Wednesday, March 02, 2005 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Europe and America: united in cold

Five weeks ago, we enjoyed the Great Blizzard 2005 in Boston. In February, we have had an ordinary snowstorm every other day. The last one that started about 3 days ago brought us about one foot of snow. The snow record books will probably have to be updated in Michigan and Ontario, too. Ski resorts in the New York state are booming.

Some people enjoy this weather - is not the white snow blanket that covers the whole cities beautiful? Some people think that it has been too much of a good thing. Some other people just hate it.

The latter category may feel happier that Europe has been much colder than the East Coast recently:

Temperatures in Germany fell to a 100 year low (while the unemployment is at 75 year high - 5.2 million). The mass of snow covering the Czech Republic was probably the largest in 40 years. (It's believed that the floods won't follow because they usually require a lot of rain in the country.) Today in the morning, the average temperature in Western Bohemia was -20 Celsius degrees. Record low temperature have also been recorded in France, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland, Netherlands (record since 1845), the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

The climate models have been improved so that they predict chilly Februaries in Europe whenever the year is a multiple of 401 - it's the freezing effect of the 401k U.S. retirement plans. Incidentally, the climate models completely fail to reproduce the strong and obvious local correlations between the temperature trends and industrialization - an indication that most of the observed trends will be due to the heat island effect (i.e. local warming) after all. By the way, I am absolutely certain that some believers won't resist and they will add a comment under this article arguing that a cold winter, hot winter, a lot of snow, little snow - all of these things are holy signs of global warming. Why I am so certain? Because global warming is an uncurable disease - something like fundamentalist islam. ;-)

That's the East Coast and Europe. What about the other continents, for example Asia? Ten days ago, they also experienced a record snow in India that froze life in Srinagar. In Taiwan, the cold will get even worse. At about the same time in Australia, they complained about an unusually cool and wet February; many believe that the month was just a chilly exception. And it's plausible that the cold was localized in Victoria and NSW while the rest of Australia was warm.

As you can see, it's easy to get convinced that we're entering a new Ice Age. That would be a hasty conclusion. The weather in Indiana and Wisconsin is warmer than usual.

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snail feedback (16) :

reader Anonymous said...

global, a. 2: comprehensive, all-inclusive, unified; total; spec. pertaining to or involving the whole world;

Looking up the meaning of "time-averaged" is left as an exercise for the reader.

reader torbjorn said...

A more unstable climate and shorter but colder winters are supposed to be a sign of GW, isn't it?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear torbjorn,

I hope that you don't expect me to think that your remarks are intelligent.

Best wishes

reader Luboš Motl said...

Let me be a little bit more specific.

Global warming has been blamed for damaging ski resorts. See for example here or BBC as well as 147,000 similar pages on google that you find by looking for "global warming" and skiing.

Suddenly, when there is one or two winters when snow - like in the classical winters - is everywhere, the same global warming is used to "predict" that there should be winters like that.

Normal people are using the word "weather" for what the less sane people call "global warming".

One does not have to hold a PhD to see that if someone blames a certain effect (GW) for "A" as well as "non-A", then it's no science - it's a stupidity and unless we live in the Middle Ages, such a stupidity should not influence the policies.

reader torbjorn said...

lumo: as you first call my remark unintelligent, then answer it, I guess I don't need to answer.

I have never heard the non-A alternative discussed in serious litterature.

BTW, I may have been drunk at the time (your climate & political pages demands some anestetic :-), but an IQ web test (English, not my original language) scored me 130+ at similar conditions versus the usual 140+ when sober (completely different English one).

Of course, the quality of remarks highly depends on the blog context which you are mainly responsible for. ;-)

reader Luboš Motl said...

Come on, torbjorn, are you really saying that there is "consensus" in the literature that global warming means cold winters in most of the world with record amounts of snow? ;-)

Could you please explain what you imagine "global warming" is, whether it is good or bad, and why?

reader torbjorn said...

BTW, looking at your first reference, there is no conflict with _shorter_, colder winters and ruined ski resorts seasons and glacier melting.

And, since you obviously put me off somewhat this time: I hope you don't expect me to think your attitude is intelligent.

reader torbjorn said...

This looks more like an online chat than a blog. ;-)

I don't know enough about the consensus, you certainly know more about GW than me, but shorter and colder winters has been declared to happen here (North Europe), which is why your comments look like GW to me.

Also, a transitional feedback system often has higher min/max events.

GW is a global warming trend, but the cause seems to be defined as human effects of some sorts.

Does it exist? Thats the debate, definitive evidence are sorely lacking.

Is it bad if it exists? It could be! It will speed up species extinction (drive riskful or impossible migration between habitat patches), cause more sickness and parasite outbreaks, and move coastlines and farm lands, et cetera.

After the transition period it will eventually be fine, but if the above costs are balanced by whatever gains business-as-ususal gains are not clear to me.

What is clear to me is that the personal risk to be involved in sicknesses and weather catastrophs are increased. :-(

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear torbjorn,

it's hard to analyze this feedback rationally because I can't find a meaningfully sounding point that could be used as a basis for a reasonable debate. Why?

It's not true that the winter on the East Coast and Europe is "shorter". It's also not true that global warming predicts "colder winters". It's not true either that we have immediate statistically significant evidence that the recent winters are colder or less cold, or shorter, or longer.

This is a discussion about nothing. And if you have two interpretations of the term "global warming", one of them saying that there should be less snow, and the other saying that there should be more snow, which one do you think is more sane?

All the best

reader torbjorn said...

Dear lumo,

the winter (cold period, not day-of-light) is _supposed_ to become shorter, as well as colder. Apparently I have to dig up the references?

I agree that the evidence for recent winter behaviour doesn't say much.

Yet you use it so: "... it's easy to get convinced that we're entering a new Ice Age. That would be a hasty conclusion. The weather in Indiana and Wisconsin is warmer than usual."

How do conclude that I use two interpretations for "GW"? I think I clearly stated my case above?!

A short cold period will ruin the ski resorts season (more snow for a short period), the over year effect will melt glaciers (less snow over a year).

reader Quantoken said...

The theory of human contribution causing global warming is indeed a WIDELY ACCEPTED consensus in the circle of establishment researchers. That is a fact. But that does not change another fact that this whole global warming business is a crackpot.

On this I agree with Lubos. And I find it admirable that Lubos, being a member of another establishment camp, is capable of independent critical thinking and brave enough to question the GW.

But I guess that's only because he does NOT belong to the environmental science camp and so his criticism of GW does not really effect his own career in string theory research. Should he happen to be a professional in that field, he would have to either shut up and follow the main stream, or lose his job as Havard assistant professor.

That has nothing to do with one's intelligence or IQ, but merely a requirement of survivability in the research circle. That's a sad fact of the state of today's scientific community especially in the theoretical research fields. It's full of crackpots in a number of establishment camps. Global Warming, Big Bang, Super String, etc.

Politics, money, Darwinism dorminates today's science industries. See:

reader Quantoken said...
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reader Quantoken said...
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reader Quantoken said...
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reader Quantoken said...
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reader torbjorn said...

Dera lumo,
seems I have to do a poodle here.

As per usual, you are not helpful with a select useful link, but I found

"Since 1950 it is very likely that there has been a reduction in the frequency of extreme low temperatures, with a smaller increase in the frequency of extreme high temperatures."

And reading on, I see I misremembered "wetter" winters as "colder". Both uncomfortable, of course ;-), but I should have checked facts first.

I stand corrected on both accounts (rising from the uncomfortably poodle position.) Thank you for hitting my head until something penetrated! :-)

But they also say that "the natural climate system can produce weather and climate events that often appear to be uncharacteristic of the recent climate."

Which should mean that your recurring extreme weather reports are useless as a basis for a discussion. So there! ;-)

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