http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/0 ... te-change/
Wall Street Journal Claims ‘Liberals No Longer Refer To Global Warming’ Because Winter Is Cold
By Joe Romm on January 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm
"Wall Street Journal Claims ‘Liberals No Longer Refer To Global Warming’ Because Winter Is Cold"
In a 2002 memo, GOP spinmaster Frank Luntz urged conservatives to switch from using the term “global warming” to using “climate change.” He wrote (original emphasis):
It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming…
1) “Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.
Scientists, environmentalists, progressives, and frankly the whole darn planet have always used both terms — hence the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established in 1988.
But when have the facts ever gotten in the way of a good narrative in a Rupert Murdoch news outlet? So we have a Wall Street Journal editorial from Thursday, plaintively headlined “It Isn’t Climate Change,” which laughably asserts:
This being 2014, when everything devolves to politics, any spell of cold or heat inevitably leads to explanations of climate change. The conservative websites are having a good time pointing to the cold temps as a repudiation of global-warming models, while the global-warming crowd says even the cold is proof of … climate change. You see, it’s all about climate extremes. That’s why the liberals no longer refer to “global warming.”
It’s good to see the WSJ admit that conservative websites actually think the existence of winter repudiates global warming models. But since we’re talking semantics here, the global warming crowd doesn’t say the cold is proof of climate change. Scientific observation and analysis are what prove climate change.
Back in 2010, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences said the case for warming was so strong they labeled as “settled facts” that “the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.” The recent literature review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that scientists are as certain that humans are warming the globe “as they are that cigarettes kill.” And the IPCC’s best estimate is that humans are responsible for all of the warming we have suffered since 1950.
So there’s no need for anyone to waste time examining whether or not winter cold proves or disproves climate science. How precisely could the relatively modest warming we have seen to date — about 1.5°F — possibly eliminate winter cold spells?
It is true that some climate scientists have worked to understand how occasional deep cold spells are not inconsistent with warming-driven Arctic sea ice changes (see “Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral And Cold Weather”). But then we’ve seen so many off the charts weather extremes and weather whiplash in recent years, it bears as much study as possible given how devastating climate-driven weather extremes can be.
Yes, 2013 was on the cool side for the United States, and “for the first time in 20 years, the U.S. saw more record cold temperatures than record hot temperatures in 2013,” as USA Today reports. But coming off 2012, the hottest year in U.S. history, “the ratio of daily highs to daily lows continues to be near 3 to 1 for this decade, so far,” notes Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton. That is considerably higher than the ratio from the previous decade.
As I discussed Thursday, the planet keeps warming and this year may well be the hottest on record. So global warming remains an accurate term. But we are also seeing changes that aren’t gradual — so-called non-linear changes — such as the unexpectedly rapid loss of Arctic ice, which may be weakening the jetstream and causing unexpectedly strong weather extremes. So climate change is also an accurate term.
Climate scientists, I expect, will continue to use both terms to explain what’s going on, whereas deniers will probably use both to mock and harass climate scientists with false charges and smears, as exemplified in this Media Matters video :
Media Matters further notes:
The term “climate change” was used long before Luntz’s memo, particularly in the scientific literature. For instance, a 1970 paper published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was titled “Carbon Dioxide and its Role in Climate Change” and discussed how emissions of carbon dioxide warm the atmosphere.
I use both terms, though as I’ve said many times, I prefer “Hell and High Water,” since it is more descriptive of what is to come.”
Others prefer “Global Weirding.” Whatever you call it, it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Finally, Peter Sinclair also has a video debunking this myth showing just how far back the term “climate change” goes:
LINKS DE JOURhttp://www.fukuleaks.org/web/http://guymcpherson.com/contact/http://radcast.org/
a 4 degree C rise in temperature will make the planet unfit for humans to live on
Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn
New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations
The Guardian, Tuesday 31 December 2013 09.02 EST
Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study.
The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world's governments deem dangerous.
The research indicates that fewer clouds form as the planet warms, meaning less sunlight is reflected back into space, driving temperatures up further still. The way clouds affect global warming has been the biggest mystery surrounding future climate change.
Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, who led the new work, said: "This study breaks new ground twice: first by identifying what is controlling the cloud changes and second by strongly discounting the lowest estimates of future global warming in favour of the higher and more damaging estimates."
"4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous," Sherwood told the Guardian. "For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet", with sea levels rising by many metres as a result.
The research is a "big advance" that halves the uncertainty about how much warming is caused by rises in carbon emissions, according to scientists commenting on the study, published in the journal Nature. Hideo Shiogama and Tomoo Ogura, at Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies, said the explanation of how fewer clouds form as the world warms was "convincing", and agreed this indicated future climate would be greater than expected. But they said more challenges lay ahead to narrow down further the projections of future temperatures.
Scientists measure the sensitivity of the Earth's climate to greenhouse gases by estimating the temperature rise that would be caused by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere compared with pre-industrial levels – as is likely to happen within 50 years, on current trends. For two decades, those estimates have run from 1.5C to 5C, a wide range; the new research narrowed that range to between 3C and 5C, by closely examining the biggest cause of uncertainty: clouds.
The key was to ensure that the way clouds form in the real world was accurately represented in computer climate models, which are the only tool researchers have to predict future temperatures. When water evaporates from the oceans, the vapour can rise over nine miles to form rain clouds that reflect sunlight; or it may rise just a few miles and drift back down without forming clouds. In reality, both processes occur, and climate models encompassing this complexity predicted significantly higher future temperatures than those only including the nine-mile-high clouds.