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Earth Science

Cities' Heat Can Affect Temperatures 1000+ Miles Away 263

Posted by timothy
from the let's-terraform-earth dept.
Living in dense cities makes for certain efficiencies: being able to walk or take mass transit to work, living in buildings with (at least potentially) efficient HVAC systems, and more. That's why cities have been lauded in recent years for their (relatively) low environmental impact. But it seems at least one aspect of city life has an environmental effect felt at extreme distances from the cities themselves: waste heat. All those tightly packed sources of heat, from cars to banks of AC units, result in temperature changes not just directly (and locally) but by affecting weather systems surrounding the source city. From the article: "The released heat is changing temperatures in areas more than 1,000 miles away (1609 kilometers). It is warming parts of North America by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) and northern Asia by as much as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius), while cooling areas of Europe by a similar amount, scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change. The released heat (dubbed waste heat), it seems, is changing atmospheric circulation, including jet streams — powerful narrow currents of wind that blow from west to east and north to south in the upper atmosphere. This impact on regional temperatures may explain a climate puzzle of sorts: why some areas are having warmer winters than predicted by climate models, the researchers said. In turn, the results suggest this phenomenon should be accounted for in models forecasting global warming."
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Cities' Heat Can Affect Temperatures 1000+ Miles Away

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @03:34AM (#42713449)

    more than 1,000 miles away (1609 kilometers)

    Seriously, if you have one rough rounded number you can't do an exact convert and add false precision to the statement...

  • Testing the idea (Score:1, Informative)

    by john.r.strohm (586791) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:27AM (#42713627)

    The basis of the scientific method is:

    1. Formulate hypothesis.
    2. Formulate experiment to test hypothesis.
    3. Perform experiment.
    4. Evaluate results against hypothesis.
    5. If results don't match, start over from step 1, using what you learned from the experiment to refine the hypothesis or make a new one.

    How do you conduct the experiment to validate a climate hypothesis, such as the one that is the subject of this article?

    Remark: The gold standard for validation of a simulation model is to run it on historical data and see how well it predicts what actually happened. To date, NONE of the "anthropogenic global warming/climate change" simulations have passed this test.

  • by Captain_Chaos (103843) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:50AM (#42713727)
    I love it when when, when converting US customary units to SI units, the precision of numbers suddenly increases by orders of magnitude. 1000 miles is obviously an approximation. Let's be charitable and say it means 10x10^2. If you convert it to kilometers the precision should stay the same. 10x10^2 miles is about 16x10^2 or 1600 km.
  • Re:Hm, really? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday January 28, 2013 @08:45AM (#42714497)

    It was covered extensively in the BEST study and the correction was found to be negligible. (They applied the correction anyway.)

  • Re:Testing the idea (Score:4, Informative)

    by tbannist (230135) on Monday January 28, 2013 @09:24AM (#42714757)

    As for your comment about digital computers modeling the theories of the climate scientists, THAT EXPERIMENT HAS BEEN TRIED. REPEATEDLY. Every single climate model out there, when started with available historical data and allowed to run, FAILS to predict today's climate. A model which provably does not match reality is, by definition, an invalid model, no matter how cheap or how fancy a computer you ran it on.

    Unfortunately, that's just not true [skepticalscience.com].

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:26AM (#42715289)
    OH, that is why the Senate voted 98-0 to reject the Kyoto accords, because a small group of Republican lawmakers opposed it. /s

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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