Annals of Global Warming: Plants refuse to listen to climate change skeptics


March 20 brought the Spring equinox, but our daffodils have been up for a couple of weeks. Spring comes a little earlier every year.

That fact, and news stories like these below must cause great angst in the bowels of the offices of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and other places climate change deniers hold sway. One can almost imagine some poor sap of a Coburn minion laboring away long into the night trying to devise legislation that will prevent Canadian thistles, redbuds, marigolds, wheat, soybeans and corn from reading about climate change or going to see Al Gore’s movie, and getting the wrong ideas.

I hope that minion is imaginary.

Here’s story #1: The Tuesday Science Section of the New York Times carried a story by Jim Robbins, “In a Warmer Yellowstone Park, a Shifting Environmental Balance.” Longtime readers probably know of my deep affection and ties to Yellowstone and the Mountain West. So of course this story catches my eye.

Robbins details an interesting set of changes being studied by Robert L. Crabtree, who is “chief scientist with the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center in Bozeman, Montana”: Invasive Canadian thistle, an exotic weed harries cattlemen throughout the world for the ways it destroys pasture land; despite its name, this thistle is an exotic from Asia, accidentally introduced to the Americas. The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, formerly a wetland, continues to dry as a result of rising temperatures and lack of usual rainfall (a predicted effect of global climate change). Canadian thistle loves drying wetlands, and has invaded along the Lamar River. Officials fought the invasion for several years, but the fight seems lost.

The changes are dramatic, to observant ecologists:

Enter the pocket gopher, a half-pound dynamo that tunnels into the ground near the surface. The gophers love the abundant, starchy roots of the plant and burrow beneath it to harvest the tubers. What they do not eat they stockpile under plants or rocks.

The expansion of pocket gophers and thistle is not gradual, Dr. Crabtree said, but a rapid positive-feedback loop. As the gophers tunnel, they churn surface soil and create a perfect habitat for more thistle. In other words, the rodents help spread the plant. And more plants, in turn, lead to more pocket gophers.

“The pocket gophers are unconsciously farming their own food source,” said Dr. Crabtree. Their numbers here have tripled since the late 1980s, he said.

For their part, grizzly bears have discovered the gophers’ caches and raid them. As a result, the Lamar Valley is pockmarked with holes where grizzlies have clawed up bundles of roots. Bears also devour gophers and their pups.

Dr. Crabtree thinks the bears started feeding in earnest on the new food source in 2004 — a poor year for another bear staple, the white bark pine nut. Now, he adds, they seem to be eating the gophers and roots more routinely.

Tom Oliff, chief scientist for Yellowstone, confirms that the growing season for the park has expanded 20 days a year since the mid-1990s, which may explain the spread of Canada thistle. Mr. Oliff said the park reduced control efforts because evidence showed that the plant ebbed and flowed and that the range would probably shrink on its own.

One doesn’t have to be a fan of the Craigheads or a biologist to be dimly aware that the Yellowstone ecosystems are intensely studied and intensely threatened. Climate change played a contributing role in the cataclysmic fires in the park in 1988; reintroduction of wolves still sparks some controversy, though the return of a top predator has already produced other dramatic changes in Yellowstone ecosystems. Yellowstone is home and refuge to a wild bison herd, and beautiful and unique — generally revered as a “crown jewel” of America’s features.

Nor does one need to be a climate scientist to recognize the signs of warming listed in the article, and the dangers that are implied: Drying wetlands, invasive species, dying traditional foodstocks for grizzlies, population explosions that almost always are a symptom of serious trouble in an ecosystem.

So I was surprised, dumbfounded even, to see The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE claim this as a good story. Why?

Something absolutely unheard-of before: an entire New York Times article talking about Global Warming but… with no hint of impending doom or catastrophes:

In a Warmer Yellowstone Park, a Shifting Environmental Balance by Jim Robbins – published: March 18, 2008

Destruction of wetlands, displacement of native species, upset of the ecological apple cart — and this is “no hint of impending doom?” (While you’re at the NY Times site, also see this story, about how warmer temperatures threaten the grizzly.)

Here’s story #2:

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., now appear weeks earlier than they used to. April 5 was the date of the debut of the blossoms 30 years ago, according to a story at National Public Radio, but they are out already and will have peaked by the end of March this year.

Washington’s blossomless Cherry Blossom Festivals (the dates for the festival have not kept pace) provide one more indicator that spring comes earlier. A geographer from Virginia Tech, Kirsten de Beurs, uses remote sensing satellite data to look at the dates plants spring forth, and has determined that spring is moving up 8 hours every year. (Go to the NPR site and listen to the story.) (This science is called “phenology,” the study of the timing of biological phenomena.)

Here’s the problem for climate change deniers: How can they convince the birds, bees, grizzlies, and especially the trees and flowers, that they shouldn’t be acting as if the climate were changing? How can the climate change skeptics get the Canadian thistles to stop invading, the Japanese blossoming cherry trees in the Tidal Basin to delay their blossoms, the bluegrass of Kentucky to delay its greening, the prairies of Kansas to delay the wildflowers and grasses?

Have all those plants been suckered in by Al Gore’s movie? Don’t those plants know that Anthony Watts has shown that the weather measuring stations across the U.S. are placed wrongly, and so there cannot be warmer weather?

Church authorities got Galileo to lie low on the issue of heliocentricity centuries ago; but according to the legend, as he left the room where he had agreed to keep quiet, he muttered, “but still, it moves,” referring to the motion of the Earth about the Sun. This is the problem of the climate change deniers: Still, the climate changes.

Canute couldn’t command the tides not to flow; climate change deniers cannot command the flowers not to bloom. That force that through the green fuse drives the flower? It’s the destroyer of skepticism, too. Climate change skeptics curse it today.

us-phenology-map-showing-earlier-spring-2002.jpg

Satellite photo composite: “Land surface phenologies across CONUS in 2000 revealed by hree AVHRR biweekly composites.” From USA National Phenology Network (USANPN)
  • Project Budburst: You can be a citizen scientist, and help climatologists and geographers map the coming of spring. Details here. Contact Barron Orr at the University of Arizona, barron@email.arizona.edu.

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24 Responses to Annals of Global Warming: Plants refuse to listen to climate change skeptics

  1. […] Plants refuse to listen to climate change skeptics, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, March 22, 2008 […]

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  2. […] series of exchanges at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is a good occasion to re-iterate a simple point: the IPCC has to this day failed to prove that […]

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  3. […] see this earlier post, “Plants refuse to listen to climate change skeptics.” Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Irony meter alert: Powerline slings mud at […]

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  4. […] Earlier post at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub on the issue Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Climate change skeptics, your Freudian slip is showingPlant hardiness zonesWarming shifts gardeners’ mapsHollywood ponders global warming […]

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  5. mustaque ahamed says:

    i need more information

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  6. Pat Frank says:

    Kitty, textbooks have been a source of contention in the US since the inception of publicly funded education in the 19th century. The major issue always swirls around religion. Any book that teaches science contradicting a direct reading of Genesis is viewed as an assault on morals (usually meaning teenage sexuality), and as promulgating a dangerous atheism.

    Anything taught that is not their religion is seen as an alternative religion, and therefore in violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. I.e., these people cannot think outside of the religious box. Everything is religion.

    The major push now, as has been for the past 80 years, is against evolutionary biology. But if they ever succeeded with suppressing that, next in line would be elimination of the geology that shows Earth at 4.5 billion years old. Anything more than 10,000 years is too much for these people.

    One would think by now this should have stopped, but instead the fight is as desperate and as relentless as ever. Religious fanatics have been caught lying right through their teeth to get their way with school boards.

    That said, if what the CFI analysis quoted about global warming from Houghton Mifflin’s “American Government” is accurate, then none of the book’s statements are much out of line with respect to the state of the science. On the other hand, the IPCC WGI SPM is factually inaccurate, even with respect to the body of the IPCC’s own report. I’d go further to say that, in my opinion, the SPM is actively misleading.

    See my own analysis here:
    http://www.environmentalwars.org/articles_climate_of_belief.php

    [If that link doesn’t work, try this one:
    http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01_climate_of_belief.html%5D

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  7. Kitty says:

    Ed,

    Can I draw your attention to the link below?

    http://action.foe.org/pressRelease.jsp?press_release_KEY=358

    As a retired school librarian (Wales, UK) may I say it shocks me to see you fighting so hard just to give your children accurate books, whatever the subject.
    Keep trying.

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  8. Pat Frank says:

    “In my experience, a lot of people deny warming.”

    Must be a Texas phenomenon. No one I know denies the climate has warmed since 1850; certainly since 1900.

    About Lindzen, what difference does it make with respect to the validity of his message where his pdf appears? Is it the content that matters, or the messenger?

    After I read Lindzen’s description of what had happened, and read Rahmstorf’s really unpleasant innuendos about him, I sent Lindzen an email and asked him whether he’d contacted Ernesto Zedillo about why he (Zedillo) had allowed Rahmstorf to publish such villany in a supposedly science paper. Lindzen wrote back that he’d asked Zedillo about it but never received a reply. Does that behavior bother you at all?

    Gore has made a religion out of climate. He’s demonstrably wrong about it, he has propagated large untruths about it, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about with respect to it, and he’s been demagogic about it. He was and is also wrong about faith-based funding with public money.

    About climate warming, we have no real debate, Ed. Our debate is about any discernable climatological effect of CO2. There isn’t any. Climate models can’t resolve the effect of added CO2, and there’s no falsifiable reason to think that even doubled CO2 will have any discernable effect on global temperature, on local or global weather, or on global sea levels.

    The increased housing insurance you mention doesn’t come from any actual effect of warming, but from the supposed effects of future warming that are based on climate model projections. And those projections are both worthless and deliberately alarmist. So there we can see a bad effect of rising CO2 levels. The unjustified alarm that people have about it, and the truly dishonest claims of future disaster made about it, have raised your insurance premiums.

    And guess what: if cap-and-trade comes in, and expensive CO2 sequestration and limitation handicaps energy production, you’ll see some really serious $ extraction from your pocket. Not just insurance increases, but large, long-term economic decline. Your kids and grandkids will suffer more than you will. And all for no good objective reason at all.

    There are only two known effects of the rising CO2 level. One is the greening of ecologies all across the northern hemisphere, as well as in the Amazon and the Sahel. The other is the acidification of the ocean surface by about 0.1 pH unit or so. I suspect the latter effect will cause a change in the species populations of calcerous diatoms and corals, but won’t cause much of an overall problem.

    It’s known also that photosynthetic plants were in a semi-starved state for CO2 at 300 ppmv (the year 1900 level). So, most plants are probably benefitting from the higher atmospheric CO2. I think it’s much more accurate to call human-produced CO2 an effluent rather than a pollutant. For most plant ecologies, it’s a fertilizer.

    I don’t think anyone can point to any real problem that has come from increased atmospheric CO2, or from the warming climate. Species are always having to adapt to such changes. What do you think happened, for example, as Earth climate entered the Little Ice Age? We weren’t here to document it, but do you think the robins and the hawks were stressed by the radically increased cold?

    If bird population comings and goings cycle over a 50-500 year span, of what cosmic relevance are contemporaneous changes we happen to observe right now? Your analysis displays the sort of linear extrapolative thinking that is rife in alarmist climate science (so-called), and is entirely inappropriate for systems that are cyclic, nonlinear, and feedbacked.

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  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed, virtually no one is denying climate change. The argument is about human causality. In your opening essay, you use “climate change” and “warming” interchangeably, and so let’s be clear about your meaning. By “climate change” you really mean ‘human-caused global warming and its effects,’ don’t you.

    In my experience, a lot of people deny warming. They think that your paper, for example, and claims by all skeptics, mean that we’re home free and need to do nothing at all about warming; they believe that warming is not a problem whatsoever. These people have hammered away at environmental science and biology texts here in Texas, and they’re working to gut science standards for public schools (they are also almost exclusively creationist). They say it is “a lie” that the climate is changing in any way that anyone should be worried about. They says additional CO2 in the air will make the Sahara a grand golf course.

    Sometimes I fudge the terms, but generally when I say “warming” I mean “warming.” We had this discussion some months ago, you may recall. I asked you then whether you oppose action to clean up air pollution, and you regarded me as a nut (not really) for thinking you’d oppose a clean environment. That’s why I trust your piece more than other skeptics: You don’t seem to have a political axe to grind.

    Most of the calumny against Al Gore is pure politics. He’s no great scientist, but he is very good on policy. In my experience he’s been right more often than wrong, and right in important ways, on saving the fledgling internet, on organ transplant drugs, on organ transplant registries, on orphan drugs, on toxic wastes, on air pollution, on water resources, on soil conservation . . . it’s a long list of stuff he’s been right about. It’s a very short list of things he’s been wrong about.

    I’ve been watching the climate change debate now, seriously, for more than 35 years — since I was a field worker for the Air Pollution Lab at the University of Utah. We knew then that CO2 emissions were problematic; but the high release of particulates had the interesting effect of canceling out warming, we thought. Then we got serious about particulates, and took most of them out.

    And in between I spent ten years hammering away at radiation compensation, where I learned and finally understood what we had practiced in air pollution work: Living things make much better dosimeters than physical measurements can hope to. In air pollution, we examined crop damage, and better analysts could come within about 10% of the level of air pollutant, just by examining the damage to plants. At one time I could look at an aspen leaf and tell you whether the damage to it was SO2, NO or NOx, dust, or drought, and tell you what level of SO2 or NO the tree got. In the radiation projects, we discovered that the Japanese figures from Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incredibly accurate. They had plotted how far each victim was from ground zero, and carefully detailed the injuries. For U.S. victims, the weather played a huge role, too. I know well that weather is extremely local, and it can deliver a nearly-fatal dose of radiation to one block of houses, and skip the next one.

    So for 35 years, I’ve lived with the expectation that we would discover dramatic, world wide effects from air pollution; I’ve known most people don’t have serious clues about how little air pollution can have great, long-lasting and/or widespread effects; and I’ve watched climate change with some alarm. For one example, in 1994, robins didn’t nest in the Dallas area; today they do. Two robin experts I’ve consulted noted, separately, climate changes that would push the robins: Increased snow fall leaves their usual mountain homes unsuitable for nest building, because the snow leaves later; meanwhile, earlier outbreak of the spring insects and worms the robins feed on, at lower elevations, meant they’d have to dramatically expand their range in order to be able to raise a brood. We see similar effects in hawks, now resident here because it’s not cold enough to reduce the rodent and vole populations in winter.

    So here’s the deal: I’ll accept your claim that we can’t tie it all back to CO2 from humans. BUT, the climate is changing; the changes cause disasters (our home insurance is $1500/year more because of it — the economists with the insurance companies say they are skeptical, but they can’t afford to screw it up and stay in business, so they calculate in the real costs of climate change). And air pollution is still a problem.

    From an air pollution perspective, we should work to control CO2 emissions as a matter of course, for the very pragmatic reasons that air pollution is almost always dangerous.

    So, when I run into people who say our environmental science texts are lousy (they are not), that kids shouldn’t take the class (they should), that the climate isn’t warming and we don’t need to do anything about it, I get fed up.

    Does that explain where I’m coming from better?

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Pat, I’ll accept a claim that we can’t pin global warming exclusively to human actions. I’ll accept a claim that we can’t determine with great specificity what the contribution to global warming is from human actions.

    But to go around the bend and argue that there is no warming, I won’t accept. I’ve been to Glacier NP, I’ve been over Rocky Mountain NP, I’ve been to the old glaciers in Utah (or their moraines), I’ve seen the photos of Alaska; I’ve been following the plant zone changes. It’s one thing to argue humans goofed some of the measures, but it’s pure tom foolery to claim that the glaciers were fooled into melting, or that the plants have been fooled into blossoming early.

    Lindzen’s paper is at the Junk Science site. It’s so bad he can’t get an honest blogger to put it up on the internet?

    If Lindzen is hanging out with Steven Milloy, I wouldn’t trust him. Junk Science is a notoriously inaccurate site. I’ve caught them in any number of hoaxes and lies.

    Why is Lindzen hanging out there?

    P.S. – I rescued your post from the spam filter. Not sure why it went there, since you didn’t hit the level of links that would have sent it into moderation. Most curious.

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  11. Pat Frank says:

    I made a long post in response to your comments here, Ed, but somehow it got lost into the blue. So, I’ll just observe that if you haven’t read at least the section on GCM errors in the Working Group I Chapter 8 Supplementary Information of the IPCC 4AR (http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html), then you have no business writing with moral indignation about “deniers.”

    And if you have read it, and still are morally indignant about AGW skeptics, then you either don’t understand anything about science, but I know you understand a lot about science, or else you don’t care about science, but I know you do care about it.

    So what’s the story here, Ed? On what does your moral indignation rest? Mere opportunistic political partisanship? You’ve obviously not informed yourself about the reliability of GCMs, on which the entire attribution of current climate warming to human agency relies. So where is the objective justification for your pejorative opinionation?

    And as you’re on the soapbox about “deniers,” take a look here at the sort of abuse Richard Lindzen must absorb: http://tinyurl.com/4oqybu (1.3 MB pdf download).

    You know who Richard Lindzen is, I guess? One of those shallow corporate academic denier-toadies, and Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT. Someone who clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Unlike Al Gore.

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  12. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, virtually no one is denying climate change. The argument is about human causality. In your opening essay, you use “climate change” and “warming” interchangeably, and so let’s be clear about your meaning. By “climate change” you really mean ‘human-caused global warming and its effects,’ don’t you.

    The entire causal assignment for global warming rests on General Circulation Models (GCMs). GCMs are entirely unreliable. Anyone can see this for themselves by looking at the predictive errors documented in Working Group I Chapter 8 Supplemental of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report., here:
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html

    The total error in predicted forcing is far more than 10 times larger than the entire predicted forcing of all the green house gases (GHGs) added to the atmosphere since 1900.

    What that means is climate models cannot assign causality. It means that the claim of untoward warming by GHGs is without scientific foundation. It means that assigning an unmitigated linear warming effect to added GHG forcing rests on incorrect physical models of climate. It means climate models are unable to model climate. It means the certainties of AGW warming are wildly misrepresented by climate modelers. It means the assignment of fault is unjustifiable. It means your upset is misplaced.

    Even more, the climate history of Earth does not empirically support a large linearly-enhanced forcing effect due to GHGs. The Vostok ice core, for example, shows CO2 lagging both climate warming *and* climate cooling by centuries. The fear of GHGs is wildly disproporationate to the threat.

    And you misunderstand the importance of Anthony Watt’s work. His work shows, without doubt, that the uncertainty in the surface measurement of global average temperature is easily (+/-)4C. But not only does one never see uncertainty bars in plots of the global average surface temperature trend, but most climate scientists have actively resisted doing the grunt work to evaluate the accuracy and precision of these data.

    We all owe Anthony a huge debt of gratitude for doing the work that climate scientists have avoided. We might call their avoidance willful negligence. Or maybe, advocationally induced incompetence.

    So, what does it mean to say that Earth climate has warmed 0.7(+/-)4 C since 1900? It means, for one thing, the claim that recent warming is unprecedented is entirely unverifiable. As regards “unprecedented,” does it clarify that word to know that even now the northern tree line hasn’t reached its previous extent during the lately-contested Medieval Warm Period? See here:
    http://climatesci.org/2006/06/16/230/
    for example and especially comments 3, 5, and 8.

    One real tragedy of the global warming alarm is that good ethical people like you, Ed, have been led to feel estranged from your own society, and ashamed of it, and angry at it, all without a valid reason. You are being emotionally jerked around. In my opinion, the AGW scare is the worst scientific scandal, ever. I’ve read into the primary literature on climatology, and it becomes very obvious very quickly that the AGW claims cannot be sustained by the state of climate physics. The fact that so many climate scientists promote the AGW idea just shows how blinding is the effect of an emotional investment into political partisanship. Think I’m wrong? Look at WGI Chapter 8 Supplemental yourself. Do the GCM errors revealed there support a 2.8 W/m^2 resolution or not?

    Here’s what I think. I think that the AGW scare is a wonderful diversion for people who need to find life-meaning in something Earth-shaking, all the while while avoiding the hard unromantic and usually frustrating work of doing something constructive about real gritty problems, like hygiene, education, clean water, and atavistic cultural myths. All those folks spending money travelling the world to demonstrate where climate negotiations are being held would do much more for the environment if they built schools for girls in developing countries. But that’s tough sledding, isn’t it. No wonderfully immediate and gratifyingly self-serving moral outrage in that, is there.

    Planned Parenthood does more for the environment than Greenpeace or the NRDC, which is one reason (among several) why I support the former one and not the latter two.

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    I’m not saying the writer for the times got it wrong.

    I’m just noting that the writer pulled no punches and reported the facts straight. While not quoting Chicken Little saying the sky is falling, nor even reporting any hearsay of Chicken Little’s testimony, the writer did note that an odd, climate-change-caused drought is plaguing Yellowstone National Park, the writer noted that Canadian thistle, an invasive exotic plant pestthat thrives on land disrupted by climate change (a “noxious weed” under Illinois law), has invaded an entire valley of Yellowstone which was free of the weed a decade or so ago, and the writer noted that there is dramatic change afoot in at least two significant mammal species scrambling to adapt to climate change: The grizzly bears, scrambling to find new food sources since the odd failure of one of its main local food crops (climate change? It doesn’t say — no doom, no gloom, you see), and pocket gophers, undergoing explosive population change (precursor to a disastrous population crash) as a result of the invasion of exotic plants that has completely changed the soil, subsoil, and food available for mammals in the valley.

    No, nowhere does the reporter use the words “gloom” or “doom.” In other news, the same newspaper reported that day that a man was shot to death, without saying that the man faced either “gloom” or “doom.”

    Factual reporting seems to confuse climate change deniers, it seems to me.

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  14. […] Data Show “Global” Warming Still Unproved 9 04 2008 A series of exchanges at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub is a good occasion to re-iterate a simple point: the IPCC has to this day failed to prove that […]

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  15. omnologos says:

    Ed

    The question and the amazement remain: the NYT journalist could have found a thousand reasons to insert “doom and gloom” remarks but decided not to. I say, it’s a (welcome) change to the usual sensational broth.

    On the matter of a warmer planet…if you are looking for something, chances are you’ll be finding it. When people ask me about this, I point them to the IPCC AR4-WG2, Chapter 1. I presume a “climate non-skeptic” would treat that document as an authoritative source. Better than vague reports on insurance companies or moving plants.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter1.pdf

    And so: the IPCC AR4-WG2 Chapter 1, dedicated to report ALL changes in a warming planet, lists:

    (a) 26,285 significant changes compatible with warming

    (b) 3,174 significant changes not compatible with warming (around 11% of the total of 29,459 significant changes)

    Plenty to pick-and-choose from, I am sure. But then there are also other quite important numbers from the same report:

    (c) 28,234 significant changes are from Europe alone

    (d) 1,225 significant changes are from the rest of the world (4.15% of the total)

    (e) 25,135 significant changes compatible with warming are from Europe alone

    (f) Only 1,150 significant changes compatible with warming are from the rest of the world (4.4% of the total of 26,285 significant changes compatible with warming)

    Note that (b) is almost two times bigger than (f). And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the vast majority of non-European significant changes, come just from North America.

    In a sense, it is the iPCC itself that says that the “global” in “global warming” is definitely something that still needs to be demonstrated.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    I suppose, if one is completely ignorant of the problems of Candadian Thistle, one could regard a story of its spread as benign.

    If one were wholly ignorant of malaria, one could regard a story of its spread as benign, too. That wouldn’t make its spread benign.

    One of my objections to climate “skeptics” is that they ask us to keep a blind eye to serious stuff, to too much that is going on. Yeah, there are data problems with the collection of remote sensing stations across America. Yeah, there are data problems with satellite data. Yeah, we don’t have enough ocean buoys to sample everything.

    But a lack of data does not change the fact that the climate is getting warmer. One need only look at insurance rates in Texas — the economists for the insurance companies say global warming hit us hard about ten years ago, but they are only responsible for billions of dollars of your pension money, so what do they know? — or the change in plant zones, or the change in bloom times, or a dozen other indicators where each of a population of living things must do something in response to weather, to understand that the world’s climate is warming.

    Stating it without emotion may be “no doom or gloom.” The Bengladeshis will drown the same, either way. It may not be doom or gloom, but it’s not happy for those of us who give a whit about other people.

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  17. omnologos says:

    Regarding the NYT story: you are free to read it any way you want but…the journalist did not write a single sentence in terms of doom and gloom. And that was (and still is) my point.

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  18. mulig says:

    Writing from Norway: the same thing is happening here. In December 2006 we had roses blossoming in the western part of the country and normal flowers associated with spring time appearing in the north in January, a month that should have marked the middle of winter. I think we can call this “climate chaos.”

    This year, January was a spring month again, while the winter seems to be here to stay now, in the end of March. The seasonal weather patterns are seriously skewed to say the least.

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  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Newsmax is a fascinating study in denialism, isn’t it?

    Global warming, in addition to causing worldwide change in climate, causes wild swings in weather. Newsmax, oblivious to the prediction, looks at the predicted wild swings (higher highs, lower lows, more violent storms, record snowfalls, record rains, etc.), and say, “We don’t see anything!”

    The articles above note the facts — a more than 30-year trend to changing climate. In that 30 years there has been a lot of fluctuation.

    Is there no one who knows statistics at Newsmax? No one who can read a research paper?

    I appreciated the humor, TaxPlanning. Thanks.

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  20. taxplanning says:

    Global Warming? New Data Shows Ice Is Back

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008 11:55 AM

    By: Phil Brennan Article Font Size

    Are the world’s ice caps melting because of climate change, or are the reports just a lot of scare mongering by the advocates of the global warming theory?

    Scare mongering appears to be the case, according to reports from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that reveal that almost all the allegedly “lost” ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels.

    Moreover, a Feb. 18 report in the London Daily Express showed that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than usual, challenging the global warming crusaders and buttressing arguments of skeptics who deny that the world is undergoing global warming.

    The Daily express recalls the photograph of polar bears clinging on to a melting iceberg which has been widely hailed as proof of the need to fight climate change and has been used by former Vice President Al Gore during his “Inconvenient Truth” lectures about mankind’s alleged impact on the global climate.

    Gore fails to mention that the photograph was taken in the month of August when melting is normal. Or that the polar bear population has soared in recent years.

    As winter roars in across the Northern Hemisphere, Mother Nature seems to have joined the ranks of the skeptics.

    As the Express notes, scientists are saying the northern Hemisphere has endured its coldest winter in decades, adding that snow cover across the area is at its greatest since 1966. The newspaper cites the one exception — Western Europe, which had, until the weekend when temperatures plunged to as low as -10 C in some places, been basking in unseasonably warm weather.

    Around the world, vast areas have been buried under some of the heaviest snowfalls in decades. Central and southern China, the United States, and Canada were hit hard by snowstorms. In China, snowfall was so heavy that over 100,000 houses collapsed under the weight of snow.

    Jerusalem, Damascus, Amman, and northern Saudi Arabia report the heaviest falls in years and below-zero temperatures. In Afghanistan, snow and freezing weather killed 120 people. Even Baghdad had a snowstorm, the first in the memory of most residents.

    AFP news reports icy temperatures have just swept through south China, stranding 180,000 people and leading to widespread power cuts just as the area was recovering from the worst weather in 50 years, the government said Monday. The latest cold snap has taken a severe toll in usually temperate Yunnan province, which has been struck by heavy snowfalls since Thursday, a government official from the provincial disaster relief office told AFP.

    Twelve people have died there, state Xinhua news agency reported, and four remained missing as of Saturday.

    An ongoing record-long spell of cold weather in Vietnam’s northern region, which started on Jan. 14, has killed nearly 60,000 cattle, mainly bull and buffalo calves, local press reported Monday. By Feb. 17, the spell had killed a total of 59,962 cattle in the region, including 7,349 in the Ha Giang province, 6,400 in Lao Cai, and 5,571 in Bac Can province, said Hoang Kim Giao, director of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, according to the Pioneer newspaper.

    In Britain the temperatures plunged to -10 C in central England, according to the Express, which reports that experts say that February could end up as one of the coldest in Britain in the past 10 years with the freezing night-time conditions expected to stay around a frigid -8 C until at least the middle of the week. And the BBC reports that a bus company’s efforts to cut global warming emissions have led to services being disrupted by cold weather.

    Meanwhile Athens News reports that a raging snow storm that blanketed most of Greece over the weekend and continued into the early morning hours on Monday, plunging the country into sub-zero temperatures. The agency reported that public transport buses were at a standstill on Monday in the wider Athens area, while ships remained in ports, public services remained closed, and schools and courthouses in the more severely-stricken prefectures were also closed.

    Scores of villages, mainly on the island of Crete, and in the prefectures of Evia, Argolida, Arcadia, Lakonia, Viotia, and the Cyclades islands were snowed in.

    More than 100 villages were snowed-in on the island of Crete and temperatures in Athens dropped to -6 C before dawn, while the coldest temperatures were recorded in Kozani, Grevena, Kastoria and Florina, where they plunged to -12 C.

    If global warming gets any worse we’ll all freeze to death.

    © 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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  21. Eco Warrior says:

    Excellent post, my friend.

    Like

  22. mpb says:

    NB–Shameless self-promotion

    see the maps and the changes via
    Where is… Bethel hardiness

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  23. laragardner says:

    You are so right. One climate change skeptic had an article out yesterday talking about how much colder Easter is this year than last so therefore global warming must be a farce. For one thing, Easter is a month earlier than last year. For another, global warming can cause intense cooling. I’ve seen significant changes in only a few years. All my confused little bulbs have popped up earlier than the year before. This year they all popped up in February. It seems to me anyone with their eyes open should be able to see there is something going on and it’s happening quickly.

    Thanks for the article. It’s great.

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  24. mark says:

    Gardeners and landscapers are familiar with maps showing hardiness zones for the US. A 2003 update made by the American Horticultural Society reflects warming conditions.

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