Tuesday, May 06, 2014

You can feel the National Climate Assessment in your bones

Blog long enough and you can just repeat yourself. The Third Climate Assessment is telling us something we already know, that the climate has gone screwy and disrupted. We know that because of science, but for non-scientists they know it because they can feel it in their bones. I suppose it would be better if people relied more on statistical knowledge and less on personal experience, but that personal experience does reflect a reality of climate change over decades. I think it's that personal message that should be used.

Climate disruption is true - you know it's true, your experience tells you it's true, the experience of people who've been around for a long time in one place tell you it's true. Science then backs it up.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...


Most people don't understand proper statistics and instead rely on "eyeball stats" and personal experience (since before Columbus, in some cases).

People in the US could sure feel this past winter in their bones, but most will take away precisely the wrong message about climate from that: things are getting colder.

You can try to explain the fact that the US is just a small fraction of the globe and that warming in the arctic due to climate change may be responsible for the shift in jetstream which led to the cold arctic air here in the US, but most American's eye's glaze over as soon as you mention words like "jet stream" (I know because I have tried)

Even some people whom you think should know better dismiss statistics as "uninteresting" in a lame effort to defend eyeball stats.

Michael Tobis said...

There's a point here, but it wouldn't have mattered if we called the problem "climate disruption" instead of "global warming".

Anonymous said...

Where we can agree:

“There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900″

“Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity & frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain”

“lack of any clear trend in landfall frequency along the U.S. eastern and Gulf coasts”

“when averaging over the entire contiguous U.S., there is no overall trend in flood magnitudes”

Anonymous said...

Most religions ask you to 'feel in your bones' things that are not actually observable.

So it is with faith based 'climate disruption'.

JonnieG said...

"feeling it in your bones"
I am well over 60, grew up in rural CT, lived the past 30+ years in Hawaii, have a multitude of brothers, sisters, cousins, long-time friends, colleagues, etc., all of whom I communicate with frequently and most of whom are still well-connected to the soil in New England and elsewhere. Believe me, these folks "feel it in their bones" since they, like me, have lived long enough to see the subtle but persistent changes when it comes to growing season, rain/snow patterns, etc. We are old enough to remember the stories our parents and grandparents told us about their youth. One odd winter or odd summer is not what people "feel in their bones", it is the longer term of their experience, season after season. My son works for NYC and has hands-on experience with the rebuilding after Sandy. As much bravado as there us among residents about rebuilding and "climate changed be-damned" there is a deep seated uneasiness about what is really going on. I doubt this uneasiness will raise to a level fast enough to affect the course of events w.r.t CO2, but it will begin to affect the way people make personal decisions about their future and their children's future. The immensity of the global problem and the need for collective response is not felt in their bones, yet.

Turboblocke said...

Anonymous said “There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900″
and “when averaging over the entire contiguous U.S., there is no overall trend in flood magnitudes”

Why average over the whole USA? It looks to me that by doing so you can balance worst droughts in one area by worse floods in other. Very convenient if you want to hide the disruption.

Russell Seitz said...

Whatever John Holdren calls it, somebody will call it something else.

Brian Dodge said...

"There has been no universal trend in the overall extent of drought across the continental U.S. since 1900″

But the mean PDSI for the 180 months starting in 1960 was 0.99, and for the 180 months ending in Jan2014 was -0.73.
The OLS trend plotting 1960-2014 (X) versus PDSI (Y) from 1960 in excel is y=-0.0202*x+40.783.
The trend for the west region is 23% larger. Maybe not "universal", but certainly negative trends.

And the average PDSI in the 180 months starting in 1900 was 0.92, not much different from 1960 180 month average.

[data available from http://www7.ncdc.noaa.gov/CDO/CDODivisionalSelect.jsp]

Bernard J. said...

It's now Australia's turn.

For those in the know, and with a capacity for rational extrapolation, there's really only one word - farck...


[Recaptcha, as ever, has something perceptively zen to say - "chief doilying"]