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I forgot about http://www.realclimate.org as well.

In reality, the individual roles of deterministic factors such as El Nino, anthropogenic climate change, and of purely random factors (i.e. "weather") in the pattern observed thusfar this winter cannot even in principle be ascertained. What we do know, however, is that both anthropogenic climate change and El Nino favor, in a statistical sense, warmer winters over large parts of the U.S. When these factors act constructively, as is the case this winter, warmer temperatures are certainly more likely. Both factors also favor warmer global mean surface temperatures (the warming is one or two tenths of a degree C for a moderate to strong El Nino). It is precisely for this reason that some scientists are already concluding, with some justification, that 2007 stands a good chance of being the warmest year on record for the globe.(Real Climate)

And useful comments ...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 22nd, 2007 at 08:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, that article in Real Climate deflects the question in a really bad way. It argues
The reality, as we've often remarked here before, is that absolute statements of neither sort are scientifically defensible. Meteorological anomalies cannot be purely attributed to deterministic factors, let alone any one specific such factor (e.g. either global warming or a hypothetical long-term climate oscillation).
My problem with the article is that it basically uses the fact that this is all about statistics to say that you can't say for certain either way, so stop asking and let us get along with our climate science. You can qualify it as much as you want and talk about prior beliefs and model dependence, but there has to be a statistically sound way (with confidence levels and such) of answering the question "is this caused by anthropogenic forcing"?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 06:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It gives me the impression - which matches my initial instinct, so heavy confirmation bias here - that they don't think it's caused by antropogenic forcing very much at all. Not that I don't think global warming is real, just that I don't think it's having these effects yet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 06:20:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we have a case of stochastic resonance, effects might be felt way before they are expected based on their size.

Also, there's a story today about the Greenland ice sheet melting 3 times faster than expected.
Metro: Arctic melt 'could sink our cities' (January 22, 2007)

...

A melt of 80km3 was predicted for 2006 but the latest figures show 287km3 has disappeared - almost three-and-a-half times more than expected.

...

Martin Truffer, a glaciologist at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, said: 'The general thinking until very recently was that ice sheets don't react very quickly to climate.

'But that thinking is changing right now, because we're seeing things that people have thought are impossible.'

But Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University, insisted there was no need to panic.

'There is no consensus on how much Greenland's ice will melt and no computer model that can accurately predict the future of the ice sheet,' he said.

There was a story about the Anctarctic ice sheet a few months back in which they said that basically people had been modelling the ice sheet as a single solid block of ice, but in reality it behaves like a very viscous fluid (here, geologists studying convection in the Earth's mantle could say a few things about solid rock behaving like a fluid). An ice cube will react to temperature changes rather more slowly than compressed amorphous slush.

And the fact that there is no consensus and no correct models should be no cause for comfort.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 06:31:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did someone say, "Models"?  ;0

It passes my understanding why disciplines who know damn well their object of study is a Chaotic System routinely ignore that fact when creating their Models.  Further, various subsidary parts of these Models are incorporated incorrectly as well, Migeru's example of glaciers being essentially viscous fluids is a case in point.

I'm sure it's all great fun to spend one's time creating bogus Models, crank the math around, and then publish papers and reports saying how wonderful the modelers are.  However, when the object of study is a dire problem - such as Global Climate Change - I submit this silliness is completely irresponsible.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I submit this silliness is completely irresponsible.

Which part of "there is no need to panic" didn't you understand? No wonder he's the Penn State professor, and not us.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:35:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, we're only facing total collapse of the environment, destruction of the global economy, and, arguably, World War III ... but what the hell, no reason to panic.

Perhaps my bad attitude is why I never get invited to the best parties?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:42:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop hyperventilating, there is no consensus and no computer model that can predict the things you're afraid of.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm using hyperbole to make a point.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just using you to make fun of the poor professor.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 23rd, 2007 at 12:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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