It’s that there atom bomb…!

So around 1955 a neighbour explained the La Nina (then unknown to us) and floods of the mid 1950s.

Today people leap on Climate Change.

Both are/were leaping. What we’ve been experiencing day by day over the past weeks is called WEATHER. Whether that weather is especially climate change related is a case of maybe but then maybe not.

That is not a famous victory for the “sceptics” either. Anyone, sceptic or otherwise, who tries to draw specific weather events into some ideological or moralising debate on climate change is barking up the wrong wombat…

Repeating a post by John Quiggin:

……Every major scientific organization in the world has endorsed the mainstream consensus view of climate changed, shared by the overwhelming majority of climate scientists. Most of those questioning the science lack the knowledge to understand even basic issues like the statistical significance of trends in time series or the fundamentals of the greenhouse effect. Worse, they haven’t bothered to learn.

Tragically, this vital issue has been ensnared in the pointless and long-running culture wars waged by segments of the political right in Australia and other English-speaking countries. The dangers of climate change, and the need for immediate and effective action to mitigate it, are conflated with the real or imagined faults of greenies, gays, Al Gore and the left in general. The whole debate is conducted in terms of the silly pointscoring and namecalling that characterises the culture wars as a whole…

Anthropogenic climate change is happening nonetheless

Your theological, political, ideological or personal fetishes and prejudices don’t change that one iota. Insurance companies are now factoring it into their calculations for the future. Corporations like Bayer are posting sensible articles about it.

…for example, to calculate global temperature variations over the next 50 years, the scientists must initially feed the model with certain assumed values.

These assumptions include: how the CO2-concentration of the atmosphere is likely to change; how quickly the human population is likely to increase; and the probable extent of future global industrial growth. The models then calculate future climatic patterns on the basis of these assumptions. Scientists therefore prefer to talk of Scenarios and Projections, but not about predictions. Because as soon as the underlying assumptions change, so do the results. The 4th IPCC Status Report thus indicates an average global temperature increase of between 1.8° and 4.0° Celsius by the end of the 21st century, depending on the emissions scenario. This is a considerable range. So global climate models only allow rough estimations of the influence a reduction in emissions of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases through human activities might have on the future temperature of the earth. But the scientists do not make statements about the relative likelihood of a particular climate projection, because each depends equally on the assumptions underlying it becoming reality. However, in view of the incontrovertible warming of the earth over the last 60 years, the models nevertheless provide valuable information as the basis for political decisions. They simulate the global climate on a what if? basis.

The actual increase in global temperature thus far is…? From the Bayer article:

The earth’s “fever temperature“ started rising noticeably in about 1950. Regular measurements of the earth’s surface temperature began in 1850: ten of the twelve warmest years recorded since then have occurred during the period 1995 to 2006. The overall global average for air temperature at soil level has risen by 0.74° Celsius over the last hundred years.

Some “what ifs?”

1. Mike Sanderson – Climate model projection for a 4 °C global average temperature rise.

2. Met Office Projections of rainfall changes due to climate change

3 Important background and commentary

My own very big “what if?”

OK, let’s say continuing global warming does lead to increased cyclones and wetter monsoons in Queensland. Does that mean we might get our inland sea back?

A few days ago ABC News 24 repeated Lake Eyre – Australia’s Outback Wonder (2009).

This stunning DVD captures a once in a generation event – the flooding of Lake Eyre and the dramatic transformation of the dead heart of Australia. The program follows the floodwaters from north Queensland down the great outback rivers to Lake Eyre and records the amazing cycle of life, as the deserts bloom and birds descend from far and wide to capitalise on the short lived boom.

Seldom has there been such an extensive coverage of one of nature’s greatest displays, with water running between the sand dunes of the Simpson Desert; huge bird breeding events; an astonishing show of wildflowers and the surreal images of Lake Eyre as water streams to the lowest point in the continent. The story is told through the eyes of one of Australia’s leading environmental scientists, Professor Richard Kingsford and the people who’ve made their lives in the arid Lake Eyre Basin.

Just a thought.

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4 thoughts on “It’s that there atom bomb…!

  1. That is a very personal response, Jim.

    Even if this is just Wikipedia, it corresponds quite well to my memory and reading.

    JQ is right to characterise the “denialist” side of the climate change debate as often proceeding from the fetishes he nominates, and Kevin from Louisiana is an almost perfect example, even if for him it is “hippies” rather than gays… It is rarely about science.

    Why do you think Quadrant is so firmly on one “side”? That isn’t about science.

    My view after much reading over the past several years is that the basics of anthropogenic global warming are just about as well established as the basics of plate tectonics, a point Naomi Oreskes makes in her various presentations about the history of the science of global warming.

    See Is there a scientific consensus on global warming?

  2. I didn’t mean “personal” with reference to me, but rather a reaction that is coloured by your own past dealings. Your post makes an interesting foil to what I’ve said.

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