June 6, 2013

The debate on global warming is over (wait, what?)

Al Gore famously commented that the debate over global warming was over when, someone wanted to debate him about it.  So goes the debate on global warming, no matter what, the global warming mainstream have an answer to anything unfavorable to their preconceived notions.  There's too much drought? Global warming.  Too much flooding? Global warming.  It's getting hotter - has to be man made global warming.  It's getting colder? A side effect of global warming.  The scientists get caught in a scandal about fudging data? It's a distraction from the real issue of global warming and besides, we debunked it. Really and what about Climategate 2, or Climategate 3?

The debate is over because all credible scientists agree. Global warming is a fact.  That it is man made is a fact.  Except the scientists don't all agree, on anything.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last year's huge drought was a freak of nature that wasn't caused by man-made global warming, a new federal science study finds.

Scientists say the lack of moisture usually pushed up from the Gulf of Mexico was the main reason for the drought in the nation's midsection.

Thursday's report by dozens of scientists from five different federal agencies looked into why forecasters didn't see the drought coming. The researchers concluded that it was so unusual and unpredictable that it couldn't have been forecast. "This is one of those events that comes along once every couple hundreds of years," said lead author Martin Hoerling, a research meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Climate change was not a significant part, if any, of the event."

Researchers focused on six states — Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Iowa — but the drought spread much farther and eventually included nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states. For the six states, the drought was the worst four-month period for lack of rainfall since records started being kept in 1895, Hoerling said.

He said the jet stream that draws moisture north from the Gulf was stuck unusually north in Canada.

Other scientists have linked recent changes in the jet stream to shrinking Arctic sea ice, but Hoerling and study co-author Richard Seager of Columbia University said those global warming connections are not valid.

Hoerling used computer simulations to see if he could replicate the drought using man-made global warming conditions. He couldn't. So that means it was a random event, he said.

Using similar methods, Hoerling has been able to attribute increasing droughts in the Mediterranean Sea region to climate change and found that greenhouse gases could be linked to a small portion of the 2011 Texas heat wave.

Another scientist though, blasted the report.
And that disagreement is actually a good thing.  Science consensus is only good when something is fundamentally inviolable - like say gravity.  Models use statistics and if you look at models that predict hurricane paths they can diverge considerably. One might predict the hurricane headed towards Florida will pass through and also hit Texas, another might have it turn back out to sea and miss the U.S. coast altogether.  That is not consensus other than the fact that there's a hurricane involved.  It's like there is a consensus that there is a climate and it does change, but not how, why, when, how quickly or how often.  Meteorologists can't get the weather right for next week and we expect their hundred year models to be accurate?  I'd rather trust a witch doctor.

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