Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Schatz: Congressional climate deniers can't hide any more

Many of Congress’s Republicans have shifted their public stances on climate change, Sen. Brian Schatz said at a debate Tuesday night in Līhu`e.

(Image: Satellite-based map of sea level change from 1993 to 2010. Credit:  CLS/Cnes/Legos:

Not that they’re now climate hawks, but they have gone from active climate denial to silence on the issue. Some are using the newly popular line, “I’m not a scientist, so…”

It’s a step in the right direction, Schatz said.

And why is it happening?

Well, the chickens have come home to the proverbial roost. Politicians can’t deny the impacts occurring in their own districts—and have trouble answering constituents who are feeling the heat.

Take Virginia. Storm surge is already a problem there. There’s already some flooding. Add rising sea level to low land elevations, add storm surge to storm waves, and add a high tide, and you’ve got a lot of formerly occupied land underwater. 

The National Hurricane Center has an excellent fact sheet onstorm surge here. That page doesn’t once mention sea level rise, but you can be sure the folks on the coastal lowlands are aware of it.

This site does mention sea level rise, and aggressively.  It is a Climate Central report, which includes these tidbits. 

1. Odds of a 100-year flood or worse by 2030, with sea level rise from global warming: 29%
2. Odds without global warming: 9%
3. Bottom line: global warming multiplies the odds by 3X
4. Historic local sea level rise rate: 1.7 inches/decade
5. Projected new sea level rise by 2050: 16 inches.

If you’re interested in this stuff, see Climate Central’sSurgingSeas report

Florida is pretty famous for its conservative politics, but the climate chickens are roosting there, too.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is certainly not a neutral source, but they’ve been paying attention. On reviewing the National Climate Report, UCS senior analyst Erika Spanger-Siegfried wrote: 

“What lies ahead for Southeast Florida, for example, is stark, shocking even, and it will take a sustained national response to begin to see Florida through to a future of sea level rise resilience.”

In Miami, where the land is pretty low, they’ve established the Miami-Dade Sea Level Task Force. They list some of the problems: Saltwater intrusion into the aquifer; Drainage and flood control compromised; Impacts to coral reefs; Impacts to public and private infrastructure; Beach erosion; Impacts to Everglades.

The Miami report notes that with even a modest one-foot sea level rise, you lose a lot of southern Miami.

In Hawai`i, you also lose low areas. A good site to review Hawaiian impacts is the University of Hawai`i School of Ocean and Earth Scienceand Technology sea level page.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2014


Dan Pangburn said...

Discovering that CO2 change and therefore human activity does not cause global warming is a start. But this leaves the question of what actually does drive average global temperature change.

Two primary drivers of average global temperature have been identified. They very accurately explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with R2>0.9 (correlation coefficient = 0.95) and provide credible estimates back to the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age (1610).

The influence of CO2 change is insignificant.
Coefficient of determination, R2 = 0.9049 considering only sunspots and ocean cycles.
R2 = 0.9061 considering sunspots, ocean cycles and CO2 change.

The calculations use data since before 1900 which are publicly available.

The coefficients of determination are a measure of how accurately the calculated average global temperatures compare with measured.

Everything not explicitly considered (such as the 0.09 K s.d. random uncertainty in reported annual measured temperature anomalies, aerosols, CO2, other non-condensing ghg, volcanoes, ice change, etc.) must find room in the unexplained 9.51%.

The tiny difference in R2, whether considering CO2 or not, demonstrates that CO2 change has no significant effect on climate.

The method, equation and data sources are provided at and references.

Jan T said...

Thanks for your comment. There are, of course, numerous issues of logic with this statement, starting with sloppy language in the first sentence. The sunspot correlation cited in the link has long ago been debunked. Sunspot and activity tracked each other for a time, but in 1980, solar activity declined significantly while temperatures continued to rise. I'd be pleased to see compelling data, but remain unconvinced of this proposal based on what has been provided.

Dan Pangburn said...

Solar cycle amplitude or duration considered separately don't work but the combination of the two, which is what the time-integral does, is what works (actually the time-integral of the sunspot number anomaly). It has never been debunked.

The 'compelling data' is made public at the link and references.N2 822

Jan T said...

Thanks, Dan, for your comments. I think we can end this conversation now. Solar forcing clearly shows some climate correlation. However, your assertion that CO2 change is insignificant flies in the face of overwhelming data to the contrary.