Global warming forecast ... from 1981

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fennel
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby fennel » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:28 pm

But don't all these hundred-year weather events make you feel really old?

Meade
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:02 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:I kinda regret making that post anyway, since I don't really like to do name-calling.

You're free to apologize.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby ArturoBandini » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:06 pm

Meade, I am sorry for calling you a dumbass.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:12 pm

ArturoBandini, apology accepted.

rabble
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby rabble » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:51 pm

Dammit Arturo, at least you could have admitted he actually WAS a fucking dumbass but you feel bad about saying so.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Detritus » Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:28 am

rabble wrote:Dammit Arturo, at least you could have admitted he actually WAS a fucking dumbass but you feel bad about saying so.

You gotta learn to do the not-really-an-apology that has become so popular. You know, "Meade, I'm sorry if you felt bad that I pointed out you were being a dumbass." All the cool kids do it that way anymore.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:23 am

acereraser wrote:I am no climatologist, but one thought occurred to me when we were breaking the temp. records a few weeks ago. It was very nearly as warm about a hundred years ago. Again, I am no expert, but it seems to me that we are enjoying a hundred-year warm spell, in much the same way we suffered through hundred-year flood conditions a few years ago. So, yeah, I think it's weather fluctuation, not climate change.


There were several very warm years in Wisconsin in the early 20th century -- 1921 and 1931 were especially warm. But they were interspersed with very cold years as well. In contrast, the 2000s have had sustained high temperatures with relatively few "cold" years (though 2008 was quite a bit colder than average). So on average the past decade is the warmest in Wisconsin's temperature record.

Wisconsin represents about 0.03% of the surface area of the earth, and a couple of extra warm weeks in that 0.03% are not particularly surprising. The globe is warming [see the first post of this thread], and so on average there will tend to be more abnormally warm periods and fewer abnormally cold ones. But there's a lot of random weather "noise" superimposed on the climate "signal", and so there are very, very few cases where you can attribute a specific heat wave directly to climate change.

The Russian heatwave of 2010 is a good example. It was not completely outside the bounds of what could occur given natural climate variability, but the odds of a similar heatwave are much higher today than they were in the past, due to anthropogenic global warming.

Here's a good way to think about things like last month's warmth: It's not proof of global warming, just an example of where we're going. Scientists accept the idea that burning fossil fuels will warm the climate, not because they noticed a sudden freakishly warm period and decided it must be caused by CO2, but because some basic facts of physics and geochemistry and atmospheric science tell you that all else being equal, more CO2 leads to a reduction in outgoing longwave thermal radiation and, of necessity, an increase in the temperature of the atmosphere.

A warm month like March is just a preview of what will be a much more common March in Wisconsin later this century. An abnormally cold month (like July 2009 in Wisconsin?) is a reminder of how things used to be, more often, in our grandparents' time.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:03 am

Related, and in the news now:Also, a new study by UW's own Steve Vavrus is getting a lot of attention this week. (Disclaimer: I know Steve slightly and think he's an absolutely great guy and a fine scientist). It looks at the effect that a warming Arctic has on the jet stream, and thus on mid-latitude weather patterns.

Here's a nice summary of Steve's paper, and here's a link to the paper itself (probably paywalled).

It's possible that this phenomenon might help explain the March heat wave. From the discussion of this paper at ClimateCentral:

The jet stream, the study says, is becoming “wavier,” with steeper troughs and higher ridges. Weather systems are progressing more slowly, raising the chances for long-duration extreme events, like droughts, floods, and heat waves.

“[The] tendency for weather to hang around longer is going to favor extreme weather conditions that are related to persistent weather patterns,” said Francis, the study’s lead author.

One does not have to look hard to find an example of an extreme event that resulted from a huge, slow-moving swing in the jet stream. It was a stuck or “blocking weather pattern” – with a massive dome of high pressure parked across the eastern U.S. for more than a week – that led to the remarkable March heat wave that sent temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast soaring into the 80s. In some locations, temperatures spiked to more than 40 degrees above average for that time of year.

The strong area of high pressure shunted the jet stream far north into Canada. At one point during the heat wave, a jetliner flying at 30,000 feet could’ve hitched a ride on the jet stream from Texas straight north to Hudson Bay, Canada. In the U.S., more than 14,000 warm-weather records (record-warm daytime highs and record-warm overnight lows) were set or tied during the month of March, compared to about 700 cold records.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby gargantua » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:09 am

And the flip side of this is that there will occasionally be an extreme cold event of lengthy duration, as happened in Northern Europe this winter. Could as easily been us. The difference is, the dice are gradually becoming more loaded in favor of warmer events. As kurt has been saying all along, just watch where the long term averages are going.

Meade
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:20 am

Alright, all you anthropogenic global warming true believers, given: it is occurring and has been since 1981. What should we do about it? (besides just making posts about it on internet forums, I mean)

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby snoqueen » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:19 pm

This probably deserves its own topic, but I'll go first:

-- super insulated my entire house, foam-in-place, cutting my heat bill drastically;

-- new high energy efficiency windows and doors;

-- 97% efficiency furnace, brand new hi-efficiency water heater (but not on-demand, wish I'd done that);

-- trying to use car only once a week weather permitting, bike and bus instead (this works better than I thought it would);

-- eating vegetarian food with a strong preference for local and organic.

-- pretty much dropped out of consumer culture, buying recycled and used to fill needs wherever possible.

Next up: solar panels for electric generation? I'm waiting for the price to drop further, but the roof has an unshaded south exposure so I'd be crazy not to use it.

I highly recommend the Green Madison program, incidentally. I believe residential and family energy conservation is one of the best places for us as individuals to start, and Green Madison (a federally funded program) gave me a lot of help. I believe it should be continued and expanded. It also supports jobs for lots of local building trades.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby doppel » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:48 pm

Now just get the 1.3 billion people in China to do the same and it still won't make any difference. But if it makes you feel good, knock yourself out.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:59 pm

Image

Meade
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:21 pm

snoqueen wrote:Next up: solar panels for electric generation? I'm waiting for the price to drop further, but the roof has an unshaded south exposure so I'd be crazy not to use it.

I feel confident that, before purchasing them, you will research those (probably made in China) solar panels to make sure no child labor, water, air, or light pollution was involved in their manufacture, that the workers were in no way exploited and have the right to seek safe working conditions and fair pay through collective bargaining. And that the panels were delivered to you by Bicycle Federal Express.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Bland » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:05 pm

That's right, Meade - if it ain't a perfect solution, it's no help at all and we might as well all just keep on doing what we've been doing.

Sigh.


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