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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The war on science continues some more: A tale of two headlines

"California Drought Is Made Worse by Global Warming, Scientists Say."  -- NYTimes Aug 2015
Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by 15 to 20 percent, scientists said on Thursday, warning that future dry spells in the state are almost certain to be worse than this one as the world continues to heat up. . . .  The paper provides new scientific support for political leaders, including President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who have cited human emissions and the resulting global warming as a factor in the drought.
"A Climate Change Warning for California's Dams."  -- NYTimes Feb 2017
Scientists have said for years that a warming atmosphere should lead to more intense and frequent storms in many regions. 
So the theory predicts that California will become drier and that it will become wetter. Is there nothing this theory cannot predict, at least after the fact?

35 comments:

  1. "So the theory predicts that California will become drier and that it will become wetter. Is there nothing this theory cannot predict, at least after the fact?"

    No. It's like (*snicker*) 'modern evolutionary theory' in that respect.

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  2. It seems completely unable to predict anything good. I even once saw an article about how Climate Change ne Global Warming was bringing life to the desert, ruining it.

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    1. Dear Mr. Lansdown,

      If the theory predicted something good, then it wouldn't be as useful for scaring people into supporting liberal policy.

      Christi pax.

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  3. Occasional intense storms are consistent with over-all, long term, dryness.

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    1. Yup. Just as occasional intense droughts may be consistent with over-all, long-term wetness. The irony here is that overall the number and intensity of the extreme storms have actually been decreasing. How much this may be due to the collapse of the Sun's magnetic field, to Dansgaard-Oeschger events, or some other factor, who knows. I recollect from back in the day that extreme stormy weather was supposedly a result of global cooling.

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  4. Or, alternatively, the end of the Quaternary Glaciation—or even just a reduction in glaciation levels—causes drastic increases in moisture, because water that used to be trapped in ice is now back in circulation.

    Any model of climate that ignores the fact we're in an Ice Age right now—normally there are no glaciers at all—is a skewed model.

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    1. That's a point that seems so obvious that I would pull out my hair if I still had enough to get a grip on. Ultimately, it's a time-frame question: "the climate" is nothing more than weather over time. So, how much time? The panic-mongers want the time frame to be decades. As soon as it becomes millennia, things get funny. As soon as it becomes millions of years, things become ridiculous. For almost all of the last 500 million years, there weren't any icecaps, from which we can deduce that the sea level and the temperatures were higher than they are now. If things get a bit warmer and melts all the ice caps - much to be preferred to the alternative, and at least a centuries-long process - it will be a return to 'normal'.

      Where we are now is a knife's edge, with a few ice caps and relatively low sea levels (but much higher than during a full glaciation). Conditions like these have obtained some tiny percentage of the time over the last 500 million years, and never for more than a few tens of thousands of years at a stretch (this is of course a best guess - as GK Cheterton mentions in another context - it is good to maintain a healthy level of skepticism in such matters.) To imagine we can keep it the way it is now is nuts.

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  5. I don't see the confusion. Have the last five years already been forgotten, with "a five-year drought of historic proportions" in California?
    The "warming atmosphere should lead to more intense and frequent storms in many regions", and it has, hasn't it? Like in New Orleans 2006. Or The Philippines 2013 (105 m/s or 230 mph winds).

    Kindest regards,
    /SpiralArmLover

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    1. New Orleans 2006 and the Philippines 2013 were NORMAL events. These things happen periodically. Both the number and the intensity of tropical storms have decreased in recent decades; but the media cover everything (which they used not to do), and they blame everything on ‘global warming’ – as if without global warming the frequency of hurricanes and typhoons would be zero.

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  6. You call 230 mph winds normal?

    You may want to check this out, and don't forget to follow the links!

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/09/13/xkcd_takes_on_global_warming.html

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    1. Normal for a major typhoon, yes. The point is that storms happen, and the frequency and intensity of them, on average, have been declining. If you want to blame global warming for an increase in the average frequency and intensity of storms, it’s like blaming the sun for being dark.

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    2. Incidentally, I do not take either Slate or XKCD as a legitimate source on science, and I’m afraid I can’t take you seriously if you do.

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    3. Do you call a 15 kiloton nuke "normal"? Because there are over 100 earthquakes involving the same amount of energy, every single year. That's more than 100 Hiroshimas per year, and we notice almost none of them.

      And as I pointed out above, any conception of "normal" for this planet's climate, that doesn't take into account that we are in an Ice Age right now, is a fundamentally flawed conception. All human civilization has existed within a highly unusual set of conditions: normally there are almost no glaciers whatsoever.

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    4. I understand that you didn't read the information and didn't follow the links. Fine. Let's just agree that scientific evidence has nothing to do with what we believe. After all, 97% of all climate scientists MAY be wrong, and the oil industry may be right.
      But let me ask you this: IF you're right and I'm wrong, what would the downside be of moving from fossil to renewable powersources anyway?

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    5. After all, 97% of all climate scientists MAY be wrong

      That's a bogus number obtained by invalid statistical sampling. Many skeptical scientists found themselves included in the 97%, for example.

      what would the downside be of moving from fossil to renewable powersources anyway?

      Intermittent power generation. Insufficient power. Increased poverty. Increased death, esp. among the poor.

      The so-called renewables are a thin soup; unless we build solar power satellites, esp. in solar-polar orbits so they're never in earth's shadow and can beam down uninterrupted solar power by microwave to rectenna farms on the ground.

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    6. Intermittent power generation. Insufficient power. Increased poverty. Increased death, esp. among the poor

      That may be true if we switch tomorrow, but with a gradual switch I can't see any of this coming true. Why would it?

      Can't guarantee the truth of the below (for one thing I think we have quite a ways to go before we reach 20% efficiency) but it's worth considering.
      http://uk.businessinsider.com/map-shows-solar-panels-to-power-the-earth-2015-9?r=US&IR=T

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    7. Why? The sun doesn't shine at night, no matter how efficient the solar cells; and the wind does not blow consistently, no matter how many wind farms the Other Environmentalists fail to block.

      We have the experience of Germany's Energiewende to inspire us. They built solar and wind capacity equal to (iirc) 31% of Germany's demand. Consequently, Germany came perilously close to shutting down several times last December. Due to the intermittence of wind and sun. The economic appeal of renewables plummets when you need to keep an entire fossil-fuel system as back-up for calm or cloudy days. That's why advocates focus on "capacity" rather than on power actually delivered. You can't run a 21st cent. first-world country with essentially 14th cent. power. (Wind and hydro were used widely during the middle ages, sufficient unto its time.)

      There is a discussion on the Energiewende here":
      https://makroskop.eu/2016/12/energiewende-am-ende/
      but it's behind a paywall, in euros; but an English translation can be found for free here:
      http://energypost.eu/end-energiewende/

      Solar power satellites delivering beamed microwave energy to rectenna farms on the ground can address the intermittency problem. And nuclear power plants can deliver watts with no CO2 emissions whatsoever. For some reason, environmentalists aren't crazy about it. I suggested SPS to some staffers when I worked on the Floyd Haskell re-election campaign, but their reaction was all sorts of woo-woo about mad scientists aiming ray guns at earth.

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    8. "Invalid statistical sampling" is Mr. Flynn being polite, incidentally; the 97% (actually 96%) number is actually just straight up lying.

      Included in the number is anyone who says "assuming for the sake of argument the climate change predictions are accurate, what would we see?". Also included is anyone who accepts any form of human influence on the climate—which, as the number indicates, almost everyone does. But there are dozens if not hundreds of competing models of what that influence is, and only a tiny minority are the doomsday scenario you're talking about. Nevertheless all of them were lumped together as if all scientists were agreed on the same model, to manufacture an illusion of unanimity to dupe the uninformed—like you.

      The reason that some people act like the whole idea is a scam, is that the people pushing it act like scammers. "We're all agreed, shut up" is not how science is supposed to work, please try to understand the actual meaning of your own faction's quaint myths, like Galileo. And unlike with Galileo (there was no actual empirical evidence of heliocentrism till centuries later), there is significant evidence that the dominant model of climate-change is wrong.

      And I notice you keep ignoring the point that we are currently in an Ice Age—the Quaternary Glaciation. Our conception of "normal" for this planet is deeply skewed.

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    9. I just noticed that the xkcd cartoon actually started just 22000 years ago. Here is a link with some older data: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record

      SF: what's the point of your last paragraph? That we shouldn't mind if the climate that was current when all the carbon that is now (used to be) buried in the ground was distributed in the atmosphere, returns? The current, cold, state works imho quite well for human life.
      And now when we've started to insult each other, I'm withdrawing from this conversation. You won't change your mind(s) even if the icecaps melted away, and I won't change my mind until they are restored to what they were 100 years ago. We'd better elect to believe the climate models that are furthest from the doomsday scenarios because if the doomsdays aretrue, we'd have to do something about it, and we wouldn't want that, would we!?

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    10. Well, if you had a right to opinions, you would know that Homo habilis, not markedly different from H. sapiens in terms of things like the climates it could survive in, lived before the Quaternary glaciation. So did almost all the extant pantherines—tigers, lions, etc., and most of the rest of the fauna familiar to us. Though there were also many other lineages (machairodonts, mastodons) that are no longer present.

      And no, actually, the reason not to believe the doomsday scenarios is that, in terms of public policy, they are—like all scenarios of the kind back to Malthus—little more than thinly-veiled advertising campaigns for vicious human-rights abuses that amount to (among other things) ethnic cleansing. Maybe if fewer of your proposed solutions involved "sterilize the brown people", you would be worth taking seriously. But since you are genocidal racists, why on Earth would we give you the benefit of the doubt?

      Then, of course, there's how hot, cold, wet, dry, windy, and calm conditions are all equally evidence for the theory. It is conceivable that that could be the case—but since in most cases it isn't, you have to explain why contradictory data all supposedly proving the same conclusion isn't just "heads I win, trails you lose".

      Someone so uneducated about basic, relevant facts of paleontology, who keeps citing comic strips and politics blogs as if they were academic sources—in support of bigotry and oppression—doesn't get to be so insufferably smug and self-righteous.

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    11. SF, February 23, 2017 at 10:52 AM
      Your second paragraph may actually be the most stupid thing I've ever read. Quite a feat considering what a racist friend of mine makes me read. Congratulations to that!

      I'm comforted by the fact that your last paragraph goes both ways.

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    12. That might mean something if you could express yourself like a literate adult (like the fact the word is "stupidest").

      And what, exactly, does your last sentence even mean? It's a fact you're both troglodytically uninformed and yet unjustifiably smug, and posture self-righteously despite being complicit in grotesque human-rights abuses throughout the Third World.

      You find it comforting to be told you have no intellectual or moral standing to keep posturing as you're doing? That's simply odd.

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    13. I would like to call you idiot, but not having English as my first language, maybe I have misunderstood the word, so I won't. What's your excuse?

      And I don't know where I advocated human-rights abuses. Please cite me (or my links) where I did that.

      The last sentence of course meant that I'm not the only smug and self-righteous bigot in this conversation.

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    14. Hey, people, play nice. No cussing.

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    15. I apologize about the "stupidest"/"most stupid" thing, then.

      But that's the only thing I apologize for. How am I a bigot, SAL?

      You advocated human-rights abuses when you, clearly almost gagging on your false sense of moral superiority, simpered out the sentence, "We'd better elect to believe the climate models that are furthest from the doomsday scenarios because if the doomsdays aretrue, we'd have to do something about it, and we wouldn't want that, would we!?"

      Because the actual "something" that it is advocated we "do", by those who (like you) are most vehement in their endorsement in the wholly implausible doomsday scenarios, is to coercively and/or clandestinely sterilize the indigenous. As I said, this argument—"keep the poor from having children or we're all doomed"—goes back in broad terms to Malthus, but in environmental ones specifically to Ehrlich's long-debunked The Population Bomb. It is a factor in the vicious population-control regime of China; it was a factor in the coercive sterilization campaign, carried out against the indigenous population and abetted by the WHO, that was among the human-rights charges filed against Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori. You knew all that history, right, when you came here and postured self-righteously at people who have forgotten more about the sciences in question than you ever knew, right?

      It doesn't matter if you don't yourself personally espouse such abuses, for the same reason that a person who rants about the Herrenmensch and the Ewige Jude cannot get off by saying they, personally, don't endorse gassing Jews. In both cases there is an ideology in question, and that ideology has blood on its hands.

      Can you grasp that? This "narrative" is tainted at the source; not only is the science deeply questionable (again, a theory for which opposite phenomena are all equally evidence, is a theory that has some explaining to do), but the policy prescriptions are the same (horrendously vile) ones that people were making before this supposed ecological crisis came along. All the ecological crisis adds is some urgency—that is, a threat, the ability to denounce the non-compliant as enemies of the community. You know that more than one actual elected official has suggested criminal charges, for people who express reservations about so much as the details of the climate change scenario, right?

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    16. Oh, exalted one, being troglodytic in appearance as well as intellect, I have to admit that I had to look up the persons you cited. With such a leap, you can add two and two and get whatever number you want. So because a person wrote about population growth 200 years ago (and your comments makes me guess what his solutions were), me stating that we'd better move from fossil to clean power, makes me a racist? And you said yourself that Ehrlich's book is debunked. Does it even have anything to do with the environment? Is there any environment friendly people who are not also nazis that advocate these theories? I never understood where Malthus stood concerning the environment - was he pro fossil or pro clean? Nuclear power maybe, even though that has problems of it's own?

      If you compare advocating clean energy with advocating solving of the Jewish problem (as I interpret your second to last paragraph), then we don't have any common ground. That is simply a dishonest way of argumenting.

      As an aside, I thought that bigot meant hypocrite, but luckily I checked it out and it means fanatic (just stating the obvious). Having learned this I must say that I think your argumentation is quite "bigoty", mixing the worst interpretations possible of your opponents' arguments while at the same time conveniently disregarding all facts that don't point in the direction you like, all the while distributing completely unrelated and unfounded accusations.

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    17. Well first off, I favor shifting away from fossil fuels for many reasons, including environmental ones; that doesn't mean I have to embrace your sub-Harold Camping millennarian cult. It is very likely that I am more committed to the environment than you are...because for me it is a matter of actual knowledge and favoring policies that work; you, on the other hand, simply uncritically accept, like a good little Cargo Cultist, any policy that's sold to you with a "eco-friendly" label, without reference to whether it actually helps. Forgive me if I incline to favor "actually effective" over "emotionally gratifying".

      And you can show me where I said anything about fossil fuels, right? Stop arguing with that straw man, it's creeping people out.

      Second, I'm not making any interpretations, they've said climate change necessitates population control. And it's simply a matter of historical fact that population control is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing. If you don't like being accused of being a fellow traveler with genocidal monsters, maybe don't make common cause with so many monsters who advocate genocide. I am sorry that was hard for you.

      You're basically still peddling a false dichotomy: either we accept the doom-and-gloom ranting of your street-preachers—and the totalitarian policy-prescriptions that follow from the ranting—or we hate the environment. Except that the apocalyptic shrieking is mostly un-evidenced and involves flatly unscientific assumptions (you better tell the paleontologists life can't exist in a world with no ice caps, they think many of them did—since there weren't any ice caps as little as 2.6 million years ago, when almost all extant species were already in existence). And then there's the fact that most of the policy prescriptions will mostly not help.

      Anything that hamstrings industrial development will just trap the developing world in a condition where it pollutes more; prosperity is what allowed the first world to stop its polluting. Poor people can't afford to care. Give any human being a choice between his children starving or dying of dysentery, and polluting the atmosphere, and he's rightly going to choose his children. The solution to environmental problems is to help infrastructure develop to the point where that choice doesn't even come up. The strangle-infrastructure-in-the-cradle over-regulation approach, favored by the watermelon movement ("green on the outside, red on the inside"), just ensures that we maximize both the amount we pollute, and the duration for which we use highly polluting methods.

      Finally...Ehrlich's book, "even have anything to do with the environment"? So...you formally renounce your right to bother the informed adults with your unintelligent ululations. I say this because if you could even work Wikipedia, you would have come across this: The Population Bomb was written at the suggestion of David Brower, the executive director of the environmentalist Sierra Club (emphasis mine). And despite being debunked, it remains extremely influential among the environmentalist "movement", because the movement doesn't actually care about the environment, it's all a front for personal profit and ideological power.

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    18. 1. Stop this! The one using the straw man is YOU! It's you who accuse me of being some kind of racist, genocidal, cultist. I have NEVER said that and certainly didn't mean that. And so far you have not said ONE WORD about policies that DO work; you have only accused me of all kinds of stupidity based on your own prejudiced assumptions about me.

      2. No, you've never mentioned fossils, but since you seemed to be so adamantly against all forms of environmental care that I assumed you were for fossils.

      3. Here is the straw man again. You're saying that being environmental friendly equals being genocidal. I don't agree!

      4. Straw man! Of course I never said that life can't exist without the ice caps. But what would life look like without them? There were no humans around to watch. If we do nothing, how many people will be killed due to famine, natural disasters, rising sea levels, and the wars that will follow?

      5. This needs not hamstring industrial development. Here is a brand new industrial branch in it's infancy. And I agree with you up to "that choice doesn't even come up". After that it's you who (if I'm interpreting correctly) says either strangle development or set it completely free. Maybe somewhere in between? Yes?

      6. And stop smearing me with that Ehrlich guy. You want to believe that all environmentalists buy into his solutions, fine, but don't include me in that. Ok? And I don't think he is a big name on my side of the Atlantic.

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    19. Dear Mr. Spiralarm,

      After all, 97% of all climate scientists MAY be wrong, and the oil industry may be right.
      But let me ask you this: IF you're right and I'm wrong, what would the downside be of moving from fossil to renewable powersources anyway?

      Ah, the true motive is revealed: global warming theory is a means to motivating the population to desire a reduced oil industry and "environmentally friendly" power sources.

      One theory to rule them all, one theory to find them; one theory to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. "Them" being the population of course. Did you ever think that, just as the same bricks can build a variety of different shapes of houses,the same facts can be used to form a variety of different theories?

      Christi pax.

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    20. Useful exercise would be to find out where that much-repeated thought-cliche of "97% of all climate scientists" came from. How was it measured? Even skeptical scientists have discovered that they have been counted among the 97%, so operational definitions of terms matter, as in any statistical analysis.

      what would the downside be of moving from fossil to renewable powersources anyway?

      a) Not enough power not enough of the time, leading to b) increased poverty. c) Despoliation of the landscape by solar arrays and wind farms, and hydroelectric dams. That someday we may learn how to get solar power at night, disperse the clouds, or command the winds to blow all the time does not make "someday" any time soon. Hence, the panic-stricken urgency to do "something" now gets in the way of doing something effective.

      Did you ever think that, just as the same bricks can build a variety of different shapes of houses,the same facts can be used to form a variety of different theories?

      Precisely.

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    21. Politifact rates the claim as "mostly true"

      http://qa.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2016/apr/04/don-beyer/don-beyer-says-97-percent-scientists-believe-human/


      Really, no matter how you cut it, the consensus of scientists who *actually study the climate for a living* is decisively in favor of the anthropogenic climate change hypothesis.


      At this point I'd say giving the self-identified skeptics equal consideration with the scientists is like giving Richard Carrier equal consideration with the ANE archaeological community.

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  7. SAL: "what would the downside be of moving from fossil to renewable powersources anyway?"

    Flynn "Intermittent power generation. Insufficient power. Increased poverty. Increased death, esp. among the poor."

    We could ask Ted Kennedy if thouse are sound considerations, but he'd dead.

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  8. "And no, actually, the reason not to believe the doomsday scenarios is that, in terms of public policy, they are—like all scenarios of the kind back to Malthus—little more than thinly-veiled advertising campaigns for vicious human-rights abuses that amount to (among other things) ethnic cleansing. Maybe if fewer of your proposed solutions involved "sterilize the brown people", you would be worth taking seriously. But since you are genocidal racists, why on Earth would we give you the benefit of the doubt?"

    Because they've updated their "message" -- now it's "Kill all the white people"

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    1. They haven't stopped one iota of their aggressive "population control" (=ethnic cleansing) campaigns, though, in places like Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.

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  9. Really, no matter how you cut it, the behavior of credentialed ideologues-and-corporate-welfare-queens who *actually shriek the climate for a living* is decisively in favor of the hypothesis that anthropogenic climate change does not really concern them.


    At this point I'd say giving the self-identified global warm-mongers equal consideration with the scientists is like giving Richard Carrier equal consideration with the ANE archaeological community.

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