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…

5 thoughts on “Best documentary on climate change so far…

  1. One annoying thing about climate change information is that the stupid Americans are still using medieval measures! Come on, get into Celsius and centimetres asap!

  2. Celcius? centimetres? Nah, givvem a break, Neil. That’s digital. Bit difficult for those who still contemplate their feet.

  3. Compare Oz economist John Quiggin:

    …Like thousands of others, I was affected by the recent floods in Brisbane, losing a car and some other possessions…

    The only thing that will make the damage from this massive cyclone less than it might have been is that we have had plenty of warning. Weather satellites detected dangerous cloud formations last week, and the computer models of the Bureau of Meteorology predicted the likely path of what became cyclone Yasi, even before the cyclone pattern formed.

    Of course, cyclones behave erratically and don’t always follow the predicted path as Yasi has done. But anyone who received the Bureau’s warning would have been foolhardy to ignore it. Anyone who justified such a course of action on the basis that ‘it’s only a model’ would be, quite simply, a fool.

    Tragically, while only a few people have been silly enough to ignore the Bureau’s warnings about this cyclone, a great many have ignored equally dire warnings about the long-term impacts of climate change, including more extreme weather events.

    The grounds for ignoring the warning have ranged from silly to outright offensive. Absurd talking points about statistical significance are promulgated on the Internet and then recirculated by people who wouldn’t know a t-statistic if it bit them. Climate models that have successfully predicted the warming of the last two or three decades are dismissed as spurious. Worse still the Bureau and other bodies have been accused of faking or fudging data to promote their case for motives that range from the venal (more funding for climate research) to the sinister (obscure plots for global domination). Such an accusation of fraud against the Bureau was published by the Melbourne Herald-Sun website only last week…

    Well called. Denialists are not just eccentric or absurd. They are positively dangerous.

  4. Of interest: Expert credibility in climate change.

    Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC.

    A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

  5. Cyclones are but a grain of sand on a beach compared to the destructive force of a tsunami, the beach, witness the latest in japan and Aceh and then when we receive the force of the ultimate supercontinent cycle, a lah the age of Noah one will have to think twice about how high above sea level one will need to be in order to survive….GCC is just an elaborate hoax to remove scientififc resources away from what really counts, the stem of mans pollution of the Oceans and the passage of resources out of Oceanica and rainbow country…death and destruction of Gaia at the hands of the suprepowers……………..who will stop the slaughter of the environment?

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