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2012 Another Record-Setter For Weather, Fits Climate Forecasts 336

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-cold-today-therefore-global-warming-is-invalid dept.
Layzej writes "The Associated Press reports: 'In 2012 many of the warnings scientists have made about global warming went from dry studies in scientific journals to real-life video played before our eyes. As 2012 began, winter in the U.S. went AWOL. Spring and summer arrived early with wildfires, blistering heat and drought. And fall hit the eastern third of the country with the ferocity of Superstorm Sandy. Globally, five countries this year set heat records, but none set cold records. 2012 is on track to be the warmest year on record in the United States. Worldwide, the average through November suggests it will be the eighth warmest since global record-keeping began in 1880 and will likely beat 2011 as the hottest La Nina year on record. America's heartland lurched from one extreme to the other without stopping at "normal." Historic flooding in 2011 gave way to devastating drought in 2012. But the most troubling climate development this year was the melting at the top of the world. Summer sea ice in the Arctic shrank to 18 percent below the previous record low. These are "clearly not freak events," but "systemic changes," said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany. "With all the extremes that, really, every year in the last 10 years have struck different parts of the globe, more and more people absolutely realize that climate change is here and already hitting us."'"
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2012 Another Record-Setter For Weather, Fits Climate Forecasts

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  • by schlachter (862210) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:22PM (#42361183)

    on the bright side..."end of the world" forecasts were proven wrong when things seemed to go on as normal today...leading end of the world theorists to re-evaluate their models.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:24PM (#42361221) Homepage Journal

    A lot of people's expectations for the consequences of global warming is the sudden deaths of hundreds of thousands, not wide-ranging low-grade economic impacts that risk hundreds of millions in property damage and puts a strain on global food supply.

    We're trained to notice disaster, not statistical drift. There will never be the "event" from global warming, which means denial will continue as the costs keep ramping up.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:38PM (#42361387) Journal

      A lot of people's expectations for the consequences of global warming is the sudden deaths of hundreds of thousands, not wide-ranging low-grade economic impacts that risk hundreds of millions in property damage and puts a strain on global food supply.

      We're trained to notice disaster, not statistical drift. There will never be the "event" from global warming, which means denial will continue as the costs keep ramping up.

      A second dust bowl would be an "event" and it's a possibility if we enter into a many year drought. Hell, Texas alone lost half a billion trees in the current drought [grist.org] and it's at $8 billion and counting [statesman.com]. If that drought rolls into next year and they have a dry winter followed by another drought ... well, the topsoil those half billion trees were holding down will be dry and loose. Bad condition worsens and you could be looking at an "event" as meat prices rise in the US.

      You might not remember the dirty thirties [wikipedia.org] but my midwestern grandparents talk about it like it was death for everything.

      • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:21PM (#42361949)

        Unless there is some *serious* (like, freeking flooding!) Torrential downpouring here in the plains states before the next summers dry spell, it *will* blow.

        Trenching crews reporting dry soil 4 ft down (over a meter), that can't cling to the trenching blade at all due to its dryness should be important to you, if you like to at food, and live in the US.

        This whole winter, in my area it has: lightly drizzled once. Rained once with 2in precip, snowed once with 1in precip.

        After a protracted summer drought season that killed corn and soy crops.

        If this continues, planting will *NOT* be successful, soil cover will not recover, and seasonal wind changes will blow the top soil, 1930s style.

        So yeah. Tell me about how you are prepared with your air conditioners some more here people. For real.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        Here's a nation wide drought map [plantmaps.com] based on soil moisture measurments evaluated agains annual mean values.

        See anything disturbing? I do.

      • AFAIK the dust bowl was in large part due to the farming practices, not pollution or a drought.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          It was both.

          However, many young farmers here in flyoverland have forgotten about the dust bowl, and pulled out the windbreaks. (So they can till another 2 to 5 acres.)

          The problem with blowng dust is that it is erosive, and once it starts, it damages windbreaks and groundcover that would otherwise hold, and thus continues to blow.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      By the time we get to this levels of mass hysteria [southparkstudios.com] will be already too late... ok, already is anyway.
    • This is why its such a problem when false predictions are trumpeted across news headlines. Credibility is a really important thing right now, and as an example maybe about 10% of the people on slashdot Ive seen have any left.

      Every time someone makes a prediction that Global Warming will cause temps to rise 10 degrees next year or something absurd, it hurts the credibility of the entire "AGW" scientific community. And then people wonder why noone takes it seriously!

  • by javelinco (652113) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:26PM (#42361245) Journal
    I thought none of the climate change models allowed for accurate short term forecasting? I've been told not to expect short term forecasting (as in, the next five years, the next year, and certainly not the next few months) to be accurately predictable from the models and predictions of climate change experts. Are we working off predictions made ten years ago? I guess I'm confused as to why 2012 was perfectly on track with predictions.
    • by Cassini2 (956052)

      If in the 1980's you were predicting that the world would get noticably hotter in the 2000's, and if almost every year in the 2000's had record global temperature highs, then you might conclude that your 20 to 30 year long-term climate models aren't doing too badly.

      Yes, the models in the 1980's weren't all that accurate, and the modellers new it. However, they have had 30 years to refine those models. Ignore the science at your peril ...

    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:45PM (#42361481)

      I thought none of the climate change models allowed for accurate short term forecasting? I've been told not to expect short term forecasting (as in, the next five years, the next year, and certainly not the next few months) to be accurately predictable from the models and predictions of climate change experts. Are we working off predictions made ten years ago? I guess I'm confused as to why 2012 was perfectly on track with predictions.

      They don't. What they allow is overall statistical predictions. They cannot predict that a year will be warm or cold, only that on average these years will be colder than that (with a certain degree of probability).

      However, certain years will fit better into that statistical model than others. If you predict a .1C rise over 10 years, and next year is .01C warmer, it fits exactly with the prediction. That year is nearly meaningless, of course, next year could be a .05 rise followed by a .03 decline and the model could still be accurate over time. The only thing that you can predict with any accuracy using such models is the averages over an extended period of time, which is why when either side points at events in a single year to show evidence for or against global warming they are acting unscientifically (mind you, that may be the best way to convince people, but it's not science). You can still estimate if a year is going to be warm or cold using short-term models, but those aren't particularly relevant to the subject at hand (being by definition short-term).

  • by revscat (35618) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:27PM (#42361257) Journal

    One of the largest threats to global warming (for America at least) is the continued lowering of water levels [google.com] for the Mississippi River. Historians can correct or amend me here, but empires rise and fall on the strength of their rivers. The US is no different [stratfor.com], and should the Mississippi fail then there will be serious strategic and economic threats to the security and health of the nation.

    Not good.

    • Is that Stratfor link the Anonymous version? [guardian.co.uk]
    • by s.petry (762400)

      Where the statement's logic is bit broken, is that we no longer have dependencies on rivers for moving people and goods. While rivers are still economically cheaper than other modes of transport for "some" items, items can travel by other means (often much faster, sometimes much cheaper).

      A secondary part of your statement would have to do with agriculture. This of course is impacted differently and harder by rivers drying up. That is why we have a Government that pays people not to farm, yet maintain the

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        .... river water is *routinely* diverted for municipal watershed use, and for agricultural irrigation supplies.

        Dry rivers == dehydrated cities and dead crops.

        • by Jeng (926980)

          The good news bad news thing about that is we'll just pump more water out of the ancient aquifers that will never be replenished.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The US is no different, and should the Mississippi fail then there will be serious strategic and economic threats to the security and health of the nation.

      The Mississippi can be saved, but only at the cost of its upstream neighbors, which will lead to a mini civil war over water rights.

      But the fact is, the American people are subsidizing all that shipping on the Mississippi river anyways.
      If we took that money away from the Army Corps of Engineers and just paid it directly in the form of higher living costs, not much would change.

    • We made newer rivers.

      They're called railroads.

  • by bradley13 (1118935)

    That would be the same 2012 that continues the trend in the IPCC AR5 report [wordpress.com], which shows temperatures lower than predicted by any of the models. That ought to make people happy,, don't you think?

    That would the the same 2012 with a drought that joins many others from the past 80 years. [weather.com] Guess what, droughts happen periodically, and this one was very much a local phenomenon within central North America.

    We just survived the end of the Mayan calendar cycle. Whew. Quick, let's panic about something else!

    • That ought to make people happy,, don't you think?

      No, some people would be upset if AGW didn't cause mass upheaval, giant floods, starvation, and general destruction of civilization (as scientists have predicted).

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Friday December 21, 2012 @01:52PM (#42361555) Homepage

    'In 2012 many of the warnings scientists have made about global warming went from dry studies in scientific journals to real-life video played before our eyes

    Or "reality," as us old geezers prefer to call it.

  • by Kwyj1b0 (2757125) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:03PM (#42361703)

    Disclaimer: I am honestly not trolling here. I really wonder about this.

    TL/DR version: Can we really change our behavior, or just start planning for a worst-case scenario?

    Should we be trying to combat climate change in the sense that is it really possible? I think that, as a species, we would rather let people in the future (even if they are future versions of ourselves) deal with the problems rather than take hit in the near term for long term benefits.

    Coupled with the fact that the most populated countries have a majority of their population relatively poor, I think it is impractical to expect them to stop burning fossil fuels and force clean energy solutions that might be more expensive/impractical (I believe that the industrialized nations consume most of the energy now, but with India and China becoming more economically important and successful, they will also start consuming more energy).

    I saw the article about Thorium reactors a few days ago, but I doubt that we can stop burning things for energy in a short term. With all the infrastructure and interests of powerful groups to keep us on fossil fuels (In the words of comedian John Oliver: BP going green? Only in their logo), I don't expect major change in the near future.

    Maybe I am too cynical and need to have hope for the future, but I wonder if we shouldn't start planning backup mechanisms to permanently help people when changes happen - right now, we seem to be doing short-term "deal with this disaster now" fixes.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Realistically? Check out the CO2 emissions during the Kyoto treaty here [wikipedia.org]. The treaty parties managed to take it down a few percent while all the other countries that didn't give a shit more than doubled their emissions. And the Kyoto II negotiations have practically collapsed with only the EU and a few other small states agreeing to a new treaty, meaning 90%+ of the world population didn't. And the main increase is going to come from people wanting cars, there's a little over a billion cars in the world toda

  • by pubwvj (1045960)

    I loved the weather this year. It was our best year yet. If you're from the north country you'll appreciate global warming. Thank you to all you SUV drivers!

  • Can't stop this train called climate change now... Join the party or hide in the corner worrying about the end of all things. We all know that human kind will be on this planet for but a short while. There is no use worrying about things beyond our control. Life is too short. Now go outside and enjoy your +5 degrees centigrade above average Christmas!

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