Wednesday, May 24, 2006

global warming threatens to mess with texas



Still skeptical about the whole global warming thing? Then you probably won't want to bother reading this report issued by environmentaldefense.org -- but this article in the Houston Chronicle sums it up nicely if you are interested enough to skim. Either way, the following quote should make you rethink that $300,000 2BR/2BA condo you were about to snap up:

"Warmer ocean water will increase the severity of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and an increase in sea level will virtually eliminate the protection offered by Texas' barrier islands and coastal wetlands. Perhaps the most dramatic impact on Texas will be the increase in sea level. Most scientists predict a sea level rise of between one to three feet over the next 100 years. Some predict an increase of as much as 10 feet. Maps in the report illustrate how much of Texas would be underwater with one-, three- and 10-foot increases. With a three-foot increase, South Padre Island would be lost. Much of Galveston Island would be uninhabitable."

But everyone knows that the whole global warming thing is just a conspiracy of tree-huggers who want to make Texans feel guilty for driving hummers and other behemoths, right?

Then again, maybe not.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Samalammadingdong said...

If you have one of the small Island phone directories (April 2006) you can see a picture of the Island in a 2-3 foot surge - inside back cover. Yup, that's an ad by Realty Executives!

3:41 PM  
Blogger Brian Mikiten said...

environmentaldefence.org is a pretty left thinking group. I'm not worried about SPI if they are the ones making the claims!

Brian

4:41 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Brian, if you are willing to bet the future of your kids and grandkids that these folks have some sort of agenda other than saving Texas beaches, who am I to try and argue with you?

I don't have any kids myself, but I would love for my nephews and their offspring to be able to enjoy SPI as much as I have. It makes sense to me to err -- if err it is -- on the side of caution and take steps right now to alleviate a problem that pretty much all the experts say is going to cause Really Bad Things to happen in the not-so-distant future.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Check one of my favorite teckie bloggers, Jeff Masters the weather dude.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

EDF (now just ED) can seem like a hippie-leftist media shout-cast, I'll give you that, but they actually hire folks (like me sometimes) to do some pretty darned good science. Too bad the ED doesn't publish the technical reports along with the media blitz very often. Then you would see a discussion of uncertainties that could be inches - or up to 10 feet over the next century.

swells

6:31 PM  
Anonymous papabeare said...

I started a long reply to this blog. It was about 2000 words or so. On word 1999 my computer started to melt. *sigh* . Will have to check that tomorrow. Anyway, to get to a much shorter version of my point.

In 1975 ( April 28th eddition I believe) Newsweek magazine had a great article about the weather. Many, many experts were quoted. All the major scientists agreed! They had examined all evidence. Mankind had to act and act quickly or we were doomed!! We absolutely had to worry about ( horrors) Global Cooling!!!! The world was about to freeze!!! They had experts!! They had proof!! They had scientists!!

Now I am supposed to worry about global warming??? Think I will check the " proof" a bit more. Even if the world is warming...are humans doing it or is it a natural cycle??? ( Yes, we as human cause heat to be produced, but does it actually effect the weather?? No ,I mean does it really effect it....and I don't mean like as in " the butterfly effect" I mean something you can prove. Recently I heard that at least some of the warming appears to be caused by sunspots, storms on the sun etc. In other words the sun itself is putting out more energy than before. ( If true though, this may well be both natural and short termed.)
Sorry , remember this is the short reply.

10:44 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Papabeare, I saw that on Glenn Beck last night. Mabye, the same pollution that is causing Global Warming now was blocking the sun back then??? I don't know, I'm just say'in.... Look I am sure that exhaust fumes are not good for me, but can it be proven that they are responsible for Global Warming, I don't think so. Not unless all pollutants can be removed from the atmosphere for several years then study any changes. Like that is going to happen. Look in the 1800's coal (an extreme pollutant) was the primary fuel used in London for heating and cooking, it however did not increase temperatures enough to keep it from snowing. In the 1930's the U.S. experienced a great draught and increased temperatures. There were only a small fraction of the vehicles on the road compared to today. Why was there a draught? Natural cycle? What is the solution? Eliminate all travel by combustion vehicles? How will goods be transported? Are you willing to ride a bicycle everywhere? Even on vacation? What is the timeline for developing new technology for better, more fuel efficient vehicles? What do we do with the toxic batteries used by hybrid vehicles? Yes they have them, either lead acid or nickle metal hydride. What is the preferred method of producing energy for your home: coal burning plants, hydroelectric (give me more high vollume rivers), nuclear (radioactive waste) or do you have an alternative? Many questions, when you have a logical, feasible answer to all of them....well I did'nt say it would be easy. All I am saying is that with limited historical information on weather patterns, how can we blame automobiles for increased temperatures (0.6 degrees, WOW!) with out knowing the trends by decade for the past 4,000,000,000 years. Did'nt mean to ramble, MLeahy

1:06 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Are you both degreed climatologists?

A vast majority of the EXPERTS are in agreement that global warming is a problem with far-reaching implications and that humans are indeed the culprits. We can slow the process down by burning fewer fossil fuels. This is no longer being debated by anyone except those who have let their political agendas take precedence over knowledge.

Of course, it is far easier to stay in denial, blame the bad news on the messengers, keep driving gas guzzlers and pretend there is nothing any of us can do about it.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous jmorris said...

Of course, we probably shouldn't worry about it because other EXPERTS are saying that the bird flu is going to get us all anyway. Wait - I think the EXPERTS said the same thing about West Nile Virus a couple of years back.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read Michael Crichton's "State of Fear". You are caught up in it. The data that could prove global warming does not exist...

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Gulfless said...

First off, I am a huge fan of free market, and yet senseless consumption bothers me, except at dinner. You are pointing out an issue with many side points. Not so strangely, $3 per gallon gas has been a pretty good incentive. A special on HBO had a guy with a prototype electric hybrid car that would get 100 mpg. There are all electric cars but very pricey to get more than 100 mile per charge range. I believe there is an X-Prize being set up for the first 250mpg car. We need those cars not only for the U.S., but for when all of India and China want to own a car. I believe the answers are out there, some within reach, some achievable with the right backing, but more than a few are being opposed by the status quo. I believe the current profit centers have blocked or opposed change. And to not lock down this blog, I’ll end with, I read where SPI will have a wind farm, http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=10447 Great Move? Eye sore?

5:24 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Cool.
Bury your heads in the sand and sing la la la la loud enough to drown out all the negative shit and all will be well. Hooray!

As for the windfarm -- I don't have a problem with the eyesore part. I think the benefits of tapping into this natural resource outweigh the aesthetics, and I suspect the sight of a bunch of turbines spinning away and helping to keep my house cool might even be beautiful in its own way. However, I am concerned about the farm's placement in a migrating bird corridor. I would want to see if/how this issue is being addressed before giving it my support.

5:59 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Sandy, no, I am not a degreed climatologist. A vast majority of the EXPERTS in 1975 were convinced, based on irrefutable evidence that the planet was in a cooling trend due to mankind. I am not yet wearing a sweater in May. I bring no political agenda to the discussion, however there is a movie coming to a theatre near you that does. The phrase "Do as I say, not as I do." comes to mind. Mr. Gore is all about environmentalism to further his political agenda. He, rather than fly commercial to speak in Kyoto about how the U.S. is the worlds main culprit in carbon emissions flew a private jet there burning tens of thousands of gallons of fuel at a cost of $131,000. How environmentally correct. MLeahy

6:01 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hah, that's right, you need a good sense of humor in this game. Hey, remember back in 1974 scientists discovered a "ozone hole" over the Antacrtic? It took 20 years and some really sexy NASA pictures but eventually CFC's were phased out. Since the year 2000, things seem to be getting better!

But with global warming there are no sexy pictures of Mama Nature's Ozone Hole (sorry, a wee bit personal sounding there ...). And that's exactly the point because nobody really understands all the dynamics, even with all those terra-bytes of data and terra-grams of greenhouse boogie.

A time trend chart of temperatures since the "mini-Ice Age" of the 1700's will tell you that temperatures are warmer than ever, though.

So every spring just before hurricane season the media says "the oceans are rising, the oceans are rising" like Paul Revere. It is almost like if you own a SUV you're especially doomed.

Balderdash, and most people don't even know that the Number One greenhouse gas is water vapor. Yup, H20 - some of it even man-made! Some research is even showing that methane, another common gas, is far worse than carbon dioxide as to greenhouse potential. I won't go into the theory ... but the indication that sea levels may be rising is fairly well documented science.

And, knowing that much of the western Gulf is sinking because of subsidence isn't comforting, either.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, y'all!
S. Ding-Dong, MAG

6:48 PM  
Anonymous papabeare said...

Ok Lucinda, its your blog so after this I let you have the last word. Its true I am not a climatologist ( nor do I play one tv). However, dosent it bother you at all that the same experts that predicted Global cooling 30 years ago now predict global warming?? The exact opposite in just 30 years??? This from guys who can't tell you what the weather will be like 10 days from now?? I am to believe them??? Alter my lifestyle for them?? A tip of the hat to " Anonymous" for mentioning a State of Fear. Yes, a book of fiction, but one that quotes Facts!!! Facts that can be looked up easily on the internet as it tells you where the articles were published!
It is true, as Sam points out, that temps have gone up Very Very slowly since the last mini Ice Age. That is, they went up even during the years when the population was still small. Even during the years when their were no cars. So what caused the temps to rise?? For that matter, what caused the ice ages?? Or on the other end what caused huge tropical forests during the dinosaur age?? Certainly no humans Or cars back then. Again , no one Really knows or understands weather in any long term sense.

P.S. I believe the biggest producers of methane are termites and cows ( followed closely be refried beans and happy hour, but thats another story)znb

8:30 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Yeah... what do those eggheads know, anyways? Stupid overachievers making the rest of us look bad. They (or rather, their professors) didn't get it right 30 years ago which of course means that no one will _ever get it right so why bother listening to anyone but the president?

Ooops. Even the Bush administration is now admitting "global climate change" is a concern. Guess our president needs some of the smart folks like you guys to explain things to him.

And yes, this is my last word on the subject.

For now.

9:50 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Sandy, I respect your opinion, and this blog I think is to express opinions. Yes, Bush has made some groundbreaking statements lately, like being concerned about Global Warming and selling our airlines to foreign governments (no security risks there 9/11). I admit he is a real piece of work. hehe. Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity we have to agree to disagree. This will also be my last word on this subject for now. Have a great Memorial Day weekend and let us all remember what this holiday is truly for. MLeahy

11:07 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Gosh, what's this about last words when we're having the first intelligent conversation of the year?

OK, I mentioned the ozone hole (1974) but consurrently, the thinking was that atmospheric aerosol - fine particles floating around especially from combustion - would cause a serious "global cooling." Nancy is exactly correct in this.

What happends is that in the upper atmosphere, the particles would block sunlight. The hypothesis actually came from large volcano eruptions. Sure enough, in 1991 Pinatubo (Philippines) burst, covering the globe within a year, and dropping mean annual 1991 temperatures by a whopping 0.5 degrees - more effect than any "global warming" had ever done in a half century or more.

But the cooling and beautiful sunsets proved to be short-lived, as global mean temperatures climbed right back and even nudged higher. The causes were increased absorption of lightwaves by CO2, methane, and nitrous, in addition to some nasty industrial flouride gases (sulfur hexafluoride and the stuff used to make Teflon). This is old science, folks.

I am here to say the global warming exists and is a real danger. That said, claims that global warming "causes" more hurricanes and more intense hurricanes is still hotly debated ... no conclusions there ... more on this later as NOAA and MIT duke it out.

11:29 PM  
Blogger mleahy said...

Sam, agreed Global warming is a real danger, my contention is that the root cause can not be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. My engineering background is in microcircuit design with a minor in physics and chemistry. I am not a climatologist, and not an expert. As eluded to earlier, methane is a major contributor to Global Warming, however 99.99% of inteligent individuals do not know that a siginificant amount of that gas is produced from marsh lands that are undevelopable and protected by legislation. Don't ask for a life raft when there are only lead bricks. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Sacrifices will have to be made. By the way who else out there has a degree in the sciences and wishes to make an intelligent, self based comment? Anyway, I am sure that there were at least a million HUMMERS on the road two hundred years ago when records were starting to be kept reflecting temperature increases. Any better suggestions, PLEASE be specific with irrefutable evidence. To everyone else out there "Please don't let logic influence your thinking". To quote Joe Friday: "Just the facts mam". Burying my head in the sand, MLahy

1:18 AM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

I know. I said I was done.
But someone who has been following this thread and who apparently doesn't want to jump into the frey sent me this link:
http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0409/feature1/

I don't believe that the National Geographic is considered to be a left-leaning publication.

The article starts off with a doublewhammy:

"There's no question that the Earth is getting hotter—and fast. The real questions are: How much of the warming is our fault, and are we willing to slow the meltdown by curbing our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels?"

Lots of reference links for anyone looking for cold, hard facts.... including a link to the EPA site that features the same map I used in the original post.

And now I really am ready to move on to something -- anything! else.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Don "dadfeets" Wierenga said...

In defense of the ostrich. When you reach age 75 you inherit the right, without guilt, to bury your head in the sand.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Brian Mikiten said...

I look at this argument much as I do the power line studies (where I was an expert) many years ago. The harmful effects of power lines has been a hot issue for years here (US) and in Japan (a much bigger issue) and until hard research was done, there were, as there are here, so many bogus reports and comments in the public space that it made my head spin.

What is true and what is not? I'm really not sure at this point. I do know that we are better off using less gas, walking more and watching emissions. Can we afford to build "green"? No - not right now where greeen designs often cost more than 50% over base budgets.

Do we know if global warming is occurring? No, we don't . There are just as many studies showing cooling as warming. REMEMBER - these are all based on mathematical models. They are subject to significant error and as someone who used to write my fair share of models, I know that small errors in the model can make big errors in the output.

Am I worried? Yes, to some degree. (get it?) In the end, poor public information, rants based on factless reports or "funded" research do nothing to help all of us make good decisions.

I'm off for a walk on the beach and will focus on picking up as much trash as I can. That, I can control!

Brian

11:30 AM  

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