• john farley

    Jan 10, 2013 - 07:02:41 PM

    Our society is be better served if the folks who author perspectives on complex topics like global warming actually have credentials to substantiate their thoughts. (The author states that he has no climate background.) A few obvious observations. 1) The notion that climate scientists with doctorate degrees aren't able to make any sort of valid account for urban heat islands is pretty simple-mided. The idea of urban heat islands is taught in entry level meteorology courses. The climate experts are well-aware of urban heat islands. 2) Surface land measurments are only one set of data that are used in the analysis of global warming. Heat island or not, they are not the whole picture. 3) Global Warming is just that - Global. The author uses one data point, Washington DC, as a basis for analysis. One data point on a very large planet would be like assessing one grain of salt from a bucket full of salt and drawing some sort of conclusion. 4) The author says that we should "throttle back on opinions" but he has done just the opposite by saying what he believes. Scientists generally don't give opinions. They use evidence to support findings. That's it.

  • Robert Hartge

    Jan 10, 2013 - 08:28:55 PM

    One thing that never ceases to amaze me when people discuss global warming is that they never mention the sun, the center of our Universe. It is proven throughout history, through historical records, that when the sun is active as it is now, the earth is warmer, when the sun is less active as in 1996 and 2009, colder weather prevails, and for a good part of the world, we can't forget those two incredible winters and fairly pleasant summers. 2013 is the peak of the current sunspot cycle, by the late 2010's, say 2018 or 2019, the sun is projected to go into a quiet period and there is some sort of maunder minimum coming up in 2030. If I were a betting man, I would say that around 2018 to the 2030 period, we will be a good deal cooler than we are now, and probably 2013 is unfortunately liable to make us suffer through another scorcher summer, but I bet 2014 and 2015 will be cooler and the winters will be longer and worse. When people discuss global warming, why is one of the obvious causes never mentioned--the sun. It does not take much to tip the scales as the earth is a lot more fragile than we would like to think, and that is what it is showing us with all the bizarre weather over the last few years. Bizarre if you grew up here in the 60's and 70's like I did.

  • Reed Mhore

    Jan 11, 2013 - 12:08:25 AM

    Yay "broadcast meteorology community" esteemed scholar club! Spend less time on the application of brylcream and/or aquanet, and more time reading books! Here's one for you: "A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data and the Politics of Global Warming" by Paul Edwards. Published by MIT Press. This sloppy little article *was* a good way to make headlines, though.... I'm sure this page is getting a lot of hits....

  • john farley

    Jan 11, 2013 - 12:26:28 AM

    Robert, you make an interesting observation about the sun. That said, do you think the folks with decades of years of experience & doctorate degrees in climate haven't taken this into account? Our society runs best when our experts study things for a long time and then come up with findings. Example. You or I might have something interesting to say about how to treat diabetes. But our opinions would only be relevant if they got published in something like "The New England Journal of Medicine." That's how science works - study, then results get published in scientific journals that have experts as gate-keepers. If we choose to throw out what the climate scientists are finding, then we must also throw out the findings of cancer researchers, chemists, etc. They all use the same methodology. We are all best served when our experts are in charge of the debate. Think of it. If you thought you might have a brain tumor, who would you ask about diagnosis and treatment - the nurse, the orderly who cleans up the room, or the expert researcher who has a doctorate degree in brain tumors and has been studying this topic for 30 years? I know who I would ask. The author of this article has a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, not climate science. I wish that his education had helped him distinguish what he knows from what he doesn't know. He's not a climate scientist. That’s like asking a nurse about brain surgery. The nurse knows more than most people about how the brain works, but is not an expert on brain surgery. The author of this blog has valid observations about several media outlets reporting that 2012 was the hottest year ever. This can't be said with only 118 years of data. But he unfortunately has no credentials in climate - he says that he’s never even taken a single class in climate. Do we trust his “opinion” about climate? I know that I don’t.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Jan 11, 2013 - 02:27:39 PM

    Understanding that moving beyond arguments from authority was a hallmark of modernity, I have no problem with your lack of credentials when it comes time to present evidence. (I always love the claims that a bunch of Nobel laureates believe in climate change, as if that were substantive evidence of anything other than their belief.) Of course, the amount of credence I give to your inferences as they stray further and further afield of the evidence will necessarily suffer from your lack of experience. However, I am curious about your ultimate conclusion. Are you claiming that we should study more before acting to address climate change? If not, then what is the point; of course we will continue to study it while attempting to address it. If so, what if you are wrong, and we are headed over a tipping point? We hear rumbling on the tracks, wait, study the vibrations, and then discover that there is in-fact a train one foot away. At what point would you believe that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that there is global warming and that we need to address it. The people that have been studying it for decades have come to that conclusion; what, then, is your contribution to that discussion? An admonition that they need to study some more because, in your opinion, there are a couple of issues with a report in an article by a journalist. I appreciate that you have taken that article to task for its omission of certain interesting tidbits about last year while celebrating others. However, the fact that a NYT article neglected some information does not mean that there is a lack of evidence concerning global warming. In short, your blog posting is one long and, admittedly, interesting non sequitur. Unfortunately, like the inadequate NYT article, it just gives ammunition to climate skeptics most of whose arguments are armed with little more than ignorance and doubt.

  • Gavin

    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:51:26 AM

    A notable aspect of a strengthened greenhouse effect is nighttime heat retention. Compare the planet Mercury, with its thin atmosphere and extremely steep temperature gradient, and Venus, a planet with a nighttime temperature that is hotter than Mercury's daytime temperature even though Venus is further from the sun.

  • Liz

    Jan 12, 2013 - 09:52:15 PM

    Thank you so much! I truly appreciate your very good sense in this article. One thing I've observed is that there were no airports 117 years ago. One day, it was reported to be 102 degrees at Reagan National and in my shady backyard, about 8 miles away it was 95 degrees. There isn't a much hotter place than a large expanse of concrete, asphalt and jet engines. Also, my Arlington yard is full of older foliage and many animal and bird species which appear unscathed by any "threat".