Friday, January 30, 2015

What's Up With This "GLOBAL WARMING" Thing?

Despite the scientific nature of the beast, global warming is a seemingly silly contest of opinions and can be filed away with conversations about politics and religion. Go figure. Be it as it may, in recent times I was in a quick conversation with a peer of mine about the issue. He is a fervent believer that global warming is a myth. (As you will see later, despite statistical evidence.)

This is my quickie experience in trying to understand his side of the situation. He kept quoting a website that seems looked upon as a debunking site with some credibility among those who disbelieve.

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The other day I followed a friend's link to a site he believes in. He supports or references the site often because he doesn't believe that global warming exists.  Now I know we all have our own perspectives on this issue, each one, personal in nature or motivated by whatever premise or resource has inspired your perspectives the most.

So I decided to follow a link or two to this website of my buddy's to find out what they have to say.  The site's all the rage among the nay-sayers of global warming.

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I landed on the site and it sure looked intelligent and appeared to be well put together throughout and presented pretty intelligent looking articles.  I get why folks like it.  I also noticed how they reference their information via a multitude of links quoting NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) site pages and charts as often as possible.  The site is very focused as they support their own perspectives by picking out small data sets to prove a point.

A lot of their links go off to specific charts and such that are placed in the middle of various reports.  Funny thing was that that in one of their debunking pieces, of the 13 links they provided to supply supportive evidence to their point, six of the links actually had statements buried in the text that state that global warming exists.  But in each instance, only singular charts or paragraphs are called out in the references, ignoring the rest.

Because you know, they are making their point as they only linked to things they found supporting the argument in that particular moment. It's like referencing police car issues, ignoring that they're Fords. (Or what ever brand is used in your city.)

But this isn't a big shock that fervent believers tend to grasp onto the obvious and miss other details. It happens and it happens quite often, even in the corporate world where statistics are quoted that support the flow of whatever talk is being given.

A great example would be when the lowest paid employee in a work group is told they get the largest percentage pay raise. (If you don't get it, ask in the comments, I'll explain it.)

Then there are the scientists I work with who are unfettered by outside influence and quite in touch with the data and they say that all numbers they see support that the planet is getting warmer, but on a sad note, they also say that it's too late to do anything about it except deal with it as best we can.


Good job humanity!

But global warming isn't some horror story where we all die from heat stroke in a single day. We're talking a few degrees increase over several years time. Such tiny fluctuations is something that no one takes note of, as some of the naysayers love to say, nothing drastic is happening.

But weather changes in cycles, not sudden shifts. When summer gives in to winter it does so gradually until suddenly there are no more hot or warm days. It is not an overnight change. So too is the overall climate changing, ever so slightly over time.

In 2013 the average global temperature was 1.12 deg F above the 20th century average.  It was the 37th consecutive year above normal. But what's one degree above normal, on an average? Barely noticeable. But then again, many big changes usually are.

Or did you know that,

"The globally-averaged temperature for 2013 tied as the fourth warmest year since record keeping began in 1880."

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The NCDC says that global surface temperatures have increased about 0.74°C since the late–19th century and the linear trend for the past 50 years is almost double that of the last 100 years.

The global mean sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1.7 mm/year over the last 100 years, which is faster than the rate measured over the last several thousand years.

Sometimes they don't out and cry global warming but they do point out that the patterns they are observing fits into a consistent pattern of trending warmer global temperatures.

Now I know that 0.74 degree Celsius seems insignificant, but the ecosystem of the planet should be like your body... running stable at your 98.8 degree temp. And when your body temp goes up one degree, does that feel insignificant?

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We all have our opinions on what's happening. And you know what, none of us will be proven right or wrong in our life times. Yet many must dig in and declare that the world of science is lying to us and that global warming does not exist. And I'm not sure why folks have to cry foul to the statistical analysis of our ever evolving world. But they do.

I'm not sure what the harm is at looking at the source of the scientific data versus looking at some crazy sites that quote convenient stats for their own arguments' sake. But then again, when we find a resource that supports our believe, we tend to say, "See... that's what I"m saying!" and then never try to verify it.

My best example of how some of those sites work is that when they link to resources, they pick and choose what best supports what they're trying to say, pulling pieces of this that and the other thing out of the air. At least that's what I saw.

Me? I believe my scientific friends who have degrees and doctorates. When they say they see something and cant find argument with the data, well, can you blame me?

The guys point me to the database of numbers that's out there for all the world to see and if you can break it all down, well, the historical NCDC/NOAA does seem to tell the tale.  At least for me. But it's up to each individual and their own experiences, to decide for themselves. Heck we'll be dead and gone before there's any serious impact to our future generations, so no worries. Right?

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http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/global-warming.php

http://www.noaa.gov/climate.html

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce