Friday, April 06, 2007

Global Warming Empirical Evidence


From the New York Times

Emissions Already Affecting Climate, Report Finds
Published: April 6, 2007

BRUSSELS, April 6 — Earth’s climate and ecosystems are already being affected, for better and mostly for worse, by the atmospheric buildup of smokestack and tailpipe gases that trap heat, top climate experts said today.

And while curbs in emissions can limit risks, they said, vulnerable regions must adapt to shifting weather patterns and rising seas.

The conclusions came in the latest report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has tracked research on human-caused global warming since being created by the United Nations in 1988. In February, the panel released a report that for the first time concluded with 90-percent certainty that humans were the main cause of warming since 1950. But in this report, focusing on the impact of warming, for the first time the group described how species, water supplies, ice sheets, and regional climate conditions were already responding.

At a news conference capping four days of debate between scientists and representatives from more than 100 governments, Martin Parry, the co-chairman of the team that wrote the new report, said widespread effects were already measurable, with much more to come.

“We’re no longer arm waving with models,” said Dr. Parry, who identified areas most affected as the Arctic, Sub-Saharan Africa, small islands and Asia’s sprawling, crowded, flood-prone river deltas. “This is empirical information on the ground.”

The report said that climate patterns were shifting in ways that would bring benefits in some places — including more rainfall and longer growing seasons in high latitudes, opening Arctic seaways, and reduced deaths from cold — but significant human hardship and ecological losses in others.

The panel said the long-term outlook for all regions was for trouble should temperatures rise 3 to 5 degrees fahrenheit or so, with consequences ranging from the likely extinction of perhaps a fourth of the world’s species to eventual inundation of coasts and islands inhabited by hundreds of millions of people....

From Climate Science:
Dr. Ben Herman
Director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona
Published: April 6, 2007

Now, the models also predict that the mid tropospheric warming should exceed that observed at the ground, but satellite data [empirical information] contradicts this. We have been looking into this problem here at the University of Arizona, and have concluded that the satellite temperatures from the UAH group are the most accurate, and these, after being corrected for stratospheric cooling, orbital drifts, hot target changes, etc. still show less tropospheric warming than do the ground temperatures. A paper addressing this will be submitted for publication shortly. If the models cannot accurately predict the temperature trends in the mid-troposphere, how accurate can they be at the ground?

I am also puzzled by the local area predictions that are becoming almost a daily happening. Here in Arizona, we are told we will experience severe drought, unbelievably hot temperatures, etc. If the climate warms enough, we would expect the global weather patterns to migrate poleward. While this would likely diminish our winter rains here in Arizona, it would also advance the Monsoon easterlies further north in the summer, likely producing more summer rains and a longer summer rainy season.It would also cause cooler summer temperatures as the sub-tropical high would be further north and we would not be exposed to the subsidence that results in our high temperatures now. The increased cloud cover due to the increase in monsoon rains would also help cool daytime temperatures Whether the net result would be a decrease, an increase, or no net change in rainfall I can’t say, but the models can’t predict this either. Yet the forecasts of what will happen are being made.

Another point I would also like to make is with respect to the rather rapid increase in temperatures that we have experienced over the past 10-15 years. Can the models explain this by the addition of greenhouse gases? I don’t believe the increase in CO2 has taken on a similar shape.

The above are but a few examples of uncertainties that exist. There are others. I point them out only to raise the question as to how statements about our past warming, and even our future weather can be made with 90% certainty while such important questions still exist.
I guess it all depends on where you look for your empirical evidence.

With regard to the concept that warmer climates will bring extinction of 1/4 of all species... that does not jibe with the paleontological record. I'd like to understand that assertion a little better. This is the kind of prediction that showed up the other day in material I quoted about the Amazon dying from global warming. If you read the link to the history of the Amazon basin, you would have learned that the only major reduction of the rainforest was caused by the ice ages, not the hotter climates of the past.


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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)