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Earth News Science

A Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow 1136

Posted by kdawson
from the black-ice-and-white dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "NPR reports that with snow blanketing much of the country, the topic of global warming has become the butt of jokes; but for scientists who study the climate, there's no contradiction between a warming world and lots of snow. 'The fact that the oceans are warmer now than they were, say, 30 years ago means there's about on average 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was... in the 1970s,' says Kevin Trenberth, a prominent climate scientist. 'So one of the consequences of a warming ocean near a coastline like the East Coast and Washington, DC, for instance, is that you can get dumped on with more snow partly as a consequence of global warming.' Increased snowfall also fits a pattern suggested by many climate models, in which rising temperatures increase the amount of atmospheric moisture, bringing more rain in warmer conditions and more snow in freezing temperatures."
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A Warming Planet Can Mean More Snow

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  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:32PM (#31163714)

    One question for the warmers reading. Can the theory of AGW be falsified?

    If it gets hotter it is because of Global Warming.

    If a hurricane hits it is because of Global Warming.

    If there is a drought anywhere it is because of Global Warming.

    But if we get a blizzard it is bacause of Global Climate Change.

    If it floods it is because of Global Warming/Climate Change.

    If the North polar ice shrinks it is Global Warming.

    Yet when the Antarctic ice grows it is Climate Change.

    When the Northern ice returns it is nothing to see here, move along.

    When Phil Jones says there has been no warming for fifteen years, it doesn't mean anything. In fact, to date only the Moonies at the Wash. Times and Fox News consider his statement worthy of repeating. (He said it to the BBC, btw, not known as a bastion of Deniers.)

    So my question is this: For a theory to be Science it must be falsifiable; so what would it take for one of you True Believers to reconsider your theory?

    • by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:50PM (#31163854) Journal

      You do realize that AGW predicts an increase in Antarctic ice right? But I suppose it's easier to continue being an armchair "expert" on global climate. The prediction of Antarctic ice growth was a falsifiable one. Had it not occured, it would have been evidence that the AGW models was flawed to some degree.

      • by wizardforce (1005805) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:55PM (#31163902) Journal

        To clarify [newscientist.com] on the growth of Antarctic ice in some areas while receding in others. The overall ice growth in some areas exceeded ice loss in other areas although this is starting to change. Climate models win again.

        • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:14PM (#31164082)

          Right, if one variable out of thousand variables moves according to the model, it's a "win" for the model.

          I assume you're reasonably familiar with the main models?

          Maybe you can be more persuasive if you can nail down the major predictions. I mean, calling it "climate change" is like saying "time-moves-forward". No one's disputing either - what exactly are the specific potential problems being predicted whose catastrophic nature requires us shifting trillions of dollars?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by NatasRevol (731260)

          Not to mention the fact that Greenland alone is losing 53 cubic miles of ice *every year*.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850#Greenland [wikipedia.org]

        • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:51PM (#31164442) Journal

          To clarify [newscientist.com] on the growth of Antarctic ice in some areas while receding in others. The overall ice growth in some areas exceeded ice loss in other areas although this is starting to change. Climate models win again.

          So, let's see if I understand.
          If your first post, you basically said:

          AGW predicts increasing Antarctic ice. We see increasing Antarctic ice, so the AGW models are correct. Therefor the earth is warming and it is man made.

          Then in your second post, you said:

          Oh, wait, I just learned something. It appears that Antarctic ice is increasing in some places, but receding in others. This was predicted in AGW models so the AGW models are correct. Therefor the earth is warming and it is man made.

          Did I get that right?

          Ever stop to consider that there is a reason we don't believe this shit? And I don't mean to rag on you, but this is the kind of crap that we hear all the time from what are supposed to be scientists. It's hot, so it proves AGW. It's cold, so it proves AGW. If there are more hurricanes, its AGW. If there are no hurricanes, its AGW. There is no snow at the Olympics because of AGW. There is too much snow in Washington because of AGW. Warmer temperatures mean AGW. Colder temps mean AGW.... and so on and so on and so on!

          See, when you change historical data to make your model match current conditions, it's fraud. (AGW climatologists tend to throw out data that doesn't make sense to their models) You change the outcome of your model to match current conditions, it's fraud. (You see this one A LOT! Remember all the predictions that said hurricanes would increase and then we had a year with virtually no hurricanes? Remember the scramble to claim that the LACK of hurricanes was due to AGW?)

          • by alteran (70039) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:17AM (#31165200)

            So much of this whole post is simply not true.

            Look, a few proponents of AGW sceintists have falsified some data, that's true. Many opponents of AGW have falsified data as well-- I don't see you screaming about them.

            The bottom line is that the Earth's temperature is going up every year, give or take, while its CO2 content goes up-- and CO2 is well known to retain heat within the atmosphere.

            This isn't "innocent until proven guilty," folks. The anti-AGW folks have to make their case, too. They haven't. All they've done is try to muddy the water and nitpick. There's a good reason they haven't made a case-- the evidence that AGW exists is overwhelming. The specifics-- whether it will cause more hurricaines or snow, more precipitation or less, these things are being hotly contested, just like with any young scientific theory. But the overwhelming arc is that iAGW exists and that it ain't going anywhere.

             

      • by geekpowa (916089) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:16PM (#31164108)

        Yet - so many predictions made by AGW that did not come to be - but are just silently discarded and substituted with even more fearful headlines of events soon to come. Because it's always worse than we thought.

        It seems to me that the only thing that will conclusively falsify AGW at this stage is if the climate were to do absolutely nothing and act in a completely boring fashion for a clear run of several decades. Which paleoclimate records show the climate is anything but this. So as long as there is variability - as there always has been variability - the AGW bogey man will be invoked to explain it.

        What to believe anymore? As a layperson - I've personally reached the point where I simply cannot trust what anyone says. I've tried to make sense of the issue myself with what little scientific and statistical background I have and what little I can understand from the literature I am not particularly impressed with the quality of evidence supporting the AGW hypothesis.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wizardforce (1005805)

          Yet - so many predictions made by AGW that did not come to be - but are just silently discarded and substituted

          Give an example of one that is sourced.

          Because it's always worse than we thought.

          This is what often happens when initial estimates are conservative.

          • by geekpowa (916089) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:30PM (#31164252)
            • IPCC's prediction of glacier melt in Himalayas
            • IPCC's prediction of global temperature increase in past 10 years. (Actual numbers fell substantially below even their lower bound prediction)
            • IPCC's recent claim that it is 'worse than we thought' and that climate change is accelerating which was based on change of trend from least squares line fitting using carefully selected moving end points. Intellectually dishonest behaviour in the most extreme.

            Like I lamented. Who can I trust?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by wizardforce (1005805)

              # IPCC's prediction of glacier melt in Himalayas

              You mean the one they lifted off a WWF propeganda sheet? No where in the models was such a prediction made; the IPCC along with the WWF fraked this up. The problem isn't so much the actual research being done, it's the IPCC being lax on the finer details of AGW which is as you can imagine, of great concern to the public.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:51AM (#31165920)

              WOW! Seriosuly, WOW!

              1. IPCC corrected the error relying on one person's speculation in some paper.
              2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071213101419.htm
              3. Yes, many things are "worse then they thought'. THis includes melt of Greenland. How melt water accelerates glacier melt is poorly understood. It turns out ignoring melt water resulted in models not predicting the rate of melt which is MUCH FASTER then old models show.

              The best thing about science is you can go and get your own data. Unfortunately you seem to fail, like most deniers and "experts". All you rely on is "gut feelings" and "OMG, winter is cold and snowy in my backyard! I totally disproved Global Warming".

              But don't worry. Science will win in the end because people will do jack shit to cut CO2 emissions. They will just go up and up and Earth will not warm 0.5C like now, or even 2C or 4C but probably it will be 10C by the time mankind realized WTF is happening. There is enough dirty oil (ie. tar sands, etc.) to make Venus out of Earth.

              Now, how about denying antibiotics save lives? I mean, there are side-effects. I can pull up cases where people died due to allergic reactions to antibiotics. Therefore it must prove that antibiotics kill people and should be banned? Per your thought processes, that must be the only conclusion you would reach. Which doctor can I trust!?????!!!?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jhol13 (1087781)

        There is no single AGW theory. There are thousands of them.

        Now coral is dying in USA east coast because the water is too cold. Soon someone will show a "theory" which shows this is because AGW.

        There is no weather condition which can prove AGW wrong. Every weather condition is predicted by some AGW theory. So no matter what happens, it is clearly a proof of the AGW and there is never a contradiction therefore AGW must be true.

        Is that science?

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @04:37AM (#31166726) Journal

          There are certain things that are science (easily verifiable).

          1. That CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and its increased concentration does lead to overall increase in average temperature.

          2. That antropogenic CO2 emissions are proportionally large enough to significantly contribute to natural ones - enough so to change the atmospheric concentration balance in a pronounced way.

          3. That solar activity is not a highly variable factor contributing in global average temperature in short to medium term.

          If you add them together, the conclusion that global average temperature will keep rising if we keep pumping CO2 into atmosphere at present (or higher) rates is also a scientific fact.

          What exactly happens at that point is definitely debatable, yes. If you want to argue that the overall effect on climate will be beneficial to humans, by all means, go ahead. But denying that the basic heating process is going on, when it has to do that according to all laws of physics, is rather silly.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:50PM (#31163856)

      One question for the warmers reading. Can the theory of AGW be falsified?

      Sure. If we keep emitting and the climate doesn't change, then it's falsified. Kind of like if how the theory that 4 cheeseburgers and a pack of cigarettes every day will kill -you- specifically can be falsified by -you- specifically eating 4 cheeseburgers and smoking a pack of cigarettes each day and not dying. Try it, let us know, the rest of us are foolishly following the religion of "Carcinogens and cholesterol will kill us specifically."

      • by FiloEleven (602040) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:41PM (#31164864)

        You exclude the possibility that the model for AGW is flawed and that the climate is changing for other reasons. As folks here are fond of pointing out, correlation is not causation.

        The article fails to mention how long scientists have seen no contradiction between harsh winters and AGW. Is this something that has been predicted from the start, or is it a new development? If it is a new development, was it studied as its own phenomenon before modifying the AGW model to fit the data? That is, if this was not originally predicted, can we be reasonably sure that the AGW model isn't being shoehorned to fit contradicting data? The reasoning outlined in the summary makes sense, I would just like to know if it is ad hoc or not.

    • by sremick (91371) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:50PM (#31163858)

      Well, maybe for 2009 to not be the hottest year in recorded history, or 2000-2009 to be the hottest decade in recorded history, for one.

      Maybe not for a clear upward trend in average global temperature over the last 100 years, for another.

      Stuff that was predicted well before it actually happened is not evidence to the contrary. If your restricted mental model of how climate works doesn't allow you to comprehend the mechanism that allows global warming to lead to more precipitation, then I'm not sure anyone here can help you. Weather != climate. Luckily the people actually working on the problem are way beyond that first-year course issue. It's unfortunate that there are so many people like yourself with voting powers getting in their way though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > Well, maybe for 2009 to not be the hottest year in recorded history, or 2000-2009 to be the hottest decade in recorded history, for one.

        Ok, but 2009 wasn't and 2000-2009 wasn't. Don't believe me, believe Phil Jones. And believe is all you can do since he lost all of his original data and there doesn't appear to be a clean temperature dataset ANYWHERE. Politics and science don't mix. Politics, science and trillions of dollars make an especially toxic stew.

        Remember when 1998 was supposed to be the ho

        • by sremick (91371) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:41PM (#31164354)

          Ok, but 2009 wasn't and 2000-2009 wasn't. Don't believe me

          Ok, I won't:

          http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/ [nasa.gov]

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by zz5555 (998945)
            And Phil Jones didn't say that there was no warming over the last 15 years. He said that the time period was too short to say if it was statistically significant or not (though he said it awkwardly). Oddly enough, had they asked about 1994 (or any number prior to 1995), the answer would have been yes, there has been statistically significant warming. But the reporter set it up so that an honest scientist had to answer no (with the added caveat that the time period was too short to say anything was statis
        • by OctaviusIII (969957) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:21PM (#31164698) Homepage

          And I notice you avoided the question. What would falsify AGW theory?

          He did, rather succinctly, and you quoted, and responded to, his answers.

          AGW is probably the most extraordinary claim in the history of extraordinary claims and the proposed solution (seizing most of the world's wealth, eliminating most of the current industrial base, etc.) is so far beyond extraordinary I doubt any human language even has the proper vocabulary for describing it properly

          I think there are far more extraordinary claims out there: flat-world theory and most religious claims, to name a couple. But if Climate Change is an extraordinary claim, yours is rather extraordinary as well: that carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane don't affect the climate despite reams of planetological data - not simply Earth-based - to the contrary. Your characterization of the proposed solutions is rather hyperbolic, too. Why can't an economy run on energy derived from sources other than the burning of fossil fuels? And who would seize most of the world's wealth? Where would it go? How would it be spent once it's seized? How would a conversion to non-carbon-emitting energy eliminate most of the world's industrial base? People will still need stuff, even if it costs more.

      • by Kreigaffe (765218) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:30PM (#31164248)

        2009 was the hottest year on record? Huh. News to me, I have heard otherwise. Not locally or nationally, but globally.

        AGW is most likely a fact, but the EXTENT of AGW is certainly not. Is there any explanation as to what causes earth's natural climate shifts? Do we have any idea if we are in a natural upshift or downshift? No and no. We don't know. We're basing the entire AGW on very shaky ground -- that our climate should NOT be increasing naturally through mechanisms we still don't understand, and that CO2 is the primary cause of climate change. Um. Sorry, but both of those are wrong. Matter of fact, just yesterday saw that someone (iirc in Spain?) has been studying submerged caves and found evidence that ocean levels 100,000 years ago were higher than they are today. Maybe it was 80,000. Then there's the medieval warm period. Then there's the little ice age. What caused those two climate shifts?

        Increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere does, yes, verifiable fact, act as a 'greenhouse gas', and that would tend to increase temperatures globally. Anything beyond that point is just conjecture. We really have no clue if increased CO2 levels in ice cores are caused by or caused warmer temperatures (huh, nevermind those findings I read about recently that casts doubt on the infallability of ice cores -- that is, that gases and such aren't as static in ice cores as we thought, and they're not as accurate as we believed).

        It would be GREAT if we could actually go back and look at records, but huh, apparently East Anglia hasn't ever heard about keeping records and threw out everything that was actual hard unadulterated data.. so we'll just never know. All we have are the numbers they hand-picked and corrected. We have only their word that the numbers they have are any good. Sounds a lot like faith to me.

        Faith and trust is antithetical to the progress of science. Science is built upon doubt and distrust -- and that is a noble and commendable thing. Science doesn't give a shit what you say, PROVE it, prove it with evidence that is concrete. Don't wave your hands with a bunch of numbers and not let others peek behind the curtain. Frankly, I'm more inclined to call the whole AGW a hoax JUST TO SPITE those assholes who label themselves men of science but who wrung their hands and conspired to REFUSE FOIA REQUESTS. What the FUCK? What fucking scientist doesn't show his work to others so that they may verify it? A charlatan does that. Not a scientist.

        AGW may be real -- in fact, I'd lean towards that pretty strongly -- but the wizard's been exposed and some of the leading men in the field have been shown to be nothing but frauds. Even if they're right, their refusal of FOIA requests, their destruction of original data.. that's just immoral and criminal in severity. Science without hard facts and data is not science, it's religion, and that's what AGW has become. Bow at the altar of Al Gore. Don't question. What's this shit about "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", have whoever said that shot for questioning AGW. Who needs proof when these guys in white coats are telling us that they're really very clever and most probably totally right, we should believe them you heathen.

    • by Tyler Durden (136036) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:54PM (#31163894)

      So my question is this: For a theory to be Science it must be falsifiable; so what would it take for one of you True Believers to reconsider your theory?

      Well it takes more than repeating easily debunked platitudes and specious arguments. Here's Jones' original quote...

      Jones: "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods."

      Sounds a bit more measured and reasonable than your biased histrionics. Yes?

      • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:16PM (#31164652)

        Sounds a bit more measured and reasonable than your biased histrionics. Yes?

        No, it sounds like he has said there is no warming trend in the past 14 or 15 years. "Almost significant" means "not significant." Nor is p = 0.05 exactly a stellar level of certainty. Physicists like things at the three sigma level, for the most part.

        And you have ignored the OP's quite reasonable question: what data would make you change your beliefs regarding global warming/climate change? If any climate event whatsoever constitutes "evidence" for global warming/climate change in your mind, then you are acting on faith and the kinds of arguments that rational individuals might use to convince you of the error of your ways are quite different than if you are acting on a rational basis.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:00PM (#31163936)

      So my question is this: For a theory to be Science it must be falsifiable; so what would it take for one of you True Believers to reconsider your theory?

      If a ball falls down it is because of gravity.
      If it bounces back up it is because of gravity.

      If comet flies into the solar system it is because of gravity.
      If the comet slingshots around jupiter and permanently exits the solar system it is because of gravity.

      If the tide rises it is because of gravity.
      If the tide recedes it is because of gravity.

      See how easy it is to gloss over the details and make something perfectly normal seem contradictory?

      That's the kind of thing people have made up their mind and are only interested in promulgating their point of view do - not someone who is asking genuine questions.

      When Phil Jones says there has been no warming for fifteen years, it doesn't mean anything. In fact, to date only the Moonies at the Wash. Times and Fox News consider his statement worthy of repeating. (He said it to the BBC, btw, not known as a bastion of Deniers.)

      Except, that's not what he said:

      BBC - Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

      PJ - Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

      See now how that's nothing like the denial you spun it as? Or maybe you really didn't spin it, maybe you didn't even bother to go to first sources and just took the word of other spinmeisters - you know the ones who follow the mantra "if it bleeds, it leads!" Sucks not being able to apply critical thinking and google to do your own fact checking.

      • by Ada_Rules (260218) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:14PM (#31164084) Homepage Journal

        If a ball falls down it is because of gravity. If it bounces back up it is because of gravity.

        Actually, when it bounces back up it is due to inertia but thanks for playing.

      • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:48PM (#31164418)

        If a ball falls down it is because of gravity.
        If it bounces back up it is because of gravity.

        If comet flies into the solar system it is because of gravity.
        If the comet slingshots around jupiter and permanently exits the solar system it is because of gravity.

        If the tide rises it is because of gravity.
        If the tide recedes it is because of gravity.

        The difference is that all of those behaviors are predictable according to the theory of gravity. You can precisely predict how that ball will bounce, and how that comet will travel through the solar system, given sufficient data.

        If the theory of gravity was like the theory of AGW, you couldn't be sure a ball would fall down or up when you let go of it.

      • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:11PM (#31164634)

        See now how that's nothing like the denial you spun it as?

        I don't see that at all, but perhaps that's because I understand statistics, as perhaps the OP does and you, very clearly, do not.

        "Not significant at p = 0.05" means "not significant at p = 0.05". Or, given that p = 0.05 is the usual bound on statistical significance in even the fuzziest subjects, it means "not statistically significant."

        "There has been an uptrend that is not significant" is more properly interpretable as "there has been no warming" than anything else. Anyone who understands anything about statistics understands this. If you don't, I can only presume it is because you don't understand statistics.

        Declaring your ignorance of statistics, and your belief in global warming, does not make the truth of global warming any more plausible.

        And you have quite significantly failed the answer the OP's question: what would it take to make you question your faith?

        In particular, what do the models say about warming in the past 15 years? Are they consistent with the observed data? The interesting scientific question is regarding the validity of the models, which are radically unphysical parameterizations of a very complex, nonlinear physical system. Why is no one asking that question? Because this is what scientists do, in the normal course of events: we test ideas, other people's and our own, to destruction. Which is why, by the way, that only someone violently anti-scientific would withhold data from people who might use it to argue against them.

    • by theguyfromsaturn (802938) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:02PM (#31163956)

      As anybody living in Canada knows, it doesn't snow on cold winter days. It snows on the warmer winter days. I've never witness snow at les than minus 7 or 10 Celcius. Most of the time, it's not far from the freezing point that you get your really heavy snowfalls. So, I do tend to agree, that lots of snow in no way contradicts global warming.

      As for proving or disproving Global warming, a better indicator than any of the temperature measurements is the measurement of the thickness of the icecaps in the arctic. Those massive sheets of ice are not subject to localized short term variations of climate, but reflect the integration of many year's worth of effects. By all accounts the maximum thickness of the arctic ice sheets is decreasing rapidly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by barzok (26681)

        As anybody living in Canada knows, it doesn't snow on cold winter days. It snows on the warmer winter days. I've never witness snow at les than minus 7 or 10 Celcius. Most of the time, it's not far from the freezing point that you get your really heavy snowfalls. So, I do tend to agree, that lots of snow in no way contradicts global warming.

        IME, -12C seems to be about the breaking point for snow in NY. It'll vary some, of course. Best part of cold-weather snow? It's very dry & fluffy, very easy to shove

    • by DamienRBlack (1165691) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:06PM (#31164006)

      Well, when we have long-term evidence (not short-term anecdotal evidence) that climates aren't changing (15 years is nothing) and a model that explains why all the stuff we're pumping into the atmosphere isn't having an effect, we'll reconsider our theory. in the meantime we are at a crossroads of speculation. You say, "who knows what'll happen, we don't know how complex systems like this work", I say, "doesn't that worry you? shouldn't we then minimize our impact until we better understand". The very fact that there are conflicting opinions screams to me that we don't know what we're doing, and should tread lightly.

      A counter question, what evidence do you need to start believing in global warming? Evidence has come and gone, there are valid points on both ends, but I'm sure you've been a staunch global warming denier the whole time. If you position any more reasoned? Lets say for a moment that neither of us really know what is going to happen, since we don't. Isn't it better to be careful. If global warming supporters are wrong, do big deal, we wasted money adopting green technology we need to support ourselves sooner or later anyway. If global warming critics are wrong are chances are that the consequences are very dire. Are you so sure from you 15 years of data that the climate won't ever budge that you are willing to risk civilization as we know it? Even if the chance or global warming is only 10%, or even 1% it seems like a good idea to be on the safe side.

      Besides, the article is common sense. If it is snowing hard, how did all that water get into the atmosphere? It was so cold that the water appeared in the sky? No, that means that oceans must be abnormally warm, therefor hastening the water cycle. Or it means that it was a random local fluke that no meaningful data can be extrapolated from. Anyone who uses local temperatures and conditions to either support or deny global warming is an idiot.

    • by weston (16146) <westonsd AT canncentral DOT org> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:11PM (#31164632) Homepage

      If it gets hotter it is because of Global Warming.

      The consistent and scientific standard you're looking for is if mean surface temperature decreases over time. Global Warming, by contrast, is indicated by a rising mean surface temperature over time.

      AGW is more complicated, probably a topic to wait on for people who haven't digested the above, but essentially comes down to trying to doing accounting for different warming contributions based on related measurements. The closer the accounting is to adding up, the more credible AGW looks. The farther, less.

      what would it take for one of you True Believers to reconsider your theory?

      A complete investigation on the part of each individual is a rather time-consuming proposition, so a lot of us use heuristics. One of mine tends to be that opponents of AGW are often doing things like:

      (a) making no distinction between individual weather events and climate
      (b) confusing the term "Global Warming" with " monotonic temperature/ice thickness increase across every point of the globe
      (c) asserting there exists some input or dynamic that accounts for most of the warming and implying that climate scientists supposedly have ignored it, when in fact it turns out that there exist climate scientists who have considered and done the accounting on said input or dynamic (see increased solar output)

      Now, I'm not a true believer, so maybe my bar is lower than some others, but I'd say that if I can go 2-3 years where less than 10-20% of the AGW criticism I read has one of these features (or similar ones: the list I gave is hardly exhaustive), I might start to give the opposition as much credibility as the proponents.

  • Meanwhile (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:32PM (#31163718) Journal
    The East Coast gets a bit of a blizzard (I live in DC but am from Minnesota). People start saying, "Global warming?! HA!"

    Meanwhile Sagar Island shrinks away from rising oceans [wbur.org].

    Meanwhile a UAB professor claims ocean acidification is yet another measurable effect of climate change [uab.edu].

    Meanwhile Eastern Antarctica (the steadfast 'unaffected' part of Antarctica) begins to show signs of melting [abc.net.au] (via NASA and U of TX).

    Feel free to keep using your local area to prove/disprove climate change. One day the facts will pile up ...
    • by whoda (569082) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:46PM (#31163820) Homepage

      Phil Jones has pretty much admitted most of the data is BS and nobody knows what it really means.

    • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:48PM (#31163840) Homepage

      Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995 [dailymail.co.uk]

      At least now we know why they were illegally denying FOI requests for their data.

      UN climate body admits 'mistake' on Himalayan glaciers [bbc.co.uk]

      How many more "mistakes", falsifications, and fabrications need to be exposed before this scam goes buh-bye?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Paua Fritter (448250)

        The "Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995" headline is simply false. That's not what Professor Jones said at all, and in fact if you'd bothered to read the article you linked to, you'd know that.

        Actually it has warmed, but he said the warming was not statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. I assume most people on Slashdot will know what that means, even if the headline writer at the Daily Mail (and you) do not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wizardforce (1005805)

        The IPCC did royally frak up on the himalayan glaciers, that is indisputable. However, the DailyMail distorted the issue to its own ends. [skepticalscience.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 192_kbps (601500)
        Here's the relevant Phil Jones quote, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm/ [bbc.co.uk]. Decide if Dailymail (a highly politicized news source, similar to Fox News in the US) reports it honestly.

        "Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?"

        Jones: "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend
      • The "debate" doesn't exist, it's just PR firms and confidence tricksters making money by telling people what they want to hear.
        The scandals here are as relevant as thinking that whatever a police photographer paid for lunch after taking a photo of a crime scene has any bearing on the murder they photographed.
        If you think scientists are all evil tricksters then go talk to an old farmer or someone that has been involved with a ski resort for decades.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mevets (322601)

        My country (Canada, clouded in shame) declared 4 years ago that the time for studying climate change was over, and that it was now time for action. The action was to fire all of the climate scientists that disagreed with idiot^hlogy of the government. Your title is eerily reminiscent of that BS. [ ref John Baird, Minister of Environment, Canada, 2006-2007 ].

        Everything that ever lived deposited its stored carbon into the ground. Now we are releasing it into the atmosphere at levels unprecedented in t

      • by zz5555 (998945) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:57PM (#31165006)

        Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995 [dailymail.co.uk]

        At least now we know why they were illegally denying FOI requests for their data.

        UN climate body admits 'mistake' on Himalayan glaciers [bbc.co.uk]

        How many more "mistakes", falsifications, and fabrications need to be exposed before this scam goes buh-bye?

        So: 1. Phil Jones did not say there had been no global warming since 1995. He said that it (barely) wasn't statistically significant since the time period was too short for the statistics (ie, not enough data). Oddly enough, had they asked about 1994 or any year prior to 1995 the answer would have been yes. So the question was pretty much a set up. 2. It appears that they did fully reply to the FOI request, giving Mr. Keenan all the data he asked for. The data was also published on their website, so it's not like anybody couldn't find it. 3. The IPCC document is something like 2400 pages and so far there has only been one error found. I'd be surprised if there aren't more. I mean, look at your response: you only had about 4 sentences and two of them were incorrect. :)

  • Sherlock Holmes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:32PM (#31163720)

    Is this finding facts to fit theories, or theories to fit facts?

  • Or not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:36PM (#31163738)
    Didn't make this argument when it didn't snow much last few years, did they?
    • Re:Or not (Score:5, Funny)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#31163808)
      It wasn't warm enough to snow.
    • Re:Or not (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:24PM (#31164192)

      I read in a children's science book written 20 years ago about how global warming could make places like Africa more temperate. It even had the map of predicted temperature change, showing large swaths cooling and others warming.

      This has been known for a long time. The only reason scientists are reminding others of it now is because of all the blowhards over at Fox et.al that are too stupid to comprehend the difference between global climate and local weather (with a healthy dose of long-term trends vs. short-term outliers).

      This stuff really isn't that complicated. Most people are taught the basics of climate in like 6th grade. The only way somebody couldn't understand it is if they were abjectly stupid, or had an agenda.

  • by vlakkies (107642) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:37PM (#31163746)

    Since a shortage of fresh water is our next big crisis, doesn't that mean that global warming is a good thing?

    • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:53PM (#31163878)

      Since a shortage of fresh water is our next big crisis, doesn't that mean that global warming is a good thing?

      And food; increased heat, water, and CO2 will make crops grow like crazy.

    • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:57PM (#31163920) Homepage

      Sort of. More water in the air is a good thing for drought areas, if the water gets where it needs to be and stays there. In some areas, heavy rain typically comes down as a flood and the water isn't retained.

      The flooding causes damage but doesn't really help crops. If global warming can increase cloud cover and cause more rain in areas that need it, that is definitely a good thing.

      Warming oceans on the other hand isn't great. It's thought to be a primary ingredient for heavy hurricane seasons. I'm no geologist but logic seems to indicate to me that if it gets too hot near the equator, it just won't rain. The air will be supersaturated all the time and will never cool enough to rain.

      That's just a guess though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:39PM (#31163758)

    World is fucked. Oh well, time to jerk off.

  • by saiha (665337) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:40PM (#31163776)

    A non-warming planet can also mean more snow year-to-year. And anyway it doesn't say anything about human-caused warming since we know the planet has gone through many warming and cooling cycles naturally.

  • by ronz0o (889697) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:44PM (#31163804) Homepage
    Dear Global Warming,
    I looked out my window, and saw another 8 inches of snow. I just wanted to tell you that you are a liar, and I hate you.
    Sincerely,

    ronz0o
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:47PM (#31163838) Homepage

    I rather thought all slashdotters knew and appreciated this simple notion. The weather is all about water moving around in the air. More energy into the water means more water into the air. More water into the air means more weather... more storms, more hurricanes, more snow... and what's really interesting is a new distribution of water. We will see deserts turn to jungles and jungles into deserts. The geologic record shows this kind of thing happening a lot. Some people think changes like these killed the dinosaurs.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @09:52PM (#31163872) Homepage

    the best cable news team [thedailyshow.com] in America.

  • by sremick (91371) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:06PM (#31164000)

    A guy I know ran with this today and was going on and on about it, going off about how climate-change advocates were such idiots and how this was a huge slap in the face for them, etc etc. He tried to sound really educated about it, talking laws of thermodynamics and saturation of 14.77 micron absorbtion and so on. I countered all his points but he wouldn't let up, of course selectively responding to the stuff I countered with and bringing up some new zany thing each time. I ran out of energy to deal with him, and was simply reminded of why I never really liked the guy.

    It's unfortunate to let him have the last word, as of course all his fan-club will read the thread (I confess... this was on Facebook) and of course they will all just see it as a victory and continue to reinforce each others' delusion... but I really don't see how I could ever change his or any of their minds on the subject. My only real hope is that all these curmudgeons with their lazy conservative and antiquated views on things will eventually die off in time for the newer generation of educated youth to step in and hopefully turn things around in time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632)
      You really think it can be turned around? What would it take to reverse a century of global industrialization, especially since much of the world is accelerating the process now. Manufacturing in the US is pretty much a dead thing. Cars are considerably cleaner than they were two decades ago and getting better. How do you propose to convince billions of people to accept a reduction in lifestyle in order to attain some not clear goal? This is the thing about global warming advocates. They seem to assum
  • by atfrase (879806) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:09PM (#31164034)

    To some extent I think the question of whether the globe is warming (or climate is changing, or whatever terminology comes next) is secondary.

    Whether or not it's already happening in any measurable way today, I think we can all agree that it *could* happen in the future, so we (as a country, and a global society, and a species) need to be careful that it doesn't. To that end, studying human civilization's side effects on the biosphere seems obviously worthwhile.

    I think the original batch of climate scientists were well-intentioned but did themselves (and us) a disservice by overplaying the initial data. They saw a potential problem in the future and tried to rally the public by saying "it's already happening!", but when that ended up not being very obviously provable, people started dismissing the entire concern. That, to me, is a huge mistake.

  • by EightBitBanger (1544977) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:11PM (#31164062)

    The thing many people overlook (the global warming people especially) is that if you go back and look at ice core samples and prehistoric patterns of glaciation, the current weather patterns look eerily similar to what has happened before.

    Specifically: initial warming leads to the melting of the permafrost, which leads to a massive release of CO2 into the atmosphere. This promotes runaway global warming -- which unfortunately means greater ocean temperatures and much more evaporation. This means more rain and more SNOW.

    Additionally, it also tends to disrupt ocean currents and the rotation of heat from the equator to the poles (i.e. the vast majority of Europe is at Latitudes higher than Canada is -- and if it weren't for the warm ocean currents they would have equally frigid weather).

    The basic problem is that if you get enough extended period of heavy snow, you may eventually get enough snowpack to resist melting well into the summer months. This is exacerbated by the fact that snow, being white, reflects a HUGE amount of light/heat back into space. In essence, due to snow fall, cold weather is somewhat self-perpetuating.

    Eventually you reach a situation where the amount of extra snow that falls in the winter is too great in certain latitudes to EVER completely melt in the winter -- and then things start going down hill from there. Thanks to the fact that evaporation / refreezing and then remelting acts as a wonderful method for desalinization of seawater, you also end up playing merry havoc with the ocean currents as well (and end up with much more coastal ice formation as the freezing point of the fresh water run off is much higher than that of pure seawater). Eventually the currents supplying heat to the North Atlantic basically shut down altogether and things go to hell in a hand basket (i.e. hell freezes over!).

    The point that most of the "global warming" alarmists miss is that data shows that in the past both average global temperatures *and* CO2 levels peaked at levels significantly HIGHER than they are right now -- immediately before the planet plunged into the next ice age.

    People need to realize that ALL of recorded human history has occurred in the current warm interglacial period -- which is only the most recent one. Furthermore, they need to realize that these warm interglacials of 20K-25K years are the EXCEPTION not the rule -- with ice ages of 100K years or more being the norm (with the interglacial periods between them).

    While the movie "The Day After Tomorrow" was largely pure BS, there were some grains of actual science behind it (albeit they sped up the time table of events by several orders of magnitude to make it exciting).

  • by link5280 (1141253) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:25PM (#31164200)
    The bigger question everyone fails to ask... Is all this crap we inject into the atmosphere good for us humans? Most likely not! So why not change for that reason alone, regardless if climate change is true or not.
  • by dimeglio (456244) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:58PM (#31164520)

    I'll tell you what a warming planet means:
    - More/less heath
    - More/less snow
    - More/less rain
    - Rising/lower sea waters
    - More earthquakes
    - More volcano eruptions
    - More girls on slashdot
    Yeah, I'm confused.

    What I know is that:
    We breathe oxygen/nitrogen and exhale CO2
    Trees breathe CO2 and exhale oxygen

    Plant more trees or avoid breathing.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:30AM (#31165324)

    A detailed study was done of “the relationships of the storm frequencies to seasonal temperature and precipitation conditions” for the years “1901–2000 using data from 1222 stations across the United States.” The 2006 study, Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Snowstorms in the Contiguous United States [allenpress.com] [PDF] (Chagnon et al., 2006) found we get more snow storms in warmer years:

    Results for the November–December period showed that most of the United States had experienced 61%– 80% of the storms in warmer-than-normal years. Assessment of the January–February temperature conditions again showed that most of the United States had 71%–80% of their snowstorms in warmer-than-normal years. In the March–April season 61%–80% of all snowstorms in the central and southern United States had occurred in warmer-than-normal years. Thus, these comparative results reveal that a future with wetter and warmer winters, which is one outcome expected (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2001), will bring more snowstorms than in 1901–2000. Agee (1991) found that long-term warming trends in the United States were associated with increasing cyclonic activity in North America, further indicating that a warmer future climate will generate more winter storms.

  • by grege1 (1065244) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:50AM (#31166210)
    On one hand we have thousands of climatologists from dozens of countries armed with super computers and the resources of government. They tell us we have a problem. Arguing against them are a bunch of people, most of whom are not climatologists or even scientists, who do not have super computers or any data of their own. They argue that there is a worldwide conspiracy to falsify data. Thousands of scientists from Europe, Asia, Australasia and the Americas all working in harmony to defraud the world, to drive up taxes and bring down civilisation - all led by the anti-christ Al Gore. Think about who you are siding with and why you believe in what you believe.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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