Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rising sea level bringing change to coastal life

WEST LONG BRANCH — Think it's tough to operate a business or invest in real estate in this economy? Just wait until that sea level comes up a few more inches.

Climate change is already forcing subtle adjustments in how people live along the coast, from insurance costs to community planning, according to speakers at a panel on climate-change effects at the Shore, hosted today by Monmouth University's Urban Coast Institute and co-sponsored by the Jersey Shore Partnership and Monmouth-Ocean Development Council.

"Adaptation is already well under way," said Radley Horton, a scientist with Columbia University's Center for Climate System Research and an adviser to New York City's climate change committee.

City planners are looking to protect critical infrastructure from sea-level rise, conservatively projected at 1 to 2 feet in this century, he said.

Even if storms don't increase in strength and frequency, that sea-level rise will mean that today's storm floods of about 8 feet above mean low water will occur five times as frequently, Horton told the gathering in Wilson Hall.

(looking for a solid, long-term investment? Think dikes & levees, technology similar to what the Netherlands tap to keep the North Sea out of their - reclaimed - yards and towns. I'm serious. A slow-motion rise in sea level is underway; this becomes much more critical during hurricanes and even nor'easters that roar up the east coast. It may not seem like much, but even a rise of a few inches makes a significant difference in ultimate damage when storm-induced waves are superimposed on this rise in sea level).

The rest of the article is here.

Meteorologists as climate change deniers?

A recent piece in the Columbia Journalism Review ( examined the rise in global warming denial among the ranks of TV meteorologists.

It's not just that the climate change deniers (as clunky a label as you'll find) claim that the climate scientists got it wrong; it's not that there was a mistake somewhere, some statistician forgot to carry a two in an important calculation or neglected to convert feet to meters.

No, the accusation is more venomous than that: Human-caused global warming is not an error, it is a hoax. It is an intentional fraud, a worldwide conspiracy.As San Diego weatherman John Coleman wrote in a November 2007 opinion piece, "Global Warming is a nonevent, a manufactured crisis and a total scam." The climate scientists are liars and con men who have no qualms about faking data if it will help assure them funding and continued research grants. It's all about the money. (By this logic, doctors are secretly doing their best to make the public sick, thus ensuring a continued supply of patients and income.)

Curiously, Coleman is not alone; according to a survey conducted by an Emory University researcher, nearly one-third (29 percent) of the television meteorologists he asked responded that global warming was a "scam." That percentage may or many not be representative of all local TV station forecasters nationwide, but it should be cause for alarm.

Coleman's article, which has been widely disseminated and used by critics of global warming, reflects a curious anti-science, anti-academic position.

The complete article at is here.

Climate thought of the day

"I'm not sure we understand all the influences and eventual outcomes of what happens to our atmosphere but I do know that the scientists who are researching it are sincere and genuinely concerned. Throughout history discovery has always had its shadow - people who have difficulties with change. Change is challenging to all of us but for some people losing their anchors (like the world is flat) just messes with their head too much. For the most part people want to project the illusion that nothing is wrong or changing because they can continue along the path of least resistance. Its so much harder and painful to confront change and do what needs to be done. Hands covering ears, shaking head side to side, saying "I can't hear you, I can't hear you."

- John Gitelman

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Severe winter storms in Europe don't tell us about GLOBAL climate change

(interesting article in Media Matters that caught my eye. Everyone is tempted to look out the window and assume the weather floating over their heads has global implications. It's hard - even for meteorologists - to keep a true, global perspective. That's why climate scientists exist - to look at the big, long-term picture. Maybe I'm nuts, but I still believe the vast majority of climatologists who continue to believe that GLOBAL temperatures are warming steadily over time. No vast conspiracy theories - if the planet was truly cooling you couldn't possibly keep 3,000 to 5,000 climate scientists quiet, all towing the line, all "covering up" the truth).

While some of Northern Hemisphere is seeing cold winter storms this year, many parts of globe experiencing temperatures "above normal." In a January 7 blog post, The Christian Science Monitor noted that "[s]ome parts of Northern New Zealand are sweltering in record breaking heat this week. And oddly enough, so are some places in Bulgaria, where a hot spot over the Black Sea has warmed one town to a pleasant 72 degrees. Not bad for a city at the same latitude as Portland, Maine." The Christian Science Monitor also noted, "On Christmas Day, the Australian Weather Bureau reported that Central Pacific Ocean temperatures are now at their warmest in more than a decade. For Australia itself, 2009 was a scorcher, the second hottest year on record after 2005." The U.K. Met Office Hadley Center similarly noted in a January 6 press release that "it is not cold everywhere in the world. North-east America, Canada, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and south-west Asia have all seen temperatures above normal -- in many places by more than 5 C, and in parts of northern Canada, by more than 10°C."

Met Office: Climate change "has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time." The Met Office said in its January 6 press release that "current cold weather in the UK is part of the normal regional variations that take place in the winter season. It doesn't tell us anything about climate change, which has to be looked at in a global context and over longer periods of time."

Globally, 2009 among warmest years on record. A January 5 U.K. Independent article reported: "The Met Office's Barry Gromett said December and January's cold weather was 'within the bounds of natural variability' within a global trend of rising temperatures -- in which 2009 is set to be the fifth warmest year on record." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has similarly stated that 2009 "will likely finish as the fourth, fifth, or sixth warmest year on record." NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) further noted that based on global surface temperature data through November, 2009 is the fourth warmest year on record.

WMO: "2000-2009, The Warmest Decade." In a December 8, 2009, press release, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that "[t]he decade of the 2000s (2000-2009) was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s (1990-1999), which in turn was warmer than the 1980s (1980-1989)." On December 8, 2009, NOAA also stated that according to a preliminary analysis by the National Climatic Data Center, "[t]he 2000--2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.96 degree F above the 20th century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 degree F." Bloomberg further reported on December 8, 2009, that "[o]f the 10 hottest years on record, nine occurred in the 2000s, according to the Met Office, which said it expected temperatures to keep rising as a result of greenhouse-gas emissions." The article further noted that "[g]lobal temperatures are expressed by the Met Office as an 'anomaly' from the long-term average. The 2000s were about 0.4 of a degree warmer than the 1961 to 1990 average, eclipsing the record 0.23-degree temperature anomaly of the 1990s, it said."

Click here for the rest of the article at