Monday, July 16, 2007

Cold snap prompts Peru emergency

The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in several Andean regions hit by unusually cold weather. More than 200 people, about 50 of them children, have died in recent weeks. The people, mostly farmers living at high altitude in the Andes mountains, mainly died from pneumonia caused by sub-zero temperatures. Scores of people die every year from the cold in Peru but farmers in the Andes say the weather is now more extreme and unpredictable.

The people and their animals living in the upper reaches of the Peruvian Andes are exposed to the harshest extremes of heat and cold. For the millions who live at 3,000m above sea level, or higher, the temperature frequently drops below zero at night. But this autumn, the weather in much of the Andes has been colder than usual. As well as the 200 who have died, thousands of people are suffering from pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

As ever the victims are the most vulnerable - children and the elderly. To make matters worse, the coldest areas are also the poorest and alarming levels of malnutrition have meant hospitals are packed with mothers and their sick children. In the coastal capital, Lima, and elsewhere people are making donations. The Peruvian health ministry is planning to take 16 tons of donated clothing to communities living in the six regions in Peru's eastern and southern Andes, all of which have been put under a state of emergency.

Scientists say the unseasonable droughts, heavy rains and frosts are due to climate change. Meanwhile, weather experts are forecasting that temperatures will plummet even further with the South American winter soon to begin in earnest.

17 comments:

Chemikazi said...

"The people, mostly farmers living at high altitude in the Andes mountains, mainly died from pneumonia caused by sub-zero temperatures." Hmmmm.... and I thought that pneumonia was primarily caused by micro-organisms???

"Scientists say the unseasonable droughts, heavy rains and frosts are due to climate change." Hmmm.... too little rain - climate change! Too much rain - climate change! My daughter's pregnant - climate change! The cat ate my dinner - climate change!

Sheesh.

Count Iblis said...

These are the consequences of climate change. It is not the other way around. I.e. scientists are not saying that they believe climate change is going on because they observe these events.

It is because CO_2, a known greenhouse gas, is pumped into the atmosphere. That's undisputed settled science, whiuch means that you won't find any articles disputing this in the leading peer reviewed scientific journals.

It does not mean that no blogs will dispute this or that the Wall Street Journal won't publish nonsensical editorials disputing this.

philip said...

It is because CO_2, a known greenhouse gas, is pumped into the atmosphere. That's undisputed settled science,

That's a prior science. Absent data to support the hypothesis (a theory needs supporting data), it is just that. Care to present the evidence that at current concentrations, additional CO2 is directly causing warming?

And it is most definitely not the other way around. Climate is average weather, and that's all it is. If the weather gets colder, then the climate is cooling.

Then there is the little matter of saturation. Care to tell us how saturated the CO2 absorption bands are at current concentrations?

Count Iblis said...

I gave a self contained reply about CO2 saturaton in the comments on the Greenland's ice posting.

The evidence can be found in the peer reviewed literature, not on blogs, not even in statements by some scientists who write on blogs or in newspapers.

As far as the science is concerned only only articles in peer reviewed journals with a high impact factor in the relavant field count (thus not an article in a civil engineering journal criticising climate science).

This is how science works. This is what separates science for pseudo science. If Lubos Motl has a point about CO_2 saturation, then I'll be glad to read his peer reviewed article in a scientific journal.

The same is true about Jonathan's statistical work. He should simply collaborate with someone like Lindzen.

Alan Woods said...

count, the journal Geophysical Research Letters is one of the top journals in its field. I took me about three seconds to do a search using carbon dioxide to find this paper:

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L11707, doi:10.1029/2006GL026510, 2006

Greenland warming of 1920–1930 and 1995–2005

Petr Chylek
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Space and Remote Sensing Sciences, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

M. K. Dubey
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

G. Lesins
Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

In it, the authors write:
"An important question is to what extent can the current (1995–2005) temperature increase in Greenland coastal regions be interpreted as evidence of man-induced global warming? Although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995 to 2005) a similar increase and at a faster rate occurred during the early part of the 20th century (1920 to 1930) when carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases could not be a cause. The Greenland warming of 1920 to 1930 demonstrates that a high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not a necessary condition for period of warming to arise. The observed 1995–2005 temperature increase seems to be within a natural variability of Greenland climate. A
general increase in solar activity [Scafetta and West, 2006] since 1990s can be a contributing factor as well as the sea surface temperature changes of tropical ocean [Hoerling et al., 2001]."

So to suggest you won't find any articles questioning the role of CO2 in climate change in leading peer reviewed scientific journals is utter nonsense.

Chemikazi said...

Walczowski, Waldemar; Piechura, Jan "Pathways of the Greenland Sea warming". Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 34, No. 10, L10608 30 May 2007


"Progressive warming of the West Spitsbergen Current (WSC) has been observed since 2004. ..............the structure of the WSC and its heat content were modified by the northward advection of large mesoscale eddies observed within the western branch of the WSC in summer 2005. These changes may have large impacts on the Arctic Ocean (AO) climate and ecosystem."

Need we go on and on?

Count Iblis said...

Alan:

"The Greenland warming of 1920 to 1930 demonstrates that a high concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is not a necessary condition for period of warming to arise. The observed 1995–2005 temperature increase seems to be within a natural variability of Greenland climate. A
general increase in solar activity [Scafetta and West, 2006] since 1990s can be a contributing factor as well as the sea surface temperature changes of tropical ocean [Hoerling et al., 2001]."
"

Climate scientist do not dispute this. The argument that CO_2 is involved in global warming is not based on a mere correleation, it is based on "hard physics".

What I'm saying is that there are no articles in leading peer reviewed journal that show that the current consensus amoung climate scientists is based on flawed science.

A high school student can do a simple back of the envelpe calculation showing that approximate magnitude of te Greenhouse effect. To dispute that CO_2 is involved in higher temperatures is like
disputing that the Earth revolve around the Sun.

And of course, higher CO_2 concentrations are not a necessary condition to get higher temperatures. That's as relevant assaying that not all planets orbit a star (some "free floating planets" have been discovered) in an argument about wheter or not the Earth revpolves around the Sun. Utterly irrelevant.

philip said...

I went and read your post on the Greenland Ice thread. Very much in the RC style of a lot of words while carefully avoiding saying anything specific, quantifiable, or heaven forbid, testable.

Otherwise, still avoiding the saturation issue. You are not a saturation denier, are you?

I've taken you to task for the 'peer reviewed' mantra before. It's all part of the agitprop like the invented consensus. There are no peer reviewed studies that show a significant contribution (by CO2) to observed warming at current CO2 concentrations. This is what the IPCC says.

Alan Woods said...

count, in the context of "Cold Snap prompts Peru emergency" you wrote:

"These are the consequences of climate change. It is not the other way around. I.e. scientists are not saying that they believe climate change is going on because they observe these events.

It is because CO_2, a known greenhouse gas, is pumped into the atmosphere. That's undisputed settled science, whiuch means that you won't find any articles disputing this in the leading peer reviewed scientific journals."

Thus, you linked climate change to greenhouse gases and claimed that we wouldn't find that disputed in the peer-reviewed literature.
Well, IT IS disputed in the scientific literature!

Count Iblis said...

There are no articles in leading peer reviewed journals that show that CO2 does not play a significant role in global warming.

Weaker statements in the peer reviewed journals can be found, as pointed out by Alan. But that is not a serious challenge to the CO2 induced global warming paradigm.

You can get warming woithout CO2? Sure, and you can also get a lot of the symptoms of aids without being infected by the aids virus, as some hiv-skeptcs point out...

Alan Woods said...

count iblis, you wrote:

"There are no articles in leading peer reviewed journals that show that CO2 does not play a significant role in global warming."

An effect can be significant, but only be minor. Are you trying to construct an exit strategy, or do you mean a majority effect when you say significant?

I'm assuming it can't be the former, otherwise you wouldn't have attempted that ridiculous comparison with aids.

Or do you mean there are no articles that singularly disprove the theory? Because there certainly no articles that singularly prove the theory either.

So can you clarify what you are saying, so that I don't waste time pointing out significant publications just to have you say "oh, they didn't state that strongly enough, or, that doesn't singularly disporove the theory, or, no that doesn't count it was published on a Tuesday ;)"

Count Iblis said...

Let me put it differently then. The issue is whether we should limit CO_2 emissions so that we'll end up with a CO_2 concentration of about 0.055% or so. If we don't do that then the CO_2 concentration could be much higher.

The reason is that climate scientists say that higher CO_2 concentrations cause higher temperatures and that could have dangerous effects. That assertion is based on the properties of CO_2 and it is also backed up by a lot of indirect evidence from the geological record.

There are people who argue that this is not really a problem. But then they need to show conclusively that CO_2 has only as negligible effect on climate. It is not enough to show that the current observed warming could have been caused by solar variation to some degree, because the issue is whether we should let CO_2 concentratons rise to well over 0.055% and that in that case it won't have a big effect on the climate.

It's a bit like having strong evidence in early year 2001 that Bin Laden is planning a terror attack. We have the means to intervene, but there are some people who say that the evidence isn't really that strong. Bin Laden may not be as dangerous as the alarmists are claiming.

I think that you would agree that a lot of strong evidence would be required to overturn an initial assssment that someone is a dangerous terrorists. Te same is true in case of Global Warming.


The climate skeptics are making propaganda by omiting hard evidnece and focussing on things like the geological record to cast doubt on the assessment of climate scientists. They don't trust climate models, because they show the things they don't like. But while they say that climate models are unriliable because you can use them to show any result, they have never been able to demonstrate that themselves.

They never gave a counterexample of a hypothetical, but physically sound, model in which rapidly adding CO_2 to concentrations of, say, 0.08%, will only lead to
1 °C temperature increase.

Chemikazi said...

count, you said,

"They don't trust climate models, because they show the things they don't like."

Too right, old china. When you sit at a pc and play with glorified calculators, the quality and believeability of the predictions you make (data out) is related to the quality and assurance of the parameters you enter (data in).

Take a simple system, only 5 variables with probabilities of 0.9, 0.8, 0.4, 0.5 and 0.5. Our understanding of some of the factors involved in climate change is little better than these figures suggest. Assuming a 1:1 effect for simplicity, the probability of the final finding is 0.072. Not much confidence in such a finding, I'd suggest.

I would be converted in a trice if one could show me a model that backtracks even through the limited span of recorded history and accurately deduces the climate outcome that was actually observed.

Count Iblis said...

Chemikazi,

Yes, and the predictions published by the IPCC have large error bars. But then these are the predicted effects of the added CO2.

Without the added CO2 you don't get significant temperature increases (the error in that prediction is tyhen also very much smaller).


It'S a bit like trying to predict what would happenif:

a) We gave Bin Laden thermonuclear weapons.

b) We don't give bin Laden thermnonuclear weapons.

In case of a) with the best of our knowledge the predicted effects would have a big uncertainty because we don't know how Bin Laden would use his weapons.

In case of b) nothing would happen.

In case of adding CO2 to the atmospere it is nuch the same. We don't know for sure how the atmospehere will react will all that extra available energy.

Alan Woods said...

OK count, I can see you’re running away from your previous argument that we won’t find any papers questioning the significance of CO2’s role in quality peer-reviewed literature. Why don’t you just be honest and admit that your assertion was wrong.

You say: “The reason is that climate scientists say that higher CO_2 concentrations cause higher temperatures and that could have dangerous effects. That assertion is based on the properties of CO_2 and it is also backed up by a lot of indirect evidence from the geological record.”

That’s some nice cherry picking. Theres also plenty of evidence from the geological record that CO2 follows temperature increase. Surely you know about the ice cores?

You wrote:” There are people who argue that this is not really a problem. But then they need to show conclusively that CO_2 has only as negligible effect on climate. It is not enough to show that the current observed warming could have been caused by solar variation to some degree, because the issue is whether we should let CO_2 concentratons rise to well over 0.055% and that in that case it won't have a big effect on the climate.”

I would have thought that the burden of proof would fall on those advancing the hypothesis. Obviously in your mind they have satisfied that burden of proof. But to me, saying that doubling carbon dioxide leads to significant warming in a complicated computer model that has poor understanding of things like cloud formation and negative feedbacks (see the IPCC report), and also can’t model emergence from an ice-age, simply is not proof.

You wrote: “The climate skeptics are making propaganda by omiting hard evidnece and focussing on things like the geological record to cast doubt on the assessment of climate scientists. They don't trust climate models, because they show the things they don't like. But while they say that climate models are unriliable because you can use them to show any result, they have never been able to demonstrate that themselves”

Skeptics like myself have limited faith in computer models simply because they are limited. Their limitations are documented in the IPCC report. I’d have as little faith in a model which showed doubling CO2 had little effect on climate, unless it could be demonstrated that the model was superior to others.

And please don’t use ridiculous comparisons like the one you use with Bin Laden. Considering the amount of naturally occurring greenhouse gases and positive and negative feedbacks and previously observed naturally occurring warmings and coolings that, well, you get the point.

You wrote “They never gave a counterexample of a hypothetical, but physically sound, model in which rapidly adding CO_2 to concentrations of, say, 0.08%, will only lead to 1 °C temperature increase.”

Don’t be silly. Under what scenario is a CO2 concentration of 0.08% predicted?

Count Iblis said...

Alan:

"That’s some nice cherry picking. Theres also plenty of evidence from the geological record that CO2 follows temperature increase. Surely you know about the ice cores?"

The fact that CO2 causes temperature increase is already settled science. But you need to know a bit about the science to appreciate that.

The fact that CO2 follows temperature increase simply means that the temperature increase was intitated by something unrelated by CO2, in tis case it is a change in insolation. The relased CO2 amlified the temperature increase.

Also, it is simple high school exercise to show that the increase in insolation alone is too small to account for the increase in temperature from the ice age to the interglacials.

So, you see again that just looking at graphs without using physics to interpret what you see leads you to trivial conclusions, namely that CO2 didn't cause the transitions from Ice Age to Interglacial. Of cource, CO2 couldn't have been the trigger because then what did cause the CO2 to increase in the first place? Neanderthalers didn't burn a lot of carbon...


I agree that there are uncertainties about the negative feedbacks. But then there exist a wide range of models all with diferent assumptions. All predict warming, some more than others.

The IPCC report did report on all the evidence that exists today. Politicians have to make their decisins based on that. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Alan Woods said...

Count iblis,

when you wrote:
"The fact that CO2 follows temperature increase simply means that the temperature increase was intitated by something unrelated by CO2, in tis case it is a change in insolation. The relased CO2 amlified the temperature increase."

I assume you meant:
"Some people believe the released CO2 may have amplified the temperature increase, but there is no proof of this."

FWIW, I expect the released CO2 would have amplified the temp. increase, but I'm skeptical that it would have been significant.