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home : opinions : opinions November 25, 2015

1/22/2013 9:59:00 PM
Column: Global warming evidence heats up
US Federal Advisory Committee draft report

333 high temperature months in a row

Weather Underground on temperature records

Effects of sea level rise on D.C.

China's climate report

First sail boat to go through the NW passage

Survey of international corporations' risk assessment

Richard Mueller

Skeptical Science on IPCC predictions

Arctic going into a new state

West Antarctica warming almost twice as fast as thought

East coast sea rising faster

Some coastal cities at more risk than others

NY Looks at moving infrastructure out of the way

Solar study

Solar study funding

Tom Cantlon
Courier Columnist

So what's new in climate change news? Lots. Here's a quick rundown.

We hit 333 months in a row of high temperatures. According to NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Association). Looking at global temperatures, "November 2012 also marks the... 333rd consecutive month with global temperature higher than the long-term average. The last month with a below average temperature was February 1985, nearly 28 years ago."

According to the Weather Underground, looking at weather data from around the country in 2012, hundreds of locations recorded record highs, but none of them broke their record lows.

The U.S. Federal Advisory Committee on expected climate change has a new draft report that is more blunt than in the past, pins it more concretely to human causes, and points out real-world effects. "Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont have observed changes in their local climate..."

China's official es-timation is, to use their word, "grim." They are not looking at this because some wing of their politics compels them to, but through the cold hard lens of it impeding their economic growth. As a Reuters article about the report says, climate change "threatens China's march to prosperity by cutting crops, shrinking rivers and unleashing more droughts and floods... projecting big shifts in how the nation feeds itself." Quoting the Chinese report itself, "China faces extremely grim ecological and environmental conditions under the impact of continued global warming..."

Corporations are seeing the same thing. A survey of more than 400 major global companies found more than 80 percent say they are expecting real physical risks to their facilities, transportation lines, etc., and more than one-third say they are already experiencing this.

The Koch brothers have been leading backers of skeptics. A common claim among skeptics is that solar activity accounts for warming. Charles Koch was a leading backer of a study to see if solar activity did account for much of the warming. The study found "the most straightforward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions," and "the contribution of solar activity to global warming is negligible."

One of the leading former skeptics who had some scientific credibility was part of that study. Richard Mueller, a professor of physics, had been an outspoken skeptic for years. In 2011 he said further study and new data had changed his mind. Last July he went further and wrote in the New York Times that he finds the change almost entirely attributable to humans.

Speaking of skeptics, there has been common criticism that the IPCC predictions of climate change have been overstated. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is taken to be the closest thing to an official source. They've been issuing official reports and predictions since 1990.

The folks at Skeptical Science.com reviewed their predictions, and what has actually happened, and laid it all out on their site. The result is that the IPCC has actually been remarkably accurate, and much more accurate than their most notable critics.

NOAA also released an updated "Arctic report card." They note record ice melts and dangerous warming of the permafrost. The changes are dramatic enough they describe the Arctic condition as a "new state," citing "...widespread, sustained change driving Arctic environmental system into new state."

In what may seem curious at first, the U.S. Geological Survey says the East Coast is experiencing more sea level rise. There are a variety of reasons why the rise will not be even around the world's coasts: slight variations in gravitational pull due to what goes on in the Earth's molten core, ocean currents that drive levels higher in some places, and other factors. In addition some coastal areas are more susceptible to high tides or flooding from storms, which means that damage equal to that expected from, say, a 100-year storm, now becomes much more likely to occur in some areas.

New York is, of course, well aware of that in the wake of hurricane Sandy. Both municipal utilities and private building owners are looking at adapting to the change. In some private buildings the generators and utilities that used to be housed in the basement will be moved to higher floors.

Sometimes it makes for surprising news. The L.A. Times had a story about the first sailboat to pass through the Northwest Passage. A few more substantial ships have made it through in recent years, but this is apparently the first sailboat.

Here's a way it might actually get the attention of people in D.C. A study to help the area plan says sea rise could lead to flooding of numerous military facilities and "monuments/museums on or around the National Mall... Governmental buildings and agencies... include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Education."

Tom Cantlon is a longtime local resident, business owner and writer. Contact him at TomCantlon@TomCantlon.com.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, February 02, 2013
Article comment by: Say It Ain't So

A report to be released by the UN will state the sun has a much larger role in climate change the green house gases.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Scientific Data- Actually, the consensus I cite is the result of an in-depth review of scientific articles written on climate over the past 20 years, and was itself published in the journal Science, which along with Nature are the two leading interdisciplinary journals in the natural sciences. I will however grant you that a consensus among scientists certainly does not prove a theory (you mean theory, not hypothesis). However, if you decide to dimiss the opinions of scientists on a matter of science, then I would say your reasons probably aren't scientific.

For the record, trees don't produce CO2, scientists try to disprove hypotheses in tests, and no experimental result is ever replicated (correct word) 100% of the time. Actually, experiments only generate data, not results, and data is always discussed in terms of statistics and confidence intervals, because individual data points are fairly meaningless to science.

No offense, but it is clear to me that you don't know what you are talking about. That's ok, I don't expect everyone to be a scientist, but I hope you are being honest with yourself about why you have an opinion on this particular scientific question in spite of not being familiar with any of the science that underlies it.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: SO WHAT

If the world is heading for another global warming, so what, what are we going to do about it, NOTHING. Obama thinks he has all the answers, like a God or something. Al Gore is a joke too. It happened before and will happen again.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Scienctific Data Is Not Conclusive

Attentive Listener,

The consensus you cite is a cheer leading group of like minded individuals, not anywhere near the amount required to prove conclusively man made global warming is significantly causing the globe to change. I can not get you to understand scientist are not able to consistently PROVE the Hypothesis of man made climate change, therefore it is not a scientific fact.

They are able to prove snippets here and there, but all they have is a smoking gun not real proof. CO2 causes the globe to warm. Man produces CO2 therefore he is the cause. But wait trees produce CO2, volcanoes produce CO2. Cutting down trees in the rainforest should help, right?

That is why scientist put forth hypothesis. They THINK there is an issue and they try to prove it. Until the experiment is reproduced 100% of the time, it is just a hypothesis.

The problem is there are so many variables, they can only GUESS what may happen. Conjecture is not science. Are we willing to ruin the world economy on guess work? And if the world warms up, so what. It was warmer eons ago and we are here. Humans adapt to all kinds of climates. We currently live in every climate on this planet and survive.

So go scream the sky is falling elsewhere . Show me real studies that include all the variables and are proven 100% of the time. You can’t. Experiments have to come to the same conclusion 100% of the time to be valid science. And cooking the data as they did in the UK to prove their Hypothesis does not count.

Now keeping foreign poisons out of the atmosphere and water shed are good goals to aspire too. This will keep us and the food chain healthy.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: The Phantom Hydrologist

@ Don't mind the Data--

The difference between a meteorologist and a climatologist is that in 3-5 days you know the meteorologist was wrong. You will have been dead for 50 years before anyone knows the climatologist was wrong.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Scientific Data is Not Conclusive-

No, that's what I was writing about too. Of course it is easy to find articles on the internet rejecting human-caused global warming. Anyone can write anything they want on the internet. But among peer-reviewed scientific publications there most definitely IS a consensus, and there is peer-reviewed scientific data establishing this.

Continued denial at this point may be motivated by many things, but inconclusive science isn't one of them.


Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Scienctific Data Is Not Conclusive

Attentive Listener,

Maybe I was not clear. I am writing about man made climate change. Yes there is climate change and it has been around since the beginning.

Just do a little research and you will find anything but a consensus for man made climate change. NASA stated they found 4 independent labs that concluded global warming exist, but it does not site human factors.

I found other studies that refute any significant human influences on climate change.

The facts do not back up your assertion their is a consensus on man made climate change.

Climate change does exist, but man can not control it.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Scientific Data is Not Conclusive-

Here is some scientific data on how conclusive the scientific data regarding anthropogenic climate change is. A recent review of all peer-reviewed publications on climate since 1991 found 99.83% consensus.


Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Scienctific Data Is Not Conclusive

If in fact there is a consensus, then every scientist should be able to take the data and arrive at the same conclusion. That is not the fact.

There are scientist who believe man is significantly contributing to global warming and there are scientist who have concluded the opposite.

That is why there is a debate, because there is not a consensus of scientific fact.

So feeling the data supports your position is not the same as reality.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Don't Mind the Data It is Gut Feelings That Really Count

Tom Steele, as usual, does not understand the difference between a climatologist and meteorologist! As we all are reminded of on a daily basis, Tom is smarter than any of the rest of us. In fact Tom is much smarter than 97% of those stupid, pointy headed, nerd, geek, PhD-type climatologists who have been gathering data from ice cores to weather satellites and have made a lifelong study this phenomena and agree that it is caused by man-made global warming. We all know that Tom Steele's type of �gut feeling� is much more valid than the data collected by these pointy headed types. Tom who has never even passed the door where climatology was being taught, knows a lot more about this subject because he listens to the ravings of a, drug-befuddled Rush Limbaugh, who flunked out of college after two semesters and one summer session. Omniscient Rush and his servile, fawning lumpens know much more about this subject, when compared to these PhD level, research climatologists. Let�s all turn on our radios, tune to 1490 and give ourselves a virtual lobotomy!


Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: I will believe scientist first!

Keep telling yourself that global warming exists.
Record low temperatures are abound throughout the world.
"Global warming" has been proven to be a hoax by scientists!
We could just as easily say that global cooling exists also!
Keep the fiction to Hollywood!

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Common Senzi

Yeah and that hole in the ozone is a hoax too, lets bring back chloroflorocarbons.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Burns


Nuff said

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

Peter- Believe whatever you want. Nobody cares. Oil companies are buying drilling leases in the arctic, because they know it's melting. Shipping companies are changing routes to go via the Northwest passage because they know it'a opening. Insurance companies are changing policies near coasts because they know the ocean is rising and storm severity is increasing. Governments are investing in alternative energy sources because they know the world is changing. But no one is asking you to believe anything.

If you aren't willing to accept a consensus from the global scientific, political, and business community, then I guess you'll just have to wait 5,000 years and find out.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Climate change has been occurring since the beginning of time.

The current frenzy is just another ploy by the insane Liberal cabal to control and tax more, for the purpose of increasing their power.

Same as gun control.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Screw hurricanes, give me a good draught any time. I'll find water, you can drain it out of your living room.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Wait a Second

The earth is too hot, It's global warming, the earth is too cold, It's global warming. The summers are hotter, see global warming, the summers are colder, see again global warming. The deer are furrier this winter,I told you global warming, the deer have no fur this winter, yes that's another indication of global warming. Al Gore made $100 million dollars, Yes people that is global warming.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Peter Smith

So we are supposed to believe that in 5,000 years the polar ice caps will be melted from people who can't tell us if it is going to rain 2 days from now?

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

There's a great interview with former global warming skeptic Richard Muller at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqPuKxXUCPY

He clarifies what he wrote in the Op-Ed that is linked to next to the article.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Yes Faulty Data

Before there were humans the world was hot all over. Then it was cold all over. Followed by Hot Cold again and again. Did the dinosaurs cause there own demise because they emitted too much methane. For the eons the world has cycled up and down. Greenland, over a 100,000 years ago was green, then cooling caused glaciers to appear. Now they are receding. 100,000 years is a spec in earth time.

The earth cyclic temperature is not controlled by man. For man to think he can control these cycles is the ultimate arrogance. We know Scientist from the UK “massaged” the data under the guise they were correcting anomalies. They actually raised the reported temps to suit their hypothesis. I submit there is another anomaly, man made. Yes, stations used to collect historical data are compromised due to man building heat islands, and the station staying in the same location in the middle or near the heat island.

So, is there global warming, yes. Is there global cooling, yes. Can man control it, no. Now if you want to talk about controlling poisons entering the water and air supply. I am all ears.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: David Leaton

A number of commenters make the assumption that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is based on the surface temperature record, and that the surface temperature record is representative of the climate system. Neither assumption is true. The theory is simply the greenhouse gas theory, solidly based in physics and very well tested, plus the anthro component. If CO2 is added to the atmosphere, the climate system will store more energy than it would without the addition. It doesn't matter what's happening with the surface temp: it's always warmer with CO2 than without. Further, the surface and lower troposphere make up all of 4-5% of the climate system. If someone tells you that global warming has stopped based on the surface temp record, they are ignorant or they think you're ignorant.

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Resistance is Futile

You picked up that too.
The study, if true. The Koch Bros are moving out of coal and into gas and beyond.
The study, if false. The Koch Bros are moving out of coal and into gas and beyond.

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

Upon preparation, reading Today's Tom and reviewing most of his links my opinion remains: man caused global [acceptable vogue term] equals profitable DHMO. Had 18th century Admiralty logs been massed broadcast the Bering Strait would be unberingable in The Times years before East Anglia's model musings. If the planet is so fragile perhaps extinction and rerolling of Darwin's dice are in order.

Who gains in "global whatever", well beside my family apparently, lots of folks. Certainly schools via grant, corporations through responsible consumerism and schemes. Schemes, Al-"Qatar The Enlightened emirate"-Gore comes to mind if out of my own hypocrisy alone. Not so much conspiracy really as The Peoples' need to vent reactionary outrage and the people who channel such primal power. Those directors are often called Leader.

True enough The KBros are evil money makers. If they are hinting at a change of tack that is not good no matter who is actually correct. As to questions toward my belief in future technology, use of resources, and colourful energies: where possible I live them. Our rites are similar but my religion differs from hives in not using fear to DEMAND others offer proper emissions.

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: Resistance is Futile

@Tom Van, smile, you are just going to confuse the confused.

@Rev, If you have a fixed budget for fuel and demand puts rising cost pressure on future fuel cost, you have to make decisions about how best to use it efficiently. Would it not be wiser to invest fossil fuel and the output of greenhouse gas toward the an investment in green energy. That green energy used for the production of more green energy. Or, wait and still need to find energy alternatives, and use more energy to extract the diminishing reserve of fossil fuels, and with global demand driving cost.

I'm not saying that it is the last match in the box, but how do we use them wisely because eventually your options close.

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Cantlon

Oh, and...the grant program that Solyndra was part of has done very well (www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2011/09/02/solyndras-failure-is-no-reason-to-abandon-federal-energy-innovation-policy/).

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