Is it cold here, or is it just me?

By Phil Plait | December 9, 2009 3:00 pm

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noted that I’ve been remarking on how it’s gotten a bit chilly here in Boulder. It was about -20 Celsius last night, for example, and it will only warm up a tad in the next day or two.

Now I know why:

eiotd_winterstorm

That’s today’s Earth Observatory Image of the Day, showing the winter storm that squatted over the western US and dumped snow and frigid temperatures everywhere. Cripes. Funny thing is, there’s not all that much snow where I am, but the temperature! I flew home from California last night (where it was much chillier than usual, but Los Angelinos are hardly used to temps less than that of a room) and as I exited the airport to walk to my to my car, I had to alternate breathing between my nose and my mouth, because it hurt to breathe.

Hurt-breathing is unacceptable. I consider breathing a right, not a privilege. And before you make fun of me, I’ll note that the average temperatures in Boulder this time of year are far higher than what we’re dealing with now. This kind of cold is just stupid cold. I can’t wait for Saturday, when it finally gets above freezing! Woohoo?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: It's too cold!

Comments (122)

  1. Mike

    “Climate change.”

  2. Bill

    Breathing hurts?
    You have my sympathy, Phil. I grew up in Wisconsin and know exactly what you’re talking about. No fun at all.

  3. Neal

    I got back from Vegas on Monday evening, and had to do the same thing on the hike to my car (USA Airport parking on Tower Road). Then my wife (from whom I’m separated) called me this morning to give her (car) a jump and it was -9F at the time. Yeesh.

  4. …so, bring on the global warming? :D

  5. I’d chew you out for not having a face-covering scarf or somesuch, but I suppose arriving on a plane makes that a bit more difficult. At least you had a jacket (I assume).

    I remember my parents flying from Florida to South Dakota a few years back, arriving in the dead of winter wearing shorts and T-shirts. Oy.

  6. Yossarian

    @Mike,

    You DO realize, don’t you, that climate change is about global average temperature, not localized? Also, changes in typical weather patterns (some places getting hotter, some cooler, some dryer, some wetter, etc), is a prediction of global warming?

    And -20 is nothing. I’m heading to the Arctic in January, and I’ll bet it’s well below -40 when I get there. Add the wind to that, and it’s just NOT NICE!

  7. Julie

    I’ve spent winters in the Dakotas, and I know what that kind of cold is like too. It’s not pleasant.

    But apparently it’s *really* cold in Denver. Like below absolute zero. Not sure how they managed that. ;)

    http://i575.photobucket.com/albums/ss194/GAT_00/Funny/-611.jpg

  8. Bunny, I knew it would be pretty cold when I returned, so I took my heavy jacket with me. I felt silly carrying a winter jacket to LA, but there you go.

  9. Snark

    If you don’t like it go back to California. You don’t have to worry about folks not cleaning the snow off their cars with a toothbrush either.

  10. Trebuchet

    Notice how clear it is in the top-left corner. That’s not usual. And it’s really cold, though not as cold as Boulder. That’s not usual either.

  11. Brian

    Indeed. I don’t want to say much, because it’s obviously not as bad here in Seattle as it is in Boulder … but compared to our usual December temperatures, it has been @$%! cold lately.

  12. Hey, at -20 you’re starting to talk about proper winter temperatures! A little balmy still, but a good showing.

    Phil, you should come and visit. -40 is something that everyone should experience. -50 is just that much better! Real cold makes you feel alive!

  13. I feel your pain, Phil. It was extremely windy in Atlanta today. Yes, the sun was out and it was about 61 degrees F, but it was impossible to have a good hair day and I got a DEAD LEAF UP MY PANTS LEG.

    I hate winter :(

  14. JackC

    An awful long time ago, I was a week away of leaving Guam and heading back home. I was riding my motorcycle, fully leather-jacketed and FREEZING – it was December, after all – when I passed a “Time and Temp” sign at a bank – it said “71”

    I thought – “I am going to die.” – from the cold, of course.

    JC

  15. BJN

    Wuss. Since you know the difference between climate and weather you shouldn’t be surprised to have a little Arctic cold settle on the Front Range. Snow doesn’t equal cold in these parts. Be happy you don’t have an inversion going on. Polluted cold air is even less fun to breathe.

  16. Derek

    Phil, It has been cold down in Golden too. But at least the sun is out today!

  17. Daffy

    Snark,

    For the record, I live in California…and live in Big Bear part time, where it snows every year.

    This is a big state; just saying.

  18. Ray

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    70 and sunny today in Georgia.

  19. Eric TF Bat

    This time of year in Australia, we face the coming of summer with fatalistic resignation, just wondering which towns will be converted to carbon this year, and if any friends will be burnt alive in their homes for the crime of not living in a hi-rise appartment or a house boat. I suppose you can look upon the cold weather as a delightful opportunity to see poor people frozen to death in the alleyways as cars pile up on black-iced freeways, but somehow it seems less dramatic. Clearly, we in Oz have all the fun.

  20. Bob

    If breathing is a right, what about the EPA calling CO2 pollution?

  21. Dave M

    We had nearly a week long cold snap in the Denver/Boulder area in the late ’80s when the high temps never rose above -10F (-28C) and were nearly -30F(-34C) at night. When the temperature finally rose above freezing, the frost that had collected on the windows suddenly melted and soaked the carpet below. We get a few of these crispy cold days every winter, but the ’80 event was the most extreme in my memory. I went cross country ski camping that week and the temperature in the mountains was even colder. It was so cold that my compatriot’s insul-lite sleeping pad shattered when he tried to unroll it.

  22. Hahahahaha, Bob (#21)! That’s a fantastic parody of the kind of silly, ridiculous argument a global warming denier might use! After all, who would really think that we breathe carbon dioxide? Good one.

  23. Jim

    We Angelinos are used to sub-freezing temperatures. Then we close the freezer.

    I drove the Angeles Crest/Forest highways yesterday where the Station fire burned a few months ago and it was strangely beautiful: blackened trunks of trees on a new snow background.

  24. Crux Australis

    The only time it hurts me to breathe, is when my wife sits on my chest.

  25. Gamercow

    Its always an odd feeling to feel your nose hairs freeze as you breathe in.

  26. The Rain Forest

    #22
    Hush, oxygen breather!

  27. Eidolon

    Phil:

    I feel for ya but can’t quite reach. Here in Monument it was -27 C last night. Needless to say, the observatory has been idle for a while. As Calvin once noted, it’s too cold when your boogers freeze.

  28. gski

    @20 & 22
    Maybe the Republican deniers will be telling us that declaring CO2 a pollutant is just an Obama and Democratic ploy to tax breathing.

  29. Mike Wagner

    Blah, I just made a long (off-topic) post about some of the scummy ads that get displayed and made sure not to use bad words but it got eaten anyway.
    Let’s have more skeptical or geeky ads, so we don’t need to use adblock and can support the site!

  30. Joe

    I feel ya Phil. I lived in Edmonton, Alberta for 3 years. I’ve probably seen half a dozen days below -40, and it really does hurt to breathe. Sharp is the best way to describe the air, as it seems to sting.

    Keep warm

  31. Michelle

    So It’s YOUR fault we’re having so much snow here in Quebec today huh?!

    …thanks. I like snow. :D It was about time.

  32. Brian Mingus

    Hey, I live in Boulder. Yeah it’s damn cold here! You must be at NOAA/NIST.

  33. PGPWNIT

    Phil, you did this on purpose, didn’t you? Set up the softball so that smug online debaters can hit it out of the park and turn this into a tired meaningless diatribe on AGW.

    Darn you to heck, Phil.

  34. Chip

    BTW – the satellite view on that NASA page can be enlarged twice. However, if you blow it all the way up you’ll just see white in most places. ;)

  35. Mask

    Hey phil, these pics and movies are insanely cool, but this is a sky phenomenon I just can’t figure out at all. Any chance you could address it?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1234430/Mystery-spiral-blue-light-display-hovers-Norway.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0ZCOomAQa

  36. AKMask

    I’m retarded. Need to learn to scroll down the page…

    *facepalm*

  37. sarah

    oh phil.
    i’m from edmonton, alberta, canada and that storm dumped 1.5 ft of snow in one evening and it’s been -35 degrees celsius for the past few days. it was balmy at -20 today and i finally left my house for the first time since friday afternoon. it’s sick, but i’m loving winter this year!

  38. I'd rather be fishin'

    Only -20? We`re expecting daytime highs of -25 or colder by Sunday. Then there`s the fun wind chill factor. This is after 20 cm of snow in less than 24 hours with high winds. the drift in front of my door was 43 cm deep, not deep enough to be snowed in so I had to go to work.. The lawn was almost bare, the snow blow onto the step. I will investigate the wind flow patterns for the next house I buy.

  39. Cold? Huh! When I was a kid I’d walk to school, uphill, coming and going, when it was minus 57, wearing a tank top shirt and flip flops…if I was lucky!

  40. It had to be colder than that in Boulder. This morning, just 45 minutes north in Greeley, CO it was -24 F. Brrr!

  41. J

    Winter storm in autumn? I guess cap and trade is working!

  42. tacitus

    I’m beginning to feel left out. It’s been chilly in Austin, TX the last couple of weeks but nothing really unseasonal. We were certainly cheated last Friday when the weathermen all promised us up to a couple of inches of snow, which is almost unheard of in this part of Texas. In the end, we got a flurry that lasted about 10 minutes. For shame.

  43. Spectroscope

    … & so the disproof of “Global Warming” continues even on this devout non-skeptical Alarmist’s blog.

    Never mind the leaked Climategate emails damning the “scientists” responsible for the AGW fraud via their very own words; the weather and climate itself continues to provide irrefutable physical evidence that the Alarmist Hysterics are totally & utterly, plain, flat, dead WRONG.

    The BA’s post here reminds me of this ClimateGate quote:

    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. ”
    – IPCC lead author Kevin Trenberth privately admitting to Alarmist colleagues that the data simply doesn’t show what their climate models predicted.

    Warming? What warming?

    Brrrr … Lets hope that our natural climatic variation does switch back from being a slightly colder decade to a marginally warmer one soon. Wouldn’t it be great if things did get bit nicer and not so freezing, eh? ;-)

    Facts are that, yes, its cold & things are not getting over-heated physically so why believe the over-heated rhetoric of the liars at Copenhagen who are deliberately setting out to scare and anger children over what we know know is, at best, highly dubious, unclear “science” and, at worst, an outright scientific fraud – arguably the worst scientific fraud ever?

    I suppose folks will say this is a predictable response here. I guess they’re right – heck, I wouldn’t want to disappoint y’all! ;-)

    It also doesn’t stop what I say being true either.

    Sadly, this debate isn’t “meaningless” either PGPWNIT (32.) because the socialist Gore-bull left are still using this “teh end of teh world is nigh!” fraud to try and force their crazy, self-destructive ideology onto us all. Failure to be skeptical here is playing into their hands and potentially wrecking our nation and, indeed, all of western civilisation. If that doesnt mean something to you then it should. :-(

  44. As a reader sitting pretty over in Fort Collins, I feel your pain.

    I stayed inside and read Death from the Skies! today. :)

  45. Dan

    I may be alone in this thought, but I hope this year will be a colder year, simply because I like it when it gets super cold. You do have my sympathies though, Phil. No one should have to handle negative 20 C weather on a trip back from California.

    @Spectroscope (comment #38):

    I hope you understand that everything you mentioned is either:
    a. A logical fallacy of some form
    b. Misinformation that has been debunked before, some on this very blog
    c. Not science

    Also, talk to climatologists and they’ll explain to you that climate & weather are not equal. You can have really cold spots on the planet and still have a warmer average temperature.

  46. jf

    39 comments, and so far nobody made an ID joke?

    Ok, let’s hear that other Death man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_nqySMvkcw

  47. Joey Joe Joe

    @28

    What’s a Republican denier? Someone who denies the GOP exists?

  48. Brett from Canada

    Oh Phil, you wuss. Here’s the forecast for my home town:

    http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/ab-50_metric_e.html

    Yeah, you read that right. The daytime *high* will be -28C. Our typical average for this time of year? -6C. :(

  49. And a Democrat denier is someone who denies that voting for Obama was the dumbest thing they ever did?

  50. Benny

    Ok, the cold is pretty serious (and it’s headed my way) but the snow dump on the midwest in the last 2 days was amazing! My city (Madison WI) got 18 inches! That’s officially city-halting snow here. Of course we’ll all be back to work tomorrow, because we know how to handle it. Our snowplow drivers are heros! But as soon as the streets are clear tonight the “it hurts to breath” temps will hit, which will prevent the street salt from doing it’s job.

  51. First of all… “…I exited the airport to walk to my to my car…” See the error? Tsk tsk.

    Second… Boulder sucks. I agree about the hurt-breathing being a bad side effect, but this is the nicest weather I’ve experienced since I got here. There were actually CLOUDS in the sky. The only better thing would be a thunderstorm. But then again, I’m weird. The sun depresses me and the traditionally gloomy weather makes me happy. I can’t wait to go to Seattle. Or England.

    Astronomers say the universe is finite, which is a comforting thought for those people who can’t remember where they leave things.

  52. Huh?

    Come on global warming, Phil & I are freezing! Where are you when we need you?! Warm things up already please! We’re waiting for you! ;-)

    Hmm … we better add some more Co2 to our air . No, wait up, that’s been tried and clearly just doesn’t work at all. Better see if we can get the Sun to heat up a touch or the Earth to move in a bit closer instead that’s more likely to do the trick! ;-)

  53. gopher65

    Pfffft. -20. You wuss. -20 is when I switch to winter gear from medium spring gear. And I *walk* to work everyday (20-25 minutes).

  54. Deanta

    Boy,and I thought it was cold in Seattle We’re at a toasty 19 degrees. Maybe wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth would help.

  55. P-Kel

    Actually I am from Wisconsin as well. There we have learned to take many breaths in the Autumn and store them up for times like this. Happy exhaling.

  56. tacitus

    Aw, Spectroscope is sooo cute. He missed out on the GW threads and he’s making a special effort to present all his, er, best evidence to us… and simply astounding us with his ability to discern weather from climate.

  57. Justin

    -20C? I want to feel what that’s like just out of curiosity (not for too long though). It’s a mere 2.2C here in Ruston, LA. I want some snow too!

  58. StevoR

    BTW. Off topic but BA can I request a post on Richard Branson’s newly launched spaceship VSS Enterprise please? :-)

    ‘Twas in the Aussie media (TV news & papers) yesterday.
    See : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/branson-unveils-his-latest-enterprise/story-e6frg6so-1225808396321

  59. Offtopic for a second:

    Spectroscope, be appropriate. Phil wasn’t talking about global warming in his post. He was talking about how cold it is here in Colorado right now. If he’d been talking about GW, then you could spew your nonsensical verbiage… but he wasn’t.

    So, hey…let’s take a tip from what our GOP friends incessantly lecture us about (responsibility) and learn some responsibility for what we post, eh? Like, it’s YOUR responsibility to read the original post (OP), then reply appropriately. And, then, if you want to rant about something that’s not really related to the OP, you create your own blog and do it there. Or, maybe, preface your response here with the words “well, this is off-topic, since Phil wasn’t really talking about Al Gore and global warming and all that, but I just feel the need to spew something about it, so here goes… ” and then start your rant. That way the rest of us will be forewarned and can take appropriate action (like, maybe making the choice not to read the rest of what you write, since it’s off-topic and illogically written).

    Back on topic.

    Phil, up here in the Nosebleed Section at 9200 feet (not far from Rollinsville), we’re having 50 mph gusts and the temps with the wind chill are -60. Went out to close the wind shutters on the house today and got frostbit in the few minutes I was out there.

    I flew home Monday night from balmy NYC (where the temps were in the high 40s) and yes, it WAS cold walking out to the car at airport parking. Not quite nose-hurting, but darned close!

    Yeah, it’s cold. But, it does that here in Colorado… and speaking as a returning Coloradan after doing 12 years on the East Coast, I am positively reveling in it… and the lovely view!

    Stay warm!

  60. Ron

    ccpetersen, please be nice to poor old spectroscope – he’s simply a misguided fool who doesn’t seem to understand the basic difference between weather and climate.

    As for Phil complaining about the temperature, after a few days of min temps of -35C, we’re currently a nice balmy -13C which is tee shirt weather here in central Alberta.

  61. Deanta

    I thought it was cold when it got down to 19 degrees(Fahrenheit) last night in Seattle. The worst thing was, it was the first completely clear night in months(literally), and it was too cold to take the telescope out. Maybe a tip for next time would be to take a set of clothes that are good for Boulder whenever you go anywhere on a plane trip. This is what I’m thinking about doing for my trip to Texas, anyway. Also, I’ve heard that if you cover your mouth and nose with a scarf it helps with the breathing problem. Then again, I wouldn’t know, since I haven’t experienced anything below -1. Hope this works!

  62. Bruce

    “he’s simply a misguided fool who doesn’t seem to understand the basic difference between weather and climate.”

    Of course. When it’s frigid, the warm-mongers brush it aside as just a temporary anomaly. But if it was 100 degrees, that would be indisputable proof of global warming.

    PBBBBBBBTTTTTT!

  63. Mike

    Wait a second. You were in LA and didn’t stop by? :(

    I nominate post #62 for a game of Name That Logical Fallacy!
    First person to get it right gets, uhm, .. A NEW CAR!
    Okay, that’s a lie.
    Go!

  64. geosci

    @Spectroscope

    A cold spell or a heat wave is not proof for or against climate change. It is the long term world wide average that counts as well as what is going on at the high latitudes. By your logic the heat wave that hit the PNW this summer is absolute proof of global warming.

  65. Spectroscope

    To answer something asked from the first Climategate thread which is now getting too old & long for me to post this there:

    @138. khan Says:

    Which kind of denialist are you?:

    A) There is no global warming
    B) There is global warming but it’s part of some natural cycle
    C) There is global warming and whatever the cause it is a good thing
    D) It’s part of God’s Plan™
    E) God wouldn’t let it happen.

    I’d have to say f) most of the above.

    I think A there is no global warming going on – certainly none in the Al Gore / Chicken Little “Teh End is Nigh!” sense and also B if there is then it is a natural phenomena resulting from solar and geological factors and also C because *if* the globe really is warming then there’ll likely be more winners than losers anyhow.

    If its real then we’ll adapt and probably be much better off anyhow but the evidence is very strongly against the whole AGW Alarmist Gore-bull. Whether the Alarmists accept or like it or not. 1998 was the hottest year and that was over a decade ago while C02 has risen ever since. QED. Co2 causes warming is disproved.

    @ 56. tacitus Says:

    Aw, Spectroscope is sooo cute.

    Thanks . You forgot to add the words “and he’s correct too!” ;-) :-P

    He missed out on the GW threads and he’s making a special effort to present all his, er, best evidence to us…

    Hey, some of us have things to do in real life as well. Sometimes the timing just doesn’t work out and life gets in the way of posting. But when I can I’ll take on the Alarmists and reassure the people terrified by the nutters who claim humans are destroying the planet or specifically our climate because that claim is utter nonsense.

    As I’ve posted before every tool in the skeptics toolbox from the Copernican principle to Occams razor to Sagan’s “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” (real evidence that means too – not faked CRU-style trickery to “hide the decline”!) refutes the Warmer Hysterics case. ;-)

    “.. and simply astounding us with his ability to discern weather from climate.”

    You forgot to note the “and” there in my original comment.

    Both the local and immediate weather *and* the long term climate graphs and realities show that our globe is simply NOT warming as the Alarmists falslely claim.

    Calling me names and abusing me does not & can not change the reality of the Climategate scandal or the lack of Global warming.

  66. tacitus

    Of course. When it’s frigid, the warm-mongers brush it aside as just a temporary anomaly. But if it was 100 degrees, that would be indisputable proof of global warming.

    Then they would be equally as wrong. 2009 will be the hottest year on record here in Austin, TX despite the fact that we’re in a longer cold snap than usual. We had 68 days of 100 degree temperature – the hottest summer in 80 years, yet I don’t recall any of my friends — the one who believe global warming is real — saying it had anything to do with the heatwave.

  67. tacitus

    1998 was the hottest year and that was over a decade ago while C02 has risen ever since. QED. Co2 causes warming is disproved.

    *sigh* You really have no clue, do you?

  68. Not QD at all

    Am I being blocked? What did I do?

  69. Spectroscope

    @ 64. geosci Says:

    @Spectroscope – A cold spell or a heat wave is not proof for or against climate change. It is the long term world wide average that counts as well as what is going on at the high latitudes. By your logic the heat wave that hit the PNW this summer is absolute proof of global warming.

    The fact that the weather is still cold, even freezing so much that Phil Plait is complaining about & saying how much he hates it when the Alarmists have been shouting for years that the climate is changing and its all fault for Co2 – yet the world stubbornly refuses to behave as they predicted is significant.

    If Co2 was a factor driving climate change then every year the extra C02 would make things hotter. The climate records refute that.

    In addition to that the fact that the weather in Boulder is still icy and freezing and unpleasantly frigid (a bit like my treatment here on occassion! ;-) ) when if the Alarmists were right it’d be much hotter (and nicer) is also further disproof of Gore’s nonsense.

    It is also a valid tie in between Phil’s Opening Post here and my logical conclusions that show the AGW theory is bunk.

    @45. Dan Says:

    @Spectroscope (comment #38):

    I hope you understand that everything you mentioned is either:
    a. A logical fallacy of some form

    Really? Prove it. Specifics please -which fallacies and where?

    b. Misinformation that has been debunked before, some on this very blog.

    The ClimateGate scandal clearly proves to everyone not already brainwashed into the Socialist Green cult that the misinformation is all coming from the Alarmists and not the Skeptics.

    That the BA still hasn’t shaken off his pious devotion to the cult of Gore’s bull and the nonsense of AGW is very sad. It is most regrettable that the BA who really should know better is supporting the wrong side here and this will hopefully soon change when he reflects on this further.

    I respect the BA’s judgement and love his blog but on this issue he is too biased towards the political left to be seeing things clearly. In my view and also those of many others here too.

    A true skeptic should be very skeptical of the Climate Alarmists but Phil seems to take their words – which we now know is unreliable and outright lies – as gospel. What a shame. :-(

    c. Not science.

    Indeed not. The “Global Warming” debate is politics. It is a political confection manufactured by political lobbyists like Al Gore and it has no scientific basis. It is as much science as “Intelligent Design” – with which there are many striking similarities. Both for instance make their conclusions first then force the evidence to fit by any means necessary as ClimateGate has revealed for the Warmer Hysterics and the Wedge document for Creationism.

    Both are political or quasi-religious faiths masquerading as genuine science -and both have now been exposed as such.

    Also, talk to climatologists and they’ll explain to you that climate & weather are not equal. You can have really cold spots on the planet and still have a warmer average temperature.

    Okay I already know that firstly and secondly – which climatologists?

    The real skeptical sort who tell the truth & say there is no warming but rather that the last decade or so has been cooler or the CRU “hide the decliner” variety that are confirmed liars and frauds?

  70. tacitus

    If Co2 was a factor driving climate change then every year the extra C02 would make things hotter. The climate records refute that.

    Why do you bother? You obviously don’t know the first thing about the subject so why do you keep trolling non-GW threads with your crap? You don’t even post any interesting (or challenging) arguments. You are the Kent Hovind of GW deniers — even other deniers are embarrassed to be associated with you.

  71. Geez… you think you’ve got it rough! It’s expected to go down to -4 or -5 C. here in Squamish (Near Vancouver). Now that’s something to gripe about! ;)

    Actually I lived in Edmonton for 17 years, and I recall the first time I ever breathed in -15C air! I thought I was going to die because my lungs had frozen! One time it was so cold for an extended period (between -30 and -40), that I convinced my mother that it was so cold, the electricity had frozen in the wires.

  72. Knight of L-sama

    I’ll swap you some of our hot for your cold. It just missed 40 Celcius here today (SE Queensland, Australia)

  73. Nigel Depledge

    Yeah, -20 °C is cold enough. It’s the coldest temp I’ve ever experienced while out camping, anyway. (Yes, I got a bit cold that night – my sleeping bag was rated for survival to -32 °C but comfort only to -15 °C, and it was a couple of years old at that time).

    Still, it’s pretty warm compared to the lowest temp recorded (which, I believe, was about -72 °C and was somewhere in the Canadian arctic I think).

  74. Nigell, that was at Snag Yukon, back in the ’50s or ’60’s I think!

  75. I am not taking sides, but ask: if we turn it all off right now (haven’t we way reduced what we individually can control already? But warming is speeding up?) will it reverse? What if the sun is hotter and the molten core is more active because of it? How come it is up to America? We can’t afford to drive anymore anyway, the price of a gallon of gas has killed America. That is why businesses failed…oh, rising energy costs shouldn’t be a problem because it will warm enough to not have to burn fuel for heat. How can hot air be trapped under cold air, or hot water be trapped under cold water? Heat rises, plants breathe CO2, melting ice creates more fresh water, more rain, more plants, more oxygen by my logic.
    We don’t control it, nor do will we reverse it. We will kill each other over the debate…
    We are entering a dust cloud, that should cool it down. The earth is still recovering from the last dust up from asteroid collision, which brought on an out of step ice age. Car exhaust is bad, but I bet we are all dying from cancer caused by every nuclear explosion that happened within our atmosphere. ANd plastic molecules, oil spills, mercury.
    Extinction: It has been happening in slow motion since the forties.
    Each town needs a huge Gilligan Dynamo… bicycle pedals and cranks for each citizen to taking turns to turn (like each is responsible for 90 seconds of cranking) Viola, clean energy.
    Util some greedy oligarchy sucks down the power/creates slavery again.
    Doomed, but we like it.

  76. Chuang Tse

    Phil, why didn’t you just outrun the cold? It worked perfectly in “The Day After Tomorrow”…

  77. Gamercow

    *rolleyes*

    weather != climate.

    I’d post more, but I’m hammered. I created a drinking game with all the GW denier buzzwords, and then I read spectroscope’s posts. If you want to drink along, the buzz words are:

    Gore
    Alarmist
    Green
    Socialist
    ClimateGate
    CO2

  78. Big Fat Earl

    @tacitus: Actually, Spectroscope has presented more compelling evidence and reasoning than the other side has. It’s sad that so few people are able to evaluate this matter in an objective way.

  79. Allen N

    Huh @ 52 does indeed have some ‘Bad Astronomy’ since the Earth is, in fact closer to the sun by about 3 million miles as compared to 6 months ago.

  80. JupiterIsBig

    Mr Spectroscope
    The planet is getting hotter. I believe the people who have tha data and the time to do the research.
    Hotter planet = more intense weather patterns
    More intense weather patterns = larger range of temperature in some parts
    Thus hotter planet = cold temps in some parts.
    this is especially true if the Gulf Stream stops – then Ireland, the UK, and most of Northern Europe become like the equivalent latitudes in Asia and North America.
    Where are those 400 million people going to go ?

    Why won’t people admit that human beings can affect the ability of this planet to support Homo Sapiens Sapiens ?

  81. -20 C isn’t especially cold. It’s a bit brisk, sure, but it’s normal enough around here. -40 or -50, that’s cold.

  82. ColonelFazackerley

    Here in Oxford (UK) at a latitude of 51 degrees the coldest night we have had this winter is +1 celsius. Boulder has a latitude of 40 degrees. You have to love the UK’s mild maritime climate.

  83. Grand Lunar

    Dang it Phil, I need some of that cold weather down here in South Florida!
    We’re ABOVE normal temperature!

  84. DrFlimmer

    Winter is going to start in Germany, too, in the next few days. We will cross 0°C in the night from Sun- to Monday.

    Btw: It must be cold in the Wild West. Even Arizona is covered with snow! Oh my god!

  85. Allen N

    Gamercrow @ 75:
    You might want to add cult, religion, liberal, librul, freedom, brainwashed, and koolaide to your list of words.

    For Big fat @76: Just take a look at the first paragraph of spectro’s reply @68. He makes the mistake of saying that because it is cold and there is more CO2, then climate change is wrong. This shows that he really does not understand the difference between climate and weather. Further, he also does not grasp that warming does not mean it gets warmer everywhere.

    To add to Spectro’s errors, his contention that there are no observable changes due to warming is simply wrong. Some low lying islands are already in trouble; migrations occur earlier, as do flowering seasons and more. For Spectro and his ilk, everything comes down to “Those Damn Liberals”. I would recommend that you go to realclimate.org where they have links to the actual work in question. You can read what was actually printed in journals and not just some crap quote mined and put out on the Internet.

  86. JackC

    Chuang Tse@74: I know “Armageddon” is at the top of Phil’s “absolutely worst movies” (at least concerning “science”) – but for my money, that one at least should be a tie. I frankly think it has aspects that make it a definite leader in the field, but what do I know?

    JC

  87. Michael

    Welll buddy, what can I say? I live in what we like to call “The Big Land” – Labrador Canada, home of ice and snow and seals and icebergs in the Labrador Sea so I can’t really sympathize for more than a mini micro nano-second. I could say Boo Hoo ya big Woos! or .. Hope your little toesies don’t freeze and fall off! But I won’t :-)))

  88. Daniel J. Andrews

    I’d post more, but I’m hammered. I created a drinking game with all the GW denier buzzwords, and then I read spectroscope’s posts.

    Gamercow….that drinking game is a sure way to get alcohol poisoning. To preserve brain cells, switch to global warming ‘skeptic’ bingo.

    scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/04/gwsbingo.php

    For those who are genuinely interested in learning more (as opposed to spouting long debunked myths based on an ideology rather than any science), here are Dr. David Archer’s U Chicago video lectures on climate. They’re designed for people with little to no background in science, esp. climate science. [might have to copy and paste some links into your browser]
    geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html

    Or if you prefer to read, or don’t have the time to watch lectures, try the Start Here page that caters to all knowledge levels, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/05/start-here/

    and of course, http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html, The Discovery of Global Warming–a history of the science so you can understand just how solid the chemistry and physics are.

    A layman’s guide for the perplexed here: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11462

    Get your own climate report here: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/ by month or by year, for the continental US, or for global scale.

    And NASA also has climate.nasa.gov/, which gives very quick summaries (you will notice from that site that we could throw away every land and ocean temperature available, and we’d still have to conclude the globe is warming).

    Then a potpourri site, members.autobahn.mb.ca/~het/enviro/globalwarming.html
    which contain hundreds (if not a thousand or more) climate related links (site seems a bit dated, but it does link to regularly updated sites).

    There is a wealth of information based on real science from dozens of disciplines converging on one answer in a remarkable demonstration of consilience: The globe is warming, and it highly likely we are responsible.

  89. JJ

    Temps here in the Northern NYC suburbs have been pretty mild lately. Summers haven’t been as warm in the last few years and winters have had less snow with seemingly warmer temps since the late 90s. It seems that the temperature range is becoming more narrow up here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. Sure beats those negative temps you all speak of. Maybe this whole global warming thing isn’t so bad after all…

  90. Gary Ansorge

    Ack! -20 C? That’s nothing. When I was living in Belt, Montana, back in 1975, I parked my car at night and it was +65 F. When I got up the next morning it was -45 F, with a wind chill of -65F. Now, THAT’S cold. That’s also the time I grew a full face beard(’cause all the cowboys pointed out that was one way of insulating ones face)(it works, too!!!).

    I had a brother of Recent African Ancestry who suffered from frozen, ruptured nasal capillaries while standing watch at Malmstrom AFB. I seldom had such trouble, but I have a long snoz. Good for pre-warming the cold, dry air. Such a simple adaptation to frigid air. Guess I must have some significant Scandinavian genes in the mix.

    Phil:

    If you go to Home Depot, you can buy those simple, disposable, dust face masks. They’re easy to carry and slip on when faced with really cold, dry air and they capture both heat and moisture and allow re-cycling of same upon inhalation. My ex – wife used them because the cold air really messed with her asthma.

    Gary 7

    PS. Spectroscope. The best thing about your posts is your name. The minute I see it I know it’s “Time to move along. Nothing new to see here.”

  91. Ron

    Blah, Blah, Blah. In the end, Barney Frank (whom I’d like to make an honourary Canadian) has the right attitude, ” arguing with you (deniers) is like arguing with a table.

    The empirical and anecdotal evidence for global warming is conclusive. Science has presented the case for and others (an increasing minority of scientists) have unsuccessfully argued against it for decades. The time has come to park the deniers in the same box (ie. utter, noisy irrelevance) with the tea baggers, the creationists, the conspiracy folk, and their like and to move on and address the socio-economic issues arising from climate change — issues such as those raised by Soowaslab #75.

    Soowaslab says, “How come it is up to America? We can’t afford to drive anymore anyway, the price of a gallon of gas has killed America. That is why businesses failed…oh, rising energy costs shouldn’t be a problem because it will warm enough to not have to burn fuel for heat. How can hot air be trapped under cold air, or hot water be trapped under cold water? Heat rises, plants breathe CO2, melting ice creates more fresh water, more rain, more plants, more oxygen by my logic.
    We don’t control it, nor do will we reverse it. We will kill each other over the debate…”
    (replace America with China, India, or a host of developing countries)

    Doowaslab asks relevant questions that reflect the anxiety and confusion held by vast numbers of people around the world. These are the type of questions that must be honestly and frankly addressed if we are to successfully transition away from a carbon based economy. Wasting time arguing for/against global warming is pointless.

  92. Nigel Depledge

    Doowaslab (75) said:

    I am not taking sides, but ask: if we turn it all off right now (haven’t we way reduced what we individually can control already? But warming is speeding up?) will it reverse?

    If we stop burning coal, oil and natural gas, and if we stop making cement, we cannot stop the methane emissions from our livestock (and if we slaughter them all right now, they’ll still emit something with carbon in it as they decompose) and neither can we stop the methane emissions from landfills.

    However, eventually, yes, it will reverse, but it will take decades.

    What if the sun is hotter and the molten core is more active because of it?

    The sun is indeed (very gradually) getting hotter. What do you propose we do about it? AFAICT, we are powerless to stop the sun from emitting more energy. Whereas we can do something about anthropogenic CO2. Either way, the sun cannot influence Earth’s core without influencing the surface first. As far as I am aware, there is no mechanism whereby the sun can heat up Earth’s core apart from simply heating the entire Earth. Even so, it would take many centuries for increased solar output to change the temperature of Earth’s core.

    How come it is up to America?

    Erm, do you really not know?

    First, world’s highest per-capita emitter of CO2. By a large margin (like, twice or thrice as much as most of Europe).

    Second, most other highly affluent nations have already started to do something about their emissions.

    We can’t afford to drive anymore anyway, the price of a gallon of gas has killed America.

    Until you’re paying more than $7.50 for a US gallon of 97 RON petrol, quit whining.

    That is why businesses failed…oh, rising energy costs shouldn’t be a problem because it will warm enough to not have to burn fuel for heat.

    Actually, a lot of the energy generated in the US is used for aircon.

    How can hot air be trapped under cold air, or hot water be trapped under cold water?

    It’s called a temperature inversion, and it’s a common phenomenon. If you really want to know how it happens, start with wikipedia.

    Heat rises,

    No, it doesn’t. Fluids tend to rise when they become more buoyant than their surroundings. Heat merely passes from regions of high thermal energy density to regions of lower thermal energy density.

    plants breathe CO2,

    There is a limit to how much CO2 plants can absorb. But they also respire and emit CO2 (during the day when they photosynthesise, there is a net absorbtion of CO2, but at night when they cannot photosynthesise, plants emit CO2. More plant growth means more respiration of plants as well as more photosynthesis).

    melting ice creates more fresh water,

    Eh? When the Antarctic ice sheet melts (for instance), it dilutes the Southern Ocean, it does not really make more fresh water anywhere useful.

    more rain, more plants, more oxygen by my logic.

    More rain does not mean more plants, except in places where plant growth is limited only by availability of water. Climate change means more rain in some places, but it also means others will become more arid.

    More oxygen may be nice if you like setting fire to stuff, but it has no power to counteract atmospheric CO2‘s ability to absorb and re-emit heat.

    We don’t control it, nor do will we reverse it.

    We can limit what we contribute. If this is the only way to limit global warming, don’t you think we should try? Or do you think that cities like New York, New Orleans, London, Venice, St Petersburg, Mumbai, Kolkata, Tokyo and Shanghai would be better off under water?

    We will kill each other over the debate…

    There is no debate. We will kill each other fighting for the remaining arable land, living space, food and other resources.

    We are entering a dust cloud, that should cool it down.

    What the…?

    The earth is still recovering from the last dust up from asteroid collision, which brought on an out of step ice age. Car exhaust is bad, but I bet we are all dying from cancer caused by every nuclear explosion that happened within our atmosphere. ANd plastic molecules, oil spills, mercury.

    Wow, there is so much here that you just seem to be making up as you go along. Do you have any actual evidence for any of this stuff?

    Extinction: It has been happening in slow motion since the forties.

    Well, since before then, actually, and not in slow motion at all. Human activity seems to be causing the largest mass extinction since the end Permian event. However, global warming has the potential to take out a large portion of humanity too. Do you think that’s a good thing, or do you think we should do what we can to limit it?

    Each town needs a huge Gilligan Dynamo… bicycle pedals and cranks for each citizen to taking turns to turn (like each is responsible for 90 seconds of cranking) Viola, clean energy.

    Sure, and substantially reduced productivity in every other walk of life. Plus, that means of generating electricity doesn’t generate anywhere near the amount that we typically consume at the moment.

    Util some greedy oligarchy sucks down the power/creates slavery again.

    Erm … right.

    Doomed, but we like it.

    Well, yeah, it’s the tragedy of the commons all over again.

  93. Nigel Depledge

    Spectroscope (69) said:

    The fact that the weather is still cold, even freezing so much that Phil Plait is complaining about & saying how much he hates it when the Alarmists have been shouting for years that the climate is changing and its all fault for Co2 – yet the world stubbornly refuses to behave as they predicted is significant.

    Rubbish.

    The world is behaving exactly as predicted – weather is a chaotic phenomenon. In fact, here in the UK we are having an exceptionally mild December.

    What part of “global average temperature” do you not understand?

    If Co2 was

    I’m gonna be picky because you’re being annoying. You used a subjunctive, so this should be “If CO2 were”.

    a factor driving climate change then every year the extra C02 would make things hotter. The climate records refute that.

    Again, nonsense. Global average temperature is increasing. Not year-on-year, no, because weather is a chaotic phenomenon. Only a fool would expect to see a year-on-year increase as a result of global warming. But there is a detectable upward trend.

    In addition to that the fact that the weather in Boulder is still icy and freezing and unpleasantly frigid (a bit like my treatment here on occassion! ) when if the Alarmists were right it’d be much hotter (and nicer) is also further disproof of Gore’s nonsense.

    Again, you are conflating weather and climate.

    In fact, climate predictions indicate that some areas will indeed get cooler (especially, for instance, if the Gulf Strem or North Atlantic Drift change substantially). What is predicted to increase is the global average temperature.

    In case you were unaware, the USA comprises less than 10% of the surface of the Earth. Colorado even less.

    It is also a valid tie in between Phil’s Opening Post here and my logical conclusions that show the AGW theory is bunk.

    Er, well, no. Not only have you failed to demonstrate any such thing, your entire premise is wrong.

  94. Nigel Depledge

    Big Fat Earl (78) said:

    Actually, Spectroscope has presented more compelling evidence and reasoning than the other side has. It’s sad that so few people are able to evaluate this matter in an objective way.

    Heh. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    In fact, Spectroscope’s reasoning is fallacious in every way, and his/her attempts to assert “facts” fail by virtue of not being true.

  95. Nigel Depledge

    Spectroscope (69) again:

    The ClimateGate scandal clearly proves to everyone not already brainwashed into the Socialist Green cult that the misinformation is all coming from the Alarmists and not the Skeptics.

    Really?

    I’d like you to cite specific passages that shows that the scientists in question were making stuff up.

    You see, even reading only the bits that have been most frequently quoted by the AGW deniers, what comes across to me is injudicious venting of extreme frustration. The source of the frustration is obvious to anyone who has tried to argue with an AGW denier.

    And even if the scientists at that research centre had made stuff up (and I do not believe that they ever did), the hacked emails in no way address all of the findings of all of the other climatologists worldwide.

    BTW, your use of the term “Socialist Green cult” is offensive and wrong. It is also the logical fallacy known as “poisoning the well”. By trying to imply that everyone who accepts AGW has the same political stance, you are pretending that anyone of a more conservative political outlook than outright socialism should reject AGW for that reason alone.

  96. Bandsaw

    I’m impressed that the resolution of sat cameras has improved to the point where they can see the state borders! =)

  97. Monkey Deathcar

    Bandsaw,

    You shouldn’t be surprised, it can also see the writing on the Pacific Ocean.

  98. Bryan Feir

    @98 Monkey Deathcar:

    Heh; there’s a set of bande dessinée called Philémon which involves a magical world and a set of islands in the Atlantic Ocean that actually read ‘Océan Atlantique’ when seen from far enough up. Very silly stuff.

  99. Damon

    That’s Climate Change for you. Swings both ways.

  100. Engywuck

    For your information, dear “climate-change-‘sceptics'”: it was quite a bit too warm here in germany for most of october and all of november (and too few rain in august). Germany on average was 3 whole degrees Celsius warmer than the average november, with some areas getting 8 degrees warmer than normal. December has been somewhat normal but slightly too warm – day temperatures here in black forest in the +5 to +10 C range (at 600m height!) – at the moment (my clock shows 21:06) it still has 4.7°C

    You just can’t take one country, or even a continent and saying “but here the *weather* was too cold, so I have refuted climate change”. Weather is complex and climate even more so.

  101. sistercoyote

    I said recently that one knows one has gotten used to living in a cold climate when one looks forward to the next snowstorm because it means temperatures will increase…

  102. Gary Ansorge

    101. Engywuck:

    I’d just like to point out that my electric bill for the month of Oct/Nov was $ 22.00 LESS than the same period last year(and I used 30% fewer kWh) but of course, such as Spectro should be able to refute that by asserting that Georgia is only one state,,,

    One could pull such limited data and use it to accommodate any whacky climate idea, but that’s just data mining and is about as useful as any other anecdotal “evidence”. Of course, next year, it might well be colder.

    GAry 7

  103. Arthur Ketcham

    It’s warmed up to -7°C (19°F) here in Boulder now! Spring has returned!

  104. Spectroscope

    @77. Gamercow Says:

    I’d post more, but I’m hammered. I created a drinking game with all the GW denier buzzwords, and then I read spectroscope’s posts. If you want to drink along, the buzz words are:

    Is getting blind drunk the only way you can believe in the Gore Bull Warming tripe then, Gamercow? Figures. ;-)

    @ 80. JupiterIsBig Says:

    Why won’t people admit that human beings can affect the ability of this planet to support Homo Sapiens Sapiens ?

    Haven’t you heard of the Copernican principle or the principle of mediocrity?

    Its a fundamental law of skepticism that notes we are not at the centre of things -we are just not as important or special as we’d like to think we are.

    Humans aren’t that big when it comes to the climate of the whole planet and we need to be skeptical of the hairshirt hubris that has some extremists saying its all our fault.

    Natural sources and natural climate variation far outweighs anything we can do. Wetlands and forests and other natural things produce more Co2 than we do – many times more. For instance, Did you know that the world’s natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined? Its true.

    The Sun and its sunspot variations – notably extreme solar minima such as the Maunder minimum – is a known climate driver.

    As are the Milankovitch orbital cycles involving our planet’s orbit around the Sun and axial tilt, plus there’s the role of the positioning of continents and the rebound from past Ice Age conditions.

    In the large picture Earth’s climate has been changing continually for the past geological era since the Pleistocene – the planet has geologically recently experienced many cooling and warming cycles such as the Medieval Warm Period, the Dark Ages Cooling, the Little Ice Age, the Holocene Optimum and many, many more. In none of those natural climate shifts have humans been polluting the air with Co2 or anything much else so we have to ask -what’s special about the late 20th century warming?

    Why should we believe that changes that occurred naturally in the past are now all our fault and require us to do anything at all let alone sacrifice our economy and standard of living based on very dubious “science” – or more accurately Socialist Green ideology masquerading as “science”?

    Another skeptical law is “when you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras.”

    In climate terms that means “if you see global temperatures rising slightly think of obvious well-known natural climatic factors like solar variations and gelogical cycles rather than
    human factories, cars and farting cows!”

    We aren’t that significant in climate terms – sure we can chop down forests and hunt some species to extinction but in the greater scheme of things our influence is still minimal, esp. on the climate! When we can alter the Earth’s orbit or our planet’s axial tilt or change the solar sunspot cycles (*these* are the main factors driving climate) *then* & only then will folks who say we can change our planetary climate have any sort of point in my view.

    Co2 levels and the planetary average temperature simply do not co-relate. Co2 levels were much higher in the past incl. during ice ages. There are many graphs and much evidene showing this and proving the whole line that Co2 has any role in climate change is bunk. Read Plimer’s comprehensive book ‘Heaven & Earth’ or visit:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/GlobWarmTest/start.html

    Or see

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    & try http://wattsupwiththat.com/ too!

  105. Ron

    re. #105 Spectroscope … BLA BLA BLA. Your argument is nothing more than a dead end and it is time for you to just get out of the way!

  106. Spectroscope

    For another great source giving the other side of the AGW debate see:

    M4GW (Minnesotans For Global Warming):

    http://www.minnesotansforglobalwarming.com/m4gw/

    Also did you know Harrison Schmitt , the Apollo 17 astronaut and only scientist to walk on the Moon is a GW skeptic? See:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,493624,00.html

    (& also on Schmitt’s Wikipedia page.)

    [Its] “Not that the planet hasn’t warmed. We know it has or we’d all still be in the Ice Age,” he [Schmitt] said. “But it has not reached a crisis proportion and, even among us skeptics, there’s disagreement about how much man has been responsible for that warming.”

    Schmitt said historical documents indicate average temperatures have risen by 1 degree per century since around 1400 A.D., and the rise in carbon dioxide is because of the temperature rise. … Of the global warming debate, he said: “It’s one of the few times you’ve seen a sizable portion of scientists who ought to be objective take a political position and it’s coloring their objectivity.”

    “The CO2 scare is a red herring.” & “ the global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision-making.”
    – Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and only scientist to walk on the Moon.

    @96 Nigel Depledge: I’d like you to cite specific passages that shows that the scientists in question were making stuff up.

    OMG! Haven’t you bothered to read the leaked CRU ClimateGate emails? Check out the sources I’ve listed and see for yourself. Its blatantly obvious.

    Using “tricks” to “hide the decline.” Admitting to each other that they’re not seeing the warming they predicted. Deleting emails and data rather than accepting a legitimate FOI requests. Censoring papers and websites (eg.”RealClimate”) and even stacking peer review. Its all there.

    @ Ron (106) & other Gore Bull Warmers – you’re entitled to your opinions. I’m entitled to mine. You’re entitled to put your case & so am I. I’m able to support what I say with evidence and logical, good arguments, you seem capable only of calling names and abuse. Perhaps its you that should get out of the way and stop flogging a dead ideological horse? :roll:

  107. Mark Hansen

    Nice argument from authority there, Spectroscope. Does that make UFO’s any more real because Ed Mitchell says they exist? Incidentally, are you related to an oscilloscope? Oh, and isn’t calling someone a Gore-Bull Warmer also calling names?

  108. gss_000

    No, you are able to support your arguments that have been disproven time and time again.

    You are just as abusive as others. You call this a good argument:
    “Facts are that, yes, its cold & things are not getting over-heated physically so why believe the over-heated rhetoric of the liars at Copenhagen”

    Liars? Please. You and other deniers are just as bad as those you declaim. So let’s take apart some of the claims here:

    ” its cold & things are not getting over-heated”: You refer to local weather conditions as examples that climate isn’t warming? That’s not climate, that’s weather. Climate is an average of conditions over many (typically 30 years). To show why this is idiotic, Massachusetts just broke temperature records this past week with its warmer than average weather. It just had its first below freezing day of the season this week, which is very abnormal. Does that prove the climate is warming? What about the 100+ degree weather over the summer? That doesn’t prove global warming either. Learn the definition of climate versus weather.

    When you look at actual temps, and not proxy for temps, it shows statistically significant warming. Look at this:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33482750/
    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2009/10/earth_is_not_cooling_according_1.html
    This is temperature data. Not a proxy, actual data, and several sets of measurements too to make sure one set did not show bias. That’s climate.

    “Also did you know Harrison Schmitt , the Apollo 17 astronaut and only scientist to walk on the Moon is a GW skeptic?”

    Did you know that Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell says that astronauts have seen aliens and UFO’s? Just because you’re an astronaut does not mean you are an expert. This is another tactic of skeptics, referring to people who are currently not in the field or are retired and not doing research as renowned experts. Why does his geology degree from the 1960s trump the scientific societies and thousands of scientists currently doing actual research on the matter who say climate change is real and ongoing? The AMerican Geophysical Union is not a political party. Neither is the National Academies of Science from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA, the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Geological Society of London, the Geological Society of America, and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. And here’s another study from Science Magazine (not a trade journal like some skeptics cite): http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686. Your position on drawing authority from one famous person is not logical.

    Unfortunately, Spectroscope, your side of the argument has strangely always used tricks and deception to forward their cause. Look at how Fox News is reporting the email issue, citing a Rasmussen poll that sums up to 120%: http://mediamatters.org/blog/200912080002 . Also: http://www.politicususa.com/en/Fox-News-Jon-Stewart .
    It’s funny that those who say these emails somehow show a conspiracy are the same people who said seat belts won’t save lives, smoking doesn’t cause cancer, and there’s no issue with the ozone hole or acid rain.

    To continue, you cite that incorrect Climate Test that would cause you to fail actual classes. I should know, as I TA several college level courses on these topics. To compare what is going on now with what is going on in the past is an incorrect correlation. While there have been levels of CO2 this high in the past, that was a long time ago and it wasn’t reached this quickly. If you actually looked at the Milankovitch cycles, you’d see that they take place over tens of thousands of years, and the effects we see now were reaches a lot more slowly. The solar 11 year cycle isn’t a reliable one. People try to tie any short term effect to the solar cycle, but they are not conclusive. Studies have shown that you can’t account for current warming from a sun that has been having a decrease in output.

    Here’s is another point where your logic breaks down: “Another skeptical law is “when you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras.”” You are misapplying Occam’s Razor. The simplest answer (as you see it) is usually the best, not always the best. Nor does simple always mean correct. That’s a tool for adjudicating two different explanations that are valid. Your position is not valid here, therefore you are misapplying the rule to shoehorn your belief into the facts.

  109. Blizno

    -20 C = -4 F. Here in Minnesota we welcome such temperatures because the lakes will slowly start freezing. Once the ice covering the lakes is thick enough for us to drag our ice-houses out and start doing some serious ice fishing, we’re happy.

    I personally don’t do fishing although I eat supermarket fish, but I do love off-road bicycling. It is glorious when a body of water freezes before the snow gets too deep to cycle. I whistled along the Minnesota River one winter at very high speed after about an inch of crusty snow had fallen on the glass-smooth frozen river. I hugged the shore, being freaked out by the occasional “boom” of distant cracking ice, but it was still glorious to fly along the smooth, hard surface for mile after mile. During my journey I came upon a coyote that had died on the ice. Its innards had been eaten away by scavengers. It’s amazing what one can see once one leaves the comfortable places and goes out into the scary, cold woods.
    I installed carbide-steel studded tires on my bicycle this fall. I very much look forward to cycling across amazing frozen wastelands once the really cold times hit. For those of us in Minnesota, “really cold” means -20F and colder. Sometimes much colder.

  110. AJ

    wow thats weird, im in new england, MA, and only 4 days ago it was 60. then we got heavy snow, then another day around 50…and then more snow. so crazy. winter started really late this yr, any1 else notice?

  111. Nigel Depledge

    Gary Ansorge (103) said:

    One could pull such limited data and use it to accommodate any whacky climate idea, but that’s just data mining and is about as useful as any other anecdotal “evidence”. Of course, next year, it might well be colder.

    I think the term you were after is “cherry picking”. Data mining is not intrinsically a bad thing.

  112. Nigel Depledge

    Spectroscope (105) said:

    Haven’t you heard of the Copernican principle or the principle of mediocrity?

    Its a fundamental law of skepticism that notes we are not at the centre of things -we are just not as important or special as we’d like to think we are.

    Yes, of course. What makes you think that the climatologists have forgotten this?

    Humans aren’t that big when it comes to the climate of the whole planet and we need to be skeptical of the hairshirt hubris that has some extremists saying its all our fault.

    Yes, this has already happened. Throughout the 70s and 80s, most scientists were extremely sceptical of anthropogenic global warming.

    Why? Because the evidence at the time was weak.

    Guess what has changed since then? We have vastly more evidence, of much higher quality, and all of it points to the same outcome: AGW is a real phenomenon. The scientists who were sceptical in the 80s did not simply all die or retire and live on an island somewhere. Instead, they were convinced by the new evidence.

    Natural sources and natural climate variation far outweighs anything we can do. Wetlands and forests and other natural things produce more Co2 than we do – many times more. For instance, Did you know that the world’s natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined? Its true.

    And the very fact that you consider this to be relevant shows that you do not understand the situation at all.

    The key point about humanity’s output of greenhouse gasses is not the absolute amount (which, of course, is modest in comparison with the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere), it is the rate at which global emissions of greenhouse gasses (of all kinds) are changing. All of the natural systems that absorb or emit CO2 or methane have developed in concordance over millions of years. There have been fluctuations that caused ice ages, and others that caused those ice ages to end. If we were not increasing the global [atmospheric CO2], we would be in an interglacial period.

    What we have learned about past changes of climate, however, is that the global climate contains positive feedback loops, and these make it very sensitive to small fluctuations.

    If we had emitted the same amount of CO2 over 20,000 years as we have over the last 200 years, we would probably not see any impact because global changes would be sufficiently gradual. However, that is not the case. We are facing several “tipping points” that open up various positive feedback mechanisms. Once these have started, nothing we can do will stop them, short of some crazy (and massively expensive) geoengineering projects.

    These include:
    (1) That ice reflects sunlight into space: less ice means more energy is absorbed by the Earth’s surface.
    (2) Thawing of permafrost with accompanying emission of methane.
    (3) Thawing of methane clathrates in the deep ocean and the release of this trapped methane into the atmosphere.
    (4) That once the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere exceeds a certain level, it actually inhibits plant growth (which, obviously, would negate the effect of plants as a carbon sink).

  113. Nigel Depledge

    @ Spectroscope (107) –

    First off, I cry “argument from authority”.

    Harrison Schmitt may be the only scientist to have walked on the moon, but he’s a geologist not a climatologist. He’s not an expert.

    What do the experts say about this? Well, as far as the IPCC is concerned, AGW has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    Second, no I haven’t read all of the hacked emails. I have better things to do with my time. However, I’ve read plenty of stuff that the AGW deniers have quoted from them, and it really doesn’t show what they claim it shows. The denial of requests for data is easily explained as the outcome of exasperation. There are a few die-hards who refuse to acknowledge the case for AGW, and these people are making a nuisance of themselves. What they are not doing is engaging in legitimate scientific debate. Therefore, the requests for raw data are not legitimate. And so on.

    The actual debate over AGW happened in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, and the conclusions are clear. The scientific debate as to whether AGW is real or not is over, and has been for about 15 years.

    Third (but not necessarily in order) you have claimed that increased atmospheric CO2 is the result of warming, not the cause. I take issue with that on theoretical grounds – there is a well-known mechanism whereby greenhouse gasses retain heat. What is the mechanism by which increased heat causes us to burn more fossil fuels?

    Finally, I find it amusing that you accuse the climatologists of politicising science, when the AGW debate has actually been politicised by Big Oil – their vested interest is even larger and more obvious than that of the tobacco companies in the 70s and 80s.

  114. Steve in Dublin

    Cue Spectroscope in 5… 4… 3… 2…

    Or maybe he’s finished on this thread, and will just surface as the 3rd or 4th poster on another one. The topic doesn’t even have to be remotely related to AGW. Any thread will do. Spectroscope must regurgitate his daily anti-AGW bile every day since ‘Climategate’ broke. It’s like a fix for him.

    Nice debunking from gss_000 and Nigel Depldge. I’d pitch in too, but I’m still educating myself re. AGW.

  115. ND

    Spectroscope is deliberately trolling. He has no new arguments to consider.

    Let me rephrase that to “trolling with extreme prejudice”.

  116. “Nice debunking from gss_000 and Nigel Depldge.”

    Except Nigel had much better grammar than I did. I shouldn’t try to debunk while tired.

    I’ve linked to an absolutely great website for those wanting to see the nitty gritty of climate science: http://tamino.wordpress.com/

    I especially liked the recent post: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/
    since it a) isn’t as complex as some (warning: the sites very math intensive) and b) it debunks a climate myth that is common even by those who accept global warming.

    Oh, and anyone interested in seeing what climate code looks like, check out: http://clearclimatecode.org/gistemp/

  117. Plutonium being from Pluto

    I used to be a certain believer in the idea that human C02 was causing unprecedented dangerous “global warming.” I’ve defended the Anthropogenic Global Warming concept here before.

    However, I no longer think this & am now quite uncertain over this situation and over what to believe or think on this topic.

    The major factors in this are reading Prof. Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven & Earth’ & also hearing him speak in person and talking with him. He strikes me as a good and trustworthy bloke from personal experience.

    Search on Wikipedia & you’ll find a pages on both Plimer & his book. Yes its been predictably criticised by some on the pro-AGW side and has its flaws but, still, it also makes a pretty strong case for the anti-AGW camp.

    I’ve also spoken with and heard from a number of other skeptics from the astronomical /geological background incl. my local astronomical society. (No, they’re not trained climatologists. But these people have done a lot of study and research into climatology too or so it appears to me.)

    Also the latest “climategate” scandal, which true or not, out of context or not, sure looks bad – if even half of the stuff in the CRU emails is the way its represented then its a very devastating blow against the AGW side.

    Because if nothing else it has your average person on the street asking :

    Can we really trust or believe what they are saying?

    When it comes to science we are just NOT individually either trained or equipped to assess the competing claims or take the data for ourselves.

    We need to have a certain amount of trust in the scientists that are telling us some very alarming things and saying we must take very painful and costly measures that will or could make our lives much worse and poorer.

    If one side of this debate looks “dodgy” – & right now the pro-Anthropogenic Global Warming side does – to me & many others – then it is not going to be seen as credible.

    I do think we need a full thorough and high-level investigation and accountability here.
    Lets get everything out in the open and public – please.

    I don’t claim to be an expert or to even know more than a just a few things about this issue but it is one that affects or could effect everyone.

    Also the line that “1998 was the hottest year and the world hasn’t got any hotter since” does seem a strong argument against AGW theory. Yes, you can talk “El nino, exceptional year” & so forth but really .. the worlds meant to be getting hotter and C02 is increasing all the time and … over ten years ago is still the hottest year ever recorded!? Come on! Maybe its me but something sure smells “wrong” there.

    There’s a lot of politics mixed in here from both sides and the science suffers as a result.

    There’s a lot of name-calling & talking past each other from *both* sides.

    Honestly, I don’t know what to think anymore but I am a lot more dubious and far less sold on the AGW idea and the Climatologists arguing it.

    That’s my personal view of things anyhow for whatever good it is.

    PS. I’ve been told about the ‘Realclimate’ website and that its a good site worth examining this with – but also told that they are a lobby group implicated in the Climategate emails. So can I trust them? Are they reliable or too partisan here? Afraid, I’m not sure anymore.
    – StevoR (a.k.a. Plutonium being from Pluto)

  118. gss_000

    @117. Plutonium being from Pluto

    “Also the line that “1998 was the hottest year and the world hasn’t got any hotter since” does seem a strong argument against AGW theory.”

    Argh! No, that is a very weak argument when you actually look at the science. It’s an effective arguments on denier’s side because it’s easy to grasp but it’s wrong. It’s like saying, “The US stock market has been up since January 2009. Therefore, there were no financial problems in previous years.” Sure the stock market is up for the year, but that ignores that the stock market began the year down almost 50% from its height. By selecting only part of the story, you come to the wrong conclusions.

    But back to temperatures. The thing that the public and other scientists sometimes fail to grasp is this is weather, not climate. Climate, and the average temperature, is found by taking a rolling 30 year average. There are too few data points from 1998 onward to make an accurate statement about what temperatures are doing.

    Check out this site: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/riddle-me-this/
    The author of the blog was asked about this. The main gist of the post is that temperatures have been following mainstream climatologists’ predictions for this century so far. However, he was asked about your point (only starting from 2000), and after doing statistical analysis, he found:

    “More to the point, the uncertainties in trend estimates using just data since 2000 are much larger than the trend estimates themselves. Attempting to delineate the climate trend using so little data is a fool’s exercise.”

    Furthermore:

    “data since 1975 actually does enable us to estimate a trend with sufficient precision to be useful (unlike your suggestion of starting with 2000)”

    What I personally am finding funny about this idea is that the 1998 claim is based only on the CRU temperature data. NASA GISS temperature data, which is collected and analyzed in a different way, shows that 2005 actually was the hottest year, with 2007 matching its 1998 measurements. So those who pillory CRU for its emails are trusting it it as the only authority for temperature. Seems a funny contradiction in logic to me.

  119. For those who claim “you haven’t read all the emails,” well the AP and others have and have weighed in:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091212/ap_on_sc/climate_e_mails

    Note: “The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don’t undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Also, since this is hosted on yahoo, it’ll probably go away in a few days, but should be republished on other sites.

  120. gss_000

    One last thing. It may bee too late for anyone to care on this topic, but just in case, Plutonium, I have another question for you: How can you take anything Pilmer says seriously in his book, which you said you read, when he endorses a theory in his book that the sun is made mostly out of iron, and not hydrogen and helium?

  121. Nigel Depledge

    Plutonium Being from Pluto said:

    The major factors in this are reading Prof. Ian Plimer’s book ‘Heaven & Earth’ & also hearing him speak in person and talking with him. He strikes me as a good and trustworthy bloke from personal experience.

    Yeah, so, as you suggested, I looked this up on wikipedia.

    In particular, I note the distinctions held by the many critics of “Heaven & Earth” and there are several dead giveaways that H&E is fictitious. First, the number of critics who mention that Plimer’s conclusions are either unsupported by data or refer to data that actually contradicts them. Second, one critic alone compiled a list of over 100 factual errors in the book. That is not the kind of publishing that a real scientist would engage in. Sure, a few errors creep into any book, but when it’s that many you know that the author either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what is correct.

    Ironically, Plimer accuses AGW supporters of being like creationists, when his own publications possess distinct echoes of creationist strategies. Gish Gallop, anyone?

    Finally, all of the best con artists come across as trustworthy people. Otherwise they would have to find an honest line of work. The key points are: are the facts he references correct? and are his arguments logical?

    Well, he falls down on the first one: I shan’t bother reading H&E now I know that it is full of errors and misrepresentations of the facts. No matter how logical your argument is or seems, without a firm factual foundation, it collapses.

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