Best documentary on climate change so far…

Today at The Bates Motel

No, not Al Gore, though his must be the best known.

I nominate the BBC three parter by geologist Dr Iain Stewart.

Kevin from Louisiana made a typical Kevin comment yesterday on a post not about climate change:

Sorry I haven’t been available to comment. We’ve had some serious global warming this week. It’s caused our temps to plummet to levels not seen since 1920. Two pvc pipes burst, causing half of my garden and a good portion of my driveway to be an ice slick. If global warming keeps up, I’m pretty sure we’re all going to freeze to death. Who knew global warming could cause such cold winters? Anyway, the cold summers it causes are nice.

Sadly, thanks to AGW’s magical ability to defy thermodynamics and make things cold, there will be no sugar-snap peas this spring 😦 . I know that some of you don’t believe in AGW for this specific reason, but for those who don’t understand thermodynamics, it’s totally believable that its laws can be defied. Ah, well.
I’ll deal withe the ‘antisemite’ slur in a second…

Kevin may or may not have read The greenhouse effect and the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I have also seen the 2nd law of thermodynamics cited as “proof” evolution could not happen.

See as a starting point about real climate science this presentation:

I strongly recommend the whole series.

For example, this classic on Gore AND arch-sceptic Durkin:

Now we come to the question of whether recent weather events have been “caused by global warming”. Not so easy. In one sense, we cannot. Not until we can review in around thirty years time where the climate has changed can we look back with any confidence and attribute patterns of weather events to global warming. That is an inconvenient truth.

On the other hand, even though global warming has in recent years progressed by baby steps — less than 1 degree Celsius over the past decade — world climate, averaged, is following a distinctly warming path. It does not take much change to produce aberrations in what we are used to. Of course summer will still be hot and winter will still be cold, but the extremes we have been witnessing — and these are facts — may become more frequent — and that is speculation, but not speculation divorced from reality.

…Oh, there have been snowstorms before, and cyclones — our planet has always produced extreme events. But by definition extreme events are supposed to be rare, and all of a sudden they’re not. In 2010, 19 nations set new all-time temperature records (itself a record!), and when the mercury hit 128 in early June along the Indus, the entire continent of Asia set a new all-time temperature mark. Russia caught on fire; Pakistan drowned. Munich Re, the biggest insurance company on earth, summed up the annus horribilis last month with this clinical analysis: “the high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change.”

You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand what’s happening. That carbon we’ve poured into the air traps more of the sun’s heat near the planet. And that extra energy expresses itself in a thousand ways, from melting ice to powering storms. Since warm air can hold more water vapor than cold, it’s not surprising that the atmosphere is 4 percent moister than it was 40 years ago. That “4 percent extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms,” said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the government’s National Center for Atmospheric Research. It loads the dice for record rain and snow. Yesterday, the Midwest and Queensland crapped out.

The point I’m trying to make is: chemistry and physics work. We don’t just live in a suburb, or in a free-market democracy; we live on an earth that has certain rules. Physics and chemistry don’t care what John Boehner thinks, they’re unmoved by what will make Barack Obama’s reelection easier. More carbon means more heat means more trouble — and the trouble has barely begun. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the planet about a degree, which has been enough to melt the Arctic. The consensus prediction for the century is that without dramatic action to stem the use of fossil fuel — far more quickly than is politically or economically convenient — we’ll see temperatures climb 5 degrees this century. Given that one degree melts the Arctic, just how lucky are we feeling?…

But sentimental greenies beware. You may believe the earth really is a goddess if you want to — James Lovelock did not — or you may believe in pixies and elves. It really doesn’t have much relevance to the science, though it may motivate you.

Same applies to those “denialists” whose real core belief is that the free market is a god.

Neither of these “faiths” is much to the point.

As King Canute found, the tide comes in anyway…

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