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Wednesday, March 14. 2012
The machinations of the Army Corps of Engineers - levees, water diversions, flood control etc - around New Orleans prevented the maintenance of the Mississippi delta by blocking the flow of the silt down the river.
Thus, over 80 years, the delta has shrunk. Louisiana wants to restore enough of the natural river flow to help restore the delta. That sounds good to me.
But, if you read the article, the LA Times writer repeated brings up "climate change" and how the current situation "left the sinking Mississippi Delta defenseless against the slower but inexorable onslaught of rising seas brought about by climate change." (By the way, it is not "sinking. River deltas are sustained by river silt, or else normal erosion and currents wash them away.)
Thus the author first explains the real mechanics of why the delta has shrunk, and then brings in the irrelevant topic of "climate change" and seal level, converting an interesting article into a propaganda piece. That bugs me.
Sea levels have been slowly rising to a total of around 120 meters since the last Ice Age, recently by an unalarming average of 3 millimeters per year. (Since 2010, they have been dropping, to the dismay of the alarmists.)
and, just for fun, post-glacial climates. Looks like we're trending downward from the optimum, which is not good:
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The News Junkie: The sort of thing that drives me nuts
What drives you nuts? Sea levels are projected to rise about 50 cm over the next century.
Rignot, et al., Acceleration of the contribution of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to sea level rise, Geophysical Research Letters 2011.
300 mm = 30 cm, about a foot.
It's not a linear relationship. See Rignot, et al.
That's just one theory, not a measurement. It's one hypothetical.
In the end, though, only the paleo data, poor as it is, means much.
Why do so many libs want to demonstrate global warming so badly? Of course, we are in favor of global warming too. The medieval times had a wonderful climate.
Bird Dog: That's just one theory, not a measurement. It's one hypothetical.
So is the projection of the Moon's position for tomorrow, but the hypothesis is supported by an array of evidence.
With regards to sea level rise, there is a range of uncertainty, but Rignot et al. have reduced this uncertainty by using two independent means of projection.
Bird Dog: Why do so many libs want to demonstrate global warming so badly?
It would actually be very convenient if there were no such thing.
Bird Dog: Of course, we are in favor of global warming too. The medieval times had a wonderful climate.
The difference is the much higher population density today, and the plausibility of avoiding the sort of suffering that much of the human population experienced during the medieval period.
What human suffering existed in the medieval period had nothing to do with the climate. In fact the climate was a key enabler of human population growth by supporting increased food production and less extreme cold.
But your response was a lovely non sequitur.
phil g: What human suffering existed in the medieval period had nothing to do with the climate.
Nor did we say so. The Middle Ages had much lower population density than today. Medieval warming was uneven, and on a global level, less than today's warming. Europe warmed somewhat, especially the winters, primarily due to changes in Arctic circulation. Africa and many areas in the Americas became drier, including extensive droughts in many regions.
In any case, the world has a much higher population density, and dramatic climate change may result in severe dislocation and suffering.
The problem with these models is simple. They're models.
You can create a model for anything. Want it to say 10 feet? I'm certain there's plenty of data to say that. Want it to fall a foot? I'm sure that's possible, too.
It's all dependent on taking static data and trying to make it linear. I know how to analyze trends, create waves, and add fluctuations. But in modeling, you really need to have to have an idea of what you want BEFORE you build the model. Then it's a question of backing the data out.
If I choose 1,000 data points out of 100,000 and say "these are the most important", I'm still leaving 99% of the data untouched and saying "all things being equal". With data of this sort - climate data - it's inconceivable to think anyone has that much hubris.
Climatologists, like economists, know they are working with data that is Complex - sensitive to initial conditions. In other words, small changes over long waves have large impact. However, being able to tell which of the conditions has the biggest impact is damn near impossible.
As I've said, I model business applications constantly, and it's not too dissimilar from what climatologists do. I can say with some level of confidence that I think a certain model will be the one on which our decisions should be made. But the problem is that not one of my models has ever been perfectly correct (nor has anyone's in the business, so I'm not worried about doing a poor job). I've been close many times, but I've also been very wrong, too.
While I was able to call 2007 and 2008 "correctly", I did not call 2009 very well at all. And after reviewing the data, I was able to see why. The problem is that those reasons for the variation aren't repeatable events most of the time. You frequently get "caught out" by a variation or input that was unexpected.
I'd like you to go back, pull all the models of climate from 1999 onward, and compare them to actuals. If any - really ANY - single one is 100% correct, then perhaps there is a chance that particular modeler is on to something. On the other hand, getting lucky 13 times out of 13 is possible, since luck does tend to clump, and it's possible 2012 is the year that model goes off the rails. But I really think it's unlikely there is a single model that was correct, and here's why:
They have been wrong, so each undergoes an update every year, making the ability to track the persistence of the model nearly impossible at this point due to tinkering.
You know, Obama's models said his fiscal stimulus would keep unemployment under 8%. By all accounts, it was a good model, too! And plenty of people believed it, enough to allow him to push it through. Yet here we are 3 years later, deeper debt, more people out of work, unemployment at 8.3% and no way to overcome some of the largest problems we face because he ballooned a part of the economy which he said was indicative of "a lack of leadership" when Bush was president.
Modeling is no way to push an agenda, unless you're relying on brainless sheep to listen. Clearly, there are plenty of those wandering the halls of climatology departments.
In economics, you shouldn't use a model to make decisions. The decisions should inform the model, and your behaviors should be based on what you see occurring, not what you believe will occur. It would lunacy to spend $1 trillion dollars today to build an anti-alien death ray. But according to Krugman (admittedly in one of his lighter moments), it's a great way to put people to work. Thing is, once the project is done, you're out $1 trillion and you have nothing of value for the money. But, but, but "the model said the aliens were coming!"
There's an interesting twist to all this. In 20 years, when none of today's models prove correct, the idiots who thought them up will claim "it was our clarion call which saved the earth." Yeah, right.
Bulldog: They have been wrong, so each undergoes an update every year, making the ability to track the persistence of the model nearly impossible at this point due to tinkering.
Climate models are mechanistic. As more data and a better understanding of the mechanisms become available, the models become more predictive. Early models, for instance, lacked detailed modeling of oceanic heat transfer. We can look at the models to determine how and why they overestimated climate sensitivity. Current models can explain much of the data. If skeptics are going to do more than wave their hands, they have to explain why current models seem correct, but why they are wrong.
As pointed out by Monckton, in a previous thread, there is no doubt of anthropogenic warming, the question is climate sensitivity, primarily due to the hypothesized amplification from water vapor.
As usual, you're confusing several things.
It's not just a bunch of people waving their hands. John Christy may be a believer in some degree of AGW, but he is completely at odds with the catastrophic scenarios which the modelers have all put forth - and he has been fervent in backing up his point of view.
I really don't rely on Monckton. I'm not sure why he keeps factoring into things, except that he writes very well. Other than that, he doesn't exactly have a degree in any science, does he?
I would concede there is some small degree of human impact. But emphasize the word small. It's outlandish to think we don't impact the environment in some fashion. However, I also know there usually counterbalancing forces at work.
The primary issue of warming is the emphasis on Carbon Dioxide. I've heard all the arguments regarding forcing, and none really are compelling. The fact remains, and there have been letters signed by many scientists (oh, I know, they are physicists and other non-climatologists, and they are a minority, so clearly they know nothing) which emphasize the limited impact we, as humans, have on influencing the atmosphere.
I know your point of view is to agree with the consensus - but I'll remind you that Galileo was shamed by the consensus, until fashion changed. There is as much science behind the work of skeptics as there is by believers. The problem is the believers repeat themselves so much and so often, it's easy to see how and why their version of 'truth' is perceived to be "THE TRUTH", when clearly it simply cannot be so.
The idea of science is to open the discussion regarding issues like this - not shut it down. Yet this is exactly what the consensus is not doing, they shut down skeptics saying things such as that which you just said - that we are waving our hands with little or no evidence.
Except that believers also have little or no evidence. Just models, lots of believers, and tons of repetition.
To make matters worse, when legitimate questions about the nature of the debate are brought forth, the believers belittle the skeptics' intelligence, marginalize the data, and do not offer any means of legitimate peer review.
As a result, the skeptics are forced to follow less than normal paths to get their stories told, and this increases the ability of believers to claim "they are nuts".
The models, if correct, should at some point start showing true directional data. They have not. Not once. And there is a reason for this, and it's a reason why you get to claim "they are mechanistic...they become more predictive". Show me how that has occurred, because it hasn't. In fact, they've gone back and gerry-rigged data to make old models LOOK predictive.
I really am astounded that people continue to look at changing models and say it's "proof" of anything. It's not, and it can't be in a fluid and ever changing situation like climate.
Add to that the questionable nature of some of the data which has been collected over the years and how it has been manipulated, and you really just have a witch's brew of nothing.
You'll sit there, chuckle, and say I'm "waving my hands", but I understand how modeling works, and I do understand how they have manipulated data to pursue an agenda, one which people like John Christy and even physicists like Freeman Dyson have been very critical of.
I don't have to believe, nor should I believe, something that is 97% opinion, because opinion is easily manipulated by press - which is precisely the point of The News Junkie's article. Keep printing articles like this and the 97% becomes 98, then 99. At these percentages, "Tyranny of the Majority" is vicious, cruel, and unforgiving.
There is exactly as much science behind the skeptics' views as their is the believers. The only differences are there are more believers and they get to control the agenda and the press. At one time, more people believed the earth was flat, too.
Funny how everything possible gets turned into a climate change discussion. No evidence required, just throw out the phrase and all of the libtards nod their heads in group acknowledgement. For me and a lot of my friends it has become a source of parody, a running joke replacing the old standard line 'the devil made me do it'. Warm winter trend, climate change. Extended cold winter snap, climate change. Dryer than normal, climate change. Wetter than normal, climate change. Heavy pollen count, climate change. Traffic jams, climate change. Higher crime rate, climate change. Failing economy, climate change. Bad polling data for POTUS, climate change...
Phil g ... You're a man after my own heart. I too am getting very bored with the "environmentalists" trying to dominate the conversation. They send earnest youngsters up on our porch who say they're here to tell us how to protect our environment. The last one that did that, I suggested that we had been protecting the environment since before she was born. Then there are the "organic food" freaks at the grocery store. I tell them firmly that anything offered to us to eat is organic, or our bodies couldn't absorb it.
It makes me fear for their futures, if they have been taught so poorly by the educational mavens. This is like wearing a sign on your back saying "Kick Me."
Well one way to help them nosey yutes help the environment would be to eliminate their carbon foot print via 12 gauge with prejudice when they venture onto your porch.
I kid, I kid
It is absolutely false that water flow to the delta below New Orleans is below the "natural" flow. The truth is that at the Old River control structure vast quantities of water are diverted from the natural course (the Atchafalaya) and diverted to the Mississippi and to New Orleans and the delta below. Maybe that's a good thing, but it sure as Hell isn't "natural."
What is natural is for rivers to make their own routes - and to constantly vary them.
and why people who choose to own property along rivers, below dams and near volcanoes should do so at their own risk.
"What is natural is for rivers to make their own routes - and to constantly vary them."
That is correct. In the case of the Mississippi, that means that the natural flow from Old River down to New Orleans is miniscule.
I remember in college, thirty-five years ago, a professor saying he was disturbed (even back then) that young people no longer did things outside like hike and camp, so they had no idea what was really going on in the natural world around them.
"Global warming" is a perfect example of this being played out. Most folks live in their little cocoons, and so have no clue what is really going on outside other than what the "experts" tell them. And the experts' knowledge is based on computer models.
I live on an island. I have gone jogging along the same beach for the past 31 years, usually 3-4 times a week. I can tell you that the sea level is at the same place it was 31 years ago. The reef rocks are still in the same space, the waves still wash to the same height on the beach, of course depending upon tides and seasons of the year. If there is any sea level rise going on, it is miniscule.
The problem is that people confuse mythical sea level rise with erosion, which are two different things, erosion of course being caused by the kinetic action of water movement on the fast land, whether by waves or currents. (Actually, such movement can also cause accretion, depending on how currents and waves pick up land and move it to other places.) But the alarmists will play on that misunderstanding every time.
Of course there is global warming. Has been since the Ice Age melted. It's slowing down now, getting ready for the next Ice Age. Fortunately, I enjoy skating and skiing.
Sea-level rise is a parlous indicatator to hang your AGW bona fides on. The effect is slight, there are lots of confounding factors, the measurements are difficult to make accurately.
The models did not predict, and have not been able to explain or account for, the pause in sea-level rise over the last several years.
And it looks like the slope since 2006 is less than 3.1 mm/yr.
Cherry-picking? Maybe, but everybody is doing it. The sea level has been rising for a long time. It's unknown if the last 30 years of high-precision data documents the rising period of a multi-decadal or multi-century oscillation.
John A. Fleming: Sea-level rise is a parlous indicatator to hang your AGW bona fides on. The effect is slight, there are lots of confounding factors, the measurements are difficult to make accurately.
John A. Fleming: The models did not predict, and have not been able to explain or account for, the pause in sea-level rise over the last several years.
You might want to put your glasses on. The trend line is clearly positive.
John A. Fleming: It's unknown if the last 30 years of high-precision data documents the rising period of a multi-decadal or multi-century oscillation.
Not in isolation, of course, but from the aggregate of the evidence.
(By the way, it is not "sinking. River deltas are sustained by river silt, or else normal erosion and currents wash them away.)
Uh, no. You're right that river deltas are constantly being eroded and equally constantly being replenished by river-borne silt, but in fact the Mississippi Delta is also sinking vertically. The reason is simply the weight of all that sediment: as it builds up, it presses down on the layers below. There's A LOT of sediment in the Delta, and that makes for A LOT of mass pressing down. As the deeper sediment gets compressed into rock, it takes up less volume, and so the layers above it sink down.
No, No, NO! It's BUSH!!!!!111!!!1!!!! snd Cheney111111!!1!11Q
All started by that damned LBJ!
The Kos just had a reader poll on Dr. Michael Mann, creator of the infamous "Hockey Stick" chart. Amazingly, most voters said that Mann has been deceptive, and that he should be fired.
When Kos readers give up on the "carbon" nonsense, it may not be the beginning of the end for the global warming scare. But it may be the end of the beginning:
Wolfwalker is correct. This is why New Orleans is sinking. It's built on millenia of river silt. It's compacting, and because of the channelizing of the Mississippi river the silt is going out to sea rather than replenishing the ground level of the city.
Half of the Gulf states are built on river silt, because the Mississippi river has shifted course dozens of times since the ice receded. Despite the works at the Old River it will again. New Orleans will be left as a backwater at that point, and a new port city will spring up where the new outlet will be.