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[P]
The heat was hot, and the ground was dry

By imrdkl in News
Mon May 06, 2002 at 02:36:38 PM EST
Tags: Focus On... (all tags)
Focus On...

According to the BBC, the winter of 2001-2002 was the warmest ever recorded on the planet. The significance of the increased temperature is further increasesd, according to scientists, because there was negligible warming effect from El Nino last winter. The entire year of 2001 was, in fact, the second warmest year on record, across the entire world.

The findings above also hold in the US, where the heat was particularly bad in the northeast and midwest last winter. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), that region of the country experienced the warmest winter ever. There is currently severe drought in many areas of the US, and not just in the northeast.


As if the lakes and reservoirs weren't already low enough from the winter heat, it's shaping up to be another sizzling summer. CBS is reporting that, while things might improve a bit in the northeast by July, conditions in the southwest and high-plains states will likely be as bad or worse as any seen since the Great Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Also see their earlier report, which states that the national average temperature was 39.94 degrees Fahrenheit for November through January, a whopping 4.3 degrees above the 1895-2001 long-term average.

Of course, if you're a golf lover, then you've got some great games to look forward to this summer, but then, with all of the predicted forest fires which will likely accompany a severe summer drought, you may have trouble keeping track of your ball, due to the haze.

Anyways, don't sweat it, there's plenty of cooler heads out there which would have you dismiss the hype and sensationalism which is likely to abound in the media this summer. Additionally, recent reports give hope that, while nearly absent during the winter, El Nino may help to ease conditions in the Southwest this summer, although possibly making things worse in the northeast, and in other places around the world.

So pick up some stronger sunblock, stay informed, and don't forget plenty of kool drinks. And perhaps enjoy a good movie, as well.

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o warmest ever recorded
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Display: Sort:
The heat was hot, and the ground was dry | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Cool beans. Or hot? (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by bakuretsu on Mon May 06, 2002 at 10:59:07 AM EST

I thought at first that this was an MLP, but I'm all about MLPs with real meaning behind them, so I'm cool with the News classification.

+1 FP, no Afghanistan, FreeBSD, or political flames to be found!

In other news, I'm glad that winter is finally over.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
Over? (none / 0) (#12)
by rusty on Mon May 06, 2002 at 12:32:50 PM EST

It's over? Damn! When did it start? I musta missed it...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Misleading (4.07 / 13) (#4)
by El Volio on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:03:12 AM EST

"The warmest winter on record" sounds very alarming -- until you realize that we've only been keeping records for less than 150 years. On a global climatic scale, that's nothing. Also, I'm curious to see how far it deviated from the mean: sure, it's a new maximum, but that may or may not be significant depending on how many standard deviations away it is.

I'm not saying the sky's not falling (nor that it is), I'm just saying that most of the "evidence" presented to the general public isn't convincing.

Earth's geologic past and present (none / 0) (#20)
by hawaii on Mon May 06, 2002 at 03:24:03 PM EST

The warmest winter on record" sounds very alarming -- until you realize that we've only been keeping records for less than 150 years. On a global climatic scale, that's nothing

This is a line that is often used when talking about current global warming trends. Also, people often bring in the fact that global temperatures di flucuate significantly during geologic times, remember the Ice Ages?

Anyway, regardless of this, there is an important question that we should be asking. Not whether this warming is dwarfed by Earth's history of chaotic weather patterns, but to what degree have we, as humans, played in this current alteration of weather patterns?.

That bold question is the important question, if it turns out that we have altered mother nature, it seems to me to be far worse than if Earth took a climactic turn of it's own accord. I'm not an avid environmentalist, but I do believe somewhat in the chaos theory of moths possibly producing hurricanes. The facts are that we are damming up rivers, which can greatly affect the hydrodynamics of certain areas. While seemingly not great, these might add up over time. Same with CO2 levels from engines. I'm not saying how significantly we have changed things, but we have to consider if we have.

It's a difficult question to ask, primarily because weather is such an insanely chaotic system. But it's very important, IMHO, to know how we have been affecting the planet. Take Europe, for instance. European countries are significant warmer than American/Canadian locals at the same latitude, specifically due to the northeastern ocean currents bringing warmer waters to the European coasts. It might be possible to alter enough of Earth to change these currents, which would drastically affect Europe's climate. This is an example, and I'm in no way of saying how probably or possible it might be, but it is something to consider. Is this a common concept amongst Europeans? There are probably many many similar examples of interdependence.

Anyway, my main point is just because climate scales on Earth have changed alot, that fact in itself doesn't dismiss the current climate trends as irrevelent. Nor does it excuse humanity from having environmental awareness of the vastly inter-related chaotic system of global weather and ecology that we must be responsible for.

[ Parent ]

You're right... (none / 0) (#22)
by El Volio on Mon May 06, 2002 at 05:01:30 PM EST

...to a degree (pun only somewhat intended). We do need to know causation. But the key point is that correlation does not imply causation. You're absolutely right, these are all good questions to ask. Let's all just remember that we just don't have the answers yet.

[ Parent ]
deterministic (none / 0) (#23)
by hawaii on Mon May 06, 2002 at 05:36:17 PM EST

But the key point is that correlation does not imply causation.

Definitely. You can correlate almost anything if you look hard enough. I'm sure I can find some environmental parameter and relate it to annual umployment percentage to some level, if I tried hard enough.

That 's the problem with chaotic systems. Of course, many environmentalists and/or politicians/businesses can quote any statistic they want to prove/disprove environment changes. What is needed is a valid scientific high-confidence survey of many many parameters.

The key question does revolve around causation, not correlation. That is, if we puny humans have altered the ecosystem. If we did, that's not a good thing, even though changes of this order happen all the time.

[ Parent ]

Warmest Winter ever on the planet? (3.38 / 18) (#5)
by jabber on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:04:34 AM EST

Too Terra-centric..

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Typical science by press release (4.10 / 10) (#6)
by PresJPolk on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:07:26 AM EST

Once you get past the initial new measurements (which mean nothing without context), the bulk of this article that presents the contextual mesaurements is just typical science by press release: no critical peer review, deliberately misleading statements designed to shock, and little real evidence at the core.

In the aim of presenting a more complete picture, take a look at (opposing biased) John Daly's analysis of tree ring and other suggested evidence.

Oh, and let's point out the same thing that always gets pointed out with sponsored research - you often get what you paid for. A Centre for "Climate Change Research" (there's your presupposed conclusion right there) had a report on "Climate Change Scenarios" done. So you can see that there was no way this report would conclude anything but rising temperatures.



Who is the "Climate Change Research" cen (none / 0) (#29)
by mulvaney on Tue May 07, 2002 at 11:27:35 AM EST

The press relase is from the "National Climate Data Center", which claims to be the "World's Largest Archive of Climate Data". I'm not sure why you think that sounds like a biased source.

More importantly, the NCDC is a part of the US Commerce department. Do you really think that the Commerce department, along with Bush and Cheney, told these guys to skew their data in favor of global warming?

Finally, they didn't even say anything about global warming. They just said that this winter was the hottest ever. The entire press release is just a big list of facts. This is science by information, not by press release.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

The sad thing is... (2.60 / 10) (#7)
by Betcour on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:33:36 AM EST

Despite evidence that keeps piling up, there's still some Texans weridos to claim that global warming is a myth. I bet they'll still say the same when their is below sea level.

Texas (none / 0) (#13)
by catseye on Mon May 06, 2002 at 12:39:19 PM EST

I'm in Texas, and all I have to say is that summer is going to SUCK MAJORLY. It was 94F this weekend, and it's fucking May. I'm not looking forward to 115F-120F this August.

Not to mention the plague of fleas, mosquitoes and ticks because we didn't have a good freeze this past winter.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

So? (3.37 / 8) (#8)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:51:41 AM EST

Some of the same scientists who are worried about global warming are the same people who were worried about global cooling in the 1970s.

You just don't make assumptions on a data set that spans only a minute fraction (a thousand years or so in the case of tree-growth patterns) of the actual data. Even if we only take the time since last ice age into consideration, we have temperature data that represents significantly less than 10% of that to make our guesstimations on.

These "scientists" are making a total mockery of the scientific method, and I don't see any rational explanation for their actions. Except that they're in dire need of research money (ie. get the new Gamecube for the kids), a couple more peer-reviewed papers (to get tenure, re: new Gamecube) or just to make the latest 3-second soundbite on CNN (re: Gamecube).

blech!

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


Agreed (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by imrdkl on Mon May 06, 2002 at 11:58:50 AM EST

perhaps better to just go out and work on the suntan, eh? Why pay the least attention to such tripe? The NOAA, after all, aren't real scientists, right? Perhaps just go for a swim at the local reservoir near you. What? You say you cant dive from the pier anymore because it's up on dry land? Well, just that much more beach to relax upon. Try the movie I recommended, everyone loves a good fantasy.

[ Parent ]
And your point is? (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by khallow on Mon May 06, 2002 at 12:44:48 PM EST

Some of the same scientists who are worried about global warming are the same people who were worried about global cooling in the 1970s.

So using the same logic, I could say some K5ers have been wrong in the past so I can ignore all of them? Or because there's one or two articles of yours that I happen to disagree with, that you must be full of BULLoney?

I see a lot of legitimate concerns aired about global warming. It's not just a herd of nuts who can't decide which global catastrophe is going to do in the human race first. Ie, the herd will move on (no doubt to the dire disposable diaper emergency or EM fields). However, our problems with excessive carbon dioxide will remain. Personally, I think there are solutions (Carbon tax/allowances, reforestation or other carbon sinks, etc) that don't require the end of industrial civilization as we know it.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

idiot (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 07, 2002 at 03:00:17 AM EST

You just don't make assumptions on a data set that spans only a minute fraction (a thousand years or so in the case of tree-growth patterns) of the actual data.

RA Fisher and other prominent statisticians would be surprised to learn that you have a theorem proving this.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

It takes one to know one (4.00 / 2) (#27)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue May 07, 2002 at 08:35:14 AM EST

I almost refrained from answering to this due to the abusive subject, but here goes:

I should've added that the data set we have is disproportionately biased towards one end of the whole data, ie. we have data that spans only the last 1000 years of the 10.000+ years we´re talking about. This would be different if we had information from here and there during that 10k years, but afaik we don't; we only have that data set, highly weighted at the end of the time period. Take a look at stock markets, do you seriusly think we can construct reliable future projections based on last ten years´ development? I can assure you we can´t; no theorems or prominent statisticians needed, you can take my word for it, can't you?

You must not only be an idiot but also an easily-fooled hype-regurgitating simpleton if you think we have reliable, statistically significant data to suggest that earth's atmosphere is in fact warming up in the long run.

Nice troll, btw. I would've been tricked if you didn't use that subject line. Just as amusing, well-researched and eloquent, but broken as the most intricate troll I know to date, conveniently linked to in your sig.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
trends (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by christfokkar on Tue May 07, 2002 at 12:10:05 PM EST

You must not only be an idiot but also an easily-fooled hype-regurgitating simpleton if you think we have reliable, statistically significant data to suggest that earth's atmosphere is in fact warming up in the long run.

That's the thing, it doesn't need to warm up in the long run.  It just needs to warm up over the next hundred years and then we're all fucked.

So from that perspective, the absence of weather data from 1000 years ago is unfortunate, but not damning.

As long as things keep getting worse, we have to assume that the trend will continue.  You're implying that the weather is cyclical, and you have just as little data to back it up.  Thus, I don't know why you mentioned the lack of weather data - it seems to hurt your argument more than theirs.  At least they are charting a trend.

[ Parent ]

agreed (none / 0) (#31)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue May 07, 2002 at 02:16:53 PM EST

You're reading too much into what I wrote; I never implied that weather patterns are cyclical. Thinking about it, since I'm not a meteorologist (nor do I play one on community theater) I have always assumed that weather is cyclical, if you think about ice ages. But I don't know much, if anything, about the rather inconsequential (from Gaia's POV) weather between those times of turmoil. And I´m pretty sure no one does, although some claim otherwise (as is the point of this whole debate). And I'm talking about the weather in a millennia, not tomorrow's weather. They tend to fuck that one up consistently, fo'chrissakes, how can one claim these ppl know what happens in a thousand years.

But your point about the current weather trend is correct; I think we should be concerned about CFCs and carbon dioxide, and that we should ensure that there are less greenhouse gasses released tomorrow than today. It's just the way that populist scientists and the media sensationalizes this sickens me. That kind of behaviour and knee-jerk reactions just hurt the cause in the long run: "look at those global warming -whackos go at it *again*".

Coming to think about it, maybe the only way to make anything happen in today's world is through sensationalism. What a sad world.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
Sunspots! (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by xriso on Mon May 06, 2002 at 12:53:38 PM EST

The sun's sunspot cycle lasts about 11 years, but the number of sunspots at the cycle's peak varies by large amounts. There are recordings of a time a few hundred or so years ago where there were almost NO sunspots, and everything was absurdly cold. Before that time there were more sunspots, and after that time as well. Currently the sunspots-at-peak value is going up and up.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
OMIGOD its worse than I thought (2.00 / 1) (#24)
by whojgalt on Mon May 06, 2002 at 05:55:13 PM EST

Currently the sunspots-at-peak value is going up and up.

Those chlorofluorohydrocarbons and SUV emissions have made it all the way to the sun already?!?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"modern society is obsessed with keeping people vulnerable and dependent on the state for protection, so they chop off people's foreski
[ Parent ]

Thankfully no (none / 0) (#25)
by xriso on Mon May 06, 2002 at 06:11:52 PM EST

After all, global warming is not necessarily our fault.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Funniest thing (1.66 / 3) (#19)
by weirdling on Mon May 06, 2002 at 02:41:40 PM EST

GLOBAL WARMING!  WARMEST WEATHER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN*!  FILM AT 11!

* records began in 1961, and it's a whopping .71 degrees warmer.  While it's drastically hotter in the eastern United States, Western and Southwestern have been cooler.  Overall, it's been a pretty cold winter.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.

1860 (none / 0) (#28)
by srichman on Tue May 07, 2002 at 09:41:32 AM EST

GLOBAL WARMING! WARMEST WEATHER SINCE RECORDS BEGAN*! FILM AT 11!

* records began in 1961...

"These three months were the warmest January, February and March since records began in 1860."

[ Parent ]
Depends which source (none / 0) (#32)
by weirdling on Tue May 07, 2002 at 03:58:07 PM EST

I was, of course, referring to the sattelite records.

As to those other records, they are all well-known 'thermal islands', being around metropolitan areas, which have been steadily warming up.  However, the original point still stands: record by how much?  In the one case, it was a whopping .71 degrees...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]

In Western Canada, it's colder than usual... (2.00 / 1) (#21)
by wvenable on Mon May 06, 2002 at 05:00:11 PM EST

It snowed in downtown Vancouver today.  Like, what the heck is up with that? It's May for godsakes!

Snow in March is unusual (and we had some of that too), but snow in May is almost unheard of!

It doesn't seem much like global warming where I am sitting!


Ironic Freezing (none / 0) (#33)
by blacklite on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:06:55 AM EST

I really wish someone told the weather around here about this. I'm in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) and it's still staying at about -5C/25F during the night. I think there's still a slushy ice on the North Saskatchewan River that runs through the city. And before anyone says "oh, well, you live in Canada!", don't. This is crazy even for here. We had a week where it was ~15C on average, where it should be for this time of year, in April sometime, and then it reverted into this horrible cold.
South of here, in Calgary, it snowed on Monday, 40cm (16") worth. It's unbelievable. The climate is actually getting to the point where it's worrying me. Let's colonize Mars already so I can move.
If you'd like to e-mail me, don't laugh.
The heat was hot, and the ground was dry | 33 comments (26 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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