Friday, May 31, 2013

On The Origin of Tornadoes

An Event In The Global Climate System
Regular readers know that on Friday "we" (Dredd Blog readers and I) usually get into something concerning the scientific realm.

Lately, those posts have included discussions about the implications of the scientific determination that all of our local weather is systemic of The Global Climate System.

But "lo and behold", I ran into a great mystery within the politics of climate science (a.k.a. "weather porn") that I want to point out and discuss today in the first post of a new series.

First let's remember that damage to the Global Climate System began with the first Industrial Revolution followed by the Second Industrial Revolution.

Some, in hindsight, consider those revolutionary eventualities to have been a coup against the governing laws of nature as expressed in the Earth's ecosystem in general,  but especially in the Global Climate System.

In other circles, to the contrary, those revolutionary eventualities were touted as proof of the evolutionary elevation of humanity by nature, and were seen as an example of a surge in human intelligence.

That revolutionary coup, according to some of our visionaries, was ill fated from the very beginning:
One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” - Lamarck

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature
to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this --hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension." - Sigmund Freud

"Mayr, from the point of view of a biologist, argued that it's very unlikely that we'll find any [extraterrestrial intelligence]. And his reason was, he said, we have exactly one example: Earth. So let's take a look at Earth. And what he basically argued is that intelligence is a kind of lethal mutation ... you're just not going to find intelligent life elsewhere, and you probably won't find it here for very long either because it's just a lethal mutation" - Dr. Noam Chomsky (paraphrasing Dr. Ernst Mayr)
(Quotes Page). With that introduction in mind let's move on to consider the origin of tornadoes.

Earlier I mentioned the "politics of tornadoes", which I discerned from a post at a climate blog:
"And so right now I'd say that the jury is still out as to how global warming will affect tornadoes, which of those two variables will win out," Cullen said. "But when it comes to things like heat waves, when it comes to things like heavy rainstorms, drought, wildfires, we know that the atmosphere is on steroids, if you will. So basically we know that we'd have to deal with weather-related risks. We live in a country that has always seen extreme weather. We're basically moving in a direction where we're going to see more and more of certain of these extremes."
(Heidi Cullen, Climate Central, emphasis added). The "jury is still out" ... what jury, a "balanced committee" composed of an equal number of deniers and scientists?

She knows that the "atmosphere is on steroids" but she is not sure that atmosphere has anything to do with tornadoes?

And even if that atmosphere does have something to do with tornadoes, there could be a protection type thingy that protects "legitimate tornadoes" from that steroid driven atmosphere?

Of all things, I am all of a sudden reminded of "magic teflon vagina juice":
On The Planet of the Rapes when women are "legitimately raped" they secrete Magic Teflon Vagina Juice (according to a government official from la la land) which protects them from experiencing an unwanted pregnancy.

Evidently, according to Church Lady on Church Chat, for women who are not "legitimately raped" that magic teflon vagina juice cannot be conjured up.

House member Todd Akin (R-Bullshitistan) is there because some voters chose him to legislate laws for them.

I might note that Akin's magic potion ideology has been put into the 2012 GOP platform: no women's choice even in the case of rape or incest.
(NeoCon Planet: Magic Teflon Vagina Juice). I sense a neoCon surge in the propagandasphere, remembering that Mittster Romney purchased The Weather Channel and Weather Underground:
On January 3, 2008, it was reported that The Weather Channel and its assets were put up for sale by Landmark Communications. On July 6, 2008, NBC Universal, Bain Capital and Blackstone Group agreed to purchase The Weather Channel from Landmark.
On July 2, 2012, The Weather Channel announced that it would acquire Weather Underground, which will become operated under its subsidiary The Weather Channel Companies, LLC.
(Wikipedia, The Weather Channel, Weather Underground, emphasis added). The neoCons are long term propagandists, and are making a power play to try to control information about the Global Climate System.

This is because the overly careful nature of climate scientists is being used against us by deniers who blather along in their magic thinking.

Nevertheless, there are some benchmarks to go by:
Associations to various climate and environmental trends exist. For example, an increase in the sea surface temperature of a source region (e.g. Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea) increases atmospheric moisture content. Increased moisture can fuel an increase in severe weather and tornado activity, particularly in the cool season.
More and more Tornadoes

Some evidence does suggest that the Southern Oscillation is weakly correlated with changes in tornado activity, which vary by season and region, as well as whether the ENSO phase is that of El Niño or La Niña.

Climatic shifts may affect tornadoes via teleconnections in shifting the jet stream and the larger weather patterns.

The climate-tornado link is confounded by the forces affecting larger patterns and by the local, nuanced nature of tornadoes. Although it is reasonable that global warming may affect trends in tornado activity, any such effect is not yet identifiable due to the complexity, local nature of the storms, and database quality issues. Any effect would vary by region.
(Wikipedia, "Tornado", emphasis added). The graph from NOAA clearly shows an increase in tornadoes from 1950 to 2011, following the general trend of the increase in global warming and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (The Fog of Lore).

Keeping in mind that tornadoes are events within a system, the Global Climate System, and remembering the science of systems, let's recall that:
A system is an assembly of related parts that interact in patterned ways. If one part of a system changes, other parts will change.
The climate system is the highly complex system consisting of five major components: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the land surface and the biosphere, and the interactions between them.
(Government Climate Change Report - 3, On The Origin and Future of Nomads). So don't let Oil-Qaeda scare you out of your common sense.

Tornadoes are functions of the winds in the atmosphere; which is a part of the Global Climate System (which even includes microbes).

A system that civilization has been damaging with increased intensity since the Industrial Revolution coup several hundred years ago (Worst Tornado Outbreak Ever Recorded - 2011, USA).

In future posts of this series we will discuss the first reported tornadoes as well as the many recent ones.

The next post in this series is here.

Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature (transcript):
"Hi. I'm John Cook, lead author of 'Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature'. In our paper, we measured the level of agreement that humans are causing global warming in peer-reviewed climate papers published between 1991 and 2011. In recent years, two studies have measured the level of agreement of human-caused warming in the scientific community.

Both papers found that among climate scientists actively publishing climate research, 97% agreed that humans are causing global warming. But scientists have to back up their opinions with evidence that survives the scrutiny of experts in their field. In other words, peer-reviewed research.

The first analysis of this type was by Naomi Oreskes, who in 2004 analysed publications in the Web of Science between 1993 and 2003 matching the search term 'global climate change'. She found that out of 928 papers, none rejected the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. Our paper builds upon this research.

We expanded the search to cover the 21 years from 1991 to 2011. In addition to 'global climate change' papers, we also included papers matching the term 'global warming'. This expanded the number of papers to over 12,000. We also divided Oreskes' six categories into two sets: the type of research and the level of endorsement of human-caused global warming. Each abstract was classified according to whether it explicitly or implicitly endorsed or rejected human-caused global warming, or whether it took no position on the cause of warming. Out of the 12,000 papers, we identified just over 4,000 stating a position on human-caused global warming.

Among these 4,000 papers, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In the second phase of our study, we asked the scientists who authored the studies to rate their own papers. 1,200 scientists responded to our invitation, so that just over 2,000 papers in total received a self-rating. Among the papers that were self-rated as stating a position on human-caused warming, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. These results are strikingly consistent with previous surveys.

Between 1991 and 2011, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on human-caused global warming marginally increased over time. In the abstract ratings, the consensus grew at a rate of 0.1% per year. In the self-ratings, it grew by 0.35% per year, in both cases reaching about 98% consensus in 2011.

However, there is a significant gap between public perception and the actual 97% consensus. When a US representative sample was asked how many scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, the average answer was around 50%. This misperception has real-world consequences. When people correctly understand that the scientists agree on human-caused global warming, they're more likely to support policy that mitigates climate change. This consensus gap is directly linked to a lack of public support for climate action. This underscores the importance of clearly communicating the consensus and closing the consensus gap."
(IOP Science).

The next post in this series is here.

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