Sunday, April 24, 2016

Adirondack Climate Change: Deluges In The Forecast

Tropical Storm Irene destroyed or damaged many buildings in Keene and other hamlets in 2011.Photo by Nancie BattagliaA few years ago, Paul Smith’s College scientist Curt Stager came across a rare find that he says helps tell the story of climate change in the Adirondacks: the journal of Bob Simon, a retired engineer and longtime resident of Cranberry Lake.

Simon, who died in 1991, kept a meticulous journal with entries for temperature, wind direction, barometric pressure, water level, ice cover, when loons arrived, and when thunderstorms occurred. He made entries twice a day, morning and night, for the last thirty-two years of his life. Stager received the journal from someone who found it in Simon’s former home, years after the man died.

Stager was particularly interested in the entries on thunderstorms because they are not recorded by automated weather stations. Thunderstorms are a form of extreme weather and one of the rain events that are expected to happen more often in the future, he said. Stager hasn’t found any other thunderstorm records in the Adirondacks. He gave the weather records to a group of his students, who analyzed the data for their senior project.

The students found that thunderstorms tended to increase in the period covered by the journal. For instance, from 1969 to 1979, there were between four and nine thunderstorms per year, except in 1973, when there were sixteen. From 1980 to 1989, there were between ten and seventeen, except in 1982, when there were eight.

“Climate modelers have proposed that thunderstorm activity should increase as the world warms, and Bob Simon’s data support that claim,” Stager said. As the frequency of thunderstorms increases, he added, people can expect to see heavier downpours and more flooding, lightning strikes, and destructive winds. Climate change is also creating more unstable weather patterns, so the temperatures are fluctuating to extreme highs and lows more than in the past. In addition, more drought periods are expected, not just extreme rainstorms. The moderate rainstorms are declining.

One of the main reasons that more extreme rainstorms are happening is that rising temperatures lead to more and heavier rainstorms. That’s because warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air can.

Northeast Regional Climate Center Director Arthur DeGaetano said his data have shown a discernible trend over the last fifty years in the frequency of heavy rainfalls — those with more than two inches of rain.

“That’s projected to continue through this current century,” said DeGaetano, who is based at Cornell University. National data, he said, have shown that “things like two-inch-rainfall events have been increasing across the country, but the Northeast really sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of having the greatest, the most pronounced trend.”

DeGaetano said scientists are still trying to figure out why the Northeast is experiencing more big rainstorms than other regions.

Scientists say climate change has been occurring for at least a century. Between 1895 and 2011, the average annual temperature in the Northeast increased nearly two degrees, while the average annual precipitation increased about five inches, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment.

Temperatures are expected to go up faster this century. If carbon-dioxide emissions continue to rise, a warming of an additional four and a half to ten degrees is projected by the 2080s. If emission rates are reduced substantially, the temperature is still projected to increase three to six degrees.

PrintDeGaetano’s work for the National Climate Assessment found that historic storms, known as hundred-year storms, appear to be happening on an average of once every sixty years in the Northeast. He also has researched storms that occurred just in New York State. He told the Adirondack Explorer that projections across the state were consistent with the northeastern ones and that it didn’t vary much whether the region was Buffalo, Long Island, or the Adirondacks.

“I think a part of the increase in rainfall we see with climate change is that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapor,” he said. “Where the atmosphere is typically colder, it holds less vapor. So a little bit of warming in a cold atmosphere can have a bigger effect than a greater amount of warming in an atmosphere that is already warm. If I didn’t go across the State of New York but went from Florida to Vermont or something like that I would expect to see a bigger change in a place like Vermont than Florida.”

The Adirondacks has seen a number of major storms and floods in recent years. Floods often occur in spring when heavy rains combine with snowmelt. The amount of runoff into streams and rivers will be even greater if soils are saturated or frozen. Flooding also can be exacerbated by ice jams on waterways.

In April and May of 2011, there were many floods along the Hudson, Saranac, and Raquette rivers. The Raquette River near Piercefield reached five-hundred-year flood status. At North Creek, the Hudson peaked at 13.65 feet on April 28, breaking the record set in 1948 by about a foot and a half. Records for that gauge go back to 1907. Lake Champlain also hit historically high levels that spring and remained in flood stage for weeks.

The flooding occurred when it rained nearly three inches in forty-eight hours starting on April 26. During that period, temperature rose to seventy-eight degrees, triggering rapid snowmelt in the mountains.

wall at Fred’s Auto Repair near Ausable ForksBig storms can also occur in fall, often as a result of hurricanes or tropical storms. The most recent example is Tropical Storm Irene, which was downgraded from a hurricane before reaching the Adirondacks in August 2011. Irene caused a tremendous amount of damage to communities in the Ausable River watershed, including Keene, Keene Valley, and Jay. Not only did the river swell, but many small tributaries became raging rivers and jumped their banks. The storm destroyed 30 homes in Essex County and damaged 86 others.

The state Department of Transportation has begun making preparations for future storms. Last summer, it replaced seven bridges in the town of Keene with this in mind. The new bridges are wider and higher to allow more water to pass under. They also have stronger foundations. Meanwhile, local and county highway departments replaced culverts along the West Branch of the Ausable last summer with ones that allow for passage of more water.

These types of adaptation strategies for dealing with severe flooding are also outlined in the 2014 New York Rising Community Reconstruction Plan for the towns of Jay and Keene that came about because of Irene. This report also notes the type of ecological harm that flooding can do. Aquatic habitat and riparian corridors suffer damage. Significant bank and soil erosion occurs, including landslides. This causes more fine sediment to get into rivers, which can harm habitat for fish and other aquatic species. Invasive species spread through flooding and also from work that occurs later on by highway departments as soil is moved around.

In addition, wastewater-treatment plants are built near rivers and can be flooded during these storms, causing effluent to get into waterways. That happened in the spring of 2011 when Saranac Lake’s wastewater plant was overwhelmed by the Saranac River.

The National Climate Assessment also notes the Northeast is prone to extreme changes in temperature and heavy snowfall. Climate models have shown that these type of events are expected to increase, but scientists also say there is a great deal of uncertainty about what to expect.

“The old practice of looking at the past and using that as a guide to the future is clearly out the window,” DeGaetano said. “We’re in this period of time when the observed data and the projections for the future show kind of the climate evolving and changing and changing quite rapidly.”

Heavy rainstorms lead to landslides.

house on Little Porter Mountain was condemned after a mudslide.Photo by Nancie BattagliaOne of the consequences of more severe rainstorms is the potential for more landslides, according to the 2014 New York State Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Landslides are a rare occurrence in the Adirondacks. They typically occur in the backcountry after the soil on steep slopes gets saturated after a heavy rain. The soil and vegetation slide down the mountain, leaving a bedrock scar, or slide.

During Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011, at least sixteen new slides were created, including ones that buried parts of the Orebed Brook Trail and Southside Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. A landslide covered a section of the trail through Avalanche Pass in 1999 as a result of heavy rains associated with Hurricane Floyd.

Perhaps the slowest landslide in New York State was recorded on Little Porter Mountain in Keene Valley in May 2011. State geologists found that the eighty-two-acre mass of mud was moving downhill at a rate of six inches to two feet per day. The unusually slow-moving slide was triggered by excessive groundwater stemming from heavy rain and snow of that year. No one was injured, but a few homes were damaged.

One of the most serious situations involving landslides occurred in June 1963 when a localized storm caused landslides on Giant Mountain. The mud, trees, and debris from the storm covered cars, campsites, and a portion of Route 73.

The Hazard Mitigation Plan says the regions of eastern Essex and southern Franklin counties are among the most susceptible to landslides in the state. Only two areas are listed as more vulnerable: the Hudson River valley, from Saratoga County to Westchester County, and Niagara Falls.

December was a hot one.

Workers scramble to build Saranac Lake’s ice palace before this year’s winter carnival.Photo by Mike LynchThe month of December was the warmest on record in the Adirondacks, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In Saranac Lake, the average temperature for the month was thirty-four degrees, which was fifteen degrees above normal.

The temperatures were so high this winter that Saranac Lake was unable to finish its ice palace by the first day of the annual Winter Carnival. For several days before the carnival, the structure was covered with a blue tarp to protect it from rain. In Wilmington, a World Cup freestyle skiing event was canceled because Whiteface Mountain didn’t have enough snow for the event.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brooke Taber attributed this winter’s warm weather in the Adirondacks to a shift in the polar jet stream and to climate change. Although this is an El Nino year and El Nino weather patterns can cause the polar jet stream to move north, Taber noted that not all El Nino winters in the Northeast are warm.

“Normally, the polar jet is down across our area … providing us with frequent bouts of arctic or modified artic air,” said Taber, who is based in Burlington. “This year, for the most part, it’s been well north up in central Canada, near Hudson’s Bay.”

The warm winter coincided with rising temperatures around the world. Average global temperatures in 2015 were the highest in modern history, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The record temperatures in 2015 beat the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees. Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much. Records have been kept since 1880.

Most of the warming came about in the past thirty-five years. Fifteen of the sixteen warmest years on record occurred since 2000.

However, the warming trend didn’t hold true for the entire year in the Adirondacks, where the average temperature in the first few months of 2015 was lower than usual. “We had several really cold outbreaks in January and February,” Taber said. “We were sort of the exception, rather than the rule.”

Photos from above: Tropical Storm Irene destroyed or damaged many buildings in Keene and other hamlets in 2011, by Nancie Battaglia; Graphic by Jerry Russell; Wall at Fred’s Auto Repair near Ausable Forks shows the high-water marks, by Kenneth Aaron; a house on Little Porter Mountain condemned after a mudslide, by Nancie Battaglia, Workers scramble to build Saranac Lake’s ice palace before this year’s winter carnival, by Mike Lynch.

This story originally appeared in the Adirondack Explorer, a nonprofit newsmagazine devoted to the protection and enjoyment of the Adirondack Park. Get a full print or digital subscription here


Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at mike@adirondackexplorer.org.




72 Responses

  1. Larry Roth says:

    You know, it seems to me that tearing out a working railroad for more snowmobiling and a glorified bike path is probably not a good idea when the area needs to keep its options open with the climate changing.

    This past winter with no snow is going to become the norm, not the exception. Outdoor recreation that is vulnerable to extreme weather is not a good foundation for long term economic development. More rainy days are going to be a damper on trail use of all kinds, not just the rail trail – but the trains can run rain or shine barring washouts. Of course the local highways aren’t exactly flood proof either.

    If climate change was mentioned at all during the hearings over the Alternative 7 proposal, it didn’t show up in the record. You can not even find the words climate change in the final version approved by the APA in February. You’d almost think someone didn’t want the subject brought up at all.

    • Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

      Then again, a warmer climate means more weeks when bicycling would be a good use for the rail corridor. I don’t think this article is the place to debate the rail/trail issue, but if you insist, so will I.

      • Larry Roth says:

        Actually Mr. Goodwin this article is exactly the place to debate the rail/trail issue because it is directly relevant to climate change.

        As the article points out, the state is having to take steps to be ready for climate change. It’s actually required to include it in any environmental impact statements by its own regulations – which have been ignored in the rail/trail amendment to the UMP.

        The calculated economic benefits are invalid if winters continue to shorten and warm up. It’s not just snow mobiles; all of the winter-based activities that drive the local economy will be affected. You say it will be more weeks for cycling – but you don’t know because no one has looked.

        If it turns out plans for the railroad and the trail have to account for more rainfall, that too affects the cost estimates. What kind of surfaces will be needed to best cope with changing climate, will culverts have to be enlarged, what will need to be budgeted for washouts… Again, did anyone look?

        I can understand why you want no more debate Mr. Goodwin, because you got the decision you wanted – but a decision based on incomplete and deliberately omitted considerations is ipso facto a bad decision.

        This article points out that climate change is locked into the forecast; failing to take it into account on the rail/trail decision is in marked contrast to the actions by the state elsewhere described above. Considering the long term affects of removing irreplaceable infrastructure for a glorified bike path, that’s not a trivial matter when everything is going to be affected.

        • Smitty says:

          I think that trains done left the station. Time to accept the compromise and move on.

          • Larry Roth says:

            Well, however you feel about the decision, here’s what you are getting if you just move on:
            1) You show you are willing to tolerate a deliberately flawed process.
            2) You have to accept the consequences that will follow from it.
            3) You should be wondering where else corners are being cut and rules are being bent.
            4) You can’t complain “Government always messes things up” if you can’t be bothered to do anything to hold government accountable.

            • Todd Eastman says:

              Seems like a great idea to channel most of the Park visitors to Utica to access the goods by rail…

              … now there’s some burnt fossil fuel!

              • Larry Roth says:

                It makes even more sense when you realize the bike path people expect everyone to show up by car to ride their bikes. Most of them don’t seem to know they can bring their bikes on the train.

            • Bruce says:

              Larry Roth,

              Frankly, I don’t see any change in the plan at this late date. Oh sure, it’s possible that someone in a high place might have a change of heart, but how likely do you realistically think that is? Whether you like it or not, whipping a dead horse will not make it get up.

              It is time to move on, and start planning the next step.

              This reminds me of the I-26 highway connector in my area. We have the only interstate highway which forces through traffic onto a busy city street because every time plans for construction come out, the naysayers always bring up their pet peeves about it, causing the weak-minded in DOT to back up.

              This has been going on for over 10 years now. Is that what you want, a situation in which every delay costs you tax dollars with nothing being accomplished?

              Personally, I want a government which comes up with a workable plan (there’s no such thing as a perfect plan) and gets on with it, not a government that changes its mind every time someone or some self-serving group squeals.

    • Boreas says:

      Larry,

      Do you feel a 12-month mud season is going to attract a lot of people to come experience the mud and blackflies by rail? I agree with Tony & Smitty – trying to scuttle the Trail/Rail compromise in this discussion is off-topic.

      • Larry Roth says:

        You know, you have a gift for making the trail sound attractive – 12 months of mud and black flies when you could be riding in comfort instead?

        More to the point, if there was no consideration of climate change, you have to wonder how good the plans for the trail are going to be. Not off topic at all; climate change touches everything.

        • Boreas says:

          Riding in comfort to do what? Just ride around? Most people come to the Park to see the Park, not ride a train. I can do that in my car and access many more areas in the park than the train ever will – and on my own schedule. Remsen to Tupper should be plenty for rail enthusiasts.

          • Larry Roth says:

            So? What you are talking about doing does not require ripping up the tracks at all.

            Not everyone wants to drive, the train takes you through places you can’t get to by car, and there’s more to the railroad above and beyond riding it.

            And who says riding the train and seeing the park are mutually exclusive?

    • Curt Austin says:

      Fair points, but how about we have the trail, and issue free umbrellas to all visitors on rainy days so they can visit shops? Why was this approach never mentioned during the hearings?

      (Caution: This note was composed on equipment often used to process sarcasm.)

  2. George L. says:

    The Mohonk Preserve in Ulster County has 120 years of continuous weather records.

    http://www.mohonkpreserve.org/weather-data

  3. Chris says:

    Is there any easy year-by-year comparison charts or tables on basic things like temperature, rainfall, snowfall, storms, etc?

    The climate ‘debate’ isn’t much of one if we only use vague terms, distance occurrences and political positions.

    We could really use easy to understand, local benchmarks so we reduce opinion and noise.

    • Big Burly says:

      The Museum in Tupper Lake has an interactive display where a person can access the benchmarks you’re looking for. Prof. Stager had a hand in making the display relevant to the ADKs.
      As for the rail trail debate … it is far from a settled matter folks. Mr. Roth is quite right about the total neglect of climate change in the development of Alt 7 — an important issue that DEC regs and mandates require of all policy planning issues now.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      There is no shortage of local benchmarks in the reporting we’ve been doing for years, but more specifically in the pieces that Mike Lynch has been writing recently.

      Even in this story are solid numbers that go far beyond “vague terms, distance occurrences and political positions”.

      For example: “Between 1895 and 2011, the average annual temperature in the Northeast increased nearly two degrees, while the average annual precipitation increased about five inches, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment.”

      You can find a lot more in the stories here: http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/tag/climate-change

      • Chris says:

        I appreciate your sentiment, but from a data, marketing and psychology perspective, giving a 110 year range and a small variance doesn’t do much in terms of “selling” a fact.

        While I appreciate the sentiment, this article really is very thin on impactful data, which is the problem. There is no solid basis to found a discussion on.

        If you said that the average temperature has risen each year by X, and the snowfall has decreased by Y and the skier days have commensurately decreased by Z, then we can all discuss the impact of the warming and the economic value (if that is a concern).

        It’s remarkable how little thought goes into how climate change is being communicated and discussed. People seem to want to avoid common ground. And certainly climate change isn’t being well communicated if it can be called a hoax as often as it does.

        Does 2 degrees in 116 years means anything to most people? Does a city 200 miles away getting wet in 50 years make people care? No.

        But if you say, the reason we can’t pave the roads in town is because the skier tax revenues are down because of this chart and these numbers.

        Or if you say, we have to increase our budget because the bridge will be washed out again in 5 years, that makes sense to people.

        • John Warren John Warren says:

          Chris,

          I think putting it all into a meme for folks who don’t understand is a laudable goal, but that’s not our role.

          What is our role is to report on the various impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks, and I believe we’ve done that more than anyone. Over the past several months alone Mike has written what is known about the impact of climate change on our winter economy, on our winter sports culture, on our infrastructure, on local fisheries, and on birds. We’ve also had stories about many aspects of climate change going back 10 years, including art history, ice climbing, landslides, stormwater, invasives species and slime mold. We’ve had numerous stories about climate change’s impact on wildlife of all kinds, maple sugaring operations, lake ice, phenology of various ecological communities, weather, and more. We’ve put it in cultural, ecological, historical, and political context.

          I suggest putting your request to folks who are advocating around the issue of climate change, it’s a great idea.

      • Chris says:

        Can you name some “local benchmarks”? The link you provided shows lots of anecdotal stories, that can also be written in either direction.

        No where is the an easy chart to show how things have changed, so that we can point to a set of numbers that show a clear danger. You think you are talking science, but people hear stories. Science has to tell a story that people “get”. 100 year spans, two weeks later lake freeze and anecdotes don’t do it.

        In all this talk, and economic and social consequence, no one has presented a local snowfall and temperature chart that shows how things have changed in 20 years (that shows a trend) which we can all discuss. Seems like that would be easy to do.

        • Marc Wanner says:

          For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. — H. L. Mencken

          You can’t reduce everything to simple. Some stuff is just complicated and/or uncertain.

    • Curt Austin says:

      Neither you nor I have any hope of understanding climate science. I trust the experts – what else can I do? You dismiss them – it’s all just mass hysteria.

      Before the subject came up, I think you had a political orientation, one that favored deregulation, friendly policies towards business, Reagan’s meme “government is the problem not the solution”. Those things are part of your identity. None of us can escape this sort of thing.

      But early on, climate change was adopted as a defining part of that identity. Big mistake: like Catholicism in Galileo’s time, you can easily get caught out as wrong in the scientific realm. Do you not sense this danger, both to your identity and to the planet?

  4. Harry says:

    More and more global warming panic….. (or is it climate change now?) Are Boston, NYC and Philly underwater now?? Al Gore said so!! OH NO !!! Let’s all buy a Prius! Let’s all put solar panels on our roofs!! OOOOH NOOOOOO!!!!!

    Let’s stop the hysteria. It’s all a load of crap. All the “experts” that are feeding this hysteria are federally-financed “scientists” who don’t want to lose their funding, of course they are going to sing the song that the federal alarmists want them to sing. Stop listening to Oprah and calm the heck down. Mother Earth is still going to be here in hundreds or thousands of years-and thriving- long after we’ve all left his planet.

    • Taras says:

      Today we discuss the proposition that climate change was concocted by scientists to preserve their funding and job security. Don’t forget to put on your tinfoil hats otherwise this assertion will seem like lunacy.

    • Curt Austin says:

      At the very least, you are wrong to think it is as simple as you believe. Few things in the universe are simple, not in themselves, and not in studying them (aka, science). As evidence, I suggest you spend a few moments reading about Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. This should greatly humble you, as it does me. Or will you dismiss them as hoaxes, too?

    • JohnL says:

      I agree, following the money usually leads one to the right place.

    • Boreas says:

      Harry,

      You do realize that a lot more countries than the US are accepting of the science behind climate change? If you don’t accept it as absolute proof, I at least don’t see how you can rule it out as even a possibility. And if it is possible, I would think that should be enough to at least consider how to minimize our role in exacerbating it. And FWIW, we can call it Global Wobble now that the loss of the polar ice seems to be showing yet another effect.

      But you are right. the Earth will be here long after we are gone.

    • Marc Wanner says:

      And don’t forget those light-weight crazies at the Department of Defense: see “DoD Releases Report on Security Implications of Climate Change”
      http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/612710

    • Bruce says:

      Harry,

      We need facts, not more conspiracy theories. One inescapable fact, there’s going to be another ice age at some point in the future. While you’re freezing your patootie and complaining because you can’t shovel the 1000 or more feet of ice on your house, it might be a good time to bring up your government conspiracy theories again.

      If look at the science, you will discover a couple more facts…the ice caps in Greenland, northern Canada and the Polar ice are melting faster than previously known, the other being all this fresh water dumped in the ocean will upset the Atlantic Heat conveyor

      http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange1/10_5.shtml and the Gulf Stream. The northern hemisphere will cool and another ice age begins.

      I’m not saying we don’t have anything to do with it, but I do believe the natural warming of the earth, and man’s activities may be working in concert to speed things up.

      There is one thing…if the sun starts running out of fuel sooner than we think and becomes a red giant, the earth will be inside it. Talk about global warming!

  5. Keith Gorgas says:

    Again, a well written and researched article. I’m one who been skeptical of the political side of Global Warming. I’m now convinced that the data is irrefutable…. birds are nesting higher on mountains, plants are migrating further North.

  6. Charlie S says:

    “If carbon-dioxide emissions continue to rise, a warming of an additional four and a half to ten degrees is projected by the 2080s. If emission rates are reduced substantially, the temperature is still projected to increase three to six degrees.”

    If it is carbon emissions that are warming this planet then why are there not yet laws (other than NYC) to cite people for leaving their engines running when they’re not in their vehicles? And why on earth do people do this anyway? Questions. We could be out of debt in one week if they started ticketing people for being stupid.

  7. Charlie S says:

    Larry Roth says: “Considering the long term affects of removing irreplaceable infrastructure for a glorified bike path, that’s not a trivial matter when everything is going to be affected.”

    How about all of the woodlots they keep taking down to build yet more developments? All of those trees that are good filters for the air we breathe,those woods that are havens for the wild animals who have fewer and fewer places to go. There are a lot of unanswered questions Larry. I wonder if the questions are even being put to our developer-friendly politicians!

  8. Charlie S says:

    “Not off topic at all; climate change touches everything.”

    Yes and we should be talking about it more!

  9. Charlie S says:

    Harry says: “Let’s stop the hysteria. It’s all a load of crap. All the “experts” that are feeding this hysteria are federally-financed “scientists” who don’t want to lose their funding, of course they are going to sing the song that the federal alarmists want them to sing.”

    Have you heard about the Great Barrier Reef Harry? Look into and come back on here and fess up to your ignorance.

  10. bob says:

    OK Then. We get more rain because a warmer atmosphere holds more water. Makes sense. Someone please explain to me how we had all that snow last year. I assume it was cold (since it was snowing), so the atmosphere could not hold as much water. So how did we get all that snow? And why would a heavy snow winter not be the new “norm”? And last, did a statistician review the data presented in this article?

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      There is a difference between weather and climate. Climate change is long term change, weather can change in a few minutes.

      You can’t begin to understand climate or weather until you grasp these basic principles.

  11. Tom Payne says:

    Let us not forget the climate change scandals of number fudging at East Anglican, NASA and NOAA. Al Gore and PT Barnum, a sucker born every minute.

    • Larry Roth says:

      Yes, the suckers who watch Fox News and listen to Rush and Hannity.

      • bob says:

        As opposed to the geniuses who listen to Maddow, Gore and the rest of the gang.

        • Larry Roth says:

          You mean the people who listen to real scientists? Sure.

          • bob says:

            Thank you for making my point. You are talking about political science, not science.

            • Larry Roth says:

              Well, as to that, we’re also talking people who listen to real scientists like the military, intelligence agencies, insurance companies, agribusiness corporations….

              You know – people whose responsibilities don’t allow them the luxury of ignoring reality, not if they’re any good at their jobs.

              I think you meant to say politicized science, not political science. You know – the kind of ‘science’ that claims abstinence-only sex Ed works, trees cause pollution, or scams like vaccines cause autism.

    • bob says:

      I read an article today about a 3 year study by the University of Cincinnati. The study found no effect of fracking on drinking water. The data were squashed by the study funders, who were disappointed with the results. Right up there with NASA/NOAA/E Anglican.

      hhttp://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/04/public_university_admits_to_burying_study_finding_no_damage_to_water_quality_from_fracking_because_funders_disappointed.html

  12. Charlie S says:

    “There is growing scientific consensus that we will be entering a period of global cooling.”

    I’ve been hearing the same thing and I think i’d rather have that than frying eggs on a sidewalk.

  13. Larry Roth says:

    I looked at the article. It’s a prediction based on modeling and it is years before we will know if the models are correct. What we do know now with a lot of confidence is that the earth is heating up – and what we do now is critical to keep it from getting worse. There’s enough warming ‘baked in’ that we are not going to be able to avoid serious change, even if the sun ‘kicks back’ for a while. It has taken us over a century to get to this point – that’s a lot of momentum to turn around.

    • bob says:

      All of the global warming predictions are also based on modeling and prediction. We do not know anything for certain. The fact that this esteemed group of scientists hypothesize global cooling and not warming, elegantly shows there is no “settled science” in this area. It cannot be “settled science” when scientists publish contrary hypotheses. This is basic logic.

      • Larry Roth says:

        Solar physics and global warming are not contradictory hypotheses or mutually exclusive; and in the case of climate change those models and predictions are based on decades of data. They are different pieces of the larger puzzle.

        The climate models are continually being refined and tested against real data; the sun cooling model is a prediction that is years away from being observed – if the theory is correct. The jury is still out on that one, but not on climate change.

        Saying we don’t know anything for certain is not the same as not knowing anything – but I’m willing to make an exception for some people.

        • bob says:

          The same data cab be used for any model. Decades of data? Have you heard of the Medieval warming period? That was not decades ago, it was hundreds of years ago/ The point being. there is not adequate data to make ANY model accurate.

          You really seem to want to throw barbs at people as opposed to holding a rigorous scientific discussion. Many people use this technique and think it gives them the high ground. I find it petty and mean but if it makes you feel good, go for it.

          • Larry Roth says:

            Bob – I know what a scientific debate is – and I also know what a Gish gallop is. And I can also recognize clear signs of a denier at work. I’m going to do my bit to reduce my carbon footprint by not wasting any more bandwidth on your carefully memorized talking points masquerading as facts. We don’t have to wait 20 years; there’s more than enough evidence now.

            “We already know there has been no global warming over the last 20 years. Thus is known as “the pause”. ”

            Let me give you one more piece of evidence to dismiss:
            Study drives a sixth nail into the global warming ‘pause’ myth
            Numerous climate records and denial myths have fallen in 2015

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/nov/24/study-drives-a-sixth-nail-in-the-global-warming-pause-myth

            • bob says:

              Yes, you should know what a gish gallop is. I’ve seen you do it all here.

              A denier? This is not RELIGION Larry . This is science.

              At least try and address my point of lack of “settled science”/

              You appear to kneel at the altar of this new religion. You may achieve high priest status someday.

              For now, please let us all know your scientific credentials.

              • bob says:

                Or at least try to answer my original question regarding last year’s snowfall. Perhaps without trying to diminish me and elevating yourself.

                Waiting to see your scientific credentials, that makes you able to speak with such authority.

      • Boreas says:

        bob,

        No reason to bring common sense into the equation. We will know in a few hundred years who was right. Let’s wait until then to try to come up with a reasonable course of action. But since most of the easy to obtain fossil fuels will be gone by then, it will make the decision a lot easier.

        • bob says:

          If solar activity (or lack of it) is the real problem (not carbon dioxide_, we will know in the next 20 years. We already know there has been no global warming over the last 20 years. Thus is known as “the pause”. Regarding peak oil, your assumption is based on climate being related to fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide production (I think). The alternative hypothesis is that changes are due to solar activity, not carbon dioxide, so fossil fuels make no difference in this model. This is similar to this years weather which is due to El Nino, not carbon dioxide._

          • Boreas says:

            Bob,

            Solar output is only part of it. Keep in mind with less ice, warming of the oceans is accelerated. We know less ice is a fact, and in Antarctica and Greenland, it is ice that took millennia to form. We’re not going to get that ice back in 20 years. Combine the polar albedo changes with ocean pH dropping from atmospheric CO2 and salinity changes causing current changes, the oceans are already looking sick. Fact, not a model. Extinction rates are increasing. That is no model, it is evidence something is happening. Do we wait 20 years and do nothing only to find the extinction rate increasing still? My feeling is that if we are contributing anything to this dark outcome, we should try to change our attitudes and perhaps consider curbing our biggest contribution that we know of – carbon emissions.

            • bob says:

              Less ice is not a fact. One of the polar ice caps has actually increased in size. Google it to be convinced.

              I have not seen any data that show ocean salinity or pH is causing anything.

              Extinction rates are increasing?? Of what? What is going extinct? Please do not cite opinion. Primary data sources found in peer reviewed journals.

              Carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere. That is a measurable fact. What is uncertain, is what it means.

              Not everyone believes that CO2 is causing global climate change. That’s why the link I sent about global cooling is important…not that the cooling hypothesis is correct, but that there are DIFFERING opinions among scientists.

              It’s sad that global warming is now a case of BELIEVERS and DENIERS. Think about it…that is what they say about religion. When have you ever heard that said about anything else in science? Do they say that about gravity?

              I have not ruled out the possibility of global warming. I also have not ruled out global cooling. Both are based on models that rely on really a small database (at best the last 100 years). I do not believe that global warming is real just because it is part of the platform of one our political parties.

              Thank you for the engaging back-and-forth. It’s nice to be able to differ in opinion without being diminished or called names. Most would agree that kind of behavior does not solve anything.

              I would put it this way: given we do not know what the climate will be in 100 or 200 years, both cooling and warming are equally possible (and if it’s cooling, then the CO2 hypothesis goes out the window, unless you want to say CO2 causes warming and cooling, which makes no sense).

              My last question on this: if carbon emissions are the biggest contributor, why do people who preach global warming fly all over the world, own huge homes and boats and really not do anything to reduce carbon? Should not people like Al Gore, POTUS and family, Harry Reid etc (who truly believe in global warming) be setting the example? I find it hypocritical in the least and scandalous at worst.

              • Taras says:

                Why is “less ice” not a fact?

                Fun fact:
                Western side of Antarctica is losing vast areas of its ice shelf due to warmer ocean water undercutting the ice-shelf. It affects local weather which causes ice to form sea ice on the east side of the continent. This causes people to say “Ah-hah! See? Ice is increasing!” Actually, it’s not. The sea-ice forming is seasonal and only a meter or two thick whereas the ice-shelf losses are hundreds of meter thick.

                The mechanisms are complex but the trend is clear; global temperatures have risen substantially since the Industrial Revolution (i.e. correlation between combustion of fossil fuels and elevated average global temperature).

                Anyhoo, climatologists now feel we’ve past the tipping point; there’s not much humankind can do to reverse the trend (too little too late). The car is now rolling down the hill and there’s no point arguing whose fault the brakes weren’t serviced. Brace for impact.

                If you own beach-front property, enjoy it; your grand-children may get nothing to inherit.

                • bob says:

                  Climatologists believe…..read through all of the above posts. We have shown that not all climate sciebtists agree.

                • bob says:

                  ,,,temperatures ,have risen substantially……please do better than that. Not that I don;t believe you, but I could equally say that “the moon is made of cheese”

              • Boreas says:

                Bob,

                Simple question – do you deny burning a carbon source such as gasoline or coal adds CO2 to the atmosphere?

                • bob says:

                  Please read the posts I made above. My answer is very clear on that. Boreas, do you believe that CO2 is causing global warming? Many scientists believe we are netering a period of global cooling, despite carbon dioxide (see my posts above).

  14. bob says:

    Hi Taras, welcome aboard. I don’t know where you get your data from but please read this study from NASA (a source Larry would love to cite !)

    http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

    This is the bigger problem….data change often and the reporting is not always (actually rarely) un-biased.

    • bob says:

      Taras, sorry to challenge your “fact” with actual data from NASA. Science demands that we entertain ALL of the data, not just the data that fits our preconceived ideas.

      • Taras says:

        I can tell you’re eager to discuss this topic because you even reply to your own replies.

        The NASA study was about land ice. My post discussed the ice-shelf, namely glacial ice extending past the land mass and into the sea.

        The study doesn’t question sea-level rise itself, but the Antarctic’s level of contribution. It’s not like this one result negated the IPCC’s conclusion. Like all good science, it revealed the hypothesis to be valid but more complex than first understood.

        You could say the moon is made of cheese but it’s not up to me to disprove it; it’s up to you to prove it. See Russell’ Teapot: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

        The work supporting the IPCC’s conclusion, that the global average temperature is rising and is due to human influence, can be found here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/

  15. Larry Roth says:

    For an illustration of how some are attempting to discredit, derail, and/or confuse discussions of climate change and what to do about it, this sums up the techniques they use.

    http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug/2016/04/29

    • bob says:

      I thought you were done. You said you were “not wasting any more bandwith”. This does not help your credibility. Please do not reply by calling me names or diminishing me.

    • bob says:

      And here are the techniques used by global warming folks to convince people of their position:Scholars have written volumes explaining the techniques and methodology of propagandists for hundreds of years. To propagandize, one need only read a how-to manual to learn the concepts of an effectively run propaganda campaign.

      Propaganda techniques include:
      appealing to fear
      appealing to authority
      name-calling
      transference
      bandwagoning
      obtaining disapproval
      over simplification
      utilizing virtue words
      employing faulty logic
      and more…

      Any of these ring a bell? Please do not respond with authority, name calling,showing your disapproval, employ faulty logic, or over simplify. Those would be propaganda techniques.

  16. Boreas says:

    Bob,

    “Less ice is not a fact. One of the polar ice caps has actually increased in size. Google it to be convinced.”
    Pleasure cruises through the Northern Passage are being planned.

    “I have not seen any data that show ocean salinity or pH is causing anything.”
    Google it to be convinced.

    Extinction rates are increasing?? Of what? What is going extinct? Please do not cite opinion. Primary data sources found in peer reviewed journals.
    Read them.

    Carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere. That is a measurable fact. What is uncertain, is what it means.
    Greenhouse Effect. Google it.

    • bob says:

      Don’t get angry Boreas, just answer my questions. I already agreed CO2 is increasing. Now what EXACTLY is becoming extinct? I will gladly read (with rigor) anything you send me….which has been nothing to this point.

      Or is the moon really made of cheese?

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