When does weather become climate?

By Phil Plait | July 2, 2012 11:55 am

When does weather become climate?

It’s really starting to feel like the answer is now.

That map shows how much higher than average temperatures have been across the US recently. In Colorado in particular, low amounts of rainfall coupled with dry weather (plus an ever-lengthening warm season allowing pine beetles to flourish and destroy living trees) made the state a match waiting to be lit… and that ignition has happened multiple times in the past few weeks.

And it wasn’t just Colorado of course, but also New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming… and not just here in the US, either, as Russia is also on fire.

Is all this due to global warming? Hard to say, exactly. However, these conditions are precisely what you would expect as the Earth warms: weather patterns change, temperature records get broken, conditions go from normally wet to dry, normally dry to wet.

"Weather" is what you look at if you want to know if you need an umbrella or not today. "Climate" is what you expect on average for a given day in a given place. Weather changes on short time scales; climate over long ones. But how long?

Weather + time = climate. It’s well past time to start thinking of that "time" as now.

Credit: Jesse Allen, using MODIS data provided by Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LPDAAC)


Related Posts:

New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up
2011: The 9th hottest year on record
New independent climate study confirms global warming is real
A case study of the tactics of climate change denial, in which I am the target
Revision to temperature measurements doesn’t change global warming

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Science

Comments (112)

  1. Sanjong

    Oh, I get it: Weather becomes climate when it gets hot in the summer. Long live science!

  2. Nicholas

    What makes it hard to determine if it is Weather or Climate is the unpredictability. See 2011 January-May http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/national/Nationalprank/201101-201105.gif Precipitation was average or 71. See 2012 January through May, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/national/Nationalprank/201201-201205.gif Below Normal or 28.

    If it were Climate and it was happening “Now” wouldn’t we start seeing things even out year to year?

  3. Chip

    Eek! Of course, the lower 48 = the globe. Anyone notice all that blue in the southeast? Or Canada? Or the UK and Europe? Friends in London want to know where summer is! But is sure is hot here in Virginia, no doubt.

    I still want to know, what should the temperature be?

  4. Nicholas

    To add to the above comment 2010 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/national/Nationalprank/201001-201005.gif was average while 2009 http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/national/Nationalprank/200901-200905.gifwas back below normal.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but to assume this is the new Climate wouldn’t we need some consistency year over year?

  5. Jason Perry

    I think you are falling into the very trap you are trying to ward against. Climate IS weather+time, but then you show temperature departures from normal for just the last week. Again, you can’t say that because we are experiencing a heat wave that it is proof of climate change any more than climate change deniers can point to blizzards or cold weather in winter is evidence that climate change isn’t real. You have to look at how climate changes over time (comparing temperatures departures from normal for a period of a decade compared to the decade before for example). Crying that a heat wave is proof of climate change just muddies the waters.

  6. Satan Claws

    I think it would make even more interesting (and perhaps compelling) to compare a similar 8-day-average map of June with *other* averages from previous periods. I’ll look into the references cited in the page pointed to by the map.

  7. Fizz

    Hi Phil-
    I am curious what you think of James Lovelock’s statements that he has been overly alarmist about climate change. He has also suggested that university or government researchers can be afraid to say the ‘wrong’ thing out of fear of losing funding.
    I think it is things like this that can cause people to be skeptics about climate change. People can be fed contradictory information from different scientists. Or they don’t trust the scientistist. And most people don’t have enough of a scientific background to truly evaluate the data for themselves.
    So how does one fight this sort of thing? How does a non-scientist know who to trust when scientists themselves seemingly disagree, or have their motivations / results called into doubt?

  8. Hear, hear!

    First, using a graph like this to show global warming is alarmist. You cannot use this map to show anything about climate. It is one point time that shows aberration from the average. Statistically you shouldn’t have a white graph (showing all temperatures should are average). That would be improbable, temperatures are going to be hotter or cooler than the average. Show me a graph that shows the last 5 years having above average temperatures and the 5 years before that as being cooler, then we can start talking about a trend and climate change.

    Second, it seems that nothing has been said to address the fact that there appear to be areas (especially in the great white north) experiencing lower than average temperatures.

    Louis

  9. markogts

    Just un update about “recent climate” in Europe: Southern Europe is experiencing a heat wave. The typical weather pattern was, until recently, dominated by the Azores’ high pressure, which ensured warm, but bearable temperatures, with some showers in between. In recent years there is (apparently, I don’t have actual data) a trend of high pressure coming from the south, in the form of an expanded tropical zone, which causes very high temperatures even during the night, with little precipitation.

    Is it a coincidence? Confirmation bias? Can’t tell for sure, I’m no meteorologist or climatologist, however it is something that has been predicted by the GW models (expansion of the tropical belts).

  10. Ray

    How accurate is that map? I live in central GA and its hot as balls here, but the map indicates below normal. Set records in Macon at 108 and lots of other places near here at 105-106. Norm is the high 90s.

  11. Skeptical Skeptic

    So.. when a Global Warming denier throws out a “colder than average” map in the middle of December as proof that the Earth isn’t warming, or even better a “everything is average” map for any week, that’s okay? Right?

    I expect better…

  12. Chip

    @Ray – if you zoom in on the map, you can see the Macon area is orange-ish.

  13. mike burkhart

    I was just thinking about global warming the other day and I think we’ve going about a solution the worng way. We have been forceing business and people to cut down on the gasses that cause global warming. Now this has meet with a lot of resistance and some nations won’t even cut down so hears an idea insted of cuting down how about developing tecnogly that will remove greenhouse gases from the Atomosphere. This it seems would satisfy everyone.

  14. Doug Little

    Now this has meet with a lot of resistance and some nations won’t even cut down so hears an idea insted of cuting down how about developing tecnogly that will remove greenhouse gases from the Atomosphere. This it seems would satisfy everyone.

    Who do you propose funds such a thing?

  15. Makoto

    I suppose it’s true, climate = weather + time + world. However, the post references other parts of the world, and even mentions how normal weather goes from wet to dry, or dry to wet.

    I suppose we could ask what the temperature / climate “should” be without humans, but as we all know, the climate has shifted over all time in the past, and will do so as long as Earth exists, with or without humans. We also don’t have a spare Earth at the same orbit to experiment on, placing all life except humans on it. So this is something of a pointless question – not to mention, even if the answer was “the Earth would be better without humans”, I doubt humans would just off themselves for the sake of the planet.

    We also can’t copy Earth many times over in its current state and send it onto different experimental paths into the future – get rid of humans, get rid of fossil fuels, move to wind power, move to solar power, move to nuclear power, move to an agrarian society, etc, etc, etc). We just have the one Earth, so we can’t do normal experimentation on it as we could with, say, testing on fruit flies or rats.

    If you look into the past, you can see cooling trends in one part of the globe causing excessively dry times in another. In a similar way, overall warming trends may cause cooling (or even wet) trends in specific regions.

    Many of the models bear this out – I’m not saying the models are perfect, and I doubt they ever will be, since they’re thoughts on what will likely happen. Every day things are actually happening, and that means more data for the models, leading to better (but still not perfect) models for the future. But unless the models perfectly predict every human, non-human animal, plant, and geological activity, they will never be perfect. They can get close and show trends, at least. But we can’t demand climate science conform to the same sorts of experiments as, say, working with HPV vaccines or gene therapy.

  16. Richard

    Hmm .. if this is going to be the “new climate” then we’re in for a load of misery. It’s been cold/horrid/terrible/cloudy/rainy/depressing weather ever since March. Sunshine is becoming a rare commodity and Summer seems like being on another planet. If only we’d get 25C for two weeks in a row. Now that’d be something!

  17. Fizz – instead of relying on statements by individual scientists, try and get an idea of what the general consensus is in the scientific field. For example, there are a few loony biologists out there who don’t believe in evolution, but the consensus is clear. On climate, look for what’s said by the consensus of climatologists, of national academies of scientists and what international assemblies of scientists say.

    Lovelock six years ago said everyone else was wrong in underestimating warming, and now says everyone other than him is wrong in overestimating warming. He’s not a hard one to figure out in terms of how much confidence to place in his statements.

  18. Kylie

    This past year in weather has been interesting, especially with the lack of winter and now everything bursting into flames (Utah here, have you seen how the dust and smoke turns the mood red? It’s cool!). I was actually under the impression that we are currently in the middle of a La Nina cycle and that the NOAA had actually predicted droughts and a drier climate this summer. :

    While I am wary of anthropogenic climate change, this particular instance of Colorado bursting into flames seems to be still questionable as far as climate change goes. I think it’s nice that people are now more wary of the idea due to all of this, unlike the winter before this previous one (holy cow, what a winter!)

  19. Marco Langbroek

    Here in NW Europe, by contrast we are having a lousy summer so far. So no, this is definitely not a global pattern.

  20. Fizz

    Brian- I’m not saying -i’m- one of the deniers or skeptics. My point was that when people like Lovelock, who have had credence in the past, revert their position it causes confusion amongst many. It can be summed up as “if he was wrong how do we know the others are not wrong?” And then he casts doubt on other scientists with the notion that their funding depends on the answer given. In today’s instant-gratification society, sorting out truth from noise can be difficult, particularly for those with little or no scientific background. (Of course, Lovelock’s position isn’t that radical- he just says warming is occurring slower than he originally thought.)

  21. gamercow

    For me, the best display of climate change is the USDA hardiness/growing map. The 2012 map is distinctly different than the older maps, with warmer climates creeping steadily north, allowing for more subtropical growth and earlier growing seasons. This is a trend over long periods of time, and the best proof I can give that things are changing.

  22. Sam Regenbogen

    It should be more like:

    Weather * Time = Climate

    If it were weather + time, then climate change (change in climate with respect to time) would be zero.

    Sounds like Phil’s science has been bought out by the corporate fat cats and Big Oil Koch Brothers blah blah Obamacare class warfare… Crap I lost my train of conspirathought.

  23. Daniel J. Andrews

    In general, 30 years is the amount of time for climate related purposes.

    Asking whether this weather is due to climate change is the wrong question. The question should be how much has climate change influenced this weather. The globe has warmed so how does that affect this particular bout of weather?

    E.g. The Russian July 2010 heat wave was four standard deviations beyond average. Without warming this heat wave would have been a once in a millennium event. With warming, it was a once in a century event.
    http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/historical-perspective-on-the-russian-heat-wave-of-2010

    On average, low temperature records should be about equal to high temperature records–close to a 1:1 ratio. In the U.S. since the 60s and 70s that ratio increases and by the 2000s, it was a 2:1 ratio, and on our way to a 3:1 ratio if things continue this way. Similar analyses have been done for other countries. That ratio indicates climate, not weather.
    http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2009/images/temps_2.jpg

    Of course, continued melting of ice sheets and glaciers, changes in plant and animal distribution and migration, changes in budding, flowering times of plants, changes in ice-off and ice-form dates on numerous lakes and rivers, retreating of permafrost zones, all point toward the same thing: The globe is warming. That temperature records indicate that as well just confirms what has already been seen in nature.

  24. Matt B.

    I came up with a decent analogy: Climate is to weather as a gas is to molecules. Knowing the ideal gas laws doesn’t tell you the positions and velocities of the molecules, but it can tell you the distribution of such. Knowing a climate model doesn’t tell you where the storms are but it will tell you how many to expect in which regions.

    Conversely, Knowing where the molecules are doesn’t tell you the pressure or temperature of a gas without doing a lot of calculation, just as climate scientists take heaps of weather information and calculate the climate.

    There’s no set minimum number of molecules at which the ideal gas laws become useful.

  25. Matt B.

    @18 Kylie – I’m also wary of anthropogenic climate change. Any climate change that caused people to pop into existence would be quite disturbing.

  26. Steve Metzler

    While it is true that you cannot say anything about ‘climate’ based on only a week of temperature readings from a very small portion of the globe, the idea that Phil is trying to convey is best illustrated by this article at realclimate.org:

    Extremely hot

    The ~1 deg C mean global temp increase that mankind has induced since just the 1950’s tends to make the extreme weather events more extreme than they otherwise would be, in various ways.

  27. Phil

    Bad Meteorology.

    Sorry, Phil. You blew it on this one.

  28. My analogy: climate is to weather as a baseball season is to a single at-bat. Anything can happen in a single at-bat. A lousy hitter can get a homer off of a great pitcher, and a bad team can outplay a great team. Over the long run though, a lousy team isn’t going to win the World Series.

    Greenhouse gas emissions are when one team gets to take steroids.

    Sports analogies are missing from climate communication, and a good way to communicate to a group of people who have some understanding of statistics.

  29. VinceRN

    Not sure if this can be definitively pinned on global warming or not. Massive firestorms predate industrialization, and even humanity by quite a bit and certainly can still happen naturally. But it’s also certain that temperatures are trending upward and that ought to lead to more fires in areas that used to be wetter than they are today. Did we cause this one one or was it just time? I dunno.

    If we caused it, how much is global warming and how much is forestry management and fire suppression problems? I dunno.

    There’s not actually a whole lot of info about the history of fires in Colorado out there before the late 20th century, but I did find this http://cpluhna.nau.edu/Biota/wildfire.htm which is interesting. I like the “Reintroduction of Fire to Forest Ecosystems” link in there.

    I think the psychology of this is funny though. We all naturally tend to apply what we see out our window to the big picture. Here is western Washington I’d sure enjoy a bit of warming, at least locally. I miss summer. And spring. Here we have autumn all year round. I don’t really want massive fires, but growing up in LA I got used to them happening every few years so like earthquakes, riots and gang warfare I don’t get freaked out by them. Amazing what you can get used to.

    Wow, this was a good demonstration of blathering.

    Added:

    Climate is weather over time, but there is a minimum value to that time figure. Climate is not the weather over 5 years or 10, it is weather over much longer periods, longer than human lifetimes. For a really clear view of the climate we are experiencing now we probably have to ask our great grandchildren, or perhaps even their’s.

    @24 – People produce more kids during cold winters, so I think global cooling would be more likely to generate more anthropes than global warming.

  30. Wayne Robinson

    My analogy concerning the difference between climate and weather is that Venus has climate, but no weather (it’s always a pleasant lead melting temperature, everywhere), whereas the Earth has weather and climate. Weather results when you have large amounts of heat sloshing around a complex system, with large oceans and continents, trying to find but never achieving equilibrium.

    I accept AGW as being true because of the well known and well understood physical properties of greenhouse gasses. Without greenhouse gasses, with an albedo of 0.30 and the Earth’s distance from the Sun, the average global temperature should be -18C. Venus, with an albedo of 0.70, and receiving 90% more solar radiation, should be cooler than the Earth, but it isn’t, because of its runaway greenhouse effect.

    As an aside, in Guy Harrison’s latest book on 50 popular myths (great read, strongly recommended), there’s a chapter on the myth of global warming. He doesn’t discuss global warming science, but rather discusses the fact that in America, conservative Republicans reject AGW and liberal Democrats accept it (it’s much the same in Australia) as a general rule (there are exceptions). The general population then divides along partly lines, with many more registered Democrats accepting AGW and many more registered Republicans rejecting it.

    The conservative/liberal divide doesn’t apply in other countries, for example Britain, which has a conservative PM who sent a letter of congratulation to Australia’s liberal PM (actually Labor Party) for recently legislating a carbon price, earning him a rebuke from our conservative leader of the opposition (confusingly leader of the Liberal Party), for breaking ideological solidarity.

    People don’t look at the science, preferring to follow party lines.

  31. shunt1

    Greenhouse gases, such as water vapour, will stabilize temperatures.

    Colorado has very dry air and often has relative humidity readings in the single digits, with daily temperature swings of over 40 F. That is rather normal for dry air environments.

    Compare other locations with high relative humidity readings and you will see that their daily temperatures have a much lower swing between the maximum and minimum.

    Next time you use the term “global warming” remember that it is often the MINIMUM temperature that they are talking about. Daily average = (Maximum + Minimum) / 2

    One of the first lessons you are taught as a meteorologist is that the minimum temperature for the day will be close to the dew point. Increase the water vapor and that dew point will increase.

    Climate is the average of daily weather.

  32. Wzrd1

    @30, Wayne, I somewhat agree. But, your example shows a simple political spectrum and how substantial numbers of the populace tend to follow what their party platform says, rather than learning about any matter for themselves.

    I’ll disagree about Venus not having weather. It has weather, but not what one would normally recognize. Every centimeter of Venus isn’t getting its acid rain every second of every day! ;)

    As for Phil’s illustration, I could as easily pull up weather maps from the blizzard of 1996 and proclaim a new ice age. That wouldn’t make it a valid observation or a fact.
    TRENDS OVER DECADES count, that tends to smooth out El Nino/La Nina for the North American continent, which typically only last a year to three years.
    I DO believe in global warming, it’s just not currently at a level that could be measured accurately enough to literally point out a weather pattern currently ongoing and claim accurately that global warming is the cause.

    What is funny is, in a billion years, if people are still around, people will STILL argue about global warming that is solar induced!

  33. Scott

    I’m a fan of the RealClimate blog, which hasn’t spoken on this topic lately, but last summer said that any single hot summer (or even a few) does not a climate change make.

    Regarding a long-term solution, since ocean acidification means simply tossing sulphur dioxide into the air isn’t enough, we’ll just have to pull a bunch of carbon out of the atmosphere. A little quick math and Wolfram Alpha suggests that all we need to do is pull CO2 out of the atmosphere, return the O2, and use the carbon to make a diamond — roughly a cubic mile of diamond.

  34. shunt1

    Do not forget that Mars has a CO2 atmosphere!

    Next time you look at temperature records, ask yourself why the previous records happened at that date and what climatic events were happening.

    As for politics, I rather agree. Some people are very gullible and easy to influence.

  35. Brian Too

    I agree, it’s too much for Phil to take this one heatwave and say that this is climate.

    Despite North America being a substantial continent, let’s not forget that we have to start lumping in Africa, South America, Eurasia, Anarctica and Australia before we even have a decent chunk of the Earth’s landmass. And then we still only have ~30% of the total surface area of Earth.

    I’d amend Phil’s “formula”, as it’s way too simplistic even as a conceptual notion. It’s more like Weather + area + time = climate.

    However, if we really start to factor in those things, you start to be able to say “this is climate”. So I’d suggest that it might in fact be useful to start quantifying, “how much” weather, how much area, and how much time. If we can start to reach something that is quantifiable, that puts us on a firmer basis for scientific wording and understanding.

    Just watch. I’ll bet someone has done this already!

  36. shunt1

    Off topic but does relate to the political aspect.

    I had many friends during the 1990’s that talked about peace and how we must all get along. Then the war with Serbia began and I was horrified as I watched these same friends supporting a war that was not being presented honestly. For me, watching Albanian refugees fleeing over snow covered mountains during the summer, told me that what was being shown on TV in the USA was not exactly honest. Simple: At that time of the year, there was no snow!

    Those exact same people who wanted Serbia to be bombed, suddenly switched their views only a few years later when the USA went into Iraq.

    Gullible and amazingly easy to influence….

    Sadly, I lost many friends because of the war with Serbia. They will be missed, but I realized that these were not people that I could trust as friends.

    Today, I use the exact same test on the question of climate. When I peek under the rug and see how the research was actually done, were they being honest? Were they showing me refugees crossing snow covered mountains in the summer, when there was no snow?

    Some people are very gullible.

  37. amphiox

    I am curious what you think of James Lovelock’s statements that he has been overly alarmist about climate change.

    Lovelock isn’t a climatologist. Furthermore, his views on climate change had ALWAYS been considered extreme and alarmist by actual climatologists.

    The vast majority of climatologists who actually study this issue are in agreement that the climate is warming and that human activity is the dominant cause. There is disagreement over how severe it will be and how quickly it will occur, and the details of exactly what AGW will do to the climate.

    But that it exists, that it is caused by human activity, and that the consequences will not be pleasant, on this there is broad consensus.

  38. Robin

    You need to scrape this one off of your shoe. The simple answer is that climate is never weather. They are two separate things with entirely different definitions. If weather happens to be what the climate is for a given area, so be it. That doesn’t make the two one in the same. Given the statistical variability of weather, calling the particular weather in question climate is like using a single data point to find a best fit curve (….and I thought it was bad when I saw students try to find best fits for plots with two data points). You should know better than this. What you did is no different than what others do when they use Lovelock’s comments to claim a trend.

  39. shunt1

    “But that it exists, that it is caused by human activity, and that the consequences will not be pleasant, on this there is broad consensus.”

    Based upon what data? Has that data been audited, verified and reproduced by independent scientists?

    Peek under the rug and you will see that the “consensus” is based upon a trust of a set of data that has never been verified. Look very closely at the words used in scientific publications: “If the historical records and models are accurate, then…”

    Trust, but always VERIFY!

    With the Albanian refugees crossing over snow covered mountains, I simply use satellite images to realize that the American public was being shown images on the TV evening news that were not exactly honest.

  40. MNP

    You know, because our brains are wired the way they are (which is for stupid) if we hear “global warming” or “climate change” but everything outside seems the same, we dismiss it. But let the weather get strange and we suddenly believe. Surveys show that the increase in concern about climate change (back up to 65%, or 2008 levels) is largely due to people’s concern over bizarre weather.

  41. Unsettled Scientist

    >Correct me if I’m wrong but to assume this is the new Climate wouldn’t we need some consistency year over year?

    Not when the prediction is for greater volatility. When the prediction is for greater extremes, then when west Texas gets record drought and record rainfall in consecutive years, it is one of many indicators this is the new climate. Predictability decreases along with stability.

  42. Unsettled Scientist

    >when a Global Warming denier throws out a “colder than average” map in the middle of December as proof that the Earth isn’t warming,

    Actually it would be proof of not understanding the forecast. Weirder and more extreme weather is the prediction, so colder than average would also be indicative of the mess we’ve made.

    >Based upon what data? Has that data been audited, verified and reproduced by independent scientists?

    Yes, it has been published for all to read. The prediction of humans increasing the global mean temperature is over 100 years old. This isn’t new stuff, which is why some basic elements such as the GMT is rising has achieved a broad consensus.

    >Peek under the rug and you will see that the “consensus” is based upon a trust of a set of data that has never been verified.

    What rug? Research is published in open journals. You don’t need to be a member of the Stone Masons to gain access, there is no secret handshake of trust.

    shunt1: Please, cite your quote that included… give us a link so we can verify your statements. Surely we shouldn’t just trust you, right?

  43. shunt1

    I also learned something very important when I sent my friends satellite images of the Albanian mountains. My emails were classified as “hate mail” because I dared to challenge their group think.

    “Hate mail” is anything that does not agree with their concept of reality and is perceived as a challenge to their view of the world.

    Valuable lesson learned and I have never forgotten it.

    ……………

    “What rug? Research is published in open journals. You don’t need to be a member of the Stone Masons to gain access, there is no secret handshake of trust.”

    I guess you missed what Climategate was all about. A FOI request to obtain the original data so that others could verify the analysis. That data was refused and NOBODY had ever been able to verify their software results.

    Actually, they were forced to admit that the original data no longer exists and that they only have the “value added” data that has been adjusted.

    Trust, but always VERIFY!

    Nice try “Unsettled Scientist”, but the ball is now in your hands to validate and verify this climate data.

  44. MNeb

    12: Agreed. Don’t agree with Phil on this one either.

  45. Sunny D

    Does anyone remember eugenics? That eugenics was about killing “genetically unfit” individuals in order to make the human race “stronger?” How it was believed to be a science by presidents, American medical assocations, top scientists, and (most unfortunately) the Germans? How it had gained such popularity in the US as a science rather than a political movement? How it led to the Holocaust and the deaths of millions of innocent people? Anyone?

  46. shunt1

    Can anyone quote a German scientist (supported by the government in the 1930’s) that dared to challenge the concept of eugenics?

    Of course, there will always be people that say things like this:

    “Yes, it has been published for all to read. The prediction of human genetic diversion will increasing is now over 100 years old. This isn’t new stuff, which is why some basic elements such as eugenics has achieved a broad consensus.”

    Sorry about changing a few words to get the point across. Scientific concenses is a major “RED FLAG” for me and a warning to pay attention.

  47. A single piece of data is relevant to the extent that it fits into a larger picture. While climate change will generally cause more climate variability, I disagree with Unsettled Scientist that it will cause record cold temps. The variability is around an average temp, and that average temp is moving up over time. We’ll still see occasional record cold due to natural variability, there will be fewer record cold temps than record warm temps, a falsifiable prediction of climate change and one that has borne out in the data in the US (I don’t know international data).

    So record warmth is more likely to have been augmented than reduced by climate change. Record cold is interesting if it fits into a pattern of more than cold than warm. It doesn’t though, so it’s just noise in the data.

    As an aside, record snowfall is consistent with climate change due to increased humidity.

  48. noen

    “So.. when a Global Warming denier throws out a “colder than average” map in the middle of December as proof that the Earth isn’t warming, or even better a “everything is average” map for any week, that’s okay? Right?”

    They were factually wrong about that. Our winters have been warmer than average. Those were claims made by the right in winter, in December before even the monthly average temps for that winter were in and when they did come in it contradicted their claims.

    We have not had colder than average winters, we’ve had warmer winters with less snowfall than average and we are now having hotter and dryer than average summers which are igniting the largest wildfires in a long time.

    Climate deniers are not “doing science” and making valid claims that contradict global warming. THEY LIE.

  49. kat wagner

    For all you all who think we aren’t getting warmer, here’s the new Plant Hardiness Zone Map put out by the US Dept of Agriculture. This new edition came out in January. Here’s the link: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/ushzmap.html.

  50. noen

    shunt1 said: “Can anyone quote a German scientist (supported by the government in the 1930′s) that dared to challenge the concept of eugenics?”

    German intellectuals of ANY discipline did not dare contradict the Nazi Party line for fear of their lives. There is today no comparable political ideology among climate scientists able to threaten dissenter’s very lives. The only political movement of today that compares would be the violent rhetoric coming from the Tea Party in the US calling for open revolt and fascist parties on the continent.

    “My emails were classified as “hate mail” because I dared to challenge their group think.”

    I highly doubt that. What is more likely is that you don’t know what you’re talking about and you made statements that other people found extreme and hateful. Other people are good judges of our own behavior. We are not good judges of our own actions because we’ve got a vested interest in perceiving them as being well meaning.

    “A FOI request to obtain the original data so that others could verify the analysis. That data was refused and NOBODY had ever been able to verify their software results.”

    FALSE. Data by climate scientists are freely available. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  51. shunt1

    “There is today no comparable political ideology among climate scientists able to threaten dissenter’s very lives.”

    Can I give you a few specific quotes?

    Nice try, but you have failed on providing factual information.

    BTW: Taxed Enough Already is not a formal organization and has no leaders. When you tell us that the TEA party has specific beliefs, where did you get that information from? Even the members of the TEA party have no idea, other than that they have been Taxed Enough Already.

    Curious minds would like to know your amazing source of knowledge.

    Some people are so gullible that they will believe anything that they are told.

  52. shunt1

    Noen:

    ““A FOI request to obtain the original data so that others could verify the analysis. That data was refused and NOBODY had ever been able to verify their software results.”

    FALSE. Data by climate scientists are freely available. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    ….

    You will be fun to play with in the next few months!

    Oh my, you are now my perfect example of political “group think” and this will be so enjoyable for me. I wish to thank you personally for that challenge.

    Of course, I do assume that you have the basic capability to read and understand simple high school maths?

    Let me try with some simple baby talk:

    Where is the original data?

    Super simple concepts like: “On this date and time, I read my thermometer and this is what I wrote down in my data log.”

    Nothing insulting implied, but I love a scientific challenge.

  53. noen

    Robin said: “You need to scrape this one off of your shoe. The simple answer is that climate is never weather. They are two separate things with entirely different definitions.”

    FALSE

    Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods.

    They are not different things. They are different ways of looking at the same meteorological events.

    “Given the statistical variability of weather, calling the particular weather in question climate is like using a single data point to find a best fit curve”

    ALL climates consist in weather events which occur in that climate. Weather *constitutes* climate. Therefore climates contain weather events that are typical for that climate. Since we know that the Mediterranean climate of the West coast is becoming a desert climate it is reasonable to point to events that reflect that change. One would expect that vegetation typical of a Mediterranean climate that cannot survive a desert climate to *stop surviving*. The animals, including us, that depend on that vegetations are next.

    That which cannot continue will stop.

  54. shunt1

    Noen:

    Why is this so important to your “world view” to be true?

    You honestly believe it, because it fits into your concept of the world and MUST be true or else.

    Could you please take a few minutes and explain your world view to me?
    I would like to understand why this concept is so important to you, because there is something much more complex involved.

    Seriously, I would like you to explain to me why a global disaster is so important to you.

    I am not teasing, but honestly curious to understand this mindset that the Earth MUST be destroyed soon. And how dare anyone question that destruction.

  55. noen

    shunt1 said: “Can I give you a few specific quotes?”

    Obviously not as we do not in fact live in a fascist dictatorship in the US. Jewish intellectuals and those who conducted “Jewish science” in Wiemar Germany faced real threats to their lives. You trivialize the Holocaust by comparing the free and open scientific process of a democracy to Nazi Germany. Shame on you.

    “When you tell us that the TEA party has specific beliefs”

    The Tea Party movement is funded by Freedom Works which is funded by the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are racist right wing extremists who do indeed have very specific beliefs about which direction they think the US should go. They’ve been working very hard to repeal civil rights legislation and that’s just the beginning.

    “Where is the data?

    Here: Evidence

    amd here GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (Links to GISS data on their FTP site at the bottom)

    “Nothing insulting implied, but I love a scientific challenge.”

    Please explain to me how it is that CO2 is NOT a greenhouse gas?

    “Seriously, I would like you to explain to me why a global disaster is so important to you.”

    There is no reason to believe in a global disaster. The Earth is fine so far. We will experience rapid change that will be “disastrous” for many things and people that we value. We are likely to experience a 2-3 foot rise in sea levels by the end of this century which while not a disaster to the Earth as a whole will impose rapid changes difficult for us to adapt to. Many millions of people will die or be displaced by rapid climate change which, while not the alarmism of James Lovelock, will be disaster enough for those affected.

  56. Fizz

    Neon-
    You claim that winters are above average, but if you check Nasa’s land survey temperature anomaly maps (the same source as Phil used), you can see that winter 2011 temperatures were well below average, from November 2010 through April 2011, in North America, most of Europe and particularly Australia. There is a similar pattern for the winters of 2009-2010, and 2008-2009. See here for yourself: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=MOD_LSTAD_M
    Now i’m not saying this disproves global warming, but your statement that winters have been warmer does not appear to be true. At least, not based on Nasa’s Surface Temperature Anomaly maps.

  57. noen

    Also, Google Public Data explorer for the World Resources Institute here

    Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  58. noen

    shunt1 said “Could you please take a few minutes and explain your world view to me?”

    I am politically liberal, skeptical of supernatural claims and generally science oriented. Science gives us facts about the world. Politics is about what we value and think should be done with those facts. The problem we have today is the GOP has abandoned science and critical thinking in favor of authoritarian pronouncements. The Texas GOP calls for an end to critical thinking in schools demanding that schools end the practice of teaching “higher order thinking skills” because these challenge “student’s fixed beliefs” and undermine “parental authority.” That is textbook authoritarianism.

    Evolution and climate change are observable facts about which there are no serious challenges. You cannot deny evolution or climate change and be considered an educated modern intellectual today.

    Those who deny climate change need to explain how, given our understanding of CO2 it could not act as a greenhouse gas. The basic science is very simple. Heat in the form of infrared radiation from the sun strikes the Earth. Some is absorbed but much is reflected back out into space. CO2 in the air traps some of that IR that would otherwise escape, absorbs it and then re-emits it into the environment thereby warming the Earth. More CO2 = more warming. Without CO2 our planet would be a frozen ball of ice. Denialists need to explain how given the basic physics of CO2 it could not function as a green house gas trapping and retaining heat from the sun.

  59. noen

    Fizz said: You claim that winters are above average”

    The specific claim made by Fox commentators, esp. Sean Hannity, was that winters here in the US were colder. They did not to my recollection make any global claims.

    Think winters are getting warmer? You might be right

    Well, on average, it’s true – at least according to a recent climate change study funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

    Average winter temperatures statewide are 4 degrees higher now than they were in the 1970s – helping lead to an average of 30 fewer days per winter with snow on the ground, said Art DeGaetano, a principal investigator for the study.

    The trend the study found for winter is expected to continue over the course of several decades, said DeGaetano, a professor of earth and atmospheric science at Cornell University.

    Average temperatures are expected to increase in the range of 4 to 9 degrees by the 2080s – depending on how well greenhouse gases are controlled going forward, DeGaetano said.

    Precipitation averages also are expected to increase by 5 to 15 percent, but much of it will come as rain instead of snow, he said.

    The report Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State

    Talking heads for Fox, who’s studios are in New York, claimed that winters there were colder than usual. Which is factually incorrect.

  60. Sonja

    Thank you, Noen. That was the most logical, and yet simplistic enough for anyone to understand, statement of the fact of climate change I’ve ever read. Lovely.

  61. mmmbop

    hi shunt1, never heard of the berkely earth project? Paid for by koch money with declared skeptic and eminent professor Richard muller in charge. Result, warming of .9 of a degree in last 50 years, consistent with results from all three independent studies. furthermore, no heat sink bias from temperature records was observed.

    I’m sure even someone as deliberately ignorant as yourself can understand the implication here. It’s over, you dig? You can claim all you want about causes and effects and the role of humans but the record unequivocally shows a one degree warming starting from around the end of WW2, no arguments whatsoever. A paid troll might try to muddy the waters over one study but only a fool would try to argue against four, all reaching the same conclusion independently. That’s not bias my friend, that’s just confirmation.

  62. shunt1

    Noen: Back and will reply to any and all questions.

    Where is that link for your local temperature data over the last 17 years?

    I have no idea how to reply to your comments about the GOP and TEA party, since what you are talking about is rather fictional.

    Who tells you this?

    Seriously, that is so distorted, I do not know what you are talking about.

    CO2 is minor compared to water vapor. Compare humid areas of the Earth with very dry sections and you will see exactly what CO2 could do at its maximum possible spectral influence. Water vapor will always be the stronger influence on planet Earth.

    Do I need to pull your ears?

    Give me your local data that will demonstrate that the GISS global average is providing something real and not fictional. Is that concept so hard to understand?

    Frustrated;

  63. shunt1

    “When you tell us that the TEA party has specific beliefs”

    The Tea Party movement is funded by Freedom Works which is funded by the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are racist right wing extremists who do indeed have very specific beliefs about which direction they think the US should go. They’ve been working very hard to repeal civil rights legislation and that’s just the beginning.

    ………..

    That is rather amazing, since I have no concept of what you are talking about. Why do you know all about the Koch brothers, but people like us do not even know who they are? Someone is telling you stories and you should take some time and figure out why. Who is telling this to you and why?

    Personal:

    1) I have been unemployed for 12 months and refuse to accept anything from the goverment.

    2) No health insurance, and I will not accept anything from the government. I can not even afford my prostate medication.

    3) When I withdrew $20,000 from my 401K to keep the family alive, the government took out State and Federal taxes, along with a 10% penalty.

    Why? To support poor people!

    4) My home was taxed by the local city for 20% of it’s value when they paved the road next to my property. That 20% must be paid in full at the time of sale, so it is now impossible for me to sell my home.

    Taxed Enough Already?

    Damn right!

    I have nothing else left….

    Next time you want to talk about politics, realize that America has become Facist. Look it up, and not the distorted Soviet definition.

    I will never be a Facist!

  64. @1. Sanjong :

    “Oh, I get it: Weather becomes climate when it gets hot in the summer. Long live science!”

    I Am Not A Climatologist (IANAC) but I’d say that we could describe weather as a point of data on a graph upon a sea of graphs.

    One point on a graph doesn’t give you much information but it is partof that information.

    Add a lot more points and you can plot a line, a pattern of what if anything the weather is doing and trending long term. Add a whole lot of points over a whole lot of times and over a whole range of places and if a pattern or trend emerges that ashows things have gotten much hotter, its worth accepting the science and saying that yeah, that is actually what it shows.

    So, when does weather become climate? Instantly but in a small way being one point in spacetime amongst a whole range of other weather points.

    Key thing here is that formerly freak weather becomes increasingly common and extremes of heat and drought and storminess and exposed areas of open water one covered in floating ice and more keep adding up and indicating that we’re following a certain curve. IOW, the pattern isn’t just random with freak outliers but there’s a consistent trend. One that maybe we need to try and explain and understand and consider more deeply.

    Now thing is that climatologists, the experts in the field actually *have* explained and understood and considered deeply – and concluded that, yes, the evidence says its indicating the reality of Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) and we need to do what we can to slow it or the trend will take us into areas and conditions that aren’t going to be good for us. Do you support this science and listen or do you (as I presume a non-expert) pretend it all ain’t happening? That an unusual high point in an unnaturally trending pattern means nothing? Based on .. ?

    Long live science indeed! ;-)

    @3. Chip :

    Eek! Of course, the lower 48 = the globe. Anyone notice all that blue in the southeast? Or Canada? Or the UK and Europe? Friends in London want to know where summer is! But is sure is hot here in Virginia, no doubt. I still want to know, what should the temperature be?

    Depends what temperature you are talking about and for where and for what purposes.

    Yes, the globe is big and weather is complex with regions responding differently based on global and regional factors.

    Some areas may indeed be colder than usual if the world as a whole is warming up because of oceanic and atmospheric currents shifting to bring colder weather to areas that don’t usually get it offset by much hotter weather elsewhere to areas that usually aren’t as hot.

    What is the global average trend?

    Getting much hotter.

    2010 was the hottest year ever and 2011 was the hottest La Nina year ever.

    You could perhaps write this off as co-incidence *if* it was just those years but it isn’t. Look at the evidence. All of it planetwide. Or look at what those experts who have done this after years, decades even if close study are saying.

    Back to what the “ideal temperature” is, one thing we do know is that for most of us it isn’t where the temperature is currently heading now – and even if it was, the temperature trend won’t stop rising past that ideal point unless we act to reduce our emissions of GHGs that are causing this rising trend. Or invoke nuclear winter or radical geoengineering solutions which we don’t know enough about to safely do yet. :-(

  65. Marco Langbroek

    @ #48 Noen:
    You are missing the point. The point is that Phil is doing the same thing here as the typical climate change denier: taking one instantanious moment in time from a cherrypicked geographic area (note that Europe for example is so far experiencing a cool spring and summer – on European facebook pages the meme “install error – summer did not install correctly” is very popular currently), and then purporting to suggest that it says something about climate. Which it doesn’t.

    So Phil is definitely “not doing science” here either (to directly quote you).

    And that is the point. Especially on a blog which makes a big deal about scientific reasoning and debunking “bad” science..

    From that aspect Phil’s current post is embarrasing and “Bad Astronomer”-unworthy. It represents a strong deviation from Phil’s qualities and mission in his other writings and in this he is doing himself a disservice. I regret that.

  66. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ shunt1 – July 3rd, 2012 at 3:05 am :

    That is rather amazing, since I have no concept of what you are talking about. Why do you know all about the Koch brothers, but people like us do not even know who they are?

    Perhaps because the people telling you about the Koch brothers have done research that you have not done?

    Perhaps because you’ve decided that you’d rather not look to closely yourself at some of the figures behind the TEA party?

    Perhaps none of the TEA party politicans and movement have any relevance to the serious question of whether or not Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating is real or not? Actually that last one isn’t “perhaps” but truth instead. The TEA party cannot determine the climatological reality of our planet. They argue for or against solutions but thescience isn’t amenable to political rhetoric however passionate and however much we wish the sciencewasn’t telling us what it is telling us.

    Taxed Enough Already? Damn right!

    Perhaps but that and your personal story is irrevelant to the climate science and whether or not HIRGO is real.

    Politics does’nt make science false.

    TEA party denying reality won’t make reality unreal. Congressional or presidential legislation cannot make Pi =3 exactly or make the moons of Jupiter disappear or make carbon dioxide and other greenouses gases alter their basic physics so they do’nt trap heat in the atmosphere.

    As somebody famous once said – afraid I’ve forgotten who – “Reality is what doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it.” (or similar words.)

    HIRGO whether you believe in it or not, is real and is happening. It was happening under Bush and is happening under Obama and will be happening whether Romney wins the presidency or not. What will alter is only how (whether?) we respond to this reality.

  67. shunt1

    In the four years that I lived in Germany, I could never understand how these wonderful people went insane during the 1930’s.

    Today, I am watching the same thing happening in my own country and I now understand what happened to them. That is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in my long life.

    BTW: I am still waiting for local weather information for YOUR location that will prove that YOUR location has been the warmest in history for the last 16 of 17 years.

    This old man will not be a part of this movement in any way, shape or form.

    Trust but VERIFY!

    Such simple words, but beyond the understanding of most people who read this blog.


    @Messier Tidy:

    That is your twisted form of reality and we have no idea what you are talking about. However, it does remind me of some people in Europe that wanted to force people to think and behave, as long as they followed the official party “group think.”

    Please grab your ears and give them a pull, before it is too late…

  68. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ shunt1 – July 3rd, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Really?

    Verify what?

    How?

    Trust who?

    In the four years that I lived in Germany, I could never understand how these wonderful people went insane during the 1930′s. Today, I am watching the same thing happening in my own country and I now understand what happened to them.

    They’re passing legislation that removes people’s rights to freedom of expression and that singles out one ethnicity for extermination? They’re talking about invading Poland? They’re bulding up a military machine in order to tryand conquer the world and institutre one party tyranny that allows no dissent and committs mass atrocities and genocide?

    I really honestly don’t see that happening. Don’t think that’s correct. (FWIW, Aussie but observer of US & global politics.)

    I don’t understand you how you can possibly use such hyperbole or think it actually applies to today’s the Obama government or the United Nations or whoever you had in mind.

    @Messier Tidy : That is your twisted form of reality …

    No, it is what 98% of the climate scientists tell us based on information that is freely available online, subject to peer review and which is basic phsyics mixed with more complicated but well founded and understood geophysical knowledge.

    I wish HIRGO wasnt true, myself. I once thought it wasn’t and have since been convinced otherwise by the evidence.

    ..and we have no idea what you are talking about.

    Funny, I thought I was using plain enough english. What don’t you understand about what I’ve said and how can I clarify it better for you?

    Tea party = politics.

    HIRGO = science.

    These are two separate things and political movements cannot change scientifc reality.

    Whether the Taxed Enough Already party wins politicial power or not, it cannot change the fact that Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating is a real observed phenomena that is happeningand causing us increasing amounts of damage and sufferingplanet-wide.

    Is that any clearer now?

    However, it does remind me of some people in Europe that wanted to force people to think and behave, as long as they followed the official party “group think.”

    I cannot and wouldn’t compel you to think or behave in particular ways, Shunt1.

    I’d *like* you to think and *like* you to understand the scientific reality but I can’t force you to. I’m not your enemy and I’m not sure that the people you perhaps see as your “enemies” are what you appear to think they are.

    Please verify indeed.

  69. shunt1

    Provide the weather data from YOUR location for the last 17 years.

    A very simple request if your knowledge can be verified…

    TEA Party:

    A group without any leaders or organization. Something that you will NEVER understand. Just several million people like me that are simply pissed-off!

    The original Boston tea party was ignored. The most powerful army in the world was soon forced to fight a few year later and lost.

  70. Gunnar

    @shunt1

    You quite obviously have not understood even one thing of what MTU was saying to you, nor do you want to even try, apparently. He and others on this thread have already provided numerous links to information and data that fully support the reality of AGW (or HIRGO, as MTU would put it). Obviously, you either refuse to look at that evidence, or just dismiss it out of hand because it is contrary to what you would rather believe. You can be likened to someone who stares straight at the sun at high noon on a cloudless summer day and insists that it is night time! I am deeply sorry for your current economic distress, and I sincerely hope your situation improves soon. But none of that nor your anger over current tax or governmental policies has even the slightest bearing on the truth or falsity of AGW!

    Do you honestly think that any of us believe in AGW because we desperately want to believe it is true? I, like MTU, hate the fact of AGW! That does not diminish its reality one iota!

  71. @66. shunt1 – July 3rd, 2012 at 4:14 am :

    Provide the weather data from YOUR location for the last 17 years.
    A very simple request if your knowledge can be verified…

    Please see the link in my name here which is ajumping off point for a whole lot of information, charts and datta for much more just 17 years – data going back to 1920 in at least some graphs.

    Source : Australian Bureau of meteorology.

    (My location is Adelaide, South Australia if that’s of any help.)

    Excerpt from their climate change page accessible from the link in my name & will be in link awaiting moderation :

    Australia’s climate is changing
    It is the Bureau’s responsibility to provide decision makers and the general public with accurate observations and information about our changing climate.

    Australia and the globe are experiencing rapid climate change. Since the middle of the 20th century, Australian temperatures have, on average, risen by about 1°C with an increase in the frequency of heatwaves and a decrease in the numbers of frosts and cold days. Rainfall patterns have also changed – the northwest has seen an increase in rainfall over the last 50 years while much of eastern Australia and the far southwest have experienced a decline.

    Bold is original.

    That’s a jumping off point to a lot more information. There is plenty of evidence available and you can even contact climate scientists directly and ask via places such as RealClimate and teh various universitys.

    If you do take that action all I ask is that you be polite. TA number of climatologists (most? all?) have recieved abuse and death threats for doing their jobs.

    I would also recommend you check out Tim Lambert’s Deltoid blog which is another good and informative source.

  72. Messier Tidy Upper

    See :

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/

    &

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi

    Time series graph Annual Mean Temperature Anomaly -Australia

    Data starts befroe 1920 and runs til after 2000 AD

    &

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/global/timeseries.cgi

    Australian Bureau of meteology – global timeseries graph running from before 1860 to after the yar 2000.

  73. @shunt1 – July 3rd, 2012 at 3:42 am :

    That is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in my long life.

    I don’t understand though. What precisely is so terrifying to you and why?

    I wouldn’t be terrified and don’t see anything overly terrifying about US politics. Whilst there is much that is wrong with the US political scene, much about it that angers and disappoints and disgusts me, I don’t think it is on the verge of becoming totalitarian. I don’t see the government running the Supreme Courts and banning elections and scrapping the US Constitution.

    “Next time you want to talk about politics, realize that America has become Facist. Look it up, and not the distorted Soviet definition. I will never be a Facist!” – July 3rd, 2012 at 3:05 am

    Well good! I’ll nver be a fascist either.

    America, the USA is NOT however a fascist state. Why do you think it is? What evidence or reaosns do you have for that assertion?

    Now I don’t particularly like Obama – in retrospect I think HilaryClinton would have been a better choice & Ithink his comments on the US human lunar return for appalling – but I don’t think there’s any evidence of him being fascist or behaving in fascist-like ways. Is there?

    BTW. Deltoid blog linked to my name here.

    @Gunnar – July 3rd, 2012 at 6:00 am : Aww shucks! Thanks for that. :-)

  74. Gunnar

    MTU, your kindness and patience towards shunt1 is really admirable! You are definitely one of the good guys! I hope even shunt1 appreciates that!

  75. Jeffrey McBeth

    http://www.wolframalpha.com had annual temperature data for my locale (Upstate New York, at the airport since 1945) and probably does for yours. 0.017 C per year works out to a little over a degree increase (which matches well with the australia information). Interestingly to me, the mean wind speed dropped from 6m/s to 4m/s over the same time. Off to get the data and play with it…

    Oh, and this is awesome!
    http://gis.ncdc.noaa.gov/map/cdo/?thm=themeAnnual

  76. A few further sources to look at :

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/

    The Climate Research Unit University of East Anglia. Yes, *that* CRU. Check them out for yourselves.

    (Includes an e-mail address where you can directly contact them if you desire and a graph on the front page showing the global air temperature anomaly – ie. rising average global temperatures from pre1860 til 2011.)

    http://climate.nasa.gov/

    NASA’s climate change page with plenty of links from there.

    http://www.climate.gov/#climateWatch

    Via NOAA includes a linked news story noting that :

    The globally-averaged temperature for May 2012 marked the second warmest May since record keeping began in 1880. May 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive May and 327th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.

    Plus an interactive Global Climate Dashboard feature :

    Just as the dashboard of a car gives you a quick look at the status of your vehicle, the global climate dashboard gives you a quick look at the status of Earth’s climate system. The interactive graphs let you explore climate-relevant measurements and the relationships among them for different time periods.

    There is also a “Past Weather” feature there where you can look up the weather for set city, state or zip (postcode) on whichever date.

    Plenty more information and features there too.

    I’ve also linked to my name a news release on 2010 being the hottest year via NASA. That one begins :

    WASHINGTON — Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The two years differed by less than 0.018 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, putting them into a statistical tie. In the new analysis, the next warmest years are 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2009, which are statistically tied for third warmest year. The GISS records begin in 1880.

    Source : ‘NASA Research Finds 2010 Tied for Warmest Year on Record’, by Steve Cole & Leslie McCarthy, 01.12.11.

    Hope these help. :-)

    This is of course just the tip of the iceberg and a few primary or primary~ish sources of information for y’all.

  77. Stoy

    It “feels like” climate change? I’m not going to revoke your skeptic card, but I am going to have to write you a ticket.

    From now until the robocalypse, every denier who wants to use a cold snap to “debunk” climate change will link to this post.

  78. noen

    shunt1 said “Where is that link for your local temperature data over the last 17 years?”

    There are comments by myself and others in this and the next thread that are in moderation because they contain links. I’m not providing links in this reply so it won’t go into the moderation que.

    “I have no idea how to reply to your comments about the GOP and TEA party, since what you are talking about is rather fictional.”

    The Koch brothers fund Freedom Works which is the face of the Tea Party in the media. They also fund many other conservative orgs and think tanks to the tune of millions of dollars. They are also involved in attempts to repeal civil rights legislation. Particularly in the South. Such attempts are in and of themselves racist.

    “CO2 is minor compared to water vapor.”

    Yes, water vapor is a much stronger GHG than CO2. However it does not stay in the atmosphere long while CO2 can remain for hundreds of years. H2O is a feedback effect, it is not a forcing agent. It precipitates out if there is too much and evaporates from the ocean if there’s too little. However if the air is warmed by CO2, water vapor concentrations will rise and stay high.

    Re: your personals

    1. That is your choice.
    2. That is your choice.
    3. You knew the terms of your 401k and signed the contract.
    4. Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

    “realize that America has become Facist. “

    Bull. Taxation is not theft. You are not being oppressed by the iron hand of Obama. You trivialize the suffering of those under REAL authoritarian regimes by comparing your suffering, real as it surely is, to theirs.

    You have yet to explain to me how CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

  79. noen

    Marco Langbroek said: “You are missing the point. The point is that Phil is doing the same thing here as the typical climate change denier:”

    Phil is pointing to a trend that we can observe which is predicted by climate models. He is not pointing to a single weather event so much as the overall trends we can observe. He is also not alone. Bill Nye the science guy among others have made the same claims.

    You are correct he is not doing science. He and others are making informed statements about the wildfires out west based on a scientific understanding of what is going on. It makes sense that since the climate is getting dryer and hotter that you would see more wildfires as the vegetation that cannot survive in the new climate is removed.

  80. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    And the US heat changes the conditions for atmosphere circulation, so we have had a record low temperature and rain on the Atlantic west coast (Sweden). Sigh.

    Note that this follows the AGW predictions, central and northwestern US would be locally warmer and drier under AGW and northeastern Atlantic coast colder and wetter. So you can expect future immigrants into US, trying to get away from the drizzle and cold. :-/

    When does weather become climate?

    Well, there are two answers to that: attribution and trends.

    1) Attributing global or local effects directly to AGW with the exclusion of all other climate forcing.

    – This is now being possible, to the standards of climate scientists, globally as well as regionally as well as seasonally. (Um, some WISEn paper of 2010, IIRC.)

    2) Since we have a GW trend we can look at the behavior of these climate extreme events, ie when the temperature or other factors swing if so seasonally.

    – Already the positive signal with its short term weather variation gives 2 hot extremes for every 1 low.

    – And of course you must have that all time high weather records are most likely due to the trend imprinting on the variation. Tha likelihood should be estimated, but should be on the order of signal vs noise ratios if the noise is nice Gaussian (from many sources).* I.e. close to the standard that climate scientists set in the first place now that they can observe the trend.

    While we will have to wait until after the season to hear about the attribution under 1), the very existence of an all-time temperature record means that we with low uncertainty can fold this under “climate change” and move on.

    ——————–
    * Slight hand waving here. I need to think on that.

  81. Messier Tidy Upper

    @25. Matt B. Says:

    @18 Kylie – I’m also wary of anthropogenic climate change. Any climate change that caused people to pop into existence would be quite disturbing.

    LOL. Classic. I’d never thought of that! ;-)

    Just another reason to prefer Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating instead.

    Other reasons for it, ‘Anthropogenic’ is an indirect technical way of saying it whereas “human induced” is more immediately descriptive, adding the ‘Rapid’ stresses that important aspect of the problem – its not a gradual normal process which can be adapted to easily but instead is climate change at a pace that makes things very much harder and because the word “Warming’ sounds too mild and has too many positive connotations. The world overheating OTOH is the exact problem and makes that clear and clearly negative.

    @34. shunt1 : “Do not forget that Mars has a CO2 atmosphere!”

    Or that Mars is half an Astronomical Unit further from the Sun, has much less mass and thus far lower surface gravity, has no plate tectonics, no planetary magnetic field, no oceans and many other significant differences!

    @32. Wzrd1 – July 2nd, 2012 at 6:39 pm :

    @30, Wayne, I somewhat agree. .. I’ll disagree about Venus not having weather. It has weather, but not what one would normally recognize. Every centimeter of Venus isn’t getting its acid rain every second of every day! ;-)

    Interesting if irrelevant bit of trivia : IIRC, the Cytherean surface doesn’t actually get *any* of the acid rainfall because the temperatures closer to the surface of Venus are so hot the sulphuric acid rain evapourates before it can hit the ground! 8)

  82. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ #1 Sanjong, #27 Phil, and several other commenters:

    No, weather isn’t climate. However, see my previous comment, _weather extremes_ are climate during the observed trending regime. Whether you believe in AGW or not as a cause for GW, simple engineering signal theory tells you that.

    @ Makoto:

    “But we can’t demand climate science conform to the same sorts of experiments as, say, working with HPV vaccines or gene therapy.”

    It does much better when it is put to the test. A medical diagnosis currently gives you ~ 80 % certainty on average, a medical treatment works in ~ 60 % of cases on average (but of course you try several). Climate science currently works at over 90 % certainty, and it will get better.

    This is because, despite only having one type case (and some confirmation from Venus, Mars, Titan, gas giants), the signal to noise ratio is going through the roof. It is increasing exponentially and is already visible.

    And that, as well as the continued effort, helps improve science in a win-win scenario.

    Your “it is varying, so we can’t know” is inimical to science. It is a good political and religious trick, will confuse many ignorant about the science, so maybe you should use it on political and religious blogs instead.

    @ shunt1:

    “Do not forget that Mars has a CO2 atmosphere!”

    You are realizing that you are trolling, I hope? I remember your handle and the behavior. And besides the many complaining comments which isn’t about the science and what we should do with its results but why it should fail according to you, this Gish gallop is a dead give away.

    Never feed a troll, but this was especially hilariously inept. Do not forget that Mars is an excellent test of a greenhouse atmosphere as it would be colder without. And so it is an excellent test for the AGW greenhouse theory, as soon as you take the many differences into account. (E.g. Mars is nearly twice the distance so ~ 1/4 the irradiation of Earth, ~ 1/10 its mass, ~ 1/100 its atmosphere pressure, and ~ 1/∞ its oceans. =D)

  83. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ MTU:

    “another reason to prefer Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating instead.”

    I do not like it, mainly because it is too long. Then you could make it Verbally Inflicted Rapid Global Overheating (VIRGO) instead, reflecting the denialist naive influence on political actions.

    But since we are at it:

    – Clearly the accepted term for the science theory of a regime of Anthropogenic (i.e. man made) forcing on the greenhouse atmosphere predicting the observed Global Warming is AGW: Anthropogenic Global Warming.

    Whether you want to better describe it and its context with “(global and regional) climate change” it is arguable that “anthropogenic” is confusing: both meanings are used, so you would have to infer meaning from context anyway.

    If we should chuck out multiple meaning terms, induced would have to go too: why would we stick to an induction of RGO when we have already tested it empirically?

    And “anthropogenic” connects back to the science.

    – The “rapid” is an excellent suggestion, we have already passed into that regime. Describing the process as “overheating” is judgmental though. Overheating in comparison to what?

    Not to earlier climate regimes, as we start out so low. Bioproductivity could eventually benefit, mostly in a million years or so, long after we evolved into our descendant species.* Both of these makes it a hook for denialists to sink their political claws into.

    It is overheating with respect to current ecologies, that will be trashed, moved, changed and loose species. Maybe you would want to make it “Anthropogenic Rapid Environment Change & Trashing” instead, to stand ARECT before the future.

    ——————-
    * Note that this is far from certain. If AGW ushers in a mass extinction, the ecological diversity can go any which way according to a paper released this week. It is pioneering on the data, so it is our main knowledge on this at the moment.

    Oh, and I haven’t read it yet, but it seems from the press release they have a sound theory why that is too.

    Earth biosphere to humans: It is risky to drive me into a mass extinction, I can jump any which way even if conditions looks improved.

  84. Nigel Depledge

    Fizz (7) said:

    . . . He has also suggested that university or government researchers can be afraid to say the ‘wrong’ thing out of fear of losing funding.

    If the researchers speak from good-quality data, then the only wrong thing is to not state what the data are telling them.

    I think it is things like this that can cause people to be skeptics about climate change.

    I don’t. I think people distrust climatologists for two simple reasons.

    1. They have been fed misinformation in cleverly-arranged smear campaigns by organisations such as the Heartland Institute; and
    2. If people uncritically accept the climate-contrarian position, they don’t have to feel guilty about their unsustainable lifestyle. I, for one, would love to see some solid data to tell me that AGW is merely an illusion and we don’t have to worry about it after all. Sadly, I don’t expect this to happen.

    People can be fed contradictory information from different scientists.

    More commonly, they are fed contradictory information from a non-scientist, or from a scientist speaking outside their speciality (such as Harrison “Jack” Schmidt, who is a geologist but who has spoken out against AGW as a valid conclusion).

    Or they don’t trust the scientistist.

    I don’t buy this. Why would some member of the public selected at random mistrust a climatologuist whose work they do not understand and whom they have never met? No, I think this mistrust is born of a combination of the above factors plus the myth that anti-AGW liars have put about that climatologists can get rich on grant money if they “toe the line”.

    And most people don’t have enough of a scientific background to truly evaluate the data for themselves.
    So how does one fight this sort of thing? How does a non-scientist know who to trust when scientists themselves seemingly disagree, or have their motivations / results called into doubt?

    This is why there is an IPCC.

    If you choose to disregard the work of any specific scientist, the IPCC reports express the closest thing it is possible to get to a consensus of climatologists.

  85. Fizz at 56: your link compares temps to the 2002-2008 average, not the long term instrumental average. Showing that 2011 is colder in some areas than the average of very recent years does nothing to dispute climate change, because the signal from (slow-moving by human perspective) climate change emerges over longer time periods.

  86. Unsettled Scientist

    shunt1 refused to give a reference for his quote when asked. His response was to point to a completely irrelevant event two years ago and ignore the request for a source for his quote. I do not trust you shunt1, and I cannot verify your quote if you refuse to provide a source. Sorry, but you didn’t even try, so I cannot say nice try.

  87. I Like Cheese

    Could a solar flare save humanity?

    I watched a video of Michio Kaku explaining how the next solar maximum is coming up, and that there is a chance that the Earth is belted by a massive solar flare or CME which could potentially wipe out all of our satellites and our power grids, pushing civilization back 100 years. Now, that would obviously destroy the economy, but could it also stifle industry, effectively stopping most of our carbon emissions and giving carbon sinks an opportunity to catch up?

    Obviously MK, as a futurist, was wary of such an event, but could it in theory give the Earth a chance to breathe?

  88. Fizz

    Brian at 86: Yes, i see your point, and i do agree that climate change analysis requires longer time periods. Similarly, i am NOT suggesting that these ‘disprove’ global warming. I was merely replying to Neon’s statement that “our winters have been warmer”, and a cursory look at the map (which is what most people do) suggest that it has actually been colder.

    But this exchange and my non-critical analysis of the charts help to illustrate my initial point about getting the information out to the general populous. One misplaced or disregarded word / phrase in a headline can change the meaning for someone who doesn’t have the time or inclination to go into the issue in depth, leading to a lot of confused people.

  89. Unsettled Scientist

    shunt1 asks another poster: “Can I give you a few specific quotes?”

    How about sourcing your quotes that you have used? Putting something in quotes doesn’t make it real. It just makes it look like you cannot actually source your material. This is why he takes talk about physics and compares it to Nazis. Sorry, cannot have an honest conversation with this person, he is not open to honest discussion and will not source his quotes.

  90. Unsettled Scientist

    >I guess you missed what Climategate was all about. A FOI request to obtain the original data so that others could verify the analysis. That data was refused and NOBODY had ever been able to verify their software results.

    Please read at least the wikipedia page on that event. The big talking point deniers took from that was “Mike’s Nature trick… to hide the decline.” The “trick” was published in Nature, perhaps the most prestigious journal. That’s why it’s called the “Nature” trick. So yeah, what rug? You’re counter example is something that specifically was published in the journals I mentioned.

  91. Flora Steele

    “Weather becomes climate when it gets hot in the summer. ”

    Can you understand the difference between ‘hot’ and ‘hotter than ever’ — or ‘heat’ and ‘record heat’?

  92. Mark

    i love it, an astronomer is now an expert on the climate. proceeds to tell us all that climate = weather + time and ‘now’ is somewhere in there. how can there ever be a ‘now’ when discussing climate?

    when astronomers and people that call themselves scientists enter into the debate about climate it does a dis-service to everybody. especially to those that don’t yet know what to think. when astronomers “believe” in climate change they are abdicating all they have signed up for when they became ‘scientists’. scientists don’t believe in anything, or maybe more accurately, scientists aren’t supposed to “believe” anything. this particular blogger feels heightened by constant announcements that its good to be a skeptic, then proceeds to ‘label’ skeptics of the ‘theory’ of global warming as some sort of heretics. it does give credence to these types of people actually believing in some type of religion doesn’t it?

  93. Matt B.

    @81 MTU – “…‘Anthropogenic’ is an indirect technical way of saying it…”

    Well, no. The suffix “-gen” means “making”, not “made by”. I’d love to have a suffix that means the latter, but I can’t think of one. I personally like “HIRGO”. (I also think Kylie meant to say she was doubtful, not wary, but I didn’t have a snappy retort for that.)

  94. Doug Little

    Mark and all the other deniers on this blog this is what Phil actually said, not what you thought he said.

    Is all this due to global warming? Hard to say, exactly. However, these conditions are precisely what you would expect as the Earth warms: weather patterns change, temperature records get broken, conditions go from normally wet to dry, normally dry to wet.

    I’ve highlighted the relevant bit for you. In other words the patterns of weather we are now seeing are what you would expect if the climate is warming. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

  95. Matt B.

    @35 Brian Too – “Weather + area + time = climate”

    Not really. Any single point on the Earth’s surface has a climate, meaning an expected average of temperatures and precipitation for any given day of the year. A neighboring point will have a slightly different set of expectations, and therefore a different climate.

  96. noen

    Mark said: “climate = weather + time and ‘now’ is somewhere in there. how can there ever be a ‘now’ when discussing climate?”

    Yes, that is the definition of climate and obviously Phil was not intending to be taken literally. There were over a thousand all time temp records set recently so “now” means I think that *now* we are seeing the very real effects of global warming is having on our climate.

    “scientists don’t believe in anything, or maybe more accurately, scientists aren’t supposed to “believe” anything”

    You don’t understand the difference between faith and belief. Scientists do not have faith that their theories are right. They believe in them based on best available evidence. We *believe* that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light and recent events had people questioning that belief. It turned out not to be true but it could have turned out otherwise. That is belief. Faith is when people take the evidence that something is not true as evidence that it *must* be true.

    “this particular blogger feels heightened by constant announcements that its good to be a skeptic, then proceeds to ‘label’ skeptics of the ‘theory’ of global warming as some sort of heretics.”

    Denialism isn’t skepticism. “Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion. […] The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method requires evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies generally don’t meet the qualifications for scientific evidence, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic”

    Climate denialists reject critical thinking and use various logical fallacies to rationalize their preconceived conclusion that global warming is a hoax.

  97. Mark

    @Doug

    yes I do understand thats what he said…there are a multitude of other posts from him that indicate his unflinching ‘belief’ in this theory. and thats what it is now still right? a theory. my problem isn’t with a normal person off the street that believes in global warming. there is evidence to support such a notion. i, unremarkably, don’t get caught making up words like ‘denialist’ to explain (in a very simple way i might add) someone’s thoughts on this subject. my problem is with ‘scientists’ who shoot their very own ’cause’ in the foot by proclamations on their blogs. my wish is for scientists to stick to the science. not some ‘mission’ of theres to convert the masses. the wonderful thing about science is its ever-changing. my greatest fear is that science turns into politics and then the lying begins (it may have started already) to say anything to protect their belief system. for those that think i’m republican, think again. the analogy i used earlier about shooting one’s own foot is perhaps not more prevalent in that the very scientists who chime in about global warming, are basically telling the world to cease your exploits and knowledge and return to simple instruments to make this a healthy planet. this comment is getting wordy and i apologize. just know, there are a group of AGW skeptics out there that genuinely have issues with the science presented and have no political thoughts whatsoever. the very fact this seems to divide us politically makes me a skeptic right there. i hear about climatologists and how they have signed onto this theory, that doesn’t surprise me, nor does this theories problems when it hits a statistical doldrum.

  98. Gunnar

    @Mark Says:

    “. . .the very scientists who chime in about global warming, are basically telling the world to cease your exploits and knowledge and return to simple instruments to make this a healthy planet.”

    This is the silliest anti-AGW argument I have heard yet! What climatologists are saying or even implying that because of AGW we should abandon our scientific quest for knowledge and revert back to a pre-scientific age and mindset?

  99. SLC

    The fact that Mr. shunt1 has never heard of the Koch brothers tells us all we need to know about him.

  100. noen

    Mark said: “there are a multitude of other posts from him that indicate his unflinching ‘belief’ in this theory. and thats what it is now still right? a theory.”

    Scientific theories are not “guesses” in the way average people use the term.

    “my wish is for scientists to stick to the science.”

    They are. The science says that humans are dumping CO2 into the environment and changing the climate in ways that will cause great harm to human capital and to our social institutions.

  101. Messier Tidy Upper

    @94. Matt B. :

    @81 MTU – “…‘Anthropogenic’ is an indirect technical way of saying it…”
    Well, no. The suffix “-gen” means “making”, not “made by”. I’d love to have a suffix that means the latter, but I can’t think of one. I personally like “HIRGO”. (I also think Kylie meant to say she was doubtful, not wary, but I didn’t have a snappy retort for that.)

    Fair enough, thanks. I still prefer the more direct english use of Human Induced though as it is more immediately descriptive.

    @84. Torbjörn Larsson, OM : Also about the HIRGO term. Thanks for that. Interesting. I do see what you are saying and you make some good points but, yeah, I still think HIRGO works best as the term in my view. YMMV naturally.

    @88. I Like Cheese :

    Could a solar flare save humanity? I watched a video of Michio Kaku explaining how the next solar maximum is coming up, and that there is a chance that the Earth is belted by a massive solar flare or CME which could potentially wipe out all of our satellites and our power grids, pushing civilization back 100 years. Now, that would obviously destroy the economy, but could it also stifle industry, effectively stopping most of our carbon emissions and giving carbon sinks an opportunity to catch up? Obviously MK, as a futurist, was wary of such an event, but could it in theory give the Earth a chance to breathe?

    Theoretcially, maybe but remeber that CO2 already intehatmosphereand feedbacks thatare already happening means iwe’ll still be gheating upand experiencing some climate change now whatever happens.

    Also at what cost in lives and suffering?

    Oh & finally – we can’t count onthis happening. Such a solar flare could happen but the records so far suggest it is probably highly unlikely.

  102. Corrected for clarity & expanded version of #102.
    (Ran out of editing time, alas. :-( )

    @88. I Like Cheese :

    Could a solar flare save humanity? I watched a video of Michio Kaku explaining how the next solar maximum is coming up, and that there is a chance that the Earth is belted by a massive solar flare or CME which could potentially wipe out all of our satellites and our power grids, pushing civilization back 100 years. Now, that would obviously destroy the economy, but could it also stifle industry, effectively stopping most of our carbon emissions and giving carbon sinks an opportunity to catch up? Obviously MK, as a futurist, was wary of such an event, but could it in theory give the Earth a chance to breathe?

    Theoretically, maybe, but remember that the amount of extra GreenHouse Gases already added to our atmosphere and the climatic feedbacks that are already happening means we’ll still be heating up and experiencing some climate change now whatever happens.

    (Well almost whatever happens – I guess a KT “dino-killer” style asteroid / comet impact or a nuclear Holocaust or another real End of World scenario taking place would change things but not be a desireable solution! :-o )

    Also at what cost in lives and suffering? Such an event would be a global disaster and if it affects enough of an area and enough people to even put a temporary glitch in the rate of HIRGO then a lot of lives and property would be lost and generations set back and traumatised.

    Oh & finally – we can’t count on this happening. Such a solar flare *could* just possibly happen but the solar observations so far suggest it is probably highly unlikely as these super-flares are exceptional events. The 1859 Carrington solar flare* was certainly one that – if it happened today – could have such devastating results but that was so rare it is still the largest, strongest solar known.

    (Link in my name in this comment to an online article on that superflare via the 80beats blog : What People in 1859 Thought of the Great Solar Storm (Hint: They Were Very Confused by Sarah Zhang posted there on the 9th of May, 2012 1:41 PM.)

    It is also possible that a prolonged Maunder minimum type situation with a reduced amount of solar input into the Earth’s thermal balance could help slightly but that would not still not enough to cancel out HIRGO. Apparently, just seven years of human Greenhouse Gas Emissions are enough to override the Little Ice Age / solar reduction effect.

    (See the relevant Greenman3610 climate crock youtube video and Skeptical Science website article(s) on the Solar theory idea for sources on that point.)

    ——————————-

    * If you’re interested in that 1859 Carrington solar flare event then I’d highly recommend reading ‘The Sun Kings -The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington & the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began’ by Stuart Clark which is a superb non-fiction book on that topic – and much more besides. :-)

  103. Steve Metzler

    98. Mark says:

    my wish is for scientists to stick to the science. not some ‘mission’ of theres to convert the masses.

    It would indeed be nice if both sides of the AGW issue played by the same rules. In case you hadn’t noticed, the AGW deniers have long ago abandoned doing any actual science themselves. Instead, they just resort to taking pot shots at the established science, much like creationists do when faced with the mountains of evidence supporting evolution.

    Some of the prominent climatologists are good at outreach, like James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt. Why shouldn’t they speak out? They can see that humanity is shooting itself in the foot with the biggest amount of collective ‘stoopid’ ever, in our relentless pursuit to dig every ounce of fossil fuel out of the ground and burn it. And the reason: to support our unsustainable modern lifestyle.

    Either we make the move to renewables, or we suffer the inevitable consequences of inaction. And the consequences will be severe; you can already see it starting to happen. That was what Phil was trying to convey in this post.

  104. Doug Little

    Mark,

    my wish is for scientists to stick to the science. not some ‘mission’ of theres to convert the masses

    Science suffers from a pretty bad public relations. It needs people that can communicate the science to the general public in a way that can excite and motivate. After all we are only as good as the next generation coming through so the more young people that become interested in science and make a career of it the better off we all will be. I think that scientists are too quiet and too polite most of the time, look at where we are in relation to the evolution vs creationism debarkle. I don’t think scientists and the science community in that case responded strongly enough to nip the nonsense in the bud before it blew out of control.

  105. Eimear Dwyer

    Global Warming is not the 48 states Phil, just get over the fact that you have backed the wrong horse, but I suppose only a true scientist can do that.

  106. Messier Tidy Upper

    @107. Eimear Dwyer :

    Global Warming is not the 48 states Phil, ..

    Er, when did the BA ever say global warming was the 48 states or anything other than global? The 48 (plus) US states are however part of the world and part of the world which is – like many global regions most noticeably the Arctic – experiencing unusually high and rising temperatures.

    .. just get over the fact that you have backed the wrong horse,

    I don’t recall the BA talking about losing a gamble at the Kentucky races or anything like that here. What the blazes does this topic have to do with horse racing?

    Oh. You meant that metaphorically maybe? Implying that you don’t accept that something that all the evidence and 98% of the experts are pointing to is real? You’re saying that the well established, evidentially supported Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) theory which the Bad Astronomer has noted and discussed many times here is false?

    Well, Eimear Dwyer, that’s what’s called an extraordinary claim and as Carl Sagan has famously noted that calls for extraordinary evidence to support it. Which you haven’t presented and which I’d like to see you deliver here. Why do you think HIRGO is false, the metaphorical “wrong horse” exactly and what evidence can you offer everyone to convince us you are right and the vast majority of experts in the field of climatology are wrong?

    .. but I suppose only a true scientist can do that.

    Are *you* a true scientist, Eimear Dwyer? Are you *any* sort of scientist?

    Have you not seen occassions too on this very blog over time where the BA has cheerfully admitted he got things wrong when he has? Pretty sure I have.

  107. @ Mark

    “i love it, an astronomer is now an expert on biology. proceeds to tell us all that evolution = mutations + time and ‘natural selection’ is somewhere in there. how can there ever be a ‘natural selection’ when discussing evolution?

    when astronomers and people that call themselves scientists enter into the debate about evolution it does a dis-service to everybody. especially to those that don’t yet know what to think. when astronomers “believe” in evolution they are abdicating all they have signed up for when they became ‘scientists’. scientists don’t believe in anything, or maybe more accurately, scientists aren’t supposed to “believe” anything. this particular blogger feels heightened by constant announcements that its good to be a skeptic, then proceeds to ‘label’ skeptics of the ‘theory’ of evolution as some sort of heretics. it does give credence to these types of people actually believing in some type of religion doesn’t it?

    there are a multitude of other posts from him that indicate his unflinching ‘belief’ in this theory. and thats what it is now still right? a theory. my problem isn’t with a normal person off the street that believes in evolution. there is evidence to support such a notion. i, unremarkably, don’t get caught making up words like ‘denialist’ to explain (in a very simple way i might add) someone’s thoughts on this subject. my problem is with ‘scientists’ who shoot their very own ’cause’ in the foot by proclamations on their blogs. my wish is for scientists to stick to the science. not some ‘mission’ of theres to convert the masses. the wonderful thing about science is its ever-changing. my greatest fear is that science turns into politics and then the lying begins (it may have started already) to say anything to protect their belief system. for those that think i’m republican, think again. the analogy i used earlier about shooting one’s own foot is perhaps not more prevalent in that the very scientists who chime in about evolution, are basically telling the world to cease your exploits and knowledge and return to sitting in trees and fling poo at strangers. this comment is getting wordy and i apologize. just know, there are a group of Darwinist skeptics out there that genuinely have issues with the science presented and have no political thoughts whatsoever. the very fact this seems to divide us politically makes me a skeptic right there. i hear about biologists and how they have signed onto this theory, that doesn’t surprise me, nor does this theories problems when it hits a statistical doldrum.”

    Science denialism: The blather is always the same. Only the labels change.
    There’s just so much…doubt.

  108. BTW. The latest ‘New Scientist’ magazine (7th July 2012 edition – Aussie & Ipresume internationally too) has a great article on Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) or as they call it “global warming” and its effects on our weird, extreme weather too.

    Well worth a read & backs up what the BA has written in the Opening Post here.

    Post script : Linked to my name for this comment is an online piece interviewing climatologist Mike Mann also well worth reading.

    From that :

    Mann: Yeah, I think that many of my colleagues are afraid to speak out about this publicly, to talk about the connections between climate change and, for example, the anomalous extreme weather we have seen in recent years, and in particular this past spring and this past winter, because they know they’ll be attacked…

    If they talk about the connections between these things, they know that within 24 hours, email boxes will be flooded with acerbic, nasty emails, that their department chairs’ may very well — and their deans’ — may be flooded with letters demanding that they be fired from their institutions.

    Blakemore (interviewer – ed.) : Enough that it appears to be an organized kind of campaign?

    Mann: I think there’s little question about that. Some of us have actually compared the notes that we get, the angry emails that we get , the phone messages that are left, and there appears to be a pattern. The message is often similar.

    (Emphasis added to highlight relevance to the OP.)

    Whatever people think about the science, I hope everyone can agree that sending death threats and hate mail against the experts for giving their expert opinions, for doing their jobs, is just beyond the Pale.

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