Climate change explained in 90 seconds

This is the favorite time of the year for Fox News and their political class viewers.  Fox and climate deniers will all have a hearty laugh when it’s snowing somewhere in Minnesota or even Washington, DC in January, using that as proof that climate change is a joke. At the same time, they will ignore record heat temperatures elsewhere in the world.

That’s mostly because Fox and their viewers barely understand that there’s a world outside of the US border — and facts and science confuse and scare them — but regardless, those individual temperatures aren’t important (you’ll always have outlier weather here and there). It’s the longer term changes and the extended periods of time that count.  Or in simpler terms, they’re talking weather, we’re talking climate.  For a quick description of the difference between the two, watch this:

Hurricane Sandy went a long way to helping many appreciate the seriousness of climate change but we’re still playing catch-up and are far behind. Oh, and if you don’t think global warming is real — talk to America’s ski industry, a good portion of which may be wiped out by the end of this century.

Under certain warming forecasts, more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039, according to a study to be published next year by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

Between 2000 and 2010, the report said, the $10.7 billion ski and snowboarding industry, with centers in 38 states and employing 187,000 people directly or indirectly, lost $1.07 billion in revenue when comparing each state’s best snowfall years with its worst snowfall years.

And the Rockies are in trouble too.

Now for that video about climate change modeling:


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • rhjames

    Seeing this started about the USA, I checked information on temperature extremes, rainfall and hurricanes for USA. There seems to be no significant change in the pattern over the past 100 years. The mid 1930s seems to be the worst period. What has changed is increased population, and more housing etc pushing into risk areas, so of course more damage is reported.

  • rhjames

    Interesting, so what caused the peak 130,000 years ago? What about the one 240,000 years ago? 325,000 years ago, 420,000 years ago – all hotter than now? No chance it could be the same cause now?

  • rhjames

    Actually, they don’t. The further back you go, the more normal our climate patterns look. You only have to go back 2,000 years to see that we are coming out of the trough of the Little Ice Age. Go back 5,000 years, and we’re in a normal cycle pattern. Go back 500,000 years, and again, we look normal (coming up to another ice age in the next 10,000 years).

    Please present evidence for your statement “They tell us we are in deep trouble”

  • Bill_Perdue

    Climate change on the vast scale we’re now experiencing is the beginning of the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm6hkAPxWqQ

    From Truthdig today: “Lord Nicholas Stern, the widely respected author of a landmark 2006 government- commissioned report on global warming’s effect on the world economy, says he should have been more “blunt” about the dangers posed by rising temperatures. …The 2006 review predicted a 75 percent chance that global temperatures would rise 2 to 3 degrees above the long term average. Now
    Stern says the planet is “on track for something like four.” Other major studies have shown a 6-degree rise is probable.

    “I think I would have been a bit more blunt,” he said. “I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.” http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/economist_stern_i_got_it_wrong_on_climate_change_its_far_far_worse_20130127/

    And the Washington Post a couple of months ago “In looking at the effects of a 4-degree increase … Those could include sea levels as much as three feet higher than currently expected — a potentially devastating problem for large coastal cities in Asia and Africa. Warming on such a scale could also limit access to fresh water for irrigation and cause heat, drought and disease-related problems that could make it more difficult to meet world food demands and improve health. … The race to [develop] heat-resistant and drought-resistant strains [of staple food crops] becomes fundamental.” http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-11-19/business/35506100_1_celsius-climate-change-temperature

  • jfreed27

    Actually we do have climate records for thousands and even millions of years, by sea mud cores, tree rings, ice cores, etc. They have been analyzed at a high level for statistical significance , by experts, not bloggers or Stink Tanks bought and paid for by the Kochs.

    They tell us we are in deep trouble

    So we don’t need a thermometer to tell us our climate is warming beyond “natural fluctuations” By your reasoning, however, we are unable to foresee a disaster unless we gather real time statistics for millions of years. I don’t think so.

  • jfreed27

    That doesn’t explain that forest fires have doubled in length and intensity (even in areas allowed to burn), or that we have broken heat records for 330+ months straight (like flipping heads 330+ times in a row). These are unprecedented changes. And there are many others. At what point, pogden, would you call for legislation to address the problem? Only when contrarians are finally convinced, or when experts are?

  • Dano2

    You have about 5-6 standard denialist talking points in here, very impressive. I’m going to have to get a ruling from our league official to see if I can score on all of them in our fantasy denialist league.

    Best,

    D

  • Naja pallida

    So… if we assume there’s no reason to believe it will stop, or be a reversible trend, why aren’t we doing anything about it? If we simply accept that it’s happening, and will continue to happen, shouldn’t we be taking appropriate steps to adapt our infrastructure? Why is it that we’re still having crop failures due to droughts? Why is it that we lose power and other services in areas for weeks on end every time a storm goes through? Why is it that wildfires are still burning down millions of acres, and thousands of homes, every year? These are things we have existing technology to know how to address and prevent. We just aren’t doing it.

    Still, no serious climate scientist is dismissing the fact that CO2 is the highest it’s been since the last ice age. Methane and nitrous oxide levels show distinct increases since the advent of industrialized farming and giant landfills. Through secondary evidence, we can make pretty good measurements of climate back thousands, if not millions of years. So what we have physically measured directly is only a tiny blip in the data. Of course our climate has always been changing, but human activity has changed as well, and not necessarily for the better. If changing our activity can somehow mitigate something that has already been very costly to us, and will only increase in cost in the future, it makes absolutely no sense not to invest in preventative and adaptive measures. But as long as it keeps happening to “other people”, most of the country won’t care.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Our relatives in Alabama called all OMG ONOZ because Birmingham was getting three inches of snow a couple weeks ago. I made sure to point out to them this was because of anthropogenic climate change and global warming that produced a hurricane strength storm in the northern Pacific that bifurcated the polar air masses forcing unusual pockets of cold air south, thus blessing them with snow.

    I then tried to explain why Europe could be headed for another mini ice age because dilution of the Gulf Stream saltiness by massive melting of Arctic and Greenland ice caps will disrupt the conveyor belt that transports the tropical warmth to northern Atlantic and Europe.

    At that point, I had used more than three big words, and their eyes glazed over.

    I am sure they immediately turned back to Faux Noise Nutwork to be reassured that snow in Birmingham once more proved there was no global warming.

    That would be the same Noise Nutwork on which they will NOT be learning that in Australia they have had to add new color codes to weather maps to keep up with reporting heat in the 120 degrees (upper range) every day which is COOKING THAT NATION ALIVE.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    What you fail to point out is that climatologists “know” what caused these variations in the past as they do today; there is no other explanation other that rising levels of CO2s to account for today’s rise in temperatures.

    If you have another scientific explanation other than “crap happens” feel free to post it!

  • Dano2

    You’ll want to correct the insurance companies that are paying out claims in places other than where you state. They are being ripped off and need your help. Quick, save these global companies billions! Act now!

    Best,

    D

  • pogden297

    The increased weather losses is because the shoreline and other places that have always been vulnerable to storms are being built out. When you’re building in flood planes or on coast lines, the insurance claims are of course going to increase.

  • pogden297

    “It’s the longer term changes and the extended periods of time that count.
    Or in simpler terms, they’re talking weather, we’re talking climate.” Absolutely, I agree 100% with that. Then the author proceeds to completely contradict himself pointing to weather as proof of climate change: “Hurricane Sandy went a long way to helping many appreciate the
    seriousness of climate change but we’re still playing catch-up and are
    far behind. Oh, and if you don’t think global warming is real — talk to America’s ski industry, a good portion of which may be wiped out by the end of this century.”

    Hello…still WEATHER. Short term warming and cooling cycles last tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. Long term warming and cooling cycles last millions of years. Even a century is a tiny blip in this 4.5 billion year old planet. You have to look at much, much longer period of time than even the past 140 years of recorded temperatures to make estimates of warming and cooling trends.

    Funny thing though last summer when we had a heat wave, alarmists had no problem claiming that was proof positive of global warming. So this is how it works. If it doesn’t prove the theory it is weather. If it proves the theory it is climate. Of course calling it “climate change” shows how empty the alarmists argument is. The planet’s climate has been changing for 4.5 billion years. There is no reason to believe it’s going to stop now.

  • Naja pallida

    Yes, Sandy was normal and expected. It is impossible to quantify a single storm and point and say “Yeah, that one was caused by climate change.” No real climatologist would try do that. What they have been saying, and that the media so frequently likes to ignore because it is dry and involves a hundred years of statistical analysis and countless other factors, is that in general, weather-related events are becoming more severe. In all directions. Temperature extremes, high and low. Rainfall extremes, high and low.

    What is unprecedented is the cost to the tax payer. We’re paying billions upon billions to address the damage caused by more severe and more frequent weather events, droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires… while not making any serious investment in infrastructure to make these events less damaging, or prevent them. Nor are we making a real investment trying to address those things that we do know are serious problems, like air and water pollution; we’re actually reducing regulation and encouraging more. People are going to equivocate on climate change up until there are food riots, but there are real world impacts in the here and now, without even considering that as the proximate cause, that we aren’t even addressing because our government is so badly broken. At a point so far gone that we actually find it astounding when two people supposedly diametrically opposed on the political spectrum actually see eye to eye on addressing the aftermath of a storm. When that should be, and has in the past, the norm.

  • Dano2

    The globe is warming. The big insurers see increased weather losses. There are literally scores of indicators that show man-made climate change is occurring now.

    All the word salad in the world can’t change reality.

    Best,

    D

  • R James

    American ski industry? How long has that been going? You’re caught in the traps you’re trying to get others out of – weather instead of climate, than cherry picking the USA. Australia’s worst ski season was probably 1959, Overall, it’s been steady for the past 60 years.

    The US is about 2% of the Earth – almost insignificant. Meanwhile Russia is experiencing record cold (as somewhere does each year) and other places experience record heat (as somewhere is sure to each year). The the blinkers off and look what the whole globe is doing.

    Hurricane Sandy was perfectly normal, and expected. Have a look of the storm history for the area.

  • http://madisonleathersmith.com leathersmith

    Brian Kilmeade will never grok this

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