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Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.

Science 297

First time accepted submitter seanzig writes "Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground provides a good overview of the State of the Climate Report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). May 2011 through Apr. 2012 broke the previous record (Nov. 1999 — Oct. 2000). A number of other interesting records (e.g., warmest March on record) and stats emerged. It just presents the data and does not surmise anything about the causes or what should be done about it."

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297 comments

Keep it coming! (3, Insightful)

busyqth (2566075) | about 2 years ago | (#39947557)

The winter gardening this year was out of sight.
If it stays like this, I might never have to buy veggies again.
Hooray for warming!

Re:Keep it coming! (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 years ago | (#39947667)

Mosquitoes are happy too!

But warm nights are NOT GOOD for most crops besides soybeans.

However, Canadians can now enjoy a Spring.

Re:Keep it coming! (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 2 years ago | (#39947739)

However, Canadians can now enjoy a Spring.

Maybe we'll have five days of spring this year!

Re:Keep it coming! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947713)

Ugh.

Brace for impact, as the AGW crowd starts screaming about how we're gonna fry. This will be in spite of the same people spending countless sentences chiding us all about how weather is not climate, etc.

Re:Keep it coming! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948313)

Weather is NOT climate, unless it supports your side of the argument and then every hot/cold day it proof positive you are right.

Re:Keep it coming! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948351)

The time between peak temperatures can be used to measure climate change. Global warming is expected to decrease those times. Since it was 12 years since the hottest year on record, the next value might be 7 years, then 5 years, and so on. Without climate change those times would be a function of the length of recorded temperatures and would usually increase in duration as more data was recorded (40 yrs to 50 years to 80 years, etc.).

Re:Keep it coming! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948641)

Yeah baby you build that straw man and tear it down.

Good job on "AGW" though. Everyone used to call it "global warming" but now even those who aren't complete buffoons call it "AGW" in the same way that "shell shock" is now the gentler "PTSD".

The right, and their propaganda ministers in religion, are experts at spinning. Economic crisis? The problem with the building is not that we set it alight but that we have too many firefighters - deregulate now! Environmental crisis? Even though man holds dominion over nature, Gaia will always set things right, so man can't damage the Earth!

Wonder what Fox News has to say now? (2, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 2 years ago | (#39947791)

Wonder what has Fox News to say now?

They have repeatedly claimed that snow implies that Global Warming is a hoax.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=P [youtube.com]...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN7-k-RXvSQ [youtube.com]

This is why I don't like the arguers against AGW, they resort to such cheap shots that it's hard to take them seriously. It definitely works on their target demographic though.

Note: I am in no way implying that a hot summer is evidence of global warming.

Re:Wonder what Fox News has to say now? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947877)

Funny, I've read here and other places that snow is explicit proof that Global Warming is real.

So it's OK when on site makes cheap shots, but not the other. You ignore the other side because some are idiots or distort information? So when James Lovelock says that he was full of shit with his past claims, what do you do then? Ignore it original work because it was an horribly obvious cheap shot at real science? Or ignore his retraction since he's obviously getting paid off by big oil now? You know, since that is the claim when ever anyone makes any kind of statement that is anti-AGW.

Re:Wonder what Fox News has to say now? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 2 years ago | (#39947941)

So it's OK when on site makes cheap shots, but not the other.

I don't see where he said that. Must someone bash every side in existence before they're allowed to comment on one side?

Gardens like winter. (2)

Medievalist (16032) | about 2 years ago | (#39947827)

Your garden depends on winter to periodically kill diseases and pests.

Re:Gardens like winter. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948065)

Your garden depends on winter to periodically kill diseases and pests.

Yeah, it's a pisser down there in Florida where nothing at all grows any more due to all the pests and disease.

Re:Gardens like winter. (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about 2 years ago | (#39948593)

And god forbid you live somewhere like Costa Rica or Colombia. Nothing at all grows down there.

Re:Gardens like winter. (1)

Jukeman (1522147) | about 2 years ago | (#39948253)

Your garden depends on winter to periodically kill diseases and pests.

Thanks, always wondered why no crops were possible in Southern US. Always wondered why we (Indiana) had to grow all the cotton crops.

Re:Keep it coming! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948381)

*applause* HAARP works! Quite well!

what you should do? (4, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39947559)

Panic!

Because either the world is ending, or there is going to be a massive flamewar. Decide which one you want to panic over.

Re:what you should do? (3, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39947623)

I think the reason for this is quite clear. It's quite clearly anthropomorphic as well (if you make the assumption that politicians are human).

The hot air from Washington, DC, the various European capitals, Moscow, Bejing and countless other warrens is overwhelming the planet's defenses.

Re:what you should do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947735)

I dispute the concept that the flamewar is anthropomorphic. Flamewars happen.

Re:what you should do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947651)

The world isn't ending because of it. Might kill all humans, but Earth will just keep spinning for a much longer time. And frankly the way we all behave it would be a good punishment.

Re:what you should do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947779)

I think we can all agree that one year isn't particularly useful for a heated agw argument.

Not that it isn't important, just that the trend is more useful than a single year. Otherwise this is just trivia.

The NEW way to present Data for Peer Review... (3, Funny)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 years ago | (#39947639)

1) Buy Ten-foot-pole.
2) Rent a flame retardant Hasmat suite (too expensive to buy it).
3) Hire some bystander who is oblivious to contents of manilla envelope.
4) Send innocent bystander on fools errand to present climate data.
5) While in underground bunker; DUCK!

Re:The NEW way to present Data for Peer Review... (2, Funny)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39947751)

If a poor fool perishes in a flame war, does anyone hear the scream?

Cue the WUWT denier trolls (3, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | about 2 years ago | (#39947705)

Any bets on how long it'll before they start swarming in here claiming that 17xx / 18xx / 19xx was so much hotter; how this was really the coldest period on record and that James Hansen is a commie?

Re:Cue the WUWT denier trolls (1, Troll)

hkmwbz (531650) | about 2 years ago | (#39948153)

Not sure why you are being modded down. I predict that your prediction will be spot on. Deniers are quite predictable.

Re:Cue the WUWT denier trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948615)

-10 minutes

wink wink nudge nudge (5, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#39947731)

It just presents the data and does not surmise anything about the causes or what should be done about it."

Let me fill in the blanks for you. It's getting warmer because of anthropogenic carbon emissions. And no matter what you think should be done about it, nothing is going to be done about it because people are not going to agree on a common course of action.

So, better get used to it: it's going to get a lot warmer. But why that may be unpleasant and costly for some, it's not going to be the end of civilization.

Re:wink wink nudge nudge (1, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39948165)

" it's not going to be the end of civilization."
yeah, lets see what you have to say when we hit 500ppm

Re:wink wink nudge nudge (3, Interesting)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#39948389)

yeah, lets see what you have to say when we hit 500ppm

What are you talking about? 500 ppm is pretty much inevitable at this point. IPCC predictions go as high as 900ppm in 2090 and even the IPCC doesn't predict the end of civilization at that level. In fact, even in the absolute worst case scenario, namely total melting of all ice caps over a few centuries (and that's how long it's going to take no matter what), how do you imagine that would end civilization?

Well, when things get desperate (1)

ed1park (100777) | about 2 years ago | (#39948847)

It's nice to know there are (last ditch) ways to cool down the climate using Mt. Pinatubo as an example.

"Information in the fifth chapter of the book about global warming proposes that the global climate can be regulated by geo-engineering of a stratoshield[5] based upon patented technology from Nathan Myhrvold's company Intellectual Ventures.[6]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperFreakonomics#Global_warming_section [wikipedia.org]

Nobel Prize Winner Cruzen:
"Professor Crutzen has proposed a method of artificially cooling the global climate by releasing particles of sulphur in the upper atmosphere,along with other particles at lower atmospheric levels, which would reflect sunlight and heat back into space. The controversial proposal is being taken seriously by scientists because Professor Crutzen has a proven track record in atmospheric research. If this artificial cooling method actually were to work, then we would be able to help reverse the effects of the pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels, buying us time to find a permanent energy replacement. This could be crucial in helping maintain the planets integrity and livability. [9]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_J._Crutzen#Global_warming [wikipedia.org]

Most of the Rest of the Planet, However.... (1, Informative)

cirby (2599) | about 2 years ago | (#39947733)

...is trending cooler.

Enough cooler, apparently, to more than balance out the relatively local heat we've seen in the US, which is caused by a regional weather situation that's also apparently starting to change.

Re:Most of the Rest of the Planet, However.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947903)

Do you have a link for that somewhere? I will have to listen to some folks in some other forums tooting their horn as they jump up and down in joy over this news, and I'd like to temper their excitement.

Re:Most of the Rest of the Planet, However.... (4, Informative)

ixuzus (2418046) | about 2 years ago | (#39948089)

...is trending cooler.

Enough cooler, apparently, to more than balance out the relatively local heat we've seen in the US, which is caused by a regional weather situation that's also apparently starting to change.

2011 was the ninth warmest year on record despite the cooling influences of La Nina. What period are you taking your trend off? The last three-four years?

Re:Most of the Rest of the Planet, However.... (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#39948249)

Do you have data to back this claim up? It is true that Europe had a cold snap http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_European_cold_wave [wikipedia.org] where some countries, including France and Italy reported record low temperatures. But even given that, global temperature average on both land and air for February http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/2/ [noaa.gov]were slightly above average and were very high for March http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2012/3 [noaa.gov] Since February was the height of the cold snap in Europe, and the global temperatures were still high, I'm not sure where you are getting your estimate.

No Alaska (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947741)

This report ignores Alaska, the actual statement is "Ten warmest 12-month periods for the contiguous U.S.". So it was the warmest as long as you ignore about 40% of the country, which they also claim Alaska had more snow than any other year since 1955.

If this is what passes for proof of AWG I think I'll choose to ignore it from now on.

Re:No Alaska (3, Funny)

goodmanj (234846) | about 2 years ago | (#39947851)

Nobody presented it as proof of AWG. It says so in the goddamned summary.

Wait, AWG? I don't think the American Wire Gauge is in dispute here.

Re:No Alaska (4, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39947917)

Nobody presented it as proof of AWG. It says so in the goddamned summary.

Wait, AWG? I don't think the American Wire Gauge is in dispute here.

It's a pain in the fucking ass. Now we've got AWG and metric cable types. I'm supposed to be able to find a substitute for a discontinued cable, specs in AWG, but replacements in metric, and every. single. fucking. time. I have to work out the characteristics because the sizes aren't exactly the same.

"But Beardo, why not just use the next biggest size and leave the conversion to the philosophers?"

Because weight is a critical factor, that's why.

Re:No Alaska (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39948191)

true. You should write a book with the information you calculated in it. Might be valuable to others.

Re:No Alaska (1)

citylivin (1250770) | about 2 years ago | (#39948689)

"It's a pain in the fucking ass. Now we've got AWG and metric cable types. I'm supposed to be able to find a substitute for a discontinued cable, specs in AWG, but replacements in metric, and every. single. fucking. time. I have to work out the characteristics because the sizes aren't exactly the same."

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/awg-wire-gauge-d_731.html [engineeringtoolbox.com]

yeah, that was hard. How would you measure even what cable you have (assuming its not labeled) without measuring the diametre in mm?

Surely you can handle two decimal points with a micrometer. I am having a hard time understanding how this small conversion of known values could cause you that much grief. Perhaps it depends on your application, but still. How do you think people every figure out what gauge of wire they have? measure it!!!!

Re:No Alaska (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39947881)

Alaska wasn't a state until 1959.

But you're absolutely right... this completely invalidates what those Chardonnay-swilling "libs" are saying.

Re:No Alaska (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#39947911)

Actually Alaska had the most snow ever recorded, since they started keeping records. Alaska during the winter is 2012 is what I would call an "inconvenient fact" for the global warming alarmists.

Re:No Alaska (3, Insightful)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39948027)

Again how is more snow show that the warming trend is wrong? Snow is a product of moisture in the atmosphere not the temperature (unless it rises above say around 38 degrees). I would argue that more moisture is a product of warmer temperatures due to evaporation.

Re:No Alaska (-1)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | about 2 years ago | (#39948135)

And you would be wrong. Because if warm temperatures were the reason for evaporation then cold temperatures would be the reason for precipitation. That's not the case.

Re:No Alaska (4, Informative)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39948333)

So I am wrong, care to educate me, o' weather scientist. Are you saying moisture density in the air is not increased by heat? And why would it have to be colder for more snow. I find that snow is more likely to fall closer to the freezing point, in fact the temperature generally rises when it snows.
Basically what I am saying is it can get too cold to snow (well not really but the probability the conditions for snow are vastly reduced), below 0F you really don't get much precipitation. Snow requires a few things to occur before you see those white flakes. 1 Moisture saturation, the more moisture in the air means the higher probability of snow, 2. Temperature, must allow the ice crystals to stay frozen on their way down, 3 a temperature difference between the lower atmosphere and the area where snow develops. On really cold days there is not enough heat to drive the saturated air to the very cold layers of the atmosphere where snow forms

Oh wait you said I was wrong? Hmm guess not.

Re:No Alaska (-1, Troll)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | about 2 years ago | (#39948471)

You simply do not understand weather at all. Instead of simply posting your rudimentary assertions, you would be wise to peruse some basic weather sites that any 9 year old might find interesting to answer your less than humble position.

Re:No Alaska (2)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 2 years ago | (#39948575)

Have you lived anywhere cold? Every year it snows the most when the high is around 20 degrees or so. The cold cold cold days are clear and windy.

Re:No Alaska (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#39948497)

You've never heard of 'dew point', have you? It depends entirely on 2 variables, temprature and pressure. I'd say you just made a complete fool of yourself by telling the world you have no idea what causes rain, but that's not uncommon in AGW threads..

Re:No Alaska (1)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39948565)

Then please tell me how the moisture in the air gets to the upper layers of the atmosphere where it actually forms?

Actually... (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#39948567)

That is *exactly* the case, but we're talking about temperatures at the point where the phase change occurs, not the local weather.

Water evaporates faster the warmer it is - warm air heats the surface and speeds the process. Warmer air can also hold more water as water vapor, which is why 70% humidity in the dead of winter is actually still fairly dry air while 70% humidity during a heat wave is oppressively wet.

Clouds form when a body of that warm, moist air (a warm front) collides with a body of cold air (a cold front) and rapidlly cools down, causing the water vapor to condense around dust particles into microscopic water droplets, which eventually coalesce into drops/flakes/hailstones too large to remain suspended in the turbulent air and fall to the ground as precipitation.

Note though that you need to BOTH wet air and a something to cool it to get precipitation. The wetter the air and the faster the cooling the harder it will rain. If you lack either component, nothing happens. That's why Antarctica rarely gets snow; they've got plenty of cold, but rarely get warm, wet air since it's all cooled off and dumped it's moisture before it reaches them.

Re:No Alaska (0)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 2 years ago | (#39948269)

Again how is more snow show that the warming trend is wrong?

You see, snow is little chunks of frozen water. In order for water to become snow, it has to be cold. As you can see from satellite imagery, in an article that I attempted to get onto /., Bearing Sea ice [slashdot.org] has set records in regards to how much is there and how long it has been around. Again, the global warming fanatics prevented the article from making it on the front page.

Re:No Alaska (4, Informative)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39948405)

Except snow doesn't form down here, it forms high up in the atmosphere, to get that water up there you have to have heat to drive the saturated air up. Notice it snows far heavier on the warmer winter days. Once the temp drops well below freezing the chances of snow are greatly reduced.

Re:No Alaska (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948507)

The article you cite says this: "Ice in the Bering Sea not only covered more area than usual, it also stuck around longer, bucking the downward trend in sea ice cover observed since 1979, when satellite records for the region began." You lead off your /. submission with: "In another blow to the Global Warming alarmists..." In addition to the flamebait language you chose to use you're giving greater weight to a single season than to 30-year trend. No wonder it wasn't picked up.

Re:No Alaska (2)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39948537)

Ok read your article. It seems the primary reason for the increased ice in the Bering sea as compared the rest of the arctic, which has seen a decline in sea ice coverage, was due to winds blowing the ice down to the Bering strait where it backed up until the ice wall finally collapsed and the ice then flowed into the Bering sea while the low temperatures helped keep it frozen.

Not sure what point you are trying to make with it, as it even mentions the record highs in the continental US.

Re:No Alaska (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | about 2 years ago | (#39948271)

Alaska during the winter is 2012 is what I would call an "inconvenient fact" for the global warming alarmists.

How so? And who are these "global warming alarmists"?

Re:No Alaska (2)

zz5555 (998945) | about 2 years ago | (#39948823)

How is it inconvenient for the pro-science group? The increased snowfall (and the warmth of the contiguous states) has a known cause - the change in the jet stream. And the change in the jet stream has a known cause - a change in the arctic oscillation. And climate theory indicates that one of the things that happens when you lose the summer arctic ice cover is that the arctic oscillation changes. And what has been causing the summer arctic ice cover to disappear? Global warming. So, while this doesn't say that global warming caused the increased snow in Alaska as well as the warm winter in the contiguous US, it would be astoundingly incorrect to call this an "inconvenient fact".

Re:No Alaska (1)

seanzig (834642) | about 2 years ago | (#39947929)

If it were "proof" the poster (me) would not have said "it just presents the data." Not including "contiguous" or "continental" in the summary was an unfortunate oversight on my part, but it's very clear in the article (just count the number of times it says "contiguous" or look at the big map in Figure 3). Nonetheless, I suspect that people in the continental U.S. would find it interesting that the past year has been the warmest ever recorded overall.

There is an article that is global [wunderground.com] by the same author, but it is several months old (hence why I didn't post it as "news"). Also, it draws more conclusions, though at he indicates his sources, provides reasoning, and presents opposing viewpoints.

Re:No Alaska (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#39948493)

Not including "contiguous" or "continental" in the summary was an unfortunate oversight on my part

Is it unfortunate that you neglected to be accurate, or that you got caught neglecting to be accurate?

Now I havent read the article (this is slashdot) but just looking at the summary, I find it amazing that two different annual period systems are in use yet nobody seems to even notice it. May to April and then November to October. Thats dredging the data.

With this sort of dredging tactic, there were 138 chances (assuming the authors didnt do rolling 52 week or rolling 365 daily comparisons) to fit the headline since November 1999. The fact that it took 138 sample periods to find 12 contiguous months that break the record, but not 137 or fewer sample periods, suggests something quite the opposite of what the standard AGW crowd will take away from your summary.

Re:No Alaska (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#39948695)

To explain this clearly.

We might declare that a coin is "probably biased towards heads" if in 10 flips it lands heads 9 times. A proper test would consider only 10 flips, and if the coin were actually fair the chance of a false positive would be 1023:1 against. But a data dredger will declare the coin biased if at any point during hundreds or even thousands of flips that it landed heads 9 out of the last 10 times that its flipped. You can clearly see that the dredger will always eventually get the evidence they want, even when the coin is fair or in fact biased in the other opposite direction, that his/her chance of a false positive is 100%.

Re:No Alaska (1)

Dr. Hellno (1159307) | about 2 years ago | (#39948849)

What? Why do you think it matters when the period begins? And how do you think it indicates anything "opposite of what the standard AGW crowd will take away" from it? Since it's just the US (contiguous, at that) it doesn't indicate *anything* with regard to AGW. So how about you just leave it at that, instead of trying to stretch thin evidence and make flimsy claims.

Re:No Alaska (4, Informative)

Holi (250190) | about 2 years ago | (#39947983)

More snow does not mean cooler temps. More snow means more moisture in the air.

Re:No Alaska (3, Informative)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about 2 years ago | (#39948201)

One, warming temperatures often lead to more snow.

Two, over 80% of Alaskans believe climate change is happening, and over 55% believe it's human caused. I'm pretty sure those are both the highest for any "red" state. Why? We've warmed 3.0 degrees (C) in the last 50 years, which is more than a little insane. We (not me personally, I've only been here a few years) have watched it happen. Yes, this year, was a little bit below normal, mostly driven by interior regions (Fairbanks), while the coast, especially the north coast, was still above normal.

But don't worry, I'm sure they'll be able to remove the "contiguous" qualifier soon enough. For instance, every day in April, save one, was above-normal. But I'm sure that won't change what you believe either.

Re:No Alaska (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 2 years ago | (#39948553)

Population of Alaska--722,718
Population of United States-- 311,591,917

Twenty Three hundredths of a percent of the united states

Land Area of United States-- 9166601 sq km
Land Area of Alaska-- 1481347 sq km
Sixteen percent.

I don't know where you get forty percent. Perhaps you need to seek shelter before the cold impairs more than your arithmetic.

Good science and hats off to him (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39947759)

Part 1

It just presents the data

"just" makes it sounds like thats a bad thing. That's excellent science. Professional and respectable and my hats off to Dr Masters

Part 2

and does not surmise anything about the causes

Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused, although obviously some small fraction is natural variation. "natural climate" is not a flat horizontal line as some demand.

Part 3

or what should be done about it.

Excellent. Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime, or national socialism, or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness".

I'm opposed to most of those solutions, along with a HUGE percentage of people who are in, or in my case have been abandoned by, the Republican party. Despite my/our disagreement being with Part 3, we get slandered and our words are twisted around into being deniers of Part 1 or Part 2. Very annoying. I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#39947869)

"Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused, although obviously some small fraction is natural variation."

I don't know whether this is disingenuous or you just don't understand.

The whole reason there even exists controversy about this in the first place, is that the signal is very small in relation to the noise: any human-caused differences are so small in relation to the natural variations that it has been nearly impossible to detect (if, indeed, it has actually been detected).

"some small fraction is natural..." is not the real situation at all. The problem is the opposite: the vast majority of it is natural. Any scientist, even the staunchest AGW supporter, will admit that if he/she has any pretension to honesty at all.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1)

seanzig (834642) | about 2 years ago | (#39948077)

The whole reason there even exists controversy about this in the first place, is that the signal is very small in relation to the noise

I completely agree about the signal-to-noise ratio. Perhaps we might disagree on what constitutes the noise, however.

"some small fraction is natural..." is not the real situation at all. The problem is the opposite: the vast majority of it is natural. Any scientist, even the staunchest AGW supporter, will admit that if he/she has any pretension to honesty at all.

Maybe it's natural. But there are just as many other posters here claiming just the opposite (also, in fairness, without anything to back it up). Acting like it should just be obvious, either way, doesn't make it a fact.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#39948243)

"Acting like it should just be obvious, either way, doesn't make it a fact."

I'm not acting, and anybody who can read a graph can see that it is a fact, even if they don't understand the actual science. Just look at the changes versus the "error bars".

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39948427)

Temperature keep increase regardless of 'normal' cycle.
CO2 is a known green house gas.
Humans releases more gas then can be absorbed in the same time period as the release.

Those are facts. Not opinion, no actual controversy, facts.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1)

flaming error (1041742) | about 2 years ago | (#39948315)

"the signal is very small in relation to the noise"

That's a nice, concise explanation. While that seems to be intuitive for many, it's never made sense to me. I find human-generated noise often deafening.

Billions of people extracting carbon from the bowels of the earth and shooting it by the ton into the sky, year after year, decade after decade, seems more or less competitive with, say, a volcanic eruption here and there.

I'll leave the numbers to the professionals, but I can't buy the 7-billion-people-have-insignificant-impact shrug off.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948491)

I think you don't understand.

The noise is short term variations in the data. The signal is the long term trend over a number of years. It is true that the short term variations tend to be larger in scale than the underlying trend but that does not mean that the latter cannot be detected. It relies on well established statistical techniques. Everyone who has made a serious attempt at analysing the data sets has come to essentially the same conclusion. That includes the recent BEST study that was funded by sceptics and headed up by someone who was on record as initially having sceptical views.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#39948709)

Either cite your sources or take your disinformation elsewhere Jane. The IPCC and NAS both claim greater than 50% of the variation is human caused, the natural part has a very slight downward trend over the last century, the upward AGW signal dominates the historical trend, it even obscures the significant cooling signal coming from sulphurous smog.

Pretentions of honesty: Looking at the rest of the innane comments in this story, it's clear to me that slashdot has upset the Heartland Institue with yesterday's story and their army of astroturfers and useful idiots will now fill this thread with noise. Keep up the good work slashdot!

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1, Interesting)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#39947949)

I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

So you pretend to be an idiot in the hopes that it will make people take you seriously? I'd like to see that work.

What's wrong with, "It's happening, but there's no viable solution (yet) to stop it?" At least then you have people focused on solutions instead of wasting their time providing more and more proof that it's actually happening.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#39948435)

I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

Yeah, so this isn't very productive. Maybe try to figure out which solutions are actually good and push for those? Remember, problems don't go away when we don't like the solutions.

Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime, or national socialism, or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness".

I'm curious incidentally which solutions you think fall into these categories. I agree that quite a bit falls into the feel good frippery category. Godwin's law aside, last I checked no one was advocating large scale genocide as a solution. At the very minimum, burning people in ovens would make more CO2.

I''m particularly interested into which category you put the most widely suggested method of dealing with CO2 - cap and trade. Cap and trade is a system that has worked quite well for other pollutants. For example, there's clear evidence that cap and trade has worked well in dealing with sulfur dioxide, both reducing emissions and having little negative economic impact. See for example http://www.epa.gov/capandtrade/documents/ctresults.pdf [epa.gov] and http://www.jstor.org/stable/2647032 [jstor.org] (although it certainly has had its bumps especially due to conflicting court cases and legislation. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704258604575360821005676554.html [wsj.com]. Cap and trade works, since it hybridizes government regulation with market solutions. It estimates the cost of the pollutant to society and then lets the market figure out the most efficient way of keeping the pollutant down. There's a reason that George H. W. Bush helped get cap-and-trade in the Clean Air Act and that many see it is as example of a successful government regulation http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/us/politics/17cap.html?pagewanted=all [nytimes.com].

I'm also curious as to what category you put improvements to the electric grid such as adding grid storage and smart grids. All of these can have real, substantial impact. And in the case of grid improvements, they have substantial other benefits as well. There isn't going to be one magic bullet solution to all our CO2 problems or a magic bullet to solve all our energy problems, and certainly not one that will solve both. But there are real, substantial steps that can be taken that don't involve loss of liberties. Comparisons to Nazis are unhelpful hyperbole.

Re:Good science and hats off to him (1, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#39948569)

Well, I think there's little disagreement that a "large" fraction is human caused ... I will admit that at least some of us basically troll for fun by denying part 1 and part 2 above, because we hate the "solutions" to part 3.

Read any story touching in any way on global warming, including this one, and you will see an enormous body of comments claiming quite seriously than it isn't happening, and another enormous body of comments claiming that if it is happening then humans have little or nothing to do with it. You will also hear such statements many other places, including on the floor of the US Congress. If these are all trolls, then they're surely part of the best-organized and most subtle trolling campaign in history, with about half the US political establishment in on the act. Neat trick!

Usually part 3 is the establishment of a neo-pol pot regime

Right, because building windmills or tightening CAFE standards is exactly like murdering a fifth of the population over the course of four years. Jesus H. Christ. Do you have any idea at all of what the words you use actually mean?

or national socialism

Never mind, question answered.

or some financial scam to make the rich richer and the poor poorer

Careful, you're starting to sound like one those commie socialist atheist hippie terrorist 99%ers.

or most commonly meaningless feel good frippery that will do absolutely nothing but "raise awareness"

As long as denialism has a substantial voice in the political process, which clearly it does, people who want policy based on science rather than ideology have their work cut out for them. Fighting the propaganda put out by the head-in-the-sand crowd is, at this point, a full-time job.

Terraforming Ho! (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#39947803)

Excellent! Converting vast swaths of Canada and Siberia to arable land, combined with increased CO2 in the atmosphere to help vegetable growth, damn!

I'm glad we thought to do this and stave off a mass murderous ice age, which occur with disturbing regularity and short frequency.

Praise humanity!

Re:Terraforming Ho! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948415)

Heady are you with smugness. You are a simple piece of shit, however.

But the weather and climate are different, right? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39947863)

At least that's what all my environmentalist friends tell me when we have an unusual cold spell.

Re:But the weather and climate are different, righ (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#39948167)

Sure, and it is a valid point when one has a few weeks of cold or even a few months of cold. And by the same token, a year like this one by itself isn't that useful data. It is when data like this year is part of a larger pattern that it becomes a problem. In this context one has a very hot year by a variety of different metrics and that's on top of a gradual increase in average temperature over the last twenty years. Weather and climate are different, but lots of weather change over the long-term is eventually a sign of climate change.

Anti global warming target practice (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | about 2 years ago | (#39948029)

Reports like this are like a tin can on a fence for anti global warming people. At the time I write this, I see dozens of posts saying "and now all the global warming people will take this as proof", and not one global warming person taking it as proof.

For the record, this is not proof of global warming. It is a very extreme regional climate event of the type that climate change theory predicts will become common, but you can't attribute individual events to the long-term trend.

For the record, this means jack diddly in terms of global temperature change, the contiguous US is too small to matter. The past 3 months did not set a global record. However, it has been pretty warm: global temperature this year so far is in the top 25%... just like every other year this century.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/ [noaa.gov]

Re:Anti global warming target practice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948539)

and not one global warming person taking it as proof

It's not called "Recent Extreme Regional Weather Event Report." It's called "State of the Climate Report," clearly designating all as 'climate.' The content may not read like that but that didn't prevent the label from conveying the lie. The reporting will make none of the careful distinctions you claim, and that is intentional as well.

Whatever. Statist spun science no longer holds sway. Johnny has to get himself and his debt funded degree out of the basement and that won't happen while ecoists continue legislating decline. People have figured that out.

So drum up more 'science' and propose more statism. Quickly please; as much as possible before November.

What constitutes proof? (2, Interesting)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#39948037)

We've had unusually warm or record warm years for 12 to 15 years. There's evidence of it going back to the early 80s. So far it's following the predicted pattern, there's that nasty science, including the southwest being more mild. A shift in the jet stream was supposed to keep Arizona and Southern California mild compared to the rest of the country. Arizona has had a mild winter and now we are well into May with no 100 degree days. Some would call this proof global warming or climate change is false but it's due to the fact they haven't read what the models predicted. I've heard ridiculous claims that it was supposed to be 10 degrees warmer by now so it's false. I never read a single model that predicted that. The worst scenarios are for a roughly 10 degree increase in some areas in a hundred years, not ten. Three to five was the most likely outcome but we are actually running on the high side of all the models so it's likely to be worse than the best case scenario. Look at the statistics. If some one rolled ten or twelve sixes in a row with dice and could predict 90% of his rolls would that be proof of psychic powers? I think even James Randi would accept that as proof. We're seeing the same consistency in weather model predictions. People have claimed the lack of killer hurricanes as proof that it's all a lie while ignoring the explosion in deadly tornadoes. Also tornadoes are happening earlier and later in the year and they are happening from Maine to Southern California. Two places where they are very rare. Other factors can moderate hurricanes but tornadoes are cause by the mixing of warm and cool air. You have the right conditions you tend to get tornadoes. Usually there's only a portion of the country where conditions are right but now they can happen almost anywhere.

A very pleasant year (3, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#39948073)

It was a very pleasant year. A gentle winter. Years like this come around time to time. So do nasty winters like the three where we had temperatures of under -25ÂF for weeks on end. Then there was the year where it snowed here every month, including June, July and August. Nasty. These things happen. According to recorded history they've been happening for millennia. According to studies of other things these warming and cooling cycles have been happening for hundreds of millions of years. In fact, traditionally, the Earth has been warmer than it is now. In fact, live and diversity flourished during the warming periods. People are upset because things are changing and they don't like change. Life is change. Change is life.

All of this global warming hysteria is distracting people from the real issue: pollution.

Oh look (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948119)

Weather is climate now.

Brilliant, Holmes, Briliant! (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | about 2 years ago | (#39948129)

1) Post some random hot button article
2) Wait for people to make hundreds of idiotic and poorly informed ex recto assertions
3) ???
4) Profit!

Warmest. (1)

Jukeman (1522147) | about 2 years ago | (#39948297)

Maybe, I've been alive too long, but I remember at least one much warmer winter. Not that I want to sound like I'm complaining, as warm winters are better then the other kind.

Obvious action is requried! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39948829)

Invade Canada! Its obvious that they've stolen our cold air!

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