Showing posts from July, 2014

And now even worse

There were five extinctions of life on our planet.  One of them, the Permian-Triassic event 251 million years ago cause the extinction of 96% of sea life and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species.  This was likely to have been caused by a sudden methane release from the ocean floor flooding the atmosphere with a greenhouse gas dramatically increasing global temperatures.

This happens because of sudden influx of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  When it is slower the ocean and atmosphere is able to handle it.  That is what happened at the Permian-Triassic, a sudden huge amount of methane thrown into the atmosphere.  Skeptiks can say that there have been times with more CO2 or methane in the atmosphere without global warming, but that is because it is gradual.  When it is sudden, as we are doing right now to the atmosphere, the oceans aren't able to handle it and we have severe global warming.

But is what is happening now anything like what happened 251 million years ago when…

Global Warming is Worse Than They Say It Is

If it wasn't for the greenhouse effect our planet would be a frozen ball of ice.  But there is one, and human beings had the chance to build a civilization on it.  Unfortunately we are abusing it.  And there's a reason why climate scientists are very worried.

My background is in statistical methods, about 40 years of experience, and I would like to bring some of that to bear on global warming.  I am not a climate scientist but I do have the background to comment on the statistical modelling.

First, it is important to distinguish between the observations, i.e., the actual measurements, and the secular trend.  The measurements that we see are variations around an underlying trend.   That underlying trend is hard to see because the measurements bounce around a lot from what we call random, or independent shocks affecting it.  A very significant "random shock" affecting temperature is ENSO, the La Nina and El Nino oscillations.  These ocean processes have dramatic affec…

Republicans versus Democrats

For most everyone politics is about protecting and enhancing their interests.  Given that, there is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats on this.  Republicans are fairly homogeneous on their interests being essentially mostly wealthy straight white strongly religious men.  Democrats, on the other hand, are a very disparate group of people, women, blacks, hispanics, gays, lesbians, working class people, union workers.

The consequence for Republicans is a somewhat rigidly uniform point of view, guns, anti-immigration, restrictions on women's reproduction decisions,  no marriage for gays and lesbians, opposition to minimum wage, and an enduring dread of increasing national debt, collapsing value in the dollar, and rising inflation.

The consequence for Democratic Party is also a fairly uniform point of view, for gun-control, for immigration legislation with a path to citizenship for the undocumented already here, in favor of women having control over their health care de…

Diary of the Last Age - California Drought

The most dangerous aspect of global warming is that nothing is being done about it.  There's a simple solution, a carbon and methane tax.  But it is not happening.  Nothing is happening, there is very little being done about global warming and thereby the outcome is easy to see

In the future ... climate change leads to widespread drought, food shortages, rapid sea level rise, riots, civil strife, a migration of more than a billion people and widespread use of martial law — all things that require a strong-centralized government. But that terrible outcome depends on nothing being done about global warming, that we're all the frog in the heating pot, and we don't realize that we're being cooked until too late.

Maybe we'll be able to figure it out before we're cooked.  We have a test.  California is experiencing the worst drought in its history.  Will Californians figure out what is going on before they're cooked?  Let's find out.

I'm not optimistic. …

Religion and Science

For most people, religion matters more to them than does science.  They are more often immersed in some spiritual thought in their lives than they are about some issue of science.  Some people pray every day, some go to church every week or at least every once in a while. When confronted, they will say they want to avoid hell or some such terrible result after death, and therefore declare allegiance to their God, and hope and pray that their sufficiently good.  Most people are not theologians or even know one.  They have many complicated thoughts throughout their life about religion, and plan to die with some petition on their lips for the better outcome.

Most people have none of these kinds of thoughts about science.  For them science is exposure to some theories and findings in school, and an occasional scientific event described in newspapers.  Unless they are scientists themselves, they rarely if ever become involved in conversations about scientific subjects, whereas religious s…

Diary of the Last Age - Disease

One of the signs of global warming is the march of tropical diseases towards the north.  An important new mosquito-borne illness, Chikungunya, is showing itself in the United States.  It has mostly remained in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Southeast Asia, but last year the Caribbean Islands were fully invaded by the virus and it won't be long before it comes to the Southern U.S.

But that is just the beginning.  As new ecological niches are formed further north, they will be filled with new disease carrying hosts that find them congenial.
Malaria is climbing the mountains to reach populations in higher elevations in Africa and Latin America. Cholera is growing in warmer seas. Dengue fever and Lyme disease are moving north. West Nile virus, never seen on this continent until seven years ago, has infected more than 21,000 people in the United States and Canada and killed more than 800.The diseases, like malaria, dengue fever, schistomiasis, and yellow fever are movi…

Diary of the Last Age - Science and Religion

Hypatia, a student of science, was brutally murdered by a Christian mob c. 405 CE.  From that point on the Dark Ages set it wherein truth was defined in Western Civilization by the Christian Bible.  It was another ten and half centuries before Galileo ignited the spark of reality that became the Enlightenment where the realization set in that the Christian "truth" was misbegotten.  From there humanity began an intellectual journey providing us with the actual truth, that humans are the outcome of a long, arduous evolution from single-celled creatures, that our world is a small planet in a small solar system among billions of solar systems in billions of galaxies, that in fact the primitive conceptions of life in the Christian Bible are based on ancient tales told to enhance the power of the priesthood class.

The Greeks also had their Enlightenment with remarkable advancement in mathematics, geometry, and physics.  With Democritus, the Grecian Galileo, science was born.  Euc…

Diary of the Last Age - refugees

Even now, the human deluge is beginning

The refugee migration is now greater than every since WWII.  The causes appear to be many, but global warming is an ever-increasing contributor.  For example, the civil war in Syria is a sizable source of refugees. There are many factors that worked to bring about the conflict, but a critical one was a multi-year drought devastating agriculture.   This time a drought aggravated by global warming is a small part of the chaos, but this is just the beginning.  This is just a peak at what we are going to see as population increases encounter declining resources due to global warming.

Extreme weather events of all kinds will batter the world, but the primary factors will be drought and energy resources.

In the American Southwest, as water supplies in rivers, lakes, and underground, dwindle, the land will impoverish sending inhabitants into migration to wetter places like the Northwest and the Northeast.  This migration will contribute to social dis…

Lying with Statistics about Global Warming

A very contentious contemporary issue in global warming is whether or not the global temperature has advanced over the last two decades or so.  It is a very popular meme among global warming skeptics and deniers that planet has actually gotten colder over this time, or at least has not changed at all thus contravening the claims of the Warmists altogether.  To make this happen though is to engage in one of the well-used methods of lying with statistics, "cherry picking".  The Cato Institute, for example, published an article asserting that the global temperature is declining.  To get that result, however, they had to begin their time series of temperatures with one very close to 1998 which happened to be a year that experienced a "super" El Nino, a phenomenon that increases global temperatures over and above the secular trend.  This made the trend look negative.  El Nino is a separate occurrence from the increasing trend of global temperatures due to the increase i…