new study shows that in 300 years will will produce as much green house gas as was produced in the 10,000 years prior to the palaeocene-eocene thermal maximum, another indicator that those professing that it isn't a grave concern are perhaps less that fully informed, or working from an agenda that forces them to ignor it.

JFH said...

John, obviously you have more than an uninformed opinion on this subject, so, embarrassingly I retract my initial statement. That said ponder these few points:

1) You state that we will produce as "much green house gas as was produced in the 10,000 years prior...", that may be true but it's still clear that these represent the vast minority of greenhouse gases. As we both know the most significant greenhouse gas by a HUGH margin (75-90% depending on the studies) is water in the form of water vapor and clouds. Most modelers assume that the rise in anthropomorphic based green house gasses will have a multiplier effect on the natural greenhouse gases. This is a questionable assumption.

2) The study you note actually undercuts the sea level rise danger. If the Greenland glaciers account for a much larger percentage of the observered sea level rise (which is still measured in milimeters), it means that there is something that is counteracting this phenomena of water expansion due to tempture rise and other glacier breakoffs. An increase in snow on the Antartic or other land based tundras? Geez, I don't know the answer, but you can't look at a single factor without looking at the overall factual resutls.

3) 300 year projections on the environment are about as stupid as 10 business plans. There are way too many variables for anyone to logically predict the future, especially based on a model that has been less than predictable a few years out.

4) My family's wealth depends on Charleston real estate which is a lot lower than D.C. I've analyzed the studies and trust me, I ain't worried about the sea level rise even for my grandchildren.