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Earth Science

Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says 1657

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-can't-fool-pudge dept.
BergZ writes "Scientists from around the world are providing even more evidence of global warming. 'A comprehensive review of key climate indicators confirms the world is warming and the past decade was the warmest on record,' the annual State of the Climate report declares. Compiled by more than 300 scientists from 48 countries, including Canada, the report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its analysis of 10 indicators that are 'clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: Global warming is undeniable.'"
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Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:46PM (#33071066) Journal
    There's a really neat prototype dashboard [climate.gov] that presents data surrounding climate change in an intuitive way. And the report is here [noaa.gov] (from the second link in the summary). And I submitted a story [slashdot.org] that got rejected a few weeks ago about NOAA's announcement:

    So far, it's been a scorcher for folks all around the world. So it might come as no surprise that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a report revealing 2010 having the record for warmest June, warmest April to June and warmest year to date [noaa.gov]. The announcement [msn.com] said 'Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through June, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far.' So far we are even surpassing 1998's records which held the warmest year (despite directly contradicting reports [slashdot.org]). It certainly seems the scads of winter precipitation we enjoyed [slashdot.org] were no indication of how we would swelter through our summer this year. Will 2010 turn it around or are we set to break more records?

    Aside from that, I'm not really interested in making comments on this anymore because I'm so sick and tired of the armchair idiocy that follows (and somehow gets moderated up). Prediction: Not even 300 scientists from 48 countries and NOAA are going to convince everyone that global warming is real. At this point, I think it's just going to get worse [slashdot.org].

    • by dachshund (300733) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:54PM (#33071244)

      Aside from that, I'm not really interested in making comments on this anymore because I'm so sick and tired of the armchair idiocy that follows (and somehow gets moderated up). Prediction: Not even 300 scientists from 48 countries and NOAA are going to convince everyone that global warming is real. At this point, I think it's just going to get worse [slashdot.org].

      I think, unfortunately, that's the goal of a lot of the posting you refer to --- to frustrate reasonable people and make them get out of the business of commenting. I'd be all in favor of a reasonable, fact-based debate, but the comments on Slashdot rarely make it to that level. (I also tend to think there's a lot of multiple-account posting/moderation nonsense going on, but only the Slashdot editors themselves could prove that.)

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:04PM (#33072822) Homepage Journal

        I'd be all in favor of a reasonable, fact-based debate

        Well, that makes one of us.

    • by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:55PM (#33071276) Journal

      When do we move on from whether or not the planet is warming up to why it's warming up?

      • by Hutz (900771) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:23PM (#33073216)
        And this is the whole point. The "denialists" rarely if ever deny that we are experiencing a period of warming trends. The question has always been whether or not it is a natural phenomenon or if it is directly effected by the works of man. I, personally, am a mugwump on the issue. But I have no patience for anyone who says that they definitively know how the Earth's climate functions.
      • by daver00 (1336845) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:18PM (#33077018)

        This, for me, is THE issue, and the goddamn climate deniers are such a bunch of morons that have pissed off so many people with their stupid arguments that a thinking person cannot be openly skeptical about the popular theories anymore. The elephant in the room as I see it is that the theory of anthropogenic climate change skirts dangerously close to being completely unfalsifiable. We have no means, other than computer simulation, of teasing out whether the human contribution to CO2 emissions is tipping the system into instability, or simply being damped out and absorbed into the whole process. We won't even know in 200 years, you can't do a controlled experiment on this one. To top it off, the predictions made by the climate community are so random that its difficult to see whether you can falsify the main theory as well, the earth warms up: climate change, the earth cools down: climate change, more storms: climate change, drought: climate change. There are two truly falsifiable predictions as far as I can tell, firstly that the mean temperature is increasing (verified), and secondly that the sea levels are rising/will rise (not verified). With the former, how do you tease out the earth's natural cycle from the man-made part? The second, well we are going to have to wait a while yet, but the same question will remain when we know.

        I'm not denying climate change, far from it, I am saying that there are aspects of it that smell of bad science, and the demonisation of skepticism is a very dangerous precedent. I'm sick of the whole debate honestly, but one thing I know for certain: climate scientists, a while ago and ever since, bought into the politics of the debate, and as far as I'm concerned they can go fuck themselves if they think this is a battle that should be fought in the 'hearts and minds' of the community, or one which should be fought with and against politicians. Politics and consensus are not aspects of good science, the fact that the majority of scientists believe the theories says absolutely nothing about the science. There was a time when the majority of scientists believed the earth to be flat, there was once a consensus that we won't find particles smaller than an atom. Science has nothing to do with consensus! This is a dangerous idea.

        There is one more thing I am wholly certain of: There are far more pressing environmental issues than climate change, ones which we understand far more clearly, and have infinitely more capacity to reverse. That these issues have fallen to the wayside troubles me far more than the idea of living in a significantly more volatile climate.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:59PM (#33071376)

      Prediction: Not even 300 scientists from 48 countries and NOAA are going to convince everyone that global warming is real.

      There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

      1. humans are causing it

      2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

      Thats really were the terminology gets muddled. As soon as you use the catch phrase "global warming" you're assumed to be talking about "man made global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels which has released to many greenhouse gases into the atmosphere." If we could somehow seperate the two, and we can't because (especially in the United States) liberals are ONLY concerned with the man-made "portion" of the effect, the abrasiveness of the discussions would decrease and minds would be more open.

      In short, trying to cram one possible-truth at a time down someone's throat is significantly easier than two.

      • by samkass (174571) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#33072130) Homepage Journal

        There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

        1. humans are causing it

        It is nice we've made progress on this front. 15 years ago the argument REALLY WAS that Global Warming didn't exist at all. 10 years ago they were still trying to manipulate the data to make it seem like there was a localized "cooling trend" beginning. Now we've FINALLY reached the point where we at least acknowledge it's happening and start to examine why.

        The case for anthropogenic causes is pretty strong. By scientific standards, it's stronger than many things people take for granted in astronomy or particle physics. But because politics has gotten involved and it's inconvenient, there's a natural reaction to try to explain it away with natural causes.

        2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

        I haven't seen any bills before my Congress to do anything drastic or immediate. Right now we're having a hard enough time convincing everyone that we SHOULD do something REASONABLE over DECADES to slow it down. It's worth noting that doing nothing, by many reasonable estimates, is going to be much more expensive than taking action now. We're once again mortgaging our kids' future to pay for our laziness today.

      • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:37PM (#33072212) Homepage Journal
        While the notion that

        There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up

        May be true in across this planet in general, it is sadly not true in the USA. In the USA there is still a very substantial number of people who deny global warming outright for various reasons (often nothing more than political - just wait for this story to be tagged "manbearpig" on the front page).

        (especially in the United States) liberals are ONLY concerned with the man-made "portion" of the effect

        It is almost impossible to be concerned "only" with that portion - assuming it to be significant. That would be like being concerned about second hand smoke but not lung cancer in smokers, the two are directly connected matters. Whether global warming is caused by activities of humans doesn't change the fact that global warming is having dramatic affects on all life around the world.

      • by SirWinston (54399) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:54PM (#33072606)

        There is decreasing amounts of doubt that the world is warming up. The disconnect occurs in the automatic assumption that

        1. humans are causing it

        Indeed. The problem most skeptics see isn't in the argument itself for global warming--it's in the argument, nay assumption, that it MUST be manmade. Because recent warming trends coincide with the Industrial Revolution, greens cry "It's obvious the two are connected!" and climate scientists, who have an overwhelmingly self-selected green bias (after all, the field attracts certain kinds of people), have a vested interest in minimizing the Little Ice Age and Mediaeval Warm Period and making the recent warming seem more intense and unprecedented than it actually is. If we pull back and look at a 100,000-year cycle (thanks to ice core data) instead of just the past 1,000 or 2,000 years, we see that current temperatures aren't unsurprising at all and that indeed we're overdue for warmer temperatures (overdue, because for reasonse which we still can't explain temperatures in the Holocene were relatively steady for about 10,000 years at a time when, according to the cyclical ice core temperature graph, they should have risen as they're finally doing now):

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Ice_Age_Temperature.png [wikimedia.org]

        And heck, if we look back even further with million-year timescales, we see that the Earth was significantly warmer for long geologic periods of time:

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png [wikimedia.org]

        There's just no logical reason to ascribe a majority of current climate change to anthropogenic causes.

        2. we MUST do something DRASTIC AND IMMEDIATE to stop it

        That's the one that loses most people, even those willing to assume that current warming is anthropogenic. How can we assume these changes will be bad for mankind--so bad, in fact, that possibly destroying all industrialized civilizations and dragging them back into stagnation through oppressive resource taxes is preferable to using technology to adapt? When larger timescales show such temperatures aren't unusual, where's the justification? While undeniably bad for small island nations which will be submerged, and for some poor and unstable nations which may see more instability as a result of climate change, the already-industrialized world could easily adapt, survive, and prosper. Given that, why should anyone in the already-industrialized world risk economic meltdown and chaos to avert something they can probably adapt to easily?

        For some nations, global warming may even be a big plus. While the southwestern U.S. will probably suffer, the farming belt will just shift north and the country at large will continue to prosper. Canada will benefit greatly from more usable farmland. Europe is a toss-up because ocean and air currents which currently heat it are unpredictable, so anything could happen; but no matter what does, they have the economic and industrial power to cope. Wealthy island nations like Japan will find ways to cope and build sea walls and other defenses or adaptations. China will probably see desert shifting, but increased desertification isn't a foregone conclusion especially with their rapidly-expanding industrialization and huge workforce. Russia would probably benefit.

        Indeed, it's only the third world--Africa, parts of Latin America, small island areas like Micronesia--which will certainly be negatively impacted. And while the humanitarian in me says, "It would be nice to help them," the realist in me says "Our civilizations got to the next level first. If the unadvanced civilizations wither away so that the advanced can prosper, that's how it should be."

        We are never going to get off this rock and expand into space, safeguarding our civ

        • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:07PM (#33072888) Homepage

          Indeed, it's only the third world--Africa, parts of Latin America, small island areas like Micronesia--which will certainly be negatively impacted. And while the humanitarian in me says, "It would be nice to help them," the realist in me says "Our civilizations got to the next level first. If the unadvanced civilizations wither away so that the advanced can prosper, that's how it should be."

          The little humanitarian inside you appears rather weak and malnourished. Indeed, you're probably breaking a number of international treaties concerning the humane treatment of inner humanitarians.

    • by OYAHHH (322809) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:00PM (#33071406) Homepage

      Per the "prototype dashboard", rather than tout data only back to 1950, why don't we look backwards 5 million years, because as we know more data means better predictions:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png [wikipedia.org]

      • by bunratty (545641) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:38PM (#33072238)
        The current rate of warming is 0.2 degrees Celcius. On any graph of temperatures going back millions of years, the temperature increase over the past several decades appears as a vertical line. To predict the rate of warming over the next century, it would be more informative to use a graph of the past century [wikipedia.org] or so.
      • by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:01PM (#33072758)

        Correct me if my back-of-the-envelope estimate here is wrong.

        Just looking at some readily-available graphs of recent temperature averages, it looks like there's a change of 0.8 C in somewhere between 100 and 150 years. That's about 0.005 C/yr (using 150 years). (NOAA claims the rate for the past 50 years is 0.013 C/yr.)

        The graph you link notes two areas of interest: a time period with 41 kyr cycles and a time period with 100 kyr cycles. The maximum oscillations during the former appear to be about 5-6 C; during the latter, about 8 C. Using 6 C for the shorter cycle and approximating a "cycle" as taking one-half the period (20 kyr and 50 kyr) to vary between the maximum and minimum, I get temperature change rates of 0.0003 C/yr and 0.0002 C/yr. That's a solid order of magnitude lower rate than the effect that is described as "global warming".

        It seems very reasonable to estimate that the decidedly natural effect(s) responsible for the periodic temperature change in the graph you link to account for no more the 5-10% of the temperature change referred to as "global warming".

        Sometimes a little quantification is useful.

    • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:18PM (#33071836)

      I can't find the link so hopefully someone will provide the proper link before I get troll moderated to death.

      Personally, I believe GW is real. I'm just not convinced that man is entirely behind it. And to date, I've not read one account which addresses the problem of the most accurate data in the world (US data) being so inaccurate as to be useless. These scientists then take this data to derive information which they then use to prove a conclusion. When sadly, if the conclusion is anything other than our data is invalid, the only thing they've proved is they are extremely poor scientists who don't grasp the very fundimentals of scientific research.

      The problem is, the US has tons of sensors all across the US. Many have been in place for extremely long durations. That sounds great until you discover that almost no one validates the location and integrity of the sensor yet continue to blindly accept the data on which all of this research depends. Worse, independent volunteers who do go validate these sensors are horrified at what they find. And yes, they do document their findings with diagrams and pictures. Again, hopefully someone will provide the link to which I refer.

      Many times the findings document sensors which were once in a field are now in the middle of a paved parking lot, or literally next to an A/C exhaust for a building, or receiving radiant heat for an endless list of man made factors which absolutely invalidate the sensor's readings. As a result, the readings are verifiable much higher than would otherwise exist. Additionally, the rise attributed to man by GW falls well within the noise provided by these very erroneous readings.

      In other words, these "scientists" are finding a signal from known invalid data, which does not rise above its noise level. This type of science is what is universally called, "quackery", and yet that's largely the basis of a vast amounts of GW research. Until credible researches step forward and both, address how they can get valid data from invalid data and two, can come to inescapable conclusions based on invalid research and data, they only continue to dig their quack-hole deeper.

      Man may very well be behind GW, but to date, most if not all research supporting a man-made GW conclusion is compete quackery. Address the validity of their data and then they'll have my attention. Until such time, we have every reason to view them as grant-whores and science-for-hire. They are their own worst enemies.

    • by Tangential (266113) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:22PM (#33071918) Homepage
      I don't think there is much doubt that global warming is real. The Earth has experienced both global warming and global cooling many times in its past.

      The real (and unanswered) question is whether or not the current global warming is anthropogenic. Since past global warmings were not, there's not a lot of reason to believe that this one is. CO2 levels have been higher in the past, atmospheric water vapor has been higher in the past, etc..

      If the climate models that indicate anthropogenic causes were correct and rigorous, we could run them retrograde and accurately model the climate of the planet for the past few millennia. Then events like the Medieval Warm Period and the Maunder Minimum would show up. To my knowledge, no one has bothered to create such a model.
      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:26PM (#33072004) Journal

        I don't think there is much doubt that global warming is real. The Earth has experienced both global warming and global cooling many times in its past.

        Okay and from the expert:

        'greenhouse gases are the glaringly obvious explanation' for 0.56C (1F) warming over the last 50 years.

        Tell me, Mr. Arm Chair Expert I Referred to in My First Post, where in this 'long history of global warming and global cooling' did the average temperature rise 0.56C (1F) a degree in 50 years?

    • by Tailhook (98486) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:40PM (#33072286)

      So far, it's been a scorcher for folks all around the world.

      released a report revealing 2010 having the record for warmest June, warmest April to June and warmest year to date

      I thought weather is not climate [thehill.com].

      I remember hearing that a lot in 2009. Don't hear it so much this year, for some reason.

  • Global Warming eh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#33071114) Homepage
    I thought they were using the less specific term 'climate change' these days.
  • Good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:48PM (#33071120) Journal

    It's been pretty cold [wikimedia.org] recently [wikimedia.org].

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:49PM (#33071122) Homepage

    "The planet is fine...the people are fucked."

  • by Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:49PM (#33071128)
    Why do I get that sick feeling that the heat from this discussion will only make the global warming problem worse?
  • by amstrad (60839) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @12:50PM (#33071158)
    All sorts of facts are denied by those who refuse to change their positions. See cognitive dissonance [wikipedia.org]
  • by wealthychef (584778) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:06PM (#33071556)
    Am I the only one who thinks news of an impending rise in sea level is brought to us by a group called "NOAA?"
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:06PM (#33071562)

    The study does not address the cause of the warming.

    We know no we have caused acid rain and the ozone hole by releasing different materials into the air.

    We know that when we mess around with our environment whether it be with lead, pcbs, dioxins or really another chemical it causes problems.

    Why do people find it so hard to believe that the incredible increase in atmospheric CO2 is not a problem?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:07PM (#33071576) Homepage

    People deny evolution. People deny global warming...

    People are incredibly good at denying that reality exists, especially when its reality they don't want to comprehend.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:10PM (#33071634)

    The word used in TFA is 'unmistakable'. Still, all things can be denied/mistaken by hardcore deniers...

    --Irrational response squad is a go!--

    Rising indicators

          1. Air temperature over land

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and the sun did it (despite the solar minimum).

          2. Sea-surface temperature

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - whales did it, we need to allow more hunting.

          3. Marine air temperature

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - underwater volcanoes must have done it.

          4. Sea-level

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - land must be getting lower, or else human sin is causing a new flood.

          5. Ocean heat

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - sonar must be messing with the equipment.

          6. Humidity

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and this is a self-correcting, perfectly natural thing.

          7. Tropospheric temperature in the 'active-weather' layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth's surface

    Denial: Measurements are wrong - and heat rises, duh!

    Declining indicators

          1. Arctic sea-ice

    Something must be eating the ice! Must be all those hungry polar bears - caused their own problems!

          2. Glaciers

    Something must be weighing them down - they're just going underwater! Perhaps all those polar bears crowding on them.

          3. Spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere

    Ha! Is it too much snow, or too little now - confused scientists don't know nuthin'!

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a congressional subcommittee to advise.

    --/Irrational response--

    It's easy to find a 'reason' to deny something, when you don't have a burden/benefit of evidence or peer review. And when all you're doing is stalling for the status quo, denial is all you need.

    Ryan Fenton

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dachshund (300733) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:11PM (#33071646)

    I had an eye-opening experience the other day over at the Oil Drum [theoildrum.com], a blog run by folks associated with the industry. Not people you'd exactly think of as being against the consumption of fossil fuels. But the gist of this posting (which had nothing to do with climate change, and received a lot of favorable commentary) was that we're deeply, deeply fucked if we think we're going to continue burning fossil fuels into our old age. The argument was specifically related to the increasing cost of extraction. (In a nutshell, there's a reason we're now getting our oil from wells a mile underwater).

    Now, the conclusion of that poster was pretty depressing, though I don't think he covered all of the options. But what struck me is that if you believe his arguments, it doesn't really matter whether you believe that humans are causing global warming. The actions we need to take now to ensure a reasonable standard of living in 40 years are exactly the same actions we need to take in order to deal with the global warming problem. Above all, to place a tax on fossil fuel consumption (and CO2 taxes do this pretty well) as a means to encourage the market to do something reasonable about the problem. The fact that we couldn't even pass the tiny little tax proposed in the recently defeated Waxman-Markey bill tells us something deeply frightening about our chances.

    What kills me about the anti-global-warming argument is that its opponents think that it really matters whether AGW exists. It doesn't matter. For either reason we need to dramatically reduce our fossil fuel consumption and develop alternative sources (efficient, cost-effective nuclear, wind, solar, etc._ just to ensure that we and our children have a chance at living a decent life in the future. There's nothing in the universe that guarantees we won't face terrible consequences for our bad decisions, just because we've had a pretty good run for the past few decades.

    • Re:Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Wonko the Sane (25252) * on Thursday July 29, 2010 @02:07PM (#33072882) Journal

      cost-effective nuclear

      We developed that back in the 1960s! Go look up the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment.

      The same assholes who have blocked further development of "4th generation" nuclear power which forced us to built a bunch of coal power plants instead are the ones pushing for cap and trade.

      Because it's always been about control.

  • by DrXym (126579) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @01:15PM (#33071768)
    Everything is deniable. Look at all the anti-vacination, intelligent design, 9/11 conspiracists. In each case they have had copious incontrovertible evidence shoved in their faces and they still parrot the same idiotic nonsense as they always did. So it is with the anti-global warming crowd. Some people will not budge from a viewpoint no matter how obviously wrong or idiotic it is demonstrated to be.

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