Sunday, September 03, 2006

Evidence Of Ancient SUVs In Antarctica

Post lifted from Cheat Seeking Missiles

Giant, prehistoric SUVs roamed the frozen Antarctic continent between 12 and 14 million years ago. It must be true because:
A 30-mile maze canyons in Antarctica was carved out of bedrock by the catastrophic draining of subglacial lakes during global warming between 12 million and 14 million years ago, according to university researchers who warn a similar event today could have serious environmental consequences.

Although scientists have previously theorized that the Labyrinth region in southern Victoria Land was created by water released from lakes that had formed under glaciers, researchers at Syracuse University and Boston University say they found geological evidence to bracket the timing of the last major flooding and link it to a global warming trend at the time. (source)

Warmies tell us incessently that it's our oil-fired lifestyle that's the problem, so we now can conclude that odd as it seems, there must have been prehistoric gas-guzzlers.

Remember, we can lick global warming! All it takes is adopting a less oil-consuming, less warm in the winter, less cool in the summer lifestyle ... and waiting out the current planetary temperature cycle.


The world's top climate scientists have cut their worst-case forecast for global warming over the next 100 years. A draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained exclusively by The Weekend Australian, offers a more certain projection of climate change than the body's forecasts five years ago. For the first time, scientists are confident enough to project a 3C rise on the average global daily temperature by the end of this century if no action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The draft Fourth Assessment Report says the temperature increase could be contained to 2C by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are held at current levels.

In 2001, the scientists predicted temperature rises of between 1.4C and 5.8C on current levels by 2100, but better science has led them to adjust this to a narrower band of between 2C and 4.5C. The new projections put paid to some of the more alarmist scenarios raised by previous modelling, which have suggested that sea levels could rise by almost 1m over the same period.

The report projects a rise in sea levels by century's end of between 14cm and 43cm, with further rises expected in following centuries caused by melting polar ice. The new projections forecast damage by global warming, such as stronger cyclones, modest sea-level rises and further shrinking of the arctic sea ice.

CSIRO research predicts the biggest impact of sea-level changes of this scale would be to increase the effect of storm surges, particularly on Australia's tropical northern coastline. The forecast temperature rises would also result in lower rainfall over most of the Australian mainland and exacerbate the threat to the survival of coral reefs and shellfish by increasing the risk of bleaching and increasing the acidity of the ocean.

Australian Conservation Foundation energy program manager Erwin Jackson said theprojections required an urgent and immediate response from the federal Government to drive accelerated investment in low-emissions technology in Australia. "Every day we delay taking action, the problem gets worse," Mr Jackson said. "The Government keeps throwing up the costs of action but totally ignores the costs of inaction. "No one ever said that saving the planet would cost nothing - that's the bottom line."

A recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics report on the cost of cutting greenhouse gas emissions estimated Australians would incur a fall in real wages of about 20 per cent if the nation was to unilaterally cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.

John Howard this week said that sort of scenario would have an "enormously damaging" effect on the economy. "I accept that climate change is a challenge," the Prime Minister said. "I accept the broad theory about global warming. I am sceptical about a lot of the more gloomy predictions. "I also recognise that a country like Australia has got to balance a concern for greenhouse gas emissions with a concern for the enormous burden to be carried by consumers ... of what you might call an anti-greenhouse policy. It's a question of balance."

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the draft IPCC report was still undergoing a thorough review process before its approval by the panel next year. "It highlights the need for an effective global response to climate change as Australia alone cannot alter the pattern of world emissions," Senator Campbell said. "We are taking a leading role internationally to achieve effective engagement by all major greenhouse gas-emitting countries."

The new projections are based on the results of 23 climate models, developed by government climate scientists from IPCC member countries. According to current climate change models, stabilising global greenhouse gas levels to 400parts per million offers a good chance of avoiding 2C global temperature increases. This would require global emissions to be 50 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

CSIRO recently concluded that the goal of 60 per cent reductions might be considered the minimum needed to avoid dangerous climate change. Any further reductions in global temperatures would require cuts in emissions of about 80-90 per cent in industrialised countries by 2050, which would require a faster transition to near-zero emissions technologies.



Understanding hurricane history takes on new urgency in the wake of the worst hurricane season on record. In 2005, the Atlantic basin produced more tropical storms, 28, and more full-blown hurricanes, 15, than any year in at least the past half century. Last year, memorable for its four major hurricanes, could also lay claim to three of the six strongest storms on record. And as bad as it was, the 2005 season was just an exclamation point in a decade-long hurricane onslaught, which will end-well, scientists can't agree on when, or even whether, it will end.

That's because late last year, around the time Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore in Mississippi, climate scientists were engaged in an urgent debate. According to one group, the increasing intensity of Atlantic storms comes from a natural climate cycle that causes sea surface temperatures to rise and fall every 20 to 40 years. According to another group, it comes from human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. (So far, no one has linked the number of hurricanes to global warming.) In the first scenario, the fever in the Atlantic might not break for another decade or more; in the second, it might last for the rest of this century and beyond.

After the war, the U.S. Weather Bureau-renamed the National Weather Service in 1970-established a formal program of hurricane research. To study these formidable whirlwinds, flights continued to transport scientists through turbulent eye walls and the eerie stillness of the eye itself. In the 1960s, earth-orbiting satellites began providing even higher observational platforms. Since then, forecasters have progressively narrowed "the cone of uncertainty," the teardrop-shaped blob that surrounds their best predictions of where a hurricane is likely to go. At 48 hours, track forecasts are now "off" on average by just 118 miles; at 24 hours, by less than 65 miles, both significant improvements over 15 years ago. Despite these advances, hurricanes undergo sudden surges in power that are easy to spot once they start but dauntingly hard to predict.

Like a giant bumblebee, the P-3 Orion buzzes in from Biscayne Bay, dipping a wing as it passes the compact concrete building that houses the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami-based Hurricane Research Division. The plane, a modification of the submarine hunters built in the 1960s for the U.S. Navy, is one of two that fly scientists in and out of some of the planet's mightiest storms, including Hurricane Katrina as its engorged eye neared landfall.

Among those on that flight was research meteorologist Stanley Goldenberg, whose third-floor office looks, appropriately enough, as if a hurricane just blew through it. Goldenberg is well acquainted with hurricanes blowing though. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew demolished his family's rented house in Perrine, Florida. A computer-enhanced satellite image of the hurricane, with its monstrous circular eye wall, now hangs on his wall. "The bagel that ate Miami," he quips.

Hurricanes belong to a broad class of storms known as tropical cyclones, which also occur in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They do not develop spontaneously but grow out of other disturbances. In the Atlantic, most evolve out of "African waves," unstable kinks in the atmosphere that spiral off the West African coast and head toward Central America. Along the way, these atmospheric waves generate ephemeral clusters of thunderstorm-producing clouds that can seed hurricanes.

At the same time, hurricanes are much more than collections of thunderstorms writ large; they stand out amid the general chaos of the atmosphere as coherent, long-lasting structures, with cloud towers that soar up to the stratosphere, ten miles above the earth's surface. The rise of warm, moist air through the chimney-like eye pumps energy into the developing storm.

Ocean warmth is essential-hurricanes do not readily form over waters cooler than about 79 degrees Fahrenheit-but the right temperature is not enough. Atmospheric conditions, such as dry air wafting off the Sahara, can cause hurricanes-along with their weaker cousins, tropical storms and depressions-to falter, weaken and die. Vertical wind shear-the difference between wind speed and direction near the ocean's surface and at 40,000 feet-is another formidable foe. Among the known regulators of vertical wind shear is El Ni¤o, the climate upheaval that alters weather patterns around the globe every two to seven years. During El Ni¤o years, as Colorado State University tropical meteorologist William Gray was first to appreciate, high-level westerlies over the tropical North Atlantic increase in strength, ripping developing storms apart. In 1992 and 1997, both El Nino years, only six and seven tropical storms formed, respectively, or a quarter of the number in 2005. (Then again, Goldenberg observes, the devastating Hurricane Andrew was one of the 1992 storms.)

Five years ago, a possible explanation for this pattern emerged. Goldenberg shows me a graph that plots the number of major hurricanes-Category 3 or higher-that spin up each year in the Atlantic's main hurricane development region, a 3,500-mile-long band of balmy water between the coast of Senegal and the Caribbean basin. Between 1970 and 1994, this region produced, on average, less than half the number of major hurricanes that it did in the decades before and after. Goldenberg then hands me a second graph. It shows a series of jagged humps representing the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation, a swing of sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic that occurs every 20 to 40 years. The two graphs seem to coincide, with the number of major hurricanes falling as waters cooled around 1970 and rising as they began warming about 1995.

Scientists have yet to nail down the cause of the multi-decadal oscillation, but these striking ups and downs in surface temperatures appear to correlate-somehow-with hurricane activity. "You can't just heat up the ocean by 1 degree Celsius and Pow! Pow! Pow! get more hurricanes," says Goldenberg. More critical, he thinks, are atmospheric changes-more or less wind shear, for example-that accompany these temperature shifts, but what comes first? "We still don't know which is the chicken and which is the egg," he says. "The ocean tends to warm when the trade winds get weaker, and the trade winds can get weaker if the ocean warms. Will we lock it down? Maybe someday."

After leaving Goldenberg's office, I drive across town to the National Hurricane Center, a low-lying bunker whose roof bristles with satellite dishes and antennae. Inside, as computer monitors rerun satellite images of Katrina's savage waltz toward the Gulf Coast, top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials have gathered to announce the agency's best estimate of how many tropical storms and hurricanes are likely to form in 2006. It's not an encouraging forecast: eight to ten hurricanes, fewer than last year, but four to six of them Category 3s or higher. (Last year there were seven.) The predictions are based, in large part, on the multi-decadal oscillation. "The researchers are telling us that we're in a very active period for major hurricanes," says Max Mayfield, the center's director, "one that will probably last at least 10 to 20 more years."

From his 16th-floor office on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus, meteorologist Kerry Emanuel commands a crow's-nest view of the esplanade along the Charles River, the dividing line between Boston and Cambridge. In 1985, he remembers, the windows wept with spray blown up from the river by Hurricane Gloria, a moderately strong storm that, nonetheless, made a mess of the Northeast. A painting by a Haitian artist that shows people and animals drowning in a storm surge hangs on a wall near his desk.

Last year, right after Katrina hit, Emanuel found himself in the media spotlight. A few weeks earlier he had published evidence in the journal Nature that hurricanes in both the North Atlantic and the western basin of the North Pacific had undergone a startling increase in power over the past half century. The increase showed up in both the duration of the storms and their peak wind speeds. The cause, Emanuel suggested, was a rise in tropical sea surface temperatures due, at least in part, to the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Even scientists who would expect hurricanes to intensify in response to greenhouse warming were stunned by Emanuel's suggestion that global warming has already had a profound effect. Computer simulations of a warming world, notes climate modeler Thomas Knutson of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, suggest that by the end of this century, peak sustained wind speeds could increase by around 7 percent, enough to push some Category 4 hurricanes into Category 5 territory. But Knutson, along with many others, did not think that the intensity rise would be detectable so soon-or that it might be five or more times larger than he and his colleagues anticipated. "These are huge changes," Knutson says of Emanuel's results. "If true, they may have serious implications. First we need to find out if they're true."

Emanuel's paper raised the ante in what has grown into an extremely intense debate over the sensitivity of the earth's most violent storms to gases spewed into the atmosphere by human beings. In the months since the dispute began, dozens of other studies have been reported, some of which support Emanuel's conclusions, others of which call them into question. The debate has grown so impassioned that some former colleagues now scarcely speak to one another.

Sorting out the differences between the two camps is not easy. Goldenberg and Landsea, for example, grant that greenhouse gases may be contributing to a slight long-term rise in sea surface temperatures. They just don't think the effect is significant enough to trump the natural swings of the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation. "It's not simply, yes or no, is global warming having an effect?" says Landsea, the science and operations officer for the National Hurricane Center. "It's how much of an effect is it having?"

Emanuel, while respectful of Landsea, is not backing down. In fact, he has now stirred up a second storm. "If you'd asked me a year ago," Emanuel says, "I would have probably told you that a lot of the variability in hurricane activity was due to the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation. I've now come to the conclusion that the oscillation either doesn't exist at all or, if it does, has no perceptible influence on the temperature of the tropical Atlantic in the late summer and fall"-that is, in hurricane season.

Emanuel says that much of the cooling in the tropical North Atlantic in the 1970s can be traced to atmospheric pollutants, specifically to a haze of sulfurous droplets spewed out by volcanoes and industrial smokestacks. Global climate modelers have recognized for years that this haze in the atmosphere acts as a sunshade that cools the earth's surface below. Emanuel says that now that this form of air pollution is on the wane (and this is a good thing for all sorts of reasons having nothing to do with hurricanes), the warming influence of greenhouse gas pollution, and its effect on hurricanes, is growing ever more pronounced. "We will have some quiet [hurricane] years," he says. "But unless we have a really big volcanic eruption, we'll never see another quiet decade in the Atlantic in our lifetime or that of our children."

Is such a grim prediction warranted? Scientists on the periphery of the debate aren't yet sure. For now, says meteorologist Hugh Willoughby of Florida International University, the points of agreement among experts are more important than the differences. Whether a natural oscillation or greenhouse warming is to blame, the odds of a major hurricane striking the U.S. coastline are higher than they have been for more than a generation. And the dangers such storms pose are higher than ever.

Adjusted for inflation, the 1938 New England hurricane destroyed or damaged some $3.5 billion worth of property. Today, estimates Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the same hurricane would leave behind a tab of up to $50 billion. The 1900 Galveston hurricane would cause property losses as high as $120 billion. And at the very top of Pielke's list of catastrophic disasters is a replay of the Category 4 hurricane that slashed into Miami in 1926, eighty years ago this September. Were the same hurricane to hit the Miami area in 2006, Pielke estimates, the bill could approach $180 billion. "And," he adds, "if you want to compare apples to apples, Katrina was an $80 billion storm."

More here


It's peak North Atlantic hurricane season again and much is being made of a supposedly increased hurricane threat due to man-made global warming. It's a contentious issue, to say the least. has tried to slice through a little of the overblown rhetoric to see what, if any, cold, hard facts are available.

If you look at a graph from the Chronological List of All Hurricanes Which Affected the Continental United States: 1851-2005 compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the years 2004-2005 represent the only time in this relatively short record that there have been two consecutive years with more than four hurricanes making U.S. landfall.

This, however, does not constitute proof of global warming-enhanced, landfalling hurricane activity. Since 1928 -- the mid-point of the period 1851-2005 -- there have been 134 landfalling hurricanes as compared to 145 landfalling hurricanes prior to 1928. So there's actually been a significant decrease in hurricane frequency though global temperatures likely have warmed somewhat since 1928. There also hasn't been an increase in the number of stormy seasons. Pre-1928, there were nine years with three or more hurricanes compared to only five years with three or more hurricanes post-1928.

There appear to have been more category four and category five storms post-1928 as compared to pre-1928 (12 vs. 9). But since that difference depends on measurements of maximum hurricane wind speeds, it could easily be questioned given dramatic technological improvements in modern hurricane data collection.

Looking at the data by decade, it's apparent that the anomalously quiet 1920s were followed by surging landfalling hurricane frequency in the 1930s and 1940s. But after the 1940s, the remainder of the 20th century was rather quiet.

The statistics for 2004 and 2005 may look ominous at first blush, but we have no way of knowing how the remainder of the decade will ultimately pan out. With annual landfalling hurricane counts of 0, 1, 2, 6 and 6 for the period 2001-2005, it could be a big decade -- or not.

The question originally posed, of course, was whether the increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide is associated with more or more-severe landfalling hurricanes. To answer this question, we plotted storms against atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Curiously, the post-World War II period of increasing fossil fuel use and associated increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is concurrent with the most sustained lull in landfalling hurricane activity throughout the record. While this doesn't disprove any association between global warming and landfalling hurricane frequency or intensity, it lends no support to the contention either. It then strongly looks as though 2004-2005 was simply an unlucky anomaly since hurricane trends bear no similarity to the annual atmospheric carbon dioxide trend and, by extension, to global warming.

The last time there were 15 landfalling hurricanes in a four-year period was back in the 1880s. Even so, the entire 1880s ended up having only one or two more landfalling hurricanes than the preceding and subsequent decades. History, therefore, cautions us against jumping to rash conclusions about whether the opening decade of the Third Millennium will likely become a record-breaker. We'll have to wait and see -- but history suggests it's somewhat unlikely.

Finally, we've also plotted a new graph of global temperature data -- from the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research -- against atmospheric carbon dioxide data -- from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, the longest continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations available in the world. The graph shows very little change in either global temperature or atmospheric carbon dioxide level since 1850. That's because we plotted the ranges on scales that better suit planetary history as opposed to the global warming lobby's fascination with dramatized illustrations of relatively small temperature change over short time periods. Temperatures are plotted in degrees Kelvin, the absolute temperature scale, and carbon dioxide levels are plotted in terms of their historical range, which has been more than an order of magnitude greater than current levels.

Has the planet warmed over the last two centuries? Almost certainly it has. But we can say with equal certainty that, from a planetary perspective, it hasn't warmed very much and, when viewed on a more appropriate scale, nowhere near the "dangerous" levels claimed by alarmists. And no one knows with any certainty why the warming has occurred.

This is why the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimate of average global temperature change - 0.6 ñ 0.2 degrees Centigrade during the 20th century - is really a trivial matter when viewed in the proper historical context. Simply put, a change in absolute planetary mean temperature of 0.2 percent is unlikely to have caused catastrophic climate change.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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