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2006 Was the Warmest Year Ever

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the El-Nino-and-humankind-conspiring dept.

Science 782

kpw10 writes "Dr. Jeff Masters from Wunderground has a great summary of this year's rather abnormal weather (his blog is the best source on the net for in-depth weather analysis). The post discusses some of the cyclical climate forces at work this year and compares this year's record temperatures to records from the past. There are some interesting differences, particularly in the extent of the northern hemisphere seeing record highs this year." From the article: "December's weather in the Northeast U.S. may have been a case of the weather dice coming up thirteen — weather not seen on the planet since before the Ice Age began, 118,000 years ago. The weather dice will start rolling an increasing number of thirteens in coming years, and an ice-free Arctic Ocean in summertime by 2040 is a very real possibility..." Here is the The National Climatic Data Center's report announcing the entry of 2006 into the record books.

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782 comments

Its not climate change... (0, Troll)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536660)

Its just that climate is changing, and there are loads.... okay one... decent scientist who says it isn't Man made or true or nothing. So I can still drive my SUV, I can still have gas at $2 and I can do what the hell I want. Hey those reduction things don't apply to China or India so they are just costing us jobs, sure people say we are worse, but we won't be forever and being only in the top 3 worse isn't so bad they just want to cripple our jobs, its a conspiracy from pinko liberals trying to bring down America.

The above was a transcribe of the standard "educated" response to climate change on Slashdot. One data point does not make a series... but we already have a series which has yet one more data point.

Climate Change is real, it is man made and only people who think New Earth Creationism is a good idea could be so dumb as to ignore it.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536724)

The above was a transcribe of the standard...
transcript

Re:Its not climate change... (1)

mathispower (1046110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537090)

The above was a transcribe of the standard...
transcript
transcription

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537160)

The above was a transcribe of the standard...
transcript
transcription
Trans...cr ap!

Re:Its not climate change... (-1, Redundant)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537236)

The above was a transcribe of the standard...
transcript
transcription
Trans...cr ap!
Its a trap!!!!

Re:Its not climate change... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536738)

As, probably, the most powerful country on Earth at the moment I'd like to see the US taking much more of a lead in the process of dealing with climate change.

It is after all them who have benefitted most and contributed most to global warming in order to build up their industries and economy.

Other, not so advanced countries, such as China and India are still developing and shouldn't need to be as active in reducing greenhouse gases as the US should.

Whoever takes the lead in developing the new technologies and processes required to in this new environment will gain an invaluable lead when the rest of the world goes through the same process.

It seems to me, from comments posted on /. and elsewhere that the problem is in the hands of not only the US administration but also the US citizens who need to all grow up, face their responsibilites and the damage they are responsible for and begin to put things right.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536942)

It is after all them who have benefitted most and contributed most to global warming in order to build up their industries and economy. Other, not so advanced countries, such as China and India are still developing and shouldn't need to be as active in reducing greenhouse gases as the US should.
I'd like to see some real figures because it seems to me that it could just as easily be the opposite. I mean, in the U.S. business is moving away from heavy industry which is most responsible for pollution, whereas industries like that are flourishing in China and other countries. Also, although the U.S. has certainly has more lax environmental restrictions than many industrialized European countries, they are still miles ahead of those in China.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537072)

Yes thats the point, the US and other modern countries ( UK, Russia, Germany, Japan ) have in the past had huge industrial output with the attendant pollution and contribution to Global Warming.

It is because of this industry that they are in the position they are in today and why they can afford to cut back on their industrial output ( through outsourcing to less expensive countries ) in order to clean up the pollution in their countries caused by their industrial legacy and enact laws to curb the kind of worst excesses of industry which is still undertaken.

Without having this industrial base and without causing the pollution they did the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Russia would not occupy the powerful positions in the world which they do.

Up and coming countries such as India and China ( where a lot of our production and industry have moved to ) can make similar gains through industrialisation to become more wealthy and improve the standard of living of their citizens, it is unfair to penalise them for their current industrial output as much as we penalise the US, UK, Germany, Japan etc since we have already caused an awful lot of the global warming problem before being able to do something about it.

Thats not to say China etc don't need to do their bit to prevent Global Warming but since we caused the majority of the problem it ought to be down to us to provide the majority of the solution.

Re:Its not climate change... (2, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537134)

i want to remark that we have better technology now, so China needn't pollute as much as we did, and go straight to windpower/solarpower instead of using coal.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537250)

Neither wind or solar power will be sufficient to fuel their industrial boom, especially whilst coal is plentiful and cheap.

We should certainly encourage them to take what steps they can to reduce greenhouse emissions but really the US should convert as far as it can to carbon neutral sources of power before China or India should think about making the switch themselves.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536764)

While I will agree with nearly all of it, the one point that MAY be wrong is that this is man-made. It is possible for this to be a natural phenomenon. Now, with that said, I would rather err on the side of caution and assume that this is man-made and at least try to back out our damage.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536908)

That was an argueing point years ago. Before this was widely studied nobody honestly knew if it was our fault or not. The jury is in, we know what is causing climat change and its us. Now to be fair there is a real and measurable increase in global temperature that is natural but that barely accounts for the *ahem* tip of the iceburg of climate change. The natural "cyclical" climate chance is blown out of the water by the unnatural, unhealthy, and unexpected speed of human caused climat change.

Re:Its not climate change... (2, Interesting)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536926)

While I will agree with nearly all of it, the one point that MAY be wrong is that this is man-made. It is possible for this to be a natural phenomenon. Now, with that said, I would rather err on the side of caution and assume that this is man-made and at least try to back out our damage.
The claim that the current climate change may not be man-made always sounds funny to me. I've never heard a scientist over here (germany) claim that in recent years. One difference between the current change and previous changes is that it affects both hemispheres, whereas previous changes (ice-ages, for example) seem to have affected either the southern or the northern hemisphere.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536964)

The only way to back out of global climate change would to build immense power plants to condense CO2 into dry ice or large settling plants where you could change CO2 into calcium carbonate. None of the current plans suggest this so all of the current plans (such as Kyoto) are just trying to delay the damage. They are all flawed because if we cut our CO2 emissions in half, we still have most of the CO2 emissions from the industrial revolution in the atmosphere. Since the conversion in the oceans to limestone is slow, all these reduction plans will do is delay an inevitable global temperature rise. If we cut emissions in half we might increase the global temperature 5 degrees in 50 years instead of 40.

We have to either decide to actively *remove* CO2 from the atmosphere or decide how long we want to prepare for a certain temperature rise. If we decide 40 years (a number I've made up) is long enough, then we can set our emissions accordingly.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537018)

You are half-correct (maybe more than half). Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the onyl way to solve the problme but we cant feel helpless and give up takign any measures becuase the problem is too big. Kyoto is flawed becuase it won't SOLVE the problem but it is a step that is crucial for our future. The CO2 is not a zero sum system. Not only the oceans absorb CO2. Plant growth and other "natural" CCS system are working for us but at the same time that we are removing rainforest we are burning the trees which releases the CO2 theyb absorbed to grow and replacing the trees with most often cattle. The cattle create methane which is 23 times more powerful than CO2 as a green house gas.

As i said before Kyoto is not the solution and neither is the saving the rainforest. There is no magic solution here, the only possible way we can pull out is by taking care of the environment everywhere. We cant seperate the important of different life support systems on earth and think we can do away with some of them.

Re:Its not climate change... (2, Insightful)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537338)

Kyoto is flawed becuase it won't SOLVE the problem but it is a step that is crucial for our future.

Exactly. Kyoto would buy our children time to figure out and implement more technologically-advanced, cheaper, and less-painful ways of altering their world.

Coincidentally, Kyoto has not been ratified by the same country where "lower taxes!," i.e., lower taxes for me and higher taxes for my children, is the one political rallying cry that always works.

Why the party that campaigns on lowering taxes and refusing to ratify Kyoto hates the world's children has yet to be determined.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536892)

Climate Change is real, it is man made and only people who think New Earth Creationism is a good idea could be so dumb as to ignore it.

Yeah... why write down some *gasp* facts or proof when you can just label everyone who isn't believing your statement a creationist dumbass.

So much for a meaningful discussion, jeez.

Re:Its not climate change... (4, Insightful)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536910)

Climate Change is real, it is man made and only people who think New Earth Creationism is a good idea could be so dumb as to ignore it.

That's quite a strawman you've got there.

and there are loads.... okay one... decent scientist who says it isn't Man made or true or nothing

Exactly correct. Everyone knows that the present of a specific scientific principle is decided by a central committee and then approved by the electorate at large. It's an excellent system, look how the Catholic church managed to keep us at the centre of universe!

Re:Its not climate change... (2, Interesting)

Dr_Mic (975409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537312)

Exactly correct. Everyone knows that the present of a specific scientific principle is decided by a central committee and then approved by the electorate at large. It's an excellent system, look how the Catholic church managed to keep us at the centre of universe!

Speaking of strawmen, never mind that the lack of observable stellar parallax made stationary earth models scientifically more tenable. See the discussion of Tycho's observations here: http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/history/br ahe.html [utk.edu]

Re:Its not climate change... (4, Insightful)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536918)

Well said, refreshing to read that.

I just read in 'Revenge of Gaia' that this period of warming may take 100,000 years to subside. R'uh-oh.

A critical fact in Al Gore's film: after compiling the results of 1,100 serious scientific papers about GW not one suggests that it is anything but man's fault. The percentage of journalistic articles suggesting that it may not be man's fault: 53%.

That's where this argument stems from I think. That and big oil sponsored research. Additionally It's very hard for a /.er to see past the techno-fix as this is the general mindset here.

Re:Its not climate change... (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537062)

you don't honestly think al gores film was objective reasearch on the issue do you? honestly it's whole point was doom and gloom, no one was going to watch a film "everythings ok"

Re:Its not climate change... (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537100)

I do pretty much. The film isn't doom and gloom really - have you seen it? The levels of CO2 are real, the data verified. The links between CO2 and global temperature are well correlated for hundreds of thousands of years. Plenty of people watch films where everything's ok - feel good movies will always be popular. I'm not a political supporter of Gore (or anyone else for that matter) but he doesn't strike me as a doomer. He's trying to say that it would be possible to start changing the situation and that all is not lost.

Re:Its not climate change... (1)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537254)

The links between CO2 and global temperature are well correlated for hundreds of thousands of years.

That's the one thing that really bothered me about that movie. I realize that they were going for a general audience and that's why they put the CO2 charts in there because they are dramatic. But for me it hurt the movies credibility.

The first thing I thought when I saw those charts was 'correlation doesn't equal causation'.

Re:Its not climate change... (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537296)

no, ok, I accept that. It would be scientifically wrong to imply causation from that data in the absence of a theory to explain why the two variables seem to be linked, but we do have that theory ('greenhouse effect').

Re:Its not climate change... (4, Insightful)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537308)

The first thing I thought when I saw those charts was 'correlation doesn't equal causation'.

You're joking right? Correlation does not *necessarily* imply causation but it gives you the right to be damned suspicious that it does. And this is a very good correlation, with a known scientific model that points to causation.

Re:Its not climate change... (0, Troll)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537274)

either that or no serious scientist agreed with ol' Al

Urban Island Heating and METAR (3, Insightful)

dammy (131759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536998)

Quoting from http://www.junkscience.com/ [junkscience.com] on this article:

"s it happens we're just reformatting the thermometer graphic to give people a better idea of global mean temperatures and trends. Using a thousand less-urbanized sites from the METAR database suggests the last year (calendar date to calendar date, in this case) was about as near average as can be expected, within a tenth of a degree of the calculated mean without any enhanced greenhouse forcing.

Is the world really hot and getting hotter? That's a very good question but one to which no one has a good answer. The urbanized record is a little warm but that doesn't mean very much. The planet? Well, that's an open question as yet."

Dammy

Re:Its not climate change... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537148)


Hey those reduction things don't apply to China or India so they are just costing us jobs, sure people say we are worse, but we won't be forever and being only in the top 3 worse isn't so bad they just want to cripple our jobs, its a conspiracy from pinko liberals trying to bring down America.


Even though I am one of those pinko liberals this is one point I've got to give to the right. Any proposed solution that involves hurting the economies of the nations with resources to actually deal with the problem is not the answer. As many others have pointed out, global warming is a fact and it is going to take a lot of money and knowledge to survive it. Simply cutting back on emissions is not going to solve anything.
   

Re:Its not climate change... (5, Insightful)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537232)

Any proposed solution that involves hurting the economies of the nations with resources to actually deal with the problem is not the answer.

Whilst it would be desirable to have a solution to climate change that does not involve hurting the economy (and I believe this is certainly possible), we should get our priorities straight. I would not want a bigger television at the expense of living in a filthy polluted desert.

Re:Its not climate change... (5, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537206)

What amuses/terrifies me is the people that argue that global warming isn't humanity's fault, and as such we don't have to do anything about it. I mean, the apocalypse may be coming, but if we didn't cause it, no point in us trying to stop it *shakes head quietly*

Re:Its not climate change... (0, Troll)

Kyeev (975594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537260)

Is it not true that in the 1300's and 1400's, the overall global temperature was about 2 degrees warmer than it is now?

Thats only 600 years ago, which is nothing in planetary terms.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537310)

Sure the climate is changing. They had a white christmas in Australia.

Re:Its not climate change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537318)

I like the way you lower the reading age when you straw-man the opposition.


I'll do you a deal: even if I do buy into the idea that we have to do something about global warming, transparently politicised assholes like you won't get to say how we deal with it.

well, maybe.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536668)

....it might have been the hottest year somewhere, but where I live, we had the coldest year with the coldest summer. must be getting to extremes

Re:well, maybe.... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536702)

one of the side effects of global warming could be more extreme weather : colder, warmer, drier, wetter, for longer periods of time.

Re:well, maybe.... (0)

Tufnell (936138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536848)

Polar red.. You are correct.. But if I may add something.. The warmer weather also mean more evaporation, more ablity for clouds to hold rain, and greater precipitation, in the form or rain or snow storms. Bigger storms. Also, the warmer weather warms the oceans. This is bad on so many levels, not the least of which is what warmer water does to cyclones and the like. Proof in the pudding there is in Katrina. Just look at what happened to that storm as it crossed the warmer water just before is smashed into New Orleans. And of course, it does not always rain where we need like.. Like across most of Austraila at the moment. Over here, some have stopped calling it a drought, and are calling it a climate change.

Re:well, maybe.... (2, Informative)

cannonfodda (557893) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536852)

Not for me: 2006 UK Temperatures [metoffice.gov.uk] or for some time 1998 Temps [metoffice.gov.uk]
There may be a trend there.......

Unfortunately I couldn't find the wind speed data for this year but that seems to be significantly higher than usual.

Chaos (1)

scotbot (906561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537282)

Those are interesting charts. But what part has say El Nino played in them, given that it has an effect on global weather patterns not just those localised to the Eastern Pacific, especially since it's not caused by global warming. What's their correlation?

Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536700)

are either closed or operating at significantly reduced loads. Hell, some of the places in Austria are suggesting hiking trips instead of skiing this year. Here in Bavaria, we had(so I'm told) one of the coldest winters in the past 20 years last year, and this year I have only had to deal with frost twice(which is nice because I am on a bike)

Meanwhile Colorado seems to be getting more snow than the rest of the world combined(I'm only being a tad dramatic there). They probably have the best skiing in the world this year, but the airports are always closed so nobody can get there!

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

siDDis (961791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536776)

Isn't it already too late to save the world? Honestly I think it's better that we instead invest the money in future projects where we will have a chance to actually live in a new ice age. Or in worst case scenario we could colonize the moon.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536800)

Although the effects of climate change have been described as "severe" I don't think they are quite so severe as to make the planet uninhabitable altogether !

What will happen is that people will have to adjust to a new environment, rich western countries will probably have the money to do this relatively painlessly whereas more marginal communities will face dangers such as flooding or droughts which may cause a fair few deaths.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536784)

There's snow there now. Not as much as they'd like, but enough to allow people to Ski and Board without problem. I'm off to Meribel, France on Saturday and currently there's 100cm on the upper slopes and 40cm on the lower ones (see you there if you're going, unless you're a skier).

I reckon it'll be back to normal next year, but hopefully the world is sitting up and taking notice to the warning it's been given that things need to change.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (2, Insightful)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536894)

Indeed. I'm off to Serre-Chevalier myself on Friday, with 90cm/25cm it isn't perfect. Even so, most of the slopes are open and they're expecting a bit of snow over the next few days, so it'll be okay. GP is a bit alarmist.

Happy boarding! Besides, if it turns out bad we can always go to Norway next year...

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536934)

I am in Bavaria, it is fookin 10 degrees here. it should be *minus* 10.

Went to Mayrhofen on Sat and the only snow worth going on was right up the top. Its awful.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

autOmato (446950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537216)

Well, fook you! I'm in Bavaria too and I think it should be 30 degrees plus. I sure welcome global warming. It's about time. Freezing sucks, man.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536802)

No, the bulk of the snow is on the eastern side of the divide (i.e. denver). The snow is maybe a bit above average for this time of year (but the snow is nice). If you want lots of snow, try the northwest.

As to the airport closure, it was actually only closed for 36 hrs for the first storm only. On the second storm, airlines assumed a closure would happen and flights were manipulated. As it was, the airport never closed. The storm hit hard to the south east. Had the storm moved just 41 miles north, then most likely DIA would have been closed for 48 hours or more.

But in my 25 years of living in Colorado, this is the first time that I have seen this much snow on the ground at this time of year. It reminds me of xmas in south wisc (which actually had no snow).

Japan surprisingly cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536856)

Interestingly, summer 2006 in Japan was not as hot as usual. A surprise to a lot of people here. Coincidence?

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536872)

here in NRW we have +12C. This is the temperature of mid-autumn, not of midwinter.

Not just hotter (4, Insightful)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536874)

In the Victorian Alps (south eastern Australia) the ski season was a dismal flop due to lack of snow. Due to the drought there wasn't enough water for snow making either. But on Christmas day (which is summer here of course), there was a large snow storm up in the mountains: more snow than there was during winter. My entirely unscientific impression of the recent weather is not just that it's getting hotter - it's getting weirder.

Weirder indeed (5, Informative)

Pegasus (13291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537014)

This just shows that people don'r really understand what global warming means. Sure, temperatures are going to be one or two degrees higher ON AVERAGE, but that does not mean warmer winters and hotter summers in general. It means that the system as a whole will have more energy, so weather phenomena will be more intensive and fluctuations will have higer amplitude. Think of more powerful storms, more destructive hurricanes, etc. Cold winter 2005 and warmest year 2006 is a nice example of such fluctuation.

Re:Weirder indeed (1)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537264)

And to add to the weirdness,

I was in Colorado for the 'cold winter 2005' until April and I think it snowed maybe 3 times and was generally mild.

Re:Almost all the ski slopes in Europe (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537230)

I don't recall off the top of my head where I read it (it was just within the last week or so, possibly Scientific American?), but it is predicted that a warmer earth will trade 5,000 more heat-related deaths for 20,000 fewer cold-related deaths.

I'm from Houghton, Michigan... (5, Informative)

kihjin (866070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536760)

You know, Michigan's upper peninsula. "Normally" we get about 200" of snow in a winter season [mtu.edu] . So far this season we've had one major snow storm, leaving us with approximiately 18". That's all. In December 2005, 77.5" fell. I would be surprised if we got a 1/10 of that in 2006.

Pollute more (5, Informative)

Swimport (1034164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536796)

If it wasnt for Global Dimming http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming [wikipedia.org] this would be worse. However, since particulate pollution is being cut more than C02 global dimming is falling behind global warming.

isn't the world in denial ? (2, Interesting)

Yaro (860240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536824)

Could this really be avoided? Is it still time to revert those climate changes?
Shouldn't we be preparing for the worse yet?
Instead of deciding whether or not it's really happening ?

Great plan! (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536906)

worst case scenario: end of the world
prepare for the worst: try and get some end-of-the world-petty-sex

So long, suckers!

Re:Great plan! (0, Flamebait)

NotZed (19455) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536974)

Don't worry, those knobs who believe in their 'god' will pray for their salvation, and we'll all be saved by their 'sacrifice'

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Re:isn't the world in denial ? (5, Insightful)

stsp (979375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536916)

Could this really be avoided? Is it still time to revert those climate changes? Shouldn't we be preparing for the worse yet? Instead of deciding whether or not it's really happening ?
Well, according to Douglas Adams' stories, people start to panic only when it is already way too late to do something about the situation.

Re:isn't the world in denial ? (2, Interesting)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536928)

I would have to say yes. After all, global warming may now be unstoppable [slashdot.org] . We need to find ways to survive the coming climate changes, and fast.

Re:isn't the world in denial ? (1)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537174)

Shouldn't we be preparing for the worse yet?
Instead of deciding whether or not it's really happening ?
Always a good idea to prepare for the worse.
Whe know it is happening. We know the reasons. What upsets me most about the discussion is that people stick stubbornly to stupid and inefficient technologies and habits. If we prepare for the worse we'll have to develop technology which is robust, smart (not necessarily high-tech), and efficient in terms of energy-consumption. Had we started on that earlier we'd now have less of a problem.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the planet (2, Interesting)

locksmith101 (1017864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536832)

I just watched "An inconvenient truth" yesterday. It was the creepiest film I ever watched, way scarier then "The Shining" or "The Ring". I hope most of you out there, have seen it already... I the film Al Gore shows multiple graphs illustrating the drastic changes in the climate - due to our smoking and scorching of Earth - in the last few decades. 2005 was the warmest year, now 2006 bits that questionable record. Are we all running towards the flames of self-destruction? I would say we are all to blame here - It's true, we can all contribute something to the cause. Drive less, own less - endorse global warming awareness in our community. But that will solve a fraction of the problem - America has to wake the hell up and say no to all those fat corporations and say (in the words of the great wizard) "You Shall Not Pass". I mean - we have the technology to turn into cars and motors running on alternative types of energies - we had that technology more than 20 years. Why is the fat fuck the suit - always louder than the suffering masses? Voice out people - let's start our own revolution here - make our children proud of this spineless generation.

Re:If you can't stand the heat, get out of the pla (0, Troll)

Pegasus (13291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537048)

Inconvenient truth is pretty much boring for the educated people - there's nothing in it that I wouldn't know already. I can't help but feel sorry for people who find it creepy or shocking - that just shows they live in some dark basement or something :)

Re:If you can't stand the heat, get out of the pla (4, Insightful)

werewolf1031 (869837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537240)

Inconvenient truth is pretty much boring for the educated people - there's nothing in it that I wouldn't know already. I can't help but feel sorry for people who find it creepy or shocking - that just shows they live in some dark basement or something
Your attitude is self-righteous, narcissistic, and condescending. It is far better to have learned something for the first time, than to never have learned it at all. I can't help but feel sorry for people who too-easily forget that they, too, once learned something for the first time, when it was new to them.

Re:If you can't stand the heat, get out of the pla (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537146)

Well, come on... 2005 was the warmest year on record. Sure, it was the hottest our planet has been for thousands of years, but what year held the previous record... 2004! Which in turn beat out 2003!

Oddly enough, with the combined effect of the El Nino and the extra warming this year this 2007 is pretty much a lock to wipe out the 2006 record now established. However, it might actually be so warm as to make 2008 fail to take the record.

Re:If you can't stand the heat, get out of the pla (2, Insightful)

autOmato (446950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537242)

make our children proud of this spineless generation.

Nah.

Contradictory (-1, Redundant)

dorpus (636554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536860)

The very same weather bureau predicted that 2006 would be a "record year for hurricanes" -- but instead, there were far fewer hurricanes than average. I live in Alabama, and we've had nights that went down to -9C in December. If the Earth really is warming, how come subtropical regions are having deep freezes?

Re:Contradictory (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536898)

First, the standard reply to your standard questions. global warming is about an average. But the locals will vary wildly from the norm. There will be many warmings, but there will be some cooling.

As to the hurricanes, Dr. Grey and his center noted after the downgrading that they did not know about the on-going el nino. Both El Nino and La Nino always has an impact on the current year.

Re:Contradictory (2, Insightful)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537142)

The way that the warming effect manifests itself is in the spread of the regions, that is. towards the equator we have an hot arrid region, at the poles we have cold frosty regions and inbetween we have somewhat of a gradient in temperature but also the crucible of interaction between the two. This is how weather is "made": in the interaction between the hot and cold air and water of the equator (solar heated) and poles

Heat up the planet and the hot,dry band around the equator expands, initially the temperate zone is squashed, concentrating the effects of the cold/hot interaction and producing the "extreme" weather we are seeing.

Which is how a globally hotter climate can cause colder weather events in temperate areas.

basically the hotter the global temperature the steeper the gradient of temperature increase is from the poles. the poles themselves recieve little to no solar heating so will continue to sit there stubbornly trying to remain icy cold. steeper temperature gradient = wilder weather with greater extremes

Re:Contradictory (1)

Dilaudid (574715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537320)

As to the hurricanes, Dr. Grey and his center noted after the downgrading that they did not know about the on-going el nino.
So does that mean that he was right, or he was wrong?

I'm asking because there have been a lot of environmental scares (Genetic modification, Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis, damaged fragile food chains causing crops to fail, the build up of toxic chemicals leading to mass sterility) that were not true and have wasted a lot of time and money. There are several claims that much of the data suggesting global warming has been massaged (e.g. a climate scientist trying to remove evidence of a Medieval Warm Period when temperatures were as high as today - paragraph ten [telegraph.co.uk] ).

I don't personally doubt that there is a small global warming effect caused by CO2- about 1 degree per century judging by the last 30 years. What I am uncomfortable with is that scientists who oppose the consensus seem to get a lot of flak (ever heard of Bjorn Lomborg - all he did was write a book - that's supposed to be a good thing).

Re:Contradictory (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537054)

As always, were talking about _global_ warming. It means you can neither confirm nor infirm it by saying:
"Oh baby, It's cold outside!" in a given location at a given time. Though scientists can forecast global trends, they cannot tell you for sure "It's gonna snow in August in Alabama".
And global warming doesn't mean warming in every place on earth either.
Poles and winters will get more affected than summers and tropical regions.
You know what? Even the sea level can rise in some point while dropping in another.

Re:Contradictory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537132)

You know what? Even the sea level can rise in some point while dropping in another.

Yeah - it's called waves and tides. If you meant anything else, you're an idiot.

Re:Contradictory (2, Interesting)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537178)

Firstly the hurricanes were dwarfed by the El Nino effect. This wasn't known at the time the predictions were made. As for the question about the deep freezes that's a misunderstanding. Global Warming is a misnomer, a more accurate name would be Global Climate Change. On average the earth is warmer, however in the short term you are going to end up with more extreme weather. You will end up with places that deep freeze, other places that face rather sudden flash floods, as well as extreme winds and drought. On average there will be less rain fall, but when the rain falls it should be extreme and sudden.

You can expect deep freezes and heat waves, no snow and blizzards. On average it will be warmer and dryer, but you can pretty much get anything day to day.

the maths on global warming (1, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536862)

the fact is, C02 isn't capable of producing enough warming to see these changes, and the maths on it shows this. by far the 2 greatest forces that effect our climate are water vapour and solar activity. i always love that they spout about 1998 - 2000 being the hottest on record, yet fail to mention most of that warming came from extra solar flare activity. it makes me wonder about these claims. frankly i think it's pretty concited to think we would be able put much of a dent in the planets atmosphere on a GLOBAL scale.

Re:the maths on global warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537186)

Saying so does not make it so.

You are completely ignorant and/or lying through your teeth - and you know it.

Stop spreading this bullshit and try and learn a little about climatology - realclimate.org is a nice site. It's run by actual climatologists (unlike you) and they put things in a way that even you might understand.
(Or you could read a book by an actual climatologist instead of the rightwing/libertarian nutjobs you are obviously listening to)

The other side the matter (0, Troll)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536868)

It would be somewhat unfair to say that many people [slashdotters included] are biased; rather I'd say that they doesn't fully examine all the major candidates for the cause of the [now evident] warming. Remember, there was a planet and a climate and [most important] wide-scale climate changes before the U.S., industry or humanity ever existed; what's the reason for them to go away and never occur again? Just because they're scaring us? C'mon...

All of this is not to say that we do not harming the environment - we certainly do, and sometimes in irreversible [in the terms of our lifetimes] proportions. However we should fully understand the difference between chemical spills that damage our own food chain and other stuff, and green eco-activists' fantasies like the one about the Antarctic ozone hole. Some details on the last statement: a lot of eco-activists say that

  1. Ozon is good for environment and should be praised [partially true - stratospheric ozone absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation, but high concentrations of ozone irritate human respiratory system]
  2. There are huge ozon holes near the Earth's poles [true]
  3. Ozon is known to decay in reactions with CFCs [true]
  4. Thus, CFCs are responsible for the antartic ozone hole [not true]
The main reason that there always was and will be an ozone hole over the Antarctics is that ozone decays in the lack of sunlight, and it's pretty dark half of the year out there.
P.S. This post has been made with my current understanding of the problem; if a more informed person can correct me wherever I am wrong, I'd be grateful.

Re:The other side the matter (1, Insightful)

myurr (468709) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536922)

For me at least, your first paragraph hits the nail on the head. Climate change is happening - but it has always happened. The arrogance of man is to presume that the current climate is one which would remain stable were it not for our interference. The climate has always changed, it is a dynamic system, and will always change. Why should we presume that the climate that we currently have is the natural balance for the Earth?

It is a complex and ever changing system and our understanding is really very limited. There could be factors at work that come into play as the temperature rises which then tip the Earth back the other way and heading for an ice age.

Re:The other side the matter (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537336)

which would remain stable were it not for our interference.
But of course, it would! On a human scale. The entire point with global warming is, that while naturally occuring changes do happen, they don't treaten us because we can adapt over the long periods of time the change is happening, but with global warming the paradox is that 40-50 years is FAST even compared to human standards, because 40-50 years mean reorganizing the economy on large scale, which can't be done if the issue of GW is ignored in the sense of doing nothing about it.

Personally, I never subscribe to the "we can't possibly understand it" argument. That also explains my deeply atheistic beliefs.

Re:The other side the matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537144)

Your analysis is valid as far as it goes, in so far as there being an annual variation in concentrations of ozone in the Antarctic regardless of CFC use. In fact, ozone doesn't decay in lack of sunlight, the dissociation of ozone being driven by ultraviolet light - the Antarctic winter is important more because the atmosphere is colder then, leading to the formation of structures which enhance the concentration of active catalysts to ozone dissociation. The actual peak of ozone loss in the Antarctic cycle is in the spring, when sunlight increases, allowing the concentration of active catalysts to actually do work in removing ozone from the environment, before the atmosphere warms again in the summer.

  The point you miss is that CFCs catalyse the breakdown of ozone, and hence interact with this existing annual cycle to "deepen" the hole during the spring. So, with more CFCs, the dip is bigger (and the rise is the same size), leading to an annual reduction in the total amount of ozone over the Antarctic.

On the more general issue of climate change, you seem to have missed an important point. It is, to a large extent, irrelevant as to if the current global warming trend is caused by humans. What is important is that if it continues, it will lead to continuing bad things for our civilisation and others (some of which have already had effects, such as the droughts in parts of Africa). Hence, the only wrong response is to throw up your hands and ignore it.

Re:The other side the matter (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537158)

And the reason the ozone hole now (and has for 15-20 years) covers Tasmania and other southern regions that have perfectly normal day/night cycles is..?

I speak as a Tasmanian who's seen the rise in skin cancer and seen all the alarm stories over the ozone hole.

So..?

Re:The other side the matter (1)

matrem (806375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537192)

You show some ignorance on the subject. Most importantly, scientifically it is hard to prove something without putting the numbers in. If you want to prove a correlation, you use your best theory, and compare the expected results with the measured results, and determine the accuracy of your estimate.

In this case, science has concluded that there can be only one explanation for global warming, which is the rapid accumulation of greenhouse gases in the past century. It fits the data, and there are simply no other explanations that fit the numbers.

To clarify this for you: suppose you see this climate change as part of the geological shifting of climate, for example the ice-age cycle (I hear this argument a lot). Then you must consider that timescales are important. Consider that the ice-ages occurs every 100,000 years or so, while the global warming we now see has mostly occurred in the last 50 years. That's a totally different timescale, which explains why the two are not related.

It's not all bad... (5, Funny)

reklusband (862215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536884)

Think about it...Hot Eskimo chicks in BIKINIS!!! Just give it ten years.

We don't know that! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17536890)

We don't know if it was the warmest year ever.
Weather has only been tracked (in detail) since the 1800's.

I hate when "we" make absolute assumptions based on 150 year information like this, when the warmest year could've been in 1650 for all we know.

Re:We don't know that! (4, Informative)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536960)

Temperature in the UK has apparently been tracked for 350 years and last year had the highest average temperature of those 350 years.

Re:We don't know that! (1)

mwanaheri (933794) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536994)

yeah, in the early days of this planet there were years which were damn hot.
I think you take the word 'ever' a bit too serious. It is overstating, but we can be quite shure about the last couple of hundred years.

Bigger / Closer (-1, Redundant)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536896)

Is it just me, or does the sun seem bigger than usual ?
I've been staring at the sun for so long I think I'm half blind, so I'm not sure, but it would explain this heat.

It's summer here (3, Interesting)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17536968)

weather not seen on the planet since before the Ice Age began, 118,000 years ago.
Indeed. Southern hemisphere here and this is the first summer I *haven't* had to turn on the chiller on my aquariums to stop my fish from dying - it's been nowhere near as hot as it normally is.

Too late.. (2, Insightful)

cookie_token (1048774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537026)

I wonder why people start to worry about our environment now, when even 20 years ago it was obvious that something like that will happen.

But now, when it begins to get really expensive (think about damages caused by hurricanes, floodings etc.), people start to care. Before that, the attitude was "Uhh, greenhouse effect? Doesn't concern me, as long as I can live like I used to."

It's almost too late..

Re:Too late.. (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537108)

I thought they were talking about the impending ice age 20 years ago.

Re:Too late.. (0, Flamebait)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537110)

I know it's human nature that we consider ourselves the center of the Universe (remember those days?), but why do we consider it to be humans fault for this one year warming? A potential factor I'll agree with. But in all of this data, has the factors of the Earth's core heating up, Sun heating up, orbital pattern change have a play in it as well? I think it goes beyond just having large SUV's that could be the cause. And lets not rule out the possiblity that this 'warming' is inevitable even if we were still in caves. You mean to tell me that the planet has to play by our rules and never change or change slowly enough that we can maximize our profits? Since when? I got an idea, let's go ask the caldera in Yellowstone not to erupt. Although I'm sure that is humans fault as well.

Re:Too late.. (1)

cookie_token (1048774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537208)

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere before the industrial revolution was 280 ppm, while it's more than 380 ppm nowadays. This is the highest concentration since at least 600.000 years (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/310/5 752/1313/).

According to http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/displaypagedoc.asp?id=20 742 [royalsoc.ac.uk] , our emission of carbon dioxide is likely a main factor for global warming.

Err on the side of caution (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17537114)

Global Warming is a difficult subject because it can be difficult to understand, primarily because of the lies in the media about it not being our (humands) fault. I like to think myself an intelligent person, im not a genius however I am not an idiot. Since I was 18 (in 2002) I have been reading about GW as much as possible. I have tried my best to educate myself from scientific information that is unbiased however that can be very difficult because of all the rubbish printed in the American press. I am not really surprised that a lot of people do not believe in GW because all that they have read about it has been lies. Not many people will go out and educate themselves independantly like I have done. Now to the point of my post :) When I meet someone who does not believe in GW I always tell them the following - 60 years ago you had some doctors saying cigerettes caused cancer and others that didn't. Now it was difficult to get the truth back then because of all the lies spread by the tobaco companies. However what was the intelligent thing to do? Was it to blindly believe some doctors who said it was fine or was it best to quit smoking anyway "just in case"? The same is true now for global warming, you can believe the newspapers who saying global warming isn't man made and continue as you are however what if you are wrong, is it not best to try and reduce our emmissons "just in case"? Sure it will have an economic impact however that is nothing compared to the global impact global warming will have if we continue to pollute the earth like we currently are. What shocks me is the number of people who just brush off what I havd just said and reply with "well i won't be alive in 100 years anyway so what do i care". I am totally disgusted by this attitude and I am sorry to say that I know a lot of American's who think just like this. Now I applaud Al Gore for his documentary/movie (even if the bits about him are very boring) for his efforts but I wonder to myself how we are ever going to make any progress when so many people in the worlds most powerful country do not care about the continuation of the human race anyway. Global warming to them means changing their lifestyles just a tiny bit but they won't have any of it. Now to be fair I have singled American's out here however they are not the only guilty party, I know a large number of people in the UK (where I live) as well who do not believe in global warming, thankfully the majority do and our government seems somewhat competent in this area (although they need to do a lot more).

Re:Err on the side of caution (1)

dbabbitt (977283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537228)

Have you ever heard of breaking your thoughts up into paragraphs? You write like a psycho.

Re:Err on the side of caution (1)

Keys1337 (1002612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537294)

I get what you're saying, but there's some fundemental assumptions that I don't agree with. First, the idea of always erring on the side of caution sounds good at face value. But I value risk taking, not necessarily smoking, but all the technology, luxuries, health etc we enjoy is due to risk takers, not those who did what someone else told them to do in order to play it safe. I'd rather have our current level of civilization and global warming than having neither. The 2nd assumption is that people making sacrifices will help global warming. If I change my lifestyle to be 100% green it will have zero effect on global warming. Even if you can get entire nations to do so, other nations will take advantage of all that coal and be happy to sell you all the great stuff they made with it.

longest year on record (1)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537258)

with records that go back barely more than a hundred years...

Well... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537330)

I'm not saying I believe my own theories, but these are just gray matter excersizes. I'm torn between "we didn't know!" and "climate changes are natural" and at this point will just assume (a) since we can all affoard to use less energy in our everyday lives. What if the human civilization looped? I mean what if humans pre-pre-big-Ice Age actually had working systems that were destroyed by the ice age and that caused said global catastrophie? Those mysterious "springs" found in uninhabited Russia. The steps found deep in the Jamacian seas where no land was thought to ever exist. The fact countless tons of crushing ice and rushing waves from the big meltdown would have destroyed a civilization if it was placed in just the ~wrong~ area. A lot of coincidenses. I know in the end scientific evidence proves this theory entirely false, but its just a brain excersize to get us thinking and nothing more. A fable or parable. On another note: bad architecture and buildings (i.e. poor energy unefficient designs and material types) account for MOST of the problems, or so I've heard recently. Too many studies with too many results. *sigh*

If I'm not mistaken (2, Insightful)

j3w (860785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537340)

Despite the fact that this is the warmest year since we've started keeping track, I do believe we are still geologically below the average temperature of the earth overall. I would never argue that we don't contribute to the warming of our current era, but to what extent is and probably always will be pretty inconclusive. We should be careful when we make these comparisons, and realize that even without our help the earth will be both warmer and cooler than it is now at different points in the future. So the penguins and the polar bears were going to be soggy toast eventually anyways, just perhaps not so soon. Besides there are plenty of other reasons to want to do something about our pollution problem. For example I just read on bbc news that there were 3600 deaths attributed to smog in Iran just last October. The problem with the Global Warming band wagon is that its hard to quantify, but who can deny air quality problems in urban settings. It seems to me that perhaps Global Warming is over emphasized in comparison to things it might be relatively easier to get people to care about. People are generally short sighted, and pretty much only care about what is right in front of them right now, not whats going to happen in 2040. Trying to get a signifigant portion of the earth's population to change their ways is probably a lost cause no matter how you present it, and the looming spectre of global warming definitely won't be signifigant enough in the herds mind until its way way to late. The problem should be attacked from a different angle. Thats my $0.02 anyways.

the BEST source?? (1)

werewolf1031 (869837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17537356)

his blog is the best source on the net for in-depth weather analysis
O Rly? Scoured the entire Internet, have ya kpw10 [slashdot.org] ? Please. I think we can have an intelligent discussion on this topic without resorting to such idiotic claims for the sake of "proving" the "value" of one's source by aggrandizing it.
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