Hot Time -- Bad Timing

Three days ago, it was revealed that Stephen Harper was joining George W. Bush in a North American death wish by withdrawing from the Kyoto process. 

Yesterday, NASA scientists announced that 2005 had topped 1998 as the hottest year on record.  In fact, one NASA researcher said it was likely that 2005 may have been the warmest in several thousand years.  While the rest of the world scrambles to patch together the barest beginnings of a survival strategy, it seems clear that the alternative path blazed by the US and Australia, a followed by India, China and now Canada is becoming the non-stop route to climate hell.

2005 Was Warmest Year on Record - NASA, Jan. 25, 2006

WASHINGTON - Last year was the warmest recorded on Earth's surface, and it was unusually hot in the Arctic, US space agency NASA said on Tuesday.

All five of the hottest years since modern record-keeping began in the 1890s occurred within the last decade, according to analysis by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In descending order, the years with the highest global average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, NASA said in a statement.

“It's fair to say that it probably is the warmest since we have modern meteorological records,” said Drew Shindell of the NASA institute in New York City.

“Using indirect measurements that go back farther, I think it's even fair to say that it's the warmest in the last several thousand years.”

Some researchers had expected 1998 would be the hottest year on record, notably because a strong El Nino – a warm-water pattern in the eastern Pacific – boosted global temperatures.

But Shindell said last year was slightly warmer than 1998, even without any extraordinary weather pattern. Temperatures in the Arctic were unusually warm in 2005, NASA said.

“That very anomalously warm year (1998) has become the norm,” Shindell said in a telephone interview.

“The rate of warming has been so rapid that this temperature that we only got when we had a real strong El Nino now has become something that we've gotten without any unusual worldwide weather disturbance.”

Over the past 30 years, Earth has warmed by 1.08 degrees F (0.6 degrees C), NASA said. Over the past 100 years, it has warmed by 1.44 degrees F (0.8 degrees C).

Shindell, in line with the view held by most scientists, attributed the rise to emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and ozone, with the burning of fossil fuels being the primary source.

The 21st century could see global temperature increases of 6 to 10 degrees F (3 to 5 degrees C), Shindell said.

“That will really bring us up to the warmest temperatures the world has experienced probably in the last million years,” he said.

To understand whether the Earth is cooling or warming, scientists use data from weather stations on land, satellite measurements of sea surface temperature since 1982, and data from ships for earlier years.


Not quite on topic but Republican darling, Steven Milloy of Junk Science, has been caught with his hand in the nicotine cookie jar.  Check out this article up at The New Republic,

First of all, we must consider what is meant by a year being “the hottest”. The amounts are far smaller than the variations between days and this, I believe, is misleading the public into believing that the changes are insignificant. What is not considered by the general public - because the general public isn’t filled with mathematicians and physicists - is that we are talking about an average, sustained increase in temperature. Here’s a fun exercise you can do at home. It takes 4,000 joules of energy to heat one kilogram of sea water by 1 degree centegrade. Sea water, at the surface, on average weighs 1027 kg/m3. The volume of the world’s oceans is roughly 1.37 billion cubic kilometers. Anyone with a calculator like to make a guess as to how much energy it would take to cause
even a 0.8 degree global temperature rise?

To put it in terms more familiar to the average person, a domestic electric meter will usually show energy consumption in terms of kilowatt hours. A kilowatt hour is just over a third of a joule of energy. Take out one of your old electricity bills and figure out how much that much energy costs.

Now I want you to try another fun exercise, but this one isn’t mathematical. We’re told by the US administration that curbing CO2 emissions would cost too much money, that it would hurt industry. This makes a big assumption - that the only way to reduce emissions is to reduce how much you produce. If you produced the same amount, only using fewer resources, you’d be buying fewer raw materials, which actually saves you money. There may also be commercially extractable components of what would otherwise be pollutants, giving industry a potential source of revenue.

My second quiz question is this: explain to me how greater profits will hurt American industry?

Finally, I’ll give you this to consider. Some global warming opponents point to the fact that we’re coming to the end of an interglacial period and that it is historically not unusual for warming to occur prior to descending back into an Ice Age. That is indeed possible. It is also, therefore, possible that Global Warming may actually trigger such a descent. The mechanism is very likely independent of the actual cause, so it is immaterial whether the interglacial period is ending naturally OR whether we are manufacturing conditions suitable for it to end.

I’m not sure we know enough to know which we’re in for - big boil or big freeze - but I’m very certain that neither will be any good whatsoever for any living thing on the planet. Even politicians.