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Thread: Scientists Connect Global Warming to Extreme Rain

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline
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    Scientists Connect Global Warming to Extreme Rain

    Scientists connect global warming to extreme rain

    WASHINGTON Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding.
    Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before.
    One group of researchers looked at the strongest rain and snow events of each year from 1951 to 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere and found that the more recent storms were 7 percent wetter. That may not sound like much, but it adds up to be a substantial increase, said the report from a team of researchers from Canada and Scotland.
    The study didn't single out specific storms but examined worst-of-each-year events all over the Northern Hemisphere. While the study ended in 1999, the close of the decade when scientists say climate change kicked into a higher gear, the events examined were similar to more recent disasters: deluges that triggered last year's deadly floods in Pakistan and in Nashville, Tenn., and this winter's paralyzing blizzards in parts of the United States.
    The change in severity was most apparent in North America, but that could be because that's where the most rain gauges are, scientists said.
    Both studies should weaken the argument that climate change is a "victimless crime," said Myles Allen of the University of Oxford. He co-authored the second study, which connected flooding and climate change in the United Kingdom. "Extreme weather is what actually hurts people."
    Jonathan Overpeck, a University of Arizona climate scientist, who didn't take part in either study, praised them as sensible and "particularly relevant given the array of extreme weather that we've seen this winter and stretching back over the last few years."
    Not all the extreme rain and snow events the scientists studied cause flooding. But since 1950, flooding has killed more than 2.3 million people, according to the World Health Organization's disaster database.
    The British study focused on flooding in England and Wales in the fall of 2000. The disaster cost more than $1.7 billion in insured damages and was the wettest autumn for the region in more than 230 years of record-keeping.
    Researchers found that global warming more than doubled the likelihood of that flood occurring. Similar studies are now under way to examine whether last year's deadly Russian heat wave and Pakistan floods which were part of the same weather event can be scientifically attributed to global warming.
    For years scientists, relying on basic physics and climate knowledge, have said global warming would likely cause extremes in temperatures and rainfall. But this is the first time researchers have been able to point to a demonstrable cause-and-effect by using the rigorous and scientifically accepted method of looking for the "fingerprints" of human-caused climate change.
    The scientists took all the information that shows an increase in extreme rain and snow events from the 1950s through the 1990s and ran dozens of computer models numerous times. They put in the effects of greenhouse gases which come from the burning of fossil fuels and then ran numerous models without those factors. Only when the greenhouse gases are factored in do the models show a similar increase to what actually happened. All other natural effects alone don't produce the jump in extreme rainfall. Essentially, the computer runs show climate change is the only way to explain what's happening.
    In fact, the computer models underestimated the increase in extreme rain and snow. That is puzzling and could be even more troubling for our future, said Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, who wasn't part of the study.
    Similar fingerprinting studies have found human-caused greenhouse gas emissions triggered changes in more than a dozen other ecological ways: temperatures on land, the ocean's surface, heat content in the depths of the oceans, temperature extremes, sea level pressure, humidity at ground level and higher in the air, general rainfall amounts, the extent of Arctic sea ice, snowpack levels and timing of runoff in the western United States, Atlantic Ocean salinity, wildfire damage, and the height of the lower atmosphere.
    All those signs say global warming is here, said Xuebin Zhang, a research scientist for the Canadian government and co-author of the Northern Hemisphere study. "It is affecting us in multiple directions."
    Most of the 10 outside climate experts who reviewed the papers for The Associated Press called the research sound and strong.
    However, climate scientist Jerry North of Texas A&M University, while praising the work, said he worried that the studies were making too firm a connection based on weather data that could be poor in some locations. But Francis Zwiers of the University of Victoria, a lead author of the study with Zhang, said the data was from National Weather Service gauges and is reliable.
    "Put the two papers together and we start to see an emerging pattern," said Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, who wasn't part of either study. "We should continue to expect increased flooding associated with increased extreme precipitation because of increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas. And we have no one to blame but ourselves."

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    48 years of data for an Earth that is 4.54 Billion years old. C'mon Man? Did you take a statistics course in college?

    And if you endorse modelling, really, it was supposed to rain today, but it was sunny.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
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    I prefer to err on the side of doing something to prevent all the pollution we throw into the atmosphere causing weather dislocations. The overwhelming majority of scientists believe we have a serious problem.
    I prefer to go with them, as opposed to people like John and yourself. I prefer to listen to the ex-head of the CIA as well.

    Your last comment about todays weather reporting was just plain silly. You sound like John saying for the past 2 winters that all the snow is proof that there is no such thing as global warming. The fact is last year was the warmest year on record.
    There is a difference between weather and Climate.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 02-17-2011 at 08:15 AM.

  4. #4
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    "There is a difference between weather and Climate."

    Wow.... you are certainly enlightenend lol. Both rely on models was my point.

    Anytime politics mixes with science, one should be wary. As I have said in the past, we should be good stewards of the Earth (and the dollar too lol). Now I know it is convenient to lump John and I in the same catagory as it helps you define your opponent so you can label them, but the truth is that I am skeptical of "global warming". John doesn't believe. Big difference.

    I urge to to read read State of Fear by Michael Crichton if not for anything but entertainment (it is).
    As I have posted in the past, one of the key founders of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is skeptical. Here's a link. Be sure to go there as it helps.

  5. #5
    Havakasha is offline
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    Once again, the point is that we should err on the side of caution. Since the overwhelming majority of scientists (having nothing to do with mixing politics and science. In fact one could argue you might be doing just the thing you accuse others of doing) believe we have a serious climate issue due largely to man made pollutants, then i think a rational person would say why not try to reduce our pollutants and adopt more alternaitve energy solutions in case that turns out to be an accurate analysis of what is happening to our climate.

    If we followed your belief system and did nothing to counter global warming, and you turn out to be wrong in your skepticism then we are in a great deal of trouble. I think you need to read some James Woolsey among others on this subject.

  6. #6
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Don't worry about pollutants Lloyd, a meteorite will hit the Earth next year, and things will get really hot.

  7. #7
    Havakasha is offline
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    Climate change: Galileo moment for GOP

    As Galileo Galilei learned, the earth moves around the sun, whether the church agreed or not. | AP Photo Close
    By MARK HERTSGAARD | 2/15/11 4:25 AM EST

    Will it take the Republican Party as long to accept modern science as it took the Roman Catholic Church? The church waited 359 years to admit Galileo was right — the earth does move around the sun. Not until 1992 did the Vatican officially withdraw its condemnation of the man Albert Einstein called the father of modern science.

    Today, even children know that the earth revolves around the sun. But that idea was heresy to the 17th-century church. When Galileo would not abandon his views, the Inquisition put him on trial in 1633. He was forced to recant under penalty of death, then lived under house arrest for the rest of his life.

    Now the House Republican majority is launching its own attack on Galileo’s scientific descendants. Rejecting mainstream climate science became a GOP litmus test during the 2010 midterm elections. Republican leaders then floated the idea of putting mainstream climate science on trial in congressional hearings.

    This week, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy Committee, introduced legislation that would “repeal” the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific determination that greenhouse gases threaten human health and welfare.

    After Galileo reluctantly recanted, legend has it that he muttered, “Eppure, si muove.” In other words — censorship and repression could not change physical fact: The earth moves around the sun, whether the church agreed or not.

    This is true today: Modern science has conclusively demonstrated that human activities are dangerously overheating the planet — notwithstanding Republicans’ desire to repeal that conclusion.

    Republicans are the only major political party in the world that rejects this mainstream climate science. The right-of-center parties controlling governments in Britain, Germany and France, for example, not only embrace mainstream climate science, they support far more aggressive climate policies than anything advocated by Republicans — or Democrats — in Washington.

    U.S. news coverage usually refers to climate deniers as skeptics. That is misleading. Skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method. But an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts. These deniers are largely impervious to facts — at least facts that contradict their worldview.

    When virtually every major scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and its counterparts in 18 other industrial countries, has affirmed that man-made climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank would continue to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.

    What, are all these organizations and the thousands of scientists associated with them part of a vast conspiracy? Are they all lying careerists or incompetent buffoons? That is the only logical conclusion to draw from the Republicans’ continuing insistence that climate science is bogus.

    Despite having no more scientific credibility than the Flat Earth Society, the climate cranks have held our nation’s climate policy hostage for decades. One reason the United States has done so little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the past 20 years is that our government has listened as much to these climate cranks as to real scientists.

    As a result, our planet is now locked into at least 50 more years of rising temperatures and the climate effects they unleash — longer droughts, stronger storms, harsher heat waves, rising sea levels. The young people of Generation Hot—the two billion people born worldwide since NASA scientist James Hansen put the world on notice in 1988 that global warming had begun—are fated to spend the rest of their lives coping with the hottest climate in civilization’s history.

    Yet if one judged solely by recent media coverage, one would think deniers have a point. In an embarrassing display of scientific illiteracy and political gullibility, news organizations have repeatedly played into the deniers’ hands: Implicitly endorsing their unfounded accusations of fraud against scientists whose emails were stolen, by portraying a single error in a thousand-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report as reason to question all of mainstream climate science.

    Then the media largely abandoned the climate story over the past 12 months, even as mainstream scientists were turning out one landmark study after another, clarifying the extreme peril.

    There is no point trying to change the climate cranks’ minds. For economic as well as ideological reasons, they will no more acknowledge the truth of man-made global warming than the 17th-century Vatican would concede that the Bible was not literally true.

    The rest of us, however, can change how we relate to the cranks.

    As Republicans seek to repeal climate science, it is past time for the chattering class in Washington to stop giving them a pass. Climate cranks should instead be called to account for the terrible damages they have set in motion and prevented from further sabotaging our nation’s response to this crisis.

    We cannot wait 359 years to believe in science.

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    Last edited by Havakasha; 02-18-2011 at 01:53 AM.

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