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(USA Today)   Number of tornadoes in U.S. drops to a 60-year low. Weather Channel scrambles to fill time, begins airing specials on clouds that look like bears   (usatoday.com) divider line 11
    More: Interesting, Weather Channel, tornadoes, U.S., USA, Storm Prediction Center, wind shears, clouds, Accuweather  
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1269 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Aug 2013 at 9:00 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-21 09:44:57 AM  
2 votes:
The Weather Channel's quickly becoming a mixed bag.

Some of their non-forecasting programming, like Hurricane Hunters (or whatever the name of the show is about the AF group that tracks hurricanes), is actually quite good.  Most of the others are, at the very least, acceptable as background noise to occasionally pay attention to.

On the other hand, their forecasting (their bread and butter, so to speak) is quickly reaching Fox News levels of sensationalism.  I was actually groaning this past winter whenever I would turn it on and see them naming winter storms.
2013-08-21 08:24:17 PM  
1 votes:

Jon Snow: Arsten: Wow. So exactly what I said. A fudge factor.

Look, buddy. I'm sure you're a nice guy and all. Good to your pets, call your mom on her birthday and what not.

But somewhere along the line, there's been a disconnect. You've dramatically overestimated your ability to have a discussion about this subject. You are simply too ignorant to recognize your ignorance. Don't feel too bad, as this happens to a lot of people. But it's important for you to understand that this is happening, and STOP. Just stop.

Take a step back, clear your head, set aside your ego, and listen:

A feedback mechanism is not a "fudge factor". Someone who believes this to be true simply cannot have a remotely informed discussion about planetary energy balance.This is not a terribly difficult concept to understand- undergraduates across a number of disciplines learn about them every year.

Do you know what Stefan-Boltzmann is? If you had a little bit of physics somewhere along the line, then you do. If not, you may still have heard of it.

(Re-)familiarize yourself with it. Reread it a few times to make sure you understand it. Now- think about what happens to the equilibrium surface temperature of a body when it receives an increase in energy. What does the proportional difference between radiated energy and temperature mean? Does it sound, perhaps, an awful lot like a feedback- specifically a negative feedback?

Can you understand this? If not, don't worry. You probably already know someone who can explain it to you. If you don't, you can reach out to a local university and ask someone in their physics, engineering, or atmospheric science department to help you out. There is no shame in asking for help. The shameful thing to do is to pretend you know what you're talking about when you obviously don't.

When you can understand the concept of a feedback mechanism and recognize that it is no way a "fudge factor" but rather is a fundamental concept in energy flows within systems, I'll be happy t ...


Wow. And you accuse me of having the ego? psh. Perhaps you should look up "Fudge Factor". It's an addition to a calculation to allow for error or unanticipated circumstances. Pretty much the exact definition of ""Estimations for parts of the system that aren't well understood" are called parameterizations. We use them for processes that we cannot actively model, due either to insufficient computational power, or a lack of sufficient understanding of the relevant processes. " from your previous discussions on the topic. You take an educated guess at what it should be, but it's still a fudge factor filling in for systems you don't fully understand. Just because you are too high and mighty to admit the application of common terms to what you explicitly say doesn't mean it's not true.

At this point,  you aren't worth the time to actually educate, since you seem to lack a basic understanding of language but feel compelled to insist on the meaning of words you can't comprehend. I can only hope that English isn't your first language.

 Best of luck.

//Am I doing the condescension right? It's my first time. Be gentle.
2013-08-21 06:19:43 PM  
1 votes:
Jon Snow:  Right! Which is why every single experiment starts with re-establishing basic physics from first principles! Errr.... In reality, science is very much dependent on consensus in order to move forward with new lines of inquiry.

Wow. That's a straw man. I hope you didn't break fire codes. For every single article and study you can reference, I can reference another article and study that states the opposite, I don't care which side of the debate you want to look up. I can also state articles and studies that reference a middle ground. Why do you suppose that is? Hm.

You're spouting talking points at me. Please stop.
This is like a greatest hits of "skeptic"/denialist talking points:
This is fake "skeptic" BINGO.


Except that they are all relevant questions that everyone steps around in their haste to feel awesome about themselves. But let's not go on what you don't want to bother with.

You are regurgitating things you've picked up somewhere but don't understand.
You don't know what I understand, but attacking is easier that addressing points, hm?

A positive feedback simply refers to a process by which an initial change is amplified. In the real world, when you increase or decrease temperature, you decrease or increase the amount of ice on the planet, resulting in a decrease or increase of albedo, amplifying the initial change in temperature. This is a positive feedback. This is not a "fudge factor". This is not something models are "fudged" to do, it is the emergent behavior of the system as a result of the basic physics involved.
Wow. So exactly what I said. A fudge factor. Just because you constrain a guess to an area that it has some evidence that it should be within doesn't make it any less of a guess. So where were you on the day in physics class that they told you an educated guess was still a guess?

The impact of CO2 is logarithmic. So what? You're saying that like it's some sort of meaningful statement, but it's a superficial piece of trivia. Do you think climate science simply failed to account for this? Or that policymakers are unaware of it? Of course not. That's why talk about things in terms of or relative todoublings of CO2 rather than some sort of absolute increase in ppm. You're throwing things out there as though you think they have some sort of significance that they simply don't.
Policy makers? Really? You think they understand any of this when you clearly think I don't?

The point is that we are trying to regulate a gas that is warming less and less as we continue to dump it out. A gas that, as a side effect, helps our food chain. But, no, you're right. We should replace those horrible gasoline engines with batteries. It's not like lithium perchlorates aren't dangerous or anything. Let's trade a gas with low issues going forward for solids and/or other gases that are worse for the environment! Yay! Between 1988 and 2008 we added roughly 32ppm CO2 and the temperature for the same time period increased by 0.04 degrees C. And some of that  wasn't CO2. So how about we try and curtail things like methane instead of CO2 as acceptable policy?

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas that partially overlaps with CO2's IR absorption band? No kidding! So what? Why are you saying this? What possible relevance do you think this has to our discussion? It sounds an awful lot like you're implying that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is mostly saturated. This is a myth that has been known to be false since 1900.
Why is it irrelevant that something else has already warmed for CO2 so that if we magically scrubbed CO2 from the atmosphere completely, we wouldn't see all of the desired cooling effect? And also that something we would never get rid of is ALSO a greenhouse gas? And for those bands of absorption from CO2, yes it is fully saturated. So CO2 has lost even more of the warming power. Why are we concentrating on it, again?

"Estimations for parts of the system that aren't well understood" are called parameterizations. We use them for processes that we cannot actively model, due either to insufficient computational power, or a lack of sufficient understanding of the relevant processes. Guess what?We don't just plug in whatever number we want, or whatever will give us the answer we want, we use observations to constrain the range of possible values and run sensitivity tests to see what works and doesn't. This is standard practice in modeling systems. For older GCMs that didn't have the computation power to explicitly model the microphysics that underlie particulate and aerosol influence on cloud behavior, we used bulk observations of the atmosphere to parameterize the process instead. "GASP* The horror! Again. You're just throwing out buzzwords and phrases that you clearly don't understand. Why?
Oh no. My mortal enemy. Bad sarcasm. Whyyyyyyyyyyyy? Oh, right. Sorry.
Thank you for agreeing with me. You DO guess (I'll give you educated estimation, but I'm nice) because you lack sufficient understanding of the relevant process. Including how the whole system fits together. Every single year, new climatological artifacts that don't fit existing models are discovered, written into the models, and things get better. But I also remember in 1985 predictions of 5C worth of warming by 2000. Models have gotten way better since then, but no one has gone "The climate will be x in 10 years, +/-y." and then waited. No, they give a predictive year and then keep making guesses as to what it'll be every time they revise their model. Last decade, everything from global climate to hurricane seasons (i know, i know. weather.) were predicted way wrong. Why? Because you didn't have the complete picture to make your models work. We are getting better every year, but there are still unknowns.

"The 11,000-year climate reconstructions show a distinct rising trendline..." No, they sure as shiat don't.
I apologize. I was remembering a stretched version of the first portion of that graph. I didn't mean to mislead.

The behavior is clearly a decline prior to the industrial revolution. The data are available here:http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1198/suppl/DC1 Plot them yourself. Go nuts.

So, we've saved ourselves from an ice age, then? Hot damn, I need to take a long trip in a Hummer! Kidding aside, we aren't as hot as we were in the last 11,000 years, then. Why do we desperately need to correct CO2 emissions?

You have failed to say anything that is both meaningful and true when it comes to the physical science, and your complaints about the politicization of the issue are not really relevant to either the policy or the general public's view of the issue.

More attacks. Glee.

Why are you acting like you have even an elementary handle on this issue? Why pretend? Is it because you so rarely run into someone who actually understands the topic that you just don't get called out very often? Because you must realize what you sound like to me, regurgitating myths and logical fallacies that have in some cases been proved to be false for more than a century, right?

I'm sorry you believe that. I'm also sorry that you consider yourself the pinnacle of knowledge on the issue. Perhaps you should digest the studies at the data level no matter the side the article is for or against. I know I'm just a small man, compared to an icon of your stature, but use your benevolence for mankind to get off of your own talking points and actually explore some questions you blindly dismiss as talking points.
2013-08-21 04:54:49 PM  
1 votes:

Arsten: Science is not advanced by consensus.


Right! Which is why every single experiment starts with re-establishing basic physics from first principles! Errr.... In reality, science is very much dependent on consensus in order to move forward with new lines of inquiry.

You're spouting talking points at me. Please stop.

This is like a greatest hits of "skeptic"/denialist talking points:

Science is not advanced by consensus.

The number of times that a new and fantastical ideal that has been rejected by "consensus" and eventually shown to be right is not an insignificant number.

Any study or questionnaire that has gone out has had the responses cherry picked to provide the highest possible "consensus"

But when you then politicize the issue and all the politicians and activists for the cause go "Hey, we NEEEEEEED to do X." and you can see a very easy way for that politician/activist to make a crapload of money off your back (See Al Gore's carbon credit management company back when he was pushing for carbon credits), you start to question things.

some of those climate scientists are in bed with the activists

We are also within 2 C of the Medieval Warm Period's estimated maximum.

CO2, for instance, is so far along it's logarithmic scale that concentrating on the release of CO2 is not an effective use of policy.

None of the global climate models can make predictions that come true.

Most climate models use estimations for parts of the system that aren't well understood.

You'll often hear about "positive feedback" in the models, because there is assumed to be an enhancement of the effect of greenhouse gases in some way, but that "positive feedback" is just a fudge factor.

We don't understand the complexities of the system enough

But even that's exaggerated because a lot of heat absorptive and radiative capacity that may have come from CO2 was taken by water. A swath of absorptive spectrum for CO2 is crossed over by water,


This is fake "skeptic" BINGO.

You are regurgitating things you've picked up somewhere but don't understand.

A positive feedback simply refers to a process by which an initial change is amplified. In the real world, when you increase or decrease temperature, you decrease or increase the amount of ice on the planet, resulting in a decrease or increase of albedo, amplifying the initial change in temperature. This is a positive feedback. This is not a "fudge factor". This is not something models are "fudged" to do, it is the emergent behavior of the system as a result of the basic physics involved.

The impact of CO2 is logarithmic. So what? You're saying that like it's some sort of meaningful statement, but it's a superficial piece of trivia. Do you think climate science simply failed to account for this? Or that policymakers are unaware of it? Of course not. That's why talk about things in terms of or relative to doublings of CO2 rather than some sort of absolute increase in ppm. You're throwing things out there as though you think they have some sort of significance that they simply don't.

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas that partially overlaps with CO2's IR absorption band? No kidding! So what? Why are you saying this? What possible relevance do you think this has to our discussion? It sounds an awful lot like you're implying that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is mostly saturated. This is a myth that has been known to be false since 1900.

"Estimations for parts of the system that aren't well understood" are called parameterizations. We use them for processes that we cannot actively model, due either to insufficient computational power, or a lack of sufficient understanding of the relevant processes. Guess what? We don't just plug in whatever number we want, or whatever will give us the answer we want, we use observations to constrain the range of possible values and run sensitivity tests to see what works and doesn't. This is standard practice in modeling systems. For older GCMs that didn't have the computation power to explicitly model the microphysics that underlie particulate and aerosol influence on cloud behavior, we used bulk observations of the atmosphere to parameterize the process instead. "GASP* The horror! Again. You're just throwing out buzzwords and phrases that you clearly don't understand. Why?

"The 11,000-year climate reconstructions show a distinct rising trendline..." No, they sure as shiat don't.

i.imgur.com

The behavior is clearly a decline prior to the industrial revolution. The data are available here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6124/1198/suppl/DC1 Plot them yourself. Go nuts.

You have failed to say anything that is both meaningful and true when it comes to the physical science, and your complaints about the politicization of the issue are not really relevant to either the policy or the general public's view of the issue.

Why are you acting like you have even an elementary handle on this issue? Why pretend? Is it because you so rarely run into someone who actually understands the topic that you just don't get called out very often? Because you must realize what you sound like to me, regurgitating myths and logical fallacies that have in some cases been proved to be false for more than a century, right?
2013-08-21 04:22:18 PM  
1 votes:

Jon Snow: By and large, this really has nothing to do with the huge discrepancy between public opinion on this issue, and the scientific consensus. Rather, there is a clear ideological/cultural cognition effect, as well as an information deficit/misinformation surplus. In other words, people filter the news they consume according to worldview, and also tend to just be generally un-/ill-informed on the topic. The perception of climate scientists as "activists" has no real impact on public opinion that is not already accounted for by these factors.

So this might hold true for you personally, or some blogger that you read, but for the general public your explanation is bullshiat.


Science is not advanced by consensus. Using that term is something I would attribute to your stated "ideological/cultural cognition effect." The number of times that a new and fantastical ideal that has been rejected by "consensus" and eventually shown to be right is not an insignificant number. You shouldn't be using "consensus" to drive your argument since it's both a statistical fudge and a dishonest way to approach the issue. Any study or questionnaire that has gone out has had the responses cherry picked to provide the highest possible "consensus" which is something I would expect from a soft discipline, such as psychology. Not a physical discipline.

And activists, from both sides, are a huge part of the "ideological/cultural cognition effect." You shouldn't dismiss a core component of your argument.

And the general public, if they feel they are being fooled for any reason (insert ideology here: money, envirowhacko control, teddy bear hostile world takeover, etc), will go with whatever position means they aren't getting screwed. So when you have a climate scientist come forward and say "HEY, we should do X because my research said Y." most people go "Okay, makes sense." But when you then politicize the issue and all the politicians and activists for the cause go "Hey, we NEEEEEEED to do X." and you can see a very easy way for that politician/activist to make a crapload of money off your back (See Al Gore's carbon credit management company back when he was pushing for carbon credits), you start to question things. And when you further find out that some of those climate scientists are in bed with the activists, you start to question things even more and push back hard on them, since things aren't adding up in your brain.

THIS is the point that a lot of people find themselves at. Highly polarizing political BS from both sides doesn't help.

Pull the plank from your eye before addressing the splinter in your brother's eye.

In what way am I an "activist"? Or are you implying that I am a journalist?


I am implying that you should rid your ideological camp of it's own baggage before attacking the other camp's baggage. It would really be nice to have the news pages be about scientific fact instead of people on both sides decrying motives behind certain research papers. (That paper doesn't matter! It's from James Hansen! That research paper doesn't matter! It's from Exxon! and on and on an on)

for the record I believe that AGW is complementing the natural heat cycle we have been in since the last ice age.

That's an incorrect belief. We aren't in a "natural heat cycle we have been in since the last ice age."


Glaciation cycling is paced by variations in the Earth's position to the sun known as Milankovitch (or orbital) forcing. The Last Glacial Maximum (what you mean when you say "the last ice age") reached its fullest extent by ~20 thousand years ago. Orbitally-driven warming (with a big help from feedbacks like ice-albedo, the carbon cycle, etc.) began melting us out around that time and peaked ~9-6 thousand years ago. The last several thousand years have been, prior to the present warming, dominated by slow, Milankovitch-driven cooling.

The 11,000-year climate reconstructions show a distinct rising trendline, with departures for large-scale variations over ranges of 300-700 years, until the end of the Little Ice Age, where the temperatures flattened and started warming (a little or a lot, depending on how much you trust indirect temperature recreation data) around 1840-1870. We are also within 2 C of the Medieval Warm Period's estimated maximum.

So, is this humans destroying the earth or is the earth not even noticing we are here? Or are we simply (or not so "simply") accentuating an extant climatological system?

The level of complexity involved is determined by the questions we want to answer. The complexity of "if we increase GHGs like CO2, will we warm up and change the climate" is relatively low, and the answer has been known (including the process by which this occurs) for more than a century, going back to Arrhenius, and Tyndall and Fourier before him. The complexity increases with the specificity of the quesitons being asked, butthe policy relevant stuff, i.e. will the impact of unchecked emissions growth be large enough and fast enough to impact crucial facets of our civilization (such as coastal infrastructure, agriculture, etc.)has been known for decades.

The effects of those gases and their releases in a lab setting have been known. Applying those to how the earth reacts specifically to rising counts of the gas is poorly understood. CO2, for instance, is so far along it's logarithmic scale that concentrating on the release of CO2 is not an effective use of policy. We aren't even closing the barn door after the horse bolts, we are burning down the barn after 13 generations have lived there and then saying that we are doing something.

I am happy to answer any questions you might have about this, and to point you to areas that are still highly uncertain (such as my original comment on tornadogenesis). But please do not make the mistake of believing that there is scientific uncertainty on the broad strokes of the issue, because there is not.

The broad strokes are known, but they have not been put into a standard scientific model that has born fruit. None of the global climate models can make predictions that come true. We are constantly evolving them, but you can't go "What happens to the earth if we completely and totally cease all CO2 production, today?" because how the earth functions in whole with those gases in the atmosphere has large unknowns.

Most climate models use estimations for parts of the system that aren't well understood. You'll often hear about "positive feedback" in the models, because there is assumed to be an enhancement of the effect of greenhouse gases in some way, but that "positive feedback" is just a fudge factor.

We don't understand the complexities of the system enough to go off of the physics of the situations by themselves. Yes, increased CO2 increases warming. On a logarithmicscale that's contributing less and less to the heating equation. But even that's exaggerated because a lot of heat absorptive and radiative capacity that may have come from CO2 was taken by water. A swath of absorptive spectrum for CO2 is crossed over by water, which is in enough abundance to have already fully contributed that spectrum's heating effect long before we started racing our engines of industry towards the cliff.

As an aside, the broad strokes are usually the LEAST relevant to policy as they don't get to the cause of the matter and simply regulate to a symptom of something underneath. I would, personally, rather avoid a War on CO2 simply because it's looking like the start to a new War on Drugs. Especially since our biosphere thrives on CO2 and all of the replacements for energy production on both the individual and industrial scale has way worse pollutants in the mix to make them viable at the level that our CO2-producing traditional means are.

I'm not saying the earth isn't warming, but it's far from settled what effect that we have had and what effect we can have on mitigation going forward.
2013-08-21 03:14:17 PM  
1 votes:

Arsten: However, activists (such as 'lolgore' which sounds like someone slaughtering while laughing.....and so i like it) for curbing as much human activity as possible in the name of global warming, especially when some of those activists are also climate scientists, make the climate science community look bad. (As do lazy journalists who print the words "global warming" in anything even remotely related to climate, weather, or temperatures.)


By and large, this really has nothing to do with the huge discrepancy between public opinion on this issue, and the scientific consensus. Rather, there is a clear ideological/cultural cognition effect, as well as an information deficit/misinformation surplus. In other words, people filter the news they consume according to worldview, and also tend to just be generally un-/ill-informed on the topic. The perception of climate scientists as "activists" has no real impact on public opinion that is not already accounted for by these factors.

So this might hold true for you personally, or some blogger that you read, but for the general public your explanation is bullshiat.

Pull the plank from your eye before addressing the splinter in your brother's eye.

In what way am I an "activist"? Or are you implying that I am a journalist?

for the record I believe that AGW is complementing the natural heat cycle we have been in since the last ice age.

That's an incorrect belief. We aren't in a "natural heat cycle we have been in since the last ice age."

Glaciation cycling is paced by variations in the Earth's position to the sun known as Milankovitch (or orbital) forcing. The Last Glacial Maximum (what you mean when you say "the last ice age") reached its fullest extent by ~20 thousand years ago. Orbitally-driven warming (with a big help from feedbacks like ice-albedo, the carbon cycle, etc.) began melting us out around that time and peaked ~9-6 thousand years ago. The last several thousand years have been, prior to the present warming, dominated by slow, Milankovitch-driven cooling.

However, I also know that we have a long way to go before we understand something as complex as the global climate system and how small or large changes in CO2, methane, or other gases affect the system in whole.

The level of complexity involved is determined by the questions we want to answer. The complexity of "if we increase GHGs like CO2, will we warm up and change the climate" is relatively low, and the answer has been known (including the process by which this occurs) for more than a century, going back to Arrhenius, and Tyndall and Fourier before him. The complexity increases with the specificity of the quesitons being asked, but the policy relevant stuff, i.e. will the impact of unchecked emissions growth be large enough and fast enough to impact crucial facets of our civilization (such as coastal infrastructure, agriculture, etc.) has been known for decades.

I am happy to answer any questions you might have about this, and to point you to areas that are still highly uncertain (such as my original comment on tornadogenesis). But please do not make the mistake of believing that there is scientific uncertainty on the broad strokes of the issue, because there is not.
2013-08-21 01:24:16 PM  
1 votes:

jaybeezey: Damn you Global Climate Change! !


dkimball: Are you trying to say that Mother Nature isn't as predictable as we thought?


pdee: Thanks Global Warming.


trappedspirit: They have plenty of footage they could air about how global warming caused by humans is going to lead to more and stronger storm systems than anything we have seen before.


If anyone's curious, and doesn't find the LOLALGORE derp to be particularly helpful, the impact of increasing greenhouse gas levels on tornadogenesis remains an area of signifcant uncertainty and active research. It's nontrivial to disentangle the influence of non-anthropogenic climatic variability such as ENSO on tornadogenensis, and there are competing factors (e.g. wind shear, as well as water vapor, conditional instability, lift, etc.) which simultaneously (and potentially non-uniformly) change as we warm up due to increasing GHGs. Which of these processes will ultimately dominate, if any, is unclear. And finally, frequency is a single metric of tornado activity, and shouldn't be taken as indicative of the overall response for all attributes. It's entirely possible for their to be conflicting trends in frequency vs. intensity, as well as changes in "season" start and end times, area of most activity, etc.

TL:DR; "lol global warming" in response to an article like the above makes you look stupid, not the climate science community.
2013-08-21 10:32:00 AM  
1 votes:

brimed03: Sweeps Week: boobie-shaped clouds.


media.kickstatic.com

They're called "mammatus clouds", although some examples look more scrotal in nature
2013-08-21 09:27:15 AM  
1 votes:

Bartman66: jaybeezey: Damn you Global Climate Change! !

But I thought climate change meant MORE tornadoes? and they were going to be 10X and intense?


You misunderstood. Things become more potent the more dilute they are. The 10X means that there will be 10 times as many storms with the same number of tornadoes.
2013-08-21 09:19:43 AM  
1 votes:
i1.squidoocdn.com
2013-08-21 09:14:45 AM  
1 votes:
Tornado season isn't over yet. Got another good month or two of possible risk before it starts turning wintry up here in the north central US.
 
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