Saturday, November 21, 2009

The World Beneath Their Feet

An Antarctic Outpost
Many people remember the movies about hidden worlds beneath our feet, such as Journey To The Center of the Earth.

As it turns out, there is a world underneath the feet of the many people wearing warm boots while doing their research in Antarctica (at an Antarctic Outpost).

They have found a world that no one expected, a world that has caused lots of textbooks to be recycled, rewritten, or worse.

It is a world where liquid water, beneath an always subzero ice shelf miles deep, makes up some 70 lakes.

One lake is the size of Lake Ontario of the Great Lakes between the United States and Canada.

They have found a world of mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, plus they found ancient life in the form of microbes and the like. The finding is not yet over:

Currently the drilling works are interrupted because of the huge risk of contamination by further drilling the way it has been done. No matter what mysteries the lake keeps in itself, today the scientists are concerned with the question on how can researchers study a place so unique and delicate without contaminating or, even worse, destroying it? All possible alternative to drilling methods are being examined, all possible methods for studies and researches are still going on.

(United Nations). Perhaps the bigger picture is the impact on future space exploration this find may have.

Many scientists think that one of the moons of Jupiter, Europa, and one of the moons of Saturn, Enceladus, may have an ocean under their ice layered surfaces.

Thus, the information to come from these discoveries may eventually help to establish an outpost in our solar system, on one of those moons that seem to be like Antarctica, where there is plenty of water deep underneath the ice covered surface.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All Weather Is Local

How many times we have heard the political pundits repeat the statement that "all politics is local"?

A well known saying that has been attributed to Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill.

Some have likewise observed that "all weather is local" in the same sense it was intended by Tip.

The posts "Parochial Climate & Parochial Mentality" and "Coldest July or Warmest July?" point out the fact that people tend to base global climate concepts on the phenomenon of their local weather, the same way they fashion their political views.

Something close to home strikes them as being the way things are everywhere, which gets them in deep trouble on the world scene.

The parochial global climate view of things makes it difficult for governments to fashion a global policy because of a million beliefs that "all weather is local".

For that reason theory is emerging which states that governments will be forced to deal with the climate induced environmental catastrophes headed our way with a policy of triage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Parochial Climate & Parochial Mentality

This blog has been pointing out the folly of those who cite local weather as proof of global climate trends.

Or the folly of using an unreasonably small span of time to replace longer term trends.

Such folly is tantamount to using a local city counsel as proof of what foreign nations are doing.

In short the folly of parochial climate arguments is brain dead.

The Atlantic is quiet this year, in terms of number of hurricanes, but the Pacific has been more active than the Atlantic, with several recent typhoons and hurricanes. The news of note may be the ineffective ability to react:

The homes of nearly 1.9 million people in the capital and surrounding areas were inundated by flooding unleashed by Tropical Storm Ketsana at the weekend, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said. Nearly 380,000 people have sought shelter in schools, churches and other evacuation centers.

(Guardian). This Katrina syndrome and the growing triage syndrome is not the preferred policy, however, cash strapped governments simply are not able to do the job alone.

The slow down this year was a relief, but long term planning should not be based on a parochial mind set.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Coldest July or Warmest July?

It depends on where you look on the map.

The blue areas were colder in July, the red areas were hotter in July, and the other colors were in-between degrees. Thus, depending on the location the answer is "both".

If you look at only the local data in some northern states you can argue that it was one of the coldest July's, but if you look else where you can find it was the hottest July.

As we have pointed out here, the big picture is the true picture and the big picture is the global picture:

NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) has determined that July of 2009 was the second warmest July globally, since records were kept going back well over a hundred years.

(Huffington Post, AccuWeather, emphasis added). If you want to be intellectually honest about global climate you can't cite the weather in Paducah, Kentucky as the true picture for the entire global reality.

Proper analysis also depends on whether you are talking land mass or oceans, because there is some evidence that "July was the hottest the world's oceans have been in almost 130 years of record-keeping."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Disparate Or Equal Climate Change?

When you read wacko blogs which say there is no global climate change caused by the behaviour of human civilization, you will most often run across reasoning based upon a unified climate change dogma.

In other words, they labour under the illusion that climate change will treat every square mile of the globe equally, without variation, because it is "global climate change"; and so they find a narrow area of the globe that fits their pre-conceived climate viewpoint, then cite that as representative of the whole picture around the globe.

Thus, their analysis can't help but misrepresent the case.

The reality is that some areas may warm up for a time, then cool for a time, some areas will grow drier while others become wetter, rain measurements will fluctuate, but in general over the long haul there is an observable trend.

For example, Arctic sea ice so far this year is not radically out of whack when compared to some recent years, however, the big picture is:

Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight, keeping the polar regions cool and moderating global climate. According to scientific measurements, Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline seen in the summer melt season.

(NSIDC, emphasis added). There is a general trend which can be observed in a thirty year window, but which may not appear in some areas using only the results of a few years.

For example, if we take Greenland, the sea ice in Greenland is at its lowest in 800 years, not just 30 years, and within that 800 years there has been fluctuation up and down.

The thing to focus on, then, in global climate change analysis, is trend over a longer period of time.

Challenges to some who embrace the local weather focus led government officials to order that ice-field photographs from satellites be kept secret.

These localized photos could scare anyone who did not realize you have to keep trends as well as the global picture in mind.